Playhouse For The Planet

May 20, 2016

Directed by Christopher Magee

With Christian Haines, Heren Patel & Aeron Macintyre

 

Cast:

JOHN: white American male actor in his 50’s

AADI: East Indian American male actor in early 20’s

LARRY: white American male director in his 30’s

 

Scene: 

Empty stage with a couple of chairs positioned next to each other for the actors and one other chair for the director. A hat turned upside down sits in front of the two chairs with strips of paper folded up inside it.

 

(Lights up on JOHN and AADI seated in the chairs facing the audience and LARRY pacing around the stage addressing them with a script in hand)

 

LARRY

So like I’ve been saying, we like to turn things upside down when it comes to casting—you know gender, age, race, culture, sexuality—go completely against type casting and challenge the audience to use their imaginations.  Can they imagine this tribal looking woman as the inventor of the Internet or this straight looking macho guy as a sexy female model on the cover of Vanity Fair?  Oh yeah that’s been done.  But you see what I mean.  You’re actors.  You can play anything, right?  Dare to see yourself as someone completely different from how you think people see you.  Got it?

 

(JOHN and AADI stare at him for a moment)

 

AADI

Do we get a script or do you want us to do something we prepared?

 

JOHN

Yeah, I’ve got a great monolog from Shakespeare it’s ….

 

LARRY

I’m sure it’s great, you’re both great but I’ve got something different in mind to get us warmed up.  I want you each to pick a piece of paper from the hat there in front of you.  One at a time.  Each one has a topic for a one-minute impromptu speech or you could think of it as a spontaneous monolog.  Just talk about whatever comes into your head on the topic for about a minute.  I’ll time you.

 

AADI

And this is so…?

 

 

LARRY

Just a way to get to know each other and get a sense of how you might approach some of the topics we deal with in the play.

 

JOHN

Could we have a clue as to what the play is about?

 

LARRY

You’ll see.  I think it will be come apparent.  The playwright is very protective of the work.  We want to find the right people to help develop this piece.  OK?  You willing to give it a try?

 

(AADI and JOHN nod their heads)

 

Alright.  Who wants to go first?

 

AADI

I don’t mind.  I had a speech class in community college and this is pretty much what we did all the time.  (Bends down and picks out a piece of paper and reads it)

 

LARRY

O.K. great.  Just don’t worry about it too much.  Just whatever comes to mind.  Of course, if you ever did debate you know you need a beginning, middle and end.  It’s good to start with a teaser to grab our attention, and you know the old adage: tell us what you’re gonna tells us, tell us, and then tells us what you told us. 

 

AADI

In a minute?

 

LARRY

(Looking at Phone timer) Starting now.  

 

AADI

Have you ever seen a woman in a skimpy bikini and thought that’s just wrong.  She might be a little overweight or on the other side of forty or a little hairy but hey look at the men on the beach.  They aren’t all bathing beauties are they?  Oh no, not with their hairy legs and pot bellies proudly leading the way and then especially if they’re ah lacking in pigmentation, I mean if they aren’t tan yet or fail to tan and are just a blotchy red and yet they’re still out there, without enough sense to get in the shade.  Does everyone deserve fresh air and sunshine?  Yes, but some people should consider covering up, especially if they are ah just really, really white.  

 

JOHN

What?  This is offensive.  I’m sorry to butt in but …

 

 

LARRY

No, no please go ahead this is good.  Tell us how you feel.

 

AADI

I’m sorry, man.  It said to talk from a superior position when it comes to race and gender.

 

JOHN

And you think people with more pigmentation are superior to people with less?

 

AADI

When it comes to tanning.

 

JOHN

O.K. I can see that but the first part was really sexist.

 

AADI

Totally, I agree and I do not think that for a minute, unless I’m drunk.  I apologize to my future daughters, should I have any. But I have to say a lot of people have problems with pigmentation thing going the other way, you know. Think about what I have to deal with.

 

 

JOHN

O.K., O.K. I get your point.  Let’s see what I get.  (He draws a slip of paper)  Oh, Lord.  Let’s see.  I feel oppressed because … people just take me for granted.  Just your average white middle aged guy, average looking, average acting, nothing special, mediocre until you get to know me.  Then I rock.  Underneath I am spectacular, more ethnically diverse than you might think—my grandfather is Canadian on my mother’s side and my Aunt is from Milwaukee, a city with a very Indian name, I mean Native American—and daring.  I once jumped on the hood of a moving car and fell off.  That was stupid but fun for a few seconds.  I am a daredevil like that.  And I like to make my friends laugh.  I know I have a lot of privileges but honestly I think I deserve them.  Not that others don’t.  They just weren’t as lucky.  But like Gloria Steinem or whoever said: Feminists will have won when a mediocre woman can make it as far as a mediocre man.  I for one believe that day will never come.

 

AADI

That’s horrible.

 

LARRY

No, no.  That was great.  You guys really got into your characters there and addressed the topics.  Way to go.  Now there’s one more thing I want you to do before we get to the play.  I want you two to engage each other as these characters in a brief dialogue.  Just improvise and see where it goes.

 

 

JOHN

You’re crazy.  These guys are awful.  Who cares what they have to say?

 

 

LARRY

It’s just an exercise.  Just go with it for a minute or two.   That’s all.

 

AADI

Let’s get this over with.  What’s our topic?

 

LARRY

“Culturama”

 

JOHN

You mean cultural drama?  I’m so sick of this shit.  Every where I go I have to be politically correct with people of color, I can’t even identify their colors for fear of getting it wrong—is he black or brown or I don’t know.  Then there’s women, you can’t be too careful with them and “gays” and now transgender people who don’t even like pronouns.  What can I possibly talk about to anyone, except someone like me?

 

AADI

You do have it rough.  But think of me.  (Sarcastic) Everywhere I go, people immediately recognize me as a native San Franciscan and that’s so nice.  I can welcome them to my City and teach them how to make that famous San Francisco treat, curry.

 

JOHN

You’re really a native?

 

AADI

Yes, I am.

 

JOHN

Damn.  I’m from Chicago.  You probably know all the cool places to go here.

 

AADI

Depends what you like.

 

JOHN

Well, I like good drinks and jazz.

 

AADI

Too bad you’re not gay.  I know just the place.

 

JOHN

I could be gay friendly.

 

LARRY

(Stops interaction by yelling) “Scene.”  That was so perfect.  Music.  “It’s like a cultural bridge.”  It always is.  Hallelujah! Now we can get down to the play. I like the chemistry between you two.  I think this could work.  

 

(Black Out)

 

 

The End

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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