Killing Me Softly: A Valentine’s Day Pageant

category: short play
genre: holiday pageant
running time: 20 minutes
setting: a bar
period: contemporary

Deva, a jaded woman in a bar
Felicity, a hopeful woman in a bar
Marco, a hopeful man in a bar
Josephine, his girlfriend
Angela, his best friend, a lesbian
Gabe, his stoner buddy
Mike, his drinking buddy
Ralph, his asshole friend

Deva lectures the audience on the true meaning of Valentine’s Day, talking to them like a bunch of college students, while Felicity offers a warmer narrative telling the history of Marco, a man who hit on her at the bar that night. Marco once dated Josephine, a girl he met in a shop class, and their romance was so whirlwind that, despite protests from Marco’s buddies, they moved in together after only six weeks. Eventually, in the wake of an unwanted pregnancy scare, they break up when Josephine leaves Marco for one of the frat boys who owns the house their in-law apartment is connected to. Marco goes back to looking for love in all the wrong places.

author’s comments:
This piece was written on command to headline San Francisco Theater Pub’s second event, an anti-Valentine’s Day pageant pandering directly to the love/hate relationship we all have with what’s supposed to be “the most romantic day of the year.” It’s also one more piece in a category of plays slowly emerging within my larger canon: basically plays set in San Francisco that contain recurring characters, in this case Felicity and Deva, who first appeared in Men and Women and Broken Dates, respectively. That this piece is arguably one of the bitterest plays I’ve ever written, doesn’t diminish the fact that it’s also one of the funniest, in my opinion. I unabashedly stole the structure from the proverbial Christmas Pageant, which I think makes for an interesting way of discussing an otherwise pedestrian everyman relationship story- especially if Felicity is played enough like a Sunday school teacher to bring home the message that ultimately it’s our bitter experiences in romance that make most people such complete dicks at the bar- especially on Valentine’s Day.

Staged Readings:

San Francisco Theater Pub, February 15, 2010 at the Café Royale in San Francisco, California. Directed by Stuart Eugene Bousel; Lighting by Brian Markley. Cast: Xanadu Bruggers (Felicity), Kai Morrison (Marco), Molly Benson (Josephine), Joe Miller (Gabe), Ryan Hayes (Mike), Warden Lawlor (Ralph), Sara Briendel (Angela), Carole Swann (Deva)

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