“DADA’s Home” by Ron Pullins

SETTING: Living room with two chairs and a lamp.

ON RISE: MAN enters, coming home from work. WOMAN sits, reading the paper.

MAN: Hello, dear. I’m home.

[MAN sits his briefcase on a table that isn’t there. It drops to floor.]

WOMAN: [Resigned. Matter of fact.] Pick that up. You’re such a pig.

Man: Hard day today at the office, let me tell you.

[MAN takes off his hat and hangs it on a hook that doesn’t exist. It drops to floor. MAN doesn’t notice. WOMAN does. Coat falls to floor as well, etc.]

WOMAN: This time I’m going to leave your crap on the floor. Wrinkled, dirty. People will laugh. I don’t care. I hope they do.

[SHE snaps the paper, buries it in the sofa, stands, goes to the window, peers out from the curtains with a bit of longing. Sighs.]

MAN: I say the sun is under the yard arm. Time for a drinky poo. Fix me a drink, dear.

[MAN sits. WOMAN has begun to mix martini in a shaker, etc.]

WOMAN: You always say that.

MAN: Doesn’t pumpkin doodle want a drinky, too?

WOMAN: You drink too much. Every night you come home and drink, and drink, and drink.

MAN: One olive.

WOMAN: You always say that. Every night you come home, fix me a drink, one olive. Just one time I’d like to put in two. Or an onion.

MAN: I do love our time together. Family. I just say, ‘Family,’ and I feel the bliss. WOMAN: ‘One olive,’ you lush. For the millionth time.

[WOMAN delivers the martini. She goes to the bar and mixes another for herself.]

MAN: Thank you, dear. Let’s sit a while, and relax, and read.

WOMAN: Where were you all day?

MAN: At work, of course. As I am every day all day as I have been all year for all the years of my life. Doing the same thing. Taking pieces of paper from a pile over here and putting them in a pile over there.

WOMAN: Your office is closed. You were fired. Weeks ago. But you come and go, every day come and go from work, like some skunk coming out at night to dig up worms.

MAN: You always say that dear. The skunk piece. You need a new metaphor. But it is funny. You’re always funny. Very funny. And it’s grubs, by the way.

WOMAN: Grubs?

MAN: Grubs, not worms. Skunks dig for grubs. They always have. They always do. Every night. You’ve told me that story a hundred hundred times, and you’re always wrong. Now, that’s funny.

WOMAN: Grubs. Worms. Every day the same thing, even though they’ve fired you. It makes me sick. It makes me want to drink.

MAN: Oh, then do join me, dear. As you do every night anyway. You don’t need an excuse.

[WOMAN has now fixed herself a martini. She joins him, but there is no place to sit. She returns to the window, stares out plaintive, holding back the curtain gently with one hand while holding her martini with the other.]

WOMAN: You never go out. We never go out. You come home from work every night the same time, the same place, you hang up your hat on a hook we no longer have, hang up your coat in a closet that has no hangers, sit in that god awful chair that stinks from the sweat of your pants, and drink until your brain is dead. Every night. The same thing. That might have been interesting for a while, but it bores me now.

MAN: Thank you, my dear. It’s so kind to have someone who tells me how others see me. Honesty: it’s a virtue that has been lost with the decline of class in our country. [pause. HE continues to read the paper.] Did I say they let poor Mattie go. Mattie!

[SHE turns to him, but still, she is not angry. More resigned.]

WOMAN: You say that every day. I’m sick and tired of hearing about Mattie. It’s like you sleep with her or something.

MAN: Fifteen years she gave them. And now they’ve let her go.

WOMAN: That office has been closed for weeks. Of course she’s gone. You were all ‘let go.’ Where do you go all day?

MAN: We should go see poor Mattie sometime. Cheer her up. See how she’s getting on.

WOMAN: You need to get a new job. You just can’t keep going through the same motions day after day. We have no money. How are we to eat? MAN: Speaking of dinner, I smell….


MAN: ….roast beef! Of course. Roast beef.

WOMAN: No. No! No!! Whatever I fix, you say it’s roast beef. Roast beef this, roast beef that! We never have roast beef. I hate roast beef! It makes me want to puke. You and your roast beef fetish. It makes me sick.

MAN: Corn, too, if my senses don’t deceive me. Creamed, as I like it, I am hoping. How divine. You know how I love a good helping of creamed corn. Fresh from the can.

WOMAN: No corn. Corn is pig’s food. You might eat that slop, but it’ll never pass my lips.

MAN: Yes. And I smell the garlic. Garlic’s in the air. Tell me it’s mashed potatoes and you have fixed like Aunt Betty. But then we always have roast beef, and corn, and mashed potatoes like Aunt Betty’s, don’t we? My favorites. Dinner after endless dinner. Night after endless night. This martini is magnifíc. The olive, nonpareil.

WOMAN: Night after fucking night. You don’t want a wife to cook for you, to wait on you, to roast your beef, wash your clothes, pick up your mess. No. You want a machine, a mechanical mother. No wonder you don’t touch me anymore. You come home and sit there and drink until you’re brain turns to butter, eat what you eat and think it’s roast beef, then read that silly paper until you fall asleep. Every day. The same thing. You make me want to bite the head off a rat.

MAN: The paper. Yes. Now where did you put it? I do wish that we could keep it right here on the edge of the table so I can find it every night without looking.

WOMAN: We don’t take the paper any more. Remember? You lost your job because the last skill you learned was how to run a mimeograph machine. And now we have no money. And no paper. And no roast beef, either.

MAN: Ah, here it is.

[MAN finds the newspaper on the chair he has sat in. He then sips his martini, then puts the glass on a table that doesn’t exist. It drops to the ground and shatters.]

WOMAN: There. Now you’ve done it.

MAN: Done what?

WOMAN: You’ve broken the glass.

MAN: I didn’t do that.

WOMAN: You dropped the glass on the floor.

MAN: I sat it on the table.

WOMAN: There is no table!

MAN: Of course there is. There always is. I always come home, I have a drink, I relax and read, and in order to hold my paper I sit my martini on the table.

WOMAN: It drops to the ground and shatters. It’s like that every night. I’m not cleaning up your mess again.

[MAN opens up the newspaper, then straightens it to read with a snap.]

MAN: Aunt Betty. I’m thinking we should drive up to the farm and see Aunt Betty and her dear husband.

WOMAN: Aunt Betty is dead. She died years ago. We are not driving up there again. So I have to sit with you while you throw yourself on her grave and cry until your tears wash over her coffin.

MAN: Not all day, of course. A short visit. There is such a thing as too much time with Aunt Betty, don’t you think? God love her. I can’t wait to have another helping of her garlic mashed potatoes.

WOMAN: We can’t go on like this.

MAN: Like what?

WOMAN: You going to work every day to a job that doesn’t exist. Me here waiting. Hungry. Tired. Angry. Horny. Hoping a man – a real man – any man – will walk through that door and do something, anything that hasn’t been done a hundred times before. Say something, anything, that hasn’t been said a hundred, hundred times before.

MAN: I hardly think they’ve fired me, dear. Why would I go there every day and work until my fingers are bloody and my bones show through if they had fired me?

WOMAN: [pause] I don’t know.

MAN: [reading the paper] I see where the city council has taken up that senior center business again.

WOMAN: I told you yesterday no senior center is being built. It was cancelled months ago. Why do you keep harping on that?

MAN: I doubt if it will pass, though. Higher taxes, and no one wants that. I certainly don’t. Let the poor go screw themselves.

WOMAN: You don’t make any money. You don’t pay taxes.

MAN: Someday I’ll quit that job. Then we’ll see if they can get blood from a turnip. I should buy a gun and join the revolution.

WOMAN: I’ll have a drink.

MAN: Yes, of course.

WOMAN: You, too? Another?

MAN: Yes, of course. Another. [pause] I’m thinking…. two olives.

WOMAN: Two? Such a departure.

MAN: [pause] No. You’re right. One will do. [pause] Isn’t this is the best time of day, dear? After a hard day of work. You and I. You with all that waiting for me to come hom. I with all the sweat, blood and tears that come from serving mammon to the masses. Anyone could do it, you know, move each piece of paper from one pile to another. I so look forward to coming home each night, reading my paper, chatting with you, sharing a drink, while we wait for the roast beef to finish.


WOMAN: This time I will have an onion.

MAN: In your martini? No.

WOMAN: Yes. Be wild. Be crazy. Let the chips fall where they may.

[WOMAN pours herself a drink and another for him from the martini shaker. Adds an onion to hers, an olive to his.]

MAN: How do you dare to do that? An onion. I didn’t even know we had onions. What will happen? What will it taste like? Is it still be a martini, or has it become something else altogether? I’m worried, dear. Very worried. [Pause. WOMAN sips her drink] Nothing happened?

WOMAN: Nothing.

MAN: It’s not a martini, you know.


MAN: It’s a Gibson. That’s different. You’ve changed things. That’s dangerous.

WOMAN: So be it. I feel wild.

MAN: Come sit by me. Relax. My little pumpkin. Tell me what is going on with you. How is your life?

WOMAN: All day I’ve been hungry. I’m hungry now.

MAN: That explains the onion. But olives are nutritious, too.

[WOMAN sits the martini glass down on a table that doesn’t exist and it shatters]

WOMAN: It’s the same for me as it is with you. Cleaning house. Washing clothes. Cooking so you’ll have roast beef. Going out on a hunt, stalking the wild cattle, slitting the throat of a fine young calf and hanging it by the haunches so it bleeds clean. Then cutting out a bloody rump for supper….

MAN: Yes, but besides that?

WOMAN: Killing snakes that infest our garden. Warding off the evil one who tries to embrace me in the afternoon. Crucifying the demons who float up from the toilet. Getting our children off to school.

MAN: But, dear, [pause] we don’t have any children.

WOMAN: You’re forgetting it’s for the children we do these things. They are such a delight. Will you share your paper. I’d like to read.

MAN: There’s nothing here. Traffic reports. School lunches next week which are pretty much the same as last week.

WOMAN: But there are murders. Torture. Rape. Incest. Impalements. Flayings. Thank God for the news. You come home, sit, and we drink until our brains have been reduced to acidic pus. Then we read, and drink some more, and talk, as we wait for the beef to finish.

MAN: You haven’t cooked dinner, have you?

WOMAN: I never do.

MAN: No beef.

WOMAN: I’m hungry.

MAN: No corn, creamed or otherwise?

WOMAN: Call the children, dear. They’re out back playing. Tell them it’s time to wash up. They’ll have dinner tonight with their beloved dada.

MAN: We have no children, sweet heart. Have you forgotten?

WOMAN: Or, let them play a bit longer. In the cool of the evening. We can sit and hear our sweet children scream as beasts from the buried past scurry out from the dark forests and tear them asunder. As the undead stalk them and eat their bloody flesh.

MAN: If we had children, I would gather them in before the sun falls any lower. But, alas….

WOMAN: And let’s put them to bed early. Then you and I will have time alone. We never have enough time. To cuddle by a warm fire. Say sweet nothings, then say them again and again, until our voice boxes are shredded and our jaws fall from our face.

MAN: So we will not, then, cap off our day with apple crisp.

WOMAN: Poor Mattie. They let her go, did they?

MAN: This is not the way I want things.

WOMAN: Shall I start a fire?

[MAN picks up his hat and coat and puts them on.]

MAN: No. No. This is not the way things are supposed to be. It was the onion, wasn’t it?

WOMAN: A nice warm fire. I will roll in its glow as you do things to my body.

MAN: We have no fire place, dear. We can have no fire. This is not the way things are. I come home and you fix me a drink. I read the paper for a while. The roast beef finishes in the oven. We top off the day with apple crisp. The onion. That’s where things went wrong.

WOMAN: At some point, dear, we will have to start to love again. Some time you will have to look at me, and see me.

MAN: First the onion. Then the children. Now a fire. Let’s start again. This is all wrong.

[MAN stands by the door]

WOMAN: We have no kindling. No money to buy matches because you lost your job.

MAN: No. No money. No fire. No apple crisp. You and your onion.

[MAN puts on his hat and coat. WOMAN hands him his briefcase, his hat. Then, MAN exits. The door shuts. Pause. There is a knocking. Door opens.]

MAN: Hello, dear.

[MAN takes of his hat which he hangs on a hook that doesn’t exist as lights fade. He hangs his coat on a hanger that isn’t there. Both drop to the floor.]

I’m home.

End of Play

ROnRon Pullins is once again delighted to be included in Steel Toe Review online. He lives in Tucson AZ, and has written short and long plays and fiction. His work has been read, performed, published and produced around the country, most recently at Revolution Theater (Chicago), No Shame Theater (Athens GA), Charlestown Working Theater (Boston), Atlantic Stage (Myrtle Beach), Maggie’s Umbrella (Houston), Shenandoah, Kansas Quarterly, online at Box of Jars and best of all Steel Toe Review. Two short videos produced by Project Y can be found on line.


“Arlecchino am Ravenous” by Ian Thal

Arlecchino: A poor servant having come from Bergamo, hungry and far from home. His emotions are almost protean, changing with every new situation, so much so that he can forget who he is and mistake himself for someone far more clever. He wears some variant of the traditional mask that was first documented in the 1500s and possesses the batacchio or slapstick. The batacchio is, in the hands of Arlecchino, an all purpose tool and should be seen as much an extension of Arlecchino’s imagination as mime skills are an extension of the actor’s.

The actor has license to add movements, sounds, and asides not already present in the text.


[Arlecchino falls to his knees, distraught.]

Ay yayay! Arelecchino am so hungry.

Stomach growls grrr grrr grrr so Arlecchino no can sleep.

[Addresses stomach. Miming all his threats.]

Stomach: Silencia! Or Arlecchino cut you open and rip you out––

[Cuts self open, using batacchio as a knife. Accidentally pulls out own heart, and menaces it with the batacchio.]

Lub-dub-lub-dub-lub-dub. You not stomach!

[Plays with the rhythms of the heartbeat. Either gives it to an audience member who catches Arlecchino’s attention, places back in chest, or discards.]

Arlecchino try again.

Stomach: Silencia! Or Arlecchino cut you open and rip you out–– [Accidentally removes a kidney.]

You not stomach! Oh, kidney fagioli. Arlecchino have two already! Arlecchino try again.

Stomach: Silencia! Or Arlecchino cut you open and rip you out––

[Arlecchino removes stomach, and proceeds to menace it, miming all it’s threats, using the batacchio where appropriate.]

––stuff you in meat grinder with salt, pepper, garlic… then Arlecchino pull out own intestines, stuff you inside, tie off ends like sausage, and cook sausage with onion! So no belly aching from you!

[Arlecchino’s rage again becomes desperation. Arlecchino observes a fly buzzing around him.]

Buzz! Is that a fly Arlecchino am seeing? Buzz! So hungry Arlecchino can eat a fly. Buzz!

[Arlecchino mimes pursuit of fly, ending in failure when he accidentally swats himself with the batacchio.]

So hungry Arlecchino can eat an elbow but Arlecchino no can fit elbow in mouth. So hungry Arlecchino can eat a foot…

[Becomes lost in a reverie, alternately miming and showing prurient interest in his own mime.]

Oh! Arlecchino see tastiest feet at grape harvest. The women put grapes in big wooden tubs, and take off their shoes so lucky Arlecchino can see women’s feet, and then women lift their skirts so lucky Arlecchino can see ankles and smooth plump calves and women climb into tubs and stomp-a-stomp-a-stomp-a-smoosh-smoosh, stomp-a-stomp-a-stomp-a-smoosh-smoosh, stomp-a- stomp-a-stomp-a-smoosh-smoosh grapes into vino! Oh! Arlecchino want to lick feet sweet with juice and grapes smooshed between toes!

[Arlecchino observes one of his own feet.]

Oh what is that? A FOOT!

[Foot slowly backs away from Arlecchino.]

Buon giorno! Signor Foot!

[Bows to foot. Arlecchino coaxes foot closer.]

Come here! Arlecchino am friend! Come here!

[Arlecchino takes foot into hand.]

Is foot ticklish? [Tickles foot.] Si! Foot is ticklish. Let us play another game. You like this game. Arlecchino like this game. Game is five little piggies. How Arlecchino hunger for little piggies: the shank, the chops, the trotters, the tripe.

This little piggy go to market. Arlecchino no have scudi for market! This little piggy stay home. Arlecchino miss home in Bergamo!

This little piggy have roast beef. Naughty piggy no share roast beef with piggy brothers!

This little piggy have none. Just like Arlecchino!

[Arlecchino brings mouth closer to “piggies.”]

And this little fat, succulent piggy piggy cry wee wee wee wee…

[In swift movement, foot disappears from Arlecchino’s hand. He seeks the foot while the foot stays out of his view.]

Hey! Where do little piggies go!? Piggies? Piggies? Where are you? So hungry am Arlecchino.

Priest say: Arlecchino: God answers all prayers. So, Arlecchino will pray: [Kneels.]

Buon giorno! Maestro Deos, Papa in Paradiso! Arlecchino from Bergamo am your hungry servant! Arlecchino hear story: in Paradiso you have big feast and everyone has long spoons and they feed each other, because in Paradiso everyone loves everyone! But Deos has biggest spoon of all! And Arlecchino am so hungry, so what if when you are at table saying: [Portraying what Arlecchino imagines God to be like:] “Fiat antipasto! It is good! Fiat mozzarella! It is good! Fiat ravioli! It is good!”

You just put that long spoon in Arlecchino’s mouth, because priest say Maestro Deos love everyone, even Arlecchino from Bergamo! Grazie!

[Waits with mouth agape, expecting heavenly silverware that never reaches his lips.]

Hey!? What? Spoon not long enough? So priest say you have a boy, what his name? Giacamo? No. Giovanni? No.

Giuseppe! Si! Giuseppe Cristoforo! Priest tell Arlecchino that Giuseppe is best magician, but Giuseppe no do tricks with cards! No! Giuseppe do tricks with food!

Hey! No bread? What about fish trick? Hocus-pocus! Tah-dah! Fish! [Mimes fish with hand.] Two fish!

[Mimes a second fish with other hand. Bites hand.]

Aieee! That was a nasty trick! Giuseppe! Giuseppe Cristoforo! You make wine jug appear and Arlecchino get drunk and forget how hungry am.

Boil, boil, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble. Fiat vino! Tah-dah! Grazie.

[Mimes drinking from bottle of wine, instantly getting drunk.]

Arlecchino am so drunk Arlecchino no can taste the wine. Arlecchino am so drunk, Arlecchino no can see the wine. Arlecchino get hungry when drunk. Arlecchino make polenta. Cornmeal––

[Mime pouring cornmeal into pot over fire]

Sploosh! Gloop gloop gloop! Crackle-crackle-crackle! Stir-rah-stir-rah-stir-rah!

Onion! Chop-pah-chop-pah-chop-pah! Oh onion cry! Arlecchino cry too. Arlecchino am sorry. onion. Sploosh! Gloop gloop gloop! Crackle-crackle-crackle! Stir-rah-stir-rah-stir-rah!

[Mimes a chicken.]

Pulchino! Cluck cluck cluck! [Mime strangling chicken.] Arlecchino am sorry! Chop-Aiee!

[Chops off index finger. Cries. Mimes removable finger. Licks finger stump, realizes he likes the taste, and enthusiastically throws the finger into the stew.]

Taste like pulchino! Sploosh! Gloop gloop gloop! Crackle crackle crackle! Stir-rah-stir-rah-stir- rah! Polenta pulchino digitalis!

[Enthusiastically eats the polenta from the pot, swallows spoon, mimes eating more fingers from the already maimed hand. Hunger satisfied, he rubs belly, notices that he has all ten fingers.]

Arlecchino am so drunk Arlecchino see ten fingers. Arlecchino not know Arlecchino know how to count to ten. Arlecchino am very drunk. Arlecchino am so drunk Arlecchino no can taste polenta. Arlecchino no can taste fingers. Arlecchino count ten fingers. Arlecchino no can see pot, no can see fire, no can see knife. Either Arlecchino am drunk or Arlecchino am tricked by mallo angelo! Mallo angelo make Arlecchino think am drunk! Mallo angelo make stomach think Arlecchino eat!

Oh! Signor Deos! You trick Arlecchino again! Giuseppe Cristoforo mallo angelo! Arlecchino am coming up to Paradiso to eat your food!

[Arlecchino mimes climbing ladder to heaven, cursing God, Jesus and all the angels of heaven, in grammelot]

Blasphemo angelo! Blasphemo Deos! Blasphemo Domino! Blasphemo Giuseppe!

[Arlecchino gets to heaven and his mood changes as he appreciates the view of the world from heaven.]

Paradiso! The sun is shining. Not a cloud in the sky! Clouds like smooshed grapes between Arlecchino’s toes! Oh look, Arlecchino see Pantalone’s house from here. Pantalone needs to fix roof.

[Briefly becoming Pantalone.]

Pantalone say: Arlecchino! Climb up on the roof and fix the hole! The rain comes through. Fix it! What do I pay you for? I don’t pay you to answer that question! Gratiano owes me a few ducats so take the shingles from his roof! And have Zanni hold the lader!

[Arlecchino reverts to himself.]

Oh. Columbina and Franchescina are doing laundry today! Look at Columbina! Look at Franchescina! It is good Arlecchino am in paradiso when Columbina and Franchescina do laundry! And now come Flaminia to do laundry! Oh oh oh! Holy meloni! Buon giorno, cleavage!

[Looks up from ogling the women doing laundry.]

Oh an angelo! Buon giorno Signor Angelo! [Bows.] You are so beautiful, so well fed, so fat, you spin big wagon wheels within wagon wheels where skinny angeli flap wings. And angeli sing so lovely:

[Arlecchino dances as if an angel to the tune of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, from the Ninth Symphony. Note that the verse contains a total of 64 beats:]

We the angels of heaven sing and play harp all day, Every day brings nine meals with wine and nine entrées. We the angels of heaven, we don’t have to share With the likes of Arlecchino because he belongs down there.

Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah… [et cetera]

Oh singing so beautiful, make Arlecchino cry, but Angelo so cruel Arlecchino am angry! Nasty Angelo!

Angelo come back now!

[Arlecchino shoves angel into his mouth and devours it.]

Mmmmm! So good! Angelo so deliciscio! So light! Arlecchino am hungry for more angeli! [Arlecchino proceeds to devour the heavenly hosts] Archangelo! Nyum nyum! Cheribimino! Nyum nyum nyum! Seraphimo! Nyum nyum! Hot hot hot hot!

[Arlecchino cast out from heaven presented as a pratfall.]


[Mime as if surrounded by flames.]


Arlecchino am not in Paradiso, no? Arlecchino in pit! Fire! Ouwie! Blasphemo! Hot hot hot! Burn like Flaminia! Ouwie! Feel like somebody stick big fork in Arlecchino bottom! Hey! Maybe Arlecchino am still in Paradiso! Ouwie! Big fork in Arlecchino bottom again!

[Turns around to see his attacker all while caressing own buttocks.]

Why you stick big long fork in Arlecchino bottom? Arlecchino bottom look tasty, huh? Served with garlic, and onion, and mushroom? Maybe a little gorgonzola? And you not offer Arlecchino slice of own ass! Who the diavolo you think you are?

[Smiles in recognition, and bows.]

Oh! Buon Giorno! Signor Diavolo Lucifero dell’Inferno! Arlecchino no recognize! Everyone in Venice say you look like Shylock, but no…

[To audience:]

…Shylock more handsome…

[Back to Lucifer. Mimes putting arm over Lucifer’s shoulder.]

…Signor Diavolo no look like Jew!

[To audience:]

More like goat.

[Back to Lucifer.]

Arlecchino so hungry!

[Arlecchino improvises a speedy grammalot retelling of the story. Only a few words and phrases need be intelligible.]

Ay! Arlecchino am Signor Diavolo friend! Diavolo cast down from Paradiso into flaminia pit dell’Inferno! Arlecchino cast down from Paradiso into flaminia pit dell’Inferno! Si! Arlecchino and Diavolo like brothers!

[Mimes taking pitchfork from Lucifer.]

Luciferno let Arlecchino hold big fork. Nice fork, Luciferno. All pointy tines. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

[Maniacal streak crosses Arlecchino’s face. In swift and violent action, Arlecchino stabs Lucifer with pitchfork, hoists it over his head, cackles sadistically, and taunts.]

That’s the way to do it! Signor Diavolo Luciferno want to stick fork in Arlecchino’s ass? Arlecchino fork you!

[Hoists Lucifer over fire, and starts to turn him on spit.]

Crackle-crackle! Sizzle-sizzle! Turn-a-turn-a-turn-a! Cook Diavolo dell’Inferno over open flame until skin is crispy! Crackle-crackle! Sizzle-sizzle! Turn-a-turn-a-turn-a! Flame broil to seal juices inside! Oh so red! Crackle-crackle! Sizzle-sizzle! Turn-a-turn- a-turn-a! Diavolo done!

[Using the batacchio now as a knife, Arlecchino cuts piece of flesh of Lucifer, gobbling it down. Lazzo of gorging self on Lucifer’s flesh.]

So peppery! And hot hot hot! Ouwie! Mmmm…

[Once Arlecchino has had his fill, he fans himself.]

Much too hot here, Arlecchino need fresh air.

[Mimes climbing stairs back to surface.]

Arlecchino am back!

[Kisses Earth.]

Arlecchino am back? Where? Pantalone always look for Arlecchino! [Confused, runs around in circles.]

Hey! Arlecchino tell Columbina! Arlecchino tell Franschina! Arlecchino tell Flaminia! Ahhhh!

[Suddenly despairs.]

Arlecchino am hungry!

[Lazzo of catching the fly. This time he is successful.]

Buzz! Arlecchino got you now, you fat juicy fly. Ooh, delicate wings! Nyum nyum nyum! Thin little legs! Crunch crunch! Nyum!

[Arlecchino devours the fly with the slow relish of a gourmand As the fly does not fill the emptiness in his belly, Arlecchino notices the audience.]

Who is you laughing at poor hungry Arlecchino? You, with bellies full, laugh at Arlecchino? Arlecchino am so hungry eat angelo, Am so hungry eat diavolo. Am so hungry eat own finger. Arlecchino eat your fat fingers. Am so hungry Arlecchino eat your fat stomachs stuffed with polenta and gorgonzola!

[Starts taking off mask.]

Arlecchino am so hungry—

[Actor examines the mask.]

Arlecchino eat own face!

[Actor’s teeth become immobile before they can actually bite down upon the mask.]

End of Play

Ian1331r10Ian Thal is a Washington, D.C. native now living in the Boston area. He is theater critic and senior contributor for The Arts Fuse. Arlecchino Am Ravenous developed from a series of improvisations in 2008 and he has performed it in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Other actors have performed it as far afield as Pennsylvania and Thailand. He has an MA from Boston College and a BA from SUNY Purchase – both in philosophy. His other plays are available on The New Play Exchange.

“The Interruption” by Roy Endean

Setting: The living room of a house, uninteresting save for its sparseness. To the right there is a small table at which sits a woman, Sylvia. In the middle another small table on which sits a telephone. To the left, in a larger chair, is a man, Iain.

Sylvia is writing something. Iain is reading something.

Pause. After which Sylvia sighs and speaks.

SYLVIA: I wonder if this is good enough.

Pause. Iain, without turning.

IAIN: It should be.

SYLVIA: I mean, of course, given the chance, I could do more with it. (Pause.) With enough time, everyone can do more with something. Would you look at it?

Iain does not respond. Sylvia stands and approaches him. She hands him the letter. He takes it and reads slowly.

SYLVIA: I just wonder if it is good enough.


IAIN: Seems to be.

Iain hands the letter back. Sylvia returns to her table.

SYLVIA: Do you think, perhaps, that I could do more with it?

IAIN: Of course.

SYLVIA: Do you think that I should do more with it?

IAIN: If you feel you need to.

SYLVIA: It’s not that really, there is no need on my part, it is an act of necessity, as opposed to the act of will. (Pause.) Neither have to be enjoyable.

Pause. Reads over letter.

SYLVIA: Some can be tragic.

Pause. Then erupting.

SYLVIA: Shall we go out today? We can take in something. Add to ourselves. Whatever you like. The weather is not too fine but we cannot have everything our own way. There must be a show on or something worthwhile, this is the age of the tourist is it not, the forever passing people, we must keep them entertained.

Goes to centre table on which rests some papers. She begins to open them and read.

SYLVIA: Hmmm. An awful lot for pilgrims, not so much for us normal people. That is a shame isn’t it? They tell us to enjoy our own backyards, to forget about the car, enjoy the local colour and the local history, and then they don’t put out much for us. (Pause.) How can one enjoys ones own backyard? (Pause.) What if you did not have a backyard? (Pause.) I don’t understand all these slogans. (Pause.) Some people have gardens I expect. One can enjoy a garden. Grass is, something. Well you know what I mean. Still if one could chose ones home we would all have castles. I expect that a few of my own would have more than one, my sisters were a greedy little bunch, the whole family was, that was well known, but my sisters were a terrible lot, they were fierce in their way, wanting to have their prince and their castle, not interested in the qualities of soul, they were always so…

IAIN: Fertile.

SYLVIA: What did you say?

IAIN: Fertile, the word you were looking for. Grass is fertile. It gives depth to a scene.

SYLVIA: Well I did not mean it like that.

IAIN: Yes, you did.

SYLVIA: Well no, I was merely, thinking…

IAIN: You meant, what I said. You meant fertile. The grass is fertile. Grass is fertile is it not?

SYLVIA: Well, yes, I assume it would have to be. I am not an expert…

IAIN: Grass is fertile, and that is what you meant. Grass gives depth to a scene. You see, my love, grass makes a backyard, a garden.


SYLVIA: Well I do not feel like going out, not if I have to be mistaken for someone in a mood.

IAIN: Well that would be one’s own decision.

SYLVIA: I cannot always be perfect. I must get back to the letter.

IAIN: The letter is fine, the letter is adequate.

SYLVIA: And that is enough. Adequate.

IAIN: For its purpose, it is most adequate, and most enough. Who cares what they say? What will they do in any case, it is always a rejection.

SYLVIA: That does not mean you have to stop trying.

IAIN: I never said it did. Do what you wish.

SYLVIA: Why must we fight about this.

IAIN: I am not fighting. Do what you wish. It is only a letter, and it is adequate, it is enough, so send it as it is, enough and hope for the best, which will be enough for all of us.


SYLVIA: I cannot imagine what it is like in there. Can you imagine what it is like in there?

IAIN: No, it is insufferable.

SYLVIA: Can you imagine it.

IAIN: Horrible, no doubt.

SYLVIA: One should try and help those who cannot help themselves.

IAIN: That is what the book says.

SYLVIA: Help thy neighbour.

IAIN: Eh. I think so, I have a copy around here somewhere.

SYLVIA: So you don’t altogether disapprove of what I am doing?

IAIN: No, not altogether. Have at it.

SYLVIA: Because you don’t believe it will do any good?

IAIN: No not at all.

SYLVIA: And what if it does some good? What if it matters, what if it makes a difference?

IAIN: Then I would hope you have thick skin.

SYLVIA: Why would you say that?

IAIN: Some people don’t like meddlers. They take offence at those who pester officials. A cake is a bribe in its own way I suppose.

SYLVIA: Even if it’s for a good cause, to save a child for example.

IAIN: Yes, even if it is to save a child. Or a hundred children. Some people just don’t like it when you pester officials. But then again, this is not about a child, or a hundred children, is it, this is something altogether different, is it not.

SYLVIA: Yes, but if it was.

IAIN: But it is not.

SYLVIA: Yes, but if it was.

IAIN: Well then we would have to reconsider the specifications of our conversation.


SYLVIA: We are a married couple. We shouldn’t need specifications.

IAIN: If we weren’t married you wouldn’t say that. (Pause.) Are you going to make tea today or something? (Pause. Then quickly.) Or a cake was it, a cake for the warden, ha! I’ve seen you bake. (Pause. Slowly.) A vile sickness spreads. Everyone is at risk. The grand poisoner, if you are not careful, she will come and get you in your sleep. Don’t ever marry my father said, you give away so much in return for so little, of course he never married my mother, and then he shot himself. Lucky man. (Pause.) Did you say we were going out somewhere, you had somewhere in mind, a pilgrimage somewhere, something?

SYLVIA: It was merely a suggestion, and not a pilgrimage, and I was not being firm in any direction.

IAIN: Tea then is it?

SYLVIA: When my letter is perfect.

IAIN: Your letter is fine.

SYLVIA: I want it perfect.

IAIN: It is perfect so.

SYLVIA: You said it was adequate. I want it perfect.

IAIN: Well you can’t…

SYLVIA: I want it perfect.


IAIN: As you wish.

Pause. Sylvia finishes the letter, stands and goes to the middle table, looking again through the papers.

SYLVIA: Did you want some tea?

IAIN: Are you finished?

SYLVIA: The letter, yes. It is done.

IAIN: Can I see it?

SYLVIA: No, you had no interest before, so you have no interest now, despite what you may think.

IAIN: But I want to see perfection. I want to see how it’s done.

SYLVIA: It is merely workmanlike, I had to tune down the inevitable, I was writing to civil servants after all, one has to be careful with such people. Poetry can get out of hand, it’s so easily interpreted. Tea was it. Now where did I see that review.

IAIN: In the paper I would expect.

SYLVIA: Yes, but which one and on what page. Musicals. Theatre. Arts and entertainment. Why the two go together is beyond me. And sports then inter…

The phone rings. Sylvia picks up the receiver.

SYLVIA: Hello, Sylvia Rice speaking… No… No he most definitely did not place the call from here… Who would say such a thing… It is not plausible… Well perhaps I am an impostor, what good will that do you either way… Family is family… Oh well then I cannot be accountable… How gruesome… How tremendously gruesome… Yes, family is family, as you have said… One would not dare dream of answering such personal questions on anothers behalf… Pitiful, yes… Cut them up you say… Oh while they were alive you say… Terrible, how gruesome… Yes, yes, you have said, family is family… Well what’s to be done… Look, I appreciate your interest but I have nothing more to say, this is not important in my life, it is just a removed abstraction, if one can imagine such a thing… Yes, yes, of course, I am writing it down now… Thank you, goodbye.

Sylvia hangs up. Sighs.

IAIN: What was that?

SYLVIA: Oh a reporter, well, someone, claiming to be a reporter, always finding ways to get our number, I will have to complain to the phone company again, or else just get rid of the phone altogether. It seems they are the only ones who even call us now. And it’s always the same, so polite, and then they start with the details, all the horrible details, he did this, he did that, he cut there and here and what came off and what was found in the pantry. I really don’t know where to begin. That’s not a life for anyone, having to be around people like that, with all that, mayhem, that’s not a life at all. It would turn your sense of proportion inside out.

IAIN: I am not talking about that.

SYLVIA: Well what then? You heard me as I saw you.

IAIN: Sylvia Rice.

Iain stands up, approaches Sylvia.

IAIN: You haven’t been Sylvia Rice in years.

SYLVIA: Oh a slip of the tongue.

IAIN: You haven’t had a slip of the tongue in years either, I should know. Sylvia Rice. Not for almost a decade. You are Sylvia Gerald now. Do you remember, that wonderful say, when we danced, and all of that. Oh what a day it was. (Takes Sylvia and barely dances.) Oh those were the days, and the mornings and the nights, but the evenings mostly, when the sun was setting, and you were at your most romantic, depths.

SYLVIA: I’ll make the tea.

IAIN: Oh there’s no need for tea, not when we have love.

SYLVIA: Oh stop it. Everyone needs tea.

IAIN: Not everyone. There was a world before tea and there will be a world right after it. (They stop. Part.) It must be terrible to be born into a family of miscreants. It must have been so much pressure to succeed. To overcome. To be better, or just to be good. In any case, it must have been hard.

SYLVIA: Not all of us. My mother was a good woman.

IAIN: Yes, true, she was.

SYLVIA: And my sisters could hardly be blamed, that was the way they were brought up to be, to carry on the sense of privilege when it had long evaporated from the genes.

IAIN: So we must pity them also.

SYLVIA: No, pity, no. They are beyond that, and there castle walls are very, very thick.

IAIN: I suppose you are right. (Iain returns to his chair.) It is a pity because I always liked your brother the best.

SYLVIA: I think he was fond of you as well.

IAIN: Such a pity, such a handsome boy. And not altogether dim. Not blindingly brilliant but with a bit of dedication he could have prospered. Prospects. That he probably had. Prospects, with the right inclination and the correct guidance, he would have made something of himself.

SYLVIA: In his own way he did, without the help of anyone.

IAIN: I guess so. It would have helped to be a little bit quieter with the whole thing, don’t you think.

SYLVIA: He couldn’t help it.

IAIN: So they say.

SYLVIA: He couldn’t help it, he was always a sick boy. He was handsome yes, but not altogether, and that is why he stood out. Even over me. And I shined. But he sang. So attention goes where it wants to. It is always out of control.

Pause. Sylvia starts to weep gently. Wipes her eyes. Iain hears her, turns but does not get up.

IAIN: Are you crying?


IAIN: Why are you crying? Was it the phone call?


IAIN: What is it then?

SYLVIA: Why don’t they ring for me? Why doesn’t anyone ring for me? Why do they always have to ring for him?

IAIN: Oh my love, there’s no need to cry.

SYLVIA: Why can’t I be Sylvia Rice? Why can’t I have doors opened for me?

IAIN: I don’t know.

SYLVIA: I used to shine. And all I get is this. Why don’t they ring for me?

IAIN: Oh there’s no need to cry.


IAIN: Oh, there’s just no need.

Iain shrugs and resumes reading his notes. Sylvia stands crying. 


Roy Endean’s work has been published in Brand magazine and performed by the Accidental Theatre Company in Belfast.

“Certain Unexplainable Events” by Cody Daigle

Four actors. Four areas. The actors are aware of each other, but they do not interact (until the very end). They speak to us.

I don’t know if you think about life, like, in any kind of… real way. You know, like, really thinking about it. You know, like, how getting up in the morning is, on one hand, this totally nothing sort of thing. But on the other, it’s like… the most dangerous thing you can do. You know?

A silence.

The night it happened, my mom and I had this fight. It was completely stupid. You know. She was upset because we’d made this agreement, apparently. (I don’t remember this. Like, I seriously don’t recall this conversation we supposedly had.) This agreement that Wednesdays were going to be “family nights” – like anyone actually has those anymore, you know? – and we were going to like eat dinner together and sit in the living room and watch a movie or something, talk to each other and completely ignore the fact that we all have individual lives, you know? Or whatever.

So this was really important to do on Wednesdays, apparently. And this conversation where she told me this – this conversation I don’t remember having. At. All. – this conversation included a mention that we were starting to do this last Wednesday.

And last Wednesday I wasn’t home.

I was with Michael.

So my mom and I were having this fight. And I was like, “I don’t remember talking to you.” And she was like, “You willfully ignore things I say.” And I was like, “No. I just don’t remember us having this conversation.” And she was like, “You were wearing your maroon top.” As if that is going to somehow make me remember this conversation. And I’m like, “What maroon top?” And she was like, “Now you’re just being belligerent.” And I feel like I went to bed in this world I understood and woke up in some other place entirely, with this woman who thinks I’d wear maroon.

So I’m trying to explain to my mom that I’m not being belligerent, that I’m really not remembering that we’d talked about family night, and my iPhone lights up, and it makes the little text noise, and I just check it, you know? Like, no big deal. I got a text. I’ll check it. And it was Michael. And my mom is like, offended that I checked my phone in the middle of her yelling at me, as if I’d somehow broken some kind of rule of good manners, and she’s like, “Who is it?’ And I really don’t want to answer, because you know, she’s already mad, and mentioning Michael is just going to get her more mad, and I’d like to not get lectured for another half hour, so I say, “Grace. It was Grace.” And she stares at me for a second, and goes, “It was Michael, wasn’t it?” And I was like, in my head, “OH MY GOD! If you weren’t going to believe me, why did you ask me?” But I say, “No, it was Grace. She had a question about our civics homework.” And she goes, “You had civics homework you haven’t done yet?” And I’m thinking, “OH MY GOD. SHOOT ME NOW. PLEASE. JUST PUT ME OUT OF MY MISERY.”

Anything the human mind can imagine must therefore exist somewhere in the universe. Aristotle.

Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know. I think it was a Greek philosopher. Not the exact wording. But that’s the idea. I think it was Aristotle.

We always talked a lot about that. You know, we were kinda like obsessed with the thought that anything we could imagine – anything, from like the weirdest little mutation at the cellular level to these epic, like, universes that are completely unlike the one we inhabit – anything we could imagine was real someplace.

Like. Okay. Close your eyes. Right now. And imagine the weirdest combination of animals you could. Like okay, imagine a snake crossed with a buffalo crossed with a pterodactyl. And the whole thing’s green. No. Orange.

Okay. You imagined it. So…

Somewhere in the universe, that big orange thing you just saw in your head is flying around or doing whatever it does.

I mean. That’s the theory. The general idea, maybe not a theory. But like, that’s cool. You know? I tell Michael all the time, it’s cool because maybe we’re not just imagining things that already exist. Maybe our imagining it conjures it into existence. So like, somewhere, some creature or God or whatever imagined us, and poof! There we are, and we’re sitting here in my bedroom imagining worlds into existence somewhere else. Like, poof! There they are.

It was a cool thought, and he’d bring it up a lot, yeah. But I always thought it was just because it was this cool thing we’d thought about together. You know?

I didn’t think he was. Serious or anything.

So I was watching this documentary on Netflix about these Japanese dolphin killers in this cove or whatever, and it was awesome. Like, sad, but awesome. And I get this text from Michael. And it was like 9:30 and I was thinking, “you know, uh, little late to be wanting to do something.” Because my dad had like, put a moratorium on me being out of the house after 9. There was this, like, serial car tire slasher situation going on. Remember? And he was concerned it would “escalate.” Like, how? How does tire slashing “escalate?”

Off track. Michael texts me, and he’s like, “Tonight. 10:30. I’m doing it.”

And I’m like, “Okay then, good for you doing it, whatever it is,” and I text him back saying, “Can’t. Curfew. What ‘it’ are you doing?”

And I wait for a couple minutes, and I don’t hear anything from him. So I think he’s probably drunk or something. Michael’s not a teenage alcoholic or anything, but you know, when his parents are out of town he gets into the whiskey. So I texted Sarah and said, “You should check on Michael. He seems weird.”

And I went back to watching my documentary. It was cool. They wanted to get this footage of the dolphin killing going on in this secret cove, so they smuggled these cameras into the area disguised as rocks an they even hired divers to secretly dive in this cove and put microphones in the water and all this. You know it’s like, “yo, I get that you want to make a movie and all that, but my God, that’s like… dedication.”

He didn’t dump me.

He didn’t.

It was a completely mutual thing. He was just being really weird all the time. And I was trying not to get another disappointing score on the ACT. And he would just come over to my house with all these drawings of things. These like totally weird drawings of wormholes or whatever. And he’d say things like,” I want to go through one.” And he’d shove this drawing in my face of this little stick figure with glasses (Michael wears glasses) getting sucked up into this tornado-looking thing that branches off into this drawing on another page he’d hold up beside it that connected our street to like… I don’t know… Saturn or something. And he’d look at me like I was supposed to agree with him or tell him I thought it was cool. And I was always like, “Michael… stop watching Syfy.”

I just wanted him to be serious, you know. We were graduating in two months and he’d only taken the ACT once. And he got a 23. Which isn’t bad. But it’s not good. And I would ask him, “What colleges are you applying to?” And he’d go, “I haven’t.” Like, yeah. He hadn’t applied to anywhere. Not even like the technical college. Nothing. He was just… not being serious. And I never thought I’d marry the guy, but you know, he’d have to come over and have dinner with me and my parents and he’d be kind of embarrassing. My dad’s like, you know, serious business, and Michael’s all, “ Oh you want to see my picture of a tear in the fabric of the universe?” And I’d get this look from my dad, like totally, “WTF?”

So I told him how I was feeling and he said if I wanted to break up he’d understand. And I said, “Do you want to break up?” And he said, “I guess.” So… it was mutual. Okay? He didn’t dump me. We just…


So it’s technically not weird that I was sitting in my car across the street from his house. I live on that street, too. And I was taking the ACT the next day, and I was kind of nervous, and I just wanted to… I don’t know… talk to him. Because even thought he was weird and all, he was still like… someone who made me feel better. Less… worried.

But I was scared, you know. I didn’t want to look like some pathetic ex-girlfriend and I’d heard he’d gone out on a date with Sarah Ollerman last Wednesday, and if he was seeing her, I didn’t want to look like I was trying to break them up. I mean, I don’t like Sarah or anything, but I’m not a… you know, I’m not that.

And then I get this text message from Michael. Like, how freaky is that? “Tonight. 10:30. I’m doing it.” And I’m sitting there thinking, “okay does he see me sitting out here in my car?” And I’m kind of freaking out, and then I get another text message from him, and it’s like, “Hey. Sorry. Last one wasn’t meant for you.”

And I just sort of sit there for a bit, waiting for another one. You know, like maybe he’s going to ask me how I’m doing. Because we hadn’t really spoken or seen each other or even like, commented on each other’s Facebook stuff since we broke up. And I thought… I don’t know. Maybe he’d want to know how I am.

I waited.

He didn’t send another text message.

So, I finally settled all that crap about family night with my mom and I get to my phone and I see that Eric has texted me, too.

I read Michael’s: “Tonight. 10:30. I’m doing it.”

I read Eric’s: “You should check on Michael. He seems weird.”

And it’s strange, because I don’t really know how I knew, but the second I read Eric’s text message I knew exactly what Michael was going to do at 10:30. And honestly, it seems completely crazy that my mind would go there right away, as if that was the only obvious answer to the question, but it did.

And it freaked me out.

So, I texted Eric back and said, “Has he called you?”

Sarah texts me back and asks if he’s called me. I text her back and say, “No. But you should call him.”

It’s not that I don’t like her. I do. But I don’t see why they’re together. You know, I sort of understood why he was with Becca, because she has her life together and all that. But this girl… I don’t know. She just seems…

Like you know when two people are just enough alike that they make the worst parts of how they’re alike worse? Yeah, that’s this girl and Michael.

I texted Michael. “Call me.” I waited. Nothing.

I called Michael. He didn’t answer. I called him again. He didn’t answer.

I called Eric.

I let it ring.

I called Michael again and this time I left a message. “Hey. It’s me. Call me. I… you’re not doing the thing we talked about on Wednesday, are you?

Nothing for a few minutes. Then a text message from Michael: “Yes.”

I guess I just fell asleep. I wasn’t really sitting there building up the courage to talk to him anymore. I just… didn’t want to go home. So I guess I just dozed off or something, and I guess, I don’t know, forty-five minutes go by and all of a sudden I wake up – not from anything, just wake up all of a sudden – and there’s Michael standing outside my car, looking at me.

I totally freaked out. I mean, like, I screamed and I jumped, and my heart was pounding. (Because like you seriously don’t want to wake up in your car in the middle of the street in the middle of the evening with some person standing outside your driver’s side window.) And he just stands there with this little smirk on his face. And I am horrified. Totally embarrassed. And he motions for me to roll down my window. And I do. And he says, “Can you drive me somewhere?”

He had his backpack, and I was like, “I’m not driving you to Sarah Ollerman’s house, if that’s where you need to go, because that would be really rude of you to ask.” And he says, ‘No, that’s not where I’m going. She’s meeting me someplace.” And I’m like, “Oh so you want me to drive you to meet your new girlfriend, now? Is that what we’re doing?” And he’s like, “I’m not going to meet her. She’ll just be there, I think. And you’re the one sitting outside my house in your car.”


So, I ask him, “What are you doing anyway?” And he gets this really weird look on his face. “If I tell you, you won’t drive me.” And I’m like, “Okay, well honestly Michael, that makes me not want to drive you wherever your going either.” And he’s like, “It’s nothing bad. You just won’t believe in it.”

Believe in it?

So it’s like 10 o’clock, and I think my parents are in bed, or at least they’re in their room upstairs so they won’t be a problem. And I sneak out and head toward Michael’s house.

On the way, I text Eric: “If he comes to your house, make sure you don’t let him leave.”

Sarah texts me this totally weird dramatic text, and I’m like, “Oh God. Now I’m going to be stuck in the middle of some ridiculous crap with Michael and this new girl.” I mean, Becca was uptight and whatever, but she wasn’t drama, you know?

I didn’t text Sarah back.

So I tell Michael, “No, I’m not bringing you wherever you’re going. And you know what, you could have like, asked how I was when you texted me earlier. Like, cared about how I was doing. I have the ACT tomorrow. You know? Like, I’m really nervous and you just want me to drive you someplace? And…”

And he walked off. Like. I’m not kidding. Just, in the middle of my sentence, he just… walked off.

Who does that?

It was like, 10:15 and I got to Michael’s house and Becca is sitting in her car across the street, crying. Which is totally weird because she’s his ex-girlfriend and everything. And she looks up and we make eye contact and there’s this second or whatever, and then she starts crying harder.

Like, seriously? Okay, so fine, universe. You want to make me feel completely miserable? Fine. You win. This girl shows up and sees me across the street from my ex-boyfriend’s house. Crying. Thank you, universe. Thank. You.

I go over to her.

She comes over to me. Great…

“Can you drive me someplace?”


“Michael’s in trouble.”

This girl is like… the kind of girl you’re pretty sure isn’t a virgin anymore. And you’re pretty sure she hasn’t been one in like… a while. And she’s always telling people these ridiculous stories about her life, you know, like she supposedly has this awful home life, but her dad’s like a pastor and her mom teaches first grade and they live in this beautiful house. I mean… beautiful. And she acts like she grew up on the means streets of somewhere, you know.

But like, when she said to me that Michael was in trouble… I’ve never believed this girl in my whole life and right then, I was like, “Oh man. Michael’s in trouble.”

So I don’t hear anything for a while. And it’s like, 10:20. So, I text Michael again: “Yo. Whassup?” And within twenty seconds, he calls me.

“You there yet?”


“You know where.”

“Uh… no, dude, I don’t.”

“That’s too bad. I won’t get to say goodbye.”

“Oh yeah? Where you going?”

“In person anyway. I’d rather it in person. Bye, Eric.”

And he just hung up. That was it.

I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about.

The drive was awkward.

Ohmygod. So awkward.

We didn’t talk.

She only said anything when she was giving directions.

“Left on Blue Dock.”

I wanted to ask her.

Please don’t ask. Please don’t ask.

I didn’t.

“When you get to the gas station on Plymouth take a right.”

Michael moves downstage center. He takes his backpack off, sets it on the ground. From it he produces a binder overflowing with drawings – the drawings Becca spoke of earlier.

He also produces a flashlight. He studies the drawings on the ground.

I feel kind of stupid, because I should have figured it out right then. But you know… I didn’t. Like, I didn’t…

Had we talked about it? Yeah. Of course we did. We talked about it. But like we also talked about the possibilities of time travel as they related to how we’d make sure that Mr. Porotoli wouldn’t decide to be a teacher so he wouldn’t be teaching us English so he wouldn’t bore us to death. I mean, it was never serious or anything. Never. For me anyway. It’s like, we’d watch “Dr. Who” or whatever crap they were playing on SyFy and we’d talk about weird crap and it was just… how we were friends.


It was never something we meant for real.

So there’s this old parking tower downtown that’s about to get torn down. They’re going to replace it with a office tower or something because they built a bigger parking tower in another part of downtown. But whatever. That’s where she drives me to. This old parking tower. And this is like… not the good section of downtown either. This is the part of town people left to move to other parts.

I got out of the car and looked up to the top level and saw a flashlight.

I didn’t see any light up there

So I ran…

So she just took off…

Up the stairs…

I wasn’t running after her. Are you kidding?

Hurry hurry hurry hurry

I locked the doors. This was a bad section of town.

I got to the roof and there he was, across the tower, sitting on the ground with all of his drawings all around him.

He looked up and saw me.

Michael looks up and sees Sarah. This is the first time two characters in the play actually speak to each other.

You came.


I’m going through one.

Let’s go home.

I’ve been working on this for months. Remember I showed you last week.


I’ve done all this math I didn’t even think I could do and I read everything I could find on the Internet, and I’ve found one. I’m going through it. Tonight. It’s going to be open soon.

Then like all of a sudden there was this like.. rumble of thunder.

See? It’s coming.

I want you to come home with me.

Not tonight, Sarah. When I get back.

I checked the weather on my phone real fast. There wasn’t supposed to be rain or anything.

Thunder rumbles. Michael stands, goes to Sarah.

I won’t be gone long. They open all the time. I’ll be back.

He kisses her. Then he turns and with breakneck speed runs into the darkness at the back of the theater.

Sarah spins to us and tells us what she sees.

All of a sudden, he’s sprinting across the roof of the parking tower, and I’m yelling after him, “Michael! Michael! Stop!” But he doesn’t stop. He just keeps going until he reaches the other end of the tower. And it’s weird, because I don’t ever remember him being so agile like this, he took one big jump up on the railing – the big cement railing that was the edge of the tower – and he stood on it for a second, then with a laugh he just… jumped. Off into space.

And I screamed. I just… screamed. You know. What else could you do in that moment? But I’m screaming and I’m waiting to see him fall…

But he doesn’t.

He doesn’t fall. He hangs there in the air, like someone’s got him on a string or something. And he dangles there and he starts to turn a little, like someone was spinning the string he’s hanging from, and he turns and he catches my eye as his head turns to face me and I hear him yelling from across the tower:

MICHAEL (in the darkness, we do not see him)
See? I told you!

And then all of a sudden there was a pop and a flash and he was gone. Just…


A long silence. The three of them soak this in.

So, like we never talk about what happened.

Would you want to talk about it?

We see each other and school and stuff. And even through all the memorials and the funeral and whatever, we didn’t talk to each other.

Would you? I don’t even want to think about it.

I don’t feel guilty.

Who does that?

I mean, I couldn’t really know what he was planning to do.

Who invites his friends to watch him jump off a parking tower?

When he told me he wanted to find some way out of this place, I thought it was just… you know… talk.

Sarah moves to the binder and the drawings. She sits with them.

Anything you can imagine must exist somewhere in the universe.

So this is what I imagine.

I imagine him hanging in the air, suspended by some thread I cannot see. I imagine him spinning to see me. I imagine the pop and the flash of light. I imagine him disappearing into the drawings he left on the ground.

I imagine him somewhere other than where he is.

If I imagine it, it must exist, right?


We hear the echo of Michael’s laughter, faint.


Cody Daigle is a playwright and actor living in south Louisiana. His plays have been seen Off Off Broadway (Providence, A Home Across the Ocean) and regionally (Guernica, William and Judith, Grand Pre). He’s a member of the Dramatists Guild and a company playwright of MTWorks in NYC. His upcoming projects include a newly-commissioned stage adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s “Wolves in the Wall.”

“Pico” by Ron Pullins


Pico Sprite, 16-25. Either sex. Any gender.
Moss Male or Female, 30-60, bartender.
Bum 1 Male or Female, 20-50
Bum 2 Male or Female, 20-50

With all characters in this one act, I am happy to have them non gender specific, etc. Bending gender, race, sexual orientation, etc., can only enhance the core, and I would be happy to modify any gender references.

Setting: Moss’s bar
Time: Present


Even if it is a play within this play, someone comes, something happens. Doesn’t it? Still, it was funny, even if we have heard it all before.

Commedia del’arte and a miracle play in a form Pinter might have imagined.

Setting: MOSS’S Bar.
On Rise: BUM 1 and BUM 2 sit at the bar which MOSS wipes.

You think he’s coming?

He ain’t coming. I never thought he’d come. He’s done here.

He’s late.

If he’s not coming, he’s not late. He’s just not coming.

You want another beer or you two gonna nurse what you got?

I’m thinking about another…

All you’re doing is polishing my stools.

…but I gotta pace myself.

You don’t go nowhere but here. You don’t do nothing but sit.

Things happen. Tell him.

Nothing’s gonna happen that ain’t already happened.

(A shadow passes across the stage.)
That him?

Can’t be. He ain’t coming. I told you.

He’s coming. I know. He comes every day. Why wouldn’t he come today?

He ain’t coming.

You know something?

I know he ain’t coming.

How about you? You want another beer?

I ain’t finished this one.

Neither of you ever finish. The beer just gets old.

I get used to it.

And warm.

I like it warm. European.

…and flat as warm piss.

And just as good. Just as good.

(Enter PICO on something mobile, full of energy)


This is Moss’s.


He’s Moss.

I’m Moss.

Where do I set up.

Set up what? Who are you?

I’m the show. I’m the entertainment. This is Moss’s.

This is Moss’s.

You Moss?

I’m Moss.

Here. (To BUMS) Put these posters up. You get up off that stool, now, you hear, and help me. Things are changing. I need help.

I didn’t order entertainment.

I’m here. Would I be here if someone hadn’t ordered entertainment. This is Moss’s?

This is Moss’s.

You Moss?

He’s Moss.

I’m Moss.

Then I’m at the right place, for sure. Get your helpers to do some helping. We got to set up.

We ain’t helpers. We’re customers.

I can see that. I know that. You don’t think I know that?

What you got in that there wagon?

That’s the show. It’s a miracle show. That. That’s a relic. Every miracle show has a relic, and these are the relics. And I’m the miracle. At your service.

You order a miracle?

I ain’t ordered a miracle.

This is Moss’s.

This is Moss’s.

You’re Moss?

He’s Moss

I’m Moss.

Help me lift this thing. All of us together ought to get this thing set up.

What’s that?

What’s what?

That thing.

This thing?

That thing. What is it?

That’s part of the show.

Part of what show?

That’s the miracle. There’s no show if there are just parts. You either got a show or you just got parts. These are the parts. It’s like a wheel. A wheel is not a cart. It’s just a part.

You can’t do that here. Anyway, we’ve seen all this before.

(BUMS put up a couple of posters,)

It’s new every show. Every show’s a miracle. Help me set up. There’s no show if there’s no place for a show. You, hang this thing up.

That part of the show, too?

You never seen a show? These are posters. They get the audience. It’s not a show if there’s no audience.


You ever seen a show that didn’t have an audience?


Of course not. You wouldn’t see it unless there was an audience because you are the audience, or you’re nothing at all. Now. Ready. Lights.

(Lights shift to spot on PICO. He stands on the wagon-stage, and uses his puppets to deliver his play.)

And then one day, and it was a sunny day, the man came down the lane, and he saw the woe-man, and he said, “Hello, woe-man,” and she said, “Get out of my way,” and he said, “What’s that all about?” and she said, “Things are gonna change around here,” and he said, “I’ll give you change, four quarters for a dollar,” and she said, “I’ll show you change,” and she socked him in the eye, and he fell down, and he died, and they all lived happily ever after.

(as PICO waits for applause, then applauds himself)

I don’t get it.

It’s a fairy tale. Things change. Then they all lived happily ever after.

(PICO waits for applause again, and then applauds himself)

I still don’t get it.

You think he’s really dead?

He’s not a he. He’s a puppet.

If he died, how can you say they lived happily ever after?

(Long pause)

I think I’ll have another beer.

Me, too. (To PICO) You want a beer?

I got to go. I’ve got another engagement across the river. A paying engagement. I hope you enjoyed the show.

(PICO packs up, takes down posters, covers the puppets in his wagon, gets back on his tricycle, and pedals off.)

Who was that?

Who is that! Who do you think?

Maybe that was him.

He wouldn’t do puppet shows.

If that was him, he’s gone.

If that was him, he’s not what I expected. If that was him, then, it’s like he never came.

Seems very quiet now.

Too quiet. Like something might happen.

More quiet than before.

It was pretty quiet then.

(pause) But it’s quieter now than before.

No. It’s just as quiet, but not any quieter.

I wonder if that was him. That mask was confusing.

Don’t be a fool about these things. (To MOSS) I’ll have another beer.

So soon?

This one got old.

Me, too. And put a head on it.


What’s so funny?

He said, things are gonna change around here.

Yeah, and she said, “I’ll show you change, four quarters for a dollar.”

Yeah. And she socked him in the eye. That’s funny.

Yeah, funny, like I never heard that one before.


Ron Pullins is a playwright and publisher living in Newburyport, MA, with his playwrighting partner, Leslie Powell. He has written or co-written with Leslie a dozen plays of various lengths that have been read, performed and produced around the country. His company, Focus Publishing, publishes college textbooks in Classical and modern languages, many of which employ feature films in language acquisition, as well as editions of Shakespeare, philosophy and books on theater.

“Of Harbingers, Of Malcontents: An Opera” by Michael Tesney

Act 9 Scene I


The skull of a rat. Above the eye cavities on either side are two small boxes one black and one yellow. The skull itself is to be painted with yellow and black stripes running vertically from the center to the outside.

Enter Red Balloon (bouncing, as it hits parts of the stage it leaves a slimy black residue).

Balloon bounces around the skull seven times before finally disappearing into its left eye socket, as it disappears Handle’s Messiah, (played on five kazoos, washtub bass, tambourine, banjo and a toaster) begins to emanate from the right eye socket.

Enter a Dead Salmon (fillet).

Fillet #1: I used to be a king fish but now with the way things are, I would be happy to just be whole again.

Fillet #2: Beans! I wish I were a halibut, that way I would be a crispy stick in some child’s hand! That is happiness.

Fillet #1: Always fighting to be something else. Why can you not accept the state of things? CHALLENGE!!

They step six paces away from each other, compose their posture and charge one another in a duel, using their bodies as swords.

As they begin to fight the balloon peeks out of the giant skull.

Balloon (From inside the skull): You can’t duel without a witness! The law won’t stand for it!

Fillet #1 (still fighting fiercely): What is the law to a half dead fish!

Enter rusty green wheelbarrow filled with ping pong balls.

The balloon sees the wheelbarrow of ping-pong balls and hops down from the skull to the dueling ground below. Once he is on the field the fish stop fighting and they all begin to sing, and dance in a chorus line.

Fillet (whole, i.e both) and Balloon (in unison, with the Balloon trailing slightly behind):
I’d like to see the sea
Of that my dead decree
Of what once was whole and sure
Bow to the Bow the whore is pure.

If the Cadillac did whack
Why’d Mc’Gill get the sack
When all the sorry strikebreakers came
to torture all the  minors lame.

They all laugh and jump in the wheelbarrow sending the ping-pong balls all over.

The wheel-barrow begins to circle the stage in figure eights. As it does so the two boxes above the eye cavities begin to turn into Jars of Marmalade. The wheelbarrow should go around  the stage until the boxes have fully transformed.

Lights down.

Act 89 scene 0


A graveyard of incandescent wheelbarrows and Lincoln Logs.

Enter an electron cloud.

Electron Cloud (talking to itself):
a. You there!
b. What me?
c. Or me?
d. All of you.
e. You mean all of I.
f. Where are we?
g. When are we.
h. How are we?
i. Fine.
(In Unison)    j. Fine.
k. Fine.
l. Where is the nucleus?
m. Along the bathwater again.
n. When?
o. From long ago.
p. Death, Death from long ago.

Enter Einstein’s skeleton (it still has his hair).

Skeleton (to the electron cloud): Why are you behaving this way?

Electron cloud # N: Cold fusion is true! Ham and cheese! Bittleyfor! You need a degree of heat in your arse!

Skeleton: Bold of heat your wit lacking, my my little feather (pointing to Lincoln Logs that are protruding from the ground) aren’t they the perfect picture of prefecture!

Electron cloud #B: Only when that was in nothingness (pause) only neutrinos have their pie!

Skeleton: Of boob and book ask me not, lets you and I smoke some pot!

Skeleton pulls a tin pot from his jaw, lights it on fire and dances around in the smoke.

Electron cloud #P: The intellectual has gruel for brains, (to all electrons) let us away from here.

Electron Cloud #C: The walls of space are curved indeed.
too bad the human foot is flat.

Electron Cloud #F: A war, a war! Lets start a war!!!

A tortoise shell falls from the sky and crashes down on the Skeleton causing it to break into many, many pieces.

Electron cloud #A: Must have been an Eagle mistaking him for a rock. It always happens to the best of them.

The Electron cloud begins to sing “Amazing Grace” in ragtime style. Once the song is over the graveyard bursts into flames.

Act 56, 748 scene 8


The vacuum of space, deep in the Alpha Quadrant.

The stars go up lighting the playing area.

Enter One Hundred Billion Neutrinos (they speed quickly through).

There is a bright flash as the Universe inverts itself.

Enter One Hundred Billion Trillion Neutrinos (heading the opposite direction as the previous).

The Universe explodes.

Enter God.

God: What is going on! I demand to know!

Enter One Hundred Thousand Billion Trillion Neutrinos.

God (To the Neutrinos): You there, stop!

Neutrino # 684,232,323,343,345,762,234: No time man, no time, can’t you see we’re in a hurry?

God: Where are you going?

Neutrino #283,346,768,232: When are we going is the question?

God: What do you mean, when?

Neutrino# 2: We can escape this pathetic vacuum called time.

God: So, what’s your point?

All the Neutrinos laugh

God: What are you laughing at?

Neutrino # 443: Beings!

God: I did not fit you into my calculations, therefore you do not exist!

Neutrino #234: Eat it!

All Neutrinos exit leaving God alone in the center of the universe

God begins to get angry and implodes.

Lights, not existing anymore, go down.

Act #E , section for act 46.25 ½


The corner of that Tuesday when we fucked for the first time.

The sun and moon, together light the stage.

Enter a thought, Black along with three strings (one red wool, one orange leather, one white steel).

Black Thought: The holocaust of time is a farcical romp of utter stupidity!

Orange Leather String: Leave it to you to mock the existence of light. It is truly that which keeps us separate from the starving class.

White Steel: The Dung is what keeps me fresh, the banality of pleasantness, enemy to our dark friends.

Red Wool: I came once from a lamb. No I am afraid I don’t know the answer to that question.

Black Thought: Words are meaningless, leave them to they which have lost the desire for actions

Enter a Punctured left testicle, with its entrails lagging behind.

Black Thought: I’d never thought I’d see the day when mans best friends get treated
this way.  (pause, then to testicle) What happened?


The red wool and white steel begin to braid themselves.

Orange Leather: That’s not very nice. Can’t you see we have an injury?

Black Thought: Destruction of mass it what created the little ones, it’s amazing how fast  they go, I hate that it is they who can escape this prison but not I.

Testicle (Gathering his entrails): The wish is what I would give if I had it.

Fusion clouds begin to form above.

From somewhere in the distance we hear a grand piano drop from the sky onto a pyramid of glass and pumperknickle stilettos.

Staplers begin to rain down from the Fusion Clouds.

The Testicle picks one up and seals his wound.

The Black Thought dissipates as the Red Wool and White Steel begins to ejaculate on the floor.

Once together again the Testicle divides like a cell forming another identical unit. They stand together and chant.

Testicles (In unison):

A small penis begins to form


The penis grows larger


It is now normal size.

They all three exit together.

The sun cums, and drifts off to sleep, dissatisfied. The moon fades out.

Act 349 scene –2


A rusted metal oak tree in the center of a forest grove late on a dark winter night. A full moon lights the playing area.

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (played on 1,000 harmonicas, in double-time) begins.

Enter a Babblefish and a raccoon (blind in one eye) dancing.

They dance to the music around the tree, as they dance they speak.

Raccoon: In this where is the loss?

Babblefish: The loss is in the making my dear.

Raccoon: But what of the others? How should they know the Glory we share?

Babblefish: The shit that we leave in our place when we pass, its strong odor will give some clue as to the depth of our love.

Raccoon: When I look into your scales I see myself, content with the world.

Babblefish: When I look into you empty brown eye I see a water paradise.

They kiss.

Enter a Bear, on a unicycle unnoticed by the two.

They continue to dance cooing and cawing to one another.

The bear leaps up into the air and stops above their heads.

They look up at the Bear but mistake him for the moon.

The bear opens his mouth and sucks them into his great big belly.

The music shifts to the Star Spangled Banner sung by 7 1990 Macintosh Laptops, a capella.

As the Star Spangled Banner is sung the bear rides the unicycle in figure eights while in salute to an invisible flag.

Enter a fifty-foot penguin with a tattoo of a fifty foot penguin on his forehead.

The penguin sees the bear and eats him, then crushes the laptops.

The penguin begins to pull caviar from its eyes and places it in little pools across the limbs of the tree.

The Moon
causing the rivers to rise a
nd flood the earth,

Darkening it.

Act 429.bc
Scene III


The pages of history

Enter Rome, Burning, she is carrying the nose of the sphinx, laughing hysterically.

(400 hundred blenders filled with small jade stones shaped like the Buddha begin to hum “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”)

Rome drops the nose of the sphinx

(The 400 blenders filled with jade Buddha’s now begin to sing the same song)

Rome, still in flames, clutches her belly and dies.

Enter Axiom (stage left)

As Axiom crosses the stage it sees Rome dead and still burning. The Axiom approaches her, picks up the sphinx’s nose and holds it high above its head.

As the Axiom holds the nose as high as it can the Blenders stop singing.

Enter 2 Angles (One 90 degree, the other 45 degrees).

The angles see the Axiom and attack it.

The Axiom tries to fight them off with the nose of the sphinx.

(The 400 blenders filled with Jade begin to hum Carmena Burrinna).

They fight for about five minutes as the song reaches it crescendo the Angles overtake the Axiom causing it to drop  the nose of the sphinx, which falls off to the side.

(The 400 blenders filled with jade Buddha’s begin to strum out a New Orleans Death March)

The fight of the Angles and Axiom mutates the combatants into an eight-dimensional sphere which rolls around the stage seven times, then on its last lap around disappears into the left nostril of the sphinx.

Enter two t-bone steaks (from opposite side of the stage).

As they enter they approach the nose of the sphinx and stare at each other from either side.

Re-enter the eight dimensional sphere, from the opposite nostril it disappeared into.

The eight-dimensional Sphere begins to circle around the nose as well as the t-bone steaks.

(The 400 blenders filled with jade begin to play “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies”)

The t-bones begin to dance
a tango as the glory that
once was Rome

-Fades to Black-

Michael Tesney is an associate editor at Steel Toe Review. He helps us out with a lot of random things such as graphic design and fielding drama submissions. He is also a playwright and the former director of Greencup Books.