Contention at the Convention by Sheila Steele


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  Characteristics of the Four Political Parties - CANDIDATES & SUPPORTERS:

      RICH AND FAMOUS PARTY:  .
      *MARGERINE MONGO - candidate: . Blonde, slinky type with prominent
      mole near her mouth (a Marilyn Monroe type), wearing furs, jewelry;
      and clothing to emphasize on her trademark of BRIGHT RED.  Needs to be
      in 40’s age range.

      Platform :  Red shoes for everyone, even the poor.  She is raising
      funds to give free red shoes to street people, and to send red shoes
      to Africa and the Middle East as a contribution to foreign relations.

      Her personal mantra:  “OH PEACHY!”

      House Cast/ Supporters can come dressed: Men wear white shirts & red
      ties; ladies red shawls & dripping with jewels, plus everyone in ’
      red corporate sneakers’ (painted with markers or ??).  Party
      placards to be jeweled and sparkly.  Those not purchasing tickets
      ahead may be given sparkly red headbands, or placards.

      Identifying song lyric: —sung by her supporters
      “Money makes the world go ‘round….”

      BUCKY- Margerine’s manager:  A heavyset (preferable a John Candy
      type) young man (early 20s)..  He wears a towel around his neck and he
      has Margerine do stretches and jumping jacks when there are breaks,
      and he tries to join in.  He fauns all over her, following her with a
      brush and powder puff to keep her looking her very best.  He tries
      hard to be appreciated. Bucky got hired by Margerine on the advice of
      Dr.  Mortimer.  Why you might ask?—you’ll see .


      GREENIK PARTY:

      *FLEUR de LEASE - candidate identified by her green hair, wearing long
      flowered skirt, beads, sandals (Hippie-style).  She disagrees with all
      candidates on all issues, but not in a loud or angry way—she always
      takes a deep breath before speaking. She is especially offended by
      Ritter’s attack on environmentalists with green hair.  She also has
      a mysterious connection to Bucky.


      Platform:  Everyone to grow Veggies, walk everywhere, and not use
      polluting vehicles.  Particularly adamant about saving the snails and
      dandelions.

      Personal Mantra:  humming “ohmm-mmmm”

      House Cast/Supporters dress like Hippies with jeans & sandals, maybe
      green sprayed hair; peace sign or tie-died T-shirts headbands; face
      paint peace sign or flowers;  carrying flowers or celery.  Latecomers
      get peace-sign headbands or placards to hold.

      Identifying lyrics:  “Green grass grows all round, all around…
      Green grass grows all around”


      ROBINETTE:  Fleur’s manager.. She wants Fleur to be more hard-nosed
      and vocal, so is always giving a “sock it to em’ pep talk, dancing
      around Fleur and slapping her on the back like a boxer’s
      coach—kind of a masculine she-male.  Robinette carries Perrier
      water for Fleur at all times- foisting it in front of her.  Robinette
      is suspicious of everyone.


      THE RETROACTIVE PARTY:

      *WILLIE BYGONE – a retired cowboy who alternates usage of ‘No
      Doze’ pills and jellybeans.  He’s in a wheelchair (which will be
      explained ‘why’ during the play) wears cowboy hat and vest; plays
      with a squirt gun and passes out jelly beans to everyone.  He is fond
      of accusing everything of being a ‘commie plot’.

      Platform:  halt progress; return to the good Old West days and style
      of living.  No motorized vehicles!

      Personal Mantra:  ““It’s a commie Plot!”  and/or “Just say
      NO to technological progress”

      House Cast/Supporters:  come dressed as cowboy/girls.  Latecomers get
      jelly-bean headbands/ squirt guns or placards.

      Identifying sign:  tune singing “Home, home on the range”  and an
      occasional ‘snore’ sound.

      MOMMY:  Willie’s wife and manager..  A mild-mannered gray-haired
      character who is always reminding Willie to take his pills.  She
      carries a bag of ‘NO DOZE” pills and is very doting on her
      husband.  She tells him to just say NO to anything new and writes his
      speeches for him. She wears rubber gloves and an obvious hairnet. She
      pushes the wheelchair. Mommy is barely able to disguise her dislike
      for Fleur & Margerine. Distrusts Dr. Post, feeling he is incompetent
      and vain, and that she can take better care of Willie.

 


      BULLDOGMATIC   PARTY


          *RUDOLPH RITTER, whose military stance and black outfit easily
      identifies him.  Bulldog armband.  Should have slick-down hair and a
      ‘twiddle-able’ moustache. He fancies himself as the dictator of
      Terra 12, and thinks he has a solution to the population problem with
      his platform.  He used to run a Bulldog Youth group baseball team, and
      sees this early training as positive brainwashing.

      Platform:  Military training for everyone, and to quarantine
      environmentalists

      Personal Mantra:  “We will, we will, stomp you” as in the song by
      Queen. “We will Rock you”


      House Cast/ Supporters of BULLDOGMATIC party wear fatigues, boots,
      black or dark blue armbands with a bulldog insignia. They could have
      tiny plastic bats with
      “Best Hitter Ritter for President”


      Identifying sign:  Stamp foot 2x (count 1,2) clap (3), then
      salute-clicking heels on the salute (4).

      GOGGLES:  Ritter’s manager/bodyguard.
      He has squinty eyes and wears goggles (swim goggles). He is extremely
      stiff-lipped and defensive; dedicated to the military cause.  High
      boots a must, an optional horsewhip, and listening device (earphones
      always visible)

        Note:  candidate leaders do the identifying sign and audience
      supporters echo it—done whenever leader enters room or decides to
      incite crowd!


      CAMPAIGN MANAGERS WEAR BADGES saying: “Campaign manager
      for:_______________” and the party affiliation below that.

      optional:They mingle in the crowd prior to the play starting and
      during the intermission/dance/refreshment breaks with campaign fund
      buckets to “collect campaign funds”  but this opportunity will be
      for the organization hosting the party to raise the charitable
      donations they need (announced in the invitation that this would be
      done).  It also gets the audience involved in supporting their
      candidate as fun/serious participation!
      ALSO, THE MANAGERS—SUSPECTS AS WELL—WILL DEMONSTRATE THEIR
      ‘ILLWILL’ AGAINST THE OPPOSING CANDIDATES, BEING SUPER PROTECTIVE
      OF THEIR OWN.

 

 

      Supporting Characters:


      ROBERTO BARKERO: Master of Ceremonies
      suave, smooth-talker, wears dark clothes, has dark hair. (prefer
      Spanish accent)  Bow-tie a must; plus hand-held mike.  His vanity
      only rivals that of Dr. Post

      DEE PRESSST:  Journalist (accentuate the presssssst)
      Hat with “PRESS”  tag dangling from it.  This character needs to
      be somewhat passive/aggressive, moody but well-spoken, as she will
      have to take charge during the question period.  Carries iphone/ or
      notebook & pen.
      She seeks a private conversation with Otto. Watch for a relationship
      between Otto and Dee.

      OTTO FOCUS:  VIDEO/Cameraman
      this character could be a real videoman, taping the event,  while
      also being part of the event.  Note: his alcoholic condition.  He is
      found to share a vodka with Goggles & Ritter.

      Dr. MORTIMER POST
      Mature in age, cocky, arrogant, more interested in his looks than his
      patients—so he is priming for the camera a lot.  It will be
      discovered that he and Margerine Mongo are covering up a SECRET about
      Bucky.

      Police Inspector GOLOSHES: stereotypic (Columbo or Sherlock)  with
      inspector hat, magnifying glass and handlebar mustache.  Scottish
      accent preferred.  Good public speaking, repartee and questioning
      technique.  There are no lines to memorize other than reading the
      ACCUSATIONS and ad-libbing.  He will be sitting in the audience,
      during the show, seen to be taking notes.

      Security Guards/Plainsclothesmen (at least two)
      all wearing dark glasses & raincoats

      Mongo’s dancers & Fleur’s flower children (for simple
      embellishment to candidate presentations)

      HOUSE CAST OF 12:  3 for each party (preferred, usually cast members
      friends )


      note:  The hand-out program should have similar character descriptions
      for audience to refer to.


      Contention at the Convention – stageplay opening scene, Act I
      ACT I :  SPEAKING ON THE ISSUES

      MC (Roberto Barkero) :  (TV cameraman zooms in)  Buenos Noches (or
      Tarde –if afternoon matinee) Good evening folks.  I’m Roberto
      Barkero, your host.(roll the ‘r’ in Roberto)
      Aqui estamos—-Here we are at the Milti-party National Convention…
      to pick your leader… who will be the next president of TERRA
      12?”
      *Managers are at the table with House Cast where audience supporters
      sit, rousing them: shouting their candidate’s name & security guards
      , looking annoyed will motion with arms up for quiet)
      MC:  “Let’s meet the candidates now, and have them address
      important issues of TAXES, EDUCATION, TRANSPORTATION
      and………..(option: insert a silly issue)
      (Note:  after each campaign manager enters with candidate, they go to
      their table and lead the supporters in actions mentioned below)

      MC: “We’ll introduce the candidates now, beginning with the
      Greenik party representative:  FLEUR de LEASE!” ( she gives the
      peace sign)

      (Robinette motions for audience supporters to do a loud ‘OM… and
      sing:  “Green Grass grows all around” option:.  and Robinette
      as Campaign manager throws flowers in Fleur’s path—or can have
      Flower Children do this)

      MC: “Now enters MARGERINE MONGO of the Rich & Famous Party!”

      (she says, “Oh, Peachy!” and blows exaggerated kisses.  Her
      supporters stand and send back exaggerated kisses to her. (optional:
      Campaign manager throws fake dollar bills to audience and supporters
      roll red carpet her pathway to the stage area)

      MC: “Here comes WILLIE BYGONE–– from the Retroactive Party “
      (supporters shake cans of jellybeans   (optional: and make a
      ‘snore’ sound,) and sing “Home, Home on the Range”
      Campaign manager “Mommy” wheels him out in wheelchair, as he looks
      like he just woke up, shouting “It’s a commie Plot!”
      Mommy also encourages supporters to sing Home Home on the range

      MC: “Finishing our line-up is RUDOLPH RITTER, leader of the
      BULLDOGMATIC Party. (he enters with a salute, clicking heels and
      goose-steps in, carrying a plastic bat (hitter)?
      Goggles follows, with motioning supporters to sing: “We will, we
      will stomp you,” and do: stamp, stamp clap 3x and salute him

      MC continues…………………..
      “And now Journalist, Ms. Dee PRESST (roll ‘r’ again)  will
      address the candidates on the issues.”
      (Journalist now takes over, throwing the issues to each candidate)
      EDUCATION
      DEE: Ms. Lease, on the issue of education, please.

      FLEUR:  Om-mmmmmmmmmmmm (supporters, echo) Absolutely free education
      for everyone until the age of 30.  How paid for you may ask?  We all
      trade labour!  The professors teach, and we recycle their garbage or
      whatever skills we can trade-off.
      (cheers from her supporters)
      DEE:  And you, Mr. Ritter?  How do you stand on education?

      RUDOLPH:  (his stamp stamp clap salute is echoed by supporters.)
      ‘Vell…….Military Academy for everyvun!  Absolute discipline with
      itchy wool underwear! Und…. revive the Bulldog Baseball Youth Group
      as part of the training.”

      DEE:  your turn Mr. Bygone. … Mr. Bygone… YO! Mr. Bygone?! (he is
      dozing, and campaign manager gives him a NO DOZE pill during this
      beckoning, and whispers the question being asked)

      WILLIE:  oh… All I know is that too much structured education is a
      commie plot , brainwashing must stop!  … Jellybeans, anyone??  (
      optional: supporters in audience shake their jellybean cans- to be
      provided on their tables)

      DEE:  Humm…And now, you, Ms. MONGO.  Your views on education?

      MARGERINE:  My party doesn’t think formal education is that
      important.  Just have a good agent….(supporters say “I,2,3…”Oh
      Peachy!” and sing “Money makes the world go round” )  Then,
      Mongo says:
      Dearies…. Shouldn’t that be MONGO MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND??? (so
      audience repeats what she says)


      Actions to observe:  MC: (states the action, and actors respond)
      •    HERE GOOGLES WHISPERS TO RUDOLPH, AND IT’S NOTICED THAT
      ROBINETTE SNEERS AT THEM BOTH.
      •    MARGERINE JUST COOS (like Marilyn Monroe would) AT THE AUDIENCE.

      •    AND MOMMY MAKES OBVIOUS GESTURE GIVING WILLIE A PILL,  WILLIE IS
      LIT UP WITH HIS PILL TAKING EFFECT, BEING UP ONE MINUTE, THEN DOZY THE
      NEXT.

      DEE:  (now delving into a slight depression) …. Err… mind if I
      have whatever it is you’re taking?  I need a little ‘zip’.
      ….. (Mommy, somewhat reluctant, but does give Dee a No Doze pill)
      Well, now Mr. Bygone, you get first shot at this next question, as you
      really look alive and well now!  What about the transportation issue?
      TRANSPORTATION

      WILLIE:  Did you say ‘first shot?’ (bangs his pretend gun &
      excited and lively due to pill really taking effect)  Yes, yes, very
      important, very important.  No motorized vehicles ! Horses used to be
      good enough, when I was cowboy.  Yes!  We could even have stagecoaches
      again… that reminds me of a movie I was in once….back in ’85, or
      was that ’62??  (his manager wife MOMMY giggles embarrassingly and
      says, “That’s nice, dear”)

      DEE:  Fleur de LEASE, your view on transportation?

      FLEUR:  A good pair of walking boots should be sufficient.  Just allow
      enough time in the morning to get in your meditation, yoga and
      affirmations before you have to go anywhere.  As for major distances,
      like across oceans, we’ll just have to stay home and quit wasting
      fuel on luxury cruises and flights (she gets anxiously engaged and
      sends a darted look at MONGO.)  I say, stay home, eat Veggies!!.
      (supporters repeat: “Stay home, eat veggies”.

      MARGERINE:  Am I next? I’d like to address that FLEUR de
      LEASE…What’s wrong with limousine service and cruises?  Now
      wouldn’t that be peachy? (audience supporters echo “PEACHY !”)
      Walking is so difficult in red heels, dearie…. They’re our party
      trademark for the ladies, and the men’s red corporate sneakers are
      so expensive and posh, they wouldn’t do for long-distance
      walking…. Really!!!

      DEE:  Ok. Settle down Thank you both.  Now from you Mr. Ritter?
      Transportation?

      RUDOLPH RITTER:  Ve vill have no improvement as long as some
      resources are in ze hands of weak nations and incompetent leaders.  We
      must take over zese resources and used them to expand our armada of
      tanks, ships, planes, motorcycles, skateboards….and maybe even a
      cruise ship for Ms. Mongo…. (he bows and twiddles his moustache at
      her)

      ACTION:  MC:  ( option of preludes by stating the obvious, reading
      all, then actors do/mime the action) as follows……
      •    APPROPRIATE INTERPLAY WITH MANAGERS AND CANDIDATES WITH TV
      CAMERMAN BEGINNING TO BE A NUISANCE—-
      ANNOYING MM’S MANAGER, ESPECIALLY.
      •    FLEUR’S MANAGER, ROBINETTE, IS TELLING HER TO BE MORE VOCAL AND
      SPEAK UP.
      •    RITTER CONTINUES TO FLIRT WITH MONGO

      MC:  Disculpe, por favor—Excuse me, folks, we need to get back to
      the issues.

      TAXES

      DEE.  Yes, thank you Roberto ….Mr. Ritter… the issue of TAXES?

      RUDOLPH:  My people must sacrifice toward the goal of a perfect state.
      We must raise more military industrial complex funds, we must expand
      our boundaries for our population!  And, people with GREEN HAIR should
      be quarantined or….even deported because they do not support a
      strong military.
      (supporters, stamp, stamp, clap : We will , we will stomp you)

      FLEUR:  Well, Mr. Rudolph the Red Nosed Ritter….whatever!  You’ve
      got my green hair on end.  Taxes for expansion of military?  Hm…
      that’s anti-peace.  We need more taxes for the care of our
      environment.  You like to breathe clean air, and eat good food, surely
      Mr. Ritter??? And as for you and your goggle-faced, tight-lipped
      lapdog……. Do you ever eat VEGGIES????


      ACTION:  MC:  OH-OH, here we go again…..!
      •    RUDOLPLH AND GOGGLES BOTH ATTEMPT TO ATTACK FLEUR AND ROBINETTE,
      WHO USE WATER SPRAY AND THROW CELERY AT THEM ,
      •    WHILE RUDOLPH & GOOGLES USE THEIR PLASTIC BATS TO DEFRAY THE
      FLYING CELERY.
      •    WATER SPRAY REACHES WILLIE WHO PERKS UP AGAIN.


      WILLIE:  (reacting to the ‘wake up by water spray) What? What?
      It’s a commie plot, I tell you.  Just say NO. Hey, where are my
      jellybeans?

      MARGERINE:  What evah is going on?  I think we are talking about
      taxes, you senile lone ranger.  (Mommy & Willie react, offended)
      Anyway, it’s time for ME to express my opinion, and I think it’s
      long overdue….
      No more taxes on luxuries!  We need to pamper ourselves for awhile.
      I’m even willing to have a concert to raise money for the poor
      people who don’t have red shoes, just like mine.  There!  Luxuries
      for everyone.  Tax Free… Ok, hit it kids
      (3 kids enter singing “Money makes the World go round”, world go
      round, world go round…..but saying MONGO instead of money)

 

      optional:  A CURRENT POLITICAL ISSUE COULD BE ADDED HERE FOR EACH
      CANDIDATE TO RESPOND TO…..

      Then, the play goes into Act II   where the secrets and intrigue
      creates quite a contention at the convention!

 

[end of extract]



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