By CHRIS PACKHAM
In his column, The Kansas City Star's Yael T. Abouhalkah does, admittedly, use the cliche "rose-colored glasses" in reference to the "cheerleaders" pushing for a new 1,000-room hotel in downtown Kansas City, which made me grind my teeth,resulting in a broken filling and a painful dental procedure — not that I'm holding any grudges — but I think he's probably right that the city shouldn't rush into any serious tax-abatement relationships with hotel developers. HAHA! Look at me. I'm David Martin. Let's talk about tax-increment financing and those fat-cats on the City Council. Unless it involves legwork, or even calling-people-on-the-phonework, in which case the real David Martin can handle it just fine. I'm less of a reporter, and more of a dramatist, in that my preferred approach to journalism is making things up out of my head.
That's your one link for the day, because — after the jump — I've assembled what Kansas City Star television critic Aaron Barnhart might annoyingly describe as a "crackerjack" cast for a table-reading of a new one-act play suggested by a commenter. Click here, or you can click on three plays by Tom Stoppard, three plays by George Kelly and three plays by Leo Tolstoy:
I am a playwright: Yesterday, I suggested that Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline never talked about anything other than late-term abortions, ever, and included a tiny scenario about dinner at the Kline family's home. Then I spent the rest of my day doing the Astrology Workout. When I took a break to monitor my resting pulse and check the comments — HAHA, I mean "comment" — Plog Commenter Laureate and contemporary drama enthusiast Wumble had enthusiastically embraced the idea of a Phill Kline one-act play like a baby monkey clinging hilariously to its wire mother. He — or, as I prefer to picture Wumble, she — even suggested the title The Great American South Leawood Dinner-Time Late-Term Fetus Brouhaha.
Ordinarily, I don't do nothin' nobody tells me to. I ain't no got-damn Make-a-Wish Foundation, and Wumble ain't no kid dying from hammertoe, or whatever. But in this case, I was seized with the kind of caffeinated creative fever that only comes from coffee laced with Adderall, and I composed the play in a single afternoon. Admittedly, it's strongly influenced by the school of drama that critic Martin Esslin called Le Théâtre de l'Absurde, and its chief American practitioner, Edward Albee. But I like to think that I bring my own preoccupations and ideas to the form, such as references to video games.
After workshopping it with my coworkers, and then shredding my first draft while crying and screaming at them to shut up, I polished the dialogue and strengthened the narrative arc at the nearest open bar, Daddy's on Main. Special thanks to Wumble, and special thanks to Tennessee Williams for writing a Stanley Kowalski speech which I copied and pasted, and then replaced a few pronouns with the word "abortion." What follows is a rough table-reading of the play starring a box of America's favorite gay robot-themed breakfast cereal, C-3POs, as Phill Kline, and starring the Verne Troyer sex tape as Deborah Kline:
Written by Chris Packham
Based on a comment by Wumble
And a stupid blog post by Fred Logan
Scene: The Kline family dinner table.
I totally punk'd Planned Parenthood today. I called them up on the phone, and when they answered, I said, "Would you please page Mike Hunt? Because there's a fetus in it!"
That's funny, dear.
You get it? Say it real fast: "Mike Hunt."
No, I get it, I get it.
They didn't fall for it, though.
You know what I hate?
No. I HATE THIS EFF-ING BRISKET!
HAHAHAHAHAHA! Just kidding. Abortion. HAHAHA! I punk'd you, too! HAHAHAHA!
Hillary's teacher called today.
Uh-huh. Not to "abort" the subject, but you know what's an abomination? Abortion.
She says she'd prefer it if you didn't speak to Hillary's class this year during Careers Week.
What? Why not?
Because your detailed description of partial-birth abortion last year disturbed too many of the children. And the PowerPoint slides? What were you thinking? And then you subpoenaed all the kids' medical records. Mrs. Johnson says they don't want you coming this year.
That rhymes-with-witch. You know what I'm going to do? I'm going to subpoena her medical records.
Couldn't you just talk to the children about prosecuting criminals?
Listen, baby, when we first met — you and me — you thought I was common. Well, how right you was. I was common as dirt. You showed me a snapshot of the place with them columns, and I pulled you down off them columns, and you loved it, having them colored lights goin'. And wasn't we happy together? Wasn't it all okay till abortion showed here? And wasn't we happy together? Wasn't it all OK? Till abortion showed here. Hoity-toity, describin' me like a ape.
That's it. You're fucking insane. I'm leaving you.
Don't make me subpoena your medical records, Deborah. I'll do it. (Grabs a paper napkin and scribbles on it with a pen, hands it to Deborah.) There it is. An official subpoena. Now hand them over. I think there may be a few abortions in there. Illegal ones.
(Sobbing.) Oh, Phill! (Exits left, door slams.)
(Pause. Picks up the phone and dials).
Hello? Is this the office of Dr. George Tiller? Could you page "My Vagina?" I think there's a fetus stuck up in there! HAHAHAHAHA! Oh, wait. I told that wrong.