Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Second Helpings of Cyanide: Act 1

There have been major edits to the play... tell me what you guys think!

Second Helpings of Cyanide
 Nick Edinger


The AUDIENCE VOICE sits in the chair surrounded by audience members.

AUDIENCE VOICE: (never leaving his seat) Welcome, welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the play known to you as ‘Second Helpings of Cyanide.’ If my information is correct, this is the year 2012, so I should be telling you to turn off your cell phones and watch out for that one guy you’re going to elect next time. I apologize in advance if this ‘author’ seeks to make clever references instead of putting on a good show… if that’s the case, I shall fix it soon enough.

On stage, a spotlight appears on JULES CLIFFTON, SL, a sixteen-year-old with a brightly colored jacket, and ever-changing hair. He is the only person on stage and the second object visible: The first is a sign that says, “CYANIDE: The ‘Lost’ William Shakespeare Play.”

JULES: A land begot with confusion appears
To the blind man who rules this kingdom fair,
And woe is he! For if he had but ears
To know the truth, he’d Sound Cue 20 there.


MS. DIANA CRONOS emerges from the seat in the second row closest to the aisle, revealing herself to be the voice. A middle-aged woman with a calm countenance, she walks over to JULES.

JULES: I might mixed up my lines a bit. Not like Shakespeare’s around to complain, right? Don’t worry; I’ll get it down before the curtain rises!

MS. CRONOS: We’re short on time, Jules… do it again and get it right.

MS. CRONOS resumes her seat in the audience.

JULES: A land begot with cinnamon appears…

MS. CRONOS: CUT! Start it again.

JULES: A land forgot by Cameron…


JULES: A land… a-landed… by a land…

MS. CRONOS: Again!

JULES: A land if by land and two if by sea…

MS. CRONOS gets up, walks towards JULES

MS. CRONOS: Jules, if you can’t keep your lines straight…

JULES: I remember all of my other lines!

MS. CRONOS: … who else are you playing?

JULES: Servant #2, Understudy for Bob and Wilhelmina, Sound Manager, Lighting Manager, Crew Manager, Crew Member, and that one guy who cleans up the ticket stubs after the show.

MS. CRONOS: And… wait, how did you end up with all of that?

JULES: I was asked. I can do more, though, if need be.

MS. CRONOS: (sighs) Well… well, just keep trying and get the lines right, will you?

JULES: Sure. I’m doing well for all I have on my plate, right?

MS. CRONOS: Perfectly. Now redo it.

She returns to her seat

JULES:  A land begot with… confusion! appears
To the blind man who rules this kingdom fair,
And woe is he! For if he had but ears
To know the truth, it’d strip his logic bare!
For in the conflict of good and evil,
Who knows the difference… the difference… what’s the difference…

MS. CRONOS: Without!

JULES: The difference without their signs!
None of you can stop this here upheaval,
For now you must watch as the stars align.
Pardon me if my French doth offends thee…

MS. CRONOS: Pardon me if my rhyme!

JULES: …pardon me if my rhyme does offend thee
As the…the…

MS. CRONOS: Starts with a ‘p’…

JULES: (rapidly and wildly guessing) Pilaf, Pilaster, Pilate, Pilates, Pilatus, pilchard, Pilcomayo, pile, pile driver, pleated…

MS. CRONOS: Pills?

JULES: I don’t take them, but thanks… wait! I remember it now! ‘Pills!’
As the pills to fix one’s blight must so do!
But remember, these shadows are like… like…


JULES: These shadows are like me!
Their existence is possible by you.
So join me! Watch them pursue moonlight daises
 And then we’ll laugh, knowing that they’re… they’re…

MS. CRONOS: Do you remember anything?

JULES: And then we’ll laugh, knowing that we don’t remember anything!

MS. CRONOS: The word is CRAZY! Sorry, I’m sorry about that. Why don’t you go call in everyone else?


MS. CRONOS: Jules Clifton!

JULES: (from offstage) I knew that!

He sprints off. The stage lights up fully as JULES exits. The actual stage is mostly bare save a fake window hanging on the wall and a bench. Two actors, CHUCK ROLFE and MARION CUTIO, walk across SR to arrive at SL. CHUCK ROLFE

CHUCK: Oh, the humanity! For thus I have
Been left by my former lover at once.

MARION: Fret not, my good master, for I shall bring
Joy for you when you become as down as this.

MS. CRONOS: CUT! Chuck, is something wrong today? You were doing a great job yesterday.

CHUCK: So what you REALLY mean is that I’m doing terrible today!

MS. CRONOS: Not terribly, but you’re forgetting to emote.

CHUCK: Are you kidding!? I ALWAYS emote! I’m emoting right NOW!

MS. CRONOS: Then do it onstage, then. Take the line over. Jules, could you come over here for a second?

She returns to her seat as JULES slides onstage. CHUCK takes a quick glance to offstage SL. He then continues the line

CHUCK: Oh the HUMANITY! For thus I have
Been LEFT by my FORMER Lover… AT ONCE!

MS. CRONOS: Cut, cut, cut…

JULES: You called?

MS. CRONOS emerges from her seat.

MS. CRONOS: Charles, dear, I know you’re trying, but… well, you have the wrong emotion.

CHUCK: What’s wrong with my emotion? It’s as good as any other emotion, right? My upset’s just a bit character that the director won’t shut the hell up!

JULES: You… called?

MS. CRONOS: (to CHUCK) You’re supposed to be sad at this point.

MARION: When I watch this, I’m already very sad.

CHUCK: Why should I be sad, who WANTS to be sad? That’s like asking a piece of paper if it WANTS to be folded into awkward shapes and thrown at an ugly kid across the room!

JULES: Called… did you?

MS. CRONOS: The character doesn’t want to be sad, but just, well, feels sad. It’s somewhat as if actors are those Russian dolls that fit in one another. Really take in the emotions you would feel: the hopelessness, the depression, and the heartaches. Then, act like it.

She begins to walk back to her seat.

CHUCK: But how do I do that?

MS. CRONOS: I don’t know… it’s in the script! Just do it! Start the line over.

She returns to her seat.


Ms. Cronos jumps a bit, and then turns to face him.

JULES: Sorry, something in my throat. Chronic condition. Happens when I’m not around. Anyways, you called?

MS. CRONOS: Jules, I want you to help in an experiment. Can you…


MS. CRONOS: Good. Take over Chuck’s role for a bit. Show him how it’s done so he can see an example as to how to be sad. And… you should probably use a script too.

CHUCK: (flustered, mixing up words) You know what? Fine! You want me to read my rights and get them lined, so here they are!
Oh the humanity! For thus I have
Been left by my former lover at once

MARION: (stepping in front of JULES to the side to take the stage.)
Fret not, my good master, for I shall do
Joy for you when you become as down as this.

MS. CRONOS: He’s stealing your scene, Chuck!

CHUCK: (Also pushing JULES out of his way.)
Oh, Aphrodite, how hath I ‘fended
Thee so, for you to steal her away?

MARION: (Once again shoving JULES out of her path)
The will of the gods are too far for us
To dare comprehend what they mean to say.

CHUCK: (stepping in front of MARION, pushing JULES offstage to do so. His fall is accompanied with the sound of a crash and breaking glass)
Is that so? Then I’ll go ask them myself…
Oh Zeus, great and mighty! Oh Poseidon,
The not-as-mighty, but still pretty cool,
And Hades, the jerk of the Underworld,
(But still not to be messed with on no clock)
I pray thee for a worthy foe to come
So that I may fight him and win, so thus
My love shall see this deed and want me back.
If you are truly… if you truly…
Out damned mime! Out I say!

CHUCK has turned around to see that MARION has begun to mime while he was speaking. MS. CRONOS emerges from her seat.

MS. CRONOS: CUT! Mr. Cutio, WHY are you doing this now?

MARION: Well, Cronos, here’s the deal. I’m a senior, this is the last play of the year, and you cast me as a sidekick. You think not getting a lead role is going to get in my way?

CHUCK: What are you, some prima-sidekicking-donna?

MARION: Unlike you, at least I’m a prima-sidekicking-donna that can act.

MS. CRONOS: Quiet! Ok… Ms. Cutio, stop miming.

MARION CUTIO does so, but begins to take out a skull and begin a soliloquy as MS. CRONOS turns her back and begins walking to her seat.

MS. CRONOS: I saw that!

MARION throws away the skull.

 MS. CRONOS: From the beginning of the soliloquy, Chuck, and with more passion.

CHUCK and MARION start pantomiming their lines as JULES starts to get up.

AUDIENCE VOICE: Ahh, Jules… if they only understood who you really are… understood the powers you control that change shape reality itself…

JULES: Who said that?

MARION: (stopping her monologue) I did! Pay attention!

MS. CRONOS: What did I tell you about breaking character!

CHUCK: Is that so? Then I’ll go ask them myself…
Oh Zeus, great and mighty! Oh Poseidon…

MS. CRONOS: Jules, are you forgetting something?

JULES CLIFTON runs back onstage, and goes to the doorway between stage left and stage right.

JULES: A message, good sir, from the dreaded Count…

MS. CRONOS: No! The spotlight, remember?

JULES: I knew that!

He runs offstage SR, and a lone spotlight appears on CHUCK. JULES runs back on stage until he arrives at SL.

CHUCK: My love shall see this deed and want me back.
If you are truly great and powerful too,
You will take this prayer…

JULES: A message, good sir, from…

MS. CRONOS: That line comes later!

JULES: Sorry!

JULES runs out SR. During this time, MARION has made her way in front of CHUCK

MARION: If you truly are great and powerful too,
You will take this prayer, and see me through!
But wait! Sir, there appears to be someone
At yonder door… a bench for his worn feet!

JULES returns as MARION grabs a bench on the stage.

JULES: A land begot with confusion appears
To the blind man who rules this kingdom fair,
And woe is he! For if he had but ears
To know the truth, it’d strip his logic bare!
For in the conflict of good and evil,
Who knows the difference without their signs?

During this time, MS. CRONOS walks up onto SL with a rolled-up newspaper in hand. She puts her hands on JULES’S shoulders.

MS. CRONOS: Jules, I can’t believe it! You finally got the sonnet down 30 lines after you needed to say it! Wonderful! I’m so happy that I could just strangle you!

JULES: Ummm…well… well, of course, I… THINK I HAVE A SOUND CUE TO TAKE CARE OF! Must go!

JULES runs offstage.

CHUCK: So we’ll move on then?

MARION: What are we waiting for!

MS. CRONOS returns to her seat.

MS. CRONOS: All right then, after the servant part Chuck.

CHUCK: Gad Zeus! It’s a letter from the great Count
The Evil and Terrible Herbert seeks
A council with me to decide my fate,
Like a mighty being gives mortals fire

MS. CRONOS: Yes! Good!

Jules plays Schubert’s 8th Symphony from the sound system.

CHUCK: What ants we mortals be! Playthings of kids,
Swarming to the stray victuals they leave,
Exchanging our lives for heav’nly manna
Unaware of the looming world above…

MS. CRONOS: Keep it up, Chuck!

CHUCK: For what is a man but a beast micro?
What seven stages can erase his state?
What keeps a man from a loquaciousness
That slows the play of life down to a halt?

MS. CRONOS: Yes! This is wonderful! You all did it! You took this play and turned it into a work of serious beauty and respect as well as a parody!

RONALD MEO enters, a large figure in a very effeminate drag costume. Everyone stops and stares at him.

RONALD: …what? I have the next line.

MARION: You still came in at the wrong time, Ron.

MS. CRONOS: …just… just continue the play.

RONALD: Oh, my love! My one and only lover!
Has thou thus heard the news about Herbert?
It chills my bonnet just to think of him.
Oh Bob, do not go near that vile man!

CHUCK: Begone, temptress! Not but a fortnight past
And you return to grovel at my feet
After you said, “Oh Bob, it’s time that we
Catch a glimpse of supplementary folk!”

RONALD: Not so, my pumpkin, it is so not so!
I may come due to lust, but I still come!

CHUCK: Oh, my Vicky! Oh my dearest feather,
Your devotion to me shall be rew’rded.

MS. CRONOS: Marilyn, stop juggling! I can see you, you know!

RONALD: And now I must fly, oh my prince and lord,
But later on, I won’t leave you so bored…

RONALD winks and waves at CHUCK as he leaves.

MARION: Oh my master! Did you receive the word
From the Count of Mesopotamia?
You never sent him that gift you promised
Of your jewels, so he could use them as his
Paperweights… My lord? Do you doth hear me?

CHUCK: Oh woe! Oh woe oh woe oh woe is I!
For now that I forgot to do this task,
This is symbolic of my forthcomin’ doom
And the hubris of mine that must be cut!
Oh woe! For now I am damned into hell!


MS. CRONOS emerges from her seat.

MS. CRONOS: I’m sorry I forgot to tell you this, but we need to eliminate all swear words from the script. How about you say, “I am darned into heck?”

CHUCK: “I am darned into heck…” What am I, a pair of socks?

MS. CRONOS: Well, there are kids coming to the show, so…

MARION: Since when has the audience become more important than the actor’s art?

MS. CRONOS: Since be quiet.

CHUCK: So what do you expect us to do anyways? Say, “I am Exclamation Point-Dollar Sign- Asterisk- @ signed into Hades?”

MS. CRONOS: Well, just replace it with anything else. I’m sorry I didn’t proofread this when Slyvester put it into my lap, but you’ll survive. (As she returns to her seat) Oh, and watch out for the upcoming sonnet. There are a lot of them in there.

MS. CRONOS returns to her seat.

MARION: What if, good sir, you take the jewels from the
Evil and Terrible Herbert ov’r there?

CHUCK: I’d love to rob the… dust bowl! , I agree,
But first we need a plan both smart and fair.

MARION: His place is guarded through the days and nights,
 As if the… bad nerd can never go sleep.

CHUCK: Oh how nice it’d be if one guard just might
Have been my… featherstitch! I could force him to creep
Inside the palace. Oh… liberty chit! I just know
A way in now… If I go in disguised
As one of his men, I’m able to go
Inside and take the stuff… make him surprised!
It’s my one chance… I hope I’m not outlucked…

MARION: You better hope so, sir, or you are… a duck!

CHUCK: What did you call me! 

MARION: Why do you mind?

CHUCK: OH NO! Anseriformes Anhimidae and I do not mix! How’d you like it if I called you possum or a Bandersnatch, huh?


MS. CRONOS: CUT! I don’t think any of that was in the script…

CHUCK: I will not stand for such maltreatment, Ms. Cronos!

MS. CRONOS: You’re not a duck, Charles, all right?

MARION: Would you prefer that I use the original word?

MS. CRONOS: NO! …Erm, next scene, I think.

Lights black out. “Sing, Sing, Sing,” by Benny Goodman, begins playing.

MS. CRONOS: JULES! We’re saving that for the fight scene!

JULES: (from offstage) Got it!

The song stops and is replaced by “One-Winged Angel” by Nobuo Uematsu. Many actors move around the furniture for the next scene.

AUDIENCE VOICE: Look at that moment, Jules… amusing, nonetheless, but why only that portion with swears? Why wasn’t that there before? Can’t you see the holes in your reality?

JULES: Duncan? … Duncan, that’s kind of funny. Now stop.

The lights go back on, music fades out. Several chairs surround a small table with a huge, majestic tablecloth. SLYVESTER LOCKED enters, wearing all black and not disguising his status as a villain.

Soon my dastardly plan shall be complete
And I shall rule the world! Of course, I’ll need
Those jewels that will power my death-ray. Wait!
I hear a noise… and no man can be here!
Enter quickly, my beloved servant… what’s up?

CHUCK enters in a servant costume that’s very bad and on backwards, a costume obviously put on at the last second.

CHUCK: What is wrong with this cheaply costly clothing anyways! Ms. Cronos, who purchased this costume for me? I want to thank them as soon as I get within swinging distance!

MS. CRONOS: Well, I think it might…

SLYVESTER: Do you dare complain about your un’form?

He does a stage slap to CHUCK, who's very confused and doesn’t react to it.

SLYVESTER: It is I who house you and give you bread
And you respond with verbal treachery?
Oh how it pains to see loyals astrayed!


MS. CRONOS emerges from her seat.

SLYVESTER: For the umpteenth time you’ve said that, strange girl,
I scarcely know what you mean by that word.

MS. CRONOS: Don’t worry about me, dear; you’re doing a great job. Chuck, I wish you’d stop breaking character like that…

CHUCK: Like Sly, right? Oh sure, Sly doing a great job, except he hasn’t stopped doing that job for weeks!

MS. CRONOS: I know, dear. That’s why he’s so good at it.

CHUCK: But… I… aggghhh!

MS. CRONOS: Look, dear, you’re a great actor. You really are. There’s no reason to get upset when you’re so loved. But…

CHUCK: AHA! BUT! But I don’t stand up to an escaped Arkham Asylum inmate! But I wouldn’t know a character if one cut off my head and used it as a stylish hat! But all you said means nothing!

CHUCK exits SR, shouting insults about whatever at whomever as he goes.

MS. CRONOS: Great. Now we need someone in his place…

JULES: (offstage) You called me, Ms. Cronos?

MS. CRONOS: Mr. Clifton, you’re Bob’s understudy, right?

JULES: (offstage) Right! I’ll be right over there!

JULES runs onto SL from SR.

JULES: Oh, and don’t worry, I have Wilhelmina’s lines totally memorized, so there’s nothing to worry about.

MS. CRONOS: I thought you’re playing Bob.

JULES: I know that! Where do I start?

MS. CRONOS: Your entrance, please.

With much energy, JULES walks backwards off of stage left and then walks back on.

JULES: It is I, oh my lord, as servant Bob.

SLYVESTER: BOB? The dreaded BOB?! Do not use that name
Unless you want to suffer endless wrath
At the hands of your superior lord!
Oh how thou hast aggrieved and done me ill
For the mugging ornaments thou has made!
Within brink of vivacity I’ll bring
My blight of bizarre chastisement! Ha!

JULES: Wait, what?

SLYVESTER: You hear! My command is law here,
So change your name, and thus bring me good cheer!

JULES: Oh, ummm, Line!

MS. CRONOS: You’re supposed to have them memorized, remember?

SLYVESTER: Go, my servant Line, and guard my jewels,
In order to keep them from my foe Bob.


JULES: How am I doing?

MS. CRONOS: Well enough.

JULES: Sorry, Ms. Cronos, can I talk freely now?

MS. CRONOS: (sighs) About what, dear?

JULES: You’ve got to do something about Locked.

MS. CRONOS: Slyvester?

JULES: That’s him. He’s been acting like complete villain…

MS. CRONOS: I know, and that’s what makes his performance so good.

JULES: … acting like a villain all the time. I mean, it’s exciting when he says to his teachers, “I do algebra homework for NO MAN!” but it’s gotten to be too much, even for me. He tried to tie a girlfriend to the railroad tracks last week!

MS. CRONOS: Well, if it works for the play, I don’t think it should do too much damage to…


MS. CRONOS: I’ll talk with him.

JULES: Good.

AUDIENCE VOICE: This is not reality, Jules! You know it to be so!

MS. CRONOS: …Mr. Clifton?


MS. CRONOS: You were staring off again. Are you all right? You might be a bit tired…

JULES: No, no, no. I’m in high school. I only function at 3 a.m.

MS. CRONOS: Let’s just keep going.

JULES: This weary sailor drives his ship to rock…

MARION CUTIO enters as JULES CLIFTON continues his monologue silently.

MARION: Ms. Cronos, can I speak for a minute?


MARION: Thank you! Anyway, I noticed that Slyvester lets a new guard in the same room as his most prized possession.


MARION: So, I figured that if we’re going to establish him as careless and destructive, we need to change a few lines of dialogue. Or, we could opt out of the entire decision and establish that Bob will replace somebody, and that Slyvester is really short-staffed.

MS. CRONOS: I think you’re overthinking this farce, dear.

MARION: One can never overthink art… even if said art uses drag.

MS. CRONOS: Let me get this straight. You want me to change the entire direction of the plot the night before the show opens.

MARION: Yeah. It’s for the best. We’re putting on a PLAY… what do actors matter?

MS. CRONOS: Shouldn’t we consult with the playwright first?

MARION: He’s busy tying girlfriends to railroad tracks. What does he care?

MS. CRONOS: He’s… well, he was… look, Marion, do you remember who the director of this play is?

MARION: Yes. Now if Sly portrays a different continence in Scene 2, we could theoretically…


RONALD: Chuck here?

MARION: No, stormed off again. Why?

RONALD: I thought so. Be back in a minute! (He begins to walk offstage)

MS. CRONOS: Don’t bother, Ron. He’s not in the mood to talk to anyone.

MARION: Yes, because you’re so good at understanding character motivation.

MS. CRONOS: How’s this for character motivation… get off my stage or I’ll remove a pound of thy humanities grade.

JULES: But what ho! I sense the presence of a guard
Who works for Herbert and does not know me.

SLYVESTER crosses from SR to SL, and the two EXTRAS follow him as guards.

SLYVESTER: My loyal guard, I thought I saw something
Untrustworthy in this man named as Line.
Have you ever meet him before this day?
… My guards? Doth mine owed eyes deceive myself?

MARION: Ummm, where’s Duncan?

MS. CRONOS: Sick again.

JULES: Oh come on!  

SLYVESTER: My slave? My slave? … I shall dock your pay hence!

JULES: Don’t worry, I…

MARION: I’ll do it!

Everyone’s surprised that MARION has volunteered. She assumes the position of a hunched-back servant and begins her lines in her normal voice.

MARION: It is so true that I do not know him,
But another grave matter comes to light.
Since why must you be one running the shots?
With all the work I’ve done, the tears I’ve cried,
The walk-on roles that I had to endure,
This role ill-fits me. No matter, it is
The fate of all who have Apollo’s gifts
To be given the role of the sidekick.

MS. CRONOS: Ummm, Mr. Cutio? None of that was in the script.

MARION: I know.

She walks with confidence offstage.

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 offstage)
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 keep moving and 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: Don’t you remember the contract I gave you this semester?

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: 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: 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 a minute, 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 as the music fades out. Instead, he only gets shock and awe from his friends.



JULES: Ummm… well…

MS. CRONOS: All right, 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: All right, 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, and 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 he’d come around, Ms. Cronos!

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

MARION: We were doing alright 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: 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!

AUDIENCE VOICE: You deserve better than this.

JULES: Oh just SHUT UP already!

CHUCK: … that’s it. It’s time to kick Jules’s butt and chew scenery. And this play has no scenery.

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: All right, fine, we’ll continue from Bob’s eulogy! That’s you this time, Chuck.

JULES: If it keeps us moving, then go for it, pal.

MS. CRONOS: So all we need is 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? Is that the pineapple of my existence now!?

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. There’s silence amongst the group.

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


JULES: Ok, just trying.

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.

Everyone except for JULES begins to disperse. After everyone else has been gone for a while…

AUDIENCE VOICE: Jules Clifton…

JULES: … who are you?

AUDIENCE VOICE: You know me well, Jules Clifton. Everyone does.  We have ten minutes to talk for the first time.

END OF ACT I, 10 minute intermission.

1 comment:

  1. I see you have tightened up some of the dialogue, but I think a little more trimming is in order. Phrases like "you know as well as I do that..." are redundant and slow things down, so try to pare down everyone's out-of-character lines to the bare essentials. Also, you might want to proofread some more because there were multiple instances when Marion went from being "she" to "he" and back again, which confused me.
    I look forward to Act II.