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.
Drama Script (Stage) Award nomination
This is an edgy, original, funny, youth-oriented work, with a deeper underbelly. It is a mod-gothic fantasy of vampire gangs in the tunnels of Canberra fighting for life and territory. The form is very clever with the scene chronology radiating from the interval like a mirror – perfect for the contorted world and protocols of the vampire! Pop-cult influenced and market savvy, this play gives us an original vision and voice, appealing to fresh audiences. A writer to watch.
August 26th, 2004 From the review by Jorian Gardner
The cast were in the main excellent. Max Barker played Bones, the Tintin mad thousand year old vampire with great timing; Alison McGregor’s Karen Blacksmith goes from human to vampire and seems to enjoy it; barb barnett’s turn as The Finn is memorable – this is the second production I have seen barnett in recently where she has spoken not one word of English. Let’s hope producers don’t keep casting her like this, as she does have a lovely voice!, and Angus Nicholson, Jack Loyd, Rob Graf and Hanna Cormick suit their respective parts well.
However, the standout performance was from Gina Guirguis who, with a difficult and sometimes annoying character, managed to pull the piece together, and like Barker had well-timed comic moments. Guirguis is a girl who has a real future.
Vampire Gang president George Bekken (Gina Guirguis) and second president Bones (Max Barker).
August 20th, 2004
From the review by Alanna Maclean
If you are a fan of the undead Vampire Play should bring you out of your coffin.
David Finnigan’s script shows a certain daft charm as it meanders backwards through the tale of an alternative Canberra with an underground railway and a vampire problem somewhere around Dickson.
The play starts with the final scene and finishes with the first. It is amusingly disconcerting to see the result of an action before seeing the reason as we follow the story of vampire-gang warfare.
As the play ends (or begins) two survivors wait for dawn on a south coast beach. Karen Blacksmith (Alison McGregor) and George Bekken (Gina Guirguis) are glamorous creatures of the night. Not quite so glamorous is Manson Lane (Jack Lloyd), who was made a vampire then pushed off a mountain with a broken leg. He limps a lot. The fourth member of the gang is Bones (Max Barker) an ancient Conan the Vampire who develops a curious relationship with a Tintin comic.
barb barnett lurks around as The Finn – their nemesis – who only speaks Finnish, and Angus Nicholson, Hanna Cormick and Rob Graf pick up a range of strange supporting roles.
Sometimes this is all quite funny. Opening night’s audience found references to vampires in local places hilarious, as they did the notion that anyone would want to honeymoon in Canberra.
The Tapeworms: The Finn (barb barnett) and Gaius Caligula (Rob Graf)
2004 Southern Cross Players’ Canberra One-Act Festival
Max Barker, Best Actor
Jack Lloyd, Best Supporting Actor
Alison McGregor, nominated Best Actress Gina Guirguis, nominated Best Actress Vampire Play, nominated Best Play
David Finnigan, special commendation for script
Directed by Nick Johnson
Manson Lane Jack Lloyd George Bekken Gina Guirguis Karen Blacksmith Alison McGregor Bones Max Barker The Finn barb barnett Victim/Rubei Angus Nicholson Gwen Malkin Hanna Cormick Gaius Caligula Rob Graf
Program Muttley Sound Mick Bailey Lighting Nickamc Poster Rob Graf Make-up Tae Schmeisser Dramaturgy Paschal Berry Grafitti The ’96 Crew Photos ‘pling Translation Emma Markala Firetwirling Marty, Eve & Leah Live music Sam King & Vorn Doolette
The large proportion of these photos were taken by Nickamc during the 2004 Bohemian Productions run of Vampire, directed by Nick Johnson at the C-Block Theatre, Canberra.
ye various undeads – from left to right: Rob Graf (Gaius Caligula), Alison McGregor (Karen Blacksmith), Hanna Cormick (Gwen Malkin), barb barnett (The Finn), Gina Guirguis (George Bekken), Angus Nicholson (Rubei Kalishnakov), Max Barker (Bones) and Jack Lloyd (Manson Lane).
under stage lights
Gina Guirguis (Bekken) outside the C-Block Theatre
from left to right: sound guru Nickamc, director Nickyj (Nick Johnson) and Max Barker (Bones)
make-up artist Tae Schmeisser gives Bones his flavoursome Neolithic back-markings
post-rehearsal briefing – left to right: Angus Nicholson, Nickamc, Muttley, Mick Bailey, Finig-myself, Rob Graf
for some unhealthy reason, the actors decided to while away the time backstage grafittiing every surface that they could find, with a set of coloured chalk that they no doubt stole. Nickamc made a record of their virulent scribblings, which took approximately 2.2 years to scrape off the walls. Lesson: ACTORS ARE BAD PEOPLE.
It is the slave-fighting pits of the future. Scorched red sand, tyres, broken buildings. Cobweb enters (possibly on roller-blades). Cobweb is a slave gladiator.
cobweb O my lords and ladies of the Crab Empire – and especially to the Emperor’s concubine and chief assassin, Lady Reason, who has chosen to join us here in the slave-fighting pits tonight – I am Cobweb, highest among the Emperor’s enslaved gladiators, and tonight I fight my 115th duel – with my blessed electrified knife Sugarblade!
Cobweb holds aloft his knife. It crackles with electricity and charisma.
cobweb Who will be my foe tonight? A murderer, a debtor, a man guilty of sex crimes…?
Cobweb reads the printout.
cobweb ‘Name: Capital Dagoton. Crime: Heresy.’ All right then, Dagoton, let’s see what you-
Suddenly Cobweb is tackled from behind by an invisible foe. He barely escapes with his life.
cobweb So! Well, Dagoton, you stinking heretic, you’ll need more surprises than that to defeat me!
Cobweb duels with an invisible foe.
cobweb So then – guilty of heresy? I hope your god was worth it. What is his name?
Cobweb dodges and deflects missile attacks.
cobweb Does your god not have a name? Well then it will be easier to forget about him when you die and come face to face with my god – the man from Nazareth – the executed resurrected one – Jesus the Christ! With God on my side, I – ow!
Cobweb is stabbed in the foot.
cobweb Craven dog! What kind of scavenging pigeon stabs a man in his fo-
Cobweb is kicked in the face. (NOTE: by kicked in the face I mean kicked in the face really hard.)
cobweb God, he’s good. He’s… better than me. Can this be the end?
Jesus appears in a throb of spiritual holiness.
cobweb Oh blessed Prince of Mercy! My lord, my lord Jesus, you have hearkened to my prayers! Oh sweet The Christ, have you come to gather me into your arms? jesus No, my son, my blessed Cobweb. It is not yet time for you to receive my embrace. Rather I have come to aid you, to lend you my strength and wisdom in your battle with this unworthy soul. cobweb Oh lord, I fear this Capital Dagoton is too much for me – he is too quick, too clever and too strong. The day has come, as I always knew it would – I am ready to die, my Lord, I am ready to travel unto the fields of glory – to the last resting place of the true soldiers of God. jesus Why, Cobweb, you have fought more than 20 battles here in the slave pits – cobweb 115. jesus – 115 battles with your blessed weapon, Tony – cobweb Sugarblade. jesus – and in every one of those battles you and Sugarblade have emerged triumphant, to further demonstrate the glory of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Why now do you falter? Why do you not strike him down? cobweb His god – uh!
cobweb barely dodges the attacks of the invisible foe.
cobweb …his god is a potent force indeed – perhaps nearly as potent as you.
jesus reads the print-out.
jesus Says here he’s an atheist. cobweb What kind of a theist is an a-theist? jesus Not one at all. Atheists do not believe in the concept of theism in any guise. cobweb So sort of like an non-theist. Or an anti-theist. jesus Maybe an a-theist…? cobweb But how can he have no god? Look at him there, circling closer and closer. He looks like an ordinary man. He has hair, legs, a skeleton of some sort… how then can he have no god? jesus Look in his eyes. Stop backing away. Look in his eyes. cobweb His… eyes… jesus What do you see? cobweb A pair of eyes. jesus What’s behind that? cobweb His brain. jesus What’s behind that? cobweb The back of his skull. jesus What’s behind that? cobweb His ponytail. jesus Nothing! cobweb I don’t get you. jesus Stop backing away, Cobweb, he’s forcing you into a corner. Listen, you know what he has behind him? He has nothing behind him! cobweb Then where does his strength come from? Himself? (to the invisible foe) Well, Capital Dagoton, I have nowhere left to retreat. Stab me if you will, stab me 41 times with the sharp edge of a dinner-plate – those stabs will be sweeter than the finest coconut, for each stab will bring me closer to heaven- jesus Cobweb, you’re not surrendering. cobweb But he’s pinned me. jesus Wait. What’s behind you? cobweb The spider pit. jesus Me. You have the one true god on your team, which is me. This poor toss doesn’t even have a magical pixie to pray to. He literally doesn’t believe in anything. cobweb He’s fast. jesus He’s fast, you’re fucking superhuman! Do you dig me? He’s tough, you’re like a goddamn tank. Normally, this chump could probably kick your arse, but when you add a little bit of JC to the recipe, it’s like multiplying your power by a million infinities. cobweb Then you will lend me the strength to defeat him! jesus I will, I… potentially… cobweb I understand, my lord, you desire repayment. I will pray to you, six hours a day, until you are satisfied. No? More? Ten hours a day. No? What will it take to satisfy you? jesus You can’t. Ever. I want you praying more than all the time. I want you reminding yourself over and over that I’m better than you, smarter than you, tougher than you, nicer than you. There’s no limit to how much praise I can take, but you can start with all the time. Deal? cobweb And in return for continually exalting you and abasing myself in my mind, you will help me win this battle? jesus Not just this battle. All the other things I do for you. Think about all the things I do for you. cobweb …? jesus Self-confidence. I’m like that feather that elephant carried in his trunk that made him able to fly. cobweb What does Dagoton have to do for his god? jesus Atheists don’t have gods. Watch your side, he’s trying a lobster-twist!
Cobweb dodges and flees, desperately trying to avoid a murdering.
jesus So do we have a deal or not? Cobweb? cobweb It is too much for me, Jesus. I do not have the energy to dedicate myself so selflessly. It is time for me to die, and pass beyond the silvery veil into the pineapple plantations amongst the stars.
The invisible foe disarms Cobweb of Sugarblade. Cobweb sinks to his knees.
cobweb Very well, Dagoton, I am at your mercy. Strike me down if you will, and feed my body to the tiger-sheep. You see I am not afraid, for by killing me, you only hasten my ascension to Paradise, where I will cradled forever in the warm sweaty arms of my Lord. jesus Maybe. cobweb Maybe? I’m going to heaven, aren’t I? jesus I don’t know. Probably. When you’re dead, I’ll weigh up all your sins and shit, and we’ll see. I can’t decide before you’re actually dead. cobweb Why wouldn’t I go to Heaven? jesus Maybe because you shit me off, or you… covet… something. Heaps of reasons. cobweb Well then, Dagoton. My going to heaven is not as completely guaranteed as I thought, but nevertheless, I am not afraid. Strike me down and feed my body to the beef-lizards if you will. By killing me, you simply guarantee yourself a table at the Eternal Restaurant of Pain! jesus …probably. cobweb You’re going to send him to Hell, aren’t you? jesus I don’t know. Don’t pre-empt me, I’ll make up my mind when the time comes. cobweb Well then, Dagoton, God’s not entirely sure that you’re going to Hell when you die, but killing me here probably won’t count too much in your favour, so… jesus No, I do know, don’t accuse me of not knowing. I know everything that there is to know. I’m just… I don’t want to spoil… cobweb You don’t know where you’re going after you die, Dagoton. Not even the one true god knows what’s going to happen to you. jesus I do fucking know! cobweb No afterlife at all? Just dead? jesus Oh good, he’s getting a run up for the final stab. I can’t believe you, Cobweb. I come down from heaven – I mean I’m everywhere in the universe at the same time, but I manifest to help you – cobweb No judgment… jesus …offer you the deal of your wanking life, and you’d rather kneel there and get your throat cut like a damn salmon-hawk. Oh, god, here it comes.
The invisible foe charges at Cobweb. At the last minute Cobweb rolls to one side, grabs Sugarblade and gets to his feet.
cobweb All right, Jesus, it’s a deal! All the time you’re better than me! More than all the time! Nicer! Nicer than me! I have to win this fight, I don’t want to die. Speed me up, please! jesus Well now who are you grateful to? cobweb Jesus the Christ! I owe him for this fight and all the other fights I’ve won… jesus And everything else. Everything, the air you breathe and the earth you walk on and the feet you walk on it with – cobweb Yes, yes! Everything he does is great, but please, my muscles are too slow! I need your god-given speed! jesus It’s not your muscles that’s the problem, doofus, it’s your brain. Focus and slow down. Concentrate! Here we go, feel that Jesus mojo.
Jesus massages and caresses Cobweb. Cobweb slows down and starts moving in slow motion. He begins to parry and fence his invisible enemy with grace and precision.
jesus That’s better. Your reflexes are speeding up, you’re starting to see his moves before he makes them. Feel my hands here? I’m giving you good Jesus power in your slashing arm. cobweb That feels nice. jesus No sweat, little dude. All right, can I count it off? A-one two three four –
Cobweb starts bringing in kicks, punches, body-rolls, potentially breakdancing…
jesus Now you’re cooking. Go on – yeah, bitch! Again! cobweb You have nowhere left to retreat to, Dagoton! I can easily reach through the gap and slash you! Prepare to face your judgment! jesus That’s my baby, Cobweb, when you kill heretics you glow for your Jesus. cobweb With the power of the one true lord, Jesus the Christ, I drive you back! Hah! Heretic dog, you were foolish to deny the power of the Man from Nazareth! Now at last you learn the truth – as I slash you into tatters! jesus That’s it! Stab him in the balls! In his balls!
Cobweb manoeuvres the invisible foe so he is facing the crowd.
cobweb There now, Dagoton, you are at my mercy. Why don’t you tell us all before you die: do you truly now doubt that God is real? jesus Kick him in his mouth! cobweb Of course I’m certain. I hear his voice in my head, I feel his healing hands on my – at night his lips brush my – jesus Don’t talk to him, Cobweb, stamp on his frigging throat! cobweb No, not just in my head! Everywhere. He’s everywhere in the whole universe all at the same time. jesus Yes, that’s lovely, Cobweb, but if you could just – cobweb Magical stuff! I don’t know. Power, I guess… Jesus, what are you made of? jesus I’m going to be made out of your arse in a second, you snotty little punk. cobweb Because he made the whole universe, he can do what he wants. There was nothing, and then God made the whole universe, and now he’s everywhere all at the same time and he knows everything and he can do whatever he wants. jesus Cobweb, are you trying to convert this pussy? It’s too late, I don’t want him in the gang. I’ve made up my mind, he’s going to hell. Now finish him off. cobweb I don’t know who made god. Maybe a bigger god. jesus No! No bigger god! Listen to me, you fucking chimps! It’s simple: there was nothing, I made everything out of it, and I’ve always been here even when there was nothing. Now are you going to knife this douche or shall I sign you up for swimming lessons in the eternal lake of fire? cobweb Yes, yes I… All right, heretic, down on your shiny leg bones! In honour of the merciful lord Jesus the Christ, I shall now stab the heretic in the top of his head!
Cobweb readies himself for the execution blow. He considers.
cobweb Jesus, when I die I want to go where Dagoton’s going. No afterlife, just dead. jesus Everyone gets the afterlife, Cobweb, one of the two. cobweb How come one person’s opinion gets to decide our eternal fate forever? jesus Not ‘one person’, I’m the son of god. Actually, I am god. There’s three of us, but it’s all me, kind of- cobweb What gives you the right to judge anyone but yourself? jesus Because I died for everyone’s sins! cobweb What does that actually mean? Actually, seriously, what is that supposed to mean? No, don’t even start. I’m signing up to Dagoton’s god. jesus He doesn’t have a god. cobweb Then neither do I!
Cobweb spins around and stabs Jesus.
cobweb Jesus of Nazareth, I don’t believe in you. jesus You don’t believe in me? Well how are you going to stab a man THAT DOESN’T EXIST?
Jesus is unwounded. He laughs and backs away. The invisible foe stabs Cobweb.
jesus And now you’ve been stabbed. Well done, chump.
Cobweb puts up his hands, drops Sugarblade.
cobweb I yield! Ah, my lungs…
Cobweb is stabbed again. He falls to the ground.
cobweb Go on, Capital Dagoton. You’ve earned this victory, you don’t have to give the credit to any invisible monkey on your back… ah, and it’s cold… it’s very cold…
Cobweb dies. Cobweb wakes up.
cobweb Where am I? Why am I anywhere? I died. I’m dead…
Jesus strolls on.
jesus Well, well, well. Guess who’s in a lot of trouble… end
A collection of short sketches based around a break-up. I mostly scratched these in May 2007, while I was on the road driving around regional South Australia with actor Chrissie Shaw, touring a kid’s show (Flotsam & Jetsam) for Jigsaw Theatre Company and the Come Out Festival. There’s a few fragments (TV Guides, gift cards from craft shops) that give away the origins of these pieces, but mostly you can pick it because of what was on my headphones throughout the month.
Ali McGregor and Max Barker performed one of these pieces: (jackie-o motherfucker) as part of A La Mad Nix, their CYT Open House residency in the C-Block Theatre, June 2007. Much respect to them for making it look better than it probably was.
Joel Barcham and Julia Hetenyi did a good job with a bizarre (written by David Finnigan) performance piece which made fun of technical problems. Kudos to Julia for wearing a bikini. In winter. In Canberra. And she didn’t even shiver!
Joel Barcham and Julia Hetenyi as Weasel and Brown in BKu’s 2005 Duofest
BLACKOUT THERE IS NO LIGHT NO LIGHT IT’S BLACK BLACK BLACK OUT
What are you doing with that mirror, Weasel?
I’m reflecting the moonlight.
I’m reflecting the moonlight shining down on us right now, Brown.
the moonlight shining down from patchpoint 24. from patchpoint 24. the special with the blue gel.
there’s no moonlight, Weasel.
there’s no moonlight, brown. you’re right on the button there. unfortunately, this scene needs moonlight to progress. I was trying to subtly hint to the lighting crew to turn the moon on without making it too obvious that they’ve cocked up.
you’ve got to improvise around this stuff, Weasel.
I would improvise, I am improvising, it’s just hard to improvise in complete darkness.
we need to get their attention up in the bio box.
I’ve got it! worry not, Weasel old chum, I’ve got it covered!
what’s the idea?
I’ve figured out a way to repair this cock-up using LEGITIMATE THEATRE. this is a little trick I call audience participation. Okay, boys and girls, it looks like God has fallen asleep on the job and forgot to make the moon come up. We’d better wake him up. Okay, on the count of three, we’re all going to say together: “Wake up, Mr God!” All right, when I count three, everyone as loud as you can. One, two, three: WAKE UP, MR GOD!
I coulda told you that was going to happen. Nup, we’ll have to throw something at them. Here. Throw this.
Throw it at the bio box?
What is it?
Don’t keep hold of it, fool, throw it now!
there is a scream from the tech box. lights come up for a moonlight beach scene. brown is dressed in swimming gear.
Now that’s improvisation.
No it’s not. That whole scene was in the script.
No it wasn’t.
Yeah it was. I’ll show you, gimme your script.
what are you talking about? I don’t carry my script on stage.
yeah you do, it’s right here.
No it’s not. No it’s not. Brown, get off, get off me!
brown wrestles weasel’s script out of his coat.
Fine. I can’t improvise, is that what you want to hear? that whole scene was scripted. these lines right now are scripted. I can’t walk on stage without a script in my coat. Are you happy? can we start the scene? top of page 3. Brown says: “What are you doing with that mirror, Weasel?”
What are you doing with that mirror, Weasel?
reflecting the moonlight.
Somewhere out on that water is a patrol boat for the Australian coast-guard. they’re on the lookout for smugglers. when they see evidence of a smuggling operation they’re obliged to investigate. Now when they see me flashing this light, they’re going to assume I’m guiding in a smuggling boat. They’re going to come and investigate.
What do we tell them when they get here?
I don’t think it’ll come to that, Brown. this particular cove is full of sharp, sharp rocks. if they try to land their patrol boat, it’ll be smashed to smithereens.
You might say – they’re in for a sharp surprise.
Hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah! Good one, Brown! Now start warming up. I want you in the water as soon as we net ourselves a fishy.
There is the crunching sound of a ship being eaten by rocks.
Go on, Brown! Get out there!
Brown lunges into the aisle between the audience. she slithers on her belly down to the back where she wets her head in a bucket of water. lying half drowned by the bucket of water is a sailor. Brown grabs the sailor by the neck and struggles back to Weasel with him. the sailor gets to his knees and coughs up water, choking and spluttering.
Thank you, oh god thank you, you’ve saved my life!
weasel sprays the sailor in the face with capsicum spray.
nice catch, Brown. he’s a big one, looks healthy and fit. now let’s saw him open and get out his kidneys.
skin him, Brown! we’re going to slice out his inner organs and sell them on the black market. that’s the business we’re in.
fuck em all! don’t sell sell sell that shit to me! you know you got my sympathy but don’t spin spin spin that crap at me-
screw you, cripple.
very slowly, weasel raises a finger and points it in brown’s face. she opens her mouth to speak but is frozen as he pushes his finger into her open mouth. he doesn’t touch her teeth/tongue/anything, his fingertip is just there.
it’s my index finger, brown. if you’re such a big girl, why don’t you – bite – it – off?
she is tipped backwards and forced to her knees.
not nice. not nice. you know julia really didn’t enjoy rehearsing this bit of the scene. she did not like it one bit. after a little while I started to get into it. are you enjoying it?
weasel releases brown and she stares up happily.
you’re my best friend, weasel. my very best.
thank you, Brown. you’re… quite good as well. now how about cutting this sucker open?
we move forward!
keep on rocking every day!
we move forward!
keep on rocking every day!
bodies, brown. bodies, bodies, bodies.
brown repeats bodies, bodies, bodies in a steady rhythm and weasel raps over the top.
bodies, brown. fields of corpses. bodies up and bodies down. bodies twitching and bodies clicking and bodies grooving and bodies dead. bodies, brown. fields of corpses. women picking through the rubble pulling out their hair. insects digging under the skin and ants go marching over the bodies. cracking bodies, squirming bodies, dead flesh up and the spirit down. food goes in and clothes come off and babies sprout out and babies are bodies are babies are bodies… Go, Brown.
Bodies for the underclass!
bodies for the telepaths!
the people – united – shall never be the bodies!
the old get old and the young get stronger
may take a week and it may take longer
they got the guns but we got the bodies
we want the world and we want it-
weasel lights a water-pipe and takes a long, bubbling drag.
Benjamin Hamey as Annon Caesar and Jack Lloyd as Monty Coven in w3w3
January 2003. Bohemian‘s sixth production was a double-bill of George Huitker’s Spitting Image, directed by Nickyj, and w3 w3lcome the future, directed by myself. w3w3 went through a few incarnations in the few weeks between it being written and it being staged. First it was a one-off piece set in a newsagents’, then it grew to be a ridiculous grab bag of sampled texts taken from a huge swathe of writers. At last a narrative grew out of that collection of samples, and a road trip story was grafted over the top of it.
Nevertheless, it was fairly criticised for stealing wholesale from other writers and not crediting them properly. A quote or a reference is cool, but this was a few steps away from being a pastiche of other people’s work. For which I am sorry. But on the other hand, this is still one of my favourite pieces, something that failed horribly to attract any audience (or any sympathy from the audience that did see it) but let me play with a few of the ideas that scratch at my brain constantly.
Monty Coven – Jack Lloyd
Annon Caesar – Benjamin Hamey
Mrs Caesar – Nick McCorriston
Dr Jerome – Chris Rooks
Mr Engine – Chris Finnigan
Adolf Hitler – David Shaw
The GURU – Sam Burns-Warr
Stage manager – Kim Gorter
Lighting – Andrew Brightman
Sound – Gabe Sheehan
Slides – Tim Martin
Poster design – George Craig
Set design – Rob Graf and Kim Gorter
poster design by George Craig
We We3c60e the f4t4re
the original. Harold stops into the newsagents’ before leaving for seminary school for one last chat with his beloved Anna… I scrawled in one awful hit some night in 2002. The computer screwed up while saving it and turned half the letters in to numbers – an innovation which I approved of and promptly exapted.
a disconnected stream of sampled pieces, featuring extracts from John Buchan, Brian Stableford, Tad Williams, Brian Aldiss, Jeff Noon, Jack Kerouac, and Seasonal Records by senor Nickamc. Eventually one of these pieces (Stigmatica by Jeff Noon) formed into the narrative spine of the play and the rest of the pieces dropped off or fashioned themselves around this new skeleton, resulting in
w3 w3lcome the future
The script as it was performed in 2003, including the reinclusion of Trombone, a part which had to be absorbed into the Hitler character due to Mick Bailey being the Man Who Hates Fun.
Muttley as former warlord turned travelling blind organ salesman and mystic Adolf Hitler, Jack Lloyd as diseased criminal Montgomery Coven, and Sam Burns-Warr as Canberra’s Guru, warming up before w3w3
These two short plays make an interesting comparison; one with its anarchic and surreal vision of the future and the other based in the reality of simple relationships. We welcome the future is a vigorous and brave attempt at showing that nothing much changes in the future – even petty crime is the same. There are nice images in this play, but it still needs a lot of work. The simpler the text and idea, the more difficult it is to create an economic script. This text seems to include every idea that popped up. Slash and burn and dramaturg like mad and this could be a good little play. Stella Wilkie, Muse, March 2003
From left: writer (kinda) / director David Finig rubbing at his facial sores, Chris Rooks as master chef Trimalchio, Chris Finnigan as the weary grinding motor Mr Engine and Benjamin Hamey as pure-of-heart fungi devouring protagonist Annon Caesar in w3w3 – photo by Nickamc, who also played Annon’s charming and deluded mother