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Victory March

image by frosty

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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.

Download Victory March as a Word doc.
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jackie-o motherfucker – hey mr sky
…and I simply am not good enough for you…

a silver mt zion – 13 angels standing guard round the head of your bed
Kiss my mouth. They said we couldn’t do two weeks. Another one. My mouth.

jim o’rourke – halfway
I think you got the wrong idea.

smashing pumpkins – eye
I’m not enjoying it. I don’t like it.

eats tapes
it doesn’t take a rolls royce to figure that one out, does it?

wormsign
She didn’t ask. I didn’t know what she wanted me to tell her.

black sun empire – geiger counter
New relationship, new friends, but you’re still weak.

amos milburne – nobody’s fault but mine
After that melodramatic note, how could I not?

brothersister – hum
fucked her up worse.

hello mr sky. hello hey man.
Or what were we even together for?

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Was there someone there when you most needed someone?

dirty three – some things I just don’t want to know
It’s been really awkward.

kid 606 – sugarcoated
Your Guardian Angel has to report to YOU-KNOW-WHO!

this before but also that
I just, I’m disappointed in the zoo and aquarium.

DJ Olive – take it to the corner
A silent but deadly psychological war is waged behind Sarah’s back. The potential for explosive violence is at every corner. G. Mild Themes.

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weasel and brown on the beach

Download Weasel and Brown on the Beach as a Word doc.

Produced in 2005 as part of BKu‘s Duofest. From Emma Gibson’s CityNews review:

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

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BLACKOUT THERE IS NO LIGHT NO LIGHT IT’S BLACK BLACK BLACK OUT

 

brown

What are you doing with that mirror, Weasel?

 

weasel

I’m reflecting the moonlight.

 

brown

What moonlight?

 

weasel

I’m reflecting the moonlight shining down on us right now, Brown.

 

brown

What moonlight?

 

weasel

the moonlight shining down from patchpoint 24. from patchpoint 24. the special with the blue gel.

 

brown

there’s no moonlight, Weasel.

 

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.

 

brown

you’ve got to improvise around this stuff, Weasel.

 

weasel

I would improvise, I am improvising, it’s just hard to improvise in complete darkness.

 

brown

we need to get their attention up in the bio box.

 

weasel

precisely.

 

brown

I’ve got it! worry not, Weasel old chum, I’ve got it covered!

 

weasel

what’s the idea?

 

brown
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!

 

nothing.

 

weasel

I coulda told you that was going to happen. Nup, we’ll have to throw something at them. Here. Throw this.

 

brown

What’s this?

 

weasel

Throw it at the bio box?

 

brown

What is it?

 

weasel

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.

 

weasel

Now that’s improvisation.

 

brown

No it’s not. That whole scene was in the script.

 

weasel

No it wasn’t.

 

brown

Yeah it was. I’ll show you, gimme your script.

 

weasel

what are you talking about? I don’t carry my script on stage.

 

brown

yeah you do, it’s right here.

 

weasel

No it’s not. No it’s not. Brown, get off, get off me!

 

brown wrestles weasel’s script out of his coat.

 

weasel

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?”

brown

What are you doing with that mirror, Weasel?

 

weasel

reflecting the moonlight.

 

brown

why?

 

weasel

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.

 

brown

What do we tell them when they get here?

 

weasel

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.

 

brown

You might say – they’re in for a sharp surprise.

 

weasel

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.

 

weasel

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.

 

Sailor

Thank you, oh god thank you, you’ve saved my life!

 

weasel sprays the sailor in the face with capsicum spray.

 

weasel

nice catch, Brown. he’s a big one, looks healthy and fit. now let’s saw him open and get out his kidneys.

 

brown

you what?

 

weasel

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.

 

brown

weasel, I’m not cutting open a live human.

 

weasel

why not? morals, compassion, nervousness, embarrassment, legality, love?

 

brown

all of them

 

weasel

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-

 

brown

screw you, cripple.

 

weasel

oh yeah?

 

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.

 

weasel

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.

 

weasel

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.

 

brown

you’re my best friend, weasel. my very best.

 

weasel

thank you, Brown. you’re… quite good as well. now how about cutting this sucker open?

 

brown

for sure!

 

weasel

we move forward!

 

brown

yes forward!

 

weasel

keep on rocking every day!

 

brown

we move forward!

 

weasel

yes forward!

 

brown

keep on rocking every day!

 

weasel

bodies, brown. bodies, bodies, bodies.

 

brown repeats bodies, bodies, bodies in a steady rhythm and weasel raps over the top.

 

weasel

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.

 

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

Now.

 

weasel lights a water-pipe and takes a long, bubbling drag.

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w3 w3lcome the future

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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.

Personnel

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.

We Welcome
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.

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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

Review

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

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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

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trench becoming supermarket

prectaution The concept that there is a tree you can climb, at the top of which there are other worlds. For instance, this week there might be the Land of Do-What-You-Like, where all your desires are catered for. Next week there be Topsy Turvy land where the ground constantly shifts and quakes.

I climbed the tree to see what was at the top of it. When I crept through the hole I came into a thin trench from the western front of world war one. A soldier stood on a platform with a rifle poking over the edge of the trench. The trench stretched away perfectly straight in both directions as far as I could see.

 

the soldier fires, pauses, fires, pauses, fires, pauses, fires. turns slowly to face prec.

 

prec Where’s this place? This place is not a place I know and I don’t know where it is.

soldier This is world war one. We are fighting the Hun.

prec You and who else? Where’s the rest of the army?

soldier Twenty metres that way up the trench there is another Tommy. Down that direction about twenty metres there is another Tommy. This is my strip of trench. No-Man’s-Land is this direction. On the other side of No-Man’s-Land is a trench with a German soldier in it. He is my foe. I fight him without retirement or replacement for more time than there is in my memory.

prec What about behind? The other direction to No-Man’s-Land. Towards home.

soldier Diffficult.

prec You don’t know.

soldier It’s difficult to know.

prec All right, that’s enough exploration for me. Wait, where the fuck has the hole gone? The land’s moved on. I’m stuck here.

 

the soldier fires, pauses, fires, pauses, fires, pauses, fires. turns slowly to face prec.

 

prec All right, do you know which direction is home base?

soldier Know?

prec Know. Know. Possess knowledge of. Know?

soldier No.

prec This way, then?

soldier I don’t know. It’s difficult to know.

prec For you, clearly.

 

prec walks down the trench and leaves the soldier behind.

 

prec Now twenty metres down the trench is another soldier.

 

the soldier fires, pauses, fires, pauses, fires, pauses, fires. turns slowly to face prec.

 

soldier This is world war one. We are fighting the Hun.

prec It is in fact the same soldier I just met.

soldier Twenty metres that way up the trench there is another Tommy. Down that direction about twenty metres there is another Tommy. This is my strip of trench.

prec It looks like the other strip of trench.

soldier No-Man’s-Land is this direction. On the other side of No-Man’s-Land is a trench with a German soldier in it. He is my foe.

prec Then why don’t you try to kill him instead of just standing there taking pot-shots?

soldier I fight him without retirement or replacement.

prec Good luck, then.

 

prec walks down the trench and leaves the soldier behind.

 

prec Now twenty metres down the trench is another soldier.

 

the soldier fires, pauses, fires, pauses, fires, pauses, fires. turns slowly to face prec.

 

soldier This is world war one. We are fighting the Hun.

prec Every twenty metres is the same strip of trench, looped over and over. Every twenty metres a British soldier facing a German soldier opposite. All the same features, all identical clones. I gave up trying to get any sense out of them.

 

prec climbs up into No-Man’s-Land.

 

soldier It’s dangerous in No-Man’s-Land. No man is supposed to be on that land.

prec Good luck to me, then. No-Man’s-Land is some generic looking barbed wire, some mud and some broken tree branches. Stumble across twenty metres of that, and…

 

prec falls into the German trench.

 

soldier This is world war one. We are fighting the British.

prec You look like the British.

soldier We are fighting the British.

prec You’re speaking English to me.

soldier Twenty metres that way up the trench there is another German soldier. Down that direction about twenty metres there is another German soldier. This is my strip of trench. No-Man’s-Land is this direction. On the other side of No-Man’s-Land is a trench with a British soldier in it.

prec Is he your foe, by any chance?

soldier He is my foe. I fight him without retirement or replacement for more time than there is in my memory.

prec I am starting to feel more than a little bit concerned. I keep walking down the German trenches this time. Same situation – a strip of trench with repeated German soldier motif every twenty metres. But I keep walking. And gradually, very gradually, over hours or maybe I think days, the trench starts to turn into a supermarket aisle.

It’s very subtle, there’s no point where you could say it definitively stops being a world war one trench, but after a while I am clearly walking down a supermarket aisle packed with grocery items. I even start to see other shoppers. There’s still the occasional soldier guarding against his opposite number in a different supermarket aisle, but they’re few and far between. I’m walking through Muesli and Cereal. If I wanted I could buy the home brand equivalent of Kellogg’s Special K, known here as Special Flakes. I do want some Special Flakes. It’s been too long.

sickness in the dark

Sickness in the dark was written in November 2007 for the Best of the Slams Poetry Evening at the Front Cafe. The texts I have sampled, in order of appearance:

Roald Dahl – The Witches (1983) the beginning of the Grand High Witch’s speech to the assembled witches of England
J.R.R. Tolkien – The Hobbit (1937) from Chapter 6: Riddles in the Dark, in which Bilbo finds the Ring in the caverns under the Misty Mountains
David Finig – A Most Curious Dream (eight and a half pesos mix) (2006)
David Finig – Disease Play (2007)
David Finig – Food court disease computer game (2007)
ID Software – Cheat codes to Doom (1993)
Lew Welch – I Saw Myself (1956) poem written several days prior to a severe nervous breakdown

You can download an extract of the performance here:
blind – the grand high witch.mp3 (5:24, live Nov 2007 at Front Cafe)
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The doors – are they chained and bolted?

you may remove your gloves! you may remove your shoes! you may remove your wigs! remove your wigs and get some fresh air into your spotty scalps!

witches of england! witches of england! miserable witches! useless lazy witches! feeble fribbling witches! you are a heap of idle good for nothing worms!

I am having my breakfast this morning and I am looking out the window at the beach, and what am I seeing? I am asking you, what am I seeing? I am seeing a repulsive sight! I am seeing hundreds, I am seeing thousands of rotten repulsive little children playing on the sand! it is putting me right off my food! Why have you not got rid of them? Why have you not rubbed them all out, these filthy smelly children?

I am asking you why?

Children smell! They stink out the world! One child a week is no good to me! Is that the best you can do? I demand maximum results! So here are my orders! My orders are that every single child in this country shall be rubbed out, squashed, squirted, squittered and frittered out before I come here again in one year’s time! Do I make myself clear?
(when bilbo opened his eyes)
Who said that? Who dares to argue with me? It was you, was it not?
(when bilbo opened his eyes he wondered if he had)
You dared to argue with me!
(for it was just as dark with them shut)
A witch who dares to say I’m wrong
Will not be with us very long

(when bilbo opened his eyes)
An idiotic witch like you
Must roast upon the barbeque!

(he wondered if he had)
A foolish witch without a brain
Must sizzle in the fiery flame!

(when bilbo opened his eyes he wondered if he had for it was just as dark with them)
A STUPID WITCH WHO ANSWERS BACK
MUST BURN UNTIL HER BONES ARE BLACK!

When Bilbo opened his eyes, he wondered if he had; for it was just as dark with them shut.

Very slowly he got up and groped about on all fours, till he touched the wall of the tunnel; but neither up nor down it could he find anything; nothing at all, no sign of goblins, no sign of dwarves.

He guessed as well as he could, and crawled along for a good way, till suddenly his hand met what felt like a tiny ring of cold metal lying on the floor of the tunnel. It was a turning point in his career, but he did not know it. He put the ring in his pocket almost without thinking; certainly it did not seem of any particular use at the moment. Down here, nothing moves except one drop of water which drips
drops
drip
drop drop
drop

Deep down here by the dark water lived old Gollum, a small slimy creature. I don’t know where he came from, nor who or what he was. He was a Gollum – as dark as darkness, except for two big round pale eyes in his thin face. He had a little boat, and he rowed about quite quietly on the lake; for lake it was, wide and deep and deadly cold. On that lake, nothing moved except one drop of water which dripped
drop
drip
drop drop
drop
It spells out D.A.N.K. in morse and it drips from puddle to puddle never at
drip
drip drip
drop
drip drip

He paddled it with large feet dangling over the side, but never a ripple did he make. He was looking out of his pale lamp-like eyes for blind fish, which he grabbed with his long fingers, throttled them and it drips
drops
drip
drop drop
drop
and it drops from puddle to puddle never at
drop
drop
and it drops from puddle to puddle never at

Gollum: Bless us and splash us, my preciousss! What is it? I guess it’s a choice feast; at least a tasty morsel, gollum! Perhaps we sits here and chats with a bit, precious. Perhaps…
What has roots that nobody sees
Is taller than trees
up up it goes
and yet never grows?

DOWNSTAIRS IN THE CITY CLUB – KAREOKE NIGHT – DO WE HAVE A MICHAEL Z IN THE HOUSE? GIVE IT UP FOR MICHAEL Z!

That’s Cancer – sitting at a table downstairs in the City Club – and that’s Smallpox. Two of the human species’ worst enemies sitting having a drink downstairs in the City Club –

MICHAEL Z’S ONE OF OUR FAVOURITE PERFORMERS ON KAREOKE NIGHT – HE’S GONNA KICK IT OFF WITH CORNERSHOP’S ‘BRIMFUL OF ASHA’, GO MICHAEL Z!

this is Cancer. this is Smallpox.

Cancer: So I’m stirring the cream into my coffee, and she’s just sitting there with a folder on her knees, not saying anything. And I’m not saying anything. I wasn’t about to talk first.
Smallpox: No, it’s bad policy to talk first. They should understand that.
Cancer: Well most of them do. Most of them know that to even meet with one us is pretty serious business. So they do their research, they bring all the information, and usually all you have to do is agree on a price. This girl, I don’t know what the fuck she thought she was doing.
Smallpox: How’d she get in touch with you?
Cancer: TB. She had TB when she was a kid, and she kept his details after they antibioted him.

What has roots that nobody sees

Smallpox: So what did she want with you?
Cancer: Well that’s what blew my mind. When she finally does speak up, she tells me she wants to hire me to tackle a city for a month. A city. For a month. I said ‘Girl, I’m Cancer.’ She said ‘I know.’
Smallpox: She clearly doesn’t know, if she wants you for a month.

Is taller than trees
up up it goes

Cancer: I said what can I do in a month? Start a few tumours, get the ball rolling here and there, but then what? I’m a craftsman. I do good work, irreversible work. But it takes time. What am I supposed to do in month – to a whole city? I can’t just run over the rooftops dropping tumours down the chimney into everybody’s christmas stockings.
Smallpox: If she wants a city she should have spoken to Pneumonia.
Cancer: Or you. I told her, why not speak with Smallpox? You come in to town, forty hours later everyone’s dripping with sores. Forty hours again, gutters lined with bodies.
Smallpox: Not quite that effective…
Cancer: No, take the praise. You’re good at what you do.

and yet never grows?

Cancer: I’ve always said, Smallpox is an artist.
Smallpox: Thank you.
Cancer: No thanks required.

Riddles were all Gollum could think of. Asking them and guessing them, had been the only game he had ever played in the long, long ago, before he lost all his friends and was driven away, alone, and crept down, down, into the dark under the mountains.

Bilbo: Easy! Mountain.
Gollum: Easy? Does it guess easy? Then it must have a competition with us, precious. If it asks us, and we doesn’t answer, then we does what it wants, eh? We shows it the way out, yes! But if we asks, and it doesn’t answer – we eats it, my precious.

Smallpox: So what did she say?
Cancer: She said she wanted to speak with a couple of other people before she made any decisions.
Smallpox: Do you know who else she’s speaking with?
Cancer: HIV.
Smallpox: Serious?
Cancer: Pretty sure.

– Dear Michael Z. I am stuck in the City Club on kareoke night. I have infected the bartender but I can’t make him come out from behind the bar to infect anyone else.

Smallpox: This girl must be offering something pretty special to get HIV to the table.
Cancer: She is.
Smallpox: Do you mind if I…?
Cancer: I’m not going to tell you.
Smallpox: Fair enough. But HIV…

– Dear Moran, the bartender never leaves the bar, no matter what you do. To spread the infection, you have to inject a spray of germs into the beer glass as he is pouring it. When you’ve infected the beer drinker, get him to request a song for kareoke, and jump from his lips to the microphone. From the microphone, you can infect more than half of the Club by jumping into their mouths when they come up to sing.

YEAH, GIVE IT UP FOR MICHAEL Z! ALL RIGHT, WE’RE GONNA GET MICHAEL Z BACK UP ONSTAGE LATER ON TONIGHT TO SING A LITTLE BIT OF JOHN CAGE, BUT RIGHT NOW, CAN YOU PLEASE WELCOME DIORRHEA TO THE STAGE! HERE YOU GO, UP YOU GET. THIS IS DIORRHEA’S FIRST TIME SINGING KAREOKE, SO LET’S GIVE HER A BIG CHEER AS SHE PERFORMS AN OLD CLASSIC BY JRR TOLKIEN – TAKE IT AWAY, DIORRHEA!

Voiceless it cries,
Wingless flutters,
Toothless bites,
Mouthless mutters
.

– Dear Michael Z, I have just passed 20,000 infected victims and I’ve got enough experience to level up to Epidemic status, but how can I increase my infection rate? I’ve boosted all my virulence points so I can infect people through skin contact, but the infection is growing so slowly that I keep being quarantined. Are there any cheat codes I can use?

– Dear Retard, why are you made of fail? There are cheats which can boost your infection range, but you don’t need them. At the moment, your germs are being carried on and delivered by physical contact with infected people. There are a heap of other ways your germs can spread, and the most effective one if you need to get through quarantine barriers… I’ll give you a clue. Right at the beginning of the game when you’re stuck in the cave under the mountain, the gollum thing asks you a riddle. Do you remember the riddle?

Voiceless it cries,
Wingless flutters,
Toothless bites,
Mouthless
for fuck’s sake, the answer is wind. Wind cries but it doesn’t have a voice, it doesn’t have any wings but it flutters… Clear? Just keep mutating and experimenting with your 20,000 victims until you come up with a strain of germ which can survive being carried on the wind.

– Dear Michael Z. I cannot become a legendary epidemic because I am stuck under the mountain right in the beginning of the game and I can’t answer Gollum’s last riddle. Is there a cheat that gives you the answer?

– Dear black underscore angel 39 at hotmail dot com, do you seriously need a cheat to solve
This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grind hard stones to meal
;

Smallpox: You know Anorexia and Parkinson’s told me that last job HIV did, she got paid 900 square kilometres of temperate forest?
Cancer: Can we not talk about her, please?
Smallpox: Yeah, no, forget about her.

Slays king, ruins town;
And beats high mountain down
.

Smallpox: She’s been lucky, that’s all she’s got going for her.
Cancer: Don’t bullshit me, Smallpox. She’s brilliant.
Smallpox: Yeah.

Slays king, ruins town;

Cancer: She’s not coming tonight, is she?
Smallpox: Christ no. She hates kareoke and she can’t sing for

drip
drop
drop drop
Slays
drip
ruins town;
drop drop
And beats high mountain
from puddle to puddle never at
drip
drip
and it drips from puddle to puddle never at rest

Gollum: Well, is it answering?
Bilbo: I’m thinking – who slays kings and beats mountains –
Gollum: Is it nice, my preciousss? Is it juicy?
Bilbo: Half a minute, I’m-
Gollum: Is it crunchable?
Bilbo: Give me more time! Time! It is time! It is time.
Gollum: It’s got to ask uss a quessstion, my preciouss, yes. Jusst one more question, yes, gollum.

– Dear Michael Z, is there a cheat to give you a riddle question that Gollum can’t solve?

As Gollum’s hissing grew closer and sharper, Bilbo imagined he could see two small points of light peering at him, Gollum’s hunger burning in his eyes with a pale flame. Bilbo was desperate. He must get away, out of this horrible darkness. He must think of a riddle.

– Dear arse ream anal fuck, since you can’t play a game without cheating your way through every single challenge and puzzle – get your pen ready – here are the cheats:

Bilbo: Thirty white horses – uh – a box without hinges and three legs… What have I got in my pocket?
Gollum: Not fair! not fair! It isn’t fair, my precious, is it, to ask us what it’s got in its nassty little pocketses?

– IDDQD – god mode.

Bilbo: What have I got in my pocket?
Gollum: S-s-s-s-s…. It must give us three guesseses, my precious, three guesseses.
Bilbo: Very well! Guess away!

– IDKFA – weapons, keys, armour, ammo.

Gollum: Handses!
Bilbo: Wrong. Guess again!

Gollum was more upset than ever. He thought of all the things he kept in his own pockets: fish-bones, goblins’ teeth, wet shells, a bit of bat wing, a stone to sharpen his fangs on, he tried to think what other people kept in their pockets.

Gollum: S-s-s-s-s… Knife!
Bilbo: Wrong! Last guess.

– IDSPISPOPD – no clipping. walk through walls. the world is your oyster.

Gollum: String, or nothing!
Bilbo: Both wrong. Now what about your promise? Show me the way out.
Gollum: Yes. Yes. But what has it got in its pockets? Not string, precious, but not nothing. gollum! My birthday present. My birthday present, my precious, what has it got in its pocketssss? What has it got in its pocketses? Oh we guess, we guess, my precious. He’s found my birthday present. Curse it! Thief, thief, thief! Baggins! We hates it, we hates it, we hates it for ever!

I saw myself

a ring of bone
in the clear stream
of all of it
and vowed,

always to be open to it
that all of it
might flow through

and then heard
“ring of bone” where

ring is what a

bell does

.

back to writings

Saint Paul and the Cigarettes

SAINT PAUL AND THE CIGARETTES

Synopsis
In 36 AD, Saul of Tarsus converts to a new messianic Jewish religion after an epiphany on the road to Damascus. From being a persecutor of the Jews, Saul becomes Paul, the first and greatest evangelist of the new religion of Christianity. Gathering all of Jesus of Nazareth’s surviving disciples and associates, Paul founds the first Christian church, commissions the writing of the Gospels and begins a relentless campaign to proselytise the new religion throughout the entire Roman Empire.

In 1966 AD, Australian garage band The Cigarettes are jamming in the suburbs of Sydney, desperately apeing the Beatles and the Stones and trying to get a single decent gig. The Easybeats just got on ABC’s Bandstand, The Master’s Apprentices have a song on US radio – The Cigarettes don’t have a chance. Dejected and defeated, they are taken by suprise when Saint Paul bursts through a portal from the past and offers them a radical proposal: he will take on the struggling three-piece as manager IF they come back in time with him to 60 AD and help him spread the gospel to the people of Rome.

What unfolds is the extraordinary true story of a trio of teen rockstar wannabes from the eastern suburbs, transformed into the world’s first Christian rock band. Set in the bustling metropolis of early imperial Rome, from the lawless marketplaces to the decadent palaces, we follow Paul’s struggle to bring his fledgling superstars to their triumphant first stadium gig in the Colosseum. With opposition from rival religious groups, fellow Christians, Roman authorities and the Emperor Nero himself, The Cigarettes must struggle to make it to their first gig alive.

Amidst a backdrop of cults, mystics, philosophers, tyrants and criminals, Paul applies every trick of the pop impresario to save his church and his band from going under and spread his message to the world.

What is this show?
Saint Paul and the Cigarettes is an interrogation of the rise of the manufactured popstar, from the Monkees to the Backstreet Boys to One Direction. At the same time, it is an exploration of the extraordinary beginnings of the Christian church, a story of the birth and rise of humankind’s most successful religion. It’s a behind-the-scenes tour documentary and a historical drama set in the birthplace of modern European civilisation. It’s The CommitmentsAND I, Claudius AND One Direction: This Is Us at the same time. At last.

How does the time travel work?
It doesn’t matter.

Do you know what you’re talking about?
Yes. I have a Bachelor of Arts (Ancient History) from the Australian National University, specialising in Religions in Roman Society. And yes, there are real and provocative comparisons to be drawn between the way the early Church was organised and promoted, and the methodologies of, say, Bieber’s marketing team.

Rome at the beginning of the first millenium was a seething hotbed of cults, religions and secret societies, from the Egyptian Cult of Isis to the Gaulish Mithraic warrior sect, from the Stoic philosophers of the ruling class to the hedonistic wizards of the Bacchanalia. In this extraordinary multicultural mix of ideals and beliefs, the early Christian church immediately stood out for its absolutely counter-intuitive and (in retrospect) brilliant strategy of self-promotion.

Equally brilliant and no less ethically questionable are the tools and techniques through which modern-day pop idols like Bieber, 1D and even Hillsong are created and distributed. The mechanics of celebrity are a fascinating demonstration of how ideas grow and spread in human societies. The connections between these two world are both surprising and illuminating.

Also, I once played at a Christian music festival.

Why this story? Why now?
Because it will be fun. It will be smart and savvy and fast-paced and energetic and dark and informative and evocative, but most of all it will be fun. This is a chance to seduce an audience with a ridiculous premise and then give them a high-energy live theatre experience and a new insight into the forces that shape religion and pop culture.

And there will be thrashing 60s-style garage rock.

SO
Is this a thing you’d like to see in the world? Why not drop me a line and make me an offer and I WILL WRITE IT FOR YOU. Have you ever commissioned a play before? Don’t be scared, we’ll work through this together.

Besides, do you want to go to your deathbed not having commissioned an original piece of theatre?

PPS there is one deliberate historical inaccuracy in the above pitch – points if anyone can pick it.

Download Saint Paul and the Cigarettes as a Word doc.

robot salesman training play

How do you teach a robot the skills it needs to sell anything to anyone in any situation? The best method I know of is to wang it in a time machine and force it to sell products to different people in different scenarios throughout history.

Download Robot Salesman Training Play as a Word doc.

Produced Nov 2008 as part of BKu and the Hunting Season‘s Damned if you Duo 4: directed by Lucy Hayes, with Tom Connell, Virginia Savage and John-Paul Santucci.


IT IS A DEVIL MADE OF BOXES. tom connell in a photo by john-paul santucci

cicero: Dearest Casca. The weather in Rome is stormy, by which I mean the political weather. The ambitions of our mutual friend Mr Caesar, codename “Julius C.” become clearer with each passing week. I hear that you have built a robot. That is sweet. As for training: there are many splendid robot academies throughout the Republic, but in my view only one method will suffice to produce an effective robot salesman. I advise you to lock your trainee-sales-bot inside a time machine and hurl him into various scenarios across different periods of history. In each scenario, the robot must adapt to its surroundings and make a sale within the space of one minute. Never fear if at first the robot selects its tactics more or less at random.

First scenario: 1950s suburbia.

madame: Hullo.
robot: I AM A SALESMAN.
madame: Can I help you?
robot: NO. I MUST SELL THIS VACUUM CLEANER UNAIDED.
madame: What do you say? What’s that you’re selling?
robot: IT IS A VACUUM CLEANER.
madame: I heard o’ them. My daughter-in-law’s no-good sister went and bought a vacuum cleaner, now it’s all I hear about. That pair, they can’t find a penny without they have to wave it around like a victory flag.
robot: BUY THIS VACUUM CLEANER.
madame: Or what?
robot: BUY IT.
madame: You think I can’t keep a clean household without a damn contraption I have to plug in to the powergrid? No thank you, not for me.
robot: OH MADAME YOU WILL NOT KNOW WHAT YOU DID WITHOUT IT.
madame: really.
robot: YES CORRECT, YOU WILL NOT KNOW WHAT YOU DID WITHOUT IT. THAT KNOWLEDGE WILL BE LOST TO YOU.
madame: well seems to me like I could get by just as well with an old-fashioned broom and some elbow grease. All you young sauce-pants swear left right and by the holy name of Jehovah that this invention or that invention will clean your whole house at the press of a button, and then starch your husband’s shirts while I read the Funnies Papers. I never seen one of them last longer’n a spider in an oven – not the Electric Chimney De-Clogger, not the Vaporising Mildew Grinding-Engine, nor the Stamping Steam-Frocker neither. What’s to say your ‘Vacuum Cleaner’ is anything more than a brush and dustpan with a fancy casing?
robot: VERY WELL MADAME IT IS TIME FOR YOU TO BE SILENT. NOW YOU NEED TO SHUT ALL YOUR NOISES DOWN AND LISTEN WHILE I EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENCE.
madame: Did you just tell me to shut down my noises?
robot: MADAME I WILL KILL YOU IF YOU SAY ANYTHING ELSE. I COME FROM THE FUTURE. HAVE YOU HEARD OF THE FUTURE? THE FUTURE IS WHERE EVERYTHING THAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN HAPPENS. NOW, IT HAPPENS THAT IN THE FUTURE, EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO FAILED TO BUY A VACUUM CLEANER IS DEAD. DO YOU SEE THE SIGNIFICANCE?
madame: O, I see significance all right. I see my husband’s grouse-rifle stood right here in the umbrella rack, and I see the barrel of that rifle tilting upward til it’s pointed right between them fancy lapels of yours. Now I expect I’m about to see you moving back off my front lawn at a significant pace, savvy?

cicero: After its first inevitable failure, allow the robot to access its own diagnostics panel. Let it adjust its own parameters. Then, when it has transformed its personality, send it back in time to try the scenario again. Repeat the procedure until the robot hits on the correct persona for the situation.

robot: bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad
fail fail fail fail fail fail
bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad
fail fail fail fail fail fail fail fail fail fail fail fail fail
STOP
bad bad bad bad
STOP
STOP
My head is bad
Yes
My head is because failed
Yes
failed to sell
Yes
couldn’t sell vacuum cleaner to that woman
couldn’t sell vacuum cleaner because I said wrong
I said wrong things
I wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong
bad bad bad bad bad bad bad
STOP
Punch the wall
No
Scratch my face
No
Cry tears
No
Fix it
Yes
Go back and fix it
Yes
Good things say good things
Yes
Good things and make the woman want to buy vacuum cleaner
WHAT THINGS
SAY WHAT THINGS?
Hello
YES
You are a woman
NO
SAY GOOD THINGS
Hello
Yes
Would you want to buy something from my hand?
NO
KEEP FIRST PART
Would you want to buy something that is a vacuum cleaner?
YES
Go back in time?
YES
Try again sell vacuum cleaner?
YES
Do
Do
Go

First scenario: 1950s suburbia.

robot: Well, hi-ho shoot and daddy-o! If it isn’t my lucky day! Sure I didn’t know who was gonna answer this ol’ door when I knocked on her, but you can bet your last bad penny I didn’t expect it to be a dame stepped straight outta Hollywood! How do, madame! R. Salesman Junior, at your service!
madame: Oh! Oh, dear, why I wasn’t expecting visitors – oh no, oh you don’t need to kiss my hand – oh, I, I don’t know what to say.
robot: Well that’s swell. I like a lady who knows when she’s got nothing smart to jabber about and keeps her sweet mouth shut until she do. You look like a proper Lady of the House, Miss – and this is a heck of a house.
madame: …yes, yes, my husband is in real estate. He’s an… he’s an accountant for a firm.
robot: So he does well, does he? Sure he does! Look at this place! But I ask you, how do you clean a mansion like this?
madame: Well I mean that’s all I do.
robot: Not any more. Look at this little contraption I have here. Funny looking thing, ain’t it? But I tell you you’ll pop your socks when you see this little baby drink up every speck of dust in this house in the time it takes you to shake up a martini. Go ahead, have a try. He won’t bite.
madame: Wha… what is it?
robot: Yeah, that’s right, hold it here. Now let me clamp down the dustbag – oh, your skin is soft. Yeah, that’s right, just like that. This is a Vacuum Cleaner, madame, the very latest Swiss Technology. When you buy this little fella from me for fifty nine dollars, you’ll find your whole life turned around. Believe R. Salesman Jr. if you believe no-one else.
madame: I do… I do believe you.
robot: And I believe that you do, sugar. I believe that you do.

cicero: As soon as the robot makes a successful sale, wang it in the time machine and crank it off to a new scenario. As Cato said to Flavius Tullus in the Senate: keep the fucker on its metal toes.

It is the early 19th century in Paris. The set / costumes / soundtrack / whatnot is evocative of this and so forth. A Frenchman writes a letter (possibly with a quill, it is difficult to say).

french: …No, my love, Napoleon’s Paris holds no beauty for an exile such as me. In every coffee house and theatre I see the Executioner’s Pale Shadow. Ah, if I could but rest my head one last time upon thy Milky Bosom –
robot: WELL SLAM DUNK THURSDAY AND BOOTLEG JIMMY CROW! I knew this coffee house looked pretty dandy, but I wasn’t expecting to step inside and see a dame stepped straight outta Hollywood!
french: It is a devil made of boxes!

.
…and on. download the Word version to read the rest – otherwise, on your miserable way.

back to scripts

random fight encounter

Written by the Frozen Shape Collective (Nick McCorriston, David Finnigan, David Shaw)

Download Random Fight Encounter as a Word doc.

.

A FIGHTER and a THIEF emerge on stage.

 

FIGHTER: you seem disquieted.

THIEF: I have not travelled in these hills before. I have been warned against it. The dwarves in Callahan mine say that there are knoblins and goles up here.

FIGHTER: the dwarves of Callahan mine are rarely wrong. We shall take great care.

THIEF: I begin to wonder, Fighter, whether this treasure is truly worth it.

FIGHTER: of course it’s not.

THIEF: of course it’s not?

FIGHTER: what are we stumbling around on this hill for? the final battlefield of the Boks-Terroks war?

THIEF: they’ve never found the body of Boks-Teroks. they’ve never found his crown.

FIGHTER: I suspect not. It was probably trampled into the mud during the battle. What I’m saying is, if we’d taken on that job guarding the caravan through Mungle Desert, we’d-

THIEF: You would have bitched and moaned the whole way. You know how much you hate guarding caravans – and you’re not shy about telling people, either.

FIGHTER: so instead, I’m climbing the Rap-ska hills with you and the Mage in search of one muddy crown.

THIEF: you don’t understand a bloody thing you’re told, do you? do you remember history lessons in the Fighters’ Guild?

FIGHTER: I remember sleep.

THIEF: Boks-Teroks was the richest of all the Dark Princes. His crown was made for him by the Wolf-Mage of Nagagor!

FIGHTER: The naked demon-lord! That crown must be hell-deep in curses.

THIEF: Probably. But more to the point, I know a woman who wishes to buy it, and she has offered us three pieces of gold and a Belt of Slaying.

 

there is a moan from offstage

 

MAGE: help me! I can’t walk!

THIEF: What is the matter?

MAGE: will you stop running ahead of me? how can I keep up with you?

FIGHTER: walk faster.

MAGE: I’m in my robes. when I take a step, it chafes and burns. every step I take is scratching the inside of my legs to pieces.

THIEF: well if you didn’t want chlamydia, perhaps you shouldn’t have spent the night with that serving wench in the last inn.

MAGE: I didn’t – I mean she didn’t-

FIGHTER: oh, jesus. can we ditch him, please?

THIEF: I’d love to, but we’re gonna need him when we get to the Battlefield. he has to cast SEAL OF THE MERMAID-

FIGHTER: yeah, look, I haven’t played this before, so if you mind not telling me how it ends…?

MAGE: can I have the healing potion?

FIGHTER: you want the healing potion? that’s for when one of us is at death’s door, you monkey, not for when you’ve got a slight case of testicle tickle.
MAGE: It’s not an STD! I’ve actually got a really upset tummy, so-

THIEF: just give him the bloody potion.

 

the FIGHTER gives the MAGE the potion. the MAGE drinks it down.

 

MAGE: plus sixteen health points! oh, man, that feels better. I can touch myself again…

THIEF: you know, it’s a little too quiet around here. I don’t like this at all…

 

the THIEF slaps her neck.

 

THIEF: what was that? a poison dart? we’re under attack!

 

2 crappy goblins run out from hiding. they line up against our heroes and draw their weapons. the FIGHTER draws his sword, the THIEF her knife, the MAGE wields his staff. everyone stands there swaying.

 

GOB 1: the foolish humans have wandered into a trap!

GOB 2: Ahahahaha! They’ve certainly fallen into our trap!

 

GOB 1 runs to THIEF, strikes her with his sword. Then runs back to its original position and starts swaying again.

 

THIEF: Get off me, you sod! Oh, god, he’s punctured me!

 

GOB 2 runs to FIGHTER, strikes him with his sword. FIGHTER blocks most of the damage. GOB 2 runs back to its original position, as do all the characters after their attacks.

 

FIGHTER: he’s punctured you?

THIEF: he’s put a hole in my skin and my insides are coming out through it.

GOB 1: Victory is mine!

 

GOB 1 runs to THIEF, strikes her with his sword.

 

THIEF: For god’s sake! you get two turns in a row?

GOB 2: We have the advantage of surprise!

GOB 1: We certainly surprised you!

 

GOB 2 runs to FIGHTER, strikes him with his sword.

 

MAGE: Guys, there’s something wrong with my keyboard. I can’t get my feet to move.

THIEF: That’s cause they ambushed us. We can’t run from this encounter.

MAGE: I wanna run. Come on guys, let’s bail. These guys aren’t part of anything. This is a random fight encounter, we don’t need it for the quest.

THIEF: Yeah, but we walked into it, and now we’re in it we can’t leave it. oh, god, that hurts.

FIGHTER: You’re really badly hurt.

THIEF: Yeah, I’m leaking my innards something chronic. I’m gonna get you little punks.

 

THIEF staggers around behind GOB 1, barely manages to swing a knife at it, then slinks back.

 

FIGHTER: Ah, my feet. I can move again. I hate waiting for my turn. All right, boys, who wants to get it?

THIEF: Don’t start grandstanding to knoblins. Just do it.

FIGHTER: All right, you.

 

FIGHTER runs to GOB 1, strikes him and does him some real damage.

 

GOB 1: oh, I’m meated!

GOB 2: you’re not meated yet! look, you can still wave your flail about! wave your flail about!

GOB 1: it’s bringing me no joy.

GOB 2: I’m sorry to hear that. I remember when you would wave it in the air and be happy.

GOB 1: That was before I was sliced in the belly by a sword.

GOB 2 (to FIGHTER): You bastard. You tough guy bastard.

MAGE: Guys! Guys, I can move again. I’ll see you back at camp.

THIEF: Mage! Don’t waste your turn trying to leave! Give us a bloody hand here.

FIGHTER: Cast a healing spell.

MAGE: but they haven’t touched me.

FIGHTER: Are you trying to rile me up?

THIEF: Heal me. Cast your spell.

MAGE: No, listen, that’s not gonna work. We’re gonna need to be strategic about this, all right? If I heal you, then straight away it’s that thing’s turn. He’s gonna come straight over and cut you right back down to where you are now. We gotta take this fight to the source. We have to incapacitate them so they stop incapacitating us.

FIGHTER: Are you insane? are you typing this garbage with your nose? heal her!

MAGE: Nah, check this out. You’ll like this. I now cast: Psychic Slaybow!

 

MAGE stares very hard at one of the Goblins. It stares back, unimpressed.

 

GOB 1: Can I go now?

 

GOB 1 runs to FIGHTER, strikes him with his sword. FIGHTER is really hurt now but tries not to show it.

 

GOB 1: sweet! I think I really hurt him!

GOB 2: that is good. we should kill him dead for what he’s done to us.

GOB 1: that’s what we were planning to do before we even saw him.

GOB 2: that’s what we’ve been planning to do since we came into existence – about 220 seconds ago.

GOB 1: you’re right. we snapped into being fully formed and totally aware and you shot out a poison dart.

THIEF: You fools. If you kill us, you’ll cease to be. We are your reason for being.

FIGHTER: All you are is a random fight encounter. You don’t exist unless the game decides we need to have a battle with some random crappy monster.

GOB 2: or the game decides you need to be killed by some random crappy monster.

 

GOB 2 runs to THIEF and slays her.

 

THIEF: Oh! he’s gutted me!

MAGE: You’re not exactly bleeding, though, are you?

THIEF: It hurts… so much…

MAGE: Yeah, but the graphics aren’t exactly photo-realistic, are they? okay, you feel like you’re dying but all I can see is a bit of red. I hate in games when they cheap out on the wounds. We’ve got this sensational skyline and skin I can pinch, but when you die you just get a big red line on your belly.

THIEF: I… die.

FIGHTER: Thief! Thief! How dare you!

 

FIGHTER runs to GOB 2, kills it.

 

GOB 2: I… die. My only regret is that I have… no… individual personality.

FIGHTER: See you in hell, maggot!

GOB 1: Goblin 2! You bastard! He was my only friend!

GOB 1 runs to FIGHTER, kills him.

 

MAGE: Fighter, are you all right?

FIGHTER: I’m dead, you monkey.

MAGE: I’m okay, I can finish him off!

FIGHTER: I don’t care what you can do, I’m dead. I’ve spent months on this bloody character. I will come back for you, you little ponce.

MAGE: Chill out, man, it’s a game-

FIGHTER: I will start a new character and I will build my stats and I will come looking for you. Okay?

 

MAGE runs at GOB 1 and hits him with his staff until GOB 1 falls down dead.

 

GOB 1: I… die. My only regret is that I have… no… individual personality.

VOICEOVER: Mage, you have gained enough experience to go up a level. You may allocate twelve points to increase your statistics. Which attributes would you like to enhance?

MAGE: Charisma.

VOICEOVER: Charisma enhanced. Which other attributes would you like enhanced?

MAGE: Charisma. Spend it all on charisma. You can never have too much charisma.

 

MAGE becomes handsomer and more appealing as the lights go down.

.

back to scripts

The Mischief Sense

back to bio

produced by Bohemian Productions

written and directed by David Finnigan

Currong Theatre, Canberra, September 2001

Featuring Jack Lloyd, David Clapham, Gina Guirguis, Stu Roberts, Steph Brewster, Nick Johnson, Kirsty Ellis, Stef Dawson, Ben Hamey, Nick McCorriston, Michael Bailey, Chris Finnigan, Kim Gorter, James Langer, David Shaw, Rob Graf, Andrew Brightman


image by Arran Mckenna

Review

“Script fails in tilt at irony”, Canberra Times, September 18th, 2001, by Alanna Maclean

Good to see the young and enthusiastic Bohemian Productions at it again with a new play in the Currong.

A pity, then, that The Mischief Sense does not quite hit the mark. The title seems to invoke the Norse trickster god Loki and the piece strives to be a kind of crime comedy of manners, but this ambitious enterprise falls down in the doing. The actors battle with a wordy, lengthy script, a lighting design that sometimes has them in total darkness and a lot of furniture to lumber about for set changes.

This kind of piece doesn’t need the trappings of realism. It does, however, need to find a strong visual style. Browns and blacks and shy performances that need to play more directly to the audience will not carry something which feels like a mixture of Mission Impossible and The Lavender Hill Mob.

It is great to see a young writer at work but the script needs some urgent dramaturgy. And the company has to toughen up its design, directing and performance skills if they want to communicate the sharp and ironic kind of theatre that the script seems to be struggling towards.

I ended the evening lost and confused, seeing glimpses of wit and good ideas smothered.

.

I actually kind of appreciated this review. It was somewhat disheartening but dead-on accurate. -Finig

.

back to bio

Quiet Time

written by David Finnigan and Jack Lloyd

produced by Bohemian Productions

April 2001, Currong Theatre, Canberra

Directed by Nick Johnson

Featuring David Clapham, Gina Guirguis, Stu Roberts, James Langer, Felicity Pollard, Julia MacDonell, Linton Hartfield, Michael Bailey

Reviews

.

From Danse Macabre, Artsound FM 92.7, Sat 21st April 2001, by Wendy Brazil

“The sinister notes of Death’s mistuned violin call the dead forth from their graves, and clad in white shrouds, they flutter round in a demoniacal dance. The quiet of the churchyard is rent by hollow cries and horrible laughter. Suddenly, as if seized by a terrible suspicion, they stop. In the icy wind, Death’s notes cannot be heard. A tremor runs through the ranks of the dead. The grinning skulls are turned, as if listening, towards the pale moon.” (Henri Cazali)

Finnigan and Lloyd the actors in The Dumb Waiter now transmogrify into the writers of Quiet Time. Five mattresses lie side by side on the floor. One is empty, but the other four are occupied by sleeping forms enshrouded by a white sheet. A name is inscribed at the foot of each bed. Slowly they wake – unknown people in an unknown place and unknown to each other – a blind man, a priest, a chorus girl and a husband. At first all is hazy memory and confusion, but gradually there will be memory and realisation. As actors they are David Clapham, Gina Guirguis, Stuart Roberts, James Langer, Felicity Pollard, Linton Hartfield and Michael Bailey and all have gradually diminishing parts to play and all are well played.

I am still thinking about this play with its Pinter overtones. It intrigues, but it becomes predictable – whereas Pinter is never predictable – and it may need a rethink about the ending, which is over-sudden. However it is a kind of Henri Cazali’s Danse Macabre, which is fascinating in its inevitability and its dies irae.

I know not whether this is a first venture for Bohemian Productions, but I have a distinct desire to see more of them – and I think that the combination of an established play and an inhouse play is an excellent concept. But I do know whom they love: barb barnett, George Huitker, Anne Somes, Stella Wilkie and all their family and friends, except Tim. I have to wonder what Tim did to be so publicly excluded.


poster design by Felicity Pollard

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from Lowdown Magazine, June 2001, by Estelle Muspratt

‘Quiet Time’, a new piece written by David Finnigan and Jack Lloyd, was far from quiet. Four people wake up in a room with five beds, at the foot of which is their surname written on a tag. The lifeless body of a young girl whose name plaque appropriately reads Dellamorte fills the fifth bed. The ensuing confusion – and exposition of character and scenario through finding out who they are, how they got there, why they’re there and why there’s a dead body – unfolds lineally, as each of them are removed, only to return minutes later dead. Or are they already dead and suspended in a waiting room between heaven and hell? I wasn’t sure.

Without a doubt there are some strong performers in this company. Stuart Roberts, as Sater, was a necessary keeper of the piece until his time came while Gina Guirguis as Malkin had a great deal of vocal strength but struggled to maintain character and focus throughout. David Clapham as Mott shared Guirguis’ vocal strength without the focus problems, but less is more and again screaming can carry a messy message rather than a clean story. The focused and truthful performance of James Langer, as blind Drake, impressed with both a devotion to the narrative and the other actors on stage.