silt, dressed in waitress blacks with an apron rolled up in one hand, getting off a bus. Behind her, good angel Ankle and bad angel Thigh advising her-
silt An all my love an all your love were not enough.
I am peering down at work
ankle a mild and well trodden road
thigh Your brain should be thankful for being alive! on an ordinary day. On a day when it will have to make decisions, and leap rapidly to obey its instincts.
silt That is today. It is. Wake up in the morning out of no consciousness, I wake up and there’s no thoughts in my head. I had to think a first thought and everything else followed from that.
ankle Your mind is a cloud
thigh Your clouds scrambled
ankle From the moment of the first thought, your mind is awake. And after that, the thoughts grew quicker and larger and your mind started to swell-
silt Today starts with one good scrambled round of mind clouds slowly expanding in the hollow growing shell of my body
thigh For just a few minutes. For just an hour or maybe two, and then
silt And then I will string my mind along a creature’s
thigh Known as the restaurant.
silt I will start work at the restaurant.
thigh You will direct your will towards
silt I will direct my will and twist my body towards the restaurant.
ankle Look, there it is, shaking and swirling in the sun. It’s 10am. It’s sunshine. It’s carparks cafes traffic lights newsagents real estate agents petrol stations supermarkets sunshine. It’s seventeen tables inside, twelve tables outside, 144 person capacity, Turkish cuisine, coffee machine, licensed bar, two owner-managers, two chefs, two apprentice chef kitchen-hands, eleven waiting staff. It’s your restaurant.
silt I do the Saturday 10am until 5pm shift seating customers, taking their orders, making drinks, carrying food, cleaning tables, tallying up bills, polishing cutlery, setting tables for dinner. For seven hours I string my mind along a creature’s known as the restaurant.
ankle The restaurant is an entirely stationary animal, like a predatory plant or a fungus. It cannot obtain sustenance by tracking and chasing its prey, so it must attract prey to it.
thigh the restaurant pulses in a patch behind the motor registry and the TAB
gnawed by rats, hemmed in by other restaurants
but reaching its tables out as far as it can
silt For seven hours my purposes are the restaurant’s purposes. What it needs, I must attempt to supply.
thigh The restaurant fears customers
even as it needs to feed from them.
it sends out drones to keep its prey at bay
to catch them in a table and cling to them there
quietly exciting the pollen from them
ankle Potential customers can be identified in three ways. 1. They approach the waitress and ask to be seated. 2. They seat themselves. 3. They stop outside the restaurant and look at the menu.
silt 1 & 2 – go to procedure F.E.F. 3. When a person or a group of people stop outside the restaurant and look at the menu, I approach and ask if they’d like a table. If no, return to zero. If yes, seat them and go to procedure F.E.F.
ankle Procedure F.E.F. Bring customers a bottle of water, glasses and food menus. Ask them if they want any drinks to begin with. If yes, take their drinks order.
thigh You will see creatures like your bosses whose minds are now only the restaurant’s. Their success is so aligned with the success of the restaurant that they no longer have independent wills. Their thoughts and actions are all directed towrads sating the restaurant’s hunger.
silt And today I am Chief Drone!
ankle You are the restaurant’s physical, human representative! You are the link between the abstract food described on the menus and the actual Turkish meals created by the Saturday morning chef!
thigh the restaurant spurts out certain drugs
that loosen customers’ wallets
draws them slowly down to its
gaping cash register tendril
silt Make drinks. Coffee machine. Hot water dripped through a tight fist of powdered coffee beans. A little nozzle that sprays steam into a jug of milk. Soft drinks. A small hose with buttons on the end that feed through cola and lemonade mixed from satchels of flavoured syrup. Bottles of wine opened conspicuously at the table-
silt Here you are, sir, the New Eden ’01?
ankle Thank you very much.
silt Tiny knife on the corkscrew run around the head of the bottle, take off plastic wrap. Fold out corkscrew screw. Dig as deep as you can as straight as you can as hard as you can into the guts of the cork.
thigh The restaurant crouches silently behind you as you pull open the wine and the table of prey silent watches you try to pull the face off the wine’s skull
ankle Initial minutes are uncertain getting uniform on, putting phone away, cup of coffee, set out tables and umbrellas, drink menus on tables, check bookings sheet for lunch, and then by the time the first customers arrive you are in the correct mental state. Every instinct and thought process is aware that success for the restaurant means success for you:
thigh What the restaurant wants you will do your best to provide it.
silt What it wants is what it will get
I the drone am well fed on Turkish coffee and torn scraps of Turkish bread with butter
I will crack instantly from job to job
thigh Your mind will stray.
silt My mind will stray. It will lurch around in circles.
It will collapse in the same puddles over and over.
But it will keep turning back to the source
the few deep springs of my mind’s s interest
ankle Your life outside the restaurant-
thigh Your successes outside the restaurant.
ankle It’s fine to fantasise about your other life. Fantasies like that keep parts of your mind distracted that should be distracted, the parts of your mind that do not help the restaurant, those parts fantasising tucked safely out of the way. The rest of your mind, the whole of your body, ready to capture and caress the plastic strips and metal disks with numbers on them, ease them politely sweetly out of the customers’ wallet-
silt So I will shrug and my body
will shrug itself – it will be no effort to turn its every shake
into a job completed, a jump for the restaurant.
ankle No matter how many customers land in the waiting grip of the restaurant’s chairs, you can handle all of them! Their plastic strips and metal disks are the sweet sunlight the restaurant drinks down and you love them!
silt I do not fear sunny days.
I like the victims of my restaurant’s trap.
I operate the machinery that is the restaurant.
I can make every button on that great beast’s body
SEE the epic battle for freedom and equality for the students of Fluoro High!
FEEL the passion of the revolutionaries that dared to stand up to the System!
HEAR the powerful hip-hop and rock that shook Fluoro High to its very core!
BE the director and cast that dared to bring this one of a kind story to the stage!
In the corridors and classrooms of Fluoro High, the student mafia known as the Coalition rules Year 9 with an iron fist. The only law is Complete Obedience, and the only sentence is Total Destruction.
When Sarah Baker arrives at Fluoro High, she’s looking forward to fitting in and making new friends. Instead, she discovers that Year 9 at Fluoro High is a police state run by the all-seeing Coalition. When she accidentally runs afoul of the Coalition’s tame history/hiphop teacher, Sarah is targeted by the mob and forced into a corner. With a desperate band of outsiders, Sarah has no choice but to take a stand against the system. But if she wants to take on the Coalition, Sarah Baker had better be prepared to dance – dance until she’s the last woman standing.
written by the Frozen Shape Collective (Nick McCorriston, David Finnigan, David Shaw)
produced by Opiate Productions , C-Block Theatre, Canberra, November 2002
It is 1953. In the ruins of an old prison camp deep in the Siberian snows is hidden Soviet Union’s most secret Laboratory. A Kabbalic scientist is able to predict the future of world politics by reading the patterns that appear in the board-game of Go. The players are grown from the captured sperm of Russia’s greatest enemy – sperm stolen from the wives of Adolf Hitler!
Our process for this script was to bring four different short stories, and over a four week production period, try to combine them together into one piece. The difficulties of cramming the characters of one story into the plot of a completely different tale forced us to make connections and develop ideas in ways that we weren’t expecting. Our source stories were:
Brian W. Aldiss – Swastika! Greg Egan – Axiomatic Anton Chekhov – Death of a Clerk Jeff Noon – Homo Kareoke Ted Chiang – 72 Letters Tibor Fischer – A Portrait of the Artist as a Flaming Deathmonger
Muttley played Alexei Stagger, dedicated OGPU officer, who was transformed by the wicked powers of Dr John Genius into a shambling obedient zombie.
Kim Gorter as Lucky and Jack Lloyd as Hitler in Chosei: Eternal Life (photo from the Canberra Times)
Canberra Times, November 2nd, 2002, by Alanna Maclean
It’s not quite clear where Opiate Productions is headed at the moment, but the company’s current offerings do have a kind of earnest lunatic charm.
Chosei: Eternal Life is in some kind of post-Poe territory. There’s lots of cheerful horror, with a mad 1950’s B-movie Russian scientist making duplicates of Adolf Hitler and his lover (and niece) Geli Raubel so that they can predict the future by playing Go.
This piece achieves a certain success because it properly takes itself seriously. Although I’m not sure where it goes in the end, it is interesting getting there via bathtubs and injections and the cold Russian winter snow outside.
In 2006, we tried to get banned from the National Multicultural Fringe Festival by presenting four episodes of The Adventures of Boy President. Shown over four nights of the Fringe (Feb 10-18 2006), each episode was a half-hour highlight from the first series of the (sadly fictional) hit TV series about the first ever boy to become president of the United States of America.
Described by its writer/director (me) as “gritty, raw and stylish” and “a disturbing and high-impact expose of US politics”, Boy President was described by everyone else as “trash” and “violent, rambling idiocy”.
heroes, aren’t we all? image by frosty
Boy President Pilot Episode
The USA has been hit by a major political crisis, just as Boy President’s immune system is infiltrated by the deadly Anthrax virus! Can the Imperial Chaos Marines shoot the germs out of Boy President’s body with the death ray in time for him to save the nation?
Download Boy President 1: Pilot Episode.doc
The Movie of Boy President
Rogue director Ricochet Jensen is filming a movie about Boy President’s rise to power, featuring the charismatic Richie Rich in the starring role. But will Jensen’s movie faithfully depict the famous debate between Boy President and the Two-Headed Arab?
Download Boy President 2: The Movie of Boy President.doc
Boy President and the Magical Pimp
While walking amongst his people disguised as a commoner, Boy President encounters the charismatic Magical Pimp, and for the first time experiences the act of sexual love.
Download Boy President 3: The Magical Pimp.doc
Boy President saves Christmas
A clip show! Featuring highlights from the season, and live DVD commentary from the show’s original director and the actor who played the original Boy President.
Writer / director: David Finnigan Producer / King of Boy President: Nick McCorriston
Boy President: Chris Finnigan Cardinal Usurper: Joel Barcham Standard Bearer for the Imperial Chaos Marines: David Shaw Trumpeter for the Imperial Chaos Marines: Michael Bailey The Voice of Reason: Alison McGregor
featured in Boy President Pilot Episode Boy President’s Immune System: Max Barker The Anthrax Virus: Pat Gordon
featured in The Movie of Boy President Ricochet Jensen: Robbie Matthews Richie Rich: Sam Burns-Warr The Two-Headed Arab: Jarrod Emmanuel
featured in Boy President and the Magical Pimp The Magical Pimp: Hanna Cormick Rusty Centre: Chris Lloyd Shock-rock band: Cameron Thomas, Nick McCorriston
featured in Boy President saves Christmas Former Boy President star Jack Lloyd: Jack Lloyd Former Boy President director Hadley: Hadley
LUCKY sits down next to VICTIM. VICTIM is listening to music on headphones.
LUCKY: what you listening to?
VICTIM: some hot new breaks and sweet techno, man!
LUCKY: that’s not for you. that’s someone else’s music. do you subscribe to the belief that everyone has their own song, just one song, which represents and equals them? I must kill you.
LUCKY: you have two options; poison or the noose.
VICTIM: you must be crazy! driver! driver!
LUCKY: driver can’t help you. God has laid this upon you. let’s have a look at your sheet… okay, about a week and a bit ago you were out with your friends in civic, you smoked a joint of marijuana and consequently got stoned… then you urinated on a church.
VICTIM: it wasn’t a church, it was a mormon’s house.
LUCKY: unfortunately for you, the church of latter day saints is in fact the correct religion.
VICTIM: how can that be? how would you know what god intends?
LUCKY: I’m an angel. I’ve been raised above other human beings to sit at Jesus’ right hand. You see I used to clean windscreens at the traffic lights on northbourne avenue. then one day a big black car pulled up at the stoplights. the numberplate read ‘Jesus.’ the window on the driver’s side was wound down and there he was – the son of God, the king of kings… Jesus Christ.
VICTIM: what did he look like?
LUCKY: he wore a white suit and a top hat. But his face… it was Ernie Dingo.
VICTIM: that’s garbage.
LUCKY: I didn’t think so either. It’s not what the books say. but he proved it to me. he gave me fifty dollars and said “you’re my man now. you work for the Lord.” I’m an angel now.
VICTIM: listen, man, I’m not disputing any of your story. thing is, though, that God doesn’t kill people for sinning. Jesus died on the cross so that we could be cleansed and then when we die we’re judged for what we’ve done – God doesn’t kill people on buses for pissing a mormon church, you know?
LUCKY: I don’t know shit about theology, man, I just got this piece of paper says you need to die. so what is it – poison or noose?
(VICTIM starts to sob)
VICTIM: …I don’t want… I don’t want to… poison…
LUCKY: ssh, it’s all right. it’ll be all right. open wide. open wide.
(LUCKY feeds VICTIM a little pill, then kisses softly VICTIM on the lips.)
LUCKY: I got something here, man. cassette. put it in your walkman.
VICTIM: what is it?
LUCKY: it’s your song, man. Pink Floyd with Pow. Toc. R. H. There, you like that. That’s nice. Okay, are you ready? this is gonna hurt. a lot. get ready for the end…
A beach, on the outskirts of a city. A small campfire burned to embers. Two figures talking with their feet pressed into the cold sand.
burnside: I need to paddle out past the breakers before the elephants reach the beach.
constance: How long have we got?
burnside: Maybe seven minutes.
constance: The last thing I heard was about forty five minutes ago – they were setting their spears on fire and throwing them at the walls.
burnside: They did that.
constance: But I thought when they reached the walls they were driven back.
burnside: They were driven back. Everyone left in the town was up on the walls, and we drove them back. But we can’t repair the gaps in the walls, and now they’re bringing the elephants.
constance: Was that the signal for you to run?
burnside: You’ve got a raft.
constance: I’m not giving to you.
burnside: One of the guards on the wall told me that the peddler was hiding down on the beach. Are you still trading?
constance: What have you got?
burnside: I went through the restaurant before I left and I stole everything good. I got
sharp copper knives
constance: Don’t want it.
burnside: barley flour – marijuana seeds
hazelnuts – macadamia nuts
fresh oranges – a bronze strainer
mortar and pestle –
constance: Don’t want it.
burnside: stuffed dormouse
ice shavings – four heads of lettuce –
lamb’s womb in asparagus juice –
fresh pears with pepper –
constance: Don’t want it.
burnside: an amphora of fish sauce –
honey-roasted fruitbats – oysters
sow’s udder stuffed with sausage meat –
dolphin – ostrich – venison – hare –
burnside: a mixing bowl blessed by the high priest!
burnside: Elephants! They’ve reached the walls.
constance: How long now?
burnside: Maybe five minutes if people stay on the walls and fight. But no-one’s going to stay to fight elephants.
constance: it’s not going burnside’s way tonight!
it’s not going burnside’s way tonight!
he’s got nothing I want and he’s going to die!
burnside: What do you want for the raft? What can I give you?
constance: You can talk to me.
burnside: What do you want me to say?
constance: I don’t know. Maybe…
burnside: We don’t have time, I’ve got to get out past the waves-
constance: Tell me about who you are.
burnside: I’m a cook at the Sagantum Kitchen-
constance: No. Not what you were. Who are you now?
burnside: I’m someone trying to escape before we all get trampled.
constance: Tell me about that.
burnside: I’m going to buy your raft. I’m going to paddle out past the breakers and get over the sandbar. I reckon it’ll take me two hours to get on the big current that runs south around the channels. If the wind doesn’t change in the next forty or fifty hours I’m pretty sure the current will drag me in a circle and dump me on the coast about three days south of here.
constance: You’re not going to get past the breakers. You’re carrying too much weight.
burnside: They must be through the walls.
constance: How long now?
burnside: Maybe two hundred seconds from the walls to the beach. Please stop stalling. Look, Miss – what’s your name?
burnside: Constance, why are you sitting here?
constance: I can’t fight and I can’t swim. I thought I might as well keep trading.
constance: Where’s your wife?
burnside: Back there.
constance: She…? Making a new start, then, are you?
burnside: Yes I am.
constance: I saw you with her once. Looked like you’d had a big night.
burnside: Probably had.
constance: Not any more.
burnside: No more big nights for anyone now.
burnside: You ever have a big night?
constance: No. Quiet girl.
constance: Listen, stay. Don’t try and swim out past the waves. You’re carrying too much weight. Stay with me.
burnside: If you don’t give me that raft in the next twenty seconds I’m dead. The elephants are in the city, I can hear them.
constance: It won’t be for long. Just stay until they get here.
burnside: I don’t want to die. If I can just get past the breakers and on to the open ocean I can start again. I’m going to start again. I want to.
constance: If I break both your hands you can’t swim.
burnside: You can’t make me want to stay.
constance: I will give you everything I ever traded. Don’t you want
dirty jewellery – iron filings
ivory flute – lamb’s skin
burnside: really don’t.
constance: don’t you want
gold teeth mobile phones
ice cubes queen bees
chewing gum index fingers
walking sticks james brown
burnside: really don’t.
constance: good drugs fake breasts
hard beats siren songs
crucifixes buttered toast
travellers’ cheques big hats
weird science secret seven
easy rider sacred seals
drunken uncles cassette tapes
burnside: really don’t.
constance: dinosaurs submarines
paper flowers wooden screens
faithful wives science fiction
fairy tales island chains
board games card tricks
I don’t want to die on my own.
burnside: Get off me! Why should I die with you just because you don’t have the guts to save yourself? Forget the raft, I’ll swim.
constance: Burnside, don’t. You’ll drown. Burnside, take the raft. Go on. Have it. But you’re too heavy. You won’t make it past the waves. You’ve got all of this stuff weighing you down.
burnside: What stuff?
constance: Let me take all this weight off you.
All this memory clogging up your brain
All this ambition in your blood streams
These instincts buried in your muscles
All these skills you learned
All that fear and panic
All this courage
All this weight
Let me strip it off you.
Constance strips Burnside of everything that makes him Burnside.
constance: All right. Take the raft. Good luck.
burnside: I don’t want to – I don’t want to go anywhere.
constance: You want to stay with me?
burnside: I don’t want to go anywhere.
constance: You know they’ll kill us when they get here. They’ll trample us with elephants.
It is our good friends Forensic Officer ALEC-ALEC and Forensic Officer ZOFIA POLITSI. There is the dead and operated on MR G. ZOFIA takes MR G’s heart out of a waste-paper basket. ALEC-ALEC: Awesome idea! Let’s go to the cafeteria!
ZOFIA: Well, things were pretty exciting there for a minute or two. I think we deserve some pizza pie.
ZOFIA and ALEC-ALEC unsign the report. ALEC-ALEC begins unwriting the report.
ALEC-ALEC: And I’ll just get your signature here…
ZOFIA: I’ll dictate to you. Subject: Mr G. Age – 17. Cause of death – heart attack.
ALEC-ALEC: So what shall I put as the cause of death?
ZOFIA: Then you can start writing the report. Look at this. You see this discolouration along the left aorta.
ALEC-ALEC: I’ve finished cleaning up.
ZOFIA puts MR G’s heart back into his chest. ALEC-ALEC wipes blood onto the floor.
ZOFIA: I can’t be sure until I’ve seen it. Making incision. ALEC-ALEC: So you think it was his heart that gave way?
ZOFIA: I’ve dealt with bigger problems than this. Hand me that scalpel. Right, now you clean the blood off the floor. I’m going to examine his organs.
ALEC-ALEC: Zofia, you are a genius.
ALEC-ALEC and ZOFIA take off their coats. ZOFIA puts them in a corner. They look worried.
ZOFIA: Let me think let me think… Got it!
ALEC-ALEC: He surely is. We’re fucked. ZOFIA: He’s dead.
MR G comes back to life and begins struggling. ALEC-ALEC and ZOFIA beat him savagely. The blood is sucked back into MR G’s body (somehow). MR G gets to his feet.
ZOFIA: I kill you!
MR G: She’s my daughter now!
ZOFIA: That girl… was my daughter!
MR G: You have no idea who you’re messing with. So what if I killed that girl? There’s plenty of other girls in the world!
ZOFIA: Oh, now I’m getting irritated. Back in the chair.
MR G sits down.
MR G: Damn your questions! You can’t hold me here!
ALEC-ALEC: Forget your lawyer, we’ve got a couple more questions-
MR G: I want to speak with my lawyer!
ZOFIA: You’re a bright fucking spark, you are. You can consider yourself accused.
MR G: Are you… are you accusing me?
ZOFIA: What Detective Alec-Alec and I have been wondering is: how did your knife get to be in this compromising position?
MR G: So that’s where I left it!
ALEC-ALEC: We found it lodged in the throat of this murdered girl.
ZOFIA: It has your name engraved on the handle.
MR G: What could possibly make you think that this is my knife?
ALEC-ALEC: Yes, we’ve recovered this knife from a crime scene. We think it may belong to you.
MR G: I got a phone call at work saying that some of my property has been found…
MR G sits down.
ZOFIA: I’m Detective Zofia, this is Detectiev Alec-Alec. Please, have a seat.
MR G: Not at all, I just want to be of help.
ZOFIA: Thanks very much for coming in to speak with us here at the morgue.
Weasel and Brown work in the entertainment industry in some capacity. Rice Pops is a talented young alt-folk singer songwriter.
rice: My manager named me after a home brand breakfast cereal!
weas: Let me lay it out for you in block capitals, sweetheart. You are a slightly talented musician, and I am the woman who is going to put that talent in a blender, and transform it into famousness. When you are famous, and by famous I mean I can’t sit on a train without someone’s mobile phone squeaking out a Rice Pops ringtone, you can talk to me. Until then, you are a bag full of silence. Brown, what’s the word from the manager?
brown: He’s suggested a couple of covers she could do. We’ve got ‘Surfin’ USA’ by the Beach Boys, ‘Loser’ by Beck, ‘The Rockefella Skank’ by Fatboy Slim…
weas:: Wait what? Is that the ‘Right about now – funk soul brother’, etc? I thought she was a… hang on… a ‘non-traditional acoustic folk balladeer’. How the fuck are you going to cover a Fatboy Slim track?
rice: Right about now, the funk soul brother
Check it out now, the funk soul brother
weas: Yes well done. What about when he makes the voice go into slow motion? Do we record you singing in to a fan?
rice: Check it oooooooout nooooooowwwwwwww…
weas: All right shut up. What else have we got?
brown: ‘You’ve got to fight for your right to party’ and ‘Tom’s Diner’.
weas: Who wrote this list? Am I supposed to sell her as an elegant folk troubadour or a crusty white backpack hiphopper?
brown: Cat Power covered ‘I can’t get no satisfaction’ as a mournful ballad, which I think was what made her name.
weas: My two-year old covered the kitchen wall with crayon, which I think is a closer analogy of what we’re looking at here.
rice: My manager thinks I could do a beautiful version of ‘Tom’s Diner.’
weas: Your manager abdicated the right to an opinion when he signed you. Brown?
brown: ‘Tom’s Diner’ has the cheapest copyright on the list.
weas: Fine. Whose diner was it?
brown: It’s a Suzanne Vega track.
weas: What else do we know? Brief me.
brown: …I can Wikipedia it.
weas: Isn’t there a slightly more professional way to find information out about a recording artist?
rice: I could go undercover as a Suzanne Vega fan and join her Fan Club! I could get a monthly magazine with hot inside goss and stickers!
weas: What’s on Wikipedia?
brown: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzanne_Vega. (It is not okay to include URLs in scripts but this is an exception.) ‘Vega is an American singer-songwriter known for her highly literate lyrics and eclectic folk-inspired music. In 1987, she scored a hit with her second album ‘Solitude Standing’, featuring the track ‘Tom’s Diner’. The a capella track was later remixed by British dance producers DNA in 1991.’
weas: Since then?
brown: ‘In August 2006, Vega became the first major recording artist to perform live in the Internet-based virtual world, Second Life.’
weas: Well, that’s awkward. Am I right in thinking that finished her off?
brown: Wikipedia knows nothing of her subsequently.
weas: So she’s in no position to make critical comments. How’s it start?
rice: ‘I am sitting in the morning at the diner on the corner.’
weas: Good, that’s good. We can work with that. What’s the chorus?
rice: There isn’t one.
weas: There fucking better be one.
rice: She says ‘doo-doo doo-doo doo-doo doo-doo’
weas: Shut up. Brown, have we got an enormous sound system set up in this theatre?
weas: And is there a guy in the booth up there with ‘Tom’s Diner’ cued up and ready to play?
weas: Make him to play of it.
‘Tom’s Diner’ plays through the speakers with much clarity and volume
weas: Oh it’s this song. All right, we can work with this. All right, Pops, what does your artist’s voice tell you?
rice: I am sitting in the morning at the diner on the corner
I am waiting by the counter for the man to pour the coffee
and he fills it only halfway, but before I even argue
he is turning his attention to somebody coming in…
brown: That’s beautiful. They’re such rich, evocative lyrics. ‘I am waiting by the counter for the man to pour the coffee…’
brown: Because we’re all, each of us, really, waiting by the counter. Aren’t we?
weas: Yes we are.
brown: Waiting for the man to pour the coffee.
weas: It is a rich soup of evocative.
brown: Some people wait their whole life and he never pours that cup.
weas: Brown, you have a rope of drool down past your elbow. Now, the key selling point is obviously the video. Thoughts?
rice: Well I was thinking it should be like a Bjork video, or a Radiohead one, like really rich and imagery.
weas: Did you just say the clip should be ‘imagery’?
rice: It should have images in it.
weas: Can we manage to get any images in the video clip, Brown?
brown: Could squeeze some in, yeah.
weas: Okay, that’s your contribution, Pops. Now, you go over there and put on this dress, we’ll figure out the film.
rice: What’s this dress for?
weas: It is a red cocktail dress that will make you look like the contents of fifty thousand wet dreams overlaid on top of each other.
rice: I don’t want to look like mashed up wet dreams, I want to look natural. My manager says I shouldn’t become a sex symbol.
weas: Brown, what are the odds that Rice Pops is going to become a sex symbol?
brown: Without the red dress, not at all. With the red dress, about as sexy as the yellow robot from the Star Wars movies.
rice: I want to wear jeans and a beanie with flaps over my ears.
weas: You’re an indie artist in your own goddamn time. While you’re on a Major Label, you adopt Major Label ways. Now are you going to write some music for this song or not?
rice: I think it should be me and, like, interesting percussion.
weas: Yes, good. So you work on the interesting percussion over there.
rice: Well where’s the percussion equipment?
weas: Tell you what, you find some interesting shit, you hit it.
Rice Pops goes over there and hits some interesting shit.
weas: All right, Brown, I’ve got neurons firing. Bring me a kettle full of stimulus, let’s boil up a pot of creativity. What have we got?
brown: A magazine headline. It says ‘One Track Mind’.
weas: All right, so our video clip features a woman with a mind.
brown: A one track mind.
weas: That’s precisely the number of tracks her mind possesses. She’s driven and focused, but unable to assimilate new ideas. She’s unstoppable, but is she a force for good or for evil? Brown?
brown: Evil. Good. Okay, we’ve also got a picture cut out of a magazine of… a man’s head near a big toy spider.
weas: Spider. Spider. Symbol of fear. Eight leggedness. Symbol of being able to climb walls. And lay traps. Brown, our protagonist must embody these qualities.
brown: Having eight legs? I could get the octopus outfit…
weas: No, we’re not doing another music video starring the fucking octopus outfit. I hate that outfit. I’m talking about the spiritual qualities of the spider. Climbing walls, laying traps. Rice Pops is going to be a one track minded femme fatale who’s laying a trap for an unwitting male. She’s a bad girl. Are you with me?
brown: So the clip is Rice Pops laying a trap for a dude…
weas: That dude is you.
brown: I’m not a dude.
weas: I know you’re not a dude, Brown, which is why I’m suggesting you wear a fake moustache and a beanie. Now sort yourself out, I’m going to see how the Cereal Princess is getting on.
Weas goes to join Rice Pops.
weas: So let’s hear it. ‘Tom’s Diner’, as performed by Rice Pops:
Rice Pops has much unusual instrumentation.
rice: doo-doo-doo-doo, doo-doo doo-doo, I am sitting in the morning, I am hitting weird objects, I am waiting by the camera for someone to make me famous…
weas: Beautiful. Transcendental. What are you hitting?
rice: It’s unusual percussion.
weas: I guess it is. All right, I’ll take over hitting this stuff, you get over there with Brown and let’s get to filming. Now you’re a spider-esque femme fatale, stalking a guy. Brown is the object of your affection. Brown, wave.
rice: Brown’s a girl.
weas: She’s got a moustache and a beanie on.
rice: Why do we have to pretend that she’s a man? Maybe in the film clip my character is a lesbian.
weas: I don’t know if you really grasp the idea behind the art of the music video. The aim of the clip is to make you appear available and accessible. We want the viewer to believe that they could bone you at a minute’s notice. If you get with another girl on film, it will be to look as if you have low self esteem and want to appear hot for the boys, not because you’re actually gay. All right, first scene. We’ll use the mountain backdrop.
rice: But Brown doesn’t look anything like a man.
weas: Brown, look more manly. More. Even more. That’s too much. Okay, now make your shoulders and arms a little more effeminate, so you don’t look like you’re on ‘roids. Good. Okay, camera rolling. Opening shots, we’re in the mountains, it’s snowing, we see Brown. Brown, you’re some guy in the mountains in the snow.
brown: I am in the snow.
weas: We’ll get the CGI guys to add in some FX later to make you look less like a midcareeer transsexual. Camera swivels round, there is Rice Pops, through the trees, she is looking at Brown lustfully. Singing. Singing.
rice: Am I supposed to be walking through the snow wearing a red cocktail dress?
rice: Singing a song about how I’m standing in a diner with a cup of coffee?
rice: All right.
Weas plays the interesting instrumentation, rolls camera. Rice Pops stalks Brown through the snow.
rice: DOO-DOO DOO-DOO, DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO,
I am sitting in the morning at the diner on the corner
I am waiting by the counter for the man to pour the coffee…
brown: What am I supposed to be doing?
weas: She’s stalking you like a spider.
brown: Why am I in the mountains?
weas: You’re the man that’s being stalked by the woman in the video clip.
brown: That’s what she’s doing, that’s why she’s in the mountains. What am I doing?
weas: You’re doing what a man does. What do men do?
Brown does what men do.
weas: That’s good. Now do that, but in the mountains. Go.
rice: …and he fills it only half full, but before I even argue,
he is turning his attention to somebody coming in.
doo-doo doo-doo, doo-doo doo-doo…
weas: That’s fine. All right, second verse. Now you’re stalking him somewhere else, so we get to understand the depths of your obsession. Brown, get changed into a different outfit.
rice: Can I wear a different outfit?
weas: No, you’re too crazy and obsessed to change clothes. So the second scene happens at the opera. Brown, you go sit in the seats with the rest of the audience and look like you’re watching an opera. Brown, you look like a girl again.
rice: The beanie makes her look like a man.
weas: The box of cereal is right. Brown, keep the beanie on.
brown: I’m at the damn opera!
weas: You’re a man. Have you ever seen a man at the opera without his beanie on?
weas: That’s right. Go sit next to the most sophisticated people you can, get that opera vibe going.
Brown sits in the audience.
weas: Maybe you can talk with them about the opera you’re watching? Make it look natural. What does a man say when he’s at the opera with people?
brown: This is the opera. It is the opera.
audience members: It is.
weas: Now, Rice Pops. There he is, sitting in the crowd. Stalk him with your predatory love. Cameras rolling, here’s the music… Go!
rice: it is always nice to see you, says the man behind the counter
to the woman who has come in, she is shaking her umbrella
and I look the other way as they are kissing their hellos
and I’m pretending not to see them, and instead I pour the milk
doo-doo doo-doo, doo-doo doo-doo…
Weas’ phone on stage begins to ring. Presumably it is attached by a string to the director’s seat, and the director makes it shake whenever necessary. Weas goes to answer it.
weas: Keep going, keep going. Hi yeah?
It is a Director Cameo speaking from the audience (through a TUBE) or a cunning piece of stage-chicanery whereby Brown or Rice Pops speaks as Suzanne Vega (through a TUBE).
suzanne vega: Hi, it’s Suzanne Vega. Is this Ms Weasels?
rice: I open up the paper, there’s a story of an actor
who had died while he was drinking, it was no-one I had heard of
suzanne vega: I noticed that someone at your address looked at my Wikipedia page a few minutes ago… just wondering if there’s anything in particular you wanted to know, anything I could help you with?
rice: and I’m turning to the horoscopes, looking for the funnies
weas: Are you normally on the internet?
suzanne vega: These days I have the internet in my head. So what were you looking for, exactly?
rice: when I’m feeling somone watching me and so I raise my head
doo-doo doo-doo, doo-doo doo-doo…
suzanne vega: What was that? Is someone singing Tom’s Diner in the background there?
weas: Um… a little bit.
suzanne vega: A little bit because they’re in a bit of a singing mood, or a little bit because you’re covering my song and you’re recording the video clip while we speak?
rice: there’s a woman on the outside looking inside, does she see me?
no she does not even see me, she sees her own reflection
weas: More the second one, yeah.
suzanne vega: May I see?
rice: and I’m trying not to notice she is hitching up her skirt
weas: Well I mean we can send you a copy when we’ve finished-
suzanne vega: That won’t be necessary. I’ve hacked in to the security camera system for your studio, I’m looking at you now.
rice: while she’s straightening her stockings, her hair has gotten wet
doo-doo doo-doo, doo-doo doo-doo
weas: Guys, shh. Suzanne Vega is watching us through the internet.
suzanne vega: Please, don’t be afraid. I’m merely curious regarding your artistic intentions with my song. Carry on.
weas: Uh, okay. Pops, Brown, we’re going to jump to the end. Pops, you’re standing on one side of a busy street, in a shop.
rice: What kind of shop?
weas: The kind where you use your imagination to figure out what kind of shop it is and then don’t tell anyone. There’s Brown, the man you love, he’s on the other side of the street, in a cafe. You’re singing to him. You want him so badly. Sing it.
rice: Oh, this rain it will continue through the morning as I’m listening
To the bells of the cathedral…
weas: Now we see a girl come up to Brown, put her hand in his…
brown: What girl? Who’s the girl?
weas: Me, I’m the girl. Here. So you see us hug, we sit down at the cafe. Brown gets down on one knee and gives me a ring, oh no, he’s proposing to me. Brown, propose.
brown: Okay, I… I am wanting to become your husband now, please.
weas: Oh! I’d love to! Kisses kisses etcetera. So it’s clearly not going to work between the stalker and the dude. Close up on Rice, she’s still singing, with a whole bunch of sadness.
rice: I am thinking of your voice…
weas: Can your voice crack a little on the final chorus?
rice: …doo-doo doo-doo, doo-doo doo-doo…
weas: Wrenching. Now we see you buy something significant. We’ll film it through the glass and there’ll be rain beading on the glass and everything.
brown: Rain on the glass, like tears.
weas: Yes. And we see Rice Pops buy something to indicate her loss.
rice: Like I buy a knife to kill myself with?
weas: No, like something to comfort you.
brown: Teddy bears are comforting.
weas: That’s right, that’s meaningful. So you buy a teddy bear, and you walk out of the shop, and we see you walk off into the distance. Into the rain.
rice: It’s not raining.
weas: Brown, splash some water on her.
brown: Right you are.
Brown splashes some water on Rice Pops.
rice: Doo-doo doo-doo, doo-doo doo-doo…
The phone makes impatient noises.
weas: Ms Vega?
suzanne vega: Where is the young man?
weas: The young man?
suzanne vega: With the beanie and the moustache.
weas: Uh, Brown? Brown, Suzanne Vega wants to talk with you.
Brown takes the phone.
suzanne vega: Mr Brown, I like the cut of your jib. I have a proposal for you. Do you have a family? People who care for you?
brown: No, I mean, well I guess in effect I’m basically alone.
suzanne vega: So would there be anyone who might be offended if you were to appear in a… a blue movie? You see I’ve just received $540 million dollars from Universal Studios and the National American Space Agency to direct the first pornographic feature film in space. We’re looking at filming in about fourteen months’ time, so we need someone to start training straight away. Now this is strictly vanilla – no costumes, no props, no unexpected orifices. Just good, old-fashioned, heterosexual, missionary sex, in space. We’ve had Joanna Newsom lined up for six months now, but we haven’t seen a man we liked the look of until now. Are you on board?
suzanne vega: The limousine is waiting outside for you now. Come along now, Brown. Say farewell to your friends.
rice: Right about now! The funk soul brother! Check it out now! The funk soul brother! Right about now! The funk soul brother! Check it out now! The funk soul brother! Right about now! The funk soul brother! Check it out now! The funk soul brother! Right about now! The funk soul brother! Check it out now! The funk soul brother! Right about now! The funk soul brother! Check it out now! The funk soul brother! Right about now! The funk soul brother!
Anyway in 2006 Hadley went to work with Centrepiece Theatre, which is a theatre production company in Canberra, Australia, and using something called the Pulse Method, which Hadley can explain but I can’t, he wrote a play entitled …A Most Curious Dream.
Centrepiece performed it at the Street Theatre Studio in September 2006, and I was away and didn’t get to see it, but Hadley sent me the script and it was fucking mindblowing. I got up to scene 5 in one sitting and then had to get up and walk around the streets and try and blow off some steam and get to grips with how it was making me feel.
I took the liberty of writing a piece based on it, which is not intended to demean the original in any way, but it made me write and I couldn’t stop and anyway this is the result. I call it a remix because I don’t have a better name for it. Any thoughts at all please let me know.
Vampire Play was written in 2004 through the Canberra Youth Theatre Engagements Program. I was mentored by Sydney playwright Paschal Berry to create an original script based on undead gang warfare in the sewers and train stations under the streets of Canberra, Australia.
Production information for the 2004 Bohemian staging of Vampire Play. Includes cast lists, production photos, reviews, awards, and the Judges’ comments for the 2005 Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards Nomination. Also see offstage photos of the horror-show that is the crew.