Ape Fools Day
A Tribe Quokka Theater Company Production
Produced by Haka Labs
Written by Dante Vassallo
Created by Brett Summerville
Cast of Characters In Order of Appearance
It was another beautiful day on Quokka Island as Miss Farrah walked nervously into the playhouse of the Tribe Quokka Theater Company. Today was the day she promised to announce this year’s play to her little acting troupe, and most of them were already there awaiting for her to arrive. She could see the excitement on their happy joey faces, and she worried about disappointing the kids with her choice for the show.
“Ok, everyone. I know you have all been waiting to learn about your next performance, so here it is,” Miss Farrah said.
“Shouldn’t we wait for my brother Jack?” a joey named Sophia asked.
“You mean “Stage Crew?”” said a mischievous joey named Finn. “He’s not one of the actors.”
Just then Jack came rushing into the playhouse. “Sorry I’m late, everyone,” he said as he pushed a cart through the door. “Mr. SherQuok was helping me fix the lights for the stage.”
“It’s ok, Jack. We were just getting started,” Miss Farrah kindly responded as she continued her big announcement. “This year is a major anniversary of one of the most important days in our history.”
“Sweet! We’re doing a play about my birthday?” a Joey named Oliver said which made all the other kids giggle.
“Close!” Miss Farrah said with a smile. “This year our play will be about Ape Fools Day.”
The laughter immediately stopped.
“Miss Farrah, this is some sick joke, right?” asked Sophia.
“She must be joking because nobody wants to see a show about the worst day on our island,” replied Archie. “Quokkas won’t even mention Ape Fools Day, let alone enjoy a play about it.”
“Oh, I’m not joking,” Miss Farrah said. “I have the script right here.”
“Awesome!” said Finn as he quickly snatched the script out of her hand.
It was well understood by all quokkas that Ape Fools Day was not a popular day on the Island. Since no one liked to talk about it, most of the joeys didn’t really know what actually happened that day. They just knew it was a very bad day for Tribe Quokka.
“I’m not afraid to talk about it,” Finn said. “I know everything there is to know about Ape Fools Day.”
“Okay, Finn. That’s great. Would you like to tell us what you know?” Miss Farrah asked.
“It’s a pretty simple story, really. Some dopey quokka left the door to Diamond Cave unlocked. Mutant Mal came along, smacked a bunch of quokkas around, stole all our diamonds, and left. End of story.” Finn explained. “It’s going to be a pretty short play.”
“Well, you're not completely wrong,” Miss Farrah said. “You did leave out a few important facts though.”
“Oh right. I forgot. After Mutant Mal came out of the cave with the diamonds, he smacked around a few more quokkas and called them all losers.” Finn added. “Now that’s the kind of role I was born to play.”
“I’m really sorry Miss Farrah, but I don’t think I want to be in this play,” Sophia sadly uttered.
I don’t think my parents will let me be in this play.” Oliver remarked.
Most of the other joeys nodded in agreement.
“Trust me. I promise t’s going to be okay. ” Miss Farrah said.
“No worries,” Finn said. “I don’t need any of them anyway. Just have Mr. SherQuok and “Stage Crew” over there make up some quokka props for me to smash, and I’ll do the whole show myself.”
“Finn, please stop teasing Jack,” Miss Farrah said. “Each quokka on our island is important in their own way and brings a unique set of skills. We all work together and rely on each other.”
“If you say so,” Finn said as he rolled his eyes.
Miss Farrah passed around the scripts and asked them all to go home and decide if they’d like to participate, and if so, which characters they wanted to play.
The auditions were being held a few days later at the playhouse. Miss Farrah sat at a table facing the stage. Jack, who always volunteered to be in the stage crew, stood alone on the stage waiting to announce each joey.
“First up is Isabel and she is auditioning to be the narrator in our play,” said Jack.
A joey named Isabel walked out onto the stage and began to speak. “G’day everyone,” she said. “Tonight I am pleased to present..”
“Very good. You got the part. Thank you,” Miss Farrah interrupted.
“What? I did? I got the part?” Isabel said happily.
“You’ve been the narrator of every single play we’ve ever done. Nobody introduces a scene quite like you do Isabel. Of course you got the part!”
“Oh thank you, Miss Farrah! Thank you!” Isabel said as she ran off stage.
“Next up is Finn. He is auditioning for the role of Mutant Mal,” Jack announced. He pulled hard on a rope next to the stage as a big red curtain opened. Finn stepped forward wearing a homemade Mutant Mal mask. He growled and puffed out his chest trying to look as scary as possible.
“RAAAARH! I’m Mutant Mal and you’re all losers!” he roared.
He waited as Jack wheeled out a board laying across two big blocks. When it was in place, Finn gave it a karate chop. It didn’t break.
“Losers!” he shouted again with another chop. It didn’t break. “Losers!” Chop. Still not a crack.
“Ok. Thank you, Finn. I will let you know if you get the part,” Miss Farrah said.
“Let me know? Who else do you have in mind? There’s nobody else here!” Finn exclaimed.
“No one else wants to play Mal?” Miss Farrah asked.
Jack walked back on stage. “He’s right, Miss Farrah. Most of the others aren’t allowed to be in the show, and the ones who were allowed are just too scared of Ape Fools Day,” Jack explained. “I couldn't even convince my sister and everyone knows Sophia loves acting in this theater company.”
“Ok,” Miss Farrah said sadly. You can all go home then. We’ll figure it out somehow. We always do.”
Long after everyone else had gone, Finn was still sitting on the stage reading through his copy of ‘Ape Fools Day.’ He read the whole thing cover to cover and was astonished by what he learned. He read it again and again. When he finished, he jumped from the stage and walked out the door with a determined look on his face.
His first stop was his friend Archie’s house. Archie was sitting on a fallen tree and reading a comic book when Finn found him. Finn walked up, took the comic from him, and handed him the script. “You wanna read something?” Finn said. “You oughta be reading your lines.”
“Pass,” Archie said as he tried to hand it back to Finn.
“Did you even read it?” Finn asked.
“What’s the point? Nobody else is doing that play,” Archie explained.
“I didn’t think you read it,” Finn said, taking the script back and turning a couple of pages before handing it back to Archie and pointing. “Look here. HE is one of the characters! Nobody on this island does a better imitation of him than you. Now’s your chance to do it on stage.” Archie opens his eyes wide as he reads the name of one of the characters in the script.
“I’m in!” he exclaims.
The two joeys walk off together to Oliver’s hut. That visit didn’t go quite as well. Oliver’s mum heard them talking and came out screaming. “No! No! No! No joey of mine is going to be in a play about Ape Fools Day! No!” she said while dragging Oliver by the ear.
“I think uh… it’s a “No” for her,” said Finn.
Actually I think that was all the “No’s” ever. What do you think?” Archie asked.
“Oh I don’t know. She seemed undecided to me,” joked Finn.
They moved on to Jack and Sophia’s hut next. Jack answered the door when they got there. “Oh hi, fellas,” he said. “What brings you here?”
“We’re looking for your sister. Is she home?” Finn asked. Jack called for Sophia, and she came to the door.
“Bummer about the play, huh? I can’t imagine not doing a show this year,” Sophia said.
“Then don’t imagine it. Do the show with us,” Archie said.
“What? You can’t be serious. Wait. You are serious,” Sophia said. “I mean, I get why Finn wants to do it so he can play Mutant Mal and call us all losers. But Archie? You?” He nodded.
“It’s a good play, Sophia,” Finn said. “There’s a strong female lead, and you’re the best actor on the island. We need you. The Quokka Theater Company needs you. And if none of that matters, Miss Farrah needs you.” He hands her the script and points to a certain part. Sophia reads it and her jaw drops open.
“I had no idea!” Sophia gasped.
“None of us did,” said Archie.
“No idea about what?” asked Jack who came outside when he heard the fuss. Sophia smiled at her brother.
“I’ll do it on one condition,” Sophia said.
“Name it,” said Finn.
“My brother Jack here has to be in it with us and you have to stop calling him “Stage Crew,”’ Sophia said.
“That’s two conditions,” corrected Finn.
“Those are my terms,” Sophia said seriously.
“Done,” said Finn.
“Hold on! Don’t I get a say in this?” asked Jack.
“NO!!!” all three said. Jack let out a huge sigh.
“Let’s head over to Miss Farrah’s hut right now and tell her we want to do the play,” said Sophia. “We need to start rehearsals as soon as possible.”
Miss Farrah was delighted when they arrived and told her the great news. “I’m so happy that you all changed your minds. It really means a lot to me,” she said.
“You mean a lot to all of us,” Sophia said. “We love our little theater company, and I can’t believe I get to play you on stage! You’re my idol!”
Miss Farrah blushed. “I know you’ll be great, and Finn, despite your unfortunate karate display, I’ve decided to give you the part of Mutant Mal,” Miss Farrah said.
“Thanks, Miss Farrah. But after reading the script, there’s someone else I’d rather play,” Finn said.
“Oh. Ok. We’ll just have to find someone else then for the role of Mutant Mal,” Miss Farrah said.
“I know the perfect joey to play Mutant Mal. Leave it to me,” Finn said.
It was the night of the big show. Every quokka on the island was making their way into the theater except for one. That quokka’s name was Grizz, but everyone on the island called him “Mean Old Grizz.” Although they would never say it to his face, of course. The next day was going to be the anniversary of the worst day in Quokka Island history, a day the quokkas all tried to forget, and this year’s play was going to be all about it.
To Grizz, the only thing worse than watching any play, would be watching a play about Ape Fools Day. Like every year on this day, Grizz would be nowhere to be found. But Grizz wasn’t the only one who wasn’t excited to see a play about Ape Fools Day. In fact, even though all of the other quokkas loved Miss Farrah’s plays, they didn’t even like to think about that day. It scared them, and they didn’t understand why she chose to do a show about it. The joeys in the show were also worried that their parents would be mad.
Mayor MerQuok walked onto the stage and looked out at the angry audience. “Good evening and welcome to the Tribe Quokka Theater Company’s performance of Ape Fools Day,” Mayor MerQuok announced.
The crowd was silent. “Booooo!” someone in the crowd suddenly shouted.
“Now, now. None of that. Let’s all try to remember that these are all our joeys, and they have worked really hard to put on a great show for us.” the Mayor said. “Now I know that we don’t like to talk about Ape Fools Day, but I think you might feel differently after this performance.”
Backstage, the joeys were all incredibly nervous. “Did you hear that? They’re booing us before we’ve even started? What are they going to do when they see how bad our acting is?” Jack cried.
“Speak for yourself, Jack. I intend to crush my scenes,” Finn said.
“Ok everyone, settle down. You are all going to crush it tonight. The crowd will come around. You’ll see,” Miss Farrah said. “Has anyone seen Oliver?”
“Oh no! He’s not here? Finn! You said you handled it! What are we going to do?” Isabel cried.
“I did. I did. He’ll be here. Don’t worry,” Finn said.
On stage, Mayor MerQuok was finishing up his introduction. “I now proudly present, Ape Fools Day!” the Mayor said. Once again, none of the quokkas in the audience clapped.
The curtain opened to reveal a miniature village bustling with quokkas.
Isabel/Narrator: “Once upon a time, Quokka Island was a peaceful place, with nothing but happy and friendly quokkas everywhere.”
A quokka carrying a huge laundry basket smashes into another quokka who was running across the stage. They both fall down and clothes spill out of the basket all over the stage.
Archie/Grizz: “Hey! Watch where you’re going!”
Sophia/Farrah: “Oh. Sorry Grizz. I didn’t see you there.”
“Boooo!” the crowd yells again at the mention of the name Grizz. Archie looks nervous and afraid to continue.
“It’s ok Archie,” Sophia whispers. “Just keep going.”
Archie/Grizz: “Hey! Watch where you’re going.”
“You already said that!” shouted a quokka in the audience.
Embarrassed by his mistake, Archie started to scurry off of the stage, but Sophia caught him by the arm and whispered his line to him. He tried again.
“Oh just let him go. Nobody likes Grizz anyway!” said the same quokka in the crowd.
Archie/Grizz: “You need to be more careful. There are enough dangers on this island without you running around crashing into everyone, Farrah.”
Sophia/Farrah: “Oh, yeah. A quokka with a basket of dirty laundry is really dangerous compared to a maniac running around everywhere like the sky is falling!”
The audience burst out laughing, but then quickly stopped, trying not to like the show.
Sophia/Farrah: “Ya know. You could help me pick up these “dangerous” clothes instead of just scowling at me.”
Archie/Grizz: “I’m too busy keeping everyone on this island safe. Find some other quokka to help you with your laundry!”
Archie puffs out his chest and strides off the stage trying to look mean and tough and drawing a few laughs from the crowd with his Grizz impression. Sophia now faces the audience.
Sophia/Farrah: “It’s always so nice to bump into Grizz when he’s in a good mood.”
She walks off stage with her laundry basket and a few quokkas in the audience start to clap but quickly stop. The curtain closes. Isabel now comes back out onto the stage.
Isabel/Narrator: “Little did they know that while the quokkas were being “nice and friendly” to each other, something terrible was lurking just off the shore of their peaceful island.”
Two joeys walk to the center of the stage and unroll a large painting of a monster in a pirate ship looking through a spyglass. The joeys sway back and forth, making it look like the ship is floating in the sea.
“Hey, I like that. That’s pretty good!” a quokka in the audience randomly shouts.
Isabel/Narrator: “Later, as the quokkas slept in their huts, Mutant Mal landed on Quokka Island’s shores!”
Backstage, a joey dressed in a Mutant Mal costume came bursting up the steps. “Am I too late?” Oliver asked. “I had to wait until my mum left before I put on my costume.”
“Right on time,” Miss Farrah said. “That was your cue. Go!”
Oliver slipped through the curtain and found his mark. Suddenly, the two joeys holding up the large picture lowered it to the stage to reveal Mutant Mal.
Oliver/Mutant Mal: “Raaarrrr!!!”
The audience gasped. A quokka in the front row fainted. Another fully grown quokka ran out screaming.
“Now THAT I don’t like at all,” the quokka in the audience from before said. Oliver continued.
Oliver/Mutant Mal: “I’m Mutant Mal. And you? Why… you’re all a bunch of losers!”
“Okay, I’m outta here,” that same quokka in the audience said as he quickly left the playhouse.
Several joeys come rushing out onto the stage and surround Mutant Mal.
Oliver/Mutant Mal: “Ha! What do you think you can possibly do to me?”
They all rush forward, and Mutant Mal begins knocking them down with his powerful fists. Some of the joeys hold up signs that say “POW” and “SMASH” as he knocks each joey down with his fake punches and karate kicks. It looks very silly, and some nervous laughter goes through the audience.
While the funny fight was happening, some of the other joeys in the stage crew had quickly moved a large cave entrance prop onto the stage. Once Mutant Mal had defeated all of his attackers, he headed into the cave and the curtain closed. Sophia runs out on stage.
Sophia/Farrah: “Oh no! Who could have done this? I’ve got to find help. I’ve got to find Grizz! He may not be very nice, but he is always there when we need him most.”
The audience boos again when she says Grizz’s name. Sophia runs off stage. The curtain opens again, and Grizz is locked up in a fake cage. Pretending to be Mean Old Grizz, Oliver angrily shakes the bars as the curtain closes.
Isabel then comes back out onto the stage.
Isabel/Narrator: “We will now have a brief intermission. Please stretch your legs and help yourselves to some refreshments before we start the second half of the show.”
Many of the quokkas from the audience were talking by the refreshment stand as they waited to return to the theater.
“Did you know Grizz was trapped in a cage the day Mutant Mal attacked?” one asked.
“I had no idea,” replied another. “I kinda feel bad for him now.”
“Well I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it does change things a bit, doesn’t it?” said the first quokka.
Backstage, all of the joeys are talking and laughing. “Wow, Archie! Your Grizz impression was amazing!” Sophia said to him.
“Thanks to you Sophia,” Archie said. “I froze and tried to bail, but you pulled me through it. I think you totally won over the audience, at least two or three quokkas anyway.”
Sophia laughed. “And how about Oliver coming in right on cue? Bit dramatic, eh fella?”
“Ha! The real drama will begin once me mum figures out it’s me under this mask,” Oliver said.
Miss Farrah was beaming with pride as they all complimented each other. Even Finn, who hadn’t had any scenes yet, was praising the others. In fact, Miss Farrah had seen a change in Finn’s attitude since they started rehearsing and was surprised when he chose not to play the the role of Mutant Mal.
Suddenly, she noticed Jack standing all by himself and pacing. “How are you doing, Jack?” she asked.
“Ohhh… not good. Not good at all. Terrified, really. Absolutely terrified,” Jack answered.
“It’s natural to be nervous. Everyone gets that way before they go on stage. But once you do, it will all go away,” Miss Farrah swared.
“I don’t know. Finn may have been right,” Jack said. “Maybe I am just “Stage Crew” and my place is best left behind the curtain.”
“Please listen to me Jack,” Miss Farrah said. “You are one of the best stage crew captains I have ever had the pleasure to work with in all my years. Your creativity and attention to detail should be commended. You’ve taught the other crew members so much, but now it’s your turn to shine under the spotlight. Everyone is pulling for you because you deserve it.”
“That’s part of the problem. I don’t want to let everybody down,” Jack admitted.
“You can’t, Jack,” Miss Farrah replied. “No matter what happens out there on that stage, everyone will know that you did your best. You can’t possibly let any one of us down so I think you should face your fears. It can only make you stronger.”
Just then, Farrah heard an old familiar voice.
“Well, Farrah, you’ve done it again.”
Miss Farrah turned and saw an elderly man in a funny hat and fancy suit standing there. “Dr. Doofus! I didn’t know you would be here tonight!” Farrah cried as she threw her arms around his neck, giving him a big hug.
“Are you kidding me? You know I’d never miss one of the Tribe Quokka Theater Company’s world famous shows, especially not one as special as tonight’s,” Dr. Doofus said as he hugged her, too. “I know how much this one means to you. Hugh would be so proud.”
“I hope so. What do you think so far?” she asked nervously. “The crowd has been pretty tough out there.
“I think the joeys are doing an amazing job. I couldn’t be prouder of them. And of you. And you know what? I can sense that this once hostile crowd is starting to come around a bit, too,” he said with a wink. “Give them a chance. Tribe Quokka always comes through in the end.”
The curtain opens and we see a bunch of quokkas standing outside of Diamond Cave. Farrah is helping some of the injured ones when suddenly SherQuok races up to them from out of the woods.
Sophia/Farrah: SherQuok, I knew you’d come. But where is Grizz?
Jack/SherQuok: “I. Don’t. Know. Farrah.”
Sophia/Farrah: “What do you mean? He’s supposed to protect Diamond Cave. How could he abandon us when we needed him the most?”
Mutant Mal exits the cave holding a bag full of diamonds.
Jack/SherQuok: “Stop... Right... There... Unhand... Those... Diamonds... You... Thief.”
“Way to go, Jack! You nailed it!” a quokka in the audience yells, making the rest of them laugh. Jack lowers his head.
Sophia/Farrah: “Be careful, SherQuok!
Jack is frozen. Oliver looks at Sophia and shrugs, then he looks offstage at Miss Farrah who makes a “keep going” gesture with her hand.
Oliver/Mal: “Raaaarrr!! Out of my way, loser!”
Sophia/Farrah: “SherQuok, watch out!”
Jack/SherQuok: “It’s... OK... Farrah… The. Best. Way. To. Handle. A. Bully. (growing more confident) is to stand up to him! Now put those diamonds down!”
Oliver flinches and quickly sets the bag of diamonds on the stage. Jack shakes his head no, and Oliver picks the bag back up. The audience laughs.
Oliver/Mal: “I was…uh…I was just tricking you. Mutant Mal doesn’t take orders from losers!
“That’s not in the script, but I kinda like it,” Isabel says to Miss Farrah backstage. Miss Farrah just looks proudly at everyone on stage and shrugs.
Oliver/Mal: “You want the diamonds? Take ‘em!”
He swings the bag at SherQuok and knocks him to the ground. As he goes to kick him, Farrah jumps on top of SherQuok, shielding him from Mutant Mal’s blow. The monster stops and looks at her in surprise. He then begins walking away towards his ship.
The other quokkas prepare to attack, when someone abruptly runs onto the stage.
Finn/MerQuok: “Stop! Just let him go. There’s no need for anyone else to get hurt. Plus, I’m going to be your Mayor one day, so you need to do what I say.”
He expected the audience to laugh, but they didn’t. On stage, the quokkas stand down and Mutant Mal walks off. Before he exits, he stops and looks back at them.
The audience was silent.
Sophia/Farrah: “MerQuok! Where have you been?”
Finn/MerQuok: “It’s a long story and this is only a two act play.”
He pauses, expecting the audience to laugh again, but they don’t. It seems as though the scene of Mutant Mal calling them all losers and stealing their diamonds had upset them too much to respond.
Sophia/Farrah: “I can’t believe Grizz didn’t help us! What are we going to do now? We can’t survive without those diamonds.”
Jack/SherQuok: “I’m afraid Farrah is right. It’s not looking good for us, is it?”
Finn/MerQuok: “At the moment? No. But maybe this was just the thing we needed.”
Jack/SherQuok: “We needed a mutated ape to smack us around, steal our diamonds, and call us all losers?”
Finn/MerQuok: “I’ll admit, that part was a bit harsh, but look around.”
He motions to all of the quokkas bonding together and prepared to defend themselves.
Finn/MerQuok: “When that monster attacked, did we lie down, or did we tribe up? For the first time in our history, we stood together as one. Mark my words. Mutant Mal will be found and brought to justice. When future generations of quokkas look back on this day, they won’t remember it as the day our diamonds were taken. No, my friends, they will look back on this day as the day we became a tribe.”
Several quokkas in the audience began nodding their heads in agreement.
Finn/MerQuok: “They will look back on this day, as the day one misguided mutated menace thought he could push us around and make fun of us, but all he did was make us stronger. So you see my friends, he doesn’t know it yet, but the joke is on him. From here on out, this day shall be known as Ape Fools Day!”
The audience is silent as the final curtain closes. None of the quokkas in the crowd clap. All of the joeys gather together backstage.
“Well, they hated it,” Finn said.
“Who cares, Finn? Sophia said. “You were brilliant. That speech! Absolutely brilliant! No wonder you wanted to switch roles!”
“I just figured I’ve acted like a villain long enough. Thought I’d give being one of the heroes a try,” FInn said. “But if you ask me, my guy Jack stole the show. No more stage crew for that one. He’s lead role material.”
Jack blushed and Miss Farrah put a hand on his shoulder. “Well, I guess the mob is waiting for us. Should we take a bow or make a run for it?” Archie asked.
“I hope me mum left at the intermission,” Oliver worried.
“Listen. Whatever happens out there, please know that I’ve never been more proud of all of you,” Miss Farrah said as she gathered them up in a big hug. “You did a wonderful job tonight.”
The joeys felt really great, but that changed when they all went back onstage. The audience just stared at them in disbelief.
They bowed and quickly turned to leave. However, before they left, they began to hear a single quokka slowly clapping from far away. The silent crowd turned to see one old quokka now clapping louder as he stood by the very last row at the back of the playhouse.
A wave of murmurs went through the crowd as they all began to recognize the quokka. “Is that…” “No way…” “It can’t be him!”
“Of course it’s him,” Miss Farrah said with a smile.
The audience was so surprised and inspired that they too began clapping along with Grizz. They burst into cheers and applause as Miss Farrah and the joeys of the Tribe Quokka Theater Company took their bows again.
One quokka came running to the stage and marched up to Oliver, who was still wearing the Mutant Mal mask.
“Oliver? Is that you hiding behind that hideous mask?” Oliver’s mum asked.
He took off the mask and looked nervously up at his mum.
“I knew it!” she proudly exclaimed. “You were amazing! My joey’s a star, everyone! Did you see him up there on stage? He’s a star!”
Dr. Doofus handed Miss Farrah a bouquet of flowers and gave her a hug. She thanked him and then started passing the flowers to all the joeys so they could eat them.
From the stage, Dr. Doofus, Mayor MerQuok, and Miss Farrah admired the old quokka in the last row of the playhouse and waved in appreciation. Grizz nodded back then turned and quietly stepped out into the night. It was the perfect ending to a perfect night.