Business As Usual – Ward Melville High School (2012)

Emily Negron and Brian Rocha perform in William Stieglitz’s play, “Business As Usual.” Photo by Star Black.

Business As Usual by William Stieglitz

Click here to watch a video of this performance.

Setting: Center stage is a large desk facing sideways so that the person sitting at the desk would be facing towards stage left. To the right of the desk is a large, ornate chair for someone to use to sit at the desk. On the side of the desk closest to the audience is a waste basket. On the desk there is a computer with a keyboard and a telephone. On the side of the desk opposite where a person would sit is a small stool. At the edge of stage left is a door. The Woman is in the ornate chair and is holding the telephone to her ear.

(Lights on)

Woman: Well if stocks are rising, why did we sell? (Pause) Of course, of course.

(John enters stage left and towards the left side of the door as he prepares to knock.)

(Pause) I expect that the new owners are well aware of…

(knock, knock, knock)

(To door) Hold on a minute. (Pause) (To phone) No, I’m not busy, go on. (Pause) In that case we’ll need to invest the dividend in…

(knock, knock, knock)

(to door) Please be patient. (to phone) Sorry about that. Now what were you saying about the stock? (Pause) Yes, you’re right. I do have a schedule to keep. I’ll contact you later. (hangs up) (to door) Come in.

(John enters through door)

John: Hello. How are…

Woman: Name?

John: Excuse me?

Woman: You are here for the job interview, aren’t you?

John: Oh, yes, I was just…

Woman: Well, I need to know your name.

John: (Reaching hand out for handshake) My name’s John. Who are…

Woman: Your full name?

John: (takes his outreached hand and playfully hits his head with it) Oh, right. It’s funny how you can get off on your own thought and completely…

(Woman gives him a stare)

Stanley. John Stanley.

(Woman types on computer and continues to do so whenever John gives her information)

Woman: Good. Age?

(John sits down on stool and while continuing dialogue, squirms in discomfort)

John: Eighteen.

Woman: Address?

John: 48 Quill Street. It’s right by…

Woman: Phone number…

John: Right. It’s 874-6478. It’s actually a palindro-

Woman: (dryly) How nice. Your e-mail?

John: Oh, yes. I have one of those. It’s Jstanley@opton-

Woman: Facebook?

John: I don’t use Facebook.

Woman: Well that might be a problem. What mail service do you use?

John: I used to always use the U.S. Post Service but since that closed down I’ve been using General Delivery.

Woman: That’s good for you, then. Our company has a merger with General Services so we can still monitor your mail.

John: (stands up) You’re going to what?!

Woman: Relax. It’s common business practice. Now, what’s your credit card number?

John: My credit card number?! Would you tell me your credit card number?

Woman: I don’t share personal information with strangers. I’ll also need the name of your bank.

John: (sits back down) (sighs) It’s General Banks. And the number is nineteen eighty four.

Woman: Excellent. Next question: What gender are you?

John: Gender?

Woman: Yes. It means whether you are male or female.

John: I know what it means. You can’t tell by looking.

(Woman turns head away from computer to look at John’s face, stares with an expressionless face for two seconds, and then turns head back to the computer.)

Woman: No.

John: I’m male.

Woman: If you say so. (Takes a plastic cup from drawer in desk. Moves arm with cup forward so John can take it.) Here’s a cup. I’ll need a urine sample.

John: A urine sample? Shouldn’t I be doing this with a doctor?

Woman: I have a PhD in law.

John: I really don’t think this is…

Woman: Do you want the job?

John: Of course I do, but…

Woman: Then take the cup and bring me back your bodily waste.

John: (Reluctantly taking the cup) Alright. Where’s the bathroom?

Woman: Third door on your right.

(John walks out stage left through the door, waits six seconds, and the re-enters stage left through door.)

John: The men’s bathroom.

Woman: Oh, yes. Fourth door on your right.

(John exits stage left through the door)

Woman: What a shrew.

(Woman picks up phone and presses 2)

Woman: (Pause) It’s me. (Pause) Yes. (Pause) So I was right about the stocks. (Pause) Alright then, the merger has been broken and our new owners as of, how many minutes ago did you say? (Pause) Yes, and we are now owned by Carnegie and Morgan. (Pause) Okay. I’ll be there at three o’clock.  Reschedule my three to my four, my four to my five, my five to my six, and my six to sometime tomorrow, because let’s face it, if I skip dinner I lose my charm. (Pause) Alright, then. (Pause) Mommy loves you too. Bye.

(John re-enters stage left through door holding cup with urine (really apple juice))

John: (handing cup to Woman) Okay, I have the…

(Woman takes cup from his hand, moves hand now holding cup over waste basket, turns cup 180 degrees so liquid falls in waste basket, then when all the liquid has fallen out drops the cup in the waste basket.)

(John stares at Woman in upset confusion.)

Woman: Please, sit.

John: You’re not going to test it?

Woman: Oh, yes. (Moves head over waste basket, sniffs, and moves head back.) You’re sterile. Next question: What is your blood type?

John: My blood type? I don’t even know my own blood type.

Woman: That’s alright, we’ll find out when we take the DNA sample.

John: DNA sample?! I just gave you my pee. How much more of my body do you need?

Woman: Do you still have your secondary kidney?

John: (flabbergasted) I’m not going to give you my kidney.

Woman: Listen, if you want to work for Carnegie and Morgan (Phone rings) (Women puts phone to ear for three seconds and then hangs up.) for Rockefeller Industries, then you will need to cooperate. We don’t actually need your kidney, just your signature on a contract (takes out contract and pen while saying this) saying that upon request you will donate it to an employee of higher rank.

John: I’m not going to do that.

Woman: Well technically by law it’s optional so we can skip that. (Puts contract and pen away.)

John: So if I don’t sign it it doesn’t affect my chances of being hired, right? (Woman does not answer.) I mean, if it’s optional, then shouldn’t…

Woman: How about we move on? We need to check you have basic reading skills. (Takes out book titled Barn Animals for Babies and hands it to John opened to a certain page) Please read the page on the left.

John: (reading, feeling insulted) The cat says meow (pronounced me-ow).

Woman: (typing on computer, to herself) Mostly correct with minor error.

John: Wait. What minor error?

Woman: You said, “The cat says meow (pronounced same way as before).”

John: Of course. How else would I say it?

Woman: (In cat-like voice) Mm-yow. Honestly, even a kindergartener knows that.

John: I don’t really think that’s…

Woman: We’ll also need to check that you have a basic knowledge of mathematics (takes out a paper and a pen from desk drawer and hands them to John). Fill in the answers to the best of your ability.

John: (looking at paper) Four plus three?

Woman: If you’re having trouble with a question I suggest you skip it for now and move on.

John: I know the answer’s seven. Do you really have to ask me questions that are so… never mind. (Fills out answers to questions for a few seconds) Here (handing paper to her).

Woman: (not taking paper but instead handing him a #2 pencil and a scantron from her desk drawer) Good. Now transfer your answers to this scantron using number two pencil.

John: Can’t you just… (Sighs. Takes pencil and Scantron, having trouble holding onto them with the book, the pen, and the paper he already has.) (Starts filling out answers.) (While filling out scantron, under his breath) Of course not. (Finishes filling out scantron, hands it with pencil, pen, and paper to Woman.)

Woman: (Does not grab supplies but looks at the scantron with her eyes.) You forgot to fill out your name and other personal information on the scantron.

John: B-but… I just gave you all of… I mean don’t you… uh… (Sighs) (Starts filling out information)

(Lights out)

(Set is kept as is except the book, pen, paper, scantron and pencil are removed from the stage. Woman stays in same position. John stays in same position except is standing up now.)

(Lights up)

Woman: Well Mr. Stanley, we’ve looked over your information from last week and after much debate, we have decided that you will prove an asset to this company as one of our employees. (Puts hand out for handshake.)

John: (Shaking hands with Woman) Thank you, ma’am. I never expected the job application process to be so draining. Speaking of which, you sure took a lot of my blood. Are you donating it to a hospital?

Woman: No. We need to keep the two pints for private records.

John: Well, I’m just glad to have a job.

Woman: You’ll begin on Monday; Clarisse will show you how to use the register. John Stanley, welcome to Burger King.

(Lights out)


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