?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Sunday at the Met

« previous entry | next entry »
Apr. 30th, 2012 | 04:09 pm

(A gallery of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Paintings on the upstage wall including, center, an especially erotic depiction of Leda and the Swan. A low bench downstage. The downstage wall, it is imagined, completes the room.

ELLIE, in the most awkward and least-attractive stage of her tweens, enters. She comes downstage, contemplates a painting on the downstage ‘wall’, takes out her mobile phone and snaps a picture. She looks at the picture, then arranges herself next to the painting and holds out the phone to snap herself with the painting, then sits down on the bench and begins texting.

ZEUS, a boyishly-handsome man in his late-40’s/early 50’s enters, speaking on his own phone)

ZEUS: Yeah, I know, it’s insulting, but Candy—Candy—Candace! Look, I don’t think a beer ad is that big a deal. At least it gets my name out there. (Spots ELLIE) Hey, lemme call you back. Out. (Hangs up. To ELLIE) Whattya doing?

ELLIE: One sec.

ZEUS: Texting? You’re in the greatest museum in modern civilization and you’re texting?

(ELLIE gives him a look)

ZEUS: Who ya talking to?

ELLIE: Clem. She’s having a bad day, so I sent her a picture. (Gestures to the downstage painting)

ZEUS: (ELLIE being nice) Nice. (The painting) Nice. You like that one?

ELLIE: It looks like her.

ZEUS: Better than most.

ELLIE: Most of the time—

(ZEUS’s phone rings. The tune is the Olympic Hymn)

ZEUS: Hang on a sec. (Answers phone) Yeah, Candy?

(ELLIE starts looking at other paintings)

ZEUS: Of course I saw it. That’s what omnipotent means. I was gonna handle that next week. Yes, I’ll get to it! Look, can you just delegate it? I don’t know, send someone to hunt him down, buy some stronger chains and get a new vulture.

(ZEUS listens. ELLIE takes a photo of herself next to a painting on the side “wall”, posing like a supermodel)

ZEUS: I thought they all ate meat. Well maybe someone should have checked that. Get a condor, then, I hear they’re big. Make sure it likes liver before you send it out.

(ZEUS listens. ELLIE makes a face at her photo and takes another picture making a horrible face into the camera)

ZEUS: Isn’t anyone doing sacrifices anymore? I don’t know, buy a damn liver at the market and wave it around. If the bird goes after it, it’s a flesh-eater. And make a note we need more sacrifices. Maybe a viral video campaign? “The Ultimate Gift! Go straight to Elysium, do not pass Cerberus.” Yeah, I’m not a writer. Put someone on that. Look, Candy, I gotta run, I’ll call you later, OK? Out. (Hangs up)

ELLIE: Omniscient.

ZEUS: What?

ELLIE: All-seeing is omniscient. Omnipotent is all-powerful.

ZEUS: Oh.

ELLIE: And you’re not.

ZEUS: I am so.

ELLIE: Omnipotent or omniscient?

ZEUS: Both.

ELLIE: Not in this market.

ZEUS: Did you get that from your mother?

ELLIE: Don’t make me play favorites.

ZEUS: Don’t make me smite you for that smart mouth.

ELLIE: Fine.

ZEUS: Fine.

(ELLIE starts texting again)

ZEUS: Hey, can we have some time together here?

ELLIE (without looking up): I don’t know, can we?

(ZEUS snaps his fingers. ELLIE punches buttons fruitlessly)

ELLIE: Hey! That was a really long text!

ZEUS: Send it later.

ELLIE: Mom lets me text whenever I want.

ZEUS: Then maybe we shouldn’t have shared custody. Maybe you should just live with your mother all the time.

ELLIE: Maybe I should.

ZEUS: Look, Ellie, I didn’t mean—

(ZEUS’ phone rings. Again with the Olympic Hymn. ZEUS tries to ignore it)

ELLIE: That’s you.

ZEUS: I’ll call back later.

(The phone ring renews, louder)

ELLIE: Dad, just take it.

ZEUS: You sure?

ELLIE: It’s fine.

ZEUS: I’ll keep it short.

ELLIE: Just answer it.

(ZEUS picks up)

ZEUS: Yeah? Yeah, I saw the numbers. Well, let’s go with a different agency next time.

(ELLIE waves her phone to indicate it’s still off. ZEUS snaps his fingers, ELLIE starts texting again on her now-working phone)

ZEUS: Look, Candy, I know we wanna expand into North America, maybe they’re ready and maybe they’re not, but I don’t think smitings are gonna help. People like friendly gods here. They want tambourines and coffee mornings and Mother’s Day Out and Singles Night. It’s a lotta infrastructure, Candy, a lotta buildings and schedules. I hate schedules. I don’t wanna be the God of Schedules. Not even the God of Smartphones. It’s just not the Zeus brand.

(ZEUS listens. ELLIE becomes transfixed by Leda and the Swan)

ELLIE: Dad?

ZEUS: One second, honey. (Into phone) I just wanna do my weather thing, OK? Thunder, lightning bolts, the occasional windstorm when I can pry it out of my brother’s hands, maybe some earthquakes if we can get together on it. That’s the fun of being a pantheon, right?

ELLIE: Dad?

ZEUS (into phone): Why don’t we try starting in California? They’ll believe anything there, it’s the wheatgrass. Look, Candy, can we talk Monday? It’s my day with Ellie.

ELLIE: Dad!

ZEUS (into phone): Out. (To ELLIE) What is it, sweetheart?

ELLIE: O-M-G, O-M-G, O-M-G, O-M-G! Gross gross gross gross gross!

ZEUS: (Experiencing a stinging feeling with each “O-M-G”) Ow! Ow! What? What?

(ELLIE points at painting)

ELLIE: Ugh! I can’t believe you brought me here! Ew! O-M-G!

ZEUS: Stop taking my name in vain, it stings!

ELLIE: Porn! Porn! Disgusting porn! Parent porn! O-M-G! (ZEUS stings)

ZEUS: What…Oh, God. (Stings) Ow. Dammit! (Stings) Ow! Shit! (He’s fine)

ELLIE: No-one should have to see their parents having sex! Ever!

(ELLIE covers her face and sits on the bench with her back to the painting. ZEUS, flustered, tries to comfort her and hide the painting from view at the same time)

ZEUS: It’s OK, sweetheart, I’ll take care of it! I’ll fix it!

(ZEUS snaps his fingers, and the painting changes to two naked Athenian youths – this can be done with a sliding panel or a projection, or if technical resources aren’t available, a security guard walks in, says, “Excuse me, folks, taking this one down for cleaning” and switches the pictures)

ZEUS: All better.

(ELLIE looks back at the new painting)

ELLIE: Penis, Dad, not an improvement!

ZEUS: What’s wrong with the human form?

ELLIE: Dad, that’s Cass and Poll! (Pronounced “Paul”)

ZEUS: So?

ELLIE: I DO NOT WANT TO SEE MY BROTHERS NAKED.

ZEUS: I am not ‘cool’ with this modern upbringing! We hung out naked all the time at Olympus!

ELLIE: Just change it!

(ZEUS snaps his fingers, the painting changes as before, to a serene landscape with cows)

ZEUS: Better?

ELLIE: Do you find any of the cows attractive?

ZEUS: Cheap shot, Ellie.

ELLIE: It’s a legitimate question.

ZEUS: Tell your mother not to be so bitter. No, wait, forget I said that. Look, there’s a certain kind of life I live that goes with the job.

ELLIE: So quit. Do something else.

ZEUS: Weather is all I know. Weather and siring demigods.

ELLIE: You could be a meteorologist.

ZEUS: Ellie—honey—this is what I was born to do. I love it more than anything in the world.

ELLIE: More than me?

ZEUS: Honey, I love you—I love all my children. But I have to love my work first. It’s who I am.

(ZEUS’ phone rings. He clicks it off without looking at it)

ELLIE: Thanks.

ZEUS: I know it’s tough. My dad didn’t have a lot of time for us, either.

ELLIE: No-one is ever going to have time for me.

ZEUS: Now, honey, that’s not true.

ELLIE: I’m not special and I’m not pretty.

ZEUS: Sweetheart, you are beautiful.

ELLIE: No, Dad. I’m not. I have glasses and I’m not shaped like anything and nobody talks to me because the boys think I’m ugly and the girls think I’m stuck up and nobody likes that I use big words. Nobody is going to visit me disguised as a shower of gold or a swan. Nobody is going to run after me until I have to turn into a tree.

(They sit for a moment)

ELLIE: Poll called me a cesspool.

ZEUS: What’s a cesspool?

(ELLIE whispers in his ear)

ZEUS: Gross! O-M-G! (Stings, jumps up) Ow!

(ELLIE laughs)

ZEUS: Honey, I really like our days together. I always learn something from you.

ELLIE: Really?

ZEUS: Now I know I’m omniscient and omnipotent. In some markets.

ELLIE: You could work on omnipresent. (ZEUS doesn’t know what this means, either) All over the place, all the time. Like Jehovah is around here.

ZEUS: Ugh. I have a meeting with him Tuesday. Not a friendly competitor, that one.

ELLIE: You should stay out of this market. It’s more fun to go somewhere when nobody recognizes you. Back home we spend the whole time smiting and controlling cloud formations.

ZEUS: You got a point there.

ELLIE: Dad…do I grow up and do anything cool?

ZEUS: It doesn’t work that way, honey.

ELLIE: You could give me a hint.

ZEUS: (Sits with her again) Everybody’s gotta go through their own life. Even Jehovah couldn’t keep his kid out of hot water, and he’s got huge market share.

(ELLIE shrugs)

ZEUS: Ellie—Helen—you are going to be beautiful and special. The world is going to know your name. And I’m not just saying that because I’m your dad, OK?

ELLIE: OK.

ZEUS: But right now, I just want to be your dad, and I just want to spend Sunday at the Met with my little girl.

ELLIE: There’s a whole wing that’s just furniture. No naked people.

ZEUS: That sounds great.

(ELLIE pulls out her phone and opens it, leans into ZEUS and takes a picture of the two of them together. She hands her phone to ZEUS)

ELLIE: Hold this for me?

(ZEUS takes her phone, pulls out his phone and turns it off)

ZEUS: Hold mine?

(ELLIE takes his phone. They take hands and leave the gallery. ELLIE skips ahead. ZEUS leans back in and snaps his fingers. The landscape with cows changes to the just-taken photo of ZEUS and ELLIE.

Lights fade, leaving spot on painting.

Light on painting fades out.)

END OF PLAY




whipchick and karmasoup debated writing about theatre, sex work, and the renaissance festival before settling on museums. I hope you'll also enjoy karmasoup's intersecting piece: The New Guy

Link | Leave a comment | Share

Comments {30}

Ellakite

Additional Beta

from: ellakite
date: May. 1st, 2012 01:53 am (UTC)
Link

Minor HTML glitch with your link to karmasoup's entry. Easy to fix.

As always, I appreciated the sneak peek... and was glad I could help in some small way.

PS: Gorgeous and sweet. Makes me forget all the ruckus Ellie will cause when she grows up... but then again, that mess will really be Eris' fault when you get right down to it.

Edited at 2012-05-01 01:53 am (UTC)

Reply | Thread

whipchick

Re: Additional Beta

from: whipchick
date: May. 1st, 2012 04:44 pm (UTC)
Link

True, true! We just did a kids' circus with a Greek mythology theme, and the triple trapeze act was The Judgement of Paris, so it's been in my head :) Thanks for the help with the html!

Reply | Parent | Thread

lawchicky

(no subject)

from: lawchicky
date: May. 1st, 2012 02:58 am (UTC)
Link

I really enjoyed your dialogue.

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 1st, 2012 04:45 pm (UTC)
Link

Thank you! I had a pair of specific actors in my head - one the man who will actually play Zeus, and I imagined Ellie as the little girl from Modern Family :)

Reply | Parent | Thread | Expand

Jemima Pauler

(no subject)

from: jem0000000
date: May. 1st, 2012 06:21 am (UTC)
Link

Awwwwww! I like how they connect in the end, despite the phones. :)

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 1st, 2012 04:45 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks! It's nice when people find common ground :)

Reply | Parent | Thread

Holly

(no subject)

from: minnesattva
date: May. 1st, 2012 09:50 am (UTC)
Link

Psst! I hope you mean Cerberus, not Cerebus the aardvark, formidable as he is :)

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 1st, 2012 04:46 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks for the catch, fixed! I love the Dave Sim books, so that's what sticks in my head :)

Reply | Parent | Thread | Expand

SuperCAILEfragilistic

(no subject)

from: caile
date: May. 1st, 2012 02:18 pm (UTC)
Link

This is hilarious and sweet.

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 1st, 2012 04:46 pm (UTC)
Link

Thank you, glad you liked! Hey, did you write Home Game this week? There's no thread yet, so I want to catch yours :)

Reply | Parent | Thread

notodette

(no subject)

from: notodette
date: May. 1st, 2012 02:31 pm (UTC)
Link

I loved this!

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 1st, 2012 04:46 pm (UTC)
Link

Thank you!

Reply | Parent | Thread

A Karmic Sandbox

(no subject)

from: karmasoup
date: May. 1st, 2012 03:17 pm (UTC)
Link

You've captured that gangly awkward introverted stage in Ellie perfectly (and I can say this as someone who lives with a "goth" 14 year old glued to multiple forms of media). The Prometheus references are hysterical, and the "wincing" is priceless! I love how they barb at each other (for justified reasons in both cases), but you can still feel the love between them. The directions are appropriate and easy to follow, while the dialogue is clear and well defined without being overly complex or too trite. This would play out nicely as a skit in a variety sketch show. Very cute, and also well done.

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 1st, 2012 04:47 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks, and I'm glad you caught all the references! Love having smart partners :)

Reply | Parent | Thread

(Deleted comment)

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 2nd, 2012 04:43 am (UTC)
Link

Thank you!

Reply | Parent | Thread

similiesslip

(no subject)

from: similiesslip
date: May. 1st, 2012 09:04 pm (UTC)
Link

Man, this entry made me miss the relationship I used to have with my dad SO bad. Man. Changing hurts like heck sometimes.

I especially loved your idea that Zeus also feels trapped in his life sometimes. It never would have occurred to me that gods might feel stuck but I can see it now.

Very sweet entry which produced strong emotions in me. Great job!

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 2nd, 2012 04:43 am (UTC)
Link

Thanks - I'm so pleased this resonated for you on both levels, I was trying really hard to hit funny but stay real.

I miss my dad, too.

Reply | Parent | Thread

Myrna

(no subject)

from: myrna_bird
date: May. 2nd, 2012 08:05 pm (UTC)
Link

Very unique and original take. Great connection with karmasoup's entry.

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 3rd, 2012 09:48 pm (UTC)
Link

Thank you very much!

Reply | Parent | Thread

copyright1983

(no subject)

from: copyright1983
date: May. 3rd, 2012 03:46 am (UTC)
Link

Awesome work, both of you!

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 3rd, 2012 09:48 pm (UTC)
Link

Thank you!

Reply | Parent | Thread

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors

(no subject)

from: halfshellvenus
date: May. 3rd, 2012 05:08 am (UTC)
Link

So, so awesome and unexpected. When someone says "special visitor," this is not where my mind goes!

Look, can you just delegate it? I don’t know, send someone to hunt him down, buy some stronger chains and get a new vulture.
Hahahaha! That's the point where it sinks in that this is, indeed, THE Zeus. :)

Loved the 'parent-porn' protest, and Do you find any of the cows attractive?

I have a meeting with him Tuesday.
They idea of Zeus having regular meetings and market-share and branding issues is funny enough, but meeting with the competitor-gods? Awesome!



Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 3rd, 2012 09:49 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks, and it's cool to know where it clicked for you, too - on one of my drafts, I also had to go back and make sure I had his name in the dialogue so that an audience that sees it instead of reading it will get it. I'm really glad you enjoyed this one, and you give such great comment!

Reply | Parent | Thread

Pika the Brazen Ninja

(no subject)

from: porn_this_way
date: May. 3rd, 2012 11:33 pm (UTC)
Link

OMG I love that this turned out to be Helen! Most excellent and hilarious twist.

Also this:
Everybody’s gotta go through their own life. Even Jehovah couldn’t keep his kid out of hot water, and he’s got huge market share.

LOL IRL. When you decide to go the goofy and whimsical route, you do it so well. Much love for the sly humor.

Reply | Thread

Teo Says

(no subject)

from: eternal_ot
date: May. 1st, 2014 04:56 am (UTC)
Link

NEAT. and also a great help..:)..thanks a ton for sharing this...btw format aside...I really enjoyed the play and mix of old and new era...had me chuckling at various places...(reminded me of my conversations with dad)...Cool \m/

Reply | Thread