Theatre poster of the week, Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward.
No Shame Theatre post of the week.
Guard 1 – Surly. Disgusted by Evan. No time for small talk.
Guard 2 – Rough. Hates Evan’s guts. No time for small talk.
Evan Mould – Funeral Director with a difference, mid-thirties, southern accent.
Dan Bailey – State prosecutor, mid-thirties, grave, an old friend of the Mould family. Has a manila folder with papers that he shuffles through nervously. Avoids eye contact.
(A windowless conference room in a Southern prison. One table front & center with two chairs. Lights up on the table and Dan sitting, thinking, his briefcase sits near his side. The door opens and the two guards escort Evan in.)
Guard 1: (to Dan) Here’s the defendant you ordered, sir….
Guard 2: (to Evan) Enjoy your visit, you little goat-fucker.
(Guards exit and shut door hard behind them. Dan rises, briefly considers shaking Evan’s hand. Doesn’t. Dan sits back down.)
Evan: Nice to see you too, Dan. You wouldn’t want those guards thinking we grew up together or anything would you?
(Evan sits down)
Dan: Look, I’m not here as your friend, Evan. I’m here off the record- To see if we can’t diffuse this… this situation. If not, I’ll be prosecuting you tomorrow. I’m not looking forward to that any more than you are.
Evan: But, Dan, I am looking forward to it. I’ve been looking forward to it ever since they picked me up. I’ve got nothing to hide, man. You ought to know that. It’s not like I plan to wear a bulletproof vest for the rest of my life. The sooner this kangaroo court is done a-hopping, the better for everyone.
Dan: I’m sorry about the guards just now. That’s just unprofessional.
Evan: He’s just pissed about what he thinks I did with his sister… No big deal. He’s the least of my problems now, believe me. I’ve had death threats coming every day in the mail. Did you hear about the bomb they planted in my car? There are some crazy ass redneck fools in this town, Dan …and they all want me dead. Assholes.
(a momentary awkward silence)
Dan: (resigned) OK. You want to tell me about it?
Evan: About what?
Dan: About what you’ve done…
Evan: What I’ve done!?! I haven’t done a damned thing, Dan. It ain’t exactly a sin of commission we’re talking about here. You and the DA gonna throw the book at me for a little littering?
Dan: (disbelieving) Littering? A little littering!?! Come on, Evan, I think we both know better than that. Don’t we?
Evan: Yeah, you’re right. It’s not even littering, ’cause it’s my damn property to begin with. And it’s all biodegradable- All of it. That’s nature’s plan, Dan. Funny what you forget when you go off to Tulane. Too much law, too little sense.
Dan: Surely even you understand all the fraud charges. There are four hundred and nineteen of them so far.
Evan: Don’t talk to me about fraud, Dan. This blessed state of ours wants every corpse in a coffin, even those bound for cremation. That’s the real death tax. Death and Taxes, together again…
You ever hear those coffin salesman tell the truth? You ever hear them talk about the need to air out a corpse? How the methane builds up? How those fancy airtight coffins explode? You ever hear them talking about dressing the dead? About the all that waste? No?
You ever see the other morticians at work, Dan? All that wax, all those needles, the toupees, the make up? It’s like being backstage in Vegas with Wayne Newton. Those morticians are God damn magicians at making the money of the bereaved disappear. Into thin and rotting air.
You gonna sit there and tell me you never knew that our business was different? All those meals together? All the times you borrowed my old man’s suits? All the times you took some of mama’s prize-winning roses to your girl? All those times you “respectfully suggested” that we raise our prices, told us we were “noncompetitive and should be more like the other mortuaries”?
You just weren’t paying attention, Dan. The truth is, the Mould family practices what we preach- “From the earth we are made. From the Earth we shall return.” Always have, always will. You tell me what’s wrong in that.
Dan: It’s illegal, for starters. The whole town wants you dead.
Evan: This whole town don’t know its ass from its elbow, Dan. Hell, half of them still think we won the war.
Dan: (reluctant) And there is the desecration of all those bodies to consider.
Evan: That’s all they are, Dan. Bodies. There’s nobody home. The lights are out for good. There’s nobody left inside to worry about where the bodies lie. I could stack them up like so much cord wood or pose them like dogs playing poker. Hell, I could dress ‘em in capes and spandex and put them on my roof. The plain truth is, they just don’t care. They are empty envelopes whose contents have all been skillfully removed by a hand mightier than yours or mine… You think tearing down a forest and spending a fortune on an industrial furnace is more “sacred”? We human beings are scum, Dan- Scum – Lawyers like you most of all. The least—hell, the most—we can do is leave our bodies to the soil.
Dan: They are talking about the death penalty, Evan. Some people are talking about… about leaving your body out to rot afterward, just like you did with all those others.
Evan: And teach them the lesson first hand? (thinks for a moment) Sure, Dan. I’m up for that. Just make sure you come and pick a rose off me every now and then, ya hear?