Playwrite Frank Gagliano

THE PROCESSION

BY
Frank Gagliano


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Everyone is
lined up for the
procession.
The Leader
steps forward.

LEADER
Our objective is to get from here to there. Our obstacles will be three things: Inclement weather, the Yardley gang and ourselves. The first two are easy to understand as obstacles. We are in hurricane season with all that that implies; and the Yardley gang are vicious Sodomizers, thieves, cunnilinguists and Republicans. But what about ourselves? —Well. If our bodies give up and out, we will not get there. If we get annoyed with our leaders, we may well hamper our getting there. If we fight amongst ourselves, we will surely not get there. If we give in to the horny side of our natures, and so, drop our banners to grab the nearest set of buttocks, we will not only not get there, we will stay where we are; with embarrassing erections, screeching nipples and engorged tongues. If we give in to rectal itch, a need to smoke and/or an uncontrollable desire to write our autobiographies on our laptop word processors—we will delay getting there.

VOICE 1
If we do not get there, where will we get? To?

LEADER
We will get to wherever we are.

VOICE 1
Might not that possibly be. . .there?

LEADER
No. If we will not have gotten "there;" we cannot be "there." And if we are not "there," where can we be but where we are?

VOICE 2
But we will be somewhere. And that's different from being--"here."

LEADER
But it's also different from being. . ."there." And . . ."there" is where we're headed.

VOICE 1
Suppose we like where we are—want to stay; won't that then be . . ."there?"

LEADER
Certainly not. Because you will not have started out to get "where we are." You will have started out to get "there." So, until you actually get "there," you will not be "there." But I agree—you will be "where you are."

(Pause)
VOICE 2
So?

LEADER

Well, if you want to settle for where you are, that's your business. But it is the business of this procession to get
. . ."there;" not just anywhere. And if you, sir, know beforehand that you're really into the "anywhere-you-are" thing; than, by all means, stay here or attempt to get "anywhere-you-are." But we're set to get there; to the
. . ."there" thing.

VOICE 1
But if I decide to stay "here," will I not have arrived; and, having arrived, will I not then be "there?"

LEADER
But you haven't started from somewhere to get "here;" under which circumstances, I would agree, you'd now be "there." But you're starting from "here" to get there, so "there" is elsewhere.

VOICE 2
Where is it?!

LEADER
Out there beyond wherever, somewhere and elsewhere.

VOICE 1
How will we know if we have arrived there?

LEADER
Because we will have completed the procession.

VOICE 1
How will we know when we have completed the procession?

LEADER
When it's over and we're "there."

VOICE 1
But I might think I have gotten "there" only to find that I'm merely "wherever we are."

LEADER
That's true.

VOICE 1
Then where will we be?

LEADER
Here.

VOICE 1
But I thought we're here now.

LEADER
Exactly.

VOICE 1
But if I am "here" now and I start moving, when I stop I can't be "here" any longer.

LEADER
That's true. But you won't necessarily be "there." But you can legitimately say, "I am now here" when you arrive "somewhere, elsewhere, or wherever." And you can also add, "—until I get 'there'." I'll grant you that.

(Pause)

VOICE 2
You know what I think? I think you're full of shit.

LEADER
That's a typical "here" reaction. But when we get wherever we happen to be, and a portion of the procession will have been behind us, I think you'll appreciate and understand what I'm saying; because you will have been on your way, and once on your way, you will have really understood the excitement of attempting to get "there."

VOICE 3
Listen, I don't mean to be a nuisance, but I'm getting very discouraged. This is my third procession. I started out in one procession to get there and I got a kidney infection and had to be hospitilized. So then I hooked up with another procession trying to get there and I had to pee a lot and while I was off squatting in the pines well, I'm sorry, I just never could pee on the side of the road while a procession went by—anyway, I was peeing further away than I thought and got lost getting back to the road and when I got to the road the procession was nowhere in sight. I ran to find it, but I couldn't. Luckily, I stumbled upon the starting line of this procession. Now, this is my question: Are all the processions trying to get to the same "there?" I mean, I don't want to tag along and carry a banner and all and pee a lot if you're going to a different "there" than the "there" I started heading to—for.

LEADER
I don't know what you're talking about. There are no other processions. This is the only true and authorized procession. But I'll say this: now that you, Ms, are part of this procession, you are in my care and, from now on, I'll accompany you into the pines whenever nature summons you. And you'll never detach yourself from us until we get "there."

VOICE 2
You know what I think? I think that if you follow her into the pines--you'll be "there," all right; maybe even "in" "there."

LEADER
Well, that's okay. Laugh. All of you; laugh. I mean it. Laughter is a good thing on this kind of a procession. And I don't mind a bit of laughter at my expense. But if we get too smuttylet our smut-potential go over the edge, as it werethat could lead to the ribald and from thence to the lewd and from that declension into the filth andonce againwe will have added another obstacle to getting "there;" namely, what I call . . .the" crotch" obstacle.

VOICE 2
You know what I'd like? I'd like to obstacle your crotch!

LEADER
Okay! That's it! I've had about enough of your hostile mouth. Take him out into the forest and stuff pine needles into his bellybutton and up his nose and place a bucketful of pine cones in the Fruit of his Looms. . . . —I'm sorry I had to do that, but if you all want to stay with this procession you'll have to understand that it will cost you to be too rebellious. Anymore smart talk? . . . All right then! Onward! For theeeeeere!

 

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