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The exhilaration, exultation, expectations and experiences of writing plays and getting a play produced or noticed.
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1. Upon reflection

In his playwriting blog, "The Producer's Perspective," Broadway producer, Ken Davenport, shared his thoughts and dispensed some advice to aspiring playwrights. In particular his contention that "new-er" playwrights over-write their plays.

This caught my attention and got me thinking about my own plays and whether they are over-written. Perhaps (speculation number gazillion) this could be yet another reason and rationalization why my plays have yet to see a stage.

Not just long, Ken shared in the blog, but too wordy (my interpretation). There is a tendency to write too much to ensure that the audience grasps what the playwright is attempting to put across.

The problem from my perspective is that it's difficult to know how much is too much.  I've strived to keep physical direction to a minimum and to focus upon the dialogue and more importantly, the story line. So if indeed I'm guilty of over-writing, it's difficult to ascertain if and where the edits should be made, having edited various parts incessantly over time.

Contributed my two-cents-worth to the topic in the form of a comment, "frequently, we never hear back again as to whether a play is over-written or whatever else is wrong." As I've frequently bemoaned and shared that the submission process more often than not results in never hearing anything back, period.

On one occasion and to a theatre's credit, part of its commitment to playwriting, a submission resulted in a complete analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the play, including suggestions as to changes that would strengthen its overall quality. How refreshing.

In the end, it's a waiting game dependent upon hope that someone, somewhere, will see the potential. Perhaps - pure speculation (again) on my part - over-writing is involved or maybe it's a case of under-writing. Go know.

Meanwhile, here's the coordinates to sign up for Ken Davenport's blog: https://www.theproducersperspective.com/welcome-to-the-producers-perspective-forum



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2. Hello? Same old, same old...

Nothing really new to report but for anybody keeping up with the score so far - zero-zero - for the playwright.

Really (she wrote emphasizing the really) made a concerted effort to submit my literary gems (at least in my eyes they are) to various theatres and related opportunities. Received a response from perhaps one with the usual form letter: "Dear Playwright." At least an effort could have been made to address our kind by our given name. I mean, if I'm going to be given bad news, at least relate it personally to me. Don't you think?

Where was I now...oh yeah. 'Dear Playwright, given the huge response to our call for submissions, unfortunately your play will not be among this year's productions.' There is more blah-blah but in the end - who cares. Right? Guess I should be happy that at least I received a response, be it a negative one.

Once the brain acknowledges a rejection, the questions and doubts start popping up like:

- maybe I shouldn't have done re-write # 7,500
- maybe I'm deluding myself into believing I can write plays
- maybe I should adapt my title to "writer-of-plays-that-are-waiting-for-production"
- maybe I'm living in the wrong country
- maybe I'm using the wrong font - that has to be it. Right?
- what happens if I run out of theatres in which to submit?
- what happens if I'm submitting to the same theatres having forgotten to note the lucky recipients?

And so they continue, those insidious doubts that show up in the quiet of the night, filling the mind of the writer-of-plays-that-are-waiting-for- production with doubt and bewilderment. Know what I mean?

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3. SCENES FROM LIFE - A SHORT PLAYETTE. At the coffee shop

POST PLAY DISCUSSION
 
SCENE: Coffee shop
AT RISE: Two friends discuss a theatre performance they have just seen
 
 FRIEND 1
(perusing menu)
Decisions…decisions… I just started seeing a dietician but I absolutely adore their chocolate-chocolate-and-more-chocolate molten lava cake… One more time couldn’t hurt.
 
 FRIEND 2
Given that it’s past eight o’clock and the worst time for weight gain, I, on the other hand, will stick to my usual expresso
 
FRIEND 1
You’re so holy-holy, perfect, human being
 
FRIEND 2
Jealousy is futile. It’s my genes. Everyone in my family is thin, going back generations
You do realize I could eat whatever I wanted without guilt but I don’t, because I respect my body
 
 FRIEND 1
Hey! Me too! My body tells me regularly, “feed me chocolate-chocolate-and-more-chocolate molten lava cake’ and I’ll make you feel real good!”
 
FRIEND 2
Anywaaay…So what did you think of the show?
 
FRIEND 1
Well…it had its moments
 
FRIEND 2
You didn’t like it, I take it?
 
 FRIEND 1
I never said that
 
 FRIEND 2
What are you saying?
 
 
FRIEND 1
It had its moments

 
FRIEND 2
Which means?
 
 
FRIEND 1
 
Kind of dragged in parts
 
 
FRIEND 2
I dunno. Made me laugh – a lot
 
 
FRIEND 1
That’s ‘cause you’re easily amused
 
FRIEND 2
Is it necessary to insult me, just because you consider yourself (makes quotation marks with her fingers) “a playwright”?
 
FRIEND 1
It’s the words and how they’re put together that interest me
 
FRIEND 2
Seemed like one great show, overall, in my eyes
 
 
FRIEND 1
You didn’t find that the first act seemed to never end?
 
FRIEND 2
I go to the theatre to be entertained. Period. I don’t agonize over whether the first act is better than the second because really, I don’t care! If the actors can provide a couple of hours of escapism, then they’ve done their job
 
 
FRIEND 1
We obviously view the entertainment through different eyes. I’m interested in the flow of the dialogue…the inter-action of the performers…things of interest to a person who writes plays -
 
 
FRIEND 2
- remind me how many of your plays have been produced –
 
 
FRIEND 1
So? What does that have to do with anything? It’s not for lack of trying. Have you any idea how many playwrights are out there all over the planet, hoping that someone will share them with the world? Gazillions I can tell you – including me! I mean, well known one’s, too! One day – one sweet day – someone, somewhere will read one of my plays and say, “this is the winner we’ve been waiting for!” One day, you and I, will sit here as we do after a night at the theatre, and discuss the merits of one of my plays. You’ll tell me how witty the dialogue was and how it made you laugh and how lucky that our friendship has maintained over the years…
 
 
FRIEND 2
So, are we ordering or what?
 
 
FRIEND 1
I’m thinking here perhaps it is too late for something heavy like the chocolate-chocolate-and-more-chocolate molten lava cake
 
 
FRIEND 2
Good idea - think healthy
 
(waitress approaches to take order)
 (cont’d.)We’ll have two expresso coffees, please…
 
 FRIEND 1
…hang on…
 FRIEND 2
I thought you decided against the cake
 
 
FRIEND 1
The cake is on the heavy side but a small butter pecan muffin wouldn’t even register on the scale.  Now about the play…the acting was adequate but then they didn't have much to work with...


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4. SCENES FROM LIFE: A SHORT PLAYETTE At the theatre

INTERMISSION
 
 
SCENE: WOMEN'S WASHROOM IN THEATRE
 
AT RISE:  FEMALES LINE UP TO USE BATHROOM
 
 
FEMALE 1
Line is really long...hope we have enough time
 
FEMALE 2
(turning around)
Sorry?
 
FEMALE 1
I was just commenting that there's a lot of women waiting to get in and only a 15 minute intermission
 
FEMALE 2
When 'ya gotta go - 'ya gotta go, right?
 
FEMALE 1
(moving anxiously from foot to foot)
Don't I know it - and I really have to! Go, I mean
 
FEMALE 2
It usually picks up and moves faster when they near the end of the intermission
 
FEMALE 1
Hope so... Do you notice how the guys seem to be able to do what they have to do in three minutes?
 
FEMALE 2
That's cause they don't have as much clothing to remove and don't stare at the mirror or fix their makeup
 
FEMALE 1
Once in dire desperation, I used the men's washroom. I had to. I pushed the door open, screamed 'is anybody there 'cause I'm coming in!'
 
FEMALE 2
What happened?
 
FEMALE 1
I held my head down and didn't dare glance at the urinals. Went in a cubicle, slammed the door and never urinated so fast in my life! Thank goodness there was nobody in there, as far as I knowThe line is moving but barely. C'mon people - move quicker!
 
FEMALE 3
(behind both of them)
Don't mean to interrupt but there's another bathroom located downstairs. Everyone seems to gravitate to this one for one reason or another
 
FEMALE 1
Thanks for the suggestion but if I'll lose my place if I check it out and I don't know if it's an improvement on this.
 
(ASIDE TO FEMALE 2) Perhaps if you would hold my place...?
 
FEMALE 2
Don't think that's a good idea. If you end up returning, they'll attack me figuring you're trying to cut in the line. You have to decide which is the better option
 
FEMALE 1
All I know is that I really gotta pee!
 
FEMALE 2
Even if I let you in front of me, it's not much of an improvement
 
FEMALE 1
It's better than nothing and I would be most appreciative. Things are really getting desperate!
 
FEMALE 2
I suppose I could...I mean, I've been where you have....
 
FEMALE 1
Oh thank you, thank you!
 
(FEMALE 1 moves in front of FEMALE 2)
 
(CONT'D. FEMALE 1) Almost there...just a few more to go...
 
(moving back and forth from foot-to-foot)
 
FEMALE 1
(to female in front of her)
'...such a long line up...oh dear and intermission is almost over... Really, really, have to go...you would do that for me? You're too kind...thank you...'
 
(FEMALE 1 moves up the line)
 
FEMALE 1
(to herself)
A person has'ta do what a person has'ta do...the flush of victory is at hand...
 
 


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5. WHEREAS THE SHARK TANK MEMBERS CONSIDER A NEW INVENTION

Even though I have a plastic watering container, for whatever reason, punching holes in the lid of a large, empty juice container seemed like a good idea. This got me thinking - one of those "what if" moments: what if everyone reading this decided to do the same and pursue our creation on the "Shark Tank" TV program for financial backing! Would it fly?

 
 
SCENE: SET OF “SHARK TANK” TV SERIES. A FEMALE, FOLLOWED BY A LARGE GROUP OF MALES AND FEMALES HOLDING JUICE CONTAINERS, ENTERS. THE FOUR “SHARKS” STUDY HER WHILE MAKING NOTES.

VOICE OVER: “NEXT ON SHARK TANK, A GARDENING AFIENCIENADO WHO HAS COME UP WITH AN INNOVATIVE ALTERNATIVE TO A STORE-BOUGHT WATERING DEVICE. SHE’S ASKING FOR $50,000 FOR 30% EQUITY

 

FEMALE INVENTOR

Hello moneyed sharks! My name is blah-blah and I’ve come up with an inventive and cheap alternative to the watering can. When it comes to buying gardening tools, most gardeners head to their local gardening outlet to buy their equipment. Chances are that you or your maid or whoever takes care of buying grocery supplies buy the larger sized juice containers being more economical (sharks all shake their heads in agreement and take more notes). Once the container is empty, it’s tossed in the recycling pile. But wait a minute! Don’t do that! It can be recycled again.

 
MARK CUBAN

Who are all those people you brought with you?

 
FEMALE INVENTOR

They’re the CYBER FRIENDS OF FACEBOOK group who are my strongest supporters. They’re also big fans of Shark Tank

 
KEVIN O’LEARY

Yuck! Juice spilled on my very expensive tie. If you can’t wash out your invention before bringing it here… I’m…

 
FEMALE INVENTOR

Wait! Let me elucidate this great concept that’s akin to reinventing the wheel!

 
MARK CUBAN

What is this? Says here in my notes that this is about juice containers. Now you’re talking about a new wheel?

 
LORI GRENIER

Give her a chance, Mark. So why exactly have you come to us for big bucks? Are you asking us to fund a juice container with wheels? I don’t get it…

 
FEMALE INVENTOR

If I may explain?


KEVIN O’LEARY

So? We’re waiting

 
FEMALE INVENTOR
(visibly nervous)

Okay… let me think here…


DAYMOND JOHN

Honestly? All I see there is a used juice container. Maybe this isn’t for me…

 
FEMALE INVENTOR

Okay. I got it together now.


ROBERT HERJAVEC

Time is marching on, lady. Get on with your pitch!

 
FEMALE INVENTOR

As I was saying…I was about to throw an orange juice container in the recycling pile and suddenly – you know – one of those eureka moments – I get the urge to punch holes in the lid, which I did…


KEVIN O’LEARY

…this is painful. So big deal! Anybody can do that! Next!


FEMALE INVENTOR

…filled it up with water and then used it to water my flower boxes. No splashing and the perfect system for a gentle watering of plants


BARBARA CORCORON

So let’s see this container of yours

 
FEMALE INVENTOR

I’ve only brought one sample. If you can pass it along…


KEVIN O’LEARY

We have to share one lousy juice container and it’s sticky with juice residue

 
MARK CUBAN

You should’a brought enough for all of us and Kevin is right. The least you could have done is wash the juice container

 
DAYMOND JOHN

All I see is five holes in a lid of a juice container. Anybody… No everybody who buys juice can do that. I’m out

 
KEVIN O’LEARY

Maybe this has potential and maybe it doesn’t. Tell you what I’m gonna do because they don’t call me Mr. Wonderful for nothing. I’ll give you $500 for a 75% equity. That’s more than fair

 
FEMALE INVENTOR

I don’t know…what do you think, people?

 
(she turns and asks the large group of people with her holding juice containers. They shake their heads indicating approval)


KEVIN O’LEARY

Better hurry up and decide whether to take my offer. Your only offer

 
FEMALE INVENTOR

Um…I don’t know what to do…


(large group of people chant, “take it, take it…”

 
(cont’d. FEMALE INVENTOR) As much as I thank you for your support, I have to decline your offer

 
MARK CUBAN
(laughing)

You made a big mistake, lady. Next!

 
KEVIN O’LEARY

You are nothing to me! A cockroach looking for leftovers in the juice of life…or something. Leave and take your container with you

 
BARBARA CORCORON

Kevin – must you always philosophize when someone tells you and your offer to take a hike? You could be more charitable

 
KEVIN O’LEARY

And lose my reputation as Mr. Wonderful?

 
FEMALE INVENTOR FOLLOWED BY HER GROUP LEAVE, DROPPING THE CONTAINERS IN THE TRASH AS THEY WALK OUT

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6. SCENES FROM LIFE: A SHORT PLAYETTE At the supermarket

THE WAIT
 
 
SCENE: A BUSY SUPERMARKET.
 AT RISE: A LONG LINE UP OF PEOPLE WAIT TO PAY FOR THEIR GROCERIES.
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
(to herself)
 
Would you believe how slow this cashier is? I probably could check out myself faster
 
 
MALE CUSTOMER BEHIND HER
 
They should open more cashes
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
Sorry?
MALE CUSTOMER
 
They need more cashiers. Can’t open more cashes without cashiers. Only three on a holiday weekend doesn’t do it
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
So true. I mean, you would think that they would have thought of that. I hate waiting
MALE CUSTOMER
 
Who likes it
 
 (female customer searches the line ups)

FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
I just moved over here from the other line. This one looks like it was moving faster but now the other one is better. Always happens. Wherever I move, the other lines are faster
MALE CUSTOMER
 
From what I can see, there are hardly any people in the first cash
 
 (they both look over to check it out)
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
That’s only for eight items or less. I’ve got a lot more than that
 
MALE CUSTOMER
Maybe they would take you being that they’re so busy everywhere
 
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
Don’t like to take advantage, not to mention that the customers with just a few items get really upset when you try to push in with a full shopping cart. Can't say I blame them. Tried that a while back and everyone turned on me. “Are you blind?” they all yelled, pointing to the 8 items or less sign accompanied by insults. Wasn’t worth it – very embarrassing. Anyway, I’d lose my place here in line. Hey…you wouldn’t be trying to move up faster in the line here…
 
MALE CUSTOMER
 
Just trying to be helpful
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
Why don’t you try your luck at the first cash? Maybe you'll be luckier
 
MALE CUSTOMER
 
I’ll wait my turn. You were complaining
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
Actually, I was talking to myself and you overheard me
 
MALE CUSTOMER
Sorry to butt in your private conversation with yourself
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
Merely pointing out to myself that they need more cashiers
 
MALE CUSTOMER
 
And I agreed. No ulterior motive intended
 
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
 
Sorry - I tend to get impatient in line ups. Here we want to give them our hard-earned cash and we have to wait to hand it over. Not that I would ever want to be a cashier...
 
  (Throws her head back and looks at ceiling)
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
Would you believe? Now they’re counting cash! This means another five minute delay at least
 
MALE CUSTOMER
 
 
Nothing we can do about it

 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
Why, why does this always happen to me? Why couldn’t they have waited until they finished checking out my food items first?
MALE CUSTOMER
 
A conspiracy for sure. Relax – getting all worked up won’t make things work faster
 
 (answers his cell phone) 
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
On top of it all, they’ve put new cashiers on a day like today. I mean, really. Okay, they have to learn but today? Good - finished their cash count. Only one person in front of us, now. Should be out of here in five…maybe ten minutes at the most, for sure. I’ll just get ready to place my items here on the counter…they have some good specials today… I don’t believe it!   
 
MALE CUSTOMER
Something wrong?

 
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
Would you believe? There’s no price on some of her items and now they have to do a price check! That’s gonna put us back an extra ten minutes for sure. Is there no end to keep us customers waiting forever? (addresses customer in front of her) ‘Excuse me, but why didn’t you check your items before throwing them into your shopping cart? We've been waiting here for over fifteen minutes, y’know! Some of us have things to do, places to go.’ 
 
                        (male customer moves over to new cash that opens up) 
 
(cont’d.) Hey! I was in front of you
 
MALE CUSTOMER
You were and now I’m in front of you, first in line. You snooze – you lose. Patience is a virtue
 

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7. A taste of "ACORN FARM"


ACORN FARM
A small sampling from a play written as a joint project, which started out as an add-to-the-story writing exercise with bits and pieces added over time. Like most of my plays, it's a comedy but with dramatic overtones.  Listed only the three main characters in this snippet.
 

By Eleanor Tylbor

and

Jeff Slater

 

CAST OF CHARACTERS

 
BESS MALONE, 50’s, Widow

LEANN WALKER, 17, spoiled niece of Becky

WAYNE SMITH, 60’s, physically-disabled old grouch and owner of dilapidated cabin in the woods

 

THE TIME

The present. Autumn

AT RISE: Bess enters walking at a fast clip, arms filled with small kitchen equipment. Leann lags behind while attempting to use her cell phone, dragging a suitcase on wheels behind her
 

BESS
(stopping to glance back at LEANN)

Don’t offer to help or anything. Of course it’s totally understandable. Strain your arms and you won’t be able to iron your hair or whatever you do with it

LEANN

My cell phone’s not working and I forgot to bring a charger. D’ya have one I can borrow?

BESS

Of course! Doesn’t everyone carry a spare phone charger in case a phone goes dead. Just a minute – I’ll check my purse…

LEANN

Good ‘cause I promised Jeremy I’d call him as soon as we arrived. How much longer ‘til we get to where we’re supposed to be? I’m getting hungry

BESS

Forget about touching base with Jeremy. You’re far, far away from civilization and there’s not a hope that your cell phone will work here, anyway

LEANN

I’m sure they’ll be some kind of phone connection at the place we’re staying. Can’t wait to take a hot shower and get out of these grungy clothes. Hey – maybe there’ll be a Jacuzzi, or even an indoor pool
 
                        BESS drops the pots and pans at the front door of the cabin

BESS

In these parts? ‘Ya gotta be kidding! Where do you think we’ll be staying? At a five-star hotel?

LEANN

Wha’cha do that for? I mean, let’s get back in the car and get there already
 
BESS

We’re – here – or there

LEANN
(looking around, panic-stricken)

Tell me this isn’t the place. It’s a joke, right? To teach me a lesson? Of course it is. Nobody in their right mind would stay... here. C’mon – it’s getting dark already and I could fall and break a heel on my new shoes

BESS

Be it ever so humble, kiddo!

LEANN

You-you can’t expect someone like…me to stay…in a place like that. I’ll catch a fatal disease or something

BESS

You wanna knock on the front door or should I?

LEANN

There’s has’ta be a hotel around here. I’ll even stay in a bed-and-breakfast. Maybe if we go back on the main road…

BESS

I didn’t see any buildings for miles around driving up here Look at it this way: it’ll build character and heaven knows you need some of that.

                        BESS searches the door frame for a doorbell and then knocks

(cont'd) Hello?

                        Moves back and examines the house from all angles

(cont'd) A palace it ain’t

LEANN

Nobody’s home. Let’s turn around and call whoever from a hotel

                        LEANN turns around and starts walking

BESS

We’re not going anywhere, unless you feel like hiking through the woods alone in the dark with all those bears and mountain lions out there, not to mention snakes

LEANN

I could borrow your car and go get help.

BESS

Over my dead body you will! I promised your parents that you’re spending the summer with me and that’s exactly what you’re going to do

LEANN

They’re punishing me for dating Jeremy! Think they can keep us apart but they’re wrong. One phone call from me and he’ll rush up here and take me away from all of…this. You’ll see

BESS

Face it, sweetie – there isn’t a cabin or means of communicating with lover boy for miles and miles. From what your parents told me, he drives an old motorcycle and that sure won’t make it up here

LEANN
(starting to cry)

Why are you doing this to me? I’m not the type that can survive without my cell and friends and…

BESS

Believe me, by the time this is over, you’ll thank me for the experience

                        BESS knocks on the door again

(Cont.d) Why doesn’t he answer? Wha’cha gonna live on, anyway? Love? Baby girl – love don’t pay the rent or buy groceries or pay your cell phone bill. I understand that Jeremy doesn’t have a pot to piss in

LEANN

He has job prospects. Last week he had an interview with a company to demonstrate toys in a shopping mall

BESS
(banging on the door)

Real career move that is. Maybe you can join him and the two of you can spend your lives window shopping. Where the heck is Wayne? Hel-lo? How old are you now, anyway?

LEANN

Seventeen next month and we won’t have to worry ‘bout money ‘cause I’ll be bringing in money too

BESS

You? Work? Wha’cha gonna do? Be a nail polish tester? Look – I haven’t got the patience to fight with you. I’m too tired and getting more frustrated by the minute. ‘Hello! Wayne!’

LEANN

Let’s go back, then.  Maybe…maybe the person who lives here went away. I mean, what human being could stay in a dump like this?

BESS

I understand he’s in a wheelchair so he’s gotta be inside. Not the friendly type either, his son told me so we’ll just have to figure another way to get in Maybe…

                        Lifts a mat in front of the door and picks up key

Why would anyone hide the key to get in here? I can imagine what it’s like on the inside

                        Opens door

As bad in the inside as it is on the outside…worse

LEANN

Eeee-uuuu! Tell me we’re not sleeping here

BESS

Well sweetness and light, unless there’s a tent tucked away in that designer suitcase of yours, this is home for a while

LEANN

Like…you gotta be joking! There’s no way. I’m calling my parents to come pick me up

BESS

First of all, your parents are on a cruise ship. Second, before they left, your mom and dad insisted that I take you with me to experience real life, so I doubt they’d even spring for bus fare, let alone come rescue you. Might as well give up on getting in touch with the outside world for a while

LEANN

Where I live, they would condemn a place like this. Gross!

BESS

Were you live, maxing your credit card is considered a hardship

LEANN

I figured this was a shelter for people who get lost in a storm or something

BESS

Surprise! A real live person lives here. Go grab that box with the kitchen stuff

LEANN

Darn! I broke a nail and I just had a French manicure yesterday. D’ya have an emery board? I can’t do anything unless I file down this nail. The last thing I need is jagged edges

BESS

Oh no! We wouldn’t want that! Hold on a minute while I look through my suitcases here. Shoot! Must’a left it back on my manicure table A nail file no less… Now move it, girl!

                        She looks around the room. Dirty dishes cover the surface of the table;
                        clothes litter the floor and a torn curtain hangs from a broken rod and
                        blackened pots and pans sit on top of the stove

Filth! Absolute filth

                                                                                                SFX: person coughing
 
WAYNE
(V/O)
 
Whoever you are, don’t even twitch or blink an eye. I got a shotgun [pointed directly at your heart so’s you might as well start sayin’ your prayers now

BESS
(piling dishes one on top of the other, responding to WAYNE)

And you must be Wayne? Geez – when was the last time you washed these? There’s over an inch of mold growing all over them

WAYNE

                        At entrance of room in front of open door in a wheelchair with oxygen tank
                        Attached

I’m warning ‘ya – I’m a crack shot

BESS

Of course you are and I’m Martha Stewart, here to remodel your home. Not a good idea to use a gun ‘specially since yu’re dragging oxygen around with you

                        WAYNE slowly wheels himself into the room, one hand on wheelchair
                        control lever and the other holds the shotgun supported under his armpit

WAYNE

You think I don’t know how to use this don’cha, woman? Lemme tell you something lady, this here baby (taps rifle) has seen lots of action over the years. Bagged me plenty of deer in my day and a couple of bears. If you don’t believe me, look up at the wall over there

                        Glances up at wall displaying mounted bear and dear heads – looks away

BESS

Disgusting! Shooting defenceless creatures that can’t fight back

WAYNE

It was either them or me. I was defending myself

BESS

I bet. That deer looks really vicious. Threatened to nibble your hand, right? If I’m gonna stay here, it’ll all hav’ta gho, along with a lot of other crap you’ve accumulated

WAYNE

Over my dead body!

BESS

The way you look pal that could be sooner than you think. Go back to the other room and let me do my thing

WAYNE

Just who the hell are you, lady, paradin’ yourself in here like you own my place? You answer my ad for a wife? If ‘ya did, you not what I had in mind. Lift your skirt and lemme see your legs…

BESS

Not. Whad’ya think I am? A horse? No – don’t answer that. I don’t know much about guns and don’t take this the wrong way, but one twitch of your trigger finger and your foot is history. God knows you have enough problems without adding missing toes to the list

WAYNE

You’re here to rob me, ain’cha? Heard ‘bout your type. Come on to me all sweet like and then you’ll knock me out and steal everything I own after having your way with me…

BESS

…which adds up to a fat zero. For your information, your son hired me as a housekeeper, so we’d better learn to co-exist with each other. Believe me, if I deidn’t need some extra cash… In fact, I’m gonna get in touch with him and ask for more money, especially since it means living here with the likes of you
 
WAYNE
(coughing and choking)

Sure. My money-grabbing kid gets word through the grapevine that I’m an helpless old man in a wheelchair and he sees dollar signs floatin’ in front of his eyes! Damn kids – bring ‘em up to be God-fearin’ Americans and then they try to knock you off... Where are my cigarettes...

BESS

You think that your children want to inherit…this? You’re a joke, Wayne! There is no way you're going smoke in my presence so you can forget about your cancer sticks. What else? You can barely talk from coughing, not to mention carrying around an oxygen tank

WAYNE

We'll see about that. Go back and tell my sonny boy, I don’t need nobody’s help and that includes yours. Tell him…I ain’t ready to kick the bucket, yet! Get out’ta here. GET OUT – and take your helper with you. I don't need no old battle-axe tellin' me how t'live my life

 
 

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8. First scene of A WEDDING

Sharing the first scene of my first play, "A WEDDING" a.k.a. "MAKE ME A WEDDING." A comedy, the story focuses on the trials and tribulations of a young couple who want a small, intimate wedding, versus the bride and groom's mothers, who want an all-out, no holds barred (expensive) affair.

In this opening scene, the bride announces her engagement to her parents.


A WEDDING
 
ACT 1

Scene I

 
SETTING: Greenberg family living room. Plastic slip-covers cover,
         kitschy French-provincial furniture, circa 1970’s. On
         either side of the couch are two end tables with drop
         “crystal” lamps on each table

 

AT RISE:  A tense MORTY GREENBERG paces, stopping                 
          periodically to glance out of a window.SADIE     
          his wife, sits in an armchair, absorbed in her knitting.  
          She glances up from time-to-time to watch MORTY

 

TIME:     Late evening

                                  SFX: television blaring

 MORTY

What time is it now?

 

SADIE


Five minutes later than the last time you asked me. Stop
pacing already or you'll wear a hole in the carpet. It's thin enough as it is

 

MORTY


(staring out of window)

What could they be doing in the middle of the night?

SADIE


Counting toothpicks in a restaurant. What's it your business? She needs your permission to stay out late?

MORTY


What'll the neighbors think?

SADIE


Oh pul-l-eeze! Get a life. They'll talk no matter what she does or doesn't do and what they don't know, they make up. Sit down and watch TV 

MORTY


I can't focus knowing that my daughter is out there – somewhere - doing who-knows-what. Maybe we should go search for her or better yet, call the police

SADIE


Not! If we brought her up right, she's okay. You stay up and wait for her if you want but I'm going to bed

MORTY


Don't you wanna be here when she comes in?
                                                                                                        

SADIE

(standing)

Why? She doesn't know the way to her room? Come to bed, Morty!

MORTY

Some mother you are. What happens if… if they were in an accident or something? Maybe they're injured and can't call us

SADIE

Rachel has a cell phone

MORTY

Maybe the cell phone got crushed along with the car…

SADIE

…and maybe you should get a life?

MORTY

I'm staying up and waiting for her like a good father, unlike other people who are more interested in their beauty rest. Like it'll help anyway… I can’t take it anymore! I’m calling the police

SADIE

Enough already! Really Morty, she’s 22 years old. Sit here if you want to but I gotta get some sleep

MORTY

Sure, go to bed and leave me all alone to wait for your daughter

SADIE


How come she’s “your daughter” when she does things that you don't like? Besides, I'm sure David is taking good care of her

MORTY


That's what worries me!

SADIE


Move away from that window or the neighbors will think you're a voyeur! Did I mention Becky's daughter got engaged last night? Don't think she didn't rub it in about the big diamond that her Joanie got. Two carats she tells me! Like the size of a diamond would interest me!

MORTY

(flipping TV clicker)

Of course not! Things like that aren't important to a person with your class. You materialistic? Never!
 
SADIE

It's what's inside a person’s heart that counts, not the size of a bank account. That's what I told Becky. Honestly, that woman is so money-oriented! I don't know how we stayed best friends all these years

MORTY

Are you telling me that you’d hold it against a potential husband for your daughter, if he was cash-friendly?

SADIE

Let me put it this way: if and I say if, the boy happens to come from a wealthy family, I wouldn’t hold it against him. I'm not prejudiced that way. Listen, I get dark circles under my eyes if I don’t get enough sleep

           SADIE exits

MORTY
(calling after her)

“And you need all the help you can get!” Dark circles aren't her only problem. The woman needs a complete head transplant. Where's that daughter of mine? 

                                           SFX: key in lock

           MORTY rushes to chair and feigns sleep

RACHEL
(V/O)

'Don't forget to call me the minute you get home! Mom will be thrilled when I tell her our news. Wave to Mrs. Belinsky across the road, the nosy busybody. I love you, David!'

           RACHEL enters

Hi popsy. Wha'cha doin' up so late? Are you waiting up for me again?

MORTY

Wha…hmmm..? Must'a fallen asleep in front of the TV. What time is it?

RACHEL

What am I going to do with you, pops?  Where's mom?

MORTY

Your mother was tired so she went upstairs. She was knitting me another one of her scarves to join the other sixteen stored away in the closet. When will she realize that I only have one neck? Where were you so late?

RACHEL

I was under the impression I can come home whenever I feel like it – at least that’s what you tell me

MORTY

What'll the neighbors think, a nice girl like you coming in at the crack of dawn?

RACHEL

Would you prefer that I move out altogether and you won’t have to worry about what everyone will say? Let them mind their own business for a change

MORTY

It's a lot to ask to call home and say you're alive?

RACHEL

Can we move on? I have something important to tell you both. Better still, go wake up mom. She'll wanna hear this

MORTY

Something is wrong! I knew it! I told your mother that she should wait up but did she listen? Noooo! Her beauty rest is more important

RACHEL

Why do you always think the worst? It just so happens that this is fantastic news and mom will be thrilled when she hears what I have to say

           Dances around room, waving her left hand

D'ya notice anything new – like - on my left hand?

MORTY

You changed the color of your nail polish?

RACHEL

Look close…realLY close

MORTY

Whoa! That’s new since breakfast?

RACHEL

You do know what this means…

MORTY

A miracle! At last there's gonna be another male in the family and I'll have a chance at winning an argument, for a change!

RACHEL

I didn't expect that kind of reaction but I'll take it as a sign you approve?

MORTY

What's not to approve? The groom to be is David?

RACHEL

Who else? You know we've been seeing each other seriously and there's never been anyone else in my life, nor will there ever be. He's the most wonderful, sensitive, romantic…

MORTY

And those are just his so-so qualities. Only joking, honey. He's a good guy and normal, unlike some of those other weirdos you brought home to us. I still break out in a sweat thinking about - what was his name now - Clifford? What kind’a person tattoos the name of his girlfriend on his forehead and God knows where else?

RACHEL

That was just a high school crush, pop and besides, I
kind’a thought it was romantic at the time

MORTY

Sure you would 'cause you're not a parent - yet. Let’s see now - who came next? What did he call himself - Pukey? Porky? And then there was…
RACHEL

I get your point, popsy

MORTY

Remember your first rock concert? I couldn't hear for three days and never told your mother. Let me tell you - it was bliss!

RACHEL

So? I'm still waiting for congratulations and a kiss

MORTY

(hugging RACHEL)

My little girl -  a bride! That means I’m old. I’ve never been old before

RACHEL

How 'bout go get mom so I can share the good news with her, too?

MORTY

You want me to go wake up sleeping beauty? If I disturb her beauty rest, she'll open up a mouth to me but if I don't… Be right back

MORTY EXIT
 
SADIE
(V/O)

‘Whad'ya doing? Lemme alone Morty. I'm tired! It's not Saturday night…go watch another program or something. What about Rachel? Are you talking about our daughter,…. Get me my duster in the cupboard! The other one! That's for the rummage sale. Do you ever look at what I wear?’

           SADIE rushes on stage followed by MORTY

Rachel, is this another of your father's senior moments?

RACHEL
(extends hand)

So? Look for yourself!

SADIE

It's about time! Looks like a decent sized diamond. Must be -  what - a carat at least? Bigger maybe?

RACHEL

David surprised me with it tonight. We don't want a long engagement so you won't have to plan a big party

MORTY

You're both so young. What's the big rush?

SADIE

They've been going out for five years! D'ya want she should be an old maid like your sister Miranda? I'm so excited! Becky's Joanie got engaged yesterday so she only beat you by one day!

RACHEL

This isn't a contest as far as I'm concerned. We want to get married in three months

SADIE
(ignoring RACHEL)

A summer wedding would be perfect, don'cha think? Maybe we could have it under a tent, in the back garden, just like those fancy society weddings. Mind you, indoors might be better in case of rain, but we have plenty of time to talk about the details

RACHEL

Did you hear what I said? We wanna get married in –like -three months
SADIE

Come again? I gotta get my ears checked 'cause I thought I heard you say three months

RACHEL

Your ears are fine, ma, and even if - and I say if - we wanted a garden wedding, pops has his old cars stored on the lawn, along with a thousand spare parts covering every square inch

MORTY

Listen, you want a reception in the back yard, I'll move everything into the garage…

RACHEL

It has to be at that time because David's been invited to be a keynote speaker at a big lawyer's convention in Europe, so we'll make it a working honeymoon. It's the only time we're both free

MORTY

…maybe call a few scrap dealers today to see what they'll give me. At least we'll have a couple of extra dollars towards the wedding expenses…

SADIE

Typical! Your father is worrying about the gelt, already! You expect we should get everything together in such a short time? It takes a year at least to reserve a place and even then, we have to talk to a caterer, get a band…

MORTY

…then again maybe I should keep them all. 'Ya never know when my car is gonna die on me. It's going on nine years already

RACHEL

There’s something else I haven't told you. We want a small wedding with just close friends and family, so there shouldn't be any problems with the arrangements

SADIE

           Grabs chest, feigns shock and grabs MORTY for
          support

 Do I hear right? You would deprive your parents of making you a big tra-la-la-wedding? I think I'm gonna faint. Catch me Morty!

RACHEL

We'd rather put everything towards important things like buying a house. You should be happy with all the money you’re gonna save

SADIE

Happy? You're gonna kill me! What'll I tell my friends? They'll think we're too cheap or can't afford to marry off our only daughter right! You can't do this to me Rachel!

RACHEL

Sorry? It's our wedding and we want to keep it small. The idea of inviting a lot of people we don't know is not for us! I'm really tired and not prepared to hash this out with you now. We'll continue tomorrow when I'm fresh and can think clearly. At least I'll have a fighting chance

RACHEL starts to leave

SADIE

Stay right where you are! I wanna hear all about how David proposed. This is what a mother waits for!

RACHEL

I promise to tell you everything only let me get a couple of hours of sleep. Please?

MORTY

Let her go to bed, Sadie. The kind of wedding you want will put us back a few dollars. I like the idea that the kids are thinking small. Small is good

 SADIE

You would, Mr. Cheap-skate! I'm sure David's family would want a decent-sized affair, too. Open up your pockets father-of-the-bride and let the moths fly out! Small wedding - over my dead body

MORTY

That can be arranged

SADIE
(taunting)

"Cheap-cheap-cheap…"

RACHEL

I've heard enough for one night. Enjoy yourselves, you two!

RACHEL exits

SADIE

You don't get it, do you? A big wedding means nice gifts. Have a small wedding and you end up with a bunch of fruit bowls and vases

MORTY

As far as I know, the only green growing on our trees are leaves. I have to worry about the cost if you don't

SADIE

What's money when you're marrying off your only child? Dear, dear, husband of mine, you should keep your nose out of things that aren't your business. Planning a wedding is a woman's affair. The husband only writes the checks

MORTY

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9. SCENES FROM LIFE - A SHORT PLAYETTE: MR. AND MRS. EVERYBODY TALK PLANTS

SCENE:  DEN IN THE EVERYBODY HOUSEHOLD.

AT RISE:  MRS. EVERYBODY IS HAVING AN IMPORTANT CHAT WHILE MR. EVERYBODY IS READING A NEWSPAPER

MRS. EVERYBODY
Why? Why must you torture me like this? What did I ever do to deserve this treatment other than heap undying love and devotion to your upkeep?

(MR. EVERYBODY glances up and returns to reading his book)

MRS. EVERYBODY
You seem to be dying slowly right in front of my eyes and I'm at a loss how to save you

MR. EVERYBODY
(looking around)
You talking to me?

MRS. EVERYBODY
Fed you top of the line nutritional supplements and this is the thanks I get

MR. EVERYBODY
I appreciate your cooking, honey. You make fantastic meals and really, I'm in great shape

MRS. EVERYBODY
You are not aging well, sweetheart

MR. EVERYBODY

(gets up to examine himself in the mirror on the wall behind him)

For the record, I'm in better condition now than I was when we married. Sure there's a few extra inches on my stomach but that's due to your good cooking. Work out on the tread mill...

MRS. EVERYBODY
I fear it's time for us to part, sweetheart. You are halfway between this world and the next

MR. EVERYBODY
Say what? Is it something I said?

MRS. EVERYBODY
You've given me a lot of pleasure over the years. Your nightly performance kept me riveted and it's something I will cherish all my life

MR. EVERYBODY
Hey! There's still a lot of life left in this body! Is there somebody else? I can change, y'know!

(MRS. EVERYBODY turns around and stares at her husband)

MRS. EVERYBODY
It's just so hard to say goodbye! Did you say something?

MR. EVERYBODY
You never said a word. I deserve to know who's the new love of your life!

MRS. EVERYBODY
Say what? What are you babbling about?

MR. EVERYBODY
You're leaving me!

MRS. EVERYBODY
Are you insane? You thought that... That is really funny

MRS. EVERYBODY
There is nothing funny about being informed that your wife is leaving your for someone else. It's always the husband that is the last to know

MRS. EVERYBODY
Husband of mine - I was talking to my prayer plant here that is slowly croaking after 40 years and I'm about to replace her with a new one

MR. EVERYBODY
How was I supposed to know? There was only you and me in the room and I never guessed you were talking to a...a... house plant

MRS. EVERYBODY
I've raised this houseplant from a small little stalk. Fed her...coddled her...and she gave me years of pleasure but lately she seems to have taken a turn for the worst. The writing is on the wall...or in this case, in all those brown leaves.

MR. EVERYBODY
A plant is a plant is a plant. Don't know what the big thing is. Just empty the pot and replace it with a new one. Simple

MRS. EVERYBODY
How could you be so cruel and callous! You just can't...discard it like it that!

MR. EVERYBODY
I dunno. Never bothers you to do that with your clothes

MRS. EVERYBODY
Besides, I read an article that said plants can sense pain and they react to it. How could I betray my friend after all the years we've been together? I feel like a killer! I feel like I'd be ripping out her guts and tearing her apart

MR. EVERYBODY
Not that I pretend to feel what you feel but check this out

(MR. EVERYBODY shows her a page of the newspaper)

MRS. EVERYBODY
What's this? The Plant-a-atrium is having a sale on houseplants?

(turns to look at plant and at newspaper ad)

(MRS. EVERYBODY cont'd.)  'Parting is such sweet sorrow my formerly green friend. Go meet your other friends in the composter! Do not think badly of me for I shall remember you with great fondness.' I'm ready.

MR. EVERYBODY
Ready for...?

MRS. EVERYBODY
To make new friends at the Plant-a-atrium, silly! We all gotta go some time. I mean, it's just a silly plant for heaven's sake...


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10. Still waiting - what does that mean, she who pens plays ponders...

As mentioned on numerous occasions in this blog, patience isn't one of my strong points. This usually doesn't work in my favor especially when it comes to waiting for updates/news regarding the fate of my plays. Many of them took cyber trips to numerous geographical locations around the globe in the hope that they would see a stage but so far, no response one way or the other.

According to the various playwriting related sites where this topic is discussed and digested, this is not a good sign but perhaps no definitive decision has been made as to their stage-a-bility. At least that's what I tell myself.

There is a pattern as to my follow up process, which includes avowing to myself that I will wait to receive "the word."

"Gotta give it time," I tell myself. "People don't respond because you want them to. Your plays are among hundreds, maybe thousands, that are submitted with dreams of production."

Patience today, patience tomorrow, inevitably, and when experiencing a particularly discouraging "why do I bother" or "maybe my plays suck" period, a follow-up e-mail is sent out. Usually, the end result is no response followed by a period of "why didn't I wait."

Upon reflection, perhaps a follow-up questionnaire to the submitted theatres would facilitate the process. Something to the effect:

Dear blah-blah (insert theatre name/producer/to whom it may concern),

Recently, (insert date that play was submitted), you were the lucky recipient of my play, blah-blah (insert name of play).

It has been (number of days/weeks/months/years/who remembers) since there has been any updates as to whether said play strikes your fancy. Perhaps the lack of communication on your part is a result of (pick one) a) stunning dialogue requiring further thought b) seeking a period of time in which to program the play to optimize audience participation  c) unable to open file.

When could a decision on its fate one way or the other be expected: a) days b) months c)years d) never (please circle one)

Yours forever in hope,

A. Playwright

It's worth a shot. Am I right?


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11. Wishing...and hoping...and thinking...and praying...

Somehow - perhaps it's the arrival of Spring and all that it promises - one anticipates updates as to the fate of one's (mine of course) literary send-outs. More specifically and to put it in simply and succinctly ('that's a lot of sss's, Eleanor'), will any of my plays see a stage this year.

Throughout the year minor dialogue changes were made, a few lines were eliminated or added but for the most part they were sent on their way based on the strength of the story line and characters, to seek their fate. Waiting to receive news about one's plays is comparable, at least for me, to sending your children out to seek their fortune in the jungle of life (feeling very philosophical today) for their own good, if not for the caregiver's good. So they're all "out there" and the wait for any updates is all-consuming wondering and hypothesizing what's happening at the 'other end', so to speak.

"How many more plays are left to be read?" a literary manager might ask a theatre producer and play readers while assessing the amount of plays still waiting to be read  "Seems like there are thousands more waiting to be read."

"We have to narrow it down to just a few promising plays, already," the literary manager will/could/might declare, while checking her/his cell phone for phone messages. "Time is marching on and we have to choose some potential money-makers for the coming season."

"I've come across a promising production," one of the readers could suggest, "although the playwright doesn't have any track record. The play, though, is really a good read."

"Nothing produced, anywhere, in the whole wide world?" the producer would ask of the reader.

"Not according to her biography and CV but really - she's good and this play is and an entertaining read  - really funny!" the reader would affirm.

"Could be problematic if she hasn't got a recognizable name that could sell tickets, though," the literary manager and/or producer would put forward.

"But it's a really good play," the reader would insist. "Why not give her a chance?"

"Not bankable," the literary manager and/or producer would answer, somewhat sadly (one would hope). "File away for future considerations."

Pure speculation on my part but one has to do something waiting for "the word". Then again, depending on what the word is, perhaps ignorance is bliss.

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12. SCENES FROM LIFE - A SHORT PLAYETTE. AT THE COFFEE SHOP


SMALL TALK

 
SCENE:  SMALL COFFEE SHOP

AT RISE: A FEMALE (FEMALE 1) BRINGS A TRAY TO A TABLE, PULLS OUT A CHAIR,  SITS DOWN, STARTS TO UNWRAP A SANDWICH AND DRINK HER COFFEE

AN ELDERLY FEMALE (FEMALE 2) AT THE NEXT TABLE EATING A SANDWICH, TURNS AND STUDIES HER.

 
FEMALE 2

Your hair
 

FEMALE 1

Sorry?

 
FEMALE 2

Your hair is nice


FEMALE 1
(touching hair)

Thank you.

 
FEMALE 2

I mean, your hair is reallynice. Who does it?


FEMALE 1

A local hair stylist where I live

 
(Turns her attention to a cell phone)

 
FEMALE 2

My children and my grandchildren have those electronic gadgets


FEMALE 1

My cell?


FEMALE 2

Is that what it’s called?


FEMALE 1

Very handy. Pick up my mail…see what’s happening in the world…
 

FEMALE 2

Hmmm… I still like a good, old fashioned phone that stays in one place

 
FEMALE 1

Hardly use mine


FEMALE 2

Can only use my good, old fashioned, black push-button phone in my apartment, though, but that’s okay. The way I see it, I don’t want the world to hear my conversations. Not that I have anything to hide.  Know what I mean?


FEMALE 1

Got’cha

 
(cell rings as FEMALE 2 watches FEMALE 1 speaking on the cell)


FEMALE 2

See? I heard everything you were saying. Not that I was trying to be nosy or anything. Point I’m making is there’s no privacy these days.

 
FEMALE 1

(staring down at her cell and involved in texting, somewhat ignoring FEMALE 2)

…uh-huh…

 
FEMALE 2

Know what? Before when I was in the bathroom, I heard a woman talking on those things while she was…well you know…peeing. That is like – so disgusting, don’t you think? I mean, couldn’t she live without that thing for the few minutes it would take to use the toilet? And she didn’t even flush! Probably didn’t even wash her hands, either, after!


FEMALE 1

…appointment tomorrow at 10 a.m. with John…

 
FEMALE 2

I’m sorry. You’re busy.
 

 (silence between them for 10 seconds)

 
(cont’d. FEMALE 2) You’re a coffee drinker I would guess?


FEMALE 1

Yup…


FEMALE 2

Don’t you find that coffee loses flavor in a paper cup?


FEMALE 1

...uh-huh...

 
FEMALE 2

People don’t have time to take care of the little things in life, anymore, like taking the time to really talk one-on-one. Human communication is a lost art


(FEMALE 1 loads her tray and starts to get up, preparing to leave, her focus on her cell)


FEMALE 1

Nice talking to you. Have a great day

 
FEMALE 2

Same here.  (calling as she walks away) ‘Love her your hair…’

 
(a female (FEMALE 3) sits down at the table next to FEMALE 2 , drinking coffee and reading a newspaper)
 

FEMALE 2

Always good to keep updated with the latest news. I would give up lots of things before giving up a newspaper that I actually touch and flip the pages. Mind you, I think our kind are dinosaurs

 
FEMALE 3
(inattentive)

Um – I guess…maybe…

 
(FEMALE 2 continues to talk waiting/hoping for a reaction from FEMALE 3)
 

FEMALE 2

Mind you, these days people get all their latest news and speak to each other on those cell phone gadgets but I don’t own one, though…  Don’t even have a computer…my kids wanted to get me one but then I’d have to learn to use it… By the way, your hair is really nice…who does it?

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13. Playwright's ruminations - the fix is in

Sitting down in front of the computer, chin in hand and thinking about playwriting. Again. Note the word, "thinking" but not the actual act of taking fingers to keyboard and producing some worthwhile dialogue. Still further delayed the process by going over finished plays and assessing whether they need fixing or editing, something I'm prone to do in both my writing and painting. Frequently, the end result is ruining any progress on whatever project I'm "fixing."

I'm an inordinate "fixer" of all my artistic undertakings, which really don't require further adjusting. Recently, I applied what I swore were the absolute final strokes to a black and white painting first started three years ago, which has been "fixed" over the years. Perhaps this will be the reality and then again, who knows.

In as far as my plays are concerned, some have been altered to the point where all objectivity has been  lost as to the strongest version. Most often, the changes are relegated to small dialogue adjustments or altering what appears to me to be a weak a scene. In the end, a decision has to be made which version is the best version to submit, followed by a period of self-doubt and whether my plays are actually produce-able. Perhaps this is a common pattern with writers in general in that the selection of the right words is paramount to the whole story line. In as far as dialogue is concerned, the character has to utter words and phrases that suit her/his mannerisms, personality and mien and therein lies the challenge.

Although the actual act of submitting plays is a positive move, there is also the self-doubt that creeps in  waiting for updates on their fate. Negative thoughts like:

- perhaps the wrong version was sent - whatever that is
- maybe I don't have what it takes to be a "real" playwright
- given the volume of experienced and produced playwrights, many of whom are familiar names to   
  the public and within the theatre community, do my literary gems stand a chance?

And so the uncertainty continues but something drives me to persevere. The possibility, whatever the odds that  there  is a theatre "out there" somewhere that will see something special in my plays is enough to keep me going and press on. Meanwhile, some fine tuning of the dialogue and changes to the story arc is required to Dead Writes. Really.

P.S.: just read that Larry David's new play, "Fish In the Dark" is a big hit on Broadway. It should only happen to me!  Mazel-tov, Larry...or Mr. David. Good to note that good comedy will always draw a crowd.

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14. Notes: in submission

Thought I'd share some thoughts about submission - of the literary type. As is the case with most playwrights, I'm continually searching the web for possible good fits for my literary babies. They really are like babies given the attention, work and copious amounts of love that go into their creation. As is the case with offspring who reach maturity, there is a point where one has to part with them for their own good - and mine.

Progress has been achieved in the submission process including a rejection letter accompanied by a wonderful critique and evaluation of the submitted play. Theatres that are open to unsolicited submissions must be the recipients of thousands of plays and understandably, responding to playwrights individually isn't practical. It's commendable, therefore, when a theatre takes the time to not only respond to a play submission but actually take the time in writing to point out the plays strengths and weaknesses and make suggestions as to changes that would strengthen the overall story line. Let's say that it was one of the nicest rejections received to date.

Some of my other plays were sent packing to try their luck and as yet there has been no response. As if the playwriting process isn't difficult enough, the waiting period to hear back one way or the other is equally if not more stressful. Frequently, there is no response, which in itself is an indication of their fate.

I'm now taking precautions to e-mail my plays to myself before sending them out to ensure that it is in a readable format for the recipients. This move came about after encountering a problem submitting a play electronically when converting one of the older files to the latest version. Checking to ensure the play was successfully sent, somehow the text ended up in the wrong visual format. After a period of ranting and raving and some hair pulling, literally and figuratively, I decided to re-send in spite of a nagging, internal voice telling me to hold off for a bit. Re-sent it, anyway, accompanied by a two-sentence explanation only to discover the next day upon re-examination that the text somehow had adjusted itself and was visually perfect. Also re-confirmed my belief to always heed that inner voice.

While waiting for news, I'm continuing working on "Dead Writes", a fantasy with some comedic tones combined with interesting moral messages and dilemmas for the characters. Definitely a challenge but one worth meeting. Then again, the act of writing plays is always a challenge, no matter what.

When asked the question of the time it takes to complete a play, I quote the line expressed by Edward Albee: "People often ask me how long it takes me to write a play, and I tell them 'all my life." And then some.


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15. Snippet from Dead Writes - revised

Started writing this play a while back and have been slowly - accent on the slowly - adding-to and tweaking the play over time. Recently gave it yet another read and after deep thought and concentration, have finally come to what I believe and hope to be, a good ending. Still not finished, yet, but I've been making progress, which in itself is a good omen. Sometimes omens are all we have to propel us along.

I've shared bits and pieces of it here before but here is the latest incarnation. The cast list will most likely grow slightly. I've adapted it for this blog but the cutting and pasting isn't ideal. Comments welcome.

The story: Sometimes lessons in life come at a cost especially when the cost involves sacrifice on behalf of another.




DEAD WRITES
By Eleanor Tylbor

 
CAST OF CHARACTERS

 
CHARLOTTE PEMBROOK:     50-something; former reporter, deceased

JOSIAH:                 Heavenly "Spiritual Adviser - Disembodied Souls Division:

MIA STEVENSON:          Ambitious young reporter

 
THE TIME  
                        
PRESENT DAY, MORNING

 
THE PLACE

Anywhere

 

SETTING:   A funeral parlor

 
AT RISE:   A group of people are seated in a funeral chapel, socializing for the most part, while waiting for the service to begin. A coffin is situated on an elevated stand in the middle of the room.

 
CHARLOTTE PEMBROOK, wearing a diaphanous flowing dress lays next to the coffin. Slowly she sits up, looks around in a confused, slightly stunned state. Touching her arms and body parts, she moves to an upright position and pulls at the material of her dress
         

                                  FX: SOMBER MUSIC

 
CHARLOTTE

Really must'a tied one on last night. Weird, though. No hang-over like usual.
 
Stands upright, moves closer to coffin, straining to see inside. A funeral organizer passes by without acknowledging her presence. She pokes him in the back, to no avail.

 
'Scuse me…hello'? Could you tell me…? Wait a minute. Don't ignore me. You are so rude!’

He ignores her, focusing on the coffin

 
Lemme be blunt like the real me: who's the corpse?

 
         Man continues to ignore her

 
What is your problem? A name - that's all I want! It's not a lot to ask.  Fine. Suit yourself. I'll find out on my own…creep!
          

A man, JOSIAH, enters and stands directly behind CHARLOTTE. Dressed entirely in white, he glitters from head to toe


JOSIAH


There's really no need to yell. I can provide you with that information
 
          Startled, she whirls around to face him

 
CHARLOTTE

You could give a person a heart attack sneaking up like that. And I thought I looked bad in this outfit? If you don’t mind me saying, sir, you look like a bad case of indigestion after eating too many Halloween candies. I've been trying to find out what's going on but the guy over there is ignoring me. Some people just don’t have any manners


 

JOSIAH


He can't hear you

 

CHARLOTTE


It’s not like me not to remember some details of the night before but my mind is a complete blank. Not even a few flashes. Nothing

 

JOSIAH


Not surprising. You’ll get used to it

 

CHARLOTTE


I get it now! This place is one of those new theme clubs and you're the bartender, right? Explains a lot especially the look. So – like - you doing Liberace? That would explain my dress, too. Go figure a funeral parlor would double as a club. So where’s the booze?


 

JOSIAH


The one thing I can assure you is that this is not a nightclub. You know…if you really want, Icould tell you who's in that coffin

 

CHARLOTTE


How would you know that unless… What’s wrong with me? Here's me going on about nothing and you're burying someone who means a lot to you. That’s it, isn’t it? Sometimes I'm so dense. My sympathies.


JOSIAH


You could say I’m related to that dead person. In fact - I'm close with most people that pass through

 

CHARLOTTE


You work here, then?
 

JOSIAH


In a way. Death is the human equalizer, don't you think? Everyone is on an equal plane no matter how important your life was or how much money you had or how much power you wielded

 

CHARLOTTE


I suppose so - can't say I've given it much thought, lately. You wouldn’t happen to know how I ended up here, though, would you?

 

JOSIAH


Do these mourners strike a familiar chord?


CHARLOTTE glances at the mourners

 

Vaguely... Hang on a minute!  These people work with me!

 
(Aside to mourners): ‘This is a surprise party, right? It's all a big joke. I should have known. Whose birthday is it? 'Ya don't hafta worry 'bout me giving it away!  Hello? I’m talking to you all!’

 
Weird. They're all ignoring me like I wasn’t here or something. Dumb…dumb…dumb. Ignorance, thy name is Charlotte! This is a "for real " funeral. That has'ta be it and this here is a real body in a real coffin! Okay –so – then - why am I here? Must be somebody I knew…

She strains to see in the coffin again without results

CHARLOTTE


You seem to know a lot about this. Was it Don McGrath or Pete Winston? Don't know how many times I warned them both to slow down, but did they listen? ‘Course not! What does an old broad like me know, right? Burn the candle at both ends and you’re gonna burn your light out, I told them time and time again. Everyone thinks they’re gonna live forever

 

JOSIAH


It wasn't either one of them

 

CHARLOTTE


That's a relief 'cause we're the last three old farts left at The Sentinal. Started out together at the same time and we've seen 'em come and we seen 'em leave. Some on to bigger and better and some like this here person, in a wooden box. Things are sure different now. Back when we were in our prime, the only thing we had'da know was a keyboard. Nowadays everything is electronic - cyber this, cyber that. They'll soon find a way to replace us all with computer systems and you know what? Nobody will give a damn

 

JOSIAH


They'll always be a need for the human touch

 

CHARLOTTE


Look at 'em all…young kids just out of J-school. What do they know about getting’ a story? How can you write about life if you never experienced it?  This really is a real funeral, isn’t it?

 

JOSIAH


Unfortunately, you are correct

 

CHARLOTTE


Guess you were a friend of the corpse, then, or related?

 

JOSIAH


I'm friends with a lot of people. You can say that I help them through a difficult period

 

CHARLOTTE


So you're one of those - what do they call them - grief councillors? Bet you go to a lotta funerals

 

JOSIAH


I can honestly say that I've never missed one

 

CHARLOTTE


Never?

 

JOSIAH


Never in all the years I've been assigned here

 

CHARLOTTE


Have we met somewhere before, maybe a long while back? The more I look at you, the more familiar your face seems to me. Wait a minute! It’s so obvious as the nose on my face. You're a new bartender at Pat's watering hole. I'll pay my tab next week, I swear, it's just that I've been running a little short lately…

 

JOSIAH


We've had a few close encounters in the past, Charlotte, but this is the first time we've met one-on-one. My drinking days are history in the true sense of the word but you seem very caught up with alcoholic beverages

 

CHARLOTTE


Got it now. You own the new funeral parlor down the block and you're here to scope out the competition

 

JOSIAH


Not…exactly but you could say I'm in the funeral business since I make a point never to miss any. In fact, funeral parlors are where I first connect with…

 

CHARLOTTE

(backing away)

Hey! You're not one of those slimy creeps who pick up rich, lonely women at funerals. Listen buddy, I'm not rich and certainly not in the market to add a new man in my life.  Been there, done that, too many times. Know what I mean?

 

JOSIAH


(laughing)

You're quite priceless, my dear. Trust me when I say my interest in you is anything but corporeal in nature. You do like games, don't you, with all your questions that I would be glad to answer. There really is no secret

 

CHARLOTTE


It's my nature to snoop and dig for answers

 

JOSIAH


You don't have to. I'd be most happy to supply you with the necessary information but if you insist. Have it your way

 

CHARLOTTE


Strikes me that this corpse wasn't too popular in life judging by the amount of people who showed up here

 

JOSIAH


It's all quite sad, actually. She believed she never needed people and in the end, seems that people weren't there when she needed them most

Mourner moves to front of room and stands in front of coffin

So the departed is a female. Looky who's here! It’s my friend and co-worker, Janice. Hey girl, we were supposed to meet for lunch yesterday! I showed up but what happened to you?

 

JANICE


Miserable, lying witch! At last you made a useful contribution to the world and left it! Good riddance to bad rubbish

 

CHARLOTTE


Is that the way to talk about the dearly departed? Even dead people deserve respect from the living. Your mama never taught you any manners?

JANICE touches the coffin and returns to her seat

(aside to JANICE): ‘Janice? You-hoo! It's me.’

(aside to JOSIAH) I'm not surprised! She was always a grudge holder. We better take a seat…the minister is here

Gives Janice "the finger" while passing her by and sits with others, accompanied by JOSIAH

(Cont’d. CHARLOTTE - aside to male, PETE): ‘Heeeey Pete-eee! So, how things goin' with you? Sorry 'bout that story, but I just couldn't help myself. In fact, I did just that. I'll return the favor in the future. You know how it is in our biz’

 

(PETE) ignores CHARLOTTE and talks to female on other side

(Cont’d. CHARLOTTE) Still mad at me, huh? See if I care! That’s the last time I share a lead with him, let me tell you

 

JOSIAH


He can't hear you

 


CHARLOTTE


What are you talking about? Of course he can but he's busy chatting up the new receptionist. Probably still pissed 'cause I stole a lead on the story he was after! Far

be it for me to beg forgiveness. He knows that's the way things work. First come - first served!


JOSIAH


And you certainly helped yourself, a lot, didn't you?

 

CHARLOTTE


Listen, if something falls into my hands, who am I not to take advantage? I needed a lead and Pete was nice enough to do the legwork for me. We're old friends anyway. He'll come around, won't you sweetie?

 

JOSIAH


You find a way to justify everything. Has it dawned on you, yet, why you're here and that people are ignoring your presence?

 

CHARLOTTE


What other reason than to pay my respects to someone in the paper 'biz. Really bugging me, though, how I got here and landed up lying next to a coffin. I've covered practically every kind of story but I can't ever remember spending the night in a funeral parlor. Maybe I was after a story but why is my mind blank?

 

JOSIAH


Merely a temporary fog that will clear after you -

 
CHARLOTTE

- sssh! Talk softer. We're gonna get kicked out and I'll never find out who's in the coffin



MINISTER steps behind podium

 

MINISTER


Friends…
 

           Voice calls out:

'She didn't have any, so move on!'


 

MINISTER


..we are here to bid goodbye to one…


Another voice:

'Good riddance to bad rubbish!'


 

MINISTER


…a…good reporter, a good friend and colleague.

 
CHARLOTTE

This dead person must'a really screwed them over but good, but she – you did say it was a woman? Like I was saying, the dead deserve some respect too.

 
CHARLOTTE stands up and addresses everyone
 

'That's no way to speak about the dead, you bunch of parasites. Have some respect!'

 

MINISTER


Is there anyone here who has something positive to say, about the departed? Surely there must be one person in this entire room that could say a few nice words about the late Charlotte Pembrook?

 

CHARLOTTE


Excuse me? I can speak for myself, thank you very much… What's with this "late" junk?


MINISTER


No one? Then we'll proceed with the service
 

CHARLOTTE


What in the hell is he talking about? 'I'm still among you, in the flesh! Look! I’m here’

 

JOSIAH


Please try to control using the "H" word? I've been trying to tell you that no one can hear you – or see you, either


CHARLOTTE


They're doing it on purpose to teach me a lesson. ‘Well, it won't work people! I'm on to you all!’

 
CHARLOTTE stands up on chair, waves and screams on top of her lungs


CHARLOTTE


‘Charlotte is here! The old witch is alive and kicking. You can't ignore me forever’


JOSIAH walks to the front of the room and stands behind the coffin

JOSIAH


I'm the only person who can see you, at least for now


CHARLOTTE


Calm down, Charlotte. There’s a very simple explanation for all of this. I’ve had too much too drink and this is just a nightmare. Soon I'm gonna wake up and everything will be like it should. That’s it. A nightmare.

JOSIAH

What’s the last thing you can remember?


CHARLOTTE

Food! I was at The Rib Rack gnawing on a rib. Must’a been a bad rack or something to give me a nightmare like this. Alright – gotta calm down. I’m okay…gotta will myself to wake up…time to wake up now… C’mon body – wake up!


JOSIAH


Come over here and take a peak inside

 
CHARLOTTE moves slowly to the front of the coffin and peers down. She jumps back


CHARLOTTE


If this is a bad joke, I don't have a good sense of humor, today. Enough is enough, already. I don't know how you did this, Joey or whatever your name is to make a person look just like me. A dummy - it's a dummy, right? Hey - it's been a blast meeting you, but I got things to do, places to go…

           Aside to mourners

 
‘Okay you guys. You pulled off the ultimate practical joke. Got me fair and square. I give in. C'mon – don't be such grudge holders! You know I was only doing what you would'a done in my place’

 

JOSIAH


It's you in there for real



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16. Elvis - the real story

Today would have been Elvis "The King of Rock'n'roll " Presley's 80th birthday. It is generally believed by most that Elvis is no longer with us as in gone to that great jam session in the sky. However - love those howevers of life - there are those who believe he arranged for his disappearance and is out there somewhere, doing gigs. What if they're right? You just never know.



Elvis – The Real Story


 CAST OF CHARACTERS

 

TAMMY        40-something avid Elvis fan and wife of Len
LEN                40-something husband of Tammy
"THE" ELVIS, former big star/singer/performer

 

 THE TIME

The present

 THE PLACE

Jackson’s 7-11 GAS BAR AND DINER

 

Photos of Elvis cover a large portion of one wall; Elvis songs play non-stop. There is a table with two chairs on one side of the room, while the other side of the room has the usual gas station displays of motor oil, etc.

 
AT RISE:

TAMMY and LEN, two customers, are seated at a table looking around the room

LEN
(Scrutinizing the surroundings)

Um…who recommended this place?
 
TAMMY
(reading book)
The restaurant guide write-up says it’s fine dining with a difference

LEN
Fine dining if you’re a rat! Did you happen to notice that a cockroach just crawled out of our bread basket? Must be one that escaped the Chef’s special catch-of-the-day

TAMMY
Stop being so negative and take in the atmosphere

LEN
You mean the aromatic scent of “eau du trash” coming from the back? Phee-ew!

TAMMY
You’re so…so…provincial in your thinking, sweetheart. It's about this authentic ‘60’s décor that gives the place its special caché!

LEN
More like early condemned. Every square inch of wall space is covered with faded Elvis photos and the man’s been dead for how many years?

TAMMY
That's the beauty of this place! It’s like a shrine devoted to “The King.” It's all too…wonderful

LEN
Are you saying that this…this gas station and one-table-diner was the King of Rock and Roll’s eatery of choice? Not!

TAMMY
For your information they say he used to eat fried chicken here and sometimes he even entertained diners

LEN
Was that before or after he turned into the Goodyear blimp? If I had known we were coming here to eat, I’d have checked to make sure my insurance policy was paid up

 TAMMY
You know how long I hadda wait to get reservations for this restaurant…

LEN
…obviously not long enough…

TAMMY
…seven months! If you think I’m going to give up the chance to dine here…

LEN
…and a fine dining establishment it is – if you’re into salmonella poisoning

TAMMY
Get a grip! The waiter is coming to try to act normal, if that’s possible
 
               the waiter dressed in an Elvis jumpsuit struts over, swinging his hips in a
              typical Elvis-like walk. He smoothes the sides of his hair with his hands,
             frequently

WAITER
(swinging his hips between every word)
Evening folks’. Need a menu? Uh-huh – oh yeah…

LEN
No. We prefer to use ESP to order. Of course we need a menu!

TAMMY
Don’t mind my husband – I don’t. Leave the menu here and we’ll choose

LEN
So tacky. All the dishes are Elvis songs. 'Be-bop-a-lu-la' chicken wings…' The 'Love Me Tender' T-bone looks questionable and it comes with fries that are probably a couple months old and a 'I Did It My Way' salad. Look at this: says here on the menu that all their steaks are aged to perfection. Yesterday's road-kill most likely

TAMMY
Have you considered that your cranial spark plugs have stopped kicking in? I can’t make up my mind – so many choices…

               the waiter comes over to take the order

LEN
Are all those dishes served a la carte?

WAITER
(swinging hips)
No – on a plate. Uh-huh…

TAMMY
Just choose something already, will you?

WAITER
Want me to come back, folks? Uh-huh…

                                                                                                            SFX: LIGHTS DIM

TAMMY
Ssshhh! Quiet! The shows is gonna begin

                                                                                                           SOUND: GUITAR TWANG

LEN
I don’t see why we hav’ta be quiet. Cheez – I can hear the sound of someone pumping gas outside, not to mention the smell. Mind you, it's hard to tell the difference between the food and the gas

 

              (The song from “2001: A Space Odyssey” is heard and the waiter now dressed

               in a mechanic’s uniform on the other side of the room walks in front of the

              counter holding a hand mic)

VOICE OVER
“For you entertainment and pllllea-sure, the King has entered the building!”

 An over-weight bordering-on-obese man dressed in a white jump suit enters, stopping to pose while leaning on a cane. A wide belt hangs well below a sagging stomach; black aviator glasses cover his eyes and a badly-fitting black wig sits lob-sided towards the front of his head

(VOICE OVER)
“Direct from his engagement at the luxurious Pink Flamingo Laundromat and Bank Drive Thru in Tijuana, Mex-i-co, the management of Jackson’s 7/11 and Diner is proud to present, “the” King of Rock’n’Roll himself, the one – the only – El-vis!”

A bent over Elvis slowly makes his way to the other side of the room. He bends over to kiss Len, who pushes him way

ELVIS
“Whoops – sorry. Gotta get my eyes checked

He whips out a dirty handkerchief, spits on it and cleans his eyes and replaces it in a back pocket

ELVIS
(in weak squeaky voice)
Thank y’all very much! It’s the first time I been back this way goin’ on twenty years…or maybe it’s thirty…could be forty… Anyway… Good t'see y’all ain’t fergetten the King

              whips out his handkerchief again and blows his nose

ELVIS
Guess I ain’t the same Elvis you remember a ways back, huh? But then who is?       

Starts coughing and choking. Scantily dresses nurses rush over to pat him on
the back
 
ELVIS
See? I still got it but now I don’t know what to do with it! Thank y’all very much… Listen ladies – go see if you can find my extra set of dentures that I left in a steak yesterday.

He chokes again and a well-endowed female doctor wearing tight fitting clothing enters, with a stethoscope draped around her neck

DOCTOR
Now Mr. Elvis – honey – you know you gotta take it easy. Your ticker ain’t what it used to be

ELVIS
(laughing and staring at her breasts)
Yeah but ask me if I care. Thank you all very much. And now before the spaceship comes to take me away, I’m gonna sing you a personal favourite of mine…

              ELVIS sings the first few lines of “My Way” completely off-key

LEN
(starting to get up)
Oh fer… We’re not gonna stay and listen to this… The man is obviously senile

              Sound of tires squeaking to a stop and the slam of car doors

ELVIS
Uh-oh…they’re coming back…I knew they’d find me… Damn aliens!

Two males wearing white outfits move on either side of Elvis and take his arms

MALE 1
C’mon pops. You got another gig at the Sunnyvale Nursing Home

ELVIS
ut…but…I ain’t finished my set, yet!

 MALE 1
Shaking his head and winking at Len and Tammy
You don’t wanna be late for your big entrance.

ELVIS
Where’s my peanut butter and banana sandwich. I caint sing without it 

               the two men start to lead Elvis off the stage but Elvis stops and addresses the
               couple

ELVIS
Thank you all very much!

Elvis walks over, signs a piece of paper and hands it to Len and then exits with the men
 
LEN
(addressing waiter)
That was not “the” Elvis Presley now, was it? You got us here under false pretences. And that’s against the law, y’know!

WAITER
The guy is 80 years old. Whad’ya expect? He’s got two hip replacements, a bad knee and now all that shaking he does is the real thing, poor bastard. By the way, know that piece of paper he handed you?

LEN
I really couldn’t care less about the man’s autograph… In fact this is what I think of you AND your Elvis

               LEN rips up the piece of paper into small pieces

WAITER
You shouldn’t have done that. Uh-uh…

LEN
Elvis my a-s-s!

WAITER
That piece of paper would’a given you a tank of gas with your meal. Oh well…uh-huh…

Len throws himself down on the floor picking up the pieces of paper trying to put them together

LEN
Don't just stand there, Tammy. A tank of gas is a tank of gas is…

VOICE OVER
“The King has left the building 

LEN
(on his knees scooping up pieces of paper frantically)

Hang on a minute. I can put these pieces together… gimme some of that leftover barbeque sauce...

 

 

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17. THE VISIT - a Christmas play-ette

Wrote this a while back but have done some editing and bringing it back being that it's almost Christmas.


 

THE VISIT

 

  CAST OF CHARACTERS:

 

Molly Rigby, 88, senior citizen
David Grey, 20-something reporter
Paul Seaton, camera man

 

SETTING:     Recreation hall of a senior's residence. A few seniors are dozing, some in wheelchairs, others are in regular chairs.

AT RISE:       A reporter (DAVID) enters the room in preparation for an interview with MOLLY RIGBY, who claims to have communicated with whom she believes to be, Santa Claus

DAVID enters the room, taking notes and practicing his introduction

 
DAVID

"We're here at the Happy Hollows Seniors Home to interview resident, Molly Rigby, who claims to have been visited by old Saint Nick, himself. Come Christmas Eve, Molly has stated she will be leaving on an extended trip…”

 
                         PAUL enters, holding a TV camera

 
PAUL

So…what’s the story, here? I mean, it’s Christmas Eve! Couldn’t this one have waited?

 
DAVID

Hey – it’s not my decision! The brass wants us to do a “feel-good” story and interview an old granny claiming to have met the real Santa Claus,

 
PAUL

Yeah and the tooth fairy is alive and well. Is she like…’all there’ if you get my drift?

 
DAVID

Who knows. It's one of those seniors sleeping over there.
 

DAVID approaches the trio, gently shaking each woman.

 
DAVID

Um…’scuse me… Misses… Ladies…Hello? Molly? Which one of you is Molly?


                          MOLLY stirs, sits upright

 
                                                                        MOLLY

Who wants to know? That a TV camera? You’re another one of those TV wisenheimer news guys! Take a hike! I’m sleeping

                         
DAVID

Really – this will only take a few minutes. The world wants – needs - to know if it’s true!

 
MOLLY

Like I said – make like the wind and blow away

 
   MOLLY goes back to sleep. DAVID shakes her gently.

 
DAVID

Paul - this is the lucky lady we were discussing who’s met Santa

 
MOLLY

I was having such a nice dream ‘til your friend here came along and popped it

 
PAUL

Meet Dave Grey, Molly, the reporter that's made WGMZ the number one station in the market

 
DAVE

I'm sure Molly doesn't care about those things

 
MOLLY

You're like all the others. You think I’m a little ‘cuckoo’ in the ‘woo-coo.’ Well I’m not, you know! Oh ‘ye of little faith!

 
DAVID

If you’ll stand next to me right over here and we’ll do the interview…

 
MOLLY

I know what I saw and no one’s gonna tell me diff’rent. Now let me go back to sleep so’s I can be rested when he comes for me

 
DAVID

It’ll only take a few minutes and then we’ll be gone. Come on, Molly! It’s Christmas Eve! A time for miracles. Don’t you want to share your good luck with everyone?

 
MOLLY

Think you're the first reporter to doubt me? I may be old and crotchety but I’m not crazy! Okay – go for it but only because you’ll be the last. Hey  - watch where you put that microphone.

 
DAVID

We’ll do the interview and then we’ll be outta your hair. Really

 
MOLLY

Better make it fast ‘cause I’m expecting my special visitor real soon now

 
PAUL

Guess a family member is taking you home, being that it's Christmas Eve?

 
MOLLY

I suppose you could call him that being that we’re very close friends now. He’ll be coming for me in a big, big sleigh that flies faster than the speed of light. We’re gonna go up, up and fly high in the sky. Just him and me and …

 
DAVID
(snickering)

This special ‘friend’ of yours… would he, like… be dressed all in red with a long white beard and wearing black shiny boots and white gloves?

 
MOLLY

Last time he was here, told me t’pack a couple of things for our long trip just the two of us is gonna take. and he'd be 'round to get me on Christmas Eve. Tonight is Christmas Eve, right?

 
PAUL
(laughing)

This… friend of yours, would he…like…have big white wings and wear a halo or was he dressed in black and carry a big sickle…

 
DAVID

…don’t mind him. Thinks he’s funny. When did this… ‘friend’ first show up?

 
MOLLY

Can we sit down? I wanna save my strength for tonight. Yeah - he first dropped in ‘bout a month ago. ‘Why me?’ I asked him. ‘Why not you’, he says. Can’t argue with that logic…

 
DAVID

How'd you know he was the real one? I mean, there are a lot of people claiming to be Santa this time of year

 
MOLLY

…and y’know what else he said? ‘Molly - you never stopped believing in me.’ That’s what my friend told me., ‘Cause I believe!  

 
DAVID

How do you get in touch with him? 


MOLLY

I don’t get in touch with him, silly! He sends me messages

 
DAVID

How’d I know you were gonna say that?

 
MOLLY

Only I can receive his messages (points to head) – right here


PAUL

Oh fer… We’re wasting time. Let’s wrap up.

 
MOLLY

You think I’m crazy and hear voices, don’t you? I know-what- I-know! Wanna hear how we became friends? Last Christmas Eve at this very time, I sent him a letter asking if I could go along t’help deliver toys? I mean, being that I’m 88 years of  age, who knows if I’ll even be around next year so I told him in my letter that it was now or never

 
PAUL

This man…your friend answered your letter? Did it have a stamp and a post-mark?

 
MOLLY

Always with the questions – and doubts. You young people can’t accept that people can be nice to each other for no reason. I didn’t bother checking for a post mark. I don’t hav’ta because -


DAVID

- I know. You believe. You have to admit that there are a lot of phonies running cons at this time of the year

 
MOLLY

Oh ye of little faith, sonny boy! He never has asked me for anything. Not one cent! Wanna know how he introduced himself?

 
DAVID

By telephone and he asked you to make a donation to his toy campaign?

 
MOLLY

Found him sitting on the end of my bed, watching Seinfeld re-runs and laughing his head off. That old fart has a good sense of humor, y’know! Suppose he has to what with all the doubters he meets. I mean - you can imagine how shocked I was t’see a stranger watchin’ TV in my room. ‘

 
DAVID

He told you that he was Santa and you believed him?

 
MOLLY

You sound like all the rest and they doubted me, too. Why wouldn’t I?

 
DAVID

You hav’ta understand that it's not everyone who gets a visit from Santa in person

 
PAUL

We almost finished, here? I’d like to make it home to open gifts with my kids

 
MOLLY

Told me he was gonna take me away on his sleigh, t’stay with him...forever! Me! Molly Rigby, going t’ live with Santa Claus and his elves. I just couldn't believe it!

 
DAVID

Me neither. So, you took him up on his offer?

 
MOLLY

Are you serious? Wouldn't everyone?

 
DAVID

Are you're telling me that you went for a ride with…

 
MOLLY

…Santa Claus? You bet'cha your perfectly sprayed hair, I did

 
DAVID

(laughing)

And I suppose there were the reindeer parked on the roof, or maybe outside your bedroom window? How does an elderly lady – no disrespect intended – climb into a sleigh? I see you use a walker

 
MOLLY

Somehow  - and I don't know how he did it - I found myself floating in the air, right out of the window. It was one of those high tech sleighs with flashing lights…

 
DAVID

A…high…tech sleigh? Led by high tech reindeer too, I guess?

 
MOLLY

Now that I think about it - their antlers did look like antennas…and the sleigh had colored flashing lights all around

 
DAVID

And was this…Santa… on the - small-ishside with a big head, large black eyes and grey-ish white skin color?

 
MOLLY

Could be but then I'm color-blind. D’ya wanna meet him?

 
DAVID

Him – who? You mean, Santa? Why not? If nothing else it’ll make a good Christmas story and we can expose a holiday phony

 
MOLLY

Now you hav’ta promise me that you won’t try recording us leaving. Santa doesn’t like publicity or anything. He’s a very simple, private man

 
DAVID

Yeah…course…no recording… Right Paul?

 
MOLLY

Promise me you won’t!  Y’a gotta promise!

 
DAVID

I promise. Ready, Paul?

 
PAUL

We’re leaving? I’m ready when you are

 
DAVID

To capture the moment that Molly, here, leaves the rest home for the North Pole

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18. Mr. and Mrs. Everybody search for the perfect parking space

SCENES FROM LIFE: A SHORT PLAYETTE.   AT THE MALL

 
SCENE: PARKING LOT OF A LARGE, BUSY MALL. BEFORE CHRISTMAS.

AT RISE: MR. AND MRS. EVERYBODY SEARCH FOR A PARKING PLACE

 

MRS. EVERYBODY

Told you we should have left earlier. Now there’s wall-to-wall cars. We’re never going to find a spot

 
MR. EVERYBODY

Excuse me? Were you or were you not talking on the phone to Chloe for a good 45 minutes?

 
MRS. EVERYBODY

First of all – it wasn’t 45 minutes and second of all, we had important things to discuss

 
MR. EVERYBODY

Like what? Which stores have the best prices?

 
MRS. EVERYBODY

So? Those are important things. Don’t you want me to save you money? Don’t you just love all the Christmas decorations?

 
MR. EVERYBODY

Come again? How do you figure that buying stuff saves me money?

 
MRS. EVERYBODY

Well, take today for example.  Everything in the mall, the entire mall mind you, is twenty-five percent off! This is a bigggg saving. If I hadn’t spoken to Chloe, I would never have know that. Listen – they’re playing Silver Bells over outdoor speakers. Don’cha  just love that song? Puts you in a Christmas mood

 
MR. EVERYBODY

Would I be going round and round if I did? We’ve been going in circles for so long, I’m getting dizzy. You mean the “spend-spend-spend” songs

 
MRS. EVERYBODY

Try and get close to an entrance. You’re so cynical

 
MR. EVERYBODY

You’re fussy where you want to park? Beggars can’t be choosers

 
MRS. EVERYBODY

Let me put it another way. Try not to park fifty feet away in no-mans-land. It’s cold out

 
MR. EVERYBODY

And let me make this perfectly clear. This car will turn in to wherever there’s an empty space

 
MRS. EVERYBODY

You could at make an effort to look

 
MR. EVERYBODY

And what am I doing now? As far as I can see, there are no empty parking spaces near a mall entrance, or anywhere else for that matter. Maybe we should just go home and forget about it…

 
MRS. EVERYBODY

Not! And miss the sale of the year? Okay. How about this. One more time around and then you can go park in Siberia like always

 
MR. EVERYBODY

One more time …here we go again…

 
MRS. EVERYBODY

Stop! There’s a car pulling out. Quick – get over there or that guy is gonna grab it before us

 
MR. EVERYBODY

It’s in the next line over. I’ll have to drive around. I’ll never make it

 
MRS. EVERYBODY

Just put your foot on the gas and cut the car off!

 
MR. EVERYBODY

This is not the wild west and I have no intention of being part of a showdown. If we don’t get it – we don’t get it

 
MRS. EVERYBODY

Mr. Philosophical has spoken. Just…hurry! You’re not going fast enough! The other car is closing in from the other direction…

 
MR. EVERYBODY

You are obsessed and possessed – you do realize that, right?

 
MRS. EVERYBODY

We’re talking about a primo parking spot right near the front, no less! This is indeed our lucky day! You gotta be aggressive if you wanna grab a good place. Trust me. I know about these things.

 
MR. EVERYBODY

You and your knowledge of parking spaces wouldn’t happen to know anything about the nice scratch in the front right fender by any chance, would you?

 
MRS. EVERYBODY

I’m getting so forgetful these days. Y’see…last week, me and Chloe were here for the Fashion Flare Shop Going-Going-Gone Out of Business sale and there was a parking space and I was sure this car could fit but unfortunately, I misjudged the size of the spot against the size of the fender and like…the fender somehow ended up sliding against a cement pillar that was in my way. Why they put pillars in the middle of parking lots is a mystery, anyway. Hurry – that other car is getting ready to turn in!

 
MR. EVERYBODY

Perhaps it’s a plot by the mall to get drivers like you to scratch your fenders against them. They’re light standards, FYI. Oh well - guess it matches the scratch on the left fender… Uh-oh both our cars are there at the same time. I’ll let the other car park. Doesn’t mean that much to me

 
MRS. EVERYBODY

You’re just giving in? Hold your ground for a few minutes. Show the other car we mean business!

 
MR. EVERYBODY

We’ll go to the back of the parking lot. Plenty of space there

 
MRS. EVERYBODY

But…I’ll have to walk!

 
MR. EVERYBODY

What’s this world coming to? You’ll have to walk a few extra feet. I mean, really…

 
MRS. EVERYBODY

Open the window and let me speak to the driver and explain the situation. I’m sure he’ll understand and let us park

 
MR. EVERYBODY

You’re not serious

 
MRS. EVERYBODY

I’m very convincing.

 
(MRS. EVERYBODY opens the door and talks to the driver of the other car)

 
MRS. EVERYBODY

‘Hello – it looks like we both want the same parking spot. Could I, as a fellow citizen of this planet, prevail upon you to allow us to have this precious parking spot? As you probably know, there is a twenty-five-percent off sale and I have been waiting to buy these divine shoes that have finally been reduced and gone on sale… What? Of course ... I see… Have a good day.’

 
MRS. EVERYBODY

(Cont’d.) Just drive. When something seems too good to be true, it usually is

 
MR. EVERYBODY

What happened to your convincing sales personality?

 
MRS. EVERYBODY

The woman sitting next to him has crutches. Broke her leg and ankle skiing so I couldn’t very well justify taking the spot given all the snow on the ground

 
MR. EVERYBODY

You're all heart. You do know what that means -

 
MRS. EVERYBODY

Siberia here we come… Know what? I got a great idea. Why don’t you leave me off in front of an entrance – any entrance - and park? Or better still, drive around for an hour or so and when I’m finished, I’ll call you on my cell phone and you can pick me up? Isn’t that a good idea? It’s a win-win for both of us. Right here will do…see you later…

 
(MRS. EVERYBODY gets out of the car and heads for the mall entrance)

 
MR. EVERYBODY

(calling out of the car window)

Wait a minute! Hello? You have my cell! You forgot yours at home!

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19. Playwright ponders her plays

Right now, people reading this are probably saying to themselves, "Eleanor hasn't given us any updates on her plays. I'd love to know how things are going with her." Okay - maybe the last sentence is a bit presumptuous on my part but maybe there are persons 'out there' who are curious.

Actually, I've been focusing a lot of my effort searching for a new literary address for my "babies." This includes cyber queries as to whether they would be welcome, to be followed by the actual execution (sounds so macabre) of hitting the 'send' key taking the plays on their cyber journeys. Waiting to receive news and/or updates on their suitability is stressful especially since theatres frequently restrict their responses to playwrights with plays in which they have an interest. It somehow doesn't seem logical to send a follow up if, say, there has been no response for a lengthy period of time. Then again, perhaps a reminder could be helpful:


"Dear blah-blah,

You might not remember me but five years ago (maybe more), I submitted my play to you/your theater/your literary manager. Having never heard back, I'm wondering if perhaps you never received it or somehow, it got deleted in your files (these things happen). Let me know if you'd like me to re-send the play and I'd be happy to oblige.

Yours in waiting,

Eleanor
(P.S. I'd very much appreciate it if you could advise me as to which play I sent you, since my cat did a dance on my keyboard and lost many of my files).


In as far as the plays themselves, I'm reviewing the content of "Retribution" with the intent of submitting it to an interesting competition. At the half-way point, I've made some minor changes but still very pleased with the overall content. The subject matter definitely isn't for everybody but the play itself  is a riveting drama.

Haven't read "Old Soldiers" since receiving the rejection advisement notice a few months ago. I had a gut feeling that it was on its way but it didn't make its reception any easier. A bit of ranting and raving occurred for a day or two followed by avowing to re-write. Thing is with rejection notices, rarely is there an accompanying explanation as to the reasons for the refusal, consequently there is always the nagging question as to why and what went wrong. In any case, time for a re-evaluation and the dastardly re-write(s) that will follow. It will require a complete overhaul having been written for radio and we'll have to see whether it's even feasible to turn it into a play. Some characters will have to be dropped in addition to scene changes and adaptations.

The newest playwriting project, "Storm Warning" is on the front burner. I've completed four scenes and I'm thinking some character sketches are required to define the purpose of everyone and where they fit into the story line.

One of my oldie but definitely good play, "Dead Writes" parts of which I've shared here in this blog, requires finishing. Actually, it needs a middle before it can be ended. A comedy, the play has been started and abandoned a number of times. Maybe not "abandoned" since this implies finality. Let's say - put to rest in cyber space for periods.  No particular reason other than I became distracted with other projects.

Finally, I'm toying with idea of writing a play based on a young teenage girl and her experiences growing up in the 1960's, while attending high school. Let's just say it's something I know about intimately. First though it back to work on Old Soldiers...maybe Dead Writes should be a priority since it's an older play...then again, Storm Warning is a fun challenge... Procrastination thy name is Eleanor.



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20. STORM WARNING - SCENE 11

One more scene from one of the plays I'm working on. Actually, I see this more as a film script but we'll see where it goes as it progresses. Quite pleased so far.


STORM WARNING  - SCENE II
 
LEONARD
What is this? Move away and let us pass

CONDUCTOR
Please don’t create problems

LEONARD
All we wanna do is stretch our legs. Nothing more and for whatever reason, you won’t let us

CONDUCTOR
That won’t be possible

 LEONARD
This is absolutely ridiculous. You can't force us to stay here without a good reason. I’m going to walk, like it or not

MARY
Me too!

CONDUCTOR
(bending over and speaking softly)
I strongly advise you to stay put. Take my advice

LEONARD
Sorry pal – you gotta provide more information than vague hints and warnings

CONDUCTOR
Don’t ask me any more questions that I can’t answer. Look - stay put and I’ll see what I can do

MARY
My knees are really painful. Can I at least stand up and take a few steps?

CONDUCTOR
A few steps but no long walks

MARY
Promise

LEONARD
I got news for you, bud. I ain’t got any intention of staying put. You’re really over-reacting to a simple request of taking a small walk through the train

CONDUCTOR
You didn't hear it from me but rumor has it that a passenger has died

MARY
What does this have to do with us? These things happen all the time. We promise we’ll stay away from wherever they’re keeping his body

CONDUCTOR
Could be just a rumor but even if it was true, I wouldn’t be allowed to say. Company rules and all that

LEONARD
You do realize you make no sense whatsoever. Why even mention it to us?

CONDUCTOR
Like I said, can't really share any information...

LEONARD
Why all the mystery?

CONDUCTOR
Look - I was told that we'll be delayed in Timmersville. That's all I can tell you right now.

(CONDUCTOR hurries off)


LEONARD
Weird. The guy was really nervous. Kept wiping the top of his lip. If it was a heart attack or normal causes, he wouldn’t bother telling us

MARY
Trying out your detective skills, are we?

LEONARD
(staring out of the window)
That’s what you get from hanging out with reporters.  Kind’a rubs off on a person.  Well…well… police are getting on now... This is more than a heart attack for sure.

MARY
Maybe you’re right. Hmmm...wonder where Mr. Crazy Man got to.

LEONARD
We're never gonna find out anything sitting here. Don't know about you but I feel like stretching my legs

MARY
My old knees are stiff. A little walk works wonders

LEONARD
And if we happen to overhear something...

MARY
Right...

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21. OLD SOLDIERS - first eight pages of play re-write

In honor of Remembrance Day or Memorial Day or whatever and however its remembered, the first eight pages of yet anther rewrite of "Old Soldiers." I'm adapting parts of it from other versions to make it into what I hope to be, a new play. As always, comments always welcome - and appreciated.


OLD SOLDIERS
by Eleanor Tylbor

 

SCENE: A PUB/BAR.  MID-MORNING

AT RISE:  JOE MCKENNA, DRESSED IN FULL UNIFORM, SITS AT A TABLE, READING A NEWSPAPER WHILE WAITING FOR HIS BUDDIES TO ARRIVE. A SMALL BAR WITH A DOZEN TABLES FILL THE ROOM WITH BACKGROUND MUSIC SUPPLIED BY AN OLD JUKE BOX. B/W PHOTOS OF PEOPLE COVER THE WALL
 

JOE
(to himself)

Yup…yup…yup… The way things are going, won’t be long before we’re all gone. Poor old, Percy. Died alone without anyone there to see him on his way to the battlefield in the sky. ‘Here’s to you, Perce! You’ll be missed’
 
                                    Lifts glass in the air and lowers it

 ‘Set em up again, Vince’

                                    JOE’S FRIEND, MIKE, DRESSED IN UNIFORM
                                    COMPLETE WITH STRIPES AND MEDAL, ENTERS THE
                                    ROOM AND JOINS HIM AT THE TABLE
 

MIKE

Damn cold out there. Wind cuts like a knife. I see you got a head start. Buying us a round?
 
JOE

You just got here and already trying to mooch a free drink?
 
MIKE

When it comes to mooching, you got that covered and then some. When’s the last time you paid?
 
JOE

(pretends to take out imaginary book)

Let me check in my diary here…last Wednesday at three in the afternoon. Do you wanna buy or not
 

MIKE

Not
JOE

You are a cheap bastard! I’m stuck with the bill, again. ‘Vince – two whiskeys’ See you’re in full regalia.

MIKE

If I don’t wear it today, when will I wear it? Take it out once a year. The rest of the time it’s stored away in the back of the cupboard. Pee-ew! What’s that stink?

JOE

Threw in a dozen or so moth balls when I store the uniform
 
MIKE

At least put it out to air a couple days before you wear it. It really stinks

                                    VINCE, the bartender, brings over drinks

VINCE

One of you guys forget to wash?

MIKE

Joe here uses moth balls for his uniform

VINCE

No insult intended but you’re stinking up the bar. Wouldn’t hurt to go out and air yourself off a bit. Here are your drinks, guys. Who’s paying, he asked hopefully?

MIKE

He is

JOE

Put it on my tab, Vince. The man’s as cheap as they come. You’d think for a special occasion he’d spring for a round but that would be asking too much for an old friend, who’s always short on cash


VINCE

Whoever – one of you pay cash for a change. Need I remind you that your tab goes back a year now. Let’s see here…you owe me $2500.34. I’m feeling generous today so drop the thirty-four cents and make an even $2500

JOE

You’re all heart. Where d’ya expect me to find that kind of money on my service pension?

VINCE

Oh please. At least give me something towards it. Anything! I have bills to pay, too, y’know

JOE

Okay. Next cheque I’ll give you a couple of bucks. May have to give up some food items and my dog will have to get used to eating a few days a week…

VINCE

(walking away)

Why don’t you lay on the guilt a bit more. You guys…honestly…

JOE

Mac’s supposed to meet us here

MIKE

Seriously? The man doesn’t drive and uses a walker. How’s he getting here?

JOE

I dunno but he wants to join us for Percy’s funeral, too

MIKE

Amazing. Never lets his condition stop him from doing anything. Sometimes I wonder how he gets around but he does. Mind over matter I guess. It’s either that or give up and die. Mind you, sometimes when pain takes over, it don’t seem so bad

JOE

He just walked in. Poor guy can hardly move. ‘Here Mac!’

MIKE

The man’s 87. None of us are peppy anymore, in case you hadn’t noticed. My glass is empty by the way

JOE

Yeah and? I bought last time

MIKE

So what. You owed me

JOE

It’s your turn, el cheapo! Maybe you can convince Mac to buy you a round

 MAC

(gasping for breath)

Really…windy out… there – and cold. Hope the wind… drops for later. Damn hard to get around in this kind of weather, ‘specially with a walker. What times the funeral, anyway?

MIKE

You really planning to attend, Mac? Not trying to discourage you or anything but it’ll be hard pushing your walker on grass and that wind…

MAC

I’ll manage. Old Percy is one of the last few members of our group. He deserves our respect and would do the same for any of us. Can’t believe he’s gone… Really cold and windy today

JOE

You look like an ice cube and your hands are turned blue. Why didn’t you wear gloves? How’d you get here, anyway?

MAC

By bus. Took me forty-five minutes if you don’t count standing at the bus stop waiting for it to arrive for twenty minutes. Damn busses never stick to their schedule

JOE

Why didn’t you take a cab?

 MAC

You gotta be kidding. Like I can afford a cab? I’m here so stop jabbering and order me something to warm me up

MAC

Gonna be freezing at the cemetery for sure. Who knows if anyone else will show up

MIKE

We don’t get to choose the kind of weather t’get buried. It’s called for noon

JOE

Whad’ya having, Mac?

MIKE

You’re buying hima drink? What about me?

JOE

He just got here. The man needs to warm up

MIKE

Say what? What does that have to do with anything? Remember I’m your old army pal who stayed with you in thick and thin?

JOE

I paid you back a long time ago. What’s your poison, Mac? Whiskey like always?

MAC

Neh. Hot coffee will do me fine

JOE

With a shot of whiskey t’give it flavor, right?

MAC

Plain, old coffee with milk and sugar

JOE

Straight coffee? That’s it?

MIKE

This is new. Since when?

MAC

Can’t a person have a coffee without getting the third degree?

JOE

No problem-o. Just weird especially since you’ve been a scotch man since way back when

MAC

Look – if it bothers you that much, I’ll just go back home and…

MIKE

If you want plain coffee – you got it. ‘Straight coffee for Mac, Vince!’

JOE

Whatever…I suppose you’re not taking sugar, either? On a diet, are we? If you eat any less, you’ll fade away altogether

MAC

There comes a time when a body starts telling a person no more liquor. I’m at that point

MIKE

The last thing you need to do is go on a diet. You dropped more than a few pounds, lately. You eating right?

 JOE

Well he ain’t eating fillit mignown on our pension! Seriously, though, Mike’s right. You’re looking real thin these days

MAC

I didn’t come here to discuss my eating habits. Can we drop this discussion? So who’s going to the funeral, anyway?

                                    VINCE brings MAC a coffee

VINCE

I put the cream and sugar on the side since I don’t know how you take it. First time you ordered a coffee

MAC

Is there anyone here who hasn’t got an opinion about me drinking a lousy coffee? Maybe coming here was a mistake after all

JOE

Sor-ry. We didn’t mean to rile you up. You drink as much coffee as you want. Anyway, my body tells me I need a refill

VINCE

And this will be paid for by…

JOE

We’ll let you know

VINCE

Been there – heard that

JOE

Did I ever say I wasn’t gonna pay? Did I? Don’t forget we’re sick, old soldiers on a small pension who helped keep this country free so that you could own this bar, and this is our only outing. Do you wanna take that away from us, too?

LUKE

Don’t try lay on the guilt. I got bills to pay

MAC

Liquor don’t agree with me, anymore. Been havin’ a lot of heart burn lately. Wakes me up in the middle of the night and my legs get so numb I can hardly make it to the bathroom on time

MIKE

Not the first time you complained about heart burn Maybe see a doctor? Could be something serious

JOE

He’s been carping about his pains as long as I can remember. Ain’t that true, Mac? Am I right?

MIKE

Look who’s talking! You’re like a walking medical dictionary. Every day you come in whining about something else

JOE

Is it my fault I got bad pains left over from the war? Don’t forget my knees were smashed to the point where snails move faster than me and meegrainsso painful I can barely see

MIKE

Yeah-yeah. We all have pains but keep it to ourselves

JOE

Thank you, so-called good buddy. I can always count on you not to be sympathetic. By the way – my glass is empty

MIKE

Whad’ya want from me? So tell Vince to fill it

JOE

Who’s paying?

MIKE

In your dreams, buddy-boy! Don’t even think about it

MAC

Body feels like one gigantic ache. Forgotten what it’s like not to feel pain, anymore…

 
JOE

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22. A taste of "A WEDDING" play - Jewish version


Just read a piece that Nia Vardalos is doing a movie sequel to "My Big Fat Greek Wedding". As much as I really enjoyed this film - I've seen it many times - my play, "A Wedding" which could be described as a Jewish equivalent, is as funny if not more. Here's a taste and scene out of the play to see what I'm talking about and see if you agree. It's part of one of my favorite scenes - but then they all are. Some of the formatting has been lost cut and pasting and transferring from Word.
 
THE SCENE: At the Greenberg house. The bride and groom's family are meeting for the first time for dinner. Lenor, mother of David, groom-to-be, is on the snobby side unlike his father Charles who is down to earth. Meanwhile, Sadie, mother of the bride, Rachel, is middle-class and in competition with Lenor while husband, Morty, is realistic and down-to-earth like Charles. Morty has done a lot more than taste the wine as his mother, Sylvia, arrives unannounced. The leg of a dining room chair is broken.
 
SADIE
 
Excuse me people…what kind of person visits at this time of night?
        
           SADIE EXITS                      

           SADIE re-enters with her mother-in-law, SYLVIA

 And here is the answer to that question

MORTY
(slurred speech)

Ma? Whad'ya doing here? I fought you were shtaying wiv Elaine until shummer

 SYLVIA

Can a mother visit her only son, without having to announce her arrival before? Maybe I should check into a hotel and come back tomorrow, since you have dinner guests. Are you drunk? My poor baby boy! See what living with you does to him, Sadie? The man has turned to liquor for escape. I warned you, Morty, what life would be like living with…her

SADIE

An excellent idea, Sylvia. Why don't you come back tomorrow…or maybe next month…next year? Never would even be better

MORTY

Don't talk shtupid! Shadie, put mom's shutecases in the rare shpoom. You've come jus' at the right time. You ate already?

SYLVIA

Your sister packed me a sandwich and fruit for the train but I finished that hours ago. Just make me some toast and a glass of tea and I'll go to my room until your company has left

MORTY

Nonshense! Rajel, go get a chair from the kitchen, for your…your… bubie. You heard our good news?

 SYLVIA

Does anybody tell me anything? Who am I anyway? Just a sick, old woman shipped from place-to-place, because nobody has room for me. Why should anyone share their news with me?

MORTY

Our Rachel here is… em-em-gaged to be marry, ma!

SYLVIA

Uh-huh… So, you couldn't have picked up the phone to tell me, Sadie? You forgot my phone number, maybe? After all,
…I'm onlythe grandmother. Why should you share a happy event with me? So, introduce me to your fiancey

RACHEL

David, this is Grammy Sylvia, my best friend in the whole world!

SADIE

And what am I? Chopped liver?

SYLVIA

Sadie dear, look at yourself as the pickled herring: always a hors d'oeuvre but never the main course. How many times have I told you that she always liked me better than you?

           SYLVIA hugs RACHEL

SADIE

Come again? Morty – you better tell her…

MORTY

Now ma, you know you shouldn't tease Sabie like that. You shtill ‘aven't tol' us why you here

SYLVIA

Your sister, Elaine, went on a cruise so I landed up here on your doorstep. That cheapskate husband of hers didn't even pay for my fare. I tell you – nobody has respect for the aged anymore. In my days…

SADIE

Will you be honoring us with your presence for a long time, she asked, afraid of the answer?

MORTY

She jus' got here f-fur crying out loud. You-you can shtay for has l-long has you wan, ma

                    
           MORTY gets up to get another drink and SYLVIA
           quickly takes his place

SADIE

Don't sit there ma!

SYLVIA

You want I should stand all night or maybe I should leave, better? I'm a weak, old woman…my legs don't hold me up any more. Oy! The pain! Starts in my big toe and travels all the way up my hip and stays there! Soon I'll need a wheelchair! Pain is my constant companion!

MORTY      

           Rushing over to pull chair away

 Trust me ma, you don't wanna shit on that

SADIE

Weak like a bull! Rachel honey, go get your grammy a chair from the kitchen. Morty sweetheart, you don't look comfortable. Wouldn't you prefer to drink…sit in your favorite armchair over there, so you can relax?

           RACHEL EXITS

MORTY

But…I wanna be able to…to…talk wid eberyone…

SADIE

I'm sure we can sacrifice your…witty observations of life, so that you can be comfortable!

           MORTY staggers to the armchair
                       
SYLVIA

The truth is you really don't want me to join your dinner party, do you. Don't worry 'bout old Sylvia. She'll watch television upstairs, all alone in her room, listening to everyone laughing and having a good time. Excuse me, people, for bothering you…it's past my bed time…just get me a glass for my teeth, Sadie, and I'll get out of your way

Starts to get up

MORTY

You know you're alwaysh welcome and you'll shtay 'ere to celbrate wid ush!

           RACHEL enters with chair; MORTY follows her

SADIE        

           Places TV tray in front of MORTY

MORTY Cont'd. Absolutely! There's nothing I love more than a visit from your mother. Almost as much as an appointment with the dentist. Set a place for your bubie, Rachel

MORTY
         
           Attempts to sit in armchair but jerks to an
           standing position, waving arms as he speaks

Shadie mape her besh dish tonight, ma. Roast ducky in orange sauce, wiv orange booze

SYLVIA

Duck? I couldn't possibly eat that! Too fat and it's bad for my cholester-ail

MORTY

Couldn't you gib her shomething else?

           MORTY teeters over to SADIE, tries to kiss
           her on the cheek but she pulls away

SADIE

Oh something springs to mind alright, but I could get arrested for homicide
RACHEL       

           Moves a chair in back of SYLVIA, who sits down

I'm sure you could find something for grammy, mom, couldn't you?

SADIE

I'll go check what I have in the fridge. How 'bout a cheese sandwich, ma?

SYLVIA

It's low fat, I hope?

           SADIE EXITS

…Where's your manners! Don't be so rude Morty and introduce me to your guests

           MORTY is drinking another glass of liquor

           at the bar

MORTY

Meet Dabid's parents, Lee-oree and Ch-Charmie Skybird

SYLVIA

So, what do you think of my granddaughter? Is she not a beauty?

LENOR

You have a lovely granddaughter, Sylvia. And what do you think of our David?

SYLVIA

Seems like a nice catch but he makes a living for my Rachel? She's used to good things!

LENOR

He's a corporate lawyer with a very good practice

SYLVIA

He's a partner in the firm, maybe?

LENOR

I'm sure that will happen in the future. After all – he's got all the right ingredients – a good family background…

           SADIE RE-ENTERS

SADIE

Has my mother in law been telling you all the family secrets? Here's your cheese sandwich, ma, with low-fat dressing, just like you asked. Now close your mouth…and enjoy!

SYLVIA

So where's the lettuce? Salad greens are good for my constipation

 LENOR

I'm definitely getting a migraine!

 SADIE
(bowing)

Any particular kind…iceberg,romaine…bib…? Your wish is my command your majesty…I mean, Sylvia

           SADIE EXITS

SYLVIA

Rachel sweetheart, bring me my small suitcase. I have all my medication inside

 
           SADIE RE-ENTERS

SADIE

So what pills are you taking these days or do you have one of everything?

SYLVIA

With all my conditions, they're so many. This is for my vangina and this is for…

SADIE

…thank you for sharing, but I'm sure our guests aren't interested in all your pills

SYLVIA

I'll be at the wedding as long as my vangina doesn't act up but you never know

MORTY

How c-come n-n-nobody tol' me you 'ad am…vam-gi-na? I-I'm the son!

SADIE

Do you feel up to cutting us some more duck, dear?

           MORTY stands up and teeters over to the table.
           He grabs the carving fork, thrusts it in the
           duck and hacks away

Morty…dearest, the duck is dead already! There's no reason to keep stabbing it!

           LENOR takes her napkin and wipes her dress.
           SADIE distributes plates of duck. When MORTY
           takes his portion, he lifts the plate to his
           lips and drinks; LENOR is horrified

MORTY

My Shabie makes the bes' gravy! You-you make dood guck, honey-bunny

 SYLVIA

Did I mention I mixed up my medication and ended up in the hospital emergency room? I could'a died, y’know! Rachel dear, bring me my blood pressure thing-ie like a good girl

 SADIE

No such luck - I mean, isn't it dangerous taking your own blood pressure? You could over pump and then… Why don't you let medo that for you?

 

           MORTY puts on TV and an
           ear-piercing screech comes from the TV.
           Everyone jumps in response

MORTY

Look ad dat! My faborit all-time mooooomie is playing on our big screen TV too – Night of the Living Dead. Reminds me of our supper tonight…just a joke

SADIE

Thank you for sharing, sweetheart

MORTY

Don'chu love zombies? They scare me shi-…

SADIE

- dearest, shouldn't you close the TV when we have guests?

MORTY

Why? We could all watch it togevver. Shabie – go make some popcorn for eberyone

 SYLVIA

Let him watch his movie! It bothers you? You always were a fun killer

SADIE

I think you should close the TV – NOW – and we'll discuss this later, dearest?

RACHEL

You start clearing the table, mom, and let me take care of grammy

 
           SADIE clears the table of dishes

SADIE

Morty dearest, be a darling and help me?

MORTY gets up but loses his balance and falls backward on the broken chair, which collapses under his weight

SYLVIA

You gave him that chair on purpose, didn't you Sadie? Don't think I'm not on to you trying to collect on his insurance. Your wife wants to trade you in for a new model, Morty. Better leave now while you still can!

SADIE

Oh God! She's over-medicated herself again

           SADIE EXITS

SYLVIA

You could have married Roseanne Epstein and her family would have given you the world. She was crazy for you, Morty, and I hear she's divorced from her third husband. It's never to late to find real love

RACHEL

You're such a kidder, grammy! She loves pretending to hate mom, don't you?

           SYLVIA looks away and doesn't answer
What a joker!

MORTY

(getting up from sitting on floor)

Shabie is my one and only true love! We m-may not be rich in dollars b-but my Sadie has a lot of sense. Get it? Dollars…cents…?

           SADIE re-enters holding a cake with sparklers
           on top

SADIE

Morty…sweetheart, why don't you give your mouth a rest…I mean, relax and watch your movie. You've had a long day but not half as long as this evening has been

CHARLES

Wow! That's some cake! I bet it tastes as good as it looks

MORTY

You outdone myself, my sweet bon-bon!

DAVID

You baked this for us? It must have taken you hours

SADIE

It was just a little something I whipped up

MORTY

My Shadie is good at whipping things, aren't you my little pickle?

SADIE

Who wants coffee and who wants tea?

LENOR

Nothing for me since both keep me up at night

SYLVIA

I know exactly where you're coming from Leoree. Drinking liquids before I go to bed makes me pee all night too! Sometimes I think I spend more time in the bathroom than I do in bed

LENOR

Charles dear, we really must leave now. My migraine is getting quite intense      

           LENOR stands up

Sadie, it's been wonderful meeting you and Monty…

CHARLES

We have to have a slice of this special cake Sadie made or she'll be insulted. Won't you Sadie? Just a little sliver…please?

 

           LENOR sit down again

 LENOR

Remember your cholesterol, dear…

SYLVIA

…you too? What pill are you taking for that? Wanna see all mine?

LENOR

I'll take half of the sliver you gave Charles

CHARLES

Now this is what I call a supper. Everything was perfect. Why don't share your recipes with Lenor? Anything is better than the grass we eat

LENOR

We really must leave dearest. I have a busy schedule tomorrow. Call me Sadie

MORTY

But… arem't… you… Lenor? If you…you wam me to call you Shabie, than Shabie it’ll be. I got a g-good idea! I'll call Shabie, Lemor, and Le-le-more, Shabie!

0 Comments on A taste of "A WEDDING" play - Jewish version as of 11/12/2014 11:39:00 AM
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23. Scenes from Life: a Short Playette. Mr. and Mrs. Everybody At Home

THE MYSTERY OF THE SOCKS


SCENE: THE KITCEN OF MR. AND MRS. EVERYBODY. MRS. EVERYBODY IS LOADING THE DISHWASHER

AT RISE: MR. EVERYBODY ENTERS THE KITCHEN CARRYING HIS SOCKS


MR. EVERYBODY
What's wrong with these socks?

MRS. EVERYBODY
Just a sec - I'm loading the dishwasher...this new dish set we bought is too large. Takes up too much space...

MR. EVERYBODY
You had to have them, remember?

MRS. EVERYBODY
Excuse me? May I remind you that you also were very anxious for me to get them 'cause they were on sale. Why are you holding two socks? Are you making hand puppets? 'Get...in...there...dishes...or...you're...gonna...feel...so...sorry...'

MR. EVERYBODY
Like I said before, what's wrong with these socks?

MRS. EVERYBODY
Just another sec...let me start the dishwasher. Okay. Now you have my full attention. So I see two socks...navy blue to be exact. Look to be your size. I'll go out on a limb and say that they're yours Oh look! I made a play on words. Out on a limb...sock...leg... Get it?

MR. EVERYBODY
You should get your own comedy show. Now take a good look at them. Come closer. What do you see now?

MRS. EVERYBODY
What do I get if I give you the right answer?

MR. EVERYBODY
Stop with the snarky remarks and look closely at them

MRS. EVERYBODY
Here - hand them over. Okay. Like I said before, "a" pair of socks. Should I be look for something else? Are they socks from outer space?

MR. EVERYBODY
Do you notice something...off, perhaps?

MRS. EVERYBODY
Hmmm...can't say that I do... The left one is worn out a bit at the toe?

MRS. EVERYBODY
(holding up a sock in each hand)
Now what do you see?

MRS. EVERYBODY
One sock in the left hand and another in the right. What's this big mystery?

MR. EVERYBODY
How about the size of both of them?

MRS. EVERYBODY
I dunno...you take a size 10 shoe. I'll go out on a limb here and say that those socks, those very socks are size 10. Can we stop playing quiz show and get to the heart - or toe in this case - of the sock issue?

MR. EVERYBODY
You're right that these socks are navy blue but something is off

MRS. EVERBODY
Of course! You're barefoot. Put them back on and the mystery is solved.

MR. EVERYBODY
Getting closer to the point I'm trying to make. What do you think would happen if I put them back on?

MRS. EVERYBODY
Your feet would be warm? I dunno!

MR. EVERYBODY
Here - let me show you

(MR. EVERYBODY puts socks on his feet)

(Cont'd.) Now what do you see?

MRS EVERYBODY
Uh-huh...I see now... One of your legs has shrunk. That happens in old age.

MR. EVERYBODY
Not! They do not match. Not partners. Single socks. Looking for mates. Get the picture?

MRS. EVERYBODY
Now I see what this is all about. You know - your pant legs cover up the socks. Nobody knows and I can assure you I won't tell

MR. EVERYBODY
That's not the point. Somewhere in the sock drawer...

MRS. EVERYBODY
...or sock bag. There are a lot of single socks looking for a partner...

MR. EVERYBODY
You mean, there could be a matching sock to this one? Last week I wore a black sock on the left foot and a blue one on the right

MRS. EVERYBODY
I'm sure nobody noticed. Did anyone say anything?

MR. EVERYBODY
They were probably too polite to mention anything especially since I was wearing a grey suit at the time!

MRS. EVERYBODY
These things do happen. You should check more carefully next tme

MR. EVERYBODY
"I" should check?

MRS. EVERYBODY
Uh-oh! Darn dishwasher is acting up again. Sounds like somebody is playing a set of drums. When are you gonna call a repair guy? The neighbor upstairs is gonna complain again and there she goes, right on time! 'Okay Mrs. Bud-inski! I know!' I better go upstairs and calm the poor woman down.

MR. EVERYBODY
What about the sock situation?

MRS. EVERYBODY
What about it? Why don't you go take a look in the sock bag in the cupboard and maybe you'll get lucky and find your sock's mate. Then they can live happily ever after

MR. EVERYBODY
The last time you went up to calm down Mrs. Bud-inkski, you disappeared for a couple of hours

MRS. EVERYBODY
Is it my fault she makes yummy strawberry cheese cake and buys off my silence?

NEXT TIME: AT THE MALL: THE EVERYBODYS' LOOK FOR A PARKING SPOT


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24. ZOO DIARY: THANKSGIVING TURKEY's DILEMMA


ZOO DIARY –THANKSGIVING – TURKEY’s DILEMMA

 
SCENE: CITY ZOO

Thanksgiving eve. The zoo denizens are upset with the zoo directorate having not been included in the Thanksgiving celebrations

RAT

Once again, we’re not included in Thanksgiving festivities

ZEBRA

Did you really expect to? I mean, why should they? Who are we? Merely the tools in which they make money. That’s all - and how do they thank us? Closing the zoo for the day so we can’t even expect extra treats from visitors. This is so typically…human
 
SOUND: GOBBLE-GOBBLE… GOBBLE-GOBBLE….

RAT

What’s that noise?

ZEBRA

Noise? What noise? Are my stripes straight?

RAT

You don’t hear that?

ZEBRA

‘You are magnificent… Those teeth…those sparkling eyes…’

RAT

Maybe if you’d get your face away from that mirror and stop admiring yourself…

ZEBRA

A person has to make sure that he looks good from every angle. Being the sole representative of the zebra specie in this zoo comes with a responsibility. A daily body examination is necessary to ensure that all my black stripes are evenly spaced on my perfectly white skin. ‘Yesssss! Perfection personified!’

RAT

Far be it to burst your bubble, Zeeb…

ZEBRA

…I am not zeeb - or zebby - or zeeby-baby. I’m a zebra. Z-E-B-R-A!

RAT

Gotcha Zebby-boy – like I was sayin’ – the way that I see it, the stripe on your upper right leg doesn’t well…match the left

 ZEBRA

What?! You must be mistaken. It’s not possible… How could this be? I just checked it not two minutes ago and it was perfectly aligned

(MANNY, the boa constrictor slithers in)

Hey – how ‘ya doin’?

RAT

Manny – you’re out. Free. Did you eat lunch, yet?

ZEBRA

Yes Manny – I do hope they’ve fed you some nourishment. I mean, it’s important to keep up your strength. We don’t want you slithering around hungry looking for anybody, heh-heh…

RAT

That’s the last thing we want…being that we’re your friends and all…that is to say, we don’t want you to experience hunger pangs…

MANNY

As I remember, I had a nibble a month ago. Sure is quiet around here. No humans to knock on the glass of my enclosure

NOISE: GOBBLE-GOBBLE  GOBBLE-GOBBLE…

RAT

There it is again. Sounds familiar-like…

(a turkey suddenly drops down from a tree)

TURKEY

Save me!

ZEBRA

A tree chicken. Never knew chickens live in trees.

TURKEY

I am a turkey who requires sanctuary

RAT

Listen chicken…

TURKEY

…turkey…I am – um – an endangered specie. Yes – that’s it and am declaring myself on the extinct list thus requiring sanctuary

ZEBRA

You must be someone important judging by your extensive vocabulary. All cultured and important species have an extensive vocabulary – and a beautiful body, of course

 TURKEY

I am. In fact, I can state with absolute knowledge that I am number one on everyone’s hit list, today

MANNY
(slithering closer)

Well I for one, believe you. You do look very appealing – in an endangered species way of course

RAT

Wish we could help, turkey, but we live out in the open

ZEBRA

I could send a protest letter to the Zoos of America if that could assist you in any way

TURKEY

I am doomed!

MANNY
(slithering almost directly in front of TURKEY)

Well turkey – really feel for you, in the true sense of the word. I just happen to live inside in a huge glass enclosure that has lots of hiding places.  Why don’t you come back to my pit and check things out? I live alone and there’s nobody to bother or see us

TURKEY
That’s a very generous offer on your part –

MANNY

-          Manny –

TURKEY

Manny

MANNY

Anything for a friend in need.

(the two start to make their way to MANNY’s place)

(cont’d.) Did anyone ever tell you that you have a beautiful, full body. I bet under all those feathers, you have nice firm flesh

TURKEY

The farmer takes good care of me. You can see for yourself when we get back to your pit.

 MANNY

Oh I intend to

TURKEY

Can I give you a hug?

MANNY

Later…when we’re alone…they’ll be plenty of hugging to go around…

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25. ZOO DIARY: Entertaining the visitors


 ZOO DIARY

                                                                     
SCENE: CITY ZOO.  DAWN'S EARLY LIGHT

Some of the zoo denizens are gathering together in preparation for the daily opening of the zoo. A whistle breaks the morning silence. The whistle is repeated again and again. A boa constrictor (MR. SQUEEZE) slither's out from the shadows.

MR. SQUEEZE

Hello? Anyone?

 RAT

Oh fer… That wasn`t the signal! It was supposed to be a bird call

MR. SQUEEZE

I think not! As I recall during the last meeting, we took a vote and decided on a whistle.

RAT

You left before the meeting ended. Remember?

MR. SQUEEZE

Perhaps…my memory isn’t what it used to be. Um…Ratty dear – you do have a lovely body…so smooth….so tempting…not a blemish anywhere…  I mean, you keep yourself in such good shape. Your tail is especially attractive as a nice, little snack…  I mean to say, located right there on your back

RAT

(running his hands up and down his tail)

You think so? I have been told that by many… Why are you staring at me like that?

MR. SQUEEZE

How about a nice hug, from one friend-to-another?

RAT

You have had supper, right?

MR. SQUEEZE

If you can call cat food supper. The financial cutbacks here at the zoo leave me hungry and wanting more

RAT

(backing up)

Where is everyone, anyway?

MR. SQUEEZE

Is there any more news about the zoo being on the verge of bankruptcy? What will happen to us? It’s getting to the point that everyone is looking very – um – appealing – in the looks sense of course

RAT

There’s no limit to what  changes they’ll make to save a buck. We’re at the top of the list for sure.

 (A shadow emerges into the zoo light)

(cont'd.)  RAT  

Well it’s about time!

ZEBRA

I was memorizing my lines my dear man. We must emote. We must open our mouths to properly enunciate the words like this: “loooo-loooo-loooo…la-la-la-la…Me-me-me…” That’s the secret in being an adept thespian, like me. I’ll be doing a solo in the show tonight so I have to be ready

RAT

You haven’t heard? The show is cancelled

ZEBRA

Say what?

MR. SQUEEZE

Um…zebra - has anybody told you that you have a striking body structure? Do you mind if I lick you a bit? I mean, to say of course, what makes you tick as an actor?

ZEBRA

Why thank you! Appearance if very important for an actor, y’know! Body appeal and all…audiences expect it, unlike other animals who shall remain unmentioned

RAT

Let's practice in case they want us to perform for the paying customers. Who has the script, anyway?

MR. SQUEEZE

The cheetah was supposed to make copies for everyone

CHEETAH

(bouncing out from behind a tree)

Somebody talking about me? Cheetah’s my name and running is my game

ZEBRA

Where are the scripts or did you use them to line your den, again?

CHEETAH

A cheetah needs to make renovations now and then! You are looking particularly delicious tonight, zebra baby…that is to say, very fat and luscious… Of course I mean to say, so masterful in a leadership kind of way

ZEBRA

You forgot to take your appetite depressants again, didn’t you? Ohmygawd! Run and hide!

CHEETAH

He’s at it again, accusing me that I’m off my meds! Anybody tell you you’re very appealing – in an intellectual sort of way, zebra? Why don’t we go back to my den and discuss it? I’d like to show you my etchings…

ZEBRA

Oh you’d like that, wouldn’t you? Just like the last actor you invited up. All we found of him was a paper fragment with the word HELP! You disgusting beast!

RAT

Enough! Everyone – back to your cages. It’s almost dawn and the visitors will soon be arriving. Does everyone know their parts?

MR. SQUEEZE

I lay around and look hungry. No problem there.

ZEBRA

I’m supposed to run back and forth and chew what is left of the one pathetic patch of grass. The ground is almost bare and my bones are beginning to stick out

CHEETAH

I like to suck bones… I mean, that is so sad!

RAT

And we rats will be…rats. A few fights - a few deaths… Okay – places everyone. The zoo is opening

CHEETAH

Mmmmmmm – that young visitor looks quite delicious…of course I’m referring to that cotton candy he’s eating

RAT

Now Cheetah, let’s not have a repeat of last week’s incident. Okay everyone – look cute! The paying customers are here! Places everyone! The show must go on!

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