Sunday, June 17, 2012

Second Helpings of Cyanide - Part 5

I've received feedback before that Act II is hard to get through, though I haven't had the reason why described to me. If you feel that way, please let me know in detail.

JULES: Hello, Ms. Cronos! Well, we seem to have a long story to tell you!

MS. CRONOS: It’s all right, Mr. Clifton, it’s all right. I came here after someone shouted at me to shut up to see what the matter was. I’ll try to be gentle with you kids. You obviously have a lot on your plate, putting on this show. You’ve gone through long rehearsal nights, a difficult script, missing props, dropped lines, Marion Cutio, ungrateful kids, bad actors, not getting the raise you wanted, going home to your kids in high school to off and on whining and whining about, “Why can’t we do what we want? Why? Why, why why?” bad days teaching, crew members asking stupid questions, and a full-fledged brawl on the night of my show! MY SHOW! This is the NIGHT, this is my SHOW, and NO ONE WILL TAKE THAT FROM ME!

From behind here SR, SLYVESTER leaps out and puts a bag on her head, though she continues shouting incoherently throughout it.

SLYVESTER: My thoughts exactly… this is my show now.

SLYVESTER takes the sword and brandishes it at CHUCK. RONALD steps in between SLYVESTER and CHUCK

MARION: What are you doing?

RONALD: (winks) Trust me.

SLYVESTER: Step aside. I only have an issue with Chuck.

RONALD: You know, I thought you dropping your ridiculous method acting would reveal a kinder person. Guess what?

CHUCK: He dropped it?

SLYVESTER: You push your luck.

JULES: Hey, umm, could we get Ms. Cronos out of here?

The cast looks at MS. CRONOS, who’s still roaming around with the bag on her head and shrieking.

CHUCK: Nose goes, oh wait I didn’t touch my nose, GOTTA GO!

He sprints towards MS. CRONOS, grabbing her and taking her offstage SR. SLYVESTER and RONALD pursue him.

SLYVESTER: Come back here and fight like a man!

RONALD: Come back! I didn’t finish my heroic sacrifice!

They both exit SR.

MARION: It’s about time we had a moment of peace, isn’t it?

JULES: Not for me. I’ve finally opened my eyes. It’s time to go.

MARION: WHAT? Now? We need you! I can’t do this without you!

JULES: No, I think you need to calm down for a bit. I get it now. What Ms. Cronos said was right… we’ve all done too much. I’ve done enough for myself. (Sighs) I’m getting out of here.

MARION: We can be heroes! We can save this play, and become famous!

JULES: Don’t you get it? You’re… well… arrgh… you’re the problem with this! I mean, not you specifically…

MARION: No offence taken yet.

JULES: …but you’re all overreacting.

MARION: Jules, in case you’ve been gone for a while, Sly tried to KILL Chuck!

JULES: And you knocked him out and decided to kill the play anyways? You couldn’t turn him over to Ms. Cronos and call the cops? I just did so, but I’m too late. Instead, you’re going through all of these ‘heroics,’ and these games until it stops being fun! Look, any energy rush I’d get or you’d get from this isn’t worth it. Personally, I’ve found all I’ve been looking for. I’d like for you to come run away with me…if you leave behind the drama.

A pause. Then…

MARION: You have a point. The whole ‘kill the play’ thing was kind of forced, wasn’t it?


The VOICE FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE AUDIENCE turns out to be the DIRECTOR (preferably played by the actual director of this play), who walks onstage.

DIRECTOR: What have I told you about ad-libbing as an all-plothole-smoothing-cream?

MARION: (as a completely different character) Oh come on, it would change the play at all.

RONALD, SLYVESTER, CHUCK, and MS. CRONOS all enter in with their costumes in different places on their bodies.

SLYVESTER: (as a completely different character) What’s happening?

MS. CRONOS: (as a completely different character) Is something wrong?

DIRECTOR: (insert the name of the actor playing MARION here) was ad-libbing again.


MARION: What? It’s something Marion would do.

CHUCK: (as a completely different character) It’s not like it’s that good of a script anyways.

DIRECTOR: What did you say?

CHUCK: I mean it, this whole thing is a mess. Remember how we foreshadowed a deal beforehand with you and Ronald? The script edits dropped that! Never to be heard of again.

RONALD: (as a completely different character) (speaks rapid Spanish for about twenty seconds or some comedicly appropriate time)

MARION: And what about that great exchange we dropped out? (to MS. CRONOS) You start.

MS. CRONOS: (back in old character) “Is anybody hurt?”

MARION: (back in old character) “No, just a crew member!”

MS. CRONOS: “Thank goodness! I thought it was somebody important!”

MARION: (back to real self) You see? The audience likes it!

DIRECTOR: Audience?

Everyone on stage looks at the audience in sheer terror for a few counts. Then, panic erupts between the actors.

DIRECTOR: All right, everyone, calm down! (does whatever routine he/she usually does to calm the actors down) Ok, I know the last bit of the play forces the Shakespeare connection a bit and makes no sense, but the show must go on! We’re in the home stretch! No one can realize that we were all up here not acting.

JULES: (as a completely different character) Wait, we’re not acting?


DIRECTOR: But to get everybody ready again, we need a distraction. How about Ms. Cronos does that dance I had planned while everybody gets the rest of the stage and costumes back in order?

MS. CRONOS: (back to real self) You mean the dance that was so out of place that we mutinied?

DIRECTOR: Look, we don’t have many options. (refers to the audience) They’re here for a show!

All the actors except for RONALD, MS. CRONOS, and SLYVESTER move offstage to get ready. SLYVESTER goes down to prepare to play music while MS. CRONOS takes front and center stage.

RONALD: (asks a question in rapid Spanish for about five seconds)

DIRECTOR: Next to the box of chicken. Now let’s MOVE IT!

The Boston Pops Orchestra’s version of “Sing Sing Sing,” plays as MS. CRONOS begins her dance and everyone else does a routine setting up props, sets, and costumes in time to the music. Once the song ends, MS. CRONOS takes a bow and exits. JULES and MARION are back on stage.

JULES: Look, any energy rush I’d get or you’d get from this isn’t worth it. Personally, I’ve found all I’ve been looking for. I’d like for you to come run away with me…if you leave behind the drama.

RONALD enters SL.

RONALD: Darn it, I lost them! No heroic sacrifice for me!

JULES: Et tu, Ronald?

JULES leaves SR

RONALD: Huh. That was weird. (To MARION) Are you okay?

MARION: Well, after the attempted murders and hysterics… yeah, sure, okay.

RONALD: Look, Marion, we’ve got to take care of this quickly. Ms. Cronos is out of her bag, and everyone got scattered in this one room where the lights went dark and we tripped on all the props.

CHUCK enters SL.

RONALD: Hang on… hey Chuck!

CHUCK: What now?

RONALD: I have a dare for you…

CHUCK: What, now?

RONALD whispers something into CHUCK’s ear.

CHUCK: No! No way! No means no, and so does yes!

RONALD: C’mon man… it’ll be funny…

CHUCK: But… I’m…. arrgh…

RONALD: Chuck, unless you do so, I don’t think we can be friends.

MARION: Chuck… please think about it before you…

CHUCK: (after a few seconds in heavy concentration and in a furrowed brow) Alright, fine!

He walks offstage SL.

CHUCK: (offstage, behind the stage) Hey audience! Do you want a show?

From offstage, a loud gasp is heard from the audience.

MARION: Did he… (She peeks her head backstage SL, and then takes it out very quickly) You told him to do WHAT?

RONALD: See? I knew it would be hilarious.

MARION: But why…

RONALD: During the chase, I saw some cops prowling around the audience. Chuck’s not as quick as Sly, but I don’t think he can get to him now.

CHUCK: (offstage) Hey! Don’t taze me, brother from another mother! I’ve got my rights, fascist pork rind sandwich! OW! Hey!

The sounds of his shouting gradually die out.

MARION: No, I meant, ‘why have you been doing all of this to Chuck.’

RONALD: ...oh, the manipulation! Well, twisting him into a being dependent on the satisfaction of others may seem despicable, but turns me into a greater being through the realization that all of us are like that, ergo, the enlightenment and truth are both realized and not realized simultaneously.

MARION: … huh?

RONALD: Don’t worry. I understand that you won’t understand.

MARION: … you don’t understand why yourself, do you?

RONALD: (obviously lying) Of course I do! Or don’t, whatever works for me. (beat) (Almost desperately) I have my reasons!


RONALD: I think your buddy got himself into more trouble.


RONALD nods his head to the SL door, which SLYVESTER quickly goes to and looks out of.

SLYVESTER: You… (Moving closer to RONALD, brandishing the sword) You’ve wanted to be a target for a long time… and I’m in the mood to grant your wish.

MARION: (standing at the SL door) He’s lying. I sent Chuck there.


SLYVESTER: I should have known. Now, where was I? Ahh yes… DIE.

He charges at her with a war cry, though MARION sits perfectly still. Suddenly, he steps aside, allowing SLYVESTER to run right past him and to off stage SL. Outisde, the sounds of crashing noises and shrieking audience members pervades the air.

SLYVESTER: (offstage, behind the stage) Ummm…
I pray you, give me leave to go from hence;
I am not well: send the police away
from me, and I’ll do in Chuck, er, go then.

Loud shouts and complaints are heard from the crowd in the background. SLYVESTER shouts out random interjections, such as, “I have my rights!” and “There ain’t no justice!” and “ARRRRGGGGHHH!”, but those sounds fade away into nothing after a while.

RONALD: Well that was anticlimactic.

MARION: I know.

MARION begins to walk offstage SR.

RONALD: Where are you going?

MARION: To Ms. Cronos. I’ll own up to what’s happened, at least my part in it.

RONALD: Are you crazy? After all of this, she’s probably nuts enough to lay the entire blame on you. You’ll never set foot in this school, and you probably won’t get a job too.

MARION: Dramatics aside, someone has to do it.

RONALD: I think Shakespeare has gone into your head.

MARION: (laughs) Well, I’ll get it out one day. Want to come with me?

RONALD: Nahhh… um, m­­ore personal growth when I keep running.

MARION: Just keep telling yourself that. Maybe after all of this, you can let me into your house to hide, Ronald. I better go before I faint.

 He begins to leave again.

RONALD: Look, I’m sorry if I was a bit over-dramatic, okay?

MARION: A plague on both your houses! You and Sylvester and Chuck have made worms’ meat of me: I also tried to prove myself, and soundly too: your houses!

He leaves SR.

RONALD: …Well, I guess that’s it with that. Maybe I should get some rest… I feel like a desperate pilot, running on the dashing rocks the sea-sick weary bark of my ship! (He grabs a water bottle from backstage) Here’s to my pain! (He chugs it down) O true apothecary!


RONALD: That Marion is quick. Thus, with a kiss, (he blows a kiss to the direction in which Ms. Cronos shouted.) I fly.

He runs offstage SL.


The stage is bare. MS. CRONOS steps forward center-stage.

MS. CRONOS: Welcome to this year’s production of CYANIDE: THE LOST SHAKESPEARE PLAY, directed by myself and written by ‘William Shakespeare’ and Slyvester Locked, err, William Shakespeare! I understand that there are rumors floating about last year’s production. I can assure you all that there never was such trouble, nor will there be. But, if you would like some assurance, I’d like for one of last year’s actors to read an apology note he prepared about last year’s absent show.
CHUCK sets forward, reading from a piece of paper.

CHUCK: “If we shadows had offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
None of us act in this year’s show,
(Some of us are in jail, you know),
(At this point, Chuck throws away the paper he was carrying)

And in this weak and idle play,
actors may don costumes today,
They will be reprehended:
their realities blended
as one. If my name is not Chuck,
the last show gave us great luck,
Enough to ‘scape the dread path
of drama and Cronos wrath;

MS. CRONOS: Chuck, dear, I don’t think that was in the script…

Else the Chuck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And get away from this play as fast as you can.”

He runs offstage. Blackout.


1 comment:

  1. Perhaps I should have read this part before commenting so much on Part 4...
    If the first act was "Waiting For Guffman" and the first part of Act II was "Saved By The Bell", this last part feels more like "Spaceballs" (or any other piece that breaks the fourth wall a lot). I still like some of the jokes and gags, like Cronos wandering around with a bag on her head as if she does not notice it and Jules finally having enough.
    Regarding this play overall, I guess my previous comments about tone and focus on what exactly is being satirized still hold. It can be really funny whether you go in a deadpan, Christopher Guest-style direction or in a "Naked Gun"/"Hot Shots", throw-everything-including-the-kitchen-sink-at-the-wall direction. Just keep the tone consistent.