The Babble in eight acts


(This is one of the last surviving scripts I wrote for our small group in the 1980s. This is a nonsense parody play, using dramatic irony and other elements to set up odd realities that do not on the surface have logic, but have their own odd logic, and when taken together create its own strange sense. Let me know if it works)





Scene: Herbert and Peg are seated in a dark section of a theater balcony, when Ken in an usherís uniformed comes up and whispered.


KEN: Quick, now

††††††††††† While nobodyís looking


HERBERT: (Fiddling with something in front and below him, but just out of view)

††††††††††† I canít get it off


KEN:†† Youíve got to.

††††††††††† I ainít got all night

††††††††††† My break is only for15 minutes


HERBERT-- So is mine.


KEN: † Besides, Susie is waiting, and she wonít wait all night


PEG: †† (In a jealous tone) Who is Susie?


HERBERT -- Kenís girlfriend.


KEN††† --Stop gabbing, and give me the damned thing



PEG: †† (To Herbert) What does he want?


KEN:†† Will you please.

††††††††††† Susie is waiting and Iím running out of time.


PEG: Herbert!

††††††††††† Tell me what he wants!


HERBERT: †††† He needs to borrow it when weíre through.


KEN:†† Yeah, so get it off


PEG: †† He wants it used?


KEN:†† Get it off.

††††††††††† You ainít THAT big, Herbert.


PEG: (To Ken) Why on earth do you want it used?


KEN: Why do you think?


PEG: (horrified) Used?


HERBERT: We canít afford to buy any more.


PEG: (to Herbert) What do you mean WE?


HERBERT: I got it from Billy.


KEN: Quit bragging and take it off.


PEG: You used a used one on me?


HERBERT: Keep your voice down, Peg

††††††††††††††††††††††† You want our boss to hear you?


KEN: † Just get the freaking thing off, will you?


HERBERT-- Iím trying, but it hurts.


PEG: †† I donít believe you two.

††††††††††† Thatís the last time Iím going to let any usher in this theater touch me.


KEN: (to Herbert) Do you need help?

††††††††††† Let me do it.


HERBERT -- Youíre hurting me, Kenny


PEG:† Let me out of here.


KEN: Donít move or youíre cut off his circulation

††††††††††† Damn! Now youíve done it.


PEG:††† Done what?


KEN: Tore the thing.

††††††††††† Now what Iím going to do?


PEG: Help! Police! Help!





Monkey #1

††††††††††† Hey bub, what do you think youíre doing?


Monkey #2

††††††††††† Iíve got as much right to these bananas as you do, you big ape.


Monkey #1:

††††††††††† Then maybe Iím going to have to teach you a little lesson


Monkey# 2

††††††††††† Sure, Iíve heard that before

††††††††††† You guys are all the same

††††††††††† You sit on your load of bananas never sharing

††††††††††† When some starving chimp comes alone, you get all hot and bothered.


Monkey #1:

††††††††††† Boy, chum, you got an attitude problem.

††††††††††† Did you ever think of going to see a good shrink?


Monkey #2:

††††††††††† Iíve seen shrinks

††††††††††† But I canít afford anybody good enough for the few bananas I can afford to pay

††††††††††† With chimps like you hogging everything up


Monkey #1

††††††††††† Donít blame me for your not getting therapy.††††

††††††††††† There are plenty of free clinics that you can use


Monkey #2

††††††††††† Free clinics?

††††††††††† You got to be kidding?

††††††††††† All they give you is a prescription to Xanax and tell you to go find a job


Monkey #1

††††††††††† Donít tell me your hard luck stories.

††††††††††† Just get off my bunch of bananas or Iíll kill you.


Monkey #2

††††††††††† You wouldnít dare.



ACT 3: Virgin birth


SCENE: Science lab at college


PROFESSOR: This is a black hole.


STUDENT: †††† So thatís what a black hole looks like

††††††††††††††††††††††† It looks bigger on TV


PROFESSOR: ††††††††††† If you look carefully, you will notice the edge is covered with a strange gummy substance.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Be careful not to touch it.

††††††††††††††††††††††† It can lead to hemorrhoids.


STUDENT: Oh my gosh


PROFESSOR: But donít worry.

††††††††††††††††††††††† If you touch it on your way in we can always wipe it off with a towel


STUDENT: †††† On my way in?

††††††††††††††††††††††† Iím not going in there

††††††††††††††††††††††† Itís dark and disgusting

††††††††††††††††††††††† Do I look crazy?


PROFESSOR: Letís be reasonable.

††††††††††††††††††††††† You are studying to become a scientist and that is a noble professional.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Things like this will come up from time to time in the study of science.

††††††††††††††††††††††† You will just have to get used to them.


STUDENT: †††† I donít care.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Iím not climbing in there.

††††††††††† ††††††††††† Just look at the first step. Itís all black and oily

††††††††††††††††††††††† What the hell is that stuff anyway?


PROFFESSOR: (pointing) You mean that?


STUDENT: Yes, that.


PROFESSOR: Iím afraid thatís the remains of the last student who tried to climb in.


STUDENT: (alarmed) WHAT!!!!


PROFESSOR: Itís all right

††††††††††††††††††††††† He was only a freshman.


STUDENT: (more firmly) Iím not going in there.


PROFESSOR: What about science?

††††††††††††††††††††††† Are you going to let research suffer because you are afraid to go into a little hole in space?


STUDENT: Now that I look at it again, it seems a million light years wide.


PROFESSOR:† Donít exaggerate.

††††††††††††††††††††††† What did I tell you about inaccuracies?

††††††††††††††††††††††† We are scientists. We must a fountain of truth, not misinformation.


STUDENT: †††† Iím sorry.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Itís only a half million light years wide


PROFESSOR: Thatís better.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Now letís get moving before we have to end the class.

††††††††††††††††††††††† I need to know before next week how you react.


STUDENT: But professor...


PROFESSOR: You must go. It is required to pass my class.


STUDENT: All right, Iím going in


PROFESSOR: Good for you, son.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Keep your chin up.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Just be careful with that first step.

††††††††††††††††††††††† I said BE CAREFUL

††††††††††††††††††††††† Ah, damn.

††††††††††††††††††††††† I never expected to lose a sophomore like that.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Next!



ACT 4: Crucifixion


SCENE: Presidential box at The Ford Theater


ANNOUNCER: (from the stage) Ladies and gentleman

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† I regret to announce that this play is being performed under protest by the leading man because management has decided to use an under study to replace our leading lady, Miss Gracie Grable.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Miss Grable has apparently had some throat problems as a result from her date with the playís earlier today.

††††††††††† This has been a public service announcement.


PRESIDENT:† Did you hear what he said?


MRS. PRESIDENT: Not a word, Abe.


PRESIDENT: † Why canít you stop yapping for a minute to listen to these things?


VICE PRESIDENT: Donít treat her like that. Go pull on your beard.


MRS. PRESDENT: Thatís telling him, Johnny.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Youíll get a special treat later for that.


VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Sweetheart

††††††††††††††††††††††† Maybe later we can go get married.


PRESIDENT: (to Mrs. President) His name is Johnson, not Johnny.

††††††††††††††††††††††† (To Vice President) And for you information, she is already married.


MRS. PRESIDENT (to President) Thatís because you wonít give me a divorce

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (To vice president) Old Mr. Portrait on a Penny here says a divorce would be bad for his image.


VICE PRESIDENT: ††† What image?

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† People have been laughing behind his back for years.


†PRESIDENT:† Who? Tell me who?


VICE PRESIDENT: You wouldnít know them. You donít know anybody.

††††††††††††††††††††††† (To Mrs. President)† Would you marry me if honest ape here wasnít around?


MRS. PRESIDENT: (Sighing) You know I would.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (looks as president) But alas, he is still with us.


VICE PRESIDENT: Donít you worry, darling.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Iíve made arrangements with the Ticket Booth to take care of that.


TICKET BOOTH (appearing from out of the curtain behind the three) Did you call me?


PRESIDENT: † Who are you?


TICKET BOOTH:† Iím Ticket Booth, who are you?


PRESIDENT: † Iím the president; and I have a dental problem.


TICKET BOOTH: You should try polly stiff. I hear it makes you hard at a rock and eats away at problem dandruff.


PRESIDENT: I donít have problem dandruff. I have a dental problem.


TICKET BOOTH -- Iím sure you have.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Maybe you should come along with me.


PRESIDENT: What for?


TICKET BOOTH: To eat away at your problem dandruff


PRESIDENT: Not dandruff, dental


TICKET BOOTH:† Whatever.


MRS. PRESIDENT: Go ahead, dear.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Johnny can fill in for you while youíre gone -- if he doesnít eat a peach and break a tooth on its pit.


VICE PRESIDENT -- No one would dare give me a peach.


PRESIDENT: Are you certain itís all right?


MRS PRESIDENT: Iím sure you wonít miss a thing. Certainly nobodyís going to miss you.


TICKET BOOTH -- Not at this range, anyway.


PRESIDENT -- (to Ticket Booth) Will this hurt?


TICKET BOOTH -- No more than a slight headache.


PRESIDENT: I suppose I should.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Let me just smile and wave one more time for my adoring public.


MRS. PRESIDENT: †† You have no adoring public dead. Besides, everybody is watching the play.

††††††††††† You wouldnít want to disturb them anyway.

††††††††††† The play is all around world wide oil shortages, nothing a president should concern himself with.


PRESIDENT: But I like Science fiction


TICKET BOOTH -- Will you please come along. The next show starts in a half an hour and you know how people get when they have to wait on line.


PRESIDENT: † All right, all right, Iím coming


(Ticket booth and President slip out through the current followed by an off stage gun shot)


ACT 5: The gospel according to St. Paul


SCENE: A ditch with wooden spiked barriers, a slightly tilted cannon, and several men in gray making up the defensive line of Confederate unit


CHARLIE: You know, Lennon.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Weíve been sitting here now for nearly two whole years

††††††††††††††††††††††† And we ainít seen hide nor hair of no Yankees


LENNON: ††††† Raise the door!


CHARLIE: ††††† But Lennon.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Weíre supposed to be fighting for The South

††††††††††††††††††††††† And getting medals to bring home to ma and pa

††††††††††††††††††††††† Like our dear old brother Bill did

††††††††††††††††††††††† Two and half years ago.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Yet we ainít fired our rifles once.


LENNON:†††††† Raise the door


CHARLIE:†††††† Lennon?

††††††††††††††††††††††† You ainít gone and to religion on me, have you?


LENNON:†††††† Raise the door!


CHARLIE: (Yelling down the line to another soldier) Hey, Billy-bob

††††††††††††††††††††††† I think thereís something wrong with Lennon.

††††††††††††††††††††††† He keeps picking his nose and yelling ďRaise the door.Ē


BILLY-BOB (Rushes towards Charlie, trying to keep low, but clearly scared as he jumps into the trench, out of breath)

††††††††††††††††††††††† What do you want, Charlie?

††††††††††††††††††††††† It better be important, you yelling like a mad man.

††††††††††††††††††††††† You could get us all killed.


CHARLIE:†††††† Itís Lennon.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Somethingís wrong with him.


BILLY BOB: † What?


LENNON: ††††† Raise the door!


CHARLIE: ††††† That.

††††††††††††††††††††††† He ainít say nothing in nearly two years.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Now it wonít say anything else.


BILLY BOB_† Letís have a look at him.

††††††††††††††††††††††† say, thereís something in his mouth.


CHARLIE: ††††† Let me see! Let me see!

††††††††††††††††††††††† My God! Would you look at that!


BILLY BOB:†† You can say that again.

††††††††††††††††††††††† (Pulls out a wish bone)

††††††††††††††††††††††† I canít remember the last time we ate chicken


Charlie: ††††††††††† I can.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Two years ago.


ACT 6 -- Resurrection


(Richard and Beatrice are seated in their living room when the door bell rings)


RICHARD: †††† I wonder who that could be this time of night?


BEATRICE:†††† Itís only nine oíclock, Dick


RICHARD: Beaty, Beaty, Beaty

††††††††††††††††††††††† How many times have I told you never to call me Dick?


BEATRICE:†††† Just answer the door


RICHARD (Rises from his chair, goes to the door and opens it.)

††††††††††††††††††††††† My God! Itís Bill Lawyers.

††††††††††††††††††††††† I havenít seen you, Bill since the war.

††††††††††††††††††††††† When was that? 62? 63?


BILL:†† Sixty two, Dick

††††††††††† Boy, have we come along way.


BEATRICE: ††† How come Bill can call you Dick and I canít?


RICHARD: Simple, Beaty. I like him.


BEATRICE:† But Iím your wife.


RICHARD: Which is exactly my point.

††††††††††† (To Bill)

††††††††††† So tell me, Bill, what have you been doing with yourself all these years?

††††††††††† Let me take your coat.

††††††††††† (takes the coat and it is full of holes)

††††††††††† What happened to this? Have the moths been at it?


BILL: No, Dick. Itís been through the war.


BEATRICE: Did you get wounded?


BILL: † No, every one missed me.


RICHARD: Boy, that is luck.

††††††††††††††††††††††† I heard they made your president


BILL:†††††††††††††† No, vice president.

††††††††††††††††††††††† But itís a better position by far

††††††††††††††††††††††† Whatís life without a little vice?


BEATRICE: (Touching her hair to make certain it is still in place)

††††††††††††††††††††††† Dick, why havenít I met Bill sooner.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Heís seems to be your only interesting friend.


RICHARD: Billís been away for a while

††††††††††††††††††††††† Something about a cross and all that.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Isnít that true, Bill?

††††††††††††††††††††††† Why are you smiling like that at my wife?

††††††††††††††††††††††† (To Beatrice)

††††††††††††††††††††††† Why are you smiling back?


BEATRICE: Donít worry about it, Dick


BILL:† Yeah, Dick

††††††††††† Why donít you go outside and Raise the door,†

††††††††††† While I get to know your wife better?


BEATRICE: Bill and I will talk about old times.


RICHARD: But you hardly know Bill


BEATRICE: Iíll take a crash course.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Good bye, Dick

††††††††††††††††††††††† Hello (exaggerated) Bill.


ACT 7: The Assumption


(Department store clothing department)


SALES GIRL: Can I help you, Madam?


CUSTOMER: I donít know. I havenít decided.


SALESGIRL: Would you like to look at these nice watches?


CUSTOMER: No, not really.


SALESGIRL: What about these diamond earrings?


CUSTOMER: Diamonds?

††††††††††††††††††††††† Lord, no.

††††††††††††††††††††††† They are much too expensive


SALESGIRL: So what would you like to look at?




SALESGIRL: † Iím sorry. Thatís not my department.

††††††††††††††††††††††† If you would be so good as to go over to that other counter.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Thereís a gentleman there who can help you.


CUSTOMER:† But Iím here.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Besides, I donít want a man selling me a skirt.


SALESGIRL: Raise the door!

††††††††††††††††††††††† Talk about touchy


CUSTOMER:† You donít have to swear

††††††††††††††††††††††† Let me speak with your supervisor


SALESGIRL: Very well, wait here.

††††††††††††††††††††††† (leaves and a male manager appears)


MANAGER: Can I help you, Madam?


CUSTOMER: Yes, I want to buy a skirt

††††††††††††††††††††††† But your salesgirl wonít help me.


MANAGER:† Itís not here department.

††††††††††††††††††††††† But if you step over to the other counter, Iím sure Mr. Meyers will help.


CUSTOMER:† I told the girl and Iím telling you

††††††††††††††††††††††† I donít want to buy a skirt from a man.


MANAGER: Why not?


CUSTOMER: Would you want a girl selling you a pair of pants


MANAGER: I would love it




MANAGER: It would be a thrill.

††††††††††††††††††††††† In fact, dear lady, I would love to buy a pair of pants from you.


CUSTOMER:† Are you out of your mind?


MANAGER: Only with lust.

††††††††††††††††††††††† How would you like to sit on my lap?


ACT 8: Waiting for heaven


(Two Russian astronauts in orbit around the earth)




BORIS: †††††††††† What?


KALINSKY: † Do we get to go to the moon today?


BORIS: †††††††††† No.


KALINSKY:†† Why not?


BORIS: Because we have to circle this planet again.


KALINSKY: Why do we always have to go around this planet, Boris?


BORIS: Because they tell us to.

††††††††††† Why else?


KALINSKY: But I want to go to the moon.


BORIS: Well, you canít go to the moon until someone says you can.

††††††††††† †If they tell us we got to circle this planet again, we circle this planet.


KALINSKY: † But I donít want to circle this planet again.


BORIS: †††††††††† Neither do I.

††††††††††††††††††††††† But if they tell us to circle the planet, we have to circle the planet.


KALINSKY: I want to go to the moon, Boris.


BORIS: I told you. We canít go until someone says we can.


KALINSKY: Letís go to the moon anyway.

††††††††††††††††††††††† They wonít know.


BORIS:† Of course, theyíll know.

††††††††††† † Besides, we wouldnít have enough fuel for a return trip.


KALINSKY: † So who wants to come back?



monologue menu

Main Menu

email to Al Sullivan