Lead Us to Culture

a one-act play

 

 

by

 

Gary Beck

 

 

 


Scene:                          A restaurant. Enter Katherine and Larry, who are shown to a table. They sit, order wine and sip for a minute  Larry ignores her first

question.

 

 

Katherine:                   I asked you how you liked the wine?

 

 

Larry:                          It's alright.

 

 

Katherine:                   What does that mean?

 

 

Larry:                          Just what I said.

 

 

Katherine:                   Do you like the bouquet?

 

 

Larry:                          It's okay.

 

 

Katherine:                   Well what about the taste?

 

 

Larry:                          It's okay.

 

 

Katherine:                   Is that all you have to say?

 

 

Larry:                          About the wine? Yeah. You know I prefer beer.

 

 

Katherine:                   We discussed your bad habits. I explained that appreciation for

 

wine is an acquired taste. You have to keep trying it.

 

 

Larry:                          I think we have to seriously discuss all this culture stuff.

 

 

Katherine:                   I really don't want to talk about it now. I just want to enjoy a nice,

                                   

quiet dinner.

 

 

Larry:                          But you said we'd talkÉ.

 

 

Katherine:                   Later.

 

 

Larry:                          That's not fair. I've been doing what you wantÉ.

 

 

Katherine:                   What I want? I've been doing this for you.

 

 

Larry:                          Don't give me that! You've been enjoying every minute of it.

 

 

Katherine:                   I admit I do like cultural activities. I find them stimulating. Unlike

 

some people who prefer to sit at home and watch tv all the time.

 

 

Larry:                          I don't do it all the time.

 

 

Katherine:                   That's not the point. You agreed that you needed to get out more

                                   

and said you'd try to appreciate the cultural life of the cityÉ. Well.

 

Didn't you?

 

 

Larry:                          Yeah.

 

 

Katherine:                   Don't you see? This is our chance to bring some excitement back

                                   

into our relationship.

 

 

Larry:                          I guess so.

 

 

Katherine:                   I know how hard you work. Especially with the market going up

                                   

and down like a roller coaster and all your clients demanding safe

                                   

investments

 

 

Larry:                          You don't know the half of it. They're scared out of their Brooks

 

                                    Bothers underwear and I've got to reassure them all day long. It's

           

                                    exhausting.

 

 

Katherine:                   That's why it's so important for you to do things that relax you.

 

 

Larry:                          You call that concert last night relaxing? A bunch of old

 

                                    oriental guys in funny robes, banging and screeching away on

 

                                    weird looking thinguses that hurt my ears.

 

 

Katherine:                   They were playing classical Cambodian music on ancient

 

                                    instruments.

 

 

Larry:                          It sounded like they were torturing cats.

 

 

Katherine:                   You do have to make some effort to understand another culture.

 

 

Larry:                          I hear the same sounds in the subway when the train pulls in. Why

 

                                    can't we go to an Elton John concert?

 

 

Katherine:                   Because you have to acquire culture while you're still young

 

                                    and can learn to savor it.

 

 

Larry:                          Aw, Katy.

 

 

Katherine:                   Katherine.

 

 

Larry:                          What's wrong with Katy?

 

 

Katherine:                   It's too casual for the art world.

 

 

Larry:                          It figures.

 

 

Katherine:                   Excuse me?

 

 

Larry:                          What do you care what you're called when you go to a museum or

 

                                    gallery?

 

 

Katherine:                   Katherine is more elegant.

 

 

Larry:                          Yeah. As if anyone cares. That gallery today was crazy. I thought

 

                                    art was supposed to be beautiful to look at.

 

 

Katherine:                   It is. You have to learn how to see it.

 

 

Larry:                          The only thing I learned there was that those artists make

 

stockbrokers look intelligent. One artist had a dead fish in a tank

 

that was selling for 40 million dollars. I had to laugh at that.

 

 

Katherine:                   I noticed.

 

 

Larry:                          Then there was this statue of a balloon animal that cost 5 million

 

                                    dollars.

 

 

Katherine:                   It's called sculpture.

 

 

Larry:                          Whatever. The nuttiest thing I saw was a model made by this guy

 

who wanted to wrap Yellowstone National Park in plastic and it

 

                                    would cost 60 million dollars. That's like covering the Statue

 

                                    of Liberty with a condomÉ. (Katherine looks around and shrugs

 

                                    apologetically to anyone looking at them.) Are you telling me that

 

                                    stuff is art?

 

 

Katherine:                   Maybe what we started with is too challenging. We'll try the

 

                                    Metropolitan museum tomorrow.

 

 

Larry:                          Hey. I know that place. My class went there when I was a kid.

 

                                    They had these big pictures of fat, funny looking naked ladiesÉ.

 

 

Katherine:                   Alright. We seem to have found something you can connect with.

 

 

Larry:                          Aw. They probably changed it for all that new kinda stuff.

 

 

Katherine:                   Don't worry. They still have your naked ladiesÉ. Now let's have a

 

                                    pleasant dinner and forget our little disagreements for the time

 

being.

 

 

Larry:                          Sure thing, Katy.

 

 

Katherine:                   Katherine.

 

© Gary Beck

 

Bio:  Gary Beck has spent his adult life as a theater director. He has 14 published chapbooks. His poetry collections include Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press), Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions, Fault Lines, Tremors, Perturbations, Rude Awakenings, The Remission of Order and Contusions (Winter Goose Publishing). Conditioned Response (Nazar Look), Virtual Living (Thurston Howl Publications), Blossoms of Decay, Expectations, Blunt Force and Transitions (Wordcatcher Publishing). His  novels include Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing), Call to Valor and Crumbling Ramparts (Gnome on Pig Productions), Sudden Conflicts (Lillicat Publishers). Acts of Defiance  and Flare Up Wordcatcher Publishing). His short story collections include A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications), Now I Accuse and other stories (Winter Goose Publishing) and Dogs DonŐt Send Flowers and other stories (Wordcatcher Publishing). The Republic of Dreams and other essays (Gnome on Pig Productions). Feast or Famine and other one act-plays will be published by Wordcatcher Publishing. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of magazines. He lives in New York City.