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Spiderweb

This play was produced by Theatre Babylon as part of its entry into Seattle's Unsinkable Fringe Theatre Festival 2000, a collection of short pieces entitled, Errors, Eros, Sparks, and Larks. The play ran seven performances, March 10-19th, 2000.

Five individuals sit in chairs facing the audience, scattered about the stage. Each mimes typing words into a keyboard as lines are spoken, and each continues facing the audience for the duration of the play, i.e. the characters do not make any kind of direct contact with each other.

Directors should feel free to cast these characters as any gender they feel appropriate. The characters are Shade, Diamond, Mercy, Delight, and Blaze.

DIAMOND: Welcome to the Internet Relay Network, Diamond.

DELIGHT: (overlapping) Welcome to the Internet Relay Network, Delight.

SHADE: (overlapping) Welcome to the Internet Relay Network, Shade.

BLAZE: (overlapping) Welcome to the Internet Relay Network, Blaze.

MERCY: (overlapping) Welcome to the Internet Relay Network, Mercy.

DIAMOND: (overlapping) Your host is nova-1.gravity.net, running version 1.23.45.

DELIGHT: (overlapping) This server was created Friday November 6 1998 at 18:35:08 Pacific Standard Time.

SHADE: (overlapping) There are 23 users and 17 invisible on 1 server.

BLAZE: (overlapping) 6 channels formed.

MERCY: (overlapping) Message of the Day, nova-1.gravity.net: Welcome to the Gravity private server. Play nice - community is a privilege, not a right.

DIAMOND: (overlapping) Diamond has joined channel spiderweb.

DELIGHT: (overlapping) Delight has joined channel spiderweb.

SHADE: (overlapping) Shade has joined channel spiderweb.

BLAZE: (overlapping) Blaze has joined channel spiderweb.

MERCY: (overlapping) Mercy has joined channel spiderweb.

DIAMOND: Topic: Love is like watching a bloody car accident - you just can't stop yourself.

BLAZE: Hey everybody.

MERCY: Hey Blaze, what's going on?

DIAMOND: Good evening.

MERCY: Diamond!

DIAMOND: Mercy, how was the show?

DELIGHT: Hey, hey, hey.

SHADE: Are you there?

MERCY: The show was good.

BLAZE: I am still at work, unfortunately.

DELIGHT: Blaze, that's disgusting.

SHADE: Are you there?

MERCY: It was better than I expected. Corrie was especially good, she's funny as hell.

BLAZE: What can I say? This project waits for no one.

MERCY: Blaze, you better not have to work this late when I come to visit.

SHADE: (insistent) Are you there?

DIAMOND: Yes I'm here.

SHADE: So you have stopped ignoring my private messages.

DIAMOND: I never ignored them. I simply chose not to respond.

DELIGHT: Hey Mercy, private chat?

BLAZE: Hey Mercy, private chat?

DIAMOND: Hey Mercy, private chat?

MERCY: Oh my.

DELIGHT: When are you visiting Blaze? Maybe I can time my visit for the same weekend.

DIAMOND: Shade is private messaging me.

BLAZE: Delight was wanting to come to town, we were thinking we could all spend a weekend together.

SHADE: I still have things in the apartment. When can I come pick them up?

DIAMOND: Whenever you want.

SHADE: When will you be somewhere else?

MERCY: Umm... I'm not sure on the dates yet.

DELIGHT: Well, let me know.

BLAZE: If we time it right, this project might be ending. I could wind up with a few extra days off.

MERCY: Are you talking to (him/her)?

DIAMOND: Yes, (he/she) wants to get things out of the apartment.

SHADE: I would prefer not to see you.

DIAMOND: I can be out of the apartment this Sunday afternoon, if that would help.

MERCY: Mercy hugs Diamond.

DELIGHT: Well, just keep me posted. I have a really flexible schedule but the sooner the better for plane tickets.

DIAMOND: You may need to see a movie with me this Sunday afternoon.

MERCY: I can do that.

BLAZE: Would you be up for seeing Delight, or were you thinking we should have time alone?

SHADE: That would be helpful, yes.

MERCY: I would need time alone with you at some point, but I would love to see Delight as well.

BLAZE: Who knows what might develop?

MERCY: Who knows indeed?

SHADE: You have no idea how hard you've made things for me.

MERCY: Has (he/she) said anything about me?

DIAMOND: Not yet.

SHADE: Is this your idea of punishing me?

DIAMOND: I'm not punishing you.

MERCY: Diamond and Shade are apparently arguing right now.

BLAZE: Oh, that doesn't sound good.

MERCY: I'm trying not to get too sucked into it, but Shade has really turned on me.

BLAZE: I know how that feels.

DELIGHT: Hmm, think I will order a pizza.

SHADE: Hello, Delight.

DELIGHT: Hello, Shade.

SHADE: How are you?

DELIGHT: Fine. How are you?

SHADE: Have you turned everyone against me?

DIAMOND: Of course not.

SHADE: I'm fine. Why haven't you answered any of my emails?

DELIGHT: I've been very busy.

SHADE: I think you have turned my friends against me. I think you all deserve each other.

DIAMOND: I don't know what you're talking about.

MERCY: I was accused of drawing too much attention to myself.

BLAZE: From someone who desires that kind of attention.

SHADE: You have no idea how hard you've made things for me.

DIAMOND: Do you take no responsibility for your own behavior?

MERCY: Do you have plans for my visit?

BLAZE: Nothing in particular.

MERCY: I must confess, I'm slightly nervous about this visit.

BLAZE: I'm also a little nervous, now that you mention it.

DIAMOND: I must confess, I'm a little nervous about your upcoming trip.

DELIGHT: I'm reading your email right now, Shade.

SHADE: You withdrew your friendship so completely the very moment there was trouble.

MERCY: Well, who knows what will happen?

SHADE: You were threatened too easily by my exploration and discovery.

BLAZE: We should be careful with expectations.

DELIGHT: I would love to come visit you, Shade. I'm under a lot of pressure at work right now, though.

SHADE: That makes sense.

DELIGHT: Could you come visit me?

SHADE: I could take a long weekend.

DELIGHT: I could help pay for the plane ticket.

SHADE: You'd do that for me?

DELIGHT: Of course!

DIAMOND: What do you expect to happen?

MERCY: Anything could happen, really. I am wide open to anything.

DIAMOND: Are you expecting something sexual?

BLAZE: We should hope for nothing more than good conversation, a chance to get to know each other better.

MERCY: Would that threaten you?

DIAMOND: It might. I am learning not to be threatened by exploration and discovery. Learning the hard way as usual.

SHADE: And when I took control of myself for the first time in years, you decided I was dirty and wrong, something to be punished.

MERCY: Does Delight have any idea what's actually developing between us?

BLAZE: I have told Delight next to nothing.

MERCY: (smiles) I do love surprises.

SHADE: Does Blaze know you and I are talking?

DELIGHT: (He/she) does.

MERCY: Does anyone know if X-Files was a rerun tonight?

DIAMOND, DELIGHT, BLAZE: It was a new one.

DELIGHT: I didn't like it that much.

DIAMOND: Simpsons was good though.

BLAZE: Where do you find time to watch television?

DELIGHT: Television is important, Blaze. Without television, we'd have no idea how to behave properly when confronted by shape shifting aliens.

SHADE: You people are the shape shifting aliens.

MERCY: Oh, hi, Shade. How are you tonight?

DIAMOND: Diamond shifts into the shape of a plumper, healthier looking Ally McBeal.

DELIGHT: Ooo la la!

BLAZE: Yep, there's a reason she can't find a boyfriend. They're all afraid of snapping her in half.

MERCY: See, Shade is still not talking to me.

DIAMOND: This too shall pass.

MERCY: Are you okay?

DELIGHT: I talked a little more with Blaze about moving.

MERCY: Did you actually decide anything?

DIAMOND: Well, let's just plan on seeing a movie on Sunday. (takes out palm pilot and schedules it in)

BLAZE: Why don't you call me at work? I'm stuck here waiting with nothing to do.

MERCY: Ooo, actual voice contact? How risque! (takes out phone and begins dialing)

DELIGHT: No, we're not ready to make a decision yet.

(SHADE takes out phone and begins dialing)

DELIGHT: Mostly it depends on what kind of job I could get, since Blaze can get a job practically anywhere. They'll take one look at that resume and say, "Brainiac 5 from the planet Smartron 12?? - you're hired!!"

(SOUND EFFECT: Phone rings.)

DIAMOND & BLAZE: (pick up phones) Hello?

SHADE & MERCY: (on phone) Hi.

DIAMOND & BLAZE: (on phone) Hi.

DELIGHT: (typing) Be right back, I'm going to order a pizza.

DIAMOND & MERCY: (typing) Be right back, phone.

SHADE: (on phone) Do you have anything to say?

MERCY: (on phone) We can't talk too long, my phone bill is getting out of control.

DELIGHT: Dub dub dub dot pizza now dot com.

DIAMOND: (on phone) I don't know what to say.

BLAZE: (on phone) Talking to you even for a few minutes is good enough.

SHADE: (on phone) That's typical. You disgust me.

DELIGHT: (not typing) One hour or less, not bad. Now, (typing again) CNN.com.

DIAMOND: (on phone) It's clear to me we will never see eye to eye about what happened.

MERCY: (on phone) Did anything ever happen between you and Diamond?

BLAZE: (on phone) Anything sexual?

MERCY: (on phone) Yeah.

BLAZE: (on phone) Well, now that's an interesting question.

SHADE: (on phone) I'm not interested in seeing eye to eye. In fact, I didn't really call to hear what you had to say, because I know what you'll say.

BLAZE: (on phone) Is there a reason you're asking?

SHADE: (on phone) I have had to spend so much time contemplating what's become of us. I am trying to be fair, but it's so, so difficult. I feel devastated and barely alive.

MERCY: (on phone) Would it bother you to know that Diamond and I are exploring a few possibilities here and there?

SHADE: (on phone) My apologies were obviously not enough.

DIAMOND: (on phone) Far too few, far too late.

SHADE: (on phone) It's funny how when we were younger, years ago, you were the one making all the mistakes, and we learned from those mistakes and grew.

DIAMOND: (on phone) Some mistakes are more than mistakes, Shade. They're choices that you make. Choices that you live with.

BLAZE: (on phone) I think you should tell Diamond that the four of us are getting married.

MERCY: (on phone) Ooo, I like the sound of that.

DELIGHT: (reading, not typing) Oh my.

SHADE: (on phone) Yes, and these choices were inextricably worth it.

DIAMOND: (on phone) I'm glad to hear that.

SHADE: (on phone) I bet you are.

DIAMOND: (on phone) I do miss you severely. I do want us to find our friendship again.

SHADE: (on phone) I don't think I want that.

MERCY: (on phone) I think Diamond is concerned that you and Delight are going to suck me in and leave him alone, on the outside. Plus I don't think he knows what's actually going on between you and him.

BLAZE: (on phone) Love is not a zero sum game. There is definitely enough to go around.

SHADE: (on phone) Alienation is a tool at my disposal.

MERCY: (on phone) It gets so complicated.

BLAZE: (on phone) Using jealousy as a tool at your disposal...

MERCY: (on phone) It's exhausting staying open, staying honest.

BLAZE: (on phone) And inextricably worth it.

SHADE: (on phone) Ultimately I was a fool for ever believing that anyone would stand by my side while I learned what I needed to learn. That itself has been the biggest lesson of all.

DELIGHT: (typing again) Hey guys, listen to this. A 58-year-old woman in Kansas City just gave birth to quintuplets. No fertility drugs were involved.

MERCY: (typing) Holy moly.

DELIGHT: What do you suppose those kids are going to be like when they grow up?

DIAMOND: (on phone) Did you just see what Delight posted?

BLAZE: (typing) That's incredible.

DELIGHT: The best part is, the woman has already had five children, and the last child she had was over nine years ago.

MERCY: (typing) Good God.

SHADE: (on phone) Don't try to change the subject, you bastard.

DIAMOND: (on phone) I think this conversation is over, Shade. (hangs up)

SHADE: (on phone, shouting) ASSHOLE!

DELIGHT: I can easily imagine these five children growing up to be five incredibly different people.

MERCY: (on phone) I think I should let you go, sweetie.

BLAZE: (on phone) Yeah, I think I should get back to work.

DELIGHT: It's entirely possible that one of them would grow up to be a doctor, caring for the human physical condition...

MERCY: (on phone) Love you.

BLAZE: (on phone) Bye bye. (MERCY & BLAZE hang up)

(All are now typing again.)

DIAMOND: You there?

MERCY: Yeah, I'm here.

DELIGHT: Perhaps one will grow up to be a teacher, caring for the human intellectual condition.

DIAMOND: I'm going to log off for a while.

MERCY: You feeling okay?

BLAZE: Whoa! Looks like I actually get to leave the office! I am so out of here!

DIAMOND: I'm fine.

DELIGHT: Perhaps one will grow up to be a priest or a nun, caring for the human spiritual condition.

MERCY: Good night, Blaze.

DIAMOND: Have a good night, Blaze.

BLAZE: Blaze has left channel spiderweb. (bows head down)

DELIGHT: Perhaps one will grow up to be an artist, caring for the human imagination, and the principle of hope.

MERCY: Take care of yourself. I'll see you on Sunday.

DIAMOND: Maybe you'll see me before Sunday.

MERCY: (smiles) That would be nice.

DELIGHT: Such potential, provided their parents don't fuck them all up.

DIAMOND: Diamond has left channel spiderweb. (bows head down)

MERCY: I guess I'm leaving too.

DELIGHT: Yeah, I've got some work to get done. Good night, Mercy. Good night, Shade.

MERCY: See ya, Delight.

DELIGHT: Delight has left channel spiderweb. (bows head down)

MERCY: Good night, Shade, if you're still there. (silence) Well, good night anyways.
(silence) Mercy has left channel spiderweb. (bows head down)

(Silent.)

SHADE: Perhaps the last one will grow up to be directionless, a wanderer on the open seas. Perhaps that small child will find itself unable to speak loudly enough, crowded by its charismatic siblings. Perhaps that child will need attention it never gets, mothering it badly needs, mentorship it never finds, inspiration that never comes. The years may pass, and every Christmas the family will get together and share their success stories with their mother who's oh so proud, but when it's that child's turn, there won't be much to tell save for empty nights with strangers who tired all too soon of the need that plagues that poor child. Perhaps, in the end, the anger and the bitterness that comes with years spent lost on the open seas will finally provide the fuel that child needs to survive, but perhaps not, and in the end, perhaps that child's fears will all come true. (softening) I'm doing fine, thank you for asking. (pause) Shade has left channel spiderweb. (bows head)



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