March 18 & 19: Thomas McKechnie

March 18 & 19: On Stage is a Pipeline

Thomas McKechnie


Two People in Suits
Their Father
Their Mother
Their Sister
A Politician

On Stage is a Pipeline

On stage is a pipeline, it’s spraying oil up at a 45 degree angle. The oil comes out like a sprinkler. Two people in suits enter and see it. They are thrilled. They strip off their suits and become little children, desperately taking off their church clothes in order to romp in the sprinkler.

They romp.

Their father enters about to scold them. As he gets closer and is about to speak he notices near­by the stove, his focus, his whole body, shifts to be in relation to it.

(This is a repeated movement motif. The effect should be of someone suddenly being knocked off course. They don’t notice they’ve been knocked off course they only focus on the importance of the task that they have turned to instead. This effect stacks with every new character introduced so what was originally a 1/4 turn uncontrolled, becomes 1/4 turn uncontrolled, “knocked”, and then 1/4 controlled, then 1/4 “knocked” as they see the next person. Once a third person comes in it become a 3/4 uncontrolled turn and a 1/4 controlled turn. The fourth character entering causes the four characters to spin constantly uncontrolled)

The father turns on the stove to start baking cookies. The oil the boys are playing with tappers off a bit. They look at each other. Shrug. Crank a valve, the oil returns to it’s previous speed.

Their mother comes in with a bottle of wine and a full glass. She is about to ask the boys to do something. She notices the TV. The same movement motif knocks her off course. She turns on the TV.

The boys notice the oil goes down again. They open the valve wider.

Father pulls the completed cookies out of the over. He turns, sees the boys, is distracted by mother watching the TV. Knocked off course again. He recovers, picks up any dropped cookies and is about to offer them to the boys but them spots the stove and is “knocked” back to it.

He starts a new batch.

Mother is quiet distressed by a news report on climate change, she stands to call father but is “knocked” by him, stands for a moment before she hears something on the TV, turns and is “knocked” back to it.

The daughter enters, she’s a university­age peacenik kinda girl. She has a petition she wants her parents to sign. She spots hers mountain of student debt (it is a big pile of literal shit that she has to sort into hilariously small boxes. The boxes are made by a very large machine operated by a very large lever. She gets knocked by it. She throws the switch to start it up and the oil the boys are playing in once again tappers off.

Once again, they open the valve wider.

Ding! Another batch of cookies is done. Father takes them out to offer them to the boys, he gets knocked by his daughter, scattering cookies everywhere he begins to pick them up but is again knocked by his wife and his sons. He spots the stove. He begins a new batch of cookies.

His wife, exceptionally distressed about the news this time. Stands up but is knocked by her husband, then her daughter spraying wine everywhere, she looks for something to clean it up with but spots the TV and is knocked again.

Politician enters. He approaches the boys. He is nervous but ernest.

Politician: Hey boys. Having fun I see. (They continue to romp.) Well, I was just wondering…it being election season and all…I just…I could use a little money. I­ There is lots of good work to be done. Lots of…uh…y’know education reforms and all, education’s my game…we need better schools, smaller classes, more support for students with alternative needs. Lots of good work to be done…problem is my opponent, he’s…um…he’s got quiet a war chest racked up and…and I was wondering if you were going to make your customary…gift to my campaign. (The boys romp ignoring him.) Since I did my part to keep your (Gestures to the pipeline.) Running. (The boys look at each other. Sigh, resigned. They crank the valve a little winder. A stack of campaign signs appear.) I appreciate that boys. Thank you.

The politician begins banging campaign signs into the ground. With each on he extends his hand to an invisible voter, and says:

Politician: Let’s make tomorrow better, together.

Ding! The oven goes off, Father takes the cookies out but gets knocked by daughter, politician, mother and stove in turn. He is now in a perpetual state of being knocked, just spinning and spinning.

The daughter has filled many tiny boxes with feces and puts them in a large box. She gets ready to put the box away. Gets knocked by the politician, her mother, her father and then they student debt. She is now also in a perpetual cycle.

Mother opens another bottle of wine and stands up to call her husband but she also gets caught up in the cycle of knocks spraying her wine everywhere.

This continues, the politician infinitely repeating:

Politician: Let’s make tomorrow better, together.

Eventually the audience and performers drown in oil.