First read this.
I decided to write the story as a one act play. In addition to letting me make some funny word puns, I had a great time exploring a world where image files competed for photoshoppery, and couldn’t resist some mockery of political commentary too. Enjoy.
The Scalzorc/Clown Wheaton/Kittytrice Auditions
A One Act Play
by Stephen Toulouse
HORN.PSD: An up and coming young Photoshop element.
FACE.PSD: An established element who is widely recognized as being the most talented element of his generation. Unfortunately he is well aware of it.
SWEATER.PSD: A former brilliant element, who’s nearing the end of his career and has been criticized of late for not taking his craft seriously anymore.
CROTCH.PSD: A handsome and chiseled element, about whom not much is known.
LAVA.PSD: Considered by many to be the finest character actor element of his generation, with a long and storied career. His professionalism and talent are only reinforced by his comfort at being typecast.
MOUSE CURSOR: In charge of representing the interests of MR. ZUGALE.
MR. ZUGALE [OFF STAGE]: The mysterious orchestrator of the events.
[Our setting is an open file folder on a computer desktop. Moderately furnished, if a bit drab, it is clearly a waiting room of some type. A small table with refreshments sits off to the side, and there are five chairs spaced throughout. FACE.PSD and SWEATER.PSD are absentmindedly flipping through magazines, LAVA.PSD and CROTCH.PSD are chatting quietly. HORN.PSD drops into the folder on the side opposite the refreshments. He takes in the room, clearly recognizing it’s filled with some well known talent]
HORN.PSD: Oh. My. God. Mr. Sweater.psd! Mr. Face.psd! It is such an honor to even be auditioning for a project with you.
SWEATER.PSD: [grunts] Thanks kid. Liked your work on that Last Unicorn remake poster.
FACE.PSD: [waves dismissively]
HORN.PSD: Thanks, that’s why my agent thought this was a great pickup gig. But I’m excited about the part. I mean, a horned flying kitten? I’ve been really working hard creating the horn and the history and back-story around it.
SWEATER.PSD: [bored] Sure kid.
HORN.PSD: [Crestfallen, but spots the refreshments table]: Snacks!
FACE.PSD: [snorts] It’s all CGA. Big squares of yellow and cyan. Fucking cyan. You can always tell a cheap outfit when the refreshments are cyan.
[HORN.PSD shrugs and goes to the table. FACE.PSD notices CROTCH.PSD and walks over to him]
FACE.PSD: [sensing competition] These auditions are crazy aren’t they?
CROTCH.PSD: [nervously] Well truth be told this is my first normal one. What part are you going for?
FACE.PSD: [boldly] The face of clown sweater guy.
CROTCH.PSD: [shocked] Really? Won’t they just go with a stock image for him?
FACE.PSD: [relieved that obviously CROTCH.PSD is not competition, but also slightly offended] Oh I’m pretty sure I can make them rethink that choice.
CROTCH.PSD: But it would be his actual face. How will you compete with–
FACE.PSD [Interrupts indignantly]: Do you have any idea who you are talking to? All those wrinkle free faces of older actresses on movie posters, you think that was stock? DO YOU? What have you done compared to that?
CROTCH.PSD: Actually I’ve done mostly uh…exotic…uh adult sort of…
FACE.PSD: [maliciously amused, loudly] You’re in porn?
[HORN.PSD snaps his fingers and turns from the refreshments]
HORN.PSD: [to CROTCH.PSD] I thought you looked familiar!
[HORN.PSD immediately looks chagrined as ALL stop what they are doing and look at him]
SWEATER.PSD: What are you trying out for here?
CROTCH.PSD: Well, the orc crotch actually. It’s still where my skills lie, but this will be a chance for me to break into legitimate image work.
FACE.PSD: And you don’t think your storied career stimulating 13 year olds will hamper you here?
CROTCH.PSD: well no actually, most of the stuff I did was really weird Japanese stuff. Not a lot of people saw it. Real niche stuff, you know, hentai and beast monsters and schoolgirls.
[ALL look at HORN.PSD again. Not knowing what to do, HORN.PSD stares back blankly]
HORN.PSD: So, Mr. Sweater.psd you’re obviously going for the part of the clown sweater. What do you think it’s motivations are for being so…
[HORN.PSD realizes he’s trying to talk shop with a hero of his and locks up for a second]
SWEATER.PSD [annoyed]: Kid you want some advice? You’re taking the part too seriously. I think you’re a little green for the horn part. You should get some more experience under your belt. This thing’s going to get a lot of eyes, it’s for an important charity.
[HORN.PSD is shocked that he just got dissed by a hero of his, then angry. ALL besides HORN.PSD and SWEATER.PSD suddenly pretend to be deeply engaged in not being a part of the argument]
HORN.PSD: [angry in a way only a young successful person whose talent has just been questioned can be] Oh I need more experience? I’m not taking it seriously? What about you? I used to look up to you. Now all you do is lens flare to emote anger. It’s your go-to trick. All your characters are the same now!
SWEATER.PSD: [angry in a way that only an older successful person whose talent has just been questioned can be] That’s not true!
HORN.PSD: It is true, it’s like you’re not even challenged anymore!
SWEATER.PSD: Be quiet!
HORN.PSD: Look at me I’m an angry wall texture!
[HORN.PSD applies lens flare]
SWEATER.PSD: Stop it.
HORN.PSD: Look at me I’m an angry star field!
[HORN.PSD applies lens flare]
SWEATER.PSD: Stop it!
HORN.PSD [pushing it too far] How are you going to lens flare a sweater?
[SWEATER.PSD applies lens flare]
SWEATER.PSD: [enraged, stands up] I SAID STOP IT!
[There is a pause as ALL look at SWEATER.PSD. SWEATER.PSD realizes he’s overreacted. SWEATER.PSD sits back down in his seat.]
SWEATER.PSD: [quietly] The sweater’s not angry kid, the wearer is. I don’t know. Maybe your right. Maybe I’m not challenged. You ever feel that way Lava? I mean, all you get cast as is lava.
[HORN.PSD realizes he has shamed a hero of his and looks guilty.]
LAVA.PSD: Not really. A lot of people wouldn’t be satisfied having career of just character work like that. But you know I’ve made a great living, and it’s kind of nice being known like that. Anytime anyone needs solid, serviceable lava portrayal, they use me. And let’s face it, stories are always going to need at least a little lava. That’s the real reason the first two Star Wars prequels were so terrible. They didn’t have lava until the third one.
FACE.PSD: [surprised] You were in that one?
LAVA.PSD: [laughs] No way. Stars were lining up to take that part, even though they’d normally never take a part that small. I heard even that water tentacle from The Abyss auditioned. You cant compete with that kind of star power.
CROTCH.PSD: Even though it’s for a charity, you guys think we will get anything for this?
LAVA.PSD: Oh I doubt it. I’m just doing it to keep myself visible, out there working.
CROTCH.PSD: Yeah I’m doing it for the visibility too.
FACE.PSD: I don’t think you need any more visibility.
CROTCH.PSD: Changing the subject, why is clown sweater guy angry? And what in the heck is he riding? I’m still trying to figure out the plot here.
FACE.PSD: [to CROTCH.PSD] Not too bright are you Dirk Diggler? [to all] It’s clearly a Lynchian style analysis of the Bush administration and the transition to the Obama administration’s policies as told through metaphor. The angry clown sweater man is quite obviously the policies of the Bush administration, which were both angry and clowny. The orc being green clearly represents the different skin tone of Obama, ready to fight off the policies. But note how they wish to depict the orc holding the axe? No effective warrior would wield an axe in that manner. This is clearly a critique of Obama’s rhetoric and promises being sharp edged, but ultimately useless and ineffective.
[there is a pause]
ALL: [to FACE.PSD] What?
CROTCH.PSD: Then what’s the beast that clown sweater guy is riding?
LAVA.PSD: Oh that’s a Kittytrice. It’s often mistaken for a Pegapuss because of the horse hindquarters. But I’m not sure what mythology they are pulling from to put a unicorn horn on it. Usually it has a rhino horn topped with a big red clown nose and is wearing cute oversized yellow sunglasses. My guess is they are going for a grittier feel.
HORN.PSD [obviously dismayed]: Oh that’s just great. You mean I’m playing something outside of an established continuity with a fan base who’s sure to complain? I swear I’m going to kill my agent.
CROTCH.PSD: Tell me about it. Once I was in this Hentai image where the schoolgirl’s outfit was the wrong color and the tentacles weren’t nearly far enough inside the–"
FACE.PSD: We really don’t need to hear any more.
CROTCH.PSD: But I was wondering what the Kittytrice represents?
FACE.PSD: Oh that’s easy, the American public, who were whipped into a frenzy by the Bush policies into being something they’re not. That’s probably why they made the Kittytrice violent instead of cute.
SWEATER.PSD: Wait, so Obama is trying to kill both the Bush administration’s policies *and* the American public? In what reality does that happen?
FACE.PSD: Have you ever watched Fox News?
[OFF STAGE rim shot]
CROTCH.PSD: Then…what’s the spear?
FACE.PSD: [unsure suddenly] Katrina?
LAVA.PSD: [confused] I would have thought the lava/volcano part was Katrina.
SWEATER.PSD: And wouldn’t it make more sense for angry clown sweater guy to be the American public riding the Obama Kittytrice to kill the OrcBush with the spear of…what the hell is the spear anyways?
HORN.PSD: That doesn’t make sense because Obama’s policies have turned out to not be radically different from the worst of Bush’s policies in terms of wiretapping or authorizing the assassination of American citizens for example.
CROTCH.PSD: So the spear is Obama killing the bush policies with policies that aren’t that different from Bush’s?
FACE.PSD: This is far deeper a work than I suspected.
HORN.PSD: I’m not sure you can really apply a political filter to this. Maybe the orc is an orc, the beast is a mere means of transportation, and the angry clown sweater man is an unfortunately dressed person who hates orcs, all put together with the sole intent of generating competing theories as to what it all means?
LAVA.PSD: What does that make the volcano and the lava?
CROTCH.PSD: The elements that, as you mentioned, tip it over into awesome.
[MOUSE CURSOR enters from STAGE RIGHT]
MOUSE CURSOR: All right everyone I have an announcement.
[ALL gather around MOUSE CURSOR]
MOUSE CURSOR: I would like to thank you all so much for your time in showing up today. I regret to inform you that Mr. Zugale has decided to go in a different direction with the project. He will actually be painting using real world oils and canvas as opposed to creating the work in electronically. You should all be very proud of your capabilities, and Mr. Zugale is happy to work with you on other projects in the future. I’m sorry things didn’t turn out like we expected but we love your enthusiasm and thank you again for your time.
[MOUSE CURSOR EXITS, stage lights dim quickly from top to bottom]
HORN.PSD: [uncertainly] Well surely someone will remake the painting in Photoshop?