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May 24, 2008
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The Hundred Year Farce
a PLAY in brief

[Open on a bus stop with bench, currently unoccupied.  OLD MAN enters slowly from SR, hobbles to and sits on the far side of the bench.  He takes a sighing breath, then extricates a pack of cigarettes from his coat pocket.  He places one in his mouth, lights it, and smokes contentedly.  There is the sound of a scuffle off SR, and YOUNG MAN is thrown bodily onto the stage, where he staggers to his feet, somewhat drunk.]

YOUNG MAN: Just you wait til I'm sober again! [Nearly falls twice] but until then, I'll give you time to think about it.  [He weaves his way to the near side of the bench and gestures to it] this seat taken?  [OLD MAN shakes his head, and he sits.]

OLD MAN: The fighting any good tonight son?

YOUNG MAN: The best in weeks.  [Peers at OLD MAN] Do I know you?

OLD MAN: Nope.

YOUNG MAN: But I just saw you in the bar.

OLD MAN: You're the only man I know that professes to adequate powers of recollection when drunk.

YOUNG MAN: And YOU'RE the only man I know comes out of that place not smelling of alcohol.  And I'm not drunk.

OLD MAN: Suit yourself.  [Puffs on his cigarette.]

YOUNG MAN: But you were in there.

OLD MAN: I might have been.

YOUNG MAN: But you weren't drinking.

OLD MAN: I might not have been.

YOUNG MAN: So why go into a bar?

OLD MAN: I'm married.  [YOUNG MAN makes a sound of appreciation.]

YOUNG MAN: You got a light?

OLD MAN: I do.

YOUNG MAN: You got a smoke to go with it?

OLD MAN: I do at that.  [Gives YOUNG MAN a cigarette, then holds out the lighter for him.  They both smoke for a few seconds.]

YOUNG MAN: So your wife.

OLD MAN: You're welcome to her.

YOUNG MAN: Nah, I was just curious.  Thanks though.  She a pain?

OLD MAN: Like rheumatoid arthritis.  I like to take these 'walks' every once in a while to clear my head.  Don't you dare let a woman joke about owning cats, because the next thing you know, you'll be up to your neck in them, and all that goes with them.

YOUNG MAN: Women don't want cats nowadays.

OLD MAN: Yeah, that's exactly what she told me too.

YOUNG MAN: So why do you stay with her?

OLD MAN: Even you can't be drunk enough to believe that someone my age can start over again.

YOUNG MAN: That's not so, it's never too late.

OLD MAN: What positive fruitcake frosting.

YOUNG MAN: Ok, maybe not.  But at least you have these nights off; how often does she let you out?

OLD MAN: Once a month.

YOUNG MAN: Hell!

OLD MAN: Where I live.  I tell her that I need to smoke, and that I'll just take a walk around the neighborhood so the smell doesn't linger near the doorstep; she thinks I'm being gentlemanly in my decrepitude.

YOUNG MAN: Ha!

OLD MAN: Not that it would be hard to fool the old bitch.  She shares one brain between her and all those cats.  [Takes a drag on his cigarette.]

YOUNG MAN: You bitter old fogey!  You're nastier than a second grader!

OLD MAN: I work at it.

YOUNG MAN: Not a bit!  I can see it in your eyes, you love every second of it!

OLD MAN: Yeah, a bit.  That's what living with a woman that resembles a bag of cement for a hundred years will do to you.

YOUNG MAN: There's no way you're a sweet old codger when you get home, you're pulling my leg.  She's just as fed up with you as you are with her.

OLD MAN: Not a bit.  Every night I look her in the eyes before I switch off the lamp her damn old mother gave us for a wedding gift, and tell her that she's still the most beautiful sunset I've ever laid my eyes on.  [Stares at the cigarette in his hand] god,  how it grates against the inside of my lips.

YOUNG MAN: [Laughing] You're a sick old coot, you know that.

OLD MAN: I had an inkling.

YOUNG MAN: So are you just waiting it out here before you have to go back?

OLD MAN: No, I encourage her to spend a bit of time outside herself, say the air is good for her.  I meet her here my one night of the month and act all starry-eyed to see her when she comes.  I should've been in pictures.

YOUNG MAN: Well I'll be damned.  [OLD WOMAN enters from SL, heading slowly towards the bus stop, humming quietly as she comes.  OLD MAN takes a last breath of his cigarette and stands, straightening his coat and tipping his hat to YOUNG MAN.]

OLD MAN: It was a pleasure talking to you.

[OLD MAN undergoes a kind of transformation as he turns to face OLD WOMAN.  His sour face crinkles into a warm, loving smile and he leans forward, holding his hands out to take hers.  He pulls her closer and brushes a lock of gray hair out of her face before gently brushing his lips against her cheek.  She smiles back and makes modest sounds of false protest.  He offers her his arm and she takes it.]

OLD MAN: I'm terribly sorry my dear, I had another while I was waiting for you.  I can take another turn around the neighborhood if you can't let me in the house in this state.  [He smiles knowingly, certain of a welcome.]

OLD WOMAN: Oh, it's been so long since I've smelled smoke on you, it can't hurt for one evening.  I love you so much.

OLD MAN: And I love you too.  Come, I'll walk you home and chase away the shadows with a tune.  [They walk off SL, humming together the same tune OLD WOMAN had been humming as she entered.  YOUNG MAN stares after them in utter disbelief.]

YOUNG MAN: [As he gets up and heads off SR] I need a drink.

[Close on the empty bus stop.]
Sometimes you meet a person, just for a moment, who seems inclined to tell you "the truth of the matter," everything that they hide from the people that you love. And then you realize, in the split second that you see them within their circle again, that they really get their kicks teasing random strangers at bus stops.

Enjoy!
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Daily Deviation

Given 2008-06-11
In ~Spiderwriter's short scene, the Hundred Year Farce, an old man tells it like it is--for better or worse. ( Featured by GeneratingHype )
:iconsame-side:
I like how the relationship develops between the two of them, especially how they let their honesty fly and whack each other in the face (metaphorically speaking). The ending brought a good sense of closure, but I'm not sure what the theme or message of the play as a whole was, if there was one. I wasn't sure how you wanted the audience to feel at the end, what you wanted them to think about differently as a result of seeing your play.

If you'd like to have this or any other of your plays read and more fully critiqued by people who have actual opinions and know what they're talking about, you should check out The :iconthe-writers-review: and submit your work to the Dramatic Literature folder. We're in desperate need of plays to critique!
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:iconprairiefaerie:
This is lovely...I truly enjoyed it and could quite easily picture this being performed. Wonderful work. Happy 2 year anniversary on the DD.
Reply
:iconaikoxx:
Hello, i was just amazed by this piece...you have serious talent there. I was just wondering if i could use you work for my year 12 Drama piece, not as my own- repeat, NOT as my own. I would mention you, the writer and where i got it from. I just thought it was such an incredible piece of theatre that would be amazing to see in live action. Pieces like this dserve to be released into the world and live, not just confined to the limitations of the internet.
Please let me know ,

xx Aiko
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:iconspiderwriter:
Spiderwriter Jan 9, 2009  Professional General Artist
I would love to have this piece performed. I took the liberty of making a quick walk through your user page, and, as you live in Australia, I unfortunately won't be able to come and see it performed. However, if at all possible, I would like to hear as much about the actual performance as possible. If you receive any critical input concerning it, I would like to hear about it, or even see it if you were allowed to set up a camera or take some production photos. *smile* I have both written and acted in plays before, as well as designed and built sets, so I am interested in all aspects of the production.

Most of all, thank you for expressing your interest to me, and I hope that your project goes well. Please please PLEEEAAAASE keep me updated, and let me know if you'd rather do so via notes or email.

^_^
Reply
:iconaikoxx:
Thankyou so much! It is a brillient piece of work. My class doesnt start until February, so it's a while from now...and even then i dont know when we'll start production, but I'll definately keep you updated on anything new. Until my class actually starts, I'll be working on ideas for Set, stage set up, lighting, sound, costume, props and any other tid bits.
Once again, thankyou so much for this opportunity. I'll keep you updated on these as often as possible...but I dont go online much, so it might not be that often :)

n____n
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:iconcrownofrain:
Polar opposites, I love the right side perspective as well .. .a different litteral view.
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:iconspiderwriter:
Spiderwriter Oct 3, 2008  Professional General Artist
I'm glad you enjoyed it, thank you for reading!
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:iconeverydayghost:
Haha~ This is something I would love to see my school do for their 'A Night of One Acts', where each student of the drama club selects a one act and directs other students if they get chosen. This looks like it would be incredibly fun.


Congrats on the DD, you deserve it.
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:iconspiderwriter:
Spiderwriter Jun 19, 2008  Professional General Artist
I'm very glad you think so. If you want to print out a script of it and use it for your school please feel welcome to, just be sure to give me proper credit as the writer *smile* If they want more plays, I can be sure there will be some in the future *wink*
Reply
:iconeverydayghost:
Haha~ Well, seeing as I graduate this year, I don't know that it's possible, but I can suggest it. And there would always be proper credit. :3

More plays, though, would be lovely. :heart:
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