Literary as hell.

Category: Play (Page 3 of 4)

“Father Left,” a monologue by Tim J Brennan

Father Left (a monologue)

by Tim J Brennan

We leave one step at a time from many things:
the table after eating, a failing job, a disproved
belief, a broken argument of a home, one hand
against cold glass, the other on the key to the door.
It was like this at our house when I was a kid…
father would argue with mother about whatever
married parents have always argued about;
he would storm out of our small house and march
down the street like some kind of middle aged married
soldier; later, he would return and they would hug
and mother would cry like a little girl and things
would seem fine like the weather seems to be fine,
but one never knows the weather always, do we?
Sometimes we pretend the day is fine when it’s really
raining and the picnics we had planned for what seemed
like a thousand years are cancelled but we go on
to the next day with smiles on our faces and tomorrow’s
dreams on our beds anyway. Once, when I was maybe ten,
it was dark by five-thirty, and I was in the woods
and father came marching by and I called out to him
but he kept marching and I called out again
like a ten year old might when it’s dark out
and you don’t want anyone to know you’re afraid
of the dark, but he kept marching, crazy steps,
with wind clatter at his back, and me following him
as far as the big hill, the one that went up-and-down
and we all knew we weren’t ever supposed to go down
in the dark by ourselves, but father did that night and
even though I called and called he never did turn around
and acknowledge me; it was one of those times I didn’t know
my father, kind of like the time I went to his funeral but there
was nothing there but an urn and ashes and I was scared to call
his name for fear he wouldn’t answer me yet again.


Tim J Brennan’s one act plays have played in Bethesda MD, Bloomington IL, Rochester MN, San Diego, and other nice stages. Brennan lives in southeastern MN, a nice place to write about all kinds of stuff.

“My Choice” by Elizabeth Copeland


The day I turned 16 was the day I stopped going to church. “You’ll go to hell for sure,” Mrs. Marmalade said, her orange hair gleaming in the sunlight. Yeah right.

The day I turned 16 I had ‘the talk’ with my Father. “Don’t disappoint your old man, Hel. It’s important to have God in your life.” My father lit his cigarette, inhaled and then coughed up enough sputum to choke a whale. Not that I know if whales can choke, but it sounds good. I said to him…“You told me when I turned sixteen, I could decide. So I’ve decided. I’m not going to church anymore. Here’s a Kleenex Dad.”

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“The Painting” by Jim Gordon



Jim Gordon



I look kind of grubby and I want to apologize for that. I’ve been here all night. In jail I mean and I didn’t shave. I’ve never been in jail before and I’d like to go home. Grace thinks — Grace is my wife.   Grace thinks they’ll let me out soon. I sure hope so cause I don’t feel very good. I have a blood problem. I can’t pronounce it but the Doc told Grace it’s very serious. He says there’s a new drug that could help but it costs lots of money and the Medicare don’t pay for it. Grace called the drug company and asked if they could do something but they said they couldn’t. Grace thought maybe if we went there they might help me. So we went there, but no one would see us. Grace thought if we hung around maybe they’d feel sorry for us or something so we sat in the waiting room. Grace read magazines and I spent the time staring at this big blank painting on the wall. Well it wasn’t really a painting; it was a blank canvas ya know. “Nice, isn’t it,” says the girl behind the desk. “What,” I asked? “The painting,” she says – “the Caudio, – don’t you love it?” “When’s Mr. Caudio gonna finish it,” I said? “It is finished,” she said. “But there’s nothing on it,” I said. “Of course not, that’s why it’s called, Nothing.” I asked how much did Nothing cost. “Three hundred thousand” she said. “Caudio’s bring very high prices.” I asked why someone would pay all that money for a painting that isn’t a painting.  “Because it’s important,” she said.

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Ruby Went Riding by Jonathan Joy

Rudy Went Riding was originally written as one of seven monologues in a play titled The Prayer List. That play was originally performed at the Jeslyn Performing Arts Center in Huntington, West Virginia in June 2007 and subsequently at the Clay Center in Charleston, WV as a part of Festiv-ALL Charleston. Travis McElroy played the title role. Since then, it has been performed at theatres in New York City and Asheville, North Carolina. It is also on a waiting list for possible translation and production with the Cluj Theatre in Romania.


Ruby Went Riding

Every day, on my break, at 12:15 on the dot I go riding. I hit the downtown streets straddling my turquoise Kazuma Cheetah motorbike. I ride up the fifth street hill and onto the interstate. There I can really let loose. I know I got the kind of hog that motorcycle enthusiasts laugh at. But here, on that stretch of winding highway road between fifth street and the west end of town, maxed out at forty-seven miles per hour, with the wind slicing sharply at my body, I feel right at home. Riding in the slow lane for nine and a half miles with the cool smell of an oncoming rain in my nose and Bon Jovi’s Blaze of Glory playing on the radio in my mind, I feel alive.

My lunchtime rendezvous with the open road has become a welcome routine. Daily, I pass up the opportunity for a vending machine snack and mindless conversation with my fellow worker bees. Instead, I strap on this helmet, don these sunglasses, tuck my tie snuggly into this bland button up shirt and I bolt for that bike. For thirty-three minutes, my life is my own. For thirty-three minutes, I can escape from that soul sucking office and the endless castigations of a boss half my age with twice my income. It is the best thirty-three minutes of my day, every day. I go out in the wind and the rain, in the snow and the sun. I ride and ride and ride. And it feels good.

In the evening, after work, I go home. It’s only a five minute trip and I wouldn’t dare to be late. At five past five o’clock, I return to a small house in the east end of the city and park my bike safely in the garage. I open the door and enter the house and I return to a wife that barely speaks to me since that drunken Christmas party affair last year. I say hello to two loving children who are both so well-mannered and studious and beautiful that they often make me feel bad about myself. At times, I can’t help but think that they aren’t my children at all. I sit down to a nice dinner prepared by my lovely wife and the entire meal is eaten through an uncomfortable silence that has taken the family years to cultivate to perfection. After dinner, I retire to the living room sofa, which now doubles as my bed, and eventually I fall asleep while watching soft core porn.


In the morning, my wife wakes me with a nudge. Not a word, a nudge. I shower and read the paper and eat my Toaster Strudels. I watch my children happily leave for school. Then I leave for work. And the cycle repeats. Work, ride, work, home, dinner, TV, sleep.

Everyday has progressed this way for a long, long time. Until now. My wife told me she was leaving me. She said she was taking the kids and that they would be living with her father in Cumberland for a while. She said it was my fault and that she hated me. She said a lot of things. Her mind is made up. And so is mine. I decided to make some changes. I decided to start living again.

It started at work where I quit my job in a hellacious way. I stormed into my boss’s office and told him that I slept his wife and that his coffee had piss in it and that he could go straight to hell. Security escorted me outside where I hopped on my bike and ripped my shirt off and rode all around town. And every time somebody stared at me or snickered just a little bit in my general direction I would stop and scream at the top of my lungs, “What are you looking at? Do you want to die today?” I got my ass kicked three times. And it felt good. It felt good to feel something again.


I rode that bike out of town. I didn’t know where I was going. I just rode for hours. I stopped at a gas station for fuel and corn dogs. I decided to take up smoking. I chugged a Colt 45 at 2:30 in the afternoon and then I hit the road again. I rode until I couldn’t ride anymore. I spent the night in Aberdeen with a hooker named Marcel. I did forty push ups. I took a shower. I fell asleep.

The next day I bought a gun at Wal-Mart and had a grand slam breakfast at Denny’s. Extra bacon. I robbed a bank and I shot a guy just because I felt like it. I took in a matinee and I ate the super large popcorn with extra, extra butter. I cried at the end of the movie. I went to a biker bar where I hustled some guys at pool and drank until tequila was coming out of my ears. Benjamin Franklin was playing the bongo drums in a corner while six penguins were dancing the electric slide. I drank some more and then I passed out in the bathroom in a pool of my own vomit.

The next thing I knew I was steering my chopper down the streets of L.A. when a damsel in distress stopped me for help. It was Halle Berry. Her car had broken down. I gave her a ride home and she was real appreciative and asked if I wanted to go out later and party with her and Marylyn Manson and the Energizer Bunny. I said sure. That’d be cool. But only if zombie Elvis can come too.

Then I woke up. At home. On my couch. It was all a dream. And my wife was there. And Halle Berry wasn’t. And I was okay with that. My kids were eating breakfast. I took a shower. I ate my Toaster Strudels. Before I left for work, I kissed my wife on the cheek and told her that I was sorry. She smiled a little. A good sign. I jumped on my bike and rode to work. For a moment, I thought about riding right past the office and out onto the open road. I thought about telling my boss off. I thought about it. I did. I thought about going home and making some grand romantic gesture to win back my wife’s trust. Instead, I went to work, clocked in and started another day. Three more hours until my break. I can’t wait.


Jonathan Joy is the author of 25 plays, including “The Princess of Rome, Ohio”, “American Standard”, the “Bitsy and Boots” series, and over a dozen one acts that are regularly produced. His work has been staged in 12 US states, from countless productions in his home state of West Virginia to Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway stages in New York City, and overseas in France and Dubai. Publications and features include the New York Times, Smith and Krauss, Brooklyn Publishers, Southern Theatre magazine, Insight for Playwrights, the One Act Play Depot in Canada, and more. He has won several regional writing awards and is the only two time winner (2005 & 2008) of the national “Write like Mamet” award sponsored by the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. His books have topped the Amazon charts in Theatre, Drama, Political Humor, and Christian Literature categories. Mr. Joy is an English/Writing Professor at Ashland Community and Technical College in Ashland, Kentucky, where he enjoys his dream job and has been nominated for Teaching Excellence Awards five straight years. He is the son of James Edward Joy, a Biology professor once described by a colleague as, “…the conscience of Marshall University for forty years…” and Susan Karnes Joy, a retiree of the Corps of Engineers and the kind of woman that would gladly take her son out of school early to see “Return of the Jedi” on its opening day in 1983. He is married to his best friend, Rissie, who is a successful Scentsy Director ( and is father to an enthusiastic, playful four year old son, Levi.

The Wake-Up Call by Roy Proctor

Click here to read The Wake-Up Call, a ten-minute play by Roy Proctor.

© Roy Proctor 2014

Roy Proctor, a native of Thomasville, N.C.,  has completed three full-length plays and 36 short plays since he turned to playwriting 2 ½ years ago after a 30-year career as the staff theater and art critic on the two daily newspapers in Richmond, Va. His plays have been presented in Cambridge, England; Cardiff, Wales; New York City; Washington, D.C.; Richmond; New Orleans, La.; and points in between. Short plays from his 12-play cycle of adaptations of Chekhov short stories were presented this summer in Richmond, Raleigh, N.C., and Edinboro, Pa. He lives in Richmond and is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America.

            Unlike Proctor’s other plays, “The Wake-Up Call” draws directly on his experience as a theater critic. “Phone calls to critics from irate, sometimes drunken, often verbally abusive actors in the wee hours are not uncommon,” Proctor says. “I usually put up with them to the extent that I respected the talent of the caller. I have a profound respect for actors as a group. They make financial and other sacrifices for the public good that I, as a journalist with a steady paycheck and other job security, would never have been willing to make.”

            Proctor can be reached at to discuss rights for production of “The Wake-Up Call.”  

STRUCK by Scott Tobin

© Scott Tobin 2014

Cast of Characters

SYLVIA                        40’s, a suburban mom

JESSICA                      20’s, a graphic designer


The middle of the road in Lower East Side, NY, early morning


(LIGHTS UP. JESSICA is lying in the middle of the road, unconscious and wearing her rollerblades. SYLVIA is standing above Jessica, frantic. The grill from her car is a few feet behind them.)


Oh my God, I’m sorry, I am so sorry. Please wake up, please. Please! HELP! HELP HERE! SOMEONE PLEASE! Oh Miss. Please Miss, don’t do this to me. I can’t believe this. Listen, this wasn’t entirely my fault. You were going way too fast. And where’s your helmet? That’s not my fault at all. I tried stopping short but my heel got caught on the gas pedal. But you’re just as responsible for getting hit by my car as I am. Miss, come on, don’t do this to me. I don’t want this on my conscience. I didn’t start the day off planning on manslaughter. Mike’s going to kill me. The cops are going to take my license away. Ha. I’m worried about my license? What about jail? And what about the guilt? Huh? What about that? Living with all the guilt. It took me four years to get over crushing that squirrel. And how is little Bradford going to handle this. His mommy is now a murderer. The other kids are going to make his life a living hell. They’ll taunt him. I can hear it now. “Bradford’s Mom’s a Murderer, Bradford’s Mom’s a Murderer!” He hates me enough as it is for that Barney backpack. Jesus, I’ll have to move. The suburbs is no place for a female murderer. I’ll have to move to the city. Don’t do this to me. Wake up, dammit. Wake–yourself—up!

No Animal by Bethany Lake

Read No Animal by Bethany Lake, a short play.

Bethany Lake is a playwright, director and Artistic Director/Founder of Demasquer Theatre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 2007, she co-wrote an adaptation of an original short story entitled A Spider’s Tale for Dalhousie University’s 2007-2008 season. Her 2013 play, A Healthy War, was a hit with both audiences and critics alike. A Healthy War both “nailed the inexorable tug of youthful passion” and“had the audience flinching and turning away” – The Coast.  “Filled with powerful performances and fuelled by an engrossing story, A Healthy War makes for riveting theatre” – The Coast. Bethany’s latest work includes The Prince of Pig Alley and No Animal. Bethany earned her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies from Dalhousie University, was a member of Eastern Front Theatre’s Playwright’s Unit, is a member of the Playwright’s Atlantic Resource Centre and the Playwrights Guild of Canada. In October of 2014, she will be continuing her playwriting development at the Tarragon Theatre. Bethany has her hand in several upcoming projects, including a second installment in the trilogy she began with A Healthy War.

Dining for One by Brian Doyle

Click here to read Dining for One, a new short play by Brian Doyle.
Dining for One will be produced by the Midtown International Theatre Festival’s Short Play Lab Series on October 25 and 26 the Roy Arias Studios, 300 West 43rd Street, 4th Floor, in New York City.
It will be directed by John Camera and will feature Guy Ventoliere, Destiny Marie Shegstad and David Wetter.
More details may be found at


Brian Leahy Doyle
Brian Leahy Doyle is a director, dramaturge, writer, and teacher of theatre. Brian received his undergraduate training at the University of Wisconsin at Platteville, where he majored in English and minored in theatre with an emphasis in dramatic literature. He earned his MFA in Theatre, with emphases in Directing, Dramaturgy, and Voice, at the University of Utah. While at the University of Utah, he was the first resident dramaturge of the Pioneer Theatre Company and was largely responsible for initiating this position. After graduate school, Brian moved to the East Coast and worked as a dramaturge for the George Street Playhouse and the Whole Theatre. He then began an active freelance directing career, staging plays in such regional theaters as the Whole Theatre, Cincinnati Theatre Festival, and Louisville’s Classics in Context, and such off-Broadway venues as the Irish Arts Center, Riverside Shakespeare, the Open Eye, the 92nd Street Y/Makor, and the New York premiere of composer Aaron Jay Kernitz’s The Four Seasons of Futurist Cuisine at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. As a writer, his articles have appeared in New Hibernia Review, The Steinbeck Review, Theatre History Studies, and Didaskalia, His book, Encore! The Renaissance of Wisconsin Opera Houses, published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press, focuses upon the renovation and restoration of historic theaters in Wisconsin and has received a National Indie Excellence Award, a National Best Book Award, a ForeWord Review Book Award, and the Theatre Historical Society of America’s Outstanding Book of the Year Award. He currently teaches at Mercy College and is serving as lyricist and book writer on on a musical adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession with Michael Dilthey. An evening of his one-act plays will be presented this fall at the Players Club in Manhattan.

Stimulate by Kate Bailey

Playwright Kate Bailey takes zombies to a new level in her short play, Stimulate. Click here to read.

Kate Bailey is originally from Baton Rouge, LA. She holds a BA in Theatre Performance from Louisiana State University. She has studied playwriting at Chicago Dramatists and is currently an MFA candidate at the University of New Orleans. “Stimulate” was first performed as part of 6×6, a ten-minute play festival at Southern Rep Theatre in New Orleans.

The Hands of Our Brothers by Paul Lewis

The Hands of Our Brothers is a short play by Paul Lewis. Click here to read.

Paul Lewis is a Seattle-based playwright, composer and lyricist whose staged work includes musicals, a children’s opera, and full-length plays. His ten-minute plays have been staged across the country, and include Guess What? which won the Audience Choice Award at FUSION Theatre’s short works festival, “The Seven” in 2012; Music Box; Timmy Perlmutter Goes Flying; and Oblivion, which won the Audience Favorite Award at the 2013 Driftwood Players Theater Festival of Shorts, and which is to be published in “The Best Ten-Minute Plays of 2014” (Smith & Kraus)Paul’s musical The Hours of Life premieres in Seattle in December.

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