NOTE: this play is available without royalty, but Deborah Magid must be credited as playwright. It may NOT be published in any form without a duly executed contract with the playwright.
CHARACTERS: Each character is a unique combination of age, gender, race, social stratum, height, and weight , and does not much resemble any other character. After casting, in the places so written (e.g., he/she), only the appropriate pronouns should be used.
PAT, A little shit
CHRIS, An entitled person
JAMIE, A goody two-shoes
FRANCIS, A memorable person (nonspeaking)
KIM, An artist
LEE, A whiner
STACY, A bombast
SYDNEY A strong person (nonspeaking)
TERRY, A super-enthusiastic person
DANA, A jaded yet hyper person
The action occurs in the present time.
Scene one. Outside.
(PAT, CHRIS, and JAMIE each stand alone around the stage in various poses of waiting, not relating to each other. PAT smokes, affecting a cool he/she does not possess. JAMIE drinks from a cardboard coffee cup. CHRIS looks at his/her watch.)
(They check each other out surreptitiously – if they do catch one another’s eye, they make a small, nervous gesture of greeting, or look away quickly and pretend they had not made contact.)
(After at least a full minute, FRANCIS enters and stands alienated from the rest. Then KIM.)
PAT: Didn’t they say seven-forty-five? (No one answers. A moment passes.) And, like, the doors get closed and locked at eight?
CHRIS: What time is it? (No one answers. Silence, shifting of weight.)
JAMIE: I got here at seven-thirty.
CHRIS: What time is it?
(No one answers. Another ten seconds go by. LEE and STACY approach and stand awkwardly.)
LEE: Is anybody in there?
KIM: This is like performance art.
(JAMIE spots a trash receptacle and edges over to it, never taking his/her eyes off of the door. He/She tosses his/her cup as the others casually close the gap he/she left. JAMIE crosses back toward his/her waiting place, realizes it’s been usurped, and stops.)
CHRIS: It’s like, after eight already. (No one responds.) I’m giving them, like, two minutes, and then I’m going.
LEE: And risk not getting in?
CHRIS: This is shit!
LEE: Turned you down last time?
CHRIS: I felt totally beat up.
LEE: So why are you here?
LEE: Why are you here? If it was so bad.
CHRIS: Duh. I need a job!
JAMIE: I hear you, mate.
STACY: Amen to that!
(After about half-a-minute, a door opens and the sound of applause is heard. PAT, CHRIS, JAMIE, FRANCIS, KIM, LEE, and STACY file through the door, after which it closes. Several very noisy locks are heard.)
Scene two. Inside.
Ten stools are set up in three rows. On each stool, there is a mug-shot-style name tag and a clipboard with various papers and a pen.
NOTE: Whenever SYDNEY, TERRY, or DANA applauds, the sound is augmented by canned applause.
(SYDNEY, TERRY and DANA applaud as PAT, CHRIS, JAMIE, FRANCIS, KIM, LEE, and STACY mill around, each looking for the tag with their name on it.)
TERRY: Hi! I’m Terry!
DANA: Isn’t this great?
TERRY: Bet you’ve never been clapped into a job interview before!
DANA: But that’s what it’s like here, every day!
TERRY: Isn’t this fun!
DANA: Have you found your seat?
TERRY: With your name tag on it? (Knocking is heard, and everyone looks toward the door.)
TERRY: Guess someone was late! (Loud, frantic knocking is heard.) You’re the lucky ones!
DANA: Or the smart ones!
(SYDNEY, TERRY, and DANA applaud over the sound of door-pounding.)
TERRY: You can put on your name tags!
DANA: Isn’t this great!?!
(PAT, CHRIS, JAMIE, FRANCIS, KIM, LEE, and STACY put on their name tags. FRANCIS picks up his/her clipboard and sits on his/her stool. SYDNEY casually strolls over and uses the Vulcan death grip to render FRANCIS unconscious. SYDNEY and DANA drag him/her O/S.)
TERRY: Did we say you could sit down? (JAMIE had been starting to sit but springs upright. CHRIS and KIM look around smugly.) Now. Now you may sit. (TERRY applauds as everyone sits. SYDNEY and DANA re-enter and join in the applause, which they and TERRY stop in unison. More knocking is heard, and then a muffled explosion.) Time for us to get to know each other better! I’m Terry, and over there is Dana! (SYDNEY, TERRY, and DANA applaud enthusiastically – the others look around, then join in a beat too late as SYDNEY, TERRY, and DANA abruptly stop. The applause peters out.) Everybody choose another person and get to know them! You have one minute, okay, go! (Controlled pandemonium ensues. CHRIS chooses LEE, and they begin asking each other questions. PAT and STACY both look at KIM, who goes with STACY. PAT and JAMIE glare resentfully at each other.) Time’s up! OK, Chris! You and your partner, front and center! Tell us about each other! (CHRIS and LEE jump up and cross D/S of the counter.)
LEE: This is Chris. He/She likes puppies–
LEE: He/She’s lived here all his/her life–
CHRIS: Sorry, am I allowed to help?
(TERRY smiles encouragingly but does not answer.)
LEE: And he/she has three children.
CHRIS: I breed cats, I’ve been living in Zambia, and I’m sterile/barren. (A beat.) This is Lee. He/She’s a computer whiz, likes Cheetos, and moved here to be with the love of his/her life.
TERRY: Lee? Is that so?
TERRY: That’s sweet! Everybody give them the clap! (After a beat, everyone applauds. CHRIS and LEE sit down. DANA makes notes on a small handheld electronic device.) Okay! Stacy and Kim? (PAT jumps up.) Oops, we’ve got a runner!
(JAMIE follows PAT to the counter.)
PAT: This is Jamie! Let’s all clap for Jamie! (Enthusiastic applause.) Jamie is a really nice person! Jamie would be a great addition to the team!
TERRY: Jamie? That’s a ringing endorsement! Who’s with you?
JAMIE: This is Pat. That’s all I know.
TERRY: You must have learned something!
JAMIE: I couldn’t actually get a word in edgewise.
TERRY: I know you did better than that! Right?
JAMIE: Well, his/her name is, er, “Pat.” (A beat.) And it’s spelled, um, P-A-T?
(Everyone applauds as PAT and JAMIE sit. KIM and STACY take their places.)
STACY: This is Kim. He/she is an artist and loves music, motorcycles, and swimming.
KIM: This is Stacy. He/she is a Unitarian Universalist minister and enjoys music, motorcycles, and swimming.
TERRY: Is that so, Stacy!
STACY: It is now!
(Everyone applauds as KIM and STACY take their seats.)
TERRY: Great! Now that we’re all acquainted, let’s play a game! (PAT leaps up.) That’s what I call enthusiasm! (TERRY produces a very very very large, very full canvas bag.) Okay, don’t look, but you’re going to pull something out of the bag, and sell it to us! Go!
(PAT reaches into the bag and pulls out a grenade. He/She tosses it carelessly from hand to hand.)
PAT: Wow! Cool! It’s a cigarette lighter in the shape of a grenade! (Nervous laughter from the group, who look to TERRY for guidance and receive an encouraging smile.) It’s the perfect gift, especially if you smoke. Which I don’t, of course!– nasty filthy habit! But it’s a great conversation starter! It works like this!
(PAT reaches for the pin. TERRY deftly retrieves the grenade, and PAT sits down. TERRY applauds as he/she speaks.)
TERRY: Great! Who’s next!
(CHRIS crosses, dramatically covering his/her eyes with one hand, and reaches into the bag with the other. He/She pulls out what looks like a large shotgun canister with instructions attached.)
CHRIS: Oh! I have no idea what this is, but I’ll find out. (CHRIS smiles broadly as he/she looks at the instructions.) It’s a World War One Parachute Rifle Light! (CHRIS scans the instructions, looking up and making eye contact with the others as he/she speaks.) I’m guessing there’ll be a light attached to a parachute inside this canister, and that you shoot it from a rifle! (TERRY and DANA look on approvingly.) You could use it if you get lost, to help a search party pinpoint your location! Or like fairy lights falling from the sky to celebrate a wedding! Or a Bar Mitzvah!
TERRY: I’ll take a dozen! Well done, Chris! (Enthusiastic applause.) We have time for one more–
(JAMIE runs up, reaches into the bag, and pulls out a garrote [a very thin, very short rope with handles on either end, used to kill by strangling].)
JAMIE: Wow! Cool! This here is a state-of-the-art jump-rope! It’s lightweight, and handy-dandy to have around the house, like a portable gym! You can jump, hop, skip, and even double-dip!
(JAMIE tries to demonstrate but falls over because the garrote is far too short. TERRY leads the applause, retrieves the garrote, and places it on the counter.)
KIM: I don’t think it’s a jump-rope.
TERRY: Well done, very well done, Kim. You’ve earned yourself points on that one! Let’s have another round of this game. Kim, you’re up!
LEE: Now looka here, sir/ma’am, I was next–
TERRY: You snooze, you lose! Mint?
LEE: That’s very kindly of you!
(LEE takes the proffered lozenge, and slowly begins to unwrap it.)
KIM: I don’t mind if he/she goes. (DANA pulls out a previously concealed pistol.) Well, gee, when you put it that way.
(DANA holsters the pistol. KIM crosses, reaches into the bag, and pulls out a hand. That is attached to an arm. What the arm is attached to remains in the bag.)
TERRY: Way to go, Kim!
PAT: Some people have all the luck.
(KIM feels the wrist for a pulse.)
KIM: So. Well. Um. Can’t everybody use an extra hand? You could put a finger on the ribbon of a present you’re wrapping! Or gauge scale with the thumb, if you’re painting. And if you’re all alone, you could still high-five!
(KIM high-fives the hand. LEE puts the mint into his/her mouth.)
TERRY: Very creative!
STACY: Is it my turn, yet?
TERRY: Of course! Would you please hand Sydney that “jump-rope”?
(STACY hands the garrote to SYDNEY, who strangles him/her with it. Simultaneously, LEE clutches his/her throat, succumbs to the poison in the lozenge, and dies. CHRIS begins to protest and DANA whips out the pistol and shoots him/her in the forehead and heart. SYDNEY and DANA begin to drag away the bodies.)
TERRY (continued): Okay! Next activity! Jamie, let’s see how fast you learn! Pick a partner!
(TERRY hands JAMIE the garrote. JAMIE eyes KIM and PAT as the lights fade to black.)