“Smile/frown”

An Absurd play in one act


She is all dizzying light and windows. 

He is the endless gray sky before dawn.


They are Gray and Day. 


CHARACTERS:

Day

Gray

God

Jesus, God’s son


PLACE: 

A bus stop


TIME:

The present. Around evening: mid-October.


(Enter Gray with both of his hands behind his back. He is dressed in drab clothing. His mannerisms and movements are strained. He paces the stage, head dipped gently in deep contemplation.)


Gray: Life, life, life… (Pause) What is it, anyway? (Pause) What is it but a never-ending play repeated again and again till the lines grow old? (resumes pacing) We live, die, rot - sometimes doing all at the same time- with a practised indifference till, fatigued, we fall, (Gray stops pacing in front of the bench and slumps into the right corner of it) finally able to place a dot at the end of our life sentence. (Pause) A fatal full stop! Isn’t that funny? 


(Gray laughs wryly, and then slumps back, resigned. 

~

Inexplicable HUMMING is suddenly heard in background. Gradually, HUMMING grows louder.

Day enters. She skips in with infantile abandon, completely unaware of the presence of the audience. She is the one whistling. As she approaches, she sings the chorus of U2’s “ Beautiful Day”. Having walked halfway across the stage, she suddenly notices Gray, exclaims delightedly “Oh!” and proceeds to sit gleefully next to him. Gray sneaks a glance at Day, is horrified, and instinctively edges away, trying very hard to ignore her. Day looks directly at Gray, hands poised to talk to him animatedly. A comical moment follows as this shuffling continues until Gray almost falls off the bench and is hence forced to look up at Day.)


Day: Hello sunshine! Who are you waiting for?

Gray: I-I… don’t know. Does it matter?
Day: Yes! (Flashes incredulous stare) We all are waiting for someone. 

Gray: Well…

Day: (impatiently) Well…?

Gray: I’m waiting for God to come down.

Day: (delightedly) Cool! Can I wait with you?


(Pause. Gray Shrugs.)


Day: So… I was thinking very hard today. Pondering, you know, the all-important questions we all think of sometime; things like “What is the meaning of life?” and “What is this God-person like, anyway?” and it left me wondering about… (Pause) Balloons. 

Gray: Wh-what? 

Day:  Balloons! I mean, God. We all know he has time to deliver crying souls, save the world… but what about the small things? Sometimes it’s the small things like, for example, seeing a balloon billowing into the blue sky that really matters. Puts a smile on your face. Like seeing wings in the sky or seeing your name streaked in mud on a concrete wall. You know, (in a conspiring whisper) the little clues that show us God does, indeed, exist. 

Gray: Well… there really is nothing to lose, is there?

Day: Hmm? (Leans over and peeks at Gray)

Gray: Ask for it-- pray. God knows; he may just come right down and give you what you want.

Day: (gasping) What an awesome idea! I think I’ll do exactly that!


(Day stands up and walks to centre of stage. She kneels down in front of stage, and commences a very elaborate, illustrious prayer. Lights dim as this happens, and spotlight falls on Day.)


Day: God, creator of the world, of love, life and everything; today, I kneel before your awesome power with a humble request to deliver unto us… balloons. Thank you and Amen! 


(Lights return. Day stands up and hops back to bench. She hugs her legs and rocks back and forth excitedly.)

 

Day: And now we wait! This is so exciting!


(A pause. GOD enters. GOD is dressed completely in celebrity white with huge sign “GOD” printed in bold print on his front. He has the aura of a fallen movie star who, having experienced the vagaries of fame, has tired and abandoned it for the simple pleasures of life. I.e. Alcohol. 

He staggers on stage half-stoned, holding a bottle of alcohol under one arm and black and yellow balloons in the other. GOD walks up to audience and waves with empty hand.)


GOD: (to audience) Hello, children!


(GOD walks up to Gray and Day.)


GOD: Were you two talking about me? 


(GOD hands yellow balloon to Gray.)


Gray: This does not mean I believe you exist.

GOD: Does it matter? (Laughing) No, no… What matters most is balloons (hands blue balloon to Day)!

Day: (excitedly) You came! You actually came- like in a book! Are you real?


(GOD smiles and twirls around.)


GOD: Real as real is. You were mentioning something about me not existing? (At Gray, laughing) If I’m not unmistaken, I’m as real as you (laughs again heartily and prods Gray).


(Beat.)

(Gray backs off, standing up angrily when GOD pokes him)


Gray: Wait a minute there! You can’t possibly- no- no… How can you exist? After, after—everything! The world is doomed. Humanity is as good as dead. History has proofed it! (He points to Day) And you- you- turn up, like this! It’s outrageous- it’s crazy- it’s downright scandalous!

(Silence.)

GOD: I’m… hurt. I thought I did myself well here (waves around drunkenly). 

GOD: (to audience) Don’t you think it’s beautiful?

(Silence.)


GOD: Well, I still think my son did a good job with the whole “body and blood, bread and wine” thing. Even I can’t get enough of the stuff (takes bottle of alcohol under arm and guzzles it down).


(GOD’s son rushes onto stage right on cue. He has some obvious emblem on him such as a crown of thorns and a huge cross that make him instantly recognizable as Jesus.)


Son: Was this where you’ve been all along? (Angrily) I told you not to go anywhere alone. But did you listen? Nooooo, you did not…  You left me, again! Do you know how long I’ve been made to wait for you? 


(GOD is a petulant silent.)


Son: Well, I’m telling you anyway. (Pointing to wrist) Two hundred years! Two hundred god-blessed years!

GOD: But, but… I just had to give these 2 poor chaps here balloons (twirls finger towards Day and Gray)--

Son: Look here, old man! The next time I catch you giving balloons to poor strangers, death by thunder is going to be best you can hope for!

GOD: (to Gray and Day) I’m sorry. He does this all the time. The best thing is to ignore it, really.


(Son rushes GOD offstage, leaving Gray and Day looking very bemused. Day stands up and dusts her dress.)


Day: Well, that’s it, then. (She starts removing outer clothing.) I’ve done what I’ve come to do. I’ll be going now. I hope you’ve had some time to think about what you just saw.  


Gray: Wait! What was that about?


(Day rips off rest of clothing, revealing a pair of small white wings.)


Day: Well, I’m your guardian angel!

 

(Day exits. Gray is left with only a single yellow balloon. He gazes at it for a while, silent.)


Gray: Life…

(Gray pauses and, slowly, begins to smile.

Lights fade out.)

 

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