The Journey: A Play in One Act

Liz, Marlon, Michael

An Epic Journey of Discovery, and Fried Chicken.

Manolo says, from the Guardian:

It may well be the most outlandish road trip since the wheel was invented: a cross-country dash featuring Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson and Marlon Brando, in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The trio reportedly took turns driving, with Brando allegedly fueling himself on a diet of junk food.

Details of the trip emerged in a Vanity Fair interview with Tim Mendelson, Taylor’s former personal assistant. It came about after Jackson invited the two Hollywood actors to be his guests at a pair of concerts at New York’s Madison Square Garden in early September 2001. Following the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the subsequent grounding of all internal flights, the trio were forced to find alternative transport back to the west coast. Mendelson claims they wound up driving a modest rental car all the way to Ohio – a distance of more than 500 miles.

The Journey: A Play in One Act

Scene I: Somewhere in western New Jersey, a 1998 Ford Taurus GL speeds down the highway. Michael Jackson is driving, Marlon Brando is in the front passenger’s seat, Elizabeth Taylor in the back.

Elizabeth: I’m not pouting.

Marlon: (rolls eyes dramatically)

Elizabeth: It’s a matter of fairness and respect. After all, I am Dame Elizabeth Taylor.

Marlon: (sighs theatrically)

Elizabeth: I don’t care about your “rules”. (makes air quotes) If you were a gentlemen, you’d let me sit in the front, that’s all I have to say…if you were a gentleman, you’d let me sit in the front.

Marlon: (turning to Michael). You heard me say it, didn’t you Bubbles?

Michael: (hunched over, his knuckles gripped tightly around the wheel, says nothing.)

Elizabeth: Well, I did not hear you say it.

Marlon: (grimaces energetically)

Elizabeth: You said nothing. You just walked up, jerked open the door and got in. You left me standing there with my luggage, fifteen pieces of custom Vuitton, in the parking lot at Hertz. You said nothing. You just got in the front seat.

Marlon: You heard me say it.

Elizabeth: No, I did not.

Marlon: You heard it.

Elizabeth: No.

Marlon: You heard me say it, and I know you did. But if it makes you happy, I’ll say it again: (shouts) SHOTGUN! Shotgun! Shotgun! Shotgun!

Elizabeth: (pouts in stunned silence)

Michael: (quietly) Uh oh. I think I just missed the turn.


Scene II: Drive through window, KFC, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Marlon is driving, Liz is sitting in the front passenger seat, Michael, wrapped in a blanket like E.T. is huddled in the back.

Marlon: (speaking into intercom): And a chicken poppers Happy Meal with a milk.

KFC Cashier: (from intercom) For a boy or a girl.

Marlon: A boy.

Michael: Wait, ask what the toy is.

Marlon: What’s the toy?

KFC Cashier: Batman for the boys, Powerpuff Girls for the girls.

Michael: Powerpuff Girls!

Marlon: A girls meal, please.

KFC Cashier: Okay, I’ve got a 10-piece Original Recipe, a 10-piece Extra Crispy, A grilled chicken sandwich with no mayo, a large side of mashed-potatoes and gravy, a large side of cole slaw, a dozen biscuits, an extra large Coke, and a Girls Kids Meal with a milk. Is that it?

Marlon: Are you sure you don’t want anything, Liz?