Working on It
(Meant to offend no one, or, at least, all equally:)
Narrator: Once upon a time...
Director: Hold up there! I believe I have heard that line before. Who first said that? We can't just plagiarize someone's work.
Narrator: It is a common start to many stories. So well used the statute of limitations has certainly expired. It enjoys common-use status by now. No danger of being sued.
Director: Well, I still don't like it. Above all else we must be original. Who wrote this line of crap, anyway?
Narrator: Says here the play came from B.S.W.T.F.
Director: Which means exactly what?
Narrator: Big Stories When Told Futuristically.
Director: Yes, yes. That sounds like what the producers wanted. An up-graded classic. But they gave me artistic license to make changes wherever I see fit. And that line definitely does not fit. Who do we need to talk to make changes?
Narrator: I think you may have a script writer on speed dial.
Director: Never mind. I see I have a script writer on speed-dial.
B.S.W.T.F. Script Writer on Speed Dial: How may I help you today?
Director: I am an exorbitantly priced director working on a Big Story by B.S.W.T.F. I find your starting line lacking in imagination with no merit in it whatsoever.
B.S.W.T.F. Script Writer: It is the standard issue starting phrase in all B.S.
Director: Using my artistic license I want it changed .
Script Writer: Did you read the fine print? That may not be possible with this standard issue B.S.
Director: What kind of a script writer are you that you can't come up with something with a little more punch or flourish?
Script Writer: I am sorry, Sir. I punched all the right boxes to get hired. I just never have actually proven I can write anything let alone something with flourish. You'll just have to be content with the standard issue. It is all I know how to write. Use it but don't abuse it. What are you some kind of non-conformist troublemaker? It would be easy enough to cancel you with a few key strokes, haven't you heard?
Director: No, no. That won't be necessary, Ms. Snoflach. Don't have a meltdown. I'll try working on it. Thank you for your service.
Director to Narrator: Okay, that got me nowhere. Let's go on from there while I'm working on it. I hope we have some characters with depth to them. Where are the actors?
Narrator: We only have these cardboard cutouts of the actors for now. It is horrifically expensive to have actors standing around waiting for directions until all the glitches have been worked out. The cardboard stands in until you are ready for action.
Director: They make the characters look a little one-dimensional wouldn't you say? We will need some extra character building expertise to be effective. Do I have to do all this by myself? Where's the actors' agency. Right. Right here on FaceTime.
Agent from G.G.D.B. Agency on FaceTime: This is Agent Jessica, from Good Girls Drawn Bad Agency. What kind of character are you looking for today?
Director: I need a sweet little bunny rabbit with a white fluffy tail type actress lined up to start work ASAP.
Agent: Oh, classic Easter Bunny?
Director: Not as big.
Agent: Peter Rabbit?
Director: Now he has the nerve and the verve but I was thinking female.
Agent: Like his sisters. Flopsy, Mopsy or Cottontail?
Director: Well, Cottontail would be too sweet and soft but Flopsy and Mopsy were both so obedient to their mother that I am not sure they would work out either. Wasn't there once a hare that outran a hound? Maybe she would be just right.
Agent: You mean the one that was running for her life whereas the hound was running for his dinner?
Director: That's the one.
Agent Jessica: Bunny Playboy. Want me to play her?
Director: Are you still acting? I should think you would be way too seductive for the role. And probably way too expensive. I am on a strict tight budget.
Agent: Well, as the line goes 'I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way.' But I do stay busy with my agency. Tell you what. Let me work on it. I may have a part-time actress just right for you. She works during the day as a seamstress in the garment district in NYC. But she is a fast worker and she can get done early to come rehearse your play. Her name is...
Director: Okay, name is not important. A 'swift tailor' sounds perfect for the role. Do you have a picture of her?
Agent: Um, yes. Here it is.
Director: She looks just like you. How does she see to stitch so many straight seams by the sea shore so fast in time to get to the theater with hair draping over one eye?
Agent: Oh, she is not bad...Did you catch the name of my agency? Any other MCs I can help you find today?
Director: I am told when building character I must have a hill to D.I.E. on.
Agent: Uh, you might mean D.E.I. But I get what you mean. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Very popular request these days. So you have a woman. How many more characters are you seeking?
Director: Someone to challenge her to prove herself. Someone with a lot of fortitude built up through a lot of oppression over time. And maybe one antagonistic type to throw some kind of conflict into the mix.
Agent: A natural-born troublemaker?
Director: Exactly, maybe a whistle-blower type.
Agent: I'm working on it. Would some kind of handicap help show oppression? That would also cover some D.E.I.
Director: Great solution to a couple of obstacles.
Agent: Let me put you in contact with Rent-a-Tortoise. They specialize in getting handicapped individuals delivered in their handicap accessible Tauruses.
Rent-a-Tortoise Rep: Thank you for calling Rent-a-Tortoise. We get you there in record time. Please hold for the next available representative.
Director, listening to continuing loop of 'I want you to know this is me trying' or something close to that: Ahhhg! #&$#%$$%&!
Rent-a-Tortoise Rep: Thank you for calling Rent-a-Tortoise. We get you there in record time. Thank you for holding. Hope you enjoyed our easy listening selections. Where can I get you there today?
Director: Agent Jessica from G.G.D.B. Agency tells me you can deliver a handicapped individual for my stage production.
Rent-a-Tortoise Rep: Yes, we can in record time, Sir.
Director: I'll need him here at FairyTale Theater no later than 3PM tomorrow, please. We need to start rehearsals.
Rent-a-Tortoise Rep: I am sorry, Sir. The very earliest we could get one there would be a week from Tuesday.
Director: But I thought you said 'in record time'?
Rent-a-Tortoise Rep: That is record time for us, Sir. Did I fail to mention our name?
Director: Oh, oh, of course! May I ask what kind of a handicapped individual you will be able to deliver?
Rent-a-Tortoise Rep: I am proud to say we can deliver a tourist on a Hover-round in our Taurus a week from Tuesday provided you will have a ramp onto your stage.
Director: I am sure we can be all ramped-up by then. Thank you very much.
Stage Hand: Mister Director, Sir, we need some directions on what kind of scenery you would like constructed for your B.S.
Director: I was hoping for something verdant depicting hills and dales, meandering streams with woodsy ambiance. Can't you just smell the lavender on the breeze?
Stage Hand: So... left overs from 'West Side Story', huh?
Director: Don't you have anything from 'Sound of Music'?
Stage Hand: We're working on it.
(A week from Tuesday.)
Director: So pleased to see all of you here today. When did I order the dancers in tutus with wings?
Fairy #1: We aren't dancers unless you want us to be. We are fairies. You understand 'FairyTale Theater', right? Standard issue.
Director: But this one looks like an alien.
Alien #3: Okay, okay. You found me out. All my papers are in order. I'm on a work VISA from Canada. We fulfill the 'Futuristically' clause in B.S.W.T.F. Standard issue.
Director: Of course. I assume these are the extras. A hotdog vendor, a newspaper stand hawker, a jogger, and, of course, the butcher, baker, and what are you selling?
Extra #65: Homemade candles in a jar.
Director: Because...candlesticks aren't used much anymore. What about those three? Men in a tub?
Extras #s 28, 29 and 30: Community pool.
Director: Oh, no a dog walker, too? And why so many hounds? Didn't anyone caution you about the hare?
Extra #9: Authenticity in the city.
Director: Fine, fine. Places everyone. We have very little time left for rehearsal. The first performance is just hours away. I see the Narrator, the young lady must be the swift tailor and you with the whistle must be the Whistleblower but where is...
Tourist: Here I am, excuse me, excuse me, please. Just a little tardy. My name is Harvey.
Director: Okay, Harvey, the Tardy Tourist, maybe you want to leave your camera in a safe place. You will play the part of the wise, crusty, elderly Tortoise opposite MC1 the vervy, confident Hare looking for a swift victory. I am sorry, Miss, I never got your name?
MC1: You can call me 'Torrie'.
Director: Let me get a grip on this.
(Director aside to Key Grip: Is it my imagination or does Harvey look like a large white rabbit?)
Grip #2: Well, Sir, you have Torrie here in a tight red turtle neck sweater, or maybe that is more of a cowl neckline as it dips rather low, playing the part of the vervy Hare. Harvey is a rotund, hoary-haired senior assisted by white megaphone hearing aids scooting around on a bumpered shell playing the wizened, cynical Tortoise. This blowhard is the Whistleblower determined to start something they won't be able to finish.
Director: That's just great!... Now set the scene.
Grip #3: Imagine green rippling hills with cozy cottages dotting the landscape with streams of babbling brooks flowing carrying whiffs of mountain air.
Director: Yes, yes that's exactly what I was going after!
Grip #3: That's not exactly what we got. It's more like wrinkled green hills of sea-green, see-through garbage bags piled high between blue tarp-topped khaki card-board tents providing shelter for the flotsam jettisoned from humanity with only a dome for a home along the sidewalk of life beside the bubbling gutters wafting of …
Director: No, please, don't say it! I can only imagine. We are running out of time and budget. Let's begin. Torrie steps out of the factory at quitting time into a shadowy alley holding up a cigarette. She is met by Harvey who offers her a light and a lap to take a spin on his hover-round. Whistleblower, you know your part on cue. Oh, Brother! Here we go. Let's create a new Fairy Tale for the future. Lights! Cameras! Action!
Narrator: Once upon a time...
Director: Cut! I thought we were going to change that opening.
Narrator: I am working on it.
Director: That wasn't going to work anyway. Way too grim. It needs more class. Do it like it's a Shakespearean play. Action!
Narrator: What hempen home-spuns we have swaggering here...
Director: Cut! That's much too wordy! Do it in film noir genre.
Narrator: He's got gumshoe leather as crusty as a tortoise shell and she's got the gams ready for the game...
Director: Whoa! Whoa! Way too much information. We are looking for something with a moral to the story here. And look out for those garbage dumpsters, Harvey.
Narrator: In the old times, when it was still of some use to wish for the things one wanted there was a nervy, vervy seamstress named 'Torrie' who wished to be the swiftest tailor in the Bronx. Her arch nemesis was 'Harvey, the Tardy Tourist' known for his crafty home-spun spins on his saucer-like Hover-round. And so the race is on...
Whistleblower: Twit--Twit. . .
Director: Cut! That was a wimpy whistle for a blowhard. What was your name again?
Whistleblower: Jamie Alec Thae. I prefer you call me 'Thae'. That is all the louder I can blow. Oh, Lord, didn't Ms. Rabbit tell you I am an agnostic asthmatic?
Director: Close. I asked for an antagonist. Someone get Jamie a gun. A starting pistol with blanks in it, please. And watch where you point it, Thae. Okay, pick up the action where Thae starts the race.
Director: W-what happened? W-where am I and w-why are all these chairs on top of me?
Grip #4: You're in a pit hole.
Director: You can say that again!
Grip #4: You're in a pit hole.
Director: A what?!!!
Grip#3: The orchestra pit, Sir. You got blown into it by the blast from Jamie's gun.
Director: We have an orchestra? I don't think that was in the budget.
Grip #2: No, Sir. We just have the pit. We do have a continuous loop of a popular female singer of forlorn lost loves we can play.
Director: No, no. Think I have been around that track before. And why do we have so many grips? What are grips for, anyway?
Grip#1: Grips help the big wigs keep a grip on things. In case things get out of hand.
Director: But why so many? This is a small production. And my budget is shot.
Grip #27: It is in our union contract there must be one for every MC employed.
Director: But there are only 2 MCs.
Grip #54/Fairy #39/Self-appointed Budget Manager/Promoter/Attorney: There is also the Whistleblower and the Narrator. Then when you take in the multiplication factor of how many years the principles have been at their craft minus the number of failures at the box office... Never sure exactly how many will be required. I am sure it must be written into your W.T.F. Contract. Besides we can also fill in as extras when essential saving you a ton of money. Also, we fill up the screen when the credits roll. Makes it look like a big production.
Whistleblower: I am sorry, Sir. Someone put too much powder in the gun. I am not bad, I am only...
Director: Yea, yea. You're from G.G.D.B. Agency. I get it. Someone bring Thae a less loaded weapon. Pick up with Torrie. Action!
MC1: I can win this race with both legs in a gunny sack. As we're running through the boroughs of the city that wily tourist will be stopping to take selfie shots and send many self-made memes. Think I'll take a nap.
MC2: Poor Kid, she thinks this Hover-round is as bulky as a tortoise shell. She has no idea how souped-up I have made this hyped-up saucer. It's gonna fly.
Whistleblower: Whistle, whistle, the story is done. Snip, Snap, Stout the story's out.
Narrator: And if they have not died yet, they may be racing happily ever after.
Director: Wait! Wait! It can't be over. What is the moral?
Cast: Don't chase happiness. Enjoy your life.
Consistency, even slow consistency, beats inconsistency every time.
Success depends on using your talents, not just having them.
The race is not always to the swift.
Director: Finally, a fairly, formidable, futuristic fairy tale fashioned functionally and fit for fun! Fully worth working on it.