Wednesday, May 31, 2017

"Waiting for Gadot," scene 1

The previous post is an introduction to this play. Feel free to give it a look-see if you haven't yet.

A note on the characters: Loyal readers will be familiar with Carl from "Found" earlier in this blog. Carl is the main character of "Smitten," a novella I wrote in college which was continued in "Found," of which I've written a small part and posted on this blog. The Anthropologist is a character from a poetry sequence at the end of my self-published book you are a little bit cooler than i am (a play on Tao Lin's you are a little bit happier than i am) which I might post on the blog in the near future (or edit this part out of my post if I decide I won't). If you read through all that nonsense, I'm sure the play will be at least a bit more interesting!

Open Scene
Curtain up on a room in a library. Carl is seated in a chair at a desk and is alone in room. Appears disheveled and largely incapable of productive human interaction. You enters the room and sits at a seat some distance from Carl. You removes study materials and begins to prepare for an exam.

Carl: I haven't written in a while, so I'm not sure if I can come up with an interesting way to address this at all, but I've been thinking about it and this is probably the best I'm going to get. [You looks up and appears confused as to whom Carl is speaking.] So, anyway, in many various relaunches, revamps, reboots... [No pause, but as Carl speaks, enter the Anthropologist who appears to be Carl in a meager disguise of fake glasses attached to a nose with mustache. This is over his real glasses and mustache.] ...of superhero characters, you find that the writer attempts to create a new-ness to it all... To make it cool. And they do this through sports... [Carl trails off.]

The Anthropologist: Relaunches, revamps, reboots? Really? Be a writer or be a poet. You can't focus on the language and the plot—you're just not good enough. [You appears struck by the resemblance between Carl and the Anthropologist. Facial expression is suspended between confusion, indifference, and annoyance.]

Carl: I can't remember if Morrison did it in his Action Comics run...

TA: [As Carl speaks, looks toward audience and begins speaking...] Oh, I get it...

Carl: but I know Straczynski did it in Superman: Earth One and man, there have to be some Batman comics that do this...

TA: [Gestures towards the glazing over eyes of the audience] C'mon, you idiot, you're losing them!

C: I was wondering if Wonder Woman was taken in this direction...

TA: [Muttered, as Carl speaks.] Good, no pun on "wondering" and "Wonder!"

C: ...would she play in a men's league or a women's league. [You puts away study materials. Facial expression now posed between exasperation and resignation.] Admittedly this is a combination of interests for me: comics and sports as well as gender concerns. I was once struck by a conversation between two sports anchors, one male and one female... [TA feigns a yawn] ...where the man was discussing the importance of women's sports in connection with his co-anchor and the woman pointed out that plenty of women have an interest in men's sports. That assuming a woman interested in sports would be particularly interested in women's sports was its own bizarre form of sexism. [TA appears to become aware of You for the first time.] The fact that women's sports are commonly considered inferior notwithstanding. [Carl pauses for thought.]

TA [to You]: I fear this is one of those plays where you wait the whole time for something to happen, for someone to show up, and nothing happens. But, unfortunately? Fortunately? This guy, this writer [word said with disgust, TA may feign typing at a computer in a comedic fashion] has no skill or passion or ability or well, shit, I'm doing his thing [points thumb to Carl] of finding the right word aloud instead of just editing... Let's just say he's uncomfortable with dialogue. [You just stares. Carl has begun speaking again during the second half of this interaction.]

C: Wonder Woman is what, really? Is she a wonder in itself or a wonder as a woman? I want to say the former, but in many ways doesn't the former make her also the latter? Is that wrong? Is it sexist? [Carl removes a paper plate and a Sharpie from his backpack.] It is sex-based reasoning, yes. But look at me! [Carl motions to his mass; he is fairly overweight.] Every woman is stronger and fitter than I am, but the strongest men are stronger... [Carl begins drawing a face on the paper plate. His artistic skills are not strong. Below the face which is likely simply two dots for eyes and a line for a mouth, he writes "Selena."] ...than the strongest women. I saw Elena Delle Donne discussing what I'm trying to grasp here—how she couldn't beat NBA players in one-on-one basketball, but she's going to trounce most men... [He places the plate marked Selena in the air and it sits there hovering in no apparently possible way.] ...Most every guy who even played in college...

Selena [a figure in shadow now appears behind the paper plate]: Treading on thin ice here, honey.

C: If Wonder Woman plays a sport, she's the best, right? She can beat LeBron, Brady, or Gretsky... So is that what she does? Does she merely stand as a wonder on the court, an astounding athlete? In the real world, yes, she could do that. Would she be beaten by Superman? [Carl pouts and looks at Selena. He speaks to her as a pause in his thought.] One of the things that really bothered me about The Big Bang Theory was the way it made it seem like all nerds were interested in questions like these. Would she? I. Don't. Care. The answer is just whatever a writer decides... [at the mention of writer TA nods his head] So let's just consider Wonder Woman in absentia, rather than debate which superhero is stronger or better or more powerful... [Carl looks away from Selena and returns to his initial thought.] If Wonder Woman is real, of course she could dominate every sport, but as a character, a fiction, should she?

S: Crash! [The paper plate falls to the table as if it has broken through a layer of thin ice and into the lake. The shadowy figure is nowhere to be found.]

C [to the paper plate now on table in front of him]: Don't be like that! [Looks away and continues contemplative speaking.] Should she? Wonder Woman as wonder or Wonder Woman as woman... Not as in lesser, but as in opportunity. Opportunity in at least two ways: (1) Wonder Woman draws attention to whatever it is of which she is a part and (2) she can exemplify everything society has decided women cannot, should not, or may not do. So you have her play women's sports and you are arguing the importance of having and supporting women's sports. You have her playing sports with other women and you have the chance to show the wonder of women playing that sport... [Carl makes a face.]

TA [to You, indifferent to Carl speaking]: You know, I'm dead. I think. I mean it's a bit unclear, because of some writer [awful expression]. Maybe I'm a vampire? Wait, aren't the undead like... Dead? More dead than alive people? I mean you're not dead, as in alive, but I'm much more dead than that, which makes me undead? Color me unconvinced!

C: What sport? [Scratches head.] Anyway, maybe I should explain why I'm focused on this. [He picks up the paper plate again and replaces it in the air where it hovers.] Wonder Woman comes out in a week and I'm wondering if she will play a sport in the film.

S: That's not the only thing you are wondering about! [Face looks down below table.]

C: It's set back during World War 1, so you might think that'd make any sort of sports element unlikely and I'll give you that, it will, but I'm reading about Wonder Woman right now... [Carl removes a book from his backpack. It is The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore.] ...and her creator William Moulton Marston was a football player in high school, although he gave it up in college. [Carl looks to Selena again.] Funnily enough, Wonder Woman was created in 1941 during World War 2, so to set the movie in World War 1 predates her first publication, but Marston's time at college led up to WW1. What if Wonder Woman were to reflect her creator, playing Amazonian sports in Themyscira and then trying to find her niche in man (and woman's) world (the emphasis is both genders, not just one!) [Carl smiles wryly at his last parenthetical.] Maybe she plays football or baseball. Basketball was still a new sport, invented in 1891...

TA: Writer, you just looked that up! [mimes typing again]

C: ...but she could be an early player of the sport! A montage of Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot, as people wonder at her skills in every sport!

TA: There's that pun!

S [to Carl]: You just want to wonder at Gadot running down a field or jumping for a ball!

C [blushing]: She's a superhero... [hesitates] ...heroine... [hesitates]

TA [to You]: There's a scene in Moonlight like this. It's better there. Everything in Moonlight is better than this.

C: ...hero... in an action movie! She certainly doesn't have to play sports to be running around and jumping. [He looks to Selena.] The real you isn't made so easily jealous!

TA [to You]: See, she's the manifestation of all his uncertainty about his relationship. What are you studying? [The Anthropologist gestures towards You's bookbag where study materials were returned.] Any psychology? I'm wondering if this is Freudian... She's the mental projection of Carl's girlfriend Selena in Carl's mind... Ironically, she's his woman side! I've always been uncomfortable with the idea of men and women both having a masculine and feminine side, because this builds up these gender concepts into concretized distinctions. Men who act a certain way shouldn't be tapping into some inner woman, just like tomboys shouldn't be considered less female, unless either identifies in that manner. [He notes You's growing indifference.] Or you don't study psychology...

S [to You]: It couldn't be that he's just not that interesting!

TA: ...but anyway, inside a person is the projection of other people, different personas that, in this case, Carl can imagine if he wishes, but that ultimately say more about him than these other people. Thus Selena is not jealous—Carl is guilty about his lust for other women.

S [nodding in agreement]: And I mean, seriously, she's a movie star no less! But I have to play my part in his head.

TA: Um, so that was more like the real Selena talking, but we're all just inside some writer's head anyway! [pounds table]

C: I'm waiting to see, I'm waiting for Gadot to see.

TA: I'm waiting for some gad-damn writer to finish with it all!

S [speaking as a paper plate]: I'm waiting to be thrown away.

You looks around the stage waiting for a moment of piece in which to resume (or should we say begin?) studying.

End Scene.

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