The Saboteur [Sketch Comedy]

I am working on a submission for the 2019 Orcas Island Playfest. My last play, Nonviolent Gulch, imagined a western town schooled in the arts of nonviolent communication. Lately I’ve been thinking–What if it doesn’t work? What happens when we try to be generous, we try to be compassionate, and the person we’re up against is unmoveable, uncooperative. Here’s a brief character sketch of a supervillain who is both diabolical, and strangely self aware.

A supervillain’s cave. THE SABOTEUR, a frustratingly self-aware supervillain, is taunting his nemesis, SPIRITUAL WARRIOR.

SABOTEUR
At long last, I have you right where I want you, Spiritual Warrior. I will destroy you once and for all…because I see elements of my distant, unavailable father in you, and it fills me with the unquenchable rage of an unloved child.

WARRIOR
Do you worst, Saboteur. You are your own worst enemy.

SABOTEUR
Oh believe me, Spiritual Warrior, I know. I’ve done just enough therapy to understand that but not enough for any real healing. You see this pain has made me who I am, and earned me some modicum of respect from other evil doers, all of whom are broken, sad people.

WARRIOR
Enough psychoanalyzing Saboteur, just kill me already. Unless you’re afraid to.

SABOTEUR
Very clever Spiritual Warrior, but it won’t work. It is true that I am afraid to kill you, but only because our relationship, however violent and dysfunctional, is the most meaningful in my otherwise lonely life. But now you are powerless to resist me. Much like every child is really at the mercy of the adult caregivers in their life. But I’m not a child anymore, Spiritual Warrior. I’m a supervillain. I’ve taken all my childhood rage and pain and I’ve turned it into something beautiful. An empire of destruction and chaos….that mirrors the turmoil in my own soul.

WARRIOR
This is why I hate being captured by you Saboteur. You talk and talk, and it becomes clear you understand why you’re evil, but then you don’t do anything about it.

SABOTEUR
(slow clapping) I must commend you Spiritual Warrior. Even in death, you have surprising emotional intelligence. My self awareness is indeed what makes me the most diabolical. I know that I’m broken, but part of my brokenness is that I don’t have the emotional tools to fix myself. So instead of working on my damage, I cause damage for everyone else. Which has the added benefit of distracting me from my own internal torment.

WARRIOR
Do you ever *not* talk about yourself? You’re so self-obsessed, it’s disgusting to watch.

SABOTEUR
Ohhh! Good. Do I hear the spiritual warrior using judging language? Or are you trying to change my behavior through shaming? (laughter) Welcome to my world, Spiritual Warrior. I think you’ll find that lashing out at others feels powerful in the moment…It’s only later that you’ll be consumed by a vague sense of emptiness.

WARRIOR
You’re a narcissist and a psychopath Saboteur.

SABOTEUR
Ooo, aren’t those freighted terms. Let’s unpack that for a moment, shall we?

WARRIOR
No, no more talk. I’m not having this conversation with you.

SABOTEUR
A little late to be establishing boundaries, don’t you think? Very well. I will activate the Doubt Ray, which will fill you with so much self-doubt that you’ll get a job in IT and will never be seen nor heard from again.

WARRIOR glares at SABOTEUR.

WARRIOR
You’re a monster.

SABOTEUR
That reminds me. I need to quickly check Instagram. Make no mistake, I intend to achieve my goal of destroying you…It’s just that I’m subconsciously delaying, because I fear success.
[checks his phone]
Ugh. I hate that Hellspawn. He’s such a show-off. Notice how there’s palm trees in the background, just so we know he’s in Bali. Big deal. I could go there. But I’m busy doing evil.

WARRIOR
You’d never go to Bali.

SABOTEUR
Yeah well who wants to go there. I hear its played out. I was in Canada last year, you remember.

WARRIOR
That’s doesn’t count.

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