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Carnivorous Trees Everywhere

A Ten-Minute Play by Natalya Churlyaeva

Natalya Churlyaeva Kolomenskaya 12/42 Krasnoyarsk, Russia

Carnivorous Trees Everywhere by Natalya Churlyaeva

LENA: the mistress of an apartment. GALE: LENA’S friend. ANDREW: LENA’S husband.

Carnivorous Trees Everywhere by Natalya Churlyaeva

The action takes place in Lena’s apartment.

The present.

Carnivorous Trees Everywhere by Natalya Churlyaeva


As the curtain rises, a suitcase and a bag stand by the doorway. LENA enters. LENA Andy? (Aloud.) Andy, where are you? (Pauses. Puts her handbag on the table.) As usual, not even a foot in the door and off to the cronies! GALE (Enters.) Whom are you talking to? LENA Andrew. Just got back. GALE Already? You said he’ll return from the expedition in the fall. LENA So he said. But got back 3 months early, see? (Points at the suitcase by the doorway.) GALE An emergency? LENA I assume so. Drank all his money, that’s all his emergencies. (ANDREW enters from another door, wiping his head with a towel.) ANDREW Oh, girls! I’m so glad to see you! How I missed you... Let me give you a hug... (Tries to hug LENA and GALE.) LENA (Breaks loose, faces ANDREW.) Why did you come back so early? ANDREW I felt lonely without my wife... (Turns to GALE.) ... and without her best friend. (Tries to pinch GALE’S bottom.)

Carnivorous Trees Everywhere by Natalya Churlyaeva


GALE (Grabs LENA’S handbag and hits ANDREW’S hand with it.) Hands off! (Things fall out of LENA’S handbag.) ANDREW I surrender! (Lifts his hands up.) LENA Gale! Don’t touch my bag! GALE I’m not. Just that Andy grabbed my ass... LENA He’s not Andy to you. To me he’s Andy, but to you... ANDREW That’s right, wife! Quite right to guard your husband... LENA Shut up! I’ll have a talk with you later. ANDREW About what? LENA About your grubby mitts! About how you grab strange women with them! ANDREW Gale is no stranger. We can’t take a single step without her. We can only hide from her somewhere in Nepal. GALE You weren’t hiding there from me. You were hiding there from your wife. LENA Gale! Bite your tongue! ANDREW Her tongue shouldn’t just be bitten but cut off altogether. So that she could only do this... (Grunts and moves his hands in different directions, simulating a mute.)
Carnivorous Trees Everywhere by Natalya Churlyaeva


GALE (Goes over to ANDREW and punches him in the nose.) Perhaps, better do this? ANDREW Ouch! (Covers his face with his hands and falls down.) LENA Andy, don’t play the fool. Get up. (ANDREW lies on the floor motionless.) GALE Andrew! Can’t you at least once in your life do what your wife tells you? ANDREW No. Why? ANDREW Because she’ll then constantly be on my case. I’m a man, not some... GALE You’re not a man, you’re henpecked! LENA Gale! Shut up, else I’ll really... GALE What? Rip my tongue out? There, do it! (Sticks out her tongue at LENA.) Well? No guts? That’s it, you can only whine. As soon as Andrew leaves, you immediately start complaining, “Please, my dear friend, pity my poor life. I, Helen the Beautiful, didn’t get a foreign prince or a local tycoon for husband but only Andrew from next door…” ANDREW (Gets up from the floor.) I never lived next door to you. I lived in the city center while you both lived in the outskirts, the slums... LENA
Carnivorous Trees Everywhere by Natalya Churlyaeva

(Opens one eye.) GALE


What do you mean by that? ANDREW That I pulled you up to my level. And you, instead of learning how to live at this level, bring into our family your wild girlfriend whose only virtue is a strong left hook. GALE Right. ANDREW Right what? GALE Right hook. ANDREW Found something to be proud of! A normal woman is usually proud of her hips or breasts, even if they’re fake, but my wife’s friend is proud of having a strong right hook, being a boxing master. GALE And what is a normal man proud of? ANDREW Well, for example, great inventions. GALE (Laughs.) Then it’s not for you, my dear. ANDREW There you’re wrong. (Opens his bag and pulls out a box.) Do you see this? GALE What is it? I don’t understand. ANDREW Of course, you don’t. How can you understand that here, in this little box, is a chance for mankind to be happy? (A car alarm is heard. Rushes to the window, leans out, and shouts to someone outside.) Don’t touch the mirror! Don’t touch it or I’ll rip your arms off! (Puts the box down on the table.) Wait a minute, I’ll just...
Carnivorous Trees Everywhere by Natalya Churlyaeva


(Exits in a hurry.) LENA (Goes to the window and looks out.) Someone made off with the rearview mirror from his clunker. GALE I wonder why they haven’t yet taken it for spare parts. (Walks up to the table and picks up the box.) LENA (Takes the box from GALE’S hands.) Don’t touch other people’s things. GALE (Looks attentively at LENA.) Seems like you’re still hoping he’ll succeed in life? LENA Why not? Is he any worse than those who have everything in life? GALE He’s not like them. They’re sly and cruel, but what about Andrew? I knocked him down and all he did was to grumble a bit. LENA Should he have beaten you up then? GALE I don’t know what he should have done but definitely not what he did. LENA And what did he do? We don’t even know what he did... Maybe he’ll really... (Examines the box in her hands.) GALE What? Give mankind a chance to be happy? LENA Maybe… GALE Then let’s see what’s inside. LENA He didn’t allow us to open it.
Carnivorous Trees Everywhere by Natalya Churlyaeva


GALE But didn’t forbid it either. LENA That’s true. GALE So, why not open it? LENA Really, why not? Especially since I’m his wife and should be in the know of my husband’s matters. (Opens the box.) GALE What’s there? LENA Some pills...and a note. (Reads the note.) “One tablet – minus five years” GALE Let me see. (Takes the box from LENA, and reads the note.) “One tablet – minus five years.” Hmm… (Takes a pill out of the box, looks at it, smells, and examines it.) LENA Well...? What do you think? Can we sell it? GALE You can sell anything. The question is – at what price? LENA (Takes a pill out of the box and examines it.) If we ask ten bucks a pill... GALE Ten bucks? You must be joking! Haven’t you read the instructions? LENA What instructions? There are no instructions. GALE
Carnivorous Trees Everywhere by Natalya Churlyaeva


What’s this? (Shakes the note at LENA’S face.) It’s written here in black and white – you take a pill and become five years younger! LENA (Examines the note.) Really... How could I not have understood at once...Yes, such a pill wouldn’t be worth ten bucks… GALE Of course! That’s what I’m saying. LENA Such a pill would be worth a, a million dollars! GALE A million might be too much. LENA Well, a million dollars may be too much but not a million rubles. GALE (Takes a handful of pills out of the box.) A million rubles? Well… LENA Put them back. GALE What? LENA What you took from the box GALE (Squeezes her fist tight.) I didn’t take anything. LENA You have my pills in your hand! GALE I have nothing. Leave me alone. LENA (Clutches GALE'S hand.)
Carnivorous Trees Everywhere by Natalya Churlyaeva


You stole them! Give me back what you stole! GALE No! I stole nothing. LENA You lie! You stole my pills! You are a thief! (Tries to take the tablets from GALE.) GALE You won’t get poorer. You’ve got a lot more of them... LENA You stole my tablets! Each tablet is a million dollars’ worth! GALE So what? You have a whole box of them. LENA That’s exactly it! I have, not you! These are my pills! My box! My millions! GALE (Opens her fist and shows LENA the pills in the palm of her hand.) See your millions? See no more! (Throws the handful of pills into her mouth.) (LENA jumps on GALE and tries to pull the pills out of her mouth. GALE falls on all fours and begins to swallow the pills.) LENA Give me my millions! Don’t you dare swallow them! (GALE swallows all the pills at last, falls down onto the floor and stretches out.) ANDREW (Enters.) I got him! Got him and took it back! (Triumphantly shows the rearview mirror, and then notices GALE on the floor.) Why is she lying on the floor? Is she all right? LENA She swallowed our tablets! ANDREW What tablets?
Carnivorous Trees Everywhere by Natalya Churlyaeva


LENA (Shows the box.) These! What you wanted to bring happiness to mankind with! ANDREW She swallowed them? LENA Yes! Didn’t want to give them back and swallowed! ANDREW How many? How many did she swallow? LENA I didn’t count, but each is worth a million bucks! ANDREW What million bucks? What are you talking about? LENA (Shows the note.) This instruction! It’s written here: “One tablet – minus five years!” You won’t find a tycoon and especially a tycoon’s wife who would refuse to look five years younger for a million bucks! Just imagine, looking five years younger... ANDREW You... Are you a fool? Of course, you are! And your Gale is an idiot! (Shakes the box of pills.) This is vitality activator for aging trees! Get it? For trees, not people! LENA (Disappointed.) For trees? ANDREW Yes! These pills will turn the whole world into an ever-blooming garden! (Lying on the floor, GALE begins to twist her arms, like branches.) LENA (Points to GALE.) And what will they turn her into? ANDREW (Reflects for a bit.)
Carnivorous Trees Everywhere by Natalya Churlyaeva


Seems like she’ll be one of the trees in this garden... Come on, let’s lift her up. (ANDREW begins to lift GALE who lies like a log. LENA helps him. After that, GALE stands like a tree, with her arms stretching like branches to the window.) LENA Andy! Won’t they put us in jail for this? ANDREW For what? LENA For what we did with Gale. ANDREW In fact, they should even thank us. LENA Why? ANDREW Because she doesn’t have much brainwork for a human even from birth. And now instead of a stupid and unattractive woman she has turned into a beautiful example of a carnivorous tree. LENA Carnivorous? What does that mean? ANDREW That means we have to feed her still with chops, and even better, bloody steaks. However, now we must also keep her in the light at a window, check her temperature all the time... (GALE begins to show some activity. She repeatedly raises one arm after another.) LENA I don’t agree to feed her with steaks. Too costly. And keeping her here all the time, it’s a bore. ANDREW Then we must get rid of her. LENA What if someone guesses she’s no longer human? ANDREW Then we must put her in a grove of carnivorous trees, among the many others like she.
Carnivorous Trees Everywhere by Natalya Churlyaeva


LENA And where can we find such a grove? ANDREW Anywhere. They’re everywhere around. Just turn on the TV and you’ll see a lot of them. LENA (Thoughtfully.) Andy... How long ago did you invent these pills? ANDREW My grandfather invented them. And my father experimented with them for a long time, both on trees and on humans. LENA And you? ANDREW I just restored the technology for production of the tablets on an industrial scale. Still, there was a lot of experimenting for me... LENA Andy! Did you experiment on me? ANDREW (Waves his hands.) Oh, no! There’re lots of other suitable human guinea pigs. (Sits down in a chair with his back to GALE.) LENA (Sits down beside ANDREW.) Okay then. After all, even if the trees are carnivorous, it’s not very dangerous. They’re tame and can’t do anything bad to normal people... (Meanwhile, GALE slowly toddles towards them. She opens her mouth wide, clasps ANDREW and LENA from behind, and bites them. The light goes out. ANDREW’S and LENA’S cries are heard in the dark.) LENA, ANDREW Oh, oh, ouch, ah...


Carnivorous Trees Everywhere by Natalya Churlyaeva