Knock knock. Who’s there? Hamlet.

My brother, Ted, with some of the puppets he's made.
My brother, Ted, with some of the puppets he’s made.

Many years ago(okay, ten or so), my brother Ted asked me to write a script for him to perform with his puppets.

So I adapted Hamlet into a five-minute version for him. The script was lost, found, lost again, and now found again, so I’m putting it up here.

My father says it’s terrible, but he hates Shakespeare, and slept through the Lantern Theatre Company’s production of Much Ado About Nothing once (which Ted and I both loved), so this can’t be all that bad.  If you read this and it makes you laugh, great. Comments and feedback are all welcome.

If you want to perform this, with or without puppets, go right ahead. Let me know, because that would make me really happy, but please give me credit in writing for creating this adaptation.  Now I have to get back to reading and writing about Walter Lowenfels and Georgia O’Keeffe.

HAMLET IN FIVE MINUTES

OFFSTAGE VOICE:
Knock knock. Who’s there?
(GHOST puppet comes up.)
GHOST:
AWOOOOO!
(GHOST puppet disappears. Hamlet puppet comes up)
HAMLET:
I’m really depressed.
(HORATIO puppet enters)
HORATIO:
Hamlet, there’s a ghost on the balcony! Come see it!
(HORATIO exits)
HAMLET:
Sure, whatever.
(GHOST re-enters)
GHOST:
BOO-YAH!
HAMLET:
OH! Jiminy Christmas, Dad, don’t scare me like that.
GHOST:
HAAAAMMMLEEETTTT, my brother killed me and married your mother. Now he’s king and you’re not. Do something!
HAMLET:
Dad! You’re really upsetting me! Why shouldn’t I just lie around and slob out my trust fund?
GHOST:
Because I’ve got news for you, kid.
OFFSTAGE VOICE:
Knock, knock!
HAMLET:
Who’s there?
OFFSTAGE VOICE:
Fortinbras!
HAMLET:
Fortinbras who?
OFFSTAGE VOICE:
Fortinbras of Norway! I’m amassing soldiers on the border and we want baked Danish for breakfast!
HAMLET:
Great.
GHOST:
Hamlet! Do something with your life!
(GHOST disappears)
HAMLET:
Well, this sucks.
(POLONIUS enters)
POLONIUS:
What is the matter, my lord?
HAMLET:
Leave me alone, I’m trying to think.
POLONIUS:
Oh, tell me all your problems, I’m here for you.
HAMLET:
Really?
POLONIUS:
No.
HAMLET:
You know what? I’m crazy. Hopping mad! Boogedy-Boo! Leave me alone!
POLONIUS:
What are your intentions with my daughter?
HAMLET:
Your daughter?
(POLONIUS exits, OPHELIA appears, she is an adorable bunny rabbit)
OPHELIA:
Hi, Hamlet.
HAMLET:
Hi, Ophie.
OPHELIA:
Whatcha doin’?
HAMLET:
You don’t wanna get mixed up with a guy like me. I’m a loner, Ophie. A rebel.
OPHELIA:
Just wait till my brother finds out what a head case you are.
(she exits. CLAUDIUS enters)
CLAUDIUS:
Well, well, well, if it isn’t Hamlet. Still crazy and useless?
HAMLET:
If I stopped being crazy and useless, you’d have me killed, right?
CLAUDIUS:
Now, Hamlet, whatever makes you say that?
HAMLET:
Ok, Uncle Claude, I have a joke for you. Knock knock.
CLAUDIUS:
Who’s there?
HAMLET:
Guys that kill their brother, marry their sister in law and make off with the crown.
CLAUDIUS:
I don’t think that joke’s very funny, Hamlet.
HAMLET:
Neither do I.
CLAUDIUS:
Go to your room and stay there till I think of something to do with you!
(exits)
HAMLET:
How about if I go to Mom’s room instead?
(GERTRUDE enters)
GERTRUDE:
Hamlet, baby, why can’t you get along with your uncle and your stepfather?
HAMLET:
Mom. Don’t tell me that you cannot see how there is something completely, intrinsically wrong with that sentence.
GERTRUDE:
You always were a strange boy.
HAMLET:
No I’m not! I am not a strange boy! Look around you, Mom! Everything else is very, very messed up!
(rod puppet pops up of ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN)
R&G: (singing)
Oh, we are the boys in chorus, we hope you like our show, we’re really glad to be here, but now it’s time to go!
(R&G disappear)
HAMLET:
You see?
GERTRUDE:
Maybe you need some Ritalin.
HAMLET:
No.
GERT:
Prozac?
HAMLET:
No.
GERT:
Zoloft?
HAMLET:
No!
GERT:
Tofranil? Tegretol? Riseprdal? Ex-Laxx?
HAMLET:
No, no, no, no!
OFFSTAGE VOICE:
I’ll take some Ex-Laxx.
HAMLET:
Who was that?
GERT:
It must be a mouse because there couldn’t possibly be anyone spying on you!
HAMLET:
Ok, well, I’ll just stab the tapestry with my sword, then! Take THAT!
(rod puppet of DEAD POLONIUS appears. Eyes like X’s, tongue hanging out, etc. GERTRUDE exits, replaced by CLAUDIUS)
HAMLET:
So that’s what dead really looks like.
CLAUDIUS:
HAMLET! What did you do this time?
HAMLET:
Oops. My bad.
CLAUDIUS:
Congratulations! You’ve just won an all-expense-paid one-way trip straight to England!
HAMLET:
You know what? If it gets you out of my sight, FINE.
(Exeunt. OPHELIA, still an adorable bunny rabbit, but now a crazy, scary bunny rabbit, appears, singing to the tune of “I Met Him on a Sunday.” GERTRUDE sings backup)
OPHELIA:
I met him on a Sunday.
GERTRUDE:
Oo-oo-oo-oo
OPHELIA:
And his dad got killed on Monday,
GERTRUDE:
Oo-oo-oo-oo
OPHELIA:
Lost his marbles on a Tuesday,
GERTRUDE:
Oo-oo-oo-oo
OPHELIA:
Dissed me off on Wednesday,
GERTRUDE:
Oo-oo-oo-oo
OPHELIA:
Killed my dad on Thursday,
GERTRUDE:
Oo-oo-oo-oo,
OPHELIA:
Disappeared on Friday,
GERTRUDE:
Oo-oo-oo-oo,
OPHELIA:
I said, Bye-bye- Baby…
Doo ron, day ron, day ron, day ron, day, poppa doo ron, day ron, day ron, day ron, day poppa doo, oo-oo-oo-oooo.
Splish splash, I was takin’ a bath, long about a Saturday night, rub a dub, just relaxin’ in the tub, thinkin’ everything was all right…
(OPHELIA exits. HAMLET enters.)
GERTRUDE:
Hamlet! You’re back! Where were you?
HAMLET:
Well, I was going to go to England, but I changed my mind.
GERT:
What happened to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern?
HAMLET:
Oh, they decided to stay and hang out.
(Rod puppet of ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDENSTERN, dead Xs for eyes, tongues bugging out, nooses around their necks, pops up briefly, with a riff of “Rule Brittania” on kazoo.)
HAMLET:
Where’s my girlfriend?
GERTRUDE:
Oh, she went for a big swim.
HAMLET:
How big?
GERT:
Six feet under.
HAMLET:
Well, hope she reserves us all a good table and pre-orders the appetizers.
GERT:
I’ll bring the wine!
(GERTRUDE exits. a little skull on a stick pops up.)
SKULL:
Knock, knock.
HAMLET:
Who’s there.
SKULL:
Yorick.
HAMLET:
Yorick who?
SKULL:
Tag, Yor-ick!
(SKULL drops away.)
HAMLET:
I knew him.
(LAERTES pops up, mad as hell)
LAERTES:
HAMLET! I just got here from Paris-
HAMLET:
And boy are your arms tired.
LAERTES:
And everyone I love is dead!
HAMLET:
Boo hoo. Join the club.
LAERTES:
I’m gonna kick your ass!
(LAERTES exits, GERT returns)
HAMLET:
Good.
GERT:
Hamlet, your uncle brought some wine, wasn’t that nice of him? It’s got pearls in it! And it’s mighty tasty too!
HAMLET:
Mom, wait, stop, don’t you know what they say about pearls soaked in wine?
GERT:
No, that’s pearls before- GAK.
(she dies. Disappears.)
HAMLET:
Okay. Well, everyone that’s left I don’t like very much, so this should be easy.
(CLAUDIUS enters)
CLAUDIUS:
Hamlet, I’m betting on Laertes to pulverize you!
HAMLET:
Hey, Uncle Claude, guess what.
CLAUDIUS:
What?
HAMLET:
Never get in a fight with someone crazier than yourself.
CLAUDIUS:
What’s that supposed to mean?
HAMLET:
Look, a flesh-eating vulture.
(CLAUDIUS looks up)
CLAUDIUS:
Where?
(HAMLET head-butts him. CLAUDIUS dies, disappears. LAERTES pops up, holding a sword)
HAMLET:
Yeah, I learned that from Mel Gibson.
LAERTES:
Hey, Hamlet, wanna see my new sword?
HAMLET:
What’s so great about it?
LAERTES:
Well, your uncle gave it to me. It’s got deadly poison all over it. Tag, you’re it!
(whaps him with the sword)
HAMLET:
Oh well, I guess that means I have to kill you RIGHT NOW.
(HAMLET beats LAERTES up until he disappears)
HAMLET:
Ok. Well, I think that about wraps it up.
(HORATIO enters)
HORATIO:
Hey, um, Hamlet, someone’s at the door.
HAMLET:
Can it wait a minute? I’m dying here.
(HAMLET slumps, dead, over the puppet stage. FORTINBRAS enters)
FORTINBRAS:
Knock knock.
HORATIO:
Who’s there?
FORTINBRAS:
Norway.
HORATIO:
Norway who?
FORTINBRAS:
There ain’t Nor Way that Denmark isn’t mine, all mine! Hah hah hah!
HORATIO:
And I alone am escaped to tell thee, “The End.”

END OF PLAY

I also have to add: This play is much, much funnier when Ted performs it. He reads so fast that you can only understand about 60% of the words, but the intention is clear, and the enthusiasm and determination are like a galloping horse toward Horse Heaven. It’s like Andy Kaufman breaking a land speed record.

Free story writing advice, some of it might be good.

Pen and handwriting on paper to indicate this post is about writing.
In every post about writing, there is always a photo of a fountain pen and a piece of paper with handwriting on it. However, I know very few people who use fountain pens and hand write frequently. But, nobody would know this was a post about writing if I didn’t use this image.

Lately I’ve been reading a lot about what constitutes good storytelling, in playwriting and screenwriting, and what I’ve read has seemed to miss the point. I’ve also seen some really bad plays lately, and life is too freaking short for bad plays. There seems to be a lot of “make stuff happen” or vague metaphors trying to describe it, and nothing about simple, basic tools of storytelling.  I don’t know if this is because somebody wants to make money leading writing seminars while simultaneously pulling the ladder up behind themselves, or if they just can’t explain it well, or if I don’t understand them (and by now I should).  Anyway. Here are a couple of things which I have learned, which no one else has been able to explain to my satisfaction.

The best place to start is with your main character, what they want, and what’s in their way.  A really simple formula is this, which I learned in a writing class from Doug Wright:

Blank wants blank in order to blank, but is thwarted by blank and ends up blank.

I apologize right now for the phrase, “is thwarted by.” I know it sounds archaic and pompous. However, it’s hard to come up with a phrase that means exactly that.

To try to illustrate, let’s make a simple image. People in general get really excited about sports, because sports offers the simplest possible version of this narrative.

Football players, tackling on a snowy field.   Football player #88 wants to get the ball and run down the field to make a touchdown, but is thwarted by the other team’s player #66, who body-slams him to the ground ten yards from the goal line, and ends up injured.

To expand this somewhat, you can also say, Football player #88 wants to get the ball and run down the field to make a touchdown, in order to win the game and get the endorsement with a major soda company which will pay off the mortgage he has on the fabulous mansion he can’t afford, so that he can squash his memories of his tortured childhood growing up in a roach-infested apartment, but is thwarted by the other team’s player #66, who body-slams him to the ground ten yards from the goal line, and ends up with a broken collarbone.

But, when you’re starting, you want to keep things really simple. It’s easy to think a lot about the larger goal, because that gives us the why, and backstory is always a fun place to dawdle around in storytelling. But, when you’re getting started, especially when you’re writing a screenplay or a script, because they take place in the here and now.

So, you should take a blank piece of paper, and your favorite color magic marker, and hand-write in big letters,

_____ wants _____ (in order to _____) but is thwarted by _____ and ends up ____.

Put this on the wall over wherever it is that you write.

If you want to get academic about this exercise, Romeo wants to marry Juliet in order to experience perfect physical and emotional bliss, but is thwarted by the hatred between their respective families, and ends up dead.

Broad strokes. Keep it easy. Here’s a simpler one:

Phaedra wants to have sex with her stepson Hippolytus in order to experience perfect physical and emotional love, but is thwarted by Hippolytus’ disgust for her and ends up committing suicide.

Now, Hippolytus has his own set of issues, goals and obstacles, as do The Capulets and Monatgues, and as does Football Player #66, if your story is even close to interesting. Eventually, you will want to write out this formula for all of your characters.

Now, I know that we all love stories with huge ensemble casts of characters, and there is a lot to be said for ensemble stories. However, if you look at the story closely, you’ll see that the most successful ones center around one protagonist, and although the other characters have goals and obstacles and stories of their own, the story really follows this one character.

An example of a novel which translated reasonably well to film is Wonder Boys. It has a fantastic ensemble of characters, and their interplay is what mades the story so rich and exciting. So, one could argue that this story depends on ensemble and less on a protagonist.

To which I would say, bullshit. There are points throughout the story where Grady Tripp could have just walked out, gone home, and, as Michael Chabon said, “lie on the couch, watch reruns of the Rockford Files, roll numbers, and wait for the girl in the black kimono to take me away.” However, the journey of all the other characters would wind down and burn out as a result, if Grady didn’t stop moving forward toward his goal, which is to restore order to the chaos his life as become. Grady’s self-hatred would be consistent with him going home, smoking weed and watching tv until he died as a means to bring order to chaos, but no one else would be put in the places they need to be as a result. He needs to cause all the things which make the other characters get where they belong.

So, Grady needs to return missing things to their proper places so that he can get himself into the right family, but comes up against the chaos of a writer’s life and distractions.

Now, my favorite character in that story is Terry Crabtree. He is my spirit animal. However, he’s not the protagonist of this story. You can’t have it without him as an agent of chaos, but if Grady had handed him a finished manuscript on day one, and said, “Go tell your bosses at Bartizan I fulfilled their contract,” Terry would have said, “Awesome, thanks,” and gotten on the next plane back to New York. Your other characters have simpler goals and obstacles, and their goals and obstacles have to depend on the protagonist. Terry has to go to Wordfest because he needs a novel, at least one novel, which will save his career at Bartizan. If he falls in love along the way, that’s icing on the cake. The drinking and partying and so on is just an activity in which he engages. He doesn’t know this, but he needs Grady to bring him not only to James Leer, but also to what’s his face whose name I can’t remember who wrote the book about Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio. and all the other stuff.

This brings us to causality. This is harder than it looks.

A cartoon of Professor Butts and the Self-Operating Napkin.  If you go to YouTube and search for video of Rube Goldberg devices, you’ll see a lot of videos of machines in which, as a lot of screenwriters say, “cool stuff happens.” It’s true that in stories, cool stuff happens, but those cool things are caused by other things. There are two kinds of “happenings” in story, action and activity.

Although all verbs are actions, for storytelling purposes, some verbs you do are actions and some are activities. Your audience wants actions. Actions cause other actions, activities are just stuff you do. If I fill a glass with water, that’s an activity. If I fill a glass with water and throw it in someone’s face, causing them to punch me, that’s an action (the throwing, not the filling).

Here is a reductively simple example. Bear with me.

In the OKGo video for the song, “This Too Shall Pass,” at 1:14, a teapot swings into a wooden plank, causing it to move, releasing a lego car to drive across a mini-landscape, hitting a gate, which pops open, releasing a rope, which releases a blue electric guitar to spin on a carousel. The blue guitar dangles metal spoons over glasses filled with different amounts of water, causing them to play a simplified version of the song’s refrain. One of the spoons hits an object which falls causing a soccer ball to roll along a track. And the whole thing continues.

So, let’s look at the actions and activities in this segment.

Teapot swinging into the plank: Action.
Plank releasing the car: Action.
Car driving across the landscape while a band member lip-syncs in the background: Activity.
Car hitting the gate and releasing the rope: Action.
Rope releasing guitar causing it to spin: Action.
Spoons hitting glasses in a cool little tune: Activity. Spoon hitting thing which releases soccer ball: action.

This is why we love those stupid “fail” videos. Somebody wants to do something they think will be incredibly cool, they take a risk, they misunderstand the obstacle, they land on their ass. King Lear wants to divide up his kingdom between his daughters to ensure their perpetual loyalty, two of them take the kingdom and power and cast him out, he ends up naked in the rain talking to himself.

So, take another one of your favorite Magic Markers, and a piece of paper, and hand write on it in big letters:
Action is when a character does something which causes another character to do something else. Activity is just stuff you do.

Put that on the wall over wherever it is you write, too. 

Let me pick this up a notch for you. One of this things I’ve noticed, from working with undergraduate playwriting and screenwriting students, is that action, activity and image get thrown in under the same umbrella as “cool stuff happens,” and the reality is that they are not all the same thing.

Let me grab another youtube video for you.

Most people would say that in Pulp Fiction, a cool thing that happens is that Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace go dancing.
Is the dancing action? No. It’s an activity.
But, this scene is important to the plot of the movie, because it has actions in it. I would argue that this scene is important because Vincent and Mia seduce each other, while also building trust.

Let me break the scene down into beats for you.
Mia is in a very public place with Vincent, they are both high, and he knows that if he gets too close to her, her husband will kill him, but if he doesn’t please her, her husband will kill him. And, she’s the bored wife of a crime lord. So, pleasing Mia is a very high priority for Vincent, but he has to be very careful how he does it.

The master of ceremonies announces the twist contest. Mia announces their intent to participate as a couple. (Action: makes the master of ceremonies put them in the contest.)
Vincent refuses. (Action: makes Mia press him harder to participate .)
Mia reminds him of her husband’s power over him. (Action; gives Vincent a very good reason to get off his ass and onto the dance floor)
Vincent and Mia get on the dance floor and Mia announces their names. (Activity: whatever, we know who these people are. It’s a cool little piece of character business that Mia takes the reins and announces their names, it shows how she’s the boss on this date, but it’s not anything that causes anyone else to do anything)
Vincent and Mia take off their shoes, the music plays, and they start dancing. There are a lot of visual cues to show a breakdown of formality in the pair, but let’s just stick to action and activity right now.

Mia starts with a traditional twist dance move(activity), but her proximity to Vincent pushes him to move away from her, allowing her to take up more of the spotlight. Her increasing flourishes on the dance moves make him bolder with his. Finally, she pushes him back across the dance floor, and he backs up, she stops, and backs up, leading him back across the dance floor, and he follows.

So, in terms of activities: the moves with their fingers over their faces in closeup, the swimming arm moves, Mia’s hands on her abdomen; they’re all seductive and look cool. but they’re activities. okay, you could argue that Mia’s hands on her abdomen make Vincent want to touch her, but we don’t see the action he wants on screen.

In terms of action: she moves toward him seductively, he backs off, letting her have more of the stage focus (consistent with, “please Mia in order to please her husband”). She does some fancy non-threatening pretty dance moves, he feels more free, does some fancy non-threatening pretty dance moves. She moves toward him, he moves back; she moves back, he moves toward her. We see them becoming more harmonious as a couple, which is creepy, because we know what kind of risks and rewards are involved with that for Vincent.

So, to sum up:

Know what your main character wants and what their obstacles are in the simplest possible terms.

Action causes another character to do something else, activity is just gravy.

Go forth and simplify your story.

I might do this kind of post again, I might not. I have to go read and write more about Walter Lowenfels and Georgia O’Keeffe, and it’s noon, and daylight’s a-burning. But, if this kind of thing is helpful for you, give this a like, leave a comment, repost, whatever floats your boat, and I’ll do another one in the future.

I love my brother.

Ted Harris at Rose Tree Park.
Ted Harris at Rose Tree Park.

My brother, Ted, is part of The State Street Miracles, a singing group for people with developmental disabilities in Delaware County, PA.  Earlier tonight, they performed as part of the Delaware County Summer Festival in Rose Tree Park.

I’m sorry I didn’t get their performance of Leiber and Stoller’s “Houn’ Dog,” which included some great Preseleyesque dance moves on the part of some of the Miracles.  But, I did get some footage of a couple of their songs.

The last time I had to do anything resembling performing in front of a room full of people, I had to read a piece I’d written for my Solo Performance class.  I had to read the script in front of twelve supportive classmates and one supportive teacher. I was so nervous I thought my uterus was gonna fall out.

This should give you a bit of an idea of how proud as punch I am of my baby brother, who sang in front of hundreds of strangers. The State Street Miracles are a pretty darn good group.

Now, if I can just get Ted to eat spinach salads without covering himself in salad dressing, it’ll be a great week.

Free Range Theatre!

Guess what, folks, I, Lindsay Harris Friel, Crazy As A Loon Playwright, am having a CRAZY LINDSAY’S GIVING IT AWAY FOR FREE SALE!  Are you looking for a  short play for your theater company, church, school, speech class, ESL class, whatever, with four characters, a simple setting, and a timely conflict to perform, but can’t afford the royalties? Well, WORRY NO MORE!  With all the hubub and froufrou about reproductive rights, pregnancy as the latest fashion accessory and tabloid cover headline, and personhood, this play guarantees that your audiences will have plenty to laugh or complain about for weeks! Just read the following and copy or paste it into the text editor or word processing software of your choice, print it out, memorize the lines and let theatrical MAGIC ensue! All I ask is that you credit me as author.  I own the copyright, and you can’t change the script, but I’ve left you plenty of room for subtext, and all you have to do is pay me in exposure!

Thanks, and have a super day!

BREAKFAST IN AMERICA

CHARACTERS:

MICHAEL: a man in his late 30s to early 40s

KATE: a woman in her late 30s to early 40s

FREDDY: a waiter, a beefy, overly-jovial lad in his early 20s

EILEEN: a waitress in her 50s

SETTING: A diner in Northeast Philadelphia. Typical diner accoutrements: formica and chrome table and fittings, so on & so forth. Television on the wall broadcasting the news.

TIME: The present day, a lovely Saturday in springtime, noonish.

AT RISE: MICHAEL and KATE sit at a table sipping coffee. The table is right next to a wood and glass partition, slightly higher than the diners’ shoulder height. MICHAEL is playing with his cell phone.

KATE: I’m so glad we have this time together.

MICHAEL: What? You’re as bad as I am with the whole cell phone thing.

(FREDDY comes bouncing up behind the partition)

MICHAEL: Oh, crap.

KATE: Don’t say anything, stay low.

FREDDY: Hi, guys!

MICHAEL AND KATE: Hi.

FREDDY: How y’seguys dooin’?

MICHAEL AND KATE: Fine.

FREDDY: So, y’seguys gettin’ breakfast or lunch?

MICHAEL AND KATE: Breakfast.

FREDDY: Ehh. Y’seguys go out last night?

MICHAEL AND KATE: No.

FREDDY: oh, Y’seseguys goin’ out tonight?

MICHAEL AND KATE: No.

FREDDY: Yer not?

KATE: Nope, this is our big adventure for the day.

FREDDY: Why not?

KATE: I have a research paper to do.

MICHAEL: Yup, we’re got stuff we have to do.

FREDDY: Ah, I hearya. I never get out any more either. I won’t be gettin’ out for a while neither, cause my girl, she’s havin’ a baby.

MICHAEL: Yup, we know.

KATE: You told us.

FREDDY: yeah, my girl’s havin’ a baby. I’m so scared. I’m terrified.

KATE: mm-hm.

MICHAEL: mm-hm.

FREDDY: An’ this time, it’s not like the las’ time, cause this time, it’s a boy, and my daughter, I don’t know, I mean I see her, but she’s a girl, and-

KATE: Wait a minute. How many kids do you have?

FREDDY: Well, I got the one, my daughter, an’ like I see her sometimes, an’ her mom, we’re like, friends and stuff, but-

KATE: Oh, look, the president’s on TV. (starts playing with her fork)

FREDDY: -but like, now, you know, I got a son, and it’s with my girl.

MICHAEL: Mm-hm.

FREDDY: You guys got kids?

MICHAEL AND KATE: Nope!

FREDDY: Ah, come on! No? No kids?

(KATE starts stabbing the palm of her hand with her fork)

MICHAEL: Nope!

FREDDY: Why not? What’s wrong witchyew?

(KATE starts corkscrewing the fork into the palm of her hand to keep from stabbing FREDDY in the eyeball)

MICHAEL: Cause we have stuff to do. We’ve got projects. Right, honey?

KATE: Right!

(MICHAEL and KATE high-five)

FREDDY: yeah, but I mean, come on, what would you guys do if you had, like, an accident?

(KATE continues stabbing herself in the hand with her fork, looking at MICHAEL)

MICHAEL: You cross that bridge when you come to it.

KATE: What kind of accident? Like a car accident?

FREDDY: No, you know, you know what I mean, if it happens?

MICHAEL: You just cross that bridge when you come to it.

FREDDY: Cause, like, my mom, she had my brother when she was forty-six-

(EILEEN comes rushing out with a tray of food, talking just a little bit too loudly.)

EILEEN: Here we are!

KATE: Oh, scrambled eggs! That’s me!

MICHAEL: There’s our breakfast! Yum!

EILEEN: Can I get you two some more coffee?

KATE: That would be lovely! Thank you!

EILEEN: Is there… anything else I can get for you?

(KATE dives into her food. MICHAEL looks up, FREDDY is gone.)

MICHAEL: I think we’re fine now, thanks.

EILEEN: I’ll be right back with your coffee. (she exits)

KATE: That is absolutely not okay. That is not okay AT ALL.

MICHAEL: It is not okay.

KATE: I mean, what if you asked someone why they were using a cane? Or told them to just drop the cane? It wouldn’t be appropriate. It would be rude.

MICHAEL: Honey, I just want to have a nice breakfast.

KATE: I wanted to have a nice breakfast too.

END OF PLAY

And SCENE. Questions? Comments? Anecdotes? Let me know!