Thursday, October 30, 2008

First Look "Last Things"

Below is an excerpt from the first draft of the new play, written as a commission for Next Theatre in Chicago.


(Blackout. The thunder rumbles, then there is a sound of electronic static, a TV set with snow. A darkened stage. A handsome older man stands before us. He is confident and energetic. There is much in his appearance to make people trust him. He is addressing an audience. This is DR. BILLY BOWLES. Like all of the characters, DR. BILLY has a gentle, courtly Southern accent. Not a hillbilly drawl.)

God has balls in the air. God has papers in His inbox. God has a lot of people interrupting His workday with their concerns and needing to set up lunch. God needs help to carry out His plan. That is what we are going to do. We are going to be God’s temps. We are going to go in and file and copy and make back-up disks and check the mailing lists and load paper into the copy machine and get God’s computer running right. We are not going to take lunch and if God asks us to go off the clock because we’ve hit forty hours that week and God does not want to pay overtime, then that is what we are gonna do. We have to. We’re temps. God hasn’t offered us a full-time position yet. We are going to do the best job for God that anyone has ever done. After He sees the job we do for Him, God is gonna turn to all of His angels and say, hey you angels look at this, look at these new temps! You never fixed my coffee the way I like it, Gabriel. You always forget to take out the mail at the end of the day, Michael. Look at these guys! Look at how they work for Me! And at the end of our probationary period, God is gonna call us into his corner office, God is gonna smile and say, we are prepared to offer you a full time position and let me tell you something people God’s benefits package cannot be beat you want full medical coverage you want dental you want a 401K with a 4% company match you want personal days and sick days and profit sharing and accumulated vacation days I tell you God’s got it all! And we are gonna shake God’s hand and then we are gonna call the temp agency, and say take us off the earthly temp roster! We just took a full-time position with God. Don’t bother sending anyone else! And I tell you, brothers and sisters. There will still be those at the temp agency. Still without a full time position. Still without benefits. And there’s no room for them in God’s organization. No sense crying over them. That’s how it works in a free market economy.


Freeman said...

This is fantastic.

David Johnston said...

Thanks, Freeman. I liked the draft, but have a looong fix list.