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A One Act Play

A One Act Play

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Published by reconredula

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Published by: reconredula on Mar 16, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/20/2012

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One Act Play 
The Gender Agenda
By G. L. Horton
copyright © 1983 Geralyn Horton
 
Characters
 
JAN
....40-50s. Enters as a man dressed for a high pressure job as asoftware engineer. During the first minutes of the play Jan changes clothesand applies makeup and a wig. This transformation is so successful that anaudience member coming in to the play late would not see a man in dragon the stage, but a female character: a respectable middle agedchurchwoman with an excellent fashion sense. It must be an openquestion in the minds of the audience: What gender do the othercharacters in the play believe Jan to be?
BETH
....50-60, a librarian. Conservatively dressed in a well-made but notfashionable jacket and skirt, her hair is simply styled and she wears nomakeup. Typical churchwoman.
RUTH
....30-40, middle management at a bank. She is stylish, aggressive,good-looking, and she wears a chic flowered hat.
SHEILA 
...40-60. Defiantly uncouth and unkempt, her straggly hair issalted with gray. She wears a loud plaid lumberjack shirt and her slacksare held together with safety pins.NOTE TO THE ACTRESSES: each of the women does suspect that
JAN
 is-- or was-- male, but each is unsure whether others share this perception. At points in the action one or another will say something that raises thepossibility, but when there is no confirmation, backs away from aconfrontation.
 SET:
 A one bedroom apartment in Bostons Back Bay, overlooking the
 
harles River Esplanade.JAN, in business clothes, enters in a rush)
 
 JAN 
: Assholes!
( loosens tie)
Fucking assholes!
(throws briefcase, jacket & tie.
licks answer machine, goes into bathroom)
answer machine(woman's voice):
Jan? This is Ellen. Mark's got atemperature of a hundred and two. I don't feel right about leaving him, soI'll have to miss tonight's meeting. Sorry.(
click)
 
answer machine (man's voice #1):
The machine again! Jan, this is your brother Dan, wasting his time and money on a machine. Arent youever home? Not while I'm awake, I guess. Please, call 777-624-0680 one of these days-- let us know if you're still alive.
(click)
 (
JAN
s head pops out from bathroom to talk to the tape, revealing a brastrap on one bare shoulder)
JAN
: I'm half alive, Dan. Half alive.
answer machine (angry man's voice, #2
): Jan? Goddammit, Jan,this is Jack. I don't know how the hell you managed to sneak out the door, but you'd better turn around and get your ass back here. We've got work todo. (
click
)
JAN
: Asshole!
(enters wearing slip and bra with men's socks, carryingantyhose. pushes phone button for programmed number)
 Jack? I'm not coming in. .....Fifty-five hours a week, Jack. Fifty-five hoursa fucking week I put in, and that's not enough, you want my weekend?
(removes socks.)
  Yeah, well, Toffer thinks because I don't have a wife and four kids to gohome to, I should do all the shit for everybody.
(begins to put on pantyhose)
He can say no, too! Tell Adam to shove it! Look, I don't have time to argue.I've got people coming over any minute, a committee from my church... Yeah, I said "church". You've heard of churches, That's where women andchildren and the unemployed go on Sunday morning. --- Very funny. If  you could fire me, you'd've done it last downsize. I'll see you Monday.Screw you, too, Jack.
(Hangs up. Looks at watch)
JAN
: God!
(hurries back into bathroom, comes out wearing a frilly robeand a wig. Puts on music tape while applying make up, singing along
 
when possible.
 Doorbell 
buzzes)
JAN
: Not yet! It's not even seven!
(sweetly, into intercom) Hello!
BETH ON INTERCOM
It's Beth. Beth Woodside, from United--
JAN
:
(intercom)
Of course, Beth! Come on up.
(off)
 Shit!
(hurries into shoes, earrings, opens door; graciously)
 
JAN:
Im here! Not quite together, but come on in.
BETH
:
(coming in)
Oh dear. I'm early, aren't I? I wasn't sure how longit'd take me to find you.
JAN
: It's just a little before seven. I worked late, that's why Im stillchanging--
BETH
: Ruth's not here? "Urgent meeting.", she said. But not what about.
JAN
: I assume it's to do with the Denominational Resolutions thingie. Butdo'nt you know? You are the Women's Committee delegate?
BETH:
I was at the meeting, and the vote didn't go our way. But that's notan emergency-- it's business as usual. I warned Ruth.
JAN:
You did. I heard you. Dont expect our Agenda to be their agenda. You want coffee? I'll start some..
BETH
: Thank you, but maybe later. You go right on-- Pretend I'm nothere.
 JAN 
notices male items: Whisks them out of sight, goes into bedroomand talks from off.)
JAN
: Make yourself comfortable.
BETH
: This is a omfortable apartment. With a spectacular view.
(indicateswindow)
Looks deserted, though. A lovely park, but no peopledown there.
JAN
: The bustle's all over on Newbury.

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