copyright © 1991 Jeff Goode

COMMMANDO WOMBAT THEATRE

by Jeff Goode

copyright 1990 Jeff Goode

 

The Commando Acting Troupe:

Commandant X

Commando Panther

Commando Scout

Commando Wombat

Commando Hair

Commando Prompt[i]

Commando Bob

 

The Orchestra of Traditionalists:

Conductor

1st Actor

2nd Actor

 

 

At rise, Panther stands at center, at ease.

 

Scout enters from Vom, goes to Panther, silently points to the 3 house exits (vom, house left & house right).

 

Panther nods.

 

Scout stands guard at center while Panther exits.

 

Commandos enter marching doubletime, each one chanting a different vegetable:

 

            |           WOMBAT:  WatermelonWatermelonWatermelon...

|           PROMPT:  CanteloupeCanteloupeCanteloupe...

Simultaneous ----        |           HAIR:  RhubarbRhubarbRhubarbRhubarb...

                                    |           PANTHER: PeasAndPeasAndPeasAndPeasAndPeasAnd...

|           BOB: CarrotsCarrotsCarrotsCarrotsCarrots...

 

Commandos take positions in a line across the back of the stage, at attention, still chanting.

 

Commandant X enters, walks to center, facing Aud.

 

COMMANDANT X:

SILENCE

 

Commandos fall silent.

 

SCOUT:         stepping forward

Exits: Center and at back right and left

 

COMMANDANT X:            Russian accent[ii]

Excellent.

 

Scout steps back in line.

 

PANTHER:   stepping forward

Exit check, sir?

 

COMMANDANT X:            Russian accent

Da.

 

PANTHER:

Rhubarb, sir?

 

COMMANDANT X:            Russian accent

Watermelon.

 

PANTHER:

EXEUNT, GO!

 

Commandos march double-time out the Vom exit and to the right

 

COMMANDOS:

watermelonwatermelonwatermelonwatermelowatermelon...

 

COMMANDANT X:            to Audience, Russian accent

I do not expect you to believe everything you see.

I do not expect you to believe anything you see.

Nor do I expect you to understand.

I expect nothing from you.

Nor should you expect anything from me.

That would be dangerous.

 

Commandos are heard marching back across the vomitorium from right to left.

 

COMMANDOS:

watermelonwatermelonwatermelonwatermelowatermelon...

 

COMMANDANT X:            to Audience, Russian accent

August 2, 456 B.C. - Commander Aeschylus drowned while swimming.

March 2, 1616 A.D. - Commander Shakespeare died suddenly of unknown causes.

July 2, 1904 - Commander Chekhov died ostensibly of tuberculosis.

 

But we have to stay alert.

 

Commandos enter marching double-time from the House Right entrance via the spiral stairs.

 

COMMANDOS:

watermelonwatermelonwatermelonwatermelowatermelon...

 

COMMANDANT X:

SILENCE

 

Commandos fall silent.

 

SCOUT:         stepping forward

House left exit is blocked, sir.

 

Scout steps back into line.

 

COMMANDANT X:            Spanish accent

Can we restage?

 

PANTHER:

I think so.

 

COMMANDANT X:            Spanish accent

Excellent.  PERMUTATIONS TWO, GO!

 

Wombat and Hair step forward.

 

PANTHER:

One two three four five six seven eight nine!

 

At each count, Wombat and Hair contort.

 

After the nine counts of contortion, they begin an Abstract Improv

 

Commandant X claps his hands to end the exercise.

 

COMMANDANT X:

ENOUGH!

 

COMMANDANT X:

Commando Wombat!

 

Wombat stands forward at attention.

 

WOMBAT:

Sir!

 

COMMANDANT X:            Spanish accent

State your name.

 

WOMBAT:

I have no name, sir!  I am a character, sir!

 

COMMANDANT X:            Spanish accent

How old are you?

 

WOMBAT:

Twenty-one years, sir!

 

COMMANDANT X:            Spanish accent

And how long have you been an actor?

 

WOMBAT:

Five years, sir!

 

Prompt hands Commandant X a card and a set of car keys.

 

COMMANDANT X:            rapidly reading from the card, Spanish accent

You are a sixty year old Hispanic woman,

former truck driver & housewife, divorced.

You have not driven in fifteen years

and you have a sudden urge to go out  for pizza.

 

Go!

 

Commandant X hands Wombat the keys.  Wombat begins a hyper-intense Hispanic woman/truckdriver improv.

 

after about 3 seconds:

COMMANDANT X:

Enough!

 

COMMANDANT X:            striding out into Audience, Spanish accent

It makes you think, doesn't it?

 

NO, IT DOES NOT MAKE YOU THINK!  DON'T LIE TO ME!

 

PERMUTATIONS THREE, GO!

 

Hair, Prompt & Bob stand forward.

 

PANTHER:

One two three four five six seven eight nine!

 

At each count, they contort, after nine counts they begin an Abstract Improv

 

Commandant claps his hands to end the exercise.

 

COMMANDANT X:

ENOUGH!

 

COMMANDANT X:

HAIR!

 

Hair comes forward, fixes his hair, hairsprays it.

 

COMMANDANT X:            to Audience

You have to look good

to feel good.

Most of you do not feel good.

 

SCOUT:

Commander!

We have an infiltrator!

 

Commandos bring forward the Cameraman.[iii]

 

COMMANDANT X:

AHA!  Another Artform.

PERMUTATIONS ONE, GO!

 

PANTHER:

One two three four five six seven eight nine!

 

Cameraman tries to contort and perform Abstract Improv, as the others had, but it is a feeble attempt.

 

COMMANDANT X:            Spanish accent

Not very creative.

 

COMMANDANT X:            to Audience, with French accent

I do not have to speak in the same accent all the time.  I am foreign to you.  But I am not any special kind of foreign.

 

You will struggle to understand and then at the end I may even permit you to applaud.

 

APPLAUSE, PLEASE!

 

            -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -          

 

If there is no response, Commandant turns to the Commandos:

 

CLAQUE!

 

Two Commandos rush out into the Audience.

 

APPLAUSE PLEASE.

 

Commandos applaud.

 

            -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -

 

Thank you.

 

Commando X holds up his right finger, like a gun.

 

This is not a gun.  Bang!

 

Commandant X shoots Panther with his finger.  Nothing happens.

 

Commandant X holds up his left finger, like a gun.

 

This is a gun.  Bang!

 

Commandant X shoots Cameraman with his other finger.  Cameraman dies.  Panther and Scout drag Cameraman back to where they found him.

 

COMMANDANT X:            French accent

It is the power of suggestion that makes us powerful.  Someone always dies, people ask how I can allow this, these people are not expendable.  EVERYONE IS EXPENDABLE.  For every one who dies, there has always been another to take his place.  People ask me how I can allow this killing to go on.  THE THEATRE IS A KILLING MACHINE.  THOSE PEOPLE WHO INSIST ON DISARMING THE THEATRE, MAKING IT PINK AND HARMLESS, DECORATING IT WITH FLOWERS ANDD CALLING IT ART BECAUSE IT LOOKS LIKE A GEORGIA O'KEEFE STILL LIFE, THESE PEOPLE WILL BE ITS FIRST VICTIMS.

 

SCOUT:

Traditionalists at 3 o'clock!

 

COMMANDANT X:

CAMOUFLAGE POSITIONS, GO!

 

PANTHER:

Hup!  Hup!  Hup!  Hup!  Hup!  Hup!

 

Commandant X & Commandos exit into the Audience.

 

Enter Orchestra.

 

Commandos APPLAUD - Orchestra bows.

 

Enter Conductor.

 

APPLAUSE - Conductor bows.

 

Conductor conducts a scene from Durang's Marriage of Bette...

 

Soot.   Where's Booey, Karl?

Karl.   He isn't here.

Soot.   I know.  Where did he go?

Karl.   Out the door.

Soot.   Did you say something to Bette, Karl?

Karl.   Let's have the drinks, Soot.

Soot.   You know, I really can't remember how everyone started calling me Soot.  Can you, Karl?

Karl.   Go into your dance, Soot.

Soot.   Oh, Karl.         (Laughs.)

Karl.   Go get the veils and start in.  The shades are down.

Soot.   Karl, I don't know what you're talking about.

Karl.   You're the dumbest white woman alive.  I rest my case.

 

APPLAUSE - Conductor bows.

 

APPLAUSE - Orchestra bows.

 

Orchestra exits.

 

APPLAUSE - Conductor bows.

 

Conductor exits.

 

Conductor enters.

 

APPLAUSE - Conductor bows.

 

Conductor exits.

 

Conductor enters.

 

COMMANDANT X:

GO!

 

Commandos spring out of the Audience and attack the Conductor, yipping and whooping.  Commandant X calls out the descriptive captions for various sections of the stylized assassination of the Conductor.

 

COMMANDANT X:

OVERTURE!

 

Commandos random interpretive dance, take the stage.  Steal focus from Conductor.

 

PARODY!

 

Commandos repeat lines from the Durang piece and do exaggerated imitations of the Conductor.

 

THE KISS OF DEATH!

 

Commandos jump around, shouting, "Yip" and kissing Conductor on the cheek or forehead.

 

TABLEAU!

 

Commandos lay hands on the Conductor one by one, until they cover him and drag him to the floor.

 

Pause, Commandant X returns to the stage, looks at the unmoving pile of bodies.

 

Commandos rise from the Tableau Pile one by one and exit, each mumbling to himself his/her reasons for becoming an actor (this should be just barely unintelligible).  Conductor rises last, and also exits, mumbling.

 

COMMANDANT X:            to Audience, with accent

You do not have to applaud.

 

Exit.

 

NO BLACKOUT



[i] Commando Prompt carries a script.  If anyone needs a line, Commandant X will shout "PROMPT!" and Prompt will give the line, followed by "Sir!"

[ii] These are suggestions for accents, but need not be followed.  Commandant X should speak with a heavy accent which changes from one nationality to another throughout the piece.

[iii] The original performance of Commando Wombat Theatre was filmed as part of a presentation on no Shame Theatre.  In addition to set cameras at the back of the House, there were two men with handheld cameras filming from the edges of the stage.  One of these Cameramen was incorporated into the piece.

THIS SCRIPT IS COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL AND MAY NOT BE DOWNLOADED, TRANSMITTED, PRINTED OR PERFORMED WITHOUT THE EXPRESS PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR

AUTHOR'S NOTES:
This is the original - and quite cryptic - script/blueprint which was not really intended for the consumption of readers. The basic idea, though, was a literal guerilla theatre group composed of commando specialists whose skills in their craft had been honed to a lethal edge.



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