by Vincent Truman
as performed in the Suspicious Clowns' fourth show (April - May 2003)
© 2003 Vincent Truman/Suspicious Clowns
Commentary on 'Atrophy'
by Vincent Truman:
"This piece came together very quickly while I was immersed in a swamp of formula sketch-writing. While listening to some old Lenny Bruce CDs, I thought to myself, well, write about something that pisses you off. Apathy pisses me off, but I had already written one by that title for the first show - in that case, a gameshow where lack of ambition was rewarded with prizes that didn't quite materialize. Taking a cue from that scene, I stretched into a full-length piece, following one pathetic lazy drone as he is robbed of his support mechanism - in this case, a slave boy who manipulates all his limbs. I always liked that the protagonist in this scene never goes through a transition and becomes a better person for his experiences - he just sort of rots away. That is, after all, what atrophy is all about."
TICKET TAKER (Jeb)
TOBY TH E WAITER (Terri)
ENID stands on her own, reading a newspaper. WALTER enters with SLAVEBOY behind him manipulating all his movements. ENID stares. SLAVEBOY directs WALTERs face to look at her and smile. ENID, puzzled but not unpleasant, smiles back.
SLAVEBOY squeezes WALTERs chest, forcing out these words:
SLAVEBOY extends WALTERs hand.
hi, Im Walter F.. innegan
ENID leaves immediately. A ticket taker enters.
.just one moment .its in my .pocket
Come on, mister. Did you find it yet?
WALTER lamely holds out ticket, which falls to the ground. The ticket taker picks it up.
What about the other guy?
The guy whos hugging you or whatever?
er um who?
OK, cmon. Do you have a ticket, mister?
I just gave you my
Oh him Im in management
No mas! No mas! Por favor !
TAKER pulls SLAVEBOY away and they exit. WALTER slumps to the ground. He sits there, pathetically, his mouth agape, looking blankly away.
Hey, slaveboy! Get back here!
Wait a minute. Whats this? A voiceover! Oh, God
How did this happen to me? Why did this happen?
I used to be a businessman with a solid future and four working limbs
now now Im nothing. What happened?
Wait, I remember. that powerful merger dinner meeting
At the powerful merger dinner meeting, WALTER sits across the table from SYLVIA.
Merger talk, merger talk.
Ah, merger talk!
A waiter enters and puts down food. WALTER begins to eat.
Walter, what are you doing?
Walter, some friendly advice let the staff handle the necessary
things in life, you handle the important things. Toby?
The waiter begins to manipulate SYLVIAs arm, bringing the food to his mouth and helping him chew.
What are you doing?
(as his jaw is being manipulated)
Thats a good question, Walter. Im thinking about the merger.
While you ponder your fettuccini, Im thinking business.
More brain focus.
(TOBY makes SYLVIA tap his own noggin)
Thats right. You should try it.
(to the waiter, indicating WALTER)
The waiter does the same for WALTER. SYLVIAs jaw goes slack. He attempts to make sound.
Pretty good, huh?
Golfing range. WALTER and SYLVIA chat as two slaveboys (Toby and SLAVEBOY) manipulate their limbs.
From that day on, my life was changed forever. I got my own boy
to follow me around and for a while, everything looked ducky.
You know we need a new deal.
New deal sounds good. Any prospects?
You mean real companies? No. But who needs real companies?
We can just make em up and merge em.
Thats a revolutionary idea.
Im a revolutionary guy.
Back on the train. WALTER lies limp on the ground.
And here I am now. A disheveled, useless shell of a man.
What do I do whenI get to my stop? I cant get up!
Ill be riding all night!
Now wait a second. Maybe this is the turning point
Ive been waiting for.
The chance to re-capture my inner strength. To reclaim who I am!
All Ive got to do is want it. Here goes. Up!
OK, maybe that was too much to start with.
Maybe I should twitch. OK focus on the twitch.
Damn. OK, enough of this. Im getting up. Now.
Oh, I soiled myself. Shit. Literally. Slave boy! Oh Slave boy!
Hear me and return! Slave boy!!!
Slow fade to black.
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