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7 Sonnets  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: Sat Feb 24th, 2007 12:52 am
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schmacko
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Mana: 
Thanks, Paddy, for helping a newbie here know where to post!

 

EDIT*** Tried to straighten up some of the wonky formatting from pasting.  Thanks!
 

Shakespeare is our greatest playwright, but he also wrote during a time when the world was so sexist, women weren’t even allowed to act on stage.  Yet, we all know that Shakespeare’s works still speak to us today.  How?

 

Many scholars could argue this better, so I’ll only put forth small corners of ideas:

1)      Perhaps Shakespeare still speaks to us, because we as a society are still very sexist?

~or~

2)      Perhaps the Bard still speaks to us, because his works were so magnificent that we can simply overlook the culture it was created in to focus on its timeless beauty?

~or~

3)      Perhaps we humans are – each and everyone of us - all so wonderfully gifted that we can constantly adjust to find the positive in things.  We automatically glean beauty from even the basest of situations; we naturally tune our ears to the music of the words despite the ugliness of the history it was born out of.  Finally, we instinctively create ways for 500-year-old poetry to speak to us even in our modern world.

 

Perhaps it’s a bit of all three, but I personally like to hope it’s mostly the third reason.


 









7 Sonnets



 


LIGHTS UP: on a single spot in the middle of the stage floor.  In the light stands DILLON.  He is a man in his late twenties or early thirties.  He is wearing the costume of a Shakespearian or Elizabethan woman.  

Although DILLON’S wig and dress are as authentic as possible, and his makeup is exact, there is no mistaking that he is a man in drag.

                                                            DILLON

(Stands, presenting to the audience, as if they were the board of a Master’s dissertation.  He has fun with this first part, playing up the girlishness in the first four lines.)


I start with a brief prologue meant to shock,

Something to get my professors to talk.

You may laugh, or cover your blushing eyes,

Yes, I dress to tease, provoke, and surprise.


(Pause and then launching into the presentation of his dissertation with gusto and professionalism)
In Shakespeare’s time, all parts were played by males

And it never affected ticket sales.

Some scholars surmise that gender, in fact,

Had little to do with the play or act,
But that our Shakespeare purposefully bent

Gender constructs, thus forming new intent.


(A small pause)
Did Will Shakespeare politically start

The great war of the sexes through his art?

I would never, in one dissertation,

Go into such detailed ministration

(Another small pause for effect)
BUT! When a man, dressed as woman, pretends

To be a man disguised, as in Twelfth Night,

Does the rule of the sexes also bend,

Subtly giving women more equal right?

Did Shakespeare start, through dramatization,

The birth of gender equalization?

(A small pause)
Many sonnets lack significations.

Indicatory pronouns are missing.

There is not one identification.

Was it man or woman Will was kissing?

A sonnet; a love poem, a token,

Words often otherwise left unspoken,

No helpful "he" or "she" to light our way

through The Bard’s rhyming aphrodisiacs.

Were these tender couplets fashioned for, say,

Old England’s Juliets, or for its Jacks?


(A small pause, then he recites a famous Shakespeare sonnet – this one, ironically, likely, to a married couple)
 

"Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

O no! it is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle's compass come:

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved."

The sound of crickets.

DILLON’S Master’s thesis has failed to stir up success, much less interest.

He peels off his wig, dejectedly. He takes two steps back and flops down on the couch behind him.

LIGHTS FULL UP: On a fairly blank stage. Pieces of simple, unadorned modern furniture: a couch and a chair.

TANSY enters. She is a pert and forceful woman in her late twenties. She is wearing a man’s dress-shirt and tie, and slacks. However, there is no disguising she is a woman in a man’s clothing.



                                                            TANSY

The rent?

                                                            DILLON

                   Yes?

 

 

                                                            TANSY

                                  Did you remember to send

It in?

 

                                                            DILLION

               Yes.

 

                                                            TANSY

                                  Dillon, but the envelope

Is still there where I left it on the end-

Table. 


(Small pause, disappointed, but trying to be understanding)
              Baby, I know it’s hard to cope

With rewriting your dissertation yet

Again.  Honey?  I read it, and I thought

It was good.  Really good.  And I’d have bet

Our own money…


(She winces at bringing up finances…  A small pause and a sigh, then quietly trying to be encouraging)
                                You gave it your best shot.

I told you I would support you through all

This.  There is no shortage of work, God knows,

The firm’s busy, a stack of files this tall

Waits for me; and daily, it grows and grows.

                                                (Lightly jesting)

Someday, when you’ve got your Masters and we

Get married, maybe…well, then I’ll start school,

And Shakespeare and you can take care of me.

I’ll be the student, you the working fool.

 

                                                            DILLON

All that fearsome energy I have spent,

And still we’re struggling just to make the rent

 
                                                            TANSY

I fell in love with a Shakespeare scholar,

I gave up worrying about dollar

Or cent.  Or sense.  Or (Smelling him) even scent and whew!

Bud, you need to find yourself a shower.

You stink!
 

                                                            DILLON

                     Let me guess, I smell like failure.
  

                                                            TANSY

                                                (Exasperated)

The party starts in less than an hour.

                                                (Then, trying to joke with him)

You look like death, only a bit paler.

I think a nice long hot bath would do you

Wonders, c’mon, up and at ‘em. Get your

Cute little buns into gear, I’ve set out

Clothes on the bed.  Don’t wear the shirt you wore

On Saturday.  The thing’s almost worn out.              

                                                (Almost to herself)

I’ll never know how the male species wears

Their raggedy old discolored shirts with tears

And stains of food and dirty cuffs that fray

And never think to throw the thing away.
 

                                                            DILLON

I had a dream I would be your great knight

In shining armor, earning a living

Teaching at a university, or I might

Take a job at small college job giving –
 

                                                            TANSY

                                                (Sitting beside him)

My knight?  Oh, Dillon, what an old cliché!

Didn’t that dumb. sexist idea go the way

Of the dinosaur?  We know better, you

And I, how to get through and what to do.
 

                                                            DILLON

I know you.  Don’t you want to have kids, too?

 
                                                            TANSY

                                                (Conciliatory and quietly encouraging)

That is just something we’ll have to work to.

                                                (Trying to cheer him up)

Aren’t you excited about the soirée?

You are the guest of honor, by the way.
  

                                                            DILLON

The party’s in honor of my failure.
 

                                                            TANSY

                                                (Lightly sarcastic)

Weird, your mom forgot that on the mailer,

C’mon, Dillon!  Please! Go and wet your

Worried noggin; I swear you’ll feel better.

And while you’re washing your cute little tail,

I’ll just go drop the rent check in the mail.

 
                                                            DILLON

Do we have enough money to cover—
 

                                                            TANSY

You’ll never have to worry, my lover.
 

                                                            DILLON

I’m kept.


                                                            TANSY

                                                (Playful)

                   Yes, that you are, and don’t forget

Who owns you.

 

                                                            DILLON

                              I’m sure you’d never had bet

You’d end up having to work so hard to

Support a damn loser.  
 

                                                            TANDY

                                                (A little angry)

                                                God!  You need to

Get in the shower.  I’m not your mother.

                                                (Pause)

Dil…  I did not choose a loser, lover.


(Kisses his forehead, she grabs his wig up off the couch)
We’ll get through this one way or another.

                                                (Ordering)

Now, to the shower.  Hot water and soap.

                                                (Pause)

We’re fine.

 

                                                            DILLON

                                                (Flattering)

                     No. You are.  Fine.

 

                                                            TANSY

                                                (Flattered)

                                                         Honey, we’ll cope…



DILLON starts to exit.  TANSY grabs him on the ass in a very manly way.  DILLON giggles a bit coquettishly and runs off.

 

LIGHTS FADE on all but the same center spot.  TANSY talks to the audience; she is fiddling with the wig:


                                                            TANSY

It has been said, and many unions prove:

candor has no place in the success of

Marriage, nor truth a part in trusty love.

I am no sage, but I do sense, above

These sideways winks and through the tempests of

Life, love’s truth stands firm and fixed and unmoved;

As Shakespeare said, unbending in the sway.

But also, loving changes and shifts like

We do ourselves – learning from day to day -

Revealing ourselves.  We’re like precious stone

Worked in a sculptor’s hand, to end the way

We were meant to eternally be known.

The shower is heard turning on, running.

 
TANSY turns to hear the noise.  She smiles; she takes a small moment to touch DILLON’S wig to her own cheek.  And then she lowers it; it is obvious she loves him.  She concludes, earnestly, to the audience:


Marble’s true sculpture, the artist removes.

True love’s nature, in due time, living proves. 



She shrugs a little, happy with her lot.

 
She straightens her necktie.

 
She pauses, smiling, dreaming.


And with a small nod to no one in particular, she exits toward the shower.

BLACKOUT

THE END

 

Last edited on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 05:55 pm by schmacko

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 Posted: Wed Feb 28th, 2007 11:35 pm
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Paddy
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Joined: Fri Jun 9th, 2006
Location: Kitchener, Ontario Canada
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Mana: 
The very intention of this play is
Sagacious ~ compelling ~ prepossessing
And yet when I come to what is the end
I have no reluctance in confessing

I seek not the cessation of this tale
A hasty end to the apologue here
But feel rather like it's only begun
The cusp of something greater I fear

So sit thine sweet bottom down in the chair
And count to ten ten thousand times and fix
Your thoughts in iambic parameter
And do caffeinate yourself in betwixt.

I especially like this bit.

No helpful "he" or "she" to light our way

through The Bard’s rhyming aphrodisiacs.

Were these tender couplets fashioned for, say,

Old England’s Juliets, or for its Jacks?
 

So, really...is this it, are you done? 

Paddy

 

 

 

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 Posted: Thu Mar 1st, 2007 05:17 pm
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schmacko
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Joined: Tue Feb 20th, 2007
Location: Orlando, Florida USA
Posts: 13
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Mana: 
Honest, I never expected to be

So richly blessed by a gifted response

Under the charm of wit-filled flattery

I shall sit and get to writing at once

 

I believe different generations

Finds their own zeitgeist-y applications

Utilizing Will’s timely creations

To apply to their own situations

 

For me, I feel gender correlations

And gender identity mutations

Of course, have been displayed in the Bard’s plays

But could be again in more modern ways

 

The point is perhaps that every age

Has made Shakespeare the master of the stage

Not just by Will’s genius, or his great wit,

But our tailoring talents also fit

His brilliant cloth to our more modern dress

And this way, we possessed also possess

The skill to make a legend from such cloths

That might have been otherwise lost to moths

 

Thoughts?  Ideas?  Am I being far too bold?

By the way, your response was like pure gold!

Thank you thank you thank you and once again

Before I wear out method and refrain

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 Posted: Tue May 8th, 2007 01:44 am
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schmacko
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Joined: Tue Feb 20th, 2007
Location: Orlando, Florida USA
Posts: 13
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Mana: 
Just wanted to post that this got accepted in The Seven, a 10-minute play festival at FUSION Theatre in Albuquerque, NM.  Whoo hoo!

Thanks for your input.  Still working on the next few scenes.

 

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