Please Don’t Tell Your Friends

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Please Don’t Tell Your Friends
by Roy Charles Henry

Cast of Characters in Order of Appearance:

  • Stage Manager/Custodian (SM)
  • Director (D)
  • Narrator/Facilitator (N)
  • Guru (G)

SM: (The SM, who is quite elderly, pushes a broom, enters from stage left. Startled at seeing the audience, he looks at his pocket watch and utters in a loud voice). “You here awready! Betcha had to stand in line for tickets eh? Ha, ha, ha. This will not be the longest running show off Broadway or within a day’s commute of Broadway for that matter.”

“Since you’re early we should get some of the housekeeping chores out of the way. I always wanted to do this. Silence your electronic stuff, leave your neighbor alone and listen up. Ticket sales are not what they could be so Pleeaase! Don’t tell your friends—give us a little more time. We’ll figure it out. If you don’t say anything then your friends and neighbors will show up out of habit and we can squeeze a couple more weeks out of this baby and maybe I can find another job in the meantime. As for now, settle back and enjoy whatever this is—it is different—I gotta give it that.” (SM begins to exit slowly pushing his broom.)

D: (Yelling from backstage) “Dusty!!!”

SM: (With a pause, facing the audience and in a whisper) “Don’t tell her what I said. You caught me by surprise and job security ain’t what it used to be.”

D: (Enters from offstage) “Good evening.” (Pause, audience responds) “Nice to have you here this evening. I’m Caprice Nelson the director here at Far Out Theatre Company. You are in for a different kind of theatre tonight, so we all have to keep an open mind. Experimental theatre has always been hard and risky to stage so I’m grateful that we have all of you here. You are an adventurous audience and your courage will pay off with something the likes of which you have never experienced before.”

“And now for something a little strange but I would appreciate your cooperation. Pleeaase! Don’t tell your friends—we just need a little more time to iron out the kinks. We have a good reputation and we’ll continue to sell tickets if we don’t get a negative buzz, if you know what I mean.”

(Starts to walk off stage visibly distracted and shaken by what she just said and pauses and turns to the audience as an afterthought) “Oh by the way, you know the drill. Silence everything and don’t bother each other—this play will be challenging enough. And if you have access to any mood enhancing substances during intermission—smoke ‘em, you’ll need it.”

N: (Slowly strolls in from offstage) “Hi I’m Nareez Ibrahim and our director neglected an important piece of information. (Soto voce) And I’m not too happy with what she did say. Have a little faith, know what I mean!! Oh yea—this is a rehearsal performance and we reserve the right to stop the play at any time to tweek something—aaaand I think we’ll probably have to—a few times anyway.”

“I play the part of the narrator who sets the context of the play—remember that guy in Our Town who explained stuff. I also have another role in the play which I’m not gonna tell yuh—see if you can guess who my other self is (facial gesture challenging audience) bet you can’t guess. Anyway, let’s get started. Everybody ready!”

D: (Peaks out from stage left with a barely restrained disgusted hissing) “Yeesss.”

N: “Our setting is one of those ten-day hoity-toity, pretentious liberal conferences like, you know like The Aspen Institute or The CU Conference on World Affairs where they get together to solve the problems of the world.”

(After a lot of nervous “hub-ub” among the characters gathering on stage, the Guru appears stage right and turns first to shake hands with SM who is just visible with his broom.)

D: (Yelling) “Dusty get off stage.”

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References and notes are available for this essay.
Find a much more in-depth discussion on this blog and in printed books by Roy Charles Henry.

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