FEMALE LOVER: I hate Valentines Day. It just reminds me that I'm always gonna be alone. I'm never gonna have someone to love, whose heart beats in unison with mine, in perfect synch.

FEMALE FRIENDS: C'mon you'll find someone. You have to keep some hope about you.

F LOVER: You keep saying that, but when will I meet him?

*Enter two men from the side in mid conversation.

MALE FRIEND: I hate this day, I really do.

MALE LOVER: Yeah well I hate it mo-

*He pauses and both Male and female lover stop and stare at each other, there's about a ten second pause in which the male friend waves his hand in front of the male lover's face*

M LOVER *out of the corner of his mouth: Do you suppose she's seeing anyone?

M FRIEND: Why don't you go ask her?

M LOVER: I think I will.

*He begins to walk towards her but after a few steps both the male and female lover clutch their chests and both friends begin to panic.

M FRIEND: What's happening!?

M LOVER *gasping in pain*: I think -I'm having a heart attack...

F LOVER *also gasping in pain*: Me- too...

F FRIEND: Quick! Phone an ambulance!

M FRIEND: Right!

*He pulls out his mobile and swiftly dials in a number. Both of the lovers fall to the ground in pain

M FRIEND: Hello? Yes I need an ambulance sent swiftly to the park in Redwing Drive?

*He continues to hold the phone and bends down to tend to his friend.

M FRIEND: C'mon you'll make it.

M LOVER *weakly: I- don't think I will...

*Both the lovers die. The phone drops from the male friends hand in shock. The female friend covers her mouth. Both are visible shaken by what just happened.

F FRIEND: Oh god...

*There is a pause, then the female friend looks directly at the male friend.

F FRIEND *speaking slowly at the horror of the idea: Wait a second...

*she gestures to the two bodies*

F FRIEND: Hearts beating in unison? You don't think...

*There is a pause as both stare at each other as the realisation dawns on them.

M FRIEND: I really hate Valentines Day.




JOESPH: I've had it up to here with you Paul! I'm never helping you with your inventions again!

PAUL: Joe, please this next invention is sure to work!

J: You said that the last time and what happened? No one bought it! We had that cotton gin for ages and they laughed at us at the inventors guild.

P: I still don't understand how that didn't work. You soak some cotton in some gin. How can you not buy it?

J: Don't get me started on the steam powered boat. It was all going fine, only you did the measurements of the boat in Imperial and the engine measurements in metric. And as for that plane of yours...

P: It got off the ground didn't it? We managed to fly it down the river, did we not?

J *really sarcastic and angry: Sure it got off the ground. Sure it did. And sure we were able to fly down the river. But why couldn't we fly it under tower bridge?

*P mumbles something inaudible

J: Louder please.

P *in a small voice: Because the chimney was too tall. But I swear this next invention will be a success. Just hear me out Joe.

J *his anger reducing somewhat*: Ok but if this is even slightly crazy I'm out of here.

*Paul places the rolled up poster onto the white board and unrolls it.

P: This is my new invention.

J: Well the design looks well thought out at least. What's it called?

P: The internal combustion engine.

J: The internal combustion- you mean this thing is going to explode internally?

P: Yeah but it's more complicated then that-

J: I'm going. See you at the farm Paul. *he walks out*

P: Wait Joe!

*He runs after Joe


"Six Months"

A woman opens the door and a man stands up to greet her with a huge hug and a brief kiss.

Her: "So how are you doing?"

Him: "About the same. Not so good." (He starts to cry.)

Her: "Well, let's sit down and talk. I've got some things I want to say before lunch."

They sit on the couch.

Her: "First of all, I've been staying with a friend but it's going to take at least six months for us to work through this, so I'm renting an apartment as soon as this month is over. I just wanted you to know."

He takes a deep breath and looks lost, like someone has just hit him in the gut.

Her: "What will you do with the house if we can't work this out?"

Him: "I'll sell it because I see you in every room and I can't stand it without you here."

Her: "Well, I want you to know that it's not another man. I can't understand why you'd worry that I'm doing this because of a new boyfriend or something."

Him: "I worry about that because you are the most beautiful and sweetest woman I've ever known and I can't believe there are not hordes of men clamoring after you."

She puts her hand on his face and he puts a pillow in his lap where she can lay her head. He strokes her hair and her face. He starts to lightly sob and has a hard time speaking.

Him: "When you said you were leaving, I made one of those sheets of paper in my head with a line down the middle. On one side it had 'Reasons I Don't Care' and on the other it had 'Reasons I Want Her to Stay.' Do you know what I put on the left-hand side of the page?"

Her: "No, what?"

Him: "Nothing. Not one thing. I filled the other column up until I cried myself to sleep."

Her: "Maybe I won't need an apartment."

They kiss.

"The Script"

(A couple is walking and holding hands, after just exiting a movie theater. Perhaps one of them is holding a half empty popcorn or candy container.)

Guy: I think we watch movies to try and figure out how to have meaningful conversations.
Girl: (disinterested and non-committal, sort of “keep talking” response) …huh.
Guy: But no one ever catches on, you know? I could never walk up to anyone and say "I wish I didn’t love you so much," and get a meaningful response. At most I would get a “I wish you didn’t either, you creepy bastard.”
Girl: You might be right. It’s almost like a musical and when you start singing no one else knows the words or the choreography, or that you’re even supposed to be in a musical.
Guy: Exactly! No one has the script.
Girl: Wow, that’s really… I really like that, a lot. I’m impressed.
Guy: Thanks.
Girl: (removes her hand from his, stops walking and steps in front of Guy, looking up into his eyes) ...I wish I didn’t love you so much.
Guy: Fuck you.

The Ignorant

This scene takes place in the lobby of an urban condominium building.
Evan is enlightened to the meaning of passion. Steve is enlightened to the meaning of escape.

Evan: So what? You’re not going to ask me how I am?
Steve: {After a slight pause} Um, are you alright, dude?
Evan: I’m spectacular. Does my face glow?
Steve: {After another pause, clearly confused} Are you sure that the stuff you got Sunday was straight?
Evan: What? The reefer?
Steve: Yeah, man…
Evan: That’s not what this is about! Shit!
Steve: {Incensed} Fine man! {A bit cooler} Why should your face be “glowing”?
Evan: This is Biblical.
Steve: {Rolling his eyes} Yeah, sweet… Well, what the fuck is it?
Evan: You’ve never read Exodus?
Steve: No. Dude, enough. I don’t even believe in God; what’s this shit about? I need to get to the shop.
Evan: Moses was glowing with Fateful Mortality when he descended Mount Sinai with the Imperative Tablets.
Steve: Yeah, you’re fucking high. At ten in the morning, dude? – you have a problem. Call me tonight when I’m off, we’ll hook something up for Friday. Unless you’re seeing Martha..? Whatever.
Evan: I met fucking Jesus, Steve, and Jesus is Buddha, too! God is real! Earth is for us to embrace and pacify ourselves by… The wind is grace!
Steve: Bye, dude. If you forget to call, I’ll hit you up in the morning.

Steve hastens off.

I ran this with a stopwatch in my head, and it was 57.5 seconds long. It can be rendered in a minute!

Valentine's Night

Scene: Man, dressed very casually, on hands and knees drawing with chalk on a walkway. Tub of sidewalk chalks at his side. Big, sweeping strokes and vigorous coloring.

Woman walks in. She is dressed in a suit, carrying a briefcase in one hand and folders and binders cradled in the other. She is reading something in her arms, walking briskly, then slows down a lot when she sees the man. He does not notice her until she is directly in front of him.

He: Oh! (flustered, puts down the chalk, wipes his hands, smooths his hair) Hi, sweetie. You're back early. How was your day?

She: (absently, doesn't look up) Fine.

He: (starts coloring again) I was hoping to get this done before you got home -- sort of as a surprise.

She: (still reading) Did the kids get to bed on time?

He: Yes. Even the big boys. They were great. Homework done and everything. I grilled some teriyaki chicken and made the rice the boys like for dinner. Boy, Gordon was really wiped out after soccer prac...

She: No vegetables?

He: (stops drawing) What?

She: You didn't have any vegetables with dinner? Are you an idiot?

He: (goes back to coloring) I'll have them tomorrow.

She: (stepping closer) Tomorrow, right. It's always tomorrow with you. (looks down) What is this?

He: (cheerfully) It's for you. (stands up next to her, takes her gently by the elbow, turning her so she can see better) See? It's a heart. (looks at his watch) It's still Valentine's Day for a little while.

(They look into each other's eyes and lean closer. She looks down to his hand on her elbow.)

She: (pulling forcibly away and stepping on to the heart) You goddamn stupid retard!! (slapping the chalk of her arm) I just got this dry cleaned!! Don't you ever think?! Ever?! (mutters and curses as she walks offstage)

He: (watches her go) (softly) Yes... all the time. (looks down at the heart, steps on a piece of chalk, audibly snapping it, walks in the opposite direction offstage)

many thanks to jjen for helping whittle this down to size!

Not Alarmed

Man and his obviously pregnant wife are in bed together. His chest is bare and his left wrist is wrapped in gauze.

Woman sits up with an effort and puts a hand on his arm.

Woman: “Please, don’t go to work today.”

Man: "Believe me, I’d rather stay home but I’ve got a ton of lot of shit to do. Something wrong?”

Woman: “No, not really. Have a good day.”

Man: “It’s just, we really need the money what with the baby coming. I really need to go to work today... I still love you, you okay?”

Woman: “I’m fine. I’m, just…. I’m just hormonal and, you’re right, you should go to work.”

*Man  stands up. He bends down to kiss her. The alarm clock goes off and he hurls it across the room. He picks his cell phone up off the nightstand and starts dialing.

Man: “Dave, it’s Jack. Sorry but I won’t be able to make it in today… No, it's personal. I can't explain it but that's the deal. Thanks. Bye."

Woman: I'm so scared."

Man: "Yeah, me too but I'm here. Things are gonna be okay, you'll see."

*Man puts his head down on top of hers.

The End.



Lady cat is sitting on a bistro style table. Stray cat swaggers by. He leans against a nearby garbage can and starts grooming himself.

Stray cat: “Hey Lady, coffee, tea or me?”

Lady cat: “You can keep on walking Mister Stray cat. I got no tail for you.”

Stray cat: “Aw, come on sugar.”

Lady cat: “Lie down with the dogs, come up with fleas.”

Stray cat: “I saw your friend Princess the other day.”

Lady cat: “She’s late too.”

Stray cat: “She’s meeting you?”

Lady cat: “We’re friends.”

Stray cat: “Good friends? Close friends? Intimate friends?”

Lady cat: “Don’t you ever think about anything besides getting laid?”

Stray cat: “I think about you.”

Lady cat: “I think about you going away.”

Stray cat: “Give me a kiss and I’ll leave you alone.”

*Lady cat blows Stray cat a kiss.

Stray cat: “You missed. Guess that means you want me to stay.”

Lady cat: “You mean all I have to do is kiss you and you’ll leave me alone for good?”

Stray cat: “That’s it Lady doll. One kiss will prove that you have no affection for me whatsoever.”

Lady cat: “A kiss is an expression of affection Stray cat. Not kissing you would mean I have no affection for you whatsoever.”

Stray cat: “So don’t kiss me.”

Lady cat: “Ha. if I would have known a kiss was the way to get rid of you I’d have kissed you long ago. Ages ago. Eons. An eter…”

Stray cat: “So what are you waiting for?”

Lady cat: “It's a logistics problem Stray cat. I'm over here and you're over there.”

*Stray cat jumps on top the table.

*Lady cat picks up his paw and kisses it before walking away with a swish of her tail.

The End.



Terminal Resistance

Two elderly, elegant gentlemen, relaxing in each other's company in a elegant club.

Sir T.: So, Humphrey, how did the opening of that monstrous Terminal of yours go? I hear that your political master was rather embarrassed.

Sir H.: (Chuckling) Oh Tarquin, you should have been there.

Sir T.: At the Terminal? Heavens no.

Sir H.: No, in my master's office. At one stage I thought I had to call an ambulance. But that's what you get when you let women into politics.

Sir T.: Indeed. Did you remind her that it was her that was mainly responsible for the chaos?

Sir H.: what? That it was her who proposed the bill for the reduction in parking spaces for baggage handling staff on airports in the south east to reduce the carbon foot print and tire use? Funnily she didn't remember. You know what happens if politicians don't read what they sign.

Sir T.: Golly. You just can't trust politicians.

Sir H.:(chuckling) Indeed.

Suggested and inspired by the best girlfriend ever

Landscape with Still Life

(a 60-second adaptation)

TIME: A few years down the road.


An older man, distracted; this shows in his manner and dress. He is in his mid-30s at least, but looks to be 50 or older.

A wily, and almost feral man, probably in his mid-20s. "Judge" is a nickname, not an appointed title, in his case.

Young woman, mid-teens to early 20s, wiry, nervous and hypervigilant. She wears a brass torque around her neck.

Younger than DI, but the same physical type, more anxious, furtive in her movements. She wears the same torque, and dresses much like DI. She may be mute.

PLACE: Utah. The Salt Flats. Greyish road salt on a tarp may be used to suggest the setting. A rail line runs across the upstage wall. Use a rope or copper tubing to suggest this. A railroad hand car, sporting an improvised canopy, sits on the rails, Upstage Left. Mime it, using a paper parasol; or use a 2D cut-out. MAHLER stands Down Right, at an easel, which holds a large, just-started canvas, the beginning of a landscape. An office-type pad of brainstorming paper will do. JUDGE, DI and DUCK stand Down Left. DI carries an AK-47. It may be plastic. JUDGE chews on a cigar. It could be a pen if the budget cannot handle the cost of a cigar.

60-second edit:


What use is it?




You heard me — what use is it?


What use is what?


Screw this. The painting, schmuck! What use is it? (MAHLER barely opens his mouth. JUDGE gestures, knife-like.) Don't talk. Di! Front! Watch the artist. I gotta think this out.

JUDGE leaves the stage. DI and DUCK remain to watch MAHLER. DI holds an AK-47, which she waves now and then in MAHLER's direction. MAHLER and DI stare at each other through a (very) brief silence.


What hold's he got on you?


Shut up Mister Man.




'Cause you don't . . . Duck'll hurt you. (Laughs) Yeah, Duck?

DUCK nods. MAHLER starts to speak.


Din't I already tell you shut up?

DI lets loose a short burst of gunfire at MAHLER's feet. It could be water from a squirtgun if there's no sound budget.


You know what the Judge he's thinkin' doncha? (Pause) He's calclatin' out what you're worth . . . dead ... live . . . what's more 'ficient. (Pause) Cos' 'fective. (Laughs) You a bettin' man, Mister?


I should have known.


Yeah, you shoulda. Why din'tcha?


I missed something.


Fuckin' A. What am I suppost t' tell you? Give you whole history lesson? You axed me what . . . what hold he has? You see this? (DI points to her torque.) This is the hold! He owns me, mofo asshole! An' people like you let it happen. (Pause) Hell, now I think I'll just sit an' watch. This should be good . . . either way.


What? What you talkn' 'bout?


Haven't you figured out yet? I haff spell ev'ything out?


Guess so.


Look. Two pos'bil'ties. One, he offs you, sells your hide, whatever else. . . Two . . . you get a pretty lil' necklace. Just like mine. Just like Duck's. (Pause) Vagrancy laws got real tough while you were away, Mister Man. He's got what they call clear salvage rights.

DI watches as understanding creeps across MAHLER's face. She begins laughing hysterically. FADE TO BLACK. DI's laughter amplifies and reverberates, then fades.


In its longer, 5 to 10-minute form, this piece was written with the idea that it would be expanded further, into a three-act — or at least a one-actplay. It was also written as a response to some frustration felt in a playwriting group that shall remain nameless, sponsored by a Philadelphia-area university that should also probably remain nameless.

I'd presented a number of scenes to that group from other works in progress that had elicited the usual — "it's evocative, the characters are interesting, but what's 'happening'?" sort of comments. I wrote this just to present something with a very clear, active through-line, to demonstrate that yes, I could write something more clearly event-driven than was my usual preference, at least when presenting draft scenes for feedback. It was one of those exercises that comes out of what seemed a trivial place and took on a life of its own.

But for the life of me, I couldn't think how to expand it, and is has sat, undeveloped, for about 14 years. Members of the group expressed the same sort of concerns when it was presented, namely: How are you going to sustain that sort of intensity for an entire play? Where does it go from here?

One possible answer: it goes much shorter. The last revision of the piece before it was trimmed to meet the 60-second mandate is available on request to parties with some interest in production.



PLOT: Two ex-colleagues cross paths in a business tower lobby, chance only permitting their time in an elevator to catch up.

(At the centre, towards the rear of the stage, a smartly dressed man (FRANK) with a plastic telescoping blueprint tube over his shoulder is pacing nervously, occasionally glancing at his watch. A woman (LOUISE) with tousled hair, carrying a large brown envelope, handbag and tote bag runs in, stage left; walks past him. A projection behind them shows the elevator display. This indicates what floor the elevator is at. The elevator panel need not be a prop - it can be mimed).

FRANK: (Teasingly.) Good morning Miss Margera. Late for work?

LOUISE: Actually I don't start till... (notices him) Frank! How... what are you doing here?

FRANK. Meeting on the second floor.

LOUISE: (Flustered.) Ah, I guess you're meeting... so how are the... how's work?

FRANK: Fine, fine. And you?

(They begin walking forwards).

LOUISE: Dense apart hotel project. Neverending.

FRANK: Hate those - such a waste of time. What do you have there?

LOUISE: Competition. Remodelling of a theatre in...

FRANK: (Glances at the elevator display, cuts her off) You look different. Your hair?


LOUISE: Well it's been a long time since...

FRANK: After you.

(She steps in i.e. she takes two steps right. He follows.)


(LIGHTS: Overall lights are dimmed. Spotlight directly above the two characters, pointing downwards. This is the elevator.)

LOUISE: (Hitting the elevator panel behind Frank). Your floor?

FRANK: Oh. Two. (Runs his fingers carelessly across the panel).

(Few moments of awkward silence. She looks in the general direction of her shoes. He never removes his gaze towards her.)

LOUISE: You know what... you wouldn't believe what I have in my bag. Remember?

FRANK: The Thornton drawings.

(Note that in the following piece, Louise and Frank finish off each others sentences - this should seem as a matter of coincidence and must sound like "1998? Right. I guessed I've missed you too".)

LOUISE: Rebecca had heard about it. I haven't let anyone see this since...


FRANK: 199...


LOUISE. Eight? Right. I guess I've missed...

FRANK: You (inaudible:) know...



(For the first time, she looks straight into his eyes. Her expression is sullen.)


LOUISE: Good seeing you, Frank...

FRANK. Louise.



by David Lawson (New York City, NY) Plot: Two common businessmen argue over the potential environmental impact of purposed advertising on the moon.

COMMON BUSINESSMAN #1: No! I won’t you goon! Come on now! Advertisements on the moon?

COMMON BUSINESSMAN #2: It’s high time for something new!

COMMON BUSINESSMAN #1: My oh my, listen to you!


COMMON BUSINESSMAN #1: We could throw off the motion of the ocean!

COMMON BUSINESSMAN #2: So it’ll switch! Who cares, we’ll be rich!

COMMON BUSINESSMAN #1: It could end the earth!

COMMON BUSINESSMAN #2: But think how much it could be worth!

COMMON BUSINESSMAN #1: We can’t do this, now use your head!

COMMON BUSINESSMAN #2: It’s a choice between rich or dead. And a life without riches is one to dread!

COMMON BUSINESSMAN #1: It is a fascinating offer...

COMMON BUSINESSMAN #2: One that would put gold into your coffer.

COMMON BUSINESSMAN #1: I don’t know! I don’t know! I just don’t know.

COMMON BUSINESSMAN #2: Sure you do. Think of the dough!

COMMON BUSINESSMAN #1: And what will be the fee?

COMMON BUSINESSMAN #2: For a billboard all can see, oh so bright with shining light, maybe...one million a night!

COMMON BUSINESSMAN #1: Why the price sounds right.


COMMON BUSINESSMAN #1: And times are tight.


COMMON BUSINESSMAN #1: Oh shucks! Let’s do it! For all to see! A nightly commerce jamboree!

COMMON BUSINESSMAN #2: Yes boy yes! Now you see!

COMMON BUSINESSMAN #1: I do! I see! I really see!

BOTH: Hurrah! Hurrah! ECONOMY!


Having Fun with the Locals (based on a true incident)

A short comedic scene in which a man decides to have a bit of fun with his very less-traveled co-worker.


Young Man: Heard you went up to Canada last weekend. (does bad Canadian accent) Take off, eh! (laughs) Hey, what's it like up there? Different from here, huh?

Older Man: Nah, it's pretty much just like the US. There's a few differences, though – it is another country, y'know!

Young Man: Hell, I've never even been outta the state! They speak English up there?

Older Man: Well, sure, it's an English-speaking country. Like I said, it's almost just like here. The time difference is a problem, though.

Young Man: Oh, you mean like they're in a different time zone or something?

Older Man: No, not exactly. Y'see, Canadian hours are six minutes shorter than American ones.

Young Man: Get outta here! It's all the same, ain't it? Hours are hours wherever you go.

Older Man: Nope. Theirs are six minutes shorter!

Young Man: I never heard of that!

Older Man: Well hell, if you don't believe me, Google it. There's at least three software packages out that help businesses deal with it.

Young Man: (laughing, but skeptical) You sure about that?

Older Man: You think that's bad ... go over to England. Their hours are eleven minutes longer than ours, and they don't speak English there!

First Impressions

Steve is sitting in a café at a table for two facing the chair across from him. He is not looking at anything. Betty approaches him.

Betty: Um, Steve, right?

Steve turns his head to Betty.

Steve: Yes. Betty?

Betty: Hi.

Steve doesn’t stand but extends a hand, which Betty shakes.

Steve: Have a seat.

Betty looks from the empty chair to Steve, who hasn’t moved.

Betty: Thanks.

Betty sits.

Betty: I like the ambiance here. Looks like a nice place.

Steve: Yeah, it’s okay.

Betty: …You look nice.

Steve: Thanks. You do as well, I’m sure.

Betty: What? You’re not sure?

Steve: I don’t really care what you look like.

Betty: I spent two hours getting ready for this.

Steve: I appreciate the effort.

Betty: “Appreciate the effort”? You jerk!

Steve: Why are you getting angry about this?

Betty: Damnit, my friends are always hooking me up with assholes! I hate blind dates.

Steve: …I am blind!

Even in Death

Man runs on stage out of breath. There is a ball on the ground not far from him.

Man: Oh god, they are everywhere! I can’t run anymore. Everyone I know is dead. The zombies are everywhere! Even Roxanne. Oh god, I loved her and those bastards killed her!

Roxanne, who is now a zombie, shambles onto stage.

Roxanne: Grawwol!

Man: Roxanne? No! You can’t be a zombie. Not you!

Roxanne shambles towards Man.

Roxanne: Mraarh!

Man: No!

Man picks up the ball.

Man: Stay back. Stay back!

Man throws the ball at Roxanne. It bounces off her. She picks up the ball and hands it to Man.

Roxanne: Urrgh!

Roxanne shambles by Man.

Man: What? Even in death, I’m not good enough for you?

Roxanne shambles up to Man and pats him on the shoulder.

Roxanne: Just! Friends!

Roxanne shambles off stage.

Never a Dull Moment

Man sits in a chair by himself. He spends his time twiddling his thumbs, sighing, yawning, puffing up his cheeks and blowing raspberries; until, half a minute later, Aide walks up to him.

Aide: They are waiting on you Mister President.

Man stands up.

Man: Work, work, work! That’s all I ever do around here. This job is so hard.

Aide: You do us proud, sir.

They exit.

Let 'er Down Easy


Garland Grey

A woman is lying in bed and a man is seated on the bed next to her, lost in thought. He stands up from the bed.

MAN: I know it is the wrong time for this, but I have to say it. I feel trapped.

(His voice is high and squeaky, and you feel as if she has been brutalizing and emasculating him for years. She tries to sit up, and he puts his hand out to stifle any objections she might have.)

MAN: No, it isn't anything you did, you have been the best girlfriend I've ever had. You were so supportive, so constantly there for me at all times. (His voice raises.) But I need to go. For me.

(She wears a mixture of emotions. It is all so sudden. She is angry, hurt, confused. She is literally speechless. He begins to pace.)

MAN: I know this seems sudden, but it has been building for a long time. I think we both know it. I know you were thinking about getting married one day, but that is simply out of the question.

WOMAN: (Sitting up, and shouting) What in the fuck!?

MAN: Jill, keep your voice down, I'm just...

(A nurse enters and begins to pantomime checking phantom machines and tubes near where the woman is lying. She clearly came into the room to eavesdrop)

WOMAN: I will not keep my voice down you goddamn cocksucker! I can't believe that you would do this to me, here.

MAN: Jill, you arn't being fair. I have made every effort to make this work.

WOMAN: You wanna talk about fair? You make me come down here, pay for my own abortion, because (in a mocking imitation of his voice) "Baby I hate condoms, they feel like shit, I just want to feel me inside you" and now you want to talk about fair? Fuck you!

MAN: I can't talk to you when you are like this.

(She snakes out a hand and slaps him, and the nurse has to restrain her from attacking him any more. He exits the stage, and she lets out a scream after him.)


The Reverse Philosopher

Scene: man, stage left, stands on a soapbox motionless deep in thought. Two men enter stage right and notice him. Setting: Ancient Athens.


Who is this orator?


Oh he’s an absolute inspiration! Estracos; narrow hips, the reverse philosopher, pride of Athens!


Reverse philosopher?

Athenian [enthusing]:

Yes, believing the world has too many answers he invents new questions just to keep those dratted philosophers on their toes! Hush –he stirs-

Estacos [loudly with frantic erratic movements]:

If a tragedy is performed backwards – does the audience become happy?

[performs the exact same movements in reverse]

?Ypah emocb ecnedo eht zod - sdrawcab demorfrp si idegart a fi

*pause for contemplation*

Spartan [utterly unimpressed]:

It must be spreading, last month, a Theban asked me what my food would sound like if it could sing.

Athenian [competitively]:

That’s nothing! Otalp the miniscule once convinced a fellow to stick two horses together so they could do forwards rolls mid-gallop!


Please sir! Have I not told you of Aristotle and his "logical categories"?

Athenian [shrieking with delight]:

Logic! – How drole!

Learn the "backwards language" like you would a foreign one, I have written this to be easy to say in reverse phonetics.

I know you don't like to use props but if you could just superglue two horses together and get them to trot across the back of the stage then that would be just champion.

Coffee and Klingons

I shall not describe gestures or moods in much detail, as the performers' own interpretation will no doubt give better results than mine. The play is no triumph of subtlety, so this spares us from having "HAM IT UP" on everything.

(Scene: A stage, either bare or with a few props of obvious prophood. Three CHARACTERS, whom we shall title LISA, MALCOLM and JOSEPH for our convenience, enter, chatting.)

Joseph: ...so what bugs me about Matrix knock-offs is--

(The characters turn and see the audience, freak out.)

All: AAA!

Malcolm: People!

Lisa: (Speaking partially over MALCOLM for some semblance of credibility) Stage! This is a play!

Joseph: Weird. So how do we go back? I have to pick up the kids.

Malcolm: Go back to where? That isn't the coffee shop we just came from, that's backstage!

(The kind of moment where heavy things sink in.)

Joseph: My God...

Lisa: Hold on. If we weren't anywhere then when the play ends and this body, this actor goes offstage and comes back playing a Klingon* or something then what's gonna happen to me?


Malcolm: What if they don't come back?

(MALCOLM throws a furious punch at JOSEPH's chin, missing by several inches; JOSEPH crumples to the ground in an overtly theatrical fashion.)

Joseph: OW! AARGH!**

Malcolm: Dammit, just a stage punch. (Cups hands around mouth, shouts at JOSEPH) I know you're in there!

Lisa: Guys, enough drama! Look at us - no costumes, no background, we're in a vignette or something.

Joseph: (Gathering himself up) Waiting for Godot had just a couple of things.

Malcolm: Does this look like high art to you? So the script is short... but it still needs something to end on. (Shouts) Nobody act!

(The three stand absolutely still, their heads hanged, for a couple of seconds. Lisa's return to motion shocks the other two like the better kind of cattle prod.)

Lisa: But stillness is a stopping point!

Joseph: Okay, okay, uh, I don't like this more than you do, but if we're stuck here, why don't we put on a good play? You know, make the best of what we do have when this kind of mutiny just ruins it?

(MALCOLM and LISA stare at JOSEPH like he had just vomited up the Sun King... sorry, not good with metaphors.)

Malcolm: ...You just told a moral, didn't you? A bog-standard feelgood wretch of--

(Lights cut to black.)


*: If feasible, replacing references to Klingons with references to whatever the actress is going to play next would be most awesome.
**: Or some other expression of pain. This is just hanging a lampshade, here.

Thanks to jjen, unless you did not like this play, in which case she had nothing to do with it.
Quick user poll: Keep this title or change it to "Deep" or "Doubtlessly profound" for such meta silliness?

Double Trouble

Man and woman are facing each other.

M: "Damn I missed you."

W: “Prove it.”

M: “Take off your clothes and I will.”

W: "You will what?"

M: "Prove it to you."

W: "You're going to love me like there's no tomorrow?"

M: “You can't be real. Touch me so I can believe in you."

W: “Sleep with me so I can dream with you."

M: “Scorch me so we can burn together.”

W: “Feed me or we’ll die together.”

M: “Die with me so we can live forever.”

W: “Dream with me so we will never die.”

M: “My dreams will never die now that you've given me a child.”

W: “Hold us. We want to know you.”

M: “My heart is yours. Nurture it.”

W: “My children are yours. Love them.”

M: “Children?”

Woman nods and puts her head against his chest.

The End.


The stage is unlit when it starts with sudden sound. It’s jungle music, dark, discordant, disorientating and very loud- but somehow still organic. There are drums, screeching that could be from a pterodactyl and clashing horn instruments.

It goes for five seconds then ceases just as suddenly as it began.

The lights flicker on in a fluorescent way (is it possible to make them click?) and a man carrying a manila folder is moving across the boards.

He is wearing unwashed jeans, a scruffy leather jacket and an oversized orange T-Shirt with some Thai letters still faintly visible on the front. He needs a shave and good soapy face scrub.

It’s clear from the way he moves that he’s got a lot to say and feels like there is little time to say it (though of course he doesn’t realise he’s about to get run over by a bus), and even if his general seediness and the way his eyes gleam madly out from behind his glasses cause some to put him down as a lunatic, the overstuffed manila folder he’s carrying will give others the impression that he’s some kind of absent minded academic.

He accent is English, London. He knows that no one other than him will ever care much about the orgiastic rhinoceros ritual of now vanished Paluk people, but it’s welling up in him and pours out anyway.

“And then (he shouts, damn close to ranting, speaking too fast) there was the jubilee rites of the Pamuk Ula, the warrior tribe that ruled absolutely between the Alitac River and the Mountains of the Moon in Ethiopia. At the height of their annual feast they selected a youth and pitched him, armed with nothing but a small dagger, into moral combat with an angry rhinoceros"(he wants us to be amazed)

“And the final time they held this feast, just months before the Italians invaded in 1935, was the largest and most spectacular ever, because that very afternoon old king Musa had just vanquished a rebel army led by his nephew at the very gates of his capital”.

“Lloyd Taylor, the anthropologist, he was there that year, and he wrote about it! Herds of shackled prisoners, hundreds of warbling concubines in grass skirts, thousands of loyal subjects reeling with joy and the beer they used to brew from fermented bush honey, the victorious cavalry, still grimy with blood and battle sweat, cavorting ecstatically, filling the thick evening air with red dust, the court shaman frothing at the mouth, and somehow in the midst of it all, they loosed this enraged bull rhino. That was when the young Tiko Musa (here he reaches a new pitch of enthusiasm and starts jumping around, acting it out as he sees it in his mind) not even thinking about the fate of his friend the thing just disembowelled, leapt out of the rhino’s path, and even though he shattered his kneecap in the process, somehow ran his dagger through its neck."

"Can you imagine it?" (he implores!).

And it was the duty and honour of the boy who killed the rhino to serve its still twitching heart to the king on a jewel encrusted plate they said was 2000 years old and a gift from the Queen of Sheba” (a few papers fall out of the manila folder when he gets to this point, he pauses to pick them up and catch breath)

From off stage, shouted: “Watch out you fool”.

Our enthusiast doesn’t even get a chance to stand up.

In the second or so before the stage goes black there’s just enough time to see him look to the right with surprise and horror, then there’s the horrible sound of a bus engine, brakes and the poor guy getting collected.

The stage stays dark for three or four seconds, there’s no noise but you can faintly see the lights from an ambulance flickering.

The ambulance lights fade away, and from somewhere off stage a brass band can be heard to strike up a jaunty rendition of the Italian national anthem. A screen at the back of the stage comes on, five seconds of stock footage of the Italian conquest of Ethiopia. The footage must make it clear that the conflict is in Africa. Suggestions include showing Ethiopian soldiers on horseback, an Italian tank, surrendering Ethiopian soldiers at the end of the war, a statue of Mussolini or an Italian flag in Addis.

Cut to black. Silence. The number '2007' appears on the screen in stark black and white and stays there. There’s the sound of a jet landing.

The stage is lit again, but this time gradually, and only to something like the dullness of a winter’s afternoon in London.

There is only one brightly lit area, at the left of the stage. Underneath it there’s a desk with a computer on it and a business like woman sitting there, tapping away at the key board. Two chairs are placed in front.

From the opposite side of the stage enter an elderly black man wearing an old fashioned hat and a slightly younger one with grey hair. They walk a little uneasily towards the desk and sit down. The old guy has a limp.

Once they've both sat down she looks up at them.

Woman: “Tipo Moosa?”

Tiko’s son: (English, with just a touch of elsewhere) "His name is Tiko".

(The woman doesn’t seem to hear him).

“The available role is in an aged care facility providing exceptional nutritional solutions to a variety of stakeholders. Mostly it will involve simple cooking, soft boiled eggs, pumpkin soup, toast and margarine- that sort of thing. The successful candidate will have interpersonal skills, demonstrated commitment to health and safety standards, and food experience."

Tiko and his son have a low hurried exchange in a foreign language, but say nothing to the woman.

Woman: (looking first at the computer screen then at the old man, starting to sound dubious) "It says here he has previous experience with food service and preparation. Is this true?"

(more talk between Tiko and son).

Tiko’s son: “He says he has some”.

Flick off the lights, crank up the jungle music, that’s it.

The Art Of Insulting - Chapter XII- Excerpt from the 1992 World Insulting Championship Final in Brussels (Vassilyevich vs. White)

This year, I shall/will/am submit/ting a previous writeup of mine, a chapter from The Art Of Insulting. I will not write it again here, because Redundancy is not my middle name (my middle name is Fantastic). You can find it here.

You will need three actors - the announcer/commentator, White and Vassilyevich, and two chairs.

Notes on how to make it a play:

White and Vassilyevich are seated opposite each other on chairs, at the middle of the stage.
The announcer steps to the middle of the stage and recites the introduction (with comment).

Then he steps off to the side, from where he recites, in the style of a chess match commentator (i.e. very quietly so as not to disturb the competitors) the comments (in italics and in brackets).

Vassilyevich should have a Russian accent, thick as you can make it.

I will leave it to the director to decide how to portray White's resignation. Just one comment to the director: please don't fuck it up.

P.S. If no one on the cast speaks chess: Kt-KB3+ is pronounced "Knight to king's bishop 3 check"

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