Bang! Bang! Bang!

This is a play I wrote for March’s Theatre Room, a monthly theatre showcase in Galway where anyone can submit short scripts. I also gave a note to the director that while the characters have gendered names, they are free to change the names and cast any gender in any role. I do this with a lot of my writing, because I feel that unless I’m writing about something gender-specific, I should give as many actors as possible the opportunity to play the role.

(Three contestants are on stage, each behind a podium with their name on it. They all have lots of pink/red blush and lipstick. Their eyes are closed and there are eyes painted on their eyelids. They sit motionless in their seats until otherwise indicated. STEVEN enters as generic upbeat music plays, holding a microphone and wearing a lot of sequins. He presents everything with a larger-than-life smile and a forced cheery tone, like a classic American gameshow host.)

STEVEN: (to audience) Hello everyone, and welcome to Bang! Bang! Bang! (Steven pretends his hand is a gun and shoots at the audience with every “bang”) Tonight we have a great show for you, wonderful contestants, fabulous prizes and as always, a charming host. (winks to the audience) Let’s see who we have tonight, shall we?

(The music plays once again as Steven does a theatrical jog over to the first contestant.)

STEVEN: Let’s hear it for our first contestant! (turns to Dave, the first contestant) Dave! Welcome to the show! Tell us a bit about yourself! (Steven holds the microphone in front of Dave’s face. There is no movement or response. Steven nods and “mmhmm”s along as if Dave is speaking) That’s great Dave and, say that again? You’re a prick? Wonderful! Great talking to you, Dave!

(The music comes back on and Steven jogs to the next contestant.)

STEVEN: Sarah! Sarah, Sarah, Sarah, who let you on this show, huh? (Steven laughs to the audience) So Sarah, I hear you’re a raging bitch, would that be correct? (Steven holds out the microphone to Sarah, who doesn’t move) Haha, well there’s no denying that! Ugly as sin too, aren’t you? How do you get up in the morning when that’s waiting for you in the mirror, huh? A round of applause for Sarah, folks!

(The music plays and Steven jogs to the final contestant.)

STEVEN: And last but certainly not least is Mike! Or Mikey as I like to call him, a playful name for a playful rascal! (laughs) Did you know that this piece of shit ruined the only good thing in my life? Can you believe that, folks? Let’s hear it for tonight’s contestants!

(The music plays and Steven takes his place as the gameshow host.)

STEVEN: Now for those of you who haven’t tuned in before, the game is quite simple. I’m going to ask our lovely contestants a series of questions, first one to buzz in and get the right answer wins the points. Whoever gets the most points wins the game but don’t worry, everyone will get something tonight! Okay contestants, are we ready? (Pause as the contestants don’t answer) Great, then let’s begin!

(A moment of gameshow music)

STEVEN: Okay, here we go. Question one, when is my birthday?

(Silence.)

STEVEN: Notice that, folks? No-one knows! Let’s go and see why not!

(Steven cheerily walks over to Sarah.)

STEVEN: So Sarah, why don’t you know the answer to our first question tonight? (He holds the microphone in front of Sarah whenever he expects a response, but he never gets one) I see, I see, but… Aren’t you in charge of celebrating such things in the office? Of course you are! So, if I might ask, (gameshow host style turns to extreme rage over the rest of the sentence) in what infinitely disgusting and deplorable way did I fuck you over, Sarah? Why did you hate me so much that nothing was done for me on my birthday? Do you enjoy toying with my emotions, Sarah? Do you enjoy the power your mundane, stupid little brain gets to have for that one moment in your boring, beige, suburban life? Does it feel as good as the orgasms your ex-husband isn’t giving you anymore, you stupid bitch? There’s a reason he left you, Sarah! It’s because you’re ugly as hell!

(Steven instantly returns to his gameshow host persona, laughing to himself in a charming manner)

STEVEN: Hahaha, wonderful Sarah, just wonderful! She looks like she’s having a great time, doesn’t she folks? Aren’t you all having a great time too? (laughs, returning to his spot) Alright, time for question two! Hands by your buzzers, everyone! What will happen if you crash your car into me?

(Buzzer dings, Steven is delighted)

STEVEN: It looks like Dave knows the answer! Come on then, Dave, tell us all! (He pauses as Dave does nothing) That is absolutely correct, Dave, I’ll fucking kill you! Hahahaha, oh Dave, you have a bit of a reason for knowing that, don’t you? (to the audience) Yes folks, Dave and I here actually met because his poor driving skills knocked one of my rear-view mirrors off! Can you imagine being so incomprehensibly dumb? It’s really amazing Dave, and I’d just like to go ahead and say that on behalf of all here at Bang! Bang! Bang! (doing the finger gun for each bang) that we fucking hate you. Don’t you dare even look in my direction ever again, okay Dave okay?

(Gameshow music plays for a moment.)

STEVEN: Okay folks, this is the final question. Dave has one point, Sarah’s a bitch, and Mike has yet to join the game. It’s all to play for! Here we go… What is the one thing I hold dearer than life itself?

(A pause, followed by a buzzer)

STEVEN: And Mike is finally in the game! Go ahead Mikey, tell us the answer! (A pause as Mike does nothing. Steven laughs to himself) You’re absolutely right, Mike! Megan Smith is the most important thing in the world to me! Excellent answer! (to audience) Let me tell you folks, Mikey here knows a lot about Megan Smith. Megan is a dear, dear friend of mine and unfortunately, Mike was getting the wrong idea about her. (At this point, Steven becomes angry and sinister, approaching Mike) He thought that he could just take advantage of her, didn’t you, you living piece of shit? I saw you, with your hands on her, with your eyes all over her. And then you had the audacity, you scum of the fucking earth, to kiss her! My woman, Mike! The thing that I hold most dear! You dared to touch her and (suddenly becoming quiet) Mike, you will never regret anything more in your entire fucking life.

(A moment of silence as Steven intently stares at Mike, suddenly switching back to the audience with a huge smile as the gameshow music plays during his next lines)

STEVEN: Well that’s it for tonight, folks! Let’s have a look at our scores! Dave has one point, Sarah has nothing, and Mike also has one point! It looks like we have a tiebreaker but let’s just be fair and give everyone a prize! What could the prize be?

(Drumroll, then all of the contestants drop to the floor from behind their podiums. We can now see the sections of their body which were covered by the podiums. They are covered in blood and their joints are at all angles. They are all dead.)

STEVEN: Another great show, we hope you had as much fun watching as you did playing! Until next time! See you again on (finger guns) Bang! Bang! Bang!

(Gameshow music plays as Steven jogs out, waving)