ACT 1 – Early Impressions
[I walk out onto stage. The set is made to be a sparse, draughty throne room in mid 1400’s England. Gray fabric meant to evoke stonework overlays a plywood board. A limp, white banner with generic detailing on the sides pulls against the fabric and shows the slack in the wall. Brown holes peek through, revealing where staples from past shows sat. Bodies and body parts are strewn around the floor and blood runs down the walls. An uncomfortable chair sits upstage right, cheated on a diagonal. I sit heavily and try to ignore the pounding in my chest and the tingle in my side. I wear a red robe and a crown, blood runs down my face and out of the arrow wounds in MY body.. I am bent forward, peering into the void of the audience, blinded by the searing light above.]
(takes a step towards the light, into dead center stage) Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York;
And all the clouds that lowered upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
[I take a breath and look around. The light is brighter than before and some of the audience are caught in its halo. Their faces are indecipherable, but I can smell the rot emanating from the house]
I…in – I mean: Now are our brows browned – huh…I (beat)
Now are our brows bound with wreaths victorious
Our arms bruised and hung up as monuments.
[THE AUDIENCE shifts in their seats. I gulp air and look into the audience to find a grounding. The spotlight is dimmer now and I can make out faces in the audience. MY parents are sitting two rows back, in house left. I recognize MOTHER from the dress he buried her in. Her skin is gray and ripped and faint pink muscle pulses slowly with her breathing. MY OLD MAN is next to her. He looks worse. He is bloated and his skin fleshy and peeling wetly. A cirrhosis-ravaged pair of eyes peer dart around the stage. His hands are still frozen in same fists from holding the steering wheel. He is wearing the same suit he was in when he buried MOTHER and drowned himself. Bile and water dribble from the corners of his mouth while MOTHER wipes away a tear and cracks the bone in her eye socket, leaving her mouth pulled upward on one side.]
I’ve plans for my life yet. You all shouldn’t be here.
[Audience laughs. I exit.]
ACT 2 – Improv/Improve
[I enter a blackbox theatre. The stage is set for a funeral. Flowers, red cloth, and a coffin dominate the space. The light is brighter than before and blinds ME to the audience. A brief drumroll gives way to silence]
ME [Speaking at a frantic pace]
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, thank you all so much for joining me here to celebrate this life. Now, I have no eulogy prepared. Rather, you all are going to help me write it and watch me deliver it all in real time. To begin, I need a color. Ah, yes, brown! We are gathered here to celebrate the life of Mister Brown. Now I need a profession – I heard carpenter, yes! Mister Brown was killed in a manner most untimely by a carpenter over the cost of a two by four. Mister Brown purchased two two by fours for two and four, that’s twenty four dollars while the carpenter insisted that the cost was equivalent to a two times two by four, a four by eight – totally forty eight dollars. Now, I need a place. The Eiffel Tower! Their disagreement led to the top of the Eiffel Tower, where Mister Brown was strangled by piano wire and his corpse embedded by a hundred and forty even nails form a pneumatic nail gun – currently available at your local hardware store for only one hundred and forty nine dollars and ninety nine cents – by a disconsolate carpenter over the cost of lumber. The origin of the circle saw blade in the base of Mister Brown’s skull is yet undetermined and it’s place in the unfortunate is yet still unclear Someone shout out a favorite –
[The coffin jolts forward off its pedestal, clattering to the floor]
Ladies and gentlemen, I’m so sorry, that’s not part of the show. But as I was saying, someone shout out –
[I peer around the edge of the coffin and the stage lights go out. I hear gurgling and moaning from where the coffin landed. The crowd is silent – as though absent. I hear a soft splattering as a heavy foot falls somewhere in the darkness in front of me. I hear breathing. First my own, then a second being’s. Both of our breaths are ragged and shallow. Loud cracks emanate from the darkness, approaching where I stand in the middle of the improv floor. Dripping, wet hands shoot out of the darkness and grab me at the chest and the balls. I hear tearing as I pull away. Pins from both places the hands were run through my front and I flee backstage. The audience is dead silent.]
ACT 3 – Exeunt
[I am bleeding and step out onto stage once more. The audience erupts into thunderous applause and quiets down to listen. It is a different crowd than before. MOTHER and MY OLD MAN are gone. I once again wear my crown and hunch]
Maybe there’s nothing left to say? Oh. It’s this scene.
[Clarence enters. He is shackled and rushes onto stage before his cue line.]
Fuck – FUCK!
[The blood on ME is gone. And replaced by tingling in MY chest. MY chest is bruised over the pain and the audience stirs. I am lying on my back staring at the light rails above me, watching gels singe and gobos spiral.]
Someone call somebody! Call the fucking cops or something. I’m going to –
[Around ME, the stage manager cries and CLARENCE starts compressing MY chest. The lights in the theatre are coming up and a crowd of strangers are leaving. Some are looking back over their shoulders and a droning message plays over the sound system. Sirens somewhere. My crown and crookback are lying on the ground beside me. The curtain comes down in halts and jerks, cutting the stage off completely, extinguishing MY light. MY cape splays out underneath me, suggesting blood that is settling in my body.]
You were in the first audience that ever booed me
Shut up – shut up and just hold on
My old man was there.
Listen to me. Someone will be here in a minute just shut up and wait
[I grab at CLARENCE] Horatio, I die…was that my line?
[EMTs enter. The curtain is back up and the audience empty of anyone living. Everyone else stands to applaud. MOTHER and MY OLD MAN are carrying up a bouquet of dead and dried flowers, trailing dust, flesh, grubs, and bile behind them. I rise, bow and exit, trailing MY cape and once again wearing MY crown over MY stooped back.]
Fahad Rahmat is a writer and performer aspiring to be the best Eldritch Monster he can be. His desires are unknowable and maddening to the mortal mind, but would otherwise be super reasonable – HE PROMISES