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Journeying

by AmbientGravity


CHARACTERS:

Young, The speaker, embarking on a journey their sole purpose seems to be tormenting OLD, but they are lost without them. In an ideal world YOUNG and OLD would be played by twins, but as long as they are of relatively the same age that will work.

Old, Accompanying YOUNG on a journey to an unknown destination, does all the work for YOUNG, seems devoted to serving them, hunched over with a terrible limp. Old is dressed in many layers, his clothes are tattered and dirty.

Crone, No lines, but serves to deliver things to young and old throughout the course of the story, age gender, and dress does not matter, but the face should remain hidden

SETTING:On the road to an unknown location

AT RISE:No distinct setting, but YOUNG stands front and center, he wears a clearly handmade crown of sticks and twigs. He bears a triumphant look posed as an explorer and grinning.

(OLD enters burdened with a great quantity of packs and bags, he is clearly struggling with the weight and a bad limp, YOUNG’S grin falls)















YOUNG

Hurry along old man, we don’t want to be late.

(OLD hoists the bags on his shoulders and quickens his pace, limping across the stage, the two walk in silence for a moment making wide circles around the stage before YOUNG pipes up)

YOUNG

(With an air of superiority) You know, they certainly don’t tolerate lateness there, only those of true moral character and fine admirable qualities are admitted.

(With this he casts a brief scornful look over OLD)

YOUNG

But I’m sure they’ll make an exception for you, you’re already learning, carrying my things and everything. Just think, why if it weren’t for me you’d still be just a beggar on the streets profiting off the work of others while doing none yourself.

(OLD says nothing to this and just nods, the two continue to make their way around the stage, going at least one full circle before YOUNG stops them)

YOUNG

Old man, tie my shoe for me would you, I don’t want to kneel down and risk getting my pants dirty, I need to look my best for when we arrive.

(OLD struggles with the weight of his burden but manages to kneel down and begins to tie his shoe, in response YOUNG kicks at his hands OLD ties his shoe and rises without saying a word, struggling again with his burden, they begin to walk again but they are unable to make even a single full circle before…)

YOUNG

(Sharply) Old man! It’s come undone again!

(The same scene plays out again, YOUNG kicks OLD and OLD says nothing and just ties the shoe.)

YOUNG

And double knot it this time, we can’t stand for any more delays

(They have barely made it a few steps before…)

YOUNG

Old man! The other one now!

(The same scene plays out again, YOUNG kicks OLD and OLD says nothing and just ties the shoe. This time they don’t even take a step, as soon as OLD rises YOUNG states)

YOUNG

They’re both undone now, tie them for me would you,

(CRONE enters and silently hands YOUNG an untied sneaker, he does not acknowledge her but instead turns to OLD and drops the sneaker on his head)

YOUNG

This one too, old man

(CRONE smiles at OLD and places a hand on his shoulder before exiting. OLD again says nothing just ties all the shoes, and hands the sneaker back to YOUNG who tosses it off the edge of the stage, they walk in silence for a moment)

YOUNG

Old man, I’m starving, we’ve completely run out of food except for a moldy loaf of bread.

(YOUNG gets more and more lethargic and mopey as they continue on, finally he throws himself down in a tantrum-like display)

YOUNG

I can’t walk a step farther or I shall die of hunger, I’ve spent all these days fantasizing about the exquisite meals I will have prepared for me, and now this starvation seems to be mocking me!

(amidst this tantrum CRONE enters carrying a bag of red apples and a single green apple, she hands OLD the bag of apples and offers him the green one, he quietly shakes his head, resigned, she shrugs but exits slowly. OLD turns and sets them down in front of YOUNG who immediately leaps up his previous malady seemingly forgotten, he grabs the bag of apples and digs through the bag, tossing them off stage one by one until the bag is empty)

YOUNG

These are disgusting, they’re all bruised and covered in worm holes, why would you even offer these to me, they’re clearly unfit for my consumption. (pause) Nevertheless, the sight has invigorated me enough to journey on, we don’t want to be late.

(they walk on for a moment before…)

YOUNG

Old man! I’m bored,(pause) when we arrive I shall see a show every single night, it will be splendid, only the most talented and the finest perform there, (pause, followed by a look of scorn) but for now you’re all I’ve got, I gave you a new chance at life, the least you could do is entertain me

(OLD pauses contemplatively, unable to come up with anything)

YOUNG

Oh come now, surely you must dance, play an instrument, something?

(CRONE enters holding a red clown nose, holding it out to YOUNG who claps excitedly like a child as he takes it and CRONE exits)

YOUNG

Oh yes! This will do splendidly!

(He shoves the nose onto OLD’S face, OLD freezes for a moment, confused but as YOUNG looks on expectantly he awkwardly stutters through a few steps of a strange little jig, he is unable to get very far before he is interrupted by YOUNG who stomps his foot like a toddler in a tantrum)

YOUNG

No! No! No!, that’s not at all right!.... Oh just give it up

(OLD halts his movement after a last few feeble steps, he moves to remove the clown nose before he is once again interrupted by YOUNG)

YOUNG

(scornfully) No no, leave it on, it suits you

(pause)

YOUNG

(In a more cheerful tone) Anyway, hurry along, we don’t want to be late!

(They continue onward in their circling of the stage for a while before…)

YOUNG

Old man, I’m cold, give me your jacket would you

(OLD struggles to extract his jacket from beneath the pile of luggage, but manages and hands it to YOUNG)

YOUNG

Oh much better, this is excellent

(They continue to walk for a moment but YOUNG begins to fidget looking more and more uncomfortable as OLD just trudges onward)

YOUNG

Old man! Now I’m too hot, carry my jacket for me.

(OLD takes the jacket wordlessly and they continue onwards until YOUNG begins to look uncomfortable again)

YOUNG

Now just my right side is cold, give me half the jacket

(OLD looks confused before hesitantly tearing the jacket in half down the middle)

YOUNGPerfect, you know, you don’t have to worry about jackets or your left side getting colder than your right There, it’s always exactly the right temperature for everyone.

(They continue onwards for a ways, but the more they walk the more YOUNG begins to drag his feet, until eventually he stops altogether, stomping his foot)

YOUNG

(In a whiny tone) My feet hurt, and my legs are sore, and I’m too tired to keep walking, you’ll have to carry me old man.

(OLD looks from the bags on his shoulders, to YOUNG, to the bags on his shoulders, to YOUNG, to the audience, and back to YOUNG, a look of skepticism on his face all the while. YOUNG stands with his hands on his hips looking on expectantly. CRONE enters, dragging behind her a wheelbarrow like cart, she taps OLD on the shoulder, smiles at him, leaves the cart on the ground beside him, and exits the way she came. OLD motions towards the cart gesturing for YOUNG to get in)

YOUNG

(Dejectedly as if deprived of a moment of joy) I suppose this will be fine.

(YOUNG flops down in the cart as OLD exhaustedly picks up the handles and begins to pull it along clearly straining with the effort)

YOUNG

You know, everyone there is as strong as an ox, it’s practically a requirement, sometimes, when they aren’t too busy, they move mountains and boulders, just for fun! Of course, they don’t have to be strong, no one works there unless they want to, they spend their time eating, going to shows, or doing all manner of stately things. Everyone, there is very well-read, they spend all their time learning from the greatest philosophers and mathematicians the world has ever known. When I get there, the first thing I shall do is find someone to feed me grapes, like in the old paintings, you know, that’s all they do there all day they lounge around in the sun eating grapes…

(CRONE enters on the corner of the stage, OLD turns to see her, and she once again offers the green apple to him, holding her hand outstretched as YOUNG continues on and on)

YOUNG

You know, you won’t fit in at all there, perhaps it’s better if when we get there you just leave me outside the gate and then maybe you can go out and spend some time just really bettering yourself and then maybe you can come back and they’ll let you in. They only accept the most complete and refined of citizens there, not like that filthy old woman who’s been following us. Completely useless and disgusting that one....

(YOUNG continues on in this manner, oblivious to the fact that OLD has stopped pulling the cart, they are situated center stage)

YOUNG

...Everyone is specialized in some sort of skill. The greatest artists and poets live there, and they spend all day refining their craft...

OLD

(Quietly) Where are we going?

YOUNG

The whole place is adorned with flowers and murals, and (pause) what did you say?

OLD

(Loudly and more confident) Where are we going.

(Up until this point OLD has had his back to YOUNG but he turns now, his face a mask of calm rage)

OLD

Where are we going, you keep talking about the grandeur, and the splendor, and the glory, but where are we going.

(YOUNG opens and closes his mouth rendered speechless, hunching in on himself and growing smaller under the onslaught of OLD’S fury, conversely, OLD’S back is straightening, he’s standing confidently and resolutely)

OLD

If you can just tell me where we’re going or even how to get there, I will be silenced forever (pause) but if you cannot, I’m done. I’m done being a servant, I’m done breaking my back and tearing my clothes and starving in service of your maniacal fantasies of utopia

(pause)

YOUNG

(quietly) Well, when we get there, you’ll see, it’s the greatest place on earth, everyone is kind and beautiful, and intelligent, and, and

(He trails off as OLD sighs and sets down his burden once and for all, removing the clown nose and setting it atop the pile of bags.)

OLD

I’m done.

(CRONE tosses the apple to OLD, he catches it, turns to her and nods.)

OLD

Thank you.

(OLD takes a bite of the apple, grins at the audience and waves a farewell. CRONE and OLD exit separately to opposite sides of the stage. As soon as they are gone, YOUNG jumps to his feet blustering)

YOUNG

Old man! Get back here, you owe me everything, I brought you back to life! I gave you everything you have! I brought you here! You need me! You need to carry my things! You need to pull my cart!

(as he speaks he grows weaker, his back hunched over and he collapses back into the cart, breathing hard. The lights begin to dim with the exception of a central spot over the cart)

YOUNG

(quietly) Old man? Tie my shoe for me?

(Pause... Silence)

YOung

Old man? I’m cold, give me your jacket?

(More silence)

YOUNG

Old man? I’m tired and my feet hurt...

(More silence, all lights except the central spot are now out. YOUNG bows his head and removes the crown of sticks)

YOUNG

Old man? I’m sorry…

(He looks to where OLD exited, expectantly but nothing happens, and the lights fade to black)


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189 Reviews


Points: 16250
Reviews: 189

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Thu Apr 01, 2021 2:27 pm
Plume wrote a review...



Hey there! Plume here, with a review!

I really enjoy writing and reviewing scripts, but there aren't many on this site, so I was really excited to see yours in the green room!

I really loved this script. It's definitely more unnatural as opposed to naturalistic, and there's a deep philosophical air about it. I liked the contrast between the two characters, and the interactions between the two are very interesting. They serve to perpetuate the messages you're spreading about old and young, and it was very interesting to me to read.

One thing I enjoyed about this was the exchanges between the two characters. It was very consistent in the dynamic between the two, and the ending when Old regained his strength was a nicely written moment. The brattiness of Young was counterbalanced with the silence and dignity of Old, and it worked to create this super interesting environment surrounding the two characters. It worked really well with and contributed a lot to the overall vibes of the script. Nice job!

One thing I wondered was how this would translate to a performance. Since you said they should be played by twins, I'm uncertain whether the audience would really get the whole old/young dynamic. I know you have Young reinforce Old's age, but it might be a little confusing, especially if the two actors are around the same age. The audience isn't going to get the character descriptions or other notes you've included in the beginning. Of course, you could just designate it as a script that's meant to be read, but I feel like the whole point of scripts is that they're meant to be performed. This was just something I thought of and something you might want to consider.

I do agree with the other review in that you might want to make the topics you're addressing more obvious. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to really get from that script. You've got a lot of possible messages in it, and sometimes ambiguity works in favor of the author, but I don't think this is one of those cases.

Overall: nice work! I enjoyed reading this script immensely, and I look forward to perhaps seeing more from you in the future!




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453 Reviews


Points: 9415
Reviews: 453

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Thu Apr 01, 2021 1:01 pm
Poor Imp wrote a review...



There's a lot in this that strikes archetypal chords. It raises questions; but at the same time, it seems like it's still feeling out what questions it wants to raise. (The best art raises more questions than answers.) My intuitive sense is that you need to be more conscious of what questions you're raising -- are you asking about the point (or pointlessness) of the callow, youthful headlong dash towards "something" -- the future, never in the present? That would be brilliant. Then your old man is the past, being abused by the young as a means to an end -- reaching that false or imaginative utopia.

Is the present missing from the script?

What balances out old/young?

Anyhow, all said and done: I love the idea of imaging the hubris of racing towards a nebulous, idealized future, stomping on the past. IF that's where you're aiming, making the ideas characters was ace.

Ultimately, you'll want to tidy up the stage play formatting. But that's easy work. Best and cheers!


IMP





Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.
— Mark Twain