THE NEFARIOUS DR. WILHELM SKREEM’S DEVIOUSLY DRAMATURGICAL DRAMA

Bwah-ha-ha! But seriously, you guys? For serious? For serious. You all know me as the Nefarious Dr. Wilhelm Skreem, evil genius, not-quite-mad-but-pretty-unusual scientist, President of the Society for the Prevention of the Prevention of Cruelty, but what I really want to do is direct. And write. And star in my own one-man Broadway spectacular! I never realized it before, but I have the theatre in my blood, the stage in my bones, performance in my pituitary gland. I yearn for the footlights, the headlights, the abdomenlights. Here’s my amazing story.

I was doing research on evil, when I came across a name I’d never seen before: Streisand. What a sinister songstress, she! And with this revolting revelation came more and more evil masterminds of the stage: Brecht! The Scottish Play! Something called a Wendy Wasserstein! And perhaps the most villainous of all: Andrew Lloyd Weber. Thanks to him, no one dare use the words “starlight” or “express” in the same sentence, lest the nightmares begin again.

But I was hooked, and now I’m a total theatre junky. I’ve read all of Shakespeare’s plays and my favorite is probably Rent, I’ve memorized An Actor Prepares and A Director Researches and A Playwright Drinks Heavily, and I’ve written my big Broadway show, The Nefarious Dr. Wilhelm Skreem Shuts On the Lights! It’s an epic voyage into my own private Uta Hagen, and the first cycle is two weeks long. But tonight, I shall perform the first part of the first part, The Nefarious Dr. Wilhelm Skreem Shuts On the Lights, Part One: The Ill Cranium’s Atrocious.

The curtain rises on a darkened stage. There is a tree under which The Nefarious Dr. Wilhelm Skreem sits, tying his shoes. The tree is gnarled, ancient and bare of leaves. It symbolizes the futility of Man’s existence in a world in which the existence of Man is futile. The NDWS looks up, shoes untied.

Skreem: Nothing to be done. Nowhere to do it. No one with which to do nothing. All is lost. Even my invisible rabbit has left me. Life is a tale told by an idiot, only he forgets the end and keeps repeating himself until you’re like, we get it, already! And he’s all, I’m an idiot, don’t hate the player, dur dur dur. And it is all highly tragic.

A heroic figure approaches. He has a sword and a cape and everything. Maybe he rides a horse. Maybe not. I really don’t care about this character. He is the foil.

Hero: Greetings! I bring good news. The world has meaning; the Pope has just decreed it.

Skreem: No! It can’t be true. What will I tell my angst?

Hero: Tis none of my concern, lowly evil genius. Now stand aside that I will spread the word across the land. Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Man’s Existence No Longer Futile! Pope’s Hopes Nopes Dopes!

Hero begins to exit, stage left, when he stops and regards the NDWS with pity, love, and is that a hint of jealousy? He reaches into his satchel, which, by the way props department, he’s carrying a satchel. He pulls out a small black box with a sticker on it that reads Do Not Open Until Ever.

Hero: Say, you appear trustworthy.

Skreem: You take that back!

Hero: Now, now, take it easy there, big fella! I have a long day of spreading the news, carrying the banner, opening the gates and seizing the day ahead of me. Might I ask you to look over this box, which has been entrusted to me by his Holy Mackerel himself, the Pope?

Skreem: What? No.

Hero: It’s a very special box, which must not be opened lest all the evil in the universe escape it and run rampant across the land, like an online music station.

Skreem: Really? Gimme!

The NDWS yoinks the box from Hero, smiling greedily.

Hero: I knew I could trust you, strange, villainous stranger. Now stand aside. Attention must be paid… to me.

Hero rides off, if he’s on a horse. If you can’t get a real horse, use a man in a horse costume, or a woman in a man costume,
pretending to be a horse. Or just skip the horse entirely and have Hero on a motorcycle, with the woman in a man costume pretending to be a horse riding sidecar.

Skreem: I can’t believe that yutz fell for it. At last, the fabled Pandora’s Box is mine! Now, I shall wreak havoc across infinity! And yet, I am torn, conflicted, you may even describe me as multi-layered. If I open the box, all life will cease to have meaning, and despair will rule the day. And yet, by my very nature I am evil, and I know that I must do what’s wrong, sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti. To do or not to do, that’s a very good question. But who am I kidding? You know what I’m going to do. Bwah-ha-ha! Revenge is a sandwich best served open-faced!

The NDWS opens the box, and the lights flash, dry ice fills the stage, electric buzzers implanted in the seats go off, and the curtain falls! End of Part One. Applause, applause, applause, Pulitzer, Pulitzer, Pulitzer, Tony, Tony, Tony. I mean, the drama award, not the R & B singing sensation. Oh, you guys know what I mean.

Begone!

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