1. Troubled

ACT 1

SCENE 1

SUNRISE – DESERT

A blue starry sky, with orange glow at the horizon. A shamanic HERBALIST enters, sets up her road-side STALL, and shakes a tamburello.

#1 NIGHT FALL

HERBALIST

AH-AH-AH

HERBALIST (CONT'D)

NIGHT SKY

STARS ABOVE

CHORUS

NIGHT SKY

STARS ABOVE

HERBALIST

SHINE ALL DAY LONG

UNSEEN, BECAUSE

THE SUN SHINES STRONGER.

HERBALIST (CONT'D)

LIKEWISE...

CHORUS

LIKEWISE...

Enter SPIRIT1

SPIRIT1

MYSTERIOUS BEINGS

BY YOUR SIDE

Enter SPIRIT2

SPIRIT2

ANGELS?

DEMONS?

SPIRIT GUIDES

HERBALIST

ARE BY YOUR MIND DENIED.

CHORUS

ARE BY YOUR MIND DENIED.

HERBALIST and SPIRITS stand back-to-back as a trio.

HERBALIST

SO INTO DREAMS WE SLIDE

CHORUS

SO INTO DREAMS WE SLIDE

Transition to...

SUNRISE - BEDROOM

ADAM, a 20-something college drop-out, lies asleep. At the foot of his bed, a STRANGE ROCK pulses with an inner glow.

As the glow intensifies, ADAM sits up, in a night terror, flailing, as if his bed is approaching a precipice.

ADAM

No! No! Aaarrrgh!

He throws himself like a rag-doll from the bed and lands heavily on the floor.

sound: Beep Beep His bedside clock-radio alarm.

ADAM reaches up to press the snooze button, and pulls bed covers down onto himself. With a groan, he lays his head on the floor.

SCENE 2

MORNING – DESERT

THERESA with a basket hangs laundry on a line

#2 DRY LAND

THERESA

GOOD MORNING DEATH VALLEY!

HOTTEST PLACE IN THE WESTERN WORLD

EMPTY DAYS AND HEAVY HAZE

BENEATH THE HIGH SIERRA SWIRL

She hangs a pair of DUNGAREE OVERALLS.

BETWEEN THE MOJAVE AND NEVADA

AND AN UNFORGIVING SKY

LET'S SAY IT'S NOT SO OFTEN

THAT ANYONE DROPS BY

THERESA hangs the last item.

YET THIS IS WHERE WE'VE MADE OUR HOME

BY THOSE CRATERS OVER THERE

BUILT A LITTLE BUSINESS

OUT OF LITERALLY THIN AIR

THERESA checks the DUNGAREES. They're already dry.

She folds the clothes into the basket.

WHERE THE MILKY WAY GALACTIC CENTRE

RISES OVERHEAD SO BRIGHT

IT'S ENOUGH TO CAST A SHADOW

IN THE DARKNESS OF THE NIGHT

She carries the BASKET indoors.

Transition to...

MORNING – BEDROOM

Enter THERESA with TEA and DUNGAREES on a tray.

THERESA

Morning, Adam! It’s another beautiful day. How did you sleep?

(sees him on the floor)

Oh.

ADAM

Urrrngh.

THERESA

More bad dreams? You poor thing. Here, I made you some more special tea for it.

ADAM

Thank you Aunt Theresa.

(sipping with a grimace)

Mmm. Delicious.

THERESA

And I fixed up a pair of your uncle’s old dungaree overalls for you. You can start in the shop today.

ADAM

The shop? Thank you. You’ve all been really kind, but ...

THERESA

Sorry dear. When your parents divorce, you drop out of college, and you have no friends or lovelife, I’m here for ya. But life and makin’-a-livin’ must go on. You need work experience. And we need fresh thinkin’.

Space-rocks aren’t exactly flying off the shelves these days.

ADAM

And you think my two course credits, in Marketing and Environmental Studies are somehow going to help?

THERESA

That’s the spirit! And those bad dreams. Maybe the universe is trying to tell you something?

ADAM

About what?

THERESA sniffs the air.

THERESA

Just a feelin’.

Theresa notices the STRANGE ROCK.

THERESA

Where did this hunk come from?

ADAM

I dunno. I like it. It’s kind of ... funky.

THERESA

Funky? It stinks! I’ll take it back to the shop.

ADAM

Oh no, Aunt Theresa, I wouldn’t try to move it

THERESA

No trouble.

THERESA lifts the rock..

It seems to have a magnetic, gyroscopic life of its own.

sound: Weeeeoooo

The ROCK swings THERESA around, pulled by unseen forces, making swooping electrical noises.

THERESA (CONT'D)

Woo-hoo!

ADAM

I told you.

THERESA struggles toward the tray on the bedside table.

ADAM (CONT'D)

Be careful.

As she approaches, the ROCK affects the alarm clock radio, making it malfunction.

sound: Crackle crackle. ACTACTAaWEEeeeeoooo!

THERESA leaps back.

THERESA

Help!

ADAM is concerned now. He jumps up.

ADAM

Auntie!

THERESA trips on the rug, and totters backward.

Adam prepares to catch her, but every time he gets in place, the rock pulls in a different direction.

ADAM (CONT'D)

Whoa. Where are you going?

THERESA

Waaaaah!

ADAM

Aaaah!

THERESA is falling. ADAM throws himself beneath her on the floor. She lands on him.

ADAM (CONT'D)

Oof.

THERESA

How kind.

ADAM

(weakly)

No problem.

Are you OK?

THERESA

(brightly)

Fine. Fine. Thank you dear.

ADAM struggles to his feet.

And now you’re up!

Adam wrangles the STRANGE ROCK back to its original position.

ADAM

Best keep this thing away from anything electrical.

THERESA

I suppose it can stay there, for the time being.

But you, get movin'!

Theresa takes the TEA TRAY and exits.

Adam picks up the DUNGAREES, and sighs.

SCENE 3

DAY – DESERT

At the porch BREAKFAST TABLE, world-weary geologist ERNEST, and his young intern, GEORGIE, are attaching price labels to SPACE ROCKS.

They have buckets labelled “METEORITES” and “METEOR-WRONGS”, and a clipboard.

ERNEST

(examining ROCK)

Any ideas?

GEORGIE

Dark matrix and coloured clasts. Perhaps it’s, um ... carbonaceous chrondite. Mr Hicksville?

ERNEST

Yes! Clever girl, Georgie. How did you know?

GEORGIE smiles.

ERNEST

Amino acids. Not life as such. But the building blocks of life. We’ll keep that one.

GEORGIE

Okaaay. What about these ... Pallasites?

ERNEST

Beautiful . . .

GEORGIE

And rare. Twelve bucks a gram?

ERNEST

Hmm. Maybe we should have a sale.

GEORGIE

Everything in the shop is already at “rock-bottom” prices.

ERNEST

And who’s buying?

GEORGIE

Someone looked at the website on Tuesday.

ERNEST

Really?

GEORGIE

Last Tuesday.

ERNEST

Nobody’s interested in space rocks any more.

GEORGIE

I am.

ERNEST

You’re sweet. But let’s say half-price on the pallasites, OK?

GEORGIE

OK

ERNEST

(excited)

Now, this one is four point five billion years old. Maybe the oldest object on earth!

Enter THERESA with the TEA TRAY.

THERESA

So maybe it can wait?

ERNEST

Uh?

THERESA

Until after breakfast?

ERNEST

Oh. Sorry dear.

Georgie separates rocks and breakfast.

ERNEST

It's just the rent is due and sales have been ...

GEORGIE

Between a rock and a hard place.

THERESA

That's all going to change.

Adam's gonna start in the shop today.

GEORGIE

Great!

ERNEST

(skeptical)

How is he?

THERESA

Still a little mixed-up I’m afraid.

ERNEST

Well he should unmix himself, if he wants to live at 2001 Meteoric Rise. Our business is “space-rock retailing”, not ... “spa”.

THERESA

Ernest!

ERNEST

Neil Armstrong didn’t laze around in bed all day then suddenly wake up on the moon you know. He had a plan. Goals.

GEORGIE

And a rocket.

ERNEST

Adam should consider the future. Make some money. Maybe get a girlfriend?

GEORGIE

Such as whom, round here?

ERNEST

Someone down-to-earth, like my Theresa.

GEORGIE

Oh

THERESA

Thank you Ernest.

THERESA examines Adam's TEA-CUP.

THERESA (CONT'D)

According to his tea-leaves, he will go on a long mysterious journey.

GEORGIE

Cool. Where? It’s the World Science Fair in Kuala Lumpar this year, and I was thinking . . .

ERNEST

Forget it. We need you here.

GEORGIE

But if Adam works out OK?

THERESA

Maybe dear. We’ll see.

Enter ADAM wearing the DUNGAREES.

ADAM

Morning all!

ERNEST

Good mornin’ Adam. Nice britches!

ADAM

Er, thank you Uncle Ernest.

THERESA

Adam, meet Georgie. Our intern.

ADAM

Hi.

GEORGIE jumps up and shakes ADAM’s hand enthusiastically.

GEORGIE

Hi!

THERESA

We found her through the Hicksville Youth Employment Program.

GEORGIE

Turns out I’m the only youth in Hicksville. And this is the only job. Cool huh?

THERESA offers a BOWL to ADAM.

THERESA

Grits?

ADAM

Er, no thanks. I’m ... not hungry.

THERESA

Meh. That’s what you said yesterday, You gotta eat!

ERNEST

Too excited for the grand tour I expect.

And what about that marketing idea we talked about?

Adam produces a SMART PHONE and NOTE CARDS.

ADAM

I thought we could combine both, with a promotional video?

GEORGIE

Yes!

THERESA

Jeepers

ERNEST

OK. Then let’s get started shall we? There’s a wind blowin’ up, and I want to catch the mail.

Ernest takes the CARDS and adjusts his appearance.

Adam starts recording.

#3 HICKSVILLE ROCKS

ADAM

Action!

ERNEST

(to camera, reading from cards)

IF YOU’RE EVER IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE

DROP IN. PERUSE OUR STOCKS.

FOR YOUR OWN PET PIECE OF THE UNIVERSE

WITH A NAME-TAG, IN A BOX

BANG NEXT TO AREA 51

MILE SIXTY, PAST BOONDOCKS

HANG A LEFT BY THE ROSWELL EXIT

AND GET YOUR ASS DOWN ...

ADAM gestures. The shop SIGN is revealed . . .

CHORUS

TO HICKSVILLE ROCKS!

They enter . . .

DAY – STORE

SHELVES loaded with SPACE ROCKS of all shapes sizes and colours, a LARGE MAP on the wall, two DESKS with COMPUTERS and HEADSETS.

Signs on the wall say “We Dig Space Rocks”, “Treasures from Space” , “Museum Quality”, “Do drop in”, “Everything must go”, etc

CHORUS (CONT'D)

OOH OOH OOH OOH HICKSVILLE ROCKS

OOH OOH WOO HOO

THERESA packs a ROCK in a BOX.

THERESA

FILL YOUR TRUNKS WITH METEOR CHUNKS

FRESH IN FROM OUTER SPACE

Slaps a BOW on the BOX.

THERESA (CONT'D)

FOR A GIFT WITH REAL IMPACT

TO PUT A SMILE ON ANY FACE

GEORGIE scans rocks with a HANDHELD SCANNER.

GEORGIE

THOUGH VISUALLY STRANGE,

THE MAGNETIC RANGE IS UNQUESTIONABLY ATTRACTIVE

She finds a curious sample.

GEORGIE (CONT'D)

OR WHY NOT BESTOW THE HOMELY GLOW

OF SOMETHING RADIO-ACTIVE?

CHORUS

OOH OOH OOH HOO HICKSVILLE ROCKS

OOH OOH WOO HOO

GO HICKSVILLE!

THERESA

VIBRATING COSMIC FRAGMENTS,

SOME WITH HEALING POWERS

She puts on a PHONE HEADSET

THERESA (CONT'D)

IF IT'S URGENT, I'M CRYSTAL, CALL ME

FOR SPECIAL SERVICE, AFTER HOURS

GEORGIE

LAVA LUMPS, CLEAN AND DIRTY

BOULDERS, PEBBLES, BRICKS

THERESA

CALL ME BEFORE FIVE-THIRTY

I'LL GET YOUR ROCKS OFF BY SIX!

CHORUS

OOH OOH OOH HICKSVILLE ROCKS

OOH OOH WOO HOO HICKSVILLE ROCKS

OOH OOH OOH HICKSVILLE ROCKS

OOH OOH WOO HOO WOO HOO HICKSVILLE ROCKS!

ERNEST

(Reading)

Prices are coming down down down all this week at www.HicksvilleRocks.com. Follow us on Twitter at Hicksville Rocks, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our Youtube Channel, “Rocks Box”!

MAJOR DON

(Off)

Knock Knocks! Hicksville Rocks!

THERESA

Ooh. A customer!

Enter MAJOR DON in MEXICAN ARMY UNIFORM.

MAJOR DON

A major customer! Hola sky-watchers!

THERESA

Major Don.

ERNEST

(nervous)

Ahhh

MAJOR DON

And you must be ADAM?

ADAM

Hello.

MAJOR DON

Bienvenido! I made you . . . .

MAJOR DON produces a FOIL-WRAPPED PACKET.

MAJOR DON (CONT'D)

... a Brunch Burrito!

MAJOR DON gives the FOIL-WRAPPED PACKAGE to ADAM.

ADAM

Er, gracias.

MAJOR DON

De nada. I love to cook!

MAJOR DON produces PAPER DOCUMENTATION from his OTHER POCKET and discreetly offers it to ERNEST.

And, for you, Ernesto, ... Export Permits. Get ‘em while they’re hot. Got the money?

ERNEST

(awkward)

Ah ... Sorry Don. not yet. It’s been difficult.

MAJOR DON

Difficult? No. Obtaining permits. That’s difficult.

And operating without them, for you, very difficult, I think. So ...

ERNEST

How about a nice specimen?

GEORGIE offers MAJOR DON a ROCK.

GEORGIE

For your collection.

MAJOR DON

Hmm. Pretty, but ...

THERESA

Please Don. We’re desperate.

MAJOR DON

(conspiratorially)

Maybe something more scientifically interesting?

ERNEST

(puzzled)

Such as?

Major Don gathers himself.

MAJOR DON

Hicksville Rocks, we have a problem. I love you all. But your low rent and permits here, do not fall from the sky. I’ve been double-dipping an old budget for secret research – the “Dos-Equis” files – since 1993. And now I’m being audited ... by the Mexican Pentagon.

THERESA

The Mexican Pentagon?!

GEORGIE

The Mexican Pentagon?!

MAJOR DON

It’s OK. I cooked the books. Told them we found something.

ERNEST

Who did?

MAJOR DON

You did! I tried to tell them the truth was still "out there", but ... they want concrete results.

ERNEST

Concrete from space?

MAJOR DON

A clue. I’m not saying aliens, but ... Have you heard the theory that all life on earth may have originated from bacteria on a meteorite?

ERNEST

Panspermia.

THERESA

Eew

MAJOR DON

(knowingly)

That ... would be interesting.

GEORGIE

You want us to fake an organism.

THERESA

Georgie!

MAJOR DON

DNA. Just a bit of this, a bit of that. Enough to get the funding.

ERNEST

Sounds risky.

#4 MEX IT UP

MAJOR DON

DONT BE AFRAID OF WHAT I’M SAYIN’

COS I’M A BONA FIDE MAJOR DON

I EARNED MY STRIPES IN THE KITCHEN

OF THE MEXICAN PENTAGON

WHEN MEN IN BLACK ARE BENT ON FACTS

THERE'S NO TIME TO PLAY IT STRAIGHT

USE COMMON SENSE, INVENT, RELAX.

I’LL HELP YOU TO CREATE

A TEAM NEEDS A CAPTAIN

A FAMILY NEEDS A FATHER

A KITCHEN NEEDS A CHEF

OR THERE'S NO ENCHILADA

CHORUS

AH AH MEX IT UP

MAJOR DON

WANNA KEEP YOUR PLACE? WHATCHA GONNA DO?

CHORUS

AH AH MEX IT UP.

IT’S THE ONLY WAY I (HE) CAN SAVE YOU

AH AH MEX IT UP.

MAJOR DON

IF YOU WANNA STAY, WHATCHA GONNA DO?

CHORUS

AH AH – MEX IT UP!

MAJOR DON laughs.

ERNEST

Make it up?

MAJOR DON

Hmm ...

THERESA

Mix it up?

MAJOR DON

Sí.

GEORGIE

Sex it up?

MAJOR DON

Claro.

ADAM

Mex it up!

MAJOR DON

Exacto!

CHORUS

Venga!

MAJOR DON

YOU FIND ME THE MEAT

YOU, A LITTLE CHEESE

YOU, THE SPICY DETAILS

I CAN WRAP AROUND WITH THESE

SIMPLE INGREDIENTS

SKILLFULLY COMBINED

WHEN I TURN UP THE HEAT

IN THE GRILL OF MY MIND

AY AY AY!

CHORUS

QUE SERA DEPENDE

EN PLEGABILIDAD, COMPRENDE?

MAJOR DON

THE MOST HALF-BAKED CONCOCTION EVER SOLD

CHORUS

LIKE A GRINGO’S BURRITO

MAJOR DON

MUST NOW UNFOLD

CHORUS

AH – AH – MEX IT UP

MAJOR DON

IF YOU WANNA STAY

CHORUS

WHATCHA GONNA DO?

AH – AH – MEX IT UP

IT’S THE ONLY WAY I(HE) CAN SAVE YOU

CHORUS (CONT'D)

AH – AH – MEX IT UP

YOU WANNA KEEP YOUR PLACE?

WHATCHA GONNA DO?

AH – AH – MEX IT UP!

MAJOR DON

I have faith in you my friends. Scientific breakthrough by Friday, or get out of the kitchen. OK? DNA scanner arrives tomorrow. Go with God!

Exit MAJOR DON

BLACK

SCENE 4

NIGHT - DESERT

Sound: Breezes

Adam walks out, in a BATHROBE, checking his PHONE.

THERESA

(off)

Goodnight Adam. If you're hungry, there's some more chitlins on the stove!

ADAM

Er, OK, thanks Aunt Theresa.

THERESA

(off)

Don’t stay up too long. Bolt the door when you come.

ADAM

Sure. Thanks. Goodnight!

(checking phone)

Meanwhile, in the world.

(reading)

A cat who successfully predicted lottery numbers was given a whole salmon as a reward! That’s nice.

(scrolls)

Ate too much and died. Owner, Felicity Gorge, said she will miss her pet very much. It's nobody's fault, and everything happens for a reason.

That’s what Mum and Dad said.

(feeling cold)

Brrrrr.

He stretches. Notices a solitary star.

ADAM (CONT'D)

Doesn’t bother you, does it? Cold. Loneliness.

If you can shine on, I s’pose i should try.

#5 LITTLE STAR

Sound: Breezes.

ADAM

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, LITTLE STAR

THOUGH PALE AND DISTANT YOU ARE

FOR SHINING YOUR LIGHT TO ME

SO THAT I CAN SEE ... SO FAR

LUCKY STAR, IN THE HEAVENS

IF YOUR HEART CAN REACH THIS LIGHT-YEARS LENGTH

PLEASE BEAM INTO ME WHAT I’M MEANT TO BE

AND GIVE ME STRENGTH?

Transition to ...

EVENING – BEDROOM

ADAM enters his BEDROOM. The LITTLE STAR shines through the WINDOW.

ONE DAY I’LL FLY UP LIKE ... A FLY? THROUGH A WINDOW

I'LL SEE MY LIFE FROM HIGH ABOVE

ONE DAY I’LL LIE DOWN AT NIGHT, UNDERSTANDING

WHY YOU TRY TO FILL THE EMPTY SKY

WITH YOUR FLICKERING LIGHT OF LOVE

ADAM removes his BATHROBE and gets into bed.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, LITTLE STAR

SHINE ON, WHILE I SINK DEEP

INTO PLANET BED

LET FATE ROTATE AROUND ME WHILE I SLEEP

ADAM reaches up and pulls a CORD hanging over the bed. Lights out.

The STARS s-l-o-w-l-y move.

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