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A Brief History of the 20th Century

by Courtney Wood 5 months ago in Script

This isn't in your textbooks, but it will go down in history. Or it has. Either one.

Two men looking at something in the distance

(LIGHTS UP on a white ramp with an iron railing. The ramp leads up to the entrance of a larger building. It is late afternoon. Two brothers, THE 1970s and THE 1980s, are leaning across it in a casual manner. They are talking. THE 1970s has light brown, slightly messy hair and is in his early twenties. He wears a fitted green shirt and tan brown bell-bottom pants. THE 1980s has black hair and is in his early twenties. He is wearing black fingerless gloves, black boots, and a thin, black overshirt that is unbuttoned over a black shirt. THE 1970s is carefree, funny, and calm. THE 1980s is casual, pithy, and dark.)

THE 1980s

Who would’ve thunk that the 1900s and the 1910s would leave us here?

THE 1970s

And force us to go to… (disgustedly) college?

(Pause)

You know we have to flake, right? We can’t stay here forever. I hate this place.

THE 1980s

Stop complaining, 1970s. (Pauses and then sighs) I hate it, too. But we’ll motor soon enough.

THE 1970s

But how? You know the car…

THE 1980s

Bus.

THE 1970s

(Whiny) But I don’t want to take the bus.

(THE 1980s gives THE 1970s a look)

THE 1970s

(Looks fearful then humphs) I’ll find another way. (Pauses then says sarcastically) Anyways, where do we go, big macho man brother?

(THE 1980s takes out a flask hidden in his coat, raises his hand with the flask, and gestures in a casual manner to the distance.)

THE 1980s

Anywhere but here.

(Drinks from the flask)

Remember to take all your stuff.

(Drinks from the flask again)

Or all the stuff that you want.

(THE 1970s nods.)

(Enter THE 1990s. THE 1990s is an African American male who wears dark clothes and some jewelry and emits a hip-hop vibe. He is walking past them as he converses with THE 1980s.)

THE 1990s

What’s up, home skillet?

THE 1980s

Yo, 1990s, how the hell are ya?

THE 1990s

Hella fine, thanks. Well, you going to the party later?

THE 1980s

Cheeuh, I remember you telling me.

THE 1990s

Eight, 1920s’s house. Don’t forget.

THE 1980s

(Smiles) It’s going to be fantabulous. Radical. Yeah, see you there.

(THE 1990s exits.)

THE 1970s

(In a faux eloquent tone) Well, dear, darling 1980s, may I come along?

THE 1980s

(Makes a disgusted face) Don’t call me that. (Disgustedly) Darling.

THE 1970s

Well, it’s what your little girlfriend calls you all the time.

THE 1980s

We’re not dating.

THE 1970s

Well, she’s not NOT your girlfriend. You’re her boy toy. Anyhow, can I come along? (Begs and shakes hands clasped together) Please, please, please?

THE 1980s

(Makes a debating look then sighs defeatedly) Well, looks like I’m bringing my lame little brother along.

(THE 1970s punches THE 1980s hard in the shoulder.)

THE 1970s

That lame for ya?

(LIGHTS DIM)

(LIGHTS UP on a living room that has brown walls and a glass table in the center. There are papers and a laptop on the table. There are three two-seat couches and one armchair around the glass table. The living room is lit up by golden light.)

(THE 1920s is a student worker. She is beautiful and flashy. THE 1930s is a conservative, pretty girl. THE 1940s has big, dark glasses, a short black bob, and a small, insincere smile. She helps THE 1920s with reporting and is her sidekick. THE 1950s is an introverted and dark young man who is a smoker. THE 1960s is a chill and relaxed female with glasses. They are all college-age students who go to the same institution. All of the characters are dressed in a way influenced by the decades they are named after.)

(THE 1920s, THE 1930s, THE 1940s, THE 1950s, and THE 1960s are sitting in the living room. THE 1920s is smiling and talking amidst ruffling papers. THE 1930s is sitting quietly and nervously ruffling her skirt. THE 1940s is knitting. THE 1950s is sitting dark and huddled in a chair,tapping the stump of a burnt-out cigarette he holds between his fingers onto the armchair. THE 1960s is casually reading.)

(THE 1980s rings the doorbell and then opens the door.)

THE 1920s

Why, baby!

(THE 1920s jumps up, runs over, and excitedly hugs him. THE 1980s doesn’t hug her back and looks around her at the other people in the room.)

THE 1980s

Is this the party? Where’s the 1990s?

THE 1920s

WHO? Oh, (crinkles up nose) him. That boob didn’t come. No loss. But I’m glad you came. We do need a man here so I can feel better about myself. And so we can get the “male perspective” on certain things. I didn’t know if any males were going to show up at all. But the 1960s was smart enough to invite the 1950s (whispers) and luckily he showed up. (In normal volume) I was going to invite you anyways, darling. But I believe I ran out of time. So I asked the 1990s. And he asked you, I suppose. But he himself didn’t show up. (Shrugs then looks at THE 1970s) And I see you’ve brought your brother. This is the cat’s meow; now we have more men.

(THE 1920s turns around and sits down on the empty couch, rustling papers, looking for a particular document.)

THE 1970s

(Aside to THE 1980s as they slowly enter)

The 1990s must have faked you out. He must’ve known that the 1920s wants you here.

THE 1980s

(Aside to THE 1970s) Why?

THE 1970s

(Aside to THE 1980s) You know why.

(Looks at THE 1920s)

To wiggle out of this one. He knows how she acts. As we all do.

(THE 1980s and THE 1970s stand awkwardly near the entrance for a few seconds as everyone else continues their normal activities.)

THE 1980s

(Aside to THE 1970s) When’s the bus coming?

THE 1970s

(Aside to THE 1980s) Not for another half hour.

THE 1980s

(Aside to THE 1970s) This is lame. You want to go wait outside?

(There is a sudden and loud boom of thunder.)

THE 1980s

(Hmmmms) Maybe not.

THE 1920s

If you guys are done having your little conversation and pretending we can’t hear, we’re ready to start. See, the thunder’s a sign that you should be here.

(Tosses head back, laughs, then smiles at THE 1980s)

Why, dear, whoever told you this was a wingding? You slay me! No, this is an opportunity for us to talk. You’re mine for a few moments. You have to listen to us. Primarily, me.

(THE 1980s gives her a mean, hostile look then sits down on a couch next to THE 1930s. THE 1930s gets up, politely smiles, and goes and sits down next to THE 1960s. THE 1920s changes seats and sits down next to THE 1980s. THE 1970s sits down on the empty couch. THE 1950s remains in the single armchair.)

THE 1920s

For starters, we are going to talk about you all: the students. Then we are going to talk about the school. I am collecting information about students and their opinions about the school and the 1940s is helping me. She’ll type it out. I’ll be moderator. And, 1940s, if you want to participate as well, you can.

(THE 1940s sets down her scarf and needles, lifts up the lid of the computer, and nods in agreement.)

THE 1980s

The reward for doing this?

THE 1920s

You will have served the school and helped us to better understand the students and how we have performed. And you will have pleased me. Isn’t that reward enough?

THE 1970s

(Scoffs) No.

THE 1920s

(With a tight, fake smile) Well, dear, I wasn’t talking to you, specifically. I don’t want to hear the applesauce. Don’t speak unless spoken to, understand? Unless you want to continue your conversation with the thunder outside and disappoint me. Look at your brother. Hasn’t been THAT disrespectful. He’s the bee’s knees. What a sheik.

THE 1980s

(Deadpan) I agree. I hate the school.

THE 1920s

(Gasps) Do you all hold this...sentiment?

(Everyone else slowly nods. The 1920s begins to fake sob.)

THE 1920s

Rhatz! Well, no matter. You’re all here now anyway. So you must care enough to be here. Anyway, let’s get started. All you all must do is raise your hands. First question, are you all doing well academically?

(THE 1940s and THE 1960s raise their hands.)

THE 1920s

Who has done volunteer work? Or charity?

(Everyone raises their hands.)

THE 1920s

Are any of you...politically active?

(Everyone raises their hands but they all do it differently. The 1930s calmly but with certainty raises her hand. The 1940s raises one arm up quickly and with frustration and types rapidly with the other. THE 1960s shoots her hand up. THE 1950s hesitantly raises his hand after her. THE 1970s and the 1980s slowly raise their hands at the same time.)

THE 1940s

(Raises both hands from her computer in shock and fear then speaks in a faux surprised tone) Ah, I think my computer’s not working!

THE 1920s

(Fakely) Oh, darn, I guess we have to call an end to this group interview. We can’t do this efficiently without you, dear, and if we are having technical issues, then I suppose we will have to… postpone. (In normal tone) 1940s, will you drive everyone home?

THE 1960s

(Deadpan) Are you guys serious?

THE 1940s

(In a faux earnest tone) Yes, we are!

THE 1950s

No, you’re not. You just gave us the royal shaft. That was only three questions for an hour or so of waiting. (Mutters) Whatever, I wanted to leave this antsville anyway.

THE 1920s

(To THE 1950s) Shush, darling. This gathering of all of us was not supposed to be long anyway.

(Pauses and recomposes herself)

Well, before you guys go, I have to choose a person for something special. Now, darlings, I have to report on one of you individuals in-depth in a separate report. That person will have to stay back with me after everyone else leaves. I will interview them myself. They will have to answer and if the report is...suspicious...further action will be taken. However, it won’t be too bad. And everyone here, despite your earlier responses, is good. So I doubt anything will happen. I’ll do it randomly.

(She spins around a few times and points, then stops a little away from the 1980s. She then opens one eye, peeks, and adjusts her feet to face him.)

THE 1920s

Well, babe, I guess it’s you.

(THE 1980s gives her an incredulous look.)

THE 1940s

It’s 8:25. We should wrap this up and all take a powder. 1930s, 1950s, 1960s, follow me and I’ll drive you home.

THE 1970s

Can I come?

THE 1940s

You were an unexpected participant. So, no. Also, I have no more room in my car.

(The 1940s closes her laptop, grabs her knitting materials, and leaves the house quickly.)

THE 1960s

Yeah, I’m ready to bug out of this downer…

(THE 1920s gives her a look.)

THE 1960s

(In a fake and positive tone) Full of wonderful good things and people. (Waves to THE 1920s) See you later, wo-man. Peace out.

THE 1930s

Yes, I suppose it’s fine. We should make tracks. Goodbye. Abyssinia. (Puts hand over mouth) But I shouldn’t speak too much.

(They all exit out one by one.)

THE 1970s

Yep, I gotta skitty too. Gotta catch the bus. I LOVE the bus.

(THE 1970s walks up behind the couch of his brother as everyone leaves.)

THE 1970s

Peace out, home fry. Good luck.

THE 1980s

(Whispers) Dude. Don’t leave me here.

(THE 1970s quickly runs out the door while smiling. THE 1980s goes near the door of the entrance as if to leave and THE 1920s follows him.)

THE 1980s

What do you want from me? Why’d you do that?

THE 1920s

Well, I have to report SOMEBODY.

THE 1980s

No, you don’t.

THE 1920s

Listen, we can’t always have things perfect when it comes to our reports. And I know you’re… troubled. Different. And I know you have a flask, dearest. On you. Constantly. While it’s not absurd for you to get zozzled, I think you have a problem. And I want to help you. And so does the school. Once I report on you, the school will follow up on you to make sure you’re okay. That you don’t leave us.

THE 1980s

Wait, what? So now I’m going to have to deal with them harassing me too?

THE 1920s

Darling, I’m not harassing you in the first place.

THE 1980s

Forget it. It doesn’t matter. I’m not doing it. I’m leaving.

THE 1920s

Stop being such a wet blanket! I have to report you!

THE 1980s

No, you don’t! You want to! For whatever weird reason. I don’t want to do your bogus interview. This place, this school, YOU, doesn’t make me happy. And I want to be happy elsewhere.

THE 1920s

Dear, I can’t have you happy elsewhere. At least not without me.

THE 1980s

(Roars) What does my happiness mean to you?!

THE 1920s

(Screams) It doesn’t! (Sarcastically) I’m just a conceited vain woman who was looking for something to do. And even though I claim diversity, I am the same as everyone else. (Intensely and angrily) I do so many things for this school that my face and person is plastered all over it, yet everyone hates me, though they don’t have the courage to say it to my face. But YOU. You’re the exact opposite of me. You’re late, you drink, you’re DIFFERENT, yet you’re (scoffs) miraculously popular. You’re so different, I can’t help but notice you. (Seriously and pointedly) You’re so different, I can’t help but try to change you.

THE 1980s

That makes no sense and that’s bullshit.

THE 1920s

What I said to you is true, darling, and no, the report’s not phonus balonus! Think about the report! Think about it! You’ll be helping me and the school look swell, more swell than the others! How many schools report on the good and the bad, the students that do well and the students who, unfortunately, don’t!

THE 1980s

It’s always a fucking competition with you! (Points at her) You are unpleasable. All of us are never going to be good enough.

THE 1920s

Well, that’s only because I expect the best from you...all.

THE 1980s

Well, dammit, you’ve got me here. To stay. I can’t go anywhere anyway. The car’s not working, my parents want me and the 1970s to stay, and we’ve already been here for a while. Too long to stop now. You get what you want. Happy now?

THE 1920s

(Sadly) You don’t WANT to leave, do you? I-We don’t annoy you THAT much, do we?

(THE 1980s looks anguished.)

THE 1980s

It’s not THAT bad. But, damn, sometimes, you...All get on my nerves.

(They sit down on one of the couches [the couch facing the audience] together.)

THE 1920s

(Hesitantly) So, do you like me? And, darling, you know what I mean so don’t play stupid.

THE 1980s

I don’t HATE you.

THE 1920s

Darling, I know I can annoy you but I really do care about you. In fact, I care so much I… set up this whole group interview. And before you get mad at me again, know that I did that for a reason. The 1990s was in on it, and so was the 1940s, as you probably know because her acting was poor and nothing ever gets past you, dearest. I gathered everyone here, all of our fellow peers that know and at least tolerate me, and I (smugly) fooled them on the basis of a (mockingly and despairingly) survey. All for you, darling. Because, dammit, as much as you dislike me, I.. really like you. (Softly) How many times will you find someone who does that on this earth? Will you give me a chance? I mean...us?

(The 1980s pauses then sighs. He nods hesitantly.)

THE 1920s

(Fiddles with hands) Good. Because, well, I’ve been playing with our names. And if you marry me and if we have children...

THE 1980s

(Rises from the couch) Children?!

THE 1920s

Yes, a son. I imagine a boy.

THE 1980s

(Lowers onto the couch) Well, I don’t know if that’s going to happen. And no promises I’m going to marry you.

THE 1920s

Well, maybe I’LL marry YOU.

(She kisses him. Then she puts her head on his shoulder and looks straight ahead. He looks shocked and stares straight ahead.

THE 1920s

Well, if we do have a child, and it’s a boy, I think we’ll call him… the 2000s.

(THE 1980s turns his head to THE 1920s and gives her an incredulous, apprehensive look. THE 1920s continues to smile while looking straight ahead and still calmly resting upon his shoulder.)

(LIGHTS DIM)

Script

Courtney Wood

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Courtney Wood
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