Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Old Works, Katy Comber

Note from the Author: This was written before I learned the proper way to format a script. It was incredibly fun to dig this out and read it again.

THE DINNER PARTY

Characters in order of appearance:
Narrator/Writer
Clint the Man with cliches
Judy the Woman who judges
DG/Husband
Colby the Cult Leader


Summary: Family Dinner is takes place with a variety of characters having family dinner in the mind of a struggling writer. The writer has invites them to a imaginative, weekly, family dinner as part of her creative process. This week is exceptional because it is a celebration of her husband, the only actual person in her life,  leaving her because she was too focused on her work to notice him despite his antics. Husband is the both the dinner guest and enters at the end of the play to his wife sitting at a table set for 6 and eating a large cake by herself.


The stage is set with dining room adjacent to the front door. A long table set for six people is center stage. The place settings are as such: Narrator at one end, DG, Judy, Colby, Clint, other head of table is set with a laptop instead of a plate, silverware on either side and other place-settings are the same. Dinner is set out family style. Characters never actually sit in their chairs but rather stand and interact behind them.


On stage: Narrator, Clint, and Judy. The doorbell rings. Narrator answers and DG enters.

DG: Hello. I’m here for family dinner.

Narrator: Welcome! Is this your first one? I’ve never seen you before, and I’ve been invited to them all.

DG: Yes. The writer started on my story after John set fire to the kitchen and she didn’t notice until the smoke got between her and the screen.

Narrator: The week he left? Boy, you must be extremely angry or--

Clint walks up.

Clint: A bird in a gilded cage.

DG: I’m actually still in development. So, mostly naive and confused at this point.

Narrator: I see. Well I’ll try to introduce you to everyone. With the writer in this state of mind, the characters may be a random set. How should I introduce you?

DG: Well, at the moment I have seven possible names.

Narrator: Nothing new around here. Usually we call your kind DG and leave it at that.

DG: DG?

Narrator: Short for the Dinner Guest. It’s better than the original plan to number you.

DG: Okay. Well, I’m not sure what my opinion is about all this yet, so for now I’ll assume I’m fine.

Clint: To assume makes an ass out of you and me.

Narrator: Forgive, Clint. The man only speaks in cliches.

Clint: Actions speak louder than words.

DG: Ah! The play about the absence of original thought. I was man sitting on park bench for that one. The writer noticed me there. Something about the way I sat and looked at the sky brought out my storyline, and here I am!

Clint: The best laid plans of mice and men.  

Narrator: So you must know our missing guest, Colby the Cult Leader. He was there too. I’m glad I was wrong about a missing connection. The family dinners with randomized guests always seem to take far too long, especially when the one-person play characters are invited. No one else gets a word in.  

Clint: Beggars can’t be choosers.

DG: Colby’s invited? The Colby? Oh. He’s interesting. His book was on my bench, but with those darn stage directions I was never able to pick it up. But it looked--

Clint: Never judge a book by it’s cover.

Narrator: Speaking of judging.


Judy laughs loudly on cue, reaches over to grab a large roll, and stuffs the whole thing into her mouth.


DG: Who’s that? She’s rather--

Narrator: Oh, please don’t judge Judy. She’s cursed. She can’t help it. The writer always invites her to test the balance of The Flaws to Dazzle Ratio of her characters.

DG: Cursed?

Judy: Yeah. Once I judge someone, I adopt the flaws I notice. Right now, for instance. There was this obnoxious character at last week’s family dinner who kept butting into other people’s conversations. Angry two-person play character. Interrupted every time someone took a beat.  Her dazzle was way off, but the strong female characters usually are.

DG: How did this happen to you? The curse?

Judy: Never criticize a shady carnival fortune teller’s shoes after she asks you to walk a mile in them. The aftermath can be very unpleasant.

Narrator: There was that one time the curse worked in your favor. It was after you met the self-deprecating Christian workaholic character, remember?

Judy: That was a good month. Very productive. I wish Writer would invite her back.

Narrator: But then the Guess the Celebrities’ Cellulite Issue of the Daily Inquirer came out and now she’s a hefty woman writing a nonfiction essay, that will never be complete, on crop circles.

DG: How do you know it will never be completed?

Judy: I met a self-sabotaging yet optimistic writer with procrastination and commitment issues two years ago. Since the workaholic, that’s the only flawed personality that really stuck.

DG: Wow.

Narrator: She was asking for it.

DG: Why do you say that?

Narrator: She was attending an open-mic poetry reading.


Judy: The man read the only piece he’s ever come close to completing. It was 9 syllables of a haiku, and he tried to pull it off as a performance piece about standing up to The Man.


Colby enters. Small talk. After dialogue about their lives:


Judy: Oh damn.

Narrator: What?

Judy: I’m judging all of you.

Colby Cult Leader: Judge not the speck of the beam in your neighbor’s eye, unless it is a sunbeam or a speck of dust that stings like a mother-effer. Henceforth irregardless and therefore, if it’s a sunbeam be free and skip into the eye of the beholder. If it is a speck of dust help your neighbor blink the mother-effer out.

Clint Cliche: Know your place or shut your face.

DG: How is it that Writer can have a guest like Clint? Isn’t that boarding plagiarism?

Judy: People who plagiarize are lazy jerk thieves

Colby: Stealing is in the eye of the beholder who decides whether or not to press charges.

Judy: Control A, Cut, Paste, Done! Everyone, I’d like to announce the completion of my article: The Non-Fictional Account of Crop Circles in the Farming Community of Lancaster County!

Clint: Deserves a pat on the back. Feather in your cap! Atta Girl!  

Colby: Crop circles mark the end of time! Quick! We must fashion our headdresses of Aluminum and procreate! Everyone, line up!

Judy:’What a jerk.

Narrator: Here we go.

DG: What? What’s happening?

Narrator: Judy’s judging Colby. Whatever she says next, just smile, nod, and whatever you do--

Clint: Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.

Judy: Don’t listen to that Heretic! I’m the one who should lead in this time of chaos, for I have been kissed by the Moon daughter and adorned with the affection of seas of the eastern wind. I am the Prophet and you are my chosen.

DG and Narrator smile and nod.

Colby: Nothing you just said makes any sense. But, by Moon Goddess, you are charismatic. I will follow you into the crop circle of Mortimer and we will make a new creation.

Clint: Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat down your door. .  

Judy looks critically at Clint.

Judy: A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

Colby: Yes! You are both so wise. Teach me before I have to kill you to maintain my power  and control.

Narrator: Quick! Announce an annoying flaw!

DG: I floss my teeth every time I break wind!

Judy: Just a minute. The jig is up! You’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing with your world on a string, and when you lie down with dogs you get fleas. So, you won’t catch me lying down on the job. Get ready to kick the bucket!

Narrator: Too late, and, uh, really?

DG: No, well, I hope not. I’m still in development, but every time writer works with me she’s totally wasted. So it’s a possibility.

Colby: Oh, shoot.

Narrator and DG: Duck!

Judy shoots Colby

Clint: What a tangled web we weave.



END SCENE

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