UnScripts:Your Guide to Notable Literature: Abridged
[The lights come up on the stage. The stage is completely bare of any set whatsoever. From stage right Tess and Alec enter. During the following dialogue between them, Alec is feeling up Tess by way of rubbing her arms and legs, smelling her hair and licking her face.]
Tess: (continuing a conversation) …and then my horse died and out of the guilt over his death I was convinced to come over to you, my relatives, however distant you actually are, to try and obtain some money to get a new one. My father will most likely squander it away on alcohol anyway so I suppose it doesn’t matter but I’ll go through the motions anyway.
Alec: (romantically) I must speak my mind Tess. I have a burning passion in my loins to throw you to the ground at this very moment and rape the hope for a better life out of you.
Tess: (matter-of-factly) Oh Alec, I really am in no mood for your romantic advances today. I have a headache.
Alec: I want to lie on top of you and thrust hard and fast while you scream helplessly in vain.
Tess: Sometimes your courting is very unwanted Alec. I really am not in the mood for it today.
Alec: I want to paint my penis like a strawberry and feed you it.
Tess: Perhaps after your mother gives me some money for my family so we don’t have to live in poverty anymore.
Alec: Oh God Tess! Let me take you!
Tess: I don’t believe in God Alec. I don’t believe in anything. I’m prudish, proud and controversial. Oh my blighted stars was anyone as hated by God as I? Besides Sylvia Plath of course.
Alec: What can I do to make you love me Tess?
Tess: I don’t love anything Alec, I’m far too bitter. The only things that I find dear in this world are my family, my fragile hopes and my morbid depression. Oh my blighted stars I feel so guilty and burdened by everything in my life. I feel as if I’m a pagan symbol of some kind. Or some sort of Biblical allusion. Oh, you understand don’t you Alec?
Alec: Love me!
Tess: Maybe later. Oh look Alec! We have a guest in the garden!
[Enter Jay Gatsby, obviously looking for someone.]
Tess: It’s my secret lover Mr. Jay Gatsby! (calling to him) Oh Mr. Gatsby! I’m over here!
Gatsby: Oh! My darling!
[He rushes over to her and they share a long, if not slightly awkward, kiss and embrace, all the while Alec looks on in a mixture of shock that slowly becomes sexual arousal.]
Tess: (pulling away quickly) Oh! I’m sorry Alec. I’ve been meaning to tell you that I’ve been having a secret love affair with Mr. Gatsby here. He’s much less disturbing than you are, has no facial hair and dresses in symbolic colors.
Gatsby: Oh Daisy! My love! My dream! My American dream! Now we can be together forever!
Tess: He’s horribly deluded Alec. He keeps calling me Daisy. (as if speaking to a foreigner) My name is Tess, Mr. Gatsby. Tess!
Gatsby: Oh Daisy! You have a voice that’s full of money!
Tess: Use your words, not your metaphors. Besides that makes no sense Mr. Gatsby. My voice is filled with remorse, disparagement and agnosticism, not money.
Alec: You have deeply wounded me Tess.
Tess: Oh, I would get use to it. The hurt won’t be so metaphorical next time. I promise you that! (laughs gaily) Why don’t you go paint your penis for your mother. She’s always so entertained when you do that.
Alec: But she’s blind!
Tess: Yes I know, but she’s convinced that one of the chambermaids is teasing her with Vienna sausages. I’m sorry, I didn’t have the heart to tell her otherwise. Thank you for teaching me to whistle Alec, it’s a talent that I’m sure will prove symbolic later.
Alec: You horrible woman!
Tess: No, I’m just hated by God. There’s a difference.
Alec: (runs offstage crying loudly)
Tess: (calling after him) Good-bye Alec! I’ll be back later with vengeance and indignation! (laughs warmly) You mustn’t mind him Mr. Gatsby, he’s frightening, hated and allegorical.
Gatsby: Come Daisy, let’s go to my mansion and we can represent the sin and immoral behavior of The Jazz Age.
Tess: You really are so endearing Mr. Gatsby, even if you are hopelessly diluted and naive.
[They exit stage left, as they do Lucie Manette, looking lost but hopeful.]
Lucie: (with a voice to rival a Disney princess) Oh dear me! I cannot seem to find myself. Oh my, this is such a predicament! -she sits- Well, it’s all right. Whenever I’m sad, I like to sing songs! What song shall I sing? Oh, singing makes me think of my father Dr. Manette. Oh! He’s so misunderstood! (cries for a few seconds but recomposes herself in record time) Well, I might as well pass the time by making men fall in love with me and practicing being a perfect and ideal Victorian lady. (She reaches under her dress and pulls out a sewing needle and a golden thread. She says the following as one would say multiplication tables) My name is Lucie Manette. Yes sir! No sir! My dear! Good heavens! Of course my dear! Only in the missionary position! The queen! The queen! Think of the queen! La, la, la. Dear I’m pregnant with a child again. La, la, la. I’m so two dimensional and uninteresting! I embody compassion, love and virtue! Virtue, love and compassion. Love, compassion and virtue. Love, love, love. Compassion, compassion, compassion. Virtue, virtue, virtue. (half-singing, half humming) Jesus loves me this I know! For the Bible tells me so. La, la, la. There is a castle on a cloud, I like to go there in my sleep. Aren't any floors for me to sweep, Not in my castle on a cloud. (sings through the entire song of Castle on a Cloud and after she is finished, repeats the entire monologue as many times as necessary)
[Somewhere in this, Abigail and Alec walk onto the stage, their lines should overlap with Lucie but they should be the main focus. Lucie should continue to speaking to herself during this all until otherwise stated.]
Abigail: (continuing a conversation with Alec) …and that frigid bitch has him under her thumb! Oh, if only John Proctor and I could lust after each other like we did before he became all moral and shit. I can vividly recall when we were in the woods together and he would sweat like a stallion. Or no, no, the woods was with an actual stallion. John Proctor was behind the barn and he sweats like a red panda. I have to remember to stab that horse’s eyes out. I’m such a whorish, whorish girl. (she grabs Alec’s hands and places them on her breasts)
Alec: (hands still on her breasts) I hardly think so. You and I have so much in common.
Abigail: We do, don’t we. You’re so allegorical Alec. It’s like you’re that snake from Genesis, always stealing people’s innocence and what not.
Alec: And it’s like you're some sort of allegory as well! For the red scare and Joseph McCarthy if I could take a stab in the dark at it.
Abigail: All this talk of snakes, stealing people’s innocence, stabbing in the dark and Joseph McCarthy has got me going! Come Alec! Let’s go to the woods. After I stab out those horse’s eyes you can satisfy the masturbatory fantasies of this whorish puritan girl.
Alec: Sounds like a plan.
[They exit, his hands still on her breasts. As they do, Tess rushes on stage crying followed by Gatsby who is pulling up his pants.]
Tess: Oh dear! I really wish I hadn’t done that with you Gatsby. I feel so guilty and remorseful. It seems all the great women of literature feel guilty and remorseful. That’s all we can do.
Lucie: (stopping at whatever point she is in her long speech to address Tess) I always do! Men love me. They go hand in hand. Like gloves. Two gloves. I’m wearing gloves. Gloves, gloves, gloves. La, la, la. (goes back to wherever she left off)
Tess: (staring heatedly at her) Fucking bitch.
Gatsby: I don’t feel guilty at all Daisy. You are rightfully mine after all. The American dream told me so.
Tess: Of course it does. I feel guilty regardless, however. (She reaches into her dress and produces a red letter A in some sort of obnoxious block lettering) I’m going to place this letter of burning, hot-iron on my breast where no man will ever look. It will be a constant reminder of what I should have done. Abstinence. Or abortion. Or anal. Or adultery. Or agnosticism. I’m confused now. And guilty. And hopeless. Oh my blighted stars what ever shall I do? (sticks it onto her dress)
Gatsby: I’m hopeful.
Tess: I’m hopeless.
Gatsby: Why so Daisy?
Tess: (suddenly exploding) It’s Tess you overly-diluted parallel to Fitzgerald!
Gatsby: (pause) When you yell at me Daisy, I begin to feel guilty and hopeless.
Tess: (suddenly cheery) Oh good I am too! But when am I not? Let’s deal with our guilt together through atonement. (She exits stage left)
Gatsby: All right.
[He stands awkwardly for a moment before glancing over at Lucie who is still singing or talking. When she catches him looking at her she perks up and waves with obnoxious grace and compassion, all the while continuing her speech. He nods awkwardly as Tess returns. She is now holding a BDSM dog hood, handcuffs and a whip. She pulls him forward and begins to kiss him passionately as she slaps the handcuffs on behind his back. She pulls away and tugs the dog hood over his head and locks it up.]
Tess: The safety word is “repentance.”
Gatsby: -muffled sounds that sound vaguely like the word ‘repentance’-
Tess: I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that. Anyways, let’s atone for our sins. (drags him offstage by the handcuffs)
[From offstage we hear the following.]
Abigail: Ekk! Ekk! EQUUS!
Alec: God, you’re devious!
[Whipping sounds are heard as the dog hood flies onto the stage from off stage left.]
Gatsby: OH GOD! REPENTANCE!
Tess: That’s right you filthy pig! Repent! (whip) Repent! (whip)
Gatsby: Oh God!
Tess: I don’t believe in God Mr. Gatsby! Repent and then fuck me you dirty beast of a man! (whip)
Alec: Give me your innocence! I am a snake! I am the devil! I will ravage your Garden of Eden!
[At this point the lines begin to overlap, the whipping sounds become more frequent and should all crescendo into the final part.]
Tess: Repent! Repent! Repent!
Alec: Oh God! The Biblical allusions!
Gatsby: Repentance! Repentance!
[These lines should be screamed at the top of the actor’s lungs and should be held out for an obnoxious amount of time.]
Alec: BIBLICAL ALLUSIONS!
Gatsby: OH MY AMERICAN DREAM!
[During the scene prior, Lucie should notice the shouting and become increasingly disturbed and, in turn, she begins to say her lines louder until at the very end she is screaming her lines as well.]
[The shouting suddenly stops except for Lucie who is left shouting her lines. After a moment she realizes that she is the only one shouting and then daintily returns to her needlework and her monologue.]