Note: These are the first two acts to the second play I've ever written, and my first multi-act play. I know the formatting could use some work and some consistency - right now I'm just trying to get the story down. I fully plan to go back and make format revisions once the first draft is done.
As for the dialogue, I tried to make it sound as conversational as possible, including occasional wrong words being used, repetition, and pauses. That being said, please feel free to give real criticisms. I'm trying to learn, so don't be shy about negative criticisms. I appreciate any insight provided. Thanks!
ACT 1, SCENE 1
CURTAIN OPENS ON A MALL FOOD COURT. TWO BOYS ARE SITTING AT A TABLE TALKING WHILE OTHER PEOPLE SIT AND TALK AT TABLES AROUND THEM. THE NOISE OF ECHOED CONVERSATIONS AND LAUGHTER CAN BE HEARD IN THE BACKGROUND.
ONE BOY [JOHN] IS AN ATTRACTIVE, ATHLETIC TEEN. HE WEARS AN IRONED BUTTON DOWN SHIRT AND JEANS, AND HAS VERY STYLISH HAIR. THE OTHER BOY [TRAVIS] IS SOMEWHAT RUNDOWN-OVERWEIGHT AND WEARING FADED CLOTHES; A BAGGY HOODIE AND KHAKIS. THEY ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF A SPIRITED CONVERSATION. TRAVIS IS SAYING SOMETHING THAT IS MAKING JOHN LAUGH A LOT. THEY ARE APPROACHED BY TWO OTHER TEENS [TIM AND AMBER] HOLDING CLIPBOARDS. BOTH ARE ATTRACTIVE AND DRESSED IN PREPPY, STYLISH CLOTHES. TIM AND AMBER STAND ON THE SIDE OF THE TABLE FACING JOHN, THEIR BACKS TURNED TO TRAVIS TO PURPOSEFULLY IGNORE HIM.
Amber [interrupting]: Hey, your name is John right?
John [smiling and intrigued]: Yes it is.
Tim: Hey man, how’s it going? I’m Tim, this is Amber. We just wanted to come by and say hi.
[TRAVIS, IRRITATED, EYES THEM AND CONTINUES EATING]
John [still smiling]: Oh, uh…okay. Hi.
Amber: Well, that, and also, um...we wanted to ask if you had a job right now.
Tim: Well we work over at SunBodies, the tanning place across from Ritchie's Cupcakes, and we’re holding open interviews right now.
John: Oh, gotcha. Yeah, I’m not really…
Amber [CUTTING HIM OFF]: The thing is - we get a bonus if we refer someone and they get hired. Right now we’re really only looking for fun and attractive people [TRAVIS PUTS HIS FORK DOWN AND CROSSES HIS ARMS, HIS FACE IN A PERPLEXED EXPRESSION] who want to spend the summer working with other fun, attractive people.
Tim: Right! Not only that, its $12.50 starting, which is better than a lot of the other stores in the mall, and you get a 20% discount on all tanning lotions and sunglasses. It’s pretty awesome man, and I’ll tell ya, so many hot girls come in all day. It’s a great place to meet people.
Amber [ANNOYED]: Not to mention some of the girls you’d be working with.
[TRAVIS STARTS TO QUIETLY LAUGH BEHIND TIM AND AMBER, MAKING JOHN SMILE WIDER. HE NODS TO TRAVIS, AS IF TO ASK WHAT HE THINKS. TRAVIS HUMOROUSLY SHAKES HIS HEAD NO. TIM AND AMBER ABRUPTLY TURN TO LOOK AT TRAVIS WHO QUICKLY LOOKS TO THE SIDE, PRETENDING TO BE FOCUSING ON SOMETHING ELSE]
John: Well listen, I wasn’t really looking for a job right now, but thanks anyway.
Amber [PERSISTENTLY]: I totally get it, but what if you just let our manager call you for a phone interview, just to help us out? You could tell him you changed your mind or whatever, but I think you might actually change your mind after talking to him.
[JOHN LOOKS AGAIN AT TRAVIS WHO SHRUGS HIS SHOULDERS]
John: Alright, sure, no problem. [TAKES THE CLIPBOARD AND STARTS TO FILL IN HIS INFO. LOOKS AT AMBER] Have you been working there for long?
Amber: Yeah, a couple months now, yeah. It’s been awesome so far.
John: I bet. [HOLDS THE CLIPBOARD OUT TO TIM]
Travis: Hey, let me see that man? [TAKES THE CLIPBOARD FROM JOHN AS TIM AND AMBER LOOK CONFUSED. HE STARTS TO WRITE HIS INFORMATION DOWN AS JOHN LOOKS AT HIM, SURPRISED] $12.50, that’s not too bad. Yeah man, I’m down for that! [HE CARELESSLY TOSSES THE CLIPBOARD BACK TO TIM]
Tim: Right, um…okay. [TURNING BACK TO JOHN] So I’ll make sure my boss gives you a ring and hopefully everything works out.
John: Alright, cool. Thanks. [TO AMBER] See you soon, huh?
AMBER [enticed] Yeah…yeah, definitely. Come by the shop, check it out when you get the chance. [AMBER AND TIM START TO WALK AWAY].
Travis [to Tim]: Yeah, tell your boss to call me anytime. Lookin’ forward to working with you man!
[TIM FROWNS, TURNS AND WALKS AWAY. AMBER WALKS BACKWARDS SMILING AND STILL LOOKING AT JOHN, THEN TURNS AND FOLLOWS TIM. AS THEIR BACKS ARE TURNED, TRAVIS QUICKLY FLIPS THEM OFF]
John [TURNS TO FACE TRAVIS, LAUGHING]: That was weird, haha.
Travis [grinning]: Seriously, what the hell was that? [THEY BOTH LAUGH] They literally just walked up and pretended I wasn’t here. I didn’t think shit like that happened in real life. I guess I just wasn’t attractive enough.
John: No, I don’t think that was it. I think you just aren’t fun enough.
Travis [laughing]: Okay. At least we might both get jobs out of it. [THEY SMILE AND CONTINUE TO EAT FOR A MOMENT] So what’s the plan, man? Are we going to Sean’s tomorrow or what?
John: Yeah, that’s what he said. His dad’ll be out, so we’re just gonna do something there. I don’t know; he mentioned doing a cookout or something, you know? We can get some steaks and some beers by the pool?
Travis: Yeah, that’ll be good. I haven’t had a relaxing time in a while. You think Sonya will be life-guarding tomorrow?
John [laughing]: Maybe. I don’t know dude, you might’ve scared her off.
Travis: What? No way; I was nothing but charming. You gotta know how to talk to these girls. [GESTURES TO THE REST OF THE MALL]
John [putting a finger up, as if to say "one moment"]: First, she’s nine years older than you. Second, you threatened to beat up her brother.
[THEY BOTH LAUGH]
Travis: Not exactly. She was trying to tell me that being with me would be like being with her little brother. I was merely pointing out that I’m of a more mature mind than he is…probably.
John [doing an impression of Travis]: “Where is he?! I’ll kick his ass!” [THEY BOTH BURST OUT LAUGHING] You’re fuckin’ crazy dude.
Travis: Oh well, haha. Alright, I’m gonna head out in a second to catch the bus.
John: Do you want me to give you a ride? It’s no problem?
Travis: No, I appreciate it, but it’s cool man. That’s out of the way for you and I got some reading to do anyways.
John: Alright dude. So tomorrow, Sean’s?
Travis: Yeah, definitely. Do you know who else’ll be there?
John: Uh…I think Kyle, maybe Mike if he’s not working, and Adam and Michele.
Travis [Upset]: Ugh, really? Adam’s gonna be there?
John: What’s the problem?
Travis: Isn’t he like 20 or something? He’s still in fuckin’ high school!
John [smiling]: I think he’s 19.
Travis: Yeah, and Michele’s younger than me; it’s just creepy dude.
John: I don’t know, he’s not that bad.
Travis [getting his garbage together]: Ah, whatever, I don’t really care I guess. [STANDS UP TO LEAVE] Alright bro, I’ll talk to you later. Let me know if I should bring anything.
John: Call up Sean and ask him. I think he and Mike were gonna grab everything.
Travis: I’m meeting up with him in a little bit; I’ll just ask him then. Take it easy, man. Later. [They shake hands and Travis begins to walk away. He turns and points to John. He raises his voice for people around them to hear.] You sir are one fun and attractive person. Don't you ever forget it bro!
[JOHN LAUGHS AGAIN AND GOES BACK TO FINISHING HIS MEAL]
End of Act 1, Scene 1
Act 1 - Scene 2:
SCENE OPENS ON THE LIVING ROOM OF A SMALL APARTMENT. A SMALL KITCHEN CAN BE SEEN IN THE BACKGROUND. THE LIGHTS ARE OFF IN THE KITCHEN, BUT AN END TABLE LIGHT IS ON IN THE LIVING ROOM. TRAVIS’ MOTHER IS ALONE ON A COUCH WATCHING TELEVISION. SHE’S OVERWEIGHT AND YOUNG FOR THE MOTHER OF A SON TRAVIS’S AGE. TRAVIS ENTERS THE ROOM, COMING FROM OUTSIDE. HE IS LOOKING THROUGH MAIL ENVELOPES.
Travis: Hey Mom.
Mom [WITHOUT LOOKING UP]: There you are. Can you do me a favor?
Travis: What do you need?; I’m just stopping in for a second, I gotta go meet up with Sean in a minute.
Mom [ANNOYED]: Can you get me a glass of water and hand me the remote?
[TRAVIS WALKS TO THE BACK KITCHEN AND TURNS ON THE LIGHT. HE GETS A GLASS OF WATER, WALKS BACK AND HANDS IT TO HIS MOTHER]
Mom [Irritated]: You left the light on in the kitchen. That’s why the light bill is always so high, you always leave everything on.
[TRAVIS SIGHS AND WALKS BACK TO THE KITCHEN. HE SWITCHES OFF THE LIGHT, WALKS BACK TO THE LIVING ROOM AND SITS IN A CHAIR ADJACENT TO THE COUCH.]
Mom: I asked for the remote too.
[TRAVIS LOOKS AROUND FOR A SECOND AND SEES THE REMOTE ON THE COFFEE TABLE IN FRONT OF HIS MOTHER, WHO’D ONLY HAVE TO LEAN FORWARD TO GET IT. HE MOTIONS TO THE REMOTE QUESTIONINGLY AND THEN SHRUGS, DEFEATED. HE GETS UP AND HANDS THE REMOTE TO HIS MOTHER, WHO TAKES IT AND STARTS CLICKING THROUGH CHANNELS]
Travis [FLIPPING THROUGH THE MAIL]: Speaking of the power, we got a final notice bill here. [HOLDS IT OUT FOR HIS MOTHER WHO DOESN’T TAKE IT] Alright. I’ll leave it here for you.
[THEY SIT AND WATCH TELEVISION SILENTLY FOR A FEW MOMENTS. TRAVIS COUGHS AND TURNS TO HIS MOM, ABOUT TO ASK SOMETHING]
Travis: Uh...Ma? Do you have any money I could borrow. Like ten bucks or something? I’ll pay you back, I promise.
Mom [WITHOUT LOOKING AWAY FROM THE TELEVISION]: Yeah, sure. Just like you were gonna pay me back for that movie you went to with your friends. Where’s the money from that, huh?
Travis: That was like two months ago. [MOTHER STILL NOT LOOKING AT HIM] Alright, I’m working on it, but we’re doing something over at Sean’s tomorrow and I might need to bring some chips or something.
Mom: Aren’t you seeing him tonight? You’re going over there again tomorrow? Honestly, do you ever do anything else? You’re always with Sean or Mike or whoever and you always need money for something. Why can’t they ever come here, huh?
Travis [ANNOYED]: ‘Cause there’s nothing to do here. If it wasn’t so boring here, they’d probably come once in a while.
Mom [RAISING HER VOICE]: Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot Sean and his family was so much better than us. Let me lay out the fucking red carpet for the rich family.
Travis [FRUSTRATED]: Seriously Mom, again? They’re not rich, they never were.
Mom: Oh don’t give me that; I saw their house.
Travis: Yeah, that was passed down from Sean’s Grandfather Ma, his Dad works for the cable company. Besides, ever since his parents split, he’s been staying with his Dad over at the Lancaster Garden apartments up the hill.
Mom: So if it’s such a shitty place, why are you always there.
Travis: There’s a pool there for the residents, Ma. They just opened the pool up for the Summer.
Mom: Oh, whatever, I don’t give a shit about a pool. Why aren’t you looking for a job so you can help out here. You see we’re behind, why not, instead of you going out and playing with your friends, you go get a job to help your mother, huh?
Travis [SHOCKED]: I don’t even know what to say to that.
Mom [FEELING TRIUMPHANT]: Oh, you have nothing to say now, do you? How ‘bout tomorrow, you go and get some applications? Then we’ll talk about whether or not you’re going to Sean’s.
Travis [FLUSTERED]: Wait, what?! I wasn’t asking for permission, I’m going tomorrow regardless. No, that’s bullshit Mom, you can’t tell me I’m not going just because you’re in a bad mood.
Mom [YELLING]: The hell I can’t! You’re telling me “No?” I’m your mother, and if you’re here, you will respect me in my house!
Travis [STANDS UP OFF THE COUCH, ANGRY AND OFF-POINT]: Your house?! What house? It’s a shitty apartment on Columbia Street Ma; there’s a fuckin’ halfway house two houses down.
Mom: Yeah, ‘cause rich Sean’s house is so much better.
Travis [SHOUTING]: Jesus Christ, he’s not fucking rich! What fucking difference does it make?
Mom [SMILING IN AN ANGRY WAY]: Oh, that’s it, you’re gonna shout and curse at me, you’re not going nowhere tomorrow or today or anywhere.
Travis [WALKS TOWARDS THE DOOR]: Oh yeah? That’s bullshit Mom. Honestly, why’d I even fucking come home?
Mom [YELLING]: Oh, real cute! Go ahead, get out, but don’t you even think of coming back here. We’re not rich enough here for your blood.
Travis: That’s just so stupid Mom.
[MOM THROWS THE REMOTE IN TRAVIS’ DIRECTION. SHE MISSES AND IT CRASHES AGAINST THE WALL, SHATTERING INTO PIECES]
Mom [SHOUTING ANGRILY]: Get out! Get out of my house! You’re gonna call me stupid now! Who are you, huh? You’re so fucking smart, who are you now? Big man ‘cause you’ve got some fucking friends, huh? Don’t you fucking come back!
Travis [ON THE VERGE OF CRYING, HIS BACK LEANING AGAINST THE DOOR]: Mom, c’mon, why does it always have to go here? What’s the matter with you?
Mom: Go on, go! Get out of my house!!
[TRAVIS OPENS THE DOOR BEHIND HIM, EXITS OUT AND SLAMS THE DOOR CLOSED. MOM SITS BACK ON THE COUCH AND FOLDS HER ARMS, BREATHING IN A HUFF. SHE FEELS AROUND FOR THE REMOTE AND LOOKS AT THE WALL WHERE SHE THREW IT, THEN RUNS HER HANDS IN HER HAIR, SHAKING THEM IN FRUSTRATION AND LETTING OUT A LOW, ANGRY MOAN]
End of Act 1, Scene 2
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Last edited on Sun Mar 11th, 2018 11:10 pm by jwlaforest
Hi, Jeremy. Since I haven't had any plays work-shopped or produced, I don't feel I have much useful help to give you, because I'm not familiar with--or sure of--what theatre producers are looking for in play submissions, but I can try.
The first thing that jumped out at me was the fact that, in the beginning, Amber says, "Your name is John, right?" Well, the play also said that John didn't know them and that there were several conversations going on. So, I'm wondering how she knew his name in the first place, since they didn't know each other.
Also, wow! What a realistic second scene! It actually was uncomfortable for me to read because it brought back memories. However, I don't know whether theater producers are looking for realistic scenes like that, though, even though it's true to life, because even though I've tried toning down my characters expressing anger or violence to that level, without swearing, in order to make it less uncomfortable or scary and more family friendly (because I'm aware that some theaters are looking for more light-hearted, comedic plays), they still weren't interested in my work.
I think it might also be a little difficult for others to critique your play and give advice on the plot, characters, etc. without knowing the rest of the play, because it's possible that beginning scenes that might look unimportant might turn out to be, later on in the play.
I'm sorry I couldn't give more helpful advice. It's the best I could do with what little knowledge I have in this industry.
This was really helpful actually, thanks so much. The line with Amber was a bit of an oversight - I had already written some of the play and changed the setting of the first scene from a high school cafeteria to a mall. I am still working on the play and I will post the entire thing once it's done. Thanks again!