THE THRILLING CLIMAX OF 'THE MALTESE FALCON MAY BE ALREADY TAKEN':
FOUR: (to five) How y’getting on?
FIVE: What? yeah, I’m just…you’ve taken it into some strange areas.
I don’t know what it is your tryin to say…
FOUR: Finish it. Let me know what you think of the endin’
THREE: Okay not a play, but Leo Colgan right? He had a great idea for performance art…
ONE: Performance art is called Live art now they changed it.
ONE: Yeah like Windscale to Sellafeild.
THREE: What’s windscale?
ONE: Sellafeild is Windscale.
THREE: What’s Sellafeild then?
ONE: Look never mind, go on with your story.
THREE: Okay! Leo Colgan Right this was his idea:, you come out. No wait, there’s a flame like a candle or a bottle of gas or anyway there’s a ‘pilot’ flame.
THREE: And then this guy comes out on all fours right? And he’s totally naked with one candle say there, in between his fingers and another candle sticking out of his hole. And he lights the candle out his hole and then he turns around and he lights the one in his hand and says, y’know like ‘Groucho Marx’: "Who says you cant burn the candle at both ends?" and then he waddles off.
ONE: And what’s that got to do with anything?
THREE: I’m just sayin’
TWO: Tell-you-what? Do you have any black insulation tape?
FOUR: I’ve some in the kitchen why?
TWO: Where? Can I have a bit?
FOUR: Sure one second (he gets up) Why?
TWO:( standing)No tell me where it is, I’ll get it.
(five takes out a pen and starts making notes)
FOUR:Okay I think there’s some in the tool box- What d’you want it for?
TWO: Yeah, in the toolbox yeah?
FOUR: There’s some in the toolbox, in the top of it, and the toolbox is in the red press.
TWO: (leaving)In the red press in the kitchen?
FOUR: Yeah but c’mere…
ONE: Leave’em off.
FOUR:(to five:) Whaddya doin’?
FIVE: Give us a minute.(pause)
FOUR: Wine anyone?
THREE: How are we for more?
FOUR: I think I should have one more hang on…(moves toward kitchen)
TWO: You can’t come in!
TWO: No please. One second. I’ll be out one second only you can’t come in…
THREE: What’s happenin?
FOUR: I dunno.
ONE: Loo-lah. (pause)
FOUR: Look, can I go into me own Kitchen please, we need wine here.
TWO: ONE SECOND!
FOUR: I liked that Leo Colgan thing.
ONE: (to three)You should do it!
THREE: Ah no it’s his thing, besides it’s a lot of trouble to go to for one gag. Plus.
THREE: indeed. plus
FOUR: Plus hot candle wax dribbling down your nether regions.
ONE:(taking out a fag and pointing it) Here’s one thing y’don’t see
ONE: In plays nowadays. You should put a fag in it.
FOUR: What like a fag fag?
ONE: Hear me out.
THREE: As a character?
ONE: No for smokin’
THREE: I think it’s been done.
ONE: OR HAS IT?
THREE: No. I think the ground-breaking innovation of a smokin’fag in a play is a bit of a convention by this stage.
ONE: OR IS IT?
THREE: Are you just gonna keep doing that?
ONE: No hear me out. It’s against the law.
THREE: It’s against the law.
ONE: Yes it is, OR IS IT?
THREE: Stop. Just stop.
ONE: What I mean is, what happens nowadays… no honestly…what happens nowadays if you go and see a play and there’s a bit where someone is havin’ a fag?
FIVE: I dunno they have a fag. What’s the point?
ONE: When someone has a fag, when someone had a fag in the beforetimes YES! and I agree right enough but in the nowtime they wont do it. They wont do it because the law, you see so instead they have these- what do they make them out of? really really really horrible stinky herbal things.
THREE: oh yeah.
FOUR: oh yeah they’re rotten.
ONE: they are, they are rotten and even if you sit far back they really.
FOUR: They stink out the place.
THREE: They stink out the place yeah.
ONE: They stink out the place and not only That but like for five or ten minutes even afterwards oaaaaaak! rotten.
ONE: And the smell just hangs around then.
FOUR: Those herbal fags do stink.
ONE: They stink and they undermine the actor because They try and accent and costume an’ all, I mean nobody believes but the point is convincing.
ONE: And a stinky herbal fag is not only unconvincing, it’s… It’s a reminder y’know?
ONE: worse than a pantomime horse. So, ‘what-would-happen-IF…?
(two goose-steps in from the kitchen, trousers rolled-up, hair slicked to one side. Under their nose is a small square of insulation tape. two Sings:)
TWO: Zerse a flahr zat grows in the meadow!
Unt her name
TWO: Ein Volk! Ein Reich! I’ne losing me moustache hang on a second.
(goes back to the kitchen)
THREE: What the fuck was that?
FIVE: Sorry , what’s goin’ on?
TWO: (offstage) All the glue gone off… hang on I’l clip another bit.
FOUR: You’re grand ,you’re grand.
THREE: We get it!
TWO: (re-emerging)What you think?
THREE: That was the best Charlie Chaplin I’ve ever seen.
TWO: How was it Charlie chaplin?
THREE: Because you were better back in the days when you were silent.
TWO: no it was Hitler.
ONE: Y’don’t say?
THREE: Hitler. Look. call me a purist.
ONE: No. It was good.
THREE: Why was he singing? You never, Hitler’s not normally singing.
TWO: I know that’s just me kind of… developin’ the character.
FOUR:(to two:) Well develop yourself back into the kitchen and bring in the vine. Mein Herr
ONE: What was I sayin’? yeah. Fags. What-would-happen If…
ONE: Smoke real fags.(two returns)
TWO: There’s the wine.
FOUR: Smoke real fags?
FOUR: That’s the innovation.
ONE: Just light it up (he lights the lighter)
FOUR: Hang on wait a second.(three: blows out the flame)
ONE: Honestly why don’t they? Seriously, Who’s gonna go up in the middle of a play and go "You can’t smoke here, stop the show"
FOUR:That’s not the point.
ONE: That is the point.
FOUR: No the point is, People have allergies and sinuses and half-a lung-to-begin-with or whatever . They might not interrupt the show but you’re making them uncomfortable, and you’re breaking the law. At least one of which is wrong but only one of which you can be prosecuted for.
ONE: ah well, Fuck it, If I cant smoke onstage might as well have one here.(lights lighter)
THREE: Actually do you mind?
THREE: I have sinus problems that are aggravated by cigarette smoke.
ONE: (extinguishing lighter) Are you serious?
THREE: No. (ONE: relights lighter)
FOUR: Even if you’re not, I am.
FOUR: No smokin’ in the gaff.
ONE: Ah c’mon!
FOUR: No I’m serious the flatmates’ll go ballistic.
FIVE: You know what you need?
FOUR: A balcony, I know.
FIVE: Allow me to re-phrase, you know what this play needs?
FIVE: A point.
FIVE: yes. a point. Banter is all very well, and you do make some points, you make some valid points about the medium. But I’ve read this. I’ve finished it.(to two:) There is some crying.(to four:) not crazy about the way it ends. Can I ask you a question?
FIVE: Do You hate theatre?
FOUR: You think I hate theatre?
FIVE: Well yeah that’s just the impression. I don’t I mean. This, I’m sorry to tell you but this isn’t a play. This is not what a play is. That’s not to say I didn’t get a kick out of readin’ it. Or people wouldn’t enjoy it. parts anyway. but god if ever anything insisted upon itself…
FOUR: What d’you want me to do?
FIVE: I want you to think about your audience. An’ I want you to think about realism.
FOUR: I’m thinkin’ about them.(pause) I’m sorry I really need to go to the jax.
ONE: I’m next.
FOUR: There’s another bathroom under the stairs.
THREE: I’m after you.
(four:,ONE: and three: exit. Pause. Sound of ONE pissing like a racehorse)
TWO: I’m gonna need to go soon.
FIVE: Oh have you somewhere?
TWO: No. I mean if I don’t want to wet myself.
FIVE: Oh right.
(The sound of(ONE) stops. four: returns)
TWO: is it free? (ONE: returns)
ONE: Under the stairs is free.
TWO: Thank god (two: exits)
(The sound of somebody(two) pissing like a racehorse)
FOUR: God it’s really loud in here, is that from under the stairs?
(pause) we hardly ever use that one.
FIVE: I can see why.
( two’s wee sound stops .three: returns)
FOUR: I was to think about my audience.
FIVE: Yes. do. Is there one free?- back in a moment. But here’s a question, How much realism is necessary?(exits)
FOUR: how much is too much? (two stops pissing)
ONE: I’m getting another can.(exits)
FOUR: How much is too much?
( The sound of grunting and the smell of ammonia fills the air)
FOUR: What? (shouting) Ah Close the door!
(muffled sound of two:) It is closed!
THREE: Jesus Christ! I’m goin to the kitchen.
FOUR: Open the windows in there.
ONE: what? What’s the smell?
THREE: Never mind. I think now’d be a good time to go out and have that fag.
THREE: I’ll join you
ONE: I didn’t know you smoked.
THREE: I don’t.
(FOUR: reads the script that five: has been writing on)
FOUR: I’m just readin’ your notes.
FIVE: What’s the whiff?
FOUR: You don’t wanna know.
FIVE: Smells like
FOUR: You don’t wanna know.
FOUR:Out havin’ a fag.
FIVE:Are you alright?
FIVE:Are you cryin? (He is)
FOUR:Fuck! Smell’s actually makin’ my eyes water.
FIVE:D’you wanna go outside?
FOUR: Nah I think the worst of it’s over.
FIVE: I don’t think you should read the notes
FOUR: How come?
FIVE: I was only writin’ that to get my thoughts straight. I didn’t mean for you to read it.
FOUR: Sure what other way would you write?
FOUR: What you write in private is all the more valuable isn’t it?
FOUR: on what?
FIVE: Depends on you, depends on how interested people are in you. Getting’ back to Hitler, Mein kampf is a pretty shitty read, but y’know even though that was the form everyone wanted to buy the Hitler diaries.
FOUR:(gesturing to script) It’s dire isn’t it?
FIVE: It’s a bit of a wank, but it has potential.
FIVE It just doesn’t say anything.
FIVE: What do you want to say with it?-D’you want to say, "Look at me I’m so clever?" Innovation for it’s own sake’s not much of a statement.
FOUR: That’s not what I want to say.
FIVE: Then what do you want to say?
FOUR:I want to say ‘Look at this’ because this is all it is. All it is is this and that shouldn’t take from it. I want to say ‘check out what’s really happenin’ here. Reality in counterfeit. Yes.But.… Plot. Any number of plots any number of stories. Like when you’re a kid, a film is real. There all real people, and you get older and you start to notice, I dunno ‘Camera-work’ and ‘isn’t that your man from that carry-on film?’ And it’s not real anymore and you still enjoy it.
FIVE: But you enjoy it for different reasons.
FOUR: For different reasons exactly. You see enough stuff and examine it and then after a while you see it’s all formula. And then it’s like peppy le pew.
FIVE: Speakin’ of which…
TWO: Where is everyone?
FOUR: Havin a fag. In peppy le pew it’s always the same. There’s a skunk and a cat and the cat gets a white stripe and the skunk spends all his time trying to seduce her and in the end, the skunk has his smell masked and the cat is chasin’ him and he’s not interested. The same. Always. But after you’ve seen it twice, you know what’s gonna happen so you ask other questions: not ‘How’s it all gonna turn out’ ‘cos you know that. You ask, How is the cat gonna get it’s stripe this time? When and how will the turn-around be?
There’s no plot.
I know there’s no plot.
There’s no plot in this play here.
That’s what I’m sayin’.
Because maybe we’re beyond that.
Somehow I doubt that very much.
Maybe it’s time to stop tryin’ to manipulate peoples opinions with false emotion.
Maybe you just don’t have the ability?
Well alright there’s that too but plots, go see a film if you want to see a plot. Films, Films have replaced Theatre, they have. Long time ago, but only the way electric lightbulbs replaced candles. People still like ,want and use candles. They’re not important anymore, the way they used, to be but, lightbulbs… not the same. There’s things you can only do with candles and plots isn’t it.
Is the smell gone?
is the wine all gone?
There’s such a thing as too much realism, and there’s such a thing as being too naked.
There’s some baileys if anyone wants…
The truth is, what this whole thing boils down to, is basically admitting, you’re basically admitting with somethin’ like this that you don’t have enough interest in the world around you to be a writer.
What if this is the world around me?
Well alright if the only problems you have to face in life are aesthetic ones but don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for you.
(coming back from the fag break) Oh lads will you ever shut up about it?
I’ne tryin to help my friend.
Are you though?
I think I’ll try that Baileys. Where is it?
Over the red press,and bring in some more glasses. should be on the sink.
You just need,You just need.
: You need a drink!
No listen to me. Concentrate. This important.
: Oh very lady-like
You need to think about, seriously.
Okay. On your own. On your own, up! up!
(getting up) Up where?
Not you. Everybody else, Up!(one: and three: rise)
What’s goin on?
Don’t ask me.
Now there!(he gestures to the audience) Blank wall. see? That’s your audience.
(two: returns with the tray in his hand, there are four glasses of baileys on it.)
Ladies and Gentlemen a toast! – to the audience!
Hang on what’s goin on?
(two: looks at the tray)
hang on I have an idea!
(two: goes back to the kitchen)
An audience, sooner or later- you have to face them. An’ account for yourself. So this is just, Just an exercise. WE’ll go.
To the kitchen!
We’ll go to the kitchen, and you think.
and we drink.
And no, listen, talk to ‘your audience’. We won’t listen, talk to your audience and just simple statement. Say what you want to say. When you know what that is, then you can give it a bash. So you just say it. Whatever it is, and then maybe, how will we know? Then you say: ‘The End’ only loud. And we can come back in.
I don’t see the point.
Shushsh,do it, you need to do it. For yourself. ‘The End’ and then we come back in and we’ll all bow.
To the audience.
(two: emerges with. a larger insulation tape moustache and a floppy chef’s hat on Holding the tray like a palette and dipping a chopstick into it, as if it were a paintbrush.)
I ham leonarrdo da veeenchy! I know very many feeelosophy and syanse, I learn eet froomaybook!
Come on out! everyone out!
This place is a fuckin’ madhouse.
I know naatheeeng
(four: looks at the audience and is about to speak, then sighs.
You’re too quiet, I know you’re listening.
Shut up!- We wont listen, I’ll tell you what,- we’ll sing!
I know naatheeeng
What’ll we sing?
Dunno you start it.
Just do something anything.
If you leave me now, you take away the biggest part of me
(one:three: two: and five: all together)
Woooooo no baby please don’t go.
(one,two AND three continue to sing all through the next bit, but don’t know the words)
(to audience)Hello audience (back to the kitchen) Ah no I cant!
Just do it!
(to audience) Okay then the truth. The truth is. The truth is I don’t have anything to tell you. Nothin’ that you don’t already know anyway. I just hope you don’t get bored. (back to the kitchen)Okay you can come in now!
You forgot to say ‘THE END’
(Shouts) THE END!
(one:,two:,three: and five: come in from the kitchen and bow obsequiously)