lunes, 15 de febrero de 2016

Short Plays for the Improvisation Seminar

In theatre, as in life, we use body, senses, mind, soul and memory. However, often our up-bringing, society or our religious training leads to "back-ground" some of these attributes in favor of others. 
For our next seminar on improvisation we want to work on vocalization--an essential ingredient and of particular importance for persons who were not born speaking English.
We will be working on how to read scripts, dialogues, where to put the stress, the accent, how to deal with emotion.

"The Lover" by H. Pinter

Sarah is emptying and dusting ashtrays in the living room. It is morning. She wears a crisp, demure dress. Richard comes into the bedroom from the bathroom, off left, collects his briefcase from hall cupboard, goes to Sarah, kisses her on the cheek. He looks at her for a moment, smiling.

Richard: (amiably) Is your lover coming today?
Sarah:  Mmmmm
Richard: What time?
Sarah:    Three.
Richard:  Will you be going out or staying in?
Sarah:    Oh, I think we'll stay in.
Richard:  I thought you wanted to go to that exhibition.
Sarah:    I did, yes...but I think I'd prefer to stay in with him today.
Richard:  Mmmm-hmmm. Well, I must be off.
(He goes to the hall and puts on his bowler hat)
Richard:  Well he be staying long do you think?
Sarah:     Mmmmm.
Richard:   About....six then.
Sarah:     Yes.
Richard:   Have a pleasant afternoon.
Sarah:     Mmmmm.
Richard:   Bye.
Sarah:     Bye.
(He opens the front door and goes out. Fade to early evening. Richard comes in wearing a sober suit. Puts down his briefcase. Sarah smiles at him.)
Sarah:  Hullo.
Richard:Hullo. (He kisses her and takes the glass of whisky she offers him, and sits down).
Sarah:   Tired?
Richard: Just a little.
Sarah:   Bad traffic?
Richard: No. Quite good traffic, actually.
Sarah:  Oh, good.
Richard: Very smooth.
Sarah:   It seems to me you were a little late. 
Richard: Am I?
Sarah:   Just a little.
Richard: There was a bit of a jam on the bridge.
(Sarah gets up and gets herself a drink)
Pleasant day?
Sarah:  Mmm. I was in the village this morning.
Richard:  Oh yes? See anyone?
Sarah:    Not really, no. Had lunch.
Richard:  In the village?
Sarah:     Yes.
Richard:   Any good?
Sarah:     Quite fair. (she sits)
Richard:   What about this afternoon? Pleasant afternoon?
Sarah:     Oh yes. Quite marvellous.
Richard:   Your lover came, did he?
Sarah:      Mmmm. Oh yes.
Richard:   Did you show him the hollyhocks?
Sarah:     (slight pause) The hollyhocks?
Richard:  Yes.
Sarah:     No, I didn't.
Richard:  Oh.
Sarah:    Should I have done?
Richard:  No, no. It's simply that I seem to remember your saying he was 
             interested in gardening.
Sarah:    Mmmm. Yes, he is. (Pause) Not all that interested, actually.
Richard:  Ah. (pause)  Did you go out at all or did you stay in.
Sarah:    We stayed in.
Richard:  Ah. (looks up at the Venetian blinds) That blind hasn't been put up 
Sarah:   Yes, it is a bit crooked, isn't it?
Richard:  Very sunny on the road. Of course, by the time I got on to it the 
             sun was beginning to sink. But I imagine it was quite warm here                    this afternoon. It was warm in the City.
Sarah:    Was it?
Richard:  Pretty stifling. I imagine it was quite warm everywhere.
Sarah:    Quite a high temperature, I believe.
Richard:  Did it say so on the wireless?
Sarah:    I think it did, yes.
          (slight pause)
Richard: One more before dinner?
Sarah:   Mmm.
Richard: (he pours drinks) I see you had the Venetian blinds down.
Sarah:   We did, yes.
Richard: The light was terribly strong.
Sarah:    It was. Awfully strong.
Richard:  The trouble with this room is that it catches the sun so directly,
              when it is shining. You didn't move to another room?
Sarah:    No, we stayed here.
Richard:  Must have been blinding.
Sarah:    It was. That's why we out the blinds down.
Richard:  The thing is it gets so awfully hot in here with the blinds down.
Sarah:    Would you say so?
Richard:  Perhaps not. Perhaps it's just that you feel hotter. 
Sarah:    Yes. That's probably it.
           (Pause) What did you do this afternoon?
Richard:   Long meeting. Rather inconclusive.
Sarah   : It's a cold supper. Do you mind?
Richard:  Not in the least.
Sarah:    I didn't seem to have time to cook anything today.
Richard:  Oh, by the way...I rather wanted to ask you something.
Sarah:    What?
Richard:  Does it every occur to you that while you're spending the 
             afternoon being unfaithful to me I'm sitting at a desk going
             through balance sheets and graphs?
Sarah:    What a funny question.
Richard:  No, I'm curious.
Sarah:    You've never asked me that before.
Richard:  I've always wanted to know.
             (slight pause)
Sarah:    Well, of course it occurs to me.
Richard:  Oh, it does?
Sarah:    Mmmm
Richard:  (slight pause) What's your atitude to that then?
Sarah:   It makes it all the more piquant.
Richard: Does it really?
Sahar:   Of course.
Richard: You mean while you're with actually have a picture 
            of me, sitting at my desk going through balance sheets?
Sarah:   Only at...certain times.
Richard: Of course.
Sarah:    Not all the time.
Richard:  Well, naturally.
Sarah:    At particular moments.
Richard:  Mmmm.But in fact I'm not completely forgotten?
Sarah:    Not by any means.
Richard:  That's rather touching.

Here is a scene from Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf?"

“What a dump.”[1] Martha’s frank discontentment sets the tone of Edward Albee’s most renowned play:Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? The three act evening opens with sparring between Martha and her history professor husband, George. At the beginning of Act I, titled “Fun and Games,” Martha and George have just arrived home from another of Martha’s father’s late night soirees he hosts as college president. Unbeknownst to George, Martha has extended an invitation to a new, young biology professor, Nick, and his wife, Honey, to come back to their home for drinks. After Nick and Honey arrive, George and Martha begin exposing the dysfunction of their over twenty year marriage, at times violently and brutally. As the night progresses and the liquor flows, Martha makes a fatal mistake: she confesses to Honey that she and George have a son. When George learns of Martha’s indiscretion, he immediately goes on the offensive. At the end of the act, Martha humiliates George in front of their guests by calling him: “A great…big…fat…FLOP!”[2] Honey then becomes ill and is ushered to the bathroom by Martha.

George: It’s 2 o’clock in the morning.
Martha: Oh, George!
George: Well, it is.
Martha: What a cluck you are!
George: It’s late, you know. It’s late.
Martha: What a dump!
George: Hey, what’s that from? ‘What a dump!”
Martha: How would I know?
George: Oh, come on, what’s it from? You know. What’s it from, for Christ’s sake?
Martha: What’s what from?
George: I just told you. I just did it.
Martha: ‘’What a dump!’’
George: Huh? What’s that from?
Martha: I haven’t the faintest idea.
George: Dumbbell!
Martha: It’s from some Bette Davis picture…Some goddamn Warner Brothers epic.
George: Martha, I can’t remember all the films that came out of Warner Brothers.
Martha: Nobody’s asking you to remember every Warner Brothers epic. Just one single epic. That’s all. Bette Davis gets peritonitis at the end. And she wears a fright wig throughout the picture. She’s married to Joseph Cotton or something. Somebody. She wants to go to Chicago because she loves that actor with the scar. She gets sick…and sits down at her dressing table…
George: What actor? What scar?
Martha: I can’t remember his name!
George: What’s the picture? I want to know the name of the picture.
Martha: She gets this peritonitis…and decides to go to Chicago anyway.
George: “Chicago”! It’s called “Chicago.”
Martha: What is?
George: I mean the picture. It’s “Chicago.”
Martha: Oh good grief!
George: Don’t you know anything?
Martha: “Chicago” was a ‘30’a musical…starring little Miss Alice Faye. Don’t you know anything?
George: This picture…
Martha: …Bette Davis comes home from a hard day at the grocery store…
George: She works in a grocery store?
Martha: She’s a housewife. She buys things. She comes with the groceries…and she walks into the modest living room…of the modest cottage that Joseph Cotton set her up in.
George: Are they married?

Martha: Yes, they’re married. To each other, cluck! And she come in and she looks around this room…and she sets down her groceries. And she says…”What a dump!”

The Zoo Story  by Edward Albee
PETER: A man in his early forties, neither fat nor gaunt, neither handsome nor homely He wears tweeds, smokes a pipe, carries horn-rimmed glasses. Although he is moving into middle age, his dress and his manner would suggest a man younger.
JERRY: A man in his late thirties, not poorly dressed, but carelessly. What was once a trim and lightly muscled body has begun to go to fat; and while he is no longer handsome, it is evident that he once was. His fall from physical grace should not suggest debauchery; he has, to come closest to it. a great weariness.
It is Central Park; a Sunday afternoon in summer; the present. There are two park benches, one towards either side of the stage; they both face, the audience. Behind than: foliage, trees, sky. [At the beginning PETER is seated on one of the benches. As the curtain rises, PETER is seated on the bench stage-right. He is reading a book. He stops reading, cleans his glasses, goes back to reading.JERRY enters.]
JERRY: I've been to the zoo. [PETER doesn't notice.] I said, I've been to the zoo.MISTER, I'VE BEEN TO THE ZOO!
PETER: Hm?. . . What? . . . I'm sorry, were you talking to me?
JERRY: Iwent to the zoo, and then I walked until I came here. Have I been walking north?
PETER:[puzzled] North? Why . . I . . . I think so. Let me see.
JERRY:[pointing past the audience] Is that Fifth avenue?
PETER: Why ya; yes, it is.
JERRY: And what is that cross street there; that one, to the right?
PETER:That? Oh, that's Seventy-fourth Street.
JERRY: And the zoo is around Sixty-5fth Street; so, I've been walking north.
PETER:[anxious to get back to his reading] Yes; it would seem so.
JERRY: Good old north. PETER: [anxious to get back to his reading] Yes; it would seem so.
JERRY: Good old north. PETER: [lightly, by reflex] Ha, ha.
JERRY:[after a slight pause] But not due north.
PETER: I... well, no, not due north; but, we ... call it north. It's northerly.
JERRY:[watches as PETER, anxious to dismiss him, prepares his pipe]
Well, boy,you're not going to get lung cancer, are you?
PETER:[looks up, a little annoyed, then smiles] No, sir. Not from this.
JERRY: No,sir. What you'll probably get is cancer of the mouth, and then you'll have to wear one of those things Freud wore after they took one whole side of his jaw away, What do they call those things?
PETER:[uncomfortable] A prosthesis?
JERRY: The very thing! A prosthesis. You're an educated man, aren't you ? Are you a doctor ?
PETER: Oh,no; no. I read about it somewhere: Time magazine, I think. [He turns to his book.]
JERRY: Well, Time magazine isn't for blockheads.
PETER: No,I suppose not.
JERRY:[after a pause] Boy, I'm glad that's Fifth Avenue there.
PETER: [vaguely] Yes .
JERRY: I don't like the west side of the park much.
PETER: Oh? [Then, slightly wary, but interested] Why?
JERRY:[offhand] I don't know.
PETER: Oh.[He returns to his book.]
JERRY:[stands for a few seconds, looking at PETER, who finally looks up again,puzzled] Do you mind if we talk?
PETER: [obviously minding] Why . . . no, no.
JERRY: Yes you do; you do.
PETER:[puts his book down, his pipe out and away, smiling] No, I really; I don't mind.
JERRY: Yes you do.
PETER: [finally decided] No; I don't mind at all, really.
JERRY: It's... it's a nice day.
PETER: [stares unnecessarily at the sky] Yes. Yes, it is; lovely.
JERRY: I've been to the zoo.
PETER: Yes, I think you said so ... didn't you?
JERRY:you'll read about it in the papers tomorrow, if you don't see it on your TV tonight. You have TV, haven't you?
PETER: Why yes, we have two; one for the children.
JERRY: You're married!
PETER: [with pleased emphasis] Why, certainly.
JERRY: It isn't a law, for God's sake.
PETER: No... no, of course not.
JERRY: And you have a wife.
PETER:[bewildered by the seeming lack of communication] Yes!
JERRY: And you have children.
PETER: Yes;two.
PETER: No,girls ... both girls.
JERRY: But you wanted boys.
PETER: Well... naturally, every man wants a son, but ...
JERRY: [lightly mocking] But that's the way the cookie crumbles?
PETER:[annoyed] I wasn't going to say that.
JERRY: And you're not going to have any more kids, are you?
PETER: [a bit distantly] No. No more. [Then back, and irksome] Why did you say that? How would you know about that?
JERRY: The way you cross your legs, perhaps; something in the voice. Or maybe I'm just guessing. Is it your wife?
PETER: [furious] That's none of your business! [A silence.] Do you understand?
[JERRY nods. PETER is quiet now.] Well, you're right.We'll have no more children.
JERRY:[softly] That is the way the cookie crumbles.
PETER:[forgiving] Yes ... I guess so.
JERRY: Well, now; what else?
PETER: What were you saying about the zoo... that I'd read about it, or see ...?
JERRY: I'll tell you about it, soon. Do you mind if I ask you questions?
PETER: Oh,not really.
JERRY: I'lltell you why I do it; I don't talk to many people except to say like: give me a beer, or where's the john, or what time does the feature go on, or keep your hands to yourself, buddy. You know. Things like that.
PETER: I must say I don t ...
JERRY: But every once in a while I like to talk to somebody, really talk; like to get to know somebody, know all about him.
PETER: [lightly laughing, still a little uncomfortable] And am I the guinea pig for today ?
JERRY: On a sun-drenched Sunday afternoon like this? Who better than a nice married man with two daughters and ... uh ... a dog? [PETER shakes his head.] No? Two dogs. [PETER shakes his head again. Hm. No dogs? [PETER shakes his head, sadly.] Oh, that's a shame. But you look like an animal man. CATS? [PETER nods his head, ruefully.] Cats ! But, that can't be your idea. No,sir. Your wife and daughters? [PETER nods his head.] Is there anything else I should know?
PETER: [he has to clear his throat] There are ... there are two parakeets. One ... uh... one for each of my daughters.
PETER: My daughters keep them in a cage in their bedroom.
JERRY: Do they carry disease? The birds.
PETER: Idon't believe so.
Jerry's monologue about his roominghouse:

What were you trying to do? Make sense out of things? Bring order? The old pigeonhole bit? Well, that's easy. I'll tell you. I live in a four-story brownstone roominghouse on the upper West Side between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West. I live on the top floor;rear;west, It's a laughably small room, and one of my walls is made of beaverboard: this beaverboard separates my room from another laughably small room, so I assume that the two rooms were once one room, a small room but not necessarily laughable. The room beyond my beaverboard is occupied by a colored queen who always keeps his door open; well, not always but always when he's plucking his eyebrows, which he does with Buddhist concentration. This colored queen has rotten teeth, which is rare, and he has a Japanese kimono, which is also pretty rare; and he wears this kimono to and from the John in the hall, which is pretty frequent. I mean, he goes to the John a lot. He never bothers me and he never brings anyone up to his room. All he does is wear his kimono and go to the John. Now the two front rooms on my floor are a little larger, I guess; but they're pretty small, too. There's a Puerto Rican family in one of them, a husband, a wife, and some kids; I don't know how many. These people entertain a lot. And in the other front room, there's somebody living there, but I don't know who it is. I've never seen who it is. Never, Never ever.

I. Doctor, a short-short play by David Mamet

Doctor:     Now, what seems to be your problem?
Woman:   I won't pay this (Waves bill)
Doctor:    Won't pay what, I'm sorry.
Woman:   I won't pay this.
Doctor:    Well, let's see what it is. (Takes bill) Now, what's the problem
Woman:  The problem is that it's outrageous. I had an appointment with you
              for four-thirty and to took me after six...
Doctor:    Well, surely you must realize...
Woman:  No, no, I realize nothing of the sort. What makes you think that 
              your time is more valuable, that my time is less valuable than 
              yours? If you made and appointment you should keep it. 
Doctor:    (Pause) Mrs. Rudin, look...
Woman:   No, you look. I'm alright. I'm fine, but people out there, there
              are worried people out there. Sitting who knows how long, and
              you keep them there, they're waiting...on your pleasure.
Doctor:    It isn't for my pleasure...
Woman:  Then what is it for then?
Doctor:    Mrs...
Woman:  Eh...? Now what are two hours of my time worth? To you obviously
Doctor:   There are economic exigencies.
Woman:  Are there?
Doctor:   Yes, there are.
Woman:  And what are they? (pause) What are they? That you think 
             entitles you to treat people like cattle and then charge them
             like that?
Doctor:   Mrs. Rudin, I am on call at three hospitals in New York, I maintain
             a complete...
Woman: That's your privilege. I didn't force you to do that. Those are your
             necessities. Your fiscal...I don't know. Why should I have to pay for
             that? (Pause)
Doctor:   Mrs. Rudin, what is your, now what is your complaint here?
Woman: I will not pay this bill. (Pause)
Doctor:   You won't.
Woman:  I come here with a broken toe, I sit here for three hours, and y take
              an x-ray an tell me my toe is borken. And you charge me for the x-
              ray and seventy-five dollars. (Pause) I am not going to pay it. 
Doctor:    These are my charges for an office visit. For the first visit.
Woman:   Well, you can find someone who will pay them, then, because
               I am not going to (Pause)
Doctor:     There is a, there's a contract here.
Woman:    There is, and what is that?
Doctor:      You have taken my services; look, I don't like to talk about this.
Woman:     I can see why you don't. Look me in the eye, there is a contract
                here? I have defrauded you of services? You charge me forty
                dollars for an X-ray and seventy-five dollars to tell me that my
                toe is broken, and keep me waiting for three hours. You're 
                goddamned right that you don't like to talk about it, 'cause you
                know that you are wrong. You know your're wrong.
Doctor:      Well, you'll just have to take that question up with my 
Woman:    Fine. With your collection agency. Fine. I'll talk to them. I'll
               see you in small claims court. I don't care. This is not right. You
               call yourself a doctor. What you are is a thief. You live with your-
               self. No, I'm sorry. Prices what they are, you go out and work for
               a living. You go out there and support your family through what you
               do, and then tell me I should pay that to you. You do that. It's
               nothing to you. Nothing to make people small. To deal with people
               who are frightened, who are hurt, I don't know, maybe who might
               think they're dying, and to keep them there because they're 
               frightened, and then you rob them. Go to Hell, you can just go to
               Hell. I damn you. Do you hear me? With your medical car license
               plates, and you tell me there are exigencies. You can go to Hell.
               I'll die before I'll pay that bill. I swear before God. Do you hear me?
Doctor:     There is a distinct possibility...
Woman:    You kiss my ass!

Love is a many colored Apple (Play by the Hopkins theatre workshop)

(The scene takes place at the groom's breakfast room. There is a table set with a white cloth, a candle, a wedding cake, a bowl of apples, flowers and the remains of the previous night's celebration. The bride and the groom are seated at opposite ends of the table, their arms extended towards each other, holding hands around a bright red apple. In the background some stanzas of "Love is a many splended thing" can be heard.)

Groom:    Did you think it would be like this?
Bride:      No...I was afraid to imagine.
Groom:    Imagine what?
Bride:      You know...everything!
Groom:    You mean last night in bed?
Bride:      I mean everything.
Groom:    (Taking a big bite of the apple and handing her a piece)
Bride:      (Pause) It seems too good to be true. Will it last?
Groom:    Forever! It must. It has too. It will!
Bride:      (Taking another big bite of the apple and handing it to the groom)
              Will you always love me?
Groom:    How could you ask such a thing?
Bride:      I need to know.
Groom:    Do you have any reason to doubt?
Bride:      I've heard that some men are unfaithful...I couldn't stand that. I
              don't know what I would do if you should so much as look at 
              another woman. 
Groom:    (Struggling to hold back a tear falling from his eye) I still can't
              believe what happened yesterday, that you of all women should
              love me. And you are asking me if I will be faithful! Oh, darling,
              believe me, I love you more than Romeo loved Juliet!
Bride:      (Struggling to hold back a tear falling from her eye). My world!
              My love! Forgive me, forgive my doubts. It's just that I'd die rather
              than wake up some morning and find the bed empty and cold.
Groom:    My body will always warm it with my kisses and embraces.
Bride:      (Picking up the remains of the apple and cutting it in two, in 
              dense silence) That girl who stared at you on the dance floor...
Groom:    How could you dare imagine such a thing!
Bride:      It happens in movies. I've seen it. Men swear their love with one
              cheek and love with the other.
Groom:    I am not an actor. I am not another man. I am your husband and
              I love you, can't you understand that? ("Love is a many splendid
              thing can be heard again. The couple approach each other and 
Bride:      How can you love such a silly girl as me?
Groom:    Hush! Did you think it would be like this?
Bride:      No...No...I think I was afraid to imagine.
              (Their voices gradually fade away, as does the music and there is
              a black out).
Groom:    Imagine what?
Bride:      You know, everything. 

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