Scenes from The Secret Matinee

In the following scenes, Stewart, a courier, is confronted by an unusual while returning to Vancouver from Rome. As the reader will soon determine, HTML was not built for playwrights--excuse the formatting.

Act 1, Scene 2 - Airplane, Evening

                                    (STEWART sits in a cramped airplane seat staring out the window. The seat next to him–the aisle seat–is empty. He speaks to the audience. The briefcase is nearby.)

STEWART:               I travel coach. Rookie secret agents fly first-class. Inevitably, an enemy agent gets them drunk and hurls them from one of the convenient exits. (Pause.) Here is the package. It looks cleverly nondescript. Inside there are many secrets. For my own safety, I cannot open it. (ANGELINA enters and hurriedly sits down beside him. Pause.)

ANGELINA:              Hello.

STEWART:               Hello. (Pause.) Actually…actually someone’s sitting there. (Pause.) He just went to the bathroom. (No reply.) Right…fine. Right.

                                    (Pause.)

ANGELINA:              I love the travelling.

STEWART:               Oh…Me as well.

ANGELINA:              I love the travelling to dangerous, exotic places.

STEWART:               Where are you headed?

ANGELINA:              Toronto. (Pause.) Where are you…headed?

STEWART:               Oh…well…Canada, certainly.

ANGELINA:              This is my first time in Canada…have you got any advice for me?

STEWART:               Oh…well…don’t drink the water.

ANGELINA:              That is funny. What brought you to Rome?

STEWART:               A plane. (Pause.) Seriously, though…I had business.

ANGELINA:              What sort of business?

STEWART:               Oh, well, dangerous, exotic business.

ANGELINA:              Dangerous and exotic like Toronto?

STEWART:               More, if you can imagine.

ANGELINA:              I will guess what your business is.

STEWART:               You can have three guesses.

ANGELINA:              Are you…a secret agent?

                                    (STEWART spills his drink.)

STEWART:               I certainly am not.

ANGELINA:              I’m joking. I like the joking.

STEWART:               Have you got a napkin or a tissue or something.

ANGELINA:              (She does.) Here, let me. (Pause.) Now, for the second guess…you must be some kind of diplomat. On an exotic and dangerous foreign mission.

STEWART:               Nope.

ANGELINA:              I know.

STEWART:               You do?

ANGELINA:              You are a dot-commie.

STEWART:               Pardon?

ANGELINA:              Dot-commie. You are one of those World Wide Web people...how do you say…”the nude economy.”

STEWART:               New, actually. New economy…and you’re quite right. I’m one of them. You know, e-commerce this, Internet that.

ANGELINA:              Are you a millionaire?

STEWART:               (Looks around covertly.) I will be tomorrow. I just closed a huge deal in Rome and my company is going public next week.

ANGELINA:              Going public! What’s your company called?

STEWART:               Uhh…British A…Amplitude. British Amplitude. We do, um, e-Electronics. Electricity on the Web.

ANGELINA:              That does not sound dangerous or exotic.

STEWART:               Well, you’re right, though, we do have offices in Moscow and Bangkok and…Toronto.

ANGELINA:              So should I buy some shares of your dot-com?

STEWART:               Well, I’m not sure--oh, gosh, here comes my…uh…the fellow who’s seat you’re in.

ANGELINA:              I was so enjoying our conversation…

STEWART:               Oh…Me as well.

ANGELINA:              Maybe I see you during our stop at JFK.

STEWART:               Wait…uh…what’s your name?

ANGELINA:              Angelina. Angelina Biscotti.

                                    (She exits.)

STEWART:               How Godfather.

Act 1, Scene 4 - Airport Bathroom

                        (STEWART enters. He steps up to a the urinal, briefcase between his legs, and unzips his fly. Pause. He coughs. Pause. He breathes deeply. Pause. He inhales. Pause. He begins to sigh. ANGELINA enters.)

ANGELINA:            Stewart.

STEWART:            Huh?

ANGELINA:            Stewart Norris.

STEWART:             Angelina! What are you doing in here?

                        (ANGELINA approaches STEWART, who is struggling with the zipper on his pants. She reaches between his legs for the briefcase.)

STEWART:          Whoah!

ANGELINA:            I need your package, Mr. Norris. (He grabs the suitcase and steps away from her.)

STEWART:            What? How do you know my last name?

ANGELINA:            We know everything about you.

STEWART:            What’s going on?

ANGELINA:            I know what’s really in there. I am on a mission from God.

STEWART:            Mission from…oh God, are you some kind of right-wing religious freak? Are you a Branch Davidian? (ANGELINA produces a gun.) Oh God.

ANGELINA:            I also have a knife.

STEWART:            I think I’d prefer that.

ANGELINA:            I’m going to shoot you, Stewart, if you do not give me the briefcase.

STEWART:            Oh no. I’ve seen that movie.

ANGELINA:            What movie?

STEWART:            You’re going to shoot me whether I give you the briefcase or not.

ANGELINA:            Honestly? (He nods.) Yes.

STEWART:            Oh God.

ANGELINA:          Give me the briefcase!

STEWART:               Oh God, oh God, oh God. (Pause. The action stops and STEWART confides in the audience.) It’s important to note…that is, there’s something critical I should tell you. I am…uh, I’m not a secret agent. Never have been. My body is not a lethal weapon. I don’t even have a lethal body part. I’m completely non-lethal. I’m a section supervisor for a multinational corporation called Crustex. I oversee a dozen data entry clerks. I go on these trips…My department sends me on little trips to pick up packages, documents and stuff… Now this…this woman and her gun and her knife and her crazy, God-fearing Italianess…I’m in middle management, for Christ’s sake! (He returns to the action of the scene.) Can we talk about this.

ANGELINA:              I tried to sex it away from you, but you were too clever.

STEWART:               Sex it away?

ANGELINA:              The instructions were very clear. If the sexing does not work, use the gun.

STEWART:               Whose instructions?

ANGELINA:              Get on the floor.

STEWART:               Why?

ANGELINA:              It makes less of a mess this way.

STEWART:               Oh God…surely you can just take it and go…leave me here…unharmed.

ANGELINA:              No.

STEWART:               Maybe you could just wing me…

ANGELINA:              Wing? What is wing?

STEWART:               Shoot me in the leg.

ANGELINA:              I can shoot you in the leg. First.

STEWART:               No, only shoot me in the leg–

ANGELINA:              I’m going to do it now!

STEWART:               Please don’t! (She pulls the trigger. Nothing happens. ANGELINA fiddles with the gun.) Is there a problem?

ANGELINA:              Stay where you are.

STEWART:               Is it broken?

ANGELINA:              I also have a knife!

                                    (EIGHT, a janitor, enters.)

EIGHT:                      What’s up with this? (ANGELINA conceals her gun.)

ANGELINA:              I’m very sorry.

EIGHT:                      Ya ain’t allowed in here.

ANGELINA:              What

STEWART:               (With briefcase, goes to exit.) Excuse me.

EIGHT:                      Ya know her?

STEWART:               I’ve never seen her before.

                                    (He exits.)

© Darren Barefoot, 1999 - 2001