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TEAM PLAYER// LIBRETTO

Oda Fiskum 2016 (All rights reserved)

 

 

BOSS - Stereotypical

PRODIGY - Also stereotypical

MENTOR - Fairly successful

 

 

SCENE 1: ORDINARY PEOPLE

 

PRODIGY (soprano) and MENTOR (alto) are sitting at a table at Starbucks. MENTOR is drinking a cup of coffee, PRODIGY has nothing. BOSS (bass) is silently cleaning a mess at the next table, can’t help but notice that the conversation applies to him.

 

MENTOR
It is a shame. With all the ordinary people.

PRODIGY
Shame!

MENTOR
Working for money. And getting so little.

PRODIGY
Failure!

MENTOR
If you work for money, you should work for loads of money. Not little.
PRODIGY
Stupid! Waste! Pointless life!

MENTOR
A salary must be high.

Are you young?

PRODIGY
Twenty.

MENTOR
Young.
Promising.
Special.

Education for you.

PRODIGY
Thank you!

MENTOR
Still young?

PRODIGY Twenty-five.

 

MENTOR
Young. Promising. Special.
Scholarship for you.

PRODIGY
Thank you!

MENTOR
What about now?

PRODIGY
Twenty-seven.

MENTOR
Young. Promising. Special.

Project for you.

MENTOR gives PRODIGY a project. Should be something weird and banal, like gluing easter eggs onto a large taxidermy turtle. However, PRODIGY should be able to handle it with the same manner as one handles a laptop, perhaps addition glasses, iphone- earplugs, fancy hand cream, and other cafe-freelance-office-accessories.

PRODIGY
Salary?

MENTOR
Experience.

PRODIGY
Thank you thank you!

Exit MENTOR

BOSS comes over to clear away MENTOR’s cup. PRODIGY snatches it last minute and drinks from it.

BOSS
Would you like something to eat with that?

PRODIGY
Project! Have to work on project!

BOSS
Exciting?

PRODIGY
Yes. International.

 

BOSS
We have a lovely international puffin sandwich that goes particularly well with your international project and a freshly ground;-

PRODIGY
Busy!
Busy busy!

BOSS
-white, medium fat with a sprinkle of;-

PRODIGY
Project!
Project project!

BOSS
-with a delicate special starbucks layer of thinly sliced:-

PRODIGY
Busy!
And important!

BOSS
-for only ten fifty you can;-

PRODIGY
Creative!
International!

BOSS
-add a dollop of roasted candied frothed churned;-

PRODIGY
No!
No no!

Silence

PRODIGY
My table is dirty.

BOSS
Yes, sorry, right away.

BOSS cleans the table

PRODIGY
[hands him her cup] Cold.

BOSS
But;-

 

PRODIGY

COLD!

BOSS
Yes.
Sorry.
Right away.

 

BOSS takes the cup behind the counter, comes back with it. MENTOR enters again. Sits down and drinks from the new cup before PRODIGY has had a chance.

MENTOR

Fun?

 

PRODIGY Fun!

MENTOR Still young?
PRODIGY Twenty-nine.

MENTOR
Young. Promising. Special.

Project for you.

MENTOR gives PRODIGY a new equally bizarre project.

PRODIGY
Salary?

MENTOR
Exposure.

PRODIGY
Thank you!

PRODIGY works frenetically on project while MENTOR sips her coffee. BOSS hovers in the background.

MENTOR
...still young?

PRODIGY
Thirty.

Sinister happy birthday-theme. MENTOR promptly snatches the new project from PRODIGY and leaves.

 

PRODIGY
...project?

PRODIGY is about to have another sip of MENTOR’s coffee, but BOSS has managed to clear the table without her noticing. Their eyes meet, BOSS triumphantly carries the cup away.

 

 

SCENE 2: THE INTERVIEW

 

BOSS

Are you a loyal person?

 

PRODIGY
I am a very loyal person

 

BOSS
Are you a hard-working person?

 

PRODIGY
I am a very hard-working person.

 

BOSS
Are you a service-minded person?

 

PRODIGY
I am indeed a service-minded person.

 

BOSS
Are you an easy-going, happy-clappy, spirited, cheery, customer-friendly, lovely person?

 

PRODIGY
I am a very, very easy-going, happy-clappy, spirited, cheery, customer-friendly, lovely person.

 

BOSS
Are you a real person?

PRODIGY
Yes, I would say that I am a rather real person.

 

BOSS
And are you passionately devoted to pigeon shit?

 

PRODIGY
I am passionately devoted to pigeon shit.

 

BOSS
All kinds of pigeon shit?


PRODIGY
All kinds of pigeon shit.

BOSS
Wrong!

PRODIGY
Wrong?

 

BOSS Wrong.

...

 

PRODIGY
I am not passionately devoted to all kinds of pigeon shit. I am only passionately devoted to Starbucks Pigeon Shit.

 

BOSS
Are you passionately devoted to sharing and promoting all kinds of Starbucks pigeon shit?

 

PRODIGY

Yes. I am.

BOSS


Are you passionately devoted to doing so without disclosing compromising information about the contents and storage of our products to potential competitors?

 

PRODIGY

Passionately.

 

BOSS
Are you a team player?

 

PRODIGY
I am a team player.

 

BOSS
Good. You’re hired. Sign here.

 

 

SCENE 3: STORIES

 

BOSS
There was this customer. 

Came in here.
So hungry.
So cute.
The hungry ones; so cute.

I like the hungry ones.

[PRODIGY does not react]

I like;-
...the hungry ones?
Hungry ones?

[PRODIGY is very insecure]

PRODIGY
I like the hungry ones?

BOSS
Yes, so. This customer. Came in here. So hungry, so...?

PRODIGY
...cute?

BOSS
and he orders a Starbucks’ Magnificent Magpie Muffin!

[BOSS breaks down laughing, PRODIGY is confused]

BOSS
[choking with laughter] ...magnificent....magpie....muffin....

[PRODIGY is still confused]

BOSS
[furious] MAGNIFICENTMAGPIEMUFFIN!

[TRAINEE is terrified]

BOSS
[mockingly] We. Stopped. Selling. The. Magnificent. Magpie. Muffin. Six. Months. Ago.

 

[very awkward silence. PRODIGY suddenly gets is]

 

PRODIGY
...funny.... funny story?

[BOSS nods sternly]

[PRODIGY starts laughing hysterically. BOSS joins her.]


PRODIGY
Funny funny

BOSS
Whimsical!

PRODIGY
Whimsical story

BOSS
Silly customer!

PRODIGY
Whimsical customer


 

SCENE 4: THE CUSTOMER

 

BOSS
Say Welcome

PRODIGY Welcome.

MENTOR
Hello.

BOSS
Ask it how it is today.


PRODIGY
How are you today?

 

MENTOR
Um, I’m very well, thank you...?

BOSS
Ask it if it wants something to drink with that.

 

PRODIGY
Do you want something to drink with that?

 

MENTOR
No, thanks, I’m actually in a bit of a hurr..

 

BOSS
Put pressure on it!

 

PRODIGY
[Flustered, approaches MENTOR with hands at first but pulls them back last minute, BOSS is getting sterner and sterner while MENTOR is slowly freaking out, suddenly PRODIGY gets it]

 

PRODIGY

We have some lovely fresh batches of pigeon shit here today just carried up from the basement [BOSS kicks PRODIGY] flown in from Guatemala, the cappuccino goes particularly well with that [boss kicks PRODIGY] the Starbucks Special cappuccino goes particularly well with that would you like a Starbucks Special cappuccino with that to go particularly well with that please?

 

MENTOR is confused

 

BOSS
[to PRODIGY] attack it while it’s weak! Attack it while it’s weak!

 

PRODIGY
Starbucks Special Cappuccino made from freshly ground pigeon shit just flown in from Guatemala?

 

MENTOR
....oh, alright, I’ll have a small one.

 

PRODIGY
[eager] for only three fifty you can [BOSS breaks in, stops PRODIGY]


BOSS
No. Make it feel comfortable.

PRODIGY
Are you comfortable?

MENTOR is clearly extremely uncomfortable

BOSS
Not like that. Ask about its day.

PRODIGY
How was your day?

 

MENTOR
...um, it’s 8 in the morning?

 

PRODIGY
How is your day?

 

MENTOR
It’s FINE. But it’s EARLY and I’m TIRED!

 

PRODIGY
[immediately] a large Starbucks Special Cappuccino will wake you up!

 

MENTOR
[annoyed] ok, ok, whatever, just give me a large one and get on with it!

 

PRODIGY

12.60 please.
Here is your Large Starbucks Special Cappuccino which goes very well with your bun to
go thank you have a nice day and hope to see you again soon at Starbucks take care now.

 

MENTOR leaves somewhat annoyed

 

BOSS
That was very good.

PRODIGY
Thank you.

BOSS
You have the Starbucks spirit.


PRODIGY
Thank you.

 

BOSS
You are a team player.

PRODIGY
Thank you.

BOSS
You are allowed to play for the Starbucks Team.


PRODIGY
Thank you.

BOSS
You are now a player on the Starbucks team.

PRODIGY
Thank you.

 

SCENE 5: THE NEWCOMER

Same set-up as “the interview”

 

BOSS
Are you a loyal person?

 

MENTOR
Restructured. We were restructured.

 

BOSS
Are you a hard-working person?

 

MENTOR
Setting us free. Independence.

 

BOSS
Are you a service-minded person?

 

MENTOR
New management. Improved efficiency.

 

BOSS
Are you an easy-going, happy-clappy, spirited, cheery, customer-friendly, lovely person?

 

MENTOR
Re-inventing. Competitive edge-maintaining. Giving people the freedom of choice.

 

BOSS
Are you a real person?

 

MENTOR
Is the salary real?

 

BOSS
And are you passionately devoted/ to

 

MENTOR
/Yes, yes, passionately!

 

BOSS dresses MENTOR in a green apron while she deliveres the following line, constantly cutting her off.

 

MENTOR
With my extensive and varied experience I have some innovative ideas for re-inventing;- Increasing customer base;- Nieche entertainment;- Corporate social responsibility;- Creative outreach;- Poetry nights;- Discussion circle;- Could become the new center for intellectuals and;- QUALITY ARTISAN;- With my rich professional background;-

BOSS Trainee!

 

 

SCENE 6: REUNITED

PRODIGY behind the counter, BOSS watching her from one of the tables.

 

PRODIGY and BOSS
[humming the Nora Jones melody as if along to the radio] “Come away with me in the night.”

Enter MENTOR in a green apron.

 

PRODIGY Welcome.

 

MENTOR Hello.

 

PRODIGY Second day?

 

MENTOR First.

 

PRODIGY
New. Excited. Much to learn.

Project for you. [hands MENTOR a blackboard and some chalk]

 

MENTOR Salary?

 

PRODIGY

Remember; personal touch.

 

MENTOR draws frenetically, shows something abstract and the words “Parrot Pecan Puttanesca”

 

PRODIGY
Not that personal.

 

MENTOR erases and draws frenetically, shows a drawing of an artistic looking parrot and the words “Parrot Pecan Puttanesca”

 

PRODIGY
Not that personal.

 

MENTOR erases and draws frenetically, shows a drawing of a plain parrot and the words “Parrot Pecan Puttanesca”

 

PRODIGY
Not that personal.

 

MENTOR erases and draws frenetically.

 

PRODIGY Fun?

 

MENTOR Fun.

 

MENTOR shows a drawing of two feathers and the words “Parrot Pecan Puttanesca”

 

PRODIGY
Not that personal.

 

MENTOR
How personal?

 

PRODIGY
[almost whispers]...flowers.

 

MENTOR erases and draws frenetically.

 

PRODIGY, MENTOR and BOSS [humming as if along to the radio] “Come away with me in the night.”

MENTOR shows a drawing of three flowers and the words “Parrot Pecan Puttanesca”

 

PRODIGY
Personal touch! You have the team spirit!

 

MENTOR Thank you.

 

PRODIGY
Now we are friends. Incredible friends. Signature friendship to strengthen the team bond, this is our flagship biscuit, it pairs tremendously well with the signature saucer that comes with our flagship cup, I’m telling you this as a friend, and we can have ideas, creative bolts of inspiration to make this member the best member in our large loving family, and all the inspiration radiates from our excellent products that make the world a better place, if you feel inspiration coming on;-

 

MENTOR
I actually had some ideas;-

 

PRODIGY, MENTOR and BOSS [humming as if along to the radio] “Come away with me in the night.”

 

PRODIGY
If you feel inspiration coming on, immediately notify a superior, and we will check that your inspiration complies with our family standards.

 

MENTOR
I was thinking nieche creative;-

 

PRODIGY
That’s not inspiration.

 

MENTOR Poetry nights?

 

PRODIGY
That’s madness. If your inspiration complies with our family standards, that is, if it radiates from our flagship products that we are all so proud of, then you might be allowed to;-

 

BOSS leaves, happy with the situation.

 

PRODIGY
I have an idea.

 

PRODIGY takes four muffins from the display, gives two to MENTOR and munches on two herself.

 

PRODIGY and MENTOR
[humming with their mouths full as if along to the radio] “Come away with me in the night.”

They continue munching on the muffins in silence

 

PRODIGY
Do you wanna;-

 

BOSS comes back in. PRODIGY immediately spits out and throws away the muffins. MENTOR follows her lead.

 

BOSS Fun?

 

PRODIGY and MENTOR Fun!

 

 

SCENE 8: IT IS A SHAME

 

BOSS
...it's a shame with all those educated people.

I mean,

I. In my position.

I need a team that I can trust.

I.

[enjoying himself] I I I I I I.

Me.

The Manager.

I mean,

The kind of stuff they come up with during interviews.

“Read the customer and accommodate their personal needs.” What an utterly ridiculous idea; “read the customer”

I mean,

Read?!?!

No...

[getting agitated]

So I tell them,

“The only thing you're gonna read here” I tell them “Lassie, the only thing you're gonna read here is the MANUAL for BARISTAS!”

I mean,
Here we talk to everyone in EXACTLY the same way! Because this is a DEMOCRACY! And I mean,

Because we don't have a lunchroom. We're the Starbucks family.
...
[annoyed] ...and maybe a customer is drinking Moccachocolatecreamericano with chocolate sprinkles and reading Shopaholic and thinking she's intellectual because she's reading in a cafe. And then a barista comes out and sits down next to her with a black americano reading...Tolstoy...or a book about...brain surgery...or something.
...
I mean,

Don't they understand it's bad for business?

[sighs, shakes head]

And after a while they stop participating in the Stories. You know.

The Stories. Every now and then it's good to have an inspirational story circling the Starbucks Families of a Starbucks City. When a member of the team suddenly stops reacting to my Stories in the correct way, or don't understand which customers to teach the new trainees to like, or, God forbid, start spreading their OWN Stories.

Then.
Then the whole system just falls apart. We simply can't have it.

Thank God most of them don't stay long... ...but the ones who do... Ooooh, I do enjoy watching them squirm!

Comfortable silence

 

PRODIGY enters with a ridiculous pink iced milkshake-y beverage with whipped cream and cake sprinkles and God knows what in a Starbucks plastic cup with a straw, hands it to BOSS. BOSS takes it, looks at PRODIGY.

 

BOSS
Did you put extra Starbucks Special Strawberry Syrup in this?

 

PRODIGY nods

 

BOSS
Good. So you're all finished cleaning?


PRODIGY nods more sincerely

 

BOSS
I like you, you're the perfect employee.

 

PRODIGY hesitates a bit then nods carefully. BOSS takes a sip of the drink, tastes it like one would taste an expensive wine, makes an understated exclamation of approval, then hands it to PRODIGY, who squats down on the floor and takes it, drinking slowly with rhythmic slurping noises from the straw. BOSS strokes PRODIGY on the head like one would stroke a dog, both looking dramatically at the audience. No sound except the slurping. Fade to blackout. Sound lingers a bit longer.

 

 

End

 

Oda Fiskum - Foto: Sirin Winge