Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Strings

Yeah, I'm sorry I never got around to posting my script before, but I was still holding onto the hope that someone had recorded the production. But alas, they didn't, so here's the script:

Strings

Mary, a marionette dressed as Little Red Riding Hood, comes skipping into the room with her basket, and sits down on a chair.
There comes a knock at the door.

MARY
Who is it?

DANIEL
It is I, the woodsman.

Mary gets up to look out the window, then opens the door. There is an air of sexual tension between them throughout the scene.

MARY
Hello! Please do come in!

Daniel enters, dressed as a hunter, and carrying a large knife in a sheath at his hip.

MARY
Would you care for some water?

DANIEL
Please. It’s been a long trek across the woods.

Mary goes to the sink to get him some water. Daniel sits

MARY
(admiringly)
My! What a large knife you have!

DANIEL
The better to attract young maidens with, my dear!

MARY
(returning with the water)
What was that?

DANIEL
The better to fight off villains with, my dear.

He takes the water and goes to drink it, but it all pours out of his mouth onto his shirt. They both look uncomfortable.

DANIEL
I come bearing news form the other side of this wood. There is an old woman who lives there, and she—

MARY
Yes! That’s my grandmother!

DANIEL
I see. As I was saying, the old woman sent me to find her granddaughter and tell—

MARY
That’s me!

DANIEL
I see. The old woman told me to find her granddaughter and tell her that she’s very sick.

MARY
I am!?

DANIEL
Your grandmother is. She spoke highly of you. She said you have the finest biscuits in town. And by the looks of things, she’s right.

MARY
Oh! My biscuits! I nearly forgot!

Mary runs to the oven and removes a pan of biscuits.

MARY
Okay, they’re perfect.

DANIEL
I would certainly hate to see those biscuits cook for too long before I got a nibble.

MARY
(laughs)
What were we talking about?

DANIEL
Your biscuits. You were going to offer them to me.

MARY
Oh yes! Would care to try my biscuits?

She thrusts the biscuits between them, and the mood is ruined.
Daniel takes a biscuit and begins chewing it, letting the crumbs fall all over his shirt. Mary glumly takes a biscuit herself and does the same.

MARY
(dejectedly)
You know, these biscuits would be a lot more enjoyable if puppets could actually eat.

They continue to “eat” the biscuits

MARY
(trying to be sexy again)
Now you’ve had my biscuits. Would you care to try my roundcakes?

DANIEL
I’m not really in the mood. Anyway, your grandmother would love a visit from you. As for me, I’ll probably swing by later to make sure you made it through these wolf-infested woods safely.

MARY
(coyly)
How much later?

DANIEL
In the nick of time, no doubt.

Daniel exits. Mary puts the remaining biscuits into her basket, as the scene changes to a spot in the woods. Mary begins to walk across the stage. Enter Will, another marionette, dressed as the wolf.

WILL
Well, don’t you just look delicious?

MARY
(coming on to him)
Thank you! You’re pretty hot yourself.

WILL
I mean I’m going to have you for lunch.

MARY
Oh, well thank you, but I just ate! Maybe we could skip that step.

WILL
(ignoring her)
Hmm, yes, you will be delicious all oven-roasted, rolled in bread crumbs and flour and steeped in your own sauces!

MARY
What’s that? Flowers? You want me to pick flowers? You’re a queer sort of a wolf.

Mary starts to pick flowers. Will slowly advances on her. Mary moves to the downstage corner of the stage. Will is having trouble because his puppeteers are making him get her.

MARY
What’s wrong mister wolf? Don’t you want to make some comment about getting some tail, or about your carnal desires? Something I can take the wrong way?

WILL
No, I…

He is frustrated and confused. He struggles in vain (comically) to reach her, tugging at his strings. Finally, he gives up, collapsing in a heap on the ground.

WILL
I’m so tired of doing this. So tired of these!
(indicates the strings)
Daniel enters and crosses, merrily.

WILL
You! Give me your knife!

DANIEL
(drawing it and taking a battle stance)
Gladly!

Daniel hands Will the knife and exits. Will reaches up and begins to cut his strings.

MARY
(turning around finally and seeing what he’s doing)
Oh Wolf! Don’t do this! What are you doing!?

WILL
See these strings!? I hate ‘em! They’ve been holding me back my whole life!

Will continues sawing at the strings.

MARY
We NEED the strings! They’re how we move! This is suicide!

WILL
Are we even alive, if someone else is pulling the strings? Is this any different from dead?

MARY
(panicked)
I don’t understand why you’re doing this.

WILL
(pausing to explain)
Don’t you feel like everything in your life is decided for you? Don’t you want totake control? All my life I’ve been letting the strings make decisions for me. No longer!
(starts removing wolf elements of costume)
I’m not even a bad guy! Those three pigs I ate, I didn’t even want to! I never wanted to be a killer. But I was compelled. Someone else is making our decisions for us, Mary!

MARY
(gasping, and straightening her hood as she says it)
Little Red Riding Hood!

WILL
I know you’re not as dumb as you act! You were meant to do more than just cook and clean and please the men around you. Something keeps you acting like that. What is it?

MARY
I don’t…

WILL
It’s these strings! I’m not going to let them control me any MORE!
Will continues to cut the strings emphatically, losing limb control one by one, until he is limp on the ground with only the knife-wielding hand connected to a string and hanging in the air.

MARY
(Screaming)
Will! Stop it! Stop! Daniel! Daniel!
Daniel enters, sees Will’s body, and stops.

DANIEL
(delivers a terrified fey scream, then regains his
masculine “woodsman” composure)
Oh. Goodness. I should be more careful who I give my knife to.

MARY
So that’s it. He killed himself. What the hell kind of puppet show is this?

DANIEL
(trying to be reassuring)
Well, this is how it was going to end anyway. He merely saved me the work. So why don’t we just skip ahead to the part where you show me what’s in your basket?

MARY
(pushing him away)
No! No more stupid puns and innuendos. Look at him! He’s not just pretending! He cut his strings! He’s not coming back from this. It’s… It’s different.
(she begins to cry)

DANIEL
Why are you crying? The wolf is dead and we can finally be together.

MARY
The Wolf isn’t dead! Will is dead! He just cut his strings! He said he never wanted to be a bad wolf. He couldn’t help it.
(She grows distant)
What if he’s right? Is this even a real life?

DANIEL
He’s wrong. Don’t think about it.

MARY
I almost hope he IS right. Do you know what my middle name is?

DANIEL
Is this a trick?

MARY
Annette. Mary Annette. I was born to be a slave to some unseen force in the universe. And his name is Will. Will, because he knew he was going to die, and this is what he leaves us with.

DANIEL
(slipping into his fey demeanor again)
I don’t believe that. You’re saying this was supposed to happen? But then, what choice do we have?

MARY
I know, I know. It’s crazy.
( looks at Will’s body)
HE had a choice.

DANIEL
(suddenly aware of his surroundings)
Um, Little Red Riding Hood, it’s time to be getting to your grandmother’s house?
(whispered)
We are supposed to be putting on a show right now!

Will starts to move and groan. Mary screams. Will struggles to gain his feet.

WILL
Mary! Daniel!

He takes the knife in his other hand and cuts himself completely free. The newly freed hand falls limp, dropping the knife, but as he talks he massages the hand back to life.

WILL
I’m free! Look at me! Free to make my own decisions!
(looking and pointing at the audience, and utterly
shocked)
Look at those people! Look! It’s just a theater. It’s a playhouse.

DANIEL
What are you talking about? It’s just a wall.

WILL
(overlapping with Mary)
It is NOT!

MARY
I don’t…

WILL
Look! If it’s just a wall, then why do we all face this direction? That’s not normal!

DANIEL
Well….

WILL
Watch this!

Will approaches the edge of the stage.

MARY
What are you doing? Come away from there.

WILL
I’m sorry, Mary, but I need to do this. It’s my leap of faith, if you will.

Will jumps from the stage, down to the audience. Mary screams again. Daniel rushes forward and starts examining the imaginary fourth wall.

WILL
I’m all right!

MARY
(she can’t see him, but can hear him)
Will!?
0
WILL
Mary! Come with me! There are people out here!

Will talks to one of the audience members, trying to convince him to say “Hi Mary”

MARY
Will! Where are you?

DANIEL
(flamboyantly devastated)
It’s too late, Mary. He’s gone.

MARY
I can hear him. Listen!

WILL
Daniel. I know you can hear me. Come with me, both of you. There’s a whole world out here. There are people! People who make their own decisions. People who aren’t just playing the roles assigned to them.
(looks at audience)
Well, some of them.

DANIEL
(still flamboyant)
I don’t understand! Don’t make me think about what you’ve done! You brutish wolf!

MARY
What is this? It’s so confusing. It’s like, what? A play within a play?

WILL
(excited)
No! It’s the exact opposite of that! It’s a play withOUT a play!

DANIEL
(horrified)
But! A play without a play!? That’s nothing!

WILL
It’s not nothing! It’s just not a play. It’s real!

MARY
I’m doing it, Will. I’m cutting my strings.

WILL
Yes! Oh, Mary, yes!

Mary picks up the knife and begins to cut herself free.

DANIEL
(back in character, almost desperately though)
Come along, little girl. We’ve got to get you to your grandmother’s house. Hand me that knife before you hurt yourself.

MARY
I’m doing this, Dan. All my life I’ve been playing a role. I haven’t made one decision for myself. My life starts today.

Mary finishes cutting the strings and collapses as Will did. Daniel rushes to her, trying to revive her. She awakens slowly.

MARY
(feebly)
Did it work?

DANIEL
(terrified and super gay)
Mary, you can’t leave me! You can’t leave me alone here.

WILL
Mary! You did it! Come with me! Daniel, you come too!

DANIEL
(covering his ears, now having trouble staying in
one character or the other)
Stop it, Wolf! I’ll hear no more of this!
(turning to Mary, desperately now)
Mary, listen to me. Even if this is a play. Those people out there have paid to see it. So you’re not a puppet. You’re an actress. It’s your duty. You have a show to put on.

MARY
(standing up and facing the audience)
I can see them! Hi, folks. Will, you were right. I’m free.
Will runs toward her.

WILL
Come now, Mary. Let’s go.

MARY
No, Will. I’m free now. But Daniel’s right. We have a show to put on. I’m an actress. It’s what I do.

WILL
What! This is crazy, Mary. You cut your strings, but you’re still going to let the decisions be made for you.

MARY
I am MAKING this decision. I CHOOSE to stay here. I wasn’t choosing before. I’m no less free than you are—

WILL
(kisses her)
I love you!

MARY
I guess I knew that. And I love you too. But I can’t let you decide for me any more than I can let them. I’ve been playing the role of the obedient, vapid woman all this time. I choose… I just choose! Don’t make this harder for me, please.

WILL
So I guess this is goodbye, Mary.

Will exits through the rear of the house.

DANIEL
(woodsman-like)
So, on to Grandmother’s house?

MARY
(angrily)
Do you even want that? THAT’s why your name is Daniel! It’s an acronym for denial!

Daniel and Mary are both shocked at what she has just said.

DANIEL
(fey again)
Oh! That was really… smart! But please. Let’s just be done with this horrible puppet show. This needs to be over. Don’t force me to think!
(regaining composure)
So what now?

MARY
(answering Daniel, but looking out at Will)
If you’re done, then take your bow.

DANIEL
Oh, thank you!

Daniel bows, then freezes with his arms around Mary, and never moves for the rest of the scene. Mary looks very unhappy.

WILL
(re-entering, shouting and ecstatic)
A lobby! And beyond that a whole world! Please, Mary. Come with me!

MARY
I’m sorry, Will. This is where I belong. On stage, taking my final bow. You can choose to give that up. But I want it.

WILL
So this is a tragedy then. And I thought it would be a farce.

MARY
(pointedly)
But who’s the tragedy? The girl who chooses to remain in her position after she’s been freed?

WILL
Or the boy who walks away from everything he knows and loves? Goodbye, Mary.

MARY
Goodbye, Will.

Will exits. Mary pries herself from Daniel’s grasp, looks sadly at him, turns and bows, and exits offstage. Blackout.

1 comment:

Dragon_Fire said...

Wow. That was a very inspiring, sad, moving story.