Chapter 5 – January 16R

COACH DAN In your abilities, trust me, my friend,
I have no doubt. But your experience
Is simply insufficient, admit it.
Less than an hour ago, you and I
Were sitting in the audience, watching
This performance of Hamlet. Now we’re here,
Living in this world, not just watching it.

REX And we’ve done a pretty good job so far,
If you ask me.

COACH DAN Agreed. But an hour?
You really think that’s enough time for you,
For anyone, to become accustomed
To a world so much older, so much more
Violent, than the world from which you came?

REX If you’re trying to scare, intimidate
Me into coming back with you, please stop.
My mind is made up — I’m not going back.

COACH DAN No, of course not. You’re free to make your own
Decisions. But I can’t let you stay here
Unless I’m certain you’re ready to face
The challenges of the world you’ve chosen.

REX Maybe you should say where this is going.

COACH DAN Certainly. [waves DOUBLE-J towards them] This is a dangerous world,
With, let’s say less stringent laws regarding
Manslaughter. Basically, if you can show
A reasonably just cause for killing
Someone, you’ll likely get away with it.
What I’m saying, you need to be ready
To defend your life, quite literally,
At all times. And I don’t think you’re ready
To repel that kind of lethal challenge.
[turns to DOUBLE-J] You, on the other hand, have seemed almost
Too comfortable since we arrived here.

DOUBLE-J Don’t think you meant that as a compliment,
But I actually kinda like it. Thanks.

REX But you don’t want to stay?

DOUBLE-J Nah. I’m fed up
With these ten-syllable conversations.

COACH DAN But before you leave with us, could you do
A favor to your friend, and show him what
It takes to live, to survive in this world?

Chapter 5 – January 16Q

[Author’s note: Didn’t like the plot decision I made at the end of yesterday’s post, so I’m changing it]

DOUBLE-J This ain’t no fencing tournament, old man.
Soon as I’m done with the sweet prince, see ya!

COACH DAN Not even to lend a hand to a friend?
[points to REX] Our best epee says he’s not going back,
Says he wants to stay right here, in this world.

DOUBLE-J What? [to REX] That’s nuts! Have you fucking lost your mind?

REX Not you, too. Don’t even try to talk me
Out of this. You can go, but I’m staying.

COACH DAN How you live your life is your decision,
My friend. But have you really thought this through?
How you’ll live in this world?

REX What’s to think through?
I’ll do what I did back in Bark Bay — survive.
That’s the best anyone of us can do,
No matter where or when, or how, we live.

Chapter 5 – January 16P

Enter SERVANTS, with flagons of wine

KING Set me the stoups of wine  upon that table!

COACH DAN [aside to THE BIRD] It could work. Double-J wasn’t there when
He arrived at the theater tonight.

THE BIRD [aside to COACH DAN] I know you’re right, I was there the whole time.

COACH DAN And he doesn’t know the play well, either.
That works to our advantage, as well.
[Calls to DOUBLE-J] Hello there! Mind if I interrupt you?

DOUBLE-J [breaks off from fencing HAMLET] What’s wrong now?

COACH DAN Oh nothing, nothing at all!
I was just wondering who else you were
Planning to challenge, aside from Hamlet?

DOUBLE-J This ain’t no tournament, old man. After
I’m done with the sweet prince, I’m outta here.

COACH DAN That doesn’t sound like the young man I know.
Thought you enjoyed exploring your limits.
[points to TEDDY JASPER] I’m thinking that guy over there, he could
Give you a run for your money, for sure!

Chapter 5 – January 16O

COACH DAN Wait — don’t go, not yet.

THE BIRD Yes, Mr. Jacobs?

COACH DAN You know we can’t let you do this alone.
I don’t know how we got into this world,
But I know we all came in together.
Me and the team are going to help you,
Whatever it is you’re about to do.

THE BIRD I — Mr. Jacobs, it’s not that simple.

ANNIE We don’t care whether it’s simple or hard.
We’ll do whatever you need — we’re teammates.

THE BIRD That’s what’s wrong. I’m not on the fencing team.

RUNE Get out! You’ve been to like every practice!

ANNIE Of course you’re on the team! Don’t be silly.

COACH DAN [holds a hand up to ANNIE and RUNE] Wait — I think I know where she’s coming from.
Can I speak to you alone, a moment?

THE BIRD nods, walks with COACH DAN apart from ANNIE and RUNE

THE BIRD I didn’t mean to upset anyone,
Mr. Jacobs. I just don’t see myself
Being on this, or any other team.

COACH DAN Tell me, my friend — have I ever asked you
To join the Bark Bay High School fencing team?

THE BIRD [shakes her head] No. Not ever. Nobody has, really.

COACH DAN Precisely. Because I don’t think of us
As a team. School neither — we’re just a club.
If you’re asking me, we’re closer to a
Family than we are to a team.

THE BIRD Huh?

COACH DAN Lemme guess — doesn’t sound better?

THE BIRD Sorry.

COACH DAN No problem. Look at it this way, my friend —
Like it or not, we’re going to help you.

THE BIRD Is that what family’s do? I didn’t know.

COACH DAN Figured that, from what I know about you.
And yes, family’s have a way of sticking
Around, whether you want them to or not.

THE BIRD I see. [Nods] OK, here’s what I’ve got in mind.

COACH DAN leans forward as THE BIRD whispers in his ear

Chapter 5 – January 16N

BUTCH [rushes up to RUNE and THE BIRD] Hey guys! You know what Rex just told Annie?

THE BIRD About not wanting to return to the
Audience? Yeah, he told me already.

BUTCH Oh! Then I guess — that means we’re stuck here, right?

RUNE There’s a lot going on, none of it good.
At least for us, anyway. Double-J’s
Still dueling Hamlet, won’t let the bout with
Laertes get started, like it’s supposed —

DOUBLE-J Goddammit! Can I get a real ref here?

RUNE The Bird’s mother is running off with that
Teddy guy, before her role as Queen ends —

QUEEN Off to bigger and better things!

TEDDY Lovely!

RUNE And now you say Rex is refusing to
Help end this play. I honestly don’t see
A way out. I think we’re screwed, basically.

THE BIRD No — I know. I think I do, anyway.

BUTCH What’s your idea?

RUNE What can we do to help?

THE BIRD I — don’t know you can, unfortunately.
Ever since we came into this world, jumped
In from our seats in the audience, the
Action of the play’s revolved around me.
I think I have to be the one who makes
This play reach its end, so we can go back.

Chapter 5 – January 16M

ANNIE [aside to REX] Hey. I heard Rune talking, said you didn’t
Want us to return to the audience.

REX [aside to ANNIE] If you wanna go back, that’s fine by me,
But if it’s all the same to you, I’ll stay.

ANNIE You do know how ridiculous that sounds?
I mean, an American teenager
Living in a five hundred year old play.

REX And going back to the world we’re from makes
All kinds of sense? Well, for you, I guess so.

ANNIE Don’t make this about me. I know your life
At home is rough now, but you can’t give up.
You’re family — only thing wrong is, you’re
Just poor.

REX Just poor? Annie, this isn’t like
A thunderstorm, something we have to let
Blow over, run its course — poverty is
A curse, a disease with no cure. All the
Odds are stacked against my family now.
My mom’s dying, there’s nothing we can do.
The state’s gonna take my sisters away,
Put them in foster homes. You really think
I want any business with that world?

ANNIE It doesn’t have to be like that. I’ve told you,
My father’s going to help your family,
Get you a doctor, lawyers, people who
Can help you escape from — from where you are —

REX Our trailer, you mean? You’re intelligent,
But naïve. You’ve never experienced
How the world really works, because you’ve been
Sheltered, in that big home your family owns.
My family, we don’t got no shelter.
The world you all want me to return to,
It’s vicious, unfair, it’s about to crush
My family under it’s heavy heel,
Stamp us out like bugs. You think I’m crazy,
For wanting to stay in this world? I say
It would be crazy for me to go back.
I can’t help my family — nobody,
Nothing can lift the curse that’s over us.

 

 

Chapter 5 – January 16L

BUTCH Hey! What’s going on? Why are they leaving?

THE BIRD Teddy and my mother think that if they
Leave before the play ends, they can somehow
Keep living in the world of the theater.

BUTCH Oh! Does that mean we have to stay here too?

RUNE That makes as much sense as anything else
That’s happened since we suddenly showed up.
And I  dunno ’bout you, but I sorta
Kinda wanna get back to our own world.
The sixteenth century — it’s been a nice
Place to visit, but I don’t want to stay.
I mean, they don’t even have TV here.

THE BIRD And that’s a bad thing?

RUNE Uh — yeah. I mean, how
Else are you gonna keep from getting bored?

Chapter 5 – January 16K

THE BIRD [aside to RUNE] Get Mr. Jacobs!

RUNE [aside to THE BIRD] Don’t you mean Coach Dan?

THE BIRD Whatever! We need him to help persuade
My mother to continue playing her
Role as Queen Gertrude, until this play ends!

ANNIE I’m afraid there’s a problem. I told him
Already about your mother, and he
Said he can’t help us, said we’re on our own.

COACH DAN That’s right, my friends. My role tonight is to
Bring you to the play, not change its outcome.

THE BIRD But the play has already changed! We don’t
Know how we can get it to finish now!

COACH DAN Neither do I. Your guess is just as good.

RUNE But — your older, and wiser than we are.

COACH DAN And have been trapped in the same number of
Elizabethan tragedies as you!

THE BIRD But why are you refusing to help us?

COACH DAN I am helping — by letting you create
Your own solution to our shared problem.
It’s the same reason why I started the
Fencing team at Bark Bay four years ago.
I wanted to give students like you the
Chance to discover the potential that
Lies within each of you. I never try
To give you answers — you discover them
Perfectly well on your own. Tonight is
No different. I believe in each of you —
Now is the time to believe in yourselves.

RUNE Great time for one of your life lessons, Coach!

COACH DAN If you pay attention, you’ll find that life
Is always trying to teach you lessons.

TEDDY JASPER This has been delightful, but it’s now time
For Janet and I to get out of here.

JANET WERNICK We’ll see each other again, somewhere in
The world of the theater! Let’s go, Teddy!

RUNE [aside to ANNIE and THE BIRD] We have to figure out how to stop them!

Chapter 5 – January 16J

THE BIRD You can’t take her away! She’s my mother!

QUEEN Sandra, dear — please calm down. It’s for the best.

TEDDY JASPER Your mother and I are business partners.
I have plans to take her to places that
She’s only dreamed about, far from Bark Bay!

QUEEN This is the start of something wonderful!

THE BIRD But here, now — you’re Gertrude. You just can’t leave
This performance, you must stay stay here until
It ends, so me and my friends can go back!

TEDDY JASPER You’re mistaken. I don’t think you’re mother
Will be Gertrude, now or ever again.

SAVE-ANNA All Coca-Cola and Pepsi products
Are two-for-one, this Saturday only,
At Shop and Save! Limit two per order.

TEDDY JASPER A star in the making, I’m telling you!

RUNE And how, exactly, is her star gonna shine,
If she doesn’t complete her role, help end
This play, and get us back into our world?

TEDDY JASPER How weak is your imagination, boy!
Haven’t you heard that the world is a stage?

THE BIRD Now you’re quoting a different play, pal.

Chapter 5 – January 16I

RUNE I don’t understand. We’re all here, why aren’t
We back in our seats? Why are we still here?

TEDDY JASPER [enters from right] The reason is, some of us want to stay!

THE BIRD [points to TEDDY JASPER] You’re not in costume! Your clothes are modern!

TEDDY JASPER [grinning] Why, yes, little bird — I’ve decided that
I didn’t particularly enjoy
Being a character in a drama
That was written over five hundred years
Ago. I believe it’s time to live in
The moment, and not in the distant past.

RUNE But didn’t you say you wanted to stay?

TEDDY JASPER Well yes. But not in the past, when this play
Was written, but rather in the moment,
This moment, when it is being performed!

THE BIRD You’re nuts. This play, it’s just about to end —

TEDDY JASPER Only if we let it end! But, sadly,
At least for our long-dead playwright, God rest
His decaying bones — I have other plans.
[Extends his right arm towards QUEEN] Janet, are you ready?

THE BIRD No!

QUEEN [takes TEDDY JASPER’s hand] Yes, my dear.