Aug 23, 2007
Lyle the Future King of the Great Expanding Universe
This is a play I started to write several years ago. I think it was going to be a musical actually. And then instead I wrote Herbie which is in many ways the same story. KING Welcome my subjects. I’m so glad so many of you could make it. You know me as your King of the Great Expanding Universe. (Applause.) You know my daughter, the delicate yet violent and vengeful Princess Francesca. (Applause.) And my son the prince of poetry, magnets and other somewhat useless pastimes, Prince Lyle. (A few claps.) Now I’ve called you all here today, my subjects because Lyle is fast approaching the ripe old age of eighteen . . . billion and it is time that he find a wife. (murmers.) I myself have several million wives as you all know. (Laughter.) No, but seriously, only a couple million or so. So for Lyle we are just looking for one right now. Is there anyone here today who may be possibly slightly interested in marrying the future king of the ever expanding universe? VOICE OF WOMAN He’ll never be king. KING Now that’s not entirely true. I could die someday. (laughter) I could. Someone could try to kill me or I could just die of old age in a few trillion years. VOICE OF MAN You won’t die. You’ll fucking be here forever. KING Now remember, I wasn’t always king of the ever expanding universe. VOICE OF MAN But the old king’s not dead either. He’s still alive. KING Is he? VOICE OF MAN You just overthrew him. You never chopped off his head. KING Really? Is that true? Well I apologize for the oversight. We’ll get right on that. (Makes motion with his hand. ADVISOR puts on a hood, picks up an axe and walks offstage.) But that doesn’t mean I’ll be the last king. At some point like any good son of the king of the great expanding universe, I expect Lyle will kill his father. (LYLE looks dubious.) Now who wants to marry him? (Silence.) Well, someone’s got to. Come on, now people. Really. This is getting serious. (To LYLE.) What did you do to all the people in the universe? LYLE I don’t know. KING Why don’t they like you? LYLE I don’t know. KING All right, well I gotta make a proclamation. If no one agrees to marry my son by the seventh day hence, one week from today, Lyle will be beheaded in the royal expanding courtyard. (Cheers, ad lib. Yay! Yippee. Three Cheers for the King!! Long live the King!) LYLE But Dad. KING I had to kill my dad, so now I have to kill my son. The life of a King is a lonely life. Where are my wives? Send my wives to my room. I’m going to be sad. (MAN IN HOOD returns with decapitated head.) KING Ah, good. Looks like your Grampa kicked it, son. LYLE Dad! KING I have spoken. Go now in peace to serve me and one another. FRANCESCA Tough break. LYLE I am so screwed. FRANCESCA They don’t like you, huh? LYLE Guess not. FRANCESCA Have you tried a personal ad? LYLE What? Future King of Expanding Universe seeks someone special? FRANCESCA I guess not. LYLE It’s not like there are people that don’t know me. FRANCESCA You could wear a disguise. LYLE They’d figure it out at the wedding. FRANCESCA They might. LYLE I should just kill myself. FRANCESCA Don’t do that. You got a few days to try and find a wife. You may as well wait it out. We can think of something. LYLE I guess. I don’t even want to get married. FRANCESCA I didn’t either but look how happy I am. LYLE Are you happy? FRANCESCA Well, I’m married. LYLE I’m going to go to my room and weep and write some poetry. FRANCESCA This is fixable. I mean, we knew this was going to happen. You just need a P.R. machine. We’ll make you look good and then all the girls will love you. LYLE How? FRANCESCA We could publish your poetry and then when the women arrive for a book signing, you hit on them, get them back to your place, put the moves on them and then get them to agree to marry you. LYLE I don’t know. FRANCESCA Either that or you chop Dad’s head off. LYLE All right. I’ll try it. FRANCESCA Tell you what? If it doesn’t work out and you really want to kill yourself, I’ll kill myself too. It’ll be like a pact. LYLE You’d do that for me? FRANCESCA Sure. Why you wouldn’t do that for me? LYLE No, I’d do that for you. Sure. Why’d you want to kill yourself again? FRANCESCA In case you do. LYLE Oh, right. Good. Good. Good.