Curtain Call

In Fiction on October 29, 2013 at 6:14 pm


Curtain Call

The audience poured in, revealing brief glimpses of the wintry street as the doors opened and closed: night settling; snowdrifts swirling in headlights; buildings tall and glimmering. Shakespeare and Samuel Beckett watched. The others had yet to arrive.

“Seems to be a popular premiere,” Beckett offered. Shakespeare shrugged.

The Tempest is playing at the Otten,” he said. “Patrick Stewart makes a great Prospero.”

“There’s room for new blood, Bill,” Beckett replied, as if consoling an overlooked child. “God knows there is. They’re doing Godot at a black box uptown, but you don’t hear me complaining.”

Shakespeare smiled.

“That’s because no one would go, Sam, competition or no. No one understands your foggy abstractions.”


The theater was nearly full when Thornton Wilder, Aeschylus and Eugene Ionesco finally arrived. The lights were up and the theater was warming with bodies.

“Eternal rest,” Thornton Wilder opined as he settled into his seat. “How can I rest when every day it seems some no-talent upstart is pushing my work further and further from the light?”

Aeschylus gave a howl.

“Don’t talk to me about upstarts,” he said. His English had gotten quite good.

“And whatever you do, don’t get Bill started,” Beckett put in.

“What can we do about it, anyway?” Ionesco said. “We are mere ghosts of the theater’s past.”

“We could boo,” Shakespeare replied, and he arched a brow. Beckett groaned.

“You and your bloody puns.”

“I just don’t know why we come, that’s all. We’re not dead, when you really think about it; the theater is dead.”

“Téchni̱ eínai nekrós,” Aeschylus droned.  Art is dead. “Do you know of this television program? The Real Housewives of New Jersey? Leave it to the Italians…”

But as the lights dimmed and the audience stilled, a hush fell upon the old friends, and one by one they leaned toward the stage.

“Exits and entrances,” Shakespeare whispered, and the curtains parted.

I’ve been pretty busy with work lately, but I thought I really ought to join in the with Trifecta Challenge this week, so here you have it! This week’s word, appropriately enough, was Boo.

Let me know what you think in the comments below, and check out the rest of this week’s stories—I think we’re in for some pretty creative responses with this prompt.

  1. This is amazing with great dialogue. One of the best, so far! 🙂

  2. Well, there’s Hollywood. I don’t know… I’d prefer to watch World War Z than Romeo and Juliet, or Hamlet.

  3. Brilliant! Brian, the story flows with such ease as you casually drop in the names and engage them in conversation. This is a lovely write – imaginative and, in its way, poignant. Excellent. :)))

  4. Ah, I’ve missed your writing. Brilliant piece.

  5. The ghosts of playwrites past … cool premise. Love the title, too!

  6. Literary references and humor, a winning combination indeed.

  7. Oh oh oh! This was so much fun! I really did love it.

  8. Dang, Brian, this is FABULOUS. I mean, absolutely wonderful. Talk about a well-deserved win. I love the jadedness of all the playwrights – and the way they hold their collective breath for the opening lines. Just brilliant.

  9. Ever Excellent… I bow to you.

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