This is a parody for the Shawnigan Lake Players, having just put on Tom Stoppard's fine play. As such, it's pretty much all inside jokes and mocking of characters.
This isn't the best place for formatting a play, so apologies for that!
The (Fake) Real Thing
A Shawnigan Players Parody
Drawing room of unaccountably
successful architect. This will be immediately apparent to the
audience because I write for British theatre and we have unlimited
stage space for drawing boards and the like. The budgets are pretty
Max is alone, forever alone.
He pervades the stage with existential ennui by building a house of
cards. Charlotte comes through the door.
Max: Don't slam – (the door
slams gracefully. Max invokes the spirit of Nietzsche on a
particularly bleak day) ... the door.
Charlotte: It's me. I have
(Max contemplates the
eventual heat-death of the universe as embodied in his now collapsed
cards. They mock him silently as he drinks, desperately trying to
obliterate his conscious mind.)
(Charlotte enters the room,
her cheer bringing an oh-so-rare light into this den of misery)
Charlotte: Hello! Let me get a
(She kisses the top of his
head and gives him a quick fondle)
Max: (The foolish, suspicious
bastard) You've been gone a while. Where?
Charlotte: Switzerland, I think.
Max: (Poor, miserable Max who
should have done more to make Charlotte happy) I'm very clever,
oblivious to their doom) Really, dear? How nice for you.
Max: (Who should have just
shut the hell up and enjoyed his life) You're sleeping around,
Charlotte: (Oh, lovely, sweet
Charlotte) Only when I travel, love. More wine?
Max: (Who wouldn't know a good
thing if it bit him on the ass, even when it literally did on more
than one occasion) Of course not! Get out!
Charlotte: (I'm so, so sorry,
Charlotte! I was mad! An idiot!) Oh. Um, okay. I'll leave the
(Charlotte leaves, and Max
embraces his joyless future where he realizes his love too late and
in his misery he takes up writing for the National Theatre.)
Henry and Charlotte's house.
Henry is playing with his records. No, seriously – he has some
albums out and he's digging through them. Ask older members of the
audience to interpret his actions for the younger ones around them.
Charlotte emerges (perhaps
unsurprisingly) hung over and partially dressed.
Charlotte: Gbermeh. (She
passes out immediately on the couch)
Henry: Yes, I thought you might
feel that way. (Charlotte snores in response) Don't worry,
don't worry. The effects wear off in a bit. You were told not to
take the brown ones. (The doorbell rings) Whoop! That'll be
(He slings Charlotte over one
shoulder and exits. We hear a shower running and a scream: it sounds
(Henry returns and exits out
the other side)
(Max and Henry enter)
Max: Uh, hi. Did I just hear a
Max: Is Charlotte all right?
Henry: I don't think she's
terribly happy. Drink?
Max: Maybe not... (he looks
around a bit nervously)
Henry: I'll get a bottle. (Exits)
Max: But I... what?
(Charlotte emerges from the
Charlotte: Hello, darling! Don't
I get my morning fondle?
Max: Um... Isn't Henry -
(Henry emerges carrying
Henry: Hello, dear! Given Max
his morning fondle yet?
Henry: It's how she greets
people. I don't understand it, but actors, you know? Sit! Let's
drink! I'm going to be on the radio!
Henry: Yep! Specifically on a
desert island on the radio, so I'm not sure how people will hear me,
but there it is. How did the play go?
Charlotte: It sucked.
Max: Honestly, Charlotte!
Charlotte: Fortunately, so does
Max, so that made up for it.
Max: Oh now, Charlotte!
Charlotte: What else are you
going to do for long stretches backstage? Join the crew?
Max: (frantically gesturing)
Uh, Charlotte! Hst! Really! Charlotte!
Charlotte: Not that they were
bad, or anything. Especially that one guy who kept tearing his shirt
Max: Charlotte! Jesus,
Henry: Actors are so strange.
(Doorbell rings, Annie
Max: Oh, thank god! I'll get
(Max sprints out the door)
Charlotte: Why on earth did you
invite him over?
Henry: I thought you liked him?
Charlotte: Sure, but not when
(Annie and Max enter.
Henry's eyes bulge comically)
Annie: Hello, everyone!
Charlotte: Lovely of you two to
Max: Great! We're leaving now!
(Henry can't seem to keep his
tongue in his mouth for some reason)
Charlotte: Oh, Max; do shut up
and sit down. I'll come sit on your lap.
Max: Uh, you guys are married,
(Everyone sits but Henry.
Steam has started to come out of Henry's ears)
Annie:I brought vegetables.
Charlotte: Any cucumbers?
Annie:Um... will a turnip do?
(Charlotte thinks for a bit)
Charlotte: Possibly... let me get
Max: Are you making a dip?
Max: I'll help!
Charlotte: Get in here, then.
Oh, listen! They're playing my song!
Song: Tonight you're mine,
'Cause I slipped you a mickey
Oh well, the smell
Of ether's in your nose
I've got you 'till tomorrow!
(Max and Charlotte exit to
kitchen as song continues)
We'll have fun together
You won't last forever
'less I can tie
A really good bowline
I'll get arrested tomorrow
(Henry and Annie are alone in
the living room. Annie plays with her hair and Henry's stands on
end. Max gives a yelp of “Charlotte!” from the kitchen, but
neither Henry nor Annie notice. Annie smiles at Henry and crosses
her legs. We hear AHOOGA AHOOGA noises. If Henry has a bow tie, it
(Charlotte enters from
kitchen with a bowl of dip, wiping some from her lip)
Charlotte: Here we are!
(Max enters from kitchen
looking a bit worn and with a slight limp)
Charlotte: It's apparently
Hawaiian. Pineapple was involved, anyway.
Max (“singing”): I've
lost all my feeling...
Annie:Oh, God, no!
Max (“singing”): I
really should be kneeling...
(Charlotte winces in pain)
Max (“singing”): From
my waist down all my feeling is gone, gone, gone...
(Now even Henry notices,
covering his ears)
(Charlotte pulls out a gun
and shoots Max)
Max: Really, Charlotte! (dies)
Charlotte: What? They shoot
horses, don't they?
(The other two seem to agree)
Max and Annie's house. Annie
walks in as the radio is playing. She looks slightly distracted, as
if she's forgotten something. The music on the radio gives way to
Henry being interviewed. Annie eagerly sits down to listen.
Henry and Annie's temporary
apartment. Henry is typing as Annie enters. He seems very intent as
she walks around in housecoat that barely stays on her, but his
attention is immediately drawn to Annie, eyes following her around
the room. Annie lounges on the sofa across from him and reads her
script. Eventually, she notices he's stopped typing and is just
staring at her.
Annie: Carry on as if I'm not
here. I won't be any bother, promise!
(As she reads, her housecoat
falls off slightly to one side, revealing her legs. There's a
muffled 'thump' from under Henry's desk)
Henry: (wincing slightly)
Annie: How are you getting on?
Henry: I'm not.
Henry: Can't we just have sex
Annie: Don't be silly! Not until
you're done your play. Have you been working all night? I didn't
notice you come to bed.
Henry: Er... Of course.
Annie: I had the strangest dream,
Henry: I was right here! Didn't
go anywhere near the bedroom!
Annie: Something about
Henry: Aaaall night! Working
Annie: (goes to typewriter)
What have you got so far?
Henry: One hundred and twenty
Annie: (reads) “All work
and no play makes Henry a dull boy.” Not much plot, is there?
Henry: (Crawls from his desk)
Can we please have sex now?
Annie: Oh, Hen! Maybe with a
second plot line woven in there...
Annie: Well, I'm off to work!
(Exits still dressed in
Henry: Agh! Agh!
Henry and Annie's new place,
as made obvious by new furniture, different lighting, changed
costumes. Did I mention the advantages of writing for the National
Theatre? Henry is reading. Annie enters from bedroom and eyes Henry
coldly until Henry looks up.
Annie: (With perhaps a
slightly Teutonic accent) Vell?
Henry: (Nervously) Uh...
Annie: (Stands ramrod
straight, eyes widening) Vat?
Henry: Ah... ah... not Verdi?
(Annie turns and strides back
into the bedroom)
returns with riding crop)
Annie: (Scornfully) Verdi.
How can it be Verdi? It is in German!
Henry: Is it? (Annie strides
towards him) It is! It is! One of the Germans! (She raises the
Annie: Gut. Very gut. Continue
(She walks to drinks stand
and pours herself some ice wine)
Henry: (Tapping at keyboard)
You... you know... (Annie looks at him) I... uh... I can't
help feeling. Um.
Annie: You may speak freely
Henry: That, um, that something's
changed about you.
Annie: Nonsense, dahlink. You
vill write the Brodie play now in silence. There will then be sex
for exactly seventeen minutes. Then ve shall drink vine. Then you
vill continue the Brodie play.
Henry: (Muttering) If I
still had my cricket bat-
Annie: In! Silence!
Annie, back to being Scene Two
Annie, is sitting by the window of a moving train, reading. Billie
enters and sneaks up behind her.
Billie: (In a Scottish accent)
Excuse me, is this seat taken?
Billie: You'd think with all
these fascists the trains would be on time.
(Annie looks up from her
book, otherwise unmoving)
Annie: (coldly) What was
Billie: Er, hello.
Annie: Improving efficiency is
hardly something to be frowned upon, is it “Billie”?
Annie: Everything and everyone
knowing their place makes a better world for us all, don't you think?
Billie: Uh... I guess?
Annie: And where is your place,
Billie? You're not supposed to be in first class, are you Billie?
You do not belong with the true elites, Billie.
Billie: What are you going to do?
Report me? Jeeze! Okay, okay, I'll go!
(He rises from his seat and
turns to the door)
Annie: One moment. (Billie
pauses) Remove your shirt.
Billie: What? Why?
Annie: It amuses me... and may
let you stay in first class with me. You want to stay with me, don't
you Billie? Away from the stinking, crowed masses behind us? With
me? (He nods) Remove your shirt. (Billie, weeping
silently, starts to remove his shirt) Slower. Slower.
Henry and Charlotte's former
place, now just Charlotte's. A young Pat Benatar (AKA Debbie) is
smoking by the door while Charlotte is going through old programmes
and past memories. Does she regret? Does her past come to haunt her
in her sleep? Are there dreams of former National Theatre writers
dancing mockingly through her night, waking her with painful
remonstrance? Does she try to drink them away? Perhaps we shall
never know; but we can hope. Oh, Charlotte... Charlotte... Could it
have ever worked?
Henry: Since when did you smoke?
Debbie: Since “We Live for
Love” hit number twenty-seven in the US. My agent advised it: it's
an image thing.
Henry: Why did I pay for music
Charlotte: Oh, don't be such a
square, daddy-o! It's hip!
(Debbie stares at Charlotte)
Debbie: Promise me you will
never, ever try to be cool again.
Charlotte: Yes, dear.
Henry: So smoking's cool now, is
it? When did that happen?
Debbie: Since “You Better Run”
was broadcast on MTV. (She shrugs) Image thing.
Charlotte: I can't find it
Henry: Why would you want to know
who played Giovanni opposite you now, of all times?
Charlotte: I'm hoping a number's
attached. He did this GREAT thing with his left hand...
Henry: Can we please talk about
Debbie? She's the one hitting the streets!
Debbie: It's a world tour, Fa.
Have to support the latest album.
Henry: And you're going on tour
with these... these... carnies?
Debbie: Roadies, Fa.
(Henry's eyes narrow)
Henry: You're not having...
'relations' with them , are you?
Debbie: I married my guitarist
yonks ago, Fa. And it's called sex, not 'relations'.
Henry: Good God! How did you
find out about that!
Charlotte: In school. Honestly,
Henry; it's almost like you never went to all those PTA meetings!
Debbie: What PTA meetings?
Henry: HOW ABOUT THAT SEX, HUH?
Charlotte: Sex is fun, Henry!
Why shouldn't she enjoy some now and again?
Henry: (discretely touching
tender spots) Is it?
Debbie: Oh, Fa! In school,
everything was sex: French, history, Latin, art, French again,
music... Everything but biology.
Henry: Your best subject, I seem
Debbie: Max helped there.
(They look down at the dried
and partially-dissected corpse of Max still on the floor)
Charlotte: I had no idea what a
spleen looked like, honest truth.
(Suddenly we hear the chorus
to “Hell is for Children”)
Debbie: That's my ride. Don't
(Charlotte walks her to the
Charlotte: (pushes some cards
into Debbie's hands) Gift certificates for Adam and Eve mail
order. Make sure they go to your home address, or they'll follow
behind you from city to city like particularly slow groupies.
Debbie: Thanks, Charlie.
Charlotte: Shh! Your dad
doesn't know about my night job.
Debbie: Bye, Fa! (Exits)
Annie is seated in the
audience, near the back. Her eyes are closed in and she seems
restful. Suddenly her mouth drops open and she silently convulses
forward, shaking slightly. Then she relaxes again.
Billie: (Unseen, with an oddly
muffled voice) Can I come up now?
Annie: That was only three,
Billie. If you wish a place in the big show, you will have to work
much harder than that.
Billie: Three? No way that was
Billie: (Pleading) It's
hot down here.
Annie: (Leaning back and
lighting a cigarette) Yes it is, Billie; yes it surely is.
Henry is waiting at home for
an indeterminate amount of time before Annie enters.
Henry: Hello. How did it go?
Annie: We had a great finish.
(She starts taking off her
coat, putting away her suitcase, etc)
Henry: Oh? Good. I thought you-
Annie: Seriously, a great finish!
Henry: I thought you were coming-
Annie: Great, GREAT finish!
Henry: ...coming back on the
Annie: I did and he was lovely.
(She stops at the bedroom
Annie: I did and it was lovely.
Henry: I called the hotel.
Annie: Did you? Did you make
Henry: They told me that you –
Annie: Reservations. For us?
And here I thought you forgot! Oh, Henry! You are so sweet!
Henry: I... Uh, yes?
Annie: (Squeals, embraces
Henry) Yay! I just love you to pieces!
Henry: Uh. Yay! But there was
(Annie 'embraces' Henry lower
Annie: Thank you so much for
Annie sits on the train,
reading as before. Billie enters slightly more timidly than before,
with a slightly better Scottish accent.
Billie: Er, excuse me? Is this
Billie: Mind if I sit down?
Annie: It is a free country.
(Lower) For now.
(Billie sits with some
Billie: D'you reckon? (She
ignores him) Going far?
Annie: To London. All... the...
Billie: (Sweating profusely)
My name's Bill. You... you put me in mind of Mussolini.
Annie: (Looks at him with a
smile of pure evil) That was wrong.
Annie: That was the last script,
Billie: Oh, God!
Annie: (Standing, staring at
Billie) We're going to need a half hour break, Roger.
Roger: (Voice over) All
right, darling. Remember, nothing on the hands or face this time!
Billie: Oh, no.
Henry, looking healthier than
last we saw him, is listening to Bach's 'Air on a G String' playing
on the radio. The phone rings as Annie walks through the room.
Annie: If that's them tell them
Henry: Hello? (Sees Annie is
looking at him) Annie's left... Oh. (To Annie) It's
(Annie takes the phone from
Annie: Billie? Yes, I'll be
there in a bit. Out of curiosity, how did you...? Oh, someone else
dialled for you? Was it Roger? I see. No, I will be there soon.
Very soon. Discipline is important, Billie.
(She hangs up)
Henry: Is everything going all
Annie: I may have to drop Billie.
Annie: (Looking Henry over
contemplatively) I may be spending more time at home. This might
be good for you: I can focus more on my – our – home life. (She
Henry: (Sits on the couch,
having turned a slightly green shade of pale) Please, please,
In blackout the music gives
way to various sounds involving a prison, possibly from the medieval
era. Crackling fire, echoing screams, hissing steam, the rattle of
chains. Light slowly increases, starting with the glow of a TV
screen. Eventually we see Brodie, transfixed by what he sees on the
TV screen. Henry enters with a water jug for Brodie's scotch.
Annie: (voice over) Don't
you ever, EVER change!
Billie: (voice over) No,
ma'am! I won't! I promise!
Annie: (voice over) Never!
(We hear a whip crack and a
Billie: (voice over) I
won't! I won't! Thank you ma'am!
(End credits music begins and
Brodie turns off the TV)
Brodie: 'Rosie of the Royal
Infirmary' changed a bit since I went in, then.
Henry: Ever since cable, really.
Lots of pressure to keep up ratings against increased competition
sort of thing.
Brodie: The pretty one wasn't
supposed to be (swallows) me, was he?
Henry: You'd better hope not.
(Annie enters as Brodie
finishes what's left in his glass)
Brodie: Can I have another?
Annie: You could earn it...
Brodie: I think I've got to go,
Annie: Come back for some dip
(Brodie pales and runs out
Henry: I know what you did to me;
but you scared the hell out of him. (The phone rings and he
answers it) Hello? Oh, hello, Max! What? Well that's
fantastic! Married, eh? Can't wait to meet her. Who is she? Oh,
she's from Canada and I wouldn't know her? Never comes to the
country, but is really, really cool. Sure. Oh, and hot too, is she?
Sure, Max. Sure she is. Say, aren't you dead?