“A Plan”

“A Plan” is the second of the eight plays that made up “A Night of Short Plays.” All of the plays are loosely connected by a common theme: the random nature of life.

How the production of these plays came to be. In April of 2018 I followed up on an introduction made to me in the fall of 2017 at a co-working business with a small outdoor performance space. We agreed on terms and dates and the ball was rolling. The plays would be performed in Spanish using local actors. I found my translator that day; how fortunate that she worked part-time at the business. At the auditions I met a local producer/director who volunteered to recruit directors and actors for me. She has since become one of my best friends and we have planned a couple more events.

On two nights in late June we filled the space (about 50 people each night); I realized then that I could get anything I wrote produced in Oaxaca and it would be accepted and appreciated, given that the work was of good quality. Such a great feeling!!!

Here is the poster for the event.

poster

Synopsis for “A Plan”: two people discuss the merits of having a life plan.

CHARACTERS

A

B

TIME: The Present

PLACE: Anywhere

*Author strongly recommends casting actors other than two white men.

A: And another thing.

B: The doctor is in.

A: I’m already bored.

B: It’s only been a month.

A: Feels like a millennium.

B: Whatya been doin’?

A: Not much. Coming here.

B: Join any clubs or anything?

A: Nah, all snobs and bores.

B: Staying active? Bowling? Golf?

A: With my sciatica?

B: Tell me your day.

A: Eat, watch TV, come here.

B: That’s it?

A: Pretty much.

B: You’re doin’ it all wrong.

A: Says the know-it-all.

B: I know enough.

A: Really?

2.

B: Really.

A: Whadya know?

B: You had no plan.

A: I had, have a plan.

B: I’m all ears.

A: It’s basic. (pause) Simple.

B: They’re always the best.

A: You won’t like it.

B: Why?

A: Because I know you.

B: Try me.

A: Ok. Living life my way.

B: Hmmm. Well…you know…

A: You don’t like it?

B: That’s not a plan.

A: Knew you wouldn’t like it.

B: Sounds like a marketing slogan.

A: For what?

B: Someone without a plan.

A: You have a plan?

B: I’m a planner.

A: You never plan.

B: I plan. Silently.

A: Tell me the last one.

B: My trip to—

A: Bali. Thirty years ago.

3.

B: It was Rio.

A: Either way, you never went.

B: But, I planned it.

A: You got a plan now?

B: You should hear it.

A: A good one?

B: Better than good. Stupendous!

A: Tell me.

B: Can’t. (pause) Not finished.

A: I see. Classified. Top Secret.

B: Ok, I’ll tell you.

A: This oughta be good.

B: When it’s finished.

A: You got no plan.

B: Let’s talk about your plan.

A: I’ve decided, no plan.

B: Got any hobbies?

A: You bet. Poker.

B: Bad choice.

A: Why?

B: You suck at it.

A: I’m improving.

B: Not according to Billy.

A: Big mouth.

B: You always talk about Europe.

A: Yeah, especially Italy.

4.

B: So, go.

A: Takes money.

B: You’re loaded.

A: Not like you think.

B: Oh. Bad investments?

A: I’m paying for aSssisted living.

B: Not you!

A: My parents.

B: They in a good place?

A: The best.

B: Using your money?

A: Mostly.

B: They still healthy?

A: Too healthy to die.

B: That could change. Life’s fragile.

5.

A: We’ll live forever!

B: Here today, gone tomorrow.

A: Not me.

B: So, Europe’s out. See the USA.

A: In my Chevrolet.

B: Go for it!

A: I need a companion.

B: Try eHarmony. It’s the best.

A: You tried it?

B: Lots of times.

A: But, you’re alone.

B: I’m picky.

A: Or they are.

B: You’ve never been picky.

A: And I’m still alone.

B: What a pair we are.

A: You really have a plan?

B: Of course…not.

A: Didn’t think so.

B: Plans are overrated.

A: Absolutely. Only losers plan.

6.

B: We fly…

A AND B: By the seat of our pants.

(A and B clink beer bottles and drink)

B: You’ll think of something.

A: If I want to.

B: You’re smart.

A: Einstein smart.

B: Well…

A: Don’t need to be Einstein.

B: A plan will appear.

A: When it’s time.

B: That’s how it works.

A: You can’t force these things.

B: No, you can’t.

A: That’s not how life works.

B: Amen.

7.

A: I gotta go.

(A stands)

B: Go where?

A: I’m not sure.

B: Then stay. Have another.

A: I could.

B: Of course. You’re retired.

A: I am.

(A sits. B exits and returns with 2 drinks)

B: That’s the beauty of it.

A: Do what I want.

B: When you want.

A: Eat when I’m hungry.

B: Drink when you’re thirsty.

A: Hardly need a clock.

B: The sun is your clock.

A: I’m gonna eat.

B: You love the burgers here.

A: Chinese, maybe.

B: Ok, Chinese it is.

A: Maybe I’ll just walk around.

B: Oh, I envy your life.

A: You’ll be there soon.

B: Yes, I will.

A: With or without a plan.

B: With or without. Can’t wait.

A: Italian sounds good.

B: Sure. Thinking about Italy, right?

8.

A: Pizza or pasta.

B: Your decision of the day.

(A stands and tries to give B some money, but B waves it away)

A: See you tomorrow?

B: That’s the plan.

A: Maybe I’ll check out eHarmony.

B: I knew you would.

A: To plans.

B: Or not.

(THEY clink bottles and drink. A exits. Five to ten seconds after he leaves, car tires SCREECH and a THUD. B reacts. Lights down)

THE END

 

“Does It Matter?”

This short play was performed in the Stay Awake! Theatre (NYC) Prism Festival in June 2017. It was also translated into Spanish and produced as part of “Una noche de las obras cortas” (A Night of Short Plays) in June 2018 in Oaxaca de Jauréz, Oaxaca, Mexico.

“Does It Matter?” is one of a series of eight 10-minute plays that made up the night of short plays. (The others will follow.) It’s also the only one in the series which has been produced in English, which is a pity as they are all entertaining plays.

The style of the plays is somewhat unique in that lines of dialogue are five words or less, no location is specified in any of the plays and in most cases, no age, race or gender is given for the actors.

Anybody wanting the Spanish version of this play or any of the eight, please contact me through the Home page.

“Does It Matter?” synopsis: two people discover they have the same objective for their meeting.

CHARACTERS
A
B
They can be any combination of age, race or gender
PLACE
Anywhere
TIME
It’s always the present
(Two actors somewhere)
A
So, do it.
B
I will.
A
Alright then.
B
I’ll do it.
A
You’re all talk.
B
Don’t think I won’t.
A
Talk, talk, talk.
B
I’m a doer.
A
Then do it.
B
When I’m ready.
A
That’s the best time.
B
Damn straight.
A
When you’re ready.
B
When I’m ready.
A
Not before.
B
Not a second before.
A
I’m waiting.
2.
B
You think I won’t?
A
Hard to say.
B
You don’t know me.
A
I know you.
B
Not that well.
A
Better than most.
B
Then you know I’ll do it.
A
If you say so.
B
I’m saying so.
A
You say this is big.
B
Bigger than big.
A
Huge?
B
Bigger than huge. Enormous.
A
As jobs go, ever done enormous?
B
No, my first time.
A
That could be a problem.
B
I’ve done huge.
A
But, enormous is…well, enormous.
B
Huge, enormous, matter of degree.
A
You’ve done huge? (pause) Remind me.
B
Last year.
A
I didn’t hear about it.
B
Didn’t tell anyone.
A
It was huge?
B
Closer to enormous.
A
But, a secret?
B
A secret.
3.
A
Why?
B
Personal reasons.
A
Why do something big—
B
Not big. Huge.
A
—huge, and not tell anybody?
B
I told you.
A
Personal reasons.
B
Yes.
A
Tell me one.
B
I can’t.
A
They’re personal.
B
Exactly.
A
Otherwise—
B
I’d tell you.
A
Are you ready, yet?
B
I’ll tell you when.
A
I may be dead by then.
B
I certainly hope not.
A
How will you know?
B
I’ll know.
A
How?
B
I just will.
A
You’ll receive a phone call?
B
No.
A
Text message?
B
You don’t need to know.
(B’s phone BEEPS. He turns away and looks at it)
A
Now you’re ready?
4.
B
There’s no rush.
A
Life can be unpredictable.
B
I still have time.
A
How much?
B
Enough.
A
How do you know?
B
I know.
A
You don’t know. Nobody does.
B
Color me optimistic.
A
You might die tomorrow.
B
Not gonna happen.
A
Or later today.
B
Don’t make me laugh.
(A’s phone rings. A turns away for a few seconds, then ends call)
A
Maybe even now.
B
Now? How?
A shows a weapon.
A Me.
B
You?
A Yours truly.
B
Kill me?
A
I could.
B
You could.
A
I would.
B
Doubtful.
A
You think I wouldn’t?
B
That was the call?
A
Does it matter?
5.
B
A
You’re smirking.
B
No, I’m not.
A
Looks like it to me.
B
You’re mistaken.
A
Hardly ever.
B
Why?
A
Why what?
B
Why kill me?
A
Personal reasons.
B
Those are the best ones.
A
Not always.
B
But, you can’t.
A
I can. And I will.
B
No, it’ll ruin everything.
A
How?
B
I won’t be able to—
A
You weren’t going to anyway.
B
I was and I am.
A
Then do whatever it is.
B
Okay.
A
You’re ready now?
B
Ready as I’ll ever be.
A
Go. Then I’ll do it.
B
You won’t be able to.
A
What’s to stop me?
B
You’ll be dead.
6.
A
You want to kill me?
B
Yes.
A
Why?
B
Personal—
A
–sonal reasons.
B
Good memory.
A
Are they valid?
B
In my mind. Yours?
A
My reasons? Of course.
B
What’s your motivation?
A
I’d rather not say.
B
Just in general. Anger? Revenge?
A
A bet.
B
A bet? To kill me?
A
Not you specifically. Anybody.
B
Why me?
A
Why not?
B
How much?
A
No money.
B
Then why?
A
They dared me.
B
I can relate to that.
A
What’s your reason? In general?
B
Money. Always money.
A
Someone is paying you?
B
A
Who? How much?
7.
B
Does it matter?
A
Yes. What’s my value?
B
Who cares? You’ll be dead.
A
Good point. Still…
B
Seems we’ve reached a stalemate.
A
How do we resolve this?
B
Rock, paper, scissors?
A
No, I always lose.
B
Do you have an idea?
A
We could arm wrestle.
B
No. You’re stronger than me.
A
We could flip a coin.
B
Ok. Can I flip?
A
If you’d like.
B
Call it.
A
Tails.
(They look at the coin. Lights down)
THE END