A Drama In Three Acts

T. Herman Zweibel
Publisher Emeritus (photo circa 1911)

To my universally celebrated works of drama, The Happy Bed-Chamber and The News-Paper Man And The Elves, I would like to add my third and most ambitious effort to date, The Syphilis-Crazed Young Norwegian Man.

Dramatis Personae:

OSVALD, a young man.

OSVALD'S MOTHER, Osvald's mother.

PASTOR MANDERS, family friend.

GHOST, ghost.

P. THURMAN ZEEBULL, famed publisher and author of this play.

HENRIK IBSEN, playwright.

ACT ONE. The drawing-room of a cottage by the sea.

Enter OSVALD'S MOTHER and PASTOR MANDERS.

PASTOR MANDERS: Your son Osvald has grown into a fine young man, Osvald's Mother.

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OSVALD'S MOTHER: Yet, Pastor Manders, I fear he shall be cut down in his very prime. He was infected with the clap during conception by Osvald's Father, a wayward sea-captain who is presumed lost at sea. The boy can go crackers any second.

PASTOR MANDERS: My word!

ACT TWO. Same setting. Enter OSVALD.

OSVALD: I feel as right as rain.

[Enter GHOST.]

GHOST: I am the ghost of your sea-captain father. I'm afraid I infected you with the clap during conception. Sorry.

[Exit GHOST.]

OSVALD: Oh, damn. Now you tell me.

[OSVALD lets loose a stream of gibberish and bounces out of the drawing room on his head.]

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OSVALD'S MOTHER: Osvald! Osvald!!

INTERMISSION. Concessions may be sold in the lobby.

ACT THREE. Same setting. Enter P. THURMAN ZEEBULL.

P. THURMAN ZEEBULL: This play I wrote is very exciting.

[Enter HENRIK IBSEN.]

HENRIK IBSEN: You American son of a bitch, you ripped off my play Ghosts.

P. THURMAN ZEEBULL: Quite so, and if anything, I improved it greatly. Yours was very boring.

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HENRIK IBSEN: Have at you, sir! I shall obtain satisfaction!

[IBSEN brandishes a duelling epee, but before he can attack, ZEEBULL runs him over with his wheel-chair. IBSEN dies.]

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ZEEBULL: Huzzah! America is the greatest land of all!

CURTAIN.

T. Herman Zweibel, the great grandson of Onion founder Friedrich Siegfried Zweibel, was born in 1868, became editor of The Onion at age 20, and persisted in various editorial posts until his launching into space in 2001. Zweibel's name became synonymous with American business success in the 20th century. Many consider him the “Father Of American Journalism,” also the title of his well-known 1943 biography, written by Norman Rombauer.

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