Monday, April 2, 2007

Soren Kisiel

Soren Kisiel is the Executive Director of the Equinox Theatre and an award-winning playwright. He is the co-author of Broad Comedy, which last year completed a three-month run in Boston and showcased in New York.

A Plumber.

Plumber by day, that is. Plumber through the cracked-pipe frozen January mornings below the streets of Butte. Plumber through the soul-stealing corroded-copper afternoons of Butte’s sweating August. Plumber by day, but Irish Fairy by night.

The Irish Fairies, the toughest ethnically-based street-gang in Butte since the “Uptown Danny-Boys” of the 1950s. The Irish Fairies, who once threw one of their own into The Pit just for mentioning that he was also Scottish. The Irish Fairies, so tough that no one in all the years of The M&M’s existence ever once cracked a joke about their name. Yep, those Irish Fairies.

The Plumber popped his thick knuckles, the forward motion of his hands straining the shoulders of his green polyester blazer. Across his chest “Kiss Me I’m Irish” leered like a threat. He held his wide hands out in front of him like an invitation, and revealed teeth inlaid with golden shamrocks.

“Which a’ ye is Irwin?” the Plumber asked. He had never been to Ireland, but his grandmother’s accent had moved though his umbilical cord and deep into his soul. His voice was high, scraping the roof of Irwin’s brain with its fingernails.

Irwin, Virginia and StillWater looked to one another. Fear rising in his throat, Irwin shook his head quickly, imperceptibly. Virginia and StillWater both looked around the room, noticeably scanning for where this “Irwin” could be.

“Which a’ ye bastards is selling Butte’s heart to Bozeman?”

Silence spread through the Seed and Bean. Even those with earphones plugged into their computers looked up.

“Which a’ ye is it that believes that the bold, wild, unruly soul of Mother Butte - the finest city west of Galway - needs these leather-furniture-buying-fleece-wearers to help it stand on its own two damn feet?”

Donna saw her chance. Whatever this artist’s, this genius’ – this IRWIN’s – past: oddly-reptilian mammals, fraudulent claims of plagiarism, Native American grant-makers… she knew she was his future.

She stepped forward, drawing air into her greatest asset. The air poured out, lovingly, bravely: “I’m Irwin.”

Irwin’s head snapped around. His first thought - “I get to keep all my teeth” – was quickly swept away by a surge of emotion. Could this be it? Could this be what he had been looking for in those cold semi-reptilian features for so many years? How could he have been so blind? At first, when he'd looked at Donna all he could see was that lumpy nose, those mismatched eyes, that unibrow.

Now all he could think of was things he wanted to do with that gaping mouth.

A voice spoke behind him, “No, I’m Irwin.”

He turned. There Virginia stood, gently stroking the pangolin’s scales, eyes defiantly holding the Irish Fairy’s.

“No,” spoke a male voice. “I’m Irwin.” StillWater’s braids danced around his shoulders as he held his head
Silence fell over the Seed and Bean, all eyes on the Plumber.

“So that’s the way is it then, is it? Ya bunch of bleedin’ tossers. You think you can beat the Irish Fairies do ya? You don’t know of us here, do you? You don’t know how we beat the fish-and-chips out of the Great Falls Leprechauns, or the way we pounded the Gilette Pennywhistle Gang all the way back into Wyoming for stealing Fergus’ mushy peas recipe! You
Bozeman Irwins are nothin’ compared to them!”

Delight danced in the Plumber’s green eyes as he scanned the room. “You’ll not get away with this. No one will produce a musical about my beloved Butte – no one that doesn’t live there, breathe her air, drink her water. No one will make a feel-good family experience out of dearest Butte without including among its theatrical delights a bit of its history: the
Screaming Panda bit.”

Irwin’s nerve rose in him like fire. He looked to Donna – my Lord, that MOUTH – and found bravery in her
eyes. He stepped forward.

“Sir, my name is Irwin. And while I happen to live in Bozeman, I actually was planning to include the
Screaming Panda bit.”


Sam Louden said...

Butte takes matters into her own beefy hands. Sending a plumber as emissary of peace (as in "We're gonna do it my way, nice and peaceful and nobody has to get a flattened nose or traction, right?") to settle the proprietary rights of the play.
These words, causing spontaneous nasal blasts as I read them nearly earned me universal library opprobrium. I could have been black-balled from the quiet space for the tortured laughs I could only half restrain.
While little action happens, the spring is tightened until the tension will inevitably drive great advances in plot or tear the whole machine to bits. Neither option is exclusive of the other.

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