Bureau d'Bureau: Act II

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Bur d’Bur Bur d’Bur Bur d’Bur


ACT II CHARACTERS P SCENE

About 10 minutes earlier. Outside the office.

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The precipitation is light, as it is most of the time these days. Relentless drizzle, constantly dazzling rainbows. The heavier rain days are preferable in some ways, more predictable, heavy droplets that cannot float under your brolly and cover your face in a sweaty dew.

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Along the upstage wall is the exterior of the office – a pinkish red brick with two s ets of 6 single pane windows right and left, evenly stacked. In between the sets there is 1 window with 2 thinner ones either side, and below one large window spanning the width of all 3 above. Through the large window there is a red blind pulled all the way to the top and the familiar fluorescent lighting of the office break room. Above the window, is the sign for the office which reads BROWNPASTE PLC embossed from its offwhite background in a slab serif, faded to beige with years of miserable weather.

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Beneath the office, to the right of the stage is a 24/7 shop, aptly named on it’s bright blue and red sign, “24/7 Shop”. Both the door (to the right) and shop window (to the left, spanning the rest of the shop) are engulfed in scrappy ornamentation, pixelated vinyl and neon lettering. The window, almost obscuring it entirely, features 16 portrait sheets of cheap dog-eared A4, each with a huge printed letter, spelling out WESELLBROWNPASTE

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At the letter “O” (sheet number 9), the colour of the paper switches from white to pale pink, the typeface from Arial to Myriad Pro and the application from sticky tack to sellotape. Above the shop is a red and white canopy with a scalloped edge, whose vibrance and hubris had been tainted by years of showers and bird shit, all in the honour of protecting the flamboyant displays. 10


To the left of the back wall is a derelict bar, covered in Bureau-standard yellow and black striped tape and tatty plywood boards. Dotted around seemingly at random are identical notices from the Bureau stuck down to the boards with the same tape. The messages, delivered by The Department for Healthy Living Stylisation, and reads

CLOSED DOWN DUE TO LOGO TREASON Sprayed onto the boards is a giant graffitied depiction of a pink nose, tagged below with the name “CACAGRAPHER” in barely legible handwriting. In front of the path below, is a drain with a constant flow of water entering it.

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Center stage is an alleyway, mostly featuring shops and businesses shut down by the Bureau, bar one door on the right side leading up to the office. When the curtains rise, P is seen sitting to the right of a bench placed in front of the alleyway tapping his leg. He is covered from the rain by a large umbrella which is also protecting a conspicuous cardboard tube some distance to his left. Occasionally, the tube rolls around in the breeze, sending P into a slapstick-esque frenzied panic for a few seconds. A man and woman pass P from right to left, talking loudly, oblivious to his presence. Man No, I haven’t got much left. Just got a couple of jobs done when we get back. Woman Yes, I’ve got to do a bit of pottering about too. Once I’ve finished tinkering with that thing. Man Ok well I’ll get on with my odds and ends and once you’ve finished with your thing we can both do that other stuff together and that’ll be it. Jobs done. Woman Job done! Oh what what about those…

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P watches them pass and when they’re out of sight he checks his watch impatiently. P (anxiously under his breath, still tapping his leg) Come on…

Offstage right, a loud bark is heard approaching. P looks up and sees something that causes the blood to drain from his face. After a few seconds of being frozen in place he fumbles up off the bench dropping his umbrella and knocking the cardboard tube onto the floor, quickly abandoning the scene down the alley. As we hear the sound of the barking grow closer D and K enter the stage from the left with newly bought salads in hand. Two beagles enter from upstage right, nose first, pulling along two Bureau officers. They reach the “24/7 Shop” and after some time fumbling with the door, the officers enter. K and D stop in the centre before the alleyway entrance to the office to have a sniff with their noses too. D (more to herself than to K) What’s going on ‘ere then? K What’s going on ‘ere? D Wonder what’s up with them dogs. K Look like them sniffer dogs. D Look like them dogs they’ve got sniffing out the wrong sorts. I wonder what sort this time. K I’ve heard rumours of counterfeit toothpaste being sold at that shop. D It’s probably a warning for that atrocious signage they’ve got outside. Can dogs sniff out bad type? They should be locked up for breaking the Ornamentation Agreement. Or maybe it’s some of that dodgy toothpaste, I’ve heard rumours that their brown paste promotion is just a front.

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The officers exit the shop, one wheeling out a case full of “Brownpaste”, the other already applying a Bureau notice to the window. CLOSED DOWN DUE TO COUNTERFEIT PRODUCTS D (pointing to the case) Told you! Must be the toothpaste, knew it. I knew it, didn’t I! K Must be the dodgy toothpaste. D To think, right under our noses as well. Us, working hard to provide the county with an alternative in the greatest toothpaste shortage of our time. Adding further insult, they’re using our packaging to flog their crappy counterfeit! Cheek on it. K Cheek on it.

The pair exit the scene through the door in the alleyway. Curtain close.

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Bur d’Bur Bur d’Bur Bur d’Bur

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