by Matthew M. Lug













(GUIDE is the only one who speaks, the others present their thoughts and feelings through their actions.)

(Lighting starts to change for an intermission, and GUIDE quickly walks out on stage.)

GUIDE: (To lighting personnel) Hold it, hold it, hold it. What do you think you're doing? This isn't an intermission, it's a play called Intermission.

(Lighting changes back to normal lighting on the front of the stage.)

GUIDE: That's better. (To audience) Hi there. I'm your guide for this next presentation. If you're new to the theatre then you probably have a few questions about how and why these plays are written. If you aren't new to the theatre, then your questions are probably more specific, like "What the hell is wrong with that person?" or "Why would anyone agree to produce something like that?" You may even be wondering what I'm doing right now. I'm here to clear all this up for you, and leave you with better questions like "Who am I?" or "Why am I here?" or "What was that idiot smoking, and where can I get some?" Let's get started.

(ARTIST walks onto the stage, carrying a sketch pad and sketching wildly. The sketch is concealed from the audience.)

GUIDE: That's where it all begins - the artist. I say artist because that is the person who starts with nothing and creates works of great beauty and wonder.

(ARTIST smiles triumphantly and turns the sketchpad to the audience, revealing a very simple smiley face.)

GUIDE: Well, maybe not. He thinks he does though, and isn't that all that really matters? Now that we know what the artist does, how does he do it? Most artists have a vision of some kind - an ideal or message or some point they're trying to make. Some visions are rather easy to understand, but there are a few that can be a bit complex. Here are some of them.

(Throughout the next three introductions ARTIST will sketch and occasionally show his pathetic sketches to the audience. His actions will also change slightly to match the person being introduced. Back of the stage is lit up, and PURITY prances out, smiling and laughing as she makes her way across the stage. She is dressed as a little girl, and carries an oversized lollypop. Faint peaceful music can be heard.)

GUIDE: This is Purity. She represents all the good things in the world, like peace and love and youth and innocence. She's so full of optimism that nothing can harm her. Doesn't it just make you want to puke? (PURITY sticks her tongue out at GUIDE while his back is turned.) She's the result of a desire to be free and happy in a world that does everything it can to prevent that from happening.

(Lighting dims, and the music changes to hard rock. Reality struts across the stage, wearing sunglasses, leather and denim clothing, and trying to look "cool.")

GUIDE: And now we have Reality. He's everything in the world that isn't fair, everything we don't want to accept. All our problems and frustrations, all the evil in the world that just won't go away. He's the kid you swear must have been accidentally switched at birth by an incompetent hospital employee. (REALITY just sneers and gives GUIDE the finger.)

(The stage is suddenly alive with color and sound, creating an eerily soothing yet deeply disturbing setting. CHAOS stumbles onto the stage, acting as if he's high on everything. His clothes don't match, and they look like they just came out of the dryer with him in them.)

GUIDE: This, of course, is Chaos. Chaos isn't really with it at the moment, so try not to startle him. Actually, he's never with it, but I suppose that's part of his charm. He usually represents some extremely abstract view of the human condition, or just a lot of drugs. (GUIDE moves closer to the audience, so the others on the stage won't hear him.) Don't do drugs kids, drugs are bad for you. (CHAOS veers off toward GUIDE, and GUIDE quickly directs him toward the others.)

(PURITY, REALITY, and CHAOS finally gather together, uneasily.)

GUIDE: There. Now how does the artist turn these visions into a reality? It usually takes many, many hours of hard work, intense concentration, and mental strain, or at least something to write with and enough of a grasp of a language to be able to piece together coherent words and phrases. To bring an otherwise dull and boring creation to life, the artist will usually use one or more of the following plot elements.

(ROMANCE, a couple consisting of a man and a woman, dances out onto the stage, in formal attire.)

GUIDE: Here we have Romance, the driving force behind many people's actions. Romance can be subtle like this, or so overwhelming that it completely consumes the characters involved (Man and woman of ROMANCE begin making out wildly, doing everything possible that is allowed for the audience at hand. They will be too occupied with each other to notice anything that happens until later on.) Oh no, I was afraid this would happen. The last time those two were like that it took the jaws of life to pry them apart.

(VIOLENCE, two seemingly liquored-up tough guys, appears on stage as if continuing a bar brawl from offstage. The two combatants gradually make their way toward the others while punching, kicking, grabbing, pushing, throwing, etc., each other.)

GUIDE: No, this isn't the entertainment from a stunt man convention, this is Violence. Violence is usually the result of a build-up of psychological tension between two people who are incapable of settling their differences in a civilized manner. These two probably wouldn't understand a word of what I just said, but they seem to be enjoying themselves. Violence is always good for some action when the plot gets a bit dull.

(COMEDY stumbles onto the stage, dressed as a court jester, and attempts to juggle, without much success)

GUIDE: This jolly soul here is Comedy. (Turns to look at COMEDY) Um, what's going on here?

(COMEDY continues to stumble around. GUIDE walks over to COMEDY, and takes a large step back after smelling COMEDY's breath.)

GUIDE: (To the group on stage) Ok, who got Comedy drunk? (REALITY does his best to feign innocence, while vigorously pointing at PURITY.) Reality, I think we need to have a little talk.

(GUIDE takes REALITY offstage. Crashing sounds and screaming can be heard from their location. GUIDE calmly walks back to his usual position, and REALITY stumbles back to his spot, appearing to be quite injured.)

GUIDE: Sorry about that, someone thought it would be funny to make a fool out of Comedy. I can assure you that it will not happen again.

(The stage is filled with dance club style lighting, and CROSS-DRESSING saunters onto the stage, wearing a dress and high heels.)

GUIDE: This is one of our more eccentric elements, Cross-Dressing. Cross-Dressing was a necessary part of early theatrical work, since all parts were played by men. These days, it is most commonly found in student plays and low budget productions, but it is appearing more and more in major works. I guess there's just something about wearing a dress that makes a guy want to get up on stage.

GUIDE: Now that we have everything out here, you're probably wondering how the artist puts it all together into a coherent and entertaining work of art. (ARTIST seems to awaken at the mention of this task, as if he's been wondering the same thing.) It is usually a painstaking process of meticulously weaving everything together into a complex plot, similar to the process an expert surgeon uses to repair a damaged human organ. (ARTIST is obviously displeased at the thought of this, and seems to feel as if he is in way over his head.) Many times though the artist simply lumps everything together, hoping that the details will work themselves out with little intervention on his part. (ARTIST suddenly perks up at the mention of this idea, and quickly begins herding all the VISIONS and ELEMENTS onto the stage.) The result of all of this is hopefully a true work of art, entertaining while making the audience think. Not all plays approach this ideal, but...

(GUIDE is broken off as ARTIST's work takes shape. The ensuing chaos is almost unimaginable. The lighting and sound contribute to the actions on the stage. CHAOS drifts apart to watch, obviously approving of what is going on. The other VISIONS and ELEMENTS mix with each other in all sorts of ways that seem completely out of place. CROSS-DRESSING is the most active, getting hit on by COMEDY, dancing with REALITY, and exchanging punches with the two components of VIOLENCE. The individuals from ROMANCE proceed to dance and fight with the others, and PURITY at first seems confused, but later joins in the chaos. ARTIST slowly steps away from the mess, trying not to draw attention to himself.)

GUIDE: (To the stage) Um. (Louder) Ahem. (Shouting) Excuse me!

(Everyone suddenly freezes, the sound stops, and lighting is returned to normal. ARTIST is close to the front corner of the stage, trying to escape. PURITY is in the middle of the stage, on top of the woman from ROMANCE and pulling her hair. COMEDY is passed out next to them. REALITY is tangoing with one of the two men from VIOLENCE. CROSS-DRESSING appears to be making out with the other man from VIOLENCE toward the back of the stage. The man from ROMANCE is off to the side with CHAOS, and they both seem to be quite high.)

GUIDE: (To ARTIST) Where do you think you're going? Don't think you can just create this mess and just walk away like it's not your problem. (To everyone else on stage) And as for the rest of you... You should all be ashamed of yourselves. This is not the way you're supposed to act when you're on stage. Now I want all of you to go backstage and think about what you've done. (To audience) I'm really sorry about this, that is absolutely not what we try to create out here. Anyway, I hope you learned something, anything, from this. Now you can have your intermission, you've earned it.


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