James Heneghan has recently completed a Graduate Diploma (Advanced) in English (Creative Writing). He is an itinerant railway worker from the Australian South West, and has recently started writing plays about misogyny, sacrilege and blasphemy.
Clowns and Robbers was first performed in 2010 by first-year performing arts students at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) and was directed by Ross McGregor as a work-in-progress.
(a 10-minute play)
TELLER A: a woman in her early twenties.
TELLER B: a woman in her forties.
MR CLOWN: A sad clown in his fifties.
MRS CLOWN: A happy clown in her late thirties.
KNIGHT: A knight in armour. Bank Security.
SPACE CADET: A man in his early twenties.
ROBBER A: A man in his thirties.
ROBBER B: A man in his late teens.
FEMINIST A: A woman in her seventies.
FEMINIST B: A woman in her early twenties.
FEMINIST C: A man in his early forties.
THE PIGS: Offstage voice of a male police officer.
TELLER A is flirting with SPACE CADET. TELLER B is closed.
She is filing her nails and staring into space throughout the entire play. MR & MRS CLOWN are waiting to be served.
KNIGHT stands in the corner with a large sword.
MRS CLOWN: Why isn’t she serving us?
MR CLOWN: (sighing) I don’t know, dear.
MRS CLOWN: She’s doing fuck all. We should ask to see the manager.
TELLER B: (reciting a poem) Time!
MRS CLOWN: (dragging MR CLOWN along to TELLER B) Well it’s about bloody time.
TELLER B: Is but a memory.
MRS CLOWN: What? Look, love, we need to be on a flight in an hour and we–
TELLER B: I’m closed.
MRS CLOWN: What?
TELLER B: I’m busy.
MRS CLOWN: Busy? Fuck busy. We been in this queue for–
TELLER B: (to a greater space) Time now, is being.
MRS CLOWN: What are you talking about? We need to deposit these cheques and–
TELLER B: Time then, is memory. Memory is in the body.
MR CLOWN: I remember my body. I used to feel pleasure, all the time.
TELLER B: The body is always being, in time.
MRS CLOWN: Are you deliberately wasting our time. We have to be on a flight in one hour. Can’t you just take these cheques and–
TELLER B: Memory guides my body, in time.
MRS CLOWN: (slamming her hands down on the counter) Oh get me the fucking manager will you?
TELLER B: We don’t have one.
Enter ROBBER A and ROBBER B.
ROBBER B: Get on the fucking floor you monkey fuckers before I blow yer fucking brains out.
MRS CLOWN: Oh get fucked, you.
KNIGHT: (takes a big slow step forward) This is the Bank Of Australia. I am security. Put your hands in the air and surrender.
ROBBER A runs at KNIGHT who slowly lifts his sword above his head. ROBBER A kicks him onto the floor. KNIGHT lands on his back where he lies prostrate waving his legs, arms and sword in the air, unable to get up.
KNIGHT: Oh for fuck sakes.
ROBBER B: (to TELLER B) Give me all the fucking money and make it fast.
TELLER B: I’m closed.
ROBBER B: What??
TELLER B: I’m closed.
MRS CLOWN: Look at you, hiding behind your little mask. You think you can barge in here and demand to be put before us?
ROBBER B: Tim, she says she’s closed.
ROBBER A: (moving to TELLER A, pushing SPACE CADET to the floor) Get on the floor Space Cadet. (to TELLER A) Listen up you fuckers, give us the money or you’re all gonna die.
SPACE CADET springs back up and tackles ROBBER A. His gun falls near KNIGHT who is still struggling to get up off the floor. He looks at the gun and tries to roll for it but is now stranded on his stomach trying to get the gun. SPACE CADET and ROBBER A wrestle on the floor. ROBBER B is trying to line up SPACE CADET with his gun and…
…an explosion sounds as a car bomb goes off directly in front of the bank. The room fills with smoke and debris falls from the ceiling. People scream outside and inside people are coughing. When the smoke clears we can now see FEMINIST A, FEMINIST B and FEMINIST C.
FEMINIST B (standing straight with right fist in the air): We are the Feminist International Liberation Front.
FEMINIST A and FEMINIST C stand behind her, feet shoulder-width apart, heads down with raised fists like Tommie Smith and John Carlos from Mexico 1968.
ROBBER A scampers away from SPACE CADET and gets his gun. He passes KNIGHT, stops, turns back and kicks him, cursing as he hurts his foot on the armour. He hops for a step or two before moving to the FILFs with his gun pointed menacingly at SPACE CADET as he passes by.
ROBBER B and MRS CLOWN are lying injured below TELLER B.
MR CLOWN dusts himself off and looks around the room.
TELLER A: OMG!!!! They just blew up the fukn bank. LOLZ!!!
FEMINIST B: (to FEMINIST A) What now?
FEMINIST A: What?
FEMINIST B: What do we do now?
ROBBER A: (To the FILFs) Get on your fucking knees
Motherfuckers, this a robbery.
Sirens wailing getting louder. FEMINIST B and FEMINIST C kneel.
FEMINIST A: Get up Jean. I’ve told you before if you bow down to a man you’ll never stand up as a woman.
FEMINIST C: But mum, this is what I’ve been trying to tell you, I AM A MAN.
ROBBER B starts to get up again. MR CLOWN looks at his wife with a wry smile as she struggles to come back from the explosion.
ROBBER A: (fires a shot into the ceiling, dust falls down)
I ain’t fucking around here, get on the fucking ground before I shoot you, you stupid bitch.
FEMINIST A: (sardonically) Oh you big man with your gun.
(highly charged) Your gun is the penis through which you oppress women! Shame on you. Shame!
FEMINIST B and FEMINIST C: Shame! Shame!
ROBBER A: (incredulous) Your mouth is the arse through which you spill out shit, now get on the fucking floor. (kicks FEMINIST A in the stomach but she doesn’t flinch) Fuck!
MRS CLOWN: Clown! (pause) Clown!
MR CLOWN: What?
FEMINIST A: It’s always about sex, your phallic oppression, you filth!
ROBBER A: What the fuck? Get on your fucking knees bitch before I shoot you in the fucking head.
MRS CLOWN gets up and finds ROBBER B’s gun on the floor. She inspects the weapon.
TELLER A: OMG!!! The clown has a gun. LOLZ!!! (screeching car tyres as the cops arrive outside)
ROBBER A: (at MRS CLOWN) Drop the fucking gun or I’ll shoot you.
MRS CLOWN is pleasantly surprised as she fires a shot into the wall. FEMINIST B and FEMINIST C jump to the floor.
TELLER A: LOLZ0RRRZZZ!!!
KNIGHT: This is the Bank of Australia! I am security–
THE PIGS: (on megaphone from outside the bank) This is the 79 Division of the Police Force of Western Australia.
This building is now condemned and set for demolition.
You have five minutes left to live. Do not… what? (pause, slightly aside) You sure? Three? (pause) Okay, okay.
This is the 79 Division of the Police Force of Western
Australia. This building is now condemned and set for demolition. You have THREE minutes left to live. Do not try to escape, we have the building surrounded.
TELLER A: OMG!!! We’re all going to die. LOL!!
ROBBER B: You’ll never take me alive!
ROBBER A: Yeah that’s not what they got in mind, mate.
ROBBER B: What you mean? These bitches blew up the whole front of the building, we can’t get out!
FEMINIST A: (removes her beret and lets down her long grey hair. to ROBBER A) Hey Mister, look I’m sorry about all that stuff I said before, um… you wanna fuck?
FEMINIST C: Mum!
FEMINIST A: I got three minutes left I’m going out fucking.
SPACE CADET moves to KNIGHT and helps him out of his armour.
ROBBER A: Er … fuck yeah, why not?
ROBBER A and FEMINIST A move aside and start to fuck. FEMINIST C watches them, aghast, bemused and aroused. MR CLOWN sets up a spoon on a vacant counter and starts to mix up some heroin. SPACE CADET drags KNIGHT from the armour.
KNIGHT: Jees, thanks mate.
SPACE CADET: That’s okay.
FEMINIST B angrily looks around the room for someone to fuck. She locks eyes with ROBBER B who looks down at the ground.
MRS CLOWN: What the fuck are you doing Clown?
KNIGHT walks forward stretching his body. SPACE CADET climbs inside the armour.
MR CLOWN: (having his shot) I’m getting stoned.
MRS CLOWN: You better not be having my bit too.
TELLER B: Time is but a memory:
Time now, is being.
Time then, is memory.
Memory is in the body.
The body is always being, in time.
Memory guides my body, in time.
TELLER A: OMG!!! You’re a fukn phenomenologist LOLZZZ!!!!!!
Massive explosion as the cops demolish the building. Again the room fills with smoke. As it clears TELLER B is still in the same position filing her nails and staring into space.
SPACE CADET climbs out of the armour and stumbles off the stage as the lights go down.