Hello All and welcome to the newest of Quirky Voices Productions -
Rosa Kranz and Gilda Stern Arent DEAD ! <Mouth made fireworks sounds> <horses> <Cheering>
I am crazy excited to present to you the most wonderful of scripts and some gently experimental audio fiction with an all female cast to celebrate International Women's Day.
Born from an idea in a social media thread, the BRILLYANT Emily CA Snyder (of Turn to Flesh Productions) set about writing this gem, gently with me and my audio fiction pal Fiona Thraille (of Dashing Onions and more) in mind.
I truly hope you enjoy this gentle comedy, and muse on life, the universe and....curtains.
(And please give it up for the cast who did so much foley and walla for this grooviness and made me laugh lots (due to their talent obvs!))
Thanks to all who contributed, and happy INTERNATIONAL WOMENS DAY WOMEN EVERYWHERE!
THANK YOU SO MUCH for listening! Feel free doooo to support any future Quirky works on my Quirky ko-fi account here or ping me an email on [email protected]!
We would LOVE A REVIEW WE WOULD WE WOULD. Find us on alllaa da pod catchers.
And if you're a script writer why not enter the comp me and Fiona are running - Dashingly Quirky 2021 - enter here.
AND dooo check out Sarah's new co-host of grooviness on ADWIT podcast - with Lindsay Harris Friel here....
Links to the cast
Fiona Thraille - WEBSITE / TWITTER / DASHING ONIONS
Wendy Lap - WEBSITE
Lara Parker - WEBSITE
Fiona Mackinnon - WEBSITE
Erika Sanderson - WEBSITE
Produced, Directed, Edited by Sarah Golding who also did the 'music'.....ALL sounds not made by Quirky Voices are Creative Commons licensed from FREESOUND.ORG - Links to Used SFX can be found on the Quirky Website! Woohoo!
Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/QuirkyVoices)
ROSA KRANTZ AND GILDA STERN AREN’T DEAD
Emily C. A. Snyder
Emily C. A. Snyder [email protected] www.emilycasnyder.info (508) 254-6939
GILDA STERN ROSA KRANTZ
(In Order of Appearance)
Hamlet’s Friend (Not Dying, Yet)
The Prince of Denmark (Dying)
The brother of Hamlet’s [Dead] Lover (Himself Dying) The English Ambassador (Alive, but with News of Death)
Female-presenting. A woman. Definitely on the stage. Female-presenting. Also a woman. Likewise on stage. Probably.
ALSO: Soldiers, Corpses, Etc.
TIME & PLACE
The end of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. So vaguely Denmark. In a time period. Almost certainly with high falutin’ British accents for some folk.
Also: A door to someplace else. Very metaphoric.
ROSA KRANTZ AND GILDA STERN AREN’T DEAD
(Denmark. Elsinore. The end of HAMLET. A flourish of Renaissance trumpets, loads of swords clanging and groans, and distant RP-esque voices intone:)
(Footsteps rushing.) Hamlet! My lord, Hamlet!
O, I die Horatio! (Dies. Sword clatters to the floor.)
Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet! (Dies. Even bigger.)
Now cracks a noble heart! Good night, sweet prince And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
(A rush of feet, muffled shouts, doors clang open.)
What’s this? What news from the English ambassador?
ENGLISH AMBASSADOR. (Entering.)
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern...are dead.
(Solemn church bells, etc.)
The rest is silence. Go, bid the soldiers: Shoot.
Hey! Not meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
(Firing squad. Shouts. And:)
Right. (Clapping hands together.) So what do we have for breakfast around here?
(A burst of laughter, applause, cheers. A curtain swings shut, and sound fades out, as:)
(From the wings, two people emerge: ROSA KRANTZ and GILDA STERN. Both probably female. They tiptoe on. Rustle the curtain back. Take in the dead bodies, some still groaning.)
ROSA. Well. That escalated quickly.
GILDA. Did it?
ROSA. Yeah. I mean: look at ‘em. All dead. Even that Horatio bloke who was always creeping around and stealing the pasties.
GILDA. He never did!
ROSA. He did! He did! The prince would bugger off to go talk to himself for a while, and this bloke (Kicking HORATIO who groans.) would nip down to the kitchen and nick all the tarts.
GILDA. (In wonder .) Thuuuuh bastard.
ROSA. Right. So the way I figure it, he ourght to be dead, right? Stealing other people’s pastries. That’s a capital offense, it is! GILDA. Ahhhhh, but is it, though? I mean, always.
ROSA. Come again?
GILDA. I mean, yes, right, fine, it’s a capitol offense if it’s done here, in Elsinore. But if he, say, stole someone’s tarts outside the capitol, is it really an offense? I mean, say he stole tarts in...oh...I don’t know. Skanderborg...
GILDA. What what.
ROSA. Where’ s that?
GILDA. Where’ s what?
ROSA. No, Skander—
ROSA. I didn’ t say: “Borg.”
GILDA. No, I did.
ROSA. Right, but why?
GILDA. Why what?
ROSA. Why you said: “Borg.”
GILDA. Did I?
ROSA. I thought you did.
GILDA. Can’t trust anything I’d say. I mean, I might accuse this dead guy here (Kickand groan.) of stealing pastries. When he clearly hasn’t.
ROSA. No, I did.
GILDA. Steal pastries?
ROSA. No, accused him.
GILDA. Y ou never!
ROSA. I think I did.
GILDA. That wasn’ t me?
ROSA. Y ou accused him?
GILDA. Didn’ t I?
ROSA. Then who accused me?
GILDA. Of what?
ROSA. Stealing tarts!
GILDA. Well, I never did!
ROSA. What’ s that in your hand then?
GILDA. It’ s a skull, innit?
ROSA. Not that, I meant your other hand.
GILDA. This? O, it’ s Y orik. I knew him.
ROSA. Glad someone did.
GILDA. Two someones did: you and me.
ROSA. I didn’t know him.
GILDA. Y ou just said you did!
ROSA. No. That’ s what you said.
GILDA. (Slyly.) And I am...?
ROSA. Oh no. W e’ re not doing this.
GILDA. (Cleverly.) Doing what—?
ROSA. (Interrupting.) Doing this whole: “Who am I? Who are you? Who are we together?” That’s what got these blokes killed to begin with.
GILDA. I thought it was tarts.
ROSA. Got the tarts, too.
GILDA. But not us!
ROSA. Not us! And I aim to keep it that way. I, myself, the woman known as—
GILDA. Rosa Krantz. And me, myself, the woman known as—
ROSA. Gilda Stern...
ROSA. Ummmm. Me, Rosa Krantz. And—
GILDA. Y ou?
ROSA. Gilda Stern? (Pause.) Look here. I can’t be both of us.
GILDA. Don’t much matter to me who I am. A woman waits her whole life in the wings. Don’t matter much what her name is, is it? Is it?
ROSA. Is it?
GILDA. Naw! Don’t matter if you’re Gilda and I’m Rosa, or you’re Cranky and I’m
Stern! It’s all the same. They’re dead. ROSA. And we’re alive.
ROSA. But are we?
GILDA. (Mouth full.) Well, I’m eating a tart. ROSA. No, you’re not. (Thwapping it to the floor.) GILDA. Hey!
ROSA. I’m Rosa Krantz. You’re Gilda Stern. And we are not doing this.
GILDA. I was eating that! And anyway, not doing what.
ROSA. Not knowing who we are. Changing our identities. Giving into existential dread.
GILDA. (Aside.) I don’t feel any existential dread...
ROSA. (Barely pausing.) I mean: aside from tarts, what got all these high-falutin’ blighters in the end? They had everything they needed: sex, money, power—
GILDA. (Aside.) A diminishing stockpile of tarts...
ROSA. (Continuing, regardless.) I mean, sure, they saw the occasional ghost, had a tendency to hide behind curtains, got seriously invested in their live entertainment, and wandered off at the slightest provocation to soliloquize—
GILDA. It was the curtains.
GILDA. The curtains killed ‘em.
ROSA. No, it wasn’ t.
GILDA. If they hadn’t hidden behind curtains, they’d have lived. I’m sure of it.
ROSA. No, I’m telling you. It was existential dread.
GILDA. Well, I dreaded those curtains. Terrible shade of puce.
ROSA. The colour of the curtains isn’t in question.
GILDA. It was puce.
ROSA. Right. Yes. Sure. But it was the dread of curtains—
ROSA. I mean, existential dread—
GILDA. Never know if you’re existing, when you’re behind a curtain.
ROSA. Sorry...what’s that?
GILDA. When you stand behind a curtain. You never know if you’re existing.
ROSA. Yes, you do.
GILDA. Well, alright, you know. But does anybody else?
GILDA. No. Does anybody else know that you exist.
ROSA. Ahhhhh. Schroedinger’s Curtain.
ROSA. (Aside.) Or Skanderborg’ s Curtain.
ROSA. (Aside.) Schopenhauer’ s Curtain?
GILDA. A woman waits her whole life in the wings—
ROSA. (Aside. Triumphantly.) Shower Curtain. (Hearing.) What?
GILDA. “A woman waits her whole life in the wings.” Wings of what, I wonder?
ROSA. Well, all the world’s a stage, innit?
GILDA. Is it? Cor. That would explain all those blighters sitting there. Listening to us. Halloooo! (Very close to the microphone.) Halloooooooooooooooooo!
ROSA. Right. “A woman waits her whole life in the wings—”
GILDA. (Aside.) Dunno why they can’t see me.
ROSA. Certain of her existence.
GILDA. (Aside.) I mean. I’m standing here!
ROSA. Standing here, her whole life in the dark.
GILDA. (Aside.) I think I saw a lightswitch somewhere here.
ROSA. Watching kings and murderers run madly back and forth—
GILDA. (Turning on the switch, with a flourescent buzz.) Coo-ee! This is a lot of dead bodies. Hmmm. Better find a mop. (Footsteps retreat. Squishily.)
ROSA. Waiting for our moment, for the lights to dim, and some distant, booming voice to call us on, to say our cue, to bid us speak aloud:
GILDA. (At a distance.) I GOT THE MOP!
(Metallic rumbles as she rummages in the supply closet and re- enters, mopping and whistling—all underscoring:)
ROSA. I mean—I mean...WHEN ARE WE EXISTING? (Pause.)
GILDA. Here. I’ll prove it.
(She stomps up and pinches ROSA who yelps.) GILDA. See? There you are. I pinched you.
GILDA. So you exist.
GILDA. Now you pinch me.
GILDA. Did you? Didn’t see it. Can’t see nothing, really. Wonder why that is. Pinch me again.
GILDA. Huh. Maybe I am dead. Here. Let me try...
(She pinches ROSA who yelps.)
ROSA. Stop pinching me!
GILDA. Nope. You’re alive.
ROSA. (Being pinched.) Hey! Hey! Heeeeeeeey! GILDA. Which means I’ m alive.
ROSA. How do you reckon?
GILDA. I said: you pinch me.
ROSA. I did.
GILDA. Well, who else is pinching you?
ROSA. I could be pinching myself.
GILDA. Go on, then.
ROSA. ...I don’t want to.
GILDA. There. You see? Problem solved. But the question is: if you exist, and I exist...who ate all the tarts?
ROSA. No, no, no, that isn’t it at all.
GILDA. (Rifling through HORATIO’S coat.) Bet he’s got ‘em in his pockets.
ROSA. That’s not what I’m talking about at all.
GILDA. Well, it’s what concerns me now, frankly. Woman’s got to eat.
ROSA. Look: I’m conducting an experiment.
GILDA. Not coin flipping again.
ROSA. What? Don’t be ridiculous. They don’t pay us enough to flip a coin.
GILDA. Right. (Pause. Then:) Do they pay us?
ROSA. Not in coins. Anyway—
GILDA. (Aside.) Happy if they paid in tarts.
ROSA. The point is—
GILDA. (Aside.) I’d even eat a shower curtain.
ROSA. How do we know we’re alive?
GILDA. Come again?
ROSA. Alive? How do we know we’re alive.
GILDA. You did feel me pinch you earlier.
GILDA. I’d think that’s proof enough!
ROSA. But intellectually. Know.
GILDA. Is your body breathing?
GILDA. Like this body (Kick, groan.) en’t?
GILDA. Then what else do you need?
ROSA. To do more than just exist!
GILDA. Y ou’re doing more than just existing!
ROSA. What? What am I doing? You’re eating tarts from a dead man’s body. (HORATIO groans.) I’m just...just soliloquizing.
GILDA. Like the prince.
ROSA. Like the dead prince.
GILDA. (Aside.) Wasn’t dead when he soliloquized. Rather wish that I were, though.
GILDA. After you.
ROSA. Right. A man—
ROSA. Woman, thank you. A woman—
GILDA. (Pulling out a:) Tart!
ROSA. No, no, a woman.
GILDA. Who’ s a tart.
ROSA. O, go eat something.
GILDA. (Munching.) I am. Need a bit to drink though. (Seeing in a corpse’s hand.) Oooooh! A cup! (Clink as she picks it up.)
ROSA. A woman waits her whole life in the wings.
GILDA. (Aside.) This was the king’s, it was. Well, he en’t gonna drink it now, eh?
ROSA. Waiting. Waiting and wondering if she’s alive, or if she’s just a member of the audience, listening in on someone else’s play.
GILDA. (Aside, drinking.) Bottom’ s up!
ROSA. Waiting, practicing—possibly—the story of the life she’d like to live. Rehearsing for the moment someone pulls aside the curtain and asks her for her name. While all the world is running mad, does no one ever wonder who else lives behind the curtain? Whose lives we never see? Not that, perhaps, they’re very interesting lives. Not big lives, no. But quiet. Small. Stories waiting to be seen. People waiting to be heard. Waiting, waiting patiently, for anyone to say the cue to summon her to stage. To summon her to life! Waiting patient— like a monument. No, not like a monument. Like a—(To GILDA.) Don’t say it. Not a tart. Patient like...like...like a very patient person. Like...
GILDA. A stage hand?
GILDA. Ahhh. Like a shower curtain.
ROSA. Sure. Patient like a shower curtain. Useful like a shower curtain. In service like a shower curtain. As—invisible as a shower curtain...
GILDA. (Aside.) Not much of a shower curtain if it don’t protect your modesty.
ROSA. Modest like a shower curtain.
GILDA. (Swirling the pearl noisily in the cup. Aside.) Here, wazzthiz? There’s something funny at the bottom of this mug. Looks like a pearl. (Takes it out and sniffs.) Coo-ee! That’s a smell. (She pops it in her mouth.) Not very yummy, either. Poison me, I shouldn’t wonder. (She swishes it around her mouth a bit. ‘Til:) Oooooh, look! A sword!
(GILDA grabs a weapon, fighting in the background against herself, as ROSA continues soliloquizing downstage.)
ROSA. What I mean...what I mean...right...What I mean is: there’s got to be more than just...just...thinking about life. Talking about it. Waiting for someone else to step aside before you come out from the curtain, and start living for yourself.
GILDA. (Swishing the sword.) A vast ye! Y a! Y a!
ROSA. After all: what makes this fellow’s story so worth telling, eh? He thought too much. So do I. What makes some dead, dumb, Danish Prince’s more important than me?
(GILDA’S sword noises become decidedly light saber- ish, and there’ s increased ventilated breathing.)
GILDA. (Ventilated.) “Hamlet. I am your father.” (Unventilated.) “Nooooooo!”
ROSA. Exactly! No! No, indeed! Why, the truth is—curtain, or no curtain—we’re the one’s who’re still alive, en’t we? They sat around and plotted revenge and drank poison cups—
ROSA. But us? We’re living! And breathing! And loving, and...and...swordfighting? And eating tarts—
GILDA. (Stopping fighting.) Ooooh! Where?
ROSA. Eventually. And, really, there’s no need to wait behind the curtain for our cue. A cue that might never come, unless we make the cue ourselves. I mean: look at that Fortinbras fellow!
GILDA. (Opening doors, etc.) Ooooooh! Where?
ROSA. They talked about him incessantly. Could have showed up any time he liked. Finally made his entrance once everything was done. Then scarpered up or something. Never saw him again. But the point is: he entered. So why not us? Why not me?
GILDA. (Opening more doors, with something approaching flirtation.) Cooooo- EE! Fortin-baby! Where’re you hiding, luv? (Popping out the poisoned pearl.) You know, I think this might be poison. Hmm. (She pops it in again, and continues looking around.)
ROSA. After all, all that’s required to live—I mean really, truly, honest-to-God LIVE— is to stop thinking about living, and just go out there...or even stay in here...or be anywhere and declare: “Hello, world! I’m here, and I’m alive! I’m alive! And I’m important! I’m not much, but I’m still here.” That’s more than I can say for these poor blighters. (Kick, groan.) “A woman waits her whole life in the wings.” Well, I’m done waiting. It’s about...about making your own stage, if they won’t invite you on. It’s about keeping a small diary of the little things that happen. The tarts you ate. The bodies you cleaned up. The soliloquies you...soliloquied. Not grand, heroic swordfights, no. But the things you overlook. From the miraculous to the mundane—which is just the miraculous in disguise, after all. It’s about not waiting for permission to do something that interests you...
GILDA. (Creaking open a door, intimately, in one speaker.) Well. I’ll be...! What. Is. This?
ROSA. (In the other speaker.) As that dead bloke said: There is a certain providence in the fall of every sparrow. Of every stage hand. A woman waits her whole life in the wings. The readiness is all. Let be.
GILDA. (Both speakers.) Hsssst! Gilda!...No. Rosa? No. Whatever. Oi! You!
ROSA. Let be.
GILDA. (Through one speaker. The distant sound of daylight, birdsong.) Cor. En’t it beautiful.
ROSA. Hmm? What is?
GILDA. Y eah.
ROSA. Where is it?
(Footsteps as ROSA joins GILDA. And the world returns to stereo.)
GILDA. Dunno. Found it after I licked this pearl. Try it.
ROSA. Here, we’re not dying are we? Bright light. Open door. Seems rather poetic all of a sudden. Not like a shower curtain at all.
GILDA. No, it isn’ t, is it?
ROSA. (Sniffing.) Do I smell...
GILDA. Tarts? Yeah. I do, too. C’mon, then!
ROSA. Wait. There’s a lot to clean up here, though. All these...bodies.
GILDA. Leave ‘em.
GILDA. Let be. (Distant tinkling music.) I think I hear...a carnival? (Distant laughter. And:) I’m going.
(The sounds increase as the door opens, then:)
ROSA. Wait! What if it’s...what if it’s...(Makes the throat slitting
sound.) Y’know. (Makes a very long dying sound.) GILDA. What?
ROSA. Yeah! I told you: it’s poetical. And you’ve been slurping on the poisoned pearl and drinking the poisoned wine and playing with the poisoned poniard!
GILDA. I never—! (A moment as this settles in.) Wait. Have I?
ROSA. That’ s how everybody died!
GILDA. I thought it was by curtains!
ROSA. I thought it was by over-thinking things.
GILDA. (Creaking open the door again. The jolly sounds increase.) So that’s death then, is it? Someone calling you on to make another cue.
ROSA. At least this time they called us.
GILDA. Doesn’t seem so bad. Smells better than this place.
ROSA. On the other hand, it might be something else.
GILDA. What? Like Skanderborg?
GUILDA. Nevermind. The countryside.
ROSA. Could be. Could be this is a, whatdoyoucallit...
GILDA. Skanderborg. Definitely looks like Skanderborg.
GILDA. No. Metaphor’ s in Greece.
ROSA. I meant, like an analogy.
GILDA. (Wisely.) Ah. You mean a Simile. That’ s in Argentina.
ROSA. No. I don’t—I mean—
GILDA. Ah. (A revelation.) Adventure!
ROSA. I don’t follow.
GILDA. Y ou said you wanted to.
GILDA. Know if you’re still living.
ROSA. Know how to be alive.
GILDA. So what if this is that? Not death, but life. A different stage. A cue we make ourselves. Living, and Adventure, and Tarts and, and and—Skanderborg! (Beat.) I say we do it.
ROSA. What? Go through this door? Change genres?
GILDA. Why not? (Carnival increases.) The readiness is all.
ROSA. “The readiness is all.” (Deep breath.)
GILDA. (Behind your ear .) Let be.
(The door creaks opens more. The sound of running feet. The music of a carousel. Children laughing. You can almost smell the candyfloss...and beneath, the subtle heartbeat of ROSA, as she hesitates.)
ROSA. A woman spends her whole life waiting in the wings— (An intake of breath. All sound—)
GILDA. Let’ s go.
(A beat. A step.)
(The joyful rush of people greeting them, as the carnival plays on.)
(The door clicks gently behind, and:) (All the rest—)