Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Second Helpings of Cyanide - Part 3

MS. CRONOS: Ok then… Slyvester, you discover that he’s a traitor.

SLYVESTER: A traitor, you do say? (to Marion) You there! Bring him
to prison, and keep him in there until
the tank filled with piranhas is ready!

MS. CRONOS: CUT! Dear, you’re supposed to say something about interrogating him.

SLYVESTER: You foolish and very strange girl! Why would
I do such a thing when I have him here?
He must be a traitor, to have snuck in,
and he shall be punished accordingly!
What idiot thinks that I should ask questions?

MS. CRONOS: You did. You wrote this.

SLYVESTER: My old form? Hah! What concern of mine is
a man who’s not worthy to lick my boots?

MS. CRONOS: Look, Mr. Locked, I know you’re trying to act naturally and embrace your character. But that’s not what he…you… wrote…

SLYVESTER: (to the invisible Duncan)
Why do you stand about like brain-dead trees?
Arrest this man, and bring the piranhas!
And now, you cur of the dogs, where was I?

JULES: (to Ms. Cronos) I don’t think talking to him will work, Ms. Cronos. Can we just skip to the brawl?

MS. CRONOS: No skipping parts of the play. You know that, Mr. Clifton.

SLYVESTER: A grand brawl, you then say? If that is so,
I must defend my grand honor! Let’s go!

 RONALD enters in costume from SR.

RONALD: Oh my darling! Must you fight now for me?

MS. CRONOS: Umm, I don’t think we’re doing this scene yet…

SLYVESTER does a beckoning whistle to no one in particular. Everyone looks in that direction for a few seconds, but nothing happens.

MS. CRONOS: Not him again… Ok, can anyone do Duncan’s part? (one person raises his hand enthusiastically) Not you, Jules. Ummmm… Ronald?

RONALD: I’m part of the fight.


SLYVESTER: Do these arms even look to be so strong?

MS. CRONOS: Marion?

MARION gives her a death glare.

MS. CRONOS: What??

MARION: No fight scene. It took me forever to get in character and in makeup! (smiling) Besides, why waste good talent on a brawl?

MS. CRONOS: (sighs) Ok, Jules, you’re up.

JULES: I don’t know his lines though.

There is a moment of silence. Then…

JULES: Kidding! I’ll start with him.

JULES jumps to the other side of the stage and takes on the persona of a large man.

JULES: (in a deeper voice) I see, my lordly man, that you have sent
A fight not worth the energy consumed.
But I shall enjoy the pleasure I get
from grinding his bones to make my good bread.

JULES then switches over to his previous role.

JULES: (looks at Ronald) For my love, I am willing to go down
to ever the blackest hole presented.
Fe-el the full dread of my pounding fists!

JULES then begins a fantastic and well-choreographed fight scene… with himself. The mock brawl continues on for two minutes, as “Anakin vs. Obi-Wan,” by John Williams, plays. (MS. CRONOS turned on the sound) After JULES beats down his own head into the group a few times and pretends to fall unconscious, (and RONALD approaches him to see if he’s ok) he stands up and poses, expecting applause. Instead, he only gets shock and awe from his friends.



 JULES: Ummm… well…

MS. CRONOS: Alright, Slyvester, time for the swordfight.

SLYVESTER draws a wooden sword

JULES: Vicky, stay back! This dreary land of woe
remains an unsuitable place for a
gal like you. So, Herbert, we then must face.
Thou art as strong as Ares is peaceful.

SLYVESTER: You cur! Are you completely feckless, sir?

JULES: No, I’d consider myself to have feck,
at least more than in terms of some brains.
I’ll make you sing, sing, sing like a can’ary.
…Oh yeah! That’s my cue!

JULES runs off SR.

MS. CRONOS: Alright, Slyvester and everyone, I really need you to sell this role. Look stunned. This will get a big laugh from the audience!

The song “Sing, Sing, Sing,” plays for a few seconds, then cuts out. Ms. Cronos gives an enjoyable laugh, while everyone else stares at her blankly. (except for SLYVESTER, who acts stunned)

MS. CRONOS: Ha ha ha ha… ha… erm, the older folks will like it. Next scene.

JULES enters SR and returns to SL.

SLYVESTER: This can’t be, if you love that brute Vicky.


A fantastic sword duel begins, each one acting with much passion and energy. MARION enters on cue from SR to the middle of the battle.

MARION: You called for my help, Lord Bob, so I… ARRRRGGHH!

The ‘ARRRRGGHH’ is caused by JULES accidently stabbing MARILYN during the sword fight. He falls, and JULES runs over and tends to him.

JULES: Speak to me, my servant; are you okay?

MARION: It has been in your nature, my good Lord,
to ask such dumb questions at times like this.

JULES: I should have known that this would then happen,
after dos’t thou want a piece of me…

MS. CRONOS: (sighs) Jules, you never cease to amaze me.

JULES: Know this, Wilhelmina, I always loved you.

MARION: And I tried to return that love, my
lord. But now it is too late for me…

He lowers her head and closes her eyes. JULES conveys powerful emotion, appearing as if he will deliver a powerful speech… and then CHUCK returns from SR.

CHUCK: Okay, I’m ready now! Let’s do this thing!

RONALD: I told you I’d do it, Ms. Cronos!

JULES: Chuck, could you give us just a moment?

MARION: We were doing a better job without you, you know!

MS. CRONOS: Mr. Cutio, not just after… Oh dear.

All eyes are on CHUCK. Then…

CHUCK: Oh. Okay then. (begins to walk offstage SR)

RONALD: Wait, what?

MARION: What happened to the old Chuck?

RONALD: (with a big smile on his face) Hey Chuck!

CHUCK turns around to face him.

RONALD: Jules said that he’s doing a much better job with the role than you are!

JULES: I did?

CHUCK: Better? You act like a zombie block of wood that forgot it was going to act today! I could out-act you even if I wasn’t me!

MARION: Finally! He’s back to his own self again!

JULES: Wonderful.

CHUCK: You better give the head of the role back to me on a silver platter, or my false-name isn’t Bob!

SLYVESTER: BOB? What devilry is this for two Bobs?

CHUCK: Oh shut up. Where were we?

MS. CRONOS: Well, technically we were at Wilhelmina’s death scene, but we missed the interrogation scene. If we could go back and finish…


MS. CRONOS: Alright, fine, we’ll continue from Bob’s eulogy! That is, once the spotlight is put on Bob…

Everyone stares at JULES for a while. Then…

JULES: What? … I knew that!

JULES runs offstage SR, and CHUCK takes his place. The spotlight appears on him.

CHUCK: Of all the souls that I have encountered,
Wilhelmina’s did have the most loyal.
The villain was so right; Vicky’s a brute,
wavering in her trust. She was cy’nide.
Herbert… in count of all the blood that’s spilled,
I think it’s best if we call it a day.

The spotlight is cut

SLYVESTER: Ha! And thus surrender all that I’ve won?
This blood that lies does prove I’ve just begun!

CHUCK: I will not fight. From this point on, I’m done.

SLYVESTER stabs CHUCK through the heart. CHUCK cries out in pain

CHUCK: Ow! Arrgh! Ouch! Confound it, Sly, you’re supposed to stab me UNDER the armpit, not into it!

SLYVESTER: What do you care, immortal wench of you?
Tomorrow, you shall live and fight again,
And this bickering will repeat itself.
Why do you mind if you should die this once?

CHUCK: Of course I’ll “live and fight again…” it’s called rehearsal, dense one!

SLYVESTER twists around the sword.


SLYVESTER: Unwise to spit at one who holds the sword!

MS. CRONOS: Cut, cut, cut! I’m tired of you two going way off book, so get a hold of yourselves before I throw you both out.

CHUCK: So tell me where in the script it’s written, “Sly acts like a total jerk and continues his great performance offstage?”

SLYVESTER: I do not act, as you accuse in angst,
but live my life in total… complete… ummm…
Who here does know a word that rhymes with angst?

CHUCK: I know one that rhymes with ‘stupid baboon!’

MARION cannot suppress a laugh. Everyone stares at him.

MARION: What? It was kind of funny.

CHUCK: So my rage is funny now, huh? Maybe it’ll be funnier once it’s gone through your umbrella like a throat!

MS. CRONOS: Ronald Meo, control your friend at once or the deal’s off!

MARION: Wait, deal?

MS. CRONOS: No, wait, I meant…

CHUCK: That does it! Overacting, foolishness, shenanigans, ducks, republicans… I can’t take this anymore!

CHUCK ROLFE storms out.

Three counts pause

JULES: You know, if Chuck’s gone, I can play…


JULES: (meekly) Ok, just checking.

MARION: Ron, you have a lot of explaining to do…

RONALD: Why bother? Without Chuck, the play can’t go on.

MARION: You know as well as I do that Chuck does that every rehearsal. He always comes back.

MS. CRONOS: You know, I think it’s a bit late. Let’s just go home.

SLYVESTER: And end the celebration of triumph?

MS. CRONOS: Yes, let’s. I’ll explain everything after the show.

MARION: And no later; it’s tomorrow, you know.


1 comment:

  1. I like the way the action builds up to the end of the act, and the overall energy of the play increases pretty well as the rapid-fire dialogue and quick entrances and exits keep mounting. Maintaining that energy and rhythm is very important, so keep an eye on the dialogue and make sure it stays as quick and snappy as possible (unless it's one of the soliloquies that is meant to sound verbose). Cutting just a few words here and there (bits like "oh, well, okay..." or "you know as well as I do...") can tighten up a line and improve the timing of it. Actors don't always need more words to say; they just need the right words.