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Braaaaains. [Sep. 20th, 2009|12:28 pm]
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I actually prefer last week's zombie picture. Oh well.

Anyway, the reason I've been away from the comic for so long is that I've been writing a play. A play about...













ZOMBIES ATE MY PLAYBILLS!

A play by Mark Flynn

Copyright 2009



THE CAST OF PLAYERS

ALBERT- A director, working on the 1892 classic, “Desmond Gets Even”.

ADA- An actress portraying Gethsemane, Desmond’s plotting sister.

BARRY- A technician and assistant stage manager.

CHRIS- An actor portraying Desmond, a well-meaning Canadian bachelor.

CLAIRE- An actress portraying Antoinette, a domestic.

JILL- An actress portraying Althea, Desmond’s adopted cousin.

LEON- A stage manager.

ZOMBIES- An undead horde, crowding around the theatre.

Setting: In the modern day, at a theater, preferably with a bar upstairs. Time and location should be the actual time and location the play takes place at in reality. The cast and crew are at a point in production where the actors are off-book, but not line perfect. The first row of the theater is kept vacant to fit the zombies, but in a pinch, they can sit at the foot of the stage.

The scene starts with house and stage lights up. Perhaps they dim, or the preshow music fades to start the show. The actors, CHRIS, ADA, and JILL, walk into the house, followed by director ALBERT. Improvised dialogue follows for some time, as they drop their bags and water bottles into the first row, then BARRY, the tech and ASM, and LEON, the SM, come from backstage, and greetings are again improvised.

LEON
Claire’s gonna be late today by about 15 minutes.

ALBERT
TSK. That means a half an hour. Fine. Hey, Barry, are the lights working right?

BARRY
The red wash won’t turn on, no matter what I do. We have to talk to the front office about it.

ALBERT
All right, don’t worry about it. We’ve got enough time before we open to figure it out later.
BARRY nods and goes backstage again. LEON moves to DSR to check some of his notes.

ALBERT
(To CHRIS & JILL) Do you guys wanna do a warm up first while I talk to ADA?

JILL
Sure! (To CHRIS) Wanna do the mirror?

CHRIS
Okay.

They go onstage and do so, SL. ALBERT turns to ADA.
ALBERT
OK, come here.

ADA
What’s up?

ALBERT
I just want to talk to you about your last monologue before we start.
ADA
Oh. Yeah, I haven’t really been getting it.

ALBERT
Well, what do you think Gethsemane’s intentions are for that scene?

ADA
Uh, well, uh. (She thinks.) She’s trying to stall Desmond while the poison sets in.

ALBERT
I think it needs to be more than that. The stakes are too low. Why does she poison Desmond?

ADA
She doesn’t want him to propose to Althea, so she can get the money from her Uncle’s wrongful death lawsuit.

ALBERT
Close, but she could just poison Althea if she wanted that.

ADA
Well, uh. (Stumped.) Huh. Why then?

ALBERT
She basically says it in the monologue where she’s bleeding to death after the bear attack. She talks about how Desmond let her garden wither. The garden is her vagina.

ADA
What?

ALBERT
Her vagina. It’s how people wrote in the 1800’s. Flowers are vaginas, penises are swords, especially in Jim Aspen plays.

ADA
But, uh Desmond is her brother.

ALBERT
Yeah, and he’s all moral, so he never picks up on any of her passes.

ADA
Oh, like the first tea hose scene! She’s flirting?

ALBERT
Exactly. You can play the whole bit about the milk like a joke, but then you lose out on all the incest subtext.

ADA
All right, I get it. I try to kill him because he won’t fuck my garden.

ALBERT
Exactly. It’s a stronger intention than money is. OK?
ADA
Yeah, thanks!

ALBERT goes over to confer with LEON, and ADA goes SL, thinking.

ALBERT
OK guys, just a couple of notes before we start. Jill? Good work on the final scene, but you pretended to pull the Burmese throwing knife from the SL end table and not the SR one.

JILL
I’m sorry, it’s just easier to remember we’re it is when we actually have props. Are we getting that one soon?

LEON
Yeah, I picked it up today. Turns out it’s not actually a real thing, so Barry and I spray painted a butter knife and glued rhinestones to it.

CHRIS
Me and Leon looked it up yesterday. We found a website just about stuff Jim Aspen put in all his plays to make the plots seem more interesting.

LEON
“Bitrufidate” isn’t a real word, neither is “skaff.” And “Gardiniant” isn’t actually a real country.

JILL
Oh, damnit! I thought it was part of France!

ALBERT
It’s okay, you can keep doing the accent anyway. Leon, could you set the balcony scene now? We can run that without Claire.

LEON does so, setting the stage** while the others talk.

ALBERT
Chris? For your monologue about the lighthouse? I like the sexual emphasis you added.

CHRIS
Thank you.

ALBERT
But I’ll need it to be a lot less gay. All right? Last note is for everybody, so listen up. I need more energy from all of you. I need to be able to hear you guys from the back of house. You can’t just go up on stage and stand their like you’re dead.

The lights cut out, and then only a blood red wash rises, illuminating the company from behind, all of them stuck in stiff, unnatural positions.

BARRY
(Offstage.) Whoopsie doodles!

The lights go out, then come back on as normal. Everyone stands as if nothing unusual has happened. If the house lights were not dimmed earlier, they are now. BARRY emerges from backstage.

BARRY
Sorry about that guys. I have no idea what I did, but the dimmers are acting all weird now. I’m just gonna go ask the front.

ALBERT
Allright, whatever. The red lights came on for a second out here.

BARRY
Nifty. That’s what I was sort of trying to do. (He exits through the front of house.)

ALBERT
Guys, Act 2, Scene 2. I need Chris and Jill onstage, Ada backstage, and remember to pick up your cues. Don’t leave a lot of air in your lines.

The actors take places. Maybe they banter for a little, maybe they don’t. Eventually, the director starts the scene. CHRIS, as Desmond, walks through a garden. Pensively. JILL, as Althea, sits quietly on the ladder.

CHRIS
(Looking out and up.) Ah. The moon, bright and ripe, has finally found a part in those domorous clouds. How softly she shines, here in this gentle garden and on the treacherous wilds of Canadia before me. Somewhere, out there. Is that bear. That calamitous bear what clawed the very life from my beloved uncle! (A very dramatic pause.) And yet! The moon shines softly.

JILL
Desmond? Is thayt yew in zee gardin? What speak yew of dreaydful bears on a night zuch az zis?

ADA, as Gethsemane, enters, unnoticed by Desmond and Althea.

CHRIS
Althea, mayhap I… (looks to the moon) I have been… (to Althea) amiss or awry
in my original tale of my uncle’s… hasty… departure. To far off China.

ADA
(Stage whisper!) God’s wounds! If that girl learns her beloved warder’s true fate, my plans may yet be foilt!

CHRIS
Sweet, darling Althea. I tell you under this moon that I have misled you.

ADA
(Stage whisper!) I must act! Desperate attripance propels me! (Revealing herself.) Desmond! Good, strapping, handsome brother, have you forgotten your promise to me, you horrid churl! Do you forget what out bonny-sweet mother told us of promises?

CHRIS
(A sigh.) “A man who puts off promises is no better than a consumptive rapist.”

ADA
“And should be hung.” Now, off with you.

CHRIS
But I do not recall this promise!

JILL
Oh-ho-ho-ho-ha! Simpill leetle Desmond! Certaiynly yew recall what your mother, my a-dopt-ed auntie, has saiyd in regards to men ‘o forget pro-mi-sez?

CHRIS
It seems I am doubly a consumptive rapist. What recourse do I possess?

JILL
Swef, swef, my adored cousin, repair anon and think.

ADA
Surely, there must be something you can lift with your burlsome frame, or some triviance for you to mend with your clever digits. You will strike upon the promise eventually. Take your time.

CHRIS
(Looking up and out.) Ah. The moon is hidden. Perhaps I spoke this truth to Althea to soon. Goodnight, my ladies (He exits)

JILL
Oh, fie! ‘E ‘az not revealed zee se-ker-et ‘e promised, about Papa Aloysius, and his sudden, unannounc-ed jour-nee to Chiyna for his health!

ADA
Oh, you darling, I am very sorry to have lied to you, but my uncle has chosen to stay in China, having found it ... heavenly.


JILL
Why, sweet cousin! I am not angry! ‘E iz in ‘is own piece of Paradise! And what iz more, I intend to see him there one day!

ADA
Jolly good. I’m sure you’ll meet when you pass away. Pass away to China. Someday soon, one hopes.

ADA smiles viciously, and JILL positively beams at her.

ALBERT
Great work you guys, much better energy this time. (CHRIS comes back onstage. ALBERT improvises a few criticisms, or inserts real ones if they fit and do not completely throw the actors off.) Great job all around guys.

BARRY enters from the front of house

BARRY
Hey, I checked the whole place, and, uh, well, it’s entirely empty except for us. But, uh, the TV’s on in the bar, and I think there’s a riot going on nearby. The sound was off, though, so I don’t know. It could be why they left.

LEON
Great. We keep blowing out lights and everyone who can help us is out burning small businesses.

BARRY
Plus, to top it off, some crackhead tried to get into the lobby. He kept grabbing me and gnashing his teeth, but I shoved out of the front door. I’m fine, but can you believe that guy? I tried to call the cops, but the line’s busy.

LEON
Something seems. Wrong.

JILL
Riots are pretty scary, but I think we’ll be fine here. Who’d wanna break into a theatre?

LEON
I don’t think it’s a riot. (Everyone stares at him.) OK, look; strange “riots” on TV even though there’s nothing to riot about; people going missing; mindless person trying to break into a building full of people and attack them; the phones don’t work all of a sudden… (He trails off, rolling his hand. More stares.) Look, I know you’ve all seen at least one zombie movie.

ALBERT
Are you being serious right now?

JILL
Actually, I think it kind of makes sense.
ADA
Then you’re both crazy.

At the same moment, a zombie stumbles through the front of house and begins down the stairs.

BARRY
Hey! I told you to get out of here! (It gets closer.) I’m warning you, dipshit!

LEON
(Stepping behind BARRY) Hey, Barry, don’t get close man!

BARRY
(Pointing his finger and taking a step.) Look here, pal. Get the fu- (The zombie bites BARRY’s finger.) –uuuuUUUUUCK-OH-FUCK!

Everyone screams as LEON jumps forward and slugs the zombie in the face, then puts it in a headlock. BARRY falls back to the stage, nursing his bleeding finger.

LEON
See!? Fucking zombies!

ALBERT
Holy shit.


ADA
What are you doing!? Get away from it!

LEON
I have to break its neck! I think!

JILL
Do it! Quick! Kill it!

LEON
I’m not really experienced in this sort of-

CHRIS
Turn his head too far to the side. Do a Steven Segal thing. (He illustrates.)

LEON
It keeps moving!

JILL
KILL IT!

BARRY
Can somebody look at my hand, please? (ADA moves to help him.)
JILL
KIIIIIL IIIIIIT!!

She leaps form the stage, grabs the zombies’ head and violently twists it with a cry of fury. The zombie collapses, dead. Again. LEON drops it after a pause.

CHRIS
Siiiiick...

JILL
Oh god.

ALBERT
That was kinda hot.

ADA
Hey!

ALBERT
Christ, fucking sue me, it was!

BARRY
Hey, uh, I’m really itchy, guys. All over.
LEON
Just, uh… Shit. Just sit tight for now, Barry. You’re gonna be fine.

BARRY
Pretty sure that’s not true, Leon. (He starts scratching himself, sitting onstage.)

LEON
Just stay calm, buddy. Ada, just come here for a second?

She does, and LEON motions everyone but BARRY into a huddle center stage.

LEON
I think we have to kill Barry.

JILL
I don’t wanna do it this time.

ADA
Hey! We don’t know if he’s… if he’ll turn into a… you know. Them.

BARRY quietly stands up and goes backstage

ALBERT
Man, I liked Barry.

CHRIS
Liked? He’s not even dead yet. Or undead yet. Whatever.

JILL
I thought you didn’t like him?

ALBERT
He gets on my nerves sometimes, I guess. I still liked him!

CHRIS
Again with liked.

ADA
I kind of had a thing for him back when we were doing “Savage & Limbo.”

LEON
I think we’re getting off topic.

ADA
Oh! Sorry. Still don’t think we should kill him.

JILL
But what do we do if he tries to hurt us?

BARRY comes from backstage, a zombie. He drags a chair, clattering loudly, behind him.

LEON
Barry? Hey, Bar? You okay?

BARRY stops. He clumsily slams the chair down in front of him, then adjusts it. He stands in place, swaying slightly and scratching himself, softly moaning. He then turns and stumbles backstage again.

ADA
What is he doing?

ALBERT
I think- I think he’s-

BARRY enters again dragging a sofa, and sets it.

ALBERT
He’s setting the parlor scene.
BARRY goes on setting the stage until it is finished, at which point he constantly picks up items, then sets them down over and over.

CHRIS
Well.

ADA
Huh. He was always pretty dedicated.

JILL
I’m not killing him.

LEON
I don’t think it counts as killing.

CHRIS
It’s more like- shutting him off.


LEON
I think we can leave him alone for now. Besides, we have to barricade the front door, quick. Chris, Jill, can you come with me? You guys keep an eye on Barry.

They make their way to the front of house. LEON and CHRIS pick up the corpse and drag it with them.

ADA
This is crazy. All of this!

ALBERT
We’ll be okay.

ADA
Barry’s one of them, Al! And all it took was thirty seconds! And now we’re trapped in here-

ALBERT
Hey, get a hold of yourself! (He puts his hand on her shoulder) We’re gonna make it through this. We’re survivors. Come here (He hugs her.) Don’t panic. you’re stronger than that. (They hug for a second. ALBERT then starts necking.)

ADA
Al? Quit it.

ALBERT
(Stepping back.) Yeah, that was probably a bad decision.

A long pause


ADA
I kind of saw it coming.

ALBERT
Really?

ADA
You did the same thing when my aunt died.

ALBERT
Oh yeah! Heh! Heh heh!

ADA
Ha ha!

ALBERT
Heh. (Wags his finger at her.) Didn’t stop me that time.

ADA
Well Barry’s here.

ALBERT
Not technically.

LEON, CHRIS, and JILL come back from the front, and walk onstage as they talk. CHRIS has a large bottle of alcohol.

LEON
The front’s secure.

CHRIS
Anyone else want a drink?

ADA
You stole that?

CHRIS
(Taking of the cap.) Yeah, we’re gonna be here for a while, so why not. Plus, now I have a weapon, too.

ALBERT
It’ll break.

CHRIS
(Takes a sip) Stage glass breaks when you hit someone with it. Real glass is actually pretty hard. (Twists back on cap, and pulls it back to swing at BARRY.) Here, watch.

ADA
What are you doing!? (He stops.)
JILL
Chris!

ALBERT
Come on, let him get one shot in.

ADA
He’ll hurt Barry!

CHRIS
Not technically.

ADA
OK, why the hell is everyone saying that?
CHRIS
What are you talking about?

LEON
Listen Chris, just put down the bottle and leave Barry alone. (They stare at each other tensely.)

CHRIS
Jesus, fine, I won’t hit everyone’s favorite zombie. (Clutching the bottle.) Not putting this down, though.

BARRY unsteadily walks to the light booth. There is a long pause.

ALBERT
Well, that was all really weird. What do we do now?

ADA
We could go to the bar.

CHRIS
Bar's not open. Found this in the manager’s office.

JILL
There wasn’t even any money in the box office. (They look at her.) What? He stole the Jameson.

ALBERT
Yeah, but Chris is kind of an asshole.

CHRIS
Cheers. (He drinks.)

ALBERT
Stealing and killing isn’t really like you.


JILL
OK, just look, all right? I’ve had a very stressful day. Barry is dead and in the light booth, and it’s freaking me out. And before we barricaded the door… I peeked. While you guys were in the manager’s office.

ALBERT
What’d you see?

JILL
I think I saw a zombie dog.


ADA
Aaaw, no!

JILL
(With a faint smile.) It just kept rolling over, and sitting, and then doing the trick where he sticks out his paw? For a handshake? (Dejected.) Then he tried “Speak” and when he barked, his tongue fell out.

ADA
Aw, that’s horrible!

JILL
After that, a few of the zombies- the human ones- they noticed me, and I closed the door.

LEON
So that’s why they were banging on the door when we got there with the desk!

JILL
Sorry.

LEON
Jesus, Jill! You could have gotten us all killed!

CHRIS
Oh, lighten up, Leon!

LEON
If any of those things get in here they're gonna tear us apart! What do you mean lighten up?!

CHRIS
I mean quit being such a dick to Jill!

LEON
Oh I’m a dick because I’m concerned about everyone’s safety? I’m a dick because I’m trying to be sensible here?!

CHRIS
No, you’re a dick because you always have to be right! Little Miss Leon can’t ever be wrong about anything!

LEON
(Hissing through his teeth.) I told you never to call me that in front of people.

CHRIS
Yeah, well we broke up.

LEON
I broke up with you!
CHRIS
Oh, I guess you right again, Leon! (He notices the rest of the company is looking at them stunned.) Yeah, we’re gay and we do theatre together. Quick! Everybody stare!

ALBERT
I’d like it to be noted that I’m not surprised.

CHRIS
Screw you.

ALBERT
Hey I’ve got nothing against it. Well, aside from personal preference.

CLAIRE appears from backstage.

CLAIRE
Hi everyone!

ADA
Claire!?

LEON
How- how did you get in here?

CLAIRE
There was a big crowd out front. I got in through the fire exit. If you pull up, the to the right, then out, it pops right open.

ALBERT
Are you okay? Shit, did anyone following you?

CLAIRE
No. Why would any of those people follow me? (Thumping and some moans come from backstage.)

CHRIS
Because they’re actually zombies.

CLAIRE
Oh. OK.


CHRIS
You’re not… surprised by that at all?

CLAIRE
Not really.

LEON
(Quietly.) There are zombies at the fire exit.

CLAIRE
Where’s Barry?

ADA
In the light booth. Zombie.

CLAIRE
Fuck, seriously?

ALBERT
Yeah. He’s harmless, though, don’t worry.

LEON
(Losing it.) THERE ARE zombies AT THE FIRE EXIT!

CLAIRE
I don’t think that’s such a-

LEON
That door you just led them to is about an inch thick. You've murdered us all.

ALBERT
That’s just a negative attitude. Who does that help?

CLAIRE
I didn't even mean to! Can't we try to fight them off?

LEON
None of us even know stage combat!

JILL
Chris played MacDuff once.

LEON
Hooray. We're saved.

CHRIS
Truthfully, I’m with Leon on this one. Prolly all gonna die. (Drinks, hands the bottle to Albert, who drinks, then hands it back.)

JILL
Wait! We might still have time to get-

The sound of a door being smashed down comes from backstage. Zombies pour from the back. The company just generally flips the fuck out. JILL wrestles with one, Chris wildly swings his bottle while retreating to the wall. Although some of the zombies get tangled up in each other and the company, no one gets bitten as the zombies file to the front of the audience and sit. JILL eventually lets go of hers, and it shuffles to a seat. Some zombies are lying across each other, one attempts to sit in the aisle, and just falls on its back and lays there.

CHRIS
What the fuck?

LEON
I don’t know.

JILL
Maybe it’s like the dog?

ADA
What?

JILL
The dog I saw. It just did tricks.

ADA
Oh, I get it. And Barry. It’s just like a reflex.

The zombie in the aisle takes out his phone, and sets it to silent. It’s one of the phones that makes noise at every volume level as you scroll down.

ALBERT
I have a brilliant and flawless idea. The parlor scene!

LEON
What?

ALBERT
Everyone take places for the parlor scene! This is a good opportunity to show case our work, and I’m pretty sure if we don’t do a good job, the audience will let us know. By eating us.


CLAIRE
Are you serious?

ALBERT
Places, come on! Leon, follow me, I think I remember there being a pipe backstage. BARRY! LIGHTS FOR ACT 1, SCENE 3!

He and Leon go backstage as the lights dim and then come up again. The actors are still where they were before. The zombies begin to moan and stand up, so they nervously flit to places. Desmond sits on the sofa with Althea. Gethsemane and Antoinette (CLAIRE) are backstage.

CHRIS
Ahem! Uh. So Althea, dear cousin! (The dead sit back down. A slight pause.) It seems you have arrived without dearest Uncle Aloysius. I hope that his business with those Chinese doctors does not detain him too long into the night. The bears around here are notorious for their maulings.

JILL
Oh-ho-no! Yew dew not say, dear cousin?

CHRIS
Yes, why-

ADA
(Entering.) Why Althea, you little ke-bab! You have arrived! Safely, at that.

CHRIS
Yes, darling sister, and I was just about to tell her of the immense black bear we saw last week.

ADA
Oh, I recall! It was attacking a local boy, when another, even larger bear came from the forest and devoured them both.

CHRIS
And quickly, I might add.

JILL
Oh, what a 'orrible fayte!

ADA
(Calling backstage.) Oh, Antoinette! Antoinette? Where is that cross-eyed jackanapes? Antoinette!?

CLAIRE
(Flatly, not in character.) Right here madam how can I be of service?

The dead start to get up again. ALBERT and LEON come onstage, bearing short lead pipes.

ALBERT
Ada, get into character. Remember, circles of attention!

CLAIRE
(Much better this time.) Right here, madam! Howsoever can I be of service? I am a slave to your demands!

The zombies calm back down ALBERT and LEON begin to move amongst them to club them back to death.

CHRIS
Be so kind as to prepare some tea for us Antoinette. (ALBERT hits a zombie. CLAIRE flinches, and stays silent. Eventually, JILL signals her to go on.)

CLAIRE
Oh, certainly, sir. I also have some, uh, line.

LEON
(While clubbing a zombie with his foot on its chest.) Ladyfingers!

CLAIRE
I also have some ladyfingers prepared. Would you like me to bring them out?

JILL
Oh, mon cheri,, they taste most salagratious if I recall pro-per-ly!

ALBERT and LEON finish up.

ALBERT
OK, scene! Good job guys! Claire, you gotta be in it from the start. Solitude in public, remember?

CLAIRE
(Looking at the copses, shaken.) OK… OK. Sorry. OK.

LEON
I just can’t believe that worked. We're alive! Jesus Christ, we're alive!

CHRIS
I think this caught all of us by surprise.

ADA
What do we do now?

JILL
Are you kidding? What else can we do? (Throwing her arms wide.) We open house!

The lights go out. The end.
linkReply

Comments:
From: (Anonymous)
2010-01-12 12:00 am (UTC)

sweet

(Link)

good play. I like the audience as zombies but it would be sweeter if there was more conditioned responses and stuff. First prize!