edited: Wednesday, May 26, 2010
By Austen Brauker
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Become a Fan
PLAy- produced by West Shore College in Michigan.
By Austen Brauker
Characters: A man and a woman, Jorge and Martah, married couple, middle aged.
Setting: suburbs, middle class home, living room area. Background sound: a humming noise that is constant and getting louder throughout the play, until later when it becomes very apparent-almost as loud as their voices.)
INTRO SCENE: (they have the TV on, listening intently to a news broadcast, the man is watching out the window with a pair of binoculars. A loud explosion occurs from outside. Jorge ducks and then gets back up to peer through the window with the binoculars again. There is firelight reflecting off of his face, coming in through the window, along with occasional flashes of red and blue emergency lights and sirens. The television reports that there is “chaos in the streets”, “all airports are closed”, “the military is mobilizing to keep the peace in every major city in the country.” Martah is sitting in a chair, there is a small box next to her on the floor.)
JORGE: There goes the Phillips boy. (Jorge watches him with the binoculars.) What’s he think he’s doing? ….He’s climbing up the television tower….Got a gun and somethin’ else…I can’t tell what… maybe a duffel bag hanging off his shoulder. What does he…?
MARTAH: (interrupting) Oh Jorge! I can’t believe this is really happening. Its just…(she begins to cry into her hands.)
JORGE: Wait Martah. Here comes somebody else….why, it’s…it’s Dan Melvin, the guy from the shoe store!…the place where they sell those god-awful crocs. I hate those damn things. Wouldn’t be caught dead in them. (He takes his eyes away from the binoculars and looks at Martah.) They say the president owns a pair…but you know Martah, they aren’t as comfortable as everybody says….in fact…..
MARTAH: Oh Jorge, who cares!? (Martah is emotionally distraught, blotting her eyes with a tissue.) Look what’s happening out there! How can you care about your stupid shoes at a time like this! (Martah cries again, into her cupped hands. She takes a small blanket from the back of the chair she is sitting in and covers the box next to her on the floor. )
JORGE: Well Martah, I’ll have you know that a time like this is exactly when people should be thinking about their shoes. That’s for certain. Shoes are an investment. In fact, at a time like this, something like a pair of shoes can make or break a man. (He looks back up at the tower.) Oh my god! The Phillips kid almost fell. See dear, right there is a perfect example. It looks like that Phillips boy doesn’t even have his shoes tied. Here he is…tryin’ to climb something like a television tower and doesn’t even tie his shoes! Can you believe that! (Jorge is smug.) That’s exactly what went wrong with this world, things like that.
MARTAH: (sighs with disgust, changes her tone as she focuses on Jorge.) Jorge, you really are something else. Of all things… You’re worried about whether or not that Phillips kid has his shoes tied or not. (She applies some lip stick.) Honestly, you amaze me Jorge. (She checks herself in the mirror.) The world-bank takes over global control, buys our military for their own police force…and here you are worrying about somebody’s shoe bein’ untied. That’s just like you Jorge. (She wells up again with emotion before continuing.) Just like how you put everything we owned into that stupid money market. (then under her breath.) Shows how much you know about investment.
JORGE: HA! His shoe just fell off. I told you! ……I told you!.....wait…..What’s he doing now? ……(Jorge adjusts the binoculars) He’s tryin’ to get to his gun. Got his arm hooked over the bar. …Holy crap, he’s gonna fall I tell ya…..he’s gonna fall….kids got one shoe on…. He’s pointin’ at somethin’? (Jorge lowers the binoculars to ground level where the Phillips boy is pointing his rifle). Oh my god. Its Professor Sneidel, you know, that teacher from over at the community college, remember him? He’s got a gun too! Aiming it up at the Phillips boy…. You remember honey. You took that intro to business class from him last year. Remember? He gave you a C and you were all upset. ….Looks like the shoe is on the other foot now! …eh Sneidel? (there is a gun shot.) Oh crap! Looks like the Phillips boy got him. Sneidel’s flopping around in the road like a fish. (there is another gunshot, Jorge looks at Martah again.) No more college classes for you honey…..You’ll never believe this. Guess what else….
MARTAH: (distant.) What’s that Jorge?
JORGE: He was wearing crocs!
MARTAH: (She ignores his comment.) God damn it Jorge. I got a B in that class not a C.
JORGE: Yeah. Whatever. ….(then, under his breath.) Sure you did dear……You know, that money market was goin’ to earn us some fine interest if all this wasn’t happenin’. (He sweeps his arm toward the civil melee occurring in the streets.)
MARTAH: (getting upset) I can show you the transcripts Jorge! It was a B! (She gets up angrily and rifles through a pile of papers on a desk. Then talks to herself.) It’s here somewhere.
JORGE: (calmly.) That boy always was a pretty good shot. Remember when he had that BB gun? He was always comin’ home with a squirrel or a bird or somethin’. Guess it paid off. Not so for good for Sneidel though. That old Professor ain’t so smart now…is he?
MARTAH: HA! Here it is Jorge! (she stomps over to the window.) There you go! (Martah shoves the report card with the grades up in front of Jorge’s binoculars to block his view.) Look there….a B! It’s a B Jorge. Not a C! And another thing, you don’t know anything about investments! (She starts crying again, harder than before.)
JORGE: Wait Martah….The kid’s up to somethin’ again …..get out the way…..(Jorge tries to see but Martah keeps the paper covering the lenses. He gives in.) Ok. Ok. So you got a B. Ok. I believe you. Just stop cryin’ dear. I’m sorry.
MARTAH: You can be such a pain Jorge. Sometimes I wish you would listen to me. All those airplanes flyin’ over all day long dropping god knows what streamin’ out from behind them. That buzzing noise… ringing all the time in our ears. Can’t remember anything. Big clouds of poison fallin from the sky. I was watchin’ Jorge. Remember? I watched them every day. (She sits back down on the couch, talking slower.) Just a goin’ back and forth with those big contrails of poisoned aluminum…or whatever it was, making big grids across the sky. Can’t remember anything. (Martah blows her nose.) It’s a wonder I can still remember my own name. (She is calming down, accepting the situation.) Did I say that once already?
MARTAH: What did you say Jorge?
JORGE: Chemtrails honey. You said contrails. They’re called chem-trails. (He looks directly at her and smiles.) Contrails is what they were called back when they used to disappear behind a jet, not the ones that get bigger and make those whispy clouds like they do now. I think you meant chem-trails.
MARTAH: Oh, that’s right. Chem-trails. (She sounds defeated, apathetic) I’m sounding so dumb lately. (She perks up slightly.) But they sure do make for a nice sunset though, don’t they…
JORGE: They sure do my little honey B. They sure do.
MARTAH: I can hardly remember anything anymore Jorge. Gets so hard to think sometimes. This ringing in my ears. Coughin’ all the time. You know, I never had allergies my whole life, or the flu for that matter, its just these last few years. Everyone getting’ sick. …….What was that Jorge? (she is a bit confused.)
JORGE: I didn’t say anything dear.
MARTAH: Who woulda thought it would all come to this? Our own government! Our own people…..You worked so hard for them for all those years Jorge. Saved up that nest egg for retirement. …….All gone in one day. (she snaps her fingers) everything…in the blink of an eye.
JORGE: He’s almost at the top.
MARTAH: And we went right along with it too. Bunch of lemmings. (she looks spaced out and emotionless, starting to speak in a monotone.) Like lambs to a slaughter. Wavin’ our flags and eatin’ all those microwave meals. Watchin’ TV like it was the only thing to do in the whole world. We gave them a 700 billion dollar bail out Jorge …..What idiots!……Believin’ the news. ……..Is your ears ringin’ Jorge?
JORGE: He’s doin’ somethin’ now honey. That Phillips kid. Got somethin’ out of his bag. He’s tyin’ it to the TV transmitter. Oh my god…… He’s takin’ off all his clothes…… What the hell is he doing…..? (Jorge follows down with his binoculars until the Phillips kid hits the ground). He jumped, Martah, jumped right off the tower.
MARTAH: Best just leave it alone Jorge. Each to his own. That’s what I always say. Live and let be, or however they say it. (flashing lights and sirens go by again.) What’s happenin’ now?
JORGE: It doesn’t look good. The Parson’s just ran down the street.
MARTAH: What’s so bad about that?
JORGE: Half of them were on fire.
MARTAH: Let them be Jorge, just let them be.
JORGE: Martah. I don’t think this is turning out too well. (Jorge is getting nervous.) It looks like helicopters comin’. (He drops his binoculars. Bright lights shine into the windows with the sound of choppers. A huge explosion goes off and the TV goes out. The humming noise that has gotten louder and louder throughout the play now suddenly goes off at the same time as the explosion. Jorge walks slowly over to Martah and sits down on the couch next to her. He puts his arm around her. They look at each other. ) Looks like it was a bomb that Phillips kid tied up there to the TV tower. Took out one of them fancy stealth choppers with it too. They were trying to send somebody down on a rope when it went off. There’s more comin’.
MARTAH: All is fair Jorge. All is fair.
JORGE: (He sounds stressed) What are we going to do Martah? Try to run for it? It looks like some folks might be making it. (Machine gun fire answers his question.)
MARTAH: Wait a minute…..Listen to that, Jorge! …….Listen!
JORGE: I don’t hear anything.
MARTAH: That’s what I mean. The ringing. It stopped. It must have been coming from that big antenna. The Phillips kid must have heard it too! (more machine gun fire. People screaming.)
JORGE: (crawls back to the window and peeks over the sill.) Looks like they got the Wilson’s. They’re pulling them out through the windows. (machine gun fire. Jorge slumps to the floor with his back to the window and then crawls back to Martah. ) We got to run Martah. We got to!
MARTAH: (slow and apathetic.) Where are we going to run Jorge? Where are we going to go? (She looks down at her feet.) I don’t even own a pair of running shoes. Remember?
JORGE: (relaxes and consigns to fate.) The shits really hit the fan this time hasn’t it?
MARTAH: (matter of factly.) Goerge. Did you ever cheat on me?
JORGE: (honestly.) No Martah. I never did. ….You?
MARTAH: No Jorge. (they pause. The sound of gunfire is going on from outside.)….
But…did you love me Jorge? (The stage lights have dimmed so that the colored lights from the window are emphasized. Jorge and Martah are lit by a slight spot.)
JORGE: Yes. I did….. I mean…I still do.
MARTAH: Tomorrow’s our wedding anniversary Jorge. Did you remember? ……I got you your present already. (she uncovers the small box that she covered with the blanket.)
JORGE: Twenty years Martah……. I remember…..I was going to take you out to your favorite restaurant.(he looks at her deeply.) That Chinese place over by the college. You know the one where people always say they find cat pelts in the dumpster.
MARTAH: (she hits him in the arm and laughs) Jorge! You know that’s not true ! (He meows at her and she hits him in the arm again. Jorge is laughing.) …(Martah gets serious again.) But George…did you like my cooking?
JORGE: Every bite. (he gives her a kiss.)
MARTAH: I guess I can give you your gift early…(gunfire.) we might not be here tomorrow. (another blast from outside breaks the glass of the living room window. People are yelling from other houses.) Sounds like they’re rounding people up. (more gunshots. Martah hands Jorge the small shoe box with a big red bow on the top.) Courtesy of the late Dan Melvin, former shoe salesman extraordinaire.
JORGE: (he opens the box and holds up a pair of green crocs.) Just like the president used to wear! (Jorge exclaims this with joking pride.)
MARTAH: Just like the president! (They both start to laugh.)
(Soldiers kick in the auditorium doors from the outside and rush down the aisles until they end up on the stage, pointing their weapons at the couple. The curtain drops. The audience hears the soldiers open fire. There is a pause of silence and then the humming noise slowly starts again. It turns back up to its max volume in about ten seconds. An explosion erupts. The lights immediately go out and the humming stops.)