Category: Short Plays

Negotiation and Breathing Shoes

Darkness.

A shaft of light. A door is opening.

X is inside the room. Y is outside the door.

X and Y could be either sex, but it’s not a male/female scene.

X

Hello?

Y

(Calling) Getting along in there?

X

Is this my bedroom?

Y

It is if you like closets.

X

Yes, I do. I do like closets.

Y

Then it’s your bedroom.

X

Thank you! Wonderful!

Pause. Light continues as is.

X

Would you mind closing the door?

Y

You want the door closed?

X

Yes, please.

Y

There would be no light, then.

X

That’s the point.

Y

I see.

Pause.

Y

But I thought first, before the light is extinguished…

X

Yes?

Y

I could receive an invitation.

X

To what?

Y

To the bedroom. To come in. To visit.

X

Visit?

Y

To better understand the concept behind a new room.

X

It’s a closet.

Y

I’d like to experience your sense of space and whimsy.

X

It’s your home.

Y

I have no claim to ownership. I only rent.

X

Nevertheless, I hope you’ll forgive me if I refuse. I’m awfully tired. I am going to just lay me down over all these shoes and sleep.

Y

All right, then. I won’t be suspicious.

X

No need. I’m a self-appointed loner, is all.

Y

And I’m an admirable host. Go ahead and pile the shoes in a corner, I don’t mind. I know of a good cobbler, if need be.

Sounds of tripping, clumsiness; striving to save oneself from a fall.

X

Oh. Oh. Uh-oh.

Y

Is something wrong?

X

One of the shoes is breathing.

Y

Just one?

X

In and out –

Y

Not the pair?

X

Inanimate objects are aspirating, that’s all I know.

Y

Are you sure they’re shoes?

X

As sure as I want to be.

Y

Because it’s usually boots that breathe. Boots have gills.

X

Could be boots. They’re kind of long. And heavy.

Y

Look here, I’m coming in.

X

No, it’s all right! I’m just acclimating.

Y

You sound injured.

X

I’m not. It’s, it’s (more struggling sounds) – this is between me and the boots.

Y

You’re startled. You’re off put.

X

It’s my pitch. When I’m tired, I get squeaky.

Y

Look, I know boots. I know how they think. I better come in and negotiate.

X

Are they unionized?

Y

That can’t be revealed yet.

X

Because I have a certificate in negotiation.

Y

You can’t be objective.

X

That must be why I’m here.

Y

No.

X

(More movement) Ouch.

Y

You’re not a spatial diplomat. You’re imaginative. You know that.

X

Things are quieting down now.

Y

You follow orders. You create within a frame.

X

Yes, it’s quiet. Quiet! What relief, huh?

Y

What are they doing?

X

Curling up. Signaling to each other. Settling.

Y

We’ve cowed them.

X

We?

Y

Boots are fickle.

X

I know what’s next. Shut (noise) the door!

If Statements: Jennifer

Jennifer is standing center stage. She wears the costume of a bumble bee. She’s red in the face. She holds a briefcase. She is 36, confused and late to pick up her kids.

JENNIFER
If I started blogging today, I’d definitely begin with the antiseptic. Which, I forgot. Now my eldest is being held underneath the jungle gym in the Northwest play quadrant. The authorities don’t look too kindly on non-sterilized 6th graders. So, if I were to start blogging today, I’d post words about that, and a picture. And I’d be mean. I mean MEAN.

She sneezes and drops the briefcase.

JENNIFER
My GOD! I’ve dropped the briefcase!! Everybody, STAND BACK!!!

She clears the area, sweeping her arms and backing away from case. No one else is in the vicinity.

JENNIFER
Wait a minute. No one else is in the vicinity. If I were to start blogging today, I’d definitely post that. I’d bemoan the lack of medicine, the dearth of commuters and, and –

The suitcase jumps up an inch. She squeals.

JENNIFER
Ha! My 8 year old was right: this IS her briefcase. I will never doubt her again.

ENTER a train conductor, winding his watch. He’s startled by the case more than a lady dressed as a bumble bee. It’s as if he’s speaking to the case:

CONDUCTOR
Jane. Jane?

JENNIFER
It’s Jen. Not Jane.

CONDUCTOR
What?

JENNIFER
It’s Jen. Jennifer. Over here.

CONDUCTOR
I know that, Jen.

JENNIFER
Yeah, well. I was wondering.

CONDUCTOR
Are you going to destroy the case, or should I?

JENNIFER
Why all this destruction?

CONDUCTOR
It was your decision to take a train.

JENNIFER
I’m trying to get back to my kids.

CONDUCTOR
They’re scattered to the winds, now. You know that. It’s as it should be.

JENNIFER
I’m going to blog this. The thing will write itself.

CONDUCTOR
I started a blog today.

JENNIFER
Did you?

CONDUCTOR
It’s about misappropriation.

JENNIFER
Sounds kind of boring.

CONDUCTOR
Misappropriation as in theft.

JENNIFER
Ah. Am I still sweating? I mean, am I red?

CONDUCTOR
Yes. Just like 9th grade.

JENNIFER picks up suitcase.

JENNIFER
Well, I’m off. I’ll detonate the case, snatch the infected child, start a blog and hit the dry cleaner’s.

CONDUCTOR
Don’t hit the dry cleaner, you did that yesterday.

JENNIFER
Right. But I didn’t start a blog.

CONDUCTOR
No, I did. Train.

The loud whistle of a train arriving. Jennifer and the Conductor stand and wait for it.

Jill and Michael: A Short Play

Jill and Michael. Michael is center stage, standing in a spotlight. Jill offstage, preferably at the back of the house or up in the rafters.

They are good friends. For the most part, they encourage each other.

JILL
I don’t want to.

MICHAEL
That’s OK.

(Long, long pause. Maybe 45 seconds.)

JILL
I still don’t want to.

MICHAEL
That’s even better.

JILL
It is?

MICHAEL
Just wait.

(Shorter long pause. 20 seconds.)

JILL
We’re going to, anyway.

MICHAEL
Bingo! Going to what?

JILL
Going to do what I don’t want to do.

MICHAEL
Right. Right! And what was that?

JILL
What was what?

MICHAEL
What you wanted to do.

JILL
I’d rather not say.

MICHAEL
Because you don’t want to do it?

JILL
No, because I did it already.

MICHAEL
You – what?!

Michael reaches out, desperate.
Fast, fast blackout.