Playtime

by Mary Liza Hartong and Andrew Kingsley | 3/28/16 6:06pm

It’s springtime, and you know what that means. No, not sundresses, stargazing, frolicking naked or being arrested for frolicking naked. It’s one-act season! Theater in the park is about to start up soon, so we’ve been receiving hundreds of one-acts to select for our spring repertoire. Here are the worst pitches we read.

“A New Beginning”

Marlene is a big city girl stuck in her small hometown of Yawnville, Kentucky. Yuck! Her big secret: she’s a photographer. A good one. Sometimes she takes black and white pictures of rain-streaked windows or sunsets. Trouble is, while most of her friends are leaving for tractor school next fall in Funville, Nebraska, her uncle wants her to stay home to manage the family’s Dairy Queen. What’s a girl to do? When suave drifter, Rio Casanova rides into town on his Hummer, Marlene just might find that you miss every picture you don’t take. Especially the one incriminating Rio for stealing her skin…and her heart.

“Get Off the Hook”

Mark is your average fish. He’s an average fish in your average ocean. But 1 percent of the fish have over 99 percent of the seaweed. Mark wants huge change, and he wants no riverbank to be too big to fail. There is a ladyfish who says she can redistribute the seaweed, but she has so much seaweed and she takes seaweed from big fish — and those sea-mails, I mean! Plus there’s this big cruise ship that is polluting the whole ocean. Ick! And don’t forget that ugly shark who says he has earned a lot of seaweed but really his dad earned it all. The power is in your fins to change the ocean’s tides.

“Movin’ Out”

Anthony works in the grocery store. He’s saving his pennies for someday. Mama Leone left a note on the door. She said, “Sonny, move out to the country. Workin’ too hard can give you a heart attack. You outta know by now who needs a house out in Hackensack. Is that what you get with your money? It seems such a waste of time if that’s what it’s all about.” Mama, if that’s movin’ up, then I’m movin’ out. I’m movin’ out.*

*This play was written by a young Billy Joel in the summer of 1977. A philandering dramaturge attempted to pass it off as his one act. We were fooled.

“To Bee, or Not to Bee” (A Play from the NRA Repertory Theatre)

Candice is a lowly drone who wishes to be queen. Her queen bee, Pauline IV, is a real pain in the thorax and can’t hold her liquor. Their hive is a laughing stock. “Get it together, Pauline,” Candice buzzes to herself resting on a daisy one sunny morning. As she rubs her butt on the flower to get its pollen, she sees a bear headed right for their hive, hungry for honey he did nothing to produce. She races over to the bear’s paw, and primes her stinger to protect her friends. But oh no! Pauline is slovenly drunk and embarrassing the whole hive. Good riddance, Candice buzzes. What’s this? The bear falls over just before he reaches the hive. Two hunters come over to collect their ursine bounty, and the hive is saved.*

*Pauline thus continued her reign of tyranny and later became known as “The Bee-Header” for guillotining thousands of drones during the Honey Uprisings.

“Untitled”

Anything could be a play. You, the audience, you’re all actors in a play right now. Amazing. This curtain, it’s in its own play called “Curtain Call.” It’s almost as if a bunch of trained actors on a stage with rehearsed lines and a five-act structure centered around star-crossed lovers…that could be a play! A mediocre one, but a play nonetheless. Give me anything and it could be a play. A noose? I love a challenge, ma’am! You sir, storming out, you have great instincts for theater! Oh yes, I like your tone as you demand a refund. Good projection! And these tomatoes you’re throwing. Wonderful object work! That gun seems oddly realistic, madam. And those bullets too. Oh! The rest is silence.*

*Also a play from the NRA Repertory Theater.

“Beer”

Meet Trevor, a guy who drinks beer and loves sports. With his golden retriever, Bud Light Lime, and his girlfriend, Buffalo Wings — nicknamed Yvette — Trevor couldn’t be happier. Except guess what? Plot twist! Trevor’s a lion. Didn’t see that coming, did you, audience? Yeah, A+ for plot, right? Right? Yeah, he’s a lion. What are you going to do about it? Buffalo Wings seems pretty weird now dating a lion and all. Match.com open to anything nowadays I guess. Anyway, one day she goes to bed. That’s part of the plot too! Then she’s mauled. By Bud Light Lime! Twist!

“A(r)t”

Stage. Them. Light. Dark? Sound. Whisper. Boom! Cry. Silence. Time. Black. Breath. Life. Passion. Sirens? Sirens! Cold. Scalpel. Beat. Be…