Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘play’

Prizes Among the Dirt

51xH8YMzYQLThe Boy With The Coin – A Short Story by Christina van Deventer. Reviewed by Gabriel Constans.

An old man tells his story about a boy he watches across the street, who finds something in the mud and then leaves. The man goes over and finds fifty cents atop a small mound. He is not sure when, or if, they boy will return to collect his find. In the meantime, it becomes clear that the narrator (an older man) has a strained relationship with his daughter (Allison), and doesn’t have long to live.

The Boy With The Coin is a well told short story that keeps the vague past present, and an edge to the tale that is palpable. Is forgiveness, or redemption, possible? Does anyone deserve, or not deserve, to die? Ms. van Deventer asks these questions in the context of the story, and with honest speculation. Does life and death “mean” anything? If so, are we responsible for our actions, or in-actions?

Here is an excerpt, with the narrator being reminded of his childhood joy of living, and present lack of such. “I don’t know what prompted me to cross the street to where the boy had been playing. Curiosity, I suppose. I was once a child myself, but I have long since lost my ability to find joy in the small things, the prizes among the dirt, and I wondered what the boy had found that could be of any consequence to his heart.”

Don’t Breathe Twice

A regretful excerpt from Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.

imagesLife is a card.

You play what you get.

You do what you can to feel no regrets.

Don’t think or feel. It’s all un-real.

If it feels nice, don’t breathe twice.

Speaking Without Words from Mistress Tova’s Letters.

More rhymes and nonsense at: Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.

Goddess of Cancer – Scene 6

Excerpt from Goddess of Cancer and Other Plays by Gabriel Constans.

Goddess of Cancer – Scene 6

Plays Conclusion

Characters

GODDESS: Multi-cultural woman of no particular age. Face painted a variety of flesh tones. Hair a mixture of blond, brown, red, black and gray. Long rainbow-colored robe. Changes persona frequently.

VICKI: Asian-American woman in her twenties. Casual dress. Animated. Angry. Anxious. Scared.

WENDY: European-American woman in her thirties. Conservative dress. Quiet. Shy. Fearful.

JENNIFER: African-American woman in her forties. Business suit (beeper). Intellectual. In control. Avoids emotion.

LENNIE: Mexican-American woman in her fifties. Flowing skirt, flowery blouse. Insightful. Compassionate.

BARBARA: Arab-American woman in her sixties. Gray skirt and sweater (wearing a cross). Strong. Survivor. Dogmatic. Angry. Tired.

CHANTALL: Jewish-American woman in her seventies. Slacks and blouse (gray wig, in wheelchair). Humerous. Matter of fact. Sarcastic. Worried.

Setting

Living room. White couch center stage facing audience. White chair next to couch, stage left and black coffee table in front of couch. Large green plant on floor between couch and chair. Flowers in a vase on table. White door stage left. Three large pictures with red frames on wall behind couch. One picture is of the Grim Reaper, one is of an angel and the other an hourglass. Black bar facing audience stage right, with potted plant on its corner. A light switch is on the wall by the bar. Closed cupboard behind bar is full of cigarettes.

A slide-projector (with a color slide of each actor’s face shown at beginning of each scene) is placed on one end of the bar for the Goddess to operate or in front of the stage and controlled by a stage member.

Time: Afternoon or early evening. Present.

ACT I

SCENE 6 – FINAL SCENE

(Chantall’s picture appears on screen/wall.)

GODDESS: Chantall. Seventy-six. Retired professor.

(There is the sound of the door opening and closing.)

GODDESS: (Continued) Husband died twenty years ago. Children and grandchildren. Present partner, Audrey.

CHANTALL: Partner and best friend.

GODDESS: Who’s there?

(Silence)

GODDESS: (Continues) Metastatic bone cancer. Chemotherapy unsuccessful. I’m spreading to her major organs. Death is lurking nearby.

CHANTALL: It’s always lurking, what’s new?

GODDESS: (turns on lights and sees Chantall in a wheelchair in front of the couch.) Chantall! You sneak you. You weren’t supposed to know yet.

CHANTALL: What part? That my body is failing or who my friends are?

GODDESS: (Grins and goes to couch to sit by Chantall.) You know which part. Don’t play games with me professor.

CHANTALL: No need. You play enough already.

GODDESS: How did you get in here?

CHANTALL: Same as you, through the front door. Your hearing must be slipping. You look tired. Maybe you should lay down and rest.

GODDESS: That’s my line! Don’t confuse me.

CHANTALL: You’ve been confused for years. You never did know how to divide properly without rearranging everyone’s DNA.

GODDESS: I’m a slow learner.

CHANTALL: You can say that again.

GODDESS: I’m a slow . . .

CHANTALL: (Overlapping) Don’t you dare!

(Both of them laugh. Goddess goes over to bar.)

GODDESS: Like some tea?

CHANTALL: Tea?! You call that a drink? Give me a margarita or a whiskey, straight.

GODDESS: Coming up.

(Goddess pours drink, brings it back to Chantall and sits. Chantall takes drink and downs it.)

CHANTALL: That’s better.

GODDESS: You didn’t just stop by for a drink. What’s up?

CHANTALL: What’s up? Can’t a girl just make a friendly visit to see her killer face to face?

GODDESS: (Suspiciously) What do you want?

CHANTALL: There’s something I have to ask you. It’s very serious.

(Goddess leans closer.)

GODDESS: Yes?

CHANTALL: Does this gray wig make me look too old?

(Chantall pulls off wig, reaches into her bag on side of wheelchair and pulls out a long, dark-haired wig.)

CHANTALL: (Grinning ear to ear.) How about this . . . the Cher look?

(She puts that one back and takes out a short brown wig.)

CHANTALL: (Continued) This is Audrey’s favorite. She says I look like K. D. Lang with wrinkles. Sort of sexy, isn’t it?

GODDESS: Which one do you like best?

CHANTALL: (She pulls off last wig and remains bald.)
This one. My Sinead O’Conner look. No fuss. No bother. Don’t even have to shave, since my hair fell out. (Pause) Think of all the time I wasted in my life washing, drying, brushing and styling; worrying about how I looked and what others thought. Good grief . . . what a waste of energy.
(Pause.) Say, we could market this and make a fortune. ‘New. ChemoDo! Hair treatment for men and women. Take intravenously or by capsule and in just two weeks you too can look like this!’

(She shows off her head proudly.)

CHANTALL: (Continued) ‘No fuss. No bother. Twenty-one day guarantee or your money back. Only nineteen ninety-five, plus eighteen dollars for shipping and handling! Call now and receive free anti-nausea pills at no extra charge. That’s ChemoDo. 1(800) FYU-CHEM. Operators are lying nearby.’

(Both of them laugh loudly until Chantall starts coughing.)

CHANTALL: (Continued) By the way. You don’t have a cigarette lying around do you?

GODDESS: Do I have a cigarette?! That’s like asking John Wayne if he has a horse.

(Goddess gets up and looks around.)

GODDESS: (Continued) I should have one around here somewhere.

(Goddess goes to cupboard, opens it and hundreds of
cigarettes fall out. She picks one up, gets a lighter, goes back to Chantall and lights it for her. Chantall takes a long drag and slowly exhales.)

CHANTALL: Thanks. You better sit back a little. You don’t want to catch any second-hand smoke.

GODDESS: Of course not. It can kill you, you know.

CHANTALL: Really. Oh my. Give me some more!

(They both crack up, then Chantall suddenly stops.)

CHANTALL: (Continued) Seriously. There’s something I have to tell you.

GODDESS: Really? What?

CHANTALL: You’ve gotten a rotten reputation.

GODDESS: (Feigned surprise.) Why, I never!

CHANTALL: Folks blame you for everything. They act like you’re the plague.

GODDESS: The nerve. Well, as Gilda Radner used to say, ‘It’s always something, isn’t it?’

(They both laugh. Chantall takes another drag and looks down at the floor.)

CHANTALL: (Matter of factly.) I’m not afraid of dying you know. I’m even looking forward to it a little. The only thing that’s holding me back is Audrey. She’s the sensitive type. You know, weeps like a faucet. (Pause) She tries not to cry in front of me. She knows I can’t stand such dribble, but I see it in her eyes. (Pause) What can I do to help her understand?

GODDESS: She is understanding, in her own way. (Pause) Let her be. You do it your way, let her do it hers.

(Goddess puts her hand on Chantall’s leg.)

GODDESS: (Continued) It’s OK to grieve, you know. I hear it’s even a healthy thing to do now and then.

CHANTALL: Perhaps, but it seems so asinine.

GODDESS: To you.

CHANTALL: Why can’t she just enjoy the moment . . . roll with the punches? We’re dying the day we’re born anyway.

GODDESS: Some laugh, some cry.

(Chantall abruptly changes subject.)

CHANTALL: Hey, did you hear the joke about the old guy who believed in reincarnation?

GODDESS: No, but you’re going to tell me, right?

CHANTALL: This guy believed so strongly in reincarnation that he had them hang a sign on his tombstone that said, ‘Back in five minutes.’

(They both laugh. A car horn honks off stage.)

CHANTALL: Gotta go Goddess. Audrey’s giving me a ride home.

(Chantall heads towards the door, then stops and turns her chair towards The Goddess.)

CHANTALL: (Continued) You’re a riot. You know that?

GODDESS: Not so bad yourself, for a vibrant, bald-headed, elderly professor. Now, don’t go being foolish with your time, OK?

CHANTALL: Time? Don’t be silly. There is no such thing.

(Goddess opens the door as Chantall exits waving
goodbye. Goddess closes door, turns back towards front of living room.

GODDESS: (Out loud to herself.) Leave ‘em laughing Honey. Leave ‘em laughing.

(Goddess goes to turn off lights.)

GODDESS: (Continued) Let’s see. Who is our next lucky winner?

(Blackout)

THE END

MORE PLAYS

Goddess of Cancer – Scene 4

Excerpt from Goddess of Cancer and Other Plays by Gabriel Constans.

Goddess of Cancer – Scene 4

Characters

GODDESS: Multi-cultural woman of no particular age. Face painted a variety of flesh tones. Hair a mixture of blond, brown, red, black and gray. Long rainbow-colored robe. Changes persona frequently.

VICKI: Asian-American woman in her twenties. Casual dress. Animated. Angry. Anxious. Scared.

WENDY: European-American woman in her thirties. Conservative dress. Quiet. Shy. Fearful.

JENNIFER: African-American woman in her forties. Business suit (beeper). Intellectual. In control. Avoids emotion.

LENNIE: Mexican-American woman in her fifties. Flowing skirt, flowery blouse. Insightful. Compassionate.

BARBARA: Arab-American woman in her sixties. Gray skirt and sweater (wearing a cross). Strong. Survivor. Dogmatic. Angry. Tired.

CHANTALL: Jewish-American woman in her seventies. Slacks and blouse (gray wig, in wheelchair). Humerous. Matter of fact. Sarcastic. Worried.

Setting

Living room. White couch center stage facing audience. White chair next to couch, stage left and black coffee table in front of couch. Large green plant on floor between couch and chair. Flowers in a vase on table. White door stage left. Three large pictures with red frames on wall behind couch. One picture is of the Grim Reaper, one is of an angel and the other an hourglass. Black bar facing audience stage right, with potted plant on its corner. A light switch is on the wall by the bar. Closed cupboard behind bar is full of cigarettes.

A slide-projector (with a color slide of each actor’s face shown at beginning of each scene) is placed on one end of the bar for the Goddess to operate or in front of the stage and controlled by a stage member.

Time: Afternoon or early evening. Present.

ACT I

SCENE 4

(Picture of Lennie appears on screen.)

GODDESS: Lennie. Fifty-six. Poet. Divorced. Children and grandchildren. Terminal lung cancer.

(Goddess turns project off and lights on. There is a knock at the door.)

GODDESS: Come on in Lennie. It’s open.

(Lennie enters.)

LENNIE: Hey, how you doing Goddess?

(Goddess walks up and gives Lennie a hug. They both stand back holding one another at arms length.)

GODDESS: Can’t complain . . . life, death, fear, hope . . . living on the edge like usual. You’re looking quite beautiful, even sexy I might add, considering your condition and all.

LENNIE: You’re so sweet. I try. People look up to me, you know. I can’t let them down.

(Goddess walks with her arm around Lennie to couch.)

GODDESS: Let me get you some Ginseng tea. It’s supposed to help your immune system stop me from spreading.

(Goddess walks over to the bar and brings back a cup of tea, hands it to Lennie and sits down next to her.)

GODDESS (continued): People look up to you? Why?

LENNIE: I don’t know. I guess I’m a good listener and they know I really care. I try to love people for who they are and show compassion for all living things.

(Lennie looks at flowers and plants.)

LENNIE: (continued) What beautiful flowers!

GODDESS: Thanks. I love being surrounded by life. (Pause.) When you said you love people, did you mean your family and friends?

LENNIE: Yeah.

GODDESS: Do you feel the same towards strangers?

LENNIE: I guess so. Yesterday, I was waiting for the bus when a lady said I had ‘kind eyes’ and started telling me all about her family and how it was falling apart.

GODDESS: Could you love anybody then, even me?

LENNIE: (Surprised. She takes Goddess’s hand.) Of course! It’s not your fault you act the way you do. It’s your nature. I know it’s nothing personal. You’re a biological abnormality that can’t sit still. Blaming you would be like yelling at the sun to not rise. It’s your karma.

GODDESS: And it’s your karma to die?

LENNIE: Of course. I deserve it.

GODDESS: You deserve it?! I thought everyone loved you.

LENNIE: They do, but . . . something happened once . . . I’ve never told my kids. I’m sure it’s why you came.

(Lennie sadly turns away from Goddess)

GODDESS: Tell me. Please.

LENNIE: I can’t. It’s disgusting. I’ll take it to my grave before I tell anyone.

GODDESS: (Laughs) Hey . . . that’s not a problem. I’m going with you, remember?!

LENNIE: (Looks around and sighs deeply.) Oh yeah. Well . . . how do I start? (Pause.) My father died suddenly from a heart attack when I was thirty. I hadn’t seen him for twelve years. The day I turned eighteen I left home and never turned back. He was a real Jekyl and Hyde. People in town thought he was a saint or something, but when he got home from work and started drinking . . . If my brother or I tried to stop him from hitting Mama he’d slam us against the wall and call us foul names, especially my brother. I don’t see how he survived. He ran away when he was seventeen. (Pause) We’ve never talked about it.

GODDESS: You’ve never told anyone?

LENNIE: No. We were taught to keep things in the family and he swore he’d kill us if we didn’t. But that’s not the worst.

GODDESS: What could be worse?

LENNIE: What I . . . I did . . . in front of his family.

GODDESS: What?!

LENNIE: I didn’t know I was going to do it. (Pause) You sure you want to hear this?

GODDESS: I’m dying to hear!

LENNIE: Well . . . everyone gathered at the graveside for my Dad’s funeral, with the family up front, you know how it is. (Goddess nods with understanding.) I was standing between my mother and brother, with my grandparents next to them. The priest was praying and everyone had their heads bowed. Suddenly, I felt a burning in my belly. It worked its way up my gut, got stuck in my throat, then spewed out of my mouth in a guttural scream, ‘I hate you! You bastard. I hate you! You’re a filthy Jack ass! Thank God you’re dead!’ (Pause) Then I leaned forward and spit on his grave. (Pause)

GODDESS: That’s it?! You think that is why I came?! (Goddess starts laughing.) Lennie Lennie Lennie. Listen. I had no idea. I didn’t know anything about it. How could I be your karma?

LENNIE: I just figured . . .

GODDESS:You just figured that since you’re so sweet, compassionate and understanding that you weren’t capable of such hatred. It doesn’t fit your self-image, does it?

LENNIE: No. I spit on his grave . . . in front of the priest . . . his parents!

GODDESS: Honey, that’s nothing. Sounds like you could have killed him yourself and it would have been justifiable homicide! He put you and your family through a living hell and believe me, that’s far worse than dying.

LENNIE: But he was my father!

GODDESS: I don’t care if he was the Pope. Nobody has the right to treat another human being like that, let alone his own daughter.(Pause) How about practicing some of that love and compassion on yourself, or don’t you think you’re worthy?

LENNIE: (Crying) I guess so, but . . .

GODDESS: Shhhhh. No buts about it. You are creative, beautiful, a talented poet, caring mother and extraordinary human being. The feelings towards your father are just as real and valid as your compassion.

LENNIE: OK OK. It’s useless to argue with someone who is killing me.

GODDESS: There you go. Now get out of here. You don’t have much time.

(Whispering to herself.) Damn. Now they’ve got me saying that time thing!

(Goddess turns back to Lennie and gives her a hug.)

LENNIE: Thanks. I hope I don’t see you for awhile.

(Lennie waves as she closes the door.)

GODDESS: (Crosses her arms and shakes her head side to side.) Sometimes this job stinks. But hey . . . it’s my karma.

(Goddess turns off lights and starts singing to way to the projector the tune of “Wouldn’t It Be Lovely” from My Fair Lady.)

GODDESS: All I want is a body somewhere, far away from the mammogram’s stare, with one lump here and one lump there, oh wouldn’t it be lovely. Lots of cells for me to eat, lots of tissue for me to meet. Warm hands, warm face, warm feet, oh wouldn’t it be lovely.

(Goddess turns off projector with picture of Lennie.)

Goddess of Cancer Continued – Tomorrow Scene 5

Goddess of Cancer – Scene 1

Excerpt from Goddess of Cancer and Other Plays by Gabriel Constans.

Goddess of Cancer – Scene 1

Characters

GODDESS: Multi-cultural woman of no particular age. Face painted a variety of flesh tones. Hair a mixture of blond, brown, red, black and gray. Long rainbow-colored robe. Changes persona frequently.

VICKI: Asian-American woman in her twenties. Casual dress. Animated. Angry. Anxious. Scared.

WENDY: European-American woman in her thirties. Conservative dress. Quiet. Shy. Fearful.

JENNIFER: African-American woman in her forties. Business suit (beeper). Intellectual. In control. Avoids emotion.

LENNIE: Mexican-American woman in her fifties. Flowing skirt, flowery blouse. Insightful. Compassionate.

BARBARA: Arab-American woman in her sixties. Gray skirt and sweater (wearing a cross). Strong. Survivor. Dogmatic. Angry. Tired.

CHANTALL: Jewish-American woman in her seventies. Slacks and blouse (gray wig, in wheelchair). Humerous. Matter of fact. Sarcastic. Worried.

Setting

Living room. White couch center stage facing audience. White chair next to couch, stage left and black coffee table in front of couch. Large green plant on floor between couch and chair. Flowers in a vase on table. White door stage left. Three large pictures with red frames on wall behind couch. One picture is of the Grim Reaper, one is of an angel and the other an hourglass. Black bar facing audience stage right, with potted plant on its corner. A light switch is on the wall by the bar. Closed cupboard behind bar is full of cigarettes.

A slide-projector (with a color slide of each actor’s face shown at beginning of each scene) is placed on one end of the bar for the Goddess to operate or in front of the stage and controlled by a stage member.

Time

Afternoon or early evening. Present.

ACT I

SCENE 1

(Stage is dark. Slide of Vicki appears on wall or screen.)

GODDESS: Vicki. Twenty-two years old. Student. Single. Boyfriend named Carlos. Close family ties. Recently diagnosed with acute leukemia.

(Goddess turns on lights. Vicki barges through door.)

VICKI: What in hell is going on! Are you the Goddess of Cancer?

GODDESS: What if I am? What gives you the right to barge in here?

VICKI: You know damn well what gives me the right. Who invited you into my body?! No way are you staying. It’s not fair!

GODDESS: Not fair? Who made up that rule?

VICKI: I don’t know. Everyone says so. I’m too young to die. This is a sick joke, isn’t it?

(Vicki drops her head and paces back and forth around the room as she talks, gesturing frequently with her hands. The Goddess moves closer.)

GODDESS: It’s sick all right, but not a joke.

VICKI: Sure it is. The doctors are wrong. They must be. They made a gigantic mistake, OK?! By tomorrow you’ll be history.

GODDESS: Believe what you want Honey, it won’t change a thing. Like a soda or something?

(Goddess turns towards bar and gets out soda. Vicki goes over, grabs drink, guzzles it quickly, then throws it down.)

VICKI: Why me?! What did I ever do to you?

GODDESS: Nothing particular. It just happens.

VICKI: Well, make it unhappen! My family is going crazy. They keep acting like it will be OK.

GODDESS: Maybe it will.

VICKI: How do you know?

GODDESS: I don’t.

VICKI: (Quietly) My boyfriend is scared to talk about it.

GODDESS: He’s scared or you’re scared?

VICKI: I’m not scared of you! You’re just a . . . just a bad dream.

GODDESS: If I were you, I’d be real scared.

VICKI: Well, you’re not, so get lost!

GODDESS: (Smiling) Not that simple sweetheart.

VICKI: Look at me. Once I start that chemo. crap, I’ll look like shit. No wonder Carlos is freaked. Who’d want to live with a hairless, skinny wreck? I really love him. I’m afraid he’ll split.

(Goddess steps closer to console her. Vicki screams.)

VICKI: Get away from me you creep!

(Vicki pushes the Goddess away.)

VICKI: Go pick on someone else!

GODDESS: If you insist.

(Goddess turns and shrugs towards audience. Vicki gives the Goddess the finger while she’s turned and slams the door behind her as she leaves.)

GODDESS: Youth. What a waste.

(Goddess turns off light.)

Goddess of Cancer Continued – Tomorrow Scene 2

Fiddler On the Roof

Harbor High School’s Fiddler On the Roof is one of the best high school productions I’ve seen in years. The casting and direction are top notch. The acting, singing and dancing superb. And the costumes, sets and musicians provide the perfect accompaniment and atmosphere.

We watched the film version of Fiddler the day before it opened at Harbor and were quite impressed with how close to the movie the students presented. The dance numbers were quite amazing and each actor seemed perfectly matched and suited for their part. The roles could have been custom made for David Warner, who plays Tevye and Jade Gregg, who is Golde.

A lot of the issues in the play are also very relevant for these times. Many people around the world are still persecuted because of their beliefs, religion and/or culture and more than half of the world’s marriages are arranged.

Fiddler On the Roof plays for 2 more weekends (Friday & Saturdays at 7:30) at Harbor High School. If you get a chance, go see it. You will be hard pressed to find a better production anywhere.

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