Mr Socrates and the Monkey Man by Mark Nutter


This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author's PRIOR consent

The Dining Room of the Havenhouse home

VIVIAN HAVENHOUSE sits at the dinner table with her son BOB

BOB wears a monkey mask

He eats without removing the mask, shoving food under the mask and
into his mouth

VIVIAN: Bob, you're eating too fast. That's foetal duck en
meurette. It was meant to be savored.

Bob ignores her and continues to eat.

VIVIAN: Anyway, Sweetie, I think we should wait to eat until our
guest arrives.

Bob keeps eating.

VIVIAN: You're really going to like him, Bob… Even though no one
can replace your father—wouldn't it be nice if someone replaced
your father?

Bob pushes the mask up on top of his head.

BOB: No, that would not be nice.

VIVIAN: We both loved your father very much. But he's gone.

BOB: He might come back.

VIVIAN: He's not coming back.

BOB: Did you murder him?


BOB: Then how can you be sure he's not coming back?

VIVIAN: I just know. Your father and I drifted apart. He began to get
crazy ideas.

BOB: Crazier than foetal duck en meurette?

VIVIAN: Yes. He thought people should sleep on the ground. Can you

BOB: What other crazy ideas?

VIVIAN: It's uncomfortable. There are bugs down there.

BOB: So it's just the one crazy idea?

VIVIAN: There were others.

BOB: What?

VIVIAN: I don't remember. After he said 'sleep on the ground,'
I tuned him out.

BOB: I remember him laughing a lot.

VIVIAN: He laughed, that's true, but only when it was
inappropriate. Your father marched to a different drummer. Of all the
things a person can march to, that's what he picked.

BOB: I hate the new guy.

VIVIAN: You haven't met him yet.

BOB: I hate the mental picture I have of him.

VIVIAN: Well, when he gets here you can ignore that mental picture
and get a whole new nice one.

The doorbell CHIMES.

VIVIAN (CONT'D)(Rising): That'll be Mr. Socrates.

Vivian goes to the front door. Bob pulls the mask down over his face.

MR. SOCRATES enters. He wears an ivory-colored suit. He carries a
bottle of wine and a bucket.

MR. SOCRATES: My dear Vivian.

VIVIAN: Hello you.

Mr. Socrates gives Vivian a peck on the cheek. He shows her the wine

MR. SOCRATES: Bordeaux de la Beaujolais. This one is red, very hard
to find.

VIVIAN: Oh my.

Mr. Socrates hands the bucket to Vivian. He uncorks the bottle, takes
a swig, swishes it around in his mouth, then spits it into the

MR. SOCRATES: Scholarly. But with a hint of regret. How was your

VIVIAN: Oh, fine. Reviewing award applications. Someone created a
ballet based on Swan Lake. They called it Swan Lake. We found it

MR. SOCRATES: This must be young Master Robert.

Mr. Socrates crosses to Bob.

VIVIAN: He prefers Bob. Bob, this is Mr. Socrates.

MR. SOCRATES: (Offering his hand) Hello Bob.

Bob ignores him.

MR. SOCRATES: I see you're wearing a monkey mask, Bob.

Bob returns to eating, stuffing food under his mask.

MR. SOCRATES: I look forward to spending many hours with
you, Bob. You're going to learn so much from me, Bob. Doesn't that
sound like fun, Bob?

Bob continues to eat. Mr. Socrates moves Bob's plate away from him.

MR. SOCRATES: Once there was a fox roaming through the
forest. This fox was hungry. His stomach growled. It growled for a
long time, and even though the fox was alone, he was embarrassed.
The fox walked into a clearing. There, hanging from a grape tree, was
the most beautiful bunch of grapes the fox had ever seen. The fox
grabbed the grapes from the tree, and ate them greedily. He crammed
about thirty grapes into his mouth and chewed. As he ate, the fox
smacked his lips, making a moist slurping sound that echoed through
the forest. The other animals listened to the fox, and were disgusted.
A bear shuddered. A badger felt like he was going to throw up.
Just then a pack of twenty hounds came bounding into the clearing.
They set upon the fox and tore him to pieces, leaving nothing but
patches of bloody fur. The forest was quiet once again. The moral is:
have good table manners. Also, fox hunting is bad.

BOB: What?

MR. SOCRATES: That was a story with an important lesson. Two lessons,
actually. Did you catch them?

BOB: Number one: grapes grow on vines, not trees.

MR. SOCRATES: This story takes place in Europe.

BOB: Okay. Number two: was that supposed to be a fable?

MR. SOCRATES: Yes it was, Bob. I knew you were a bright boy.
BOB: You call yourself Mr. Socrates?

MR. SOCRATES: Yes. Even though he lived hundreds of years ago, our
minds are connected, Socrates and me.

BOB: You mean Aesop?

MR. SOCRATES: Who's that?

BOB: Aesop was the one who told fables.

MR. SOCRATES: I see no reason to split hairs. The name is not
important. What's important is the lesson. Both lessons. Did you
catch them?

BOB: Of course the name is important.

MR. SOCRATES: No, what's important is my spiritual connection to the
great teachers of the past, a connection that stretches all the way
back to Ancient Rome.

BOB (mumbling): Idiot.

VIVIAN: Bob, be nice.

BOB: Aesop was the one who told fables, not Socrates. And they were
Greeks, not Romans.

MR. SOCRATES: Anything can be picked apart. What is the value in

VIVIAN: I thought it was a wonderful story. It's somehow easier to
understand because it has animals in it.

MR. SOCRATES: Thank you Bob, you're going to be seeing more and
more of me now. And you're going to be exposed to new moral
principles, principles I doubt your father exposed you to. One of
those is the moral principle of not picking things apart.

BOB: Please. When you come over, eat dinner, and don't tell fables,
and do whatever it is you do with my mother, and then go home.

MR. SOCRATES: Bob, you're laboring under a misapprehension. I'm
moving in.

VIVIAN: I was going to tell you, Bob. But I thought that before I
told you, it would be best if Mr. Socrates brought his clothes over
and slept here a few nights and watched TV and used the bathroom. That
way it would be less of a shock.

Bob holds his head in pain for a moment. Then:

BOB (a strangled cry): Aaaaaggghhhh.

Bob puts his monkey mask back on and runs off.

LATER, in Bob's bedroom:

Bob, without the mask, digs into a hiding place, finds a journal, and
begins writing. He speaks as he writes.

BOB (writing): June 24. Today I met Mr. Socrates. He's my mother's
boyfriend, and he's moving in. I guess she's lonelier than I
thought. What I don't get is how she can go from my father to this
guy, who confuses Aesop and Socrates, and also licks the cancerous
taints of dead whores.

Split scene: LIGHTS UP on Vivian at the dining room table, in her
bathrobe. She is also writing in her journal.

VIVIAN (writing): June 24. Today I introduced Bob to Mr. Socrates.
Their meeting could not have been more auspicious. Mr. S was kind and
patient. Bob was immediately taken with him. Mr. S told Bob a lovely
story about animals, which makes it easier to understand.

Lights are still up on Bob.

BOB (writing): My mother is blind, and that's why she welcomed this
fool into our home.

VIVIAN (writing): Bob, he's not a fool, and I'm not blind. I
think you're being unfair.

BOB (writing): No, Mother, I don't think I am being unfair. Who does
he think he is, telling me a stupid story? He treated me like I was
three years old.

VIVIAN (writing): Well, sometimes you act like you're three years

BOB (writing): Oh come on…

VIVIAN (writing): You do. You're young and you have a great deal to

BOB (writing): From him?!

VIVIAN (writing): Yes, from him. He's a well-respected

BOB (writing): He's clueless

VIVIAN (writing): Let me finish. Mr. Socrates is a well-respected
Renaissance man.

BOB (writing): How do you know he's well-respected?

VIVIAN (writing): He told me.

BOB (writing): I'm sure he's well-respected by the Society of
Dead Whore Taint-Lickers.

VIVIAN (writing): Yuch.

BOB (writing): He seems shady. What's his background?

VIVIAN (writing): I'm not sure what his background is, but I'm
certain it's not shady. His sophistication will be a welcome
addition to our home.

BOB (writing): He'll never take the place of my dad.

VIVIAN (writing): Give it time.

BOB (writing): I wish you had killed my father, which would make you
a murderer, which would mean you could kill this asshole too.

VIVIAN (writing): That's out of line, Bob… Bob?

BOB (writing): Bob's not here. Please leave a message. BEEEEEP.


[end of extract]


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