A contemporary anti-play with two characters–males–confronted with existential questions, trying to come to terms with who they are, and the total absurdity of life.
Nature is tremendously shifty.
Nonbeing is truly seen.
Not include tense scenarios.
Never invite the sufferer.
No indulging the slaves.
Nothingness of shadow life.
Natural in the obscure.
Nowhere into the gloom.
Now into the burden.
No one is cruelly innocent.
GENO – HENDY
As the curtains open, we see a room that resembles a small warehouse. The walls are painted with a tired somber color, and fading. The lighting is lugubrious. There are a few metal shelves lining up the walls on both sides of the room, and all of them are holding bundles of cardboard. The place has a feeling of something that has been forgotten. Down stage right closer to the proscenium, there is a plastic bucket with a mop in it, and right next to it there is a bunch of old boxes, decrepit.
Up stage, there is a door painted red at the very back of the room, at a 45-degree angle with the sign Exit, painted black, in the center. And high above the door there is a window, but no light comes out of it. It has bars on it. Next to the door, there is an old-fashioned telephone cabin. The door is open. The phone is dangling. We see two men—GENO and HENDY—standing around a table in the middle of the room. There are two stools and a chair right next to the table. The men are of indeterminate age, though, HENDY appears to be younger than GENO. They are wearing indistinguishable clothing.
GENO and HENDY’s attitude throughout the play is that they neither like nor dislike the other. They are both stuck with each other not by choice; strangers thrown together by the paradox of existence. The men are assembling or trying to assemble cardboard boxes. The only sound heard is the noise the cardboard makes as they work. Assembling the boxes is all the actors will do. Only a few boxes should be assembled during the play. It is more like an illusion than an actual reality. It should be done in a staccato and fruitless manner; an act of Sisyphean submissiveness. The ambiance is corroded, old, and rank, something that life has not favored. The time is undecided. The location: anywhere. The sentiment: deception.
HENDY: Hey, Geno, we need more tape.
(He shows a roll of clear plastic packing
tape, which is nearly gone.)
GENO: I know. Did you check back there?
(HENDY walks toward the back. He picks
up a box and turns it over, it’s empty.)
HENDY: I think this was the last one.
GENO: How about the cabin?
HENDY: The cabin?
GENO: Yeah, the cabin.
HENDY: Why would the tape be in the cabin?
GENO: Hey, we’re dealing with crazies around here.
(HENDY walks to the cabin and looks. He
ignores the dangling phone.)
HENDY: There is no tape in here.
GENO: I thought it might be there.
HENDY: How about in the hallway?
GENO: (exasperated). I don’t know. Have a look.
(HENDY walks to the door, opens it and
disappears for a few moments.)
HENDY: (off stage). What the hell . . .
(HENDY enters the room and he is
carrying four bundles of cardboard and
dumps them on the table.)
GENO: What’s this?
HENDY: They were outside. I wonder how long they’ve
been sitting out there.
GENO: We don’t have tape and now we’ve got more
boxes to assemble?
HENDY: It’s ridiculous?
GENO: And there was no tape with these things?
GENO: Are you sure?
HENDY: (put off). Check it out if you don’t believe me.
(GENO walks to the door, steps out for a
moment, then reenters the room. He
closes the door.)
HENDY: (cynical). Satisfied now?
GENO: Take it easy.
HENDY: (pause). Sorry . . .
GENO: It’s OK.
(GENO walks back to the table.)
HENDY: How are we gonna get all of these boxes
assembled if we don’t have packing tape?
GENO: I don’t know.
HENDY: Man, we’ve been dealing with this nonsense for so
long now . . . it’s useless . . .
(He walks to the back of the room and
stands looking at the metal racks,
I thought these were the last ones . . .
GENO: (pause). I don’t know if you’ve noticed but these
boxes have been assembled before.
HENDY: By us?
GENO: I don’t know. There are traces of tape on them
so someone has been peeling the tape off these
boxes, why? So we can glue them over again?
HENDY: Maybe we’re into the save the earth cycle.
GENO: Save the earth . . . yeah . . .
HENDY: (pause). So what do we do? We’re gonna get
behind with no tape.
GENO: It’s not our fault.
HENDY: It’s always our fault. Don’t you know that?
GENO: (bitter). I’m sick of dealing with this crap. It’s the
same, day in and day out.
HENDY: (facetiously). Why don’t you submit a petition to
the powers-that- be asking for changes in
GENO: (cynical). Yeah, a petition. I love that.
HENDY: You’re new around here, they might listen to you.
GENO: What, they don’t listen to you?
HENDY: No. Try it what do you have to lose?
HENDY: Time, that’s all we have.
GENO: I don’t like to waste it.
HENDY: Are you saving it for a reason, somehow?
GENO: (cynically). Yeah, I’m saving it in a time-capsule
so I can use it later to catch a bus and go see a man
about a cat.
HENDY: That’s funny. I thought it was “go see a man about
GENO: I don’t like dogs.
HENDY: Oh, excuse me Mr. Cat man.
GENO: No, it’s not true, I also like dogs.
HENDY: I like dogs. Actually, I’m allergic to cats. I once
read about some French guy who wrote that the
more he looked at mankind, the more he loved
GENO: De La Fontaine.
HENDY: De la what?
GENO: That’s the guy who wrote it.
HENDY: Maybe he was allergic to cats. (pause). Where did
you learn that?
GENO: School, when I was a kid.
HENDY: Are you French?
HENDY: What kind of school did you go to?
GENO: Parochial school.
HENDY: Do they teach Frog in parochial school?
GENO: One of the nuns was French, so she told us about
the guy who wrote that.
HENDY: If it wasn’t for the women, I’d hate the French.
Lots of French women are l lovely, slim and sexy
. . . and très (he pronounces it as: tray) chic.
GENO: It’s true
HENDY: So, you’re a religious guy.
GENO: What gave you that idea?
HENDY: Well, you went to catholic school, you know,
rosaries, confession, communion, redemption, all
of the good stuff.
GENO: Yeah, all of the good stuff.
HENDY: I hear the nuns are pretty tough.
GENO: They are.
HENDY: The nuns in your school, were they good-looking
GENO: I never thought of the nuns as being “good-
looking babes.” They were nuns. I was just a kid,
HENDY: Well, some of them are good-looking.
GENO: Yeah, I guess so. Where did you go to school?
HENDY: I didn’t go to parochial school. As a kid, I went to a
regular school. My parents were not religious.
GENO: Mine weren’t either. They just thought I needed a
bit more discipline.
HENDY: And the nuns were the enforcers.
GENO: Yeah. Tough women.