Tuesday, September 28, 2010

MAMET AND COSTELLO:

After a year of false starts, disappointments and chair-kicking, I am pleased to report that my creative renaissance is, at long last, proceeding apace. Much of it has to do with my co-founding (in a manner of speaking - more like standing there smiling while others do the heavy lifting) a new performance space in Astoria, OR, Pier Pressure Productions (it's a pun, y'all). It's an intimate (read: really freakin' small) venue set up for the purpose of presenting darker, edgier fare than most of the other theatres in the immediate area, and being plugged in to its current has provided me quite the heady jolt. Simply put, having the means of production so close at hand has rendered me utterly inspired, and I can now put theatre alongside broadcast radio on the list of archaic media I am hoping to master. Over the last month, a group of highly talented individuals and myself endeavored to put on what I believe was a very strong staging of Glengarry Glen Ross, and I came up with something special to present on closing night, the script for which I reproduce here. Kinda Parody 101, really, but it has its moments, and the reaction I received from our audience was gratifying to say the least. (It will also figure into another, even more exciting project I'm working on for October, about which more later.) Without any further fucking ado...

ME: I’m glad you all could be here tonight, because I wanted to take this opportunity to share with our closing night audience what I consider a remarkable historical find. David Mamet is, of course, a renowned playwright, author, screenwriter, director and essayist, winner of many awards including the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the play you’ve just seen, and I think it’s fair to say that he is one of the preeminent figures in popular entertainment of our time. But everybody has to start somewhere. During my research for this play, I quite accidentally stumbled on what further investigation has revealed to be the very first script that a very young David Mamet wrote for the stage. Though perhaps a little crude compared to his mature work, I feel this scene is significant for two reasons: one can clearly see many of the great themes and motifs that Mamet has explored in all of his subsequent work in embryonic form, and, because of the machinations of an unscrupulous producer, the piece was eventually taken away from him and extensively rewritten, an occurrence that inspired Mamet to insist on full creative control of all further productions of his work in all media. To my knowledge, the following has never been performed in its original form until tonight, so it is with a great deal of pride and the able assistance of my good friend and colleague, Mr. Don Conner, that I present to you, for the first time anywhere, David Mamet’s “The Team.” Thank you.



Two men sit at a table, somewhere in America.

LOU: Bud… Bud… Bud. Okay. Bud. (pause) Bud. I need, I need help. Okay? (pause) I need help. (pause) There are times – now, listen, there are times when a man, wait a second, listen, when a man he finds himself, bottom rung of the ladder, end of his rope… maybe it’s a rope ladder, I don’t fucking know… you see? Do you see? (pause)

BUD: Mmm.

LOU: And that’s where I am now, and that’s what I want… no, fuck that, what I want is not the… what I need is what I want. Now, Bud, listen to me. Bud, listen, I’ve been thinking about this, I know you’re not those sorts of guys and neither am I either, but…

BUD: Lou…

LOU: No. Bud. Listen. You know me, you know me, this is Lou talking to you, right? (pause) Right?

BUD: Right. Lou. Right.

LOU: Goddamned right that’s right. We go, we go back a ways, don’t we? Back a ways. Who came through eight months a row when Mrs. Fields wanted the rent, huh?

BUD: That fucking whore.

LOU: You’re absolutely right, you’re ab… And I’m good for it. I’m coming back, you see? I’m coming back. Look at the books… the Susquehanna Hat Company? Bagel Street? Huh? Didn’t I sell a bunch of that?...

BUD: Look, you blew the…

LOU: Bullshit! Bullshit, Bud! Yeah, that guy broke a lot of my stock every time I mentioned the name of the fucking company, but what didn’t get broke I sold. (pause) I sold. And need you to take me back.

BUD: I can’t do it, Lou. (pause)

LOU: Why?

BUD: Why, I have another job now is why.

LOU: Another job?

BUD: Another job. Yeah. (pause)

LOU: Bullshit, Bud. Fuck you. What job? (pause) What job, Bud?

BUD: I manage a baseball team.

LOU: You manage a baseball team? That’s what you…

BUD: Yes. (pause)

LOU: Well, how is that?

BUD: How is what, the job?

LOU: Yes.

BUD: How is the job?

LOU: Fuck yes, the job, what am I… yes, the job, managing the baseball team, that’s what I’m asking, how is that?

BUD: Do you want me to talk about it?

LOU: I want you to…

BUD: Or do you want me to speak about it?

LOU: Speak, talk, whatever, whatever the fuck it is you do, yes, fuck, do so. (pause) Do so.

BUD: It’s hard. (pause) It’s hard.

LOU: The fuck is hard about it?

BUD: The players, Lou. It’s the fucking players nowadays. Not like when we were coming up. The players, they, I’ll tell you something, I’ll tell you something, I won’t finish this sentence but I’ll tell… You listening? I’ll tell you something: the players nowadays have very peculiar names, very strange… very peculiar names. And it depresses me, I swear that it does, at my age, to see… Like now, this team, you know what we got?

LOU: Do I know?

BUD: What did I just say?

LOU: Yes. (pause) You’ve asked me if I know what you got?

BUD: I did. (pause)

LOU: Well, what have you got?

BUD: I’ve got… Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know is on third. (long pause)

LOU: The fuck is that supposed to mean? Bud? The fuck is that supposed to mean?

BUD: It means what I say. It means Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know is on third.

LOU: That’s what I’m fucking trying to find out here. (pause) Are you the manager?

BUD: Did I tell you that?

LOU: Of the team?

BUD: Did I just say that?

LOU: You know the players?

BUD: Goddamn right I do.

LOU: So who’s the man on first base?

BUD: Yes.

LOU: I mean the fucking guy’s name.

BUD: Who.

LOU: The guy on first. The player.

BUD: Who.

LOU: The fucking first baseman!

BUD: Who! (pause)

LOU: Who?

BUD: That’s what I’m telling you. (pause) As we speak.

LOU: You’re telling me what?

BUD: No, What’s on second.

LOU: I’m not… I’m not fucking asking you who’s on fucking second.

BUD: Are you crazy, Lou? Who is on first.

LOU: I don’t know.

BUD: Third base. (pause)

LOU: Fucking asshole.

BUD: You asked me, I told you. That’s the deal. (long pause)

LOU: All right. All right, Bud, if this is how you… let me say this, if this is what I need to say. (pause) A man. A man stands at a plate. He is alone in this world. Now is the time for what? For individual accomplishment. He knows… he knows there is no “I” in “team” because even a fucking illiterate knows you don’t spell it that way. Is this what makes a man? Standing with a bat looking to hit a ball with a piece of fucking wood in his hand? Is it? I don’t know.

BUD: Third base.

LOU: Shut the fuck up. He’s there, he’s thinking, what does it mean? (pause) Is it the fans, does he do what in that moment makes the most sense, does he adjust his fucking balls and spit out the tobacco in his mouth as he does it? (pause) He sees the pitcher, he’s there on the mound like he’s fucking Christ himself only he’s wearing a cap and Christ never wore cleats according to the Church but fuck that, I’m sticking with the metaphor anyway? (pause) So he winds up, he winds the fuck up and the ball hangs, hangs in the air and the batter, he stands there. (pause) What is he thinking? “My arm’s getting tired?” “I have to, I have to adjust my balls again?” No. He swings. (pause) And he connects. In that one moment he connects. But it’s a pop fly down the middle and though the man runs, he runs toward opportunity, it’s caught by the man, the man standing at first base, he reaches up and he catches it. (pause) He catches it. (pause) And that man is who?

BUD: Now that’s the first thing you’ve said right.

LOU: I DON’T FUCKING KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT! (pause) All right, Bud. All right. You’re right, I don’t know what I… (pause) What? I’m sorry I spoke harshly to you.

BUD: That’s alright.

LOU: All right. (pause) So, what of this…? So the man… the man on second base, let’s talk about him. The man on second… what’s his name?

BUD: Yes.

LOU: What’s his name?

BUD: That’s right.

LOU: Goddammit, what’s his name?

BUD: FUCK YOU, that’s his name! (pause)

LOU: What?

BUD: That’s right. Fuk Hu What. (pause) He’s a Chink, something. (long pause)

LOU: So will you give me a job?

BUD: No.

LOU: You fucking fairy cunt. You’re a shithead, you asshole. (pause)

BUD: What did you say?

LOU: I said, “You fucking fairy cunt. You’re a shithead, you asshole.”

BUD: Oh, that’s our shortstop. (pause)

LOU: What the fuck kind of name is that? (pause)

BUD: It’s hyphenated. (pause)

LOU: Oh God, I hate this scene.

BUD: We’re stuck with it.

LOU: Yeah. (pause) Fuck. (pause) Yeah.

(curtain)

1 comment:

oilyrags said...

You're goddamn right it is.