'WHERE THERE'S A WILL'
Through a quirk of fate the bard is transported through time to the year 2014 where he lands outside the house of Gordon Coldridge, a struggling playwright with a pushy manager and an estranged girlfriend! Up against a deadline with writer's block due to an ill fated romance? Who best to assist you than William Shakespeare.
Shakespeare makes a curtain call!
By Joe Franklin – Bloomberg Radio
I’ve been around, going to and reviewing New York theatre for over sixty years and though I’m not old enough to have known William Shakespeare personally, after watching Joe Simonelli’s new romantic comedy, ‘Where there’s a Will’ , I feel like we’re old friends! The plot revolves around 21st century Staten Island playwright Gordon Coldridge, a moderately successful working playwright with a few published plays and some regional pro theatre under his belt, but still striving to get his big Broadway hit! As portrayed expertly and with ample angst by Tim Weinert, the moody and introspective scribe gambles too much and has trouble moving on from past relationships which seriously threatens his current relationship to his muse Cassandra. (A standout performance by Samantha Rivers Cole in a supporting part) To add to the pressure, his overbearing manager Al, played by playwright Simonelli, who offers a solid character role performance, is after him to finish the play he is struggling with because they have already received a nice advance and the ‘publisher’s deadline is looming.’ Just when all seems lost who shows up to save the day but the ‘Bard’ himself, played effectively by British actor Mark Smith, offering advice and commenting on the modern accoutrements of the day. I’m not going to give away any plot points on how he got there or what happens to him, you’re just going to have to venture over to the American Actors Theatre on West 54th Street to see, and laugh, for yourself! The play is directed adeptly by veteran theatre maven Richmond Shepard. There are only four performances left unless they extend the run, try not to miss them! At just twenty dollars admission, it just may be the cheapest, and funniest play you will see in New York this season!
The American Theatre of Actors is located at 314 West 54th Street.
Remaining performances are Friday May 2nd and 3rd at 8 pm, with a Saturday and Sunday matinee at 3pm on May 3rd and 4th.
For tickets call 212-581-3044
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Gordon - a playwright 40
Will - a playwright 50
Al - an agent 50-60
Cassandra 35- 40
Authors Note: For amateur performances only. The F- bomb is dropped here and there throughout the play as an inside theatre joke. Feel free to substitute less egregious verbiage if you feel your audience may be offended. I’ve supplied alternate language in parenthesis. (it does kind of kill the inside theatre joke however)
SETTING: The living room of Gordon Coleridge in Staten Island, New York. Main entrance is up left. Archway to kitchen is back center. Bedroom is up right. Front door is up left. Window is on wall left. A desk with a computer is down right. Couch, coffee table, bar, bookcase, wing chair and other customary living room furniture is evident. The room is messy. A plastic skull sits on top of the bookshelf and a small vacuum cleaner rests next to it.
AT RISE: Mid- morning. Gordon is sitting at his desk at his computer. His head rests on the desk as he sleeps.
(Cell phone starts to ring and he stumbles around looking for it)
GORDON. Where is it?
(Following the sound he finds it under some papers on the coffee table. He plops down on the couch)
Hello…oh…Hi Cate...no, I was working late…must have dozed off…I’m up against a deadline. How are you? What’s up?...Me? The usual. My manager is constantly on my back. Yeah, I’m still with Al….How’s Cassandra? How would I know? I haven’t heard from her in over a week. (a little annoyed) Why don’t I call her? Why doesn’t she call me?...How should I know, we had some words….of course it was my fault, it’s always my fault. Get this, she claims I’m “stuck in the past.” ….and there you go taking her side again, maybe you should call her….Okay, can we just drop the subject? What’s up with you, how are things on the west coast? It must be the middle of the night there?...You’re having breakfast? (He runs to the window and pulls back the curtain) Ahhh, sunlight! What, it’s eight A.M.? If it’s eight A.M. in Santa Monica it’s eleven A.M. on Staten Island. I’ve gotta get back to work!...Huh, yes, I’m taking my vitamins. Stop nagging, you’re my sister, not my mother. Okay, love you too, talk soon.
(He sits at desk)
I’ve got to finish this play. Let’s see, they just had an argument then (He recites as he types) “She maliciously throws a shoe at him, barely missing as she exits the house stage right…wait, (trying to figure out stage directions) audience is straight ahead, that’s stage right, that’s stage left….(continues typing) She exits front door stage left. (stops typing) Ten plays later and I still can’t figure out stage directions. Okay,(recapping to himself) she throws shoe at him, exits front door stage left then…whoa, wait a minute…she can’t leave the house without her shoe! Who does that? Come on Gordon, you got this….Oh yeah..(starts typing) She returns to retrieve her shoe, realizes the colossal mistake she has made, and they make passionate love on the living room couch. Then, she gets up and exits stage left. (stops typing) Yeah, in a perfect word. (Hits the button) Delete.
(he get’s up and starts procrastinating by playing with a sponge basketball and small rim he has hanging from the back wall Cell phone starts to ring .He picks up phone and looks at caller I.D.)
Oh shit. Yeah, Hi Al….yeah Al, I’m working on it as we speak. (Takes another basketball shot) I know the deadline is next week…Yes, I realize we have to forfeit the advance if I don’t deliver the play…God forbid you have to give back your fifteen percent, but you don’t have to worry about that Al…Why? Because your fifteen percent, the agent’s ten percent and the publisher’s twenty percent all lost to an ace high full house in Atlantic City last weekend. My fifty five percent? That lost to a straight flush the hand before. Just my luck there was no bad beat pool at that casino….What do you mean you’re coming over? You’re coming to Staten Island? You never come to Staten Island. You’re calling from the ferry? It’s pulling in the terminal. Yeah, we have buses Al. Yeah, taxi’s also. Last I heard we’re getting Uber and the internet! Alright, it’s a five minute cab ride or a fifteen minute walk. You’ll walk? Figures. Okay Al, but I’m pretty tired. I’ve been working all night, I didn’t get much sleep. Between the play deadline and Cass and me having a little trouble it hasn’t been a banner week…yes, that’s right Al, let’s not forget my losing weekend in Atlantic city, thanks for reminding me. Okay, I’ll see you later.
(He puts down phone and sits back down at the computer)
Al’s coming over. Not good. Come on Gordon boy, you got this. You’ve written plenty of plays that are all starting to sound the same. ….Okay, we switch apartments, we make it her apartment and she throws the shoe at him as he’s leaving. That’s it! Now all I have to do is rewrite act one! Yeah, that’s not happening.
Think Gordon think. What do you do when you get writers block? Oh yeah…internet poker! Nah, no money in the account. Internet porn? Nah, I’m too tired. I need a power nap.
(He lays down on the couch and there is a knock on the door)
I don’t need a power nap. Who is it?
CASSANDRA. (from off) Your ex girlfriend.
GORDON. Ex girlfriend? Ah, she doesn’t mean it.(He sits up) And even if she does….Hello, make up sex! Come in, it’s open.
(Cassandra enters carrying a box of Gordon’s belongings and an empty shopping bag. She places box down stage left and empty bag on the couch.. This box remains there the entire play.
CASSANDRA. Here’s your stuff Gordon.
(She marches off to bedroom and comes out with various articles of clothing and places them in the bag. The last item is a skimpy night gown which she displays to Gordon )
CASSANDRA. Remember this little number?
GORDON. That was my favorite.
CASSANDRA. Well from now on I’m the only one who’s going to wear it.
CASSANDRA. That about does it. Now there is no possible reason for us to ever speak again. Wait!
(She exits once more to the bedroom and comes out with a set of handcuff’s which she deliberately holds above the bag, releases, and it falls in.)
GORDON. Oh you wouldn’t. Not the handcuffs?
(She exits closing door behind her. Gordon go’s to door and opens it and shouts after her)
GORDON. Sure, make this about me. So I’ll call you later? I love you!?
(He walks to box and starts to look at various items of clothing sometimes remarking on them but always putting them back in the box)
Thinks she’s so smug. At least I got a cardboard box out of this relationship. Let’s see…Toothbrush, Sweat shirt, another sweat shirt. Another sweat shirt. Maybe I should upgrade my wardrobe. What’s this,(sweetly) My Valentines card to her from last year. Oh, and look at this..she drew the international NO symbol all over the front. And my picture, also with the international NO symbol drawn over the front. I think she’s trying to tell me something.
(NOTE:The international NO sign is denoted by a red circle with a diagonal line through it.)
(he continues searching frantically for something)
Hey, where’s my David Mamet bobble head? She forgot to return my David Mamet Bobble head! Ah fuck (screw) it.
(He leaves box on the floor and lies on the couch)
I can’t deal with this now, I’m exhausted.
(He starts to nod off and there is another knock at the door, he sits up)
She’s back! The “I love you’s get ‘em every time!
(he goes to the door)
Coming my sweet.
(he opens the door)
I love you!
AL. I love you too, now get back to work.
GORDON. (Despondent) Oh, hi Al.
AL. Hey, don’t act so happy to see me. After all, I come to Staten Island how often? Oh yeah…never.
GORDON. (deadpan) Great Al, I’m thrilled you’re here.
AL. I ran into Cassandra outside. What’s with her?
GORDON. What do you mean?
AL. I asked her how she was and she told me she never wanted to see you again.
GORDON. I told you we were having a little trouble.
AL. You having a little trouble is like the Titanic having a little leak.
GORDON. She’s just a little upset. She’ll get over it.
AL. No doubt. And she’ll probably get over you too. Permantly. You know I don’t get you. She’s a lovely woman. What did you do to her?
GORDON. Oh sure, lay the blame at my feet.
AL. It’s not just her….how long have I been your manager?
GORDON. Too long if you ask me.
AL. That’s gratitude for you. Eleven years.
GORDON. Thirteen years, but it seems like thirty.
AL. Thirteen years we’ve been together. Thirteen years of my fraternal nurturing. Of carefully crafting every nuance of your career and what do I get for it?
GORDON. You get awfully annoying, that’s what you get. You also get fifteen percent of everything I write.
AL. And now you’re bringing up money. Is that all you think this relationship is about? The lousy money?
GORDON. I’m glad you feel that way Al. Let’s lower your end to ten percent.
AL. You know I would, but you’d only gamble away the extra five percent. And why do you gamble so much anyway?
GORDON. My brother gambles, my grandfather gambled, and his grandfather gambled. I’m just trying to keep up the family tradition.
AL. How come your father never gambled?
GORDON. Who knows, maybe it skips a generation.
AL. And maybe you should learn how to manage your money better….hey, you know what would be a great idea!?
Gordon. No, what?
AL. I take that extra five percent you mentioned and invest it for you! You know, sock it away in a retirement account for your golden years.
GORDON. You’d do that for me Al?
Al. No, but it would be a great idea.
GORDON. (Losing patience) Goodbye Al.
AL. What are you goodby-ing me for? I just got here. You got any bananas?
GORDON. I don’t think so. I just bought some tangelos if you want one.
AL. No, it’s got to be a banana. It’s a new diet. I’ve got to eat at least two bananas a day.
GORDON. A banana diet? Does it work?
AL. Have you ever seen a fat monkey?
GORDON. Funny. And I thought vaudeville was dead.
AL. If you don’t like that one I can think of plenty more.
GORDON. Why can’t you just think of a way to get one of my plays to Broadway?
AL. Why are you complaining? I’ve gotten your plays int0 plenty of theaters.
GORDON. Plenty of amateur community theaters.
AL. Yeah, all around the country…and those royalties are starting to add up. Six play’s published and a seventh on the way, for which you have just squandered a big advance.
GORDON. I need professional productions. My stuff is as good as anybody’s.
AL. I’ve gotten you professional productions. Didn’t I get you the Barter theatre last year?
GORDON. No, I got me the Barter theatre last year, through an email inquiry. And you still took your fifteen percent.
AL. Don’t muddy the water with details. The Barter is the State Theatre of Virginia. Broadway quality shows. This isn’t the nineteen seventies anymore where you can have three plays running on Broadway at one time. Today it’s all big business and bottom line. And you need a name attached to a show. Why do you want to fool around with Broadway when you have a bright future in regional theater?
GORDON. Why does any playwright want to be on Broadway?
AL. I don’t know. To get skewered by the New York Times?
GORDON. Again, goodbye Al.
AL. You’ve got to learn to be more sociable. No wonder Cassandra left you.
GORDON. Oh, she left me? She left me huh. Well maybe I got rid of her.
AL. Year right. I know you to long…they all leave you. You drive them crazy. But Cassandra…if there ever was a “keeper” it’s her. She was your muse the past three years!
GORDON. She was?
AL. Of course she was! You’ve written two of your best plays in the last three years! What the hell is wrong with you?
GORDON. Oh my God, you’re right. She was.
AL. That woman had the patience of a saint. And you go screw it up just like you screwed up two marriages and four other relationships. That’s a lot of screw up’s in eleven years!
Gordon. Thirteen years. Wait, my first marriage was before I even knew you.
AL. Granted. But you still have a pretty bad track record.
GORDON. Well you can’t count those other relationships.
AL. Why not?
GORDON. Because Cassandra is different than those other woman.
AL. Really, how so?
GORDON. All those other women were…, well, you know.
AL. Bar trollops, Pole dancers. Hookers?
GORDON. Are you kidding? That would have entailed temporary pleasure before the misery started. No, I’m referring to that other word.
AL. Oh, you mean they were all actresses.
GORDON. Bingo! That’s the word. Needy, drive me crazy, no part is ever big enough, actresses.
AL. I told you not to socialize with them during the run of a play.
GORDON. Who socialized? They used to show up here at the house to discuss a scene and never leave.
AL. And I’m sure you put up a big fight.
GORDON. That’s beside the point. Anyway, Cassandra is no actress.
AL. She pretended to like you for three years.
GORDON. Funny Al. Maybe you should write the plays and I’ll take the fifteen percent.
AL. I am going to ignore that remark and address your current lack of muse dilemma.
GORDON. What do we do?
AL. We’ve got to get her back so you can finish writing.
GORDON. Obviously, but how?
AL. Have you tried begging?
GORDON. Not yet but I’ll consider it.
Al. How about Groveling?
GORDON. Absolutely. I groveled twice. Didn’t work.
AL. (getting exasperated) Flowers? Candy? Jewelry!
GORDON. I’m Broke! Broke! Broke! Remember?
AL. Oh yeah, I forgot.
GORDON. Besides, money means nothing to Cassie. She’s a romantic. She’s with me because of my charm, talent, devil may care sense of adventure.
AL. (laughing in disbelief) Yeah right…(a beat) Hey, maybe I can get you another advance from the publisher. Is there a jewelry store around here?
GORDON. Would you forget the jewelry!
AL. Alright, desperate times call for desperate measures.
GORDON. What are you going to do?
Al. Talk to her myself. (He pulls out his cell phone)
What’s her number? Wait, I think I have it saved.
GORDON. What are you doing with my girlfriend’s phone number?
AL. Ex-girlfriend….I’m in show business, I have everybody’s number.
GORDON. (Patting him on the shoulder) You’re a good manager Al.
AL. Don’t forget it…..(to phone) Hello Cassandra? It’s Al. Well, ah, no Gordon is not putting me up to this. I just thought that you and he were together so long that…oh really? Oh really? Hmm, well when you put it that way…no kidding, that long huh?...I don’t know, I’ll ask him. (To Gordon) Have you seen the key to the handcuff’s anywhere?
GORDON. No, but a bobby pin works sometimes.
Al. No, he hasn’t seen it but he says…oh, you heard. Tell him he can do what with that bobby pin? Okay, I’ll let him know. Bye. (to Gordon) She said you can shove that bobby pin…
GORDON. Yeah, thanks, you don’t have to spell it out Al. So, got any other idea’s oh super manager?
AL. Well according to Cassandra we can always wait till hell freezes over.
GORDON. I don’t think the publisher’s going to wait that long. What else you got.
AL. Well, I didn’t want to have to resort to this, but I guess we’ll just have to go with plan B.
GORDON. I know I’ll probably regret this but what’s plan B?
AL. I visit her personally and lay on the old charm. What’s her address?
GORDON. You mean the same “old charm” that just didn’t work on the phone is going to work in person?
AL. Got any better suggestions?
GORDON. Gee Al, I don’t think you going over there is such a great idea. After all, I have my pride you know. Sending you over there on my behalf is just…
AL. Just what?
GORDON. (As he’s writing on a pad)Well it’s humiliating, demeaning, underhanded. Here’s her address, what are you going to say.
AL. Just leave it to me. You know, before I was a manager I was a Broadway booking agent. We can be pretty persuasive. Remember CATS?
GORDON. Who? Harry Katz the entertainment lawyer?
AL.No. CATS the musical.
GORDON. Al, you? You got CATS to Broadway?
Al. Certainly not. But I’m sure someone pretty persuasive did.
GORDON. (Pushing towards the door) Just go Al… I’ve got to take a nap. (he lies on the couch)
AL. Good Idea. Take a nice short power nap then get up and start writing again. I’ll bring back lunch. (He notices the plastic skull on the bookshelf and holds it up in front of him) A little early for Halloween, isn’t it? Anyone I know? (He tosses the skull to Gordon on the couch and opens the door)hey, looks like rain, you got an umbrella?
GORDON. What would a recluse who never leaves the house be doing with an umbrella? Walk between the drops. Bring back some pastrami. And Al?
GORDON. If the charm doesn’t work on her. Just try begging.
Al. Gotcha! (He exits)
GORDON. (Holding skull) I guess you don’t have to worry about writers block anymore pal.
(He tosses the skull behind the couch and falls asleep. A few beats and lightning flash is seen through window accompanied by thunder. Then all is quiet as there is knocking at the door. Gordon groggily gets up to answer it.)
GORDON. Looks like I’m never going to get any sleep.
(He opens the door to find William Shakespeare standing there in traditional Elizabethan garb .On occasion Will may hear a new word such as ‘lap top’ and repeat the word as the actor playing Gordon says it thinking this is the correct pronunciation. I.E. if the actor has a heavy New York accent, Will would repeat any new word he heard that way. It is up to both actor and director to determine when in the play Gordon comes to realize that Will is actually Shakespeare)
WILL. Good day sir. Might I, perchance, seek temporary shelter in your manor?
GORDON. Nice costume fellow but we’re not auditioning for any Shakespeare this season.
WILL. How dost thou know my name? Tis certain we have never met.
GORDON. What are you talking about?
WILL. Pray thee, may I enter? I fear it may commence to rain anon.
GORDON. Why not. This may be good for a laugh. Besides, you went through all the trouble of dressing up. Where did you rent the costume?
WILL. (As he enters) These garments are mine own sir.
(He looks around) Such strange surroundings…tis thus astounded am I! I pray you, what is that device on yonder table?
GORDON. What device? Oh, you mean the lap top?
WILL. (walks towards lap top which is on and glowing) Such illume! Soft, what light breaks from yonder lap top. And there is writing on it! What form of trickery is this? Tis thus astounded am I!
GORDON. Alright, this has gone far enough. But I have to admit, you are pretty good. Now who put you up to this? My publisher? Al?
WILL. Pray, but tell me what year is it?
GORDON. Okay pal, that does it. (Gordon starts pushing him towards the door) I told you you’re good and I’d be happy to read you for a part if I ever want to do a re-interpretation of Hamlet?
WILL. You know of my play?
GORDON. (Putting him on )Oh, your play? Oh sure, sure pal. I’ve heard of all thirty eight but I’m really busy and I have a feeling that some guys wearing white coats may be outside searching for you.
WILL. Thirty eight? But tis only thirty six I’ve writ so far.
GORDON. Yeah, some people had a feeling you didn’t write the last few, who did, Francis Bacon? (he chuckles)
WILL. (exasperated) Bacon!? That lack wit. Second rate. John Fletcher is the poet I have written with of late. Prithee, kind sir, what is your name? I am a stranger here.
GORDON. I’ll say you are.
WILL. How could I expect you to understand? You could not possibly. Pray, allow me but an opportunity to explain.
GORDON. Come on, are we really going to do this?
WILL. Do what?
GORDON. Sure, why not. This may prove to be interesting. Let’s hear your story.
WILL. May I sit for a moment? For I fear I have just been through a great ordeal.
GORDON. Knock yourself out.
WILL. Pray thee? Why should I wish to harm myself.
GORDON. Many pardons. I beseech thee. Perchance if thou would sitest on yonder throne. (Indicating wing chair)
WILL. Before I tell you of my tale…perchance, humor me kind sir, by telling me what year this be?
GORDON. (sits on couch) This be the year two thousand and fifteen. As if thou didn’t knowest.
WILL. Two thousand and fifteen thou say! (He slouches into the chair) It cannot be. I feel faint and parched. Might I quench my thirst by drawing water from thy well? Apparently I have not had a drink in near four hundred years.
GORDON. Really? Four hundred years? I think you’re going to need something stronger than water.
WILL. In faith, what is thy name?
WILL. Gordon. A goodly sounding name.
(Gordon goes to bar and gets a bottled water)
GORDON. Thank you. And how may I address you? Mr, Shakespeare?
WILL. William, or Will if it please you.
(Gordon tosses Will the bottled water and Will examines it, and not knowing what it is, tosses it back. Gordon tosses it back again to Will who again tosses it back until Gordon walks over and hands it to him.)
GORDON. You asked for water. It’s in the bottle.
WILL. (Looks at bottle) So it is. But why go through the trouble of taking something as plentiful as water and putting it in a bottle thus.
GORDON. Tell me about it. Then they charge people money for it.
WILL. (Laughing) Money, for free water? Have people become so gullible in the future?
GORDON. Apparently so. Some theatres charge their audience from three to six pounds for a single bottle.
WILL. Six pounds for a single bottle of free water!? Such a killing could I have made off the groundlings if I had such an idea. Verily, higher than the price of a single admission.
GORDON. Well it is adjusted for four hundred years of inflation but we digress. You were going to explain to me how you got here to America, from England, and skipped four hundred years in the process.
WILL. America? You mean this be the new world!?
GORDON. The new world? I’m afraid you have a little catching up to do, but again we digress.
WILL. Yes, yes. You wish to hear the tale of my arrival. Here it is, mark it well. My neighbor’s boy on the Newton’s farm was always fiddling with some machine or other. He fancied himself some kind of mage. Always puzzling, instead of tending to the farm as his parents wished. I must say the boy had some spirit. I was a bit of a rapscallion in my own rite when I was a lad his age. Quite a way with the women had I.
GORDON. Pray tell.
WILL. “Where is the life that late I led?” Ah, a story for another day. Pray shall I continue about my journey?
GORDON. Wait, if you don’t mind I’d like to write this down, cause no one’s going to believe it.
(Gordon grabs a pad and pencil)
Now, what year was it when this event occurred?
WILL. It was the year of our Lord. Sixteen thirteen.
GORDON. (writes it down) Sixtten thirteen, got it. Pray… continue.
WILL. Well, one day whilst I was visiting, the lad cajoled me to the barn to show me a new device of his. Some portal he had artificed to transport living creatures from one place to another. With intent he fashioned a means to harness sunlight and fire to animate said machine. He had already used the machine to successfully transport many farm animals, much to the dismay of his father it can be said.
GORDON. Transported them where?
WILL. He knew not. Simply pushed he the animals through said portal, causing them to fade from view as if through some magic incantation, never to be seen again.
GORDON. So you volunteered to enter this portal.
WILL. Zounds man, no! In sooth, do you think I would trust such a maze wit, on the chance that it might be true? Do you take me to be fool born? Do you think I would choose to shuffle off this mortal coil in such a manner?... (Pleased with himself) I wrote that line you know.
GORDON. (deadpan) Yes, I know. So if you didn’t volunteer to go into the portal then how did you wind up here?
WILL. Blasted fortune. The lad retrieved a goat to demonstrate to me how it all worked. As luck would have it I was standing too near the portal door when the goat bolted towards the inside, knocking me through along with itself. Next I knew I was standing on the greensward of your manor. Tis thus astounded am I.
GORDON. What happened to the goat?
WILL. Last seen, he had bolted towards the greenspace past yonder road.
GORDON. (Looking out the window) There’s a goat running around Staten Island?
WILL. Why not? Verily I saw three deer and a wild turkey as I approached your manor.
GORDON. I know, no one can figure out how they got here.
WILL. Staten Island. Is that the name of your village?
GORDON. It is.
WILL. Staten Island. A Dutch name. Ah, word travels. Perhaps a discovery of that young explorer, Henry Hudson.
GORDON. Probably, I’d have to check Wikipedia.
WILL. Of what do you discourse? Wiki..pedia?
GORDON. A modern resource used for research that we writers use.
WILL. Go to! Prithee! Are you a poet also, Gordon?
GORDON. We don’t use the word poet anymore for writers of plays. We call ourselves playwrights.
WILL. Play-wrights!? What a magnificent word! A writer of plays. Tell me then, what do you call writers of verse?
GORDON. We call them poets.
WILL. Again magnificent…Bravo! And pray tell are you a goodly playwright, Gordon?
GORDON. (sarcastically) Not as goodly as you, but none of us are.
WILL. So say you comrade! So you are Gordon the playwright residing on the Isle of Staten. Is the Isle of Staten in close measure to New Amsterdam? I have heard it to be a most excellent place!
GORDON. Yes, we call it the Isle of Manhattan nowadays. We all hopeth to move there someday when a play hiteth biggeth. But let’s get back to your story, incredible as it may seem. So a goat pushed you through a time portal on the Newton’s farm. And where did you say that was located?
GORDON. (accusatory) Aha, you’re from Stratford on Avon yet you call someone who lives in Lincolnshire a neighbor.
WILL. (Stands and puts a hand on his sword) I take exception sir. In England we are all neighbors. I knew the lad’s parents. They had attended many of my performances as I travelled about with the players. I was seldom home in those days.
GORDON. Okay, okay. Take your hand off the sword, you’re making me nervous. Alright, so you say the lad’s name was Newton?
WILL. Isaac Newton, yes.
GORDON. Sir Isaac Newton?
WILL. They knighted the rascal? What could the crown be thinking? Methinks it must be a mistake.
GORDON. Oh they’ve made plenty of mistakes since then.
WILL. So say you.
GORDON. Okay, so what your story is… What you’re telling me is that Sir Isaac Newton sent you hurtling into the future by some invention of his?
WILL. Verily. For here stand I.
GORDON. Aha, now I have you!
WILL. How say you?
GORDON. Imposter! Charlatan! “False face must hide what false heart doth know!”
WILL. I wish you’d stop quoting me thus. You don’t hear me quoting thou constantly. It’s rather off-putting.
GORDON. Really? Well you’d better get used to it if you are who you say you are. But I rather doubt it. For you see I happen to be a student of history. And I seem to recall that Sir Isaac Newton was twenty to thirty years after your time!
WILL. Tis not possible. Well I knew him Gordon.
GORDON. Nice try, but I can prove it.
WILL. Pray tell.
GORDON. Right here. (He walks to lap top followed by Will) That Wikipedia I told you of. Now don’t let this shock you. Mark this! (sarcastically) When I push a certain button on yonder device the words will be magically transported to others!
WILL. It cannot be possible.
GORDON. Oh, you just travelled four hundred years into the future, with a goat, but what I’m about to do isn’t possible?
WILL. Corrected stand I, I suppose tis possible.
GORDON. Why do you always talk like Yoda? It’s getting on my nerves.
WILL. Who is Yoda? Perchance he talketh like me.
GORDON. (Incredulously) Perchance. Perchance….In any event, I just push a few keys on this computer and presto, all the pertinent facts you’d want to know about Sir Isaac Newton.
WILL. (looking at laptop). Who would have thought a farm boy to be so important. (reaching for the keyboard) Tell me Gordon, what task does this button perform?
GORDON. Ah, ah! Never touch the lap top. Now, as you can see, sir Isaac Newton was born on December twenty fifth, Christmas Day, sixteen hundred and forty two. Twenty six years after you had…well, let’s not go into that now.
WILL. Tis not possible I tell you. He was a lad of no more than sixteen when I knew him in the year sixteen hundred and thirteen. Perchance there is something more there. Read on Gordon.
GORDON. If you wish to be indulged. Let’s see..early years. Grew up in Lincolnshire, you had that right. Father’s name was also Isaac Newton.
WILL. Aha, there you have it. T’was the father who was the young lad I knew who did experiment in the barn! The son, perchance through fate, partook of the father’s genius. The apple not falling far from the tree!
GORDON. Did you write that line too?
WILL. Me thinks not, but tis a good one… Well sir, I am waiting.
GORDON. For what?
(Will draws his sword and points it menacingly at Gordon as he backs him around the room)
WILL. An apology, you scurrilous dog! Imposter am I? Charlatan? Were I not a stranger in a strange land I would run you thru for such an insult.
GORDON. I know you didn’t write that one.
WILL. Defend yourself, you cur!
GORDON. Alright, alright. I apologize. Now put that sword down, you’ll hurt somebody.
WILL. Verily, my intent! (He swings a warning)
GORDON. (Thinking quickly) Will, look out yonder window, the goat returns!
(As Will turns to look, Gordon runs to the bedroom and locks the door. Will runs after him and tries unsuccessfully to open it)
WILL. Come out you miscreant! “Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once!” That be from Julius Caesar.
GORDON. “Crazy people wind up in padded rooms!” That be from Staten Island Psychiatric Hospital.
WILL. Come hither toward me out yon door or nay?
GORDON. Or Nay! What I am doing is calling the authorities to have you arrested!
WILL. The authorities?