|The Way Things Work
Author: Astrid The Pirate PM
A short play about teenagers who like each other. Very simple. I think it's kind of funny. Enjoy.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Humor - Words: 2,163 - Reviews: 4 - Published: 11-29-03 - id: 1459354
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
THE WAY THINGS WORK
by Jennifer Davis
All characters are high school kids. Can be any age between thirteen and eighteen.
Jane (thoughtful, worried about life, slightly nerdy and unsure of herself)
Susan (bouncy and happy, unaccustomed to this 'relationship' stuff)
Tom (frenetic and edgy. like girls but is confused by them)
James (easygoing and laidback, popular with girls, but only really likes Susan)
Signholder 1 - wears all black
Signholder 2 - wears all black
The stage is bare. JANE walks on, dressed in modern casual clothes. TOM walks on from the opposite side. They are instantly at odds. They appear to like each other a lot, but neither is really comfortable together alone. SIGNHOLDER 1 comes on behind JANE, dressed all in black. Holds up a sign saying JANE in large block letters. SIGNHOLDER 2 comes on the other side and holds up a sign saying TOM. They flip the signs over, and hold them up between the two. Put together, the signs say THEY LIKE EACH OTHER. The SIGNHOLDERS exit as the dialogue starts.
JANE: Hey, Tom. What's up?
TOM: Hey, Jane! How are you?
JANE: Oh, I'm okay. Yourself?
TOM: I'm good.
Uncomfortable silence. Neither wants to make the first move. Finally, Jane finds the courage to speak.
JANE: So, what have you been up to?
TOM: Oh, you know, the usual.
Silence again. They stand, desperately searching for a subject of conversation. The tension is unbearable. SIGNHOLDER 1 comes on, with a sign saying OBVIOUS TENSION.
JANE: Er... how's your... erm... how are your family?
TOM: Fine, yours?
The stand, completely at a loss. JAMES and SUSAN enter, carrying a sandwich and a sketchbook respectively. They walk with an air of close companionship. The SIGNHOLDERS enter again, holding JAMES and SUSAN signs. They flip the signs, and they now say 'THEY LIKE EACH OTHER TOO'. Jane and TOM breathe an audible sigh of relief.
JANE: Hey, Susan!
TOM: Hey, Jimmy boy!
JAMES: (amiably) Call me that again and I'll rip your throat out.
TOM: (as if this happens every day, which it probably does) Fair enough, James.
Focus switches to JANE and SUSAN. JAMES and TOM continue to mime talking. JAMES occasionally takes a bite out of his sandwich.
JANE: So what are you doing Friday after school?
Focus switches to JAMES and TOM. SUSAN and JANE continue to mime talking as TOM and JAMES did. The focus continually switches back and forth.
TOM: So what's on after school Friday?
SUSAN: Oh, I don't know. I was thinking maybe shopping, a movie, moping...
JAMES: The skate park? Boarding's fun (sees TOM's expression.) As is moping.
JANE: (sighing) Sounds okay to me...
TOM: Sorry man. It' s just...
SUSAN:...Not fair. They just don't notice us!
JAMES: Man, this sucks! They just won't notice us!
JANE: All we need is an opportunity to let them know we're here.
JAMES: We have to get the message across.
SUSAN: Just the boys and us.
TOM: Just the girls and us.
JANE: I could be really romantic.
JAMES: It could be totally cool.
SUSAN: I reckon we can work something out…
TOM: I think we can fix something up…
All slide into a mockery of deep thought.
SIGNHOLDER 2 walks on, with a sign saying PREDICTABLE DECEPTION. They flip the sign. It now reads DUH.
A school playground. JANE and SUSAN sit on a bench, eating school lunch type things. They should wear school uniform, but casual clothing will do. SIGNHOLDER 2 comes on. The sign says PLANNING. They exit.
SUSAN: So you've picked out your outfit?
JANE: Yep. You?
SUSAN: Uh huh. And you have the stuff in your bag?
JANE: Yeah, yeah.
SUSAN: Good. Are you excited?
SUSAN: (gleefully) And they think we're just coming over to play computer games. God, we're tricky, aren't we?
JAMES and TOM sit as the girls did. SIGNHOLDER 1 enters, carrying SIGNHOLDER 2's sign. They flip it, to reveal- AGAIN. They exit.
JAMES: So are you ready for tonight?
TOM: Yeah, yeah.
JAMES: And you've got your room all set up? With the food and music and everything?
TOM: Yeah, it's all cool.
JAMES: And the girls think we've just invited them over to play computer games. (smirking) God, we' re tricky, aren' t we?
The SIGNHOLDERS enter, each carrying a sign. They hold them up beside each other. The two cards together read 'SPOT ANY SIMILARITIES'
TOM's room. A typical teenage boy's room, neatened up somewhat. An old computer monitor would be perfect for this scene, shoved in a corner on a desk or something. Otherwise, the computer can be in 'another room'. A pair of boy's underpants lies on the floor. TOM and JAMES sit in chairs, placed wherever. They sit with an air of impatient nervousness. SIGNHOLDER 1 enters, bearing a sign saying 'NERVES'.
JAMES: Where are they?
TOM: (exasperated) I don't know, okay? That has to be at least the third time you've asked me that!
JAMES: Okay! It's just annoying.
TOM: (sarcastically) Oh, you noticed?
JAMES raises his fist as if he's going to punch TOM. They grin at each other. A woman's voice is heard.
VOICE OS: Thomas! Your little friends are here!
TOM: Bloody hell! (To JAMES) Is everything set up?
JAMES: (busily rearranging food) Yeah, yeah!
TOM: (Looking around frantically, spots the underpants) Quick! Hide my grundies!
JAMES: You would pick now of all times to notice that your undies are on the floor, wouldn't you? (Grabs the underpants and shoves them in a random drawer) Okay. (Taking deep breaths.) Remember; cool, calm and collected. Cool, calm and collected.
TOM: Okay. (There is a knock on the door) Christ! Okay, cool, calm and collected.
He takes a deep breath, smoothes his hair and clothes, and opens the door. The girls walk on. SUSAN should wear a dress; JANE pants and a comfortable shirt. The boys smile at their respective girls. The girls smile back.
JAMES: Yeah, hey.
JANE: So, do you have a CD player?
SUSAN: We brought a few CDs.
SUSAN: (Winking at JANE) Where's the computer?
TOM and JAMES: Huh?
SUSAN: You know, you asked us over to play computer games?
TOM and JAMES look at each other. They hadn't thought this situation through. JAMES regroups quickly. SIGNHOLDER 1 enters with sign saying OH DAMN. Exits.
JAMES: Uh, Tom's mum won't let us play it. She said we should just hang out and talk.
JANE: Oh, pity.
TOM: Yeah, isn't it.
JAMES: Um, I'll just go get some drinks.
TOM: Yeah, I'll come with you.
They walk offstage, sneakily snatching the two bottles of drink they had already laid out. SIGNHOLDER 2 enters, carrying a sign saying DISCOVERY. Exits.
SUSAN: Yes! (strutting) They don't suspect a thing!
JANE has a quick look around the room, and discovers the food.
JANE: Um, Susan?
SUSAN: Yes, Jane?
JANE: They already had food laid out!
JANE: They lured us here through trickery!
SUSAN: So, they thought they could fool us!
JANE: They tried to deceive us with their masculine wiles!
SUSAN: They were- what?
JANE: (patiently) They tried to deceive us with their masculine wiles!
SUSAN: There's no such thing!
JANE: No such thing as what?
SUSAN: Masculine wiles!
JANE: So what?
SUSAN: Aw, just forget it.
JANE: But, Susan...
JANE: I suppose we tried to trick them with our feminine wiles, didn't we?
SUSAN: I s'pose we did…
SUSAN and JANE: Sigh.
The boys walk back in with different drinks and four glasses. After putting them down on a table, they spot the food. A look that signifies 'Oh shit, we're buggered now' passes between them. The girls try not to laugh.
TOM: Just a second. (he pulls JAMES aside) What are you doing? Why didn't you hide the food?
JAMES: (dripping with sarcasm) Oh, and you of course effortlessly distracted them with your slick charm. Why are you blaming me?
TOM: (struggling to be reasonable) Okay. Okay. We'll say... what are we going to say?
JAMES: Um... I don't know!
TOM: Er... we had a snack before they came?
JAMES: Okay. That's good. That's very good.
They walk back to the girls. TOM tries to sound nonchalant.
TOM: Are you hungry? We were having a snack when you arrived.
JANE: Sure, we'll have something. (Winks at SUSAN, they've made it through) What do you have?
TOM: Oh, nothing much.
SUSAN: Um, I have to go to the bathroom.
JANE: (picking up the idea) Me too.
They rush offstage. As they leave sight, giggling can be heard offstage. The boys, oblivious, breathe loud sighs of relief. SIGNHOLDER 2 enters with ARGUMENT sign.
JAMES: Thank god that's over.
TOM: You're telling me!
JAMES: How much longer are the girls here?
TOM: (flopping into a chair, burying his face in his hands) Two hours!
JAMES: Oh no...
TOM: What're we going to do? How can we manage to burn two hours?
JAMES: We could play computer games…
TOM: What? Not possible! We told the girls-
JAMES: (cutting him off) I know! Here's the plan; we tell the girls that we're going to try and talk your mum into letting us play the computer. Go talk to your mum about something. Come back, say you got her to say yes, boot it up and the time will fly by! Problem solved.
TOM: Great idea. It's just...
JAMES: (theatrical hands-on-hips sigh) What now?
TOM: Maybe we could, like, talk, hang out, or something.
JAMES: You are kidding, right? Of course you are. We can't... we can't do that! It... just wouldn't work. Okay? Okay?
TOM is silent.
JAMES: Right. That's settled then.
TOM: No. It's not.
JAMES: (oh-god-why-me pose) What is going on in your head? (walks over, taps TOM on the head) Obviously nothing!
TOM: You can have your happy little computer games! But I will go and watch T.V. Is that okay? Or will that ruin your evening?
JAMES: Okay then!
The boys stand, arms crossed, glaring at each other. They suddenly burst out laughing. They giggle insanely, doubling over with laughter.
TOM: Oh, my god...
JAMES: You should have seen your face!
There is a knock on the door. The boys straighten up and try to look casual. The girls walk in. SIGNHOLDER 1 enters with CALM AT LAST sign.
JANE: So, what now?
TOM: (nervously, his mouth opens and shuts for a while until he manages to stumble the line out) Well, as the computer's off limits, I thought we could, y'know, just chat, or something....
SUSAN: Sounds good to me!
The girls sit in the boys chairs. The boys lean on things and try to look manly. They mime talking, TOM to JANE, JAMES to SUSAN.
Two spots come up. JANE stands in one, SUSAN in the other. TOM walks into JANE's spot, JAMES into SUSAN's. The SIGNHOLDERS enter. SIGNHOLDER 1 enters the girl's spot, holding a RESOLUTION sign. SIGNHOLDER 2 enters the boys' with a sign saying FINALLY.
TOM & JAMES: Hey.
JANE and SUSAN: Hi.
TOM and JAMES: How are you?
JANE and SUSAN: I'm okay...
TOM & JAMES: Want to have lunch with me?
JANE and SUSAN: That'd be great!
TOM & JAMES: Great.
They walk out of the spots. SIGNHOLDERS flip their signs, so they read THE and END. Blackout.