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Musical: The Play

by Willard

A/N: Experimental work, written during non-stop listens of Macklemore's DOWNTOWN. Have fun. Any comments also talking about the odd space between lines, blame Mac.

ACT 1: This Is Not A Play

"Why the hell are you calling this 'Musical' yet it's a play?" Joseph asks me. I sit there in silence, looking at my Barnes and Noble coffee.

"I thought it would be funny." I reply.

"It's dumb and misleading! People go into a play to see a play. They go into a musical to see a musical. You are completely corrupting that idea! People who want a play get a musical and people who want to get a musical get a play." He then takes a drink of my coffee, though his iced tea is right in front of him.

"Well, Joe, the people who will be wanting a play will be getting a play."

"Don't you be arguing with me," he looks over to the table next to him, "hey, look at this newspaper. Twenty Third Street Will Be Shut Down For Protest. Oh my, that's the street we're on now." He gets out of his chair, wraps his arm around me, and points out the window as many walk in unison towards the capital.

"So?" I look down at the table.

"So? So? So? So! Okay, what is the point of this whole play?"

"To show that life means nothing, be self aware, and that it's pointless. Small decisions don't matter."

"You sound like such a little kid, dang! Life isn't pointless. You just have to do something with it."

"Okay. Wait. What are the odds of you running nude through the crowd? You won't back down, I know it. I want to show you how dumb this is. " My voice gets strong, yet a smile appears on his face.


We both count down. I say twelve, he says seven, followed by a cheer.

"How about you?" Happiness is evident in his voice.

"Thirty." We count down.

I say twenty three, he says twenty three. 

My heart sinks in a quick second.

Choral Ode:

Our narrator Ryan

is very dumb.

He's about to run naked

and feel numb

as many protesters

will beat him to death.

Thinking he'll survive it?

Don't hold your breath.

ACT 2: This Isn't A Musical Either

I stand in line to buy this collection of Hemingway shorts for Joe, because I had already agreed to buy a book for him. He stands behind me, snickering, considering after this I will be fully nude and dashing through a bunch of people in a little bit. He actually keeps on cracking erection jokes and it's making me quite uncomfortable.

The cash register rings.

"Next!" The cashier yells. I walk up to see a familiar face.

"Ryan! Oh my Gosh! It's been so long!" She reaches over the counter and hugs me.

"Alyssa! I never expected to see you here! How's college going? Are you still studying Math?" I ask. For some reason, I feel rather giddy inside.

"Yeah, final year. I'm actually pretty excited. Are you still working on that really confusing play?" She replies.

"I have quite a few." I laugh.

"You know, that one where you randomly bring up characters to push the plot along and pretend it's a juicy musical but it's really just a confusing meta extravaganza?"

"Yes. Still working on it. Are you busy? I mean, I would love to have drinks with you again. I'm sorry for basically blowing you off at the end of our relationship." She sits in silence after this. Fear shrinks my heart, and my brain.

"Um, I'm actually going to the protest right now, if you want to tag along."

"Dang, same here!" After I said this, she grabs her stuff, smiles, and says she's going to wait outside. Joe sneaks up on me.

"I guess she gets to enjoy your package once more." He tries to be clever.

"No. There was a reason she cheated on me."

"That's really depressing."

Choral Ode:

Do you understand

the point he's trying to make?

Do you? Do you? Do you?

Do you? Do you? Do you?


neither do we.

We're just underpaid

plot pushers.

INTERMISSION: a five year old beat-boxing Shimmy Shimmy Ya.

ACT 3: This Isn't A Love Story, Either.

Alyssa, Joe, and I walk down the street, following the crowd. I'm clenching my fists, my bladder, and every muscle that I have in my body. Alyssa is giving me weird stares, but I just let her know that everything is fine. Joe keeps telling me that I have five minutes, considering this was a "record breaking" attendance for any protest in our state. My stomach feels empty and I feel hollow.

"So, Joe," Alyssa starts, "how are you?"

"Three minutes!" He yells.


"Sorry. I have a condition. I'm doing good. I know that Ryan here is doing just fine, he's just a bit scared because his dumb way of thinking is about to be proved wrong." He screams in my ear. I push him off, stress flowing through my veins.

"He always got nervous when we were together. My new boyfriend doesn't get worried, thankfully." She laughs. Joe questions her more about her boyfriend, and she goes on about he's one of the best people ever. I would be sad if I could access any emotion right now. Instead, I sit in silence.

"I never got people who have a pretentious mindset and act like they know everything. In one minute, the biggest one I know will be proven wrong." He laughs. Alyssa agrees, then laughs. Soon my self esteem diminishes and I feel like nothing. Except, one thing.

"It isn't one minute. It is now." I mutter.

"What?" Joe asks.

"I'm pretty misleading, I'm sorry. I am going to prove you wrong."

Before they could say anything, my pants, shirt, underwear, shoes, and socks were off as I dash head first into the crowd.

Choral Ode:

Oh, we thought

the play was over.

I just forgot my phone.

ACT 4: This Wasn't A Failure Story

"I feel alive!" I scream at the top of my lungs as my long legs take gigantic strides through the busy street. Someone tries to tackle me, but I take one spin and kick him in the face. I continue running through and receiving high fives from fellow protesters. I do this for a long time, until people started cheering.

"Fountain! Fountain!" They point at the fountain that's right in front of the capital. I don't take time to think. I run over the fence and onto the ground. Police officers try to corner me, but my sweaty quickness tricks them. My feet slap the pavement as I jump right on top of the fountain. My legs brush the water, but this doesn't stop me. In a few seconds, I see a crowd cheering "streaker" as I open my arms, smile, and say one last thing.

"I was a worried wimp."

What takes me down is three tazers and two huge bodyguards.

Choral Ode:


Ryan was a pretty cool guy.


I get my shirt on, fix my collar, and look at my phone. Five minutes before I leave for my date with Alyssa, and one minute until I finish the final sentence of my story. I stare at it, and realize how confusing it was. I want to make one thing certain, though. The tab opens, so I click bold, and add one last thing.

MORAL: This Was A Coming of Age Story.

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Points: 657
Reviews: 3

Tue Nov 03, 2015 1:29 am
Lissa says...

I didn't read the whole thing. Just the description. Cracked up too hard to read the rest. Gotta love Macklemore.

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298 Reviews

Points: 15144
Reviews: 298

Sun Oct 18, 2015 12:52 am
HolographicLadybug wrote a review...

Ok, naming something Musical: The Play totally sounds like something I'd do! Ha!
It was awesome and made practically no sense. I mean, where did the running nude thing come from? The protest? Police? Five-year-old? The girl? Poetry? A play that may or may not be this story?
So confusing, yet so awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (No amount of exclamation marks can describe how much this was awesome!!!!)

There were a few grammar errors, particularly with dialogue.

But still, very awesome and possibly (somehow) one of the best stories I've read on this site!

Good job! Ha!

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54 Reviews

Points: 2061
Reviews: 54

Sun Sep 27, 2015 12:44 am
chhlovebooks wrote a review...

Dear stranger,
just let me say one thing here... Even though this story makes practically not freaking sense, I loved a great deal of it. I mean that !....It makes. No. Freaking. Sense. I did enjoy several aspects of your story, and that if you did some brush ups, deleted bits and pieces, and fixed some stuff, I'm pretty sure this could get get comments by over ten people. Now, let us begin on what you did wrong, before we get to just how you did right. First off, I think you are trying to incorporate too many morals into your story, or at least, too many morals that were stated out for all to read. You should pick one or two morals to state and stick with them, or go with not stating what the morals are at all. By doing so, you could make the plot less confusing. Another thing you could do to help your poor, tortured plot, is by fixing your ittalics. Either line them up all along the edge, or go and have them all centered, but do not leave them the way they are. People with OCD would probably dislike you a great deal if you left them like that, and it is like breaking a sentence into fragments, it contributes to making your plot seem scattered and unconclusive. The various interruptions of "act something" and "chorale ode" also contribute to this, and I think to fix that, you should do either one of the two following options. One, you should cut them out all thogether, or two, make the paragraphs in between them longer. I suggest going with option two. This would help somewhat, but what might help most is explaining and sticking to certain elements of the plot. To help the start of this story out, explain more about the musical, play, thing. Tell into more detail about how the musical is about how simple, tiny details, such as streaking through a crowd naked, do not matter. Then explain more about why there is a mob outside. What does the mob want? Why does the mob not hurt him? Then, what is the game they are playing when they are counting off? Why are they playing it? What is the game's significance? Then, cut the pun about the erection (ewww... dude, it makes me ill to even write that word). Not only is it innopropriate, and needs a warning, puns about stuff like that can be a huge blow to how your viewed as a writer. It makes you seem more like a five year old who has just discovered potty humor, and less like an author who might become famous one day. Also, for the end of the story, why does his friend yell three minutes? One tiny little detail to resolve at the end? Cut the epilogue, it makes no freaking sense. Now on to the stuff you actually want to hear. Over the course of the story, you use a very interesting idea, and seem to know very well just how far people would be willing to go to prove themselves right. The morals you use, while somewhat depressing to think about, are made interesting and funny through the humor you slip into this writing. Just be careful you do not go too far, you are almost going slap-stick comedy on this story. You have the potential to be an amazing author, so with some time and practice, soon you could be great! ^\/^ (Just a side note, sorry for the ridiculously long review, I need to get points for my team.)

Willard says...

Hey Chhloe! Here to answer some questions.

1: There is one moral that I sticked with, and I don't see any morality depth in my story than the moral stated at the end. "Coming of Age".

2. In my author's note, I did state the formatting went a bit wonky on Mac so that explains the italics and where they lined up.

3. This story was made to mimic a play. Plays sometimes don't pay much attention to small details, and only focus on getting a single point across. That's what this was, a play in story form. That's why the story is so dialogue dependent.

4. I am not a five year old and the jokes I do make help elevate the absurdity in the situation.

5. He yells three minutes because that's the time Ryan has to run nude.

6. By me cutting the epilogue, which apparently makes "no freaking sense", it will actually damage the story within itself. It is revealed, at the end, that he's the one writing this story. You can see how the intended morals shift from the beginning of the work to the end. So, yes, it makes freaking sense.

7. Erection is a grown up word. If I said boner it would be way too inappropriate.

8. My plot isn't exactly tortured. It is set up in a linear style so it goes from beginning to end with no interruption. If it makes no sense, try to write down a plotline of what's happening. Here's what I had:

Ryan is going to write a play called Musical, because everything is misleading.
Ryan says the meaning is that life is pointless and that "little decisions" don't make any sense in the end.
Joe says he's wrong, challenges him to a game, now he has to run nude.
Ex girlfriend appeared, who, through subtle details, he is still attracted to.
They go together.
Joe and Alyssa call him a wimp and make fun of him for his views on how things are pointless.
He decides to do the dare, so that he can show how pointless this is.
His bravery resulted in him getting a girlfriend and ending the play, called "Musical: The Play". It's meta, as hinted before in a very meta piece of dialogue.
He came of age, grew up, and stopped crying about certain things.

I'm not exactly a first read author, so I apologize, but it does make sense.

Also, in old Greek Tragedies, they often had Choral Odes that interluded scenes and or acts. Since this is a story structured as a play, as hinted in the title and the main character, I have to be meta.


chhlovebooks says...

Ok, sorry. I have never done a review for a play, so I guess my review sucked to freak and beyond. Sorry if I offended you.

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30 Reviews

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Reviews: 30

Sun Sep 27, 2015 12:39 am
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sinistercutlass wrote a review...

This is insane. And brilliant. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I really enjoy the full, swaggering character of your prose.

Your characters are great. Totally memorable and relate-able, with very believable dialogue. Seriously, great work on your realistic dialogue.

I admire how you were able to set the scene with mere mention of "Barnes and Nobles coffee". Good choice of detail!

The choral odes: hilarious. Monty Python-level absurd.

Two nitpicks: what takes him ARE three tazers, not "is three tazers". Also, I'm not sure I understand the number game at the beginning, when they're talking about odds. How does that work? I take it that the outcome was that the main guy was going to be streaking alone?

Summary: this is one of the funniest things I've read in a while. Well done, sir!

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556 Reviews

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Sun Sep 27, 2015 12:33 am
erilea wrote a review...

Hey, Stranger! Artemis here for Team Tardis... Happy Review Day!

I like this! The beginning was cool. Your choice of word was good, when Joe explodes about the difference between a musical and a play. Quite funny, I admit. But one little nitpick right here... shouldn't "hey" be capitalized? I think it's a rule to capitalize it. It might not be, but it caught my eye.

I honestly don't think that Joe would be a person saying "Oh my" either. He just went into this rant about musicals and plays, and suddenly he notices a newspaper and switches the subject to a protest. I think you should make the transition a little bit smoother.

"hey, look at this newspaper. Twenty Third Street Will Be Shut Down For Protest. Oh my, that's the street we're on now."

I also don't get the whole countdown thing. What's it for? Why are they saying random numbers in the first place? You should probably make that a bit clearer.

This was actually hilarious. I loved the running nude part, and at the end how you say you're going on a date with Alyssa, after she raves about her new boyfriend. I loved your Choral Odes, the random beatboxing kid, and the total weirdness of this piece. Good job, Stranger!

-Artemis28, Team Tardis

Willard says...

Hey Wise!
The minute counting thing is referring to the time Ryan has to run through the crowd.

Anyways, thanks so much for the review!

erilea says...

You're welcome!

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66 Reviews

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Sun Sep 27, 2015 12:32 am
iamanaspiringwriter wrote a review...

I find this story kind of funny in a way. It's definitely original, I've never seen something like it before. At times, I feel like it was hard to follow what was going on, due to it jumping around a bit, but I seriously liked it! I heard your personal voice throughout the story and for writing it while listening to mackelmore you did a good job! Honestly I didn't really get it, yet at the same time it was an enjoyable read. So I guess I could say, good job?

Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.
— Maya Angelou