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Plays

The Frogs 2K4: Showdown in Hades

Directed by Kerri Rambow

XANTHIAS: Man, do you think I should say one of those Martin Lawrence lines to entertain these bougie people? I could make them laugh just like the movies.

DIONYSUS: Sure. Say anything you want, except of course, something like, "Oh these bags! Oh my back!" And don’t talk about my momma.

XANTHIAS: But that’s funny! Don’t you want me to do my job?

DIONYSUS: Whatever! Stop using my issues as your lines--"Dionysus’ mom is so old, she farts dust." That’s really not funny.

XANTHIAS: Well it’s funny to the audience, and no one else is having any problems with it.

DIONYSUS: Oh yeah, did I mention you also can’t say "My blisters! My blisters on my blisters! My blisters in places you don’t want to know. Oh! Oh! Oh! Can’t you at least wait until I’m dead and gone?

XANTHIAS: But by then no one would think it was funny. Just this one last time, until I get new lines...

DIONYSUS: How about "NO"? If I was there in the audience your jokes would make me grow old.

XANTHIAS: Well, this play is supposed to be a comedy. What if I told the joke about the chicken, and the guy with the chicken, and...and he made a chicken with...

DIONYSUS: (To audience) That joke is really old. Older than my mother. (To Xanthias) Go on! Tell them! Just don’t...don’t...

XANTHIAS: Don’t do what?

DIONYSUS: Don’t drop my shoes. They’re Jordan’s!

XANTHIAS: But what if I had to sneeze?

DIONYSUS: Please. Keep it to yourself. My shoes are worth more than your sneeze. And when I Dionysus, child of the great Crystall says don’t do it, that’s what I mean!

XANTHIAS: Why should I carry your things if I can’t even have one good sneeze?

DIONYSUS: (yawning) All your nonsense is making me tired.

XANTHIAS: Man, my back hurts and these blisters are really annoying me. And your mother is blistered all around. (mockingly) Oh yeah, I can’t say that. It might be funny.

DIONYSUS: Why are you complaining when I, the god of the super-sized 40 ouncer must work from dawn till evening? (Pretend sobbing) You can’t even carry one thousand--

XANTHIAS: (interrupts) Two thousand

DIONYSUS: two thousand bags?

XANTHIAS: But I am carrying your bags.

DIONYSUS: Au contraire. I think they are carrying you.

XANTHIAS: I THINK I KNOW when I am carrying a bag and I think I am carrying these bags!

DIONYSUS: And just how?

XANTHIAS: With my blistered back!

DIONYSUS: No, no. it is clearly a dog carrying my bags.

XANTHIAS: But a dog can’t carry bags.

DIONYSUS: Then I guess the dog is carrying you.

XANTHIAS: No. The only thing I know is the weight of your bags – TOO HEAVY!!!!

DIONYSUS: It does no good to ride the dog, take turns and let it ride on you.

XANTHIAS: I swear, if you weren’t a god I’d pop you one good!

DIONYSUS: Now let the dog down Xanthias. We’re here. (knocking) Hello? Is there anybody home? Hellooo?

HERACLES: Who’s there knocking so hard? (sees Dionysus) what the…?
(Heracles looks him up and down, shocked at first)

DIONYSUS: (to Xanthias): Boy!!

XANTHIAS: Huh?

DIONYSUS: Don’t you notice?

XANTHIAS: notice what?

DIONYSUS: This brother’s scared.

XANTHIAS: Yes, he’s scared (aside) That you’re sick in more ways than one.

HERACLES: I’m sorry. I can’t help it but… (roars with laughter)

DIONYSUS: Hey, come on! Stop laughing!

HERACLES: I’m sorry (laughs) but…but…I cccan’t. My lion skin robe. My club with my boots. What’s the idea? You look like me but you don’t look like me. Where did you come from?

DIONYSUS: I’ve been at sea serving with the Navy.

HERACLES: The Navy?

DIONYSUS: Yep. Destroyed a lot of battleships in my day. Twenty. No thirty of ‘em.

HERACLES: So… just the two of you destroyed what, 10, 15 battleships a piece?

DIONYSUS: Of course!

XANTHIAS: But then I woke up from the dream.

DIONYSUS: One fine day I was sitting on deck reading when all of a sudden a great desire hit my heart like a sledge hammer.

HERACLES: How big was this desire, Big Boy??

DIONYSUS: Not really that big. I’ll be modest and say as big as Yao Ming.

HERACLES: So, who is she?

DIONYSUS: Who is who?

HERACLES: The woman?

DIONYSUS: There isn’t one.

HERACLES: What? No women! Then what kind of desire did you have?

DIONYSUS: The desire to read something by Euripides. What did you think I was talking about?

HERACLES: Oh….nothing. Anyway, tell me about your desire.

DIONYSUS: I don’t know if someone with your amount of brain power can understand what I feel…. but maybe if I say it in a way you can understand. Have you ever had a craving for…M&M’s?

HERACLES: Amen brother. Thousands of times.

DIONYSUS: Well now I have a craving to hear some Euripides.

HERACLES: Hasn’t he kicked the bucket?

DIONYSUS: Yeah but nothing will stop me from seeing him.

HERACLES: Down in the great beyond?

DIONYSUS: Oh yeah. The one and only.

HERACLES: Who do you want again?

DIONYSUS: A real rapper, a poet, cause the ones still living are no good.

HERACLES: But Vanilla Ice is still with us.

DIONYSUS: No good.

HERACLES: Ja Rule?

DIONYSUS: Nada!

HERACLES: 50 cent?

DIONYSUS: One good thing is still left with us. But I still have my doubts.

HERACLES: Why don’t you bring back up Tupac?

DIONYSUS: No. Only because he’s full of tricks and will try to escape. Anyway Tupac will fit in where ever he goes, even in the great beyond.

HERACLES: What about Biggie?

DIONYSUS: Oh, he kicked the bucket too. He’s in a better place now.

HERACLES: Cisco?

DIONYSUS: No way!

HERACLES: Coolio?

(Dionysus shrugs his shoulders)

XANTHIAS: Well now I know that no one cares about my aching back at all!

HERACLES: Aren’t there other writers whose flow is smoother than Euripides?

DIONYSUS: No way! His flow is smooth. You can feel it in every crack and crevice. Makes you want to get up and move.

HERACLES: Yes, it’s good.

DIONYSUS: It’s not good. It’s great!! Humph!

HERACLES: Yes, that is what I meant.

XANTHIAS: I guess no one cares about a certain bag holder.

DIONYSUS: But anyway (ignoring Xanthias) I came to you because I need to know everything you did on your trip to the great beyond.

XANTHIAS: Yep. No one gives a hoot!

HERACLES: You mean you want…

DIONYSUS: No. Never mind. Tell me an easy way to get to the great beyond. And please keep in mind my delicate skin.

HERACLES: You could hang yourself.

DIONYSUS: No. I’m allergic to things on my neck.

HERACLES: Then how about Clorox?

DIONYSUS: You mean drink it?? Have you lost your mind?

HERACLES: Hey that’s good too!

DIONYSUS: No! No! I would spit it up.

HERACLES: How about taking the train to …New York….?

DIONYSUS: Thank god! I hate walking!

HERACLES: …and jump off that tower dawg!

DIONYSUS: The Empire State Building? Nah! I’d have to pay to get on the train.

HERACLES: Well, I’ve done all the thinking I can.

DIONYSUS: Wait! Which way did you go?

HERACLES: Well, I went the long, long, long way. I actually walked to the great beyond. First you’ll come to a lake so large and unimaginably deep. I can’t even comprehend it.

DIONYSUS: (under his breath) That’s not saying much!

HERACLES: In a boat by the lake is a wrinkly old man who will row you across for twenty dollars.

DIONYSUS: Twenty dollars? Now that’s a lot of dollars! What’s next?

HERACLES: Well, only giant snakes, a shape shifter and…and…

DIONYSUS: And what?

HERACLES: Global Warming!

DIONYSUS: Ha! Yeah right! global warming. Don’t try to scare me with your ghost stories of global warming what-nots.

HERACLES: After that you’ll find dirt, mud, dirt, a little more dirt, and…dirt. In the dirt you’ll find dirty liars, cheaters, let’s just say the ‘scum of the earth’.

DIONYSUS: Boy, I hope they at least know the great dance: The Heel Toe.

HERACLES: Then when….I mean if you get through the darkness you’ll find beautiful everything: food, music, men and …women (wink, wink).

DIONYSUS: Who are those people?

HERACLES: they are the F’shizzles.

XANTHIAS: (throws the bags down) I can’t take it anymore! My back is killing me.

HERACLES: They will soon tell you where your rapper is. They live beside the road close to Pluto. Peace out! I hope you find that guy, bro.

DIONYSUS: See ya and thanks for the info! (to Xanthias) Hey! Get my stuff for I smack you in the head!!

XANTHIAS: But I just put them down!

DIONYSUS: Just pick them up and hurry home.

XANTHIAS: We ought to hire a bag carrier.

DIONYSUS: Fine! But if we can’t find one you’ll go back to carrying the bags.

XANTHIAS: Deal!

DIONYSUS: Hey look! Here’s a funeral. Just in time! (enter funeral procession) Hey! You! Dead guy! Can you carry some bags to the great beyond?

CORPSE: Sure. Hold on! How heavy are they anyway?

DIONYSUS: All this.

CORPSE: And you’ll be paying me how much??

DIONYSUS: Who said anything about paying?

CORPSE: Bearers let’s roll out!

DIONYSUS: Wait slow your roll homie! See if we can’t arrange something. I’ll pay one dollar.

CORPSE: Five dollars or nothing!

DIONYSUS: A dollar fifty.

CORPSE: Smack me alive if I will! (exit funeral)

XANTHIAS: I guess that makes me the bell hop. I hope he rots in….

DIONYSUS: Hey, look! The old guy and the lake Heracles told us about.

XANTHIAS: Oh, yeah dawg I see the boat too.

DIONYSUS: Charon! What’s up man?

CHARON: Who dares come to the place of no return?

DIONYSUS: I do!

CHARON: Well….get in.

DIONYSUS: So, where is the next stop? Roadkill Avenue?

CHARON: No. The next stop is Rat Road. Come on and get in. Time’s a wastin’.

DIONYSUS: Come on Xanthias.

CHARON: Hold on there Shorty! I don’t take slaves. Never have. Never will. Unless he’s won his freedom. Did you fight in the battle of the Canned Meat and Strawberry Preserves? Did you eat the most rotten, spoiled meat with all the mold on it?

XANTHIAS: Well…no. Not exactly. I got sick doing it. My eyes were hurting and I had a headache and you know…

CHARON: Well good! Cause your going to run around on foot till you get there. No mess in my boat.

XANTHIAS: Man, I knew I was gonna have to walk. Fine! Can I have a map or something? Where are we gonna meet?

CHARON: Go to the beginning of the alley up there by Liff’s Market next to the big Black Stone.

DIONYSUS: You got that shorty?

XANTHIAS: Oh, yes sir. (aside) Just my luck the dimwit gets to ride in the boat instead of me. Where is the justice in that?

CHARON: Sit by your oar. Anyone else best hurry up. What in the world are you doing you Biggie Smalls wanna be?

DIONYSUS: What you told me to do, right?

CHARON: Don’t play with me boy! You talking trash! Here bubble butt!

DIONYSUS: Like this?

CHARON: (sighs to himself) Oh god, please help me. (to Dionysus) Put out your arms and stretch.

DIONYSUS: Like this? Row, row, row your boat gently…

CHARON: No! Put both your feet against the stretcher. Now, again. Row!

DIONYSUS: (putting the oars down) Does it mean anything to you that I am black and blue? How can you expect someone like me who has never sailed a ship in his life, to row?

CHARON: Oh, you’re gonna row. Whether you like it or not. Soon you’ll hear a rap that will make you row.

DIONYSUS: Who will sing it?

CHARON: The Frogs.

DIONYSUS: We’ll see if your so called singing frog can sing.

FROGS: Oh fish and frogs of the spring
Come together and joyfully sing
From the bottom of your throat
By the side of the boat
Croak as we move in a ring

As we’ve done before
By the side of the shore
We ribbit and croak
Till we’re all so very stoaked
Croaky croak we go

DIONYSUS: Don’t sing any more! My bunions are beginning to sore.

FROGS:
We’re better, we’ve been here
Since the beginning of time
Kiss our feet and fetch our wine
Ribbit, ribbit
Croak
Croak, croak
Ribbit
We’ll never
Stop it!

DIONYSUS: Do you even care if I’m blue and black and bare?

FROGS: Uh….no
We stay on our keys
With relative ease
Ribbity ribbit
Croaky, croak
Ha, Ha,
He, He
Ho, Ho

DIONYSUS: I hope you all choke while you sing ribbit, ribbit croak!

FROGS: You’ll fall down and croak
Before we even start to choke!

We ribbit and croak very much indeed
But who cares what you feel or plead
It’s none of your beeswax
And you should not care
Or tell us what we need.

DIONYSUS: Peace music misters. I’m covered with blisters. In places you don’t want to know, in places that don’t even show.

FROGS: Ribbit, ribbit, ribbity croak
Croak, croak, croaky ribbit
Our song we will sing doubly fast
Let’s see how long your arms will last
Through the flowering rushes
In and out fishes and frogs we do flop
We sing high and low as if we will never stop
Singing our song that never hushes.

DIONYSUS: RIBBIT! RIBBIT! CROAK! I can sing louder than you!

FROGS: That oh fishes and frogs he must never do!

DIONYSUS: Are ya gonna have me row till my shoulder blade cracks?

FROGS: Ribbit, ribbit, ribbit
And ribbit, ribbit croak.

DIONYSUS: RIBBIT, CROAK, CROAK RIBBIT. SING, SING till you lose your voice. I’ll be there to rejoice.

FROGS: That we’ll have to see
And then we’ll believe.

DIONYSUS: I don’t hear what you say it’s your singing that’s hitting me hard this way.

FROGS: Then all day long
We’ll sing you this song
And see how long
Your arm will hold on
Ribbit, ribbit, ribbit croak!

DIONYSUS: Ribbit, ribbity, croak. See that?

FROGS: Ha! That was so terribly flat
Is that the very best you got?

DIONYSUS: I’ll quiet you and stop your song. If I have to shout all day long. My lungs will do it. They are quite strong. RIBBIT, RIBBIT CROAK! ….I knew in the end you would choke!

CHARON: Easy there! Stop right here! Now come and pay your fare!

DIONYSUS: Here you go. Oh, Xanthias, oh, Xanthias where fore art thou…oops! Wrong play! Yo! Xanthias, where you go???

XANTHIAS: Helllllo!

DIONYSUS: Hey, I’m over here.

XANTHIAS: S’up Mama’s boy great to see you!

DIONYSUS: Where are we?

XANTHIAS: In the darkness and mud Herc was talking about.

DIONYSUS: Do you see any liars, cheaters or scum of the earth like he said we should?

XANTHIAS: Why you askin’ me? Didn’t you?

DIONYSUS: Me! Of course I saw lots and lots of them. (to the audience) I see some now. So, where do we go?

XANTHIAS: Move on I guess. This place is supposed to be swarmin’ with monsters.

DIONYSUS: Yeah right. Just mindless exaggeration to frighten me.

XANTHIAS: Yeah. I guess you’re right but…look! Over there!

DIONYSUS: oh god where? (nervous)

XANTHIAS: behind us!

DIONYSUS: Why don’t I just step ahead for a while?

XANTHIAS: But then again, maybe I heard it from the front somewhere.

DIONYSUS: Well then get in front!

XANTHIAS: Why I see it! Oh, god save us…it’s a horrible thing!

DIONYSUS: What’s it look like?

XANTHIAS: God it’s ugly. (sighing) Thank god.

DIONYSUS: What? What happened?

XANTHIAS: It’s a shape shifter. I don’t got to see that ugly face again. (shivers) it’s a bull. No it’s a mule. Now it’s a very little girl.

DIONYSUS: A girl? (scoffs) Let me at ‘em! Let me at ‘em!

XANTHIAS: Hold your horses! Now it’s a Chihuahua the deadliest dog.

DIONYSUS: Egad! It must be the shape shifter Herc was talking about.

XANTHIAS: Holy sh----

DIONYSUS: It’s head is on fire. It…it’s le-leg is on fire too?

XANTHIAS: Yeah the other leg is made of cow paddies. (sniffs) and smells like it too.

DIONYSUS: Where am I going to go?

XANTHIAS: I DON’T KNOW!

DIONYSUS: I’m doomed! I’m gonna die! I’m gonna die! I don’t wanna die! I wanna live!

XANTHIAS: (smacks Dionysus) Snap out of it! The thing is gone ya weenie!

DIONYSUS: You swear it?

XANTHIAS: I swear to beans it’s gone!

DIONYSUS: Thank god it’s gone. Deer Park I was feeling a bit pale.

XANTHIAS: (aside) I was feeling nauseated.

DIONYSUS: What could I have possibly done to deserve this?

XANTHIAS: See that? Hey, do you?

DIONYSUS: Oh, no! not again!

XANTHIAS: No. It’s Pluto’s house.

DIONYSUS: Yes. Then let’s press on. (walk to Pluto’s house) I should knock but how exactly do people knock from here.

XANTHIAS: Just knock. I’m sure with your knowledge any way will do.

DIONYSUS: (knocks) Hello! Anyone there?

AEACUS: Who’s there?

DIONYSUS: Heracles the Brave.

AEACUS: Why I oughta kill you! Comin’ in here beating up our dog! Pummeling him viciously to a pulp. Doing your damage to our village. Then vanishing to complete your 12 tasks. And now it is my turn to do damage to you. (goes away)

DIONYSUS: Aaaah! What am I gonna do?

XANTHIAS: Get up and go away before they see you. Nice going raisin brain.

DIONYSUS: Don’t say that name! Don’t even breathe it! I…I ….feel so faint. A cold wet sponge. Please.

XANTHIAS: Okay egg breathe! Here! You put it on yourself.

DIONYSUS: No, no. That name is worse than the other. Thank you, where is the sponge? I can hardly see.

XANTHIAS: It’s here, raisin brain.

DIONYSUS: I almost died!

XANTHIAS: You really are the greatest coward in the world. You should be in the Guinness Book of World Records!

DIONYSUS: (listening to music) Hey! Do you hear that?

XANTHIAS: What now?

DIONYSUS: Music.

XANTHIAS: Yeah. Something is headed this way. (Xanthias puts down the bags, he and Dionysus crouch down to hear the music.

CHORUS: Iacchus, O Iacchus!
Iacchus, O Iacchus!
Oh shadow, shadow
Come out the dark
And play in the park
I like the way you dance
And your jokes all day
Send the darkness away
We need you here to stay
Come guide us
We need your wisdom
From your mighty kingdom
Don’t cut yourself deeply
Don’t get frightened or weepy
Stop being down and droopy
Hanging out with groupies
Come on out and help me
Be young again!


XANTHIAS: Here they come. Hey it’s the flower children. They’re singing the old camp fire songs to make us happy and feel good.

DIONYSUS: Yes, you must be right. I remember those good ol’ days. Let’s listen a while.

CHORUS: The one that dwells in the dark
Of great power beside us
Spirit, O Spirit we have hid much
When you’re dancing in the meadow
Come Iacchus, your face, let it show
With some plants on your head though
We are yours happy dancer
Our buddy come guide us
Listen to our beat
With our shiny happy feet
You we will meet!

XANTHIAS: Good God Almighty! I smell a cookout!


DIONYSUS: Shut up, fool. Shut your mouth and maybe they’ll give you some.


CHORUS: Spirit, Spirit, lift the unwakened
As you toss torches
The field will have many scorches
Wake up Iacchus right now
Come great star, our bright light
You lighten our path in the night
Till all the old men jump like the children
They are dull and have fear
Everyday throughout the year
Let your light guide the dances
Where the youth make good advances
To be happy by the flowers and bees.

LEADER OF THE CHORUS:
We are going to have a big party
We are going to dance!
Because these honies don’t even know the name of my band
Oh, well back to the point
We’re going to dance
We’re going to party
All night long

CHORUS: Just for all
Our place in the towers
Buy all the fresh flowers
For all I call—
We’re going to dance!
We’re going to party!
Just cause our leader said so
All of us march! Everyone get up
Women hold up your hands
To save our lands
Raise the cry
Maid, maid save these
For everyone it may please

LEADER OF THE CHORUS:
Sing to the high people
Then they can dance too
And we’re going to play the music loud!

CHORUS: Is that the Queen, are you sure?
She is standing behind the door
She wants a mink coat from the furrier
We make you laugh, we make you smile
Our joking is worth it all the while
The queen, she likes to stay in style
We make jokes at the feast
So laughter will be released
And our prizes are the beast—
The winner will no longer be deceased.


LEADER OF THE CHORUS:
Call that god to party too
Sing our song louder
All our friends come dance
And party in your pants!

CHORUS: Iacchus come and play
With us this day
Show us your face as we dance by your maiden’s side
Then we’re gonna dance
And we’re gonna party!

XANTHIAS: This party is da bomb! Let’s dance!

DIONYSUS: Oh yeah. Let’s get on the good foot!

LEADER OF THE CHORUS:
Hey Archedemus
You so old your teeth are gone
You standin' in the corner
Like a dufus pulling your hair
And it’s not a rumor it’s the truth

LEADER OF THE CHORUS:
Now let’s go to his plain
Where the flowers bloom in the rain
We’re going to confuse him with our dancing

CHORUS: We’re going down to the meadows that’s deep
Then we dance and then we creep
In the sun so bright
In the moon lit night

Leader of the Chorus:
Shut up, we’re about to sing today
Come along and sing hey, hey
I’m hungry, I’m starving
I’m slamming like Dennis Rodman
We’re having a feast and you will eat
But not until you wash your smelly feet
Don’t be frightened, there won’t be no guns or fighting
I repeat myself over and over and over again
Move the chairs out the way
I want to dance all night and day
I need you day and night
So don’t come prepared to fight
Shut up, for our song starts
You got to do your part
Take that wreath off your forehead now
Toss it to the ground
We were lost and now we’re found.

Chorus:
Get ready everyone
Let’s go to the party and have some fun
We’re gonna have some Remy
All night card games
And it will be far away
So everyone say hey, hey, hey.

Come on, ya’ll, lets eat and dance
Let’s act the fool and put ants in our pants
Eat until your stomach gets fat
You better eat this homemade food and that’s that
Leap, mock, dance, play
Listen to everything I have to say

Listen to the story I have to tell
Who will win their way out of Hell
Tonight you’ll see who has won
Who will see the rising sun.

Leader of the Chorus:
Okay now, ya’ll better listen to the chorus—
Cause here’s a little song that they wrote just for us.

Xanthias: Let’s dance, let’s shout, shake your body down to the ground.

Dionysus: Mama say mama sa mamakusa

Leader of the Chorus:
Yes the dead folks are all here
But there’s no need for you to fear
This is where they come to rest when it’s all over
We got lots of dead presidents
Here in Hades is their residence
And you can get in here for free cause there’s no cover

Easy E is on the mike
And other rappers that you like
Biggie Smalls is in a house just down the street
Look for Tupac if you want to
But it might come back to haunt you
So it’s best if you just say you smelled his feet.

Dionysus: You are so kind! Can you tell me how to get to Pluto’s? We’re new on the block.

Leader of the Chorus:
Not to go far, or to rent you a car
Just turn around and knock upon his door.

Dionysus: Then what are we waiting for?

Xanthias: We ought to get up off this floor.

Leader of the Chorus:
Better knock, or he’ll get sore.

Dionysus: (approaching the door of Pluto’s house) You think it’s okay to knock? I don’t want to bother him if he’s sleeping.

Xanthias: Go head punk. You’re dressed like Hercules. You better act like him.
Dionysus: Um. (calling out) Yo?

Aeacus: Who is you?

Dionysus: Hercules? The Brave?

Aeacus: Hercules. You’re the one who choked our guard dog, Cerberus. And then you ran away and let me get in trouble for it. He was my best pit bull, too. Well, you won’t get away again. I’m gonna call my crew, and they gonna call they crew, and whatever’s left of you we’ll send home by UPS.

Dionysus: (falling on the ground) Mommy!

Xanthias: Get up, you dummy, before they come.

Dionysus: Oh, I feel dizzy. Put some gin in my juice—that might work.

Xanthias: We don’t have any, but here’s some ice. Crybaby.

Dionysus: I’m so nervous.

Xanthias: Oh my word. Did you just eat that cup?

Dionysus: The nervous shock made me accidentally bite a piece of it, then I got hungry so I really couldn’t help myself.

Xanthias: You are the king of cowards.

Dionysus: I’m the king of hard knocks. A coward would still be on the ground. But I managed to get up and ask for something to drink.

Xanthias: Touchdown.

Dionysus: Well, weren’t you scared of what he said?

Xanthias: I never cared and I was never scared.

Dionysus: Okay, Superman. Let’s switch places. Why don’t you take a walk in my shoes. Put on my toupee and I’ll be your butler, carry your umbrella for a while.

Xanthias: Let’s do it.

(They switch)

Dionysus: (reaching for the bags) Jailbirds are true, let me get that for you.

Maid: Hercules, is that you again? Come in! If my boss knew you were coming, she would have started cooking sooner. Man, she’s making mashed potatoes, potato salad, french fries, hash browns, pork and beans, boiled eggs, M&M’s, and frog legs.

Xanthias: You makin’ me hungry. But not today. I might be back tomorrow though.

Maid: But she’s got cakes, pies, gummy worms, and wine. Let’s go get some.

Xanthias: Thanks, but no thanks. I...

Maid: No wait. We got a live jazz band. And two or three young dancing girls.

Xanthias: Did you say dancing girls?

Maid: Yes. Do come in—They are about to serve hors d’oeuvres. Luckily, my boss just paid the bill for the dining room set at the rent-a-center.

Xanthias: Allrighty then, go and tell those dancing girls Xan... I mean Hercules is coming. Hey you, get my bags.

Dionysus: (laughing) You didn’t take me seriously, did you? Man, you’re dumber than the real Hercules. Now go fetch my bags and bring them in.

Xanthias: What? Child, please. Surely you don’t mean to take away your own gift. You indian giver.

Dionysus: If the bow and arrow fit...Now give me back my stuff.

Xanthias: Help! Abuse! Call 9-1-1! The gods’ll get you, watch.

Dionysus: I bet they will. Now give me my stuff a.s.a.p. Slave!

Xanthias: Take it, Tinkerbell. I don’t want this raggedy stuff anyway. Watch, you gon’ need me one day.

Dionysus: Now I’m servin’ him. I hope he gives it up without a fight. If he swings, I might have to crack him. That’s why he poor.

Landlady: Hey Plathane, get over here. This is that buster that ate up all my Little Debbie cakes.

Plathane: Him! Him right here!

Xanthias: Ooh, this gon’ be fun.

Landlady: He ate up all the cupcakes and drank all the juice, too. And he popped my red balloon.

Xanthias: All that.

Landlady: He ate all my pork skins.

Dionysus: You liar. You must be from Saint E’s.

Plathane: You think I ain’t recognize you in those high waters? Peek-a-boo, I know you.

Landlady: He ate all my Sour Skittles, too. You want more? I can keep going.

Plathane: I still can’t believe he ate all those cheese sticks. I bet he was farting that night.

Landlady: And when he saw me coming with that check in my hand, he showed his teeth and growled at me like a dog.

Xanthias: That’s how he is. Buck tooth rhino with no manners. Just disgusting.

Landlady: He had his fist balled up like he was gon’ do something.

Plathane: How did you put up with it? I would have cracked him.

Landlady: We got so scared, both of us, we ran up the steps of the high-rise, cause the elevator was broke. We ran so he wouldn’t eat us up, too. Then he messed my place up and rolled out.

Xanthias: Once again, that’s just like him. I can tell. Look at him.

Plathane: What we gon’ do with him?

Landlady: You. Get my support hose. And go get my bodyguard, Cleon.

Plathane: And get Hyperbolus, if you see him. We’re gonna crush him.

Landlady: I should punch you in your mouth. I should knock out those same rotten teeth that ate all my food.

Plathane: I should pull out my pistol. I oughtta take you to court.

Landlady: I should shank the throat that swallowed my Little Debbie cakes.

Plathane: I’m gone to get Cleon.

Dionysus: Take me now, Lord. (to Xanthias) Xanthias, you’re my best friend.

Xanthias: Yeah, yeah, yeah. No. I don’t want to be Hercules anymore. I’m a slave, remember?

Dionysus: You don’t mean that, Xanthias-man.

Xanthias: How do you expect me to be Xanthias and Hercules at the same time?

Dionysus: Okay, hit me. Hit me if you want, but if you take these clothes back, you can put anthrax in my mail.

Xanthias: Bet.

Chorus:
You call yourself Hercules. Do you understand?

You got to be strong, tough, brave, confident, healthy.
You got to look good, dress like him
Believe in yourself, and act like him.
Think of whom you’re impersonating—
Be like Hercules, roar and be happy.

(Aeacus comes out with the others)

Aeacus: Get him. You heard me. Chop chop.

Dionysus: I can’t wait to see this.

Xanthias: Hold up. you better stop.

Aeacus: Let’s go. Prancer, Donald, Blixen, handle my light work.

Dionysus: You coming back after stealing these peoples’ things, that’s awful.

Aeacus: Unnatural.

Dionysus: Pitiful.

Xanthias: I swear to beans, I’ve never stolen anything from you, but I ain’t so sure about him. (points at Dionysus) Question him, and if you find me guilty, stomp a mudhole in me and walk me dry.

Aeacus: Okay. What do you suggest?

Xanthias: Anything. Put Kool-aid in his eyes. Show him pictures of your grandmother’s feet.

Aeacus: That sounds good to me. It’s payback time.

Dionysus: (terrified) This is cruel and unusual punishment. That’s illegal, and making it worse, I’m immortal.

Aeacus: You ain’t no god. Who are you?

Dionysus: I’m the son of... of...of... the guy with the thunderbolts. I’m immortal.

Aeacus: Do ya’ll hear this fool?

Xanthias: He doesn’t know his name. That’s why you need to whup him good. If he’s immortal, he won’t feel it.

Dionysus: You say you’re a god, too. You should whup him same as me.

Xanthias: Fair. You can whup us both, an whichever one cries out or feels the pain, you know he’s no god.

Aeacus: That’ll work.

Xanthias: How will you test us?

Aeacus: I’m gonna whip you, whip you good.

Xanthias: I’ve heard that before.

Aeacus: (striking Xanthias) There!

Xanthias: (holding back) Now watch. You see if I even flinch.

Aeacus: But I just smacked you.

Xanthias: Think again.

Aeacus: I didn’t? Well, I’ll whack that other guy. (hits Dionysus)

Dionysus: (also controlling himself) When?

Aeacus: I just did it.

Dionysus: That’s funny. It didn’t even make me sneeze.

Aeacus: I’ll go back to the first one.

Xanthias: Do it. (Aeacus hits him) Grr!

Aeacus: Grr? So it did hurt.

Xanthias: Nope, I’m just hungry. Grr-eat, like Frosted Flakes.

Aeacus: Well you should’ve ate before you got here. I’ll try him again. (hits Dionysus)

Dionysus: Oooh!

Aeacus: Now it hurts, huh?

Dionysus: I just smelled something that stinks. Oooh!

Aeacus: I’ll start over. (hits Xanthias)

Xanthias: Hi-i!

Aeacus: Now what?

Xanthias: Hi! I thought I saw a friend of mine.

Aeacus: Here we go again. (hits Dionysus)

Dionysus: Oh, Oh... (singing) Oh say can you see, by the dawn’s early light...

Xanthias: You heard him—It hurts!

Dionysus: Man. I’m a patriot. Sometimes I just feel like singing the national anthem.

Xanthias: You’re not hitting him hard enough. You should kidney punch him.

Aeacus: (to Xanthias) Good idea! You turn around! (hits Xanthias)

Xanthias: Eeeee!

Dionysus: Now who’s screaming?

Xanthias: E! I can’t believe I got an E on my math test. I studied hard for it, too.

Aeacus: It’s hopeless. I give up. I’ll have to ask my master. He’ll know, cause he’s a god, too.

Dionysus: You should have thought of that before you started whipping me.

Chorus:
Justice is coming. They’ll set it right for us.
Come one, come all, unite with us
We need ya’ll to run and fight with us
Come one, come all, let’s represent
Did you get the letter that we sent?

I really need you, I need help from the crowd
So come on people, let’s get loud
You got to get it through your head
Whichever man loses, winds up dead.

Leader of the Chorus: That’s right you know, it’s time for justice
It’s time for everyone to trust us
Now it’s time to get something done
It’s time for freedom for everyone
Everybody in jail must go free
And people on welfare get more money
Everyone that’s homeless will get off the streets
Everyone will be successful and have good food to eat.

CHORUS:
The bigger they are, the harder they fall
The longer the ladder, the higher the wall
You think you’re so big now,
But you’re gonna be small.

It moves this holy chorus in its wisdom and its bliss
To assist George W. Bush, now his first advice is this:
Let blacks and whites stand equal
And all gangs be swept away
Some girls have been misguided
Following Li’l Kim all day
Now for all of these,
We urge all teachers to stop giving homework
And that there is less classwork
Next, no man should live in Bush’s outcast,
Robbed every day and that ain’t right
Shame it is that low-born boys chase girls and then just fight
Remember that these women are your own people, sire and son
Who have often fought beside you, split their head and then their lungs.

LEADER OF THE CHORUS:
I’m the one who makes good people make mistakes
I’m not trustworthy and I’ll cheat you in a hurry
I’m not honest, I’m not loyal, and I’m rotten and I’m spoiled
But it’s folks like me who wind up famous
While the good people stay nameless.

For the boys, girls, women and men, pardon me
Since I’m begging on these ashy knees of mine
Let your wisdom keep your vengeance behind you
Please accept this short apology.

(Aeacus and Xanthias return)

Aeacus: Your master sure is a gentleman.

Xanthias: Oh, he’s a gentleman, all right. I saw that at his bachelor party.

Aeacus: But he didn’t whip you when you got caught pretending you were the master.

Xanthias: I’d like to see him try it.

Aeacus: As one slave to another, I gotta tell you I talk about my master behind his back too.

Xanthias: You like it, huh? How about digging up the dirt?

Aeacus: Love it! Like sweet chocolate.

Xanthias: My brother! What do you think of listening to what they say?

Aeacus: Now that gets me fired up.

Xanthias: You’re just like me. Like my long-lost twin! (they hug) What’s that noise?

Aeacus: That’s Aeschylus and Euripides.

Xanthias: Huh?

Aeacus: They gettin’ rowdy in the underworld.

Xanthias: For what?

Aeacus: There’s a law here that says the best poet gets free Redskins season tickets and his own throne next to Pluto.

Xanthias: I get it.

Aeacus: And the champion has to step aside when someone better comes along.

Xanthias: So how has this affected Aeschylus?

Aeacus: Well he used to have the throne. He was the greatest.

Xanthias: Who got it now?

Aeacus: Euripides, but he cheated. He gave out free CDs to all the lowlifes down here—the drug dealers, car thieves, and the guys who cheat at Yu-gi-oh—so they all voted for him and he just grabbed the throne.

Xanthias: And Aeschylus got booted off?

Aeacus: Not him. Now everybody wants to see them fight it out to see who’s best.

Xanthias: The thugs and jailbirds?

Aeacus: Yep, they’re yelling loud as drums.

Xanthias: And nobody’s standing up for Aeschylus?

Aeacus: It’s hard to find anyone who’s honest these days. (points to the audience) Just like here.

Xanthias: What’s Pluto going to do?

Aeacus: He’s having a showdown. Just like American Idol.

Xanthias: Aeschylus is going to be p-i-s-s-e-d.

Aeacus: He’s been slamming doors and gritting on everybody.

Xanthias: Who’s the judge?

Aeacus: Well, that’s the hard part. They think the best man to judge is your boss. And when your boss gets serious, you know it’s trouble for you.

Chorus: Listen up, cause I don’t feel like playing
There’s a battle coming is what I’m saying
And someone’s gonna end up hurt.

There won’t be guns, machetes, knives or bricks,
Just sharp words and poet’s tricks
And one of these men is going to lose his shirt.

You’ll see it: Big, scary, ugly, dirty,
Gold teeth, crooked fingernails,
And a growling voice, like a furnace
His words like a fire-breathing monster
And may the best poet win.

(Euripides, Dionysus, and Aeschylus enter)

Euripides: I don’t need your advice. I’m the best there is.

Dionysus: Aeschylus, speak up. He punked you.

Euripides: He’s a quiet little boy. Scared to talk.

Dionysus: Watch your mouth.

Aeschylus: No, I see straight through him. I’m going to show this fake wannabe buster who’s the real master. (to Euripides) You nasty foot fungus! Take that back!

Dionysus: Wait, Wait! Use words, not weapons.

Euripides: Bring it on.

Dionysus: How about you, Aeschylus? Are you ready to rumble?

Aeschylus: I’m ready, but it won’t be a fair fight.

Dionysus: Why?

Aeschylus: Because my poems are still famous, but his poems all died with him, so he has them here in Hades, while mine are alive.

Dionysus: We’d all better say a prayer.

Chorus: Hey, in the name of Muhammad Ali, the greatest of all time
Tell us your stories, so it could be read in history
How many people have you enslaved?
How many people did you save?
A battle between the two
Which one will you choose?
How many are alive?
How many are dead?
How many now, you evil butthead?

Dionysus: Let’s pray, I said.

Euripides: I have my own gods.

Dionysus: Then pray your own way.

Leader of the Chorus: Here is the biggest crowd ever
Here is the most bonded guarantee
It will be the greatest battle
You ever did see
So fight fair, no curse words
Clean rhymes, the best verse you ever heard.

Euripides: Drink the big burst and finish the potato chips
To the corner store I go:
Yours is bad rock and mine is hip-hop
Telling false lines, but the truth is in the timeline
How dare you blame me—I’m the better artist,
You just pretend to be the hip-hop star
But people understand and feel how non-fake mine is
Because the script is real.

Aeschylus: The plague!

Dionysus: Hold up!

Euripides: See, no one understands a word he says.

Dionysus: (to Aeschylus) Stop sucking your teeth. You got dirt in them?

Euripides: So now you dust your shoulders off while playing in the sandbox
Five years from now I see you at the Dollar Store,
Buying candy for fifty cents and little tin cars
You’re like sour grapes that no one wants to taste
Because they fear that they’ll be you
And you will make them feel contagious
And I know that if I don’t get picked I’m going to get outrageous.

Aeschylus: So what did you ever write, goofball?

Euripides: I write what’s real.

Aeschylus: See, all I see in your script is the same old thing
And my heart is not feeling it—Set a positive message for the young adults and kids
So their eyes will never water in tears or fears, the spears
Of your tongue don’t hurt, I can jerk them off, walk free in positivity
Yours is like negative energy coming off me
You put in all the bad rock and junk
When I myself can rock to the hip-hop r&b
Are you feeling me?
Like jazz while I fly high as a moth
While I ghetto dust my shoulders off.

Euripides: I write what the people want to hear.

Dionysus: You write what the people want to buy.

Euripides: Everybody knows my songs. Everywhere you go, people sing my songs. You can hear them on the car radios when people have their windows down.

Aeschylus: That’s true. I have to shut my ears, because none of it is fit to listen to.

Euripides: I write about everyday life on the streets. You write stuff people have to go to college to understand.

Aeschylus: And when they understand it they are better off. When they hear what you write, they act like thugs. I know you have your games and I have mine, but you will never ever get to my level.

Euripides: You act like you’re on dope, walking, jumping rope
Playing hopscotch and everyone gets to watch
You make a fool out of yourself
I won’t let you get on my level and make me jealous
I don’t care how far you talk about me,
You can’t tell me to my face, and you done wasted your time
Putting your two cents in my victory line
Get to work and forget about the hurt

Aeschylus: There are brave men who dare not read my poems
Men tremble when they see my name
I am nearly a god.

Euripides: No, that title is mine.

Dionysus: Wait a second, there’s only one god here and that’s me. You’re just a couple of poets.

Euripides: But you have to admit I have a point. No one listens to him because no one understands him. I write the way people live, and that’s why they believe in me.

Aeschylus: Get your mind out of the gutter
Cause the truth it slips out the other ear like butter
You got your ears wet from behind
You better make up your mind
That my script is the greatest of all time
You know I’m the greatest writer
Dionysus, choose me, cause his game’s over.

Euripides: I bring good news to the game
Put you losers to shame
I don’t know how far you’re gonna go
But your fake script just tells me no
Cause my words have all my soul
And yours words are hard and cold

Aeschylus: Maybe your script used to have soul, but now it’s just the fashion.
You say you want to keep it real, but you just want to cash in.
Why are you all up in my grill
When every other writer is fake and phony and not real.
They can relate to your lyrics, but why should they
You know there’s got to be a better way.

Dionysus: But Euripides doesn’t decide what’s popular. He just writes what he sees.

Aeschylus: What about your own children? Is that what you want them to hear? Nothing can grow true when you plant it in the soil of a cemetery.

Euripides: My son will not be a tool. He’s gonna have his own mind. You’re the fool.

Aeschylus: Who you calling a fool when you’re the one in the bright orange suit
Looking nappy, saggy, and drowsy with no laces in your boots
My brain is in the books, your brain crawls with the bugs
When I cook eggs for breakfast it looks like your brain on drugs.

Chorus: We now have soldiers like you’ve never seen
They scorn little kids and take their ice cream
Guns, knives and hand grenades
They make you scared and always afraid
Run fast, run slow
Where you hide, they’ll always know.
Whether you are young or old
Just don’t say you haven’t been told.
First one is winning, then the other
Euripides cries “uncle”
But Aeschylus wants his mother.

Dionysus: This is very confusing, or is it supposed to be?

Aeschylus: I think I have to put you on hold,
Because what you’re saying is just plain old
I’m going to come at you for a little while
To tell you my positive rhymes are the new style
So you feel the pressure, standing on shaky ground
Cause I’m the best poet around.

Euripides: I wonder what is in your eyes when you look at me
Do you feel confusion as you walk across the room slowly?
Do you fear me, do you hear me, in the words that I flow?

I’m not trying to scare you.

You look helplessly, like I’m your enemy
May the best one win—
If you look at me, I’m not the one who pretends.
The distance between you and me makes more room for me to dance.

Aeschylus: Ha ha ha ha (cough cough)
I make more room for you to dance?
You’re taking quite a chance
Every time you write a poem you come in last
Your poems are so far behind
That I don’t even mind
I write the future, while you still write the past.

Euripides: Put peanut butter and jelly on my Wonder Bread
Get the glass of nice cold milk
The only bling bling you have is the fork, spoons, and knife.

Aeschylus: Very funny, but your lyrics are foolish and corny.
You play like you have the glittering rings
You have their undivided attention, but that don’t mean a thing
You treat your women like tripe
And without all the hype
How can you live the American dream
While disrespecting African American queens
You’re not being a positive role model to these teens
And all the bling bling and the shiny new rings
They don’t make you king
Cause it’s not worth lying, when people are dying
To destroy them when they’re trying
To do the right thing.

Leader of the chorus: Your rap is the best,
Better than the rest
No one could guess
What you will write next
Your lyrics ring from time to time
No one can touch your baddest rhymes.
You are the champion of the world
Never act like a rat or any pet squirrel
You are the best of this rapping game
You might just end up in the hall of fame.

Chorus: What in the world will we look for next
This music has me so perplexed
The words are so relentless
The songs are just stupendous
Can you find just one mistake?
For our mighty prince’s sake
I have always held that never a better man
Had written or sung since the world was begun.

Euripides: To stink or not to stink, that is the question. Let me read you his poems. Listen to what he writes—He just keeps on repeating himself.

Dionysus: Begin, I must not miss those exquisite words. Go on.

Euripides: At first there was Snoop Dog, rapping about gin and juice...

Aeschylus: He wasn’t! Don’t you know anything about NWA and Afro Puffs?

Dionysus: Man, that Ice Cube...

Euripides: Okay, that does it. Let’s do battle of the beats right here, right now.

Dionysus: Please begin. I got places to go and money to count.

Euripides: I was walking down the street, spitting some beats, and my Rice Krispie treats—

Aeschylus: Rice Krispie treats? You must be hungry.

Euripides: It comes a dime a dozen,
Went home and had tea with my convict cousin

Dionysus: Bore-a-thon. Hurry up.

Euripides: I’ll try another one.

Dionysus: I strongly recommend that.

Euripides: No, I still got the flow.
I know you like to think
Your plays don’t stink

Aeschylus: It sounds like you drink.

Euripides: By Snoop! Let me go on! (singing)
All those prologues you’re giving me,
Keep your play, cause
I don’t want you back
Oh oh

Aeschylus: I feel as though the sea will grow feet and dance when Euripides gets a brain. I have a dream that day will come in never-never land. But no more will Euripides be strong. I will not be bound by the thug life. The intellectuals will rise before this is over.

Dionysus: Euripides?

Euripides: Chicken head.

Dionysus: Face it. Aeschylus is better.

Euripides: What do you mean?

Dionysus: What he did in his poetic verse gave me wings. But let’s be fair. Come take your places by the balance. Each of you hold on, and say your rhymes. Don’t stop until I say cuckoo.

Aeschylus and Euripides: Ready.

Dionysus: Go

Aeschylus: I am the king of plays
There ain’t none higher
You call me Aeschylus, they call me sire
I flow like a river, I’m smooth like water
I’ve always been hot, but I just got hotter

Euripides: I got the flow
I got the beat
I’m the one who makes you move your feet

Dionysus: Cuckoo. Aeschylus wins. His words weigh more.

Euripides: How is that?

Dionysus: It must be the river he mentioned. That would have to weigh a lot.

Aeschylus: Let’s give him another chance.

Dionysus: Okay, both of you take hold again.

Euripides: Feel my words, hear my rhymes
I bring you lots of good times

Aeschylus: By my words I stand until my death
I’m a poet to the very last breath

Dionysus: Aeschylus wins again.

Euripides: What was it this time.

Dionysus: He spoke about death. There’s nothing heavier than that. A monstrous gigantico word.

Euripides: But I said “good times.” Don’t they weigh anything.

Dionysus: Good times are light as air. They don’t weigh a thing. You need to think of something really heavy. Try again.

Euripides: I’ll pump you full of lead,
I’ll put a bullet in your head.

Aeschylus: I’ll build you a castle, surround it with a moat
And when I want to come see you, I’ll sail on a boat

Dionysus: You lose, Euripides. A castle plus a moat plus a sailboat. That weighs much more than your lead.

Aeschylus: Forget this trifling contest. Put him up there with all his books and all his plays and all his babies and all their mamas. Then see how much his whole life weighs.

(Pluto comes in)

Pluto: So you’ve decided then.

Dionysus: I won’t. They’re both my bum bum homies. I won’t put them against each other.

Pluto: In that case, you get neither.

Dionysus: No I came for a poet, and I’m going to leave with a poet.

Pluto: Well pick one then. But you only get one.

Dionysus: Well, I really need a poet to advise me so I can do the right thing. I think I’ll go with whoever is the best adviser. Euripides, what’s your experience?

Euripides: I came from the streets and I know the streets. I’m street till I die.

Dionysus: Well that means a lot. How about you, Aeschylus?

Aeschylus: I came from the streets, but I kept my head in the books. I stayed in school and got my degree. Now I know where I came from and I know where I’m going.

Dionysus: I still can’t decide.

Euripides: I’ll tell you. Where there is trust, there lies mistrust, and where there is mistrust, there lies trust.

Dionysus: Say it in plain English.

Euripides: Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer, okay?

Dionysus: (to Aeschylus) What do you say?

Aeschylus: I can’t really see your problems from down here. I need to be back on earth to tell you.

Dionysus: Not yet. What can you say from here?

Aeschylus: I think you’re safest if you make your enemy your friend.

Pluto: Hurry up and decide.

Euripides: Remember, you came down here to get me. I was the one you swore you’d take home.

Dionysus: I’m a god. I can change my mind. I chose Aeschylus.

Euripides: Traitor. Back stabber.

Aeschylus: Let it go. Aeschylus is just better.

Euripides: You better watch your back.

Dionysus: Look, like you said, to live you must die. Life is just like a play. I’ll have to wait and see what the end looks like.

Pluto: Come on in then, both of you. Let’s eat before you sail away.

Dionysus: What have you got to eat? I’m starving.

Chorus: Oh the workings of genius are keen
There are amazing lines in every scene
But it’s time you use your big bad brain
To write a play that’s funny and sane
If I weren’t here today, I wouldn’t believe
And now that I’m here, I don’t want to leave
This play is so good
I’d be in it if I could.

Pluto: Farewell, Aeschylus. Go and save your people. Don’t make me regret this, because I am a god with a poisonous bite. You can take my prayers with you. I know you’ll be back some day. It’s unavoidable.

Aeschylus: I’ll do as you wish. Guard my throne and keep it safe from fakers and wannabes until I get back. I know I won’t be forgotten.

Pluto: Well, the play’s over then. It’s time for the lights to come on. And I’m hungry. Now can I have a brownie?

End

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