1,2,3 and Action by Roger Cosgrove


This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author’s PRIOR consent

      Hey guys can you set us up. I think that’s enough of that Act for
      today. Lets skip the garden scene and go right to the last act, just
      so we don’t have to change the set. If we have time we will do the
      garden scene later.

      (Everyone exits to Actor’s lounge and FINN and MASON enter, carrying a
      coffee table, MASON’S clipboard is on top. FINN rolls the backdrop’s
      around backwards, while MASON is checking his clipboard and putting a
      few items in place He puts an umbrella stand by the front door. Then
      he brings in a tray with two teacups and a teapot.)

      What are you doing, We are skipping the garden scene.

          (He sets the tray on the coffee table.)

      Here give me a hand.

      (They put it back so the library scene shows, and finish anything else
      on the set, that needs it, while they do say the next few lines.)

      Sorry, I wasnít paying attention. My mind was elsewhere. Maybe
      itís because Mom’s in a bit of a grump today.

      I never noticed. I thought she was her usual self.

      Ha, you weren’t the one delivering Pizza.

      You know how she likes to have these plays perfect by opening night.

      Don’t I? There, I think we got it just right. We wouldn’t want to get

      Yes, I would miss my salary. Oh wait a minute, we don’t get a salary.

      Yes, but after all,
      (does the ditto signs)
      it looks good on a rťsumť.

          (Both boys laugh)

      We forgot the leather chair. I think it is still in the basement. Come
      give me a hand it is a heavy brute.
      (They exit. There is a light tapping at the Side Street door, then
      LARRY sticks his head in and peeks about.)

      Good the theatre is empty. It looks pretty old. it probably never gets
      used.  We can hide out in here.

      What about the ghosts?

      What are you talking about?

      A lot of theatres have them. Like in The Phantom of the Opera. It’s
      one of my favourites. I have seen it several times. Have you ever

      Oh, yes of course, I took my Mother and my Sunday School teacher just
      last week. You know sometimes I worry about you Bob. You may be better
      not to mention what you do in your spare time. At least not to the
      crew we hang out with.

      How long are we going to stay here?

      We will hide in here a few days until that cop from Canada gives up
      looking for us.

          (he plops down in the sofa chair)

      Ya…It’s disgusting. How they think they can just drop down into the
      states from Canada and try to arrest us. Isn’t that breaking the law?
      It’s not fair. Only crooks should be allowed to break the law.

          (looks down at BOB with the “I give up look”)
      I’ll get the union working on that one right away.
      It likely is against the law, but what are we going to do; report the
      RCMP Constable to the FBI? We would be arrested in a flash. The law
      down here take their jobs pretty serious. That’s why I only commit
      crimes in Canada.

      (They look around a bit to make sure it is clear.)

      You know Larry I am getting pretty tired of hiding from the law. It’s
      a lot of work. It would have been a lot easier to go get a job.
      Sometimes I think I shouldn’t have untied you from the park bench in
      Waterton Lakes National Park, up in Canada. Remember the cops had you
      tied up and they went to get their cruiser or something. After that
      failure of a jewellery store robbery I could have taken off and just
      went on to live a straight life… Man that was a long long time ago
      and a long time being on the lam.

      Now Bob, you know you couldnít leave me there to get thrown back in
      jail. Itís an unwritten law us crooks live by. Well, don’t tell
      anyone we know in our circle of friends, but I am getting tired of it
      too. But itís too late for us; it’s the only thing we know. But if
      we turned ourselves in now, we would in the slammer forever.

      The last heist was more than I could handle. Being disguised as a
      woman was pretty embarrassing. I don’t know how we get caught in these
      predicaments but I don’t care if I do get caught, I am never ever
      dressing up as a woman again.

      Whatís in this huge box?

      (He opens it. And looks in)

      Not a thing. Itís empty.

      That looks like a shipping label, on the end.

          (approaches the end of the Magic Box)

      Itís from The Magician Warehouse. It says Magic Box. Saw a person
      into two… or perform a disappearing act. Hmm… they must be doing a
      Magic Show. I’m going to try it out.
      (BOB climbs inside and sits down.)
      I’ll cross my fingers.

      I am still here. Maybe you have to close the lid for it to work. Close
      the lid Larry.
      (He lays down then pops back up.)
      Don’t forget to say Abracadabra or something like that.
      (He lays down.)

      What a numbskull. These donít really work. You have to be double
      jointed and then you just curl up in one end, so the saw misses you.
      (He closes the lid on the box. BOB rolls through the wall, so LARRY
      can get in after.)

      (from backstage)  Are you lifting your half, this is really heavy?

          (LARRY is startled as he hears the stage crew)

      Someoneís coming.

      (He opens the lid.)

      Move over.

      (He climbs in and lowers lid as FINN and MASON enter)

      I donít know why they have to have such a heavy chair. I am glad we
      are done the heavy stuff until tomorrow when we have to help build the
      back wall. At least the panels are all light.

      (They set the leather chair down by the coffee table but close to the
      other chair.)

      Where is the wall going?

      It will run from here; across to that wall in front of the backdrop.
      That will hide all this stuff here. It’s tough when you don’t have
      your own theatre. You put all the props up in one day, put on the play
      and then whip them all down on closing night. It sure will be nice
      when we get our own building.

      (slouches in the leather chair)

      What about that big box do we have to move it.

      No, Mom says it belongs to a magician from a magic show last weekend.
      He is picking it up today. Itís a Magic Box where you saw a lady
      into two.

      Wow, how does it work?

      There is nothing to it really.

          (He gets up and approaches box and opens lid.)

      I helped the magician bring it in one night while you were delivering
      pizzas. First of all it has a false bottom. See that whole bottom is
      just a really good picture, done in 3D, so it looks a lot deeper than
      it really is. See, have a look. Measure with your arm how deep it is
      on the outside.

      (He puts his arm on the outside and marks it.)
      It’s my whole arm.

      Now measure the inside.

      (He puts his arm on the inside, just a few inches.)
      Wow, that’s amazing.

      When you jump in…
          (gesturing with his hands)
      the false bottom opens up and you lay down on the floor. Now when
      someone looks in they are just looking at the false bottom.

      Let’s try it out.

      (He gets into the box then lays back. He quickly opens the lid and
      climbs out.)

      Maybe I don’t weigh enough. That false bottom never opened up, so the
      lid was right in my face. I can’t stay in there. I think I have closet phobia.

      That’s claustrophobia. It’s a fear of small spaces.

      Ya… like a closet. Closet phobia. Remember when we were small you
      locked me in the bedroom closet. I have hated anything enclosed like
      that ever since.

      Oh yeh… Well I didn’t mean to lock you in so long. I was just going
      downstairs to grab a sandwich and I meant to go back but up but then a
      buddy phoned me up for a sleep-over. It’s not my fault nobody knew you
      were missing until the next morning.

      Do you believe there is a ghost in this theatre. because when I laid
      back in that box, I heard a moan.

      Maybe some theatres, but I don’t think this one. Not with Mom as
      Director. The ghost wouldn’t have a chance.

          (They both laugh.)

      (picks up a hand saw that is hanging on the coat hook next to the
      Magic Box)
      How does the saw work? It looks pretty long. That would go past the
      false bottom.

      Well, it only works if you have a skinny girl who is double jointed.
      See the slot for the saw is actually a little closer to one end.
      Itís not really in the middle, but from the theatre you can hardly
      tell. She climbs in and folds herself into the large end. Then you put
      the saw in this groove and pretend you are sawing her in half, like
      (He slowly draws the saw back and forth and is having a bit of
      You just donít go too fast, to make it look like you are really
      cutting through her. Boy that was hard to work the saw today. It
      seemed easier when the magician let me try it. Maybe it just needs
      sharpening. (laughs)

      That looked pretty realistic.  Here let me try.
      (He slowly draws the saw back and forth)
      Abra…cadabra… and we saw the lady in half. Ha… Now we have
      (FINN and MASON both laugh. FINN leaves the saw in the box.)
      Well, we are all done here so letís go for pizza. We will put it on
      Mom’s account.

      Ya..the pay maybe nada but the fringe benefits are worth it.
      (They exit. The saw blade bounces a few times.)


      ACT II

      AT RISE:      JONI, RUTH, AND DEREK are on stage. They are all facing the
      ladies’ dressing room door.

      Come on Wyatt. You have to help us out. The adjudicator could be here
      any time.

      No, I have changed my mind. I donít want to play Rachael anymore. I
      am going home.

      We won’t let any anyone else on the cast know. We will keep it a
      secret. They will just think you are Suzette. You look just like her.
      If they don’t know you are a man, then there is nothing to be
      embarrassed about. It will be fun to see who we can fool.

      We… as in me?

      That’s a good idea Joni, then we know if our deception is working or
      not. Now Wyatt, listen to Joni. She always knows whatís best for us.

          (RUTH turns and stares at DEREK.)
      Are we talking about our director Joni?

      Think of Suzette; you wouldnít want to let your twin sister down.

      All right, but you have to promise not to laugh.

      Okay, we wonít laugh. Come out and we will try the next scene.

      Ya… we will look the other way.

          (They look the other way. WYATT steps out of doorway   and is fully
      dressed as a woman. Everyone waits     until any laughter from the
      audience has died down.)

          (They all turn and RUTH and DEREK start to laugh.)

      You promised you wouldnít laugh.

          (trying not to laugh)
      Not I. It was JONI that promised.

      Yah, but you know WYATT; youíre really not a bad looking women. If I
      didn’t know better…

      Well we are desperate Wyatt. And itís only because the adjudicator
      was in town today for another play group at the Bijou and he decided
      he would drop in to see the Powell Playhouse Theatre company while he
      was in town.

      Yes, but I am not going to fool anybody in this getup. Canít we just
      tell him that Suzette is sick?

      Yes, lucky us. But if we want the patrons to come out we need the good
      reviews in the paper. Besides if we can win this we could go on to the
      state finals. There is a ten thousand dollar prize for the winning
      theatre group. Why we could put that in our new theatre fund.

      All right But I am only doing this for my sister.

      Thatís the spirit. Letís get started. Letís continue from where
      Rachael has returned to the estate and is going over the details of a
      party with Mr. Harrison. Places everyone.

      (They take up their positions. RUTH is standing at the door. DEREK is

      1,2,3 a.. nd ACTION!

[end of extract]