Hey everyone, so it's been a while since I was last here and I was talking to RTurco a while ago and realized that I really missed this place.
So this play I've been working on for the past three days. I only have the first two scenes ready and I'd like to see how people respond to the first scene.
Synopsis: A group of individaul misfits find themselves at the literal end of their roads, when they come to Rhode Island to both escape their previous troubles and find new beginings, trouble is, these new beginings are not what they expected.
Cast of Characters:
Tammy: An elderly black woman in her sixties, strong and cheerful. She own “My Boarding House” which is inhabitted by misfits and visited by prostitutes.
George: A young gay man whose not yet twenty, he comes to the boarding house looking for his online lover who no one seems to know.
Ashley: A young, highly overweight girl in her mid twenties who has just recently found independence following her mother's death.
Kristin: A young woman who ran after her ex boyfriend, who is a grad student in Massachusetts, however, she only managed to get to Rhode Island, where she is now stuck. Despite this, she is able to maintain keep a job of prostitution and cleaning in order to keep her futile efforts of finding him.
Gabe: A middle aged man who was been blind from birth. Despite carrying himself off very modestly, he is unmoved by the debauched events that go on in the boarding house.
Valerie: A missionary from a very obscure branch of Mormonism who, while on her quest of baptizing her dead ancestors, she finds it her duty to convert and condemn the members of the house.
Agnus: Tammy's granddaughter who wants her to get rid of the boarding house in order to save herself from financial and legal troubles.
Nigel: Kristin's ex-boyfriend who has been purposely avoiding her for the past year.
Time: The present.
Place: The entire action of the play takes place inside an area of “My Boarding House” that serves as the kitchen, living room, and reception area. The only real portion that is a reception area is a bell that is located on the kitchen table. All that makes up the living room is a couch that seats three, a chair, a coffee table and a small television whose back faces the audience. Things that are required in the kitchen are: a fridge, a stove with a an oven, a small, beat down radio, a kitchen table with three chairs, and a counter top with a sink.
At Rise: A song from the 60's or 70's is playing in the radio. TAMMY, an old black woman late in her sixties begins to dance to the music and opens the fridge. She drags out a jar of preserves, creme, milk and butter and puts them on the table. She then goes over to a boiling pot of hot water and makes herself some coffee to her liking. Soon after, two pieces of bread pop out of the toaster and she goes to get them. As soon as her breakfast is prepared a knock comes from the door.
TAMMY: The sign says come in.
(Whoever is knocking doesn't listen and continues knocking. TAMMY goes over to turn off the radio and repeats herself.)
TAMMY: The sign says come in!
(The knocking doesn't seize, but continues on more loudly and rapidly. TAMMY gets up, frustrated, and moves over to the door and opens it.)
TAMMY: What do you not understand about the sign saying come in?
GEORGE: Oh I'm sorry, I just thought it was rude.
TAMMY: What's rude is you making an old woman get up because of your stupidity, now come in.
(GEORGE enters. He is a young man, not yet twenty with a very slim look to him. He takes care of his image but he looks exhausted both physically and mentally.)
GEORGE: I apologize, I'm just nervous and anxious and I just drove, I was on the road for practically three days on my way over here and I thought I wasn't going to make it, or just back off and go back home and--
TAMMY: Looks like you need, rest, son.
GEORGE: Yes, rest would be good.
TAMMY: Come, sit... or stand, seeing as how you've been sitting for quite a while. Would you like some breakfast?
GEORGE: No, really, it's fine, I don’t' want to be a nuisance.
TAMMY: Well you're being one by not eating. (She shoves a piece of toast into his mouth.) Making me uneasy, you're all skin and bones, that's what you are. Look at yourself sometimes.
(GEORGE unwillingly begins to take small nibbles out of the piece of bread.)
GEORGE: Uh... thank you. Do you live here?
GEORGE: Oh... do you know the landlady here?
GEORGE: My friend tells me she's a real bitch.
TAMMY: An old dog that woman is.
GEORGE: What's her name again, Tabby or Tawny?
GEORGE: What an awful name for a person. Oh, I just realized we haven't been properly introduced. My names George, and you are...?
TAMMY: The names Tamara, but most folk just call me Tammy.
GEORGE: I am so sorry! That is really rude of me!
TAMMY: Think nothing of it, Georgy, it was all in good humor.
GEORGE: Calling you a bitch?! How is that in good humor. Listen, I'm sorry for having put you through so much trouble and disrespect. I'll just leave right now and--
TAMMY: Boy, sit your ass down on that chair and finish that toast.
GEORGE: Yes, mam.
(GEORGE sits down and nibbles more on the toast.)
TAMMY: You like coffee?
GEORGE: Yes. I do.
(TAMMY pours GEORGE some coffee and he drinks it with the same hesitation that he eats the toast.)
GEORGE: So... this is your bed in breakfast?
TAMMY: It's “My Boarding House” When the man who was making the sign came by he asked what I intended it to be called. I wanted it to be called “Tammy's Boarding House” so I told him to name it my boarding house. I got the sign back and it said just that “My Boarding House” I didn't complain, you see, because it immediately grew on me. I liked it. “My Boarding House” Not just Tammy's... everyone's.
GEORGE: So where do people check in?
TAMMY: Here. Kitchen, living room, and reception (She rings the bell.)
GEORGE: Well isn't that homely?
TAMMY: Convenient too. Are you checking in?
GEORGE: Well, sort of, I'm looking for a guy named Collin, he lives here. You must know him?
TAMMY: Don't think I know of no Collin. At least none that lives here, that's for sure. What's his last name?
GEORGE: I don't know his last name. But I know what he looks like. Big, but not big as in big big, oh well... never mind, he's a tall guy, around 6'6.
TAMMY: How much he weight?
GEORGE: He's average-- of average weight... I don't specifically know.
TAMMY: My mother claimed to be average. She was 4'10 and weighed 310 lbs. My father was also average, he was 6'2 and weighed 120 lbs. Now look at what you've done, thanks to you, I have to picture them doing it, now. And they're old, not to mention my mother has been dead for quite some time.
GEORGE: Are you helping me or just rambling on about the most obscene things I've ever heard?!
TAMMY: Got any pictures?
(GEORGE takes out pictures from his wallet and shows them to TAMMY.)
GEORGE: Yeah, this is him, these are him.
TAMMY: Got a nose job now, didn't he?
GEORGE: I wouldn't doubt it, he's very concerned about his image.
TAMMY: Who is this guy? Does he owe you any money?
GEORGE: He's... my boyfriend.
TAMMY: Whoa! Hold on there!
GEORGE: What?! Do you think homosexuality is wrong?
TAMMY: No, no, no, by all means, I love everyone. You know I had an uncle Tom when I was a girl, the nicest person you'll ever meet, he had a boyfriend named Bill, I used to call them Uncle Tom and Aunt Bill until one day Bill told me, “You know Tammy, it should be Aunt Tom and Uncle Bill.” and I just said “Oh! Hold on there Bill! Too much information!” I mean, I didn't need to know that.
GEORGE: What, is your problem?!
TAMMY: I'm old, you ramble on a lot when you're old because things meant something to our generation. I'm scared to see how you kids will be when you're old. That's the problem with you kids, you never sit down and value the simple things in life because you just get too bored. “They're boring!Well they're not boring to me.” Which comes back to what I was trying to say before you started calling me a bigot, how is this boy your boyfriend if you hardly know anything about him?
GEORGE: We met online.
TAMMY: Oh boy... Well Georgy-boy, I'm sorry to say this, but I've never seen this man in my life.
GEORGE: He told me that he lives here.
TAMMY: Well one lie just leads to another now, does it? Now, I know pretty much everyone in town and I can assure you, this man doesn't live here. If anything, he was probably going to meet you here to fuck you.
GEORGE: Excuse me?!
TAMMY: Yeah, people come here to fuck over any other place in town. .
TAMMY: It's cheap, it's easy, it looks innocent. Good place to fuck.
GEORGE: And you're okay with that?!
TAMMY: A'course, I'm no force to stop people from doing what they're going to do. People are going to have sex whether I let them in my building or not. Might as well profit from it.
GEORGE: No, no, I know Collin and he wouldn't do something like that to me. He knows that I'm saving myself for--
GEORGE: Well I'm not allowed to get married, now am I?
TAMMY: Then what for?
GEORGE: Love... I guess?
TAMMY: They are two different things now-a-days, huh?
GEORGE: He might have lied about living here but everything else is true.
TAMMY: I never said it wasn't.
GEORGE: Yes you did! You said one lie leads to another!
TAMMY: Okay, listen Georgy-boy, I'm probably wrong. This computer boyfriend of yours probably does exist. Maybe he came here with his parents when he was younger and loved the place so much that he wanted to meet you here for a romantic, passion-less night in order to physically fall in love with you.
GEORGE: You think?
TAMMY: Question is, do you think?
GEORGE: I'd like to check in then.
(TAMMY gets up and grabs GEORGE a key from one of the kitchen cabinets.)
TAMMY: We charge by the day, it's $30 a day, all utilities included, you also get a breakfast, which you're already having, and a hot dinner, and I'll tell you that my dinners are worth the stay.
GEORGE: That's fine. Do you get WI-fi in this place?
TAMMY: Is that the same thing as the internet?
GEORGE: More or less.
TAMMY: I've none of that here. There's one of those fancy coffee joints that has that a few miles down, but I suggest you rest, you don't look well and you've been travelin' from-- where are you from again?
GEORGE: I never said, I'm from California.
TAMMY: Oh, we actually have a girl whose from California here right now. She's in a similar rut as you, though she knows where her man is. Poor soul just wont come to terms that he doesn't want her anymore. Maybe you know her, her name is Kristin--
GEORGE: California is a really large state, don't expect everyone to know everyone like it is here in, Rhode Island.
TAMMY: Well, Georgy, you'd be surprised. Sometimes in the smallest of towns, people are total strangers with one another. Now go on upstairs, your room is the first one to your right in the second floor. There's a bathroom in every floor, I forget where exactly it is up there since my tired old legs are too old to go up there, but it should have a sign on it.
I am curious why the only character you described by race is Tammy? Is everyone else supposed to be "white"? Tammy's dialect comes across like no one from Rhode Island I've ever heard before. She seems to embody the "magic black person" role - a wise, selfless character who takes care of others with a Southern, folksy charm. A bit like a "mammy" character. It's something to be mindful of in your portrayal of this character.
My contrary comment to kato's - which is rare: I wouldn't worry about Tammy - or anything - right now. One: Tammy does not have to be from Rhode Island. She may have moved there from somewhere else. She can have a whole story to tell about why she is where she is. She moved there for a particular reason, life took a turn - as life does - and she winds up in Rhode Island. And it is too early to start editing your brain. Just get the thing written. You can revise and revise and revise later.
It would be a pity to start restricting/editing your characters at such an early stage of the piece. Keep going. Your synopsis is concise and has the makings of a good play.
I have an Irish-American play. A actor friend of mine, who is Latino, read it. He said, "Hey, this is my life." So he and I are talking about adapting it for a Latino family. Things evolve.
Well, I understand your point, IMR, but Clausey was asking for opinions and not just a cheering on. Of course and always, the most important thing is that Clausey writing. Congrats on that, Clausey! But I agree wholeheartedly with the comment about the sense that Tammy is a stereotype.