No More Horsing Around – Ross School, 8A (2010)
“No More Horsing Around”
by Sam Hamilton
The Ross School, 8A. East Hampton, NY.
Setting: Blackout. Voice comes over loudspeaker.
Voice: Hey, wanna hear a joke? A horse walks into a bar…
(Lights come up)
(In a bar. Bar picture in the background. Bar setup on stage with a stool on one
side. Bartender behind bar polishing glasses and wiping it down.)
ENTER HORSE (actor is wearing a horse costume with a large snout looking
(Horse sits down at the stool)
Horse: Bud light.
(Bartender gives him a Bud Light from behind the bar.)
Horse: Why the long face?
(Long silence. Bartender looks confused and then starts to look scared.)
Bartender: (In scared tone of voice) Haha, that?s funny, but why do you have such a long face today?
(Horse crosses his arms and sits there with a triumphant smile on his face)
Different Voice: I don?t really get it…
(Lights come up. White background. Everything is white and light. In theory, they are nowhere.)
Bartender: WHAT WAS THAT!?
Horse: What was what?
Bartender: Oh you know what I?m talking about Horse. You may have just ruined our reputation as one of the most famous jokes in history. Why did you just do that?
Horse: I don?t see what?s so bad about what I just did. I just… mixed it up a little.
Bartender: The joke doesn?t need mixing up. It?s perfect the way it is. That can?t be the only reason you just ruined my life.
Horse: Ruined your life? How did I ruin your life? I just said your line.
Bartender: Exactly! You said my line. YOU SAID MY LINE! What made you think you could say that?
(Horse covers his face in an anxious fashion)
Horse: (quietly) I?m boycotting the joke.
Bartender: Speak louder. I couldn?t hear you.
Horse: (still quietly) I?m boycotting the joke.
Horse: I?M BOYCOTTING THE JOKE.
Bartender: What do you mean your boycotting the joke?
Horse: I?m boycotting it. You know, like, go on strike, revolt, mutiny…
Bartender: Yeah I know what it means, but why?
Bartender: Come on, there has to be a reason for ruining one of the most famous jokes in history. Or did you just do that to ruin my life?
(Horse shakes his head)
Bartender: You can?t do this to me Horse. We got competition. Think about that stupid chicken. He?ll be up at the top of the joke hill with no competition. Doesn?t his joke make you angry? (Mocking voice) Oh look at me. I?m a chicken. I can make people laugh just by crossing a road. Meh Meh Meh (Angry) It?s so stupid. At least our joke has some depth to it. Right Horse? You don?t want that to happen, do you?
Bartender: I thought you loved this. You make people laugh everyday. Doesn?t it give you the best feeling inside? When someone laughs at something you said?
Horse: I used to love this, but now I don?t. I used to love making people laugh no matter the circumstances, but now those circumstances have gotten out of hand.
Bartender: I don?t really understand…
Horse: Everyone?s laughing at my long face. It?s starting to hurt me. Yeah, horses have long faces; get over it. And just because I just happen to have a longer face than normal, doesn?t mean you have to laugh harder.
Bartender: I… I don?t know what to say.
Horse: Then don?t. Let me do the talking. A long time ago, when we were first imagined, I was so excited. I knew that this joke had potential, but it would take some time. And it did. And now we?re battling for the top spot in the joke popularity list. I never thought that we would get this far, and I was willing to do whatever it took to improve our reputation. But inside of me, that whole time, something was wrong. And it was some laughs ago, that I really started to understand what that was. I?m just sick and tired of being laughed at.
Bartender: They?re not specifically laughing at you though. They?re laughing at the joke. They?re laughing at what I said. They?re not laughing at the fact that you have a long face.
Horse: It would make me feel much better if I actually said something that?s funny. Then maybe I would think that they were laughing at something I said, but that doesn?t matter! That wont change the fact that I?m done with the joke.
Horse: And you should join me!
Bartender: WHAT?! First you tell me you?re boycotting the joke and now you want me to do it with you? No! Absolutely not! That?s preposterous! What makes you think that I am going to suddenly change my mind, and not only let you leave, but leave with you?
Horse: Well, I know what you really want to do.
Bartender: And what is that mister?
Horse: You want to become a real bartender.
(Bartender looks down)
Horse: Oh come on Bartender. I?ve heard you in between jokes. You?re always going on and talking to yourself about what you would do if you were a real bartender. Just a few laughs ago I heard you talking to yourself about the tricks you could learn.
Bartender: Well, I did say that… but remember the competition. There are huge corporations coming up, like the Knock Knock Association. They?re getting way too big, with new jokes being invented every other laugh, where us singular jokes are the same over and over again. This is a real problem that we?ve been trying to address for a long time, and so far, us singular jokes have stayed atop the popularity list, but think what would happen if we were to quit. Chaos! The joke corporations would overcome all of the singular jokes. You don?t want to hear, “Knock Knock, who?s there, a chicken crossing the road,” I don?t like that little guy, but think what trouble he?ll be in.
Horse: You can?t think like that, Bartender. That chicken can hold his own. One little absence won?t make a huge difference.
Bartender: How do you know that?
Horse: Well, I don?t, but what matters is that I?m sick and tired of this joke, and I know, that deep down inside you, you would rather do something else too.
Bartender: That may be what you think, but deep down inside I know that you know that you?re RUINING MY LIFE!
Horse: Oh stop it with the ruining your life thing. For all you know I could be saving your life. Think about what we could do if we left the joke. You could become a real bartender, and I could become a real horse, in a meadow, with no beer, but rather, grass and wild flowers. Wouldn?t you like that?
Bartender: How do you know that that?s what would happen?
Horse: Just trust me.
Bartender: Oh god, look at me. (Sobbing, feeling sorry for himself) Look at what I?ve become. I?m a sad excuse for a joke. I?m letting someone talk me into boycotting one of the most famous jokes in history. What has my life come to?
Horse: This is the problem; your life has been the same since you were thought of. You?re asking yourself ?what has my life come to? when all your life you have been doing the same thing over and over again. If you join me, who knows what will happen. It will be an adventure. You may actually get a real life.
Bartender: How? I don?t…
Horse: Stop asking questions! All you do in life is say one line, and yet you over- think things more than anyone I know. You just have to believe me.
Bartender: How can I believe you? How can I believe that we can boycott the joke and live our lives the way we want to?
Horse: I just have a feeling inside that we can do this, together. (Pause) You and me… (Pause) Together…
Bartender: (Impatiently) Ok, ok I get it. Part of me hears you, and wants to do this. It would be amazing to do something else for a change. But part of me feels that we need to continue, with this. We?ve got something amazing here. I don?t know whether I?d rather keep on doing the same thing over and over again, and having it be successful, or going out into the world, and trying something new.
Horse: I don?t know about you, but I?d rather do the latter.
(Bartender looks nervous)
Horse: Bartender, you have to choose fast. The next joke is about to begin.
Bartender: Ohhh I can?t do this. I can?t leave.
Horse: Yes you can. Some other horse and bartender can take our places. Everything will be fine.
(Bartender puts face in hands and shakes his head)
Horse: You have to choose soon buddy.
Bartender: Ohhh, you?re putting me on the spot here. Umm, oh, uhh…
Horse: I?ll take that as a yes. Take you?re place behind the bar.
Bartender: Wait, are you sure this will work?
Horse: … no…
(Bartender gives a surprised and angry face)
Horse: But I guess we?ll never know without trying, right?
Horse: Come on, take you?re place.
(Bartender goes behind the bar, Horse goes to far side of the stage, but not offstage)
Horse: Are you ready?
(Bartender gives a scared nod)
Voice: Hey, wanna hear a joke?
END OF PLAY