Running Head: STOP: AN ALLEGORY ON SOCIAL HERDING







Stop: An Allegory on Social Herding
Mrs. Flickinger, Mr. Foltz & Ms. Shubert

Middletown High School







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Abstract: John D. Shephard is the common everyday traveler. He takes the bus each day to work, with a stop over to switch busses in neighboring town, Marshall. John’s nondescript appearance is juxtaposed by his derisive behavior. Each day, he must change busses in Marshall before his trek home from the factory. The bus arrives at the stop, and John exits toward the audience. Upon exiting the bus, John looks at both benches and approaches the bench to his left, questioning its two occupants harshly on their seating choice by saying “I can’t believe you’re sitting on that bench.” He then proceeds to sit on the bench to his right with two onlookers. The second day, he exits the bus, pauses to survey both benches, and again scorns the two occupiers of the bench to his left by saying “I can’t believe you’re sitting on that bench.” As he sits on the right bench, he vocally expresses his distaste for the other bench, inviting the onlookers sheepishly into his conversation. When he exits the bus on the third day, he pauses to survey both benches, noticing that the bench to his left now holds only one person, while the right bench has three people. He repeats his badgering of the occupant on the left bench (“I can’t believe you’re sitting on that bench”), and then joins the bench to his right to take the final seating space available. He has a verbal exchange with the occupants and audience, continuing his criticism of the left bench, while venerating the right bench and its residents. On the fourth day, the benches have been turned to face the audience, as John exits the bus away from the audience toward the two benches. He pauses to survey both benches, and again approaches the bench to his left. Since the scene has been flipped, while the benches orientation to each other remains the same, John's perspective has changed.. Now, all four waiting passengers crowd the previous right bench, but as John exits the bus they now sit to his left. He pauses to survey both benches, turning to the audience to ask “Can you believe they are sitting on that bench?” He then walks stridently over to the empty bench and stretches out across the four seats to wait for his connecting bus.
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Scene 1:
Setting: Two bus stop benches sit on stage, equal distanced from one another. The benches are faced away from the audience. The benches are exactly the same. Seated on each bench are two people, their gender is indistinguishable and their clothing is identical. The audience cannot see their faces. In the distance the audience can hear the unmistakable roar of a city bus, quickly the sound becomes overpowering, encompassing the entire stage and the bus arrives. John Shepard steps off the bus, and he stands exactly between the two benches. He looks at the left bench and then the right bench. A clear look of disgust crosses his face.

John Shepard: (walking over to the bench on the left, and talking more to the audience than the other characters, alternating eye contact between the two) I can’t believe you’re sitting on that bench. I would be absolutely ashamed to be sitting where you are… I’d hide my face and never show it in the public light again. What would your family say to you? What would your friends say to you if they knew you were sitting on that bench? Really, you should know better.

Shepard turns and walks to the bench on the right and sits down.

Scene Change: Lights go out. All characters stand and follow Shepard off stage. Shepard gets back on the bus.




Scene 2:
Setting: The setting is exactly the same as before, as characters are equally distributed on the benches. Again, the deafening roar of the bus is heard. Shepard steps off the bus, again standing between the two benches.
John Shepard: (walking over to the bench on the left, and talking more to the audience than the other characters) I can’t believe you’re still sitting on that bench. I wouldn’t show my face if I were you? Have your friends and family stopped talking to you, yet? Really, you should know better.

Shepard turns and walks to the bench on the right but does not sit down. Towering above the two seated characters an alternating eye contact, he begins a dialogue with them.

John Shepard: Can you believe they’re sitting over there. Look at them (raises his hands and gestures to the bench on the left). I mean, just look at them. (He and the other two characters look at the characters on the bench on the left)

Ovejas: I never really thought about it.

Pecore: I know. I never did either.

John Shepard: And that’s what’s wrong with our society. People never really think about what they’re doing.
Ovejas: I guess you could be right.


John Shepard: I am right.

Pecore: Yeah, I guess you are.

Ovejas: Look at them.

Pecore: Yeah, look at them.

Shepard gestures once again to the bench on the left. The gesture is directed more towards the audience than the sheep. They look intently at the bench to the left. The bench to the left does not look at the bench to the right.

Scene ends.




Scene 3: The scene begins the same as the previous ones did except for one major difference: Moutons is seated on the right bench. Shepard steps off the bus, looks at the right bench and smiles a bit. He sees Schafe seated on the left bench and a look of consternation crosses his face. He sighs loudly.

John Shepard: (walking at a slow pace to the bench on the left) I can’t believe you’re still sitting here? You’re alone. There’s a reason why no one is sitting here with you. The right bench is over there.

Shepard walks over to the bench on the right and stands in front of the sheep, not sitting down yet.

John Shepard: Look at that person over there. Would any of you want to sit there all by yourself while everyone else was sitting comfortably here?

Moutons: I can’t believe I was sitting over there.

John Shepard: Tragic.

Ovejas: Really, what were you thinking.

Pecore: I doubt there was any thinking.

John Shepard: Notice how that person is left alone now.

Ovejas: I wouldn’t want to sit by myself.

John Shepard: And because we’re together, it just proves how wrong anyone sitting over there is.

Scene change.




Scene 4:
The scene begins as before. The roar of the bus seems louder than ever, punctuating two major change in the scene: Schafe is seated on the bench with the other sheep; more important is that the benches are now facing the audience, with the result of the location of each bench switched—the empty bench is on the right and the other one on the left. As before, Shepard steps off the bus. He looks to the bench on the left first, noting four people sitting, leaving no room for him. He smiles broadly, beamingly obviously and brightly to both the sheep and the audience. He then looks at the bench on the right and seeing it vacant, smiles even more. A slight chuckle almost imperceptibly escapes from him. He strolls to the bench on the right and circles it as if in admiration.

John Shepard: (standing at the bench as he had done many times before, but this time there is no pretense of talking to the sheep as he speaks directly to the audience) Can you believe they’re sitting on that bench?

(He points to the four sheep who continue to stare sheepishly out at the audience. Shepard sits on the right bench and then in one action, stretches out completely at ease. Sighing out loudly enough for the audience to hear a “Bahhhhh” but with the “b” sound with little emphasis.)

Curtain falls.




Scene 5:
Stage Directions Needed Here
Schafe:
John Shepard. John is a common man, a common shepherd. The people around him are his sheep. We see how he was able to manipulate and control the environment to suit his needs and purposes while completely disregarding the desires and feelings of those around us. How does John Shepard determine the right bench? Is there a right bench? How does John Shephard herd his sheep?



Explanation of Allegory: