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John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

Stage play: One night in the writers room. A one act play




ONE NIGHT IN THE WRITERS ROOM






Cast
The writer: A male or female
Jello Biafria: Female
Genesis Q. Orridge: Female
Off stage voice guy: A guy (Duh)
McDermott Homicide: Male
Stivel: Leading man
The director

Scene
Present time
A living room
A writer’s studio





   The writer is writing at his desk and then reading aloud what he has written


WRITER
  The night resembled nothing so much as the nose of a giant Labrador in excellent health: cold, black, and wet…no, that’s right.  Um….The rising sun crawled over the ridge and slithered across the hot barren terrain into every nook and cranny like grease on a Denny's grill in the morning rush, but only until eleven o'clock when they switch to the lunch menu.  I’ll fix the opening later, anyway this has nothing to do with our story which takes places thousands of miles away in Virginia at yet another play writing contest. Just what writers need, more competition. Anyway, lights go on. Genesis Q. Orridge is leaning out a window

JELLO BIAFRIA (bored)
No, Genesis Q. Orridge don’t do it! Stivel isn’t worth it!

GENESIS Q. ORRIDGE (bored) 
Stay back!  I mean it!

JELLO BIAFRIA (bored)
No man is worth this!

GENESIS Q. ORRIDGE (bored) 
  I’ll end it my way!

OFF STAGE VOICE GUY  
The lights go off.  The lights come back on. Jello Biafria is throwing them out a window

 GENESIS Q. ORRIDGE   (Very bored)
  No, Jello Biafria don’t do it!

JELLO BIAFRIA (Very bored)
Stay back!  I mean it!  I’ll end it my way!

OFF STAGE VOICE GUY
The lights go off.  After several seconds, they come back on again.  The characters are on stage exactly how the last scene left them. They look up towards the roof and wait several seconds. Ten years in theater and this is the best role I can get… announcer. Jes. I wonder if I can still get into graduate school 

JELLO BIAFRIA
I think he’s given up for the night. Thank God, I can’t take this much longer.
                          
GENESIS Q. ORRIDGE
How many times is he going to rewrite this scene? Why doesn’t he just give up?  Most people learn to write by the second grade, and then go on to do greater things, like acting and then directing and finally…………..ushering the most sensible and productive job in theater

JELLO BIAFRIA
(Exhausted, she throws herself into a chair)  
The wastebasket is this guy’s best friend.

GENESIS Q. ORRIDGE (Turns to the audience)
We’ve now established the basic plot, what’s called the “binding element” and that is, we all hate the writer so we’re binding on that…got it?

OFF STAGE VOICE GUY:
McDermott Homicide, dressed in a trench coat, badge on his waist with a holster and pistol, strolls onto the stage, see’s how depressed everyone is…. Mr. Big deal, like I couldn’t wear a rain coat. I could have done this part

  MCDERMOTT, HOMICIDE
He changed the scene…… again?

OFF STAGE VOICE GUY
Preoccupied with other things, they all nod. I should try directing I’d be good at that, its not like it requires some great talent  

MCDERMOTT, HOMICIDE
 From wha…

OFF STAGE VOICE GUY (Mumbling)
I could do his role without the props…but nooooooo, I have to be “off stage”

MCDERMOTT, HOMICIDE
May I continue?

OFF STAGE VOICE GUY
 Sorry, sorry, sorry….I’m sorry, please go ahead

MCDERMOTT, HOMICIDE
Thank y………….

OFF STAGE VOICE GUY  
ruin the play with your ham fisted acting. Chew on a piece of scenery if you like

MCDERMOTT, HOMICIDE
(He reads the line VERY fast and then looks over quickly at the off stage voice guy)                                
From what to what?

JELLO BIAFRIA
From dumb to stupid, which, oddly enough in its own way, is a sort of evil reverse talent
                                              
MCDERMOTT, HOMICIDE
And did you hear those awful, predictable lines he’s given me?  “Everyone stay where they are” …I mean, God! How trite! But, hey, I’m lucky to be in the show right? I mean, for an actor, bad lines are better then no lines at all…am I right or what?

OFF STAGE VOICE GUY
The others look at him and then look away

MCDERMOTT, HOMICIDE
What?

OFF STAGE VOICE GUY
He turns and looks at the off stage voice guy for an explanation………I can’t get involved. I’m not even part of the play, never mind that I did Shakespeare in Central Park…it was a paying gig too….but nooooooo, I can’t even have a piddley little speaking  role. I don’t need this, you know. I have friends in Hollywood. I have a script…here, have a copy

MCDERMOTT, HOMICIDE  
Will somebody please tell me what’s going on?

JELLO BIAFRIA
Some detective. You were written out of the play several pages ago

OFF STAGE VOICE GUY
Good, serves you right

MCDERMOTT, HOMICIDE 
You know, your career problems are not my fault

OFF STAGE VOICE GUY
Your right! Your right! I’m sorry, please go ahead. Self involved little schmuck

MCDERMOTT, HOMICIDE
He can’t do that!  I’m an essentially stock character, gruff Irish cop, heart of gold under a rough exterior!  I’m a cornerstone of all good murder mysteries, slash satire, slash comedy, slash drama…that yutz!  No good playwright would do that

JELLO BIAFRIA
Well no one has ever accused him of being a good playwright, enthusiastic maybe, oblivious perhaps…but not good.

OFF STAGE VOICE GUY
Enter STIVEL. You know, I could have done his role too, not much meat to it…..but nooooooo, we need to limit the number of characters in the play.

MCDERMOTT, HOMICIDE
I won’t stand for this; I’m going to go see him…I should be the lead in this play! I should be on stage…. alone! (Although wearing a hat and coat he grabs a hat and coat from a chair)

OFF STAGE VOICE GUY  
Exit McDermott Homicide……Ya think they’d at least give me a stage name. How’s this going to look on my resume? “Off stage voice guy”

STIVEL
Where’s he going?

GENESIS Q. ORRIDGE 
Off to see the quote “writer”

 OFF STAGE VOICE GUY
She stands, walks to the edge of the stage and addresses the audience….like I couldn’t do that either…I should be the lead in this play….I could play a female role…Jack Lemmon did it, Tony Curtis pulled if off

GENESIS Q. ORRIDGE
 As a theater professional, I feel obligated to let you know that McDermott Homicide is “the writer’s” ham-fisted version of a sub-plot which is essentially the same as the main plot……character, conflict and resolution but the so-called writer will try to make the sub-plot function as comic relief…in this case McDermott Homicide. Frankly, sub-plots are way, way, way out of this “Writers” reach, so if he loses you, just raise your hand and one of the actors will fill you in. Anyway, let get onto the romantic portion of the play

STIVEL
Hello Jello Biafria…he said smold….smolder….

JELLO BIAFRIA
Smolderingly……...Ouy vay

STIVEL
Thank you…smolderingly Ouy vay. It’s possible to live an entire life with eyes that can’t see, ears that can’t hear and lips that can’t speak but I think we should die a quick death to be born with a heart that can’t love. I wonder where he lifted that line from? I think I heard that on a Bonanza rerun episode on TV Land

OFF STAGE VOICE GUY
Across the stage, Mc Dermott Homicide talks to the writer                                             

GENESIS Q. ORRIDGE
Well, this ought to be entertaining

 JELLO BIAFRIA
If it is, THE WRITER will think of a way to ruin it 

MCDERMOTT, HOMICIDE
Are you the writer?

 THE WRITER
Who are you? What do you want?

 MCDERMOTT, HOMICIDE
  McDermott.  Homicide. I have head shots and a resume if you need them

THE WRITER
I had a character in one of my plays called McDermott Homicide…a real idiot…killed him off …good play though, orphaned, blind black kid in a wheel chair gets hit by a bus, survives and dies of cancer, really pulled at the heartstrings, although maybe as a light musical comedy wasn’t the way to go with that one

MCDERMOTT, HOMICIDE (Smiling broadly)
 That’s me!

THE WRITER (Frowning mightily)
You’re not black and your not blind and where’s your wheel chair?

 MCDERMOTT, HOMICIDE
  No! I’m McDermott…The idiot!  I’m McDermott the idiot!  

GENESIS Q. ORRIDGE (Smiling and sincere) 
It’s like watching two baboons talk isn’t it?

MCDERMOTT, HOMICIDE
Listen, you can’t write me out of the play! Look, be a pal, put me back in, coach. Be reasonable!  At least discuss it with me……is it something I said?  Because, if it is…you said it first….I really like that line. By the way, if you’re working on anything new, I’m available, I’ll send you some head shots later

THE WRITER
We’re not having this conversation because you’re not real, you’re a fictional character. 

MCDERMOTT, HOMICIDE
Reality…what’s reality but a cowards substitute for Prozac. Don’t let it scare you.

THE WRITER
Reality doesn’t scare me buddy! I work in the arts! Let me tell you something, more then once I’ve looked reality straight in the eye and denied it! Besides I really don’t want to get involved….. (To the audience) Get it? Get involved? It’s a funny line, you’ll probably laugh later. See, I’m THE WRITER so I’m already involved in the work.

GENESIS Q. ORRIDGE
That’s not based on anything I’ve seen

THE WRITER
(looking over at GENESIS Q. ORRIDGE)
You now, I really don’t like her

OFF STAGE VOICE GUY
The light fades on McDermott and the writer. The stage goes dark and then the lights go back on. McDermott walks on stage, he a pulls .32 out of his coat and shoots JELLO BIAFRIA

STIVEL
 (Obviously reading a hidden script near a plant)
My God! What have you done! Why! Oh Why? He said shockedandapalled 

MCDERMOOT, HOMICIDE
 (Reading a script hidden inside his coat lining)
I think it’s “Shocked and appalled” it’s a misprint  and you’re not suppose to read that part aloud and I killed her, I hope

 STIVEL
 (Taking a page of the script he had taped to the back of a plant and reading it to himself) Oh yeah, you’re right, it is shocked and appalled. But my character does have a good point, I mean, why did you shoot her? It completely ruins the romantic overtones of the play and it doesn’t really fit into the story line.

MCDERMOOT, HOMICIDE
Well not really. Now that’s she dying, you understand that you can’t live without her blah blah blah, it pulls at the audiences heart strings blah blah, blah and it cuts at least five minutes from the play…Well that, and it was the only way I could stay on stage and Chekhov’s rule, gun comes out, gun goes off

WRITER (Yelling across the stage)
I learned that in playwriting class

JELLO BIAFRIA
Chekhov! That idiot is quoting THE Chekhov

THE WRITER
That’s right, Chekhov…the guy on Star trek (Speaking to McDermott) And they say television isn’t educational

STIVEL
But shooting her! You couldn’t figure out another way to bring us together?

MCDERMOOT, HOMICIDE
Not me pal, it was the writer…and in his defense, it’s a ten-minute play, we ain’t got all day here.  Besides, you have to admit, it’s effective

OFF STAGE VOICE GUY   
Stivel throws himself down to Jello Biafria and holds her in his arms…I could have done this part, a breeze….but nooo…I’m the announcer. I mean its not even acting, not really

STIVEL (reading from a script taped to a plant)
Jello Biafria! Speak to me! He says with great emotion in his voice Pause

JELLO BIAFRIA
I can’t breath

STIVEL
What? That’s not in the script. Do you see that in the script? I got the wrong script! I knew it!  You’re all out to get me! I knew it. Stop the play! I was given the wrong script

JELLO BIAFRIA
You’re leaning on my windpipe, you idiot! Get off of me! Paranoid loon.

STIVEL
Oh. Disregard the all-out-to-get-me remark people. Sorry

JELLO BIAFRIA
Go ahead, it’s you’re line

STIVEL
She’s….She’s gone. Pauses, for several seconds and turns to McDermott Homicide

OFF STAGE VOICE GUY
That’s my line, you yutz. As it is I’m a barely in the play. I could be doing film in Europe

STIVEL
How was that? Too much? It was too much wasn’t it? See? This is what happens when actors don’t get directions during the readings. It was too much wasn’t it?

MCDERMOTT, HOMICIDE
No, no, no…it was fine, you know, considering the limits of your talent and all.                                             
                                              
STIVEL
 Than you.  (Turns to Jello Biafria)  She’s….she’s dead

JELLO BIAFRIA
No, I’m not dead I’m waiting for the idiot to write my next line…hold on a second.
Typical man. Chokes at the emotional parts.

MCDERMOTT, HOMICIDE
Oh Yeah, forgot!

MCDERMOTT shoots GENESIS Q. ORRIDGE

MCDERMOTT, HOMICIDE
The writer didn’t like that remark about a wastebasket being his best friend and he feels that for a secondary character playing a lead character, you got kind of an attitude problem

GENESIS Q. ORRIDGE (Dying)
Man, this sucks! Aw, damn! Hey writer! You know, the stage business isn’t for sissy’s, if you’re gonna write you better toughen up against criticisms….look at my last reviews for Hamlet

OFF STAGE VOICE GUY
She takes the reviews from her pocket

GENESIS Q. ORRIDGE (Dying)
“She was out acted by the floor boards” You think I shot anybody over that? Anyway, I have head shots if you’re casting later

STIVEL
You can’t do that! You can’t kill off a character like that

MCDERMOTT, HOMICIDE
Sure I can

STIVEL
Well okay, but not twice in the same play! 

GENESIS Q. ORRIDGE  
At least not in the same act!

MCDERMOTT, HOMICIDE
Why not?

STIVEL
It’s predictable overkill.  (To the audience) pardon the pun. It was too good to pass up
                                      
MCDERMOTT, HOMICIDE
Maybe, but you didn’t see it coming (To the audience) and neither did you

STIVEL    
Well the writer’s an idiot. Ask the director, he’ll tell you the same thing. Go ahead.

OFF STAGE VOICE GUY
Smiling broadly, the director stands up and nods in agreement and then, delighted at the attention directors so rarely get, turns and winks to the audience and gives them a two handed V sign. McDermott turns slowly and shoots Stivel and the director.

 STIVEL
I guess I should have seen that one coming. Here, have a copy of my resume, I do nude scenes and opera

OFF STAGE VOICE GUY
He turns and shoots the guy doing the off stage ….voice…oh…I don’t think so…..

OFF STAGE VOICE GUY shoots McDermott Homicide

GENESIS Q. ORRIDGE
(Lifting her head from the floor) This is what we call a twist in the plot

MCDERMOTT, HOMICIDE
Why’d you shoot me? Was it Genesis Q. Orridge? You were secretly in love with her?

OFF STAGE VOICE GUY  
Uuummmm….for the sake of making this play seem more involved then it actually is, I’ll say yes, but between me and you, I just wanted the leading role, I really need the part for my resume. Would you like a headshot? Get it? Head-shot? See? I can do comedy too. 
                                  
MCDERMOTT, HOMICIDE (Dying)
But….but….how?
       
OFF STAGE VOICE GUY 
 Paid off the writer. Ten bucks, not bad. I was willing to go up to twenty…..thank God for student loans…like I was saying; I should have had the lead from the start…..

The lights go off.  The lights come back on. The writer is writing at his desk

THE WRITER
She walked toward him, her dress billowing in the wind -- not a calm and predictable billows like the sea, but more like the billowing of a mildewed shower curtain in a cheap motel where one has to dance around to avoid touching it while trying to rinse off soap
Nope. Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze. Naw. She was sending me more mixed signals than a dyslexic third-base coach. The lights go on. McDermott Homicide has a pistol pointed to his temple

                                              The End