National Opportunities

This page is specifically for playwrights. Here are national opportunities to submit your work, unsolicited, year round. Currently, this only list opportunities for submission towards a production. For information about publishing and residencies, please contact rachel@arkansastheatrecollective.org. For weekly submission posts, check out our Facebook page. 

Companies in our region looking for new plays:

Kitchen Dog Theater (TX) — You can submit your plays by sending a paper copy to Kitchen Dog. Kitchen Dog will NOT accept emails. For more information, click here.
Mail to: Attn: Tina Parker, Co-Artistic Director
Kitchen Dog Theater
3120 McKinney Avenue, Ste. 100
Dallas, TX 75204.

Itinerant Theatre (LA) — More info coming soon. Website here.

Thunderclap Productions (TX)  — You can submit your play at any time. Simply send a bio, your play, a brief description. For more information, click here.

Undermain Theatre (TX) — Year-round submission. Click here for more information.

[Check back soon for more]

Companies to Know About

Playwrights Foundation — The submission window will re-open in mid-July. Accepting full length plays that unproduced. Writers may receive a small stipend

Lark Play Development — Submission window will re-open soon. The Lark has a variety of opportunities for playwrights. Overall, a great company to network with.

Dramatist Guild — Won’t produce your plays but can help with submission both nationally and globally.

Playwright’s Center — see opportunities to submit and tons of resources for new writers.

 

 

Check back soon for more information

Gospel

From the Prompt of the Week: Write a scene in which a character realizes there is no turning back.

Submitted by: Rachel Lynett (from here on out, assume if the author isn’t listed, the author is Rachel Lynett)

 

Title: Gospel

 

CHARACTERS

LUCY, late twenties

KEV, early thirties, her brother

 

 

 

SETTING

The play takes place in Lucy’s apartment. Present Day.

 

LUCY is sitting on the floor, meditating. Next to her

                        is a bowl of Skittles that she steals from in between

                        “mmmm”s. There is a knock on the door.

 

 

LUCY

Come in.

 

LUCY continues to meditate. KEV walks in and

                        just watches her amused for a moment. LUCY

                        opens one of her eyes and smiles.

 

KEV

What the fuck is this?

 

LUCY

I’m meditating.

 

KEV

Oh. Okay.

 

HE walks over to her coffee table and looks at the books

                        she has laying out.

 

KEV

(reading the titles)

The Art of Meditation? Why Buddhism? Finding your core? Explanation. Please.

 

LUCY

I’m God-shopping.

 

KEV

You’re what?

 

LUCY

Did you want something?

 

Beat.

 

KEV

Danny asked me to check on you.

 

LUCY

Oh. I’m fine.

 

KEV

He said you threw up.

 

LUCY

It could’ve been worse.

 

LUCY gets up from the ground and grabs the Skittles

                        container. She goes to the couch to sit next to her brother.

 

LUCY (cont)

So…now that I’m fine. Will you leave me to meditate?

 

KEV

I don’t think most people throw up when they’re proposed to by the love of their life?

 

LUCY

I’m not most people. Danny knows that.

 

KEV

And I don’t think most people eat Skittles while they meditate?

 

LUCY

Please refer to my earlier statement.

 

Beat.

 

KEV

You don’t seem fine.

 

LUCY

Kev, I swear. I’ve never been better.

 

KEV

Danny’s afraid you’ll say no.

 

LUCY gets up to start cleaning. There’s not much to

                        clean. She still tries anyways.

 

LUCY

How’s Joanna?

 

KEV

No. Don’t change the subject. What is all of this?

 

LUCY

All of what?

 

KEV

These books, this whatever you were doing when I walked in, avoiding Danny like you’re twelve and he just—

 

LUCY

I’m not avoiding Danny.

 

KEV

He asked you to marry him.

 

LUCY

I know.

 

KEV

And you have yet to respond.

 

LUCY

It’s a big question.

 

KEV

You’ve been with him for years.

 

LUCY

Only four.

 

KEV

Only four?

 

LUCY

You and Joanna dated for what six years?

 

KEV

And married for a year. What? Are you afraid of getting divorced?

 

LUCY

That’s not it.

 

KEV

Then what?

 

LUCY sits back down.

 

 

 

LUCY

Remember when I was fifteen and I decided I didn’t want to be…I don’t know…whatever we were. I wanted to be something with an actual church.

 

KEV

Yeah. And you chose to be Catholic. And you’d take all those bus rides to mass. You were obsessed.

 

KEV starts laughing to himself.

 

LUCY

Stop it.

 

KEV

Sorry. So what? Because Danny’s Jewish you don’t want to marry him? He told you he was Jewish when you two first got together.

 

LUCY

I know.

 

KEV

So…

 

LUCY slides further into the couch.

 

LUCY

I told him I’d convert. If we ever got married. But that I wouldn’t do it unless we were for sure getting married.

 

KEV

So you don’t want to be Jewish?

 

LUCY

No. That’s not it.

 

KEV

You should call him, Lucy.

 

LUCY

Well maybe that’s it.

 

KEV

Okay well then you need to—

 

LUCY

But then that’s so not it at the same time.

 

KEV

Right.

 

LUCY

You’re supposed to join a religion because you believe in it. And there are sooo many. You’re not supposed to join because you love someone who just happens to already be that religion right? Shouldn’t I believe in what I’m basically putting all my spiritual stock in?

 

KEV

What do you have against Judaism?

 

LUCY

Nothing. I just…I don’t know anything about it.

 

KEV

Okay. Then shouldn’t all these books be on Judaism? And not the whole spiritual spectrum?

 

LUCY

I didn’t think he’d ever ask me to marry him.

 

KEV

Seriously?

 

LUCY

Well no, not seriously. But…seriously.

 

LUCY gets up again. This time she’s not sure why.

 

KEV

Do you love him?

 

LUCY

Of course I do. I just don’t know that I’ll love his religion.

 

KEV

So that’s why you’re “God-shopping”?

 

LUCY nods.

 

LUCY

If I’m going to eternal damnation or save my soul, I want to at least be able to make a choice about it.

 

 

Pause.

 

LUCY

I love him.

 

KEV

I know.

 

LUCY

But this is a big step.

 

KEV

I know.

 

LUCY

A big scary step.

 

Pause.

 

KEV

Well, being Catholic is kind of like being Jewish but with more stuff. So maybe being Jewish will be easier.

 

LUCY

What?

 

KEV

You know, only half the Bible this time.

 

LUCY

That’s not how it works. (pause) There’s no hell though. That’s kind of nice.

 

KEV

Yeah.

 

LUCY

I should’ve never made that promise.

 

KEV

No.

 

LUCY

But I just didn’t think…it was a one night stand. Who falls for the guy they have a one night stand with?

 

 

KEV

Apparently you do.

 

Beat.

 

LUCY

But what if I go to hell?

 

KEV

Apparently there is no hell.

 

LUCY

But what if there is?

 

KEV

Lucy.

 

LUCY

What if I die and then I’m like “Damn you, Danny.” Literally.

 

KEV

What if you turn into one of those angry old people who lost the love of their life over something stupid?

 

LUCY

Religion isn’t stupid.

 

Pause.

 

KEV

Do you love him?

 

LUCY nods.

 

KEV

Then call him. Figure this out. Together. And if you go to hell, at least you’ll have the love of your life there with you.

 

 

Pause.

LUCY nods and goes to get the phone.

LIGHTS FADE.

Back to the Basics

When I was four or five,

a hurricane came through

and destroyed my bedroom.

The walls came in

and the plaster melted into my lungs

as the screams from the bedroom next door

shook away the foundation, away any hope

that those now mighty giants, those four walls

could ever be home again.

 

When I was seven or eight,

I danced on a tidal wave

confused and broken

not quite sure the cause for celebration

yearning for some past town

the water had already destroyed

but still unknowing, still holding out

for chance, for a moment to piece together

what damage had already been done.

 

When I was ten or eleven,

there were no more open doors.

Every room closed in too tightly

with strangers and those worse yet

people I had come to trust, people I had come to love

with no intention of keeping me safe

but rather keeping me trapped

isolated and broken

lost in the translation of secrets and horrors

locked doors and hidden bruises.

 

The years of silence cut through me

until my skin fell apart like confetti.

The scars and jagged edges knew my past

by its name

cursed with the affliction of wanting control

of wanting to believe that all that had happened

could somehow leak out of me.

That perhaps just one more abrasion

might hold the peace I had been searching for.

 

When I was fifteen or sixteen,

the world went dark.

Choices were to be made,

lives to be saved

or, as I decided, thrown way.

Moments sewn together

blotched memories

and the birth of an addiction

anything to make me feel alive

anything to make me feel alive

anything to make me feel alive.

 

When I was twenty or twenty one,

the hole in heart spread wide open

the core of it all yanked out from abuse

from abandonment

from the final blow to knock me over.

I sealed it with concrete

kept what I had inside private

and flaunted a harder exterior

Now I’d be impenetrable.

Now I’d be safe.

 

And the silence returned to haunt me

Until the rain finally came over me

and drowned me in the memories of those cherished few

the moments my heart raced so fast my body shook

when my hands shook just at thought of a touch

when I held my dreams, even for that short second, on my fingertips

balancing the amazing display for everything I bled for…

these moments somehow forgotten

the others burned eternally

 

And suddenly, an earthquake shook me out

clearing out the past and making way

for a minute, a small group of seconds

of clarity:

 

I’ve held onto my darkest moments so tightly

the residue of my resentment has left ashes

embedded deeply into my fingerprints.

 

It’s time to step back, return to the basics:

Open fists, release, and wash hands daily.

 

One day my hands will be clean.

Some day.

On the Behalf of Christians Everywhere

On the behalf of all Christians everywhere,

I’d like to apologize.

 

Believe me, I know its long overdue

and I’m not exactly the poster board Christian.

 

First of all I’m Catholic

and I haven’t even taken communion in years

so I don’t know that I’m qualified

but still I can realize that it’s time for us to apologize.

 

It’s unbearably clear that we forgot what we stood for

what we’re supposed to be about

what we’re supposed to believe in

who we’re supposed to believe in.

 

Last time I checked Christianity was about Christ.

And seeing as how he prospered in poverty

loved without judgment

and gave whatever he had

it’s clear to me that somewhere along the way

that all got lost in translation.

 

I apologize even for those of us who aren’t fundamentalists

which is really just a term that we all like to hide behind

someone to point out and say “Well at least we’re not them.”

Truth is, we can’t even see the hypocrisy leaking out of our words

because we’re not doing anything to stop them

to stand up against them and push them away from what we believe in.

 

Instead we’re allowing them to taint us, to break us,

to show the world a side of us that shouldn’t exist

because that side works against us,

against what we are supposed to stand for

and every time one of us stays silent,

another person is attacked

another person vanishes

another person dies.

 

So I stand here and apologize

for my silence, the times I hid

the times I kept quiet

the times I ran away

and let them say the things

I know Christ was adamantly against.

 

I want to apologize for the times I myself said hateful things

the times I used misinformation to inflict those who needed help

to cut down those who already had nothing to stand on.

 

But most of all,

I want to apologize for thinking leaving the church

made all of that go away

as though denying my sometimes-faith made me better than “those people”

and now suddenly I am reformed.

 

I am not. In my silence, I am just as guilty.

When I should’ve been strong enough to stay,

to fight against their acid burning through my religion

to call out those who violated the code of Christ,

I simply backed out.

 

And for that I am eternally sorry

so with these words, I hope to begin to make amends

to start over and re-trace my footprints back to some truth.

 

While I can’t go back, so neatly, to my faith,

I return to you, those who are still calling out for an army

those of you who still have no bed

no shelter

no family

those of you who have been cast out

because of who you’ve chosen to love

 

I am here, to lay my armor down by your feet

to stand guard when you need rest

to stand beside you when you prepare

for the daily battle of existence

 

And I am sorry it took me this long.

 

Are you game?

You said you were tired of

The thousands little lies

Lovers weave

Gentle misgivings like

“I’ll never hurt you”

Or

“I just want to save you.”

You said your heart was burning some truth, something you could hold onto

So here goes:

 

I am an asshole.

I can’t promise not to hurt you

because I inevitably will

and I’d love to pretend like I didn’t mean to

but, truthfully, I probably did.

And to be perfectly clear

I am not the saving type

because as far as I’m concerned

there’s no one here to save.

And while we’re in the thick of it,

Know that I am not the kind of person to “persevere” through your shit

And I don’t expect you to take any of mine.

 

But

I will love you

I will reach into the ends of everything you are

just to understand you

to listen to and honestly hear you.

I will lay my armor down at your feet

and break apart every single scattered piece of me

just to breathe you in

just to see you.

 

So no

this probably isn’t the fairytale you’ve been searching for

but I swear to you now and forever

that with my every explosion comes another piece of me

you can carve your name into

and with my every word, my every vow, every “I love you”

will eternally be the subtext of

my heart sliding out of my ribcage, through my lungs, across the air

and into your hands

always.

Ugly Girls Get Cat-Called Too

CHARACTERS:

LUCE, mid to late 20s, mixed race, average

HANNAH, mid 20s, white, beautiful

LINA, late 20s, Latina, average

 

 

SETTING: A beauty parlor waiting area. Present Day.

 

 

 

HANNAH and LINA are sitting in the waiting area

                                                LINA only half-listens, looking through a magazine as

HANNAH talks.

 

HANNAH

It’s just much harder than people think.

 

LINA

Uh huh.

 

HANNAH

I mean, men only really want to sleep with you. Women hate you and blame you for, like, everything. Everyone you date is trying to get back at you for some crazy shit that happened to them in high school.

 

LINA

Right.

 

HANNAH

And it’s like the whole world just expects things from me. I walk out of a crowded bar and I’m just as drunk as everybody else but I get pulled over by the cops. Not everyone else. Me.

 

LINA

Oh.

 

HANNAH

And you know why?

 

Pause. LINA continue to look through her magazine.

                                                HANNAH waits for her to respond.

 

HANNAH

And you wanna know why?

 

LINA

(completely uninterested)

Sure.

 

HANNAH

It’s because I’m attractive. Obviously.

 

LINA

Obviously.

 

HANNAH

Like it’s unsafe for me to walk any where by myself.

 

LINA

Oh.

 

HANNAH

You’re not listening to me. You don’t get it.

 

LINA closes the magazine and turns to give

                                                            HANNAH her full attention.

 

LINA

I don’t get it. I’m sorry that you feel that way.

 

HANNAH

I mean, seriously. I get cat-called every day. Every. Day.

 

LINA

That must suck.

 

Silence.

 

HANNAH

Where is Luce? She should be here by now.

 

LINA

You know Luce. She’s always late.

 

HANNAH

Well it’s really fucked up for her to be late. To this.

 

LINA

She’ll be here.

 

 

HANNAH

Remind me about this when she gets married. Then I’ll be late to her bridal shower make-over.

 

LINA immediately starts laughing uncontrollably.

                                                            HANNAH is not amused.

 

HANNAH

You’re an asshole, Lina.

 

LINA continues laughing.

 

HANNAH

She’s going to get married eventually. To someone. It’s really wrong of you—

 

LINA stops laughing.

 

LINA

What? No. I—what? No, Hannah. She’s obviously going to get married. She’s been dating that same guy for like five years. I was laughing because as if Luce would have us all get make-overs before her wedding. She’s probably not even going to have a wedding. You know what? She’s probably already married.

 

HANNAH

She wouldn’t do that to us.

 

LINA

Yeah. She would.

 

Pause.

 

HANNAH

Where is she?

 

LINA

Do you want me to text her?

 

HANNAH shakes her head and pulls out her phone.

 

HANNAH

No. I’ll call her.

 

HANNAH dials the number and puts it on speaker.

 

LUCE

(v.o.)

Hey, I—

 

HANNAH

Where the hell are you? How could you do this to me? You realize I get married in two days right? Two days! We don’t have time for this, Luce. Where are you?

 

LUCE

Hannah, I—

 

HANNAH

I am beyond offended by your behavior. Like beyond the point of—How could you do this to me?

 

LUCE

Hannah—

 

HANNAH

Like, I always knew you were selfish but this is just…abhorable behavior, Luce. If I could, at this point, I’d get a new maid of honor. What? Are you stuck in traffic, Luce? Don’t you know the city well enough by now to know that—

 

A click sound.

 

 

HANNAH

Luce?!

 

LINA

It sounds like she hung up.

 

HANNAH

That ungrateful…do you what I have done for her? You remember college don’t you? Nobody would even talk to her. Even look at her. This is infuriating.

 

LINA

Hannah—

 

HANNAH

No. Do not defend her. I am always there for her. All I want, literally, all I want is to make sure that my wedding photos look nice. We’re going to look back on these days for the rest of our lives. Don’t you want to look nice?

 

LINA

We can just start without her.

HANNAH

No. We can’t. It’s supposed to be the three of us. Not the two of us. She’s ruining everything.

 

Pause.

 

LINA

So, what’s Tim doing today?

 

HANNAH shrugs angrily.

 

LINA

Maybe he could be our third.

 

HANNAH glares at LINA.

 

LINA

Or not.

 

LINA pulls out her phone and begins texting.

 

 

HANNAH

What are you doing?

 

LINA

Texting her.

 

HANNAH

Fuck her.

 

LINA

Hannah.

 

HANNAH

No seriously. She’s being a real cunt right now.

 

HANNAH angrily grabs one of the magazines. LINA

                                                            finishes her text message. They sit in silence.

                                                            HANNAH’s phone rings.

 

HANNAH

What the fuck do you want?—Oh. Hi. Tim—No. Just Luce being Luce.—Well, she was supposed to—you’re where?—I don’t—what happened?—Oh, I—Um, wait a minute.

 

HANNAH covers the phone with her hand and

                                                            turns to LINA.

 

HANNAH

Something’s gone wrong with the cake. I’ll be right back.

 

HANNAH gets up and starts to walk away.

 

HANNAH

(as she’s walking away)

Well tell the baker to go fuck himself with his problems because I…

 

HANNAH exits. LINA watches her go and then

                                                            reaches for a magazine. Pause.

                                                            LUCE enters. She is bloody, her clothes are torn,

                                                            and she is limping.

 

LUCE

Well, I’m here.

 

LINA

Holy shit, Luce. What happened?

 

LUCE

You wouldn’t believe me.

 

LINA

Try me.

 

LUCE

I was attacked.

 

LINA

Well obviously. What happened?

 

LUCE

Some guy. First he was saying—I don’t know…racist flavored compliments, I guess.

 

LINA

What?

 

LUCE

Like “Oh hey chocolate bunny, how’d you get so much ass?” Or “Damn girl one night with me and your hair will be kinked for life.”

 

LINA

What does that even mean?

 

LUCE

Who the fuck knows? So anyway, I’m like “Dude. Thanks but I’m taken” and he’s just not having it.

 

LINA

Oh no.

 

LUCE

Yeah.

 

LINA

Did the police show up?

 

LUCE

Yeah. I mean there’s not much they could do. He didn’t rape me or anything. And I definitely got a few good hits in there so…anyways, I’m here.

 

LUCE sits down.

 

LINA

Hannah will never forgive you if she sees you like this.

 

LUCE

Hannah will never believe me. Shitty things only happen to pretty girls, remember?

 

Pause.

 

LINA

Luce, you can barely walk. Go to the hospital. Call Ben. Oh my God. Ben. Does he know?

 

LUCE

He’s the one who dropped me off here.

 

LINA

Call him back. Tell him you need to go to the hospital.

 

LUCE

Lina, I’m fine.

 

LINA

Luce—

 

LUCE

Alright, alright. I’ll go.

 

LUCE gets up and starts to walk away.

 

 

LINA

Hey Luce?

 

LUCE

(as she’s walking away)

Yeah?

 

LINA

Are you and Ben already married?

 

LUCE smiles and then limps out. LINA reaches for

                                                            a magazine. Beat.

                                                            HANNAH re-enters. She notices the blood on the

                                                            seat and then looks at LINA confused.

 

HANNAH

What the hell is that?

 

LINA

Blood.

 

HANNAH

Well no shit. Who’s is it?

 

LINA

Oh. Um…this woman. She came in, was attacked in the streets by a cat-caller, and then I convinced her to go to the hospital.

 

HANNAH

Poor thing. He didn’t get her face too bad did he? I mean, that would suck for her if he like broke her nose and then her face was messed up.

 

LINA

Um…no. Her face is fine.

 

HANNAH

Oh good.

 

Pause.

 

HANNAH

Where the fuck is Luce?

 

LIGHTS. THE END.

 

 

ceremonials

CHARACTERS

ELISE, f, late 20s

 

HER EXES

GEORGIE, f, appears 21

RIVER, f, appears to be mid thirties

WILLA, f, appears to be mid-twenties

TED, m, appears to be early thirties

 

WAITER, to be played by either RIVER or TED

 

 

 

SETTING: The play takes place within Elise’s dream but should appear as real as possible. All of the characters sit at the diner table, waiting for food.

 

                                                              ELISE, RIVER, and WILLA all sit at the table

                                                            with a glass of wine in front of them. Both ELISE

                                                            and WILLA have red wine, RIVER has white wine.

                                                            ELISE stares at her left hand for a beat or two

                                                            before…

 

RIVER

So when did he propose?

 

ELISE

(still looking at her hand)

He hasn’t yet.

 

WILLA

You’re looking at your hand like it might be cancerous.

 

Pause. ELISE stops looking at her hand.

 

ELISE

How have you two been?

 

WILLA

 

RIVER

Best I can be, I suppose.

 

ELISE

What are you two doing these days?

 

RIVER

Service work.

 

ELISE

You’re not a doctor?

 

RIVER

I am. I work with a research facility in Ethiopia.

 

ELISE

Oh. Right. Service work. What about you Willa?

 

WILLA

I’m flying to Paris soon.

 

 

RIVER

What’s in Paris?

 

WILLA and ELISE

Fashion week.

 

RIVER

 

ELISE

That’s exciting.

 

RIVER

I thought you two went to Stanford together.

 

WILLA and ELISE

We did.

 

RIVER

I thought you majored in engineering?

 

WILLA

I did.

 

RIVER

 

Pause. Awkward Silence.

 

ELISE

Food should be out soon.

 

WILLA and RIVER

 

RIVER

What have you been up to, Elise?

 

ELISE

Working at the gallery on fifth.

 

WILLA

Curating?

 

ELISE nods. She begins to stare at her hand again.

 

RIVER

It’s a bit surprising.

 

WILLA

Why? All Elise has ever talked about was—

 

RIVER

The engagement, Willa.

 

ELISE

He hasn’t proposed yet.

 

RIVER

But he obviously is about to.

 

TED enters with a glass of scotch and sits down.

 

WILLA

How do you know?

 

TED

She found the ring.

 

WILLA

Is it gorgeous? I bet it’s gorgeous.

 

TED

It’s handcrafted. Good man.

 

WILLA

Hand-crafted? Is he a blacksmith?

 

ELISE

It’s made out of red oak. And yes, it’s gorgeous.

 

Pause.

 

WILLA

I always hated white wine. Too sweet.

 

RIVER

I wasn’t your biggest fan either, Willa. You were obviously the fun one.

 

WILLA

And what were you? The old one?

 

ELISE slides further down into her seat.

 

WILLA

Sorry. I shouldn’t have—

 

RIVER

I’m barely older than Elise.

 

TED

Five years older.

 

RIVER

And who were you?

 

TED

The authority figure. The assistant professor.

 

ELISE

You were a grad student.

 

TED

I was still your professor.

 

Pause.

 

ELISE

I need to—know something.

 

ELISE takes a large gulp from her glass.

 

RIVER

 

ELISE

What?

 

TED

You were absolutely unattainable.

 

ELISE

That’s not—

 

WILLA

And you always had all of your defenses up. All the time.

 

RIVER

But you made it seem like you were wide open. Like love was apart of your bucket list or something.

 

TED

And it could be anybody. They just had to have the right timing.

 

WILLA

It was all bullsh—

 

ELISE

Did any of you want to marry me? Ever? That’s my question.

 

Pause.

 

ELISE

Don’t all speak at once.

 

TED

It’s a complicated question, Ellie.

 

ELISE

Is it?

 

RIVER

Ellie? Was that your nickname for her?

 

TED

What was yours?

 

WILLA

 

RIVER

That’s disgusting.

 

ELISE

Guys! Please just answer the question.

 

Pause.

 

RIVER

I would’ve wanted whatever you wanted. You could’ve asked me to go live on Jupiter and I would’ve said yes.

 

 

WILLA

It was such a whirlwind, you know? Before I knew it, you were gone.

 

TED

You presented yourself as temporary. I had no way of knowing.

 

WILLA

No way of knowing.

 

RIVER

No way of knowing.

 

ELISE

Of knowing what?

 

Pause. GEORGIE slowly walks in. As she sits down,

                                                            everyone else exits. ELISE’s entire demeanor

                                                            changes when she sees GEORGIE.

 

GEORGIE

They had no way of knowing if you’d stay.

 

ELISE

I didn’t think you’d come.

 

GEORGIE

I wasn’t sure I was supposed to.

 

ELISE

Of course you’re supposed—how are you?

 

GEORGIE

I’m dead, Elise. So, you know, surviving.

 

ELISE smiles and takes another sip of wine.

 

ELISE

You’ve ruined me forever, you know that?

 

GEORGIE

Nobody’s ruined forever. Not really.

 

ELISE

He loves me, Georgie.

 

GEORGIE

You love him back.

 

ELISE

Only sometimes.
Pause.

 

ELISE

I don’t want to ruin him.

 

GEORGIE

Then don’t.

 

ELISE

So. Heaven or hell? Nirvana or reincarnation?

 

GEORGIE just smiles.

 

ELISE

Right. Secrets of the universe. (pause) When I wake up, I’m going to have to say—

 

GEORGIE

Make up your mind, Elise.

 

ELISE

I know he’s going to do it as soon as I wake up. He’ll roll over and pretend like he’s just thought of it and then—

 

GEORGIE

Giving you absolutely no time to panic and freak out.

 

ELISE

I need time to panic and freak out. It’s who I am. I’m a panicker.

 

GEORGIE

You’re definitely a disaster.

 

Pause.

 

ELISE

Was there anything I could’ve said to save you?

 

GEORGIE shakes her head.

 

ELISE

Right. A determined mind.

 

GEORGIE

I am sorry.

 

ELISE

For dying?

 

GEORGIE

For loving you.

 

ELISE

For ruining me, you mean.

 

GEORGIE

No. I convinced you of….permanency. I shouldn’t have.

 

ELISE

You were the last time I knew for sure.

 

GEORGIE

That should’ve been your first red flag.

 

Pause.

 

ELISE

I thought they’d help.

 

GEORGIE

The exes? One of them is still banking on you coming back.

 

ELISE

River never did let things go.

 

GEORGIE

Not River. She’s married now.

 

ELISE

Married? To who?

 

GEORGIE

Some scientist who’s working on the cure to cancer. Or is it AIDS? One of them.

 

ELISE

One of them? How informed of you.

 

GEORGIE

I was never that type. You know that.

 

ELISE

That’s not exactly something to brag about.

 

GEORGIE

Who’s bragging?

 

Pause.

 

ELISE

What do I say when he asks?

 

GEORGIE

Something kind.

 

ELISE

You think I should let him down gently?

 

GEORGIE

I think you should face what you’re actually afraid of.

 

Silence.

 

ELISE

I don’t want to be wrong. I don’t want to—

 

GEORGIE

Can you imagine how boring the world would be if everyone was always right?

 

ELISE

Mistakes keep us happy.

 

GEORGIE

You remembered.

 

ELISE

I could ruin his life.

 

GEORIGE

The others seem fine.

 

ELISE

Seem? Are they not okay?

 

GEORGIE

 

Pause.

 

GEORGIE

You deserve a wind storm.

 

ELISE

A unnatural force of emotion.

 

GEORGIE

A love that bends beyond time.

 

ELISE

Across the universe.

 

GEORGIE

Written deep down in your genetic code.

 

Pause.

 

ELISE

Your letter.

 

GEORGIE

Remember how it ends?

 

ELISE

A heart that can extend lifetimes, a expansion of self.

 

GEORGIE and ELISE

This is only the start. I’ll see you again.

 

Pause.

 

GEORGIE

I shouldn’t have.

 

ELISE

What?

 

GEORGIE

I can’t extend beyond lifetimes. I can’t love you beyond…beyond this. And maybe, maybe someone can. But I can’t.

 

ELISE

Georgie—

 

GEORGIE

Love isn’t about lasting lifetimes, Elise. Just this one. This is the only lifetime that matters.

 

GEORGIE pushes away from the table and walks

                                                            away. ELISE sits at the table by herself staring.

                                                            She touches her ring finger on her left hand and

                                                            lets out a small grin.
WAITER (off-stage, v.o.)

Your dinner is ready. Would you like it now or should I wait?

 

ELISE looks towards the kitchen, smiling.

 

ELISE

Now’s fine.

 

Blackout. THE END.

backwoods

(a one-act)

 

CHARACTERS

LIAM, 30s

ALEX, late 20s, Liam’s fiancé

FRAN, 60s, Liam’s mother

SETTING: A very small town outside the city limits of Helena, Arkansas. Present Day.

FRAN hustles around the kitchen trying to get

                                                            everything ready. After a few beats, ALEX and

                                                            LIAM enter.

 

FRAN

Oh. I—hi. I just—

 

LIAM

Hey ma.

 

LIAM goes to kiss his mother. She turns reluctantly.

 

FRAN

I was hoping I had more time. The house is a mess. I wasn’t ready.

 

ALEX

Everything looks great. It’s way cleaner than our house has ever been.

 

Awkward silence.

 

ALEX

My house. I’m sorry. You’re in a couple so long that you forget. Oh, I’m—my house. Cleaner than my house has ever looked.

 

LIAM

Ma, this is Alexis.

 

FRAN

Yes. I figured. Hello Alexis.

 

ALEX

It’s Alex actually.

 

FRAN clears her throat.

 

FRAN

Right. Alex. Well sit down. Make yourself comfortable then. You two hungry?

 

LIAM nods as ALEX shakes her head.

 

LIAM

We haven’t eaten since morning. We’d love something.

 

 

 

ALEX

But only if you don’t mind.

 

LIAM sets a comforting hand on ALEX. FRAN nods.

 

FRAN

I’ve got some steak and tomatoes in the fridge if you—

 

ALEX

Oh I—

 

LIAM

Alex is a vegetarian, ma. I told you—

 

FRAN

Right, right. I forgot. Let me see. I must have something.

 

FRAN goes to look in the fridge. ALEX squirms

                                                            uncomfortably.

 

FRAN

You know what? I’ll just head to the garden. I’ll make us a casserole.

 

ALEX

Oh, you don’t have to—

 

FRAN

It’s not a problem. I’ll be right back.

 

FRAN exits.

 

ALEX

She hates me.

 

LIAM

You’re fine.

 

ALEX

I just—does she not know we live together?

 

LIAM

You’ve still got your old place so….

 

 

ALEX

 

LIAM

It’s fine. She’s probably just excited you’re an actual woman. With a name like Alex…

 

ALEX

Great. She’s homophobic too.

 

LIAM

I’m only kidding. Calm down. It’s not like—

 

FRAN enters holding vegetables.

 

ALEX

Well at least I know not to bring up your father.

 

FRAN

What about Cletus?

 

ALEX tenses up. She didn’t notice FRAN enter.

 

ALEX

Oh. I—

 

LIAM

Ma, what you got there? Your garden get bigger?

 

Pause.

 

ALEX

I need to—may I go to your bathroom?

 

FRAN

It’s down the hall to the left.

 

ALEX gets up and leaves.

 

FRAN

She don’t know, do she?

 

LIAM

No ma. I didn’t tell her.

 

FRAN

You realize it’d be the end of all of us if anyone found out. Christ, Liam, how could you be so irresponsible? You know, Jimmy just got into Harvard and how proud I been of him. And now you went ahead and—

 

 

LIAM

Ma, I didn’t tell her. ‘Sides even if I did, she’s not a stranger, she’s going to be my wife.

 

FRAN

Hell, Liam. My mama don’t even know. Boy, you done messed—

 

LIAM

Ma! I didn’t tell her.

 

Silence. ALEX returns. She sits down and crosses

                                                            her arms. She is at a loss.

 

FRAN

So Liam tells me you’re from Portland?

 

ALEX nods.

 

FRAN

What brings you to Arkansas?

 

ALEX

Teach for America. I work at Kipp.

 

Tense silence.

 

FRAN

Liam didn’t tell me you worked for Teach for America.

 

LIAM

Ma—

 

FRAN

At Kipp.

 

LIAM

Ma, Alex is just really serious about service work and thought that—

 

FRAN

Oh I know what she thought. You know how Teach for America works, don’t you, Alex?

 

ALEX

I know that it works if that’s what you’re asking.

 

 

FRAN

Oh does it? Well somebody light me on fire and call me a pig because—

 

LIAM

This is her last year but she’s choosing to stay. And work at the school. She’s not just leaving, mama.

 

FRAN moves to the vegetables and starts cutting

                                                            them to prepare the casserole. Long, uncomfortable

                                                            silence.

 

FRAN

(to LIAM)

So you’re moving back then?

 

LIAM

I am.

 

FRAN

And what will you do while your—while Alex is working at Kipp? Teaching.

 

ALEX

I’m sorry. Do you have a problem with teachers? I mean I can understand having a problem with me being from the city. Or being friends with gay people or something but teaching? How could anyone—

 

FRAN

You think what you’re doing is teaching? What you’re doing is prepping. Prepping kids to take bullshit test so that they pass along without knowing a goddamn thing and then when they get to college, they don’t know left from right because all they know—

 

LIAM

Ma!

 

Silence.

 

LIAM

Listen. If the two of you can’t get along, then fine. Ma, we’ll head into town and go visit—

 

FRAN

No. Stay. I’m sorry.

 

ALEX

I’m sorry too.

 

FRAN

For the record, I don’t care about your gay friends or whatever.

 

LIAM

Ma used to be a principal. She’s just really passionate about learning.

 

FRAN

Got my phD at Brown and everything.

 

ALEX

Oh. I—I didn’t know that.

 

FRAN

I figured.

 

Silence.

 

FRAN

I suppose you’ll be wanting Sugar’s ring.

 

ALEX

Sugar?

 

FRAN

My grandmother.

 

LIAM

Actually, I was wondering if you still had Cammie’s.

 

Silence.

 

LIAM

I know it’s wrong to ask for it but—

 

FRAN

You’re goddamn right it’s wrong to ask for it.

 

LIAM

But it’s not like you need it anymore and it means a lot to me.

 

FRAN

To you? It means a lot to you? What the hell do you think it means to me?

 

LIAM

I was figuring nothin’ considerin’.

 

FRAN

Considerin what, Liam?

 

LIAM

Ma, come on. You don’t need it. You don’t even wear it.

 

FRAN

That don’t change the fact that it’s mine.

 

ALEX

Well technically isn’t it Carrie’s?

 

FRAN

It’s Cammie!

 

LIAM

Alex, don’t—

 

FRAN

And not that it’s any of your business, Alexis, but it was my wedding ring. You must think I bout lost my mind if I’m going to—

 

LIAM

You hated Cletus.

 

FRAN

Last I checked I wasn’t the only one.

 

LIAM

I’m just trying to make a bad thing right.

 

FRAN

This ain’t the way to do it.

 

LIAM

Well it’s a start, ain’t it?

 

FRAN slams down her cutting knife.

 

FRAN

You selfish bastard. You think this city bitch is worthy of that ring?

 

ALEX

Hey!

 

 

FRAN

Shut up and stay out of this. This don’t concern you.

 

LIAM

He left the ring to me.

 

FRAN

Burn in hell. You know he was so drunk that night. You asked him right before—You had damn good timing, I’ll say that.

 

LIAM

Ma, it’s just a ring.

 

Silence.

 

FRAN

Alex, what you don’t understand is that ring was passed down for centuries. The stone in it is—(pause)—The stone in it is from the Treasure of Lima. You know, the stolen one.

 

ALEX

I—

 

FRAN

Look it up when you’re bored. The point is the ring is literally priceless. I don’t know how the family came up with it but—

 

LIAM

That whole family line was crooks and thieves. I’m not surprised at all.

 

ALEX

Liam, don’t talk about—

 

FRAN

No. The Porra family was full of crooks. Liam’s right.

 

ALEX

The Porra family?

 

LIAM

My dad’s family way back was Spanish.

 

FRAN

But then somebody married a Gorecki and they haven’t been able to get rid of the last name since.

 

Silence.

 

LIAM

Ma, Alex is about to be a part of the family. Just give us the ring. Please.

 

FRAN

Your father may have been good for nothing but that ring—Liam. It’s too much to ask.

 

LIAM

Ma, don’t you remember what he was like?

 

FRAN

Liam—

 

LIAM

He’d beat you, ma. All of us. He was a drunk. And he was just—he’s where he belongs now, mama. No point of keeping bad memories.

 

ALEX

Then why do you want to give me those memories?

 

LIAM

I don’t. I want to change them. I want to turn something bad, something awful, into something amazing.

 

Pause. FRAN leaves the room. ALEX and LIAM

                                                            sit in silence. FRAn returns holding the ring.

 

FRAN

Taking this ring as your wedding ring means you’re part of the family now.

 

LIAM

Ma—

 

FRAN

Is that what you want, Alex?

 

ALEX nods hesitantly.

 

FRAN

 

FRAN grabs ALEX hands. She removes her

                                                            engagement ring and tries on the new ring.

 

FRAN

Good. It fits.

 

She takes the ring off.

 

FRAN

We shot him.

 

FRAN gets up, grabs a bottle of whisky, and three

                                                            glasses. She pours a little bit in each glass.

 

 

ALEX

Excuse me?

 

FRAN

Cletus. We shot him. Liam, Jimmy, and I. Planned it out and shot him in the woods.

 

LIAM

 

FRAN downs her whisky. Both LIAM and ALEX sip

                                                            theirs. FRAN pours more whisky into her glass.

 

FRAN

He was an absolute brute, you know. Fucking terrible. I don’t regret it for second. But if you’re going to wear his family ring, you best know what happened to him.

 

ALEX is frozen. She can’t speak.

 

FRAN

Thing is, now that you know, you can’t tell anybody. Or I’ll shoot you too.

 

FRAN finishes her drink.

 

FRAN

I’m not about to lose my freedom because some Teach for America cunt can’t keep her mouth shut.

 

ALEX

Excuse me?

 

FRAN

You heard me.

 

Silence.

 

 

LIAM

Alex, it’s way more complicated than—

 

ALEX

No. Don’t. You killed someone. You all killed someone. Over what? And you didn’t even…Why hasn’t anybody wondered where he is? Didn’t the police look into it? How could you be so calm about it?

 

LIAM

You didn’t know him.

 

ALEX

I didn’t know him? That’s all you have to say? Why hasn’t anyone looked into his death?

 

FRAN

Didn’t nobody care he was missing. Everyone just figured he’d moved.

 

Pause.

 

ALEX

Oh, I can’t—you people are despicable.

 

ALEX stands up.

 

ALEX

(to LIAM)

Find your own way home. I’ll have your stuff packed by the time you make back into town. Goodbye Mrs. Goreki. Hope to never see you again.

 

ALEX slams the door behind her.

 

LIAM

That was a shitty thing to do, mama.

 

FRAN

You know I gotta kill her now, don’t you?

 

LIAM nods.

 

 

LIAM

Yeah. I know.

 

They both finish their whisky. THE END.

The (Mis)Adventures of Jack and Cilian

(Note: The picture shows a young Irish teenager yelling at a British soldier (the picture could not be included here).

 

scene i: The actors begin in the above stance, frozen.

                                                The picture is projected behind them. OFFICER #1 holds

                                                the gun while OFFICER #2 is looking out. The actors

                                                remain frozen for an uncomfortable amount of time. Finally

 

CILLIAN

(yelling as though in protest)

I said would you like something to drink? Perhaps a Guinness?

 

OFFICER #1

I’d prefer something a little harder, actually.

 

CILLIAN

(still yelling)

Perhaps some gin?

 

OFFICER #2

Hurry it up, boy.

 

CILLIAN

Alright. Gin it is.

 

CILLIAN exits. OFFICER #2 helps OFFICER #1 up.

                                                            OFFICER #1 removes her helmet. This should be

                                                            the first time the audience realizes she is a woman

                                                            with short hair.

 

OFFICER #2

We ought to tell him.

 

OFFICER #1

Time’s not right.

 

OFFICER #2

Time’s running out.

 

CILLIAN returns holding two glasses with mixed

                                                            drinks for the OFFICERS. For himself, he has a can

                                                            of Guinness. The OFFICERS take the drinks and

                                                            OFFICER #1 sets her gun down.

 

OFFICER #1

Your room clean, Cillian?

 

CILLIAN

Just about.

 

OFFICER #2

And you’ve kept up with your school work?

 

CILLIAN

I have. “Bout how long will you be back?

 

An uncomfortable pause. Just as the OFFICER is

                                                            about to say something, gun shots fire.

 

CILLIAN

So he’s back then?

 

The officers nod.

 

CILLIAN

Right.

 

JACK enters. He wears combat pants and

                                                                        boots but just a white tank top. On his arm,

                                                                        he has the Union Jack tattooed. He also

                                                                        holds a rifle.

 

JACK

You found him? Good. Ready Cillian?

 

CILLIAN

Not quite.

 

JACK aims his rifle at CILLIAN. The

                                                                        projection goes out and now “The Rifle

                                                                        Song” is projected. OFFICER #1 pulls

                                                                        out a flute and OFFICER #2 takes out

                                                                        a bag pipe. JACK still aiming at CILLIAN

                                                                        begins singing.

 

JACK

You take a bit, you break a bit, and daddy’s got your back

Give a little, take a little, daddy’s right here, day and night

We’re all alright.

 

OFFICER #1

(singing)

Little bit of smoke

 

OFFICER #2

Little bit of trouble

 

JACK

And daddy’ll shake the fucking ground for you

So long as you come along, come on back home

Blow you up if you won’t. Give a little, take a little.

Daddy’s here.

 

Music stops.

 

CILLIAN

(sarcastically)

Hello mate.

 

JACK

(setting his rifle down)

Cillian. You can’t keep this up. You know you can’t.

 

CILLIAN

Want a drink, mate?

JACK

What are doing, Cillian? You’re not thinking this all the way through.

 

CILLIAN

This is my home now, dad!

 

JACK

Your home is where I fucking say it is.

 

JACK picks up his rifle.

 

JACK

This is my land, son. Mine. And you—

 

OFFICER #2

Take it down a notch, dad.

 

JACK lowers the rifle.

 

OFFICER #2

Give us a minute, yeah?

 

OFFICER #1 and JACK exit.

 

CILLIAN

There’s nothing you can say, you know. I’m not going to cross over. This is who I am.

 

OFFICER #2

Dead’s what you are. We’re blow up the entire ground before he lets you walk away.

 

CILLIAN

Blow me up then.

 

OFFICER #2

What’s it matter? No one cares about it as much as us. It’s a flag, Cillian. That’s it.

 

CILLIAN

It’s an identity.

 

Another gunshot fires and screaming is

                                                                        heard in the background. OFFICER #2

                                                                        exits. CILLIAN is alone on stage. A

                                                                        projection displays the words “Cillian’s

                                                                        Inner Monologue.”

 

CILLIAN

I’ve been here. The entire time. This is my room, my space. I can’t go anywhere now. I have to stay. Alone. And on my own.

 

OFFICER #1 re-enters. The projection

                                                                        changes and now says “A Mother’s Plea”

                                                                        A piano plays in the background.

 

OFFICER #1

(singing)

Cillian, please. Listen to reason, listen to your mother

It’s only a flag. It’s only fabric. It’s nothing much.

And no one would ever argue you’re anything other

Than true green, white, and orange, just let go

Don’t let this be the reason you die, please, don’t say no

It’s only a flag, just a piece of fabric

Come on darling try, Cillian, just try

 

CILLIAN

(singing)

This is all I’ve known, this is who I am

It’s more than a flag. So much more than just a piece of fabric.

 

 

OFFICER #1

No Cillian, no. It’s just a piece of fabric, don’t die over this

A piece of cloth, a hanging sheet, live the way want but don’t die over this.

 

The music stops. OFFICER #1 notices

                                                                        and it takes a toll on her. She leaves the

                                                                        stage. JACK returns.

 

JACK

You gonna die over this boy?

 

CILLIAN

Just might.

 

JACK

You’re mine, boy. Always have been.

 

JACK hits CILLIAN with the blunt of his

                                                                        gun. CILLIAN falls to the ground.

 

 

CILLIAN

Got anything else, Jack?

 

JACK aims his rifle. He is about to shoot but

                                                                        the actors freeze. Another projection comes

                                                                        up.

                                                                        “And then JACK has a change of heart,

                                                                        doesn’t kill CILLIAN. Instead he shoots him

                                                                        in the foot. JACK storms off, shouting “It’s

                                                                        a bloody flag, you prick.” CILLIAN limps

                                                                        toward the bar. END OF PLAY”

                                                                        CILLIAN and JACK unfreeze and read the

                                                                        projection. They look at each other confused

                                                                        and then look to the audience.

 

JACK

(pointing to the projection, talking to the audience)

Not quite.

 

CILLIAN

That’s not how it happened. Mighta been a nice ending though.

 

JACK

(turning to CILLIAN)

Ah, I don’t think so.

 

CILLIAN

We could’ve ended up in the bar.

 

JACK

(aiming his gun)

No, mate. You could’ve ended up in a bar.

 

JACK kills CILLIAN.

 

JACK

That’s how it happened.

 

Reason of Doubt excerpt

(an excerpt from the first scene of Reason of Doubt. Dana, who works as a rape-crisis counselor, has just found out she has been accused of rape)

DANA

Do you remember anything at all from that night?

 

JESS

What?

 

DANA

Anything at this point would help.

 

JESS

What exactly are you asking me Dana?

 

DANA

Jess. You were there…

 

JESS

I left early.

 

DANA

Well do you remember seeing anything?

 

JESS

 I remember telling you not to get drunk. And you promising me that you wouldn’t.

 

DANA

I didn’t promise—

 

JESS

Yes you did.

 

DANA

If I did, I’m sorry. I am so sorry. And I swear after this blows over, I will finally go to AA. But, right now, I need your help. I have no idea how to fight this.

 

JESS re-opens the file.

 

JESS

(reading) Is there anything you didn’t admit to?

 

DANA

I admitted everything I remembered. I had to write something.

 

 

JESS

Well this looks more like a confession than a statement.

 

Beat.

 

JESS

Who’s working the case?

 

DANA

Sarah.

JESS

So why are you talking to me about it? If I’m not assigned to the case, it’s against—

 

 

 

 

DANA

I know the policy, Jess. I also know I’m totally fucked. I have no way to prove I’m innocent.

 

JESS

What makes you so sure that you are?

 

DANA

This is not in my nature. I am not capable of this.

 

JESS

We’re all capable of—

 

DANA

Jess, you can’t honestly think I did this.

 

JESS

I think you’re an alcoholic who likes sex. A lot.

 

 

DANA

Jess!

 

JESS

She’s not fucking around, Dana. This is a serious accusation.

 

DANA

I know but I—it’s bullshit. She’s just upset.

 

JESS

Upset? I think I’d be upset too if I thought I was raped by someone.

 

 

DANA

She wasn’t raped. It’s a huge misunderstanding.

 

JESS

I bet.

 

DANA

There must be some way to fight this. And you’re about the only person who seems to how.

 

 

JESS

Being innocent. That’s how you fight this.

 

DANA

What good is innocence with no proof? I just need advice. Anything.

 

JESS

Advice?

 

DANA

Yes. Please.

 

 

JESS

And you swear on your father’s grave that you will go to AA if I help you get through this?

 

DANA

Yes. I swear.

 

Beat.

 

JESS

Delete your Facebook. Go through your emails and text messages and anything that even mentions her name and delete that too.

 

DANA

Wait. Why? Doesn’t she have a record of text messages and emails too?

 

 

JESS

Yeah. Possibly. But in the chance that she deleted them, you want to make sure all of yours are gone too. You never know. It’s precautionary measure. Plus some phones auto delete text messages when they get too full. You can honestly never be too careful.

 

DANA

Oh. Okay.

 

JESS

Talk to no one about the case. Make sure her name never comes out of your mouth. Go to class and home and that’s it. Be as low-key as possible.

 

DANA

Okay. Thank you.

 

 

JESS

Good. Now get out. I have to get ready for my case. Which is in like fifteen minutes.

 

DANA takes the folder and then begins to exit.

She pauses by the door and then turns to JESS.

 

DANA

All jokes and judgment aside, do you think I did this?

 

JESS

Honestly?

 

DANA

Of course.

 

JESS

Well it honestly doesn’t matter. There’s no way it’s rape.

 

Beat.

 

DANA

Why?

 

JESS

Lesbian sex just isn’t legally defined. Therefore, rape isn’t legally defined. It’s sexual assault, possibly. But not rape.

 

DANA

What?

 

JESS

Rape is defined as a forced sexual act. There’s no defined sexual act with lesbians.

 

                        Beat. DANA starts to say something but chooses not to.

                        Instead she picks up the file and looks through the pages.

 

DANA

If that’s true then why was this case picked up?

 

JESS

Because the second we ignore it, it’s discrimination. We have to at least address it.

 

                        Beat. DANA exits.