Monthly Archives: September 2012

September 30 2012 – Too Smart

THIS SCENE is kind of an early experiment of a scene for a longer play I’m writing with a super-talented collaborator. That fact can sit here and be interesting to those who might find it interesting.

Too Smart

AMY on a sparsely populated subway platform. STEALTH approaches from an unthreatening angle, gets her eye contact, kind of hovers as he continues moving past her. Slows almost all the way down. She is locked onto him, wondering what’s up waiting for him to talk. Finally he makes a kind of “never mind” gesture, starts to walk away.

AMY
No, what?

STEALTH stops. Turns around where he is, keeps his distance.

STEALTH
Just made a mistake. Don’t worry about it.

AMY
I’m not worried. What did you need.

STEALTH
No, it’s not like that.

AMY
Thought I was someone else?

STEALTH
In a way.

AMY
Well now I’m-

STEALTH
You’re just all wrong.

Beat.

AMY
Come closer, this is a bit shouty, wrong for what.

STEALTH (Steps in a bit)
I was gonna pick you up.

AMY
You were-

STEALTH
Yeah. But really, don’t worry, I just made a-

AMY
Are you one of those guys that tries to get numbers?

STEALTH
Not numbers. Not tries. But yeah.

Beat.

I was gonna take you back to your place, since you were on your way home from classes, I figure. We’d have some fun, I’d go on my way. All very respectful, and modern and everything. But then I got a good look at you and I knew it wouldn’t work.

AMY
Ha, okay, fuck off, goodnight.

STEALTH
No, no, MY thing wouldn’t work. On you. So I was just gonna-

AMY
Yeah? Why not.

STEALTH
Too smart.

Beat.

I’d get made, you’d tell me to fuck off. And hey, I called it.

AMY
Too smart.

STEALTH gestures: “exactly”.

How can you tell.

STEALTH
Oh. Eyes. Carriage, to a certain degree.

AMY
Like posture.

STEALTH
More than posture. But anyway.

AMY
Too smart.

STEALTH
Yeah.

AMY
Wouldn’t work on me.

STEALTH
Oh, eventually, yeah, because you want it to.

Beat.

But there’s just not enough time.

AMY
Train’s coming, that kind of thing.

STEALTH shrugs, “alas”. Starts to leave.

You could try.

STEALTH
I was really just looking for something-

AMY
But you’d prefer something more like me.

Beat.

STEALTH
That takes time.

AMY
I might surprise you. Take some time.

Rumble from the tunnel.

STEALTH
Train’s coming.

AMY
We’re getting on. I’m uptown. That’ll give you some time.

Train roars into the station.

Creative Commons License
This work by Ryan F. Hughes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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September 29 2012 – The Bit

The Bit

ADAM and FRANK. Two actors after an audition. It did not go well.

ADAM
Ah well.

FRANK
What a fuckin joke.

ADAM
No, I’m not optimistic about that.

FRANK
Absolute fucker, that time-wasting fucker.

ADAM
He was okay.

FRANK
Fuckin hack pig.

ADAM
Naw.

FRANK
Pig fucker.

ADAM
Naw, I’ve had worse, I think we just-

FRANK
That guy fucked pigs through our whole audition.

ADAM
I think we just didn’t get the bit.

FRANK
The bit?

ADAM
Was the problem.

FRANK
The bit?

ADAM
I thought.

FRANK
Well then you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Beat

ADAM
Well, no, I do.

Beat

See?

Beat

And we just couldn’t figure out the bit. And the whole thing was the bit. And we didn’t figure it out.

FRANK
I think he was too distracted to direct us properly. He just talked over us the whole time, we’re trying to figure out a rhythm, and he’s got no fuckin respect for the actors, the pig fucker, the actors who, incidentally, just met each other, like five seconds before Action – oh, I’m Frank by the way.

ADAM
Adam.

FRANK
Hi- So given all that, a director with any kind of comic sensibility would give us a chance to work it out, or let us feel it out in silence a couple of times.

ADAM
I guess.

FRANK
Fuckin right you guess, but no this guy just nattered at us the whole time, “No, ON action, no, AFTER action, no wait, no look then stand, no stand then look, no go back, no more, no less” while we’re fuckin rolling. That pig dick!

ADAM
I think it just didn’t work, sometimes it just doesn’t work.

FRANK
I think he was distracted by thoughts of fucking pigs.

ADAM
Oh man-

FRANK
I think he rolled out of his hotel bed and kissed the dainty little sow he travels with goodbye before lovingly ladling a bunch of mud over her and heading out the door to our audition.

ADAM
You really want this pig thing to be true.

FRANK
I think he was distracted by thoughts of his wild night throughout our audition. Couldn’t see we were struggling with his inept direction for all the memories of his fair Edwige snorfling hotly in his ear all the previous night.

ADAM
Don’t you think it may be – “Edwige”?

FRANK
Well, what do you call a pig?

Pause

ADAM
Don’t you think it may be more likely that we just fucked up the bit? More likely than the whole…Clive Barker scenario you’ve got-

FRANK
We nailed that bit. It just wasn’t working.

ADAM
If it wasn’t working-

FRANK
Cause of his pork…porky…pig, pig-thing sex problem he’s got-

ADAM
If it wasn’t working then we didn’t nail the bit.

Beat.

Nailed bits? Work. That’s how you know you nailed them.

Pause.

FRANK
Let’s do it now.

ADAM
What.

FRANK
Let’s do the bit now. Without Wilbur here, and we’ll nail it and then you’ll see.

ADAM
Man, it’s done. I’d like to go. I need to get back to work.

FRANK
Let’s nail the bit and then we can wait for him to come out of there and we can do it and he’ll SEE.

ADAM
Okay, later. Best of luck for the four days you’ve got in this business.

Exits.

FRANK
That’s fine, that’s great, you know maybe the reason the bit didn’t work was because of you! Go back to work. Go back to your job fucking your girlfriend the horse. Professional horse fucker! Workplace relationships almost never work, you know! Brace for emotional impact, buddy! I’ll wait here! I’ll do the bit myself! Both bits of the bit. Whatever, I don’t care.

Waits.

C’mooon, lunch. He’s gonna be so surprised.

Takes a novelty pig snout on an elastic out of his pocket, puts it over his own nose. Starts removing all his clothing.

This bit’s gonna be GOOOOOLD.

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This work by Ryan F. Hughes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

September 28 2012 – The One Time

The One Time

During a sex act, in the dark, though the physical particulars are not seen, should not be explicitly simulated. Bodies obscured in the staging, perhaps, or performers standing apart and simply performing with voice only. Perhaps just voices in the dark. The focus is the voices not the bodies. Two of them.

Lights out.

Here.
Here.

Lights out.

We’re already here.

I shouldn’t be doing this.

(Grinning) That’s why you’re doing it.

This is the one time.

We’ll see.

Lights out.

No.
I need your-

(moan)
I want the lights out.

I want this to not be the one time.

I told you.

It’s my name too.

I know.

It’s not my fault he has my name.

You have his.
Lights.

You might see someone you don’t want in the dark.

Beat.

Take my

What are you-

Take them
(sigh)
Like, yes, that

Look at me

Shut up just

Look at me

Just, hands, no

Both breathing.

Just say it

(Breathing)

It’s all you’re thinking just say it

Hair

My name

Hair

Like that

(sharp exhalation)

Is that okay

Yes shut up yes

Say my name

Shut up

Say it

Shut

Say it

Uh

It’s my name

Uh!

Say it

AH

It’s mine, say it

AH
AH

Now

AH

Now

CO-

Yeah

CO-

Yeah

COME BACK!

fuck

WHERE did you-

fuck

where are you

ah

come back

ah

where are you

look at me

shut up

Both breathing
Settling

i should go

I was saying before.

Beat

Right I can do that I can just

Dressing

You think this is happening again.
Pause
I told you and I told you

It’s my name too.

Yeah. Too.
I know it’s not fair.
There’s nothing I can do for that.
Don’t make me regret this more.

I don’t know if I can just-

Then you lied to me, what am I supposed-

Maybe it changed.

Then I didn’t sign on for that.

Pause

I don’t think I can just-

Then don’t. Disappear.
Or figure it out.
I’ll be here either way. Doing my thing.
And it will never
again
be this thing.

It’s a name for fuck sake.

Yeah.
But it’s a big one out where I live.
And you just got here.
Pause
Sun’s coming up. Birds are about to start.
I need to be asleep for that.
Door locks behind you as you leave.
You don’t even have to turn around.

Creative Commons License
This work by Ryan F. Hughes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

September 27 2012 – Right Right

Right Right

A and B on the phone. B’s eyes have glazed over and the responses are automatic.

A
I mean it’s just so humiliating.

B
Right.

A
I’m a grown man.

B
Right.

A
And I know my credit’s in the toilet and they have to safeguard their interests.

B
Right.

A
Which is such bullshit anyway because they don’t.

B
Right.

A
They’ve got all the money.

B
Right.

A
It’s just so humiliating.

B
Right right.

A
Not one call for a job interview this week.

B
Right.

A
Maybe they can tell how pathetic I am over email.

B
Right right.

A
Are you even listening to me.

B
Right.

Beat.

B snaps back.

Beat.

But I should go.

A
Okay.

B
But try not to get so discouraged.

A
Right.

B
Things will turn around.

A
I’m sorry it’s always like this these days.

B
No.

A
I just don’t have anything good to talk about. The move was really hard on me.

B
Right.

A
How are YOU?

B
Good! Everything’s going really good!

A
Good.

B
Looking forward to quitting.

A
Right.

B
That’ll be a nice change.

A
Right right.

B
So yeah. Pretty good over all.

A
Right.

B
I mean…I think how bad everything is is mostly a head thing.

Beat.

A
Rrright

B
Just a way you’re thinking of everything, the way-

A
Just in my head, gotcha.

Beat.

B
Have you…ever…thought…about…talking to someone?

Beat

A
Sometimes.

B
Maybe you should talk to someone.

A
Maybe.

B
A person whose job it is. Who could…that’s all they would need to do for you.

Pause.

Well…think about it?

A
Right.

B
I have to go.

A
Right.

B
Okay.
Love ya.

A
Bye, Mom.

They hang up.

Creative Commons License
This work by Ryan F. Hughes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

September 26 2012 – The Banns

The Banns

HAROLD and ANTONIA, young, 30s, many years ago. He sits, listening to the radio, broadcast chatter at a low pleasant hum. She sits, separately, reading the newspaper.

Pause, with radio.

ANTONIA
Oh!

HAROLD
Mm?

ANTONIA
That secretary you had!

HAROLD
Mm.

ANTONIA
What was her name?

HAROLD
I don’t recall.

ANTONIA
Yes, you do.

HAROLD
Miss Bennett.

ANTONIA
Constance?

HAROLD
Connie. Constance, yes.

ANTONIA
Yes…

Pause.

HAROLD
What about it.

ANTONIA
Well it says here she’s getting married.

Pause.

HAROLD
She.

ANTONIA
Apparently.

HAROLD
Constance. Miss Bennett.

ANTONIA
Yes. Next month!

Pause. ANTONIA continues reading. HAROLD reaches out and turns off the radio. ANTONIA stops reading.

Long silence. HAROLD stares ahead.

HAROLD
Well that’s marvelous!

ANTONIA
Yes…

HAROLD
That’s fantastic news.
Just marvelous.
Next month.
Wonderful.
Miss Bennett.
Of all people.
I’m just…
I don’t know what to…
Of course, she must have changed a great deal.
Fine. Just fine.
Married.
Constance.
Next month you say.

ANTONIA
The paper says.

HAROLD
Where?

Pause.

Does it say where?

ANTONIA
It doesn’t, no. Here, I imagine.

HAROLD
Mm?

ANTONIA
Here in the city.

HAROLD
Mm. Yes of course. Who to?

ANTONIA
Oh-

HAROLD
Who is she marrying.

ANTONIA
The name here is Colin.

HAROLD
What’s the last name?

Pause.

I say what’s the boy’s last name.

Silence.

HAROLD
Well. I am so happy.

ANTONIA
Yes.

HAROLD
So happy for her.

ANTONIA
Yes.

HAROLD
What luck.
What luck for her.

Silence.

I’ll go for a walk.

ANTONIA
A walk?

HAROLD
Yes, I feel like a walk, I’ll go for one. Dinner’s not ready for a while.

ANTONIA
An hour.

HAROLD
I’ll go for a walk for an hour.
Perhaps it will become a run.

ANTONIA
You’re hardly dressed for it.

HAROLD
I have the jogging,,,the suit. In the spare room closet.

ANTONIA
It wouldn’t fit you.
Not now.

HAROLD
I’ll walk to the shops I’ll buy one there. One that fits. I’ve sat around long enough.
I may be longer than an hour.
I’ll bring home curry.

ANTONIA
Everything’s on.

HAROLD (Harsh but smiling)
It’ll all keep for a day, won’t it.
I want a run. And I want curry. That stuff in the oven will keep a day.
Perhaps I’ll bring home a suit for you, wouldn’t that be fun. A new thing to do.

ANTONIA
If you like.

HAROLD
We can match.

ANTONIA
If you like.

HAROLD
It will be good then.

Stands. Walks to the door. Stops.

When I come back that newspaper will be gone. We can go without news for a few weeks. We’ve got the radio for news.

ANTONIA
Don’t you-

HAROLD
Acceptable?

ANTONIA
If you like.

Silence. HAROLD stands at the door.

HAROLD
Marvelous news. About Miss Bennett.

He exits.

Creative Commons License
This work by Ryan F. Hughes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

September 25 2012 – Kim’s Overwhelming Aura

Kim’s Overwhelming Aura

KIM and ELMER, at a party. KIM seems like a charming and pleasant lady, ELMER is standing uncomfortably close to her.

ELMER
I mean do you have any idea how difficult it is to feel so close to someone?

KIM
Uh-

ELMER
Just every day all the time. I think about you so hard you kind of manifest. Like just when I’m sorting the mail. Behind and slightly above me. And just off to my left. And not full scale, either, kind of pocket sized. Not shirt pocket sized maybe, but definitely sweatpant pocket sized. Roughly smurf-sized. Three-or-so apples.

KIM
I like these shrimp things, have you tried them?

ELMER
Like the hologram of Leia, in the fourth movie.

KIM is looking ANYWHERE else.

Did you hear what I said to you, I compared you to Leia in the fourth movie.

KIM
First movie, fourth chapter.

She realizes her mistake just as it leaves her lips. ELMER’s heart grows three sizes, and he somehow manages to get even closer, despite the lack of space between them already.

ELMER
You see? You see? My god you are the perfect woman. Listen I think we need to discuss what’s happening between us.

KIM
You really smell like your drink when you’re talking.

ELMER
That’s the only reason I can even talk to you right now. Listen, I know things could be awkward if we ever…you know…

KIM
They could, they really would-

ELMER
You’ve got a kid.

KIM
But I don’t think we need to worry-

ELMER
My wife’s around here somewhere.

KIM
Because we’re both adults.

ELMER
You’re just as fuckin sexy and cool as a lady assassin.

KIM
I think there’s a really cool place to stand about two feet behind you.

Beat.

ELMER
Okay.

Beat.

Will you come with me?

KIM
Uh.

ELMER
Would that be like a date, going there?

KIM
Two feet…that way?

ELMER
Maybe if we held hands?

KIM
Listen-

ELMER
You’re not all that pretty you know.

Beat.

Like conventionally. You’re oldish, and your body is nice but you can tell you’ve had a kid. So like there’s lots of areas where you could take points off.

KIM
Okay I’ve got to see where you take this.

ELMER
But not to me.

KIM
Aha.

ELMER
Not to me, you see, that stuff…it’s not even that that stuff’s not important, but I am totally willing to waive that stuff.

KIM
Aw gee!

ELMER
Largely due to your aura. Which is overwhelming. I don’t think you understand what it feels like to be overwhelmed so systematically.

KIM
Oh, I-

ELMER
So it’s not important. Your body’s not perfect, as we covered, but that stuff isn’t important, like it shouldn’t be important.

KIM
But it is.

Beat.

I mean, I don’t think it’s shallow to need to be…attracted to a person. We have these bodies, and they’re not this other thing that we drive around, they are us, as much as our mind is, and our feelings and ideas. Like we can’t just disregard them.

ELMER
Is it that you don’t like my body?

Pause.

KIM
Yeah, it’s your body, I extremely do not enjoy it.

ELMER
Well, that’s not very polite, I totally overlook your imperfections-

KIM
Which I never asked you to.

ELMER
Is it all the hair all over everything?

KIM
No, you know it’s more the uncomfortable proximity. And the ears don’t seem to work. And just…generally…it contains…you. It’s a part of the totality of you, and I’d say overall, on a physical and emotional and kind of olfactory level, this whole you thing is not a thing I’m into. At all. Under any circumstances.

ELMER
Bet if I got you drunk enough.

KIM
I am extremely drunk right now, and if anything it only strengthens my resolve.

Pause.

ELMER
You basically just destroyed my feelings.

KIM
Is it reassuring if I say they weren’t doing you any favours, and you could look at this as a chance to start again with some new ones?

ELMER cries. He is just as close as ever but behaves as if he is alone. She watches him weep for a while. Perhaps a tray of drinks goes by and she takes one.

ELMER (Still weeping)
I’m Elmer. I’m in Communications.

KIM
Kim. Marketing.

ELMER
It was nice to finally talk to you Kim.

KIM
I’m sorry it didn’t go better.

ELMER
Are you.

KIM
Well, I’m more sorry it happened. But…

He continues to cry. She slowly creeps away.

Creative Commons License
This work by Ryan F. Hughes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

September 24 2012 – Hidden Mothers

THANKS to my friend Marnie T for the link to this fascinating blog about weirdo Victorian photography customs for today’s inspiration!

Hidden Mothers

Two Victorian cameras upstage, on tripods, pointed downstage centre. Further downstage, one in the focal field of each camera: an ornate chair of the period (back to the audience), some bizarre prop (a scepter, or a headdress or something), and a large tapestry, crumpled on the floor, furthest downstage. One of these for each camera. The cameras are closer to the wings and focused on a diagonal, so that the two crumpled decorative throws are almost touching, downstage centre.

A moment alone with the cameras.

Then, from opposite sides, enter two PHOTOGRAPHERs in period dress. They come just onstage and then gesture into the room, “after you” for someone offstage.

Enter two young BOYs, 6-8 years old, followed by two MOTHERs, early-mid 20s. All in period dress. The two groups do not take notice of each other.

Though there is much similarity between the two groups and their actions, it is important that it is not perfectly symmetrical or exactly choreographed. These are individuals, and though they are doing the same things, there ought to be personal variations.

The two groups go about their preparation with a practiced demeanour, as quietly as possible. The MOTHERs do not wait for instruction, nor is any given. The PHOTOGRAPHERs are readying the cameras. The MOTHERs guide the BOYs to the chairs, and get them kitted out in their props. The only sound is of their movements. The odd muted exchange between MOTHER and BOY, perhaps, not for an audience’s benefit.

When the BOYs are ready, the MOTHERs guide them to the chairs and seat them, facing upstage toward the cameras. They encourage the BOYs to strike a pose, and stand beside the chairs, facing toward the PHOTOGRAPHERs, waiting patiently.

The PHOTOGRAPHERs finish their prep and indicate to the MOTHERs they are ready. As the PHOTOGRAPHERs get under the hoods of their cameras, the MOTHERs step behind the chairs, and begin to gather up the crumpled throws. The BOYs express some concern about being left alone, but the MOTHERs assure them that they are not going anywhere and get them to resume their poses.

A signal from the PHOTOGRAPHERs from behind their cameras and the MOTHERs quickly pull the throws up in front of them. As they do, the lights dim on all but the MOTHERs who now seem quite alone behind their throws. They both heave a little exhausted/relieved sigh.

And hear each other. They look to each other and acknowledge each other for the first time. There is a stunned kind of wonder, and then they exchange a smile. They look back to their own worlds, peek slightly around the throws they are holding up and then look back to one another.

The smiles become conspiratorial.

With great care and effort, a real physical ordeal, they slowly switch places behind the throws while continuing to hold them up and keep them as still as possible. This can take some time and ought to require an impressive degree of physical virtuosity (and likely a little cheating from the props department).

Eventually they succeed and find themselves behind the opposite throw. One final, winded, victorious grin between them, and the lights return full to the stage. The PHOTOGRAPHERs come out from behind their camera hoods, and the MOTHERs disconnect from each other, and lower the throws, bringing themselves into a strange but familiar situation.

As the PHOTOGRAPHERs do some final fiddling with their cameras, the MOTHERs interact with these unfamiliar BOYs, warily at first, but with growing confidence as the BOYs don’t seem to notice a difference. They remove the props from the BOYs, reset them on the chair, and lead the BOYs upstage to the PHOTOGRAPHERs. Thanks are exchanged, and the PHOTOGRAPHERs again move to the edge of the room and gesture, “after you”, offstage.

The MOTHERs exit with their strange children, into their strange lives, with one furtive grinning glance back to each other before they are gone from view.

Creative Commons License
This work by Ryan F. Hughes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.