Spartacus Is Dead: A Short Play

Characters

Carmen: 22, tends towards obsession but it is never certain what she will obsess over or when the obsession will suddenly stop

Jasmine: 22, quintessential BFF type, has known Carmen for 6 years, she is the one who introduced Carmen and Nathan

Nathan: 25, man-child unable to finish anything he starts, has been in the Army Reserve for 6 years, but can’t hold down any other job for long because something always goes wrong though it is never really his fault

Setting

An outdoor café.

The Play

Jasmine and Carmen are eating lunch. Well, Jasmine is eating. Carmen has her head down on the table and is sobbing uncontrollably. Jasmine ignores it at first, but she finally reaches over and pats Carmen on the head. Like a puppy or a small child.

Jasmine: Carmen, honey, please stop crying. He’s really not worth this.

Carmen: (cries harder, head still down) Yes he is! Jasmine, you don’t understand what I’ve lost!

Jasmine: Oh, you’ll find someone else. Really, you will.

Carmen: There will never be another man like him!

Jasmine: Really, you’re being melodramatic. And I know you and Nathan had been together for a long time, but—

Carmen: (raises her head suddenly to interrupt) Nathan? Who said anything about Nathan?

Jasmine: Well, you guys just broke up, and you’re crying so… Wait, then who are you crying about?

(Carmen bursts into tears again and puts her head on her arms. She mutters indistinctly.)

Jasmine: What?

(Indistinct muttering)

Jasmine: For God’s sakes Carmen, lift your head up so I can hear you.

Carmen: (lifts her head and exclaims) Spartacus is dead!

(Long pause)

Jasmine: Excuse me?

Carmen: What part of dead do you not understand?

Jasmine: You’re upset that a gladiator from ancient Rome is dead?

Carmen: Yes! I mean, no… Sort of. You know how much I love that show, right?

Jasmine: Yea, it’s basically all you’ve been talking about for the last two months.

Carmen: Right, well the last episode aired last night.

Jasmine: Carmen, you already knew he was going to die. It’s a historical fact.

Carmen: No! The real Spartacus’s body was never found. The producers could have made it so he lived, but they killed him anyway (starts crying again) It was…the saddest…thing…I’ve ever…seen… And I watched it five times!

Jasmine: (muttering) Kill me now.

Carmen: I mean, I was devastated when Crixus died in the episode before that, but even that didn’t prepare me for losing Spartacus… I don’t know how I can go on after this. (She puts her head back down on the table.)

Jasmine stares at her silently. Nathan enters stage right. He stops when he sees Carmen sobbing on the table. It is clear he thinks he is the cause.

Nathan: Um, Carmen?

Her head pops up at his voice, and she instantly stops crying. She begins to eat as though she hadn’t been sobbing hysterically for the past ten minutes.

Carmen: Hi.

Jasmine: O, hello Nathan. How are you?

Nathan: Great. I was, uh, just on my way to get something to eat. How’s it going?

Jasmine: O just swell. You should join us.

Nathan: No, I think I…I’ll just keep going.

Carmen: No, stay. Please, I know how much you love this place.

Nathan: O, ok then.

He sits and the three regard each other awkwardly. Carmen begins making eye contact with Jasmine and trying to indicate that she should leave. This goes on for several moments as at first Jasmine really doesn’t understand what she wants and then just pretends she doesn’t get it to be a pain in the ass. Finally, Jasmine checks the time on her phone and stands.

Jasmine: I’ve gotta run.

Carmen: What’s the rush?

Jasmine: Well, if you really want me to stay— (she begins to sit)

Carmen: O wait, I forgot you told me you were meeting Jeremy for something. See you later, then.

Jasmine: Right. Nice to see you again, Nathan. (She exits left. Carmen and Nathan sit in silence for a few minutes.)

Carmen: Do you want the rest of this?

Nathan: No, I figured I’d order something when the waiter has a moment to come over here.

Carmen: Good luck with that.

(Beat)

Carmen: Seriously, I’m not going to finish it; just take it. It’s your favorite from here anyway.

Nathan: Well, if you insist.

Carmen: I do.

(Beat)

Nathan: Carmen, why were you crying just now?

Carmen: Crying? I wasn’t crying. I had one of those sudden massive headaches and it made my eyes tear up. Putting my head on the table helped a lot.

Nathan: Right.

(Beat)

Nathan: So, how have you been since… you know.

Carmen: Since you decided I wasn’t good enough for you?

Nathan: O come on, you know that’s not why—

Carmen: (interrupts) I’m kidding, Nathan. We both agreed it was better to split for a while; quit acting like I’m a suicide risk.

Nathan: (after a slight pause) Are you?

Carmen: No! Chill out. We’re just taking a break to work on ourselves; not saying goodbye forever.

Nathan: I think we’re doing it wrong.

Carmen: How so?

Nathan: Well, we’ve still talked every day since we broke up.

Carmen: It’s not like I’m kicking you out of my life or something.

Nathan: True, but, shouldn’t time apart mean, you know, time apart?

Carmen: (sighs) Then stop calling me.

Nathan: I don’t… O wait… Yea, I guess that is on me… Damn… (Pause) I miss you, though.

Carmen: I miss you, too, I guess.

Nathan: (sarcastically) Well that seemed heartfelt.

Carmen: What do you want me to say?

Nathan: If you don’t miss me, then why were you crying when I walked up? And don’t give me that bullshit about a sudden migraine.

Carmen: You don’t want an honest answer to that.

Nathan: Seriously?

Carmen: Fine! I was crying because I just watched the series finale of Spartacus, and he died. Happy? (She starts to tear up again.)

Nathan: What the fuck.

(Long pause as Carmen calms herself.)

Carmen: You know, I was thinking about you the other day. And I was missing you and being all sad. And I had this pain in my chest, and I thought “I miss him so much that my heart is literally hurting.” And then I thought about how terribly romantic and pathetic that sounded. But then, I realized that the heart is more like in the center of the chest, and it was the left side that was hurting.

Nathan: Aren’t you kind of young for a heart attack?

Carmen: (Ignores him) It was then that I realized, my left boob misses you.

(Beat)

Nathan: I can fix that.

(Beat)

Carmen: (chooses to ignore the innuendo) But you know what’s really helped me get over all the shit between us that would otherwise be smothering me in heartbreak?

Nathan: Boob massage?

Carmen: No. Spartacus. I get lost in that show. I care about the gladiators and the slaves they’ve freed. I care about whether or not Spartacus will end up sleeping with that Roman chick. I want Gannicus to be a good guy, and instead he gets fucking crucified (She starts crying again, but stops almost instantly) The point is, watching this show, I can cry over these characters instead of crying over you, and that makes me feel good.

Nathan: So, I don’t want to sound like a jealous asshole or anything, but I know when you used to watch that show with me it made you all frisky and shit, so… when you’re watching this show and you get like that… who are you turning to?

Carmen: Well, the last few episodes have had more blood than sex, so that hasn’t exactly been a problem.

Nathan: O, well, that’s good then. (Beat) But seriously, I can fix that boob issue for you.

Carmen: Damn it, Nathan! (Deep breath) So how’s the new job going?

Nathan: I don’t think it’ll last long. The managers are all dicks.

Carmen: Wasn’t that the problem at the last place, too?

Nathan: Good management is hard to find.

Carmen: For the love of… (Jasmine enters left.) O thank God.

Jasmine: You guys are still here?

Carmen: Yea, come back and join us.

Jasmine: But I’ve got that thing with Jeremy.

Carmen: He can wait. (Carmen stands and physically forces Jasmine to sit)

Jasmine: So, what’ve you guys been talking about?

Nathan: Spartacus and Carmen’s boobs.

Carmen: Can we drop the boob issue now? Please?

Jasmine: Yes, please, let’s drop that issue. Also the Spartacus issue, because seriously, I’m tired of her bursting into tears when she remembers he’s dead.

(Carmen starts crying again.)

Jasmine: Damn it.

Nathan: I still don’t get how you can cry over the death of a fictional character (Jasmine starts to interrupts but he quickly adds) yes, I know he was a real historical figure, but she’s crying over the fictional version. Anyway, I don’t get how you can cry over that, but not the death of our relationship.

Carmen: I already told you! (She puts her head on the table and sobs as Jasmine and Nathan talk)

Nathan: How long has this been going on?

Jasmine: All afternoon. I thought she wanted to grab lunch and talk about you, but she just keeps crying over Spartacus.

(A faint wail issues from Carmen’s bowed head)

Nathan: Did our relationship really mean that little to her?

Jasmine: I don’t think that’s the problem. I think she just can’t focus on more than one guy at a time, and since you removed yourself from the picture, that guy is now Spartacus.

Nathan: Well that sucks. (Beat) Does this mean she and I are really over?

Jasmine: Hell if I know. You guys will have to figure that out for yourselves.

Carmen suddenly sits up and takes a deep breath. She has stopped crying, and she looks extremely happy.

Carmen: Holy shit, I just remembered! There might be a Caesar spinoff!

The End

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