isis: (darren)
[personal profile] isis posting in [community profile] pacifi_cant
Slings & Arrows, gen, 540 words, PG.


The Minister of Cheap Tricks and Bare Bosoms

"Uh-oh," said Richard, and Darren looked up to see the Minister of Culture bearing down on them like a battleship. Quickly he downed the rest of the cheap cabernet in his glass, and immediately wished for more. This was more Richard's sphere, the necessary hobnobbing with the masses. And, of course, with the mandarins who controlled their grant money. But he, Darren, was an artist. He should be above kowtowing to their petty concerns. Especially during the intermission of their opening night gala.

"An interesting production," she said. She fixed her gimlet gaze upon Darren.

"Actually, it is not," said Darren blandly. "It is pabulum for the masses. But do they ask for soliloquies? They do not. They ask for musical numbers, explosions, animals, and naked breasts."

"Well, I can't deny you've delivered those."

"And you can't deny they fill seats," said Richard. His voice was full of artificially hearty hail-fellow-well-met, and Darren wondered how many glasses of cheap cabernet had gone down that nervous gullet.

"No. But I'm the Minister of Culture, Richard, not the Minister of Cheap Tricks and Bare Bosoms."

Darren glared at her. "Cheap tricks?"

She shrugged. "If it quacks like a duck…"

"Of course it quacks!" Richard said quickly. "And that trick did not come cheap."

"I don't think she's talking about the sound effects, Richard."

"Goddamn right I'm not." The Minister of Culture gestured around the theatre lobby. "I remember when this was a Shakespeare festival theatre."

"This is still –" started Richard, but she steamrollered over him. "When was the last time you put on a play actually by Shakespeare? Two seasons ago? Three?"

"Last season," Richard informed her smugly. "The Merry Desperate Housewives of Windsor."

"Loosely based on the play," added Darren.

"Yeah, right. You waved a copy of the play over the stage." She shook her head. "You receive funding because you are bringing culture to the masses. And you are going to stage an actual Shakespeare play next season, or your money…" She drew her hand across her neck with what seemed to Darren to be inappropriate relish. "Now, if you gentlemen will excuse me, I'm going to go get drunk enough that I can enjoy the second half of your bread and circuses."

She strode off. Darren shook his head. "She's a fucking Lady Macbeth."

"That's it," said Richard, looking relieved. "You'll stage Macbeth next season. I mean, the Scottish Play." He gave Darren what he no doubt thought was a knowing look, but it came off more like a leer.

"Oh, joy."

"I have complete faith in you," said Richard. The lights blinked, and people began to file back into their seats. Darren followed, thinking.

Macbeth. Modern setting, government bureaucrats, a rebel coup. What if he cast Macbeth as a woman, and Lady Macbeth her radical lesbian lover, in slogan-bedecked t-shirts that could be ripped off in the heat of battle, whose strike at the seat of power represented a fight against the entrenched patriarchy? Of course the swordfight at the end would have to be a gunfight. No, an incendiary bomb; even better.

The lights dimmed, and Darren smiled. Somewhere in the wings, a quack rang out.

--

for [personal profile] kinetikatrue
prompt: "Of course it quacks!"
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