Turkey and Bones and Eating and We Liked It — A Play by Gertrude Stein

Turkey and Bones and Eating and We Liked It

A Play

by

Gertrude Stein


 

He was very restless. He does not like to stand while he picks flowers. He does not smell flowers. He has a reasonable liking for herbs. He likes their smell. He is not able to see storms. He can see anything running. He has been able to be praised.

SCENE I.

Polybe and seats.

Straw seats which are so well made that they resemble stools. They are all of straw and thick. They are made with two handles.

Genevieve and cotton.

I do not like cotton drawers. I prefer wool or linen. I admit that linen is damp. Wool is warm. I believe I prefer wool.

Minorca and dogs.

I like a dog which is easily understood as I have never had the habit of going out except on Sunday. Now I go out every day.

Anthony and coal.

I believe that coal is better than wood. If coal is good it burns longer. In any case it is very difficult to get here.

Felix and a letter.

I do not wish to reply to a telegram, not because I find it difficult to explain in it that I wished to see you. I did wish to see you.

Mr. Clement.

It gives me great pleasure to meet you. I am feeling well today and I see that you are enjoying the mild weather. It will continue so. I hope you will be pleased. I will present myself to you in saying that I am certain that you are deriving pleasure from your winter. I am certainly eager.

William.

He is too difficult. I mean he is too difficult. I don’t believe you understand me yet. He is too difficult. Continue reading “Turkey and Bones and Eating and We Liked It — A Play by Gertrude Stein”

Mr. Icky, a one-act play by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Mr. Icky

The Quintessence of Quaintness in One Act

by F.Scott Fitzgerald

The Scene is the Exterior of a Cottage in West Issacshire on a desperately Arcadian afternoon in August. MR. ICKY, quaintly dressed in the costume of an Elizabethan peasant, is pottering and doddering among the pots and dods. He is an old man, well past the prime of life, no longer young, From the fact that there is a burr in his speech and that he has absent-mindedly put on his coat wrongside out, we surmise that he is either above or below the ordinary superficialities of life.

_Near him on the grass lies PETER, a little boy. PETER, of course, has his chin on his palm like the pictures of the young Sir Walter Raleigh. He has a complete set of features, including serious, sombre, even funereal, gray eyes—and radiates that alluring air of never having eaten food. This air can best be radiated during the afterglow of a beef dinner. Be is looking at MR. ICKY, fascinated._

Silence. . . . The song of birds.

PETER: Often at night I sit at my window and regard the stars. Sometimes I think they’re my stars…. (Gravely) I think I shall be a star some day….

ME. ICKY: (Whimsically) Yes, yes … yes….

PETER: I know them all: Venus, Mars, Neptune, Gloria Swanson.

MR. ICKY: I don’t take no stock in astronomy…. I’ve been thinking o’ Lunnon, laddie. And calling to mind my daughter, who has gone for to be a typewriter…. (He sighs.)

PETER: I liked Ulsa, Mr. Icky; she was so plump, so round, so buxom. Continue reading “Mr. Icky, a one-act play by F. Scott Fitzgerald”

“Child’s Play” — Robert Louis Stevenson

“Child’s Play” by Robert Louis Stevenson

The regret we have for our childhood is not wholly justifiable: so much a man may lay down without fear of public ribaldry; for although we shake our heads over the change, we are not unconscious of the manifold advantages of our new state.  What we lose in generous impulse, we more than gain in the habit of generously watching others; and the capacity to enjoy Shakespeare may balance a lost aptitude for playing at soldiers.  Terror is gone out of our lives, moreover; we no longer see the devil in the bed-curtains nor lie awake to listen to the wind.  We go to school no more; and if we have only exchanged one drudgery for another (which is by no means sure), we are set free for ever from the daily fear of chastisement.  And yet a great change has overtaken us; and although we do not enjoy ourselves less, at least we take our pleasure differently.  We need pickles nowadays to make Wednesday’s cold mutton please our Friday’s appetite; and I can remember the time when to call it red venison, and tell myself a hunter’s story, would have made it more palatable than the best of sauces.  To the grown person, cold mutton is cold mutton all the world over; not all the mythology ever invented by man will make it better or worse to him; the broad fact, the clamant reality, of the mutton carries away before it such seductive figments.  But for the child it is still possible to weave an enchantment over eatables; and if he has but read of a dish in a story-book, it will be heavenly manna to him for a week.

If a grown man does not like eating and drinking and exercise, if he is not something positive in his tastes, it means he has a feeble body and should have some medicine; but children may be pure spirits, if they will, and take their enjoyment in a world of moon-shine.  Sensation does not count for so much in our first years as afterwards; something of the swaddling numbness of infancy clings about us; we see and touch and hear through a sort of golden mist.  Children, for instance, are able enough to see, but they have no great faculty for looking; they do not use their eyes for the pleasure of using them, but for by-ends of their own; and the things I call to mind seeing most vividly, were not beautiful in themselves, but merely interesting or enviable to me as I thought they might be turned to practical account in play.  Nor is the sense of touch so clean and poignant in children as it is in a man.  If you will turn over your old memories, I think the sensations of this sort you remember will be somewhat vague, and come to not much more than a blunt, general sense of heat on summer days, or a blunt, general sense of wellbeing in bed.  And here, of course, you will understand pleasurable sensations; for overmastering pain—the most deadly and tragical element in life, and the true commander of man’s soul and body—alas! pain has its own way with all of us; it breaks in, a rude visitant, upon the fairy garden where the child wanders in a dream, no less surely than it rules upon the field of battle, or sends the immortal war-god whimpering to his father; and innocence, no more than philosophy, can protect us from this sting.  As for taste, when we bear in mind the excesses of unmitigated sugar which delight a youthful palate, “it is surely no very cynical asperity” to think taste a character of the maturer growth.  Smell and hearing are perhaps more developed; I remember many scents, many voices, and a great deal of spring singing in the woods.  But hearing is capable of vast improvement as a means of pleasure; and there is all the world between gaping wonderment at the jargon of birds, and the emotion with which a man listens to articulate music. Continue reading ““Child’s Play” — Robert Louis Stevenson”

The Mystery at the Middle of Ordinary Life — Don DeLillo

The Mystery at the Middle of Ordinary Life, a one-act play by Don DeLillo

A MAN and a WOMAN in a room.

WOMAN: I was thinking how strange it is.

MAN: What?

WOMAN: That people are able to live together. Days and nights and years. Five years go by. How do they do it? Ten, eleven, twelve years. Two people making one life. Sharing ten thousand meals. Talking to each other face to face, open face, like hot sandwiches. All the words that fill the house. What do people say over a lifetime? Trapped in each other’s syntax. The same voice. The droning tonal repetition. I’ll tell you something.

MAN: You’ll tell me something.

WOMAN: There’s a mystery here. The people behind the walls of the brown house next door. What do they say and how do they survive it? All that idle dialogue. The nasality. The banality. I was thinking how strange it is. How do they do it, night after night, all those nights, those words, those few who do it and survive?

MAN: They make love. They make salads.

WOMAN: But sooner or later they have to speak. This is what shatters the world. I mean isn’t it gradually shattering to sit and listen to the same person all the time, without reason or rhyme. Words that trail away. The pauses. The clauses. How many thousands of times can you look at the same drained face and watch the mouth begin to open? Everything’s been fine up to now. It is when they open their mouths. It is when they speak.

[Pause.]

MAN: I’m still not over this cold of mine.

WOMAN: Take those things you take.

MAN: The tablets.

WOMAN: The caplets.

[Pause.]

MAN: Long day.

WOMAN: Long day.

MAN: A good night’s sleep.

WOMAN: Long slow day.

[Lights slowly down.]

CURTAIN

“Poker!” — A Short Play by Zora Neale Hurston

POKER! by Zora Neale Hurston

Time—Present

Place—New York

Cast of characters—
Nunkie
Too-Sweet
Peckerwood
Black Baby
Sack Daddy
Tush Hawg
Aunt Dilsey

SCENE—

A shabby front room in a shotgun house.

A door covered by dingy portieres upstage C. Small panel window in side Wall L. Plain centre table with chairs drawn up about it. Gaudy calendars on wall. Battered piano against wall R. Kerosene lamp with reflector against wall on either side of room.

At rise of curtain NUNKIE is at piano playing…. Others at table with small stacks of chips before each man. TUSH HAWG is seated at table so that he faces audience. He is expertly riffing the cards … looks over his shoulder and speaks to NUNKIE.

TUSH HAWG Come on here, Nunkie—and take a hand! You’re holding up the game. You been woofin’ round here about the poker you can play—now do it!

NUNKIE
Yeah, I plays poker. I plays the piano and Gawd knows I plays the devil.
I’m Uncle Bob with a wooden leg!*[Handwritten: Last sentence crossed out
in pencil in manuscript.]

BLACK BABY Aw, you can be had! Come on and get in the game! My britches is cryin’ for your money! Come on, don’t give the healer no trouble!*[Handwritten: last sentence crossed out in pencil]

NUNKIE Soon as I play the deck I’m comin’ and take you alls money! Don’ rush me.

 Ace means the first time that I met you
Duece means there was nobody there but us two
Trey means the third party—Charlie was his name
Four spot means the fourth time you tried that same old game—
Five spot means five years you played me for a clown
Six spot means six feet of earth when the deal goes down
Now I’m holding the seven spot for each day of the week
Eight means eight hours that she Sheba-ed with your Sheik—
Nine spot means nine hours that I work hard every day—
Ten spot means tenth of every month I brought you home my pay—
The Jack is three-card Charlie who played me for a goat
The Queen, that’s my pretty Mama, also trying to cut my throat—
The King stands for Sweet Papa Nunkie and he’s goin’ to wear the crown,
So be careful you all ain’t broke when the deal goes down!
(He laughs—X’es to table, bringing
piano stool for seat)

TUSH HAWG Aw now, brother, two dollars for your seat before you try to sit in this game.

NUNKIE
(Laughs sheepishly—puts money
down—TUSH HAWG pushes stack of chips
toward him. Bus.)
I didn’t put it down because I knew you all goin’ to be puttin’ it right
back in my pocket.

BECKERWOOD
Aw, Y’all go ahead and play.
(to TUSH HAWG)
Deal!
(TUSH HAWG begins to deal for draw
poker. The game gets tense. SACK
DADDY is first man at TUSH’s left—he
throws back three cards and is dealt
three more)

SACK DADDY My luck sure is rotten! My gal must be cheatin’ on me. I ain’t had a pair since John Henry had a hammer!

BLACK BABY
(Drawing three new cards)
You might be fooling the rest with the cryin’ you’re doin’ but I’m
squattin’ for you! You’re cryin’ worse than cryin’ Emma!

TOO-SWEET
(Studying his three new cards)
(Sings)
When yo’ cards gets lucky, oh Partner, you oughter be in a rollin’ game.
*[Handwritten: get you foot offa my chair etc]

AUNT DILSEY (Enters through portieres—stands and looks disapprovingly) You all oughter be ashamed of yourself, gamblin’ and carryin’ on like this!

BLACK BABY Aw, this ain’t no harm, Aunt Dilsey! You go on back to bed and git your night’s rest.

AUNT DILSEY
No harm! I know all about these no-harm sins! If you don’t stop this
card playin’, all of you all goin’ to die and go to Hell.
(Shakes warning finger—exits through
portieres—while she is talking the
men have been hiding cards out of
their hands and pulling aces out of
sleeves and vest pockets and
shoes—it is done quickly, one does
not see the other do it)

NUNKIE
(Shoving a chip forward)
A dollar!

SACK DADDY
Raise you two!

BLACK BABY I don’t like to strain with nobody but it’s goin’ to cost you five. Come on, you shag-nags! This hand I got is enough to pull a country man into town. *[Handwritten: Last sentence crossed through in pencil.]

TOO-SWEET You all act like you’re spuddin’! Bet some money! Put your money where your mouth is *[Handwritten: els my fist where yo mouf is.]

TUSH HAWG Twenty-five dollars to keep my company! Dog-gone, I’m spreadin’ my knots!

SACK DADDY
And I bet you a fat man I’ll take your money—I call you.
(Turns up his cards—he has four aces
and king)

TUSH HAWG (showing his cards) Youse a liar! I ain’t dealt you no aces. Don’t try to carry the Pam-Pam to me ’cause I’ll gently chain-gang for you!

SACK DADDY Oh yeah! I ain’t goin’ to fit no jail for you and nobody else. I’m to get me a green club and season it over your head. Then I’ll give my case to Miss Bush and let Mother Green stand my bond! I got deal them aces!

NUNKIE
That’s a lie! Both of you is lyin’! Lyin’ like the cross-ties from New
York to Key West! How can you all hold aces when I got four? Somebody is
goin’ to West hell before midnight!

BECKERWOOD Don’t you woof at Tush Hawg. If you do I’m goin’ to bust hell wide open with a man!

BLACK BABY
(Pulls out razor—Bus.)
My chop-axe tells me I got the only clean aces they is on this table!
Before I’ll leave you all rob me outa my money, I’m goin’ to die it off!

TOO-SWEET
I promised the devil one man and I’m goin’ to give him five!
(Draws gun)

TUSH HAWG
Don’t draw your bosom on me! God sent me a pistol and I’m goin’ to send
him a man!
(FIRES. Bus. for all)

AUNT DILSEY
(Enters after shooting bus. Stands.
Bus. drops to chair)
They wouldn’t lissen—
(Looks men over—Bus.)
It sure is goin’ to be a whole lot tougher in hell now!

CURTAIN

 

See Robert Altman’s Adaptation of Harold Pinter’s Play, The Room

Krapp’s Last Tape — Samuel Beckett (Full Performance)

Wittgenstein: “This Is a Very Pleasant Pineapple”

“Murder Is Natural” — A Clip from Peter Brook’s Film Marat/Sade