These four vignettes were written for MUSIC/SCENE, an immersive theater event that was produced by PianoFight for their bar space, in which a series of short plays (six total) were acted out in the space as if they were conversations/scenes happening at an actual music show. Between each play, or during some of them, six different musicians performed songs, each of which corresponded to one of the plays. My vignettes were commissioned as connective tissue, to be played when and where needed to fill transition space or set a scene better. That said, when combined, you could do them as a short play, I suppose, or a short film. Because their purpose was to be as flexible as possible, someone interested in performing them would be encouraged to run with whatever worked best for their space, artists, and audience.
Performed on September 4, 11, 25, and October 2, 2017 at PianoFight in San Francisco, California. All pieces were directed by Sara Judge, and featured the following casts:
A: Alex Mechanic
B: Deb Leamy
A: Megan Briggs
B: Christine Hong
C: Alisha Ehrlich
Performed by Rachel Rockwood
A: Hilda Roe
B: Kristin Hall
A: Sorry I’m late.
B: It’s okay.
A: I got caught on the phone with Mom.
B: You’re always late, so it’s not like I’m ever surprised-
A: I’m not always late.
B: Or worried.
A: How long has she been on?
B: Second song.
A: Second song.
B: Yeah, so-
A: So, I’m not that late. It’s only the second song.
B: She’s already started.
A: But it’s only the second song.
B: But she already started.
A: Okay, yeah, I’m late. You’re right.
B: Thank you.
A: And I’m sorry.
B: It’s okay. (beat) How is Mom?
B: Good enough.
A: How is she?
A: The singer.
B: She’s okay.
A: Just okay?
B: Well, if I could actually listen to her-
A: What’s stopping you from listening to her-
B: I meant pay attention-
A: Are you saying I’m stopping you from-
B: Keep your voice down, she can hear you-
A : No, she can’t.
B: Yes, she can.
A: No, she can’t.
C: Yes, I can. (long pause) But I’m glad your Mom is doing okay.
A: Oh, thanks.
C: And I think the two of you need to work on your relationship. There’s a lot of not listening.
C: Really. Probably some suppressed raged too, but I’m gonna go back to playing now.
A: Okay. Um…. Thank you? Um… (too enthusiastic) WHOO-HOO! GO “C”!
B: Just be quiet.
A: OMG what is this place?
B: OMG it looks like a bar.
C: OMG it is a bar.
A: OMG let’s get some drinks.
B: OMG I bet they serve drinks here.
C: OMG I bet the drinks are made of alcohol.
A: OMG there’s a musician.
B: OMG the musician is playing music.
C: OMG that’s what a DJ is for.
A: OMG I can like barely understand it.
B: OMG you can’t dance to this like at all.
C: OMG I’ve never heard this song before so it must suck.
D: Hey, folks, could you maybe take it from a 10 to a 6?
A: OMG how rude.
B: OMG why wasn’t I warned there would be a musician in this bar?
C: OMG why do musicians have to be such attention whores?
What is the sound of your life passing you by? No, actually, what is on the soundtrack of your life as you pass through it? Quick: think of your three favorite songs. Quick: think of three songs you hate. Question: which are on the soundtrack of your life? Answer: All six, and more. Stop. Look around you. No! Stop! Quiet. Listen. Listen around you. What do you hear? What is the sound of your world? Is there a beat to it? Is there rhythm in it? Harmony? Tone? Did you know that everything has a sound? The beer in the glass before you pushes, ever so loudly, against each tiny grain of sand that composes that vessel just like each note composes a song and if you listen hard enough you can hear it and that straining is in everything. All sound is straining to be heard, reminding you that you are alive by reminding you that it is alive. Which is what I try to remind myself as I strain to play my music over your voice. You’re not trying to be rude. You’re just reminding me you are alive. Stop. Listen. There’s room for both of us on this soundtrack.
A: See, what I like about live music is the community.
B: Right, the part where you share this moment with everyone else in the venue.
A: Right, but you can do that at a club. You can do that in an elevator. With live music-
B: No I get it, with live music you can share it with the musician too.
A: Right, the musician is part of the experience. You’re not just receiving- you’re exchanging.
A: They’re putting something out there, you’re picking it up.
A: Maybe you like it. Maybe you don’t. That’s not what matters.
A: What matters is that for a moment, your world is bigger than you. Both of you.
B: Yeah!!! (beat) Wait, what did you say? I wasn’t listening.