Keep your creativity flowing with Fishamble's #TinyPlayChallenge
In these challenging times, Fishamble - along with many of our colleagues in the wider Irish artistic community - is working hard to keep imaginations lively, communities engaged - and most of all offer people the opportunity of creative expression. We asked our audiences: Would you welcome the challenge of exploring your thoughts and feelings through drama? Do you have a dramatic story that you feel the urge to work out for yourself, and maybe share with your fellow citizens?
Below is one of the chosen plays from our weekly submissions.
Clowns for Sale
(Three clowns with red noses — Ando, Bando and Cando — enter, creeping backwards towards and through the centre, magically without bumping into one another; facing each other in a triangle, they relax and greet each other effusively.)
(Merch enters. Merch’s physicality is distinct from the clowns, made of more naturalistic stuff. Merch speaks in gibberish; lines below suggest what they should convey.)
MERCH (gibberish) Greetings! You are all very welcome to today’s Great Clown Sell-off! (Ando realises almost immediately what this means, Bando slowly cops on, and Cando remains blissfully unaware.) Let’s get right down to business! We have three items today for your consideration.’ (Possible further fill.)
(Merch notices the clowns are not cooperating and tries to herd them; by now they are conferring about what to do: Ando favours physical attack, Bando thinks they should negotiate, Cando is crying. Merch commands them to stand in a triangle facing outward. The clowns refuse. As Merch continues to address the audience in gibberish, Ando makes to attack Merch, realises s/he might do better with a weapon, scans the front row for something to use and ‘borrows’ a phone from an audience member, attempting then to use it as a remote control to mute Merch. Merch realises after a few seconds that s/he is not making sound, then snatches the phone.)
(The clowns make a collective decision to take action—as Ando goes for Merch, Bando for a seat in the audience, Cando for the exit, Merch taps the borrowed (or planted) phone to trigger a sound cue: CIRCUS CALLIOPE MUSIC; the clowns snap involuntarily into performance mode, walking jauntily to their previously instructed positions, until Ando realises what’s happened and interrupts Bando, both ganging up to stop Cando.)
(Merch taps the phone again, sound cue: AUDIENCE BOOING. The clowns are taken aback momentarily, turning to the audience with a sense of accusation, hurt, etc. They then become more resolved to subdue Merch and prepare to rush her/him. Ando begins a countdown to attack. Merch quickly chooses another sound cue: CRICKETS AMID DESOLATE QUIET. A vacuum of audience response is kryptonite for clowns. They lose any will to resist and move centre, forming a triangle facing outward. They even inch around in a circle with little side steps, as if on a music box.)
(Merch restarts the sales pitch; the clowns can’t help trying to present themselves favourably. Merch has begun in gibberish, becomes slightly frustrated, and then taps a radio button on the phone which changes her/his speaking language to English.)
MERCH As I was saying, these three are each a guaranteed investment, ready and eager to entertain you, your friends, and, more importantly, your prospective customers. Laughter is money, as you know, and they’re already used to not getting paid much.
So. Let me introduce them. (Clowns react to descriptions as Merch continues.) Ando, here, is hard-working, showers regularly, not the best at distinguishing right from left. Bando is a good sport, has never voted —and usually asks to go home early. Cando looks after neighbours, is quite good at making fart noises, and has had a secret crush for a very, very, very, very, very, very long time on …’
(Cando has rushed Merch; Ando and Bando try to intervene.)
MERCH Wait, I’m on your side, I’m … (whips out a red nose, revealing herself/himself)
ANDO, BANDO and CANDO Dando! (Rejoicing. Deep sentiment. Then clown fury. Chase round the stage and off. A few seconds later Dando runs back on, others in pursuit, to return phone to audience member. Further chasing, including fleeting bows, and off.)
Eric Weitz is Associate Director for the Gaiety School of Acting and Adjunct Associate Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at Trinity College Dublin. He also serves on the board and directs for Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company and its International Centre for the Arts & Equality.
Twitter: @ericweitz2; Instagram: ewtrickster
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