As a way to kickoff the new year, Boston University's School of Theatre came together for their annual 24 Hr. Playground festival. Seven playwrights, seven directors, one board op, two festival producers, and lots and lots of actors came together to bring seven brand new plays to life within 24 Hrs. The playwrights were commissioned to write a ten minute piece with four ingredients: A character named Mr./Mrs. Pottage, An occupation of a lifeguard or waiter, A flyswatter or lobster roll, and the line, "Watch out for the rodents." Below is the zany comedy I wrote, Campe Diem, about summer camp, the occult, bullies, and Sasquatches--Scream Queens meets Bug Juice. Enjoy!
CAMPE DIEM By: Kira Rockwell
- Caroline – a camper with a heart of gold; she’s here for the first time on a scholarship.
- Mrs. Pottage – a Sasquatch. Played by a human, acts like a human, not like a Sasquatch.
- Heelys – rolls around in Heelys, thinks she’s the boss chick—well, because she is, kinda.
- Lifeguard – has a really, really bad sun burn and a secret crush that could get him fired.
- Aussie – failing miserably at keeping up the ruse that she’s from Australia.
SETTING: Summer of 1979-ish (emphasis on the ish) Somewhere in the mountains of Georgia
We hear the ensemble assemble from all corners of the stage. Each of them carry with them some sort of an instrument such as a toy piano, an ukulele, a kazoo, etc. Eventually they meet in the middle, and sing their song together round a mystical camp fire.
I know a place
Deep in the woods
Where we can get lost
And play the game of our childhoods!
The air is sweeter than Granny’s tea.
The stars are brighter than Pa’s glass eye.
The water’s cooler than any Southern breeze,
And e’ry night they serve the warmest apple pie.
This place is our home away from home,
And e’ry summer we will return,
Up to these majestic mountains,
Where our souls can freely roam.
We’re livin’ like the Natives,
All summer long,
Our Forefather’s took this land and it made it ours!
Oh, how we love to sing our cherished camp song!
Let us join together
Hand in hand!
Terri-Cotton, Terri-Cotton, it’s our mother-land!
Terri-Cotton, Terri-Cotton, it’s our mother-land!
The ensemble fades away leaving just Caroline.
CAROLINE Kacaw. Kacawww. KACAWWW!
From a hidden spot…
MRS. POTTAGE Caroline? Is that you?
CAROLINE Yes, it’s me. You’re safe to come out now.
She does as a gang of camp counselors pass.
CAROLINE Watch out for the rodents.
MRS. POTTAGE They all think I ate your camp director.
CAROLINE You didn’t, did you?
MRS. POTTAGE Of course not, I’m a herbivore.
CAROLINE Don’t worry, I’ve got a plan.
MRS. POTTAGE Which is?
CAROLINE To get you across the lake. We’ll use a canoe.
MRS. POTTAGE Woah, hold up—I’m not leaving.
CAROLINE You have to, Mrs. Pottage. It isn’t safe for you here.
MRS. POTTAGE But this is my home.
CAROLINE I know, but—
MRS. POTTAGE I was here before any of you showed up.
CAROLINE If you stay, you’ll surely die.
MRS. POTTAGE What happens if your plan doesn’t work?
CAROLINE Then we’ll use plan B.
MRS. POTTAGE Which is?
CAROLINE I don’t know yet, plan A hasn’t failed us.
MRS. POTTAGE I didn’t eat the camp director, honest.
CAROLINE I know you didn’t—
MRS. POTTAGE It must have been a grizzly bear.
CAROLINE I’m sure.
MRS. POTTAGE You don’t believe me, do you?
CAROLINE I am helping you, aren’t I? Here, put this on.
MRS. POTTAGE (Beat.) How is wearing this dress going to help me?
CAROLINE The moon’s too bright, you have to blend in. Just wear it till we get to lakeshore, okay?
MRS. POTTAGE If you say so—thank you for helping me, Caroline.
CAROLINE Everyone’s going to be at Hoedown—we have time, but we’ll need to hurry.
Enter HEELY and her posse on wheels.
HEELY Well, well, well, look what we have here—a pair of freaks washed up from the creek.
AUSSIE Ripper sunnie roo lou—MOZZIE!
She slaps LIFEGUARD with her fly swatter. (Mozzie=Mosquito).
LIFEGUARD OWWW!!! Stop it!
HEELY Hand over Big Foot, Caroline—
MRS. POTTAGE Excuse me, but “Big Foot” was my great, great, great grandfather—
HEELY Did I ask you?
AUSSIE Yeh, nuckie sammie brekkie—MOZZIE!
She slaps him again.
LIFEGUARD DON’T YOU SEE I HAVE A SUNBURN?!!!! Quit it.
AUSSIE Aye, fair suck of the bottle.
HEELY Shut up, both of you.
CAROLINE Mrs. Pottage hasn’t done anything wrong.
HEELY Umm, she ate a person for breakfast.
CAROLINE You have no proof.
HEELY That’s what you think! But I’ll have you listen here to a firsthand account of someone who was there and saw it all go down. Literally.
MRS. POTTAGE Nonsense.
HEELY Aussie. Go ahead. Tell them exactly what you told me.
CAROLINE Aussie? Seriously?
HEELY Hush, let her speak. Go ahead, Aussie. Tell them.
AUSSIE Stubbie. Oi for drongos, have a go you mug! Smoko, garbo, bloody oath. Bottlo in the arvo. Rip snorter out of the knob yummy mummy. Yobbo, blimey. Fair crack of the whip, with ya. MOZZIE/ MOZZIE, MOZZIE, MOZZIE!
LIFEGUARD Ow! Stop. Hey, okay, okay, we get it!
HEELY It’s quite tragic isn’t it?
CAROLINE You don’t even know what she said. She wasn’t even speaking English.
HEELY Wow, aren’t you rude. Duh, she wasn’t speaking English, because she’s Australian. Don’t be racist, Caroline.
CAROLINE That’s not—that doesn’t mean, whatever.
HEELY Besides, I don’t have to understand her, to interpret what awful, terrible, murderous, menacing, muttonous things this ballistic beast did to our dear Director Mulkey. You should be ashamed of yourself for protecting this criminal! For being in cahoots with this conundrum.
MRS. POTTAGE Do you even understand the words coming out of your mouth?
HEELY Um, yeh.
CAROLINE She’s just upset she didn’t win the talent show.
HEELY Pssh, ha. Whatever. Like I care about a silly talent show.
LIFEGUARD That’s not what you told me—
HEELY Shut up.
CAROLINE You were so angry when first place went to little Leonard Langston.
HEELY His magic tricks were stupid.
CAROLINE So stupid that you’d kill Director Mulkey over it?
HEELY No, oh my gosh. You’re dumb.
CAROLINE Where were you the morning of Director Mulkey’s death?
HEELY Swimming at the lake.
CAROLINE And do you have anyone that can support this swimming alibi?
HEELY Uh yeh. Right here. (Beat.) Right?!
HEELY See, loser. I didn’t kill Director Mulkey. Beasty here took care of that for me.
CAROLINE Took care of it for you? So what you’re saying is that if Mrs. Pottage hadn’t killed Director Mulkey, which she didn’t, but if she hadn’t that means you would have if you could have first! You would have killed Director Mulkey?!
HEELY No! But I’m about to kill you for being such a freak-a-zoid!
LIFEGUARD I lied!
LIFEGUARD You weren’t swimming that morning.
HEELY Yes, I was.
LIFEGUARD No, you weren’t. You texted me saying you were going to come swim, and so I waited, but you never came. You were supposed to help me with my sunscreen…
HEELY I didn’t kill, Director Mulkey!
CAROLINE Then who did?
HEELY That thing! Obviously she’s the monster and not me. Stop looking at me! I didn’t do it!
AUSSIE (Softly chanting) Mozzie. Mozzie. / Mozzie. Mozzie.
HEELY The real murderer is standing right here in front of all of us! Ow! Stop!
ALL Mozzie! Mozzie! MOZZIE! MOZZIE! MOZZIE! MOZZIE!
As they form a clump around HEELY, AUSSIE roars—revealing her true identity as a Sasquatch. She kills HEELY. Then before he even has time to think, she kills LIFEGUARD. Slow mo?
MRS. POTTAGE Caroline, please, stop, let me explain.
CAROLINE You, you, you’re a, you’re a—
AUSSIE Let her go, Shelia.
MRS. POTTAGE Don’t come near her!
MRS. POTTAGE No!
AUSSIE kills CAROLINE.
MRS. POTTAGE NOOOOOOOOOO!
MRS. POTTAGE She was—
AUSSIE She was a liability.
MRS. POTTAGE She was good.
AUSSIE She knew too much.
MRS. POTTAGE I did like her.
AUSSIE I know you did.
MRS. POTTAGE She wasn’t like the rest of them.
AUSSIE Not yet. Not yet, Shelia. But in time, she would have. They all do. We know this.
MRS. POTTAGE steals the fly swatter from AUSSIE, slapping her repeatedly.
MRS. POTTAGE Why. Did. You. Have. To. Go. And. Eat. The. Camp. Director?! You’ve made such a mess! Selfish, selfish, selfish, selfish!
AUSSIE I did it for you!
MRS. POTTAGE What?
AUSSIE I did it for you. (Beat.) She was going around saying all sorts of nasty things about you.
MRS. POTTAGE So, do you go around eating everyone who says a nasty word about me…
MRS. POTTAGE Oh…
AUSSIE She called you a—
Whispers something into her ear.
MRS. POTTAGE Well, we have to eat all the humans here at camp now; you know that right?
MRS. POTTAGE There’s a lot of them.
MRS. POTTAGE Act swiftly.
AUSSIE Like good ol’ times in the Seventeens.
MRS. POTTAGE When we were young, vibrant, and full of vivacity.
AUSSIE We don’t have to eat them.
MRS. POTTAGE No, we can’t be wasteful.
AUSSIE Then, we’ll freeze ‘em. Store up for next winter.
MRS. POTTAGE Eh, that sounds like too much work.
AUSSIE Wanna go to a Hoedown with me?
MRS. POTTAGE Well, I am wearing a new dress…
AUSSIE My you are, aren’t you, Mrs. Pottage?
MRS. POTTAGE I was waiting for you to notice.
AUSSIE Believe me, I noticed.
MRS. POTTAGE Why didn’t you say something sooner?
AUSSIE May I have this dance, Mrs. Pottage?
MRS. POTTAGE I never thought you’d ask, Mrs. Pottage.
They start a simple two step.
End of play.