Daydreams of Ginsberg and Woodstock

Daydreams of Ginsberg and Woodstock

A Stage Play by Fictari
"

In the summer of 1968, two young men, one a Beatnik and the other a Hippie, meet for the first time. Not only must they contend with living in a conservative community, but their own dark demons.

"

Daydreams of Ginsberg & Woodstock

A 2-Act play by Daniel Aaron Hudson

“You were not there for the beginning. You will not be there for the end. Your knowledge of what is going on can only be superficial and relative.” ― William S. Burroughs (Naked Lunch)

Prologue:

[The stage is very dimly lit. In the center is a dirty and torn up couch, upon which a disheveled man in an homogenous military uniform sits proudly. Blood is splattered against his knuckles. The man is obviously arrogant, and very cruel. A small pistol lies on the couch next to him. To his far right is an open doorway that we can't really see in well, but is the kitchen,which has been ravaged by violence. The rest of the set is dirty and torn up carpet, and a few random pieces of crappy furniture.]

MAN: [Spits,speaks towards the kitchen.] F*****g pig.

[The man thrusts himself upwards angrily and starts to pace. He lights up a cigarette as he paces back and forth in a short spasm of fury. This goes on for about fifteen seconds. He stops with a jerk; so overcome with anger that he is momentarily paralyzed.]

MAN: Is this all our dreams amount to?! To die in a f*****g hovel?! We dream of glories to last a thousand years, and how does the world reward our efforts?! By drowning them in s**t!

[The man quakes with utter fury, and it just builds and builds. Within about twenty seconds of his outburst, he explodes, and begins to scream in rage. He kicks over and smashes anything he can in a senseless rage. It may be a tantrum, but it’s freakin’ terrifying to behold. After his rage he begins to cool off. He is still furious, but he stops screaming and slowly stops his rampage. He just stands there, settling down from the adrenaline high.]

MAN: It’s all gone to s**t...because of you....

[Man spits again, in the direction of the kitchen. The man storms off-stage. Rummaging sounds can be heard, as he goes through some things in the garage. He quickly finds what he is looking for and comes back on stage. He is holding a bucket of gasoline. He stands outside the kitchen and throws the gasoline from the container into it. The man stares into kitchen, voice accepting of what is to happen, yet tinged with malice. He pulls his cigarette from his mouth and holds it loosely between his fingers. He stares in, takes one last quick drag from it, and throws the cigarette inside the gasoline-soaked kitchen. The dim lights slowly go down as the room inside starts to burn.]

Act 1 Scene 1:

[Scene opens in a small coffee shop. Our first protagonist, Ginsberg, sits at a table with a small coffee and writes. He is at a window seat, but for the sake of practicality, there is no window to speak of. Thank god for willing suspension of disbelief. Across all of Downstage is the outside world. The few others in the coffee bar are like Ginsberg: Beatniks off on their own, smoking, many watching around them in disdain.]

GINSBERG [aside,writing it all down in the notebook]: Smoke and human thoughts, the only things which will drown out the propaganda-language which ferments in the guttered minds of society. [Stares outside the window for a few seconds in contempt and disgust at what he sees. This must NOT be overplayed. No part of this show should unless it is specifically mentioned it should be. He goes back to writing.] It's a grotesque horror akin to a sewer system. S**t comes in and s**t comes out. Like some industrial factory from the bowels of Mammon. [Flicks some ash from his cigarette into an ashtray. He utilizes this lack of a cigarette in his mouth to drink some coffee.] Artificially inseminating us with conformist culture before telling the men to do it physically. Telling the women to turn their vagina into a conveyer belt of screaming little conformist consumers. Retarding the Products with daily overdoses of s****y culture. [Takes a drag of his cigarette to calm down. He is starting to shake a little bit in an anxiety fit.] F*****g sickening.

[Ginsberg starts to shake more noticeably. Trembling, he drops his cigarette on the table, and can't pick it up well with his shaking. He casts a glance backward, looking for help.]

GINSBERG: Franklin! Hey, join me over here, will you!

[A lanky man within a few tables of Ginsberg walks to the table and sits down with him.]

FRANKLIN: Nice of you to finally be sociable--what the hell? Are you--

GINSBERG: Use a bit of goddamn discrepancy, will you?  Not everyone in here needs to know.

FRANKLIN: You're shaking like the coins in a banker’s pockets; you're not doing yourself any favors in the discrete department.

GINSBERG [Exasperated]: Just shut up Franklin! Do you have any strong marijuana for sale or not?

FRANKLIN: Of course.

[Ginsberg shakily retrieves a ten dollar bill from his inner-coat pocket and awkwardly smacks it down on the table. Franklin looks at it, at Ginsberg, and back at the money, as if he can't believe it.]

FRANKLIN: What the hell is this?

GINSBERG: It's a ten.

FRANKLIN: Well no s**t, but the question is what IS it?

GINSBERG: It's United States paper currency.

FRANKLIN: Paper. It's just paper with a pretty picture on it that America tells you actually means something. It doesn't mean anything to me--

GINSBERG: I agree in theory, but intellect and passion won't get you drugs, books, or sex. [Ginsberg waits for Franklin to get the hint, but he doesn't. Finally, forcefully:] Take the goddamn money.

[Silence as the two stare at the money.]

FRANKLIN: [Takes money.] I guess so. Well, [tosses Ginsberg a small bag filled with pot.] here you go.

GINSBERG: Thanks. You got me out of the frying pan.

[A naked hippie named Woodstock comes onstage and is promptly beaten down by a police officer with a baton. Ginsberg takes a second to notice, but when he does it wipes the small smile of relief from his face.]

GINSBERG:....And into the fire....

[Ginsberg leaps up from his table and runs outside to challenge the police officer. During this whole exchange, an escalating struggle occurs, which quickly turns physical.]

GINSBERG: What the hell are you doing?

OFFICER WALLACE: Watch yer mouth ya little snot.

GINSBERG: What the f**k did he do wrong? Be naked? Violate your bullshit standards of decency?

OFFICER WALLACE: Kid, stop actin’ like a n****r and back off before I book yer worthless a*s fer bein' a punk.

GINSBERG: [Punches Officer Wallace across the face.] B*****d! [Kicks him in the gut once for good measure. He scoops up the naked man and drags him offstage in a hurry. The cop struggles up through the haze of pain after they have left. He mutters a garbled curse as he gets to his feet. As a reward, the lights go down on him, ending the scene.]

Act 1 Scene 2:

[Lights come up to reveal Woodstock sitting naked upon the banks of a river. The edge of the stage should be the shoreline; Woodstock should be straddling the fine line between Centerstage and Down-Center. He sits and watches the natural world serenely. A bird chirps offstage, and Woodstock excitedly searches for the source of the chirp. Alas, he cannot find it, and goes back to appreciating the world around him. Ginsberg stumbles on from offstage, holding a lunch-pail as well as a pair of pants and a tee-shirt. He sits down next to Woodstock, opens the lunch-pail, and pulls out two sandwiches. One is politely offered to Woodstock, who takes it happily and eats it. Ginsberg chews thoughtfully for a moment on his before his curiosity overtakes him.]

GINSBERG: What were you doing, today? Why were you naked in the street?

WOODSTOCK: I felt this powerful urge to walk, utterly naked to the world.

GINSBERG: So you weren’t fighting against the Factory?

WOODSTOCK: Not everything needs to be a fight, my brother.

GINSBERG: Human existence is centered around conflict. It’s up to us to fight on the right side of any conflict, no matter the scale.

WOODSTOCK: And look where that’s gotten the human race. All we’ve ever done is drown in blood and fire. The Crusades, the Trail of Tears, the bullshit war in Vietnam [A sudden thought sobers him up off of the drunkenness of his anger.] ....murdered children....

GINSBERG: [Surprised a little.] You’re a townie?

WOODSTOCK: Yeah. Born and raised.

[They both sit in silence, reflecting back on brutal memories of a young boy beaten to death by his father, his corpse set aflame. It has come to shape them, mold them, from the very days of their childhood.]

GINSBERG: [Stares up at the sky and asks himself]: How could any God allow all of this to happen?

[Silence for a few seconds. Ginsberg snaps out of the isolated world of his mind as Woodstock speaks out of the blue.]

WOODSTOCK: You know how we categorize things? Like, even though F.Scott Fitzgerald and Robert Crumb are very different people, we say they are writers. When we do that we don’t stop to think of the distinctions between the two; they are bound together by a unifier. I think of God the same way. To me, God is just the name of everything, grouped together into a single abstract form, with infinite physical definition. God can’t stop or start anything because God is everything.

GINSBERG: [Lips curl ever so slightly in a smile as he digests all of this info.] That makes a hell of a lot more sense than the bearded voyeur in the sky so many make him out to be. All those years they peddled to me that image of a father who was always there for you, and so many swallow it without question. [Hand starts noticeably shaking again.] “The junk merchant doesn't sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to his product. He does not improve and simplify his merchandise. He degrades and simplifies the client.”

WOODSTOCK: Burroughs fan, huh? Then I assume you agree with Marx on religion being “the opiate of the masses”?

GINSBERG: Only when even the supposedly sacred becomes just another piece of f*****g advertising.

[All falls silent as the two stare off across the water, deep in thought about what Ginsberg just said. Ginsberg pulls the pot out of his pocket and rolls it into a doobie to smoke. Upon finishing he lights up and smokes it, breathing it in deep. His shaking relaxes a little. Woodstock watches once he smells the marijuana. Looking over, he sees Ginsberg’s hand shake and steady, but he says nothing and looks back out across the river.]

WOODSTOCK: To see the holy whored out by the greed of capitalism is agonizing to watch. Yet we have to remember that those gods, real or not, are zillions of times more immense and important than money will ever be. One day the paper and the coins will come back to the earth, but the stories we tell of the adventures and trials of the gods will outlive even nuclear holocaust.

GINSBERG:[Looks over at Woodstock and smiles.] Oh boy, another f*****g romantic. [He offers the doobie to Woodstock, which the latter gladly takes.] I like you. You may be a romantic, but you're romantic about the right things. At least you're not masturbating to the suburbs and the American flag with a lunatic smile on your face. [Woodstock smiles and chuckles a little bit. It is infectious and spreads to Ginsberg. The chuckles die away, but the smiles do not.] I like you. You're a breath of fresh air amid a methane-sky generated by horseshit.

WOODSTOCK: [Laughs] I like you too, even though you’re a tightass cynic.

[They softly laugh for a little bit before slowly falling silent. They stare out across the water, content and smiling. Ginsberg snaps out suddenly, as curiosity takes hold.]

GINSBERG: Hey, if you're a townie, how come I've never seen you around?

WOODSTOCK: Oh you've probably seen my body before, but me, I'm homeless. Live under the bridge with a few guys.

GINSBERG: What the f**k does that mean?

WOODSTOCK: Being homeless, I need somewhere to stay-

GINSBERG: No, I got that! I mean, what the hell do you mean "your body"?

WOODSTOCK: Well, I think of my body as my biological self. It's lived on earth for seventeen years. But my true self, my psyche, my identity, has only existed for about three. I became tired of all of the bullshit at home. My folks used to strut me around in this ugly little turtleneck, and tell everyone I was gonna be a dentist, and that I was gonna marry a "sweet little lady" and father kids. From the age of six until I was fourteen they did this, and I didn't protest once. [Sighs.] But one day, on the way to church, I heard "Strawberry Fields Forever" playing outta shop window. My parents dismissed it as garbage, but it made me realize, that week, actually, that I was basically their b***h. I existed just to fulfill the dreams they couldn't. [Smiles.] Pretty soon after I more or less became who I am today. I rebelled. Small stuff at first. I bought Magical Mystery Tour and played it non-stop. It drove them nuts. But one day, when they were strutting me around at a party, I stood up for myself. I told them, in front of everyone, that maybe I didn't want to be a dentist. Maybe I wanted to be an an actor, or a painter. [Voice becomes more serious as the weight of what happened comes down upon him.] Dad slapped me and said he didn't fight the Japs so that I could waste my life on nonsense. So I just took off the turtleneck and dropped it on the ground. Everyone knew what it meant. Especially my parents. Dad took me home and beat the s**t out of me. Next night I left the house forever. Been on my own ever since. Been who I truly am ever since.

[Silence, as Ginsberg digests this info while Woodstock stews in his memories and the pain inherent in them.]

GINSBERG: What’s your name?

WOODSTOCK: Woodstock. Yours?

GINSBERG: Ginsberg. So, Woodstock, do you need a place to stay? Food?

WOODSTOCK: I like my home under the bridge, but I'd love some food!

GINSBERG: Well if you're ever hungry, swing by my house. Just come in the back and quietly go upstairs. Dad will be at work, and Mom will probably be drunk and sleeping as much of it off as she can before Dad gets home. Just knock on my door and I'll get you some food from the pantry.

WOODSTOCK: Thanks, brother!

GINSBERG: Don't mention it. Let me take you there now; show you where it is.

[The two stand up and exit from whence Ginsberg came in the beginning of the scene. On their way off, Woodstock grabs the clothes. As they head off the lights go down, ending the scene.]

Act 1 Scene 3:

[While the stage is being set up for this scene, the voice of Mayor J. Edgar will fill the auditorium as he gives a political speech. Lights come up to reveal a tall stage, upon which a podium with a microphone stands. Behind it stands Mayor J. Edgar, who will be continuing his speech from when the lights were down. Next to him stand three silent and subtly ominous police officers, including Officer Wallace. A throng of a couple dozen people stand in front of the stage listen with apt attention. Ginsberg and Woodstock watch in the back, the former with disdain and the latter with incredulity.]

MAYOR J. EDGAR: [In the blackout] In this perilous age of social and political turmoil, we must stand united. As the American Family, we must fight against the vicious wave of subversives that wish to destroy the American People and the American Dream. We cannot sit idly by and allow them to set aflame our values, our very way of life. If we do not combat such ignorant subversives, these United States will fall under the crushing bootheel of tyranny and immorality. Do you want that, my American Family?

CROWD: [Lights come up] NO!!

MAYOR J. EDGAR: Of course you don’t, because you’re AMERICANS, the greatest people on God’s great Earth! [Cheers from the crowd.] You will always do what’s right because that is how God bred you to be! We are His children, His missionaries, the holy doers of His will! [The lights go down except for a spotlight on Woodstock and Ginsberg. Woodstock starts to shake as some subtle lights flicker around the edges of our perception. Mayor J. Edgar’s voice falls silent under a harsh ringing noise. Soon, without Ginsberg noticing, Woodstock quietly sits curled up in a ball upon the ground. He squeezes his eyes shut hard multiple times, as if he has something in his eye, but to no avail. While this is going on, the actor playing Mayor J. Edgar will change into a satanic mask and will affix fake, long, sharp black nails to his fingertips. Red fingerless gloves will be placed on his hands before the nails. When the actor is ready, the lights will come up, revealing this demonic entity to us. But his audience sees nothing unusual, nor do they hear anything unusual in his voice as his voice turns frightening and grotesque, but also sly and cruelly charismatic:] Listen to me, you f*****g sheep. If the n*****s and the f*****s and the f*****g commies aren’t crucified and burned, they’ll destabilize our society of exploitation. [Woodstock’s eyes widen in terror. He slowly stands up and gazes at the evil creature before everyone.] Can you imagine what would happen if one of these little c***s were not treated like the little shitstains they are? Our power over you would wane; the elite of this country drowned in a sea of s**t! You might realize we f*****g breed and feast on you like pigs, and then we’re well and truly fucked. So don’t think, you retarded piles of excrement, and pledge yourselves to hatred! Enforce the status quo through hatred and violence and blind fear! Fatten us with your cruelty, your money, and your pathetic f*****g devotion!

WOODSTOCK: [Whispers in fear:] Dear Gods....

[Ginsberg finally notices Woodstock and turns to face him. Woodstock is shaking and looking terrified. He is unsure what to do at first, but he grabs onto Woodstock's arm. As he does this the lights go down except for an intense spotlight on Woodstock and Ginsberg, as well as the piercing ringing noise from before. During this time the actor playing Mayor J. Edgar should change out of his satanic costume and back to what he was before.]

GINSBERG: Woodstock? Woodstock? Are you ok? [Woodstock sits down, knees up to his face, hands held to his head to block out the excruciating noise.] Oh hell...Christ...Let’s get you out of here. [Helps Woodstock across the stage as the lights come back on. The Mayor’s speech starts up with the lights, back to normal now. The crowd is aroused with intense passion.]

MAYOR J. EDGAR: My American Family, now is the time to act! Now is the time to stand up for our fine family values! NOW is the time for America, land of the free, and home of the brave! [The lights go down as the Mayor’s speech fades.] Stand with me and we will show the world why we are God’s chosen country! [End scene.]

Act 1 Scene 4:

[Lights come up to reveal a single bed, a small nightstand with a lamp on it, and a chair. Ginsberg sits in the chair, speaking aloud the poetry he writes across the pages of his notebook. Woodstock sleeps deeply on the bed. A baseball bat lies against the side of the headboard of the bed. ]

GINSBERG: Phantom bloodstains unwashed away, reeking of fear and naive incomprehension; of s**t and piss stewed from the bowels of human consciousness, projected across the floor as if from the discarded carcasses of fire-hoses going through the ghost motions. [Ginsberg squeezes his eyes shut and rubs them hard before continuing.] He hangs mutilated on trees blooming with scratchy newspaper, as all bend to Moloch in His cathedrals. [Ginsberg starts shaking slowly again. It escalates slowly with every word.] He screams in screeching, Capital tongues: “Sacrifice Sacrifice the Children! Let them come unto me! Jobian floozies, sell your sacred anatomy on dirty streets littered with the refuse of your morality!” [By now his shaking is getting slightly spasmodic.] Crucified on the pirated symbol of Jainism, blood starkly painting the world beyond his purity. Tethered to a moon orbiting our consciousness... [Now his shaking intensifies to painful, trembling jerks. He is growing furious at his shaking too, which is only making it worse.] ...the flag drips his blood onto us.... [Furious, deranged, anxious:] BAPTISING US LIKE F*****G CONCRETE SLAUGHTERHOUSE FLOORS!!!! [Ginsberg leaps from his chair, accidentally drops the notebook on the floor, and in a fit of anxiety and fury, kicks the chair hard against the side of the bed. Woodstock is woken up by this. Ginsberg searches frantically for a blunt in his pocket, as well as his lighter, as Woodstock quietly struggles awake. Woodstock watches Ginsberg’s meltdown as the latter jams the blunt into his mouth and lights it. Our dear friend Ginsberg falls on his a*s as he takes in the smoke, shaking like a tree in a storm, and slowly comes down to normal. Woodstock watches this with intense concern, unknown to Ginsberg. It takes a couple of minutes, but Ginsberg finally calms down to a manageable level, which prompts Woodstock to say:]

WOODSTOCK: Hey, man, [Ginsberg snaps upward in shock at hearing Woodstock talking.] are you ok? Brother, what happened to you?

GINSBERG: [Jumps up furiously. Defensively:] Me?! Am I ok?! For f***s sake, I should be f*****g asking you! You have a f*****g mental breakdown at the Mayor’s f*****g bullshit session, and you have the f*****g audacity to ask what the f**k happened to me?! What about you?! What the f**k was that crazy bullshit you pulled?!

[Tense silence as Ginsberg deliberately falls on his a*s onto the floor. He is shaking heavily again, so he takes long, pained drags from his blunt. Woodstock has no idea what the hell just happened, but he cares deeply. As soon as Ginsberg has calmed down, Woodstock says:]

WOODSTOCK: Sometimes I experience things. Things that other people don’t. Like, I see and hear things that aren’t real for most people, but they are for me. It’s like...complete hallucination of all of the senses. Things in my head get distorted. Like, at the Mayor’s speech today, I saw him turn into Satan, and tell his followers...well, all the bullshit that lies beneath the words; the disgusting, vicious, hateful meaning hidden in the jargon. I saw that fascist b*****d for what he really is, but no one else could see...what I experienced was a flaying, like, stripping away the illusion and presenting what it really was. You experienced the bullshit, I know, but what you didn’t experience was the deconstruction of it by all my senses. I dunno how to describe it. Sometimes I just experience mild hallucinations, psychedelic stuff, like kaleidoscopic court jesters and laughing tigers. Other times I experience things like people as horny rabbits who just want to f**k and f**k and f**k, endless f*****g, but they’re embarrassed and ashamed of their libido. Things as they truly are, brother.

[(Brief) Silence again, as the two are wrapped up in thought about what Woodstock just said.]

GINSBERG: Do you use psychoactive drugs frequently?

WOODSTOCK: Sometimes I'll do acid or mushrooms, but only recreationally or for transcendental spiritual learning. I have a limited supply each month.

GINSBERG: Have you ever heard of Schizophrenia?

WOODSTOCK: I've heard the term tossed around before, but I don't really know what it means exactly.

GINSBERG: It's a mental disorder that sounds a lot like your problem. Schizophrenics often hallucinate and experience delusions. Though most Schizophrenics don't know they are experiencing delusions, I still think you are one. When did you first remember experiencing such sensations?

WOODSTOCK: Most of my life I've dealt with it a little. But it really evolved from strange annoyance to crippling after I left the house.

GINSBERG: Sounds like you are genetically Schizophrenic. The stress of shedding your old life, coupled with your psychoactive drug use, has probably made it much worse.

WOODSTOCK: [Turning this theory over in his head, not totally sure about it.] I guess... [Eyes scan around the room slowly, not really catching anything too interesting. Ginsberg realizes he’s lost his friend on this one and shifts his eyes at his hands, searching for something to say. Woodstock’s eyes quickly fall upon the notebook, and avert away just as fast.]

WOODSTOCK: Hey man, could you get me a drink? Honesty dries the mouth up as if it were under the blazing sun.

GINSBERG: Yeah, of course. Explains why most politicians always looks like they’re about to drool a flood whenever they open their slimy mouths. [Chuckles softly] I’ll be right back. [Exits from stage left. As soon as he’s gone, Woodstock quietly scoops up the book like a hawk and scans it’s pages. He reads aloud:]

WOODSTOCK: “The sands of time under Marilyn's a*s dare not shuffle, for they support an immortal goddess, fed with the lust and cum of straight men....” Hm.... [Flips to a random new page] People sodomized by factory machines... [Flips to another page] Dehumanization through obsessive materialism.... [Flips to another page] The Human Soul becoming a commercial product, “forged from the b*****d fires of The Factory. Industry whored out by the pimp Moloch.” [Flips to a new page.] “Birthed of Womb, Mutated by Socialization. Breasts, plump and firm, vagina, wet and warm, showered upon me from the smoggy clouds emanating from the smokestacks of mens hearts; burning, prickling acid rain. The only thing to protect me a foreskin umbrella, stretched taut and smooth under my hands. [Voice hushes and eyes widen in sadness] My umbrella, my angel, chained to a fence, beaten, mutilated, MURDERED. I love you, my umbrella... [Everything is choking Woodstock on the inside, making it hard for him to utter out the final:] I will always love you, my human Cherubim.”.... [Woodstock twists his head sharply towards the stairs as he hears Ginsberg come back. He quickly tosses the notebook back on the floor like it was. Within a few seconds after it lands, Ginsberg comes back in with a cup filled with coca-cola. Handing the cup to Woodstock, who is covering up his shock fairly well, Ginsberg sits down at his chair.]

GINSBERG: [Looks off into space, talking to himself but also partially addressing Woodstock] Seeing mom lying facedown on the floor in her vomit, I couldn’t help but think that I would rather be almost anywhere else. Christ, I should take the first f*****g bus out of this s****y little town. I shouldn’t give a damn where I go; almost anywhere is better than here. But then I get caught up by this pesky little b*****d of a question: Where? No matter how much I want to piss on the face of this little slice of hell, I can’t hate it enough to not get frozen to the spot puzzling over the destination. Do I slip quietly to the west coast and settle down? San Francisco, Seattle, maybe even Portland? Do I chance the east coast? “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”, as the adage goes? Or do I try to slip away from this hypocritical bullshit country, which proclaims itself a nation of the free while it defecates all over everyone who isn’t an affluent white male? But if I did somehow find a way out of this place, where in the world am I going to go? The f*****g Cold War and the imperialistic bullshit of the world superpowers will come to mark it’s territory wherever they can. Eventually they’ll run out of places to piss. One day they’ll piss on my head. And if they keep throwing petty tantrums on a world scale, the world will become a pile of radioactive f*****g ash. [Silence as he sobers up from his anger] ...If the nukes fly, we’re all going to die. All because of two f*****g s***s who can’t stop bickering long enough to actually fix a goddamn problem. If we’re all going to burn, I might as well hang around here and laugh as I watch it evaporate.... [Solemnly:] Nothing I do will mean anything.... And then I realize I need to get out and see the world before I’m vaporized. And then the whole goddamn cycle of indecision starts up again, getting me nowhere...

WOODSTOCK: ...I wanna go to New Zealand.

[All is silent for a second, but this is broken by Ginsberg breaking into laughter. Woodstock looks over at Ginsberg, not sure if Ginsberg is mocking him.]

WOODSTOCK: Why’re you laughing man?

GINSBERG: I’m not laughing at you Woodstock. I’m laughing  [breaks into a laugh again, which he quickly talks through] laughing at how goddamn unsure of myself I am, how utterly a slave to my own mind, when you are as sure of yourself as anyone can be. [Sits down on the bed next to Woodstock] I’m complex to the point of being impaired, but you, you just know what you are going to do. For Christsake, I thought you were [laughs] I thought you were walking around naked to protest, and you just felt like it! [Continues laughing, but there is a deep sadness to it, which Woodstock catches onto] You’ve got everything under control--

WOODSTOCK: I don’t really....

GINSBERG: --and I’m just a goddamn mess. You’re decisive, while I’m paralyzed by fear and longing and fury! I feel so f*****g worthless! [Starts to sob] I let the few people I really care about down--

WOODSTOCK: [Hugs Ginsberg tightly. Sincere and compassionate:] There’s nothing you could have done to save him, Ginsberg.

[Brutal, tense silence as all you can hear are the hitched breaths of Ginsberg. The revelation caught Ginsberg by surprise, so his sobs die down, but they quickly become laced with fury. He begins to shake again]

GINSBERG: [Furious, through gritted teeth:] You read my f*****g journal...

WOODSTOCK: [Like a kid caught doing a bad thing:] Yeah, a little, I just--

[Ginsberg breaks the hug and punches Woodstock across the face. He knocks Woodstock to the ground hard, and proceeds to kick him in the stomach. After kicking him a few times, Ginsberg bends down and starts punching him with utter rage and hurt. His shaking is getting intensely worse.]

GINSBERG: [Still punching. Delirious with fury:] YOU F*****G C**T!! YOU F*****G A*****E!! YOU DON’T KNOW S**T, YOU SNEAKY LITTLE SPYING PRICK!! [Strikes Woodstock viciously across the face before he gets up to grab the baseball bat. He grabs it and strides furiously back, bat raised to deliver a brutal blow.] I’LL KILL YOU, YOU LITTLE COCKSUCKER-- [Eyes glaze as he is transported to a world in his head. You can see his heart break, as his boyfriend is beaten to death in his head. He can visualize the brutal and horrific beating his boyfriend received, and he can remember the horrific and bloody corpse left behind. Soul cracking in pieces, horror slashed across his face like gruesome knife-strokes, he slowly drops the bat and stands there. Horror and pain and fear and anger well up inside him until he is about to burst. He drops to the floor and begins to sob uncontrollably. Woodstock, grimacing in great physical and emotional pain, hobbles through his pain to comfort his friend. As soon as he touches Ginsberg, the latter lashes out with his fists and whispers furiously through the intense pain:] Get out of here. Just go.... [Breaks down and begins to sob even harder. His shaking becomes almost like a seizure. He’s so upset he can’t even think clearly enough to get his pot. Shaken and frightened, Woodstock runs from the room. Lights go down on Ginsberg, who is sobbing and shaking as if having a seizure, curled up in the fetal position.]

Act 2 Scene 1:

[Lights come up on Woodstock, who lays awake on a broken park bench. Strewn around the bench is trash of all kinds, new and old. He is snuggled up in a bundle of blankets, though what we can see of his skin is filthy. Obviously he hasn’t given a damn in a good while. He looks truly miserable. The lights are dimmed to show it is nighttime. All is silent as a few seconds go by. Suddenly, a man covered in a white sheet creeps from stage left, crouched, and prods softly at Woodstock’s head.]

WOODSTOCK: [C***s his head over, gives the man a brief glance.] Hey, Fool.

THE FOOL: How’d you know it was me?

WOODSTOCK: You’re the only guy I know who dresses up like a ghost.

THE FOOL: You snarky git, I wear this bloody thing to prevent discrimination against me.

WOODSTOCK: [Impatient, straight to business:] Why’d you come off your hill, Fool?

THE FOOL: You’ve been bloody distant and irritable these last few weeks. What’s with you, eh?

WOODSTOCK: I’m not in the f*****g mood.

THE FOOL: You haven’t been in any kind of reasonable mood these last few weeks; now’s as good a time to chat as any.

WOODSTOCK: What if I don’t wanna talk about it ever?

NOWHERE MAN: [A lanky, impish man wearing the Nowhere Man mask from Yellow Submarine comes onstage from Stage-Right.] Then don’t. Just tell The Fool to f**k off and go back to sleep.

THE FOOL: Ignore him, Woodstock. The world is at your command! Whatever is troubling you, grab it by the bollocks! Kick it on its arse and take control!

NOWHERE MAN: Now why would he do that? He fucked up well and good. Why the hell would he bother with that shite again? [Reaches into his pocket, pulls out a small bottle and hands it to Woodstock, who doesn't react much to it.] Look... [Pulls out another box. He opens it up, pulling out a hypodermic needle.] Take some of this. Shoot it up and lean back. Let the world f**k off for awhile. It’s not gonna miss you while you’re gone, is it?

THE FOOL: Shut up! Leave him alone! He doesn’t need help from the likes of you--!

NOWHERE MAN: Oh, they call you The Fool because you’re a genius, do they?

THE FOOL: You daft, manipulative prick--!

WOODSTOCK: [Bolts up, slams hands down on the bench. Furious:] ENOUGH! Shut up! Both of you! [Reaches out towards Nowhere Man.] Hand me the f*****g needle, will you? [Nowhere Man hands it over, and the bottle of drugs.] Good. [Woodstock rummages through the blankets until he finds a belt to use as a turpentine. He starts to put it on, tightening it. The Fool takes his chance, grabs the needle, and chucks it offstage.] What the--

THE FOOL: You want your f*****g drugs, go get them!

WOODSTOCK: Nowhere Man, could you get the needle for me?

NOWHERE MAN: [Leans back lazily on the bench.] I’m not your goddamn errand-boy. Get it yourself.

THE FOOL: If you want it, get off your arse and get it!

[Woodstock pushes himself up off the bench to stand erect. He holds the back of the bench for support, as he gains the strength of his legs again. As he stumbles over to get the needle, The Fool grabs the bottle of drugs and pours it out. Nowhere Man watches in horror, too slow to react, knowing full well his game is up. Woodstock hears the trickle as it dribbles against the ground, turning in shock and anger.]

WOODSTOCK: What’re you--?!

THE FOOL: After weeks of being a lethargic, self-pitying wanker, you grew a pair of balls and actually pursued something you wanted. Motivation set a flame under your arsehole, lad, and it got you all hot for action. See what a little motivation can do for you? All for bloody drugs, no less! Now get out there and apply that some motivation to Ginsberg!

WOODSTOCK: [Somber, sober from his rage-high:] But I....man, I fucked up bad...

THE FOOL: Contrary to what [Points at Nowhere Man] this nonce would have you believe, sitting on your arse and sulking and drowning your senses isn’t gonna help that! What will is finding him and talking to him.

NOWHERE MAN: [Trying to save his cause.] How would he find him? He could be anywhere! What’s the point--?

THE FOOL: The point, you daft, insufferable prick, is anything he wants it to be. [Shifts focus to Woodstock. Kind:] Find him Woodstock. Make things right. The first step is getting up and finding the will to move forward. You’ve already completed the hardest part.

WOODSTOCK: Thanks.

[Woodstock turns around and heads Up-Right, a sense of purpose invigorating an adjusting step. A few steps up and the lights go down, which cues the ringing sound to buzz in the air again. After a few seconds it stops, and the scene ends.]

Act 2 Scene 2:

[Lights come up to Ginsberg, sitting in a bar, drowning his sorrows in a bottle of beer. If copyright permits, “The Time of the Season” by The Zombies and other such music will be playing in the background. It is a “gay bar”, but not stereotypically so. About ten other men populate the bar, (excluding the bartender) most of them drinking in small groups of two or three, while there are one or two loners. The bar should ebb and flow with life, with people leaving and entering for various reasons. One of the men, Harvey, will be casting glances over at Ginsberg as one is prone to do when one sees someone they are interested in. Harvey is a smiling man of good temperament and humor.]

GINSBERG: [A little tipsy, mostly depressed:] Industrial Umbrella, foreskin replaced with brown’d glass, semen with stinking booze....capped not with rubber....but a sharp metal cap...

HARVEY: [Gets up from his table and goes to sit at the bar right next to Ginsberg on his left.] One Whiskey Sour please, Ricky.

RICKY: Of course.

HARVEY: And for the gentleman to the left of me...

GINSBERG: I’ll have a Whisper, please.

HARVEY: [Ricky starts making the drinks. Harvey extends his hand over to Ginsberg.] Name’s Harvey. What’s yours?

GINSBERG: [Cautiously grips Harvey’s hand and shakes it.] Ginsberg.

HARVEY: Nice to meet you. So, Ginsberg, tell me about yourself; you seem like an fascinating man.

GINSBERG: Well, I’m a writer...

HARVEY: A writer! That’s lovely! The world can always use more writers. What do you write?

GINSBERG: Poetry is my forte. Honestly I haven’t ventured out past free verse. It’s the only form that can truly...illustrate my thoughts.

HARVEY: [Smiles a little more.] Go on. I love literature.

GINSBERG: [Opening up:] Poetry is the one place where people can speak their original human mind. It is the outlet for people to say in public what is known in private.

HARVEY: [Smoothly flirty:] Tell me a secret then, Ginsberg.

GINSBERG: [Nervous:] What?

HARVEY: Recite for me a poem. Make public what is private. Open up.

GINSBERG: I...I don’t know....I mean--

HARVEY: [Places his hand softly over Ginsberg’s. Coy:] Don’t worry, I don’t bite. I’m not asking you to tell me your deepest, darkest secrets either. Just something unknown.

GINSBERG: [Thinks for a minute.] Night raining chains, clanking against asphalt, crunching against bone. Burning societal crucifixion on judgmental daggers. Sexuality severed and cauterized by the flames of fear; nothing we can do to stop it in these chains.

HARVEY: [Impressed:] Wow. That’s pretty dark and intense. Excellent nonetheless.

GINSBERG: I’m a pretty dark and intense guy.

HARVEY: Obviously. [Stands up.] I need to lighten you up. Come dance with me!

GINSBERG: No thank you I...I’m not really a dancer--

HARVEY: [Tugs playfully on Ginsberg’s hand.] C’mon Ginsberg! It’ll be fun! [Ginsberg cracks a smile and lets himself be led towards the center of the bar.] You ready?

GINSBERG: Do I have a choice?

HARVEY: It would make me sad if you didn’t dance with me.

[Ginsberg smiles and grabs Harvey’s hands. Harvey initiates a swing-dance, which he is fairly good at. Ginsberg is somewhat awkward, but he is really trying to match Harvey step for step. Slowly but surely, he gets a little better. And a little better, and so on. This moment will last a few minutes, with both becoming more comfortable with each other. Harvey gives slight flirtatious gestures and looks, which Ginsberg responds to with a smile and a little flirting back. Eventually you should feel a sense of electricity emanating as their bodies brush against the others. The delightful dance, frosted with subtle flirtation and happiness, ends in Harvey pulling Ginsberg up close and kissing him softly but passionately on the lips. As soon as he ends the short kiss, Ginsberg starts to shake. Harvey notices.]

HARVEY: I’m sorry...I shouldn’t have done that. I hope I didn’t upset you.

GINSBERG: Harvey, don’t worry about it...I’m just...I liked it, I really did. It was sweet, and, and you’re a really good kisser too....but....but I’m not ready to do this again.

HARVEY: I won’t hurt you like he did, I promise you.

GINSBERG: [Lights a cigarette and takes a long, sobbing drag.] He didn’t hurt me on purpose. It wasn’t even his fault.

HARVEY: Bullshit, if you’ll pardon me saying so--

GINSBERG: He was beaten to death.

[Harvey becomes dumbstruck with utter horror and sadness. Ginsberg sobs and shakes intensely, the cigarette dropping from his mouth. It takes a few seconds of this (which patrons of the bar are starting to notice) for Harvey to snap into action. He cautiously and kindly helps Ginsberg to his feet and directs him to sit on one of the bar-stools. Slowly and cautiously, Harvey wraps his arm around him from behind. None of this is romantically intimate, but intimate in its compassion.]

HARVEY: It’s going to be alright, Ginsberg; just let it all out.

[Ginsberg just sobs, sobs, and sobs. Harvey holds him with loving compassion, stroking his hair in a calming way. The other patrons, though concerned, one by one turn their gaze and focus back to their lives. It’s not uncommon to see a man cry in a bar.  Slowly the sobbing becomes quieter, until the tears are auditorily silent, yet you can still feel them. Yet in comes Officer Wallace and three police in riot armor to ruin everything. These b******s are ready to fight. Everyone quickly notices the pigs, and it spooks the hell out of them, but they are also angry, ready, knowing of how this could go down.]

OFFICER WALLACE: Nice lil queer bar ya got here, boys.

RICKY: What do you want, Wallace?

OFFICER WALLACE: That’s officer to ya.

RICKY: Answer the question or get out.

OFFICER WALLACE: Ya hear this malarky men? The fairy thinks he can order us around.

[Other officers chuckle.]

RICKY: Unless you have a permit, Officer Wallace, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.

OFFICER WALLACE: Who needs a permit to dig through a dump like this--

RICKY: Get the f**k out of my bar.

OFFICER WALLACE: [Suddenly angry:] Listen here, you filthy-mouthed f****t. Me and my men here, we’re the law of this town. We protect God-fearin’ white folk from abominations like yerselves. God knows why the Mayor let ya alone for so long; perhaps he’s a fairy too. Don’t matter now though, since he ordered ya all cleared out, and this little Sodom and Gomorrah burned to the ground. So, f****t, you better go now, or we’ll beat the livin’ daylights out of you and every last fairy in here.

HARVEY: [Gets up and strides over to Officer Wallace. Both stare at each other straight in the face. Ginsberg, eyes wet with tears, watches.] You really think that if it comes down to it, we won’t fight for our lives, and our rights? We will not just sit here-- [Officer Wallace pulls out his baton and strikes Harvey in the stomach. As soon as this happens, a dead silence falls over the room. Everyone is about ready to explode, to fight to their wits end.]

OFFICER WALLACE: [Spits on Harvey.] Ya think we’re afraid of a bunch of WOMEN? No, ya pull any garbage, this town’ll lynch you like a pack a’ n*****s. Ya do ANYTHING at all that isn’t what I tell ya, and yer dead. Ya think anyone’s gonna care what we do to a bunch a’ sodomites like ya? They’ll piss on yer grave before they turn on police officers, before they turn on America, before they turn on GOD. No one’ll care if we killed ya all--

HARVEY: America is changing, Wallace. Soon, you and other like-minded people will find yourselves lost in a country that maybe, just maybe, might live up to its promise of freedom for all. You may have been a hero of America at one point, but soon you’ll just be a fossil, an antagonist in the pages of history. You’re a dinosaur, and a miserable-- [Officer Wallace strikes Harvey brutally across the face with his baton, knocking the poor man unconscious. After Harvey is down, Wallace strikes him across the head brutally two more times, ensuring severe head trauma. The air grows thick with rage and silence.]

OFFICER WALLACE: The promise of Camelot died with the Kennedy’s, thank God for that. [Now addressing the crowd:] Any other mouthy little f*****s wanna pull a stunt? Huh?

GINSBERG: [With venom filled with hate and rage:] You fascist m**********r!! [Punches Officer Wallace straight in the face. He descends on Wallace with a flurry of punches which ultimately result in the other officers striking Ginsberg with their batons. They keep going at beating him until Wallace, clutching his nose pushes them aside.]

OFFICER WALLACE: This savage little queer is MINE. [Slams the baton down on Ginsberg’s curled up body. At this point Ricky is getting especially fidgety.] All ya abominations act so entitled, like we owe ya rights. Ya piss on God and civilization, [Another brutal slam.] and ya think we should do the same to make ya more comfortable. N*****s, f*****s, commies, kikes, ya all have so much audacity, but this town, like all a’ America, chews ya up and spits ya out into the bowels a’ Hell. [Another brutal strike. Ricky reaches under the bar.] Beat ya all to death and burn the walls down around ya, and no one’ll give a damn-- [Ricky pulls a shotgun out from the bar and shoots Officer Wallace in the chest. The surprising blow sends Wallace’s corpse flying backwards. One of the cops pulls out his gun and shoots Ricky thrice in the chest before he is tackled by another patron. It quickly becomes a brutal brawl. Both sides exchange vicious blows with batons and fists, but the numbers of the patrons (not all of them are fighting, but many are) overwhelm the cops.]

COP: Fall back! Fall back, goddammit! [And thus they do, fleeing. With them gone, the crowd is silent with the enormity of what has occurred. Two rush over to check on Harvey, while another lifts up Ginsberg. Though in great pain, as soon as he is up, Ginsberg rushes over to Harvey. In that moment, a can of tear gas comes sailing in through the window (accompanied by appropriate sound effects) and sprays its contents everywhere. Some patrons flee immediately, slamming into each other, while others work with Ginsberg to carry Harvey out of there. It is a struggle, but they get everyone out. The lights go down, and the scene ends.]

Act 2 Scene 3:

[Lights come up on Ginsberg, who faces the audience behind a sagging barb-wire fence. His expression of intense psychological and emotional pain meld horrifically well with the ugly bruises and small lacerations dealt to him by Officer Wallace. He is shaking really hard, and is only retaining some level of control through a fat doobie he smokes. Silently he stands in lamentation for a bit. Woodstock will slowly come from offstage and walk cautiously towards his friend. While Woodstock is terrified and nervous, Ginsberg is so miserable that he cannot even see Woodstock. Finally, the former just stands to his left and stays silent too. He looks at the fence, as Ginsberg does, and slowly comes to the realization of what this place is, and what it means to Ginsberg.]

GINSBERG: [Looks over. Angry, but with very little energy:] What are you doing here, Woodstock? Haven’t you fucked around in my soul enough?

WOODSTOCK: I’m really sorry, Ginsberg. I didn’t know--

GINSBERG: Of course you didn’t.

WOODSTOCK: And I was just curious--

GINSBERG: Curiosity killed the goddamn cat.

WOODSTOCK: Curiosity is most often for the betterment of society.

[Woodstock realizes his backtalk and looks at Ginsberg nervously, thinking he probably buggered things up. But it is just silent, and Ginsberg cracks the thinnest of smiles for the briefest of seconds. Yet, Woodstock takes notice.]

GINSBERG: [Slightly nostalgic and thinking back:] You are as much of a f*****g romantic as ever, I see.

WOODSTOCK: I see you’re still a tightass cynic.

[Both silent, but despite the despair in the air, there is hope and friendship rekindling.]

GINSBERG: I’m not going to pretend that you reading my journal, seeing my darkest despair laid bare, hasn’t altered our friendship. I’ve never trusted anyone with that information before. It was a horrifying, crushing feeling that someone knew, especially when it wasn’t revealed under my will. But in all that fear, and rage, and hurt, I forgot that I can trust you. I mean....hell, I’ve spent no more than a few hours with you and I already know I can trust you....I’m not ready, but when will I ever be? Part of me is still very angry with you for what you have done....but after what happened in the bar tonight....with Harvey, and that scum Wallace, and Ricky, for Christsakes--

WOODSTOCK: What--Ginsberg, what are you talking about? What happ--?

GINSBERG: There's been enough violence, Woodstock. This town...this world rips your body and soul asunder for not fitting in to the Dream. Dream....talk about a f*****g nightmare...But humanity is starting to wake up with greater frequency. And that is what stops me from killing myself: Hope. Hope that we will finally awake one day and realize what bullshit it all is. Hope that once we know, we will end our problem swiftly, and without mercy. Hope that it will all be worth it, somehow, in the end.

[All falls silent as the two stew it over in their heads for a little bit. Everything is so quiet that all you can hear is the soft rustling of the wind and the metaphysical fog of thought and pain.]

GINSBERG: Wallace and his dogs came in to a bar for homosexuals that I was attending. They acted like real a******s, throwing out words like f****t and fairy like they were pieces of candy. Wallace beat my friend Harvey into a coma he may never wake up from....Wallace and Ricky are dead, and others are badly wounded; beatings and a lucky shot or two from the Gestapo.  

WOODSTOCK: F**k...the town is gonna string you all up for this. A hero of yesteryear, champion of Family Values dies and they’re gonna need someone to blame. Doesn’t matter what you say or do in the courtroom, “because they’ll sign your death sentence--

GINSBERG: --in your blood.” You remember my poetry, it seems.

WOODSTOCK: And that’s if they don’t just lynch you first.

GINSBERG: Well, wouldn’t that just be f*****g obvious of them. Cliche, even.

[Silence again, ever as before. Woodstock shifts uncomfortably, something eating away at him.]

WOODSTOCK: Ya know...I always thought, ‘hey, the world may be s**t, but it’s also beautiful too, right? And we can wash away the s**t with love and compassion and art! Everything’ll work out in the end...’ But what happened these last few months shattered my illusion. I still firmly believe in the beauty of the world, but....but I dunno if it’s incorruptible, or at least in-destroyable. Everything can come down like a house of f*****g cards....

GINSBERG: Goddammit Woodstock, I’m supposed to be the tightass cynic.

WOODSTOCK: It’s hard to be optimistic when change is only rhetoric.

GINSBERG: You remember how I said hope is what kept me going? [Woodstock nods.] To be honest, I must amend my statement. It is longing that keeps me going. Longing....like you, I thought all change was rhetorical. Organic words, but actions as dead as.........But today, I saw brave men stand up for themselves. Guns and batons aimed at them, the dogs salivated for violence, yet they did not back down. That is when is first truly experienced hope. It was all just a daydream before, but now, now we f*****g did it. And we have to keep doing it.

WOODSTOCK: Will the conflict never end?

GINSBERG: Perhaps, perhaps not. I will fight until death claims me. Hopefully others will continue on my work. Spread it.

WOODSTOCK: Take that daydream and make it a reality.

GINSBERG: Otherwise, what is the f*****g point? Might as well just put on a gray flannel suit and bend over for Moloch and the Factory. Take it until my spirit dies, and then use the suit to hang my shell.

WOODSTOCK: Save a spot on the rafters for me, my brother, if that should ever happen.

GINSBERG: Of course.

[Ginsberg walks forwards, slowly and quietly, and strokes his hand along the wire of the fence. A deep sadness blooms fully upon his face. He places one hand over his heart, and says lovingly, in a voice also sadly longing:]

GINSBERG: N.C. the secret hero of these poems....

WOODSTOCK: You loved him very much, didn’t you?

GINSBERG: Like no one else. He...he was beautiful in every way. His eyes were soft pools of compassion, in which you could almost drown. Hands soft as the clouds wherein the Cherubim frolic. Embrace like a roaring fire on a harsh winter night. He made everything alright. He made me happy.

WOODSTOCK: Did they ever catch the guys who killed him?

GINSBERG: They were arrested within a week and taken to court. Jury acquitted them. They... [Begins to shake in blooming rage.] they said it was his fault. That he...he brought it on himself. That if he hadn’t come on to them, they wouldn’t have killed him. The fuckers did what anyone would do, the jury said...

WOODSTOCK: Ginsberg...

GINSBERG: He sure as hell didn’t flirt with those redneck m***********s--

WOODSTOCK: Ginsberg--

GINSBERG: But even if he did, you don’t tie a man to a f*****g fence and f*****g torture him to death for flirting with you!!

[Woodstock grabs Ginsberg and hugs him fiercely. Ginsberg is shocked and uncertain on how to react, but he returns the embrace. The shaking gradually subsides. They part.]

GINSBERG: They will give Wallace a hero’s burial. After all he’s done...they will paint him as a paragon. What can we do....?

WOODSTOCK: We can stand up for ourselves.

[Both smile as the lights go down. End scene.]

Act 2 Scene 4:

[Lights come up on a day funeral for Officer Wallace. Many town citizens stand in mournful attendance. Police officers and Mayor J. Edgar stand nearest the grave, in the front row and to the sides. This is a very big deal, very serious, in the way that is only achieved when someone who is a celebrity or a hero dies. A Chaplain  stands at the forefront of the casket.]

CHAPLAIN: Man, that is born of a woman, hath but a short time to live, and is full of misery. He cometh up, and is cut down, like a flower; he fleeth as it were a shadow, and never continueth in one stay. In the midst of life we are in death: of whom may we seek for succour, but of thee, O Lord, who for our sins art justly displeased? Yet, O Lord God most holy, O Lord most mighty, O holy and most merciful Saviour, deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death. Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts, shut not thy merciful ears to our prayer; but spare us, Lord most holy, O God most mighty, O holy and merciful Saviour, thou most worthy Judge eternal, suffer us not, at our last hour, for any pains of death, to fall from thee. Amen.

EVERYONE: Amen.

[The Mayor switches places with the Chaplain. He shuffles, straightens up, and starts:]

MAYOR J. EDGAR: George Corley Wallace Jr was one of the best men I ever had the pleasure to know. He was a man of integrity, of family, of God. As American as mother’s homemade apple pie and baseball. This town has lost a very valuable and valued member of the community. We shall never forget his sacrifice in the line of duty, defending us for all we stand for. May he walk forever in the hallowed halls of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.

EVERYONE: Amen.

MAYOR J. EDGAR: Let us commit his body to the ground, and immortalize his heroism in stone.

GINSBERG: [Offstage] Wallace was no more a hero than Hitler.

[Many gasp in shock, some in horror. Everyone turns towards Ginsberg’s voice. From Stage-Left Ginsberg, Woodstock, and a dozen other protesters march, waving signs that condemn Wallace; “Hey, Nuremberg Trials, you missed a spot.”, “Honoring criminals is criminal.”, “F**k Wallace.”, etc. Many are noticeably repulsed.]

MAYOR J. EDGAR: Have you no shame? Comparing a hero to Hitler, slandering an honest man at his own funeral.

GINSBERG: Would a hero beat a man into a coma because of his sexuality?

MAYOR J. EDGAR: Whatever are you talking about, young man?

GINSBERG: Do NOT play clueless with us, Mayor. You ordered Wallace and some of his thugs to clear out the patrons of a gay bar and burn it to the ground. Now two men are dead and one is in a coma.

MAYOR J. EDGAR: Sheriff Wallace and his men acted in self-defense. They were attacked by the patrons of this...establishment, and were forced to strike the attackers. In fact, they killed Sheriff Wallace by shooting him point-blank in the chest with a shotgun.

GINSBERG: They came into the bar, harassing patrons. Ricky, the bartender, asked them to leave--

MAYOR J. EDGAR: How do you know this?

GINSBERG: I was there. I watched Wallace spew slurs worthy of a sewer--

MAYOR J. EDGAR: Sticks and stones--

GINSBERG: Wallace beat a man into a coma for having the audacity to verbally stand up for himself and others. So much for sticks and stones.

MAYOR J. EDGAR: Now listen here--

GINSBERG: No, YOU listen. He beat Harvey into a coma over NOTHING. Harvey may never come out of it. I punched Wallace, and in return I was beaten with his baton. The b*****d would have killed me had Ricky not shot him.

MAYOR J. EDGAR: You attacked an officer of the law, and yet you expect me to have sympathy for you?

[Most of the crowd mutter their consent. A small few are uneasy.]

GINSBERG: I do not expect someone like you to have sympathy for anyone, much less a godless, liberal f****t like me.

MAYOR J. EDGAR: You’re right, I have no sympathy for criminals.Yet I wonder, what do you expect to result from this? Why did you even come here?

GINSBERG: The Truth.

MAYOR J. EDGAR: Excuse me?

GINSBERG: What actually happened three nights ago.

MAYOR J. EDGAR: You can lie and slander all you wish, heathen, but you can’t convince the people of this town your heresy is true.

WOODSTOCK: They may not believe us, but they will never forget the day we said enough is enough.

MAYOR J. EDGAR: If they remember, it’ll be as a joke.

GINSBERG: For years this town has treated suffering and violence little more seriously than a joke. People knew Johann Schäfer was savagely abusing his son, yet no one did a goddamn thing. Only after he killed his son did anyone give a damn.

MAYOR J. EDGAR: What happened to that poor little boy--

WOODSTOCK: His name was Emanuel.

MAYOR J. EDGAR: What happened to Emanuel is very unfortunate, but it wasn’t our place to step in.

GINSBERG: “Wasn’t our place to step in”?! Only when you couldn’t ignore the horrendous suffering anymore did you give a f**k! You and everyone here were perfectly f*****g willing to let a boy get the living s**t beaten out of him daily, starved even, as long as you didn’t have to f*****g see it!

MAYOR J. EDGAR: Young man, I will not tolerate that kind of profanity--

GINSBERG: You were partly responsible for killing Emanuel, you sick m***********s. Every one of you killed him with your apathy or hatred!

MAYOR J. EDGAR: This isn’t about some dead kid, damn it! This is about Sheriff Wallace!

GINSBERG: [Takes a few steps forward, closer to the Mayor and police. The latter get edgy and raise their guns at him.] Oh, it’s so much more than that! Wallace was just the straw that snapped the camel’s goddamn back!

MAYOR J. EDGAR: Stay back, kid!

GINSBERG: Three years ago, on October 12th, 1965, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson tied Neal Cassady to a barbed-wire fence and tortured him to death. A jury acquitted the c***s [gasps of shock and revulsion.] of any crime, even though they confessed to the killing!

MAYOR J. EDGAR: I remember that trial. I also remember that Mr. Cassady came on to them.

GINSBERG: [Begins to step forward again, pointing.] HE NEVER DID SUCH A THING!! AND EVEN IF HE DID, WHEN IS COMING ON TO SOMEONE A VALID REASON TO BE TORTURED AND EXECUTED?!

MAYOR J. EDGAR: Stay BACK, punk!

GINSBERG: [Finger points accusingly as he continues to step forward at normal speed.] F**K YOU-- [One of the police shoots Ginsberg thrice in the chest. As soon as the cop does this, the other cops open fire as well. Ginsberg lies dead on his stomach. Several of the protesters are shot in the shoulder or leg. It hurts like hell, it drops them to the ground, but they’ll survive. Three others are shot dead. Everyone panics and either runs or drops to the ground. It is utter chaos. Woodstock, as soon as the shooting started, dropped to the ground. He crawls over to Ginsberg, who is already dead. Shots fire overhead and still he crawls. The shooting stops, and he is crying, cradling the dead face of his best friend. Realizing his friend is dead, his face contorts into a silent scream of agony. The two look exactly like the infamous photograph of the Kent State Massacre.]

MAYOR J. EDGAR: Everyone remain calm, please! Please, just calm down! We’ve got this under control!

WOODSTOCK: [Sobbing intensely.]  Nononononono....no, no, NO! NO!! NO!

MAYOR J. EDGAR: Please! Damn it, stop this!

WOODSTOCK: No.....

[The lights go down on this horrific chaos and carnage. End scene.]

Epilogue:

[Scene opens in a graveyard, though, for practical purposes, there will be only five gravestones on stage. Said gravestones are spaced apart randomly, with their faces turned towards upstage so that the audience cannot see their inscriptions. The final tombstone must be far Down-Center, but that is the only requirement. The lighting tells us it is a cloudy day. From Up-Left comes Woodstock, dressed in thick, warm winter clothes. Walking reverently into the graveyard, Woodstock carries with him five bouquets of flowers. He lays the first one down reverently, and the cycle repeats for the first three. On gravestone number 4, he lays down the flowers reverently, but also puts his hand compassionately on the top of the tombstone and holds it there for a second. There is something special about person number 4. The gesture is a thank you. On to grave number 5 he goes. There, he sets the flowers to the side and kisses the earth lightly. He places the flowers reverently over the grave, and then lightly kisses the tombstone. It is a kiss of love, but not romantic love. It is love for a friend, compassionate and true, who truly changed his life for the better. Woodstock stands up and begins to cry. He does not wipe away the tears. He lets them fall briefly on the flowers and the grave, before turning around and leaving. As he walks offstage, obviously a broken yet still lively man, the lights slowly go down. As he exits the stage, the lights go down, and Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’”softly plays.]

The “End”




© 2013 Fictari


Author's Note

Fictari
Please, I want your brutally honest opinions about this piece. I am considering publishing this work.

My Review

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Reviews

Hey, man. The main thing I have to say is about the profanity. I ended up having to stop reading it because I simply couldn't do it. Number one, because I had a hard time taking so much of it in, and secondly, I felt that really it wasn't moral to read something with so many crass and profane terms in it. Now, I use profanity in my plays myself, and at the same time aspire to be a youth pastor. There's nothing wrong with swear words. But so many people including myself have a really hard time with too much, and that can vary between different people. I would say that, in terms of frequency, I hold "Death of a Salesman" as a model for the limit. And I try not to use more sexual terms as often. But with those things in mind, I think you're going to be able to keep a lot more audience members in the auditorium.

Posted 5 Years Ago



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Added on August 17, 2013
Last Updated on August 17, 2013
Tags: Woodstock, Ginsberg, 1968, Allegory, Sociopolitical, 1960s, Beatnik, Hippie, Liberalism, Love, Coming-of-age, Milk, Poetry, US-History, Culture

Author

Fictari
Fictari

Sublimity, OR



About
I am a science fiction and fantasy writer attempting to make his mark on the world.I'm weird,life is weird,thus my writing is often times weird,darkly humorous,and philisophical.I write comic books,po.. more..

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