CLOWNFISH

 

a play without words

(Deep blue background lighting. A continuous pile of rocks, five feet tall - a dark coral reef - extends from one end of the stage to the other. Along this reef are brightly colored aquatic plants. Both sides of the stage are bordered by wide and crumbling pillars.)

(Three DIVERS are present. #1 and #2 are close together center stage. #1 holds a whiteboard with a geometric diagram on it. There is a metal chest between them about the size of a microwave. #3 is stage left, behind the reef, revealing only the top of him. #3 performs his actions simultaneous with #1 and #2's exchange.

DIVER #1

(points out two locations on the whiteboard, then points to his own eyes)

DIVER #2

(looks to stage right and points, then looks behind him, toward Diver #3, and points in that direction)

DIVER #3

(produces two moss-covered jugs and sets them in front of the reef)

DIVER #1

(Nods and gives a thumbs up.)

DIVER #2

(takes out a flashlight and blinks it three times in the direction of Diver #3)

DIVER #3

(holds up a hand in stop motion and disappears behind the rocks)

DIVER #1

(opens the chest in front of him and produces some dynamite. Two sets of three sticks, wicks tied together. He hands a set to #2)

DIVER #3

(produces what looks like an old wind instrument with a deflated sack on the end of it.)

DIVER #2

(points again to the board and again behind him, but doesn't look this time.)

(From behind the stage-left pillar, a white-gloved hand grabs Diver #3 by the mask and pulls him out of sight)

DIVER #1

(nods affirmatively at Diver #2)

(Diver #2 pushes himself along the rocks stage-left and places the dynamite. Diver #1 does the same, only toward stage right. As this is happening, a pair of white-gloved hands emerge from the far side of the left pillar holding a chest similar to the dynamite chest, only this one is garishly colored red and yellow. The hands set the chest down with audible force. Hands quickly retreat. Both Divers stop what they are doing and behold the chest.)

(A diving flipper shows itself for a moment above the rocks, and then the rest of Diver #3's body comes into sight, resting on top of the reef. His suit has been shredded and is very bloody. His diving mask is covered with white paint and streaks of red and a clown wig has been clumsily strapped around his chin.)

(Both Divers push themselves away from the body as two pairs of white gloved hands emerge from the reef and grab each of them. Beneath the colorful plants, clowns emerge, rising from cracks in the rocks. The plants we saw were actually their wigs. Four clowns in total. Two holding the two divers, and two clowns on either end of them. The Divers struggle helplessly but are careful to protect their air supply. The clowns on each end of the reef - the ones not holding the divers - take a set of dynamite, and set them on the Diver's heads, like birthday caps. Then, the clown closest to the jugs picks them up and passes them along, each clown taking a swig. The clowns sway back and forth, as in an ocean current.)

(From behind the stage-left pillar, the Head Clown emerges, wearing giant red clown flippers. He shuffles slowly toward the colorful chest. He sets it in front of the Divers as the clowns on each end of the reef begin to silently slow clap. The Head Clown opens the chest and produces a bloody human heart with a single lit birthday candle in it. The clowns all make fish-faces, opening and closing their lips. The Head Clown kneels beside the Divers, and in the instant he blows the candle out, the lights turn up as bright as possible and cut to black.)

THE END