Frogs 2K4: Showdown in Hades
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.
Say anything you want, except of course, something like, "Oh
these bags! Oh my back!" And don’t talk about my momma.
that’s funny! Don’t you want me to do my job?
Stop using my issues as your lines--"Dionysus’ mom is
so old, she farts dust." That’s really not funny.
it’s funny to the audience, and no one else is having any
problems with it.
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?
by then no one would think it was funny. Just this one last time,
until I get new lines...
about "NO"? If I was there in the audience your jokes
would make me grow old.
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
audience) That joke is really old. Older than my mother. (To Xanthias)
Go on! Tell them! Just don’t...don’t...
drop my shoes. They’re Jordan’s!
what if I had to sneeze?
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!
should I carry your things if I can’t even have one good sneeze?
All your nonsense is making me tired.
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.
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--
I am carrying your bags.
contraire. I think they are carrying you.
THINK I KNOW when I am carrying a bag and I think I am carrying
my blistered back!
no. it is clearly a dog carrying my bags.
a dog can’t carry bags.
I guess the dog is carrying you.
The only thing I know is the weight of your bags – TOO HEAVY!!!!
does no good to ride the dog, take turns and let it ride on you.
swear, if you weren’t a god I’d pop you one good!
let the dog down Xanthias. We’re here. (knocking) Hello? Is
there anybody home? Hellooo?
there knocking so hard? (sees Dionysus) what the…?
(Heracles looks him up and down, shocked at first)
he’s scared (aside) That you’re sick in more ways than
sorry. I can’t help it but… (roars with laughter)
come on! Stop laughing!
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?
been at sea serving with the Navy.
Destroyed a lot of battleships in my day. Twenty. No thirty of ‘em.
just the two of you destroyed what, 10, 15 battleships a piece?
then I woke up from the dream.
fine day I was sitting on deck reading when all of a sudden a great
desire hit my heart like a sledge hammer.
big was this desire, Big Boy??
really that big. I’ll be modest and say as big as Yao Ming.
who is she?
No women! Then what kind of desire did you have?
desire to read something by Euripides. What did you think I was
Anyway, tell me about your desire.
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?
brother. Thousands of times.
now I have a craving to hear some Euripides.
he kicked the bucket?
but nothing will stop me from seeing him.
in the great beyond?
yeah. The one and only.
do you want again?
real rapper, a poet, cause the ones still living are no good.
Vanilla Ice is still with us.
good thing is still left with us. But I still have my doubts.
don’t you bring back up Tupac?
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.
he kicked the bucket too. He’s in a better place now.
now I know that no one cares about my aching back at all!
there other writers whose flow is smoother than Euripides?
way! His flow is smooth. You can feel it in every crack and crevice.
Makes you want to get up and move.
not good. It’s great!! Humph!
that is what I meant.
guess no one cares about a certain bag holder.
anyway (ignoring Xanthias) I came to you because I need to know
everything you did on your trip to the great beyond.
No one gives a hoot!
mean you want…
Never mind. Tell me an easy way to get to the great beyond. And
please keep in mind my delicate skin.
could hang yourself.
I’m allergic to things on my neck.
how about Clorox?
mean drink it?? Have you lost your mind?
that’s good too!
No! I would spit it up.
about taking the train to …New York….?
god! I hate walking!
jump off that tower dawg!
DIONYSUS: The Empire State Building? Nah! I’d have to pay
to get on the train.
I’ve done all the thinking I can.
Which way did you go?
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.
his breath) That’s not saying much!
a boat by the lake is a wrinkly old man who will row you across
for twenty dollars.
dollars? Now that’s a lot of dollars! What’s next?
only giant snakes, a shape shifter and…and…
Yeah right! global warming. Don’t try to scare me with your
ghost stories of global warming what-nots.
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’.
I hope they at least know the great dance: The Heel Toe.
when….I mean if you get through the darkness you’ll
find beautiful everything: food, music, men and …women (wink,
are those people?
are the F’shizzles.
the bags down) I can’t take it anymore! My back is killing
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.
ya and thanks for the info! (to Xanthias) Hey! Get my stuff for
I smack you in the head!!
I just put them down!
pick them up and hurry home.
ought to hire a bag carrier.
But if we can’t find one you’ll go back to carrying
look! Here’s a funeral. Just in time! (enter funeral procession)
Hey! You! Dead guy! Can you carry some bags to the great beyond?
Hold on! How heavy are they anyway?
you’ll be paying me how much??
said anything about paying?
let’s roll out!
slow your roll homie! See if we can’t arrange something. I’ll
pay one dollar.
dollars or nothing!
me alive if I will! (exit funeral)
guess that makes me the bell hop. I hope he rots in….
look! The old guy and the lake Heracles told us about.
yeah dawg I see the boat too.
What’s up man?
dares come to the place of no return?
where is the next stop? Roadkill Avenue?
The next stop is Rat Road. Come on and get in. Time’s a wastin’.
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?
Not exactly. I got sick doing it. My eyes were hurting and I had
a headache and you know…
good! Cause your going to run around on foot till you get there.
No mess in my boat.
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.
got that shorty?
yes sir. (aside) Just my luck the dimwit gets to ride in the boat
instead of me. Where is the justice in that?
by your oar. Anyone else best hurry up. What in the world are you
doing you Biggie Smalls wanna be?
you told me to do, right?
play with me boy! You talking trash! Here bubble butt!
to himself) Oh god, please help me. (to Dionysus) Put out your arms
this? Row, row, row your boat gently…
Put both your feet against the stretcher. Now, again. Row!
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?
you’re gonna row. Whether you like it or not. Soon you’ll
hear a rap that will make you row.
will sing it?
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
By the side of the shore
We ribbit and croak
Till we’re all so very stoaked
Croaky croak we go
sing any more! My bunions are beginning to sore.
We’re better, we’ve been here
Since the beginning of time
Kiss our feet and fetch our wine
you even care if I’m blue and black and bare?
We stay on our keys
With relative ease
hope you all choke while you sing ribbit, ribbit croak!
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.
music misters. I’m covered with blisters. In places you don’t
want to know, in places that don’t even show.
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.
RIBBIT! CROAK! I can sing louder than you!
oh fishes and frogs he must never do!
ya gonna have me row till my shoulder blade cracks?
And ribbit, ribbit croak.
CROAK, CROAK RIBBIT. SING, SING till you lose your voice. I’ll
be there to rejoice.
we’ll have to see
And then we’ll believe.
don’t hear what you say it’s your singing that’s
hitting me hard this way.
all day long
We’ll sing you this song
And see how long
Your arm will hold on
Ribbit, ribbit, ribbit croak!
ribbity, croak. See that?
FROGS: Ha! That
was so terribly flat
Is that the very best you got?
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!
there! Stop right here! Now come and pay your fare!
you go. Oh, Xanthias, oh, Xanthias where fore art thou…oops!
Wrong play! Yo! Xanthias, where you go???
I’m over here.
Mama’s boy great to see you!
the darkness and mud Herc was talking about.
you see any liars, cheaters or scum of the earth like he said we
you askin’ me? Didn’t you?
Of course I saw lots and lots of them. (to the audience) I see some
now. So, where do we go?
on I guess. This place is supposed to be swarmin’ with monsters.
right. Just mindless exaggeration to frighten me.
I guess you’re right but…look! Over there!
god where? (nervous)
don’t I just step ahead for a while?
then again, maybe I heard it from the front somewhere.
then get in front!
I see it! Oh, god save us…it’s a horrible thing!
it look like?
it’s ugly. (sighing) Thank god.
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.
girl? (scoffs) Let me at ‘em! Let me at ‘em!
your horses! Now it’s a Chihuahua the deadliest dog.
It must be the shape shifter Herc was talking about.
head is on fire. It…it’s le-leg is on fire too?
the other leg is made of cow paddies. (sniffs) and smells like it
am I going to go?
doomed! I’m gonna die! I’m gonna die! I don’t
wanna die! I wanna live!
Dionysus) Snap out of it! The thing is gone ya weenie!
swear to beans it’s gone!
god it’s gone. Deer Park I was feeling a bit pale.
I was feeling nauseated.
could I have possibly done to deserve this?
that? Hey, do you?
no! not again!
It’s Pluto’s house.
Then let’s press on. (walk to Pluto’s house) I should
knock but how exactly do people knock from here.
knock. I’m sure with your knowledge any way will do.
Hello! Anyone there?
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)
What am I gonna do?
up and go away before they see you. Nice going raisin brain.
say that name! Don’t even breathe it! I…I ….feel
so faint. A cold wet sponge. Please.
egg breathe! Here! You put it on yourself.
no. That name is worse than the other. Thank you, where is the sponge?
I can hardly see.
here, raisin brain.
really are the greatest coward in the world. You should be in the
Guinness Book of World Records!
to music) Hey! Do you hear that?
Something is headed this way. (Xanthias puts down the bags, he and
Dionysus crouch down to hear the music.
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.
you must be right. I remember those good ol’ days. Let’s
listen a while.
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!
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
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
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
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!
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!
party is da bomb! Let’s dance!
yeah. Let’s get on the good foot!
LEADER OF THE
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
Now let’s go to his plain
Where the flowers bloom in the rain
We’re going to confuse him with our dancing
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
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.
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
Okay now, ya’ll better listen to the chorus—
Cause here’s a little song that they wrote just for us.
dance, let’s shout, shake your body down to the ground.
say mama sa mamakusa
Leader of the
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
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.
are so kind! Can you tell me how to get to Pluto’s? We’re
new on the block.
Leader of the
Not to go far, or to rent you a car
Just turn around and knock upon his door.
what are we waiting for?
ought to get up off this floor.
Leader of the
Better knock, or he’ll get sore.
the door of Pluto’s house) You think it’s okay to knock?
I don’t want to bother him if he’s sleeping.
head punk. You’re dressed like Hercules. You better act like
Dionysus: Um. (calling out) Yo?
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.
on the ground) Mommy!
up, you dummy, before they come.
I feel dizzy. Put some gin in my juice—that might work.
don’t have any, but here’s some ice. Crybaby.
my word. Did you just eat that cup?
nervous shock made me accidentally bite a piece of it, then I got
hungry so I really couldn’t help myself.
are the king of cowards.
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.
weren’t you scared of what he said?
never cared and I was never scared.
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.
for the bags) Jailbirds are true, let me get that for you.
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.
makin’ me hungry. But not today. I might be back tomorrow
Maid: But she’s
got cakes, pies, gummy worms, and wine. Let’s go get some.
but no thanks. I...
Maid: No wait.
We got a live jazz band. And two or three young dancing girls.
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.
then, go and tell those dancing girls Xan... I mean Hercules is
coming. Hey you, get my bags.
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.
Child, please. Surely you don’t mean to take away your own
gift. You indian giver.
the bow and arrow fit...Now give me back my stuff.
Abuse! Call 9-1-1! The gods’ll get you, watch.
bet they will. Now give me my stuff a.s.a.p. Slave!
it, Tinkerbell. I don’t want this raggedy stuff anyway. Watch,
you gon’ need me one day.
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.
Plathane, get over here. This is that buster that ate up all my
Little Debbie cakes.
Him right here!
this gon’ be fun.
ate up all the cupcakes and drank all the juice, too. And he popped
my red balloon.
ate all my pork skins.
liar. You must be from Saint E’s.
think I ain’t recognize you in those high waters? Peek-a-boo,
I know you.
ate all my Sour Skittles, too. You want more? I can keep going.
still can’t believe he ate all those cheese sticks. I bet
he was farting that night.
when he saw me coming with that check in my hand, he showed his
teeth and growled at me like a dog.
how he is. Buck tooth rhino with no manners. Just disgusting.
had his fist balled up like he was gon’ do something.
did you put up with it? I would have cracked him.
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.
again, that’s just like him. I can tell. Look at him.
we gon’ do with him?
Get my support hose. And go get my bodyguard, Cleon.
get Hyperbolus, if you see him. We’re gonna crush him.
should punch you in your mouth. I should knock out those same rotten
teeth that ate all my food.
should pull out my pistol. I oughtta take you to court.
should shank the throat that swallowed my Little Debbie cakes.
gone to get Cleon.
me now, Lord. (to Xanthias) Xanthias, you’re my best friend.
yeah, yeah. No. I don’t want to be Hercules anymore. I’m
a slave, remember?
don’t mean that, Xanthias-man.
do you expect me to be Xanthias and Hercules at the same time?
hit me. Hit me if you want, but if you take these clothes back,
you can put anthrax in my mail.
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.
out with the others)
him. You heard me. Chop chop.
can’t wait to see this.
up. you better stop.
go. Prancer, Donald, Blixen, handle my light work.
coming back after stealing these peoples’ things, that’s
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.
What do you suggest?
Put Kool-aid in his eyes. Show him pictures of your grandmother’s
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.
ain’t no god. Who are you?
the son of... of...of... the guy with the thunderbolts. I’m
Aeacus: Do ya’ll
hear this fool?
doesn’t know his name. That’s why you need to whup him
good. If he’s immortal, he won’t feel it.
say you’re a god, too. You should whup him same as me.
You can whup us both, an whichever one cries out or feels the pain,
you know he’s no god.
will you test us?
gonna whip you, whip you good.
heard that before.
back) Now watch. You see if I even flinch.
I just smacked you.
Aeacus: I didn’t?
Well, I’ll whack that other guy. (hits Dionysus)
controlling himself) When?
Aeacus: I just
funny. It didn’t even make me sneeze.
go back to the first one.
it. (Aeacus hits him) Grr!
So it did hurt.
I’m just hungry. Grr-eat, like Frosted Flakes.
you should’ve ate before you got here. I’ll try him
again. (hits Dionysus)
it hurts, huh?
just smelled something that stinks. Oooh!
start over. (hits Xanthias)
I thought I saw a friend of mine.
we go again. (hits Dionysus)
Oh... (singing) Oh say can you see, by the dawn’s early light...
heard him—It hurts!
I’m a patriot. Sometimes I just feel like singing the national
not hitting him hard enough. You should kidney punch him.
Xanthias) Good idea! You turn around! (hits Xanthias)
I can’t believe I got an E on my math test. I studied hard
for it, too.
hopeless. I give up. I’ll have to ask my master. He’ll
know, cause he’s a god, too.
should have thought of that before you started whipping me.
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.
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
LEADER OF THE
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.
master sure is a gentleman.
he’s a gentleman, all right. I saw that at his bachelor party.
he didn’t whip you when you got caught pretending you were
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.
like it, huh? How about digging up the dirt?
it! Like sweet chocolate.
brother! What do you think of listening to what they say?
that gets me fired up.
just like me. Like my long-lost twin! (they hug) What’s that
Aeschylus and Euripides.
gettin’ rowdy in the underworld.
a law here that says the best poet gets free Redskins season tickets
and his own throne next to Pluto.
the champion has to step aside when someone better comes along.
how has this affected Aeschylus?
he used to have the throne. He was the greatest.
got it now?
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.
Aeschylus got booted off?
him. Now everybody wants to see them fight it out to see who’s
thugs and jailbirds?
they’re yelling loud as drums.
nobody’s standing up for Aeschylus?
hard to find anyone who’s honest these days. (points to the
audience) Just like here.
Pluto going to do?
having a showdown. Just like American Idol.
is going to be p-i-s-s-e-d.
been slamming doors and gritting on everybody.
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.
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.
be guns, machetes, knives or bricks,
Just sharp words and poet’s tricks
And one of these men is going to lose his shirt.
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.
Dionysus, and Aeschylus enter)
don’t need your advice. I’m the best there is.
speak up. He punked you.
a quiet little boy. Scared to talk.
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!
Wait! Use words, not weapons.
about you, Aeschylus? Are you ready to rumble?
ready, but it won’t be a fair fight.
my poems are still famous, but his poems all died with him, so he
has them here in Hades, while mine are alive.
all better say a prayer.
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?
pray, I said.
have my own gods.
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.
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.
no one understands a word he says.
Aeschylus) Stop sucking your teeth. You got dirt in them?
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
what did you ever write, goofball?
write what’s real.
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
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.
write what the people want to hear.
write what the people want to buy.
knows my songs. Everywhere you go, people sing my songs. You can
hear them on the car radios when people have their windows down.
true. I have to shut my ears, because none of it is fit to listen
write about everyday life on the streets. You write stuff people
have to go to college to understand.
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.
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
are brave men who dare not read my poems
Men tremble when they see my name
I am nearly a god.
that title is mine.
a second, there’s only one god here and that’s me. You’re
just a couple of poets.
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.
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.
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
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.
Euripides doesn’t decide what’s popular. He just writes
what he sees.
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.
son will not be a tool. He’s gonna have his own mind. You’re
you calling a fool when you’re the one in the bright orange
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.
is very confusing, or is it supposed to be?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
I must not miss those exquisite words. Go on.
first there was Snoop Dog, rapping about gin and juice...
wasn’t! Don’t you know anything about NWA and Afro Puffs?
that Ice Cube...
that does it. Let’s do battle of the beats right here, right
begin. I got places to go and money to count.
was walking down the street, spitting some beats, and my Rice Krispie
Krispie treats? You must be hungry.
comes a dime a dozen,
Went home and had tea with my convict cousin
try another one.
strongly recommend that.
I still got the flow.
I know you like to think
Your plays don’t stink
sounds like you drink.
Snoop! Let me go on! (singing)
All those prologues you’re giving me,
Keep your play, cause
I don’t want you back
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.
it. Aeschylus is better.
do you mean?
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.
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
got the flow
I got the beat
I’m the one who makes you move your feet
Aeschylus wins. His words weigh more.
must be the river he mentioned. That would have to weigh a lot.
give him another chance.
both of you take hold again.
my words, hear my rhymes
I bring you lots of good times
my words I stand until my death
I’m a poet to the very last breath
was it this time.
spoke about death. There’s nothing heavier than that. A monstrous
I said “good times.” Don’t they weigh anything.
times are light as air. They don’t weigh a thing. You need
to think of something really heavy. Try again.
pump you full of lead,
I’ll put a bullet in your head.
build you a castle, surround it with a moat
And when I want to come see you, I’ll sail on a boat
lose, Euripides. A castle plus a moat plus a sailboat. That weighs
much more than your lead.
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: So you’ve
won’t. They’re both my bum bum homies. I won’t
put them against each other.
Pluto: In that
case, you get neither.
I came for a poet, and I’m going to leave with a poet.
pick one then. But you only get one.
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?
came from the streets and I know the streets. I’m street till
that means a lot. How about you, Aeschylus?
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.
still can’t decide.
tell you. Where there is trust, there lies mistrust, and where there
is mistrust, there lies trust.
it in plain English.
your friends close, but your enemies closer, okay?
Aeschylus) What do you say?
can’t really see your problems from down here. I need to be
back on earth to tell you.
yet. What can you say from here?
think you’re safest if you make your enemy your friend.
up and decide.
you came down here to get me. I was the one you swore you’d
a god. I can change my mind. I chose Aeschylus.
it go. Aeschylus is just better.
better watch your back.
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.
on in then, both of you. Let’s eat before you sail away.
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.
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.
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.
the play’s over then. It’s time for the lights to come
on. And I’m hungry. Now can I have a brownie?
to student work