Playing in the Aisles (The Argyle Avenger)
by: Lauren Marie Ryland/Vincent Truman
2002 Lauren Ryland / Vincent Truman / Suspicious Clowns

* * * * *

as performed by
ARGYLE AVENGER (Amanda) - SECURITY (Tom) - VOICE (Vincent)
CUSTOMER 1 (Ashley) - SCOTT MUNN (Scott) - EMPLOYEE (Lauren)

* * * * *

VOICE (offstage, deep and robust)
When tragedy erupts, when innocent civilians are in utter despair, when a diabolical menace is menacing—

there is no need to fear! Help is near!

Lights have fully come up onto a Walmart-type setting. An apathetic, pubescent employee hears the Voice but is totally disinterested. The employee is stocking products or straightening shelves. Two customers wander around.

VOICE:
(Building) She swoops to the scene with the grace of a swan, the stealth of an lemur, and the

agility of a really agile person. She is no other than
(waits until Hero hits the floor)
The Argyle Avenger!

The Hero is in full costume: socks on her feet and hands, a mask and a piece of paper with an "A" pinned to her chest. She puts a suitcase down. Again, the Employee notices but seems more perturbed than awed.

VOICE
The Avenger heeds the call of duty. Today, she has been summoned to a local battleground
where we can watch many awesome scenes unravel.

CUSTOMER I:
(To self) Hmmm….(searching, searching.) Where…. (Takes out a coupon and studies it.)
Campbell’s…where is Campbell’s….

VOICE
Hark! Mass confusion strikes!

HERO:
(Sing-songs a super-hero melody.) Dum-du-duoo-dum-da-dee!
I hear your cries of hopelessness and torture, lady/man!

CUSTOMER I:
Huh? (Customer is dumbfounded.)

HERO:
(Walks closer to Customer and with each footstep Hero roars.)
Klat! Klat! Klat! Calm your self, innocent lady/man. I can help. Now, what seems to be your affliction?

CUSTOMER I:
I just can’t seem to find this particular brand (showing coupon). Do you work here?

The Argyle Avenger (Amanda Lanier) comforts the customer (Ashley Clayton).

HERO:
(Grabs the coupon; makes a laser sound as if scanning the coupon with laserbeam sight.)
Wooonng! Ahhh, yes! I have encountered this peculiar lettering before. Lady/man, you see the "P" is silent.
Campbell’s. Mmmm, mmmm, very misleading.
But wait, our nemesis is still on the loose. What to do?
(Hero pauses, quiets herself, and begins to rub temples vigorously.)
Ah-ha! The answer appears to me in a vision! This sticky situation calls for something spectacular—
(Hero scurries over "Zing!" to the Employee and taps him the shoulder "Rat-atat-tat!")

The Employee (Lauren Ryland) is Not Amused. EMPLOYEE:
(Droning, unamused.) Ma’am, you know you’re not allowed in the store anymore.

HERO
I, dear sir/madam, have come to the rescue. A severe problem has vexed this old lady/man to near death.
Here! Look! Where is this?
(Shoves coupon in Employee’s face.) Bakoom! Quickly, time is not on our side!

EMPLOYEE:
You mean this? (Employee pulls can and gives it the Hero.)

HERO:
Yes! This is the culprit!

EMPLOYEE
You’ll have to leave now.

HERO
Dear old lady/man, our menacing menace is no longer at large. You have no more distress!
(Throws can high into the air in jubilation.)
Now run, lady/man, and tell all what you have seen today.

CUSTOMER 1
Yeh, alright…
(exits, not taking the socks)

EMPLOYEE
OK, that’s it.
(on phone)
Security. Aisle 7.

VOICE:
Zowiee! Another job solved for the Argyle Avenger! Yes!
No un-done good deed goes un-done when the Avenger does her doings!

A security guard enters. The employee points and then gets back to work.

SECURITY
OK, let’s go.

HERO
Go?! Is there danger near?

SECURITY
There will be if you don’t come with me.

HERO
Ho-ho! A riddle!

VOICE
The strange man/lady in the dark uniform. Friend or foe? Find out in
the next exciting episode of..

SECURITY
(reaches backstage, pulls the Voice character onstage)
OK, you too.

VOICE
…The Argyle Avenger! Tune in next week! Ouch!

SECURITY
Come on, you two.

The Argyle Avenger (Amanda Laneir) and the Voice (Vincent Truman) are interrogated by the Security Guard (Tom Vencill). The Security Guard hauls them off. Lights fade from Stage Left and come up Stage Right, where the Argyle Avenger and the Voice are seated in two chairs.

VOICE:
The Avenger has relinquished herself to security headquarters!
What sort of classified ongoings will go underway here?

SECURITY
OK, folks. We’ve asked you nicely not to keep coming in the store.
We haven’t filed a complaint yet because you both seem pretty harmless.
But you’ve pushed it too far this time.
Names, please?

HERO:
I am no other than the Awesome Argyle Avenger, defender of the weak civilians who
walk this lonely planet. That’s who I am, unsightly man/lady! And I want my Satchel of Power back.

SECURITY
You’ll get your suitcase back in a minute.

SECURITY 2
And who’s your friend here?

VOICE:
The antagonist of this story demands answers of the narrator!

HERO
Speak not, unseen voice! It’s a trap!

SECURITY
A trap?

VOICE:
The interrogation continues!

SECURITY
OK, stop that.

HERO
We will not fall victim to your hedonistic practices, unworthy foe! Huzzah!
(produces bit of torn fabric, aims it at the guards)
Zing! Zing! Za-za-za-zing!

The security guard stares at them.

VOICE
He does do not fall! Will the Argyle Avenger save the day?

SECURITY
OK, that does it. Bring Scott in here.

The security guard picks up the phone.

VOICE
The security guard picks up the telephonic device.

SECURITY
Yeh, that’s enough from you.
Scott Munn to the sketch. Scott Munn to the sketch.

HERO
You will not hold us for long, security man/lady! I will prevail!

Scott Munn enters, holding a scriptbook, wearing sunglasses. He greets the guards and introduces himself to the Argyle Avenger and the Voice.

SCOTT MUNN
Hi, Scott Munn, script editor, Suspicious Clowns. Hi there. Lookin’ good.

VOICE
Another trap? The Argyle Avenger must decide!

SECURITY 2
(smacking the Voice on the back of the head)
Hi, Scott. We were wondering if this sketch is supposed to go on so long.

SCOTT MUNN
Uh, let me see. Where are we?

SECURITY
About page 27 or so. "Argyle Avenger".

SCOTT MUNN
Um… yeh. This is all cut.

VOICE
The Argyle Avenger stands to deliver her speech of justice and
the work to be done in this defenseless city!

SCOTT MUNN
No, she doesn’t.
(he tears out sheet of paper)
We’re running a little long, actually.
(to Security Guard and Argyle Avenger both)
You two are both good. Thanks.

The Argyle Avenger stands and, being unable to speak, walks offstage, escorted by the Security Guard. She rips the "A" from her shirt as she goes.

VOICE:
Will there be no end to this prosecution!

SCOTT MUNN
Yes.
(rips out another piece of paper)

 

Crossfade to next scene.

SUSPICIOUS CLOWNS MAIN PAGE

 

Commentary on 'Argyle Avenger' by Vincent Truman

"This was a very interesting scene to work on, and later became one of the best efforts the group as a whole put together. The original script was passed on for the running order, but about two-thirds of the way through the rehearsal process, there was a hole in the second third of the show. This sketch was brought back in, and the 'security room' bit was added and edited by the group as a whole. A bizarre twist of fate was that the primary writer - Lauren - was completely okay with another actor playing the part that I think Lauren wrote for herself. It showed us that the writer was not always the best choice for the lead role - and, more importantly, that egos could be swallowed in favor of the best possible casting. We all wound up with smaller roles in the pieces we wrote, I think. Anyway, the additional piece fleshed out the original piece with the customer (there were originally three customers) and added to the absurdity of the situation. It almost gets into uncomfortable territory because you're not sure where it's going to go - but then our hero and the unseen voice stick to their guns, which heightened the absurdity of the situation. A great, great piece of writing and one of my favorites of the show."