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«Brooklyn Publishers, LLC Toll-Free 888-473-8521 Fax 319-368-8011 Web Copyright © 2011 by Bradley Walton All rights reserved ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --

A CHEAP LAUGH FOR THE INTERNET

A DRAMATIC DUET

by

Bradley Walton

Brooklyn Publishers, LLC

Toll-Free 888-473-8521

Fax 319-368-8011

Web www.brookpub.com

Copyright © 2011 by Bradley Walton

All rights reserved

CAUTION: Professionals & amateurs are hereby warned that A Cheap Laugh for the Internet is subject to a royalty. This play is fully protected

under the copyright laws of the United States of America, Canada, the British Commonwealth and all other countries of the Copyright Union.

RIGHTS RESERVED: All rights to this play are strictly reserved, including professional and amateur stage performance rights. Also reserved are: motion pictures, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, video and the rights of translation into non-English languages.

PERFORMANCE RIGHTS & ROYALTY PAYMENTS: All amateur and stock performance rights to this play are controlled exclusively by Brooklyn Publishers, LLC. No amateur or stock production groups or individuals may perform this play without securing license and royalty arrangements in advance from Brooklyn Publishers, LLC. Questions concerning other rights should be addressed to Brooklyn Publishers, LLC.

If necessary, we will contact the author or the author’s agent. PLEASE NOTE that royalty fees for performing this play can be located online at Brooklyn Publishers, LLC website (http://www.brookpub.com). Royalty fees are subject to change without notice. Professional and stock fees will be set upon application in accordance with your producing circumstances. Any licensing requests and inquiries relating to amateur and stock (professional) performance rights should be addressed to Brooklyn Publishers, LLC. You will find our contact information on the following page.

Royalty of the required amount must be paid, whether the play is presented for charity or profit and whether or not admission is charged. Only forensics competitions are exempt from this fee.

AUTHOR CREDIT: All groups or individuals receiving permission to produce this play must give the author(s) credit in any and all advertisement and publicity relating to the production of this play. The author’s billing must appear directly below the title on a separate line where no other written matter appears. The name of the author(s) must be at least 50% as large as the title of the play. No person or entity may receive larger or more prominent credit than that which is given to the author(s).

PUBLISHER CREDIT: Whenever this play is produced, all programs, advertisements, flyers or other printed material must include the following

notice:

Produced by special arrangement with Brooklyn Publishers, LLC (http://www.brookpub.com) TRADE MARKS, PUBLIC FIGURES, & MUSICAL WORKS: This play may include references to brand names or public figures. All references are intended only as parody or other legal means of expression. This play may contain suggestions for the performance of a musical work (either in part or in whole). Brooklyn Publishers, LLC have not obtained performing rights of these works. The direction of such works is only a playwright’s suggestion, and the play producer should obtain such permissions on their own. The website for the U.S. copyright office is http://www.copyright.gov.

COPYING from the book in any form (in whole or excerpt), whether photocopying, scanning recording, videotaping, storing in a retrieval system, or by any other means, is strictly forbidden without consent of Brooklyn Publishers, LLC.

–  –  –

1. Royalty fees must be paid to Brooklyn Publishers, LLC before permission is granted to use and perform the playwright’s work.

2. Royalty of the required amount must be paid each time the play is performed, whether the play is presented for charity or profit and whether or not admission is charged.

3. When performing one-acts or full-length plays, enough playbooks must be purchased for cast and crew.

4. Copying or duplication of any part of this script is strictly forbidden.

5. Any changes to the script are not allowed without direct authorization by Brooklyn Publishers, LLC.

6. Credit to the author and publisher is required on all promotional items associated with this play’s performance(s).

7. Do not break copyright laws with any of our plays. This is a very serious matter and the consequences can be quite expensive. We must protect our playwrights, who earn their living through the legal payment of script and performance royalties.

8. If you have questions concerning performance rules, contact us by the various ways listed below:

Toll-free: 888-473-8521 Fax: 319-368-8011 Email: customerservice@brookpub.com Copying, rather than purchasing cast copies, and/or failure to pay royalties is a federal offense. Cheating us and our wonderful playwrights in this manner will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Please support theatre and follow federal copyright laws.

A CHEAP LAUGH FOR THE INTERNET

by Bradley Walton CHARACTERS – A 40-something VAGRANT and a college STUDENT. The characters can be male or female. Both are dressed for winter. The STUDENT’s clothing is clean and fashionable. The VAGRANT’s clothing is dirty and mismatched.





PROPERTIES – The STUDENT has a cell phone and money, both of which can be mimed if performed in forensics competition.

STAGING – The scene is set in the grocery section of a large discount department store. A bare stage is fine.

AT RISE: The VAGRANT appears to be putting something in his coat. The STUDENT is taking the VAGRANT’s picture with a cell phone.

VAGRANT: What’d you just do?

STUDENT: Nothing.

VAGRANT: Uh-uh. I saw you. You took my picture.

STUDENT: So what?

VAGRANT: Why?

STUDENT: I don’t know. I just did.

VAGRANT: You wouldn’t have done it without a reason.

STUDENT: I have a cell phone camera and it was an impulse. Is that reason enough?

VAGRANT: No, it isn’t.

STUDENT: Look, I’m going now, okay?

VAGRANT: You’re not going anywhere.

STUDENT: You don’t tell me what to do.

VAGRANT: Give me the phone.

STUDENT: I am not giving you my phone.

VAGRANT: Give me the phone.

STUDENT: I just told you—no.

VAGRANT: How far are you willing to go with this?

STUDENT: Are you threatening me? We’re in a public store! There are people around! And security cameras!

VAGRANT: It’s five minutes after two in the morning. There’s no customers here. And the overnight crew is on their lunch break. There’s a cashier at the front of the store, which maybe leaves a manager who’s probably sitting in his office. And the cameras don’t actually do anything. They’re just for show so you think you’re being watched.

STUDENT: How do you know?

VAGRANT: How do you think I know? Because I spend a lot of time here. It’s warmer than it is outside.

STUDENT: What? Are you homeless?

VAGRANT: No, I dress like this for the other Halloween in February! Of course I’m homeless!

STUDENT: All right, I’m sorry, okay?

VAGRANT: It’s not okay.

STUDENT: They let you hang out in here?

VAGRANT: The people who work here, they don’t make much money. They look at me and they see themselves if they catch a really bad break. As long as I don’t draw any excessive attention to myself, they don’t say anything if I hang out in here on really cold nights. The managers are the ones I gotta watch out for. They’ll throw me out because they think my being in the store upsets the customers. Now give me your phone.

STUDENT: What are you going to do with it?

VAGRANT: Does it have Internet?

STUDENT: Yeah.

VAGRANT: Then I’m gonna break it.

STUDENT: I paid two hundred dollars for this thing! I’m not going to let you break it!

VAGRANT: You paid for it, or your parents did?

STUDENT: It’s my phone!

VAGRANT: Your parents, right. Now hand it over.

STUDENT: I’ll delete the picture!

VAGRANT: How will I know that you actually did it?

STUDENT: I’ll let you watch. Here, look. This is the picture.

VAGRANT: Lovely.

STUDENT: I’m deleting it. See?

VAGRANT: Yeah.

STUDENT: Okay. There. It’s gone. We’re done. Can I go now?

VAGRANT: Let me see the picture that came before that.

STUDENT: That was the only one I took of you.

VAGRANT: Then you shouldn’t mind showing me the picture that came before it.

STUDENT: I’m not showing you my pictures!

VAGRANT: Picture! Now!

STUDENT: Okay. Here.

VAGRANT: That’s what I thought. You got a picture of me putting that bag of almonds in my pocket. What were you going to do with that? Were you going to share it with the manager? Get me thrown in jail for shoplifting?

STUDENT: You’d have heat and food.

VAGRANT: Listen, kid. I’ve been in jail and you wouldn’t be doing me any favors by sending me back.

STUDENT: I wasn’t going to show it to the manager, okay? I wasn’t going to show it to anybody in the store.

VAGRANT: Then what were you going to do with it?

STUDENT: Nothing.

VAGRANT: Don’t lie to me.

STUDENT: All right… I was going to post it online.

VAGRANT: Online?

STUDENT: Yeah.

VAGRANT: Where online do you post pictures of homeless people shoplifting food?

STUDENT: It’s a website that has pictures of people in this store.

VAGRANT: Pictures of people shoplifting stuff?

STUDENT: No… people that look… y’know… sort of out of the ordinary.

VAGRANT: Elaborate. Please.

STUDENT: It’s people that look like...

VAGRANT: Like what?

STUDENT: Well, they’re… VAGRANT: Spit it out, already!

STUDENT: Backwoods trailer park rejects, okay? Weird-looking people! Funny looking people! People you look at and you laugh at them.

VAGRANT: While inside you’re secretly glad that you’re not them?

STUDENT: I don’t know… I… VAGRANT: Kid, I expect you to be glad that you’re not me. I don’t have a problem with that.

STUDENT: Okay. Uh… VAGRANT: What I do have a problem with is the idea of a website where people can go and post photos of other people that they think are beneath them for the sake of a cheap laugh. And worse, that anybody would actually post pictures there.

That’s low. That’s really low.

STUDENT: I’m sorry.

VAGRANT: And not only would you post a picture of me there, you’d post a picture of me shoplifting food. Not a TV or a computer or some kind of luxury item. Food. So I don’t starve to death. That picture you took, it’s like, “Hey, everybody!

Look at this guy! He’s dirty and his clothes don’t match, but that’s not the half of it! He has to steal food! ‘Cause the only thing funnier than a dirty hobo in a discount department store is a hungry dirty hobo in a discount department store!” That’s classy, kid. Real classy.

STUDENT: I’m sorry. I’m deleting the picture. See? (Holds up phone.) VAGRANT: How many pictures have you posted on that website?

STUDENT: None. This would’ve been the first.

VAGRANT: How many?!?

STUDENT: Four.

VAGRANT: Show me.

STUDENT: What?

VAGRANT: You have your phone. You have your wireless Internet. Show me.

STUDENT: Why?

VAGRANT: Show me.

STUDENT: Okay. (Tinkers with phone.) Here, give me a second. (Holds up phone.) This one.

VAGRANT: (Not liking what he sees.) All right. What else?

STUDENT: (Holds up phone again.) This.

VAGRANT: Uh-huh. Keep going.

STUDENT: (Holds up phone again.) This one.

VAGRANT: And the last?

STUDENT: (Holds up phone again.) This.

VAGRANT: (With a slight growl.) You got a thing for homeless people shoplifting?

STUDENT: It’s just what presented itself.

VAGRANT: Okay. You may not believe this, but just because you think somebody dresses funny or looks funny or whatever doesn’t automatically give you the heavenly mandate to take pictures and stick them on the Internet. Just because you can act like a jerk doesn’t mean that you should. In the second place, not everybody can afford to buy healthy food or nice clothes and not everybody has a good metabolism. Third, not everybody cares what you think, so making yourself the judge of people who shop here doesn’t actually give you godlike stature in the universe.

STUDENT: Yeah, well… obviously, you care what I think if you’re this worked up.

VAGRANT: I’m not worked up because I care what you think of me. I’m worked up because of the basic disrespect you’re showing to me and those people you photographed. That last one in your bunch… the old woman in the camo jacket with the pink scarf and the blue sweatpants who’s stuffing the cereal bars under her coat? I knew her. She froze to death two months ago because the shelter was full and I heard the manager threw her out of here because he saw a picture of her shoplifting on the Internet!

STUDENT: Are you trying to lay a guilt trip on me?

VAGRANT: I’m trying to get it through your skull that actions have consequences.

STUDENT: It’s not my fault that she was stealing! Not only that, I could’ve turned her in and I didn’t!

VAGRANT: If you’d turned her in, you’d have at least been acting on some kind of moral conviction. Instead you let it go so you could laugh at her. You didn’t do her a favor. You put her in a position that killed her and you insulted her to top it off!

STUDENT: I didn’t kill her.

VAGRANT: Not directly, but you did something disrespectful that led to her death.

STUDENT: If she hadn’t been stealing, I probably wouldn’t have snapped the picture!

VAGRANT: If she hadn’t been hungry, she wouldn’t have been stealing. If she hadn’t lost her job, she wouldn’t have been hungry. If her ex-husband had paid child support, maybe she’d have had enough money left over each month to have some savings. If her daughter hadn’t been killed in a car crash, maybe she could’ve helped her mom out. Bad stuff happens to people. Sometimes it’s just random. Sometimes it’s other people being irresponsible. What you did was worse than that.

What you did was mean.



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