Sunday, April 6, 2014

FaceCookie

So here's my second one-minute play for the upcoming festival. I solicited for ideas on Facebook, and received a bewildering and inspiring collection that could probably keep me going for the next decade. In the end, this is what I came up with. I dedicate it to the entirety of my Facebook tribe.



FaceCookie


                                    (Two men, two women, all at their
                                    computers. It's Sunday afternoon on
                                    Facebook.)

                                  NED
         Hey guys and gals! Just ate a delicious cookie.
         Smiley face.

                                  SUSAN
         What kind?

                                  NED
         Chocolate chip.

                                  MARY
         Gluten free?

                                  NED
         No.

                                  SUSAN
         Yum.

                                  MARY
         Can I just say? I find the term "gal" offensive.

                                  NED
         Oh. Sorry.

                                  STAN
         Organic free trade chocolate?

                                  NED
         I don't know...

                                  STAN
         Slave chocolate?

                                  NED
         Wait, what?

                                  SUSAN
         I don't mind being called a gal. Smiley face

                                  STAN
         Do you know how much blood goes into your chocolate?

                                  NED
         None, I hope.


                                  MARY
         Thanks for betraying your own gender, "sister."

                                  SUSAN
         What?
  
                                  STAN
         Laugh all you want, but people are dying.

                                  NED
         From chocolate?

                                  SUSAN
         He was just saying what sort of cookie he likes.

                                  MARY
         I don't need to be "mansplained" about cookies. If
         I don't want to eat gluten that is my choice. It's
         "gals" like you that make things harder for all of
         us.

                                  SUSAN
         How?

                                  STAN
         I am not going to waste time on bombastic Republican
         fascists like you.

                                  MARY
         For once in your life think about reading a book,
         Barbie.

                                  STAN AND MARY
         Unfriend.

                                    (Beat. Then to Ned:)

                                  SUSAN
         I like cookies. Smiley face.


END OF PLAY


Friday, April 4, 2014

The Statistician: A One Minute Play




The Statistician

I've been asked to write a one-minute play for an upcoming short play contest. The topic was pretty general--whatever happened to be on my mind and in the air at the time I was writing. It didn't come til the last minute, but here it is. I have to say that I'm pretty proud of it because it does exactly what I want it to do.

(Three people: a boy, a housewife, and a soldier, sit on three chairs, with a fourth one empty. A person with a clipboard stands in front of them.)

            THE STATISTICIAN         
          (indicating the empty seat)
    Sorry about that. Unpleasant. Now. Who's next?

            THE BOY    
    I think I am.

            THE STATISTICIAN     
    All right. And where are you?

            THE BOY     
    At school. Fifth period algebra.

(The Statistician makes a note)

            THE STATISTICIAN
         (friendly but clinical)
    And how's that?

            THE BOY
     Boring. I'm daydreaming.

(He nods and turns to:)

            THE STATISTICIAN
     And you?

            HOUSEWIFE
     At the mall with a friend. It's a spa day and we're starting with
     our nails.

            THE STATISTICIAN
     Your children?

            HOUSEWIFE
     Neighbor's got them for the day, thank god. About ready to kill
     Jenny. She just won't stop picking on....

            THE STATISTICIAN
     Yes, yes. I see. It's not really relevant.

            HOUSEWIFE
     No?

            THE STATISTICIAN
     They're not with you. That's the important part.

            HOUSEWIFE
     Oh.

            THE STATISTICIAN
         (turning to the soldier)
    And you?

            THE SOLDIER
     Just leaving my shift at the base. Nothing up.

            THE STATISTICIAN
     Nothing?

            THE SOLDIER
         (thinks)
    Nope. Not so much as a kid with firecrackers.

(The statistician makes another note.)

            THE BOY
     Excuse me?

            THE STATISTICIAN
     Yes?

            THE BOY
     What's the point of this?

            THE STATISTICIAN
     It's our sacred duty.

            HOUSEWIFE
     Sacred? How could it be....

            THE STATISTICIAN
     It's in the Constitution.

            THE SOLDIER
     That's sacred.

            THE STATISTICIAN
     I'm glad you agree. Because I'm afraid...
        (he checks the list again)
    It's your turn.
        (The statistician pulls a gun out from his or her coat and points it at the soldier. All three look on in weary horror.)
    Close your eyes. It'll be over in a moment. And God bless America.

(Lights out)

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year--A Decade Ago!

Here's a play that I wrote way back in 2002 for a 14/49 called "Auld Acquaintance." You know, I think I got a few things right about the future--though I'm hoping Pope Francis has better luck....





                                  ACTOR 1
         And then that year things got bad.

                                  ACTOR 2
         No, back up a minute. I think things started going
         bad earlier on.

                                  ACTOR 3
         Well, that may be, but I think the worst thing about
         2002 is how so many people thought that the worst
         had already happened.

                                  ACTOR 4
         Exactly. They were even talking about how "the world
         will never be the same after the events," like
         history had suddenly received a neat divider, like
         when the Cretaceous Era shifted into the Tertiary
         Period.

                                  DINOSAUR 1
         Morning, Diplodocus.

                                  DINOSAUR 2
         Morning, Stegosaurus.

                                  DINOSAUR 1
         Well, you look like hell.

                                  DINOSAUR 2
         Tell me about it. Woke up this morning to find those
         little furry bastards had been burrowing around in
         the nest.

                                  DINOSAUR 1
         No!

                                  DINOSAUR 2
         Yes! Pecking at the shells and everything! I
         squashed a couple with my huge webbed foot, but the
         rest got away.

                                  DINOSAUR 1
         What a mess. Man.  Not that I don't have problems of
         my own.

                                  DINOSAUR 2
         Do tell.

                                  DINOSAUR 1
         Where do I start? I've had this cold hanging on for
         months, my customary diet of lush verdant greens has
         become sparse in the changing climate, and, oh I
         don't know. I just don't seem to be having fun
         anymore, you know what I mean?



                                    (Dinosaurs 3 and 4, a pair of
                                    Phorushacus, or large flightless
                                    primitive birds, go running past,
                                    hooting and hollering like teenagers)

                                  DINOSAUR 2
         Now who the holy hell is that?

                                  DINOSAUR 1
         It's those damn Phorushacus.

                                  DINOSAUR 2
         Phorushacus?

                                  DINOSAUR 1
         Large flightless primitive birds.
              (they come laughing and screaming past again)
         Hooligans! I know your parents!

                                  DINOSAUR 2
         The days of gracious grazing are past, my friend.
         The future belongs to the likes of them.

                                  DINOSAUR 1
         I fear you're right. It's depressing, you know?

                                  DINOSAUR 2
         Don't let it all get you down. Hey, I hear there's
         going to be a spectacular meteor shower tonight!

                                  DINOSAUR 1
         Really? Well at last! Something to look forward to!

                                  ACTOR 1
         What was all that about?

                                  ACTOR 5
         Context.

                                  ACTOR 1
         Well, anyhow, can we move up a bit, to say, the
         beginning of 2002?

                                  ACTOR 2
         It started nice for me anyway.

                                  ACTOR 3
         We were at that party. And I had a new dress to show
         off.

                                  ACTOR 4
         And no one felt like they had to talk about politics.

                                  ACTOR 2
         God no. I haven't picked up a paper in weeks.

                                  ACTOR 3
         And midnight came, and we raised our glasses.

                                  ACTOR 1
         I propose a toast.

                                  ACTOR 4
              (aside)
         Oh God.

                                  ACTOR 1
         To the end of a difficult year, and the promise of
         a new one.

                                  ACTOR 3
              (aside)
         Jacob always has to do this.

                                  ACTOR 1
         To peace in our time, and the healing of our hurt
         hearts.

                                  ACTOR 2
              (aside)
         The guy starts writing movie reviews for the
         Stranger, and suddenly he's a goddamn toastmaster.

                                  ACTOR 1
         To better times and the wisdom to appreciate them.

                                  ACTOR 3
              (aside; referring to Actor 5)
         He was just about to kiss me! He was going to kiss
         me at the stroke of midnight! I could just tell!

                                  ACTOR 1
         To the hope that children inspire, and their gift of
         clear innocent vision.

                                  ACTOR 5
              (aside)
         God I'm drunk.

                                  ACTOR 3
              (aside)
         Shut up! Shut up with your damn speeches!

                                  ACTOR 1
         Now if we can all link up and sing Auld Lang Syne.
         I've had the song sheets printed up with all five
         verses.

                                  ACTOR 2
         Uh, I've got to get going.
              (leaves)



                                  ACTOR 4
         That's my ride.
              (leaves)

                                  ACTOR 5
         Excuse me.
              (he runs off to be sick)


                                  ACTOR 3
         Perfect.

                                  ACTOR 1
         Well, okay. We'll start with the second verse, just
         you and me. "And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp,
         And surely I'll be mine."

                                  ACTOR 3
         Go to hell, Jacob.

                                  ACTOR 1
         So yes, we had a bad start to the year. And I made
         fondue!

                                  ACTOR 5
         My tongue needed a lawnmower the next day.

                                  ACTOR 2
         I got the flu, that weird one, where. . .

                                  ACTOR 4
         You feel almost drunk, but never fun drunk, for days
         on end?

                                  ACTOR 2
         No.

                                  ACTOR 1
         The one where you can't keep anything down except 7-
         up and crackers?

                                  ACTOR 2
         No.

                                  ACTOR 3
         The kind where you can't call the woman you almost
         kissed on New Year's?

                                  ACTOR 2
         What are you talking about?

                                  ACTOR 4
         And then finally I got laid off.

                                  ACTOR 3
         And that hurricane hit Cancun, but I didn't want to
         go alone anyhow.

                                  ACTOR 5
         And work got, believe it or not, even more boring.

                                  ACTOR 1
         Things did tend to get both obscure and speeded up
         somehow.

                                  ACTOR 2
         Are we still at war?

                                  ACTOR 5
         America at War: A Special Report.

                                  ACTOR 4
         The War on Terrorism: the Invisible Enemy.

                                  ACTOR 3
         America's Special Invisible War.

                                  ACTOR 2
         Who is Our New Enemy?

                                  ACTOR 1
         The War on Drugs and the War on Terrorism: Are They
         the Same Thing?

                                  ACTOR 2
         Eco-Terrorism: The New Green Look of War?

                                  ACTOR 3
         Is anyone reading these stories, or just the
         headlines?

                                  ACTOR 4
         They aren't writing stories anymore. Just headlines.

                                  ACTOR 5
         My definition of terrorism? The news media of the
         last six months.

                                  ACTOR 3
         I saw him at the grocery store. He was standing near
         the express lane.

                                  ACTOR 5
         I don't recognize the world I'm living in any more.
         When did I jump the rails?

                                  ACTOR 3
         And I decided to be direct.

                                  ACTOR 5
         I hate that little fucker, and so do all my friends,
         so where is this 90% approval rating coming from?

                                  ACTOR 3
              (rehearsing)
         Hey, how's it going? You lose my number or what?

                                  ACTOR 5
         It's like that movie where they have those
         sunglasses where when they put them on they can see
         that all those people around them are actually. . .

                                    (He puts on glasses from kiosk)

                                  ACTORS 1, 2 4
              (undergoing momentary hideous transformation)
         REPUBLICANS!

                                  ACTOR 3
         Finally I get up the nerve.
              (she starts towards him)

                                  ACTOR 5
         Screw this line. I'll buy my milk and eggs at the
         corner market.
              (he brushes past her without seeing her)
         Excuse me.

                                  ACTOR 3
         Well things just got worse.

                                  ACTOR 1
         Oh they did. The recession became a depression,
         and. . .

                                  ACTOR 2
         There was that oil spill, and the genetically
         engineered bacteria that ate it along with all
         plastics on the Eastern seaboard, and. . .

                                  ACTOR 4
         The pope got very, very weird.

                                  THE POPE
         You like my new robe?

                                  ANNOUNCER
         Recurring rumors about the Pope's deteriorating
         mental state have been vehemently denied by the
         Vatican.

                                  THE POPE
         That Bjork, she's one hot momma!

                                  ANNOUNCER
         "The Holy Pontiff is as healthy today as upon his
         election."

                                  THE POPE
         All of that stuff about contraception and abortion?
         What was I thinking? You get it on, young people!
         But play safe!
              (two cardinals come and hustle him off.)


                                  ANNOUNCER
         After a brief illness, his holiness passed into
         eternity.

                                  ACTOR 5
         Meantime there was another anthrax scare, and the
         hostage situation up at ANWAR.

                                  ACTOR 1
         And more wars, with someone. . .

                                  ACTOR 2
         And more craziness. . .

                                  ACTOR 4
         And more school shootings. . .

                                  ACTOR 3
         And he still hasn't called.

                                  ACTOR 5
         And the earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

                                  ACTOR 2
         And I got a new job.

                                  ACTOR 5
         And I got fired.

                                  ACTOR 2
         So did I a week later.

                                  ACTOR 1
         And work dried up. . .

                                  ACTOR 3
         And so did the lawns that summer. . .

                                  ACTOR 4
         And I went back to school that autumn, which was. . .

                                  ACTOR 5
         Boring. Boring! Boring! Day after day watching the
         severance package dwindle, and nothing to look
         forward to, and then it was Christmas with my psycho
         family, and then Jacob's. . . .

                                  ACTOR 1
         New Year's Party, and I'm making fondue!

                                  ACTOR 2
         What the hell.

                                  ACTOR 3
         I've got nothing else to do.

                                  ACTOR 4
         Last year's sucked, but. . .

                                  ACTOR 5
         There's always hope. And this year I'm not really
         drinking.

                                  ACTOR 1
         This year I don't have a long boring toast.

                                  ACTOR 3
         This year I'm high as a kite.

                                  ACTOR 4
         Mmmm. Me too.

                                  ACTOR 5
         Hey! Well what a lovely surprise!

                                  ACTOR 3
         Hello yourself.

                                  ACTOR 5
         God, it's. . .Diane, right?

                                  ACTOR 3
         Uh-huh. And you are...

                                  ACTOR 5
         Jerry.

                                  ACTOR 3
         That's right. Well, nice seeing you.

                                  ACTOR 5
         More than nice to see you.
              (the others begin a countdown)
         Umm, you going to step out and see the fireworks?

                                  ACTOR 3
         Might as well.

                                  ACTOR 5
         Maybe this year the damn thing will actually launch.

                                  ALL
         Happy New Year!

                                  ACTOR 3
         Happy New Year.
              (she gives Jerry a little kiss.)


                                  ACTOR 5
         Happy New Year.
              (he kisses her back. It's good. They stop and
              look at each other.)




                                    THE END