Plays by Gary Noland
available from FREELAND PUBLICATIONS
FP122 LOVE THEORY 101 (Op. 90)
a comedy in verse
in four acts
for six actors & extras
duration: ca. 90 minutes–two hours
LOVE THEORY 101
by GARY NOLAND
A Play in Four Acts
for Six Actors
Cover illustration copyright @2007 by Gary Noland. All Rights Reserved
Love Theory 101: Synopsis
Love Theory 101: Synopsis
Chief Inspector Helga Thornsnag of the Pimpleton PD (wife of Perfessor Druben J. Xeroxburger) introduces the audience to the location of her precinct (and setting of this play)—the little known metropolis of Pimpleton, New Jersey. She tries to enlist the audience’s help in tracking down a prolific serial killer (or killers?) who has been haunting the environs of Pimpleton State Luniversity.
Setting: lecture hall at Pimpleton State Luniversity. It is the first day of the term and four students have enrolled in a seminar on “love theory” taught by Perfessor Xeroxburger (incumbent of the Raskolnikov Chair of “Appled Social Ethics and Graces”). He gives tedious lectures consisting of highfalutin jargon that is impossible to decipher. Dweebaldo van Boofus is baffled by the lectures, while Phisto McGroin (a fartsucking teacher’s pet) and Goldie Gobbledygoo (a bimbo) “go with the flow,” as it were, by pretending as though they grok what the perfessor is spewing. They even ask prepared questions employing verbage that appears (at least superficially) to pertain to the topics at hand. This encourages the inscrutably indecipherable discussions that follow each lecture. When Abigail Oinkbladder appears on the scene (late for her first day of class), Dweebaldo falls headlong for her.
Perfessor Xeroxburger has an affair with Goldie. By now the audience has been led to believe (thru various red herrings) that he is the killer. Helga calls him persistently on his cellphone to remind him of various trivial domestic duties she wants him to perform. He is haunted by his conscience in the form of a chorus of viragoes who nag him to the point of madness. In the meantime, Dweebaldo plans to put Perfessor Xeroxburger to the test in class by interjecting names of non-existent scholars into the discussion following the perfessor’s lecture. He also decides to declare his pash for Abigail.
Phisto notices that Goldie has gone missing and begins to worry that something terrible has happened to her. In the meantime, being the ardent womanizer he is, he beats Dweebaldo to the punch, so to speak, by getting involved in a torrid affair with Abigail. Phisto and Abigail inadvertently vex Dweebaldo by flaunting the highly charged sexual nature of their relationship before him with an insufferably rude song and dance schtick. In despite of feeling utterly dejected, Dweebaldo manages to lead the discussion after the perfessor’s lecture and to insidiously interject the names of non-existent scholars thereinto. Not only does Perfessor Xeroxburger fail to call Dweebaldo’s bluff but he has the gall to inweave those very names into his own wordy discourse. At this point Dweebaldo is overwhelmingly convinced that the perfessor is an impostor and (with axes aplenty to grind) makes it his singular mission to expose him for what he is. Towards the middle of the act, Dweebaldo finds himself alone with Abigail—the love of his life—and verbously gallivants therewith. However, he soon realizes that she has been indoctrinated by the poisonous theoretical jargon to which she has been subjected at the academy, a consequence of which she has inadvertently assimilated a psychotically twisted notion in regard to the time-honored rituals of amour courtois. When Dweebaldo proffers her a lavish bouquet of roses, she rejects it, misconstructing his overture as a monstrously offensive form of sexual harassment. She threatens to report him to the Ad Board and get him expelled from the academy for what she misperceives to be a heinously criminal act.
Goldie wakes up tied to a torture rack in a veritable chamber of horrors. Perfessor Xeroxburger, dolled up in his wife’s police uniform (fishnets and all), whips Goldie senseless with a cat-o’-nine-tails. We are led to believe at this point that Goldie thinks the perfessor is actually Helga Thornsnag and that the perfessor himself is the serial killer his wife is hunting down. However, we learn soon enough that the two of them are merely acting out a bizarre sexual fantasy. In the final scene of Act Four (which is the longest), Perfessor Xeroxburger meets with his students in his office after dinnertime. Dweebaldo arrives armed with proof positive that the perfessor is a world-class charlatan. At the point when he confronts the perfessor with the fact that his scholarly sources are phony, Helga materializes, followed by Abigail (who is all spruced up in the hopes of seducing the perfessor to improve her grades). Goldie makes a surprise appearance shortly thereafter and the play’s denouement occurs when Perfessor Xeroxburger confesses to everyone (after being cornered by Dweebaldo) that he hasn’t a tittle of talent in his alleged field of expertise. “How can I teach about love,” he says, “when I can’t even feel love for my fellowmen?” Shortly thereafter, Helga is accused by Dweebaldo of being the very killer whose crimes she is officially investigating. After the pressure mounts, Helga shoots her husband, who dies on the spot. Although the students wrestle the gun from her grip, she manages nevertheless to escape. We are left with the four students mourning the loss of their beloved teacher (charlatan or no), after which they solemnly pledge to carry his torch to the “next generation” and “spule out his jargon to inspirit veneration.”
FP124 NOTHING IS MORE (Op. 92)
a comedy in verse with music
in six acts
for six actors & extras
duration: ca. four–five hours
Cover illustration of "Nothing is More" by Gary Noland
Copyright © 2008 by Gary Noland • All Rights Reserved
Nothing is More: Synopsis
Purvel Schlignatz is formally presented with his doctoral degree but is warned by Beverly Lovebucks (the incumbent president of Pimpleton Luniversity) that there are few worthwhile jobs available. Thus she recommends he pursue an even higher degree called a “stool” to increase his job opportunities. He acquiesces and finds himself amongst a small but elite group of students pursuing absurdly arcane areas of study such as “astromusicology,” “feline transgender studies,” “primaeval linguistics,” and so on. One stool candidate, Phangbang Bonation, is a world-renowned artiste who makes preposterous claims about his accomplishments. He boasts an unrivalled technical mastery of virtually every imaginable artistic idiom, including the visual arts, film-making, music composition, novel writing, poetry, architecture, sculpting and whatnot, the main loophole being that he is the progenitor of a submicrominimalist aesthetic known as “Nadaism,” which espouses doing nothing (i.e., short of making outrageous pronunciamentos regarding one’s achievements) and calling it “art.” Purvel, who tries to keep an open mind, is eventually persuaded by his friend and fellow stool candidate, Pelvin Penisovich, that Phangbang is a crafty impostor who needs must be discredited at all costs (if not outright eliminated from the face of the planet!).
Purvel falls in love with Kitty Walters (another stool candidate) and woos her. Dronah Stackbut, a student of astromusicology and Pelvin’s lover, gets seduced by Phangbang and drops Pelvin like a hot potato.
Purvel learns, to his heartbreaking disappointment, that Kitty—the love of his life—has been seduced by Phangbang. This solidifies his resolve to go along with Pelvin’s iniquitous schemes to destroy Phangbang and his “Nadaist” movement.
Pelvin and Purvel, having learned that the Louvre is planning an exposition of Phangbang’s “ghost paintings” (which requires that the museum remove every single artifact from its floors and walls), ascertain that Phangbang has offered the Louvre’s curators the storm cellar of his condo in Tampa as a storage facility for the museum’s most invaluable treasures. Pelvin and Purvel break into Phangbang’s storm cellar and deface several of the Louvre’s most noted paintings, including the Mona Lisa, in the hopes that Phangbang will be blamed for it and that the ensuing scandal will not only destroy Phangbang’s reputation but land him in the cooler as well. While rummaging about in Phangbang’s storm cellar, Purvel finds a box of Phangbang’s personal effects, in which he discovers some bona fide opuses attributed to Phangbang—an ambitious choral composition titled the “B-Flat Minor Mass” and a novel of Proustian dimensions titled “Gilligans Cake.” Upon perusing these items, his view of Phangbang’s artistic oeuvre takes a 180-degree turn.
Upon realizing that Phangbang is actually one of the greatest artistic geniuses of his generation and that he is merely hiding his talents under the cloak of Nadaism as an oblique survival tactic, Purvel is stricken by guilt for having been led astray by Pelvin in his malicious attempts to discredit Phangbang. However, in an ironic twist of fate, Phangbang is melodiously praised by the critics for his “revolutionary” new concept, for which they—in their manic obsession for affixing labels to mere whims—coin the term “revisitationism.” “Revisitationism” is defined as an aesthetic in which established art objects (i.e., original icons) are “revisited” thru vandalization. An example of this new aesthetic would be to jackhammer the genitals off of Michelangelo’s David. (An infamous precursor thereto is geologist Laszlo Toth’s 1972 hammer attack on the Virgin of Michelangelo’s Pietà.) In a final showdown, Pelvin and Phangbang are selected as finalists for the prestigious Modigger Prize—a competition that awards its winner a stipend of five hundred thousand dollars.
Although it is initially believed to be a foregone conclusion that Phangbang will win the Modigger Prize, when he admits that his “Nadaist” movement is a sham in which he has been secretly mocking the Philistines and snobs who support and defend his preposterous artistic movement (and its “nothing-is-more” philosophy), the prize money ends up going to Pelvin. When Kitty and Dronah realize that Phangbang’s a “loser” (notwithstanding that he has revealed himself to be one of the greatest artistic talents of his generation), they stab him to death. Purvel, overwhelmed with grief for his involvement in this hideous scandal, turns himself in to the authorities. In the end it is learned that Pelvin, a cold and unscrupulous charlatan, has bribed President Lovebucks, an influential member of the Modigger Prize Snub-Committee, with half the prize money. They both run off to Zürich together to stash their booty in a Swiss bank account.
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