We Are In A Play

We are in a Play

By : Khairul Kamsani

Characters

ACTOR 1 – An actor in his early twenties or teenage years.

ACTOR 2 – An experienced actor.

DIRECTOR – A novice director

SCRIPTWRITER – Old man, a failed writer.

SEXY GIRL

BUFF MAN

ACTOR 1:

Okay… So! What are we supposed to do?

ACTOR 2:

Entertain these people?

ACTOR 1:

(With a confused look)

How exactly?

ACTOR 2:

Make them laugh, cry, scared or something. If I'm not wrong, were supposed to create objectives for ourselves that have a conflict of interest which in turn creates stakes that get higher and higher to a crisis point, where one of us will have to make a decision that will ensure nothing will be the same again. Give them epiphanies by speaking in symbols; I'm meant to throw a dead bird at your feet and make it mean something. But how can I if I don't understand why I'm doing it in the first place? I speak in all this beautiful prose when colloquial conversation would be much easier to understand... But no, this is art! But what is art? I'm already questioning what art is! Next thing you know, I'm going to spark a cultural revolution, we will all be happy for a bit then quickly spiral into despair while thinking about how meaningless and unfair my life is.

ACTOR 1:

That's a lot to ask from two people on stage.

ACTOR 2:

Well actually, some shows have more than just two actors; there are also some which only have one.

ACTOR 1:

Wow. Just one? That's insane; he'd better get paid a hell of a lot.

ACTOR 2:

Some do, some don't.

ACTOR 1:

Now that's just not right, unfair actually.

ACTOR 2:

Ah, as I just mentioned, life is unfair…

ACTOR 1:

Maybe yours and mine are, but you can't generalize life for everyone else so simply!

ACTOR 2:

Oh nonsense! Everyone here (gestures towards the audience) is already thinking how miserable they are. But thank God for that, it's exactly what we cater to; people watch theatre to relate their misery to ours, or vice versa, to help them cope with their lives, or to learn a valuable lesson from it. Or you could just say that a happy ending is boring because nothing comes out of it but a happily-ever-after that has been manufactured, rehearsed and presented to you, while in true fact, the actors presenting could be very unhappy deep inside their souls! That's it; happy endings are just not realistic!

ACTOR 1:

So what you're saying is; what we do is present misery instead, because since it's realistic, misery has more purpose than presented happiness?

ACTOR 2:

Exactly.

ACTOR 1:

I'm still confused. Or; maybe it's actually simpler than that. We could crack a few cheap jokes, sing some songs about how we feel, thinking that just by singing, a dilemma could be solved. Have a pretty girl come on stage, perhaps dressed very suggestively or a buff man with no shirt but with... let's say: sexy torn blue jeans, sweating from a good workout… Or have both!

(SEXY CHICK and BUFF MAN enter from opposite sides of stage slowly making their way to CS while SEXY CHICK struts her stuff and BUFF MAN flexes his muscles, when they reach CS, they start kissing passionately, when they do ACTOR 1 stands next to them and exclaims to the audience):

And there you have it! ENTERTAINMENT!

ACTOR 2:

Nobody wants to watch that. (To PRETTY GIRL and RIPPED MAN): REALLY!

(Separates PRETTY GIRL and RIPPED MAN shoos them offstage, who, are still flaunting themselves towards the audience as they exit).

(To audience): You have to agree, (Pointing to PRETTY GIRL and RIPPED MAN) that was: unnecessary, completely out of nowhere, un-artistic and will definitely will be forgotten by tomorrow!

ACTOR 1:

Uhh, I don't think so; I think that wasn't boring at all! It will definitely be remembered, I mean actors win Oscar awards for Best Kiss! Screw artistry and originality nowadays! What this play could do with are explosions, gunfights, robots, cyborgs, fireworks! A NUCLEAR EXPLOSION! More kissing and perhaps some sex here and there. Put them together and you have-

ACTOR 2:

A movie.

ACTOR 1:

So let's make a movie instead!

ACTOR 2:

No. We are in a play, so we need to do what plays do best.

ACTOR 1:

(Long pause) Which is?

ACTOR 2:

We might have a clue, if there was any plot to this play… Or maybe a set at least? Sound effects? Special lighting? Is there anything?! Nothing! There's NOTHING in this play! (To self): Why did I audition for this role…?-

ACTOR 1:

(Quickly realizing) Oh but at least there's costume!

ACTOR 2:

Oh. Yeah… Though... It's rather nondescript…

ACTOR 1:

What? You'd rather be naked….?

ACTOR 2:

Since when did I want to be naked?

ACTOR 1:

(Continued, ignoring ACTOR 2, walks around in conversation to self) …but that means I'd have to be naked too…

ACTOR 2:

No you don't!

ACTOR 1:

(Continued to self, still ignoring ACTOR 2, stops in front of the audience) …If it's for art's sake, then why not…? (Starts to remove top)

ACTOR 2:

(Runs to ACTOR 1 to stop him/her from removing top) Wait! Don't you see what we're doing?! This is becoming entertainment!

ACTOR 1:

Do you want to bore the audience to death?!

ACTOR 2:

I think it's time we ask for some help, we're getting nowhere? Call the director please.

ACTOR 1:

HEY DIRECTOR!

(Director enters)

DIRECTOR:

Yes?

ACTOR 2:

Please. Direct us.

DIRECTOR:

I would if I knew what the writer was trying to do, this play's not very well written apparently… There is no plot outline, no dramatic tension; you guys have no conflicting objectives which in turn means that no stakes-

ACTOR 2:

Then why did you choose to do it in the first place?

DIRECTOR:

I didn't choose it okay? A producer called me to direct this. I haven't even read the play yet but I said yes... the money was too good…

ACTOR 2:

Idiot…

DIRECTOR:

The money was too good dammit!

ACTOR 2:

God.

DIRECTOR:

We could call in the scriptwriter himself, he can explain.

(Out) HEY SCRIPTWRITER!

(No answer)

HEYYYY SCRIPTWRITER!

(No answer)

HEYY SCRIPTWRITER, WHAT ARE THEY SUPPOSED TO BE DOING? ALSO MORE IMPORTANTLY, WHAT AM I MEANT TO BE DOING?-

(No answer)

ACTOR 2:

What do you mean more importantly?

DIRECTOR:

Umm… well.. errr. Well.. What are actors without directors?

ACTOR 2:

What's a director without actors?

(Actors leave)

(After a pause, SCRIPTWRITER storms in waving violently two scripts in hand)

SCRIPTWRITER:

Goddamit! I tell you over and over again, I'm not a goddamn scriptwriter! I'm a playwright for Christ sakes! A playwright! Not a scriptwriter! They write movies and TV-shows, I write art, playwright... not... a scriptwriter…

DIRECTOR:

(Pause) Whatever, taking as long as you like writing your script again, the actors left already!

SCRIPTWRITER:

You expect me to create a masterpiece in a matter of minutes? You can't rush art! Anyway it's no wonder why they left, dick.

DIRECTOR:

Cause your script has no plot! And you took too long you lazy bastard! I bet they're off filming some reality TV show or Kung Fu movie now.

SCRIPTWRITER:

Here. (Gives a script to director)

DIRECTOR:

Alright I'll do it!

SCRIPTWRITER:

Okay, good luck with that. (Starts to leave) Don't forget my ten percent, or I'll sue your ass.

DIRECTOR:

Wait! I haven't got any actors…

SCRIPTWRITER:

(Turning around) Well whose fault is that?

DIRECTOR:

Give it a rest… Let's act it ourselves!

SCRIPTWRITER:

Are you nuts?! I write, not act! I can't act if my life depended on it!

DIRECTOR:

(Dragging the reluctant SCRIPTWRITER to CS) Oh don't be so dramatic. Come on, just do it for the money, who cares really if you're crap? We're still in a play, and we haven't presented anything so far.

SCRIPTWRITER:

(Long pause)

Okay fine.

DIRECTOR:

Okay you'll be ACTOR ONE, and I'll be, ACTOR TWO.

SCRIPTWRITER:

Okay.

(Reading from the script)

Okay… So! What are we supposed to do?

DIRECTOR:

(Reading from the script)

Entertain these people?

SCRIPTWRITER:

(Reading from the script)

(With a confused look as given as a stage direction in the script)

How exactly?

DIRECTOR:

(Reading from the script)

Make them laugh, cry, scared or something. If I'm not wrong, were supposed to create objectives for ourselves that have a conflict of interest which in turn creates stakes that get higher and higher to a crisis point, where one of us will have to make a decision that will ensure nothing will be the same again. Give them epiphanies by speaking in symbols; I'm meant to throw a dead bird at your feet and make it mean something. But how can I if I don't understand why I'm doing it in the first place? I speak in all this beautiful prose when colloquial conversation would be much easier to understand... But no, this is art! But what is art? I'm already questioning what art is! Next thing you know, I'm going to spark a cultural revolution, we will all be happy for a bit then quickly spiral into despair while thinking about how meaningless and unfair my life is.

SCRIPTWRITER:

(Long pause) I can't... I just can't do all that... I'm sorry. (Drops script and runs offstage)

DIRECTOR:

(Continues reading the play quickly to himself, suddenly stops)

Yeah me neither.

(Lays the script on the ground and exits)