The Ultimate Scene and Monologue Sourcebook: An Actor's Guide to over 1000 Monologues and Dialogues from More Than 300 Contemporary Plays - Ed Hooks (2007)

PART FIVE. FEMALE/FEMALE SCENES

ABSENT FRIENDS

by Alan Ayckbourn (Samuel French)

Comedy: Act I, pp. 11–13, Marge (30s) and Evelyn (30s)

Marge asks her friend Evelyn if it is true that she is having a love affair with Diana’s husband, Paul. Evelyn says she isn’t, which relieves Marge, but then admits that she and Paul “did it in the back of his car the other afternoon.” This is a funny scene because Evelyn then starts elaborating on what a terrible lover the man is, and the women begin to directly insult each other. Start, Marge: “Evelyn, could I have a word with you?” End, Evelyn: “Yes.”

AGNES OF GOD

by John Pielmeier (Samuel French)

Drama: Act I, Scene 7, pp. 30–34, Dr. Livingstone (30s) and Agnes (21)

Dr. Livingstone, a court-appointed psychiatrist, probes to see precisely how much Agnes understands about the process of childbearing. Agnes avoids answering directly and steers the conversation toward religion. Start, Agnes: “Yes, Doctor?” End, Agnes: “You should be ashamed! They should lock you up. People like you!”

Drama: Act I, Scene 10, pp. 43–48, Dr. Livingstone (30s) and Mother Superior (50s)

Dr. Livingstone is surprised to learn that the Mother Superior is, in fact, Agnes’s aunt. The argument over the young woman’s welfare heats up when Livingstone says that she intends to hypnotize Agnes. The conversation then turns into a debate about Catholicism and the doctor’s personal background as a lapsed Catholic. A good, tense scene. Start, Dr. Livingstone: “What did you find?” End, Doctor: “That’s also why I hate nuns.” With a bit of cutting and pasting, you can extend this scene to the end of Act I. Eliminate Agnes’s offstage singing and the references to it.

Drama: Act II, Scene 2, pp. 59–64, Dr. Livingstone (30s) and Mother Superior (50s)

Under hypnosis, Agnes has remembered the night she gave birth. With her out of the room, Dr. Livingstone and Mother Superior lock horns over the possibility of an immaculate conception. Mother Superior wants to believe in miracles, but the doctor believes that Agnes is the sum of her psychological parts. At the end, the older nun says that she is going back to court to ask that Dr. Livingstone be taken off the case. Start, Mother Superior: “You’ve formed your opinion about her, haven’t you?” End, Mother Superior: “Good-bye, Doctor. Oh, and as for that miracle you wanted, it has happened. It’s a very small one, but you’ll notice it soon enough.”

ALL MY SONS

by Arthur Miller (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act II, pp. 36–38, Ann (26) and Sue (40)

Sue, Ann’s next-door neighbor, is supposedly looking for her husband when she and Ann start talking in the yard. The women’s exchange is very friendly until Sue gets to the reason for the conversation and makes her point: She would appreciate it if, when Ann and Chris get married, they would go live someplace else. Start, Sue: “Is my husband…?” End, Sue: “…and I’m at the end of my rope on it!”

ANASTASIA

by Marcelle Maurette (adapted by Guy Bolton, Samuel French)

Drama: Act II, pp. 59–65, Dowager Empress (79) and Anna (20s)

The Dowager Empress interviews a young woman who claims to be Princess Anastasia, the only surviving daughter of the late Russian tsar Nicholas II. Because a huge fortune is at stake if Anastasia’s identity is verified, the Empress is skeptical of any claims. As the interview progresses, however, Anna shares many private memories with the older woman, and the Empress finally believes her. Start, Dowager Empress: “Yes, I can see why the others have believed, especially my romantic-minded nephew.” End, Dowager Empress: “Good night, Anastasia—and please—if it should not be you—don’t ever tell me.”

AUTUMN GARDEN, THE

by Lillian Hellman (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act III, pp. 85–88, Sophie (17) and Nina (40)

Sophie, who is seventeen years old, wants enough money to pay for a return trip to her childhood home in France and to repay her mother’s debts. Lacking other choices, she opts for blackmail after Nick Denery makes a drunken, fumbling attempt to seduce her. In this scene, she tries to get Nick’s wife, Nina, to pay her $5,000, a tidy sum in 1949. For reasons of her own, Nina is willing to give Sophie the money but wants to call it a “gift,” not “blackmail.” An excellent scene, with plenty of subtext. The actress playing Sophie should affect a slight French accent. Start, Sophie: “You are a pretty woman, Mrs. Denery, when your face is happy.” End, Nina: “How would—how shall we make the arrangements?”

BABY DANCE, THE

by Jane Anderson (Samuel French)

Comedy: Act I, Scene 2, pp. 9–27, Wanda (late 20s) and Rachel (30s)

Rachel and her husband are movie-industry executives who have agreed to purchase the as-yet-unborn baby that Wanda is carrying. This eighteen-page scene, which takes place in Wanda’s Louisiana trailer home, is the first face-to-face meeting between Rachel and the birth mother. Here, Hollywood meets Louisiana, and education meets ignorance. Start, Wanda: “Hello!” End, Rachel: “Sure.” For a shorter, eleven-page version, begin at the same place and end as Wanda gets the peaches. End, Rachel: “You know what? You don’t have to do that. I’ll have the Jello.” You can try another eleven-page option as well. Start, Rachel: “Is everything all right? Did our lawyer send you the check for the air conditioner?” Continue to Al’s entrance.

BABY WITH THE BATHWATER

by Christopher Durang (Dramatists Play Service)

Comedy: Act II, Scene 3, pp. 32–35, Principal (35–50) and Miss Pringle (25–35)

Miss Pringle is concerned about the mental stability of her student Daisy, who is actually a boy, but the audience doesn’t know that in this scene. Miss Pringle rushes into the principal’s office for guidance, but the principal is off on a weird tangent of her own. This is very surreal, black comedy, wonderfully illogical. Actresses should read Christopher Durang’s instructions on pp. 60–61; he comments specifically on how to play this scene. Start, Principal: “You can send Miss Pringle in now, Henry.” End, Principal: “Who cares if she’s dead as long as she publishes? Now, get out of here.”

BAD HABITS

by Terrence McNally (1990 revised edition, Dramatists Play Service)

Comedy: “Ravenswood,” pp. 65–70, Benson (late 20s) and Hedges (late 20s)

The broad comedy in this delicious scene between two nurses at a sanitarium demands bold acting choices. Hedges has a giant inferiority complex, and Benson only appears to be the picture of physical and mental health. Start, Hedges: “I admire you so much.” End, Hedges: “If you say so, Ruth.

BAREFOOT IN THE PARK

by Neil Simon (Samuel French)

Comedy: Act I, pp. 26–30, Corie (early 20s) and Mrs. Banks (her mother, 50s)

During this short scene, Corie’s mom visits her new apartment for the first time. Much is made out of the fact that you have to climb five flights of stairs to get there. Once she catches her breath, they get to the meat of the visit. Mom is being a fussy and busy overseer to her newlywed daughter, bringing housewarming gifts and expressing nonverbal concern about the small and yet unfurnished living quarters. Corie is mainly interested in getting her mom more involved in life, maybe (hopefully) even in a new love. Start, Corie: “Well?” End, Corie: “I’ll be the judge of who’s happy.”

BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE

by John Van Druten (Dramatists Play Service)

Comedy: Act I, Scene 1, pp. 10–14, Gillian (27) and Miss Holroyd (45–55)

Gillian and her aunt, Miss Holroyd, are honest-to-goodness witches who live in New York City. In this scene, Gillian reprimands Miss Holroyd for using her powers to pester the handsome publisher who lives upstairs and makes her promise not to cast spells and the like in the building anymore. Gillian also confesses that she has a longing to be “normal,” to stop being a witch. Start, Miss Holroyd: “So you’ve met him, after all? Do you still think he’s attractive?” End, Gillian: “No. I don’t say I wouldn’t be tempted, but if I’ve got a week—I’d like to see how good I am, the other way.”

BETWEEN DAYLIGHT AND BOONVILLE

by Matt Williams (Samuel French)

Drama: Act II, pp. 71–76, Carla (26) and Marlene (30s)

Marlene gives Carla some advice she doesn’t like, so Carla tells Marlene that her husband, Big Jim, is sleeping with Wanda, the town slut. Marlene, who up to this point has spoken of Big Jim as if he were the perfect man, confesses that she has known about the affair all along and didn’t say anything because she is afraid of losing him. You may want to update the reference to Burt Reynolds’s love life. Start, Marlene: “You think the ghost of Elvis really talked to this woman?” End, Marlene: “Just let me alone.”

CHILDREN’S HOUR, THE

by Lillian Hellman (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act I, pp. 18–21, Martha (28) and Lily Mortar (45)

Martha doesn’t believe that Lily Mortar is qualified to teach at the school, so she tries to get rid of her gently. Martha suggests that Lily take a nice, long ocean cruise. Lily responds angrily, accusing Martha of having unnatural feelings for her niece, Karen, and taking her frustrations out on a blameless aunt. This is a very significant scene because Lily’s petulant accusations are overheard by two young girls, one of whom proceeds to spread a rumor that Martha and Karen are lesbians. Start, Mrs. Mortar: “I was asked to leave the room.” End, Martha: “I want you to leave. And now. I don’t wish any delay about it.”

Drama: Act III, pp. 64–67, Karen (28) and Martha (28)

Martha enters this scene with a sense of relief, believing that she, Karen, and Karen’s fiancé, Joe, will soon escape local scrutiny and gossip by moving to Vienna. Karen breaks Martha’s happy mood by telling her that Joe, like everyone else in this small community, has come to believe they are, in fact, lesbians. Stunned by this final betrayal, Martha becomes gloomy and deeply introspective. She tells Karen that perhaps everyone else is right—perhaps she does love Karen in an unnatural way. When Karen dismisses this as craziness, Martha walks zombie-like into the next room and shoots herself. Start, Martha: “It gets dark so early now. Cooking always makes me feel better.” Stop with Martha’s exit. End, Karen: “Don’t bring me any tea. Thank you. Good night, darling.”

CLOSER

by Patrick Marber (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act II, Scene 9, pp. 88–93, Anna (early 30s) and Alice (24)

This entire drama involves musical beds and rotating relationships. At this point in time, Larry is sleeping with Alice and has just moments ago signed divorce papers with Anna. This is a showdown scene between the two women. It takes place in a museum. Start, Anna: “How did you get so brutal?” End, Alice: “Do the right thing, Anna.”

COMANCHE CAFÉ

by William Hauptman (Samuel French)

Comedy: One-act play, pp. 5–13, Mattie (40s) and Ronnie (20s)

Ronnie has never traveled far from her hometown in southern Oklahoma, but she has big dreams—and a number of misconceptions—about what is out there. Mattie, Ronnie’s older co-worker at the Comanche Café, is relatively worldlier, having been in love once or twice. They peel potatoes and talk about life in this charming and textured scene. Start, Ronnie: “I don’t see why we’ve got to work on Sunday.” End, Ronnie: “And I’m going to see them all. Just let me go anyplace but here—in Oklahoma.”

COME BACK TO THE FIVE AND DIME, JIMMY DEAN, JIMMY DEAN

by Ed Graczyk (Samuel French)

Comedy-Drama: Act I, pp. 25–29, Mona (30s, playing late teens) and Sissy (30s, playing late teens)

Mona has unexpectedly returned home, opting not to go to college after all because of her “asthma.” In this four-page flashback scene, she and Sissy, a girlfriend who is fixated on her large bosom and its effect on boys, talk about Joe, who recently disappeared after being fired from his job at the five-and-dime store. Sissy doesn’t know that Mona is pregnant with Joe’s child. This scene is interesting to work on mainly for its character development and subtext. Start, Sissy: “Me an’ Joe was gonna get Stella Mae to take your place doin’ the McGuire Sisters, but she wouldn’t have been as good as you.” End, Mona: “It’s just ‘deceivin’ to the eye,’ that’s all.”

COUPLA WHITE CHICKS SITTING AROUND TALKING, A

by John Ford Noonan (Samuel French)

Comedy: Act I, Scene 3, pp. 21–28, Maude (30s) and Hannah Mae (30s)

Maude, overcome with guilt, confesses that she made love with Hannah Mae’s husband, Carl Joe, a short time earlier. Surprisingly, Hannah Mae seems to take this news in stride, contending that this just makes their friendship stronger. Maude becomes increasingly exasperated with Hannah Mae’s illogical response. Start, Hannah Mae: “A red rose of apology.” End, Maude: “Get out!”

CRIMES OF THE HEART

by Beth Henley (Dramatists Play Service)

Comedy-Drama: Act I, pp. 29–32, Meg (27) and Babe (24)

Meg talks to her sister Babe, trying to find out what happened on the day she shot her abusive husband, Zachary. Babe tells Meg about the very satisfying affair she has been having with Willy Jay, a black boy. Start, Meg: “What did Zachary do to you?” End, Meg: “…see, ’cause he’s gonna be on your side.”

DARK AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS, THE

by William Inge (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act II, pp. 52–57, Cora (34) and Lottie (38)

Lottie tells her sister, Cora, why Cora and her children can’t come live with her and Morris; she confesses that they, too, have an unhappy home. Morris hasn’t made love to Lottie for three years and has become distant and nervous, occasionally seeking psychotherapy. (Seeking psychological help was a big deal during the 1920s.) In addition, Lottie says that she never enjoyed sex in the first place. Start, Lottie: “My God, Cora, we can’t stay here all night.” End, Lottie: “So, don’t come to me for sympathy, Cora. I’m not the person to give it to you.”

DELICATE BALANCE, A

by Edward Albee (Samuel French)

Drama: Act II, Scene 1, pp. 33–36, Agnes (late 50s) and Julia (36)

This scene is a brief, hostile confrontation between a mother and her adult daughter. Their relationship, which is ordinarily tense, is stretched to the breaking point by the strange presence of Harry and Edna, family friends, who have moved into the daughter’s upstairs bedroom. Start, Julia: “Do you think I like it? Do you?” End, Julia: “You go straight to hell.”

DINNER WITH FRIENDS

by Donald Margulies (Theatre Communications Group)

Comedy-Drama: Act II, Scene 2, pp. 52–59, Beth (40s) and Karen (40s)

Beth has been separated from her husband for five months and has met another man. She is having lunch with her friend Karen to share the good news. Karen, however, is not happy to hear about Beth’s good fortune, and the conversation turns bitter, a reevaluation of their friendship. This is an excellent scene because of the subtext and the way it leads to a moment of rare self-realization and clarity. Karen is something of a perfectionist and control freak and, though she would never say so out loud, it is important to her sense of self-worth that Beth continue to be unhappy and to rely on her for support. Start, Beth: “When you promise your little girl you’re gonna call at eight o’clock and eight o’clock comes and goes…” End, Karen: “We’re good. We’re fine.”

DOLL’S HOUSE, A

by Henrik Ibsen, Adapted by Frank McGuinness (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act I, pp. 11–17, Nora (25–35) and Mrs. Linde (30–35)

When Nora’s old school friend, Mrs. Kristine Linde, shows up unexpectedly on the day before Christmas, she finds Nora in an ecstatic mood because her husband, Torvald Helmer, has recently been appointed manager of Joint Stock Bank, a politically influential position that carries with it the promise of financial security. This good fortune means even more to Nora because, with the prospect of a hefty increase in family income, she’ll be able to pay off a burdensome—and illegal—personal loan that her husband knows nothing about. Mrs. Linde tells Nora that she is a widow now and is close to being destitute. Perhaps Nora could speak to Torvald about a job at his bank? Nora agrees immediately and then confides in Mrs. Linde about her fraudulent loan and how happy she is that it will soon be paid off. Start, Mrs. Linde: “Nora, hello.” End, Nora: “Stay, please. I’m not expecting anybody. It’ll be for Torvald.”

DOUBT—A PARABLE

by John Patrick Shanley (Theatre Communications Group)

Drama: Scene 4, pp. 17–24, Sister James (20s) and Sister Aloysius (50s–60s)

Sister James tells Sister Aloysius that the parish priest has taken an interest in one of the young male students. Under Aloysius’s encouragement, she says that she saw the priest take the boy into the rectory privately and, when the boy returned to the classroom, he smelled of alcohol. That is all the evidence Aloysius needs, even though we later get a completely plausible explanation for the smell of alcohol. As far as Aloysius is concerned, Father Flynn is guilty as suspected. Start, Sister James: “Good afternoon, Sister.” End, Sister Aloysius: “Go then. Take them. I will be talking to you.”

Drama: Scene VIII, pp. 42–50, Sister Aloysius (50s–60s) and Mrs. Muller (30s, African-American)

Sister Aloysius has summoned the mother of a boy she believes has been sexually molested by the parish priest. The mother’s reaction is surprising, mainly because the boy’s home life is so bad. His father beats him, and the only encouraging male companionship the boy is getting is from the priest. The mother says that, even if the priest made an advance, the boy is better off staying in school until graduation—and that she is grateful for the attention the priest has shown her son. Start, Sister Aloysius: “Mrs. Muller?” End with Mrs. Muller’s exit. “…I’ll be standing with my son and those who are good with my son. It’d be nice to see you there. Nice talking with you, Sister. Good morning.”

EFFECT OF GAMMA RAYS ON MAN-IN-THE-MOON MARIGOLDS

by Paul Zindel (Bantam)

Drama: Act I, Beatrice (30s) and Ruth (16)

Beatrice calms her daughter, Ruth, after another violent nightmare, evidently brought on by memories of an elderly boarder who once roomed with them. This is a very interesting, complex scene because Beatrice and Ruth relate not only as mother and daughter, but also as two emotionally troubled souls. Start, Beatrice: “There, now, nobody’s after you. Nice and easy. Breathe deeply.…Did the big bad man come after my little girl?” End, Beatrice: “What’s left for me?”

EVERYTHING IN THE GARDEN

by Edward Albee (adapted from the play by Giles Cooper, Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act I, Scene 1, pp. 20–24, Jenny (late 30s) and Mrs. Toothe (50)

Mrs. Toothe, a mysterious English lady, knocks on the door of Jenny’s home, which is located in a fashionable neighborhood. Within minutes, Mrs. Toothe solicits Jenny for a prostitution ring. Jenny is outraged at the proposition, threatens to call the police, and kicks Mrs. Toothe out. After the lady is gone, however, the audience sees that Jenny may very well accept the offer because she and her husband could certainly use the money. Begin after Jack, the flirtatious neighbor, exits. Start, Jenny: “You mustn’t believe a thing Jack says, Mrs.…” End, Mrs. Toothe: “What a lovely garden. Do you have a greenhouse?”

FALLEN ANGELS

by Noel Coward (Samuel French)

Comedy: Act II, pp. 36–43, Julia (late 20s) and Jane (late 20s)

Jane and Julia are preparing to entertain their mutual former lover, Maurice, who is a handsome Frenchman. To calm their anxiety, the women drink martinis—and then champagne. As the liquor takes effect, their friendship gives way to competitiveness and, finally, to an all-out argument. Jane storms out. Actresses will need someone offstage to ring a telephone several times on cue. Also, Saunders, the maid, moves in and out of the scene, but it is easy to work around her if necessary. Start, Jane: “Julia, what a pretty girl Saunders is.” Continue to the end of Act II. End, Jane: “It’s true. And I shall go away with him at once, and you and Fred and Willy can go to hell, the whole lot of you!”

FATHER’S DAY

by Oliver Hailey (Dramatists Play Service)

Comedy-Drama: Act I, pp. 25–29, Louise (30–35) and Marian (30–35)

Estelle has just gone inside to prepare lunch, leaving Louise and Marian alone for a moment on the patio. Suddenly, Louise turns uncustomarily serious about her divorce and discloses that her seven-year-old son has chosen to go live with his father in the Midwest. Start, Louise: “I don’t like her gazpacho either.” End, Marian: “…no child should be permitted to.”

FOX, THE

by Allan Miller (based on D. H. Lawrence’s short novel, Samuel French)

Drama: Act II, Scene 2, pp. 42–46, Jill (29) and Nellie (29)

Jill and Nellie invited a young soldier who was passing by to stay with them a few days on their farm, which is in much need of a man’s strong back. Within days, it becomes clear to Jill that the soldier isn’t so innocent; in fact, he is trying to take over the place and to have his way with Nellie. In this scene, Jill tells Nellie that she wants the soldier to leave, but Nellie defends him. Written in the British vernacular. Start, Jill: “Well I can’t wait any more.” End, Nellie: “Leaving you would be like leaving half my life, how could I do that? Go on up, Jill. Go on.”

GETTING OUT

by Marsha Norman (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act II, pp. 46–51, Arlene (early 20s) and Ruby (40s)

Arlene has been out of jail for only a couple of days and is trying to find her way. In this scene, she meets her upstairs neighbor, Ruby, a tough woman who also happens to be an ex-convict. They establish an immediate bond, and Arlene is impressed by the fact that Ruby has made a successful transition to life outside prison, and is now working as a waitress. Both roles are appropriate for advanced actresses. Start, Ruby: “Candy, I gotta have my five dollars back.” End, Ruby: “Mine’s the one with the little picture of Johnny Cash on the door.”

GINGERBREAD LADY, THE

by Neil Simon (Samuel French)

Comedy-Drama: Act I, pp. 23–29, Evy (43) and Polly (17)

Polly welcomes her mother, Evy, home from ten weeks of drying out in a sanitarium by announcing that she is moving in with her. Start, Polly: “I don’t want to get your hopes up, but I have reason to believe I’m your daughter.” End, Polly: “Some people have it all.”

Comedy-Drama: Act III, pp. 64–69, Evy (43) and Toby (40)

Evy returns home with a black eye after a drunken night with her old abusive lover, Lou. Her friend Toby is waiting for her. Start, Toby: “Well, good morning.” Stop just before Polly’s entrance. End, Toby: “I have to stop off first and blow up my beauty parlor.”

GIRL ON THE VIA FLAMINIA, THE

by Alfred Hayes (Samuel French)

Drama: Act I, pp. 15–18, Lisa (early 20s) and Nina (early 20s)

Facing dire economic circumstances in war-ravaged 1944 Rome, Lisa has agreed to take the same route that many other Italian women have taken. She agrees to be “kept” by an American soldier, one of the country’s liberators. In this three-page scene, Lisa has just arrived at the house where she’ll be living with the man, but she is desperately unhappy with the prospect facing her. Nina, who arranged the deal for Lisa, is pragmatic, contending that a sexual trade is the best option available. Nina tries to prepare Lisa for the imminent arrival of her “husband,” but Lisa feels like a prostitute. Both women are Italian, so slight Italian accents are appropriate. Start, Nina: “I’m exhausted. Such a day. Such excitement.” End, Nina: “Would you like to bet?”

HEDDA GABLER

by Henrik Ibsen, Adapted by Jon Robin Baitz (Grove Press)

Drama: Act I, pp. 19–25, Hedda (25–35) and Mrs. Elvsted (25–35)

Mrs. Elvsted drops by Hedda’s house unexpectedly to ask for a favor. Hedda remembers Mrs. Elvsted very well from their old school days and was, in fact, something of a competitor in the social department. Now Mrs Elvsted is asking that Hedda and her husband “look after” Eilert Lovborg, who also happens to be in town. Hedda does not tell Mrs. Elvsted that Eilert is an old flame but is overcome with feelings of jealousy when Mrs. Elvsted reveals that she has left her husband to follow Eilert. The wonderful thing about this scene for actresses is that everything is left unsaid. Both women are careful about how much intimacy they reveal. Start after Tesman leaves the room. Hedda: “Now then. Here we are…” End, Mrs. Elvsted: “Yes! My God! Of course!”

HOOTERS

by Ted Tally (Dramatists Play Service)

Comedy: Act I, Scene 2, pp. 13–17, Ronda (22) and Cheryl (25)

Cheryl, facing some serious life decisions, has brought Ronda to Cape Cod for a weekend of sun and quiet girl talk. As they check into their motel room, however, they meet a couple of wild-and-crazy nineteen-year-old post-adolescents. In this scene, the women are watching the guys, who are peering at them through binoculars. You’ll need a bed for this scene. Start, Ronda: “I think they’re in that last room on the other wing. There’s a light on.” End, Cheryl: “Good night, Ron.”

Comedy: Act I, Scene 5, pp. 31–35, Ronda (22) and Cheryl (25)

To Ronda’s dismay, Cheryl has played along with Clint and Ricky, a couple of teenage guys who are obviously interested in little more than getting laid. Cheryl has accepted a dinner date with them, and the women are getting dressed in their motel room. Ronda tells Cheryl she should start acting her age. Start, Ronda: “Where’s my bracelet?” End, Ronda: “Right.”

IMMIGRANT, THE

by Mark Harelik (Broadway Play Publishing)

Comedy-Drama: Act II, Scene 1, Ima (30s) and Leah (20s)

Leah, who is nine months pregnant, is still worried that she is living too far from her Russian-Jewish roots and that the future is too uncertain. In this amusing scene, she and Ima prepare vegetables for a stew and share their respective superstitions. Superstitions are the same the world over, it seems. At the end of the scene, Leah sings a verse of a Russian song in Yiddish as the women dance around the kitchen. She then goes into labor. Start, Ima: “Oh! Leah! You scared me! What is it? Are you feeling all right?” End, Ima: “Well, honey, it’s about time.”

IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, THE

by Oscar Wilde (Samuel French)

Comedy: Act II, pp. 58–64, Gwendolen Fairfax (20) and Cecily Cardew (18)

Gwendolen Fairfax has traveled to Mr. Worthing’s country home where she unexpectedly meets his pretty young ward, Cecily Cardew. Both women mistakenly believe that they’re engaged to marry the same man, whose name is Earnest. Gwendolen and Cecily’s proverbial claws come out when they share a very proper tea in this very famous scene. (Virtually every young actress will work on this scene at one time or another.) For scene-study purposes, cut Merriman’s entrance, lines, and actions. Eliminate the need for a butler by having Cecily serve the tea. Although this may not reflect the propriety of the day, it increases the comic tension between the women. Start, Cecily: “Pray let me introduce myself to you.” End, Cecily: “It seems to me, Miss Fairfax, that I am trespassing on your valuable time.”

INDEPENDENCE

by Lee Blessing (Dramatists Play Service)

Comedy-Drama: Act I, Scene 1, pp. 14–18, Evelyn (53) and Kess (33)

When Kess, Evelyn’s oldest daughter, goes home for the first time in four years, they feel each other out. Evelyn wants to know if Tess is “still homosexual,” and Tess tries to determine if Evelyn has recovered from her nervous breakdown. Start, Evelyn: “Have a seat.” End, Evelyn: “But it’s not true! I am perfectly capable of functioning in a warm and loving universe. Which I try constantly to create!”

Drama: Act I, Scene 3, pp. 26–32, Evelyn (53) and Jo (25)

Evelyn tells Jo, her out-of-wedlock pregnant daughter, that she intends to give Tess a much-fought-over family heirloom. Then Evelyn really puts the pressure on Jo to live at home after her baby is born. Start, Evelyn: “That takes care of that.” End, Evelyn: “It will be a lovely gesture. From the both of us.”

IN THE BOOM BOOM ROOM

by David Rabe (Samuel French)

Drama: Act II, pp. 66–73, Chrissy (early 20s) and Susan (25–35)

Susan, who is a lesbian as well as a hardened survivor of strip-club joints, wants to make love to Chrissy, who is unsophisticated, and tells her so. Chrissy does her best to decline gracefully. Start, Chrissy: “You never been interested in astrology, huh?” End, Susan: “No.”

Drama: Act II, pp. 78–82, Chrissy (early 20s) and Helen (mid 40s)

Chrissy accuses her mother of not wanting her to be born; she thinks that Helen wishes she’d had an abortion. This very emotional scene ends with Chrissy sobbing on the floor. Omit Harold’s line at the beginning of the scene. Start, Helen: “You been over here talkin’ to your father.” End, Chrissy: “I gotta stop. I gotta. I’m gonna stop.”

ISN’T IT ROMANTIC?

by Wendy Wasserstein (Dramatists Play Service)

Comedy: Act II, Scene 1, pp. 34–37, Lillian (50s) and Tasha Blumberg (50s)

Tasha is the original Jewish mother, and Lillian is her very Waspy counterpart. They meet through the friendship of their daughters. Lillian and Tasha talk about the travails of motherhood and then agree to have lunch together. In this gently humorous scene, two cultures look at each other, finding common ground. Start, Lillian: “Mrs. Blumberg?” End, Tasha: “That’s why we put out such nice products.”

Comedy: Act II, Scene 3, pp. 43–47, Harriet (28) and Lillian (50s)

Mother and daughter have lunch at the posh Four Seasons restaurant in New York City. Harriet asks Lillian for motherly advice on career and family issues, but her successful business-executive mother’s answers are unsatisfactory. Start, Lillian: “Everything all right with you?” End, Lillian: “Lovely lunch, Tom. Thank you.”

Comedy: Act II, Scene 5, pp. 52–55, Janie (28) and Harriet (28)

Harriet has just surprised everyone by announcing that she is marrying a man she has known for only two weeks. When these two friends are alone, Janie lets Harriet know that she is frustrated with and feels betrayed by this simplistic solution to the career/family puzzle. Janie feels particularly vulnerable because she has just broken up with Paul, the doctor everyone thought was Mr. Right. Start, Janie: “She’s in a good mood.” End, Janie: “Do you really think anyone ever met someone throwing out the garbage?”

JAR THE FLOOR

by Cheryl West (Dramatists Play Service)

Comedy-Drama: Act II, Madear (90) and Raisa (28)

Raisa is an unusual visitor in this African-American household. In this funny and touching scene, she makes the acquaintance of Viola Dawkins, better known as Madear, whose ninetieth birthday is today. Madear is senile but uncommonly wise and a real character. Raisa shows the oldster her mastectomy scar, and Madear shows the younger woman her childbirth stretch marks. They have more in common: the internal scars shared by all women. Start, Raisa: “Where’s everybody?” End, Raisa: “You got me on the ropes. And she’s down…1–2–3…Wait a minute…Wait a minute…Slowly but surely, she’s getting up…up…she’s up. And the senior Dawkins kicker strikes again…Down for the count.…”

Drama Act II, Scene 4, Vinnie (27) and Maydee (47)

Maydee has sacrificed a great deal to see her daughter, Vinnie, graduate from college, but it isn’t going to happen. In this emotional scene, mother and daughter finally have it out over Vinnie’s aspirations to be a singer. Start, Vinnie: “So. I thought you said all you had to say earlier.” End, Maydee: “Well good. Maybe her liking will transport the both of you wherever you plan to go.”

JOINED AT THE HEAD

by Catherine Butterfield (Dramatists Play Service) (Women Playwrights: The Best Plays of 1992, Smith & Kraus)

Comedy-Drama: Act I, Dramatists Play Service pp. 26–31, Maggy (30s) and Maggie (30s)

Jim has taken his wife, Maggy, and his former high-school lover, Maggie, to dinner in a nice restaurant. By now, Maggie knows that Maggy has cancer, and she is determined to write, in book form, the story of her courageous struggle against the disease. As Maggy and Jim share a romantic moment, Maggie gets up from the table and addresses the audience, sharing her reactions to what has happened. Then, a shock: Maggy gets up and also begins to address the audience! Since all of this is happening in Maggie’s imagination, Maggy’s intrusion is discombobulating. In addition, Maggy is annoyed that Maggie’s version of her story is too maudlin. Embarrassed because the enterprise is getting out of her artistic control, Maggie tries to get Maggy to go back and sit down. They wind up debating the merits of the story, with the theater audience judging who is right. This is a good scene to work on because of the way it breaks down and reestablishes the “fourth wall.” The scene works best when an actor sits silently as Jim, but you can do it without him. Start, Maggie: “We looked at our menus. I don’t know why, but I was feeling very happy.” End, Maggie: “We finished dinner, and Jim went to get the car.”

Drama: Act II, Dramatists Play Service pp. 60–65, Maggy (30s) and Maggie (30s)

Maggy is in the hospital for chemotherapy, and everyone—including her—knows that she is going to die soon. Maggie visits her. As always, Maggy has a great sense of humor. Start, Maggie: “Maggy?” End, Maggy: “My friend, you absolutely will. ’Bye.”

KATHY AND MO SHOW, THE: PARALLEL LIVES

by Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy (Dramatists Play Service)

Comedy: Kathy (22–35) and Mo (22–35)

The challenge in performing the fourteen comedy sketches that comprise this wonderful play is the need to make quick shifts into radically differing characterizations. In various scenes, the two actresses are called upon to play males, young girls at church, or a couple of angels. None of these scenes is heavyweight, just fun sketch comedy. Five sketches are particularly humorous. In “Period Piece,” a menstruating migrant farm worker talks about Lilac Spring Tampons (pp. 25–27). Then two modern women talk about the monthly “curse,” theorizing what life would be like if men menstruated. Then they become the men. All this takes place in two pages. “God” features Teri and Tina, who are five and six years old, respectively (pp. 71–80). The two little girls are in church trying to figure out God, religion, etc.

Some of the sketches focus on the nature of romance. In “Kris and Jeff,” a jock takes his girlfriend to a gay hangout for an after-movie snack (pp. 17–22). You may also want to work on “Futon Talk” (pp. 91–94). Here, Jeanine and Bill lie in bed and kick around their relationship. Bill wants to know if sex with him is better than with Jack “Jackhammer,” and Jeanine wants to know if she is keeping Bill from moving to Oregon. Another hilarious scene is “Hank and Karen Sue” (pp. 97–103). In a country-and-western bar, Hank puts his regular moves on Karen Sue, assuring her about fifteen times that she is “very very pretty tonight, darlin’.” But he is all hot air, and finally Karen Sue goes home to her children. Play each of the sketches in its entirety.

KEELY AND DU

by Jane Martin (Samuel French)

Drama: One-act play, Scene 15, pp. 44–54, Du (65) and Keely (early 30s)

Keely has been held captive for several months by a radical Christian anti-abortion group that is intent on preventing her from terminating her pregnancy, which resulted from a rape (her husband). She has formed a bond with Du, the woman assigned to be her companion and nurse. Just moments ago, Du’s boss, a pastor named Walter, visited Keely for more anti-abortion indoctrination. She spit in his face, an act that she and Du simultaneously found very funny. They broke into uncontrolled laughter, and Walter made as dignified an exit as possible.

In this twenty-minute scene, the women get to know one another on a deeper level. The scene is interesting not for the overt conflict, but for the way Keely and Du edge toward each other despite their prisoner/guard roles, finding things in common. Begin after Walter exits. Start, Du: “Oh, my.” End, Du (singing): “K-K-K-Katy…beautiful lady…you’re the only g-g-girl that I adore.…

LAST SUMMER AT BLUEFISH COVE

by Jane Chambers (JH Press)

Comedy-Drama: Act I, Eva (early 30s) and Lil (early 30s)

Lil has just told Eva that because of an error made by the rental agent, she is the only straight woman living in Bluefish Cove, which is a lesbian enclave. Eva considers leaving but, frankly, she is enjoying Lil’s company. Furthermore, she has no place else to go since her marriage broke up. Start, Lil: “…and to the left, that’s the yacht basin. July 4th, they’ll race.” End, Lil: “Eva, I am your friend, everything’s going to be just fine, you’ll see. Now, go on. It’s freezing out here. Good night.”

Comedy-Drama: Act I, Eva (early 30s) and Lil (early 30s)

In this sweet, quiet scene, Eva awkwardly acknowledges being romantically attracted to Lil, who is bemused by the whole situation. Start, Lil: “Who is it?” End, Lil: “This is the first time I’ve ever taken her advice. Goodnight. Goodnight, Eva.”

Comedy-Drama: Act II, Eva (early 30s) and Lil (early 30s)

Eva and Lil have spent the last glorious month together and are planning to share an apartment when they return to New York City. However, Lil still hasn’t told Eva that she has inoperable cancer. As a result, Eva doesn’t understand Lil’s reticence. Start, Eva: “How big is your dining room?” End, Lil: “All right, you asked for it.”

LATER

by Corinne Jacker (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act I, Scene 1, pp. 5–13, Molly (55–65) and Kate (37–40)

Kate suggests that her mother, Molly, sell the summer place now that her father is dead. She thinks that it is too full of memories. Molly, however, has no intention of listening to her daughter’s advice. Start, Kate: “I don’t know what I meant.” End, Molly: “We saw the sailboats. They were beautiful. Now. Let’s go home.”

Drama: Act I, Scene 1, pp. 20–24, Kate (37–40) and Laurie (35)

Sisters Kate and Laurie talk about their sibling rivalry, bicker, laugh, and try to figure out what to do about their mother now that their father is dead. Start, Laurie: “Have you ever had an abortion?” End, Laurie: “Well, you’re gonna tell her it’s gone, not me.”

LIE OF THE MIND, A

by Sam Shepard (Dramatists Play Service)

Comedy-Drama: Act III, Scene 1, pp. 64–72, Lorraine (50s) and Sally (early-to-mid-20s)

In this eight-page scene, Sally comforts her distressed mother. Lorraine has taken to bed because Sally’s brother, Jake, has apparently gone to Montana. He wants to see his wife after beating her up pretty badly recently. Lorraine and Sally talk about the bizarre events surrounding Sally’s father’s death in Mexico years ago. You’ll probably want to use a bed here. Start, Sally: “Rise and shine! It’s coffee time!” End, Lorraine: “Pure blue. Pure, pure blue. Wouldn’t that be nice?”

LIFE AND LIMB

by Keith Reddin (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act I, Scene 7, pp. 24–26, Effie (20s) and Doina (20s)

Effie tells Doina, her best friend, that she is having an affair but she doesn’t love the man. Doina is all for it. You’ll need a Christmas tree; a miniature one will do. Also, Doina has a pretty strong New Jersey accent. Start, Doina: “So a very merry Christmas.” End, Doina: “You bet.”

LOST IN YONKERS

by Neil Simon (Samuel French)

Comedy-Drama: Act II, Scene 3, pp. 88–93, Bella (35) and Grandma (mid-70s)

Bella returns home after a two-day absence and has it out once and for all with her mother, who is known in the play as Grandma. Bella tells Grandma how horrible it was to be raised in a home where no one expressed their love. She then stuns the older woman by admitting that she has slept with a great many boys and men in her life, all because she craves love. This is a beauty of a scene for the right actresses. Grandma has a heavy German accent, and Bella has an unnamed learning disability, making her childlike in some respects. Start, Bella: “Hello, Momma…Would you like some tea?” End, Bella: “I think we’ve both said enough for today…don’t you?”

LUDLOW FAIR

by Lanford Wilson (Balm in Gilead and Other Plays by Lanford Wilson, Hill & Wang/Noonday)

Comedy-Drama: Rachel (20s) and Agnes (20s)

Rachel is worried that she might have done the wrong thing by turning her boyfriend in to the authorities for stealing money from her and Agnes. Agnes thinks that Rachel is overreacting and that the guy had it coming. But all Agnes really wants to do is get over her cold so she can face the awful lunch she is supposed to have with her boss’s son tomorrow. Start, Agnes: “Are you going to take a bath or what?” End, Agnes: “Me? I’m always nursing someone else’s broken heart. Just once I’d like a broken heart of my own.”

Comedy-Drama: Rachael (20s) and Agnes (20s)

This scene starts precisely where the preceding one left off and continues to the end of the play—if the actress playing Agnes wants to tackle a two-page monologue. Start, Rachel: “You’re great.” End, Agnes: “I snore actually. Why don’t you go to bed?” For a shorter version, end, Agnes: “No lie, I can’t wait till summer to see what kind of sunglasses he’s going to pop into the office with. Probably those World’s Fair charmers. A double unisphere. Are you going to sleep?…Well, crap.”

MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, THE

by Paddy Chayefsky (Samuel French)

Drama: Act II, Scene 1, pp. 32–35, Betty/The Girl (23) and Marilyn/The Girl Friend (early 20s)

Betty’s friend Marilyn tries to talk her out of the relationship she has started with a man who is twice her age. Start, The Girl: “Would you close the door please, Marilyn?” End, The Girl Friend: “Yes I do.”

MRS. WARREN’S PROFESSION

by George Bernard Shaw (Signet Classic)

Drama: Act IV, Mrs. Warren (40–50) and Vivie (20)

Vivie banishes her mother from her life forever after discovering that she continues to operate a chain of brothels on the Continent. Mrs. Warren then challenges the value of Vivie’s university education if it has brought her to a place where she can disown her mother, who has worked very hard all of her life to improve her circumstances. Start, Mrs. Warren: “Well, Vivie, what did you go away like that for without saying a word to me? How could you do such a thing?” End, Vivie: “Good-bye…and Good-bye, Frank.”

’NIGHT, MOTHER

by Marsha Norman (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: One-act play, Jessie (late 30s) and Mama (late 50s to early 60s)

In this two-character, one-act, real-time drama, the tension builds steadily until, in the final moments, the daughter commits suicide. The scenes become increasingly difficult to play as the action progresses. Attempting scenes that begin after the play’s midpoint is the acting equivalent of trying to jump onto a rapidly moving train. Two early scenes capture the situation, the mother/daughter relationship, establish conflict, and are accessible.

The first option begins at the top of the play and continues through the references to Jesus committing suicide (pp. 9–17). This section includes the first suggestion that Jessie intends to kill herself, as well as Mama’s reaction to the comment. Start, Mama: “Jessie, it’s the last snowfall, sugar. Put it on the list.” End, Mama: “You’ll go to hell just for saying that, Jessie!” Jessie: “I didn’t know I thought that.” The second scene starts a couple of pages after the first excerpt ends (pp. 18–23). The stakes are getting higher, and Mama begins to realize that Jessie is quite serious. Start, Mama: “What’s this all about, Jessie?” End, Mama: “We’ve got a good life here!”

NIGHT OF THE IGUANA, THE

by Tennessee Williams (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act I, Scene 2, pp. 24–27, Maxine Jelkes (40s) and Hannah (39)

Hannah and her ninety-seven-year-old grandfather are flat broke, but they still have their pride. As she helps Maxine set the tables for dinner on the verandah, Hannah attempts to barter with her for food and lodging. Maxine, however, wants cash up front. This is a quiet, short, tense scene. Each woman is desperate in her own way. The surface conflict is minimal and is only a mask. Begin at the top of Act II. Start, Maxine: “Miss Jelkes?” End, Maxine: “I do. It gives me the shivers.”

NORMAN CONQUESTS, THE—TABLE MANNERS

by Alan Ayckbourn (Samuel French)

Comedy: Act I, Scene 1, pp. 1–7, Sarah (30s) and Annie (30s)

Sarah arrives at the country house to relieve Annie of her mother-nursing duties so that she can take a romantic holiday, presumably with her longtime friend, Tom. However, Annie admits that she is planning to travel with her romantic, charming, very-much-married brother-in-law, Norman. This rich, comic scene has plenty of texture. Written in the British vernacular. Start, Sarah: “Hallo! We’re here.” End, Sarah: “What you need is a rest.”

ODD COUPLE, THE (FEMALE VERSION)

by Neil Simon (Samuel French)

Comedy: Act II, Scene 1, pp. 47–53, Florence (35–45) and Olive (35–45)

Olive’s hormones are raging, so she arranges a double date for herself and Florence with the Spanish men who live upstairs. But Florence, who has been separated from Sidney for only three weeks, isn’t in the mood. Start, Florence: “That’s something, isn’t it, Olive? They think we’re lucky.” End, Florence: “You didn’t tell me his name was Jesus.…I’ll make something simpler. Fish and loaves or something.”

Comedy: Act II, Scene 2, pp. 54–57, Florence (35–45) and Olive (35–45)

For tonight’s double date with the Spanish guys, Florence has prepared a gourmet meal. No one shows up on time, however, throwing Florence into a compulsive snit. Start, Olive: “Oh God, it’s gorgeous…it looks like a Noel Coward play.” End, Florence: “I am through.”

Comedy: Act II, Scene 3, pp. 73–79, Florence (35–45) and Olive (35–45)

Olive is fed up with Florence after eight months of her compulsive cleanliness and neurotic worrying. The fight in this scene occurs because Florence ruined last night’s double date with their upstairs neighbors. This is the most difficult scene in the play because the conflict is more oblique here. Start, Florence: “Alright, how much longer is this going to go on?” End, Olive: “Okay…I tried.”

ON GOLDEN POND

by Ernest Thompson (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act II, Scene 1, pp. 56–60, Ethel (69) and Chelsea (42)

Chelsea surprises her mother by announcing that she married Bill during her European vacation. In this scene, Ethel and Chelsea also try, unsuccessfully, to discuss the always-strained relationship between Chelsea and her father, Norman. Start, Chelsea: “How.” End, Ethel: “Well he’s afraid of you. You should get along fine.”

OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY

by Jerry Sterner (Samuel French)

Drama: Act I, pp. 44–46, Kate (35) and Bea (early 60s)

Bea convinces Kate, her daughter, who is a bright and successful investment banker, to work on behalf of her company in its fight against an attempted corporate takeover. Start, Bea: “How dare you talk to him that way?” End, Kate: “Mom, don’t push it.”

PIZZA MAN

by Darlene Craviotto (Samuel French)

Comedy: Act I, pp. 31–43, Julie (late 20s) and Alice (mid-20s)

Acting on impulse and unfocused anger at men in general, Julie and Alice agree to pick a man, any man, and rape him. In this somewhat lengthy act, the women make this decision and begin their search. You’ll need some dishes to break during this scene (some actors use empty soda pop cans), as well as a telephone. Start, Julie: “We shouldn’t have to go through any of this. Me getting drunk. You getting fat.” End, Julie: “That was not the point of the phone call.”

PROOF

by David Auburn (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act I, Scene 4, pp. 35–40, Claire (29) and Catherine (25)

It is the morning after a big party. Catherine is in a good mood because she slept with Hal for the first time, who is at this moment upstairs fetching some papers from a desk. Catherine’s sister, Claire, is hungover but has something on her mind as she enters the scene. She tells Catherine that she is selling the family house and strongly urges her to come to New York and live. Catherine wants no part of it and is furious. Start, Catherine: “Good morning.” Claire: “Don’t yell please. Calm down.”

SCENES FROM AMERICAN LIFE

by A. R. Gurney, Jr. (Samuel French)

Comedy-Drama: Act II, pp. 44–48, Mother (40ish) and Daughter (17)

Here, a mother takes her daughter to a fancy New York City restaurant to feel the young woman out as to whether she wants to have an expensive coming-out party when she graduates from high school—or go to college. The father won’t pay for both. The daughter prefers college, much to her mother’s utter disappointment. The playwright envisions actresses playing broad age ranges in this play so, for example, actresses in their twenties could play both of these roles. As written, a waiter moves in and out of the scene but has only one line. If you can’t arrange for an actor to play that part, simply eliminate him. Start, Daughter: “Oh, Mummy! Thank you, thank you, thank you for the tennis dress, and the bathing suit, and the Bermuda shorts. They’re just yummy, Mummy.” End, Mother: “Now eat up, or we’ll be late for Kiss Me, Kate

SPOILS OF WAR

by Michael Weller (Samuel French)

Drama: Act II, pp. 47–53, Emma (late 30s) and Elise (mid-30s)

Elise and Emma are best friends and dedicated “leftists,” politically committed since they lived together in a commune in the 1930s. In the mid-1950s, Emma and Elise are still raising their voices in a world that won’t listen. Tonight, Elise is going to a party where she’ll see her estranged husband. This meeting has been engineered by her sixteen-year-old son. Emma is upset that Elise is trying to take her new flame, Lew, away from her. A very good scene. Eliminate Lew’s lines. Start, Emma: “My God, Elise, you look gorgeous! Why? I mean, what are you doing here?” End, Emma: “Next week? Same time? Same place?”

STEEL MAGNOLIAS

by Robert Harling (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act I, Scene 2, pp. 32–35, Shelby (25) and M’Lynn (50)

Shelby happily tells her mother that she is pregnant. But M’Lynn knows that the doctors have advised Shelby not to become pregnant because she has diabetes, and reacts to the news with anger rather than delight. Start, M’Lynn: “Shelby!” End, Shelby: “Please don’t tell anybody yet. I want to tell daddy first.”

STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, A

by Tennessee Williams (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act I, Scene 1, pp. 9–16, Blanche (early 30s) and Stella (late 20s)

Blanche unexpectedly arrives at Stella’s New Orleans apartment. This is basically an expository scene, a setup for what is to come. The audience is made aware of the sisters’ differences, but the scene doesn’t contain a lot of overt conflict. Blanche is in conflict with her situation. Start, Stella: “Blanche! Blanche!” End, Blanche: “Oh, Stella, Stella, you’re crying!”

Drama: Act I, Scene 4, pp. 43–51, Blanche (early 30s) and Stella (late 20s)

Last night, Stella and Stanley had a knock-down, drag-out fight, then reconciled and made passionate love. Blanche anxiously watched all of this, and now in this excellent scene tries to convince Stella to leave her husband. Stella won’t hear of it. Begin at the top of Act I, Scene 4. Start, Blanche: “Stella?” End, Blanche: “Don’t hang back with the brutes!”

SUMMER AND SMOKE

by Tennessee Williams (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Part II, Scene 4, pp. 66–69, Alma (25–29) and Nellie (18–22)

Nellie, Alma’s longtime music student, gives her a Christmas gift and a card signed by Nellie and John, Alma’s lifelong love. This is the first time that Alma realizes that John has become serious about someone else. It is important that Alma appear to be at least eight years older than Nellie. One of the points of the scene is that time has passed, and Nellie has grown up. Start, Nellie: “Here you are!” End, Nellie: “Goodbye, Miss Alma.”

TASTE OF HONEY, A

by Shelagh Delaney (Grove Press)

Drama: Act I, Scene 2, Jo (17) and Helen (40)

Jo’s bar-hopping, sluttish mother is moving out of their flat to marry a young boyfriend. As Helen packs, she discovers that Jo has been given an engagement ring. After the mother and daughter argue about Jo’s readiness for marriage, the conversation then turns on the identity of Jo’s natural father. Helen says that he was a half-wit she picked up in a bar, a man with “strange eyes.” This six-page scene is excellent. Written in the British vernacular. Start, Helen: “Jo! Jo! Come on. Be sharp now.” End, Jo: “Good luck, Helen.”

TOP GIRLS

by Caryl Churchill (Samuel French)

Comedy-Drama: Act II, Scene 2, pp. 88–98, Marlene (30s) and Joyce (30s)

In the final scene, which clarifies everything that has taken place so far, the audience learns that Marlene gave up her daughter sixteen years ago to pursue success in the competitive business world. Marlene’s sister, Joyce, has reared the rather slow-witted child. This is the sisters’ first visit in six years. During this time, Marlene has acquired all the worst traits of successful businesspeople and is a philosophical conservative, while Joyce is still a country person at heart. The sisters argue about class differences, business philosophy, and family loyalty. Written in the British vernacular. Start, Joyce: “So what’s the secret?” End, Joyce: “No, pet. Sorry.”

TOYS IN THE ATTIC

by Lillian Hellman (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act II, pp. 39–45, Lily (21) and Albertine (45)

Lily, who is frail, needy, and uncertain, is worried that she is losing her husband, Julian, to another woman. Here, she asks her mother, Albertine, if the real reason Julian married her in the first place was because he was paid to. Start, Albertine: “How are you, Lily? I haven’t seen you in a whole year.” End, Albertine: “Then be very careful. Same thing as loving it.”

TWO ROOMS

by Lee Blessing (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act I, Scene 3, pp. 21–24, Lainie (30s) and Ellen (40s)

Ellen, a government official, tells Lainie that Walker Harris intends to publish an unauthorized article on the kidnapping of her husband in Beirut and her subsequent vigil. Ellen implores Lainie to publicly disavow the article so that it won’t impede the efforts of the U.S. State Department to free the hostages. Start, Ellen: “I got a call today.” End, Lainie: “Mine was. Now offer me hope.”

VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE, A

by Arthur Miller (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act I, pp. 31–33, Beatrice (40) and Catherine (17)

Beatrice has seen the depth of her husband’s anguish over the romance developing between Catherine and Rodolpho and is starting to become a bit jealous of the younger woman. In this scene, Beatrice advises Catherine that if she wants Eddie to stop treating her like a child, she must stop acting like one. For example, Catherine should stop sitting on the edge of the tub to talk to Eddie while he is shaving in his underwear, and should stop letting him see her in her slip. Start, Beatrice: “Listen, Catherine. What are you going to do with yourself?” End, Catherine: “Okay.”

WAITING FOR THE PARADE

by John Murrell (Talonbooks, Canada)

Drama: Scene 9, Janet (late 30s) and Marta (30s)

Janet, the self-appointed and sanctimonious monitor of local patriotism, pays Marta an unannounced visit at her father’s small tailoring shop. Janet is upset because Marta plays recordings of German love songs too loudly in the store. In addition, Marta’s father is currently being imprisoned as a suspected Nazi sympathizer. When Janet strongly suggests that Marta herself is a Nazi, Marta almost bodily tosses her out of the shop. Marta has a slight German accent. Start, Janet: “Good afternoon. I rang the bell on the counter, but nobody came.” End, Marta: “Get out of my shop.”

WHAT I DID LAST SUMMER

by A. R. Gurney, Jr. (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act II, pp. 45–51, Anna (60s) and Grace (30)

Grace is worried about the growing influence that Anna “the Pig Woman” has over her fourteen-year-old son, Charlie. In this showdown, Grace demands that Charlie be made to return home. Anna responds with good humor and a firm commitment to let Charlie decide for himself. It turns out Grace was once one of Anna’s “students.” Start, Grace: “Anna!” End, Grace: “Good night, Anna.”

WIT

by Margaret Edson (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: One-act play, pp. 51–56, Vivian (50) and Susie (28)

The relationship between Vivian and Susie Monahan, the primary nurse in the cancer unit, is the most textured in the play. Susie empathizes with Vivian in a way that the more clinical doctors do not, so it is with her that Vivian occasionally drops her guard. In this scene, Vivian admits that she is in terrible pain, mainly due to the chemo treatments. Start, Vivian: “…It was late at night, the graveyard shift. Susie was on.” End, Susie: “…It’s very simple, and it’s up to you.”

WOMEN, THE

by Clare Boothe Luce (Dramatists Play Service)

Comedy: Act I, Scene 2, pp. 18–20, Mary (mid-30s) and Olga (any age)

Olga, the gossipy manicurist at Michael’s Salon, tells Mary all about Mr. Stephen Haines and his affair with Crystal Allen. Unbeknownst to Olga, however, Mary happens to be Mrs. Stephen Haines. When Olga discovers this, she is mortified. Start, Olga: “Funny, isn’t she?” Continue through Mary’s exit at the end of the scene. End, Mary: “Thank you. Good day.”

Comedy: Act I, Scene 3, pp. 24–26, Mrs. Morehead (55–60) and Mary (mid-30s)

Mary’s wealthy husband is having an affair with a young store clerk, and she doesn’t know what to do about it. In this scene, Mrs. Morehead, her colorful mother who has been successfully around the male/female track a couple of times and understands all there is to know about men, counsels Mary. Start, Mary: “Mother, Dear!” Continue to the end of the scene, stopping just before Jane enters. End, Mary (on the telephone): “…No dear—I won’t wait up—Stephen. I love—”

Comedy-Drama: Act I, Scene 4, pp. 34–36, Mary (mid-30s) and Crystal (early 20s)

Mary gets her nerve up and confronts “the other woman.” This short, classic showdown takes place in the dressing room of a clothing store. Start, Crystal: “Come in!” End, Crystal: “Oh, what the hell!”