Thursday, April 07, 2005

I Gotta Pope!

The following is an excerpt from an article from this morning's NY Times about the line of pilgrims waiting to view the Pope's body:

The line had grown so big that it split in two...there were songs and prayers and remarkable patience, as well as fatigue, sunburn and a bit of borderline bad behavior.

"They have called me mean; they say I have no pity," said Mariana Santoliquido, 27, who works in a cafe about the point where people had been waiting in line for 10 hours. She was yelled at because the cafe had stopped letting pilgrims use the bathroom, though she said many used it a day earlier, before the toilet had been ripped off the floor.

Because I am a seasoned, witty, astute writer who can craft masterful prose from virtually any observation of humanity, I was inspired to write a short experimental theater piece based on the article. I've taken liberty with some of the identities and facts of the story; while in real life I side with Mariana the cafe owner, for the sake of my dramatic arc I was forced to make her a villan.

Anyway, enjoy. You can say you read it here first when Ben Brantley's peeing his perfectly tailored trousers over its Broadway debut. Without further ado, I bring you:

I Gotta Pope!
A play in one act by Katharine M. Cacace

Abe Lincoln
Mariana the Cafe Owner

[Lights up on a black stage. A line of mannequins moves slowly along a conveyer belt that stretches horizontally from one edge of the stage to the other. MAN enters on conveyer belt. He steps off when he reaches the center of the stage, and addresses the audience.]

MAN: Father? Papa? Il Papa? El Popa?
My love for you, a swollen bladder.
The void you've left, a gaping latrine.
My love. A stream.
To fill the void.

[MAN breaks down in tears, sinks to his knees, beats the floor in agony. Enter WOMAN on conveyer belt. She is dressed in black as a pilgrim--bonnet, buckled shoes--and holds a turkey. She is accompanied by ABE LINCOLN]

WOMAN: I am a pilgrim.
I survived months on the Mayflower to mourn John Paul II.
[to turkey] SHINE MY BUCKLES.

[Turkey craps, waddles offstage]

ABE LINCOLN: Oh to be as free as the birds.
Il Papa flies free.
We wait to see but feathers and husk.
We wait.
The American colon aches.

[WOMAN collapses in tears. In her fit, she notices MAN, still crying. They embrace over ABE LINCOLN'S DEAD BODY.]

WOMAN: Our love is a crucifix.
MAN: Our love is the Christ.
WOMAN: Our love is sacred.
MAN: Our love is holy.
WOMAN: The Pope will bless our love.
MAN: The Pope will bless our love even in death.
WOMAN: But first, the Pope must bless our excretion.
MAN: The Pope must bless our elimination.

[MAN and WOMAN join the conveyor belt line again, taking their place among the mannequins. They exit. Enter MARIANA, CAFE OWNER. She wears a witch hat.]

MARIANA: Double, double, toil and trouble.
Bladder burn and colon bubble.
Though shalt not live to see the day
When pilgrims' rears meet my bidet.

[Enter WOMAN and MAN]

MAN: Our love is sacred.
WOMAN: Our love is strong.
MAN: Our love is strained.
WOMAN: Our love is full of holy water.
MAN: Our love is leaking.
WOMAN: Our love will leave a stain.
MAN and WOMAN: Our love's gotta go.

[Toilet rises from trap door in stage floor, into spotlight.]

MARIANA: But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
It is the john,
and it is for paying customers only.

[MAN and WOMAN fall to the ground again, in tears.]

[rips toilet off the ground and throws it into the line of mannequins.]

POPE: [from offstage] Jesus, Mary and Joseph, can you kids keep it down!? I'm trying to sleep in here, for Chrissakes.

[Lights down. Curtain.]


Anonymous Anonymous said...


12:20 PM  
Blogger cackmandu said...

That was just to damn funny! Loved it!

1:20 PM  
Blogger ErntsBloggo said...

Tennessee Williams reincarnated as New Yorkian Kathy? Es possible!?!

It speaks mountains that the Turkey got to shit... free of such constraining ideals as the "toilet," and old Abe died...

4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is quite possibly the best play I've ever read. No doubt the Oberlin theater crowd will want to put it up in the sco next semester.


10:55 AM  
Blogger ERL said...

I thought that the post title would be the funniest thing I read today. I decided I was wrong when I actually read the post itself.

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For some reason the Abe Licoln bit makes me think this play is actually based on a nightmare you had. There's no joke there. I'm serious. And yet I know that's disinteresting (not ennui). Can't a guy say something stupid and still be serious anymore? Jeees.

5:55 PM  

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