Jan 232012
 

Okay—I think if you cross Aristophanes with Samuel Beckett or Eugene Ionesco, you might end up with something like Lynn Coady’s irreverent fringe play Mark. Or, if you cross tag-team wrestling with the Battle of the Sexes—the play actually has a club called the “slap-stick” and a very large phallus. Mark is a delight and a lovely addition to Numéro Cinq‘s growing collection of plays and screenplays, a section of the magazine that is unique as far as I can tell.

Lynn Coady‘s is an amazing novelist, also deservedly popular. Her fiction has been garnering acclaim since her first novel, Strange Heaven, was published and was nominated for the Governor-General’s Award for Fiction when she was 28. Strange Heaven was followed up by a best-selling short story collection, Play the Monster Blind (2000) as well as the award-winning novels Saints of Big Harbour (2002) and Mean Boy 2006). Lynn Coady grew up on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia and now lives in Edmonton. Her most recent novel is The Antagonist, which was short-listed for this year’s Giller Prize. Mark will be published with another of Lynn’s one-act plays called Skydiving by Scirocco Drama later this year. Mark ran at the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival in the summer of 2009 in a production directed by Rob Appleford. The photographs herein are rehearsal photos from that production.

dg

.

Mark

By Lynn Coady

.

Characters:

Two WOMEN, CANDACE and BELINDA

Two MEN, ALISTAIR AND DEXTER

One Male ATTENDANT

One JUDGE, hooded

A DRUMMER

Actors: Bradley Bishop & Tom Blazejewicz

.
PREAMBLE:

Stage:

Two large plinth-boxes, DSL and DSR, two stools DSR, one stool UCS with two GONGS on either side, with a single MALLET and a SLAP-STICK on either side of the stool.

The DRUMMER enters with DRUM: louche, Upper East Side, too cool to be in this play. He ambles to a DSR stools and sets up

WOMEN’S FANFARE.

Enter Two WOMEN from SR, one bearing BASKET: they are dressed in canvas shifts tied at the waist with a rope. High Energy! Rite-of-Springy pirouettes! Rose petals! Prom dance excitement! They settle at the DSL plinth-box.

A BEAT. Then the MEN’S FANFARE.

Enter Two MEN, from SL, one bearing BASKET: they are dressed in canvas jockstraps tied to a rope around their waists, with canvas sweatbands around their heads. Macho strut! WWF Smackdown! Calisthenics! Dynamic Tension Stretches! High Fives! They set up at the DSR plinth-box.

A BEAT. Then the JUDGE’S FANFARE.

Enter JUDGE, hobbling on the supporting arm of the ATTENDANT. The JUDGE is slowly led to the UCS stool. The ATTENDANT puts the MALLET in the JUDGE’S palsied hand and picks up the SLAP-STICK.  The ATTENDANT wears a silver WHISTLE around his neck.

The JUDGE bangs the DSL GONG (henceforth known as the WOMEN’S GONG) ONCE.

The WOMEN pull out a GARLAND from their BASKET which is placed on the head of BELINDA.

Much girlish excitement.

The JUDGE bangs the DSR GONG (henceforth known as the MEN’S GONG) ONCE.

The MEN pull out a large PHALLUS with a hook on the base from their BASKET.  DEXTER  hooks the PHALLUS on his belt. Much macho celebration and admiration of length/width/tumescence.

The ATTENDANT cuts the frivolity short with a loud THWACK of the SLAP-STICK on his open palm.

Both teams get ready to rumble. BATTLE FARFARE from the DRUMMER..

Another THWACK! FANFARE stops.

BELINDA and DEXTER approach each other CS and begin to circle each other menacingly in a clockwise direction, looking for an opening.

Actors: Kathy Ingram & Tom Blazejewicz

.
.
SCENE 1: WHAT IS WHAT?
.

The opponents circle, ready to grapple. Wrestler stances, beady stare-downs.

BELINDA: Oh.

DEXTER: Hm?

BELINDA: What’s that?

DEXTER stops his circling and drops his wrestler’s stance.

DEXTER: What?

CONSTERNATION from ALISTAIR and CELEBRATON from CANDACE on the sidelines.

BELINDA: I said, “What’s that?”

DEXTER: I know, I’m asking you, what? What’s what?

BELINDA: (gestures vaguely at him) That.

DEXTER: (looks down at himself) What?

BELINDA: That. That. That thing.

DEXTER: (glances vaguely, then away from himself) Oh, yeah. I don’t know.

BELINDA: No but, look at it.

DEXTER: Yeah, I know, I noticed it this morning.

BELINDA: What did you do to yourself?

DEXTER: I don’t know, I guess I bumped into something.

BELINDA: But it’s huge!

DEXTER: It’s not huge.

BELINDA: It’s got this weird shape to it.

DEXTER: I’m pretty sure I got it at work.

BELINDA: Yeah but doing what? I mean it’s huge!

DEXTER: It’s not that huge.

BELINDA: Yeah. (beat) No, it’s huge.

DEXTER: (sighs pointedly)

BELINDA: Does it hurt?

DEXTER: No, I can’t even feel it.

BELINDA: How can you not feel it?

DEXTER: I told you, I don’t even remember getting it.

BELINDA: But like—how is that possible?

DEXTER grunts an impatient “I don’t know” kind of grunt.

BELINDA: And, it’s all. . .it looks like. . .

DEXTER: Oh my god! I have a mark, so what?

The ATTENDANT sounds a WARNING WHISTLE.

BELINDA: I’m just asking what happened.

DEXTER: Jesus, I’m a guy, you know? Guys get marked up sometimes, doing whatever, christ.

The JUDGE bangs the MEN’S GONG loudly. Appropriate reactions from WOMEN A/B and MEN A/B.

BELINDA transfers GARLAND to CANDACE, who changes places with her. DEXTER gives PHALLUS to ALISTAIR, who changes places with him.

Actors: Tanner d’Esterre & Kathy Ingram

.
.
SCENE 2: THE CYCLE OF LIFE
.

CANDACE and ALISTAIR circle each other in a counter-clockwise direction, looking for an opening.

CANDACE: (turning away) Sorry.

ALISTAIR is thrown off-guard.

ALISTAIR: That’s okay, just—. (beat) Listen, you never told me how your week went.

CANDACE: Oh, it was fine.

ALISTAIR: What about that manager you were telling me about, the one you said spits all over your computer screen?

CANDACE: Sweetie, it’s Sunday, I don’t want to think about work.

ALISTAIR: No, come on, I wanna–

CANDACE: It’s fine.

ALISTAIR stares at CANDACE.

CANDACE: What?

ALISTAIR: (pouting, sulky) “It’s fine.”

CANDACE: Well what do you want?

ALISTAIR: I want to talk.

CANDACE: That’s what I was trying to do, a second ago. And then I got shut down.

 The JUDGE bangs the WOMEN’S GONG. Appropriate reactions.

ALISTAIR: I didn’t shut you down, I just wanted to change the subject.

CANDACE: I noticed that.

ALISTAIR: Because it’s weird. It’s pointless. There’s nothing to talk about. I’ve got this big ugly mark, who cares? It’ll fade in a week or so, okay?

CANDACE: It is. It is weird.

ALISTAIR: Okay. Why is it weird?

CANDACE: Because it’s huge, and you say you don’t know where you got it, and I just don’t see how that’s possible.

ALISTAIR: Haven’t you ever bumped yourself by accident?

CANDACE: Yeah.

ALISTAIR: And?

CANDACE: It left a bruise.

ALISTAIR: Uh-huh! The wonders of the human body! You bump, you bruise, and then you heal. It’s the cycle of life.

THWACK!: The ATTENDANT strikes ALISTAIR across the back with the SLAP-STICK. ALISTAIR jerks with pain. As he walks it off, CANDACE pursues him.

CANDACE: Okay, one, I don’t like it when you talk to me like that, okay? It’s condescending. And two, yes, you bump, you bruise. But I’ve never had a mark like that that I didn’t remember getting. And you know what else? I’ve never just, like, bumped myself and ended up with something that looked the way that thing does. So I’d appreciate it if you’d quit talking to me like I’m the one who’s being irrational.

ALISTAIR finally turns and confronts CANDACE.

ALISTAIR: I just. . .I don’t know, I guess I bumped it at work.

The ATTENDANT blows the WHISTLE as a warning. ALISTAIR starts.

CANDACE: How? How could you have gotten it at work? It’s not like you’re a longshoreman or something, you fit people with eyeglasses. What could you possibly have been doing to give yourself a mark like that?

ALISTAIR: I don’t know! (beat.) Oh. I know. You know what, I got it on the beach the other day.

CANDACE: Doing what?

ALISTAIR: Oh—christ, baby, I don’t know! We were running around playing football, rough-housing. . .it could have been anything.

CANDACE: I don’t remember you bumping yourself.

ALISTAIR: Yeah but when I was playing with the guys, you weren’t there. I probably did it when I was fooling around with the guys. Guys get themselves scuffed up all the time. . .

Another THWACK across the back for ALISTAIR. From the sidelines, DEXTER waves desperately to ALISTAIR to be tagged into the game. ALISTAIR breathes through the pain but refuses the tag. Frustration from DEXTER.

CANDACE bears down on the suffering ALISTAIR.

CANDACE: I think I’d remember if you hurt yourself.

ALISTAIR: I didn’t hurt myself. Isn’t this the whole point? If I don’t know how I got it, it couldn’t have hurt much.

CANDACE: That’s what doesn’t make any sense.

ALISTAIR: It does make sense. You’re fooling around with the guys, getting aggressive, you trip, bash into a tree or whatever, but you’re just so into what you’re doing you don’t notice, your adrenalin’s pumping, you just get up and keep playing. Don’t you remember that from when you were a kid, coming home all covered with scrapes and bruises, and you could never tell your mom where they came from?

The JUDGE bangs the MEN’S GONG. Incredulity from the WOMEN. ALISTAIR ripples with self-satisfaction as DEXTER makes it clear that he expects his turn.  But ALISTAIR is too pleased with himself to give the PHALLUS over just yet and waves off DEXTER.

CANDACE: Yes.

ALISTAIR: Okay!

Clearly, from ALISTAIR’s demeanor, there is no more to be said.

CANDACE: But.

AN ANNOYED BEAT.

CANDACE: Not. That. Kind of. Mark.

ALISTAIR: Okay, this is fucking idiocy!

A THWACK across the back for ALISTAIR. He YELPS in surprise, then glares outrage at the ATTENDANT. The wind taken from his sails ALISTAIR finally hands off the PHALLUS to DEXTER. DEXTER takes it with an air of reluctance after what he’s just witnessed. Steps into play with a wary eye on the ATTENDANT.

.
.
SCENE 3: HEADS STILL ON OUR SHOULDERS
.

CANDACE: Excuse me?

DEXTER has an inspiration. Clears his throat.

DEXTER: This is idiocy and I’ll tell you why. I have a mark. People get marked up. It’s a busy, dangerous world out there—remember the time we were walking along the sidewalk and you slipped off the curb just as a bus was pulling up, and I had to yank you back up before it hit you?

CANDACE: You pushed me off the curb.

DEXTER: I didn’t push you off the curb!

CANDACE: You did. You crowded me off the sidewalk, so I fell off the curb.

DEXTER: That’s not the same as pushing you. Anyway, that’s not my point. My point is, there are dangers around every corner. Half the time we’re lucky we make it home with our heads still on our shoulders. The mark isn’t the issue here. What I want to know is why you’re fixating on this.

CANDACE: I’m not fixating.

DEXTER: You are fixating. What would you call it? We’ve been standing here for the past ten minutes arguing about a stupid mark on my body that I could’ve gotten anywhere, doing any number of things. I’m telling you I don’t remember how it happened, and for some strange reason, you’re not letting it go. Now what exactly is going on here?

CANDACE: That’s what I want to know.

CANDACE, counting her chickens, steps out of play and waits for her point. DEXTER braces for the WOMEN’S point.

The JUDGE raises the MALLET once …. Shakily …. and lets it drop …. Twice …… it falls again ….. then a quick decisive bang on the MEN’s GONG.

CANDACE is horrified. DEXTER gives a relieved exhale. ALISTAIR scratches his head, perplexed at the decision. BELINDA is almost seizuring in her desire to be tagged into the game.

DEXTER: (fired up, hitting his stride) Okay so now we’re getting down to it, yeah? Well, good, because I’m kind of tired of having my time wasted with all these vague insinuations. How about you try just saying what you mean for a change?

The JUDGE bangs the MEN’s GONG again. Panicky CANDACE tosses the GARLAND to BELINDA, who enters the game. ALISTAIR gestures to be tagged in. DEXTER ignores him, confidence renewed.

BELINDA: I just want you to be straight with me.

DEXTER: Okay, I thought we were done with the vague insinuations. What you’re doing is calling me a liar.

BELINDA: That’s not what I said.

DEXTER: I know, because you’re being passive aggressive.

BELINDA looks to the ATTENDANT expectantly to thwack her opponent. The ATTENDANT doesn’t move. Furious, she rounds on DEXTER.

BELINDA: That’s not fair.

DEXTER: You said, “I just want you to be straight with me.” Thereby implying I am not being straight with you. Meaning I am behaving, in some respect, crookedly. That is, lying. If you think I’m a liar, just call me a liar.

BELINDA: All I’m saying is. . .it’s weird.

DEXTER: It is weird. It’s weird, first of all, that of all the things we could be doing or talking about now, on the weekend, you decide to harangue me about some mark on my body. It’s weird that, rather than having the courage to just say something like, “Hey, you know what? I don’t trust you. I don’t believe a goddamn word coming out of your mouth,” you decide to make me feel this bizarre, indirect guilt for. . .for having hurt myself! For having an owie!

The JUDGE bangs the MEN’s GONG. Jubilation from MEN, consternation from WOMEN. DEXTER hands off the PHALLUS to ALISTAIR with a touch of ‘nobilesse oblige’. ALISTAIR enters the game, determined to put DEXTER in his place.

.
.
SCENE 4: THIS IS THE THING
.

BELINDA: It’s not that I don’t trust you.

ALISTAIR: Well, that’s how you’re making me feel, and I think it’s kind of shitty to be honest.

WARNING WHISTLE from ATTENDANT.

BELINDA: I didn’t want to start a fight. I just wanted to know where you got the mark.

ALISTAIR: And I told you—

BELINDA: No you didn’t! -

ALISTAIR: (simultaneously) I don’t know!

DOUBLE WARNING WHISTLE  from ATTENDANT.

BELINDA: And that’s not possible. That’s what’s crazy. It’s like you come home one day with an axe in your head, Oh, where’d you get that? Hm, this? Oh I have no idea. Didn’t even notice it was there.

The JUDGE bangs the WOMEN’s GONG. Anger from MEN, flying belly bump from WOMEN.

ALISTAIR, fuming, hands off the phallus to DEXTER.

DEXTER: Okay, tell me what’s really wrong.

BELINDA: (Thrown) What?

DEXTER: What’s really wrong? Clearly it’s something pretty serious if you’re making so much out of this thing.

BELINDA: No, there’s nothing else. This is the thing. This is the thing, right here. I just want a straight answer.

DEXTER: Which you’ve already said. Which means, you think I’m lying to you. Which means, you don’t trust me. Which means you and I have got a really big problem, because I didn’t realize I was such a fundamentally untrustworthy guy.

BELINDA: Sweetie, you’re not! That’s not what I’m saying. . .

DEXTER: Well, to be honest, I know I’m not. I know I haven’t done anything wrong. So that can only mean the problem is with you.

The JUDGE bangs the MEN’s GONG. DEXTER gives a muscle-ripple and an ‘oh, yeah, that’s right’ nod to ALISTAIR. BELINDA tosses the GARLAND carelessly to CANDACE as she stalks off. Sarcastic ‘oh, thank you so much!’ gestures from CANDACE as she adjusts the GARLAND on her head and enters the game.

.
.
SCENE 5: THE SAUCE ON LOW
.

CANDACE: You know, ever since you took that psychology of whatever course you’ve been insufferable.

DEXTER: It wasn’t ‘psychology of whatever’ it was Key Texts in Psychoanalytic Literature. Nice way to change the subject!

CANDACE: I’m not changing the subject, I’m talking about what you just did. What you’re always doing. You read into every thing I do and say, and then you try to turn it around on me. Sometimes I just say what I mean, you know? Even Freud said that. “Sometimes when I say cigar, I mean cigar.”

DEXTER: He didn’t say ‘when I say cigar’, he said a cigar was just a cigar.

CANDACE: You know what I mean.

DEXTER: Almost never.

A THWACK across the back for DEXTER from the ATTENDANT.

CANDACE: I say something like, Oh my god, you have a horrible mark on your body, where’d you get it? And you come back with: You’re fixating! You’re calling me a liar! You’re insecure and passive aggressive!

DEXTER: I’d like to point out I used neither of those two terms.

CANDACE: You did.

DEXTER steps out of play and looks the JUDGE for confirmation. The ATTENDANT bends down to hear the JUDGE’s verdict. The ATTENDANT straightens up and shrugs non-committally. DEXTER then stomps over the DRUMMER for backup. The DRUMMER quickly checks the messages on his CELL-PHONE and avoids his eyes. Frustration and betrayal for DEXTER.

CANDACE: You did and you know it.  And I’m saying not everything I say has to do with some kind of unconscious motivation.

DEXTER: Says the person who just called herself insecure and passive aggressive.

CANDACE: What the hell does that mean?

DEXTER: It means you’re being insecure and passive aggressive. And you know it! You just told me that that’s what you’re being without being conscious of it. Because I never said it, Honey, you did. And then in the next breath you claim not everything has an unconscious motivation!

CANDACE: (doing a slow burn) That’s not even the point.

DEXTER: So what is your point?

CANDACE: My point is fuck off! You’re the guy who “accidentally” pushed me in front of a bus, how’s that for unconscious motivation?

The ATTENDANT delivers a THWACK across CANDACE’s back. She is more shocked than pained at this. DEXTER shoots her a ‘how do you like them apples?’ smirk. CANDACE, fighting tears, hands the GARLAND to BELINDA.

DEXTER: Ok, I don’t even know what we’re fighting about anymore.

BELINDA: You know what, I’m really not feeling well. I think I’m going to go lie down.

DEXTER  is taken aback by the change in tactic.

DEXTER: Oh, no no no no no, you’re the one who started this. You think we’re going to leave it here? With me feeling like a piece of shit and not knowing why? That’s not exactly fair.

BELINDA: Yeah, well, fair or not, that’s how I feel. So, listen, put the sauce on low at around 5 o’clock, okay?

With a flourish, BELINDA  hauls out a LARGE WOODEN SPOON she had tucked into the back of her rope belt and hands it to DEXTER with an evil grin. BELINDA ooooohs with admiration from the sidelines. DEXTER  looks at the SPOON in his hand, then at BELINDA, appalled.

DEXTER: No way, no way are we leaving it like this. This is brilliant, five minutes ago you were like a dog with a bone, the mark, the mark, tell me all about the mark. And the minute I turn things around, you wanna go hide under the covers.

BELINDA: I don’t want to hide, I just don’t want to fight anymore. It’s making me sick.

Panicking, DEXTER  hands the SPOON over to ALISTAIR. ALISTAIR  enters, grabs the PHALLUS off DEXTER rather brusquely and hooks it on. Before responding to BELINDA, ALISTAIR stops to think, tapping his PHALLUS absently with the end of the SPOON. Finally …

ALISTAIR: It’s not making you sick, it’s just that you know I’m winning.

The JUDGE bangs the MEN’s GONG. ALISTAIR  mimes tasting a sauce with the SPOON and his face registers an exaggerated paroxysm of ‘oh that’s sooooo tasty!’.

.
.
SCENE 6: CRAZY
.

BELINDA: That’s really sad. That you talk about it like that, in terms of winning and losing.

ALISTAIR: Let me put it another way then. You know I’m right.

BELINDA: Right, wrong, winning, losing. That’s the important thing. That’s what really matters, right?

ALISTAIR: Well—no.

BELINDA: Whatever. (making to leave) I’m tired.

ALISTAIR: No, wait. What do you mean by that?

BELINDA: I mean—never mind.

ALISTAIR: Stop it!

The frustrated ALISTAIR, without thinking, raises the SPOON with a threatening gesture. A WARNING –WHISTLE from the ATTENDANT.

ALISTAIR: (carefully) Stop making me feel like a walking piece of shit. What, I’m trying to understand this, just tell me what you mean.

BELINDA: (beat, as if gathering strength) I was trying to talk to you. That’s all. I just wanted to talk to you and before we could even get underway, you had to shut me down, you had to make sure I understood that everything I said was wrong, everything I thought was crazy, and everything you think is right and sane and you’re the only one in the room who sees things clearly. It just—this always happens. And it really wears me out after a while.

The JUDGE bangs the WOMEN’s GONG. ALISTAIR throws down the SPOON in frustration. He slinks to the DSL plinth box and hands the PHALLUS to DEXTER.

DEXTER: I’m sorry. Okay? I got defensive.

BELINDA: Yeah. I’d say you got a little defensive.

DEXTER: Well how am I supposed to feel?

BELINDA holds up her hands.

DEXTER: Okay. I’m sorry. You understand, though, how this makes me feel, right?

BELINDA: I think so. But maybe you should explain it.

His bluff called, DEXTER is lost. He makes a quick ‘time-out’ gesture and runs over to ALISTAIR for a consult. They WHISPER hurriedly, DEXTER nodding, as the ATTENDANT approaches them with the SLAP STICK. BELINDA and CANDACE  take advantage of the diversion to consult.

THWACKS for both MEN. BELINDA hurries back and resumes her place, as if she’s been waiting patiently. DEXTER returns to the field.

DEXTER: It makes me feel under attack. It makes me feel on trial.

BELINDA: I don’t mean to do that.

DEXTER: Well—if I can just—I mean, I’m sorry, but it feels to me as if you do.

BELINDA: I get angry.

BELINDA  and CANDACE exchange a thumbs-up and a wink. ALISTAIR  sees disaster approaching and tries to warn DEXTER with an SOS gesture.

DEXTER: I can tell. I can tell you’re angry. That’s part of the feeling under attack thing.

BELINDA: Because I feel like you are treating me like an idiot, Honey. And I feel like you are trying to drive me crazy. And I feel like you’re trying to convince me that I’m crazy as a way of avoiding being honest with me. And I feel like that’s not fair.

DEXTER: Because you are fucking crazy!

THWACK across the back for DEXTER. The JUDGE bangs the WOMEN’s GONG. ALISTAIR slaps his forehead with his palm in frustration. DEXTER sheepishly hands the PHALLUS to ALISTAIR. BELINDA hands the GARLAND to CANDACE.

.
.
SCENE 7: APESHIT
.

CANDACE: Do you see now what I’m talking about?

ALISTAIR: Listen, what are we going to do about this sauce?

DEXTER gives a ‘what the fuck, dude?’ gesture to ALISTAIR.

CANDACE: And now you want to talk about the sauce. That’s just great. You’re fucking crazy, now what are we going to do about the sauce?

THWACK across CANDACE’S back. She is enraged!

ALISTAIR: No, come on, I want to talk, I do. But we’re both starving, we haven’t eaten anything since this morning. You know what you get like when your blood sugar’s low.

CANDACE: Oh my god! Next you’re going to say I must be on my period.

ALISTAIR: No, because I know that was two weeks ago.

Double-Takes from both BELINDA and DEXTER on the sidelines.

CANDACE: You do?

ALISTAIR: Yeah, don’t worry, I always batten down the hatches when that that particular shitstorm is on the horizon.

CANDACE: Oh, fuck you!

CANDACE SLAPS ALISTAIR across the face. Another THWACK across CANDACE’s  back. ALISTAIR rubs his chin, satisfied.

CANDACE is on the ropes, panting in pain.

BELINDA jumps up and down to be tagged in.

DEXTER is not paying attention to the action at this point and is flirting with a female audience member in the front row as he sits on the DSL plinth-box.

A BEAT.

CANDACE marches over to the seated DEXTER, drops the GARLAND onto his head, and marches back to the DSR plinth-box. GASP of horror from everyone except DEXTER. He turns to see what the deal is, sees everyone starting at him. Slowly, he reaches up and touches the GARLAND on to of his head. He laughs, bemused. No one else laughs with him. Realization dawning, DEXTER shakes his head – ‘no fucking way, dude!’. The ATTENDANT approaches with his SLAP STICK. He THWACKS DEXTER across the back once, twice. On the third wind-up, DEXTER forces himself into the ring.

ALISTAIR and DEXTER stand awkwardly, unsure of how to proceed.

ALISTAIR: Well. That wasn’t a particularly rational thing to do, now was it?

DEXTER: Ah. . .I guess not. No.

ALISTAIR: So maybe now you kind of see my point.

DEXTER: Yeah, maybe. Maybe.

A couple of beats. DEXTER scratches his crotch absently. ALISTAIR whistles tunelessly. This goes on long enough for the ATTENDANT to blow a WARNING WHISTLE to get them going.

ALISTAIR: I know! How about a beer?

DEXTER: (relieved) That sounds great.

DEXTER sits down on the stage. ALISTAIR goes over to the BASKET DSL and hauls out two Big Rock cans. ALISTAIR tosses one to DEXTER and joins him sitting down. They crack the beers giddily and drink long.

ALISTAIR: (swallowing) Ahh.

DEXTER: (swallowing) I feel less irrational already.

The men chuckle.

ALISTAIR: So can we talk about this now?

DEXTER: Sure we can buddy.

ALISTAIR: I’m a guy.

DEXTER: Absolutely you are.

ALISTAIR: You know, I’m messing around in the garage, I’m playing ultimate on weekends. . .

DEXTER: Of course.

ALISTAIR; We’re like big kids in some ways, right? We fall flat on our asses and we jump up, brush ourselves off, and keep going. Could have an open artery, blood spurting everywhere, wouldn’t even notice it.

DEXTER: I know, sure.

ALISTAIR: I ever tell you I broke my toe when I was sixteen, playing football? Didn’t notice.

DEXTER: No shit?

ALISTAIR: Well, you know, I noticed. It hurt like hell at the time. But didn’t even bother to get it checked until a couple of weeks later. Just kept playing like nothing was wrong.

DEXTER: Hm. (sips)

ALISTAIR: So there you go.

DEXTER: Sure, absolutely. (beat) Well—yeah, but. . .

ALISTAIR: What?

DEXTER: See, this is the thing. You did notice it. When it happened. You broke your toe, it hurt like hell—

ALISTAIR: I know, but I’m saying. . .

DEXTER: So I mean at that moment, you knew you hurt your toe, right?

ALISTAIR: Yeah, but you’re totally missing. . .

DEXTER: No, no I’m not actually. You broke you toe, you looked down at your toe, you went, Oh, shit! My toe! Right?

ALISTAIR is horrified at this line of questioning.

ALISTAIR: Yeah, but the point is, I forgot all about it afterward.

DEXTER (oblivious to what he’s doing) But that’s not the point. I mean, maybe it’s the point, but it’s completely beside the point.

ALISTAIR: Honey? You’re starting to sound irrational again.

DEXTER: (standing up, straightening his GARLAND) You know what, don’t talk to me that way.

ALISTAIR stands up. They both hand their beer cans to the DRUMMER, who drain them thankfully.

ALISTAIR: All the point ever was, is: Guys get banged up.

THWACK across the back for ALISTAIR. His look of betrayal makes DEXTER wince.  Slowly and almost unconsciously they begin to circle one another.

DEXTER: Look, sweetie, I know guys get banged up, that’s not in question, okay? You keep coming back to that point like it’s so crucial, but it’s not, it’s irrelevant. I’m not saying it’s not normal to come home with scrapes and bruises, I’m saying it’s not normal to come home with a mark the size of that thing and not remember getting it.

ALISTAIR: We just keep going around and around in circles. Around and around and around and around. You always do this.

DEXTER: I don’t always do this. When do I do this?

ALISTAIR: You get neurotically fixated on one tiny, stupid thing and all of a sudden you’re a dog with a bone.

DEXTER: When? When did I ever get neurotically fixated?

ALISTAIR: Like that time you found a grey pubic hair.

DEXTER: I wasn’t neurotically fixated on that.

ALISTAIR: You went apeshit.

DEXTER: I didn’t go apeshit, Sweetie, I was upset.

ALISTAIR: You went on and on. “Oh my god. My groin is getting old.”

DEXTER: It was just because I never had a grey hair anywhere before, not even on my head.

ALISTAIR: “I have old lady pubes.”

DEXTER: I can’t believe you’re comparing that to this! That was like a couple of minutes in front of the bedroom mirror.

ALISTAIR: Yeah well it seemed a lot longer.

DEXTER: This is really low, what you’re doing right now. Acting like I’m throwing some kind of hissy fit, treating me like I’m nuts just for pointing this out. Like I’m just some dizzy, hysterical bitch trying to pick a fight, when you’re coming home and feeding me this obvious line of bullshit.

The JUDGE bangs the WOMEN’s GONG. The WOMEN gawk at each other.  The men are growing so steamed they barely notice.

ALISTAIR: Oh my god, you’re not gonna let this go.

DEXTER: It’s just really insulting. And, sorry, but it’s really starting to piss me off.

ALISTAIR: Piss you off? You’re insulted? When I’m clearly being accused of something here, and you don’t even have the fucking balls to come out and say what it is!

DEXTER: That’s because I don’t know what it fucking is—(throwing down) shithead!

ALISTAIR: Well if you don’t know I guess we’re pretty stuck, aren’t we—dickbreath?

ALISTAIR unhooks his PHALLUS and lays it on the stage. He strikes a serious wrestler’s pose. DEXTER takes off his GARLAND and lays it on the stage. He strikes a ninja-swan pose.

DRUMMER, pleased, plays some ominous FIGHT RHYTHMS..

The MEN clinch and wrestle each other to the floor. The ATTENDANT, who is standing beside the JUDGE, starts forward to break things up, but the JUDGE holds him back with the MALLET.

The MEN wrestle. Badly.

After a bit of flailing—embarrassing for all concerned—ALISTAIR catches DEXTER in the gonads.

DEXTER: Oh!  Arg!  Ugh!  Jesus!

He pulls away from ALISTAIR and moves toward the ATTENDANT, demanding retribution.  The JUDGE, however, still holds the ATTENDANT with the MALLET, so the ATTENDANT can do nothing.  DEXTER limps back into the fray, keeping his distance from ALISTAIR, trying to walk it off.

ALISTAIR: (smirking) Sorry about that, honey.

DEXTER: That was. . .that was really. . .below the belt.

ALISTAIR: (innocently) All I’m trying to do is defend myself.

DEXTER: Defend yourself!  That’s exactly it.  It’s a fucking battle to the death just trying to get a straight answer out of you.  I ask a simple question and you come out with all guns blazing.

ALISTAIR: Like you haven’t had your claws out from the moment you brought this up.

DEXTER: I can’t believe you’re being such a defensive asshole.

Now it’s ALISTAIR’s turn to entreat the ATTENDANT to THWACK DEXTER. The ATTENDANT refuses. ALISTAIR’s shoulders slump.

ALISTAIR: (slowly, deliberately, his back to DEXTER) And you’re being a passive-aggressive cunt. How’s that for below the belt?

A THWACK across ALISTAIR’s back.

ALISTAIR, incensed, stalks over to CANDACE, who sees him coming and warns him away.

ALISTAIR hands his PHALLUS to CANDACE and limps back to the DSL plinth-box.

CANDACE stares at the PHALLUS in her hand, amazed. She wiggles it, hefts it, and finally hooks it onto the belt around her waist. She does a little strut, taking the PHALLUS for a test drive.

Finally, she enters the field to face DEXTER.

.
.
SCENE 8: A NEW CROP
.

DEXTER:  I can’t believe you called me that.

CANDACE: (in a ridiculously deep voice, fiddling with her PHALLUS) I’m sorry, sweetheart.

The ATTENDANT approaches her with the SLAP STICK. CANDACE waves him off with ‘I’m so sorry, sir! It won’t happen again!’ gestures.

DEXTER: You called me the C-word.

CANDACE:  Honey, I’m sorry.

DEXTER: You dropped the C-bomb!

CANDACE: I’m so, so sorry. I lost my temper, baby.

DEXTER: It’s a bit emasculating, don’t you think?

CANDACE gives DEXTER a look of reminder, gesturing subtly to the PHALLUS that she, not he, is wearing.

DEXTER: (grappling) I mean, uh—you know.  Call me a prick—call me a cocksucker, even. . .

(strutting again as she eases into her role): I’ll call you a cocksucker if you want, baby, but how will you know it’s not a compliment?

DEXTER: I don’t find that funny.

CANDACE: No, I know. It’s not. I’m sorry.

DEXTER: I’m just trying to figure this out, you know? I didn’t want to fight with you.

CANDACE: I don’t want to fight either.

DEXTER: I’m sorry, but I gotta say—this defensiveness. I make a little, innocent remark, I just ask a question and it’s like—whoa! Suddenly you’re scratching my eyes out.

CANDACE: Ok —come on, seriously.

DEXTER: What?

CANDACE: “A little, innocent remark”? Give me a break. You asked where I got the bruise, I said I didn’t know, and you proceeded to jump down my throat is what happened.

DEXTER: I didn’t jump down your throat, baby.

CANDACE: You jumped down my throat.

DEXTER: I’m just worried about you.

CANDACE: Oh my god!

DEXTER: Well I mean what’s going on with you?

CANDACE: What do you mean, what’s going on with me? What are you implying?

DEXTER: I’m not implying anything, I’m saying when a person comes home covered in bruises . . .

CANDACE: Covered in bruises! I’m hardly ‘covered in bruises!’

DEXTER: . . .Walking around with a bruise the size of fucking China, and you expect me to believe. . .

CANDACE: Here we go!

DEXTER: . . .you have no idea where you got it. I mean, ok, let’s go with that. Let’s say you have no idea where you got it. Let’s say I choke that down for a second. Let’s say I swallow that unlikely bit of information and I’m even able to keep it down for a moment or two.

CANDACE: And I really appreciate you not making a big production out of it by the way.

DEXTER: So we put aside that question—we squelch it, we beat it down. Even though it’s a perfectly harmless, innocent questions with every right to be asked. But fuck it, it’s dead. We kick that question to the curb.

CANDACE: You’re making it sound like the question is a baby seal or something. . .

DEXTER: We bash the question’s brains in with a club and we stand there together on the, on the bloodied ice floe—we stand there with the question lying dead and mangled between us.

CANDACE: For Christ’s sake!

DEXTER: But what’s that? On the horizon! Wriggling toward us? Oh my god!

CANDACE: Wriggling toward us?

DEXTER: It’s an entire herd of questions! A whole new crop!

CANDACE: Why are they wriggling?

DEXTER: Because they’re baby fucking seals. You chose the metaphor, not me. And it’s apt. They’re young and fresh and innocent and they’re frantically wriggling to the side of their murdered brother. And they’re saying, Hey. Wait a minute.

CANDACE: The seals are saying that?

DEXTER: Ok, they’re saying in all their innocence, sure. Maybe you don’t know where you got the bruise. That hideous fucking mark. Maybe our fuzzy white brother deserved to get clubbed over the head for asking a simple, obvious questions.

CANDACE: I thought the seal was a metaphor for the question itself.

DEXTER: It was, sorry, it was. So now all these other seals gather around, gazing up at you with their big, sad eyes.

CANDACE: Their innocent eyes. Don’t forget to emphasize how innocent they all are. Pure as the driven snow right?

DEXTER: They are. Because listen to what they’re saying. They’re saying: We care about you. We don’t understand. Ok, you don’t remember where you got the mark. So what, then, does that mean? You go out, you get marked up. You don’t know how it happened. And here they come. Here comes the rush of new questions. Have you been having some kind of psychological episodes? Are you losing time? Do you have epilepsy?

CANDACE shoots DEXTER a wary look.

DEXTER:  Are you hurting yourself unconsciously maybe? In your sleep? Or maybe you’re having black outs.

CANDACE:  Don’t.

DEXTER:  Are you drinking? Are you using?

CANDACE:  Don’t!

DEXTER:  Are you using again?

CANDACE stomps over to the ATTENDANT and demands a penalty THWACK for DEXTER.  The ATTENDANT is implacable.  CANDACE flails in frustration. 

CANDACE: That is—that’s really offside.

DEXTER: No. I think, under the circumstances, it’s fair.

CANDACE: You know the answer.

DEXTER: Ok, let’s say I do. Let’s club that one to death too. POW!

DEXTER mimes a violent seal-clubbing, startling CANDACE. 

DEXTER: But, oh look, yet another fuzzy white head pops up, another pair of big sad eyes, another question.

CANDACE: And what’s this one want to know?

DEXTER: This one wants to know if you’re fucking someone.

A BEAT.

CANDACE: I’m amazed it took you this long.

DEXTER: I mean, what kind of idiot do you think I am?

CANDACE: A huge idiot! I think you are a huge fucking idiot!

A THWACK across the back for CANDACE. She takes it with grim satisfaction.

DEXTER (thrown): I don’t know what I’m supposed to say to that.  I really don’t.

DEXTER turns away.  CANDACE rushes over to the bored-looking ATTENDANT and snatches the SLAP-STICK from his hand and bears down on DEXTER.  The JUDGE holds the ATTENDANT back with the MALLET.

CANDACE: (brandishing SLAP-STICK) That’s good, because I have something important to say to you. You need to get your jealousy under control. It makes you manipulative and mean, and it all comes down to your own pathetic insecurity, and if you want to know the truth, it’s a huge turnoff. This whole stupid, unending conversation is representative of a much bigger problem, and it’s a problem that has nothing to do with me.

DEXTER: That’s nice. That’s nice. You’re saying you’re not attracted to me? You’re saying it’s a turnoff every time I ask you for a simple explanation? So if I ever want to get laid again, I have to look the other way? Ask no questions, tell no lies? That works out well for you, doesn’t it?

CANDACE winds up the SLAP-STICK to THWACK DEXTER, then hurls the SLAP-STICK to the ground in frustration.

CANDACE: I’m saying this problem we’re having right now—it’s your problem, baby. You don’t have any faith in me, because you don’t have any faith in yourself.

DEXTER  wears an incredulous, amused look, as if he is about to declare the previous statement the stupidest thing he has ever heard –

The JUDGE bangs the MEN’S GONG.  DEXTER  is appalled and disgusted.  He hands off the garland to BELINDA like he wants nothing more to do with the damn thing.   CANDACE  picks up the SLAP-STICK and hands it to the ATTENDANT, unrepentant. No reaction from the ATTENDANT. CANDACE turns to BELINDA, braced for more battle.  BELINDA is a momentary deer-in-headlights.


.
.
SCENE 9: RIGHT
.

BELINDA: You’re right.

CANDACE:  (thrown) I’m right?

BELINDA: You’re right.

BELINDA abruptly puts her face in her hands. CANDACE rushes to her.

CANDACE:  Oh my god, baby. Don’t cry.

On the sidelines, the MEN roll their eyes/throw up their hands, are generally disgusted. 

CANDACE puts her arms around BELINDA, who weeps.

CANDACE: Sweetie, sweetie I’m sorry. I’m sorry, okay? Please don’t.

BELINDA: I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

CANDACE: Nothing’s wrong with you. Nothing’s wrong, baby. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it.

BELINDA:  No, you’re right. You’re right, I’m insecure. I’m pathetic!

CANDACE: You’re not pathetic.

BELINDA:  I just get so scared.

CANDACE:  (letting her go) I know, but why? You’ve got nothing to be scared of. I’m with you. We’ve been together six years. I’m not going anywhere. I’m right here, baby.

The JUDGE bangs the MEN’s GONG.

BELINDA: You’re always so busy at the optical. You’ve got so many friends—those guys you play football with. . .

CANDACE: Honey, they’re just guys.

BELINDA:  I hardly ever see you.

CANDACE: You know that’s not true. We went to the beach. . .

BELINDA: We went to the beach, and you played football. With ‘the guys’.

CANDACE: I’m sporty! You know that. I don’t like lying around in the sun! I need to be up and moving around. How do you think I got this thing in the first place?

BELINDA: Well, that’s the question, isn’t it?

The JUDGE bangs the WOMEN’S GONG.  CANDACE winces. She takes a deep breath.

CANDACE: Honey? Let’s not go back there, I beg you. Look, we’re both starving. Our blood sugar’s low, and, you know what, check the calendar: we’re—I mean you’re due to menstruate any day now.

BELINDA: I am?

CANDACE: Yes, it’s no wonder we’re both freaking out. You know how we get.  You get.  How you get.  When you’re having, um. . . your special woman time.  (growing desperate, realizing how bad she is at this)  Which, uh, which I find disgusting, by the way.

BELINDA:  What?

CANDACE:    (excessive masculine posturing here)  Well you know, it’s gross.  Ew!  I don’t wanna know about that shit.

BELINDA stares at CANDACE, open-mouthed..

CANDACE: Hey!  I’ve got a great idea. You go on upstairs, put something in the DVD player—whatever you like. One of those whacked out Japanese horror movies you like—anything. I’ll heat up the sauce. . .

BELINDA: The sauce is burnt.

CANDACE: Oh—right. I’ll order us up some Thai, how about that? Where’s my –

CANDACE pats herself down, looking for her cell-phone.  She unhooks the PHALLUS from her belt and holds it up her head like a telephone receiver.

CANDACE: So, what do you feel like? Sky’s the limit.

BELINDA: I’m not hungry.

CANDACE: Sweetie, you haven’t eaten all day, it’s no wonder you’re a mess. You rather have sushi? Or that spicy tofu you like so much?

BELINDA:  I’m not a mess. You’re treating me like an invalid.

The JUDGE bangs the WOMEN’S GONG. CANDACE begins to panic.

CANDACE: Uhhh, Indian. How about Indian, you feel like some tandoori?

BELINDA pulls the PHALLUS out of CANDACE’S hand and drops it on the floor.  CANDACE scoops up the PHALLUS and stomps over to the ATTENDANT to complain waggling the PHALLUS in his face. The ATTENDANT leans down to confer with the JUDGE. He straightens up and shakes his head. CANDACE confronts BELINDA with the PHALLUS.   

CANDACE: What did you do that for?

BELINDA: Because you’re not listening to me. You’re treating me like a child, trying to lull me to sleep with TV and tandoori. You’ll do anything to avoid the issue at hand, won’t you?

The JUDGE bangs the WOMEN’S GONG.  

CANDACE: I thought we were past this. I thought we agreed, there is no issue. The only issue here is your insecurity, remember? I said, “You’re jealous.” And you said—what’s that? Do you recall? Your honour?  “You’re right.” That’s what you said, only a moment ago. I heard you. The whole courtroom heard you.

The JUDGE bangs the MEN’S GONG.

BELINDA: You keep treating this like a game, like it’s some kind of competition.

CANDACE: Well—what is it then? I don’t know what it is. I don’t understand what it is you’re trying to achieve with all this, other than making us both miserable.

Abruptly, BELINDA buries her face in her hands again. The rest of the company looks faintly disgusted with this tactic. THWACK across the back for BELINDA. CANDACE looks pained at this.

CANDACE: You know, sweetie, I’ve got questions too. I’ve got my own herd of baby seals over here. I mean, why can’t we just move on from this? Why can’t we just go back to how it was? Why can’t we just be happy together, like we used to be? What’s going on here? I mean what’s changed? Why is everything so hard between us all of a sudden?

BELINDA tosses the GARLAND to DEXTER, who storms on in a holy rage.

.
.
SCENE 9: MIRROR
.

DEXTER: THIS IS BULLSHIT!

Terrified, CANDACE plucks off the PHALLUS and slips it down her cleavage. Her face registers a little ‘o’ of titillation, quickly suppressed.

CANDACE: What do you mean?

The ATTENDANT blows WARNING WHISTLE and CANDACE, rattled, hastily pulls the PHALLUS from her cleavage and rehooks it on her belt.

DEXTER: I mean I’ve had it. I’m sick of this line of crap you’ve been feeding me all afternoon.

DEXTER stomps over to the DSL plinth-box, drags ALISTAIR over DSC and pulls up his shoulders so that he is standing at attention. (There is a bit of conflict involved in this process—ALISTAIR miming ‘Quit shoving, dude,’ as DEXTER mimes something along the lines of ‘Just bear with me for a minute, OK?’)

 DEXTER pushes CANDACE so that she faces ALISTAIR. CANDACE and ALISTAIR face each other, not moving.

DEXTER: (shaking CANDACE’s shoulders roughly) Look! Look at that thing! Look at the size of that fucking thing and tell me I’m crazy. Tell me I’m fucking insecure. Tell me you don’t know where you got a bruise the size of somebody’s fucking hand. Go ahead! I dare you! Look at that, and look at me—look me straight in the eye—and I dare you, I fucking dare you to tell me how pathetic and insecure I am. I’m begging you, do it, I’d love for you to do it, go ahead, tell me right now. Do it. Tell me I’m insecure. Tell me.

CANDACE stares at ALISTAIR.  Neither of them move.

CANDACE: (Struggling) Let me go.

DEXTER holds CANDACE in place. She continues to struggle, getting frightened.  The ATTENDANT moves in to deliver a THWACK to DEXTER. He ignores it and keeps holding the struggling CANDACE.  Finally, he releases her.

CANDACE glares at DEXTER before an idea strikes her.  She removes the PHALLUS and hands it to ALISTAIR.  They simply trade places.

But just before the scene can start up again, CANDACE helpfully reaches over and places DEXTER’s hands on ALISTAIR’s shoulders, so they are in the same holding position as previously.

Suddenly DEXTER doesn’t seem as cocky.

CANDACE resumes her position as ALISTAIR’s reflection.

ALISTAIR (violently shaking off DEXTER): Get your fucking hands off me!

DEXTER: I’m sorry. I’m sorry, babe.

ALISTAIR: Who the fuck do you think you are?

DEXTER: I’m sorry.

ALISTAIR:  You’re lucky I don’t punch you in the fucking head.

DEXTER: I know. I’m sorry, I was upset all right? I’m sorry. I’m just—I’m really hungry. My blood sugar must be really low—you know how I get when I haven’t eaten.

ALISTAIR takes a menacing step toward DEXTER

DEXTER (quickly): I’m also having my period.

ALISTAIR: You don’t put your hands on me.

DEXTER: No, I know.

ALISTAIR: You never. Fucking. Do that.

DEXTER: I know. I’m sorry.

Satisfied, ALISTAIR removes the PHALLUS with a flourish and hands it back to CANDACE before heading back to the sidelines. She re-affixes it and faces DEXTER with a renewed confidence.

.
.
SCENE 10: STILL
.

DEXTER: Still.

CANDACE: What. What now?

DEXTER: I think I had a point.

CANDACE: (exhausted) Oh my God. This is never going to end.

Done, CANDACE flings the phallus  to BELINDA, who is looking worn out herself.  She puts it on and comes to face DEXTER with her head down, hands on her hips; girded.

DEXTER: Back there. In front of the mirror. I think I made a point. I think my point was undeniable.

BELINDA: Fine. Let’s get on the merry go round one more time.  Bring it on.

DEXTER: Okay. There’s fantasy, and then there’s reality. No—sorry. Let me start again. There’s reality, and there’s perception—right?

BELINDA: What the hell are you talking about?

DEXTER: I’m saying—what I’m trying to say is—you can tell me I’m insecure until the cows come home, Sweetie. It’s a really easy thing to do. You can tell me I’m lazy, I’m vain, I’m a coward—whatever. The point is, you can say anything you want—but that doesn’t make it true. These are just accusations. They’re the weapons you’re using to keep me at bay. But you just saying that stuff doesn’t make it the case. Now let’s look at what I’m saying.

BELINDA: What are you saying.

DEXTER: I’m saying, Sweetie, you have a very large, very nasty bruise on your body. Every time I look at it, it makes me wince. It hurts me just to look at it, do you understand? And I’m not just saying that because I’m tired, or hungry, or because I want you to shut up, or because we’ve been together a really long time and maybe I’ve kind of forgotten why we started this up in the first place, or because sometimes it seems like, considering how much I’ve given to you over the years I don’t seem to be getting much back, or because you used to find me really sexy and now we pencil sex in every other weekend like its buying groceries or cleaning the bathroom. I’m saying you have a large, ugly bruise on your body—because you have a large, ugly bruise on your body. This is the fact. This is the single fact we have in play. This is the fact that, no matter how many deflections you might come up with, you can’t deny.

DEXTER looks to the JUDGE.  The JUDGE’s head is bowed. He may be asleep. Or dead.

BELINDA: (really exhausted now) I haven’t denied it. Not once. You’ve made that point already—over and over again. Yes, I’m marked. Yes, I have a mark. No one’s denying the mark. So what now?  What now, honey?  Where do we go from here?

DEXTER still waits for his point.  No response from the JUDGE. DEXTER stands at a loss. After a moment or two, the ATTENDANT moves toward DEXTER, who still can’t come up with anything—the well is dry.  He removes the GARLAND before the ATTENDANT can descend. For a moment, DEXTER  doesn’t seem to know who to give it to.  Finally he settles on ALISTAIR, who takes it grimly—like he can’t stand the sight of it  anymore.

Everyone’s a little shocked by DEXTER’S  anticlimactic defeat.

ALISTAIR: Okay.  You haven’t denied it. But you haven’t explained it either.

BELINDA: What is there to explain?

ALISTAIR:  How did you get it?

BELINDA: I don’t know.

ALISTAIR: (losing his temper)  I DON’T WANNA HEAR THAT!

(a WARNING WHISTLE, which ALISTAIR ignores)

ALISTAIR: How did you get it?

The ATTENDANT moves in with a THWACK for ALISTAIR.

BELINDA: (cowering) I don’t know!

The ATTENDANT thwacks BELINDA, who surprises everyone by falling to her knees.  ALISTAIR watches as she struggles painfully to her feet. He’s got an idea.  He waits until BELINDA is fully upright and facing him.

ALISTAIR: (deliberately) How.  Did.  You.  Get.  It?

A THWACK from the ATTENDANT for ALISTAIR, who was already braced.

BELINDA: (horrified)  Don’t do this.

ALISTAIR:  I’ll ask you again.

BELINDA:  No!

ALISTAIR:  How.  Did.

BELINDA: Stop it!

ALISTAIR:  You.

BELINDA: I don’t know!

: (simultaneously) Get.  It?

The ATTENDANT, starting to find this tedious, delivers a THWACK to both contestants.

BELINDA is done.  She moves to DEXTER  and gives him the phallus.

em>But DEXTER gave up long ago.  He takes the stage but doesn’t even bother to affix the PHALLUS to his belt.

DEXTER: Come on, man.

ALISTAIR: I can do this all day.

DEXTER:  But why?

ALISTAIR:  How.

DEXTER: Is it really that important to you?

ALISTAIR: Did.

DEXTER:  Dude!  It’s not worth it.  Let’s just go get a drink.

ALISTAIR: You.

DEXTER: I don’t wanna do this anymore.

ALISTAIR: Get. . .

DEXTER: I’m not doing this.

DEXTER hands off the PHALLUS to CANDACE, who takes and affixes it with much reluctance.

She takes the field and faces ALISTAIR.

A couple of BEATS of silence.

ALISTAIR: (smiling savagely)  . . .It?

The ATTENDANT gives ALISTAIR a particularly loud THWACK.  ALISTAIR falls to his knees.  He looks up at CANDACE and CANDACE looks down at him.

ALISTAIR:  How.

On the sidelines, DEXTER and BELINDA moan.

ALISTAIR: (struggling to his feet)  Did.  You.

CANDACE abruptly removes the phallus and holds it out to ALISTAIR.  ALISTAIR takes it, amazed, as CANDACE walks offstage.  ALISTAIR affixes the PHALLUS to his belt.  BELINDA, not knowing what else to do, follows CANDACE offstage.  DEXTER watches ALISTAIR for a moment, then walks offstage.

ALISTAIR stands there wearing the GARLAND and the PHALLUS.

Suddenly, the  JUDGE is struggling to his feet as the ATTENDANT assists him.  The JUDGE picks up his basket, waving away the ATTENDANT’S help.

With aching slowness, the JUDGE and ATTENDANT head DCS to approach ALISTAIR, who awaits them.

The JUDGE places the BASKET in front of ALISTAIR and waits.

ALISTAIR  removes the GARLAND and drops it into the basket.  Then he removes the PHALLUS and drops that into the basket.

The JUDGE simply picks up the BASKET and hobbles offstage.

ALISTAIR stands facing the ATTENDANT, who still wields the SLAPSTICK.

ATTENDANT:  Congratulations.

 —Lynn Coady

  One Response to “Mark: Play — Lynn Coady”

  1. Thanks for this, Lynn! You so perfectly capture the painful and exhausting circularity of this kind of argument. And I love the gender reversals!

Leave a Reply