Field Guide to Fictional Birds

Big Bird aves flavis, length 8’2,” wingspan 20′: Large yellow bird often confused with members of the canary, condor, and whooping crane families. Diet of cake. Flight pattern unknown due to lack of flight, but often seen around Sesame Street, NY. Unfortunately we cannot tell you how to get there. Voice: ab-keddef-gajihkel-monop-quristuv-wixyz

Tweety aves parvisflavis, length 13cm, wingspan 7″: Tiny yellow bird. Member of the canary family. First androgynous bird to star in his…her…? own show. Diet of Cheerios™. Flight pattern: away from Sylvester. Voice: I tawt I taw a puddy tat

Road Runner aves velis, length 52-62cm, wingspan 43-61cm: Incredibly fast and long-legged bird in the cuckoo family. Diet of smaller animals and insects which it kills by slamming them against the ground with what seems like the force of an anvil. Spends most of its time on the ground in the desert. Can be found running from coyotes. Voice: Beep, Beep

Toucan Sam aves luculentus, length 15″, wingspan 4′: Colorful bird with the incredible ability to smell out Froot Loops®. Eats mostly cherries, lemons, and oranges. Travels wherever his nose takes him. Voice: OOT-fray OOPS-lay

Iago ara irritis, length 81cm, wingspan 45″: Selfish, mischievous, and colorful this scarlet macaw feasts on fruits, nuts, and deceit. Often loves warmer and tropical climates, but can also be found spelunking in the Cave of Wonders. Voice: annoying

*Inspiration courtesy of my Life Partner 4 Life.

 

Field Guide to Fictional Birds

#tbt

This was a project in which I had to use characters from different plays to make a point. My point was to show that some of these characters were able to put into action their ideas, while others were completely unable to act upon their convictions. You may not understand completely if you haven’t read Another Antigone, Antigone, Hamlet, and Waiting for Godot, but hopefully you can enjoy anyway. Warning: I was not and am still not a very good playwright but where stage direction is lacking I hope I make up for it in dialogue. Enjoy!

Actions and Words

Act I. Scene I.

A country road. A tree.

Evening.

Enter Hamlet.

Hamlet: To be, or not to be: that is the question:

Whether ‘tis nobler…

From offstage.

Judy: Words, words, words. (Enter Judy.) You said it yourself. Seriously, all you do is stand there and speak; when are you going to do something about it?

Hamlet: Who are you? Who sent you?

Judy: Nobody sent me, you think that I can’t go somewhere on my own? Sheesh, you are just like my anti-Semitic professor. Just because I am a Jewish girl doesn’t mean that I don’t have a brain.

Hamlet: Why must you speak so much?

Judy: You are the one who talks too much. Why don’t you do something?

Hamlet: Revenge is the sweetest sound to my ear,

But ‘tis my lack of courage that delays me.

Judy: I could teach you a thing or two about courage, just look at me! You just have to make up your mind and go for it. My play would never be being put on if I hadn’t stood up to my professor. My Antigone is better than the old one, stronger, smarter. You just have to stand up for yourself, that’s all.

Hamlet: Whatever are you talking about?(aside)

Thy child is as mad as dear Ophelia.

Judy: What did you say? I heard you talking to the audience, I don’t have to stand for this.

Judy makes her way to the left.

Judy: (Muttering to herself) I can’t believe the way I am being treated. Oh! I had an idea, my Antigone can be a woman wrongfully put in a mental asylum. Yes. I must rewrite immediately. (To Hamlet) See this is what it is like to make up your mind and act upon it.

Judy exits left still muttering ideas to herself.

Hamlet: And I worried of dear Ophelia,

More madness exists in that poor soul.

Exit Hamlet shaking his head in disappointment.

 

Act I. Scene II.

 

Enter Vladimir. He looks around. Walks to the tree and looks behind it. Walks back to center stage and takes off his hat. Examines his hat and places it back on his head. Begins to look around again.

 

Vladimir: Hello!

From offstage.

Estragon: Hello!

Vladimir: Hello!

Estragon: Hello!

Vladimir: Gogo!?

Estragon: Didi!?

Enter Estragon.

Vladimir: Oh, Gogo!

Vladimir runs to embrace Estragon.

Estragon: Get off me!

Vladimir: I thought that you left me.

Estragon: I should have.

Vladimir: That would be a tragedy.

Estragon: A relief.

Vladimir: A tragedy.

Estragon: A relief.

Vladimir: A travesty… Something is different.

Estragon: Different from what?

Vladimir: From yesterday.

Estragon: We’ve been here before?

Vladimir: Oh, of course; you don’t remember?

Estragon: I’ve never seen this place before.

Vladimir: We were here yesterday! (less sure) We were here yesterday. (even less sure) We were here yesterday.

Silence.

Estragon: What do we do now?

Vladimir: Wait for Godot.

Estragon: Ah! (silence) I am going. (exits left)

Vladimir: Gogo!

Estragon enters left.

Estragon: They’re coming!

Vladimir: Who?

Estragon: I don’t know. (Runs offstage right) They’re coming there too.

Vladimir: Is it Godot?

Estragon: I don’t know. Hide!

They don’t move.

From left storms Judy. From right enters Antigone.

Judy: I can’t believe that there is another man as ridiculous as Professor Harper. Neither of them would know a good piece of work if it bit them in the…

Antigone: What are you ranting about? Can you not see that there are others here with bigger problems?

Estragon: Which one is Godot?

Vladimir: Neither one is Godot!

Estragon: Is Godot a man?

Vladimir: Yes. No. Yes

Estragon: Have you seen Godot?

Vladimir: No.

Estragon: Godot could be a woman.

Vladimir: Godot isn’t a woman. Is he? She? Ask one of them.

Estragon: Excuse me.

Judy and Antigone turn to look at the two men. They have paid no attention to them before this point.

Vladimir: Ask!

Estragon: Er… I was wondering… are either one of you… Godot?

Antigone: No.

Judy: No, don’t you guys know that Godot never shows up? Have you never read that play?

Vladimir: A play?

Judy: Some play about two stupid guys that do absolutely nothing. We studied it in school a long time ago. They talk about weird things and just stand there; they even suggest hanging themselves at one point.

Vladimir: (Astonished) Gogo! That is us. We talked about hanging ourselves yesterday.

Estragon: What are you talking about? We weren’t here yesterday. We have never been here before.

Antigone: Silence! I am deep in thought.

Poor Polynices needed my help,

And I gave that to him with pride.

I fear however that I may have rushed into my decision.

No! I do not regret my actions.

Creon’s stubborn actions are the reason why

So many had to die.

Judy: Creon? You mean King Creon.

Antigone: I know no other Creon. I knew no other Creon.

Judy: Wait… Are you Antigone?

Antigone: Yes.

Estragon and Vladimir look back and forth at each woman as she speaks.

Judy: (Gleefully) I have so many questions to ask you. My professor says that I know nothing of tragedy and that I know nothing of the play about you, but I will prove him wrong; who better to ask about it all than Antigone herself?

Antigone: There is a play about me?

Judy: You bet. And I wrote another one about you. Sort of.

Antigone: I don’t have time for such trivial things as theatre.

Judy: Trivial! Not mine. My main character, you, except I renamed her to Judith, she is a famous scientist, like my boyfriend will be someday…

Antigone: A scientist?

Judy: You know, someone who studies science and stuff. All that is Greek to me. Ha.

Antigone: I don’t think that science is Greek specifically. Others regions are sure to study science.

Judy: Never mind. Anyway she is a scientist, no wait, I changed her into a mental patient who is wrongly accused. Oh yeah, and then I changed her name to Ashley. Anyway, she must fight her way out of the mental hospital because she doesn’t belong there and her doctor thinks that she is crazy and so he won’t let her leave and then…

Antigone: You are speaking in riddles worse than the Sphinx.

I do not understand you. You are like Ismene though,

You change your mind as often as a bird flies by.

Judy: What? You don’t like my play either. You of all people don’t like my play. I don’t believe this. I have written a true tragedy and no one appreciates it.

Antigone: A tragedy? You do not understand tragedy;

You cannot understand tragedy.

Tragedy results from causes that you are blind to;

My father could better see them as well as the blind Tiresias.

Tragedy is… (In realization) Tragedy is when

Two minds are too stubborn to let up.

Tragedy is when the gods have not given

One the power to see one’s flaws.

Tragedy is when a lost soul is willing

And eager to give up everything

For nothing.

Judy: Can I use that speech in my play?

Antigone: You, are a tragedy.

Antigone turns and exits from where she came.

Judy: Well, she was interesting.

Vladimir: Intriguing.

Estragon: Depressing.

Vladimir: Intriguing.

Estragon: Interesting.

Judy: You guys are ridiculous. Is no one sane?

Judy exits to the left leaving Vladimir and Estragon alone.

Estragon: I’m leaving.

Vladimir: You can’t.

Estragon: Why not?

Vladimir: We are waiting for Godot.

Estragon: Wasn’t she Godot?

Vladimir: No. Maybe we should leave, and come back tomorrow.

Estragon: And wait for Godot?

Vladimir: We have to.

Estragon: O.K. Let’s go.

They don’t move.

 

Act II. Scene I.

 

Next day. Same time.

 

Same place.

 

Enter Antigone.

Antigone: What has been done cannot be changed;

Actions are stronger than any spoken word.

Polynices has received a proper burial,

And I have chosen my fate.

Enter Hamlet.

Hamlet: Do I disturb you, fair lady?

Antigone: No, I was just thinking in the open.

Hamlet: I have a tendency to do so myself.

Antigone: Thinking like that is absurd, I find.

If a mind never leaves the same subject,

Nothing is bound to be accomplished.

Hamlet: Surely you don’t mean to rush into any action?

Antigone: Sometimes that can be for the better.

Hamlet: A certain amount of planning and thought

Undoubtedly must be put into any action.

Antigone: Some actions require just that, action.

Hamlet: And if one is afraid to act?

Both ponder the question.

Enter Vladimir.

Vladimir: (singing) A dog came in the kitchen

And stole a crust of bread.

Then cook up with a ladle

And beat him till he was dead.

Then all the dogs…

Antigone and Hamlet: Silence!

Vladimir looks at them with the face of a sad puppy. He quietly walks over the tree and sits.

Antigone: (to Hamlet) One must act.

Antigone start walking to the right. Just before she leaves the stage she is halted by Hamlet’s voice.

Hamlet: It was a true pleasure conversing with thee.

I could only hope for half your strength,

And half your mind, but I fear I require

All your courage.

Antigone turns back to leave but stays with her back to Hamlet.

Antigone: There is nothing I have that you could ever want.

I do not regret what I have done, Polynices was my brother,

But it is not his fault for me having lost everything,

It is my own blind hubris that I regret.

With that, she leaves.

Hamlet: I am not exactly sure what she means,

But her story sounds like that of Antigone.

Blind as her hubris may be, she acted

On her will, which is more than can be said of me.

Hamlet exits with a purpose to the left.

Vladimir is left alone.

Vladimir: (Almost whispering) A dog came in the kitchen

And stole a crust of bread.

Then cook up with a ladle

And beat him till he was dead.

Then all the dogs came running

And dug the dog a tomb…

 

Act II. Scene II.

 

Vladimir is still sitting under the tree. He has ceased singing and is now crying with his head resting on his knees. Enter Estragon from the left.

Estragon: What happened?

Vladimir looks up and immediately stops crying. He jumps to his feet and runs to Estragon, arms outstretched.

Vladimir: Gogo!

Estragon: Don’t!

Vladimir stops himself just before hugging Estragon.

Vladimir: Did they beat you up again?

Estragon: Leave me alone.

Vladimir: I would have protected you.

Estragon: You couldn’t have; there were ten of them.

Vladimir: But I would have…

Enter Judy from the left.

Judy: Boys, boys, let’s not argue about such silly things, we have work to do. Now since Dave is too busy to play the part of Haimon, I mean Greg, no wait… I think I changed his name to Louis. Anyway, I need one of you to play the part. Which one of you wants it?

Vladimir and Estragon look at each other in confusion.

Vladimir: Is she asking us to act?

Estragon: We can’t act.

Vladimir: Impossible.

Estragon: Inconceivable.

Vladimir: Preposterous.

Estragon: Inconceivable.

Judy: Ugh! You two are incapable of doing anything.

Enter Hamlet, his head lowered in shame.

Hamlet: How could I have been so utterly wrong?

I have missed my purpose completely;

Nay, I have avoided my purpose at

All costs. I must act upon my father’s

Requests. My incestuous uncle must die.

Judy: Hey, before you go off and make him drink a whole bunch of poison, would you mind doing me a favor? Do you think you can act?

Hamlet: Can I act? Have you not seen my complete

Inability to act? My dear child,

I have no time to converse; time is lacking.

I must fulfill my fate; that I know now.

Hamlet exits to the right with much more difficulty than before.

Judy: Well, there goes another actor. I will never find anybody in time to fill the role; my show is tonight. This is a complete mess…

Judy continues ranting.

Estragon: Shall we hang ourselves?

Vladimir: Maybe we should wait for Godot.

Estragon: What if he doesn’t come?

Judy: (interrupting) Does this Godot act?

Estragon: We should hang ourselves.

Judy continues ranting.

Vladimir: We went through this already. We don’t have any rope.

Estragon: We should bring some tomorrow.

Vladimir: Tomorrow, yes tomorrow.

Judy: Well I have a show to put on and an actor to find, I can’t sit here and listen to you guys.

Estragon: Hey! We should all leave.

Vladimir: What about Godot?

Estragon: He won’t come, will he?

Vladimir: We should wait for him.

Judy: Guys! He is never going to come. I’m leaving.

Estragon: Me too.

Vladimir: All right, let’s go.

They don’t move.

 

© Autumn Siders 2007

Characters taken from Another Antigone by A.R. Gurney, Hamlet by William Shakespeare, Antigone by Sophocles and Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

#tbt

Even More from the Greeting Card Aisle

Thinking of you. Really my birthday is coming up and I hope you’ll be thinking of me too.
Happy Birthday! Remember, you’re never too old to go on the rides. Unless you don’t meet the height requirement anymore.
Bon Voyage! Enjoy your life in the circus, freak.
Congratulations to the high school graduate! Six years goes by so fast!
Better late than never! Who would have thought getting your period could be a celebration?
Love is blind… Happy blind dating! What’s the worst that could happen?

 

Even More from the Greeting Card Aisle

Things I Learned in College

So many people seem to think that the key to a successful life is getting a college degree. While this may have been important 20 years ago, it seems that a higher education has become just another way for the rich to become richer. For me, college seemed to be a waste of time and money. There was nothing that I learned in the classroom that I couldn’t learn on my own and it would be cheaper to pay for a book instead of a handful of professors who didn’t want to be there. Now I know what you are saying, “obviously you went to a school that just had lower standards.” That may be true in the eyes of some, but I have always believed your education is what you make of it. Whether I went to an Ivy League school or a community college I feel like my experience would have been similar. It seemed like for every good professor I had, there were two bad ones though. From what I hear now, so much material is taught online which certainly makes an education more accessible to those who may not be able to travel, but the one part of my education that I did feel was worthwhile were the conversations and the debates in person. By straying away from this human contact and intellectual banter, schools are taking away the most important thing they could ever teach: how to think. The fact of the matter is that getting an education is no longer about learning, but rather all about making money.

College should not be a wasted time in one’s life though. Here are some things that I learned in my three and a half years away at the university.

-Planning is crucial. In your last semester pick at least two classes in which the content is similar. For instance if you happen to be studying the same time period in two classes at the end of the year, your final papers for both classes might be a little similar. Let’s just say 12 out of 15 references were the same.

-What happens at college, stays at college (with the exception of unwanted pregnancies and STDs). College is really just a bigger high school. There will be so much drama and in 4 years you will be laughing about things that once seemed so terrible. This is a true of life in general, realize it now.

-Don’t stress about picking a major. You can do anything you want to in life even if your degree at the end of it all says Bachelor of Arts. College does not define you, you define who you are.

-Take responsibility. There are plenty of folks who can’t do this still and they call themselves adults. Let this be a time to learn that it is okay to make a mistake. If you mess up, don’t brush it under the rug. Claiming your faults is how learn to fix them. Eating at the dining hall to make yourself sick is not an excuse for why your work isn’t finished.

-Join something! Whether you like music, want to juggle fire, play sports, or feed the squirrels (check it out University of Michigan totally has a club), you will find people that share your interests and quite possibly make your best friends for life. I did.

Things I Learned in College

Spa, They Say

My prison guards obviously think I am stupid. About once a month I get really good at scratching. I scratch people, I scratch furniture, I scratch the carpet. I know when my nails reach a certain length that I am deadly and if someone tells me what to do, they are going to get it! Sure enough though, after the first blood is drawn, I hear those words, “it’s time for spa.”

They think I don’t know what spa is. Spa equals the other three letter word in cat and dog language that means, “RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!” Being in a prison, there are not many places you can run and hide and sure enough, they always get me. The put me into a small portable cell and then I have to ride in that car and then we get to that place. It looks all nice from the outside, there are trees and green grass and birds singing and then you get inside. There the people act all nice too but then they take you in the room. And you hear dogs barking and cats yowling and you know that could be you. Sometimes they take your weight and just announce to everyone that you happen to be creeping closer to 10 pounds. Don’t they know my fur is at least 5 of that? Then they grab you, at this point I am a deer in the headlights. If I don’t move, maybe they won’t see me. Too late, one of them grabs my paw and starts working. Snip Snip Snip! But then the other is rubbing my cheeks and my neck and that kind of feels good. NO! This is bad, this is very bad. In just seconds, my nails are short and dull and useless.

“Spa,” they say. I am on to you. Just wait a month.

Spa, They Say