It Only Took a Little Help From my Friends

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
A Playwright, preparing to present his show, warns the audience that the script got out of hand when all of his friends wanted to add their own characters. Watch as the worlds of actors, wannabes, a director and a desperate writer collide.

Submitted: October 29, 2011

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Submitted: October 29, 2011

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It Just Took a Little Help from my Friends

 

Cast of Characters:

 

DIRECTOR (m/f)*

PLAYWRIGHT (m/f)*

ANNOUNCER (m/f)*

HENRY (m)

EMILY (f)

JOSEPH (m)

HOLLY (f)

CHRIS(m)

HENRY 2 (m)

EMILY 2 (f)

JOSEPH 2 (m)

HOLLY 2 (f)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* ANNOUNCER, PLAYWRIGHT, and DIRECTOR may be played by either gender.  It is recommended, however, that two are played by one gender, and  one by the other.  Since different kinds of conflicts may be determined based on gender, i.e. a gender swap could change a Male vs. Female conflict to a Female vs. Female of Male vs. Male conflict, all of which would require different blocking.  In the script, ANNOUNCER, PLAYWRIGHT, and DIRECTOR will always be referred to as "he," "him," etc., for the purpose of consistency.

 

 

 

(Curtain opens on dark stage.  Spotlight shines on PLAYWRIGHT centerstage)

 

PLAYWRIGHT: (pleading) I didn't want it to turn out this way.  I really didn't.  It's just that whenever somebody really, REALLY wants to help, it's hard to say no.  That's why I let Emily contribute a character. (Another light shines on EMILY stage right, who smiles and waves.  Throughout this monologue, a new character will be illuminated as they are mentioned, in the format of Role, position.  If lighting in this scene is too complicated, the actors may simply walk onto the stage as they are announced.)  I managed to incorporate her by removing one of my own characters, and it didn't do much damage.  Then Henry asked to help. (HENRY, stage left)  This character was a bigger problem, but I managed to put him into the play by making him the brother of the main character. (JOSEPH, upstage right) Which I had to eliminate for JOSEPH's character, whose therapist (HOLLY, upstage left) was Holly's character.  (CHRIS walks into the spotlight with PLAYWRIGHT, and waits to be introduced) And Chris was my character.  This might not have been much of a problem, (all lights except for PLAYWRIGHTS go out, and/or characters exeunt, including CHRIS.) except that everybody was insistent that their character be a part of a different storyline.  Holly's character is tragically in love with Henry's character, who has cancer, and whose estranged father, the character I managed to fit in there, is having being used to cheat with Emily's character, whose boyfriend, Joseph's character, is striving to win a gold medal in archery.

DIRECTOR: (walking boldly onstage) And it was brilliant!  The subtle humor derived from Joseph's optimistic outlook on life, despite the grim circumstances created by the tragedy in his romantic relationship matches wits with the bard himself!

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, to be performed for you tonight... Dreamers!

PLAYWRIGHT: (aside) I let them all vote on the title.

DIRECTOR: However much your friends may have helped you to accomplish, you deserve the credit for weaving it into a masterful work! 

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please silence your cell phones.

PLAYWRIGHT: I'd prefer it if you didn't.  (directly to audience, but not explicitly aside; as he says this, ANNOUNCER and DIRECTOR should notice what he is saying) While I realize that this won't actually help, knowing that a cell phone may interrupt what I'm about to show you would bring me mild comfort.

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please silence your cell phones.

PLAYWRIGHT: No!

DIRECTOR: (Speaking above them) Our (students/performers) here at (insert specific name of school/troupe/organization) have worked hard to prepare the show you're about to see.

PLAYWRIGHT: Please don't.

ANNOUNCER: And now our (director/student DIRECTOR) would like to make a speech.  (PLAYWRIGHT sits in off-center chair, defeated)

DIRECTOR: Ahem. (The following monolog may be performed as written, or, for added comedic affect, it could be completely rewritten to emulate the actual DIRECTOR's prewritten speech- or vice versa.) Our students have worked hard to bring you this play, "Dreamers." (PLAYWRIGHT drops his head) This was written by (school's/organization's) very own—

PLAYWRIGHT: (interrupting) NO!  DON'T SAY MY NAME! (rushes to center stage, and speaks directly to audience) If you know my name, and you tell it to ANYBODY ELSE who's watching this show, I WILL—

ANNOUNCER: (interrupting his rant) Ladies and gentlemen, you can thank (PLAYWRIGHT's real name) for that lovely pre-show entertainment.  Let's give him a hand.  (PLAYWRIGHT holds up cue card that says 'SHUT UP')Now let's get on with the first scene.

(ANNOUNCER and DIRECTOR join PLAYWRIGHT at 'offstage' seats.One spotlight should stay focused on them during the 'show.')

JOSEPH: (enters with bow and arrow, places the target on the other side of the stage, and walks back near the curtain.  Then he pretends to pull back the arrow against the bow, and pretends to release it.  As it is 'released,' he throws the arrow at the target.  The faker the better.  Begins speaking nobly) A good shot, but hardly a bullseye.  I'll have to work harder to get my gold medal.

EMILY: (enters) Hello, JOSEPH. (giggles)

JOSEPH: Hello, EMILY.  I'm practicing right now.  I think I can make the 2012 Olympics!  (update year as necessary)

EMILY: I love you, JOSEPH! (JOSEPH exits, taking target, bow, and arrow with him.  EMILY crosses stage, and is followed by CHRIS)

CHRIS: And I love you.

EMILY: JOSEPH's been so busy at the office lately.

PLAYWRIGHT: (rises and rushes to center stage, and speaks to the audience.) EMILY's boyfriend was going to be a businessman, but then I had to add JOSEPH's character.  The line should say, "JOSEPH's been so busy practicing lately.  It's not my fault.  (returns to seat.)

CHRIS: So which movie do you want to watch?  I've got The Best Man, Indecent Proposal, and Unfaithful. 

PLAYWRIGHT: (rising and facing audience, interrupting) Because she's cheating on JOSEPH.  EMILY threw in that joke after the play was supposed to be finished. (sits)

ANNOUNCER: Come visit the bake sale!

CHRIS, DIRECTOR, and EMILY: What?  (as they say, 'What?' PLAYWRIGHT says nothing because enough bad things are happening)

ANNOUNCER: Scene one should have been done by now, according to my watch, and while the lights were out, I was supposed to yell, (the following should be said with just as much volume and enthusiasm as the first time, and not as if he is quoting something) Come visit the bake sale!  But since he (glares at PLAYWRIGHT) keeps interrupting, it's been running late.  Therefore, I took initiative.

PLAYWRIGHT: Can we start over?

DIRECTOR: Of course not!  We must make each scene seem like it's playing out for the very first time.

PLAYWRIGHT: I think we've already failed there.

HOLLY: (enters stage left) Absolutely not!  The close we get to my part the better.

HENRY: (enters stage right)I agree!

HOLLY: I agree too!

EMILY: (to DIRECTOR) Excuse me, but since we aren't doing the IMPORTANT show yet, can I take off this makeup?

DIRECTOR: Every show is important, EMILY.

EMILY: That's not what you said earlier.  (the following should be high-pitched or in a deep voice, dependent on DIRECTOR's gender) 'Don't be nervous, everybody, this is just a warm up for that other show next week.'

DIRECTOR: (embarrassedly) I didn't mean we shouldn’t treat the other performances just as seriously.

EMILY: Sounds like it, but besides, it's only makeup.

Chris: I worked hard doing your makeup!

PLAYWRIGHT: (shooting up from seat and running into the action) SHUT UP AND BE QUIET! (Turns with back completely to the audience, comically jumping up and down and making extreme gestures) IT TOOK ME SIX MONTHS TO WRITE THIS STUPID PLAY AND YOU ARE NOT WASTING ALL OF OUR TIME!  I DON'T CARE HOW BAD IT IS!
DIRECTOR: (as if nothing had happened, excitedly) Places!

ANNOUNCER: Scene two! (HOLLY, JOSEPH, and HENRY enter)

EMILY: (whining) But we never finished scene one! 

DIRECTOR: You have to admit, we were pretty close.

EMILY: (sighing) Yeah... (EMILY and CHRIS exeunt)

(Lights out.  When lights return, HENRY should be lying down on couch, HOLLY should be in chair to the right.  JOSEPH is standing to HENRY's left)

HOLLY: How long have you hated your father?

HENRY: I don't hate him.  (stands, preparing to give his dramatic monologue) I miss him.  Trying to get him to come home.  Always hunting for his approval.  I will always forgive him!  Blood is thicker than water!  (weepy, looks up meaningfully at sky) I love you, Dad.

HOLLY: (passionately jumps up from chair, gives a monologue which isn't noticed by the others) Henry!  How I love you!  To hold you in my arms—

PLAYWRIGHT: (overlapping) I did not write these monologues.

HOLLY: --To only have the chance to be you! BREATHE YOU!  O HENRY, I KNOW YOU!  I
KNOW YOU LIKE THE SUN KNOWS THE STARS, LOVINGLY BUT FOREVER DISTANT!  HOW I WOULD LOVE YOU AND HOLD YOU, IF ONLY I HAD THE CHANCE TO LET MY LOVE BE KNOWN TO YOU!

JOSEPH: (to DIRECTOR) Why am I in this scene?  I don't really have a reason to be here.

PLAYWRIGHT: (snappy.  HOLLY and HENRY should be unphased during this) Yes, yes, we all know it doesn't make any sense.  Am I complaining?  No.  SHUT. UP.

HENRY: Father, I love you!

HOLLY: O, Henry!

(lights)

ANNOUNCER: End of scene two.  Want to know more about the cast and crew?  Come visit us in the lobby after the show!

EMILY 2: (offstage) Will I be included in that?

HOLLY 2: (offstage) And me?

HENRY 2: (offstage) Yeah, what about us?

(HENRY 2, EMILY 2, HOLLY 2, and JOSEPH 2 rise from their seats and begin to approach the stage.)

PLAYWRIGHT: (rushes to center stage) Um, Ladies and... gentlemen, (as they arrive individually) Co-authors, Holly, Joseph, Henry, and Emily. (Co-authors wave)  Please return to your seats.

EMILY 2: Can't we just watch from up here?  I want to see the dramatic scene where Chris has a seizure and Emily gets back together with Joseph.

JOSEPH 2: And I want to see Joseph win the Olympic Gold Medal right after.

HOLLY 2: I want EVERYBODY to see the scene where Henry makes up with his father just before the seizure, then asks me to marry him, and I quit my job as a therapist so that I don't get in trouble for having a relationship with my patients.

HENRY: And I want to see where my character manages to finally beat his character.

PLAYWRIGHT: (to audience) If anybody wants to leave, now would be an acceptable time.

DIRECTOR: Not from MY play.

ANNOUNCER: Intermission!  Visit the concession stand!

ALL: (including actors, who have one by one wandered back onstage) What?!?

ANNOUNCER: My watch says that scene three should be over by now, and that it's time to announce intermission.

PLAYWRIGHT: You're right.  (to audience) Unplanned intermission!  Please get... a soda, or something.

DIRECTOR: Hold it! (pointing to the back) You!  In the back!  Sit down.  No soda until you see Joseph's tragic revelation about Emily and Chris.

PLAYWRIGHT: Will everybody PLEASE stop spouting spoilers?

DIRECTOR: I didn't say what the revelation WAS, now did I?

PLAYWRIGHT: (to audience) Did anybody here not assume that the revelation was that Emily's cheating?

DIRECTOR: NOW who's spoiling the play?

PLAYWRIGHT: EVERYBODY PLACES!

(Actors run offstage, except for JOSEPH and EMILY.  One spotlight is still on the group of chairs stage right.  PLAYWRIGHT, DIRECTOR, and ANNOUNCER return to their seats there.  HENRY 2, EMILY 2, HOLLY 2, and JOSEPH 2 follow PLAYWRIGHT up to the three seats, and sit on the floor, eagerly watching centerstage.  At lights, EMILY and JOSEPH are sitting on the couch holding hands.)

EMILY: Oh, Joseph, I love you!

JOSEPH: I love you, Emily!

EMILY: (as CHRIS enters from right) I love you SO much, Joseph!

CHRIS: (obviously hurt) I thought you loved ME!

EMILY: You knew I was cheating.

JOSEPH: Emily! (Turns, runs to center stage, and begins his monologue to the audience, occasionally turning to EMILY and CHRIS) NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO *gasp* NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! (length at director's and actor's discretion, but must be exaggerated greatly)

PLAYWRIGHT: (flatly) He wanted a dramatic scene.

EMILY: Joseph, I—

JOSEPH: (drops to floor and begins to roll back and forth) NONONONONONONO!

Why!?!  WHYOWHYOWHYOWHYOWHY!?!  Why, Emily, why? (standing, resumes monologue facing audience) Why would you ever betray me for this demonic creature? WHYOWHYOWHY—

CHRIS: Emily, I feel really bad about this... We're through.

JOSEPH: We're through too!

CHRIS: Really?  Okay, I guess we're cool then.  (kisses EMILY on cheek)

JOSEPH: NOOOOOOOOOOO!

(lights go off on main stage.  EMILY 2 and JOSEPH 2 applaud wildly)

ANNOUNCER: Now can I announce the intermission?

PLAYWRIGHT: We don't have time for an intermission.  We have thirteen scenes left to go, and we've wasted enough time to get through thirty. 

DIRECTOR: Hey!  In the back!  I said no soda!

PLAYWRIGHT: Scene Four!  Coping with reality!

(All return to places except HOLLY and JOSEPH, who stand at the center, who stand a few feet apart facing the audience ad different angles.)

HOLLY: (to the tune of, 'Over the Rainbow.' To be sung as emotionally as possible by both.  This scene may be edited to fit the needs of the cast) Why... Can't...I have my Chri-iss!  Why, oh why?

PLAYWRIGHT: (spoken) It was the actors' idea!  Cover your ears, please!

JOSEPH: How'd... you... do this Emily?

BOTH : I thought love was a lull-a-ba-ay-ay!  What about us?... what about love?

HOLLY: (in one breath) Right-now-I-think-it's-just-too-hard-but-maybe-when-my-love-is-far-behind, us...

BOTH: But somewhere, under the rainbow... there can be love! (they bow)

DIRECTOR: Splendid!  Spectacular!  Marvelous!  Fantastic! Perfect!

PLAYWRIGHT: (with matching enthusiasm, should fit right into DIRECTOR's list, before and after) Redundant!

DIRECTOR: Incredible! Flawless!  Impeccable!

PLAYWRIGHT: (annoyed and unenthusiastic) Yes, yes, amazing, enthralling, and amazingly enthralling.  Can we get—

HOLLY 2: (interrupting, to tune of the same words in the Looney Tunes, "Overture.") – On with the show!

DIRECTOR: Holly, I thought we agreed you weren't cast!

HOLLY 2: I should at least get to play myself!

HOLLY: (running onstage) I won that audition fair and... um...

HOLLY 2: (to DIRECTOR) See!?! She's a moron!

HOLLY: That's just cheap!

HOLLY 2: You wanna take this outside?

HOLLY: Yes! (HOLLY and HOLLY 2 run through or around audience and exit through a regular door)

PLAYWRIGHT: Not scripted, people.  (stands, louder) THAT WAS NOT IN THE SCRIPT!

HOLLY 2: (reenters) She's not coming back!  Can I fill in for her?

DIRECTOR: What happened?

HOLLY 2: It doesn't matter.  Can I fill in for her?

EMILY 2: Can I fill in for her?

HOLLY 2: You wanna take this outside?

EMILY 2: (flatly) No. 

(HOLLY 2 runs at EMILY 2, chasing her offstage.)

DIRECTOR: Ladies and gentlemen, we are experiencing technical difficulties.

ANNOUNCE: (in his loud announcement voice) Can I play the part!?! (this line can  be the same whether ANNOUNCER is male or female)

PLAYWRIGHT: No.

EMILY 2: (runs panting onstage) I'm here!  Can I take the part?

DIRECTOR: (as PLAYWRIGHT slumps in seat) Fine. (joins PLAYWRIGHT)

ANNOUNCER: THANK YOU, WE HOPE YOU ENJOYED OUR SHOWING OF DREAMERS. The exits are (points) here, here, here, (and so on) here (points offstage right, then left, then back.  DIRECTOR and PLAYWRIGHT are annoyed, but let him finish)

PLAYWRIGHT: Next Scene.

(all except EMILY 2 and EMILY exit to their normal positions.  EMILY 2 is bubbling over with excitement.)

EMILY 2: (with a southern belle accent not used by the original HOLLY) Oh, what a sad, sad, SAD world it is for LOVERS!

PLAYWRIGHT: They INSISTED on a gushy scene.

EMILY: Why must I choose?  Why will my heart not choose for me?  WAAAH!

EMILY 2: Amazing!  (PLAYWRIGHT's real name), this is just amazing!  (turns, gets "in the zone" and starts sobbing) OH, WHYOWHYOWHYOWHYOWHY!

PLAYWRIGHT: (strongly) That was not in the script! (pause, EMILY 1+2, DIRECTOR, ANNOUNCER, JOSEPH 2, and HENRY 2 all stare at him) Well, it's not my fault.  (sits)

EMILY: Heart, choose for me!  Live for me!  Tell me how to love, who to love!

(Emily 1+2 embrace.)

DIRECTOR: Next scene!

PLAYWRIGHT: You sure you don't wanna hold for laughter? (pauses, expecting laughter.  If there is any, he should continue to wait a minute after it stops) Amazing.  That's gotta be the best joke I put in this play.

ANNOUNCER: NEXT SCENE PEOPLE!

(HOLLY and HOLLY 2 run back onstage from audience.  Both should have scrappy or messed-up clothing, messy hair, scratch marks, etc.)

HOLLY: Put me back in!

HOLLY 2: Me!  Me!

HOLLY: I EARNED it!

HOLLY 2: Let's have auditions!

HOLLY: I was Holly first!

EMILY 2: I MADE Holly!

HOLLY 2: I AM Holly!  I made the character!  IT.  IS.  ME.

DIRECTOR: Maybe auditions would be a good idea.

ANNOUNCER: LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE AUDITORIUM IS CLOSING FOR CLEANUP IN FIVE MINUTES.

(the following lines are delivered as the actor runs onstage)

JOSEPH: (runs onstage) My monologue!

JOSEPH 2: My medal!

DAVID: My climax!

DAVID 2: My struggle with Cancer!

EMILY: My love triangle!

EMILY 2: MY love triangle!

EMILY: You wanted to be Holly.

PLAYWRIGHT: EVERYBODY SHUT UP!  (Fearfully, all sit around him quickly in a circle.  PLAYWRIGHT stands on stool as he delivers the following monologue.)  We've all made mistakes tonight.  My play... should never be produced again.  I think we all realize that by now.  But now it has been, and that's the way it is.  We don't all get to act... we don't all get to direct... but we all get to be a part of this, live theater, where you make art that can't be mass produced to homes across America.  Art that will only be real to its fullest extent when we allow it to be, when we decide to audition, or write, or direct, or come see a play at all.  We choose to see something, to be something, to make something, or to do something, and no matter what the result, we can know that what happened that night... happened.  In a few minutes, we'll have to leave here.  This will never have been a great performance, but it is a performance, and can't that be enough?  WE chose to come together tonight, spending our time and money, and this is what we've chosen to be a part of.  I say we take this outside, rain, shine, or (god forbid) hail, the show must go on.  If one of our actresses gets a concussion from a jealous understudy (shrug) we'll just have to work with it, and we'll get through a show, because that's what we do.  If you're with me, follow me out that (points) door, and we'll continue the show outside.  Okay? (steps down from stool, gives a meaningful look to cast members, and begins to exit.)

ANNOUNCER: Visit the bake sale!

HOLLY: (fleeing from an angry EMILY 2 and HOLLY 2) He said IF I geta concussion.  Get away from me!

JOSEPH: Wait! Holly!  I love you! (runs after them)

CHRIS: Why me?  Why'd I go to that academy?  (looking up at sky) Dear God, WHAT'VE I DONE!?!

JOSEPH 2: (to PLAYWRIGHT) You promised me an Olympic medal!

PLAYWRIGHT: I didn't promise anything! (JOSEPH 2 glares at him, then chases him offstage)

CHRIS: He said I was original!  It was all a SCAM! (runs sobbing from the stage)

ANNOUNCER: The Theater is now closing.  Good night! (exits)

EMILY: (pathetically, in one breath; she's just saying it to say it) The love of my is dying, and my soul along with it.  If he doesn't recover soon, I'll probably kill myself.  Bye. (exits)

DIRECTOR: And that's theater.  Now if you'll excuse me, the show must go on, so I will now commence reading Dreamers until security forces us out.  But we'll stick it to the end!  Right? (pause) Hey in the back!  This is not a soda break!  Stop him!  We're in this together, right?  (curtain begins to close) No!  Stop! (curtain)


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