Friday, February 15, 2008

An Excerpt From...

An Excerpt From Something That I’m Not Really Working On That Isn’t Really About Death All That Much

a play by Larry Kunofsky


( A quick editors note: This is a short one act but is definitely a longer post than most we've had here. But it's not that that long. So read it all the way through. It's good stuff. Also I apologize about the weird formatting of the text. Blogspot is not the best text editor. )


(HEARNE is inside in his PJs and bathrobe. He hasn’t been out all day. He sits at a table with old newspapers and coffee.)

(BRAILEY comes inside from outside with things from the Bodega in a plastic bag. He places the bag on the table and stands around. They bith mostly face out without ever looking at each other at the same time, unless otherwise indicated.)

HEARNE

Y’know who died?

BRAILEY

No, who died?

HEARNE

Sting.

BRAILEY

Sting?

HEARNE

Sting is dead.

BRAILEY

Sting-Sting?

HEARNE

Yeah. Dead.

BRAILEY

Sting as in The Artist Formerly In The Band The Police Who Then Reunited With The Police Even Though No One Cared That They Reunited?

HEARNE

I don’t know how many other guys named Sting there are. Is that guy’s name, works at The Bodega, Sting? I mean, I don’t know Bodega Guy’s name, but my guess, as to whether or not Bodega Guy’s name is Sting, would be Probably Not.

BRAILEY

Sting is dead?

HEARNE

Sting is dead, yeah.

BRAILEY

Sting is not dead.

HEARNE

I know. It’s okay.

BRAILEY

What?

HEARNE

We all face these things--

BRAILEY

No, listen. Sting is not dead, really.

HEARNE

Denial is a legitimate stage--

BRAILEY

Look, you’re not listening,

HEARNE

Oh Death, Where is Thy Sting?

BRAILEY

Sting is not dead.

HEARNE

Seriously?

BRAILEY

Yes!

HEARNE

Why are you saying that?

(There is a pause as BRAILEY goes off and Googles Sting. The actor playing BRAILEY never actually leaves the stage, he just stands there and waits for the moment to pass.)

BRAILEY

I just Googled Sting and Sting is not dead.

HEARNE

There’s no Google confirmation on Sting’s demise?

BRAILEY

Quite the contrary, actually. In fact, Google confirms that Sting is still among the living.

HEARNE

Can Google prove this?

BRAILEY

There’s a Live Feed.

HEARNE

Oh. Live Feed.

BRAILEY

Correct. Of Sting. On Sting’s official website. Of Sting. Alive. Sting is currently going live, which would require him to be not dead.

HEARNE

(Filled with so many conflicting feelings.)

Well. Good for Sting. The Sting is Dead. Long Live The Sting.

BRAILEY

You seem disappointed.

HEARNE

I couldn’t be happier for Sting. And Trudy. And their nineteen children. And the other Police, regardless of whether or not anyone would care should they choose to reunite yet again. And all involved. I just… All these feelings. Flowing. So hard. To redirect. The flow.

BRAILEY

That’s only human.

HEARNE

That’s good of you to point out.

BRAILEY

Only, don’t go too far. In that. A man is officially not dead. Rejoice.


HEARNE

(Unable to completely shake the sadness.)

Huzzah, Sting.

BRAILEY

Who told you Sting was dead?

HEARNE

Paige.

BRAILEY

Where did Paige hear that Sting was dead?

HEARNE

Paige did not reveal her sources.

BRAILEY

Paige should be careful about what she says.

HEARNE

All these questions blazing through my mind. What would Sting’s death say about the health risks of extreme yoga? Would the gravestone say Gordon Sumner? Or would it actually say Sting? Which would be retarded.

BRAILEY

Y’know who Paige told me was an anti-semite?

HEARNE

Denzel Washington, I know, Paige told me.

BRAILEY

Exactly. So there you go.

HEARNE

What does Denzel Washington’s anti-semitism have to do with Sting not being dead?

BRAILEY

Denzel Washington is not an anti-semite.

HEARNE

I wouldn’t be so forgiving about the anti-semitic remarks that Paige has told us Denzel Washington has made, simply because of his vast and significant body of work.

BRAILEY

Denzel Washington has made no anti-semitic remarks. He is only as anti-semitic as Sting is dead.

HEARNE

How do you know Denzel Washington is not an anti-semite?

BRAILEY

How do you know that Denzel Washington is an anti-semite.

HEARNE

Paige told me.

BRAILEY

Aha.

HEARNE

It’s Paige’s word against Denzel Washington’s, as far as I’m concerned, and I don’t know Denzel Washington to have a conversation with him, despite my familiarity with his body of work, so I have to take Paige’s word for it, now don’t I?

BRAILEY

Paige’s sources are unreliable.

HEARNE

She said she saw it on the news.

BRAILEY

That’s what she told me initially, as well. However, when pressed further, Paige was forced to admit that all she truly remembered was that she heard Denzel Washington say something in an interview on E! in which he said, and I quote from Paige directly “something that probably was about the Jews, but not in a direct way, but it made me think of the Jews, which sounded, I think, really not good.”

HEARNE

Why that’s not very much of a source at all.

BRAILEY

Exactly my point.

HEARNE

I’m relieved. I admire the body of Denzel Washington’s work deeply, because of its vastness and significance. My admiration for his body of work would be severely tainted by his now clearly nonexistent anti-semitism. Nevertheless, would that his nonexistent anti-semitism were to actually exist, I would mourn that loss with great lamentation, not unlike my earlier mourning of Sting.

BRAILEY

Denzel Washington is neither an anti-semite nor dead.

HEARNE

Have these pronouncements of yours been confirmed, in the final analysis?

(There is a pause as BRAILEY goes off and Googles Denzel Washington. The actor playing BRAILEY never actually leaves the stage, he just stands there and waits for the moment to pass.)

BRAILEY

I Googled Denzel Washington and no word exists regarding his death.

HEARNE

Surely Google would report such a tremendous loss to the African-American and Arts and Entertainment communities. And bravo to great talents such as Denzel Washington’s for making such communities so far from mutually exclusive.

BRAILEY

As far as someone being an anti-semite, I believe that here in the United States, a person is innocent until proven an anti-semite. I don’t know what they do over in the State of Israel.

HEARNE

Now that will be just about enough of your anti-Zionist remarks out of you.

BRAILEY

I have yet to utter an anti-Zionist remark.

HEARNE

Well are you a Zionist?

BRAILEY

I’m not an anti-Zionist.

HEARNE

Well you’re either for us or against us.

BRAILEY

That may very well be part of the problem.

HEARNE

Perhaps we should refrain from the political altogether.

BRAILEY

Agreed.

HEARNE

We should put aside our differences in this time of mourning.

BRAILEY

No one has died. Google was very specific.

HEARNE

Know who’s dead?

BRAILEY

No, who’s dead?

HEARNE

Oh. I thought you were an authority on Dead.

BRAILEY

No. I just try… to follow… reality.

HEARNE

Is Lee Marvin dead?

BRAILEY

Yes, Lee Marvin is dead.

HEARNE

I saw Lee Marvin on a bicycle riding down the street just the other day.

BRAILEY

Well you didn’t.

HEARNE

I could swear that I had.

BRAILEY

It must have been a Lee Marvin look-alike.

HEARNE

Could there possibly be much of a market for such a profession?

BRAILEY

I wasn’t suggesting that Man On Bike did it for a living.

HEARNE

Lee Marvin and his bicycle was this close to me. I could swear it. He feels that close right now. Perhaps this is how we always feel when we lose someone. On the one hand, they’re gone. On the other, they might just as well whiz by on a bicycle.

BRAILEY

Do you really feel that you, yourself, have lost someone in Lee Marvin?

HEARNE

Yes. We have, obviously. We, as a Culture. But I have, as well. I, as an individual. Yes. He wasn’t just a tough guy, y’know. He was underrated. And there’s something about his work in The Dirty Dozen that’s quite touching.

BRAILEY (Flippant.)

I’m sorry for your loss.

HEARNE

You’ve always been flippant about grief.

BRAILEY

I’ve never been flippant about grief. I’m flippant about what you call grief because what you call grief is something else and that something else is profoundly less substantial than grief.

HEARNE (Pain.)

You don’t know.

BRAILEY

You’ve never lost anyone.

HEARNE

You don’t know.

BRAILEY

You don’t even know what it’s like to lose someone.

HEARNE

You don’t know.

BRAILEY

Excuse me. I know what it’s like to lose someone. Over and over again. Sometimes, it seems, without cease. And I know when I know someone who knows what it’s like to lose someone. I can spot someone who knows a mile away. There’s a light around them. A dark light. It doesn’t illuminate, it’s a light that casts everything in shadow. A dark light that screams. It doesn’t glow, it screams, and I can hear it. I can hear it and see it both. And you, sir, have no glow, have no scream about you. I see or hear nothing from you. There is no light. You, sir, have never known loss. You have never lost anyone in your life and you don’t know what it’s like.

HEARNE

You don’t know! You don’t know! You don’t know!!! YOU DON’T KNOW!!!!

(Silence. There is a stare-down.)

BRAILEY

Okay. Listen. Stop saying that. Seriously.

(Silence. Staring, Face to Face.)

(PAIGE comes inside from outside. They barely acknowledge her, but that’s okay.)

PAIGE

Y’know who’s dead?

HEARNE

No, who’s dead?

BRAILEY

Paige, now is not a good time.

PAIGE

When is it ever a good time for Death?

HEARNE

Actually, Paige, Brailey’s kind of right.

PAIGE

Oh, Hearne, does that mean you boys are getting along? How good.

HEARNE

Paige.

PAIGE

Even in times of Death comes good.

BRAILEY

Paige, seriously. Not now.

PAIGE

I’m sure Fran Drescher said Not Now to Death. But y’know what? Death’s response to Death was “’Now is not a good time,’ my Deathly Ass, yo. And now, Fran Drescher,” continued Death, “You dead, byotch.”

BRAILEY

Fran Drescher is dead?

PAIGE

Fran Drescher is dead.

HEARNE (Processing.)

Fran Drescher is dead.

BRAILEY

Fran Drescher is not dead.

PAIGE

(When PAIGE comforts others, she comforts herself.)

That’s how I feel.

BRAILEY

That’s not how I feel, I’m just stating a fact.

HEARNE (Crushed.)

Not Fran Drescher.

BRAILEY

No.

PAIGE

I know.

HEARNE

Not The Nanny.

PAIGE

I know.

BRAILEY

No.

PAIGE

I know.

BRAILEY

No. Seriously.

PAIGE

We all feel that way

BRAILEY

Fran Drescher is not dead.

PAIGE

Would that that were true.

BRAILEY

It is true.

HEARNE

I can still hear her strident whiny annoying screeches on the wind.

PAIGE

May the wind carry her screechings in our hearts anon.

(There is a pause as BRAILEY goes off and Googles Fran Drescher. The actor playing BRAILEY never actually leaves the stage, he just stands there and waits for the moment to pass.)

BRAILEY

I Googled Fran Drescher. She’s not dead.

PAIGE

Is there a website that lists all the people who are not dead? Because there are so many people to think of to put on that list that it must be very difficult to update once you have to take someone off that list so if that’s your source, I’m not sure that your source is accurate.

BRAILEY

Fran Drescher is on a live feed.

PAIGE

Really? A live feed.

BRAILEY

Yes, really, a live feed.

HEARNE

Well. A live feed.

BRAILEY

Sting has a live feed on his official website and his official website is broadcasting a live concert that Sting, who is not dead, is currently giving. And Fran Drescher is at the concert. And Denzel Washington, who is not an anti-semite, is sitting next to Fran Drescher. This is all happening right now. Live. And not one dead among them.

PAIGE

I wonder if Fran Drescher and Denzel Washington are dating.

HEARNE

I know that Fran Drescher would never sit next to an anti-semite, so if further proof of Denzel Washington’s humanity were needed--

BRAILEY

It’s not.

PAIGE

Anyway. Hi, Brailey.

BRAILEY

Hi, Paige.

PAIGE

How are you, Hearne?

HEARNE

I’m having a rough time processing.

PAIGE

I know.

BRAILEY

Processing what.

HEARNE

All this Death.

BRAILEY

But no one has died.

HEARNE

It’s still very painful for me. And I’m not talking to you.

PAIGE

Are you boys fighting again?

HEARNE

He said I don’t know what it’s like to lose someone. He said I’ve never even lost anyone ever.

PAIGE

Y’know, a little compassion goes a long way. Y’know?

HEARNE

No, he doesn’t know. He doesn’t know, he has no idea, it’s the furthest idea from his mind.

PAIGE

I know, Hearne, I know.

HEARNE

I know that Sting and Fran Drescher are not dead. And that Denzel Washington is not an anti-semite. But I caught a glimpse of the ache that will appear from deep inside me when we as People and as a Culture and I as an individual will lose them. And to think that Denzel Washington could have died before he was cleared of all accusations, I shudder. At the very thought.

PAIGE

(She rushes to HEARNE’s aid. She is Here For Him.)

Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh. Pookey, I know. Oh.

(Silence.)

BRAILEY

I need new friends.

(Silence.)

PAIGE

What does that mean.

HEARNE

I know what he means. We all need more than we have. We could all use extra friends. Especially in time of need.

BRAILEY

That’s not what I mean. I don’t want more friends. I wouldn’t turn down more friends if my original friends were good. But my current friends are no good, so I don’t want more friends, I want new friends to replace my old friends because I need to get rid of my old friends because my old friends are no good. I’m saying I’m tired of you. I’m saying I’ve had enough of you.

HEARNE

Are you saying you’re renouncing our friendship.

BRAILEY

I am. Yes. I’m sorry if that hurts you, I don’t want to hurt you, but I’d hurt myself if I didn’t renounce you because you’re much too much of an idiot for me to value as a friend, so that is what I’m saying, yes.

(BRAILEY is about to leave. For good.)

HEARNE

Then say it. Then say it, then.

(BRAILEY delays his own departure in order to settle this.)

BRAILEY

Okay. You’re an idiot.

HEARNE

No.

BRAILEY

Yes. You are an idiot.

HEARNE

That’s not what I want you to say.

BRAILEY

I don’t blame you for feeling that way.

HEARNE

Say you renounce me. Look me in the eye and say it.

(BRAILEY and HEARNE confront each other Face to Face.)

BRAILEY

I. Renounce. You.

PAIGE

(This is all too, too much.)

Oh. Oh. Oh.

(Silence.)

BRAILEY

Are we done. I’d like to leave now.

HEARNE

No, we’re not done.

BRAILEY

Okay, then. Say what you need to say so that we can be done.

(BRAILEY and HEARNE confront each other Face to Face.)

HEARNE

I renounce you!

BRAILEY

Okay. Bye.

HEARNE

No. Wait.

BRAILEY

Go ahead.

(BRAILEY and HEARNE confront each other Face to Face.)

HEARNE

You’re Dead To Me.

PAIGE (Sad.)

Oh.

BRAILEY

Goodbye.

HEARNE

Am I Dead To You?

BRAILEY

No.

HEARNE

Because you’re Dead To Me.

BRAILEY

If you say so.

HEARNE

Why don’t you take your being Dead To Me seriously.

BRAILEY

Because it’s a very stupid concept. I’m freaking alive. Genius. Y’know who’se Dead To Me? People who have Actually Died.

HEARNE

I see.

BRAILEY

I still renounce you, though.

HEARNE (Sadly.)

Okay.

BRAILEY

(Not unkindly.)

Goodbye.

(BRAILEY turns again to go.)

PAIGE

Goodbye, Brailey.

BRAILEY

Bye, Paige.

PAIGE

Do you renounce me, too.

BRAILEY

Nah. I don’t really think of you that much as it is.

(BRAILEY braces for leaving the inside environs. He goes outside. He exits. He is gone.)

PAIGE

Well how do ya like that. That douche wouldn’t even renounce me. That’s really going too far.

HEARNE

Y’know who’s dead?

PAIGE

No, Pookey, who’s dead?

HEARNE

We are.

PAIGE

We as People? We as a Society? We as a Society? Or we All Who Existence Surveys.

HEARNE

We as individuals. You’re dead. I’m dead.

PAIGE

Dead To Him?

HEARNE

No. Dead To Us. Dead to Each Other. Dead To Ourselves. Dead. Dead, dead.

PAIGE

Oh.

(Silence.)

But.

(Silence.)

Oh.

(Silence.)

Yes.

(Silence.)

Yes.

(Silence.)

Yes.

(Silence.)

Yes.

Yes.

(Silence.)

We are.

(Silence.)

We are dead.

(Silence.)

Yes.

(Will they laugh or cry at this?)

(Each waits for the other to laugh or to cry first.)

(They will keep waiting this way until they die.)

(There is darkness everywhere.)

(There is no light anywhere in the whole wide world.)

(End of play.)

5 comments:

SUN said...

Interesting!...
WASHINGTON-POSTS

kerly said...

hey Rami,

nice to see you blogging, but please keep posting. ok I found you back trough this thing called internet...

hmmmm I also want to read more about your play betty

cheers and keep rockin :)

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