A Chorus Line: Abridged

                               A CHORUS LINE ABRIDGED
                      Or, "Michael Bennett Was A Sick, Sick Man"
                                                            By Gil Varod






            SCENE: A SIMPLE LINE.  WHICH MIGHT HAVE BEEN CLEVER BACK WHEN
            THE ORIGINAL PRODUCTION CAME OUT, BUT NOW IT'S UTTER CRAP.


                                   Curtain rises on kids dancing.  It's a
                                   nice curtain, but it's rather dated and
                                   overrated. </metaphor>


                                   Enter Michael Berresse as "The
                                   Director".


                                   Notice that if you change the r's to n's,
                                   and the s's to t's in "Berresse", you're 
                                   only one extra silent "e" away from 
                                   "Bennett".


                                   Coinicidence?  I think not...


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            Step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch... again....


                                   Dancing continues.  Most of their
                                   dancing is OUT OF SYNC with each other. 


                                   This is supposedly OKAY because it's an
                                   audition, but between you and me,
                                   they're just NOT TRYING.


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            Good.  Now I've seen you all dance, and being that we're
            casting for eight dancers, you'd figure I could just tell you
            all to go home and I'll give you calls when the final
            decision has been made.


                                   Dancers start to pack up their stuff
                                   and get--


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            But the producers apparently blew another thousand dollars to
            rent this space for WAY longer than I really need.  Also, I'm
            apparently a SADISTIC BASTARD.
            So instead I'm going to ask you to divulge very personal
            information in front of these random strangers for over two
            hours, NO INTERMISSION!


                                   He leaves the stage and delivers the
                                   rest of his lines via wireless mic from
                                   god knows where.


                                   [THE DISEMBODIED VOICE OF]
                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE 
                          (points to one guy)
            YOU!


                                   GUY WHO SINGS 
                                   "I CAN DO THAT"
            Yeah?


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            Tell me, how did you begin dancing?


                                   GUY WHO SINGS 
                                   "I CAN DO THAT"
            I began with tap, tap is my strongest--


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            No.  Tell it like in a story!


                                   GUY WHO SINGS 
                                   "I CAN DO THAT"
                          (in song)
            WELL, MY SISTER USED TO TAKE TAP LESSONS
            BUT SHE GOT TIRED OF THEM
            SO MY MOTHER TOLD ME SHE'D BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF ME
            IF I DIDN'T TAKE MY SISTER'S PLACE
            BECAUSE SHE PAID FOR THE LESSONS IN A TEN-PACK
                          (tapdances some)
            SO I PUT ON MY SISTER'S SHOES
            AND STARTED DANCING!


                                   Silence.  Crickets.


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            That was very possibly the most boring story ever.  Nothing
            actually happened.


                                   GUY WHO SINGS 
                                   "I CAN DO THAT"
            But I did it in song--


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            YOU!  Tell me your inner demons!


                                   NOT-VERY-FUNNY GUY
            You want to hear me hide the unhappiness of my childhood with
            a really poor attempt at jokes?
                          (says something not very funny)


                                   REST OF CAST
                          (pretends to find funny what
                           not-funny-guy is saying)


                                   NOT-VERY-FUNNY GUY
                          (continues to not be very
                           funny, but in mute)
            ...


                                   REST OF CAST
                          (singing in unison to the
                           fourth wall)
            WHAT SHOULD I TELL HIM WHEN I GET CHOSEN?
            WHAT DOES HE WANT TO HEAR?
            WHAT A STRANGE AUDITION PROCESS.
            DO I REALLY WANT TO BE WORKING FOR THIS SICK BASTARD?


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            YOU!  Beg for a job!


                                   BITCHY CHARACTER
                          (bitchily)
            Look at me.  I have attitude!  Lots of it.  And lots of self
            confidence.  Let's spend five minutes building up my self
            confidence.  And showing how great I think I am!


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            How great do you think you are if I ask you to... 
            TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FATHER!


                                   BITCHY CHARACTER
            NOOOOO!
                          (cries)
            Daddy didn't love me enough!


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            Ah ha ha ha!  Who else's parents didn't love them?


                                   ANOTHER GIRL
            My mommy used to say I was ugly!


                                   A THIRD GIRL
            And my parents had me to see if it would fix their loveless
            marriage!


                                   THAT GIRL FROM 
                                   "SPRING AWAKENING"
            My Daddy used to beat me!


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            Excuse me, we're trying to stick to the DATED shock value of
            the 70s, thank you.  Girls, you were saying?


                                   ALL THREE
                          (in unison)
            WE WERE NOT LOVED GROWING UP
            SO WE BECAME DANCERS
            BECAUSE DANCING HEALS ALL!


                                   ENTIRE CAST
            DANCING HEALS ALL!  ART HEALS ALL!
            TUCK THIS MESSAGE INTO YOUR MUSICAL
            AND YOU CAN WIN A PULITZER PRIZE!


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            Good so far, but you aren't HUMILIATED enough yet!  Let's
            talk about PUBERTY!


                                   Silence.


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            SAY SOMETHING ABOUT PUBERTY OR YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO AFFORD TO
            EAT FOOD!


                                   A GUY
            I discovered I was GAY!


                                   ANOTHER GUY
            I had to work at a nightclub wearing PASTIES!


                                   ANOTHER NAMELESS SOUL
            I was short, and people used to STEP ON MY HEAD!


                                   YET ANOTHER GUY
            Far before SPELLING BEE stole the joke, I discovered I would
            get erections walking down the hall.


                                   FIRST GUY
            You would too?  Boy, I thought it was only me!


                                   YET ANOTHER GUY
            Nah man, a lot of people get them!  In fact, thanks to this
            too-tight costume, you can see I have one right now!


                                   Audience shivers.


                                   CAST
                          (singing)
            YOU SEE, IT'S OKAY TO BE AWKWARD
            WHEN YOU'RE GROWING UP
            CHILDHOOD IS TOUGH
            BUT YOU'LL GROW STRONGER SOON!


                                   HALLMARK CARDS, INC.
            We don't mind this show being based on us; we get a
            percentage of the profits!


                                   THE PUBLIC THEATRE'S 
                                   FREE SHAKESPEARE 
                                   IN THE PARK PROGRAM
            Yeah?  How do you think WE can afford to exist?


                                   The humiliation thickens:


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            YOU!  Tell me about your tits!  In front of all of these
            strangers, as if it was a totally normal thing to do!


                                   GIRL WITH 
                                   TOTALLY NORMAL TITS
            I bought these.


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            I SAID EVERYBODY LOOK AT HER BOOBS!
                          (to girl)
            And what were you before?


                                   GIRL WITH 
                                   TOTALLY NORMAL TITS
            Flat.


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            And what are you now?


                                   GIRL WITH 
                                   TOTALLY NORMAL TITS
            Being that it's the 1970s, probably at risk for any number of
            medical problems.


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
                          (tokes)
            Oh god this is the best day I've had in awhile!


                                   ENTIRE CAST
                          (singing)
            WHAT DOES HE WANT TO KNOW?
            DOESN'T ACTORS EQUITY FORBID THIS?
            WELL I SUPPOSE IT MIGHT NOT
            AFTER ALL
            THIS IS SET IN THE 70S
            BOY THE 70S WERE
            WEEIIIIIRRDDD!!!


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            Okay, I've ran out of random stupid questions to ask you. 
            I'll just tally up these scorecards, equating my "ability to
            break down your sense of self worth" with "who's most likely
            to go down on me during the rehearsal process".  In the
            meanwhile, it JUST OCCURRED TO ME that I should probably see
            which of you can SING.


                                   GIRL WHO CAN'T SING AND HAS
                                   AN ENTIRE DAMN SONG ABOUT IT
            I can't.  At all.


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            Strange how we missed that entirely during the audition song
            you theoretically would have sung to get to this point in the
            audition process.  No matter.  
            You and everybody else go stage right and learn that one song
            from this musical that everybody really likes.


                                   Everybody leaves except for Charlotte
                                   d'Amboise.


                                   CHARLOTTE D'AMBOISE
            You wanted to see me?


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            Yes Charlotte d'Amb... How do I pronounce that?


                                   CHARLOTTE D'AMBOISE
            Charlotte.


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            No I mean... 
            No matter.  I want to talk to you about how you got out of
            the chorus to be a leading role, and how in becoming a part
            of this show you've relegated yourself to being back in the
            chorus again.  


                                   CHARLOTTE D'AMBOISE
            Well, Michael, I was in Chicago on-and-off for years, and
            Sweet Charity when Christina Applegate wasn't around, and
            also in Damn Yankees, but I kept getting the part of
            understudy or replacement, so I figured that--


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            Oh wait... You think I'm talking about... 
            No I mean your *character*, your *character* had risen out of
            the chorus to... 
            Oh my god I can't tell you and your character apart!


                                   CHARLOTTE D'AMBOISE
            Is it my acting?


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            No, no, it's the typecasting.  The incredibly...
            uncomfortable typecasting.  Jesus you're playing a more
            depressing version of yourself.



                                   CHARLOTTE D'AMBOISE
            Well perhaps HALFWAY THROUGH THE SHOW is a good time to
            FINALLY point out that you and I have had a relationship!


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            Yes, I was directing a show, and you were in it, and we dated
            and slept together!


                                   CHARLOTTE D'AMBOISE
            Wait... I wasn't in [title of show].  You slept with someone
            in [title of show]?


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            No... Cassie--


                                   CHARLOTTE D'AMBOISE
            Charlotte.


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            Let's please *try* to separate real life from--


                                   CHARLOTTE D'AMBOISE
            I LOVE TO DANCE!


                                   She dances.  There's lots of mirrors. 
                                   She watches herself dance.  We also
                                   watch her dance.  


                                   This goes on for like ten minutes.
                                   Nothing happens.


                                   Some of the audience heads to the
                                   bathroom, realizing that this the best
                                   they're going to get as far as
                                   intermissions go.






            SCENE: MEN'S ROOM


                                   AUDIENCE MEMBER
                          (knocking on bathroom stall)
            Come on, hurry up already!


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
                          (from inside stall)
            No!  They said I get to deliver my lines from wherever I
            want!


                                   Insert fart joke here.  
                                   (A good one, preferably.)






            SCENE: BACK ONSTAGE.

                                   GUY WITH SAD MONOLOGUE
                          (entering)
            I'm ready with my soul-baring monologue.


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            It BETTER be soul-baring.  Make up stuff if you have to. 
            The more wretched it is, the more likely I am to hire you.


                                   GUY WITH SAD MONOLOGUE
            Really?


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            Shit who knows.


                                   The guy gives a long, slow, sad
                                   monologue of how he used to dress up
                                   like a girl and dance, and how
                                   humiliating it was.


                                   GUY WITH SAD MONOLOGUE
            But I hid it from my parents the whole time, they knew I was
            in a show but didn't know I was dressed like a girl!  Then we
            were going to go on tour, but when my parents came to drop
            off my luggage the last night before the tour, they saw me
            onstage as a lady!


                                   He cries.  Michael Berresse comes back
                                   onstage for the first time in a good
                                   hour.  


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
                          (giving hug, like he's the
                           guy's father or something)
            Aww... Guy With Sad Monologue, why are you crying?  Is it
            because your father found out you were a crossdresser and you
            were SHAMEFUL?


                                   GUY WITH SAD MONOLOGUE
            No, it's because my parents didn't find out until they came
            to drop my luggage off!  If I was in some show, wouldn't you
            think they would have wanted to see what it was?  NO!  They
            never even asked!  Because my parents NEVER LOVED ME!


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
                          (to audience)
            Do you see? 
            Do you see what happens to kids whose parents don't love them
            enough?  They feel unloved!  They crave attention!  They
            become... ACTORS!
            DO YOU WANT YOUR CHILDREN TO END UP LIKE THIS?


                                   The actors enter.  They are young,
                                   bright eyed and full of hope, ready for
                                   their dreams to be CRUSHED.


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
                          (to actors)
            NOW DANCE FOR ME, PUPPETS!


                                   As they're dancing, the guy who was the
                                   best dancer out of all of them falls
                                   and breaks his leg.


                                   GUY WHO FELL
            Oh no!  I fell and may never be able to dance again!


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            Stop the audition process!


                                   A few guys lift him and bring him to
                                   the hospital.  It is located offstage.  
                                   How CONVENIENT.


                                   ONE OF THE GIRLS
            How did he fall?


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            I waxed up his shoes while he was downstairs learning the
            song.


                                   ONE OF THE GIRLS
            What?  Why?!?!


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            Creates a nice little segue into the question, 
            "What would you do if you couldn't dance?"


                                   ONE GIRL
            Well I don't know what I'd do.


                                   A GUY
            I'd find another job!


                                   ANOTHER GIRL
            I'd say,
                          (singing)
            IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT HAPPENS
            I DID IT FOR LOVE!
            I DID IT FOR LOVE!


                                   ENTIRE CAST
                          (singing)
            WE DID IT FOR LOVE!


                                   Button.  Audience applauds because this
                                   is a syrupy-sweet eleven o'clock
                                   number, and that is what they were
                                   trained to do.


                                   Good audience.  You get a treat!


                                   ONE OF THE GUYS
            Wait, did what for love?  Break our leg and never dance
            again?  I don't get--


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            I ASK THE QUESTIONS HERE!  
                          (awkward silence)
            I'm ready now to tell you who made it into my Broadway show.


                                   SHORT GIRL
            Didn't we cut that dance audition short?


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            Doesn't matter.  I actually already chose the cast well
            before the curtain rose, this is just how I get off.


                                   SHORT GIRL
            What?  But all these questions you've been asking--


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            I'm going to steal your personal material to write a Broadway
            show that is going to run forever and make me millions.


                                   SHORT GIRL
            Our stories?  Oh, so we get royalties!


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            No.  People whose names I call, step forward.


                                   He calls eight actors' names.


                                   EIGHT ACTORS WHO ARE
                                   STEPPING FORWARD
                          (to themselves)
            Yes!  We made it!  Elation!


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            PSYCHE!  You are the eight who DIDN'T make it!  
            But you should have seen your faces when I brought your hopes
            way up before CRUSHING them!  AH ha ha ha ha ha!


                                   The eight walk away.


                                   ONE OF THE ACTORS 
                                   WALKING AWAY
                          (under breath)
            Asshole.


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            The rest of you are in my Broadway show.  Good for you!  
            Go change into gold-colored clothing and get ready for the
            finale!


                                   All sixteen now come out in identical
                                   spangled-gold-costumes as they sing
                                   "One".  


                                   ONE OF THE DANCERS
                          (to Charlotte)
            Hey... wait wasn't there a movie version of this that your 
            *husband* was in?


                                   CHARLOTTE D'AMBOISE
            The character of Cassie doesn't have a husband.  She dated the 
            director.


                                   ONE OF THE DANCERS
            Sigh.  Nevermind...


                                   The identical costumes make it
                                   difficult to distinguish one from
                                   another, causing each character who was
                                   an "individual" to now become part of
                                   the anonymous ensemble.


                                   Unfortunately this notion is entirely
                                   killed when every cast member enters
                                   onstage one at a time, each getting
                                   their own individual applause.


                                   ENTIRE CAST
            ONE!
            ONE!
            ONE!
            ONE!


                                   More audience applause, then the show
                                   is over--


                                   GUY WHO FELL
                          (entering)
            Whoa, turns out I was just fine, my leg stopped hurting maybe
            five minutes later and I'm perfectly...


                                   He looks around.  The stage is empty.


                                   GUY WHO FELL
            Guys?  Guys?  Did I get a part?


                                   MICHAEL BERRESSE
            Oh... You... I assumed that since you fell, you weren't going
            to be--


                                   GUY WHO FELL
            Nah, I'm fine.


                                   Michael Berresse checks to see if
                                   anybody's around.


                                   Then he shoots The Guy Who Fell, and
                                   buries him under the floorboard of the
                                   Schoenfeld Theater.


                                   The moral of the story here is that
                                   DIRECTORS ARE EVIL.


                                   Learn that.


                                        BLACKOUT.

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