SAFARI, a One-Act Play
A black-box stage, house lights.
Two chairs sit center stage.
GIRAFFE, in full costume, sits in the chair on the left, holding his head. He turns the head around and around, studying it. He is silent. He peers at it, picks some lint off of it, holds it up facing toward him, shakes his head, and dusts it off some more. Holds it up again, hands spread out inside the head, as if imagining the costume head on his own head as the audience would see it.
COYOTE enters stage right. She is fashionable, with an upscale haircut, and a confident bearing. She’s wearing a fashionable business dress, red, with a jacket, and black high-heel shoes.
COYOTE: You’re never going to get more out of that head.
GIRAFFE: (mournfully) I know.
COYOTE: (going over to stand by Giraffe, empty chair between them) You have to be tough on the costumer. Demanding! You have to tell them you won’t stand for it, you have to have a better head. (Surveys the audience.) That’s what I always do.
GIRAFFE: (looking up at COYOTE) Does it help?
COYOTE: (looking at GIRAFFE) Sure! Of course it does!
GIRAFFE: Where’s your costume?
COYOTE: At the cleaners. I think. (She sits.)
MUSKOX enters stage left. She is an older woman, a wise-woman-type, who is also in costume, carrying her head. Her costume looks good, noticeably better than GIRAFFE’s somewhat worn-out costume. She crosses downstage, stands facing the audience. She ceremonially puts on her head, fully costumed now, and turns the head gracefully from side to side, as if introducing herself to the audience.
COYOTE: (to MUSKOX) There’s no one out there.
MUSKOX: (from inside the costume, in a deep booming James-Earl-Jones-style voice) That’s when it’s most important to be in your part. When there’s no one watching. (She turns to face COYOTE.) Otherwise, you’re just faking it. (She stamps her feet one at a time, toro-like, and lowers her head menacingly.)
GIRAFFE looks startled. COYOTE looks angry. Lights out.
Lights up. Chairs are empty, one is knocked over as if someone left in a hurry. STAGE MANAGER enters Stage Left, holding a clipboard and a new GIRAFFE head.
STAGE MANAGER: (yelling) Hey! Where is everybody! This is dress rehearsal. Everyone to the stage! Full costume! (CAST gathers.) . . .
The play was a success. Two curtain calls. Seetha even asked me to “hold the mental space” to write another play next year. The theme, while not hitting people over the head, was effective: the futility of classism, racism, and elitism. Stage Manager (modeled after Molly, played by Molly) had the final line: “On Safari, everyone’s the same.”
Well, Margy got her chance to be an author, and to see her work performed and enjoyed by an audience. I would like to take a moment to thank you for being in my audience. Even when one writes for creative expression, the interaction with a readers makes a huge difference. 1) I learn so much from readers’ observations and reactions! 2) I feel connected to other writers, instead of isolated. 3) I gradually gain faith in my ability to touch other people’s emotions and experiences through writing. Thank you for being part of my story!
What is your opinion – do you think there should be an epilogue? Or does the story seem like it’s over? How do you know when your stories, or poems, or essays, are finished?