Archive for the ‘Valedictorian’ Tag

Final Scene   Leave a comment

Valedictorian and Brooke enter, from opposite sides.

Brooke: Valedictorian!
Valedictorian: Ah, look, the Undead Queen.
Brooke: It’s Prosperina! Where’s your minion, you bully?
Valedictorian: He’s my boyfriend, and he’s been taken. I need assistance. I believe you offered? Is the offer still standing?
Brooke: No! You’re weak! I can take you! And then I’ll be the hero!
Valedictorian: Pizza Girl will still be the hero. You’ll just be the afterthought. As always. But there’s always room for one more villain.

A beat, as Brooke considers.

Brooke (shouting): Help! Help! Someone save me!
Valedictorian: What are you doing?
Brooke: Help! I’m being attacked! I’m right over here! Someone come save me!

Valedictorian attacks her, but Brooke easily fends her off.

Brooke: Help! Help me! Help!
Maggie and Emily enter. Maggie grabs Valedictorian from behind, pinning her arms. Valedictorian screams and kicks her legs. When she stops, Emily grabs her feet.

Maggie: Hey, Proserpina –
Emily: Brooke –
Maggie: Are you okay?
Brooke: I’m good.
Maggie: Okay.
Emily: What now? Do we hand her over to the police?
Maggie: No, she always manages to get her away somehow. Let’s bring her into custody ourselves, and make sure she doesn’t get away this time.

They start exiting.

Emily: I’m sorry I brought a strange guy over without your permission.
Maggie: I’m sorry I cause so much trouble.
Emily: Nah, it’s fun. You’re my sister.
Maggie: Sister from another mister.
Emily: Sister from another hyster!
Maggie: Hah!

They exit.

Brooke has watched them go. She smiles.

Brooke: I’m so good. I’m the best. One hero and one villain. One town. And now that the Valedictorian is out of the way…no one is going to stop me.

Penultimate scene   Leave a comment

Emily is tied up and held in the middle of several force-field-emitters. She has the mind-control Machine on her head. Valedictorian and Robster are fiddling with the other Machine.

Valedictorian: The Machine is primed! All we need now the location to send our signal! Which is…the White House! What’s the address for the White House?
Robster: You don’t know?
Valedictorian: Do you? Is it 1400 or 1600?
Robster: I don’t know.
Valedictorian: Well, find out!

Robster goes to get his phone.

Emily: I know the answer. You want the White House, don’t you? I know the address to the White House. It’s 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Valedictorian: Should we trust her?
Robster: We do have her tied up and at our mercy.
Valedictorian: Yes, so she’s trying to bargain with us. Watch this, I’ll trick her.

Maggie enters. She spots a bottle of chloroform and a rag sitting on a table. She picks up the chloroform and the rag, pours some chloroform on the rag, and sneaks up on Robster.

Valedictorian: Alright, fffffriend, if you tell us what we want to know, then we will set you free.
Emily: It’s 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Valedictorian: Aha! I was lying! I was never going to set you free!

Chloroform takes a while to work. Robster and Maggie get into a silent, furious fight.

Emily: Hah! I was lying! It’s 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!
Valedictorian: You can’t lie. You’re a hostage!
Emily: Then which one is it? Is it 1400 or 1600? You’ll never know.
Valedictorian: She beat me at my own game! Robster! Robster?

Robster has lost the game. So have you.

Valedictorian: So! You have defeated my boyfriend! You think you’re so clever! You can’t hurt me – I’m the one who knows how to deactivate the force fields holding your little friend hostage! In fact, if I turn the power up more, maybe it will start to get a little buzzy over there…
Maggie: Whoa whoa whoa! What do you want, Valedictorian?
Valedictorian: What do I want? I want the same thing I have always wanted! I want the world at my fingertips! I want all the power and all the money to do anything I have ever wanted! I’m going to use my power to negotiate with the President of the United States! The whole world will be at my disposal!
Maggie: Power? What power? All you have is a science lab your boyfriend pays for. You can’t even stand up in a fight!
Valedictorian: You fools place too much emphasis on physical strength.

She flips the switch or pulls the lever or whatever. Emily screams and goes limp. Maggie runs for Emily.

Valedictorian: Do you see those emitters? They emit photons at 299,792,458 meters per second!

Maggie stops and stares at Emily. Emily suddenly sits up straight.

Emily: Where am I? What is this place? Seriously, where am I?

She looks down at her body and freaks out.

Valedictorian: It worked!

She cackles.

Valedictorian: Mr. President, I have switched your mind with that of a feeble-minded college student! I have, in my possession, a virus that grants me access to the entire entire. Every line of code, every small bit of information, it is all mine. Now, I’m willing to offer the country a deal, Mr. President.
Emily: I’m not the president. I’m a White House intern.
Valedictorian: What?
Emily: I’m just an intern. They didn’t prepare me for this!
Valedictorian: No, that’s not true.
Emily: This is impossible.

Emily collapses.

Valedictorian: No…no! My brilliant Machine! My plan! It’s all useless now!

She runs offstage. This leaves Maggie and Emily alone onstage. Maggie looks back and forth between the exit and Emily, caught in indecision. She first walks one way, then another. Then she examines the force-field-emitters. Then she walks back to the exit. Then she looks at the emitters again. She holds her hand close to the field being generated, fearfully. Then, still fearful, she pushes her hand closer and closer to the force field…and then runs her hand through the whole thing. Having done so safely, she laughs.

Maggie: It’s just light.

She goes to Emily and sits her up, unties her. She taps Emily’s face a few times, but Emily fails to wake up. Maggie goes to the workstation, finds an item she finds particularly smelly, and then goes and waves it under Emily’s nose. Emily wakes up, coughing.

Maggie: Who am I talking to?
Emily: What?
Maggie: What’s your name?
Emily: Emily…Emily Snab. We’ve been best friends since fifth grade.
Maggie: Good. Are you feeling okay?
Emily: I have just the worst headache. What happened? I dreamt I was sitting at in a cubicle. People were ordering lunch.
Maggie: I’ll explain later. The bad guy got away.
Emily: What? We have to go catch them.
Maggie: You’re not in any condition to move.

But Emily has already stood up. She stumbles a bit, but then regains her balance and starts heading for the exit. Emily and Maggie exit.

Short but Sweet   Leave a comment

Maggie enters, frantic. She could enter into the audience, I don’t know. She enters is the point.

Maggie is asking where Emily is, calling for Emily, etc. etc. I don’t really feel like I need to write that out. She could even ask audience members where Emily is.

On the stage, Robster enters, dragging Emily, covering up her mouth so she can’t talk. Valedictorian follows, cackling. Maggie continues calling for Emily, but Emily can’t call out to her. Robster, Emily, and the Valedictorian exit.

The Mole enters.

Maggie: Mole! Hey, Mole!
Mole: I have a name, you now. It’s Maximilian Bartholomew Fieldworthington-Smythe the third.
Maggie: Have you seen Emily?
Mole: I have seen many Emilys.
Maggie: Have you seen my Emily?
Mole: Which one is that?
Maggie: Go away.

The Mole exits.

Maggie: There’s only one more place to look.

Pizza Boy and Maggie: the exciting conclusion to the team-up   Leave a comment

At Burger Down Under, an Australian-themed cheap burger joint. Valedictorian is working on a new laptop. Robster is watching her, but he is bored. There are other people sitting at the restaurant: specifically, Kurt is sitting at one table, looking at his cell phone and eating, and two policemen are sitting out of Valedictorian and Robster’s sight.

Robster: This seems weird.
Valedictorian: This won’t take much time.
Robster: But we’re here without buying anything. Isn’t that weird? People come here to eat. Well, they come inside to eat.
Valedictorian: You just want a burger.
Robster: Yes, a Queensland Burger with some Great Sandy Fries. Do you want anything?
Valedictorian: A Victorian Shake. And curly fries.
Robster: You can just share some of my fries.
Valedictorian: I don’t share.
Robster: Ashley…
Valedictorian: I don’t like the extra spices on the Sandy fries. Who eats food called Sandy anyway? What were they thinking?
Robster: That they’re delicious. I’ll be back soon.

He kisses her cheek and exits. Valedictorian works at the laptop silently. Maggie enters, with a bag of food and a soda. She stops and looks at the Valedictorian. She visibly tries to decide if she should approach her or not. A decision is weighed and measured. Then she sighs and approaches the Valedictorian.

Maggie: Oh hey Valedictorian, what are you doing?
Valedictorian: I’m almost there. (she registers who is speaking) Pizza…Girl. My, how you’ve grown. I’m checking my Facebook while my boyfriend buys lunch.
Maggie: Oh.
Valedictorian: Does that defy your expectations? Did you assume that we were constantly committing some crime? That our every waking minute was spent writhing in pure illegality?
Maggie: No.
Valedictorian: Hmf.
Maggie: You just don’t strike me as the kind of person who has a Facebook account.
Valedictorian: Well I do. Facebook is wonderful! You can catch up with all your friends, old and new. See what they’re doing. See what they’re interested in. See where they go, when they’re they’re not at home, where they might live, their favorite activities, their birthday, their anniversaries, their job, their potential income, old addresses, the names of their children and pets, events they attend, what they had for lunch. You see, this is called data, and everyone uses the same data to create things. Identities. Passwords. The same thing that attracts marketers to the gold mine of demographic information is the very same thing that attracts bad people, bad people like me. I can use this information and can become more powerful than anyone ever imagined. Imagine I could hack into your Facebook account and see that your brother is in Nairobi and that your Uncle’s cat is named Marty McFly. (That is, indeed, where Maggie’ brother is and her uncle’s cat is indeed Marty McFly) Now imagine that you are very stupid, which shouldn’t be very hard. Stupid people have bad memories. They use the same passwords over and over and over again. Maybe you think you’re smart, and you rotate through six different passwords. But you still need to remember those passwords. You grab them from little memorable bits of your life. Your Uncle’s cat is Marty McFly, and his bank is First Commonwealth, and he was born May 12, 1962 and graduated from Portland State University on May 28, 1984. And imagine that, his password is HeyMcFly056284. I can do that for anyone, at any time, using only the information on their Facebook page, which I am now free to peruse thanks to my little virus that allows me to run amok through the channels of whatever website I choose to upload it.

Robster enters with food and sits down, distributing food between the two of them. Maggie has not moved this entire time. Valedictorian continues uninterrupted. Everyone is listening to her now.

Valedictorian: No one checks their bank account every day. No one will notice if one or two dollars goes missing. Most thieves make a mistake. They do one or two dollars, just to see if the system works, and then they make a giant purchase. Something noticeable. But I am patient. I have access to millions of people’s information. I will use it to my ends. You’re very clever, getting me to reveal all of this. But no matter. There’s nothing anyone can do about it anyway.

The two police officers stand up.

First Police Officer: That sounded like a confession to me.
Second Police Officer: We might need to continue this conversation elsewhere.
Robster: But the fries just came out of the fryer.

Brooke enters.

Valedictorian (to Maggie): You set this all up, didn’t you? You clever bitch.
First Police Officer: We can take it from here.

The Police Officers handcuff Valedictorian and Robster. Robster continues protesting about leaving the fries behind.

Second Police Officer: Great work, Pizza Girl. I wish we had more heroes like you in the city.

The police officers lead Valedictorian and Robster offstage. They nearly run into Brooke, who has to step aside to let them by.

Brooke: I can’t believe it. I thought you were going to call me if you found something. I thought we were a team. I guess there’s only room for one hero in this town.

Brooke exits. Maggie continues to just stand in the same place as before.

Kurt picks up his phone and dials. He picks up one of Robster’s fries, gives a small wave to Maggie, and exits.

I will never give her inventions clever names, they will always be The Machine   Leave a comment

Valedictorian: Do you know what this machine does, Maggie?
Maggie: No?
Valedictorian: Did you know that the human body is the perfect conduit for quantum energy, Maggie?
Maggie: No?
Valedictorian: Well I did! And if my calculations are correct (and they are, because I am the Valedictorian, the smartest person in my graduating class), then once this machine is turned on, I will have all the energy I need to destroy the White House! But you won’t be around for all that! You will be the first meal for my machine! No matter. It’s only a pity that you won’t see the anarchy, and your beloved Washington D.C. burning to ashes!

This exchange always bothered me. Even when I first wrote it. Even when I sent it off to Sterling Playmakers for consideration in their one-act play. Even as the wonderful Sara Gray and Leandra Lynn memorized it and performed it with proper hamminess. I just…always hated it. For the first several drafts, this exchange was simply [mad science]

Part of the reason I hate it is for the same reason The Matrix doesn’t work: humans are a terrible conductor of energy. I knew it then. I know it now. But the Machine had to be deadly. Just, like, lethal, all the time, for sciencey purposes.

Now I’ve written several plays, some with Valedictorian, all with Maggie in them. I have a much better sense of the characters. The Valedictorian is driven by a need to control everything, and also she needs funding, desperately. She’s callous and immoral and doesn’t really care who lives and who dies, except that she would prefer to live (and maybe Robster can live too). The Valedictorian that I know wouldn’t actively try to kill someone. That would be a waste of everyone’s time.

The problem is that I love this exchange so much:

Valedictorian: It’s 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Or is it 1400? I always forget.
Rob: I think 1400 is from that Simpsons episode where Lisa was the President.
Valedictorian: Really?
Rob: I think. Now you have me confused.

This makes me giggle even years after I’ve written it. I can’t even explain why. There are funnier lines. There are more clever exchanges. I don’t even think this got a laugh when it was performed. But I can’t make myself get rid of it. And because I can’t get rid of it, I’m stuck with the terrible mad science above. Without that dialogue, Valedictorian and Robster have no reason to remember the address for the White House.

…Unless the Valedictorian wants to try to exchange brains with the President and needs to make sure that the Machine works without killing either subject?

Oh man that could totally work.

It turns out that character development isn’t as much fun as supervillainy   1 comment

Valedictorian’s lab. Brooke enters. Rob is sitting to the side, playing a game on his phone or texting or something. Valedictorian is doing some sort of chemistry thing. She pours a thing into a thing. A change of some sort.

Valedictorian: Aha, yes, but.

She pours a thing into another thing. A different reaction.

Valedictorian: Are you seeing this?
Rob (not even looking): Yes.

Brooke clears her throat.

Valedictorian: Who dares disturb my research?
Brooke: I am known as Prosperina, Queen of the Dead.
Valedictorian: Yes, the Dead Queen.
Brooke: Prosperina!
Valedictorian: What do you want?
Brooke: I have a proposal. A way to eliminate Pizza Girl.
Valedictorian: You have my attention.
Brooke: Think. What is her greatest weakness?

Valedictorian looks at Rob, who is still playing on his phone.

Valedictorian: Well she has a nicer car than Pizza Boy.
Brooke: Technology! She can’t handle technology. It’s how you eliminated Pizza Boy.
Valedictorian: She can’t be found. She can’t be lured. She’s too strong to be taken now. What you’re suggesting is impossible.
Brooke: She can be. With the right bait.
Valedictorian: She cannot be lured. We have tried. We…failed.
Brooke: She cares nothing for the reporter. You have to take Emily instead.
Valedictorian: Emily?
Brooke: Her best friend, Emily. It is an especially good time. They recently had a fight. Their feelings for each other are sore. Mag…Pizza Girl won’t be in her right mind.
Valedictorian: Who is this Emily? What is she like?
Brooke: She reads comic books and hangs out on tumblr all the time. She’s a silly girl.
Valedictorian: Who is her favorite hero?
Brooke: Heat Shield.
Valedictorian: There’s a movie coming out with her soon!
Brooke: Yes, but they’re having trouble finding a director for the film. I don’t think it will be any good.
Valedictorian: But there is a movie! That’s the important thing!
Brooke: So the plan is, I will lure Emily to you, and you will use technology to defeat Pizza Girl, and then there will be only one hero in this town!
Valedictorian: I am not your minion. Dead Queen.
Brooke: I am Prosperina!
Valedictorian: You want to kidnap someone? That sounds like awfully villainous.
Brooke: I’m not a villain. I just can’t get what I want.
Valedictorian: Neither can I. I can’t get any university funding for my experiments. So I have to scrabble and scrap to support my research.
Brooke: I just want everything to be safe. I just don’t want there to be bad guys anymore.
Valedictorian: And you would do anything to do it.
Brooke: Yes.

Valedictorian opens a lockbox and pulls some cash out from it. She begins throwing the cash at Brooke.

Valedictorian: Here’s what it is! Here are your morals! Here are your ethics! Here’s what hurt you! Here’s all you really want! Here’s what we took from you! Here’s what the bad guys want! Take it! That’s all you want!
Brooke: No! Stop it! Stop it! I don’t want it! I just want Pizza Girl gone! I want it to be my fault!
Valedictorian: Well it won’t be! I am not here to do your bidding! Get your own minion, you useless Dead Peasant!

Prosperina runs offstage, crying. Valedictorian begins picking up the cash she threw on the ground.

Valedictorian: Who is this Emily, anyway?
Rob (reading from his phone): She’s a student at Greensboro University.
Valedictorian: Of course she is.
Rob: She reblogged a lot of articles by the reporter Kurt Gallagher. And here’s a picture of them.

He shows Valedictorian, who peers at the phone.

Valedictorian: Then I think we have to find this Kurt Gallagher again to learn more.