The Hunter's Burdenby Author / Jamie McKinven
THE HUNTER’S BURDEN
A Comedy/Drama Play
Copyright © JAMIE MCKINVEN 2014
Male, 35. Team leader. Charismatic. Likeable.
Male, 55 – 65. Head Coach. Well-travelled. Level-headed.
Male, 65 – 75. Team Trainer. Cantankerous. Witty.
Male, 30 – 35. Team Tough Guy. Burly. Playful. Loyal.
Male, 25. Team clown. Fun-loving, playful, energetic.
Male, 26. Womanizer. Prankster. Fun-loving and carefree.
Male, 19. Rookie call up. Naïve, timid, well-mannered.
Male, 23. Finnish Goalie. Stylish. Eccentric. Quiet.
Female, 25 - 30. Local radio station reporter. Attractive. Ambitious.
Male, 65. Local newspaper reporter. Shifty. Manipulative. Untrustworthy.
Female, 52. Team Owner. Strong-willed. Ambitious. Heartless.
TIME - The present.
SETTING - A minor league hockey team dressing room / coach’s office.
THE HUNTER’S BURDEN
The curtain rises and we see a dark, empty dressing room. A spotlight is trained on CHARLIE MAGILL’s stall in the centre of the room. To the right side of the stage is Coach Jack Norton’s office. The office is blacked out and two men can be seen sitting in the room (Jack Norton and team trainer Sticksy McGavin).
CHARLIE enters from STAGE LEFT
Charlie walks into the dressing room wearing a tailored suit and looking dapper. He walks over to his stall, puts a can of Red Bull on the top shelf and sits down. Facing the audience, Charlie begins his monologue. Throughout the monologue, Charlie is changing out of his suit and into his under gear.
There is something about the musty smell of a dressing room that gives me goose bumps. It’s the anticipation of greatness. In hockey there are rules, referees and penalties for those who break the law, but, it’s what’s beneath the surface that defines the culture of hockey. You see, hockey maintains a set of unwritten rules: The Code, as it is. Those who break these sacred and treasured rules will face a different judge, jury and executioner. Hockey is the only sport where you can’t run out of bounds. It’s the fastest game on two feet and combines grace, honour and aggression. Hockey represents the simulation of war in the most deadliest of conditions. Spawned on a tundra landscape amid conditions that claimed many of frontier immigrants, hockey represents prosperity from poverty; a rise from the ashes. It’s the sport for the average-sized human being that values intelligence as equally as brawn. It lifts spirits and harvests lifelong dreams. Where an undersized, blonde-haired kid from a small farming community can rise up to international fame and riches beyond belief. It’s a unifying constant that brings people from all walks of life and from different beliefs and backgrounds together over a beer or a hot cup of coffee. In front of the TV on a Saturday night, a Conservative and a Liberal can join together in unison, screaming expletives at a striped-shirted man named Von Hellamond. People always ask me what I love about hockey and this is it. It’s all the subtleties of the sport. The smells, the pain, the nervousness before every game and the exhilaration you experience when you score a big goal or deliver a breathtaking hit. It’s a rush of life through your body that reminds you why you put up with all the heartache along the way. There’s nothing better than the feeling you get from the unbelievable highs in this sport. All the blood, sweat and tears are happily sacrificed for those moments of blissful perfection. Hockey is the best thing in the world. I love it. For 60 minutes you can be whoever you want. You can escape the harshness of the real world and hide behind a mask. At the rink you can forget all your troubles. Fighting with your girlfriend? I doesn’t matter in here. Bills are piling up and you can’t make the rent? At the rink there is no currency and you always have a place to hang your hat. When you walk through that door you can take on the form of any role that you can imagine. You can be a gunslinger, a pest, a grinder or a thief. You can be a surgeon, a sniper, an enforcer or a magician. Every day at the rink is another day to clean the slate and reinvent yourself. Every clean sheet of ice is like a fresh sheet of paper to pen your next adventure. Each game is a new beginning and a chance at something magical.
The lights begin to rise on the entire set and STICKSY MCGAVIN enters the dressing through the door to Coach Norton’s office.
Well look who it is. They must have told ya the game was at 6:30, eh.
If I had a nice couch to live on like you Sticksy I’d probably never leave this place either.
You wouldn’t last a day trying to do my job, kid.
Well, if you can do it Sticksy, I’m sure I’d be a natural at it.
Charlie sprawls out in the middle of the dressing room and begins stretching. Sticksy is preparing some items on the trainer’s table: trainers tape, skin spray, pre-tape and some lotions.
How’s the knee today kid?
You know, it’s not that bad. The ankle has been aching a bit and the shoulder is angry again.
I don’t know what’s wrong with your shoulder. I’ve never seen a player hurt his shoulder shying away from traffic and the corners the way you do. Skating around out there like you’ve got eggs in your pockets.
You know I just make up injuries to spend time with you.
Amid the playful banter between Sticksy and Charlie, MOOSE MATHERS enters the dressing Stage Left.
Moosey! What’s up brother?
Rattled Mags! Rattled!
Moose heads over to his stall beside Charlie’s and begins changing out of his suit and into his under gear.
No banana with your lunch today down at the zoo?
You know Sticksy, one of these days you’re gonna catch one in the trap. You’re lucky I don’t hit seniors. Sadie wouldn’t go down for a nap today and screamed for about 3 hours straight. I completely missed my pre-game nap.
Where was Cassie?
She was working the lunch shift at Appleby’s. Prick manager made her go in because some high school pothead called in sick.
I don’t blame the poor little girl. If I were left at home with a big ugly gorilla all day, I’d be screaming too.
Not today Sticksy. I swear I’ll beat you to death with your walker.
LANCE MICHAELS and TRENT HUXLEY enter Stage Left. Lance is laughing hysterically about a funny prank he just pulled on Trent. Trent is shaking his head.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Starsky and Hutch.
More like Cagney and Lacey.
Moose laughs and nods at Sticksy who is proud of himself, nodding back at Moose.
What’s going on fellas?
Oh man, you guys missed a good one. You know how Sleeping Beauty here loves his pre-game naps. Well, I waited until I knew he was out and I snuck into his room and forwarded his clock by two hours and turned off his alarm.
Moose giggles excitedly.
So at 4 o’clock, I called his cell phone and woke him up, which is when he usually gets up, but the best part is, his alarm clock read 6 o’clock.
Oh man, you’re such a dick. I love it!
I know, I know. Save the applause to the end. It gets better. So I call Sleeping Beauty and with the right amount of panic in my voice, I say, “Hey Idiot! Where are you? It’s 6 o’clock and we’re on for warm-up in half an hour. Coach is losing his marbles!” He starts screaming, “Oh, shit. Oh, shit! I must have set the alarm for AM instead of PM. Crap!” I said, “I had to leave early for treatment so I got a ride with Mags. I left the keys on the kitchen table. You can take my car. Hurry! I’ll try and make something up for you and tell Coach.” So I’m sitting out on the front porch and I can hear him crashing into things and scrambling around. Then he flings open the front door and nearly falls down the steps. I started laughing hysterically and he just turned around and started snapping. He chased me into the house and I ran and locked myself in the bathroom. I even audio recorded it. Listen!
Lance plays the audio on his cell phone of Trent yelling at Lance. Everyone is laughing.
Ya, ya. Laugh it up you meatheads. I’ll get you back. It’s a long-season and I have nothing but time.
Ahhh, quit your whining you baby. Remember the time you told that girl I was trying to get a date with that I was a meth addict and then put itching powder in the collar of my shirt?
Ya, that was a good one.
I figure I owe you three more doozies to make up for that one.
What about the time you put hair dye in my shampoo bottle? I looked like Ryan Seacrest for the next six weeks.
Ya, that was pretty bad Lancey.
It was actually a good look for you. And you didn’t seem to mind when we told that aspiring singer at that bar in Nashville that you could get her on the show to meet Simon Cowell.
Whatever, man. Just be ready. You’ll get it when you least expect it.
DRAKE CARMODY enters Stage Left. The rooms suddenly quiets down and faces become a bit more serious. The players eye Drake up as he walks in.
I’m supposed to report in to Mr. McGavin.
Hey Sticksy, that mail-order concubine you’ve been waiting for finally arrived.
Don’t mind these idiots, kid. Come with me and I’ll get you set up.
Sticksy grabs the rookie’s bag and shows him over to an empty stall. Drake Carmody starts unpacking the gear and setting the stall up.
How you doing, kid? I’m Charlie Magill.
Nice to meet you Charlie, I’m Drake Carmody.
Charlie takes Drake around the room to introduce him to the other players. The players take a brief moment out of what they are doing to quickly shake Drake’s hand and quickly revert back to what they were doing.
Drake, this is Moose Mathers. He’s our finesse guy.
Hi Moose, nice to meet you.
This is Trent Huxley and Lance Michaels. You ever need any advice on how to obtain a good defence lawyer, they’re your guys.
Hi Trent. Hi Lance.
Nice meet you Rook.
Where are you coming up from?
I was in Lethbridge, in the WHL. We just got beat out.
Is Lefty Scales still coaching there?
Ya! He’s the head coach.
Jeez. He was coaching when I played there a million years ago. Figured he’d be dead by now.
He’s still kicking.
Sticksy calls Drake over to pick out some sticks.
Hey kid. Come over here and we’ll get you setup for sticks.
The lights dim down on the main dressing room and the lights come up on Coach JACK’s office.