The Talent of Losing

Talent Show

Written by: Caleb Brown

"Above anything else, I hate to lose" – Jackie Robinson

Scene I

The hostess walks onto the stage.

Hostess 1: Welcome, welcome to the East High talent show! We're so glad you all could come to see the show, and we hope you – wait wait wait, what did they tell me to say here? Oh, yes, we hope you enjoy the game!

Hostess two walks out onto the stage, smiling.

Hostess 2: Thank you Sharpay! As she said, we're glad you could make it out here. We are so excited about tonight's show, and, to make it super, we're going to let you decide the winner. But for there to be a winner, there has to be contestants.

Hostess 1: No no no no no! We aren't calling me "Sharpay", anymore. It's Queenie. (Shakes head and rubs temple) Sharpay…no. Doesn't strike fear into the hearts of people.

Hostess 2: Neither does Queenie.

Hostess 1: (Valley girl accent) Yes it does!

Hostess 2: No it doesn't!

Hostess 1: Anabelle is sorry for her umm…baver…

Hostess 2: Behavior, dolt! (Sighs and shakes head) Well, let's just meet the contestants. (Looks over to the left side of the stage and extends arm).

Hostess 1: (Scoffs at Hostess 2 and says in Valley girl accent…) You aren't good enough to do this, Anabelle. I'll(Slaps hand chest and smiles) take care of it.

Hostess 2: Why do you play tricks on me, God? (Looks up and throws arms up into the air) That's it. I'm leaving. (Raises fist as if to hit Hostess 1, but puts it down and storms off of the stage)

Hostess 1: Good, now that the monkey is done, let's meet the contestants. (Looks over to the left side of the stage and extends arm)

The contestants: dancer, mime, tumbler, puppeteer, singer, and piano player walk in a line out to the middle of the stage and turn to face the audience. The hostess holds up a sign that says "applause" on it, and the audience should clap.

The lights dim.

Scene II

The lights come back on, and the dancer is pacing back and forth, apparently behind the stage. She looks nervous and winces, because her grandmother and mother come into the room.

Grandmother: (Points finger and jabs it at every word) You. Have. Got. To. Win. Do you want to embarrass me in public? Win, or your mother will whip you!

Mother: (Shows Dancer a brown belt) Listen to your grandmother, or you're grounded for a week!

Dancer: I wish you two could just be happy that I'm competing, not so obsessed with winning all of the time.

Grandmother: (furiously) How DARE you speak like that! Winning is the ONLY thing that matters. Mother? Mother? Whip her!

Mother: Get down on the floor! (Dancer gets down onto the floor and Mother whips her once with the belt, obviously not actually whipping her, but angled off correctly to make it seem as if the whip actually occurred, enhancing the shaky belief of the audience by adding a crack! sound affect)

Dancer: (Stands up wiping tears from her cheeks) Just…I'm on in two minutes. Please…just leave me alone and let me practice.

The mother and the grandmother leave the room and Dancer seems to get more and more nervous. The lights dim and Dancer continues to cry for a little while.

The lights spark on, and Hostess 1 is talking on the middle of the stage.

Hostess 1: And now, ladies and gentlemen, give it up for our first act of the night!

Dancer takes the stage sheepishly and does her act. Mother and Grandmother look on with disapproving looks from the side of the stage.

Hostess one holds up "Applause" sign after Dancer is done with act and the audiences claps.

Hostess 1: Well, that was certainly brilliant! Let's go to our beloved judges to see what they have to say. Oh, have we introduced them yet? We haven't, have we? First, we have, Douglas Adams! (Douglas waves to Hostess 1 without saying anything) Next, Paula Abdul. (Paula blows kisses to Hostess 1) And last, and CERTAINLY least…Simon Cowell! (Simon doesn't wave to anybody, and instead looks annoyed at having his presence acknowledged)

Douglas: Well, I thought your act was great, but your technique was a little…I don't know. If you could just work on your balance a little more, I think it'd be great. Paula?

Paula: Yes, well, the act good was and like I did and I appreciate you and you're good and you're great at singing. I thought your second dance was gooder than your first, practice kay?

Simon: (Looks at Paula as if Paula is crazy) Well, luckily it's Paula, so we don't know what she's saying anyways. Look, I thought your performance tonight was abysmal on the worst level. You weren't prepared, you weren't ready, you deserve to be whipped after making me watch that train wreck. I don't give you any points and we are all dumber for having watched it. May God have mercy on your soul.

Paula: Relax, Simon!

Scene III

Hostess 1 comes back onto the stage after Dancer's performance and announces the next acts.

Hostess 1: And for our next performance of the night, a mime!

Mime comes out onto the stage with a huge grin. He looks confident and goes immediately into his routine. While the mime is doing his routine, Grandmother and Mother heckle him.

Grandmother: You're gonna lose, mimeyboy!

Mother: You stink, loser!

Grandmother: Who taught you how to mime?

Mother: Mess up! Mess up! Mess up!

Grandmother: You're stinking it up!

Mime: (Responds to the heckling, something you shouldn't do, and his routine is messed up) S-s-s-sorry, guys, for stopping. Just a second. (The routine continues with interruptions and finally ends, the confident look on Mime's face when he came out replaced by a look of sheer terror)

Douglas: Look, that heckling was uncalled for, but you still need to work through it, man. That routine…it didn't work for me. Sorry.

Paula: (Confused look) What heckling?

Simon: (Head in arms resting on the desk) … … … This was the worst thing I've ever seen. It's something you expect to find at a little girl's birthday party, for crying out loud. Learn to mime before you try to impress me with cheap tricks!

Hostess 1: Give it up for our mime. Great act…great. Performing for us next, a world famous puppeteer.

Puppeteer walks onto the stage and immediately is grabbed by Grandmother and Mother and taken off of the stage. The judges get angry and yell for security, but none comes and they have to proceed to the next act. The tumbler comes out onto the stage and does her act.

Paula: I loved it!

Douglas: Your technique was marvelous!

Simon: Average. If I wanted to see that again, I could just go to a carnival or McDonald's. Nothing special at all. In fact, I hated it. It was like a Youtube video.

Puppeteer: (In heavy Texas accent) You need to get yourself some manners, young man.

Simon: I'm not here to care about your worthless opinion, I'm here to criticize your horrible performances. Your ignorant attitude isn't helping things at all. After all, I'm the judge. You're not. Case closed. Shows over.

Last two acts come onto the stage and perform. Hostess 1 says basically the same things she has been saying when introducing the performers. Grandmother and Mother continue their heckling in hopes of making Dancer win.

Scene IV

Hostess 1: The moment we've all been waiting for; the results. Would all of the contestants please come out onto the stage (Contestants walk onto the stage)? (Hostess receives a white envelope from Simon and looks into it and nods. She then takes out a piece of paper and the lights dim) And the winner, of the East High Talent Show, 2008, is… … … … … … (Hostess 1 looks up) Sally (tumbler).

Tumbler screams in joy, running forward to grab the trophy out of Douglas' hands. She grabs it and returns to the front of the stage to be interviewed.

Hostess 1: So, how are you—

Grandmother comes running onto the stage and steals trophy from Tumbler.

Grandmother: I win, not you.

Grandmother takes off and people begin shouting at her to return. She doesn't and is almost to the door…

Mother steps in front of the door.

Mother: Mom, this isn't right. We didn't win, and we need to take the trophy back to the real winner. Give it back.

Grandmother: What are you talking about? (Hugs the trophy tighter) I'll never give it back.

The lights dim and the sounds of a fight are heard. The lights turn back on and Grandmother is gone and Mother remains, holding the trophy. Her face is covered in dirt. She takes the trophy back to the stage and sets it down in front of Tumbler.