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.