29 Plays Later – Challenge 22 – Something about Sarah Brightman…

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Well, today got trippy (again). I think I may be tired. I also realise it’s been a really long time since I posted a play. I will work back and find them all at some point. If nothing else, just to prove I dids the deeds. Albeit without my usual level of planning or panache *cough*, but f*** it. You only enter 29 Plays Later every four years, right? You may also notice some… ummmm… ‘creative recycling’. This is all part of the challenge. Take a first line and then build the play around it. I couldn’t decide so I ‘borrowed’ a few lines, here and there.

Please also check out the stirling, stunning work of AJ Dehany. I’m a big fan, you should be too. Just saying. Read his 29 Plays Later trauma, I mean, experience here: https://ajdehany.wordpress.com/

Anyway, here goes:

ACT ONE

SCENE ONE – THE END

A small meeting room in a bland corporate office.

JONATHAN, 32, and SINGH, 24, sit either side of a table. There is a portable cassette player between them recording what they say.

JONATHAN

In the beginning, sometimes I left messages in the street.

SINGH

And that seemed the sensible thing to do?

JONATHAN

At the time, yes.

SINGH

Why?

JONATHAN

The flying monkeys went on strike. Have you ever tried to get someone a note when the Flonkey service is down?

SINGH

No never.

JONATHAN

Then you will never know the torment.

SINGH

Of that I am relieved.

JONATHAN

I mean the Flonkey service is obviously now all automated. The poor bastards are being laid off left, right and centre. There’s now a massive void in the centre so the coelacanths are moving in. Problem is they get the letters so very wet. Sad times. But when I was a teenager, the only way was a flying monkey telegram.

SINGH

Cool.

JONATHAN

So what is it, exactly, that you want to know?

SINGH

You’re a legend. You know that right?

JONATHAN

I don’t think that’s a question.

SINGH

But you are. Everyone wants to be you. You discovered the blancmange paradox, unearthed the benefits of Panpsychism and discovered the Volkswagen Beetle is actually an armadillo ancestor.

JONATHAN

Still don’t know what you are asking.

SINGH

Sir Jonathan Larkin.

JONATHAN

Yes.

SINGH

Will you marry me?

JONATHAN

You didn’t get on one knee or anything. This is atrocious. This is an insult and a half.

SINGH

Oh sir, I meant no disrespect. I just want to be your wife.

JONATHAN

I think my husband might object to that.

SINGH

Oh really, do they normally?

JONATHAN

Depends on the colour of the sunrise. Red sky at night, marriage alright. Red sky at morning, marriage is a bleeding disaster. I get asked to marry people maybe two, three times a week these days. Used to be more in my younger days, after the Mars mission.

SINGH

Ah, the Mars mission.

JONATHAN

Yes. The Mars mission. Fame is very fleeting, and when it goes it tends to take the house, the kids and the dog.

SINGH

Any regrets?

JONATHAN

The dog. The dog definitely. And Coraline.

SINGH

Coraline?

JONATHAN

(Sings)

Coraline, Coraline, oh beauty, will you be mine, Coraline, Coraline, oh.

SINGH

That’s beautiful, Sir Jonathan. Was she the love of your life?

JONATHAN

No, a face cream. My Godfather used to wear it. Nothing more manly than going to bed with a stiff cock and two inches of pink cream slathered on your face.

SINGH

The old ways are always the best, correct sir?

JONATHAN

Indeed. Anything else to add?

SINGH

It just been an incredible privilege to meet you. And, sir, did you know Quark is both a kind of curd cheese and a building block for physics.

JONATHAN

My boy… I invented both!

SINGH

Ah, of course sir! Just to finish off. All those messages, you left around town. Who were they for?

JONATHAN

Passepartout. Jean Passepartout. My right hand woman. Couldn’t have lived without her, in my younger days.

There is a commotion outside the office. Neither men pay much attention.

SINGH

I will now play back the recording. Just to make sure it’s taken.

SINGH presses play on the recorder. A totally different conversation is played, between an elderly couple about what they are having in their tea. One of the couple is clearly deaf and comic mis-hearings happen.

JONATHAN

Perfect. All this modern technology really blows your mind.

SINGH

I know, right. I can’t imagine growing up without this. And it keeps all those pencils in employment.

JONATHAN

Very important. Leave a group of pencils to get restless and you’ve got an uprising on your hands. Look what happened on Sofia? The whole of the Bulcans, shot to bits; full of lead.

More commotion outside. The sound of people running up and down the corridor screaming. Thunder.

SINGH

One more thing, Sir Jonathan.

JONATHAN

Yes, of course.

SINGH

I don’t suppose you ever considered a water birth?

JONATHAN

No. That would be silly.

SINGH

Ah I see.

JONATHAN

Epidural all the way.

SINGH

Ha. I am glad to hear it. Sir, it really was charming to meet you.

SINGH holds out his hand to JONATHAN. They shake warmly. SINGH picks up the take recorder and his coat, and bag. He has a huge grin on his face.

JONATHAN starts filling his bubble pipe.

SINGH

Bye.

SINGH opens the door, waving awkwardly. As the door opens the sound of a storm become palpable. He gets hit my lightening, bursts into flame and dies a pile of ashes.

JONATHAN looks up. A severe STORM enters the room. Lots of wind, rain, thunder and lightning. It fills the whole room. JONATHAN has to shout to be hurt.

JONATHAN

Oh no, not another bloody one.

STORM

BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM!

JONATHAN

Where would you like me to sign?

STORM

BOOM BOOM BOOOOOOOOM!

JONATHAN

Where would you like me to sign?

JONATHAN pulls a large black marker pen from a pocket.

STORM

BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM and BOOOM!

JONATHAN writes his signature and a dedication on one of the walls.

JONATHAN

Here. Here. Here. Here and here. To Mrs Storm, From your favorite agony aunt, physicist and gurner, Little Jonny Larkin. Kiss. Kiss.

JONATHAN picks up the wall and hands it to the STORM. The STORM puts it under its arm.

STORM

BOOM BOOM BOOM!

JONATHAN

Anytime, always glad to meet a fan of my work on waterproofing.

STORM

BOOOOOOOOM!

JONATHAN

All hail the Supreme Space Commander of the Universe and lifetime honourary President of Croydon, Sarah Brightman!

JONATHAN salutes. The STORM salutes back. The STORM backs out of the room. JONATHAN sits back down and smokes his bubble pipe. In the background the STORM can be seen chasing and electrocuting office workers with gay abandon.

JONATHAN just sits and bubbles.

JONATHAN

Ah, Passepartout.

BLACKOUT.

SCENE TWO – BEGINNING

A cafe outside a square, in Paris. A warm sunny day. There are people drinking tea and smoking bubble paraphenalia at most tables. They almost all have a GRANDMOTHER with them. It’s an idylic scene. Jonathan is at a table with his GRANDMOTHER, talking to her. At a table not far away, sit PASSEPARTOUT, a very attractive half elephant, half woman. She sits and reads a bigography of Sarah Brightman, while her GRANDMOTHER gums cake.

JONATHAN

In the last quarter of the twentieth century, at a time when Western civilization was declining too rapidly for comfort and yet too slowly to be very exciting, much of the world sat on the edge of an increasingly expensive theater seat, waiting–with various combinations of dread, hope, and ennui–for something momentous to occur.

At that point. JONATHAN’S GRANDMOTHER explodes.

JONATHAN

Oh.

Then all the GRANDMOTHERS explode. Everyone and the square, is covered in GRANDMOTHER.

JONATHAN

Sod it.

PASSEPARTOUT

Are you ok, monsieur?

JONATHAN

Yes. Just blood annoying. I just got her on a free upgrade. Is there a lot of that going round?

PASSEPARTOUT

Vrai. It’s an epidemic. Something to do with the last 9 point zero two upgrade.

JONATHAN

Ah, I see. Dammit. I usually wait to make sure there are no upgrades but the Genius in store insisted.

PASSEPARTOUT

Ah, tis the way of the world. I have the name of a very reputable used Grandmother dealer if you like. Very reasonable.

JONATHAN

Thank you. That would be super.

PASSEPARTOUT

(getting tea towels and Swafega from her bag)

Here, take my spare tea towel and this tub of Swafega. Clean yourself up.

JONATHAN

Oh. Thank you. Very kind.

PASSEPARTOUT

Pas de probleme.

JONATHAN

Jonathan Larkin.

PASSEPARTOUT

Jean Passepartout. My friends call me Passepartout. Or at least they would. If they weren’t imaginary.

JONATHAN

I always wanted imaginary friends. What’s it like?

PASSEPARTOUT

Superb. Some of them are just passing through. Liek Celine. Say bon jour Celine.

JONATHAN

Bonjour Celine. Charmed.

PASSEPARTOUT and JONATHAN wave at an empty space.

PASSEPARTOUT

Que? Non. That is rude Davide.

JONATHAN

What’s wrong?

PASSEPARTOUT

Oh, Davide wants to know if you are single and fancy a drink tonight.

JONATHAN

No.

PASSEPARTOUT

You are not single.

JONATHAN

No. I don’t fancy, a drink with Davide.

PASSEPARTOUT

La!

JONATHAN

But if you asked…

PASSEPARTOUT

Oh… well, would you like a drink tonight?

JONATHAN

Yes. Please.

PASSEPARTOUT

Fantastic. I will see you at the old apple tree on the edge of town. Tonight. Say 7:30?

JONATHAN

Great.

PASSEPARTOUT

Then au revior. All hail the Supreme Space Commander of the Universe and lifetime honourary President of Croydon, Sarah Brightman!

JONATHAN

Bye.

PASSEPARTOUT leaves, waving over her shoulder. JONATHAN waits til she’s extited. He high fives DAVIDE who is invisible.

JONATHAN

Amamzing work my friend. Been trying to catch her eye for months. That so much for the hand. Here, I owe you a drink. Waiter!? Two beers, sil vous plait!

BLACKOUT.

SCENE THREE – LATER

The apple tree. Night. Stars. JONATHAN is there already. He has been setting up his space pod and a picnic rug with wine and some food on it. A large unopened box is next to the rug, containing his new GRANDMOTHER.

PASSEPARTOUT enters.

PASSEPARTOUT

Bon soir.

JONATHAN

Hello.

PASSEPARTOUT

You got a new Grandmother I see?

JONATHAN

Oh, no. Second hand. From the chap you recommended in fact.

PASSEPARTOUT

Ah, you got my Flonkey. Bon. Shall we get her out of the box?

JONATHAN

No. Not quite yet. Let’s have a drink.

PASSEPARTOUT

Ok.

JONATHAN

Passepartout?

PASSEPARTOUT

Yes.

JONATHAN

I have something to tell you and it might come as a surprise.

PASSEPARTOUT

I already know.

JONATHAN

You do?

PASSEPARTOUT

Yes, you are physicist and world champion gurner Jonathan Larkin. You are famous. And I couldn’t care less. Though your work on transcendental dentistry changed my life-

JONATHAN

You’re a dentist?

PASSEPARTOUT

Car mechanic. But they are very similar.

JONATHAN

Amamzing. But no. It’s not that.

PASSEPARTOUT

Then what?

JONATHAN

Passepartout. I love you. I have loved you for thirteen weeks, thirteen days, thirteen hours, thirteen minutes and eleven seconds.

PASSEPARTOUT

Really? I think I love you to.

JONATHAN

Really? But that’s amazing!

PASSEPARTOUT

I know.

JONATHAN

But there’s more.

PASSEPARTOUT

Really? Are you pregnant?

JONATHAN

No. Passepartout. I have to tell you. I have been selected for a solo mission to Mars.

PASSEPARTOUT

But that’s… How long will you be gone.

JONATHAN

About a week, all told.

PASSEPARTOUT

But we only just met. That is such a long time.

JONATHAN

I know. But I would like you to wait for me.

PASSEPARTOUT

When do you go?

JONATHAN

Now.

PASSEPARTOUT

Now?

JONATHAN

Right now.

JONATHAN drags the Grandmother in a box to the space craft and jams it in. PASSEPARTOUT goes to help. The speak under the action.

PASSEPARTOUT

Non. I can’t bear it.

JONATHAN

Stay strong. Wait for me. Good bye.

PASSEPARTOUT

Good bye Jonathan. Good bye.

JONATHAN

all hail the Supreme Space Commander of the Universe and lifetime honourary President of Croydon, Sarah Brightman!

JONATHAN jumps in the pod before it can leave without him, he hangs on the side waving and blowing air kisses to her. The pod takes off with JONATHAN in it. PASSEPARTOUT watches him go. She waves. She stands on stage for a bit. There is the sounds of crickets. An owl hoots. She waits a but longer. She gets bored and goes home.

Time moves on. A dinosaur enters and dies. The body rots to a skeleton. There’s an ice age. A star explodes in the sky, sending stars scattering like snooker balls. A red star goes into a pocket there is a cheer. A lizard evolved into a bigger lizard and then a lizard man. Time moves on.

SCENE FOUR – EVEN LATER

JONATHAN lands his Mars pod back next to the apple tree. He falls out of the pod. He has a bunch of motorway service station flowers and a large card with teddy bears and hearts all over it.

JONATHAN

Passepartout. Passepartout. Passepartout. I must have been away longer than a week. (He checks his GRANDMOTHER) & billion years. Noooooooooooooooooo! How could she not wait for me?! PASSEPARTOUT!!

JONATHAN rips out his HEART. There is copious amounts of blood from the empty chest cavity. HEART does a cute little dance and sings a cute song. JONATHAN joins in. JONATHAN pats HEART on it’s head.

JONATHAN

That was lovely. Thank you. Now is the time for you to go it alone. Here take this.

JONATHAN gives HEART a little bundle on a stick, which he makes from his cape and a branch from the apple tree.

JONATHAN

Run my pretty, be free!

The HEART gives a little wave and wanders off with it’s bundle on a stick. HEART exits.

JONATHAN

(Waving)

Be sure to write. I’ll miss you little fellow.

JONATHAN passes out from blood loss.

BLACKOUT.

SCENE FOUR – MIDDLE

JONATHAN is sitting at a wooden desk smoking a bubble cigarette. His has a type writer in front of him. It types as he dictated to it. His is gazing at lots of little bits of blank white card. There is a plate of biscuits in the desk, as well as a pile of thumb tacks.

JONATHAN

The Miss Lonelyhearts of the New York Post-Dispatch (Are you in trouble?—Do-you-need-advice?—Write-to-Miss-Lonelyhearts-and-she-will-help-you) sat at his desk and stared at a piece of white cardboard. The most hailed physicist and gurner of his generation, he was now filling his days, in a dead end job as an agony aunt. Which is farless painless than it sounds, even is the chairs are made from thumb tacks.

JONATHAN reaches down and pulls a tack from his bottom. He adds it to the pile on his desk.

He pulls out the piece of paper from the typewriter. He reads it.

JONATHAN

Well done, perfect in fact. Have a biscuit.

The typewrite reaches over and helps itself daintily to a biscuit which it then proceeds to consume.

The EDITOR, a bilateral triangle, sticks his head round the door.

EDITOR

Hey, Miss Lonelyhearts, how’s it going?

JONATHAN

Oh well, well.

EDITOR

Is your heart lonely yet?

JONATHAN

Yes. Getting there.

EDITOR

Where is it?

JONATHAN

Well according to my last letter, my heart is somewhere between Scarborough and San Fruttuoso, Italy.

EDITOR

(With tears welling up.)

That’s sad. That’s sad indeed. I mean. Scarborough.

JONATHAN

(Also beginning to cry.)

Yes. I know.

EDITOR

This is the saddest story I have ever heard. It’s ok buddy, cry it out. Cry it out.

Both blow their noses on over-large handkerchiefs from their pockets.

JONATHAN

Ta very much, boss. How’s the editing going?

EDITOR

Ah it’s all chop and change. You know how it is.

JONATHAN

I can imagine.

EDITOR

(Sitting on the desk.)

I have one question to ask…

JONATHAN

Sir you’re full of tack

EDITOR

Thank you.

JONATHAN

No you’re literally full of tacks. Your right angle has got them all stuck in it.

EDITOR

I was wondering what the itching sensation was.

They take the tacks out of the EDITOR.

EDITOR

Where was I…?

JONATHAN

Asking me about the little bits of paper I keep sticking up all over the city.

EDITOR

Yes. Those.

JONATHAN

They are for a girl, sir.

EDITOR

Are you trying to buy one? Is this some sort of new currentcy?

JONATHAN

No. I can’t find her. I left her alone for 7 billion years to pursue a mission to Mars, only to find she’s up sticks when I got back.

EDITOR

Ah, these fickle, fickle dames.

JONATHAN

She wasn’t in panto. She was more a circus sort.

EDITOR

Say no more. Say no more. What a peach!

JONATHAN

Yes. And an apple. And a pear. And a Durian.

EDITOR

How did you meet her?

JONATHAN

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. It all started… Well, it was the day my grandmother exploded.

EDITOR

Ah the great outbreak of exploding grandmothers in ’96?

JONATHAN

Yes. And her grandmother had exploded, so she lent me a tea towel and a tub of Swarfega. She even helped me pick out a new grandmother from the catalog.

EDITOR

That was a good year to be in grandmothers. I got out of the business in ’93. I cursed I can tell you. Would have got the little isosceles’ through school and got the old rhomboid and chain a nice coat.

JONATHAN

That was unlucky.

EDITOR

Not as unlucky as you, pal.

JONATHAN

No, it was my own fault. I took her for granted somewhat. But we told each other everything. And now I miss her so much.

EDITOR

It’s funny. Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody. Right, must go and edit stuff. Like trees, dogma and reality.

JONATHAN

Right.

EDITOR

Oh, one thing. There’s some broad here to see you. Says you haven’t answered her lonely heart letters. She’s been sending them by Flonkey daily.

JONATHAN

Oh god. Do I have to see her.

EDITOR

Yeah. Sorry.

JONATHAN

God.

EDITOR

(Shouting round the door.)

He will see you now.

The EDITOR waves and leaves. He winks at the woman who enters as he leaves. It’s:

PASSEPARTOUT stands in the doorway. She is very quiet. She has HEART by the hand. She puts her finger to her lips to remind HEART to keep quiet.

JONATHAN doesn’t hear them or turnaround. Just sighes.

PASSEPARTOUT

So… Dear Misses Lonelyhearts.

I lost my heart to a starship trooper. He never returned my calluses. Or wrote to me. Or came to look for me. Non. He left silly bits of paper all round New York.

JONATHAN

No… It can’t be…

PASSEPARTOUT

I mean… what an arrogant, Swarfega stealing-

JONATHAN

Passepartouy!

JONATHAN turns round. PASSEPARTOUT smiles at him. He jumps up and scoops her into his arms.

JONATHAN

Passepartout. Passepartout. Never leave me again.

PASSEPARTOUT

Never, mon amour.

JONATHAN

Where have you been?

PASSEPARTOUT

Ah, here and there. Paris, Rome, the Mariana Trench. I joined the French Foreign Legion-

JONATHAN

To forget?

PASSEPARTOUT

No to… You know what, I can’t remember. But I couldn’t get away from loving you.

JONATHAN

Amen, and all hail the Supreme Space Commander of the Universe and lifetime honourary President of Croydon, Sarah Brightman!

BOTH

All hail!

PASSEPARTOUT

Also, there’s a little man here who missed you?

JONATHAN

Heart? Heart? You are back too?!

PASSEPARTOUT

Yes. I found him wandering around the Birmingham Bullring a couple of days ago. He was very sad and lost.

JONATHAN

Why, aorta…

JONATHAN and HEART hug.

JONATHAN

Let’s never be apart. Ever again.

They BOTH lip sync to Sarah Brightman’s ‘I Fell in Love with a Starship Trooper’.

BLACKOUT.

 

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