… as the aging goddess of standup comedy

(photo montage from: a) Angerona (Ahn-jer-‘own-a), by Johann Christian Wilhelm Beyer (1725-1796), Schönbrunn gardens, Vienna; and b) empty stage from heathkrueger.com)

(Scene 27 – The Romance in Carbon Dating.)

ANGERONA MARKSALOT: (steps from mark to edge of stage-front, one hand shading eyes, speaks to director sitting 7 rows back in the empty-darkened theater seats) So, my motivation here, again, is what?

DIRECTOR BILL: Like your namesake, the Roman Goddess Angerona, you’re alleviating pain and sorrow. Here, by beginning with a short backstory of who you are by indicating who you aren’t.

AM: By saying that I am not related to either Groucho, or Karl, Marx, the 20th-century American, and 19th-century German, social humorists?

DB: Right.

AM: I am, instead, descended from the great marking pen inventor A. Lot Marks who gave the world a felt-tipped pen that would leave A. Lot of Marks on a-lot-of-stuff, so permanently that the Smithsonian is now burying its important, Marks-A-Lot-ted records deep beneath the Mall in Washington.

DB: That’s it. Then, almost as a linking afterthought, you work in the cherry trees that line the Tidal Basin in Washington, given to the U.S. in 1912 by the City of Tokyo, a gift to which the U.S. responded 33 years later with the uniquely American presents of “Little Boy” and “Little Boy, II — The Boom Continues.”

AM: So my personal story becomes, then, just one girl’s journey within the larger story of the 20th-century social holocaust?

DB: Yes. And then we explode a block of 25 seats in the balcony, as Special Forces troops storm the auditorium and take out the terrorists, and other collateral casualties, in the first six rows of main floor seating.

AM: Which is why I’m dressed in a Kevlar toga?

DB: With a Kevlar butt-plug. You know, so …

AM: … I’m ready for the 20th-century social holocaust, theater after-party?

DB: Right.

AM: Okay. But the connection from all that, then, back to my namesake? I guess I’m not really seeing the link. How am I a modern version of the goddess of calm that, after the anger storm abates, brings the alleviation of pain and sorrow?

DB: (turns to writer in the 8th row, 3 seats closer to the aisle) Maybe YouRipADeez can help with that. Rip?

WILLIAM HELMSTEAD “YOURIPADEEZ” LORDE: (sends text “later” to OnFrigidTipToes, a senior at William Taft High, and closes phone, looking up) Yeah, sure. Uh — it’s like the story of the 13 wise men and a girl from Joliet named Tremble Blow, made into the breakout movie of the Crony Brothers — “Shake, Rattle and Blow — There Is No Country For Old Rock Men.”

(Rip pauses for 5 beats that fill the space around the darkened theater seats with the beating silence of the central universal question, finally given voice by Angerona.)

AM: Sorry. I have no idea what the fuck you’re saying.

RIP: (recovering) Sure. It was just a passing reference to events that might have happened in a parallel universe.

AM: A parallel universe that’s parallel to what?

RIP: Good question. If this, or any, universe is, in fact, infinite, how could there then be another universe occurring in-parallel to it?

AM: Are you asking me a rhetorical question about the rhetorical question that you are posing as an answer to my question? Or is what you’re saying, now, as tortured in its absence of meaning, as what you are saying in the play?

DB: Maybe this would be a good place for a break.

AM: Maybe this would be a good place to break this fucktard’s head, wide open. You know, and have a look inside, in the chance that someone may have left the instruction sheet for the play’s assembly.

(Suddenly a lone spotlight in the bar above the stage goes out in a flash of light that begins white hot, then runs through the colors of the spectrum, ending in a deep purple-blue like the color of velvet popular with European royalty for centuries, as everyone looks up in frozen-wonder, and Stagehand Rack enters stage-left.)

SR: (stops stage-front, scans the awestruck faces) Wow. This is like that scene in “Flight of the Avatar” where Captain Clerk’s pants fall down and everyone on the bridge is suddenly transfixed by the music coming from the speaker in his penis.

AM: (comes to, looks at Rack) What?

SR: To be, or not to be, transfixed — that is the step-back question, now.

20160918 16:44 (756 words)
▸ George Ezra performing: a) “Budapest” (00:30), and b) “Blame It On Me” (05:15) — in studio 2014, from “Wanted on Voyage” 2014
▸ The Head and the Heart performing: a) “City of Angels”; and b) “Rhythm & Blues” — in studio 2016, from “Signs of Life” 2016
▸ Adele performing: a) “Crazy For You”; b) “Right as Rain”; and c) “Hometown Glory” — live 2008, from “19” 2008

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