So I’m in my living room, and my roommate Jenny, who has this seriously hardcore stereo system, put on some kind of mellow chick music that went very well with whatever incense she was burning, and it was soothing me and making me feel pleasingly soporific, and then out of nowhere the CD changed – or something – and suddenly it was “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” which is good, but kind of jarring if you were half asleep to Norah Jones just thirty seconds ago. But it’s good stuff, and I like the Beatles, so whatever.
Then “Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds,” a song I inexplicably adored as a child without any clue what any of it meant, came on, and I had this sudden hilarious vision of the following scenario: wouldn’t it be THE FUNNIEST THING ON EARTH to use the lyrics of that song, with someone who had never heard it before, as like a guided meditation? Please tell me this is not just funny to me. I think it would be HILARIOUS. Stick with me.
“How To Make Someone’s Brain Explode” By Claire Willett
A meditation studio with relaxing music, soft cushions and draperies, and lots of candles. Totes relaxing.
An evil genius masquerading as a Zen master, and his/her unwitting victim, who has never heard of The Beatles.
ZEN MASTER: Lie down and close your eyes. Take a deep breath. (UNWITTING VICTIM does.) Okay. Now, picture yourself in a boat on a river –
UNWITTING VICTIM’S INTERNAL MONOLOGUE: Boat. River. Got it. I’m floating . . . I’m lying on my back in a little boat, and it’s floating down a river, and I’m kinda rocking back and forth, listening to the water, and it’s very soothing . . .
ZM: With tangerine trees and marmalade skies.
UVIM: Oooookay. I’m lying on my back, I’m floating down a river in a boat, and I’m looking up at the trees and the sky and they’re both . . . orange, I guess. Okay. So the world is orange. Maybe I’m orange? Maybe orange is a relaxing color? Okay.
ZM: Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly –
UVIM: Oh, okay, so this is like that, “A voice calls you and you respond. What does the voice say to you? What do you say back?” Okay, um, I say –
ZM: A girl with kaleidoscope eyes.
ZM: Cellophane flowers of yellow and green, towering over your head.
UVIM: Okay. Forget the girl. That was weird. Okay, so it’s just me, I’m floating down the river looking up at these giant cellophane flowers, which, OMG, this totally reminds me of the candy room in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, not the new one with Johnny Depp, that one was super weird – like, his parents were dentists or something? Am I remembering that right? What a weird and unnecessary plot twist – and now I can’t actually remember what the candy room looked like in that one, but it was Tim Burton so it was probably pretty cool, but really when you say “Willy Wonka” all you ever think of is the old one with Gene Wilder and those big crazy-colored candy trees –
ZM: Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes, and she’s gone.
UVIM: What girl? The kaleidoscope eyes girl? Is this a different girl?
ZM: Lucy –
ZM: . . . in the sky with diamonds!
UVIM: Lucy? Lucy’s the girl? With kaleidoscopes and diamonds and sun in her eyes?
ZM: Lucy in the sky with diamonds, Lucy in the sky with diamonds, WOOAAAHH WOOAAAHH.
UVIM: Dude. Instead of kaleidoscopes in her eyes she should SHOOT LASERS. No. Wait. Meditation. Go back to your Zen place. Okay, you’re floating down the river, there’s flowers and trees and the sky is orange . . . relax . . .
ZM: Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain . . .
UVIM: Oh. Okay, I have to get out of the boat. Okay. Get out of the boat, walk with Lucy down a shaded wood path . . . okay, now I’m feelin’ it. The birds are singing . . . it’s quiet and peaceful . . . we’re walking to a garden where there’s a bridge and a fountain . . . I look around and I see –
ZM: . . . where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies.
UVIM: That . . . is not what I was going to say.
ZM: Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers, that grow so incredibly high.
UVIM: “Drift”? Oh man, am I back in the boat? There is WAY too much running around in this meditation. Okay, so I hike back up the hill, I get back in the boat, I drift past . . . everyone? The rocking-horse people? Are they people ON rocking horses, or are they PART ROCKING HORSE? Because that would be kind of badass. Ooh, that reminds me, this is only kind of related, but like those half-motorcycle people from Return to Oz were SO SCARY when I was eight. And Mombi? With all the heads? Holy crap.
ZM: Newspaper taxis –
UVIM: Wait, what? Like, someone folded up a newspaper into the shape of a taxi? How . . . would you even indicate that? How do you know it’s not just a car? Oh, I guess it could be a taxi covered in newspaper – but then really I think you should just SAY that . . .
ZM: . . . appear on the shore, waiting to take you away –
UVIM: . . . because realistically, in that phrase, “newspaper” modifies “taxi.”
ZM: Climb in the back with your head in the clouds, and you’re gone.
UVIM: Crap. I’m falling behind. Okay. So I’m sitting in the back of the . . . newspaper taxi . . . with my head in the clouds, and we drive away. So, I’m dreaming in the back of a cab. What am I dreaming about? I’m relaxed . . . I’m calm . . . I’m dreaming about –
ZM: LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS!
ZM: LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS!!
UVIM: No, that wasn’t –
ZM: LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS! WOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAHHHHHH WOOOOOOOOOOAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!
UVIM: I don’t understand that part.
ZM: Picture yourself on a train in a station –
UVIM: This is like our fifth mode of transportation. Aren’t I supposed to be relaxing? You know what is NOT relaxing? A TRAIN STATION. Okay. Breathe. You’re in a train station . . .
ZM: . . . with plasticine porters with looking glass ties.
UVIM: Wait. What? What the hell is PLASTICINE? Why does that make me think of model dinosaur kits? Okay, don’t think about dinosaurs. Don’t think about dinosaurs. So the train station porters are . . . statues, I guess, and they have looking-glass tiles around them, okay, fine – or wait, was it “tiles” or “TIES”? Dude, mirrored ties are like the ONE kind of tie that doesn’t exist yet but should. Wait. Focus. Okay. I’m in a train station . . . talking to statues . . . who now are sort of slide-morphing into the rocking-horse people . . .
ZM: Suddenly someone is there at the turnstile –
UVIM: Nooooooo!!! No rocking horse people! Go away, rocking horse people!
ZM: The girl with kaleidoscope eyes.
UVIM: Please! Lucy! SAVE ME FROM THE ROCKING HORSE PEOPLE! They’re chasing me in their newspaper taxis! RUN! RUN FOR THE BOAT! SAVE YOURSELF!
ZM: LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS! LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS! LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS! WOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAHHHHHH WOOOOOOOOOOAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!
UVIM: (Sound of brain exploding.)
Blackout. End of play.