I’m writing comedy today; I think it’s a farce. Silly situation, over the top responses. I think if I did another draft I’d make the characters themselves more extreme, even larger personalities.
This was my prompt (doesn’t look that funny, does it?!)
And here’s my script for today:
A community hall attached to a church. Outside there is snow falling lightly, and the sound of children playing.
Inside the hall, three adults stands around a long, fold-out table, still rugged up in coats and scarves.
At the end of the table is a sewing machine with a pile of fabric, and at the other end are papers and binders.
Caitlin, a short, bombastic woman in her 30s, waves the papers in front of her. Darlene (60s) and Carl (20s) shrink back.
CAITLIN: Encased here, among all of the other official, and dare I say it, necessary, paperwork, is the clear, unambiguously signed and dated contract that you were both responsible for. Am I incorrect? Am I creating a false narrative that unfairly criminalises and penalises you? Am I defaming your character?
DARLENE: Whatcha gotta understand, though, is that that was the time Stevie was writing cuss words on other kids’ faces, and we had to send notes home explaining how to remove permanent marker from skin.
CARL: Oh yeah…
DARLENE: So we had that, and that cohort of parents who said the script was full of satanic messages and called the police claiming we were a cult.
CARL: We just completely forgot to send it off. You know? That week was insane.
CAITLIN: Oh, yes, see I remember that time. I remember it vividly. Because that was the time I told you, explicitly, through email, text message, phone conversations and then face to face, in person, looking straight into your eyes…I told you we needed to secure the rights, or this theatre production is not going to happen.
DARLENE: Well, sitting around here crying about it isn’t going to help.
CAITLIN: Darlene, we open in one week. I have finally helped the Tin Man realise that just because he doesn’t have a heart does not mean that he is one of the undead.
CARL: Oh, when the scarecrow started going ‘Braiiiiiins, braiiiiiiins’ I seriously thought I was gonna wet myself. That was some funny shit.
CAITLIN: I’ve got those kids working like a finely oiled machine. They know their lines, their marks, and some even know their entrances. We’re not quitting.
DARLENE: I’m a firm believer in ‘If there’s a will, there’s a way.’
CAITLIN: Have you ever had this happen before?
DARLENE: To tell you the truth, we never used to bother getting the rights before. We just told the kids we were doing ‘Cats’ or ‘Miss Saigon’ or whatever the hell we wanted, and we just made it up.
CAITLIN: You did Miss Saigon with elementary kids?
DARLENE: Damn straight. Those kids learned so much that year.
CAITLIN: You just made it up…?
DARLENE: Well, we couldn’t set it in a Vietnamese brothel, and the suicide at the end was just sort of hinted at.
CARL: Ohmygod, that is so fucked up.
CAITLIN: But maybe there’s something there…
CAITLIN: No, if we don’t have the rights to the Wizard of Oz, then maybe we can do… The Wizard of Oooze?
DARLENE: The what now?
CAITLIN: Or the Wizard of Schnoz… or The Witch of Oz…
CARL: So we do the same show but change the name?
CAITLIN: No, Carl, it’s not the same show at all. Any resemblance to the aforementioned musical theatre show is a complete and unintended accident. Any similarities that an audience or a theatrical agency or a court of law happen to see are purely coincidental.
‘The Wizard of Oz? What? We didn’t even realise this show was like it in any way, shape or form!’ See?
DARLENE: Ohhh! Now that sounds like fun.
CARL: Yeah, cool, we could do that. We haven’t printed off any of the marketing materials yet, so –
CAITLIN: You haven’t printed them yet??!! We’ve got one week –
DARLENE: Caitlin, honey, cool it. This is a good thing.
CAITLIN: Dorothy is now… Deborah. And instead of a cyclone, her house was flooded.
DARLENE: Nope. We don’t have the time or the budget to create water on stage.
CARL: That’s basically a cyclone.
CAITLIN: Her house was so unimaginably rotten and decrepit it was condemned by the county inspectors.
DARLENE: We could make that work.
CARL: And she has a guinea pig called Bobo. She meets a cowardly …
DARLENE: We could turn that costume into a meerkat.
CARL: Definitely. A cowardly meerkat, a robot without a heart, and a …?
CAITLIN: (sighs) a zombie looking for a brain…
DARLENE: Now, if I understand this correctly, we’re changing the whole thing, every singly bitty part, uh huh?
CAITLIN: We have to.
DARLENE: Which means we have to change every song.
DARLENE: And someone’s gonna have to tell David he needs to write and direct every new song.
CAITLIN/CARL: Dibs not it!
DARLENE: Oh, no way, nuh-uh. That man hates me.
CARL: He hates everyone.
(At that moment Luanne runs in from outside, carrying a pink fairy costume.)
LUANNE: Caitlin! We got a problem.
CAITLIN: Another one?
LUANNE: Isaac’s gott a bit carried away with the advertising for the show, and he’s uh…
LUANNE: I just don’t want the police involved again.
DARLENE: Spit it out, Luanne.
LUANNE: He’s gone out with a spray can. He’s painted our initials all over town. BPYT all over fences and the playground equipment, even on the back of the church.
DARLENE: Jesus Christ.
LUANNE: No, BPYT.
CARL: Wait… was it just BPYT, or did he also write –
LUANNE: Yes, where he’s had a little more room, he’s written the whole thing – Buffalo Parade Youth Theatre presents ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ He’s even included dates and ticket prices.
CARL: ‘The Wizard of Oz…’
LUANNE: He’s so proud of himself.
CAITLIN: Who’s good with spray paint?
What do you think? Funny? Hilarious? Mildly amusing?
Thanks for reading, and some back tomorrow for the next writing exercise!