A Statue of a Man
Mr. Eutats: 23 year old art teacher, very, very handsome and deep minded.
Danielle: 18 year old art student. Beautiful, bold, and highly intellectual.
Angie: 18 year old art student. A total know it all.
Mary: 18 year old art student. Danielle's confidante. Beautiful, but, shallow and promiscious.
Joel: 18 year old art student. Very effeminate.
Sub. teacher: Substitute teacher with very minor role and no lines.
Writer's notes: This is a one act play, but there are no scene transitions. Each "scene" flows smoothly into the next. Also: pay close attention to stage directions, they're very important to this piece.)
(The stage is empty, except for a statue of a naked man center stage. He is standing in the pose of "David" by Michelangelo- and is comparable in beauty to this figure. Suddenely, music begins to play, and 4 figures dressed in all black,carrying scarves of various colours enter onto the stage (3 women and one man), they begin dancing with the scarves, in what could only be described as "interpretive form". The music freezes every fifteen seconds, and with each freeze, they all turn and look at the statue. After one and a half minutes of this- the figures form a circle around the statue, facing towards the audience, and waving their scarves up and down. After 30 seconds of this- they step away from the statue to reveal that he is now dressed, and has no powder on his body anymore. The figures in black step away from him, and fix their scarves around themselves in various ways. Mary puts hers on as a wrap around skirt, Angie ties hers as a giant bow in her hair, Joel wraps his and makes it into a belt, and Danielle wears hers as an actual scarf. The figures in black sit down facing the "statue man", who begins to speak.)
Mr: Hello everyone. I'm Mr. Eutats. Is this all that we'll be expecting for today?
An: 17 people switched classes when they found out that you're new. Less then 4 people and you'd be out of job... so, give us all 98s and that will be thank you enough. (Smirks in a know- it- all way.)
Mr: (chuckles.) Well then, nice to meet you too?
Mr: Nice to meet you too Angela. Fortunately for you, we can actually get more work done in smaller numbers. Would everyone else care to introduce themselves?
Da: Hey. I'm Danielle, but I go by a different name: Danny.
Ma: Mary, and I love art. (Smiles at him.)
Jo: Hey, I'm Joel. And I'm not gay. The question would have crossed your mind at least 60 times before the year was done, so I'm just clarifying now to save you the confusion.
Mr: Well, I'm Mr. Eutats, but I go by the name Paul, I love art, and I'm not gay either.. so I guess I have something in common with all of you.
An: And me?
Mr: I'm a bit of a smartass too?
An: (Smirks again, says to Danny in a loud voice.) I like him.
Mr: Anyways, on to the ACTUAL purpose of this class... because unfortunately, you don't get grades for introducing yourselves. I know, "dumb, unfair, insensitive teachers!", right? (Smiles.) Tell me: what is art?
(Echoes of recorded voices suddenely sound from backstage.)
"Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recogntion of the pattern"- Alfred North Whitehead
"Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better"- Andre Gide
"Art is born of the observation and investigation of nature."- Cicero
"Art consists of making something out of nothing."- Frank Zappa
"Art is the desire of a man to express himself, to record the reactions of his personality to the world he lives in"-Amy Lowell
(Characters answer the question).
Ma: Art is beauty. Beauty is art. Tomatoe- tomotoe.
An: Art is at the center of "party". P- ART-Y. Parties are held in the name of expression of some intense emotion- like happiness, or due to lonliness and a desire for attention and self gratification from the world around you. Art is created for the same reasons. (Smirks.) And yeah... I knew you were going to ask us that, so I preplanned my defintion.
Jo: Art is what the world is made of. Anything can be looked at at art, depending on which way you look at it.
Da: Art is the maifestation of both inward and outward beauty. Art is both aesthetically pleasing, and beautiful inwardly, in the sense that it always has a story to share, some greater purpose, or higher meaning then that which can be first perceived by the eye.
Mr: All excellent definitions- though, one stood out as being particularily relevant to the ways in which we will be looking at art in this class. This year we will be analyzing art not only in terms of style, and period, but also in terms of social context, and what it could be trying to say to us as its audience. (Looks at watch.) Wow, short class. These intro ones are always so short. See you tomorrow. Oh! And, before I forget, I am looking for a female to pose nude for my other class- Tuesday and Thursdays at 10:30 am, you'll get service hours. If you're interested come talk to me, and spread this around to all of the other girls that you know. Thanks. (Murmur.) And, Danielle- sorry- Danny... can I talk to you for a minute?
(Others leave. Only Danny and teacher remain onstage.)
Mr: I just wanted to tell you that I was very impressed with your defnition- did you come up with that on the spot?
Mr: Incredible. A woman true to my own heart- that's pretty much the exact same definition that I abide by as it pertains to our subject matter.
Da: Great minds think alike, eh teach? (Winks at him.)
Mr: (Smiles.) It would appear so.
Da: See ya. (Goes to leave.) Oh, wait. I'll volunteer for that posing position. I need service hours pretty desperately. THIS desperately, haha.
Mr: (Smiles again.) Noted. I'll put your name down.
Da: Ok. See ya.
(Danielle exits- lights dim, and spotlight shines on Mr. Eutats alone on stage. Mary can be heard telling her offstage in a highly dramatic voice: "Danny- that teacher is a God among men- when he asked about that posing naked thing- I almost said, "I'll pose naked for your class Mr. Eutats", if by "pose" you mean "do naughty things" and by "for my class" you mean "for my pleasure"" Danny replies: "He is attractive yes, but I think I'm actually more immediately drawn to his passion and purpose as a teacher" Mary replies: "Ha! You're boring." Mr. Eutats is just listening on stage, he moves out of spotlight, after five seconds, spotlight switches to statue base on which Eutats's is now standing with his eyes closed, as if in sleep. The other lights on stage rise, but not fully. Suddenely, the 4 other characters come out, dressed all in black and begin circling him and inspecting him. Mary has a clipboard and is checking off various boxes as they examine the piece.)
Da: What do you think Warhol?
Ma: Not eye- catching enough for me- attractive fellow-yes- but terribly mainstream and traditional- let's break down some barriers, with what we're producing these days, do you know what I mean people? Throw some originality into the mix?
Da: Personally, I quite like it.
Ma: Well- you would Da Vinci. It's highly realistic. (Mary checks off something on clipboard.)
Da: Yes, my only concern is that it's almost too perfect- flaws are part of human reality and I don't see any in this piece.
Jo: I think that both of you too are talking nonsense- realism IS the flaw of this piece- what can we take from it other then that it's an attractive human being? Nothing. Unless, we really stretch our interpretations, but, this doesn't leave much room for that, does it?
An: I know what you mean Dali. There's not enough room for imagination here. It doesn't say anything to me.
Ma: Good point Van Gogh. Maybe you and I will get along better then I originally though. Hey, do you guys wanna go for a cofffee after this?
An: Can't, sorry... the Vatican's getting on my case about my latest work there.
Ma: That's no fun my friend- gotta hate those stick- up- the-ass- rel-
Jo: Gentleman, gentleman, back to the task at hand.
An: That's right, yes. The piece. Final consensus?
Da: Just beauty. A superior beauty to be sure. That's it though. Excellent craftsmanship, but lacking in purpose, worth...
Ma: and originality!!
Da: Yes, that too.
An: Appropriate reaction for such a piece Da Vinci?
Da: (Mary consults clipboard...) Point and laugh.
(All of the characters point and laugh at the piece. Mr. Eutats wakes up slowly, panting and looking around, terrified. Lights come up. The four have stopped laughing and are now just standing around Mr. Eutats.)
Mr: That's it for class today. Danny- I need to talk to you again- sorry.
Da: What's up?
Mr: No one else volunteered for that position for my Tuesday and Thursday 10:30 classes. Are you still willing?
Da: Oh, for sure. Just as long as I won't get a reputation for being- "quick to get my clothes off" if you know what I mean. I'm doing this solely in the name of art...- and service hours.
Mr: (Laughs.) I will explain that to the class before we begin. This will be taken with absolute seriousness. So, don't be nervous at all.
Da: Oh! I'm not nervous. (Smiles at him.) I'm never nervous. (Pause.) Great class by the way today- Impressionism is my favourite period. And I feel compelled to tell you- I really like the way that you teach- most teachers don't care about backstory or else, focus more on surface then anything else.. I really like the fact that you constantly prompt us to dig deeper, ya know.. and always examine things from every possible perspective.
Mr: Yes, well... it's an important skill to develop in life, don't you think?
Da: (Nods.) One of the MOST important. I'll see you in the nude on Tuesday? (Laughs and blushes.) I mean, I'll see you in the nude CLASS on Tuesday. Don't want to get those two mixed up.
Mr: (Smiling, says in a way rich with subtext.) No, you wouldn't... would you? Bye Danny.
(Danny leaves. Mr. Eutats watches her with an irreversible grin on his face. Lights go down with spotlight on him only again. Spotlight switches once more to statue base where he is standing now with his eyes closed. Lights go up, but not fully. Danielle enters on stage alone this time, she is carrying a clipboard now. Mary and Angie and Joel follow behind her.)
Ma: (Sighs, looking up at statue.) So beautiful... (strokes leg.)
An: Stunning, if only he were living... (circles around, in awe.)
Jo: Gorgeous- simply gorgeous. I could turn gay for this- (points to statue's package.)
Da: Hmm... interesting. Beautiful. Yes. But that's not all. There is a certain strength in his posture.. but not an arrogant strength, perhaps not even a strength that he's aware of. By the paint splattered on his pants- I believe- yes... this artist has created a sculpture of himself. The eyes are closed in order to represent- perhaps... the blind innocence of this being? But he's not innocent! His chest is puffed out and his arms thrown back as if he is launching himself into flight or performing some kind of rite of self sacrifice. Or perhaps, he's just completely proud of who he is, perhaps this is meant to represent his total self sufficiency and confidence? There is something very meaningful in the smile, it, above all is the most radiant aspect of this piece. I would compare it to Mona Lisa's- very intelligent and coy- as if he has a secret- but, we can't see his eyes, so we'll never really know what they suggest. This piece is highly, highly mysterious- yes, obviously representing a deeply complex individual, a very interesting, unique individual- and I say that- because I've never seen anything like this before... anything...
(Danielle walks out of spotlight towards downstage left, and the statue turns and watches her go. After 30 seconds, the spotlight goes down on the statue and goes up on a long box, downstage left, where Danielle is lounging, with a sheet crumpled behind her so it's hard to tell if she's naked, and facing away from the audience. We hear my Eutats's voice, though he isn't standing in the spotlight.)
Mr: Ok, class, two minutes left.
(Tape recorded voices of students can be heard whispering and making comments from outside of the spotlight, one guy says "what a hottie" etc. This goes on for 2 minutes.)
Mr: Class dismissed. If you haven't finished, you're going to have to do the rest from memory, because Miss Banks unfortuantely can't donate anymore of her time to us.
(Voice shouts out from background: "What if I pay? But then I want more then just POSING naked baby!" Classmates snicker)
Mr: (looks angry.) Good idea, I think that you should pay, Mike. That is: a visit to the principal's office. And pronoto. I dare you to say the same thing to him too, see if HE gets a kick out of it.
(Noise of kid grumbling. Students can be heard filtering out. As they do so, Mr. Eutats strikes up conversation with Danny.)
Mr: Well done, you're a natural up there.
Da: (Laughs.) Thank you? I don't know if that's a compliment or not.. unless I'm planning on going into professional painting posing or... porn. Thanks for telling that asshole off by the way. I knew I'd get snickers and comments.
Mr: (Smirks.) Just that confident in your goods, Miss Banks?
Da: Ha. No. Just that confident in the lack of maturity in 18 year old guys.
Mr: (Smiling.) You can put your clothes back on now.
Da: Really? I'm comfortable.
Mr: Are you...?
Da: Yes. (Sitting up on "bed" with sheet wrapped around her.) I feel really at- home- here, you know... in the arms of art. Like- it doesn't matter that I'm naked- and that I have a bunch of sexually deprived teenagers gawking at my privates- it's for a greater purpose. I'm naked for the sake of art- so, I kinda forget that I'm naked- and get totally swept up in the euphoria of being made immortal with every sweep of their paintbrushes.You feel almost regal, or like some highly commercialized movie star- having all of those eyes on you at once. You know that you don't deserve the attention- or the many beautiful creations that will spring from it, but at the same time, you feel like you do. Because- by posing for artsits, you almost feel like you're representing all of mankind,ya know? Doing your civic duty... so that art can exist in the world? And it's so beautiful to think that each one of them will capture a different side of me, a different part of me, a different mood, emotion, context, really- just a different ME altogeth- (Mr. Eutats kisses her and then pulls away.)
Mr: I'm sorry, I shouldn't have done tha- it's just with.. what you were saying and- it all made sense, and it was so true- and I had to show my appreciation for it in some wa- (Danielle kisses him to shut him up, the pulls away.)
Da: I liked it. I wanted it. We understand each other Paul. Why does age have to be a barrier when two minds like ours come into contact. For that matter.. why do sheets have to be a barrier either. (She is sitting and lets sheets fall behind her, so that audience can see her bare back. Mr. Eutats moves to kiss her again. The lights go down. Spotlight goes up on Mr. Eutat's statue base again. He walks into the spotlight and circles around it, staring at it and smiling. He climbs ontop of it- but, Danielle rushes into the spotlight and gently pulls him down. Classical music begins to play, and they begin performing an abstract dance together, in the spotlight only. It's partially ballet. This can be choreographed in any way desired- as long as it appears to represent two people who are falling in love with each other. Suddenely, the lights all go up and Danielle and Mr. Eutats rush away from each other. The other 3 class members look at them, as if they suspect something. Danielle and Mr. Eutats don't notice the looks. Everyone is getting ready to go.)
Da: Mr. Eutats, do you still need help with that "laminating" later today? (Winks at him.)
Mr: Why, yes, Danielle, that would be fabulous.
Da: Ok. I'll come by your office at five.
Mr: (Smiles.) Great. (He leaves... as do Joel and Angie. Mary stays behind to talk to Danielle.)
Ma: So... laminating is YOUR code word?
Da: Pardon me?
Ma: Ours is "picture hanging".
Ma: My code with Paul is "picture hanging".
Da: (Stunned.) You have a code with Paul?
Ma: Well... obviously. What? Did you think I was going to miss out on getting a piece of that? I mean, I know that it's illegal... but he doesn't seem to care. He gives off all the right signals. Women just flock to him.
Da: They... do?
Ma: Have you seen him??! A gorgeous man. A walking- talking David. No woman in her right mind wouldn't want to seduce him.
Da: (Gulps.) Who else?
Ma: Mrs. Peterson- you know, the grade 10- 11 drama teacher, umm, that volunteer Haley Marks... I think Miss Crinzios too. He practically has groupies.
Da: Oh my god. (Sits down really slowly.) Oh... my god.
Ma: What? What's wrong? It's all in good fun. You know he can't really help it- he just gives off that vibe- raw sexual magnitude- ya know? There's plenty to share. Don't worry Danny.
Da: (Muttering.) Don't wor- don't worry... jesus Mary! I feel like a cheap whore now- I though- I thought that him and I had-
Ma: Something special? That's what they'll all tell ya- good way to keep you onboard.. no pun intended. Don't worry Danny- there are plenty more fish in the sea, non- teachers too.
Da: But I- but- I was falling in lo-
Ma: In love? Ha! Well then... I think the rest of us are just in it for something fun and casual. So, I guess you win.
Da: (Angry.) How can someone win in this? This is bullshit. He's just like the rest of them. Just like the rest of them...
Ma: I'm sorry hun. I would stay to discuss this but I have to go, and I have the feeling that you need to be alone right now. (Hugs her.) Bye.
(Mary leaves. Danielle is kneeling on the ground looking heartbroken. The spotlight closes in on her, as she sobs. 20 seconds later, the spotlight goes up, there is a piece of art fastened to the back wall and the class is studying it. Danielle is still kneeling, but no longer crying.)
Jo: You ok down there Danny?
Da: Yeah... I just dropped- here it is. (Stands back up.)
Mr: (pointing to piece.) Any more thoughts on the piece class? Danny, we haven't heard anything from you today. (Smiling.)
Da: (Looking coldly at him. Said in very cold, placid voice.) Overdone. Showy. All beauty- but with no other meaning. It claims our vision because of its aesthetic appeal, but when you really look at it, it doesn't deserve that, does it? Because it's all surface. It's like a peacock- with no other attribute other then beauty, and no other evident purpose other then to attract attention or admiration.
Mr: (shocked.) Strange remark from the girl who consistently insists that art has a deeper purpose and meaning then all of that. Are you sure that you can't see something more?
Da: (Looking at him again.) No. To me, it is shallow and hollow- and empty of worth.
Mr: (Looking confused.) Are you feeling ok, Danny?
Da: (Smiles in a malicious sort of way.) I was feeling kind of sick actually. But now I feel much better.
Mr: There must be something wrong. You're acting very strange, not like yourself at all... can't you see anything at all in this, that's worth remarking on?
Da: (Angry at him.) Even if I could.. why would I remark on it? That would just make me vulnerable wouldn't it? Vulnerable to the criticism of others, vulnerable to my own judgement, vulnerable to the artist's intention. I don't want to be vulnerable like that- that's why I won't comment. And that's why all art has suddenely become shallow and meaningless to me- useless in a way- just a picture some moron that couldn't get a real job decided to label as "art" or a statue that's beautiful on the outside.. but on the inside? All of the marble has been carved out, and there's nothing there. Nothing there. Honestly. I've had a re- awakening. I need to re- evaluate my plans for next year- because I don't think that I really want to study art anymore (Freezes. Then- says quietly.) I- I have to go. Bye guys.
(Mr. Eutats follows her yelling "Danny, wait!" She stops. Lights go down everywhere else on stage and a spotlight is focused on them.)
Mr: Why are you leaving? Class isn't over yet.
Da: I just can't stand being there now. Ok? Is that fair?
Mr: Is this something to do with me?
Da: No, it's not something to fucking do with you. It's about art. I told you- it's about fucking ar-
Mr: Danny. You're upset about something obviously (Goes to hug her. She slaps him.)
Da: Get the hell away from me!
Mr: ( Recoiling from slap, then: sad.) So, this is about me?
Da: Believe whatever you want. You won't be seeing me at school for the next week or so. I think I am coming down with something. (Storms out of spotlight. Spotlight goes on on Mr. Eutat's statue base, he goes there, and sighing, stands on it. He is frozen in a very sad position. All of the lights go up, with him staying frozen on statue base. Classroom: Danny walks in. Mary, Joel and Angie are there. But also: a new FEMALE teacher.)
Ma: (To Danny.) Finally, she returns! That was the longest bout of a cold that I've ever heard of. A week and a half- geesh. How you feeling?
Da: Fine. (Looking flustered.) Where's Paul?
Ma: He's gone. He didn't show up for four days... they kept calling him and calling him. Apparently the principal finally got through and Paul said that he couldn't work here at all anymore- he didn't give any explaination- he said that he wanted them to keep this month's pay check and a bunch of other stuff. Naturally, Mr. Duffy was furious. But he couldn't do anything about it, other then take legal proceedings against him... which he didn't want to do- because those get sticky. So- we have a new teacher- and Mr. Eutats is a thing of the past. I think he went nuts from all the sex if you ask me. (Laughs.) Oh. Before you go, he wanted me to give you this. He gave it to me the day that you stormed out of here. I didn't read it, or open it, don't worry. (Statue of Mr. Eutats turns to look at them. Danny opens the letter and statue recites what she is reading.)
Mr: Danny, It all makes sense to me now. I can't be the reason that you lose your indcredible appreciation for art. I can't be that. And if this is the sacrifice that I have to make in order for you to continue your study of it at this school and move on to greater things in this world, then it is one that I'm perfectly willing to make. I'm sorry for all of the pain I caused you. I just want you to know- that I wasn't lying when I told you that you're special. You are special... for seeing beyond what so many others fail to. Don't try to get in touch with me- you won't be able to- I'm moving far away from here- hoping that some giant toilet or house or something will fall on my head- and disfigure me- so that maybe I can have a chance of being like one of YOUR paintings- instead of like one of theirs. Never stop being who you are. Someday you'll get the love that you deserve for it,
Da: (Repeats.) So that maybe I can be like one of your paintings- instead of like one of theirs.
Ma: (Turns to her.) What?
(Lights go down.)