Best Drama


::The curtain falls, then reopens on a solitary table that wouldn't look out of place in an Italian bistro, complete with a checkered tablecloth, breadsticks, and so forth.  The lighting is warm and mellow, but somewhat unsettling.

Chip walks in from stage right, sits himself at the table, and sighs disheartedly, elbows resting on the table.  A short while later, Dale walks in from the opposite direction.  The two exchange glances, then Chip nods.  Dale pulls out a chair, sits down, and also sighs.

As soon as the two depressed chipmunks are seated, Monterey Jack walks out from behind some background scenery, Zipper hovering at his shoulder.  Both are dressed as chefs, complete with poofy white hats::

Monty: Well, mates, what'll it be tonight?

::The usual, the two chipmunks mumbled in unison::

Monty: Err... right.


::Monty looks out at the audience, points in the direction of the depressed lads, and rolls his eyes in exasperation.


Monty: Two Ch-ch-cheese Surprises, comin' right up, lads!


::Monty and Zipper quickly retreat back behind the scenery. After a long, brooding silence, Chip is the first to speak::

Chip: Dale, have you ever wondered: Why is life such a pain?

::Dale appears genuinely puzzled::


Dale: Umm... of course, Chip.  But let's pretend I don't know what you're talking about.

::Chip is clearly annoyed by Dale's evasiveness, but presses on with his point
for now::


Chip (patiently): I mean, why our lives are so full of drama?

Dale: Drama? But I always thought our lives were more of a comic action-adventure.


Chip (bristles): Oh, sure, maybe in the early days.  But it seems like everything's changed since 1995.

Dale (shrugging): I really have no idea what you could possibly mean.

Chip: Oh, come on, Dale! Remember what happened at my birthday party?

Dale: Which one? You know you're almost-

::The audience laughs a little as Chip quickly changes the subject::


Chip: Or what about all those times one of Gadget's inventions nearly kills someone?

Dale: Doesn't that happen to us almost every day?

Chip (conceding): Well... yes. But you have to admit that bat was creepy.

Dale (puzzled): Foxy?

::An inverted Foxglove drops in from the ceiling::


Foxy: Hi, cutie!


::She gives Dale a hug, then flaps offstage and over the audience, disappearing out the back::

Chip: No, the other one.

::Both chipmunks shudder::

Dale: Oh, hey, Chip, I just thought of one! What about that time Gadget was mistaken for Lawhiney, and you couldn't tell them a-

Chip: N-no, that was a mystery (blushes bright red). Nothing dramatic about it at all.

Dale: You sure? Because I coulda sw-

Chip (mildly annoyed): But look, Dale, don't you see the common thread?

Dale (grins): Moonwalk Jackson?


::The audience laughs::

Chip (sighs): Drama, Dale, drama!

Dale: Why, Chip? What makes all that stuff drama? Sounds like the stuff we do every
day, doesn't it?

Chip: Well, that's obvious! It's because…it's because...

Gadget: Well golly, Chip, that's easy!

Chip and Dale: Hellllooo, Gadget!


::They weren't exactly sure where she'd come from, but she immediately had their complete attention. Gadget clears her throat, about to enter explanation mode::

Gadget: Drama is a literary form dating back at least to the times of ancient Greece. The word 'drama' itself comes from the Greek word for 'action.' Dramas are simply stories with actors acting out and speaking the roles.

Dale (puzzled): But I'm not an actor.

::Gadget gave Dale a dazzling smile.  Dale was duly dazzled::


Gadget: Of course not, Dale.  But over time, the term 'drama' has come to be a sort of catch-all category for stories which aren't meant to be funny, or romantic, or adventurous, or mysterious, or-

Chip (interrupting): We get the idea, Gadget…

Gadget: Oh, right.  Anyway, dramas are stories about life itself, and the individuals living those lives.  More than other genres, it's about things that happen.  A romance or a comedy doesn't need a particularly strong plot, although there's no reason they can't have one.  Plot is essential to a drama.

::It takes a moment for the chipmunks to realize Gadget's done::


Chip and Dale: Thanks, Gadget!

Gadget: Anytime, guys!

::As she walks off stage left, Dale looks on admiringly::


Dale: Didja ever know Gadget had such an interest in the th-e-a-ter?

Chip (warning): I wouldn't encourage it.


::For some reason he couldn't quite fathom, he had a gut feeling he shouldn't let Gadget get involved in acting. Dale looked like he wanted to object, but Monty and Zipper arrived with two covered silver platters::


Monty: Your orders, gentlemen.  As me French cousins would say, 'Bon appetit!'

::Monty whisks away the covers, exposing two oil-stained envelopes::


Monty:  I give you... the 2006 Golden Acorn Award nominees for Best Drama!

::With that, the chipmunks get up from their seats, Gadget returns to the stage, and all the Rangers take a bow to the audience's applause.  In the background, stagehands clear away the props and scenery, leaving the stage bare except for the podium. After the applause from the audience dies down, Gadget and Zipper leave the stage. Monty's about to do the same when Chip puts a paw on his shoulder::

Chip: Monty, that was certainly a Surprise, but what happened to the Cheese?

Monty (flustered): I, um, ahem, that is to say…

Chip: Never mind.  Dale, if you'll do the honors?

Dale: Why most certainly, Chip!


::He opens the cheese-scented envelope and pulls out a list with an exaggerated flourish::


Dale: And the nominees are:

The Lost Rangers, by UrthQuake
May Day Mayday, by Dave White
Gadget in Chains, by Loneheart
Lost And Found, by Midnight Man
The Purloined Playboy, by RangerReady23
Friends and Enemies, by Lightindark
Closer Than a Brother, by BOC42
Due South, by RangerReady23
Foxglove, a Life to Remember, by Lightindark76
A Bat and a Chipmunk, by Lightindark76
On a Wingnut and a Prayer, by Stainless Steel Rat
The Day Chip Didn't Die, by Toni

::Chip opens his own envelope::


Chip: And the winner is…it's a trifecta! Urthquake for "The Lost Rangers", BOC42 for "Closer Than a Brother", and Loneheart for "Gadget in Chains"!

::UrthQuake makes his way to the podium once more, smiling proudly.  He takes the award from the diminutive cyborg and looks at it for a while, he then steps up to speak::

UrthQuake: Wow... I won Best Drama... That means a lot to me, everyone!  Because "The Lost Rangers", is, in my mind, first and foremost, a dramatic story.  More than that, I consider it to be.. a romance, oddly enough, but it wasn't nominated, which is alright; romance is merely another form of drama, after all...

::UrthQuake settles in, his tone more conversational::


UrthQuake: But yeah, I have found in crafting this story, that there is a lot of drama to be milked from our heroes.  Whether it be from events we saw on the show, to events that have been invented by fanfic writers over the years, there are many ways we can shape the relationships and conflicts between... and within... the characters to create awesomely dramatic moments.


The scene a lot of you may remember--I won't spoil it for those who haven't read it, but suffice it say it has a song in it--I think is so moving because it not just ends a relationship... it memorializes it, makes it into something... almost transcendant... That is good drama, and I guess that's how I want to present the drama in this story:  as how the relationships between and within the Rangers change.  And... if I ever get off my duff and finish the dang thing...

::He chuckles::

UrthQuake: Anyway, I make this promise to my faithful readers:  Darkness Falls will be done this year!  And at the end, I hope you all will experience many more dramatic moments like the one I alluded to.  I will treasure this award always, and I thank you all!

::He gets a bit misty-eyed as he leaves the stage. Meanwhile, BOC42 blushes deeply and walks onstage, her loosely curled hair bobbing.  She smiles shyly at the Rangerphiles as she takes her place behind the podium::


Boxy: Wow, you guys, I’m honestly not sure what to say.  I’m amazed I got this award. The competition this year was [i]unbelievable[/i]; I honestly didn’t think I stood a chance. 


::She smiles again as she continues::


Boxy: my dad would say, if you’ve received a compliment, say ‘thank you.’  So (pauses) I’ve always wanted to do this – I’d like to thank my wonderful family for being supportive of my writing craziness, and especially my sister for putting up with me and not throwing me out of our room while I was writing this.  I also want to thank Silver Shadow for beta reading for me and for driving me batty for the last few weeks asking if anything had happened that I couldn’t tell him about.


::Boxy pauses and waves down to Silver and sticks her tongue out at him::


Boxy: And I guess I should also thank my math class, for giving me time to rethink several plot holes and other stuff.


::Boxy laughs and shakes her head as the audience laughs too::


Boxy: Anywho, thanks to all of you for reading my story and voting for me…it means the world to me.


::Boxy blows kisses to the audience and leaves the stage grinning. As she does, the curtain goes up and a beautiful white mouse in a sparkling blue evening dress walks up to the podium. She smiles broadly::


Jennifer: Hello everybody. My name's Jennifer Talbert-Hall. Loneheart said it was only fair that I should get to pick up the award because I haven't made an acceptance speech before. Those of you who read "Gadget in Chains" may remember that it was always my big ambition to appear on stage. I thought "Gadget in Chains" would be my big break – who knew I'd have to wait [i]seven years[/i] for the story to end and win Best Drama of 2006?


::The audience laughs and Loneheart ducks and covers::


Jennifer: Best Drama, huh? You know something? The symbol for acting is a pair of masks: the smiling one for comedy and the crying one for tragedy. It makes sense, not just because a good performer can do both, but because sometimes you have to go on and do comedy when you'd rather be crying in a darkened room somewhere, and sometimes you have to go on and pretend to cry when you just can't wait for the after show party!


::Jennifer settles in at the podium, sensing it's her time to share::


Jennifer: Working on Gadget in Chains was a little like that. We don't exactly have a blooper real – there are some cut scenes which we may or may not get around to putting on line some day – but we did have fun off-set…


::Jennifer leans a little toward the audience, conspiratorially::


Jennifer: Like the time Gadget was locked in the straitjacket and that Hannibal Lector mask and everyone pretended to go home for the day. Or when we were working on Dale's afterlife scene and we couldn't find him on set. Just as Basil was complaining about the delay, Dale had himself lowered onto the set dressed in a slip, a tinsel halo and a pair of cardboard and glitter wings!


::The audience laughs and Dale jumps up on top of his seat, bowing::


Jennifer: There were bad times too, of course. Like the time we lost the key to Gadget's handcuffs and couldn't find them until the next morning, and the time Lawhiney's wheelchair got away from someone and rolled down eight flights of stairs.


::Jennifer stops, struck by a sudden thought::


Jennifer: Actually, the way Lawhiney acts on set is pretty much the way she acts behind the scenes too, so maybe that last one should count as a good time!


::The audience laughs again, and from the villains' box a certain Hawaiian steams::


Jennifer: Seriously, we were all sad when the story came to an end. Well, except Gadget. She was overjoyed but can you blame her? But Loneheart said he was going to miss all of us, so I'm going to pass on his thanks, not just for this Golden Acorn, but for giving him one more chance to work with his old friends.


::Jennifer holds the award up high to the applause of the audience, blows kisses and leaves the stage. Dale walks off arm in arm with Chip.  Both chipmunks are beaming, a marked contrast to how they had opened the skit.

Chip: Gadget. What a gal…

Dale: I'll say.  Hey, Chip, do you remember what we were so depressed about?

Chip: Not a clue, Dale.  Not a clue.

::From somewhere backstage comes an anguished cry::

Voice: Waiter! There's a flea in my soup!

Monty: This isn't a restaurant, sir!

::The two chipmunks look at each other, and shrug::