Dead Frat Boys

category: full length one-act
genre: drama
running time: one hour and thirty minutes
setting: various locations in and around an America University; Mexico
period: contemporary

Forrest, a college senior
Heidi, his girlfriend
Jason, his best friend
Noah, the fourth wheel
Phillip, Forrest’s father
Ginger, his wife
Megan, their daughter
Thomas, her best friend
Carla, a girl from Dartmouth
Kristin, a nurse

Forrest and Thomas are waiting to get the results from Forrest’s HIV test and in the process actively debate the existence of God and the lifestyle that Forrest has been leading which has brought him to this moment. Though reluctant to listen, Thomas watches Forrest’s story unfold, beginning with his buddies Jason and Noah taking him down to Mexico for their last spring break, where Forrest cheats on his girlfriend, Heidi, with the promiscuous co-ed, Carla, and Jason and Noah die in a drunk driving wreck after Jason calls Heidi and tells her what’s going on. Forrest returns to the US to live with his parents while having a mental break down not made any better by delays in receiving his test results, which finally come at the close of the play, once Thomas, in spite of himself, blesses Forrest.

author’s comments:
Some of the best dialogue I have ever written is in this play, which came out of my own HIV anxiety coupled with the real life story of two frat boys killed in a drunk driving collision in Mexico during spring break of 2001. Reduced to the bare elements of its plot, it sounds a bit like an after-school special or a Christian morality play, but once you start reading the script I’d like to believe it goes into places those mediums could never go, hopefully with a great deal more intelligence and sensitivity. Gender dynamics, racial stereotyping, class warfare, and the pressures of youth all play a role in very personal play that is oddly more worldly than the premise suggests. For me the script’s greatest strength, however, is in the vernacular of each character, and more than any other show I’ve written this one has the most diverse linguistic pallet, from the sexist, entitled, swear-word laden banter of the three boys, to the more intellectual bitterness of Thomas, the dreamy naiveté of Heidi, or the clinical, salt-less humor of Kristin, and the passive, fear-riddled exclamations of Ginger. The characters are conveyed in very strong, sharp, verbal contrasts with each other, and more than any other show I’ve written the dialogue is essential in the delineation of each figure and the role they play not only in the plot but in the society presented, and ultimately that’s what this play is: a social commentary, though not necessarily aimed in the obvious direction. Despite the title and the general piggishness displayed by Forest and his friends, the real antagonist of the piece is Thomas, who not only stands in for the audience, but also for me- never a fan of the frat boy mentality, and as one of the “artistic and intellectual set”, more or less their sworn enemy. But this play is about how lines get crossed, how certain things are universal regardless of class or social group, and some of those things are good, like forgiveness and love, and some of those things are bad, like greed and depravity, but all of those things are things we have in common, and all of them are things which make us human, and the loss of any human life is something to be mourned. In reality, each of us will come to a time, probably more than once, where we have to account for how we’ve lived and who we are, and I think we’d all like to believe our fellow human beings would see and judge us in the context of their own faults and fallibilities. Though Forest is the main character of the play (and actually one of my personal favorites of all my leading men), it’s Thomas’ arc that we’re following and his transformation which is the meaning at the center of it all.

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