ACT IIIScene 1
(Lafayette Park, daylight, two new 4' x 8' signs:
"I WAS BORN TO CHANGE THE WORLD.
YOU WERE BORN TO CHANGE THE WORLD.
TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!
WORK FOR PEACE" and
EARTH LOVES YOU --
LOVE HER BACK.
BAN THE BOMB!"
BO sits in the shadow of the signs with his banjo.
Parts of the scene should be choreographed. JONAH is
painting a sign. MONK squats nearby. UJC sits under a two-sided
teepee sign on which he has outlined his platform in geometric
terms, quietly observing with amusement a steady procession of
demonstrations: Iranians chanting "Down with Khomeini!";
Phillipinos chanting "Down with Marcos!"; Hispanics chanting
"Down with Ortega!" (the chant led by White House aide); Sikhs
chanting "Give us our homeland!"; anti-abortionists;
pro-abortionists; voodoo dancers in skeleton masks under a
bobbing mushroom cloud that reads
"NO MORE HIROSHIMAS!";
bearing coffins chanting "How many farmers have you killed today,
Mr. President?"; multi-races chanting "U.S. Out of Nicaragua!"
and "USSR Out of Afghanistan!"; multi-races (particularly
students) chanting "Apartheid No! Divest Now!"; Native Americans
chanting "Don't Drive Us from our Homes!"; Unification Church
"Moonies" bearing placards reading
"SAVE REVEREND MOON -
"FREEDOM OF RELIGION,"
singing hymns. The
tail-end Moonie intentionally, though sneakily, knocks over one
of the signs, which BO picks up.
Young Americans for Freedom swoop in, waving American flags
and knocking over signs, chanting "Clean up the Park!" and "Nuke
Peace Punks in mohawks and other pink/green/raven hairdos,
dash onstage waving "NO NUKES!" and "SAVE THE CHILDREN!" signs,
(Young Americans for Freedom (YAFers) make rude gestures and
bristle combatively, shouting "COMMIES GO HOME!" The Positive
Force punks drop to the ground in a dramatic "DIE-IN," then jump
up and run offstage, tossing leaflets at the audience and
laughing as police, blowing their whistles, run across stage
after them, followed closely by the YAFers (a la Keystone Cops).
Weaving in and out, homeless advocates bear placards: "GIVE
US A HOME!" "KEEP YOUR PROMISE!" "CCNV SHELTER NOW!"
"No more radiation! No more bloody WAR!
We don't want apartheid, nukes or hungry poor!
No more holocausts! No more deaths!
No business as usual -- out from your desks!
Hit the streets, check your facts!
Get off your ass right now and ACT!"
(LUTHER enters with them, bearing a sign, "HELP THE
HOMELESS," beaming and stumbling over the words and his feet.
LUTHER remains onstage as the CCNV marchers exit, passing close
by BO, who raises his hand in peace "V".)
BO: "Go, CCNV!"
"What about tonight?
What about tomorrow?
Where are we going to sleep?
Who cares about our sorrows?"
(The marchers pause to hug him, then exit.
Throughout the scene a yellow-robed Tibetan monk sits in lotus
position, meditating, oblivious for the most part except to
occasionally pick up his drum for a few measured (and timely)
Also throughout the scene there are robotic pedestrians who
look only at their feet ... that is, until suddenly, what sounds
like a missile taking off freezes everyone in attitudes of alarm
and dread. All look over the heads of the audience toward the
slide backdrop of north side of White House hanging at rear of
theater. The sound disappears, and the frozen bodies begin to
move again, though stepping lightly, as though that will keep the
"possible" from happening.
As it becomes clear no bomb is dropping, the pedestrians go
back to their robotic strides, their terror quashed, until the
screaming laughter of JAKE, entering and crossing the stage,
causes them to scuttle into the wings, their composure racked.
BO's banjo steps in from time to time, tuned to the action
of the stage.
NORMAN, shrouded, steps out from behind the sycamore tree and
performs his THIRD LAW OF REALITY:)
NORMAN: "Miscalculation, mistake, and accident -- I
call this 'EMMA' -- are ongoing factors of every enterprise.
EMMA may or may not be stayed by the amount of wisdom, accurate
foresight, diligence and luck being applied by interested parties
and historical circumstances."
(He leans against the tree nonchalantly, arms crossed,
FEY, poncho slung from her belt, enters with a box of fast
food on her shoulder, drops it heavily, goes over to JONAH and
kisses his forehead.)
JONAH: "Well, the lioness returns from the hunt!"
FEY: "A good haul today! Look, the biscuits are
still warm! I must have reached the dumpster right after they
threw the food out...."
MONK: "Ah, Hardee's. The best garbage in town."
JONAH: "Now, I wouldn't go that far. There's some
pretty good garbage over on 2lst street."
FEY: "Help yourself."
(MONK examines the loot.)
JONAH: "A reporter came by, I talked to him for
quite a while. Sorry you weren't here."
FEY: "Oh, well, what the hell. You're the one with
the story, anyhow."
JONAH: "I think he might actually be fair. He
asked some unusually intelligent questions, seemed to retain an
FEY: "Let's hope so. It'd be nice if they started
writing about our ideas instead of our appearance."
MONK: "Face it. As long as they can laugh at you,
nobody will listen to what you have to say."
FEY: "Well, we have to change that. Somehow.
We'll find a way."
(FEY turns away, accosts passing pedestrians.)
FEY: "Would you like a piece of literature?"
(Pedestrian accepts.) "Thank you! God bless you!"
(Turns to suited passerby.)
"...We're here 24 hours a day -- my husband has been here nearly
four years -- would you like to know why? No? You don't want to
(She calls after a pedestrian who has ignored her.) "OR
DID YOUR PARENTS FAIL TO TEACH YOU MANNERS? Ooooh?! Why are
people so RUDE?"
MONK: "Could be because YOU're rude. Nobody likes
to be hollered at. What's wrong with you today?"
"You're right.... Good afternoon!"
(Pedestrian glances back, then walks on.)
"You don't have to be afraid, you know!"
(Pedestrian scuttles on.)
(To MONK.) "Was that better?"
MONK: "Yeah. But still not good enough."
FEY: "Communication. What a trick. No wonder the
world's in the state it's in -- who listens, who responds? At
least we're not shooting at each other, though, or threatening
each other with missiles."
MONK: "Naw, we're too civilized. We just cuss each
(JONAH finishes his sign, holds it up for review:
LOVES SOVIET DISSIDENTS AND PERSECUTES ITS OWN!"
PEDESTRIAN stops to look at it.)
PEDESTRIAN: "Why don't you go to Russia, if you
don't like it here?"
(Looks around at the signs.)
"And get this treasonous crap out of the park while you're at
(Stalks over to corner of stage, where he
gestures imperiously for mousy AIDE to ENTER, marches back across
stage with AIDE scribbling as he dictates.)
"Inter-office Memo to Senators Hatfield and McC. Mathias: Gentlemen: The First Lady complained to me last night at the candidates' ball about the eyesores cluttering the President's Park with their trash. I urge you to consider what influence you can bring to bear on our fellow legislators and the Park Service to bring this national icon back to its former pristine beauty. Signed, etcetera, etcetera -- p.s. I look forward to seeing you soon with our friends at the annual Arms Bazaar."
(Looks back imperiously at JONAH.)
"Your days are numbered."
(Marches offstage, AIDE scurrying behind.)
JONAH: "Have a nice doomsday!"
AIDE: (Returns, looking nervously behind him.)
"So what are you saying? Get rid of our bombs?"
JONAH: "Do you like the prospect of extermination?"
AIDE: "Don't you think if we get rid of our bombs
the Russians will use theirs against us?"
JONAH: "And blow up the goose that lays the golden
egg? No, I don't. World opinion wouldn't let them. Besides, I
think they'd be glad to be out from under the burden of fear.
Remember, they built their bombs in response to US -- WE started
the nuclear arms race, WE dropped the first bombs on Hiroshima
and Nagasaki. WE'RE the only country that has used nuclear
weapons against fellow human beings. The Russians already know
how horrible a nuclear bomb can be -- and how easily they can be
detonated by accident. They had a nuclear accident in the Ural
Mountains in 1957 -- 500 miles have been closed off for
generations -- the best kept CIA secret for 15 years."
FEY: "A reporter from Pravda told us the Soviet
people want peace more than anything in the world. They've
suffered horribly from war. They lost 20 million young men
during World War II. That's somebody in every family."
AIDE: "Well, what do you expect him to say? He's
probably a Commie spy."
FEY: "Actually, he seemed kind. I've never met a
Russian -- or anyone else -- who didn't seem pretty much like an
American, once I got past the accent. People are people wherever
they may accidentally be born."
(During this exchange, a couple of Preppy-ish college
STUDENTS (STUDENT 1 and STUDENT 2) have stopped to listen.
AIDE pulls out a notebook, and walks away a couple of steps,
scribbling. Across the stage JAKE enters, dragging a toilet,
sets it up nearby with a roughly lettered cardboard sign,"SHITHOUSE FOR THE HOMELESS."
A TV cameraman enters, walks past
JONAH and FEY's signs with camera lowered, raises it to catch
JAKE pretending to urinate into the toilet bowl. LUTHER, seeing
the camera, wanders over.)
LUTHER: "Whatcha doin', Jake?"
JAKE: "This here is my free speech commode, for
those caught short when the facilities are locked, retrieved from
that obscenely productive dumpster behind the Treasury."
(LUTHER laughs gleefully and sits on the toilet.)
"I'm going to go salvage some more treasure."
(JAKE exits; LUTHER grimaces and mimes at scandalized
STUDENT 1:(Unaware of what's happening, addresses
"So what you're saying is we should lay down our arms,
JONAH: "Only worldwide disarmament will work. But
we can't all just sit back and wait for someone else to take
responsibility to start the process. A leader leads by example.
Someone has to take the first step. The whole world is watching
us very carefully -- the Europeans are incensed by the way we're
threatening their existence, they're marching, vigiling, striking
out against us and their leaders -- our government's so-called
allies. Our policies are isolating us from the world. It seems
to me if we set a moral example, we can't lose."
STUDENT 2: "Isn't that what we're doing? The
papers are full of stories about how we're helping the exploited
third world countries with food, technology..."
JONAH: "...weapons, armies, dictatorships, debts,
FEY: "...all in the name of 'democracy' which is
controlled by the voting machines."
JONAH: "...all for the dollar bill. Don't believe
everything you read."
STUDENT 1: "So how do we stop it?"
FEY: "Go on strike. Refuse to support a system
which threatens to blow up the planet. Don't pay their bills.
Don't pay their taxes. Don't bank in their banks. Don't carry
their guns. Don't buy their lies. Don't build their bombs."
JONAH: "That's why we're out here. To demonstrate
how far it may be necessary for us all to go to stop the insanity
that threatens all our lives..."
FEY: "...and the lives of our children."
AIDE: (Who has been listening carefully, taking notes, inter-
jects.) "You're advocating ... you're saying we should all
stop working and sit down out here?"
JONAH: "Well, if enough of us did, we'd sure make
the people at the top stop and think a minute. As it stands now,
what incentive do those in power have to set a different course?"
FEY: "I wish it would happen soon, so we could get
about the business of living free!"
(JONAH sits down, begins writing as FEY continues.)
"...Maybe it's unrealistic to think that everyone will vigil on
the sidewalk outside the President's house or the Kremlin -- but
we should each examine our minds and consciences and decide WHAT
we CAN do -- and then DO IT! What I'D love to see is the
secretaries and assistants of the leaders of all countries with
nuclear weapons and nuclear power hogtying their bosses into
their chairs -- like they did in the movie `NINE TO FIVE' -- and
sit them down before open-circuit TV cameras and screens for a
worldwide public dialogue."
AIDE: "You mean like a corporate conference call?"
FEY: "Exactly. On satellite TV, so everybody can
watch what the leaders do. Don't let them out of their offices
until they've agreed to the immediate dismantling of all nuclear
weapons, the immediate shutdown of all nuclear reactors, so
nobody else needs to die from radiation poisoning. Feed 'em, let
'em sleep, but keep 'em hostage by their own employees until the
missiles and warheads are all dismantled, the reactor fuel is all
safely buried. Turn the armies into peace corps, disarm all the
youngsters fighting old men's wars. Instead let's help them
travel the world teaching, learning and helping, rather than
manning weapons. It can be done. It'd be simple, really. We
just each have to take the initiative and do whatever WE can do.
Like pieces to a puzzle. Like New Zealand's prime minister is
doing, with the support of his people -- refusing nuclear
submarines at New Zealand's ports. Like Cambridge,
Massachusetts, and Las Vegas, New Mexico, and Marin County,
California, which have proclaimed themselves nuclear-free
STUDENT 1: "Don't forget Garrett Park, Maryland,
the FIRST nuclear-free zone! That's where I live!"
FEY: "Okay! ... Like the Plowshares activists, some
of whom have been sentenced to up to 18 years in prison for
banging on nosecones and computers, fouling up nuclear missiles
and delivery systems. Like countless others, whose closeted
feelings are beginning to come out in the open in acts of civil
disobedience or in trans-continental marches and ribbons around
(LUTHER becomes bored with his toilet, weaves over and sticks
out his hand.)
LUTHER: "Can you spare a dollar?"
(AIDE glances at him.)
(AIDE turns and walks offstage. Students pat their pockets,
shrug, and walk offstage.)
"LUTHER! Can't you see we're WORKING? Why do you keep
LUTHER: (Grins.) "I heard something about you...."
LUTHER: "I hear you're VERY friendly ... can WE be
FEY: "If you'll act civilized."
LUTHER: "Here, let's shake on it."
(He reaches for her hand as if to shake it, seems to change
his mind, bends over as if to kiss it, and then, grinning
wickedly, guides her hand toward his crotch.)
"Come to Big Daddy, momma -- he's VERY friendly, too! See?"
FEY: (Slaps his hand away and straightens into a tower
"Come back when your body's sober, Luther, and your mind is free
of lust. Right now your behavior disgusts me."
LUTHER: (Salutes and snickers.) "Self-righteous
FEY: (Voice rises.)
"Leave, Luther. Leave me alone. You're not welcome here. I'm
working, you arrogant twerp. You think I'm here because I want
to sleep on the sidewalk? You think I like living in a glass
cage, the object of ridicule, harassment, and potential violence?
Believe me, if I didn't have to be here, I wouldn't be. Now shut
up and act with some dignity or get out of my WAY!!!!"
(Grabs a broom and sweeps vigorously.)
LUTHER: (Turns to JONAH.)
"That's some feisty female you got at your side, pal. Do you
agree with her?"
JONAH: "Well, I'll tell you, Luther. When you're
sober I like you. But most of the time you're not sober. And
when you're not sober you're a pain in the ass."
LUTHER: "But I gotta have it, or I get the
FEY: "I used to drink. So don't try any excuses on
me -- I've used 'em all. Alcohol's poison to you, man -- it
twists your brain. It was poison to me, too. So I quit."
LUTHER: "Just like that?"
FEY: "I drank orange juice. It satisfies the
craving for sugar. And prayed. It satisfies the soul. If you
ever need friends to help you not drink, Jonah and I will be
here. But while you drink, Luther, do us a big favor and keep
"Sweepin' up the sidewalk on a sunny summer day,
tryin' hard to live the words that Jesus had to say,
I find the way I choose not easy,
So here, I sing this song to you to make the sidewalk blues go
"Sidewalk blues / coat the air with vitriolic rage.
Sidewalk blues / cut the peace of a sunny summer day
with loud impediments to true communicants,
and I only wish the government would choose
to help, not kill, the poor and ease their blues,
so all could walk the Earth as free
as Jesus said God put us here to be."
(FEY turns her back to petition the audience with
LUTHER: (Weaves over to Monk.)
"Betcha ten bucks she don't make it through the winter."
MONK: "Na-aw. I don't believe in losing money.
I'd rather throw it away."
(Pulls a hand full of pennies out of his pocket, tosses them
"Waitin' on the sidewalk, a sister to you all,
I watch the tunnel vision that keeps you from God's call.
Your eyes slide past our signs, uneasy
that you might lose security if you should join our fight for
"Sister blue, don't hide your eyes from God's reality!
Brother blue, the end of Earth's in store for you and me
if we don't face the fact, and make the choice to act.
I only wish humanity would cease
their brainwashing, so we could live in peace,
and bring our children up with trust
that love's the only force that we should use."
(Runs offstage after pennies. MONK grins and sits down next
to FEY and BO. HESTER enters, pushing AC in a wheelchair, their
belongings heaped in his lap. HESTER is no longer wrapped in
MONK: "Well, if it isn't the lovebirds. You folks
found a place to stay yet?"
HESTER: "No. I took AC down to Hope Village, they
said they'd take him, but they wouldn't let me in 'less I paid,
so AC refused to go. Happens at all the shelters I've tried.
Won't take men at some, women at others, couples at any of them
so's you can cuddle at night. We're still not too old to like
AC: "Damn right, little darlin'. You're the
dumplin' of my dotage." (Pats her on the rear.)
JONAH: "Why the wheelchair, AC? We haven't seen
you for ages. Where've you been?"
AC: "Laid up. Got caught on a car fender and
dragged a block before the damn fool realized I was hooked and
HESTER: "On our wedding day!"
AC: "We're on our honeymoon. Just got out of the
hospital last week. Good thing I checked out when I did. Hester
was on the skids, sleepin' on a grate, kept herself numbed with
vodka. She has no tolerance. Passes right out. Whump. Says
the nastiest things. Don't remember a thing next day. I never
tell her what she says. Drives her crazy."
HESTER: "AC, how could you? that's tellin' tales.
Besides, I haven't touched a thing since you got out of the
FEY: "Good for you!"
AC: "Damn right. We stick together. Two peas in a
pod. Come here, little chickpea, and play with my pod...."
HESTER: "Get on with you, you horny old goat.
Behave. You're in company. Miz Fey don't like that kinda talk."
(Pushes his wheelchair forward and back sharply, then
winces. No one notices except NORMAN. The others are distracted
by AC's falling blanket.)
JONAH: "It's good to see you haven't lost your
spirit, AC. Are you still in pain?"
AC: "Comes and goes. Not too bad for a man of 84.
Hester keeps me goin'."
(HESTER winces again, leans against the wheelchair, then sits
down next to AC on the ground.)
FEY: "I've been thinking a Bible reading might do
me some good. Anybody want to hear Revelation 13?"
(General assent. FEY opens the Bible and begins to read
aloud. JONAH relaxes nearby to listen. BO strums, the strumming
develops intensity as she reads.)
AC: "Didn't the President have a `mortal wound' and
(BO nods and smiles.)
BO: "The pope, too."
"`And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and
seven heads ... and great authority. One of its heads seemed to
have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the
whole earth followed the beast with wonder.'"
AC: "Forty-two months. Hmmm. Let's see --
January, February, March...."
(Counts silently as FEY continues.)
"`... And the beast was
given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was
allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months..."
MONK: "You tell 'em, baby!"
"...It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies
against God, blaspheming his name and ... those who dwell in
heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to
conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and
people and tongue and nation, and all who dwell on earth will
worship it, every one whose name has not been written before the
foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was
(FEY falls silent a moment, resumes passionately.)
"`...Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the
That sounds like
the President's evangelist!" (Reads silently a moment.)
"Ah, here's the part Jonah mentioned the day I met him ... the
part about Social Security Numbers ...
"Then I saw another beast which rose out of
the earth; it had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a
dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its
presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the
first beast, whose mortal wound was healed.'
"And that's the number of letters in the President's three
'It causes all, both small
and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked
on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell
unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the
number of its name.... This calls for wisdom: Let him who has
understanding reckon the number of the Beast, for it is a human
number. ITS NUMBER IS SIX SIX SIX'."
(BO strikes a discordant strum and falls back, laughing.
During the reading, the sun has gone down. FEY shivers, unrolls
the poncho and pulls it over her head, lying back on the grass,
gazing at the stars through the tree branches, repeating the last
phrases of Revelation quietly.)
FEY: "`Let him who has understanding reckon the
number of the Beast ... six six six.'"
(Fey lies back; long pause, then she quietly begins
"Restin' on Momma's breast on a healin' tropic night,
watchin' all the stars combine in passing out blue light,
I find the paths they mark out easy,
so I beg to share this thought with you:
in this blue light God's showing the Free Way.
"Free Way Blue / coats my soul with disembodied light.
Free Way Blue / brings me peace on a healing tropic night
with loving sentiments, and true communicants,
and I only wish the governments would lose
their fear and banish war, all bombs defuse,
so we can live in harmony,
the way God gave us will to choose to be."
(Everyone's eyes close for a moment of peace. Suddenly
Officers SPOOFNER and PAYNE sweep in. UJC and NORMAN stand in
the shadows of the Sycamore, unobserved.)
PAYNE: "You're under arrest!"
(JONAH, FEY, MONK, BO, HESTER and AC all sit up.)
JONAH: "What for?"
FEY: "We're not even sleeping!"
PAYNE: "We don't care."
BO: (Stands up.) "If I'm under arrest, I'll
go put on my shoes."
PAYNE: "Halt! Stay where you are!"
BO: "I didn't join your army."
(BO ambles over toward the sign. PAYNE leaps on BO from
behind, chokes and bears him down, punching him several times in
the back of the neck. HESTER hauls AC offstage, screaming. FEY
reaches behind sign, pulls out a camera for JONAH, who
(PAYNE turns on JONAH as two SECRET SERVICE cops enter to
handcuff BO. PAYNE punches and kicks JONAH, who has tossed the
camera to FEY; she photographs.)
FEY: "BULLY! COWARD! Ooooh! You'll be SORRY!"
(Camera clicks several times. SECRET SERVICE #2 holds and
cuffs JONAH. Payne grabs for the camera, which FEY throws toward
MONK; she's choked and thrown down by Payne. The poncho tears.
Payne tosses it to Spoofner, who has been watching, stunned.)
(SPOOFNER, seeing JONAH peering up at him, his shirt torn and
stained with blood, turns away, thinks for a long moment, then
pulls out a plastic bag marked "EVIDENCE" and stuffs the poncho
inside, picks up the banjo and carries them offstage, pausing to
kick over UJC's teepee sign while UJC and NORMAN watch quietly
from the shadows, unseen. All remaining characters freeze in
vignette of horror as the lights suddenly blink out.)
Peace Park Page | Proposition One