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Cliche: a One Act Musical Satire
[A big group of people singing in unison]:
Flipping through pages of a new book,
Watching the first few minutes of a somewhat promising movie,
Watching that first episode of a new television show,
Why, isn't that strange?
You feel like you've seen that somewhere before….
[People scatter; only two people are left on the stage. Staring at the floor and occasionally stealing glances at each other they stare dotingly into each other’s eyes and start singing.]
Could it be?
Is that my soulmate?
It's love at first sight.
My heart flutters whenever I see them,
They're so beautiful,
I could die!
[Melodramatic sigh in unison]
Could it be?
They like me too?
It's time for our first kiss
Long walks in the moonlight
Extravagant dates that no teenager could ever afford,
Watching the sunset on the beach
Reading love poems
And describing each other with long strings of purple prose!
Your hair is the color of sunlight shining on wheat on a bright summer’s day!
Your eyes are beautiful pools of melting chocolate that stare into my very soul!
I love you.
[Singing starts up again.]
Something suddenly breaks us apart!
Maybe it's our family, a sickness, a death!
We can't see each other anymore,
And there's a lot of crying scenes in the rain
And “philosophical thoughts” made while staring out windows.
[Long pause. They suddenly sing very hurriedly.]
But then somehow,
The conflict is resolved,
It’s totally not a plot hole,
Or a lazy excuse for a well developed climax.
We're back together again!
We have a happy ending,
And we're going to be together,
Forever and always.
[They skip off the stage, holding hands. Background music dramatically changes, as two other people come somberly up on stage. One is wearing a mask and holding a chainsaw, while the other is cowering behind a door with a rotary phone, frantically dialing.]
[Spoken by person behind door]
911? Hello, police? Can you come to my house right away? (Short pause.) What do you mean you'll come as soon as you can? I need you to come now! I'm going to die! (There is a clicking noise. The police officer on the phone has ended the call.)
[Terrified, the person behind the door paces back and forth, unsure what to do. He begins singing quietly, in a subdued manner.]
There's something trying to kill me.
It already killed all the side characters.
It came for some obscure reason,
Like watching an old tape on a television
Or inheriting some cursed doll.
[The singing person hears breathing behind the door. He gets into a fetal position, rolling back and forth.]
I don't have any weapons,
No one believes me when I tell them what happened,
And now it’s too late!
The lights are always flickering,
The mirrors are full of ghosts,
Whenever I enter a room something starts levitating,
The record player starts spinning backwards,
My video cameras don’t work!
I can’t possibly run or move away,
Because that’s far too easy a solution.
[Knocking is audible. The singer reaches for the doorknob, but snaps his hand back, conflicted.]
Could it be the police?
Have they answered my call?
Could it be that I’m finally safe?
[He reaches for the door again. Dramatic violin music begins playing but he doesn’t seem to notice.]
I’ll open the door,
In customary slow motion,
Just to be sure.
[Reaching the doorknob takes a ridiculous amount of time. When he finally does open the door, the killer is there to greet him. An earsplitting screech and then he lies dead on the floor. The killer exits. The body is carried off the stage, lights go out and two new people are on stage. One is in an expensive suit and is tied to a chair. The other is rubbing his hands craftily together. He seems villainous.]
[Villain begins singing.]
Now Mr. Spy,
Looks like you’ve been caught in my trap,
Just like I knew you would.
Though you foiled many plans
Back in the past,
Today, you must admit,
That I’ve won!
[The villain laughs a stereotypical evil villain laugh and smirks at Spy.]
Now you’re in an impossible situation,
All your loved ones are under my control,
Now I’ll have money, power, prestige, everything,
As you sit down and listen to all of my evil plan!
[Spy scowls, and then tentatively begins to sing.]
What makes you think that you’ve won?
You villains never do seem to learn,
Spies always have a backup plan,
Some gadgets to help them on their way,
And a smoking hot lady partner.
Now that’s an essential!
[Now it’s the villain’s turn to scowl. Spy continues.]
You always tie me up with the weakest of ropes,
You guard me with your stupidest henchmen,
Even though I break through windows,
Survive epic car chases,
And escape explosions unscathed,
Somehow you still think I can be restrained?
Not a chance!
Good always prevails.
No matter how impossible things seem,
I will always get away,
I will never die,
Never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever,
[The spotlight dims. The sound of a scuffle can be heard, and when the light comes back up, Bond is standing over the unconscious villain, striking a smile. The light turns off again, and when it turns back on, the spy and the villain are gone. Standing in their place is a human child who looks to be around eleven or twelve years old. Next to him is a door with a motley crew of magical creatures outside it.]
[Child singing on his own.]
My life was pretty ordinary,
Nothing ever happened at all
But then suddenly adventure knocked at my door!
[Knocking noises. The child hears it and implores, “Who is it?” The door is suddenly slammed wide open, startling the child.The crew of magical creatures all shout in unison, “You’re the chosen one!”]
[Magical creatures singing in unison.]
You’re the chosen one,
Only you can save our world,
Or a terrible fate will befall us all.
Only you have the power to give us a hopeful destiny,
Only you can bring about our greatest enemy’s fall!
[Magical creatures cheer, picking up the child on their shoulders and dancing around.]
Master your magic,
The peculiarities you had from birth,
Are actually precursors of your boundless power,
Gather your crew
To go on an epic quest
Making more and more friends on the way!
[The singing suddenly slows down, becoming more subdued.]
Get some magical items,
And a trusty steed,
Find out who you can and cannot trust,
This world isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, you know,
So you must kill the villain or bust!
[Magical creatures slowly begin to exit.The child finally, tentatively, begins to sing on his own.]
There’s always times when things seem hopeless,
You can’t always do things on your own,
Sometimes even your power isn’t enough,
But with all the friends I’ve made behind me,
Even against impossible odds,
I know I can win…
With the power of friendship and love!
[Spotlight dims. When the light comes back on, the child is gone. A superhero in a spandex suit is staring heroically into the distance and begins to sing.]
I never asked to be a hero;
I only wanted to help.
After coming from a different planet, freak accident, or tragedy,
I resolved to fight.
With special gadgets and/or powers,
I am this world’s justice,
Wearing a spandex suit
Of my own special design.
Whether working in a group
Or going solo,
You can bet you'll see a lot of-
[The hero suddenly pauses, and looks a little confused.]
Unrealistic body expectations and non researched science,
Lots of special effects and a totally necessary love interest,
Some side characters that don't really contribute much to the story until the very end,
As well as a not very well developed villain.
[Awkward pause. The hero looks a little discouraged now, but his face brightens suddenly.]
But despite everything,
I pull through in the end,
Fans screaming out my name.
So even if I'm not as well developed as I could have been,
I know you'll be back for the sequel!
[The hero winks, and disappears into the distance. Spotlight dims. Lights come back on, and a group of grimy teenagers stare grimly at the audience.]
After a war, plague, or other disaster devastated the nation,
Fear and corruption arose out of the devastation,
A system with complete control,
I followed everyone else,
Meekly thinking they knew better or that there was nothing I could do.
Suddenly a love interest emerged,
Telling me to join the rebellion,
Of which only I am fit to lead,
A secret underground resistance
With a clear plan to solve all the problems that exist in this world,
Conveniently appearing when I’m most in need....
Always, there’s some sort of tragedy,
A family member dying,
A friend dying before my eyes,
But we need to just hurry that along,
Because clearly saving the world
And trying to get over psychological trauma
Is not as important as….
[The two love interests come up, and loud theme music starts playing. Following lines are dialogue and are spoken by all three teens on stage as if they were on a gameshow.]
The game where the female protagonist has to choose a boyfriend during the rebellion in the middle of the post apocalyptic wasteland!
Boy 1: Choose me, [insert name]! I’m clearly the perfect choice for you! I know I’m a jerk sometimes, but just look at me! Aren’t I attractive? Plus, I’m the generic bad boy. Everyone loves the rebellious naughty boys.
Boy 2: No, don’t be led astray by him, [insert name]! [insert name], we’ve known each other for years now; we’re childhood friends! I’m that boy who always remembers your birthdays, gives you gifts… I’m the good boy with the heart of gold! I was the one always with you, day in, day out, the boy who suppressed his feelings up until now…
[Singing starts up again. Female protagonist sings quaveringly.]
Oh, I can’t decide, I can’t decide....
I just can’t decide.
It’s so hard a decision,
But I can’t just let it slide.
There has to be teen romance
If I want this to be a bestseller,
My career is dependent on
Fickle teenagers’ wandering eyes!
[Female protagonist sighs resignedly, and begins taking off her costume, revealing casual clothing underneath.]
They claim I’m a strong female character,
But when I’m not fighting, I talk only about guys.
Why can’t I have a personality,
Outside of the rebellion,
Outside of love triangles,
Outside of tragedy,
This illusion of reality!
[Female protagonist pauses to take a moment to contemplate.]
But no one cares about my opinion.
What’s been successful in the past
Must be repeated.
I guess that means I say goodbye to originality,
And everything that’s not cliche.
[Female protagonist steps back. Light dims. It seems as if the show is over for a moment, but then the lights come back on and the whole cast is up on the stage, in casual clothing like the female protagonist from the earlier. Rather than the comedic personas they had earlier, they all look solemn. They begin singing again.]
Art is dead.
Creativity is no more.
We can lament all we want,
But originality is not going to come back.
I’m so sick of living out all the same cliches,
Of not taking risks,
Can things ever change?
[Long pause. Lights dim, but suddenly come back on. Cast members are smiling again.]
But that’s just ridiculous!
Who needs originality
When we’re rolling in money?
Keep throwing it at us,
And we’ll be sure to give you what you want....
[Lights turn off.]