edit

 The play happens in various locations

                                   around and about the home and hometown

                                   of RICHARD FEATHER, 38, his lovely

                                   wife, GERRY, also in that age range, 

                                   and their two charming children, Dick,

                                   Jr., known primarily as REX, 11, and

                                   TINA, known exclusively as TINA, 17.

 

                                   The play also happens, on a couple of

                                   occasions, in the New York office of

                                   FORREST JAMES, a television celebrity

                                   of the tabloid talk show ilk, 38.

 

                                   The play will bounce around from

                                   location to location, so, in most

                                   cases, it's not necessary to go into

                                   any great detail from setting to

                                   setting.

 

                                   AT RISE, the Feathers, sans Tina, are

                                   glued to the television set in their

                                   living room, watching the "Over My Dead

                                   Body" show, starring Forrest James. 

                                   Actually, the only one who's glued is

                                   Richard, who seems to be in a kind of

                                   daze over what he's watching.  Gerry

                                   pays scant attention, and is probably

                                   doing something else, like knitting, as

                                   the show proceeds.  Rex is also pre

                                   occupied, with a hand-held video game, 

                                   but will focus on the television when

                                   Forrest gets particularly rambunctious.

 

                                   (The portions of the James show, as

                                   recorded here, may be presented in this

                                   play as audio only, or, if it's

                                   possible and if the producers prefer,

                                   the James show can be put on videotape

                                   and broadcast via monitors to the

                                   theatre audience so they can share more

                                   intimately Richard's agony.)

 

                                   ANNOUNCER

 

                          (on television)

            And now, back to "Over My Dead Body," with Forrest James.

 

                                   JAMES

 

                          (also on television)

            And we're back, talking with Doris Addison, newspaper

            columnist and representative of the New York City chapter of

            the National Organization for Women, informally known as NOW,

            which of course rhymes with...

 

                                   (he moos)

 

                                   ADDISON

            Mr. James, I've had quite enough of your...

 

                                   JAMES

            Hold it, Toots!  Uncle Forrest has the floor!  This is my

            show and it's my turn now to tell you what I really think of

            you and your whiny female newspaper column!

 

                                   There is a huge ROAR OF APPROVAL from

                                   the James studio audience.  Richard,

                                   holding the remote, can't take it

                                   anymore, and mutes the volume.

 

                                   GERRY

            I just love the mute button.

 

                                   REX

            I can't believe you know this guy, Dad.

 

                                   RICHARD

            I don't know him.  I knew him.  There's a big difference,

            Dick.

 

                                   REX

 

                          (instantly angry)

            Rex!  How many times do I have to tell you, my name is Rex!

 

                                   GERRY

 

                          (so sweet)

            Call him Rex, dear.  You know it's what he wants.

 

                                   RICHARD

 

                          (pained resignation)

            Rex.  Why not Fido?

 

                          (restores the volume)

 

                                   JAMES

 

                          (on t.v.)

            Read my lips, Ms. Addison.  You want equality with males at

            your newspaper?  Great.  Do them a favor, though, willya? 

            Buy a pair of long pants and a jock strap and throw away your

            Lady Schick, because if you want the guys in Re-write to

            treat you like one of the boys, you're going to have to stop

            shaking your tight little butt in their faces every time you

            waddle to the water cooler!

 

                                   Another huge ROAR OF APPROVAL from the

                                   James studio audience.  Richard mutes

                                   the volume again.

 

                                   RICHARD

            Gerry, put your hand on my head.

 

                                   GERRY

 

                          (does this, no questions asked)

            Like this?

 

                                   RICHARD

            I just wanted you to feel my mind boggling.

 

                                   GERRY

            You shouldn't watch if it upsets you.

 

                                   RICHARD

            I'm not upset.  I'm catatonic.

 

                                   REX

            Is that like constipation?

 

                                   GERRY

            Never mind, dear.

 

                                   RICHARD

            Yeah.  Heel.

 

                          (restores volume)

 

                                   ADDISON

 

                          (on t.v.)

            Mr. James, what about your family?

 

                                   JAMES

            What about my family?

 

                                   ADDISON

            I assume you were born of woman.

            Hey, I never said your kind wasn't good for something!

 

                                   Big audience reaction.

 

                                   ADDISON

            Do you even have a family, Mr. James?

 

                                   JAMES

            What kind of snide, smartass, female remark is that?  Of

            course I have a family.

 

                                   Audience reaction.

 

                                   RICHARD

            He has no family.

 

                                   ADDISON

            Prove it.

 

                                   JAMES

            What?

 

                                   RICHARD

            He was raised by a pack of nuns.

 

                                   GERRY

            RICHARD!

 

                                   ADDISON

            Prove it!  Put your family on the air and allow me to

            interview them about your homelife!

 

                                   JAMES

            Over my dead body!!!!

 

                                   Huge audience reaction.

 

                                   ADDISON

            I don't see a wedding ring.

 

                                   JAMES

            My private life ain't no business of yours, lady!

 

                                   ADDISON

            It's everybody's business, Mr. James.  Isn't your ultimate

            goal to strip the American Public of all pretense?

 

                                   JAMES

            I decide who gets stripped on my show!

 

                                   Audience reaction.

 

                                   ADDISON

            I challenge you, Forrest James!

 

                                   RICHARD

 

                          (rises)

            No!  Don't challenge him!

 

                                   ADDISON

            I defy you to produce your family on national television!  I

            defy you to let me ask them if they love you!

 

                          (to studio audience)

            I don't think he can do it!  How about you?  Do you think he

            can put his family on television?  Or is he just an

            overblown, overfed, obnoxious male coward!!!

 

                                   Another audience reaction.

 

                                   RICHARD

            He's all of those things, but don't cross him!

 

                                   ADDISON

            What's the matter, Forrest?  Can't shake your relatives out

            of the trees?

 

                                   Huge audience reaction.

 

                                   JAMES

            All right!  All right!  That is enough!  You people want to

            meet my family, you'll meet my family!  Next week, we're pre

            empted by the People's Pick Awards, but the following week-

            May 17th--we will take the show to my hometown, the bosom of

            my youth, where my family still lives, and you will meet my

            people face to face, and you will know that my people love me

            as much as you love me!  This, I promise you!  Two weeks from

            tonight--Forrest James goes home!  Until then, good night,

            Over My Dead Body!

 

                                   The show's MUSIC plays as Richard

                                   remotes the television off and turns to

                                   his family.

 

                                   RICHARD

            I'm a dead man.