Arts & Culture

Two Snarks: a Fringe play excerpt

Scene: The office of the CEO. A snarky murmuring crescendo can be heard from offstage. Enter CEO, Soap Baroness, Patsy Lane, Jimmy Stewart, and Cary Grant]
Soap Baroness: Gentleman, please! Stop snarking and present your ad campaign!

Scene: The office of the CEO. A snarky murmuring crescendo can be heard from offstage. Enter CEO, Soap Baroness, Patsy Lane, Jimmy Stewart, and Cary Grant]
Soap Baroness: Gentleman, please! Stop snarking and present your ad campaign!
CEO: Yes, let’s hear it. [CEO, Patsy Lane, and Soap Baroness take seats]
Cary Grant: Alright, alright. Don’t get your knickers in a figure-eight! Honestly, where did your nether regions acquire their deftness, the King’s Nav—
CEO: Gentleman, Please! Get on with it!
Jimmy Stewart: Yes, aw well, as everyone knows, there are two primary mythologies in peddling soap; the first of such being the suds. White, luxurious suds, liked whipped cream floating weightless at the summit of a malt, or sheep dotting the rolling hills of Scotland. This is the real joy of soap. But you also have to demonstrate that is more than just fluffy and white, but also powerful, like Dolly the homicidal cloned sheep, or the power of your wife’s terribly constructed trifle to ruin a perfectly nice dinner party. [CEO is irritated, but more exhausted by this point]. You need to know that it can fight grease. You need to show that it can—fight dirty.
Cary Grant: So, we did up a little drawing for your company’s new mascot.
[Passes a sheet over to Soap Baroness.]
Soap Baroness: This—this is just a picture of the Persian emperor Xerxes with soapy foam barely covering his genitals! [Baroness passes the drawing to CEO who fixes his gaze upon it intently]
Jimmy Stewart: “Fondelle Soap: Wage War on Grease!”
Patsy Lane: Hah! This is your grand idea? They wanted an ad with a classic feel, not one from the classical period.
Jimmy Stewart: Sounds like someone’s on their classical period…
Cary Grant: I’ll have you know, Miss, that advertisements were at a premium in the Hellenistic world. The architectural fad of columns was started when they put that billboard up on the acropolis. They called it the Parthenon…
Jimmy Stewart: And our ad’s got everything! It’s traditional, yet innovative. It has a snazzy slogan, and sex appeal for ladies.
Soap Baroness: Our company sells to both sexes, by the way!
[Both Stewart and Grant start laughing sardonically.]
Soap Baroness: Which is still a moot point due to the fact that this ad is offensive to everyone’s sense of decency, except apparently your own. [gesturing at our two heroes. Beat. The CEO looks up in a startled, embarrassed manner from the picture of Xerxes]
CEO: Er—yes. And damn offensive at that! You two better fix this, or I swear I’ll assign this to someone more competent!
Cary Grant: Who would you get to replace us? Like me, most of the other guys here have only bought two bars of soap in their entire lives!
CEO: [through his teeth] Ears…
Cary Grant: What I meant was I’ve only bought two bars of her soap. [To the baroness] The first one I tried in the shower and was so disappointed that I went out immediately afterwards to buy a second bar so I could put it in long wool sock and savagely beat the first one with it!
Jimmy Stewart: Come on Roosevelt. How can we find a new way to sell people soap? Soap ads have been around since the dawn of time. People have heard it all before. “What’s that you say? This’ll make me smell like a lilac?” Well here’s a ten-dollar tip for free: If us advertisers want to win a war against consumers, we’re not going to do it with flowers!
Patsy Lane: First it’s a war on grease, now it’s a war on consumers! Nice to know you think so highly of us!
Jimmy Stewart: You know very well I couldn’t think highly of you without thinking lowly of myself. Fact of the matter, if you haven’t already heard about soap, it’s because you smell bad and probably don’t have access to the media because your odor has prevented you from having enough disposable income to buy a computer, television, or your ludicrously overpriced soap for that matter!
Soap Baroness: It’s a small price to pay for beauty!
Cary Grant: [looking her up and down] Maybe you ought to be paying a bigger price…
Soap Baroness: Well I never! Oh goodness, you did warn me, Roosevelt. They are, indeed, two very snarky young men. Fix this by tomorrow, or else I am going to have to find a different agency!
[She exits.]
CEO: If you two do not get this soap ad up to par, I think you know what happens. You do not want to be added to the wall.
[Both men look uncharacteristically fearful for a moment. Stewart, Grant, and Lane exit. CEO folds up the picture of Xerxes and tucks it into the pages of the book on his desk]

By David J. Shuman

David is a second-year journalism student at King's, is engagement/news editor of The Watch, and a copy editor of The Pigeon. He writes on student politics, campus happenings, and school news. 

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