north america (a play)

north america
a play
by John Lowther

is variable. each line must be interpretted as stage direction of some broad sort and/or assigned to a character as dialogue, continuation of dialogue (monologue), simultaneity or some combination of these. periods in the text signal some change. the north america may be broken into any number of scenes and played in whatever sequence or performed straight through. 
 the CHARACTERS are 
flowerpots/he.  (this is an either/or whoever term, nothing more)persontelevisionand optionally. any number of business peoplea narrator or two.
should reflect what has been decided with the interpretation of north america dialogue assignments stage directions etc. an audio version could eschew everything but the text. any staged version might wish to consider having places to sit. some amount of wall to plug a cord into. a lamp. trashcan full of balled up pieces of paper to be used as needed. and whatever else is desired. costumes should be reasonably distinct for all characters except the business people who should all wear business attire, carry briefcases and walk briskly to and fro. narrator could go either way. use of and number of props is left to the participants or anyone functioning as a director.


empty but for a flower in a flowerpot. a wire plugged into the wall. lighting is even and bland.

business people walking. business person stopping. looking around furtively putting its cigar out in flowerpot.

making the sound of horses hooves. fast then slower. stumbling.

hey i’m home what’s the kitchen all about night night.

silence is static.

this is everyday. s/he comes home like this every gesture suddenly off. you realize s/he’s blind. missing a hook.

a trashcan bounces into the room spilling pieces of paper. all balled up.

s/he picks up one and reads it.

person picks one up and reads it.

the television parks near a lone balled up page and is quietly parked. 


picking the coat up off the floor.

all i ever do around here is picking the coat up off the floor.

that’s because you never bring me oranges.

sighs eternally.

light rains down on flowerpot.

what is this.

something slow happens here. then repeats a few more times always stopping the action of all but any business people.

television rides into attention.

everyone crowd around as the news enters the barn.

their stripped uniforms returned as a taunt. referring to wrappers. send more tamales.

person waters flowerpot is shocked. falls down. isnt noticed.

yes. yes. everyone gather around as the commercial enters. lovely. lovely. 

buy. buy. one night only you can just be you. neither part this nor part... 


s/he notices person then drags person off. 

flower pot begins to ruminate in a whisper.

i don’t remember. there was. there was. the water and then. and then...

sound of many people pouring water into different pans. boxes. etc. lasts for a whole minute. 

...invents a curious sheet-metal clothing scrubber that automatically releases soap.

this passes for history.

making screeching tires as if two cars racing. 

one desperate and the other angry. 


look at me. lookie. lookie.

looks away.

what else is there to do around here anyway.

person approaches the plug in the wall with trepidation. rehearses. pulls out the plug with one fluid motion.

whispering turns to shouting.

i have a sense of place don’t i.

don’t i.

don’t i have a sense of place. they’re all talking like i fell out of the sky or something and that’s crazy. what do you think. you fucking people think i grew from a seed of something. a seed from outerspace probably.

i don’t feel like myself today.

don’t look like it either.

maybe a photograph could be compared to... ah... something...


...to see whether. the ah... the...

...ah... what should i even call it.

you know it as well as i do. the circle of who know what the hell we're talking about extends infinitely or at least some number of miles outside the beach as all ours no mistaking it.

or mine.

or mine.

yes. yes. yes. big voice. big. you can see yourself in this. strutting mirrors. flashing hair care.

show me that you want me.


more lardosis. poke that butt like a baboon bitch. you submit. you want it.

yr so vain. you probably think this play is about you.

africa. baboons are from africa. i thought...

we're all from africa.


continues primping.

feigned indifference.

but we all know the truth now don’t we.

s/he sighs exasperatedly.

does no one do the talking but me. am i now no one. are my hopes and picket fences all trash dreams picked over because some land fillers loved it and left it first and had estates tore up and country clubs too against it. all that is like me.

the lucky leaf lands on a labrador. axle fields. a new found land.

expansive gesture.

kelly green blazer clashes with person.

so we hide a couple of forty fives in an inner tube and wait.

some business people gather round and smirk. their phones ring in unison. they bolt for the wings.

s/he gasps.

wait a minute. i know how this all goes. it’s like . . .


..it’s like when we grew up for pizza. if you didn’t mill a slice while it was in season you stood in the corner uphill carrying wood all day to a depression you wasn't invited to.

sousa march.


what do you mean.

just maybe. that’s all.

maybe there is a pitch going on here somewhere. 

isn’t that how it usually works.

business people begin walking thru smoking cigars and mumbling on phones and looking at their watches and straightening their ties. the stage is crowded with them.

s/he coughs loudly and coughs again even more emphatically.

person looks pointedly away and then at its nails.

i wd like to suggest that a sense of purpose shudders inside every briefcase passing by. but what do we have.

television searches it’s hands.

flower pot does nothing.

person and s/he pull sad faces and hold out empty hands.

is that all.

these are yr lucky lotto numbers for...


there was a time when i thought the sky was beautiful. now i think it’s waiting for something and not much expecting it anymore. in truth i think it’s doubtful.

i feel as if we don’t really know each other.

or ourselves.

tell me the history of the word.

shut up.

it started with a lot of things smashing into each other and then . . .

shut up and close the window.

what window.

a window is closed.

a business person walks by and see’s the flower pot. slows down. looks around and yanks the flower up by the roots and sticks it in its lapel.

whose lapel could that be.

s/he sits down with a sigh.

person sits down with a grunt.

this will never turn into a cult classic like the rocky horror picture show.

well. that movie wasn’t scary at all.

something that had happened very slowly now happens pretty fast but the business people walk by as if in slow motion.

it’s hard to picture.a.horror. musical.

s/he and person scream melodiously and then begin to laugh ending with humming be-bop lines for a few seconds.

shut up.

everybody but me gets to play games and it’s not fair.


everybody but me has those things that everybody but me has got.

i don’t think there is any need to make comparisons of this sort. it’s unproductive. plus it always makes somebody like me feel like they don’t measure up somehow.

the always. is curious. is it not.

this place is a hell hole. I'm coming back to take out all the guards and let everybody run free.

gun shot.

ow. i shot myself in the foot.

you shot yourself in the foot.

my foot.

i sh-sh-shot it in my foot i'm b- b- b-... 

i think you’ll live.

this sort of idiocy all day long. the bullet simply fell out of the gun. it was simple. just. nothing more.

the scales are drawn.

don’t take that tone. this is serious.

i. i shot myself in the foot. and made up all the answers. i basically just filled in the blanks. fuck if i didn’t just make designs with it. why not. what’s it going to matter in the incontinental schematic. 

you're home free down the drain.

would someone plug that back in.

thank you.

s/he and person stand around the flowerpot warming their hands.

a business person rushing by throws change down in its wake.

television down front.

recent information again stirs up rumors that the u.s. moon landing was faked.

i can’t breathe.

something stuck in the throat.

water is poured.

person picks up several balls of paper from the trashcan. starts juggling. immediately loses control. hangs on to one ball. unrolls it and reads it. loud. soft.

s/he is mumbling and kicks the television.


did someone shoot their foot again. someone else perhaps. i know the meaning of this action better than most people get off ramps.

there was a time when i thought the sky was very far away.

something is stuck in my throat.

something stuck in the throat.

what do you want to do.

everyone leaves but flowerpot.

business people walk briskly.

nothing happens.

nothing happen. flowerpot sighs.

laughing business people walking by.

i hate to be so self absorbed but...

...it seems the world is made of bricks... 

...we know the truth now don’t we...

...the moon walks... 

the discovery of north america is now being cast in doubt scientists say.

listen to this.

what is it.

scientists say.

shut up. can’t you shut up. could you pretty please with sprinkles on it shut up.

i’m just trying to educa...

i used to think that the moment just before columbus landed on the moon was the most real but then i saw those very same indians in other movies set hundreds of years later.

as of march first. no more jobs. period.

nothing surprises me anymore.

yr a fucking houseplant. how would we know if you were surprised. or laughing. or in. the mood for love. it’s a wonder we’re even able to converse.

i’m just saying.

it always degenerates like this but does it have to. can’t we all be civil to one another.

two business people stopping. shaking hands. going stiff as if shocked. crumpling. falling. as dead.

well look at that.

i’m hungry.

me too. 

very hungry.

so ravenous i could eat the rich.

a suggestion of strange appetites.

s/he and person each take a business person by an extremity and drag them off stage. 

out of sight come screams.

what the fuck was that?

i have a crack.

no. we know. all we all we need to.

no. you don’t understand. i have a left crack. i’m gonna split in two. i'll get everything wet.

salt water taffy is tough. like marble. to advertise. and that’s why you need this. yes. yes. buy some.

flashing hair care.

but what if it’s true.

makes sounds of car tires squealing round curves and engines revving and changing gears.

oh god.

oh my god.

oh my.

it only seems dangerous because we see it on television. if you were doing that it would be perfectly natural. like belching. like falling on a new world.

but what if it’s true.

what do you mean. what if.

so you believe it then.

now and then. why do you ask such stupid questions.

no question is stupid if it’s asked sincerely. and it does no good telling a long suffereing petitioner ‘that doesn’t make any sense either.’

right. next you’ll be telling us all how insensate or insoluble or something it is to leave the moon to the indians. but i say nay. and horses love me kicking up dust. galloping thru the air. what there is of it there. 

then why do you have to wear a mask.

yeah. and why do you just sit there.

in march as in june.

every few seconds a business person dashing across. often colliding with s/he or person. or tripping on cord. never bumping television which as this is going on turns to face flowerpot.

i can wear the mask for you. don’t worry. 

just imagine that i am you and then you can sit there and sit.

one seems to offer an endless variety while the other gives me a more obscure pleasure.

flowerpot. dirt yields obscure pleasure.

where is the flower in whose lapel.

don’t say whose.

very well then. there is a flower. in that lapel.

that lapel.

how to describe an obscure pleasure. well. you surely know the eiffel tower fell down. it was in all the papers. on every channel. i’ve never seen it but i feel bad. a sort of dismay. obscurely. so you could figure it out from there. surely. 

let’s pretend that i believe you. and that i understand your comparison. ok. now let me ask you as i didn’t see the news. why did it fall down.

plate techtonics. california fell into the ocean.

oh. my crack.

california fell into the ocean and so the eiffel tower fell down too.

disneyland. a place i'll never see.

that’s probably for the best. you look a little pale. i think maybe you could use a bit of sun.

i used to think that the sun was indifferent to us. now won’t leave me alone.

the crack of dawn.

a flowerpot. a wire plugged into the wall. hums.

hey what’s that.

my country tis of thee.


business people walking and snarling at each other in passing. 

soon i’ll just have to leave and go to work. all this will just start all over.

you have the wrong attitude.

something slow happens.

i’m gone. what’s the bathroom all about morny morning.

accidentally kick the trashcan. balled up pages fly out.  

s/he picks up one and reads it. silently. begins to weep. throws it aside.

person picks up the discarded page and reads it. 

how did person know to fall down when it got shocked.

all anyone ever does is falling down. or dead.

part street fighter part social climber. with big buckets for your ass. 

you deserve your ass.

that. what is that.

it’s a spaceship made of buffalo skins and timber. you can fly it off to anywhere and unfold it again.

business people looking at it and then using their phones quietly.

person waters flowerpot. 

yes. yes. 

i needed that so very much. but i was of two minds about asking.

one co-dependant and the other misanthropic. 

everyone looks away. then back again.

all business people scattering frantic.

but we all know the truth now don’t we.

person yells. 

alright then.

wait a minute. calm down. i know how this goes. over and over it's like. . .

is that all.

what. that isn’t enough.


there was a time when i thought i felt something. 

or a few things.

now i eat when the alarm says so. i wake when the wires hum. i look out there but fuck if i get the view anymore. just some stuff and the end lying at the edge of sight.

come on now. don’t let it get you. consider this. 

flowerpot. lays a hand on flowerpot.

something could grow here. fertile dirt. it just needs a little train that could.

shut up.

yes. yes. buy some. buy.

between the two of you i’m losing my mind and if i crack you know how bad it will be. you all depend on me whether you like to admit it or not. when i fall you all domino. i am the lynchpin. the big cheese.

the forty whateverth. 

through eastman. 

gonna bust.

makes the sound of automatic weapons fire.

business people coming out sneeze in unison. then hurrying off.

the little plague that brings total convenience. total amnesia.

to be shouted from a short rooftop.

something reverses.

the bright colored pigeon is easy to catch.

i know what you mean.

it’s moving all around us.


let’s say quiet shall we.    

you’ve toned it down. i know.

but in this rain.

is this rain.

sounds of rain.


and letters.

betters on the outcome wrapped up in me as a character.

that’s really rich...

...they think...

...that’s just really rich...

thoughts are written on faces.

look at me. i’m thinking about aunt polly’s mustashe.

look at me.

look at me.

everyone’s attention is attracted by nothing until they stare listlessly at the ground in front of them.

business people weaving thru fast and purposefully.

everyone talks to themselves. oblivious.

business people on tip toe dancing by.

i for one think none of you know how to listen.

nothing happens.

business person walking slowly across. coat thrown jaunty over shoulder.

i’ve written a book.

let me see it.


it has everything in it.

lampshade modern large light fixture. enough to write on. write on.

with faux brit oristacrat. props.

everyone looks around. even slow business person then looking confused startled almost in shifting light.

strand of melody in.

i feel as if there is hair stuck to me.

hate that feeling.

pretend opposites.

dances. i love dances.

the end of the fingertips. is there.

it’s covered with...

what is your book about.

quit. you maudlin bunch of oats. whilst i sing you a little song.

shut up in unison.

sound between channels like radio.

munitions and aftershave and nine ninety nine.

seated in chairs.

making car sounds vocally.

it hits a horse and wagon. not a good story pretty sight. 

land s/he cries. s/he cries some more.

everybody gets quiet. 

is it night.

business person stumbling.

another business person stumbling. 

person. flowerpot. and s/he. begin to hum long deep oh softly. it will build.

another business person stumbling into another and it stumbling too.


another business person stumbling. falling. more tripping over it. falling until all business people have fallen.

it’s tuesday.

it is getting dark in here.  and look.


i see it.

very dark for a tuesday.

s/he sees.

person picks up a balled up paper. s/he does too. they unroll and read them.

dazed business people get up singly and staggering off stage.

it seems we're closer now.

it’s what’s happened. we’d better get used to it.

call me.


call me when the theorems start to work out for you. but don’t for a minute imagine that i’ll just be sitting there waiting for your call. 

by the time you get to arizona i’ll have slept the whole thing off.  


a sharp wind has come up. do you think its safe to go out there. 

none of them assess the issues like you do.

the little voice that says. how will i ever take this anywhere. who will care or believe but me. is hope something for... 


flower pot.

one of my feet down deep has turned cold. but the other is cold too. but not as much..

could they be the same. ever.

why must you offer such utterances without taking a chance yourself. ever.

having money means having time. 

some of us have a price.

person lies down on the stage.

s/he sits nearby and looks at person.

it wasn’t always like this. it used to be different.

yes honey.

everything has gone to shit.

yes honey. yes. yes.

i can sell that. damn the downhill waiting for it. sue gravity. not me. 

what ever you say honey.

i’m sure they wouldn’t be in so much trouble if they weren’t.

you can sell with it but you can’t sell it.

but you can.

what curtain am i behind now. 

a puff of smoke.

but what makes bedfellows strange.

a business person cackling as it leaves the stage. cackling.

someone dull the tip of the pyramid please. 

it’s resting on my foot. 

your verses are light green. 

but they are also flaming red. 

how do you know when it’s done.

it blinks. 

all is lost if you don’t know the secret handshake.

make do.



get us out of north america.

i’m going to go home and pack right now but first i’m going to the mall.

the less we know the less we can reveal.


light changes.

comes back.

we’ve bombed somebody so the stores are stuffed with people. but i found these things. shows things. 

what do you plan to do with that.

well i don’t exactly know. here’s an idea. uses thing on a business person walking by. business person freezes.

let them get their own.

you’re right. 

whisks thing into a bag.

the most amazing things have been on television.

yes, yes. 

look at how things cling. how things cling to the screen here. 

it’s from the stagnant electricity.

there are puddles of it from here to the road that ruins around us all. 

i heard that the spot where the cherry tree was is underwater. 

we can all tell lies.

but i’m not telling a lie now.

yes, yes. can’t you see yourself in this. a plocket for every sug.

did you hear that.

fumbled a line.

or innuendo. it sells you know.

while on the stand today the defendant made the claim that pornography was the art form of the people. mixing rhetoric from small business boosterism sexual liberation and valorizing it as mostly a grassroots industry.

earlier there was a show that said riverboats were coming back.

the only north america there is.

from here to here it's just right but from there to there it's too much.

...said that everybody had to understand. 

stand under me.

...upon release from prison an unknown person knocked it unconscious and placed it on a spicy southern style railroad track. a train passing for revenge cut the informer in half.

i only watch the commercials.


i am all.


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