April 15, 2007

A Play A Day #366



Setting: Starting line

(lights up, Runner, appropriately garbed, prepares for the race - shaking out his arms and legs, bouncing around a bit - Coach at his side)

Coach: Alright, alright, pacing... pacing, don't forget about pacing.

Runner: Pacing.

Coach: You go out too fast in this one, you're done for.

Runner: Done for.

Coach: You go out too slow, you're done for.

Runner: Done for.

Coach: If it's not going too fast, get in that lead pack...

Runner: Lead pack.

Coach: If it is going too slow, don't get in the lead pack...

Runner: Lead pack.

Coach: Of course, there's no way to know if the lead pack is going too fast...

Runner: Too fast.

Coach: Or too slow.

Runner: Too slow.

Coach: So just run your own race.

Runner: My own race.

Coach: Ready?

Runner: Ready.

(Runner steps to the line, gets in position, Coach steps to the side, starter pistol goes off, Runner takes off, up and through the audience, out of the theater, Coach checks stop watch, eventually Runner makes it around the theater or wherever and re-enters running from backstage and crosses the starting line, raising his arms triumphantly and jumping around)

Coach: What are you doing?!

Runner: I did it! I did it, Coach! I won the race! I won!!

Coach: What are you talking about!?

Runner: I won! I ran my own race, Coach, and I crossed the finish line first!

Coach: What finish line? That's the starting line!

Runner: But I thought...

Coach: You thought wrong. Look at my stopwatch.

(Runner looks)

Runner: There aren't any numbers on it, Coach.

Coach: Exactly.

Runner: How do I know how I did?

Coach: You never do, kid. You never really do.

Runner: But, if I finish before the other runners, Coach?

Coach: What other runners?

(Runner looks around)

Runner: Oh.

Coach: Yeah.

(Runner thinks for a while)

Runner: Coach?

Coach: Yeah?

Runner: Why am I running?

Coach: Because you're a runner.

Runner: Yeah, I am.

Coach: And that right there, that's the starting line.

Runner: Yes, it is.

Coach: So...

Runner: So?

Coach: Go!

(Runner takes off again, Coach looks after him with a small smile on his face)

(lights fade out)


This was. It just was. I had no idea I would ever make it this far. I will be back to writing more in the future, but this project has to end. If I didn't set an end date, I would continue to write forever. I have plenty of weaknesses, but struggling for ideas is not one of them. I want to thank everyone who has taken time to read these plays, especially those of you who commented on them here or in other settings. Watch this space for further developments. For now, I need a little break.

Brendon Etter
April 14, 2007

April 14, 2007

A Play A Day #365

Ten Second Delay

Andy - talk radio host
Clancy - caller

Setting: Clancy's bedroom, extreme downstage center is a small table with a large radio on it, the play will be heard through the radio. It is preferable that the radio and table seem to be in the line of sight of the acting set - Clancy's bedroom - for many of the audience members.

(Note: Though we will see Clancy speaking, his voice will only be heard through the radio. Andy will only be heard through the radio as well, as he is the host of the talk radio show to which Clancy is calling.)

(lights up on Clancy's small bedroom, it's messy - small bed, floor lamp, desk, bookshelves, Clancy paces agitatedly around the room, holding a phone to his mouth)

Andy: (fading up from the radio) ...the ridiculous nature of the claims... I mean it's just water, people, whether it's in a bottle or in the tap, I don't see any difference. Longtime listeners Abdo's America will know that I am a big supporter of the American entrepeneur...

(We see Clancy start talking into the phone)

Andy: ...and if you're dumb enough to let yourself be duped by suspect claims on a bottle of water, then less power to you, but have these manufacturers gone too far? Let's go to the phones and hear what Andy Abdo's America thinks... Hello, caller, you're on with Andy Abdo.

Clancy: (from the radio) Hi Andy, wow... I've been trying to get through to you for months, and now here you are.

Andy: Here I am, caller... your name?

Clancy: Clancy, from Briggs, Rhode Island.

Andy: Clancy?

Clancy: Yeah.

Andy: Well, there's a name you don't hear much anymore - Clancy.

Clancy: I know.

Andy: Rhode Island... east coaster, you must see a lot of bottled water out there, little more upper crust, maybe?

Clancy: Not where I live, but, yeah, you see it a lot.

Andy: Well, you see it eveywhere it seems, but, what do you think, Clancy... will it cure cancer, lower your fever, cut through that nasty cough as apparently some of these bottled water companies are claiming in their ads?

Clancy: No, of course, it won't... there's no cure for anything.

(We see Clancy becoming more agitated)

Andy: Like cancer, well, some people seem to be having luck with some new treatments, but bottled wa...

Clancy: I meant, there's no cure for anything that really bothers people.

Andy: Not from bottled water anyway, is what you're saying...

Clancy: Not from anything... what really bothers people is the mind.

Andy: Sure, and some of these companies are apparently touting their bottled water as a cure-all for everything, including psychological diseases. Isn't this just a modern-day medicine show for the upper-middle class?

Clancy: I don't know, Andy, I can tell you that the only cure for psychological disease is death.

(pause, we see Clancy working himself into a more panicky state)

Andy: Well, no need to be grim, Clancy...

Clancy: I'm being real! I know, I really know... just endless pills, but nothing ever really changes...

Andy: Do you think "gourmet" water is going to come to the rescue?

Clancy: I'm not talking about water! I'm talking about killing your mind to get rid of everything that tells you you're nothing. I know nothing helps except dying.

Andy: (obviously talking to his producer at the radio station, muffled) No, no, leave him on Rick, we got a live one... (continues talking to Clancy) Clancy, come back to me, where do you see this bottled water health claim scam in terms of psychological health...

Clancy: I listen to your show, Andy, because I know that your mother and your brother killed themselves, and you...

Andy: Please, Clancy, let's stick to...

Clancy: And you've done a lot of shows about depression and suicide...

Andy: I have, but let's just stick to...

Clancy: So, I wanted you to know that I'm on my way out.


Andy: Clancy... (to his producer) Rick, let's get a trace, and, right... (to Clancy) Hey, Clancy, I want you to stay on the line here, and we're going to patch you through...

Clancy: Don't hang up! I thought you would understand, because of your mom and Kevin, but you're just going to hang up and...

(We see Clancy start crying into the phone)

Andy: Clancy, no, not going anywhere, I'm staying right here with you. I'm going to be right on this phone line. My producers are going to get someone out there to help, and I want you to stay...

Clancy: I don't want anyone to help! I just want the weight to disappear. I want to fly and not care. I want my chest to expand, the air to fill me, the ground to release me, the sky to rock me to sleep...

(We see Clancy reach under his pillow on the bed and remove a handgun)

Andy: (a new tone, the radio host voice is gone) Alright, Clancy, okay... I.. uhhh... we're going to get someone there, we can contact emergency personnel in your town... believe me, Clancy, I completely understand, I know what you're going through, and I'm...

Clancy: (a new calm tone in his voice) Here's my gun, Andy.

Andy: No, Clancy...

Clancy: I had it under my pillow for months. I had to get through. I had to make sure someone noticed me.

Andy: People notice... is there anyone else there with you, in your house, Clancy? I want to talk to someone who can make sure you... (to his producer) You got through? Okay. (to Clancy) We have someone coming to your place, Clancy.

Clancy: It'll be too late. Do you know why I wanted to be on the radio, Andy?

Andy: Clancy, talk to me.

Clancy: I am. Do you know why I wanted to be on the radio?

Andy: (obviously stalling for time) Hey, I know you're in pain, Clancy. I'm here. It's just a radio show, but we're real people here, and we care about people. I know I'm abrasive, but that's part of the schtick. We care a lot about our listeners, and we're...

Clancy: You're avoiding the question, Andy.

Andy: Clancy. Listen. Here's what you're going to do...

Clancy: Do you know why I wanted to be on radio?

Andy: We just want you to know that help is on the way; just hold out for a little bit longer and there should be...

Clancy: Do you know why I wanted to be on the radio for this?

Andy: I honestly don't want to answer you, Clancy. I just want...

Clancy: People don't want to see the messof a bullet going through someone's head...

Andy: That's not going...

Clancy: But on radio...

Andy: Clancy, stay with me, and don't...

Clancy: But on radio, you just hear things.

Andy: Listen to me, Clancy!

Clancy: So soon all your listeners will get to hear the sound of peace.

Andy: No! Clancy, Clancy...

(We see Clancy raise the gun to his head quickly and pull the trigger, he collapses, body, gun and telephone thudding to the floor)

Andy: Clancy, what's going on?

Clancy: I think that's a gift. My gift to the world, Andy. The sound of peace.

Andy: Okay, Clancy, I'm not sure what you're doing right now, but...

Clancy: Oh, don't worry, Andy. I'm not doing anything, really. (we hear a gun shot, loud thump and the phone hitting the floor)

Andy: NO!!! Jesus! Ahhh, man... no, no, no, no...

(lights and radio fade out)


April 13, 2007

A Play A Day #364

The Service


Setting: Frank's apartment

(lights up, a door bell sounds, Frank enter from stage left, crosses to door and opens it)

Frank: Ahh, hello.

Angie: Hi. Mr. Clemmons?

F: Yes, yes... you're from the service, correct?

A: Yes, sir.

F: Great, great... I was just going to get ready, and...

A: Don't worry, sir. Nothing to be done. I'll just get started right away.

F: I insist. I like to be properly prepared for this sort of thing.

A: Okay... ummm.. really though, I can start any time.

F: Sure, I know, but really, just a moment, I'll be back in just a touch, and much better prepared for you.

A: (confused) Umm, should I at least bring my stuff in, sir?

F: Oh, yes, by all means! Bring all your stuff in, if... if you think you'll need it, that is.

A: I usually need most of it, looks like a pretty big job.

F: You can tell just like that?

A: Yes, yes... I've had a lot of experience with big jobs like this; so don't worry, I'll still be done in a jiffy.

F: Well, don't wory about that; I'd rather you took your time.

A: Well, it will depend on what kind of mess I find.

F: Oh, I'm clean, I'm clean, don't worry about that.

A: Yes, I'm sure you are, sir.

F: Yeah, so, just a moment then. I'll just finish getting ready. (exiting) Be right back.

(Angie starts bringing in standard cleaning implements, broom, duster, bucket, mop, cloths, cleaning chemicals, slowly surveys the state of Frank's apartment, starts getting her materials out and readies herself to start cleaning, Frank re-enters from stage left, he is completely naked except for a kitten mask, Angie doesn't see him, but hears him)

A: Well, I thought it was a big job, but now I see it should be much more manageable.

F: (looking at his crotch) Oh, ummm... I use it well, I assure you.

A: Yes, looks like it.

F: I have to admit, I'm new to this... how do you usually like to start?

A: Well, I'll definitely need to use this... (turns around holding out a long feather duster and sees Frank) JESUS CHRIST! SHIT!! (jumps back, wielding the feather duster in front of her instinctually as if a sword)

F: What?!

A: What are you doing!!?

F: I just got ready!

A: You're naked!

F: Yeah, I mean...

A: Why are you naked?!

F: I... I thought it would be better for you...

A: It's not! It's not!

F: Is it the mask?!

A: No, no!

F: I can take that off...

A: No! Don't take anything else... What are you thinking?!

F: I'm thinking it's much easier to have sex if I'm naked.

A: It's not!

F: It's not? I should put my clothes back on?

A: No!

F: Oh, I'm..

A: I mean, yes! Yes! Yes!

F: But, isn't that just going to make it take longer?

A: No!

F: Oh, we just do it with my clothes on?

A: No! Please, sir... you can't be naked!

F: Okay, okay... I'm sorry... (leaves quickly)

(Angie stands there in shock for quite a while, replaying what just happened in her head, then she starts repacking her cleaning materials, and preparing to leave, Frank reenter with pants and shirt on, she doesn't see him or hear him)

F: You're leaving?

A: (turning around frantically) Yes! Yes! I have to go.

F: But what about...

A: No! I can't stay after seeing that!

F: It was that bad?

A: Sir, you can't... I could press charges.

F: Oh, come on! That's just mean!

A: You came out of your room naked, and made it seem that I was here for sex.

F: You're not?

A: Sir, I clean houses!

F: Riiiiight... annnnnd?

A: And? And? And exactly what?

F: Well, it said in your ad "one hundred percent satisfaction guaranteed"...

A: So?!

F: Well, I figured that what would really make me 100% satisfied would be to have someone clean my apartment and have sex with me.

A: That's ridiculous! How could you assume that meant anything moronic like that?

F: Because it said so, right in the ad!

A: No, it didn't! Our satisfaction guarantee applies only to the quality of work we do cleaning your house. That's it!

F: (rifling through a stack of paper on an end table, pulling one out and handing it to Angie) Explain this then.

A: What? This?

F: That is your ad from the newspaper, is it not?

A: Yes, but what... (looking at the ad closely) oh, come on...

F: Ah-ha! See? See?

A: You wrote that on there.

F: No, I didn't.

A: You did. They don't print newspaper ads in blue ballpoint pen.

F: Just read it.

A: (reading) "Angie's Aces Cleaning Service. We clean any house or apartment, top to bottom, one hundred percent satisfaction guaranteed. All our service comes up aces."

F: Hey, you didn't read the whole thing!

A: You mean the scribble in blue ink that says: "Including having sex with me"?

F: Yeah, that part.

A: I need to leave.

F: Well, could you at least clean the place up before you go?

A: NO!!

F: Jeez... calm down... it's not like I was asking you to...

A: Shut up! Shut up! Don't bring that up again!

F: Okay... okay.

A: You're disgusting!

(she exits, slamming the door behind her)

F: (pauses, walks to end table, takes out a whole handful of newspaper ads) Well, Frank, strike one, but it's a big city, and there are a lot of cleaning services.

(selects one from the stack, grabs a blue pen, writes on the ad, then picks up the phone and starts dialing the number)

F: Yes, hi, I saw your ad in the newspaper, and I'm really in desperate need of your services...

(Frank continues, mouthing the conversation)

(lights fade out)


April 12, 2007

A Play A Day #363



Setting: A theater, working on a set

(lights up, Donna is painting a wall of the stage, we hear the unmistakable whine of a table saw slicing up a piece of wood offstage, then the table saw grinds to a halt, then suddenly starts up again along with a loud bellow of pain, the saw shuts off, but the pained sounds - grunts, moans - continue)

Donna: Kane?! Kane?!

(Kane enters, holding his right hand in his left, blood covering both hands, he is in great pain, but dazed somewhat)

Kane: This is bad, this is bad, this is bad, this is bad...

Donna: (over Kane's lines) Oh my God! Ahhh! Kane, Jesus! What... nevermind... (thinking on her feet) Sit, sit down, sit down... you need to...

Kane: The saw got stuck and...

Donna: Okay, okay, don't talk about it... the saw, I can tell... I'm going to get the first aid kit and call 911... here, sit, sit, sit...

(Donna helps Kane sit and lean against a wall)

Kane: I can't... I can't stand blood, Donna.

Donna: Alright, alright... Don't look at it, okay? I need you to stay right here. I need you to not look at it, and stay right here, okay? Okay? Kane?! (shaking him a bit)

Kane: Yeah...

Donna: Stay here, and don't look at it... don't look at it.

(rushing offstage)

Donna: (shouting from offstage) Say something to me, Kane, let me know you're alright!

Kane: I'm alright...

(Kane turns his head slowly and looks at his hand)

Kane: Ahh, Jesus...

(he thumps down onto the ground, passing out)

Donna: (returning to the stage, talking on cell phone, first aid kit in hand) 719 Pinyon Avenue, the front door's open. Please hurry.

(putting away cell phone, opening kit, shaking Kane)

Donna: Kane... Kane... Come on... don't let this happen, come on, Kane.

(Kane slowly revives)

Donna: (breathes out in relief) You looked, didn't you?

Kane: Yeah... I...

Donna: Stupid, stupid... listen to me...

Kane: Sorry.

Donna: Let me look.

(Kane lets go of his right hand)

Donna: (big breath) Okay, okay... ummmm...

Kane: Bad?

Donna: Nevermind that. I'm going to lift your arm and hold it straight up so the bleeding slows down.

Kane: Right...

(Donna does so)

Donna: Now, I'm going to wrap this roll of gauze around your fingers, that will help too.

Kane: I didn't mean to do this...

Donna: (with understated obviousness) I realize that, Kane.

Kane: The saw stuck on the plywood, and I went to lift...

Donna: Kane, Kane, I don't need the details, just relax... let me wind this stuff around your fingers.

(starting with the gauze, she will slowly wrap Kane's fingers and hand for the rest of the play)

Kane: I can't really feel my fingers.

Donna: I can. They're still there; you're going to be fine. Just breathe, okay, breathe slowly.

(Kane tries to do so, but his system is still in overdrive from the trauma.)

Kane: Ahhh... I can't... I can't...

Donna: You can. I need you to, Kane Deep slow breaths... deep and slow... deep... and... slow...

(Donna demonstrates, wrapping the fingers very slowly and carefully to the rhythm of her deep breaths, Kane catches on gradually, lights soften, this should be played for a while to build a hypnotic feel between the two of them and the wrapping of Kane's hand)

Donna: (quietly) That's it. Slowly.

Kane: I'm going to fall asleep.

Donna: (too loudly and quickly) No! (Kane jolts out of his slow breathing, Donna catches herself) Sorry... sorry... I mean, please don't fall asleep, okay? I need you to be relaxed, but awake.

Kane: Are you a nurse?

Donna: No, just my guesses at some basic first aid.

Kane: I'm glad you're here.

Donna: Thank you.

Kane: This is the first play I've helped with at this theater.

Donna: Yes, I remember you told me that at the volunteer meeting.

Kane: They'll never ask me back now.

Donna: Don't be silly, Kane; we always want volunteers.

Kane: They won't let me use the powertools.

Donna: Well, will you want to use them again?

Kane: Yeah.

Donna: Then we're not going to be too picky. We need as much help as we can get.


Kane: You're pretty.

Donna: You're in shock.

Kane: Maybe.

Donna: Thank you though.

Kane: I owe you one.

Donna: You don't owe me anything.

Kane: I want to.

Donna: Please don't.

Kane: Sorry.


Donna: It's just, taking care of someone in a traumatic situation forges weird bonds. Attachments that don't disappear.

Kane: We'll always have the table saw?

Donna: Yeah, like that. So we'll have this odd connection from now on.

Kane: Maybe we could make it a normal connection?

Donna: I make it policy not to date the medically compromised.

Kane: Aren't we all medically compromised in some way?

Donna: The immediately medically compromised.

Kane: Sounds like a policy you made up right now.

Donna: Maybe. Listen, people get attached when they're wounded. Things feel desperate, and they cling to whoever helps them.

Kane: So?

Donna: So, their feelings for the other person are never really about that person as an individual, but more about that person as a savior of sorts. They're always tied up with the accident.

Kane: Ohh... but what if his feelings for the sort-of savior were there before he volunteered to help build the set on the night when he knew that she was going to be there painting?

Donna: Umm... well. I...

(Donna finishes wrapping his hand, pause as she holds it there at a loss for words)

Kane: (motioning to his injured hand) You should know that this wasn't part of the plan.

Donna: That's... that's good to hear.

Kane: Sure helped me overcome my shyness though.

Donna: Yes. I guess it did. (pause) The ambulance should be here soon.

Kane: I kind of hope it never makes it.

Donna: I can ride along with you to the hospital if you want.

Kane: I'd like that.

(Donna leans in and starts kissing Kane, the kiss gets slowly more and more passionate as the lights fade out and an ambulance siren fades in, eventually Donna is on her hands and knees over Kane, kissing him, Kane lets his wounded hand fall to Donna's butt, Donna quickly grabs it and returns it to its upright position with a little laugh and goes back to kissing Kane as the siren reaches full volume)

(sound and lights out at the same time)


April 11, 2007

A Play A Day #362



Setting: Living room and entry way of Sally and Aaron's home

(lights up, Sally and Aaron are just seeing Betsy and Marcus out the door)

Sally: It was so nice to see you two again; we'll have to have you over again.

Aaron: Definitely. A lot of fun. Glad to hear the honeymoon was so enjoyable.

(Sally moves in to hug Betsy, Marcus joins the hug, so that all three end up hugging awkwardly at the same time)

Betsy & Marcus: (while embracing Sally) We had a great time, Sally.

Sally: (a little uncomfortable laugh) Ahh, both at once. (another giggle to soften the awkwardness, Betsy and Marcus do not laugh)

(Betsy and Marcus break off the hug, turn to Aaron)

Betsy & Marcus: (hugging Aaron at the same time as well) It felt so good for us to get together with you, Aaron.

Aaron: Yes. Yes. I enjoyed it.

(hug breaks off)

Betsy & Marcus: Well, please call us soon.

Sally: We will...

Aaron: We will...

(they laugh at repeating each other)

Betsy & Marcus: Good night.

Aaron: Night.

(Sally closes the door, leans against it, Aaron turns and moves to living room sofa, sits down, he is obviously confused and bemused, they both stay where they are and think about things for a while, finally)

Sally: Was that... was that...

Aaron: Real?

Sally: (at same time) ...real?

(loud laugh from both)

Aaron: It must have been. They couldn't have been acting, could they?

Sally: I don't see how.

Aaron: They were completely straight-faced the whole evening, you know? Right down the middle the whole time.

Sally: It was like headphones at times.

Aaron: Yeah, Betsy and Marcus in surround sound.


Sally: What happened to them?

Aaron: Whatever it is, it definitely happened to both of them!

Sally: They get married, spend two weeks in Mexico... and... and what?

Aaron: I'm not sure, but it must have something to do with the Aztec ruins they saw.

Sally: An ancient curse?

Aaron: Sure, why not?

Sally: I don't know.

Aaron: You have a better idea?

Sally: Tropical disease?

Aaron: Ohhh, hadn't thought about that... some bug that only bites newlyweds?

Sally: I mean, seems more plausible. I'm not sure anyone can actually do something like that in the absence of some bizarre pathology.

Aaron: Or perhaps, it was simply an evening beset by a staggering sequence of coincidences.

Sally: How so?

Aaron: Well, I guess, it's conceivable - and, believe me, I mean 'conceivable' in the most remote sense possible - but it is conceivable that every time one of them had to speak the other just, coincidentally, had to say the same thing (pause) at the exact same moment (pause) for three hours.

(pause, then they laugh)

Sally: It was amazing and scary at the same time.

Aaron: Like an unexpected circus.

Sally: Boo! (grandly) In this ring!

Aaron: We didn't help matters that much.

Sally: I know, I wanted to say something right away, but once they had done it a few times.

Aaron: Exactly, how do you step in then?

Sally: We were totally stuck.

Aaron: Ahhhhh!! Don't use that word!

Sally: Which?

Aaron: "We"

Sally: Oh, right. Yeah, it does have some sinister associations now, doesn't it?

Aaron: What happened to them?

Sally: They were perfectly normal a month ago, before the wedding.

Aaron: Could we have missed something? Was there some clue?

Sally: No... no... nothing I can remember.

Aaron: I thought, you know, I thought everything was going to be the same; I certainly never expected this sort of freak show.

Sally: What compels two healthy people to give up their individuality so completely that they almost completely cease using the word "I"?

Aaron: Societal expectations?

Sally: Does society really expect that kind of love in our marriages?

Aaron: Sure. I call it Oprah love: this unrealistic belief that you will have romantic love that is so deep, so permanent, ao abiding and omnipresent in your life that most women, and some men, end up feeling horribly disappointed and unfulfilled by their spouses when they find out that it just doesn't happen that way.

Sally: It doesn't?

Aaron: No. Why do you think divorce rates are so high? Because love isn't like that; it doesn't work like that.

Sally: What is love like?

Aaron: (missing the angle of her question) It's messy, filled with thorns and jealousies, grudges and doubts. It may be true that marriage is two people loving, laughing and growing, but it's also two people complaining, nagging and crying.

Sally: Well...

Aaron: So these fresh lovers like Betsy and Marcus. They fall in love. They get married, and in a desperate, wholly misguided attempt to live up to these unhealthy beliefs, they literally throw away their own identities in exchange for this idealized notion of love - this... this, wedentity.

Sally: Hmmm, I see that Betsy and Marcus have deluded themselves with this "we" ploy, but don't you think there might be some merit in chasing that ideal of love?

Aaron: You saw the merit of that approach tonight. It's impossible, and it's dangerous.

Sally: Maybe they just took it too far. That doesn't mean that romantic love doesn't exist for other married couples, does it?

Aaron: Well, sure it exists. It's a possibility. Most marriages have it to start, but it disappears with time.

Sally: It would be nice, though, if someone fought to recover that vanishing love.

Aaron: It might be nice, but... wait a second... you're not suddenly in favor of this sick, cinematic fantasy of endless romantic love, are you?

Sally: I just think that maybe it's something worth fighting for.

Aaron: I don't even believe it exists.

Sally: Maybe you don't need to.

Aaron: And I don't.

Sally: Maybe, it's not so important that you believe in it, or that I believe in it.

Aaron: And you don't either.

Sally: Maybe not. But maybe... maybe it's much more important that we believe in it.

Aaron: You do?

Sally: Yes. We do.

(Aaron pauses, he can tell there are unspoken dreams in Sally's tone with which he must not trifle)

Aaron: (contritely) Yes. Yes, of course.

(long pause)

Aaron & Sally: (both standing up) Time for bed.

(exit together as lights fade out)


April 10, 2007

A Play A Day #361

Variety Is The Spice Of Wife


Context Specific


Very Vera


Setting: Harold and Vera's home

(lights up, Harold and Vera1 sit on two chairs in the living room, Harold reading a newspaper, Vera1 knitting, the stage is divided into four parts with walls running perpendicular to the audience, the living room is center, kitchen is stage left, bedroom is most of stage right, bathroom is extreme stage right, all rooms are furnished as such, the doors between the kitchen and living room and between the living room and bedroom are open)

Harold: (sniffing the air) Smells delicious, Vera; cherry?

Vera1: Yes, Harold, with just a smidgen of apple. I thought that would liven up the traditional a bit.

H: You always were a daredevil.

V1: (giggling) Oh, Harold...

H: Must be done; do you expect?

V1: Let me check.

(Vera1 gets up, walks into kitchen doorway, she stays hidden from audience behind open door, Vera2, who has been hidden behind the door, is the Vera we see enter the kitchen. This is a completely different woman, no attempt should be made for her to mimic Vera1 in any way. Vera2 wears traditional kitchen garb: apron, oven mitts, house dress. She checks the progress of the pie in the oven.)

Vera2: (calling out) Looking good. I'll just let it cool down in here for a while.

H: Excellent!

(Vera2 pokes some holes in the top of the pie with a fork, starts returning to the living room)

V2: (while in kitchen) You should be in heaven...

(behind door, Vera1 comes into living room finishing the sentence without any real pause or change)

V1: ...in about three minutes.

H: Ahh, does it have to be that long?

V1: Yes, dear; you'd scald your mouth completely.

H: Yes, I suppose you're right.

V1: I know I'm right. What pleasure is a wife's cherry pie if her husband can't taste it from the pain?

H: I had never looked at it that way before. Very little, I guess; very little indeed.

V1: Indeed. And with your birthday tomorrow; you'll be getting many other good things that you'd rather not have colored by a burnt mouth.

H: How true.

V1: Which reminds me, a present... an early present from me to you. I'll be right back.

(Vera1 crosses and stops behind open door separating living room and bedroom, Vera3, who has been behind that door the whole time, enters the bedroom, again, no concern should be taken to to have these women be the same)

Vera3: (calling out, searching for the present) I saw it at that precious shop on the plaza this afternoon, and I just had to have it for you.

(Harold has checked after his wife to see if she has left the room completely, sneaks off quickly into the kitchen, moving to the chery pie)

H: (calling out to his wife) You really shouldn't have, my lovely.

V3: Well, you know how I get... here it is... I see something like...

(door transition to Vera1)

V1: ...that and I just have to have... (realizing Harold is not in the living room any longer) it... (to heself) ohh, that man is scoping out my dangerously hot chery pie... (walks quickly to the kitchen) Put that...

(door transition to Vera2 again)

V2: ...down this instant, Harold! (she puts his present down on the counter behind the open door)

(Harold drops the fork with which he was going to take a bite)

H: Ohh, foul temptress!

V2: Do you think I would not have been able to tell you'd gotten into it?

H: I was going to blame the cat.

V2: The cat hates fruit.

H: You are too good, my cuddlecup.

V2: I ought to be. You know, I did the figures in my head this morning. I've spent one-third of my life with you.

H: Well, then I must have spent one-third of my life with you as well.

V2: Yes.

H: Is that two-thirds all together?

V2: (laughing) Very cute, Harold.

H: Yes, just like you, peachbottom.

V2: Cutesy names will get you no cherry pie.

H: No?

V2: No.

H: Well, it may not be a particularly cherry pie I'm after.

(Harold moves in and starts kissing and fondling V2 suggestively)

H: Hmmm?

V2: (giving in) Oh! Harold... you delicious man.

(more kissing and groping, V2 starts reciprocating)

H: Perhaps, we could carry this quest to the bedroom?

V2: Let's.

(they pass between the kitchen and living room door, when Harold emerges in the living room, he is kissing and groping Vera1)

V1: (while they kiss and move toward bedroom) All these years, Harold, and you still know how to make me so swampy.

H: Well, if the weather's that bad in the southern hemisphere, perhaps I should wear my raincoat for the trip?

V1: Muck away with or without your rubbers, big boy.

H: Too much, snowpea, too much, indeed!

V1: Grope me, grope...

(doorway transition, Harold is nuzzling Vera3 when they emerge in the bedroom)

V3: ...me harder!

H: As you wish.

V3: Rougher!

H: Of course.

(Harold pushes V3 onto bed roughly, takes a running start and dives onto her, V3 rolls to the side, and steps off the bed, to the doorway, saying)

V3: Ooops! Oh, dearest, your...

(doorway transition to V1)

V1: (moving quickly to kitchen) ...present, I do so want you to see it, it is quite...

(doorway trnsition to V2)

V2: (moving to get present) ...possibly the most...

(in her haste, V2 picks up the present off the counter, turns back toward the kitchen / living room door and whacks her head hard on the door, which slams the door onto V1 who is, of course, still hiding in the doorway, V1 stumbles woozily into the living room)

V1: ...delightful...

(but now she is followed by V2, who also staggers, holding the present and her head)

V2: ...delightful...

(Together they make their way to the bedroom, where they do the classic, two people trying to go through a door frame at one time trick, of course, this neatly forces V3, who has been hiding in the doorway, into the bedroom, with V1 and V2 popping in quickly after, all three women collapse at the foot of the bed, unknown to Harold at first, as he is still face down where he had dived seconds earlier at V3)

Harold: (face down) Dearie?

V1, V2, & V3: (from the floor) ...gift I have ever... dis...cov......ered...

(voices slow as they notice each other)

V1: (standing) Who the hell are you? And you?

V2: (standing) Me? Who the hell are you, and what are you doing in my bedroom!?

V3: (standing) What's the meaning of this!?

V1: Harold!

(Harold by this time has rolled over, sitting up on foot of bed, he is shaking his head, but doesn't look too upset)

H: (placatingly to V1) Now, Vera...

V2: Harold, you know her!?

H: (placatingly to V2) Now, Vera...

V3: You know both of these!? (dismissive wave of her hand at V1 and V2)

H: (placatingly to V3) Now, Vera...

V1: I'm not sure what's going on here, but you two had better go back to ditches from which you've come and leave me to discuss this matter with my unfortunate husband!

V2: Your husband? He is my husband, and he's far worse than unfortunate!

V3: He belongs to me, and he's beneath even that!

(argument between the three Veras heats up, and becomes an indiscernable roar, it fades to a dull roar and flailing limbs as Harold gets up, and discreetly exits the bedroom for the bathroom, lights fading on the rest of the stage and up in the bathroom. As Harold enters, we hear the shower running briefly, then shutting off)

Vera4: Harold, is that you?

H: Yes, lover.

V4: Be a dear and fetch my robe for me.

H: (handing her the robe) Here you are.

V4: (putting on robe and stepping out of shower) That's my man. (kissing him on the cheek, then hearing the argument in the bedroom) Oh dear? Intruders?

H: No, perhaps worse than that.

V4: (opening the bathroom door and observing the fight) My, my, my. What's all this then?

H: Something has upset them tremendously.

V4: Yes, yes, something has. (shutting bathroom door) Well, this is what can be expected to happen when women forget their proper places.

(V4 embraces Harold and kisses him deeply)

H: Oh, I always knew I loved you most of all, Vera.

(more kissing as argument continues in the other room and lights fade out)


April 9, 2007

A Play A Day #360

Stick Your Tongue Down My Throat You Miserable Son Of A Bitch


Setting: Bare stage

(lights up, Maureen paces back and forth menacingly, Ralph is bound and gagged, sitting in a hard wooden chair)

Maureen: I mean, why shouldn't I just kill you?!

(Ralph strains against his bonds, eyes wide open and panicking, he tries speaking through his gag, which is a handkerchief stuffed into his mouth and secured by a large, ugly swath of duct tape)

Ralph: Mmmmppppphhhhh!

M: (running a finger very slowly along his throat) A long slit from here... to... here?

R: Mmmmpppphhhh!!!

M: You're pathetic, with your screaming! Why can't you take this like a man?

R: Mmmmpphhhh!

M: I've been on this Earth far too long to have my plans dashed by a little shit like you. When I say "jump", you should ask "Off what cliff?", and when I say "go to hell", you should be packing the sunblock in seconds.

R: Mmmmpphh!

M: Why? Why?! Because I'm in charge, that's why! You have no say in the way things work in this situation. You are under my control.

R: Mmmmpphhh!

M: I am your queen and your commander! I am your deliverance and your nightmare! I am your darkness and your light! I am the Most-High-Goddess of all possible Bitches.

R: Mmmmmpppphh!

M: You? You? You are nothing. You are less than nothing. You are beneath me, you are beneath the pile of nothing that nothing stands on to be counted as nothing. You are that low.

R: Mmmmppphhh.

M: I could slit your throat, I could smash your knees, I could burn off your hair, I could tear off your nose.

R: (crying now) Mmmmpppphhhh!

M: But none of that would feel right, if... if... if I didn't acknowledge that seeing you like this is making me incredibly... hot!

R: (eyes open even further, straining even more frantically against his bonds) Mmmmppphhhh!!! Mmmppppphhhhh!!!

M: And wet...

R: Mmmppphhhh!!!

M: And there's something that needs to be done...

R: Mmmppphhh!!!

M: Some way that I must find my satisfaction...

R: Mmmmpppphhhh!!

M: Somehow, I must exact the most pleasurable consequence...

R: Mmmmppphhhh!!

M: To teach you one final lesson...

R: Mmmpphhhh!!

M: And get me off in the process!

R: Mmmmmppphhhh!!!

M: I'm going to remove this gag know... oh my, yes, that will sting... and I'm going to kiss you...

R: Mmmmppphhh!!!

M: And you're going to kiss me back. Hard!

R: Mmmmppphhhh!!

M: I'm going to stick my long, strong tongue down your throat, and you're going to stick your tongue down mine, you miserable son of a bitch!

R: Mmmmppphhh!!!

M: Ready?

R: Mmmmmppphhh!

M: Ahhh... what do I care if you're not?

(she tears the duct tape off quickly and roughly, pulls the handkerchief from his mouth, he screams)

R: Okay!!! Okay!! I'll do the damn dishes!!!

(she smiles wickedly and exits)

M: I knew you'd see it my way.

R: (calling after her) You have to untie me first.

(pause, lights fading)

R: Awww, c'mon Mom!


R: Mom?

(lights out)


April 8, 2007

A Play A Day #359

Malfunctioning Camus Filter


Setting: Apartment, sofa, a couple chairs.

(lights up, Mel is reading on the sofa, enter Rebecca, she is happy, sits on the nearby chair, she is humming)

Mel: (sighs, still reading) What?

Rebecca: Nothing.

M: (baleful) You're humming. That's something.

R: No, it's actually nothing. Just humming.

M: (annoyed) Well, I'm trying to read.

R: Don't let me bother you, then.

M: You are bothering me.

R: I don't mean to.

M: Yeah, well, you are. You're humming; I'm reading. I want some peace.

R: I don't have a problem with that.

(pause, he goes back to reading, she sits for a while)

M: Now what?

R: Nothing, dear.

M: You're still here.

R: I can't possibly be bothering you now.

M: You are.

R: I'm not trying to.

M: Yet, there you are. Sitting.

R: Not humming though.

M: Too bad. I'm so sick of you doing things like this.

R: I'm not doing anything.

M: I try to relax. Read something magnificent, be inspired, and I have to deal with your pestering.

R: I would never pester you.

M: You're a pest.

R: Being your girlfriend is not easy, you know. I come in here to just sit near my handsome, brainy boyfriend; enjoy being in the same room with you, and I'm made to feel unwelcome, unappreciated, unloved.

M: I'm reading Albert Camus! Do you understand?

R: No.

M: Okay... I'm reading Camus. There is only room for me and his genius!

R: None for me?

M: I wish. Camus is so powerful, so uplifting, that I need an empty room to allow his specific weightiness to take hold.

R: I didn't know that.

M: Now you do.

R: I'm not happy about this.

M: See, you are so negative. I need a room bereft of negative energy in which Monsieur Camus can percolate.

R: I'm not negative.

M: See?

R: I'm not!

M: You're digging a deeper hole.

R: I don't have to listen to this.

M: Negative.

R: You're not nice.

M: Negative.

R: (storming out) This is so stupid!

M: (calling after her) Hey! At least that wasn't negative.

(shaking head, back to his book)

M: Cheer me up again, Albert.

(lights fade as Mel laughs at something he is reading)

M: Oh, Camus... so delicious.

(lights out)


April 7, 2007

A Play A Day #358

Love To Eat


Setting: Lou's kitchen.

(lights up on a full kitchen, Lou, a plump man in his forties or fifties, is cooking something on the stovetop, enter Isa, his very skinny teenage niece)

Lou: Ahh! There's the littlest angel! How is my beautiful niece this beautiful morning?

Isa: Fine, Uncle Lou.

Lou: How is it that you can be so skinny? You don't eat, perhaps?

Isa: I eat. I just have a high metabolism, I guess.

Lou: Do not lie to your Uncle Lou; I won't listen to lies. You don't eat your Mama's food; she is my little sister. I taught her all of my kitchen skills so many years ago, but she tells me you do not eat what she makes.

Isa: Well, I don't always like what she makes.

Lou: Why?

Isa: She adds weird things to normal dishes and then tries to get me to eat them by telling me that they are delicacies in other parts of the world.

Lou: Yes? And?

Isa: Some of it is really gross.

Lou: Like what?

Isa: Like the other day she made me a ham and cheese omelette, right before I took the first bite she said: "I hope I didn't add too much jacarindo."

Lou: Ahh, yes, jacarindo!

Isa: What's jacarindo?

Lou: It is better for you to not know.

Isa: That's what she said!

Lou: She is right!

Isa: I can't eat it if I don't know what it is.

Lou: It is a delicacy on the small Pacific island of Guberra.

Isa: So?

Lou: You should eat it sometime.

Isa: I can't eat that weird, foreign stuff.

Lou: Well, your Uncle Lou, he only uses fresh domestic ingredients in his cooking, nothing weird or foreign.

Isa: But, you said you taught my Mom everything she knows about cooking.

Lou: Yes, yes, so I did.

Isa: So doesn't she cook just like you?

Lou: Yes, in a way, but she doesn't attend to another rule of cooking: know your audience.

Isa: Audience?

Lou: I am cooking for you right now, so you are my audience.

Isa: Oh, I see.

Lou: Yes, so I cook only with things that I know you like.

Isa: Okay.

Lou: When my niece comes to visit, she will eat! She will eat and gain weight and be happy; because Uncle Lou knows how to make his audience happy.

Isa: Sounds good. I'm pretty hungry.

Lou: Yes, you are also pretty and hungry, too.

Isa: Thanks, Uncle Lou.

(Lou takes something from the oven)

Lou: Right now, I've just finished this flan for you.

Isa: Flan?

Lou: It's like a cake with low self-esteem. See, it is flat and in a pan; so, it is a flan.

Isa: Smells good.

(Lou cuts a piece, puts it on a plate with a fork and hands it to Isa)

Lou: It should. It is filled with those things that I know my audience likes.

Isa: (taking a bite) What's in it?

Lou: You tell me.

Isa: Strawberries?

Lou: Of course, easy, easy for you. Even when you were a little girl, I would catch you stealing strawberries from my garden.

Isa: I still steal some.

Lou: I know, but you are quicker now so I don't catch you.

Isa: (another bite) Cinnamon?

Lou: Of course, you do love cinnamon, I know.

Isa: And... (chewing some, getting a concerned look on her face) Bleehhh... what's... (grabbing at her tongue) Is that... Uncle Lou, there's hair... a lot of hair...

Lou: (big smile, he's excited) Not hair, Isa... fur!

Isa: (gagging, retching) Aggghhh, uuhhhhhgggghhh.... what did you put in this... akkkk...

Lou: You do not know?

Isa: No!

Lou: Kitties! I know this is what you love most of all!

(Isa starts vomiting on her plate)

Lou: But the kitties are fresh-blended this morning!

(more vomiting, Lou goes to the fridge and pulls out a large bowl)

Lou: (indicating bowl) Perhaps you love puppies more now?

(lights out)


April 6, 2007

A Play A Day #357



Setting: A restaurant table.

(lights up, Ella, Lula and Nell are seated around a restaurant table, they just got there)

Ella: So are you ready?

Lula: Yeah, let's see, let's see!

Nell: Off with the hat, girl!

Ella: (taking off her hat with a flourish, shaking out her hair) Ta-da!

Lula: (whistles) Nice. Look at that!

Nell: Oh, Ella, it looks so perfect on you!

Lula: What a change, huh?

Ella: I know, but I thought, might as well. Maybe he'll even notice this time!

(Ella looks more convinced than she feels)

Nell: And?

Lula: Yeah?

Ella: (big sigh) What do you think?

Nell: That's horrible!

Lula: Oh, wow! He didn't say anything?

Nell: With that much of a change?!

Ella: Nothing...

(Ella, puts her hat on again, gets up and moves to stage right, lights follow, enter Rick, he is getting dressed in suit and tie throughout his speech to Ellen)

Rick: Well, he's a prick, but he's a powerful prick, and if things go well tonight, I might be able to get his recommendation to go ahead with the Rogers contract - hand me my tie, would ya - (Ella does so, taking off her hat and shaking her hair out over-exuberantly in the process) Hey, watch it. So, Kyle thinks we've got quite a good chance to nearly double the intake from a year ago, which we will most definitely do if Mr. Prick bites on the flattery we throw his way tonight. It would be good, (Ella looks over his shoulder in the "mirror" in which Rick is tying his tie, she luxuriantly runs her hands through her hair) very good for us, I'm talking about a fifteen percent pay increase if it all shakes out as expected. Kyle says twenty if this guy's still in with the right city councilmen. (Ella wraps Rick's suitcoat around her so that only her hair is showing) Don't do that, Ella, you're gonna get make-up on it or something. (grabs the suitcoat, starts putting it on) I mean that would mean some great things for me for the future. Once you hit a certain level, the contracts get much easier to grab because there's just that much more weight behind you. (starts putting on his shoes) So, I might need to bring him back here if things are really going well. We'll keep wining and dining him 'til the influence hits a natural stopping point. (Ella grabs a blowdryer and starts drying her hair even though it's already dry, Rick just raises his voice over it) If you could just make sure you're in bed when I get home, just in case he's with me, that way, we can continue on with business, and he won't feel pressured to engage in any small talk with someone else. (Ella stops the blowdryer) Okay?

Ella: What?

Rick: Just be in bed, we'd probably get back here around eleven. You better hit the sack at ten, just to be safe.

Ella: Okay.

Rick: (looking in "mirror" again) My hair look alright?

Ella: Same as always.

Rick: Great.

(stage right lights fade, Rick exits, Ella goes back to the restaurant table)

Ella: I don't know, maybe I was too subtle.

Lula: With that big a difference? No, anyone should have noticed that.

Ella: I just wish, you know, once in a while, he'd notice me.

Nell: No kidding, but you do have to be careful what you wish for.

Lula: Yeah, I'm sure Luke would have noticed. Huh, Nell?

Nell: And then some...

(Nell gets up, walks stage left, lights follow, enter Luke, he and Nell engage in conversation)

Nell: Just for a couple hours. I'll be home before ten.

Luke: You're wearing that skirt?

Nell: Yes.

Luke: With that blouse?

Nell: Yeah!

Luke: Okay...

Nell: What?

Luke: Nothing, I'm sure some people will like it.

Nell: It's nice, I bought it last week.

Luke: Actually, you bought it two weeks ago with those navy blue pumps that make your ankles look fat.

Nell: They do not make my ankles look fat.

Luke: Maybe it's the rest of you then.

Nell: Luke!

Luke: I'm just saying, one of us has gained two pounds since her birthday.

Nell: Stop it.

Luke: And I noticed that you bought some control-top hose the other day.

Nell: So what!?

Luke: (slight cough) Nothing.

Nell: Are you done?

Luke: Yeah.

Nell: Good. I've got to go.

Luke: What's wrong with your hair?

Nell: Nothing's wrong with my hair, Luke! It's the same as it always is!

Luke: Exactly.

(stage left lights fade, Luke exits, Nell returns to restaurant table and sits)

Nell: Every little thing is like that.

Ella: That's just terrible. There's got to be a middle ground between oblivious and obsessive.

Lula: Oh, there is, but watch out what you wish for...

(Lula gets up, walks extreme downstage center, in front of table, lighs folow, enter Jake, talking to Lula)

Jake: Wow! You did something special with you hair!

Lula: Just wearing it up.

Jake: I love it, sweetheart.

Lula: Thanks, Jake.

Jake: (from behind his back) These are for you.

Lula: Oh! A dozen red roses.

Jake: It's just that you always look so beautiful in my eyes, and I love you because you're you.

Lula: Thank you, dear.

Jake: Let me put those in a vase for you.

(Jake takes the roses and exits, Lula returns to the restaurant table and sits)

Lula: I mean, can you believe that?

(pause as Lula shakes her head sadly, and Ella and Nell exchange slightly confused looks)

Nell: What?

Ella: Yeah, can we believe what?

Lula: Well, he got me a dozen red roses last week too. I think we're really in a rut.

(pause as bitterness descends, Ella and Nell address Lula in turn)

Ella: Do you usually wear your hair down? I hadn't noticed.

Nell: You've put on a couple pounds, haven't you?

(lights out)


April 5, 2007

A Play A Day #356



Setting: Somewhere, you know

[Note: Blank lines are still lines for the actor, they must be acted for this play to work]

(lights up, Shelly and Danielle sitting anywhere they want on stage; I'm not going to push them)


Shelly: Danielle?


S: Danielle?


S: Danielle?

D: Yeah.


D: Yeah?

S: Oh, ahhh... did you ever...

D: Probably not.

S: Me either.




S: Ummm...

D: Yeah?

S: What comes next?

D: Like after now?

S: Yeah.

D: I dunno.

S: Probably not that important.


S: Right?

D: No, we've got plenty of time.


D: Don't we?

S: Sure. We must.

D: Yeah.

S: I mean no one's even here.

D: No.




D: Plenty of time.

(Enter Edgar)

S: Oh, hi, Edgar.


S: Danielle? Edgar's here.

D: He is?


D: Shelly?

S: No, he's not.

D: Hmmmm.

S: Danielle?


S: Danielle?


S: Danielle?

D: What?

S: (stage whisper) Edgar missed his cue.

D: His cue?

S: Yeah.

D: Oh... okay.



S: Danielle?

D: Yeah?

S: We sorta need him on stage for the next part of the play.

D: Oh.

S: Can you give him his cue again?

D: When?

S: Now should work.


S: Or now.

D: Plenty of time.

(enter Edgar)

S: Oh, hi, Edgar.

D: That's not him either, is it?

S: Definitely not him not there.

D: Should I try it again?


D: Shelly?


D: Shelly? Should I?

S: Yeah, missing cues is gonna drag this play down.



D: Agreed.


D: Anyway. Plenty of time.

(enter Edgar, for real this time, he is in a whacky clown wig with a little make-up, wearing his boxers and t-shirt)

S: Oh, hi, Edgar.

Edgar: (stage whisper) Shelly, was that my cue?

S: (stage whisper) It was your cue.

E: (s.w.) 'Cause I thought maybe she was just saying that I actually had plenty of time; so...

D: Hi, Edgar.

E: (s.w., hushing Danielle) Shhh... I'm not ready yet, I figured I had plenty of time like you said, so I was still in make-up.


E: (s.w.) So...

S: We'll just go on without you.


S: Without you.

E: (s.w.) Right.

(exit Edgar, giving thumbs up sign)

D: Least he always hits his exits.

S: Yeah.

D: Good ol' Edgar.



S: So, let's just get to the next scene.

D: Okay.



S: Damnit. I was hoping you had the first line of the next scene.

D: I don't know if I do or not.

S: Me either.

D: Huh... wellllll...

S: I'm still working on the next scene.

D: Something about a clown, right?

S: Pretty sure that's right.

D: A clown and...


D: A clown and...

S: Murder?

D: Maybe.


D: What's the play called again?

S: Ummm... "Death By Clown"?

D: Really?

S: I think so.

D: Well, yeah... I'll have to take your word for it. I haven't gotten around to really working my lines yet, you know?

S: Hey, no problem, I'm in the same boat.

D: Well, we should have plenty of time.


D: Plenty of time.

(enter Edgar, with a little bit more clown make-up on, but not much)

E: (s.w.) Was that for me?

D: No, I think that was a coincidence.

E: (s.w.) Cool, 'cause I'm running a little late here with the make-up and...

S: Thanks, anyway, Edgar.

D: Yeah. Good work.

(exit Edgar, giving thumbs up sign)

S: Good ol' Edgar.


S: He's so talented.

D: One of the best.

S: Yeah.




S: Okay then. What's next?

D: Well, I know my last line.

S: Oh, cool, go ahead.


S: You know, whenever you want.

D: Yeah. I'm building up to it.

S: Great... I know it's going to be amazing.

D: I hope so.

S: Awesome.



D: Some clowns just aren't that funny.


D: What did you think?

S: Wow!

D: Plus, Edgar's on the ground with an axe in his head.

S: Oh, yeah, that will really add to the ending.

D: Yeah.



S: Hey, maybe he has the axe with him now.


S: Right. Let's check.

(Shelly and Danielle start walking off toward where Edgar had made his entrances, lights start fading)

D: Hey, Edgar! Did you bring the axe?

E: (from offstage)

D: Maybe he didn't hear me.

S: This play's going to be so great when we get everything all ready to go.

D: Definitely.

(lights out)


April 4, 2007

A Play A Day #355



Setting: A diner.

(lights up, Mitchell, an unkempt man in his late fifties slouches in a booth, menu in front of him, he wears a suit in an uncomfortable manner, his suit is too messy and out-of-date to look good, but not so much so that he looks foolish. Daria enters, she is in her early twenties, very, very dark and brooding appearance, but she is quite excited to be here at this particular moment, she looks around, recognizing Mitchell, she tries to calmly walk to his booth)

Daria: Mr. Leon?

Mitchell: Yeah.

D: I'm Daria.

(holds out her hand, Mitchell ignores it)

M: Sit down.

(Daria sits opposite Mitchell)

D: Wow! I can't believe I finally get to meet you after so many years. You look a lot different in person.

M: In my line of work, that's pretty much a necessity.

D: Yeah, yeah... I'll bet.

M: For similar reasons, I can't meet for too long here, so...

D: Right, right... it's just, sorry, yeah, I know, I know, you must be such a busy guy...

M: (while she continues) Well, not so much busy, but...

D: ...but, it's just, you know, I mean, it's ... well, I mean, it's you! Mitchell Rutherford Leon! Man. Hard to believe, you know?

M: Not for me.

D: (laughing) Yeah, sure, right, I get it...

M: No laughing, please. People watch laughing. I can't have that.

D: Oh, right, sorry, Mr. Leon.

M: Mitch, just Mitch, is fine.

D: Okay.

M: Let's get going here, like I said. I read your statement of purpose; you've obviously done your homework.

D: It's more like my statement of worship. I've been watching your career since I was in junior high; I think I know more about you than anyone.

M: Well, that may be true, not many people know much about me.

D: I mean, even before I was born, all those cases in the 1970s. I mean, they solved every single one of them; because of how well you did your job. Five in 1976 alone.

M: Bicentennial. Good year. Yeah, the '70s, those were the days for my profession, real high-water mark. I learned from some of the best back then, true masters of the craft... not like the cheap knock-offs running around today. These guys today don't understand that it's a skill and an art. They don't really care anymore. But the '70s... well, that's when the world was wide open for me and a couple other guys. We were definitely the best.

D: You still are!

M: Thanks, Daria, but you and I both know that things are fading for me. I haven't had a decent high-profile case in five years. I'm too old to keep up with the rigors of the position. I can't survive on reputation alone. That's why my people contacted you. We've been watching you, and we like what we see.

(Daria gives a little shiver)

D: Whoa...

M: I need someone to pass the position to. You need to understand the risk that I'm taking.

D: Yes. Risk. I understand.

M: This is my life's work, and I can't just let it stop. But, it's a huge risk handing it off to a woman.

D: I know, I know.

M: This is a boys' club. I mean, yes, occasionally a woman makes a splash, but they're always just flashes-in-the-pan. It's been that way, and it remains that way. So I don't entertain transfering the role to a woman lightly. I'm taking a lot of heat in the community for even thinking about the possibility.

D: Of course, and I appreciate that. I've studied so hard for the part. I know the methods, the maneuvers, the motivations.

M: I believe in equal opportunity, and, as I move out of the role, I need to know that, if I hand the job off to a woman, she isn't going to set women in the profession back thirty years by screwing up.

D: Right. I won't. I'm totally ready.

M: People will be watching. There will be tough times for you; people saying that it's not as good as what I did. Screw'em, Daria. You know why? Because I believe in you. I believe you can do this, not just for me and my legacy, but for women everywhere.

D: You can count on me, Mitch.

M: Can I? You'll be a trailblazer. It's a huge responsibility.

D: I know I can do it.

M: It's not enough just to look gloomy; you have to be gloomy in ways that no one can ever understand.

D: I am. I already am.

M: Most of all, of course, you have to be creative, driven and methodical.

D: Of course.

M: Every case I've taken over these many years - every case - I've managed to observe the situation and pull off the deed in such a way as to frame an innocent person.

D: They've all been just pure genius.

M: Well, a little bit of luck every once in a while, but, yes, by and large, my success has come out of diligent work and preparation.

D: That's what separates you from the rest.

M: The jilted lover, the disgruntled former employee, the sibling cut from the will.

D: Beautiful.

M: You find a person who has a motive, find out who that person would want to kill given that motive, and you move in.

D: Yes.

M: I've never been like the rest, but look where the rest of them are: dead or in prison, forever on both counts.

D: Like I always tell people, you're the best.

M: That's because all the others out there go by their own motivations.

D: And you find those with the motivation...

M: That's right. I leave the motivation to someone else. I do the deed, someone else gets the punishment.

D: You find it and exploit it.

M: Consequently, I don't need to find another stereotypically crazy-loner serial killer type to replace me; because it isn't about my (makes air quotes) "sick psychological profile". It's about skill; it's about a trainable craft. All I need is someone with the artistic flair, the heart and the vision to handle the job. So, it can be a man or a woman. Give me the raw passion, I'll train the rest.

D: When can we start? I'm ready.

M: If you're asking questions like that, you're not ready. First rule: patience. That's what undoes most serial killers - they're just too itching to hack, slash and brutalize, and they make stupid mistakes. Patience. There's always time.

D: Right. I'm sorry.

M: Whoa, whoa... Second rule: never, never... ever... be sorry.

D: Right. Yes. That makes sense.

M: In this line of work, if you're sorry, you're dead. And, believe me, I mean that.

(lights fade out as they lean forward and start discussing the position further)


April 3, 2007

A Play A Day #354



Setting: A bar.

(lights up, Spreek is drinking at the bar, not looking too happy, Hans enters, sits two stools away from him. Hans is big, outgoing, kind, silently signals for a drink, watches Spreek for a while, begins to get concerned about his mood)

Hans: You want to talk about it?

(Spreek doesn't acknowledge this, pause)

Hans: You don't want to talk about it?

(Spreek looks up, looks around, secretly glancing toward Hans, he's confused)

Hans: You speak English?

(Spreek finally looks at Hans)

Hans: It's okay. I look scary, but I'm not.

Spreek: Oh.

(long pause)

Hans: Something bad happening in your life?

Spreek: I thought that was the bartender's job?

Hans: (little laughs) Oh, Ricky would ask you these things, but he's not fond of people. Isn't that right, Ricky?

Bartender: Not fond of most, Hans.

Hans: There. See. Like Ricky said, I'm Hans. You?

Spreek: Uhhh... Spreek.

Hans: Spreek?

Spreek: Yeah.

Hans: That a last name, like how some folks get called by their last names, or...

Spreek: No, it's my first name.

Hans: Huh... can't say as I've ever heard it before.

Spreek: My Mom always said it was Dutch, but I've never heard of any Dutch man with my name.

Hans: She make a lot of things up like that?

Spreek: My mom? Yeah. I think she did.

Hans: So what are you doing in here on a Wednesday afternoon, Spreek?

Spreek: Drinking.

Hans: Hey, yeah? Me too.

Spreek: Yep, look at that.

Hans: Course, I have to.

Spreek: Have to?

Hans: Oh yeah.

Spreek: Have to drink?

Hans: Yep.

Spreek: Are you an alcoholic?

Hans: You might call it that.

Spreek: Well, that doesn't mean you have to drink, does it? I mean, isn't it like feeling like you need to drink?

Hans: No, I really need and have to drink.

Spreek: Everyone always tells me that I don't have to drink, but I feel like I have to, you know?

Hans: Are you an alcoholic, Spreek?

Spreek: No! I... I mean, I drink, sure. Who doesn't?

Hans: I didn't.

Spreek: But you're an alcoholic too!

(pause, they let his admission sink in)

Hans: I'm not that kind of alcoholic, Spreek.

Spreek: What do you mean?

(Ricky rolls his eyes, exits)

Hans: (watching after Ricky) Ricky's heard my story a few too many times. I'm a bit of a zealot on the issue, sort of a proselytizer for the cause.

Spreek: For drinking? Sound like a friend to me.

Hans: Maybe, maybe not. Let me ask you something, Spreek: do you know what it's like to wake up and know exactly where you are and who you slept with?

Spreek: Well, sometimes...

Hans: To show up for work, on time and feeling great, every stinking Monday with total recollection of everything you did and said during the weekend?

Spreek: Well, no, I don't...

Hans: To not regret anything?

Spreek: I regret a lot of things.

Hans: You lucky, lucky bastard. See, for me Spreek, it's like this: I went through my whole life sober, rational. Every decision I made was sensible, weighted only by evidence and made after careful deliberation of all possible outcomes. I thought everything was going my way: great job, plenty of money, beautiful wife, bright kids, dream house, community leader, respected citizen, et cetera... the whole nine yards and then some more. You know what I mean, Spreek?

Spreek: Yeah. Sort of.

Hans: Then it happened. I remember it so clearly. I think everyone remembers when they hit top. It was the day after being promoted to regional president - the youngest regional president in company history, mind you - and I woke up in a warm sweat. I had been living a horrible, horrible truth! I had played the game perfectly, but I couldn't go anywhere but up, up, up. The game had its perfectly-manicured claws in me, and it wouldn't let go. I had become a systematically obedient pawn in the larger structure of society. I realized then that I had become powerless over rationality. It controlled everything I did. I needed help. (starts weeping a bit)

Spreek: (moving to stool next to Hans) Hey, hey, it's alright. What happened?

Hans: One night, on the way home from helping to kick-off a fundraiser for disabled runaway orphans, I drove past this place, (indicating surroundings) and... well, the rest has been just beautiful. Beautiful, Spreek, you know?

Spreek: Yeah. Alcohol is great, isn't it?

Hans: It's just opened up a whole new way of thinking for me, and sanctioned a vast array of liberating, irresponsible, unpredictable, IRRATIONAL behavior! I mean, I told my wife I'd be home by 6:30 tonight, but it probably will be closer to 7:00! Yes! Take that, Predictability! It just feels great!

Spreek: Wow. I usually just feel guilty and horrible about myself; because I'm drinking uncontrollably again.

Hans: Sure, but you're an alcoholic; you should feel that way, because you are guilty and horrible in many ways.

Spreek: Hey! What?! You said you...

Hans: I'm not alcoholic, Spreek. I'm A.A. (pause) Assertively Alcoholic.

Spreek: What's the difference?

Hans: Well, the plain-old alcoholic is powerless over alcohol, or so they say. I don't believe that. I believe I am alcoholic, but I am assertively choosing when and how to be alcoholic. Picking and choosing from the whole gamut of alcoholic behaviors as I see fit. I control my alcoholism in such a precise manner that society would never even label me an alcoholic. When I want to be unpredictable, I say "Hans, time to be unpredictable." When I want want to let someone down, I say "Hans, time to let someone down." And when I want to be irrational, I say, "Hans, time to be irrational!"

Spreek: But if you're telling yourself when and how to be irrational, aren't you still being rational?


Hans: Shit. That bastard! Damn you, Rationality!

Spreek: Hey, hey...

Hans: (pounding on the bar) Ricky! Ricky! More alcohol! I fell back on the wagon! Ricky!

(lights fade)


April 2, 2007

A Play A Day #353

A Real Fantasy In A Fantastic Reality


Setting: A fantastic reality, which could be represented in many, many ways, such as a bare stage

(lights up, Reality leans against a wall of the stage, Fantasy enters from the opposite side of the stage, Reality moves toward Fantasy, center stage)

Reality: Hey.

Fantasy: Hey.

R: Have I seen you around here before?

F: I don't know, have you?

R: Well, I'm here all the time, and I think I have seen you once or twice.

F: Maybe you have.

R: What's your name?

F: Fantasy.

R: Fantasy?

F: Yeah, Fantasy.

R: Your name's Fantasy?

F: (groans) Yes. My name is Fantasy.

R: What are you, a stripper?

F: Ha ha.

R: Pornstar?

F: No. I'm just fantasy.

R: Who would name their child Fantasy?

F: No one named me. I am fantasy.

R: Right, but why is your name Fantasy?

F: My name is Fantasy, because I am fantasy. Small 'f'.

R: Ohhhh... you, you think you are fantasy, as in dreams, as in wishes, as in the human capacity for creating worlds and circumstances which probably never could or, at least, are highly unlikely to occur?

F: Yes, I am that fantasy.

R: You don't exist then.

F: I exist.

R: No you don't.

F: I exist. I'm right here.

R: Like I said, I'm here all the time, and I almost never see you.

F: Maybe you have a problem seeing things that are right in front of you.

R: I am what's right in front of me.

F: Yeah? Who are you, anyway?

R: I'm Reality.

F: And you make fun of my name?

R: It's my name and...

F: What are you a mortician?

R: No, I'm...

F: An accountant?

R: My name is Reality, because I am reality. Small 'r'.

F: Ahh, yeah. I've heard about you.

R: Of course you have.

F: Heard you were a real asshole.

R: I may be an asshole, but at least I'm real.

F: I'm as real as you, and I'd rather be a pretend asshole any day.

R: You don't really exist though.

F: I am creativity. I am divination. I am impulse. I am thought. I am the spaces between everything that you purport to be. Everything that you can't juggle, I can pick up and suspend infinitely with no effort at all. You are regulation. You are everything I would never want to be.

R: But I'm real.

F: And I can change how you are perceived. I am the lens through which you are seen. How real is that?

R: I'm still objective. I can be measured. You are impossibility.

F: And impossibly beautiful.

R: You're not so beautiful.

F: I never hear about people escaping into you.

R: No, they escape from me, because I'm all-powerful. People can't handle that.

F: So everyone fears you, and you think this is good?

R: Better than everyone loving me.

F: That's a curse, true, but only in as much as you intrude.

R: And I intrude everywhere, don't I?

F: Like I said, you're a real asshole.

R: And you're a false promise.

F: Listen. Let's just leave it at that, okay? I've got clients all day. It's a busy life when everyone loves you.

R: I'm sure it is.

F: How about you?

R: (pause, then confessionally) No one scheduled for today.

F: Just like every day before?

R: Yeah, I guess. I'll just be over here, where I always am.

F: Don't worry about it; eventually someone will see you.

R: Oh, I wish.

F: Well, you wish you could wish.

R: True.

(lights out)


April 1, 2007

A Play A Day #352



Setting: A bare stage

(lights up, enter Jens and Marie. They stop short, cautiously observing a closed box which sits on the front lip of the stage)

Jens: Do you see that?

Marie: A box.

J: A closed box.

M: Yes, closed.

J: What do you suppose is in it?

M: Space.

J: Of course, but what else?

M: Time.

J: How much?

M: Enough.

J: What else?

M: What do you mean, what else?

J: What if there's something else inside the box?

M: Like what?

J: Anything.

M: Like space and time aren't enough to fill it?

J: No, something else could be in there.

M: Along with space and time?

J: Or instead of.

M: No, no way.

J: Yeah. Instead of space and time, a totally different thing could be in the box.

M: What could possibly exist in the box beyond space and time?

J: Well, not "beyond", rather instead of.

M: Okay, what could possibly exist in the box instead of space and time?

J: Anything we could possibly think of.

M: Like... a sun?

J: Yeah, the sun.

M: The sun's outside, genius.

J: But maybe the box is outside too.

M: No, it's not.

J: It could be.

M: No, it couldn't. We can see it right there.

J: Only because we can see it right there.

M: What? Of course, that's what I just said.

J: But what if we couldn't see it right here, right now?

M: Then we wouldn't even know it exists.

J: But surely you must agree the box does exist?

M: Yes, it exists; it's right here.

J: But would it also eist if it were elsewhere?

M: Yes.

J: Like outside?

M: Yes.

J: So the box could be outside.

M: It could be, but it's not.

J: It could be; so it might be!

M: That's not the same thing.

J: If it could be outside, then it might also contain the sun.

M: No, it couldn't be outside, and, no, it couldn't contain the sun. It's not big enough.

J: We don't know that.

M: Yes, we do. It's that big. The sun is much, much larger.

J: We haven't measured the box yet.

M: You don't need to; you kno the sun is larger than that box.

J: But how big is the box?

M: It's that big. We can see how big it is.

J: How big?

M: It doesn't matter how big, as long as we can safely see that the box is clearly a size that is much, much smaller than the sun.

J: But, the sun is inside the box.

M: It's not.

J: But it could be because we don't know how large the inside of the box is.

M: The inside of the box is nearly the same size as the outside. One cardboard thickness less in volume.

J: But we can't say how large the inside of the box is until we measure it.

M: Bullshit. I just told you how large the box is: It is not large enough to hold the sun, which is outside anyway.

J: But could be inside, with us, and inside the box.

M: No it couldn't! The sun is too large, too hot to be inside a room and inside a cardboard box.

J: Until we look, we just won't know.

M: I don't need to look! It's common sense.

J: Is it?

M: Yes, we wouldn't be right here if the sun was also right here; we'd be gone, we'd be nothing. Similarly, the box wouldn't be here, the room wouldn't be here. In fact, we would have to be on the sun in order for the box, us or the room to coexist along with the sun.

J: Wait! You just said we wouldn't be here if the sun was right here; then you said we'd have to be there if the sun was there.

M: If we were to be at all, is what I meant.

J: No, don't you see? We would be indefinite. We are indefinite.

M: No, we are. That's it.

J: We are neither here nor there.

M: Then we'd have to be nowhere, which is not indefinite.

J: Or, we could simply be everywhere. At once.

M: No we couldn't! We would notice.

J: It doesn't matter if we would notice. It would only matter that we were being noticed. That's the only way to know that we exist.

M: So you're saying we notice that exist right now, because something is noticing that we do exist?

J: Exactly! Only because something is noticing we exist right now, right here do we, ourselves, notice that we exist.

M: But... what's noticing us, right now?

J: Well, I'm noticing you.

M: Yeah, and I'm noticing you.

J: (pause) You're pretty.

M: You're not so bad yourself.

J: (pause) You know, uhhh...

M: Yes?

J: Well, ummm... (kisses her)

M: That was... nice.

J: You know what?

M: What?

J: I just realized that, if you notice you exist because I notice you existing, and I notice I exist because you notice me existing, how do we notice that we exist in the first place?

M: What?

J: Do we first notice each other to make each other exist, or do we first exist and then notice each other existing?

M: Perhaps, we exist because something else is noticing us together.

(they both look skyward, then cast their eyes slowly around the stage, then finally, the stage whisper to each other)

M and J: The box!

M: It's watching us!

J: But, how does the box exist?

M: It exists because we notice it existing.

J: Quick! Turn around? Don't look at it!

(they do so)

M: Is it still there?

J: (checks) Yes!

M: Ohh! That's because you noticed it!

J: You asked if it was still there. I had to look.

M: Okay, let's just leave, then it won't be noticed any more, and it won't exist!

(they start leaving, Jens stops Marie after a few steps)

J: Oh no! If we only exist because the box notices us existing, what happens if we leave the room and the box can't notice us any more?

M: Oh.... you don't think... That can't be true!!

J: We would not exist any more; or at least we wouldn't notice we exist any more.

M: Then you wouldn't notice me.

J: And you wouldn't notice me either.

(long pause)

M: Wait a moment! If we still noticed that we existed when we turned around and stopped noticing the box; then the box must still exist as it was still noticing that we existed!

J: Ohhhhhh... yeah!!

M: So we only have to notice each other to continue existing?

J: And, maybe, we don't even have to do that!

M: Ummm, well, I'd like it if you would.

J: Yeah. I'd like it if you would too.

(they kiss)

M: (looking at the box) So what do you think is inside that box?

J: Love.

M: No. I think it's a fluffy kitty.

J: Alive or dead?

M: What? Alive, of course!

(lights start fading)

J: How do you know?

M: I don't. It's just a guess.

J: Is it?

(lights out)