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© 2010 by Warren John Deacon. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
bijou 1

                              Cast of Characters

          MOBEY...................a man in his late sixties.

          LYLE...............a boy of about l7, handsome.

          GREG............30's, thin, pale and unshaven.

          MIRIAM......an attractive woman in her 50's,
                             graceful, deep-voiced.
 
 


Photos: Odyssey Theatre production, Los Angeles.
 
 The action of the play takes place on the stage of The Bijou Theatre, an old building which has been converted into a pornographic movie house. 

          The Time is the present. 

                                    Act I 
          Scene l - Late evening. 
          Scene 2 - Early the next morning. 
          Scene 3 - Several days later. Evening 

                                    Act II 
          Scene l - A few minutes later. 
          Scene 2 - Several days later. Late evening. 
          Scene 3 - Several months later. Christmas Eve. 

"Any group of people who love each other can be a family."
                                --Richard Marin

"All buildings are caves... and the theatre is the cave at its best,  the last arena in which all is always possible.
                              -- William Saroyan
 

THE SETTING

The stage housing of an ancient theatre.

The building was once an opulent palace housing films in the 50's and 60's, and legitimate theatre and vaudeville in earlier days. The set is an archeological time capsule crowded with the discards of production and activity: scenery flats, popcorn machine, stacks of empty soft drink bottles, ushers uniforms, pipe racks of tattered costumes, old props and rusting lights.

The audience is actually seated behind the stage, looking across it and through the proscenium arch to face the imaginary movie audience. When the lighting is right, we can see perhaps the first three rows of seating in the movie house. When the screen is down, reversed images from the projector play upon it and live action on the apron in front can be partially seen through its opaqueness.

The stage is equipped for live production. The screen flies and there is a complete fly gallery on one wall, wings, catwalks above, and light pipes. The stage floor is slightly raked so that we can see the pairs of footprints painted everywhere. When MOBEY turns on the overhead ultraviolet lights, the footprints are accentuated.

The stage itself is mostly empty except for some scattered items, an armchair, rug, lamp and phonograph which are clustered center stage as though seeking companionship in this vast, empty space. There is a large trunk and cupboards under the stairs. A single bed, sink, stove, refrigerator and shelves line one wall.

Railed metal stairs lead up from the dressing rooms below to an elevated landing containing a pay telephone, a door to the roof and fire escape, and a lighting control booth enclosed by a wire cage.  From the landing, a metal ladder continues up the wall and disappears into the darkness above. Above the landing is a skylight which can be opened and closed with a rope on the fly rail.

The design should incorporate whatever equipment or architecture that exists in the actual theatre where the
play is to be performed, including raw walls if possible.
 

                  ACT I, Scene l.
                         Late Evening.

                         A film is in progress. The light
                         from the projector filters through
                         the screen and onto the stage,
                         revealing MOBEY seated in the
                         armchair.

                         The images on the screen are too
                         close to make visual sense, but the
                         sound is extremely loud. The bodies
                         of a man and woman roll around:
                         flashes of faces, limbs, hair,
                         genitalia.

                                    MALE
                              (screams)
          Please, Linda--more! More!

                                    FEMALE
          Alright, Robert, I'm trying!

                                    MALE
          More, more!!

                                    FEMALE
          You really want it, don't you baby.  So much, so much!

                         MOBEY turns to look at the screen.

                                    MALE
          More!

                                    FEMALE
          Oooh!!!  More and more and more and more!

                                    MALE
                              (a long scream)
          Jesus, Linda--

                                    FEMALE
          Yes, Robert, I know.

                         With a cry of rage, MOBEY rushes at
                         the screen and waves at the images.
                        Then he returns to the chair.

                                    MALE
          This is the best, Linda.  Really, the best it's ever been.

                                    FEMALE
          I know.  For me too.

                                    MALE
          As long as I live, I want it this way. Always this way. I've
          wanted it so long.

                                    FEMALE
          Yes, Robert.  Yes.

                         MUSIC fades up under the dialogue.

                                    MALE
          I've always wanted someone -- someone who could take --
          charge!  Could find it within themselves to --

                              (a long animal
                               scream)

                                    FEMALE
          Oh, baby--

                                    MALE
          --to control this -- to control ME!!! -- in this lifetime of
          --

                         Another shriek.  The music
                         concludes and the letters 'The End'
                         appear in reverse on the screen.
                         The projector goes dark and
                         multi-colored footlights fade up on
                         the other side.

                         MOBEY turns slightly in his chair.

                                    MOBEY
                              (quietly)
          Go home. Go on. Take your filth with you in your picture
          heads.  We don't want you here.

                         He walks to the wings and drags out
                         a worklight: a single bulb on a
                         stand, protected by a wire cover.
                         He places it left of center and
                         turns it on. The light throws a
                         flat wash over the stage area,
                         creating long, grotesque shadows on
                         the screen.

                         The additional light shows MOBEY to
                         be quite old. His hands shake a bit
                         and his breathing is unsteady. Yet,
                         when he walks, there is a grace
                         which is inconsistent with his age.
                         He still has all of his hair which
                         stands out in great white stalks
                         about his small face. He wears
                         faded coveralls with the insignia
                         of the Bijou Theatre on the back.
 

                         The light reveals something else,
                         too.  Scattered about the stage are
                         pairs of painted footprints.

                         MOBEY walks to the hotplate, right
                         and puts on the kettle.

                         In a moment, the voice of GREG is
                         heard far away behind the screen.

                                    GREG (off)
          Night, Mobey.

                                    MOBEY
          Goodnight.

                                    GREG (off)
          I'll lock up front. Don't forget garbage day in the morning.

                                    MOBEY
          Garbage in the night.

                                    GREG (off)
          What?

                                    MOBEY
          Thank you. I'll remember.

                                    GREG (off)
          The men's john is plugged up again.

                                    MOBEY
                              (mumbling)
          Thank you. I'll fix it.

                                    GREG (off)
          What?

                                    MOBEY
          I said, thank you, I'll fix it right up.

                         MOBEY makes tea. GREG's shadow
                         appears on the screen. But he does
                         not come on to the stage.

                                    GREG
          Did you watch tonight?

                                    MOBEY
          No.

                                    GREG
          That girl was good. Big knockers. You a tit man or an ass
          man, Mobey?

                                   MOBEY
          I beg your pardon?

                                    GREG
          Boy he really gave it to her. Whoo-ee! Did you see the size
          of the dildoe?

                                    MOBEY
          What?

                                    GREG
          The dil --

                                    MOBEY
          What?

                                    GREG
          Doe.

                                    MOBEY
          Oh. Pause. No.

                                    GREG
          Oh.

                                    MOBEY
                              (to himself)
          Pause. I feel as though I'm trapped in a Pinter play.

                                    GREG
          Not many in tonight. Been falling off lately. Larry denies
          it, but I know he's thinking about bringing in them fag
          movies.

                         MOBEY gathers papers around him and
                         sits at the typewriter.

                                    MOBEY
          Stag? Pause.

                                    GREG
          Fag.

                                    MOBEY
          Pause.

                                    GREG
          I guess I don't care. Hell, it's a living. All those guys
          sitting down at the union hall, waiting around for
          legitimate jobs.  Hell, I said, you guys are waiting for the
          god damn "Sound of Music" to come back.  "Legitimate."
          That's such a snobby word, you know?

                                    MOBEY
          Not always.
 

          What?

                                    MOBEY
          Legitimate. It wasn't always snobby.

                                    GREG
          What? Live theatre?

                                    MOBEY
          With live actors. 

                                    GREG 
                              (giggles) 
          They got 'em live now, Mobey. Live sex acts, right on the 
          stage.  Ralph, down at the Kit Kat Club? He works those 
          shows. Something -- whee!!! -- must be something. I said, 
          "hell, Ralph, how many shows can you expect a guy to do in night?" 

END © 2017 by Warren John Deacon. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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