1. No character stays dead
2. Every character has one thing they must try to do before they die
3. Every character remembers and chooses to forget.
4. Rage and mania make their own audience
5. Melancholy doesn’t make or pretend anything
6. This play never ends
7. No character wants to die
8. Mania can say anything, but just wants to tell her audience things. She can’t help it
9. Rage only quotes Malcolm x, che, and Noam chomsky
10. Melancholy only speaks to shush the audience.
11. You can do anything with this play as long as everything that is written is performed
12. The deaths are violent, playful and bloody
13. In the end, the actors make the choices
14. In the end, the only way forward is breaking the play
15. But nobody ever breaks it
a brightly lit stage with a large white board on the back wall. there are about 12 chairs arranged in rows of 6. the audience should be arranges directly in front of the stage but not on the stage. regardless of the size of the auditorium, audience members should not be allowed to sit more than 6 abreast. if possible, fit the chairs as closely together as possible
it doesn’t really matter what time of day it is. it doesn’t really matter when the play takes place. maybe all the characters are from the future or the past or the present. it doesn’t matter because it takes place always and instantaneously.
do the play however you want, but whatever is on the page must happen. every death must be violent, playful, and bloody.
this play is dedicated to john hodgen;
i’m not sure he’d appreciate
lypemania is a condition in which a person
has periods of depression
and periods of being extremely happy
or being angry
scene 1: MANIA
MANIA enters and begins scribbling a labyrinth on a large white board in front of a couple rows of empty chairs. she isn’t looking at her audience.
Did you know 11% of people are left handed
MANIA draws an octopus
Did you know August has the highest percentage of births
MANIA does a cartwheel
Did you know unless food is mixed with saliva you can’t taste it. Did you know the average person falls asleep in 7 minutes.
Did you know a bear has 42 teeth
MANIA opens her mouth. she has 42 teeth also
Did you know an ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain. Did you know most lipsticks contain fish scales
MANIA kisses a member of the invisible audience
Did you know no two corn flakes look the same. Did you know lemons contain more sugar than strawberries. Did you know 8% of people have an extra rib
MANIA pantomimes god and Adam. she plays both parts
Did you know 85% of plant life is found in the ocean. Did you know Ralph Lauren’s original name was Ralph Lifshitz. Did you know rabbits like licorice
Did you know the Hawaiian alphabet has 12 letters–
Did you know ‘Topolino’ is the name for Mickey Mouse Italy–
Did you know a lobster’s blood is colorless but when exposed to oxygen it turns blue–
Did you know armadillos have 4 babies at a time and are all the same sex—
Did you know reindeer like bananas–
Did you know the longest recorded flight of a chicken was 13 seconds–
Did you know birds need gravity to swallow—
MANIA holds her breath as long as possible
RAGE enters and begins to knock down chairs.
scene 1a: MANIA-RAGE.
Lovers’ heartbeats synchronize when they stare into each other’s eyes.
That warm feeling you get when you read nice messages from your friends and family actually makes you feel warmer
Expressing your gratitude to other people has been shown to make you happier.
Lions cuddle and rub heads to maintain their friendships.
RAGE stalks MANIA
Whales and dolphins have been known to have interspecies friendships.
RAGE lunges at MANIA. she slips away laughing
Humpback whales form lifelong friendships
Even sharks make friends.
There’s a nebula that looks like a manatee, so scientists renamed it the Manatee Nebula in a special ceremony. Astronauts grew a rose in space just to see if it would smell different than a rose on Earth. Falling in love raises levels of nerve growth factor, a protein important for maintaining the central nervous system.
Chimpanzees build a new tree nest to sleep in every night and use the softest leaves as a pillow. Science has shown that some things are just so cute you can’t help but want to squeeze them. Dung beetles can use the Milky Way to navigate. During the Ice Age, 32,000 years ago, a squirrel buried a seed. Now the seed has been used to grow a flower.
Almost every element in your body was made in an exploding star.
RAGE pulls out MANIA’s heart
RAGE drags MANIA offstage
scene 2: RAGE
RAGE re-enters and fixes all of the chairs back into two rows, erases the white board and writes REVOLUTION
The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall. Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery. I don’t care if I fall as long as someone else picks up my gun and keeps on shooting. Silence is argument carried out by other means.
RAGE writes ARGUMENT on the white board
A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything. Whenever death may surprise us, let it be welcome if our battle cry has reached even one receptive ear and another hand reaches out to take up our arms. Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. Many will call me an adventurer – and that I am, only one of a different sort: one of those who risks his skin to prove his platitudes. Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.
RAGE writes TAKE IT on the white board
The future belongs to those who prepare for it today. I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against. You’re not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it. If you have no critics you’ll likely have no success. I don’t even call it violence when it’s in self-defense; I call it intelligence.
RAGE writes STUPID FAT ASS on the white board
I have more respect for a man who lets me know where he stands, even if he’s wrong. Than the one who comes up like an angel and is nothing but a devil. I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of their color. If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything. If you’re not ready to die for it, put the word ‘freedom’ out of your vocabulary. You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom. I believe in a religion that believes in freedom. Any time I have to accept a religion that won’t let me fight a battle for my people, I say to hell with that religion.
RAGE writes SHUT UP YOU RETARD on the white board
The Negro revolution is controlled by foxy white liberals, by the Government itself. But the Black Revolution is controlled only by God. I am for violence if non-violence means we continue postponing a solution to the American black man’s problem just to avoid violence. Without education, you are not going anywhere in this world.
RAGE writes YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING RIGHT on the white board
Stumbling is not falling. In all our deeds, the proper value and respect for time determines success or failure. My Alma mater was books, a good library… I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity. You don’t have to be a man to fight for freedom. All you have to do is to be an intelligent human being. You show me a capitalist, and I’ll show you a bloodsucker. The media’s the most powerful entity on earth.
They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.
RAGE writes BURN IN HELL YOU WORTHLESS FAGGOT
The more you can increase fear of drugs and crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control all the people. Everybody’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s a really easy way: stop participating in it. All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.
RAGE writes YOU ARE A WORHTLESS on the white board
In the US, there is basically one party – the business party. It has two factions, called Democrats and Republicans, which are somewhat different but carry out variations on the same policies. By and large, I am opposed to those policies. As is most of the population.
RAGE writes YOU ARE WORTHLESS on the white board
Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, or it will sound like it’s from Neptune. Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media.
RAGE writes YOU ARE WORTHLESS on the white board
If you don’t like what someone has to say, argue with them.
scene 2a: RAGE-MELANCHOLY
MELANCHOLY enters and begins to set all of the chairs on their sides
MELANCHOLY pulls out a pillow and moves towards RAGE
If there was an observer on Mars, they would probably be amazed that we have survived this long.
In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than just ideals to be valued – they may be essential to survival.
RAGE charges MELANCHOLY and the two engage in a mock bullfight
RAGE trips and sprawls on the floor. MELANCHOLY smothers him with the pillows
MELANCHOLY drags RAGE offstage
Scene 3: MELANCHOLY
MELANCHOLY re-enters and surveys the chairs. he takes a chair and sits directly in front of the real audience. he stares at them and remains rigidly still. the only thing that moves is his head, which swivels to stare at audience members who make too much noise. he sits there until it is unbearable and then another 15 seconds. sample responses below:
“don’t do that”
“why do you even bother”
“i don’t care”
scene 3a: MELANCHOLY-MANIA
MANIA enters and begins a slow, seductive, elegant dance towards MELANCHOLY with a hypodermic needle in her mouth. he doesn’t react and when she reaches him, she injects it into his neck. he dies. she drags him offstage
scene 4: MANIA
MANIA re-enters and fixes all of the chairs back into two rows, erases the white board and begins scribbling a labyrinth on a large white board. she isn’t looking at her audience.
That’s why the labyrinth is obviously the best form ever created…
the lights go out abruptly.
End of Play
I think I’ve figured out that theres not really something called love. There’s friendships, caring, attraction, infatuation, respect. But no thing called love
You don’t remember me, or if you do, the person you remember from Bancroft’s writer’s conference isn’t the same person I am today. I wanted to thank you. In ways I can’t really comprehend or articulate, your voice has echoed through my life. I find my inner monologue is often a pastiche on your work. I see Chicago storm clouds and think that the worlds on fire. The streets flood, hail ricochets off my window and the news tell me that the tornadoes are coming. My brain is broken in two, dual reflective, bipolar. I escaped from suicide, Maybe escaped is too strong a word. I think I’m flying away, roaring into the atmosphere, approaching escape velocity. If light can’t escape a black hole, then how can anyone really slip out of depression, the black hole of the soul. Soul. Fuck. End of mesage