PLAY 1: CINDERFELLAH
DARK STAGE/SINGLE SPOTLIGHTS AS STAGE CRAFT
As an example, this play, Cinderfellah, is structured to basically suspend detailed, realistic stagecraft while promoting the image of very real stagecraft. Many fans of realistic stage scenery cannot get on board with plain, starkly empty stages where the audience must tax their imaginations yet not be distracted by such as air guitars, air snakes, imaginary farm buildings and implements, etc. However, even marginally realistic stage scenery for a presentation as potentially panoramic as Cinderfellah can be quite expensive. The key: how to afford enough farm and hoedown scenery without the necessary expanse of stagecraft appropriate to this play?
That would require both a darkened stage and audience arena with house spotlights focusing on only the immediate parts of the stage where action is taking place at any given moment. For example, in Cinderfellah: start with a darkened stage and some appropriate Country/Western banjo music, direct a very narrow spotlight on Sissy picking petals from a sunflower, widen it to include all of the three Bodacious family spoiled brats laying around and loafing in the grass. Then widen the spotlight, or use a separate spotlight when Cinderfallah walks onstage and merge spotlights when he speaks to the brats. In that way, really rough background images of the cabin and farm in shadows would appear fairly realistic without too much expensive detail.
When all of the Bodacious family have departed for the gala Hickory Hollow Hoedown, the spotlight should follow them while a very narrow spotlight should be on only Cinderfellah as he retreats into a tight fetal position representing his misery about being left behind with his dream shattered. When his fairy godmother appears out of the darkness, the spotlight widens or two spotlights merge.
Wider and narrower spotlights complement the Hickory Hollow circle-dancing scenes. Good sound effects and just a few actors scooting their boots in and out of the shadows could mimic a huge, boisterous crowd. Another spotlight could break off to follow Cinderfellah leaving the hoedown on his magic skateboard while the main spotlight could hold firmly on Lola as she picks up his discarded boot and hugs it to her heart.
The scene where Papa Earl Bodacious meets Lola’s two employees/lackeys is tailored for Papa to come out of hiding (the darkened, unlit part of the stage) and then call each of his boys out of dark hiding places. Two spotlights merging into one work well when Cinderfellah sees Lola’s lackeys and sneaks around to cut them off before they can leave. Characters emerging from the dark are far more dramatic than chintzy stage props and one-dimensional paintings of farm buildings and animals. Again, the use of spotlights make a strong image when Lola runs across the stage in her own spotlight to merge with Cinderfellah in his spotlight. When they sing “Hey Good Lookin’” together within the two merged spotlights is a strong finale. Overall, these spotlights could be very powerful emphasis and yet inexpensive. If both Cinderfellah and Lola are decent singers, this play could be an appropriate show for junior high and even high school aged young adults.
BUD (who almost everyone in backwoods Hickory Hollow calls CINDERFELLAH): the often mistreated, overworked, red-headed stepchild of a hillbilly family. He got his nickname because he lives by himself in a dark, moldy cinderblock root cellar while the other members of the Bodacious family live far more comfortably in the ancestral log cabin near the running water and the rose-covered outdoor convenience.
BILLY BOB, BOB BOB and SISSY (The Bodacious family’s three teenaged children): give rude, lazy, indolent, insensitive spoiled brats a bad name now that they can dump their daily chores on Bud. The boys are smart-mouthed, but not too bright because their cornbread is definitely not cooked in the middle yet. Sissy makes her decisions by pulling petals off flowers and is sure that Elvis Presley will whisk her away if she could just meet him.
PAPA EARL BODACIOUS: a stern task master with Bud, but allows his own three kids to goof off because he needs the chores done and they never seem to know if they are washing or hanging out.
MAMA EARL BODACIOUS: a nebbish; a silent partner who quietly lets her common-law husband speak for her in all matters great and small.
DOLLY JANE DORIGHT: Bud’s fairy godmother. New on the job, she has to work her magic spells with the limited resources at hand on the hard-scrabble Bodacious farm.
LOLA LARUE: the beautiful but glitzy backwoods star of radio, rodeo and dirt track racing who is best known for her lovely singing and soulful yodeling as well. She is the head honcho of the LaRue Entertainment, Farm Equipment and Fish Bait Company Inn-corporated. As every LaRue employee knows: “Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets,” (and little man, little Lola wants you, cha, cha, cha.)
Lola’s FIRST FLUNKY: tasked to find Lola’s masked mystery man who left only a well-shined, soft leather clodhopper boot when he fled the Full Moon Fish Fry and Grape Stomping Hoedown in Hickory Hollow at the stroke of midnight.
Lola’s SECOND FLUNKY: the analytical brains of Lola’s operation. When he sees that the mystery clodhopper fits Bud perfectly and then Bud pulls out the matching clod-hopper, Flunky Number Two is reasonably convinced that Bud is indeed the masked mystery man.
Hooting and hollering, wildly dancing, uninhibited crowd at the masked Hickory Hollow Hoedown. The number depends upon how many wild and crazy revelers you want to include. Everyone gets their jollies because “Whatever happens at the Hickory Hollow Hoedown stays at the Hickory Hollow Hoedown.”
PLACE AND TIME
PLACE: Hickory Hollow, a deep-backwoods community
TIME: When Elvis Presley was alive
ACT 1 of 4
The opening scene finds the three Bodacious family spoiled brats lolling around in the shade on a very hot summer day. The two boys are idly whittling tooth picks out of fallen tree limbs, and sister Sissy is picking individual petals from a sunflower to determine whether Elvis Presley really loves her or not.
(Lights are on SISSY and gradually expanding to all three.
Slow starting Country banjo music recording
becomes faster and faster before the first dialog.)
Is it hot enough for you, Billy Bob?
I’ll tell you what, little brother. I just saw Pappy’s hound dog chasing a rabbit over yonder, and they were both walking.
Hey Sissy. Why are you tearing up that sunflower like that?
(Sissy is removing sunflower petals one at a time.)
He loves me. He loves me not. Well Bob Bob, if it’s any of your nosy business, and it ain’t; I’m just fixin’ to find out if Elvis Pressley really loves me or not.
What in the world are you sayin’, girl? You don’t even know Elvis Presley.
That’s just ‘cause we ain’t met yet. But it’ll happen. You just hide and watch. You’ll see.
(She continues tearing off petals)
He loves me. He loves me not.
(Lights up on CINDERFELLAH who walks by carrying two buckets of
water over his shoulder on opposite ends of a single stick. He is hot,
tired and a bit stooped over from his load, but he waves cheerfully at
his two half brothers and half sister.)
Hey gang. Are y’all havin’ any fun yet?
(Still whittling, he speaks without even looking
up from under the shade of his wide hat brim.)
You know somethin’, cinder boy. If I was havin’ any more fun, I’d have to pay an amusement tax.
I heard that, Billy Bob. Ever’body knows that if there are any good times goin’ on, you and Bob Bob will be right in the thick of it.
(She throws the petal-less flower aside)
Oh that dumb sunflower doesn’t know nothing. But you just wait and see.
Hey Sissy. Do you think that Elvis will be at the hoedown tonight?
What hoedown? Is there goin’ to be a hoedown tonight?
Oh my. There certainly is. They’re fixin’ to hold the Full Moon Fish Fry and Grape Stompin’ Hoedown over in Hickory Hollow tonight. Everybody is gonna’ be there.
(He gets up and stretches.)
Yeah. Everbody is gonna’ be there having fun tonight. Too bad you can’t make it too, cinder boy.
Hey, I could make it easy if y’all would just give me a hand with white washin’ this old picket fence, harvesting the hay, doing the weekly wash and sloppin’ the hogs. We could get ‘er done in no time.
In your dreams, cinder boy. You got your chores and we got ours. The only difference is that we got ours done, and you don’t.
(An aside, he speaks behind his raised hand.)
I never thought that eatin’, sleepin’, whittlin’ and layin’ around loafin’ were chores.
And you know what else? That purdy lady Lola LaRue is gonna’ be there tonight, and she’s gonna’ sing. . .and yodel too!
Oh my gosh! Lola LaRue is gonna be at the Hickory Hollow Hoedown and she’s gonna’ sing and yodel too! I just gotta’ be there. I just gotta’.
No you ain’t. What you gotta’ do is tote that water over to Pappy’s moonshine still eee-mediately if not sooner. And you’d better not spill a drop or Pappy’s gonna’ tan your hide with a willow switch.
I’m a’ goin’. But ya’ll better believe that I’m gonna’ find a way to get over to Hickory Hollow for the hoedown. One way or another, I’ve gotta’ be there.
Oh yeah. That’ll be the day. Tell me another one while I’m still laughin’.
Come on, boys. We’ve got to get our Sunday-go-to-meeting duds out of the cedar chest and brush off our fancy dancin’ boots.
Yee-haw! I can’t wait to scoot my boots with that good-lookin’ Sherl Lee. She’s as soft as a frog and she smells as good as new-mown hay in the morning.
Has she got a sister?
I heard she’s got two of ‘em: Ugg Lee and Sick Lee. You can have ‘em both, little brother.
Oh Billy Bob; ain’t you the funny one!
END OF ACT 1.
(Lights out. Recorded Country
banjo picking gets louder and faster.)
PLAY 2: THE PRINCESS AND THE CINDER BLOCK
ACT 4 of 4
Lexi walks around the corner to see five guys lounging on a street corner; four with their hoodys up, and one blond guy with his hoody down. They are studiously trying to look like they are not doing anything while they watch their surroundings on 360 degree sweeps like a flock of hawks.
Good afternoon guys. Is one of you homeys called “Goldie?”
Maybe. Who wants to know?
I am LEXI, and I’m here to collect celebrity autographs for the Queen of Park Row. It’s not much of a job, but it’s the only gig I’ve got goin’ right now.
Dis Queen gal, is she some kind of a bill collector? Yer not gonna’ slap another summons on me, are ya?
No sir. I never would do such a thing like that. I’m just here to get your celebrity autograph for the Queen’s collection.
Well, Vinny said ya are OK…so yer OK by me. Okay!
(LEXI hands Goldie the celebrity signature book.)
(After checking it thoroughly page by page, Goldie signs
it with a flourish and gives it back to LEXI.)
Those three homeys over there. Are they your Three Bears?
Yeah. They all played football for da’ Brooklyn Bears. But now they work for me.
How about that fourth homey over there. I thought that there were only three Bears.
Naah. Business is good, so I’m expandin’. He works for me now. Whadda’ ya say I introduce ya to the boys. The big guy is Joey Bananas. Watch out, he can be a slippery guy sometimes, if you know what I mean.
(Nods his head but doesn’t shake hands.)
Pleased to meet ya’. How ya’ dooin’?
(JOEY walks away as if LEXI has the Plague)
And this good lookin’ hunk is Handsome Harry the Horse. Harry comes from the Bronx, but he went to Harvard Law School a while. Checkout the bow tie. Harry adds a lotta class to any street corner day or night.
(Handsome Harry steps forward, bows and energetically shakes
LEXI’s hand with both of his hands, then gives LEXI his business
card with a flourish after fumbling around inside his hoodie
and pants pockets for a few moments to find his fancy card holder)
My pleasure, Lady. I am so very pleased to meet you and I certainly hope that our company can be of service to you, the sooner the better.
(Startled, LEXI pulls back her hand, then studies the business card.)
As you can see, we do offer 24-hour certified protection as well as bail bonds to fit any budget. We can represent you in any Court Of Law at any time and any place. There is NOTHIN’ too good for you, Lady. My motto: “No matter what ya’ done, I will talk and you WILL walk.”
(Handsome Harry makes an exaggerated baseball umpire’s “safe” motion)
Badda’ bing, badda’ bang, boom’ boom.
Thank you very much Mr. Handsome Harry. I’ll be sure to keep you in mind.
See, what did I tell you. Classy huh? And then, this happy little guy in the silver Air Jordan sneakers is Fast Eddie. He can run circles around any Meter Maid on da block. You will never get a parking ticket when Fast Eddie is watchin’ your ride.
(Continues warming up by running in place.)
Hey there, Doll Face. Don’t I know you from some place?
Wow, he is fast.
(To Fast Eddie)
No, Mr. Eddie, I don’t think so. I’ve never been near the Bowery or Union City (or wherever???).
And that new guy over there is Sammy da Spook. Sammy is our Night Man, but he is kinda’ shy. Say hello to the nice lady, Sammy.
(From a distance, Sammy waves but he does not come closer to Lexi.)
Yo, Lady! How ya dooin’?
Right back at ya’, Mr. Spook.
(She checks the contents of her back pack then zips it up
with an air of finality and slings it over her shoulder.)
(He limps on stage with one arm in a sling, a crutch
under his other arm, a cast on one foot, a bandage around
his head. His two awkward, incompetent, stumble-bum cape
holders are in the same shape. )
Hey, Lexi, wait up, girl.
(Lexi looks up and down at Prince Charmer and gasps)
Good grief, homey. What does the other guy look like?
There’s no “other guy.” I just had an awful big car wreck over at Central Park.
Bummer. Did you skuff your big honkin’ Beamer limo?
How didja know? Me and the boys were playing Limo Hockey over on the green at Central Park, and we wiped out my whole fleet of Beamer limos, all sixteen of ‘em. Her Majesty Mumzie, the Queen, always gets cranky when I do that.
Holy Cow, all sixteen of ‘em! Is that a new record for limos?
DOOFUS CAPE HOLDER NUMBER ONE
Oh heck yeah. But we had to also take out a city bus, a dump truck, and a horse-drawn carriage to set that new record.
DOOFUS CAPE HOLDER NUMBER TWO
In the immortal words of Rosanna Rosannadanna: “It’s always something.”
No matter, their ash trays were getting’ pretty full of chew’n gum anyway. But how’d you do with those three little challenges?
(She shows Prince Charmer her book of autographs)
Well, I’ve got all of the autographs I needed for Her Royal Highness, so I’m ready to boogie on out of here.
FIRST DOOFUS CAPE HOLDER
Does anybody know what time it is?
SECOND DOOFUS CAPE HOLDER
(He takes a big hour glass out of his backpack)
It’s just about half an hour before the first pitch at Yankee Stadium, give or take a few.
Who’se pitching today.
FIRST DOOFUS CAPE HOLDER
I’m pretty sure that (some popular pitcher) is the starting pitcher for the Yankees today.
Oh yeah, I’ve gotta’ see that? Those goofy Red Sox don’t have a chance today.
(Lexi slings her autograph book and it slides across the floor.)
Me too. Whatta’ we waiting for?
(He slings the princess crown away and it slides across the floor as well)
(They all reach into their pockets, pull out Yankee baseball caps
and walk off the stage like a flash mob singing
“Take Me Out To The Ball Game”)
(Lights out on the stage. Lights back on for a curtain call for each of the actors individually. They are all wearing Yankee baseball caps as recorded music plays
“Put Me In Coach, I’m Ready To Play, Today.)
Tha…tha…tha…tha…that’s all folks.
PLAY 3: DANCING WOLF
SCENE 1 OF 3
FIRST 12 PAGES
Narrator with mature Native American male voice: Not so many years ago, in a beautiful land far, far away from the deep green water where the sun lies down to rest, there lived two happy children: brother and sister. As bright as a full moon and as full of fun as playful bear cubs, the children lived with their father, mother and maternal grandmother in peace and beauty.
As the curtain opens, the children are playing among the cacti, long-horn cow skull(s) and rocks as they gather twigs while the golden sun is setting between two huge buttes (or mountains) behind them. They are laughing and talking as they play among the elements of the desert landscape.
It’s time to go home now, Little Elk.
You only want to stop now because I have gathered more twigs than you. I win, Honey Bear! I win!
Oh no you didn’t. I win! While you were chasing those silly horned toads, I gathered an extra basket of twigs, and I hid it right here behind this rock.
(She looks behind the rock.)
It’s gone! My basket is gone!
No, it’s not gone. I found it. So now it’s my basket of twigs.
Finders keepers. Losers weepers.
Give that back. It’s mine.
(She chases him around a cactus, both laughing,until she finally catches him.)
Oh, you always win, but not today.
(He breaks loose from her and sings again)
Finders keepers. Losers weepers!
I’m gonna’ tell Mama.
Not if I tell her first
(Several coyotes howl repeatedly not far away. The children stop to listen to the coyotes’ song. Suddenly, a large wolf staggers from behind a rock or cactus, standing upright as he holds both front paws over his ears as if in agony.)
Holy horse radish! There they go again! I just hate it when they do that.
Who are you?
Wye, I’m a wolf, of course.
(The wolf stands up straighter and preens for the children.)
A very fine wolf indeed.
But why are you holding your ears like that? Are you in pain?
(Wolf makes a face and rolls his eyes upward in anguish.)
Gimme’ a break! I can not stand that loud-mouthed, off-key coyote howling. It’s awful. Just awful!
You’re a wolf, you say?
Of course, I’m a wolf.
(He shakes his fanny to make his large tail swing from side to side.)
Can’t you see my very fine wolf tail?
(The children look, then nod in unison.)
And my very nimble wolf paws?
(He dances around them, simultaneously snapping his
the tune of “Different Strokes For Different Folks”
or whatever.The children stare, then nod again in unison.)
And my very long, sharp wolf teeth.
(He opens his mouth wide to show his teeth. The children jump back.)
Not to worry, kids. I’m on a very strict diet.
(The wolf takes a small booklet from his travel sack
thumbs through it, searching for something.)
Just as I thought. It says no children allowed.
You would eat children!
Just kiddin’ ya’, baby cakes. Kids have too much saturated fat anyway. Hard on an old wolf’s digestion, ya’ know. Elevates the sugar count.
Like they say, you just can’t have children on a sensible low-fat, low-cholesterol diet.
Of course I’m sure. Look here. . .on page 27. Under “Snacks and Desserts”. It says “No children” in black and white.
(The wolf looks sternly at the boy.)
Have I ever lied to you, young man?
How could you? I just met you.
But if you weren’t on a diet?
Have no fear, little sister. I love children!
I am not a child.
Of course you’re not a child. What I meant was: I love young people.
(The coyotes yelp again, and again the wolf holds
his paws over his ears as if in agony and pleads.)
Oh Great Spirit, please spare me from these sorry howls of those loudmouthed coyotes. Please. Please. PLEEE-ZZ!
What’s your problem? Coyotes howl. Wolves howl. You did say you are a wolf, didn’t you?
Of course I’m a wolf. Aren’t you paying any attention, boy?
So, what is your problem?
So. . .okay. I’ll admit: wolves have been known to howl at the moon from time to time. Howling is goo-ood. I can deal with the howling part, no sweat. But that silly yip, yip, yipping at the end of each howl. . .
Yeah. You know: the yipping. Give me a good old-fashioned howl any old time. But what are those crazy coyotes up to these days?
(He turns to Little Elk as if looking for sympathy.)
A yip isn’t hip. What’s happened to those good, old howls anyway?
(He throws a stick off stage and the yipping stops abruptly in mid-note.)
There. . .that should fix that annoying yipping.
Gracious! Where are my manners? Wye, we haven’t even been introduced yet.
(The Wolf does a sweeping bow.)
Some call me Dancing Wolf, King of the Fancy Dancers. And who might you be, young brave?
I am Little Elk of the Spider Rock Clan. Son of Four Dogs Running: a great hunter. Grandson of Thunder Cloud of the Dry Lake Clan and Spotted Horse, the mighty Shaman and Elder of the Tribal Council.
And I am Honey Bear, sister of Little Elk, daughter of Many Birds the basket weaver, grand daughter of Pretty Sky of the Blue Hills Clan and Talking Woman of the Dry Lake Clan.
(He slaps Little Elk’s two extended hands with both of his paws.)
Yo’! Home Boy. What’s happening?
(Then he pirouettes completely around and bows with a flair to Honey Bear.)
Lookin’ goood, little sister.
Little sister! I was born first ya’ know.
By just a few heartbeats.
LITTLE ELK and HONEY BEAR
(The children nod and say in unison:)
Yes, We are twins.
(He turns away, rubbing his paws together in anticipation. To aside he says:)
Shaa-zam! I’ve never worked with twins before. This should be interesting.
(He turns around to address Little Elk.)
My, my, oh my. I must say: you are a big, strong lad. A fine example of the Spider Rock Clan.
I thank you for noticing, Brother Wolf.
Yes indeed, a fine example. In fact, you impress me as one who may have already sat at a clan council. Am I right, or am I right?
Of course you are. I have had that honor. . .from time to time.
(Whispers to Little Elk:)
You have not!
Hush! Can’t you see that I’m talking to a very important wolf who knows much about many things?
(He turns back to the wolf.)
Yes indeed. I have sat in The Circle with the Clan Elders. . .
(Whispers to Little Elk:)
Around a cooking fire. . .eating popcorn.
And have passed the Spirit Pipe among our Elders from time to time. Oh yes. . .many times.
(Whispers to Little Elk again:)
In your dreams.
Of course you have. As soon as I saw you, I knew you had been honored to share the sacred mysteries of the Spirit Pipe.
Oh sure! That’s right. Many, many times. A whole bunch of times.
Very very impressive, young brave. So, of course, you must also have breathed the cloud of the Sacred Rope.
The Sacred what?
Rope. You know; the Sacred Rope. Born of the Sun God from the bounty of the Earth Mother’s hemp bush. The Rope of Wit and Wisdom.
Oh that Sacred Rope. I sure have. You betcha’. I’ve breathed that ol’ Sacred Rope cloud a time or two.
(He motions for his sister to be quiet.)
Yes I have. I’ve been there and done that alright. I sure did.
I knew it! I can always recognize a budding leader when I see one. Oh yes. Yes indeed. You are definitely clan leadership materiel. Maybe even a tribal leader. I knew it. I knew it!
(The wolf dances around the boy jerking his arms disco style
to the beat of “Different Strokes for Different Folks”.)
You, Master Wolf, have a very keen eye. Everyone says that I, like my father, Four Dogs Running, will someday be a great leader of our clan.
(She says aside.)
And I will be the Movie Queen of Hollywood.
(Whispers to Honey Bear:)
Hush! Hush, I say. This bold Dancing Wolf could be a very wise and wondrous medicine giver. We don’t want to show him any disrespect, do we?
(As she apprehensively watches the wolf dancing:)
I’m beginning to wonder.
This is your lucky day, young brave. Your lucky day indeed. For right here in my travel sack, I have the leaves of the Sacred Hemp rolled into the Rope of Wisdom and wrapped in rare, exotic papers for your amusement and amazement.
(He gestures mystically.)
Badda bing! Badda boom!
(He takes a cigarette out of his sack with an
exaggerated flourish and offers it to Little Elk.)
Care to join me, kid?
(He hesitantly because he has never smoked a cigarette.)
Ahh, well. Ahh. . .
Of course, you do, Sport. I should have known from the “get go.”
(The wolf lights the cigarette.)
Here. It’s my own Very Special Blend. In all the world, there is not another quite like it.
(The wolf takes another puff on the cigarette and hands it to Little Elk.)
(He takes a tentative puff and chokes.)
Uhnnn. . . ugg. Ohhhhh boy!
(He chokes again.)
(He pounds the boy on his back to stop his choking.)
Good stuff, isn’t it! I’ll bet you feel a whole lot wiser already. Here, take another puff.
(He sings to the tune of “Annie Had A Baby” as
the wolf once again does a languid disco dance step.)
Get it while the gettin’ is good, so good, so good, so good. . .
Nice moves, Master Wolf!
(He hesitates for a moment,
then cautiously puts the cigarette to his lips again.)
Don’t be a wuss, kid. Take a deep breath. Fill your very soul with the Sacred Cloud of Wit and Wisdom.
(He chokes again.)
(He sits down abruptly on a boulder shaking his head slowly as if confused.)