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We Are Tonight's Entertainment

by Frank Macaluso about a month ago in Satire / Script / Humor
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My first wobbly steps into absurdism.

We Are Tonight's Entertainment
Photo by mostafa meraji on Unsplash

The following is an early attempt of mine to write an absurdist comedy. It's a one-act play which I believe I started writing in the summer between graduating high school and starting college.

It, or at the very least its second scene, is meant to lampoon avant-garde performance art. Your mileage may vary in whether it succeeds.

CHARACTERS

Ivan de la Cruz – the janitor of the Goodman Theatre; age 26

Paweł Abrahamowicz – the director of the play; age 37

Marcus – the diva of the show, who Ivan must replace; age 27

Jimmy – an actor in the performance; age 22

Belinda – an actress in the performance; age 29

Yolanda – another actress in the performance; age 25

SCENE

The Goodman Theatre

Chicago, IL

TIME

Present day

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Scene 1

SETTING: A plain, minimalist set with absolutely no flats, no props, nothing.

AT RISE: MARCUS and ABRAHAMOWICZ walk onto the stage in the middle of an argument.

ABRAHAMOWICZ: For the last time, I am not giving you top billing! This is an ensemble piece! You are working as an ensemble! It’s not just Marcus Jones and three other actors; it is a collective working together to make this show work!

MARCUS: Collective? Ha! I’m the only one in this cast who’s had any prior acting experience! I’m the only one making this stupid play work! Those two little harpies you call actresses couldn’t act if the acting bug bit them in their huge, bouncy—

ABRAHAMOWICZ: I don’t care to hear this needless criticism! Now cut it out; you’re creating bad vibes!

MARCUS: Oh, and don’t get me started on Jimmy! Not only is he a sucky actor, he’s an even suckier writer! I can’t believe you’re willing to present his pile of crap he calls avant-garde to the public!

ABRAHAMOWICZ: You’re willing to be in it, aren’t you?

MARCUS: Work is work. A man has to eat.

ABRAHAMOWICZ: Well, I’m sure you can stand at least one more day of starving.

MARCUS: What the hell are you talking about?

ABRAHAMOWICZ: You’re fired! Clear all your stuff from the dressing room and get out!

MARCUS: You can’t do this!

ABRAHAMOWICZ: I can, and you can bet your life I’m going to!

MARCUS: So close to opening night? Who could you possibly get to replace me?

(Enter IVAN, a uniformed janitor with a mop and a bucket.)

IVAN: All right, where’s the spill?

ABRAHAMOWICZ: It’s down in the dressing room. You can’t miss it; it’s bright red. (points to MARCUS) Mr. Superstar here threw another tantrum.

IVAN: Don’t worry. No one will ever know it was there.

(IVAN starts to leave. ABRAHAMOWICZ rushes to stop IVAN before he leaves.)

ABRAHAMOWICZ: Wait! Wait, wait, wait! What’s your name?

IVAN: Uh, Ivan de la Cruz. Why?

ABRAHAMOWICZ: You’re the newest member of our ensemble!

IVAN and MARCUS: (simultaneously) What?!

ABRAHAMOWICZ: Marcus here has just quit our little show and...

MARCUS: Quit?! You fired me, you son of a—

ABRAHAMOWICZ: …and I need someone to replace him. Can you do it?

IVAN: Well, I don’t know...I don’t think I could learn all of the lines in time. Besides, I can’t really—

ABRAHAMOWICZ: Don’t worry about the lines; just say what you feel, be genuine. I’ll go get the other actors.

(As ABRAHAMOWICZ exits quickly, MARCUS walks up to IVAN smugly.)

MARCUS: Well, Mr. de la Cruz, welcome to the theatre...you poor damn fool. I’m warning you right now it’s not for the faint of heart. Be careful. And don’t be too genuine; some freaky shit is about to go down on this stage. Those guys are going to be flailing their arms around and shouting at the top of their lungs. You can blame Jimmy for that. He’s a total dickweed, no talent whatsoever. Look, whatever happens, just make believe you know what they’re doing and try doing it. Oh, and by the way, you’ve got some very big shoes to fill. (spitefully) Good luck. (exits)

IVAN: Thanks.

(ABRAHAMOWICZ, JIMMY, YOLANDA, and BELINDA enter.)

ABRAHAMOWICZ: Alright, guys, I want you to meet Ivan, the newest member of our ensemble. Ivan, this is Belinda, Yolanda, and Jimmy.

IVAN: Hey. Nice to meet you.

ABRAHAMOWICZ: They are going to be your scene partners. Just follow their lead tonight. Okay?

IVAN: Well, I kinda wanna see the script first just to get the gist of what I’m supposed to—

ABRAHAMOWICZ: Don’t worry about it! Just create the art that is within your heart. Break all the legs, love!

BELINDA: Are you sure this is a good idea?

ABRAHAMOWICZ: No, but show time’s in three hours. So, let’s get ready!

(JIMMY, YOLANDA, BELINDA, and ABRAHAMOWICZ exit.)(BLACKOUT)

(CURTAIN)

(END OF SCENE)

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Scene 2

SETTING: The same stage.

AT RISE: ABRAHAMOWICZ stands in front of the curtain. Behind the curtain, JIMMY, YOLANDA, BELINDA, and IVAN are arranged in a diamond. JIMMY is at the front, sitting on the floor with his legs folded and his arms raised. BELINDA and YOLANDA stand at the sides, posing as trees. IVAN simply stands at the back.

ABRAHAMOWICZ: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen! Welcome! Tonight, we present to you a marvelous show written by one of our very talented ensemble members, Jimmy O’Toole. We’ve all been working very hard on this and we hope you enjoy it. And now, without further ado, we present to you “Water”.

(The audience applauds as the curtain opens and ABRAHAMOWICZ exits.)

JIMMY: (overdramatically) We...are tonight’s...entertainment!

YOLANDA and BELINDA: (in unison) Gooba gobba, gooba gobba!

(Silence. YOLANDA and BELINDA look to IVAN. He realizes it’s his turn to speak.)

IVAN: (hesitant) Meow?

(YOLANDA and BELINDA face the audience again.)

JIMMY: We! We...are clouds! We...are rain!

(JIMMY slams the ground with his palms. YOLANDA drops down to the ground. BELINDA cowers. IVAN clutches his heart.)

IVAN: Ahhh! What the hell?! Are you trying to give me heart attack?

BELINDA: Shhh!

IVAN: Sorry.

BELINDA: Shhh!

YOLANDA: I have fallen from my cloud. Comfort is now but a memory. I am absorbed into the dirt. I feed the dirt. I become the dirt.

JIMMY: (making odd hand gestures) Yay for the rain! Yay for the rain! Yay for the rain!

(BELINDA walks over to JIMMY and sits down next to him. They turn towards each other and start playing patty cake.)

BELINDA: The rain helps us grow. The rain helps us play.

JIMMY: Yay for the rain! Yay for the rain!

(Silence. JIMMY and BELINDA stop playing and turn to IVAN.)

IVAN: Oh! Me again. Okay...rain helps trees grow. Trees give oxygen. Cool, huh?

JIMMY and BELINDA: (making same hand gestures that JIMMY made before; in unison) Yay for the rain! Yay for the rain! Yay for the rain!

YOLANDA: The rain gives and the rain takes away.

IVAN: Do you need any help?

BELINDA: Shhh!

IVAN: Sorry.

BELINDA: Shhh!

(A gong sounds. JIMMY, YOLANDA, and BELINDA get up and face IVAN. They point at him.)

IVAN: That wasn’t me, I swear to God!

JIMMY: You!

BELINDA: (gradually getting higher in pitch and more shrill) Meeeeee!!!

YOLANDA: Why?!

JIMMY: Why?!

BELINDA: (normal voice) Why?!

JIMMY: Why?!

YOLANDA: Why do you hold back the rain?

IVAN: What? I don’t...uh...

JIMMY: Have we mistreated you? Have we offended thee greatly with our smog and smoke? Have we defiled your land with our garbage?

IVAN: Uh...yeah, sure. That’s it. Bad litterbugs. (wags finger at them) Bad, bad, bad.

(JIMMY, YOLANDA, and BELINDA bow before IVAN.)

JIMMY: Forgive us, O Great One!

BELINDA: We knew not what we did!

YOLANDA: Is it too late to undo it?

JIMMY: Please say you will love us again!

BELINDA and YOLANDA: Please, oh please, oh please!

JIMMY: Bless us once more with the sweet fruit of your noble trees!

IVAN: (a three-second pause; IVAN looks confusedly at the others) Okay.

JIMMY: Oh, thank you so much, O Great One! You have restored us and we are ever grateful.

BELINDA and YOLANDA: Thank you!

IVAN: You’re welcome.

BELINDA: Shhh!

IVAN: Sorry.

BELINDA: Shhh!

(The gong sounds again. JIMMY, BELINDA, and YOLANDA line up behind IVAN, with BELINDA right behind IVAN. IVAN stands confused and silent.)

BELINDA: (nudges IVAN; whispering) C’mon!

IVAN: (whispering) What do I do?!

BELINDA: Do anything! Just say something!

IVAN: (clears throat; in full voice, but hesitant) I...am the faucet...that drips kinda loud—

(MARCUS barges in from stage left, yanks IVAN out of the line, and takes his place. IVAN walks offstage, almost relieved.)

MARCUS: We are the trees of the forest preserve! We sing electric of the glories of the rain! We rejoice in the—

(ABRAHAMOWICZ runs in and pulls MARCUS away, taking him offstage. He then runs across the stage and pulls IVAN back to his spot. He runs off.)

IVAN: We rejoice in the...the sound of the raindrops falling down upon our leaves!

(JIMMY, YOLANDA, and BELINDA snap their fingers. BELINDA emerges from the line and stands to IVAN’s right.)

BELINDA: The rain unlocks the nutrients in our soil. It feeds us.

(YOLANDA emerges from the line and stands to IVAN’s left.)

YOLANDA: It provides for us and takes care of us.

(JIMMY moves to stand to BELINDA’s right.)

JIMMY: It washes us clean.

YOLANDA: It floods our fields.

BELINDA: It steals away our loved ones.

(BELINDA nudges IVAN.)

IVAN: It rusts our fences.

(BELINDA facepalms.)

IVAN: Well, it does!

JIMMY: So do not forget the rain! We owe all we have to it.

(JIMMY, BELINDA, and YOLANDA step forward. IVAN follows their lead.)

JIMMY, BELINDA, YOLANDA: And so ends our play! (making the odd hand gestures from before) Yay for the rain! Yay for the rain!

(IVAN quickly, but unsuccessfully, mimics the hand gesture. He and the others bow. ABRAHAMOWICZ enters, walks in front of them, and bows. He joins the line and he and his actors bow together and exit.)

(BLACKOUT)

(END OF SCENE)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Scene 3

SETTING: Backstage.

AT RISE: MARCUS sits, arms folded, on a stool. IVAN, JIMMY, BELINDA, YOLANDA, and ABRAHAMOWICZ enter. ABRAHAMOWICZ approaches MARCUS angrily.

ABRAHAMOWICZ: What the hell were you thinking, Marcus?! Running onto the stage like that and pushing Ivan out of the way to steal his spotlight!

MARCUS: I didn’t push him; I yanked him.

ABRAHAMOWICZ: Nevertheless, it was very unprofessional!

MARCUS: Oh, what would you know about being professional?

ABRAHAMOWICZ: (grabs MARCUS’s arm) Come outside with me and I’ll show you what I know about being professional!

MARCUS: Really? You’re resorting to fisticuffs?

ABRAHAMOWICZ: Oh, shut up! (drags MARCUS out)

YOLANDA: (pulls out phone) Oh, this is so going on YouTube! (runs out)

IVAN: Hey, Jimmy. Sorry about bungling up your play out there.

JIMMY: Are you kidding? You were great! Heck, your ad-libs were way better than what I wrote. You’ve got a real talent for improv.

IVAN: Gee, thanks.

JIMMY: The audience absolutely loved it! Man, if you ever decide to go into theatre, give me a call.

IVAN: Okay.

(JIMMY exits. BELINDA walks up to IVAN, arms folded.)

BELINDA: God, you’re cute.

(BELINDA gives IVAN a great big kiss and exits. IVAN stands, confounded.)

IVAN: (after three beats) Okay...these people are crazy.

(BLACKOUT)

(CURTAIN)

(END OF PLAY)

SatireScriptHumor

About the author

Frank Macaluso

A comedian. I may have made a huge mistake.

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