The Chair

The Chait

The original play poster. Design by Bruce Wong.

CLAREANNE runs out, frantic. MELISSA stands next to a CHAIR.

CLAREANNE: Oh my God!

MELISSA: What?

CLAREANNE: Nice chair…

MELISSA: Thanks. Family heirloom. Antique.

CLAREANNE: Oh my God!

MELISSA: What?

CLAREANNE: I remembered why I ran out so quickly! My boyfriend won the lottery!

MELISSA: That’s great!

CLAREANNE: No… He got arrested for overdue parking violations on the way to the lotto office.

MELISSA: That’s not so great. So, let’s use the lotto money to bail him out. Or better yet, I have a piggy bank!

CLAREANNE: No good. We can’t get his possessions until we bail him out. Where are we going to get the money?

They both look at the chair.

MELISSA: It was my grandfather’s!

CLAREANNE: We’ll buy you a new one.

MELISSA: But my grandfather died in this chair!

CLAREANNE: My grandfather died in his sleep. It doesn’t mean I kept his bed… Gross.

MELISSA: We are not selling the chair. My grandpa killed Nazis in this chair!

CLAREANNE: Okay, fine. We won’t sell the chair…

MELISSA: Why don’t we just wait till he gets out of prison then collect the lotto winnings?

CLAREANNE: Right. Like a guard isn’t going to see that he has the winning ticket and exchange it for another one.

MELISSA: Sometimes, guards have sex with prisoners. I saw it on Netflix.

CLAREANNE: So do the prisoners! Think, if a prisoner discovers he has the winning ticket, Ted will be exchanged for cigarettes! Do you know how many cigarettes a winning lotto ticket will buy!

MELISSA: That’s right! Then everyone will have cancer from smoking.

CLAREANNE: Yeah, and we don’t want to give those inmates cancer do we? Unless we just simply…

MELISSA: Put warning labels on all the cigarettes!

Clareanne tries to take the chair.

MELISSA: You put that down! Clareanne!

Clareanne motions to put the chair down, then bolts. Melissa runs after her. There is a scuffle, followed by a large thump. Melissa wanders back on stage with the chair. STEVE runs out.

STEVE: Clareanne? Clareanne? Oh, hey Melissa. You wouldn’t believe it, but we need money to bail Ted out of prison. Hey, that’s a nice chair…

Melissa glares at Steve. She raises the chair to attack.

Get the rest of this play and more in my collection of comedy theatre work.

Eat, Drink and Be Larry

All this Hamlet The Vampire Slayer happenings makes me nostalgic for the Eat, Drink and Be Larry days. The days when doing the fine art of theatre involved dressing up like Yoda:

Yoda

Emperor Palpatine goes to a used clone army salesman

I always find comedy to be fascinating in that it’s always part of the fringe.  For example, there is a theatre group in Albuquerque called Tricklock (the gentleman in the hat on the right is a member). They are internationally known, bring in acts from Europe and likewise take shows there.

Eat, Drink, and Be Larry’s closest connection to Europe was a German guy sent us a film for our tiny little film festival at the Guerrilla Tango (the now defunct theatre where we did the later half of our shows). We got so excited; we changed the name from The First Guerrilla Tango Film Festival to The First International Guerrilla Tango Film Festival. Which of course is a silly act because of our singular foreign film.

For us comics, we were sort of the bastard step children of the stage world. Most people look at a show as method to express emotions, political beliefs, or abstract intellectual ideas. We looked at it as a way for Dracula to give his three female vampires a full grown man wearing a diaper in parody of the Francis Ford Coppola’s baby eating Dracula.

Eat, Drink and Be Larry

The Eat, Drink and Be Larry crew

We really couldn’t take anything seriously. In fact, writing sketches was fueled by people that took themselves way to seriously. I remember a series of sketches I wrote about Steve from Blue Clues investigating really heinous murders with the same doofy kids show gusto. So maybe we did take comedy very seriously. The premise must seem like it’s real in order to be funny. But since the end result is silly, comedy stays on the fringe.

Sketch acts aren’t looking for prestige because there is little be had in late night theatre where Ophelia drowns herself in a bowl of water. But we are looking for that connection with the audience. A well crafted joke can create a moment shared by an entire a room full of people. For a brief period of time, the comic is connected with everyone in a emotional event that can be only described as joy. The performer and audience alike become part of an experience greater than themselves. The allure of comedy is being part of that fringe.