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Topics - Arlo Mason

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THE CARS AND THE BARS AND THE BARMEN
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A Play in Infinite Acts



Cast of Characters

Arlo David Mason:
A hot mess in his early 20's--the Boy Poet
A Beautiful Stranger:
It could be anyone, really.


Scene
The Swan, a.k.a. The Swine--a drive bar; Chelsea, London.

Time
Timeless, or 1956



ACT I

Scene 1

SETTING:
  • We're in The Swan, also known as The Swine, a terrible drive bar even by terrible dive bar standards.  The wood paneled walls, once at peak fashion, are now in shambles, most of the shellac protecting them long ago stripped away; in parts, particularly the corners of the place, the wood is worn away, exposing wires and lead pipes.  The room is small, divided in to thirds--one, a clutch of dilapidated tables (no more than three or four) and rickety chairs (never enough for company); two, an open, sticky floor that would be a dance floor if the place attracted the sort of patrons who danced (it didn't); three (the big show! the only show!)--a bar, on the wall farthest from the door, spanning the back of the establishment width-wise; its state of disrepair is similar to the walls, but has been better kept in general.  The lighting is low and from behind the bar only, or else from the entry as the door opens or closes.  For our purposes, the lighting is fluid and a character of its own.  The Swan, or The Swine, is a character, too, thought he would never admit it.  Over an ancient juke box, jazz plays not-quite-loud-enough.

AT RISE:
  • ARLO DAVID MASON jerks his hips, or sways his hips, or circles his hips--he moves his hips--in the second part of the bar, the sticky would-be dance floor.  ARLO's motion is on-beat with the jazz song that plays--enthusiastically so; the over-full glass of whiskey in his hand tips with each movement.  He wears a sweater over a collared shirt, scuffed shoes, and a glassy, aimless grin.  The jukebox spins to a stop and in the intermission, ARLO saunters to the bar.

ARLO
YES.
  • (Here, ARLO speaks in all caps and snaps his fingers, shaking his head from side to side on pace with the swing of his hips.  He snaps again--once, twice, three times--to the beat and finishes his drink then slams his glass on the bar.  With two more rapid, demanding snaps, he orders another wordlessly.  ARLO looks stage right.)
Oh.
  • (From SR, a bright spotlight shines, blinding ARLO, blinding the audience, both spare a dramatic outline of a human being--THE BEAUTIFUL STRANGER.  In that moment, THE BEAUTIFUL STRANGER is the loveliest thing ARLO has ever seen. He extends his hand to THE BEAUTIFUL STRANGER; his next words are not a question and his fresh drink is forgotten.  The jukebox swells loud like a live band--jazz, jazz, jazz.)
Dance with me, beautiful.

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