Monday, January 30, 2006

A Word Nerd Challenge

After sitting through two lousy plays this weekend--four hours of my life stolen by crummy scripts, bad directing and slipshod acting--I'm laying down a challenge to all of you budding playwrights (or just whatever-wrights) out there. Write a 10-line play. It should have a title, dialogue (one character is fine, but more than one is better), a beginning, middle and end. Make it funny, poignant, tragic, silly. I don't care. Just make it original.

There is a prize! From the overstuffed prize closet, I have plucked three fine little blank books, just perfect for journaling or chronicling your "Found" material (notes, ticket stubs, lost pet signs or other amusing detritus). Best three 10-line plays (to be decided by me) will get a prize.

Deadline: Friday February 3. Post the plays in the "comments" section here.

10 Comments:

Blogger Spirophita said...

We'll give it a try, though I wonder if you'll send the blank books for merit or for being the only one to post!

~Curtain opens~

Setting: Cozy home, Susan is sitting in a recliner, rubbing her stomach.

Susan (8 months pregnant):I love you, little one.

~~Curtain closes, opens~~

Setting: Katelyn and Susan are in a park together, and Katelyn is sliding down a slide while Susan stands at the bottom to catch her.

Katelyn (three years old): (with youthful exhuberance, runs up to Susan) I love you, mommy!!
Susan: (smiling, half-laughing) I love you too, honey.

~Curtain closes and opens.~

Setting: Susan and Katelyn are by their front door in the morning before school.
Susan: (kisses Katelyn on the cheek)Love you, honey.
Katelyn: (about 15, waiting for school bus, and visibly embarrassed) Whatever, mom.

~Curtain closes and opens.~

Setting: A trendy coffee shop, obviously for college students, Katelyn and Susan are sitting outside at a small circular table, laughing and smiling.

Katelyn: (puts down her coffee cup, stands up and hugs Susan) Well, I have to get back to class. Love you, Mom.
Susan: I love you too. (watches a little sadly as Katelyn walks away)

~Curtain closes and opens.~

Setting: A hospital room, where Susan lays in a hospital bed, 15 years later, has various tubes hooked up to her. Susan is not visibly moving.

Katelyn: (Rubs tears from eyes, which are red from crying) Mom, wake up. Please, mom.

(Susan's machine starts beeping then stops, quiet, as her fingers relax on the hospital bed)

Katelyn: (nudging her face up by Susan's, holds her hand, and speaks quietly) I love you, Mom.

~Curtains close~

12:09 PM  
Blogger Spirophita said...

Oh, I suppose you could name it "In this Room"

sorry I didn't supply a title. It's the best a usability consultant can do! Ha!

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What if they had a writing competition and no one came?"


Boss: Write this down, it's an axiom. People need to be punished. I want you to pick three people at random, give them each a blank book and tell them if they don't fill it with a new advertising campaign they're fired.

Assistant: What if you offer a reward, to sort of, uhm, encourage them.

Boss: Reward? Preposterous! Besides we could never afford it.

Assistant: Well you know we could do it like a contest or a lottery so as to keep costs down.

Boss: Like a lottery you eh? I guess we could rig it to keep down prize costs.

Assistant: No! I mean you could just give out a few trinkets to show your appreciation.

Boss: All right, pick three people at random and tell them their "creativity" has been recognized. Give them each a blank book to fill with new advertising strategies so their creativity won't be wasted.

Assistant: Good idea Sir!

Boss: hmph yeah. That will be all. Oh, and be sure to fire everyone who doesn't fill in their book.

2:10 AM  
Blogger PerpetualBeginner said...

Sorry, I have only seven lines - will that do?

Under the Weather

Scene: Government Office, bland-faced man in a gray suit is seated at a desk. The phone rings, and he picks it up.

“VA Housing, Johnson speaking.”

“Hello Mrs. Wood. I was expecting your call.”

“I’m afraid your husband is legally required to remain.”

“The homeowners are sending up food regularly, and have donated a sleeping bag. He is as comfortable as possible.”

“I realize this must be an inconvenience, but there is really no choice.”

“There’s no need for hysterics. Your husband will be home when closing is concluded in three more days.”

“Now Mrs. Wood, I know it seems strange, but rules are rules, and the appraiser’s statement clearly reads ‘Missing shingles to be replaced with certified roofer.’”

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Madhat said...

To impeach or not to impeach?

American #1: Bush is a murderer. Thousands of people have died in Afghanistan and Iraq.
American #2 (dismissive): BAH! They deserved to die. Terrrorists, the lot of them.
American #1: They tortured prisoners in Abu Gharib and Guantanamo. And the CIA is outsourcing torture to its partner countries.
American #2 (still dismissive): HMPH! we got to support the government in its war on terror. It is a small price we pay for the security..
American #1: What about the Patriot Act? It reduces our civil liberties. It gives the government the right to snoop into your private affairs without permission!
American #2 (contemplative): Perhaps the Patriot Act went a little too far! But my Senator says that it is for our good and I voted for him.
American #1: They used chemical weapons in Falluja! Didn't we go into this war because Saddam had WMDs that he intended to use against our great country! Three year and no sign of those WMDs! They lied to us to go into this war!!!
American #2: Well, they had faulty intelligence. I suppose they should have verified it better. Still does not prove a case that Bush lied.
American #1: Two thousand two hundred and forty eight US soldiers are dead because of that faulty intelligence!!! In a war that wasnt necessary!!
American #2 (angry): That son of a bitch! Lets march to Washington.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Yvette said...

Hmm for this one I think I'm going to use a conversation I heard in my physics department recently... the transcript is the same as it was but I added a few other things for dramatic effect. :)

The Incident

Setting: The basement halway of a dank, aged building with cracked concrete, squeaky linoleum floors, and fliers for campus events that occured weeks ago. The deathly quiet is suddenly broken by the Professor and the Underling, who emerge through a laboratory door amidst hurried conversation.

Underling: (frantically) I don't know what happened! The test was running fine, and then all of a sudden...
Professor: (stops walking and interrupts) Before we do anything else let me get this straight: you used the big one?
Underling: (thrusts hands in pockets and averts eyes) Yes.
Professor: Well, sh:t.
(pregnant silence)
Professor: (in a contemplative tone) You know, it might have been better if it did explode.

10:29 PM  
Blogger Logical Philosopher said...

Moronic Security: The following actually happened to me this week.

Phone ringing

Cheery Receptionist: "Hello, thank you for calling Nextel, my name is Lisa. How can I help you today?"

Me: "Yes, I'd like to cancel one of my cell phone accounts."

Cheery Receptionist: "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. What's the phone number you want to cancel?"

Me: "It's 555-1292"

Cheery Receptionist: "Ok...let me pull you up in the system here." pause "Ok Mr. Philosopher, it appears you don't have a PIN on this account so I'm not sure how to verify who you are."

Me: "Well..."

Cheery Receptionist: [slightly scolding emotions entering into voice] "You will need a PIN number to do anything on this account."

Me: "Ok...can I just make one up now?"

Cheery Receptionist: [obvious relief in her voice] "Sure."

Me: [respond with wonderment] "How about 1234?" Voiceover with: I wonder if I offer a penny for her thoughts I will get change back?

Cheery Receptionist: "That's great. Thank you very much. I will have that account terminated at the end of the day. If you call back on the account, please remember your PIN account so we can verify who you are. Have a nice day!” click.

Me: sit speechless…

4:03 AM  
Blogger Bright Bear said...

Tainted Love

Sister: You’re really going to marry her?

Brother: I am. I love her like crazy.

Sister: But she lies to you.

Brother: She can’t help herself. And she rarely lies about important things.

Sister: She quit her job and asked you to get a second one to make up the difference.

Brother: She doesn’t like working. How can I ask her to do something she doesn’t like?

Sister: She made you join the church choir. You hate singing.

Brother: Yeah, but she doesn’t like going to the practices alone. So you will come to the wedding, right?

Sister: I will. If she makes you happy, then I’m happy, because I love you like crazy.

8:43 AM  
Anonymous Hillary said...

Ever heard the talking muffin joke?

________________________
There are two people dressed as muffins in a man-sized Oven.

Muffin One : "Hi, I'm a muffin."

Muffin Two : "Wow! A talking muffin!"

(They sit there for about 20 seconds)

Muffin One : "So uh, how's your love life?"

Muffin Two : "you idiot, you ruined the joke. You see… it's supposed to be short and bafflingly vague as to confuse the audience into laughing out of confusion or realize the true satirical genius of two talking muffins."
(Red glowing light comes on in the background. Muffin Number One Sulks.)
cont... "I just feel trapped in this constant bias-opinion that muffins have no sense of humor or judgement. And angry at the fact that some people think our lack of speech recognition and sentence formation is 'satirical and comical'."
(Pause)

Muffin One : "I like being a muffin."

(The Muffins start to show intense uncomfort as the background starts glowing more intensely. The oven is kicking in full force.)

Intermission.

End Intermission.

Muffin Two : “Is it getting hot in here or is it just me?”

Muffin One :(sarcastically)"Whoa, look! A heat-feeling muffin! And you get crusty when I ruin the joke.”

(Pause)

Muffin One : (realizing their doom)“Hey man, I gotta say something… I'm sorry for ruining the joke.”

Muffin Two : “It’s ok… though I find it humorously sad that such a minor event encompasses our entire existence. Why blame you for your ignorance? We’re only muffins after all. The human-kind will never consider that what’s meant to go into their mouth might just possess intelligence and humor and…and...”

Muffin One : “I love you muffin...”

Muffin Two : (with intense pain)“Look….. It’s….. A….. Loving…. Mm…….”

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the muffin play. Not sure why really. I think I identifies with the characters.

6:04 PM  

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