31 Plays 31 Days 3: This Playwriting Group Sucks!

Chip, Dale, Harvey, and Pinky, are the grudging members of a nobody-else-around-here-does this-sort-of-thing playwriting group. I imagined Pinky as female and the rest as male, but cast it however you want.

Chip: Okay everyone. Let’s get started.

Pinky: I hated it.

Dale: Now see, that’s just negative. Why are you so negative? We haven’t even started.

Chip: (Inviting) Harvey.

Harvey: Yes. So  I called this one “What am I, nuts?” And it’s an imagined group therapy session among celluloid animals-

Pinky: Cellu- what? What in God’s name is a celluloid animal?

Harvey: Well, they’re fake. I mean they’re animated. Animations.

Pinky: Animated animals?

Harvey: They’re cartoon characters.

Dale: Now see that’s clever. Isn’t that clever?

Pinky: Okay cartoon characters. I get cartoon characters. Why don’t you just say what you mean, Harvey?

Harvey: I did. I. Sometimes. I mean we’re writers. Words-

Chip: Why don’t you finish with your synopsis Harvey?

Pinky: And why do cartoon characters need therapy?

Harvey: Well. Okay. Did you even read the play?

Dale: Now see, Chip. This is what I’m talking about.

Harvey: Sorry. The characters need therapy because they all feel like something is missing from their lives. They can see that they have everything they could ever want, but their lives feel empty. They don’t understand why they never grow. Or why they have to constantly fulfill these Rube Goldberg plots to protect their curiously human possessions. It’s an allegory.

Dale: Now see, I saw that. An allegory.

Chip: (Reluctant) And were you trying to say something specific with this piece, Harvey?

Harvey: The anthropomorphization (Dale clearly trying to sound out and right down anthropomorphization) represents western societal pressures to conform to an illusory ‘norm.’ And the characters realization of being animals not humans, and also fake animals, represents how shattering it is to suddenly see that everything modern civilization aspires to is meaningless.

Pinky: Jeez, Harvey! That’s really depressing.

Chip: Well, maybe we can discuss the emotions of the play in a moment. Harvey, could you just explain the staging at the end?

Harvey: When?

Dale: Now see, when they set that thing on fire. Don’t they set something on fire? Is that what you’re talking about Chip?

Chip: Yes, right here. “Crew member enters stage right, removes lighter from pocket. Solemnly burns celluloid strip to ashes.” Does that symbolize something?

Harvey: A fulfilled group suicide.

(Long uncomfortable silence)

Dale: Now see, I remember some funny dialogue in the middle. Somewhere. I think. Right? Do you remember that Chip?

Chip: The dialogue? Yeah. Maybe we could read a scene from early on, Harvey. Your pick. Something light?

Pinky: What I want to know is where are you going to get the animals, and how are you going to make them talk?







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