Written for Forum Theatre and produced in their 2013 program: Changing Neighborhoods, forum theatre (re)acts, Local Artists respond to stories of Gentrification in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC
..a homeless troubadour has collected bits of every change come and gone.. but this time, seems he’s the bit in the way of a new look..!
CAST OF CHARACTERS:
MAN – 50’s/60’s, black
SPECULATOR 1 – late 20’s, black
SPECULATOR 2 – 30, white
LOCATION: Black & white projection, across the back of the stage space, of a derelict DC neighborhood –perhaps somewhere off U Street, after the riots.Image is comprised of: a burned out, ’dispossessed’ community -school; shops; homes.. Wide image is a full “snapshot” of this, and remains throughout the performance.
MAN, sits on a ‘milk crate’, in hot, searing daylight. His clothes are made of a collection out of the ‘past’: an ancient ‘Stovepipe’ hat; a tattered suit jacket; a well-used ”‘butcher’s”’ smock/apron; Ked’s sneakers; torn high school sports jersey; ancient Civil War (Union) trousers; necklace of ‘Mardi Gras’ beads; a beaten old bugle; a Coach’s whistle.
Beside MAN is a battered cardboard barrel, stuffed with rolled up signs, posters, and remnants of the years of a community..
[SPECULATORS pull tape measurers and iPads out of their knapsacks, and take measurements of every inch of this location –scuttling aside the MAN.]
SPECULATORS 2: –high.
SPECULATOR 1: –great!
SPECULATORS 1&2: (variously) –garage. –roof deck. –view!
SPECULATORS 1&2: (variously) –teak -mahogany -inlaid –in..
SPECULATOR 1: - trapezoid-
SPECULATOR 2: Ebony!
SPECULATOR 1&2: Granite!
MAN: I, here, echo..
SPECULATORS 1&2: – six stories high.
MAN: Still here.
SPECULATOR 1: HIGHER.
MAN: In America. (strikes his stick)
[SPECULATOR 1&2 regard MAN –rush off and return with two halves of a cardboard cut out of designed “New Housing/Community”, and ‘hide’ MAN]
SPECULATORS 1&2: (smack hands) Done!
SPECULATOR 1: Awesome.
SPECULATOR 2: Cool.
[SPECULATOR 1 looks at his iPod; identifies a direction –exits; immediately returns carrying ‘Starbuckesque’ cup.)
SPECULATOR 1: Chai.
SPECULATOR 2: -seriously..?
SPECULATOR 1: Twenty-five steps.
SPECULATOR 1&2: Dawg! (exits)
MAN: (sticking out a leg) Tilted off the street..
SPECULATORS 1&2: (making decision) –Let’s.
MAN: (sticking out his stick) I. ..am-
SPECULATOR 2: Prime.
SPECULATOR 1: Pristine.
SPECULATORS 1&2: Perfect.
MAN: (emerging from behind cardboard) ..I. Up under this.
[SPECULATORS 1&2 extend the cardboard to stretch out across the stage.
MAN is entirely obscured.
Background image now morphs into bright ‘montage’ of the new denizens of the housing/community: men, women, babies, youth, couples; though image depicts something of a “rainbow” of people, they are all, clearly, of a specific class, and appear fully accessorized, with the “toys” -iPods; iPads; clothes; etc- of their entitlement.]