A PLAY IN 2 ACTS
by OPOVV, ©2015
As the curtain rises, the music of Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride” is played. The stage is set as a typical high school classroom. There are 30 students sitting at desks facing stage left. The backdrop is of windows looking over a pastoral scene; blue skies; white cumulous clouds.
Teacher: “Okay, everyone, clean off your desks and put your thinking caps on. We’ve been selected to build this year’s Senior Float for our town’s annual Christmas parade.
“My job is to act as the chaperone and to clear away any obstacles that you may encounter. Yes, Fran?”
Fran: “What kind of obstacles?”
Teacher: “Well, in these politically-correct times, no telling. Now, moving along, I’m to leave it up to you guys to come up with the theme, the design, and the construction.
“The float itself, or rather, the use of the trailer, will be donated by Brad’s father. Be sure to thank your father for us, Brad. The American Legion is donating $2,000, but we aren’t required to spend all of it and if we need more we can have it, within reason, of course. I would think that $2,000 should cover all the expenses, especially since Tefft’s Stationery is donating whatever we need in the manner of ribbons, banners, lettering and flags. Take it away.”
Brad: “Since it’s my trailer, I should decide what kind of float we’re to have.”
Sharon: “Gee whiz, Brad, we just finished a class in Civics on the Constitution and you’re acting just like a dictator. A little Napoleon is what you are.”
Brad: “I’m 5’10”, so I’m not little.”
Sharon: “I meant little mind, dummy.”
Teacher: “Well, this is starting off about as good as I expected. Let’s say we go around the room and see what pops out. Nancy, how about starting us off?”
Nancy: “Well, like, you know, maybe have a bunch of guys with no shirts pulling the float, like slaves, and have the float built like when Elizabeth Taylor rode into Rome on, you know, the scene, in ‘Cleopatra,’ and I nominate myself to play Cleo.”
Anita: “No shirts? It’ll be about freezing; in the 40’s at least, maybe lower on Christmas Eve. I say build it like a boat with George Washington standing at the front; you know, like when he crossed the Delaware. A tractor can pull it and everyone will be dressed warmly, because it’ll be just like real.”
Teacher: “Show of hands? Then that’s the theme: George Washington crossing the Delaware. We’re assigned to the auto shop’s garage and we’re allowed to be in there Monday through Thursday from 4-8pm, and on Saturday from 8am to 4pm.
“One more thing. This year we’ve made the ‘big time,’ meaning that we’ll be televised. But that’s not the big news: the big news is that there’ll be a $5,000 first-place award to be divided among the winners. That means $166 in your pocket if you win. Good luck and have fun. Class dismissed.”
Curtain lowers to the sound of Queen’s “We Are the Champions.”
Curtain rises to the sound of Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67: 4th movement,” which plays as background music until the end of the Act. The stage is set in the high school’s auto-shop department. The magnificent float, looking like a boat with waves at its side, sits at stage rear while the students and the teacher mill around dejectedly, heads down, hands in pockets.
Nancy: “How could they?”
Brad: “So much for freedom of speech. What happened to our country?”
Teacher: “I’m as shocked as any of you.”
Sharon: “Who makes up these rules?”
Anita: “I’ve a feeling the fix was in from the very beginning, starting with those television stations from the capital. Why, the nerve, saying our float ‘offended’ them and they were afraid to upset viewers.”
Brad: “As if that wasn’t upsetting enough. I mean, why didn’t they tell us long ago then we’ve could’ve done something different?”
Teacher: “It wouldn’t have made any difference.”
Sharon: “So this is it? This is what our parents are giving us? A country that doesn’t honor its Constitution, its laws, or its moral responsibilities to the succeeding generation? This stinks.”
Brad: “So the parade committee decides to let floats from other places compete for first place, but only one, the one that won, the one that was ‘offended’ by our float with George Washington and the American flag.”
Teacher: “Well, you have to admit, if you had removed the flag, then they said they’d have no problem with you in the parade.”
Loud chorus of “NO WAY!”
Sharon: “Sick. Everyone is sick. It’s as if some sort of disease has cloaked our country in total denial of the facts. A Pandemic. We’re being attacked, and the way we fight back is to make it harder for our military to do its job overseas. We don’t even lift a finger here at home to save ourselves.”
Fran: “The sheer audacity of these people is beyond belief. Imagine a float with the ISIS flag in front and someone nailed to a cross in the rear with tomato juice running down. What do they have, a 12V pump hooked up to a car battery? I thought so. Too bad it wasn’t freezing. How could we have sunk so low?”
Teacher: “The day after 9-11 we should’ve run every Muslim out of every civilized country in the world. After the first Twin Tower attack; the USS Cole bombing; after Iran took hostages back in the days of Jimmy Carter. No, we’ve left ourselves open far too long and we’re paying the price. You’re paying the price.
“There’s no doubt your float was the best by far, but the politically-correct, brain-dead imbeciles of this country, the people who hate America, its Constitution and what it stands for, are in charge because they own the banks, the police, the military, the press, the courts, Congress and the White House.
“So we leave our troops in harm’s way, expendable, and even though our guys in Benghazi could’ve been saved, they were toast as soon as Hillary’s Muslim Brotherhood aide, Huma Abedin, read where they would be and at what time through Hillary’s emails.
“All I got to say is that you’ve got to have a weapon to protect yourself to the best of your ability. No telling who the enemy will be tomorrow.
“Look, I know how much hard work you put into this project and I’m really sorry about how everything turned out. That said, we’ve all got Christmas Eve services to attend, so let’s be leaving. I think it would be appropriate for all, audience included, to sing ‘Silent Night’ as we exit our play. Goodnight.”
The background music ends and house lights dim as the cast, holding up small flashlights like they hold up at concerts, starts to sing as they leave stage front, half on the left; half on the right, and walk up the aisles past the audience. The curtain is fully lowered as the last of the cast members exit the auditorium.