I'm planning on entering this to the ACTFs (American College Theater Festival), so any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Title: Come As You Are
Author: Alaina L. Patterson
Characters: Lara, Emily, Richard, and James.
Length: ~2000 words
Warnings: Sexual innuendo, language, and harsh questioning of sexual orientation. But this is a comedy.
Also, I should mention that the characters are based on real people from my workplace. Three of the four are aware of the play and have read the play. You can probably infer who hasn't read the play. So, if you know the person I'm talking about... do me a favor? Don't mention this to him. Thanks.
EMILY, LARA and RICHARD are sitting in EMILY'S living room, awaiting the arrival of their friend JAMES. When he arrives, they will be attending a Halloween party. The four of them work at the same office.
~EMILY is dressed as Joan Jett.
~LARA is dressed as a slutty Alice in Wonderland.
~RICHARD is dressed as Dr. Frank N. Furter from Rocky Horror.
EMILY (Looking at her watch): Where the hell is James?
LARA: You know James; he’s getting ready, and then he realizes he has a load of laundry to do.
RICHARD: Or he’s got his checkbook to balance.
LARA: His shoes need to be shined.
RICHARD: The rug needs to be vacuumed.
EMILY: But he’s bald—
LARA: The rug on his floor.
EMILY: Ooooohhhh. Right.
RICHARD: What was he supposed to be going as? Did he tell you guys?
EMILY: He didn’t tell me.
LARA: I suggested that he should go as the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
EMILY (laughing): The Creature from the Black Lagoon?
LARA: Think about it. It’s perfect for him. He’s already got the bald head – he wouldn’t need a wig cap. He’s just short enough so that yeah, it would totally make sense that he would be an example of a mutated species. Cover him in black rubber goo and boom! Instant Creature!
RICHARD: I dunno…
LARA: Come on, Richard – what’s wrong with the idea?
RICHARD: Oh, nothing’s wrong with the whole James-As-Creature-From-the-Black-Lagoon idea; it’s just not the most perfect Halloween idea for him.
EMILY: What would you have told him to go as?
RICHARD: Grandpa Munster. Duh.
(Pause as LARA and EMILY ponder that costume choice.)
LARA: Holy HELL – why didn’t I think of that?!
EMILY: Seriously? That? Is BRILLIANT!
LARA (to EMILY): You know what we should have done, right?
EMILY: Drugged him and then dressed him up like Grandpa without his willing consent?
LARA (proudly): You’re always one step ahead of me. I was gonna say that you could have gone as Lily Munster, and then I would have been Marilyn, and Richard could have gone as Herman.
RICHARD: Why would I be Herman?
EMILY (to LARA): Yeah, why do you get to be the human?
RICHARD: And Emily is a lesbian!
LARA: That’s why it’s funny. (To RICHARD) You’re the tallest, and the guy, and you have a tendency to pout in hysterical ways. (To EMILY) It would be funnier if you were married to Richard because you’re a lesbian. And as for me – everybody knows that I’m nowhere near as normal as Marilyn Munster actually is.
RICHARD (to EMILY): At least she didn’t say something along the lines of she’s prettier or younger than you.
LARA (defensive): I would never say that!
EMILY (jokingly): But it’s true! So what, I just look like Frankenstein’s bride to you? Is that it?
LARA: Why are you yelling at me? It was Richard’s idea!
RICHARD: Girls, girls, there’s no need to fight about this. But if you insist, I’ll go get the chocolate pudding.
(There’s a knock on the door, which stops the fight. EMILY crosses and opens the door. JAMES enters. The rest of the characters start to say “Hi, James,” but stop abruptly when they see his costume.
JAMES is a man in his late 30s, balding, with a lazy eye and a little bit of paunch around his middle. Truly, he would have been better going as Grandpa Munster. But the costume JAMES is wearing looks nothing like the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
He is wearing a white shirt, unbuttoned to his navel, and ripped in the shoulder area. He is also wearing some very short shorts. He is wearing a long wig made of dirty blonde hair. The hair trails to the small of his back. He has made up his eyebrows so they are especially thick.
There is a pause of awkward and confused silence.)
LARA: What the –
RICHARD: What the fuck are you wearing?
JAMES: My Halloween costume.
EMILY: Who the fuck are you supposed to be?
JAMES: The Creature from the Blue Lagoon.
LARA: The – (double take, incredulous) The BLUE Lagoon?
JAMES (sarcastic): That’s what you said, isn’t it?
LARA: I SAID THE BLACK LAGOON!
EMILY: Who would be the Creature from the Blue Lagoon?
RICHARD: (Beginning to laugh hysterically, clutching his stomach in laughter) You’re Brooke Shields!
LARA: Why did you think that I said you should go as the Creature from the Blue Lagoon?
JAMES: I thought that’s what you said!
EMILY: And when you determined that the Creature from the Blue Lagoon was Brooke Shields, you didn’t question Lara’s choice?
RICHARD: Seriously? First, there’s the fact that you took a suggestion from Lara in the first place –
LARA (To RICHARD): Excuse me, Mr. “Let’s Dress Him Up Like Grandpa Munster”?
RICHARD: But then there’s the fact that someone got their wires crossed.
LARA: Hey, I know I didn’t say “Blue,” okay? He needs his ears checked!
EMILY (to LARA): That line would have been funnier if he had come as the Creature From the Black Lagoon, what with the fins for ears.
RICHARD (still ignoring LARA and EMILY): But when you find out that this creature is actually Brooke Fuckin’ Shields, you don’t think that maybe, just maybe, that’s not what Lara meant?
JAMES: I – I --… (He fades out with no response.)
(EMILY crosses to JAMES in the resulting silence, she gently sits him down on the couch, and then sits next to him.)
EMILY: James. Is there something you want to tell us?
JAMES (confused): Now what are you talking about?
EMILY: Nobody would mistake the Creature from the Black Lagoon for Brooke Shields from the Blue Lagoon.
RICHARD (catching on): Yeah… and there are some other questions we’ve been wanting answers for, too.
LARA (still half a mile behind the rest of the gang): There are?
RICHARD: Yeah… like, why haven’t we met your girlfriend yet?
JAMES: She’s a busy lawyer…
EMILY: Well, why don’t you have any pictures of her?
JAMES (stalling): She… she doesn’t photograph well. Why?
LARA: Yeah, what’s going on?
RICHARD (to LARA):You know where we’re going with this.
LARA: (Pauses, remembers a previous discussion which she did not like) Oh yeah.
JAMES: Now what’s going on?
EMILY: James. We think you’re gay.
LARA: Well, they think you’re gay. I am still on the fence as to where you are on the fence.
RICHARD: We’ve got evidence.
LARA: They have theories. Although their theories are well-founded, I’ll give them that.
JAMES (Disbelieving): Okay, this should be good. What kind of evidence?
EMILY: One. You have no pictures of your girlfriend in your office.
JAMES (Read as: “Ah ha!”): I have some in my wallet!
RICHARD: Do you have your wallet with you?
LARA (before JAMES can answer): Are you kidding? I’m surprised he can fit anything in that outfit.
RICHARD: Two. You have no life.
JAMES: I do so have a life!
LARA: Okay, even if you are straight, this part I do agree with. You took vacation last month, right? (JAMES nods) If I remember correctly, you still came in to catch up on work.
LARA: Normal human beings in healthy relationships would rather stay with their significant other and screw instead of work during a vacation.
JAMES: This coming from the kid who regularly appears at work on her days off.
LARA: Firstly, I am not a normal human being in a healthy relationship. Secondly, I come in to bug my co-workers; NOT to do actual work. In your favor, however, is the fact that not having a life usually points to being straight, not gay.
EMILY: Three. You listen to Coldplay, Maroon 5, and Keane.
JAMES: What’s wrong with them?
EMILY: Only women and extremely sensitive males listen to them.
JAMES: What?! (He looks at RICHARD) What do you listen to?
RICHARD: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day, and System of a Down. And Eminem.
LARA (to JAMES): Didn’t you tell me that you had “Clocks” as a ringtone a while ago?
JAMES: It kind of sounds like a ringtone.
EMILY: Why would you choose Coldplay for a ringtone when there are other, better choices out there? Like… something by Eminem, for instance?
JAMES: I don’t like Eminem.
EMILY: And you don’t see the subtext in that statement?
JAMES: I listen to other bands.
RICHARD (jokingly): James, the Backstreet Boys are not a band.
LARA: They don’t play instruments.
EMILY: And, most importantly, they’re gay.
JAMES (emphatically): I don’t listen to the Backstreet Boys.
EMILY: Four. Your favorite movie is French Kiss.
JAMES: What’s wrong with French Kiss?
LARA: Besides that it’s a horrible example of filmmaking? How about the fact that it’s a chick flick!
JAMES (to LARA): Okay, fine. What should my favorite movie be?
LARA: Die Hard.
JAMES: Die Hard?
LARA: At least that way it could show that you like cussing and explosions and bullets and blood, and if you have to be gay, you can claim that you only watch it for Alan Rickman and his sexy voice. (LARA gets a funny look from the gang.) Or maybe that’s just me.
JAMES (to EMILY and RICHARD): She’s got a sad crush on Professor Snape, and you’re worried about me?
EMILY: Five. You’re dressed as Brooke Shields!
RICHARD: And, you took Tom Cruise’s side over Brooke Shields in the post-partum medication debate. Only Rosie O’Donnell would do that, and look at her.
JAMES: I don’t believe this.
LARA: Me neither.
JAMES (hopeful of a supporter): You don’t?
LARA: No. I mean, Emily, Richard – you’re forgetting about Mary.
JAMES: What does Mary have to do with this?
LARA: It is obvious – to everyone, by the way – that you are in love with her. If we ever needed you, if you weren’t in your office, you were in hers.
EMILY: I still say that you’re not in love with her as a straight man, but you are in love with her fabulous sense of fashion.
RICHARD: Her shoe collection and smart blouses are pretty fabulous. (LARA and EMILY stare at RICHARD) What?
LARA: Maybe we should be interrogating you, Rich.
JAMES: Maybe he’s one of those in-denial married men.
EMILY: Maybe we should just leave the two of you alone and see what develops.
LARA: Or arises. But I’ve got an easier way to prove this one way or another.
JAMES (Scared): What? Prove what?
(Without a word, LARA gets up from where she was sitting and crosses to where JAMES is sitting on the couch. She sits down on his lap, with her cleavage under his chin. She tilts his [scared] head back, and whispers:)
LARA: Eat me.
(There is a long pause, where everyone is waiting for a reaction. After a ten-count, LARA gets up and stalks back to her original chair, slightly offended.)
LARA: Nothing. He’s gay.
JAMES (Trying to cover): Maybe I’m just not that into you.
LARA: James. I have been hit on by an untold number of drunk guys and old guys and creepy guys and all sorts of other scary subspecies of “guydom.” And I will admit, that while I only like you as a friend, you are not one of those creepy subspecies. And I would think that, regardless of whether you were attracted to me or not, if a relatively pretty girl crosses to you, sits on your lap and asks you to eat her, in a normal situation, a little something would make an appearance. From you? Bupkis. And I must say, I’m a little disappointed.
EMILY: You’re disappointed? Why?
LARA: (She takes a ten-spot out of her cleavage.) I lost the bet. (She hands the ten-spot to RICHARD.)
RICHARD: Come on. Look, James, it doesn’t matter what you are. We were just curious.
EMILY: Yeah, I’m sorry.
RICHARD: Me too.
LARA: I’m not. I lost ten bucks.
JAMES: Well, you’re all wrong. And that’s all I’m going to say on the matter. This subject shouldn’t even be discussed, it’s so stupid.
LARA: Come on, let’s go. My buzz is wearing off, and Alice needs to drink something right now.
(LARA and EMILY cross out of the house, with RICHARD following, and JAMES bringing up the rear. As the girls exit, JAMES stops RICHARD in the doorway.)
JAMES: Hey, Richard. Nice calves.