LIST OF CHARACTERS:
An irate cocker spaniel that loves to talk
Local news anchor, flair for the dramatic
Local weatherman, goofy & uncertain
Special guests on the local news show
Monty Python like ensemble, eight characters
Local authority, burly frame, threatening moustache
A tiny country called Brrrwooohaaahchoooaland.
Population: 3000 according to the census study (2005)
Life Expectancy: 85 years and counting
Sex Ratio: 1.43 (male/female)
Language: English with a touch of gibberish
Transport: Kingstown 7m, Hereford 19m; No railway station
The stage is divided into two neat halves (H1 and H2).
H1 serves as the setting for a local news station complete with an anchor desk (D1), a tall chair (C1), a busy backdrop (B1) and a wooden frame cut into four squares serving as a multi-display screen (W1). During the performance, actors repeatedly pop into W1 from behind while playing guests on the daily news update.
H2, on the other hand is free space used for exposition throughout the performance. There’s a pink park bench bang in its center. A classic radio lies unattended nearby.
Henry, a tan coloured cocker spaniel troops in casually from Stage Right. It seems like a wonderful day. (Beat) But is it really? He stops for a moment, sniffing around suspiciously. He looks up. He looks down. Then, all of a sudden, darts upstage to the park bench on Stage Left. He stops again, this time inspecting the bench to its utmost detail. He switches the radio off. A few anxious moments pass. He winces.
Finally convinced, Henry the dog lies down and takes a nap.
THE DYNAMIC OPENING SOUND OF A TV NEWS BULLETIN
(Henry wakes up with an unfamiliar jolt and barks! at the radio lying nearby.)
(Furiously trying to shut the radio off)
Oh now come on! Can’t a dog get an honest hour of sleep around here? Keep it down you crazy hoodlums or I’ll bite your friggin skulls out! (Beat, now noticing the audience) Oh hullo there. I’m sorry I didn’t realize we had company. No one told me of course…why should they? (Beat) I’m Henry, incase you were wondering. Son of Richard the second, cocker spaniel of the country that is, and his dame Elizabeth, who was quite naturally the first. I’m practically royalty in these parts. (Beat) But I suppose you wouldn’t really care? You must here to meet Buddy or Timothy or some other weasel faced moron who’s had it made. Well guess what…It’s not your lucky day. You’re stuck with me. Buddy the dog, servant of the food chain, man’s most underrated friend. Congratulations! And to think, to think that it all happened because of me. Me! (Beat) I mean, come on! Somebody! Give a dog a bone!
(H1 lights up to reveal the TV newsroom. There are four curious experts filling up the windows of W1 behind. An intense conversation is in progress…)
We’ll Buddy old friend (Beat, in a gameshow tone) can you ‘Guess the Sickness’?
Timmy, this is a tough one… But (Beat) I believe Mrs. Darlington had the case of the licikty lips on Tuesday, Mr. Zelmer here with his tingling knee on Friday, Colonel Alcazar has been sniffing since last Wednesday, and uh… Hot damn! If I’d bet my dog Henry on it, I believe Ms. Primrose won’t have her hair back till late tomorrow afternoon…
Henry. Let’s all bet on Henry the dog. Scoundrels. (Barks!) Wait. Did you get all that? (Beat) Can we have that again Buddy, please?
Certainly Henry. I believe I said Mrs. Darlington had the case of the licikty lips on Tuesday, Mr. Zelmer with his tingling knee on Friday, Colonel Alcazar has been sniffing since last Wednesday, and… Uh, hot damn! If I’d bet my dog Henry on it, that’s you of course, I believe Ms. Primrose won’t have her hair back till late tomorrow afternoon…
Isn’t it just wrong? Buddy of all people, playing (mockingly) ‘Guess The Sickness’? Just so aaargh unfair! I mean why stop here? Let’s just breed little kittens in the house! That’ll be fun hah! Imagine those tiny squirmy little balls of fffur! (Almost gags, Beat) No! This is just wrong! Don’t you all agree? It just gets my… (Beat) You’re not angry at all (Beat) Why the hell not? (Beat) How can you accept something so… (Stops) Heh. They never told you did they? Scoundrels. (Beat) Well, allow me then – you see this “place” where we all live – let’s just say we’re a bit geographically challenged – set on a modest island, in a temperate climate, at a high latitude with one of the world’s biggest oceans on one side, and a huge continent on the other. It’s practically nirvana. (Beat) If by nirvana you mean crappy and utterly irresponsible weather. (Beat) I mean what the hell! It’ll be bright and sunny one minute, and then some jet streams make it rain the next hour, only for those westerly winds that arrive late, as always, and plummet the temperature before your wagging tail can know it! (Beat) We’re always sick! Lickity lips, tricky knees, bushy hair, fuzzy head, tender loins, sneezletons…everything, everyone, all the friggin time! (Beat) Which is probably why we’re called what we are…
(From the wooden frame W1, experts react in sequence)
(Shivering in the cold)
(Puffing from a heat wave)
(Sneezing from a cold)
Brrr-woooh-aaachooo-aland. It’s a bit silly of course, but the name’s kinda stuck. (Beat) You know how it is with names. Some just roll right off the tongue…
What a lovely name – Brrr-woooh-aaachooo-aland!
Yes sir, we’re citizens of Brrr-wooh-aaachooo-aland!
The hills are alive in Brrr-wooh-aaachooo-aland!
We’re positively obsessed with the weather. And why wouldn’t we be?
EXPERT 1 and 2 in sequence:
Its toxic but it smells great!
(Beat) Which is miserable reality I am willing to forgive if! It hadn’t made this guy – Weatherman Buddy Huffington basically as good as God.
Buddy, are you ever wrong? (Beat) Of course not! You’re our weatherman goddammit! That’s better than any doctor we’ve ever produced!
(The four guests behind the screen put up placards with their diseases neatly written on them…)
(Timothy continues while referring to his notes)
Mrs. Darlington did in fact get the lickity lips from the heat wave on Tuesday, Mr. Zelmer’s knee gave way from the wind chill last Friday, Colonel Alcazar has been sniffing since the rainfall this Wednesday, and as it won’t hold up till tomorrow afternoon, Ms. Primrose will just have to live with her bushy hair for another whole day. Fantastic. Just fantastic. I’ll have to stop calling you from now on…This is practically cheati… (He stops due to an urgent message coming through his earpiece) Uh hmm. Hmm hmm. Are you sure? Are you absolutely sure?
(Beat, flustered) Well ladies and gentlemen, guests, Buddy, I don’t know what to say, but it seems like we have a tragedy on our hands… Our very own weather satellite Sparky 2001 has fallen prey to a sudden burst of space debris! (Pause) We’re in a tizzy Brrrwoohaaachoooaland. We’re in a tizzy of humongous proportions.
(Whispers begin around the four squares behind. Some experts get down to the other squares. Some go up, some huddle together. Buddy remains silent. He’s not smiling.)
Buddy, you know what this means don’t you? Without Sparky, we’re a complete mess! How will you warn us of a heat wave, or a cold wave or a tidal wave in advance? What are we going to do? What are you going to do? (Beat) I’m sorry ladies and gentlemen, I know this is uncharacteristic but I’m scared goddammit. I’m scared. (Beat) Sparky’s gone, Buddy silent. I don’t know what to say…
(All eyes are on Buddy. He keeps looking down, muttering to himself. He then slowly gets up and walks towards Henry’s bench without saying a word…)
We’ll there you have it folks. Our favorite weatherman has spoken. (Beat) I suggest you stay indoors tonight, hold your family close by, say your prayers together. We’re in for a bumpy ride. Oh yes… (Beat, composing himself) As always, for Weasel News 11, this is your very own and very anxious anchorman Timothy Brickback, signing out. Goodnight and please stay funky.
(He leans back and continues to informally interact with the guest’s through the screen…)
Buddy was had. He was done for… The daily news had no weather report for weeks…
And now, over to Buddy Huffington for the weath…(Stops, realizing there’s no Buddy…)
He wouldn’t know what to say. Everything he knew, all this love and obsession was ‘cause of Sparky. Without it, he was just plain old Buddy, the guy who lived across the street. The one you met in a bus and never remembered. (Beat) Pretty disheartening isn’t it?
(Beat) And things really did get out of hand. People were sick, schools were closed, offices were shut down. Hell our Mayor got so nervous he even commissioned a special weather tax to fund our new satellite!
(The Mayor enters from Stage Left, then exits briskly…)
10% for women, 20% for men, and 5% for the elderly and pets!
Can you believe it? Charging the elderly! People were angry as hell! And more so with their “favorite” weatherman…
This wouldn’t have happened if Buddy had thought of the problem before…
Shouldn’t he have known that space is dangerous?
What does a weatherman do anyway?
The Mayor and Buddy are in it together!
Good Gosh! This is the death of our nation!
(All this while Buddy has been sitting gloomily next to Henry on the bench. His shoulders stoop as low as possible…)
Well Henry. This had to happen one day I guess. They hate me now. The whole nation. I served them for 10 years straight, and all I get is the crummy weather tax! Dammit I’m paying it too you know. But who cares about that? Everyone just wants to blame Buddy! (Beat) I suppose I had it coming… The only weatherman in the country. Buddy Almighty I would say… I actually thought I could do this forever … Predict the weather, keep the nation healthy, win ‘Guess The Sickness’ every darn time… What the hell did I know! (Beat) No. It can’t end like this. Not when no one remembers… Henry, are you even listening? I have to figure this out…There has to be a better way… I’m Buddy Huffington goddammit! Son of Samuel.T.Cyclone! This is my destiny! Henry? Henry?
(Henry, who was pretending to listen, starts to look around suspiciously again. He looks up and down. Sniffs the ground, put’s his ear to it, and then run’s into the right wings as fast as possible. Just a few moments later, the sound of thunder can be heard. Heavy drops begin to fall on Buddy, whose now sitting drenched on the bench.)
Just great! Even the dog knows the weather before I do! (Beat) Why this lord! Why me! (Beat) But how? (Beat) Now wait a second…(There’s a sudden spark in Buddy’s body language. As if some complex arithmetic is at play inside. He’s muttering to himself almost jumping up in excitement. He pulls out a quirky phone from his pockets…)
Hold the press Timmy boy! I’ve found a way out after all! Call the Mayor if you like. I’m gonna predict the friggin weather tomorrow!
(HI, the next day, the opening sound of the newscast…)
Well Brrrwooohaaahchoooaland, your guess is as good as mine…
Thank-you Timmy. Well, so, I know it’s been a rough few weeks for everyone. It’s been horrid really with people falling sick… So much… No way to be prepared anymore. And you know, I know it’s bad, but it just got me thinking somewhat… Is it really that bad? I mean, think about it… Is it worse than say that horrible weather tax? (Beat) Not that I had anything to do with it…
(A loud murmur amongst the guests behind…)
Wait a minute… Are you actually saying that the nation falling sick is a good idea? (Beat) Buddy my boy have you lost your wonkers?
Ummm…yes Timmy, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Sort of. I think. Ok, let me try and explain. See, it just got me thinking; you know all this sickness and disease. It’s just not right. We’re all too dependent on the weather. (Beat) But isn’t the reverse also true? As in isn’t the weather also… dependent on us?
Let’s try this with an example…(He turns to the guests on the screen behind…) Professor Goosenberry, since when have you been carrying this cold sir?
Since yesterday I suppose Buddy…It was rotten last evening, and its been acting up all day. That’s because I didn’t take my pills of course…I just didn’t know what to expect…
Of course. Of course. Thank you. (Beat) Madame Primrose, how has the hair been all day?
Well Buddy dear, it’s been bushy all week really, but it’s seems to be settling in since the morning came…
Fantastic. And the tingling knee Herb? It hasn’t been bothering you all week has it?
Not till yesterday no Buddy. Just on my way here.
Hmmm. I’m not surprised. Ok, thank you all. Just one last question Timmy, and this one’s for the Mayor. (Beat) May I see inspect your tongue sir?
What monstrosity is this! (Coughs) Timothy – I’ll have you removed for bringing such (Coughs) despicable men on your show again! (Coughs)
Just this once Mayor. You can have us fired the very next minute… (The Mayor looks around, at Timothy, and at the other guests and then reluctantly obliges…) Just as I thought. Swollen like a plump. (Beat) Well Timmy I think I’m made my case.
What case Buddy? You’ve asked everyone their illnesses, insulted the Mayor and almost had me fired! Where’s the weather update you promised boy?
Timmy, Timmy, Timmy. Always so restless. Don’t you see? Professor Gossenberry has a cold that’s acting up, Madame Primrose’s hair is settling in, Herb’s knee tingled only this morning and the Mayor’s tongue is swollen like a steaming gorilla! (Beat) It’s getting cold goddamitt! That explains everything. Trust me when I say this, tomorrow morning will be wind chills through the day. Hot damn! I even bet my dog Henry on it!
He was right of course. Though I’m not sure I like being the central pivot of all his conviction.
(The next day, the opening sound of the newscast…)
(Wearing a muffler) He’s right as if he’d never gone wrong. Buddy Huffington, Buddy Almighty, and my loyal friend. The chill is in the air, the mufflers are on the streets, and Buddy, our favorite weatherman, is back in business!
And this didn’t just stop here. Buddy kept on just the same way. Everyday meant a new group of guests, a new prognosis and poof – the weather for the day.
(Guests keep shifting positions. New guests pop in and out of W1…)
(Rolling a cloth banner that falls in front of his desk)
Buddy says sunny, carry your Ray ban’s tomorrow folks!
(The next day banner from the desk)
It’s springtime on my calendar, but Buddy say’s it going to get messy. Burberry’s everyone!
(The next day banner from the desk)
Don’t go by the books. Just tune in to Buddy Almighty! He’s better than the average satellite floating around in space…
Hell, even I got in on all the excitement…
We’ll Timmy, Henry was indoors all night with one ear perched firmly to the ground… I believe we have a storm on our heels!
Things got so good that the weather tax was completely abolished. In fact, Buddy got so good at asking questions that he replaced Timmy when Timmy went off on vacations… (Beat) And many vacations they were…
(Timothy jumps up from his chair with a bag and walks off stage right. Buddy takes his seat; Velcro’s in his tie and continues…)
Well there you have it folks, the sesame buns are made from the same buns as regular buns, and the chicken eggs are perfectly safe for the chicken herself…(Buddy continues talking, but at a lower volume…)
And to think it all began here, on this very bench, from silly old me – Henry the dog, the dirty rotten mongrel, who ran in when he heard the rain coming from the west…
Till another time Brrrwooohaaahchoooaland, this is your very own weatherman, and sometime anchorman, Buddy Huffington, signing out. Good night and please stay chunky.
What? (Beat) You remember right?
END OF SCENE.
END OF PLAY.