An excerpt from Please No Small Talk
Jason: 30 something, remarkably resembles Jason Segel in appearance and demeanor.
Ginny: 30 something, remarkably resembles Ginnifer Goodwin in appearance and demeanor.
Cupid: Eternal, not a cherub, resembles a cross between Jimmy Kimmel and Jon Stewart in appearance and demeanor.
A note on casting: The descriptions for each character are how I picture them at the time of writing. However, please be advised, that any person of any background could potentially play each part, provided the cast is Man, Woman, and Cupid.
Setting: Suburban New Jersey, present day. A reasonably warm February morning, finishing near sunset.
GINNY: [Entering, wearing a plush Sherpa-lined denim jacket.] I'm back! What game are we playing? Spit?
JASON: I haven't played Spit in over decade! Let's play War! It's easier to play, and we can talk during it!
GINNY: Sure! Let's play on the steps, so they make for a table. [THEY move to the steps, sitting facing each other.] You deal.
JASON: Go it! [Shuffling the deck, dealing one card to each player, splitting the deck in two, and taking out the Jokers.] You remember how to play War, right? Each person plays one card, and which ever card is the highest wins both cards. If there's a matching pair of cards, then it's a war. We put three cards face down each, the fourth one is face up, and again, the highest card wins. [Pause.] The person with the MOST cards wins, Ginny. Not you know, the least. [The card game begins. GINNY and JASON will play with the intention of one person reaching zero cards. The game will be played until the end of the act with some well-timed Wars being achieved. GINNY and JASON may fudge the cards until the right person wins, keeping the audience unaware of what actual cards are being played.]
GINNY: You sound condescending.
JASON: I do? I'm sorry…
GINNY: I like Condescending Jason.
JASON: You do?
GINNY: Yeah, he's one of my favorite Jason's.
JASON: There's more than one Jason?
GINNY: Yeah. Well, okay… I mean, he has multiple versions. Like Barbie. [Pause.] I created a whole list once, just for fun. Some of them were very true, but mostly it was a list of your name and adding a lot of words with the same prefix before it.
JASON: Which are?
GINNY: Like, there's Condescending Jason, Contemplative Jason, Conversational Jason… He's my best friend. Convex Jason, Concave Jason, Consort Battleship Jason… He's the one who prefers My Fair Lady to Pygmalion. Convoluted Jason, Constitutional Jason, Contemporary Jason, Containment Jason, Contractual Jason, Conversion Jason, Conclusion Jason… I don't like him, he broke my heart. Unlike Connect-the-Dots Jason who always plays fun games with me… And of course, there's Continuous Jason… He's eternal, and he talks tangentially.
JASON: [Laughing.] That's a lot of Jason's. And a lot of Con-words. [Pause.] Why do you like Condescending Jason? I would think he was one of the negative ones.
GINNY: [In an educational tone.] Condescending Jason another way of saying "Wannabe Sarcastic Jason." He's not really being condescending, and talking down to you. What he wants to do is disprove something. What he does is he questions it to make you see the answer. [Pause.] The beauty and irony of Condescending Jason is that he avoids the possible misunderstanding of sarcasm by making me question my own fears, like my fear of not remembering how to play Spit. First you asked me if I remembered, but like of course I do? But I honestly don't remember, either. I thought you might!
JASON: I remember it, but I haven't played it in ages.
GINNY: [Beat.] My favorite Jason is Contemplative Jason. I'm in love with him. Still.
JASON: Contemplative Jason, what's he like?
GINNY: [With love in HER voice.] Contemplative Jason. [Pause.] Contemplative Jason is my Jason. He's the Jason grew-up with and know by heart.
JASON: [With a smile.] Isn't that Conversational Jason, your best friend? [Pause. Knowing SHE has a hard time being romantic.] I thought Contemplative Jason is secretly Hot Jason in disguise.
GINNY: [Sighing.] Contemplative Jason is my Jason. I mean, he's the Jason who I know is thinking about me… But more than that, he's really another name for "Shy Jason." He's the Jason few other people get to see. Shy Jason wants to be an introvert, but he's extroverted and he can't help it. I am in love with Contemplative Jason because he is the real Jason, when he's not on stage acting like someone else, entirely. And yes, he is hot, unconventionally. And yes, he dresses the part… Classic and casual, with a hint of flare. Contemplative Jason is my Jason.
JASON: You mean he's Nick.
GINNY: Yeah, he's Nick. (Not my X-boyfriend Nick; his middle name Nick.) But don't tell Jason that. Because Jason is Jason is Jason is Jason is Jason, and Nick is just secretly his alter ego.
JASON: Jason is Clark Kent and Nick is Superman.
GINNY: No, I mean Nick is Clark Kent and Jason is Superman. Superman is the alter ego because he's a superhero… Like, if you were to look at being a super hero from the perspective of co-worker and friend, you would say you know Clark Kent. As a co-worker, Clark Kent is the person you see every day at the Daily Planet. He's the guy you eat lunch with and talk stock portfolios with and get drinks with after work. As a friend; however, you know he's somehow Superman, like when he's not a hard-hitting journalist. To you, it's his alter ego because that's whatever he does when he's not with you… He's living a double life and is someone else entirely.
GINNY: Because as the audience, we know and we're taught to believe that Superman is Superman, for real. We know that Kal-El from Krypton and Superman are synonymous, that Superman is just a nickname someone coined in the newspaper. However, if you were his friend and co-worker at the Daily Planet, you'd obviously think that Clark Kent was his real persona, and Superman was just some character he cosplayed in his time-off.
JASON: So, you know Clark Kent?
GINNY: Right! Nick. A.K.A. - Contemplative Jason. B.K.A.: "Shy Jason" who is an extrovert who pretends to be an introvert… Since being extroverted makes you more vulnerable to villains. Therefore, he's Clark Kent, and NOT Superman.
JASON: There's also Contradicting Jason, who is will point out you contradicted yourself.
GINNY: I did?
JASON: Yes. You said Contemplative Jason is the real Jason, but then you said he's Clark Kent, and not Superman.
GINNY: That's my point. The audience is omniscient, we all know that Superman is Kal-El, and he's really an alien, and thus a Superhero. But, the people that know Clark Kent would believe that is who Kal-El would genuinely be on his home planet under the red sun, without super powers. Therefore, Clark Kent is still his true self, whereas Superman is his identity.
JASON: So, Clark Kent is still Nick, the person who those living in Metropolis think Superman is at home on Krypton. But Superman is still his overall identity, he's really just Jason.
GINNY: Correct! And now you understand sarcasm!
JASON: [Pregnant pause.] You were sarcastic when you said Contemplative Jason the real Jason.
GINNY: Yes. He's my favorite Jason because he's the one you want to be. He's the one you are with the rest of the Daily Planet. If you like him, I like him. He's the one Lois Lane would be with if she didn't somehow love Superman more.
JASON: Oh, now I get it! Because Lois Lane tells everybody she's in love with Superman, but like, off-cannon, it wouldn't happen between them because that's just his stage name. His celebrity persona. It's like saying you're in love with the Rock, but not Dwayne Johnson.
GINNY: Bingo! [Singing.] And Bingo was his name-o!
JASON: Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!
GINNY: And now you understand irony.
GINNY: Yup! [Pause.] So, let's do the math. [In a dialogic reading voice.] Who is Superman, on his home planet?
JASON: [Like a preschooler. Pause.] Kal-El.
GINNY: Good job! So, if Metropolis were on Krypton instead of Earth, and Superman had no powers, he would just be living his life as… Who?
JASON: [Pause.] Kal-El.
GINNY: Wonderful! So, if Lois Lane works with Clark Kent, eats with Clark Kent, and spends time with Clark Kent in Metropolis. Clark Kent on planet Krypton would be… Who?
JASON: [Pause.] Kal-El.
GINNY: Great job! And, if Kal-El is his real alien identity and Superman's real name, then Kal-El and Superman are one in the same. If Kal-El and Superman are one in the same on Earth, and Clark Kent and Kal-El are one in the same on Krypton, then Kal-El is still his all-encompassing name. Thus, Lois Lane is truly, madly, and deeply in love with Kal-El, and not Superman.
JASON: I get it!
GINNY: Good! Now, let's bring it full circle back to you!
JASON: [Interrupting.] Since I don't have a third Alien identity, my first name Jason – A.K.A. Superman – is my birthright and my stage name, yet Nick, B.K.A. – Clark Kent is my persona when I'm not on stage.
GINNY: Right. To the audience, you're Superman, but to your friends and co-workers at the Daily Planet, you're Clark Kent. [Pause.] Lois Lane would theoretically love Kal-El as Clark Kent on Krypton, but we're not Krypton. So, Lois Lane loves Kal-El as Superman instead.
JASON: And you said Clark Kent is "Contemplative Jason" your favorite version of Jason, but theoretically only on Krypton, the real Jason. Thus, the real Jason on Earth is – Jason, my birthright, and not Nick. Duh! Now I get it!
JASON: And the Jason who is your best friend is Conversational Jason. So, he's the one you're really in love with, right Lois Lane?
GINNY: Or I would be if… [Perfectly timed.] WAR! We got a War! One. Two. Three! And the fourth one face-up! I win! Awesome! Looks like I have the most cards so far!
JASON: Awesome! Good job! [THEY play a few more rounds in silence, with the intention of one person reaching zero cards. Beat.] Ginny, I STILL believe in soul-mates.
Author's Note: There's A LOT more to this play, but I when I worked on it, I was taking a class. So it deserves more of my time before I publish it here! =)