Thursday, December 10, 2009

What Goes Up

New script for Brown Bag next quarter. Tried to stretch myself a little with this one. It was really fun to write, and I hope you enjoy it!

Craig Steele (M)
Dr. Albright (F)
Mr. Steele (M)
Setting: Psychiatrist’s office (desk, two chairs, one in front, and one behind it, couch)

Dr. Albright is sitting behind the desk, Craig is sitting in front of it facing her.

Craig: Come on, Doctor, you can’t be serious.

Albright: I am completely serious. There’s nothing wrong with you.

Craig: Look, there’s gotta be something.

Albright: You must accept that this is who you are. (Pause) How long have you been coming to see me, Craig?

Craig: Four months, but—

Albright: Twice a week for four months. And your initial complaint?

Craig: Well, nothing really definite.

Albright: When you walked into this office for your first appointment, for what reason were you seeking help?

Craig: Bad dreams.

Albright: And…?

Craig: I would get nauseous in public for no reason.

Albright: And…?

Craig: (Lamely) That’s it.

Albright: And do you still have bad dreams?

Craig: I don’t remember. That’s the problem!

Albright: Do you still experience nausea?

Craig: No, but—

Albright: Then my work here is done. As long as you stay on the medication, life can continue as normal. You should be relieved.

Craig: Well I’m not! I’m worse, I know it!

Albright: Is this an unrelated problem?

Craig: Not exactly.

Albright: If it is an unrelated problem to the previous issues we have been addressing, you need to talk to my secretary and she can fix you up with a new set of appointments—

Craig: No, no, it’s related! It fits right in.

Albright: We can discuss this at our next meeting. If you could just go to front desk—

Craig: Dr. Albright! Listen to what I am telling you!

Albright: All right, Craig. I’m listening. Perhaps I’ll be able to recommend a new psychiatrist.

Craig: No, it has to be you.

Albright: We’ll see about that.

Craig: Please, doctor. I’m asking you on a professional level, as a patient. Something is not right with my head and, well, I think it might have something to do with the—the work we’ve done here.

Albright: I hope you’re not blaming the practice, or, Heaven forbid, me personally for this new development.

Craig: No! Well, maybe. I think it has had something to do with it.

Albright: Let’s think of this as progress being made.

Craig: I don’t know about that… things have certainly changed, but I’m not convinced that they’re for the better.

Albright: Perhaps this is a minor side effect to the drugs we have you on. I believe the pharmaceutical company lists dizziness, loss of appetite, and minor insomnia among typical side effects. Are you experiencing anything of that nature?

Craig: Nothing like that at all.

Albright: Odd. Please continue.

Craig: Here’s the deal. I think I might legitimately be going crazy.

Albright: I pride myself to think that I would have known that even before you did. I’m a trained professional.

Craig: Yeah, but this is serious. Like, weird shit.

Albright: Would you care to elaborate? Here, why don’t you take a nice lie-down? (She indicates the couch. There is already someone lounging there.)

Craig: Jesus!

Albright: Something wrong?

Craig: Yes! This is exactly what I’m talking about!

Albright: I don’t believe you ever fully explained.

Craig: (Slightly hysterical) You’re right, I haven’t been dreaming so much, I’ve been sleeping better, no problems there. I wake up and I don’t remember a thing, I might as well have been in a coma. But then I open my eyes and I wake up to shit like this!

Albright: There is nothing there, Craig. What do you see?

Craig: I know there isn’t! But… I see my dad, but he doesn’t exactly look like my dad, he’s—not quite right.

Steele: Catch, boy! (He pelts a hacky sack at Craig.)

Craig: Ow! Shit!

Albright: What happened?

Craig: Bastard threw a beanbag at me! Look! (He picks up hacky sack and shows it to her.)

Albright: Very nice. Your father is in the room now?

Steele: (Wildly) Meow, oh baby! What a sweet rack o’ lamb! Come to papa!

Craig: Hey, that’s my shrink you’re talking about! He just insulted you.

Albright: Oh? What did he say?

Craig: (Embarrassed) Oh, he was just being lewd.

Albright: How long as he been in the room?

Craig: I only noticed him when I turned around. He could have followed me in for all I know. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you: I used to dream about him the most, especially when the treatment started. And it’s like he’s jumped out of the movie screen and into my lap.

Albright: You know, our dreams are manifestations of our deep-seated fears and desires, come to life by simply taking on that which is familiar to us in our waking hours.

Craig: Yeah, but they’re not supposed to walk around and talk smack and throw shit.

Albright: What do you think your father represents for you? Your fears or your desires?

Craig: I don’t know. When I was a kid I really admired him, he was always such a big guy, always joking and causing trouble, but it was basically harmless.

Albright: Clearly some negative impression has been left in your psyche.

Craig: Well, yeah, it’s dumb… I think I let him down. I couldn't be that crazy dude, it just didn’t feel right.

Steele: Boy! I said catch! (Throws another hacky sack, Craig reacts as if intent on ignoring him.)

Albright: Perhaps your fear and desire is, in this case, one in the same: that you might some day turn into your father.

Craig: Well, I don’t want to be him, that’s for sure.

Albright: Why not?

Steele: Yeah, why not? You ungrateful brat! Never knew how to take a chance.

Albright: Go on, Craig.

Craig: Right, sorry. He’s distracting.

Albright: Has he always been this distracting?

Craig: Well, yeah, he—

Albright: Or this alluring?

Craig: Alluring? What are you talking about?

Steele: Oh, yeah, that’s right, you know you want a piece o’ big papa.

Albright: Please continue.

Craig: Wait, what did… Nevermind. What was the question?

Albright: Why don’t you want to be your father?

Craig: He just wasn’t… wasn’t that great a guy. When I got older I realized that he’d always sort of treated me like crap. It was like he was waiting for me to grow up, but then when I did, he didn’t like what he saw. I always felt like this massive disappointment.

Steele: And for good reason, ya twerp! Be a man for once in your life!

Albright: And so you suppressed your feelings of self-loathing and shame.

Craig: Hey, I never said that, that’s taking it a little far—

Albright: Because you couldn’t live up to your exciting, sexy, voracious hunk of a father. Not even close.

Steele: Gimme a little challenge, sweet thing, you’re making this too easy. (She lets her hair down/unbuttons top button and perches herself on the desk invitingly.) But I’m no fool. (He goes to embrace her.)

Craig: No! No! This is wrong! All wrong!

Steele: Outta my way, kid. (He knocks Craig aside and goes to Albright, who beckons him into her arms. Craig falls to the floor and curls up in a ball.)

Albright: Come to mama! Go on to bed, Junior. (She and Steele start giggling and doing things that would lead to naughtier things if the scene were to keep going. [This can involve kissing lips, neck, arm, whatever the actors are comfortable with].)

Craig: Yes, mommy. (He crawls onto the couch and curls up on his side, as…)


1 comment:

  1. I like it! It's humorous, and intriguing, and well-written, which are all good things! Of course, I keep wondering if there's some deeper, hidden meaning to it, some sort of commentary on life and psychiatry that I am too obtuse to figure out, but I am also content just to enjoy it! It's a fun read, clever and snappy. I'd love to see it performed.