(Two actors are on stage, holding legal pads. Actor 1 is pacing.)

Actor 1: There is no way. There is no way to squeeze a meaningful plot into this short amount of time. I refuse.

Actor 2: What are you talking about?

Actor 1: It would have to be an allegory. Something that looks at society as a whole through the life of one individual. Something very now.

Actor 2: What about a character study?

Actor 1: Are you kidding? This isn’t the nineteenth century. No, fiction has to tell us where we are, and where we’re going. Fiction has to mean something.

Actor 2: What about entertainment?

Actor 1: Look, we don’t have time. This is a ten second play. It has to be short.

Actor 2: A ten second play?

Actor 1: A ten second play.

(They think.)

Actor 2: We could just cop out, take the easy way.

Actor 1: How?

Actor 2: Do metafiction. Write a ten second play about two people writing a one second play. (Laughs) Most of it would be exposition anyway.

Actor 1: That’s a wretched idea. (Beat) Let’s begin.

(They scribble furiously, then both look up.)

Actor 2: What’s the message?

Actor 1: (Slightly defeated.) We don’t know where we’re going.


#1 - I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

A boy and a girl are sitting at a table in a cafe. He is
staring at her, moon-eyed and obviously in love. She's less
interested, staring into the middle distance.

     Have you ever had that feeling 
     when you realise that that old
     friend of yours may actually be  
     your one true love? How do you 
     going about telling them? How 
     can you look them in the eye 
     and tell them that you ache for
     them, that all you want in the 
     whole world is to be with them?

     Just do it. Just say the words.

     But I'm so scared. What if he 
     rejects me? I'd die, I'd just die.

     He won't. He couldn't possibly,
     not with someone like you.

     Well then, old friend, this may 
     come as a bit of a shock, but 
     I'm in love with --

     I love you too!

     What? I was talking about your 

     Huh? Oh, I was talking about...
     Bono. Isn't The Joshua Tree 

They both look away, embarrassed.

#2 - Bedtime
A little girl (DAUGHTER) in bed. An older man (BOYFRIEND)
sitting beside her in a chair.

        (very uncomfortable)
     So, uh, okay, I guess --

     You have to say "once upon a time"

     What? Oh yeah. So, once  upon a 
     time, there was this cowboy --

     -- Princess --

     -- Princess, right. So, one day 
     she found this magic sword --

     Princesses don't have swords, 
     they have ponies!

     Look, I've never been any good 
     at this. I never really told 
     bedtime stories to my own kids.
     I just really like your mother 
     a lot and I guess I was trying 
     to make her like me too. I'm 
     just going to go.

     Wait, tell you what. Gimme twenty
     bucks and I'll tell mom you told 
     me the best story ever

     Twenty bucks! You hustle all your 
     mom's boyfriends like this?

Shaking his head, he pays the $20 and goes to leave.

     Hey, it's fifty for the ones I 
     don't like
bol - Almeria, Spain

Your call may be recorded for training purposes

Scene: The stage is split between a young female telephonist and an old bearded man. The woman is dressed in a suit, whereas the man wears black with a white ruff, (Think "Blackadder II"; tights and codpiece optional).
Direction: The man is talking animatedly into a mobile phone whilst waving an AOL bill theatrically in one fist. The woman sits motionless unaffected throughout, back permanently turned to the old man, maybe she drinks some coffee.
Motivation: The man is torn between righteous fury and the will to remain intellectually superior (as though talking to a child who has just used sandpaper to wash his car). The woman cannot be bothered to help and is relaxed to the point of distraction. She holds all the power.
Style: Shakespearean.

O.M. And so now, when I most need to access
information of direst urgency and import,
thou art broken; and cause my mind distress,
waiting on hold for technical support!

Tele. Upon thine internet provider’s bill -
it saith, I cite: "For connectivity
issues see our homepage -"

O.M.                                          Thou gleeky shill!
Thou knowest, maddam; that thou mockest me,
as thine own webpage, is beyond contact!
Accursed fool! Thy logic is corrupt!
If I had your head and a gun, I should act!
Beg for thy life’s end to be so abrupt!
Confound your technology, it shall sit,
in the Halls of Abaddon; copper wire,
circuit boards, aye and plastic casing, split!
Oh would Beelzebub’s powerful ire
tear thee from thine idiotic keyboard -
and cast thee also onto that same sword!

Apologies to The Bard

Artistic Integrity

Dramatis Personae: PROFESSOR: dressed in an academic gown. ACTOR: prepared to play the part of a philosophy student.

Scene: Classroom or lecture theatre. Perhaps a chalkboard could be used.

Style: Gentle satire and cynical meta-fiction.

PROFESSOR (aloof) And so I put it to you that it is morally wrong for a non-smoker to receive treatment for cancer through the NHS.

        (urgently consulting a script)
Err - What now?

PROFESSOR Allow me to explain, if taxes collected from buying cigarettes fund the NHS; then British tobacco users are already paying for more than their fair share of cancer treatment. Therefore those people who contract cancer without smoking are benefiting from the care that has been paid for by hard-working smokers. Ergo cancer patients who don’t smoke are thieving scumbags.

ACTOR (trying to stop the play) Hold on wait, Frank, Frank this is completely different to rehearsal

PROFESSOR Keep going. It’s too late – improvise something.

ACTOR But what you just said was seriously fucked up... that play about [insert a brief plot outline of your most crazy performance so-far here (i.e.: marrying an alien chicken from a time-reversed dimension.)] made more sense!

PROFESSOR Ah, sounds like you need to calm down, here, have a cigarette. Did I mention that Hitler was a non-smoker?

ACTOR (shouting) Oh my God! You're not Frank; you're that guy from Marlboro!

PROFESSOR (Laughs manically; tears off mask/beard/ costume; puts on cowboy hat) Bwa Ha Ha Ha! It's too late fool the entire audience has seen this little "play" of mine! They'll be on 50 a day by the end of the week and there's nothing you and your liberal friends can do about it! Ha Ha Ha

PROFESSOR exits stage persued by ACTOR

Apollyon; Huddersfield.

A big thanks to Albert Herring who very kindly helped me with some of the Shakespearean grammar;
tifrap for making some suggestions; and Chainstore for helping me with the layout.

Ask for a Refund

Cast (gender non-specific). Thespian: Voice tends towards a parody of Noel Coward, dressed casually. Bypasser: Wearing long overalls (brown prefered). set: bare stage

Thespian stands centre stage, hands in pockets, leaning forward slightly, looking intently directly into audience; an attitude that is kept for the entirety of the production.

Bypasser walks up to Thespian from stage right. turns to profile, facing thespian, faces are close together.

Bypasser: gestures to speak - opens mouth but is interupted...

Thespian: Sssssssssh! Thespian: Theres an exchange going on here! Bypasser: (suprised): Eh? Thespian: An exchange. You see all those people. (nods toward audience) They've paid good money for this. Bypasser: What you talking about? Thats just a wall. (loosely gestures to count the four walls) Thespian: Thats part of the exchange too. The fourth wall, its a kind of bonus, makes them feel they are seeing something they shouldn't. Bypasser: I wondered why you had your hands in your pockets. Thespian (quickly withdraws hands from pockets): Tut. I Meean... they get to see ME being someone that I'm not. (strikes a more heroic pose fists clenched) Bypasser: Really? Who aren't you today then? Thespian: puffing up chest: Today I'm not a famous celebrity... I mean I am. (said boldly with increasing doubt towards the end). Bypasser: And I thought you were Napoleon, at least thats what you said yesterday. (Thespian glances briefly at Bypasser frowning...

a short pause...

then resumes looking intently into audience). Bypasser: So this exchange thing, am I part of it too? Thespian: Nope, Just me. Bypasser: Aha.. I get it, the gate wasn't very good was it? Thespian: Have you read the reviews?

an awkward pause..

Bypasser: You finished? Its nearly dinner time. Thespian: Just the denouement to go and Its a done deal. Bypasser: Come on then. (Thespian relaxes and follows Bypasser as they both amble off toward stage left).

half way to offstage

Bypasser shouts: I'm going to tell the Warden you've sold that wall. Bypasser runs offstage persued by Thespian (who roars like a bear).


Tifrap - Brighton, England


Dramatis Personae:
Arthur Deveraux, a dapper young bon vivant.
Fred Wabinsky, a surly, unkempt Tabloid Editor.

(SCENE.--FRED and ARTHUR are sitting at a table staring at each other adversarially. There is a coffee pot, two cups and a bowl of sugar cubes between them. ARTHUR is holding a sheaf of paper tightly with both hands. The two speak rapidly and heatedly, overlapping at points.)

Arthur (thrusts the papers heatedly at FRED who glances at them): This can't go to print.

Fred (brusquely): Dunno how you got this. Don't care. If that's what you brought me here for, you're wasting your time.

Arthur (charming. Pours coffee into cups while talking): I invited you here for an exclusive interview to correct the things you've got wrong. Coffee?

(ARTHUR rapidly drops three sugar cubes into a cup)

Fred (overlapping on "wrong"): Truth don't move my papers. I'll take--

Arthur (interrupting, bored):Black with three sugars

(ARTHUR pushes the cup with the sugar at Fred)

Fred(surprised): You know my poison.(Fred slurps) Ain’t gonna stop the presses. Anyone know your history?

Arthur: No. It would complicate things--

Fred (greedily): How you gonna sweeten the pot if I bury this?

Arthur: Have you ever heard of the Gros Michel?

Fred: No. What's--

Arthur ( rapidly and clearly, as if reciting from a book): The Gros Michel is a species of banana. It was the commercial banana for the first half of the twentieth century. It was tasty, durable, and shipped well. The Gros Michel is now all but extinct because of one glaring vulnerability; A susceptibility to blight. Despite its value it was weak.

Fred:You tryin' to say this story's your weakness? 'Cause -–(FRED trails off and grabs his throat, his eyes widening in surprise. He falls forward onto the table then slumps to the floor. )

Arthur (Calmly, as FRED begins to clutch his throat): No, Mr. Wabinsky, you are the Gros Michel. I am the blight.

The Service Industry

A MAN and a WOMAN, waiting for a bus. It's dark, and it's damn cold. There could be a bench, or not, but neither one would use it. You know LeRoy Jones' "Dutchman"? Like that. Their conversation should be relatively flat and...bored. Not like 'bored socialite at the dance' bored, more like 'Sigourney Weaver in "The Ice Storm"' bored. It's important that both of the performers look absolutely like normal people, not sick or odd or addled in any way.

MAN (looking at her, maybe a bit too eagerly): Can I light your cigarette? (He fishes for a cigarette lighter)
WOMAN: I'm not smoking a cigarette.
MAN: Oh. Would you like a cigarette? (he fumbles around again)
WOMAN: I don't smoke cigarettes.
MAN: (after a brief pause): Would you like to learn? It's quite easy.
WOMAN: This is very strange.
MAN: I'm sorry?
WOMAN: This conversation is very strange.
MAN: It'll be good for you to unwind a little.
WOMAN: With a blast of Kool Menthol Flavor?
Man (eager again): If you like, sure.
WOMAN: I'm sorry, but no.
Man: Oh. (pause) Well. Can I shine your shoes? (he pulls a rag from his back pocket and holds it out to her)

Scene Out

The Earthling

The Earthling is dressed and acts like a typical inhabitant of planet Earth.

The four aliens: If there's some fancy way for them to enter – in puff of smoke, from above, from behind a pillar, tree etc. then do it. Otherwise, just have them enter stage right. If you can get alien costumes or weird-looking space-suits, good. Otherwise something as simple as a pair of deely-boppers and/or tinfoil will do. And if they all did different funny voices or accents, that would be good too. If the alien cop has a official-looking hat, a megaphone and/or something that looks vaguely like a weapon that would be good too. A super-soaker or baseball bat would be a cheap way of lending the right air of authority.

All roles are gender-neutral.

Scene: somewhere on planet Earth. Exterior, day. Modern times.

The Earthling is hanging about.
Suddenly the Humidorean alien enters.

Humidorean: Hail!
Earthling: What on Earth?
Humidorean: (pacing) We Humidoreans come in peace. We have much to discuss. We must forge an alliance to defeat the Zarkwad menace! With great sacrifice we can prevail!!
Earthling: Zark-what?
Enter Zarkwad alien from another direction. Sees only Earthling.
Zarkwad: (to Earthling) Greetings. The vile Humidoreans will soon be upon you! Join with us to defeat them!!
Earthling (gestures at Humidorean) You mean him?
Zarkwad: Drat!
Humidorean: Quick. We must not-
Enter Alien cop
Alien cop: Lawbreakers! You are under arrest for interfering with an isolated planet under false pretences. Raise your appendages and cease all activity. You will not be harmed if you comply.
(all freeze)
Humidorean: Shit!
Enter Alien Dee. Dee sees Earthling.
Dee: I come from a distant star to offer your proud people the riches of the galaxy. Wonders undreamed of in ... (trails off since Earthling is looking far less impressed than expected. Looks around. beat.) Uh-oh.
Zarkwad: Scarper!
Exeunt Zarkwad, Humidorean, Dee left, pursued by the alien cop.

(double beat)
Earthling's phone rings. He/she takes it out and begins to walk while speaking to it.
Earthling: Hi honey. (beat) Oh, you know. Some days are just one damn thing after another. How was yours? (exits right while continuing conversation e.g. uh-huh, yes.)


Sweet nothings

Roles are a male and female, though you could perhaps do it as two persons of the same gender if you tried. They are both seated, initially not looking directly at each other.

He: (exhales. It might be a sigh. Or it might not)
She: (looking at him) What?
He: Hm?
She: (repeating herself) What?
He: Why what?
She: Never mind.
He: Never mind what?
She: It doesn't matter.
He: Yeah, it does. What are you on about?
She: Why did you sigh like that?
He: I didn't. I was breathing.
She: Something's on your mind.
He: No, Nothing. I was just exhaling.
She: Fine. When you exhale like that, something's bothering you.
He: It's nothing.
She: What's nothing?
He: Just leave it.
She: Something is upsetting you.
He: Are we ready to go now?
She: (exhales. It might be a sigh.) I suppose so.
(He get up and takes a step. She hasn't moved.)
He: What?
She: Nothing.
(Exeunt together).

With apologies to La petite mort.

Ghost Story
Two people are stood at a bar, drinking. The second is a little 
drunk. Dialogue can be altered to suit the actors' accents if 

                    PERSON ONE
       ...and my mum's watch had stopped at 
       exactly 2:30!

                    PERSON TWO

                    PERSON ONE
       What? It's true.

                    PERSON TWO
       No offence, mate - I'm sure you're a nice 
       bloke - but it's just coincidence. All 
       ghost stories are. Just coincidence and 

                    PERSON ONE
       That's ironic.

                    PERSON TWO
               (cont'd; oblivious)
       --I mean, no offence to your mum or 
       anything, but I'd like to imagine your 
       grandad's ghost had something better to 
       do with his afterlife than make her late 
       for work, you know what I'm saying?

He suddenly realises what Person One said.

                    PERSON TWO
       Hang on, "ironic"? Did you die ten years 
       ago on this very day or something?

                    PERSON ONE

                    PERSON TWO
       Too right.

                    PERSON ONE
       You did.

Person Two looks around sharply in surprise. Person One is not 



MAN sits at an empty desk. As he speaks, MARY unpacks things from a box and places them on the desk (a telephone, a laptop, a photograph, stationery) ignoring what he is saying.

Man: Ah Mary, there's nothing like the promise of a brand new office... A man's haven from the incessant pesterings of home life... A place to think... To dream! Think how many grand ideas were born in offices just like this. How many plots were hatched? How many defining moments in history came about because a man such as I in an office such as this sat down at his desk and had an idea - nay, a vision - to change the world? A new beginning... A clean slate!

She puts an unopened parcel on the desk.

Man: (curtly) Where did that come from?

Mary: It was in the box.

Man: Well, what is it?

Mary: My money's on a small nuclear device from the future.

They freeze, staring at the package, as the lights intensify momentarily.


Role Switch

Enter entire cast, each with one chair. Actor 1 has a stop-watch. They seat themselves in 2 rows, facing the audience. They proceed to watch the audience as if they are the audience and the audience is the actors.

Actor 1: (Stands up) Hi. So this is basically YOUR (gestures to show he means the audience) play. WE (gestures to show he means the actors) are going to be the audience, and YOU (once again gestures to show he means the audience) are going to be the actors. So it's your show. You have 60 seconds. Go. (Starts the stop-watch and sits down)

The cast waits 10 seconds, watching the audience.

Actor 1: Seriously. We're not going to do anything.

The cast waits 10 more seconds, watching the audience.

Actor 1: Come on, do something. It's YOUR play. You still have about 35 seconds.

The cast watches the audience until the minute has elapsed.

Actor 1: And... time. Stops the stop-watch

The cast claps.


Don't expect applause from the audience, but this is the one everybody will be talking about afterwards.

The End

*This written with the very end of the show in mind. It's also pretty free form as many changes can be made to add to the overall effect.*

*scene- one man on stage. As many people as you want off stage.*

Man: Well folks I'm sorry to say this is the end of the show. The cast for the final play are late so this is where we leave you. Goodbye.

*He walks off. There is a five second pause (or longer if the audience applaud) then the sound of stamping and running feet is heard. This entire section can be removed or added to depending on how you think the audience will react. My recommendation is to leave it- the surprise will work better.*

Actor 1 (behind scenes): SHIT! We're gonna be late!
2nd Actor: I told you we shouldn't have left to go drinking!
Actor: It's ok I think we've got enough time to reach the stage.

*Whatever is said as the time approaches the last few seconds the actors burst out on stage.*

Actor 1: We're just in-
*lights go out and there is a slight pause*
Actor 1: Shit.



By Greth Teager of Middletown, OH

Dramatis Personae:
Ryan, the Husband
Karen, the Wife

Throughout the piece, both parties are getting increasingly frustrated with each other, and the speed of the interruptions should increase accordingly.

Ryan and Karen sit beside each other, about to embrace in a kiss, when Karen pushes away.
Karen: I've had it with you, Ryan; I've had it with this--this lie. We're though.
She heads for the door
Ryan: Stop, --
Karen: (Interrupting) Stop what? Stop yelling? Screaming? Keeping up this sham of a marriage? Going out that door? Well that, Ryan, is what I am doing right now. Goodbye.
Ryan: Wait--!
Karen: Wait for what? You to--to grow a pair? The councelor to fix our issues? Some deus ex machina to come down and save our life together? Or--or maybe you want me to wait until you've got me pregnant and obligated to stay for the sake of the child? Well if that's what you're thinking, then--(Line would finish "you've got another thing coming.")
Ryan: (Interrupting) Just.. Just shut--
Karen: (Interrupting) Shut that door behind me? Because I am inches away, and there is nothing, nothing at all that you can do to stop me you bastard.
He interrupts her, grabbing her by the shoulder, turning her, and putting a finger to her lips
Ryan: Shh.
He kisses her.

The Red Telephone.


  • NARRATOR: A disembodied female voice, preferably with a mild Received Pronunciation accent, perhaps like Carole Ruggier.
  • GORBACHEV: The actor playing this character should have some sort costume item identifying him as the former General Secretary of the Communist Party. Ideally, the actor would be bald and the famous "map of Russia" birthmark would be applied by stage makeup. He speaks with a "Boris and Natasha"-like Russian accent, played for comedic effect.
  • PHONE: Another offstage female voice, this one with a pleasant American accent, the sort you'd hear if you called virtually any bank with an automated operator.

(All stage lights are dimmed.)

NARRATOR: The year is 1991. Twenty-eight years after its inception, the famous Moscow-Washington telephone line remains an important diplomatic tool for preventing a global nuclear war. However, on Christmas Eve, Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev would discover that phone could be far more sinister than thermonuclear holocaust.

(Lights come up on GORBACHEV, seated next to some stage furniture resembling a desk. He picks up handset on a red telephone and dials a number. Then he places the handset to his ear and there is a slight pause.)

PHONE: Thank you for calling the White House automated switchboard. If you know the name of the person or office you'd like to call, say it now.

(GORBACHEV is surprised by the new system. He has a puzzled look on his face.)

GORBACHEV: Merry Crees-mass, Preh-see-dent Boosh!

PHONE: I'm sorry. I did not understand (Pause. PHONE repeats GORBACHEV as though his response was recorded.) Merry Crees-mass, Preh-see-dent Boosh. (Pause.) When you hear the choice you'd like, say it. Economical Voodoo. How to Read Lips. When one point of light went out, they all went out!. Operation Just Because. Nuclear Vessels.

GORBACHEV: (Exasperated.) Nuclear Wessels?!

PHONE: All right. Nuclear Vessels. We notice you're not calling from your home phone number.

GORBACHEV: I am calling from the Kremlin, Preh-see-dent Boosh! You joke! I get it!

PHONE: For security purposes, please say your spouse's maiden name...

(Pause. GORBACHEV is beginning to realise that PHONE is not joking.)

GORBACHEV: Maksimovna?

PHONE: ...after the tone. Beep.

GORBACHEV: Maksimovna!

(The questions begin to come in rapid succession, each quicker than before, bringing GORBACHEV closer to the breaking point. PHONE begins to speak as though an interrogation was taking place)

PHONE: Your first pet's name.

GORBACHEV: Boris the Bear!

PHONE: Your high school mascot.

GORBACHEV: The ice weasel!

PHONE: Your favorite color. The town of your birthplace. Your favorite food...

GORBACHEV: Red! Stavropol! Borscht!

(Gorbachev screams in frustration and begins to pantomime pressing the touchpad on the phone.)

NARRATOR: Intelligence reports state that thirty six minutes later, after pressing the 'zero' button to speak with a human a desperate 9,437 times, Mikhail Gorbachev finally broke down in tears. The next mornining, the Soviet Premier delivered his farewell address to the Politburo and the Russian people. The Soviet Union was no more.

(Lights fade to black.)

A Reading From The Book of Crazy, Part III

PARTS: One and Two, any two people

ONE: So, I was talking to Tobias earlier, and I got this idea...

TWO: That's the sort of statement, that while seeming innocuous, really raises a lot of other questions before you can go on.

ONE: Oh yeah?

TWO: The first, you know, sort of thing, that I think I should ask is -- the only Tobias you and I both know is your dog. Were you talking to him or someone else?

ONE: He’s such a cute little puppy.

TWO: Oh, ok.

ONE: Anyway, I was talking to Tobias earlier and I got this idea. We should start naming dogs “Doug” . Or Douglas, you know, depending on your brevity preference. And then I think that we should intentionally pronounce that vowel ambiguously. Dog Doge Doug Duge. Deferentially demonstrating daring diction.

TWO: Dandy.

ONE: See, this is different than just naming your dog “Dog”. That’s taking a common noun and making it proper. This strategy, however, allows you to raise an army of dogs who won’t know the difference between common and proper nouns!

TWO: And it might have some sort of effect on humans too.

ONE: Right, but that’s just an ancillary benefit for the ambiguity assault. Soon I would have an army of doggy Dougs. And none of them would understand the distinction between common and proper nouns. Ha ha ha.

TWO: What would you do with your army?

ONE: I’m not sure. Step one is a doggy army easily controlled due to their proper/common common/proper ignorance. Step three is world domination. I’m still working on step two.

TWO: Well, you’d better make it one hell of a step.

By Linus Cohen(Western Australia)

(Scene: A tree-filled park. WOMAN is sitting on a park bench, reading a newspaper. MAN is walking towards the bench, and is about to sit down.)

(MAN kicks stone, stone flys off-stage. We hear a breaking glass sound effect.)

WOMAN: You should apologise for that. If you don't, it's bad karma.

MAN: Karma. Pah.(MAN sits down on bench.)

WOMAN: I'm serious. If you do bad things, they will come back at you. It's one of the tenets of Eastern religion.

MAN: Karma is no basis for a system of morals. In truth, no-one can really know what morals are, for the entire concept of moral law is subjective and relative.

WOMAN: I doubt that. It's fairly likely that there is one objective system of moral law which can be applied to all things.

MAN: Nothing is objective, as long as it is studied by humans. Human ideas and concepts are all entirely subjective.

WOMAN: Oh, well. I guess I can't change your mentality.

(WOMAN stands up and punches MAN in the face.)

WOMAN: See? Karma! (She walks off-stage.)

MAN: Ow.


Dimview, Denmark


Stage: A couch semi-facing the audience. A television set with its back to the audience. A man, sitting on the couch, remote in hand. He is sitting legs crossed, arms hugging himself as if he's scared or sad. Now and then he clicks a button on the remote, obviously flipping through different news broadcasts. The TV speakers' commentary is supposed to be fired off rather rapidly, each "click" of the remote sending us on to the next speaker. If there could be a flickering light as from the tv screen, that would be a nice touch.


Speaker's voice: "The tsunami has caused major power outages, and thousands have been forced to leave their homes. Hundreds are missing, twelve have been verified dead, but the death toll is likely to rise...."


A different speaker's voice: "... and AIDS has claimed the lives of these children's families. Mtubi is eight years old, but is the sole provider and caretaker of his two younger siblings. Finding food is..."


Different speaker's voice: "Six teenaged scoolgirls were shot dead by one of their classmates earlier today. No explanation..."


Different speaker's voice: " ...businessman's family was kidnapped two months ago. The five bodies discovered are almost certainly those of his wife and four children, and investigations..."


Different speaker's voice: "... as the mine collapsed and trapped fifty two workers inside. None have yet been rescued, and the freezing temperatures make rescue work... "

While the last news spot is on, a woman comes hurriedly on stage behind the man, one stiletto in hand, the other one on her foot. She is nicely dressed, maybe for an evening out. Stops abruptly when she sees the man sitting there.

(Woman, exasperated, drowning out the speaker):
"Oh, John, please! I told you how important this dinner is. The least you could do is get ready on time. Please?! For me. Prioritize. Please!"

She hurries off stage again, hopping on one foot while trying to get her other shoe on.

(Man, quietly):
"...prioritize, yes. Sorry darling... "

Gets to his feet, surreptitiously wipes away a tear*. Turns off tv. Exits, following the woman.

The end.

* Or however the actor will choose to show the man's state of mind.

The Scene
MAN sits on stage in a chair. WOMAN enters.
Woman: Can I sit here?
Man: Of course.
Woman sits.
Woman: Nice night.
Man: Yes, it is. Come here often?
Woman: No.
Man: Looking for something?
Woman: Yes.
Man: Me?
Woman: No.
Man: Sure?
Woman: Simply because I am a single woman in a place like this does not mean I’m looking for someone.
Man: Sure?
Woman: Of course. I’m just coming here to come here.
Man: Sure.
Woman: If I wanted to find someone I would.
Man: Of course.
Woman: Are you looking for something?
Man: Yes.
Woman: Me?
Man: No.
Man laughs slightly. Stands and exits.

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