The Watchers

The Watchers is a longer one-act play set in a room on the upper floor of an old building in a city.  There is a table littered with pizzas and meatball sandwiches. On the table is an old phone; there are two wooden chairs facing the audience.  The two men, Johnny Murphy and Joe Antonelli,  have binoculars and as the action begins Antonelli, the taller of the two, is looking through his binoculars at the auditorium darkness while Murphy is finishing a piece of pizza.  Murphy tells Antonelli that he is lucky because women like him and says that the “guy” they are looking for will never show up.  Antonelli says that he sees the girl.  Looking at her with his binoculars, Murphy says she is a sweet girl and wonders if it is her place.  The men talk about a girl named Mary, skunks, crows, David Hume and billiard balls, nicknames, the possibility of someone watching them as they watch others, .  The girl apparently disrobes to take a shower and Murphy is convinced that she knows she is being watched.  Antonelli suggests that Murphy’s idea of an infinite regress of people watching other people could be a circle, a universe that is finite but unbounded.  Murphy wonders if what they are doing is all they have ever done, that what they think is their past is an illusion, that they are in a room in hell.  Antonelli says that even if they are being watched, if they are not aware of it, it doesn’t matter.  Murphy wonders why they are watching, or what the people did, or the person they should report to, or when they last got paid.  When he asks Antonelli what he wants, Antonelli replies that he wants Murphy to shut up.  Antonelli says that he wants to touch the girl they are watching, or at least be in the same room with her.  He says that when Murphy goes to the bathroom, he called her on the phone but hung up when she answered.  He thinks though that the call had meaning for her.  He says he remembered the girl’s phone number, but he doesn’t know how, and he thinks he used to know her.  He thinks he might try to bump into her on the street and ask directions, but Murphy says he knows he can’t do that because it would be fraternization which is against the rules.  Murphy says that maybe he can’t keep quiet because he wants Antonelli to kill him   The telephone begins ringing, again and again, until Antonelli picks it up.  No one is there.  Looking through his binoculars, Antonelli says that he thinks he sees a man in the shadows.  Murphy thinks that he and Antonelli have been set up by unknown persons for unknown reasons.  He says that he saw Antonelli crying as the man and the woman across the street were “doing the act of darkness.”  Antonelli denies it but Murphy believes the phone call was to make sure they were still in the room and that someone is coming for them.  Antonelli loses his temper and tells Murphy he doesn’t want to look any more, that he wants to be blind.  There are five loud knocks on the door, a pause, five more, a pause as the men look at each other, then three very loud knocks and blackout.

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