Daily Dojo

DIPLOMACY - A Sample From The Joshua James Project

A short play sample from my collection The Joshua James Project

DIPLOMACY

CHARACTERS
MAN ONE: Career Diplomat in a suit.
MAN TWO: Career Diplomat in a suit.

SETTING
Outside the United Nations

Lights Up.

MAN ONE stands outside, smoking a cigarette to relieve his stress.

He is joined by MAN TWO.

They nod to each other politely. MAN TWO gestures for a light for his cigarette.

MAN ONE gladly gives him a light.

They both stand and stew for a moment.

ONE
Those bastards.

TWO
I know, I know.

ONE
Those backstabbing bastards.

TWO
I’m with you.

ONE
You can’t trust ‘em.

TWO
You said it.

ONE
They’re just not … trustworthy.

TWO
Not one bit.

ONE
It’s a cultural thing, I think, it’s just not genetically possible for them to be trusted, there’s just something …

TWO
Something somewhere, in their wiring, something in their …

ONE
DNA, it’s in their fucking DNA …

TWO
That’s right, in the DNA, something that’s programmed to be …

ONE
Untrustworthy.

TWO
Untrustworthy, Yeah. Yeah. I’m with you. Yeah.

ONE
Those bastards. After all we’ve done for them.

TWO
Those bastards.

ONE
And there’s no talking to them!

TWO
No communication!

ONE
You try and be reasonable, you state your case with logic and intellect and fucking … fucking …

TWO
Reasonableness!

ONE
Reasonableness! And what do they do? Drop their pants, turn around and immediately start talking out of their ass!

TWO
I know, I know. It’s shameful. Nothing but Ass-talk. It’s a Goddamn shame. It’s like they think every day is their birthday or something.

ONE
Those bastards.

TWO
Those fucking bastards.

ONE
Where would they be without us, anyway?

TWO
Nowhere, that’s where!

ONE
Between you and me …

TWO
Yeah?

ONE
Just between you and I. I sometimes think that the best thing to do in the name of world diplomacy …

TWO
Yeah, yeah?

ONE
Best thing to do, and I wouldn’t say this to anyone else on the council but you …

TWO
I hear you, same from me to you, big guy …

ONE
And this is just my opinion, but I sometimes think that the best thing to do with those people, would be to just simply drop a big fucking nuclear warhead right in the Goddamn center of them. I mean, I’m all about peace, I want the peace just as much as anyone, but sometimes, sometimes you just wanna go, okay, you’re going to be that way? BOOM! Take that you ungrateful fuckers, BANG! WHOOSH! All gone.

TWO
Between you and me …

ONE
Yeah?

TWO
I feel the exact same way.

ONE
I’m telling you …

TWO
That’s not our official policy, mind you …

ONE
Ours neither, of course.

TWO
Our OFFICIAL policy is to TRY and be diplomatic with the stubborn fuckers. TRY TO, anyway.

ONE
Same with us, same with us.

TWO
Because they bring SOME assets to the table.

ONE
A few, a few, that’s true, they do.

TWO
But there are days, I’m telling you, there are days …

ONE
I hear ya …

TWO
There are days when I dream of us, our people, doing just that same exact thing to those greedy fuckers. Just go, is that what you have to say? Okay! Bang! Whoosh! Boom!

ONE
BOOM!

TWO
Bang! All gone!

ONE
All gone! Those bastards.

TWO
Those fucking bastards.

ONE
All we’ve done for them and this is how they treat us?

TWO
It’s a disgrace, how’re they’re behaving, seriously. This is a problem, this is a big serious fucking problem.

ONE
You know what I think? Fuck those guys. You know? Just fuck ‘em!

TWO
Fuck ‘em! Fuck those assholes and their Ass-Talk, fuck ‘em!

ONE
Fuck those fucking bastards. Just what do they offer the world in terms of culture, anyway?

TWO
Shit. Not much.

ONE
Try nothing! Nothing! They make a few decent movies …

TWO
That they do, it’s true …

ONE
But we always remake them for ourselves anyway …

TWO
We do too!

ONE
Other than some cool movie ideas and an okay film festival, they do nothing!

TWO
Fucking nothing!

ONE
Their cuisine is pretty good, too. But other than their food and movies, there is NOTHING that they have to offer to the civilized world, nothing. Those bastards.

TWO
That’s right, those bastards. Wait a minute. You said food?

ONE
Sure, the food is good.

TWO
Are you serious? Their … cuisine?

ONE
Come on, admit it, their food is pretty good, they got good restaurants. I always eat like a pig when I’m over there.

TWO
Wait a minute, wait a minute. Who are we talking about again?

ONE
Who are we talking about? Who do you think we’re talking about?

TWO
Aren’t we talking about the Americans?

ONE
What? Are you fucking crazy? We’re talking about the Goddamn FRENCH, why would you think that we were …

(Short pause as they look at each other.)

TWO
You’re from America, aren’t you?

ONE
And you’re with the French team, aren’t you?

TWO
Mais Oui.

ONE
Well. At least we’re PRETTY MUCH on the same page, save one or two wrinkles.

TWO
Right, right. We should probably …

ONE
Get back to the table, get on with the diplomatic talks …

TWO
Got a lot of work to do …

ONE
You said it, you said it.

(The two men walk off in opposite directions.

They stop and glance each other.

They turn toward the audience.)

ONE
Bastards.

TWO
Bastards.

Blackout.


POSTSCRIPT & PRODUCTION NOTES

This piece was developed and presented through No Shame Theatre (which allows artists to present new, unfinished work, without staging or memorization, in front of audiences) during the white-hot days of protest in New York right before the Iraq War.

“Diplomacy” debuted February 21, 2003, featuring:

Adam Devine as Man One
Joshua James as Man Two

Performed at No Shame Goes To War (Los Angeles), on March 8, 2003. Directed by J.J. Hickey.

? as Man One
J.J. Hickey as Man Two

Performed at No Shame Goes To War (Charlottesville), on March 21, 2003, performed by Chris Patrick and Scott Silet.

Performed at No Shame Goes To War (Cedar Falls), on April 4, 2003, performed by Luke Pingel and Grant Tracey.

An early version of this script was subsequently presented through No Shame Goes To War, a non-profit protest against the war seen at theatre venues throughout the country.

DIPLOMACY received its professional world premiere in the summer of 2006 at The City Theatre in Miami, Florida, as part of their Summer Shorts Festival. James Randolph directed the production.

A personal note. I wrote this piece in one afternoon and performed it that very same night at No Shame (back when it had a New York City branch) with my buddy Adam Devine. Nothing more exciting than to get an idea and put it on stage right away.

It always cheeses me now to hear wealthy pundits proclaim on TV that “everyone thought Iraq had WMDs,” completely forgetting that we renamed french fries and french toast because the French weren’t buying it at the time (not just the French, of course, but the UN and hundreds of thousands of Americans were smart enough to see through it, which is why a half a million Americans marched in protest of the war before the invasion … just in NYC alone).

Like it? There are 44 royalty free plays in The Joshua James Project, please check it out and share with your friends.

Leave a Reply