TAKING NIAGARA – A Short Play by Paul Hagen
SNAPPY is standing on The Maid of the Mist, the famous ferry that allows tourists to approach Niagara Falls. He is wearing a cheap blue poncho and has out his phone to take pictures of the falls.
SNAPPY:It can really be frustrating, when you’re on the boat and waiting,
Waiting for the perfect picture of the churning wall of foam
It can be intimidating, trying to be calculating,
When and from what angle you can grab a photo on your phone.
You may spend some time debating: are we still accelerating?
Shall we wait until we’re stiller to snap something to take home?
SNAPPY takes a few pictures on his phone but then shakes his head in disappointment when he examines them.
Yes, it can be somewhat grating seeing failures aggregating
One more fuck-up and I just might end up letting out a groan.
Still I keep on concentrating, gauging and recalculating,
While I’m staring at what’s falling wildly down a wall of stone.
Maybe they’ll be fascinating later when evaluating
Compared to the good ones I’ll show to everyone I’ve ever known.
SNAPPY raises his phone again, but is forced to lower it by the onslaught of a huge cloud of mist. He has to shout even louder to be heard over the sound of the Falls.
God, I feel so stuck debating whether there’s too much gyrating
Water in the air. I guess I’ll hold until I’m past this zone.
If I don’t, I’ll end up hating all of my commemorating,
It will look like nothing – ragged rectangles as white as bone.
But once the ship’s done rotating, it will be exhilarating.
I’m know I’ll be glad in the end I decided to postpone.
SNAPPY wipes the moisture out of his eyes and pushes back his hood as the mist begins to recede but he’s starting to look a bit the worse for wear.
Soon the mist must be abating at least enough for creating
Proof that nothing stops me – fearlessly I, through the world, did roam,
Boating may be nauseating but it’s not excruciating
Many have survived much worse than this sad seasickness syndrome,
Not wholly debilitating — though it may be complicating
Getting the right picture that I’ll treasure later when I’ve flown.
The mist clears dramatically and SNAPPY is suddenly able to see the Falls with perfect clarity. He is awed by his own photographic prowess!
Trust me, I’m not just placating, at last focus I’m locating,
Finally, the shots I wanted! Finally the falls have shown!
Wow! This is illuminating! More than I’d been speculating!
I cannot believe my luck! Just look at this — my mind is blown!
It woulda been humiliating — really, really devastating,
If I came and didn’t get a picture—
SNAPPY phone slips out of his grip and over the edge of the boat.
—shit! I dropped my phone!!
SNAPPY looks forlornly over the edge as LIGHTS FADE TO BLACK.