In The Princess Bride, Westley is captured by the evil Prince Humperdinck, and winds up in The Pit of Despair hooked up to a torture device with a Pain-Level setting from 1 to 10. The sadistic Count Rugen is intently studying Westley’s reaction to pain at the lower levels. Humperdinck bursts in and he is royally envious at Westley’s love for Buttercup, and in a rage, throws the pain switch to 11. The Ultimate Pain.
Recently, I began going to Physical Therapy for my left hip, which I injured 7 years ago in a freak dancing accident (Cowgirl Twist). So far, I haven’t seen any pain meters at the rehab place, but I’m sure they’re recording it on their laptop computers. There might even be little competitions among the Therapists to see who can induce the most pain. If you are hurting physically PT can help a lot, but while you’re strapped into some of the exercise machines, it can feel like you’ve wandered into the Pit of Despair
I nicknamed my two therapists Count Rugen and Princess Humperdinck. As they tortured me, I remembered that Mel Brooks line about the difference between comedy and tragedy. Basically, if it happens to me, it’s not funny. If it happens to you it’s hilarious. So, I think of things that I would think are funny if Rugen and Humperdinck were doing these things to someone else. One day when I actually did laugh out loud during a particularly painful stretching, I immediately thought, “Wow! This would be a funny stage play.”
I still have to flesh it out a bit.
Physical Terrorpy – The Musical
Act 1. Scene 1
Most of the stage is set up as an exercise room at a Physical Therapy clinic. A front corner of the stage is set up as a bar. The clinic is dark and the spotlight shows on the bar area. There is a bartender behind the bar and a few patrons are sitting on barstools. Duane Sanchez has just completed his first day of PT and is talking about the experience.
What a body on this therapist. She was pulling my leg, but that wasn’t the only thing stretching.
I think she likes me.”
Act 1. Scene 2
The bar goes dark and everyone changes costume into gym clothes as the same actors who were at the bar now play the employees at the clinic. The lights come up on the clinic. Duane is lying on the table. Princess Humperdinck, who looks fantastic, is bending and stretching his leg.
You have the tightest hip I’ve ever seen.
Act 2 Scene 1
Stage is set up as before. Clinic area is darkened, Bar area is lit. Duane has now had 5 P/T sessions. He is a little bit sore and he is telling the people at the bar about his experiences in Therapy.
I think these two Therapists got their training at a Nazi Pretzel Making School.
Act 2. Scene 2
The bar area darkens. The clinic brightens, except the clinic doesn’t look nearly as nice. It is starting to morph into the Pit of Despair, and Princess Humperdinck is much less attractive. Rugel is straddling Duane’s right leg and pushing his left leg around. Humperdinck is observing.
Let me know if this hurts.
“If it hurts real bad I may kick you, and, be advised, that’s my good leg.
I may kick you back, and, be advised, I have two good legs.
Aside to audience: That ended that pissing contest. I knew if I continued, I would wind up as the proverbial one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.
To Rugle: So, how ‘bout those Phillies?
Act 3 Scene 1
The stage is set up as before The clinic area is dark. The bar area brightens.
They devised new tortures every day. Bicycle one day. Bobsled another. And the distances keeps going up. Six minutes, then 7 minutes, then 8 minutes, then 15 minutes.
Act 3. Scene 2.
The bar area darkens, the clinic lights up. The bar patrons are back in their clinic costumes, but now the clinic area really looks like The Pit of Despair. There are pain meters everywhere, and Princess Humperdinck will look like the Wicked Witch of the West. Duane is on a stationary bicycle.
Fifteen minutes! What happened to 9 minutes?
What are you, a girl?
No, but don’t I get a Senior Discount?
Act 3. Scene 3
In the bar after the final physical therapy session. Duane is talking to the people at the bar.
What a great experience that was, and my new girlfriend loves the hip exercises they taught me.
Frankie, you should make an appointment and let them work on your bum leg.
Didn’t it hurt, though?
Naw, of course not. What are you a girl?
Peace and Love, and all of the above,