Tuesday, March 22, 2011

LIBYA! (A Dialect Dramedy in Probably-more-than-one-Act)

Act 1, Scene 1. The Western Desert outside Tripoli.

(Enter GADDAFI in Hawaiian shirt and baggies.)GADDAFI: “Behold, my people! I just don't want to live like I used to. And at some point, I'm going to put a gag order on myself in terms of talking about the past. I've got to slam the door and deal with the present and the future!”

(Enter right LIBYAN REBELS; a dozen or so midgets with banners and signs.)

REBELS: "Boo! Down With the despot! Power to the People!"
GADDAFI: “I'm dealing with fools and trolls and soft targets. It's just strafing runs in my underwear before my first cup of coffee. I don't have time for these clowns.”
(produces a comically immense scimitar and begins smiting the REBELS)

REBELS: "Aieee! You bastard! Take that, and that!" (etc)

(FIGHT ensues, with GADDAFI driven upstage.)REBELS: “Hurrah! Freedom! Victory!”

(Enter left FRANCE, ENGLAND, the UNITED STATES, and the ARAB LEAGUE, who watch the battle with concern. GADDAFI appears to be cornered until he leaps forward, roaring;)

GADDAFI: “I have a different constitution. I have a different brain; I have a different heart; I got tiger blood, man!”

(REBELS are driven back in panic, shrieking. GADDAFI follows, laying about him and bellowing.)

GADDAFI: “I have defeated this earthworm with my words! Imagine what I would have done with my fire breathing fists! I've got magic. I've got poetry in my fingertips! Most of the time - and this includes naps - I'm an F-18, bro! And I will destroy you in the air. I will deploy my ordinance to the ground!(GADDAFI continues to drive the REBELS back, killing several in the process.)

ARAB LEAGUE: “Oh, my, how terrible! The poor people! Won’t someone do something?
FRANCE: “Ah, zut alors! Yes, we should do something, Albert.
ENGLAND: “Yes, indeed, Gaston. Shall we ask the UN?
UNITED STATES: “Go right ahead, I won’t stop you, but I’m not so sure this is a good idea.”

(Enter left the UN, garbed as a diplomat)

UN: “Ahem. By the power vested in my by the Great Powers, I hereby authorize the Member States that have notified the Secretary-General and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, to take all necessary measures to enforce compliance with the ban on flights imposed by paragraph 6 above, as necessary, and request the States concerned in cooperation with the League of Arab States to coordinate closely with the Secretary General on the measures they are taking to implement this ban, including by establishing an appropriate mechanism for implementing the provisions of paragraphs 6 and 7 above.”(bows, exits left)
(GADDAFI is still beating the REBELS as other NATO MEMBERS crowd onstage left, garbed for war.)

ENGLAND: Alright, lads, who’s up for some war!”
GERMANY: “Ach, ve don’t sink zis is zuch a goot idea. Maybe ve’ll zit zis vun out.
FRANCE: “Tais-toi, Heinz, you didn’t used to be such une pussy. Allons, avec le battaille! Go on, Pietro, you hit him”
ITALY: “Eh, I dunno, Gaston. We useta be-a paisanos but now, not-a so much. I think these-a rebels, they don’ wan’ me aroun’ so much. Maybe-a you hit-a him first, eh?”
UNITED STATES: “Well, go on, now that you’re all here, SOMEbody go take a whack at him…”
FRANCE: “Helas, I would love to, but I don’t seem to have ze resources, me. How about you, Albert?”
ENGLAND: “I say, I don’t know what happened to it, but I seem to have misplaced my aircraft carrier. Could you lend me one, Sam, old boy?”
UNITED STATES: “Well, fuck. What the hell do I hang around with you people for? Can’t you do anything by yourselves?”
REBELS: "You da Big Man! Hit him! Hit him!" (scurry about randomly)UNITED STATES: "Well. OK. Fuck."

(The UNITED STATES, followed by FRANCE, ENGLAND, SPAIN, ITALY, CANADA, BELGIUM, and DENMARK, trudges over and attacks GADDAFI, beating him with a large rubber cruise missile.)

GADDAFI: A sneak attack! Curse you, Western dogs! You have the right to kill me, but you don't have the right to judge me! That's life. There's nobility in that. There's focus. It's genuine. It's crystal and it's pure and it's available to everybody, so just shut your traps and put down your McDonalds, your vaccines, your Us Weekly, your TMZ and the rest of it!”

(The REBELS mill about smartly but on the opposite side of the stage. The Western powers knock GADDAFI down.

UNITED STATES: “C’mon, you little bastards, he’s at your mercy!”

(The REBELS advance towards GADDAFI, who lashes out from the ground with his scimitar, bellowing;)

GADDAFI: “Boom, crush! Night, losers! Winning, duh!”

(The REBELS shriek and flee. The UNITED STATES continues to thrash GADDAFI, who struggles. The other WESTERN NATIONS add their blows, but have started to look around hesitantly.)UNITED STATES: “Well, fuck me sideways. Hey, I’m ready to let you guys finish this beating. Who’s got me?”
FRANCE: “Oh, la’ la’, after you, my dear Albert.”
ENGLAND: “Oh, no, I insist, after you, my dear Gaston!”
ARAB LEAGUE: “Oh! My! Dear! MUST you hit him so…so…hitally? I think you might hurt him!”
UNITED STATES: “That’s the idea, dumbfuck.”
GADDAFI: (still fighting) “From my big beautiful warlock brain, welcome to 'Kaddafi’s Korner'! You're either in my corner, or you're with the trolls!”
TURKEY: “I don’t want us to take over. It would be wrong!”
ENGLAND: “Really, I insist. After you, Gaston.”
FRANCE: “No, no. You must precede, I insist. After YOU, my dear Albert!”
GADDAFI: “What they're not ready for is guys like you and I and Nails and all the other gnarly gnarlingtons in my life, that we are high priests, Vatican assassin warlocks. Boom! Print that, people. See where that goes!”(As the lights fade signaling the end of Act 1, the confusion on stage continues noisily)


  1. Chief,

    I've always admired (and am secretly jealous of) your writing, but I have to say that this is in another league - it's pure fracking genius of the highest order. Well done done sir.

  2. Chief,

    This is SOOO IT! Precisely how I view the scripting.

    I thought this skirmish was over with last week? Why do we continue to trundle about mazily in these deserts ... it's as though we're trying to be Lawrence, or somesuch.

    Why are we bombing this country? Sure, MQ's a Baaad man, but there are lots of bad men around the world massacrying (as they say down here) their peeps, and at a much higher rate and for doing less against those despots.

    What is this ME Crusade about, as GB so correctly termed it?

  3. Lisa: My guess is that 1) the easy work (SEAD, hitting the exposed armor and other vehicular assets) is done, but the Gaddafites are still hunkered down. Rooting out infantry and even light artillery and mortars in built-up areas is a bitch for fast-movers. You need to have eyes-on, which brings me to number 2) the Libyan rebels are shambolic, and have probably been unable to provide enough security for whoever is on the ground (U.S. SF teams, French 13e RDP or similar, British SAS) to get close enough to do this.

    Plus the real bottom line is that possession is 9/10ths of the law in war just as life in general and infantry are the bailiff's men. The rebels need to have functionally organized armed men in place to "win". That doesn't seem to be happening now, and it seems that, short of Gaddafi's people just collapsing, it may not happen shortly, either.

    As for the why...well, seydlitz has a pretty good summary of the most popular "why"s in his comments to the "Desert Rats" post, with the exception of his insistence that "winning" this will somehow give Obama the political capital to put a fork in Iraq and Afghanistan. I respect seydlitz as a geopolitical thinker, but he's the only person I'm reading that seems to believe this, and I still have no idea why.

    But his comments are a good place to get a feel of what this is about, at least from the pro-intervention side.

    I still think it's about we can't keep our paddy-paws out of that sweet, sweet war-pie. But that's just me.

  4. Add some tambourines, an oud, and some high-kicking bodyguards and you will have a Broadway hit.

  5. Only if I can get Charlie to actually play MG...

  6. The genius of your script makes me want to cry...out of misery...because the whole damn thing would be comical if it didn't involve real people.
    I'm hoping I caught the frustration that I percieved in the undercurrent of your script, Chief, because it just makes me weep.

  7. What is really interesting is that the intervention has pushed all sorts of people and organizations way out of their comfort zones.

    Normally, all you hear is is pre-cooked rhetoric coming from people with pre-entrenched positions.

    In this case, you have all sorts of confusion as people and organizations try and sort themselves and their allies into some semblance of coherency.

    The world is undergoing a learning experience (and time will tell what lessons will be drawn).

  8. FDC,

    That is what I sense, also shambling rebels who cannot be propped up (even if it were not illegal to prop them up, and even if we had money and personnel to burn).

    Yes, mike, your addition would be dandy .. bring this into the song-and-dance realm, ala The Producers. Despite the abundance of tatty little players, Chief has rendered this as sparely as any Beckettian fantasia.

    Brilliant use of the profuse and pathetic material. In fact, the only good use of it I can see.

  9. [a colon comes after "also".]

  10. We've not seen a BroadWay musical about war since "Hair".

    Anybody here write music?



  11. bb,

    Dear God, you know, this could be a hit. At the very least, Chief, submit this to The New Yorker, or Christwire, or something to get it out there -- it's flat-out brill! (Charlie would LOVE to parody himself, and what could be more PoMo than self-referential parody?) It is far more successful than the actual play.

    No one has stepped in to fill Monty Python's shoes. Americans don't so droll so well, but Chief does!

  12. So true, Lisa. :)

    On a side note, one thing that has puzzled me since joining this crew so long ago, why the animus against this fellow?
    Saying the same stuff written here.



  13. basil: No animus here. Olbermann is a satirist, an entertainer, a cynic, and a raconteur. As such I think he provides a worthwhile perspective on the news.

    I think that your last post raised some ire because you positioned him as a sort of whistleblower and wanted some furor over his firing (or whatever really did happen there) from MSNBC. I think most of us see him as more of an entertainer, and felt that what had happened was just another case of "creative differences" between a network dedicated to sucking up to rich advertisers like every other network, and an entertainer who pissed those advertisers off.

    I suspect that most of us get some rueful laughs (or just rue) from his stuff. I do, anyway.

  14. Well yes, that's what I'm saying, an animus that took him as nothing more than what you just listed.

    I'm still puzzled by it, though.


  15. basil: Well...that's what he is. T guess I don't get the puzzled. There's nothing wrong with being an entertainer, he does it well, and I enjoy it as such.

    But look at the piece you linked to. There's a lot of contention and many questions regarding Presidential war powers. I tend to agree with what Olbermann said. But there are legitimate disagreements, and Olbermann doesn't bother to go into them, or discuss them, or analyze them. He gives us an entertaining five-minute rant about war powers. Fine, if that's what you want. And it's better than Glenn Beck's lunacy, for what that's worth.

    But its facile, and glib. That's an entertainer's trick, and he does it well. But that's really all it is.

    I think, rather than hold the man up as some sort of paragon, we should really decertify the idiot talking heads like Beck, and the Sunday talk show circuit. They do the same thing only worse. The 24/7 "news" cycle has made bad entertainers out of most of the talking heads on the Tube. Olbermann is better than most and no worse than the best. But no better, either.

  16. Lisa and FDChief -

    Who is Charlie? I was thinking Trump to play al-Gaddafi. Maybe Charlie Barkley could play his son Naif. The Rockettes to play the Green Amazons. Fred Armisen of SNL as the Barak-alike. Sarkozy is a problem, does Johnny Depp do musicals???

    Basil -

    No animus by me against the man.

  17. mike,
    I disagree-Trump should play Obama , by using blackface and he can end the entire thing with a withering look and saying-YORE FIRED.

  18. Olbermann sure knows how to rant, but that gets old. It's also annoying that he considers himself a serious journalist.

    Personally, I think the daily show is a lot better in every respect - it's actually funny, it's more informative, it isn't nearly as one-sided. But what do I know, I gave up watching the Sunday newsies, Olbermann and the rest a long time ago.

  19. mike: Charlie is Charlie Sheen; all the "Gaddafi" dialogue in the little skit above comes from the recent Sheen interviews. The combination of Sheen the tiger blood warlock and Gaddafi the Desert Loon is pure comedy gold.

    And I pictured Peter Sellers as all the NATO characters; Clouseau as Sarkozy, Mandrake as Cameron...a sort of "Dr. Strangelove" in the desert.

  20. Chief,

    Peter Sellers is a good choice; Alec Guinness also played eight roles well in Kind Hearts and Coronets. We would need a bravura performance, of middling quality.

    I like that idea of the replication from one performer, for similar lunacy is repeated by each player in this dramedy.

    I agree, Andy -- Stewart is more clever and brings more data to the table; but they are all performers, just like all the "news" talking heads have become.

  21. Oh well, it seems Casting Director is not one of my future MOS choices. But AGVA and I stand firm for the Rockettes. We will picket if you use offshore dancers or high school girls.

  22. mike: Given the situation in the country, I suspect that Gaddafi's "virgin bodyguards" might just welcome the chance to emigrate to New York and play themselves...

  23. Chief,

    But I think MQ's Russian nurse might get a bit peeved if there's no role for her.

  24. I see a dual role for Amy Poehler.

  25. mike, Lisa: I think that would have to be the ghost of Madelin Kahn, revisiting her "Blazing Saddles" character as Olga Stuppinskaya;

    Olga: "Mummy, baby, you must not be thinkink about bed bettles. Here, havink another schnitzengruben?
    Gaddafi: No, thank you, my angel of mercy. Fifteen is my limit on schnitzengruben.
    Olga: Spasiba, then, how about a little...
    [whispers in his ear]
    Gaddafi: My desert rose, please! I am not from Havana!
    Olga: But...when you are givink me vat you say you givink me like you give dose bad pipples in Bengoozhi, da?
    Gaddafi: Well, it all depends on the will of Allah...and how much Viagra Allah can send me!

  26. Yes, ONLY Madeline Kahn could've done it (w/ FDC as screenwriter.)

    Terri Garr is too much the ingenue; Cloris Leachman's Frau Blücher was too matronly with her "varm milk" and Ovaltine.

  27. Now Chief I know that scriptwriter has big influence on casting. But Madeline is 12 years gone, victim of the big C. Not even a box office bonanza can bring her back.

    Poehler could play both Olga AND Hillary.

  28. mike: You made me youtube the woman's work, and now I tend to agree with you; Poehler could make it work, assuming she can do funny-dialect.

    Lisa: I had forgotten Teri - zank you, doktor! (so sad that she's having such a hard fight with MS, she was always one of my favorite actresses). I'm not so sure; she got more oomphy in her forties and she was terrific with accents. She might be a good Olga...