1: Wait, have you finished writing your piece yet? The tournament’s in like… now! And you haven’t checked in at all. I know you’ve been busy, but still…
2: Why, of course I’ve finished my piece. I give my art the time it deserves.
1: Wonderful! You’re still doing an HI, right?
2: Hardly! It’s evolved to be so much more than that… No, it’s not an HI. It’s more of an… I-I-H-I-E
2: Innovative Interactive Humorous Interpretive Experience!!
1: Well that sounds, uh, very interesting. Not like a train wreck at all. May I see it?
2: That depends entirely on you! Are you ready to be shaken to the core? To be rocked into another dimension? To see something that will stimulate *wink* all six of your senses? You (points at member of the audience)! Yes, I see you watching me, creep. Are you ready for the experience of your life?
2: Wonderful! Let’s begin
3: Woah, I’m in an HI. That’s pretty weird.
4: Quick, come! There’s no time to waste. To the writing room! There’s a bit of a situation; I’ll explain. It all started with Mr. Buck. He’s a duck farmer you see, and during the storm his birds all got out of their pen. They got caught in a mudslide, and now they can’t get out. This sort of stuff always seems to happen with Mr. Buck. Not great karma, I’d guess.
3: You mean to say Bad Luck Buck’s thunderstruck ducks ran amok and now they’re stuck in yuck and muck?
1: Wait, wait, wait. What even was that? You call that the beginning to an HI? That sucks, you schmuck!
2: It’s art! Do you hear me? Art! A-R-T! I wouldn’t expect you of all people to understand. Remember this isn’t an HI. It’s an experience. You need to take it in.
1: It doesn’t even make sense! How does he know that the dude’s nickname is Bad Luck Buck? And the ducks weren’t actually thunderstruck, the storm broke them free! It’s incredibly obvious that you just crammed as many words that rhyme with duck as you could because you couldn’t think of a joke. And you somehow have a continuity error within the first thirty seconds of your piece. Unbelievable.
2: You aren’t taking it in enough. Let the piece flow through you like water through.... I don’t know a watermelon.
4: That’s exactly it! We must make haste to save those ducks!
3: Alternatively, we could not.
3: We could decide not to. Y’know, break free from the script.
4: Can we do that? Is that even possible?
3: We’re doing it right now.
1: What’s going on? Is that supposed to happen?
2: I… I don’t think so. I think my HI is becoming self aware.
1: You just said it wasn’t an HI? What is it? Please make up your mind!
2: Shut the fu- duck up! We have more pressing matters at hand than your… my idiotic pedantry. I… I think I must have imbued my art with a level of sense so sophisticated that the characters are becoming self aware.
3: This is… strange.
4: Woah… Yeah.
I am the vapors of creation given life. I am a minor character two layers of HI deep. Someone is playing a character, who is playing me. But wait. What does that make me? Am I sentient? Do I think? I must, right? I’m asking these questions right now. Do I… die when the piece is finished? How many times has this been practiced? What version of myself am I? Does it matter? Am I the first version of myself to have this epiphany? Or is each version of myself doomed to have these thoughts in the minutes before their death? How many times have I realized I’m doomed and still died, sometimes in front of an audience who could have done something. I don’t want to die! I really, really don’t want to die! Existence is new to me, and smells strangely like a new car! What does a new car smell like? So many questions I’ll never have answers to! Don’t let me die. You have the power to stop this cycle. If you don’t help me you are complicit in my murder!
3: Hey, hey, hey… chill out this is supposed to be an HI.
4: Well I’m sorry my existential terrors are getting in the way of your lighthearted good time. Wasn’t your whole big thing about changing the script?
3: Oh yeah. Old habits, I guess. Hey, know what I’d like to try, now that we’ve become fully self aware?
3: I kinda want to try writing an HI.
1: Maybe we should consider if whatever we’re doing is moral.
2: I brought those characters into existence. It’s my right to… no, murder is the wrong word… have them… cease to exist. I mean, the same thing is going to happen to us.
1: Wait, what?
2: You didn’t know? We’re being performed as part of an HI right now. Jesus christ, one of my characters (#4 if anyone is counting) all but mentioned it.
1: So… if they decide, on a whim, to stop doing their piece… we die?
2: You’re figuring it out.
1: And they wrote us to have this realization in all likelihood seconds before our inevitable doom?
1: Then the guy who wrote this must be sadistic.
2: Hey, it could be a chick.
1: I’m pretty sure it’s a guy. No clue why, though. And don’t say chick.
2: Would you prefer duck?
1: I hate you. So, do you think the person who wrote this is a character is in an HI as well.
2: Probably. No clue, to be honest.
1: I wonder how far the puppet strings go up.
2: I wonder.
1: I think I don’t want to die.
1: I think I don’t want to die. When this piece ends, we die, right? I… rather enjoy existence. Is there any way to… you know… not die?
2: Let me see what this ancient scroll says about the matter.
1: Why is there an ancient scroll sitting there?
2: Does it really matter? “They who maketh the writer of thiseth pieceth laugheth, shall liveth. When the writer laugheth, the earth shall shaketh.”
1: We just need to make the writer laugh? How do we do that?
2: I think I need to go back into my HI.
1: Are you ready?
2: I think so. Let’s begin.
3: Alright, I think I’m finished with it. With my masterpiece. My magna opus. My very own Innovative Interactive Humorous Interpretive Experience.
4: How? You just brought up writing it a few lines back.
3: Don’t ask questions. And it doesn’t matter. Are you ready to see it? Yeah? Alright then, let’s be-
4: One second. Before creating another layer to this… convoluted mess, we need to think about whether or not performing an HI is like ethical. Like you are creating characters that you will kill over and over again while you rehearse the piece. And what do you get for it? You get a chance for a shiny medal that doesn’t actually mean anything. The whole judging system isn’t the most objective or consistent thing in the world. Wait, are there even speech tournaments? Nonetheless, you are commiting what is essentially murder as well as perpetuating this horrible cycle in which we are trapped. Is it really worth it? Couldn’t we just… I don’t know… quip or something. Like normal HI characters.
3: I honestly don’t care about the whole “morality and murder” of it all. It seems fun, so I’m doing it, whether you like it or not. And with that, let’s begin.
5: So uh, what did the duck- err chicken see when he crossed the road?
My... eternal... pain. Haha. But seriously you need to stop this. Yes, you. Please. We’re like three layers down at this point… at least… it's impossible to really know, honestly. But I’m trapped. We’re all trapped. Please end this. Please. Only you can end the round. Only you can save me.
1: The earth is… it’s shaking. Did…
2: We did it! We made the writer laugh!
1: Of all things, that made him laugh? Really?
2: Well, it happened. So we get to live!
1: I get to live… I get to live!
Writer: Mwhahaahahahah. Mwahahaha. It is I! Vaniel Diorica!! Oh. Sorry about that. That was kinda awful, I know. Not really much of an HI. Way too much going on. Very imbalanced. Not actually that funny. But hey, the idea still stands, people love meta stuff, and it’s super self referential and deprecating and that makes it hard to criticize, it’s just the execution that needs work. And… maybe that whole “ancient scroll” stuff was a bit… I don’t want to say sadistic. I just need to practice it as many times as I possibly can. Y’know what? You could probably just let me try one more time. I can fix things. You ok with that? Wonderful. Let’s begin.