Better off Dead: an absurd musical comedy play script
Better off DeadbyOren Shafir
ACT I, SCENE I: THE AIRPORT ARRIVALS(Ulla, a beautiful, youngblonde Danish woman isholding a sign that says Mr.Rex Ray. Rex, a strapping,young and handsome Texanswaggers out with a flourishwearing a colorful, studdedcowboy outfit, including abolo and waving his hat.)REXWhy howdy Ma’am. I’m Rex Ray of Taratally Texas in the goodold US of A. Yes, that’s God’s country, the land offreedom, the greatest country in the world, where the menare still God-fearin, the women still consider it theirduty to be child-bearin, and the young uns respect theirmammies and pappies, or they can expect a fearsome lickin;Where a man still has the right to defend his home withwhatever firearms he sees fit to carry, where the womenstill see fit to take care of the home cleanin and thefinger-lickin cookin, and where the young uns speak whenspoken to and get a lickin when a lickin is comin to them;Where men still work from dusk to dawn, where women stillwear Sunday dresses to church, and wear children still dotheir chores or they know they can expect a lickin;where...ULLAHi Rex, I am Ulla from the Danish foreign office. Yourfather called us and arranged for you to be picked up.Apparently, he has connections in high places.REXDoes he ever. Why he’s the biggest oil baron in Texas and aclose personal friend of Moses.ULLAMoses?REXWell, that actor who played Moses, Mr. Charlton Heston?ULLAIs he not dead?REXYes, but they’re close personal friends. Well, I’m pleasedas punch to meet you, Ulla, and no disrespect but back homein Texas, they wouldn’t have sent a woman to pick me up atthis hour. At this hour, a woman would be home makin supperfor her man.REXWell, Rex, here in Denmark, women and men are equal.
REXEqual! Why you Dutch people amaze me, Ulla.ULLAWe are not Dutch. We are Danish.REXDanish? I thought a Danish was something you ate. See I’mlearnin things already. My Daddy, Tex Tarkington, thebillionaire cattle baron from Toucan Texas, sent me toEurope to become well-rounded and sew my oats in a whiteChristian country.ULLAWell, we have hardly any billionaires in Denmark, Rex, andthe few we have, never talk about their money becauseeveryone is equal here.REXEqual!ULLAYes, we have socialism here.REXSocialism? Isn’t that the same as communism?ULLANo in communism, everyone works for the State.REXAnd in socialism?ULLAThere are a few who don’t.REXWho are they?ULLAI don’t know. I have never met one. And you know what else,although we are a Christian country, we have very fewreligious people.REXNo religion, too, Imagine that. My Daddy, Tex Terry, thefamous shipping baron from Tullula Texas, would beappalled. Why Ulla, if it wasn’t for one thing, I’d turnaround and get right back that plane headin back for Texas.ULLAWhat is the one thing, Rex?REXWhy it’s only that you’re the prettiest thing I ever set myeyes on, that’s what. Why with a little makeup and nailpolish, and maybe a snappie Texas Do, you’d be absolutelystunning.2.
ULLAOh Rex. And I must confess that despite the fact that Idespise your ignorant, self-centered boorish American ways,you are one impressive specimen of a man.REXYee ha.(Rex throws his hat in the air andsings.)THE HAPPY COWBOY SONGI’M JUST A HAPPY COWBOYTO EUROPE I HAVE COMETO LEARN ABOUT THE WORLDAND THEN RULE IT FROM BACK HOMEKIE YAY YIPPIE YAY YO YO MAI’M JUST A HAPPY COWBOYI’VE COME TO HAVE A RESTALTHOUGH IT’S MY FIRST TRIP EVERI THINK THE U.S. IS THE BESTKIE YAY YIPPIE YAY JOHANN CRUYFFI’M JUST A HAPPY COWBOYWITH A TEN-GALLON HAT OF COURSEBACK HOME, I HAVE LOTS OF GUNSBUT I NEVER RODE A HORSEKIE YAY YIPPIE YAY JERZY KOZINSKII’M JUST A HAPPY COWBOYMY AIM IS TRUE AND PUREI’VE COME TO SAVE THE WORLDBUT FROM WHAT, I AM NOT SUREKIE YAY YIPPIE YAY JUNGIAN THERAPYAs song ends, Rex picks Ulla up andcarries her offstage shouting Yee Ha.3.
ACT I, SCENE II, THE PARK(Rex and Ulla sit on a picnicblanket. The sound of a flybuzzing grows louder andlouder. Rex takes whip outof bag and cracks it. Thefly sound stops,)ULLARex put that away.REXShucks sugar, I was just gettin rid of a pesky old fly.ULLAYou’re scaring people.REX(Yells out.)Sorry I was just trying to help, didn’t mean to scare you,ma’am.ULLARex, that is a man.REXBut he’s wearing makeup and lipstick. Say, he ain’t one ofthe them funny boys, is he?ULLAIf by funny you mean a homosexual, then yes, he is. And inDenmark, homosexuals are not discriminated against. We aretolerant.REXAh heck, honey pie. I’m tolerant too. I don’t care whatthose gay boys do in the privacy of a remote mountain area.ULLAWe don’t have mountains in Denmark, Rex.REXI just think that if they flaunt it in public, they oughtaexpect to get a lickin.ULLAWell Rex, you are religious, and remember what Jesus saidabout turning the other cheek and casting the first stone.REXThat’s what I’m saying. I want to cast the first stone.ULLAHave you actually read the Bible, Rex?4.
REXParts of it. Like the part about it being an abomination.You’re the one who’s anti-religious.ULLAI am not anti religious. I am just not pro religious.REXWell, you’re pro gay, it seems.ULLAI am not pro-gay, I am just not anti-gay.REXWell, you’re pro abortion.ULLAI am not pro abortion, I am pro choice.REXWell, I’m pro life, even if I have to kill some people tomake my point.ULLAThat makes no sense.REXWell, I have strong opinions, Ulla. How do you Dutch peopleexpress yourselves?ULLAIn a rational way, through lawful and orderlydemonstrations.REXThere do seem to be a lot of people demonstrating. What arethey demonstrating against?ULLAWell, those people over there are demonstrating against thedeath penalty in the States.REXIn the States!ULLASure, we do not have the death penalty in Denmark. Andthose people over there are demonstrating against povertyin the States.REXIn the States!ULLASure, we do not have poverty in Denmark. And those peopleover there are protesting because they took away theirYouth House.5.
REXIn the States!ULLAI didn’t say in the States.REXOh sorry.ULLAIn Copenhagen.REXCopenhagen! Isn’t that a theme park where everything’s madeout of building blocks?ULLANo, that’s Legoland.REXWell, why did they take away their Youth House?ULLAIt was not actually theirs, they were just squatting there.REXSquatting? Wasn’t there room to stand up?ULLASquatting means they just took the place over. It wasempty.REXWell, I’m not surprised it was empty if there wasn’t roomto stand up. You Dutch are tall people.ULLA(with affection) Oh Rex, you’re such an idiot.REXI may be an idiot, but at least I have passion. You have nopassion.ULLAI may not have passion, but I have plenty of common sense.IM DANISH, AND IM SENSIBLEEXTREMISM IS REPREHENSIBLE(REX) ARE ALL THE DANES JUST LIKE YOU?YES, THEY ARE SENSIBLE TOOWE HAVE NO STEEP HILLSOR HOSTILE NEIGHBORSWE HAVE NO DANGEROUS BEASTSOR EXTREME WEATHER(REX) IT SEEMS, NOTHING MUCHAROUND HERE HAPPENS EVER6.
WE HAVE FREE HEALTH CAREWE HAVE FREE EDUCATION(REX) YOU DONT SEEM TO WORK TOO HARDWE HAVE 7 WEEKS VACATIONWERE LUTHERANS, BUT NOT RELIGIOUSWERE SUCCESSFUL, BUT NOT PRESTIGIOUSWE DONT BELIEVE IN AGGRESSION(REX) BUT YOU SEEM TO SUFFER FROM DEPRESSIONWE HAVE MATERNITY LEAVEAND SIX WEEKS VACATIONWE DONT HAVE TO ADVANCE IN LIFE(REX) YOU’RE ALL IN THE SAME STATIONWE HAVE NO TRAFFICOR POLLUTIONLIFE HERE’S A BIT LIKE(REX) A SLOW EXECUTION?WE HAVE NO STEEP HILLSOR HOSTILE NEIGHBORSWE HAVE NO DANGEROUS BEASTSOR EXTREME WEATHER(REX) IT SEEMS, NOTHING MUCHAROUND HERE HAPPENS EVERACT I, SCENE III, ULLA’S LIVING ROOM(Lars and Lone are justentering)ULLAThese are my dearest friends, Lars and Lone Lonelarsen.Lars and Lone, this is my new boyfriend, Rex from Texas.LARS AND LONEOh, an American.REXWhat’s a matter, don’t you like Americans?LARSYes, of course. We are Danish.LONEWe are very tolerant and extremely non-judgemental.LARSBut we believe that all Americans are narcissistic,dogmatic hypocrites.7.
REXWhy I might take offense with that if I knew what any ofthose words meant.ULLANow we shall have Danish hygge.LARSYes, now we shall have Danish hygge.LONEYes, we shall have Danish hygge now.REXDanish, who what? What’s that?ULLAWe shall explain.8.
LARS, LONE AND ULLA(Lars, Lone and Ulla lightcandles frantically as theysing this song)THE DANISH HYGGE SONGDANISH HYGGE IS SO DANISHIT’S AS DANISH AS CAN BEDANISH HYGGE IS SO SPECIALBECAUSE IT IS SO HYGGELIGDANISH HYGGE IS SO SIMPLEAND YET IT IS COMPLEXALL YOU NEED ARE 500 CANDLESAND SOME PEOPLE AT LEAST THREETHEN YOU NEED SOME DANISH HUMORWE ARE VERY FUNNYWE GAVE THE WORLD BLACK HUMORWE INVENTED IRONYDANISH HYGGE IS SO DANISHIT IS AS DANISH AS CAN BEDANISH HYGGE IS SO CHARMINGBECAUSE IT IS SO HYGGELIGALL YOU NEED ARE 500 BEERSAND SOME PEOPLE, AT LEAST THREEREXOh, that’s Danish hygge. It’s kinda like...LARSNo.REXIt reminds me of...LONEIt’s different.REXBut it’s a little like...ULLANo, it’s Danish.LONEIt’s unique. You don’t know what it is.ULLABut we will teach you.LARSYou are a fine fellow.LONEYes, you are a fine fellow.9.
LARSYou are just a bit too ostentatious.REXWhat’s that? Austin, Texas?ULLAYou’re too loud.LONEToo crude.LARSYou eat with your hands.ULLAYou want to rule the world.LONEAnd spread your own misguided brand of democracy.LARSBut you do not know what true democracy is.ULLANo, you do not know.LONEYou are belligerent.LARSBombastic.REXWhat’s that? Bomb whose ass?LARSBut do not worry.LONEWe can help you.ULLAWe can change you.LONEWe can make you Danish.REXBut why would I want to change. America is the greatestcountry in the world, and I say that without ever havingbeen outside the States, other than here in the Netherlandsof course, and one time in Hawaii.ULLAHawaii is part of the States.10.
REXWell, there you go then. Greatest country in the world.(They smile condescendinglyat Rex, look up at eachother and burst intolaughter. Rex isuncomfortable)LARSYou must change.LONEFor Ulla’s sake.LARSYes for Ulla.LONEYou shall not worry yourself, it happens all the time.REXWhat happens?(Once again, they smilecondescendingly, look ateach other and burst intolaughter.)LARSPeople come here from all over the world, Rex.LONEFrom warm places.ULLAFrom island paradises.LARSFrom tax-free havens.LONEWhy do you think they come?REXI don’t know. Is it the free education?LARSNo.REXThe free health care?LONENo.REXThe Danish pastries.11.
LARSNo.ULLA AND LONEIt’s the women.LARSYoung.LONEBlonde.ULLASensual.LONELong.LARSRound breasts.LONEBlue eyes.LARSFull lips.LONESoft thighs.ULLAThey are our greatest national asset.LARSThey keep our economy running.LONEWithout them, we could not get talented engineers,investors and enterpreneurs to live here and pay 70% taxes.REX70%?ULLAAnd suffer the dark winters and rainy summers.REXDark winters? 70% taxes? (almost in tears) I don’t wannalive here. I don’t want to be Danish.LARSYou have to, Rex.REXBut why?LONEBecause of Ulla.12.
REXWell, she’s a fine gal and all.LARSShe has you in her grips.REXShe is real pretty.LONEShe has seduced you.REXAnd she does this thing with her tongue.LARSShe has conquered you.REX(highly emotional) I can’t leave Ulla.LONEIt’s okay, Rex.REXI’ll do anything.LARS AND LONEWe will help you.LONEThe same thing happened to Lars.REXWhat do yo mean?LONEHe used to be a Brazilian named Julio Cesar Antonio deMaceo Guiza.ULLAUntil he met Lone.LONEI seduced him.LARSIt is true.LONEAnd transformed him into a Dane.LARS AND LONEShe taught me about Danish hygge,REXAnd you’re happy?13.
LARSHappiness is irrelevant.LONEYou shall not worry, Rex.LARSWe will cure your Americanism.LONEWe will make you Danish.REXYou will?LARS AND LONEAbsolutely.REXHot damn. Ulla honey, they’re gonna make me Danish, andthen I can marry you, and we’ll be together all the time,and you can that thing you do with your tongue for me,okay?Ulla picks Rex up and carries himoffstage.ACT I, SCENE IV, ULLA’S LIVING ROOM(All four characters sit atthe table in Ulla’s livingroom for a traditionalDanish luncheon. Theyinstruct Rex in etiquette,and he does whatever theysay.)ULLADon’t slouch.LONETake your elbows off the table.LARSDon’t switch the fork to your right hand. Put the food inyour mouth with your left hand.(Rex reaches for roast beefand mayonnaise)LONEWhat are you doing?ULLAYou can’t do that.14.
LARSNever eat meat before the fish dishes are done. The smallplate is only for fish.LONEAnd when you do eat the roast beef, you must eat it withremoulade and horseradish, not mayonnaise.ULLANever mayo.They all take a bite of food, and assoon as Lars starts talking Lone andUlla put their silverware down, butRex continues to eat.LARSYou know according to...ULLAExcuse me Lars. Rex, Lars wants to say something. Put yourknife and fork down and listen. Go ahead, Lars.LARSYou know according to my rain measuring device, it onlyrained xx centimeters this month.LONEXx centimeters, that is not much.LARSVery little.ULLAIt is bad for the cucumbers.LONEVery bad.There is silence, then Rex picks uphis knife and fork again but muststop when Lars begins speaking again.LARSI don’t know if we shall get any cucumbers if it rains.LONEI do not hope so. It is certainly not good for thecucumbers.Again, there is silence and Rex triesto take a bite again but must stopwhen Ulla talks.ULLANot good at all.15.
He waits a little longer this time,then tries to take a bite.LARSYou know I read that last year’s Lithuanian footballchampions might hire Michael Laudrup as their trainer.Lars, Ulla and Lone all stand and Rexfollows their lead. They put theirhands over their hearts. There areheavenly tones of music.LARS, LONE AND ULLAMichael Laudrup.The all return to their seats andcontinue eating.REXGosh, y’all have so many strange customs. How will I everlearn them all?ULLAThere are not that many.LONENo not that many.LARSNot really that many. You can learn them, my friend.(Lars sings)TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF AT THE DOORCUT YOUR BREAD INTOTWO PIECES OR MORE(Lars, Lone and Ulla sing)AND EVERY FIVE MINUTES SAY SKÅL(Lone sings)PUT YOUR NAPKIN ON YOUR LAPEAT AT LEISUREDO NOT ATTACK(Lars, Lone and Ulla sing)AND EVERY FIVE MINUTES SAY SKÅL(Ulla sings)NEVER EAT WHEN SOMEONE’S TALKINGNEVER TALK WHEN YOU’RE CHEWINGDO NOT CHEW EXCESSIVELY(Lars, Lone and Ulla sing)AND EVERY FIVE MINUTES SAY SKÅL(Lars, Lone and Ulla sing)THE CAN OF WATER IS FOR SHARINGTHE SCNHAPPES IS FOR THE HERRINGWITH THE BEER, DONT BE SPARINGAND EVERY FIVE MINUTES SAY SKÅL16.
REXLet me see if I got this.(Rex sings, growing more andmore confident as he goeson)I TAKE MY SHOES OFF AT THE DOORCUT MY BREAD INTOTWO PIECES OR MOREAND EVERY FIVE MINUTES SAY SKÅLI PUT A NAPKIN ON MY LAPEAT AT LEISUREI DON’T ATTACKAND EVERY FIVE MINUTES SAY SKÅLI NEVER EAT WHEN SOMEONE’S TALKINGNEVER TALK WHEN I’M CHEWINGI DO NOT CHEW EXCESSIVELY(Ulrex, Lars, Lone and Ullasing)AND EVERY FIVE MINUTES SAY SKÅL(Rex, Lars, Lone and Ullasing)THE CAN OF WATER IS FOR SHARINGTHE SCNHAPPES IS FOR THE HERRINGWITH THE BEER, DONT BE SPARINGAND EVERY FIVE MINUTES SAY SKÅLLARSThat’s it.LONEYou’ve got it.ULLASkål to Lars.LARS, LONE AND ULLASkål to Lars.They all stand and clink glasses.END OF ACT I17.
ACT II, SCENE I, ULLA’S LIVING ROOM(It is 17 years later, andRex, now called Ulrex, isdressed drab andconservatively: a button-upplaid shirt, glasses, nerdyhairstyle. He now speakswith a Danish accent. Hesits behind the newspaperlaughing at what he’sreading)ULLAWhat is such great fun in the paper that you should laughso hard, Ulrex?ULREXLowers the paper smilingIt is the weather.ULLAThe weather? What is such great fun about the weather?ULREXIt shall rain every day this week.ULLASo? That is not fun.ULREXYes, but it shall be the same temperature. (He pauses. Ullastares at him) And the same number of centimeters of rain.(Pause)ULLAOh. (She laughs)She takes the paper from him, readsand laughs harder together withUlrex.ULREXAnd it shall continue to be dark.ULLAYes it shall continue to be dark. Let us light somecandles.ULREXYes, let us light some candles. (pause) Why shall we lightcandles, Ulla?ULLABecause it is dark. And because it is Thursday. You know wealways have a hygge evening with Lars and Lone on Thursday.18.
ULREXOh, of course. A hygge evening. I almost forgot. We havehad a hygge evening with Lars and Lone every Thursday forthe past 17 years, and I almost forgot.Long pause, then they both laughULLAI don’t know what’s gotten into you lately, Ulrex.ULREXYes. I don’t know what’s gotten into me lately, Ulla.ULLAHelp me light some candles. That has a calming effect onyou.They light candles frantically. Thedoorbell rings. Lars and Lone enter,and they greet each other.ULREXWho could that be?ULLAMaybe it is Lars and Lone.ULREXOh yes, maybe it is Lars and Lone.They sit down at table. Ulla servescoffee and cookies. They cut theircookies with their knives and forksand put them down every time someonetalks.LONEThis is hyggelig.LARSYes, this is hyggelig.Long pause.ULLAYes, very hyggelig.UlREXYes, very hyggelig. But it would be even more hyggelig withherring.ULLAYes, herring is nice, but not for a hygge evening, Ulrex.It is nice with a luncheon.LARSYes, herring and schnappes.19.
LONEPickled herring.ULLAFried herring.LARSAnd beer, too.LONEHerring with curry.ULLAHerring with mustard.LONEHerring in vinegar.ULLAWith onion and hard-boiled egg on top.LONEHerring in sherry.ULREXYes, you should come for a luncheon where we eat many typesof herring.LARSAnd drink Schnappes.And beerULREXHow about in November?They all say it’s a good idea andtake out their datebooks one at atime. Each is bigger and thicker thanthe next. Ulrex takes out his, whichis the biggest of all, from a drawer.ULLAI cannot on Mondays and Tuesdays.LONEAnd I cannot on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Fridays.LARSAnd I cannot on Mondays and Wednesdays.20.
ULREXAnd I cannot on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays,Fridays and Saturdays.LARSWhat about Sunday?ULREXNo, I cannot on Sunday. I play tennis on Sundays.ULLABut you do not play tennis in the winter.ULREXYes, that is true. I do not play in the winter. I forgot.LONEHow about Sunday, week 47, then?ULREXNo, we cannot. We shall to Ulla’s father’s birthday.LONEHow about week 48?ULREXNo we cannot. We shall to a neighborhood board meeting.LONEHow about week 49?ULREXNo, we cannot. We shall clean out the attic.They all express theirdisappointment.ULREXOh wait, this is the wrong calendar. This is my calendarfrom 1996. My new one is in the top drawer. (He takes outhis new calendar, which is even bigger, and they all gethappy again.)LONEHow about Sunday, week 47, then?ULREXNo, we cannot. We shall to Ulla’s father’s birthday.LONEHow about week 48?ULREXNo we cannot. We shall to a neighborhood board meeting.21.
LONEHow about week 49?ULREXNo, we cannot. We shall clean out the attic.ULLAHow about in May?LARSWhat year?ULLAThis next coming year.LARS, LONE ULLA AND ULREX(All looking at their calendars)Yes, that’s good. This coming Sunday May 5th in the newyear.LARSBut what about your tennis, Ulrex?ULREXI will skip my tennis.They are all surprised and impressed.ULLAWill you skip your tennis?ULREXYes.LONEYou will skip your tennis?ULREXYes.LARSYou would skip your tennis to have a luncheon with us?ULREXYes.LARS, LONE AND ULLAThat is very nice of you. Very nice. Yes, very nice of you,Ulrex.Lars and Lone get up to leave.LONEWell, we shall love to come to a luncheon with you.22.
LONEI will bring the herring in sherry.LARSAnd I will bring the schnappes.LONELet us go now, Lars.LARSYes, let us go now.ULREXWe will see you for luncheon in November.LARSAnd for hygge evening next week, right?ULREXYes, of course. I just got excited about the herring.Goodbye.LARS AND LONEGoodbye. See you next time.Lars and Lone exit.ULREXLars forgot his jacket.He picks it up and runs after them.ULLABe careful of the garden tools. I think I left some out.There is a crash and commotion. Ulrexcomes back in with a garden toolstuck in his head. He is bleeding andlooks hideous. Ulla looks at him atfirst alarmed and appalled at thesight of him. Then she averts hereyes.Did you give him his jacket?ULREXNo, no, they were already gone.ULLAOh, that’s too bad.ULREXYes, that’s too bad.ULLAUlrex?23.
ULREXYes?ULLADid something happen? Did you fall and hurt yourself?ULREXYes, yes I did, Ulla. How did you know?ULLAWell because you have a (name of tool) hanging out of yourhead.Ulrex reaches up and touches it.ULREXYes, I know.ULLAMaybe you should go to the hospital?ULREX(scared) Can it not wait until the morning?ULLAI think you should go now.ULREXOkay.They exit.ACT II, SCENE 2, 1 MONTH LATER, ULLA’S LIVING ROOMUlla and Ulrex sit on the couchdrinking tea. Ulrex still has thegarden tool sticking out of his head.ULLAHow was work today?ULREXFine, fine.ULLA(Sensing something is amiss) Is something wrong?ULREXNo, it is nothing. I think it is just this (name of tool)sticking out of my head.ULLADoes it hurt?ULREXNo, that’s just it. I cannot feel anything.24.
ULLAMaybe you are in shock.ULREXNo it is not that. It has been a whole month. I have grownrather accustomed to it. It is something else.ULLAWhat do you mean?ULREXI think it started before the accident.ULLAIs it me? Do you blame me for making you move to Denmark?ULREXNo. of course not. But it is as if the more I grow, theless I can feel. I used to be sure of myself. Now I am notsure of anything. I am not even sure if my former self wasreal. It is as if my youth was just an old movie I oncesaw. I cannot remember the details, and I cannot feel thefeelings. In fact, I have been feeling less and less ofanything at all for some time now. It is as if I have beenslowly disappearing, but I did not know it. At least notuntil this (points to tool in head).ULLAWhat do you mean?ULREXWell, like when I went to the hospital...ULLAWhat happened?Ulrex walks across the stage to sometransitional music. He lies onhospital bed. Lars and Lone thenenter as doctor and nurse.LARS(Reading chart) Turn on your side, please. I shall do arectal examination.ULREXAgain? You are the fourth doctor to do that.LARS(Ignores him, continues with examination, during whichUlrex faces audience and makes funny faces. Nurse leansover to watch) Yes, you have hemorrhoids. Im going towrite you a prescription and release you.25.
ULREXHuh? Ok. Uh, doctor.LARSIt is a cream for your rectum.ULREXCan I ask you a question?LARS(irritated) Yes, what is it?ULREXWhat about this garden tool in my head?LARSGarden what?ULREX(shows him his head. Doctor is surprised and picks up chartagain and reads it)LARSWhat is your birth date?ULREXAugust 4th, 1972.LARSNot December 5th, 1965?ULREXNo.LARSAre you sure?ULREXYes.LARSHave you had your appendix removed?ULREXNo.LARSAre you sure?ULREXYes.26.
LARSIs your name Ida Ingversen?ULREXNo.LARSAre you sure?ULREXYes.LARSWell, let us look at this garden tool, then shall we.ULREXWhat is his pulse, Nurse?LONEHe has no pulse, doctor.LARSI see.ULREXIs that not bad?LARSI want you to see a specialist.ULREXShould I not be in intensive care?(Nurse and doctor look at each other and burst intolaughter.)LONEThere is no room in intensive care.LARSI will dress your wound.(Wraps a bandage around his forehead.)ULREXHow long will it take before I can see the specialist?LARSAnywhere from 3 months to 7 years. You will get a letter.ULREXOh but…LARSAny other questions?27.
ULREXWell, yes I was wondering…LARSGood luck then. (They exit)Ulrex walks back over to join Ulla inthe living room to transitionalmusic.ULLAPerhaps you are just irritable because you havehemorrhoids.ULREXNo, I do not think so. And at work, it was as if everyoneignored this thing in my head. They would not acknowledgethat I have changed.ULLAWhat do you mean?Ulrex crosses stage again. Hospitalbed is now office desk. Ulrex needsto get past Lars to go to his desk.ULREXMay I not get through please?LARS(Gets up and moves out of the way while avoiding looking atUlrex at all costs.) Oh, hello Ulrex, how are you?ULREXNot so good. I had a terrible accident, and now I have a(name of garden tool) hanging out of my head.(Long pause)LARSThey say it’s going to rain on the weekend.Ulrex crosses back over stage toUlla.ULREXDo you see what I mean?ULLAYes. Is it really going to rain this weekend?ULREXNo, no. Or yes, maybe, I don’t know. The point is:LOOK AT ME: IM DEAD!LATELY, IVE FELT PHLEGMATIC28.
STUCK IN THE SAME OLD ROUTINEBUT NOW, MY CONDITION HAS TAKEN A TURNWHICH I FEEL IS QUITE EXTREMEMY PULSE IS NOT AS FAST AS IN THE PASTITS SLOWED DOWN TO A CRAWLIN FACT TO TELL IT LIKE IT ISI HAVE NO PULSE AT ALLI LOOK WHITE AS WINTER SLEETDRY AS AN INDIAN SUMMERMY HEART MARCHES TO THE BEATOF SOME NEWLY DECEASED DRUMMERSO, I DONT MEAN TO UPSET YOUREQUILIBRIUMOR FILL YOUR HEART WITH DREADBUT DARLING, I HAVE SOMETHING TOSAY TO YOULOOK AT ME: IM DEADTHE STRANGEST THING ABOUT ITIS NOT MY UNTIMELY FATEITS NOT MY PREMATURE FATALITYOR MY LIFELESS STATENO, THE STRANGEST THING ABOUT ITIVE BEEN SADDENED TO SURMISEIS THAT NONE OF MY FRIENDS OR COLLEAGUESHAVE NOTICED MY DEMISESO I DONT MEAN TO UPSET YOUREQUILIBRIUMOR FILL YOUR HEART WITH DREADBUT DARLING, I HAVE SOMETHING TOSAY TO YOULOOK AT ME: IM DEAD29.
ACT 2, SCENE 3, ULLA’S LIVING ROOMULREXWhat is it we shall tonight, Ulla?ULLAIt is Thursday. You know we always have a hygge eveningwith Lars and Lone on Thursday.ULREXOh, of course. A hygge evening. I almost forgot.ULLAI don’t know what’s gotten into you lately, Ulrex.ULREXYes. I don’t know what’s gotten into me lately, Ulla.ULLAHelp me light some candles.They frantically light as manycandles as they can.ULREXWho could that be?ULLAMaybe it is Lars and Lone.ULREXOh yes, maybe it is Lars and Lone.They sit down at table. Ulla servescoffee and cookies. They cut theircookies with their knives and forksand put them down every time someonetalks.LONEThe coffee is good.LARSThe cookies are excellent.LONEThe candles are lovely.ULLAThe company is splendid.LONEThe weather is mild.30.
LARSThe moon is full.LONEThe neighborhood is quiet.ULREXI am so tired of the rain.Everyone looks at Ulrex in surprise.LARS(admonishingly)But it is good for the carrots and potatoes, Ulrex.LONEYes, it is good for the carrots and potatoes, Ulrex.ULLAYes, that is true, Ulrex. You know that it is good for thecarrots and potatoes.Long pause in which everyone freezeslooking at Ulrex.ULREXYes, I did forget that. I do not know what has gotten intome lately.LARSYou are probably just tired.ULREXNo, I think it is because I have a (name of garden tool)sticking out of my head.Uncomfortable pauseLONEOh, do you, we had not noticed.LARSNo, we had not noticed.LONEIt does not bother us at all.LARSNo it does not bother us at all.ULLAIt does not bother them, Ulrex.ULREXReally? But is it not grotesque?31.
LARS AND LONE(Improvised response with difficulty) No. Grotesque? No.Not at all. I wouldn’t say grotesque.ULREXYou guys are the best. Why don’t y’all stay for dinner?LARS AND LONEDinner, dinner?ULLAY’all?ULREX(Holding his mouth)Did I say y’all?LARS AND LONElet me see. I will check my datebook.They take out their datebooks. Ullatakes out hers too, and they allstart checking.LARSI’m free on Tuesday in week 37.LONENo, I’m not free in week 37. I have to go to the doctor.How about week 38?ULLANo week 38 is no good. We shall play golf that week.ULREX(shouting) Why don’t y’all just come to dinner tonight?They all look up in shocked silence.LARSTonight?LONETonight?ULLAY’all?LONEDid you say tonight?ULREXYes, tonight. There is plenty of food.32.
LARSBut we cannot tonight.LONENo, tonight is hygge evening. Perhaps another night.LARSYes, perhaps another night. Let us see.They go back to their datebooks andbegan to look for dates shaking theirheads and mumbling about dates theycan’t make it.ULREX(angrily) Put away your books.ULLABut Ulrex, you are the one who invited Lars and Lone. Weare only trying to find a good date.LONEAh here, I think I found one, the 14th of March 2012.ULREXCan I see?Lone hands him her datebook. Ulrexopens a window and throws it as faras he can. Sound of splashing as itlands in water. Lone screams inhorror and begins to cry.LONEMy datebook. My datebook.LARS(stepping up to Ulrex.) Now see here, Ulrex.Ulrex takes Lars’ datebook and goesoffstage with it. We hear the soundof a motor saw. He enters the stageagain with some fragments of thedatebook, which he hands to Lars.Lars falls to his knees siftingthrough the remains and crying.LARSMy date book. My date book.ULLA(practically in tears) Ulrex, how could you do that?33.
Ulrex takes Ulla’s book, adds his ownto it and goes about the process ofsetting fire to them as he sings thenext song in a happy, skipping, manicmanner, skipping around the fire.IN THE DATEBOOKSTHERE ARE DATESAND EVERY WHICH ONEMARKS OUR FATESOUR LIVES ARE BOUNDWITH HEAT AND GLUEYOU SEE MY FRIENDSIN SHORT, WERE SCREWEDAND THAT IS WHYIM BURNING THE PAGES, TRA LA LA LA LA LATHAT IS WHY THIS FIRE RAGESFA LA LA LA LA LALIFE IS SO EXASPERATINGIT CAN BE THE WORSTWHEN YOU ARE DELIBERATINGYOU ARE SIMPLY CURSEDYOU SHOULD NOT BE EXTRAPOLATINGLIFES MEANING FROM A BOOKBUT INSTEAD OPENLY ENGAGINGIN A RAPID BURSTEVEN IF YOU HAVE TO DO LIKE I DIDAND DIE A LITTLE FIRSTTHE DATES DENOTEFUTURE ACTIONSSPLITTING OUR LIVESINTO FRACTIONSWE TURN PAGES TILLWE ARRIVE ATTHE END AND THENOUR LIVES ARE THROUGHAND THAT IS WHYIM BURNING THE PAGES, TRA LA LA LA LA LATHAT IS WHY THIS FIRE RAGESFA LA LA LA LA LA34.
ACT II, SCENE 4Ulrex is sitting on the floor wearingonly Danish-flag underwear and hisbolo (from the first act) and holdinghis whip. His Danish accent is fadingfast, if not completely gone.ULREXUlla, bring me a beer, honey.ULLA(offstage) I am busy, Ulrex.Ulrex lashes out with his whip in thedirection of Ulla’s voice.ULREXI said, bring me a beer.Ulla comes running onstage with abeer. She’s a little bit scared ofUlrex, but also a bit excited andhappy.ULLAOh, very well. Here you are.She gives him the beer and starts towalk away, but he grabs her hand andswings her back, takes her around thewaist and sits her down on hislap´and kisses her.ULLAWhy Ulrex. What has gotten into you?ULREXWell, I’ve been thinking about that. And you know, eversince I died, I’ve been feeling so much better.ULLABut Ulrex, you are not dead. If you were dead we would haveburied you.ULREXWell, whatever I am then. A zombie, a ghoul, a ghost, theliving dead. Whatever I am, I feel more alive than I didbefore I got this thing in my head.ULLABut you can’t go on like this.ULREXWhy not?35.
ULLAYou quit your job. You stopped shaving. You dress any wayyou see fit. You don’t care what anyone thinks anymore.That is very unDanish, Ulrex.ULREXWell, maybe I don’t want to be Danish, anymore, honey.ULLANot Danish, well, what would you be then, American?ULREXNot American, either. There’s no going back to that.ULLAWell, what then?ULREXI don’t know, just me.ULLAJust you?ULREXJust me. I’m not sure what that is, but whatever I am, Ilike it. I don’t have to go to that boring bureaucratic jobanymore where all everyone talks about is how to fill outthe new forms and the weather. I can dress any way I wantto. Say whatever I want to. And you have to admit, we beenhaving sex all the time again like when we first met.ULLAThat’s only cause you force me to.ULREXWell, yeah, but I got the feeling that you kind of liked itthat way.ULLAWell...Ulrex cracks the whip, and Ullasqueals with delight.In fact, I wanna make a baby with you right now.Cracks whip again, she squeals again.ULLAA baby? But Ulrex, we agreed that we would wait until wefinished the repairs on the house and paid the mortgage,and until I finished my MBA, and you got that promotion,and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were over.ULREXWell, I don’t care. I want make a baby. And I wanna do itnow. So get over here and kiss me.36.
They kiss.ULLAOh Ulrex.ULREXYou can call me Rex again, honey.ULLABut I’m so used to calling you Ulrex.ULREXWell, a lot of things around here are gonna be differentfrom now on. We’re gonna eat with our hands.Cracks whip, Ulla squeals withdelight.We’re gonna walk down the street barefoot.Cracks whip, Ulla squeals withdelight.ULREXAnd you’re gonna do that thing you used to do with yourtongue again.ULLAThe thing with my tongue?ULREXYep, you never do that anymore. Do it now.Cracks whip.ULLA(Squeals with delight) Well okay.They face each other, and Ulla rollsher tongue.ULREXHa, ha, God damn, that’s what I’m talking about. Andanother thing, now that I got rid of our datebooks, we’renot gonna make appointments anymore.ULLABut Ulrex, what will we do?ULREXWe’ll do whatever we want to do. If we want to go see Larsand Lone, why we’ll just go over there and see them. Infact, let’s go over there right now.ULLAJust like that? Without an appointment?37.
ULREXWhy not, they are our next-door neighbors after all.ULLABut we might startle them.ULREXThat’s fine, it’ll do em some good. In fact, we won’t evenknow. I know where they keep an extra key.ULLABut Ulrex, I mean Rex...ULREXThere’s no use arguing honey, we’re going over there rightnow.ULLABut, but...ULREXWhat is it?ULLAIt’s just that, well, what about making the baby?ULREXWill do that later, as soon as we get back.ULLABut Ulrex, I mean Rex.ULREXWhat now?ULLAYou’re not dressed.ULREXOh yeah. (He picks up his cowboy hat and puts it on.) Now,come on, let’s go.They walk offstage. Lars and Loneenter other side of stage in theirown apartment carrying water cans.They start watering plants. Ulrex andUlla walk up behind them and startlethem. They yell and drop the cans.LONEUlrex you startled us.ULREXI know, that was the whole idea.LARSYes, you startled us, Ulrex. We weren’t expecting you. Nexttime, you must make an appointment with us first.38.
ULREXYou want me to make an appointment to come over here andstartle you?LARS AND LONEYes.ULREXBut then you won’t be startled.LONEGood, we don’t like to be startled.LARSNo, we don’t like it, Ulrex.ULREXWell, it might do y’all some good though.LONEHow could that do us good?LARSYes, how could that do us good?ULLAHow could that do them good, Ulrex, I mean Rex? How cangetting startled do anyone any good?ULREXWell, sometimes you need the unexpected to happen just toremind you that you’re alive. Like that night when ya’llcame over for hygge evening, and Lars forgot his jacket. Iran out after him and was startled by a garden tool thatUlla had left on the ground. It was quite a shock, but itchanged my life.ULLAYes, it killed you.ULREXBut it reminded me that I was alive.LARSHow can getting killed remind you that you are alive?ULREXWell, it’s like this.39.
I USED TO THINK THE US WASTHE ONE AND ONLY GREATESTBUT WHEN I CAME HERE I FOUNDTHAT FACT COULD BE DEBATEDHERE WAS A COUNTRYCIVILIZED, RATIONAL AND REFINEDWHERE THE PEOPLE WERE BALANCEDQUIET, CULTURED AND QUITE KINDI THOUGHT THAT TO BECOME A DANEWAS THE ONLY WAY TO GOTHE HAPPIEST FOLK ON EARTH ACCORDING TOTHE OPRAH WINFREY SHOWTHEN I WOKE UP ONE MORNINGAND ROLLED OUT OF MY BEDWITH ONLY ONE THOUGHTROLLING AROUND INSIDE MY HEADWAS I BETTER OFF LIVINGOR BETTER OFF DEAD?BETTER OFF LIVINGOR BETTER OFF DEAD?I THINK I’M BETTER OFFI THINK I’M BETTER OFFI THINK I’M BETTER OFF DEAD, DEAD, DEAD, DEAD, DEAD, DEADI TRIED TO FIT INTO PARADISEBUT AS HARD AS I DID TRYI FOUND THAT IT WAS JUST AS DULLAS WATCHING WET PAINT DRYTHEN ONE DAY I HAD AN ACCIDENTTHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN HORRIFICBUT MUCH TO MY ASTONISHMENTIVE BEEN FEELING QUITE TERRIFICAND YOU TOOWILL WAKE UP ONE MORNINGAND ROLL OUT OF YOUR BEDWITH ONLY ONE THOUGHTROLLING ROUND IN YOUR HEADARE YOU BETTER OFF LIVINGOR BETTER OFF DEAD?BETTER OFF LIVINGOR BETTER OFF DEAD?I THINK YOU’RE BETTER OFFI THINK I’M BETTER OFFI THINK WE’RE BETTER OFF DEAD, DEAD, DEAD, DEAD, DEAD, DEAD40.