In my just-published novel CommWealth, Allan Larson browbeats the Forensic Squad acting troupe into staging an infantile play he’s written called Cabaret. (Though he swears his play has nothing to do with the 1972 movie of the same name, one has one’s suspicions.) Several lines of Cabaret find their way into the novel, but I’d forgotten that long ago, while working on initial notes for CommWealth, I’d assembled a sample play from which I could draw consistent quotes as needed. Allan Larson’s four-act effort is all of 939 words (87 of which are the title and numerous dramatis personae listed at the beginning) and reads like classic theater of the absurd, which has always fascinated me. Some of Cabaret seems to come from early plot notes transcribed into dialog. It’s always fun to unearth something you’d forgotten writing and to find yourself thoroughly amused by it. But I’ll refrain from providing a laugh track for the following.
A Play in Four Acts
by Allan Larson
Carl Mindblow, a race car driver
Bonnie Mindblow, his German wife
Friedrich Xylophone, Carl’s mechanic
TC, a German drunkard
Emory Buell, a German musician
Frank Kafka, another mechanic
Billy Marsdenoillamp, an American race car driver
Doomboat Plowgryu, a mysterious tourist
Lila Astorque, a French writer
Jim Paiston, a race car driver
Akardy Slighstone, a motorcyclist
Pains Lurl, a sexaholic artist
Lappa Carugfuest, a German sensualist
Mary Beth Houckfkj, a Hungarian mathematician
Bonnie Kafka, an enigmatic figure
Carl: We’re here, safe in the house, but we’re sick, we’re all dying!
Bonnie: Of what?
Carl: Of tuberculosis, of course!
TC: Damn, do you mean to tell me you guys remember your lines?
Emory: Maybe the audience will come back!
TC: Get ‘em a little drunker and they won’t notice!
Bonnie: Won’t notice the tuberculosis?
Carl: Which of us really is Franz Kafka, or was, in a previous life? Which of us will die coughing our guts right out?
TC: Forget it. Blow me, Bonnie!
Bonnie: But I don’t remember the words!
Carl: Don’t worry, we’ll just ad lib!
Bonnie: But–I can’t do that!
Carl: Hey, TC–what’s Bonnie’s next line? She can’t remember!
TC: Nobody can remember their lines! We’re all high, I tell you!
Carl: But the audience is gone! There’s only three people left!
TC: Hey, Emory! You got any hint as to what this play’s about—
Emory: Well, it was obvious the twit girl will become Bonnie in Cabaret, of course. Even though the character was intended to be Lila–
TC: Then again, maybe Lila would play the part–would that be ironic!
Carl: It would express so much!
Bonnie: I am a German housewife!
Carl: But you see … as a race driver named Carl … and …
TC: I don’t believe it! Where’s Friedrich?
Friedrich: As Bonnie turns from a German housewife into the steamiest lay on the planet.
Carl: She’ll know everything!
TC: Do you dare show it to her?
Friedrich: I fear I must sabotage Carl’s car.
Emory: But why?
Friedrich: Because I am the mechanic who works on Carl’s car.
Emory: But the race is today!
Friedrich: Carl must die.
TC: But the young woman driver gives her umbrella to me. She complies with the correct grace.
Emory: Would she like a ride home.
Lappa Carugfuest: I say no thanks.
Friedrich: Everything is free. You just ask for it.
Emory: It is a very nasty December day.
Lappa: Give me warmth against the nasty cold dampness.
Emory: Was I Franz Kafka in a former life.
Lappa: Brown buried room in the nasty winter–do I even have a house yet.
TC: I set out to write a play based on these experiences.
Emory: But Carl has an attitude–afraid to know directly himself, he struts around and feels superior to others on the basis of–
Friedrich: I bury myself in the latest can.
Billy Marsdenoillamp: I came in around 11 AM for a cup of tea. Some woman was pleasant to me. For a long time she’s been trying to be professional with me. But I haven’t seen her since we met on the street in July.
Doomboat Plowgryu: And she feels no real need to be with anyone, though she’s interested from a very distant emotional place now. But don’t reveal.
Billy: Hadn’t expected to find Akardy here, though.
Lila Astorque: He seems very confused by her arrival, and now she wishes she hadn’t come. Yet she resolves to be a real friend now.
Jim Paiston: Man, I am gonna race!
Akardy Slighstone: Man, I am gonna race!
Pains Lurl: I think she needs the work.
Akardy: They could probably be friends now. The thing with Rupert is over.
Billy: He always spends his mornings here!
Pains: And yet strangely serene.
Jim: Some things remain untouched, and nobody knows why.
Lila: Oh, that’s conversation for you!
Billy: And yet, I am comfortable with his inner self.
Lila: Mystically stable, longing for that sort of relationship–though he knows he doesn’t really want it.
Akardy: Everyone knows that his work is the theater, but he knows he’s cheating.
Carl: I need to get something heavy out of the back. Who will volunteer to help?
TC: You know I can bring your wife to orgasm, you are just an American.
Carl: So Bonnie has kissed you?
TC: I would say so. Albeit not very well.
Bonnie (enters room and kisses TC): Bang me!
Carl: You know why … ever since I first came in here …
TC: Come with me to my car, Bonnie. Let us do the awkward walking to my car.
Bonnie: Where are we going?
TC: You have a race, Carl. Friedrich has prepared your car well. Meanwhile, there is a curious erotic fear going on here that I wish to explore.
Bonnie: I unfortunately wish to explore it as well.
TC: She’s apparently going through with it.
Bonnie: Perhaps he shall wish to explore my box!
Carl: Well, then it’s only fair to warn you that I have been attracted to Pains.
Bonnie: Yet everyone can see that it is more or less shallow.
Carl: Baby, I want to be Number One in your life!
TC: Yet he can’t stop now.
Bonnie: I am practically babbling!
Carl: But I sense an underlying victory.
TC: And I, an underlying excitement.
Bonnie: I am ready, my Knight. Just light the marijuana.
TC: You can expect a report on a very detailed lovemaking session here, based on my point of view.
copyright 2015 by Michael D. Smith
The novel CommWealth is available from:
Class Act Books in paperback and in eBook formats
Amazon in Kindle format and paperback