What the critics said."A mystery / comedy with plenty of laughs. "Noises Off" meets "Death Trap!" Joe Franklin - Bloomberg Radio.
Purchase this title from Samuel French! For licensing inquiries on this and other titles, please contact: Brian ShermanIPEX Theatrical Artistsp: 646-355-8050e: email@example.com PRODUCTION HISTORY First Avenue Playhouse NJ 2007 SAMPLE DIALOUGE: CAST OF CHARACTERS(In order of appearance)Sal Fatone……………………………………………………………….Joe SimonelliGeorge Engels…………………………………………………………..Tim KelseyPaula Paterno……………………………………………………………Noelle MartinezDetective Collins………………………………………………………..Rick MakinHolly Stokes…………………………………………………………….Donna JeanneRonnie Rosewald……………………………………………………….Mary LawrenceEugene Fitzrobbins……………………………………………………..Stephen HirsekornCab Driver………………………………………………………………
BEHIND THE SCENESExecutive Producer……………………………………………………..First Ave. PlayhouseDirector………………………………………………………………….Joe SimonelliStage manager…………………………………………………………..Grace EmleyLights/Sound/props…………………………………………………….Michelle Pello
SETTINGA small amateur theatre in New York StateACT 1 Scene 1 A morning in early summer Scene 2 Two weeks later
ACT 2 Scene 1 Later that night Scene 2 A few hours later
Setting: A small amateur theatre in a small Hamlet of New York, North of Manhattan. The stage is divided 1/3 stage right as the theatre office and the 2/3rds remaining as the theatre space. A small stage (raised platform) sits against the wall stage left. Back center is a doorway leading to the basement above which hangs a sign reading ‘restrooms downstairs’ The main entrance to the theater is double doors back left. On back wall between the main entrance and the basement/restroom entrance is a picture wall where headshots of all the resident actors hang. Some folding chairs are in theatre section facing the false stage as where audience would sit. Back right (inside office) is a door leading to the prop room. There is a second door marked restroom next to it.The office portion of the set has one large desk facing the audience and one smaller desk facing the stage within a stage. The office contains all the standard accoutrements befitting a theatrical office including a file cabinet, telephones, etc.The office portion of the stage is separated from the main portion of the stage by a single door frame that rests against back wall. Next to the door frame is a closed tri fold wall separator.
At rise: Phone rings Sal Fatone (late forties), enters from prop room. Occasional banging on pipes can be heard off stage.
SAL(yelling from prop closet)Where the hell is my gorilla suit?(Enters from closet)George, are you hear yet? (answers phone on Main desk)Hello, Bridgeview Players Theatre….huh, the show starts at 8 pm….no just one show…there is no next showing, this is live theatre, …yes, actors actually on stage.. I think you want the Fairview Cinema Superplex, they’re across the bridge on the mainland. Yes, that’s right, we’re the little theatre on the little Island in the middle of the little lake near the reservoir.….yes,I said live theatre..I don’t know how they remember all the lines, photographic memory. Sure, have a nice day.(He hangs up the phone and crosses into the main theatre by opening the door) It’s hot as hell in here and I have to wear a gorilla suit in the show.(He goes to thermostat near the picture wall and lowers the temperature, then goes through door again and sits at the large desk and starts searching through the rolodex)Where is it. …Garage doors, Geiger counters, German storm troopers, male and female? I’m keeping this one (he puts it in his pocket) aha, here it is Gorilla suits. (Pulls out card and dials the phone) Hello Sol? …Sy? Sal, from the theatre. What are you getting for gorilla suit rentals these days? What? That’s outrageous! For another fifty bucks I could rent my own Gorilla! I don’t care if you’re having a special on cowardly lion costumes, I need a gorilla suit. What/ No, a flying monkey suit is not gonna cut it. I need a gorilla suit! No, I don’t need a man eating plant that sings either. Goodbye Sy.(He hangs up phone and begins typing on a laptop as the banging on pipes gets louder offstage. He stops typing, goes through door to theatre opens door and yells down the basement stairs)Pete, will you keep it down, I’m trying to write up here.(He closes the door and crosses towards office then turns around and opens basement door again)And let me know if you see a gorilla suit lying around down there.(he crosses back into office and resumes typing)(to himself as he types)Julie walks past mannequin and examines negligee. Looking around to see if anyone is watching, she…wait (he stops typing) she doesn’t walk past the mannequin she walks towards it. (continues to type) Julie walks towards mannequin as phone on counter rings.(Phone on office desk rings and he stares at it)Cool, life imitates art.(he answers phone)Hello Bridgeveiw Players…(playfully) Hey, hotstuff! Yeah, I just got back last night. L.A. was fine. Sure, I made some nice connections. One real nice one on the Santa Monica pier last Saturday night. All right, calm down, you asked didn’t you?….yes, auditions are this Tuesday night….don’t I always write a part just for you Ronnie baby? You’re not still married, are you doll?....I didn’t ask if you were happily married baby. Of course you can try out for the lead…you’re chances are beautiful baby, if it was up to me you’d have the part! I said if it was up to me, but George is the producer, he has final say on casting, you know that. Doesn’t matter that I’m the playwright, I’m also the director, light designer, set builder, part time office help and janitor and where has that gotten me? Hold on a sec babe, I have another call coming in, (he pushes button on phone) Hello, Bridgeveiw players…Hey hot stuff…that’s right, auditions are Tuesday…of course, don’t I always write a part for you Rita baby? Absolutely, you’d be perfect for the lead.(Sal’s cell phone rings)Hold on a sec doll, that’s my cell phone.(he picks up cell phone)Sal Fatone, playwright extraordinaire….Hey…sexy….right, Tuesday at seven! Do I think you’re right for the lead?! What do you think baby?...Look, I’m on two other lines, can I call you back? Later sexy (He growls at her in cellphone then hangs up and hits button on desk phone) Hey Ronnie baby, can I call you back? What?..oh..of course, I meant Rita baby can I call you back? Who’s Ronnie? Ronnie’s is my cat, I always get you two confused, yeah, you both have those Siamese eyes that I love. Yeah, I know I’m an asshole, you’re not the first to tell me…but I’m a damn lovable asshole. Later. (He pushes button on phone)Ronnie baby, is that you? …who was on the other line?...My cat….What are you getting so jealous for, you’re married remember. I didn’t ask if you were happily married…and stop bringing the subject up, you’re making me and every divorce lawyer in town nervous…..so what else is new besides your marital status?... No, I didn’t hear. Really, Frank Sanders? How about that? One of the best amateur actors around and he’s gone in a flash. How did he die? Accidental drowning? Fell out of a rowboat trying to reel in a big one. Seems kind of strange to me.. Everyone knew he couldn’t swim. What would possess him to go fishing by himself on a stormy summer night? Yes, (Mock sincerity) the local theatre community has lost a true acting legend in Frank Sanders. Okay hot stuff, I’ll see you at auditions. (he hangs up phone and resumes typing as banging on pipes again gets louder)(talks as he types) “She walks towards the mannequin as phone on counter rings.”(Phone on desk rings again)This is getting bizarre.(He answers phone)Bridgeview players. Yes, we are performing a comedy Saturday night. What’s it about? I think it’s about an hour and a half not including intermission….Oh, what’s the play about, the plot…oh, you know, the usual community theatre madcap door slammer. Limited plot, mistaken identity, infidelity, there’s a middle aged actress running around in her underwear. Yeah, it does sound like fun. But wait, you think that sounds like fun, just wait until next month when I premiere my new comedy! Is it better? You be the judge. It’s got a limited plot, mistaken identity, infidelity and three middle aged actresses running around in their underwear…Yeah, I knew you’d like it! What’s that? Shakespeare? No, he’s not in the play. Oh, are we doing any Shakespeare? Only if we run out of royalty money like every other theatre. Come to think of it, it may be sooner than you think… Directions to the theatre? Sure. Where you coming from? Jersey? What exit? Okay, you take the Garden State Parkway over the state line and get off at 287 North. Then follow signs to the Tappan Zee Bridge. No, don’t go over that bridge. Get off at exit twelve before the bridge then hang a left…(Banging on pipes gets louder) Hold on a sec..(He yells) hey Pete, can you keep it down, I’m on the phone. (back to phone) You still there, where was I, right, exit twelve. You hang a left at the exit ramp then go about five miles and make a right at the donut shop. Now you go about another mile and you cross a small bridge over a tiny river….no not a tiny bridge over a small river, a small bridge over a tiny river. You go another mile and you make a left at the shell station next to the Chinese restaurant, yeah the food’s pretty good. Then you’ll come to another bridge that leads to an island in the middle of the lake. Hence the name, Bridge view players. What? If our parking lot is full go back across the bridge and park at the Shell station and walk back across the bridge. They don’t mind as long as you buy some gas or Chinese food.Yes, I imagine the Chinese food probably would give you gas. Okay, see you then.
(George Engels enters through main entrance carrying mail and a squirrel trap. He is a short, older gentleman. He stops at thermostat and raises the temperature then enters the office through the door .)
SALHey George, have you seen my gorilla suit?
GEORGEYeah, I was cold last night so I wore it to bed. What kind of way is that to greet someone when they walk in the door in the morning?
(He sets squirrel trap down)
SALSorry, good morning Georgie. Only it’s almost lunchtime?
GEORGESue me, I slept late.
SALYou hear about Frank Sanders?
GEORGEYeah, I can’t believe it. Fell out of the rowboat out on the lake. Everyone knew he couldn’t swim.
SALWhat do you mean ‘the’ rowboat.
GEORGEI bought a few rowboats last week. I’ve been renting them out during the day.
GEORGEI run a seventy seat community theatre on an island. I’ve got to do something to bring some extra revenue in during the day.
SALYou’ve got the Puppett theatre during the day. Roland Romano Marionettes.
GEORGENot any more. (He starts to test the squirrel cage)
GEORGEThat’s right, ran off with one of the lead actors in the Touring show of Romeo and Juliet that was in town two days after you left for L.A.
SALWho’d he run off with, Romeo or Juliet?
GEORGEThe man played with wooden puppets for a living, take a guess.
SALWell I guess once you get used to working with hard wood.
GEORGELast I heard they were setting up a small theatre in Asbury Park.
SALDid he leave the puppets behind? Maybe I can learn how to work them.
GEORGEYeah, as if you didn’t have enough on your plate. And by the way, you’re back one day and you’re doing it again.
SALDoing what again?
GEORGESitting in my chair. That’s what. How many times do I have to tell you to sit in that chair. ( he indicates the small desk) This is my chair. That is your chair. I am the Executive director, you are the playwright. What does that say. (he points to a desk sign but Sal picks up a piece of paper next to it.)
SAL(reading paper) “Don’t forget to pay the electric bill”
GEORGENot that sign. This sign. (he holds it up) Executive director! Executive Director! My desk, my sign, my chair.
SALYour Napoleonic complex.
(Sal gets up and sits at his own desk as George sits at his and picks up a yellow legal pad.)
GEORGEDid you write down the messages on the pad like I asked?
GEORGEI didn’t know you were Egyptian?
SALI’m not, I’m Italian.
GEORGEWell your hand writing looks like hieroglyphics! How can I read this?! Is it shorthand or something?
SALWhat are you talking about?
GEORGE(pointing to pad) What’s that phone number?
SALTwo nine three, two six seven. Two.
GEORGEThat’s a seven? Your two’s and your seven’s look the same! What’s that number?(points at another number on pad)
SALFour nine five, six zero eight seven.
GEORGEYou see. On this number you crossed your seven and on the other you didn’t. why is that?
SAL(Looks at pad) Gee your right. Look at that.
GEORGEYeah, look at that. Would you please try to write a little more legibly? I keep returning phone calls to wrong numbers. Yesterday I got a massage parlor by mistake. Three Asian women are coming to the play next Saturday. Add it to the reservations, will you? The name is Chan.
SALSee how everything works out for the best.
GEORGEDid anyone else call whom you didn’t write down?
SALYeah, Ronnie Rosewald called about auditions for my next play.
GEORGEI hope you didn’t promise her a part?
SALWould I do that Georgie?
GEORGEOf course you would. You always do. You promise a part in your play to every actress in town and then, when you can’t deliver, they get pissed off at you.
SALThey get over it.
GEORGEThey do huh? I could make a fortune selling dart boards with your picture on it to every actress in town. And probably a few other women.
SALI love the way you are always trying to raise money for the theatre.
GEORGEI’m not kidding around here Sal, Ronnie Roswald couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag.
SALLet’s hear what the paper bag has to say first. Besides, it doesn’t matter if she can’t act. The part calls for her to play an actress who can’t act. It’s brilliant. I’ll cast a lousy actress to play a lousy actress.
GEORGEWait a minute. I thought it takes a good actress to play a lousy actress?
SALAbsolutely not. By your reasoning it would take a lousy actress to play a good actress.
GEORGEGee, I never thought of it that way. I will never understand this business.
SALThen why’d you become a producer.
GEORGEBecause I married an actress and she needed some place to act.
GEORGEBy the way, do you have a part for her?
SALSorry, not in this play.
SALShe’s too good.
GEORGEWell I don’t know why you insist on casting Ronnie. She’s married. You don’t stand a chance with her.
SALWhat do you mean? Sixty percent of marriages now end in divorce. I’ll wait her out.
GEORGEWould you stop trying to ‘boff’ every actress that walks through the door.
SALYou take all the fun out of being a playwright.
GEORGEI have to, I’m a producer. You think it’s easy dealing with actors? I’m always the bad guy while you playwrights get all the glory. Somebody has to make the tough decisions around here or the show doesn’t go on.
SALYou better start by paying that electric bill. And while you’re at it are you ever going to build a real wall between the office and the main theatre instead of this tri-fold.? People are starting to notice
GEORGEReal walls cost money. Besides, I put that door up didn’t I.
SALThat door frame was left over from the last show.
GEORGEIt takes money to build walls. Money to pay the electric bill. And money to run a theatre.
SALWhat about that grant you just got?
GEORGEI’m saving it in a slush fund.
GEORGESince you started working here, paternity suits and jealous husbands.(He picks up the utility bill) Look at this bill. It’s outrageous. I had to lower the air conditioner again when I walked in.
SALYou mean raise it. If you lower it, you make it colder.
GEORGEYou know what I mean. I’ve got a board of directors to answer to. You think this theatre runs on a lick and a promise? The current play is selling like crap and we’ve only got one weekend left! How are the bookings for Friday Night?
SALWe’ve got six people.
GEORGE(sarcastic) Great, I can fund my retirement now. …anybody else call?
SALJust a guy looking for directions for Saturday night?
GEORGEGood. How many tickets did he want?
SALNone. He wanted directions to the Chinese Restaurant in town.
GEORGESo why didn’t he call the Chinese Restaurant?
SALYou know how busy they get. Sometimes you can’t get through on the phone.
GEORGE(to himself) Why do I ask?
SALDon’t worry Georgie, maybe he’ll call the Chinese restaurant next time he needs directions to the theatre.
GEORGEHow is it I haven’t killed you yet?
SALYou haven’t rented me a leaky rowboat yet.
GEORGEIs Pete downstairs working on the furnace?
SALYeah, he was making a lot of noise so I told him to keep it down.
GEORGEI don’t even know why I bother fixing anything with the way business is.
SALYou need to bring in some daytime children’s theatre to supplement this place.
GEORGEI told you the puppets are gone.
SALSo get live actors. Here’s how it works. You cast a lot of kids in the shows. Then the parents, grand parents and cousins all show up. I can help you cast it.
GEORGEYou just want to flirt with the stage mothers.
SALStop stating the obvious.
GEORGE(Rises and starts to set up squirrel trap)Nah, it would be too hard to get actors during the day. We’re just going to have to figure out another way to make money around here.
SALI’d tell you to stop paying the actors but we don’t pay them as it is.
GEORGEWith my luck they’ll form an amateur actors union.
SALSo what’s with the trap?
GEORGEDuring rehearsal one of the actresses’ said they saw a squirrel run in here last night.
SALAnd you didn’t charge him admission? You’re slipping Georgie.
GEORGEThis trap better work. Ticket sales are bad enough. All we need is a squirrel running across the stage during the middle of a performance.
SALMight be an improvement. People love animal acts.
GEORGEDo you realize the gravity of the situation? I am going to have to close this theatre down if we don’t start selling some tickets! Listen, the phones aren’t even ringing.
SALOh, you want the phone to ring Georgie? Why didn’t you tell me. (He returns to the large desk and resumes typing)“Julie walks past the mannequin as the phone on the counter rings”.(He stares at silent phone on the desk)
GEORGEWhat the hell are you doing?
SALJust watch the phone.
GEORGEI knew you were on your way to insanity but I think the train finally pulled into the station.
SALWait, I know what’s wrong.(He starts retyping)“Julie walks towards the mannequin as the phone on the counter rings”(The phone on the desk rings)What did I tell you!
SAL(answers phone) Bridge view players…..Hey, hot stuff.
GEORGEThere he goes again. How is it both your kneecaps are still intact?
SALChicken for dinner tonight? Forget that, I’m taking you out to an expensive restaurant then a night of ballroom dancing. Hold on a sec babe…
SALYour girlfriend. She can’t tell our voices apart. You want to take her for French or Italian tonight?
GEORGEChinese. And you’re gonna be waiting on us cause you’re going to need a job after I fire you. Now gimmee that phone.
SALJust as well, how can I work for a guy with no sense of humor.(He hands George the phone)
GEORGEHey babe…. Yeah, he’s just being an idiot again. Yeah, chicken’s fine hon. See you then.(He hangs up phone)I wish you would stop doing that.
SALWhy. I almost got you laid tonight.
GEORGIEStick to business Sal. Would you please? I’m begging you.
SALDoes this mean I’m un-fired already?
GEORGEYes. Yes. Now start getting to work around here or I’m going to close this theatre down and move it to Florida.
SALWhat’s so good about Florida?
GEORGEYou’re not there.
SALHey, that’s a funny line. I’ve got to write that one down. (He picks up a pad and starts writing)
GEORGEStart writing down a way to sell tickets.
SALNot to worry George. My play next month is going to sell this place out every performance.
GEORGE“The Cosmetic Girl” is going to sell out. How can you tell?
SALBecause I am changing the title of the play to…wait for it… ‘Ladies in Lingerie!’
GEORGEWhat kind of title is that? The play is about a girl who sells cosmetics in a department store.
SALGeorgie, Georgie. How many times have you told me that titles sell. You put up ‘Richard the Third’. You maybe sell have the house. You advertise ‘Ladies in Lingerie.’ You sell out the run!
GEORGEI hate when you’re right. Boy, what does that say about our society?
SALIt says you’re producing amateur theatre in the suburbs.
GEORGEBut ‘Ladies in Lingerie?’ That title is misleading. Men will show up expecting to see a strip tease act.
SALSo we throw some middle aged actresses in lingerie. The audience will love it. And so will the actresses. Why do you think they do community theatre in the first place?
GEORGEBut it’s common pandering. What happened to your artistic integrity?
SALIt went out the door with my last alimony check. Look George, I write plays to hopefully make money and get rich, not win a Pulitzer prize.
(Paula Paterno enters from main door)
PAULA(calls out)Anyone here?
In the office.
GEORGEHello Ms. Paterno.
SAL(smarmy)Hey Paula, hot stuff!
PAULASave it Sal, I won’t go out with you.
SALToo bad, there’s a nice part in my next play for you.
PAULA(now interested)Really? So what are you doing Friday night?
GEORGE(to self) Unbelievable. (Adamantly to Paula) He’s working here Friday night.
SALCome to the show Friday night. We’ll go out after.
GEORGEHey Paula, would you come to see a play called “Ladies in Lingerie?”
PAULASure. Why not?
GEORGEDon’t you find the title demeaning and sexist?
PAULADid Sal write it?
PAULAYou left out misogynistic.
GEORGEBut why would a woman come to see it?
PAULA(To Sal) He’s so naïve.
SALTell me about it.
PAULANot only will women come to see it, they will drag along their husbands and boyfriends.
GEORGEI still don’t see why?
SALYou better spell it out for him.
PAULALook, say your boyfriend or husband hasn’t given you a little action for a while. You bring him to this play and he sees scantily clad women prancing around on stage and what do you think he’s going to want to do when he gets you home after the show?
GEORGEWatch soft core porn on cable?
PAULAWith my luck, yes.
GEORGEOh, wait a minute…you mean….
SALSo now what do you think?
GEORGEI think I’m bringing my girlfriend opening night.
PAULAUnless Sal casts her in the show…..Nah, she’s too good.
GEORGEBut I’ve read the play and there is no scene that has women wearing lingerie.
SALRelax, will you. I’ll do a quick re-write. It’s set in a department store, I’ll add in a dream sequence.
GEORGEDream sequence? How do you do that?
SALWith lighting. Bring down the white lights and bring up the blue lights. Now follow me Georgie…Julie the cosmetologist dreams of being a lingerie model. She notices the store mannequins dressed in lingerie and suddenly four or five other actresses…
GEORGEIt’s a small stage.
SAL….two or three other actresses come out of the wings wearing lingerie. Julie goes off for a quick change and re-joins them onstage!
PAULA(getting enthusiastic)Yeah, I can see it now….then she gets signed to a big modeling contract, moves to Park Avenue, and gets her big acting break. Hey, you can add in a musical number.
SALGreat idea Paula!
GEORGEA musical number?
SALSure. I’ve written musicals before. Is our piano player out of re-hab yet?
GEORGEYou’re going to re-write now? Auditions are next week.
SALIt’s no big deal Georgie. You know I’m a quick study. You’ve seen me crank out plays in one weekend….(he takes the stage) I can see it now. Scantily clad actresses strutting down the runway…
PAULADon’t interrupt him, he’s on a roll.
SALThe department store manager comes out from the wings singing. (he sings in an up-beat swing tempo) They are Ladies, in Lingerie, they are struttin, they’re stuff today…
GEORGEOkay, I’ve heard enough! And I don’t like it.
PAULAOh Sal, you’ve got to let me be the lead in your musical!
SALI’ll give you a private audition Friday night at my place after the show.
GEORGEYou’ll do nothing of the kind. She auditions next Tuesday night like everyone else. All the homosexual playwrights in this city and I wind up with a straight one. And a letch at that.
PAULAWe call them ‘man whores’ now George.
GEORGEAnd now you want to turn the play into a musical? How many have you written?
GEORGEAnd now you’re writing a third? I take back what I said. Maybe you are gay.
PAULANo I don’t think so. But if he is he’s a great actor.
GEORGEWell we know that’s not the case.
SALI am a great actor and I am not gay!
GEORGEReally? How many revivals of “The Pajama game” have there been?
SALLet’s see, the original opened in May, 1954 at the Shubert theatre and ran for one thousand sixty three performances not counting pre-views. It was produced by Hal Prince, directed by George Abbot and choreographed by Bob Fosse. It starred Edie Foy Jr and Gwen Verdon, wait a minute not Gwen Verdon, it was Janis Paige. The first revival was in nineteen seventy three at the Lunt Fontaine and the last revival was in February two thousand and six at The American Airlines theatre. Do you want the out of town tours?
GEORGE(to Paula) He’s gay.
SALSure, make fun both of you…but when I’m a big hit on Broadway…