Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Weber, Rooney and York


I just heard about this a few minutes ago and am still trying to wrap my head around it. Apparently, the Chicago City Council is considering legislation TOMORROW without any public discourse that could severely cripple the ability for small music venues, such as Double Door, to do business.

Find out more about it and what you can do by going to Save Chicago Culture and leaving a comment.

RAW (nothing to do with wrestling or unpasteurized milk)

WNEP presents an evening of short works generated by my friends from Write Club. It starts tonight and only runs three evenings. I can't wait to see it. Tuesdays at 8PM - May 13, 20 and 27, 2008. Tickets are $5.00 at the door. PETER JONES GALLERY, 1806 W. Cuyler, 2nd fl.


Here it is. The ten-minute play I wrote last week for the Columbia College 24-hour Play Festival (shh- It's actually 26). I did something unusual for me. I specifically call for music from Combustible Edison. Not just specific songs, but even what part of the song to use. I don't recommend writers do this. If someone is considering the piece and they have no idea who the band is or what the songs are like, it's a good enough reason to toss you in the "no" pile. A smarter thing to do - and I am not always inclined to do the smarter thing - is to say "we hear music like Combustible Edison's "Bluebeard," a 1960's-esque bassa nova. It's less alienating to the reader and gives them an idea of what it may sound like.

(Blogger is being temperamentally inconsistent today in its "bold" duties. The fluctuation between bold and unbold in the script is indicative of nothing.)

Weber, Rooney and York
Written by Joe Janes
joejanes1065@comcast.net (773) 531-1792

Sheldon – mid-30’s
Mr. Padveen – 40’s – 50’s
Lila – mid-20’s

The play takes place in an office in the late 1950s.

(Lights up as we hear the first thirty seconds of “Lonelyville” by Combustible Edison. It is an office with two desks. Sheldon is sitting at his desk upstage left. The other, downstage right, is empty. He is wearing a dark business suit. He sits with a large open book on his desk but stares out, not looking at it. The book is non-descript; it could be a dictionary or a law book. He looks troubled. The phone rings. He is startled. It rings two more times before he picks it up.)

Weber, Rooney and York. Sheldon speaking. How may I help you?...Oh. Hello, Jasmina…But, but…Well, Tuesday night is puzzle night…Of course…Of course…That seems rather late for a beauty parlor appointment, doesn’t it?…I’m just commenting…You have a good time, then…I will…Don’t be surprised if the lighthouse is finished by the time you get home (forces a laugh)…NO, no. I’m just kidding. I wouldn’t finish it without you, Jasmina… (She hangs up) Okay, then-…Bye-bye.

(Sheldon hangs up the phone. Slowly turns a page of the book and continues to stare off. Mr. Padveen enters with Lila. They are also dressed in business attire.)



Easy, Sheldon…Easy…You’ll scare away the new hire…

I’m sorry Mr. Padveen. I was just – Just –

It’s okay. Maybe I should wear a bell around my neck. Like a cat (He laughs). This is Lila Quigley. Treat her nice, would ya’?

How do you do?


Get her all set up, Sheldon. I’ll check in on you later, Lila.

(He exits. Sheldon and Lila stand for an awkward moment.)

This must be my desk.

Yes. It is your desk.

(She sits. She slowly removes her hat and places it carefully on her desk. Sheldon stares at her.)

SHEDLON (barely audible)
You have nice hair.

(She turns and looks at him. Music kicks in. It is “Bluebeard” by Combustible Edison. Mr. Padveen comes back out in a unitard and does an interpretive dance. It finishes as quickly as it started. Sheldon and Lila never see him. Mr. Padveen, caught, exits.)

Did you say something?

SHELDON (very painfully)

(Lights go to black. They come back up on Sheldon sitting alone at his desk. The book that was on his desk is now gone. He puts his hand on the phone and then withdraws it. He does this a second time. On the third, it rings, and he jumps back from his chair shrieking. He regains his composure and answers the phone.)

Weber, Rooney and York. Sheldon speaking. How may I help you?... Hello, Jasmina…What a lovely surprise…Did I forget something? I’m not sure what you mean?...Oh. Yes. Of course. I forgot to buy your cigarettes. My bad…I feel just awful, Jasmina…I’ll buy you a carton on my way home from work…Well, then, on my lunch break…My thirty minute lunchbreak…I can’t do that, too, Jasmina. Your garden will have to wait. I’ll dig up that row of bushes tonight…Okay, then- (she has hung up)…Bye-bye. (He hangs up as Lila enters.)

Good morning, Sheldon.

SHELDON (standing)
Good morning, Lila.

How are you today?

I am fine. Just fine. Thank you.

(After an awkward moment, they both sit.)

(Realizing he didn’t return the conversational volley, he quickly stands back up and yelps) And how are you?!

LILA (turning to look at him)

(The music kicks in. It is “The Checkered Flag” by Combustible Edison starting sixty seconds in. Unitarded Mr. Padveen comes out and dances. This time, he moves Lila and Sheldon around in their wheeled office chairs. They end up at each other’s desk. Music ends and Mr. Padveen, caught again, hurries off.)

Oh. I’m fine.

(Lights out. Lights come back up on two empty desks. Lila enters and notices Sheldon isn’t there. She sits. Businessman Mr. Padveen enters and goes to Sheldon’s desk. He turns and notices Lila.)

Good morning, Lila. How’s the world treating you?

Fine, Mr. Padveen. And you?

It’s treating me like I’m the guy stuck marching behind the elephants in a parade. That’s how it’s treating me. Have you seen Sheldon?

No. I haven’t.

Strange. He’s usually the first one here. I used to accuse him of not going home at night. I was joking, of course. (He laughs. Not exactly sure at what.) When he gets in, tell him-
(Sheldon enters. His suit is disheveled and carries a shovel. The end has blood and a patch of hair on it. Sheldon has some blood on his hands and face.)

Oh, there you are!

Good morning, Mr. Padveen! Lila!

(Sheldon throws the shovel onto the floor near his desk and takes his seat.)

Are you feeling all right, Sheldon?

I feel great. Just great.

Sheldon, would you-?

Absolutely, I would. And I will. Whatever your heart desires, Mr. Padveen. I like you.

Very good, then. See that it gets done.

Right away.

(Mr. Padveen starts to exit.)

Don’t you need to know what it is?

Nope. Not at all. Because I am going to do everything today. Everything. And in the course of doing everything I will inevitably do whatever it is you need me to do. I am on top of it.

You seem different, Sheldon.

I am different, Lila. I’m a new man. One who controls his own life and his own destiny. A man who answers to no one. Except Mr. Padveen. But before I get to work, let me first tell you, loudly and clearly, that you have the most terrific hair in the world. (He walks over to her) And the prettiest eyes.


SHELDON(taking her hands.)
Yes, you.

(The music kicks in. “Morticia” by Combustible Edison. Businessman Mr. Padveen quickly strips down to Unitard Mr. Padveen while trying to dance. He ends up on Sheldon’s desk as Sheldon and Lila dance closely without touching. The music ends abruptly interrupted by a phone ringing. Mr. Padveen picks up Sheldon’s phone. We still hear ringing. Lila composes herself and picks up her phone.)

LILA (flustered)
That company I work for. Lila speaking. How may I help you?... Oh. Hi, Jordan… I did what?...I did too pack your PB & J…We were out of grape jelly, I had to use the strawberry…It’s just for today…I’ll get a jar of grape on my walk home…Okay. I’ll do it on my lunch break. My thirty-minute lunch break…There’s no reason to- (he has hung up)…Bye-bye. (Lila hangs up. Awkward moment. She turns and faces Sheldon and business/uni Padveen.)

That was my husband. He can be a little…demanding.

(Sheldon picks up the shovel and places it on Lila’s desk. She looks at the shovel and she looks at him. We hear the last thirty seconds of “Bluebeard” by Combustible Edison. Lila and Sheldon dance a quick tango. Lila picks up the shovel as they dance off. Mr. Padveen continues dancing, trying to end the song with the splits. Lights fade.)


Yesterday, I asked...

"As a part of a Victory Day celebration, Russian and US sailors competed in doing what?"

28% said "swabbing decks"
- Oh, is that what sailors are calling it these days?

15% said "drinking vodka"
- Don't be so stereotypical. That came after the competition.

15% said "circumnavigating the north pole"
- Oh, is that what sailors are calling it these days?

42% got it right with "making sandwiches"

According to BBC News, from Cold War to cold meats... sailors from the US and Russian navies have tested their culinary skills in a sandwich-making competition.

The contest was held during a visit by the US destroyer Stethem to the eastern Russian port of Vladivostok to mark Victory Day. Officers also joined in.

A Russian cook took the prize for best-tasting sandwich while an American came top for most original presentation.

The US winner in the individual contest got a bottle of vodka, and presented his Russian rivals with USS Stethem caps and sweatshirts in return, the BBC's Dmitry Klimov reports.

The US winner gets vodka from Russia and the Russian winner gets a t-shirt from America (probably made in China). Nice cultural exchange, fellas. Was the Russian sandwich a potato on pumpernickel and the US sandwich a slider?

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