The Revenge of Mr. It

23 Jan

This is the play I wrote for the 24/7 Theater Festival, sponsored by Whole Theater and performed at Live Arts in Charlottesville, VA on January 19, 2013.

Snippets of my play were read by the cast, and cast members were interviewed, on this news piece about 24/7 on the local NBC29 affiliate.

The Revenge of Mr. It
by Miller Murray Susen

Cast of Characters:

Cleaning Woman (female cameo)

Secretary Lady

Spy Man 1

Spy Man 2

The General (male cameo)

(Lights up on a large, official-looking desk and chair with 2 chairs for visitors. There should be 2 doors to the room with the desk, one SL, one SR. On the desk are papers, office supplies, framed pictures, and a child’s elephant-shaped coin bank [I have one of these to lend the production.])

(Cleaning Woman [female cameo] enters SL with broom, and pushes it along the floor of the office. She pauses at the desk, looks around briefly, and leans her broom against it. She picks up the elephant bank and turns it over. There is nothing on the bottom. She shakes it; no sound. )

Cleaning Woman:

Nothing yet. Damn.

(She puts the coin bank down, picks up her broom, and exits the way she came.)

(Secretary Lady enters briskly SR and delivers some papers to the desk. She looks around and surreptitiously pulls a small scroll from her hairdo. She turns the coin bank over and affixes it to the bottom. She looks around again. There is a knock on the office door, SL. She moves to open the door. Spy Man 1 stands outside in a business suit, with overcoat and briefcase. Secretary Lady pulls him inside.)

Secretary Lady:

Darling! Do you have the money?

(Spy Man 1 hands her the briefcase, then takes off his coat and drapes it over the top.)

Spy Man 1:

Yes, my sweet. And now, the password?

Secretary Lady:

My love, I don’t know the password, but it’s here. Mr. It has instructed me to tell you, “It’s the elephant in the room.” Now, come in and sit down. You’re a journalist interviewing The General about his retirement. Remember, he cannot know you’ve obtained the password… Or he won’t let you leave. Good luck, my love.

(They kiss passionately. Spy Man 1 sits in one of the desk chairs. Secretary Lady exits briefly to deposit his coat and briefcase offstage SR. There is another knock, and Secretary Lady bustles through the room to answer the door, winking at Spy Man 1, then steps outside and shuts the door behind her. Spy Man 2 stands outside the office door dressed in a suit and coat, carrying a briefcase.)

Secretary Lady:

Did you bring the money, my love?

(Spy Man 2 hands her the briefcase, then takes off his coat and drapes it over the top. He snakes an arm around her waist and pulls her close.)

Spy Man 2:

I’ve made my deposit, and now I want my prize. I need the password. And I need you.

Secretary Lady:

Darling, patience! I don’t know the password, you’ll have to get that for yourself. Mr. It has told me to say, “It’s the elephant in the room.” Now, you’re to be a journalist interviewing The General about his retirement. He cannot suspect that you’ve obtained the password, darling, or you won’t get out alive. Do whatever needs doing.

(They kiss passionately, and she leads him into the office and points him toward the other desk chair. Spy Man 1 and Spy Man 2 look at each other suspiciously. Spy Man 1 sticks out his hand.)

Spy Man 1 (with thick Southern accent):

Hi there! I’m Junior Johnson of the New Orleans Picayune. And who might you be?

Spy Man 2 (with thick New York accent):

I’m Max Largeman of the New York Post. You here to interview The General? (Looks at Secretary Lady and growls.) ‘Cuz I thought this was an exclusive.

Secretary Lady:

The General is a very busy man. We’ve had to double-book some of his appointments. But I’m sure you’ll get what you came for. Now, if you’ll excuse me…

(She exits SR. In her absence, both Spies leap into action and start casing the room while eyeing each other. They are flustered enough by each others’ presence to miss the small, unobtrusive elephant bank on the desk. They move continuously during their exchange.)

Spy Man 1:

So, down South for a big interview! Are you enjoying your stay in our nation’s beautiful capital city?

Spy Man 2:

Yeah, it’s great, whatever. So, tell me this, how’d the Picayune get access to this guy?

Spy Man 1:

Oh, I charmed my way in. It’s all about the people you know.

Spy Man 2 (smirking):

And what you do to them. I mean, for them. Sure. What’s your angle on the old guy?

Spy Man 1:

Well, Down South juicy gossip is what sells papers. Maybe now that he’s retiring he’ll give me some dirt.

Spy Man 2:

What the hell you think a general’s gonna tell YOU? I’d imagine he knows how to handle a podunk reporter by now.

Spy Man 1:

Perhaps so. But as long as we’re sharing and caring, what are you planning to ask? Going to try to get him to dish on…The African expedition, say?

Spy Man 2:

(Long pause.) African expedition, huh? Maybe you’re not such a podunk reporter. Wouldn’t you like to know what I know about that.

Spy Man 1:

(Stopping, turning to face Spy Man 2.) 

It might be that I would like to know what you know about that, but I would have thought I’d be more interested in what he knows about that. But who knows, really?

(They stare at each other, then look away. Silence as they both sit down, and unobtrusively check easy access to their weapons.)

(Secretary Lady enters escorting The General [male cameo] from SR to the SR door of the office. He is elderly and leans on her arm. As they walk, he reaches down with his free hand and gooses her. She squeals, and they pause to kiss passionately.)

Secretary Lady:

My goodness, age hasn’t slowed you down one bit, darling!

(They enter the office, and the Spies stand as she helps The General into his desk chair and makes him comfortable.)

The General:

Thank you, my dear. That girl is one fine filly!

(Spies look at Secretary Lady, notice each other looking at her, look at each other, and look away. They take their seats. Another subtle weapons check. Secretary Lady hastens off SR.)

The General:

What can I do for you, gentleman? Here to hear all my old war stories? I’m surprised to be getting so much attention, an old codger like me.

Spy Man 1:

You’re too modest, Sir. You’ve had a long and storied career.

Spy Man 2:

That’s right, Sir, your service will be remembered for generations to come. The way I hear it, you’ve had your share of adventures.

The General:

Adventures, whippersnapper? I’ve had a few.

Spy Man 1:

Well, to get right down to it, I’d like to know more about your time in Africa, Sir. Specifically about… The African expedition.

The General (chortling heartily, but ill at ease):

Gadzooks, is that old chestnut still making the rounds? Riches buried in the African grasslands? Signs of an alien civilization? Mumbojumbo about a map and a password?

Spy Man 2:

Yes, Sir. Now that you’re retiring, why don’t you give me the exclusive full story. For so many years now it’s been the elephant in the room.

The General:

Pshaw, the only elephant I see in this room is right here! (Holds up the coin bank as a cover for pulling out his gun.) My granddaughter made it for me! No treasure in here, though, I can tell you that!

(As The General lifts the elephant bank into the air and fumbles for his gun, the Spies see the scroll taped to the bottom at the same moment. Spy Man 1 flashes out of his chair, gun already in hand, and grabs the elephant bank.)

Spy Man 1 (abruptly dropping accent):

Not so fast, General, that elephant is treasure enough for me!

(He shoots The General, who slumps backward in his chair. Spy Man 1 then turns to fire at Spy Man 2, who is already on his feet, his own weapon at the ready. Spy Man 2 reaches with his free hand for the elephant.)

Spy Man 2 (also dropping accent):

The elephant leaves with me, chump.

(He shoots Spy Man 1, who falls to the ground. Secretary Lady has entered from SR at a run after the first shot. She carries the Spies’ briefcases.)

Spy Man 2:

And I’ll take the girl as well. You got the money, honey? Let’s go get rid of Mr. It and have us a little African vacation.

Secretary Lady:

Actually, darling, as it turns out, I am the mysterious Mr. It.

Spy Man 2:

YOU are?

Secretary Lady:

Yes, and Mr. It doesn’t like messes, so he hires a cleaning woman to do his dirty work.

(Cleaning Woman bursts through SL office door and shoots Spy Man 2, who falls to the ground. Cleaning Woman reaches forward and with her free hand takes the elephant coin bank from his lifeless hands. Secretary Lady runs toward her across the stage with the briefcases, high-stepping over various dead bodies.)

Secretary Lady:

Oh, my dearest one! Fantastic job! Now we have the money, we have the password, all the other players are dead, and we can get away clean! Let us wing our way to Africa, and discover riches beyond our imaginings!

(They kiss passionately.)

Cleaning Woman:

Eh, I’m afraid you’re not clean enough for me.

(She shoots Secretary Lady, who falls to the ground, dead. Cleaning Woman pockets her gun, crams the elephant bank in her armpit, and picks up the briefcases, one in each hand.)

Cleaning Woman:

Seeing as I’m Mr. It now, I think I’ll just leave this mess for someone else.

(She exits SL.)

The End.

One Response to “The Revenge of Mr. It”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 24/7/1 night only « amomynity - January 23, 2013

    […] If you’re interested, you can read the play I wrote for 24/7 here. […]

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