Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Abridged "Branded to Kill"

Premiered at the Ontological-Hysteric Theatre Incubator, 28 Feb, 2009
Adapted by Patrick Harrison from Seijun Suzuki's 1967 film "Branded to Kill"
Directed by Patrick Harrison and Nancy Kwon

Live music by Dave Harrington
Patrick Harrison as HANADA
Jessie Hopkins as MISAKO
Ryan Ruby as NO1
Olivia Olsen as MAMI
Ian Picco as GOON 2
Jamie Pittman as GOON 4
Dan Rogers as GOON 5
Live music by Dave Harrington


Tokyo, 1966.
Two chairs are pre-set center stage, back to back, facing stage right and left.
All performers will wear 'epicanthic fold' eye makeup and speak with a thick Japanese accent.

OPENING CREDITS on TV. Live music continues once the TV segment ends.

VOICE OVER: You’ll find a car at Shinagawa. You’ll find the key behind the bumper.

HANADA enters. He wears sunglasses and a suit.

VO: You’re to escort this man from Nagano to Sagami Beach for five million yen. He’s a Big Shot of a certain bijiness. It’s not a bad job.

HANADA: If nothing happens.

VO: You’re Number Three Killer. We rely on your skill. Do you want to try?

NO1 enters and sits stage right (after brushing off the chair). He is dressed more or less identically to HANADA, but his entire bearing is more dignified.

HANADA: Boil rice.

MAMI enters with a ricemaker full of steaming rice.

MAMI: He wants rice.

MAMI gives the ricemaker to HANADA, who cradles it in his lap and luxuriates in the smell. MAMI She crosses up to the audience and flirts obscenely with the audience.

NO1: Who is the woman?

HANADA: My wife.

MAMI: He has a peculiar quirk. I hate it. He likes the smell of boiling rice better than anything else.

HANADA: I can’t help smelling this scent.

MAMI: Please don’t. My husband is a dreadful man.

NO1: “Drink and women kill a killer.”

MAMI holds her nose with one hand, and takes the rice cooker with the other but HANADA refuses to relinquish it.

MAMI: Stop it! You’re abnormal!

He releases the rice, and takes hold of MAMI, smelling her hungrily. She likes it for a moment, but then storms off.

MAMI: You’re only nice to me in bed!

HANADA: Strong men are coming.

GOONS labeled “2”, “4”, and “5” appear.

HANADA: Hold on.

The sounds of a car screeching to a halt. HANADA and NO1 spill out of the chairs downstage. FIGHT SCENE: fencing, grappling, rolling done in “theatrical split screen”. GOON 2 crawls towards HANADA, yelling “HANADA!!!!” and HANADA shoots him. HANADA smiles and turns to face NO.1, the goons suddenly rise to shoot HANADA, but NO 1 pulls out his gun. The GOONS collectively gasp upon recognizing NO. 1.

GOONS: Numba…

Sound of three gunshots as No.1 shoots them in the head. The goons point to the bullet holes on their heads and collapse, dead. HANADA points at his head, indicating the head shots.

HANADA: What’s your rank?

NO1 inhales as though to answer, then doesn’t. NO1 and GOONS exit. HANADA looks after him baffled, then turns towards the audience.

HANADA: What’s your rank?

8mm projector of MISAKO. MISAKO enters. All of her dialogue is voice over.

HANADA: Are you married?

MISAKO: I hate men.

HANADA: Then you have no hope.

MISAKO: My hope is to die.

HANADA: Boil rice.

MISAKO: Kill a foreigner.

HANADA: What do you mean?

MISAKO: I rented a room you can sight in on him from. He usually takes a woman’s left arm. You’ll see us walking together down the boulevard.

HANADA: Rice! I’m talking about hot boiled rice!

MISAKO: You’ll have three seconds.

HANADA: It’s a devil’s job.

MISAKO: I heard you were a devil.

HANADA: I refuse.

MISAKO: No, you can’t. You heard the plan.

HANADA: Who sent you? Damn you! Don’t despise me! I can kill you with one shot.

MISAKO: You won’t, until you sleep with me.

HANADA: Where is the rice?! Do you have some rice?! If you don’t, buy some. You can buy I at a rice dealer’s. Go and buy some rice for me.

MISAKO: Three seconds. I’ll step aside a little. For a split second you’ll be able to see his chest.

HANADA: I’ll kill you. That’s what you’ve hoped for.

HANADA tackles her, as though to make love to her, but is shocked that she falls to the ground without putting up a struggle.

HANADA: Whose behind you?

MISAKO raises her legs spread wide into the air.

MISAKO: I am Misako, your customer, for one million yen.

HANADA dives in between her legs and emerges, his hands fully of butterflies, which he lets fall to the ground.

HANADA: You may be hit.

She arches opens her mouth. It is full of rice. HANADA smells the rice.

The FOREIGNER (GOON 5) picks MISAKO off the ground. (The GOONS are referred to by number hereafter, but they no longer wear their numbers on their costume). “Flying” by The Beatles (Magical Mystery Tour) plays. GOON 5 and MISAKO slowly cross downstage, left to right. HANADA poses to shoot. GOON 2 manipulates the butterfly puppet, which lands on the gun and then on HANADA’s face just as he shoots (SOUND OF GUNSHOT), the BULLET PUPPET comes out, dances for a while, and, as the song is ending, kills the GOON 5. MISAKO gasps and throws her head band to HANADA. The FOREIGNER kidnaps MISAKO. GOONS and MISAKO exit.

HANADA: Misako!

8mm of MISAKO being tortured, with freaky other footage.
SOUND OF phone ringing. GOON 5 enters with a telephone. HANADA picks it up.

NO1: She’s still alive.

Live music resumes.

HANADA: Who are you?

NO1: I have questions to ask you. Who is No. 5 Killer? You don’t know? You shot him. Then who is No. 4? Him too. No. 3 is you. Who is No. 2?

HANADA: I am No. 2!

NO1: That’s right. Now you are. Who is phantom No. 1? Who is No 1?


NO1: We are to kill or be killed. You can’t be permitted to live. But first, are you going to take revenge for the woman you love?


GOON 5 begins to blow up a balloon.

NO1: I owe you for what you did for me. I repay my debt by warning you that I’ll kill you. You will take revenge for the girl you love. I’ll let you see her if you like. Then you’ll die.


NO 1: This is the way No. 1 works. Can you beat me? I’ll be waiting for you at Etsuraku-en Gymnasium. If you don’t come you’re a coward.

GOON 5 hands the balloon to HANADA, who ties it.

HANADA: Why should I not become Number One? I will become Number One.

Peppy jazz plays as HANADA plays with the balloon. The balloon pops.
SOUND: The boxing ring-bell rings. HANADA has a shoot out with No. 1 on TV; During the shoot out, HANADA tries to escape, but GOONS 2 and 3 block him in with boxing ring ropes that move to simulate three sides of a boxing ring (THREE GUNSHOT/RICOCHET SOUNDS as HANADA attempts to escape through each side). HANADA gets fed up and turns the TV off.

HANADA: He is a coward. He is a coward!

HANADA puts on MISAKO’s headband.

HANADA: Who is Number One? Who is Numba—

NO1’s arm sticks out of backstage door, and shoots HANADA (SOUND OF GUNSHOT). who collapses. LIVE MUSIC SUDDENLY CUTS OFF MUSIC. Believing he has killed HANADA with his signature forehead-shot, NO1 comes out from hiding to briefly gloat over the body and leave. Just as he turns to leave HANADA shoots him (GUNSHOT). HANADA gloats, showing the broken headband which prevented him from getting shot to the audience and NO1’s corpse.

HANADA: I am Number One! I am Number One! (etc).

8mm projection of No1 shoots HANADA (SOUND: gunshot), who is actually hit. HANADA turns around just in time to see the image of No1 disappear. MISAKO enters from backstage right door, limping, her arm and head bandaged.

MISAKO: It’s me!

HANADA, by reflex, immediately shoots MISAKO, (SOUND: gunshot) who falls over dead.

HANADA: I am Number One.

He dies.

Ending credit music plays over 8MM of NO1 silently laughing.


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