Saturday, January 5, 2013

2013 WRITE: The Tortoise and The Hare, modernized

The Tortoise and The Hare, modernized
Self-help--Thinkerer
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By Selby Evans
Creative commons license, attribution only. This web link is sufficient attribution
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Cast
  • Aesop:  Old sage, senile (male voice)
  • Tortoise: Slow and steady.  But smart.  (Low pitched voice)
  • Hare: Speedy.  Fast and witty   (High pitched voice)
Scene:   
Empty road.  Aesop, Tortoise and Hare appear at some distance and start walking toward the road.  Aesop is carrying a stump. T and H lag behind, engaged in vigorous discussion.
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Hare: 
He's going to tell the same old story.
Tortoise: 
Boring.  But I kinda like it.
H: 
Sure you do. You always win 
T:
Not always. Sometimes he goes to sleep in the middle of the story.
H: 
Yeah, but then nothing happens.
T: 
Not much happens when he stays awake.
H: 
Let's try to make something happen.
T: 
We can't do that. We're just fictional characters. 
H: 
So is Aesop. By now. How about the confuse-a-cat trick?
T:
He's not a cat. He's a sage.
H: 
Confuse-a-sage, then.
T:
Ok, I'm game.
H: 
I'm game too, but I don't want to think about that.

Aesop reaches road, places stump, sits. T and H stand in front of him, facing him.
Aesop produces a scroll  and starts to read. Old and shaky voice.

Aesop:
A long time ago, in a land far away, there lived a hare named Speedy. And 
there was a tortoise named...something.
T: 
Slow and Steady.
A:
Oh, yes. Slow and Steady. One day the two of them decided to have a race.
H:
Why did they want to have a race?
A:
Oh, I don't know. Why does anybody decide to have a race?
H:
How should I know? I'm just a rabbit.
T: 
You are telling the story Aesop. You are supposed to know these things.
A:
Well, they wanted to have a race so that one of them could win.
H:
But did they want to have the race so that one of them could lose?
A: 
No, no. Of course not.  Nobody wants to lose.
H: 
So only the winner wanted to have the race?
A;
Well-- Maybe so-- No! They both wanted to have the race.  You can't have a 
race with just one runner!
T:
But why would the loser want to be in the race?
A: (excited)  Stop! You are confusing me. Let’s get on with the story. There was a hare 
named Speedy. And a tortoise named...
T: 
Slow and steady.
A: 
And they lined up at the starting line, ready for the race.
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(A starting line appears. T & H line up on it.)
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Aesop: 
And now the tortoise and the hare are ready for the race.
Hare: 
But we're not ready. You just showed us the starting line.
Tortoise:
You didn't show us the finish line.
A: (Confused)  
Well, it looks just like the starting line.
T:
How do we tell the difference?
A:
The finish line is down the road a ways.
T:
How do we know when we get there?
A: (Irritated) 
Oh, I don't know. It is just the finish line.
H:
If we don't know when we finish, we won't know when to stop.
T:  
And I won't know when I've won.
H:
And Aesop has to keep on talking and talking and talking...
A:
Well, the race has to finish sometime.
T:
Not as long as you can keep talking. 
H:
Or we could just take any line as the finish line.
T: (Stands on Start line)
Like this line here. It could be the finish line.
H:
And save us a lot of running.
A:
No. You can't be at the finish when you start. That would ruin the story.
T:
Make it a different story.
H:
Make it a short story.
A: 
It won't work that way.  You would both win.
H: 
What's wrong with everybody winning? 
T: 
I don't mind if everybody wins.  Makes a bigger celebration.
A: 
But then it won't have a moral.  It is a fable.  It has got to have a moral.
H: 
You mean somebody has to lose to give it a moral?
T: 
Can't you have a moral when people win?
A: 
This is a moral about winning.  But you can' have winner without a loser. 
H: 
You can't have a winner without a finish line, either. 
A: (more irritated)
There is a finish line. It's down the road.
T: 
Waaay down the road.
H: 
How far?  
T: 
A looong way.
H: 
How will we know when we get there?
T: (Sadly) 
We won't.
A: 
Yes you will. You'll hear the applause.
- (Hare steps back from the starting line.  Steps over it again. Applause.) 
- H: 
You mean like when we stand on the starting line.
A: 
Yes.  Only louder.
T: 
Is that all we get out of it?  A little applause?
A:  (Shocked -- to sad at the end.)
Isn't that enough?  It used to be enough.  Back in my day it used to be enough.
T: 
That was then.
H: 
This is now. I'm not sure I mind being the loser if all I lose is applause.
T: 
And I don't care about winning if all I get is applause.
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Hare steps back and forth over the starting line, to more applause.
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H:
All the more reason to make this the finish line
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Tortoise steps across the line. More applause.
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T:
I think so too. 
A:
And now the tortoise and the hare are lined up at the starting line, which is 
definitely not the finish line.
H: 
Why is it not the finish line?
A:
You can't start a race at the finish line.  
T: 
Works for me.
H: 
And for me.
A: 
But it doesn't work for the moral.  
H: 
You can find a different moral.
A: 
Where could I find a different moral?
T:
Where did you find the first one?
A:
I don't know. I don't remember.
T:
Well, where do people usually find morals? 
A: 
I – I  don't know.   
H:
And you call yourself a sage? A sage is supposed to know things.
A: (Depressed)
You're confusing me again.
T: 
Or maybe you were confused all along and just now noticed it.
A:
Oh I don't know. This sage business is so confusing.
H:
We'll help you. We are ready to race. Just say "GO!"
A:
I don't know. I just don't know. I'm not ready. I can't say "GO!"
T:
Can't say what?
A:
GO! 
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Both T and H start running back and forth over the start line.
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A:
I can't say—
H and T together: 
He said Go! Go! Go!
(Applause builds.)
H: 
We won!
T: 
We won!
A: 
But you didn't win anything.
H: 
We won the applause.
T: 
You said we would get applause at the finish line.
A: 
But there isn't any moral. You can have a fable without a moral.
H: 
Sure there's a moral.
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T and H start back in the direction the came from. A. remains seated.
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T: 
The race is not to the swiftest.
H: 
The race is not to the steadiest.
T: 
The race is to the ones who know where they are going.
H: 
C'mon, Aesop. Time to get back.
A: 
I am confused. Where are we going?
T: 
Don't worry. We'll show you. We know where we’re going.
H: 
Of course, it helps to have an in with the sound effects man.
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Loud applause.
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Fade to sunset graphic
END
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Video-Machinima
      

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