Springtime for Hit-LAAR, or, Diplomacy will only get you so FAAR: 1936 German Reich
The Writer walks into his Agent’s office. The office is an organizational nightmare; stacks of paperwork line every available surface. The Agent is a type that never manages to hold an assistant for long. Still, he runs a successful business, and has done so for quite some time. Photos of himself with famous celebrities line the walls: Tom Clancy, Gore Vidal, Maya Angelou, etc. He even has a picture of himself shaking hands with Nixon *and* Elvis. Even in those days, he seemed old. His hair is short, white, and extremely curly. He still wears striped tweed suits and smokes like a chimney. Many of the stacks of papers in his office are full of ashtrays running over with cigarettes. One thing *has* been changing over the years... the lenses in his horned-rimmed glasses are getting thicker. As the Writer comes in the Agent stubs out his latest cigarette and smiles, revealing most of his tobacco-stained dentures.
The Writer is young(ish) and cocky. He has jeans and a shiny jacket with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. Underneath is a white T-shirt with a thin tie that hangs loosely around his neck. His hair is dark brown and spiked up like Robert Pattinson from Twilight. The overall effect is of a visitor from an 80’s movie about high schoolers, which might still work if the Writer was in his 20s, but he’s just this side of 40. He promptly sits down after being waved to a chair by the Agent and tries not to crinkle his nose at the `old man smell` that pervades the room.
The Agent isn’t one to waste time. `It’s great to see you again kid, but I gotta get right to the point. I gotta let you go. `
`What!?! You’ve been my agent for 15 years! `
`And it’s been a heck of a ride, kid, a heck of a ride. But it’s time for the ride to end... `
`I still don’t get it. I’ve won three Pulitzers, two IMPAC Dublin awards, six Faulkner awards, the Newberry Medal for the children’s version of my Soviet Union AAR, the spoken-word Grammy after I read my Guatemala AAR out loud at a party, and a Tony award after they staged my `Oh, Canada! ` AAR as a Broadway play. What more could you possibly want from me? `
`Hey, that’s all great stuff, kid, don’t get me wrong. But it’s not stuff that pays my bills. Everything you do is critically acclaimed, but you’re a box-office bomb, kid. I don’t get my 10% off of bombs. What’s 10% of zero? `
`Exactly kid, exactly. `
`Well, c’mon, I can change... I’ll write anything you like. What do I have to do to make this work? `
`You gotta follow the money, kid, follow the money... `
`Okay, and that leads to...? `
`Germany, kid! Germany! The plebes out there eat it up! They can’t get enough of it! ` At this stage the Agent waves his hand towards the window, presumably to show off the milling crowds out in the streets. However, since the office is on the 23rd floor, no crowds are to be seen. A pigeon flies over and perches on the windowsill.
`Germany? But every WritAAR... I mean, Writer, fresh out of art school does Germany. There are more German AARs out there than you can shake a stick at. Why would anybody be more interested in mine than in anyone else’s? `
`That’s right, there’s dozens. And you know what kid, they all sell. But you’re right, if you don’t want to be a little fish in a big pool, you gotta have something more. So keep following the money kid... `
The Writer, nervous about what he has heard so far, is reluctant to answer. `And that goes where...? `
`Merchandising! I mean, Comedy, kid, Comedy. Take a guy like Hitler and have him fart once or twice, and it’s pure gold! We’ll be... I mean, *you’ll* be raking it in. Gold, kid, gold! `
`What!?! But they say that comedy is the lowest form of entertainment! If I get attached to a comedy project, nobody will ever take me seriously as a writer again. `
`You ever watch American Idol, kid? `
`Of course not. It’s a perfect example of how you can manufacture fame for people with no real talent... and it panders to the worst elements of the human psyche, since we all secretly want to watch just to see the judges degrade the contestants, not because we want to hear a great musical number...`
`Yeah, yeah, I get it, kid. Just remember Simon Cowell said something along the lines of ‘I'd rather own McDonald's than a 3-star Michelin restaurant’. And do you know why, kid? Money! That’s why. You can’t eat critical acclaim. But I’ll tell you what I’ll do. You’re right, we’ve been together a long time, and so I’ll tell you what... come back in a week with a draft of something I can actually sell to John Q. Public out there, or you can take your awards over to the bank and see if they’ll let you cash them over there. `
Later, the Writer is taking the subway home and rubbing his chin thoughtfully. Germany... comedy... perhaps there just might be a way to make it work. But how?
Table of Contents
Act One: Preparations for WAAR
Act Two: WAAR and Rememberance
- Scene 01, Curtain Rises
- Scene 02, Setting the Scene
- Scene 03, Some Waiting Around
- Scene 04, Let’s Get Ready to Rummmmmm-ble!