The Props Master

Slack is just as his name describes him: a slacker. But when he's handed community service, he decides to go up to a local community theatre and try his hand out with the back stage work. Little does he know, he is handed the task of being their props master for their latest show. From there wild hijinks explode which include a feud with the director, love interests, and a war with an evil mafia family.

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2. In need of a Props Masters

INT – A HELPING HAND THEATRE

(A meeting is going on down inside the basement of the community theatre building)

VAL:

Please sit, Shawn.

(SHAWN, the director of the upcoming show, sits down)

VAL:

Thank you for coming to this meeting. I know it kinda popped up suddenly but we have some things we would like to sort out with you about your show.

SHAWN:

Of course.

(The man sitting next to theatre manager VAL coughs)

VAL:

Oh, and Shawn, if you don’t know who this gentleman sitting next to me is…this is Truman Van Cabretti. He runs the business details for our theatre.

SHAWN:

So he’s like your boss?

TRUMAN:

Mrs. Washburn may be the theatre manager but I overlook all the business priorities of the theatre itself. I’m here to help guide us through some rough patches.

SHAWN:

Very nice. So Val, what would you like to talk about?

VAL:

I would like to first begin with the changes you sent to me last night. It would seem you’re going to take your play and completely evolve it.

SHAWN:

Yes. After I got my cast together, I told them about my ideas and they absolutely loved it!

VAL:

Yes, well I’m afraid some of these changes won’t stand in our theatre.

SHAWN:

Why not?

VAL:

For one thing, we’re performing Romeo and Juliet.

TRUMAN:

Shakespeare’s masterpiece in my eyes.

SHAWN:

I share the same opinion.

VAL:

Then why all these weird changes?

SHAWN:

Val, the times are changing. Kids need to experience new things. The tale of Romeo and Juliet will be so much entertaining with these little bits of pepper I’m throwing into the stew of Shakespeare.

TRUMAN:

You do understand no kids come to our theatre, right? The youngest demographic who come to see our shows are in their sixties.

SHAWN:

Understood. But with my ideas flowing wildly in the wind, I bet I can fill these seats up with young kids salivating to see more of The Bard.

VAL:

You sure they won’t be drooling because you made a change where Juliet performs the infamous balcony scene topless?

TRUMAN:

Our audience will simply not go for that.

SHAWN:

If they aren’t comfortable with seeing a perfectly acted Juliet performed by a beautiful and legal aged actress with no top on, then they are simply prudes who don’t trust their own bodies.

VAL:

Then explain this change. You replaced swords with lightsabers.

SHAWN:

It’s a futuristic version of Romeo and Juliet. If Baz Lurhman can do a modern film version with Leonardo DiCaprio, why can’t I create a futuristic stage version?

VAL:

I just don’t think our audiences will understand.

SHAWN:

They’ll love it. Trust me. All of my changes will work. I have phenomenal community actors. All I need is a crew.

TRUMAN:

He still doesn’t have a crew?

SHAWN:

Well I won’t need a set designer because technically there won’t be much set. I’m a minimalist.

VAL:

I was able to rope in Don to design the lights and sound as well as run them for the show. My sister Shirley said she’ll do the costumes. Run crew…

SHAWN:

The actors can move their own props.

VAL:

Okay. Then that just leaves us a prop master to find. 

SHAWN:

We’ll need to find one as soon as possible. Rehearsals start tomorrow.

TRUMAN:

We’ll find one. Um, Val. May I speak to you privately?

VAL:

Of course. Shawn, help yourself to some cookies.

SHAWN:

Will do.

(TRUMAN and VAL walk into back area of the basement)

TRUMAN:

I’m worried about this show.

VAL:

And I’m not? Seriously, these changes are going to make the show a laughing stock.

TRUMAN:

No, besides all of the fucking changes, if this show doesn’t bring in the ticket sales…the theatre will be in the red.

VAL:

So? We’ve been in the red before.

TRUMAN:

I’m talking deep in the red, Val. As in “No more theatre-in-the-round” red.

VAL:

You mean?

TRUMAN:

If this show flops, our theatre dies. So you better make sure this show is fucking fantastic.

VAL:

Yes, Sir.

TRUMAN:

We should of never have given this slot to a first time director.

VAL:

I’ll make sure these changes won’t harm the show.

TRUMAN:

He wants to change Tybalt’s name to The Bolt. That doesn’t even make any fucking sense.

VAL:

As long as his cast trusts him. We have a good cast.

TRUMAN:

Who’s in it?

VAL:

Let me double check.

(VAL flips through her binder)

VAL:

Aha! Mark Astrono is playing Romeo.

TRUMAN:

Good.

VAL:

Kayla Jessup is playing Juliet.

TRUMAN:

I like her.

VAL:

Dick Porter is playing Friar Lawrence.

TRUMAN:

The Vietnam vet? I thought we banned him because of his episodes?

VAL:

Technically we’re not allowed to do that.

TRUMAN:

Shit. Okay. Who else?

VAL:

Hung Yon is playing Benvolio.

(Silence)

TRUMAN:

I’ve heard enough.

VAL:

Right.

TRUMAN:

Jesus. He’s going to turn this into Big Trouble in Little Verona.

(The two walk off)

 

INT – TREVOR’s CAR

TREVOR:

That’s fucking idiotic, Slack!

SLACK:

Think of it for one second, Trev. Community theatre! How could that possibly hurt me as an individual?

 TREVOR:

All the creeps come out from under the spotlight, Slack! Community theatre is a cesspool of depraved maniacs and Broadway hopefuls who have yet to realize they don’t have talent.

SLACK:

I still think it’s better than picking up trash alongside the highway.

TREVOR:

The theatre world will eat you alive, Slack. I’ve seen it happen before. My brother went to a show at that little community theatre once and he came back a changed man.

SLACK:

What happened?

TREVOR:

He got into a car crash on the way back. Now if it wasn’t for going to see a show there in the first place-

SLACK:

Oh, shut the fuck up. I think this an omen.

TREVOR:

Yeah, a bad one. Before you know it, you’ll see a nun committing suicide claiming it was all for you.

SLACK:

Technically I don’t have to be on stage to perform my community service, right? I just have to work back stage. I’ve seen other people do it. I can restock the candy box or put water in the fridge down in the basement. Shit like that.

TREVOR:

There’s really no stopping you from doing this. Is there?

SLACK:

Honestly? No. This is my best option to get out with doing as little as possible.

TREVOR:

Then I swear, if you go in and come out ready to redecorate your apartment…I’m gonna go blow some holes in that roof.

SLACK:

Are you insinuating that theatre is going to turn me gay?

TREVOR:

It’s happened, Slack. My sister’s boyfriend, my cousin, Liberace. It’s like the fucking illuminati.

SLACK:

Right. Just drop me off at the theatre, will yah?

TREVOR:

God speed, my brother.

(The car cruises down the road)

 

INT – A HELPING HAND THEATRE

(SHAWN walks around the stage as his actors sit and listen)

SHAWN:

Welcome to the first official read through of A Helping Hand Theatre’s production of “Romeo and Juliet.” Or as I will entitle it: “Romeo and Juliet: the Modern Epic.” What you have in your hands are the updated scripts that I personally modified. If Shakespeare were alive today and he happened to see what we were to put on, he would be elated. We’re all going to perform a play of such beauty and power, that every seat will be filled every single night. Every performance will glimmer like a shiny penny. If you don’t like something I’ve done to the script or feel as though I’m being unruly…too bad. This is my baby. My child. My unborn fetus who shall grow into a full grown adult of brevity and power.

(The front door creaks open)

SHAWN:

Who dares interrupt my opening monologue!?

(In walks SLACK drinking a beer)

SLACK:

Greetings fellow Thespians and actor type people.

MARK:

Who’s this?

KAYLA:

I don’t know but he’s drinking.

SHAWN:

Val! Another panhandler walked through the door!

(VAL walks up from the basement)

VAL:

I’m sorry Sir but we don’t allow drinking on the premises nor do we-

SLACK:

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Okay. I catch your drift. I’m cool.

(SLACK tosses the beer into a trash can)

DICK:

Grenade!

(DICK flops to the ground)

SLACK:

Uh-huh. So-

VAL:

I’m sorry but we don’t help out with any panhandling.

SLACK:

No, you got me all wrong. You see, I’m looking for a spot in this show.

VAL:

Excuse me?

SLACK:

Yeah. I wanna help out with the theatre and stuff. Because you know, theatre rocks my socks and shit.

SHAWN:

I’m sorry but you already missed auditions. In fact, you’re interrupting our first read through as you breathe through your mouth.

SLACK:

Again, you got me all wrong man. I don’t want to be in the show. I just want to help out back stage.

VAL:

Did you bring a resume with you?

SLACK:

Ah, shit. I forgot it in my rides car. But let me name off some of my credentials for you. I’m really good at-

SHAWN:

We have everyone we need, thank you.

SLACK:

Hey, come on man. Lend a helping hand like your theatre’s name.

KAYLA:

I like this guy.

VAL:

Have you had any theatre work in the past?

SLACK:

Tons! I’ve helped out in numerous theatres.

SHAWN:

Name three.

SLACK:

Well they’re all closed down now so it’s kinda sad to bring up their names right now. So many memories lost in the ruins, man.

VAL:

Have you ever worked props before?

SHAWN:

Hey now! Val! You can’t be thinking what I think you’re thinking.

VAL:

If this gentleman is as righteous in theatre as he says he is, we need his help. Now tell me, have you ever worked props before?

SLACK:

Well, sure! Of course. I mean, who hasn’t? People give me props all the time, you know?

SHAWN:

Jesus help me.

SLACK:

I can totally handle props.

VAL:

Shawn. I think we found your new props master.

SHAWN:

Wait, what? You’re just going to let this complete stranger walk in and take such an important position such as props master? There’s a lot of props in this goddamn play!

VAL:

I understand that. Which is why I’ll be breathing down this piece of trashes neck every second of every hour. You hear that? I’m gonna be on your ass tighter than chaps on a cowboy. Understand?

SLACK:

Completely.

VAL:

Good. Now what’s your name?

SLACK:

Slack.

VAL:

Slack?

SLACK:

Yeah. All my friends call me that.

VAL:

Yeah but what’s your Christian name?

SLACK:

I don’t go by it. Not really my groove, you know?

SHAWN:

Oh for fuck sakes.

VAL:

Fine. I’ll just put Slack down in the weekly newsletter as our new props master. Congratulations and welcome to the theatre-in-the-round.

SLACK:

Awesome. Thanks!

(VAL pulls out a binder and shoves it into SLACK’s arms)

VAL:

Here’s the script including a six page list of all the props you’ll need to get us. Have fun, Slack.

(VAL walks off)

SLACK:

Sweet. Okay. So how am I supposed to buy all the props?

SHAWN:

You buy them with your own money and we’ll reimburse before opening night.

SLACK:

Ah, I see.

MARK:

Can we get back to the read through?

SHAWN:

Yes, let’s go!

(SHAWN claps wildly as SLACK flips through the script)

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