A CARNAGE IN THE LOVETREES

Writer’s Notes for Staging/Cast.

A Carnage is the Lovetrees is a DIY band in the midst of moderate indie success. With a new record out, they hit the road.. There is tension in the band over what Josh refers to as his “process,” & the state of the band. But they believe in the band, regardless.

They are a month & a half into a full U.S. At any point along the tour, they will crash on people’s floors from other bands & friends, but they are in Southern Oregon & don’t know anyone—they jumped on a show in between Redding & Portland, & the other bands didn’t offer a place to crash. After the show last night, a seemingly nice man who called himself, Mark, said he had a bunch of floor space & some couches & that he would feed them. This is not uncommon most touring bands survive by these acts of generosity.

A CARNAGE IN THE LOVETREES

 

CAST

A Carnage in the Lovetrees:

*As shown in the feature film & the documentary, among the other media, & supplemental materials, the band is a bit tense, & Josh’s stubbornness is hard to navigate. They all like each other, but like with most bands they’re fed up with one person. In this case, it’s the leader of the band. They don’t know what to do, but if I had to guess this could be the last tour with this line up, possible with anyone except Josh. Except Sarah, being that she’s his sister & Chad being that he’s Josh’s best friend & has been collaborating with Josh since college. SAGE is done & Siobhan are brother & sister. Sage used to date Sarah & it has come out more than once on tour. Chad is super chill & hasn’t really been a part of the tension. He’s probably still high at the start of the play. JD’s job allows him room to tour & play music, so he really wants to make this work—the band thing.

The Band aka A Carnage in the Lovetrees aka Carnage. Josh, Sarah, Sage, Chad, JD, Siobhan. The band is mid-US-tour. They are tired & the tour is coming off a lot of band & personal changes. The tension is there, but they believe they’ve handled it.

Mark. We don’t know a lot about him, but he’s really charming. He looks like he’s in his late 30s, but mid-40s could work if he really tried. He dresses a lot like the band, except he looks like he’s going to work at some tech company. Instead of T-shirt he has a button up, under a hoodie, with skinny blank jeans, zip up boots, & a beanie—red.

Mark’s “Friend.” He “helps” Mark with his “Enterprise.”

The Playwright. Is trying to explain this project & exactly where this play fits in the Universe of the Project.

The Director. Is making the film that follows this play. Playwright’s twin brother & constant collaborator.

The Audience. Do your thing.

Cops, Medics, Firefighters, Agents, etc. They arrive in droves. As many as needed, they can share lines or each get one—up to the Director. Also, if the Director feels so inclined an improve spirit with cop/medic talk might be a cool addition. Don’t overdo it though. This isn’t CSI.

 

 

The play begins OFFSTAGE the night following a rock show, in Mark’s living room—The band needed a place to crash & Mark offered. This is extremely common in the DIY scenes & a lot of times bands sleep on the floor of a stranger’s shitty apartment or the basement of someone’s house—it’s either that or sleep in the van. So here they are.

 

OFFSTAGE can exist wherever the theater’s space will allow. In fact, it can be onstage if there isn’t room, but must be in front of the curtain. It must be removed from the internal space of the play. It should be lit like a living room, & furnished like a single 37 year old who bought a house, & hosts Monday Night Football, movie night, & other things of that nature.

 

THE STAGE should be bare—just a couch in the center. A small room at the back of the stage with a toilet & a small sink. The floor should be concrete—or we can pretend it’s concrete. A spotlight should encase the internal space of the basement. That said, the fixtures of fluorescent lights should hang above their heads—ideally that light would be used in some way, but it’s hard to control fluorescent light, & you want the majority of the stage outside the spotlight to be as dark as possible.

 

The play exists somewhat outside of time—it can be paused, it can be interrupted. It can be adjusted. Edited.

 

CURTAIN RISES on an empty basement. An old couch sits in the center, clearly year past its use. The basement is eerily clean, but beat up—pipes in the back—windows boarded up. The light fluorescent & green.

 

We should just stare at the stage for a while—this will soon be filled with people. But for now, they should learn what it feels like when it’s empty.

 

THE PLAY has not yet begun & yet,

OFFSTAGE

LIGHTS UP in an open living room with shag carpet & soft lights, CARNAGE sits on the floor around a short coffee table, eating Thai food out of black plastic Tupperware.

 

(As directed, the scene should take place OFFSTAGE. Let’s say somewhere OFFSTAGE RIGHT with a short hallway leading to the door downstage—the door that leads into the empty basement.)

 

Music PLAYS from a stereo across the room, near the window, some kind of indie folk—the kind that’s easy to ignore & hard to hate.

 

In the background, MARK mixes drinks. We cannot see what he’s up to, but he’s up to something.

 

CARNAGE is all on their phones, scrolling. The light from their screens illuminate their faces. Some of them are smirking, some are shaking their head at the news, some are just staring blanking, while taking bites of food.

 

While this scene lulls through its action the PLAYWRIGHT enters. He stands in the middle of the basement.

 

PLAYWRIGHT When I explain this project to people they don’t understand. One time, in a meeting with the old Executive Director of this foundation (that ended up funding this) he kept asking me what I’m trying to do. I explained to him the concept & he kept circling back to the idea that this project would be made to promote my band—I kept saying, it’s not my band. The band is fictional. & then he’d say, “Oh like Spinal Tap.” Then I’d agree, but at Abbas Kiarostami’s Close Up, & Winterbottom’s 24 Hour Party People, & explained that I wanted to blur the lines between fiction & nonfiction, but by offering, real tangible content for an audience. But he kept swinging back to the band & Spinal Tap, he just couldn’t understand the idea of multiple texts coming together through various approaches to art-making & the idea that each collaborator, each mode, each discipline could blur, skew, or modify the narrative, the myth of this band. (The PLAYWRIGHT starts walking around the stage. He’s just getting started.) The meeting was frustrating. A lot of meetings like this were frustrating, even sometimes my friends couldn’t understand. A few did. The capstone of this ends with a narrative film—& this play is a caesura in that diegietic space—the actors aren’t the same, the music isn’t the same, the set isn’t the same, hell even the wardrobe might not be—but it matters because this narrative, it’s the in between, it’s the space between the cuts the film makes. The narrative unfolds typically, we know the terror, we know we see the danger as an audience before those on the stage do, or in the film, but this stage allows those moments to unfold—the film can cut through the time, can gut time, to keep the film moving, they can move the camera so you can’t see the scene. They can’t manipulate what’s need to push the narrative. The stage in this case, is about letting time unfold natural. Our cuts however, are operated by the curtain & the lights. Each curtain & each time the lights go down represents time passing. But when the lights are on & the curtain open, there is no manipulation of time. (The PLAYWRIGHT sits on the couch) Right now, in the diegetic narrative, the band is finishing their set, & shortly after they will meet MARK, who flatters them, & invites them to his place for a drink, food, & a place to crash. For those of you not familiar with DIY touring, this is normal. A lot of times bands will ask during their set if anyone has a place to crash. One time, when I was in a band, we asked, & ended up staying with this well-off family, who fed us, gave us money, & filled our tank up. We stayed in touch with those kids for years. We lucked out. Another time, we had to sneak out of an apartment in the middle of the night, because the person we met seemed cool at the club, but was acting weird. We told him we were going to bed, & he told us, he was going out for more beer & if we changed our mind, he’d be down to hang. As soon as he left, we grabbed our shit & ran out of the apartment, jumped in the van & drove to the next town. That night we slept at a rest stop hours outside of LA. The point is, there’s no fucking reason to be weirded out by someone offering to help out a band. It’s normal. It’s how bands survive on the road. So, now, Carnage is packing up their gear & Mark is texting with someone, & in five minutes or so, he’ll walk across the venue, & spark a conversation at the merch table. In two hours, after the show, they’ll follow Mark back to his place, & will have thai food & booze waiting for them. (The PLAYWRIGHT stands again.) I don’t know why I sat down, they’re upstairs & the play begins after this pre-scene thing I wrote. When this portion of the narrative ends, the play, I mean, the narrative will move back to the film. & there you can see what becomes of these human beings.

 

The PLAYWRIGHT exits.

 

MARK enters from the kitchen with a few drinks, hands them out, goes back for more—he’s playing a really good host.

 

MARK Let me know what you think. Let me know.

 

Carnage drinks. They all nod, clearly a great Whiskey Sour.

 

MARK Nice. Nice. Nice. Nice. Nice. Nice. Nice. OK. (Mark sits down with a beer & drinks slowly.) Nice. So, I know you’re on tour supporting this new record & I know this is the most annoying question ever, but what’s next?

 

Everyone, with mouths full, defers to Josh.

 

JOSH That’s always a question I get that I don’t mind, but I mean, the answers always the same. Record, tour, make more. In what form we have versus this form now depends on a lot of things. I think I have most of the next record written, but I’m figuring out how I want to go about making it. Our first record was a whole bunch of people, this band mostly, the second record was me & Chad & a producer, with a couple people helping & this last one was just me—Chad showed up to do some singing & a guitar line or two, but it was just me & the producer & my twin brother. The band didn’t even know I was recording.

 

SAGE It’s kind of a sore subject. He was the only dude who Josh listened to.

 

JOSH Come on, it WAS a sore subject & now we’re building this new iteration from scratch.

 

SARAH Scratch?

 

JOSH You know what I mean. Like, I haven’t played with you all since & now I’m moving forward, hopefully with you all coming along.

 

SAGE & we have to deal with you always saying this is my band, so it’s my decision!

 

MARK What’s up? What’s the issue?

 

SARAH Josh went & recorded the last two records himself—with Chad coming in for a day & whoever else showing up whenever he needed them. Typically, the rest of the band doesn’t have anything to do with the recording process. Which is why there was so much tension before: They were basically the live band.

 

MARK Oh...that’s weird.

 

SAGE Yeah, so now, he’s got us signing on to do this & he’ll probably do the same thing. So we can either be annoyed & hurt by it or accept that we’re also his live band, with minor input. Even though JD is a better drummer.

 

JD Leave me out of this.

 

JOSH I can do that. Look, I liked recording Geriatric Noise with just me & Chad & a couple friends, so I thought I’d do the next one by myself, I mean, the band wasn’t for a couple years, & no one really knew I was even thinking about it. I mean, it could’ve just been a Josh Young record, but it had to be Carnage. It sounds like Carnage.

 

MARK So is Carnage of the Lovetrees your moniker, like Bon Iver, or you know, Steely Dan?

 

JOSH This is definitely not a moniker, I think of it as a band, but I’ve been more interested in approaching it as a singular vision rather than a band’s.

 

Mark So you don’t like collaborating?

 

josh I do, I just…it’s differently when you’re ordering people to do what you have in your head, rather than negotiate in the studio for something someone wants, but you don’t think fits. It’s exhausting. & besides, the songs become theirs when we tour or play.

 

SARAH See, we rehearse & help arrange the parts, & prep for the record, we just don’t record. It’s really controlling.

 

MARK Is this a normal band thing? (Mark sips from his beer like it's coffee, no one answers at first.) Is it normal or…?

 

CARNAGE (all together, but not) No.

 

MARK Sorry I asked guys.

 

JOSH It’s my process. I’m most comfortable doing it this way.

 

MARK I guess what works, works. You gotta keep it going.

 

JOSH Thinking about changing it up though. I just don’t know how.

 

Carnage doesn't really react.

 

SAGE (totally joking) Maybe we’ll be allowed in the studio.

 

MARK You don’t allow them in the studio?

 

JOSH It's complicated.

 

The conversation has sucked all the air out of the room. What started as a harmless discussion, has triggered feelings that has been addressed but not settled. Everyone has their feelings about it, but like always they let the feelings sit in the air between them—the discussion stalls.

 

MARK Let me get us some more drinks. Sorry I brought it up.

 

SAGE It’s OK. We probably should talk about this soon.

 

MARK Being in a band is about compromise. I mean relationships too. So, you know...

 

JOSH Can we talk about it on a day off?

 

SAGE No. (laughs) Come on, dude.

 

SARAH Come on. I’m tired. We’re all tired. Let’s talk about it later.

 

SAGE OK. Ok. OK. You're right.

 

SIOBHAN You guys are dumb. Who cares who does whatever? You should figure it out & never talk about it again.

 

JOSH Thanks.

 

JD What’s the plan?

 

MARK (from the kitchen) I hope the plan is more drinks & just hanging out. (Pops his head out.) Should I put on a record? What’s everybody want to hear?

 

Suddenly, CARNAGE seems tired—not just tired, not drowsy, but like sleep hit the whole room. They keep closing & opening their eyes.

 

MARK walks back in. He stares at them. No one says anything. They’re all drifting off.

 

STAGE goes dark.

OFFSTAGE goes dark.

 The MUSIC cuts off—mid-song.

Silence.

 

The sounds of dragging. The sounds of lumbered steps. The sounds of heavy breathing—basically someone is moving some heavy things around in the dark.

 

Moments pass.

 

A SOUNDTRACK begins to play. It’s slow, creeping, almost throbbing—the bass leads, with a piano plucking on the keys like a skeleton counting their ribs. & a wall of noise—a soundscape of uncertainty, like a room slowly undarkening.

 

[The play begins]

 

SCENE I

STAGE LIGHTS UP

 

CARNAGE is passed out on the floor of a basement. We’ve seen the room. It is room stark -- concrete floor. A couch. A big door. But bright, dirty white walls. Lit by glaring overhead lights. There’s a tiny room DOWNSTAGE LEFT with a toilet & a sink.

 

No one is asleep on the couch—they’re all on the floor, no sleeping bags, no blankets, fully dressed. The time of day or night is not clear. It’s silent. They sleep.

 

MARK enters STAGE RIGHT.

He’s carrying a cardboard box. He puts the box on the floor in front of CARNAGE. He pulls a knife out of his pocket. He leans down close to Sarah. He cuts open her pockets, removes her phone, lighter, cigarettes, wallet, change, keys, papers. He drops them in the box. He rolls her over & pats her down. Nothing left. When he’s convinced her pockets are empty, he moves on to CHAD. Pulls his beanie off & tosses it in the box.

 

Does the same to his pockets—pats him down.

 

Then SIOBHAN.

 

Then JD

 

Then he moves to JOSH. He puts his knife his in pocket. Grabs JOSH by the arms and drags him away from CARNAGE and out through the door.

 

A moment passes.

 

MARK enters again. He picks up the box looks around—exits.

 

MARK shuts the door.

 

Click of a lock.

 

And another. And another.

 

And another.

 

CURTAIN falls.

 

STAGE goes dark.

 

OFFSTAGE

Lights rise just enough to see:

 

Down a short long hallway, from the front room—littered with leftover Thai. There’s a closed door.

 

PATTER of FOOTSTEPS. Digital BEEPING. 

 

Door opens. Mark’s dressed in blue scrubs. He yells down the hall.

 

MARK I need a hand.

 

A moment passes, another man, who is sitting on the couch in the front room stands up & walks down the hall. We can call him MARK’S FRIEND. He is dressed like MARK. He gets to JOSH’s limp body & drags JOSH into the room.

 

He shuts the door.

 

We can't hear what they're saying behind the door, but there's a CONVERSATION—not heated. There's urgency to it.

 

A faucet runs.

 

Off.

 

Runs again.

 

Muted beeping. Muted conversation. A saw KICKS to LIFE. 

 

The saw TEARS in -- CUT FLESH -- BONE GNAW.

 

SPLATTER. 

 

THUD. THUD.

 

SILENCE.

 

Wait.

  

SCENE II

It feels like morning, but no way to tell the time of day. CARNAGE sleeps. Out cold & sprawled across the concrete. They barely move, someone snores.

 

Let them sleep. Quiet. Please.

 

SARAH wakes up. She sits up & winces, clearly hung over. She looks around, everyone still sleeps. She seems confused by the concrete floors, everyone crammed together. Where are their sleeping bags, backpacks, things? She notices her pockets have been cut open. See’s everyone. But she’s clearly dazed, someone out of it—some kind of hangover. So she stands up to look around, confused. She stops for a moment, tries to remember the night before. She goes to dig through her pockets -- they've all been out-turned. JOSH is not among them, but she doesn't seem to notice.

SARAH walks over to SIOBHAN. She softly toes her shoulder. SIOBHAN rolls over.

 

SIOBHAN Hey. What's up?

 

SARAH Uh, I feel…weird. Like… (SARAH looks around. She’s fidgeting a little. She squats down so she’s close to SIOBHAN). Do you remember getting down here?

 

Siobhan looks around the basement.

 

SARAH & my phone’s gone. Can’t find my phone. You have yours?

 

SIOBHAN Should we go upstairs?

 

SARAH I don’t want to go up there alone.

 

SIOBHAN I’ll go with you. (Siobhan stands up & looks around. She notices Sarah’s pants. She reaches out & touches the swatch of cloth.) You cut up your pants real good.

 

                        SARAH (Not listening) They seemed alright, right?

 

                        SIOBHAN Who?

 

SARAH That Mark guy—like he seemed like, nice, normal.

 

SIOBHAN You mean, he’s not gonna be a total fucking creep? He seemed more interested in telling us about what bands (mimicking something Mark must’ve said before the Play began) “YOU JUST GOTTA HEAR! I’M TELLING YOU!”

 

SARAH Yeah, he seemed OK.

 

SIOBHAN (Now realizing her phone is gone too—there’s look on confusion on her face. SIOBHAN is rarely without her phone in her hand. At home she sleeps with it by her head. It started as a way to hear her alarm, but became a habit & this tour, she’s needed it more a lot more than expected. Also, her pants are cut open too, & like Sarah, a swatch of cloth hangs from each pocket.) Sarah…yeah, my phone is gone too--& my pockets have been ripped open.

 

SARAH What the fuck?

 

Here, we can see panic prying at SARAH & SIOBHAN, but they’re fighting it back—they’re probably telling themselves there’s an explanation for this, but panic is there & it’s really working on them.

 

Sarah walks around to the rest of the sleeping CARNAGE boys. Like her & SIOBHAN, their pockets have been cut opened. She feels SAGE’s pants—no phone. Tries JD & Chad’s

 

SIOBHAN Did you drink too much? Who cut my pockets open? My head—it’s—did we drink too much.

 

SARAH Everyone’s pocket’s been cut open. This isn’t about being drunk, dude. My head is fuzzy too—

 

SIOBHAN I must’ve feel asleep early. What’d I miss?

 

SARAH I don’t know. Our pockets…like…

 

SIOBHAN We should go upstairs see if these fuckers know anything.

 

SARAH It looks like we fell asleep on the blue line.

 

SIOBHAN Wow, Sarah.

 

SIOBHAN Where's our stuff? Like all our stuff.

 

Together, they walk over to the door. SIOBHAN tries it first, then SARAH. They try for a good minute, before they give up & walk over to SAGE.

 

SIOBHAN kicks SAGE’s arm.

 

SIOBHAN Wake up, SAGE. Shit is weird in here.

 

SAGE stirs, but doesn’t wake all the way. SIOBHAN leans in close & shakes him.

 

SIOBHAN Wake uuuup. Dude. We’re locked in here & they stole our shit. Our phones or whatever. Just get up.

 

SARAH goes to the back corner of the room, where there’s a toilet. SARAH walks to the big door, attempts to open it again. Doesn’t even creak. Doesn’t even budge.

 

SAGE What time is it?

 

SAGE sits up. Goes for his phone. Glares at SIOBHAN.

 

SIOBHAN (Her calm has sort of frayed at this point. She’s trying to be chill about what’s going on, but SAGE is sitting there like they aren’t in trouble & it’s super annoying to her.) Why are you staring at me like that? Just get up & help up figure this shit out. Our phones are phone—Mark & his stupid friends took them & we’re locked in here.

 

SAGE Very, funny Siobhan, but these fucking jeans were new. Give me back my phone.

 

SARAH Does anyone have their phone?

 

SAGE Chill, Sarah. Everyone’s asleep. If our phones aren’t here, they’re upstairs.

 

SARAH Don’t fucking “chill” at me—look at our fucking pockets? (She holds out the swatch of cloth that used to be her pockets & shakes them at SAGE) The fucking door is locked. & all of our pockets have been emptied & NO ONE has their fucking phone.

 

SAGE I said, chill. JFC.

 

SIOBHAN The door is locked.

 

SAGE Oh my God, have you—

 

SIOBHAN We know how to open a door.

 

SAGE I’m just saying that sometimes doors can be tricky.

 

SARAH Sage, you sound like a real dick.

 

SAGE I’ll gonna try it.

 

SARAH The fucking door is locked. (To the rest of CARNAGE) Guys, can you get up please. Now…Now.

 

SAGE saunters over to the door like he’s gonna dunk a basketball & tries the door. Nothing. Of course. He tries it again, & again. Stops to look at the door like it’s a circuit board that he’s trying to figure out, then tries again. Of course, it doesn’t budge.

 

SARAH Having problems with the door, you big strong man?

 

SAGE Shut up.

 

SARAH We’re locked in here & our phones are gone & well we’re a little freaked out.

 

SAGE Sorry, I’m just confused about this. What’s going on?

 

SARAH Do you remember last night?

 

SAGE We were drinking upstairs.

 

SARAH then what

 

SAGE i don’t know i must’ve gotten drunk.

 

SIOBHAN I did not get drunk, but i feel hungover.

 

SIOBHAN, SARAH, & SAGE wake the rest of CARNAGE. CARNAGE lumbers from their sleep.

 

SAGE, SIOBHAN, & SARAH attempt to explain the situation—they stumble over each other & interrupt & whatever. Basically, they’re trying to say that they believe MARK & his FRIEND might have tricked us & robbed them. They talk about the phones & the cut pants & the locked door.

 

The others, obviously are confused, pat around for their phones. We don’t need scripted dialog for this. The first three awake, attempt to explain what’s going on. The others don’t really respond—too groggy—they just pat their clothes looking for their phones.

 

This will go on for a while—maybe SAGE tells JD & JD goes, “huh, what are you talking about?” So SARAH, annoyed, explains it, & so on. This will go on for a while, almost as though, they don't know what else to do, other than talk about what this might be.

 

At this point, denial is the only thing keeping terror at bay—were they robbed?

 

We let this play out naturally & see how long it keeps up. Could be five minutes, could be 15. But the conversation stops when the floor above them CREAKS.

 

It’s so loud it can CREAK over their conversation.

 

SARAH Where’s Josh?

 

SIOBHAN Josh isn’t here?

 

SAGE Probably in a fucking king bed somewhere.

 

JD What the hell did we drink?

 

CHAD Does anyone have their numbers?

 

SIOBHAN We covered this. No one has their phone.

 

SAGE Josh is totally just pulling a goof. Come on, the fact that he’s not here is painfully obvious. (SAGE turns towards the door & starts yelling) HAR HAR HAR JOOOSSSSH. Very funny. Now let us out.

 

SARAH Josh totally would not find this joke funny & he certainly wouldn’t cut open our pockets for a joke this stupid.

 

SAGE Come on, what are you talking about. This is just a joke—let’s not jump to conclusions or over react. Let’s all be patient.

 

SIOBHAH Seriously. I’m bugging about being locked in fucking basement, & where the fuck is Josh? Like, if he’s upstairs…he’s not here?   

 

SARAH SAGE, you’re being stupid. Josh wouldn’t do this.

 

SAGE Are you an expert on Josh’s psychology?

 

SARAH He’s my brother, shitbird.

 

SAGE Here we go again. You just HAVE to be right.

 

SARAH Oh my God. This is not about that. Please don’t go there.

 

SAGE Nevermind.

 

SIOBHAN SAGE, stop it. Just, like shut up. We have to, you know, figure out what to do.

 

SAGE I’m telling you. It’s a joke. Ha ha funny joke.

 

CHAD That’s not a funny joke, dude.

 

JD We need to hit the road soon. I mean, we were supposed to be outta here by at least 10.

 

SARAH starts BANGING on the door & yelling stuff like “HELLO,” & “GUYS THIS IS NOT FUNNY!”

 

CARNAGE watches SARAH for a moment.

 

JD We still gotta get gas & food...

 

CHAD I really need a cigarette.

 

SAGE The least of our worries, JD. (to CHAD) Where are your cigs?

 

JD Where the fuck is Josh?

 

SIOBHAN (to JD) I saw you texting last night.

 

JD I mean, I can’t remember shit.

 

SARAH (SARAH continues. She's getting heated. CARNAGE is starting to panic, but they're hiding it. Playing it off. Nothing's really going on.) HELLO! JOSH! JOOOOSSSHHHH! IF YOUR’RE UP THERE, LET US OUT.

 

JD The guy who lives here is Mark.

 

SARAH (Seething, practically spitting the words out) I fucking know what his name in.

 

JD Sorry.

 

SIOBHAN walks over & joins SARAH. They pound on the door till they’re tired.

 

They scream JOSH! & MARK! & ASSHOLE! & FUCKFACE & HELP! & whatever else makes sense in the moment.

 

Then they stop & wait. Wait for anything. They’re looking around, as though something in the room will show them the answer to this, as though there’s a door or window that they just didn’t see or a passage to a crawlspace that they can use. A hammer to bust the walls. Anything.

 

SILENCE.

 

Upstairs: the FLOOR CREAKS, again.

 

CARNAGE looks up--

 

FOOTSTEPS. SARAH & SIOBHAN steps back from the door.

 

More SIlence.

 

Everyone stares at the ceiling as though it will speak to them.

 

SARAH (Screaming into the door) Where the fuck is JOOOOSSSSH ?

 

CARANGE begins to yell again—They want out! They want the door opened! They want this to be over! Their voices beginning to OVERLAP & DROWN each other out.

 

PANIC has arrived, pried itself inside these humans—it tears at them…we can see it in their throats, in their heads, in their chest, in their limbs, in their bodies. It’s pushing out words & digging into the depths of each of them.

 

Suddenly they stop.

 

Listen.

 

A long, pregnant SILENCE

 

They look at each other, not speaking.

 

LIGHTS DOWN

 

SPOTLIGHT CENTER STAGE

SARAH steps into the SPOTLIGHT she’s pacing, clearing words are slamming around in her head. She paces out of the light, then back in, then out, then in then out. Then she stops. She looks right into the light, then down. She scratches her head. She walks to the edge of the light. Looks around, then backs up, so she’s in the center. She shakes her head. She whispers something.  

 

SARAH This is fucked. How long have we been in here. I mean, it feels like a long time & it’s like there’s—I don’t know. I feel really sick about this. Like what are they doing. Is this some kind of sick joke, or like some prank? Josh wouldn’t be down with this, not at all. He’d tell them to cut the shit & he’d let us out. Maybe he went with them to get breakfast & didn’t know they’re fucking with us. Maybe the door locked on accident. But that doesn’t explain the pockets, doesn’t explain the missing phones, or whatever. Like nothing of ours is down here. We’re wearing out clothes from last night—that’s it. & here we are. I keep going they’re just fucking with us, right? JD has repeated that to me. SIOBHAN keeps trying to figure out what could be going on, but since nothing makes sense, she’s talking in circles, trying to figure out why someone would lock five people in a basement. We have some really dark reasons that’s we pushed past, to try to think of anything else. All we can think of if that this is just a prank or they left & forgot about us & we will all laugh about this later. But I don’t think it’s either of these. I’m worried about Josh. He might be a stubborn dick, but he does care about us & he wouldn’t leave us down here if he knew. & the fact that he hasn’t come & opened the door, it worries me. This guy, he likes sitting at home watching TV while he noodles on the guitar, he hates hanging out with new people without his friends or family there, & he hates things that a mean-spirited. I just, I want to believe he’s OK & he’s trying to grow & he’s just caught up. I just want to believe that he’s gonna open the door & be like, Guys we gotta get going, we’re gonna be late for the show. Then we will all pile in the van & drove up the five till we hit Portland. Or is it Eugene. I forget. The point it. Josh has itchy feet. When we crash on people’s floors he’s up before anyone, double checking the van, showering, getting ready to leave. On our second tour, we were staying in this amazing desert town. The sky was so big & clear that we could see constellations in the black they someone had drawn them with a highlighter. We were point at these galaxies & stars lying on our backs. Sage & I were still dating & we were holding each other & just marveling that we get to live & see shit like this. & Josh is all like, “Hey guys we should leave tonight. We can totally make a lot of good time tonight & can stop somewhere tomorrow morning.” Everyone booed at him & told him to join us. But he was pacing around & smoking & talking about how no one ever plans ahead & what if we get stuck in traffic tomorrow, & that if we were smart we’d leave now. Someone told him that “we never get to enjoy the places we play. Can we just enjoy this—this feels like a one time thing.” Josh was being a total grumpus & said, again, “I think we should leave tonight.” I got up & took Josh by the hand away from everyone. I said…

 

(OFFSTAGE while she talks a small spotlight lights up. JOSH walks into the light. He looks up at the sky. SARAH leaves her light ONSTAGE & walks over to JOSH & grabs his hand.

 

SARAH Josh. Why can’t you just enjoy this? We’ve been cruising around just going from place to place. Stop. Just stop. & let us have this moment, this night. We’re tired. We love playing but this feels right. Take a second & just be with us.

 

JOSH I’m sorry. I just—

 

SARAH You got itchy feet.

 

JOSH I just feel like we’re not doing anything.

 

SARAH Josh, look up in the fucking sky & tell me we’re not doing anything. Just cut the shit. Take a Xanax or drink a beer & just be with us.

 

JOSH nods & looks up.

 

SARAH heads back to her SPOTLIGHT ONSTAGE.

 

SARAH So I told him that & he looked up at the sky. He wasn’t out there all night with us, but he stayed & tried to enjoy it & he let us enjoy it. But here’s the thing. I’m worried about him. He’d be bugging us to get on the road. He’d be asking if he could load anything & if everything was loaded he’d be organizing the car, throwing out garbage, walking around the van smoking, looking at his phone, annoyed that it was the time that it was & we weren’t driving. So I’m saying I’m worried about Josh.

 

SPOTLIGHT GOES. STAGE LIGHTS UP.

 

SIOBHAN is standing next to SARAH.

 

SIOBHAN Did you say something?

 

SARAH I’m worried about Josh.

 

JD They’re probably just fucking with us, right?

 

SIOBHAN Well it’s not funny.

 

JD I still think maybe Josh is playing a prank.

 

SAGE Dude, have you listened to anything. That doesn’t sound like him at all. Like, imagine him being annoyed that he’s have to wait for us to wake up for the prank to work. He’d be out there (mimicking Josh, whining) “My band is so lazy, all they do is sleep & complain that I’m mean, wah wah wah. I’m Josh look at me—the world is against me & my art.”

 

CARNAGE does not laugh. In the past, they’d be splitting at the gut, everyone jumping in to mimic JOSH & mock his attitude, but everyone is silent.

 

CHAD, clearly trying to ease the tension, is deflated that no one even smiled. They are just looking up at the ceiling or staring at the door.

 

SIOBHAN Josh would’ve let us out.

 

SAGE Josh is a dick, guys. He’s pulling some shit & it’s not funny, but he’s pulling it. He’s a dick.

 

SAGE is weirdly staring at SARAH like it’s her fault, or like she should knew her brother a little better.

 

SARAH Don’t @ me. I know he’s a dick, but this doesn’t sound like him. But if it is, I’m gonna choke him. & burn his corpse.

 

CARNAGE begins to walk through the hypotheticals with “what ifs,” & “do you thinks?” but no one listens to each other, they all have their own opinion thoughts, fantasy about what they’re gonna to do JOSH if’s he’s fucking around or what they’re gonna say to him if it’s him, or what really could be happening.

 

It’s clear though that the mention of this as a joke really just hope masquerading as naivety. They know something’s wrong. They know something’s wrong with JOSH & that they’re in trouble. The issue is that they don’t want to admit the worst, that maybe they’re in a shitload of danger.

 

Voices begin BLUR, SMASHING together. They start asking questions about last night, sometimes they get answered, sometimes not. WALL OF NOISE.

 

CHAD does not speak, he sits on the couch & just sort of watches them.

 

SARAH (to CARNAGE) HEY, HEY! GUYS!

 

CARNAGE stops.

 

SARAH Let’s just chill of a bit & you know, see what happens. As fucked as this is, we should wait. If is it a joke, well the joke won’t be funny in 20 minutes.

 

Carnage is SILENT, paused for a moment, then the tension lets up. If only slightly. They're gonna wait -- think it out.

 

SCENE III

Gas flows onto stage from the door. We can’t see them, but both MARK & MARK’S Friend are behind the door, pumping Gas in the room.

 

Once the STAGE is filled (this can be figurative…obviously it might be hard to actually fill an open stage with smoke from a smoke machine, but the director can do what they can manage). MARK appears, still behind the door, but in a place where we can see him.

 

He’s wearing a gas mask. He’s staring at his phone. The screen lights his screen..

 

We wait one minute. Literally—one minutes.

 

MARK Ready?

 

MARK’S FRIEND Which one?

 

MARK Whoever’s closest to us.

 

The door opens. The two men enter the room.

 

Closest to the door is JD. They take him by the arms & legs & drag him out. They shut the door behind them. A loud VACUUM sound sparks to life—the smoke is sucked out through a vent underneath the door.

 

CARNAGE sleeps.

 

SCENE III, PART B

CARNAGE sits. They don’t do much. They look at each other. Someone might get up & walk around looking for anything that could help this escape, in vain, & return to the group. Sometimes they look at each other. Sometimes they look at the floor or ceiling or walls.

 

There are a lot of long, pregnant silences.

 

There are a lot of moments passing.

 

SAGE well just sitting here, waiting is sure doing some good.

 

SIOBHAN Fuck you, Sage.

 

SARAH Yeah fuck you. What are you doing?

 

SIOBHAN So you went & looked at the boarded up windows—congrats on your epic bravery.

 

SAGE At least I did something. But i’m not gonna sit here & wait—Josh probably just fucking took off for the next show.

 

SIOBHAN Don’t be stupid. He’s a dick but he’s not a monster

 

SARAH SAGE, he wouldn’t do that—he wouldn’t even make us wait for this long. something’s going on. & what can you do besides sit here?

 

CHAD This is really fucking boring.

 

SARAH Jesus, Chad. This is really fucking scary. I’m scared.

 

CHAD Yeah, I’m scared too. But this is boring. Isn’t it?

 

SARAH Yeah. It’s both.

 

SAGE Are we sure this isn’t some fucking joke or something...?

 

SARAH This doesn’t feel like a joke. JD wouldn’t go this far. I’m fucking...I don’t know.

 

SIOBHAN Guys. I’m scared.

 

SARAH Yeah.

 

FOOTSTEPS upstairs. Everyone BOLTS up, now standing.

 

The DIRECTOR enters.

 

He walks into the scene—he’s looking around. The actors act as though he’s invisible.

 

DIRECTOR Josh! What the hell, man?!

 

SARAH What are you doing? (SARAH gestures at the stage & in-progress play with a look of horror) We are in the middle of—what are you doing here?

 

DIRECTOR Who’s in charge of this play?

 

SARAH Josh

 

PLAYWRIGHT enters.

 

PLAYWRIGHT Sage, what are you doing? We’re in the middle of this thing. Can you get outta here?

 

DIRECTOR Dude.

 

PLAYWRIGHT What?

 

DIRECTOR What’s happening is not what you wrote in the script—for the film? You had Chad up here delivering lines that JD is supposed to deliver. I’m freaking out over here. This is at least $15K in reshoots if I have to follow this narrative. I’m a little, I’m pissed too.

 

PLAYWRIGHT What are you talking about?

 

DIRECTOR In the script you gave us, the film, Chad goes right after Josh. So I shot it at that way (PLAYWRIGHT turns back & yells OFFSTAGE) HAYLEY! Do you have the script? (to Josh) I’m telling you, it’s clearly stated in the script that you delivered to me with the words “FINAL” on it, that Bennett would go first…& before you say anything stupid, I can’t cut around it. Jesus, JOSH. What the hell?

 

A P.A. enters with a manuscript. Hands it to DIRECTOR, who turns to the middle, then hands it to PLAYWRIGHT

 

PLAYWRIGHT Oh shit. I must’ve changed it back while I was working this one out. I’m sorry. (pauses, probably not sure what he’s supposed to do.) Uh, what do you want me to do?

 

DIRECTOR Give me $15K to reshoot, or changes this.

 

PLAYWRIGHT I don’t have $15K.

 

DIRECTOR Better call JD back, then. & get rid of Bennett.

 

CHAD walks over.

 

CHAD Hey guys. I don’t mind. We rehearsed it the other way numerous times. It’s OK. I would’ve said something, but I thought this was some mind-trip you were going for—want me to get JD?

 

DIRECTOR  Yeah…Josh, what do you think?

 

PLAYWRIGHT You sure, Chad?

 

CHAD nods & exits.

 

DIRECTOR This is a pretty big fuck up man. Like what kind of oversight do you need to remember the fucking narrative that you wrote? I’m not trying to be a dick here, but this could’ve been bad.

 

PLAYWRIGHTS Multiple timelines could exist.

 

DIRECTOR This isn’t 12 Monkeys.

 

JOSH I’m just saying that there are already variations in this narrative, & variations on every showing, in every take, in every song performed, at every show, & on & on.

 

DIRECTOR You’re rationalizing your fuckup.

 

PLAYWRIGHT No, I admit that I gave you a different version, but at the end of the day, stories mutate & narratives morph, & sometimes we forget parts of the story & sometimes it changes for laughs or for the better of the story. So, look I’m sorry, but if Chad wasn’t interested in giving up his remaining scenes for the betterment of this "sacred” continuity, it’d be OK, knowing the difference.

 

DIRECTOR You’re the worst.

 

JD enterS.

 

JD So, we’re going back to the original?

 

PLAYWRIGHT Do you know the lines?

 

JD I do.

 

PLAYWRIGHT Alright, let’s start at the top of the scene. Everyone in their places!

 

SARAH & SAGE return to their spots. JD takes the place where CHAD was. PLAYWRIGHT returns to his place OFFSTAGE RIGHT, just out of the AUDIENCE’S view.

 

[The play begins, again—]

 

CARNAGE sits. They don’t do much.

 

Someone might get up & walk around looking for anything that could help this escape, in vain, & return to the group.

 

Sometimes they look at each other.

 

Sometimes they look at the floor or ceiling or walls.

 

There are a lot of long, pregnant silences.

 

There are a lot of moments passing.

 

SAGE Well just sitting here, waiting is sure doing some good.

 

SIOBHAN Fuck you, SAGE.

 

SARAH Yeah fuck you. What are you doing?

 

SIOBHAN So you went & looked at the boarded up windows—congrats on your epic bravery.

 

SAGE At least I did something. But i’m not gonna sit here & wait—Josh probably just fucking took off for the next show.

 

SIOBHAN Don’t be stupid. He’s a dick but he’s not a monster

 

SARAH SAGE, he wouldn’t do that—he wouldn’t even make us wait for this long. something’s going on. & what can you do besides sit here?

 

JD This is really fucking boring.

 

SARAH Jesus, Chad. This is really fucking scary. I’m scared.

 

JD Yeah, I’m scared too. But this is boring. Isn’t it?

 

SARAH Yeah. It’s both.

 

SAGE Are we sure this isn’t some fucking joke or something...?

 

SARAH This doesn’t feel like a joke. JD wouldn’t go this far. I’m fucking...I don’t know.

 

SIOBHAN Guys. I’m scared.

 

SARAH Yeah.

 

FOOTSTEPS upstairs. Everyone BOLTS up, now standing.

 

JD I don’t know what to do—yelling does nothing.

 

SAGE I can’t yell anymore.

 

SARAH We haven’t been here that long.

 

SAGE Shut up, Sarah!

 

SIOBHAN Guys, I could really do without your bickering, while we locked in this fucking basement.

 

SARAH Sorry.

 

SIOBHAN It’s OK. Just…what do we do.

 

SAGE We can’t just sit here & do nothing.

 

SIOBHAN But what can we do?

 

JD I don’t think there’s anything to do—try to stay up—try to see what’s going on & then, I don’t know. It doesn’t feel like we can do anything except wait. The only things in here are the toilet, the door, the vent, & this stupid couch.

 

SIOBHAN Right, but what are we waiting for. We don’t even know…we don’t know anything.

 

LIGHTS DOWN

            =

SCENE IV

CARNAGE must have passed out wherever they were sitting. They sleep, hunched over.

 

JD is gone. CARNAGE doesn’t notice at first.

 

There is a bowl of fruit & a plate of muffins by the door.

 

SIOBHAN is the first to stir. He stands up & stretches, then sees the food.

 

SIOBHAN Oh shit, there’s food!

 

CARNAGE rises & everyone moves towards the door. They paw at the food, shoving into their mouths -- they're not thinking about where it came from. They're too hungry.

 

They eat till there's nothing left.

 

SIOBHAN Is anyone in here freaked out about the food that everyone is eating? Why are you eating it?

 

SARAH You guys they put fucking food down here.

 

SIOBHAN Jesus

 

SAGE So? (looking around)

 

SARAH so they were in here?

 

SIOBHAN Jesus.

 

SAGE at least we got food.

 

SARAH they were in here.

 

SIOBHAN Where’s JD?

 

SAGE Fuck.

 

SARAH JD?

 

SILENCE - it's the swollen kind. No one wants to say it:

 

SIOBHAN I don’t want to disappear.

 

SILENCE.

 

SIOBHAN SCREAMS again & again & again. SAGE & SARAH flinch. SARAH looks at SAGE as he rises. She shakes her head, then walks over. She puts her hand on SIOBHAN’s shoulder. Whispers something in her air. She stays there. SIOBHAN calms, slowly.

 

SAGE paces in the silence.

 

The silence is so heavy the stage creaks.

 

SAGE (still pacing & shaking his head—obviously doing mental gymnastics & telling himself there’s a way out of here, they just have to figure out, as though he’s in that underwater level in donkey Kong country or whatever. He will not except the gravity of the situation, as upstairs, just behind the curtain, cracked enough to see a sliver of blood, MARK & his FRIEND cut into JD) OK. What the fuck? Seriously. What the fuck. The fuck.

 

SARAH Sage, please. Just calm down.

 

SAGE For what? Why the fuck would I calm down. I can’t just sit here & do nothing.

 

SAGE rushes over to the vent, he starts trying to pry the vent cover off. It won’t even humor him with a budge. It’s solid. He walks to the couch & kicks it over. On the bottom, there’s a torn bottom.

 

SAGE starts tearing off pieces of fabric. He starts kicking out the bottom of the couch—SIOBHAN & SARAH stare at him. They’re eyes wide for the first time in maybe days. SAGE is holding a ball of cloth in his clenched fist & three pieces of wood in another. He shows it all to SARAH & SIOBHAN.

SAGE What do you think?

 

SIOBHAN & SARAH, you can see it, they don’t want to let hope in—they’re fighting it, but there’s a trace of it in their bodies. SAGE, for the first time, since waking up down in this basement is smiling—something knocked loose & his teeth are showing, wolf-like.

 

SAGE Come on, what do you think?

 

SIOBHAN What’s the cloth for?

 

SAGE Masks.

 

SARAH They’ve already see us, what good do mask do? I just, SAGE, I can’t take getting our hopes up for, I don’t know what you want to do, what kind of plan grows from a ball of fabric & three pieces of wood?

 

SAGE Well, for one, they’re obviously gassing us. It fucking reeks like farts old farts in here & honestly, I don’t know how else they keep pulling us out & no one wakes up.

 

SARAH Right, but you can’t prove it’s gas, so what if this is all for nothing?

 

SAGE There’s nothing that tells us it isn’t & haven’t you noticed the weird metallic smell in here? Anyway, the point is, whatever, who cares, we are gonna put on these fucking masks & we are gonna hold these (SAGE shakes the sticks in the air then makes a stabbing motion) things till we can stab someone. I’m not saying this will do anything or that it matters, but it feels like we should at least try. If it’s not gas, then we may never know, but if it is, then we may have a shot. I’m doing it, you all can if you want.

 

SAGE tosses a stick to each of them. Then hands them each a piece of the cloth. SIOBHAN walks over to the couch a starts ripping off a huge piece of fabric.

 

SARAH What are you doing?

 

SIOBHAN We’re gonna need as much as we can if it’s really gas. Help me tear.

 

CARNAGE looks to the door. They don't talk for an extremely long time.

 

SARAH When do you think…never mind.

 

 

The scene keeps going—it will most likely vary depending on the night—but we cannot hear anything happening on the stage, perhaps we can hear footsteps & movement, but all else has been muted.

 

 

INTERMISSION. (optional)

 

*Optional means that the AUDIENCE can leave for an intermission—smoke, pee, whatever. They can go out in the lobby & talk about what it all means, they can go out in the lobby & talk shit & about this experimental playwright, who built a play on nothing but some half-cocked idea to stage something “unstageable” that’s “part of a bigger multimedia project.”

 

This portion of the play we can only hear the sounds coming from OFFSTAGE the bone saw, the dripping, the beeping, the indistinct murmurs of directives, short conversations, thud, ice.

 

ONSTAGE Sarah, SAGE, & Siobhan are in a frenzy. They are slamming their hands & arms & bodies against the door. They are screaming. They keep at it.

 

We CANNOT hear them.

 

We only hear the bone saw, the dripping, the beeping, the murmurs, the thuds, the ice.

 

We want this portion to extend as long as possible five-ten minutes if possible.

 

We hear MARK & MARK’S FRIEND working, but we also see them walk out OFFSTAGE & make themselves a cup of coffee, we might hear them talking about something random or whether they’re on time, maybe something about inventory.

 

They work & live, while ONSTAGE SARAH, SAGE, SIOBHAN eventually run out of energy & put themselves on the ground. They stare at the door. They don’t spend time looking around the basement. They’ve covered every inch. & they don’t have it in them to look in vain for nothing.

 

This continues for ten minutes, maybe.

 

Then the LIGHTS dim.

 

INTERMISSION ends.

 

SCENE W/ A MONOLOGUE OR SOMETHING.

MARK enters, stepping out from behind the curtain covered in blood.

 

MARK We can’t really hear them, when they scream & yell. The door pretty much covers it up, & if you could see close up, we’ve lined the halls with noise machines—you know the kinds you see at your therapist’s office. It makes all conversation indistinguishable. Anyway, even if I heard them, at this point it wouldn’t affect me. Look at me for christsakes! (MARK motions to himself & waves his hands around. He wants everyone to see the blood & see that he’s really not bothered by it.) I was just thinking about something & well, look at me—this is the image you expect to see at the hospital in a cinematic universe that’s not based in reality. You know how in student films when there’s a hospital scene the doctor comes out with his scrubs covered in blood? That isn’t this. Look. That hospital image is manipulative because it’s the perfect representation of a wrecked body, of loss, that blood represents loss. Seeing the blood offers the audience a chance to feel as desperate as the characters would. But it’s cheating because it’s taking something that triggers an emotional response but not actual reality. It provoke emotions without doing the real work. What I’m saying is that is a moment that isn’t real—for once it’s a health hazard to be walking around in waiting rooms with blood splattered all over your face & clothes. But also, what kind of doctor would actually walk out of an operation room & talk to a family with proof of death & pain & loss splattered loudly on their scrubs. (Mark looks back towards the curtain, then back to audience.) The point is that we’re almost at our quota. Probably keep them for another day or so—but we have to move quick, we’ve never posted up at a place this long. Anyway, what I’m saying is that next we’ll take JD & we’ll collect his (MARK reaches into his pocket & pulls out a smart phone. Reads.) Yeah, so we need a heart, of course, lungs, kidney’s, we’ll see if this liver is OK. The guy named JD has a fucked liver. So we’ll work on him & we’ll go back in & take one more person.

 

MARK’S FRIEND walks out from behind the curtain.

 

MARK’S FRIEND Mark, come on. We need to get moving with this.

 

MARK So, anyway. I’ve got to finish up what we’re working on & then we’ll pull Siobhan out & there will be two left. I don’t want to give you the ending, but look, I know what I am. I know what you think of me, but I don’t care. Fuck you for judging me. Fuck you for sitting there rooting for people you don’t even know while you sit there & look at what I’m doing like I don’t have legitimate reasons.

 

MARK walks out of the spotlight & behind the curtain.

 

MARK’S FRIEND The next delivery is 1:00. We don’t have a lot of time.

 

MARK It’ll be fine.

 

MARK’S FRIEND We almost missed the last one.

 

MARK We made it fine.

 

MARK’S FRIEND We’re pushing it.

 

MARK You’re pushing it.

 

MARK’S FRIEND I’m serious. Let’s stick to the plan, we don’t need extra stuff. I’ve already dug the hole & once we’re done we can clean up & take off. If we get there early they have more time with the product. You know to get it where it needs to go.

 

MARK Fine. You win. But the last one, I get to really go to town on.

 

MARK’S FRIEND Right, but we’ve almost stocked inventory for now. They won’t need the extra stuff.

 

MARK Just in case.

 

MARK’S FRIEND It’s fine. It doesn’t matter or anything.

 

MARK No. It’s doesn’t really.

 

Mark’s friend opens a cooler on the floor. Plastic & blood are visible.

 

MARK’S FRIEND We’ll probably need two more of these. Just to be safe.

   

SCENE, SOME ACTION

MARK crouches on the other side of the door. He is carrying a large metal canister & tube. He disappears behind the door.

 

Moments pass.

 

Gas begins to fill the room. The gas fills the room completely.

 

The door opens & Mark & MARK’S FRIEND are standing there with gas masks on.

 

They don’t see SAGE crouched door next to the door. They don’t see SARAH on the other side—piece of the couch wrapped around their faces. They don’t notice that SIOBHAN’s face is covered with cloth.

 

They walk straight over to SIOBHAN & they start to pick her up.

 

MARK (Noticing the couch, he starts looking around) What is—

 

SARAH hits MARK on his head & MARK lets out a scream & falls to the ground—at the same time, SAGE stabs MARK’s FRIEND in the back & he goes down. SIOBHAN tears off his mask & puts it on hers, then she starts STOMPING on his head.

 

MARK is fumbling back towards the door as SARAH fights him for his mask. He throws her down & starts running toward the door. SAGE turns from MARK’s FRIEND & lunges onto MARK. They both go flying.

 

SIOBHAN stops & runs towards the door.

 

MARK throws SAGE into SARAH & they both hit the ground. MARK runs out the door—before SAGE & SARAH can get up, he’s shut the door & locked it. He tears the mask off & picks up a hammer an old pipe from the floor outside the door.

 

Inside, SARAH & SAGE are screaming, slamming their bodies into the door. SCREAMING. The room, still filled with gas, starts getting to them.

 

            SARAH & SAGE Run SIOBHAN. RUN!

 

They keep pounding at the door—we watch them slow down, we watch them cough & eventually they will be passed out on the floor. Next to the body of MARK’S FRIEND, who has bled out. The blood has pooled & ran over to the torn apart couch.

 

Upstairs, OFFSTAGE, SIOBHAN has made her way to the front room. She tears off her mask & throws it on the couch. She tries the front door. It’s locked from the inside. She turns around—the box of their phones sits by the garbage. She rushes over & pulls out her phone. She frantically tries to turn it on. She’s muttering, staring at it like her adrenalin will make it go faster.

MARK ascends the stairs. He’s fuming. Sort of twirling the pipe around.

 

MARK You can’t get outta here. I’m going to find you. The sooner you give up, the less umph I’ll put into how hard I strike you. There is literally no exit without the keys & you know who has the keys? Not me! So, you’re stuck in here unless you take me out & go down there & take him out & get the keys. You don’t stand a chance. You’ve been stuck in a basement & I’ve been moving around & working. (MARKS keeps lurking through the house. He in the hallway.)

 

SIOBHAN is scrambling to find a hiding place—there’s none. Her phone turns on. She dials 911 and puts the phone back in the box. She' starts looking for a weapon. On the table in the middle of the room, the glasses they drank from. She moves over to the table, she picks up two, & waits.

 

MARK walks into the room. He’s swinging the pipe around.

 

MARK Hi, dear. Let’s make this easy. I don’t feel like beating you to death. I’d prefer to stick to my plan.

 

SIOBHAN Don’t come any closer (she raises the glass over her head as though she’s going to throw) Stay the fuck back!

 

MARK You have six glasses—you’re going to run out.

 

SIOBHAN throws one—he dodges & it barely misses him & CRASHES into the wall.

 

MARK runs across the room. SIOBHAN throws another & goes for more, throws, but MARK is already on top of her & he tackles her to the ground. She tries to smash at glass on his head, but he knocks it away.

 

SIOBHAN Please, we’ll do whatever you want. Please just let us go.

 

MARK looks at her without speaking. He lifts the pipe over his head.

 

THEATER LIGHTS DOWN

 

A SPOTLIGHT grows ONSTAGE. SARAH & SAGE are passed out. The gas has all but cleared, but they are still sound asleep. The body has stopped bleeding. MARK can’t know what’s come of MARK’s FRIEND, but he hasn’t gone to check on him. If it were me, I’d assume that the two left in the basement tore him apart.

 

The SPOTLIGHT leaves the STAGE, searching OFFSTAGE for MARK. It finds him dragging SIOBHAN’s body down the hall & into the back room.

 

The curtain is parted & there is medical equipment, an operating table an operating tray with tools, & coolers & ice boxes. He puts her on a table.

 

MARK walks over to the curtain & pulls it shut.

  

SCENE, PENULTIMATE

THERE'S REALLY NOTHING LEFT TO SAY. There's nothing to say. There's nothing to learn -- they're defeated. They can't speak.

 

They can’t do anything. If SIOBHAN made it out they would know by now. It’s been too long. They don’t even kick the body, they don’t even smash his face some more, if they did, they would’ve noticed he had gone hard with rigor mortis. They also probably would’ve found his keys—not that his keys did anything other than open of the doors upstairs, they were stuck down here. & they probably would’ve found his iPhone, which was completely smashed in the previous scene. All of these promises of hope would’ve been dashed by how useless they were as merely objects. Just things that COULD save them, IF they were the right ones. So, in hindsight, they’ve saved themselves more disappointment.

 

SARAH begins to CRY. It's silent kind but messy & physical.  SAGE gets up, moves around the room - looks, touches, frantically moves to every corner of the room. SAGE stands there, SOBBING too.

 

Upstairs, SIOBHAN is nowhere. MARK wears gloves & moves around the house wiping down furniture, the cupboards & cabinets & he lugs black bags out to his van (we can’t see his van, but let’s pretend we can see the white 15 passenger van with a fake cleaner logo on the side, full now of black bags of garbage, coolers, blood specks on the edges, & a large suitcase & a couple bags.

 

When MARK has finished wiping down the table. He tosses the paper towel & his gloves into the last black garbage bag, & he walks out the back door.

 

We hear a VAN kick to life. & the sound of a VAN pulling away, in gravel.

 

Lights DIM slowly.

 

MUSIC begins to play with the silence.

 

SCENE, FINAL

Outside the THEATER a collection of Police & Fed cars arrive—their sirens painting the Marquee that reads A CARNAGE IN THE LOVETREES. An Ambulance arrives & another. The MEDICS stand by. A FIRETRUCK arrives. The FIREFIGHTERS standby.

 

The Cops dressed in riot gear & vests charge into the Theater, through the lobby, & into the main room.

 

As this happens SAGE & SARAH follow the sound—obviously in this world of the play—they cannot see the COPS, but they hear everything.

 

They move precisely down the aisles, through the audience, & up through the living room upstage, down the hallway, & up to the door. The COPS enter rooms & yell “Clear” & keep moving through the house with extreme precision.

 

At the door—SARAH & SAGE press their bodies against the door. They both respond to the questions but differently, like an echo maybe.

 

SARAH & SAGE Hi, HELLO!??

 

COP(s) Back away from the door.

 

SARAH & SAGE We’re locked in here! Our friends are gone.

 

COPS Is there anything we need to know?

 

SARAH & SAGE Please!!!

 

COPS STAND AWAY FROM THE DOOR!

 

SARAH & SAGE back away from the door. They are holding each other, watching.

 

Everyone, we all, watch as the door gets broken down.

(It must be built so that the COPS have to actually break the door down.)

 

SMASH. SMASH. CRACCCCKKKKKK.

 

The door flies off its hinges & the COPS pour it. Securing the room. One of them gets on their radio—the one on their shoulder.

 

COP (into his shoulder radio) There are two—we are bringing them out.

 

Two COPS lead SARAH & SAGE out of the basement, up the stairs, & into the front room, then up the aisles, out of the main room, into the lobby & outside, where there are MEDICS waiting.

 

Inside, the COPS talk to each other. They search the house & the Theater & the Aisle & Backstage & OFFSTAGE.

 

OUT IN THE BACKYARD, one COP finds loose dirt. Lime.

 

COP IV Guys! I think I found something.

 

Outside the Theater, SARAH & SAGE, sit on the back of an ambulance. Medics are examining them. They don’t say anything. They just sit there, staring into space. Siren light dashing across their faces.

 

CURTAIN.