Transporn productions presents...
Centaur Stage
a Funhouse scenario by Lucius Appaloosius

DRAMATIS PERSONAE
ACTOR: Male, early middle age
CIRCE: Playwright, director & goddess, ageless
HIPPEA: a centaurette, young & fetching

SCENE: the Centaur Stage Theatre, somewhere in space-time.

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ACT I

SCENE 1 (We see ACTOR standing, flyer in hand, in an alley outside the stage door. He is dressed in chinos & T-shirt [preferably with community theatre logo]. A poster on the wall reads "Centaur Stage... Auditions Today")

ACTOR (to himself):
Hmm...This must be the place. Let me see..(reads flyer): "Script provided".. uh-uh...Well, I hope I can do OK for a cold reading...

SCENE 2 (Interior of theatre.We see CIRCE sitting in the fourth or fifth row of the orchestra, from behind, looking toward the bare stage. ACTOR is standing there under the worklight, script in hand, a little nervous.)

ACTOR (peering into darkened hall):
Um, Hello? I'm here for the-

CIRCE (briskly):
Ah, Mr. (name of ACTOR) Let's just put you yhrough your paces... Right! We'll start you with the love scene on page 9, shall we? I've got someone to play the ingenue for you... Oh, HIPPEA? (sfx: "CLIP-CLOP" from offstage L)

SCENE 3 (We watch from the stage R wings as HIPPEA enters, script also in hand. She is a prime bit of horseflesh; her human portion is just as ravishing.. She is clad only in a zebra-print halter top [or, if you prefer,in nothing at all]. She is also about a head taller than ACTOR.)

HIPPEA (smiling):
Oh, hi! You start when you're ready, OK? I'll pick up on your cues...

ACTOR (visibly startled):
Um, ah, just a second... (Thinks: SOME " special effects!")

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ACT II

SCENE 1 (We see ACTOR facing HIPPEA, who is downstage. ACTOR is sweating heavily & trembling as he studies his script. Something is already happening to him: his ears have become pointy, his hair is a bit longer, & there are ominous bulges in his trousers.)

CIRCE (from audience):
OK, cue music! (The slow movement from Beethoven's 6th begins to play over the scene.)

ACTOR: Er, heh-heh.. (Reads):
"My fairest filly, just say the word, and this love-struck stallion will be your faithful steed forever.." (Thinks: Geez, who WROTE this turkey?..[ She sure is cute in that costume, though...])

HIPPEA (Reads):
"Oh,'Cestus'! It is the Fates' decree we should be stablemates..."

SCENE 2 (ACTOR & HIPPEA are both in profile, with spotlight shining on them, reaching out for an embrace. ACTOR doesn't notice his legs changing shape, his rapidly expanding trouser seat, or even the miniature forehooves just peeking out from his waistband. He is now taller, too; almost eye-to-eye with HIPPEA.)

HIPPEA (Reads):
"Then, let us seal it with a KISS, my love..."

ACTOR (Reads):
Uh,..."So be it, my love.." (He is aware something is happening, but misinterprets it. Thinks: This is SO embarrassing! Am I getting a...?)

CIRCE (from audience):
GOOD! Now you're getting into it, Mr.(name of ACTOR); keep up the tempo!

SCENE 3 (ACTOR's trousers are now hanging in shreds; his T-shirt is now rather too small for him. He has fully developed equine hindquarters [though his tail is still a bit stubby]; his lower body is lengthening into a barrel; and two smallish forelegs have popped out. Little valentine hearts are swimming around his head, as HIPPEA kisses him passionately on the lips.)

(sfx: SMOOOCH!!!)

ACTOR (Thinks: WHOA NELLIE!!!)

SCENE 4 (ACTOR suddenly breaks off embrace; he is balancing precariously on his hind legs, while his forelegs desperately paw the air for support. His T-shirt is finally splitting; his tail has sprouted completely, & is lashing about behind him. He is quite HIPPEA's size now: an almost perfect Appaloosa centaur.)

ACTOR:
Cut! CUT!! I'm sorry but Ican't-

CIRCE (from audience):
Keep going, stud! You're bringing the house down!

SCENE 5 (ACTOR is now thoroughly confused; he tries to read again)

ACTOR:
UH,..."There! Now we are-are-" (His forehooves finally hit the stage with a resounding CLOMPP!! The transformation is complete. He twists his human torso around and stares at his new body uncomprehendingly): WHAT the-??

CIRCE (laughing & applauding):
CONGRATULATIONS, Pony Boy: you got the part!

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EPILOGUE (optional):

SCENE 1: (CIRCE has come up on stage, where ACTOR is standing, still somewhat dazed, but beginning to understand his situation. HIPPEA has dropped her script, and is gazing at him appreciatively. His build is a bit more muscular than before; he is now somewhat taller than HIPPEA, with luxuriant, almost mane-like hair. As for the rest of him.......well, you know...)

CIRCE (businesslike again):
Right! We open 4 weeks from now; I'll want both of you in here at 7 sharp for rehearsal tomorrow. I may have to rewrite some dialogue here and there, but the story's solid. We'll be filling in some minor roles as we go along; in the meantime (to ACTOR) you'll need some dance lessons. You're a decent actor, but we need you as a "hoofer" as well.

SCENE 2 (ACTOR & HIPPEA are exiting the stage door. The alley has been replaced by a sylvan landscape, with perhaps a small temple in the background. They trot along side by side.)

ACTOR (shyly):
Well, how did you like it? You didn't think my performance was a bit -well- "spotty"?

HIPPEA (giggles at the Appaloosa joke):
You'll do fine, kiddo.... See you tomorrow night!

ACTOR (Thinks: Boy, I can't wait for OPENING NIGHT!)

CURTAIN!
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