THE LAST BIRD
PLAYS by KEITH JOHNSTONE
“Many people find my adult plays disturbing but isn’t the whole universe disturbing? Anyway, be warned. And I apologise for not being about to write more comfortable plays. Here are extracts from a few of the ones I like.”
~ Keith Johnstone
SHORT (TILT) PLAYS
Additional plays and other writings are available through Keith Johnstone Workshops Inc. and/or in the Keith Johnstone Papers at Stanford University Archives. If you are interested in acquiring and/or producing a Keith Johnstone play or publishing literary content (including artwork) created by Keith, please contact Keith's literary executor.
An excerpt from the play by Keith Johnstone.
(A repressive society conducts a colonial war.)
Cripples (SONG) Every man is faaaated.
To be educaaaated!
You must be,
The same as me!
That's why we're creaaaated
First (HAPPY) That was such a party.
Second We got one of those kids from the amusement arcade....
Third Stuck his legs though the railings, tied his feet to a truck....
COLLAPSE INTO HYSTERICAL LAUGHTER. BILL ENTERS, ON CRUTCHES. HE
GRADUALLY GETS MORE CRIPPLED?
First 'Ere you!
Second Are you a cripple?
Bill Of course I'm a cripple!
THIRD CRIPPLE HAS HOLD OF HIM AND KEEPS SAYING "YES, THAT'S RIGHT! WE
BELIEVE YOU! THERE! THERE! YES, THAT'S RIGHT! WE BELIEVE YOU..." ETC.,
WHILE STROKING HIM AND BRUSHING HIM DOWN AND SOOTHING HIM.
First A cripple are you! Watch him! This one'll probably run like a
Bill How can I run with this leg?
Second You aren't really a cripple!
Bill Don't be stupid.
First (THREATENING) Who's stupid!
Bill Well you just have to look at me!
Second We do look at you, don't we boys? And sometimes you limp with
one leg, and sometimes with the other.
Bill You bloody liar!
Second And sometimes your spine's all twisted, and sometimes it isn't!
Bill You've mistaken me for somebody else!
First Where were you broken then?
Bill In a Church!
Second What Church?
Bill All Saints!
Bill I got certificates!
HE'S TRIES TO GET PAPERS OUT AS THEY DRAG HIM DOWN.
First Certificates! Anyone can have certificates!
THEY'RE GROPING AT HIM VIOLENTLY.
Bill You've no right to touch me! No don't! Hay! They're mine!
THEY RIP UP HIS PAPERS. MAYBE THEY HAVE AN OIL DRUM (WITH A FAN IN
THE BOTTOM AND CLOTH FLAMES). THE PIECES OF PAPER COULD BE THROWN IN
AND WOULD BE BLOWN UP INTO THE AIR)..
Second No right! Doesn't every citizen have to be crippled as his
parents were crippled! Doesn't each generation have to be smashed so
as not to outstrip the last! You fucking coward! You were scared of
the breaking and your Mother hid you! You thought the real cripples
wouldn't know the difference! Well we're making good and sure of you!
Bill No, don't! Please! Help! Help me! Help!
First Tear his eyes out!
Second Twist his balls off!
Bill (SCREAMING) Don't break me! For Christ's sake! Aughhhh!
First You see, he's no cripple!
AS THEY BREAK HIM WE HEAR LOUD SNAPPING SOUNDS - MAYBE HE HAS STICKS
HIDDEN IN HIS CLOTHING (OR MAYBE THE PROMPTER DOES IT). THEY LEAVE HIM
MOANING AND GASPING AS THEY GO HAPPILY AWAY, LAUGHING AND SINGING.
(IN THE DISTANCE) Every man is fated.
To be educated!
You must be,
The same as me!
Freedom's over rated!
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