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Indifference  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: Tue Aug 29th, 2006 02:40 am
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fred
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Mana: 
With much thanks to the group who gave me more insight in revising this piece, below you'll see my second draft. 

At rise: JAKE and MANDEE are in the busy section of downtown holding up signs. One sign reads “PROTEST” while the other one reads “ JUSTICE”

                                                                                


MANDEE


You think we’re being ignored?

 


JAKE


Yeah. Why is that?

 


MANDEE


I don’t know. Perhaps it’s in our message.

 


JAKE


(Looks at their signs) What’s wrong with it?

 


MANDEE


Perhaps we’re not clear in conveying it to the populous.

 


JAKE


(Looks at signs again) I can’t see how. What more can we say?  I think we’re being right to the point.

 


MANDEE


Point of what?

 


JAKE


You can’t see it?!

 


MANDEE


It doesn’t matter whether I can. What matters is reaching the consciousness of the people. And so far, none of them seem to care.

 


JAKE


Then what should we do, take our clothes off?

 


MANDEE


That would be the antithesis of our mission.

 


JAKE


It only goes to show, in the scheme of life, where people’s mindsets are generally.

 


MANDEE


What are you saying?


 



JAKE


I’m saying that the masses are asses.

 


MANDEE


(referring to him) Just like an arrogant, totalitarian fascist.

 


JAKE


More like a pragmatist, I’d say.

 


MANDEE


How can you stand there holding that sign and having condescending thoughts of the people we’re here to protect?

 


JAKE


Huh! Look who’s calling the kettle metal. Will you listen to yourself? Who made you the arc angel of society? Has it ever occurred to you that they don’t need you? Maybe, they’re fully aware of the issue at hand and don’t need some left, pinko commie telling them what to care or not care about.

 


MANDEE


There you go again with your conjectural labels, painting a broad brush from your perception or lack of on people you would soon dismiss before giving any thought or credence to.

 


JAKE


I’m just being for real, that’s all.

 


MANDEE


Okay. Alright. Since we’re all about truth. When was the last time you voted?

 


JAKE


What?

 


MANDEE


You heard me.

 


JAKE


What does it matter? Both parties are corrupt. The bottom line is power. And money breeds it. That’s why you have these multi-millionaires running for political office so they can extort us with their oppressive tax laws.

 


MANDEE


What a cop out! If anything’s going to change it has to come from the grassroots controlling government.

 


JAKE


God help us all if that happens.

 


MANDEE


What?!

 


JAKE


How do you expect to improve the conditions of this society when there’s a great gap in the number of people who are functionally illiterate?  You can’t without the majority seeking knowledge and being educated. Which comes back to the masses being asses.

 


MANDEE


I find you repulsive, you know that? I mean, I don’t know why the hell I’m here with you but I can’t be so selfish and not see the bigger picture.


 



JAKE


Which is?

 


MANDEE


The “cause,” you asshole!

 


JAKE


You know, you’re beginning to piss me off.

 


MANDEE


Good! You need to get mad enough and get off your decrepit, high horse of a soap box and make things happen, instead of spouting useless ideologies that don’t fly with these proletariats.

 


JAKE


Oh yeah?! Well what if I told you I was held hostage for carrying out what I believe in?


 



MANDEE


(Begins to show interest) Who were they?!

 


JAKE


I don’t know. All I know was I was slapping posters for the anti-war rally when, all of a sudden, I was bitch slapped from behind and blind folded.

 


MANDEE


Well, how did you get freed?

 


JAKE


A homeless dude saw me in the alley and uncovered my eyes.

 


MANDEE


You were mugged, stupid.

 

 


JAKE


(Getting upset ) You know, you know… you have a misguided concept of why you’re here.

 


MANDEE


I know why I’m here. You, on the other hand, are clueless.

 


JAKE


Like if I really give a shit!

 


MANDEE


See what I mean?

 


JAKE


Wait a minute, wait a minute! Aren’t we suppose to be doing this for the same reasons?

 


MANDEE


So I thought.

 


JAKE


Then what’s your problem?

 


MANDEE


My problem?

 


JAKE


I’m looking here at you and you know what I see? I see someone who talks about fair treatment to all but is wearing a $125 Oscar de la Renta T-shirt that’s been bought in Bloomingdales or perhaps Walmart –

 


MANDEE


Walmart?!

 


JAKE


While millions of people are enslaved in those gruesome factories in China or India to see that you look good for today.  Ever gave any thought to that or are you just “dismissing” it because it’s not a priority in your evangelical mission?

 


MANDEE


(smirks) Now, I know where this hostility’s coming from. You’re still being supported by your folks, aren’t you?  What happened? (teasingly)Big Daddy took you off the dole?

 


JAKE


Daaa! Like that makes any difference?  I’m my own person.

 

 


MANDEE


(sarcastically) Right.  As usual, you must’ve botched up your grades this past semester.

 


JAKE


(defensive) What’s it to you?!

 


MANDEE


Humph! Nothing.

 


JAKE


I got three C’s and a D. What more does he want? College is bogus, man. It’s not about learning. It’s all about capitalism and the creative ways to exploit students. I refuse to be a hypocrite about it. I’m quitting school.

 


MANDEE


(somewhat surprised) He stopped paying your living expenses?

 


JAKE


Can you believe that shit?! He is what’s wrong with this country. And you know what?  I can do without him. I don’t need his money. I NEED A FUCKIN’ JOB!!!  Christ!

 

Frustrated, he rips his sign in half.

 


MANDEE


What are you doing?!

 


JAKE


I need another way to support myself or else I’ll lose my apartment, my self-esteem and my life, if I don’t pay back the ounce of pot I owe this dude.

 


MANDEE


You’re pathetic.

 


JAKE


Oh yeah, oh yeah?! Well, what would you do?

 


MANDEE


I’d be a man.

 


JAKE


You fuckin’ sexist!

 


MANDEE


Hello! We are in a revolution, you know. And as you said, it’s hypocritical of you to only think about your material loses.

 


 



JAKE


Oh yeah?

 


MANDEE


Yeah!

 


JAKE


Ok! Ok! Well then since we’re talking the same language, how about giving up your protective, suburban lifestyle and live on the streets like I’m about to?

 


MANDEE


And what point will that prove?

 


JAKE


That your ass stinks just as bad as mine. You know, damn well, you wouldn’t give up the things you have already.

 


MANDEE


You’re forgetting the cause.

 


JAKE


I AM THE CAUSE, GODDAMMIT! Now, I’ll have to go on food stamps. Wait on cheese lines and soup kitchens.  Who knows what kind of shelter I’ll be in?  It could–

 


MANDEE


Yeah, yeah whatever! (Getting annoyed) You know what? You’re really giving me bad karma. I need you out of my space.

 

JAKE stares at her and then grabs her sign and walks off.

 


MANDEE


HEY! YOU FORGET I PAID FOR THOSE SIGNS, NOT TO MENTION THE CARFARE TO BRING YOU DOWN HERE…(Slight pause) CHEAPSKATE!!!

 


 



Blackout


 

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 Posted: Tue Aug 29th, 2006 04:50 pm
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Edd
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Mana: 
Fred,

I read this twice—the first time at a performance pace and the second time word by word. I wasn't aware of other versions so this is my first introduction to this play.

Having taken part in numerous demonstrations against the war in Viet Nam and for gay rights here in America, I know how some demonstrators become more wrapped up in the demonstration itself at the expense of the cause and how the protest satisfies in some a sense of duty-completed and a sense of satisfaction akin to the person who gives a quarter to a street person and then goes about their day feeling satisfied for demonstrating a magnificent gesture of altruism.  You got that across in your play and it worked well.

When I came across words such as proletariat, populous, antithesis and totalitarian, I remember those words being tossed about during the Sixties.  However, at this day and age they sounded out of place, jarring and caused me to stumble over them.  They did not ring true to the characters as written. They seemed out of place and slowed the action.  The thoughts behind to words are sadly missing in today’s society—even with those on the far Left.  Your characters have a very casual and engaging speech pattern that is broken and out of character when they speak those words which seem more like the author speaking.  

My God, how many issues do you address?  There is the problem of too few citizens not exercising their privilege to vote.  There is the issue of homelessness, especially in a country that could irradiate the problem by not wasting resources on war and lining the pockets of the rich and the corporate rapists.  There is the issue of the “dumbing down” of America where only the rich can afford to go to college (including State schools), thereby reinforcing the worst of Capitalism and assuring a sizable working class.  There is the issue of conspicuous consumption, another black eye on the face of Capitalism, not to mention the soul of America.  There is the fascism of the political and financial interests of the corporations that have been given carte blanche to rape and pillage the American middleclass.  And finally, there are the unscrupulous business practices of Wal-Mart.  All this, in my mind, boils down to a single American problem—the despicable and uncaring corruption and decay of an anti-Humanistic society.  Yes, indeed, you touched each and every one of those issues ever so briefly and therein lay the problem—you explored nothing that would demonstrate anything new, provocative, evocative, thoughtful or even a clue to solving any of the problems—merely finger-pointing.  You will not change one mind with this play as it is written.

I very much like the idea of your play, Fred.  I also think the setting original and perfect for a play this size.  It has tremendous potential as a think-piece and also as entertainment.  I have learned that the old fly and honey adage is as true today as it ever was.  Through comedy we can get tough, uncomfortable subjects from off the boards and into the group mind of the audience.  Your play has all the elements of comedy.  You have a wonderful touch for it, your characters are quite humorous in themselves, but with bringing in so many subjects you end up doing justice to none.  I suspect that you can bring in all those subjects under one umbrella by not directly addressing any of them and letting the characters show us in a humorous way by how they act and react to each other.  And while on the subject of their showing us—that is exactly what makes a play a play.  As playwrights we are required to show and not tell.  Leave telling to the novelists and the fishermen’s wives.

Fred, this play could be wonderful and I’ve no doubt that you could make it so.

Thank you for allowing me to ramble.  And please keep in mind that I am only one struggling playwright as are the rest of us.  I only know what I like and everything is but opinion.  I am an authority on nothing.  

Edd

P.S. One of my plays is titled Indifference. :>)

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 Posted: Tue Aug 29th, 2006 10:59 pm
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katoagogo
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Mana: 
I like the revisions a whole lot.

I also like that all of those "issues" get glommed together. The play isn't about the issues, it's about the people latching on to catch phrases and substiting that for rational thought. At least, that's what I got from it.

It kept me in. I loved the jargon of the protest. I loved the rhyming paste-it-in phrases the guy uses.

It's a fun romp thru misguided miscommunication.

I dig it.

--Kato

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 Posted: Wed Aug 30th, 2006 01:19 pm
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fred
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Mana: 
Years ago, I knew this teacher who worked in a junior high school in an impoverished area in New York City called the Lower East Side.  He wanted to make a difference. He wanted to save his students from their harsh environment and introduce them to other alternatives. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get their cooperation or respect or appreciation for his efforts. His mistake was he looked at these "poor disabled students" as a “cause” rather than looking at them individually as human beings with their own diverse personalities. The only thing that stood out, to the people he wanted to make a difference for, was that he was indifferent. Hardly did he spend the time to truly get to know them. That’s the basic message I was trying to elicit. Kato articulated that well for me. The play is not about addressing the issues. It’s about the apathy to communicate and perhaps suggesting in the play the reasons for it, especially for those who deem themselves politically correct on social matters.

 

Thanks Edd and Kato for your comments. It helped me look at this piece in other ways.   

 

 

Fred

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 Posted: Sun Nov 12th, 2006 07:05 pm
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Paddy
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Mana: 
Nice rewrite.

I liked the over-topic'd, over-used slogans.  They made the characters flail, which I expect them to.  This is such a nice piece.

One thing...I would like to see this build to a crecendo at the end, so the ripping of the sign is more justified.

Paddy

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