Monday, February 9, 2009

Week Four, Day Twenty-Two -"Macbeth"

Written by Joe Janes
22 of 365

Jasper, 40s
Nick, 30s
Stage Manager (VO)

(Lights up on Jasper sitting downstage out to the audience putting on stage make-up in a dressing room. He is being very quiet and mindful. He is running through lines in his head and at one point, grabs the script, flips through it, checks it, rolls his eyes and goes back to putting on make-up. Nick enters, whistling Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Music of the Night” and carrying an open wet umbrella and a pair of shoes. He places the shoes on the make-up table. Jasper is clearly perturbed by this.)

NICK (shaking out his umbrella – opening and closing it)
Raining cats and dogs, Jasper. Big cats, bigger dogs. All foaming at the mouth.

Nick. Nick! I know you are new to all this, but what you are doing right now is very, very bad.

Doing what?

Opening an umbrella inside, repeatedly, placing your shoes on a table, whistling…it’s all considered bad luck

That’s pretty silly, Jasper. How could any of that have any affect on our show?

I don’t know. But it is best not to tempt the fates (he indicates for Nick to remove the shoes. Nick puts them on the floor and puts his umbrella outside the door. As the scene continues, they pantomime putting on elaborate wigs and costumes.)

Boy, there sure are a lot of rules for just putting on a costume and playing make believe.

Is that all this is to you? A big game of cowboys and injuns?

Sort of, but with lines and blocking. And a buttload of superstitions.

Don’t you have any superstitions?

NICK (pulling a play out of his bag and looking at it)
Not really. No. I don’t even care of you spill salt around me or walk under a ladder. I’ve got a pair of lucky socks, but you know, they aren’t always lucky. Deep down, I think they’re just socks.

Well, just realize that we theater folk are pretty superstitious. Even if you’re not, you should be respectful.

No problem there. I’m having a lot of fun, Even though I’m essentially just a spear-carrier who also moves scenery, I’m having a good time.

Well, I suppose at the end of the day, that’s the important thing. Having fun. What are you reading?

I have an audition coming up so I thought I better take a look at the play. Macbeth. That’s how you say it, right? Macbeth?

JASPER (freaked and yelling)
Jumping Jehosaphat, Nick! Never, never utter the title of that play inside a theater, ever!!! Do you hear me? Ever! That play is cursed. Evoking the name of (whispering) the Scottish play – is verboten. Bad, bad things happen.

Just because I said Macbeth.

And now you said it three times! Those other superstitions, I grant you, silly. Ridiculous, even. This one, don’t fuck with it. I was in a play once and the director, jokingly, said that word three times during a laughingly bad dress rehearsal. (mocking) “Could be worse, we could be doing MmMmmm” Opening night, the lead actress stepped on broken glass while barefoot backstage and couldn’t go on. The next night, it monsooned and the costume shop in the basement flooded ruining all the costumes. The third night, the power went out on the entire block. We had to cancel and refund the tickets to a sold out show. We were closed by Sunday.

Wow. I didn’t know. Who knew a play written 500 years ago would have so much power. I take it back. Can I do that? Take it back?

I don’t think it works that way.

STAGE MANAGER (VO on intercom)
Attention, cast and crew. We are five minutes to curtain for Andrew Lloyd Weber On Ice. Act One, scene one performers please report to places.

Well, that’s me. No more saying that word, Nick. Promise me.

You got it, Jasper.

(Jasper exits)

Good luck!

(Offstage Jasper trips over Nick’s umbrella. He falls and yelps in pain. He limps back in.)

The proper expression is “break a leg.”

(Lights out.)


Shout out to Garin for sponsoring Good Ol' Zed in the 826 Moustache-A-Thon. You can throw your support to this fine educational organization, and to my moustache Zed, by clicking HERE.


The second sketch I posted for the 365 project dealt with the trade deficit and how nearly everything in America is frustratingly manufactured in China. This came up while trying to buy a pair of shoes at my usual places. Happy to announce that I went to a New Balance store and found these wonderful walking around in shoes. I was looking at them in the store and a woman in a postal uniform pointed at them and praised them. If that ain't an endorsement, I don't know what is. They are a great pair of shoes. It's like I'm walking on a very firm cloud.


Chris Othic said...

I love the set up of this sketch, but it comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. I thought the out was "cute" but thought the set up deserved something better. Not sure what that is. Perhaps we get to see a later scene featuring Andrew Lloyd Weber on Ice going terribly astray? That would be the obvious way to go, but I'm sure there is something even better.

Perhaps the fact that they are doing ALW on Ice is enough misfortune, as it is.

And maybe Nick can be a little more steadfast in his nonbelief. He seems a little too easy to get along with. I think he could be even more of an obstacle for Jasper.

Also, what's at stake for Jasper? Is this just an everyday important performance for him, or is this a really special night that he doesn't want screwed up? (Reviewer in the house, potential agents or producers? You get the idea.) I know a lot of people who go bugfuck crazy at these superstitions. I think you get Jasper there when the M-word gets mentioned, but maybe you can push this even more.

Old Ned said...

Hilarious. Loved this one.

Where can I get tickets for Andrew Lloyd Weber on Ice?

idjar said...


GarinT said...

I'll tell ya what, that moustache is certainly made in America.