home

Plays


Open as PDF

WAKING  UP

© Cary Cook 2002

CAST:       two middle aged men
SELF dressed in gray casual clothes
OTHER dressed in a hooded black monk robe

SET: Stage is blank except for a board center stage tilted upstage on a 30 degree angle from perpendicular.

SELF is standing/reclining against the board. SELF remains with arms at sides, rigid from neck down thruout. OTHER stands in semi-darkness behind self. OTHER can walk around as director chooses.

AT RISE: A spotlight slowly illuminates SELF.  This spotlight is the only light used thruout.
SELF awakens groggily.

SELF

Now what?  [pause]  Is anybody there?  [pause]   Is anything anywhere?

OTHER

How are you?  [pause]  I said, how are you?

SELF

Lousy.

OTHER

AwwÖ Why do you always say that?

SELF

Why do you always ask that?

OTHER

It's polite.

SELF

You're an idiot.

OTHER

Do you want me to go away?

SELF

Is there anybody else out there?

OTHER

Only more idiots.

SELF

OhÖ I remember this.  It's that dream again.  Why are we doing this again?

OTHER

You asked for it.

SELF

I didn't ask for this.

OTHER

You asked for answers.

SELF

You have answers?

OTHER

Some.

SELF

Why is it like this?

OTHER

Like what?

SELF

This.  This nothing.  Shouldn't there be something?

OTHER

What would you like there to be?

SELF

Something!

OTHER

What?

SELF

Some reason.

OTHER

For God so loved the world

SELF

Don't give me that.

OTHER

What would you prefer?

SELF

Sense.  Make sense or don't bother me.

OTHER

What would make sense to you?

SELF

I don't know.  That's why I'm asking you.

OTHER

Apparently you don't like my answer.

SELF

Because it doesn't make sense.  God so loved the world that He'll roast your ass in hell if you don't believe in Jesus?  Gimme a break.

OTHER

That's not how it goes.

SELF

That is how it goes.  Read the fucking book.  And I'm supposed to respect this guy?  If It's false, he's a liar; if it's true, he's even worse.

OTHER

And you think the world would be a better place without that lie?

SELF

You admit it's a lie?

OTHER

No.  I'm just asking if you think it's socially beneficial?

SELF

Screw that!  Is it a lie or not?

OTHER

I said I had some answers.

SELF

Right.  The easy ones.

OTHER

And you think you can handle the hard ones?

SELF

I can handle that one.

OTHER

Yes, you can.  [softly]  But you can't be trusted with it.  You're a blabber mouth.

SELF

In other words, you have something to hide.

OTHER

I know you don't believe in parental controls.  But the fact is, some people are not ready to deal with some pieces of information.  It's not an adult conspiracy.  It's really for the protection of the children.

SELF

Yeah right.  That and national security.

OTHER

It's an easily abused argument.  But we're all stuck with it.  All of us.

SELF

What?  All the way up the line?

OTHER

As far up as I'm aware of.

SELF

Doesn't that tend to make you a bit suspicious?

OTHER

The just shall live by faith.

SELF

Wrong!  The just live by justice.  Faith has nothing to do with it.  You morons keep mushing the categories together.

OTHER

Why do the just behave justly?  Huh?  Because they have faith that it will pay off.

SELF

Oh. Ö Well then why didn't they just say that?

OTHER

Unfortunately, they didn't have you to advise them.

SELF

Okay, but you're saying there's information being withheld from you, and you don't care.  And you're holding out on us, and you want us to hold out on the kiddies?

OTHER

It's not exactly holding out.  Just revealing things in the right order.

SELF

But what it boils down to is, you're censoring me, and telling me it's for my own good.

OTHER

More specifically, for the good of those around you.

SELF

I don't buy it.

OTHER

Okay.  Then I assume you think you don't need such protection.  Unlike the rest of us mental midgets, you can handle any truth that's out there.

SELF

I'm trying.

OTHER

Yes, you are.  How are you doing?  How are you feeling?  How is it going?  How are you?  Why do you hate that question?  Why don't you just say, "Fine thank you. How are you?"  You're a miserableÖ neuroticÖ truth junkie.  And you've O D'd.

SELF

"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

OTHER

Oh, that part you believe.

SELF

It resonates.

OTHER

But the parts about patience and humility are just pious ramblings.

SELF

I been patient long enough!  And screw humility.  It's not even a virtue; it's a social ploy to hide what you really think.  I do integrity.  That's a virtue.

OTHER

You do arrogance.

SELF

Yes, and without apology.  But I'm really big on integrity. Is there anyone in your crowd who even knows what that word means?

OTHER

You'd be surprised.

SELF

Yeah, well surprise me any time you like.  Meanwhile, if you don't mind, I'd like to get the true and false part straight before we talk about attitudes.

OTHER

Okay.  Don't say we didn't warn you.  There is a certain order to the way things should be learned.  If you learn things in the wrong order, it can mess you up.  There's also an optimum rate of intake.  You've been an indiscriminate glutton, and now you're reaping the results of it.  But, if you want more, just say so.

SELF

Damn, I hate this shit.

OTHER

We're not exactly thrilled with you either.  You know, you can always go back to being an atheist.

SELF

I wish.

OTHER

Do you really?

SELF

Yes, goddamnit!  It was better than this.

OTHER

Then go ahead.

SELF

I can't.  [pause]  I know too much.

OTHER

And now you want to know more, don't you?

SELF

Yes.

OTHER

If you can't handle what you know, why do you want to know more?

SELF

I don't know.

OTHER

But you want to know, don't you?

SELF

Stop it!

OTHER

I'd be glad to.  Stop asking questions.

SELF

What about, "Seek and you shall find"?

OTHER

You found it.  Have a nice day.

SELF

What!?

OTHER

There's nothing more to find in the places you've been looking.

SELF

Well, where the hell should I look?

OTHER

Nowhere.   Stop looking.  Enjoy what's available. Go do your precious American dream.

SELF

You cheating bastard!  First you say, "Don't worry about money, just seek first the kingdom of God," so I waste my life on it, and there's nothing there.  And then you say, go chase dollars, have kids, and pass on the crazy to another generation of poor dumb suckers.

OTHER

You could always go back to patience and humility.

SELF

I did that for decades.  It damn near wrecked my nerves.

OTHER

Ready for death?

SELF

Duuh!

OTHER

So you think you're ready for the next step?

SELF

Don't you give me that next step shit.  I don't want any next.  You terminate my ass, goddamn it!

OTHER

We would really prefer not to do that.

SELF

I don't care.

[OTHER steps into the light where SELF can see him.]

OTHER

But we do.  That's why I'm here.

SELF

Protecting your investment?

OTHER

Among other things.

SELF

Who are you?

OTHER

Does it matter?

SELF

It might.  You God?

OTHER

No.

SELF

Sent by God?

OTHER

If I said yes, would it make any difference?

SELF

Not really.

OTHER

Then it doesn't matter, does it?

SELF

I don't know.  You tell me.

OTHER

Are you willing to pay the price of knowing?

SELF

God damn you!

OTHER

You'd like to kill me, wouldn't you?

SELF

Yes.

OTHER

Why don't you?

SELF

You untie me, and I'll give it a try.

OTHER

You're not tied.

SELF

I can't move.

OTHER

True. But you're not tied.

SELF

You're doing this.

OTHER

It really doesn't matter who is doing it.  The point is, if you were not bound, you would try to kill us.  You're a very dangerous animal.  Still, you have the potential to be of great value.  Does that begin to make sense?

SELF

Some.  But nowhere near enough.

OTHER

How about this?  Your life sucks because you can't do what you were designed to do.  You can't do what you were designed to do because you are under restraints, because if you were not restrained, you would do, or at least say, destructive things.  Also, if you recall, you asked for our guidance. Does that make enough sense for you?

SELF

Well isn't there some way to do this that doesn't drive me crazy?

OTHER

You are not being driven crazy.  You are being driven sane.  That's the whole point.

SELF

For what purpose?

[OTHER raises his eyebrows.]

Shit.

OTHER

Oh come now.  Is Christianity really so hard to handle?

SELF

Yes, goddamnit!  It's full of bullshit.

OTHER

Then why did you choose it?

SELF

[sigh]  It comes closer than anything else out there.

OTHER

Then think of it as a game of horseshoes.

SELF

Oh fuck you!

OTHER

Well seriously folks, if you can't handle the truth, what do you expect us to do?

SELF

I would expect you to either make me able to handle it, or terminate my goddamn existence!

OTHER

We're working on that.

SELF

Which?

OTHER

Making you able to handle it.  And in case you haven't noticed, we're making progress.

SELF

Great. So you beat the shit out of my brain, so I can live forever in idiots' heaven with a bunch of fucking assholes.

OTHER

There are plenty of intelligent people on our side.  Some of them even understand critical thinking.

SELF

I know.  I've met them.  Spin doctors, sell outs, and sycophants.

OTHER

At least they're logical.

SELF

Sure, if you buy their premises.  Garbage in; garbage out.

OTHER

If you wanted to communicate ultimate reality to the human race, would you not dumb it down?  [pause]  And if you finally came up with a system that works, flawed as it may be, would you not try to preserve it from loose cannons who think they have a divine mandate to point out how dumb it is?  [pause]   Especially when they have no alternative to offer?

SELF

The system is overdue for an upgrade.

OTHER

Would you like a piece of that?

SELF

What?

OTHER

I said, would you like a piece of that?

SELF

What do you mean?

OTHER

Like you haven't thought about it.

SELF

What?  You mean write some counter bullshit like Muhammad or Joseph Smith?

OTHER

Oh, you know that to be bullshit, do you?

SELF

Well some of it has to be bullshit.

OTHER

But you donít know which, do you?  And you donít claim to know what you donít know, do you?  [pause]  Because then youíre just like all the rest of them, arenít you?  And then you canít despise them, can you?  [pause]  Letís talk about system upgrades.  Not creating another counter-system, but taking what's already there, and making sense of it.

SELF

Like Rudy Bultmann?  That's been done too.  After you make sense of it, there's no reason to believe it.

OTHER

Isn't there?  Are you sure you've made enough sense?

SELF

[pause] What kind of sense are you talking about?

OTHER

There has been a sea change.  Obedience to God used to be seen as the right way to go.  Now that whole concept has taken a big hit.  But it's still true, simply because atheism offers no justification for ethics.  Unfortunately, the written word has been allowed to supersede your God-given sense of justice and morality.  And we need to cut thru all that "My written word is better than your written word" hogwash, because any written word, taken to its logical conclusion, is illogical to say the least.

SELF

What then?  The pope?

OTHER

Heh.  Good one.  No seriously, you're about ready for direct communication.

SELF

Oh, I get ya.  I'm supposed to listen to you, and you'll keep me straight.

OTHER

Thank you.  That's flattering, but actually that sort of thing can lead to the same pitfalls.  The fact is, your planet is ready for common sense morality.

SELF

Common sense?

OTHER

Yes.  You have written-word whacos, and voice-in-the-head whacos, but there are no common sense whacos.  Unlike the written word, common sense changes with the times, and unlike voices in the head, you don't have to worry about where it's coming from.

SELF

Then why didnít you put us onto it centuries ago?

OTHER

Because it only works in a democracy.

SELF

Oh bullshit.

OTHER

Iím serious.  When people live under a despotic government, the majority tend to let it make their moral decisions for them.  When they elect their rulers, they have to make moral judgments.

SELF

Athens was a democracy.  But it wasnít known for morality.

OTHER

No, but it was known for innovative thinking.  Unfortunately the majority still voted for Zeus, and Zeus was amoral.  First you need voters who care about morality.  Then you can trust them to figure out what exactly is moral.

SELF

Yeah but why do we need God for that?

OTHER

Well, operationally you don't, but technically it is a God given faculty, and you still need the old fear of Judgment Day for motivation.  Without that, you're pigs.  So.  You want to help us?

SELF

[pause]  What would it require?

OTHER

The kind of stuff you're good at.  But it would also require a lot of restraint.  We need an upgrade, not a virus.

SELF

What's in it for me?

[LIGHT begins to dim.]

OTHER

Hold that thought.

SELF

What?  Wait a minute.  Oh no.  I'm waking up, aren't I?

OTHER

Yes, you are.

SELF

Shit.

Blackout


Just for the record, I never had a dream like this.