A Short Play About Balls

By ManWithHat

Actor #1 steps on the stage at attention.

ACTOR #1
Ladies and gentlemen of (city), foreign dignitaries, visiting statesmen...
(Indicating an audience member in the front row, bowing)
Your majesty. We of (theatre company) humbly put before you a literary work titled, "A Short Play About Balls," an exercise in theatrical symbolism and humorous social commentary by the American writer Aaron J. Shay. Without any further ado, and with Your Majesty's permission... "A Short Play About Balls."

Actor #1 performs an intensive preparatory process for the role, then sits on the stage, and begins bawling like the most immature eight year-old. Actor #2 enters.

ACTOR #2
Hey, what's the matter?

ACTOR #1
(Through tears, wailing)
The bully, she, she...

ACTOR #2
What did the bully do?

ACTOR #1
She, she, she took my ball! My daddy gave me that ball and she just, just, took it!

ACTOR #2
Aw jeez. You mean to say that this thing that was given to you by your masculine creator was taken away from you by a person of greater physical strength and a propensity for violence?

Both actors turn to the audience and raise an eyebrow meaningfully, then return to the scene.

ACTOR #1
(Sniffling)
Yes! She did! So that's why, why, that's why I'm...!

ACTOR #2
Don't get yourself down and out. I'll get it back for you.

ACTOR #1
No! But the bully, she's big, and she's, she's strong and she'll beat you up!

ACTOR #2
I can take that stupid bully. I'm really smart.

ACTOR #1
Really?

ACTOR #2
Yeah. I got the gold star today from Ms. Bernhard.

ACTOR #1
Whoa, that's really hard to do.

ACTOR #2
I know, that's why I did it. I can get your ball back. No problem. No bully can stop me!

ACTOR #1
Shh! The bully might hear you!

ACTOR #2
She can hear if she wants to! I said I could get your ball back, so I can.

ACTOR #1
I dunno. Maybe you'll take the ball for yourself. Why should I trust you?

ACTOR #2
Well I told you I'm smart.

ACTOR #1
But smart people can be mean, too.

ACTOR #2
No they can't.

ACTOR #1
Why not?

ACTOR #2
Smart's got heart, mean's got green.

ACTOR #1
Oh. That makes sense.

ACTOR #2
That's right, 'cause I said it.

ACTOR #1
Shh! If you don't look out, the bully might come by and hear you!

ACTOR #2
Listen up! Just 'cause some bully's got arms a million miles big, and just 'cause she beats up people a lot, doesn't mean she can push you around! She's just a big old sissy!

Actor #3 appears as bully. Actor #1 shrieks and runs away. Bully laughs.

Actor #3
What a loser!

ACTOR #2
I know, right?

ACTOR #3
You seem pretty cool. Wanna see what I got?

ACTOR #2
I don't know. Is it any good?

ACTOR #3
Of course it's good, or else I wouldn't hide it.

ACTOR #2
Well, let me see already if it's good.

ACTOR #3
All right, check this out.

Bully pulls out the most glorious, beautiful red ball that has ever existed ever.

ACTOR #2
Whoa, that is pretty good. Where'd you get it?

ACTOR #3
I got it from that loser who ran away.

ACTOR #2
How'd you get it from him?

ACTOR #3
What do you mean?

ACTOR #2
I mean how'd you get it from him?

ACTOR #3
Oh, I get it. You think I took it, huh? You think I stole it from him! Huh? Huh?

ACTOR #2
Yeah, yeah, I do!

ACTOR #3
(Menacing)
Well, you know what?
(Laughs)
I did! Freaking loser.

ACTOR #2
That wasn't nice.

ACTOR #3
What are you gonna do about it?

ACTOR #2
I'm gonna tell Mrs. Bernhard, and she'll rain down a righteous fury upon you for thy injustices and thy crimes, thou tyrannous plague of bile!

ACTOR #3
Pfft. She can't do that.

ACTOR #2
Are you sure?

ACTOR #3
Yeah.

ACTOR #2
How sure?

ACTOR #3
Double ditto sure.

ACTOR #2
Well I'm triple-trample sure.

ACTOR #3
What if I promise to share the ball with you?

ACTOR #2
I don't know. Tell me some more.

ACTOR #3
If you don't tell Mrs. Bernhard, and if you promise you won't try and get the ball back for the twerp, we can share the ball, 50/50. If you want.

ACTOR #2
You mean you want to enter into a power-sharing agreement to stifle the just claims of the oppressed masses, appealing to my selfish, darker human tendencies which caused the injustice in the first place?

The actors turn to the audience and again give the meaningful eyebrows.

ACTOR #3
Yeah, that.

ACTOR #2
Okay! You go and warm up the ball. I'm gonna fool the loser into thinking I'm gonna get his ball back.

ACTOR #3
Awesome! We're gonna have some fun!

ACTOR #2
I know! Just go on ahead. I'll catch up.

ACTOR #3
Cool. You're pretty cool.

Actor #3 exits excitedly.

ACTOR #2
Hey, you can come out now! She's gone.

Actor #1 appears timidly, shaken.

ACTOR #1
Why did you do that?

ACTOR #2
What?

ACTOR #1
Why did you do that?

ACTOR #2
You mean say I wouldn't get the ball back?

ACTOR #1
Yeah. You're going to take the ball, aren't you?

ACTOR #2
(Laughing)
Oh man, you fell for it, too!

ACTOR #1
Fell for what?

ACTOR #2
It was a trick, duh. I'm not really gonna do that. She wouldn't actually do it anyway.

ACTOR #1
So what are you gonna do?

ACTOR #2
I'm gonna play along, and then, I'm gonna give you this signal.
(Forms the "rock on" sign)
When that happens, you get behind her and get on all fours.

ACTOR #1
What? That's weird.

ACTOR #2
It'll work. I got an idea.

ACTOR #1
What then?

ACTOR #2
You'll see. Trust me.

ACTOR #1
I don't know. You said you'd take the ball from me.

ACTOR #2
To the bully. I've got to lie to her to get the ball back.

ACTOR #1
Okay. If you say so.

ACTOR #2
Hey. I'm trying to save you from the injustice that's plaguing your life, that she places upon your less smart shoulders. Thus have I come to shield thee from the tragedy born of thine own ignorance and weakness. Merely place thy precious trust in my worth hands, and lo, I will render unto thee that which is thine, granted by thy creator.

ACTOR #1
Okay. I'll do it.

ACTOR #2
Awesome! It's gonna be so funny, just watch.

ACTOR #1
Okay. But if you steal my ball-

ACTOR #2
If I steal your ball, you can doorknob me forever. Deal?

ACTOR #1
Deal.

ACTOR #2
Oh man, this is gonna be great. She's coming! Hide, and wait for my signal!

Actor #2 does the "rock on" handsign again. Actor #1 repeats it. Actor #3 returns, eating beef jerky.

ACTOR #3
Hey, you know what's awesome? Beef jerky.

ACTOR #2
Yeah, it is!

ACTOR #3
You want some?

ACTOR #2
Well, I don't know...

ACTOR #3
Come on, it's good, I haven't peed on it or anything. Look, I'm eating it.

ACTOR #2
Okay, I'll have some. Just some.

ACTOR #3
This is pretty great, huh?

ACTOR #2
Yeah, pretty great.

ACTOR #3
Not the jerky.

ACTOR #2
The jerky is great.

ACTOR #3
Not the jerky! I mean, being strong. You're biting into jerky. But are you not also biting through adversity, through danger, through weakness? And do you feel no satisfaction at the victorious piercing of the tough flesh at long last? The flavor can be tasted without effort. But the true pleasure lies in the overcoming. That is what you really taste now, comrade.

ACTOR #2
The jerky is great.

One last meaningful glance at the audience, eyebrows raised.

ACTOR #3
(Producing the ball from her pocket)
So, let's play.

Actor #2 marvels momentarily at the beauty of the ball, then remembers the plan.

ACTOR #2
Oh yeah! It's gonna rock hard core!

Actor #2 makes the sign, and Actor #1 sneaks into position unseen.

ACTOR #3
Whoa, hey, don't be weird.

ACTOR #2
I will choose what I will and will not be, thou tyrannous beast!

Actor #2 pushes Actor #3 over Actor #1's back, the oldest trick in the book. Actor #3 lies flat on her back.

ACTOR #3
Ow! You guys are stupid! A curse upon thee!

Actor #3 exits. Actor #2 bounces ball around playfully, not offering it to Actor #1.

ACTOR #2
You okay?

ACTOR #1
Yeah. Got some scrapes on my hands from the ground. And that bully weighed a lot more than I thought. But you were right! It worked!

They high-five. Actor #2 continues to play with the ball.

ACTOR #2
I know! It was so cool.

ACTOR #1
So. Um. Can I have my ball back?

ACTOR #2
Yeah, in a little bit.

ACTOR #1
But... But... You said that-

ACTOR #2
I'm gonna give it back, but it took a lot of work to beat the bully, and now I want to play with it a little bit.

ACTOR #1
...You aren't gonna give it back.

ACTOR #2
Of course I am. Just hold on.

ACTOR #1
No. I don't wanna "hold on." I am tired, as you say, of "holding on." I say that we have held on long enough.
(Silhouettes of other students appear in the background, menacing and militant; A marching drum beats in the background)
And by saying "we" I mean to include all victims of bullydom, all those oppressed by those who want to steal their balls away from them. It matters not whence these balls come, but that each one belongs to each one of us! Us! Not the smart with the gold stars and the teacher's approval and the big ideas, nor the strong with the big brawn and might, but us, the many, those once considered weak! But we are not weak. No, I say! Look upon the cowering form of a pseudo-savior before you! This false messiah, this charlatan! He who would pull the wool over our eyes! No more! Wool shall be banned from this day forward! We are free from wool! We are free from illusion! Rise and unite! Rise against! Rise, oppressed people! We shall play freely with our balls again!

Massive applause. Actor #2 looks around in fear, as if surrounded.

ACTOR #2
Okay, you can have your dumb ball back.

Actor #2 gives the ball back and exits. Joyfully, Actor #1 begins playing with the ball, becoming the child once more. And promptly hits itself in the face with the ball, and begins wailing pitifully as at the start of the show. Actor #3 returns to stage, the wail goes sotto voce.

ACTOR #3
This has been an (x theatre) production. We hope that you have gleaned much from this night's performance of Aaron J. Shay's satirical masterpiece, "A Short Play About Balls." You have been a marvelous audience. And with your majesty's permission... Good night, and God speed you in all of your future endeavors. Good night.

End of play.

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A Short Play About Balls

Created: Mar 02, 2010

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