Playwriting: “John,” Tales from the Men’s Room

CHARACTERS:

JOAN: a graduate student, early to mid 20s

BETTY: her roommate, early to mid 20s

THE PLAY begins in a college apartment with JOAN rehearsing her Power Point demonstration with roommate BETTY as her audience. JOAN is finishing the lecture portion of her graduate anthropology dissertation presentation on … the cultural behavior of men in public bathrooms.

PRODUCTION NOTE: When the time comes, JOAN will “turn on” her video to be projected onto a big screen. But the fun part in staging this play is that what happens in the videos she describes is acted out by a series of live male actors.  While the script refers to about 20 MEN who enter and exit at various times, it might be funnier if staged with as few as four recurring male actors. Whether this is a full staging or a staged reading, it’s important that the guys be incorporated into the performance, as that’s where most of the comedy comes from.

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JOAN: … And that concludes the lecture portion of my graduate cultural anthropology dissertation on the behavior habits of human males in public bathrooms. Any questions before we move on to the video presentation?

(She sees a hand. BETTY sits before her on a couch, eating popcorn). Yes, Ms. Collins?

BETTY: I’m your roommate. Call me Betty.

JOAN: No, I have to do this just like in class, Betty. So … Yes, Ms. Collins?

BETTY: Um, yeah: Don’t you think it’s funny that you’re named Joan and I’m named Collins?

JOAN: That again, Betty? For crying out loud …

BETTY: Sorry, OK, so, Joan …

JOAN: Call me Ms. Buckley!

BETTY: Yeah, now that’s just bizarre…

JOAN: Do you have a question?

BETTY: Yeah, sorry. So what does spying on men while they are draining their wankies have to do with cultural anthropology?

JOAN: Betty!

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