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Prose by 91816119

Prose and Poetry by anapests-and-ink

Prose by thetaoofchaos

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Submitted on
November 8, 2011
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[Two people stand on a bare stage, clothed in theatre blacks, in the centre of a spotlight. They stand facing away from each other, looking into the darkness. PAT and DREW can be any race, age or gender since there is no need to focus on those aspects here. The limitations of the stage aren't visible. There is a small green bench concealed stage right and near it, a boot is kept for a later prop. There are no distinct scenes or set changes – scenes are instead marked by an extended pause]

Drew: It's been a long time since we last saw it.

Pat: We barely did see it when it was around.

Drew: But it was still there.

Pat: It gave us meaning.

Drew: Something to say.

Pat: Something to do.

Drew: The place was bright.

Pat: There were more people.

Drew: [Turning] Do you remember that one guy?

Pat: [Turning] Who tried to poison his dog?

Drew: Or the others?

Pat: Some guy with a banana and a cassette?

Drew: Or those men waiting for someone?

Pat: ... I don't remember those last ones.

Drew: Seems off.

Pat: Yeah.

Extended pause

Drew: [Looking around] So here we are. Still.

Pat: Pretty much.

Drew: Sure is empty.

Pat: We should fill it.

Drew: Fill it?

Pat: Yeah.

Drew: With what?


Pat: Noise.

Drew: Uhhhh.

Pat: Not just any sort, of course.

Drew: Then what sort?

Pat: Eh?

Drew: What sort of noise?

Pat: Words.

Drew: [Cups hands over mouth] Woooords.

Pat: Not that sort!

Drew: Then what sort?

Pat: Meaningful words.

Drew: ...Meaningful words?

Pat: Fill the space with meaningful words until you have nothing more.


Pat: What?

Drew: I got nothin' to begin with.


Drew: Now what?

Pat: We try find something.

Drew: Where?

Pat: Don't know...

Extended pause

Drew: Did we ever go... [Trails off]

Pat: Go where?

Drew: ...There?

Pat: Where?

Drew: Out there!

Pat: In the nothing?

Drew: In the darkness.


Drew: It's been there for a while.

Pat: There's probably just more nothing.

Drew: What if there was something?

[PAT looks uncertainly towards stage right. Their expression moves closer to fearful as DREW takes a few steps forward, half enveloped in shade]

Pat: Do you see anything?

Drew: No.

[DREW starts to move further out of the light]

Pat: Do we really need to know?

[DREW baulks at the line of light and shade]

Drew: About what?

Pat: About what's out there?

Drew: Why not?

Pat: There's enough here.

Drew: There's nothing here.

Pat: There's nothing there.

Drew: We don't know that.

[DREW disappears completely from the light]

Pat: [Hesitating] Wait!


Pat: Is there anything there?


Pat: H-Hey!

[PAT looks around. There is a commotion from stage right]

Drew: [Offstage] There's a bench!

[PAT rushes to DREW's voice, but halts before the edge of the light]

Drew: It's too heavy to move.

Pat: Is there anything else?

Drew: There's a squashed banana. And...

[DREW walks back into the spotlight]

Drew: This.

[DREW holds up a boot]

Pat: A boot?

Drew: A worn boot.

Pat: [Angrily] ...There may as well have been nothing out there!

[PAT moves away. Drew inspects the boot, shakes it, looks inside, wears it. PAT looks over to DREW]

Drew: It could help.

Pat: A boot could help?

Drew: Yeah.

Pat: A saviour boot?


Pat: [Outraged] Are you mad?

Drew: I don't mean that.

Pat: Then what?

Drew: Fill the space with meaningful words, right?


Drew: We could make something.

Pat: Make?

Drew: We could become those other guys. We could make something up.

Pat: We can barely remember who they were.

Drew: Then we make something new.

Pat: There's nothing new anymore. It's gone.

Drew: We'll make it.

Pat: Why?


Pat: Why make it?

Drew: It's better than the nothing.

Extended pause

[DREW takes off the boot and holds it up]

Drew: We start from the basics.

Pat: [Reluctantly] There was an old lady who lived in a shoe.

Drew: [Peering into the shoe] There's a lady in there?

Pat: [Nodding] She lives with her twelve children.

Drew: There are children in there, too?

Pat: She can't pay the bills.

Drew: What does she do all day?

[PAT takes the role of the woman in the shoe. They adopt a hunched stance, exaggerating her age and features]

Pat: The children are nagging and no-one can get any rest.

[DREW takes the role of one of the lady's children. DREW jumps about the elderly woman and is hardly ever still. As the two begin to play off each other, the light expands so that it only just hides the bench to stage right]

Drew: What's for dinner?

Pat: Broth.

Drew: What's for dinner?

Pat: Broth.

Drew: Aww, come on, what's really for dinner?

[PAT takes the shoe from DREW's hand]

Pat: Shoelace spaghetti.

Drew: You're gonna cook the house?

Pat: Well, your sister Gretel is first!

[PAT becomes the elderly witch while DREW becomes Hansel]

Drew: You just wait – our father will find the trail we left for him!

Pat: Unlikely! Though if he does, I'll just cook him as well.

Drew: Where's Gretel?

Pat: Such a delicious dinner I'll have tonight...

Drew: What about the wolf?

Pat: Eh?

Drew: The hunter and the wolf!

[PAT returns to their original stance. They place the boot on the floor]

Pat: That's the wrong story.

[DREW returns to their original stance as well]

Drew: I thought we were making a story.

Pat: But it doesn't feel right. The wolf's not a part of it.

Drew: He could be.

Pat: But he's not.

Drew: Then he should be.

Pat: But he's not and it feels off.


Pat: All of it feels off.

Extended pause

[DREW picks up the shoe]

Drew: Who were we?

Pat: What?

Drew: Who were we? You know, when the others were around.

Pat: I can't remember.

Drew: Not even a bit?

Pat: Why, do you?

Drew: I remember something.

Pat: What is it?

Drew: It was still just us.

Pat: Were we always alone like this?

Drew: I think we were always like this.

Pat: Did we ever do anything?

Drew: I can't remember.


Drew: We should try again.

Pat: No wolves this time.

Drew: No, we should try to remember who we were.


Drew: We could have been enemies.

Pat: We could have been anyone!

Drew: I think we were friends. What do friends do?

Pat: [Angrily] How should I know?

We've been put in this space with no clue as to who we are and just a collection of vague memories. There's no light, there's no people. There's nothing. What can we wait for when there's nothing? What can we make with what we have when we have nothing?

Drew: We have a shoe.

[PAT glares at DREW]

Drew: It's not that we don't have anything. We just need to go out there. Take a risk and make something with what we have or find something with what we don't.

Let's try again.

[PAT stands still]

Drew: Let's try.

[PAT looks to DREW. DREW sits down on the bare stage while PAT remains standing]

Drew: Pass the butter.

Pat: There isn't any.

Drew: Pass the butter.

Pat: We don't eat.

Drew: [Pointing to empty space] Pass it, it's right there.

Pat: This is pointless.

Drew: It might help.

Pat: It's nothing. Can't you think of anything better?

Drew: Can you?

Pat: Yes, we sit here.

Drew: What happened to making something?

Pat: We tried. We failed.

Drew: We should try again.

Pat: What, with your original ideas?

Drew: It's better than sitting here and moping.

Pat: It's being realistic! We're here because we're here. There isn't anything coming. There isn't anything that has been.

Drew: Can't we make anything?

Pat: I said we tried.

Drew: And you gave up.

Pat: It's pointless.

Drew: We jut haven't made it mean anything yet.

Pat: It's pointless.

[DREW sighs and walks to stage right. DREW looks into the darkness then takes a step forward. They stumble on the bench that was closer to the light during the nursery rhyme role-play]

Drew: Woah!

[PAT looks in DREW's direction in alarm. They move to help DREW]

Pat: What on earth is that?

Drew: [Excited] It's the bench!

Pat: What?

Drew: The bench from before!

Pat: It... Why is it here?

Drew: It gives us something to do!

Pat: How did it move?

[DREW sits on the bench]

Drew: Imagine the things we could make with this.

[PAT looks at the shadowed bench suspiciously]

Pat: Alright. So what if we make something from this... bench? Will something happen then?

Drew: It couldn't hurt to try.


Drew: Pass the butter.

Pat: Not this again!

[DREW laughs]

Drew: You should sit down.

Pat: I'm comfortable here.

Drew: Or sit there. You're my passenger.

[DREW mock-drives]

Pat: Passenger? Where are we going?

[PAT takes a seat on the floor, not daring to venture into the dark]

Drew: To the past.

Pat: That's... [Trails off]


Pat: Why are we going back?

Drew: It could be interesting.


Pat: To think we could have always been like this. This is our story...

Drew: I don't think it is. There were other people.

Pat: They could have been unrelated.

Drew: We should go pick them up.

Pat: In your imaginary car.

Drew: My flying bench.

[PAT chuckles slightly. The light begins to ease out]

Pat: We can go everywhere, huh?

Drew: Everywhere and anywhere.

Pat: We're not there yet though.

Drew: Ease up – it's a long journey by bench.

[DREW occasionally makes motor noises as PAT looks around. Eventually, PAT is annoyed with the charade. They sigh loudly. The bench is now half visible]

Drew: It could have turned out differently, you know.

Pat: How different?

Drew: We could have had to find each other.

Pat: Instead we have each other and we're still looking.

Drew: It's better with people at least.

Pat: It might be.

Drew: We'll find them and then find who we were. We have to be here for something.

Pat: Maybe.

Drew: Just keep trying.

Pat: Just keep talking.

[The two fall silent for a short time. DREW eventually drops the mock-driving stance. They face away from each other. The bench is completely visible in the light]

Pat: There's nothing happening.

Drew: What?

Pat: There's nothing happening. It's just... just breakfast. Just driving. Just wondering. Just... thinking...

Drew: Does anything need to happen, still?

Pat: Yes!

Drew: What needs to happen?


Drew: What do we do?

Pat: I've forgotten. I've forgotten everything.

Drew: There used to be someone.

Pat: They're gone.

Drew: So what do we do?

Pat: What can we do? We need something more than this to happen.

Drew: We could try those stories again.

Pat: But they're not us.

Drew: Maybe we were made from them.


Drew: Maybe there's a story made for us.

Pat: One that used to be us.

Drew: We just can't remember.

[DREW moves to pick up the shoe and sits on the bench]

Pat: There's something more than just waiting, isn't there?

Drew: Fill the space with meaningful words.

Pat: Meaningful words?

Drew: All that's left is to find the meaning.

[PAT takes the seat beside Drew. The lights fade]
20-minute play in an Absurdist style.

This one was intended to stand by itself but now I'll think it could go into my next work. Definitely needs some changes made, but I don't mind this how it is.

A number of moments in the play come from other works. John Marsden's "keep on going 'till it all stops flowing" in Letters from the Inside was definitely an inspiration for "fill the space with meaningful words". Zoo Story (Edward Albee), Krapp's Last Tape (Samual Beckett) and Waiting for Godot (Beckett as well) make an appearance, if only slightly. Certainly, Beckett's work has impacted the kind of voice and presentation I have in the play. The Nursery Rhymes and role play come from playbuilding techniques, though of course the characters aren't devising something with a theme.

Apparently someone has taken parts of this and claimed it as his own, so I must be doing something right. I don't know if anyone would perform this so there's no Creative Commons on this, but if you do, message me about it?
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anapests-and-ink Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
This was fantastic! I desperately want to see it performed.
snurtz Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2011  Student Writer
I was going to ask if you were aware of Waiting for Godot! I see that you are!

I am simply dying to see this performed. I'd love to get a couple people together and perform it, but none of my friends are into that sort of thing. :(

I LOVE the Absurdist style and you have done it so well here! I love how it varies between serious and humorous so easily - when I was reading it, I had this feeling of being suspended in time and space - everything else simply melted away. I felt like Pat and Drew were all that existed. This is wonderful, and one of the best things I've read on dA in a long time.

Shadocchi Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2011  Professional Writer
Thank you so much :D I might see if I can get a few of my performance friends to play this out.
snurtz Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Student Writer
Haarbinger Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2011
Are we waiting for Goudot in English? If you can't read it in french (yet) you lack depth and resonance which would be a masterpiece.
Shadocchi Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2011  Professional Writer
Waiting for Godot has been translated to English, though even if I learnt French, I doubt I could fully understand the nuances and potential meanings. I plan a number of changes to this script, to both explore my own ideas and diverge from this being too close to Godot, so it's far from completion. But thank you for your comment.
Haarbinger Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2011
Don't be hurt, love. I only write because I can see you having a voice in contemporary literature. Any criticism may be disregared, but first must be noted.
Shadocchi Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2011  Professional Writer
Of course~ I appreciate your comment and I'll keep it in mind. I didn't mean any dismissal by my reply, just a note that this is still a work in progress.
dietcocaine Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2011   Writer
Very thought-provoking. I love the concept behind this, although I wasn't entirely sure why you've classified it as comedy - it didn't seem comedic. Although that may just be me.

Regardless, congratulations on the DLD Pick of the Day. Wonderful piece.
Shadocchi Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2011  Professional Writer
Thank you~

I figured the fast back-and-fourths at times lent itself to comedy. In reading this out with a few people, the comedic tones went better as a contrast to the reality behind it. I don't feel the piece should be performed with the seriousness that I often see in dramas, so I opted for comedy.
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