America’s Play 3/9-3/16

Featured

Welcome to the America plays! A weekly play about the top story or stories in America last week. This week it’s all about trump!  Without further ado:

What  About Trump?

Characters

AMIR, 20’s, Black/Hispanic Male

RICO, 20’s, Caucasian Male

 

(Lights Up)

(AMIR is sitting on the couch in the living room, eating cereal in front of his laptop. He wears a “Make America Great Again” t-shirt. RICO enters, wearing a #FEELTHEBERN t-shirt)

 

RICO

Hey, Amir!

AMIR

Hey, Rico, did you get my text about Nancy Reagan?

RICO

I think so.

(Walks to his room offstage.)

 

AMIR

And?

 

RICO

(From offstage)

I got it.

 

AMIR

I meant…how’d you feel about it?

 

RICO

(From offstage)

Oh, it was, uh, a shame. She was a credit to our nation.

(Enters the living room)

Now, can we talk about tonight?

 

AMIR

I actually wanted to talk about Turkey…

 

RICO

Later, we have to hurry up if we’re going to make the rally in…

(Notices Amir’s shirt)

What are you wearing?

 

AMIR

(Looks down, smiles)

Oh, it’s a new Trump t-shirt. It just came in the mail today!

 

RICO

Why are you wearing it?

 

AMIR

Because I support Donald Trump. Duh.

RICO

Why would you support him???

 

AMIR

Lots of reasons. He’s charismatic, popular and has a strong message. Kind of like Obama back in ‘08.

 

RICO

This is a joke, right?

(Rico laughs as Amir stares at him)

You’re messing with me!

(Rico laughs harder as Amir stares)

There’s no way in hell you would even consider voting for that guy.

 

AMIR

(Puts down cereal. Calm.)

Rico. I don’t see why you are having so much trouble taking my choice seriously.

 

RICO

Because you can’t be a Trump supporter!

 

AMIR

Why not?

 

RICO
(Motions his arm up and down Amir’s body)

 

AMIR

Because of my height?

 

RICO

You are black and hispanic! Trump is racist!

 

AMIR

How so?

 

RICO

Remember that stuff he said about Mexicans being violent?

 

AMIR

When did he say that?

 

RICO

Like six months ago!

 

AMIR

That’s so long ago, man. I remember Beyonce’s choreography at the superbowl more clearly. And besides, I’m not Mexican.

 

RICO

He wanted to deport Muslims!

 

AMIR

I’m not Muslim, I’m Catholic.

 

RICO

He insulted a woman over her looks!

 

AMIR

That’s just sexist.

RICO

(Frustrated)

You can make all the excuses for Trump that you’d like, but you can’t deny his supporters are a problem. The other day a guy was elbowed—in the face—at a Trump rally.

 

AMIR

I saw that. Old guy has a mean arm.

 

RICO

See?

 

AMIR

What?

 

RICO

His fans are out of control.

 

AMIR

And that means I shouldn’t vote for Trump.

 

RICO

Yes!

 

AMIR

Rico…let me put it like this. Imagine if you go to a concert for your favorite band.

 

RICO

Twenty-one pilots!

 

AMIR

Sure. Anyway, let’s say a fan at the concert stabs you in the stomach today.

 

RICO

Jesus!

 

AMIR

If that happened, what would you say?

 

RICO

That the guy was crazy!

 

AMIR

It could be a girl. Don’t be sexist!

 

RICO

What’s your point?

 

AMIR

When you get stabbed…

 

RICO

If!

 

AMIR

After the stabbing, would you stop listening to the band?

 

RICO

No.

 

AMIR

Exactly. So if a stabbing  by one person at a concert won’t stop you from listening to music, why should one angry fan end my support for Trump?

 

RICO

(stops, considers this point. Then shakes his head)

I’m not going to the rally with you while you’re wearing that shirt.

 

AMIR

Fine. If it makes you that uncomfortable, I’ll change.

(Amir removes his t-shirt and reveals a blacklivesmatter t-shirt)

 

RICO

What the hell?

AMIR

Huh?

 

RICO

You’re wearing a blacklivesmatter t-shirt!

 

AMIR

Yes. Cause I think blacklivesmatter, especially mine.

 

RICO

How can you be a Trump fan and support blacklivesmatter? They’re enemies.

 

AMIR

But they’re so similar.

 

RICO

In what universe is the trump campaign similar to the blacklivesmatter movement?!

 

AMIR

You just proved it!

RICO

HOW?!

 

AMIR

Anger. Blacklivesmatter supporters are angry. Trump supporters are angry. Aren’t you angry?

 

RICO

A little.

 

AMIR

We have two strong political movements that desire strong outcomes, massive change and have millions of passionate supporters. They both come at a critical time in our history. And their t-shirts are cool as hell! The goals are different in some places, I admit, but both groups are standing on the edge of a deep valley of values and reason. If they’re both so close to the edge, why do they have to stand on opposite sides?

(Beat.)

 

RICO

I need to lie down.

 

AMIR

What about the rally?

 

RICO

I’m not going with you!

 

AMIR

Cause of my shirt? I can just change to my Kanye West shirt if you’d like.

 

RICO

This isn’t just about a shirt. You can’t just wear Trump and take it off the moment you get tired of it.

 

AMIR

If I get tired of him.

 

RICO

Listen, Amir. I’m genuinely scared.

 

AMIR

Me too. But Trump is going to make America great again.

 

RICO

When’s the last time we were even great?

 

AMIR

I used to think that we were always great, but now I’m thinking it happened when Bush was in office…

 

RICO

I’m terrified for you, Amir. What if some people think Trump winning is a sign? To indulge in their worst viewpoints? To say whatever you want, no matter how negative it is? To stab me?

 

AMIR

Trump will take care of it. He has to.

 

RICO

He’ll just deny his involvement like he always does.

 

AMIR

It won’t matter. He’ll be blamed anyway. It’s always the President’s fault when something bad happens. Thanks to Obama.

 

RICO

Wait. Wait. Are you saying we’d blame Trump for everything that goes wrong?

 

AMIR

I also said, Thanks Obama.

 

RICO

(processing)

If Trump screws up, we’ll hate him. He’d be destroyed day by day….

 

AMIR

If he fails.

 

RICO

He will! Trump has no specifics, broad policies, simple rhetoric…he might be the worst President we’ve ever had! And then…oh my god…people will see that anger gets them nowhere. They’ll see the error of their ways! They’ll finally feel ready to feel the bern!

(grabs amir’s trump tshirt)

Can I borrow this?

(Amir nods)

I’m going to make sure Trump gets elected. Is there a Trump rally nearby tonight? I’ll text Constance and find out…

(Sends text)

 

AMIR

Rico?

 

RICO

Yeah?

 

AMIR

I was just messing with you.

 

RICO

What?

 

AMIR

This whole Trump thing was joke.

 

RICO

A joke that went on for that long?

 

AMIR

Yes.

 

RICO

You were very convincing.

 

AMIR

I took those improv classes.

 

RICO

Are you sure?

 

AMIR

Come on. I compared the blacklivesmatter movement to Trump’s campaign. That should have been a dead giveaway.

 

RICO

But why?

 

AMIR

You’ve haven’t been answering my texts about anything that doesn’t have to do with the election.I did this all to get you to pay attention.

 

RICO

What did I miss?

 

AMIR

Nancy Reagan was a blip on the radar to you. Migrants died leaving Syria. Ankara…

 

RICO

(distracted)

Oh, I get it. You come up with these crazy stories because you don’t want Trump to fail.

 

AMIR

What?

 

RICO

Well, newsflash, Amir! I’ve got to pay more attention to him now. Prop him up as high as he can go, so we can knock him down.

 

AMIR

But while you’re setting up this game, what else are you gonna miss?

 

RICO

(Getting text)

Constance has a rally spot! You coming?

 

AMIR

No, man. I’m not.

 

RICO

(goes to exit)

Suit yourself! Here I come, Drumpf!

 

AMIR

Rico!

 

RICO

(stops, turns back to Amir)

Yes.

 

AMIR

Could you…at least check in on Ankara for me?

 

RICO

Who’s Ankara?

(Rico Exits. Amir stands there and sighs. He takes off his blacklivesmatter shirt to reveal a shirt with the Turkish flag on it.)

Blackout

End of Play.

 

Advertisements

Superzeroes

Featured

To close out April, I figured I’d toss out one more screenplay I was working on back in college. (This seemed to be the month of Screenplays). Enjoy!

SCENE 1 INT: CLUB ROOM/EXT: ALLEY
A Magician is on stage doing his act, but he keeps messing up his tricks. Three guys from the audience heckle him.
Tommy: You should pull a rabbit out the hat, instead of trying to pull this show out your ass.
Crowd: (Applauds Tommy)
Magician: Very funny. But I’ll get the next trick right. (pulls out cards)
TRANSITION
We see the drug dealer and another man.
Drug dealer: Got the money?
Guy: Yeah, yeah. I swear.
Drug Dealer: Here you go. (hands the guy a brown paper bag. The guy’s hands are shaking so bad he drops it)
TRANSITION
We then transition to the magician, dropping his cards on stage.
Sam: You’d have better luck turning tricks like Sexy Sally!
Crowd: (Applauds)
Magician: Who the hell is Sally?
Sam: Local girl, maybe you should pay her a visit to make your night fun!
TRANSITION
Guy: time to have some fun. (he shoots up the drug into his bloodstream, we see him react to the high)
TRANSITION
Magician: This next trick is gonna be great. I have a super-secret power. I’m a hypnotist. If I was a superhero…
Jed: If you were a superhero, your power would be to suck!
Crowd: (Applauds, standing ovation to the hecklers)
TRANSITION
Guy: ( he realizes something is wrong. He starts shaking we watch him convulse)
TRANSITION
Magician: Stop! Stop! (the crowd is too loud. He gives up and Leaves the stage)
TRANSITION
Guy: (he stops shaking and slumps up against the alley walk. We see him stop moving, needle rolling out of his hand)
TRANSITION
Security Guard: You three, let’s go.
Tommy, Sam and Jed: What?
Security Guard: Come on, get out of here.
Sam: Thanks everyone, it was great show! (Crowd applauds as the security guard pushes them out into the alley)
The three friends stumble into the alley. They look and see the guy who overdosed on drugs, and are horrified.
Magician: Hey!
The three friends turn around. The magician has a pendulum of some sorts, and starts hypnotizing them.
Magician: You are getting sleepy.
They try to resist, but are too shaken up. They all become hypnotized
Magician: When you hear the word enough, you’ll snap out of it. Until then, you will do as I command. Nod if you understand.
The three friends nod
Magician: Told you I could hypnotize people. How about I heckle you? Huh? Huh? Like you (Points to Tommy) With those beats! We should call you beats man! Whats your superpower? Beating people? (Points to Scags) And you? With your cup of coffee? What’s your power, you get faster when you drink coffee or something? And you? (points to Jed) With your big puffy coat? I bet you think you’re invincible huh? You…you should get more coats! (Laughs, the three friends stand there, still hypnotized) So…
The magician notices the guy who overdosed. He walks past the friends
Magician: Holy shit. Look at this. The guy, is dead. Right outside a fucking comedy club. This is wrong. I mean, I knew this city was bad, but holy shit. It’s…it’s real bad. You know what this place needs? Not a comedian. It needs…heroes. People with superpowers punching the bad guys into submission. That go into action as soon as they hear danger. (he turns to the guys) Wow, I think this….this is the longest time anyone’s listened to me without booing or laughing.
(Close up on the three friends, completely out of it)
Magician: (Smiling) Thanks guys. Now… (Sirens are heard in the background) Oh shit, the police! We can’t be here when they get here, they might think we did it! (the magician starts running away) Guys! Come on! (realizes) Oh, right. Enough guys! Enough!
(The three friends snap out of it, look at the body and hear the sirens. They run.)
End SCENE 1

Have a Lovely Weekend

Featured

Happy Friday! So, I hear that some humans on weekends have dates or significant others that they spend some special time with. I invite those people to take a moment for some romantically themed poems. And even if you’re not…well, might as well read them anyway, right? Enjoy 🙂

Those Eyes

Alone

Eyes

Are Pools of Colored Water

Slowly Shifting

Lives and Landscapes

Across their mirrored surfaces…

When I see yours

I remember

That eyes can be oceans

Brimming with beauty and wonder

Across their vast expanses

The sun reflected

Makes those oceans shine

Golden

And All I Want to Do

Is Swim.

Hipsters In Love

Our Romance

Is Like So Retro

It’s like this old sweater

From the Thrift Shop

I never knew I wanted

Until it was right there.

I want to make you a mixtape

On my macbook pro

At Starbucks

(Ironically, of course)

I’d love to make us mainstream

But it’s still pretty cool

To have something

That nobody’s heard of yet.

TAKEOUT: THE SCRIPT FOR The critically ACCLAIMED MOVIE

(May be a repost, but If this gets enough response, this trailer will be made. Enjoy!)

A muscled, young, mustachioed man named Tejada opens a motel room door and turns on a light. He places his suitcase on the bed and unzips it.
Movie Announcer: He’s a brutal hitman for the Mexican drug cartels.
Tejada: (Takes clothes out of suitcase and places them on bed)
Ivy: (a young, beautiful, Asian woman enters the room) Hello.
Movie Announcer: She’s a brutal assassin for the Chinese triads.
Tejada: Hola.
Ivy: Did the motel tell you we’re sharing a room?
Tejada: Si, they told me there was a double booking error.
Movie Announcer: And they have been assigned to kill each other.
Ivy: I’m thinking of getting takeout later. What are you in the mood for?
Tejada: (Gripping concealed machete) Chinese.
Ivy: (Gripping concealed katanas) Really? Because I am in the mood for Mexican! (Attacks and they have an epic sword battle)
Movie Announcer: But they didn’t account for one thing…
(In the middle of their epic fight, where Tejada’s shirt has disappeared and Ivy’s shirt has exposed her midriff they hear something strange and both go to the motel window.)
Tejada: (Sees mariachi band) All my cousins are in that band.
Ivy: (Sees Chinese dragon) My cousins are under that dragon.
(The dragon members and the mariachi band members shake hands)
Tejada &Ivy: Together?
(Everyone outside takes out guns and shoots the motel room, Ivy and Tejada duck, then somebody throws a grenade into the room, EXPLOSION)
Movie Announcer: …That they would be betrayed by their countries.
Tejada: (standing atop of rubble) It was a set up!
Ivy: (covered in mud, somehow) We were tricked!
Movie Announcer: Now they must work together…
Ivy: We must now work together.
Tejada: Sii. (shakes hands with Ivy)
Movie Announcer: And get revenge in the greatest country on Earth: AMERICA!
Ivy: Land of the free.
Tejada: Home of the (loading gun) MUERTE. And the brave. (they both hold up black power fists)
Movie Announcer: They’ll go undercover…
Tejada: (wheeling taco cart into house) Mr. Smith, I have your tacos!
Smith: I didn’t order any tacos.
Ivy: (Jumping out of taco cart) Maybe you ordered some lo mein! (throws noodles into Smiths’ face)
Movie Announcer: They’ll face an enemy team…
Pablo: (pointing gun at Ivy) I’m Pablo Enrique Montoya Rodriguez Sanchez Gonzales Emanuel Rosario Juan Martinez the third.
Po: (pointing gun at Tejada) And I’m Po. Prepare to die!
Movie Announcer: And find love…
Ivy: (in a bathrobe) Mr. Tejada, can I play with your machete?
Tejada: Only if you let me touch your katanas. (Leans in for a kiss)
Movie Announcer: In their quest to save the President of the United States.
Ivy: They are going to kill the president!
Tejada: No me gusta.
Movie Announcer: Next November, prepare to see Ivy Cheung as Ivy!
(Shot of Ivy dressed as a ninja killing a man with chopsticks)
Movie Announcer: Tejada as Tejada!
(Shot of Tejada with a fake mustache and sombrero, killing a man with moraccas.)
Movie Announcer: Morgan Freeman!
(Shot of Morgan Freeman nodding slowly)
Movie Announcer: Michelle Rodriguez!
(Appears on screen, instantly gets shot)
Movie Announcer: And Arnold Schwarzenegger as the President!
President Arnold: I’ll be back…for a second term! (Explosion in the background)
Movie Announcer: IN…TAKEOUT: THE MOVIE!* NOVEMBER 2015. This film is rated R for “raw action”. Parental guidance suggested. Even for the parents. This movie is intense.
*Based on a true story.

A Funny Story

“HAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!”
You crack a polite smile as Chadwick heads into the final stretch of his story. Another Friday night ruled by the chronicles of Chadwick.

“…And the thing was, I still had a restraining order against her!” Chadwick finishes, flashing a toothy smile. The crowd erupts into a second peal of laughter. One guy even falls to the floor and starts rolling around like he’s on fire. (Avoid eye contact with him). Chadwick surveys the group and gets ready to launch into another story. But you won’t just sit by this time. You step forward and draw everyone’s attention. All eyes on you. (Except the guy rolling around the floor. No eye contact, remember?) Now all you need is a funny story to tell…

…And I can help with you that.

So whether you want to shove it in Chadwick’s smug face or be the funniest person in the office, here’s a quick guide to making funny stories.

1. Find Something Interesting

Enough already with the weather and sports. Those are okay conversation topics, but you won’t build a reputation on, “Sure is cold out today, huh?”. To start your process, I need you to dig and find an interesting story. It doesn’t matter if it was a serious or funny story. Find something interesting. Got it? Now…

2. Exaggerate! (a little)

There are some extremely gullible people out there. They’re so guilible that they think gullible is actually in the dictionary. But we have to assume that there’s at least one person at the party that can call you out. For example, I tried to make a witty joke about how lightbulbs work. It wasn’t a bright idea :D! Seriously, there was an electrician there and she found the holes in my story. So when you nail down your interesting tale, be ready to exaggerate to make it even more interesting, but not so much that you’re out of your league.

3. Pick a Punchline/Moral

If your interesting story started out serious, you need a moral at the end of the story in order to bring it full circle. Your moral will serve as your punchline. A go-to example for me? I almost failed my driving test by one point. Though incredibly traumatic at the time, it becomes funny to tell people of the little mistakes I made, like not signaling to pull over to the curb or playing Nickelback while driving. In the end, the moral of the story is: silly DMV, you’ll let anyone drive!

If your interesting story started out funny, just work on the punchline. This is where the story is at its best. You’ve been building up the crowd to get to this point, and now you’re going to deliver the final blow. How do you know you’ve built up enough material for the hilarious climax? Use the rule of threes. As an example:

I’ve just been to Vegas. Sin City doesn’t even cover it!
In fact, a lot of people don’t cover anything around there.
And if you think that’s a good thing, just know: a lot of grandmas go to Vegas.

^See? That was a terrible series of jokes, but it can be effective if delivered correctly. Which reminds me:

4. Practice

It may sound stupid to tell you to practice telling stories from your own life, but…you should practice telling stories from your own life. In time, this will become second nature for you. You’ll be spitting out stories faster than you can say Chadwick! So get your stories together, get a tape recorder, and begin. You’ll be funny and interesting before you know it…

“…And that’s why I always carry a butcher’s knife!” You exclaim. Everyone erupts into laughter. The rolling guy hits a wall and passes out quietly. Even Chadwick lets a sly smile show. You survey the crowd with a pleased smile.

Chadwick has no idea what’s coming to him.

OPEN LINK; ADVICE INSIDE: Arete Advice Volume 3

For this installment of AreteAdvice, I decided to lend an ear to people who really needed it: The cast of the Walking Dead.

Sheriff Friendly writes,

I got a question about my son, uh…Snarl. He’s growing up in a walker infested world, where he has to fight everyday to survive. On top of that, he may be a sociopath. When’s the right time to teach him stuff, and things…about the birds and the bees?

Dear Sheriff Friendly,

It sounds like Snarl has it pretty rough out there. With undead beasts hungry to devour him each day while you fight for basic needs, he may have a lot on his mind. That said, I think it would be good to teach him the birds and the bees as soon as you can. With the constant threat of marauders, wild animals and gingivitis, who knows if you can afford to wait to teach him these things! (Unless you’re the main character. Then you don’t have to worry about dying or anything.) So take Carl out for a fishing trip/walker run and tell him about the stuff and things that got him and his sister there. He’ll thank you for it later. If you survive.

Oh and good luck with that sociopath thing.

Q: I’m a single woman looking to reenter the dating life after the loss of my husband and half-season loss of my daughter. There is a guy with a crossbow that catches my eye that I deeply care about, but I can’t seem to get his attention. Any tips?

Dear Caring,

Sounds like that guy with the crossbow shot you straight in the heart! There’s only one cure: some apocalyptic romance. First, find some squirrels for a gamey surprise dinner. Then get a nice big fire ready. (But don’t throw anybody in! Hahaha, jk!) Once you get him there, have him turn and look at the flowers while you pull some drinks. (Not peach schnapps). If you do all of this and he resists you, then maybe it’s not meant to be. Because what man could resist romance and squirrels?

Q: I’ve heard about this big group lead by a police officer that somehow manages to keep a baby alive. They sound like they’re pretty strong and reliable. Should I join them? P.S. I’m a 5’8 black man.

Dear T-Dog 7,

I know that group well! They’re cool guys. All you have to do is earn their trust and they’ll protect you. It may take a while, but it’s worth it. Once you’re assimilated into the group, you’ll be untouchable. Oh, when you arrive, be sure to bring a condolences card for the last black guy who just died.

That may sound a little troubling, so let me explain. For some odd reason, every time a new black guy joins the group, another black guy dies. Sometimes there’s a delay, but it happens every time. But don’t get too worried! Usually it’s the black guy that’s been around the longest. So as long as you’re new or second newest, you should be fine. Once you’re the oldest though…

GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE!

Q: Sometimes when I’m on open roads, I flip my car over for no reason. Any advice?

Dear Lori,

You’re beyond my help.

Got a question for areteadvice? Know a fictional character who could use some? Just send your questions to areteadvice@gmail.com and I’ll respond in my next column.