Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Readers' Theatre

In one of my ongoing activities involving theatre and writing, I write short plays and direct a readers' theatre program at my home church. These short sketches are not designed to so much to present issues or provide answers, but more to promote thinking and ask questions. I'm working on one of these writing assignments today, and it's going about as smoothly as a molar extraction. But as always, if I can mange to get myself out of the way, the words will flow, and the results will hold a message meant for someone in my audience. For now, please enjoy the text of one of my previous works:

Bus Stop Scene
©Cheryl Fare

(Actors come to center stage, and face the audience. They are waiting for a bus. Pause.)

1: I think the bus is late. I always hate it when the bus is late.
2: I think it’s hot out. I always hate it when it’s hot out.
1: When the bus is late, then I am late, and it ruins my whole day. Nothing to be done.
2: When I start feeling hot, my cheeks turn red, I get light-headed, and I can’t think all day. As you say, not a thing to be done.
1: For some reason today, it crossed my mind to wonder if it really matters. Imagine that.
2: Really? Curious. Very curious, indeed.
1: Did you hear about what happened with the lady with the big you-know-what?
2: No. I must know all about that. Do tell.
1: Well, if you must know,……it fell off.
2: No! I didn’t know that was possible.
1: There you have it. You spend your time looking back to keep an eye out, as they say you should, and then looking ahead to be sure, as they also say you should, and then it happens. After all that time being there, it falls off, and that’s bad.
2: Yes, bad. So they say, very bad.
1: But I wonder, if it happened to me, would it be all bad?
2: What a thought! They always said it would be bad.
1: Yes, but I wonder.
2: (dubious) Well, that seems worth considering, at least.
1: Every day I come and wait. I did it yesterday, and I expect I will do it tomorrow.
2: I made a mistake once, and now it happens over and over again.
1: One day I did not come, just to see what would happen.
2: Really! So, what happened?
1: I didn’t know how to act, so I thought it was a mistake.
2: No matter what I do, I still make a mistake. It happened yesterday, so now I’m just waiting for it to happen today.
1: There’s an expert on TV. He says that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. So, there you have it. Nothing to be done.
2: Well, if he said it on TV, we know it must be true.
1: Just so. Nothing to be done.
2: Just so. Not a thing to be done. (pause) Do you ever wonder what words mean? I mean, once you say something over and over again, do you forget what it means, or wonder if it really means what you think it means?
1: Um, maybe. Pardon?
2: If there is nothing to be done, must that be a bad thing?
1: It always has been before.
2: But what if it is not a bad thing? What if it means something else?
1: Really? But what else could it mean?
2: Perhaps, just perhaps, it means that we need do nothing.
1: Do nothing? But what are we if we do nothing?
2: We just are. I am, you are, and everything is in order.
1: Radical. Brilliant, really, for you to think such a thing.
2: Oh, I don’t think I thought of that myself. Perhaps it just is.
1: What an idea. But then, what about being late?
2: Perhaps you need do nothing.
1: Huh. And what about being hot?
2: Perhaps I don’t mind.
1: Maybe.
2: Maybe.

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