Monday, August 28, 2006

read this play

This is a very short play that may seem long since it's on a blog, but I think you'll enjoy reading it. It was written for a site-specific project as part of a playwrights workshop at New Dramatists. The assignment (devised by someone brilliant) was to choose a site within or around the New Dramatists building as the setting for a short play in which there will be: a dance; a kiss; one minute of silence; some aspect of New Dramatists folklore; and a classic play will be discussed. I performed it as a one-man show, standing in a bathroom stall.


The Future of The Tra-Tra-Tra
a play by Larry Kunofsky

(It is the future.)

(Everyone has a visor on their head which is plugged into
their brain in order for thoughts to be controlled. Everyone
has a colostomy bag so no one has to go to the bathroom.)

(The scene is the sketchy men’s room of New Dramatists. )

(The men’s room is all that will remain of New Dramatists in the future.)

(The rest of the building has been destroyed by the endless fires that
rage in Hell’s Kitchen.)

(A TEACHER presides over many students in the men’s room.)

STUDENT 1
I’m sorry I’m late, is this Dead Things?

TEACHER
Yes, this is Dead Things. Attention everyone: This is Dead Things. If you are not here for Dead Things, you do not belong. Very well. I will begin. Welcome to Dead Things. We are in a dead room in a dead neighborhood in a dead city. The city was known as New York.

STUDENT 2
My uncle lives in New York.

TEACHER
Your uncle probably lives in New-New York. No one lives in Old-New York because nearly all of Old-New York is on fire and has been on fire since the early twenty-first century, so your uncle could not live there. This neighborhood was known as Hell’s Kitchen.

STUDENT 1
Did people call it Hell’s Kitchen because everything is on fire?

TEACHER
Everything was not on fire when it was called Hell’s Kitchen, so no.

STUDENT 2 (As if in a reverie.)
Is that what is known as irony?

TEACHER
Is what what is known as irony. And what is irony?

STUDENT 2 (Snapping out of the reverie.)
I don’t know.

(The TEACHER slaps everyone on their visor.)

TEACHER
Disregard! Disregard! Disregard! That brings up an interesting point. Often, when one is among Dead Things, one remembers things that are dead. If you remember something and you don’t know where it comes from, it is probably a dead thing and therefore, please disregard this phenomenon. Remember, we are here to learn things so that we don’t need to remember it anymore. Now where was I. Oh yes. This room was once known as New Dramatists.

STUDENT 2
Is this what was known as a bathroom?

TEACHER
No, this was known as New Dramatists, were you not just listening? And what was a bathroom? Nobody knows. I am the teacher, so if I don’t know what something is, it is not important.

STUDENT 1
Was New Dramatists important?

TEACHER
No. But it is the only thing left. Now. New Dramatists was a place for people known as Plague-Writes. A Plague-Write was someone who had wrought plagues. A Plague-Wright worked exclusively in The Tra-tra-tra. There are no Plague-Writes left and the Tra-tra-tra is dead. Which is why we’re talking about this here in Dead Things.

STUDENT 1
Why did The Tra-tra-tra die?

TEACHER
The Tra-tra-tra was always dying for as long as it had been alive, which was a very long time. It was like the fires outside that are always burning but never go out. But then the Cultural Efficiency Committee made sure that The Tra-tra-tra finally did die, which was very merciful, since The Tra-tra-tra was always dying and The Tra-tra-tra needed to be euthanized. It is good that people no longer waste their time on The Tra-tra-tra. Every one who supported themselves as temps and waiters while they worked in The Tra-tra-tra just became only waiters and only temps which was very good. And yet. And yet. And yet. The Tra-tra-tra must be remembered so that it can be forgotten.

STUDENT 2 (Reverie.)
August Wilson used to live here in the dorm. He took showers in that sketchy little shower over there.

TEACHER
“August Wilson?” “Dorm?” “Showers?” What means this?

STUDENT 2 (Snapping out of reverie.)
I don’t know.

(TEACHER slaps them all again.)

TEACHER
Disregard! Disregard! Disregard!

(Enter LARRY KUNOFSKY, A PLAYWRIGHT WHO IS VERY UPSET.
He has to go to the bathroom very badly.)

LARRY KUNOFSKY, A PLAYWRIGHT WHO IS VERY UPSET
Uhm. Excuse me. Could. Uhm. Could some of you. Like. Get out of the way? Please?

TEACHER
Are you here for Dead Things?

LARRY KUNOFSKY, A PLAYWRIGHT WHO IS VERY UPSET
Uh. I’m here to go to the bathroom.

TEACHER
If you are not here for Dead Things, you do not belong.

LARRY KUNOFSKY, A PLAYWRIGHT WHO IS VERY UPSET
I don’t know what Dead Things is. Is that a reading? Are you wearing costumes for a reading? Who’s directing this reading?

STUDENT 1
Where is your visor? Where is your colostomy bag?

LARRY KUNOFSKY, A PLAYWRIGHT WHO IS VERY UPSET
Uh, I’m not in your reading. Which may explain why I don;’t have a costume. I’m just here to go to the bathroom. I don’t know why you all need to rehearse in the bathroom, but that’s your business.

STUDENT 2
He has no visor. He has no colostomy bag. He has not been Improved. He must have come here from The Continuum.

LARRY KUNOFSKY, A PLAYWRIGHT WHO IS VERY UPSET
Actually, I took The C to get here. Is The Continuum the new Williamsburg hipster way to talk about The C? I usually walk here, but it was really cold out and I couldn’t help notice that everything was on fire so I took The C.

TEACHER
This creature was probably always wandering around because he is Un-Improved and had to constantly use New Dramatists when he had to relieve his baser needs.

LARRY KUNOFSKY, A PLAYWRIGHT WHO IS VERY UPSET
Okay, your euphemisms are freaking me out, okay? I mean, good for you for Staying In Character or whatever but I really just want to go to the bathroom. Actually I HAVE to go to the bathroom. And the fact that none of you are letting me go to the bathroom makes me very upset.

STUDENT 1
Are you a Plague-Write?

LARRY KUNOFSKY, A PLAYWRIGHT WHO IS VERY UPSET
Have I mentioned that I have to go to the bathroom? And that you’re preventing me from going to the bathroom?

STUDENT 2
Have you wrought plagues?

LARRY KUNOFSKY, A PLAYWRIGHT WHO IS VERY UPSET
That sounds a little Passover Seder Night to me. Is this a religious play you’re having a reading of?

TEACHER
We shall observe this creature from the Continuum, for he is part of Dead Things.

LARRY KUNOFSKY, A PLAYWRIGHT WHO IS VERY UPSET
I keep telling you that I’m not part of your reading and I can’t be observed because if you’re all observing me I can’t go to the bathroom and I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this lately but I really have to go to the bathroom.

TEACHER
The Continuum is often releasing wandering creatures.

(We hear whistling from offstage. )
(Enter AUGUST WILSON)
(He is dressed in a bathrobe and
a hat, whistling a tune.)
(He takes a shower in the sketchy shower
in the sketchy men’s room in New Dramatists. )
(Everybody watches him for a full minute.)

LARRY KUNOFSKY, A PLAYWRIGHT WHO IS VERY UPSET
Dude. Is that August Wilson taking a shower? That is unsettling on at least three different levels.

TEACHER
Creature. Were you part of The Tra-tra-tra?

(LARRY KUNOFSKY, A PLAYWRIGHT WHO IS VERY UPSET
now has to go to the bathroom so very badly that he is doing a dance.)

LARRY KUNOFSKY, A PLAYWRIGHT WHO IS VERY UPSET
Y’know, you people are jerks! I mean, look at me! I’m doing a dance here! I’m doing a bladder-dance! Why are you making me do a Bladder-Dance?! Why don’t you just rehearse your reading somewhere else for two minutes and let me go to the bathroom?!

STUDENT 1
After you return from The Continuum, will you lament the inevitable death of The Tra-Tra-Tra, after you can no longer be a Plague-Write, and will you still return to New Dramatists after you become Improved and after everything will be on fire?

LARRY KUNOFSKY, A PLAYWRIGHT WHO IS VERY UPSET
Do you guys wanna know a secret? I’m really tired of all this bullshit with the readings and the rehearsing and everything. It’s like that scene in The Importance of Being Earnest, where Algernon’s all like, Yo, Jack, you wanna go to a museum? And Jack’s all like, I don’t wanna look at things! And Algernon’s all like, So you wanna go to the opera? And Jack’s all like, I don’t wanna have to listen to things! And Algernon’s all like, So you wanna go to a salon or something, and Jack’s all like I hate having to like talk to people! And the secret is I’m that way. But if I give up seeing things, and listening to things, and talking to people, what am I gonna do, stay home? It used to be different when I had places to go in this city but I don’t know what’s happening to this city anymore and this is where I go, and every time I’m here I have to go to the bathroom like every five minutes, but now you haven’t let me go to the bathroom for five minutes so I kind of wished I did stay home.

TEACHER
Creature! Do not resist the inevitable death of The Tra-tra-tra. Abandon the plagues you have wrought and work full-time at your temp-job, for that is more efficient and become Improved so that you will not waste time going to the bathroom, which is a phenomenon which may not have existed anyway, since records of such a phenomenon are sketchy at best.

LARRY KUNOFSKY, A PLAYWRIGHT WHO IS VERY UPSET
Okay, you know what, I don’t know who wrote this Logan’s Run, Run Away, Soylent Green Is People play you guys are rehearsing, but it really sucks. I’m gonna go outside and “Put Out A Fire,” if you know what I mean. So tell everyone in the future for me: Don’t Take Any Wooden Nickels.

TEACHER
No one in the future will know what that means.

LARRY KUNOFSKY, A PLAYWRIGHT WHO IS VERY UPSET
Then that puts me a nickel ahead.

(LARRY KUNOFSKY, A PLAYWRIGHT WHO IS VERY UPSET, exits.)

TEACHER
That was a bad example of a Plague-Write. He probably had only a marginal or obscure or nominal or peripheral relation to The Tra-Tra-Tra. And was probably concerned only with baser needs.

(Suddenly, another reverie, more powerful than the others had been.)
TEACHER (Cont.)
And yet. And yet. And yet. His futile attempts are somehow, in my feelings, touching.

(TEACHER blows a kiss to LARRY KUNOFSKY,
A PLAYWRIGHT WHO IS VERY UPSET in absentia.)

STUDENT 2
“Feelings?” “Touching?” This?:

(STUDENT 2 mimics the gesture of blowing a kiss.)

STUDENT 2 (Cont.)
What means this?

(TEACHER snaps out of the reverie, not without sadness.)

TEACHER
I don’t know. Disregard.

(THE END.)

6 Comments:

Blogger kris marie said...

this play makes me laugh and laugh! Good morning indeed.

6:15 AM  
Blogger Larry Kunofsky said...

Sucks, Kris Marie!

YUou're all right.
l

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Larry! I was trying to contact you re: auditions but i don't know where you are and your old number doesn't work and its all very sad. But anyway, if by any weird chance you see this is time call me 917-435-6841. I am so embarrassed to post this cause I should say things like:

OMG cool ass blog ALL RIGHT MAN ur Cray-z Fun-e.

Your old friend, Amy Staats

9:12 AM  
Blogger Emma said...

Larry, I couldn't believe you have a blog, was very excited to read your play, and am sad only that this project seems to have gone by the wayside. Hope you're well...

7:14 PM  
Anonymous sewa mobil said...

Nice article, thanks for the information.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Natalie said...

This made me giggle out loud. Congratulations.

11:52 AM  

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