A Place for Misfit Plays
POP sits in his living room chair reading. NICK enters.
NICKHey there Pop.
POPHow we doin Nick?
NICKNot too bad, how bout you?
NICKThanks again for letting me stay here…sorry I let you guys down, I know how proud you were when I went away to school…
POPYou followed a path and it led you back home, nothing to be ashamed of. Ya know, you’re staying in the same room you slept in as a baby, before your parents bought their house. Full circle I say.
NICKThat’s true…I just wish I could find work around here…I knew it would be less opportunity than in the city, but I also thought it would be less competition. Too bad you don’t still have your company, I could work for you.
POPYour mother enjoyed her time there.
NICKYou probably don’t like talking about it, but what happened with that anyway?
POPNot much use for type-setting this day and age, all digital…never saw it comin…bought all this expensive equipment just in time for it to be worthless…totally blindsided…I shoulda been able to sense the change in tide…but what’re ya gonna do?
NICKThat sucks…seems like this entire town is a past glory, all those empty factories by the train tracks…
POPWhen I was your age, this town was boomin. Would be nice to see that again. We’re supposed to be getting the nano tech around here…whatever that is, I hope it brings us back where we used to be.
NICKIt won’t…it can’t…but it may be able to move us forward. You can never go back though. Like my mentor, he had all these great plays in the eighties, just straight naturalism…and I feel like I shoulda been part of his generation, cuz now…all anyone wants to see is some absurdist nonsense, I’m not knockin it, but you try to write somethin real and relatable and it doesn’t play anymore. I was a baby the last time a voice like mine was relevant, now I’m as obsolete as your abandoned warehouse.
POPI’ll admit, neither of us was ahead of our time, but art is not the same as technology…human drama will always exist in the world…your stuff may not catch on today, but in twenty or so years, it’ll play in a whole new way…
NICKLike a throwback to the old days, I never thought’a that. Full circle like you said.
POPSpeaking of which, have you heard back from Samuel French about your play?
NICKNot yet, let me check though.
NICK checks his phone.
POPYou can do that on your phone?
NICKI can do almost anything on this thing. Ask me first before you look something up at the library, I can save you the trip.
POPWell I’ll be darned.
NICKOh, they got back to me!
POPWhat’s it say?
NICKThey rejected me.
POPI’m sorry to hear that.
NICKSaid they love the play, but it’s not something they can market at this time. I mean, shouldn’t the play be the bottom line?
POPI should say so.
NICKI spent everything I had on the fringe festival just so it might be eligible for publication. Is that not a big enough deal for them, what else am I supposed to do? I don’t know why I cared so much…like you said, that sorta thing is obsolete anyway…was more of an ego thing…it just woulda been nice after all this failure to have one triumph, ya know? All I wanted was that one victory and I coulda been happy about the choices I made.
POPThey can’t be the only place.
NICKThere’s Dramatist Play Service, but they won’t look at anything unsolicited…only reason I was in with Sam French was because my play went up in their festival years ago…that was my best bet. Without a major production under your belt, they can’t sell your play, no matter how much they supposedly like it. But how am I supposed to get a major production without a publication? Seems like a vicious cycle.
POPDon’t make the same mistake I did, think outside the box. Can you self publish?
NICKNa, I may have an ego, but I won’t resort to vanity publishing.
POPWhat about a digital publication?
NICKIs that a thing?
POPI don’t know, worth looking into.
NICK searches on his phone for a bit.
NICKHuh…Indie Theater Now, a digital library for the 21st century. It says they make a point to publish lesser known plays. And it’s all online so they can publish as many as they see fit, the only criteria is that your play was produced and shows originality. See, now that’s a mission statement. Instead of only investing in popular works that don’t need the exposure, they provide the exposure for pieces that need it.
POPLike your play.
NICKLike my play…way to see the change in tide, Pop.
POPIt’s about time.
Place: A departure gate at Newark Airport
Set: Two waiting area chairs
(ICHABOD is sitting in a chair. His carry-on bag with the initials “ITH” monogramed prominently is on the chair next to him. RICHARD enters, looks around, looks at ICHABOD and speaks.)
RICHARDDo you mind?
ICHABODNot at all.
(Removes carry-on bag and places it on the floor in front of him with the initials facing the audience.)
ICHABODWhere you flying to?
RICHARDGoing west. And you?
ICHABODWhat about it?
RICHARDThe initials “I-T-N.” They don’t happen to stand for “Indie Theater Now” do they?
RICHARDThey could, you know.
ICHABODIt’s not an “N.”
RICHARDIt looks like an “N.”
ICHABODIt’s an “H” like in “how,” not as in “now.”
RICHARDEver heard of Indie Theater Now?
RICHARDIt’s a great place to discover new American drama - all online.
ICHABODWhat’s your point?
RICHARDMy point is it allows people like teachers and students, and producers and directors, actually all theatre lovers to experience the brilliance of contemporary plays first-hand.
ICHABODI’m none of those.
RICHARDYou don’t like theatre?
ICHABODI’m a critic.
RICHARDA theatre critic?
ICHABODI review theatre, write about it, which means of course, I don’t actually do it.
RICHARDBut Indie Theater Now can put the newest work of seven hundred and one of the edgiest playwrights at your fingertips.
ICHABODAll playwrights are edgy.
RICHARDThey’re mostly from around New York, but some are from some other places, too.
ICHABODWho’s the one?
RICHARDYou can read more than twelve hundred of their plays on your computer, tablet or smartphone whenever and wherever you want. Like right here, right now.
ICHABODWho’s the one?
ICHABODYou said “seven hundred and one.” So who’s the one?
RICHARDOh the one. Well, the one would be Richard Warren.
ICHABODFrom New York?
RICHARDNo. This Richard Warren is from way out west. He’s from a little valley town right next to Phoenix.
ICHABODSounds like Paradise.
RICHARDIt is. My name’s Richard.
RICHARDRichard Warren from Paradise Valley. And you are?
RICHARDDon’t tell me. You must be Ichabod from Sleepy Hollow.
ICHABODActually I’m Ichabod Tassel Hickman.
RICHARDIrving, New York?
ICHABODOtherside of the country. I’m Ichabod Tassel Hickman from Irving, Washington.
RICHARDYou’re playing with me.
ICHABODIt’s a family name. Ichabod’s from my great-great-grandfather and Tassel’s from my great-great-grandmother. And Hickman is from the iceman.
RICHARDAh, a little O’Neill from the critic in the wilderness way out west.
ICHABODYou know that Indie Theater Now thing?
RICHARDWhat I’ve been telling you about.
ICHABODAnd I think I’m going to check it out.
RICHARDYou won’t be sorry.
(End of play.)