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 Post subject: the dinner guest - original play
PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:25 am 
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1. Blessed Wannabe

Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2008 1:52 pm
Posts: 13
Location: northeast, us
Title: The Dinner Guest

Author: Bessa

Rating: PG-13... maybe R? (minimal swearing)

Disclaimer/copyright: This is an original work of fiction. The characters came out of my head (even though I accidentally named the main three after characters on LOST... oops) so any similarities to real or imagined people is purely coincidental. In conclusion, please don't steal my writing.

Notes: So, I've been stalking- I mean perusing - the boards here for years but was too shy to leave feedback or post anything of my own. I've gotten over one hurdle (I now give feedback from time to time) and have decided to attempt another. I wrote this play for a creative writing class this spring, but I did not get very much feedback (I think a lot of people in the course just thought it would be an easy A). So, I'm hoping to get feedback- from the good stuff to the constructive stuff. Thank you for reading!

Characters
Kate – in her mid-twenties, an aspiring writer
Jack – Kate’s roommate and good friend, mid-twenties, drummer in a local band
Alex – in her early-twenties, bassist in a different local band
Danny – Kate and Jack’s mutual friend from college (not seen)
Michelle – in her late-twenties, she and Kate have been dating on and off (not seen)

Scene I

[Kate and Jack’s apartment in Brookline. We see the open kitchen/living room as the main stage and it is simply decorated but slightly messy; the apartment is a nice and cozy place overall. Various photos of the two of them with friends hang from the walls as well as a few music posters and some small oil painted canvases. Kate sits at the kitchen table, typing on her laptop and listening to some soft music. She is wearing faded, paint-splattered jeans which are slightly too big for her and a plain white t-shirt. She adjusts her glasses, takes a sip of water and tucks a stray lock of her short, dark hair behind her ear before she continues typing. Her cell phone rings. She digs it out of her pocket and smiles as she glances at the screen before flipping it open and putting it to her ear.]

Kate: Hello?

[She pauses as her smile falters slightly]

Kate: Woah, slow down a second. Start over. You bumped into a cute girl today? That sounds promising – wait, aren’t you supposed to be at work?

[Pauses to listen]

Kate: Oh, gotcha. So it’s a cute girl who also goes to record stores on her lunch break? Very nice. [Kate pushes the chair away from the table and sits back a bit to listen, nodding occasionally.] Oh, at The Middle East? Did I meet her there too? [Kate’s brow is furrowed as she tries to remember the night.] No, I don’t really remember specifically. But, hey, that’s great for you! [She smiles broadly as she switches the phone to her other hand when suddenly her smile disappears.]

Kate: Giacomo! [Slight pause] No, your mother said I could call you Giacomo when you piss me off. You’re pissing me off, Jack. [Kate purses her lips as she listens, then sighs.] Oh, my God don’t act like such a brat. You know I’m happy for you, that is so not the point. The point is that we have been planning to actually spend some time together tonight for the first time in weeks. Together in our apartment. The apartment I haven’t seen you enter or exit all week.

[Kate sighs again, standing up and walking towards the sink to re-fill her glass of water.]

Kate: Okay, I might be slightly exaggerating. You sound pathetic. Do you realize that? [Kate sips on her water.] Well, that’s good at least, but don’t patronize me. [She has a few more sips of water as she listens, looking around the apartment.] Oooh, so not only are you canceling on me last minute, you also want me to basically prepare your date for you? [Kate is laughing slightly now] Why are we friends? [She laughs louder.] Listen, I was young and naive then. Anything that happened before the age of 20 shouldn’t count. Specifically, I am referring to the entirety of Freshman year. [Pause] Yeah, yeah, blah, blah, I love you too.

[Though she hasn’t yet agreed to help Jack, Kate has already started putting the clean dishes away as she balances the phone on her shoulder.]

Kate: Okay, okay, you’re begging now. How hot is this girl? [She laughs.] No, I’m going to help you. For several reasons. One, [She switches the phone to her other shoulder as she walks toward the living room to grab a few empty beer bottles and a dirty plate off the table.] I’m an extremely kindhearted person, which I won’t be letting you forget for quite some time. Two, you’ve been a moping, borderline alcoholic since your last love [Stressing the last word sarcastically] unceremoniously stopped returning your phone calls last month; it’s not a good look for you. [Kate grabs a spray bottle from under the sink and walks back to the living room table.] Which leads me to three. [She sprays the table and begins wiping it down.] You need to get laid. Frankly, it’s starting to depress me and I don’t need or want that kind of stress.

[She walks back to the kitchen to wipe down those counters, laughing lightly.]

Kate: Well, I’m not wrong, am I? [She laughs again, louder this time, as she cleans up in the kitchen.] Mmhmm, thought so. [Kate puts away the spray bottle and throws away the used paper towel.] You’re right; you do owe me. I mean, we’re talking beyond chocolate or a new CD. Right now, I can only imagine that an oversized box full of fluffy, cuddly puppies will repay this debt. [Laughing, she walks back to her computer and types something, then stands to grab a pad of paper and pen.] And what are we preparing for dinner, monsieur? [She pauses with the pen above the paper.] Something nice? That’s all I have to go on? [Sighing, she goes back to the computer.] No, I’ll find a nice recipe. I don’t suppose you know if she has any dietary restrictions? Veg? Vegan? Gluten free? [Shakes head] Of course, not. Well, I’ll try to play it safe. [She smiles] Don’t worry, it’ll taste great. [She starts searching for recipes on the computer.]

Kate: What would you do without me? [Kate laughs again] Well, it is good that we don’t have to find out, huh? [She clicks on the computer a few times. The only sound in the room is her soft music still pouring from the speakers.] Okay, how about eggplant parm and a salad? [Pause]

Kate: No, it’s fine. Listen, I’m committed to your date now, got it? I really don’t mind. It’s not like I’m getting a ton of writing done today anyway. [She sighs slightly] No, I’ll be fine, I have some time before my next deadline. I just need some direction, which I don’t have right now anyway. It would probably help if I actually cared about the topic, I hear that helps. [Kate cracks a bittersweet smile.] Oh, a compliment, eh? Not a bad strategy for someone in your position. But, seriously, thanks. Too bad it doesn’t pay the bills, and we both know you can’t afford to cover my half. [She sticks out her tongue though Jake can’t see, smiling.] Oh, of course, my mistake. I meant, it doesn’t pay the bills for now. [Smiling] You’re awfully optimistic today, she must be a pretty cool girl. Anyway, I may as well just clear my head, do some cooking, you know? Could be good. [She nods into the phone.]

Kate: Yeah, definitely. Okay, well let me make a list and get to the store. I’ll even throw in some fresh flowers. [Kate pokes her tongue out again and laughs.] Yeah, just call me on your way home. Mmhmm, yup. Okay, sounds good, hon. We can discuss tomorrow all the ways you’ll be paying me back. [She laughs loudly] You wish. Okay, talk soon.

[Kate closes the phone and sets it on the table, smiling as she shakes her head. She writes a few things on the pad of paper before breathing deeply and sighing. She picks up the phone again and opens it, scrolling through her contacts as she walks to the window. She selects a number and hits send, putting the phone on her shoulder as she looks out the window to the street below.]

Kate: Hey, you. What are you up to? [Kate fidgets with her hands as she listens.] Sounds good. Got any plans tonight? [She frowns slightly] No, I know. I was supposed to hang out with Jack, but he is kind of ditching me last minute. [She forces a chuckle] I thought maybe we could get together? Haven’t seen you in a while. [Kate’s frown returns] Oh, yeah. No, I know it’s short notice. I just thought maybe… I don’t know. Not even to hang out for the whole night? Just grab a drink or something, say hi? [Kate sighs quietly] Okay, fine. [Pause]

Kate: No, I’m not upset. Just was hoping to see you I guess. [She nods] Yeah, I know. Yeah. Well, are we still on for Sunday? [She smiles slightly, but it doesn’t reach her eyes.] Okay, cool. Well, I’ll let you run, I’m sure you’re busy at work. [Kate’s smile grows slightly] I know, I know. You can take me out to dinner with all that money you make at your real job. Yeah, give me a call whenever. I’ll be around. Okay, sounds good. Talk to you soon.

[Kate sighs deeply and walks away from the window, shaking her head softly. Once again, she searches through her phone to find someone else to call; she dials and puts the phone to her ear as she sits back down at the table. She doodles mindlessly on the paper as the phone rings.]

Kate: Hey, Danny! [Her earlier smile returns as she keeps doodling.] What are you up to? Got plans tonight? [She laughs loudly at his response.] Yeah, about that… Jack is ditching me! For some broad! Can you believe it? [She laughs again warmly] Oh, you. Such a charmer. Sooo, what do you say, wanna play? [Kate’s smile is bittersweet] No. Michelle has… plans, I guess. Blah, whatever. I don’t want to think about her right now. Let’s buy some cheap wine, get tanked and go look at women we can’t have. It’ll be like that time the three of us spent the weekend in New York, but Jack decided he was in looove with the singer from that weird band the first night? [Kate laughs again] I know! That chick was bizarre. We haven’t made fun of him for that in ages. [She nods and smiles deeply.] You’re the best Danny. [She pauses.] You’re sure you didn’t have something better going on and now you just feel bad for me? [She pauses] Promise? [She smiles brightly.] You’re wonderful. Listen, I have to prepare Jack’s date for him. [She chuckles, grabbing her list and a light jacket that was slung over a chair in the living room.] I know, right? How ‘bout I give you a call when I’m getting ready to clear out of this love shack? Awesome. Talk soon, buddy.

[Kate closes the phone and slips it into her pocket. She turns off the music on her laptop and shrugs her jacket on. Smiling, she takes one last look around the apartment, then flips off the lights as she walks out the door.]

Scene II

[Kate walks through the door juggling a bag of groceries, a bag with a few bottles of wine, a bouquet of fresh flowers and her keys. She walks quickly to the table, depositing the bags gently. She takes off her jacket and notices the answering machine’s blinking red light. Throwing her jacket down on the way, she hits the answering machine play button and starts moving around the kitchen as the machine beeps.]

Jack: Hi, you’ve reached Jack…

Kate: And Kate!

Jack: But we’re not around right now.

Kate: So leave it at the beep and, if we like you, we’ll get back to you!

[The machine beeps again.]

Voice: Kate? Are you there? [There is a pause on the machine. Kate shakes her head as she grabs a simple vase and fills it with water.] It’s mom. Where are you? You said you’d be home writing all day. Honey, you need a real job. Something with structure, you know? I worry about you. [Kate smiles slightly as she arranges the flowers in the vase.] Anyway, call me back when you can. I need to talk to you about your cousin’s wedding next month. I think I found a date for you, honey; he’s a great young man. Tall, funny, so handsome. [Kate closes her eyes and shakes her head again as she unloads the groceries.] Before you say no, just think about it! Do that for me, will ya? Love you, honey! Call me!

[Kate sighs deeply as the answering machine beeps again.]

Voice: Um, hey. [The voice on the machine sounds slightly surprised and Kate looks up from her task with a puzzled look. She doesn’t recognize this voice.] This message is for, um, Jack? I didn’t know you had a roommate. Anyway, this is Alex, from earlier today? Hopefully, you get this message; you didn’t actually give me your number, and this is the only one I could find listed. Anyway, I was kind of wondering if it would be okay if I came over a little earlier than we talked about? I have band practice just a few blocks down from your place, and it would make a lot of sense if I just came right from there. If it’s a huge problem, let me know and I can go to a bookstore or a coffee shop or something to kill time. So, yeah, my number is six one seven, three three five, one six zero six. If I don’t hear from you, then I’ll see you around six, okay? Okay, bye.

[The message machine beeps twice. Kate looks at the clock; it is 5:51pm]

Kate: Shit.

[She quickly pulls out her phone and punches a few buttons to call Jack.]

Kate: Hey, so, your lady just called. She’s coming at six. [Kate balances the phone on her shoulder as she takes out a cutting board from a cabinet.] Yeah, I realize that. [She takes out a few plates, a vegetable peeler and a large knife.] Well, she was coming from band practice right around here. I mean you could call her and ask her to come later? [Kate starts peeling one of the eggplants.]

Kate: Yeah, I don’t know… she could be on her way already. I mean, I don’t mind playing hostess until you get home if you don’t think I’ll screw it up? [Kate smiles as she begins peeling the second eggplant.] No, it’s fine, I’m a grown up. I do kind of wish I was cooking something with a little less prep involved, though. [She finishes peeling the second eggplant and grabs a large skillet down from a cabinet, accidentally dropping the phone.]

Kate: Damnit! [She throws the skillet onto the stove and grabs the phone, which, luckily, didn’t close in the fall] Hello? Okay, good. Sorry, dropped the phone. [She puts it back on her shoulder and pulls out some eggs and flour.] Yeah, listen, it’s fine, I’ll take care of it. I’ll be charming and friendly and talk you up. [She smiles as she pours flour onto one of the plates.] Just get here when you can, okay? [She adds some salt and pepper to the flour and starts cracking a few eggs onto the other plate.] Text when you leave. I’m gonna run so we don’t have another tragic phone incident. Not sure how many more tumbles old Bertha can withstand. [Kate laughs brightly as she grabs a fork from a drawer.] Stop right there. I will never get a blackberry. [She laughs again.] Says you. Okay, see you soon.

[Kate hangs up the phone and slides it back into her pocket. She walks over to her laptop, brings it to life and turns on some music. After turning the volume up slightly, she heads back to the counter and beats the eggs, adding a touch of milk. She pours some oil into the pan and ignites the gas stove, remembering to also preheat the oven. The next few minutes pass by quickly, with Kate slicing the eggplant and singing along to her music softly. She dips the pieces into the egg and flour and begins frying several. As they cook, she pulls out a large baking dish and sets it on the counter. She also unrolls some paper towel to set down on the third dish. After flipping the eggplant, she begins slicing some fresh mozzarella. She takes the cooked eggplant out of the oil and lays them on the paper towel covered dish. She prepares another batch of the vegetable and gets them into the skillet. She goes back to slicing the cheese, cutting a large hunk off for herself. Just as she gets the mozzarella into her mouth, the door buzzes.]

Kate: [Nodding through a mouthful of cheese.] Ov cwowse.

[She chews as rapidly as she can as she heads to the buzzer. She swallows some of the cheese down as she tries to clear her throat.]

Kate: Ehem, hewoah? [She shakes her head as she chews and swallows again.]

Alex: Um, hi? Is Jack there?

Kate: [As she gets the last of the mozzarella down and clears her throat.] Uh, ehem, no. He’s not quite back yet but he told me to expect you. Let me buzz you up.

[Kate hits the door button and unlocks the door, leaving it open halfway. She quickly heads back to the stove and begins flipping the eggplant.]

[Alex tentatively enters the apartment a minute later. She is wearing dark jeans and a plaid shirt that hangs slightly off her small frame. Her medium-length reddish blonde hair hangs in loose waves. She looks around the apartment for a moment before her eyes rest on Kate’s back. She smiles as she sees Kate quickly juggle a hot piece of eggplant and then suck on her finger. Kate turns around and catches Alex’s look.]

Kate: Oh, hi! Sorry! [She chuckles slightly and is about to extend her hand to Alex when she looks at the finger she just had in her mouth. Sheepishly, she quickly rinses her hands off and moves the hot skillet to an unused burner.]

Alex: Hi. Don’t be sorry. I’m the one interrupting you, after all. [She smiles and takes a step in, closing the door behind her.]

Kate: No, no interruption. [She dries her hands on a towel hanging from the oven door.] I knew you were coming; got your message. [She smiles and extends her hand fully toward Alex.] I’m Kate, Jack’s roommate.

Alex: [Taking Kate’s hand] Alex. I, um, already know you, though. I just didn’t realize you and Jack lived together. Well, that is until I called earlier.

Kate: [Her brow furrowed, puzzled, she is still shaking Alex’s hand] Know me? How? [She realizes they have been shaking hands longer than necessary and smiles apologetically as she withdraws her hand.]

Alex: Yeah, we met. At The Middle East? Same time I met Jack. You guys were with a group of friends?

Kate: [Still puzzled, searching her memory] I’m sorry, I don’t… [She trails off] I have to confess, I might have been a little tipsy that night.

Alex: [Laughing slightly] I know.

Kate: Oh god, that’s embarrassing. [She ducks her head slightly, smiling sheepishly.]

Alex: [Reaching out toward Kate’s cheek] You have some, um…flour? [She catches Kate’s eye and pulls back her hand to mimic wiping her own cheek.]

Kate: [Rubbing at her now clean cheek] Wow, I’m doing well today, aren’t I? Bet you weren’t expecting this mess when you got here, were you?

[Alex smiles politely as Kate turns back to the stove to continue cooking]

Alex: [Quietly, sighing] Definitely wasn’t expecting this.

Kate: Hmm?

Alex: Huh?

Kate: Did you say something? [She moves the skillet back to the lit burner.]

[Alex, blushing slightly and shaking her head, moves toward the table to look at the flowers.]

Kate: Oh, sorry, let me turn down that music. [She puts the last of the batch of eggplant into the oil and moves toward the table.]

Alex: No, that’s okay. I, um, I actually like this band a lot.

Kate: [Smiling] Perfect. Okay, so can I offer you a drink?

Alex: [Nodding] Sure, whatever you’re having. [She bites her lip slightly as her brow furrows.] Wait. Why are you cooking here now?

[Kate bursts out laughing as she pulls a corkscrew out of the drawer]

Alex: Oh! No. That came out differently than it did in my head.

Kate: [Still laughing] But a fair question nonetheless. And one I should’ve explained when you got here. [She looks over her shoulder to smile reassuringly at Alex.] Jack is coming here straight from work so he didn’t have time to get things ready. I was supposed to be the little elf behind the scenes. I was planning to slip out before you even got here, actually.

Alex: Oh.

Kate: Oh? Oh! Not that I’m not glad the plans changed and I got to meet you. Well, meet you again, I guess. [Softly, to herself] Because now I can see why Jack was begging earlier. [Kate pulls the cork out of the wine and grabs two glasses down, pouring wine in each. She carries both over to the table, handing one to Alex.]

Kate: Cheers. [Alex smiles and nods as they raise their glasses and have a sip.]

[Kate heads back to the stove to flip the eggplant.]

Alex: Well, anyway, thanks. For doing all this? I feel bad, if I had known he was going to go to so much trouble I would have just suggested we meet somewhere for a drink. [She pauses, tilting her head with a slight smile.] Well, I guess you have really been the one going to trouble. So thank you.

Kate: [Laughing] Trouble? Nah. I get fresh flowers and make meals from scratch every night. You just happened to be here to see it this time. [She looks back over her shoulder and sticks out her tongue, smiling.]

Alex: [Laughing too] Ah, yes, I see. Quite a domestic goddess. Well, in that case, thanks for nothing, I guess.

Kate: [She has finished cooking the eggplant and turns fully to face Alex.] Anytime. [They share a smile for a long beat. However, she has to wait a few minutes for the eggplant to cool before continuing to assemble the meal and has now finally taken a moment to survey the situation. There is a beautiful girl in her kitchen, and she is a mess. Suddenly, her smile fades; she looks nervous. Her eyes flicker around the apartment, searching for anything besides Alex’s face to settle on. Her hands fidget, and she grabs her wine, downing half of it in one long sip.]

Alex: [Noticing the abrupt change] Sooo…

Kate: Hmm? So? [She finally catches Alex’s eye again but quickly looks away.]

Alex: [Frowning slightly] Are you okay? All of a sudden, you seem… I don’t know, never mind. It’s none of my business.

Kate: No, no, I’m fine. [Off Alex’s disbelieving look] No, I think I was just running around the kitchen and then I came to a stopping point, ya know? I must have gotten lost in my head or something for a moment.

Alex: You sure?

Kate: Yes, positive. Once I start cooking again I’m sure I’ll stop thinking. Then I can insert my foot into my mouth a few more times for your amusement. [Kate smiles self-deprecatingly.]

Alex: Oh, ok good. [She pauses] Because that was amusing. [She smiles warmly and takes another sip of wine.]

Kate: [Nodding her head] Yup, Jack will look like Casanova compared to me. You see, it’s all part of the plan. I act like an ass in an attempt to make Jack seem even more appealing. [She looks serious for a moment before cracking a smile.]

Alex: [Her smile has faded a bit] Casanova? [She bites her lip and looks away from Kate.]

Kate: Or, um, Prince Charming, if that’s better? Perhaps some other masculine, romantic, heroic figure?

Alex: [She smiles again slightly, but still looks a bit distressed.] I feel like an idiot.

Kate: [Her brow furrows and she makes a face.] Idiot? What? No. Why?

Alex: I didn’t know.

Kate: Didn’t know?

Alex: This is a date?

Kate: Date. [A look of realization dawns on her] Oooh. Um…

Alex: No, it’s okay. [She puts down her wine.] This is my fault, I’m sure. I wasn’t explicit. I mean, I also didn’t think I was giving the green light, though, you know? [She paces around the kitchen table.] I mentioned that we should get together and talk some time. I just figured, you know, his band has been doing pretty well and my guys…well, we’re much newer to this. I thought it would be a good learning experience? [She looks up toward Kate from the other side of the table, where she is nervously fidgeting.]

Kate: [Nodding] Listen… [Alex has already looked away and has moved across the living room to look at some framed photos.] Alex? [Alex looks up and smiles a little.]

Alex: Sorry. I just feel really bad right now. Honestly, I didn’t mean to give him the impression that I was into him. [She heads back toward the kitchen table.]

Kate: No, don’t feel bad. Really. [Off Alex’s disbelieving look] I’m serious! I’m sure it wasn’t your fault. Jack… he means well. He really does. And he is the sweetest guy I know… but when it comes to girls… [She smiles at Alex reassuringly.] I’m sure it wasn’t your fault, I’m telling you. That boy cannot read a sign. He can’t even read a flashing, neon billboard.

Alex: [Laughing now] Really?

Kate: I swear! I mean the kid pined after me for the first six months of our friendship. He’s a lost cause. [Alex opens her mouth to speak, but Kate’s demeanor has shifted and she begins again before Alex can say anything.] But, when you say you’re not into him... Is that, like, a definite, permanent feeling? Or did you just not even think about it? But maybe now that you’re thinking about it, you might like him?

Alex: [Taken aback] Oh. Um, I…

Kate: [Sighing] I hate to do this kind of thing. You have no idea how much I am hating this, but Jack is like my brother. [She moves closer to Alex as she speaks.] And he has been really, really down lately. And then he calls today, and there is finally some excitement in his voice. It was nice to hear, you know? So, I’m not asking you to want to date him long-term or even to fuck him… [Kate makes a face as she realizes what she’s said.] Just, [She sighs] this is so awkward, but maybe, let tonight be a date? For him, at least?

Alex: [She has been staring at Kate as she gets closer.] Um, well. I guess I can? Just for tonight? If you really think it’s a good idea? I mean there is one, tiny problem.

Kate: [She notices Alex staring and stares back, slightly surprised.] Hmm? What’s that?

Alex: [Smiling nervously] Well, I’m gay.

[The two women jump apart as they hear a key enter the lock to the door. Jack comes pushing through the door and stops abruptly when he sees both women looking startled. He wears old, dark jeans and a faded, tight band t-shirt. His almost black hair is a bit of a mess. He is slightly out of breath.]

Jack: Hi!

Kate: [Swallowing noticeably and regaining her composure] Jack! Hey! Is your phone dead? Broken? Lost?

Jack: [Moving to throw his bag into his room] Huh?

Kate: [Following Jack] Didn’t. Text.

Jack: [Coming back out of his room, adjusting his hair, grinning toward where Alex has sat down at the table] Sorry, I was in a rush. [His smile fades and he looks suspicious.] Are you okay?

Kate: [Defensive] I’m fine. Just would’ve liked to know you were on your way. [She lets out a breath she didn’t realize she was holding and shakes her head with a slight smile.] I’m sorry. Hi. [She reaches her arms out for a hug that he easily reciprocates.]

Jack: [Laughing] You’re such a weirdo sometimes. Did all the date prep stress you out too much?

Kate: [Letting out an ironic bark of a laugh] You could say that.

Jack: [Separating from the hug to step back and look at Kate while still holding her shoulders] Really?

Kate: [Smiling and shaking her head] No, no, I’m kidding. Anyway, we’re being rude. Let’s get back. I’ll just finish getting the eggplant in the oven and put together the salad and then, um, I’ll clear out I guess.

[They make the quick trip back to the kitchen where Alex sits at the table, looking down. As she hears them approach, she looks up with a tight smile.]

Jack: Katie, you’re the best. It smells great already! [To Alex] Isn’t she the best?

Alex: [Wide-eyed] Huh? Whose breasts?

Jack: [Laughing] No, best. Here let me turn the music down a little. [He reaches to the computer and adjusts the volume.] I was talking about Kate and, for once, not about her breasts. [He grins over towards Kate who rolls her eyes.] Isn’t she wonderful?

Alex: [Smiling softly] Oooh. Yeah. I mean, I think so. [She looks up to meet Kate’s eyes and Kate smiles shyly, bowing her head slightly. She turns away to continue preparing the meal.]

Kate: Really. Not a big deal. Plus, you haven’t eaten it yet so you should hold off on the compliments.

Jack: Well, I, for one, have had loads of your cooking so I know it’s good. [Smiling towards Kate before heading back to the table to talk to Alex. He notices the spare glass of wine on the table and picks it up, smiling.] For me?

Alex: [Alex responds quickly and a little sharply] For Kate. [Jack frowns and puts it down.]

Jack: Oh.

Kate: Oh, Jack you can have it. It’s fine. [Jack picks up the glass with a nod and smile toward Kate.] I’m leaving soon anyway; don’t want to dirty another glass if we don’t have to.

Alex: [To Kate] Are you, um, sure he can have it? [Jack looks at Alex a little oddly and puts the glass back down.]

Kate: [She stops layering the eggplant in the dish for a moment and turns around halfway.] Oh. Maybe just for tonight? He can, kind of, borrow it? Spend time with it? But not drink it?

Jack: [He squints his eyes, looking back and forth between the two women.] I mean, I’m sure as hell going to drink it. I can just get another glass though…?

Alex: No, I’m sorry. [Shaking her head] Of course, drink it. [She laughs a little in an attempt to break the tension.]

[Jack is about to bring the glass to his lips when he smiles.]

Jack: Is there something I should know? [Both women look a little startled.] About the wine? Some kind of prank?

Alex: [Laughing, relieved] Nope. No prank. I just wanted to be sure Kate didn’t want it anymore.

Kate: I want! [Both Alex and Jack look up at her outburst.] I mean…[She takes a deep breath and puts the eggplant parm in the oven.] I want to enjoy the wine. I think I really liked the wine. I just, I’ll have it another time. That’s all. Well, I mean, I don’t mean to presume anything? Hopefully, I can find the wine again and open it – not open it – that sounds bad and weird and possibly like sexual harassment –

Jack: [Interrupting] What is wrong with you?

Kate: Hmm? [Her eyebrows lift in an attempt to look innocent.]

Jack: You’re acting weird. Weirder than usual. Is this about Michelle?

Alex: Michelle?

Jack: [To Alex] Her girlfriend. [To Kate] Are you not going to get together with her tonight?

Alex: [Whispered, to herself] Girlfriend.

Kate: [Sighing] Not my girlfriend. [Off Jack’s raised eyebrows] No, she’s not, don’t give me that look. You know it’s not serious.

Jack: Well, you didn’t seem un-serious all those times you were complaining to me about her. “Oh, Michelle is just using me,” “Michelle was such a bitch last night.” [He smiles at her to let her know he is just teasing.]

Kate: Yeah, well, I guess I’m finally going to stop putting up with her. [Looking at Alex now] We haven’t even really been dating lately.

Jack: [Nodding, sipping his wine, he is oblivious to the look Alex and Kate are sharing.] Well, I say that is a good idea. I never cared for her much.

Kate: [Sarcastically] Really? You hid it so well.

Jack: [Laughing] I’m a method actor. [Getting up from the table] Listen, while I still have my sous chef – [Off Kate’s raised eyebrows] I mean my extremely talented and beautiful caterer – here to help out I’m going to just clean up a bit, change my shirt. Alex, you don’t mind if I leave you alone with Kate a little longer?

Alex: [Shaking her head] Nope.

Jack: [Walking toward his room] Great, I’ll just be a minute or so.

[Kate looks over at Alex and breathes deeply.]

Kate: So…

Alex: [Nodding] So. [Pause] So this is weird.

[Kate lets out her breath and smiles, walking toward the table.]

Kate: Oh thank god you said it. [She sits across the table from Alex.] The whole wine conversation?

Alex: [Grimacing] Ugh, that was bad. I know! I just… [She trails off and takes a deep breath] Oh god, I can’t believe I’m about to tell you this. Don’t laugh, okay? [Kate makes a confused face, but nods.] Promise?

Kate: I promise to try?

Alex: Guess that’s good enough. I, um, I remembered you from The Middle East that night.

Kate: [Nodding] Yeah, you said that before.

Alex: Right. But I really remembered you. I’ve, kind of, been thinking about you since then. Kind of a lot.

Kate: [Surprised] Really?

Alex: [Looking down] Really. That is partially why I insisted to Jack that we get together tonight. As soon as possible. I thought, um, I hoped that I could learn more about you and maybe get in touch with you at some point through him. I was just surprised to find out you guys lived together. He didn’t mention that. And, I, um, I guess I was really nervous when I realized I’d be seeing you today. That sounds really pathetic, doesn’t it?

Kate: Wow. No, no, not pathetic. I mean… wow. I’m, um… I… But I was just some drunk girl you met at a show.

Alex: [Still not making eye contact] Well, we talked. You don’t remember, but we talked kind of a lot. Plus, I mean, it doesn’t hurt that you’re beautiful. [She finally looks up and smiles shyly.]

[Kate opens her mouth to speak, but doesn’t get the chance as Jack strides back into the room. He sets his wine glass down and sits at the table, looking much more put together with a collared shirt and neater hair.]

Jack: So, what have you ladies been talking about?

Kate: [Quickly] Music.

Alex: [Nodding] Yup.

Jack: [Taking a sip from his wine] Alex, I’d love to check out your band. Are you guys playing anytime soon?

Kate: [Eagerly] What do you play? [/i][Jack gives her a look.][/i]

Alex: [To Kate] Bass. And I sing a bit. [To Jack] Um, we’ve been having some trouble booking anything in Boston proper, just been playing outside the city. But I think we’re really close to working something out with that Berklee club. The new-ish one on Boylston?

Kate: [Excitedly] That’s great! [Jack gives her another look.] Yes, just great. Um, I’m going to go ahead and get that salad together. [She stands up abruptly from the table and heads to the fridge.]

Alex: [Half-standing as well] Need some help? [Jack stands too and looks oddly at Alex.]

Jack: That’s nice of you but I think she’s got it. Right Katie?

Kate: Yup, got it.

Jack: [Walking toward Alex] Why don’t we let her finish up uninterrupted? I’m sure she’s got somewhere to be soon. I can show you that record we were talking about earlier? [He puts his hand on Alex’s shoulder and points toward his bedroom door.]

Alex: Sure, that sounds great. [She smiles at him.] Lead the way. [She reaches for her wine glass off the table as Jack walks ahead, but pulls her hand back before she picks it up. Alex looks back at Kate and shrugs her shoulders with a half-smile.]

Kate: [Calling after them] It’ll just take me five minutes or so! I’ll shout goodbye to you guys before I take off! [Sighing] This is ridiculous.

[She pulls the salad ingredients out of the fridge and sets to work on chopping vegetables on the cutting board. A minute or so later, Alex comes out of Jack’s room and quickly moves across stage until she is right behind Kate. After pausing for a moment, she reaches around into Kate’s front pocket.]

Kate: [Startled, she spins around with a gasp] Woah! [Loudly whispering now] What are you doing? [Alex is typing into her phone and doesn’t respond] Knife! I have a big, sharp knife in my hand. This could’ve ended very badly. [Alex is still typing into the phone and doesn’t respond immediately.]

Alex: [Calmly, with a smile] Can you put the knife down?

Kate: Oh. Yeah. [She smiles guiltily and places the knife on the counter.]

[Alex’s phone starts vibrating in her pocket. She grabs it and silences the call.]

Alex: You have my number now. [She steps toward Kate.]

Kate: [Nodding] Number.

Alex: [Handing the phone back to Kate] I’d like you to call me. I’m not going to call you, just so you know, because I want you to be sure that Michelle or whoever is really nothing first. Because I think there is something here. Or there could be?

Kate: [Still nodding, still holding Alex’s hand which is holding her phone.] Nothing. [Shakes her head.] I mean something.

Alex: [Smiling] You’re flustered.

Kate: You startled me. Knife, remember? My life flashed before me.

Alex: Of course. [Looking over her shoulder] He thinks I’m getting my wine. [With a slight sigh] I don’t want to lead him on.

Kate: [Shaking her head] I don’t want you to either. I just want him to be happy.

Alex: [Shrugging] I can’t really help with that.

Kate: [Lightly laughing] Not in that way, no. [The two have moved even closer and are still holding hands.]

[Jack has poked his head out of his room and sees how close the two women are. He looks surprised for a moment but then just kind of smiles and shakes his head.]

Alex: So. I should get back.

Kate: Yeah, I suppo –

[Kate is interrupted by a loud noise from Jack’s room. The two women break apart, Kate’s phone falling in the process.]

Kate: Bertha! [She bends to pick it up and check for damage.]

Alex: [Confused] Bertha?

[Jack comes striding out of his room holding his bag. He nods towards Kate’s phone.]

Jack: Phone. [Alex still looks confused but nods.]

Kate: [Pointing at Jack] Bag?

Jack: [Shrugging] Work.

Alex: Now?

Jack: [He pauses then laughs] Sorry, I was trying to think of a good one-word response. But, yeah, they just called me back in. I really have to do it. [Kate gives him a pointed look.]

Kate: Really? Right now?

Jack: [Nodding enthusiastically at Kate] Yup. [To Alex] I’m so sorry to run out like this. We’ll have to get together another time and talk about music and all that?

Alex: Oh, yeah. I mean, I understand. Work’s work, right?

Jack: [He nods stoically] Damn the man. [He pauses] But, listen, why don’t you stay? Have dinner with Katie? [Kate’s eyebrows shoot up as she looks at him.]

Alex: Oh. Well, um… if that’s okay with Kate…?

Kate: [Nodding as she regains her composure] Of course it’s okay. I made a ton of food. [To Jack] You’re really going to work?

[Jack smiles warmly and shakes Alex’s hand]

Jack: Great to see you again, Alex.

Alex: You too. Sorry you have to take off so suddenly.

Jack: [Talking a step towards Kate] Them’s the breaks. [He goes to hug Kate and whispers to her.] I think we’re beyond even now, right? [He pulls away and smiles at her. She looks slightly surprised for a moment but then smiles broadly. She nods.] Bye Katie, see you later.

Kate: Have fun. [Pause] Oh! Call Dan! I mean, you should give him a call, if you want. After work, I mean.

Jack: [Smiling] Got it. See you guys soon.

[Jack opens the door and waves one last time, then leaves. Alex and Kate look at each other for a moment and then share a smile.]

The End


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 Post subject: Re: the dinner guest - original play
PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:56 am 
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23. Volumey Text

Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2005 10:39 pm
Posts: 3787
Location: UK
Great writing.


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 Post subject: Re: the dinner guest - original play
PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:00 am 
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1. Blessed Wannabe

Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2008 1:52 pm
Posts: 13
Location: northeast, us
Thanks for the kind words, SJ. I really appreciate it.


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 Post subject: Re: the dinner guest - original play
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 11:51 am 
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3. Flaming O

Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:23 am
Posts: 56
Hello, I really kind of enjoyed this. You did a good job making Kate a sympathetic character, which I think was crucial because of the set-up of the story. Amazingly, you also managed to make Alex very likeable even though she could be perceived as being a bit manipulative. She doesn't come across like that at all though and while I felt bad for Jack, I was really rooting for her and Kate.

On to the constructive criticism bit - I liked the comedic moments a lot, but I would say to be careful not to over do them (I'm thinkin of the 'best' 'breast' line.) That would work well in an out and out comedy but I felt it was a bit cliched here and didn't quite work, though I did like Jack's reaction to it - offering to turn down the music.

Now, I think there's probably a bit too much description going on. I don't read that many plays and have certainly never written one but I think there are a couple of moments when you get a bit bogged down with description - the cooking of the eggplant is a little too long for instance.

Also (and please please please take this with a pinch of salt 'cos it's just that it happens to be a pet hate of mine and my least favourite line in W&T fanfic), I would lose the line about 'letting out a breath she didn't know she was holding.' Makes me wanna run for the hills 'cos it seems to crop up in at least 75% of all W&T fic. If it was up to me it'd be banned right along with the 'K' word.

Rant over, and whatever you do, don't take that personally.

Finally, I like the way you write and envy you your ability to write dialogue. It flows nicely and actually sounds like how grown-ups really speak - which isn't as easy to achieve as some might think.

Anyway, not sure if this is going to be in the least bit useful to you but hope you don't mind me adding my tuppensworth.

Well done on it and I think the most important thing is that you left the reader hoping for more.

Cheers
foreverchanges


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 Post subject: Re: the dinner guest - original play
PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 3:14 pm 
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1. Blessed Wannabe

Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2008 1:52 pm
Posts: 13
Location: northeast, us
Thanks so much for the feedback! I know what you mean about having too much description for a play. I had a friend of mine read it (who has done a lot of work in theater) and the first thing she told me was, "I would kill you if I had to direct this." I guess I'm just a control freak and wanted it to be a certain way if it was ever performed. Also, I agree with you about the "breath" line. I didn't realize how cliche it really is until you mentioned it.

Thanks again!


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