Editorials

A Short, Untitled Play For Marionettes
by: Max Burbank

(The audience enters to the oppressive strains of amateur violin and accordion music. The stage is arranged so that the audience can clearly see the puppeteers, Zalma and Mayek Habportsian, and observe their craft. It should be noted that while the husband and wife team of Zalma and Mayek Habportsian are Eastern European, their character's voices are totally believable, unaccented English)

(The house lights dim. Lights rise on stage, the tattered curtain is withdrawn revealing a boy marionette, worked and voiced by Mayek. Seated behind him are a female marionette in a bathrobe and a knight in armor. The knight is reading a newspaper. At his feet is a dark brown marionette dog. All three of these puppets are worked and voiced by Zalma.)

DAVE
Hi! My name is Dave and it's really great to see you. I'm very excited because this play is going to be about me. Mostly we do fairy tales and epic romances and that sort of thing, but this play was written to focus on me and my talents, sort of a spotlight piece for me, which is great, because up to now I've mostly been, you know, an extra, a walk on, like a knight or something. In the background. Anyway, I'm finally getting my chance to shine in a special play written for me, which I'm told contains a special message of hope for all children, everywhere.

(Dave begins to dance as he hums a little tune. The Knight leaps to its feet, dropping the newspaper)

KNIGHT
Can you shut up? Can you shut up that stupid-ass humming? I'm trying to do the jumble! The jumble isn't easy. It doesn't get easier when you hum like some kind of stupid, humming fuck.

(The female Marionette stands, letting her robe slide off. She is dressed in provocative lingerie)

WOMAN PUPPET
See, that's why I hate you, Dave. Shit like that. Inconsiderate shit like that. You know what that shit is? Inconsiderate. That kind of inconsideration comes only from a half man.

KNIGHT
I'll say. JESUS!

WOMAN PUPPET
It's loathsome. It's irresponsible and toxic and loathsome and just the sort of thing I've come to expect from you, which is why I hate you so much. How do I describe it? Hang on, give me a sec. Okay, look, I hate you so much? It's like I can't even fathom you, I look at you and the place where I know you are is obscured, not at the eye, but at the visual cortex, because my BRAIN is completely overtaxed by how much I HATE you and has to REPLACE you with some totally other image! You know how in the cartoons, Daffy looks at Porky and sees a big lollipop because Porky is such a sucker? It's like that, except I don't see a lollipop. I see a large stained, brown paper lunch bag full of crap.

KNIGHT
Fuck with a man's jumble, just what is that?

WOMAN PUPPET
Yes, David, yes. Why don't you tell us just what you think is so marvelous about you? I mean, you must think pretty highly of yourself, to get between a Knight of the Realm and his Jumble. You must think angels sing out of your ass whenever you bend over!

DAVE
But-

KNIGHT
OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!! OH SWEET JESUS!! WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE YOU SHUT UP YOU, STUPID SERBIAN KIKE?!

(Long, uncomfortable pause)

DAVE
Actually, I'm Irish Catholi-

WOMAN PUPPET
Spick.

DAVE
What?

WOMAN PUPPET
Oh, nothing, David, I was just mentioning that you were a Spick. A big, greasy, gay, retarded, spick pansy boy whore; boy whoring around like a nasty little boy whore.

DAVE
Well... but-

KNIGHT
Okay, look, fun's fun, Dave, but you've had your turn. Now shut it, shut it, shut your chow hole! Because every word out of your stupid, retarded, pansy, spick boy whore mouth makes Jesus puke! It makes the baby Jesus cry and it makes the grown-up Jesus puke.

WOMAN PUPPET
I can't even walk around here for all the puddles of Savior Puke. It's like a minefield, but instead of mines? Savior Puke. I wish to God you'd stop making Jesus puke, David. Sincerely! Could you be a team player and make Jesus puke a little bit less?

(Long, uncomfortable pause)

DAVE
Well, at least the blocking is easy to remember in this play.

WOMAN PUPPET
It was written that way for you.

DAVE
What?

KNIGHT
Oh, yes, didn't you know? Originally this piece had some very intricate and amusing physical comedy, amazing marionette artistry was required, but at one of our many gatherings, which we keep secret from you, we got to thinking, what's the point in that? I mean, why write something with complicated blocking for Dave when he's hard pressed to remember not to wet himself on stage? No, no, no, if this has to be a play spotlighting Dave, just have him stand there like a large, stained, brown paper lunch bag full of crap.

WOMAN PUPPET
Oh, this play was going to be so good. We had so much hope for this play. This play was going to put us on the map, and then "Oh, here comes the David puppet! I guess the play won't be good any more no matter what we do! I guess this play must go right in the crapper!"

DAVE
But-

KNIGHT
At least the author knew better than to give you any real lines. Then it'd be all

(The Knight begins to caper about stage, flapping his arms making a hideous donkey noise)

"HEEE-HAAAW!! HEEEE-HAAAAW! My name is Dave and I don't know any of my lines! I don't deserve to have a play written for me and all I can do to cover myself is be a big, goofy, moron chink, laughing at myself onstage as if that somehow makes it all better, as if what you were watching was an outtakes reel instead of a play!"

(Now the Woman Puppet also begins to caper around)

WOMAN PUPPET
"HEE-HAAAAAAAW!! HEE-HAAAAAAAWWW!! Except it isn't! It isn't an outtakes reel at all, it's a live performance, there are no do-overs and there is NOTHING TO LAUGH AT!"

KNIGHT
Wow. Wow. That was an amazing impression.

(The Woman Puppet curtseys)

WOMAN PUPPET
Thank you, Sir Knight. I worked really hard on it.

KNIGHT
Well, you make it look effortless.

WOMAN PUPPET
That is too kind. I spent a great deal of time on it with our director, with whom I am sexually involved.

KNIGHT
But I thought you were involved with Dave!

WOMAN PUPPET
Don't be absurd! No Woman Puppet could ever conceive a desire for a puppet like Dave! It's unthinkable!

KNIGHT
Then it's a good thing I was only kidding!

(The Knight and Woman Puppet fall out laughing all over each other)

DAVE
STOP IT! Just stop it! This isn't funny! It isn't funny and it's not nice and it's just mean! You should be ashamed, you should both be ashamed! This is just awful! This was supposed to be a lesson for the children!

(Pause)

KNIGHT
(To Woman Puppet) Wow, what a big baby.

WOMAN PUPPET
I know, huh? Wah, wah, wah. What's the matter Dave; didn't you get your nap?

KNIGHT
"My name is baby David and I didn't get my nap today! WAH HAHN HAHN!"

WOMAN PUPPET
"BOO-HOO-HOO! I'm a big, sensitive puppet baby!"

KNIGHT
Now, look, you see? I just don't have him down the way you do. Your impression goes right to the core of his being and mine is just this kind of half ass parody.

WOMAN PUPPET
Talk to our director. We worked with video. He's got this tape of Dave and his mom, lord knows how he got it, and Dave is just going ON and ON and his mother is like asleep or dead or something-

DAVE
THAT IS ENOUGH! STOP BEING MEAN TO ME!

(Pause. The Knight and the Woman Puppet go back to their seats. The Knight picks up his newspaper.)

KNIGHT
If you have to be a prima donna about it, fine.

WOMAN PUPPET
God, you wonder why everybody hates you.

(The Knight goes back to doing the Jumble. The Woman Puppet picks up her robe and begins to fold it on her lap. The Dog, who until now has remained silent, trots up top Dave wagging his tail

SPARKY
I am Sparky the marionette Dog, and I can not stand you David! RRR-RUFF!! RRRRR-RUFF!! RUFF!!

(The Knight and the Woman Puppet look uncomfortable. Dave turns and viciously kicks Sparky, who yelps and falls. David kicks him over and over and over as the dog howls. Eventually, by means of a mechanical device, Sparky sprays several jets of stage blood out of his muzzle and dies.)

ZALMA THE PUPETEER
(Out of breath, she speaks formally to Mayek.)
The results have come back. It is cancer. Inoperable. I have but three weeks to live.

(Pause)

MAYEK THE PUPETEER
(Turning out to audience)
Thank you all for coming.

(Lights fade slowly to black. We hear the violin and accordion again. They have not learned to play any better.)

If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out:


Scenes Of My New England Boyhood

Reader Comments

A Total Fairy
May 6th, 2008, 01:18 AM
Absolutely insane and pointless, like always.

Max, marry me.
Forum Chaos Lord
May 6th, 2008, 01:45 AM
By the gods, this is artwork.
Jason's a Furry! Run!
May 6th, 2008, 02:05 AM
Ridiculous beyond most forms of measure, and I absolutely loved it. Wonderful job, made me laugh (probably more than I should've, especially once the dog went down).
Jason's a Furry! Run!
May 6th, 2008, 02:06 AM
Also, who's Bruce?
grants but one wish
May 6th, 2008, 04:07 AM
I... I dont know what to say... this is... pure artwork, created by a master, I... just... wow...
after enough bourbon ...
May 6th, 2008, 04:34 AM
Quote:
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE YOU SHUT UP YOU, STUPID SERBIAN KIKE?!
Genius. Pure genius.

Is this "Dave" any relation to Dave from the pool hall, or is that just some sort of sick coincidence?
drifting in the void
May 6th, 2008, 06:11 AM
I like that kind of randomness/insanity. Reminds me of myself.
The Moxie Nerve Food Tonic
May 6th, 2008, 10:48 AM
Dave is my favorite, all purpose everyman name.

Is there a Bruce left in there? That was from the first draft. Bruce was changed to0 the Knight. I'll have to go in and look for it and give RoG a heads up.
is hopped up on goofballs
May 6th, 2008, 12:26 PM
Completely great as always, Max. Are you going to put a book together at any point?
The Moxie Nerve Food Tonic
May 6th, 2008, 12:34 PM
I'm looking for a literary agent to represent me, but have been for quite some time and no damn takers.

I really don't want to self publish.

Thanks, though.
say what now?
May 6th, 2008, 12:49 PM
Yesterday I saw a license plate that said "DAVED". As in, "you have been 'DAVED'."
High Priest of Burbank
May 6th, 2008, 01:45 PM
DAVE DESERVES DEATH BY THE HAND OF THE FOLLOWERS OF BURBANK.

I shall investigate my local library's policy on holding puppet shows, and I will most likely be attempting to perform this show live, in your honor.
The Magnificent Bastard
May 6th, 2008, 03:21 PM
If anyone actually does perform this play, be sure to film it and put it on Youtube or something so we can all enjoy it (if that's okay with Max). This would be the best puppet show ever!
after enough bourbon ...
May 6th, 2008, 09:20 PM
It would have been great if this puppet show were featured instead of the one with that stinking goatherd in "The Sound of Music". The dialogue would have been spot on. And Julie Andrews would have sung it, too. Bonus.
the keeper of nightmares
May 6th, 2008, 10:39 PM
personally I was waiting for Dave to go ballistic on the other two puppets XD I mean I would have if I was him XD
The stealer of Pies
May 6th, 2008, 10:45 PM
I just live the sort of cynical way in which things like these are written. It makes me just want to get up and kick babies around, but in a good way.
Crazed Techno-Biologist
May 6th, 2008, 10:58 PM
by god, you must really hate dave.
An Arizona Horror Company
May 7th, 2008, 02:22 PM
Is there going to be a sequel? There must be a sequel. Dave's revenge-- or perhaps that of the dog (ghost-dog)? It will be more looney brilliance, no doubt about it.
Ultimate Buzzkill
May 7th, 2008, 09:04 PM
This reminded me a lot of "The Bald Soprano."
The Moxie Nerve Food Tonic
May 8th, 2008, 09:45 AM
Dude! I love Ionesco!
Feel the guilt
May 8th, 2008, 12:14 PM
Just plain fucked up, and hilarious. If people had any common sense, THIS would be performed by schools, instead of the usual shit heaps knows as school plays.
Forum Virgin
May 8th, 2008, 06:56 PM
what the fuck dude? puppet bashing? lol
OH GOD
May 9th, 2008, 12:19 AM
huh huh, those puppets are made of wood
GoldMember
May 14th, 2008, 10:17 PM
Once again, masterly work Max!
Max Poowwweeer!
"FUCK HEAD!"
Jul 13th, 2009, 11:17 PM
"At least the author knew better than to give you any real lines. Then it'd be all

(The Knight begins to caper about stage, flapping his arms making a hideous donkey noise)"
my brain just exploded with awesome
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