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ALL: THE ETERNALS – by P. J. deCamera
“We are the eternals,” said the man on-stage.
“We’re out here, all around, and everywhere. Sometimes we let you sense us: see; feel; hear; smell; even touch us. We’re in every town and country, on every sea and land. We’re above and below on earth and in space. We are timeless creatures, born before creation and we never die. We can change our appearance, our age, and trans-locate at will. Poof, just like a wisp of dust, we are present but an instant later nowhere to be seen or sensed.”
“And” he continues, “we are sensitive, empathetic listeners.” Frankie is interrupted by a door opening, when a girl comes into the make-do warehouse turned theater. He takes note that she is a very attractive casually dressed blue eyed blonde.
“Hi, I’m Frankie. Can I help you?”
“Oh, hi Frankie, I’m Flo. They told me to be here on time, so I came a few minutes early.” she offered. “What are you doing up there? Are youhere for an interview too?”
“No, I’m a new hire, they gave me a script, said to get up on this makeshift stage (he swung his arms gesturing to the step up platform of room size dimension – about 12′ by 16′) and practice the part of the male lead. They said they’d be back soon, meanwhile they went their way, I got busy, and now here you are. You brighten up the room. Glad you’re here Flo.”
“What’s the name of the male lead?”
“Oh, it’s Adam. Yeh, the play starts with the scene in total darkness and gradually lightens up like the sun rises.” Flora, pretty name for a pretty girl, Frankie noticed. “McIlman is my last name, what’s yours?”
“My whole name is Florence Marie Currier. I’m from downstate Decatur, Illinois and just came up on the train for this interview. I think my folks want me to get a job now that college is finished and Millikin University just awarded the Theatre Arts BA degree to me. Maybe we’ll get a chance to work together. Where are you from?”
“Well I’m from Springfield, downstate too. I went to Millikin, too, for a few years of Business Studies; took a time out working a factory job in Decatur, at the big grain plant down there; then came up here to Governors State University where I studied Theater and Performance finally receiving a BA Degree. I had to work my way through so it took me a little longer than going to school full time. I lived in Frankfort, so it was a pretty easy commute to get into the city. I was glad to get this job so quick because my lease is up in a week and I need to find a place nearer to the Loop.”
Frankie looked up as Flo moved close enough that he caught a barely detectable whiff of lavender. Then he saw her outfit more clearly. Her shoes were classic style casual with breathable fabric textile navy blue tops, flexible fit straps,and EVA soles for walking. Her navy blue capri pants covered her legs, they complemented the full polka dot navy blue skirt.. The white flared blouse with modest, but open neckline completed her attire. Classy lady, Frankie thought to himself. He also took note of the garden pattern, shoulder strapped, tote bag of large, but not to large proportions. He wondered aloud whether Flo had bags to bring in; she replied that she’d stored them in a locker at Grand Central. Just the, the door opened followed by a brilliant flash of daylight and then the back-lit shadow of a man entering as he said, “Hello in there, I’m Noah Gomer, the Producer. Frankie and I already met, you must be Flo.”
Flo: Yes sir, yes I am, glad to meet you.
Noah: I notice you got here a little early; you aren’t due for another ten minutes, but that’s good, join me over here (he gestured to a couple of folding chairs and card table off to one side). And, to Frankie, Noah said: You can continue your practice with the script and, we can all talk when lunch is brought over by the caterer. Turning to Flo, he asked, Have you eaten yet, I have some bagels with cream cheese and a some small juice snack packs with straws. Here, he opened the sack he’d been carrying, then spread the snack treasures on a tray for easy access. Napkins, were already on the table.
“Mmmmm,” Flo said while dabbing at a crumb on her lips between bites, “this really hits the spot, thank you.”
Noah: Good aren’t they, the deli next door had just made them. Is yours still warm?
Flo: Oh, yes, and so tasty.
Noah: While we wait for Jim Gordon, the Director for our little company and also has final say on new hires, you should know that we really liked your answer to our challenge question, on your application, that is we’re pleased with why you want to act. We also checked your school and other references and the things your professors had to say. You are absolutely sterling, and your friends back home agree. Here’s Jim now. Hey Jim, over here.
Jim: Good Morning, I see, Miss Currier and you have already met Noah, why don’t you introduce us properly?
Noah: Flora Marie Currier, meet Jim Gordon, the Director of our little play that we’re calling “ALL”. We all go by first names here and we try to keep stage-ups as taboo. So don’t let all the fancy titles bother you, just be yourself.
Flo breathed an audible sigh saying: Thank you, pleased to meet you Jim, I guess I am a little nervous.
Jim: The pleasure’s all mine, please relax and enjoy our meeting. We do want to offer you a job, Lead Actress, with us. Are you interested?
FLO: Of course, I’ve been praying you’d offer me some acting work, but never in my wildest dreams did I think you’d want me for the female lead. So, yes, my answer is yes, I’m really interested!
Jim: Okay, consider yourself hired as of right now. We’re sure you’ll like the pay and related benefits and perks so we’ll discuss those with everyone at lunch. Does that work for you? Flo couldn’t speak, but was nodding her head yes very vigorously. Jim and Noah both grinned and chuckled a little.
Jim: All right Flo, Welcome to our group, Now here’s a script copy for you to study and, Pat McGill, our Play-writer, will be at lunch with us. You’ll find him affable and open to ideas. He listens and cares so as to make certain the script gains wide acceptance for its message and presentation. But we better get busy, we’ve got two more actors coming in shortly. Flo, look over there, in the corner, that door opens to your dressing room and it’s set up for you already. Here’s the key, and, if you need anything just let us know.
Flo, totally speechless, a rare event in her life, picked up her script andwent to her room, quite in a daze.
In her dressing room, she laid down her bag on a cot; looking around she saw the clothes rod, makeup table with lighted mirror plus a bench to sit on. There was a standing full-length mirror next to the table and she saw the reflection of a reading table with lamp and a comfy looking chair. Just behind was a door that led to a half bath … and Flo, happily took advantage of that necessary room, washed quickly (the cold water refreshing to her face and the plush towel to dry with … that felt good. A quick reach for the script, Flo turned on the lamp and sunk into the chair to read.
Outside in the ‘theater pro-tem’, Noah and Jim were talking to two new people: Neal Kelly and Zillah Stihl were the two newcomers, Noah was telling Jim Gordon. Zillah recently graduated from Central Florida University with a degree in Theater; Neal had received his BA in Theater and Performance and has nearly finished that program’s Master of Arts Degree at University of Chicago. Zillah just happened to be in Chicago to visit some friends, Neal lives with his ‘Auntie’ in a very nice Townhouse on the near south-side. Her parents live in the Villages of Marion County, FL. Neal’s parents live near New Orleans. And, apparently the two new candidates had just been hired, the little troupe now has four cast members.
NOAH, aloud, to everyone: “Okay it’s nearly lunch time. Anybody hungry?”
Everybody in unison replied “YES!”. So Noah said: “The deli where our bagels came from is around the corner, I’ve reserved their private dining area, it’s perfect for our group and provides some privacy so we can answer questions you surely have. Everybody good with that?” Getting agreement Noah led the charge to the deli where Abe, the owner took charge and guided them to the room. Abe saw that they were seated and had his staff bring in all sorts of food dishes and condiments, plus drinks. He invited them to help themselves and he left, closing the double doors so they were in private.
Noah: Okay, let’s say grace, then we’ll eat and have some table talk. Jim, will you please offer this meal up .
Jim: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Bless us O Lord and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive, through Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Okay, let’s eat.
Zillah: I can use a good Reuben Sandwich and a cold drink. Look, there’s chicken salad, sausage and biscuits, and ham. I thought a guy named Abe would have all kosher food. What’s his story? Is he not Jewish.
Noah: He’s related to me, a few times removed, his mother is a cousin to my wife. They are Jewish descendants, but practicing Catholics. One of our relatives a long time ago, came into the church of Christ and Catholicism stuck. Besides, Jesus was also a Jew.
Zillah: Reminds me of my family story except my Dad is a Hasidic Judist and Mom is a Catholic. Me, I’m pulled both ways, but I still want a Reuben Sandwich.
By now, the rest of the crew had their meals and were already eating, Zillah wasted no more time. She grabbed her sandwich, some chips, and a cola. Lunchtime was uiet except for the gnoshing sounds of satisfaction.
<sound effects of gnoshing – insert here>
Noah: (after the last bites were taken) In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen. we give thanks, Almighty God, for all your benefits, who live and reign world without end. Amen. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen. So, question and answer time, who wants to go first?
Neal raising his hand, looks around the table, getting nods all around: Well, I know you hired us; now can you tell us about stuff like money, rules, hours, terms of employment and such as that?
Jim Gordon: Well, let’s start with your jobs. Frankie has the male lead of Adam who becomes transfigured to become Noah then to Gomer, and in today’s new for, he becomes yet another version of himself – yet to be named and created by our playwright Pat McGill. Flo has the role of Eve, in the beginning and she also transforms to other characters. You Zillah and Neal will need all the versatility at your command because you’ll play multiple roles, even in the same scenes. Finally we’ll have to recruit two capable children for those scenes needing the young ones. So, those, in brief, are your jpbdescriptions and of course, as Director, I’m your performance leader. Now, let me hand the rest of your story to the boss, Noah Gomer whose name you’ll see on your paychecks. Noah, please take over now.
Hah, Jim, you say that like you’re waiting on me to build the Ark. (laughter) Perhaps, then our first perks should be mentioned. Housing is one of those, transportation, costumes, meals, and money are those perks. Money, here (hand-off of envelopes addressed to each of the little company) are some expense advances for your needs during our production time. We also have a brand new living/working complex right on Lake Shore Drive for our work and study time together. Clothing for your work (uniforms so to speak) are also provided as is transportation while you are on site working. Your salaries will be discussed individually and I’m sure you’ll find yourselves well compensate, especially because you get royalties on all items, productions, and performances that result from your work on stage. As for our financial backing, I’ve had our CPA’s provide copies of our Balance Sheet and other relevant Financial Declarations for your personal and private information. These are meant to enhance any due diligence that I encourage you to perform. When you’re satisfied let me know individually. Let’s turn to the production now. Pat McGill, our Playwright is working with Jim Gordon to arrange a meeting with all of us so he can bring us up-to-date. I see that we all have a copy of the script. So, our next order of business is to visit our new Company domicile. We’ll have a small studio over there, but our rehearsals will continue on-stage at our temporary theater-in-the-rough from whence we came before our meal.
If everyone is ready, our ride awaits, so let’s go.
Let’s tell each other a story about anything evil we encountered while growing up.
During lunch, Neal had been very deep in thought. He had a story, so then he said clearly to the group: A gang in our neighborhood tried beating me in to be one of them selling drugs and stealing and killing. It hadn’t worked but, I started wondering how I got into a fix where people would knock me around and beat on me. I figured out that it was a simple act of disobedience, one that I had rationalized my way onto, so here’s what that act was …