Act I, Scene One
(Setting is in the lobby of the Star Theater.)
Buena: Good grief – trying to get in here to talk to you is like trying to get into Fort Knox. I’ve come to see you a hundred times and every time we go through the same thing. “You’ve got to buy a ticket.” Any why are the doors always locked? No one wants to sneak in here. No one wants to see the stupid movie at all! Maybe if he would get some movie in here made after 1976!
Mary: Mr. Barry Moore, the owner of this theater and my father, wants people to realize the fine art of the movie. He wants us all to know how important it is to mankind.
Buena: Oh, yeah. Whatever!
Barry: How many tickets did you sell? Who came in?
Mary: It’s Buena Vista, Daddy. She says she wants to talk to me. (To Buena) Are you gonna tell me about when you were a dancer in New Orleans? (Mary starts singing and dancing – bumps and grinds style.) Will you teach me a new dance?
Barry: Well, get that old whore out of here! I run a respectable establishment.
Buena: Oh, shut up, Barry.
Barry: Oh, shut up yourself. (disdainfully.) Buena Vista – what an incredible name for a stripper. Couldn’t you think of anything more suitable?
Buena: Buena Vista happens to be my real name, you creep. It’s a family name. My father is Pedro Vista from Mexico. My mother’s mother’s name was Buena. And I was not a stripper. I was an artist of the dance. And my stage name was Pristine La Boom.
Barry: From Buena Vista to Pristine La Boom. Incredible!
Buena: And I don’t even do that anymore anyway. You know I am now a businesswoman.
Barry: Hawking all that home decorating crap! Businesswoman, my eye!
Buena: “Lovely home décor – and more!” But I didn’t come here to talk to you, Barry. (To Mary) Honey, have you been out today? Stop dancing around and listen to me. Have you been outside today?
Mary: (guiltily) No.
Buena: Oh, no. You have, haven’t you? Now listen, honey. I saw Sheriff Bob Roberts just a minute ago and he was coming over here because someone broke out the big window in the Chevrolet house this morning. He just knows you did it. He stopped to give the judge a ticket for parking his Cadillac in the handicapped zone, but he’s on his way. I ran ahead to warn you. Now, where else did you go this morning?
Buena: You mean you just walked down to the Chevrolet place, smashed the window and walked straight home?
Mary: Yeah – it was wonderful. (Makes sound like smashing glass.)
Buena: Wow, that’s really strange, Mary. Well, you’ll just have to tell him you were here. All day. No matter what he says, just say that you haven’t been anywhere but here, okay?
Mary: No matter what he says?
Buena: Right. Just say, “No, sir, Sheriff Bob, sir. I’ve only been here all day long.” Now stay calm and just act natural. Okay?
(Both assume a “natural” pose. Larry also assumes a “natural” pose.)
Buena: You got any Jube Jubes today?
Mary: Oh, sure.
(Sheriff Bob knocks on the door. Mary runs to the ticket booth.)
Mary: You have to buy a ticket first, please.
Bob: Mary Moore, you open this door.
Mary: But you have to have a ticket before I can . . .
Bob: Mary! Now I am here on official sheriff business and I want you to open this door or I’ll have to break it down!
(Mary gets frightened and rushes to open the door with near hysterical cries.)
Mary: Oh, no, please. Don’t break down the door. No violence, please. Please. The long arm of the law is so powerful.
Bob: Now, Mary. Don’t you lock that door again during the hours that you’re open. It’s dangerous. It’s a fire hazard.
Buena. I don’t know why. There’s no one in there.
Bob: Don’t matter. You just keep that door unlocked. Do you hear me?
Mary: Oh, no, sir, Sheriff Bob. I’ve only been here all day long.
(Mary looks at Buena for approval.)
Buena: Oh, for heaven’s sake.
Bob: (Puzzled) What?
Mary: No, sir, Sheriff Bob. I’ve only been here all day long.
Buena: (To herself) You try to help people . . . you stick your neck out and try to do some good for someone . . .
Bob: Well, Buena. Playin’ Paul Revere today? Part of a new act you’re puttin’ together?
Mary: No, sir, Sheriff Bob. I’ve only been here . . .
Buena: (cuts Mary off) Oh, hush up, Mary. You blew it.
Mary: But Buena Vista, you said I should say that, no matter what . . .
Bob: It’s okay, Mary. I knew you broke that winda anyway. You couldn’t have convinced me that you didn’t. There wasn’t nothin’ taken so robbery wasn’t the motive. Of course, I don’t know what your motive is either when you go on a smashing spree. You’re the only one I know goes around smashing windas for the hell of it. Now you know I’m gonna have to tell your Daddy and fine ya’, too, don’t ya? Why do you do that, Mary?
Mary: Because I have to.
Bob: You have to?!
Mary: I have to or I might do something worse. Something scary.
Bob: Now just what the hell does that mean? You don’t have to do nothin’ ‘cept die and pay taxes. (Laughs and punches Buena in the ribs.) Now you’re gonna have to stop this or we’ll have to lock you up. Personally, I think you deserve a good spanking. If you was mine, I’d just tan your hide good! Your Dad in his office?
Mary: Yes sir, Sheriff Bob Roberts.
(During the following conversation, Mary goes to the dill pickle jar and picks it up. She starts bouncing it in the air, considering smashing it. Buena stops her and tries to comfort her.)
Bob: Hey, Barry.
Barry: (Irritated) Yes, yes, yes!
Bob: Barry . . . I’ve got a little bad news for ya. (Bob begins writing a ticket.) It seems Mary went on another one of her sprees again this mornin’ and broke out the glass in the Chevy house. I’m writin’ ya up the ticket now. I’m hopin’ we can get by with just the ticket. The next step is to put her in jail.
Barry: Jail! Oh, no! Oh, the crosses I have to bear! Oh, my God, please help me. First her mother goes bonkers and runs away with an accountant and now Mary is some kind of glass freak. Breaking glass! Over and over! I don’t deserve this. I am an artist. I can’t deal with it!
Mary: There is no justice.
Barry: There is no justice! I must lose myself in my art to survive. That is why I stay here in this lonely garret. Oh! Madness! Madness! (Quietly) Excuse me, Sheriff Roberts. I want to be alone. (Window slams shut.)
Bob: Good grief. Both of ‘em’s loons. What’s a garret, anyway?
Barry: (Window snaps open) Just keep her away from the flamingo glass. She’s always after the flamingo glass when she’s like this. (Window slams shut.)
Bob: (Shaking his head.) Don’t really blame her for wantin’ to smash that. Them bird’s’re the ugliest things I ever seen.
Mary: No, no. They are beautiful and powerful. My mama told me they will keep me safe. My mama told me to stay inside the glass flamingo walls.
Buena: What are you talking about, Mary? You’re mama told you that?
Mary: Yes. Don’t you remember? Oh, you weren’t here, were you? When I was a little girl, my mama had to leave. She had to leave with the accountant who had the proper numerology numbers. She told me, “now you stay behind the glass screen until your daddy comes back. You’ll be safe here. Stay behind the glass flamingos and you’ll be safe.”
Buena: How old were you, Mary?
Mary: Oh, I’m not sure. I don’t know. But I do remember that the candy counters in here were much taller then. The door handles were higher and the popcorn machine was so high, I could not reach the popcorn.
Buena: Oh, then you were just a little kid.
Bob: Can you imagine, just leavin’ your kid like that? No wonder she’s such a nutcase. Her mama must have been loony, too.
Mary: She just went out the door and I am to stay behind the flamingos. Safe behind the flamingos.
(Enter Brother Imright who listens to the next lines.)
Buena: Oh, you poor thing. This may require some professional help. You need some serious counseling. I know this great psychic over in Metroville. I’ll give her a call and get you an appointment. She’s really booked, but I can get you in since I’m a regular.
Bob: Aw, she don’t need no hocus-pocus psychic-shmychic! What she needs is a good wallop on the butt! And maybe some jail time. Mary, you gotta learn right from wrong!
Buena: What Mary needs is some loving kindness and understanding. She needs to discover and heal that inner woman that is her true self. Get her hair done. And maybe get something new to wear to help her self-esteem. And something pretty in her environment. This is the ugliest lobby I’ve ever seen! Everyone needs some beauty around them to soothe the soul. But everything is either black or white with you, isn’t it, Bob? No gray. No room for personal development.
Bob: She looks developed okay to me. Just get over it and get on with things! That’s what I say. Can’t live your life in the past! You do what’s right – that’s how you live your life. You don’t go around bustin’ stuff up and breakin’ the law.
Brother: (Loud) Oh, my brother and sisters. I can tell you what this lost sister needs. She needs the powerful hand of the Lord.
Bob: (startled, overlapping Buena) Oh, for pete’s sake! What’re you doin’ here?
Buena: (jumps, overlapping Bob) Oh, good lord! I didn’t hear anyone come in.
Brother: Good Lord is correct, my sister. I knew I was being sent here for a purpose. The Lord said to me, “Imright, go to the Star Theater. You are needed there.”
Bob: What the hell are you talkin’ about, Imright. Who sent you?
Brother: Why the Voice of God! I was in my prayer chapel and I heard the voice saying to me, “go to the Star Theater. Someone needs you there.” And, glory, when I arrive I find you all troubled over this young woman.
Bob: Oh, nobody told you nothin’, Imright. For pete’s sake!
Buena: Who are you, anyway?
Bob: You don’t know Brother Imright Anyurnaught? He’s got that big church out south of town.
Buena: Oh, yeah. I’ve seen it.
Brother: That is where my flock gathers, my sister. That is where the faithful meet and greet. And what is your name and why have I not seen you in my congregation?
Buena: Buena. Buena Vista. And you haven’t seen me because I haven’t been there.
Brother: Oh, pity. I’ll talk to the Lord about you.
Brother: Now, I heard what you were saying to this young woman. What troubles this poor soul? (Indicates Mary)
Bob: Well, not that it’s any of your concern, but she has this compulsion for breaking glass. We don’t know why. She just broke out the front picture window down at the Chevy dealership.
Brother: Oh, my brothers and sisters, the devil does his work in many mysterious ways. Obviously this poor soul is possessed. Possessed by the devil. That is why I was sent here. To cast the devil out of this woman! And what is your name, sister?
Mary: Mary Moore. My name is Mary Moore.
Brother: Now, Mary . . come over here . .
Brother: Mary. Mary Moore, come over here to me. (she crosses to him.) Now . . Mary Moore, I want you to just close your eyes. I want you to just close your eyes. Do you see the devil?
Mary: (confused) Well, . . . no . . . my eyes are closed . . .
Brother: Yes, but look inside you. Look down deep in your heart. There is the devil. Down there deep!
Brother: Yes, deep in your heart. Now you just look the devil right in eye . .
(Mary opens her eyes and looks at Imright.)
Brother: No, now close your eyes and look at that devil that’s in your heart, look at him right in his terrible eyes and you just say, “out devil!”
Mary: But I can’t see . . .my eyes are closed. . .
Brother: You just say, sister, you just say, “out devil!”
Mary: (softly and confused) Out devil.
Brother: Good! Again, just take up your power, take up your power, and say, “out devil.”
Mary: Out devil.
Brother: Good! Good! Now louder! Really mean it! Out devil!
Mary: (little louder) Out devil!
Brother: Good! Again! Out devil!
Mary: Out devil!
Mary: Out devil! Out devil!
Brother: (Brother Imright puts one hand on Mary’s shoulder and then hits her forehead with the palm of his hand and says, ) HEAL!
(Mary falls backward onto the floor – he has pushed her down.)
Buena: Hey wait. What are you doing?
Bob: Hold on there, Imright! No need to knock her over!
(They run to Mary and begin to help her up.)
Buena: You all right, baby?
Bob: Nothin’ broken or nothin’, is there?
Mary: He pushed me over!
Brother: You are now healed, my sister. The devil has been forced to run in fear from your body! You are now free. Free! Go now, sister, and break no more.
Buena: Come on, honey. Let’s go sit down.
Bob: What the heck are you doin’ here, anyway, Imright? I don’t believe that God tapped you on the shoulder, told you to come over here to the Star Theater and poke Mary in the head so hard she falls down.
Brother: No, that was just a miraculous hand of God timing thing. Isn’t it wonderful?! My earthly reason for coming is business with Brother Barry Moore. This healing was just a blessed miracle provided by God through me. I am planning a large meeting of the saved and the not-so-saved. I am planning the mother of all revivals. I am looking for advice from the great promoter of art and the planner of things theatrical, Brother Barry Moore.
Bob: (goes over and knocks on Barry’s window) Barry! Barry! (window opens) Someone’s here to see you. It’s Brother Imright Anyurnaught from over at the Church of the Righteous.
Barry: Does he want money? If he wants money, tell him I’m not here.
Bob: No, I don’t think so. I think he wants advice on some show he’s puttin’ on.
Brother: No, no. Not a show, Sheriff. Not merely a show. It’s a spiritual revival. A spiritual extravaganza.
Barry: Of course, of course. Wonderful. A show. Wonderful. An extravaganza! Send him up! Yes, I’m your man! Ah, yes, a show . . . (window closes).
Bob: Just go right up that way, Imright. Barry’s office is at the top of the stairs.
Buena: You’re not hurt, are you Mary?
Mary: No. Not hurt. Why does that man think there’s something inside me? Something bad?
Buena: Well, I’m not sure, honey. People have funny ideas about things sometimes. Want something to drink?
Mary: Yes, that would be nice. I’ll have a large diet coke. The cups are right there under the counter.
(Mary picks up something glass left on the table. She looks at it.)
Bob: Hey, Buena, I could use something to drink, too. How about a little Dr. Pepper for me. Think I could have some popcorn, too. Man, it smells so good. You know, I just smell that stuff and I just gotta have some.
(Suddenly Mary smashes the glass onto the floor then faints into the chair.)
Curse of the Flamingos
Act II, Scene One
(Lights come up creating a weird, spooky effect in bedroom. Mary Moore is asleep right where she was seated in the previous scene. Lullaby music begins softly.)
(Buena enters on tiptoe)
Buena: Mary….Mary Moore…it’s time to join the party, Mary.
(Barry enters quietly.)
Barry: Mary Moore. Mary Moore. It’s time. It’s certainly time.
Sheriff Bob: Come on, now, Mary. It’s time. It is time.
Imright: Sister Mary Moore. Come now. It’s time.
Buena: Time is running out.
Barry: Time is marching on.
Sheriff Bob: It’s past time.
Imright: Time to think about eternity.
(They begin to circle around her.)
Buena: Time for your life to begin.
Barry: You may be Out of Time.
Sheriff Bob: You’re wasting time.
Imright: It’s time to think about your life.
Buena: Time to think about what you really want out of life.
Barry: Time to think about your career.
Sheriff Bob: Time to do right.
Imright: Time to think of your soul.
(They get closer to her and begin to rouse her and get her to her feet. Lullaby music takes an odd turn.)
Buena: Don’t you want beautiful things?
Barry: Don’t you want to be surrounded by art?
Sheriff Bob: Don’t you want to be good?
Imright: Don’t you want to be saved?
Buena: Come to our party, Mary.
Barry: Come see what you can do, Mary Moore.
Sheriff Bob: Come be part of the community.
Imright: Come and be saved.
(They lead her to a long table elaborately set and decorated. The table is enclosed in a fence. They must go through the gate and then close the gate once she is inside. She sits at the table during this next part.)
Mary: But, wait….
Sheriff Bob: Nope, no waiting.
Buena: Look! Look at all these beautiful things!
(They begin a chant of “It’s time, It’s time” under the rest of the scene.)
Barry: To be or not to be, that is the question for you. Don’t you want to be?
Imright: Look to the heavens! Look for the salvation!
(They circle her and the table. Music starts getting really weird and loud.)
(Image comes up of a beautiful room full of beautiful, elaborate decorations.)
Buena: You can have beautiful things and lots of money. Let me help you. Let me help you. I know you can do it. I know you will love it. I love it so you will, too. Lovely home décor and more.
(Suddenly image turns to hoarders room.)
Mary: Oh, I don’t know. I….
Barry: Don’t be like your mother. She left. She left me. She left our life. She left with the accountant. There is no justice. My lonely garret.
(Image of people applauding comes up. All begin applauding.)
Barry: Let us be successful. Help me be successful. I know you will love the life because I do. The life in the arts is a beautiful thing. The adulation. The applause. Oh, you will see! Applause is so addictive! You’ll see.
Mary: But, Daddy. What if…
(Applause stops. Image of empty theater or front of theater with Closed sign on it.)
Mary: Oh, no, Daddy. I don’t know what to do.
Sheriff Bob: Now, just do right and people will like you. Do right and you can get along. A little tough love.
(Image of happy people in a park or something pleasant.)
Sheriff Bob: Now, I don’t want to have to put you in jail because you acted bad. Just straighten up and do right.
(Image of jail cell)
Imright: Now, my sister, now is the time. Now is the time to devote your life to the church. I know the way. Just follow me
(Image of stained glass window.)
Imright: Listen to the Voice of God. Listen to me. Just follow me. And that will be the right way.
(Suddenly Flamingo appears.)
Flamingo: Oh, no! What to do. What to do? What’s the right choice?
(Suddenly Larry appears.)
Larry: Mary!! Mary! Snap out of it!
Flamingo: Which way? Which way? I don’t think we can do any of them. Not smart enough. Oh, my. Oh, Oh….
Larry: Mary! I don’t think any of these is right.
Buena, Barry, Bob, Imright: Just follow me and that will be the right way. Just follow me and that will be the right way. (They keep chanting.)
Mary: Wait! Wait!
(Mary picks up something from the table and aims at the stained glass window.)
Larry: Do it! Do it, Mary!
Flamingo: But what if we get in trouble? Oh, no….
Larry: Do it!
Mary: No! Everyone! Quiet!
(She throws it at the stained glass window. It shatters.)