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original cast Hamlet, Santa Claus, Nietzsche and Job
by Scott O. Moore

Much of the third scene is featured in the Book of Job and in Hamlet.
There is no intermission, and there is no ending.

The play was written
to be performed with ten performers,
doubled as follows:
Melody -- Job
Cramer -- Hamlet
Lorelei -- Nietzsche
Roland -- Santa Claus
Waiter -- Secretary -- Messenger #3
Bus Boy -- Werner -- Satan
Man -- God
Woman -- Mrs. Werner -- Girlfriend
Executive #1 -- Worker #1 -- Messenger #1
Executive #2 -- Worker #2 -- Messenger #2

This play was originally produced September 23-25, 1993, at the University of Northern Iowa, with the following cast:

Melody/Job:    Amy M. Augustine
Cramer/Hamlet:    Robert Leo Grady
Roland/Santa Claus:    Chad Hartley
Lorelei/Nietzsche:    Sonia D. Walsh
Man/God:    Jason D. Palmquist
Bus Boy/Werner/Satan:    Heath Michael Rezabek
Woman/Mrs. Werner/Girlfriend:    Sigrid Hollingworth
Waiter/Secretary/Messenger #3:    Bill Dawson
Executive #1/Worker #1/Messenger #1:    Cory Walters
Executive #2/Worker #2/Messenger #2:    Courtenay S. Baker
Host/Photographer/Chaos:    Bradley J. Masters

Assistant Director, Alison M. Gerlach; Original Music composed by Jeff Young and Todd Munnik; Set and Sound Design, Scott O. Moore; Lighting Design,  Jeremy P. Kisling; Costume and Makeup Design, Sonia D. Walsh; Props, Jason Lees; Stage Manager, Abby Rowold; Directed by Scott O. Moore

Heath Michael Rezabek


Note: Although this script is broken into scenes for convenience, the play itself is intended to run fluidly with no interruptions.

Scene One

(A cafe or restaurant.  CRAMER, MELODY, LORELEI, and ROLAND sit
at a table.)

CRAMER: It's gotta be funny.  Really funny.  Really fucking
     funny.  Drop dead funny.  Make 'em laugh til they puke.
     Make 'em laugh til they just plain puke.  It's gotta be
     that funny.  That's how I judge funny.  It's gotta cause
     a physical, visceral, physiological reaction.  You hear
     sometimes how something'll make someone laugh til they
     piss their pants?  I want to go BEYOND that.  I want to
     go FURTHER.  I want 'em to laugh til they fucking puke.
     I want to have to put a warning at the beginning of the
     show that says, "Hey, warning, this show will make you
     laugh til you fucking puke."  I don't know what it is
     with me, why I always gotta go one step FURTHER than ev-
     eryone else, but that's the facts: no one else has any-
     thing funny enough to make people vomit.  And I think we
     all know how much I'm into vomit.

ROLAND: You into vomit?

CRAMER: Yeah, I gotta admit, I'm into vomit.  And how.  Vomit
     really gets me going.  Hell, I'll say it, vomit turns me
     on.  Vomit really gives me, what do you call it?

MELODY: A hard-on?

CRAMER: Yeah, one of those.  Tasty good, know what I mean?  God
     knows what you can do with a big bucket of vomit -- but I

LORELEI: I had a dream last night that I was walking on baby
     bunny rabbits.

CRAMER: Please, Lorelei, you'll make me sick.  Now we got four
     characters.  Hamlet, Santa Claus, Nietzsche, and Job.

ROLAND + MELODY: Hamlet, Santa Claus, Nietzsche, and Job.

CRAMER: This is high concept here.  We're talking about Art.  Art
     with a capital A.  Art like you've never seen before on your
     local TV set.  Or your nonlocal TV set.  Why restrict our-
     selves?  And people won't know how to handle it.  Let's face
     it: nobody knows what to do with Art anymore, except ban it.
     Nobody will have any fucking idea what to do with this show.

MELODY: They'll vomit.

CRAMER: Exactly.  And we all know how much I'm into vomit.  So we
     got four characters. Hamlet, Santa Claus, Nietzsche, and
     Job.  In case you didn't know, these are all characters
     straight the fuck out of the Jungian collective unconscious.
     I don't exactly know how, you're just gonna have to trust me
     on this one.  So the shtick is, we got Hamlet, Prince of
     Denmark, and he runs around in black tights -- I mean, I'm
     not into tights myself, but that's what people EXPECT, and
     he's this indecisive, suicidal mother lover, who only speaks
     in iambic pentameter.  Right there you nail the whole Shake-
     speare crowd, and all the poets and the artsy-fartsies.
     Then you got Santa Claus, and the shtick is, he only works
     one night a year, so the rest of the time he hangs out with
     his buddies, always givin' 'em presents, little gingerbread
     men, whatever.  Santa nails the entire under-12 audience,
     and imagine the wacky hijinks we'll have on the Christmas
     episode.  Then, you got Nietzsche, this insane fucking exi-
     stentialist, dripping with wisdom and syphilis or whatever,
     and the shtick is, he's so insane, all he can do is scream.
     I figure, Nietzsche nails the whole academic-slash-philoso-
     phic scene, gets us the college age, God is dead, I-wear-
     nothing-but-black crowd, he gets us the whole nutball crowd,
     and maybe we get the Nazi fringe audience too, you never
     know.  And then, of course, there's Job, and this guy, you
     know, he's the Gilligan of the bunch, nothing ever goes his
     way, his wife and family all bite it, he's covered with ooz-
     ing sores and bleeding pustules, I figure, we nail the reli-
     gious right, the midwestern Bible-thumpin' Fundamentalists.
     And you figure, here's Nietzsche, whose slogan is "God is
     dead," hanging around with Job -- Job knows God ain't dead,
     if it weren't for God, his family'd still be alive.  So
     there you go.  I figure, maybe they run a bar or something.

ROLAND: We could have guest stars too.

CRAMER: Oh, hell yeah.  We'll have awesome guest stars.

ROLAND: Karl Marx.

CRAMER: Aristotle.

MELODY: Sigmund Freud.

CRAMER: Stanley Kowalski.

MELODY: Luke Skywalker.

ROLAND: The Easter Bunny.

CRAMER: The Apostle Paul.

MELODY: The Elephant Man.

ROLAND: The Great Gonzo.

CRAMER: The entire fucking cast of "Love Boat."  My grandma'll
     shit her diapers when I tell her.

(WAITER arrives.)

WAITER: May I take your orders?

CRAMER: Gimme a big, fat, thick steak, rare, and I mean rare,
     still breathing, blood just dripping out.

MELODY: I'll have the special.

WAITER: Pardon me?

MELODY: The special.  Whatever the special is, that's what I

WAITER: No matter what the special is, that's what you want?

MELODY: It wouldn't be the special if it wasn't something
     special.  I'll have the special.  I want the special.

ROLAND: I'd just like a strawberry shortcake, if you don't mind.

WAITER: (to LORELEI) And you, madam?

LORELEI: (after a pause) Sometimes the sky's as dark as the
     inside of a garbage can, and I wonder if the world still
     spins, or if it was all just my imagination and a bottle of

WAITER: Soup and salad it is, madam.  Would you care for anything
     to drink?

CRAMER: A bottle of your cheapest, most obnoxious, sewer-strained
     wine, if you will.  And make it snappy.  We're in a hurry.
     Time is money, all that shit. (WAITER goes toward the exit)

ROLAND: Time is money?

CRAMER: That's what I said.

ROLAND: I wonder if Einstein knew about that.

(WAITER is stopped at the door by the entrance of two

ROLAND: Look who just walked in.

(WAITER leads EXECUTIVES to a table of their own.)

CRAMER: Those fucks.  I can't believe--

MELODY: Cramer, forget about it.

ROLAND: Yeah, they're shit -- don't step in it.

MELODY: We've got a great show in the works, and no one's going
     to pass it up.  We're on our way.  Just ignore them.

EXECUTIVE #1: (calling over) Hey, Cramer!  Sorry about your last
     show.  I hear the ratings were so low they could only detect
     them at the quantum level. (the two EXECUTIVES laugh)

(CRAMER stands, pulls a gun, and shoots EXECUTIVE #1, who flies
back out of his chair.  CRAMER sits.)

CRAMER: I think we need to think about a romantic interest for
     one of these characters.  At first, I thought Hamlet could
     have Ophelia, but then I thought, those two are made for
     each other, there's just no conflict there, and anyway,
     she'd be a waterlogged corpse, which I think is a problem.
     (WAITER + BUS BOY enter to drag EXECUTIVE #1 away.)  We know
     Job can't have a romantic interest.  His wife died, and we
     need that sorrow there as a kind of anchor for all the
     hilarious hijinks that go on in this bar.  Santa Claus could
     have Mrs. Claus, but again, where's the tension?  She bakes
     cookies and watches the elves while he hangs out at the
     bar -- seems perfectly acceptable to me.  So.  It's gotta be
     Nietzsche.  Nietzsche's gotta have a babe.  And the gag is,
     Nietzsche's nuts, he's wacko, he's insane, he's flipped his
     lid, he's loony as a jaybird, he's cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs,
     and of course, all he does is scream.  So you figure we got
     lots of laughs right there, a really comical tension between
     Nietzsche and his babe.

WAITER: (at EXECUTIVE #2's table) May I take your order?

EXECUTIVE #2: I'll have the special.

MELODY: So Nietzsche's girlfriend is a regular character.

CRAMER: Maybe.  Depends who we can get.  Has to be a babe.

(BUS BOY enters, leading a MAN + WOMAN)

BUS BOY: If you'll follow me...

(They pass WAITER, who exits.  BUS BOY leads MAN + WOMAN to
another table.)

ROLAND: Look who just walked in.

BUS BOY: (as MAN + WOMAN sit) A waiter will be with you in a
     moment. (exits)

CRAMER: (awestruck) Will you look at HER...

MELODY: Will you look at HIM...

MAN: (turning) Don't look at us.

(CRAMER + MELODY turn away)

EXECUTIVE #2: (stands) Hey!  Is that you?

WOMAN: (stands, smiles) Of COURSE it's us!

MAN: You old clown!  What are YOU doing here?

EXECUTIVE #2: Eating!

WOMAN: So are we!


(Awkward pause; then, they sit.  WAITER + BUS BOY enter with a
tray of yummies, head to CRAMER et al's table.)

WAITER: Here we are.

(During the next dialogue, BUS BOY puts plates on table in front
of each character, and WAITER ladles disgusting green slop from a
dirty old paint bucket onto each plate.)

CRAMER: That woman...she'd be the perfect woman for Nietzsche's
     babe.  She's perfect.  She's beautiful, abjectly beautiful.
     Perfect, pouting...everything.

ROLAND: You're objectifying again.

CRAMER: So what?  I need an object, not a person, for Christ's
     sake.  One of us needs to talk to her.

ROLAND: Sorry, not me.  I haven't had a square meal in weeks.

CRAMER: You and your geometry.  Lorelei?


LORELEI: I've died a thousand deaths when moonlit nights have so
     overthrown my senses, synesthesia singing from beyond a
     self-fulfilling singularity.  The tremendum smiles if you
     want it to.

CRAMER: You hear her, Melody -- go talk to that woman.

MELODY: (distracted) What?

(During the next, WAITER sets out wine glasses and BUS BOY pours
wine from a laundry detergent container; then, BUS BOY exits.)

CRAMER: Talk to her.  Go over there and talk to her.  Cast her.
     Tell her she's gonna be on TV.  Everybody wants to be a part
     of the mass media that controls the minds of all the kids
     and stupid people on the planet.  I hear pretty soon you'll
     be able to plug right into your TV, you'll be able to com-
     pletely submerse yourself into a world entirely designed by
     the networks, and through them, the government.  Who
     wouldn't want to be a part of that?  Sleep with her if you
     have to -- or heck, I'll sleep with her, I'll be a martyr
     for this fucking show.  I'll fucking sleep with BOTH of

MELODY: That won't be necessary.

WAITER:  Can I get you anything else?

MELODY: (rises) Do you know the names of that woman and that man?

WAITER: They have no names, madam. (exaggerated stage whisper)
     They're from another planet.

ROLAND: I'd like some soy sauce, if you don't mind.

WAITER: Right away, sir. (goes)

MELODY: (crossing to MAN + WOMAN's table) My name is Melody.
     Mind if I join you?

EXECUTIVE #2: (rises) Hey, don't talk to her!  She works for NBC!

(CRAMER stands quickly and shoots EXECUTIVE #2, who flies back
over his chair.  CRAMER sits.)

MELODY: (to WOMAN, perfunctorily) You're very beautiful.

WOMAN: So it goes.

MELODY: Would you like to be on TV?

WOMAN: No, thank you.

MELODY: Ah, well. (to MAN) Would you have sex with me?

MAN: Not right now.  We're just about to order dinner.

MELODY: How about tonight?  I'm free.

MAN: (to WOMAN) Did we have anything planned tonight?

WOMAN: Just more of the same.

MAN: Ah.  Well, there's no getting around that I suppose.

CRAMER: (to MELODY) What's taking you so long?

WAITER: (arriving quickly) I'm sorry, sir.  Your soy sauce. (he
     sets down a tub of butter.)

CRAMER: Not you.  Melody!

MELODY: She won't do it. (to MAN) You must understand, I've just
     realized that I've needed you all these years.

CRAMER: She won't do it!

ROLAND: (opens tub, finds more green sludge inside) Wow, this
     stuff is ritzy.

(WAITER + BUS BOY drag EXECUTIVE #2 away.)

WOMAN: You'll surely find him as boring as I do.

MELODY: Boring is in the perception of the perceiver.

WOMAN: What's the difference?

MAN: Ah, how existential.

WOMAN: He'll sleep with you.


WOMAN: When the moment calls for it.

MAN: At present, I seem to be enjoying this conversation.

CRAMER: Melody!  Tell her she needs to be on TV or I'll have to
     kill her.

WOMAN: It won't be the first time.

MELODY: When you're ready for me, let me know.

MAN: You'll know.  These things always turn out just the way you
     expect them.

LORELEI: Why am I the only one who smells the impending disaster?
     Why has my tongue been cut out and fed to small children, so
     that there's no time like the present, and we can't see that
     everything is?  It's you on the other side where nothing is
     but what it was somewhere else, only here, different, as be-
     fore, depending on where you sit and how much they charge
     for cable.  Plastic is the wave of the future, except when
     the future is made of particles.  That's the way the cookie

 Scene 2

(The lights suddenly change; loud John Zorn music comes up, and
the cast begins dancing wildly, knocking the tables over,
spilling sludge to the floor.  The two EXECUTIVES return, bloody,
and join them, as do the WAITER + BUS BOY.  The dance may at
times resemble a brawl, or a ritual, or whatever it needs to, and
the audience is encouraged to join in.  In the midst of this, the
crew enters and changes the scene.  A desk and chair need to be
in place, with four TVs behind it, each one showing a different
program.  Confetti, glitter, streamers, garbage, candy, cupcakes,
bran cereal, sugar, and whatever else falls in waves and
particles from the catwalks.  The dance takes itself into the
audience if it needs to, and lasts as long as the performers care
to dance.  Costume changes happen during the dance.  At some
point, the music stops.  WERNER sits behind his desk.  CRAMER,
LORELEI, MELODY, + ROLAND are in his office; others clear the

CRAMER: Werner!  Have I got a fucking show for you!

WERNER: Cramer!  It's fucking great to see you!

CRAMER: Listen, Werner, have I got a fucking show for you.  We'll
     call it "Hamlet, Santa Claus --

WERNER: Cramer, have you heard the news?  They predicted the end
     of the world -- it's happening tonight, a little after mid-
     night!  Can you fucking believe that?

CRAMER: No, I can't.  Listen, it's called "Hamlet, Santa Claus,
     Nietzsche, and Job."  It's in a bar.  It's a sitcom.  Need I
     say more?

WERNER: Cramer!  Don't you get it?  The world's fucking ending.
     That means TV too.  They predicted it.  Jig's up, dig?

CRAMER: Werner, I don't have time for this bullshit.

WERNER: MAKE time for it!  Make time for the end of the world,
     pal, because you're bound to be there!

SECRETARY: (enters quickly) Mr. Werner, your wife is here.  She's
     going into labor.

WERNER: Send her in! (SECRETARY goes)

(MAN enters from opposite)

MAN: Melody.

(SECRETARY enters with MRS. WERNER, who is visibly and incredibly

MRS. WERNER: (in pain, etc.) This is it, honey.  Our little
     Werner is on the way.

WERNER: Just in time for the apocalypse!

ROLAND: Is this going to take long?

MELODY: (to MAN) I wondered when I would see you again.

SECRETARY: Here, lie down on the desk, Mrs. Werner. (helps MRS.
     WERNER onto the desk)

ROLAND: Shouldn't you boil some water or something?

WERNER: What the fuck for?  You wanna make tea or something?

(MAN + MELODY move to each other.  A waltz begins, and the two
start to dance.)

CRAMER: Listen, Werner, I don't give a shit if your wife's about
     to EXPLODE.  It's--

(WERNER pulls a gun and shoots CRAMER, who falls over.)

WERNER: (to MRS. WERNER) Honey, are you going to be all right?

MAN: (to MELODY) You're amazingly beautiful.

MRS. WERNER: (screams in pain)

ROLAND: (to LORELEI) Let's get his wallet. (they move to CRAMER's

MELODY: (to MAN) You're incredibly handsome.

MRS. WERNER: Fucking bitch!

SECRETARY: It's all right!  Think happy thoughts!

WERNER: There are no happy thoughts!  The world is ending!

MRS. WERNER: (screaming) Jesus Christ has ripped apart my liver!
     Where's the fucking spaghetti sauce?

(Two WORKERS wheel a bed onstage.)

WORKER #1: (to MAN) We got the bed you ordered.  Where do you
     want it?

MAN: Right over there.

MELODY: You're so thoughtful.

SECRETARY: Think about clowns, and funny jokes, and cupcakes --

MRS. WERNER: (screaming) My ass is rotting off!  I'm swallowing

(MAN + MELODY move to bed, begin kissing and petting and so on.
WORKERS take seats somewhere nearby, whip out notebooks to take
notes.  MRS. WERNER continues screaming throughout the next.)

WERNER: All of civilization is hurtling toward its final destina-
     tion, an endpoint fixed in time, a temporal gravity well
     sucking us into a metaphysical singularity!  We've made more
     progress in the last hundred years than we have in the last
     thousand!  We've made more progress in the last ten years
     than we have in the last hundred!  We've made more progress
     in the last year than we have in the last ten!  Do you see
     where this is heading?

WORKER #2: (commenting on MELODY) She's got style, I'll give her

MRS. WERNER: Werner!  Werner!

WERNER: Not now, honey!

SECRETARY: Happy thoughts!  Happy thoughts!

WERNER: We've made more progress in the last month than we have
     in the last year!  We've made more progress in the last week
     than we have in the last month!  We've made --

MRS. WERNER: (screaming) Who's this "we" you keep babbling about?

ROLAND: (taking a stand; LORELEI has CRAMER's gun) Mr. Werner, I
     hate to interrupt, but we came here to get ourselves a TV
     show, and we don't intend to leave until we get one.

LORELEI: (bitter) The penguins are not gregarious.

WERNER: (incredulous) Haven't you heard a single word I've said?

SECRETARY: Push, Mrs. Werner!

WERNER: (turns) Push Mrs. Werner?  What the hell for?

MRS. WERNER: (screams)

SECRETARY: Push!  Push!

WORKER #1: Now we're getting somewhere.

WORKER #2: They'll lose twenty points if they go under the

WERNER: We don't have time for any more TV shows, don't you see?
     (ROLAND leaves, WERNER addresses LORELEI) Humanity can't
     keep up.  The progress of civilization, the incredible tech-
     nological and biological advances, why, the poor human brain
     just can't keep up.  Face it, the universe is a swamp of
     randomness, and as order breaks down and dissolves into
     chaos, consciousness itself will be radically transformed.
     The entire global biostructure will come alive, will reson-
     ate throughout the galaxy!  This is no time to resist!  Give
     in!  Give in!

SECRETARY: Will you fucking push, Mrs. Werner?

MRS. WERNER: (horrendous scream)

(MAN + MELODY are now having sex; they have, of course, wrapped
themselves in the covers inadvertently.  Their clothes are strewn
about the bed and floor.)

WORKER #1: Give it to her!  Yeehah!

(ROLAND reenters, wheeling onstage a large metal drum.  A harness
is lowered to the stage.  LORELEI leads WERNER toward it.  MELODY
+ MAN are beginning to thrash and moan wildly.)

WERNER: Heisenberg never knew what he was talking about.  None of
     them knew, none of them suspected.  Each individual human
     being is just another neuron firing in the great global
     neural net -- isn't that fucking exciting? (ROLAND + LORELEI
     strap WERNER into the harness, which then begins to lift him
     off the stage) I know, I know, I must sound like an incredi-
     ble crank!

SECRETARY: Keep pushing!  I can see it coming!

MELODY: Jesus fucking Christ!

WERNER: But it's true!  It's all true!  Look out the window!
     Look at the riots, the mayhem, the destruction!  The human
     race can't stand the pressure of the attractor!  We're all
     beginning to implode, can't you feel it? (ROLAND + LORELEI
     wheel the drum underneath WERNER) I can feel it!  I can feel
     everything!  Good God, but it's glorious!

MELODY: Holy mother of God!

MRS. WERNER: (screaming) Where the fuck is the spaghetti sauce?

WERNER: (he is now slowly being lowered into the drum) I can feel
     a new awareness creeping over the planet, subsuming the
     entire biosphere!

ROLAND: I will have my TV show, Mr. Werner!  I will have it!

WORKER #1: How much longer is this gonna take?

MRS. WERNER: I can't push any more!

SECRETARY: I think it's stuck!  I'm going to have to cut you
     open, Mrs. Werner!

ROLAND: You're being lowered into sulfuric acid, Mr. Werner!
     We're taking over your network!  "Hamlet, Santa Claus,
     Nietzsche, and Job" will soon be coming to a television set
     near you!

LORELEI: There's a titmouse in the closet, Mr. Werner!

WERNER: It's too late to stop the plunge!  We're on our way!

SECRETARY: (holding a large knife over MRS. WERNER's stomach)
     This won't hurt a bit, Mrs. Werner.

(SECRETARY begins cutting open MRS. WERNER's stomach, slowly, as
if sawing a board.  MRS. WERNER screams appropriately.)

WERNER: Don't worry, honey!  I'll be with you soon enough!

LORELEI: I don't think you understand the gravity of the

(WERNER's toes touch the acid, and he begins screaming as well)
MELODY: It hurts!

WORKER #2: It's about time!

SECRETARY: I've almost got it, Mrs. Werner! (blood is spilling
     from Mrs. Werner's stomach.  SECRETARY plunges a hand in and
     begins fishing around)

MELODY: (no longer enjoying herself) must be from ano-
     ther planet...

(WERNER's screams intensify, as do MRS. WERNER's.  Suddenly,
WERNER, MRS. WERNER, + MELODY all scream at the top of their
lungs for a bit, spasm, and stop.  WERNER + MRS. WERNER are dead.
MELODY collapses onto her back.  SECRETARY pulls a bloody ham
from MRS. WERNER's stomach.)

SECRETARY: Congratulations, Mrs. Werner!  You're the mother of a
     beautiful five-pound candied ham!

(Lights shift -- the stage is blue.  A wash comes up on the bed.
During the following monologues, WERNER is raised up and away,
ROLAND + LORELEI exit with the drum, CRAMER crawls across the
stage slowly on his belly toward an exit, and the two WORKERS,
the SECRETARY, and the bloody MRS. WERNER begin singing
alternating Gregorian chant/doo-wop a capella, with no lyrics.)

        MELODY                             MAN
Sometimes the only way to get      There's no time like the pre-
through life is to imagine all     sent.  Someday we'll all live
the different ways that life       in climate-controlled domes.
could be worse than it is right    The temperature will always be
now.  And then, you say to         a pleasant 72 degrees, we'll
yourself, "At least I'm not in     have a light shower every
that situation. At least I'm       Tuesday evening, and maybe a
not THAT person." Sometimes the    beautiful snowfall on Christ-
only way to get through life is    mas Eve, but by the 26th, it
to take pleasure in the misfor-    will have all melted. Fuck na-
tune of others. You think,         ture. Kill all the trees. May-
"Well, at least I'm not starv-     be, if we're idealists, we'll
ing to death." You think, "Good    have a zoo or some such non-
God, that would be the worst,      sense, but the only animals we
to be thoroughly and complete-     really need are the kind that
ly starving to death, to have      go into McDonald's food. We'll
NO FOOD whatsoever, to have a      have a minimum IQ requirement.
distended belly and all sorts      Kids who are born a little
of deficiencies and imbalances     slow will be put to sleep.
and to have so much agony and      Criminals will be shot into
to be on the verge of dying.       outer space. No such thing as
THAT would be the worst." And      an appeal. Murder. I just want
when you think about people        murder. I just want a chance
like that, nothing you ever do     to kill. There's no moral im-
will ever seem significant a-      perative. You can't derive
gain, and nothing that happens     meaning from the fact that
to you will ever be quite so       there isn't any meaning. I
awful again. Your own suffer-      want to be dead. I'll wake up
ing won't ever matter again,       and I won't be there. The day
and you'll never take pride in     the dog went supernova was a
your own survival again. And       very bad day for me. The Tao
when your husband comes home       is conscious, it lives and
late again and knocks you          breathes and pulses. I am the
straight to the floor with a       Tao. Have you checked the Tao
vicious punch, his wedding         Jones lately? I'm sick. What
ring tearing open your cheek       do I mean? What can I mean?
again, and when he lifts you       How can I mean? The mind's on-
to your feet again by a hand-      ly function is to mean in a
ful of hair and spits in your      world that lacks meaning en-
face and punches you again,        tirely. How shall I reconcile
this time ripping open your        this? I'll stare at a wall til
lip, and when he flings you        my eyes roll back into my
against the wall so hard that      head. I just want a chance to
your head snaps back and your      kill. I just want a chance to
extremities go numb, and when      bathe in blood. I'm not a bad
he throws the nearest lamp at      person. There's no such thing.
you and watches it shatter a-      I'll pluck my fingernails from
gainst the side of your head,      the wall and swallow them
and the blood from your fore-      whole. I am composed of bile
head and the blood from your       and sickness. The Ressurec-
cheek and the blood from your      tion was a fraud. Don't smile.
lip runs down your neck onto       Don't move. Your life is a ne-
just about the only clean          gation. Even despair has no
shirt you have left, and when      angle. Where is Euclid now? I
he kicks and kicks and kicks       need to take communion. To
and doesn't care what he fra-      hang myself by own genitals.
ctures, and when his coup de       To cut out my spleen with a
grace is to strangle you           shrimp fork. To cut off my
within an inch of your life        feet with a weedeater. Listen
with the lamp cord, all be-        to me, just listen--I know
cause you didn't have a plate      what you're saying, and it's
of food for him when he walk-      hard to live in a world like
ed in the door--none of that       this, but so it goes, there it
will matter. It won't matter       is, death is just too much of
to you, and it certainly           an immediate gamble. I make
won't matter to him, never         connections with whoever I
mind that there are men in         can, whenever I can, however I
the world who don't have the       can. I can't exists. I am my
strength to beat a woman be-       own essence, I am an ideal, I
cause they haven't seen food       am a substantiated absolute
in weeks and they just watch-      that walks and lives and
ed their own wives and chil-       breathes, the concepts that I
dren die overnight from the        embody strike fear and tremb-
heat and the hunger, never         ling into every human being's
mind all that, and better yet,     intestines. Blow your horns,
take pleasure in it, because       and watch the walls of Jericho
those are people worse off         crumble. Charge in and slaugh-
than you, thank God. Let 'em       ter every man, woman, and an-
starve, that's the way to          drogynous child. I shall hard-
help you, is to let every last     en their hearts against thee,
one of them starve to death,       such that repentance is duly
so that their situation is no      impossible. We won't survive
longer the worst in the world,     the cataclysm. There is no un-
and finally, you might be able     iversal community, we were
to try a little self-pity. But     better off back in the Stone
until they're all dead...until     Age. I want you, Melody. I
there are no more starving         want to make you the recepta-
people in the'll       cle of my rage. I'm not crazy.
forget to have his food ready      Humanity is a Gaian belch. I
the next night...and someday       have nothing to say, but I can
you'll just have to kill him,      say it incredibly fast, I wear
your life will be a TV movie,      my influences on my sleeve,
and you won't take any more        at a distance where I can keep
pleasure in holding a shotgun      a baleful eye on them. Who do
to his head and pulling the        think is listening to you? Who
trigger than you did when you      do you think cares one whit?
swallowed four of your teeth       These people don't care, they
that time--you won't take          speak a different language,
pleasure in that at all,           they live in a different
because the only pleasure          world, there's no such thing
left in the world is thinking      as hope and everything we are
about starving people. Let's       is what we're not.
order a pizza.

 Scene 3

(A sudden silence follows.  Then, TV theme show music, brassy and
big, comes up. The quartet wheels the bed off, and a bar appears
with HAMLET(Cramer) standing on top of it, in front of a gold sparkle
curtain, in tights, in a spot, big smile.)

HAMLET: To be or not to be -- that is the question! (big canned
     laughter) O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I! (big
     canned laughter) Alas, poor Yorick! (more laughter) I can
     keep 'em coming all night!  Neither a borrower nor a len-
     der be! (canned laughs)  The play's the thing! (laughs)

(Lights up on JOB(Melody) with a sheet wrapped around her.)

JOB: There lived in the land of Uz a man of blameless and upright
     life named Job, who feared God and set his face against
     wrongdoing.  Job was the greatest man in all the East.
     (canned laughs)

(Lights up on SANTA CLAUS(Roland), drunk, holding a bottle of whiskey.)

SANTA CLAUS: Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!  He sees you
     when you're sleeping, Virginia!  He knows when you're awake!
     Ho ho fucking ho ho ho! (big canned laughs)

(Lights up on NIETZSCHE(Lorelei), in a chair. He screams insanely.  Canned

(Lights up on HAMLET.)

HAMLET: Speak the speech, I pray you...trippingly on the tongue!
     (canned laughs) The lady doth protest too much methinks!
     (canned laughs) Is this crap brilliant or what?

(Lights up on GOD + SATAN, behind JOB)

GOD: Where the hell have you been?

SATAN: Ranging over the earth, from end to end.

GOD: (motioning to JOB) Have you considered my servant Job?  You
     will find no one like him on earth, a man of blameless and
     upright life, who fears God and sets his face against wrong-

SATAN: Has not Job good reason to be God-fearing?  Whatever he
     does you have blessed, and his herds have increased beyond
     measure.  But stretch out your hand and touch all that he
     has, and then he will curse you to your face.

GOD: So be it.  All that he has is in your hands. (canned laughs)

(Lights up on SANTA CLAUS)

SANTA CLAUS: Listen, Virginia, I know when you've been bad or
     good.  Really, I do.  And I'll tell you something else, too.
     I'm getting tired of Mrs. Claus and all these ELVES.

(Lights up on NIETZSCHE.  His wacky GIRLFRIEND enters.)

GIRLFRIEND: Hi, Friedrich, it's me, your wacky girlfriend!
     (canned applause) And how are you today?

NIETZSCHE: (screams) (canned laughs)

GIRLFRIEND: Oh, poor little Friedrich... (poses for the camera)
     Still insane? (big laughs)

(Lights up on JOB.  A MESSENGER runs in.)

MESSENGER #1: The oxen were ploughing and the asses were grazing
     near them, when the Sabaeans swooped down and carried them
     off, after putting the herdsmen to the sword; and I am the
     only one to escape and tell the tale. (laughs)

(Lights up on HAMLET.)

HAMLET: When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw!
     (laughs) What a piece of work is man! (laughs) A little more
     than kin and less than kind! (laughs) This guy is fucking

(Lights up on JOB.  Another MESSENGER runs in.)

MESSENGER #2: God's fire flashed from heaven.  It struck the
     sheep and the shepherds and burnt them up; and I am the only
     one to escape and tell the tale. (laughs)

(Lights up on SANTA CLAUS.)

SANTA CLAUS: better watch better not
     cry, better not pout either, you little bitch
     ...cuz I'M FUCKING COMING TO TOWN! (laughs)

(Lights up on JOB.  Another MESSENGER runs in.)

MESSENGER #3: Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking in
     the eldest brother's house, when suddenly a whirlwind swept
     across from the desert, and struck the four corners of the
     house, and it fell on the young people and killed them,
     and --

JOB: And you are the only one to escape and tell the tale.


GIRLFRIEND: Nietzsche, honey, would you like some supper?

NIETZSCHE: (screams) (laughs)

GIRLFRIEND: How about a movie?  Would you like to watch a movie,

NIETZSCHE: (screams) (laughs)

GIRLFRIEND: (sternly) Nietzsche, I think you and I have a serious
     communication problem. (big laughs)

(Lights up all over.  HAMLET jumps down behind the bar as SANTA
CLAUS enters.  A big cheer from offstage: "Santa!"  Applause.)

HAMLET: What, ho, Santa Claus!  Or I do forget myself!  But what
     in faith make you from the North Pole?

SANTA CLAUS: I can't drink that reindeer piss anymore.  Gimme a
     beer. (laughs)

GOD: You incited me to ruin him without a cause, but his integri-
     ty is still unshaken.

SATAN: Skin for skin!  Stretch out your hand and touch his bone
     and flesh, and see if he will not curse you to your face.

GOD: So be it.  He is in your hands.

(JOB collapses to her knees, in absolute pain, wracked and

GIRLFRIEND: (hearing JOB scream) Do you hear that, Friedrich?
     Sounds like the neighbors are crazy too. (laughs)

MESSENGER #1: Are you still unshaken in your integrity?  Curse
     God and die!

MESSENGER #2: Happy the man whom God rebukes!  Therefore do not
     reject the discipline of the Almighty.

MESSENGER #3: Can you fathom the mystery of God, can you fathom
     the perfection of the Almighty?

JOB: (screams)

NIETZSCHE: (screams)

SANTA CLAUS: Ho ho ho.

HAMLET: Get thee to a nunnery.

MESSENGER #3: It is higher than heaven.  You can do nothing.

MESSENGER #2: It is deeper than hell.  You can know nothing.

MESSENGER #1: Blindness will fall on the wicked.  The ways of
     escape are closed to them.

NIETZSCHE: (screams)

JOB: (calling out) The arrows of the Almighty find their mark in
     me. (screams) The arrows of the Almighty find their mark in
     me, and their poison soaks into my spirit. (big laughs; she

HAMLET: I said, get thee to a nunnery.  Isn't anybody listening?

SANTA CLAUS: These two elves walk into a bar, right...

GIRLFRIEND: It's getting very dark out all of a sudden.

MESSENGER #1: It is the wicked whose light is extinguished, from
     whose fire no flame will rekindle!

JOB: (screams)

MESSENGER #2: Disease eats away his skin, death's eldest child
     devours his limbs.

JOB + NIETZSCHE: (scream)

HAMLET: What noise? (seeing JOB) Who calls on Hamlet?

SANTA CLAUS: No, listen, this is great.

SATAN: (in the distance) Haven't you heard a single word I've

MESSENGER #3: His memory vanishes from the face of the earth!

MESSENGER #2: He leaves no name in the world.

JOB: How long will you exhaust me and pulverize me with words?

HAMLET: Words, words, words.

MESSENGER #1: He is driven from light into darkness and bani-
     shed from the land of the living.

HAMLET: Tis for the dead, not for the quick.

GIRLFRIEND: Talk to me, Friedrich.

NIETZSCHE: (screams)

JOB: (screams)

SATAN: It's true!  It's all true!  Look out the window!

GIRLFRIEND: It's so dark out all of a sudden.

MESSENGER #1: Man learns his lesson on a bed of pain...

HAMLET: In this harsh world, draw thy breath in pain...

MESSENGER #1: ...tormented by a ceaseless ague in his bones!

MESSENGER #2: His flesh hangs loose upon him...

SANTA CLAUS: Not fucking likely.

MESSENGER #2: ...his bones are loosened and out of joint--

HAMLET: O cursed spite!

MESSENGER #3: His soul draws near to the pit, his life to the
     ministers of death!

JOB: No more!  These words like daggers enter into mine ears!

SATAN: We're all beginning to implode, can't you feel it?

JOB: (to HAMLET) Perish the day when I was born and the night
     which said, "A man is conceived!"

NIETZSCHE: (screams)

HAMLET: O, that this too too solid flesh would melt,
     Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!

JOB: May the day turn to darkness; may God above not look for it,
     nor light of dawn shine on it --

HAMLET: This most excellent canopy, the air --

JOB: May blackness sully it!

HAMLET: This brave o'erhanging firmament --

JOB: And murk and gloom, cloud smother the day!

HAMLET: This majestical roof fretted with golden fire --

JOB: Swift darkness eclipse its sun!

HAMLET: Why, it appears no other thing to me --

JOB: Blind darkness swallow up that night --

HAMLET + JOB: -- than a foul and pestilent congregation of

GIRLFRIEND: I can't see a thing out there, Friedrich, not a

SATAN: Look at the riots, the mayhem, the destruction!

JOB: Why was I not still-born, why did I not die when I came out
     of the womb?  Why was I ever laid on my mother's knees or
     put to suck at her breast?  Why was I not hidden like an
     untimely birth, like an infant that has not lived to see
     the light?  For then I should be lying in the quiet grave,
     asleep in death, at rest --

HAMLET: To die, to sleep--
     To sleep! perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
     For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
     When we have shuffled off this mortal coil --

JOB: There the wicked man chafes no more, there the tired
     labourer rests.  Why is life given to men who find it so

(Lines begin to overlap, if they haven't already.  A low rumble
becomes audible, slowly getting louder.  The MESSENGERS begin to
dance like puppets.)

SATAN: The human race can't stand the pressure!  We're all be-
     ginning to implode, can't you feel it?

JOB: Why should a man be born to wander blindly, hedged in by
     God on every side?

HAMLET; O, that the Everlasting had not fix'd
     His canon 'gainst self-slaughter!

JOB: Every terror that haunted me has caught up with me.

HAMLET: O God, God!

SANTA CLAUS: Whatever happened to good old causality?

SATAN: It's too late to stop the plunge!

GIRLFRIEND: This doesn't happen to ordinary people.

JOB: All that I feared has come upon me.

HAMLET: How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
     Seem to me all the uses of this world!

SANTA CLAUS: Look, this is really a great joke. (begins dancing)

HAMLET: It would cost you a groaning to take off my edge.

JOB: Groans pour from me in a torrent.

HAMLET: In the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say, the
     whirlwind of passion --

GIRLFRIEND: A whirlwind swept across from the desert...(begins

JOB: The arrows of the Almighty find their mark in me...

HAMLET: I have shot mine arrow o'er the house...

SATAN: I can feel it!  I can feel everything! (begins dancing)

JOB: The arrows of the Almighty find their mark in me, and their
     poison soaks into my spirit!

HAMLET: The potent poison quite o'er-crows my spirit! (begins

JOB: Flights of angels, sing me to my rest! (begins dancing)

(All but NIETZSCHE are now dancing.  GOD suddenly reappears, high
above them, accompanied by whatever music.  As he speaks into a
microphone, the cast dances and wails a ritual dance, in unison,
while NIETZSCHE sits in a chair CS.)

GOD: Who is this whose ignorant words cloud my design in dark-
     ness?  Where were you when I laid the earth's foundations?
     Who settled its dimensions?  Who set its corner-stone in
     place, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons
     of God shouted aloud?  In all your life have you ever called
     up the dawn or shown the morning its place?  Have you de-
     scended to the springs of the sea or walked in the unfathom-
     able deep?  Have the gates of death been revealed to you?
     Have you ever seen the doorkeepers of the place of darkness?
     Have you comprehended the vast expanse of the world?  Which
     is the way to the home of light and where does darkness
     dwell?  Did you proclaim the rules that govern the heavens,
     or determine the laws of nature on earth?  Who put wisdom in
     depths of darkness and veiled understanding in secrecy?
     Dare you deny that I am just or put me in the wrong that you
     may be right?  Have you an arm like God's arm, can you
     thunder with a voice like his?  Deck yourself out, if you
     can, in pride and dignity, array yourself in pomp and splen-
     dour; unleash the fury of your wrath, look upon the proud
     man and humble him; look upon every proud man and bring him
     low, throw down the wicked where they stand; hide them in
     the dust together, and shroud them in an unknown grave!
     THEN I in my turn will acknowledge that your own right hand
     can save you!

(The rumbling and dancing reach a fever pitch -- suddenly,
blackout.  A moment later, a single wash fades up on NIETZSCHE,
who sits and occasionally screams, sits and occasionally screams,
until the audience finds its way out of the theatre.)


Scott O. Moore: "The curious story of the figure known as Scotto is worth further exploration. While on the surface, he seems to have fit the mold of the angst-ridden artist of the time, it is apparent that on another level entirely, the man was quite likely insane. He claimed, at various points in his life, that he was in contact with extraterrestrial beings who predicted the end of human civilization, that the Voices in his head were actual entities and not a product of too many psychedelics, that punctuation marks as a group were an organized faction out to subvert reality, that the characters in his fiction had achieved sentience by way of his writing about them (and were not at all pleased with the situation), that the 'willing suspension of disbelief' alluded to in theatre aesthetics was not simply a metaphor but an actual phase transition in spacetime, that the so-called 'memetic attractor' at the heart of the mystic organization known as Leri was 'alive and pulsing,' and most notably, that the attractor which eventually yanked Leri into the Dreamtime and off the planet had reverse engineered Leri's escape, retroactively, by exerting an influence backwards in time. In light of these maniacal ramblings, it is a wonder Scott O. Moore was never struck by a car while crossing the street."

--from the journals of Dr. Nicholas Solitude, circa 2023 (via the Dreamtime)



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