The Persons of the Play Gerry Joyce- Pilot- Antonino Petralia- Colonel Seamus Cucuzza- Narrator- Police Officer 1- Police Officer 2- Bookstore Owner- Fortunata the Fortune Teller- Vendor- Police Sergeant- Finnegan- The Scenes of the Play Act I- Open field and forest outside Rome Act II- Bakery on the outskirts of the city of Rome Act III-Bookstore and Fortunata’s Act IV- Jail and home ACT I (Scene: As the curtain is drawn, an army plane is at center stage with its propeller in motion. There is tall, scrawny man with horn-rimmed spectacles, a walking stick and a suit smiling from stage left. He looks on as though he has seen this play hundreds of times. This man is the narrator. He is dressed in a 1940’s style suit. There are ten soldiers on board the plane who are visibly nervous. Each soldier is connected to another by straps coming from a parachute.One soldier is fast asleep. The co-pilot nods to the pilot in a gesture that they have reached their destination.)Pilot: (screaming over the noise of the engine) Okay boys, its time to go. Move, Move, Move! (The sleeping soldier awakens with shock and the pairs begin to jump from the plane.) Colonel Cucuzza: (to the pilot) Goodbye, Jim. I hope to be seeing you soon. Geronimo! Narrator: (humorously) Well, hello there! How nice of you to join me. My name is Nar Rator; otherwise known as the narrator. What you have here is World War II. Nothing special you say? Well, the story I bring you today is far from nothing special (begins pacing the stage). It is actually something very special… or kind of special…or maybe it’s not special at all. It all depends on your perspective. Let me begin by telling you about that sleeping soldier. You know, the short muscular one with the shaved blond head. The one with the baby face and the chubby cheeks… yeah him. His name is Gerry Joyce. He is taking part in the allied invasion of the surrounding area of Rome in 1944. Gerry Joyce was born in 1989. Strange, eh? Have a look for yourself. (The narrator exits stage left as the last pair of men land and the plane goes off stage right.) Joyce: (terrified) Wh.. Wh.. What’s going on here? Where am I? What am I doing? Who are you? (A man nearly twice the height and weight of Gerry turns to answer. Both of his arms are completely sleeved in tattoos and he wears a bundle of nearly twenty chains around his neck. His face is deeply scarred from acne sustained as a teenager.) Petralia: What did you hit your head on the way down or something Gerry? What are you talking about man? Joyce: You… you know my name? (begins to back away from Petralia quickly) How do I get out of here?(in a panic) I was home on my bed just a second ago reading Catch-22. It’s a book about World War II. (Joyce suddenly spots a picture of Rosie the Riveter* on a backpack) World War II happened over 60 years ago. This cannot be happening. Oh I know. (with a smile) I’m dreaming. This is all a dream. Ha, ha, ha! For a second I thought… (suddenly a bullet whizzes by Gerry’s ear and out of terror, he collapses to the ground. Petralia grabs Gerry and throws him over his shoulder and begins running to safety with the rest of the men. The men are under constant, heavy fire as they move.) Petralia: (while running with Gerry on his shoulder) Man, I don’t know what has gotten into you. What kind of drugs you have been doing talking about a book called Catch-22? Joyce: How could you not have heard of Catch-22. It’s only one of the best selling books of all time. Petralia: What in the name of all that is good is World War II? Is that what they’re calling this?
*Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon of the United States, representing the six million women who worked in the manufacturing plants which produced munitions and material during World War II while the men (who traditionally performed this work) were fighting in the Pacific Joyce: (frustrated and pounding his fists on Petralia’s back) This? This? What is this? Petralia: (out of breath) This war! This is war Gerry! Have you lost your mind? I’m getting Colonel Cucuzza to talk some sense into you. I don’t really want to get you in trouble but there is only so much I can take. Joyce: Colonel Cucuzza? Who is he? (Petralia drops Gerry outside of the forest where the men stop. Petralia leaves momentarily, whispers a few things to Colonel Cucuzza and returns with him The other soldiers are sitting outside this forest and have set up camp. Some are eating, some are smoking and some are writing letters). Cucuzza is a well groomed gentlemen in his late 50’s with short grey hair, a permanent frown on his face and concentrated eyebrows and eyes. Cucuzza is fierce looking and approaches Gerry with his eyes nearly bulging out of his head.) Colonel Cucuzza: Joyce! Joyce: Oh, great! Maybe you can answer some of my que… Colonel Cucuzza: Shut up Joyce! Shut up! I don’t want any of your nonsense. What is this rambling you have been doing? Joyce: Well, Mr… uh whatever your name is. Colonel Cucuzza: Sir! You refer to me as sir! Maybe I will have to knock some sense into you. Or maybe I will just have to knock you out of this division. Joyce: No, sir you don’t understand. Colonel Cucuzza: What? What don’t I understand? Joyce: I’m not supposed to be here. I’m from the year 2007. Colonel Cucuzza: Ahahahahahah! (the rest of the men laugh along with the Colonel). Oh Gerry, you really know how to give me a good laugh at the end of a rough day. Joyce- No, sir you don’t understand. I have no idea who any of you people are. I’ve never seen or herd of any of you before. This must be a dream. (Cucuzza takes his canteen of water and sprays it in Gerry’s face. The men continue to laugh. Gerry laughs along with them but it only further infuriates Cucuzza) Colonel Cucuzza: Now does it seem like a dream to you boy? Joyce: No sir, it doesn’t seem like a dream but I’m not from this time. Colonel Cucuzza: Yes, I see that you are from a different time right now. Your mental clock is a bit slow and you need to be wound forward (at this, Cucuzza begins to shake Joyce’s head. Joyce pushes Cucuzza away and begins shouting as each officer stares on in curiosity). Joyce: But sir, I come from a time with I-pods and blackberry’s and TIVO. Bush is our president. (Cucuzza turns to the men and laughs. They laugh heartily with him.) Colonel Cucuzza: Yeah sure ahahah! (mockingly) I-pods and E-cods and blueberries and strawberries and you expect me to believe that an actual bush is your president. Joyce: Sir please one of you must understand (paces between the soldiers). I already know the outcome of this war. We… Colonel Cucuzza: (in a fit of rage))That’s enough from you Joyce. I don’t need men under my command who behave in this manner. I don’t know what has gotten into you, but you are dismissed! Leave this area immediately. I do not want you in the presence of my sane men. You may infect them! Just to think, after all these months of service from you without any problems, this happens. This is absurd! Get out of my sight you… you loon! (Cucuzza gives Joyce a shove to get him started on his way. The narrator returns from stage right.) Narrator: So there he goes, the poor kid. He is venturing out on his own in a forest outside of Rome 62 years ago. He is a brilliant young man, yet just like any other human being, he has no idea how to handle this situation. Gerry is also a determined individual. He decided the first night he spent in that forest (darkness falls on the forest as Gerry is walking) that he would survive and find his way out of this mess. So Gerry wandered alone for 3 days (Gerry continues walking up and downstage but his walk slowly turns into a crawl until he finally collapses). When he was just about to give up the battle with starvation, he noticed lights in the distance and began running toward them. It was Rome! He would live! ACT II Narrator: Hey there! So, where was I? (looks over to Gerry) Oh that’s right, Rome. Gerry approached Rome and the first building he saw was a bakery. He was too hungry to wait for it to open so he smashed the windows and went inside and began eating everything in sight. Gerry ate loaves of bread and pies and cakes and cookies. He ripped the bakery to shreds. Tables were overturned and he knocked flour everywhere. When he was just about full, he walked out of the store and saw the Italian police force he had read about so many times in his books. (2 officers approach Gerry) Police Officer 1- Che cosa sono voi che fate il theif? (What are you doing thief?) Police Officer 2-Siete sotto l'arresto! (You are under arrest!) (Suddenly, a crashing noise is herd at the back of the bakery. Antonino Petralia rolls out of the front door.) Petralia: Me li prenda sciocchi. Sono il vostro thief! (Take me you fools. I am your thief!) (Both Gerry and the police officers stand completely still, awe-struck by Petralia’s arrival and entrance. The police finally make a dash toward Petralia and put him in cuffs. As he is being escorted away, he turns to Gerry and smiles. ) I spoke to Finnegan. Don’t worry you will be okay. You will get back to your time. I’ll be out of jail soon, don’t worry about me. I had to take this wrap for you so you could find your answers! Joyce: (yelling; as the distance between the two becomes greater) Answers? What answers? Petralia: They’re in that book you were telling me about. Oh what is it called? The Catcher in the Rye I think? Narrator: Here, Gerry laughed for the first time in days. He still had no clue as to what was happening but he knew he had a friend in Petralia. Gerry obviously knew Petralia was referring to Catch-22. Gerry fell asleep that night on a stack of hay outside the mistreated bakery. ACT III (Gerry awakens to a man’s face inches away from his own. The man was no larger than five feet tall. He was bald but had a large, thick mustache that looked similar to a skunk’s tail. He pulls up Gerry and brings him into his store, a bookstore next to the bakery. Gerry wanders around the store aimlessly and finds an Italian version of Catch-22 he picks it up, and begins to breakdown and cry.) Bookstore owner- Non gridi! Non gridi! Non gridi! Come posso aiutare? (Don’t cry! Don’t cry! Don’t cry! How can I help?) Joyce- I’m sorry sir I don’t speak Italian. Bookstore owner- Conosco qualche inglese... Penso? (I know some English… I think?) Joyce- But I just wish I could go home. Where am I? What happened to my life? Oh sir I wish you could understand me! Bookstore owner: You want home? (the bookstore owner hugs Gerry as he begins to slam Catch-22 against his own head. The bookstore owner then points out a psychic reader across the street and makes gestures that Gerry should visit.) Narrator- Gerry was well aware that a psychic would not do him much good if he didn’t understand what he or she was saying, (that’s like going to school in France if you don’t speak French) but like I said before, Gerry was determined. He was willing to do anything to find Petralia or Finnegan (aside) (whoever that was he had no idea). So Gerry walked into the building that looked more like a shack and came across a sign which said “Fortunata the Fortune Teller.” As he walked in, a raggedy old witchlike woman grabbed him by both wrists and continued repeating to him… Fortunata the Fortune Teller- Siete in un periodo che non è i vostri propri. Dovete tuffarsi nel libro. (you are in a time which is not your own. You must dive into the book.) Joyce- Senora, I have no idea what that means but I must find out. I know it means something important. Fortunata the Fortune Teller- Siete in un periodo che non è i vostri propri. Dovete tuffarsi nel libro. (you are in a time which is not your own. You must dive into the book.) Joyce-Right, right! Siete in un periodo che non è i vostri propri. Dovete tuffarsi nel libro! Siete in un periodo che non è i vostri propri. Dovete tuffarsi nel libro! Narrator- Because Fortunata ran away from him, Gerry went on his determined way out of the shack and toward someone who could translate but he ran into one problem: a vendor. Gerry got the Italian he was supposed to remember confused with the vendor’s advertising. Vendor-(singing)) Torte della frutta, torte della carne, mele, spuntini e torte. Torte della frutta, torte della carne, mele, spuntini e torte. (fruit pies, meat pies, apples, snacks and cakes). Joyce- No, no, no! Siete in un periodo che… um… torte? No, no be quiet! Vendor- Torte della frutta, torte della carne, mele, spuntini e torte. (fruit pies, meat pies, apples, snacks and cakes). Narrator- Gerry became so livid that he tipped over the vendor’s cart. He thought his last spurt of hope was extinguished by forgetting the phrase. He broke the vendor’s cart to pieces just as the same two officers who arrested Petralia rode up behind him on horseback and brought him to jail.Joyce- Oh, not you guys again. Police Officer 1- Siete sotto l'arresto! (You are under arrest!) ACT IV Narrator- So they brought Gerry to jail. There were two dark, dingy cells that looked like caves. They were both ten feet by ten feet but one had twenty men inside and the other only had one. Police Sergeant- Alright it’s your pick buddy cell one or cell two. Joyce- Um…one Police Sergeant- I know you think the answer is obvious but first let me tip you off about the character whose all by his lonesome. Nine prisoners that we’ve left with him have disappeared over the years and we can’t get him to say a word as to what has happened. Joyce- I think I’ll take cell two. Police Sergeant- (to other officer) Ey, are you going to bring Finnegan his dinner? Joyce- Actually, I’ll take cell one. I always liked challenges. Police Sergeant- Godspeed, my boy. Narrator- Hey, yes I’m still here. So Gerry went into the cell with Finnegan. Here is where it really gets interesting. Finnegan- Hey.. uh don’t tell me… Gerry right? Joyce- Yes but do you know Petralia? You have to get me back! Why am I here? Finnegan- Easy kid, easy you’re going back. Listen… wait what book were you reading? Joyce- Catch-22 Finnegan- Ah, good old Catch-22. I’ll be right with you kid. (with this, Finnegan pulls out a bookshelf from under his bed containing titles such as The Great Gatsby, Brave New World, The Grapes of Wrath, 1984, The Way of All Flesh, I, Claudius and finally, Catch-22.) Listen kid, I’m sorry to tell you this but everything that has happened to you over the last couple of days has been a dream. Sometimes when a person loves a certain time period in history so much and is so dedicated to the study of it, the heart and mind working together can bring that person there. If the person truly loves that period in history, they will be content remaining there. You are just lucky that there are people like me traveling around time that help you guys get back to where you belong. Joyce-But wait how… (Finnegan presses Catch-22 to Gerry’s heart and the stage goes black.) (the curtain closes but then re-opens to the scene of a bedroom in a 21st century house) Narrator- So Finnegan transported Gerry back and he woke up on his bed. Everything was back to normal. Well, almost everything until Gerry herd his toilet flush. Joyce- Mom? Hey whose there? Colonel Cucuzza: (sprays his canteen full of water in Gerry’s face) Still dreaming Joyce? Ahahaha! .
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