Welcome Visitor: Login to the siteJoin the site


Four test subjects await psychologists who are to conduct a memory study. A lavish feast has been laid out on a table in the middle of the room, and the subjects eat heartily as they wait for instruction. After an hour with no sign of the psychologists, the subjects start to fall ill and lose consciousness, leaving the remaining candidates to wonder about the true nature of the study.


Submitted:Nov 18, 2012    Reads: 3    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


Characters

HUNGER STRIKE (Female, 20s)

ADAM (Male, 20s) thin, average height.

DONNA REED (Female, 50s)

TOM (Male, 40s) large physical presence.

(The setting is a lavishly decorated room. An offstage door that is the only way in or out is suggested upstage right.

An ornate table filled with food, desserts, bottles of wine, and pitchers of water occupies center stage. Four chairs are positioned about the room in plain view. Two small tables covered with magazines are positioned near each of the two sets of chairs.

The characters have been in the room for an indeterminate amount of time. There are no time-telling devices anywhere: no wristwatches, no cell phones, no clocks on the wall.

At rise, ADAM eats near the downstage left side of the table from a plate loaded with food. His glass of white wine rests on the table within arm's reach. TOM stands to the right of ADAM, devouring the food from his own plate that is even more heavily loaded. DONNA sits downstage right and quietly nibbles on an apple slice sandwiched between a cracker and a piece of cheese. HUNGER STRIKE sits and reads a magazine downstage left.

ADAM bites into a blini and smiles.)

ADAM

Wow.

TOM

You can say that again.

ADAM

(Beat) Wow.

(TOM and ADAM chuckle.)

TOM

This food is great. (To DONNA) How 'bout it?

(DONNA smiles half-heartedly and nods.)

ADAM

It's exquisite. I can't say I understand, but ours is not to wonder why. Actually, I do wonder why, but I'm not gonna argue with this spread.

TOM

Signing up for this is definitely one of the smartest things I've done.

ADAM

I believe that.

TOM

(Beat) What?

ADAM

What?

TOM

You believe what?

ADAM

(Pause, TOM stares at him) Nothing. It was a joke. I'm kidding around.

TOM

I didn't know we knew each other that well.

(ADAM continues to eat. TOM walks to DONNA with his plate of food, busily clearing it.)

DONNA

(To TOM) You're eating like you're afraid someone's going to take it from you.

TOM

(Smiles) Who knows when they will?

ADAM

She's allowed to joke?

DONNA

(To TOM) Who says they will? They said we could eat as much as we want.

TOM

That's what they all say until you read the fine print.

DONNA

Maybe they'll let you take some home.

TOM

That's not a bad idea. I wouldn't mind eating like this for a couple more days.

DONNA

Don't eat out much?

TOM

I eat out all the time. That's the problem. My wife stopped cooking years ago.

DONNA

You could learn to cook yourself.

TOM

Wanna give me lessons?

DONNA

Why don't you ask your wife to give you lessons?

TOM

She's not my wife anymore. She couldn't cook to save her ass anyway.

ADAM

They have foie gras. Foie gras!

(ADAM spreads some on a cracker and takes a bite.)

ADAM (cont'd)

And it's really good. I mean, come on. Who puts out complimentary pâté?

(Pause)

(Pointing) And has anyone tasted the dumplings? Wasabi dumplings? Unbelievable. If I weren't so bowled over by the food I'd start to wonder why we're here.

(ADAM's attention is caught by HUNGER STRIKE and how she is not eating.)

ADAM (cont'd)

(While chewing) Not hungry?

HUNGER STRIKE

No.

ADAM

Me neither. Fortunately that has nothing to do with my eating habits, not when the food's free. I would've figured we were in the same boat.

HUNGER STRIKE

What boat?

ADAM

You said you're in grad school, right?

HUNGER STRIKE

Yeah?

ADAM

So you must know the value of a free meal.

HUNGER STRIKE

I do...when I'm hungry.

ADAM

(Sarcastic) Well, if you're not hungry...

(Confidentially) Unless you know something we don't.

HUNGER STRIKE

Something...?

ADAM

You know, something about the whole...

HUNGER STRIKE

Oh, no. No. I don't know anything...nothing about this, I mean.

ADAM

Other than not being hungry.

HUNGER STRIKE

Right. Other than that.

ADAM

Hmm.

HS

What "Hmm"?

ADAM

I don't know...

You're the only one not eating...

The food's really good. You can trust me on that.

HS

I'm sure it is...but I'm not hungry.

ADAM

Right, right. That's cool. (Beat) So what do you think's going on here?

HUNGER STRIKE

I have no idea.

ADAM

Not even a theory?

HUNGER STRIKE

Not even a hypothesis.

ADAM

(Impressed) Good word.

HUNGER STRIKE

You seem to have one.

ADAM

No.

HUNGER STRIKE

Just suspicions?

ADAM

Hardly. I've been too busy eating.

HUNGER STRIKE

Can't eat and think at the same time?

ADAM

I can't do much of anything when I eat.

DONNA

Can't multi-task?

ADAM

No. That's a myth, by the way.

DONNA

What is?

ADAM

Human multi-tasking. Some people can switch focus from one thing to another quickly, but it's not the same thing computers can do.

DONNA

My son can multi-task. He can have an entire conversation with me while watching a football game.

ADAM

Uh...I hate to break it to you, but he probably wasn't paying attention to your conversation.

DONNA

I know. I was making a joke.

ADAM

It was drier than this chardonnay (takes a sip) which is saying something. And who serves wine at one of these things?

HUNGER STRIKE

I don't know. I've never been to one of these before. Have you?

ADAM

No.

DONNA

I can pray while doing just about anything. Does that count?

ADAM

I don't know. I was thinking of only productive uses of time.

(HUNGER STRIKE chuckles.)

TOM

(Dishing more food onto his plate) What are you going on about?

ADAM

Multi-tasking and the myths thereof. And that led to the conversational skills of Donna Reed's son.

DONNA

Donna Reed? Who's that? Me?

ADAM

Tell me it's not.

DONNA

(Chuckles) Thanks, I'll take it.

ADAM

Before that I asked Hunger Strike (gestures toward her) why she thinks we're here.

HUNGER STRIKE

Hunger Strike?

TOM

Why she thinks we're here?

HUNGER STRIKE

Because I'm not eating?

TOM

(To ADAM) What do you mean "Why she thinks we're here"?

ADAM

(To TOM) Just a sec. (To HS) Don't you like it?

TOM

(To ADAM) Hey.

HUNGER STRIKE

No I don't.

ADAM

Why not? It has intensity.

HUNGER STRIKE

It makes me sound like a political prisoner.

ADAM

Yeah.

TOM

I'm asking a question.

HUNGER STRIKE

Do you make it a habit of nicknaming complete strangers?

ADAM

We're not complete strangers, are we? And I have to call you something. You're not the only woman, so pronouns won't help. Besides, the best names are the ones that are meaningful and are related to what people do. That's why nicknames are so great. They're the only true type of name, in my opinion, unless we start renaming people based upon they're occupations like they used to do, but we don't do that anymore. How many people named Baker actually bake bread nowadays? Do you know any Taylors who mend people's clothes? Not likely. And where are all the Jack Daytraders and Jill Yogainstructors?

TOM

Do you ever stop talking?

HUNGER STRIKE

I'm not on a hunger strike.

DONNA

(To HS) He's just teasing you. (To ADAM) And what is your name?

ADAM

That's up to you. Besides, we're not supposed to tell each other‑‑

DONNA

I know. I just want to know what you'd call yourself.

ADAM

Today? Well I was the first man to arrive, so I guess that makes me Adam. Adam McAdams.

(TOM laughs.)

ADAM (cont'd)

Joey seems to like it.

TOM

Who's Joey?

ADAM

You.

TOM

Is that right?

ADAM

You look like a Joey. (To the other two) Doesn't he look like a Joey?

TOM

My name's Tom.

DONNA

We're not supposed to give out our names.

TOM

(Shrugs) I get paid either way.

HUNGER STRIKE

What if someone doesn't like her nickname?

ADAM

Do we ever get to choose what we're called?

TOM

All the time.

ADAM

Yeah?

TOM

If someone calls you something you don't like, you smack him in the mouth. He'll stop.

ADAM

Sounds effective.

TOM

It is.

ADAM

Gotcha...Tom. (exaggerated wink to TOM).

(To HUNGER STRIKE) If it really bothers you, I'll call you H.S. for short, OK?

HUNGER STRIKE

Whatever.

TOM

(To ADAM) So what did you mean about asking... her...Hunger, or whatever, why she thinks we're here?

ADAM

Well, why do you think we're here?

TOM

We're here to take those tests.

ADAM

What tests?

TOM

The ones they said we'd take.

ADAM

Where are they? Where are the people who are supposed to administer the tests? Where's anyone for that matter?

TOM

I don't know.

ADAM

We've been here awhile. I'm not complaining‑‑they get major kudos on the food‑‑but it has been a long time.

TOM

It's hasn't been that long. (TOM checks his watch and realizes it's gone) I forgot...they took my watch.

DONNA

They took all our watches.

HUNGER STRIKE

And our cell phones.

ADAM

(To TOM) Didn't you read that paper they made us sign?

TOM

Which one?

ADAM

The one that explained--

Is that filet?

TOM

I read everything they gave me.

ADAM

How did I not see this?

(ADAM dishes himself out a large piece of thinly cut, rare filet.)

TOM

Wait, which paper are you talking about?

(ADAM bites into the meat.)

ADAM

Oh...you gotta try this.

TOM

It's that good?

ADAM

It's perfect. If I were a t-bone steak I'd marry it.

(DONNA chuckles.)

ADAM (cont'd)

Sorry, I don't get to eat like this very often...or ever.

(TOM eats a piece of filet.)

TOM

Now that is some good steak. Is there any steak sauce over there?

ADAM

I'm sure they know better.

TOM

Then pass me the ketchup.

ADAM

You are not putting ketchup anywhere near that magnificent cut of meat.

TOM

Give me the ketchup.

ADAM

No.

TOM

What do you mean, No?

ADAM

I can't watch you murder that animal twice.

TOM

Give it to me.

ADAM

I can't.

TOM

Oh, for Christ's sake.

(TOM walks towards the ketchup.)

TOM (cont'd)

You put ketchup on steak sandwiches, don't you?

ADAM

Not where I come from.

(Pause)

(To HUNGER STRIKE) So did you have a big breakfast or something?

HUNGER STRIKE

What?

TOM

Is that why you're not eating?

HUNGER STRIKE

(Shakes her head, incredulous) I'm not eating because I'm not hungry. What's so difficult to understand?

ADAM

Because it doesn't make sense. (To DONNA) Back me up on this: isn't she missing out?

DONNA

I don't know about that, but (To HS) judging by the way you've been eyeing that food, I'd say you are hungry. Very hungry. I think I heard your stomach growl a couple times.

ADAM

I thought that was Tom.

TOM

You'd know if it was me.

ADAM

I bet. (To HS) If you're hungry, why won't you eat?‑‑especially with food like this. It's practically criminal.

HUNGER STRIKE

Why do you care if I eat or not?

ADAM

I don't. I'm just curious.

HUNGER STRIKE

No, it really bothers you that I'm not eating.

ADAM

No it doesn't.

HUNGER STRIKE

Why does it bother you?

ADAM

It doesn't.

HS

It obviously does.

ADAM

(Sarcastic) Well maybe a little, but I promise I won't lose sleep over it.

(HS goes back to reading her magazine.)

ADAM (cont'd)

(Laughs) Why are you getting so serious? I'm just kidding around. I really could care a less if you eat or not. Whatever you don't eat is more that Tom gets to take home.

TOM

You're the one who hasn't stopped eating for two seconds.

DONNA

(To ADAM) You are acting like it bothers you...the way you keep asking her about it.

ADAM

What is this, gang up on McAdams day?

DONNA

Does it bother you?

ADAM

Of course it does.

HS

Why?

ADAM

(Laughs) I don't know. Gorging myself in front of someone who's not eating makes me feel a little...

DONNA

Guilty?

ADAM

Yeah, it makes me feel a little guilty. What can I say, I'm a nice person. But it's not that I care if you eat or not: I just want to know your reason.

TOM

And she said it's because she's not hungry. What's so hard to understand?

ADAM

I just think it's odd...and I think it has something to do with why we're here today.

HUNGER STRIKE

Well maybe this is the point. Maybe this is why we're here today.

TOM

The point of what?

HUNGER STRIKE

What we're doing here today.

TOM

I'm here to get paid.

ADAM

Now that is brilliant.

HUNGER STRIKE

Maybe this is the real study.

DONNA

What is? The food?

HUNGER STRIKE

Maybe.

TOM

What's the real study?

DONNA

You're saying the food is part of the experiment?

TOM

Hey! (Beat) What are you guys talking about?

HUNGER STRIKE

Tom, do you find anything strange about your day so far?

TOM

Where do I start? You got this guy over here giving everybody nicknames and going on about the dumplings like he's about to take them to a motel room.

HUNGER STRIKE

What do you think is going on here today?

TOM

You mean why‑‑

HUNGER STRIKE

Yes.

TOM

We're taking a psychology test.

HUNGER STIKE

About what?

TOM

About memory. Aren't we?





0

| Email this story Email this Script | Add to reading list



Reviews

About | News | Contact | Your Account | TheNextBigWriter | Self Publishing | Advertise

© 2013 TheNextBigWriter, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Terms under which this service is provided to you. Privacy Policy.