Open Skies ZERO:
Prelude to a New Life
[Next day. Morning. Street set (same as Scene 1). Old man still asleep. Red and Angel sleeping. Angel slowly opens her eyes. In a couple seconds, she realizes Eagle isn’t there. She hurriedly shakes Red.]
Angel: Wake up, Red. Wake up.
[Red is startled awake.]
Angel: He’s gone. The eagle! He’s gone! Was it just a dream?!
[Red stands up while saying:]
Red: No way, I remember it clear as day – he fell, he lay and died right here. [motioning to spot where eagle had laid] And my stomach’s still full from the bread he gave us. It was definitely not a dream.
Angel: Yeah, me too, I’m not hungry for the first time in a week!.. But then what happened to him? Did someone come and take him away?
[while she is talking, Robert, RT1, RT2, and RT3 enter from stage left. They set up a table and put some papers on it. Robert sits at the table quietly while the other three get some boxes to stand on in front of the table. They start preaching partially toward the audience (as if the audience is a crowd that has gathered). Red hears it and starts to go over there along with Angel.]
RT1: [holding up map and moving it around] We hold here the map to salvation, your salvation! These lands are doomed in two days’ time! Believe it or not! This map has taken us this far [pointing to the point on the map where their camp is located] – this body of water being the only thing that now separates us from the island!
[Man in audience 1 yells out]
Man in audience 1: WHAT ISLAND?
RT1: The Island of Light!
Man in audience 2: WHAT LIGHT?
RT1: The Light of Creation!
Man in audience 1: ELATION?
Red: [to Man in audience 1] The Light of Creation.
Man in audience 1: [to RT1] WHERE’D YA GET THIS MAP?
RT1: It was an eagle who made it.. but that’s beside the point. It’s actually been handed down for generations. Its proof lies in the fact of how far we’ve made it.
[a pause in RT1’s talking. Angel turns to Red.]
Angel: Eagle? You don’t think they’re talking about him do you?
Red: I don’t know… but until we know what’s going on, let’s keep quiet about what we saw… [looks back up as RT2 begins talking]
RT2: And it is here where we have set up our camp! Right on the waters’ edge, beyond the Moonlit Forest.
[Old man hears them and gets up and goes over to listen also.]
RT1: [excitedly interrupting] And we have but to cross these waters, which is why we’re here! We need hard workers!
Old man: [grouchy] What’s so hard about that?! Back in my day, I had to paddle my way across 3-mile wide river with man-eating piranhas and Loch Ness [RT3 interrupts*, but Old man keeps rambling for a moment] monster and abominable sno –
RT3: [stepping forward] *SHUT UP OLD MAN! We would have no use for an old-timer like you anyway! We need young, strong men!
Old man: [grumbling]
RT3: [addressing everyone now] These waters are not all that they seem. The current seems to oppose all who set out to cross and even our greatest efforts have landed us back on shore. But our Think Team (Aside: ‘three of the smartest fellows in the world’) has figured a way to cross. They say we need 92 able-bodied men to come with us, in order to gather wood and build a boat to cross. With this many men, we should have enough power to cross.
Old man: [walking off, grumbling toward Red and Angel] Pfft, sounds like a load of garbage to me…
[Old man walks off stage right]
Red: [addressing RT1] You said this land is doomed in two days’ time?
RT1: Yes two days, we must work quickly.
Red: What will happen and how do you know this?
RT1: Well… [looking at others on his team] we’re not exactly sure what is going to happen, but every direction our boss has led us has proven to be true. He says we gotta go so we gotta go. It’s not worth it to doubt and lose our lives, since everything else has been true. We gotta trust in his leadership and work as a team.
Red: Where is this eagle you mentioned about earlier?
RT3: We’re not exactly sure.. He disappeared a little over a week ago.
Red: Oh I see… What about food? Will you be feeding your men?
RT1: Yes of course. Food and shelter will be provided at the camp for all those who come with us. [looks at his watch] Time is running, we must go. We’ll leave all of you now with Robert here who will take your names and give you more details. If you have any more questions please address them to him, and if you know anyone else who would be interested, please go tell them and bring them back here. We will be leaving at 10 a.m., from this spot. That gives you two hours. I know it’s not long, but we’re hard pressed for time. See you soon.
[Robert gets his pen and paper ready. RT1, RT2, and RT3 leave stage. People are forming into a line in front of the table. Red looks to have been giving it thought. At the table you see the line moving forward as two older boys (Boy1 and Boy2) go up to table to sign papers, ask questions, etc. (silent lipped conversations). Robert tests each person with a weight to lift next to the table. If they can lift it then they pass. Each of the two boys lifts it, is accepted, and signs and walks past the table and off stage left. A smaller boy (Small Boy) walks up, you see lipped conversation, boy tries to lift weight and can’t. This is all going on during this short conversation between Red and Angel:]
Angel: I don’t have a very good feeling about these people..
Red: Neither do I… but we have to eat… They said food is provided for each worker… We can go, and work, and at least then we know we’ll be fed for a couple days.
Angel: Yeah.. I guess…
Red: I can’t let you starve, Angel… I love you and I need you. … Even if we don’t want to cross with the rest, we can always just leave and come back here… at least then we will have had some nourishment.
[As Red finishes last sentence, they had been getting closer to the table as the line moved forward. You hear Robert rejecting Small boy]
Robert: Nope, sorry, just can’t do it, we need STRONG men. NEXT!
[Small boy is unhappy, he turns around and exits stage right. Red and Angel reach the front of the line now.]
Robert: And what do they call you, my friend?
Red: Name’s Red.
[Robert's attention heightens and he thinks a second]
Robert: Red huh? [Aside:] ‘RED! This is him! The boss is gonna be so pleased!’ [end aside.] YOU’RE IN!
Red: What? I don’t have to lift it?
Robert: Nope you’re in. Go ahead and sign.
Red: [a little confused] Sure… okay.
[Red bends down and signs the paper.]
Robert: Alright you can wait with the rest of them over there [motioning stage right], or meet back with us in a couple hours. Either way, I guess I’ll see you there. NEXT!
[Red walks stage left, past the table and Angel follows quickly behind. As she passes the table, Robert reaches out and grabs her by the arm.]
Robert: WAIT A SECOND! WHO THE HECK ARE YOU?!
[Red quickly smacks his arm away from hers. Robert throws his hands up in the air in surrender/'my bad'.]
Red: GET YOUR HANDS OFF HER! SHE’S WITH ME!
[Robert looks her up and down.]
Robert: Eh, whatever. We’ll just call you a special exception. (Aside: “I’m just glad I’m the one who’ll get credit from the boss for finding him! Oh boy!”)
[Red puts his arm around Angel.]
Red: Come on, let’s get outta here.