A Series of Two Minute Comedy Sketches for short attention span theatre
Shadow Talk A (okay) Five Minute Comedy
CAST: Man - lively, late 40s Shadow - a shadow of Man
Man walks happily across stage as though walking down a busy street. Beside him, in sharp relief, his Shadow is visible. He pauses, perhaps for a stop light. He jives along with his iPod. Suddenly his Shadow stops jiving. Shadow taps him on his shoulder. Surprised, Man looks around. He sees no one, goes back to his jive. Another tap. Man turns quickly and notices the Shadow, arms folded. Man hesitates.
Shadow: Yeah it’s me.
Man: (dumbfounded) Who?
Shadow: Me dummy. Your shadow.
Man: (looking around) This is some kinda gag, right?
Shadow: Do I look like a gag?
Man reaches out to touch shadow but finds only the wall he’s standing next to. He glances around nervously.
Shadow: Don’t worry, no one else can see me. I am your shadow.
Man: (trying to comprehend) Shadows don’t… talk.
Shadow: Who told you that?
Man: It should be obvious.
Shadow: Obvious why?
Man: (obviously) Because shadows are an image cast by the absence of light shining on one side of an object.
Shadow: (impressed) Oh hey, you must have read a book or two.
Man: (growing confident) So you can’t be my shadow since you are autonomous.
Shadow: Go ahead and move.
Shadow: Don’t repeat what I say. Make a motion.
Man hesitantly raises his hand. Shadow mirrors the action perfectly. Man waves, Shadow waves perfectly. Man twists his body ridiculously - Shadow matches.
Shadow: See? I am your shadow. I can do anything you can do.
Man: (doubtful) Oh yeah?
Man does an absurdly awkward dance step. Shadow, shadows it exactly.
Shadow: Only better.
Man: (annoyed) So, big friggin deal. You’re my shadow. What do you want?
Shadow: I want you to see yourself.
Man: Oh yeah? And why’s that?
Shadow: Because you are making a fool of yourself.
Man: (offended) Says who?
Shadow: Is there anyone else here genius?
Man: No one of substance.
Shadow: What’s that, an insult?
Man: Now who’s the genius?
Shadow: You are embarrassing yourself and as a consequence me.
Man: (defensive) Yeah? In what way?
Shadow: First of all that ridiculous music. “Starship?” The Jefferson Starship?? Are you some kind of sniveling eighth grade prisoner of the sixties??
Man: What’s wrong with Starship?
Shadow: What’s wrong is it’s a dinosaur playing dinosaur music. (derisive) “Nothing’s gonna stop us now??” Pathetic.
Man: Okay, it’s a power anthem oldie which I happen to like because of the stop time modulations and the guitar riff bridge.
Shadow: Do me a favor and do not play that when I’m around.
Man: If you’re my shadow that would be, let’s see… Anytime I am in the light?
Shadow: It gives me hives or something like hives.
Man: How can you have hives when you have no flesh?
Shadow: You wouldn’t understand.
Man: Try me.
Shadow: Look, the point is you embarrass me with your behavior. And the dancing? What is that?
Man: You don’t like my dancing?
Shadow: You look like a puppet with food poisoning.
Man: What’s the matter, you can’t keep up?
Shadow: I just showed you that’s no problem. The problem is other people gotto see it.
Man: Yeah? What other people?
Shadow: Other people like me.
Man: You? You are the absence of light! Don’t tell me there’re other people like you?
Shadow: Don’t get smart with me kid, I can suck the breath outta you in a split second.
Man: (bold) Oh? You? The insubstantial darkness created by an object bathed in light? Take a walk on the wild side Vader.
Shadow: You think I’m kidding?
Man: No, because you’ve yet to say one funny thing!
Shadow reaches for Man’s throat, grabs him and squeezes. Man gasps, struggles to release the grip, but is helpless.
Shadow: (dark) How ‘bout you sing us a song smartass? How bout you bust a move? Show me how it’s done?
Man: (gasping) Okay, okay…
Shadow: Okay what?
Man: You’re right… I’m wrong.
Shadow: (releasing grip) See, that’s another thing. You need to learn a little respect for your elders.
Man: (recovering) How can you be my elder if you’re my shadow?
Shadow: You really are pretty stupid and I don’t see a reason to educate you so let’s just say, believe me when I tell you I’m your elder.
Man: Okay. I believe you. Now what?
Shadow: Like I was saying before you made me reach out and touch someone… You have got to behave better.
Man: (wary now) Okay, so no more Starship, no more dancing, what else?
Shadow: Quit writing those ridiculous poems.
Man: You don’t like my poetry?
Shadow: It’s not poetry, it’s agitprop political tripe.
Man: I take it you’re not an activist.
Shadow: How can I be? I am a fucking shadow bozo.
Man: So you don’t want me to make the tiny, individual effort to change the world for the better?
Shadow: Not by writing poems. They suck. When you read them aloud we all block our ears.
Man: You mean there are others who hear my poetry?
Man: I’m just asking but, who invited them into my home?
Shadow: We go wherever we want Einstein. Sometimes we hang around just to hear you make an ass of yourself.
Man: Yeah? Well at least I am making an effort. I’m trying to make changes in a world that is need of change.
Shadow: Do it another way. Take up golf, tennis, fishing. You make my life miserable with all the artsy bullshit.
Man: (doubtful) Okay, just asking again, but if you are my shadow, why is it you have such a hard time going along with the things I do? I mean, doesn’t a shadow just follow the moves of an object? No disrespect, but how do you get your own opinion about things?
Shadow: We got a union.
Man: (pause) A union?
Shadow: What’d I say about repeating?
Man: (apologetic) Right. You got a union that… Negotiates with the… The material world?
Shadow: (shrug) There’s strength in numbers.
Man: Sure. How… How many we talking about here?
Shadow: Okay look, that’s it. I made my point. Quit acting like a jerk. Get some better music. Lot of us like Michael Buble. Quit the chicken dances, and respect. Kapisch?
Man: Oh yeah. Right. I got the message.
Shadow: Good. Now quit talking to the wall. It looks bad.
Man: (turning away) Yeah, sorry. I’ll be cool… (pause) Hey, one thing? Can I ask one thing?
Shadow: Go ahead.
Man: You only exist when my body blocks the light, right?
Shadow: (pause) Where you going with this?
Man: But if there’s another source of light, coming from another direction and it falls on you… You disappear.
Shadow: (hesitant) What’s your point?
Man: No point. Just an observation. The more light there is, the less of you… Well, we’ll see you around.
Man starts to walk again and as the LIGHTS FADE, his step becomes jaunty, syncopated and sure enough just before he exits, he does a little jive dance step, and is gone.
NOTE: It is not clear on how to best create the Shadow character. At times he should be a real shadow while at other times he must be autonomous. We leave this to the theatrical wizards who know far more than ourselves and hope it provides for a modest challenge.