Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
Below is a play I pitched for TML but which failed to make the cut amidst our many, many responses to the past year’s calamity circus. I’m sharing it here because I still feel it and I never intend to stop saying it.
TROJAN HORSE PLAY
(c) 2016 Bilal Dardai
(BILAL starts this play outside of the theater doors. He knocks at the door. He continues knocking at the door until an audience member lets him in. When he is let in, he is revealed to be wearing a horse’s head. He steps in and says…)
BD: Really? I mean: REALLY? (He walks to the center of the stage.) I mean, what did you expect was going to happen here? “Trojan Horse Play.” Nothing good ever comes of opening that door. Nothing! But knock a few times and hey, look at that! Here I am and now you have to sit there and take it.
“Trojan Horse Play.” Who didn’t understand that reference? Anybody? Speak up, I’m wearing a horse’s head. No, of course you did. It’s not some obscure literary idea being discussed here! This isn’t one of those minor myths from the Age of Antiquity! Athena challenging Arachne to a sewing contest, Apollo and what’s-her-name, got turned into a laurel tree. No, this is the decisive moment in the most brutal war epic of its time. This is a stroke of strategic genius so legendary that it gets quoted, often. This is a name they give to viruses that fuck up your computers when YOU DO EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID SIXTY SECONDS AGO.
(Somebody brings him a chair. He sits in it.)
But look, if I can get real for a second. I’m not mad. I’m not even disappointed. No. This is human nature. This is the conditioning. There’s a knock at the door. You’re curious. So you open the door, and there’s something new. Something you don’t see every day. So you let it in for awhile. The novelty is amusing. So you ignore it. Or you make fun of it. It’s just one more weird thing in a room full of weird things. And it won’t occur to you, until it’s far too late, that this thing you let in the door is here to do some real and lasting damage.
Of course, opening the doors wasn’t the problem. That wasn’t the fatal error. No, the thing that got Troy sacked was failing to look more closely at this thing they’d let in. Because if they’d looked more closely… (He takes the horse head off.) …they’d have lit the fucking thing on fire.
Because it always comes back. It doesn’t always look like a wooden horse, but it always comes back, and it always tests you, and it’s always your job to pass that test.
Every single election.
Every single office.
Every single judge up for retention.
Every motherfucking midterm.
You look inside the guts.
And if it means you harm.
If it means any of you harm.
You rip it to pieces and leave it scattered outside as a warning to the next one.
I’m walking out this door now. Don’t open it next time.
(He walks out the door. He knocks once. He knocks twice. If somebody is a smartass and opens the door again, the audience watches this play again. Otherwise, the play ends.)