Friday, December 15, 2006

big hairy one-act play challenge

I have the next two weeks off work, from Monday Dec 18 all the way to January 1st. During that time I'd like to write a one-act play, but I have no idea as to setting, premise, characters, anything. My only rule is that they have to be able to speak - otherwise the possibilities for dialogue start evaporating. Scratch that - a bunch of mute characters might be interesting as well.

What I need from you folk is suggestions - give me the rules for the play I'm going to write. Starting Monday, I have two weeks to come up with a rough draft. I'll take the most workable and wacky ideas you've got and grind them all into a paste of high art.

I have some faithful commenters on this site and a whole lotta lurkers. De-lurk for me this one time for a collaborative effort at playwrightness. Remember that I am very fond of certain themes - time travel, zombies, robots, the Irish, the Aral Sea, and post-apocalyptic wastelands - but don't let that limit you. I look forward to your suggestions, from the idle to the inspired.

Go!

26 comments:

me. said...

2 arabian robots dicussing the world when the humnand ruined it before the apocalypse where humans are now subservient to the robots

ozma said...

I think all one act plays are required to have one natural and yet exceptionally intelligent young child (say, an eight-year old boy) and one wise old woman (eighty). A lamp must be present as well as a candy dish. Irish accents are a must and perhaps everyone should be slightly cold. The last line has to be a question and the room must darken as the characters freeze in their places. An item must be lost, some useful item. Say, a bucket? No, maybe something else.

I think an interlude is required where the old lady feeds a parakeet and speaks soothingly to it.

I can't say for sure if all one-act plays have these elements but they must be there in so many for a reason.

palinode said...

Hey, that robots thing sounds like a Bruce Sterling story. Cool.

Ozma! You are polluting my play with shopworn elements! I think I've seen a dozen plays at least with one or more of those things. The slightly cold condition and the lost item are dead on. As is the final interrogative and freeze of positions.

Miss A said...

I would like one of the characters to be a female orphan with an affinity for salmon cream cheese, twenty-something in age.

Other important notes: She is well aware anyone she makes out with is a potential relative, she has a compulsion for staring at people's butts (particularly of the ill shapen variety in malls), and green is her most flattering color.

Ehme said...

look at me de-lurk!

In moments of extreme intoxication I often talk about the desire for someone to write a play in the style of Waiting for Godot with either zombies, aliens, beauty pageant contestants or hobos. Intellectual zombies intrigue me, because they do exist.

shishyboo said...

a leprechaun marooned on a deserted island in the Aral sea. he has an epiphany, there is no pot of gold at the end of his rainbow (whether it be real or metaphoric)?

palinode said...

I'm thinking nested stories will be the style.

My Head Is Too Big said...

Oh, so excited. Where do I sign up? Will we see this play performed by a troupe of trained rock hyraxes? Tonight I will drink beer until I come up with a worthy contribution.

Anonymous said...

De-lurk? What? Oh, alright.

Staid convention must indeed be broken - why? Well we all have to make mistakes if we're to learn from them.

I say DOWN WITH THE FOURTH WALL!!
I think characters, say a bright orphan, an 80 yr old granny and a parakeet (All Irish of course) should go about their business on stage when (suddenly!) an "audience member" begins proclaiming from the um, audience about how he's seen all this before and he demands a new experience and he somehow directs the actors into a play about cybernetic zombies stuck in a post- yada yada yada.

It could work.
Right?

*

Anonymous said...

HEY!, I am the REAL anonymous! Don't make entries under MY pen name.

Sven said...

Write a play about a guy who has two weeks off with nothing to do but write a play. Give him a robot wife named Schmuzzie with two arabian cats named Horhe and Jack Splat. Set it in a post apocalyptic wasteland where the irish are trying to hoard all of the gas reserves and a anti semetic drinking hero named El Gibso cannot stop them until you write a play about a guy with two weeks off with nothing to do but write a play. (Yes, I am jealous.)

Sven said...

Oh yeah, make the cats zombies from the future looking for a good swing club.

china said...

china-info.blogspot.com

palinode said...

Yes! Info on China! I knew I was missing information on something.

Maybe that's my play: a man at a desk sits politely and reads information about China for forty-five minutes. Very slowly, the light changes as he reads.

cahilla said...

Oh, the dreaming! the dreaming! the torturing, heart scalding, never satisfying dreaming . . . An Irishman's imagination never lets him alone, never convinces him, never satisfies him; but it makes him that he can't face reality nor deal with it nor handle it nor conquer it: he can only sneer at them that do . . . and imagination's such a torture that you can't bear it without whiskey. . . You nag and squabble at home because your wife isn't an angel, and she despises you because you're not a hero. (G.B.Shaw. 1975, p. 909)

sumo said...

An epic tale about the fall of the Aztec nation, all done in Nahuatl with subtitles.

Oh, and pirates! Lots and lots of pirates!

Please leave the fourth wall up. Nobody needs to see that.

cheesefairy said...

Don't. forget. the. ducks.

sex said...

I would like it not to begin or end with a death, for once. There can be death in the middle if necessary, but not of a grandmother or a lover.

Grandmother-lovers, however, are allowed.

Also, I would be exceedingly pleased with a deus ex machina, but I would like it to happen in the middle rather than at the end, please. That would be exceedingly cool.

I will now commence to lurking.

sex said...

Okay, blogger Beta seems to have changed my name to "sex." That, or it's confirming the rumors.

Miss Syl

Anonymous said...

The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Cloudesley.


-feel free to skip the death part and therby leave it open for a sequel.

Deron said...

A drunken physicist with no family and a penchant for incest goes back in time on a wild fornication spree, knowing that when he returns to the future everyone will be a relative -- and therefore sexy. Or sex-ayyyy, if you want to frame it in the '70s.

In a rare moment of post-coital soul-baring, he reveals the truth of his life to his current partner who, ironically, is fated to save one of his ancient male relatives from participating in a chariot race to the death the next day. But instead of telling her the world of the future is a socialist paradise filled with talking alarm clocks and labour-saving gadgets like the Mouli, he tells her a gruesome tale of robot zombies with Irish accents invading a post-apocalyptic wasteland -- because sometimes you just want her to get out of your bed so you can get on with your day. Hey, we've all been there.

She is so horrified with the story that she promptly leaves and drowns herself in the Aral Sea. The physicist's ancient relative is killed in the duel the next day, and the physicist promptly ceases to exist, imparting the moral that time travel is not to be fucked with, no matter how horny you are.

Gypsyhick said...

Nice one, Deron.

I'd like to suggest that the physicist also be a pirate, and keeps meeting up with a grandmother-loving zombie while going about his important business of seeding the human race to fulfill his incestous desires.

Anonymous said...

I often thought of the time travel thing and thought it would be a great tale to have some who manages to time travel, but where and when ever he goes he's already been before...Everyone there knows him...the events have all be altered..he's trapped in a loop of repeating events he's hasn't experienced yet. --also once severed from his initial time line he no longer seems to age and is thus trapped forever.... and with each jump he leaves a doppelgänger behind...until they are all there is....and all of them want to kill him so the time cycle can end.... their scattered, historical, tales of their plight and how the one must die, but who dies(dopple killed instead of original) and rises... the one --who is everywhere and always and with whom's end all will end... is actually the source of all religions. (allusions to numerology through-out, and time jumps related ...the apocalypse coming on the 666th jump, when Shiva dances, etc.)

Anonymous said...

this damn word verification thingy is awfully vexing and prejudicial to dyslexics.

Dyslexics Untie!
www.dyslexia.moc

ozma said...

Been thinking about this more. You need a gun that no one fires.

savia said...

There is a severe lack of robot vaginas in all of the previous suggestions. Please fix that.