Beauty Water.

ForLebs_10.16.17

For Lebs 10.16.17

Every year, Youngblood, the cohort of playwrights under 30 at Ensemble Studio Theatre, hosts an amazing festival of new short plays called “Asking for Trouble” (A4T) to kick off the new season. The whole event is wild and fun and springs from a random selection of actors, directors, titles, and an inspiration object–this year’s inspiration based on amendments to the U.S. constitution. If you happen to be in NYC, join us for this year’s A4T October 24-28 which will be split into 4 different series. More info to come.

Above is a postcard for the brilliant academic and heart, Lebogang Mokwena. Let’s hope this makes it all the way to South Africa safely! And below is the text from my A4T play, which will feature the talents of Monique Robinson, Amy Jo jackson, Eric Folks, and Ilene Kristen, directed by Nick Leavens.

BEAUTY WATER.

(LaLa and Cream lead Safi into a virtually empty office space.)

LALA
Welcome, welcome.

CREAM
Welcome.

LALA
We cannot tell you what it means to have you here with us.

(Perhaps Cream blows from a noisemaker, or releases a handful of confetti onto Safi.)

CREAM
She will be pleased.

(Cream smiles a little too wide.)

SAFI
Well, I am so happy to be here! And no red tape? These days you have to do ten rounds of interviews to get a receptionist gig!

LALA
Yes.

CREAM
Yes.

LALA
It is a rough sea, this job market.

(Lala and Cream sigh. Safi chuckles. She thinks they’re quirky and she’s kind of into it at this point.)

SAFI
Wait wait. But before she gets here.
I have to ask.
What is ‘beauty water’?

LALA
(Dumfounded)
She is Beauty Water.

CREAM
She lives Beauty Water.

SAFI
Right.
I hear what you’re saying.
I mean. I get it. In theory.
But really.
I feel like I need to understand the brand—
You know, in order to really do well here.
I was surprised she doesn’t have any social media presence.
Totally old school, I dig it, but—
Could you give me a little more?

CREAM
Beauty water is life.

LALA
Beauty water is death.

CREAM
Beauty water is.

SAFI

I guess that’s why she’s got three assistants!

LALA
Support staff.

CREAM
We support her.
We provide for her.

LALA
We live for her.

SAFI
Right, but, y’all have hobbies, right?
(Laughs)
Ha!
Kidding.

CREAM
Ha.

LALA
Ha.

SAFI
Well, I imagine the perks must be great!

(Crickets.)

CREAM
It is an honor and a privilege to work for Beauty Water.

LALA
She’s everything I wish I could be.
Are you familiar with the song, “The Wind Beneath My Wings”?
Someday when I have worked up the courage, I will sing this song to her.
And perhaps then my soul will be complete.

SAFI
You two are crazy!
(Laughs, genuine)
How long have y’all been working here?

CREAM
We were born for this.

SAFI
Wow.
So it’s really, like, a calling for you?

LALA
No. Literally. We were born to work for Beauty Water.

SAFI
I don’t understand…?

LALA
We were triplets.

CREAM
It was decided at birth that we would come here.

LALA
And stay.

SAFI
Uh huh…

LALA
In our 10th year, we were gifted to Beauty Water and have been here…

(A sharp look from Cream.)

LALA
…ever since.

SAFI
Y’all sure have a funny sense of humor…

(Safi looks around. Suddenly she realizes there are only two chairs in the space)

SAFI
Was there an event in here?

LALA
No.

CREAM
There wasn’t.

SAFI
Where are the desks?

(They say nothing)

LALA
There are many desks (pointing out the window) out there? In the City?

CREAM
(To Lala)
Shhhhhh.

SAFI

What actually happened with the person who came before me?

LALA
We do not speak of her.

CREAM
(Gulps, looks away)
We are forbidden.

(Before Safi can respond, a crash of lightning strikes. Lala and Cream look to the entrance. Beauty Water enters. She is the most glorious, divine being you have ever been privileged to witness.)

LALA & CREAM
(From RuPaul’s “Cover Girl (Put the Bass in Your Walk)
Cover girl
Put the bass in your walk
Head to toe
Let your whole body talk

BEAUTY WATER
AND WHAT

SAFI
(To herself)
Beauty Water…

BEAUTY WATER
Yes?

SAFI
Hi!
(Puts her hand out to shake hers)
It’s so great to finally meet you! I’m Safi.

(Beauty Water examines her hand. She walks slowly around the room. LaLa and Cream are entranced. Safi slowly lowers her hand, awkwardly puts it to he side.)

BEAUTY WATER
So.

LALA & CREAM
So.

SAFI

So?

BEAUTY WATER
(Yawns)
Oh.
I’m so tired of this place.

(Beauty Water exits abruptly, with flourish.)

LALA
Is she not the most magnificent?

SAFI
Um. Sure.

CREAM
(A noise of disgust)

SAFI
Bless you?

CREAM
That wasn’t a sneeze. It was a noise of disgust.

LALA
Perhaps you were not the right one.

CREAM
You may not be ready.

SAFI
Ready for what…?

(LaLa looks to Cream. Cream looks to LaLa. They begin to close in on Safi. Before we know, they are very very close. Uncomfortably close.)

SAFI
Ummm…
Uh…
I know it’s early and all, but…
I think I’m gonna go grab lunch.
I’ve got this low blood sugar thing, so…
Y’all want anything?

(Safi moves to the door)

LALA
We only eat what we are given.

(Cream nods)

(Beauty Water re-enters gracefully)

BEAUTY WATER
I have an announcement.

(Lala and Cream bow for the announcement.)

BEAUTY WATER
I have had a revelation after visiting the establishment below.
Do you know Siri?
(She pulls out an iPhone)
She will guide me and provide for me from now on.
The evolution of Beauty Water…

LALA CREAM
What? The evolution of Beauty Water?

BEAUTY WATER
Yes.
After a productive two decades, I’m letting you go.

SAFI
(Under her breath)
Are you kidding?

(Cream screams. LaLa falls to her knees.)

LALA
NOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Where will we go?
What will we do?

SAFI
Um…
I could hook y’all up with my temp agency?
I mean, it’s not great, but…

CREAM
(Ignores her)
There is nothing else! There is no on else!
WE DESTROYED HER FOR YOU!
OUR OWN SISTER.

(He collapses into a heap of sobs)

SAFI
Wait?! What?!

LALA
(To Beauty Water; singing)
Did you ever know that you’re my hero? / You’re everything I wish I could be! / And I could fly higher than an eagle! / You are the wind ben/eath my wings!

BEAUTY WATER
(Cutting her off)
That’s enough.
ENOUGH.
(LaLa goes silent)
There is nothing here for me any longer,
and so there is nothing for you.

CREAM
Or maybe there never was.
…Beauty Water is
nothing…

LALA
Gasp!
Take it back!

CREAM
NO!
She lied to us!

BEAUTY WATER
You only lied to yourselves.
I never promised you a thing.
Beauty Water is

(Beauty Water is gone with a flourish. It’s like a reset button has been pressed).

SAFI
Well, that was fucking weird.
Does she just, like, do that all day?
Appear and disappear?
She’s really insane, isn’t she? Who wants to work for someone like that? AmIright?

(Suddenly LaLa and Cream look to Safi. They see her in a new light.)

LALA
Yes.

CREAM
You’re right.

LALA
You’re so wise…

(Cream nods)

SAFI
I’m gonna go grab a drink… It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.

(A pause)

LALA
What would you like?

CREAM
Vodka. Whiskey. Beer. Wine.
We can get it for you.

SAFI
Um. That’s OK…

LALA
We’re here for you.

CREAM
To support you
Provide for you.

LALA
Live for you.

SAFI
Look…
Why don’t y’all wait here.
I’ll be right back.

LALA
We’ll be waiting.

CREAM
Yes.

(Cream nods. Safi goes. Cream and Lala stand silent, waiting. Blackout.)

END OF PLAY.

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