The Ticket Master, a Very Short Play, by Brad Vance

FIRST DRAFT

THE TICKET MASTER

by Brad Vance

CHARACTERS

MASTER, late 20s, handsome

STUDENT, late 40s/early 50s, rumpled

LOCATION

Two good orchestra seats in a Broadway theater.

TIME

A few minutes before curtain.

MASTER and STUDENT are reading their Playbills.

MASTER

Should be a good show.

STUDENT

Yeah, I’m amazed I got a ticket.

MASTER

It’s a pretty hard one to get.

STUDENT

How’d you get yours?

MASTER

I got mine months ago. I read the review of the Off Broadway version, and bought tickets for the Broadway version as soon as they went on sale.

STUDENT

Wow. that’s smart. You couldn’t possibly get a ticket for this now without paying $450. And it’s not even a musical. I should know, I paid it today.

MASTER

I know, I sold it to you. On StubHub.

STUDENT

Oh, did you have a date that fell through or…

MASTER

No. I bought extra.

STUDENT

Oh. So do you live here in town?

MASTER

Yeah, I just moved into Manhattan.

STUDENT

What do you do?

MASTER

I’m in the futures market.

STUDENT

Ah.

MASTER

And you?

STUDENT

Oh, I’m just a sales rep, in town for a convention. The usual. Big theater fan, though. Always catch a lot of shows when I’m in town.

(Pause)

So what kind of futures?

MASTER

Theater futures.

STUDENT

I didn’t know that was a thing.

MASTER

Well, there aren’t many of us. It’s a difficult environment to operate in.

STUDENT

How does it work?

MASTER

(Sets down Playbill)

Well, I see an opportunity. An emerging market, if you will. And I invest in it.

STUDENT

No offense but… Are you saying you’re a ticket scalper?

MASTER

(Smiles)

Not exactly. A scalper gets on Ticketmaster and hoovers up tickets to performances after they become successful. But by then, the producers have already started to mark up the prices, so his profits are lower when he sells them at the market rate. Now me, I’ve already got hundreds or even thousands of tickets purchased at lower prices, even before the Times review comes out. So unlike the scalper, I’m in a high risk portfolio.

STUDENT

Wow. So you could lose your shirt. If the Times review is terrible, if the show bombs…

MASTER

Yeah. But I’m never wrong. You know how some people always say, oh I wish I’d bought into Microsoft when it was a dollar? Well, I bought into Hamilton when the Broadway tickets first went on sale.

STUDENT

Wow.

MASTER

Yeah. Astronomical ROI. I bought two condos downtown with the profits.

STUDENT

How much did you invest?

MASTER

About two hundred grand. Everything I had, and all I could get cash advanced on my cards.

STUDENT

That is scary. That’s like… some serious Big Short shit.

MASTER

Yeah. High risk, high reward, but only if you know what you’re doing.

STUDENT

You just have a nose for a hit?

MASTER

Yeah. I was like you, a tourist, I’d look up stuff on the web, and just see what sounded good that was coming up during my trip, and I’d buy a ticket. I bought a ticket to Book of Mormon back in 2011, when they went on sale. Then by the time I got here, it was a big hit. I realized I could have sold my ticket for $600. That I paid $150 for. That’s when I started thinking, if my instincts are this good…

STUDENT

Wow. Have you ever been wrong?

MASTER

Not yet. I missed out on Fun Home, though.

STUDENT

How did that happen?

MASTER

I just didn’t think a musical about a suicidal funeral director would make money. You have to trust your instincts, though.

STUDENT

But you’ve never made a bad bet.

MASTER

Nope.

STUDENT

Huh.

(Pause.)

So, listen. Have you got a hot tip for me?

MASTER

(Turns in seat to face him.)

I really have to advise you against this. It’s not for amateurs. I’ve seen an awful lot of theater in my life and a lot of things that other people thought were “can’t miss” productions, but then…

STUDENT

Yeah, I hear you. But, shit man, just one play. One musical. Please. Theater lover to theater lover.

MASTER

Well… Okay. There’s this musical opening in a couple months. It’s called Mothra: The Musical.

STUDENT

You’re fucking kidding me. Mothra, the big ass moth from the Godzilla movies.

MASTER

I know. But. Isn’t that what everyone said when they heard that the South Park guys would make a musical about the Book of Mormon?

STUDENT

Well. Yeah.

MASTER

There’s your tip. Excuse me, will you, I want to get a cocktail before the curtain. You want one?

STUDENT

Sure, sure. Jack and Coke.

(Reaches for wallet.)

MASTER

Don’t worry, it’s on me.

STUDENT

Great, great. Thanks, man.

MASTER gets up, STUDENT gets on his smartphone and starts shopping.

MASTER goes stage left to the bar and signals for two drinks. He pulls out his cell phone and makes a call.

MASTER

Yeah, I got one for you. I told you I work fast. I don’t know how many, man, I’ll ask him in a minute, he’s on the phone now. Well, you’ll just have to trust me when I tell you the number. It’s not like he’s gonna show me his receipt. This is how I work, didn’t Matt tell you the deal? I get ten bucks a ticket sale. That’s not just from your profit, that’s from the good publicity from the advance sale numbers, see? Nobody’s ever been disappointed, but… If you don’t want me to work for you, I can go back and tell him that I just heard news about a troubled production and… Okay. Okay. Good.

MASTER hangs up and speaks to phone.

MASTER

Fuck you and your fucking stupid piece of shit Mothra musical. Jesus Christ, what an idiot.

MASTER returns to seat with drinks and hands STUDENT his.

MASTER

So how many you going in for?

STUDENT

(With all the excitement of a gambler on a sure thing)

I just checked the prices, and my available credit. I’m all in, man. I’m getting six hundred tickets. Whoo. Fuck. This is insane.

MASTER

(Raises a toast.)

Good call. Cheers. Here’s to a very successful venture in the world of theater.

BLACKOUT

4 Comments on The Ticket Master, a Very Short Play, by Brad Vance

  1. Interesting but–weird 🙂 almost like a Springtime For Hitler thing

  2. You, sir, have the kind of mind I admire. I’m not sure what that says about me except that I have good taste. 😉

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