In the beginning of April I blithely announced I would be participating in ScriptFrenzy, that annual craziness involving writing 100 pages in 30 days. So here it is April 23 and I have finished ScriptFrenzy. No, I did not type 100 pages. I did type 37 and ended up with a one-act play which I am quite satisfied with. I know I won’t receive my nifty little completion certificate, and I will end up as one of those sideline statistics who did not complete the goal. However, I must protest. The intent was to write a play and I did. I cannot see the point of overwriting a play just to meet the page requirements. The logic sounds like something from Alice in Wonderland.
Speaking of Alice in Wonderland–that’s what my play is–an adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s most marvelous classic of comedy logic. My play is actually part of the NaNoWriMo novel I wrote two years ago. Initially it was supposed to be a short story, yet it slipped into a play bit by bit . You can see why I like Alice; I seem to dwell in the land of illogicals.
The play is a mix of Hamlet, Alice in Wonderland, with a smidgen of Wizard of Oz. If you read the entire play the mix makes sense. I shall not bog you down with all the details. The short and quick: there two Alices–one is the narrator who is in a chair moderating her “dream” which what we watch on the stage. ”Stage Alice” is the dream Alice and she has this terrible problem of speaking only in couplets (a bit of the Hamlet influence). This portion is from the courtroom scene:
Stage lights open to a courtroom scene. The King and Queen of Hearts sit on thrones. Stage right is a table with the KNAVE who is handcuffed next to a LAWYER. Across at stage left is two rows of chairs, three in front and two in back, filled with an array of ANIMALS. The end chair is empty. Center stage is a small table with a plate of tarts. Stage Alice enters stage left and sits in the empty chair. Each animal is holding a DRY ERASE BOARD AND MARKER. Stage Alice finds hers under her chair.
BAILIFF: All rise.
The entire courtroom rises, except King and Queen. Stage Alice reluctantly rises only at prodding from animal next to her.
We are gathered here today to hear the confession of the Knave, whom we know to have stolen the hearts, and we all know he will be sentenced accordingly.
STAGE ALICE: Well, that’s hardly fair and certainly not just,
I’d say this court room scene is most certainly a bust.
ANIMAL in front row turns around and hushes Stage Alice. Stage Alice sticks tongue out when it turns around. The ANIMAL besides her snickers. The Bailiff(White Rabbit) walks over and bops snickering Animal on head with a BOPPER, a long-stick with a soft endpiece which could emit a funny noise for more comic relief. The Animal winces and rubs head, even though bopper does not hurt.
QUEEN: And what has the defendant have to say for himself?
BAILIFF: (walks over to Knave) That’s you. (whispers loudly) Stand up.
KNAVE: Well, your Majesty…
QUEEN: Thank you, that’s quite enough. I find him guilty.
KING: Yes, I find him guilty too.
QUEEN: Then off with his head.
While the Bailiff begins to haul away the sobbing Knave, the courtroom is suddenly interrupted by the entrance of the WICKED WITCH
WICKED WITCH: Dorothy. You can’t escape me. I’ll get you yet, my pretty. And your little dog, too.
She walks over to each of the jurors and inspects them one by one. They shiver and cower.
QUEEN: Off with her head!
WICKED WITCH: (turns around to Queen) Excuse me? Whose head are you referring to?
QUEEN: (nervously) Her head (points to Stage Alice)
WICKED WITCH: Aha! Think you can hide out with all your little friends? Well I’ll show you. (cackles)
STAGE ALICE: No, I’ll show you (pulls out SQUIRT GUN and squirts Wicked Witch) You’re all wet, and your bullying is too.
Wicked Witch begins to shriek and runs out of courtroom, dropping off pieces of her costume on the floor.
WICKED WITCH: I’m melting! I’m melting!
BAILIFF : (Calls in on shirt cuff)Clean up on aisle three
WORKERS ONE AND TWO scurry in from stage left with MOPS AND BROOMS and clean up witch debri and quickly exit stage right
QUEEN: Now where were we?
KING: Before we go much further. I want to know why she (points to Stage Alice)knows a witch and a witch knows her.
The entire courtroom stares at Stage Alice who crosses her arms in defiance.
STAGE ALICE: Which witch I may ask of whom you inquire?
Press me further and a lawyer I shall hire.
KING: No need for that, my dear. Just curious is all. (to Queen). It looked like the witch knew her. (the Queen pats him in reassurance). Bring on the next case.
BAILIFF: (calls out from a scroll) The Case of the Stolen Tarts by the Knave of Hearts
STAGE ALICE:But we just heard this case.
I cannot abide the ill-logic of this place.
ANIMAL NEXT TO stage ALICE (whispers)Oh, there is perfect logic. What you saw first was the mock trial. We have to practice to get it write (points to whiteboard)so we can’t get it wrong.
STAGE ALICE: Getting it right is important indeed,
To practice justice, I understand; I see.
ANIMAL NEXT TO STAGE ALICE: (holds up whiteboard)No, no. Not “right”. “Write” (makes writing motion)It takes us all such a long time to spell, that we have one or two trials before we get all our notes down.
Animal in fronts turns around and hushes Stage Alice. She hushes Animal back. Animal is shocked and turns around quickly. Bailiff comes over and bops the hushing Animal.
KING: Read the case, Bailiff
BALIFF: (clears throat, reads from scroll)
The Queen of Hearts
She bought some tarts
On sale it was last Thursday
The Queen jumps up
QUEEN: I made those tarts from scratch, I’ll have you know
Bailiff clears throat and continues
BAILIFF:The Queen of Hearts
Says she baked some tarts
Perhaps it was last Thursday
The Queen nods her satisfaction, waves for him to continue
The Knave of Hearts he stole those tarts
And he ate them all on Friday
DEFENSE LAWYER: Objection!
DEFENSE LAWYER: My client could not have possibly taken those tarts and eaten them
KING: He must have–why else would he be here?
DEFENSE LAWYER: My client has a gluten allergy. He could not have eaten the tarts.
The King and Queen confer
KING: In that case he is dismissed.
The jury animals busily erase their whiteboard. Stage Alice stands up and clears her throat.
STAGE ALICE: Your honors, may I address the court?
QUEEN: No, you may not.
Stage Alice sits down with arms folded in a huff
KING: Bring on the witnesses.
STAGE ALICE: If the case is dismissed, then why are they calling for witnesses?They start one case, but it never finishes.
ANIMAL NEXT TO STAGE ALICE: (whispers loudly) If they like the witnesses they will create a case.
Animal in front row turns around to hush Stage Alice and she hushes him first
BAILIFF: (loudly calls out) First Witness!
The Hatter comes out sipping from a Starbucks container and eating a croissant
BAILIFF:No eating in the court!
The Hatter looks around and realizes the Bailiff is addressing him. He lifts up top hat and puts cup and croissant on head and puts hat back on.
KING: Take your hat off in court!
HATTER: So many rules, my goodness! Besides, it’s not my hat.
KING: Aha! You stole it, didn’t you!
HATTER: Of course not. I make hats. If I make them how can I steal them?
KING: Where were you when the tarts were stolen?
HATTER: The tarts were stolen?
KING: Yes, that’s why you brought in as a witness. Who stole the tarts?
HATTER: How should I know? I never touch them. Croissants yes, tarts no.
KING: Avoiding the question, are you?
HATTER: Yes, I would like to avoid the question. I never associate myself with questions I don’t have the answer to. Do you have a question I might have the answer to?
Silly stuff, I know. Carroll’s Alice is wonderful and punderfull, just like I like it. I like Alice for its silliness, odd logic, and madcap tomfoolery. If I caught but a twisp of it my day has been made.
So for those of you who are freaking about it being April 23 and knowing you won’t finish your ScriptFrenzy commitment–chillax. The ScriptoFrenzo Police squad won’t take you out and publicly humiliate you. That’s only a rumor. They are only a figment of your writer’s block. If you haven’t completed your writing goal don’t worry, be happy.