Play Archive

The Apex of Friendzone

The world has been taken over by aliens. The aliens destroyed all human cities, and worked very hard to kill and obliterate all humans on the planet. They succeeded, sort of. They found two survivors, so they decided to put them in an enclosure, half zoo, half observation lab. The aliens are determined to coax the two humans into mating, to preserve the species. Only problem is, that both of the humans are men.

Pancho: Half Mexican, half Puerto Rican, tall, buff, tan skinned with a bubble butt, and thick wavy brown hair. He needs to be played by any Latino actor. Thick, buff, close to being a bear, must be funny and attractive.

Phil: Looks like harry potter. Tech nerd. Slim. White, must have really nice butt.

 

Xiorgklax: Is a dark blue, almost purple alien shaped like an octopus or a squid, with a single giant eye making up most of it’s head, it has tentacles under the head, countless, or (at least ten) it floats. The other aliens look exactly like it, just with darker or lighter purple colors.

SCENE 1                                 

Phil is onstage. He is naked. The magenta Squid-like thing floats into the room, the hundreds of tentacles coming from its head twirling and twitching like they always do never touch the ground. How they float like that Phil does not know. The purple squid thing’s giant red and orange eye with black pupils throbbing and double blinking seems lifeless. Two of its tentacles slowly nudge a loaf of the worst shit he’s ever tasted towards him.

The squid-like thing makes a noise,

ALIEN 1

Buurrrrrreeeeeeaaaaad!

They don’t seem to have mouths, or any that Phil can see, when they communicate with each other, they mostly vibrate and make clicking noises, so he doesn’t know where this sound is coming from. The ugly thing is trying to say Bread, though, he knows that much.

PHIL

You’re an ugly cunt. I know you can’t understand me, but, fuck you, you ugly alien cunt.

ALIEN 1

Brrruuuuuueeeeead! With more enthusiasm

PHIL

Fuck you and your bread, you fuck.

The squid like thing puts the bread brick down next to Phil’s bare feet and floats away through the entrance of the enclosure. From the fake cave behind him, you can hear the voice of a man waking up from a nap.

PANCHO

off stage, stretching noise, maybe a yawn Ooh, did they just drop off some bread? I’m starving!

Phil takes a very deep breath and lets it out very slowly as he stares up at the poorly painted moon above him. Then another and another, and another, and another, till Phil is breathing very hard and very fast, and his breathing turns into a panic attack, he pulls at his hair.

Lights out. END SCENE 1

SCENE 2

PANCHO

Hey you want half of this bread? Pancho calls from the cave.

Phil takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly, so he doesn’t scream, or start to sob uncontrollably again. Pancho, buff tan skinned with a bubble butt and thick wavy brown hair comes out of the cave he stands next to Phil.

PANCHO

Morning handsome! Pancho slaps Phil sharply right on his bare white ass.

PHIL

Dear god, I wish the fucking aliens would understand me when I try to explain clothes to them…

PANCHO

Duude, I got raging morning wood right now, look at it. It’s screaming for a blowjob.

PHIL

For Goooood’s sake, Pancho!

PANCHO

Look around buddy, GIANT FLOATING SQUID ALIENS, God does not exists! But you know what does? Bjs! Sexy wet bjs.

Pancho, sways his hips so his thick erect dark brown cock sways back and forth, Pancho then reaches down and pulls his foreskin back revealing a rather large deep purple cock head.Then makes it talk in a funny voice, could be Topo Gigio, or The Taco Bell Chihuahua Dog, or Donald Duck, which ever the actor can do accurately and loudly.

Buenos dias Phil! Give me a kiss!

PHIL

I hate it when you do that, stop it!

PANCHO

Aw but Sabado Gigante loves you, Phil!

PHIL

Stop calling him that! I fucking hate you Pancho!

He walks away from Pancho to another part of their enclosure.

PANCHO

But Sabado Gigante loves you, Phil! Why won’t you love Sabado Gigante, back!?

Pancho had named his cock Sabado Gigante.

PHIL

FUCK YOU PANCHO! AND FUCK SABAYDOS HEEGHANTEE! FUCK HIM I HATE HIM! I HATE THIS PLACE, I HATE THOSE FUCKING ALIENS I MISS MY WIFE! I MISS MY WIFE!!!    AAAAHHHH!!

Phil screams uncontrollably, falls to the ground, claws at the air, he’s having a panic attack, nervous break down. One of the Aliens floats into the enclosure, and zaps him with a laser, it looks like a laser or a lightning bolt, it is loud and sciencefiction-ie sounding.

AAK! Phil falls to the ground passed out.

PANCHO

Ha! Well, okay then…Sits on the ground, crosses his legs and starts to eat bread … more Bread for me.

End Scene Lights out.

SCENE 3

Phil is now awake, both men are sitting naked on the floor or one fake plastic rocks. Xiorgklax floats above them.

PANCHO

HAHAHAHA!

PHIL

No! No! No! NO! For being fucking aliens who conquered the earth, you fuckers are not very bright!

XIORGKLAX

It is ….important… to continue ….your species…   you both…. Must mate.

PANCHO

I guess we better get to work Phil.

PHIL

To Pancho FUCK YOU! To Xiorglax We are both men! Tell your leaders, we are both men! Don’t’ they know that?! Before they destroyed every single human being on the planet, they didn’t bother to learn the difference between men and women!?!

XIORGKLAX

…No….

PANCHO

Hahaha!

PHIL

Is this why you keep playing Barry White, and leaving cases of Smirnov Ice for us?! What is Smirnov Fucking ice the only alcohol that survived the destruction of all human civilization?!

XIORGKLAX

…   …   …. Yes….

PANCHO

I love Smirnov Ice Chucks some Smirnov Ice

XIORGKLAX

Forgive…leaders… not care…about how you reproduce…but you…must reproduce…they think it is important, for our scientists to make you breed…they don’t really know what a penis and vagina are…

PHIL

We can’t reproduce! WE CAN’T!

PANCHO

Dude, will you please stop screaming at the only alien who has been kind to us, Xiorgklax is the only one whose even bothered to learn English.   Puts his arm around Phil, besides, It won’t hurt to try, right? Phil pushes Pancho away in skinny white boy disgust.

XIORGKLAX

Forgive…they are going to keep trying to….coax you…to mate…till something…happens…but …Xioooorrgklax aware of how impossible…so…experiment…been injected both of you with, something that will help, ….reproduction…during sleep.

PHIL

Has another nervous break down, Aaaahh AHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

After his laughing screaming fit he dissolves into sobs. Very loud sobs, and falls down into a ball and hugs his skinny knees.

XIORGKLAX

Forgive… floats away and out of the enclosure

PANCHO

Pancho chugs another Smirnov Ice and sits next to a weeping Phil, pats him on the back.

There, there, Sad white boy. Come on, stop crying, they’re gonna zap you with that laser again if you keep crying, you know they don’t like it when you freak out. …come on…we’re alive, be grateful for that, let’s make the best of it, why you gotta be such a sad white boy all the time?

Pancho rubs Phil’s back, and starts to attempt to slowly give him a back run.

PHIL

I’m going to kill myself!

PANCHO

Dude, you know they’ll just zap you with that laser if you try to kill yourself again. Chill out, look at me I’ve never been zapped by their lasers.

PHIL

How the hell do you stay so calm?

PANCHO

Dude, come on, all the Smirnov Ice I can drink, free food, no rent, fuck, this is sweet! Plus I got a hot Harry Potter lookin’ white boy to stare at all day! You got a pretty dick too.

PHIL

You’re a fucking animal! Stop touching me!

Pancho stops touching Phil

PANCHO

Ew, Phil, why you gotta be such a homophobe?

PHIL

I AM NOT A HOMOPHOBE! Beat. You know before all this horrible shit happened I had no problem with queer people, or gay men, I loved gay men! Before all humans were killed all my cis male friends were gay men!

PANCHO

What the fuck is cis?

PHIL

When they told me that they’d found another human alive, the only one left alive after the culling, I was hoping with all my heart that it would be a woman, dear God I wept and prayed that it would be a woman! Then when you showed up I was devastated, another fucking man! But then, I was relieved to find out you’re gay, cause I thought, I’d at least have someone educated and cultured to talk to, BUT NO, I got some Mexican asshole who won’t stop trying to fuck me!

PANCHO

EXCUSE ME!, That’s Puertorexican.

PHIL

I thought I would get someone who is as well read on all the queer essays and articles, like me, but YOU DON’T’ EVEN KNOW WHO JUNOT DIAZ, IS! Before all this, I was a cis straight white man, who checked himself on his privilege, considered myself a staunch feminist, and you won’t stop slapping me on the ass!

PANCHO

But duuuude, that is one plump ass booty for a white boy, though!

PHIL

Have you even ever read a book?

PANCHO

Fuck No.

PHIL

What’s your favorite movie?

PANCHO

Actually means it, is pretty happy and proud that his favorite movie is all of the Fast and the Furious

Fast and the Furious! All of them! He is so excited about Fast and the Furious

PHIL

Even more distraught.

I miss my wife! I miss my wife so much!

PANCHO

I’m sorry man, rubs Phil’s back

Pause

PHIL

You know…before all of this, I had actually been a huge fan of aliens, ever since I was a kid.

PANCHO

Yeah? Still rubbing Phil’s back, now rubbing Phil’s knee, with his other hand.

PHIL

My favorite movies were “Explorers” with Ethan Hawk, and River Phoenix, “Earth Girls are Easy”, and of course “Prometheus”. So when aliens finally came to earth, I was thrilled. I even brought my son out to watch the giant ships float over the bay area. I didn’t know at the time that they had appeared all over the world, over every major city. My wife wouldn’t leave the house, she was terrified. Right when I said “Honey come out, there’s nothing to worry about,” was when the ships started shooting their lasers.

PANCHO

Wow, sorry bro.

Pancho has rubbed from Phil’s knee up his thigh and is now caressing very near his crotch.

PHIL

It happened so quickly, the mass murder of every single human being on earth, I could probably deal with the trauma better if I hadn’t had to watch everything from the windows of the alien ship that captured me, the blazing mushroom clouds, the cities left in endless deserts of ash, the sky nothing but black smoke. Even when I try to masturbate I can’t even think of any women, all I see is death, and fire and destruction AND OH MY GOD WILL YOU PLEASE STOP TRYING TO TOUCH MY BALLS!?

PANCHO

Okay, okay, sorry, sorry,…

Gets up, puts his hands up in the air, walks in a circle.

PHIL

What the fuck Pancho?! What the fuck! DO I HAVE TO LECTURE YOU ON RAPE CULTURE, AGAIN!?

PANCHO

WHY THE HELL YOU GOTTA ALWAYS PUT ME IN THE FRIENDZONE, PHIL?! Huh?

They stare at each other in great anger

We’re both men! We GOT NEEDS! There is no one left alive on the planet, you’re not just putting me in the friendzone, Phil, you’re putting me in the MOST ULTIMATE APEX OF FRIENDZONES, DUDE!”

PHIL

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS THE FRIENDZONE!! Dear God! How the hell did human women keep from killing all of us?! This is horrible! You’re horrible!

Phil gets up to walk away from Pancho!

PANCHO

Fuck you, Phil! And you know what?! Prometheus sucked!

PHIL

What?

PANCHO

Fuck that movie! Fuck you! And Prometheus, suuuuucked!

PHIL

Prometheus was an intelligent well-made prequel, it was a- gets cut off

PANCHO

a dumb ass piece of shit movie, awful! Crap! How the hell that white girl be walking around after giving herself a c section FUCK THAT SHIT! Don’t you ever say the word Prometheus to me ever again!!! There are only two good Alien movies, Alien, and Aliens, THAT’S IT, TWO!?

PHIL

Wait, what? What about the third one, and part four? There are five Alien movies, YOU FUCKING IDIOT!

PANCHO

THERE ARE ONLY TWOOOOOO!

 

Both men run at each other, after four or five punches, they begin wrestling, at first standing, then on the ground, there is a lot of pressing into each other, heavy breathing, it basically looks like angry sex, it is pretty hot.

Then the aliens appear, zap them with their lasers.

PANCHO, and PHIL

AAAAAAHHHH!

Both men fall on the floor unconscious.

END SCENE.

SCENE 4

It is dark inside their fake plastic cave where Pancho is asleep on a soft mat on the ground, arms and legs spread out wide like a star. Maybe he is snoring a little. Phil stands at the entrance of the cave, looking horribly lonely, hair a mess, maybe he’s been crying. He looks around the cave. He walks in slowly, and stands at the foot of the mat, staring down at Pancho. After a moment Xiorgklax floats in.

 

XIORGKLAX

It has been …5 of your …earth months since you …have interacted….

PHIL

I needed my space. …and he kept trying to put his finger up my ass.

XIORGKLAX

Leaders…are angry…you must …reproduce!…

PHIL

Still staring at Pancho.

You’re smart Xiorgklax, you know that’s not gonna happen. Pause. How is it that he can sleep, so soundly? Why isn’t he having nightmares like me?   I came back two weeks ago, and saw caught him masturbating, how the fuck can he do that? Every time I try to think of naked women all I see, is people being killed by lasers, or on fire.

XIORGKLAX

You here, to mate? Both now can…reproduce…injected you both with serum, to help. You should mate!

PHIL

No! Finally turns to look at Xiorglax Injected what? You can’t be serious! You don’t have a mouth, I can’t tell if you’re serious.

XIORGKLAX

Why are you here… if you are not here to mate?

PHIL

It’s been a little cold on my side of the enclosure, alright?

XIORGKLAX

The enclosure is kept at a temperature that should be more than comfortable for humans-

PHIL

Alright! It’s been a little rough, okay? I told Pancho to stay the fuck away from me, and I went to the opposite end of the enclosure, but I didn’t think he would actually stay away from me. I asked him to leave me alone, turns to look at Pancho, and he did, Never takes eyes off Pancho I was very surprised. But it’s been, you know, it’s been, there’s not much to do over there, with all those plastic rocks, and plastic trees, all I do is stare up at that poorly painted moon, and well, it’s been…lonely…

XIORGKLAX

Do you want a Smirnov Ice?

PHIL

No, I don’t want afuckingSmirnovIce! Beings to walk towards sleeping Pancho. I just…I just want…I just, it’s been so long since I’ve…heard…I can’t believe I ever took it for granted…gets down next to Pancho on the bed, sits looking over him. Then slowly trying not to wake Pancho, leans down and puts his ear to Pancho’s heart.

Sound Cue: Faint comforting heartbeat, with some slow instrumental, inspiring music, not dramatic, or campy.

Phil lets out a long, long elaborate sigh…and closes his eyes. …My god, I haven’t heard a beating heart in so long, …it’s so… starts crying, not loudly, just slow weeping. Instinctually, in his sleep, Pancho reaches up and hugs Phil, Phil lets Pancho hug him. They embrace. Xiorglax slowly leaves the enclosure to give them privacy. Pancho wakes up. He does not let go of Phil, but is surprised he is there.

PANCHO

Aww, sad white boy…why you crying?

PHIL

Your heart. It’s so beautiful. Can we please just hold it each other without you trying to be sexual with me? …I just need human contact… I just…need-

PANCHO

Sure. Pats Phil on the back, as friends.

PHIL

Really? Sits up. You’re not going try anything?

PANCHO

Nope. Sits up, they are still in some form of embrace. You’re the only other human left on this planet, I don’t want to piss you off, I know I tease you, but …I actually like you, Sad White bo- Stops himself. …Phil. I actually like you, Phil.

Phil smiles for the first time in the entire play, he stares deep into Pancho’s eyes, Phil is full of joy. Pancho looks down.

And from the size of that boner, I think you like me too. Ha, JK, man, I know you’re straight, it happens…wanna take a nap together? Go eat some crappy alien bread? Throw some rocks?…

Phil tenderly kisses Pancho on the lips, it lasts a touching moment, then they pull back surprised, then they energetically begin to devour each other, in one hot make out session with a passion that only the last two humans left alive can conjure. Phil jumps on Pancho and straddles him as they continue making out, as the lights go down, you can see Pancho fist bumping the air to himself, Phil doesn’t see it, then you hear Phil say

PHIL

I can’t believe I’m doing this!

Lights out. END SCENE 4.

SCENE 5

 

LIGHTS UP

Phil is standing, Pancho is on his knees, we can see the back of Pancho’s head. Phil is in heaven.

PHIL

OooooooohhhhOOOOohhhhhhoooohhhhhh grabs on to Pancho’s head by his hair, face fucks it. DEAR LORD! Buckles over. AH! Buckles over. G’aaaahh!, Shivers, JEEZUzzz! Heavy Breathing, panting.

PANCHO

Looks up. Was that okay?

PHIL

Are you kidding?! That, was, the best blow job I’ve ever had, IN MY LIFE!

LIGHT DOWN

LIGHTS UP

They are slow dancing. It is elegant. Phil has his head on Pancho’s shoulder.

PHIL

So she never?

PANCHO

No she hated dancing.

PHIL

But you were a salsa teacher.

PANCHO

Still.

PHIL

But you’re so good, I mean I never danced a day in my life and look at me. Pancho dips Phil.

LIGHT DOWN

LIGHTS UP

Spotlight on Phil, his face is ecstatic, his hair is wild, sex hair if you will. He is sitting down on the ground. The ground is dark. He is breathing heavily, he is out of breath.

Pant, I mean, I knew about it, I had read several articles, pant, but I never in my wildest dreams, gasp, OOOOh my god, I mean, I had heard that some straight men experimented with it, but I had never been AAAAHAHHH GAWD! –curious myself, Oh! Oh! Oh! Where did you learn that? OH! I mean, even if I was I’d never in my wildest dreams would ask my wife to put her gasp in my, OH MY GOD, YOUR TONGUE IS AMAZING!

Lights come up now to show that Phil is sitting on Pancho’s face. Phil has an orgasm as lights go down.

LIGHTS UP

They are slow dancing again, even more elaborately now. Maybe a decorative foot kick or two.

PHIL

And you slept with how many men?

PANCHO

She didn’t care. My wife slept with men and women sometimes, we had a great marriage. How many lovers did you have?

PHIL

My wife was my first girlfriend. We lost our virginities to each other. I never cheated on her. I loved her very much.

Phil dips Pancho. Or tries to, they laugh.

LIGHTS DOWN

LIGHTS UP

Pancho is reenacting a scene from The Fast and The Furious, Phil watches jaw dropped and impressed by Pancho’s Vin Diesel impression.

PANCHO

You, almost had, me? You never had me! You never had your car! Granny shiftin’ not double clutchin’ like you should! You’re lucky that hundred shot-a-noz didn’t blow the wells on the intake, HA, you almost had me! See now me and the mad scientist over here, we gotta rip apart the block, and replace the piston rings that YOU fired. You ask any racer, any REAL racer, it don’matter whether you win by an inch, or a mile, son! Winning’s winning!

LIGHTS DOWN.

Sounds of love making. LIGHTS UP

Phil is making love to Pancho slowly, on their sleeping matt. Pancho on all fours, Phil pressing his cheek on Pancho’s shoulder blade without moving as he moves his hips. It is quite lovely. They are both enjoying it very much.

LIGHTS DOWN.

LIGHTS UP

Phil is facing the audience but he is trying to be in character as Elizabeth Shaw the main character of Prometheus, that one terrible movie which was awful and no one liked. He is having fun at first reciting the lines, but then he remembers that everyone on earth is dead, so he begins to get emotional. This is a very sad moment in the play, should not be campy at all. But it is toootally okay if the audience laughs. They should, this is very silly but Phil is taking it very serious.

Final report of the vessel Prometheus. The ship and her entire crew are gone. If you’re receiving this transmission, make no attempt to come to its point of origin. beat. There is only death here now, pause and I’m leaving it behind. It is New Year’s Day, the year of our Lord, 2094. My name is Elisabeth Shaw, …last survivor of the Prometheus.

Pause and I’m still searching.

LIGHTS DOWN

Sounds of Phil screaming from an orgasm. LIGHTS UP

Phil is on all fours, but then gets up on his knees, he is out of breath. Pancho is behind him. Phil leans back, Pancho puts his chin on Phil and says

PANCHO

And that, Pulls finger out of Phil is your prostate.

PHIL

Ah!    Looks down. I didn’t even touch myself. It’s everywhere.

LIGHTS DOWN.

LIGHTS UP

Both men are sitting with their elbows on their knees looking up.

PHIL

I miss the real moon.

PANCHO

Me too.

LIGHTS DOWN

LIGHTS UP

Phil is screaming but out of pure pleasure. He is on all fours, Pancho is making love to him from behind, aggressively.

PHIL

I love you! I love you! I love you! I love you! HO my god, oh my god, that feels amazing! Oh my god!

PANCHO

Finishes. IIIIIIIII fuuuucking love you PHIL!

LIGHTS DOWN END SCENE

LIGHTS UP SCENE 6

Both men are staring up at Xiorgklax. Pancho is pregnant He’s showing a little.

PANCHO and PHIL

What?!

PANCHO

I thought I was just getting fat.

PHIL

This can’t be happening. I heard Xiorgklax tell us he it injected us with something to help, but I didn’t register…this is…

PANCHO

AMAZING!

PHIL

What?

PANCHO

Don’t you see dude?! We’re having a baby! I’m making a baby! In here, one more human! One more human, dude!!

PHIL

Yes, …yes…kneels down to look at Pancho’s belly. Three humans is better than just two. Phil Kisses Pancho’s belly.

PANCHO

I’m gonna LOVE the hell outa this baby! Beat. Wait, Xiorgklax, how I am I gonna give birth to this baby?

LIGHTS DOWN.

SCENE 7

Lights up. Xiorgklax is in the enclosure with Phil who is inconsolable. He is pacing back and forth. Shaking. Maybe wailing but not too loud. Mumbling.

XIORGLAX

Forgive, Phil, friend, scientists did best…forgive… they not know human anatomy like Xiorgklax, …. they cut Pancho completely in half…forgive…so sorry Phil, please forgive…

PHIL

Alien scum.

XIORGKLAX

The offspring …alive…

PHIL

You killed him. How could you kill Pancho? He was so nice to you, he was so nice….

XIORGKLAX

The baby is alive, Phil! FORGIVE!

PHIL

HOW COULD YOU!!? ALIEN SCUM!!! I’LL FUCKING KILL YOU!!!!

Phil runs towards Xiorgklax, aliens zap Phil, he falls to the ground.

XIORGKLAX

Forgive!…forgive!….forgive…forgive

END SCENE 7

SCENE 8.

Back of a cabin. Phil is on the deck. He is surrounded by a dense forest, but he can see the sky. There is a moon out tonight. He is wearing clothes. He is drinking water from a canteen. His hair is longer maybe, maybe he has a beard. He is barefoot. He speaks into a recorder.

So yeah …that’s what happened. …Dad 2 and Dad 5 think the past is unnecessary, but I think it’s important you know. You’re too little now for me to tell you these things, also I want to get it down before I forget… After your father Pancho was accidentally killed by the invaders, they felt so terrible, they decided to let me go. To let you and me both go free. Somehow watching your father and I…interact, made them feel …something, …made them feel bad about what they did to our kind. I woke up here on our island. Xiorgklax gave me a backpack full of supplies, water, tools, and told me he, it, had found four living humans, survivors of the invasion hiding out in a cabin deep in the woods…I was excited about one or two of them being a woman, but …no…all men, …all gay…Xiorgklax gave me some of the serum that makes men be able to reproduce, Xiorgklax improved it though, so we could easily give birth after 9 humans months, that’s how I helped make your brothers. Xiorgklax handed you to me, wrapped in a blanket and gave us a gift, a promise. Xiorgklax said they would leave us alone. They’re hoping to share the earth with us, but most importantly they’re going to leave us alone. So far things have been pretty peaceful, and you fill me with so much hope, every day more and more, you have your father’s face, his nose, his lips, you do have my eyes, but you have his smile. If, something happens, …to me, before you grow up… listen to these recordings, I’m going to tell you as much as I can about your father, the man you came from, and don’t listen to Dad 3, he’s wrong. Just because the aliens are convinced they killed everyone on the planet, doesn’t mean there may not be other survivors out there…Vin, nothing is impossible.

I haven’t said much about me so far, um…I liked coffee a lot before, you know, well, I miss women a lot, I’m sad you don’t know what women are. I miss movies. I don’t miss phones, or I miss…I miss…Sometimes, I come out here on the deck, after all the kids are asleep and the dads are asleep, I look up to the real actual moon, that is still there,

and I think about the love of my life…

this is Phil, Dad 1, signing off.

END OF PLAY

______________________________________________

Baruch Porras-Hernandez  is a writer, performer, organizer, visual artist, and storyteller based in San Francisco. He has performed in L.A., Washington D.C., NYC, Canada, and all over California. His writing has been published in numerous anthologies, he is a Lambda Literary Fellow in Poetry, he regularly organizes poetry shows in the bayarea, and is currently the curator and head organizer for The San Francisco Queer Open Mic and Program Director for ¿Donde Esta Mi Gente? He was born in Toluca, Mexico and grew up in Albany, California.

 

 

Inheritance

In Memory of Sandra Bland

CHARACTERS: MAYA – A Latina

CHORUS – of Latina

 

MAYA: This is my family history. As my mother told me As her mother told her. Repeated As Mexicans do At the table

CHORUS: Truth bled In red chile Slathered on thick tortillas

MAYA: Because that’s what Mexicans do.

CHORUS: Eat and repeat Their truths Over food

MAYA: Tears land in jail cell Albuquerque New Mexico Where in police custody great-grandfather Can’t speak Can’t defend The body He can’t Control 12 year-old son crawls into casket great-grandmother dies of broken heart

CHORUS: Muy joven So young Eat and repeat inherited pain Tears land 2 in jail cell Tears that make An ocean

MAYA: So when you ask me, Officer, for my license and registration

CHORUS: My blood’s been here before.

MAYA: You let him die Of a stroke In jail Because you thought He was a drunk Indian.

CHORUS: You let him die Of a stroke In jail Because you thought He was a drunk Indian. NO, I AM NOT DRUNK NO, I AM NOT DRUNK

MAYA: NO, I AM NOT DRUNK But yes, Officer There’s Indian in my veins I know because I was raised in an ocean of tears.

______________________________________________

Elaine Romero, award-winning playwright, has had her plays presented at the Alley Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Kennedy Center, across the U.S. and abroad.  Elaine is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists. She holds her MFA from UC Davis. She is an Assistant Professor of playwriting and dramaturgy at the University of Arizona.

LA SIDACEANERA: Una Pachanga Y Muchos Cuentos

Casting

8 – 12 Latina/o/x actors: A mix of US Caribbean, Mexican, Central American & South American professional actors and community members.

 

2 actors should be native Spanish speakers

2 actors should be trans, though the trans actress need not necessarily be cast as Estetica.

2 actors should be youth (1 teenage female, 1 early 20s male)

 

 

 

Stage is set with 3 banquet tables, 2 downstage left and right and 1 centerstage. There are streamers, flowers, a cake. La Enfermera, a nurse in scrubs and holding a present, enters from back of house. She places regalo on table and admires set up, enjoys this quiet moment.

 

La Enfermera

I had a lil scare in 2001. I was drawing blood from this HIV positive patient whose viral load was falling off the chart. As I was pulling out the needle, she kicked or moved or something and I scratched myself with the needle. So, as a nurse, I’ve never had a needle stick and then to be stuck with a needle that was contaminated by such a high viral load, I got very scared. I was scared cuz I got stuck but you kinda feel like you don’t want to tell nobody. But as a nurse, I knew I had to. I took HIV meds for about a month or 6 weeks and after that was still very negative. And I don’t have to but I get checked every year. I went through a lil bit of what my patients tell me when they first found out and how your whole world crumbles out from under you. Oh my God, who’m I gonna tell? I can’t tell my family, then they’re not gonna want to hug me. It was very, very frightening. It was just a good thing that I was single and not involved in a sexual relationship. We would have had to have been using condoms and all this other stuff and how do you explain to your husband? It was very, very, very, very traumatic. But not for long. I got a lil taste, just a small taste, of what it’s like, what my clients go through every day.

 

She exits as a blast of music and then another woman enters the stage. She has on a tiara but is not otherwise dressed for the part of a quinceanera and is also older than 15. She addresses audience.

 

La Sidaceanera

Shhhhhhh! Only one other person knows that I’m HIV positive. My hairdresser, La Estetica, y pos watchale, cuz here she comes.

 

Through lobby and then passing through audience with much flourish and fanfare, saying hi to those she knows y tirando besitos a su adoring public, La Estetica arrives on stage, milking audience for more.

 

La Estetica

Aplauso!

 

La Sidaceanera

(Interrupting applause) Today is my day, Este. (To audience) I’ve been HIV since 94. I’ve lived a completely reclusive life. Six months ago I decided I needed to turn that around, come out, become part of the community. We need to stop the stigma. Get rid of the homophobia, but it’s so thick in the Latino community. We’re knee deep in it. We must make sure people are dealt with dignity and respect.

La Estetica

Si si si mi reina La Sidceanera! Eso! Aplauso! (After applause dies down.) Pos fijate que you’re right that la comunidad latina es thick con todo esa mierda pero ju don’t gotta be so pesada ‘bout it. It’s a party. Plus, ju no la unica mujer positiva en este tarima. I was diagnosed con la VIH 12 years ago. A dozen divalicious years! Ap …

La Sidaceanera

(Cutting Estettica off) Mira, ya llegan mis madrinas. I asked some of my health care providers and amigos y camaradas del support group to stand with me to celebrate my debut como La Sidaceanera.

Lady Who’s Seen A Lot arrives and La Enfermera returns having changed into party-appropriate wear.

 

Lady Who’s Seen A Lot

(To audience, taking them in) I could hear you Hiv-viejas in the parking lot. Me, I’ve been hiv positive for thirteen years, I was diagnosed in 96, 97. Been away, awhile, been busy, not knowing I was gonna be raising a great niece and nephew, I’m like a mama now.

 

La Estetica

Si mi Lady, and looking good mamita. (To Enfermera) Y usted? Yo soy La Estetica, la fairy aidsmother de este pachanguita. (They shake hands and kiss on cheeks.)

 

La Enfermera

Mucho gusto, yo soy La Enfermera. Been a nurse for 18 years. Gracias por invitarme Sidaceanera

 

La Sida

Pos claro girl, you’re better than a cherry-flavored lifesaver y mucho mas importante para mi comunidad poz. C’mon, let’s go sit before the rest of the guests show up and eat up all the carnitas, pinches gueyes.

 

They all laugh and Sida, Este, La Enfermera and Lady go to sit at a table.Music starts up. At that, 3 men enter from one side of stage: El Homie, Sas! o Sass & RayRay the GayBoi. From the other side El Mesero enters and crosses, RayRay cruises him hard and El Mesero and Sas! o Sass lock eyes and search each other’s faces, thinking, as Libertango comes on and Grace Jones sings, “Strange, I’ve seen that face before.”

 

El Homie

(Sniffing at the air) Mmmmm, huele a carnitas y mujeres perfumadas. Dale gas, hombres, let’s get platos and a good table to make ojitos at the hainas. Just what a OG like me needs, a old school quince, menos the crashers y pleitos.

 

RayRay the GayBoi

Nah, Homie, this ain’t like them fiestas, we’re celebrating La Sidaceanera’s saliendo del HIV closet. Plus, me and Sas!, are here for the papis, what what. (To audience, holding up his cell) I’m RayRay the HotGayBoi. Holler! Check me out on tumbler, twitter, instagram, snapchat kickit, grindr. I’m CuerpoLimpio MenteSucio. For the reals.

 

Sas! o Sass

She’s coming out the HIV poz closet? (To audience) I’m not out. Obviously, I’m out as a gay guy, I don’t know if it comes across, but I’m not out about my status. Well my folks and friends know, hasta mi buelita, pero el publico, aww hells to the no.

 

RayRay the GayBoi

My dad is old school. I’m the only boy and for my father to accept that I’m gay, first, before the fact that I have hiv – hijole, that’s what’s up, what’s been up since I tested poz 2 years ago, right around my 19th birthday.

 

El Homie

Well everybody in San Anto knows about me on account of all the talks and presentations I give at schools, clinics, hasta the police academy. Imagine that ish? A Mexican from the southside, a con and an ex-junkie at that, who usedta roll on the east with my boys and been in and out of Texas Department of Corrections and Justice facilities for much of my adult life talking about HIV and Hep C, education and prevention, harm reduction and safe sex to hundreds of police officers with no guns being drawn. That right there is real achievement for raza. I see mocosos on the bus. They say, “Hey Sir, how you doing? How you holding up?” I say, I’m doing my thing, baby. Keeping my feet to the ground. Now my feet needs some rest and my stomach needs some food. C’mon, they’re gonna run out of carnitas y esas if we stand here talking to the people all nochita long man. Pos vamonos gallos.

 

Someone lets out a grito. Music starts up. RayRay and Homie exit, Sas! stays in place, looking a bit stunned. El Mesero crosses upstage back and forth with trays and plays throughout Sas! o Sass’ monologue.

 

Sas! o Sass (VO)

(As Sas paces and frets, we hear his frenetic thoughts.) This quince, Sidaceanera, event, experience, whatevs, is really taking me out of my comfort zone. There are a zillion Mexican restaurants in this city and the one Mexican restaurant that I work for is the one that catered this event. And I walked in and I saw El Mesero and I went arghhhh, I just lost a job. That just cost me $500 worth of work. I lived in New York for 16 years, I lived in Europe for a long time. That mentality is still in my head. But now that I’ve been back to San Antonio, my grandmother, every time I say I want to do the things for the AIDS Foundations she says, “Ah, no, no puedes hacer eso” cuz she’s afraid of what will happen to me and my family and my friends. And I’m like alright I get that. So I guess I’ve almost gone back into the closet and I didn’t realize it until I realized that I cared what El Mesero thinks. It’s odd cuz I’m from New York but not anymore. And being here you kinda do as the Romans do. I want to slowly inch out of the HIV poz clos but I’m really uncomfortable right now. And I’m thinking who’s he gonna tell.

 

Some silence. La Sidaceanera sees Sas! standing alone and waves him over.

 

La Sidaceanera

Hey Sas! bring your sassy ass over here and wish me a happy Sidaceanera loco.

 

Sas! returns to his sassy self and sashays over to La Sidaceanera, hugs and kisses and introductions following, he sits and joins her and La Estetica, La Enfermera and the Lady Who’s Seen A Lot.

 

Sas!

What you lovely ladies discutiendo?

 

La Estetica

Nuestra problema eternal e infinito.

 

Sas!

Let me guess

 

All

MEN!

 

Lady

My husband was a good man, a real good man. Found out he was positive and that he had infected me when we were boyfriend and girlfriend. And I still married him. He passed on in 97.

 

La Enfermera

Lastima, que en muchisimo paz se descanse. Lady’s esposo was the first patient with full blown Aids que I ever treated.

 

 

La Sidaceanera

Mi esposo no fue tan good como lo tuyo mi Lady. Pos fijate, I was diagnosed in 94 and the way that I found out was that I was digging through stuff and doing housework, housecleaning and found paperwork that my husband was HIV positive. And I not only found out that, I found out that he was sleeping around.

 

La Estetica

Este rata de dos patas gets no aplauso!

 

La Sidaceanera

He had no intention of letting me know whatsoever. And so, without him knowing it, I went and got tested and found out I was positive.

 

La Estetica

I still don’t know how I got infected, pero ni modo, asi es la vida y la vida mia es bien regia. I found out que soy positiva when I was beginning to transition from Eric a La Estetica. And I couldn’t tell nobody. I’m a Catholic girl de Laredo. Nombre! I grew up, went to college, graduated. This could not happen a mi, eso shouldn’t happen to me. Pero it did, mira no mas. Pero yo no soy una categoria, no soy una narcotraficante ni una drogera, no soy puta de la calle, ni fuera callejera en mi ninez o cuando salio como un gayboy en tiempos bien pasados. Estoy harta de ser una stigma, yo soy una persona, una mujer trans si, pero ordinaria tambien.

 

Sas

Honey, nothing about you is ordinary.

 

La Estetica

Muchisimas gracias amor but I thought we were talking about los menzez.

 

Mi Lady

I wanna dance. Would you do me the honor La Sidacenera?

 

La Sidaceneara

El honor es all mia mujer.

 

They ALL laugh and the ladies go off to dance leaving RayRay and Sas to gossip and cruise.

 

RayRay

Have you seen El Mesero? He puts the chauuu in chulo.

 

Sas!

Yeah I seen him. Not sure we’re his type.

 

RayRay

Speak for yourself dude.

 

Sas!

Y El Homie?

 

RayRay

No se. I think he’s talking bout the bad old days with some other hiv veteranos.

 

Sas!

Shall we mingle con la gente?

 

RayRay

Totes. (As they exit stage into audience, RayRay picks someone out in audience.) Hey papito, don’t I know you from the Ryan White care council? Looking firme en tu tejana y botas. That cocodrilo or snake? Save me a slow dance, eh?

 

They exit. Music shifts. La Sidaceanera and Lady dance back on to stage. They are laughing, but the song begins to bring back memories for Lady.

 

La Sidaceanera

This is the best quince that isn’t really a quince ever! No crees mi Lady? Hello, tierra a mi Lady, do you read me?

 

After a beat.

 

Lady

Sorry Sida, it’s just, this song, reminds me of growing up, here en San Anto, with my sister. I got sick for the first time, real bad, in the year 2000. No one could predict I would still be here, 10 years despues, sposed to be somewhere else.

 

La Sidaceanera

You’re doing good my Lady, good and healthy and good for the community. And tus babies.

 

Lady

But why am I here? The year 2003, my older sister was diagnosed with lung cancer. She didn’t live long.

 

La Sidaceanera

Triste.

 

Lady

And I told her, it was supposed to be me, not you.

 

La Sidaceanera

What did she say?

 

Lady

That her journey was done. That I was here for a reason. I told her, No, no, you got your two boys. She never smoked in her life. She was a teacher. Kinder. Taught so many kids.

 

La Sidaceanra

Una maestra, just like you, you’ve taught so many of us mujeres con VIH y Sida how to keep on keeping on. C’mon, you came up with our positive brown woman slogan, Dale gas! Not grief.

 

They both laugh, Lady reaches into purse or pocket for tissue, pulls out some lil toy belonging to one of her kids.

 

 

 

 

Lady

I didn’t know I was gonna wind up taking care of her grandkids. So here I am after all these years, raising a 6 years old and 3 years old. I love them to death. I don’t care what people think about me, they can talk all they want. I’m good.

 

La Sida

You mi Lady, are great.

 

Lady

I did my mistakes, learned from my mistakes. No ones perfect. No one. But I love myself and I’m thankful I’m here.

 

La Sida

Me too. Even though it’s hard out here for a Sidaceanera.

 

Lady

I hope I’m here so many years to see my lil ones at least graduate high school.

 

A moment. The last of our guests arrive: La Obrera Social, Indocumentada, Su Hija Mayor, El Activist Bien Jodon, El Joto Prodigal. A flurry of kisses and well wishes.

 

La Sidaceanera

Gracias a todas y todos por venir a mi coming out party.

 

Obrera

Te ves muy bien.

 

La Sidaceanera

Yous too Obrera, Indocumentada y Su Hja Mayor. How old are you now Hija?

 

Su Hija Mayor

15, a quince just like you Sida.

 

El Activist

What about us boys? Don’t we get any of the love?

 

La Sidaceanera

Por su, El Activist Bien Jodon. Lookin good and feroz como always. How you doing El Joto Prodigal?

 

El Joto Prodigal

Good good thanks. Me and este Activist Bien Jodon just got back from a national meeting, a conference of Latina and Latino AIDS public health workers, service providers, infected, affected. It was awesomesauce.

 

Su Hija Mayor

(Knowingly making a joke) Hay cake?

 

Indocumentada

Si Hija, es una quince, aunque es una bien distincta. Deben tener postre, pero no seas tan gacha mija.

 

 

Lady

There’s cake – tres leche, carnitas, arroz, frijoles, ensalada, tortillas, rolls, pan dulce y café and even an ice sculpture of an HIV positive swan.

 

El Activist

How you know the swan doesn’t have AIDS?

 

They all laugh and move to sit at tables. El Activist rises to make a toast.

 

El Activist

I’m a native San Antonian and I was diagnosed with the HIV in 1985 and converted to AIDS in 1987. Back in the early 80’s this, the virus and the disease was a white gay man’s virus and disease. It is no longer a white gay man’s problem, issue, virus and disease. It is all people. In our country, it’s spreading from the east coast to west coast, north to south. It’s here, my hometown, San Antonio. And I live on the westside and its affecting los mexicanos. We are the majority of those individuals here in San Antonio that are infected and living with HIV and AIDS. It’s a disease for all Americans, whether we’re white, black or brown, gay/lesbian, transgender, whatever.

 

La Estetica, Sas!, El Homie & RayRay enter and take seats as El Activist finishes his brindis.

 

La Estetica

Bien dicho Activista Bien Jodon. Aplauso!

 

Sas!

What she said.

 

El Homie

Dang man you holding it down for the poz n aids homies from the east, west, south hasta even the northside. Respect.

 

RayRay

Word. Fight the power. And check out my blog, Sexy, Sana y Sucio, cuz a sexy pozbody, a healthy attitude and a dirty mind are terrible things to waste. (Picking out a man in audience.) Like you with all that swagger in the third row.

 

La Estetica

La Enfermera had to go back to the hospital but she sends saludos a todas y todos.

 

El Homie

A healer, a warrior’s work is never done son.

 

La Estetica

Si, tienes razon corazon, pero yo soy hija, bien mono, no son.

 

El Homie

Disculpe Senorita, figure of hood speech, my bad. Hey what’s up Prodigal. How ya livin?

 

El Joto Prodigal

Day by day pero sigo siendo el rey.

 

 

RayRay

That’s what’s up. Sup Su Hija? How’s high school? Surprised to see you hear.

 

Su Hija

Goin good – I’m in the marching band and on the debate team. I’m here to support my mom.

 

La Obrera Social

Ya’know, I’ve worked in the community 23 years as a frontline worker and it’s always good to see an HIV positive person, ademas una madre latina, get full support from su familia. Recuerdas Indocumentada cuando empezastes a venir a la clinica cuando Su Hija Mayor fue bien chiquitita?

 

Indocumentada

Si Senora Obrera, como fue ayer, pero tambien como fue en un pasado bien lejos y antiguo. Como mucho de ustedes saben yo fue infectada ante una transfusion del sangre. Es dificil. te cambia la vida completamente. Si en el futuro me tengo que regresar a mi pais puedo conscientizar a la gente de los riesgos. Es bien dificil aceptar la enfermedad mas cuando tienes hijos, hijas. La experiencia ha sido demasiado dificil porque trabaje por catorce anos en salud y yo me decia porque ‘stoy enferma, porque eso me esta pasando a mi. Porque ahora no hay nadie que puede curar a mi.

 

Sas!

Tienes mucho razon y claridad Indocumentada. HIV and AIDS are diseases of love and trust. That’s how you get it Su Hija. You trust someone like RayRay did. You love someone como Lady y su man. It was the act of love en mi caso. Even a transfusion like your mami’s situation, she was trusting the medical system to help her.

 

La Estetica

Si si si. Eso no se necesita aplauso. Mejor un momento de silencio.

 

El Homie

I was a good kid. College bound, the only one of my mom’s kids to graduate from high school. But I didn’t get to go to college. Had to work. Eventually got caught up, mobbed up, and had to put in work, na’mean? I got the tatts, the scars, the record to show. Long story short, but I started doin dirt and then dirt was done to me. I been, I was diagnosed in 2003 in Baltimore, Maryland. I’m pretty much here today, the majority of my life, my adult life I’ve taken from people. Me doing this today is, I am just trying to give back what I’ve taken. Heroin that was my demon. When I lost my home in Corpus I moved back here to San Antonio and I got hooked on heroin and I was living in the Victoria Courts, if any of ya’ll remember the VC Courts. If you couldn’t find me on the streets of San Antonio you’d find me in Texas Department of Corrections and Justice. I made it a life habit. But then I told myself they weren’t gonna catch me. I’m gonna run. I went back to the east coast where I have a lot of family. A man approached me out there, a very good friend of mine to this day. He has a foundation and works with a lot of drug addicts.

 

As El Homie narrates, RayRay becomes his young self, Lil Homie and El Mesero the Counselor.

 

Counselor

Would you like to get an HIV test?

 

Lil Homie

I don’t ride like that, I just shoot dope.

 

 

Counselor

I can see that from your hands. I can imagine what your arms look like.

 

Lil Homie

My arms look like a shooting gallery baby cuz I’m a dope fiend. This is what I do.

 

Counselor

If you take this free test you get a free cup of coffee.

 

El Homie

And me being mexicano

 

Lil Homie

If it’s free, it’s for me

 

El Homie

Right?! It was cold that day, so I said

 

Lil Homie

Vamonos. Took the test, got the coffee.

 

El Homie

But I didn’t wait for my results

 

Lil Homie

I left cuz I needed my fix.

 

Counselor

I went back out there a couple of days later and I found him.

 

El Homie

And when he finds me he tells me

 

Counselor

Someone needs to talk to you. (To audience) but I couldn’t tell him who it was.

 

Lil Homie

I thought it was Texas Department of Corrections, Texas will pick you up anywhere you at. Don’t mess with Texas, ain’t just a slogan.

 

El Homie

I got paranoid on my way to the foundation but then I decided

 

Lil Homie

It is what it is, ain’t nothing gonna take me.

 

El Homie

They take me into this room and the lady looks at me and tells me

 

Obrera Social

You tested positive for the HIV virus.

 

El Homie

At that point

 

Lil Homie

At that minute

 

Obrera Social

They say it’s 85% mental

 

El Homie

At that moment for me it was 95% mental because I walked out of that office not really knowing what I had done

 

Counselor

Walking into the streets of Baltimore

 

El Homie

I stood there and thought to myself, I can’t go back to prison even if I wanted to. I used to write a lot of letters to my mom. And they were a lot of lies, I promise this, I’ll change. Every time I got out I’d not violate parole but violate my mom. I didn’t want to be that type of man. I had enough dope in my pocket

And like I always used to say. You talk about it, you better be about it. So I jumped in the alley, tied my arm off and od’d. The garbage man found me and rushed me to the hospital They brought me back and when I got out, I’d thought I’d beat death again. I came back to San Antonio. To see my mom and beg for her forgiveness. But here I go. I live in the south but I roll on the east And I end up on the eastside with my boys. Within 5 hours I had dope in my system and dope in my pocket. And then I was on the corner of Iowa & Huckenberry with my hands up and I got busted for possession and distribution. Again. On top of my violation of parole. I made that choice and I went back to prison. When I got out, I made peace with my mom. Cuz mom’s always gonna forgive you, man. You can steal the water heater, the ac and everything and they forgive you in the morning. I also made peace with myself and this disease. Just cuz I’m positive don’t mean I can’t live a positive life, que no? And that’s what I’m gonna do.

 

El Joto Prodigal

Man, it, that was beautiful. What you said and how you said it. But, for me mothers are a big cockblock in your becoming who you need to be. I did an obituary and I put on there in lieu of flowers, donations made to AIDS Foundation. My mom said I don’t want that on there. Who died, me or you? That’s what I want on there, in lieu of flowers I want donations sent to AIDS foundations. She didn’t want that, kept saying, they’re gonna think you died of AIDS. Really?!

 

 

La Estetica

My mom’s side – ellos no saben pero mi mami knows that I have the virus. El lado de mi papa, pues ellos si saben. Tengo una tia bien metiche la mujer. She got a hold of my estatus y ahora todo el mundo sabe. Lo que me enoja es que ella siempre decia cuando fallecio una persona de nuestra familia, it should be you instead of them. Nombre! Cunado fallecio mi buelita mi tia pues she did not know que su esposo, mi tio, was on the other side of the refri when she say to me, “No es justo, grandma died, you should have died. Tu eres sucia. Pos, mi tio en voz alto y firme dice a ella, “Don’t you ever talk to my niece like that again.” Pos, I didn’t mean to break up familia pero she said it. I didn’t.

 

Obrera Social

I lost an uncle to HIV/AIDS. When my family found out about him they gave him the cold shoulder, just being funny about it. But I couldn’t tell if they were being serious or about it or not. It’s a lack of education. It’s not like I didn’t give my uncle hugs and kisses but there were parties and barbecues he wasn’t invited to because of what he had. Not because he was gay, but because of the HIV, everybody was scared. What if he touches me or drinks out of my glass? (To audience) That’s not how HIV is transmitted, right? I educated my family. Early on when I started doing this work among HIV infected Latinas my mother’s comadres would ask her what I did and she would tell them and they would go, “Ay no, she’s working with the jotitos.” It’s not just jotos that get HIV, it’s women too! I would tell her. Now, she gives condoms to her grandkids.

 

El Activist

That’s great to hear Obrera. I been on my own in terms of familia fighting this disease. Pero ustedes ya son mi familia. I stood up for myself back then. But it’s harder I think for RayRay and the others to be an activist now.

 

RayRay

Oh don’t you worry bout me, I have no problem getting dates or access to services and information on my health.

 

El Activist

Yeah, it’s just that it’s not the 80s or 90s anymore. I’m so sick of fucking politics. Bureaucrats are just so full of shit. But if that’s what they want, I can throw shit back.

 

La Estetica

Mejor, let’s have cake now.

 

Hugs abound. Obera Social, Estetica, Indocumentada, Su Hija go in search of cake. El Joto, El Activist, El Homie, RayRay and Mi Lady take off. El Mesero crosses and cleans. Sida and Sas are left alone on stage. Sida removes her crown and places it on Sas’ head.

 

Sas

Wha?

 

Sida

You’re next mijo. I’m in training to run the Rock n Roll marathon and the tiara will just get all sweaty. Plus, it’s time for you to feel good about you. Always making everybody else laugh. It’s your time to shine. (Yelling to the women and running off in their direction.) Don’t cut my cake without me!

 

Sas stands feeling silly and special with the tiara on. Mesero approaches.

 

El Mesero

That crown becomes you.

 

Sas

You think?

 

El Mesero

Yes, very much.

 

Sas

Why thank you. I’m …

 

El Mesero

We’ve met.

 

Sas

Yes, we have. Please, don’t

 

El Mesero

Shhh, chambelan, I got my diagnosis 5 years ago. You must have never caught me taking my “multivitamin” like clockwork the times we’ve catered together.

 

Sas

You?! You too?!

 

El Mesero

Shhhhh. Shall we dance?

 

Sas

There’s no music playing.

 

El Mesero places his hand on Sas’ beating heart.

 

El Mesero

Oh, yes, there is.

 

Music. They, very formally and beautifully, waltz off stage.

 

Cake for All.

 

An End.

______________________________________________

Ricardo A. Bracho is a playwright whose work has been produced at Brava Theater Center, Theatre Rhinoceros and INTAR and has been staged read at Pregones Theater, Intersection for the Arts, Brown University and Stanford University. A former participant in the NEA/TCG Residency Program for Playwrights, Bracho has received two commissions from the Latino Theater Initiative of the Mark Taper Forum. His plays include The Sweetest Hangover, A to B, Sissy, and Querido.

All Hallows Eve At the Amarillo Jehovah’s Witness Weekly Grief Group In the Backroom of the Y Just Off the Feeder

CHARACTERS

JAKE: Group Leader

PENNY: Macabre.

DAN: In a Halloween cow costume

TANYA: Fanatic.

LIGHTS UP ON AN ILL-ATTENDED GRIEF GROUP. LOTS OF EMPTY SAD FOLD OUT CHAIRS. DAN IS OUT OF PLACE AS HE IS IN A HALLOWEEN COSTUME, A COW. PENNY HAS JUST FINISHED SHARING.THE GROUP IS HORRIFIED BY WHATEVER SHE’S JUST TOLD THEM. JAKE IS THE TIRED LEADER.

 

JAKE: Thank you for sharing Penny, the language of grief is a unifier and we all learn from you when you speak it with such visceral-uh- gory- horrifying details.

 

PENNY: Thank you Jake. The lord tells me to share and I must.

 

TANYA IS ABOUT TO THROW UP.

 

JAKE: You may sit down now.

 

PENNY: Thank you Jake. This grief group has given me so much. So much solace in a world I do not understand. So much comfort after the gruesome death-

 

JAKE: Please, Penny- sit. Thank you.

 

PENNY: Thank you, Jake.

 

PENNY SITS.

 

JAKE: We’ve all come here to talk about our feelings in the here and now. To honor that large container which is ourselves. Which has room for all things. Let’s put both feet on the floor- palms on our knees either face down or facing the heaven. Let’s close our eyes. Dan, please. Let’s breathe and be here together. We’re Jehovah’s Witnesses and we witness to each other. A few reminders and announcements- Please no cross talk or interrupting. No physical contact. Please continue to spread the word about this grief group. We hope to give our services to more in need.

 

Now, Let’s think of all the things we are grateful for today. We are living. We were lucky enough to secure the best Y backroom in Amarillo and we should count our blessings to be here together. To be present, to be exactly where our feet are and encourage the expression of emotion –

 

DAN: Can we talk about Halloween?

 

BEAT. THE GROUP DOES NOT WANT TO HEAR THAT WORD, LIKE A FORBIDDEN WORD.

 

JAKE: Dan- Please no cross talk.

 

DAN: Oh yes- Thank you Jake. May I taking the sharing position to discuss Halloween?

 

DAN: I uh-Is there something you are struggling with?

 

DAN: No.

 

JAKE: Any rising uh issues with our fundamental core belief in not acknowledging holidays?

 

PENNY: Dan, it is ok to struggle

 

TANYA: We all struggle

 

ALL: Yes-it’s true- that’s what we’re here for etc. etc.

 

JAKE: Please! The Cross Talk!

 

DAN: Can I- I’m sorry- Can I share?

 

JAKE: In that?-

 

DAN: Yes.

 

PENNY: This is a safe space Jake-

 

JAKE: Penny. Cross Talk. I mean yes please this is, of course, a safe place.

 

DAN ASSUMES THE SHARING POSITION.

 

DAN: I was born on October thirty first. On Halloween.

 

THE GROUP WINCES.

 

DAN: -which is- Halloween is- I’m sorry I have to say it

 

TANYA: Don’t-

 

DAN: Halloween is my birthday.

 

THE GROUP GROANS.

 

DAN: And I understand about God and the Pagans and how this is their doing and I understand about Satan and I know that while Halloween does include fun with family and friends, these gatherings are centered around attributes such as witchcraft death, deceit, and fright which are opposing to God

 

JAKE: Well, it’s not that these attributes are subtly snuck into the day, Halloween openly boasts them

 

DAN: But I-I-I

 

JAKE: It’s ok-

 

DAN: I- miss my dog you know- And I have to thank you Jake because this group has really helped me work though a lot of this. I miss Banjo so bad- I miss watching him run through the field, ears flapping as he chased the cows. He’d bark and circle them and they’d look down and moo apathetically and he was in heaven. Well, no, now he is in heaven but I don’t know if there are any cows there.

 

PENNY: Of course there are cows there! He has his cow friends in heaven-

 

DAN: And if it’s even possible that on my birthday-

 

GROUP GROAN.

 

JAKE: yikes-

 

DAN: Banjo’s spirit or ghost-

 

PENNY: Ghost?!

 

DAN: Yes Penny- if his ghost can walk the Earth on this day according to the Satanist pagans- if by any infinitesimal chance they are even some kinda right then I want to be here for him. Suppose Banjo is roaming our street looking for anything to remind him of home. I want to be there and if I can make his ghost just a little bit happier by waiting for him dressed as those cows he loved so much then I’m going to do it.

 

JAKE: I think we should read a passage now-

 

TANYA: -I want to commune with the dead too. I want to talk to my cousin.

 

PENNY: Cross Talk! Can we get some more leadership here? This is ridiculous.

 

JAKE: Ok Ok Ok Tanya, that was an example of cross talk but let’s go with us. Your cousin was an adventurous woman

 

TANYA: I want to talk to her spirit. I applied for Long Island medium like 4 times, but apparently you have to live there to participate. May I?

 

JAKE: Sure.

 

TANYA TAKES HER SHARING POSITION.

 

TANYA: My cousin died. She thought she wanted to be an engineer and she always wanted to know how everything worked. It was really cute. And this one night we were at Pastor Rick’s- they are so rich- they’re house is unbelievable- they had a dumb-waiter. And Rena wanted to know how it worked because she’s predictable like that so she stuck her head in the bottom to see the gears. And I don’t know how this happened but it snapped and the whole thing fell and chopped her head off.

 

THE SOUND OF A BLOOD CURDLING SCREAM.

 

TANYA: Rena?! REEEEEENA?! Is that you?!

 

A PERSON POKES THEIR HEAD IN FROM OFF STAGE

 

PERSON: Sorry for the disruption folks, we’re rehearsing that last scene in Our Town in the Y front room here. Apologies. We’re pushing ourselves today.

 

JAKE: No worries brother, thanks and bless you.

 

PERSON: Howdy!

 

PERSON EXITS.

 

TANYA: I lived my entire life with a cousin Rena until that day. Pastor Rick says that’s what happens to women who get into science but I think Rena is out there somewhere. I think she still wants to learn things and I imagine she’s snooping around with her head under her arm and now she can take that head and fit it into smaller places to see all the gears she wants.

 

And that makes me happy for her.

 

DAN: Yes. Just like Banjo

 

JAKE: No.

 

TANYA: What?

 

JAKE: There are no ghosts or holidays or birthdays or cow costumes.

 

TANYA: I think Rena would want me to help you Dan. I think Rena would’ve loved Banjo and so would I

 

DAN: He would’ve loved you

 

TANYA: So let’s wait for him. Let’s see if he comes by, or Rena or Penny’s son who went by Christina.

 

PENNY: He won’t come by. He hated me.

 

JAKE: You mean ‘It’- Stephen King’s ‘It’

 

TANYA: Cross Talk Jake. Let’s just see. See if we can call their ghosts- Because wouldn’t it give us comfort and isn’t comfort what this grief group is for?

 

THEY ALL LOOK TO JAKE.

 

JAKE: I can’t.

 

TANYA: Don’t you miss Pauline, Jake?

 

JAKE: I do.

 

TANYA: What if her ghost-

 

JAKE: Pick a different word-

 

TANYA: -or spirit-

JAKE: Nope-

 

TANYA: Her little tinkerbell light what if walks on by… wouldn’t you want to say hello.

 

JAKE: I would. I do.

 

DAN: Let’s do this- ok- Everybody put something in a middle here, something that reminds you of your loved one. Come on- here’s Banjo’s Bone.

 

TANYA: Here’s Rena’s Einstein choker necklace from the accident. It’s got some blood on it maybe that will help-

 

JAKE: Pauline’s hanky.

 

PENNY PULLS OUT A BUTCHER KNIFE AND PUTS IT IN THE CIRCLE. THE GROUP TAKES THAT IN.

 

PENNY: Christina’s favorite.

 

DAN: Ok. Let’s sit- everybody put both feet on the ground.

 

THEY SHUFFLE CHAIRS AROUND. A FLURRY OF MOVING AND SITTING AND ADJUSTING.

 

JAKE: Please don’t tell Pastor Rick

 

TANYA: Never- no one is telling Pastor Rick- Penny?

 

PENNY: I won’t. I promise.

 

TANYA: We all promise?

 

THE GROUP NODS. EVERYONE IS IN.

 

DAN: Ok we ready?

 

THEY INDICATE THAT THEY ARE READY. SOME SCARED. SOME DESPERATE.

 

DAN: ok. Tinkerbell light Séance-

 

JAKE: Don’t use séance

 

DAN: Tinkerbell light brigade sit in grief group Amarillo chapter edition call to the dead- begin!

 

THEY SIT IN SILENCE.

 

JAKE: So uh- what are we supposed to do here?

 

PENNY: Yea are they just gonna come in?-

 

DAN: I don’t know-

 

TANYA: Ok ok calm down. Ok How about this-

 

TANYA BREATHES AND JUMP A LITTLE LIKE ACTING WARM UP.

 

TANYA: Ok everyone. Stare out to a fixed point. Soften your focus. Stare far far out past the Amarillo city line into the great unknown. Focus and think of your loved one. What they smelled like on the best days, the kindest thing they ever said to you, that look on their face in their final moments

 

A SCREAM FROM OFF STAGE.

 

TANYA: Reeeena?!

 

PERSON STICKS HEAD IN.

 

PERSON: I’m so sorry folks- we’re making headway on this scene though!

 

PERSON EXITS.

 

TANYA: Think of how unknowable life is, death is, what your loved one like to eat for dinner.

 

PENNY: I feel nothing!

 

TANYA: Close you eyes. Hold hands! I feel it!

 

THE GROUP HOLDS HANDS. THEY SQUEEZE. THEY TRY TO FEEL IT.

 

TANYA: Jake misses you Pauline

 

JAKE: I do!

 

TANYA: He forgives you for the affair

 

JAKE: I do!

 

FLICKER OF LIGHTS. DAN GASPS

 

DAN: Satan is joining us-

 

PERSON FROM OFF STAGE RE-ENTERS.

 

PERSON: Son-of-a-breadbasket We blew the fuse sorry! Art is dangerous- sorry to- What are you guys-? I’ll just- ok bye-

 

TANYA: If you are out there. Wherever you are- behind a rock or under a tree or behind the moon know we love you. Know we wait for you here and will find you in the here after-

 

AS TANYA SPEAKS, VERY SLOWLY AND SOFTLY THE SOUND OF A DOG BARKING CREEPS IN. AS SHE SPEAKS THE BARKING GROWS LOUDER AND NEARER.

 

TANYA: We’ve forgotten how bratty you could be Rena, or how sexually confused you were Christina,

 

BARKING. THE BARKING BEGINS TO OVER WHELM TANYA’S SPEAKING. DAN OPENS HIS EYES AND HE CANNOT BELIEVE WHAT HE SEES. BANJO!

 

BARKING. CLOSER.

 

DAN STANDS. THE GROUP CONTINUES TO HOLD HANDS AND FOCUS. TANYA MUMBLES.

 

BARKING.

 

DAN WALKS FORWARD TOWARDS THE NOISE. THE GROUP FINALLY NOTICES. THEY WATCH DAN, WHO MOOS A LITTLE TO CALL BANJO OVER.

 

JAKE PICKS UP THE BONE AND HANDS IT TO DAN. THE GROUP HOLDS HANDS AND DAN TOSSES THE BONE OUT INTO THE AUDIENCE.

 

BLACKOUT. END OF PLAY.

______________________________________________

Molly Beach Murphy is a playwright and director originally from Galveston, Texas. Molly is a three-time artistic resident at the OBIE Award-winning Incubator Arts Project for which she created Molly Murphy & Neil deGrasse Tyson On Our Last Day On Earth (also seen in Ars Nova’s 2015 ANT FEST), Indigo Dai: Immortal Men, and Morbid Poetry. Molly is a 2015 member of Fresh Ground Pepper’s Playground Playgroup, JACK’s Creating Dangerously Writing Workshop, and The Habitat’s Director’s Playground. Recipient of the Garland Wright Award for Achievement in Directing. BFA, Southern Methodist University.

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