Riggo’s Bar: A True Story in One Act

FADE IN:

EXT. RIGGO’S BAR AND RESTAURANT – DAY

Pio Nono Road runs straight through Belle Vista, the drinking district of Santiago. Plastic tables and chairs line the roadside. Umbrellas provide relief from the harsh sun. The area hums with foot traffic and university students sitting, closely packed, at nearby tables. EDUARDO, a 31-year-old Bolivian, sits alone at one such table, nursing a beer pensively. MICHAEL, a 29-year-old South African hurries over and sits OPPOSITE. He is out of breath.

MICHAEL
Hey man, sorry I’m late.

A WAITER brings over an extra glass, which MICHAEL begins filling from the large beer bottle in the middle of the table.

EDUARDO
No worries, man. How’ve you been?

MICHAEL
Pretty good, actually. I guess I have an agent now.

EDUARDO
An agent? Like what kind of agent?

MICHAEL
Like an acting agent, I guess. For, you know, ads.

EDUARDO
Ads?

MICHAEL
Yeah, ads.

EDUARDO?
Like, commercials?

MICHAEL
Ads, commercials. Sure.

EDUARDO
What kind of ads?

MICHAEL
Well today I auditioned for a commercial for tires.

A MUSICIAN playing an accordion comes along. EDUARDO and MICHAEL watch, stone-faced, as he plays a tune for a minute. The music drowns out every other sound. When he’s done, he removes his worn-out cap and beseeches the patrons for money. EDUARDO and MICHAEL do not react. They wait for the MUSICIAN to leave before continuing.

EDUARDO
Tires?

MICHAEL
Yes, tires. Ed, I feel like I’m carrying the whole conversation here.

EDUARDO
Did you get the part?

MICHAEL
I dunno. Talk to my agent.

EDUARDO
But why do you need an agent?

MICHAEL
I had to get an agent so I could go on a date with Alisha.

EDUARDO
An agent got you the date?

MICHAEL
Why would my agent get me a date?

EDUARDO
But you just said… You know what? Never mind. Who’s Alisha?

MICHAEL
Alisha’s this lady I met online. She’s gorgeous. Whip-sharp. We’ve been speaking for weeks.

EDUARDO
Wait, I’m confused. You hired an agent to get you a date?

MICHAEL
Yes! No! I mean, hiring an agent just seemed the most convenient thing to do at the time.

EDUARDO
Can we start at the beginning here?

MICHAEL
(Gesturing for another bottle of beer)
Sure. Right. So, a few weeks ago I get this message out of the blue on Facebook. It’s from this girl, Alisha. She says, “Hi. Saw your profile. You seem cute. What’s your story?”
(Bottle arrives)

EDUARDO
She seems pretty direct.

MICHAEL
Well, no, I’m paraphrasing here. In her messages she was nice. Friendly. Well spoken. Or, well-written, I guess. She asks me what I’m doing in town, how long I’ve been here, all the rest. We’re getting along great. Like, really great. We click. I make her laugh, she makes me laugh. So Eventually I say, “Hey, how about we meet for coffee?”

EDUARDO
Hey, by the way, do you want to order something to eat?

MICHAEL
Yeah okay. Maybe a plate of fries?

EDUARDO
You’ve read my mind.

EDUARDO calls the WAITER over and orders fries. Meanwhile, MICHAEL mimes driving a car. The WAITER departs. EDUARDO watches MICHAEL for a few moments more.

EDUARDO (CONT’D)
What are you doing?

MICHAEL pantomimes for a little while longer before responding.

MICHAEL
I’m just going over that audition again. I think I nailed the rear view mirror adjustment. What do you think?

MICHAEL pantomimes adjusting a rear view mirror.

EDUARDO
That’s good. Looks like a real mirror.

MICHAEL
Not sure if I got the gear shift right, though. I’m not used to changing gears with my right hand.

EDUARDO
What about Alisha?

MICHAEL
Alisha could do it fine. She’s been in this country for years.

EDUARDO
No, I mean, tell me about your date with her.

MICHAEL
Oh, right!

The French fries arrive. MICHAEL takes one.

MICHAEL (CONT’D)
Well it took us ages to find a date and time to meet. Either I was busy or she was. Our schedules wouldn’t line up. She’s an English teacher too, you know. It’s a wonder we’ve never crossed paths before… (chews pensively)

EDUARDO
Those French fries arrived really quickly, don’t you think?

MICHAEL
Hm? I guess. (He eats another). Well, eventually we decided on a date. We were going to meet in the park – Parque Forestal? Near the museum? – and have a bit of a picnic or something. I was going to make sandwiches.

EDUARDO
Maybe another table didn’t want them.

MICHAEL
The sandwiches?

EDUARDO
No, the fries. It was like they were already prepared before we even ordered them.

MICHAEL
Maybe the guys here know our habits.

EDUARDO considers this. He shrugs and takes a French fry.

MICHAEL (CONT’D)
Well, the day before we’re set to meet, she sends me a text, cancelling. Her reasons are vague, but I don’t get worked up. She and I have a good rapport, so I just say, “Alright, we’ll reschedule.” Days pass, and we’re still talking off and on. Eventually we make a plan to see each other again. Today. On this very day.

EDUARDO
So, where does the agent come it?

MICHAEL
I’m getting to that. So this morning, I’m having coffee and this text comes through. It’s from Alisha. She says, “Hey Michael, you’re going to hate me, but I have to cancel again. I just got invited to be in a casting for an advert.”

EDUARDO
Weird excuse to get out of a date.

MICHAEL
Right? I mean, no. It wasn’t an excuse. It was true.

EDUARDO
Did you know that at the time?

MICHAEL
No, but then twenty minutes later she says this: “Hey do you want to come? To the casting? They’re looking for a male as well.”

EDUARDO
Huh.

MICHAEL
I just really want to see this chick, so I’m like, “Okay, sure. Can anyone off the street just rock up and audition?” Then she says, “Well, you’ve got to be signed up with an agency.”

EDUARDO
That sounds like a lot of work for a date.

MICHAEL
That’s what I said. But then she says “Just come to the audition, tell them you’re with my agency, and then afterwards tell my agency you did an audition under their name. They’ll put you on their database.”

EDUARDO
Seems easy enough.

A PEANUT SALESMAN begins making his way through the crowd, trying to sell his peanuts.

MICHAEL
Well, I had the afternoon free anyway-

EDUARDO
Because you’d had the date planned-

MICHAEL
(Waving the PEANUT SALESMAN away)
Exactly! So I get on a bus and go out to this quaint little house in the middle of Ñuñoa.

EDUARDO
A house?

MICHAEL
Yeah it was like a house that had been converted into a studio. Anyway, there are like five people there, including Alisha. Man, she is gorgeous. But before we get to talking, I have to go to this desk and give my details. And, following Alisha’s orders, I tell them I’m with the same agency she is. After that, we all get ushered upstairs to this little room. There’s nothing in there but a white back wall and a video camera facing it. It looks like a real professional photo shoot place.

EDUARDO
You’ve been to a lot of professional photo shoot places?

MICHAEL
No, but I’ve seen them on TV. Anyway, I get given this piece of paper with my name on it. I have to go and stand in front of the camera, and display the page. Then I’m told to put the piece of paper down and pose for the camera.

EDUARDO
Pose?

MICHAEL
Yeah, pose. Like I have to smile, turn around, stand in profile, turn to the camera and smile. Then I have to give a short introduction about myself. “Hey I’m Michael. I’m 29 years old. That sort of thing.” We all have to do it. Then the acting starts. The woman with the camera puts a couple of chairs into the white space, and tells us to pretend we’re driving in a car. She’s very specific. We have to pretend to adjust the radio, change gears, adjust the radio, wave at someone as we drive by. It’s all kind of silly, but fun, you know? Because we’re all getting filmed while we do this. It’s like being in a movie-

EDUARDO
Or an advert-

MICHAEL
Or an advert.

EDUARDO
Hey, did you drive on the left in South Africa?

MICHAEL
I did indeed.

EDUARDO
Cool. I didn’t know that. (Pause) And then what happened?

MICHAEL
Then I came to Chile.

EDUARDO
No, I mean after the acting thing.

MICHAEL
Oh, right. Yeah, so after everyone had pretended to act in front of the camera. We were dismissed. It was a lot quicker than normal, apparently. Alisha says these auditions can usually take hours. But it was great, because that meant that she and I could still go grab a bite to eat somewhere.

A BEGGAR starts moving through the tables, asking for change.

EDUARDO
Where’d you go?

MICHAEL
To some empanada place up the road from the casting studio. It was good. Pleasant.

EDUARDO
The empanada or the date?

MICHAEL
(considering)
Both, I guess.

EDUARDO
Do you think you’ll see her again?

MICHAEL
(Waving the BEGGAR away)
I dunno. I’d like to. But I’m also on the cusp of being a big star now. Might do movies next. Or plays! So I probably want to consider getting a higher class of friends.

EDUARDO
(Rolling his eyes)
So, what’s next for the big movie star?

MICHAEL
Funny you should say that. After I emailed the agency, they asked me if I wanted to do a commercial for Pisco. Hey, how well do I act like I’m drinking?
(He takes a sip of his beer)

EDUARDO
(clinking MICHAEL’S glass with his own)
Ha! Man, you’re a shoe-in.

 

FADE OUT
ROLL CREDITS

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One thought on “Riggo’s Bar: A True Story in One Act

  1. Wow That was a story. I really like to be in a shodaw of an umrella in a sunny fine day and drink a sweet jucie. Or then for the lunch order a food like grilled meat with soda)) nice thinking lol))

    Like

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