Closet Drama/Musical: Let’s Not Turn the Weekend into a Beckett Play

Translated from the French by Kingbeat Fuller Foster.

A couple in their twenties lounge in a not-all-that cramped studio apartment.  She sits on a ratty couch staring into her device, earbud wires dangling from her ears.  Reclining in a decrepit recliner, he reads the print edition of the New York Times.  A coffee table still life installation: skull, vaping device, utility bills, vintage post cards (Bertolt Brecht, Buster Keaton), an incense burner sprouting three sticks burning simultaneously.

Behind, a Batik hanging, concrete block bookshelves.

She [staring down at her device, then removing the earbuds]: Hey, Sam [we can’t see him because he holds the paper open with two hands thrust wide, the paper shielding.  The headline is in Pearl Harbor font:  TRUMP AND MELANIA  DEAD; MURDER/SUICIDE]: Hey, Sam.  Do you still love me?

Sam: No.

She: But I love you.

Sam:  So you say.

She:  We’re five lines into the play and the so-called playwright hasn’t even bothered to give me a name yet.  Have you picked up on that?  Of course not.

Sam:  It’s because I haven’t said your name yet.

She:  Bullshit.  All he had to do is write in the directions above, a couple in their twenties, Sam and Sam, lounge in a not-all-that cramped studio apartment.  Plus, it seems like he got the title wrong.  Ionesco, not Beckett.

Male Sam lowers the newspaper and smiles enigmatically.

Female Sam: I used to think it was so cool we had the same name.  “Sam-plus-Sam= love” I wrote once on a dusty windshield instead of “wash me.”

Male Sam: [almost inaudibly]: In the late middle of the 20th century it sounds like. Nobody talks like that.  No one ever talked liked that.  Except in plays.  [He yawns, turns the page, re-hides his person behind the paper. ] Now the headline reads: Melania and Trump Dead, Suicide/Murder.

Female Sam:  I want you to move out.

Male Sam: [snatching newspaper down, ramming his legs to make the recliner un-recline, his feet slapping on the floor]: What???  Why????

Female Sam: Because you don’t love me anymore.

Male Sam: But I don’t love anyone.  Not MeMaw, not PaPa, not Mom, not Dad, not my shitass siblings, not Brooklyn, my job, not me.  You know what they say.  If you’re incapable of loving yourself, you’re incapable of loving in general. I’m the living proof.  Please don’t kick me out, Sam.

He gets up, heads to the kitchen area, methodically concocts a bloody mary. She has the buds back in, her eyes closed, sways to unheard melodies.

He returns, drink in hand.  She doesn’t realize he’s there.  He touches her arm.  She opens her eyes, smiles.  Takes the drink.

Female Sam [Her smile has turned into a sitcom smile]:  I want you to move out.  In four weeks.

Male Sam [singing to the tune of “Goodnight Irene”]:  My mother wished that I might be/A man of some renown/But I am just as refugee/As I go rambling round boys/As I go rambling round.

Female Sam:  If we had a tv, we could watch the suicide/assassination extravaganza.

Male Sam:  I got an idea.  Let’s listen to the same song at the same time.  We never listen to the same song at the same time.

Female Sam:  Like what? What song?

Male Sam:  “Nobody But Me.” The Human Beinz.

Female Sam: The Human Beings?

Male Sam:  Yes.

From his device the song is bluetoothed to a red cylindrical speaker.

No-no, no, no, no-no-no, no, no-no, no, no-no
Na-no, no, na-no, no-no, na-no, no-no, no, no-no, no
Nobody can do the (Shing-a-ling) like I do
Nobody can do the (Skate) like I do
Nobody can do (Boogaloo) like I do
Nobody can do (Philly) like I do
Well, don’t you know
I’m gonna skate right through
Ain’t nobody do it but me
Nobody but me (nobody but me)
Yeah, I’m gonna spin, I do
Ain’t nobody do it but me, babe
(Nobody but me)
Well, let me tell you nobody
Nobody but me
Let me tell you, nobody
(Nobody) nobody
(Nobody) nobody
(Nobody) nobody
(Nobody) nobody
(Nobody) nobody
(Nobody) nobody
(Nobody)
—Instrumental Interlude—
No-no, no, no, no, no-no-no, no, no-no, no, no-no
Na-no, no, na-no, no-no, na-no, no-no, no, no-no, no
Nobody can do the (Shing-a-ling) like I do
Nobody can do the (Skate) like I do
Nobody can do (Boogaloo) like I do
Nobody can do (Philly) like I do
Ooooooh, yeah
Nobody, nobody
Nobody, nobody

 

Fin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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