copyright © 2004 Todd Ristau

Ookla, Kam, and Folly II

by Todd Ristau


(lights up on the stage, revealing KAM, a woman in a hard hat with horns with a cardboard grin stapled to a popsicle stick stands next to the open cut-out window of the wall. In the window are FOLLY - a sorry looking sock puppet with great big buck teeth, crazy eyes, and maybe dredlocks- and OOKLA, a sock monkey with red clown nose attached)

KAM: Hello, boys and girls, how are you today? Good, good, I'm KAM, and these are my two dearest friends, FOLLY-

FOLLY: (in a dumb, sleepy voice) Uh, huh, I'm FOLLY.

KAM: Hello, FOLLY. And this is OOKLA.

OOKLA: (high pitched unintelligable noises)

KAM: That's right, OOKLA, we're going to talk about the show we've been watching.

FOLLY: I don't understand it so very well, KAM.

KAM: Well, FOLLY, that's part of what we're here for, to help the boys and girls to understand what it is they have been watching.

OOKLA: (high pitched unintelligable noises)

KAM: Well, I don't think it's fair to call it disgusting filth put on by artistic snobs, OOKLA.

FOLLY: Some of it is.

KAM: But not all of it. The vast majority is good little skits put on by good little writers and performers who just want to entertain us a little bit and maybe make us think about some important things in the process.

OOKLA: (high pitched unintelligable noises)

KAM: OK, OOKLA, I agree, but for every piece where a man sings a song about loving butts to a woman whose dancing butt is rolling around on the get at least one lovely piece about....oh, I don't know...

FOLLY: What's the matter, KAM? Can't think of anything?

KAM: Of course I can! Why, what about that black poet with the english accent, or how about the guy whose best friend got shot eating chicken at the Goodwill?

OOKLA: (high pitched unintelligable noises)

KAM: The Sad Cobras have to be seen in the context of a post-modern deconstruction of performance and an almost Handke-like assault on audience expectation.

FOLLY: Cop out.

KAM: Listen, the thing about this venue is that there has to be room for things that don't work as well as things that do. If you only have things that work, what does your audience get?

FOLLY: Their five dollars' worth?

OOKLA: (high pitched unintelligable noises)

KAM: NO! and OOKLA, I'm particularly surprised at you. Those four young men with the costumes, wig and harmonica represented the way every artist must confront the distractions of those around him who are unitiated in the craft.

OOKLA: (high pitched unintelligable noises)

KAM: If everything at No Shame were as good as the Peppermint Breath Musica, or the Tooth Fairy Sketch, or that goth magician....then you'd have an audience that might be too intimidated to get up and try something themselves.

FOLLY: And if what they are too intimidated to get up and do is crap, aren't we doing a service by preventing them from doing it?

KAM: (laughing) No, FOLLY, that's the beauty of No is having the potential for crap that provides the possibility for something truly amazing to happen.

OOKLA: (high pitched unintelligable noises)

KAM: Not exactly like a bed of manure produces sweet smelling roses, but the metaphor is a good one, OOKLA. If there hadn't been some truly awful pieces would Evan Niemann have been brave enough to play his songs there? If the audience hadn't been accepting of Allie Longworth messing up Grey Sweater TWICE, do you think she would have come back the next week and done a song that got picked for Best of No Shame?

FOLLY: If Todd kept twisting their arms...

KAM: That isn't the point.

FOLLY: Then what is the point, KAM?

KAM: (pause) I don't know what the point is.

OOKLA: (high pitched unintelligable noises)

KAM: OOKLA, that is very sweet. Yes, it is like a family. No Shame is always here, every Friday. It was here last Friday and will be here next Friday too. It will be here every week so long as there are writers with scripts, people in the audience, and little bottles of high priced stale beer.

FOLLY: But how can it still be here if the people who do it go away?

KAM: You mean like Richie?

OOKLA: (high pitched unintelligable noises)

KAM: OOKLA, I don't know if Richie is ever going to come back....I really don't. And you're right, it isn't going to be the same without him.

FOLLY: (sobbing) Oh, boo hooo hooo, I'm going to miss him, KAM. And that rhinestone jacket his mom made for can we replace him?

KAM: Well, FOLLY, we can't possibly replace him, or anyone else who leaves....but we can remember him, and we can build on what he left us, and we can--


(lights out)


This is Richie's goodbye piece, a recycling of the Ookla piece I did for the Moyer's last no shame.

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