Silent Film Actress Fay Webb Escapes the Burden of Responsibility with her Wonderful Pet Goose

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CHARACTERS:

Fay Webb, 20-ish, an actress in silent films, smarter than her ditzy exterior lets on

Robert: 20-ish, Fay’s agent, who is in love with her and not too subtle about it

Goose: 2 or 3, Fay’s advisor/mentor/friend, is literally a goose, wears glasses

TIME:

June, 1925.

PLACE:

A living room.

At rise: Fay is lounging on a chair, decked out in furs and lipstick, reading an old copy of Motion Picture Magazine. A goose sits on the chair next to her, atop a beautiful embroidered pillow.

FAY
    (showing her magazine to GOOSE)
What do you think of this one?

GOOSE
Honk

FAY
You’re right. I could never pull off a look like that.

(ROBERT enters with a telegram.)

ROBERT
     (nervously, to FAY)
Ms. Webb? You have just received another offer for a film contract.

FAY
     (not looking up from her magazine)
What’s it about?

ROBERT

It’s on the subject of…
(he reads off the telegram)
A beautiful timeless romance between star-crossed lovers, who come from very different backgrounds but fall hopelessly in love. You would be playing the role of Female Romantic Lead.

FAY
     (noncommittally)
Hmm. That’s… something.
(turns to GOOSE)
What do you think?

GOOSE
Honk

FAY
      (looking back toward magazine)
You’re right. It just sounds like a generic rip-off of Romeo and Juliet. It’s like, let William Shakespeare stay dead, you know? We don’t have to reanimate his corpse for every new motion picture that comes along.

ROBERT
     (offended)
No it’s not. I think it sounds… rather good.

FAY
     (holds out her hand, still not looking up from the magazine)
Well, then, show me the script!

ROBERT
I can’t! I don’t know how it ends yet.

FAY
You didn’t finish reading it?

ROBERT
No, it’s that… the director hasn’t… finished writing the ending yet?

GOOSE
Honk

FAY
     (to GOOSE)
My thoughts exactly! Thank you.
(to ROBERT)
How can you know a script is good if it has no ending?

ROBERT
You would help finish it!

GOOSE
Honk

FAY
What?

ROBERT
Look. I can understand if you do not want to take this contract. It’s probably no good anyway. Probably the director was hopped up on bootleg whiskey or something when he wrote the screenplay.
(ROBERT rips the telegram in half and lets it flutter to the ground)
But I implore you to reconsider. You’re smart and pretty and your haircut perfectly frames your delicate gorgeous face. I don’t see why you let that duck make all your decisions for you.

FAY
That goose taught me everything I know about show business, Robert! If you don’t respect her, then you don’t respect me.

ROBERT
That’s not true at all! I love you…
(catches himself at the last moment and changes his sentence)
…r dress. I love your dress. It looks really nice on you.

FAY
Thank you! My goose picked it out for me. She says the color brings out my eyes.

ROBERT
     (putting his face in his hands)
Ohhhhhhhh my god.

FAY
It doesn’t?

ROBERT
    (a little too eagerly)
No, it definitely does.

FAY
What’s the problem then?

ROBERT
If you constantly give your agency to something else, how am I supposed to know if you really like m…
(once again catches himself before saying “me”)
Marlboro cigarettes?

FAY
It always comes back to the goose. Without her, neither of us would have jobs! I was a nobody before she showed me the secrets to success. And look at me now! I’m a movie star, who puts on makeup even in the comfort of her own home and wears fur coats in the middle of June just because she can.

ROBERT
You owe her nothing! You would have become famous anyway. You have eyes that sparkle in the light and a smile that exudes pure beams of radiance. Objectively speaking. All I’m saying is, I don’t think you should listen to everything the little birdie told you.

FAY
Why not? What does it matter to you, whether I make a choice myself or whether I defer it to something else?

GOOSE
Honk

FAY
         (to GOOSE, shocked)
Is… that really so? You really think he does?

GOOSE
Honk

FAY
        (picks up the pieces of the ripped up telegram)
Robert… in this contract… did the director happen to say who would be playing the part of Male Romantic Lead?

ROBERT
Me.

FAY
Did you happen to be the scriptwriter as well? And the director?

ROBERT
Yes.

FAY
And if I say no to this contract, will you hold it against me?

ROBERT
As long as it’s you making the choice, and not that goddamn goose.

FAY
Why does it matter, if both those options lead to the same conclusion?

(There is a moment of silence as ROBERT realizes that this is a rejection.)

FAY
We… I think you should leave.
(FAY lifts up GOOSE on his pillow. GOOSE and FAY exit.)

ROBERT
      (sighs for a moment, then goes to sit down in Fay’s chair and dials a number on the phone on the side table)
Hey, it’s me. Yeah. Your little gambit didn’t work. I did everything you told me to, I asked her out with a fake movie contract, I was super suave about it, and she still didn’t bite. You were so sure that it would work. And I believed you! I listened to everything you said, followed your instructions down to the letter. What do you have to say for yourself?

(On the other end of the line, we hear a sinister series of quacks.)

THE END

 

 

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