Below is the first section of a work in progress. It began as a short story developed in a writer's group a few years ago. In an exercise we each took the first line from a song off the Beatles Sgt. Pepper album to use as our first line. Later, at the suggestion of a friend, I reworked what I had into the form of a stage play. As I continue to work on this I want to use this blog to post some sections and solicit comments and reactions.
The set is very simple. A large desk and a few student desks suggest a classroom.
Scene titles are introduced by the NARRATOR who can do so with some flip cards or something similar.
The character of the NARRATOR is the voice of the play; it is through that voice the story is told and unfolds. The NARRATOR is the voice of EVERYMAN [used in a non-gender specific way] and throughout the play a series of actors, male and female, can play the part of the NARRATOR. They can be of various races and ages. Some sections will be more appropriate for some actors than others, but the use of multiple actors both signifies the “everyman” concept and makes manageable the amount of dialogue any one actor must learn.
Lucy in the Sky (With Diamonds)
NARRATOR: [IN SLOW, CALM, HYPNOTIST’S VOICE] Picture yourself on a boat on a river…. All you see is the blue sky… all you hear is the sound of the water and birds…. all you feel is the gentle motion of the boat…. [PAUSE]
BACK LIGHTS UP SLOWLY TO REVEAL THE SET WITH EMPTY DESK AND CHAIRS
LIGHTS UP SLOW ON NARRATOR SITTING AT DESK IN FRONT STAGE CENTER RIGHT
NARRATOR’S DESK HAS A COUPLE BOOKS AND NOTEBOOK ON IT
NARRATOR: [TO AUDIENCE, AS IF COMING OUT OF THE TRANCE HE JUST PUT HIMSELF IN, SHAKES HEAD, COUGHS] So… we sit here, eyes closed, and concentrate on our breathing in this high school class room on this Saturday morning.
[LOUDLY SCOOTS CHAIR AROUND TO FACE FRONT AT AN ANGLE]
An even dozen of us, here for different infractions: A couple of barroom brawlers, a scattering of spousal abusers, a couple NBA fans; a woman who stabbed her sister in the forehead with a serving fork at the family Thanksgiving dinner; a frequent flier whose carry-on luggage was lost; a rush hour driver who, much like Popeye before him, [IN POPEYE VOICE] “had all he could stands till he couldn’t stands no more,” and a biker, who threw onto the roof of a nearby church, the gun, mace and club of the cop who stopped him. Having made clear the things he would not allow happen, he let himself be arrested and taken away quietly. Which, if you think about it, sort of makes him the poster child for “anger management.” [PAUSE]
Like most chapters from the Book of Bad Decisions, my story begins, “So anyway, I was drinkin’….?”
You can call me a Luddite if you want, that’s fine. Just don’t call me a “technophobe.” I don’t fear technology, a fact my crime will readily attest to. No one who fears computers would break into a store full of computers.
The store claims I did over six hundred thousand dollars worth of damage before the police arrived but my lawyer is working on that. For me, the night is still a bit of a blur. All I can really say for sure is that, after you take a full go-for-the-cheap-seats swing with an aluminum baseball bat and connect,
NARRATOR TAKES SWINGING BAT MOTION
[SPOKEN WITH WISTFUL AFFECTION]…after you watch those first shards of beige plastic fly… in slow motion… turning in the air….
PAUSES… LOOKS OFF INTO THE AIR
It’s true, the Bible does say “Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.” But I think that anything said in the pre-computer age has to be taken in context. I do believe that, had Microsoft been around in ancient Samaria, we would find “Blessed are the PC smashers, for theirs is a righteous anger.” Right there in the Sermon on the Mount.
NARRATOR STANDS AS HE SPEAKS AND PRODUCES AN ALUMINUM BASBALL BAT WITH WHICH HE TAKES A FEW PRACTICE SWINGS, SMACKS IMAGINARY DIRT FROM HIS SHOES, FLIPS BAT IN THE AIR ONCE OR TWICE
In my own memory of that evening I see myself as a Ninja warrior in a martial arts movie. The invincible swordsman; the masterless Samurai. The silver bat my sword, the tables and shelves of PCs, soldiers in the enemy’s overwhelming force.
Once I gave myself over to the experience, it was indescribably beautiful in the way that violence can become something beautiful, if the heart is pure.
NARRATOR SWINGS, SLASHES, STABS IN MOCK MARTIAL ART MOVES
NARRATOR REMIANS IN MOTION THROUGHOUT THIS
I am somewhat large and was brandishing a shiny weapon at the time and it is a not-so-minor miracle that I didn’t die that evening in a hail of hollow-point cop bullets as I spun around, startled by the shouts of…
FINALLY SMASHING A DESK, HARD
… “FREEZE!!!” [SHOUTED VERY LOUD]
NARRATOR STANDS, FROZEN IN PLACE, OUT OF BREATH
A whole bunch of police were standing there, .40 caliber Austrian-made semi-automatic hand guns trained on my chest.
THE NARRATOR LEAVES THIS FANTASY/REENACTMENT, GETS RID OF THE BAT AND CONTINUES, SITTING
Now this had the immediate effect of ripping me out of my own private Hong Kong action movie like a cop’s flashlight – WHACK! – to the back of the head.
NARRATOR STANDS NOW SPEAKING OFF TO THE SIDE, HANDS CLASPED IN FRONT OF HIM
Your honor, I’m not making excuses for what I did. It was… the… [FINDING THE WORDS] unfortunate intersection of a profound hatred of computers, and a corresponding affection for single barrel bourbon and hydroponic marijuana.
NARRATOR LOOKS DOWN QUICKLY
NARRATOR RETURNS TO SEAT
[TO AUDIENCE] One of my many problems is that I often sound like I’m smarting off, even if that’s the farthest thing from my mind. That was a particularly good example of that.
Now I have to attend AA meetings, NA meetings, and an anger management class, all of which are hands down more enjoyable than prison so I shouldn’t be complaining.
And, while I believe in my heart that the wanton destruction of a half a million dollars worth of PCs should count towards the 400 hours of community service the judge added to my sentence, I know enough to not bring that up.
SOUND EFFECT - CROWD OF PEOPLE TALKING - ENTERS VERY VERY LOUD