Alumnae Theatre, InspiraTO, InspiraTO Festival, Playwright

The 9th Annual InspiraTO Ten-Minute Play Festival!

It’s almost that time of the year again. The Alumnae Theatre is about to come to life, thanks to Dominik Loncar and his 9th Annual InspiraTO Festival!

My PERFECT TIMING 2013 Festival actors...
My PERFECT TIMING 2013 Festival actors (Jennifer Gillespie & Liam Doherty).

Last year, I was fortunate enough to get one of the Playwright Mentoring spots with the festival. Dominik coached and mentored six recipients of this mentoring fellowship, and we each had a play in the festival (mine was PERFECT TIMING). When the call went out for plays to be performed in the neighbourhood surrounding the theatre, I jumped at the opportunity. So I actually had two plays in the festival (the second was WALK-INS WELCOME and it took place at a neighbourhood salon). It was an amazing experience and I learned invaluable lessons from Dominik, my dramaturge, my director, and my actors. I was able to be a part of each step of the process. Amazing stuff!

PT

This year, I hope to attend as an audience member. The festival takes place May 29th – June 7th. I am just getting back from my Camino walk in Spain at this time, so barring any unforeseen circumstances I will be able to catch some of the plays near the end of the festival.

I suggest you take in this festival. It is filled with incredible talent…a real NOT-TO-BE-MISSED event. I was able to take in every play last year, and they were all fantastic.

The Alumnae - Home to the 2014 InspiraTO Festival!
The Alumnae – Home to the 2014 InspiraTO Festival!

Some of the details:

  • This year’s festival is to showcase 21 ten-minute plays – 12 from the playwriting contest, one artistic director’s play and 9 from the new playwriting academy (this academy has sprung from last year’s mentorship spots – the brainchild of Dominik Loncar)
  • There will also be site-specific plays (plays that take place in venues around the neighbourhood of the theatre)
  • The festival runs from May 29th – June 7th
  • Ticket sales will soon be announced – This is a hot ticket item, so get your tickets early!

 

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE PLAYWRITING ACADEMY

HEAD OVER TO THE INSPIRATO WEBSITE TO READ ALL ABOUT IT

A video of Dominik Loncar and Lumir Hladik discussing the InspiraTO Festival:

10 Minute Plays, Bard's Bus, Driftwood Theatre, InspiraTO, InspiraTO Festival, Play, Play Festivals, Playwright, Playwriting, Playwriting Festivals, Stage, The Summing Up, Theatre, W Somerset Maugham, Writers, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Dialogue, Writing Tips

How to Write a 10-Minute Play

So, I’ve been writing the ten minute play for a number of years now. I’d like to think I’ve been doing it with a bit of success, too. Though one could never be sure. I can attest to the fact that the audiences seemed to like my work. Being in an audience when they’re laughing during the unraveling of a comedic play you wrote is extremely rewarding. I consider myself blessed to have experienced that. But I’m rather hard on myself, as a writer…so I tend to allow the actors and the directors to take the blame for the laughter. (-: After all, the script is merely the scaffolding. Right?

So, now that I have had seven 10-minute plays produced…I feel I may be able to offer some advice for others considering the 10-minute play market. It is a favourite of mine. A good 10-minute play can contain the world within its rigidly timed existence. You just have to work like hell to contain it.

1. I learned the hard way that there is a world of difference between a sketch and a play. If your characters are not transforming and going through some kind of self-revelation, you could very well have written a sketch. A play is a complete story, whether that play is 10-minutes long or two hours long. You need an arc. A conversation where nothing really happens and no wisdom is gained and no change takes place is simply a conversation. A lot of first time 10-minute playwrights make the mistake of creating a sketch when they attempt a play, myself included. Last year, during the InspiraTO Festival in Toronto…there was a last-minute call for a play in one of the festival’s satellite locations. As I already had a play in the festival, to take place on the Alumnae Theatre stage, I received the call automatically. I jumped on the opportunity. By the end of the day of the call, I sent in what I mistakenly thought of as a play. Fortunately, it seemed to have some good bones. The Artistic Director, Dominik Loncar, worked with me to flesh out my idea and bring the sketch into the realm of play. I think working with Dominik to create this play was one of the most educational experiences I had in the playwriting process. So, always make sure your play is a full story which culminates in a character change.

2. This one is so easy, it seems self-explanatory. But I have often struggled with it myself. So, I know it needs to be said. For those of you who follow guidelines to a tee, this rule should not be a surprise to you at all. For those of you who think it’s perfectly natural to send a 7,000 word story into a magazine whose submission guidelines clearly state ‘stories should be no more than 3,000 words’, please take heed. There are guidelines for a reason. Ignoring them is the first opportunity the publisher/producer/what-have-you has of culling the pack and rejecting you. Don’t make it easy for people to reject you. ALWAYS read and follow the guidelines. I know from personal experience that well over 50% of submissions are sent in by people who prefer to think of themselves as above submission guideline parameters. As a past acquisitions editor, my job was made quite easy by those who ignored guidelines. I’ve gone on long enough. I tend to get ranty when I discuss writers’ inabilities to follow guidelines. #2 of my advice is that you ensure your play is 10-minutes in running time. NOT ELEVEN. NOT TEN AND A HALF. TEN. End of story. I ‘perform’ my plays over and over again to ensure they meet this criteria.

3. Stage Direction. Use it wisely. Actors are brilliant. While developing their character, they soon learn everything about who that character is. From that place, they can see how that character moves. You don’t want to fill your play with minor business (BUSINESS is the term for what is happening within the play that is not dialogue). If there are necessary directions you feel would move your play forward, by all means include them. But please trust implicitly in the actors and director. They’ll know how to include the right business. I’m sure it infuriates these people no end to be told through stage direction each and every step and movement they are to perform.

4. Give your character a WANT/DESIRE. And then put obstacles in her way. This will create tension. Tension is good. Tension is necessary. Your character needs to propel–be propelled–into the heart of the play. Nothing moves a character more than a shiny carrot dangling just outside of their reach.

5. I think there’s a fine line between KEEP IT SIMPLE and GIVE IT PIZZAZZ. Keeping it simple is required. You only have ten minutes to tell a full story, to bring a character from one place in their life to another. This is not a movie. You can’t have extraordinary props. Your goal is to get to the audience’s raw nerve–be it through comedy, drama, fear, what-have-you. Leave the glitz of the movie world on the silver screen. But this is not to say you can’t give your play pizzazz. You want to make it theatrical, larger than life. You can do this without explosions and special effects. You need to find a perfect balance between simple and exciting. Think of simple as budget-related. Often, you’re working with bare-minimum stage props. Think of exciting as character-related. Give your characters great dialogue and a great compelling story the audience won’t be able to tear themselves away from. Make the walk to the climax a dazzling crescendo.

Scene from Perfect Timing, one of my 2013 InspiraTO Festival plays.
Scene from Perfect Timing, one of my 2013 InspiraTO Festival plays.

The best advice I could give someone who aspires to get into the 10-minute play business? Surround yourself with people in the know. Approach theatre groups. Take in 10-minute festivals in your area. Nothing teaches one more about writing than reading. Nothing teaches one more about 10-minute playwriting, than watching 10-minute plays. Don’t be afraid to write a play and submit it. There are 10-minute festivals all over the world, now. You don’t have to have the title of playwright to write a play. That comes after. Just dive in!

Scene from Perfect Timing, one of my 2013 InspiraTO Festival plays.
Scene from Perfect Timing, one of my 2013 InspiraTO Festival plays.

(I’ve had some great opportunities from people willing to take a chance on an unknown quantity. 10-Minute festivals are a great way to get your foot in the door of live theatre. Without people like Jeremy Smith of Driftwood Theatre and Dominik Loncar of InspiraTO Festival, I’d still be dreaming about being a playwright…instead of being a playwright. Go forth and find your way in.)

Scene from Perfect Timing, my 2013 InspiraTO Festival play.
Scene from Perfect Timing, my 2013 InspiraTO Festival play.

Suggested Reading: The Summing Up by W. Somerset Maugham

Photos are from PERFECT TIMING, one of my 2 InspiraTO Festival plays. Those involved in bringing it to life include:

Dramaturge / MC Thompson
Director / Kim Sprenger
Cast / Liam Doherty (Carl)
Cast / Jennifer Gillespie (Melissa)

 

You can check out my novels at my AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE They are: Summer on Fire, Sebastian’s Poet, The Reasons, Burn Baby Burn Baby, and, Half Dead & Fully Broken. The horror anthology Purgatorium, which includes a short story by me, is also listed there.

Alumnae Theatre, InspiraTO, InspiraTO Festival, Playwright

Perfect Timing – A 10-Minute Play… (from InspiraTO Festival 2013)

This is the 2nd of my two InspiraTO Festival plays. This one was performed on the main stage of the Alumnae Theatre. (please contact me at kevintcraig @ hotmail dot com if you wish to use this play. Thank you)

TITLE: PERFECT TIMING

©Kevin Craig 2013

GENRE: DRAMEDY

ONE LINE SYNOPSIS: Melissa needs to cool off while Carl just wants love.

CHARACTER LIST:

MELISSA: 40-something. Wearing workout clothes, hair in a bun…looking a bit perspired.

CARL: 40-something. Wearing incongruous dress shoes. Lonely.

DESCRIPTION: Melissa, the new neighbour, comes over to borrow an egg-timer. With Carl, she may not get what she’s looking for…but maybe she didn’t know what she was looking for.

SETTING: CARL’s apartment.

[Carl has a noose in his hands and he’s looking between it and the ceiling.]

[from offstage, knock at the door]

CARL [starts. looks at the noose and then at the door.]: [to self] Shit. This better be good news. [tosses the noose behind the couch. beat] Coming.

MELISSA: Hi. Melissa. From next door. I just moved in. Can I come in?

CARL: Um. Sure… I guess. Carl. [they shake hands]  

MELISSA: [barges in. looks around] Hmmm…interesting décor.

CARL: What can I do for you?

 MELISSA: So, I was hoping I could borrow your—oh! Argh! Oh God. Not again.

CARL: I’m sorry, what? Not again, what?

MELISSA: Don’t listen to me when I’m talking to myself. That’s personal.

CARL: Don’t talk when I’m listening. I can’t exactly turn these off [gestures towards ears].

MELISSA: Sorry. It’s just so goddamned hot in here. I can’t take this heat another second.

CARL: It’s March. We’re in the middle of a cold snap and the heat’s not working properly. It’s so cold, the landlord’s probably in violation of the Human Rights Code.

MELISSA: Your point?

CARL: Never mind. Soooo, you workout?

MELISSA: What does that have to do with anything?

CARL: Sweatpants. Hair in a bun. I recognize the uniform.

MELISSA: Not even close. Kick-boxer. Give me a reason. [darts forward, causes CARL to flinch] Two for flinching.

CARL: Hey! Settle down. Just making conversation. I don’t have a beef with you…yet.

MELISSA: You want conversation? Ask me what I do for a living. Don’t point out my sweatpants.

CARL: Sorry. I’m a little rusty. Don’t usually talk to adults. I’m a high school English teacher. Or, at least I was. What do you do?

MELISSA: I’m also in-between careers right now. Left my husband. Trying to reinvent myself. Thought I would start over here. You know… near the bottom.

CARL: And here I was depressed about my lot in life. I thought this was the absolute bottom. But today… you give me hope.

MELISSA: I’m sure this is a nice place. Ack. It’s this damn heat…makes me crazy.

CARL: Right. Maybe you’re having hot flashes? You should see your doctor. You know. “Men-o-pause” [air quotes the word].

MELISSA: You’re about six words away from a kick in the face.

rDCm4vNnuMagtfb1h6DMRXW5wDghWdBnWT3pNTdaxlYJennifer Gillespie as Melissa

CARL: Feisty. I’d try a different pick-up line, though. That one’s not really doing it for me.

MELISSA [wipes brow]: Can we start over?

CARL: Sure.

MELISSA [makes a big show of taking a deep breath, pulls folded hand down in front of her face in a show of centering self]: My name’s Melissa. I’m a personal life coach. And I’m not the least bit hostile.

CARL: Life coach, eh?

MELISSA: Yeah. I thought I would get the kick-boxing down pat before I started working on the supportive personality. Once that’s done, I’ll be ready to coach the best of them.

CARL: Maybe I’ll be your first client. Since my life has recently taken a dive into the toilet. [beat] My name is Carl. How can I help you, Melissa?

MELISSA: I came to ask if I could borrow your egg-timer. [he looks at her, somewhat surprised and she reacts] Try not to look at my gross and sweaty self, though. I was just jumping rope.

CARL: So that’s what I was hearing. I thought somebody was getting killed over there.

MELISSA: Oops. Sorry ‘bout that. I was hot.

CARL: You were hot [thinking through it], so you decided to…

MELISSA: Jump rope, yes. It was either jump it or hang myself with it. I couldn’t decide.

CARL: [looks incredulously at her mention of hanging] Well, I guess you made the right choice. [looks toward the place where he hid the noose].

MELISSA: I thought so. A little less painful on the neck. Egg-timer?

CARL [hands unconsciously go to his throat]: Hmmm?

MELISSA: Look, if you could just grab it for me I would be forever grateful. I’ll return it when I’m finished. If we don’t all melt first. Any chance I accidentally stumbled into the fourth circle of hell? I am a strong woman.

CARL: O Canada and forty Mississippis. Although, Hail Marys may also work in place of the anthem? If you’re more religious than patriotic, that is.

MELISSA: I beg your pardon? Are you on crack?

CARL: It’s easy. It works every time. Family secret. And no, I’m not on crack.

MELISSA: What works every time?! What are you even talking about? I think we got off track somewhere. I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about.

CARL: Sing O Canada and count out forty Mississippis.

MELISSA: You’ve totally lost me now. Believe me, you do NOT want to get between me and my morning eggs. Look, I know we just met, but I need you right now. An egg-timer could literally save my life. All my stuff is in boxes. I don’t own a watch and I’m going crazy without my cell phone, which I lost it in the move. I’m lucky I found a pot and my egg poacher… I need your timer.

CARL: To time eggs.

MELISSA: An egg-timer. Yes. That’s what I’m here for. Pretty sure we’ve established that.

CARL: You. Don’t. Need. One. If you were listening, you would know that by now.

MELISSA: Eggs cannot time themselves. Though if my heat is any indication, my eggs are doing a damn fine job at it.

CARL: Pay attention. This ‘heat’ [air-quotes the word] you speak of appears to be melting your brain cells.

MELISSA: Please. I’m at the end of my rope. I need—

CARL: The perfectly boiled egg comes out of the water after one sings O Canada once and counts out forty Mississippis. Works every time.

MELISSA: Well, I’m not really in the mood to trash your apartment in a hunt for your egg-timer. I may just have to try your whacked-out theory.

CARL: My work here is done.

MELISSA [looks skeptical]: Perhaps. I haven’t tried it yet, though, so don’t go getting all euphoric or anything. How does your family cook a roast? Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall?

CARL: Cute. Speaking of euphoria, how would you like to go across the street with me for a Starbucks? After your breakfast? We could talk…

MELISSA: I should have known you were a hipster. It was the shoes that threw me off the scent.

CARL: I’m not a hips—hey, what’s wrong with my shoes?

MELISSA: Far too 1940s tap for Starbucks. They’re not exactly hipster M.O.

CARL: So is this how you repay all your knights in shining armour? Insults to their sense of fashion? Maybe you should just give me back my egg-timing secret and be gone.

MELISSA: Sense of fashion? That’s what you call it? I thought you fell into the Goodwill bin and came out with those things accidentally on your feet.

CARL: Says the dripping she-man kick-boxer in sweats.

MELISSA: A she-man who could have you tasting floor in about five seconds flat.

CARL: Whoa. How did this go so quickly from me sharing an ancestral egg-timing secret to you wanting to deck me?

MELISSA: For starters, a man should never mention the M word to a lady. That’s your first fail right there.

CARL: Yeah, sorry about the hot flash comment. Probably went a little too far.

MELISSA: You think? Look. Thanks for the egg-timing advice. I think I’ll be going now. Hey, we’re neighbours. I might need to borrow an ancient family duct tape secret from you one day. No need to burn bridges.

CARL: Sure. Okay. [Looks dejected] Nice meeting you.

MELISSA: I’ll try to keep it down over there, okay. Can’t promise anything, though. What, with the dying of the light and all. [cradles her womb] I may just be in for more of those hot flashes you speak of. You know what that means.

CARL: No. What?

MELISSA: More rope jumping.

CARL: You may want to research the opposite of rope jumping, and try that out.

MELISSA: As long as it’s not [mimics hanging from a noose] you know. Thanks for the…help.

CARL : Hey, are you sure I can’t interest you in that latte? Maybe a biscotti? Anything? My treat.

MELISSA: Listen, you seem like a nice guy. I just don’t do Starbucks. Nothing personal. Really.

CARL: It’s just…I don’t get a lot of people knocking on my door around here. You know, what with it being the fourth circle of hell and all. 

MELISSA [Clues in to CARL’s advances]: Um. Oh. I’m not usually this crabby. Honest. Maybe I can I interest you in a plate of eggs?

CARL [lights up]: Sure. I can help you time them. You know, everyone sings at a different pace. It’s all about timing—

MELISSA: Let’s just take it one step at a time, shall we. I’ll go get things started. Could you maybe bring over a couple plates? I haven’t found the dishes yet.

CARL: Sure. See you over there.

MELISSA exits stage left. CARL goes off stage right, comes right back with two plates in his hand. Goes to noose, picks it up, shakes his head and throws the noose. Smiles. Goes to stage left. Before he exits, he pauses, looks down at his shoes. Slips out of them and goes barefoot. Exits stage left.

[a couple beats]

MELISSA/CARL [from offstage, in unison]: O Canada, our home and native land. True patriot love, in all our sons’ command [the singing fades out]

END PLAY

Alumnae Theatre, InspiraTO, InspiraTO Festival, Playwright

Walk-Ins Welcome – An InspiraTO Festival 10-Minute Play (From 2013)

Here’s one of my 2 InspiraTO Festival plays from their 2013 festival. As always, I welcome others to use my plays. All I ask is that you email me for permission, so that I know it is being produced. Thank you! (kevintcraig @ hotmail dot com)

TITLE: WALK-INS WELCOME

©Kevin Craig 2013

GENRE: COMEDY

ONE LINE SYNOPSIS: Cherie has an emergency hair crisis. Her name is not in the appointment book.

CHARACTER LIST:

CHERIE: Disheveled hair. Frantic.

WANDA: Has attitude. Questionable intelligence.

DESCRIPTION: Cherie comes to the salon for a much needed but unplanned hair setting. She has to get past the centaur at the gate before anything else can happen.

SETTING: CURL BAR BEAUTY SALON (This was a site-specific play in the festival. It took place at an actual hair salon, but could be easily adapted to stage)

CHERIE (bursts into salon in a panic, heads for the counter): Please. Help me. I’m having a terrible hair emergency. (She holds her hair awkwardly, as though it may fall from her head)

WANDA: Sure, sweetie. My name’s Wanda. Name?

CHERIE: Cherie. Cherie Reynolds.

WANDA (hopelessly scours appointment book): I. Um. Hmm? Is that with an S?

CHERIE: C. Cherie. Cherry, hold the second R and switch the Y to an IE. (pulls at her hair in frustration, attempting to save it)

WANDA: Oh. Yes. I like that. Still. I don’t see it in the book.

CHERIE: Sorry?

WANDA: I cannot. Find. Your. Name. In the appointment book. CH, S or otherwise. You sure you’re not Violet? Because Violet would be early, but I could probably fit her in.

CHERIE: I’m sorry, but do you recall what I said when I rushed in here?

WANDA: Something like, (raises her voice in faux-alarm and waves her hands in the air above her head) “Please! Please! Help! Help me, help me. Emergency hair thing!”

CHERIE: Not quite. But that’s the gist.

WANDA: So, your name is Violet?

CHERIE: No. I told you. (fusses non-stop with hair) Cherie Reynolds.

WANDA: Your name’s not in the book.

CHERIE: Is that not what emergency means?

WANDA: No. I’m pretty sure emergency means a serious, unexpected and possibly dangerous situation requiring immediate atten—

CHERIE: Bingo! That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you.

WANDA: Well, I said your name wasn’t in the book and you said that’s what an emerg—

CHERIE: Please. No. My name’s not in the book. You can look all you want.

WANDA: Well, why didn’t you say so?

CHERIE: I’m having a hair emergency. You can’t book an emergency. They just happen.

WANDA: I know that.

CHERIE: I’m in desperate need of an emergency appointment. I need a hair medic now, as you can see.

WANDA: (looks at CHERIE’s messy hair) Do you have an appointment?

CHERIE: I’ve lost you again, haven’t I?

WANDA (puts a hand to her chest): I’m right here in front of—

CHERIE: I was hoping I could get in without an appointment.

WANDA: I’m sorry, ma’am. We require an appointment to see—

CHERIE: Oh good lord.

WANDA: Wednesday afternoonish sound good? Wednesdays are ideal for emergency appointments.

CHERIE: I. Don’t. Want. An. Appointment. Put your book away before I—

WANDA: You’re confusing me now, Violet.

CHERIE: My name’s not Violet! It’s Cherie. If I said my name was Violet, would you help me out?

WANDA: No, ma’am. At this point, we both know you’d have to show me I.D. to pull that off. Cherie.

CHERIE: Now you know my name.

WANDA: Hold the second R. That’s right (narrows her eyes at CHERIE).

CHERIE: (stomps her feet) I. Need. My. Hair. Fixed! I have a big night ahead of me. Have you ever had an ex, Wanda?

WANDA: (sudden change in personality. piqued) Well…yes. But I don’t see what that’s got to do with—

CHERIE: I mean, like, a real ex? Not some jerk who took you to the movies once and spilled an extra-large Coke in your lap. I mean a man you lived with, made a life with? Maybe married. That kind of ex.

WANDA (looks sympathetic. comes around to Cherie’s side of the counter): Yes, honey. I believe I have. You’re talking about a Mr. Right kinda ex…but the kinda Mr. Right that got away and left you flat.

CHERIE: Exactly. The man you picked out curtains and sheets with. Paint colours. Him. Tall…dark. Never-gonna-give-him-up.

WANDA: (stares off into the middle distance, remembering, and stage whispers dreamily) Terrance. (puts a hand on CHERIE’s shoulder and squeezes sympathetically) I’m there. I gotcha.

CHERIE: Imagine you have to go to a dinner party and your ex is also going to be there. With his new and strikingly beautiful fiancé.

WANDA: (gasps loudly) No! (puts a hand to her mouth)

CHERIE: (yanks at hair) Yes.

WANDA: He’s gotta see what he’s missing! Regret leaving. Beg you to take him back. So you can tell him, ‘uh-uh…you had your chance, Mr. Man!’ You get yourself into that chair over there (points to one of the stations). We’ll fix this up nice.

CHERIE: (elated) What about the rules?

WANDA: Rules are for times of peace, Cherie. They go out the window in times of war.

CHERIE: And Violet?

WANDA: Don’t worry about her. (she goes and locks the door, puts up the ‘Closed’ sign) You have a man to devastate, missy.

CHERIE: You saved my day.

WANDA: (goes to work on CHERIE’s hair) Don’t worry about that. Tell me what happened. Wait. (passes CHERIE her implements) Hold these. I’ll need my hands on my hips for this. (puts her hands on her hips while CHERIE looks on, perplexed) What’d he do?! (takes back her implements and continues to fix CHERIE’s hair)

CHERIE: The girl from the corner store by our condo.

WANDA: No!

CHERIE: Yes. I thought I could count on Marlin. (WANDA stops fiddling and has a look of shock on her face) He seemed so perfect. I was ready to—

WANDA: They’re aren’t many Marlins in this city that I know of. Only ever came across one myself. 

CHERIE: No. Impossible. You know Marlin?

WANDA: There can’t be two of them, could there? I cut that man’s hair last Tuesday. Yes, and he was here with his sugar. Ooh. I would have slit his throat had I known. 

CHERIE: (shrinks into her chair a bit) Well, maybe it was a different Marlin.

WANDA: Big ears, mole under his bottom lip looks like a—

CHERIE: Half-moon.

WANDA: That man’s been coming in here must be ever since he hooked up with that willowy little girl he’s with. They always come together.

CHERIE: (Slinks further into her chair) This is doomed to fail.

WANDA: No, now. You sit up in that chair. We can do this. No man wants the bacon strip when he can have the pig.

CHERIE: What!

WANDA: No, no. That’s a compliment. Sit down. That girl’s skinnier than a credit card. He’ll have some fun with them bones, but they’re too sharp to keep a man like that happy. He’ll want those curves of yours in no time. Just remind him you’re still there.

CHERIE: (nods her head, as though she sort of understands. sits back down.) What happened to ‘you had your chance, Mr. Man’?

WANDA: You’ll want to land him completely before you drop him like a glass doohickey. You’ll hurt him more if the hook’s set.

CHERIE: You’re being so nice.

WANDA: Well, I like fixing hair. And I like fixing hair for a purpose even more. If I can fix you enough to break this man’s heart, my work here will be done.

          They both laugh.

CHERIE: I feel better already. Thanks.

WANDA: Hell with it. We have to look out for one another these days. You’re gonna step into that place tonight, and ole Marlin’s heart is gonna burst his chest. Mark my words.

CHERIE: I don’t think I could afford that kind of makeover. I just don’t want to look like a total wreck. Fix this mess and I’ll be forever in your debt.

WANDA: No. That’s not enough. We have to lay. Him. Flat.

CHERIE: (looking worried) No, no. Honestly, I just want to look like I’m keeping it together. Really…I’m fine.

WANDA: I should come. (starts to get a bit rough with CHERIE’s hair) I’ll put that man in his place. (reflexively takes some anger out on CHERIE’s hair) I’ll just keep scratching her name out of that book. She won’t get in like you did. I only break that rule for friends and no one messes with my friends.

CHERIE: Your what? Friend?

WANDA: He did not treat you right, sweetie. We can’t have that, now, can we? (looks unstable, ready to kill)

CHERIE: You know…if you could just quickly finish up here—

WANDA: (stops working on CHERIE’s hair) Oh my. I’m sorry. (looks into the mirror, so she can look CHERIE in the eye). I’m so sorry. (looks like she may burst into tears) I don’t know where I went there.

CHERIE: (relaxes noticeably) It’s okay. Clearly, you know what I’m going through. (smiles at WANDA’s reflection) You said something about Terrance earlier.

WANDA: Yes. We all have those men who break our hearts to cookie crumbs, don’t we? Terrance was mine. But I’m okay. Just lost my senses for a moment. (pauses and takes in CHERIE’s reflection) You’re looking better already. Why a little dweeb like that Marlin fellow would ever let you go, I do not know. Don’t try to understand men, sweetie. Soon as you do, they’ll change.

CHERIE: I didn’t mean to bring up—

WANDA: Old trash. That’s all you drug up. Old trash. No bother. Just do me a favour, once I’m done with you. You go to that dinner party head held high. You crush that man with your good looks. Make him realize his mistake. You’re a beautiful woman.

CHERIE: Thank you. (smiles) I’ll do my best.

WANDA: And then you’ll do better. (they share a laugh and WANDA continues to work at CHERIE’s hair.)

END PLAY