Theatre, arts, culture, politics, and snark from a practicing playwright and recovering journalist.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Bombardment, Episode 17: A Bomb Finds Its X
Splattworks continues its presentation of Bombardment, a two-act drama by Steve Patterson. The author will attempt to post an installment each day, but, if events intercede, installments could arrive a day or so apart. So please be patient.
PLACID: Now it's us. We got the stuff, and all them hustlers and upstarts want what we got. They're the ones gunning for us. Plotting. Closing in. Checking out the scene.
CARMELITA: There's something here, Placid. But I don’t think--
PLACID: You can't see them. Not ‘till they're ready to make their move. Remember back? Remember us?
CARMELITA: I never planned any moves.
PLACID: Don't be funny.
CARMELITA: I'm not being funny. I never planned.
PLACID: You never?
CARMELITA: What would I plan for?
PLACID: You can't mean that. Of course you planned.
CARMELITA: I haven't planned a thing since the day I was born, and someone planned that for me.
PLACID: I save and plot and eat shit. You just go along, and it happens?
CARMELITA: Don't feel bad. Please don't feel bad. It could of gone the other way. Easy. Oh, Placid.
PLACID: Makes me feel like a moron.
CARMELITA: It's luck, that's all. It has nothing to do with being dumb or smart. You’re smart. You're just not lucky yet.
CARMELITA: Luck comes. Because you haven't had it before doesn't mean it can't find you. Look how smart you must be, getting here without luck. You must be the smartest person I know.
PLACID: Smarter than Mr. Corno?
CARMELITA: I don't know a Mr. Corno. Not anymore. I knew him once, but that was then. We sent him away! We did. With your smarts and my luck! You think I could have done that by myself? You think I could have planned it?
PLACID: Would you have?
CARMELITA: How do you mean?
PLACID: I don't know that you would have without me.
CARMELITA: Well, Placid, what I would or wouldn't do doesn't matter much, because we did, didn't we?
PLACID: That's what you don't understand.
CARMELITA: See? You gotta' be smart, the way you can talk at something without saying it.
PLACID: There are a lot more like me out there than there are like you.
CARMELITA: How do you mean?
In the background, ARETHA and CORNO mirror each other with slow rhythmic movements.
PLACID: They're out there. Millions of them. They've been raised to want it. It's all they know and all they want to know. Like a missile, they're preprogrammed. Until they reach that target, you're either in their way or out of it. A clock tells time, it don't ask what time is. A bomb finds its X, it don't care who's standing there.
ARETHA's and CORNO's movements gradually propel them forward. As they advance, thin cords unspool from them like webs from a spider. They begin to circle PLACID and CARMELITA, drawing them into the lines.
Steve Patterson has written over 50 plays, with works staged in Portland, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Austin, Tampa, and other U.S. cities as well as in Canada and New Zealand. His works include: Waiting on Sean Flynn, Next of Kin, Farmhouse, Malaria, Shelter, Altered States of America, The Continuing Adventures of Mr. Grandamnus, Bluer Than Midnight, Bombardment, Dead of Winter, and Delusion of Darkness. In 2006, his bittersweet Lost Wavelengths was a mainstage selection at Portland Center Stage's JAW/West festival, and, in 2008, won the Oregon Book Award (he also was an OBA finalist in 1992 and 2002). In 1997, he won the inaugural Portland Civic Theatre Guild Fellowship for his play Turquoise and Obsidian.