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FIXED – Ted Otten, Times of Trenton

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Theater: ‘Fixed’ at Trenton’s Mill Hill Playhouse

Ted Otten | For The Times of Trenton By Ted Otten | For The Times of Trenton
on May 03, 2017 at 7:00 AM, updated May 03, 2017 at 7:04 AM

Passage Theatre, Trenton’s only professional theatrical company, is closing its 31st season with another play that will continue the company’s tradition of presenting new and sometimes controversial plays and playwrights with David Lee White’s “Fixed,” onstage through May 21 at Trenton’s historic Mill Hill Playhouse.

Of this world premiere production directed by Maureen Heffernan, Passage’s artistic director June Ballinger said, “Once again, Passage is pointing to the elephant in the room. This time it’s the question of what our society is doing to address proper care for those with mental health challenges who are without private resources or the education on how to navigate the existing system. We look forward to hearing illuminating and perhaps prescriptive points of view during our post-show panels.”

White, a New Jersey-based writer, performer, and educator whose other plays like “Slippery As Sin” and “Blood: A Comedy” had their world premieres at Passage, spent 14 seasons as Passage’s Associate Artistic Director and is now its resident playwright. For the past two years, he has been performing his autobiographical play “Panther Hollow” around the country. That play was about White’s own struggle with chronic depression in his earlier years, and his extensive research for that play provided the foundation for “Fixed” which takes place in Trenton in both the past and the present.

“When I started writing ‘Panther Hollow,’ I really wasn’t sure what that was going to be or how I would present my own problems with depression onstage, so I started doing research by talking with friends who had gone through schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder or some other mental problem and recording those interviews.

“When my own play was finished as a one man show, I had this unused but compelling research which I did not want to waste, to go unnoticed. NJPAC Stage Exchange, a program of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, was looking for proposals to support, so I submitted my idea for this play where I could in some way use what I had, and so I received a commission from them for this play about mental illness and how people look at it and at those who suffer from it. We had readings in Newark, and I worked and reworked my material to get what you’ll see at Passage,” said White.

“I decided to use the one act format of about ninety minutes,” said White, “because I didn’t really see a place in the story to stop, a place to give the audience a moment to think about what they were watching unfold. That might change as we see how these Trenton performances go. What I’d like to see happen is that mental illness isn’t a taboo subject, that it deserves to be discussed and de-stigmatized.”

The play asks a fascinating question: What would you sacrifice for the people you love? The play does not offer definite answers to that question, but it does present an interesting situation involving three long-time friends and a counselor who is trying to help one of the friends find the answers she need to help herself.

Director Maureen Heffernan, who’s both a director with over ninety productions to her credit and an actress who recently played Benjamin Franklin in an all-female cast of the musical “1776,” has known and enjoyed White’s work for years.

“I attended a reading of this play, then had lunch with David who asked if I’d like to direct the run at Passage. Since I live in Mill Hill, I jumped at the chance. I had been impressed with it because I think of myself as a people person and I’m intrigued by every aspect of people. This is about a person’s family, not only the one you’re born with but the family of friends you create and what your responsibilities are to them and theirs to you.

“David has the ability to create characters that audiences can care about, and he has the uncanny ability to find the warmth of humor in even the most serious of situations,” said Heffernan, “and these people are so real and worth caring about. You can become engaged with these people and want the best for them. The play invites us into four people’s lives and takes us from the year 2000 when three of them were seniors at Trenton High to today when they’re asked to keep promises they made back then. What do we owe to the people we have loved? Going back and forth from past to present, David tells a story full of warmth and humor and sometimes harsh reality.”

Passage Theatre, Trenton’s only professional theatrical company, is closing its 31st season with another play that will continue the company’s tradition of presenting new and sometimes controversial plays and playwrights with David Lee White’s “Fixed,” onstage through May 21 at Trenton’s historic Mill Hill Playhouse.

Of this world premiere production directed by Maureen Heffernan, Passage’s artistic director June Ballinger said, “Once again, Passage is pointing to the elephant in the room. This time it’s the question of what our society is doing to address proper care for those with mental health challenges who are without private resources or the education on how to navigate the existing system. We look forward to hearing illuminating and perhaps prescriptive points of view during our post-show panels.”

White, a New Jersey-based writer, performer, and educator whose other plays like “Slippery As Sin” and “Blood: A Comedy” had their world premieres at Passage, spent 14 seasons as Passage’s Associate Artistic Director and is now its resident playwright. For the past two years, he has been performing his autobiographical play “Panther Hollow” around the country. That play was about White’s own struggle with chronic depression in his earlier years, and his extensive research for that play provided the foundation for “Fixed” which takes place in Trenton in both the past and the present.

“When I started writing ‘Panther Hollow,’ I really wasn’t sure what that was going to be or how I would present my own problems with depression onstage, so I started doing research by talking with friends who had gone through schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder or some other mental problem and recording those interviews.

“When my own play was finished as a one man show, I had this unused but compelling research which I did not want to waste, to go unnoticed. NJPAC Stage Exchange, a program of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, was looking for proposals to support, so I submitted my idea for this play where I could in some way use what I had, and so I received a commission from them for this play about mental illness and how people look at it and at those who suffer from it. We had readings in Newark, and I worked and reworked my material to get what you’ll see at Passage,” said White.

“I decided to use the one act format of about ninety minutes,” said White, “because I didn’t really see a place in the story to stop, a place to give the audience a moment to think about what they were watching unfold. That might change as we see how these Trenton performances go. What I’d like to see happen is that mental illness isn’t a taboo subject, that it deserves to be discussed and de-stigmatized.”

The play asks a fascinating question: What would you sacrifice for the people you love? The play does not offer definite answers to that question, but it does present an interesting situation involving three long-time friends and a counselor who is trying to help one of the friends find the answers she need to help herself.

Director Maureen Heffernan, who’s both a director with over ninety productions to her credit and an actress who recently played Benjamin Franklin in an all-female cast of the musical “1776,” has known and enjoyed White’s work for years.

“I attended a reading of this play, then had lunch with David who asked if I’d like to direct the run at Passage. Since I live in Mill Hill, I jumped at the chance. I had been impressed with it because I think of myself as a people person and I’m intrigued by every aspect of people. This is about a person’s family, not only the one you’re born with but the family of friends you create and what your responsibilities are to them and theirs to you.

“David has the ability to create characters that audiences can care about, and he has the uncanny ability to find the warmth of humor in even the most serious of situations,” said Heffernan, “and these people are so real and worth caring about. You can become engaged with these people and want the best for them. The play invites us into four people’s lives and takes us from the year 2000 when three of them were seniors at Trenton High to today when they’re asked to keep promises they made back then. What do we owe to the people we have loved? Going back and forth from past to present, David tells a story full of warmth and humor and sometimes harsh reality.”  MK

One of them is played by Maria Konstantinidis who said, “My character is Ronnie, and she is best friends with Valerie and Daryl who see each other daily at school, but, as often happens with school friends, they drift apart to live their own lives; now, only two still live in the Trenton area with the other in L.A. While teenagers, Ronnie and Daryl may have taken that relationship a bit further than just friendship, but I’d rather not discuss that part of their relationship since it might give too much of the story away.”

Actress Deena Jiles-Shu’aib, who’s worked in different capacities with Passage including Passage’s educational outreach over the past 14 years, plays Janine, the play’s fourth character, who’s a health care giver working with Ronnie.

“Janine herself is bi-polar but is in recovery. She’s giving back by helping other people who face similar issues. She’s been there; she knows what it feels like; she’s had that personal experience. She knows what it is to struggle,” said Jiles-Shu’aib,” and I really enjoy a scene towards the end when Janine and Ronnie have it out. If Janine can do it, so can Ronnie, even if Ronnie doesn’t want to face that responsibility.”

IF YOU GO

“Fixed”

When: Through May 21; Thursday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m.

Where: Mill Hill Playhouse, 205 E. Front Street at Montgomery Street, Trenton.

How much: Tickets are $20-$33 except on Saturday at $38 with student, senior and group discounts available.

Contact: 609-392-0766.

Follow NJ.com on Twitter @njdotcom. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

One of them is played by Maria Konstantinidis who said, “My character is Ronnie, and she is best friends with Valerie and Daryl who see each other daily at school, but, as often happens with school friends, they drift apart to live their own lives; now, only two still live in the Trenton area with the other in L.A. While teenagers, Ronnie and Daryl may have taken that relationship a bit further than just friendship, but I’d rather not discuss that part of their relationship since it might give too much of the story away.”

Actress Deena Jiles-Shu’aib, who’s worked in different capacities with Passage including Passage’s educational outreach over the past 14 years, plays Janine, the play’s fourth character, who’s a health care giver working with Ronnie.

“Janine herself is bi-polar but is in recovery. She’s giving back by helping other people who face similar issues. She’s been there; she knows what it feels like; she’s had that personal experience. She knows what it is to struggle,” said Jiles-Shu’aib,” and I really enjoy a scene towards the end when Janine and Ronnie have it out. If Janine can do it, so can Ronnie, even if Ronnie doesn’t want to face that responsibility.”

IF YOU GO

“Fixed”

When: Through May 21; Thursday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m.

Where: Mill Hill Playhouse, 205 E. Front Street at Montgomery Street, Trenton.

How much: Tickets are $20-$33 except on Saturday at $38 with student, senior and group discounts available.

Contact: 609-392-0766.

Follow NJ.com on Twitter @njdotcom. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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Passage playwright’s new work works to fix ‘Fixed’ ideas

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Passage playwright’s new work works to fix ‘Fixed’ ideas

Prominent area playwright and former Passage Theater Associate Director David White brings Trenton — and more — to the stage when his new play “Fixed” opens on Thursday, May 4, for a three-week run at the Mill Hill Theater in Trenton.

As White tells it, “Fixed” follows three friends at Trenton Central High School in 2000, Ronnie, Valerie, and Darryl. Ronnie tries to kill herself, and neither Valerie nor Darryl really knows what to do about their friend’s budding mental illness. The friends lose touch with Ronnie, like people often do when someone becomes increasingly mentally ill, White says. Seventeen years later, they find that Ronnie is homeless, seriously mentally ill, and angry at her former friends.

If this sounds like a playwright’s convention, know that this very situation is a piece of White’s life.

“The most autobiographical part of ‘Fixed’ is, I had a college friend who was seriously mentally ill,” White says. “It was … awkward. We stopped being friends.”

Twenty-odd years later, White, now 48, started wondering what had become of his old friend. It turned out, her story had become a viral one online. She was living in a decrepit house with far too many cats.

“[Her story] was actually worse than in the play,” he says. “It would have been incredible if I tried to put it in the play.”

To be clear, White doesn’t mean incredible in the “really cool” sense of the word. He means it in the “absolutely contrived and not believable” sense of the word. He did do some digging and reconnected with his old friend, something he describes as “meaningful in a way I can’t quite put my finger on.” The two still correspond the old-fashioned way — through actual written letters in the mail.

Told through flashbacks, “Fixed” confronts the anger and guilt and uncertainty that comes with having a mentally ill person in your life, White says. An aspect of the play is admittedly about mental health advocacy, something White has a passion for. He sees the importance of being the voice of the voiceless; talking to and about, as the late Peter Jennings once said, not the movers and shakers, but the moved and the shaken.

‘Fixed’ confronts the anger and guilt and uncertainty that comes with having a mentally ill person in your life.

Mental health, White says, is still such a taboo. People of all kinds, from the down-and-out to “rich, white oligarchs” suffer from depression, he says, but it’s still considered something to be ashamed of, something to hide, something that makes us look weak.

“Let’s talk about it,” White says.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, White has had to cope with his own depression issues. To a degree, he says, he wouldn’t be able to discuss mental illness if he wasn’t so familiar with it. But just because it’s a serious thing, just because it needs to be de-scandalized, doesn’t mean you can’t make talking about it entertaining, which is why White writes about issues like depression, anger, guilt and distrust in engaging, sometimes bitterly funny ways.

The reception to his plays, he says, has always been positive. People seem to recognize what he’s going for, and they appreciate that he’s bringing up realities that people don’t always feel comfortable talking about. To White, “the voiceless” is not just the poor — though, he says, poor people are often the most damaged by mental illness — it’s anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable admitting a problem.

“I want everybody’s stories to be told,” he says.

White is also familiar with uncomfortable topics like racism. He grew up in St. Louis, the son of a psychologist father and English teacher mother, and his grandparents lived in Spanish Lake, which has developed into a genuinely boiling-over hotbed of racism and extreme politics. The roots go back to the Pruitt-Igoe apartments constructed in the 1960s (and torn down in just a few years because the complex turned into a real-life horror show), a reaction to St. Louis’ “white flight” that drove African Americans into the city center and white city residents to the suburbs, including Spanish Lake.

Incidentally, you can read White’s 10-minute play, “Spanish Lake,” on his website, DavidLeeWhite.net.

White was drawn to the stage from the beginning and attended the University of Missouri-Kansas City for his bachelor’s in theater. He then got his MFA from the University of Pittsburgh, where he met his wife, Allison Trimarco, a Jersey girl attending Carnegie-Mellon University, on a blind date.

After Pittsburgh, Trimarco moved back to New Jersey, and in 2002 founded Consulting for Nonprofits (now called Creative Capacity) to “collaborate with nonprofit organizations of all types to increase their management capacity,” according to the company’s website. White moved to Chicago to be an actor and director, at least until he realized he was so very much not a theater director. Allison moved out to Chicago, where, he says, they ended up “spinning our wheels” in the city’s theater scene. So they moved east and settled in Bordentown.

White wanted to get into Trenton’s theater scene and started as a volunteer with its most famous outfit, Passage Theater. He became an assistant art director under June Ballinger, who eventually challenged White to write a play for Passage. The script he came back with was “Blood: A Comedy.”

Having moved more into playwriting, White eventually left the safety of Passage’s steady paychecks to do his own thing. It’s something most people can’t understand, he says. But he never felt like he was driving his own car while he was working at Passage. He has nothing but nice things to say about the place — he just felt the need to guide his own path.

The Whites have a six-year-old son White describes as “very outdoorsy.” Translation: probably not crazy enough to find the carnival-style life of the gig economy appealing. At least not in theater. But that’s just fine, White says. The boy will find his own story.

White also teaches theater at Drexel University as an adjunct professor, does occasional theater work at McCarter Theater in Princeton, and volunteers with kids at Trenton High. These days, long removed from wanting to be a director and only occasionally interested in acting, White says he enjoys the company of other writers. They seem to understand him internally — except for the fact that he genuinely loves the rewriting process, which most writers dread.

“I know that’s strange,” he says, “but I love being faced with a writing problem and then having to write my way out of it on a tight deadline.”

If there’s anything resembling a life lesson, it’s probably that acting taught him how to cope with rejection, he says. And that’s key to batting a thousand by getting up every day. “The world doesn’t end if people don’t like your work,” he says. “It really doesn’t.”

Fixed, directed by veteran theater director and Trenton resident Maureen Heffernan, was originally commissioned by the NJPAC Stage Exchange, a program of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. It runs May 4-21 at Passage Theater, 16 East Hanover Street. $33 and $38 for Saturday night shows. Student, senior, and group tickets available for select dates. For information, visit passagetheatre.org.

This story was originally published in the May 2017 Trenton Downtowner.

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People have been asking me what FIXED is about…

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My play FIXED opens May 6th at Passage Theatre. It was commissioned as part of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s Stage Exchange Program. Here’s the official blurb:

“What would you sacrifice for the people you love?

Ronnie doesn’t want help. Valerie and Daryl don’t want to reunite. But high school vows bind pretty tightly. Broken promises and dark humor fill David Lee White’s new play about friendship, mental illness, and facing the truth.”

It’s a good blurb. It captures the story and themes concisely.

Here’s what the play is really about –

Almost 3% of the US population suffers from bi-polar disorder. That’s 5.7 million people. Over 16 million Americans suffer from depression. We should talk about that more. Yes, I know there are Facebook memes and click-bait articles. But mental illness is still a frightening taboo. And some otherwise reasonable, intelligent adults still treat mental illness like it’s a medieval curse or a moral failing. Likewise, mental health treatment gets a bad rap. Fifty years after Frederick Wiseman made “Titicut Follies” our general understanding of how mental health diagnoses and treatment has evolved is not widely understood.

FIXED is a play that talks about these things. While the story is fictional, it’s based on interviews I did with friends and acquaintances who have suffered from, and survived, these illnesses. Most of what I write is comedy. I LOVE comedy. I think comedy in theatre is terribly important. FIXED isn’t humorless by any means (especially not with the ace actors that we were lucky to nab) but behind the story of three Trenton High graduates who vow to always be there for one another whenever they get sick, there’s a story about how ignored, untreated, mental illness can wend its way around a group of individuals and derail their lives. It’s also about how those same individuals can survive and thrive through treatment and their love for one another.

That’s it. You should come see it.

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Directed by Maureen Heffernan

Featuring: Phillip Gregory Burke*, Deena Jiles*, Maria Konstantinidis*, and Alicia Rivas
* Member Actors’ Equity Association

*Fixed was originally commissioned by the NJPAC Stage Exchange, a program of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center – John Schreiber, President & CEO

Back to Spanish Lake

A few weeks ago I had the good fortune to be in the room with dozens of really smart actors, writers and directors for the purpose of sharing a handful of new, one-act plays all responding to the election. My play – “Spanish Lake” is below. I was inspired by a recent documentary about the Spanish Lake neighborhood just outside St. Louis, which is where my grandparents lived when I was very young. The documentary, I remember now, was also called “Spanish Lake” which makes the title of my play problematic. In any case, because it was something I wrote in the moment, with no real intention of rewriting or turning it into something bigger, I thought I’d post it here, warts and all.

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SPANISH LAKE

A ten-minute play

By David Lee White

(LAURA and GENE are in bed. LAURA wakes up and stares GENE while he sleeps. SHE smiles. SHE looks at his face to see if he’s still asleep. SHE giggles a bit. Finally, she can’t take it anymore and starts poking him.)

LAURA
Wake up. Wake up, wake up, wake up.

GENE
(slowly opening his eyes)
Hey.

LAURA
Hey. (She laughs and snorts)

GENE
Oh my God. What is wrong with you?

LAURA
I don’t know. (she laughs harder)

GENE
What is so funny?

LAURA
(laughing harder)
I’m sorry.

GENE
What is it?

LAURA
We had sex!

(LAURA breaks into laughter. She can’t control it.)

GENE
Why is that so funny?

LAURA
I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m sorry. I’ve been trying not to laugh since six am. I’m sorry.

GENE
You’re crazy.

LAURA
(still laughing)
I know. I know. It’s just… We were, like, eighteen the last time this happened. You know? It’s just weird.

GENE
You’ve thought about it since then, though.

LAURA
Uh…yeah!

GENE
Me too.

LAURA
But I didn’t think it would actually happen.

GENE
Me either. Last night was nice.

LAURA
Yeah. Did you get a weird fucking feeling of deja-vu or what?

GENE
It was pretty intense, yeah.

LAURA
I still have all those unused yearbook photos. Remember the after-prom party at the lake?

GENE
Oh, shit.

LAURA
I’ve got all these high school things in my top drawer. I look at that stuff a lot. Maybe more than I should.

GENE
No harm in that. I’ve been thinking about Spanish Lake a lot lately. About you, especially.

LAURA
Yeah?

GENE
I feel like I started working after college and never stopped. I haven’t married. I adopted this kid who’s the most important thing in the world to me but…something’s not right, you know? I love my life. Most of it. But I’ve never felt at home the way I felt when I lived here.

LAURA
What about last night?

GENE
Yeah. I started to feel it last night.

LAURA
Do you want breakfast? Or something?

GENE
You mean go out, or…?

LAURA
No place to go around here. It’s a thirty minute drive just to get coffee. I’ll whip something up.

(LAURA get up and puts on a robe. GENE gets up and puts clothes on. He is staring into his suitcase.)

LAURA
Whatcha got in there?

GENE
I’m trying to decide if I should show you.

LAURA
Show me.

(GENE reaches into his suitcase and takes out an old, folded blanket.)

GENE
I still have that blanket we did it on in high school.

LAURA
Oh my God. That scratchy Indian rug. And you brought it with you.

GENE
I knew I was going to call you. I mean…I didn’t know we would…I’m sorry, I know it’s strange.

LAURA
I can’t believe you kept it.

GENE
I’ve been using it to muffle my bass drum for the last twenty years.

LAURA
You still play.

GENE
Yeah.

LAURA
We tried to start that rock band our senior year.

GENE
We sounded awful.

LAURA
Maybe we should give it another try sometime.

GENE
Maybe.

(Pause)

LAURA
You like eggs?

GENE
Eggs are good.

(LAURA exits)

LAURA
(from offstage)
It’s actually mine, you know.

GENE
What is?

LAURA
The blanket. It’s mine.

GENE
You stole it from the art room.

LAURA
I didn’t steal it. I liberated it.

GENE
Ha.

(GENE is puttering around the bedroom. He sees the top drawer that Laura mentioned. He’s curious. He opens it and sees a stack of photos. He starts looking at them, smiling. HE puts the photos back in the drawer. He sees something else. He pulls it out and looks at it. It’s a red “Make America Great Again” hat. LAURA enters.)

LAURA
Never married, huh?

(He throws the hat back in the drawer, then slams the drawer on this thumb.)

GENE
Ow! Mother son of a…

(LAURA enters)

LAURA
You okay?

GENE
Yeah. My thumb. I just…I bit my thumb.

LAURA
You bit your thumb?

GENE
I just…I didn’t know it was…in my mouth.

LAURA
Okay. Juice? (She hands him juice)

GENE
Thank you.

(They both take a drink.)

LAURA
So. Never married.

GENE
Nope. Never.

LAURA
One son.

GENE
Yeah.

LAURA
I will go make eggs.

(LAURA exits again. GENE can’t resist. He opens the drawer and takes out the hat to look at.)

GENE
You ever think about kids?

LAURA
Sure. He wanted them but I divorced his ass before we had the chance.

GENE
I heard you married Jimmy Puchalski. I couldn’t believe it. The guy was a racist douchebag.

LAURA
I was suffering from temporary insanity. I thought he changed. He didn’t. Kinda thought I blew my last chance.

(LAURA re-enters)

LAURA
But maybe not.

(GENE turns around, dropping the hat.)

GENE
What?

LAURA
Nothing. Sorry. I’m out of eggs. I’m out of everything. You really hungry?

GENE
Not really.

LAURA
Good. Maybe we could just stay here a little longer. You think?

GENE
Um… sure.

(LAURA walks to GENE and begins kissing him. They fall on the bed. GENE is having trouble getting into it.)

LAURA
You okay?

GENE
Yeah, yeah. Totally fine.

(As they’re kissing, LAURA notices the hat on the floor and the open drawer.)

LAURA
Were you going through my stuff?

GENE
You said there were pictures in there.

LAURA
You are as weird as you used to be in exactly the same weird ways.

(LAURA puts on the Trump hat.)

Hey, baby. Come over here and make America great again.

GENE
(unenthusiastically)
Ha, ha…

(GENE tries kissing her. He can’t do it.)

So was that, like, a gag gift or something?

(LAURA gives up. She collapses on the bed.)

LAURA
It’s not a gag gift.

GENE
Okay.

LAURA
Are you really gonna make me defend myself?

GENE
No.

LAURA
Good.

GENE
But I am curious.

LAURA
About what?

GENE
About why.

LAURA
You won’t get it.

GENE
Of course I will.

LAURA
You really don’t know what it’s like around here.

GENE
I live in Newark. We have the same problems. The houses are shuttered, there’s no work –

LAURA
You remember the housing projects in St. Louis.

GENE
The ones that got shut down. They were uninhabitable.

LAURA
Spanish Lake was unincorporated so they built condos and moved everyone here. Everyone. The worst of the worst. They trashed those condos within two years. Then they started trashing everything else. Anyone with a brain packed up and moved.

GENE
But not you.

LAURA
I want to fix it.

GENE
That’s great, Laura. That’s what I remember about you. You want to help. But Trump –

LAURA
I have no reason to think that anyone but him has any interest in us whatsoever. None.

GENE
He’s sexist, he’s racist –

LAURA
Do not play the race card.

GENE
Laura –

(LAURA goes to the drawer and pulls out the photos. She tosses them in his lap.)

LAURA
Remember the lake? Remember hanging out at the gazebo? You should see it now. It hasn’t been fixed in years. There would be no point. It would fall down again in a week. The cops tried to stop people from selling drugs at the condos, so they started selling next to the lake. Well, we wanted tourism. Now we got it. People come from all over St. Louis to buy their crack in Spanish Lake.

GENE
I drove by there yesterday. It broke my heart.

LAURA
I want my town back again.

GENE
Sure. But throwing your support behind that kind of bigotry is not a solution.

LAURA
I’m not waiting for liberals to do anything about it. They’d rather whine about every family-owned bakery that won’t bake a cake for a gay couple.

GENE
Since when do you have a problem with gay people?

LAURA
I don’t. I have a problem with small business owners in a struggling economy getting death threats from strangers in California and businesses shutting down because of internet memes. I’m not some brain dead housewife without an education that votes for whoever their drunk husband tells her to. I want Spanish Lake back. I want the place where we grew up to come back. Don’t you? Wouldn’t that be great? If we could go back to the gazebo? Wait for everyone to leave so we could throw that scratchy, Indian blanket on the ground…

GENE
That would be nice.

LAURA
That’s what Jimmy and I want too.

GENE
Jimmy Puchalski?

LAURA
Yes.

GENE
You said you weren’t with him anymore.

LAURA
I’m not. He’s the head of the revitalization committee. He knows shit that no one else around here does. We need incentives to get businesses to come back. He’s hired an outside company to rehab the condos.

GENE
So you can throw out all the brown people.

LAURA
The drug dealers. The new condos will be open to everyone.

GENE
Everyone who can afford it.

LAURA
Holy Shit, Gene. Think about the people who stayed. The people who have lived here for generations. Our friends from school. Me. We’re your home. What the hell do you care about random tenants of a rundown condominium development.

(GENE angrily opens his wallet, takes out a photo and hands it to LAURA)

GENE
My son.

LAURA
Wow, Gene. Wow. Good technique. Win the political argument by showing me a picture of your adopted, black son.

GENE
I’m not trying to win anything.

LAURA
You don’t just play the race card. You play the race three-card monte.

GENE
It’s not about me anymore. It’s about him. It’s about his community. Our community. It’s about Newark.

LAURA
Are you gonna tell your son about the time you stood at the front of the bus and led everyone in song?

GENE
Come on.

LAURA
How did that little ditty go?

GENE
Stop it.

LAURA
“Daniel Boone was a man. He was a biiiiiig man.”

GENE
Stop.

LAURA
“But the bear was bigger so he ran like a – “

GENE
I was thirteen years old!

LAURA
I have a video of it. I could post that shit on YouTube. How many people would care about what a good guy you are now?

GENE
Do you really have a video?

LAURA
Yes, Gene. I brought my giant, Betamax camcorder and shot a video of you singing the racist Daniel Boone song so I could blackmail you with it several decades later.

GENE
I got in some serious shit for that.

LAURA
And you still feel so guilty about it that you wave pictures of your black son around in front of people who still remember.

GENE
Shut-up.

LAURA
Why did you come back here, Gene? Were you really thinking about picking up and moving your son to the jobless part of the Bible belt? Or were just feeling nostalgic and wanted to fuck your hometown one last time?

GENE
Shut your mouth.

(The comment stuns LAURA into silence. Long pause. Neither one of them knows what to say.)

LAURA
I’m sorry. Goddammit, I’m so sorry.

GENE
It’s okay.

LAURA
It’s not okay.

GENE
I’m sorry I snapped at you. That was wrong.

LAURA
I don’t get this at all. I don’t get what’s happening.

GENE
I don’t either.

LAURA
You’re a good person, Gene. I know that.

GENE
So are you.

LAURA
And your son. He’s so beautiful. He’s so lucky.

(Pause)

GENE
What do you mean “lucky?”

LAURA
To have someone like you for a father.

GENE
What is “someone like me.”

LAURA
You know what I mean.

GENE
Tell me.

LAURA
Someone who will raise him the way he needs to be raised.

GENE
As opposed to what?

LAURA
What are you getting at?

GENE
What is it about me that you think makes me a better father than some other father he might have had?

LAURA
You’re kind. You’re smart. You’re civilized.

GENE
I’m white.

LAURA
I didn’t say that.

GENE
You didn’t have to.

(GENE starts collecting his things and putting them in his suitcase.)

LAURA
Seriously? You’re leaving.

GENE
It was good to see you again.

LAURA
Gene –

(GENE hands her the Indian blanket.)

GENE
Here.

LAURA
You’re giving this to me?

GENE
It’s yours.

LAURA
I stole it from the art room.

GENE
Yeah, well, it’s yours now. I don’t think I want it anymore.

(GENE zips up his suitcase and walks to the door.)

LAURA
It’s stupid, Gene. This whole thing. It’s so stupid.

GENE
I know.

(GENE exits)

END OF PLAY

1

Dear person I met at the Oakes Center last night that wanted to change the world.

Hi. I’m so sorry that I forgot your name. You told me twice. Anyway, we had a lovely conversation about high school and driving lessons and how you wanted to change the world. I shared our conversation with some friends on Facebook last night and they were very moved. I think what you didn’t quite realize at the time, was that right after you said you thought it was possible to change the world with your words, you proceeded to say things that could change the world. Or, at the very least, change the worlds of some of the people that heard them. So I wrote you this monologue based on our conversation. I hope that’s okay. I’ve fictionalized it a bit. If you hate it, I will take it down. Feel free to use it or give it to your actor friends to use. Tell them the character is happy and optimistic. Her voice never quivers and she doesn’t cry. Here it is…

(ANNIE rushes on stage. She is late for an audition.)

“Hi! Sorry I’m late. Super unprofessional. To be on time, is to be late. Am I right??? I just got my driver’s license so I drove here by myself. I live, like, an hour away. It took forever. I almost failed my driver’s test. The instructor told me to make a K-turn. But instead, I made a U-turn. So she told me “You made a U-turn instead in of a K-turn. I’m going to pass you, but you should always have another adult in the car.” But there was no other adult available. So I drove myself to the audition. I hope I don’t get points knocked off. I’ve acted before but not a lot so it’s okay if I don’t get this part.

Right. So that girl outside asked me if I had a monologue. I looked that up on my phone. (reads her phone) “monologue – a long speech by one actor in a play or movie.” Yeah, I don’t have one of those. I’m not in a play or movie. But there was another definition that says “a long and typically tedious speech by one person during a conversation.” I guess I could do that.

So how’s everybody doing out there in the dark? We solid? Aces. Let me ask you something. What’s everyone’s big dream?

(pause)

You don’t have any? None of you? That’s weird. Maybe because you’re doing it right now? So you don’t have anymore? Or are you just not allowed to tell me. Okay. Here’s mine. My dream – and I know this is gonna sound stupid because everyone tells me it’s stupid – but I want to change the world. With something. I don’t know how. But with my art, probably. I’m a painter and a sculptor. Gotta have something to fall back on. Anyway, sometimes a picture or a word or something you say can change the world. It’s true. People see something or hear something and it’s the thing that changes everything for them. I want to be the person that makes that thing. Or be one of the people that makes some of those things. My friends think I’m dumb. They say to me “How are you still alive?” Some friends, right? But they have a point. Because with one parent who’s an alcoholic and another one who’s in jail, that should mess you up. But I’m just not gonna let that happen. I’m gonna fight abuse. All kinds of abuse. Of people and children. And some kinds of animal abuse. I’m not gonna fight all animal abuse because I still love bacon and steak is delicious. But a lot of animal abuse I will fight. Because with all the abuse I’ve been through and the physical abuse and the pedophilia and everything, people wonder why I haven’t committed suicide. They’re like “What’s wrong with you, Annie? It makes me uncomfortable that your life is so dark!” And I’m not gonna lie. I’ve thought about it. But here’s the thing, you guys. If you kill yourself, there’s no chance that you’ll ever have a happy ending.

Okay. That’s way longer than two minutes, right? You don’t have to cast me. In fact, don’t. I kind of want to paint and sculpt and maybe write poetry. I hope that’s okay. I’m sure the next person will be good. Ciao!

COMING ATTRACTION Scene III

invasion-of-the-body-snatchers-1

SCENE III

(JERRY comes onstage and addresses the audience)

JERRY
Fear of commitment. It’s always been an issue. You can hardly blame me, considering the struggle that I saw my parents go through. My dad cut out on us when I was about ten. He was possessed by the malevolent spirit of an old mansion we stayed in one winter. You know how it goes. He thought it would be a good idea for us to get away, to do something together as a family. The place was more or less empty all winter long, except for the clairvoyant caretaker, and dad wanted to spend the next few months writing the “great American novel”.

Well, before you know it, the hallways are filling with psychic blood and the ghosts of these twin girls are following us around… It was a nightmare. And mom was at the end of her rope, carrying my sister and me through the snow covered shrubbery trying to escape my ax-wielding father. I remember my mother sitting me down, once my little sister had been successfully exorcised by the Catholic church, and saying to me “Well, Jerry, Daddy’s gone; his soul belongs to Pazuzu and you’re the man of the house now.”

And that was scary. Far more scary than having a maniac father, if you ask me. I used to pray that I would wake up one night and my father would be standing over my bed with his bloody ax and his glowing green eyes and I would leap out of bed and hold him…

The thing that really gets me though, is that my father knew the house was evil and he took us anyway. I mean, it was in the brochure and everything! I couldn’t understand. Was he so desperate to get away from his family that he was willing to sacrifice his soul to do it? He had a choice, you know. He could have turned his back on Satan’s minions for the sake of his family. All he had to do was say “No. I will not do the devil’s work on earth.” Was he just a coward? Or is there something about pledging your life to another person for the rest of your life that really is that terrifying; that dangerous.

I still don’t know. And I’m not sure I want to find out.

(JERRY exits. We are in a restaurant. BOBBI is seated
with HARRISON. They are on a date.)

HARRISON
So anyway, after I rescued the Tribble Princess and saved an entire outer-space mining colony from destruction, thus enabling them to fulfill their destiny by moving on to the next stage of evolution, I hopped in my cruiser and made the jump to light speed, manually I might add, and still made it back to my own time to prevent my Doppelganger from creating an inter-dimensional rift.

(pause)
Good story, huh?

BOBBI
Very exciting. Where’s our waiter? We need more breadsticks.

HARRISON
So. Is this the first time you’ve ever answered a personal ad?

BOBBI
Yes it is. It’s my first time.

(A WAITER walks by)

BOBBI
Oh! Excuse me. Excuse me! Are you our waiter?

WAITER
(nervously)
Yes, of course I’m your waiter! Why do you want to know? You’re one of them, aren’t you?

BOBBI
One of who?

WAITER
Nothing. I’m sorry. I haven’t slept in three weeks. What can I get for you?

BOBBI
A couple of menus, to start with.

WAITER
Yes! Of course. Menus. I’m sorry. I’ll be back in a moment

(WAITER exits, holding open his eye-lids.)
Must stay awake. Must stay awake.

HARRISON
So. Have I told you about the time I went backward in time to prevent the president from being assassinated?

BOBBI
No.

HARRISON
I didn’t?

BOBBI
What? Oh! I’m sorry. You did, actually. Three times.

HARRISON
Good story, huh?

BOBBI
Very exciting. Are you going to eat those crackers? I’m overeating to compensate for a failed relationship. I’m sorry. Was that too forward? I’m really not attracted to you enough to be that revealing. I’m sorry, was that insulting? I don’t mean to be insulting. It’s just… I’m very dissatisfied with the way this date is going. Of course we haven’t even ordered yet. Maybe I haven’t given you a chance. You might turn out to have a stunning personality but right now, quite frankly, you leave me cold. I’m sorry. I’m being too open.

HARRISON
No. That’s okay. The way you talk. It’s so… rapid. I really only catch every third word or so. What were you saying?

BOBBI
Nothing. I’m sorry. I was just asking for your crackers.

(WAITER returns wearing sunglasses and a trench-coat)

WAITER
(whispering)
Here are your menus. Would you like to hear about our specials?

HARRISON
Who the hell are you?

BOBBI
It’s our waiter.

WAITER
Shut-up! What’re you trying to do? Get me killed?

BOBBI
I beg your pardon.

WAITER
I’m sorry. That was rude. HELLO, AND WELCOME TO CHEZ FERRARA. I’LL BE YOUR WAITER. I EXIST TO SERVE YOU AND MY WILL IS NOT MY OWN. WOULD YOU LIKE TO HEAR ABOUT OUR SPECIALS? ALL HAIL XORAX!

BOBBI
He’s making me very nervous.

(Three men in black suits appear. The WAITER sees them.)

WAITER
Oh, God. Uh… specials. Let’s see. Orange Roughy in a Dijon sauce with pea pods. PODS? I mean, not pods…

(The BLACK SUITS approach the WAITER)

WAITER
No. Wait. I’m one of you guys. See? Ha, ha! This is a mistake! No! Hail the mighty Xorax! No! Nooooooooo!

(The BLACK SUITS drag the WAITER off-stage)

BLACK SUIT #1
I’m terribly sorry for the inconvenience. Your Orange Roughy will be right up.

BOBBI
Wait. I’m allergic to seafood.

HARRISON
I was afraid of this.

BOBBI
What’s going on?

HARRISON
Aliens. From the planet Xorax.

BOBBI
I thought Xorax was an anti-depressant.

HARRISON
No, no. They’re born in pods. They kidnap people when they’re asleep and replace them with exact replicas that live to do their bidding. So. Are you into hot-tubbing?

BOBBI
You know, this is exactly the kind of nerve-racking situation I was trying to avoid.

(WAITER returns with his eyes glazed over.)

WAITER
Hello. I’m sorry to have kept you waiting. May I take your order now? Or perhaps you’d like to take a nap.

BOBBI
What’s wrong with him?

WAITER
Our special is Orange Roughy in a Dijon sauce. You both look like you could use some shut-eye. All hail mighty Xorax.

HARRISON
You’re not fooling anyone, you stinkin’ alien! YOU HEAR THAT, BOYS? HARRISON BOLT’S BACK IN TOWN AND HE’S GOT A SCORE TO SETTLE WITH SOME INTER-STELLAR FOLIAGE!

(WAITER points at HARRISON and emits
a loud piercing scream.)
You’ll never take me alive, you alien scum!

(The BLACK SUITS run onstage and drag HARRISON off. JERRY, who is disguised as a BLACK SUIT, remains onstage, as does BLACK SUIT #1.)

BLACK SUIT #1
I’ll have your meal to you momentarily. Why don’t you get some rest. You look tired.

(BLACK SUIT #1 exits.)

BOBBI
Wait! Fish makes me break-out.

JERRY
Pssst. Bobbi.

BOBBI
What is it? Who are you? Are you stalking me?

JERRY
(pulling down his
sunglasses)
It’s me!

BOBBI
Jerry!
(suddenly cold)
How’s Kim?

JERRY
She left me. She’s dating Batman now.

BOBBI
I see. I’m sorry to hear that. You must be devastated. So now you’re following me?

JERRY
No! I swear. I’m working undercover. The alien pods from the planet Xorax are trying to take over the planet and I’m being paid to infiltrate their organization.

BOBBI
You’re working undercover? Jerry that’s so… proactive.

JERRY
Well, I’m a temp actually. The regular guy got an acting job, but that’s not the point. The point is after what happened on New Years Eve I decided that I couldn’t just stand by and watch life happen to everyone else. I had to get involved, to throw myself into the fray.

BOBBI
Jerry, I’m sorry that Kim Basinger is dating Batman now but you can’t run to someone else just because you’re lonely. Do you know what I’ve been through the past few weeks? Three bank robberies, two werewolf attacks and I was trapped for twenty-four hours in an old farmhouse by the living dead. I was terrified, and I blame you for that.

JERRY
Me?

BOBBI
Certainly! This kind of stuff has been happening to me my whole life. I was used to it. It just kind of rolled off my back. Then New Years Eve happened and everything changed. It’s getting to the point now where I run for cover every time I see an evil twin or a dinosaur clone, for God’s sake.

JERRY
I’m sorry, Bobbi. I froze. I don’t know what happened…

BOBBI
It wasn’t your fault. I was being pushy. I find desperation so unattractive in other people, I don’t know what made me think it would be attractive on me.

JERRY
Don’t blame yourself. I didn’t even realize how important you were until faced with the possibility of losing you.

(They stare at each other for a bit.)
So, where does that leave us now?

BOBBI
I don’t know, Jerry. Have you read the papers lately? It’s not just pod people, for God’s sake. Another group of aliens has threatened to blow up the White House on the Fourth of July, they found five Adolf Hitler clones in Brazil, a nuclear explosion revived Godzilla and he destroyed Tokyo again, some kid in Hoboken was killing transients and feeding them to his man eating plant, a high school girl went on a psychic rampage and started killing everyone at her prom… It’ s just too much to take sometimes. I mean, I want to have kids eventually but how can I knowingly, willingly bring them into this world?

JERRY
I know. I know. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and here’s the thing; Who knows when it happened. Maybe it was when the meteor fell, maybe it was all the earthquakes, but something changed. And every morning we wake up and it could be our last day alive. Now, I know that people have been saying that forever but no one has ever really understood it. But now, I think I understand. And we can walk around pretending like none of it is any big deal or we can look it right in the eye and say…hey, we know it’s dangerous. We know it could all end at any moment. So we may as well love. I mean if this is all there is and we’re just expendable lives caught in the power games of malevolent aliens…really, we may as well love.

BOBBI
But the whole thing just seems so risky. Maybe I should just go live in the country somewhere. Become a schoolteacher or something.

JERRY
You think they don’t have problems there too? What about the Triffids? What about the children that live in the corn fields?

BOBBI
Jerry…

JERRY
Look. We don’t have much time. Sooner or later they’re going to notice I’m missing and all hell’s gonna break loose. Kiss me.

BOBBI
I want to kiss you, but it seems like such a commitment.

JERRY
Come on. Leap into the abyss. When you get right down to it, what do you have to lose.

BOBBI
Nothing, I guess. Nothing at all.

(THEY kiss, and continue to do so
throughout the following scene. AGENT SUTHERLAND enters, flanked by two SOLDIERS)

SOLDIER #1
We traced their homing beacon to this restaurant, sir. They must be using it as their base of operations.

SUTHERLAND
Find out who’s in charge, here. I want the alien pod bastard that ate my son.

SOLDIER #1
But sir, shouldn’t we wait for Commander Corman’s orders to…

(SUTHERLAND grabs SOLDIER #1 by the lapels)

SUTHERLAND
Maybe you didn’t hear me, soldier. I gave you an order.

SOLDIER #1
Yes sir. Right away, sir.

(SOLDIER #1 exits as COMMANDER CORMAN enters)

CORMAN
Agent Sutherland. By direct order of President of the United States, I hereby relieve you of your duties as head of Project Blue Book.

SUTHERLAND
How did you find me, Corman?

CORMAN
Your little hooker friend slipped a bug into your collar.

SUTHERLAND
Damn.

(TINA runs onstage)

TINA
THEY’RE COMING! THEY’RE COMING! THIS PLANET WILL BE OURS! ACTIVATE THE PRIME DIRECTIVE! ENACT PLAN NUMBER NINE! THE SYSTEMATIC OVERTHROW THIS WORLD CALLED TERRA!

SUTHERLAND
Tina! What’s happened to you? Look at me!

TINA
TINA IS DEAD! THERE IS ONLY ONE SOUL! ONE CONCIOUSNESS! ALL OF US JOINED FOREVER FOR THE GOOD OF A SINGLE ENTITY!

SUTHERLAND
My God! Her eyes! For the love of heaven! WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO HER EYES?

(HARRISON and the WAITER, locked in
a wrestling match, come tumbling onstage.)

HARRISON
Eat knuckle, alien scum!

WAITER
Aren’t your eyes getting heavy? Don’t you feel like lying down?

SUTHERLAND
My God. I don’t believe it.

TINA
DO NOT RESIST, WITLESS HUMANS!!! JOIN US!!! JOIN US!!!

CORMAN
It’s agent Harrison Bolt! He vanished years ago during a routine space flight!

SUTHERLAND
(to Soldier #2)
Don’t just stand there. Shoot, you idiot!

SOLDIER #2
I can’t get a bead on him, sir!

TINA
UNITY IS PEACE! A SINGLE MIND! A SINGLE SOUL!

(SOLDIER #1 enters)

CORMAN
Don’t just stand there! Shoot, you idiot!

SOLDIER #1
But sir. The pod is…inside me. I’ve been infected…

(Suddenly, SOLDIER #1 points at CORMAN and emits a loud, high pierced shriek, then falls on the ground and begins convulsing)

TINA
BEHOLD THE BIRTH OF THE NEXT EVOLUTIONARY STAGE OF MAN!

(HARRISON finally knocks the WAITER unconscious.)

HARRISON
I’ve got a bad feeling about this…

(a small, green alien leaps out of SOLDIER #1’s stomach.)

TINA
REJOICE! REJOICE! THE CARRIER HAS GIVEN BIRTH! I FEEL THE POWER COURSING THROUGH ME! EARTH IS CONQUERED! EARTH IS OURS!

(TINA grabs the alien baby, presses it to her breast
and exits.

CORMAN
Sutherland! I hereby reinstate you as head of Project Blue Book. Now, let’s hurry before you’re girlfriend and her alien freak-child devour the consciousness of every man and woman on the planet!

SUTHERLAND
Aye, aye, sir!
(SUTHERLAND and SOLDIER #2 carry out the body of SOLDIER #1)

CORMAN
It’s nice to have you back, Agent Bolt.

HARRISON
It’s nice to be back, sir.

(While they’re exiting…)

HARRISON
Did I ever tell you about the time I went back in time to save the president from being assassinated?

CORMAN
(sighs)
Only about a zillion times.

JERRY
So what do you think?

BOBBI
Yes. Why not?

JERRY
And you’re not afraid of us turning into this scary, soulless unit where neither of us has an individual personality?

BOBBI
(Thinks about it)
Nah.

(BLACK SUIT #1 enters, points at BOBBI and screams. The other two BLACK SUITS run onstage toward her. JERRY stands up.)

JERRY
Hold it right there!

(The BLACK SUITS stop dead in their tracks.)

BOBBI
Jerry?

JERRY
Don’t worry. I want to prove that I can take care of you.

BOBBI
Jerry, it’s really not necessary.

BLACK SUIT #1
In the name of Xorax, last planet of the Doohan galaxy, we demand that you accompany us to Sector Nine.

JERRY
Oh you do, huh?

BOBBI
Jerry, this is embarrassing.

JERRY
This isn’t the woman your looking for.

BLACK SUIT #1
(glassy-eyed)
This isn’t the woman we’re looking for.

JERRY
She can go on about her business.

BLACK SUIT #1
She can go on about her business.

JERRY
Move along.

BLACK SUIT #1
Move along. Move along.

(The BLACK SUITS exit)

BOBBI
(obviously impressed)
Wow! Neat trick. “The force”, right?

JERRY
Yeah. I’ve kind of been practicing.

BOBBI
Come here. Kiss me again.

(THEY kiss)

JERRY
Bobbi, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

(THEY kiss again. Music swells.
Slow fade to black. Curtain)

COMING ATTRACTION – Scene II

die-hard

SCENE II

(The ballroom on the top floor of a skyscraper. Several people are standing with their arms over their head while a man, flanked by two others, holds a gun on them.)

MR. CAINE
Good evening, everyone, my name is Mr. Caine. I am a Palaminian terrorist ordered to hold everyone in this building hostage until the city delivers 70 million dollars to my country. Please believe me when I say that this is not a joke or a prank of some sort. I really am from Palaminia, as evidenced by my thick dialect, and I really am a terrorist, as evidenced by my big gun. I have just spoken with the President of your United States and made my brutal demands. Until I get a response from him, no one is to leave this room. Failure to obey my sinister commands will result in your painfully violent death. I would also ask that no one pick up the pay phones as I forgot to leave the President my number and I’m not sure which phone he will be calling on. I am going to sit down, now, but my evil minions are watching every move you make so please keep your hands on your head and don’t try anything heroic or clever.

(HE sits down. JERRY approached BOBBI and whispers)

JERRY
Hey, stranger.

BOBBI
(smiling)
Well hello there!

JERRY
Small world, isn’t it?

BOBBI
Very small world! What brings you here?

JERRY
Well, I cheated actually. The thought of spending New Years Eve alone was driving me crazy, so I just decided to sneak in here with a large group of executives. They didn’t even ask to see my invitation.

BOBBI
Well I’m not surprised. The security obviously sucks.

MR. CAINE
Is someone speaking? I thought I heard someone speaking!

JERRY
I’m sorry. That was me. We’re old friends.

MR. CAINE
PLEASE DO NOT SPEAK AGAIN OR I WILL BE FORCED TO SILENCE YOU! Or, you know, at least keep it down to a dull roar, okay?

BOBBI
We’re sorry. It won’t happen again.

MR. CAINE
See that it doesn’t, my sexually attractive hostage.

BOBBI
(whispering)
Pig. Where is Palaminia? I’ve never even heard of that country.

JERRY
I don’t think it is a country. I think he’s lying.

BOBBI
(sighs)
What a grand waste of time this has turned out to be.

JERRY
So what brings you here?

BOBBI
My ex-boyfriend invited me. God, I should’ve known.

JERRY
Ex -boyfriend?

BOBBI
Yes. He’s a spy for British Intelligence but I’m not really supposed to tell you that. We broke up about a month ago and I’ve been seeing other people, but this was his last ditch attempt to revive some spark between us.

JERRY
Where is he now?

BOBBI
He was in the first group of hostages that was taken to the roof and shot.

JERRY
Oh. I’m sorry.

BOBBI
Don’t be. I grieved for awhile, but at some point you have to pick yourself up and move on. There was nothing between us anymore. We tried and tried but even on the way over here I knew we had failed. There was nothing.

JERRY
Why did you come?

BOBBI
I didn’t want to be alone. And I thought…no, this is silly.

JERRY
Go ahead. I want to know.

BOBBI
I thought something special might happen.

(THEY stare at each other for a moment.)

JERRY
And did it?

BOBBI
I don’t… I’m not…

VILLAIN EXTRA #1
Oh mighty evil leader! Someone is disobeying your nefarious orders and speaking in a conversational tone! Please allow me to prove my loyalty by killing them both.

MR. CAINE
(slapping VILLAIN EXTRA #1)
Silence, lackey!

(approaching BOBBI and JERRY)
Well, now. It seems that two of my hostages have decided that talking to each other is more important than paying attention to my villainy! Do you have something you’d like to share with the rest of the hostages?

JERRY
Not especially. We weren’t talking about you, honest.

BOBBI
It was a private conversation.

MR. CAINE
Oh it was, was it? Well if it’s so important, why don’t you share it with the rest of us?

BOBBI
Oh, I couldn’t. It was very personal and had to do with my ex-boyfriend that you shot a little while ago.

MR. CAINE
I see. It’s private and personal. HOSTAGES! Please give me your attention! One of your fellow hostages seems to have decided that having her very own private conversation is more important than obeying my orders. I have kindly asked her if she would share the contents of her private conversation with the rest of us.

(general murmur from the other hostages “Yes,
she should.” “It’s only fair.” “Let’s hear it!” etc.)

I need not remind you that failure to comply with my wishes could lead to the death of another group of innocent upper-middle class Americans.

HOSTAGES
Come on! Tell us, for God’s sake! Quit kiddin’ around!

BOBBI
Oh, all right!

MR. CAINE
Please step to the front so that my henchmen and I may leer at your beautiful white skin.

BOBBI
(walking to the front of the room)
God. You are so sexist! Okay. Hello, everyone. My name is Bobbi.

VILLAIN EXTRA #2
Hello, Bobbi.

BOBBI
Hi. This is what happened. I just happened to run into that man over there. His name is Jerry.

JERRY
(waving)
Hello.

BOBBI
We met on an airplane about a month ago and seemed to really hit it off. I was seeing someone else at the time so I didn’t give him my number or anything, but I showed up here tonight and here he was.

HOSTAGES
How about that? Isn’t that a coincidence? Small world. Etc.

VILLAIN EXTRA #1
What do you think of him, Bobbi? Do you find him attractive?

BOBBI
Well, yes…I suppose… He’s not my dream man, but he’s very cute.

VILLAIN EXTRA #2
And his personality? Does he have a good personality?

BOBBI
Yes, he does. We have a lot in common actually.

(HOSTAGE #1 raises his hand)

BOBBI
Yes? You have your hand up?

HOSTAGE #1
Hi, Bobbi. Do feel that fate, somehow, has brought you together under these dire circumstances?

HOSTAGE #2
Fate, or “Kismet” if you will?

BOBBI
Well, I hadn’t thought about it really. I mean we haven’t had a chance to talk about it yet. I guess I just don’t know. How can you tell when you’ve met the right person? And what if our attraction for each other is just circumstantial? What if it becomes too difficult to maintain and five years from now we look back on our life together as wasted time? I’m not getting any younger and, to be fair, neither is he.

VILLAIN #2
I am a firm believer that when you meet the right person, you know right away.

VILLAIN #1
NO! YOU ARE WRONG! LOVE MUST BE BUILT UPON SLOWLY! AND NURTURED LIKE A VAST EMPIRE!

MR. CAINE
Enough chatter! Sit back down! Don’t make me shoot my powerful gun into the air!

(the radio begins to squawk and
BRUCE’S voice comes out of it)

BRUCE’S VOICE
Caine? Are you there? Answer me you bastard!

MR. CAINE
That voice. No, it can’t be…

BRUCE
Answer me, Caine, or I swear to God if I ever get my hands on you…

MR. CAINE
(picking up the radio and speaking into it)
Really, Mr. Conners. Such rough talk coming from such an old, dear friend.

BRUCE
Don’t play games with me Caine. Let the hostages go. This is between you and me.

MR. CAINE
Wrong again, Mr. Conners. This is between you… me… and seventy million dollars! And you will do absolutely nothing, I assure you. That is, unless, you never want to see your beautiful wife again.

BRUCE
Let me talk to her, you asshole!

MR. CAINE
You are not in the position to be giving orders here, Mr. Conners. Your wife is here and very much alive… for now. But I swear to you; if you come within so much as a mile of here, I’ll blow up this building and everyone in it!

MRS. CONNERS
Don’t listen to him, Bruce! He’s a madman!

MR. CAINE
Silence her!

BRUCE
No! Okay. You’ve got me. I’ll…I’ll do whatever you say.

MR. CAINE
A very wise choice, Mr. Conners. (to Mrs. Conners) And you, my dear. I’m keeping an eye on you.

BRUCE
And how do you plan to do that, Caine, when the lights are out?

(Suddenly, the lights go out.
General chaos, people screaming, etc.)

VILLAIN #1
The lights! What happened to the lights!

VILLAIN #2
What’s going on? Where did the lights go?

MR. CAINE
He must already be in the building! Spread out, men! Find him! I WANT THAT MAN DEAD! DO YOU HEAR ME? DEAD!

(The three of them exit while the hostages lie face down on the floor. Jerry slowly gets up and scoots over to Bobbi.)

JERRY
Are you okay?

BOBBI
Oh, sure. I got dust all over the knees of my skirt, though. I hate that.

(They stare at each other for a bit.)

JERRY & BOBBI
Listen, I…(they laugh)

BOBBI
You go ahead.

JERRY
No. You first.

BOBBI
Okay. Look, I’m sorry I didn’t give you my number back on the plane. I don’t want you to think that I didn’t feel anything between us…but…it was a very confusing time for me.

JERRY
Really, I understand.

BOBBI
I mean, what if this hadn’t happened at all? What if we had never seen each other again? We might be perfect for each other and we’d never know.

JERRY
But how can you know something like that so quickly? You did the right thing.

BOBBI
But I’m ready, now. I’m ready to get to know you.

JERRY
Bobbi….

BOBBI
You seem like a nice guy. I do feel a certain attraction to you, both sexual and spiritual. I really think this is something worth investigating.

JERRY
It’s not that easy. I’m… I don’t know how to say this…

BOBBI
What? What is it?

JERRY
I am attracted to you. I really am. And yes I do feel something between us, but… I’m seeing someone right now.

BOBBI
Oh. You are.

JERRY
Yes. Kim Basinger, actually.

BOBBI
Kim Basinger? Really?

JERRY
Yes.

BOBBI
I thought she was married to Alec Baldwin.

JERRY
She is. Alec doesn’t know about us. It’s all very confusing.

BOBBI
Boy. How am I supposed to compete with Kim Basinger? She’s nearly perfect.

JERRY
She’s not so perfect. Once you get to know her.

BOBBI
Sure she is. Tell me one thing about Kim Basinger that’s not perfect?

JERRY
Well, I… (thinks about it a bit)

BOBBI
You see? You can’t, can you?

JERRY
Not offhand, but look… We just don’t have that much in common. Not like you and I do anyway.

BOBBI
Well, I know this is none of my business but… she is married. What kind of a future can you have with a married woman?

JERRY
God, I know. I know.

BOBBI
I know I haven’t played lesbian bondage games with Micky Rourke or anything but I suddenly feel…I don’t know. I don’t want to rush you or anything but I think if you could just open yourself up to the idea of me, I know that I could make you happy.

JERRY
You could?

BOBBI
I promise.

JERRY
I don’t know. It’s so confusing.

BOBBI
Give me a chance. What if we don’t have another opportunity? We almost missed our chance the first time because of me. Don’t make the same mistake I did. This is it. Right now. We may never have another shot at happiness again.

JERRY
(he stares at her)
Okay. (smiling) Okay. I’ll do it!

(THEY hug each other)

BOBBI
Oh, Jerry! You won’t regret it.

(suddenly, the lights come on. MR. CAINE
and VILLAIN EXTRA #2 run into the room.)

MR. CAINE
Where are you, Conners? Show yourself!

VILLAIN EXTRA #2
He is unstoppable, Mr. Caine! He is a killing machine!

MR. CAINE
No man is unstoppable!

(A noise comes from the doorway. VILLAIN EXTRA #1 stumbles into the room holding his neck. It is covered in blood)

VILLAIN EXTRA #1
Mr. Caine. Kill him. Kill the American devil. Avenge my death for all…of…Paliminia…

(He keels over, dead)

MR. CAINE
CURSE YOU, CONNERS! THAT WAS MY FAVORITE SIDEKICK!

VILLAIN EXTRA #2
Hey!

MR. CAINE
Sometimes. Not all the time. You know what I mean. I love you both, just in different ways, that’s all.

(BRUCE’S voice rings out from all sides of the room.)

BRUCE
Let the people go, Caine. Unless you want to wind up like your friend over there!

(CAINE picks up MRS. CONNERS
and holds his gun to her head.)

MR. CAINE
I’LL KILL HER! YOU HEAR ME, CONNERS? I’LL KILL HER, I SWEAR TO GOD!
MRS. CONNERS
You expected a poor helpless female hostage, didn’t you? You didn’t count on me being a master in the ancient art of Tai-Chi!!!!!

(MRS. CONNERS breaks free and knocks out VILLAIN EXTRA #2. She hits MR. CAINE and sends him to the ground toward JERRY and BOBBI. JERRY rolls away, but he grabs BOBBI and holds his gun to her head.)

MR. CAINE
I’ve got a whole room full of hostages, Conners!

BOBBI
Jerry?

JERRY
Bobbi. I…

MR. CAINE
Show yourself, Conners, or you’re going to have one very beautiful, very dead woman on your hands.

BOBBI
Jerry, help me.

JERRY
I don’t know what to do.

MR. CAINE
You’ve got until the count of three, Conners!

JERRY
I don’t know what to do.

MR. CAINE
ONE!

BOBBI
Jerry, please. Do something. Anything.

MR. CAINE
TWO!

BOBBI
Jerry…

JERRY
Bobbi, I…

MR. CAINE
TWO AND A HALF!

BOBBI
I’m scared. I’m really scared.

MR. CAINE
THREE!!!!!!

(HE pulls the trigger, but no shot goes off)

MR. CAINE
What the…

(Suddenly, Bruce leaps forward from the
group of hostages and punches MR. CAINE)

MRS. CONNERS
Bruce!

BRUCE
Didn’t know you were out of bullets, did you Caine? Good thing I counted.

MRS. CONNERS
Bruce! You were disguised as one of the hostages! But how… I heard your voice coming from above us. We all did.

BRUCE
(taking off fake wig and mustache)
It was easy, really. After sneaking through the ventilation system and pulling the breakers so the lights would go out, I planted my miniature tape recorder next to the PA system, then jerry-rigged a remote control device out of one of the dead guard’s walkie-talkies.

MRS. CONNERS
So clever.

JERRY
Bobbi. I’m sorry. I didn’t know what to do.

BOBBI
I was scared, Jerry. I was actually scared for the first time in my life. I’ve been through twenty-five earthquakes, been trapped under a giant meteor and almost went down in a plane crash, but I’ve never been that afraid.

JERRY
I was too. I was terrified.

BOBBI
I didn’t even care what happened to me, but I realized that if I died I’d never see you again. Why didn’t you do something?

JERRY
Everything was happening so fast. It felt like such a big commitment. I choked. I’m sorry.

BOBBI
Yeah. I’m sorry too.

BRUCE
What do you say, Mrs. Conners?

MRS. CONNERS
I say you’re an amazing man, Mr. Conners.

(THEY kiss)

BRUCE
Let’s go home.

MRS. CONNERS
Home. That’s the best idea I’ve heard all night.

JERRY
Bobbi. Let me try to explain.

BOBBI
There’s nothing to explain, Jerry. I need to go now.

JERRY
Bobbi…

BOBBI
Jerry, I just want to go home.

BRUCE
What do you say? New Years Eve next year? Same time, same place.

MRS. CONNERS
Don’t you dare, Mr. Conners, don’t you dare!

(THEY laugh and embrace and kiss while
BOBBI and JERRY just gaze at each other)

COMING ATTRACTION – A 20 year old play

I wrote this play about 20 years ago. I don’t really send it out, although I did just send it to a friend to do with his college class. It’s got way too many characters and isn’t really the kind of thing I write now. But I read it recently and was amused by it and thought this might be a nice place for it to live. Movie buffs might get a kick out of it, as I borrowed some scenarios from popular genre films. The play is in three scenes. Here is scene one. I’ll post scenes two and three over the next week. Enjoy.

shatner
From left Christine White (as Julia Wilson), William Shatner as airline passenger Bob Wilson, reacts to a gremlin on the plane’s wing, played by Nick Cravat. ‘Nightmare At 20,000 Feet,’ episode of The Twilight Zone. Initial television broadcast on October 11, 1963. Screen capture / Frame grab. Copyright © 1963 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Credit: CBS Photo Archive.

COMING ATTRACTION

SCENE I
(The passenger cabin of a small commuter airplane. On one side, Jerry and Bobbi sit next to one another. One the other side, William ,a nervous middle-aged man, sits next to the window. A stewardess enters the cabin.)

WILLIAM
Excuse me, stewardess?

STEWARDESS
Yes and how may I help you? Coffee? Cream or sugar?

WILLIAM
Uh…no thank you.

STEWARDESS
One coffee black as a nightmare, coming right up.

WILLIAM
No. I don’t drink coffee.

STEWARDESS
Then why did you ask for it?

WILLIAM
I didn’t. I just wanted to know exactly how high up we are.

STEWARDESS
Well, now I’m confused. Where I’m from, coffee is a drink made from ground beans brought to this country by Sir Walter Raleigh, the same man who introduced tobacco. Does coffee have a different meaning where you’re from?

WILLIAM
Uh…no. I wasn’t-

STEWARDESS
Then why are you treating me like I’m stupid? Is it because I’m a flight attendant? That’s pretty narrow-minded.

WILLIAM
No. You see, I can’t drink coffee because it makes me tense-

STEWARDESS
Then don’t drink it. I’m not forcing it down your throat am I?

WILLIAM
No, I mean…I didn’t want coffee…

STEWARDESS
That’s it! I’m telling the pilot!

(STEWARDESS exits. WILLIAM stares out the window)

(BOBBI begins holding her nose and making odd noises)

JERRY
Excuse me, miss?

BOBBI
Yes?

JERRY
Could you not do that? It’s very loud and people are looking this way because they think it’s me.

BOBBI
You should just point to me, then, when they look at you. That would clear up everything.

JERRY
No, I’m pretty sure that would make me appear even more guilty; trying to cast the blame on someone else. And besides, what if they’re not looking at me and I just think they’re looking at me? That would be extremely embarrassing.

BOBBI
If that’s the case, then you really have nothing to worry about. Besides, this is the only way to clear my aural canals. They always clog at high altitudes. Flying, mountain climbing, whatever…

JERRY
Well, that’s not the best way to do it. Here. Let me show you.

(JERRY moves to put his hand on BOBBI’S mouth)

BOBBI
I’m warning you. Don’t try to suffocate me. You’ll never escape. This is an airplane.

JERRY
I promise I won’t suffocate you.

BOBBI
(pause)

Okay. Show me.

(JERRY puts his hand over BOBBI’S mouth.)

JERRY
Now, cover your ears.

(SHE does)

JERRY
Now blow gently through your nose, into my hand

(SHE does)

BOBBI
Hey. You know what? It worked! That is so wonderful! I don’t have to make that horrid noise anymore.

JERRY
An old family remedy.

BOBBI
Wow.
(There is an uncomfortable silence while
BOBBI stares at JERRY.)

BOBBI
I’m Bobbi, by the way. With an “I”.

JERRY
Hi. I’m Jerry.

(THEY shake hands.)

JERRY
Nice to meet you, Bobbi with an “I”.

(The STEWARDESS re-enters with the PILOT)

STEWARDESS
It was him.

PILOT
And what seems to be the problem?

WILLIAM
Nothing. No problem. You’ll have to forgive me. I’m very nervous on airplanes. Planeaphobic, or something.

PILOT
With all due respect, Mr….

WILLIAM
Serling.

PILOT
With all due respect, Mr. Serling, I don’t see that that’s a very good reason to insult my favorite flight attendant who I happen to be sleeping with at the moment.

STEWARDESS
(embarrassed)
Bob!

WILLIAM
I’m terribly sorry. I didn’t mean to insult anyone. It’s just…can you tell me how long it will be before we land?

PILOT
We will land in approximately fifty-two minutes. Until then, I don’t want to hear a peep out of you as it might create a panic. And if I have to come out here again, you know what that means?

WILLIAM
Well, I…

PILOT
It means NOBODY IS FLYING THIS PLANE!
(pause. Suddenly realizing)
I better get back to the cockpit. We could be flying directly into a mountain and I wouldn’t even know.

(STEWARDESS and PILOT exit)

JERRY
So, Bobbi, are you from California or just visiting?

BOBBI
Just visiting. I have family there. They don’t like me to come too often because every time I do there’s an earthquake.

JERRY
Really? I’ve been in about seventy earthquakes myself.

BOBBI
Seventy? My God!

JERRY
Not all of them were major earthquakes. Some were just minor tremors. How about you?

BOBBI
Nowhere near seventy. Twenty-five, tops.

JERRY
Can I ask you something?

BOBBI
I guess.

JERRY
Do you ever feel like your very presence is causing the earthquakes?

BOBBI
I used to, but then I started feeling pretty egocentric. I mean I’m only human. It’s not like I have any power over nature. Then I just started taking it for granted.

JERRY
Yeah?

BOBBI
Yeah.

WILLIAM
(screaming)
STEWARDESS!!!! STEWARDESS!!!

STEWARDESS
(entering)
Mr. Serling, please keep your voice down. You are on an airplane.

WILLIAM
Stewardess. Listen to me. You’ve got to land this plane.

STEWARDESS
I may hate myself for asking this, but why?

WILLIAM
Because there’s a giant hairy monster on the wing.

STEWARDESS
(pause)
Don’t make me get the pilot.

WILLIAM
No. I swear. You’ve got to believe me. There’s a giant gremlin on the wing and he’s tearing the guts out of the plane.

STEWARDESS
(loud and self-consciously)
OH MR. SERLING. HA,HA. YOU’RE SO FUNNY. I WISH I COULD SHARE WITH THE OTHER PASSENGERS YOUR JOKE ABOUT THE FURRY BEAST ON THE WING. UNFORTUNATELY I WOULDN’T WANT TO DISTURB THEIR SLUMBER. Now. Are you going to be quiet or do I have to sedate you with some of the illegal narcotics we keep on board?

JERRY
Wow. How about that? You must fly a lot.

BOBBI
How do you mean?

JERRY
That guy didn’t even phase you. Look at the rest of the passengers. They’re all so jumpy. You’re completely unshaken.

BOBBI
I’m so used to it at this point. Things like this always happen to me.

JERRY
Really? Me too!

BOBBI
Yeah?

JERRY
Yeah! And not just earthquakes. All kinds of things.

BOBBI
Me too!

JERRY
That’s so weird. Remember last Spring when that giant meteor collided with the earth?

BOBBI
Remember it? I was right under it!

JERRY
No way! I was right under it!

BOBBI
GET OUT!

JERRY
That was something else…

BOBBI
I don’t remember seeing you there!

JERRY
Well, I’m not surprised. It was a big meteor.

(suddenly there is a load crashing noise and the lights begin flashing on and off.)

WILLIAM
(leaping from his seat)
MONSTER ON THE WING! MONSTER ON THE WING!

(The other passengers begin shouting. WILLIAM takes out a gun and begins firing randomly into the air.)
YOU’LL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE YOU GODDAMN GREMLIN!

(PILOT and STEWARDESS run in. PILOT grabs WILLIAM and pins his arms behind him.)

JERRY
You know, I hope you don’t think this is forward of me, but I find you very attractive.

BOBBI
(pause)
Thank you. Thank you very much. It’s been a long time since anyone’s said that to me.

PILOT
All right Mr. Serling. I warned you. Sandy, get the dope.

STEWARDESS
Right.

WILLIAM
No. No drugs, please. I’m calm. I’m calm.

PILOT
Are we going to be quiet now?

WILLIAM
Yes. Only listen to me please. One of the engines is out isn’t it? The number two on the left side. I saw the creature destroy it.

(PILOT and STEWARDESS look at each other ominously)

PILOT
The number two engine went out about three minutes ago

WILLIAM
(begins thrashing around)
OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!

PILOT
Sandy! Come here and hold him! I have to go fly the plane!

STEWARDESS
I can’t hold him! I’m just a Flight Attendant!

PILOT
(thinks about it)
All right! I’ll hold him! You go fly the plane!

STEWARDESS
Right.

BOBBI
You have a very kind face.

JERRY
Thank you.

(A huge explosion. The lights flicker on and off.)

WILLIAM
OH JESUS CHRIST IN HEAVEN WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!!

(STEWARDESS enters)

STEWARDESS
Ladies and gentlemen please don’t panic. I can’t remember exactly what I’m supposed to tell you as I am experiencing mortal terror, but do that thing with your knees and the oxygen mask that I showed you before we took off. I hope you were paying attention. I have to go fly the plane.

(STEWARDESS exits)

(The sound of a plane crashing and passengers screaming. BOBBI and JERRY put their heads between their knees.)

JERRY
So are you seeing anyone?

BOBBI
Well, actually…

(There is a loud thud as the plane lands. Jerry and Bobbi get up slowly. WILLIAM is giggling.)

WILLIAM
(to himself)
Monster on the wing. Hee Hee. It’s a Gremlin, I tell you, a gremlin.

(STEWARDESS enters with a straight jacket and SHE and the PILOT begin putting it on WILLIAM.)

JERRY
So, what are you doing now? You want to go have coffee? Have dinner or something?

BOBBI
Uh… I can’t. I’m sorry. You seem like a really nice guy, but…I am seeing somebody.

JERRY
Oh. Okay. That makes sense. I mean if you’re seeing somebody, I don’t want to…

BOBBI
But if I wasn’t seeing somebody…

JERRY
Right. Sure. Of course.

(the PILOT drags WILLIAM off stage)

WILLIAM
Monster on the wing. Monster on the wing. Monster on the wing.

JERRY
Can I at least walk you to the rubber escape tube?

BOBBI
Actually, I think I’m gonna run to the restroom and freshen up.

JERRY
Oh. Okay.

BOBBI
It was really nice meeting you though.

JERRY
Yeah. Yeah it was.

BOBBI
Bye.

JERRY
Bye.

(BOBBI walks offstage. JERRY walks the other direction toward the STEWARDESS to exit the plane.)

STEWARDESS
Thank you for flying Trans-Continental. Please fly with us again.

(Lights go down on the plane. BOBBI steps forward and addresses the audience)

BOBBI
I always fall for the wrong men. You know, the dangerous type. I guess the first time it really hit me was that trip to Europe. Our genius tour guide decided that it would be a good idea to visit Transylvania. I don’t know why more of us didn’t speak up and say “Uh…excuse me, but aren’t there vampires in Transylvania?” What did we know, though? We were a bunch of twenty something college students on a semester abroad. At that age, you still think you’re immortal and that the world owes you something. So some of us go out, after nightfall, and we’re drinking and drinking and we wind up at this club filled with all these really gorgeous, pale-faced men with glowing read eyes and I’m thinking “What a bunch of poseurs.” Still, there’s this one guy there. Absolutely beautiful. And I knew he was nothing but trouble, but what could I do? He bought me a drink, nibbled my ear, told me I was the spitting image of mistress that died five hundred years ago. It was seductive. Beautiful. Wonderful.

Well then, of course, everyone in the club freaks out and the vampires start devouring all my friends one by one, and then they turn into vampires until I’m the only one left. I knew that all I had to do was survive until sunrise and they would all burn up or something, because there weren’t enough coffins for all of them. So I ran into this church and sat, curled in a ball, under the shadow of this giant crucifix. And I sat there for what seemed like hours listening to the vampires, there were about twenty of them at this point, scratching at the doors and windows and hissing at me and cursing at me. “You’ll never make it!” one of them shouted. And “Welcome to hell!” and “I’m your worst nightmare” and all of those other things that vampires say. And I sat there waiting for the sun to come up and I thought. “I guess this is the way it’s going to be from now on.” you know? I thought “I guess I better get used to this, because this is the way it’s going to be from now on.”

END OF SCENE I

WHAT I’M UP TO!

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Hello, there! Delightful to see you. Please sit down. Can I get you something to drink? No? Please let me know if you’d like anything. I’m sure you’re here because you’re wondering what, exactly, I’m up to professionally over the next several months.

WAIT! HOLD ON! COME BACK! PLEASE LET ME TELL YOU! IT WILL JUST TAKE A MINUTE!

Okay. Trying to hurry. This is too much pressure!

2016

SEPT – DEC 2016 – I’ll be teaching classes at Drexel University once again. If you’re in Philly, give me a buzz. Unless I’m teaching. Then I won’t pick up because that’s rude.

SEPT 30th – I’ll be returning to Pittsburgh to perform PANTHER HOLLOW at Point Park College! If you’re a Point Park student, faculty or staff, come out and join me!

2017

JAN TBA – There will be a reading of FESTIAL QUARTET with Writer’s Theatre of New Jersey. Exact date to be determined.

JAN/FEB TBA – I’ll be performing PANTHER HOLLOW in Lower Bucks County, sponsored by the Penndel Center Health Agency. Exact date and venue to be determined.

FEB 8-11 – I’ll be part of a panel for the program “When Memoir Moves On Stage” for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Washington, DC.

MARCH TBA – Presenting a reading of my play WAYS TO BE HAPPY at Writers Theatre of New Jersey. Exact date to be determined.

MAY 4th-21st – Production of my play FIXED at Passage Theatre! Formerly entitled SANISM, this play was commissioned by Passage and the New Jersey Peforming Arts Center as part of their Stage Exchange Program.

JUNE 24th – A one night only reading of the musical THE ANGRY GRAMMARIAN! I wrote the book and Jeffery Barg wrote the music. It will be at the Pulley & Buttonhole Theatre Company in Jenkintown, PA

Okay. That’s it. You can go now. Hello? Where did you…hello?