HOTEL BETHLEHEM v3
Truman/Cadwell
2002 Vincent Truman/Jeb Cadwell/Suspicious Clowns
Jeb Cadwell and Vincent Truman

MRS. BARRYSTEIN (Terri)
MR. BARRYSTEIN (Vincent)
BELLHOP (Jeb)
GOD (Robert)

The Barrysteins are asleep, covered with a smallish blanket. The sound of an angelic choir fades in and, over 10 seconds, becomes loud enough to wake Mrs. Barrystein. Mr. Barrystein, for his part, remains completely oblivious.

MRS
Barry. Barry, wake up.

MR
Mmmmmmm.

MRS
Listen.

MR
Hmmm… soothing.

MRS
It's not soothing…it's loud, that's what it is.

She gets up, goes to 'window' facing upstage.

Oh Barry they're having a party in the barn… some vacation this is turning out to be.
(to the barn)
Hey! Hey, you! Yeh, you guys with the wings! Knock it off!
My husband’s sleeping in here!

The choir grows quieter, then silent. Mrs. Barrystein lies down again.

MRS
That's better. You’re welcome.
I didn't want to stay here anyway.

MR
Who said 'oh the Bethlehem Inn has a four-month waiting list. It must be great.
Get us a room, Barry, get us a room."

MRS
This place is too bright.

MR
Maybe if you blow out the 13 candles you lit.

MRS
I can’t sleep if it’s totally dark.

The choir can be heard again.

There they go again! Oh, I cannot believe this.
Yelling
Go to hell!

The choir grows quiet.

MR
Biatcha, they're just kids probably having their first ermine experience. Forget about it.

MRS
Can't believe how rude people can be.

(Husband sinks back down, snuggles deep into pillow, buries head. She leans closer to him)

MRS
They are so rude!

The choir can be heard once more.

MRS
(Goes to window downstage, calls out)
Bellboy! Room 6!

BELLHOP
(enters, quickly dismayed to see this woman again)
Bethlehem Inn. Ah, Mrs. Barrystein.

MRS
Can somebody please talk to those cherubic people in the barn?
It's the middle of the damn night.

BELLHOP
We already have, and they said they will be ending shortly.

MRS
And what are they doing out there anyway?

BELLHOP
We suspect they are fans of the Grateful Dead Sea Scrolls. They never have reservations.

MRS
So you put them in a barn?

BELLHOP
The woman was pregnant. The manager couldn’t turn her away.

MRS
OK, so that leads to the next question: you put them in a barn?

BELLHOP
Actually she has given birth to the Son of God.

MRS
Is the mother Jewish?

BELLHOP
I think so.

MRS
Yeh, well, here's a clue, Skippy. We all say that.

Suddenly a drumbeat (not unlike those that can be found inside cars) can be heard.

BELLHOP
Sounds like the Bass-drummer boy has arrived.

Mrs. Barrystein exits the room. She screams offstage.

MRS
Hey! That does it! That does it! Now stop that noise!
Ba-rum-pa-pa-pa THIS, buddy! Stop it!
Oh, and the goat is eating the afterbirth! You’re going to have to answer to God you know!

A microphone voice over of deep voice can be heard.

GOD
Go to bed, Mrs. Barrystein! Go to bed!

She re-enters, ashen. It is silent at last.

BELLBOY
If you need anything further, just shout. Have a pleasant Anno Domini.

The Bellhop exits. Mrs. Barrystein lies back down with her husband, visibly shaken.

MRS
I can't believe you didn’t confront God.

MR
I'm tired.

MRS
Me too but I can’t sleep.

MR
Too quiet, now?

MRS
…yes. And I smell myrrh.

MR
That’s not myrrh.

MRS
That’s disgusting!

 

Commentary on 'Hotel Bethlehem' by Vincent Truman

"This was written specifically for the Clowns' first holiday show in 2002 and even more specifically as a showcase for Terri O'Reilly. It is perhaps a sad fact that women in improv or sketch comedy shows invariably get yoked with the girlfriend and wife roles. I have made a conscious decision to avoid that. Of all my contributions to the holiday show, for example, this is the only one that focuses on a husband-wife dynamic. And even this one has the wife role - Terri, in this case - having the dominant comic role. The husband is pretty passive in a stereotypical way, but his position strengthens her manic qualities.

The original script was quite longer than this - my gratitude to Jeb Cadwell for stepping in, shortening it and adding some good punches along the way. I quite like it when I receive rewrites from the cast, although there are some who have suggested I am involved in rewriting too much. Rewriting gives an original breath and point of view to any sketch, even if the rewrites aren't used. In this case, of course, they were used. But the best thing about the Clowns' rewriting abilities - they are so seamless, I could not say what is my line and what is Jeb's."

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