Saturday, March 20, 2010

The professor is stymied



INT. NIGHT.
GREY GOAT ENGLISH PUB AGAIN.MAIN ATTRACTION IS THE BAR. THE PLACE IS BUSY AND NOISY, BUT NOW DOWN TO A DULL ROAR. THE PROFESSOR IS DRINKING WITH HIS PUBLISHER ONCE MORE.

PUBLISHER (HAVING A DRAUGHT)

Well,why so glum, chum?

PROFESSOR.

Women.

PUBLISHER

It's alway women with you. (HE POINTS TO THE DARTBOARD WHERE TWO SCOTSMEN ARE PLAYING).

Why don't you take up darts. Or pool. You've had no luck with women at all. So tell me. What happened last night?

PROFESSOR

Ah, Professor Rath and the Blue Angel? Know the story?
Prof in love with a cabaret queen, but in my case, its worse, far worse. Maybe porn queen.

PUBLISHER:

Celia again?

PROFESSOR

Yep. Thought she was Helen of Troy with that face. More like The whore of Babylon.

PUBLISHER.

You're too crass.
But I have to agree with you.Helen of Troy. Face that launched a thousand ships.
But your Celia is more like, say, Phoebe Zeitgeist, perhaps the personification of the spirit of the age. Our age. What has been up has been pulled down. Superwoman rules. But still only a woman. Role models, Father, mother, teacher still in her psyche. Little girl wants to please. What do women want, what do I want, she is asking herself. "Why, I want what men want! Money, goods, sex, power, talent."

She is trying to find herself.. A little like a nun looking for salvation. But she keeps looking in the wrong places.

PROFESSOR.

You should see the place I saw her in last night!

PUBLISHER

Let me take a shot at it. Hotel California?

PROFESSOR

Something like that.

PUBLISHER (SHRUGS)

She is moving from the red to the black.

PROFESSOR

You're almost claivoyant. How do you know these things?

PUBLISHER

Ah, breakdown or breakthrough. I once had a crackup over a woman. Spent seven weeks in a rubber room...Makes you thoughtful. Who was the crazy one? Me or the woman who should be in the cage?
Clarke Institute of Psychiatry. We were all up there doing the same thing. Spend all day looking for a symbol on the wall. Finding the symbol, falling asleep.

THE PUBLISHER PICKS UP A KNIFE AND FORK AND STARTS JUGGLING THEM IN MID-AIR. HE IS TAPPED ON THE SHOULDER BY A SERVER.

SERVER

I think you need a sedative...More beer?

PROFESSOR.

Yeah. Calm down. You're scaring the family dog.

PUBLISHER.

Manic-depressive, I guess. We're all manic-depressives in this writing business. Graham Greene. Hemingway. Virginia Woolf.


PROFESSOR

And Heinrich Boll as the Clown?
You could be his character, will all that spoon tossing... I don't think I ever met a clown publisher before. But you're pretty damn surefooted as for a clown. You know what sells, and you encourage a writer to tell it true, to get to the heart of the matter.

PUBLISHER.

Heinrich Boll. Starved a lot. Maybe like you-- part-time teacher and bookwriter.

HE LIGHTS A CIGARETTE.

PUBLISHER
Okay, okay, enough of this Lewis Carroll stuff...And Carroll was mad like a genius.
So what happened last night?

PROFESSOR (RUNNING HIS HAND THROUGH HIS HAIR)

I thought I saw the real Celia last night, through the window. Good God! Scenes straight out of Fellini...Only thing missing was the gay guy--or was he missing?... I think Lief has a streak. ..Achean wooden warships -- and farting Gryphons. Orgy. And you'll neve guess who was the Magus of the piece.

PUBLISHER (QUICKLY)

Mayor Frank Tweedy?

PROFESSOR

How did you know that?

PUBLISHER

Claivoyance of the mad....Besides, I've been in town for a long time. Tweedy likes his porn, some of it live. He likes it live. Hires actors.

PUBLISHER (TAKES ANOTHER SWIG OF HIS BEER)

And I must say you're a bit like him. Voyeur! Like to watch, Well,tell me what happened. Was it like "He play with she, I play with me?" (HE TAKES ANOTHER SWIG OF THIS CHARRINGTON'S TOBY)


PROFESSOR.

Beer's making you garrulous, Willie.
It was darn near an orgy. And the Mayor was in it. And Celia was...

PUBLISHER

Ah Celia.

Poor little Justine.
She is moving from the red to the black.

PROFESSOR

What in hell are you talking about Willie? More stuff you learned at the jigsaw puzzle assembly plant?

PUBLISHER
She is moving from the red to the black.

PROFESSOR
You mean like out of Marat-Sade novel? Or maybe Stendhal. I can't read Stendhal. Frigging boring. That plot about the ambitious young priest who has the devil in him.

PUBLISHER.

Devil. That's it. Debbil's got ya.
I think you're a little bit obsessed--possessed?--over this Celia.
Hey, I mean this as a friend. But have you thought about some sort of therapy? Maybe even an exorcism.
Celia's got you. And she's possessed you.

PROFESSOR

You could say that. Sometimes she seems to me to be the servant of the devil. Witch.

PUBLISHER.

More prosaic. She is a seeker. But she's incomplete.
As I say, I think she is moving from conventional life to some kind of eerie cult, and she's hardly aware of it...Thinks it's learning, thinks it' art. It's probably that Tweedy. Got her into the hole that he's into. Got trapped in the Mafia. Mafia has his way with him. Makes him into a gangster, a pimp. Find all those good looking runaways from Suburgia. Brainwash them. Get them into Hieronymous Bosch, Peter Brueghel the Elder, H.P. Lovecraft, all those fantastic guys. Brainwash them. Administer drugs. Turn them into whores.

PROFESSOR
This is the mayor of our town?

PUBLISHER
He's in the Mafia so deep he has no idea how to get out...He's probably brainwashed too.

PROFESSOR
And I'm like a character in his goddamn film?
You know. Sort of like Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. Have you seen the movie?

PUBLISHER

Of course.
You may turn out the blindfolded piano player at Lief and Celia's cult, brought to you by Mafia Tweedy.

PROFESSOR.
Willie, you're nuts.

PUBLISHER

And I have the paperwork to prove it. But I was a doctor once, as you knew. Mad doctor, mad scientist. Mad publisher.

But I still say your Celia is moving from the red to the black.

.PROFESSOR
(NOW LIFTING HS BEER AND HAVING A DEEP DRAUGHT)

Okay Willie. Explain it to me as if I were a little child.

PUBLISHER

Celia was like a nun, though in the clutches of some sort cult.
..Those enerby suckers, suburban vampires. She was like a nun looking for grace, looking in all the wrong places, including your place. You didn't have what she was looking for. So she chose the beast. Found him attractive.
But you've got something too. Your naivete. That is attractive. Because you werenaive and in the state of grace--I think you are in the state of grace. Are you?-you've strength. Strong because naive. Guard your naivete! You have the strength of a hundred men...At least until you get really involved with her. Then you'll be like Sampson. You'll pull the pillars down.
...She'll probably be at your window tonight.

PROFESSOR

Oh, if only it were true.

THERE ARE NOW FIVE BAND MEMBERS APPROACHING THE BANDSDAND. THERE IS SILENCE AS THE GROUP ASSEMBLES AND BIGINS TO PLAY.
THEY START WITH A B.B. KING BLUES.

MUSIC IN BACKROUND: THRILL IS GONE by BB King.

MUSIC: UP..

The thrill is gone
The thrill is gone away
The thrill is gone baby
The thrill is gone away.
You know you done me wrong baby
And you'll be sorry someday.

MUSIC: SONG ENDS.

THERE IS APPLAUSE.

IT IS QUIET IN THE PUB NOW.



THE PROFESSOR IS PLAYING WITH HIS BEER.

PUBLISHER

No, not gone for good. She was outside last night just after you had gotten back. She had to leave that party. It was getting to be too rough. Loving that cocaine too much. She needed you. Needed a sounding board, like all people hooked, but you guys were feuding, so she couldn't properly approach you.
Celia will find grace one day. And you'll be there. But thats so far into the future...
In the meantime, you have to impress her. Show her that you're worthy. Run for Mayor yourself!

PROFESSOR

Now there's a thought!

PUBLISHER

Why not? You're running for Professor every four semesters. Untenured. Got to be a politician for sure.

Run for Mayor. Chicks like Celia adore power. Look how tight she is with Mayor Tweedy. You must run for Mayor yourself!
Show that little Mafioso. Take his chick.

PROFESSOR.

Oh if it were only that simple.
I'm in a triangle. Celia. The Mayor. Me.
But there's a fourth corner to every triangle.

Who is that invisible masked man? Who is really riffing her?

PUBLISHER

Don't be surprised if he's Italian.

PROFESSOR

Why should I be? So is the Mayor.

PUBLISHER

Ah. Pretty little mill town perched atop Toronto.
Newmarket.
New Market for sure.
Cornfield subdivision and corn liquor from Bradford, bootlegging capital since the thirties.

THE PUBLIHER IS NOW DRUNK. HE SINGS.

Her father was a brewer
But she was a friggin' hooer

Her sister had bunions
And tits like friggin' onions...


PROFESSOR

Stop it, Keith.

But damn. You crazy bastards can be right on at times

AND FROM THE MANAGER ON THE MICROPHONE:

MANAGER

Time, ladies and gentlemen. Time!

...end scene.

21 comments:

TomCat said...

Ivan, where do yhou get the wonderful insight into such wackiness?

Donnetta Lee said...

Uh oh. I just read TomCat's comment. So I am waiting for your response, Ivan!

I had to go backward and read the previous post to catch up--and there is that picture that Liz put together with my mom as Cleopatra! Oh, she makes the best Cleo...D

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

TomCat,

I live up here in what was once the northern sticks of Toronto. But my town of Newmarket is no longer in the boonies.
This is like Toronto now. We got bars, we got arenas. We got hookers.
And we got wacky chicks
So now,

Hix
Don't
Nix
Wacky
chicks

But some are really off the wall.
And I think I've met them all.

Mona said...

Excellent! But mind you, you are verging on Pedantry...too many names dropping might turn it into Bathos!

Guess you missed Sylvia Plath from the list of maniac Depressives :D

But I like this. This is growing interesting!

Somehow I think, that the publisher is Professor's alter ego...

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Thanks so much for the appreciation, Mona.

Mona said...

From another point of view, since the dialog is between a professor and the publisher, the diction is very much appropriate!

ivan@creaivewriting.ca said...

Thanks, Mona.

Mark (The Walking Man) was worried about hifalutin' diction between characters in early segments of the play.

benjibopper said...

yeah, the hifalutin diction worries me a bit too. even intellectuals speak in casual tones over a pint. but i like the new plot developments and the love triangle. i'd kill to know a clairvoyant publisher.

Mona said...

Well, it is not all that hifalutin , but still can verge on bombastic if it goes beyond this.

Like an Indian actress would say; " I will wear a bikini, only if the script requires it." :)

I disagree with Benjihoper though. Over a pint , one would only blabber more about what one has been brought upon. ( here in this case it is authors and books, so the drinking might, in a way, serve to excuse excessive use of hifalutin, if it is hifalutin at all!)

Mona said...

For the initial section of the play, I will have to recheck.

Mona said...

Sorry, Pedantic, not bombastic!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Hey, this is getting to be like a writing workshop...Almost like coming home!
Thanks for your interest in this, Mona. Appreciate it.

TomCat said...

...and they seem to have effected you. ;-)

ivan said...

:)

ivan said...

Tomcat,

Hix
Sh'd
Nix
Stixs
Chix?

Mona said...

Nix the pix :)

ivan said...

That's too funny, Mona. Hee!

"Hix nix stix pix" was, of course, a famous headline in America's Variety Magazine some 60 or 70 years ago, which basically expressed the view that people who lived in small towns were disinterested in visiting the cinema.

There was more to it, of course, and it is technical,as the headline writer had only three characters to work with that day on that particular reqirement of typographic space in the magazine; and the headline writer only go could only move vertically down four spaces with his three scant characters, max for each line.
So he came out with:

Hix
Nix
Stix
Pix.

(the "i" in Stix was a "slim" character in breadth, so it almost shrank down to the three characters required to fulfill the typographic boundaries that workday)

Egad. I am an old hot lead print man...I guess youl could tell.

Anonymous said...

For Immediate Release: March 22 - 2010



Re: 6th Annual Friendly Neighbourhood Youth Road hockey Challenge – Results -



Location(s): Youth Challenge – Sat March 20 - Newmarket Community Centre – 220 Duncan St (off Main S) - NE Parking lot. Register inside.



For Editorial:



Poverty Action for Change Coalition (PACC),

in cooperation with local community groups presented



6th Annual - Friendly Neighbourhood Youth Roadhockey Challenge



Youths from Georgina, Newmarket, Aurora, Richmond Hill and coming from as far as Scarborough competed in the 6th Annual Friendly Neighbourhood Youth Road hockey Challenge this past Saturday at the Newmarket Community Centre’s parking lot for likely the last event ever to be held there before the arena is demolished.



The free event, first started in a mixed income neighbourhood to engage youth, and which stresses friendliness over competitiveness, offers male and female youths 12 to 18 an opportunity to display community pride and leadership through forming and entering teams representing their own neighbourhoods, streets, schools, clubs or groups. Individual players wanting to play could also come out so no one is turned away.



The tourney was won in a hotly contested final with the Glenway Maple Leafs narrowly defeating the Quaker Hill Boys 3-2 in regulation time. In the Consolation finals, the Mulock / Clearmeadow Oreos defeated the Brayfield Bears 7-0 in a game not indicative of the score.



One worthy youth was chosen for the education ward – The Mike Thornhill Memorial Award – in memory of a youth from Mulock Village in Newmarket (where the challenge was first started) who was tragically killed outside a local donut shop by another youth. The award is given to the youth participant nominated for displaying leadership in the community more than hockey prowess.



This year’s award winner was Oreos team organizer and player Haris Chaudhry. Haris not only displayed leadership by going out and forming a team, holding practices and putting up posters he also encouraged(challenged) another team to form and as well has been an active valuable volunteer in other community events. Their team also was a great representation of diversity and a new generation of Canadian kids taking up the great Canadian tradition of roadhockey. All the youths were winners on this day!



Tom Pearson

Event Organizer

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

...Got this up a little late, Tom...Couldn't figure where and how to place it.

But any champion who vows to eradicate poverty and help kids is a champion of mine.

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