A Closed Play in a Single Act

[curtain up]

[the stage is not dressed, consisting only of a bare wooden floor and the wall behind it. There is no furniture, drapery, nor objects to impede the eye’s view]

[the FOOL capers out. The player is dressed in a cap and bells over a plain gray leotard. The FOOL dances madly, wearing a rictus grin, in a series of balletic movements. The FOOL stops abruptly and stares out into the theatre, making as if to speak, grinning madly all the while]

FOOL: hello?

[the FOOL does a pirouette on one toe and looks out into the audience]

FOOL: oh God, please tell me someone’s out there!

FOOL: my name is Joseph Calvin, 3110 West Arbor Street, Seattle Washington. Anyone?

[The FOOL is joined onstage by other players, robed and masked.]

FOOL: Joseph J-O-S-E-P-H, Calvin C-A-L-V-I-N. I’m 43 years old, married twelve. My wife—

[the FOOL begins dancing, twisting wildly around the other dancers, treating them like props]

FOOL: come on, someone, anyone? I know you’re there!

[the FOOL comes to a halt, face assuming a mocking expression of sorrow]

FOOL: please help me. I’m so, so scared.

FOOL: I was investigating this theatre company for insurance fraud. Gould, Gold, and Godot? I’m sorry, could you speak up, if you’re there? I can’t see you.

[the MASKS cluster at the rear of the stage ominously, turning their backs to the center stage]

FOOL: I went to the theatre on Ostrich lane, but there was no one there. It looked abandoned. Listen–

[the FOOL begins wringing imaginary prison bars]

FOOL: no such company ever existed! There were no tax records or anything like that! I only meant to look around, I swear!

FOOL: someone? Anyone!

[the MASKS begin to sway back and forth, heaving seamlessly as one mass]

FOOL: they grabbed me! They grabbed me and—and—I don’t remember!

FOOL: I don’t remember how I got here! This is one long nightmare, please, anyone?

FOOL: if you can hear me, I’m not a player! I’m Joseph Calvin!

[the FOOL doubles up in mock laughter, grabbing their belly]

FOOL: I-I can’t move! I can’t feel my body! I can’t see any of you! Please help me, I know you’re there! If this is being performed, there must be an audience, right?

FOOL: right?

[the FOOL stops and the smile melts from their face. They begin walking backwards]

FOOL: you have to help me. It’s not a joke. I don’t know what I did wrong. I don’t know what they did to me.

[the FOOL reaches the mass of the other players and rests against it, leaning back]

FOOL: I can’t see. Are you there? I can’t see. I can’t move. Where am I?

[the FOOL begins to move backwards, absorbing into the mass of the MASKS]

FOOL: someone in the audience, call the police. Even if you think this is a prank, call them. Joseph J-O-S-E-P-H, Calvin C-A-L-V-I-N. I live at 3110 West Arbor Street, Seattle Washington.

FOOL: call the cops. Call my wife. Please call my wife, tell her what happened.

[the FOOL is submerged halfway, only the head and legs sticking out. Their face assumes a sneering snarl]

FOOL: they’ve got me here as a prisoner, I can’t get out. If you can see me, hear me, get help!


[lifting an arm in farewell, the FOOL disappears completely into the writhing mass of masked players.

FOOL: Nora? Oh God, Nora? Nora, Nora, Nora, hello? Hello? Hell—

[the players slowly untangle themselves. The masks, cap and bells, and all other markers have disappeared. Completely undifferentiated, the identical players march somberly offstage.]

[curtain down]



Filed under microfiction

2 responses to “A Closed Play in a Single Act

  1. Hello again. Haha! My story the Ship centers around a Theater motif. Love it. Just wanted to say that there is a forum you might be interested in using to promote your writing: JukePop. Best of luck! Keep writing.

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