First Blood: A Short Play
This short play was devised for The Great Galata at Rangashankara with a fantastic ensemble team.1
A little bildungsroman as a play. Devised for a handful of people. Notes, running time, costume ideas, and items about sets and props can be found in footnotes.
- ~ 8-12 Minutes
Notes for playing the text
- You can do this with 4 performers, we played it with 5.
- Ideally, all performers have a great sense of rhythm.
- One performer needs to be able to play a very loud and obnoxious wind instrument.
- One performer needs to be able to hold a beat on a sonorous hand drum.
- It is vital that the play carries with rhythm.
- Take care to prepare your players with various rhythmic games and tricks.
- Request the actors to wear all white
- Request them to bring clothes that are silly
- Unshapely ugly underwear is preffered
Set and props
- The set is bare
- A loud wind instrument (like a saxophone)
- A sonorous drum (like a djembe)
The sax rises in fifths with accompaniment from the djembe. It reaches a crescendo, the sax on a single high note. Sustained. All actors voices come in in a crescendo until they hit a shrill “aaaahhhh”. The sax and voices cut.
Drumbeat. Pause. Drumbeat.
A: Ouch! Cut! I cut myself.
B: The first time.
A: The first time I shaved I wished I had more beard.
B: The first time I kissed I saw her/his face-hair up close.
A: Down the back of my jaw, there was a gentle fuzz. I gazed at it in the mirror, gazed at the razor. Fuzz. Razor. Fuzz. Razor. Foam. Fuzz. Razor. Foam. Fuzz. Razor. Foam. I felt like a man.
Squeezes some foam out of can
B: It was nice at first, trying to find the right place to place lips on lips. I found my favourite place, where the lip-skin meets the face skin. The crease that outlines the lips. And the little face fuzz on her/his upper lip.
A: My nemesis - the fuzz on my face. My weapon of choice - a single wilkinson blade and some foam.
B: Our lips sat on each others lips. Moved a bit. Tensed. Then opened.
A: I surveyed my enemy. Small bits of hair standing like a rag tag army. One division on the upper lip. And two fuzzy frail ones flanking the sides. I lifted my secret weapon
Lifts the shaving foam.
B: The thought came to me - saliva. I was moments away from exchanging saliva. Two different globs of saliva would meet, mix and foam. Ugh. Foam.
A: The first time I shaved, I foamed my face in the shape of an imaginary beard.
A beard is foamed on his/her face
B: The first time I kissed I wanted my tongue would come out of his/her ears.
Sticks tongue out ridiculously exploring other person’s mouth. Sax punctuates.
A: Ouch! From a cut of the razor
B: Bhbhjbj! Bjbhjb! Tries taling with tongue sticking out
A: The first time I shaved I wished it was a bit simpler.
B: The first time I kissed I wished it was a bit simpler.
Mimes the preparation for a kiss
Mimes the preparation for a shave
The drummer comes forward and speaks. Two others demonstrate behind him?? The fourth takes place at the drum.
C: There are three kinds of kisses writes Nyrop in “Le baiser et son histoire” - The kiss and it’s History.
C: A kiss of affection is in the widest and most comprehensive meaning of the word, bringing a message of loyal affection, gratitude, compassion, sympathy, intense joy, and profound sorrow.
An actor comes and pecks him on the head.
C: A cheek kiss is rich in promise, bestows an intoxicating feeling of infinite happiness, courage, and youth, and therefore surpasses all other earthly joys in sublimity.
An actor comes and kisses him on the cheek with delicacy.
C: A deep kiss is an exultant message of the longing of love, love eternally young, the burning prayer of hot desire, which is born on the lovers’ lips, and ‘rises,’ up to the blue sky from the green plains like a tender, trembling thank-offering.
An actor comes and they smooch. The kissed actor swoons and falls to the ground and rolls away. The other actor takes his place
D: Shaving is the removal of hair, by using a razor or any other kind of bladed implement, to slice it down to the level of the skin. Shaving is most commonly practiced by men to remove their facial hair and by women to remove their leg and underarm hair. A man is called clean-shaven if he has had his beard entirely removed.
Both men and women sometimes shave their chest hair, abdominal hair, leg hair, underarm hair, pubic hair or any other bodily hair. Head shaving is much more common among men. It is often associated with religious practice, the armed forces and some competitive sports such as swimming, running and extreme sports. Historically, head shaving has also been used to humiliate, punish and show submission to an authority, and also as part of a fund-raising efforts, particularly for cancer research organizations and charitable organizations.
The bald musician motions him to leave. He doesn’t.
It has become common for men to shave their head to hide their partial male pattern baldness.
The musician honks at him. It builds to a rhythm. The other actors enter in a line and take 2 bars of the rhythm each to improvise a movement related to shaving or kissing.
A: For years I found no one to kiss. So I started biting my lips.
B: When I first shaved my head it appeared like a surface of a planet.
A: They turned red, maroon then blue, then a crack.
B: Ridges and valleys, dales. A river was the only thing missing.
A: A crack. A spot of blood. Red again.
B: I took out the blade and gave it a cut. Shiny head.
A: The blood flowed off my lips, down my chin.
B: A warm river oozing, flowing by the cheek.
A: I smell a smell. The smell of blood. Blood.
B: Flowing by the the tip of my lips. The smell of blood. Blood.
The original team that worked on it over a 24 hour period was Bhavana, Shashank, Anirudh, Ravindra, Basav, and me. With special input throughout from Seema. ↩