Y2Ka Paradise plc
Paradise plc © Jim Grover 1998
List of characters:
Mark Crowsuft m 20 30.
Fi Gates f 20 - 30
Mike (an angel) m 40+
Raph (an angel) m younger than Mike.
Security -a satanic force m voice only.
Madonna a holy relic f 45+.
Jesus m ` 30+.
Set: Stage is divided diagonally by a window (Mark pre-set), upstage to a coffee table and two chairs. Larger portion of stage is an office area; computers, fax machine, telephones, filing cabinet, filing trays, waste bin, door to CEOs office, coat-stand with angels wings on hooks. Possible portrait of 'Our Founder' (God with big cigar).
Sound cue: Introductory Music: LifeFiles
Lighting cue: Light office.
Mike and Raph pick up from SAVED tray, input details in computer, replace papers in cabinet. Pick up from FAIL tray and put in bin. This business, continues intermittently throughout the following exchange.
Mike: So many files, so much paper.
Raph: Ill be glad when this job comes to an end.
Mike: An end? It has no end.
Raph: No end? No, of course, of course. No end. All the same I know computerisation is going to make life easier hereafter, but it seems to be taking .
Mike: An eternity?
Raph: Yes, that's the word. It seems to be taking an eternity.
Mike: It is an eternity. Thats the whole point. That is the nature of our work.
Raph: Yes, I know that. But its not only the time it takes. Its all of this copying out of everything, all the records. Its, its absolute hell. Its so....so ...
Raph: Thats it exactly. I know we shouldnt grumble but.....
Mike: I know. You don't mean to. But I understand. Youre thinking back to when it all started, back in the old days.
Raph: The old day? Oh yes, those were the days.
Mike: Thinking back to those days when we really knew who we were.
Raph: We knew who we were and what was expected of us.
Mike: Everything, that was it. Everything was expected of us. And we did everything. We could do anything because it was expected of us.
Raph: Everything and anything. It was so easy in the old days . What was it we did? I suppose, when you look at it, in the beginning was .
Mike: .the word.....
Raph: Thats right. The word, the word
Mike: ....the word of mouth. No need for anything else. We knew everyone by name and they knew us. They were like family.
Raph: If they had a problem they could just call us and
Sound cue: Phone.
Mike: And wed know what they wanted before they even asked. We always knew.
Raph: We knew what to do and everyone knew what to expect of us.
Mike: They expected everything of us.
Mike: But then, as there became more and more people, our customer-base multiplied
Raph: All those people. And the more people
Mike: The more problems we had to deal with. Problems like .
Raph: this record keeping? It is such a burden. Is it getting worse? I dont remember it always being this bad.
Mike: It wasnt. Populations grew, but we still knew who we were dealing with. Even if we no longer knew everyone by name we could pick out the family characteristics, sort out who begat who begat who begat whom.
Sound cue: End phone
Raph: Predict how they were likely to behave from generation..
Mike: even unto generation. That was all right at first, but eventually we had to keep files. Omniscient as we were, even we couldn't remember everything. We couldn't know everyone.
Raph: I know we can't remember it all. But the files, all this paperwork. It's such a headache. You know, for centuries, must be for more than centuries ..
Mike: Millennia .
Raph: Yes, millennia. For millennia I failed to notice how large a part of our workload was devoted to administration.
Mike: Perfectly understandable. You were too busy doing it to notice.
Raph: Was I failing in my duties to neglect the volume, the importance of correct paperwork. Im catching up now, doing the work as best I can. Yet I cant help but feel, I know I shouldnt but its so, so......
Raph: So impersonal. Every human has become a set of
Mike: Statistics. A row of ones and zeros against a grid of infinite variables.
Raph: Infinite variables? That rings a bell. Now what does that remind me of?
Mike: Infinite variables! Creating unimagined variety in the world. Probably reminds you of the old days.
Raph: Ah, the old days!
Mike: When it all began. Creation; God, it was such a laugh.
Raph: I'm just trying to remember what it was like! A time before all these files. A time when we could remember .Whats the word?
Mike: Yes, the word. A time we could remember when the word really meant something.
Raph: The sound of the word .
Mike: Clear as a bell,
Sound cue: Phone. Picks it up, listens, looks at it askance, puts it down.
Raph: The word! Certain as, certain as........
Mike: Certain as a wave pounding the shore.
Raph: And the look of the word.
Mike: Lovingly hand-scripted on paper.
Sound cue: Phone, then clicking of fax machine They both pay attention to the fax machine.
Raph: Confidently painted on parchment.....
He picks up paper from behind fax machine
Mike: Cast in stone. The word really meant something back then.
Raph: Back then, in our heyday. I remember when .I remember ..it seems only and then there was the time that
Mike: Dont tell me you have forgotten? Surely you remember who we were. Who we are?
Raph: Of course I do. But the memories, well, although theyre really vivid, pictorial and fresh enough in themselves, they get, well they get....
Mike: They get mixed up.
Raph: Yes, thats it. Do you know what I mean? All these famous stories, and you know youre in them, part of them. You know they've got names and dates, faces appear in your mind. What Im trying to say is, you I think I know the story and what happens next
Mike: When you realise it was a different story you were thinking of, a similar beginning but with a different ending.
,Raph: Is my memory failing? Has too much happened for me to make sense of it anymore? Or is it because it all happened so long ago. After all, there has been so much time
Mike: So much has been and passed, so much time.
Raph: And yet it seems only yesterday, a moment ago, no time at all.
Mike: Yesterday, no time at all.
Mike: It was only a moment ago to us. We are eternal, unchanging. It is only the world beyond that grows older.
Raph: If it was no time at all, how can it all seem to have happened so long ago?
Mike: It must be the contrast. Because now, let's face it, nothing happens any more.
Raph: Nothing at all. But then, a moment ago in the past, it was real then? Things did happen once?
Mike: We had our time.
Raph: We were really quite important, werent we? There was some meaning to our lives?
Mike: Oh yes. There was a time when what we were had real meaning.
Raph: We were something more than just being a filing clerk.
Mike: Something much more.
Raph: I sort of .. I remember it now. Its like one of those dreams about flying. Well, I guess it must have been a dream. One minute we were flying
Mike: Flying through the air on the wings of a storm, fighting evil with a sword of fire.
Raph: Really? The next moment were buried under papers, trying to prepare for a file audit
Mike: attempting to meet productivity targets.
Raph: And as soon as we think the records are faithful and true....
Mike: ....and all the names from alpha to omega are on record.
Raph: Another pile of files lands on your desk.
Mike: Either that, or you get......
Sound cue: Phone rings
Snatches up phone, snarls, then composes himself)
Sound Cue: Music - Heaven.
Raph: I dont know why, but it just seems so final, putting the records on computer.
Mike: Nothing could be more final. Its the final straw in depersonalisation, the beginning of the end.
Raph: The beginning? That word again. I have real trouble, going that far into the past. Sometimes I find it hard to think back beyond a moment ago.
Mike: How much can you remember?
Raph: I can recall clearly when we... all that flying it was true?
Mike:, It was true.
Raph: Fantastic! And ..what did we call ourselves, you know, our little gang.? Something about .the eternal and unchanging.....
Mike:, We, the eternal and unchanging forced changes, overwhelmed the opposition. We ruled heaven, monopolised eternity.
Raph: God fed off the strength of .human praise.
Mike: Praise that we won for him through our work.
Raph: Was it really always so? Is it now? Can you be certain it will be so for
Mike: For ever and ever? Of course.
Raph: Even though we have to cope with a changing world?
Mike: The world had always been changing. Thats how it was planned, its purpose.
Raph: And people gain greater knowledge and understanding?
Mike: They grow in knowledge and understanding because that is the way they were designed.
Raph: So why are we here?
Mike: What kind of question is that. We are here because we are here.
Raph: I wish I was that certain. After all, its hard when you hear nobody believes in us any more. Faith is a dying ..
Mike: Faith? Dying? How could you even think such a thing?
Raph: But everyone says it. Lots of people say that they dont believe all they...
Mike: In this, of all places, I never expected to hear such a thing.
Raph: You cant hide from the truth.
Mike: Why? Why would people conspire to conceal the truth? Was I not there when they tasted knowledge? Did I not guard the entrance to Eden, lock the gate to keep out humans, protect the tree of everlasting life?
Raph: Of course you did all those things. Everyone knows that. Except maybe sometimes they think they think its a bit exaggerated, just a story.
Mike: Just a story? How many false rumours have been spread?
Raph: Thats just what Im saying. You cant hide from the .
Mike: In my day, in my prime, heaven and earth were so well balanced.
Raph: You've got to move with the times. Now nothing is so certain anymore. You've got to face it, weve been found out.
Sound cue: Phone ring
Mike: For Gods sake! Whos supposed to be taking prayers today?
Raph: Gabby. But shes out on a call.
Mike: Damn! Ill have to take it myself for now.
Lighting cue: Light window half of stage.
Enter Fi, agitated.
Fi: Oh god, dont let him jump, please dont let him jump.
Mike: One moment caller. Im trying to connect you.
looks around on hearing the voice.
Sound cue: Music Heaven
fiddles with the phone, then the computer.
Where are you praying from, caller?
Fi: Whos that? Whos there?
Looks more agitated.
Mike: Hello, Security. I cant seem to get any answer from the Invocations Classification Response Team. Can you trace the prayer on line 7 and give an idea of status?
Sound: All Security cues are through a PA, slightly phased and menacing
Security: Security. Theres nobody in ICRT. Im just checking the monitors. Yes I have a visual on screen. Ill switch it through to your line.
Lighting cue: Cut light to office.
Sound cue: Occasional traffic noise, pigeons.
Fi: Come in, please come in.
Mark: Leave me alone.
Fi: Please, please. Cant we talk about this?
Mark: Nothing to talk about.
Fi: There must be something I can do.
Mark: Dont you think youve done enough?
Fi: Please, dont do this to me.
Mark: Im not doing anything to you. This is me acting for me. Im in control for once.
Fi: Dont leave me like this.
Mark: Thats rich coming from you. Just a while ago it was me pleading with you not to go.
Fi: Look, maybe weve both been a bit hasty. Come inside and well .
Mark: Be in exactly the same position we were in before, with you walking out on me.
Fi: I tried to explain, I just wanted some time. So time to myself.
Mark: You want time? Youre getting all the time you want to yourself now. So just let me get on with this.
Sound cue: Increase volume of traffic and pigeon sounds.
Puts head out the window.
Come on in. Youll catch cold out there. You know what you're like with draughts.
Mark: You know about cold.
Fi: Dont lets go through all this again. Ill hold out my hand, I just need you to
Mark: You need? You need? What do you know about needs?
Fi: Come on then.
Tries to grasp his leg.
Well talk about it. Just get back into the room.
Mark: No. I know what youre trying to do. Well it wont work. I cant take anymore. Youve said you're leaving me and Ive got no intention of living in an empty room in this empty world. Theres no point.
Fi: Come in. Theres .important things I need to say to you. I cant say them when youre out there.
Mark: You want to leave me. Youve said it all.
Fi: Please, dont do this to me! We both know that things have been a little difficult lately. But theres no need to
Mark: You speaking about needs again?
Fi: Look, I know youre upset, but this is hardly the most practical way to
Mark: Theres no use trying to talk me out of this. You say youre going to leave me? Fine, leave if you must. But Im leaving first.
Fi: Wait. Theres got to be something I can do. I do anything, anything. Just dont
Mark: Theres no way around this. If youre not going to be here to come home to, Im making sure Im not coming home either.
Sound cue: Volume of traffic and pigeon sounds as before.
Walks to the back of the room
You want me here to come home to? Thats rich coming from you. What do you think all of this is about?
Mark: I wish I knew. I work all the hours I can manage so you can have all the things you want. I don't know why I bother. Youve never been satisfied.
Fi: I never see you. You're always away working, youre never here. Thats what Ive been complaining about for the past six months.
Mark: Tell me about complaining. Thats all Ive heard from you for six months. That's the other reason I've been staying out so long.
Fi: Dont give me that old nonsense about working hard to get the things we need. We didnt need more things. Time is what we needed, not things. We needed more time together. Weve become strangers.
Mark: Except a stranger wouldnt have been so cold.
Fi: I know, I know, I've been distant physically. How do you expect me to behave? You're a stranger. Youre always working. I'm asleep when you get in. If you get any time off you're too tired to go out and we can never sit and talk. I never know what youre thinking any more.
Mark: Well now you wont have to.
Fi: Youve taken this all wrong.
Mark: Yes, and for the last time.
Fi: It was never meant to be a big deal. I wanted to have some time to myself. For just a while - to not be here waiting for the slim chance of seeing you, just for once to know where I stood.
Mark: I dont have listen to any of this. There's no need for me to take this. This is my moment. Mine! Im doing this for me, to get away.
Fi: We both needed time to think about our relationship. It doesn't mean there was anything wrong with us. It was ..to see what we both wanted. There was no way I could think straight under all that pressure. It's no big deal. I just have to be on my own for a while.
Mark: Fine. Im about to arrange that.
Fi: You know what's wrong with you. I've been saying it for months. Youve been working too hard.
Mark: Im about to take early retirement.
Fi: That job of yours is the cause of all this.
Mark: You never complained when I took it. You knew how important it was.
Fi: Clocks. You'd been mending bloody clocks.
Mark: Youve never understood.
Fi: I don't need to. You'd leave home at some ungodly hour, travel to fuck-knows where, stay in some tacky hotels for days on end and then come back here like nothing had happened.
Mark: I can't help my work. It's what I do.
Fi: Expecting a warm welcome, a warm shower, a hot meal and a steamy shag. Life doesn't work that way. My body doesn't work that way. I don't turn on and off to suit you entrances and exits.
Mark: You know me. You know what I'm like.
Fi: No Mark. That's the whole point. You've become a total stranger. No, worse than a stranger. There's a thrill in finding out new things about a real stranger
Mark: You wont miss a stranger when he flies off this window ledge.
Fi: Stop it! Youre frightening me.
Mark: At last. A bit of real emotion from you. Pity its too late.
Fi: Dont be so dramatic. Look, I said I wanted a bit of time to myself. Its not the end of the world.
Mark: Not for you, maybe, but it looks like it's looming pretty close from where Im standing.
Lighting cue: Light whole stage.
Mike: I have you on screen now caller. What seems to be the problem?
Fi: Whos that, whats going on?
Mark: Who you talking to? I said you werent to call anybody. No police, no Samaritans. I'm warning you, I mean to do this.
Mike: If I could just take a few details - the sooner I get the application form done the sooner I can try to help your friend on the ledge. Dont be alarmed. I just want to help. What religion are you?
IN YOUR DREAMS
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