Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sex, Drugs and Taming Shrews


An off-yellow 1982 Chevrolet Malibu station wagon sits on the right of stage (stage left) with the passenger door open, a baby seat in the back, and Kate is sitting cramped within the passenger seats. It's emergency flashers are on, and Oliver is working under the hood. He is the literal and metaphorical mechanic, who fixes what is broken: both people and things. The car is filled with everything from their move. A dim light shines upon her as she reminisces about a few nostalgic things in the car.
Eventually, Oliver closes the hood and moves to center stage, he has an English dialect. He addresses the audience directly.
OLIVER
Thou came to hear a love story no? A tragedy perhaps? What is love without tragedy? In the end, one or both must die, no? I mean, not every story has a happy ending...
OLIVER pulls out a pill bottle and swallows a pill.
OLIVER (CONT.)
...but everyone has a story. Everyone thinks there story is important. Well mine is complete rubbish.
Oliver turns towards KATE but continues to address the audience..
OLIVER (CONT.)
There was a time that I loved her more than anything. Then I woke up and realized what I loved the most, tortured my soul, singed the heart, and deranged my mind. (pause - reflection) Love is a damned maddening circumstance! 
Oliver pulls a joint from his pocket and proceeds to light it.
OLIVER (CONT.)
I remember that day like it was yesterday.
Oliver indirectly points to the car and Kate.
OLIVER (CONT.)
In a yellow station wagon, its roof strapped with the makings of a home, and in the passenger's seat sat my Kate. For twas clear when we left that little town, the windows rolled down, as she took her last breath of those orchards that lined her father's street, that it was not by choice. She cried as she looked at her childhood home one last time, as we drove onward, her past fading into her future. For twas by her father, and her sister that she had even found herself there, tucked between a glove box and a head-rest... In this life of compromise for other's love. (he indicates with a facial expression that this is him.)
KATE, who speaks with a Welsh dialect, moves to the other side of the stage. She sits in the center of the couch, surrounded by party-goers, including two men (the suitors). 
I first met Kate far away from home, at a soiree of drink, and laughter. Whereby a small wager was made among friends, as to who could deflower thee curst, young Kate first.
The first of three was Tobias, a weasel-like gentleman was he.
TOBIAS, who speaks with a lisp, sits next to KATE on the couch. He is cross-eyed. He sits quietly with his legs firmly square, upright, looking straight ahead. He is proper, but strange, and his eyes lead his head to glimpse at Kate. Tobia's hand comes awkwardly close to her hand on a few attempts. Eventually he snatches her hand and places it on his heart:
TOBIAS
Life is a song played by billions of heart beats, (pause) and, and... Methinks that I could make thy melody complete.
KATE can take no more and busts out laughing.
TOBIAS (CONT.)
Hath I offended thee Kate? Something I said?
KATE takes Tobias's hand and places it on her forehead. Then loud enough for all to hear:
KATE
That's as close as you'll get to me in bed!
Spotlight moves to Kate's other side, on Bryn. Action parallels Oliver's recollection.
OLIVER
The second man was named Bryn, a portly fellow was he, with his mislaid plan it soon was plain to see.
BRYN jumps on top of Kate! She screams
KATE
Dear GOD! I am trapped in the abysmal bliss of other's fantasies.
OLIVER 
He jumped on top of Lady Kate as she sat on the couch, and began to touch her on her bosom mont.  Most women would hath thrown him to the floor, but Kate just closed her eyes and pretended to snore. 
BRYN, who speaks with a Scottish dialect, stands to unzip his trousers, turns to the audience in a moment of reflection:
BRYN 
(severely drunk)
The world is like a symphony orchestra, and all its men and women merely instruments. It's not what kind of instrument thou playeth in the Devil's concert, it's how hard thou bloweth.
OLIVER 
Consumed with his efforts, he spun like a dreidel as everyone looked on. By sheer vibration Bryn gyrated himself drunkenly into the corner of the room. Smirks and grins were upon every face, as Bryn passed out, pants down, from all his effort, he could not finish what he started.
BRYN collapses in the corner. An awkward pause occurs on stage. Oliver shakes his head then smirks adorably at the nonsense of BRYN's idiocy.
OLIVER (CONT.)
...and so, I suppose this is where I came in.
OLIVER sits down beside Kate and pretends to ignore her.
OLIVER (CONT.)
"Lovely Kate, beautiful Kate, may I sit by thy side and let the world slip; for we shall never be younger than we are right now.
KATE
Sir! There are untold numbers of things thou can change in this world, I am not one of those.
OLIVER 
"I'm so sorry my love, as it appears I hath bothered you. I shall leave thee be, for thy beauty should not be tainted by me."
OLIVER rises from the couch, and sits beside another woman, Bianca, who also speaks in a Welsh dialect, and who is in plain sight of Kate. Indistinguishable conversation begins as Oliver whisper in her ear. Bianca seems enthralled by the attention. A few minutes of taunting, then Bianca and Oliver near a kiss while Kate's discomfort grows more, and more obvious.
BIANCA
I guess I'm becoming the person my mother warned me about. 
Finally Kate stands up, and demands:
KATE
If thou wantest my family, surely thou wantest me !
KATE takes OLIVER by the hand and leads him off-stage. Everyone stares. Just before Kate leaves, she stops and turns to the audience:
KATE
 Of dreams not yet realized and words yet unspoken, I run into the future, gasping for air, knowing not if I'll make it, but that I hath no choice but to keep running.
Kate and Oliver exit. A few moments later a disheveled Oliver surfaces for the side of the stage and returns to his discussion with the audience.
OLIVER
And that's how it all began. Nine months later, me Kate and the baby left her home for mine. She would hath never chosen me by any stretch of the matter, but a proper daughter and mother had no choice in a world in which she must be better than the later.
OLIVER walks over to the car, Kate is already inside, he gets in, looks back at the child in the seat, starts the car.
OLIVER (CONT.)
...and so life began, far away from home.
OLIVER AND KATE drive off. 
BLACK OUT

In complete darkness, stage-center, Oliver lights a cigarette.

OLIVER
I really did love her. In fact that's the only reason I ever agreed to that silly wager. Every morning we rose, I'd tell her so.
Lights up, and we can see a small kitchen to the (stage-right) left, and a cozy, spring-like cottage bedroom with a bed, and baby-cradle adjacent (in the same room). Oliver brings a tray with breakfast on it to her, adorned with a single rose in a vase. He sits it down beside her, and kisses her on the cheek. KATE throws it to the floor, then tosses her comforter to the ground. She then stands on the bed.
KATE
Thou are not handsome, though thou think thee are. I do not crave thee in bed, though thou want me to. To be completely honest, I'd rather be dead.
OLIVER
I cook thee three meals a day in the French fashion, but thou always complains.
KATE
Ha! Thy food, like thy face, I disdain.
OLIVER
I give you forever and all you can say is...
KATE
...I want something better.
OLIVER 
I don't know what thou wantest! I've taken thee to Paris hoping to soften thy demeanor...
KATE
Ooh. (pause) La. (pause) La. (very sarcastically).
OLIVER
...to Belgium with its delight, it only made thee meaner...
KATE
Meh. (a childish face of disgust)
OLIVER
...to Moscow, and to Kenya which thou claimest it is...
KATE
Unimpressive. Try harder.
OLIVER
Everywhere we would check-in, you would...
KATE
(overlapping Oliver on "You Would"/ "I Would".
KATE speaks to the audience.)
I would diminish the greatness of him.
OLIVER
(to KATE)
...and as the concierge handed the keys, thou wouldst say...
KATE
(to OLIVER)
This is my brother, double beds for our stay please.
Lights dim to a faint focus spot on OLIVER. OLIVER screams of frustration! Walks over to a bottle of wine, removes the cork and begins drinking.
OLIVER
(to the audience)
Oh, don't give me that look! (pause) If thou are so smart, what would you do? Oh I know what you're thinking! (mocking) If you love someone, you must let them go. (Mocking even more) Well THAT'S A CLICHE!
Dim light up on Kate who sits up stage on the bed.
KATE
(to audience, arguing her case)
Love is a cliche!
OLIVER 
(to the audience)
Seriously? I'm not some evil ass-hole holding her against her wishes. That door has been open for her to walk out any time she likes. 
KATE
Love is a malady of the soul! Wake up Oliver! Most people ARE loveless! Actors who pretend and market their hidden misery under the guise of love. 
OLIVER
Loveless Kate then?
KATE
I'd rather be a loveless monster than live in the banal existence of others. 
OLIVER
A monster? (really?)
KATE
A monster yes! And if a monster, then beware of my bite!
OLIVER
I wish not to become master over thee.
KATE
No you simply wish to domesticate me.
OLIVER
(to the audience)
Do you see? I mean, what do you do when crazy isn't enough any more? 
(pause)
OLIVER (CONT.)
(quietly so she can't hear)
Honestly... Methinks she enjoys making me deranged.
Blackout to indicate change.
Lights up on KATE who sits on the bed cross-legged holding a prescription pill bottle, contemplating over it. After a few seconds, she turns to address the audience with a curious look.
KATE
Today, the oddest thing, I visited my doctor for a routine test, and they discovered something strange.
OLIVER
The Doctor then advised Kate's disposition may be hormonally tied. 
KATE
Just another bloody lie!
OLIVER
The doctor gave her a bottle of pills, orange and black, and directions to take one to see what she thought; if she so liked, the other would permanently cure. The instructions were clear, keep away from children the physician confirmed, and keep these away from thy son or the opposite shall occur.
KATE
(to Oliver) I'm not bloody crazy, I'm Welsh you idiot.
There's nothing wrong with me! 
OLIVER
In smite of fate, she swallowed the orange one and waited to see...
KATE 
What I couldn't believe.
OLIVER
Within minutes twas clear the old Kate was gone.
KATE's demeanor suddenly changes, and is in love with Oliver. She suddenly realizes how hard he has tried all this time.
Kate looks adoringly at Oliver walks over to him and places both hands on his face.
KATE
My sweet, sweet Oliver. Oh how I love thee, and our life. 
They kiss, it's sweet, it's tender, then it begins to turn sexual. 
OLIVER
Her lips suck forth my soul.
They begin to disrobe. They make their way to the bed, she continues to be an aggressor on-top of him. She stops to address the audience with her head turned.
KATE
(to Oliver)
It appears thy external parts, alas get to agree with thy heart! (cheeky)
He lifts his head and tries to address the audience from on his back.
OLIVER
Who is this spirit that possesses my wife?
KATE 
(growls, then address the audience by turning her head back quickly, and breathlessly)

I burn, I pine, I perish. 
The loving continues, and fades out into darkness.
After a pause to indicate a new scene, or that action has been completed, a cigarette is lit in the dark, Oliver lights a cigarette. A pause, then Kate lights one too. They kiss.
KATE (CONT.)
It feels like heroine.
OLIVER
What does?
KATE
Love.
Fade to black.
Downstage center, OLIVER stands in his boxers, with his cigarette, faint light rises.
OLIVER
The debt had been paid, like our first time, we stayed up all night, five hours getting laid. But in the morning the spell had worn off, and she was bitter for what she had done.
Lights up, and we see what appears to be a hung-over KATE half off the bed, disheveled.
KATE
What the Hell? I've been tamed not by a man, but a mere pill?
OLIVER
(to the audience)
The question now became what to do, for clearly there were not one Kate, but two.
Kate reaches for her bottle, opens it and dumps the pills in her hand and contemplates her choice.
OLIVER looks over, and for a moment feels sympathy of the decision she's contemplating.
KATE
If I take the black pill, I could be happy forever in love...
OLIVER
(almost arguing against KATE)
...but with consumption the real Kate would cease and die of....
KATE
Who is the real Kate?
OLIVER
I cannot decide thy fate.
KATE
My destiny is suicide, and by these pills I'll murder one, myself or her, I cannot decide. Oliver, what should I do?
OLIVER
To thine own self be true.
KATE
Oliver tis only by child I am bound to thee, for thou are a good father, but unlike the Kate of last night, I have gambled away thy life, I have played a courtly role for my own benefit, and I lowered my pants in the corner humiliating myself out of jealousy to keep you from Bianca.
OLIVER
Sweetheart, I love thee as you are, you are beautiful no matter what you do. I shall wait every day in this life for thy love, obedient to you, I do not need any more than you being Shrewd.
Kate stares at the black pill sitting in the open palm of her hand. She begins to move the pill towards her mouth, hesitating as she pinches it between two fingers. Just as it appears that she was about to release the pill, Oliver snatches the pill from her hand and swallows it whole. As he falls out of love, and her realizing what he has done, that he has given her the final piece of him that he had to give her, for the first time in her life, she feels love towards him.
KATE
(to Oliver)
No, no.. what hath thou done?
OLIVER collapses into KATE's arms, and drops to his knees. We do not know if it's an overdose, or simply his realization of Kate's perspective as he changes.
His eyes roll back in his head.
KATE
You can't leave me, not now.... 
OLIVER's limp body hang in her arms, Kate collapses to her knees as well.
KATE
Damn you Oliver... (beat)  I love thee. Are you happy? I LOVE YOU!
BLACKOUT
House lights should rise (to half if possible), stage lights too (as necessary) indicating the end of the show.
When the first person gets up from the audience, KATE pounds her closed fist on the stage floor. screams out:
KATE (CONT.)
SIT DOWN!! (pause) My story is not over! My life shall not be a cliche!
KATE grows angry.
KATE (CONT.)
I shall not let someone write my ending.
KATE jumps on top of Oliver and begins CPR. She is sobbing, she attempts mouth-to-mouth. Nothing works.
KATE (CONT.)
Don't you leave me, don't you dare! 
(pause)
KATE places her hands on his face, and is just inches from his lips.
KATE
I pray thee don't leave me. Don't leave me here alone.
Oliver doesn't move. After several moments she capitulates and realizes he's gone.
KATE (CONT.)
No! No! NO! NO! NO! (growing more aggressively)
KATE addresses God (or if a technician box behind/above the audience exist, that.)
KATE (CONT.)
(to the writer)
You will fix this, and you will fix this right now!
KARA
(KARA is the writer and she speaks through the intercom in an American dialect.)
Good Kate, I am your writer. This is the ending I wrote. You need to just accept your fate. This is your role, play your DAMN role!
KATE
Come out here, and show me thy face, show me how this is fair?
Clicks of electrical breakers can be heard, The stage illuminates the brightest it's ever been. Every light is on.
KARA enters from offstage with a headset on, dressed in black, and with a binder in hand with The Script.
KARA
Fair is fair Kate. I write, and you live what I write. That's reality, that's how this world works. I wrote your destiny the moment you walked on stage.
KATE
I'm not going to do this anymore. That ended when I ripped open reality, fell through the crack, and landed on this stage. (beat) Now fix it or else! 
KARA
No. 
Kate slaps KARA, grabs the binder and throws it on top of the kitchen counter. Kate climbs in KARA's face and screams:
KATE
Write it! Write the fucking, happy ending!
Kate grabs her hand (literally forcing her hand), places the pen in KARA's and requires her to write what she expects to be her happy ending. They struggle a bit.
KARA
How about I write you out of existence?
Grunting, struggling, writing, the period at the end of the sentence is obvious... SUDDEN BLACKOUT. SILENCE. Then Oliver takes the largest gasp of air (as if surfacing from death) that he has ever taken (in the darkness).
OLIVER
(breathlessly)
Kate? Kate! Kate! KATE!!!!
Lights up on-stage. Kate is nowhere to be seen. She has disappeared. KARA has written her out of the script. KARA and Oliver stand on stage.
OLIVER (CONT.)
(feverishly angry, maddened rage)
WHAT DID YOU DO?????
OLIVER, sobbing, lethargically, and pitifully begins crawling to the counter over the next few lines.
KARA
I have loved you from the moment I wrote you.
Oliver is completely perplexed, bewildered.
OLIVER
Noooo!
KARA 
Oh yes. From the very first line. (pause) All the way to her demise. (smirk, as if to say "oh well) Or should I say, "revision".
OLIVER (slowly) stands at the counter, looks at the script, then at her. Then goes into a rage, grabs KARA's face with his hand, and backs her against the door/wall. She knows not to move.
OLIVER
You're nothing but a vessel of empty words!!!

KARA
(struggling to speak) Kate never loved you Oliver!
OLIVER
No. (pause) but (beat) I always loved her.
OLIVER turns to look at KARA, he grabs the pen and scribbles. The period at the end of the sentence is obvious. KARA makes one last effort, Oliver permits her, but it's too late. Kara reads what he wrote.
KARA
But you can't, I'm real!
OLIVER
Life is a fairy tale authored by its own characters.
BLACKOUT (pause)
LIGHTS UP, and KARA is gone.
OLIVER catches his breath.  Takes a couple pills, and drinks them down with the last few drops of wine.
OLIVER (CONT.)
Fuckin writers.
He picks up the pen, writes one last sentence.
OLIVER waits, but no Kate appears. He becomes disappointed.
Then from the back of the theater, the door opens, and Kate walks in and begins walking to Oliver:
KATE
I thought I told you, There are untold numbers of things thee can change in this world, I am not one of those.
Oliver expresses relief, begins to weep, he reaches for her, brings her on stage and embraces her. The deepest heartfelt kiss occurs. Afterwords they step back, Kate looks at the script, walks over and rips it up.
OLIVER 
(to the audience)
Does make you wonder. (pause) If you're going to write your own ending, shouldn't it be happy? (pause, as Kate joins him, and they take each others hand. They both stare at the audience.) 
How will your story end?
THE END.