Sunday, 23 January 2011

Chris Port Blog #61 Marty Gull Playscript Extracts

© Chris Port, 2011
All rights reserved.


Not all of the dialogue is intended to appear in a single performance.There will be different versions of the script for different interpretations.

“There is no such thing as a fact. There are only stories. Choose different facts, and you get a different story...” ~ Marty Gull

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *
“For years Id assumed that everyone else was dead. Then, one day, somebody spoke. I began to believe in the possibility of life before death...~ Marty Gull

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single mind in possession of a good imagination, must be in want of an empire.” ~ Marty Gull

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *
REX: Hanlon’s Razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

MARTY: Marty’s Lather: Never underestimate the malice of stupid people. Hell hath no fury like an Essex Girl born.
*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        * 

MARTY: By the tapping of a nail
Something’s flapping in the gale

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: If a man is talking to himself in a forest, and there is no woman to hear him, is he still wrong?

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

REX: Rules, and people. It's like a cyclops and a unicorn. An accident itching to happen...

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: You can have either success without the paperwork, or a well-documented failure. But we haven’t got time to do both. So choose.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: Lack of time. It’s the zeitgeist of our age.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

HEVEL: Democracy is a foolish political system because the fools outnumber the wise. Giving a fool the vote is like giving a child a loaded gun. It is irresponsible and dangerous.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: I’d always assumed that soap operas were some covert Tory ploy to scare off immigrants. “You mean, you really want to come and live in this shithole? We have civil wars over the breakfast table here...”

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: Sir Isaac Newton invented the cat flap. He served as a Member of Parliament for exactly one year. 1689 to 1690. He spoke only once. He asked somebody to close a window.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: The monks of Saint Bernard did try using rescue cats once. It was not a great success. All they did was stare at avalanche victims with mild disdain, then lick brandy from their paws.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: If nobody has anything to hide, why do we have curtains?

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: Pubs are like arguments. None get it right, but some are better than others.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: Here's a nice pair of ice cubes to swirl and clink in our Brandy Alexanders: Do ideas exist... and what do we mean by ‘exist’?

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: (To Tippi). Zooey Deschanel. She pronounces her first name Zoh-ee, not Zoo-ee. And her last name is pronounced Day-shuh-nell, with Day slightly more accented than shuh. Imagine the audition. “Listen you pretentious piece of studio meat, Soppy Dachsund or whatever your name is, every bitch in Hollywood has a name like a cheap perfume tested on blinded bunny rabbits. We don’t care how you pronounce it. Here, it’s pronounced “Next!” So just stick your tits out, smile and look dippy. Ok sweetheart?” Is this the world you want?

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

TIPPI: Who am I?

MARTY: You’re an imaginary person. So have a good imagination.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: Student actors. If you want to study them, look in four places. One, on the college steps, shrieking like peacocks in the vain hope that an agent or actor notices them; two, pretentious restaurants, waiting tables in the same vain hope; three, pulling pints in poncy pubs, same vain hope; four, near the window in the caféteria or college bar. Never the library. The serious ones wear grey overcoats, ripped blue jeans, dirty white trainers, tatty red scarf, worn open to the cold. They cultivate an unkempt appearance. Unruly hair, unshaven shadow, eyes like Rasputin. They are usually either insane or brilliant. Often both.

Female actors fall into two categories. One, pretty but empty; two, mad Antigones. There is a third category. But nobody’s sure what it is.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: I’m a teacher. I can’t afford bog roll. I bought a chocolate milkshake in McDonalds the other day. Carpe Papyrum. I grabbed thirty napkins. “Messy drinker” I shrugged.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: Being a brilliant writer is easy. You just keep writing and writing and writing until you get to the brilliant stuff. It's pushing through all the shit stuff that comes first... that's the hard part...

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

REX: Wittgenstein claimed that “A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes.” Schools regard thinking as a bit too avant-garde for the Blau Spülen Brigade. But their brochures are a joke from cover to cover. So they are trying.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: Couldn't you say ‘sapphically’? It sounds more poetic. ‘Lesbianically’ sounds somewhere between mechanical and maniacal.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

REX: Artistic temperament. Men slam doors. Women hoover aggressively.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: There are only two ways of slowing down time. One: travel at the speed of light. Two: sit in a dentist chair.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

REX: Tempestas in poculo submergere nihilominus musca. A storm in a teacup can still drown a fly.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: The man’s just a gangster with a credit card. He goes on relentless shopping sprees for jewellery... Get Cartier...

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: Naughtiness loosens the noose of human goodness.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: You talentless shits with bohemian airs.
If I was God I would spit on your prayers.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: It’s worse than I thought. There’s a cat-binning fad?

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

REX: Oh I'm sure there's some liberal, wishy-washy ‘human rights’ paragraph about ‘not crucifying Year 7 students’... Unless they look at you in a funny way...

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: ‘There is no language where a double positive can form a negative.’ Yeah, right.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: Ghost stories aren't nearly as scary as bills. That's why they're so comforting.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

REX: Never work with children or animals. They shit on you. Animals too, sometimes...

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

REX: Listen you defective Durex leak. If you were my flesh and blood, I’d push your face into a liquidizer and drink you for breakfast. Nobody knows who your real dad is. But we've narrowed it down to Millwall football team if you want to piss off and find him. Oops. Here’s your mum... Breathe a word of this, and I’ll give you a Chinese wrist burn when nobody’s looking...

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: To the writer, words are music. How often we have to suffer in silence while dullwits plonk and screech. (Quoting Amadeus). “My dear young man, don't take it too hard. Your work is ingenious. It’s quality work. And there are simply too many notes, that’s all. Just cut a few and it will be perfect.”

REX: (Finishing the quote). “Which few did you have in mind, Majesty?”

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: Je crache sur votre accusation. L’innocence est femme. Elle est inconstante.

REX: I spit on your accusation. Innocence is woman. She is inconstant.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

REX: Oh I made a Freudian slip last night. I was having dinner with Jean. I meant to say “Could you pass the salt?” Instead of which I said “You've ruined my life you fat ugly bitch.”

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

REX: I never went out with a happy thin woman. Mind you, I never went out with any woman who wasn’t miserable as sin. Never mind. A friend of mine once spent an evening reviewing his pinch-faced ex-girlfriends. Did they all have something in common he could avoid in the future? He paused, miserably. “It’s me, isn’t it?”

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

REX: (Reading his work out loud).
“He walked into the bedroom sporting an impressive erection.” ... No.
“He walked into the bedroom cock-a-doodling an impressive erection...” ... No.
“He walked into the bedroom gasconading an impressive erection...” ... No.
“He walked into the bedroom tumefying an impressive erection...” ... No.

MARTY: He’s starting to look somewhere between terrifying and silly now. Can't he just lie modestly under the covers? She could walk into the bedroom spurting an impressive moistness...

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: As David Cameron awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic rat. He realized, with horror, that he had gnawed his wife's face off during the night. She still slept. Sunlit dust twinkled in the curtain light. He reached out with his tiny pink hands to paw her awake. Oh what could he tell the voters? She stirred and moaned, then suddenly her eyelids flew open like startled birds. “” she croaked bloodily...

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

REX: (Quoting King Kong). And lo, the beast looked upon the face of beauty. And it stayed its hand from killing. And from that day, it was as one dead.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: I like Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov. On 26th September 1983, he was in charge of a lot of Soviet nuclear missiles. Tensions were high. The spy satellites spotted sunlight relecting off another spy satellite. They signalled it as a nuclear missile launch by the United States. Petrov thought about it, thought that that was a load of crap, and refused to start World War III. Thank you Stanislav. Nowadays, some tick box moron would just ‘do his job’...

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

HEVEL: Do you intellectualize everything?

MARTY: Yes. I’m an intellectual.

HEVEL: Ha! And what does that make the rest of us?

MARTY: I really couldn’t say.

HEVEL: So you don’t know everything then, do you?

MARTY: Quite right. I don’t. That’s why I think.

HEVEL: Does that make you feel... superior?

MARTY: No. I just enjoy thinking. I’m good at it. It’s who I am.

HEVEL: Don’t you think that makes other people feel... inferior sometimes?

MARTY: Possibly. If they’re insecure. But that’s their problem. They should just get over it. I mean, if someone's good at playing football, you don’t say “Excuse me. Could you stop doing that please? It makes you look superior and makes me feel inferior” Do you? The same with dancing, or singing, or playing piano. But for some strange reason, people in this school seem to think it acceptable to sneer at other people thinking. In a school. Where is this... insecurity coming from?

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

HEVEL: Carpe testiculis et eorum sensus et corda sequentur. Grab them by the balls, and their hearts and minds will follow.

MARTY: Personally, I’ve always tried to grab my students by the heart. Grab the heart, and their minds will follow you anywhere. With balls intact. You remind me of an Officer Fitness Report I read once. ‘His men would follow him anywhere, but only out of a sense of morbid curiosity’. 

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: Oh the stars are flints and her doll eyes spark
like glass: she has the pity of the shark.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

NARRATOR: Joseann was a good time girl, and the boys feared her. Centuries of feminist struggle had won her the right to squeal a lot in short skirts. Chastened males jostled with each other to sidle out of earshot. While fond of the occasional bacon sandwich, the noise of a pig being slaughtered in an abbattoir caused them hypocritical distress. Like all good time girls, Joseann knew what she liked and liked what she knew. What she did know about life could be written in Rimmel and tucked into a handbag. Consequently, while her modest breasts and expensive tastes were well supported, her humour gland was pitifully malnourished and under-developed. Being deprived of understanding, she often mistook her sneering for irony and her apathy for wit. She liked to think of herself as challenging the male ego, and in this she was right. Picking up her sneers was like picking mummified fly husks off the window sill. Males generally dislike cleaning and prefer to let insults pile up in the sunlight for the sake of a quiet life. But sometimes, in a fit of outraged boredom, one would pick up and crush her rabbit-turd words with tender toilet paper care. In public. To the confident, extrovert female this was, of course, unforgivable and would result in her running to the toilet in tears, trailing tissues, chased by Andrex puppy friends. An uncomfortable silence would descend, broken only by a theatrical sobbing offstage. Joseann wanted to be a famous actress. Well, famous anyway. All of her life was a professional act. Men were mere extras in the Life of Joseann...

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: Pigs are the fifth most intelligent creature on the planet. After humans, chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants. They learn their names by two to three weeks of age. They can run a mile in seven minutes. And they taste nice in bacon sandwiches. Life. It’s not really very fair, is it?

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

REX: The old have money in the bank, but no time. The young have time in the bank, but no money. What can the young give us?

MARTY: The future.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: What’s the ‘truth’ of a chair? To the universe, it’s just atoms amongst atoms, empty space. To the cat, it’s a convenient snoozing perch. To human beings, it can be something to relax on. Something to eat on. A work of art and beauty. Something to sign a war or peace treaty on. Something to interrogate a man on. Something to kick away from under his feet and hang him. So, what is the ‘truth’ of a chair?

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: Ten thousand quid? What are they making their windows out of? Bohemian crystal?

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: I’m always slightly baffled when people start telling me to live in the ‘real’ world. Conradian savagery and quantum uncertainty? Are they insane? If not, they soon will be. Choose your delusions carefully.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

REX: Don't worry about ‘reality’. You can never know it. I’m not sure if it even exists in any meaningful sense. Just know which game you’re playing. And learn the rules for that game. It’s the trick to a happy life...

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: Tempus bloody fugit this morning.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: Look at your girlfriend, and ponder this. If she was a monkey, do you think she'd still go to the ladies room? Or would she swing by one arm from a crystal chandelier, throwing shit at people?

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

REX: The difference between men and women is the difference between right and right. Men want to do right. Women want to be right. To most men, argument is sport. Win or lose, it’s the game that counts and laughing about it down the pub afterward over a pint. To most women, argument is religious war. Nobody really knows what you’re fighting over. But they are convinced of their righteousness as an article of faith - if not logic. Have you ever tried having a laugh and a beer with a victorious or defeated self-worshipping zealot? Avoid argument with such fanatical creatures at all costs. Any victory will be pyrrhic and any defeat will be punic. Women desire a Carthaginian peace. Let them feel right. Then just quietly go away and do the right thing... and hope that they don’t notice...

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: Coprophilia. From the Greek kopros, meaning excrement, and filia, meaning liking, is pleasure derived from shit. So for example, a coprophile would be someone who enjoys watching the X-Factor.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: The Nazis polled over seventeen million votes in the 1933 X-Factor.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: If Simon Cowell was a baboon, he would still wear high-waisters. He'd hold jizzing competitions. The other boons could whoop when the jizz hit a tree. Or jeer when it flopped feebly in the dust. There is no hope. It was all for nothing. Homo Simons will stride the earth in high-waisters, and monkeys will tap out his deluded Fuhrer dribblings.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: Oh I’m an obsessive quoter. I mainly quote myself. My whole life has been one unpithy aphorism. My dying word will be “... unquote.”

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: In Shakespeare’s time, politics was queen and the writer was king. Then the director had his say. Then the actors became walking posters. Then everyone walked around in fame’s billboards. Warhol’s peacocks have had their fifteen minutes. Now they’re just silly little turkeys gobbling in their Christmas hats. The day of the writer is here again. The word is hungry and the wit is sharp.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: I run from boredom. I run to art. I do it because life gave me a mind. To waste your mind is to waste your life.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: The kids threw stones at Van Gogh. The curtain-twitchers muttered darkly about Wittgenstein. These men were madmen. They saw things that normal people didn't. They starved instead of making a profit out of other people's misery. Life may be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. That doesn’t mean we have to be...

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

NARRATOR: The tide surged, as though somewhere a mindless god was obsessively flushing his lavatory. Loose stones clicked in each wave and the beach sounded like a rattlesnake in the moonlight.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: When we are young, energy is potential. When we are adult, energy is work. When we are wise, energy is conserved. It’s all equivalent, my dear von Helmholtz...

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: When I was little, I thought the world stopped when I went to sleep. I was shocked to watch the news one morning...

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

REX: Derrida was once giving a lecture in Kansas. A member of the audience stood up to make a clever point about deconstructionism. She described the scene from The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy finally meets the terrifying Wizard. Then Toto pulls away the curtain to reveal a very small man. “Professor Derrida, are you like that?” she asked. Derrida paused before replying, “You mean... like the dog?”

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. But a lot of it is apocalyptic. Revelatory even. The Enlightenment gave us a new kind of darkness...

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: I’m an apatheist. Someone who is apathetic about God.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: By facts we mean bills, by bills we mean money, and by money we mean lack of it. Without money we die, and that's a fact. The rest is bullshit. Yes it's time to face facts. I'm ready to die.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: All we know is in the mind. Because when the mind goes, we don't know anything else.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

REX: Marty. Politics is a dirty business. If you don't bend your knee to power, you bend it to the axe...

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

REX: You can’t win an argument. These people are the worst kind of evil. They’re too stupid to know what they are. You’ve got to remember, they were raised by mentally defective sadists. What was good enough for them, is good enough for us. I mean, look at this place. It’s Auschwitz dressed as Disneyland. But these morons walk around actually believing it. And you want to argue with them? You might as well reason with shit. At least that has a chance of evolving into intelligent life.

MARTY: (As if emerging from a trance). They’re not the worst kind of evil.

REX: What?

MARTY: They’re not the worst kind of evil.

REX: If you say so. Who is then?

MARTY: (Looking into REX’s eyes). Those who know better. They disgust me. I can’t even stand to be in the same country as them, let alone the same room. They make me shake with hatred. An example must be made.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: A definition of the early Christians - people who were prepared to be torn apart and eaten by lions, for the entertainment of mockers, for an unshakable belief in something that doesn't exist. Does love exist? I can’t hold it in my hand, weigh it and measure it. But if someone else puts their hand in mine and smiles without guile, then it’s there. Imagination.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: I watched a suicide bomber yesterday. Blew himself up outside a school. All on TV. Very impressive. Took about thirty people with him. All that... publicity... From a few sticks of plastic. Do you know how much a smart bomb costs? About the same as a new Porsche. But people? You can get a fanatic free with every box of cornflakes these days. And you don’t get smarter than a human being. Of course, you could argue that blowing yourself up isn’t very smart. You could even argue that human life is priceless. But the corporate vampires would just laugh at you behind your back. They’ve killed more people than Hitler and Stalin combined... I was just thinking. I’m not prepared to kill. But am I prepared to die? For what I believe? War is coming. A whole new kind of war. And I’m not sure if I believe in anything anymore. Certainly not... backstabbers and profits. I mean, who’d trust a Triple A these days? So I suppose I’ll have to die first... and ask questions later. I’ll let you know if any occur to me.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: “The song of revenge burns stronger than life.
Turned backs give me strength to return wrong’s knife.”
They’re crucifying me.

O’BRIEN: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do?

MARTY: Luke. Chapter twenty-three, verse thirty-four. To crucify one martyr, Mr O’Brien, may be regarded as a misjudgment; to kill millions looks like callousness.

O’BRIEN: (Flicking through the Koran, the Torah and the Bible simultanenously with practised ease). Here it is. Romans. Chapter twelve, verse nineteen. (He intones). ‘Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” ’

MARTY: Doctor Horquine says that there is no God.

O’BRIEN: Then leave it to justice.

MARTY: My life tells me that there is no justice.

O’BRIEN: Then just leave it.

MARTY: Believe me, I’d like to. But it’s difficult to walk away when they’ve nailed you to a lie. Then they’ll just do it again... to someone else... and that’s just... wrong...

O’BRIEN: That’s just the way of the world, my son. Always has been. Always will be.

MARTY: Has anyone considered changing it?

O’BRIEN: Oh yes. Many have tried. All, predictably, have failed. You can’t change three million years of evolution with a new idea.

MARTY: So I shouldn’t bother trying then?

O’BRIEN: Hold on. (Flicking through Das Kapital). Hmm... Have you ever considered trying opium...?

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

(Marty is gazing in awe at Dr Horquine’s whiteboard. It is filled with dense equations. Dr Horquine approaches, frowning, as if to say “Yes?”).

MARTY: (To himself). Oh gosh. Oh gosh that’s good. Brilliant... Wrong, but brilliant.

DR HORQUINE: (Irritably). Wrong? What’s wrong?

MARTY: (Pointing to a symbol). Here. There’s an error in the third stage. You’re almost there. (He grabs a marker pen, rubs out a symbol with a squeaky finger, then slashes in a correction). There. That should put you back on track.

DR HORQUINE: (Glares at the correction as if it was a shit stain on his sofa, then peers at it, then gazes in awe at it. He turns to Marty, uncertain now). Who are you?

MARTY: Now that’s a good question. I wish I knew. I did. But I think I’m having some kind of breakdown. Well, either me or the universe. I don’t know who I am anymore. I was hoping you might be able to help?

DR HORQUINE: (Glancing back at the equation). I’m sorry. I’m a bio-physicist, not a psychiatrist. I can refer you to one of my colleagues if you like?

MARTY: Thank you. But it’s your expert opinion I’m after. Would it be correct to say that you don’t believe in God?

DR HORQUINE: Yes. That’s correct.

MARTY: Can you say precisely what it is you don’t believe in?

DR HORQUINE: No. That’s not the way it works. You’re asking me to describe something that doesn’t exist.

MARTY: Thank you. That’s what I thought.

(Marty turns to leave).

DR HORQUINE: Wait a moment. Is that it? Is that all you wanted to ask?

MARTY: Yes. You see, I wasn’t sure if I was right. To be honest, I’m still a little uncertain. But isn’t everything, eh?

DR HORQUINE: Perhaps you should talk to a theologian?

MARTY: Oh I have. They can’t describe what God is either. But they’re very certain that they believe in him. Perhaps description is the key? (He turns to go, then turns back). Doctor, you surprise me.

DR HORQUINE: Oh? How so?

MARTY: You’re a profound atheist. To you, religion is insanity. Why point me in the direction of madmen?

DR HORQUINE: (Smiling gently). I thought you might be able to help them.

MARTY: (Smiling back). God moves in mysterious ways. Doctor, could I ask a favour?

DR HORQUINE: You can certainly ask.

MARTY: If you ever come up with a Grand Unified Theory, try to include an equation for humour. Nothing warps the universe like a good sense of humour.

DR HORQUINE: I’ll do my best. A pleasure to meet you, Mr…?

MARTY: Gull. Marty Gull.

(They shake hands).

DR HORQUINE: Until we meet again, Mr Gull.

MARTY: We won’t. Unless you’re very wrong. Goodbye Doctor.

(He grins at the whiteboard and leaves).

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: Yesterday, I was looking at instant coffee in Sainsburys...

REX: What an interesting life you lead...

MARTY: Indeed. I heard a sound. Like a kookaburra. One of those jungle birds in war films. Laughing. Hysterically. It wasn’t just me. Other people could hear it. They were grinning or frowning or pretending to ignore it. I tracked it down. It was a madman. He was laughing at a checkout. Hysterically. He just couldn’t stop. They called security, and they called him a taxi. I went to the pub... and heard exactly the same sound. An insane cackle. Meaningless. What did they have in common? They’re all poor. That man at the checkout. I think he was taking refuge in madness. The way others take refuge in whiskey. It's a cold, bright supermarket world out there. Care in the community? What community?

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

Shame on you, coward: I’m Nietzsche’s horse, beat;
beggars will spit in your face in the street.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

(Meanwhile, in the House of the Architects...)

CHIEF ARCHITECT: Only a fool makes an enemy when he doesn’t need to. This Marty Gull may be many things. But he’s no fool. If he's made an enemy of us, he has a good reason. There are no heroes in teaching. But there are martyrs. Question is, how long can a man go on breathing on a cross? Who fancies being Longinus?

(There is an awkward pause. Finally...)

HEVEL: Well, there’s this girl...

CHIEF ARCHITECT: Yes. Yes he is the sort who'd sacrifice himself for a girl. Maybe he is a fool after all. The noble fool. What a tedious archetype. (Pause). Are we destroying a good man?


CHIEF ARCHITECT: But why? Why is he so set on martyrdom? Religion?

HEVEL: No. I think it's just sheer stubborness. He thinks he’s right. And that everyone else is wrong.

CHIEF ARCHITECT: Well, we’re religious men. So we shall have to be stubborn too. Isn’t that tragedy? When one stubborness meets another?

HEVEL: He’d probably laugh at that.

CHIEF ARCHITECT: Then we shall weep for him. In private. If we ever have the time.

HEVEL: And now? In public?

CHIEF ARCHITECT: We shall crucify him.

HEVEL: He’s probably thought of that... I wonder what he's got in mind for us?

CHIEF ARCHITECT: The judgment of history. We'll have an innocent man’s blood on our hands. Oh well. There are tens of thousands of innocent people dying every day. And history stays remarkably silent about them. (There is another awkward pause. Finally...) Too bad.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: Teachers are brain surgeons. We do thirty operations an hour, without anaesthetic, in field hospitals, knee-deep in shit. The kids scream, and the village idiots poke us. Now, they've promoted those village idiots to management. I'm not sure who's going to do our job. City monkeys, I'm guessing. God help us. There's going to be an awful lot of lobotomies. Maybe that's the plan. Cheaper than medicine... Oh it saves a few quid for skiing trips, I suppose. But it doesn't win wars. War is coming. A whole new kind of war. And we're going to lose...

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

REX: Marty, you’re hurt. Stay with the herd. Keep in the middle. There are things watching in the tall grass. And they have no pity.

MARTY: I’m a man, not a gnu. I’ll put sharp stones in their eyes. Are you a herd animal Rex?

REX: It’s kept me alive this long.

MARTY: Do you know what the herd is? It’s nature’s way of turning grass into meat. Look at you. You’re so tired. Even the jackals smell death on your breath. Was it worth it? To stop being a man and become a gnu? Just to graze a few more nervous days? How many more natural selections can you survive?

REX: At least I’ll see my grandchildren play in the garden.

MARTY: You got me there. But what happens when they come for your grandchildren?

(REX stays silent).

MARTY: I got you there.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: (To the High Council of Architects). We were not expelled from paradise. We climbed our way out of hell. Now, you want to push me back? I crawled through shit to see the stars. I dug through stone to find the truth. And what did I find? Monstrous bones. No meaning. Just... nothingness...  So, what was it all for? Time blinks, and the dinosaurs are gone. Monkeys tap out Shakespeare, then end with a whimper. Look at those stars. They don’t care. But I do. I remember, one cloudy night, I was sitting in a beer garden. People were laughing, hysterically, like kookaburras. I felt cold. Then suddenly, the black clouds cracked their skin, and the moon, like a bright wound, shone through. I know. I know it’s just dead airless rock reflecting ghost light. But I saw God. Not as an old man in the sky, but as the cold light of reason. It was like falling in love with a beautiful woman. Life could never look at me, never care that I existed. But I adored her. And when I die, it was all worth it. I saw her. I worshipped her. I dropped my pint in awe, and the beer garden laughed and cheered. Now that’s what I call an epiphany.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

DeVILLE: Marty. You’re making a point. But no-one cares.

MARTY: I care.

DeVILLE: But no-one will know.

MARTY: I’ll know. And so will you.

DeVILLE: I don’t care.

MARTY: So you said. I’ll care for both of us then.

DeVILLE: You’re... throwing your life away. You’re insane.

MARTY: Oh please! You’ll be telling me that pain hurts next. You know, it’s funny. Doctor Horquine talks about things you can’t see or hear or touch. Nobody knows what they really are. Or even if they are real in any meaningful sense. Only the maths makes sense. But numbers aren’t real. They don’t physically exist. They’re just... patterns, in the mind. Here I am. Physical. Alive. Now. You can see me, hear me, touch me. You can know me, and understand me. And I’m mad? You’re right. I am mad. Mad as hell. What is so difficult about not being a number? Why do you destroy human beings for the sake of numbers? What part of ‘Thou shalt not kill’ are you still not clear about?

DeVILLE: What are you talking about? No-one’s killing anyone. You’re doing this to yourself.

MARTY: No. I’m doing this for you. You’re all dead inside. It’s like walking through a land of ghosts. You have to... wake up. Before it’s too late.

DeVILLE: Too late? Too late for what?

MARTY: Something is coming.

DeVILLE: What? What is coming?

MARTY: Something... wondrous. Awful.

DeVILLE: Wondrous? Awful? How can it be both? What are you talking about?

MARTY: It doesn’t have a definite shape yet. But I can feel it... It’s like floating in the Pacific, with something looking up at your feet.

DeVILLE: You’re insane.

MARTY: So you said. I’ve had better conversations...

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

HEVEL: Do you claim to see the future?

MARTY: I claim that you’re a fool. The future is obvious to anyone who cares to see it. Something is coming.

HEVEL: What?

MARTY: Something wondrous.

HEVEL: A good thing?

MARTY: Oh yes. Wondrous. In the sense that Krakatoa was wondrous.

HEVEL: Krakatoa?

MARTY: A volcanic island. It exploded in 1883. The force of thirteen thousand Hiroshima bombs. Two hundred million tons of TNT. The sound shattered the eardrums of sailors. It went round the world seven times. Wondrous.

HEVEL: Is something going to explode?

MARTY: Yes. Your world. And good riddance to you. If the insects were to disappear, all other species would die out. If your species were to disappear, all other species would flourish. You will not be missed, or mourned.

HEVEL: You said ‘your species’. Do you mean you’re not human?

MARTY: No. I mean that you’re not.

HEVEL: Do you plan to hurt anybody?

MARTY: No. It’s against my nature. But I won’t lift a finger to save you. You had your chance. You fucked up. Time to die. If you want my advice, get it over with quickly. I intend to do the same myself.

HEVEL: Do you mean you plan to kill yourself?

MARTY: Oh yes. Look at what you’ve done. Look at what’s coming. That wouldn’t be living. That wouldn’t even be existing. It would just be pain. Meaningless pain. Why would I choose that? That would be insane.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: Bob. I haven’t got long. So I’ll keep this short. You’re a disaster. An embarrassment to music and theatre. Deluded. Chocolate box. Tooth-rotting. If it was just you, I wouldn’t care. But you’ve destroyed lives. Not just mine. Hers. You put her on a ship of fools. And now, I have to listen to her drown. In the darkness. She had talent. She could have played New York. But now she’ll just play the dives. Ego and ice, ill met by moonlight. Oh the heart is a pump working against an ocean. Tragedy? It’s just water.

BOB: (Smirking). But the band played on, eh?

MARTY: For a while. Until the lifeboats heard their death screams. You wouldn’t even let me throw her a rope. You sneaked it around my neck to save your own rat’s arse. Butchers in charge of children. Jesus. Do I look like a lamb to you? Cut my throat, and I’ll spit blood on your shoes. I choose my animal, and I choose the albatross. Walk into any club now, and they’ll turn their backs on you in disgust. You’re a Flying Dutchman, Bob. But you’re not the worst. The worst are those who knew better. I have a different curse in mind for them. You’re the lucky one. Find Pandora. Goodbye.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: The danger time with depression isn’t the bad days. A bad day is just ‘flu spiked with rohypnol. You couldn’t even lift your head, let alone kill yourself. But on a good day, everything seems strangely normal. Even dying. That would be as easy as walking into the next room... God, how I dread those good days...

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: Reality - if there is such a thing - is the laws of physics. The laws of physics have nothing to say about life and death. The atoms of a living man and the atoms of a dead man are exactly the same. Did the dust think it had a name? Did the dust think the wind cared? The wind blows and the wind blows...

If you want to know the secret of life, ask Snowden. Ask Mistah Kurtz. Man is matter. The rest is just... two words…

Human affairs - relationships, politics, property - properly belong in the realm of fiction. To regard them as ‘real’ is to fly in the face of all scientific evidence. No wonder ‘God’ doesn’t physically exist. That wouldn’t make any sense at all…

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

MARTY: (To the audience). There is no law of nature to enforce goodness. Only human beings can do that. But evolution is not the same as progress. Sometimes, to our horror, a beast has bided its time. Uniforms change. Language shifts. Morals mutate. But the face of evil is always the same. It hates reason. It fears debate. For it has no answer but force.

I believe in reason. But not all men are reasonable. The bully’s excuse is always the same. “You brought this upon yourself”. It is the most despicable and cowardly of lies. But it cuts both ways.

I found myself in your dirty war. I didn’t choose it. I didn’t start it. And I certainly won’t survive it. But then again, who does? The young, hopefully. But old-timers? We haven’t got the time.

The worst do their worst. To wish otherwise is madness. A bully is never appeased. Only encouraged, or destroyed. I looked into the eyes of evil men. I saw no reason there. Only fear and deceit, enraged by questioning.

In this country, of all places, an old evil walks wearing new clothes. Any man capable of seeing must choose. To grovel and become detestable. Or to live, and die, for what is right. I refuse to waste what time I have left on procrastination. I make my choice.

To the liars who know better, you have brought this curse upon yourselves. My blood on your death bed. And the knowledge that comes with it. When that time comes, you will see what I saw. You will see what you truly are. That final moment, for you, will be eternity. Because nothing comes after that. My last thoughts will flit through libraries of imagination. Yours will squat in one room, without art or hope. Forever clutching at ghosts, and failing to grasp them. That knowledge is heaven or hell. We bring it upon ourselves.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

"I felt as if I were talking with children, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and this tale." ~ Marty Gull

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

“Of all emotions, vengefulness is the most underrated. I walked in pure winter sunshine. My hatred was like menthol. It slapped blood into my cheeks. It reached deep into my lungs. It sucked each breath from me with savage joy. Every nerve had been sandpapered raw. The pain was golden, dizzying, exquisite. No wonder God is so full of vengeance. I felt like a God of hatred. I longed to hug my enemy. I yearned to detonate like the heart of the sun. Now I understood Genet’s quip: Anyone who hasn’t experienced the ecstasy of betrayal knows nothing about ecstasy at all.”

Also, click here to read Targets scene.

Click here for a downloadable word document of Targets.

No comments:

Post a Comment