Sex with Strangers

Playwright: Laura Eason

Pages: 56

Number of roles: 2 (Female: 1, Male: 1)

Spoilers: Olivia, a teacher and amateur writer in her late 30s, is editing a manuscript in a snowy Michigan B&B. Ethan, a sexy (ooh) man in his late 20s, bursts into the room with a flurry of energy. The writer’s retreat has been downsized to just the two of them, due to a horrible snowstorm which has also cut all connection to the outside world. Ethan’s jock-douchery (yes, my word) is exemplified when Olivia learns he is a blogger who wrote a book about having Sex with Strangers, and is working on a screenplay about the 2nd incarnation of the book. Olivia thinks this may breach privacy for the ladies involved. Ethan says he actually wants to write a ‘real’ novel. (Perhaps he may not be such an asshole after all?) Olivia bemoans the fact any novel after her first, of which Ethan is a huge fan, seems mediocre. He wants to read her new novel. She says it is not ready. Wine flows, and the two, with a little flirting and nothing to distract them… have lots of sex. (I assume damn good sex.)

He talks about a new app he is developing for writers and reveals that he has read her forbidden new novel while she was sleeping (after all the crazy sex). He feels it’s brilliant, but she is livid. She eventually warms to his praises and agrees for her first book to be included in his new app. She hands over her computer, and he loads her first book onto his jump drive. She in turn, wants to read his book, Sex with Strangers. He makes her promise not to, and she does. He expresses desires to have a relationship with her once they return home to Chicago. She is skeptical, but both are positive, and we find out the phone and internet have finally been repaired. Ethan leaves for Chicago, and then Olivia immediately gets online and reads his blog.

In Act 2 we are a few weeks later, and back in Olivia’s apartment in Chicago. Ethan has just returned from L.A. after promoting his movie, but seems constantly distracted by his beeping phone (which continues to buzz through most of the Act). Olivia’s first book is selling like crazy on Ethan’s app and is getting rave reviews, and his agent wants to read her new novel. Olivia tells Ethan about reading his blog and book. He is upset she broke her promise and tries to defend himself from her allegations that the content is dangerous and hurtful to women (um, duh). He wins her over, and they have… well, sex.

Weeks later, we find out the agent loves Olivia’s new book, but wants to make a few compromising changes. Ethan suggests she publish it on his new app instead, but a hardcopy book is important to her. He wants to go for drinks and have her meet his friends (actually, pretty endearing). They settle on dinner, and while she’s in the other room, she overhears Ethan take a phone call and unleash his sexist alter-ego (and man, it’s harsh). She ignores it. We discover Olivia’s new book is going to be published as an e-book (not a hardcopy), but she is happy. Ethan tries to convince her to publish the book without compromises on his app. She says she doesn’t want her work associated with him and his ‘low’ writing (ouch). He exits in a huff and the next morning, she accuses him of cheating. He professes he didn’t, but that schmoozing is part of his ‘persona’ as a blogger. She lashes out that his movie is encouraging men to treat women badly. He rails that she used him to get her new book published. Then we find that Ethan has already published the new book in its true form on his app (he downloaded it earlier along with the first one – holy hell). She is horrified, and he asks her opinion of his new novel. She cuts deep.

A year and a half later, Ethan arrives at Olivia’s apartment. They are friendly and joke with one another. Olivia has read Ethan’s new novel and finds it haunting and poetic. Ethan wants to take her to dinner, but Olivia is nearly engaged to a man who is now living with her. They talk about what would’ve happened if they met under different circumstances, and wonder what might have been. He asks her to meet him at a bar, and then leaves. She grabs her purse to follow him, but stands at the doorway …torn.

End of Play.

How far do we go to get what we want? What constitutes privacy? Brrrrr…chilly.

Feels like…: Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off” by Panic at the Disco

I want to say…: “I am fucking quoting you.” (Ethan)

Monologues: None. Neither character goes on for an extended amount of time. This would be fantastic for 2-person scenes though.

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God of Carnage

Playwright: Yasmina Reza (translated from the French by: Christopher Hampton)

Pages: 40 (wow – 40 pages packs a punch.)

Number of roles: 4 (Female: 2, Male: 2)

Spoilers: Ben has hit Henry in the face with a stick at the playground. Teeth fly. Highly strung parents Veronica & Michael (of 11 yr old Henry), and Annette & Alan (of 11 yr old Ben), discuss consequences in Veronica & Michael’s living room. Veronica serves clafouti & coffee. The boys are savages, they should meet and make up. Alan takes a call on his mobile about a pharmaceutical lawsuit. Veronica gets Michael to confess to setting his daughter’s hamster free on the street, and they posit that it is (most likely) dead. How did the boys start fighting? Henry provoked Ben – and has a gang. Michael & Alan bond over manhood. Alan takes a call. Annette feels sick and vomits all over Alan and a book of Veronica’s. Maybe the hairdryer will help save the book? Veronica & Michael express their disgust of Annette & Alan. The pairs speak in Woof-woofs and Darjeelings. Annette points out that both kids are snitches, and things heat up. Alan takes a call. Michael’s mother calls and is taking the Rx Alan is defending in court. Michael tells her to stop. Outrage over Michael’s alleged hamster murder and we’re all Neanderthals. Except Veronica, who bursts into tears. Alan is on the phone. Michael breaks out the rum. The men drink. The ladies drink. The couples start to turn on one another. Marriage & children ruin everything. Alan is on the phone and Annette is going to vomit again. Might is right. Veronica begins to beat her husband, and Annette throws Alan’s mobile phone into the flower vase full of tulips (and water). Michael & Alan try the hairdryer. Annette is getting drunk. Michael’s mother calls again, and talks to Alan. Veronica throws Annette’s purse. The boys break out cigars, and Veronica snatches them away. Claws come out on these four animals. Furious debate on the meaning of man, woman, and phony. Annette attacks the tulips. Veronica takes a call from her daughter who is worried about her missing hamster. Michael thinks it could be stuffing its face.

End of Play.

When does politeness and civility break into inevitable human savagery? Yeowza.

Feels like…: In the Hall of the Mountain King” (Peer Gynt) by Edvard Grieg

I want to say…:“Henry was less attached to Nibbles.” (Michael)

Monologues: This text is dense and rapid fire. There are a few short monologues, but don’t think they would work out of context.

This is how I roll…

OK kiddies, so this is how it’s gonna go. I’m gonna read some plays, and then I’m gonna write some sh*t down. Here’s what we’re lookin’ at:

Playwright: I shall put the name of the playwright/s here. Pretty self-explanatory.

Pages: The total number of pages in the actual script. Not including set notes, cast list, or any of that. Just first word of the script, to last word.

Number of roles: The number of people it takes to perform this play. I’ll make notes if there are phone calls that can be audio, or if there are roles that are meant to be doubled. Female roles will be listed first. Cause I want to.

Spoilers: There will be SPOILERS in this section! I will attempt to give a quick summary of the play. This section will be ruthless. I will attempt to fly through key moments of the plot with surgical skill. I am confident I will succeed!

Feels like…: A song that reminds me of this play, or the other way around.

I want to say…: My personal choice of favorite line in the play. I reserve the right for this not to make any sense without context. But the line will be AWESOME.

Monologues: I’ll let you know if there are any good ones, the gender and the age range. Will keep it to round numbers for easy searchin’ (20s, 30s, 40s, etc.).

And that should do it!

I plan on reading anything and everything. Recommendations are heartily welcome. I am going to start out with published plays HOWEVER, I LOVE reading NEW stuff! If you want YOUR play read and included – please reach out – I would LOVE to include new, original work here!

Now let’s fr*akin’ read.

Louder than…

Well, hello there. Good to meetcha. I’m Amber. Your outgoing, happy, (a little loud? …really?) theatrical friend. I like reading and good T.V. and science and sandwiches. And sunglasses. I may have a serious problem with sunglasses.

I also like plays. Actually, I love plays. I love everything that they are.

I love the electricity in a room when a group of people come together all at once to witness other people, actual people (in person!), perform. I love the thrill of a night that never happens in exactly the same way again. I love playwrights that weave incredible stories into action, rather than just telling them. I believe in the poetry of language and the idea that words are the most powerful weapons we have. I believe these words and stories have the power to change perspectives and lives. And this is why I read, attend, and champion plays.

I think you are awesome, funny, and smart as hell. And I want you to like plays too.

A few years ago, I went to see a staged reading of Johnathan Larson’s musical tick, tick…BOOM! over at City Center in NYC. The reading was only happening for a few nights, and my friend just happened to get tickets. We were so far up in the balcony we could barely see the edge of the stage, but the electricity in the room was palpable. The house was humming with anticipation and joy.

I fell in love that night again.

After the final song, Louder than Words, the audience leapt to its feet in wild, unbridled applause. The happiness in the room that night was overwhelming. I began to cry. If there would have been enough room to jump up and down, I would have. It was like a wave of euphoria had come crashing into the theatre.

I had never seen this show before in my life, but it made me realize more than ever that in a world of analysts, auditors, and account managers, we need artists as well. We need passionate, new artists, new writers, and new performers. People with voices that ache to be heard. People eager to change perspective. Dreamers. Boundary breakers. Dramatists.

When I can’t be in the theatre watching a performance, I read. Perhaps with a sandwich by my side, sporting a pair of shades. I hope you’ll dare to join me and, even perhaps, create your own electricity.

xxA