Bumbershoot – The Plays of Jeffrey James Ircink

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“Billy Balfoor Wants An Apology”

Six-year-old Billy Balfoor is the “most evilest boy on the planet”. That – according to Laird Clazerbak, who resided with Billy and his mother for two years. Laird’s disdain for Billy is so horrendous that he tries to kill Billy on several occasions – unsuccessfully. Put on trial for attempted murder, Laird pleads not guilty by reason of temporary insanity and gets off with no jail time, save for a two-year stay at a psychiatric hospital on one of the Hawaiian Islands.

Fifteen years later, Billy somehow manages to track Laird down, kidnaps and holds him bound and gagged in an abandoned warehouse. Why? Revenge –  but all Billy really wants is an apology. Who’s gonna bend first? 10-minute, drama (2M)

Finalist, Short & Sweet/Sydney,The Biggest Little Play Festival in the World, produced at Newtown Theatre, Sydney, Australia, February 16-20, 2011.

Left to right:  Steve Warwick (Laird), director Grant Wilcox and Chris Turner (Billy). 

Semi-Finalist, Short & Sweet/Sydney, The Biggest Little Play Festival in the World, Australia, January 2010.

Semi-Finalist, Short & Sweet/Brisbane,The Biggest Little Play Festival in the World, Australia, August 2009.

U.S. premiere, HASHTAG MAYHEM! – 6 short, dark plays by Jeffrey James Ircink, The Alchemist Theatre, Milwaukee, WI, March 21-23, 28-30, April 4-6, 2013.

“I just read  “BILLY”…I really liked it. The stakes are so high but (and I hate to say this) it’s funny too. I’d love to direct it – that is the coolest directorial nut to crack. It has more substance than many of the plays I’ve read recently.”
Dee Rich, actor/director

“…I’m very happy with how the week went…we all really enjoyed working on “BILLY” . It was different and it had impactit received one of the biggest ovations of the night. A guy sitting behind me…said,  ‘that was fucking brilliant’…you could hear a pin drop…the tension is palpable.”
Grant Wilcox, director of “Billy” at Short+Sweet Sydney 2011, The Biggest Little Play Festival in the World

Left to right:  Mack Heath (LAIRD) & Matt Roth (BILLY) in HASHTAG MAYHEM! - 6 short, dark plays by Jeffrey James Ircink

Left to right: Mack Heath (LAIRD) & Matt Roth (BILLY) in HASHTAG MAYHEM! – 6 short, dark plays by Jeffrey James Ircink

BILLY BALFOOR WANTS AN APOLOGY”…saw the reprisal of Chris Turner from “Separating the Dust”in a very similar role which could have been slightly distracting for some, but at the same time gave the audience the chance to see the demands on some of the performers. It was difficult to pinpoint which character should garner the audience’s sympathies and perhaps this was the charm of the project – the premise of whether there could possibly be a truly evil child was one that was difficult to settle definitively in the short timeframe. Strong performances contributed to this compelling complexity.” 
Leisa Woodman, AussieTheatre.com

“Billy Balfoor Wants An Apology”

Cast of Characters

LAIRD CLAZERBAK:    50 – 60

BILLY BALFOOR:         21

Setting
An abandoned warehouse in Hawaii.

Time
The present.

(Aside from a small table and chair downstage right and one chair downstage center, the stage is completely bare. There’s one door located stage right upstage. A man, LAIRD CLAZERBAK, is sitting in the downstage center chair – tied, gagged and blindfolded. He’s dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, shorts and huarache’s. He struggles to free himself. He’s been at this for some time and he’s tired. He sinks back into his chair. He is silent, then he suddenly struggles.)

LAIRD:                     
(Muffled.)
SOMEBODY HELP ME!!! (A minute passes, then the back door of the warehouse opens and a man, BILLY BALFOOR, enters. He’s around 21 – crew cut/bald, couple tattoos, wife beater tee shirt, jeans, motorcycle boots, and he’s carrying a Starbuck’s coffee, a container of Chinese food and a briefcase. BILLY lets the door slam shut and walks over to the table. LAIRD reacts to the door slam and struggles to yell out. BILLY takes off his jacket, revealing a handgun tucked in the back of his pants. He sets the briefcase on the floor and sits – drinking his coffee and eating his food with chopsticks. Silence. LAIRD struggles violently to free himself. BILLY watches LAIRD as he eats his Chinese food, then  he gets up, walks over to LAIRD, pulls the gag down off LAIRD’S mouth and returns to his chair. LAIRD screams out. Pause.) Hello?! (Pause) Who’s there? (Beat) Hey! (Beat) Who are you?! SOMEONE HELP ME!!

(Beat. LAIRD screams out again.)

BILLY   
(Calmly.)
No one can you hear you.

LAIRD
What!? (Pause) Hello?! (Beat) Say something!

BILLY
I said no one can hear you. We’re in the middle of nowhere.

LAIRD
(Cries out again.) Why are you doing this? (No answer.) Listen to me, you don’t – I don’t have any money if that’s what you want. (Beat) Say something, God dammit!

BILLY
(Calmly.) Hello, Laird.

(Beat)

LAIRD
You know my name.

BILLY
Why wouldn’t I?

LAIRD
(Pause. To himself.) I know that voice.

BILLY
You should.

LAIRD                     
(Overlapping. To himself.)
How do I know that voice?

(BILLY takes a mouthful of food, then snorts out air from his nose like he’s clearing it – as he did when he was a child. LAIRD’S body language reveals he’s heard this sound before.)

BILLY
The reason I –

LAIRD                     
(Overlapping. Calmly.)
It can’t be. (Beat) That’s impossible. (Violently.) SONOFABITCH!! (Hesitantly.) Billy?

BILLY
What gave it away?

LAIRD
The snorting.

BILLY
How are –

LAIRD                     
(Overlapping.)
You got that from your mother. No one snorts like your family and I should know…I listened to it every day for two years.

BILLY
How are –

LAIRD         
(Overlapping.)
Made me wanna wretch back then.

BILLY
WILL YOU SHUT UP AND LET ME FINISH?! (Beat) How are you, Laird?

LAIRD                     
(Beat)
Well…why don’t you come over here and untie me and I’ll tell you how I am, you dumb motherfucker.

BILLY
Still the same loud, nasty ogre, aren’t you?

LAIRD
(Beat. Shaking his head.) Billy fucking Balfoor.

BILLY
I didn’t think we’d ever see each other again, let alone have a conversation. Just like old times, huh Laird?

LAIRD
We never had “old times”, Billy. And we certainly never “conversed”. I yelled and you stood there like a post-op lobotomy patient.

BILLY
Do you have any idea…what it was like…having to wait all these years? I mean…a six-year-old is incapable of articulating what he’s thinking, you know? (Beat) There were things I wanted to tell you.

LAIRD
Your articulating is still for shit so why don’t you just tell me what the fuck you’re talking about.

BILLY
I’m referring to your trial. There were things I wanted to tell you then. (Beat) This is very surreal for me.

LAIRD
And you felt the need to involve me in your sociopathic, surreal experience, is that it?

BILLY
It’s because of you that it’s surreal.

LAIRD
That’s rich, Billy. (Beat) And by the way, who the fuck told you I was living in Hawaii? The court mandated that confidential information.

BILLY
It doesn’t matter now.

LAIRD
Your mother was the only –

BILLY
I told you…it doesn’t matter.

LAIRD
If you knew where to find me why didn’t you just mail me a letter?

BILLY
Because you would’ve thrown it in the garbage. (Beat) I needed to do this face-to-face.

LAIRD
And naturally a blindfold helps you accomplish that. (Beat) Did your psychiatrist tell you that?

BILLY
To blindfold you?

LAIRD
No, stupid. To confront me face-to-face?

BILLY
I’m not seeing any psychiatrist.

LAIRD
You should. (Beat.) Why am I here, Billy?

BILLY
You honestly have no idea?

LAIRD
Billy – why…am…I…here?

BILLY
How ‘bout we start with an apology?

LAIRD
You’re funny. I’m not saying another word until you take off this fucking blindfold.

(BILLY walks over to LAIRD, removes the blindfold and returns to his seat.)

BILLY
Better?

LAIRD                     
(LAIRD’S eyes adjust to the light. He gives BILLY the once-over.)
You’re taller than I remember. Meeting up with the other Hitler youth later on to crash a J-Date party? (Beat) You were saying something about apologizing to me?

BILLY:
No…I want you to apologize to me.

LAIRD:
For what?

BILLY:
For trying to kill me.

LAIRD
And why would I do that? Apologize, that is?

BILLY
I don’t think it’s such an odd request, seeing as I was the intended victim.

LAIRD
Umm…no.

BILLY
No?

LAIRD
Listen, I’m not a big fan of the answer-a-question-by-repeating-the-question-back-to-me game…even when I’m not constrained to a chair with heavy rope.

BILLY
So that’s it?

LAIRD
Sorry you crawled out from whatever rock you were hiding under and came all this way for nothing, but I think I hear your mommy calling you.

BILLY
My mother died three years ago.

(Beat)

LAIRD
Dumb as a doornail, your mother. I warned her about you…we all did. She knew. She just wouldn’t listen.

BILLY
If you’re trying to get a rise out of me, I was numbed to your insensitivity years ago.

LAIRD
Is that what this is about? How insensitive I was to you 15 years ago?

BILLY
You did try and kill me.

LAIRD
And your point?

BILLY
Everyone has their day of reckoning, Laird. Rapists, priests, politicians, Wall Street brokers, child murderers –

LAIRD
Attempted murderer.

BILLY
– eventually everyone must atone for his or her sins.

LAIRDY
“Atone”? Well, Hallelujah! Billy Balfoor found religion!

BILLY
I’m sure this is awkward for you too.

LAIRD
Awkward? For me? Naaaa. This shit happens to me every other day. But speaking of priests, let me tell you what is awkward. 25 years in prison with some guy’s dick up your asshole for kidnapping me. THAT’S awkward.

BILLY
So you won’t apologize for trying to kill me?

LAIRD
I wouldn’t apologize to you if I was going into diabetic shock and you were holding a chocolate bar. Attempting to rid the world of you is the most selfless act I’ve ever committed. I should be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. They should erect a fucking statue of me in Washington, D.C. (Beat) Speaking of making amends, why don’t you try apologizing to me for making my life miserable for two years?


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