Saturday, January 20, 2018

Redenbacher's Revenge Scene 1 (A.K.A. the Play I Regret Writing For A Project)

During the Fall semester of 2017, I attended an English 101B class. One of the assignments was to write a play based on a given segment of the Greek play "Electra," but change the setting (film noire, pirates, mafia movie, etc). We were to work in a group.

The time crunch was horrible since my group was the first to present. Even worse was that I was the one to volunteer to write the dumb thing. I've written in screenplay format before. Stage play? Never did it, and I'm 100% sure I did things wrong, but the professor didn't care so much about format as long as it was readable and stayed consistent throughout the script.

I was pleased to see that people enjoyed the bizarre humor of my group (since they were the ones to give me suggestions of what to write in our play). All that stress and frustration of having so few rehearsal days due to schedule conflicts paid off on the day it mattered most, at least.

For some context, this play is based off of the segment in "Electra" where the Tutor goes to deliver the news of Electra's brother, Orestes, and his "death" up until Chrysothemis (Electra's sister) and Electra discuss their further plans about what to do now that their hope in their brother is gone.

What the group wanted: Set it in the Wild West, include aliens, Orville Redenbacher because popcorn is awesome, dumb instrument playing, and really cheesy accents. Jokes were a collaboration between the whole group so I can't claim everything humorous to be completely of my own doing.

This is scene 1 of 4 (the rest will come at a later date):

ACT 1
SCENE 1
SCENE DESCRIPTION: Western, small town.
AT RISE: CLEMENTINE is getting into a dress, upset. ELEANOR is helping her into the dress, frustrated.
CLEMENTINE
Can't ya hurry up back there, Eleanor? I dunno why ya insist on dressin' me in front of the entire town in my bloomers.
ELEANOR
Why'n't ya ask Chastity to help ya, huh? Ya like 'er better'n me! 'Sides, it ain't like the whole town ain't already seen ya in yer underwear.
CLEMENTINE
What'dya implyin', girl?
ELEANOR
Y'all playin' missus "loyal wife" while the sun's out. When it's night time, y'all nothin' better than a whore.
CLEMENTINE
Now that ain't the way t' be talkin' to yer mother, Eleanor!
ELEANOR
Yer ain't no mama! Y'all treat me like I ain't yer child after you and Angus shot papa! Just wait 'till Orville comes back and gits y'all for that.
CLEMENTINE
Say that all ya want. If he knew what's good for 'im, he ain't never gonna come back to this town. We ain't gonna tolerate no outlaws around these parts.
ELEANOR
Y'all made 'im an outlaw when ya framed 'im for murder!
(Enter DIRTY DAN)
(ELEANOR and CLEMENTINE pause in their argument, diverting their attention to DIRTY DAN.)
DIRTY DAN
(tipping his hat in greeting)
Pard'nin' my intrudin', ladies. My name's Dirty Dan.
(to CLEMENTINE)
I presume this purty angel is the sheriff's wife. Used to go by Mrs. Redenbacher? Right?
(CLEMENTINE hides a smile behind her hand, acting shy.)
CLEMENTINE
Maybe? Whatsit to ya? And I ain't gone by Mrs. Redenbacher no more. Call me Clementine.
(DIRTY DAN tugs at his shirt collar, flustered. He comes to his senses and becomes serious.)
DIRTY DAN
I come bearin' bad news, ma'am. It's about yer son, Orville.
CLEMENTINE
Orville? Why? He come to ruin this town again?
DIRTY DAN
Naw, ma'am. It's just -- Orville is...
(beat)
Ya know, how 'bout I play y'all a song to ease the news?
(DIRTY DAN brings out a mandolin and tests out the strings. CLEMENTINE smacks her forehead.)
CLEMENTINE
Out with it, already!
(DIRTY DAN plays a few chords, moving to the rhythm of his performance, getting serious as if the music and his lyrics are going to be something heartfelt and deep.)
DIRTY DAN
(clears his throat and opens his mouth as if ready to sing)
He was robbin a train
When the aliens came
He was boardin' the back
When they tried to abduct him
They dropped him on the tracks
Which really fucked him
(DIRTY DAN plays a few more chords. He turns to the audience.)
All y'all, when I say "your son," y'all say "he's dead." Your son!
AUDIENCE
He's dead!
DIRTY DAN
Your son!
AUDIENCE
He's dead!
(DIRTY DAN cuts his playing abruptly.)
DIRTY DAN
Your son's dead, ma'am. Sorry t'have to be the one t' break this news to ya.
CLEMENTINE
How'd he die? What happened?
DIRTY DAN
I jus' told ya... Back there in th-the song... With the mandolin? Are ya feelin' alright?
CLEMENTINE
(skeptical)
Yer tellin' me he was abducted by aliens?
DIRTY DAN
Yes, ma'am! And not 'em illegal kind neither. We're talkin' 'bout outer-space aliens.
CLEMENTINE
What in the good Lord's name you talkin' 'bout, boy?
DIRTY DAN
It turns out there was some sort of malfunction on the space saucer thingy and the aliens dropped 'im in front of the train...
(beat)
He got vaporized.
CLEMENTINE
(laughing)
How'd ya expect me t' believe a stupid thing like that?
DIRTY DAN
(Brandishing a VHS tape)
I've got eyewitness testimony!
(DIRTY DAN turns to play the video.)
Listen here, sweet thang, what yer 'bout to see is pretty grisly. Ya might want to have a seat.
CLEMENTINE
Would you just shut up an' let's get this over with.
(The animation plays. CLEMENTINE and ELEANOR watch. CLEMENTINE is at first horrified, then overjoyed. ELECTRA holds both hands over her mouth as she looks disgusted and horrified.)
CLEMENTINE
I'm mighty sad that Orville's dead, but I'm relieved that the murderer got just what he deserved.
(beat)
(CLEMENTINE acts like what she just witnessed on VHS didn't phase her at all.)
Ya want somethin' t' eat? Ya must be hungry from yer travel.
DIRTY DAN
I am mighty hungry.

(CLEMENTINE and DIRTY DAN exit, arm in arm. ELEANOR screams in grief as she exits.)

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