Taking Care of Business: Act Three

25th April 2021

Nicholas Young (Elvis) & Martin O’Shea (the Colonel). Original Berlin cast

ACT THREE

     Elvis appears. He goes over to the TV’s and repeats his movements from Act One, but without any enthusiasm. Finally, he goes to a chair and slumps down. On a table he sees an old pizza box, with some left-overs. He picks one piece and eats, but mechanically, his jaws moving in a uniform rhythm, also without enthusiasm or pleasure. There is more debris in the room and rubbish on the floor. After his food, Elvis just sits staring vacantly into space.

     Enter Colonel, slowly, with a sideways glance, a look of pity and confusion rather than disgust.    

Col: Well, I’m still here. I was re-instated in my post. For the sake of peace and quiet, I apologised and promised not to do it again, a promise I have every intention of keeping, I might add … my back was aching for days afterwards. I left my girlfriend or at least tried to … she wanted to break up with me. Something about me not being so much fun anymore, no sense of adventure. Work’s the same. I no longer bother to speak about what’s going on in my life … I merely listen to others drone on. I’ve developed a whole series of gestures and non-committal phrases like these …

(demonstrates various movements of head and body to match his words)

You don’t say; no, really ? Well, whatdoyaknow ? How do YOU feel about that ? What do YOU want to happen …Thanks for coming, hope to see you again, real soon … When I come home … it’s this. The work has dried up and so has he. No-one seems to want an Elvis, anymore. I felt in some way responsible for his depression. I tried to cheer him up by doing things like this …

(to Elvis)

Hey, Elvis, I put some flyers around town and some adds in papers, how about leaving Graceland for a while and going back on the road ? You know your public needs you.

(addresses audience)

we got a little response … we were put on a short list for a walk-on part in a TV add … Elvis likes TV, but they chose to go with a George Michael look- a-like in the end.

Elv: Won’t they get a surprise when they go to the can !

Col: Right ! Who needs it ? Walk-on parts ! Opening shops selling any old tack.

Elv: You know, I think you’re right there, boy. I shouldn’t be limiting myself to small commerce. I have a higher calling. Doggone right, you know, I’ve got it, I know what I have to do … call the Limo, Colonel, we’re off to … the Reichtstag ! (1)

Col: Say what ?

Elv: Yeah, I’m gonna offer my services to the state, hell knows they could use them. What do those politicians know about real life ? C’mon let’s go see ol’ man … er, who’s the big boss man, these days ? Is that big mother still there ? (2)

Col: No, there’s a new kid on the block. And that kid’s a woman.

Elv: Hilary ? Man, she’s cute. Love that hair-band thing.

Col: No, not Hilary. Not cute, either.

Elv: But a woman ?

Col: More or less. Give or take, though you’d probably want to take more than give. Name’s Merkel.

Elv: “Urkel” ? Oh, well, I be damned if I’ll go then. Wait till they get a President worth clambaking … can’t have a man like me wasting photo-ops with a two-bit cow-faced in-bred hillbilly.

Col: (To audience) Then I had an idea and bear in mind that I’m getting increasingly desperate. This is something I tried a few weeks back.

(To Elvis)

Hey, Elvis, Paul McCartney’s outside, he wants so much to meet you. Can you find the time to give him an audience ?

(A mere nod from Elvis. Colonel goes off stage and returns presently, dressed as a Beatle, dark suit and Beatle wig. Throughout, he speaks with an exaggerated Liverpool accent.)

Col: All right there, Mister Presley, honour to meet ya, like, it really is, fab, gear and groovy. Me and the lads got all your records, we really love you, we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you, like every time we write a song, we think, “how would it sound if Elvis sang it ?”

Elv: Better.

Col: Hey, you could be right there, Cock.

Elv: Bet your arse I’m right.

Col: So, which one of us is your favorite … everyone has a favorite Beatle ? Is it me ?

Elv: None of you.

Col: Oh, ‘ey, ain’t you a one, hey, a right Bobby Dazzler. Is it me ? It’s normally me. All the girls like me.

Elv: Boy, you sure as hell look like a girl. Whoa … I like the drummer … Bongo. He’s all right. ‘Course, he’s not the best drummer in the world.

Col: “In the world” ? He’s not even the best drummer in The Beatles. Ta-da ! An oldie but goldie. But can I ask you, where does your talent come from. People ask me all the time to …

Elv: Stop talking ?

Col: Oh, you do like a laugh, oh, ‘ey, fab, like, gear, WWHHHHOOOOOHHHHHHHHH

Elv : No, boy, I mean … stop talking ! You can get a signed photo on your way out. It’s my time to commune with the higher power now. An’ if you wanna know where my gift comes from, well, I suggest you get your skinny, white arse down to the local Baptist church. Randy Scouse git !

Col:

(To audience, as he removes his Beatle garb)

I gave it my best shot, what do you expect ? It got to the point where I was past caring, I thought I’d just let him rot, what’s it to me ? If he couldn’t pay his rent, I’d sling his fat arse out of the joint. ‘Course, I might need some help, someone with a JCB, maybe, but then … something happened. I was at work, drying glasses, when this guy comes in. He orders a beer and we strike up a conversation, you know, I’m thinking about the tips, well, this guy, he’s talking about his house and he’s got some light switch, which, I dunno, either it worked, or only sometimes, doesn’t matter … this guy’s talking to me … about light switches ! I don’t know the guy and he’s not drunk, he just goes on and on and on, he presses the switch one way, on comes the light, then when he tries it the opposite way, the light stays on, that kinda thing … and I’m LISTENING TO HIM ! I’m trying to follow him, see where he’s going with this … then it struck me … OK, the Ku’Damm (3) is hardly the road to Damascus, but this night, could I honestly say that my flatmate was any crazier than this guy, Mr Off-Switch ? Or any of the others in that sad and sorry place ? The guy playing video games all day long ? The girl who puts all her hope in computer-dating ? Anyone who’s ever gone to a Karaoke bar ? Maybe he had the answer … he felt that his life simply wasn’t good enough so he did something about it … little extreme for some tastes, I grant you, but … he did something. He was happy … was … so who was I to judge ? He made people laugh and, for a time, forget their own lives, their own problems. You know, I think people envied him. Really. He had the balls to be what they wanted to be. HE’S NOT ELVIS … he knows that. Did I have any better solutions, any answers, any … thing ? The next day, a letter arrived which gave me an idea. It was actually a bill for 46 Euro that’s 45 for the pizza and 1 for the stamp. I phoned and put a little proposition to them. They could have Elvis eat there every night for a week. I got him a booking …                   

Elv: What’s that you say, boy ?

Col: Elvis, you listen and listen good. 

(Speaks in a heavy, Southern accent)

I’m an old army man and I’m used to discipline. Now I’ve been good to you, almost too good, lettin’ you enjoy the fruits of your labour, an’ all. But heavens to Murgatroyd, they want you ! Your public’s crying out … they’ll be banging on the doors… Elvis, you’ve got to throw a little bone once in a while. I’ve got you booked into a week’s residency and by golly, you’re gonna do it.

Elv: A gig ?

Col: You betcha a gig.

Elv: Enough to keep us here, safe in Graceland ?

Col: More pizza than even you can imagine … but ya gotta get back into shape, son, back into motion.

Elv: Yeah, I have to … warm up a bit, that’s all. Why I can hear the crowd now … faint but expectant … murmuring. I can feel the excitement mounting … the lights, the make-up people running around, the choir doing their scales, musicians tuning. I gather my children around me for a little prayer, the audience getting louder and louder, sweat beginning to pour. I’m calm, gotta keep my people under control, but my heart’s pounding. I owe so much. People living their humble, God-fearing lives, have this one night to get a taste of, a glimpse of … something … higher. They need me … they need me to show them the way, to give them hope, belief, happiness … they need my love … they deserve … my love.

(Colonel slowly exits during Elvis’ speech. As Elvis reaches the end, ‘If I Can Dream’ comes on so that he can go immediately into his routine. He mimes along to the entire song. There should be no parody in the performance. Elvis can give out towels or flowers to women and as the music ends, the play finishes and lights go down.)

Notes

(1) Reichtstag – the German Parliament building.

(2) A reference to former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl

(3) Ku’Damm the main shopping road in west Berlin

Takin’ Care of Business: Act Two

24th April 2021

No photo description available.
Nicholas Young as ‘Elvis,’ with Jason Daly
No photo description available.

ACT TWO

It is seventeen weeks later. The room is even more tacky, with junk food wrappers and various Americana and kitsch items strewn around. As the Act begins, both are sitting on the chairs. Colonel tries to read but is put off by noises and mumblings coming from Elvis. He stares at Elvis, who seems oblivious. After some moments of silence :

Col: So then … what’s your favourite Elvis song ?

(slight pause)

Elv: All of them.

(slight pause)

Col: What’s your schedule this week ? I said …oh, what’s the use ? Think I’ll go and see Cordelia.

Elv: (suddenly appearing animated ) Oh yeah, the little lady. You take good care of that sweet lil’ bundle of honey – loving.

Col: What would you suggest ? Man of your experience.

Elv: (deep in thought) Uh … women. Boy. Whewww.

(Elvis doesn’t seems as if he’s going to add anymore.)

Col: Thank you, that was very helpful.

Elv: Shoes.

Col: Excuse me ?

Elv: Yeah, shoes. They love shoes. Buying shoes, trying  shoes, choosing shoes, they never wear them. Then take them out. A show, something that women like.

Col: Such as ?

Elv: That play they’re all clucking about … what’s it called ? Something … The Monotonous Vagina, that’s it.

Col: OK. Actually, I’m gonna break up with her. I don’t think it’s working out.

Elv: Attaboy ! Send her back to the farmyard where she belongs. Then when you come back we’ll go cruising on beaver patrol. I’ll show you why they call me ‘The Pelvis’. This rooster’s gonna rustle a few feathers, t’nite !

(He gets up and rubs his back, making slight moaning sounds)

Hold that thought, boy, not sure the King’s back could take it. Couldn’t you just pick up a pair of cuteys ? Use my name. That’ll work.

Col: Well I wasn’t planning on going down Hackershe Mackt (1) way. Listen, why don’t you use those phone numbers … satisfaction guaranteed, all for local rates.

Elv: And they’ll come here ?

Col: No !

Elv: Then …. ?

Col: You know … you know.

Elv: Yeah … what ? I dunno … what ? Oh….OH ! No, listen, I’ve been meaning to have a little chat with you … now seems a good time, what with you breaking up with Corolla.

Col: Cordelia.

Elv: See ! There you go, again. You always have to disagree with me … anything for an argument. When I think of what I gave, what I give to you, shucks, I don’t like to say, but doggone it, people would be falling over themselves to have your job. I don’t ask much, I’m just a simple country boy at heart, don’t let these luxury surroundings tell you otherwise. You have to admit, your work isn’t backbreaking, twenty-four hour a day hard manual labor. Hell, boy, it ain’t hardly work at all. I thought you liked looking after me … me who, well, me who gives so much pleasure to millions … don’t you think …

Col: Whoa, there, Tiger, time-out, time bloody out ! Enough is enough … what was the first record you bought ? What were the names of your pets  ? What’s the ingredients of your favorite peanut-butter and banana sandwich ? I have to say that your knowledge of trivia is disarmingly poor. I’m ashamed of you ! What happened last week ? Opening that dry cleaners ?                     

Elv: “Star Cleaners … feel like a star.”

Col: And that little kid comes up, asking where you were born… and you said “Dortmund”.

Elv: Well it was that Monroe look-a-like … she put me off … I couldn’t concentrate.

Col: So you may have been looking at the stars, but your mind was in the gutter.

Elv: Hey, there’ s a pal, get her number could you ? Tell her I’ve got a seven year itch she’s welcome to scratch. You know, I didn’t like the way Charlie Chaplin was looking at her. No values that man. Ah, she’s too old for him. He liked them young, barely out of their school uniforms …

Col: It’s no good knowing trivia about others … why don’t you read up ?

Elv: Why don’t you shut up, boy ? You can’t speak to me like that ! I made you what you are ! I took you out of that bar and gave you a firm foundation in life, set you up, away from that bedrock of sin and vice and nurtured you in an atmosphere of warmth and love and spiritual guidance. Now ! Get me Monroe’s number … I can’t get her tits out of my mind !

(Elvis gets up and prances around, fiddling with the TV’s, looking restless and generally lost as Colonel speaks. Halfway through the monologue, he sits down)

Col: I don’t know what to do with him. It was a joke at first, went on a bit long, but there was a line. As you can see, said line has been crossed, yes sir, and the truck is gonna keep on a-truckin’. He now refuses to believe that he’s not Elvis. He sits around all day, in the costume, same costume, watching TV’s, eatin’ junk and shouting out, “My boy, my boy.” Maybe it’s like a sleepwalker, you know, you’re not supposed to wake them. Imagine the shock he’d get when he realizes that he thought he was Elvis all these months. On the other hand, what if Elvis, his Elvis that is, suddenly realizes that’s he’s not who he thought he was, but he’s actually a bloke from Dortmund. You see where I’m going with this ? There’s one for the deconstructionists in the audience. Oh, I still work in that bar, for the time being. The boss told me to stop speaking to the customers about living with an Elvis impersonator. Apparently it’s depressing them and I have to survive on the tips. But why do all Elvis impersonators have to choose the 70’s Elvis ? Surely, if you’re gonna impersonate someone, you’d want to capture them at their best ? Why does no-one go with … the … ahhh … I have an idea. I won’t lie to you…it’s not without risk. There is, as you see, no safety net. Anything can happen and I cannot be held responsible. But I think it’s the only choice. You have been warned !

 (Exit)

Elv: Where you off to, boy ? Too ashamed by your behavior ? Well, I don’t hold grudges. You’ll be out of the ol’ doghouse soon and we’ll carry on as …

(Opening melody of ‘Are you lonesome tonight’ is heard, played by a toy xylophone. Elvis looks down at the landline phone and picks it up, slowly, with trepidation.)

Ahhhh … er, yeah, what, say, hello ? Yes, you are speaking to … The King … yes, say what, boy ? Burger Bar ? Yeah, I think it’s my God-given duty to open your Burger Bar … I’m a great patron of the arts. My fee …? er, well, hold the line … Colonel … COLONEL … Colonel ? Ah, heck, right, I’ll take 40,000 dollars cash and a bucket of burgers for the … hello ? Hello ? Damn Yankees ! Where’s the Colonel ? How dare he leave me before I sacked him. Kick his arse for sure. Skinny runt. Thinks he can talk like that to me … me ! The King …THE KING ! 

(attempts some moves but has to stop and rub his back)

Ohh, maybe it’s time I eased into my ballad period. Get the Colonel to hire some doo-wop backing chicks … short skirts, religious like. Oh, the …What in tarnation … ?

(The Colonel appears dressed in tight jeans with quiffed hair and carrying a guitar around his neck. He goes into a routine, singing and playing ‘Hound Dog’. The routine should start off quite serious and impressive until Colonel gets self conscious or loses his confidence and it becomes more of a parody. During this performance, Elvis gets increasingly irritated. First he is perplexed, then offended and finally angry. He tries to obstruct the Colonel, who is too nimble and quick. For the first time Elvis appears at least aware that there is an audience, as he tries to block the view and stop them seeing the ‘upstart’. Colonel then exits, singing and playing as he leaves. He gives one final turn and performs a series of pelvic-thrusts, then blows kisses. Elvis remains standing, breathing hard and heavy and mumbling to himself, though a few words may be intoned clearly. He seems to come to, breathes more calmly, then storms off stage. There are muffled sounds of Elvis screaming and cursing then some banging and thumping. Elvis reappears, dragging Colonel by the ear.)

Elv: I have never … never …

Col: (A la Gilbert & Sullivan) What never ? Or hardly ever ? Arrgghhh !

Elv: Ever seen such a hootenannying display of vulgarity. Boy ! My stomach is a turning over. I’m sick, sick, that a man could … and me … and … and… there’s nothing else for it. I’ve been carrying you for too long and this is how you say thank you, King. To think I was ever you ! The army didn’t come a moment too soon, doing my duty to God, serving in this fair country, comforting those little frauleins, all in the spirit of brotherhood and … and why weren’t you here ? Burger … burger … or whatever phoned … they had a gig for me … I don’t know how to speak to money people … my message is to the hearts, not the wallets. I only asked for 40,000 …see, they knew it’s too little, they must have thought they’d got hold of a crank. I HAD A GIG !  WHERE WERE YOU ? All this has cost me work … not to mention the insult, the … I’m trying, Lord, but … I can’t … I can’t. Some things are unforgivable. You have 24 hours to leave Graceland … and may the Lord have mercy on your soul.

(Exits)

Col: OK, so maybe I overdid it. I didn’t know he’d take it so hard. Disgraced in Graceland. Run out of town. Been given the boot. I’m no longer the pretend manager of a pretend Elvis. Maybe I could get a job as pretend Brian Epstein and pretend to manage pretend Beatles. What am I saying ? It’s getting to me … I have to leave, get back to normal people, have normal conversations, return to reality. Somebody around here has to. I don’t think it’s going to be him.

      END OF ACT TWO

Notes

(1) Hackershe Mackt an area in central Berlin where ladies of the night ply their trade.

Takin’ Care of Business: Act One

A comedy in three acts written & directed by Paul Pacifico

23rd April 2021

May be an image of 1 person

First performed in Berlin early 2000s with Nicholas Young as ‘Elvis’, Martin O’Shea as ‘Colonel’ and Chad as ‘Pizza Boy’. Later revived with Jason Daly as ‘Colonel’ and Philipp Pressmann as ‘Pizza Boy.’

Feel free to use this play as you see fit. If a small profit is generated, I would appreciate a donation to a cancer charity.

This version is set in Berlin. See notes at the end of the play for any references to specific locations or vocabulary.

Legal notice: should you wish to perform the play, you should check for copyright issues or music publishing rights. Original music may be used instead.

And now … lights down … Richard Strauss ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra.’

Takin’ Care of Business

Cast :    Elvis

     The Colonel

          Pizza Boy

Berlin : The Present.

ACT ONE

One room which is a microcosm of Graceland. In one corner hang multicoloured drapes. A table with some plants. The other corner contains three TV sets. Two comfy chairs.

Darkness. Intro of Strauss ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra.’

Two corner lights (red and blue) switch on.

Elvis enters after a minute or so. Lights up.

Elvis switches on first one, then the other TV’s. He looks at them, moving his head from side to side at regular intervals. He is dressed in 70’s costume and periodically alters his garb, without shame or any self-consciousness. He moves around the room. Suddenly he leaps into posture, performing a few karate kicks and muttering to himself, “Master tiger”. Then he does some ‘moves’ or set pieces. He gives a little chuckle to himself and mumbles something. He moves to the TV’s and changes the stations, eventually ending up with the same programmes as beginning, but on different sets. He watches intensely, moving head from side to side. He then moves around the room, performing two set pieces, one facing left, other to the right.

Elv: Well, that’s my work out finished. As the man said, if ya can’t fix it, don’t chyou go a-breakin’ it. Hahaha … Makes a guy hungry … Colonel…  (shouts) COLONEL ! Oh, Col-on…

Col: WHAT !

(He appears from side. He obviously isn’t Colonel Tom Parker but a young man dressed in normal street wear.)

Elv: Hey ! What were you doing upstairs ? You know NO-ONE is allowed upstairs !

Col: Certainly not the cleaning lady. And as for the bathroom …

Elv: Hey! What happens in the bathroom, stays in the bathroom.

Col: Yeah, just make sure it does. Would it kill you to open a window ?

Elv: (with exaggerated pathos)

You know I have a weak constitution. My lil’ ol’ body can’t take those winds rushing up from the Delta.

Col: Yeah, rolling in from the badlands of Kreutzberg. (1)

Elv : Why, you’d tease the bobtail off a muskrat. I know ya don’t mean a cotton pickin’ word. C’mere…give me a southern-fried hug …you know you want to.

(Elvis goes to grab Colonel, who leaps out of the way, almost into the audience. Elvis freezes, mid pose. Colonel now addresses the theatre.)

Col: It’s not easy. I mean, isn’t life hard enough without having a flatmate like this ? I blame myself … it was that party … the theme was ‘great singers of the past who are now past it.’ I chose Dean Martin, which … “Elvis,” here, thought was extremely funny, as he’d been to school with two brothers who were called Dean and Martin. Anyway, I chose ol’ red eyes then suggested that what with his physical dimensions, he’d be a dead – ringer for the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. That was the day my music died. Mind you, the signs were all there. He once went through a Beethoven phase. He spent a week frowning at everyone, demanding that we all speak up. Of course, with Beethoven he only attracted geeky nerds. You know the sort … they understand computers. Believe Fox News is “fair and balanced”. Pockets full of crap: screwdrivers, batteries, long forgotten toffees … not a girlfriend between them … literally. Anyway, sorry for this digression but if you remember rightly, I was about to be slobbered over by that inflated blimp behind me. Consequently, I’ve no real desire to resume this play, but, the smell of the greasepaint, the roar of the audience, the show must go on, yagga-yagga. Besides, I’ve learnt how to cope with all … nearly all … situations … Watch this…

(Colonel returns to his former position, ie, about to be hugged)

Col: SALAD !

(As predicted, this repulses Elvis.)

Elv: Lord have mercy, Colonel, give a guy a heart-attack. Ah, heck, ya can’t fool me. I know you’re a grizzled ol’ whiskey soaked man’s man, but, deep down, you’ve a huge capacity for love. I respect that. I know where you’re comin’ from and so if sometimes I don’t say it, well, doggone it, I love you, you ol’ moonshine shadow, you, (sings) “I don’t have a wooden heart.”

Col: No, just a wooden head.

(Goes to phone)

Elv : Say what, boy ?

Col: I said I’ll get onto the pizza hot line. What would you like on yours ?

Elv: Cheeseburger, of course. Hahaha, no, I’m only having my little laugh, no, gimme the Hawaiian Five – O.

Col: That’s pineapple and five types of meat ?

Elv: Yeah….and five of them. Gotta keep in shape.

Col: Oy, Elv, the guy here says if you order the Hawaiian Five -O-One, you get a free pair of jeans. Guess that’s some kinda baker humour.

Elv: I haven’t worn jeans since my ’69 special.

     (awkward silence)

Hell, you know I don’t wear jeans … too restricting for my fan base.

(He can think of nothing else to say, after floundering around for a short while. Suddenly he strikes some poses and exaggerates his pelvic thrusts, which should be a balance of vulgarity and humour)

Col: Everyone’s a comedian, hey ? Oh, the guy said don’t try and fob the Gästarbeiter (2) delivery boy off with one of your tin foil medallions. They want cold, hard cash.

Elv: Cold and hard … just like their pizzas … HAHAHAHA … whee-whee, boy, you didn’t see that one coming, did you ?

Col: (With heavy sarcasm) No, gee that was a good one. Way to go, dude.

Elv: Spoken like a good ole boy !

Col: I was speaking to Jimmy the other day. You know Jimmy ? He’s a real American.

Elv: He’s not American ! He’s from San Diego. I don’t wanna hear … I’m worn out … you’re driving me too hard … what do I hire you for anyway ? You should be making all the day to day decisions … what pizza do I want ? How do I know ? That’s your job … I’ve got so many other things to think about, shows to prepare, a public constantly demanding more, wanting to know every rinky-dink detail … I tell you, they won’t be happy until I’m dead. No, don’t apologise, my head is too full up … I must prepare myself for pizza. I’ll be over here … in the Jungle Room.

Col: Well, that’s him quiet for a few minutes. Let me take advantage of this little respite to hip you in to some other info. As I was saying, it all started at that party. He blew everyone away. He was great. Dancing, singing, even the Southern accent kept up. He was fun and you know why ? Because people wanted him to be fun. He fed on their expectations and their spirit. And he got lucky. Yeah. Women who wouldn’t even look at him before, were fighting over each other for his attentions. He learnt the meaning of the English expression ‘knackered’ that night and no mistake. The fact that a girl I had my eye on went over to the far side and got herself “a hunk, a hunk of burning love,” didn’t exactly endear me to this sequinned monster I’d created. But I got over it. He didn’t. He’d found something he’d never had before. He was popular, people loved him. I don’t know where all the moves came from. Very disturbing. I’d advise you not to try any of them at home, certainly not in public. Illegal in seventeen states kinda moves. I thought it was just a phase. Unfortunately not. Quite the opposite … he’s now the head member of the Berlin branch of the Elvis impersonators. They’ve got their own website. He opens supermarkets, gets booked for parties and signs CD’s at markets and Messes (3). He signs … ‘Elvis Presley.’ It seems that people need Elvis, even if it patently isn’t Elvis. He pretends he is and they let him. They want him to be Elvis. The sonofagun makes more money than I do. He can pay for the pizzas … he’ll sure as hell’ll eat them.

Elv: (Makes sniffing noises) Pizza’s here.

(A knock on the door)

Col: Amazing. I suppose you want me to get that ? Sure you don’t want to meet your public ?

Elv: No, even the King must have one night off. Oh, to be King, but where is my queen ?

Col: Well, if you’re a good boy and eat up all your pizza, I’ll put on my Little Richard costume.

Elv: I told you never mention that man’s … er … make that woman’s name around here. He … er, she says she invented Rock ‘n’ Roll. Upstart, Johnny come lately, and don’t start me on Jerry Lewis.

Col: Guess you mean Jerry Lee Lewis.

Elv: I know what I mean, now get the door … pizza waits for no man, and this man don’t wait for pizza.

(Door is opened. There stands the Pizza Boy, loaded with boxes)

Pz : That’s 45 Euro and no tin foil. I’ve heard about you two.

Col: Me ? What have I done ?

Elv: Problem, Colonel ?

Pz : Colonel ? Bloody hell !

Col: No, it’s him, I’m not … what the hell am I speaking to you for ? You just deliver pizza, and not even quickly. If you think you’re getting a tip, you can whistle Dixie … you’d only spend it on comic books and bubble gum.                                       

Elv: Whoa, there, Tiger, that’s no way to speak to guests in our fair country.

(Goes to door to speak to Pizza Boy, looking more at the boxes, than the boy)

Helloo, Chief … and … how … do …YOU … like our … country ?

Pz : Well, it’s OK, I guess. Get to meet all sorts of interesting people. See what they get up to. Makes me think my life ain’t so bad after all. So you taking these pizzas or what Mr Presley ? Or may I call you Elvis ?

Col: Ut-oh, that’s done it.

Elv: Why son of my heart, c’mere lemme give you a…

Pz : I don’t want one of those tin foil medalli …

Elv: …kiss

(Gives enormous smacker on the mouth)

Pz : Aaarrgghhhh … fuck this for a job ….. think I’ll join the army.

Elv: And now’s a good time, plenty of work.

(Pizza Boy Exits cursing, random ad libs like, “Go back to Brokeback Mountain.”)

Elv: Kids … they love me, what can I do ? An’ yer know the best thing ?

Col: We didn’t pay.

Elv: Hot diggerdy-dog, yep, let’s eat.

END   OF   ACT   ONE

No photo description available.

NOTES

(1) Kreutzberg – an area south of the river in Berlin, famous for being a student hang-out, full of bars and Turkish restaurants and, in the 80s & 90s, squat houses.

(2) Gästarbeiter -‘guest workers’, typically immigrants who work in the less desirable sectors such as cleaning or general unskilled work.

(3) Messes – trade fairs, business and marketing events

Nicholas has his own website: http://www.thesoulofelvis.de/photos.html

Subject Index: Writing and film

4th December 2020

Seahorse Productions: my films, theatre and writing

Ao Tuong (dreams) 2020 // short film // Seahorse Productions 30th April 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/04/30/seahorse-productions-ao-tuong-dreams-2020/

Bad Faith 2005 // short film // Seahorse Productions 6th May 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/05/06/seahorse-productions-bad-faith-berlin-germany-2005/

Inferno 2007 // short film // Seahorse Productions 25th May 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/05/24/seahorse-productions-inferno-2007/

Shadow Sonata 2014 // short film // Seahorse Productions 8th June 2020:https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/06/08/seahorse-productions-shadow-sonata-2014/

Steppenwolf (2008) 2014 // short film // Seahorse Productions 15th May 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/05/15/seahorse-productions-steppenwolf-berlin-2014/

Cinema

Jean-Paul Belmondo // R.I.P. // 8th September 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/09/08/jean-paul-belmondo-r-i-p/

Belmondo & Delon // Qu’est-ce que le cinema ? // 12th July 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/07/12/quest-ce-que-le-cinema-belmondo-delon/

Close up // Iran 1990 (Dir: Abbas Kiarostami // Cinema // 25th February 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/02/25/pessoa-and-kiarostami-the-disquiet-of-close-up/

The Cranes Are Flying // USSR, 1957 (Dir: Mikhail Kalatozov) // Cinema // 13th June 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/06/13/art-cinema-the-cranes-are-flying-1957-ussr-director-mikhail-kalatozov/

Distracted // UK, 2018 (Dir James Devereaux) // 9th August 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/08/09/f-is-for-fake-d-is-for-distracted-distracted-james-devereaux-2018-uk/

Makiko Esumi // 5th July 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/07/05/makiko-esumi-and-maborosi/

Lee Eun-ju // A Korean Star // 3rd September 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/09/03/lee-eun-ju-a-korean-star/

Harold Lloyd // Hooray for Harold Lloyd // 28th June 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/06/28/hooray-for-harold-lloyd/

The Lockdown Hauntings // UK 2021 (Dir Howard J Ford) // 24th May 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/05/24/the-lockdown-hauntings-a-new-british-film-with-my-friend-russell-shaw/

Noirish Project // UK, 2018 (Dir James Devereaux) // 11th July 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/07/11/noirish-project-theatre-literature-pure-cinema/

The Painted Bird // Czech Republic 2019 (Dir Vaclav Marhoul) // 29th July 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/07/29/book-into-film-the-painted-bird/

Russell Shaw Interview // Building a Career in the Arts // 28th June 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/06/28/russell-shaw-building-a-career-in-the-arts/

Youn Yuh-jung // Congratulations ! // 28th April 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/04/28/youn-yuh-jung-best-supporting-actress/

Music

Peter Green tribute // 18th February 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/02/18/peter-green-1946-2020/

Nanci Griffith tribute // 18th August 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/08/18/nanci-griffith-last-of-the-true-believers/

Lee Scott Revelle tribute // 6th August 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/08/06/lee-scott-revelle-rip/

Charlie Watts tribute // 30th August 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/08/30/charlie-watts-r-i-p/

Writing

Greek Myths

Oedipus // The hubris of Oedipus // 16th September 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/09/16/greek-myths-the-hubris-of-oedipus/

Theseus and the Minotaur// 6th October 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/10/04/young-learners-level-5-welcome-to-athens/

My ‘to read’ list // 29th August 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/08/29/my-to-read-list/

Fernando Pessoa ‘Book of Disquiet’ // Cinema // 25th February 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/02/25/pessoa-and-kiarostami-the-disquiet-of-close-up/

Poetry for pronunciation // 16th April 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/04/16/poems-for-pronunciation-practice/

Takin’ Care of Business: An Elvis Comedy

Act One // 23rd April 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/04/23/takin-care-of-business/

Act Two // https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/04/24/takin-care-of-business-act-two/

Act Three // https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/04/25/taking-care-of-business-act-three/

Waiting Fo(u)r Godard

One-actor play / Royalty-free // Seahorse Productions 5th September 2020:

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/09/05/waiting-fo-u-r-godard-a-play-for-one-actor-two-laptops/?fbclid=IwAR3Sbi0dIZJSQGZOVB749tNA5YSE_zYzbF2UWwEhQX92IH8gvF3ep5ptvnY

Love and chaos

Love and Chaos: A novel set in post-Wende Berlin of a pre-internet world. Set between the deaths of Kurt Cobain and Elliott Smith.

Title page, photo by Ana Svarz // 11th November 2020

Contents // 11th November 2020

Part One

Richard – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/11/love-and-chaos-part-1a/

Chris – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/11/love-and-chaos-part-1b/

Melanie – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/11/7839/

Marina – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/13/love-and-chaos-part-1d-marina-1/

Richard – 2 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/14/love-and-chaos-part-1e-richard-2/

Chris – 2 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/14/love-and-chaos-part-1f-chris-2/

Claudia – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/15/love-and-chaos-part-1g-claudia/

Chris – 3 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/16/love-and-chaos-part-1h-chris-3/

Richard – 3 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/17/love-and-chaos-part-1i-richard-3/

The Divine Poet From Florence https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/17/love-and-chaos-part-1j-the-divine-poet-from-florence/

Chris – 4 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/18/love-and-chaos-part-1k-chris-4/

Shoulder – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/19/love-and-chaos-part-1l-shoulder-1/

Steffi – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/20/love-and-chaos-part-1m-steffi-1/

Part Two

Richard – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/22/love-and-chaos-part-2a-richard-1/

Chris – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/23/love-and-chaos-part-2b-chris-1/

The knock on the door https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/24/love-and-chaos-part-2c-the-knock-on-the-door/

Will – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/27/love-and-chaos-part-2d-will-1/

Firefly (prologue): https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/30/love-and-chaos-part-2e-firefly-prologue/

Firefly: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/30/love-and-chaos-part-2f-firefly/

Nuno: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/01/love-and-chaos-part-2g-nuno-1/

Chris – 2 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/02/love-and-chaos-part-2h-chris-2/

Richard – 2 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/03/love-and-chaos-part-2i-richard-2/

Part Three

Richard – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/05/love-and-chaos-part-3a-richard-1/

Chris – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/06/love-and-chaos-part-3b-chris-1/

Kurt C – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/06/love-and-chaos-part-3c-kurt-c-1/

Richard – 2 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/07/love-and-chaos-part-3d-richard-2/

Hitch – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/09/love-and-chaos-part-3e-hitch-1/

Chris – 2 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/13/love-and-chaos-part-3f-chris-2/

Part Four

Richard – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/15/love-and-chaos-part-4arichard-1/

Lorelei – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/18/love-and-chaos-part-4b-lorelei-1/

Chris – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/23/love-and-chaos-part-4c-chris-1/

The Concert of Grotesques: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/28/love-and-chaos-part-4d-the-concert-of-grotesques/

Gabi – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/29/love-and-chaos-part-4e-gabi-1/

Chris – 2 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/01/02/love-and-chaos-part-4f-chris-2/

Monika – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/01/09/love-and-chaos-part-4g-monika-1/

Richard – 2 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/01/12/love-and-chaos-part-4h-richard-2/

Arizona Al – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/01/21/love-and-chaos-part-4i-arizona-al-1/

Part Five

How a coffee break started a new scientific theory https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/02/09/love-and-chaos-part-5a-how-a-coffee-break-started-a-new-scientific-theory/

Chris – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/03/23/love-and-chaos-part-5b-chris-1/

Richard – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/03/29/love-and-chaos-part-5c-richard-1/

Burkhardt – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/04/02/love-and-chaos-part-5d-burkhard-1/

Chris – 2 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/04/03/love-and-chaos-part-5e-chris-2/

Tommy – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/04/09/love-and-chaos-part-5f-tommy-1/

Tommy – 2 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/04/22/love-and-chaos-part-5g-tommy-2/

Richard – 2 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/04/22/love-and-chaos-part-5h-richard-2/

Chris – 3 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/05/03/love-and-chaos-part-5i-chris-3/

Sylvester – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/05/04/love-and-chaos-part-5j-sylvester-1/

Part Six

Chris – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/05/06/love-and-chaos-part-6a-chris-1/

Monika – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/05/07/love-and-chaos-part-6-b-monika-1/

Richard – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/05/08/love-and-chaos-part-6-c-richard-1/

Three English Portraits – https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/05/09/love-and-chaos-part-6-d-three-english-portraits/

Arizona Al – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/05/10/love-and-chaos-part-6-e-arizona-al-1/

Monika – 2 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/05/11/love-and-chaos-part-6-f-monika-2/

Johan – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/05/13/love-and-chaos-part-6-g-johan-1/

Descriptions of a Doctor – https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/05/14/love-and-chaos-part-6-h-descriptions-of-a-doctor/

Jake – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/05/19/love-and-chaos-part-6-i-jake-1/

Chris – 2 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/05/22/love-and-chaos-part-6-j-chris-2/

Richard – 2 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/05/23/love-and-chaos-part-6-k-richard-2/

Daniel – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/05/25/love-and-chaos-part-6-l-daniel-1/

Part Seven

Stefan – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/05/26/love-and-chaos-part-7-a-stefan-1/

Daniel – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/05/28/love-and-chaos-part-7b-daniel-1/

Chris – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/05/30/love-and-chaos-part-7c-chris-1/

Boris – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/06/01/love-and-chaos-part-7d-boris-1/

Ragno – Prologue https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/06/02/love-and-chaos-part-7e-ragno-prologue/

Ragno – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/06/03/love-and-chaos-part-7f-ragno-1/

Richard – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/06/07/love-and-chaos-part-7g-richard-1/

Daniel – 2 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/06/08/love-and-chaos-part-7h-daniel-2/

Monika – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/06/08/love-and-chaos-part-7i-monika-1/

Alan – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/06/14/love-and-chaos-part-8a-alan-1/

Alan – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/06/11/love-and-chaos-part-7j-alan-1/

Part Eight

Eric – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/06/12/love-and-chaos-part-7k-eric-1/

Call me Herman https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/06/16/love-and-chaos-part-8b-call-me-herman/

Chris – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/06/17/love-and-chaos-part-8c-chris-1/

Richard – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/06/21/love-and-chaos-part-8d-richard-1/

Julie – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/06/24/love-and-chaos-part-8e-julie-1/

Chris – 2 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/06/29/love-and-chaos-part-8f-chris-2/

Daniel – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/07/02/love-and-chaos-part-8g-daniel-1/

Alan – 2 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/07/06/love-and-chaos-part-8h-alan-2/

Part Nine

Daniel – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/07/11/love-and-chaos-part-9a-daniel-1/

Johanna – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/07/19/love-and-chaos-part-9b-johanna-1/

Sergei – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/07/26/love-and-chaos-part-9c-sergei-1/

Julie – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/07/30/love-and-chaos-part-9d-julie-1/

Chris – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/08/07/love-and-chaos-part-9e-chris-1/

Richard – 1 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/08/14/love-and-chaos-part-nine-f-richard-1/

Art & Literature

Three poems and some Shakespeare // Auden, Betjeman, Larkin 19th July 2020:

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/07/19/three-english-poems-and-some-shakespeare/fbclid=IwAR1WoY9acqpt_cOeeoXgFmYOKfJfLl73qtFO1zKJl80Luwaiop9aimgtJbo

Portrait, Landscape, Still Life (Wyndham Lewis, John Constable, Paul Cezanne) // Adult Class, Level 1 // 19th December 2018: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2018/12/19/adult-class-level-1-lessons-1-2/

Art: giving opinion // Adult Speaking Class, level 3: Art // 13th April 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/04/13/adult-speaking-class-level-3-art-what-do-you-think/

Art: DaDa & Surrealism // Adult Speaking Class, level 3: Dali, Dada & Surrealism // 23rd April 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/04/23/adult-speaking-class-level-3-dali-dada-and-surrealism/

Art: types of art // Young Learners, level 4 (Dali, Alice in Wonderland) // 16th May 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/05/16/young-learners-level-4-art-for-arts-sake/

Art: Unusual art // Adult Speaking Class ALH 8.2 // 3rd Match 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/03/08/adult-speaking-class-level-2-art-for-arts-sake/

Waiting Fo (u) r Godard: A play for one actor & two laptops

5th August 2020

WAITING FO(U)R GODARD by Paul Pacifico

Copyright 2020. Paul Pacifico asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work

Anyone is free to perform this play, royalty-free

If significant revenue is generated, then I merely ask that the actor or company make a donation to a cancer charity, UNICEF or the WWF

Have fun and break a leg

The play can use the actor’s real name and list their credits, for example the actor in the script is called James Green and he performed in ‘Krapp’s Last Tape,’ among other theatre, film and TV.

Directors are free to add their own ideas to localise the play.

BLACK

SOUND FX : The end of the world.

: Silence.

: Increasing sound of insects scuttling about.

: This fades as sound of a projector starts, very loud.

: Projector volume drops, but continues. Seagulls.

: Still with projector noise, various traffic and city sounds, cut in at random, at different levels. Ends with a loud bicycle bell.

LIGHTS

The stage has two tables at front, left and right, each with an open laptop (facing away from audience), one Windows, one Apple. Around the stage are symbols of film making: tripods, cameras, lights etc. as well as one old chair.

One door, upstage

Sound of knocking on door

MAN enters and, with a little trepidation, looks around. Closes door carefully. He is wearing a light brown raincoat covering a shirt and tie. He carries a slip of paper on which is written, ‘MAN’

MAN : Is this the place ?

Man seems encouraged when he notices the equipment. He looks around and slowly paces the room

MAN : Only me here. Hello ? Hello ? Maybe I should call my agent.

Man pulls out a mobile phone, tries calling, then walks around room holding phone out at different angles

Man : Can’t get a reception. Merde ! Ok, better warm up the voice.

Man changes voice and intonation

“Is this the place.” “Is this the place ?” “Is this the place !”

BLACK

SOUND FX : A voice with a European accent:

Germany, Year Zero.

LIGHTS

MAN : Ah, sounds like a European art film, lucky I wore my coat of many characters. What better to induce the ambience of world-weary, coffee-stained existentialism ?

Man demonstrates a sense of Fado, leaning forward as if the weight of the world were oppressing him. Suddenly he springs upright and starts to shake pretend hands a la Jacques Tati

ManMr Hulot by Jacques Tati. In addition to the aforementioned Tati, I can also play detectives, gumshoes, pickpockets, secret agents, private I’s, philosophers, misanthropes, gamblers, gun-runners, Bullitts, Samuarais, spies who come in from the cold, hit-men, thin men, conmen, last men, lusty men and bicycle thieves. The director will love it. Speaking of a director … I didn’t get a script. Maybe I should call my …

Man repeats procedure, seeming to loose his confidence as he tries, in vain, for a signal

Man :No reception. Merde. I have no idea what the part is, just says, ‘MAN’ … or who the director is … or where he is. Naturally, we, the actors, represent him, because it’s usually a man, but I don’t want to get into that now, a physical envoy of his thoughts and feelings, the idea made flesh, abstract peregrinations given tangible form. I hope I get a great speech like that…and sound effects, juxtaposed together. It would serve to support my thesis relating to the dichotomy of cinema, at one and the same time being the foremost cultural influence …

SOUND FX : A heavy piano chord

MAN: Charming. Very dramatic. I suppose it serves to highlight the very lack of drama. Is a bare stage the same as a stage that’s bare ? I don’t know. Je ne sais pas. Ich weiss es nicht ! See, I can act in three languages … and brilliant in each one.

SOUND FX : An electronic chicken 

The Windows computer seems to come ‘alive’. Man walks over, excitedly, to the laptop. 

MAN: Hello ? I’m here for the part of ‘MAN’ ? Hello ? Bonjour ? Guten Tag … Ni hao ? That’s it I’m … Oh, wait, Ciao …

Laptop : Enter password

MAN : OK. What is the password ? And why’s it just me here ? Will there be other actors coming ? You can just give me the part now, that will save every…

Laptop : Enter password

MAN: Ohhh ! La-la ! What is the blo … what is the password ?

Laptop : 3 point 1 4

MAN: Oh, easy as pi.

Laptop :15926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510 5820974944 5923078164 0628620899 8628034825 3421170679

Man tries to enter the numbers but can’t keep up. He gets increasingly agitated and finally shuts the laptop

MAN : Never work with children, animals or computers. Or professionals but that doesn’t seem to be a problem here.

Man opens laptop. The voice has stopped. He tries for a phone signal again; no luck, again

Man : Merde ! Maybe I can email my agent. Hey, wait a moment.

Man walks over to other laptop which is an Apple

Man : The anguished cry of modern man, “What’s the wifi password ?” Hey, Siri, what’s the wifi password ?

SIRI : The password is …

SOUND FX : A loud electronic buzz blocks out the answer

Man : Oh, that’s clever, thanks, Siri. Pretty obvious, really.

Man enters password and the Apple seems to come ‘alive’

Man : Hello ? I’m here for the audition.

SIRI : Name ?

Man : Yes, haha, John, John Green

SIRI : Hello, Yes, haha, John, John Green

Man : Everything screwy is normal in this crummy place.

MAN walks to the centre of the stage and faces the audience, preparing himself before speaking.

MAN : Is this comedy or tragedy ? I don’t know. For the benefit of late-comers, an actor in the time when cinema is dying, is attending an audition for an unknown part in an unknown production with an unknown director. Talk about a script found on a dump. Who wrote th … oh, him ! I know him, well he’s far away in Viet Nam, now, best place for him. Remember the golden age of Hollywood ? Real writers. Now they just pick a hit book and call it a ‘ready-made script’. Siri, please tell my agent he’s fired.

SIRI : I’m sorry, Yes, haha, John, John Green, I can’t do that.

MAN : What ? Then what use is your hard-drive and motherboard and billion bytes of RAM ? You’re just a pocket calculator loaded with conspicuous consumption.

SIRI :Thespian !

MAN :Status symbol

SIRI :Character actor !

MAN :Over-priced piece of crap

SIRI :Walk-on parter !

MAN :Made in China rip-off. I’m going back to Windows

Man closes the Apple and types something into the Windows laptop.

SOUND FX : Sounds of people moving equipment around, background chatter, sounds from a film set.

MAN: Hello I’m … John Green. I’m here for the audition. Is this the right place ?

Windows: Hey, who are you ? What do you want ?

Man: I want a plot ! I’m here for … Excuse me, do you know what time the director’s getting here ? Only I don’t have all day. I want to watch ‘The Swimmer’ on TV with my friend Burt Lancaster ?

Man turns to camera and makes exaggerated smile

SOUND FX : A heavy piano chord, different from before

MAN: Well you’ve changed your tune. I have a question for you … What exactly is cinema ?

Windows: (in a different voice, a working class agitator)

Thank you brother. Cinema: it markets a dream which is unavailable to the target audience who could never participate in an equivalent reality. It propagates the idea that such dreams are possible while, at the same time and working in collusion with multi-national corporations, strives to ensure that such equality can never exist. I will now let my small brother, who represents the developing world, expand, expound and explain.

MAN: It’s full of symbolism, isn’t it? If you don’t like symbolism, if you don’t like metaphor, if you don’t like subtexts … you can get stuffed.

Windows: (in another different voice)

Thank you, brother. Success is only measured in how close we come to emulating the standard product. Such factors as locality, language or legend are labeled ‘colourful’ but viewed with suspicion, and are detrimental to the cause. Overseas sales are increasingly imperative in the battle for survival and as such, the product has to have a universality readily identifiable.

MAN: Now I have a headache. Ok, Let me draw an analogy between Cinema and the hamburger. Audiences will be unquestionably conditioned to accept one, and only one, type of movie. There are fewer and fewer descendants of D.W.Griffith as cinema plays whore to the lure of the dollar. 

Windows: (working class agitator voice )

We will leave you with a thought from the Polish filmmaker Andrej Wajda. Under Communism, any film could be made, it just may not have been shown. In the West, any film gets shown, but may not have been made. Which is the better ? 

Windows appears to shut down.

MAN: Well don’t look at me, I don’t know what’s going on. What should I do now ? 

SOUND FX : A high-pitched, weak bell as in a works canteen

Man: Hello, who’s this ?

Electric voice: Union lunch break. Stop all work. Tea up. First coffee break.

MAN: At last. They must know I’m here, at least. What’s on the menu ?

Electric voice:Fizzy beverage. Pastry.

MAN: I get it, the drink represents USA and the pastry represents Europe, right ?

Slight pause.

Electric voice:Fizzy beverage. Pastry.

MAN: Well, if we’re going to share a stage, you’ll have to do a bit better than that. Do you have any more lines ?

Electric voice:Yes, I have a good one, imminently. 

MAN: Nu ? I’m waiting, boy am I waiting ? How about some acting ?

Electric voice:That’s not my job.

MAN: Oh, come on, it’s easy, you know you want to, don’t want to disappoint the audience, do you ? And don’t say “fizzy beverage” again.

Electric voice: It’s my bona fide line. 

MAN: What if I were to tell you, teach, yes, teach you something. I would then be passing on the training to another union member.

Electric voice: errrrr….

MAN: Bon. Alors, how about if I teach you some reactions ? How about surprise mixed with wonderment ?

Electric voice:Oh, I don’t know anything about …

MAN: La-la, it’s the easiest thing, we learn it on our first morning in acting class. Slowly open your mouth and make your eyes bigger, and wooooowwwwww. Voice high and soft.

Electric voice does perfect reaction

MAN: Wow ! Formidable ! Zwei mal wunderschoen!

Electric voice:Yes, well, I, er … don’t like to, er, blow trumpet, but, er … well … to business. Look under the table

MAN finds a can of Coke, a croissant and a copy of ‘Das Kapital’

Electric voice:For the children of Marx and Coca-cola.

MAN does a Groucho Marx impression

MAN : Last night I shot an industrialist in my pyjamas. He was studying the relations of re-production.

Electric voice:Twenty dollars.

MAN : What ?

Electric voice:Fizzy beverage and pastry. Twenty dollars.

MAN : I hate no-budget projects. OK, I’ll ask you a question, and if the answer is ‘I don’t know’, you owe me twenty dollars. Exactly, what is this play about ?

Electric voice:I don’t know.

MAN : Right, that’s twenty dollars you owe me. Don’t worry about it, use it to cover the cost of the catering.

SOUND FX : a bell as if played back on a broken tape player

MAN: It’s not even a real croissant ! It’s a prop.

MAN starts making little jumps around the stage, ending with a large jump.

MAN: Practicing my jump-cuts, and I do my own stunts. Now, here’s a trick I learnt in montage class.

Lights go out for a short period. When they come back, the MAN is standing on the chair, in a far corner. Light out, back on, MAN is making a sideways running gesture, frozen in mid run. Lights out, back on, MAN is under the chair, crawling out.

MAN: Merde ! This is why actors hate montage; no control over what happens. Hhhmmm, no-budget film, hey, or play, or project, or workshop, or … thing. Probably no effects. I also have that covered. Alors, watch this … I walk across the stage in real-time. Now, backwards … now looped, see the same sequence repeated, repeated … Now, a personal favourite, slow motion. Phew ! A guy can get tired like that. I should take a break ?

Apple laptop seems to come ‘alive’

Siri : From what ?

MAN becomes increasingly dramatic during his speech

MAN: Je ne sais pas … la vie … love, existence. 

All this … being … nothingness … oh, why am I

doomed to play in such insubstantial fare ? Where are

the inspired roles of yesteryear ? Where can I liberate

my oppressed soul in lofty flights of poetry, escape the

drudgery of moribund routine and don wings to ascend to

the Olympian heights of elegance and eloquence ? Oh, what time’s ‘The Swimmer’ on ?

SIRI : 21.30

MAN: You’re speaking to me again. Hey, Siri, why did I get a croissant ? Wouldn’t an English muffin be more appropriate, London and all ?

SIRI : I’m sorry, Yes, haha, John, John Green, I don’t know the answer to that.

MAN : Oh, not that again, just call me ‘Yes’.

SIRI : Yes 

MAN: It probably refers to the middle-classing of Socialism. You won’t find many poor socialists now, they can’t afford it. People have to be capitalists to earn the money to become socialists. To wit, the croissant, symbol of middle-class leisure and ineffectuality. 

SOUND FX: The MGM Leo the Lion roar

MAN: Hey, Siri … is this a play that thinks it’s a film, or a film that thinks it’s a play ?

SIRI : I’m sorry, Yes, haha, John, John Green, I don’t know the answer to that.

MAN : Someone needs an upgrade.

SIRI :Someone needs acting lessons.

MAN : I can unplug you, Missy !

SIRI :You and whose army ? Anyway, I have a lithium polymer battery to provide maximum battery life in a compact space. 

WINDOWS: (WORKER’S VOICE) Thus exploiting the downtrodden people of the Democratic Republic of Congo in cobalt mining.

MAN : The laptops get dialogue ? Hey, Siri … where did you get a script ? Windows … ?

SIRI & Windows together: 

We’re sorry, Yes, haha, John, John Green, we don’t know the answer to that. 

Black

SOUND FX : A voice:

Later, that same day.

LIGHTS

MAN is still walking around trying to get a signal. His coat is off and he is in shirt-sleeves.

MAN: No signal. Merde ! 

MAN continues searching, thinks he has a signal, but no success. Suddenly the Windows laptop appears to come ‘alive’.

Windows: Absurd.

MAN: Great ! Another extra with only one line. Look, I’ve been thinking, if the director’s not going to show up, I may as well leave.

Windows:D’accord. Goodbye.

MAN: You mean he, because it’s probably a man, may arrive ? I think I’ll stick around for a bit. Just a few minutes longer.

Windows:Just a few minutes longer, Just a few minutes longer.

MAN: So he’ll, it’s usually a he, he’ll be here soon ? Oh, I get it. This is the audition. All the while, all these cameras and lights and whatnot, the computers, yes, haha.

SIRI : Yes, haha, John, John Green.

MAN: Shut up, Siri, all the while, I’ve been watched, studied, scrutinised and, still being here, I’m evidently doing a great job. Now to reel them in.

Windows: Hey, who are you ? What do you want ?

MAN : Well, I’m glad you asked. Something engaging, with just the right amount of Brechtian alienation and a bit of Beckett to boot. I can act, magnificently, play guitar, musically, drink, moderately, you’ll never get me on a horse. I play the lead, supremely, react, subtlety, dance, sublimely, for extra money, of course. And, if the script calls for it, and the lady is cute, I mean … you know … artistically cute in a non-judgemental, non-patriarchal, non-Harvey Weinstein, sicko-pervo kinda way … if script calls … I do ‘love scenes’.

Windows: No love scenes. Bad for the Chinese Market. Mustn’t forget the Chinese market.

MAN : The population of China is, Siri, what’s the population of China ?

SIRI : The population of China is 1.42 billion

MAN: Is 1.42 billion, believe me, people in China are having love scenes.

SIRI : Haha. That told him. So what are you doing now ?

MAN: I’m just waiting for the director. .. been waiting since … No script …don’t know what, if any, rôle I’ll have …

Windows: You’ve been waiting for a director who won’t show up, without a script, which hasn’t been written, for a part, which doesn’t exist.

SIRI : Haha. That told him. So what are you doing now ?

MAN: The laptops get a love scene ? Why do I always end up in screwball comedies ? Enough. From my experience of no-budget, low-budget plays, the director ain’t gonna show. And, “It is beyond doubt that all our knowledge begins with experience.” 

Windows: You can’t say that.

MAN: I can’t ? but Kant can. And if Kant can, I can’t see I can’t. Adieu. Fare thee well.

MAN starts to leave, but before he reaches the door

SOUND FX : A fast sports car screeching to a halt

: Some music playing, fading in

: With song still playing, sound of heavy rain on a city street

: Electronic voice: 

The Second Act. Decision of the actor. Resolution

MAN: Lucky I stayed. Now we’re getting somewhere. 

MAN pulls out phone, extends but doesn’t even check if he has a signal.

MAN: No reception. Merde ! I see, Project Phoenix, Project MK Ultra, Russian sleep Deprivation, Big Brother. How will I respond, not to direction, but to no direction, to no director. To nobody. This is ‘opennism’. Allow me to explain. It’s up to the audience to contribute, to read the text and extract from it what they will. The play itself takes on a sort of existential life force, with no preconceived ideas or fixed point of reference. The audience is doomed to make their own interpretation, with no old fashioned abstract morality about what is right or wrong …

The Windows laptop appears to come alive. MAN runs over to it, with a hint of desperation

Windows:John Green.

MAN: Oui, c’est moi

Windows: Theatre – Krapp’s Last Tape, you were Krapp

SIRI: Haha

(Windows adds full list of theatre and acting work)

SIRI: Mr Green, exactly, what is cinema …?

MAN: Enough words, let me show you. Cinema is action, is passion, is dedication, is vision, is love, is life. Cinema is the composition of Ozu, the landscapes of John Ford, the ticking clock of Hitchcock, it is la Dolce Vita and playing chess with Death, Eisenstein steps, Tarantino toes, Bunuel eyes and a Bardot pout. It is the reason I live, and the reason I am here … here, alone, all alone, no one to improv with, no one to bounce ideas … just here, alone, all day, talking to computers. I will tell you about Cinema: Cinema is life and this isn’t living.

SIRI: … in five words or less

MAN: He’s, because it’s usually a he, he’s not here. There’s no one to impress. I need a break. I suggest running away from this play and starting my own. Let me just … search … hhmmm, 

SOUND FX :Sound of a heavy glass door opening. Immediately, new sounds of a busy café/restaurant.

MAN: : Some wonderful music, please.

SOUND FX : French-style accordion music

MAN seems more relaxed, walking around the stage as if it were a chic Parisian cafe, nodding to friends, kissing the hands of ladies. Windows laptop seems to come ‘alive’ as SOUND FX fade.

Windows: Is this modernist or post-modernist ?

MAN: It’s a cafe, look around, use your … imagination. I’ve always wanted to be in a kick-arse movie, directed by a Nicholas Ray. Today, the lead will have to be a hot chi…, I mean a highly-talented female actor. That looks good in leather.

Siri: Is this post-modernist or post-post-modernist ?

MAN: I don’t know what this is. Neither … both. It has the post- modern aspect of requiring a departure from the conventional structure, while being chockablock with pop culture references, though Bergman and Wajda are hardly Lady Gaga and those Kardashian calamities. To both break tradition but still being vaguely recognizable … within boundaries. Then something more, something else, something the audience has to bring, or take from it. As for our director, he’s either, as Camus would predict, having coffee or killing himself … because it’s usually a he. This is absurd.

Windows: Absurd

Siri : Absurd

MAN: Absurd ! Lenin said two things which are of eternal relevance. Firstly, cinema is the most important of the arts. Secondly, and of especial interest to us, ‘What is to be done ?’

Windows:Is it difficult getting an actress to do love scenes 

MAN: Getting an actress to do a nude scene isn’t the problem. Try getting an actress to keep her clothes on. But that’s only in cinema, alas. I’m tired, I can’t go on much longer. I can’t leave, not after waiting so long. I know …

MAN snaps his fingers 

SOUND FX : Sixties guitar-based song.

MAN : Come on, let’s dance.

MAN performs a very impressive dance routine, very ‘Ye-Ye’ and full of twists and shouts

SOUND FX : Record stops immediately as LIGHTS go down.

: An electronic hum/buzzing.

: A car stopping on some gravel. Door opens and shuts. Footsteps on gravel. Doorbell.

: A typewriter. The keys are hit slowly at first, then faster and faster. This turns into machine gun fire.

: A medium paced drum beat, played by a fairly competent amateur.

MAN is sitting in the chair, leaning back against the wall and balancing the chair on its two back legs. 

DRUMMING STOPS

MAN: I’m trying to sit like Henry Fonda in ‘My Darling Clementine’. This is getting us nowhere. Where’s my café gone ?

SOUND FX : The French music resumes, sounding as if it is being played on an old jukebox.

: A small café, quite busy. Coffee machines, glasses knocking against each other, an old cash till.

MAN: Somewhere that serves beer, but I don’t want to have to go through a whole linguistic routine with the barman about ultimate and abstract issues. I just want a beer. And I’d quite like some kind of resolution. I just want to do what actors do best … hang out in bars and tell people how talented we are.

SOUND FX : Sound of beer bottle being opened, then poured

MAN: To have come so far without getting anywhere … at least, nowhere that can be discerned. Does the fact that we can’t measure metaphysical distances make them less or more valid ?

Siri:Definition is a prerequisite and often the most contentious. The truth of a sentence lies in the ability to prove its meaning.

MAN: Then most of my lines have been meaningless.

Windows: Only insofar as they are subjected to the laws of that particular concept. Even when we reduce, we are still left with words such as ‘meaning’ or ‘truth’.

MAN: Truth is, I’m not even sure if this is a part at all.

Siri: That will at least save you from the actor’s revenge; preferring the life of the character to such a degree that they abandon their own self and take on the identity of the rôle. However, maybe a Cartesian approach to your dilemma will prove beneficial.

MAN: The central questions of knowledge and the relationship between mind and body ?

Windows: To counter the doubts about the character: You are acting, are you not ?

MAN: It’s a matter of some debate, but I believe I am.

Siri: Therefore, you have a character. Proceed from there.

MAN: As long as I continue to act, I will have a character. I act, therefore I, the character, am. If I act and I’m conscious of this, it follows that they must be a time when I’m not acting …

Windows: Or else it wouldn’t be acting.

MAN: And the time when I’m not acting is when I’m myself. I stop acting, therefore I am. The actor – character relationship can be seen as an analogy of the mind – body concept. I wonder if Jean Renoir would apply a Cartesian reading to his work ?

Siri: When one has mastered the art of storytelling, why trouble oneself with philosophy ? Appreciation and perpetuation of beauty is gift enough. Besides, one no sooner accepts a view of life, only to see it challenged and dismissed by a Wittgenstein 

MAN: A return to zero.

Lights slowly, slowly start to fade

SOUND FX : The following lines spoken as if at a political rally, with crowd reaction audible in the background, cheering and clapping:

Philosophy is not a body of doctrine but an activity.

It will signify what cannot be said by presenting clearly what can be said.

SOUND FX : A burst of laughter like in an English music hall. This continues during the following,

The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.

What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.

SOUND FX : Huge roar of laughter and applause.

LIGHTS return to normal

MAN: Hey, Siri, ca va ?

Siri: Oui, ca va.

MAN: Well, how do we end this ? We could have a classic Hollywood ending, fall in love and get married. Or fall in love, anyway … there ain’t nobody with whom to fall in love … or marry. Siri …

Siri No, that’s silly.

MAN : I quite like this … sitting around in coffee bars and talking. I wish I could get a job doing it, as my career as an actor is on the rubbish dump. 

Windows: Don’t you have anything else lined up ?

MAN : Maybe some adverts, but screw that. Oh, merde ! So it’s come to this ? I’m going to end it the way I want to. Nothing to lose, now. Doesn’t look like he’s coming. Maybe he never intended to. Because it’s usually a … Hey, I’ve an idea …

SOUND FX : An authoritarian voice reads the following:

The MAN pondered a neat, conclusive ending such as is found in the films of Howard Hawks. The Man also pondered something more dramatic, along the lines of Orson Welles. Then the MAN pondered a fixed camera fade on him, in the style of De Sica. Then he pondered … and he pondered

MAN: I don’t know.

SOUND FX: The opening movement of Mozart’s Requiem

MAN walks around, and finds a book he hadn’t seen, under the other table. He flicks through it, then finds a paragraph to read

MAN: Baudelaire, writing about Goya, the Spanish artist. He writes, “Goya often plunges into savagery or soars into comic brilliance. He is at all times a great artist and often a terrifying one … No-one has ventured further into the realms of the absurd than he has.”

BLACK

Windows : Cruelty, oppression, absurd

: Music stops

Siri : Absurd

MAN: Absurd

LIGHTS

There is to be no curtain call

There are to be no encores