I'm working on a new play - a man running for re-election, and filled with self doubt. Here's the first few pages:
AT RISE: Evening.
Dark brooding shadows blanket the walls, with only defused light from distant windows to make the darkness uneven. Overhead lights
cast unflattering pools of lights intermittently
around the portico floors. At rise MISTER PRESIDENT is standing quietly, lost in thought. CHARLIE enters.
(Speaking into a
I found him. South Portico. No, it’s ok, we’re coming.
(To MISTER PRESIDENT)
Mister President? Excuse me, sir.
What is it, Charlie?
We need to go back in.
I have my coat. It’s ok.
They want to go over your speech one more time.
Oh. Well that’s nice.
You’re on the air in twenty minutes.
“Fellow Americans. Good evening.
Buenas noches. Erev tov. Masa el-khair. This is your President
speaking, and I’m taking this opportunity to formally announce that I am
running for re-election. Now there’s a surprise. And why am I doing this? That
is the question, isn’t it? Because the past four years have not been as bad as
everyone predicted they would be, and the consensus of opinion now suggests
that with me in office the next four years will more than likely be just about
the same – and that’s not a bad thing, now is it? Because I’ve looked over the
other candidates – I’m sure you have, too – and wondered just what rock most of
them crawled out from under. I’m doing this because it’s expected I would do
Because to do anything else would be to admit
defeat - for some obscure reason a journalistic underling will create - in his
spare time - on a Sunday afternoon fifteen years from now. I’m doing this
because I enjoy bleeding – especially in public.” Did I say it right?
I think you said it all.
I haven’t even started.
You don’t really feel that way.
Sometimes, Charlie. Sometimes.
You don’t intend to say anything like that on television, do
Probably not. No. Of course not.
We should be going in.
Do you know what someone asked me the other day?
The, uh, the national vegetable something festival. The
kids? You remember.
We should be going in.
Charlie. Humor me.
So there we are, sailing along smartly if I do say so
myself, and they never once suspected the only way I recognize corn is because
it says so on the can. I mean, I was born and raised in Detroit, for God’s
sake, what did they expect?
And if you tell me one more time we should be going in, I
will fire you on the spot.
So – anyway – we’re sailing through the Q and A section –
yes, I have a dog, yes, his name is Herman, no, he does not sleep with me, and
this little poop holds up one hand – red hair? Freckles? Looks like Howdy
Doody? Google it. Anyway, I can already taste the dirty martini that’s waiting
for me, when “Why do you want to be President again?” And this stops me dead in
my tracks. Why did I want to be President again? Do you know who our greatest
President was? Don’t answer that – I’ll tell you. George Washington. Thoughts?
None I’d care to share at the moment.
Wise decision. Now I am aware that in saying that, scholars
will most certainly disagree, and categorically declare Jefferson as our
greatest President – or Lincoln, Roosevelt, whomever, and they will give you
every reason in the world to support their assumptions. And they would be
wrong. Washington was the man. And why? Because he served his term and then
quit. He did his best in the time allotted to him by the Constitution and then
packed up his bags and went home. The man could have been king! Certainly half
the country wanted a king. But he knew – for the good of the nation he helped
create – when it was time to step off the stage.
Are you saying that’s what you should do?
Thinking about it. Howdy Doody got me thinking about it. Why
did I want to be President again? For that matter, why did I want to be
president in the first place? Four years
ago I could tell you – did tell you.
I want to be President because I have a vision for America – a passion. And the
course of action is – was – so very very clear. Four years later the vision is
not so clear. I want to … finish what I started. Something like that. Do you
know the White House has a cook on staff twenty-four hours a day?
Honestly. I want to be re-elected because I hate the thought
of giving up hot fudge sundaes at three-thirty in the morning. Real fudge –
home made. Where do they come up with it? I don’t know. How’s that for
incentive? Not only that, but – are you bored?
No sir. Not a bit.
No I didn’t. Sir. Respectfully.
If I’m boring you, the Governor of Pango-Pango is still
complaining because he hasn’t found someone to clean the goose droppings off
the capital steps on a regular basis. Say the magic word and the job is yours.
Mister President …
(HE holds an
imaginary cell phone to his ear and speaks into it.)
Hello Air Force? Do you have anything that on a good day
might make it to the American Samoa Islands? Perfect. Thank you.
(HE puts the “phone”
back in his pocket.)
Mister President …
You’re in luck – booked first class on the Amelia Earhart
Special. Non-stop. Well, …
Now that’s a low blow.
Why are you doing this?
Bushido. Death before dishonor. You do it every time you run
“If I’m not elected, I can claim I didn’t want the job in
the first place.”
Charlie, Charlie …
Forgive me, Mister President, but
that’s the truth.
At the moment I am in the process of writing five plays simultaneously.
I never planned to do that - who would?
Two of the plays are on commission. Fortunately they are both short - twenty minutes each. One is about politics, the other is open to whatever I want (so it's about politics as well. The first company will get a choice.)
Play three is actually one my wife and I wrote together six years ago, and has spent its life sitting on a shelf. Her book, PAINTING THE RAIN, is a novelized version of the play. In short, people started asking about the play, so it is being dusted off and polished.
Play four is another co-author deal. I have a friend (another contest winning playwright), and we are writing a play together about elves. (Not Elvis - elves!) Since she lives in another state, we email dialogue back and forth in Dropbox. So far this has been quite enjoyable.
And play five is, I suppose, another political. A man is running for President, and bit by bit you discover he is in an asylum and mentally ... uh ... insecure. The point here being that anyone who runs for President (and has any clue at all in regard to what's going to happen to him) cannot possibly be entirely sane, Cute idea. I hope it works.
In Xanadu did Kubla Kahn a stately pleasure-dome decree: where Alph, the sacred river, ran through caverns measureless to man down to a sunless sea. So twice five miles of fertile ground with walls and towers were girdled round: And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills, where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree; And here were forests ancient as the hills, enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
Jack Bunny is the alter ego of a playwright, theatrical director, and drama critic. If you are at a party and see a 150 pound rabbit at the punch bowl, it might be him!
(On the other hand, it might also mean that perhaps you should step away from the punch bowl for awhile.)
ANOTHER DUMB GHOST STORY (Full length)
THE REVENANT (Full length)
CORIE (Full length)
MORGAN (Full length)
VOLLEYS (Full length)
ELYCE TIMES ONE (Full length - written with J.E. Ocean)
THE DISENCHANTED FROG (Children's One-act)
THE ART OF BUILDING BRIDGES (One-act)
FROM MY VANTAGE POINT (One-act)
THE TRIAL (One-act)
WHAT'S NEW IN LATHERDUE? (Reader theatre One-act)
ROUGH DRAFT (One-act)
THE GRAND GILDER (One-act)
Old friend remembered
We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
George Bernard Shaw
I hate writing, I love having written.
If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.
It must be summer. I can smell California burning.
Starbucks is where certain relationships go to die.
I can only answer the question 'What am I to do?' if I can answer the prior question, 'Of what story do I find myself a part?'
Walmart always makes me cry ...
Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.
The Bible in the hand of one man is more dangerous than a whiskey bottle in the hand of another.
Can people stop dying please? Just for a little bit. maybe.
Mettle not in the affairs of Dragons, for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.
He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise in heart.
Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned/nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.
This above all: to thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.
In my many years I have come to the conclusion that one useless person is a shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a Congress.
Wearing underwear is as formal as I get.
"Pay No Attention To That Man Behind The Curtain ..."
Our revels now are ended.
These, our actors, as I foretold you, were all spirits, and are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision, the cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples, the great globe itself, yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, and, like this insubstantial pageant faded, leave not a rack behind.
We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep.