Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Shoot-Out at Garsen's Saloon
Part Three, Scenes One and Two
 
Big Bill Wretcher, the valley's cattle baron, has challenged the leader of the valley's homesteaders, Joe Garrett, to a gun-fight.  Joe knows that he will be up against the hired gun-fighter Stark Verisimilitude.  Joe's hired hand, Shane, a heroic figure who seeks to escape his past, a man whom Joe's wife loves, has been told by Joe not to interfere.  Warning: This parody of the novel and motion picture "Shane" was written to amuse seventh and eighth grade students.  (That's my excuse) It has too many characters because I had too many students enrolled in my drama class.  However, I had fun writing it and seeing the cast members perform. 
 
Cast of Characters
            Joe Garrett, leader of the homesteaders
            Marian Garrett, Joe’s wife
            Grandma Garrett, Joe’s mother
            Johnny Garrett, dim-witted 17 year old son
            Bonnie Garrett, 12 year old daughter
            Cannonball Stone, fiery-tempered homesteader
            Opal Stone, 16 year old daughter
            Rocky Stone, 14 year old son
            Mrs. Stone, Cannonball’s wife
            Svede Svenson, Swedish homesteader
            Ebenezer Erp, town preacher
            Alley Erp, Ebenezer’s wife
            Hannah Erp, former bad-breathed, 16 year old daughter
            Big Bill Wretcher, cattle boss of the valley
            Rachael Wretcher, flirtatious 16 year old daughter
            Kurt Jergens, Big Bill’s German, bully-boy foreman
            George Garsen, owner of Garsen’s Saloon
            Tina Tintinnabulation, saloon girl
            Digger Phelps, undertaker and barber
            Widow Winslow, man-hunting, 35 year old widow
            Shane, gunfighter trying to escape his past
            Stark Verisimilitude, gunfighter
Time: 1880s
Place: Shoshone Hole, Wyoming
 
Scene One
(At Cannonball Stone’s homestead.  Cannonball and Rocky enter right, Cannonball holding a shovel)
Cannonball: I want you to dig that water ditch from there (pointing right) to over there (pointing off-stage left)
Rocky: Pa!  That’s … thirty feet!
Cannonball: So what?  I was digging ditches twice as long when I was your age.  Do ye good!
Rocky: No, it won’t, Pa!  I’m not going to be a farmer.
Cannonball: Who says you aren’t?!
Rocky: Mrs. Erp says I have a wonderful feel for language.
Cannonball: Those no-account poetry meetings!  I knew it!
Rocky: Pa, I want to be a poet!
Cannonball: You’re gonna be a farmer!  Develop some muscle!  (He thrusts the shovel at Rocky)
Rocky (repelled by the sight of the shovel): I’d rather develop my iambic pentameter!
Cannonball (after a pause): A poet!  Albert Sidney Johnston Rhett Butler Stone a poet!  Talkin’ with Tina the other day didn’t do you a bit a good!
Rocky: Oh yes, it did, Pa.  It most certainly did!
Cannonball (raising an eyebrow): Oh?
Rocky (enthusiastically): She’s a most interesting woman!
Cannonball (with appreciation): Yeah!  I know what you mean!
Rocky (with concern): But, Pa, I think there is something wrong with her!
Cannonball (with appreciation): Ain’t nothin’ wrong with Tina Tintinnabulation!  Nothin’!
Rocky: You’re wrong, Pa.  Medically speaking, there is!  She said when I looked at her …
Cannonball (interested): Yeah?
Rocky: … that her molecular structure changes to that of jello!  (pause)  Are all girls like that, Pa, because if they are I’m staying away from them!
Cannonball (exasperated): Ugggh!  (shoving the shovel at Rocky)  Here!
Rocky (holding the shovel): I wrote a poem about it!  It goes ---
Cannonball (turning his back): I don’t want to hear it!
Rocky (reciting): “Tina, just because I say hello,
                               There’s no need to turn to jello.
                               All I am is a friendly fellow.”
Cannonball (frowning): Dig!
(Joe Garrett enters right.  Rocky sees him first and calls Cannonball’s attention to him)
Cannonball: Joe Garrett.  What are you doin’ out this way?!
Rocky (to himself): I’m glad that Bonnie Garrett didn’t come along.  She’s always making cow-eyes at me!
(Bonnie Garrett enters right)
Rocky: Oh no!
(Joe walks over to Cannonball and shakes his hand.  Bonnie stays behind him and makes “cow-eyes” at Rocky)
Joe (after a pause): I’m ridin’ in to Garsen’s Saloon.  To see Wretcher.  One last time.
Cannonball: Joe!  It isn’t just Wretcher you’re up against!  There’s Jergens!  And Verisimilitude!
Joe (dejectedly): I know.  (pause)  You’ve always been a good friend, Cannonball.  Guess I came over here … for a word of encouragement.
Cannonball: Joe, when they’re done with you, the wind blowin’ through the holes in you will be whistling Dixie!
Joe (after a pause): Thanks.  Just what I needed.
Cannonball: What you need is help!
Joe: No truer words were ever said.  (looking intently at Cannonball) Know anyone who would?
Cannonball: Well, uh … (turning to Rocky) … Rocky, uh, why don’t you entertain young Bonnie here.  Her father and I want to talk, private.
Rocky: Do I have to?!
Cannonball: Do it!
Bonnie (skipping over to Rocky): Guess what I’ve got.
Rocky: What?
Bonnie (showing a bottle which she has been hiding behind her back):  See?  A bottle!
Rocky: So?
Bonnie: We can play with it!  We can play … (smiling) … Spin the Bottle!
Rocky: Aw, that’s baby play!
Bonnie (smiling): That’s what you think!  (Rocky turns his back to her)  Well, then recite me one of your poems.  My brother Johnny says they’re stupid, but, then, he’s stupid so how would he know?
(Rocky and Bonnie stand near the left exit, she staring at him while he looks away.  Joe and Cannonball are at the right exit)
Joe: I figure I need at least two guns backin’ me up.  (pause)  What about Svede?
Cannonball: His suspenders broke and snapped him one in the eye!  It’s swollen bigger than a goose egg!
Joe: Well, I guess that’s … that.
Bonnie (to Rocky): Well?
Rocky: I’m thinking!
Bonnie: What about?
Rocky: I’m composing a poem right now.  About you.
Bonnie: Oh, I can hardly wait!
Joe (looking at Cannonball): Unless …
Cannonball (talking rapidly): Uh, what about that Shane fellow?!  I hear he’s pretty handy!
Joe: Forget it!
Cannonball: How come?
Joe: Marian … doesn’t want us both getting killed.  “Two wrongs don’t make a right,” she says.
Cannonball: So Shane’s gonna eat Marian’s flannel cakes while Jergens and Verisimilitude make you look like Swiss cheese!  Is that it?!
(Joe nods his head “yes”)
Cannonball: Yellow-bellied, no-account Yankee coward!
Rocky: Why is it that when I look at Tina she turns to jello, but when I look at you, you just keep lookin’ like a cow?!
Bonnie: “Sticks and stones may break my bones ---“
Rocky (interrupting): I know, I know!  (pause)  Wish they had!
Joe: Guess I’m just gonna have to ride in there myself … and hope I get lucky … (long pause, looking at Cannonball)  … unless …
Cannonball: What you oughta do, Joe, is go in there actin’ tough!  Make them think you’re going to win!  (confidently)  Scare them spitless!
Joe: Easy for you to say.
Cannonball: Be tough as nails!  Why, heck, I think I’ll take the boy here (indicating Rocky) to watch!  Let him see a man in action!
Joe (a trace of sarcasm): Thoughtful of you.
Cannonball: Be good for him, seeing bad men plugged.  (pause)  Course, if it’s you, … (shrugs his shoulders) … that’s life.  He’s got to learn you can’t win ‘em all!
Joe (after a pause): So you think I’ve got a chance … if I’m tough.
Cannonball: Hey, I’ll be in there backin’ you up all the way … (hopeful expression from Joe) … morally speaking, that is.  (Joe’s expression changes to disappointment)  Joe, I can’t afford to get shot!  I got the boy here, Opal, and the misses to think of!  Least you got Shane to take your place.  I got no-one.
Joe: What about Svede?
Cannonball: That’s no-one.
Joe: All right, Cannonball.  At least I know you’ll be rootin’ for me!  (to Bonnie)  Come on, Bonnie.  We’re going home.  Then, … I gotta go into town.
Bonnie: Rocky is writing a poem about me.  I want to hear.  (to Rocky)  Are you done?
Rocky (reciting): Bonnie Garrett, I do not tell lies:
                             Bonnie Garrett, you’ve got big brown eyes;
                             Bonnie Garrett, you remind me of something.  Who?
                             Bonnie Garrett, here’s a clue.  Mooooooo!
Bonnie: My brother’s right!  Your poems are dumb!  Come on, Dad!  (She and Joe exit right)
 
Scene Two
(The Erps parlor in town.  The stage is empty)
Erp (off-stage right): Alley, I am vexed!  A minister’s wife does not tell her husband to “shut up!”
Mrs. Erp: You are right.  Forgive me.
They enter right)
Erp (gesturing righteously): Worse, you expressed your hostile sentiment before others!
Mrs. Erp (meekly): Yes.  So thoughtless.
Erp: A man of the cloth must be looked upon with respect and reverence.  You have reduced my status to that of … Elmer Fudd.
Mrs. Erp: How can you ever forgive me?
Erp: Never, never speak to me in anything other than the most reverent of tones!
Mrs. Erp: Oh, I will, husband.  I will!
Erp (striking a righteous pose): Always remember.  Man was made to master … (a broad gesture) … all that he surveys.  (pause)  Woman, however, …  (He raises his eyebrows and looks at Alley)
Mrs. Erp: Yes, husband?
Erp: Woman was made to wash long-johns and bake blueberry pies!  Is that not so, Alley, my dear?
Mrs. Erp (obediently): Yes, Ebenezer.
Erp: From Adam’s rib, He (motioning upward) created woman.  If Adam wishes to bind Eve in matrimony, it is her duty to honor and obey!  Is my meaning not clear?
Mrs. Erp: Yes, husband.  (a trace of irritation)  Very.
Erp: Good.  I need sustenance.  Be a good Eve and make me blueberry muffins and marmalade jam.
Mrs. Erp (after a pause): Ebenezer, dear.
Erp: Yes, Alley?
Mrs. Erp: The garbage pit that you neglected to cover with dirt before last week’s storm?
Erp: Yes, Alley?
Mrs. Erp: Go put your head in it!
Erp: Perhaps instead of muffins I would like cinnamon bear-claws.  Yes!  (He pats his stomach affectionately)
Mrs. Erp: Ebenezer, you aren’t listening again.
Erp: What’s that?  You’re out of cinnamon?  Then trot right on over to Garsen’s, woman.  Remind him of his sins and maybe he will sell it at half-price.
Mrs. Erp: I’m trotting home to Mother!  You wash your own long-johns, you pompous owl!
Erp: How dare you speak this way!  You are the wife of the renowned Ebenezer Erp!
Mrs. Erp: Baloney!  Put some mustard on it, slap two slices of bread around it, and have your lunch!  (She turns about abruptly and exits left)
Erp (after a five second pause): Well!  (He glances off-stage right)  Mustard.  Hmmmmm.  I think we still do have some baloney left.  (He exits right)