A Short Play That By Leaving Everything Out, Might Just Be Leaving Everything In

[Setting: A place where everything is mud
and anything that is not mud is covered in mud.
As the curtain rises, the characters are
barely visible in the muck.]

L’homme: [rising up out of the muck] Do you remember when we were clean?

ER2: [rising up out of the muck] No.

[Both characters sink down back into the muck
and are never heard from again.]


THE END

Let’s Make a Deal About a Door (or “A Play Without a Remainder”)

Notes for live performance: This one-character play is to be performed on a well-lit bare stage with a white back wall. The character delivers all of his lines with a heavy Mexican accent, similar to that used by Cheech Marin in “Up in Smoke.” If for some reason that offends you, then have the character deliver his lines in an Italian accent (my peeps) similar to Chico Marx’s or an Indian accent (I enjoy Indian food) or whatever accent you want…just not a Jamaican accent. Some short one-act absurdist plays are tailor-made for a Jamaican accent. This is not one of those plays. Anyway, use any accent you want, but, I warn you – you deviate at your own risk!

The plays begins with with main character, who is “nameless”, walking on stage…actually, let’s back up…the main character is “nameless”…small “n”…hence we have a play where the sole character both is and isn’t nameless…so this nameless character walks on stage wearing a leisure suit from the 1970’s…or some sort of suit…I’m not really into fashion or costume design…just don’t have him walk on stage as a leopard, or, God forbid Rum Tug Tugger or Munkustrap from Cats…dressing the character as Jean Valjean, either pre- or post-escape from Devil’s Island or wherever he was – NOT RECOMMENDED AT ALL!!!! Similarly, it is not recommended to dress the character as the male lead from Miss Saigon…the female lead would be even worse….actually, come to think of it…before you start with costuming, find out where Miss Saigon is playing, drive there and do a quick sketch of whatever The Engineer is wearing in the big “American Dream” number and Sha-bam! that’s what the character in this play is wearing…or if you can’t get to Miss Saigon, attempt to locate an actor named Thom Sesma, who was as good an Engineer as I’ve ever seen, and give him a ring and have him describe what he was wearing in that scene…OK…now that we have costuming taken care of that…the very first thing the nameless character does when he gets on stage is disrobe…on second thought…if you went to all that trouble to get the costume right it would be a shame to let it go to waste…the nameless character walks on stage AND KEEPS HIS CLOTHES ON…OK…now we’re getting somewhere…specifically, the middle of the stage…after the curtain goes up the character walks to the middle of the stage addresses the audience directly and very enthusiastically when he delivers the opening line, then following the delivery of the opening line, the nameless character moves to stage left…the audience’s right…it’s true, you really do learn something every day…and for the remainder of the play alternates between addressing the audience and gesticulating towards the blank back wall as if pointing out actual doors…and it’s important that the actor makes it seems as if he believes that what is behind the door is incredibly valuable and real and the character is played with a suitable degree of controlled mania…this play will probably received its first live performance in a limited form at an upcoming Kelly Writer’s House Speakeasy…although the windows directly behind the lectern are going to be a problem for me…as a) I’m not an actor and b) even a very good actor, like the aforementioned Thom Sesma, would have a difficult time convincing the audience that several large bay windows less than 2 feet behind him are a row of doors…hmmm…okay, I may have to make up a diagram consisting of rows of doors and just point to it…actually, come to think of it… feel free to ignore all of the above directions…except for the use of an accent and costuming…and just have the character point to a large diagram containing as many doors as possible…that way, the play can be staged in a plethora of environments…including an elevator, although this is not recommended…now without further ado…up curtain!)

Are you ready to play Let’s Make a Deal About a Door? Then let’s make a deal about a door!

Behind one of these doors is a door.

Behind one of these doors are two doors.

Behind one of these doors is a door leading to another door.

Behind two of these doors are two doors leading to the same door.

Behind two of these doors are two doors leading to the same door that the door leading to another door leads to.

Behind three of these doors are twin doors.

Behind four of these doors are French doors.

Behind one of these doors is a door to nowhere in particular.

Behind one of these doors is a door to somewhere very precise, but cloaked in a thick fog.

Behind one of these doors – one of those doors.

Behind one of those doors – one of these doors.

Behind this door and that door – these doors.

Behind that door and this door – those doors.

Behind this door and that door – other doors.

Behind that door and this door – other doors, but different doors from the other other doors.

Behind one of these doors and one of those doors – one of these doors.

Behind one of those doors and one of these doors – one of those doors.

Behind some of these doors – some more of these doors and a few of those doors.

Behind some of those doors – some of those doors and a few of these doors.

Behind one of these doors – none of the doors.

Behind one of these doors – some of the doors.

Behind one of these doors – all of the doors.

Behind one of these doors – all the doors, so it seems, but not really, as one of the doors is in there twice.

Behind one of these doors – all the doors plus one extra door, it seems, but not really, as one of the doors is in there three times.

Behind one of these doors – all the doors, it seems, but not really – really it is only some of the doors and a team of very, very good actors pretending to be the other doors.

Behind one of these doors is a years supply of doors.

Behind two of these doors is a six-month supply of doors.

Behind six of these doors is a two-month supply of doors.

Behind one of these doors is the daily door.

Behind one of these doors is a doorman.

Behind one of these doors is a doorman made of doors.

Behind one of these doors is a doorwomen made of a doorman made of doors.

Behind one of these doors is a door inside a door.

Behind one of these doors is a door inside two doors.

Behind one of these doors is baby doors.

Behind one of these doors is doorbell to the wrong door.

Behind one of these doors is a doorbell to the right door.

Behind one of these doors is a doorbell to the left door.

Behind one of these doors is a doorless door leading to other doorless doors.

Behind one of these doors are two doors both a little more than halfway to the point of doorlessness.

Behind one of these doors are two doors exactly halfway to the point of doorlessness, giving the appearance of a single door.

Behind one of these doors is a door without a doorway.

Behind one of these doors is a door on a doormat shaped like a door.

Behind one of these doors is a door on a doornail.

Behind one of these doors is a door that opens out on a dooryard full of old doors.

Behind one of these doors is doorsteps leading to another door.

Behind one of these doors is two doors with one doorkeeper.

Behind one of these doors is one door with two doorkeepers.

Behind one of these doors is a door jamb.

Behind one of these doors is a door knob used as a door jamb.

Behind one of these doors is a door jamb used as a door knob.

Behind one of these doors is a door used as a doorknob.

Behind one of these doors is a door made of doorknobs.

And in front of one of these doors is where everything stops.

Poem for Greek Chorus

CHORUS A & B:

unto the bubbling spring
with typhus fever
after the termination
of the true form
in which it is proposed
carcasses have come from
fever blisters/cold sores
then joined in importance
the initiatives of things
to keep in mind when moving wind

CHORUS A:
do you have any clothes
bed linens you can share

CHORUS B:
even if they will not move
the way you want –
not fast enough to multiply?

CHORUS A:
one head in the bed
two shoes on the floor

CHORUS B:
the clouds know
what they’re doing

CHORUS A & B:
everything is sugared water
we have had enough of burning with contrast
we let go of teeth
in addition to
self-limiting
passages
secondary to the bacteria

CHORUS A:
I should have known
you’d turn to me and say

CHORUS B:
would you be so kind as to
turn me into the camera?

CHORUS A:
in addition to
the same intense desire to relieve

CHORUS B:
relying on EVE
like a spirit
rejoicing in
the epidemic

CHORUS A:
like the flippers
badly damaged in a disaster

CHORUS B:
like the kickboards
cracked in half

CHORUS A:
like a starting point for
a soon-to-be-moving
moving image

CHORUS B:
like a moving image of
a perpetually moving starting line

CHORUS A & B:
starting only to end
opening only to close
most agree that
acute sinusitis lasts a while
and you might have a bright red nose
by the time you feel better

CHORUS A:
you may have to
beat back the earth in waves
to clear a way for the grasshopper
and prosper

CHORUS B:
you may have the option
to screen for natural hazards

CHORUS A&B:
[humming the latest song
playing on the radio]

CHORUS A:
we talk of things
set in stone

CHORUS B:
like never getting over
persisting oral herpes

CHORUS A&B
we have surfed
fluid-filled
our whole lives
offered
puzzle pieces
of such unprecedented scale
demanding reflection and
evacuation
into
the cabin
where a rodent control expert
procures you your
shovels
and a midwife
your chills
during or after miscarriage

CHORUS A:
ye have been so long away
things can go wrong
April

CHORUS B:
you may have symptoms
coupled with more black pins
and lane pains

CHORUS A:
each repetition
a gate

CHORUS B:
an incisional
bulge

CHORUS A&B:
in the
flooded area
where the earth is
water beneath the
cities

CHORUS A:
to exact
a predicted wish

CHORUS B:
to obliterate
7 acres

CHORUS A&B:
to discover
the magic
on or after
your fifth dose of IPV

CHORUS A:
moving the ark
in a more modern way

CHORUS B:
will not bring
a better class of renter

CHORUS A&B:
our time is up
our time is one without
visible injury
to the heart
you need to hold on to them
these things that will
creep under your skin and

CHORUS A:
see your doctor

CHORUS B:
transmit the virus
back and forth
between humans

CHORUS A:
see your doctor

CHORUS B:
get rid of
a head cold
without medicine

CHORUS A:
see your doctor

CHORUS B:
pack his moving truck
full to the brim,
but not have anywhere
to unload his belongings

CHORUS A:
if you must walk
in a flooded area

CHORUS B:
do not mention fire

CHORUS A:
if you see
horses or cattle
with their feet in pain

CHORUS B:
do not think
they are necessarily
closely related to each other

CHORUS A:
if the nunchuck
is not working as you expected

CHORUS B:
try blowing into
the nunchuck

CHORUS A:
search for syrup

CHORUS B:
honey

CHORUS A:
jelly

CHORUS B:
meat

CHORUS A:
take refuge
in elevators

CHORUS B:
in moving rock

CHORUS A&B:
moving at the time
of the relevant event

CHORUS A:
you check the background
of clarity

CHORUS B:
for charity

CHORUS A&B:
For chariots!
You save a country!
Will there be any scars?
CAESAR
a small scar like from a scratch
can develop simply then fade
or
continue on by complication
to grow
unrestrained

CHORUS A:
it is now time

CHORUS B:
it is now time

CHORUS A&B:
it is now time
for us to
start to go up a hill
feeling
unusually cold

CHORUS A:
searching for

CHORUS B:
searching for

CHORUS A&B:
searching for
a god to bring down

CHORUS A:
on ourselves

CHORUS B:
on ourselves

CHORUS A&B:
on to ourselves