Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 10:44:33 -0800 (PST) From: Richard Traynham | Block address Subject: Two Men in a Room (2) To:, Add Addresses The Business with the spies.... All during the play, the only ones that the guards can open up to (other than each other, which occurs more and more as the play progresses) are the spies. They spies know what is going on before anyone else, they are also the only ones that can cross over the lines between sides. They do this to go and get a defector from the other side. (I would think that either the defectors/ prisoners could be played by the SAME people, or not -- depending upon how many people want to be in the play). The way that the spies "cross over" the line is as follows. For example: Larry (the American spy; whom Natasha always calls "Lawrence") comes in, the Amer guard (sitting at desk) does not at first notice him, he clears his throat. The guard looks up, and the spy (Larry in this case), does the hand-to-side-of-nose gesture) and then exits back to the left. After a pause, he comes back, this time with a heavy coat on (eg, he normally wears a sport jacket). The guard is very busy at the desk "doing paper work", and very actively does not notice him cross over the line. At that point, the russian guard asks for his papers: Rus gd: pah-pree puh-zhal-sta? Larry: Da. (hands papers over) (rus gd looks at them) and then says: Rus gd: Har-ih-show. Larry: Dose-vih-don-ya (exits to right) In the same manner, when Natasha ====================================================== Two Men in a Room -- Memoirs of a very cold war Outline.... This play is basically about the cold war; now that it is finally over. Ostensibly there are two guards who sit in a room that borders between east and west Berlin. The primary dialog is between them. There would be several scenes (again mostly just one act, in the "theatre of the absurd" style. The dialog between the two men (one Russian the other American) is divided into several stages that reflect the basic level of hostility/tollerance between the two sides. The set is simple, there "could" (ie, would be nice to have, but need not be there) two doors on either side: ---------------------------------------------- filing cab || || Filing cabinet ch ch || || ch ch AMERICAN SIDE || || RUSSIAN SIDE stage || || stage left +------+ || || +-------+ right | | || || | | ch |table | || || | table | ch +------+ || || +-------+ || || || || || || ---------------------------------------------- Audience Down the middle are two white (red?) stripes of tape indicating the EAST/WEST boundaries. On the back, posters indicating EAST or WEST berlin (ideally in English/French/Russian/Chinese -- at the end of the play, when the wall comes down, placards in German could be added to the front of the tables, indicating "Historic Landmark" -- The idea being that during the cold war, Germany (like most of Europe) doesn't really exist -- only the nuclear stand-off between US and USSR. In addition, the guard's chairs would ideally be roll-about swivel types; since they will often be getting up from them. Additionally, chairs in the background, where the spies/prisoners sit, while waiting for their counter-parts. Set elements can be used to show the passage of times. Ideally, as each new scene begins, a NEW calendar is hung up, with a new leader (eg, Truman/Stalin, Kennedy/Krushcev, etc) There is a great possibility to talk about the relative "stability" of the two sides, if when the picture of Truman is replaced with a pic of Eisenhower, and at the same time the Stalin pic is replaced with Kruschev. Of course, the prez pics will update more rapidly: Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, etc. -- than the premiere's pic's. The only comment would be (eg, by the Russian guard): I see you got a new calendar, Amer Gd: Yes. Russ Gd: We are still using the same one we have had already.. Each scene can also be marked in two ways: By bringing in an additional filing cabinet (if avail), --or-- by another guard brining in a stack of folders and placing it on the filing cabinet in the back; with the comment "for files, on them". Alternatively, of course a tahle can be used at the back instead of the filing cabinets. In addition, the SIZE of the table (the main prop in the forground on each side of the stage) can be INCREASED to indicate the missile gap/ arms race. Perhaps the american side gets a slightly larger desk, and then russina officer notices it. He immediately orders a new desk it comes in, and is either the same size, or larger. Then each side, "decorates" the desk -- electric pencil sharpeners, filing trays, etc -- stacking them to un-godly heights. (As the pencil sharpeners are brought in for example, they are POINTED at the other side a pen set can likewise be used, with those rotating pens, and swivelled so thaty they point up in the air at about 45-degres TOWARDS the other side, etc, etc.) It is at this point that the two guards begin to soften towards each other. The first such build up represents 1962 -- Missles of october. the second represents 1983 and the Star Wars Initiative -- at this point, some strange looking office equipment could be set up; eg, several of the stand-up fans (ie, with a floor plate and a pole, holding the fans aloft) -- all of them pointing at the other side. They are tested in turn, etc. The two guards ask but are told "need to know only". The fans never actually do ANYTHING, but this would be an optional scene where the "men in black" attend to their setup and test quite seriously; the two guards both look at each other nervously, etc -- it is the beginning of the thaw between them. ====================================== Dramatis Personae The two guards at "check point Johnny" / "check point Ivanova". In addition, there are two Joe/Sally characters. They are janitors that mop each side of the room. In this case, they are a German couple who were divided when the wall went up. They ONLY time that they get to see each other is when they are cleaning their side of the floor. There are basically counter-parts on each "side" of the line: Rocky/Natasha -- Amer/Russ spies one/two -- Prisioners to be exchanged Rus/Amer Col's Assisting Guards (these can be stage hands properly outfitted) Costumes are a matter of some concern. There shouldn't be too elaborate things taken here. If the prop dept has some sort of uniforms these may be used, with simple insignia attached; eg, the american col. has blue medals, the russina red. Winter coats could be used, as long as the time on stage for the actors is not too long (heat from the lights! :(