Here is an excerpt from I play that I wrote circa 2005 and was part of the Villager’s Theater New Playwright’s Series in Somerset, NJ as a staged reading. It was read as a one-act and has since been further developed as a full length, two act play.
It was my very first staged reading and I received an overwhelming response from the crowd, including tears and envy. The questions were intense and when I tried to network with another playwright, asking for advice and mentorship, he proclaimed, “Sorry, I can’t – this play’s got legs…” expounding the fact that I had a very good piece of work on my hands and he did not want to assist the competition.
It was the first play I pitched to a theater here in Berlin, as mentioned in my recent post Memoir: The Blessed Curse of Rejection – with the scathing review about my capacity for banter and my inability to conform to orthodox play structure.
This scene contains some of the critique about “shaving ones’ balls” – and at the end I’ve included an old copy of the cover letter and synopsis for those who need a reference to every single detail about a character instead of just enjoying my personal style of writing the way it is. But I’m not bitter.
Fine. But right now I need to wash my ass.
Make sure it’s clean.
(She crosses SR to kitchen area with the cookbook in hand...)
You didn’t tell anyone about the-
No. I didn’t. I promised I wouldn’t and I didn’t. But I will say I am still pissed at you that
you didn’t report the bastard. If you ever see him out on the street while I’m with you,
you better point him out so I can kick his ass.
You and what army of bull dykes?
(The doorbell rings.)
That’s John. I’ll get it.
(She crosses SL.)
Perfect timing. You guys can squeeze in a quickie while I’m in the shower.
Don’t worry, I’ll take a little extra time.
Don’t bother; we’ll be done by the time the water gets hot.
Well, I have to shave my balls anyway, so don’t rush.
(He exits SL.)
(She crosses to the door SL and opens it.)
(JOHN enters and hands her a bottle of wine.)
Hey. I think I got the right wine.
(She surveys the wine.)
Yeah, this is it. Thank you, baby.
(She gives JOHN a kiss and then takes the wine to the kitchen area and starts
reading the cookbook again.)
(He sits on the couch and browses through the magazines now neatly fanned on
the coffee table due to FRANK’S most recent bout of OCD.)
So, who’s all coming tonight?
Just a few friends from like work and stuff. There’ll probably be a few more gay guys
than you’re used to though. Is that okay?
Of course. I love gay guys. They never try to fuck my girlfriends.
Well, after a few drinks anything is possible.
Just make sure I don’t end up with any dicks in me tonight.
But that would be so hot.
For you maybe.
Why don’t straight guys realize that women are just as turned on by gay men as you guys
are by lesbians?
Lesbians are more natural looking, softer, more aesthetically pleasing.
Whatever, two guys making out is hot.
I guess I can see how you can get off from that. Is someone coming over tonight that you
want to watch me make out with?
(Not hearing him.)
Is there some dude coming tonight you want me to make out with?
Well, there’s this one guy that’s going to be here, Alexander, he’s kinda swishy, but
You know, that’s the only thing I don’t like about gay guys.
What? That they’re swishy?
No. Not that. Why is it that every gay guy has to use his full name? Why can’t he just go
Alexander is his given name.
You don’t see me telling people to call me “Jonathan.”
I call Frank, “Franklin” sometimes.
But he never asked you to. You see, he’s cool with me; he just goes by “Frank.” That
works for me. Where is he anyway?
Shaving his balls.
Did you talk to him about the-
-No. Not really. He’s not good, but he’s feigning like he is. You know Frank.
Not as well as you do.
You’re right, but I just don’t know how to help him.
He probably just needs a little time, that’s all.
(There is a long silence as the two read to themselves. ERIN looks over at JOHN
a few times, lovingly, but begrudgingly, then returns to reading her cookbook.
JOHN does not notice her glances.)
So I was thinking about making either lamb meatballs with pine nuts or chicken and spinach pinwheels.
You know how to cook?
I’m not illiterate.
I know how to read a recipe.
Why don’t you ever cook for me?
Because my mother taught me that the way to a man’s heart isn’t through his stomach,
it’s through his prostate gland.
Your mother is a wise woman.
Frank: Twenty-seven. The birthday boy. He is at the beginning of the end of a quarter life crisis.
Erin: Late twenties. Frank’s roommate and best friend.
John: Early thirties. Erin’s boyfriend.
Carl: Early forties. Frank’s suitor.
Beth Anne: Early twenties. Friend of Frank and Erin.
*Alex: Early twenties. Friend of Frank and Erin.
*Andrew: Early thirties. Alex’s boyfriend.
Peter: Early Forties. Some guy.
Frank and Erin’s apartment which is located in a small yet densely populated, semi-suburban town just outside of Philadelphia.
To Whom It May Concern::
First and foremost, I would like to thank you for taking the time to consider the materials I am submitting to you. Enclosed is my full-length, two-act play entitled Frank, about contemporary sexual politics which centers on a gay man celebrating his birthday with friends. It is a “dramadey” that confronts the issue of same-sex rape and the toll it takes on the victim’s relationships with others. It has a cast of 8 (6 male and 2 female), and takes place in the present, in “a small yet densely populated, semi-suburban town just outside of Philadelphia”.
Frank and Erin have known each other a long time. Well, in twenty-something years, they go way back. They’re the kind of friends who contrast and compliment each other so well you think that maybe they could be married. Fate would have different plans for these two.
Frank is trying his best to celebrate his twenty-seventh birthday. Succumbing to a quarter-life crisis, he is wallowing in confusion and denial and a lot of other things. Trying to shed the remnants of his innocence all the while being thrust into adulthood, he decides to make his life a little more complicated by dating a man twice his age. That and an incident that is slowly changing his life and perspective, (being drugged and raped by a man he met at a bar) have him a little dazed and trying to hold it all together.
Frank takes a straightforward look into dynamic relationships and how they affect the relationships of others. Quite frankly, it’s a pseudo love story slash coming of age slash rite of passage slash something or other that takes a glimpse at the affects of sexual abuse. Thank you once again for your consideration.
© Louis DeVaughn Nelson