Play #33: Kisses

The play is set beside a superhighway where we discover, sitting on a bench by the side if the road, a comely young woman dressed elaborately in gown and tiara.   A policeman has stopped his car and is questioning her.
We can hear the traffic screaming by them as they talk, indeed they both have to shout in order to be heard by one another.

Cop: Well, what’s a nice looking young woman like you doing in a place like this?

Princess:  I am sending kisses to all the pigs that go by me in those big trucks that are taking them to be slaughtered.

Cop: Sending them kisses?  How do you do that?

Princess:  With my mind.

Cop: What good will that do?

Princess: I don’t know.  Maybe no good at all. 

Cop:  Then why do you do it?

Princess:  I just want them to feel that somebody cares about what is happening to them—somebody who would stop the killing if she could.

The Scene changes to the loading platforms at the slaughterhouse.  Several trucks are backed up to the waiting pig pens, but when the big back doors are opened, the divers find, to their astonishment, that the trucks are thronged with handsome, beautifully dressed young men—herds and herds of princes!

Pig-wrangler:  What’s going on?

Driver: All the pigs are gone!  The trucks are full of these young men !

Pig-wrangler:   Who are they?

Driver:  I have no idea…but we’ve got to let them all go.  We’re here to slaughter pigs, not people!


Play #32: The Crone, a Fable

The coming of Spring is celebrated, in Eastern Europe, by the constructing, often by school children, of a female effigy of Winter, who is burned—as a beacon to summon the tardy Spring—and then thrown into the river to drown—as a way of finally getting rid the cold lingering hag.

In Poland, this pagan spring festival, during which the hag-effigy is burned and drowned, is called Marzanna (or sometimes Morena, death).  It is also the effigy‘s name.

The play is set by a river in Poland.  The townsfolk and their children have constructed a Marzanna of straw.  And even though she is The Crone of Winter, she nevertheless seems rather noble and still beautiful as a woman—especially to one agitated ten year old boy named Pavel.


Pavel’s Father: Hand me the matches, Pavel, it’s time to set fire to the Old Crone.

Pavel:  It’s really too bad.   She’s so beautiful!

P’s F:  There’s not much to be said for the beauty of Winter, my boy.  Haven’t you had enough of icy winds and billowing snow? Don’t you long for the birds and the flowers?  

Pavel:  Yes. But I want Marzanna too, papa.

P’s F:   Well, you can’t have them both.  Out with the old, Pavel.  Now let’s set her aflame!

Pavel (upset): No no, Papa.  I don’t want to.  I can’t.

P’s F (relenting slightly):  Alright then, let’s just slide her into the river and be rid of the old bitch!

[They launch Marzanna.  As she drifts out into the fast-moving water, Pavel is overcome with the loss of her and begins to weep]

Pavel: I’ll be back soon, Papa. There’s something I must do.

[he runs off]


[We see Pavel—who has hurried downstream—wading out into the icy water, grabbing hold of Marzanna as she drifts past, and pulling her to shore.  He then props her up on the river bank to admire her all over again.  He sits beside her, holding her wet straw hand]

Pavel (whispering in Marzanna’s straw ear):  I just couldn’t set fire to you, and I couldn’t let you drown.  I want you to be with me always.

[And suddenly it begins to snow—a little furtive flurry at first, which soon becomes a blizzard.  It snows and snows and snows.
It snows in Pavel’s village by the river, and it snows all over the rest of Poland, and all over Eastern Europe.  It snows all over the world.  And it never EVER stops.]




Revolution takes place on and near a skyblue Gerbil exercise wheel which the two players—Estragon and Oregon (reunited from Brief Play # 4, Getting By), who will participate only in High Art enterprises—seem to regard as something akin to Alexandr Vesnin’s  constructivist set for the Alexandr Tairov production of G.K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday, staged at The Chamber (Kamerny)Theatre in Moscow in 1922-23.
In what follows, Estragon plays Lucian Gregory, an anarchist poet.  Oregon plays Gabriel Syme, recruited by Scotland Yard to an anti-anarchist police unit.

ESTRAGON (standing on the now stationary wheel):  All poetry is revolution.  Revolt is the very essence of poetry!

OREGON (standing on the stage floor, near the exercise apparatus):  Nonsense.  Poetry is based on law, not on revolution.  Poetry builds form, it doesn’t dismantle it.

ESTRAGON: You have the soul of a town clerk.  You are a pocket bureaucrat, an enemy to life!

OREGON:  You about talk about the spurious glories of poetry?  Do you know what is the highest, most poetical achievements of human creation?  I’ll tell you, my ragged little anarchist.  It’s the timetable for the London Underground.

ESTRAGON: You fool!  You pedestrian!  You manhole cover!!

OREGON:  For my part, I don’t think you’re really very serious either about your poetry or your anarchism.  I think you simply enjoy assuming any available recalcitrant position.  I think you like taking stands and assuming stances. You have convinced yourself your distaff life is creative only because it is oppositional.

ESTRAGON:  Oh yes?  Well, you’ll see.  How about mingling a little more with the oppositional?  Come with me to an anarchist meeting being held tonight.  I’m going to introduce you there to seven fascinating men—each of whom will alter your life profoundly.

OREGON: And who might they be?

ESTRAGON:  Think of them as the seven days of the week.  I’ll introduce you first to “Monday.”

ORGEGON: A reasonable place to begin.  And when do I meet the others “days”?

ESTRAGON.  In the second act.  Be patient, O Unimaginative One!



The play is set against a postcard—specifically, a photograph made back in 1981, in Hong Kong, by Index G’s Lee Ka-sing.  One character has been added—a hero-worshipping boy--—in order to engage Ka-sing’s strongman in conversation.

STRONGMAN (momentarily diverted from his narcissism by the boy’s presence):  What are you looking at?

BOY (nervous but unafraid):  You, sir.

STRONG:  Because of the splendor of my physique?

BOY (half-relieved):  Yes, because of the harmonious massing of your muscles and the corded, twine-like tensility of your tendoning, and the highway mapping of your veining and arterializing.

STRONG (impressed):  Quite a mouthful!

BOY: But earnestly and respectfully meant, sir.

STRONG:  I daresay.  So tell me, young aspirant, are you eager to be everything you can possibly be?

BOY:  Not everything, sir.  I don’t want to be a psychopath, for example, though I fear I could easily become one. 

STRONG (flexing in the offshore breeze):  What then?

BOY (shyly):  Well, I wouldn’t mind being a drawing—like you.

STRONG (aghast):  Drawing!!??  What the hell are you talking about?

BOY (surprised at the Strongman’s reaction): Well, you know—flat and sharply cut out.  A rhythmic aggregation of angles, propped against the messy roundness of the real world.

STRONG (a bit defensive): You’re crazy, kid.

BOY (thoughtfully):  Not yet.


Play # 29: Bus Shelters

The play is set on the steps of the City Hall.
Two City Councilors are talking together as they walk away from a meeting.

City Councilor 1:  I’ve been thinking a good deal lately about bus shelters. They’re made of glass, you know.

City Councilor 2: Are they?

Councilor 1: And wood and cement.
[suddenly inquisitive] Do you have bus shelter at your house?

Councilor 2 [suddenly irritated]: Of course not, why would anyone have a bus shelter at his house?  My wife and I don’t have a bus shelter because we don’t have a bus!!

C1: No bus shelter?

C2: No.

C1 [suddenly]: Do you have chair shelters?

C2: Yes.  Well, a chair IS a shelter, is it not?

C1: Food shelters?

C2:  Not as such.

C1: What about bed shelters?

C2: We have three.

C1:  Prudent.

C2: Why did you bring up bus shelters?

C1: Protection.

C2: For whom?

C1: My mother has a bus shelter right in her house.
She’s always felt strongly about them.