October 3 & 4: STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE NIGHTMARE
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE NIGHTMARE
Onstage, Sarah, a young girl asleep in bed, whimpers. There is a wardrobe near the bed.
Stephenpipe Harperline, Harperesque nightmare in a suit and lab coat, approaches the bed from the shadows and gently shakes Sarah’s shoulder.
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE: Sarah…C’mon, little Sarah, it’s time.
SARAH (pulling the covers over her head): Nooo…It’s too early.
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE (sits on the edge of Sarah’s bed): Come on now. It’s time to grow up, Sarah.
SARAH: I don’t want to wake up. It’s still dark.
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE (pulling back the covers): Wake up…grow up…up, up and away up. Like a balloon. It’s all the same good idea if you do it right.
SARAH (sits up, rubs her eyes): I do like balloons. But it’s still dark.
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE: Oh, don’t worry about that. I’ll make your future bright…even rosy. Do you like flowers, Sarah? As much as balloons?
Stephenpipe Harperline claps his hands. Lights flicker, then go up (finally) on the third clap.
SARAH: You’re not my Mom.
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE: Nope, even better.
SARAH: You look like scientist. Are you a scientist?
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE: Oh, I’m much better than a scientist!
SARAH: What are you? Who are you?
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE: Why, I’m what you call a leader. And you can call me Stephenpipe. Or Mr. Harperline. Or my favourite, Sir Mister Lord Know-it-all No-mistake Best Blessed Stephenpipe Harperline.
SARAH (frowns, thinking): That’s really confusing.
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE: Well, that’s the point of some things.
SARAH: Can I just call you Mistake?
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE (annoyed): I’d rather you didn’t. Now…enough chitchat. It’s time to get dressed.
Stephenpipe Harperline pulls Sarah over to the wardrobe.
SARAH (reluctant): Dressed for what?
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE: For success, of course.
SARAH: I don’t understand.
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE (throws open the wardrobe and rifles through Sarah’s clothes): That’s the point. Very good! Do you like kittens, Sarah?
SARAH: Um, yes, I do. I really do, but… What are you looking for?
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE: Something new. And different.
Stephenpipe Harperline tosses a few bright clothing items, then a couple of dresses—nature print—out onto the floor in a heap.
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE: No. No. No.
SARAH: Wait! Those are my favourites!
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE: Ah, now, this.
Stephenpipe Harperline pulls out a Sarah-size dull grey length of plastic pipe.
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE (holding the pipe up against Sarah): This looks about right.
SARAH (wails): It’s terrible!
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE: Oh, just try it on and see.
SARAH: I don’t want to!
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE: But, Sarah, it’s it has special powers. And it’s somehow related to dinasaurs. Do you like dinosaurs? Just try it on. If you don’t like it, you can change.
SARAH: Promise? Pinky swear?
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE: Oh, I have no problem with promises.
Stephenpipe Harperline pinky-swears left, right, and cross-over with Sarah. He lifts Sarah above the pipe.
SARAH: What kind of special powers?
Stephenpipe Harperline lowers Sarah into the pipe and helps her get her arms through the armholes (that I forgot to mention earlier).
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE (admiring the pipe’s fit): Beautiful! A real photo op!
SARAH (wails): I hate it! It’s ugly! And it stinks! And where are the special powers?
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE: Well, you need the whole outfit…the whole works…for those special powers. Here.
Stephenpipe Harperline pulls another piece of pipe from the wardrobe and puts it on Sara’s head. It’s too big and slips down over her eyes.
SARAH(groans with the weight): Special powers now?
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE: Oops, almost forgot…one more thing.
Stephenpipe Harperline finds a sweater-vest in the wardrobe and slips it over Sarah’s pipe body-suit.
SARAH: Special powers now?
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE: Of course! But, be patient. Your special powers may take some time to kick in. And those special powers are…subtle.
SARAH: What do you mean, Mistake?
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE: Don’t call me that, Sarah.
(Together) SARAH & STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE: So Canadian!
SARA: Well, what do you mean, Mr. Mistake?
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE: Remember the kitten…the balloon…
SARAH: I won’t be able to see a kitten…or a balloon…
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE: Well, just imagine those pretty things. And think of my economic responsibilities. I mean your economic responsibilities.
SARAH: My what? It’s too much! Too heavy! I can’t move!
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE: It’s lovely! And you’ll get used to it. I promise.
SARAH: I want it gone! Off!
Stephenpipe Harperline pretends to try to remove it.
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE: Huh. Easier said than done. But it’s all for the best. As I said…
Sarah starts to sob. Stephenpipe Harperline pats the Sarah-pipe.
STEPHENPIPE HARPERLINE: Sarah, be brave now. Don’t cry. You don’t have to do a thing. Just think of the balloons and kittens…and the roses… And in the meantime…I’ll help to entertain you until your special powers start to work.
Sarah’s crying gains momentum.
Stephen Harperline disappears behind the wardrobe a re-emerges, wearing a Chinese paddy hat, and rolling out an electric piano. He breaks into BTO’s “Taking Care of Business” drowning out the crying.