CHARGE

by: ERIC KAISER

PAGES 1-10 PAGES 11-20 PAGES 21-30 PAGES 31-40
PAGES 41-50 PAGES 51-57  

[The play takes place in George and Martha's room. The room is gray and sterile. There are no windows, only a steel door about three times the size of a normal door.]

[The room and bed are littered with remote controls, all shapes and sizes. There is a black box high on the opposite wall of the bed with a little LED light; this is where the remotes are always pointed.]

[GEORGE and MARTHA are both lying in their huge bed. They are under the covers; their hands are above the covers typing on keyboards. George's left foot is also out of the covers, his foot is elevated, and there is a bandage where his little toe was. They both have on thick black goggles. They should have the appearance that they have not left the bed in years.]

[Above George's head are twelve little toes mounted on plaques, similar to a hunter's deer head.]

[Next to Martha is a small vase with two large plastic flowers.]

[Directly below the far wall there are two bodies, Gigi and Pierre. They have electrical cords coming from out of their backs and plugged into the wall. They will be described later.]

PRE-SHOW

[As the audience enters, George and Martha are typing. Martha types at a slow calculated pace, she cracks her knuckles a lot. George is the opposite, he types passionately, intensely.]

[They continue this during the entire pre-show.]

[About eight minutes before curtain we hear the words "Chiclets" from backstage.]

[About six minutes before curtain we can hear the soft reciting of Chiclets "Once in a time" that the audience will hear soon.]

[About three minutes before curtain we see CHICLET stumble out from backstage. She is dressed in strange clothing; it is symbolic of all that is outside the giant door; terrifying and fascinating. Chiclet holds out a box that has about twenty little packs of Chiclets in it. She is trying to sell them to the audience. She has been trying to sell them, for so many years, that the slightest noise or stimuli, whether someone is there or not will result in an attempted sale of "Chiclets?" She then waves the Chiclets out in the direction of the noise. Once someone gives her a sympathetic look she gives a big smile and will not leave that person until they buy a pack of Chiclets. She coughs frequently, but has the hope and tenacity of a child that knows nothing other than this. She is not pathetic, only her circumstances are. During the entire play, Chiclet has a wad of Chiclets in her mouth, she is always chewing them. Whenever something gets her down, she pops in a few more Chiclets, as this is one of her only sources of pleasure.]

[The lights Fall and the Play begins.]

[She gives a few more "Chiclets." She has been having no luck.]

[Chiclet takes a moment. She looks at the sky. She looks at the audience. Then as if telling a secret while trying to earn sympathy for a sale.]

CHICLET: Once upon time once upon time once upon a time once upon a time once upon a time it once upon a time it once upon a time it was - Chiclets?

[She looks up at the sky.]

[She takes a moment to confirm there is no sale.]

CHICLET: Once upon a time it was once upon a time it was blue once upon a time it was gray once upon a time it was green once upon a time it was once upon a time it was once upon a time it was -- Chiclets?

[She looks up at the sky.]

[She takes a moment to confirm there is no sale.]

[She looks at the earth.]

CHICLET: Chiclets?

[She takes a moment to confirm there is no sale.]

[She looks up at the sky.]

CHICLET: Once upon a time was blue -- Once upon a-- time was gray -- Once upon a time it was green--Once upon a time it was once-- upon a time it was --Once upon a time the sky spoiled wrestled from blue to bruise to oil green slick finally turned turning red endless liquid red gray marble in sky becoming shifting turning boiling not sky of quick sleep but sky insomnia where toss turn hot hours before finally rest us trying to stay awake as long as can under sky of sleep maybe all take is one clean drop water maybe all it take is one --

[She hears something.]

CHICLET: Chiclets? Chiclets?

[She stands as this is a sure sale.]

CHICLET: Chiclets?

[Thinking the sound is off-stage, Chiclets begins to walk off. She stops, thinks, then puts one small pack of Chiclets on the stool. She walks off-stage.]

ACT I

[Martha takes off her goggles and looks at George. Her face is paper white, we can barely make out the blue lines of veins in her cheeks. George continues typing. Martha looks to George, seeing he is still typing, she grabs a hand mirror under her bed, she looks at her face carefully. Suddenly she sees something on her face she doesn't want to see. She puts the mirror down. She frantically starts looking for remote controls, after the third try she finds the correct one, she aims it at the black box and presses it.]

MARTHA: Gigi?

GIGI: Yes mademoiselle?

MARTHA: I love your little French accent.

GIGI: Thank you mademoiselle.

MARTHA: I don't think I could handle it if I couldn't hear that accent.

GIGI: Of course you could handle it mademoiselle.

[Martha is intensely looking in the mirror.]

MARTHA: I found another vein today. That's fourteen on my face now. I need to get my heart pumping again. I keep getting thinner and paler, and soon I will look like a skull wrapped in onion skin. The veins will be bumped out like pipes under an eroded earth. [Martha looks horrified.] Another one. There's another one. That's fifteen veins. These veins have all lost their jobs. My heart can barely push blood through my body, and is laying off veins right and left. [She looks closer.] Look at them, they are just outlines of thin hollow straws. They are surfacing, dying, looking for nourishment.

GIGI: Mademoiselle, you should use the sun cream like the monsieur.

MARTHA: I don't think I could handle sun cream. I don't want to look orange like him. He looks orange. We're not supposed to look orange. I couldn't handle looking orange.

GIGI: Of course you could handle it.

MARTHA: I think my heart is dying. It doesn't pump like it used to.

GIGI: Then we shall order you a heart machine.

MARTHA: No I couldn't handle that either. If something else other than me tries to keep me alive, then I think I would have to kill myself.

GIGI: Don't talk like that mademoiselle. I would save you. I would pump your stomach myself.

MARTHA: Well, I wouldn't take any pills.

GIGI: Then directly after this conversation I shall dull all the sharps in the home.

MARTHA: I wouldn't cut myself.

GIGI
Then I shall cut all of the ropes in the house into six inch strips.

MARTHA: I wouldn't hang myself.

GIGI: Then I will unload all of the guns.

MARTHA: We don't have any guns.

GIGI: Then I will make sure we don't get any.

MARTHA: I don't think I could handle it if we didn't have any guns in the house.

GIGI: We don't have any here now.

MARTHA: And I don't know how I am handling it. I think I might have to kill myself.

GIGI: Don't talk like that mademoiselle. I would save you. I would pump your stomach myself.

MARTHA: Well, I wouldn't take any pills. No, no, no, wait I have it. If I were to kill myself I would open that door and let all of those naughty little sky rays eat my skin.

GIGI: Then I would see to it that you became such a good person, you had your own light rays to counteract those of the sky.

MARTHA: Ohh, how dramatic.

GIGI: I thought so.

MARTHA: That gives me an idea.

GIGI: An idea mademoiselle?

MARTHA: Wait, wait, wait…I would start the movie-- I mean I would start my--

GIGI: --Life?

MARTHA: No, my life is already started. Wait. It is my life and I can do with it as I please, so I will start it over. I start my life over and I am mean, and greedy, and a selfish person. And I would live my life like that…until one day.

GIGI: --You see the error of your ways?

MARTHA: Oh, I don't think I could handle it if I saw the error of my ways. Wait, wait, but I do, I see the error of my ways. And then in the movie --

GIGI: Life.

MARTHA: Yes, then in my life. A very dramatic song would start.

["Impossible Dream" sung by Jerry Vale is played.]

MARTHA: Yes, yes good choice.

GIGI: Thank you mademoiselle.

MARTHA: Start it over.

[The song starts over.]

GIGI: Yes mademoiselle.

MARTHA: A bit louder.

[The song is a bit louder.]

GIGI: Yes, mademoiselle.

MARTHA: Good, now turn it a bit louder and then start it over.

[The song starts over a bit louder.]

GIGI: Yes, mademoiselle

MARTHA: [Almost yelling over the music.] In the beginning, I am mean and greedy and selfish. This is symbolized by three things, A: There is a half-finished sculpture of an angel in my garage. B: There is a hungry little boy that sleeps on my doorstep every night that I call the police on. And C: I have a dying father that I haven't talked to in years. Then one day I see the error of my ways.

GIGI: What is the error of your ways?

MARTHA: Oh, I don't know, I don't know. But I see it. Then: [Pause, a little smile.] The song comes on. And in the three minute duration of this song. I make all of the changes I need to in my life. They are symbolized by A: I finish the angel sculpture in my garage, and incidentally it is a masterpiece. B: I feed the little hungry boy on my porch, I bring him in the home and incidentally he becomes a senator and loves me. And finally C: I call my Father and tears stream from our eyes as we tell each other we love one another, and incidentally moments later he dies. But I tell him in time. And then moments later all is right in the world and this is symbolized by an ambient, light that my soul generates. [She is choked up.] Excuse me. Excuse me. It is just so dramatic. I do all that in the duration of a three minute song. It frustrates me so that I can't change like that. [She composes her self.] But I couldn't go out there. Stop the song please.

GIGI: Yes, mademoiselle.

MARTHA: Oh, that was so dramatic. It is amazing how the people whose stories are told by movies, during the duration of one song, can switch their whole life around.

GIGI: It is amazing mademoiselle.

MARTHA: Those people are so strong.

GIGI: It is amazing mademoiselle.

MARTHA: Oh, I don't think I could handle it if I don't become that strong. I want a dramatic life like that. The story of my Father and I is boring, George and I came in here after the sky spoiled, and he stayed out there. [A moment.] I remember my Father as I said goodbye. The shadow of the green sky accenting his gentle face. And as a tear dropped from his eye the light hit it in a way that made it look like a small liquid emerald falling down his face. [Martha look in the mirror.] That vein. The fifteenth vein….it's gone. This story charged my heart. I have an idea. Play the song again.

[The song starts again.]

GIGI: Yes, mademoiselle.

MARTHA: And as the liquid emerald falls from his eye. I told George that I wasn't going to go inside. I would stay out with my Father and brave the sky. And George looks back and begs me to come inside, he tells me we will have all the modern food and luxuries and all the modern happiness. And our accessories will have accessories. And I didn't go inside. I didn't. I stayed outside and wiped that emerald off his face and… [She looks to the mirror.] Oh, that made my heart feel good. And look, another gone. Another vein gone Gigi.

GIGI: Then why is the mademoiselle in here?

MARTHA: What?

GIGI: If you stay with you PaPa, then why are you in here?

MARTHA : Liquid emerald isn't that sad? It's so dramatic. I am so bored. My blood is so bland, I need it spiced. I need my life curried and my blood cajunned up enough to put a charge in my heart.

GIGI: Yes, mademoiselle.

MARTHA: I have an idea. In your files, I want you to find me a real life dramatic place. Yet poetic. It has to be beautifully dramatic. A place close by. A place that needs change.

Continue...

Back to Charge Index

Copyright © 2000 Eric Kaiser

CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that Charge is subject to a royalty. It is fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, and of all countries covered by the International Copyright Union (including the Dominion of Canada and the rest of the British Commonwealth), and of all countries covered by the Pan-American Copyright convention and the Universal Copyright Convention, and of all countries with which the United States has reciprocal copyright relations. All rights, including professional and amateur stage performing, motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, video or sound taping, all other forms of mechanical or electronic reproduction, such as information storage and retrieval systems and photocopying, and the rights of translation into foreign languages, are strictly reserved.

Inquiries concerning all rights should be addressed to the author's representative at julianne.homokay@gmail.com

Home · Full-Length Plays · One-Act Plays · 10 Minute Plays · Monologues · Email · © 2000 TheatreHistory.com