in a typical act of procrastination i was looking @ my old emails to myself from my teen-hood and found this absolute corker that i thought would b a jokes blog post . i wrote this “play” ( in the loosest possible terms ) when i was : fifteen , able to make time to read plays , obsessed w dadaism . reading this back was 1). really funny bc let’s face some of it is factually inaccurate but let’s not knock a girl for tryin’ and 2). heart-warming to c how my interest in dada ( and especially with tristan tzara ) is incredibly formative in why i study art history . really for the longest time ever it was my dream to go to fashion school & become famous for making clothes BUT i think that dada-obsessed-teenage-milly knew rlly she wanted to learn about a r t. sorry this cuts off when let’s face it, u all wanna know what happens in the end , but i will leave it up to ur vivid imaginations . if i remember correctly i was actually gonna kill off marcel duchamp & then write a sequel about how the art world would b if he had been killed off so so early BRO my mind at that age was flying . enjoy this is funny .
also i just wanna say i really rate my stage directions i knew what i was doing . also sorry for no scene 1 / act 1 situation but i had no time for acts back in the day .
Total darkness fills the stage other than the dull light of dawn emitting through a small window. The little amount of sun enables the audience to outline a single, wooden framed bed which holds the figure of a sleeping man. Next to the bed is a wooden chest of drawers which holds a lamp, a notepad and pen and a rimless monocle which reflects the sunrise.
Le Nombril Interlope by Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes plays and utter blackness immerses the stage.
Slowly, dim lighting fills the stage. The tall, male figure switches on the lamp to his left, buttons his shirt and searches for a tie amongst his tie rack (Le Nombril Interlope continues to play). Once the figure is fully dressed, other than shoes, he extends his arm out to pick up his monocle and secures it safely upon his right eye. The man turns from his chest of drawers and faces the audience, holding the pen and notebook by his side.
TRISTAN: Thought is made in the mouth!
Tristan Tzara walks out of his bedroom, off-stage, and strobe lighting of blue, yellow and red starts to light the stage. Le Nombril Interlope plays in the background, sped up, giving the scene an almost psychotic effect.
The Champs-Élysées bursts with colour. Lilies and Irises of various hues light up the street which Tristan Tzara strolls along. Tzara wears an off-white shirt paired with a brown tie. His suit jacket has three buttons, but he has only fastened the top two. A handkerchief neatly sticks out the top of his left pocket. Tzara makes a left turn and takes a seat on a wall beside a bed of red Lilies when a tall, scholarly looking gentlemen approaches.
TRISTAN: A-ha, you made it! Tristan rises again, to shake the unknown gentleman’s hand.
MARCEL: Anything for you, Tzara, my old friend.
The two men smile gleefully at each other and soon embrace in a hug. The man is Marcel Duchamp, a close friend of Tristan’s.
TRISTAN: Have you heard anything more of the Cabaret Voltaire recently? The two men carry on walking down the Champs-Élysées.
MARCEL: Ah, just the same old thing, you know. Zurich has gone mad with negativity, and rightly so. We need to bring it to Paris, New York, even the world.
TRISTAN: Da, I agree. We need to induce the people with nonsense and irrationality-
MARCEL: Through art.
TRISTAN: Da, da. We need to take control, perhaps through a manifesto of sorts.
MARCEL: And a name. We cannot have an art movement which does not possess a title.
TRISTAN: Of course, da, da. This could be an arduous task. Is it too early for a drink?
MARCEL: Never. You know the way to my heart.
Marcel and Tristan carry on talking to one another whilst ambling down the picturesque, Parisian path. Le Nombril Interlope begins to play again, and coloured lights slowly flash hues of red, white and blue upon the street.
Eventually, the two gentlemen turn into a bar named Le Barav. When seated at the bar, the music and lights cease.
MARCEL: Deux whiskies sur le rochers, sil vous plaît. Marcel straightens his tie and nods at the bartender.
BARTENDER: Certes monsieur, à venir jusqu’à. The bartender turns around and begins to assemble the drinks.
TRISTAN: Also, there needs to be more than just the two of us for this to make a difference.
MARCEL: But we are brilliant. (He says with a smirk.)
BARTENDER: Clanks the two tumblers down on the mahogany bar. Monsieur? Neuf euros et cinquante cents, s’il vous plait.
MARCEL: Hands the bartender fifteen euros. Merci, gardez le changement.
The bartender gratefully receives the money and returns to chat with his colleague. Marcel hands a glass to Tristan and they cheerfully clink glasses and nod at one another. The bar plays reticent musical undertones which spark Tzara and Duchamps’ creativity. Marcel draws out a cigar from a rusted silver case he keeps in his jacket pocket and lights it with a scarlet-tipped match.
TRISTAN: I’m not sure you can beat the fire whiskey brings. I feel fully man. I might write a poem about this alcoholic furnace which is burning my insides.
MARCEL: Taking a drag on his cigar. That’s a start, my friend. You know words, poems are your forte. I know visuals, art is mine. I’m making you in charge of this manifesto.
TRISTAN: Da, excellent, da. But first we must come up with a name for this movement.
MARCEL: ‘Da’… it’s Romanian, correct?
TRISTAN: Finishing his whisky and adjusting his monocle. Correct. For yes.
MARCEL: Dada. We will call it Dada!
TRISTAN: Genius! A nonsensical word which fits in perfectly with nonsensical arts. Touché, Duchamp. He raises his glass.
MARCEL: Raising his glass to meet Tristan’s. Touché.
On stage is a white painted brick wall topped with splashes of jet-black ink. The far left wall possesses a large poster which reads ‘NO BOURGEOIS’ in black and red lettering. A second, smaller poster sat next to it which read ‘DADA PHONE’ with Tristan’s name resting underneath. The spotlight is on Tristan Tzara, who wears an old brown suit and no shoes, hanging up pictures and reading words from his poems out loud.
TRISTAN: Art is going to sleep for a new world to be born. Art – parrot word – replaced by Dada, plesiosaurus, or handkerchief. The talent that can be learned makes the poet a druggist today –
Marcel Duchamp and another man walk into the antique building, looking rougher than normal. Their shirts untucked, and shoes unpolished.
MARCEL: A-ha! Proclamation without pretension?
TRISTAN: Turns from the slightly wonky picture frame which holds the Mona Lisa with facial hair. Well, I see someone has been doing their research. Tristan shakes Marcel’s hand. Hans! Wonderful to see you, my dear friend! He then shakes the second gentleman’s hand with a firm grip.
HANS: Tzara! I’m glad to see you’re taking special interest in one of Duchamps’ there. Hans Arp points to the dysfunctional Mona Lisa behind Tristan and friendlily hits Marcel on the back.
Written by Milly Cooke