Earthy Void: Plan for an Epic Play
The Toadstool sings a song lamenting that his life is at a standstill. He can’t go anywhere. He feels damp. An expansive fungus creeps in to enlighten the toadstool. Fungi can take over the world! The toadstool must spread his roots and travel to exotic places.
A farm in Nebraska. A field of cows. They low for some time. Then Paris Hilton arrives. She must milk one of them. The cows all try to convince her to pick them. They either want to be on TV, or they have the hots for Paris (in the latter case, it seems they would be lesbian cows). The cows perform daring feats of physical prowess. Paris Hilton picks one of the cows and milks her.
The farmhand who tends to the cows is appalled at their sycophantic display of feats of physical prowess. He thought he knew the cows. He thought they were humble creatures. His world has been turned upside down. He wonders if he will ever find love. He throws down his pitchfork and sets out on a journey.
The farmhand comes to a crossroads. He cannot decide which way to go. A carnival comes up behind him. He must decide which way to go or the carnival cannot pass. The head of the carnival is a beautiful, gruff woman in a top hat. She must get to the next town before nightfall. She straps the farmhand to one of the elephants, and off they go.
Meanwhile, the toadstool is stretching its long fungal roots across the country. He passes the scene of a domestic dispute. He crawls around and through a buried corpse, which tells the toadstool the sad story of its demise. He stretches under a river teeming with ambitious crawfish. He crawls through the mud under a young girl playing and tickles her toes. He now covers most of America. But he wonders why.
The farmhand now cares for the carnival elephants, but he is suspicious of them. He does not trust any of their acts of kindness. They bring him chocolates, which he loves, but he cannot return their affection. The elephants cry, and the head of the carnival whips the farmhand.
The toadstool encounters the elephants’ tears in the earth. He stops. The farmhand’s tears soon follow. Then the tears of the beautiful head of the carnival. The toadstool emerges into the sunlight and falls in love with the beautiful head of the carnival. She also falls in love with him, but the carnival ground is too dry. The toadstool begins to die. But he refuses to go back underground. The carnival puts on a special performance over the toadstool as he dies. The elephants dance.
Sonya Sobieski is a playwright and dramaturg.
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