A short play on the theme: " Self Help "
by K. Brian Neel
© 2012, K. Brian Neel, all rights reserved
Performed at Outdoor 14/48, September 8, 2012
Eyes Dressed very stylish (business-like)
Mouth Dressed in sultry leather (poetic, French?)
Ears Dressed in sweats (hip)
Nose Dressed like a dork (dorky)
The FACE control room of a sixteen year old boy.
The tone is somewhere between NASA and Woody Allen. There are no props or set pieces. The actor positions at "work" should be full-body abstract shapes suggesting their roles, looking strait out over the audience. The bigger the better. The shapes stay at the positions -- there is an eye shape, and ear shape, etc. (They take over each other's shapes at times.) Improvisation is encouraged.
Eyes, Lips, and Ears enter the control room from all different directions, shaking hands, hugging, etc. They sip coffee. Stretch out. Eyes checks his clipboard occasionally.
EYES: Good evening, Ears.
EARS: What's up, Eyes? Mouth.
MOUTH: These lips are red rosy, most sweet, and pucker.
EARS: You are awesome, do you know that! I love this guy.
EYES: Where's Nose?
NOSE: I'm here. I'm here. Sorry I'm late. Feeling a little stuffy today.
EYES: No tears.
NOSE: What's the evening look like, Eyes? Are we busy?
EYES: Let me check. Oh my sensory brothers, it looks as though we're going on a date!
ALL: Oh yeah! Awesome. Sweet. (Etc.)
MOUTH: To kiss and linger. Perhaps a tip of tongue.
EARS: Damn strait: hopin'. Dat's all I'm sayin'.
NOSE: I don't know, I'm kind of runny...
EYES: Let's be on the ball, everyone. Let's get that kiss!
EARS: Anyone seen Skin?
NOSE: He wasn't in the pancreas.
ALL: (calling off) Skin! Skin! (Etc.)
MOUTH: Without buds to entice a bee, a silky taunt, not for we.
EYES: Oh dear retina, we're a go in thirty seconds!
They rush to take positions at their respective stations.
NOSE: We can't go without Skin.
EARS: He's probably hanging out with extremity operations. As usual.
NOSE: It's where he belongs, technically speaking.
EARS: Damn budget cuts! I tell ya, we'll all end up in the rectum.
EYES: We'll all have to cover for Skin.
ALL: Awe, man! Come on! Seriously! (Etc.)
NOSE: Was that a pun?
EARS: I can't listen and touch at the same time.
NOSE: "Have to Cover?" For Skin? Oh, never mind.
EYES: What else are we gonna do? Positions in ten. We have confirmation from motor function. Getting a thumbs up from control. Impulse systems are dialed down. We're online in five. Four. Three.
He hand signals: Two and One.
EYES: We're at the front door. Red door.
EARS: Birds are chirping.
Long pause. They all look at each other...
ALL: (mouthing to each other) What's going on?
EYES: Motor function is down. Cover for Skin. Nose.
He reluctantly moves to the Skin position.
NOSE: Oh great, get the underused sense to do it. He doesn't do anything. (in Skin position.) Knocking on door.
EYES: Door movement. Mother figure.
MOUTH: Greetings and salutations.
EYES: Entering living room.
EARS: Classical music.
NOSE: (rushing back to Nose position.) Hint of sour kraut.
They all roll their eyes at Nose.
EYES: Girl in sight. It's Gloria. Oh... my... goodness. Low cut dress. Don't look. Don't look.
MOUTH: Keeping lips closed.
EYES: Look at the face. Look at the face. Loosing control... Looking. Starring!
MOUTH: Mouth open!
EYES: Can't look away!
EYES: Closing. Closing. Shut.
Eyes drop position. He can't handle it. Ears breaks position.
EARS: Eyes. Get it together! Come on, man!
Eyes take a deep breath and re-join.
EYES: Eyes opening. Carpet. White shag. Looking... up.
MOUTH: (saving the day.) Smiling.
ALL: Good save. Nice one. Well done Lips. (etc.)
NOSE: Perfume. Nominal reading.
They all roll their eyes at Nose and moan.
EYES: Something's happening. Nose. (motions to skin position.)
NOSE: I'm going. (he goes.) Hand holding. Cold hand.
EYES: Leaving house. Walking to car.
MOUTH: Conversation. Awkward.
NOSE: (at Skin) Getting door.
NOSE: Other door.
EARS: Creaking. Slam. Slam.
NOSE: Turning key.
EYES: Driveway. Road.
EYES: Road. Road.
EYES: Road. Gloria. Road.
MOUTH: Engaging conversation.
EYES: Gloria. Road. Gloria.
MOUTH: Funny joke. Laughing.
EYES: Gloria. Gloria. Gloria. Gloria.
MOUTH: Awkward laugh.
NOSE: (back in Nose position.) Burnt rubber.
Eyes motion to Nose to get back to Skin.
EARS: Silence. Awkward silence. Very awkward silence.
EYES: Arriving at restaurant. Parking.
EARS: Creak. Slam. Creak. Slam. Steps. Steps. Steps.
EYES: Door opening.
EARS: Hubub. Hubub. Hubbub. Hubbub.
EYES: Sitting. Gloria.
MOUTH: Smiling. Smiling. Smiling too long. Searching for conversation... connecting to conversation. Asking question.
MOUTH: Ordering. Back to conversation.
NOSE: (at skin) Pouring tea.
MOUTH: Sipping tea. Hot. Hot.
NOSE: Getting ice water.
MOUTH: Ice water. Ice. Cooling off. Cooling. Cooler. Tepid. And... swallowing.
EYES: Dinner is served.
Nose races back to his natural position.
NOSE: Traces of Asian spices...
They all roll their eyes at Nose and moan.
NOSE: (persevering) cumin, curry, chili, Galangal, notes of lemon grass, turmeric, peanuts, nutmeg and chocolate.
He runs back to the Skin position.
NOSE: Operating cutlery.
MOUTH: Tasting. Mmmmmmm. Mmmmm. Uh oh. Spice. Spicy!
EYES: Watering. (repeating.)
MOUTH: Burning. (repeating.)
NOSE: Forehead sweating. (He races back to Nose position.) Nose running. (back.) Upper lip sweating. (forth.) Nose running. (back.) Top of head sweating.
Ears take over for Nose at Skin position, saving the day.
EARS: Wiping eyes, wiping upper lip, wiping forehead, wiping mouth. Putting rice in mouth...
EARS: Into napkin.
Pause of relief.
MOUTH: Continue eating rice. Complete meal.
EARS: (as Skin) Getting chair.
EYES: Standing. Walking out.
EARS: Holding hand.
MOUTH: Talking. Talking. (important -- to Ears) Talking!
Ears run to original position.
EARS: And... listening. Listening. HEARING. Hearing very well. Understanding.
MOUTH: Tongue back in.
EYES: Entering movie theater.
They all roll their eyes at Nose and moan, quite largely this time.
EYES: Not buying popcorn. Sitting. Watching movie.
EARS: Listening to movie.
EYES: Movie. Movie.
EARS: Movie. Movie.
BOTH: Movie. Movie. Movie. Movie. Movie. Movie. Movie. Movie. Movie. Movie. Movie....
This goes on long enough for Lips and Nose to take a coffee break, converse to each other, do something interesting, whatever. Stretch the audience's patience!
EARS: Academy award nominated song.
MOUTH: (In position, but talking to others.) Do I talk?
All: (discussing) I don't know. Nothing's going on. Other people are getting up. Should we make a move? (etc.)
MOUTH: Tongue. (beat.) Tongue back in mouth.
EYES: Gloria's moving!
NOSE: (at Skin position) Grabbing her.
NOSE: Hand. Grabbing her hand.
EYES: Walking up the isle. Into the lobby. Out the front door. Nighttime.
EARS: Crickets. Traffic.
EYES: Firefly! There's a firefly!
ALL: (breaking) Oh, wow. Haven't seen that in a while. I love those little guys. (etc.)
EYES: Walking to car.
NOSE: Getting door.
NOSE: Other door.
EARS: Creak. Slam. Slam.
EARS: Hearing. Hearing. Understanding. Really understanding. Perceiving. Recognizing. Sympathizing. Accepting. Valuing.
During the above Nose has casually moved back to his original spot. He doesn't expect to be utilized, and then...
NOSE: Fart. (beat.) FART!
EARS: (struggling to keep focused.) Listening.
NOSE: Stinky fart!
EARS: Not listening.
EARS: Tuning out.
Someone needs to get to the Skin position. They each struggle to get there, but are stuck in the disgusting reaction. One by one they reach the Skin, but as they do so, another person has to take over their position. A round robin. This ends up cycling through until everyone has taken on everyone else's position and word at least once.
Eventually when they're back in their original positions, Nose hits the mark:
NOSE: (in Skin position) Rolling down window!
ALL: (cheering!) YEAH!
EYES: Pulling over. Parking. Getting out. Walking Gloria to front door. Stopping. Looking at her. She's looking at us. She's leaning in...
MOUTH: Lips... puckering... kissing.
Long beat. They are all into it -- like they are the one she is kissing.
They all cheer and break positions. The job is done. They praise each other as they exit, patting each other on the backs.
Copyright © K. Brian Neel. All rights reserved. Except for brief passages quoted in newspaper, magazine, radio or television reviews, no part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the author.Professional and amateurs are hereby warned that this material, being fully protected under the Copyright Laws of the United States of America and of all other countries of the Berne and Universal Copyright Conventions, is subject to a royalty. All rights including, but not limited to, professional, amateur, recording, motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio and television broadcasting, and the rights of translation into foreign languages are expressly reserved. Particular emphasis is placed on the question of readings and all uses of this play by educational institutions, permission for which must be secured from the authorá║s representatives. For all rights, including amateur and stock performances, contact K. Brian Neel.