WORDS by Glenn David Calloway

This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author's PRIOR consent


The set has two performing areas. Stage-Right occupies 1/3 of the stage area, Stage-Left 2/3. A cutaway wall, designed to not impede the audience's view of the two areas of the set, separates Stage-Right from Stage-Left

Stage-Right is the Writer's office. This is the office of a once-successful, now struggling playwright. The office is decorated to indicate the Writer's lost success surrounded by his/her's current struggle. A desk and desk chair are placed, so the Writer faces the audience. On the desk is a typewriter. To one side of the typewriter is a stack of blank typewriter paper; to the other is an 8 ½ by 11-inch empty basket used for completed pages. Down-stage from the desk to one side is a wastebasket filled with and surrounded by wadded-up paper balls. In the Up-stage wall, there is a door

Stage-Left: Represents what is happening in the Writer's mind. The walls Stage-left are painted black, with the Stage-Left wall having two openings, one Up-Stage, and one Down-Stage, for entering and exiting and set pieces setting and removing. The Up-Sage back wall is a rear-projection screen behind a black draw curtain

The set will have four lighting areas, and one follow spot. Area one Stage-Right (1/3 of the stage) is identified as light one and uses standard lighting throughout the play; a follow spotlight is used in area one in the first act. Stage-Left (2/3 of the stage) has four lighting areas, area two, light two (Stage-Left Down-Stage), area three-light three (Stage-Left Down-Stage), and four-light four (Stage-Left Up-Stage Center). Areas 2 through 4 use standard lighting. Also, Stage-Left will use UV Black Lights flooding Stage-Left

Stagehands setting and removing the props and furniture are dressed in UV Black Light reacting, all-white costumes. Pullover shirts with full-length sleeves, pants, shoes, gloves, and head coverings, leaving only their faces showing. No skin must be showing except for their faces. Use UV Black Light white makeup on their expressionless faces giving them a specter-like appearance

All the Stagehand's entrances and exits are to be done to choreographed to music (Stagehand music); their movements should be almost like ballet

The Writer (the actor) should encourage the audience to participate by shouting their answers or comments from the audience to the Writer on stage. The Writer should react and respond to the audience. A plant or two in the audience to start the interaction is a help

ACT ONE: The time is evening.
Sound Cue: Concentration music up.

Light Cue: Light one up.

The Writer, who has been on a career downhill slide for several years, is sitting at his desk, looking up at the ceiling in deep thought.

After several beats…

Sound Cue: Music out.

The Writer looks at the paper in the typewriter and shakes his head in disgust. Reaching out rips the paper out of the typewriter wads it into a ball, and throws it at the wastebasket missing it.

Rises from the chair and walks downstage.
Sound Cue: Concentration music up.
The Writer paces back and forth, deep in thought, and stops.
Sound Cue: Music out.
Turning to face the audience, he smiles a greeting and begins speaking.

WRITER: It's just words. Waves hand at all the paper wads on the floor and wastebasket. That all this is --- just words. The dictionary is full of them. Now here is an interesting fact for all of you to remember, there are approximately four hundred and seventy thousand words in Webster's dictionary. To write a play, all you have to do is pick the words you want and place them in an order that will make sense to an audience. Now, the trick is placing them in the correct order. There is nothing to it. Right? Wrong!
Shaking his head, he crosses to the desk and sits on the edge of the desk facing the audience.

WRITER: It's just words. Nothing to it. How many times have I heard that? And, it's always said by someone who hasn't tried to write a play.
Looks and the paper wads on the floor.

WRITER: It looks like I'm preparing for a snowball fight, doesn't it? Let me tell you what each one of those paper snowballs represents. Every one of those
Points at the paper wads.
was to be the beginning of a phenomenal new play. I never got past a title. Lots of titles lying there on the floor. What they represent are several years of my making artificial paper snowballs, but no great stageplays to show for my efforts, no bad ones either.
Cross Down-stage center

Now, I know you are thinking, what is his problem? "I can probably write a play." Right? Wrong! The talent to write a great play is a gift given to one of us lowly human beings by the God of literature. Who lives up there. (Points to the heavens above.) way up there0. Why do these Supreme Beings give this gift so selectively? I'll tell you why; to enjoy tormenting the chosen one, that's why. And why? Because that is what Gods do. And that precious gift can be taken away as rapidly as given. It would seem that the Gods have demanded I return their gift, hence, my dilemma and the source of my snowball collection.
Returns to the desk chair and sits. Places a sheet of paper in the typewriter, stares at it for a few beats, and then looks at the audience.
The first step in writing a play is to develop an idea, not just a title, and the idea must be good enough to be a play that will hold the audience's attention and entertain them simultaneously.
Leans back and looks at the ceiling.

Sound Cue: Bring up concentration music.
The Writer stares at the blank paper for a few beats, then looks up at the audience.

Sound Cue: Music out.
Nope, nothing yet.

Sound Cue: Concentration music up.
Stares at the blank paper and, after a beat or two, begins humming to the music, then chuckles.

Sound Cue: Music out.
3x5 cards.
Picks up 3x5 cards.
Every playwright’s portable brain. We use them all the time. We jot down ideas, plots, characters, titles, you name it.
Looks through the 3x5 cards and holds one up.
Let's see, I believe I have an idea for a play. How about we write a play together? Right now, tonight. Are you game for this?
Takes a beat.
Good! Let's begin.
Begins typing and speaks the words out loud.
The scene is a kitchen. There is a small breakfast table.

Sound Cue: Stagehand music.

Light Cue: Bring up Stage-Left Blacklight. Crossfade light 1 to the spotlight focused on the Writer. Stage-Left is empty.
Two stagehands, choreographed movement, bring in the breakfast table from the Down-Stage opening, ending by placing the table Down-Stage parallel to the audience. Standing at attention and looking at each other, they nod their heads and then exit the Stage-Left Up-Stage opening.

Sound Cue: Stagehand music out.

WRITER: And two chairs.

Sound Cue: Stagehand music up.
Two stagehands, choreographed movement, each bringing a chair from the Down-Stage opening, placing one chair on Stage-Right and one on Stage-Left of the table. Each takes one step back from the chair, stands at attention, looks at the audience, nods their head, looks back at the other, and picks up a chair. The stagehand Stage-Left crosses downstage of the table as the stagehand at the Stage-Right side of the table crosses upstage of the table to the stage left side, each placing their chair at the table together. Stand at attention, both look at the audience, nod their heads, look back at each other, and then exit stage Up-Stage opening.

Sound Cue: Stagehand Music out.

WRITER: The table is set for afternoon coffee with a cup at each end of the table.

Sound Cue: Stagehand music up.
Two stagehands, choreographed movement, enter the Down-Stage opening (choreographed movement), each with a cup and saucer. Facing each other, they nod heads, cross down to the table and place the cups down. Turn to each other and nod heads, then switch sides of the stage by stagehand at the Stage-Left side, crossing downstage of the stagehand on stage-right of the stage, crossing above to the other side. Stand at attention, turn head to the audience and nod, turn back to each other, nod, and exit stage-left exit.

Sound Cue: Stagehand music out.
Light Cue: Crossfade black light out with Lights 2 and 3 up.

WRITER: Jake, the husband to Sally, sits at the table in the stage left chair, reading a newspaper.

Enters from the upstage entrance carrying a newspaper, he crosses downstage, sits in stage left chair, opens the newspaper, and begins reading.

WRITER: Sally enters from the stage-left entrance, carrying a large kitchen knife, crosses to Jake, and, standing behind him, raises the knife high above her head.

Sound Cue: Bring up tension music with the heartbeat to a low level., Increase slowly as Sally enters with the kitchen knife, crosses to Jake, and raises the knife above her head.

Enters carrying a large kitchen knife. Standing behind Jake, she----.) as she crosses down to Jake, she raises the knife slowly above her head when…

WRITER: No, that won't work. Cross that out.
X's out dialog.

Lower the knife and exit the Up-Stage opening.

WRITER: It doesn't give me the effect we want for this scene. Let's see,
Begin typing again.
Sally enters stage left with a baseball bat.

Sound Cue: Bring up tension music with the heartbeat. Increase volume as Sally crosses to Jake.

Sally enters from the Up-Stage opening, crosses to Jake, and raises the bat high above her head when…


Sally freezes, holding the bat high above her head.

Looks at the audience.
That would be too hard to do in a stage production; it would be very messy and probably give the actor one heck of a headache. We'll have to come up with something different. Let's see now. Looks up at the ceiling.
Sound Cue: Concentration music up, leave for several beats, then quickly fade out.

WRITER: I think I have it; see if you agree.
Begins typing.
Sally enters---

Sound Cue: Tension music with the heartbeat. Slowly raise the volume as Sally crosses the stage.


WRITER: A clear glass container filled with colored liquid is held high above her head. She crosses to Jake and is about to dump the liquid on Jake when she stops and pauses

Sound Cue: Fade music out.
lowers the container crosses to the stage-right chair, placing the container on the table

Sound Cue: bring up sweet-sounding music.
and sits in the chair, looking at Jake. Jake greets Sally.

From behind the newspaper.
Good morning, dear.

He Lowers the newspaper, looks at Sally and smiles, then raises the newspaper and continues reading.

Sally looks at Jake and shakes her head, then places her elbows on the table and her head in her hands.

Sound Cue: Music out.

Light Cue: Lights two and three out.
Writer: Scene ends.

Exit the Up-Stage opening

Light Cue: Blacklight up Spotlight out

Sound Cue: Stagehands music on.

Stagehands enter choreographed movement from the Down-Stage opening two at a time and remove cups, saucers, chairs, and table exiting the Up-Stage opening.
Light Cue: Fade Blacklight

WRITER: Now, That’s not a bad beginning, is it? Makes you wonder what the heck is going on with Sally and Jake, right? It makes you curious as to what brought Jake and Sally to that moment in their relationship, right? Right!

Light Cue: Crossfade Spot out with Light 1 up
Rise and cross down-stage and pick up six paper snowballs.

WRITER: But more importantly, are you beginning to understand it’s not just about putting words together? No, words must be in a sequence that presents a question.
Place one snowball on the floor.

WRITER: An answer.
Place a second snowball on the floor in line with the first going from Stage-Right towards Stage-Left.

WRITER: A problem.
Place the third snowball on the floor in line with the others.

WRITER: A solution.
Place the fourth in line.

WRITER: A description.
Place the fifth in line.

WRITER: Or emotion.
Place the sixth in line.

WRITER: Yes, words have many uses, and you can tell a story with them. Remember, “In the beginning, there was the Word,” and that started it all. However, all writers realize that it is how you use the words to not just tell a story, but tell a great story or an awful story; or maybe just end up as
Point to paper wads
snowballs lying on the floor.
Kick the line of snowballs towards the waste basket.
I believe it to be a fact that the writer will always be judged by the words they choose and how they are used.
Cross back to the desk chair.
That is what defines the successful from the less than successful. The famous from the forgotten But, enough of my nonsense
Sit in the chair.
I’m sure you wonder what Jake and Sally were like before their shared coffee break and Jake’s almost demise or near drenching. Well, to be truthful, I am also curious. At this moment, just like you, I have no idea. Do you have any? Well, we could consider how they met for the next scene in our play. Shall we begin and see where this goes? Well, should we!
NOTE: Encourage the audience to respond.

WRITER: On stage are two chairs side-by-side.

Light Cue: Crossfade light 1 out, bring up the spotlight on the Writer, and bring up the Blacklight Stage-Left.

Music Cue: Stagehand music on
Two stagehands enter from the Down-Stage opening, each with a chair, Choreographed movement crossing down-stage center, placing the chairs side by side facing the audience. Stagehands take one step back and look at the chairs.

WRITER: Representing a taxi’s passenger seat facing the audience.
Stagehands look at each other, each picking up their chairs. One Stagehand crosses Down-Stage, and the other crosses Up-Stage, reversing their position and placing their chairs side by side facing the audience. They nod at each other, then turn and exit the Up-Stage opening.

Light Cue: Blacklight out cross fade light I out with spotlight up.

WRITER: The scene begins with Jake hailing a Taxi.

Light Cue: lights two and three up.

Sound Cue: Vehicle traffic passing by.

Jake enters from the stage-left entrance waving his arm as he shouts.

Sound Cue: Car coming to a stop played over passing vehicle traffic.) (Crosses to the chair stage-left pantomimes opening the taxi’s door.

Rushes in from the up-stage entrance hurrying down to Jake.
Please, mister, let me have this taxi! I’m late for an important meeting, and I’m sure you can get another in a minute or two.

JAKE: This is New York, Miss; taxies don’t grow on trees.

SALLY: Please, if I’m late for my interview, I’ll lose my chance for a job I really want.

JAKE: I’ve heard that one before.

SALLY: No, it’s the truth. I’m not making it up. My plane was late getting here, and it threw me off schedule. Please let me have this taxi.

JAKE: Miss, I have been in meetings all day, and I’m famished; I was going to dinner. Now, I would like to accommodate you, but…

Please! I have been waiting for weeks for this interview to happen. It’s a very important interview, and it is very important to me.

JAKE: Where is this interview?

SALLY: It’s at the Le Cibo Buono restaurant.

JAKE: That’s an odd name?

SALLY: It is a difficult name to pronounce.

Miss pronounces the restaurant name.
Lee Chibro Brewano, or however it is pronounced, is a mouth full in itself. Do they have good food there?

SALLY: Why, yes. Its cuisine is excellent.

JAKE: Well, I was going to a different restaurant for dinner. But I’m not a picky eater, so if you don’t mind, we can share the taxi, and on your recommendation of the cuisine at that unpronounceable restaurant's name, I’ll have my dinner there.

SALLY: Oh, thank you, thank you, we’ll share the fare. You are a lifesaver.

WRITER: Jake holds the door open.

Pantomimes opening and holding the door open for Sally; as Sally enters the taxi, she scoots over to make room for Jake, who then enters and pantomimes closing the door.

Sound Cue: Crossfade traffic passing with the outside traffic passing.

Light Cue: Fade out the spotlight on the Writer.

SALLY: Driver, Le Cibo Buono restaurant, please.
Sound Cue: Care driving away over passing traffic.

JAKE: I guess I should introduce myself. I’m Jacob Marley, Jake for short. And you are?

SALLY: I’m just plain Sally.

JAKE: Just plain Sally? If I may be so bold as to say so, you are an attractive woman. I can’t see anything plain about you.

SALLY: Why thank you.

JAKE: And from the way you insisted you needed the taxi more than I, it was both forceful and feminine. A rare quality, I might add.

A little uneasy.
You are too kind.

JAKE: And I would also assume that you are an adventurous woman because you are willing to share this cab with me, a total stranger.

Changing the subject.
Thank you for your compliments and observations. May I ask you a personal question?

JAKE: Yes.

SALLY: How did you come by your name? I must assume your parents named you, but why Jacob Marley?

JAKE: My father is a big fan of Dickens, and his favorite of Dicken’s works is “A Christmas Carol.” And since our last name was Marley, well?

SALLY: He named you Jacob.

JAKE: To my regret, yes, he did. Growing up, I’ve had to endure a ton of kidding about my name.

SALLY: Like what?

JAKE: Well, there was this girl I was attracted to, and the guys would tease me with comments like, “YOU don’t have a GHOST of a chance with her, MARLEY. Or how GHOST it with her MARLEY? What GHOST around comes around MARLEY. Things like that.

Holding back a laugh.
That was mean.

JAKE: It was OK…I kept my spirits up.

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