in Theatre

Well the FCC won’t let me be

               INT. THEATER - DAY

               Four high-school kids -- Chuck, Sarah, Bill and Eddie --
               shuffle about in togas on stage.  They are surrounded with
               fake bushes, and a double door hangs from the back wall.  One
               hand on his chest, Chuck declaims.

                                   CHUCK
                         For worse than Philomel you us'd my
                         daughter,
                         And worse than... Progne... I will
                         be reveng'd...

               Mister Dimples runs on stage, wearing a bow-tie and tapping a
               clipboard with a pencil.

                                   MISTER DIMPLES
                         Cut, cut!  Kids, I'm sorry, but I
                         must stop this play immediately.

                                   SARAH
                         Is there a problem, sir?

                                   MISTER DIMPLES
                         I should say so, Sarah.  I see that
                         you have seven bushes on stage
                         here.

                                   CHUCK
                         Yes, sir, we made them ourselves --

                                   MISTER DIMPLES
                         I'm sorry, Chuck, but the Texas
                         University Interscholastic League
                         rules are very clear on that point. 
                         Section one-zero-three-three, part
                         C, clearly states: there are to be
                         no more than six self-supported
                         bushes, each not to exceed two feet
                         wide by three feet high.

                                   SARAH
                         Oh, jeez, sir, we totally forgot
                         that rule!  

               The kids murmur in assent.

                                   MISTER DIMPLES
                         One of these bushes must be removed
                         before your play can commence.

                                   CHUCK
                         No problem, sir --

               Bill and Eddie grab a bush and drag it off stage.

                                   SARAH
                         Okay, sir, if we can just start
                         again?

                                   MISTER DIMPLES
                         Tut-tut-tut!  I notice that there
                         is a double door hanging from the
                         back of your set?

                                   CHUCK
                         Oh, yes, sir, my dad helped me make
                         it!

                                   MISTER DIMPLES
                         Now, Chuck.  Section one-zero-three
                         three rules clearly state that the
                         basic set includes doors suspended
                         from standard, single door frames
                         only.

                                   CHUCK
                         But, it's our door, sir -- we
                         worked all night on painting it --

                                   MISTER DIMPLES
                         Unfortunately, if I let your play
                         have double doors, then I have to
                         permit every play to have double
                         doors.  The state of Texas won't
                         permit that.

               The kids grumble softly.

                                   CHUCK
                         C'mon, guys, it's okay.  Can you
                         two take the door down, please?

               Bill and Eddie shove the double door behind one of the wings.

                                   SARAH
                         Mister Dimples, it seems like there
                         are so many rules we have to follow
                         to produce our play.

                                   MISTER DIMPLES
                         The rules do things like prohibit
                         profane references to... a deity.

                                   SARAH
                         You mean G--

                                   MISTER DIMPLES
                         Shh!
                             (sotto voce)
                         Yes!
                             (normal voice)
                         The rules are there for your
                         protection, Sarah.  We are financed
                         by the taxes your parents pay.  By
                         the way, you're not doing a play by
                         Edward Albee, Samuel Beckett,
                         Thornton Wilder, Eugene Ionesco,
                         David Mamet, Eugene O'Neill, Peter
                         Shaffer, Neil Simon or Peter Weiss,
                         are you?

                                   SARAH
                         Well, no, sir --

                                   MISTER DIMPLES
                         Good, good!

                                   CHUCK
                         Sir, what's wrong with those
                         authors?

                                   MISTER DIMPLES
                         Those authors are universally
                         banned from the list of approved
                         plays.  If we offend the moral
                         standards of the community, we
                         might lose funding.  We might have
                         to cancel the University
                         Interscholastic League!  You
                         wouldn't want that, would you?

                                   KIDS
                         No, we wouldn't want that, I didn't
                         think of it that way, etc.

                                   MISTER DIMPLES
                         Now, which playwright did you
                         choose?

                                   SARAH
                         Oh, we chose Shakespeare, sir!

                                   MISTER DIMPLES
                         Good, good!  All works by
                         Shakespeare are on the U.I.L. list
                         of approved plays.  Which play are
                         you doing?

                                   CHUCK
                         Titus Andronicus.

                                   MISTER DIMPLES
                         Good, good!  That's a very
                         impressive-sounding play.  I
                         believe you're fully in compliance
                         then!  Whenever you're ready!

               Mister Dimples walks off stage.

                                   CHUCK
                         For worse than Philomel you us'd my
                         daughter,
                         And worse than... Progne... I will
                         be reveng'd,
                         And now prepare your throats!

               Chuck pulls out a huge butcher knife and slices the throats
               of Eddie and Bill.  They stagger about, gushing gallons of
               blood.

                                   CHUCK
                         Lavinia, come receive the blood!

               Sarah catches some of the blood in her bucket.

                                   CHUCK
                         Let me go grind their bones to
                         powder small,
                         And with this hateful liquor temper
                         it!

               Chuck cuts off Eddie's head with the butcher knife.

                                   CHUCK
                         And in that paste let their vile
                         heads be bak'd!

               Chuck throws the head into the bucket.  Mister Dimples runs
               on stage.

                                   MISTER DIMPLES
                         Children, stop, stop!

                                   CHUCK
                         Sir, we cut the dual rape scene --

                                   MISTER DIMPLES
                         For the love of all that's holy!
                         Stop the play!

                                   CHUCK
                         But, sir, it's Shakespeare!
                           
                                   SARAH
                         Sir, we're following all the
                         rules of the Texas University
                         Interscholastic League...

               Mister Dimples thinks.

                                   MISTER DIMPLES
                         I cannot reconcile this logical
                         contradiction!

               Mister Dimples's chest explodes in a shower of sparks.  He
               collapses.  Sarah and Chuck walk over to him and inspect him.

                                   SARAH
                         A robot!

                                   CHUCK
                         I knew it all along.

               Exeunt.





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