My 24 Hour Project Script – A Cup of Sugar

As is customary, I post my 10-minute play scripts after they are initially performed. Also, as is customary, I offer my scripts up free of charge for other theatres to produce if they wish to do so. My only stipulation is that they ask permission by emailing me at kevintcraig @ hotmail.com first. I like to know when and where my plays are being performed. I had one of these short scripts performed across the world, from Australia to India to several states in the USA. It’s a thrill for me to know they are getting traction.

The 24 Hour Project was a fundraiser for MYSTERIOUS ENTITY THEATRE. Mysterious Entity is a company of theatre artists based in Peterborough, Ontario. The 24 Hour Project took place at GORDON BEST THEATRE in downtown Peterborough.

From their website:

mysterious entity represents:

-theatre as empowerment

-innovation and exploration

-communities in creative exchange

-complexity and diversity

-theatre as a communal experience

-making change by connecting audiences and artists

Headed by Em Glasspool, the 24 Hour Project was such a exciting dynamic piece of theatre. 5 playwrights – 5 plays – from inception to performance in 24 short hours. Em himself even acted in one of the short plays. This was the first short play festival in which I took part where there were almost no prior stipulations set out for the playwrights. We weren’t even kept to the usual 10-minute timing format. This made it a little bit more exciting for me, as I was able to wander off in any direction. The only string that tied each play together was a single sentence that had to be used in every play. On Friday night Em ran around to other patrons at the ONLY CAFE in Peterborough and asked them for text messages on their phones. He’s braver than me…it was interesting seeing strangers open up their phones and give their text messages freely.

The sentence that appeared in every play?

“I just discovered eleven ice cream sandwiches in my fridge.”

The text actually said FREEZER, but there was a bit of lost in translation happening. In my opinion, this made the sentence even more interesting. (-:

So, without further ado, here is the script from this past Saturday’s 24 Hour Project,

TITLE: A CUP OF SUGAR

PLAYWRIGHT: K Thomas Craig

SYNOPSIS: On again off again warring siblings get together to meet the new boyfriend and sling some more arrows.

CHARACTERS:

  • JOEY
  • BEN – Joey’s new live-in boyfriend
  • DARLENE – Joey’s older sister
  • WILSON – Darlene’s husband
  • HARPER – Joey’s neighbour – a flamboyant old queen who feels more comfortable in a caftan than a pair of jeans. (Present however the director/actor sees fit)

SETTING

JOEY & BEN’S APARTMENT

DARLENE [arms folded in a hostile stance. Looks around, appraises the place]: I guess it’s okay. It is a little minimalist though, Joseph. Don’t you think? Your last place with Collin was so nice.

JOEY: It’s Joey.

DARLENE: What. Are you twelve?

JOEY: The name’s Joey, Dar. Always has been, always will be. My name; my rules. And you were supposed to come in peace, goddammit. You said you would come in peace.

DARLENE: Release the fangs, little brother. I see you still have that charming confrontational attitude you’ve always had. The revolution’s over Joseph. Time to step down off that mountain.

JOEY: What does that even mean? And, it’s Joey.

BEN [looking to Wilson]: Were they always like this?

WILSON: Depends on what you mean by always.

DARLENE [turning quick to Wilson]: I thought you weren’t going to talk to the boyfriend?

WILSON [shrugs]: And I thought you weren’t gonna start in on Joey the second we got in the door?

JOEY: Why wouldn’t you talk to Ben? What’d he ever do?

WILSON: I didn’t mean anything by it. I was just being pissy earlier. You know how it is.

BEN: No worries, Wilson. It’s all good. I get it. I’m the new guy. Allegiances and all.

DARLENE: But do you really get it, Ben? Collin was around for forever. He was my brother-in-law. We loved him. That kind of makes you the other man. The homewrecker.

JOEY: Homewrecker, Dar? Really?

DARLENE: If you get to be Joey, then I get to be DarLENE.

JOEY: Collin cheated on me and then left me for another guy. Ben had nothing to do with that. We met after. Collin’s gone because of Collin. Can we stop using his name? I’ll have to get the apartment smudged to rid it of his bad mojo.

DARLENE: You never mentioned that. How was I supposed to know what happened?

JOEY: You’re never around. How was I supposed to tell you?

WILSON: Tough break, kid. Sorry to hear that. And sorry I wasn’t here.

JOEY: It’s in the past now. But thank you, Wils.

WILSON [ruffles Joey’s hair]: No sweat, kid. So I guess this means I can be nice to your new beau now, all things considered.

BEN: Would definitely be appreciated.

WILSON: Let’s start over, shall we? [holds out his hand] I’m Wilson.

BEN [shakes Wilson’s hand vigorously]: Ben. Nice to meet you.

DARLENE: My friggin’ guitar’s busted up, otherwise I’d play Kumbaya for you, boys. Can we put a cap on the cheese before we get too carried away? I didn’t bring my macaroni with me.

JOEY: What’s wrong, DAR? Can’t stomach civility? You really do take after Mom, don’t you? If we’re not throwing punches, you don’t know what to do with your hands. I get it. That’s why pockets were invented…repressed rage. Just shove those fists right down in there and things’ll work out fine.

DARLENE: Why do I bother trying to reconnect with you? Could somebody remind me why we do this dance every few years? It would be so much easier to just be done with you and your theatrics.

WILSON: French toast.

BEN/JOEY: What?

WILSON: French toast. French toast!

DARLENE: Not called for yet, Wilson. I’m holding my own. I’m the picture of pleasantry.

BEN: What’s not called for? What’s going on here?

DARLENE: I wasn’t talking to you. [turns to Joey] Joseph, why is your new man being so nosy?

JOEY: It’s Joey. What’s French toast?

WILSON: It’s our safe word.

JOEY: Safe word?

DARLENE [glares at Wilson for spilling the secret]: He says the word, I remember I’m trying to be nice to you. French toast is two words, Wilson. I told you that earlier. I thought we were going with lemonade. Are we safe yet?

JOEY: Really? You need a safe word? You need to be reminded to be nice to your own brother? Your little brother, even?

BEN: I once poured an entire Long Island Iced Tea over my sister’s head. I can appreciate French toast in this context, babe. A safe word might have prevented that terrible situation from happening.

WILSON: There you go.

[WILSON and BEN high-five]

DARLENE [to Wilson]: I preferred your plan to be combative and non-communicative. You being nice just makes me look like an asshole.

JOEY: Or… maybe you’re doing that all by yourself.

WILSON: French toast.

[There’s a knock at the door.]

JOEY: Saved by the bell. [calls out] Door’s open.

HARPER [from offstage]: Hello? Hello, my little piggies. It’s just me. It’s Auntie Harper. Hello?!

BEN: Come in, Harper. We’re just visiting with Joey’s sister and brother-in-law.

HARPER [from offstage]: Oh, sweeties. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to intrude.

DARLENE [stage whisper to Joey]: Why don’t I believe that?

HARPER [holding out a measuring cup, purse first, barging into the room]: My lovelies, Auntie Harper needs a cup of sugar. I’m making a batch of muffins and Heather’s on a sugar cleanse. The bitch tossed all my white stuff down the chute. Blames me for the new roundness in her hips, if you can believe it.

BEN [taking the measuring cup from Harper]: I’ll see what I can do.

JOEY: Let me come with.

DARLENE: It takes two to pour a cup of sugar these days? Did I miss that memo?

[BEN and JOEY exit to retrieve the sugar]

WILSON: French—

DARLENE: Don’t even bother. That ship has sailed.

HARPER: Honey, I’m not much for ships. I’m a landlover. But I do like the French. What are we talking about?

DARLENE [gives Harper the side-eye]: You’re just a bit too high-octane there, mister. If anyone ever needed a safe-word, it’s you. Do you stop to breathe or are there gills in there somewhere?

HARPER: Miss Thang, no. You need to cool your jets, honey. Don’t go doing this nasty business in these lovely boys’ home. You’ll spoil the atmosphere. You need to land now and push the broom aside.

WILSON: Whoa-hoa-hoa. [goes to high five Harper and backtracks not soon enough…realizing too late what he’s done]

DARLENE: I suppose you’re fully on Team Joseph now too, are you? That didn’t take long.

WILSON: Joey.

DARLENE: Good Lord in heaven. Have I no allies today?

[JOEY and BEN return with an empty cup]

JOEY: I’m so sorry, Miss Harper. I was certain we had sugar. We just had tea last night. We’re right out.

HARPER: That’s okay, honey. Remember… Heather has a key. The evil witch probably came in here and took all your sugar too. She’s good, that one. Diabolical.

BEN [hands Harper the measuring cup]: Sorry, Harp. I guess we don’t get any of your yummy homemade muffins now?

HARPER: I have a tasteless sugar-free vegan cardboard and sawdust recipe somewhere. I’ll dig it out just for you, child.

BEN: That’s okay, Miss Harper. Don’t trouble yourself.

HARPER: Truth be told, Ben, I was just being nosy anyway. Just checking up on my boys. Mother hen’s gonna be henning.

[Harper looks to Darlene and points their fingers at their own eyes and then rotates them towards Darlene, bouncing back and forth a couple times]

DARLENE: What’s that supposed to mean.

HARPER: Means what it means, Joey’s sister. I got my eye on you. I’ve heard stories. I’ll be watching you.

DARLENE: Of all the—

WILSON: French toast.

DARLENE: Joseph. Joey. Are you telling family secrets? To strangers. You know I love you, don’t you? You know my anger is usually out of love, right? You get that, don’t you?

HARPER: Sister, anger’s just a recipe for sadness. Anger’s a muffin without the sugar. Nobody wants a sugarless muffin, honey. Where I come from, that’s just a rock. Something to throw. My understanding is Joey’s all you have and you’re all he has. Why complicate that tenuous bond with anger? It’s lazy of you.

DARLENE: I didn’t come here to get lectured on my relationship with my brother. Especially by the likes of you. We’re doing fine, thank you very much.

JOEY: We are?

WILSON: French toast. French toast.

HARPER: All’s I’m saying is family, chosen or otherwise, is all we got. Wouldn’t you like to be around more often? Aren’t these two of the loveliest boys you ever met?

DARLENE: Well, I only just met Ben. I don’t really know him all that much.

HARPER: I dislike when my point is proven so quickly by the other side. Honey, you’re doing all my work for me.

DARLENE: Did you come here to attack me?

WILSON: French toast.

DARLENE: Okay, Wilson. We all get it. Enough with the French toast.

HARPER: Oddly, that is the one thread in this conversation that has me absolutely perplexed. Does it have something to do with the sugar ruse? Because I wasn’t really looking for sugar. We’re all clear on that, aren’t we?

JOEY: But our sugar has been confiscated. So.

BEN [to Wilson]: Want to see the den? I should show you the den.

WILSON: I thought you’d never ask.

[BEN and WILSON exit the stage]

HARPER [to Darlene]: Look. You could be a really sweet girl for all I know. If you’re even half as lovely as your brother here, you’re my kind of people. I just came to let you know how special he really is. I mean no foul.

DARLENE: I’m sorry. I get my back up sometimes. [turns to Joey] You know Momma always played us against each other, don’t you?

JOEY: Which is why we really should call a truce, Darlene. This war’s gone on long enough.

DARLENE: I swear, sometimes I feel like my life is nothing but a walking disaster. If I don’t get angry and defensive it’ll all just slip away from me. Best to have the upper hand. Take it by the throat and choke.

HARPER: Honey, please. I just discovered eleven ice cream sandwiches in my fridge. If that’s not disaster porn, I don’t know what is. You get to be my age and you find your toilet paper in the microwave and your dishtowel in the freezer. I’m just saying take it easy. Learn to exhale.

DARLENE [sighs]: What I wouldn’t give for an ice cream sandwich right about now.

HARPER: Honey, you’re welcome to them. The point I was making, however, is that all eleven have perished and died to death. They’re as soup as soup gets. My addled old brain mistook the fridge for the freezer and joy has died this day. There’s no coming back from that kind of mistake.

DARLENE: Well, it must have been a twelve-pack, no? Perhaps there was a little happiness on the way home from the store?

HARPER: See what I mean. There’s hope for you yet. Find the good bits. If you can’t sift through the wreckage and find the light, there’s no point breathing.

JOEY: Why do I feel like a third wheel in this conversation? Are you two actually getting along?

DARLENE: Oh, for heaven’s sake, Joseph—um—I mean, Joey. Are you jealous now? I can’t talk to your neighbour?

HARPER [raises their measuring cup to the sky]: You know. I think my work here might almost be done. I should be off before I overstay. Leave them wanting more, my old daddy used to say.

JOEY: Thanks for looking in, Harper. Appreciate it.

HARPER: Son, you moved in next door to a hurricane. I’m always gonna barge in on things. Especially when I sense a problem brewing. Neighbours borrowing a cup of sugar is almost never about the sugar.

DARLENE: I’m not sure what just happened here, but maybe thank you for the distraction?

HARPER: Honey, all I’m here for is sugar. I don’t know what it is you’re referring to. I’d certainly like to know this French toast business, though. But we’ll keep that for another time. You make sure you check in more often, now. Joey told me some nice things too, you know. He misses you when you’re not around. Family’s all we have in the end, ain’t it. Chosen or otherwise.

[BEN and WILSON return to the stage]

BEN: Leaving so soon, Harper?

HARPER: Honey child, I’ll say it yet again. I came only for a cup of sugar.

DARLENE: It was nice to meet you.

HARPER: The same to you. Maybe next time you can stop by for an ice cream sandwich. I’ll be sure to put them in the freezer this time ‘round. I’m 708. Just two doors down the hall. Don’t, whatever you do, knock on 706. Old man Jones’ll tear you a new one just for knocking.

DARLENE: That sounds nice. The ice cream sandwich, I mean. I’d like that.

HARPER: Well, the invitation’s real.

JOEY: Thanks, Harper.

HARPER: Child, no need to thank me for crashing your party. You should never reward bad manners.

JOEY: No. Really. Thank you. [kisses Harper’s cheek]

HARPER: Best be on my way now. I’ve been holding this ridiculous cup long enough.

[HARPER exits]

DARLENE: Should we maybe try this again soon, JOEY? Our place? Supper? Next Saturday? We can have a real visit, maybe get to know Ben a little better if that’s okay?

JOEY: I’d like that, sis. Yeah, let’s do that.

FADE OUT

END PLAY

Again…if you wish to use this play, please feel free to do so. Just…PLEASE email me first. At kevintcraig @ hotmail.com Thank you so much!

Published by

K T Craig

Author, Poet, Playwright

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