The Playwrights Forum Home 
The Playwrights Forum > The Art & Craft of Writing > Critique my Play > Yggdrasil

click here for details

 Moderated by: Paddy, Edd
New Topic Reply Printer Friendly
Yggdrasil  Rate Topic 
 Posted: Mon Aug 9th, 2010 07:22 pm
  PM Quote Reply
1st Post

Joined: Sun Jun 11th, 2006
Location: Cambridge, United Kingdom
Posts: 226
The stage is bare except for a table upon which are some vials and instruments that look suitably scientific. An unshaven man (ADAM) in a lab coat is asleep next to the desk. There is a crashing from offstage, as ADAM wakes up, KEVIN enters, looking bedraggled, covered in ash, scratches, and blood.

ADAM: You’re Back…

KEVIN ignores him, going straight to the desk and rummaging through the debris, he finds a flask and drinks from it

ADAM:… I said you’re back…

KEVIN: There are some things that you really don’t need to report to me… my whereabouts being one of them

ADAM: Did you get it?

KEVIN: It’s not what you think

ADAM: Did you get it though?

KEVIN: I need a drink… don’t you have anything real to drink?

ADAM: Is it here now? Can I see it?

KEVIN: Even if we got it, and I’m not saying we did, what on earth makes you think that you’d be the first one to see it?

ADAM: You must have got it… oh my god… I have to go and tell Evelyn… This is great news

KEVIN: I said it’s not what you think

ADAM: How can it… what are you talking about?

KEVIN: We didn’t find what we set out for… we got something else

ADAM: Something else?

KEVIN: It wasn’t easy, the world’s gone crazy out there

ADAM: Of course… that’s why this is so important, that’s why you had to get it

KEVIN: Well we didn’t get it

ADAM: Then what did you get?

KEVIN: Thirsty Adam, what I got, is thirsty

ADAM: Is it outside?

KEVIN: They won’t let you see it

ADAM: Why not? Why not me?

KEVIN: Needs to be checked… could be a forgery

ADAM: A forgery?

KEVIN: It happens… a forgery, or…

ADAM: Or what?

KEVIN: I don’t know… a trap… they’re all trying to get in here you know? It’s not safe at all, outside we…

ADAM: What?

KEVIN: It’s messy out there

ADAM: I’m going to tell Evelyn… there’s lots of work to be done

KEVIN: There’ll be plenty of time for that later…

ADAM: I’m going now…

KEVIN: It’s a waste of time

ADAM dashes out of the room. KEVIN sighs with exasperation and sits down on the floor

Fucking hell… What a mess

He lies back.
NICK enters, he sees KEVIN but doesn’t pay him much attention. He signals to somebody offstage and exits… he comes back pulling something heavy onstage with a length of rope. As it appears we see that it is an huge block of ice with the Queen frozen into the middle

NICK: Get up

KEVIN: Already?

NICK: There’s work to do

KEVIN: I thought there’d be tests… we’d have a break

NICK: Most of the scientists are busy, or dead… Where have those kids gone?

KEVIN: It might still be a fake

NICK: Well they’ll need to authenticate it

KEVIN: He’ll be disappointed… It’s not what he wanted

NICK: It’ll do

KEVIN: He wanted Lincoln

NICK: This is just as good… better even… How often do you get one fully preserved like this?

KEVIN: It’s a first for me

NICK: Exactly… This is better than that lawyer we found preserved in amber

KEVIN: The one that had eaten Berlusconi?

NICK: It’s getting crazy out there

KEVIN: I know. I’ve seen.

NICK: So you need to get them working on this right away…


NICK: Because there may not be many more like this out there

KEVIN: I’ll go and get them started

The stage falls into darkness.
When the lights come up ADAM and EVELYN are in the room, NICK and KEVIN are gone

EVELYN: I’m not sure how we’re supposed to tell

ADAM: One does look much like another…

EVELYN: Well there is only meant to be the one…

ADAM: Maybe she’ll have a drivers license in her purse?

EVELYN: She didn’t need one by law… got driven everywhere anyway

ADAM: They had a hell of a time getting it apparently

EVELYN: That’s what I heard too

ADAM: Hell of a time… that’s why Mr Banyan said we can’t fu… we can’t have any mistakes here

EVELYN: Well if it’s real it should be simple…

ADAM: If it’s real

EVELYN: But how do we tell if it’s real?

ADAM: I suppose… maybe if we bite it… a real one wouldn’t leave tooth marks?

EVELYN: … no… If we had one of her shoes

ADAM: A shoe?

EVELYN: We could see if it fits

ADAM: But how would we know the shoe was real?

EVELYN: Because only the Queen’s shoe would fit the Queen’s foot

ADAM: But how do we know it’s her foot

EVELYN: Only her foot would fit into her shoe

ADAM: It’d never work… we can’t send them out again, not for a shoe

EVELYN: No… it’d be different if they’d just found one… but we can’t expect them to make a special trip

ADAM: So we’ll have to work from pictures I suppose

EVELYN: The best anyone can do under the circumstances

ADAM: Do we have any pictures?

EVELYN: … Where would we have got them from?

ADAM: This is why I asked for Lincoln

EVELYN: You’ll need to talk to Mr Banyan

ADAM: Yes… He’ll have something, a pound or a Canadian dollar

EVELYN: If he did we wouldn’t be allowed to hold them

ADAM: Then what?

EVELYN: I heard he had a tattoo

ADAM: You mean?


ADAM: … it’s… it’s not the sort of science we used to do before…

EVELYN: No but we’ve got to make do

ADAM: desperate times…

EVELYN: So you’ll ask Mr Banyan

ADAM: Needs must

Lights down.
When they come back up ADAM and MR BANYAN are in the room. MR BANYAN has his trousers down and ADAM is examining a tattoo on his backside, studiously comparing it to the figure in the ice block

MR BANYAN: Well my boy

ADAM: There’s definitely a similarity

MR BANYAN: Good… good!

ADAM: Of course… it’s hard to be certain. But if it isn’t real… it’s an impressive fake

MR BANYAN: Well the company trusts your judgement son… We only employ the best

He pulls up his trousers

ADAM: Thank you Sir… I certainly do my best

MR BANYAN: Certainly you do… and we’re expecting big things from you, you know… big things. We’ve invested a lot of time and resources in you… We have high expectations

ADAM: I won’t let you down

MR BANYAN: I wish it was just me, but it’s the entire human species… we’re all relying on your knowledge, there’s not many left who can do what you do

ADAM: No sir… I understand

MR BANYAN: No… no, you don’t… we haven’t let you… that would be just too terrible, if you only knew how it was out there, the terrible things

ADAM: Of course…

MR BANYAN: Better to stay innocent, better for everybody. You just focus on the task at hand, and leave the outside world to me… old Mr Banyan will take care of that, and make sure that you have everything you need.

ADAM: I think I’d better get straight to work

MR BANYAN Yes… I rather think you should, how long do you think it will be? Till we can expect to see the first results?

ADAM: Well, it’s hard to be certain… There’s plenty to be done, the extraction alone could take the rest of the week.

MR BANYAN: Then I shan’t distract you a moment longer!

MR BANYAN exits.

Back To Top PM Quote Reply  

 Posted: Mon Aug 9th, 2010 09:33 pm
  PM Quote Reply
2nd Post

Joined: Fri Jun 9th, 2006
Location: Kitchener, Ontario Canada
Posts: 2892
I really like the ambiguity in this piece. Is it done? Is there more?

I was hoping it didn't end it a kind of punch line, and it didn't. And yet, I'm left wanting to know more.

One point...the voices are all very similar.

Really interested...was very much engaged.


Back To Top PM Quote Reply

 Posted: Mon Aug 9th, 2010 09:45 pm
  PM Quote Reply
3rd Post

Joined: Sun Jun 11th, 2006
Location: Cambridge, United Kingdom
Posts: 226
Thanks Paddy,
that's most of what I've got so far... fairly early stages yet, I agree about the voices, I think I'll need to work on bringing out the individual characters a bit, I'm doing my usual "make it up as I go and check back over it later" thing, so it's still a bit... raw...

Back To Top PM Quote Reply  

 Posted: Mon Aug 9th, 2010 09:58 pm
  PM Quote Reply
4th Post

Joined: Fri Jun 9th, 2006
Location: Kitchener, Ontario Canada
Posts: 2892
Vomitting it to the page works for me too. I read, too late, that it was the opening.


Keep spilling it to the page.


Back To Top PM Quote Reply

 Posted: Thu Aug 12th, 2010 06:30 pm
  PM Quote Reply
5th Post

Joined: Fri Jan 29th, 2010
Location: Monroe, North Carolina USA
Posts: 89
I found it interesting. The only thing I wonder is how the clues will come together in the end. That's a good thing I suppose. Can't wait to see more.



Back To Top PM Quote Reply  

 Posted: Sat Aug 14th, 2010 04:23 pm
  PM Quote Reply
6th Post

Joined: Sun Jun 11th, 2006
Location: Cambridge, United Kingdom
Posts: 226
More from where that came from:

MR BANYAN exits.
Lights down.
When the lights return, they are dimmer, it is night time. ADAM and EVELYN are on stage asleep, a NICK enters, he examines the block of ice.

NICK: … This is the stupidest idea in the world… What on earth possessed us to think this could… But they wouldn’t know any better… we’ve made sure of that. I’d be surprised if they still knew that the world was round. If they had even the slightest idea of the resources being used to keep them safe, and maintain the institute, they’d… Do what? What could they conceivably be expected to do?


NICK: Mr Banyan…

MR BANYAN: Taking a midnight stroll? I’m partial to them myself… not much sleep left to be had is there?

NICK: Not much anything…

MR BANYAN: Except for them, eh?

NICK: Yes, ignorance is bliss

MR BANYAN: Ignorance was bliss… and will be again.

NICK: Do you believe this will work, after everything?

MR BANYAN: Faith can move mountains…

NICK: Blindness can make us walk off the edge of them.

MR BANYAN: It is all for the greater good.

NICK: We’re insane

MR BANYAN: No, we’re the voice of reason… those outside, they’re insane, you’ve seen… the things they do…

NICK: But…

MR BANYAN: You can’t tell me that is sanity

NICK: But there are reasons… Why things are like that… what we advocate is better… yes, I won’t deny that it’s better

MR BANYAN: Exactly, exactly. Better, we see what is good… and we’ll bring that good to everyone…


NICK: It’s better… but it isn’t true… And you can’t outstare reality… Maybe the pain of outside comes from the lie itself. The harder we try to hold it in one piece, the harder everything pushes back…

Lights down. When they return ADAM and EVELYN are awake on stage and hard at work.

EVELYN: I think we’ve almost cracked it

ADAM: We need to patient

EVELYN: I know… but it’s true, isn’t it? We’ve almost cracked it

ADAM: Almost… Then the real work begins.

EVELYN: Do you ever think of outside?

ADAM: Why would you ask that?


ADAM: Well of course I do, I think of it all the time, that’s why we’re doing… everything we’re doing… that’s why we’ve been protected… Mr Banyan didn’t have to protect us

EVELYN: Yes, yes… that’s true… but I still sometimes think of them.

ADAM: Well if you really wanted to help them, you wouldn’t think of them, you’d think of our work.

EVELYN: I know… but in spite of that

ADAM: Yes… in spite of it.

EVELYN: We still do.

ADAM: Well if we can’t help thinking about them, we certainly shouldn’t talk about them…

EVELYN: I wonder if they think about us

ADAM: Of course they think about us… What else would they think about?

EVELYN: If they think at all that is… Mr Banyan says that they don’t

ADAM: … Oh… I suppose that must be convenient for getting things done

EVELYN: Yes… really… everything we do here… well at least two thirds of it is thinking… we’d save a lot of time if we didn't… don’t you think?

ADAM: I do think… there’s the problem, right there.

EVELYN: Yes… there’s a conundrum.

ADAM: How to stop people from thinking… it’ll all need to be worked out eventually

EVELYN: Yes. If everyone were thinking all the time, I doubt we’d be able to get anything done.

ADAM: So pay attention… we’ve almost finished extracting the DNA… we’re not ready yet, but almost

EVELYN: Yes, one step at a time… we don’t want it to be rejected by the host.

ADAM: So pay attention, and try not to think.

Lights down.
There is a noticeable pause. A spotlight comes on, highlighting a toilet. Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” begins to play (you know, the good bit) and a man wearing filthy lab overalls starts trying to climb out of the toilet.
KEVIN enters, half asleep at first

KEVIN: Wh… oh god

MAN: No… No, wait, I can explain

KEVIN: Nick, Nick! You need to get in here right now

KEVIN runs offstage

MAN: Oh god… oh no…

He starts pulling himself out of the toilet more desperately, NICK and KEVIN enter

NICK: Christ almighty! He’s almost out, why didn’t you put the lid down?

KEVIN: Really? Now? Is now the fucking time?

NICK: Where’s the gun?

KEVIN: Armoury… only Mr Banyan has a key

MAN: You have to wait… please, just give me a moment

NICK: There are shovels… we’ve got shovels at the gates

NICK runs offstage, KEVIN starts trying to push the toilet lid down whilst the MAN fights him

MAN: You can’t do this

KEVIN: Shut up, shut up, you’re not meant to be here

MAN: Please… oh god… please

NICK enters with two large shovels, he hands one to KEVIN and they start beating the MAN with them, slowly forcing him back into the toilet.

MAN: (screams) No… You have to…

NICK: Shut up, shut up, shut up!

MAN: I’m… from (screams) D-Unit

KEVIN: Die! Just go back into the toilet and die.

ADAM walks onto the stage, looking bleary eyed. There is an awkward silence in which NICK and KEVIN stop beating the MAN and all three stare at ADAM dumbfounded

ADAM: I just needed to…

MAN: Please… I’ve seen… There were thousands of us, the starving and dispossessed… but they came anyway… the multitude of screams rising up into a single shrill note, the chthonic things gibbering in impossible tongues… the thousand black tentacles blocking out the sun, as a whole city is vapourised in a second.. and standing in the middle of it all… I saw…


They come to their senses and start beating him again

MAN: (screams) I saw her… the girl with blood for eyes

KEVIN and NICK finally render the MAN insensate and bundle him back into the toilet. They close the lid, and with KEVIN standing on top of it, NICK flushes the toilet repeatedly.

ADAM: … Use the toilet. If…

KEVIN: (Panting) We’re having some problems with this one

NICK: Hard to say exactly what the cause is

KEVIN: But if you leave it to us, then I’m sure we’ll…

NICK: We’ll have gotten to the bottom of it

KEVIN: Yes. It’ll be right as rain in the morning.

NICK: Go back to bed.

ADAM: Can I use a different one?



KEVIN: Not until we’ve got the gu…

NICK: Until we’ve had a word with Mr Banyan.

KEVIN: Go on… you need your sleep. There’s important work to be getting on with.

Lights down. If the music hasn’t ended yet, it does now
The lights come up to MR BANYAN sitting at a desk, he is speaking on a phone

MR BANYAN: I understand completely of course… but really… must you disturb me for every little detail? Of course… no, no, of course… that would never do… I see… Well I really wish that you hadn’t used the shovels… Well I appreciate that, but surely there was a toilet brush to hand? I’ve always insisted on clean toilets and high standards of hygiene, this is a research institute, not a pigsty. Absolutely not. You know why. They had guns in Unit-J… do you want to end up like Unit-J? Of course you don’t, nobody wants that. Well if people are down there we’ll just have to go down there and clean it out. You let me take care of that. Good.

He hangs up, sighs and rests is head face-down on his desk for a moment.

Goodness me. Goodness me. The toilets now? Where next? Adrian said he could hear screaming whenever he turned on the hot tap in his shower… Perhaps I should have listened to him rather than… but we can’t take every little complaint seriously, or we’d all go mad. Of course I knew that all the Units were connected, but I really didn’t think anyone would… well.

Back To Top PM Quote Reply

 Posted: Sun Aug 15th, 2010 03:31 pm
  PM Quote Reply
7th Post

Joined: Fri Jun 9th, 2006
Location: Kitchener, Ontario Canada
Posts: 2892
Interesting. I love that you only give us snapshots of information.

There's lots of tension inside to out. I'm hoping, cooped up like that, there's going to be a bit of tension between the insiders.

Keep at it.


Back To Top PM Quote Reply  

 Posted: Thu Aug 19th, 2010 09:37 pm
  PM Quote Reply
8th Post

Joined: Sat Jun 10th, 2006
Posts: 22
Yeah. Lots of fun. I was effortlessly engaged in the mystery. Great tension and you don't just clarify the mystery but deepen it. Well done, sir.

Can't wait to read the entirety of the piece.


Back To Top PM Quote Reply

Current time is 11:25 pm  
The Playwrights Forum > The Art & Craft of Writing > Critique my Play > Yggdrasil Top

UltraBB 1.17 Copyright © 2007-2011 Data 1 Systems
Page processed in 0.1546 seconds (12% database + 88% PHP). 25 queries executed.