Ape of an Ideal

"The disappointed one speaks. -- I searched for great human beings; I always found only the apes of their ideals."
-- Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols

Table o' Contents:
Ape of an Ideal
A Good Reason To Get Drunk
Viking Vignette: Viking Weather Minute
Dating Advice
On Safari
Viking Vignette: Conquest Cruises Advertisement
How To End An Argument
Deborah Diamond, Private Eye
Ironing Intervention
Viking Vignette: Viking Lawyer
Sunny Days

Ape of an Ideal: Director’s Guide

While it would be my fondest wish to have these plays taken on their own merit, and appreciated by the audience on their own terms, the feedback I’ve received regarding them has led me to believe that most individuals appreciate them more if I explain them. And certainly if anyone were to want to produce them (which is why I have presented them to the public at large in this fashion) I might offer a few words of explanation and advice.

This show was written in the spring of 2005 to be presented by my Drama Club. For a number of reasons, both bureaucratic and artistic, we are not presenting them. But, rather than shred the lot of them, I’ve decided to make the best of the forty hours of work it took to put them together and give them to you. If you should choose to use any of the material, I ask only to be informed.

Ape of an Ideal

Thus begins our saga -- a person engaging in artistic whim, and then discussing science with another person, overtaken by an army of apes. This establishes the basic outline of the show, the overthrow of human society by lower primates. It is, of course, my metaphorical reflections about the past election.

Both actors here should be play it very straight; the dryer, the funnier.

A Good Reason To Get Drunk This is the only one based around real events. In case you’re curious, all of the male characters are me at different points on the evening of November 2nd. Sheila is an amalgam of several other people I was with that night. This sketch makes clear what I eluded to earlier, and explains the metaphor. This is the same basic story as the first one, except that it is the reality behind the metaphor. If these two are done right, the rest make sense. Also, it should be obvious I was a volunteer for the Dean Campaign for two years.

Viking Vignettes!

After that heaviness, we have the first of the Viking Vignettes, the Viking Weather Minute. Please be as silly and cartoonish as possible with this, and the other two -- Conquest Cruises Advertisement, and Viking Lawyer. The fourth one I wrote is the only thing from this show that got nuked. That doesn’t bother me terribly much because I wrote four of these assuming that one wouldn’t work with the acting troupe we had. So… the everything peoples don’t appreciate cooking a moose. Anyway, there really is no meaning or reason to these, except to illustrate how much I hate the barbarism that is television. In other news, the sketch that I like the least has the highest rating out of anything I’ve noded. Seriously, it’s really stupid. Perhaps you are all morons. :-)

Dating Advice

In case it isn’t blindingly obvious (and you don’t check hard links), this is the story of the inapplicability of modern philosophy to modern lives. The three philosophers -- John Rawls, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Karl Marx; are symbols of the great struggle of the first half of the twentieth century. I don’t have the time or the inclination to explain that crap now, but let it suffice to say that the winner of the struggle (America) had an apologist (Rawls) write its story afterwards rather than beforehand. As Jordan discovers, philosophers are pretty useless for the problems facing most of us in day-to-day life.

Anyway -- directors, make sure you have elaborate make-up or whatever to turn the three philosophers into the exaggerated versions of themselves that show up in pictures. And make sure you direct Jordan and The Dealer to behave realistically while the other three act like the caricatures that they are. It should be funny.


Go pick up an issue of The Nation or something. There ought to be at least one article in there about what a blood-sucking monster Cheney is. Then go read the gospel of Matthew for about half an hour. And then go watch a John Wayne movie (I‘d suggest The Searchers). That’s about all the guidance I can give for directing this one.

In other news -- this is one of the highest rated write-ups out of all of ‘em. "The Legend of Cowboy Jesus" is a screenplay I’ve got half-written sitting on my hard drive. If you know how I can make it a movie, let me know.

On Safari

Isn’t Teddy Roosevelt interesting? On the one hand, we remember him as one of the greatest American Presidents, ushering in the progressive era -- I seriously can not find a single person who thought he was a bad President… but on the other hand, he was a warmongering lunatic and he could never get elected today.

This skit is intended to be a critique of machismo and male aggression, while at the same time pointing out that our current President is a huge pussy who would never fight in any of the wars he likes making others fight in.

Good luck on conveying all that.

How To End An Argument

Play it straight. This is actually the hardest one of the bunch, and was not originally included in the proposal I made (in fact, these sketches are version 2.5, in case you were curious) because I thought it would be too difficult to pull off.

First, it’s ludicrously easy for the actor, since it’s a professor reading from his lecture notes, whomever is the Prof can read his part. But it is difficult because you have to look like an old college professor who actually gives a damn about Locke AND cares about today.

This one is actually my second critique of philosophy, because the Professor is doing what I wish all teachers would do, and instead of merely relating facts about some damn thing or another, s/he is attempting to relate those ideas within their historical context and their applicability to our current situation.

And once someone does manage to do everything they can to expand our understanding of our past, relate it to our present, and is about to prescribe what we can do in the future to come together… Shoot the fucker!

This is, of course, representative of the dialogue style I see on Fox News.

Deborah Diamond, Private Eye

This advances our show a bit further, showing that the apes are gathering. But no one is paying much attention.

I wrote this one last, after realizing that I didn’t have any decent parts for women in the show. This is still a problem. If nothing else happens regarding my involvement with Everything, if anyone could give me decent advice regarding how to increase the number and relevance of female roles in this show, I would be most appreciative.

Anyway, for the director -- get familiar with film noir, reverse the gender roles, you should be fine. Also, I can solve a Rubik's Cube, fool!

Ironing Intervention

I woke up one morning, walked into my laundry room to get dressed, and saw an ironing board hanging on the wall. There is nothing else to this sketch.

Sunny Days

This is the first one I wrote. Here’s the formula: People and Setting I’m familiar with (in this case, Sesame Street Characters and Sesame Street, it could just as easily be Philosophers and Poker Games) and try to discuss something interesting. In this case, it’s the idea that what we remember from our childhood is not the same as things actually were (in other sketches it’s politics or modern philosophies of governance).

In case it wasn’t clear, Jim is Mr. Hooper’s grandson, and Oscar and Big Bird should be played as they were on television. Once that’s obvious, the rest should be clear.

The Horrible Horror of Hoar Street

By the way, I’m an atheist. Also, I used to want to be a priest. Anyway…

The jokes here should be obvious. This sketch is important because it finally tackles my non-belief in God and it ends the show, as it began, with lower primates taking over the country.

If you’ve gotten this far, the hardest part of this show is the song. Make up your own melody, or /msg me and I can call you up and sing it to you. Hopefully in "THE FUTURE" I’ll have an mp3 with my backup band on the web. This is a work in progress, people.

Thus ends my attempt to answer questions I think people might have about the show. Please /msg me with questions or complaints, either about the show or this guide in particular. As I said, I’m working on the third version of this show now, and I hope to perform it in the fall, so your comments will actually matter a whole lot.

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