Bumbershoot – The Plays of Jeffrey James Ircink

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“Twisted Nice Mirage”

A chance meeting at a party thrusts two strangers into a volatile situation that each won’t soon forget. But be careful – a game is only fun when everyone is “in on it”. 10-minute, drama (1M, 1W)

Kyle Gallagher-Schmidt & Zoe Schwartz in HASHTAG MAYHEM! - 6 short, dark plays by Jeffrey James Ircink

Kyle Gallagher-Schmidt & Zoe Schwartz in HASHTAG MAYHEM! – 6 short, dark plays by Jeffrey James Ircink

World premiere, HASHTAG MAYHEM! – 6 short, dark plays by Jeffrey James Ircink, The Alchemist Theatre, Milwaukee, WI, March 21-23, 28-30, April 4-6, 2013.

“Wow – it left me stunned. Truly thought-provoking…Reading it leaves me with a dozen questions.”
Cindy Houston Huber, Cedar Rapids, IA

“Oh my…I like it. Love the witty banter and twist. It was kinda hot until I got to the very end…Nice work, my good playwright friend.”
 Dee Rich, actress, Phoenix, AZ

“That was fun! At first I was thinking in actor mode with ‘Hey! Wait a minute…she needs to be more misleading for his switch to flip like that’. but then the punchline kicked in and I was had. Thank you!” Megan Ginsberg, actress, Cedar Rapids, IA

“Twisted Nice Mirage”

Cast of Characters

 MAN:                   30’s
WOMAN:             30’s

Setting
A house party in Los Angeles, California.

Time
Present

 (A WOMAN sits on one end of a sofa at a house party talking to an unseen guest. A MAN enters stage right and sits at the opposite end of the sofa. Both are drinking wine. The WOMAN continues her conversation as the MAN fidgets uncomfortably. Someone’s cell phone rings and the MAN checks to see if it’s his. He motions to the WOMAN to hand him a coaster for his drink. She hands the MAN the coaster and continues her conversation. Finally, the WOMAN ends her conversation and sits alone with the MAN.)

MAN
I…um…I find parties uncomfortable.

WOMAN
And why’s that?

MAN
(Beat) I think it’s the pressure to be “on”. You know – to be interesting, entertaining. People are attracted to “funny”. I mean – I don’t mean sexually attracted. (Beat) People like “funny”, is what I’m saying. (Beat) At parties.

WOMAN
I’m sure a lot of people feel the same way. I do sometimes.

MAN
You do?

WOMAN
Uh-huh.

(Pause)

 MAN:
That’s not to say that men don’t go to parties to try and pick up women and try and be funny to lure them home. They do. I mean…people have met their boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives at parties just like this one.

WOMAN
Yeh. (Pause) My mother and father met at a party.

 (The WOMAN takes a drink.)

MAN
Uncomfortable conversation.

WOMAN
What’s that?

MAN
I find conversation uncomfortable sometimes. At parties. I either get stuck talking to someone I’d rather not talk to. Or I’m talking to a woman I’m attracted to and I get nervous. (Beat) I’m sure some women feel the same way.

(The MAN takes a drink. Pause)

WOMAN
Sometimes. Depends on to whom the woman’s talking. (Beat) I bet you’re a Woody Allen fan.

MAN
I wouldn’t call myself a “fan” but I like some of his stuff. I think  he’s a great actor. Why?

WOMAN
You remind me of Woody Allen in his films.

MAN
You think I look like Woody Allen?

WOMAN
No. The way he talks in his movies.

MAN:
That’s interesting. I’ve never heard that before. (Beat) He’s sort of  annoying, isn’t he? In his movies? He kinda rambles on and on.  (Beat) So you find me annoying?

WOMAN
Noooo. But when you were talking you reminded me of Woody Allen talking in a Woody Allen film. His conversation style. (Beat) Personally I think Woody Allen’s quite endearing.

MAN
Oh. (Beat) “Endearing’s” much better than “annoying”.

(Pause)

WOMAN
It can be awkward. (Beat) Meeting people at parties. I’m Amy.

(She puts out her hand and he shakes it.)

MAN
Jeff. Nice to meet you. How do you know the hostess?

WOMAN
I don’t. My roommate used to work with her. I don’t even know her name. It’s something –

MAN
(Overlapping) You don’t know your roommate’s name? Geez…how many drinks have you had?

WOMAN
(Overlapping) I know my roommate’s name, smart-ass. The hostess’ name…it’s something like Cara – or maybe it’s Carmen.

MAN:
See, that was me trying to be funny – about your roommate’s name.

WOMAN
Uh-huh. Keeping tabs on the number of wines I’ve had, are we?

MAN
I hadn’t noticed.

WOMAN
This is my second. Not drunk yet – just taking the edge off. (Beat) Parties are a downer when you come with a friend as a favor and then your friend goes off mingling.

MAN
It’s awkward.

WOMAN
And annoying. Girls are supposed to watch out for one another.

MAN
Uh-huh. (Beat. Smiling.) Course, you know me now – sorta.

WOMAN
Sort of. (She raises her glass of wine.) Cheers.

(The clink wine glasses.)

WOMAN
So what about you, Jeff – you said Jeff, right? Who do you know here?

MAN:
My buddy went to film school with the hostess. Cara. Or Carmen – whatever her name is. (Scanning the crowd.) She’s around here  somewhere.

WOMAN
Are you in the entertainment industry?

MAN
Sort of. I’m a playwright. What about you?

WOMAN
I’m an interior designer. Commercial. What sort of plays do you write?

MAN:
Dark stuff. Dark comedies. Dark dramas.

WOMAN
Uh-huh.

MAN
Black comedies.

WOMAN
Dark.

MAN
Very. I have a twisted sense of humor – in a nice way.

WOMAN
It’s not often that you here “twisted” and “nice” in the same sentence – unless you’re referring to a serial killer. You’re not a serial killer, are you?

MAN
I stopped a few years ago. Which makes me just a plain old killer, I guess.

WOMAN
People like that sort of genre. I think everyone has a dark side.

MAN
Even Mother Theresa had a dark side.

WOMAN
Really?

MAN
Oh yeh. There’s a consensus among a very small group of people that instead of helping the people of India escape poverty, Mother Theresa helped them just enough to keep them destitute.

WOMAN
That’s horrible.

MAN
It’s an interesting perspective. I’ve thought about writing a play about it called, “Mother Theresa, Mother Fucker”.

WOMAN
Oh noooo. That’s horrible too.

MAN
Yeh – so-so premise but a killer title.

WOMAN:
We got off the subject.

MAN
I’m sorry.

WOMAN
No, no…I was just going to say that I like film noir. I mean I know that’s not playwriting or theater, but it’s sort of dark…film noir. You know.

MAN
I don’t watch a lot of film noir, but – (Thinking.) there’s one film noir-ish flick that I really enjoy – have you heard of “Mirage” with Gregory Peck?

WOMAN
Oh my God! I love that movie! That’s the one where he plays the amnesiac, right?

MAN
Yep.

WOMAN
Right. (Beat) Wow…every time I bring that movie up no one’s ever heard of it.

MAN
Yeh – it’s rarely on television; you can’t rent it anywhere; I don’t even think you can buy it on DVD. (Beat) I have it.

WOMAN
No way!

MAN
Yeh. You wanna watch it?

WOMAN
I’d love to watch it.

MAN
Well – how about right now?

WOMAN
Now?

MAN
Yeh. I live two minutes from here. We can walk it.

WOMAN
Um…OK. Yeh, what the hell. The wine wasn’t that good anyway. I’m kidding. (The MAN rises.) Wait – what about your buddy and my girlfriend and Cara – or Carmen?

MAN
We’ll call’em from my place.

WOMAN
Alright. Lead on, “twisted-nice” Jeff.

 (LIGHTS FADE as the couple exits. LIGHTS UP on the MAN and WOMAN sitting on a different sofa watching television. There’s an end table at each end of the sofa with matching lamps. Each is covered with a blanket. They’re drinking beer and eating popcorn.)

WOMAN
You know the thing that I love most about this movie is that as the story unfolds, you’re just as confused as Gregory Peck.

MAN
I know. The first time I saw it I came in somewhere in the middle and I couldn’t figure out what the hell what was going on. Then the next time I saw it I came in during another part of the movie. I finally taped the damn thing so I could watch it from the beginning.

WOMAN
I could watch this movie over and over again. This was a good idea. (Beat. Turning to the MAN.) Thanks.

MAN
You’re welcome. It’s been a while since I’ve seen this.

(The WOMAN gives the MAN a kiss on the cheek.)

WOMAN
I’m glad I went to that party.

MAN
Me too.

(He kisses her on the lips. He sets his bowl of popcorn down and notches things up.)

WOMAN
Wait. (The MAN backs away.) What are you doing?

MAN
I thought – I thought you wanted me to kiss you.

WOMAN
I kissed you on the cheek to thank you for inviting me over to watch the movie. (Beat) I –

MAN
I –

WOMAN
I think you’re a nice guy…just – it was just a friendly kiss.

(Pause)

MAN
I think you should leave.

WOMAN
Alright. I’m sorry –

MAN
You don’t have to apologize. It’s my fault. I, uh… (The WOMAN gets up and gathers her things. The MAN rises.) Wait – you don’t have to go. What about the movie?

WOMAN
It’s probably better that I go. It’s late. Maybe another time.

MAN
Well…alright. May I call sometime? We can –

WOMAN
Um…I can call you. You gave me your business card when we left the party, remember?

MAN
Right.

WOMAN
Yah.

MAN
OK. Well – um…call me then and we’ll finish the movie.

WOMAN
Great.

MAN
It was nice meeting you, Amy.

WOMAN
It was nice meeting you too, Jeff. Bye. And thanks.

MAN
Goodbye.

(The WOMAN exits. The MAN returns to the sofa and continues watching the movie. There’s a knock at the door. The MAN answers it.)

WOMAN
I’m sorry…my scarf. I left it on the sofa. (She steps into the room as she points to the sofa.) There – (She goes to the sofa to retrieve the scarf.) Sorry about that.

MAN
That’s OK.

WOMAN
Goodnight again.

MAN
‘Night, Amy.

(The MAN aggressively moves in and kisses the WOMAN on the lips. She pushes him away equally as aggressive.)

WOMAN
What the fuck are you doing?!

MAN
You came back. I thought you wanted –

WOMAN
To get my scarf! My God…we just went through this. You’re a nice guy and maybe we can get together another time but right now –

MAN
You don’t have to get hysterical –

WOMAN
Hysterical? You need to stop “thinking” and listen, alright? Here’s some free advice:  you come on way-y too strong for your own good.

(She moves toward the door, but the MAN runs in front of her and slams the door shut.)

MAN
If you weren’t interested then why did you come back to my apartment?

WOMAN
Please, I’m going home. (Nervously.) I’ll call you sometime and we’ll finish the movie, OK?

MAN
You’re not gonna call me. You say you will but you won’t. You fucking – you go to some party, make small-talk, then go home with a guy and –

WOMAN
I went home with you to watch a movie, now –

MAN
(Overlapping) – you give me a kiss, I kiss you back and then you suddenly have to leave? What the fuck is that all about?

WOMAN
Get out of the way and open the door.

MAN
Why did you come back to my apartment if you weren’t interested in me?

WOMAN
Open the fucking door.

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2 Comments»

  Jennifer N wrote @

gripping…..

  belairjeffircink wrote @

thanks, Jen N. 😉


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