UPDATE: Friday the 30th: This play is going to continue longer than I thought. But still, this is Scene One, and I think it's going to stay as it is, sortof.
PLAY!!! After a bit of a dry spell, I sat down for several hours today and finished the first draft of my first completed play, a one act play with four scenes. It's a play I started many months ago. I don't think it's too bad for a first effort, but I'll be "workshopping" it with some colleagues, polishing every sentence. It turned out to have a plot in the end, which kinda shocked me. My fault for setting up a crime.
To me, the play seems slightly Albee-esque, with undertones of Beckett, The Honeymooners, & Groucho Marx. Of course, it's "me" as well as "I." One of my poet friends has commented: "The play is not only highly temporal (both dialogue and change of scene, etc.) but very visual. I not only hear the play but see it in very strange way. None of that pretentious surrealism of Dali. Yours is a strange realism: anti-surrealism anti-Dali and anti-New Age, anti-escapism. I can't put what I am trying to say in words."
Anyway, here's the first scene, which is the most worked on scene of the lot.
Now it's more worked on. This is my revision of 6-28. No now of 6-30. Well, the revision of Scene One only pertains to the introductory characters. The playright is no longer involved and the audience extras may return to whatever they've been doing.
Ham & Hen
A One Act Play
by Carol Novack
HAM (to be played by Frank) : Actor in pig costume.
HEN (to be played by Nadine): Actor in hen costume.
RUPERT: Man in 50's
ALICE: Woman in late 40's, early 50's
BUD: Man in 30's, in police uniform
FRANK: Man in 50's, in police uniform
NADINE: Woman in 20's
ALICE: Why the ham?
RUPERT: Just get the ham. Don’t ask.
ALICE: But why?
RUPERT: Does there have to be a reason for ham?
ALICE: I have the Cornish hen here, still moist from the wedding table.
RUPERT: I said the ham. There, I’ve now asked for ham three times.
ALICE: So you asked for the ham three times. Now I’m saying I want the hen.
RUPERT: You can’t have the hen, Alice. We had hen yesterday and it’s dry.
ALICE: It’s not dry. Feel it.
RUPERT: I don’t want to feel the hen. I want the ham. The ham is hot.
ALICE: It’s not hot. It’s lukewarm. I’ll heat up the hen. It’s a moist hen. With cranberries and truffles. The ham has nothing coming with it, not even sweet potatoes. And it’s full of cloves. You know I hate cloves.
RUPERT: A simple favor I ask. I’m a simple man, Alice. I have simple, basic needs. All I want is the ham, but you have to question it.
ALICE: You do not have simple, basic needs. You are peevishly complex, full of issues. Like this now. The hen won’t do. You want the hen to rot so I’ll have to throw it away. You have to have things your way. It was Mommy’s fault you turned out underdone, raw, primitive, full of botulism and bad breath. I’m so tired of your breathing.
RUPERT: I’ve heard this before and I’m NOT interested in hearing it again. Get me the ham.
ALICE Get it yourself. I’m heating up the hen.
RUPERT: I can’t get it myself and you know it.
ALICE Your legs will heal soon.
RUPERT: You know very well they won’t. You cut them off.
ALICE Must you mention that AGAIN? I’m not interested in your hallucinations.
RUPERT: Get the ham and I won’t mention it. You cut my legs off and I did you a favor. I kept quiet about it, but now ….
ALICE Now, what? Are you threatening me? You cut off my ears and I kept quiet about it and that was before the legs incident you manufactured to torture me.
RUPERT: So now you’re calling it the legs incident. So like you to convert an intensely painful experience into an abstraction. You could never take responsibility for your actions. Legs hurt a hell of a lot more than ears.
ALICE The ears hurt and I miss them. I have to wear this stupid hat all the time and I can’t wear the Zirconium earrings Mommy left me.
RUPERT: Ok. Enough with the self-pity. Pretty please get the ham. You have the hen. Pretty please with sugar on top.
ALICE Sugar won’t work and you know it.
RUPERT: Better Than Butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth.
ALICE You can lead a bee to the hive but it won’t necessarily make Sweet ‘n Low.
RUPERT: The early bird catches the acid rain.
ALICE The rat sits on top of the queen’s hat. Rattattat. Rattattat.
RUPERT: Ok. Get the fuckacta ham. NOW.
ALICE You can’t do anything. As usual. If you’re lucky, I’ll let you have some hen.
RUPERT: I don’t want hen. I want ham.
ALICE I’ve heard that before. I’m not interested and you know I can’t hear anyway because you cut off my ears.
RUPERT: You can so hear. The drums are in tact. And I’ve heard that before.
ALICE: You hear nothing but your own voices. Stop whining.
RUPERT: I won’t stop. I won’t I won’t I WON’T! And I'm NOT whining. This is a legitimate protest to management. You manage the kitchen and you're treating me unfairly.
ALICE: Whine whine whine. Meanwhile, the hen is getting cold.
RUPERT: The hen IS cold. You just took it out of the refrigerator. I saw you.
ALICE: It’s my hen and I’ll do as I like with it. I’m warming it up. You just sit there with your mouth open while I eat all of it, the whole entire thing. I can hardly wait.
RUPERT: Stop salivating all over the kitchen table. That hen’s even too small for a lard like you.
ALICE: It’s big for a little hen and I was going to share it with you. One would think you’d appreciate that but no. You appreciate nothing. All you do is demand and whine and insult me. YOU are a lard. You were always a lard, a stuffed lump of lard with a fat otiose mouth, too red to be a man’s mouth and always such big teeth and cloves all over your body.
RUPERT: GET THE GODDAMN HAM!
ALICE: I’ve heard that before without the goddamn and I’m not interested. With the goddamn, I’m especially not interested. We don’t swear after 6 o’clock and you know it. Mommy would be so upset.
RUPERT: Sticks and stones. Okay. I’m going to my room now and calling for Chinese delivery. Sweet and sour pork.
ALICE: You can’t. You have no money left.
RUPERT: So it isn’t enough that you cut my legs off. You had to cut my allowance too?
ALICE You just sit there. I make all the money without my ears even. There are plenty of legless people who make money. But not you. You don’t even try, useless thing. Do you think I enjoy making hats all day? Sneezing from feathers?
RUPERT: Get the ham.
ALICE Get it yourself.
RUPERT: I can’t and you know it.
ALICE Here’s some hen.
RUPERT: I can’t eat hen. I’ll die if I eat hen.
ALICE You can’t have ham. That’s that.
RUPERT: I’ll die then from not eating ham.
ALICE Death is your prerogative. I won’t argue with you. It’s always been a lost cause.
RUPERT: I’m going to sit here quietly and die slowly.
ALICE Do what you wish. You always have. I’m going to the living room so I don’t have to watch you. I’m going to watch Survivors in Liberia, episode three, while I eat my hen. Better safe than sorry.
RUPERT: I’m going to have to sit here quietly and die slowly from not eating the ham. No choice.
ALICE: Well then, be quiet about it.
Spotlights off. Ham and Hen exit (one to left, other to right). Stagehand removes chairs and wire.