variations on "The Candide Campaign" by the Plaintext Players
in which

Baron.Samedi (Richard Smoley)
lord of the DownUnderWorld, has a falling out with

Monkey-General (Lise Patt)
a she-demon, who recruits

Candide (Marlena Corcoran)
a young person from Crossroads, to run against the Baron's Death Party with

howweird (Cathy Caplan)
a horse, as his running mate; all overseen by

reporter (Joe Ferrari)
a disreputable journalist,

History-Herself (Antoinette LaFarge)
an even more disreputable expert, and

stage (Heather Wagner)
working behind the scenes.

[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5] [Part 6] [Info]
Still Lies Quiet Truth, copyright Antoinette LaFarge and the Plaintext Players, 1996


Part 1: Death Brooks No Betrayal
History-Herself says: "Once upon a time there was a fine, upstanding gentleman named Baron.Samedi, lord of the DownUnderWorld." lies "We go back a long ways, him and me. We're both very concerned with the rights of the dead." more lies "I take care of their reputations, he finds them something to fill up all that extra time." Monkey-General adjusts her NASA cap. "Now Monkey-General here, she used to work for the Baron. He turned her off because she was incompetent." still more lies "Like the Challenger explosion-- all those body parts-- the Baron had to keep sending teams around Florida to sort them out." History-Herself shakes her head. "Messy, sloppy work." Monkey-General pisses on History-Herself. "The Baron couldn't be here tonight, or he'd back me up." Monkey-General says: "The Baron cut off my head and left me for living. So I went and joined the living." ____________________________ Darkness Baron.Samedi says: "Ladies and gentlemen, you want everything, do you not?" The darkness of the DownUnderworld, waste and wild. "I promise you everything, as only a, er, man in my position can do." Black koalas chew plastic gum trees on the edge of vision. "I announce the solution for all your pitiable woes: the Death Party ticket!" Wait-- aren't death and taxes eternal? "I, Death, am a mere functionnaire. Death answers all questions, fulfills all promises! Cradle to grave coverage and beyond!" Do we still get to keep the retirement age at 65? "Because face it, folks, aren't you sick of life?" 9 doctors out of 10 recommend life "Death is the ultimate health care plan. It cures all ills at once." 9 dead people out of 10 could use a good doctor "The dead are the real majority" They are also the silent majority. "We the dead will overtake you." The majority prefer tv. "Death is invincible! Immutable! Immoral!" People know how to vote. "Death brooks no betrayal." People will vote for Candide. "People! People do what I tell them." ____________________________ There are more people alive today than have ever lived before. The dead are not the real majority? Not according to the latest poll. Are you sure about that? Yes. Statistically correct? It's a proven fact. Functionally wrong. Practically an absolute truth. It's all a fiction of the candidate. __________________________ Part 2: How Still We See Thee Lie __________________________ The scene shifts about 467.2 degrees fahrenheit. We're no longer in the DownUnderWorlds, folks. Everyone shudders at the sudden cold. We hear the clanking of prison cups against hardened souls. We're in a town so small it consists of a Crossroads and nothing else. They forgot to build the town. O little townless of Crossroads... This is the home, sort of, of young Candide. Signpost spins in the wind. Curtain ruffles. Candide has no house, no family, no job... nothing. Candide dreams of the George Washington Bridge. Candide says: "My gosh! A stranger in Crossroads! You some kinda foreigner?" Monkey-General says: "We're all strangers in Crossroads." "Actually, everybody but us was born here." "Are you looking for a career?" "You mean, raise the prices 'pon turnips?" "Kind of." "You mean-- tax the people?" "Yes, yes!" "What about the Baron's health care plan?" "You don't have to worry about that stupid stuff." "And whatever it is folks do on the George Washington Bridge?" "You'll just get to rub hands." "Well, I've always liked friendly folks." "They like you. They will vote for you." "And I'm against Death and Taxes." "No taxes? But what will the party line be?" "Simple: No Death, No Taxes, in the best of all possible worlds." "So, it's settled." "I think I'd like that." "You'll make a swell candidate." "Everyone will vote for me. But there's one problem. I'll need a running mate." "Let's see, running mate possibilities..." how about the horse? "Perfect!" ____________________________ howweird stands on his rear legs, front feet in the air, and goes crashing through the folding chairs. Candide says: "What is this thing?" cameras go flying. howweird says: "I'm here for you. Jump on my back." Candide leaps onto howweird. Candide: "Hurrah! The equestrian candidate!" "Quick, out of here now." "It worked for Paul Revere!" The two race off. "Wait a minute! I'm on-- a horse! " But which one is running? "I could run all the way to-- the George Washington Bridge!" "We're a team, you got to admit, we're a team now." "Ohio!" "The White House!" ____________________________ Monkey-General says: "I'm going to call a press conference." Candide says: "Wait a minute. This is my first time out of Crossroads. I've never talked to someone I don't already know. What do you say when they ask you..." Candide breaks into song: "Why Do I-I-I Want to be President?" reporter snaps a picture. "I've Al-l-l-ways Wanted to..." A fiddler in the distance accompanies Candide's song. "...To Meet Someone New..." A fiddler so faint and distant he could be playing from the DownUnderWorld. "...Someone Like You..." "All right then... so why DO you want to be president?" "One day. . . one day it rained in Crossroads. I mean, it really rained. The sky turned yellow." "Green." "Charcoal grey." "It fractured like a plexiglass windshield. I thought I'd never make it home. I thought, I'll never make it on foot." "I thought, if only I can get the car across the train tracks. I did. I stepped out of the car into a foot of water dense with ice. Hail. In my pink faux- crocodile pumps, I took step after step through the ice cocktail. I thought, 'I'm wearing the wrong shoes.'" reporter uses toothpicks to keep his eyes open. "But-- I never quit. I got to my front door and walked in, shaking and dripping. I kicked off the pink pump-- one of 'em. The other was back in the ice. I opened the door to the basement." creak "There was a washing machine in my basement in Crossroads. I looked down the stairs: it was a ladder to a black lake." "And suddenly the washing machine saw its duty to rinse the world. The water level triggered the spin cycle. It spun for days." The crowd looks at reporter, hoping the press will explain. "Many hearts were broken in Crossroads." reporter shakes his ugly head. ____________________________ Candide says: "You all know the refrain:" refrain from what? "No Death." singing out of key? "No Taxes." Ok everyone, refrain from death... I dare you. "I must tell the people!" Once upon a time... "People know how to vote." when the world was new... "The people will vote for me!" there was a man and his horse... "And maybe on the horse." ____________________________ Candide says: "I'm not afraid, howweird. I'm not. It wasn't my idea. The idea was-- oh, you know-- voting. It's not about me, you know. It's-- it's the voting thing. That proud feeling you get when you pull down the lever." Candide points excitedly to the people leaving to vote. "See, howweird? It's the American way! I'm an orphan, you know. Did I tell you I'm an orphan? I was adopted by the League of American Women Voters." __________________________ Part 3: Why Do Horses Run? __________________________ It's gone, the tacky Campaign Headquarters, and in its place you see the finest auditorium in the Everyglades. howweird says: "Why do horses run? I really care about things like grass. People can relate to grass. Grass with lovely white and yellow roots that won't get stuck in my teeth. Like in Colorado. Grass growing out of the mucky mud that I can swim through." lots of mud in the Everyglades "No dried-out hay" buried secrets "No whips" wings "No riders" fuselages "No sleepless nights." black boxes "No sleeping on our feet." little body parts "Don't walk with the enemy, run with us." ____________________________ Where are we? We are nowhere. The majority prefer tv. The majority are dead. The majority are hereby abolished. Elect everyone. The race is on. ____________________________ howweird says: "Why do horses run? A dream perhaps? Do they run because things are following them?" Who knows how horses think? "Do they run because someone has asked them to run? In my case I have been asked to run, but I shall stand still for you. I have been asked to run by the great and wonderful Candide." Candide smiles feebly at the dear horse. "A man who, for a man, if you knew him, is quite a man. A man whom I am content to run with. Alongside me, on top of me, I shall run with him. And together we shall run for our lives." howweird stands still, waiting for applause. No applause is forthcoming. Keep waiting. "We shall run for our lives." ____________________________ Candide says: "I picked a good one, he looked like he could run. A back that could carry the national debt. Grief and sorrow. And he licked my face when I was down." ____________________________ howweird says: "I don't owe anyone anything." An old lady shouts: "Oh yes you do." "What is that old lady trying to tell me?" Nothing, she's mute. "Are you sure about that?" Not really. And we don't have time to discuss it further. ____________________________ howweird says: "I've been a real donkey. I forgot to vote." The Everyglades vanish in an electoral haze of numbers. "I was looking forward to the rose garden." "The sound of trumpets playing." "Heaven." __________________ Part 4: Fuck the Horse __________________ Somewhere in the Everyglades-- Final Home of Little Bits of Crashed People and Other People So Old They May Not Be Alive Anymore-- somewhere in that stinking muck with little body parts bubbling up out of the parking lots, small pieces of fuselage float on the surface... Candide says: "Promises, promises, Monkey-General. First you promised me a ride on a space shuttle. Then you promised me Disney World." Monkey-General adjusts her NASA cap. "And all I get is the steady trickle of tiny body parts." with no identity of course "Tiny body parts can't vote for me. They can't, you know, check in with the lady at the door. The one who says, What's your address?" Monkey-General says: "A lot of my friends are body parts, and I happen to know that they DO vote." Candide says: "And the last time you voted was...?" "Are you asking me?" "Forgive me, General. It has been four years since my last..." Water rivulets run down the walls. Monkey-General says: "In fact body parts run our lives." ____________________________ FIRST RETURNS COMING IN: BARON.SAMEDI LEADS 45% CANDIDE 34% UNDEAD 23% Monkey-General says: "Looks like all those dead people are voting for the Baron." Candide says: "I always wondered about those announcements. I mean, how do you know that people are really voting? "But the body parts might be going with you." "I mean, are people really voting? What is it exactly that happens when California goes for Candide?" "Californians don't vote." "And who are these undead? And how many body parts make one vote?" little body parts surface and vote in rows "I always wanted people to vote for me." ____________________________ Candide says: "Maybe we should get back out there, Monkey. And remind the people I promised them a nice new tomb for those unknown body parts. The body parts nobody wants." "What tomb?" "The amputated legs. Aborted foetuses. Space heroes. The Tomb of the Unknown Astronaut. You told me about it yourself." Monkey-General takes off her NASA hat. "And they never could identify the parts. And they couldn't exactly just divide the number of parts by the number of dead astronauts." Monkey-General says: "We'll just divide them up and send them out with the welfare checks." reporter writes: 'Let'sMakeADealForTheDead'. Candide says: "So they buried all the pieces near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier." Monkey-General's mouth says: "NASA lies." "It's the number thing." "NASA lies about everything." "I mean, you could do the arithmetic, but-- what would it all mean? Is that a piece of someone you loved? Or just someone with whom she went down in flames?" "Depends on what piece." "I'm going down, Monkey. I'm dead meat." "Yup." ____________________________ A large jumboJet explodes silently far above, creating a momentary *flash*. Oooh, more votes! Tears run down Candide's cheeks. No one notices. ____________________________ Candide exclaims: "We can do numbers all night! People are voting! Pulling levers! Marking Xs!" Monkey-General says: "You're becoming hysterical." "That proud feeling you get when you pull down the lever." "There's nothing you can do now." Candide lines up three body parts and marches them to the polls. They pull together and vote for Candide. "Forget it... it's over. Go play with your grandchildren." "I don't have grandchildren. I don't have a mother." "Go play with your turnips then." "But I would promise them my mother if I could only be president! I'd promise... I'd promise... All the body parts would rise again! Rise to the Challenge and Live!" "Yeah, how?" "But most of all I hold out the promise of immortal life." "It's over-- get drunk, get laid, take a bath." "A White House for You and for Me!" "You can't win." "I must win. All my life I imagined it: People everywhere making little black Xs." "You can't win. That is why I brought you here." "Candide! They cried in my dreams." "You sucked, you were fucked, you ran out of luck." Candide takes Monkey-General by the collar. "You're a coward, Monkey-General." Monkey-General bites Candide's hand. ____________________________ Candide looks at Monkey-General. So this is the winner of our discontents. Candide says: "And you are reality? You with the baboon head and the red chamois coat?" Monkey-General grins. "I'm not conceding. I don't believe the people voted." Everyone voted! howweird forgot to vote. "I think it was all-- numbers." The numbers were real while they lasted. Numbers never lie. Monkeys do. "I'll never surrender." You will all get to vote again and again and again and again. The sky stands still. "We're out of here! There was no election!" It's all over but the numbers, folks. "Vote, good people! Vote! Vote! Vote today and tomorrow!" Candide flails at the little body parts. "Vote!" howweird says: "Take a bath." ____________________________ History-Herself says: "And what shall I write about you, Monkey-General, and what will you offer me to do it?" Monkey-General says: "Brilliant strategist." "You pissed on Candide at inopportune moments." "Saved the dead from the livin'." "You bit Candide at inopportune moments." "Erected monuments." "Yes, but you don't seem to understand: I need a valid reason to write these things." Candide says: "Write about the horse." Candide sings the praises of howweird. History-Herself considers the horse. Monkey-General says: "Fuck the horse." Monkey-General books a flight to Lockerbie. ______________________ Part 5: The Insect of Prague ______________________ Candide dreams. The White House rises slowly over the horizon. A ladder rises to heaven. Body parts twinkle in the sky Candide's lips move silently. Decomposed bodies roam the streets Fantasia of little body parts Candide says: "I'm the Infant of Prague." ____________________________ The Infant of Prague whimpers in the distance. Candide says: "This is a great place to raise children." It's also a great place for them to die. "The baby Jesus. The baby Jesus always seemed to be on the go." Candide whistles for the Infant of Prague. "Come sit on my lap." Is that the kid who is always pissing? "I don't have any children of my own, you know. And I never had a mother." Or the one holding the ball above his head? "Come here, child. We want to tell you a story." The Infant whispers to Candide and holds out the Globe. Candide smiles. reporter points to Puerto Rico on the Globe. "Do you like to ride horsey?" Why Puerto Rico? "Puerto Rico voted for me." But they can't vote. "I'll tell you a story about the nice horsey." The Infant of Prague snuggles into Candide's arms. "Once upon a time, in a big white house..." The Infant of Prague decides to tell the truth: It lived in a stable. A black cloud of body parts gathers on the horizon. Shriveled tattered burning flesh. "...lived a big dappled grey." We are all lost. I know. It's someone's fault. " That's a horse." The sky shatters like plexiglass. The Infant of Prague's primitive diaper breaks. All hell breaks loose from the baby's grubby groin. Trillions of little lost body parts. The baby fountains even smaller bodies out of his broken flesh.< Candide retreats from reality. "My story is immortal. My campaign will never die." Monkey-General says: "Sorry, but it did already." "Young girls will sing my praises." "Don't you know your history?" "And the horse." "Fuck the horse." ____________________________ Candide's_History says: "Monkey-General was a traitor." Candide tickles the Infant and whistles to the horse of his dreams. Monkey-General says: "Fuck the horse." ____________________________ History-Herself writes: "I will pass the story on to some other simpleton for the Monkey to play with." Candide's story will never die. Candide says: "Keep writing: to a nonexistent Child and a Horse who isn't here." Candide recounts the election: one two three four twenty-seven The neurologist says: "Now let's try counting backwards from 100." Monkey-General says: "99." reporter scratches his head. Monkey-General says: "66." Candide smiles. Monkey-General says: "Fuck the horse." And the Child. No fucking the Child. The sum of the body parts. History-Herself writes: "The Insect of Prague will be remembered, but under another name." The Insect of Prague cries uncontrollably. Candide withdraws at last. ____________________________ The Insect of Prague says: "Please play with my ball." Candide is lost to the world. reporter tries to remember who won. It's over, Candide. Monkey-General knows who won. Who? She's not telling. "Ok, everyone, time's up." tick "Hear that?" tick The Insect of Prague is a tick? The Insect of Prague rules the world. The living and the dead. No one voted for it, but that's the way it is. tick "This ain't no regular globe here." It certainly ain't the Globe Theater. tick The Insect of Prague swallows the Globe bomb whole. uh oh tick Monkey-General says: "Fuck the horse." Candide nods absently. tick tick The Insect of Prague burps. tick History-Herself slaps Candide: "Your have your whole anonymous life still before you, get cracking." tick shtick Candide withdraws into its own fiction. Candide says: "Good-bye, History. Good-bye, Herself. Good-bye, howweird." The Insect of Prague explodes, spreading tinyBodyParts (not unlike the host) everywhere. ***BBBOOOOMMM*** History-Herself picks up the fiction and goes home. The radio is silent. Static. THAT'S ALL SHE WROTE? _______________________ Part 6: History Never Listens _______________________ History-Herself says, "This used to be campaign headquarters, folks. Campaign headquarters for one of the most hapless campaigns in history." lies "Let me tell you how it really was." all lies "Let me tell you a story, a story you can believe." lies "A story about Candide here, who is from the world's dinkiest town and ran against Baron.Samedi with the help of a horse and a she-demon." more lies Candide whistles: "I saddled up and away I did ride." "But it doesn't really matter that Candide is an idiot, or that he picked the Monkey as his chief advisor." Why not? Candide sings: "Out in the West Texas ni-i- Candide warbles: "i-i-i-ay-ay- "What matters is the reporter here did such a lousy job of reporting Candide's campaign." reporter looks for that tootsieRoll he thought he left in his pocket Candide concludes: "-t." "With a little effort, reporter could have turned Candide into the Candidate of Everyone's Choice." Candide says: "That would be me." History-Herself leans towards those listening. History never listens. She just goes on saying what they want her to say. "I'm telling you, folks, that it could have been all different." Monkey-General covers her ears. "And I'm going to make it different." Candide says: "I'm listening." ____________________________ Why did you write what you wrote? Since when do you need a reason other than it seemed like a good idea at the time? Whose side were you on? Who cares as long as you have History on your side? ____________________________ It was the best of times. It was a taste of blood. It was the rest of time. It was too short. It was too hard on the dead. It was a ratings nightmare. Candide kisses a baby, who shrivels and dies. It was full of unspoken promises. It was sad but true. It was true but sand. It was over before it started. What do you do when an election has been declared void? Kill everyone and start over. The sound of Monkey-General's jet fades into the blueLockerbieSky. ____________________________ Candide says: "Once upon a time..." History-Herself sighs and settles in to listen, hoping this story will be better than the lies reporter told. reporter never said nothing. And never will. Why bother? Nobody listens. And that was the problem: too few lies is worse than none. Truth died a long time ago. And nobody remembers him. We have buried truth so many times we keep forgetting where. Still lies quiet truth. " a big white house..." ____ END ____