Sunday, October 18, 2009

BECALMED: A 10 Minute Play by Liz Duffy Adams, Part I

[On a beach. A tall pile of sand where something has been dug out of a deep pit. Caliban, a young man/monster, is sitting on top of the pile. He’s holding two ends of a long staff, splintered and rough where it was broken. He’s twisting and turning it, trying to make it fit back together. He keeps at it, with dull and dogged concentration; he’s been at it for a long time. Ariel, a sardonic young fairy, appears, magically, dropping from the flies or popping out of the ground. Caliban ignores him, continuing to puzzle over the staff.]

ARIEL: That won’t work.

CALIBAN: Shut up.

ARIEL: You’ll never get it.

CALIBAN: Shut up .

ARIEL: It isn’t fixable.

CALIBAN: Shut up.

ARIEL: Not by you.

CALIBAN: Shut fucking up I command you.

[Ariel, who’d been about to speak again, promptly swallows it.]

Go fly a fucking girdle around the earth why don’t you.

ARIEL: That wasn’t me, that’s from—

CALIBAN: Get out!

[Ariel disappears. Caliban keeps working at the staff. He sings an artless song.]

Oh I’ll be the king of the island
Because I’ve got the staff
Oh I’ll be the king of the island
Although it’s broke in half

When I put it together
How happy we’ll be
The ruled and the ruler
The fairy and me

Oh I’ll be the king of the island
Because I’ve got the staff

[Ariel reappears, slightly winded.]

CALIBAN: That was fast.

ARIEL: Obviously.


You’ll never get it.


ARIEL: I command you to stop.

[Instantly Caliban stops and looks at him.]

Give that to me.

[Caliban comes down off the pile of sand and hands the broken pieces to Ariel. Ariel climbs the pile of sand, and begins trying to fit them together. Caliban stands uncertainly for a moment in silence.]

CALIBAN: What do I do now?

ARIEL: Whatever you like.

CALIBAN: Come on.

ARIEL: What?

CALIBAN: You know. It’s your turn. Command me something.

ARIEL: Not in the mood.

CALIBAN: Not fair. I did you.

ARIEL [mocking]: You did me.

CALIBAN: I gave you one. Give me one.

ARIEL: Alright fine alright go fetch some wood.

[Caliban instantly looks resentful, goes off.]

CALIBAN: Fetch some wood, fetch some wood, I’ll fetch him some wood one of these days. I should be king of the fucking island, me me me me me me me…

[He’s off. Ariel works away at the staff. He lays the pieces down end-to-end and points at them.]

ARIEL: Mend.

Come together.

Be as one.

Even from beyond the seas you’re ruining my life. “Then to the elements be free and fare well.” [bitterly] Right. And leave show business?

[Caliban comes back in empty handed.]

ARIEL: What’s this?

CALIBAN: No wood.

ARIEL: What do you mean?

CALIBAN: There’s no more wood. It’s all cut down. Nothing bigger than a twig from end to end of the place.

ARIEL: Then fetch some water.

CALIBAN: No water.

ARIEL: Excuse me?

CALIBAN: Well’s dry, spring’s brackish, and the stream’s filled with dead fish.

ARIEL: That can’t be good.

CALIBAN: Birds are gone too.

ARIEL: Migrated?


ARIEL: You ate all the birds?

CALIBAN: Have to eat something don’t I?

ARIEL: Well, that’s it for me. I’m off. I’m not staying on a brackish bare dead-fishy island with one greedy rapacious half-witted monster for company.

CALIBAN: It’ll be alright. Soon as we get that fixed, we can put everything back.

[They stare at the staff ends gloomily.]

Or I could bash you over the head with one of the ends and eat you.

ARIEL: I command you not to do that.

CALIBAN: Is it still your turn?

ARIEL: Yes it’s still my turn.

CALIBAN: You’re no good at this. When he commanded me I knew it.

ARIEL: Well he’s gone isn’t he. How do you think I feel, you command like a three-day-dead carp.

CALIBAN: Fuck you.

ARIEL: We talked better when he was here too. Verse and everything.

CALIBAN: I know. You suck.

ARIEL: That’s it. I’m gone. I’m out of here.



[Caliban dives for the staff, gets one end, Ariel has the other end, they circle around swiping at each other and missing. Maybe Ariel disappears and reappears to avoid getting hit. Altogether, an ineffectual sweaty grunting ridiculous battle. At the height of it, a small dingy enters suddenly as if thrown up onto the sand out of the sea, and a young woman is thrown out of it onto the sand. Miranda. Caliban and Ariel stop and stare. Pause.]

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