A CIRCUS TENT
Two ladies of the circus enter their dressing room/tent. They are English and rough around the edges. One has a beard. The other is a contortionist or trapeze artist. During this first bit of dialogue, the bearded lady sits at a mirror cleaning her beard with a straight razor, the other does handstands/headstands or some other type of physical movement to limber up and stretch.
BERTHA Oh that was bloody brutal. I tell you, I’m not doin’ one more bally.
TRIXIE Well you’d better suck it up dear. We’ve got another one in twenty minutes
BERTHA I can’t bear it. The Nut’s not big enough for a lady with a beard to take abuse like that.
TRIXIE You’re tellin’ me. At least they were looking at your face. You try ‘angin upside down while ‘alf a million turds try an catch a peek at your beaver.
BERTHA (offers her razor)
Well, you could borrow this if you like.
You piss scraping I’d have
TRIXIE off Bearded Bertha. And after that steel wool on your face, better luck with a butter knife.
BERTHA Oooh. And knowing what a Lot Lizard you are, you may be right.
TRIXIE I am not a Lot Lizard. Take it back. You’re only upset because the menfolk prefer a woman that’s flexible rather than furry.
BERTHA I suppose that’s true. Kissin’ me would only make ’em think of kissin’ their mothers.
They laugh. There is a knock at the door.
VOICE (from off)
Um. Hello misses?
TRIXIE Who is it?
VOICE It’s Chancely, missus.
TRIXIE looks questioningly at BERTHA
BERTHA It’s the greenie from the next town over.
TRIXIE You may enter.
CHANCELY (Enters. He is a nervous young
man) Hello missus. I didn’t mean to-
BERTHA What did you say your name was?
CHANCELY Um, Chancely, missus.
BERTHA Oh you poor thing. Your mother didn’t give you half a one with that unfortunate name, did she?
TRIXIE What can we do for you?
CHANCELY Um, well I was told by the gaffer that I could have a free game if I came to you misses and requested the, um, Key to the Midway?
BERTHA Ah, the Key to the Midway did he? I tell you what, I’ve got that key and you can have all the free games you want, but I don’t have it here. Go look in the belly box. The keys are in there, next to the left handed screwdriver.
(Chancely remains, staring at
BERTHA for a moment) Well, what are you waiting for? Those keys aren’t going to find themselves.
CHANCELY (Snapping out of it)
Yes missus! Thank you very much misses! Next to the left handed screwdriver.
BERTHA Oh poor thing. Hasn’t got a clue.
TRIXIE He’ll figure it out soon enough. He did seem to fancy you quite a bit. Couldn’t keep his eyes off of you.
BERTHA Perhaps it’s because I’m a woman with a beard.
TRIXIE Perhaps he likes a bit of both. Maybe he’s got a touch of John Wilmot.
TRIXIE The Libertine himself. John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester. Born this very day in 1647. Oh, I love his writings.
(recites) “The good Lady Sandys burst into a laughter To see how the ballocks came wobbling after And had not their weight retarded the foe Indeed’t had gone hard with Signior Dildo”
He was quite the wordsmith that one.
BERTHA That was a bit arbitrary, wasn’t it. It’s almost as if that reference was inserted into our dialogue by an unseen hand . . .
(They ponder this a moment)
CHANCELY (Entering again)
TRIXIE Well that was fast.
CHANCELY Sorry to bother you again. It seems the keys are missing from the belly box.
BERTHA Are they?
CHANCELY Yes, but I think I found the left handed screwdriver.
(reveals a normal screwdriver)
TRIXIE That is curious.
BERTHA Why don’t you go ask the jockey who runs the spinning jenny if he has it.
CHANCELY Yes missus. Thank you misses.
CHANCELY Yes missus?
BERTHA Will you ask him to return my
hammer while you’re at it?
CHANCELY Glass hammer. Yes missus.
(He stays for a moment,
looking at BERTHA.) Thank you missus.
TRIXIE How many more of those do you
has in em?
BERTHA We’ll find out soon enough.
TRIXIE (Prepping to go)
Well I can’t be playing about with newbies all day. I’ve got at least two aces to make before the days done.
BERTHA Oh, do we have to go back out there
TRIXIE (As they exit)
I’m afraid so my dear. I can already hear the children screaming at the poor lobster boy.
BERTHA Oh I’d take a beard to flipper hands and feet any day.
TRIXIE So would I.
BERTHA Should I be offended by that?
TRIXIE Oh, probably.
Missus! He didn’t have the keys but he said that your glass hammer was – Misses? Hello? I –
Realizing that he is alone, he looks about and moves to a dress that is draped over a chair. He picks it up and drapes it on himself, admiring himself in the mirror. Then sit’s and begins to shave himself.
CHANCELY (CONT’D) (Chuckles to himself)
Left handed screwdriver. END
Dan Loeser, Shotz: I Pity the Fool
A CIRCUS TENT