Play #95: A Ladder Play

The play is set in a psychiatrist’s office.  A middle-aged man is stretched out on the therapeutic couch, his body a veritable anthology of agonized attitudes, powered by blunted vectors of thwarted desire.

DOCTOR:  Keep still!

MAN:  I can’t.

DOCTOR:  Where are you trying to go?

MAN:  Out of my mind.

DOCTOR:  Will that help?

MAN:  It’s got to be better than being in here [he points irritably to his head].

DOCTOR:  You need a ladder.

MAN: A ladder? 

DOCTOR:  Yes.  [calls his nurse]  Moira, will you bring in the ladder, please?

[Moira appears, struggling under the weight of a ten-foot ladder—which appears to be made of solid gold.  She sets it up near the patient’s couch]

MAN:  And what am I supposed to do with it?

DOCTOR:  Climb it of course. 

MAN (irritably):  Why?

DOCTOR:  Well, you don’t care much for your life down here, right?  A ladder is an Ascension Machine…

MAN: What does that mean? 

DOCTOR: It means that in the act of climbing it, you will  rise above yourself.

MAN:  That sounds alright to me.

DOCTOR:  Yes, I thought it might.  Well, up you go!

[The man gets up from the couch, goes to the gleaming ladder and begins to climb it]

DOCTOR (looking up at his patient who is now on the 3rd rung):  How does it feel?

MAN (shouting back): It’s exhilarating!

DOCTOR: Just as I told you.  [there is a pause]  Okay, you’d better come back down now.

MAN (exuberantly):  Not on your life!  I like it up here!  And l’m going all the way…

[and as the doctor and Moira watch, the man ascends the ladder, rung by rung, until he disappears entirely from view]

DOCTOR (to Moira):  What’s my next appointment?

MOIRA: You don’t have one, Doctor. You’re free.


Play #94: The Endless Woozle

The Play is set in the Seven Acre wood, home to both Winnie-the-Pooh and his friend Piglet.  On this particular day, a blustery day in winter, Piglet has set out on a snowy walk and comes upon his friend Pooh wholly engaged in a kind of project.
PIGLET: Hallo Pooh!  What are you doing?
POOH:  I’m, hunting.
PIGLET: Hunting what?
POOH (mysteriously): Tracking something.
PIGLET (coming closer): Tracking what?
POOH: That's just what I keep asking myself.  What?  I won’t really know until I catch up with it. 
PIGLET:  I suppose not.
POOH (excitedly):  But look there.  [He points to the snowy ground in front of him].  What do you see there?
PIGLET (sagely): Tracks.  Paw-marks.
POOH (equally sagely):  Yes.
PIGLET (excitedly):  Oh, Pooh!  Do you think it's a--a--a Woozle?
POOH (considering this): It may be.  Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn't.  You never can tell with paw-marks.
[Pooh now comes to a sudden stop, and bends over the tracks in a puzzled sort of way]
PIGLET: What's the matter?
POOH:  It’s very funny thing, Piglet, but there seem to be two animals now. This--whatever-it-was--has been joined by another--whatever-it-is.
[Suddenly Winnie-the-Pooh stops, and points excitedly in front of him]
POOH: Look!"
PIGLET (frightened): What?!!"
POOH: The tracks!  A third animal has joined the other two!
PIGLET (nervously): Another Woozle, do you think?
POOH (in a somewhat Sherlockian manner): No, Piglet, because it makes different marks. It is either Two Woozles and one, as it might be, Wizzle, or Two, as it might be, Wizzles and one, if so it is, Woozle. Let us continue to follow them.
[And so Pooh and piglet go on following the Woozles or Wizzles until they are following four different tracks and then ten different tracks and—as the light begins to fail—fourteen  sets of tracks and then, an hour later, twenty-eight.  They begin to grow very weary indeed of tracking, hut they keep tramping on, round and round and round.
POOH (sitting on a snowy bough to one side of the path):  I’m tired.  I need a rest, Piglet.
PIGLET:  So do I.
[after a short break, they get up and begin their tracking again]
POOH (surprised):  We now appear to be following sixty-eight different Woozles!
PIGLET: Or one Woozle and sixty-six different Wizzles!
[they make another circle in the snow]
PIGLET (looking down at the tracks in the snow):  And now there are seventy of them!
POOH (surprised at the way Woozles mount up):  Imagine!
PIGLET (imploringly):  Let’s go home, Pooh.
POOH:  Well, it is way past our suppertime!
PIGLET:  We’ll start again tomorrow, Pooh.
POOH:  Yes.