This was a commissioned ‘theatrical roast’ for the Lake Dillon Theatre Company in 2012. Robin is a legendary Breckenridge, CO resident who agreed to be lampooned for a good cause.
ROBIN THEOBALD’S SURREAL BRECKENRIDGE SCENE I
Robin is blowing stuff up. He has one of those dynamite boxes and we hear explosions offstage. Fireworks are going off. Robin cackles maniacally through it all, drinking a beer.
Hoo-boy! That was a good one! Patty, d’jou see that? Blew up
that old Studebaker pickup’s been sitting in the field all those years.
Very nice Robin. You’re going to clean that up, right?
Oh, yeah, sure. Just bring some more beer out here, will ya?
I’ve still got a couple cases of this old dynamite, might as well use it up. Plus I’m practicing for the Fourth of July. Lookee!
(He depresses the plunger again and fireworks go off)
Good god. Just … don’t start a fire Robin, please. Remember
that time in 72 when …
Yeah, yeah, I remember. Weren’t all these damned houses
around then. Man could blow some stuff up and start a fire and it wasn’t such a big deal.
We hear the doorbell ring
PATTIE Now who could that be?
If it’s one of those damned Town of Breckenridge code
enforcement idiots, tell him I’m loaded for bear over here and I won’t hear none-a his BS about my “unsightly property” or whatever.
(Robin swills some beer, blows some stuff up, maybe shoots a gun in the air a few times)
ROBIN Yee-ha! Man, life is good!
Patty enters with Winston Arbuckle, a developer, and his assistant, Charlie Ware.
Robin, there are two gentlemen here to see you.
What the hell? How’d you fellers get up here past the gate?
ARBUCKLE Gate was open Mr. Theobald.
Hmmm … well it wasn’t supposed to be. Anyway, whaddaya
ARBUCKLE My name is Winston Arbuckle …
ROBIN (laughs uproariously)
… and this is my assistant, Charlie Ware. I’m the principal
in Arbuckle Developments based in …
ROBIN Lemme guess, Dallas Texas?
Fort Worth. Ha! Close!
ARBUCKLE ROBIN ARBUCKLE
My company has purchased a 2,200-acre ranch over in Park County and we have an interesting idea we think you could help us with.
ROBIN South Park, eh? Go on.
Charlie here is really the mastermind on this one. Charlie?
Thank you. Now, Mr. Theobald, as you are aware …
ROBIN (holding up his hand)
Hold on a sec there, Chuck. Lemme finish something.
(He blows some more stuff up as Arbuckle and Charlie look on, incredulous)
OK, that’ll do for now. Go on …
CHARLIE (now a bit unnerved)
Well, Mr. Theobald, as you know more than most, Breckenridge isn’t quite the town it used to be back in the day.
ROBIN You can say that again!
And we believe a great many people miss that town and all it
stood for. But over in Park County, why, it’s still rather, er, pristine, unsullied by the rampant development that having a major ski area has brought to Summit County and Breckenridge in particular. Our idea is to re-create the Breckenridge of yore …
Did you say ‘yore?’
He said ‘yore!’
ROBIN ARBUCKLE ROBIN
was still a rough-and-tumble mining town. The good old days!
I don’t now how good they were. You couldn’t buy a quart of
milk in town back then, right Robin?
Yeah. Hell, we used to have to drive to Eagle if we wanted to
go out to dinner. Wasn’t until the Blue Spruce came along in Frisco that anything worthwhile came along.
CHARLIE (consulting notebook)
Well, my research tells me the Gold Pan has been around for quite some time and …
The Gold Pan! Hell yeah, you could always go there for a
drink, but no food. Less’n of course you ordered ‘The Sandwich,’ but no one was dumb enough to do that.
The Breckenridge of the past, before the ski area, when it
Well yeah, the rule was a bar had to serve food, but the Pan
had no interest in doing that, on hand just to be able to say government guy came by. No one much less eat it.
so they had this one sandwich they had food if some
would order it, of course,
ARBUCKLE We want to be on the leading edge.
ROBIN Bleeding edge is more like it.
ROBIN (thinks a moment)
It’s a ridiculous plan. Buzz off.
ARBUCKLE We will make it worth your while.
I don’t need any of your stinkin’ dammit! Do you know how much land
money! I’m Robin Theobald, I own around here?
Well, um, be that as it may, our idea is to build an entire
replica of Breckenridge, circa 1960, over in Park County. We have an exclusive clientele of folks who’ve already expressed interest in living there and we think you’re just the man to help us realize this dream for our future homeowners.
We’re going to call it “New Breck,” and the tagline is
“Colorado, just like you pictured it.”
You have noticed nobody’s buying homes around here these
Well, yes, we know of the slow-down. But we think it’s coming
back, soon. Look at Wall Street — those guys are going to want to spend some of those bonuses, and this is just the kind of community that’d appeal to some banker stuck in front of computer all day.
(writing on a piece of paper)
Well, everyone has their price. Consider this sum, Mr. Theobald.
OK, well, maybe it ain’t such a bad idea. When do we start? LIGHTS FADE THEN COME BACK UP
Now, Mr. Theobald …
Hell, call me Robin.
Ah, OK, now Robin …
Y’know, on second thought, keep callin’ me Mr. Theobald.
Got it. So, what I need from you is some idea of what things
were like from your perspective in, say, 1960.
Hell, I wasn’t but 10 years old then. But still, I do
Charlie and Robin are sitting in chairs.
CHARLIE ROBIN CHARLIE ROBIN
FADE TO FLASHBACK
Young Robin enters as Robin and Charlie look on, Robin providing some narrative.
Boy, this town sucks! There’s nothing to do!
It was true! Unless you liked rocks. There was plenty of
rocks to play with, throw, bust up. Yeah, lotsa stuff to do with rocks.
YOUNG ROBIN I’m so tired of playing with rocks!
(drops to his knees, hands to the sky)
Breckenridge is my prison! Aaagggh! Get me out of here! Anything, even a trip to Georgetown … Leadville even.
ROBIN (to Charlie)
So I’m guessing part of the appeal of your South Park subdivision isn’t going to be boring people to death?
Well, no. Of course, they’ll have Internet access via
satellite and home theaters and such. Plus they probably won’t spend more than three of four weeks a year up here.
Ack, second-home owners, a scourge on the High Country! They
should all be put in cages. After they pay their property taxes, of course.
(he laughs uproariously)
Please Mr. Theobald. Think! Isn’t there anything you did back
here as a boy that didn’t include whining about the rocks and lack of activities? Anything interesting we can work with, anything at all?!
Well, Ted Nickerson got shot sitting in the Gold Pan one day.
Zippo lighter in his pocket saved his life. We could reenact that I guess, since we’ll have a fake Gold Pan on the fake Main Street.
Please Mr. Theobald, we prefer ‘Replica Main Street.’ And I
somehow doubt our clients will want to have getting shot as part of their homeowner experience.
Hmmm … I thought Texans liked guns. Anyway, um, well … my
mother and I, we did like to collect things. Sure, we ordered a lotta stuff out of the Monkey Ward catalog, but a lot of things, you just had to scrounge around for them. People would pick up and leave suddenly, so we’d take a look at what they left behind.
Young Robin enters with Mother, as if going through an abandoned home.
YOUNG ROBIN Hey mom, look — an old victrola!
Wow Robin, that’s amazing! What can we do with it?
YOUNG ROBIN Can I blow it up mom? Huh, huh? Can I?
MRS. THEOBALD (laughing)
OK, Robin, I suppose. But be home in time for having baked sawdust and squirrel loin again.
the same coin.
Oh boy, thanks mom!
I thought you were more of a preservationist?
understand all the wanton destruction.
Well, it’s a yin and yang thing, two sides of
You save some stuff, blow other stuff up.
Well … is there anything from your past, from the
Breckenridge of the early 1960s, that doesn’t involve tremendous boredom punctuated by the occasional explosion?
No, no not really. Things really didn’t get too interesting until the ski area opened a couple years later. When all the hippie chicks an’ Norwegians showed up.
Well, how are we doing on our themes for ‘Breckenridge: 1960!
The last exciting times“
Not so good. Apparently it wasn’t all that exciting. Unless
you like rocks, explosives and baked sawdust.
We did have ketchup! Made it a little better. Squirrel was fresh.
I was afraid of that, which is why I think it’s time to
exercise a little poetic license. CHARLIE
What do you mean?
Well, there are few people around here other than Mr.
Theobald who know anything about what Breckenridge was really like before it became a ski town. So … we just make some stuff up.
Huh? But what about the historical accuracy and all that?
To hell with that! It won’t work! We’ve gotta go big here.
And remember, we can only afford a few actors at first, so it’s gotta be sorta minimalist.
ROBIN I don’t know about this …
OK, first idea: Breckenridge as Roswell, New Mexico!
(yelling to offstage)
I need Young Robin and Mrs. Theobald out here for the alien scene!
Young Robin and Mrs. Theobald enter
YOUNG ROBIN (pointing OFF)
Look mom! Another spaceship has crashed into Goose Pasture Tarn! Can I dissect an alien mom? Can I can I huh huh?
MRS. THEOBALD (laughing)
Well OK Robin. But wear your gloves and be home in time for dinner. We’re having fried pine cones and chipped snowshoe hare again.
Great, huh? I was able to buy a model of a ship from the
Battlestar Galactica people. It’ll look perfect.
I remember once I waterskied on the tarn, but I don’t recall
any spaceships crashing there.
Doesn’t matter. Selling lots matters. OK, next up, we’ve got
the reenactment: ”Ted Nickerson gunned down in the Gold Pan.“
Ted Nickerson enters, walks up to the bar, drinks something. Suddenly we hear multiple GUN SHOTS.
Ted does a fantastic death scene, falls to the ground, then after a moment gets up and EXITS.
I don’t know, chief. It’s pretty violent. Aren’t people
supposed to buy here because it’s peaceful?
Plus, Ted’s Zippo lighter stopped the one, single, solitary
bullet that actually hit him. So I’m having a little trouble with the historical accuracy here.
ARBUCKLE (ignoring them)
OK! Up next is ‘The Gold Pan Sandwich Incident.’ By the way, the Gold Pan is the only thing we can really afford to build until we get the HOA going, so it’s going to be our default set.
We’re ready for the sandwich scene!
A MINER enters and approaches the bar. We hear some 1960 music playing (like ‘The Twist’)
Gimme a beer, an’ I’m starving. What’ve you got to eat in
Nothing. Shut up. No food here. Drink up and skedaddle.
What? Colorado state law section 53 paragraph 4 clearly
states that a bar has to serve food. Or else it could lose its liquor license.
Um, well, um ..
Well, do you have something for a man to eat around here, or
do I need to write a strongly worded letter to the state official who oversees such matters.
BARTENDER (coughs, uncomfortable)
Well, we do have … The Sandwich. But I uh, not sure I’d really recommend …
‘The Sandwich?’ Like, you’ve got only one of them? That don’t sound right.
Um, I meant a sandwich. Course we got more’n one.
Alright then, now you’re talking. Bartender, I am a hungry
man, and I demand you now serve me a sandwich, or The Sandwich, if’n you only got one.
(the record stops playing with a mighty scratch)
What? You folks ain’t never seen a man eat a sandwich afore?
The bartender brings out the sandwich, holding out in front of him as if it’s toxic waste. He waves away some imaginary flies.
MINER (inspecting sandwich)
Hmmm … it don’t look none too savory. But as I said, I’m a hungry miner, dammit! But you better line up a shot of whiskey as a chaser. Not sure I’ve ever seen a sandwich quite like this before. What’s the meat in there? No, don’t tell me — I wanna guess. Bread looks a little funny. Lettuce may have a little slime on there, but I’m a miner, dammit. OK, hold on … here goes …
He takes a bite, followed by the shot, then drops to the floor dead.
BARTENDER Can’t say I didn’t warn you.
(picks up the phone and dials)
Yeah, this the coroner? This is Jeb down at the Pan. We had a guy eat The Sandwich. What’s that? Oh, it was a quick one this time, probably about 3 seconds. OK, we’ll see you in a minute.
Eh? Eh? Good stuff, right? Just imagine some jackass from
Texas, comes down from his fifth home on the hill, walks into Replica Breck, and he’s treated to this kind of thing going on. Goin’ on all the time. Hell, actors are cheap — feed ’em and oftentimes they’ll even work for free!
I have to say, I kinda like it!
Sure. Why not? It’s just a little embellishment is all.
That’s right! Just a little embellishment. So, Mr. Theobald,
any ideas for more skits?
Well, there was one feller I knew as a young man in my mining
days, name-a Earl Knight. Lived in the house where Amazing Grace is now. He used to say when he hit the big strike, he’d know it cuz he’d sit around inside the house an’ spit watermelon seeds on the floor. Well, one day working the old Vulcan Mine we hit a nice seam of ore, and we did just that: got some beer and watermelon and sat around spittin’ the seeds on the floor.
Yes, yes? And so the skit would be …?
Well, just that. Two guys eatin’ watermelon an’ … spittin’
the seeds on the floor.
(sound of crickets, maybe a dog barks)
An’ maybe, maybe they’d have a contest to …
… see who could spit the farthest?
Got anything else? Something that won’t make our homeowners
want to move to friggin’ Canada? ROBIN
How about a sort-of composite character who sits out front of
the Gold Pan and just tells outrageous stories about the old days? Like Robin Theobald 20 years from now?
OK, let’s hear it.
You’re Robin, ain’t ya?
ARBUCKLE (gestures to Robin)
Well, OK. 20 years, eh? So I’d be like 80-something. I need
something to get in the mood.
ARBUCKLE Bring in the giant beard!
(STAGE HAND enters with big, gray, clip- on beard and a big slouch hat. Robin puts it on. Other actors available come out and gather around him)
(laughing a crazy old coot
I remember the winter of ’59 … or was it ’58? I
get those two mixed up …
Don’t worry about the facts fer cryin’ out Pete’s
get to the good stuff!
Oh, right, right.
(reassumes old guy persona)
Anyway, it snowed so much that winter, why … we an extra shovel!
had to buy
Holy hell you’re Remember, poetic
killin’ me! Pump it up, pump it up! license!
um … it snowed so much it, uh, it buried
Um, yeah, right,
our home completely and we had to, uh, use a periscope to look outside just to see if the sun was up.
OK, better. Keep it going. Out-local us, Robin! Put us
dipshit second-home owners in our place! We suck! We don’t know crap about Breckenridge!
Yeah, back in those days did we have a Walmart?
Did we have them factory outlet stores?
Did we have $15 million log mansions with Jacuzzi spas and
antler chandeliers and climate control systems? ALL
NO! No! No!
ROBIN (warming up)
No, we did not, and hallelujah to that. Hell, we used to ride up and down Main Street at midnight, on mules, nekkid an’ drunk as skunks. Mule was drunk, too. We’d blow shit up an’ shoot our guns in the air and there weren’t no code enforcement officer tellin’ us our mule was parked fer longer’n 3 hours.
We’d-a shot him if he did!
We wore short-sleeved shirts in January and broke out the
swim trunks when it cracked 50 in summertime. The flies were as big as birds and the birds were as big as airplanes. Men were men an’ women were men too.
ALL Um, yeah, right, sure, OK.
ROBIN There were no tourists.
No Vail Resorts. Hell no!
ALL ROBIN ALL
We just had ourselves. And our rocks an’ guns and explosives
an’ a bunch-a old crap we found lyin’ around. An it was all we needed.
(resuming his normal self)
(his cellphone rings)
Hold on a moment. Hello? Yes? Oh, I see. Very well. We’ll be on the first flight down there.
Who was that?
The Money. He says the three lots we’ve sold so far isn’t
nearly enough and he’s pulling the plug. ROBIN
Well sure, boondoggle
you didn’t think I’d put my own money into this
But, what about Replica Breck? All these actors, the fake
Gold Pan? You’re just abandoning it?
Sorry Robin. The Money says we’re doing something else.
Charlie, you should have an email about it.
CHARLIE (looking at his phone)
Ah, yes. It’s a themed development in Florida. Using all the foreclosed homes and empty neighborhoods to stage some kind of zombie apocalypse gated community. Apparently they’ve got strong interest so far.
Sorry about that, market forces at work, you know. Come
REMAINING ACTORS What about us/where’s our pay/what the hell?
There’s a sandwich and a bag of chips for each of you in the
He and Charlie exit; Robin is left alone on stage. He saunter back to his original chair at his home and pulls up his blasting box.
Well, I guess that’s that. Hey Patty! Grab me a beer wouldja?
(He blows some stuff up and fireworks go off as)
FADE TO BLACK.