category: short play
running time: fifteen minutes
setting: an unnamed urban location in the USA
period: the 1980s
Man 1, our hero
Man 2, his co-worker
Boss, who is a woman
Mother, who is married to Man 1
Child, who is their son
Man 3, who is married to the Boss
Stripper, who is Man 1’s daughter
The story follows three different men who are trying to navigate the fast-paced world of 1980’s America. One man is working hard to support a wife and children, though his daughter is, unbeknownst to him, a professional stripper. The second man is having an affair with his boss’s husband, both men attempting to communicate their love to one another while living in fear of discovery and the AIDS epidemic. The women in the story are all marginalized- stuck in the wife, bitch and whore tropes that was the fall-out of the previous era’s women’s liberation movement. Meanwhile the child who will become Generation X copes with it all by watching television.
I wrote this piece as part of a festival celebrating the 100 year anniversary of my college. I was assigned the 1980’s and given the option of either writing about Reed in the 1980s or America as a whole. Since I attended Reed between 1996 and 2000, I opted for the wider subject of America, figuring I could at least point to the kid in the story and be like, “Well, hey, that’s why I was such a pain in the ass here.” I like this piece a lot, actually, and would love to see a full performance of it someday (it was given a staged reading at Reed, where my former theater professor played the Stripper) or have it turned into a short film. I think it’s oddly very beautiful in places, and also really really funny. I always like to credit my sources, and so I must also add that the basic premise, the notorious fruit/vegetable debate, was given to me by my long-time artistic associate, Nirmala Nataraj. I could never have written this play without that suggestion.