Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots: A Tale of the Human Condition
An Awesome Play by Holden F. Levack
Setting: Some semi-futuristic city, with lots of chrome and stuff. It’s midday.
Doug 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8
Religion Personified / Jesus Christ
Democracy Personified / Generalized President (Unofficially named El Presidente)
Law Personified / Judges Robe (Unofficially named Scruff McGruff)
Morals Personified / Socrates
(We begin with a picturesque view of the robot city, Robotopia, the land after time! We see the silhouettes of skyscrapers and other Jetson rip-offs. Maybe there’s some fog, and other futuristic junk. Who knows?)
(Doug 1 enters from SL)
Doug 1: (In an aside) He doesn’t know it, but I’ve been following him all day.
(Traveler opens to reveal a mime walking Doug 2)
Doug 2: (In aside) He doesn’t know it, but I’ve been watching him all day.
Together: I know what he’s going to do.
(Doug 2 stops and turns to Doug 1)
Doug 2: Hello Doug.
Doug 1: Hello… Doug.
Doug 2: Hello, Doug.
Doug 1: Hello – Doug.
Together: (With force) Stop! Citizen’s arrest!
(They grab each other’s wrists, and then recoil with a heavy look of disgust)
Doug 1: How dare you…
Doug 2: Don’t touch me…
(Doug 3 and 4 enter from stairs down stage, left and right respectively)
3 & 4: Vandals – Drop your weapons!
1 & 2: We have no weapons!
3 & 4: Drop the contraband!
(They both put one hand in their pocket, and then the other. They turn them out.)
Doug 1: I have nothing.
Doug 2: I have nothing.
1 & 2: Lies! Slander! (They take two steps closer, and then take one step back)
Doug 3: Drop the contraband!
Doug 4: Or we’ll shoot.
Doug 2: You have no weapons.
Doug 1: And we are unarmed.
Doug 2: I am unarmed. Shoot him, Doug.
(Doug 5, 6, 7 & 8 run from the audience and onto the stage via downstage stairs)
5, 6, 7 & 8: You’re under arrest!
1, 2, 3 & 4: Who is?
Doug 6: Doug is.
(Doug 3 steps forward)
Doug 3: Prove it, Doug. I have my rights.
Doug 7: We need no proof! You have no rights!
Doug 5: We have no proof! You need no rights!
Doug 3: No! Doug did it!
Doug 1: Lies! Doug did it!
Doug 4: Villainy! Doug did it!
Doug 8: Impossible! Doug did it!
Doug 6: Ridiculous! Doug did it!
Doug 2: Conspiracy! Doug did it!
Doug 5: Mistrial! Doug did it!
Doug 7: Ludicrous! Doug must’ve done it!
(Everyone gasps, except for Doug 7. Doug 7 looks shocked, and basically screwed. Almost as screwed as I am, for trying to find an ending to this tripe)
Doug 1: Guilty!
Doug 7: Innocent!
Doug 1 & 2: Guilty!
Doug 7: Innocent!
Doug 1, 2 & 3: Guilty!
Doug 7: Innocent!
Doug 1, 2, 3 & 4: Guilty!
Doug 7: Innocent!
Doug 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5: Guilty!
Doug 7: Innocent!
Doug 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6: Guilty!
Doug 7: Innocent!
Doug 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 8: GUILTY!
(They all gather around Doug 7, they look mobbish)
Doug 7: What will you do with me?
Doug 4: We’ll cut off his head!
Doug 2: We’ll crush him with an elephant!
Doug 8: We’ll stone him!
Doug 6: We’ll burn him!
Doug 1: We’ll throw him in the snake pit!
Doug 5: We’ll hang him from a noose!
Doug 3: We’ll nail him to a cross!
(Fun fact: These are all execution methods used throughout the world. Thanks Wikipedia!)
(The lights go crazy. Veiled in smoke, Religion Personified enters USR)
Religion Personified: Whoa, whoa, whoa! I’ve been there and I’ve done that. Believe me, you don’t want to go down that road.
Doug 1 & 8: Why not?
Doug 2 & 6: How come?
Doug 3 & 5: Why shouldn’t we?
Religion Personified: It just doesn’t work. Believe me.
Doug 4: Then what should we do?
Religion Personified: I can’t tell you that, you have to figure it out for yourselves. Believe me, it’s important.
Doug 4: Could you give us a hint?
Religion Personified: Sorry, but I just can’t. Believe me, I’d love to, but I just can’t.
Doug 4: I think we should cut off his head!
Doug 2: I think we should crush him with an elephant!
Doug 8: I think we should stone him!
Doug 6: I think we should burn him!
Doug 1: I think we should throw him in the snake pit!
Doug 5: I think we should hang him from a noose!
Doug 3: I think we should nail him to a cross!
(They begin to argue amongst each other, and eventually, the lights go nuts again. Democracy Personified enters USL)
Democracy Personified: Now hold on there, this just ain’t gonna’ work either.
All Doug’s: Can you help us?
Democracy Personified: Maybe. Let’s try and work this out.
Doug 7: How?
DP: Let’s take it to a vote!
(They all talk about it for a moment)
All Doug’s: Okay.
DP: Who thinks we should cut off his head?
(Doug 4 raises his hand)
DP: Who thinks we should crush him with an elephant?
(Doug 2 raises his hand)
DP: Who thinks we should stone him?
(Doug 8 raises his hand)
DP: Who thinks we should burn him?
(Doug 6 raises his hand)
DP: Who thinks we should throw him in the snake pit?
(Doug 1 raises his hand)
DP: Who thinks we should hang from a noose?
(Doug 5 raises his hand)
DP: Who thinks we should nail him to a cross?
(Doug 3 raises his hand)
DP: Hmm… It appears we have a tie.
(The Doug’s look bewildered and outraged, but not as bewildered and outraged as the reader probably is right now. The lights go nuts, yet again! Law Personified enters DSR)
Law Personified: Let’s settle this peacefully, with a fair trial.
(Each Doug pulls a chair from the wings, and sits down in it, in two rows of four)
LP: Now, I will ask you a few questions. You will then receive a fair decision.
(They nod, Doug 7 looks hopeful. This is his shot at survival)
LP: All right, I will now begin. Answer truthfully.
(They nod once more)
LP: Is he rich?
Doug 1: No.
LP: Is he famous?
Doug 2: No.
LP: Is he a great fighter?
Doug 3: No.
LP: Is he a great lover?
Doug 4: No.
LP: Is he very witty?
Doug 5: No.
LP: Is he very cunning?
Doug 6: No.
LP: Is he beautiful?
Doug 8: No.
LP: I see. Well, this concludes questioning. I will now make my decision.
(The Doug squad returns their chairs to the wings)
LP: He is undoubtedly guilty. You are sentenced to death.
(The mob returns to the circle formation around Doug 7, and they slowly draw closer. As they draw nearer, the lights dim. Suddenly, the lights go crazy again)
(Morals Personified enters DSL)
Morals Personified: Now wait a moment.
All Doug’s: What now?
Morals Personified: You can’t just kill him. It’s not right.
Doug 1: But he was sentenced.
MP: But you can’t kill him, it’s unethical.
Doug 2: Unethical? I don’t understand.
MP: Unethical, meaning against ethics.
Doug 3: But the trial proved his guilt.
MP: That doesn’t mean you can kill this man.
Doug 4: Why not?
MP: You just can’t.
Doug 5: But why?
MP: Because it’s immoral.
Doug 6: Immoral? I don’t understand.
MP: Immoral, meaning against morals.
Doug 8: What about the trial?
Law Personified: Yes, what of my trial?
MP: You can’t kill him, no matter what.
Democracy Personified: His death was ordained, and his guilt was proven.
Religion Personified: I don’t think we should kill him at all. Believe me, it seems like a bad idea.
Democracy Personified: Then what you suggest we should do?
Religion Personified: I don’t know. It’s a complex thing. Believe me, I’m on the fence here.
MP: You just can’t kill him.
Law and Democracy: He was sentenced! He must die!
MP: He must live!
Law: He must die!
Religion: He must live!
Democracy & Law: He must die!
MP & Religion: He must live!
Doug 7: (Over the shouting) I think that maybe we-
Law, Democracy, Religion and Morals: Shut up!
Doug 5: Wait, I changed my mind.
Doug 3: Yeah, me too.
Doug 1: I want to change my vote.
Doug 8: Uh-huh. I’m not sure anymore.
Doug 6: Me neither.
Doug 4: It really is kind of complicated.
Doug 2: I don’t know what to do.
Doug 5: It’s too hard.
Doug 3: Why is it so hard?
Doug 1: Because we make it hard.
Doug 8: Yeah. We’ve complicated matters.
Doug 6: Have we?
Doug 4: Did we, really?
Doug 2: I don’t think we did.
Doug 5: Yeah. We didn’t, we really didn’t.
Doug 3: Wait, they did.
Doug 1: Who did?
Doug 8: Oh, I see. They did.
Doug 6: Oh, I get it. It’s their fault.
Doug 4: Yeah. I follow.
Doug 2: Oh! They did, didn’t they?
Doug 5: Huh? Okay, I understand.
Doug 3: Yeah, me too. I catch your drift.
Doug 1: I don’t quite comprehend. Who complicated matters?
(They all point at the Personifications)
Doug 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8: THEY DID!
Law: (Insulted) How rude. Let’s go some place where we’re wanted.
Religion: Yeah. I know this great coffee shop. Believe me, they do great mochas.
Democracy: Okay, I’m down. We do all want to go, right?
Morals: The coffee is fair trade, right?
(They exit SL. The Doug squadron immediately turns towards Doug 7)
(They start to apologize to each other. Hug each other. Handshakes and whatnot.)
Doug 8: All right, I got to go. Good-bye, John. (Leaves)
Doug 3: Bye, Phil. See you later, Eric. (Leaves)
Doug 6: Not if I see you first. You stay classy, Tom. (Leaves)
Doug 1: Will do. Bye, Greg. (Leaves)
Doug 5: Good night, man. Late’, Luke!
Doug 2: Keep it clean, eh? Sayonara, Steve.
Doug 4: Sayonara, dude. Hey, sorry about all that stuff back there.
Doug 7: Don’t mention it, Steve. It’s no big.
Doug 4: Cool. You want a ride to your car?
Doug 7: That’s okay.
Doug 4: Oh, cool. Have a safe trip, Doug.
Doug 7: I think I will, man. I think I will.
- Title: Rock 'Em Sock 'Em
- Artist: Toastbusters
Written a few years ago - short, non-template sci-fi play.
If I recall the inspiration came from a short conversation between a colleague and I, something like:
"I want to write a play about robots."
"How about... Racist Robots?"
"I'm writing it anyways!"
I realize reading a play in this small space may be a little tenuous. We'll see how it plays out.
- Date: 07/17/2008
- Tags: robots race philosophy