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The Apple Baggage
The Director –Old washed up actor who was asked to direct a local play but doesn’t really want to. Is passionate about plays (specifically, Shakespeare) and is a little crazy.
Tony –Angsty teenager who was given the task of finding a Shakespeare play and printing it out for them to perform (as a confidence booster).
Bartholomew –Method actor who thinks he is really great, but isn’t really, and isn’t very smart —except he has most Shakespeare plays memorized.
Max – Another bad method actor who thinks he’s quite clever and a handsome rakish lad that everyone admires. He is kind of handsome, but full of himself.
Guinevere —Prima donna who thinks the rest of the crew loves her and is fighting over her. Can’t really distinguish between the play and real life.
Bob –Tech guy who always has his iPhone with him and has already set up lighting and such for the play they’re supposed to be doing.
Setting: A small theater, not fancy. The house is darker than the stage. The Director and the Teenage Assistant sit in the front row. The Director doesn’t like to waste her time listening to the first couple run throughs of a play, so the actors have already read their lines a couple times and are now reciting them for the Director. Two bad actors stand center stage forward, facing each other at 45-degree angles. They are reading off their scripts.
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Bartholomew: Thou art a blibbering nibwibbit!
Max: (Does an exaggerated double take) What, for stealing your bonnie lass Robin? You art not fit to dine with such finery as such as she. You art but a curdled cur and an uncouth mountain of mad flesh!
Bartholomew: How dare you insult me whilst you stand there, you liver lilied lass!
Max: What, am I now a lass? Well, if I were a lass would I to be as fair as fair Robin.
Bartholomew: I would not taunt me, sir, for I am armed and not opposed to drawing.
Max: Armed with what, a pen, for you do say you are prone to illustration, not action.
Bartholomew: (Getting flustered) I…you… AWGGG! Thou art but a slime-ridden pestulance on the (can’t think of a way to finish that insult)…You loggerheaded spur-galled Varlot! (Spluttering) Thou sickenst me with your vain… You small grey coated gnat!
Max: (Clearly amused) Oooh, I do live in fear of your fight, for your words are so perfectly executed. Fine finish, yes, your joust must surely be ferocious!
Bartholomew: Thou mangled pox-marked flap-dragon!
Max: You tottering ill-breeded bugbear!
Bartholomew: YOU …(out of insults).…COXCOMB!
Max: (triumphantly gets louder as the insults rack up) You starvelling, you eel-skin, (Director cuts in with “Stop.”) you dried neat's-tongue, (Stop!) you bull's-pizzle, you stock-fish, you (pause for effect) apple baggage! (STOP!)
Director: Stop! Stop! What is this! What are you doing? What are you doing?
Director: And what exactly are you…reading?
Bartholomew: The script.
Director: No, no, no! We are performing Shakespeare! The greatest playwright who ever lived, who’s poetic language flows from, page to tongue like a… (Looks down at script) oh…. Oooh. What? This is…. awful!
Bartholomew: I know…
Director: What is this! (Reads, voice laced with contempt)…oh Robin thoust arst as beautiful as a flower in midst spring showers and as fragile as a glass statue of Dionysus…(Turning towards angsty teenager) Tony, what is this!?
Teenager: Shakespeare, isn’t that what you asked for?
Director: (turning over script) Shakespear’s The Apple Baggage: a Modern Revision to Classic Shakespearean Plays…do you think this is funny?
Director: Do… you… think… this is funny?
Teenager: Well it sounds kind of funny, but that’s how Shakespeare rolls… right?
Director: (slaps forehead) I give you one task…ONE TASK! To find a Shakespeare play for us to perform and THIS! Is what you come up with! ShakesPEAR’s: The Apple Baggage?! This is not Shakespeare. This is trash. Can’t you spell? Do you have any awareness of the history of early literature? (Angsty teenager is getting offended and interjects with small comments like “Hey!” And “Seriously, lady?”) Get out of my theatre!
Director: Get out. I don’t want to see you in your black emo wear and your ignorance of the finest playwriting the world has ever seen. So go. You heard me. Get out.
Teenager: Fine! (Leaves in a fit of angst)
The Director: (Regains composure, wipes hair off forehead) Ok, we’ve concluded that this play is...inadequate. We need another play. Any ideas? Where is Guinevere?
Max: I think she’s waiting for her cue.
Bartholomew: (Leafs through his pages to find the cue line) ROBIN! Why didst thou forsakethst me? Come out from behindst your wretched window. Show me your face so pale and fair, you double crosser!
Guinevere:(Peaks her head out from behind the curtain) Sir Howard, I scorn you, for your brain is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage.
The Director: Stop, Guinevere, desist. We’re not doing that play now. Get out here, we’re going to brainstorm.
Guinevere: But I like this play!
The Director: (Slaps forehead again) We’ve decided to do a real play. Did you hear what you were saying? Sir Howard? Really? As if there aren’t better names out there. Romeo, Benvolio, Mercutio, Hamlet, Banquo, Macbeth, Starveling! (Triumphant sigh) Those were Shakespeare names. Someone find me a real Shakespeare play.
Guinevere: (Struck by inspiration) Oh Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
Max: Right here. (Motions to himself with a cocky smile and quick eyebrow raise)
Bartholomew: But —soft, what light upon yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun! I know the lines. I think I’m the clear choice.
Max: Isn’t Romeo supposed to be attractive?
(The director has her hand on her cheek, thinking. Bartholomew sees this and tries to suck up)
Bartholomew: (Motioning towards the director) See how she leans her cheek upon her hand!? O that I were a glove upon that hand,?that I might touch that cheek!
Guinevere: I agree with Max.
Bartholomew: A POX ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES!
The Director: Ok, that’s it. I’m getting a headache. This is obviously not the play for us. Anyone else have any other idea?
Bartholomew: (Fakes dramatic death) What, stained with blood? (Pronounced “blued”)
Max: Ah, yes, a Midsummer Nights Dream. Classic. I would, of course, be Puck, or, as I prefer, Robin Goodfellow. If these shadows have offended, think but this and all is mended: that you have but slumbered here while these visions did appear, and this weak and idle theme no more yielding but a dream!
Bartholomew: Well done Max, but I believe the words are: If we shadows have offended…
Max: (narrows his eyes) You can’t be Puck, Bartholomew, because you must be Bottom, for you do make the perfect ass.
Guinevere: Ooh, and I could be Titania. Or Helena! Or Hermia –or Queen What’s-her-name.
The Director: (Sighs) Guinevere inadvertently brings up a good point. We don’t have enough people. We need a Lysander, and a Demetrius, and …too many characters, not enough actors. I’m afraid I’m going to have to axe this one.
All: (Groan or make other sounds of disappointment)
Max: (In a ghost voice, mixed with a Darth Vader voice) Ooooh, Hamlet, I am your father!
Guinevere: That’s Hamlet, right? (Bartholomew scoffs and mutters “Frailty, thy name is woman”) So I can either go crazy and drown myself, marry my husband’s murderous brother, or be a hag? Yah, I’m not doing that.
Max: But, Guinevere, to be or not to be. Is that not the question?
Bartholomew: Uh, actually Max, the wording is “that is the question.”
Max: I know the wording, doofus. I rearranged the words for comedic effect. See, Guinevere was wondering what character she’d be or not be. Get it?
Bartholomew: (Realizes he looked like an idiot) Yah, I get it. (Under his breath) Canker-blossom.
Max: (With a threatening look upon his face) What did you say?
Bartholomew: I said, uh, kinks are blossoming. Because, you know, all our ideas aren’t working (Relief shows on his face, for coming up with that)
The Director: Kinks are indeed blossoming. I’m afraid, and I never thought I’d hear myself utter such regrettable words, but we might have to look …outside of Shakespeare.
Bartholomew: What? We can’t do that!
Max: For once I agree with Bart here. This was advertised as Shakespeare. We’re all Shakespeare enthusiasts, am I not right?
Bartholomew: Yah! I mean, you are right, not you’re (Hesitation) not right.
Guinevere: Guys, listen to the director. She may have a point here. There are other plays out there, and if we can’t agree on a Shakespeare play, and it looks like we can’t, we should probably check out what else there is, out there.
The Director: Bob! (A nerdy looking lighting guy who’s walking by at the moment stops and looks a little scared) You have an iPhone or something, right?
Bob: (Apprehensively) Yeeess?
The Director: Could you be a dear and look up full-length plays for small casts?
Bob: Trouble with the one you have now? (A little threateningly, because he has already set up a lot of tech stuff)
The Director: Mmm, a little, but the show must go on!
Bob: (Fiddles with his iPhone) Ok, I have one here. Waiting for Godot, a tragicomedy by Samuel Beckett.
The Director: Ah, a tragicomedy. Perfect! In the school of Shakespeare. Give us a couple lines, will you?
Bob: (Scrolls down, reads lines quickly in an almost-monotone)
“Which of you smells so bad?
He has stinking breath and I have stinking feet.
I must go.
And your half-hunter?
I must have left it at the manor.
And thank you.
Not at all.
I don't seem to be able . . . (long hesitation) . . . to depart.”
The Director: (Cuts him off in the pause between “able” and” to depart”) Stop! On the other hand, Shakespeare’s always good. Thank you Bob, you can leave now.
Bob: Okaay. (Starts to leave, then hesitates) Um, I’ve already done a lot of work on The Apple Baggage, just so you know. I’m just saying… Is it really worth it to find a new play?
The Director: Thank you Bob, your opinions will be judged, I mean, considered.
Bob: Well then, (Quotes, in an ironic voice) Adieu.
Max: Adieu, Adieu, adieu,
Max: Yes yes, no no, yes yes, no no
Guinevere: Which one of you stinks?
(They all share a good laugh and their contempt towards playwrights other than Shakespeare is deepened)
Guinevere: Oooh, (Inspiration) I’d make a good Cleopatra!
Bartholomew: I could be Marc Antony.
Max: And I could live to be Julius Ceasar. The three pillars unite! We have found our play!
The Director: Antony and Cleopatra? Don’t you want an audience? This isn’t New York or Washington D.C. We need a play with wide audience appeal! Now, I know that’s a bit hard to pull off with Shakespeare, but if we choose one that everyone knows we might be able to coax these bumpkins out of their homes. I can almost guarantee that no one in this town, albeit the Shakespeare enthusiasts, but I’m assuming we’re all here, has heard of the play Antony and Cleopatra.
Max: (Epic death line) Et tu, Brute?!
Guinevere: You’re axing this one too? Anytime we come up with a consensus, you axe it. I’m starting to question your motives.
The Director: You’re questioning the director? Might I remind you that without the director there would be no play?
Bartholomew: Technically that’s not true.
Max: I bet we could do without a director. One less person to disagree with.
The Director: Are you staging a coup? (A little incredulous at the ridiculousness) Seriously? (Starts to tear up a little bit, but fights it back) I used to be an actor too, in my salad days,? when I was green in judgment, cold in blood. I know what it’s like to think you’re the top o’ the world and the director is an idiot. Ah, to say as I said then! You actors are wrong! The director always knows best, and you are nothing without me. (Starts to gather up her stuff) Well, I’ve had enough of your bickering and theatrics. I’m done. (Starts walking towards the door, gets louder) I can’t work with you people! Why, what a madcap hath heaven lent us here! (Is gone, the rest are left in silence)
Max: …Geez. Direct thy feet where thou and I, henceforth, may never meet!
Bartholomew: Goats and monkeys! What are we supposed to do now?
Guinevere: O, were mine eyeballs into bullets turned that I in rage might shoot them at your faces! You idiots! I didn’t mean that we should actually get rid of the director.
Max: You have some sick offense within your mind. You’re as much to blame as us! You’re the one who questioned the director.
Guinevere: Well I didn’t mean anything by it; I didn’t say we were better off without the director!
Bartholomew: You double chin!
Guinevere: What? (laughs) Is not your nose broken? Your wit single?
Bartholomew: And every part about you blasted with antiquity?
Max: Take physic, pomp!
Guinevere: What? Whose side are you on?
Max: Uh, none. I just wanted to get in on the insulting.
Bartholomew: (Turns on Max) Thou art a most pernicious usurer; froward by nature, enemy to peace—
Guinevere: Lascivious, wanton…
Max: Ooh, I love when you speak Shakespeare to me!
Bartholomew: (Fed up) Ack, you blibbering nibwibbit!
…(Max starts to laugh, the others look annoyed, then they slowly catch on and join in)
Max: This is ridiculous. We’re so good at bad insults! The Apple Baggage is the perfect play for we!
Guinevere: You are the rakish Sir Blockly (points to Max), you’re the sweet but slow Sir Howard (Bartholomew), and I am the fair Robin. What do you say?
Batholomew: Now go we in content!
Max: A hit, a very palpable hit! The Apple Baggage it is! (To Guinevere) Do you really think I’m rakish? (Wiggles eyebrows) Come on, say it. Lascivious, wanton…
Guinevere: (Laughing) Oh shut up and get on stage, Blockly!
Bartholomew: Do you think I’m sweet? Or did you just say that to make up for saying I’m slow?
Guinevere: The sweetest!...When you’re not shouting insults. Now get up there and the world’s thine oyster!
Bartholomew: And all the world’s a stage!
(They all smile, grab their scripts, and climb to their positions. After a few lines the director comes back in, looking apologetic)
The Director: I’m sorry, I’m afraid I overreacted. (Notices they’re on stage rehearsing) What are you doing?
The Director: Reading?
Bartholomew: …The Apple Baggage.
The Director: (Slaps forehead, then decides) Ok, take it from the top. I guess I better call Tony back; I probably offended him, the poor angsty teenager. (Sits down in the front row. With an ironic smile:) Action!
(Curtain closes as they start rehearsing)
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