A Play About Modern Clothing in One Act
Cast of Characters
Knickers: Oh, hell no, woman! What are you – Wait! Stop. You can’t do it that hard. ARGHHHH!
(The sound of a seam ripping fills the air.)
Knickers: Busted again. (heaving sigh)
(We now hear low moaning, soft cries, and yips of pain.)
Brassiere: Mon Dieu! I’m being strangled. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe!
Knickers: Could be worse.
Brassiere: How? (sobs)
Knickers: Could have been busted, like me.
Brassiere: How can she do this to us? We’re the most important parts of the wardrobe! I demand respect. I say we strike.
Knickers: She’ll just chuck us out, get newbies. Then we’ll be up a creek.
(Enter Striped Shirt)
Striped Shirt: I don’t know what you all are complaining about.
Knickers and Brassiere: Hello, Stripy.
Brassiere: Fancy seeing you here, darling. How have you been?
Knickers: Eh, so you’re on duty today as well, I see.
Striped Shirt: Hello, hello. (To Brassiere.) Once again, I’m not sure what you’re complaining about. I am a striped shirt. A horizontal striped shirt. Has she bothered to look in the mirror while wearing me? I am stripes, not little dots or swirly patterns. She’s ruining me!
Brassiere: (sniffling) But at least people see you! I hide underneath it all, offering all the support, while you, the shirt, gets all the credit. I am her support, dammit!
Knickers: (To Striped Shirt) Some support. All that one does is whine whine, complain complain. (To Brassiere) Look lively, love. Here comes another one.
(Low Slung Jeans enters, huffing and puffing, red in the face, making choking noises. Knickers suddenly coughs and looks bothered.)
Knickers: Did it get hot in here?
Low Slung Jeans: Must. Not. Breathe. Must. Not. Breathe. (Sound of button popping.) Oops, I breathed. (Looks at others; Brassiere is sobbing and muttering, Knickers is wearing a slightly bemused expression, Striped Shirt is shaking with indignation.) How’s it going? (Three angry glares.) That good, huh?
Striped Shirt: I look terrible. Look at that! I am just not meant to be worn be certain people, if I may speak freely. I’m all stretchy now. I look giganticous!
Brassiere: Is that a real word?
Striped Shirt: Not the point. (Looks around.) What happened to Knickie?
Bewildered, the others glance right, left, down, up. Knickers is nowhere to be seen. Cries of “Knickie! Yoo hoo! KNICKIE!” Are heard. Low Slung Jeans yelps, and Knickers re-enters, shuddering in horror.)
Striped Shirt: Oy, Knickie! Where’d you get off to?
Knickers: (continuing to shudder) The horror! The horror!! I’ll have nightmares for ages, now. (The others crowd around, murmuring.) It was dark. And damp. And smelly. I was stuck in some strange valley. I couldn’t breathe. And the smell! (Knickers breaks down, sobbing and gagging.)
Low Slung Jeans: Oh! (Stands straight and stiff) Must. Not. Breathe. Must. Not. Breathe.
Striped Shirt: Smell? Oh, dear, you were stuck in there. (Nods with authority) I’ve heard about that. I always thought me and my kin had the worst of it, the sudden moist and earthy smell. But one day, I was having a wash, see? And I met a fancy pair of white knickers. Oh, the stories I heard! That place is to be feared, especially after Mexican lunches and that certain time of the month, see? (Looks at Knickers.) You have my sympathies, mate.
Striped Shirt: (gasps) Oh no she didn’t!
Strappy Sandals: Heeeeey!
Strappy Sandals: Uh. Hello?
Striped Shirt: (muttering) Talk about insult to injury. First she lowers my class, and now she wants to lower my intelligence by inviting Strappy to the party. (To Strappy, with false cheer.) Heeeey!
Strappy Sandals: (giggling) Oh, goody! (claps hands) I thought I was being ignored. So what are we, like, doing today?
Striped Shirt: You’re the shoes, you tell us.
Strappy Sandals: Oh, right. Duh! (giggles)
Low Slung Jeans: (hyperventilating) Don’t. Move. Can’t. Breathe. Don’t. Sit. Can’t. Breathe.
Strappy Sandals: (wobbles) Oopsie! Almost had a little spill there.
Brassiere: I can’t take it anymore! I will make my will known to her. I am sick of offering all the support around here, and getting nothing – NOTHING – for my complaints. Except curses, and constant rearranging, and being flung off at the first opportune moment. Are you with me, Knickie? (silence) Knickie? (looks at floor; Knickers is curled up in a little ball, rocking and trying to disappear) Knicke! Pull yourself together this instant.
Knickers: But I don’t wanna go back to the dark place. Anything but the dark place, I beg you!
Brassiere: Knickie, darling. Look at what’s happened to you! You’re been ripped and stuffed and poor, poor you. This is why we must fight to have our voices heard.
Knickers: (lifts head) Can we really make a difference here, love?
Brassiere: Of course we can! We simply refuse to cooperate. She’ll have no choice but to let us go free.
Knickers: (rising slowly) Ok. I’m in.
Striped Shirt: Even if it means joining the two of you, I’m in. I have had it with the way she keep tugging and stretching me. (yelling) I am not the shirt you are looking for!
Strappy Sandals: Why’s everybody so, like, loud around here? I think we look good. She even put the colors on her toes to show us off. (stumbles) Oopsie. Dunno why I keep twisting and sliding around like this.
Brassiere: And there you have it. Jean, how would you like to breathe?
Low Slung Jeans: Breathe? Ooohhhh… (button pops) Oops.
Brassiere: See? SEE! This is why we need to take a stan- (elastic snaps; Brassiere hangs limply to the side) ARGHH!!! She’s KILLED me! (sobs)
Strappy Sandals: You guys are- Wait. Hey! Where am I going? I thought you liked me! TRAITOR!!! (yelling fades to a whisper, then complete silence; Strappy Sandals vanishes)
Low Slung Jeans: (breathing easily) Hey, what’s going o- (silence; Low Slung Jeans disappears)
Striped Shirt: Ok, I thought I was cool with this, but I’m not. (to unseen person) Hey, hey you! Are you listening to me? You stretched me all out of shape and now you’re throwing me away? Screw you! (Striped Shirt exits the stage)
Knickers: Well, just you and me and again, eh, Brassy? (silence) Brassy? (Knickers turns to look; sees Brassiere, limp and unmoving, being carried off the stage) Just me, all by myself, then. All alone. Lonely, lonely.
(Enter Large T-Shirt, then Sweat Pants)
Large T-Shirt: Duuuuude!
Sweat Pants: Like, Duuuude!
Knickers: Oh God, no. They have no restraint. (Points at Large T-Shirt and Sweat Pants) You! You have no restraint! You’re too flipping free, you are. Say something. Say something!
Sweat Pants: Hang in there, little buddy. It’s all goooood. Yeeaahh.
Large T-Shirt: Yeeaaaah. Smoooooth.
Knickers: (sobbing) This is Hell. I am in Hell. (whimpers as the lights dim)