The Clowns 1 We are on stage, backs to audience. When play begins the clowns: Jacky, Chris, Claude, John take their places on their blocks US: CLAP/ HURRAH!/ CLAP} Roy stands up and moves away from us, to begin........ Standing up, Roy: LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.... MAY I SPEAK? THIS IS HOW THIS PLAY BEGINS.. WITH JUST ONE OF US COMING FORWARD TO TALK TO YOU, OUR AUDIENCE.... I AM KNOWN AS THE PROLOGUE. I AM ALSO KNOWN AS THE NARRATOR....I SHALL GUIDE YOU THROUGH OUR STORY. AT THE END I SHALL ALSO BE THE EPILOGUE THE AUTHOR OF THIS PLAY WANTS TO USE A WELL-KNOWN COMEDY STORY TO TELL YOU A PIECE OF REAL LIFE. (Roy sits) THE CLOWNS ARE HERE TO PLAY THE COMEDY. PUNCHINELLO... the clown of all clowns (Chris spreads his arms) COLUMBINE, his wife, who makes us laugh with the tricks she plays on her husband ... (Jacky puts her hand on her hip) HARLEQUIN, her lover, the most romantic of all, (Claude puts his hands to his heart) and TONNIO, who tries it on with Columbine, and gets nowhere. (John blows kiss to Jacky) 2 But.. what of the real people who play the clowns ? What lies behind the masks of the clowns? ( Brenda, Alex, Mike and Alan enter one at time and turn ... ). In this way you will see what lies behind the clown's mask. Our characters love as human beings love. You will see what hate can do. You will see the pain of sadness. Consider then not so much our actors' masks, but more our hearts. For we are people of flesh and blood. People who, like yourselves, breathe the air of this orphaned world. US: THE CLOWNS!! (clap) (another turn - we see clowns again) Chris: Ladies and gentlemen...I am going to speak. I am the most famous clown in the whole world. Punchinello....king of clowns. I have performed in front of kings and queens and now, tonight, I bring my show to you. Us: Hurrah! What time is the show? Chris: Come at eleven 'o clock tonight and you will see a magnificent show. Come and see all the clowns. My wife and I (goes to Jacky - holds her hand) welcome you. Please come. Us: We'll be there! (At the same time John goes to embrace Jacky ) Chris (clownish): Get back where you belong. (takes John back to his block/kick ) (We all laugh) Roy: See what the clowns do John shakes his fist at Chris / Chris shakes his finger at John.: LEAVE MY WIFE ALONE! Jacky: Men! 3 Us: Punchinello ...Keep an eye on him! Chris: Don't worry, I will. Roy: Now see behind the actors masks....see what the man does. (all clowns turn except Claude/Alex) Alan points nastily at Chris: I'll get my own back! Roy: Hear what the husband says. Mike: No one, no one touches my wife. She's mine. Roy: See the frightened wife. Brenda: The way he talks: it frightens me. (Vanessa strums on cello) Clowns turn to face audience Chris: Clowns! (introduces the people sat on benches) we move forward to face audience Jane: Tricksters Marilyn: Jokers Steve: Leg-pullers Richard: Wags Lyn: Teasers Tina: Cuckoos Kev: Fools Kathy: Comics Kevin: Buffoons We are the clowns. Vanessa do the clock chimes x7. We make a show of hearing them..then we do tick-tock......... Chris: (up front) Enough. Do not forget ladies and gentlemen. The show starts at 11 o'clock tonight. (Band starts up. Fanfare around Chris, who stays in front. Remove benches) The band leads Chris off, stop playing, take off instruments...... Roy: Now until the show begins, the clowns become their real selves; they no longer wear their masks 4 ( we start to take masks and hats off. Michelle to collect hats. All the clowns: Chris, Jacky, John and Claude exit plus Alex, Mike, Alan leaving just Brenda on her block.) Roy: This is the time when the people go about their real lives--- the woman finds a place to be quiet in. WHEN BRENDA IS ALL ON HER OWN ROY: She thinks back and remembers....This is her story. It begins when she had no one. All: No family (Kev, Tina and Sarah make the picture of the family) All:No friends (Steve/Michelle, Kevin/Lyn, Marilyn/Kathy, Jane/Richard) All of us point at Brenda: She was alone. (we clear stage) Brenda: I was alone (cover her face). Roy: Loneliness is a frightening thing To be on your own in silence. No-one to talk to No comfort from anybody No feelings from anybody You look for company anywhere You want to hear somebody else's voice To stop the isolation You must find someone Loneliness is life It is a time and a place for everyone. Enter Sarah. (Kev and Steve go round Sarah. ) Steve and Kev: She lived on the streets Begging from the gutter (Sarah slaps sides in anger. Sits down. Crouches/rocks/begs.) 5 All: She begged for her life. Roy: Then she met this man (Mike enters). He had everything he needed. Us, behind Sarah, with fists clenched: Everything. Money. A home. A job. Everything. Roy: They met. He, the wealthy clown. She, the beggar. He wanted her, he needed her. She was beautiful. He took her home with him.He gave her clothes, food, money, took her into his bed. (Tina and Sarah exit, we move to the sides) Us: he asked her: marry me. Roy: The man thought: I have everything I need except a wife. I want a wife. I want her and she will say yes because I have helped her. She has to be grateful. 6 people come to front (Marilyn,Lyn,Kev,JoanTina, Kevin...kneel/hand on head etc Roy: She always has to say thankyou. Us: Thankyou. Roy:He gave but he took away. He gave her a home, his bed, the things that money can buy. But he took her rights and her powers. He used her because he only gave her one choice To be his wife He did not help her to be a person in her own right She always has to say thankyou Us: Thankyou. The only way to change things when you are not equal is to get some power To get support from other people 6 But she is alone and she only has him There is not enough love and the man has all the power She always has to say thankyou Us: Thankyou. When you rely on someone too much it becomes a bind that controls you. It is another sort of begging. You always have to say thankyou Us: Thankyou. (people lift their partners and lead them off) Roy: The man knew that the woman had no choice. She could not say no. Jane: Will you marry him? Brenda: What if I say no.... Kev:..You will be back in the gutter. Us: Crying, Cold. Roy: You must take the chance that is offered you. Jane: If you say no.... Roy: He will not help you, he will walk away. He may be angry. Us: Angry Roy: Hurt you. Us: Hurt you. Roy: On the street they say Us: Dirty, slut, whore. Roy: If you get married, you will be respectable. People will think you are a proper woman. You have no choice..... 7 Jane: So she said .......Brenda: Yes. Roy: It was as if the man owned her. As if she was one of his possessions. (Tina leads Sarah up front, puts ring on.) He could treat her how he wanted because having no choice is like throwing away who you really are. ( A cello note. Tina then puts Sarah into 3 positions. After each position there is a cello note. Then the necklace...leads off) It put the woman into the sort of person that the man wanted her to be, not the person she really was. She had no strength. She was full of fear. Trapped. No power. She could not be what she wanted to be. Brenda: I want to be free. Lyn/Steve bird sounds. Marilyn/Joan enter by B. look up to the sky/cello starts BRENDA; SONG: I want to be free Like a bird that flies Following its dream Nothing stops its flight JOAN; BIRD DANCE . wings/Kev and Steve take wings from Joan/Joan cries, we take up cry. Then Brenda and I sing as I walk on with rope, bind Joan, give other end to Marilyn. Music stops. Brenda: I am tied to the ground. Wait until Joan, Jane and Marilyn have gone off, then...... Roy: So during the time before the show begins, the woman remembers and wishes for her freedom. Her husband goes to the pub ( Mike is handed a beer glass, exits) Roy: And Tonnio, Tonnio hears her song and it is beautiful to him. (Music stats up again. Alan dance with himself, showing love. When music stops ) 8 Alan: I love you Brenda: I laugh at you Roy: This is how it has always been in Tonnio's life - he has always been laughed at, never been loved. We circle Alan, point, laugh - go through the sequence: laughter/stand alone etc. Roy: Loneliness is a frightening thing To be on your own in silence. No-one to talk to No comfort from anybody No feelings from anybody You look for company anywhere You want to hear somebody else's voice To stop the isolation You must find someone Loneliness is life It is a time and a place for everyone. We move back to sides Roy: That is how it has always been in Tonio's life..... always laughed at, never loved. Now the woman's words hurt him. Brenda: I do not love you. I laugh at you. You clown. Alan: I love you. (Alan goes to embrace Brenda, she turns her back) Us:See his pain /his anger/his hate. We make go away sign. ( Movement from Alan.... ) 9 Brenda: Go away. Alan: I'll pay you back. (Alan leave/Brenda cover face with hands. ). Roy: Look at how we wound each other; how we hurt each other. But we search for hope....someone to comfort us. The woman has a secret love. (music starts) Enter Alex - centre stage, hand on heart. Roy: Sweetheart Darling love I have come to you My darling, oh my love. You are so sweet Together we are right I will always Hold you close to me Let me hold you close feel you close to me You are my love Together we must be. (Brenda and Alex embrace) Roy: This is the woman's lover. She can talk to him; tell him what frightens her, what is in her heart. They support each other, they are honest with each other, they share their power; 10 together they are equal, they help each other. Their love is deep. It feels so right. They love, they make promises, they arrange to run away, to be together, to fly away together. But Tonnio sees them (Alan comes in, stays in.) Tonnio hears them and now he knows a way to pay back the woman. Alan beckons to Mike. ROY: This is what the husband hears. Jane: What time? Kev: Midnight. Jane:Where. Kev: Near the tree. Us: I love you. Brenda and Alex: I love you. Kev and Jane and Brenda: Till tonight. Alan and everyone point: Look Mike: My wife (turns full of hate and grief) Jane and Kev and Brenda: Fly! My love, fly! (Alex backs out....exits) Mike Walks to face Brenda: I hate you. Tell me his name? Brenda: No. Mike: Tell me his name or I shall kill you. (Knife.) (Us: Stop! - hold Mike back, hold Brenda) all still. 11 Sound of a bell - ten strikes. (Vanessa and Michelle) Roy: It is ten o'clock. Remember, at eleven o'clock the comedy begins. The people must become clowns again, forget their sorrows, their pain, their loves, their hates, their anger, their loneliness. They have a show to put on. Enter Chris - in front of make-up mirror held by Jane, head in hands. Chris looks up into mirror. Chris: I am a clown. Roy: Put on your costume and powdered face. The people pay and come here to laugh. If Harlequin steals your Columbine, Laugh. Change your pain and tears into joking. Change your sobbing and your sorrow into a funny face. Chris: I am a clown. Bury face into hands. (END OF ACT ONE) 12 ACT II Opens with Clowns on 'blocks'; all other clowns are on stage, asleep. Vanessa chimes ll pm; Chris wakes Steve...gets him to bang on drum, wake people up. Chris: Wake up. The show begins. ( clowns wake up...band plays fanfare. When stopped...) Chris: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome. The show begins. Let me introduce ....Ricardo. A big hand, ladies and gentlemen......a big hand. Richard.......(steps out on stage, indicating with his hands) : A sitting room. A chair (Marilyn steps forward, places a chair). Another chair. (Kev steps forward, places a chair). And a table. ( Steve, brings table). Put it there And a picture (Jane brings up an empty frame - Chris moves forward to become the picture.) Richard: Here you have... a sitting room! (Bows and exits). Roy: It is a warm, romantic evening, and Columbine dusts her cosy little parlour. (Jacky steps off her block and enters 'sitting room' - she is handed a feather duster by Rich - she begins to dust. Richard exits) She is not dusting for her husband, he is away with some friends drinking at the local inn. (Jacky dusting round the picture). Jacky: As bloody usual! Roy: She does not mind though, for she waits for her lover, Harlequin. (Jacky turns the picture round... ie turns Chris around). Jacky: What the eye doesn't see... Roy: Columbine cleans her parlour. She wants a special cake made to share with her lover. She calls to Tonnio. 13 Jacky: Tonnio! Get me a nice cake made! John (stays on block): Yes, madam. Cake makers, bake me a cake. ( Menu on board ie black board. Rich; mortar board and pointer. Marilyn has a big mixing-bowl and a wooden spoon. Everyone else to do ingredients. 4 cups of sugar/ a bit of margarine..Lyn: My name is Marjorie/ 1 pint of milk ...sound of =cow/milk; 1 bag of flour/flower; 3 eggs Alan/Jane= hen /eggs; Cream ......not shaving cream) Go through the whole process of making the cake. Vanessa on slide whistle Etc. etc.When finished Richard exits. (Marilyn take cake to John ) - the cake! ( bow or curtsey - EXIT). (John takes cake to Jacky) John: Here's the cake, madam. Do you fancy a bit? Jacky: I fancy the cake, but I don't fancy you! John: It's nice and creamy. (Jacky slaps John's face - sound effect). John: I think she likes me. (Music is heard : Steve- the plucking of a guitar, and Jane on tambourine). Roy: It's Harlequin, listen. Harlequin is coming. John: Oh blast! Harlequin will ruin my chances. And she was nearly mine. (Claude is on his block, we give him flowers - Steve , Kathy and Jane lead Claude off block. From now on we animate the singers ie the do not start singing until we stand by them.) Claude kneels and then Roy: My love, my darling, I love you With love in my heart so tender and true My love, my darling, I come to you. (Kevin and Tina make window - Jacky looks out.) Musicians move to Chris 14 Chris (turn picture) sings: This is my wife So tender and true (Repeat). Chris turns back. Musicians go to John. John with Roy... the same song: Squeeze me Please me Tease me Musicians go to Claude again, with Claude miming. Roy: My love, my darling, I love you With love in my heart so tender and true My love, my darling, I come to you. Jacky: Come on in, my love. Come in. Claude pass flowers through the window. Window goes. Enter Claude. Embraces Jacky.....sees John, points at him. Jacky takes John by the spoon, drags him off. Claude sits down. John: She thrills me. Roy: And Columbine entertains Harlequin with slices of love cake and passionate embraces. ( Marilyn produces two plates/ cake slices and hand to Jacky and Claude. Two of us hold up a table-cloth to hide embraces and kisses. Mike makes strong entrance. Stands opp.Chris who holds the picture frame between them. Chris steps out of the picture frame and Mike takes over- Chris goes to front of stage...... we whisper: Punchinello,Punchinello. When we stop: John: Oh Columbine, your husband is coming home. Stop that hanky-panky. (Kev and Marilyn fold table cloth, make a cupboard door). Jacky and Claude come out of embrace Jacky: Oh, my god. Hide in the cupboard, my love. (Open doors, sound effects. Claude gets in). Enter Chris: (Turns his picture round - Mike and Chris both look at her). You've had a man here! Jacky: Are you drunk? 15 Chris (picks up the 2 plates, holds them in front of Jacky): Two plates... two plates? (Goes to the front of the audience: Two plates, two plates) Jacky: (opens cupboard door - mock whisper) I love you. Until tonight, my love. Roy: And the man forgets how to play the clown. He hears the same words that he heard earlier when he saw his wife with her lover. Us (whisper): I love you. Until tonight. (Chris smashes the plates) Chris and Mike stand side by side. Chris and Mike: Tell me his name. Together: Tell me his name. (they hold the picture frame in between them. Roy: The man forgets how to play the clown. Us: Punchinello play the clown. Jacky: Punchinello, play the clown. Chris: I am a famous clown. I must play my part. Brenda comes in behind Jacky: Please. Please. Mike and Chris: No. I can't. Chris: You've got another man. (Chris takes the picture frame) Mike: A man. Jacky faces Mike: What's your problem?... do you mean this man?...(She opens the cupboard doors.) Claude: I'm only mending cupboard. Us: He's only mending the cupboard. Mike: Enough. Enough of this clowning. (Kevin, Marilyn, Claude, Jacky, John, Chris and anyone else ....all exit.) Mike and Brenda face each other: Brenda: Please. No. Mike: His name or your life. ( Freeze.) 16 Roy: There will always be clowns to make us laugh, to make light of our sorrows, to make a comedy of our human tragedies. (Wait for the clowns to go back to their places) And behind the masks, US .... ( we take off masks. Face the audience) Kev: When we feel Jacky:....let down Roy: We get upset, angry, cry. But we try to forgive Kev: When we feel Kev:... shame Roy: We are disappointed with ourselves. We try to get control to put it right. Kev: When we feel Alan: hate Roy: It works us up, leaves us lost and weak We have to find our own friends and get on with our lives. We try to forget. Jane: When our hearts break.... Roy: We feel lonely Dark everywhere, lost We just sit down to cry every single day But we must never lose hope. Sometimes, though, people can go too far They have no control over their lives And then.... All: What do they do? 17 Mike: His name. Brenda: No (turns to walk away. Mike stabs her in back) Brenda - scream/fall: Love. Alex just walks forward, bends to Brenda - Mike stabs. Stabs. Stabs. The two bodies lie together. Mike drops knife. Looks at what he has done. Covers his face with his hands. Alan steps up, looks at bodies, covers his face. We cover our faces. Music starts. Plays one verse only, then...... Roy: Loneliness is a frightening thing To be on your own in silence. Loneliness is life It is a time and a place for everyone. The stage goes dark. Roy:The comedy is ended.