Act III Ensemble
The State Theatre
Directed by Matthew Ozawa
Theatre For People Who Need It
Directed by Justin Verstraete
Simon, the Drummer Patient
The Right Brain Project
Directed by Nathan Robbel
Directed by Mallory Backstrom
The Arc Theatre
Directed by Mark Boergers
The Right Brain Project
Directed by Emma Peterson
Directed by Nathan Green
Directed by Raymond Cleveland
Urbana Boneyard Arts Festival
Directed by Robert Ramirez
University of Illinois
Directed by Leah Cox
University of Illinois
Directed by Laurie Carlos
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Directed by Hallie Aldrich
It stood there, idly chewing grass in the cafeteria as an ensemble of overall-wearing men moved bales of hay behind it. The whole scene might’ve been the strangest normal thing Michelle had ever seen: A goat, gray and four feet high, tethered to a small line of rope, chewing cud in an office cafeteria.
“So, the mayor is coming here for a visit to see the company because he’s never been here before,” Greg explained, “and the CEO wants to give him a personal tour, so he’s going to show him around the building and point out the various departments. He had this idea, though, to make one room “where we keep the goats,” so we rented a goat and a plaque that says “Goat Room.” And, uh, well…here he is.”
Michelle crouched down as close to the goat as possible, holding her phone up to the creature’s slack-jawed face. She quickly snapped a picture, clear enough to stave off claims from her friends she’d lied. No one would ever believe half of the things she’d seen at ConLivial today, but at least she could have evidence of the most outrageous one.
“So, uh…what do we do with it?” Greg asked, folding his arms. Kenny motioned behind Greg, who turned to see a swell of people gathering near the doors of the cafeteria. Each of them stood armed with their own cameras or smart phones, hurriedly snapping pictures before the mayor arrived.
“Well, Safron said something about keeping the crowd down, so…you do that,” Kenny said, poking Greg on the shoulder. Greg rolled his eyes, then poked Kenny back.
“C’mon, you do it! She told you! I’ll watch the goat.”
“Dude, I’m supposed to watch the goat!”
“More people know you! They’ll listen to you!”
“But you care that much more than I do!”
“About this? This is right up your alley!”
“Dude…’doncare’ is a universal concept.”…
slinkies of laughter unwind in me
when i realize it’s merely a native-son priest,
patron to the buffalo hunters we evic[era]ted
into almost-life, staged in fox-den playpens, fed
lukewarm former glories and discontent.
he walks time-displaced,
a PC in a Picasso,
an mp3 in a DaVinci,
a sore-tongued sore thumb
chained to this squealing serpent
in the city’s rusted chandelier veins.
in this iron seat’s
enough to make me weep.
the priest speaks in time tables and lost hours,
and i realize we’re all just junkies
hopped-[(up)on] melted clocks,
always sniffing out more and blowing what we’ve got.
no wonder those on the God-eyed right-side
prefer traditional archaic governmental aesthetics;
change burns away our age and
if we lose our stash, we sink closer to the truth:
once the clocks dry up,
we’re headed for the grass.
…the real tragedy is
how our children will do their
and that ‘i’?
reunions are conducted
via pasting opinions
on cyberspace bird squeaks,
we stay in another’s lives
Much of the audience laughed. Richard smiled. When he was younger, he used to almost believe in half the creatures, places, and things he wrote about. They all came from this strange place in his head, draped in violet and teal shadows, speaking in odd rhymes and staring out at him, hungry for an pen-suckled life. Over time, he’d become out of touch with that place, and the shadows’ colors had changed to the pale mints and grays of money, studio budgets, and deadlines. All he could hear were whispers about greed. All he could make were the bare essentials of fiction, the pale skeletons of his craft, and he hated himself for it.
“I wish,” Richard huffed, “I used to believe such silly things existed. But I’m finding it harder and harder to believe I will ever meet one.”
The girl frowned a bit, and the crowd began to murmur as the heaviness of Richard’s voice echoed through the cavernous room. The emcee–one of the university’s female English professors who dressed somewhere between businesswoman and crystal healer–ascended to the microphone, politely asking attendees to exit the building in an orderly fashion. She also pointed out the shop at the rear of the room, where a wide array of Palsman texts could be bought, all signed by a stamp made to pass as a signature.
Richard rose from his large comfy chair, switching his microphone off with a heavy sigh. He could still feel the awkward girl’s eyes resting on him, half heartbroken, as he gathered his things. He quickly exited through the auditorium rear, leaving a cloud of melancholic apathy hovering on stage. He felt flaccid and weak, and upset that what he’d said just a few minutes earlier might in fact be true…