PLAYWRITING, WITH SAMPLE #mondayblogs #newplay #amwriting

Last week I told you about the Red Theater November challenge. Seven days later I have written seven more plays. The first few plays I wrote were actually scenes. I wrote to the daily prompts, and at some point I began to have fun with it. The last two or three plays might actually be plays. I’ve written at least two with my characters from the upcoming Ella Baker play. I’ve written at least two more with Shirley Combs and Dr. Mary Watson (characters from my mystery novel series).

I wrote one monologue that creeps me out to think about. The prompt was:  “write a confessional for someone else. Share their secret, but code it as another person with another gender and another back story- then? Tell the world.” I didn’t want to. When I thought about a confessional, I couldn’t stop thinking about the guy who molested me when I was 12 years old. I looked the guy up online. Found the date of his death and where he was buried. As a young person, I swore I would one day dance on his grave. When he died, I was 34 years old. I went to his burial site and danced on his grave. He’s buried in the same cemetery as my last step-father. So, in the end I wrote a monologue in his voice about his molesting me. Gack. It did not make me feel better. And now I have this monologue. I don’t know what, if anything, I will ever do with it. I did NOT put a link on my Author page because doing so would make me feel too vulnerable.

In the title I promise a sample of my playwriting. This is one I wrote today. The prompt was to write a BAD play. See what you think:

November 9 — Headed for Broadway, by Sandra de Helen copyright 2015


BROADWAY JOE Best looking young man on the planet, 20ish

BROADWAY BABY Most talented triple-threat you can find, 19 and not a day over

STAR ISBORN The next Judy Garland

SETTING:  A barn in Iowa

TIME:  Current minute.

AT RISE:  JOE is at the piano, tinkling the keys and smiling, showing at least 24 teeth. BABY is bent over straightening her fish-net stockings, showing her best assets to the audience. STAR is staring dreamily into space.

JOE: Who’s gonna sing this next one? You Baby?

STAR:  I’m the singer. I’ll sing.

BABY:  I’m a triple threat, I can sing.

JOE:  Let’s all sing. I can sing too. Here we go. Come in right after the intro.

BABY:  Okay, Joe. How do I look?

STAR:  Got it.

JOE PLAYS. THEY SING. Here are the lyrics, the music is still being worked on.


Hello, I’m Broadway Joe,

and I’m Broadway Baby,

But I’m Star, and I’ll be the breakout of this show!

We’re headed for Broadway,

oh we’re headed for Broadway

yes we’re headed for Broadway

And we’ll all be household names

by the end of the year.

JOE: That was great!

BABY:  Perfect!

STAR:  My solo isn’t long enough. Is there something we can do about that?

JOE:  You could sing slower, maybe repeat your line?

STAR:  Okay that sounds great. I need to take a cigarette break.

BABY:  My momma doesn’t let me smoke.

JOE:  I’ve heard that smoking isn’t good for your voice.

STAR:  I don’t care. I plan to live hard and die young.

BABY:  I wish I’d thought of that.

JOE:  I’ll live forever and always have a job. Plus I’ll get paid more than either of you, even if you’re bigger stars.

BABY:  That’s true.

STAR:  It doesn’t matter. I sing because I can. I don’t need that much money. Just enough for coffee, cigarettes, booze, and drugs —  when I get famous.

BABY:  I want lots and lots of money. I want to drink champagne three times a day, have a personal trainer, and wear lots of jewels.

JOE:  Oh Baby, you’ll always have that, even if Broadway doesn’t pan out. Which it will. (HE jumps up, and starts dancing, twirling all around the barn, while singing the following.)


We are the prettiest, handsome-est, liveliest

people on the planet at the moment, or at least

the ones who are actively pursuing a career

on Broadway …

On Broadway …

On Broadway …

We’ll flash our teeth our tits our asses

We’ll work all day, and then go to classes,

We’ll be discovered as we open the

door to the rehearsal hall for auditions

because we’re the prettiest, the handsome-est,

we’re simply the best thing to happen to


BABY:  Can you show me those dance moves?

JOE:  As soon as I catch my breath.

STAR:  I can show you, Baby, but you have to do them less well than I do.

BABY:  I can do anything. I’m a triple threat.

(STAR shows BABY the dance steps, and BABY does them perfectly.)

STAR:  I told you to do them less well than I do.

BABY:  That’s hard.

STAR:  For a triple threat, you’re not very threatening. But I am! (SHE pulls out a switchblade.)

BABY: Oooh! (SHE pulls out a switchblade from her fishnets.)

JOE:  A rumble! (HE flies to the piano and plays a rip-off of West Side Story, but not such a rip-off that the playwright could get sued.)

BABY and STAR dance around, flashing their switchblades, until the song is nearly over. Then BABY stabs STAR in the heart.

STAR does a classic death scene.

BABY:  Oh, Joe, what have I done?

JOE:  You’ve ended two careers in one fell swoop. Fortunately, my career is still intact.


Hello, I’m Broadway Joe,

Broadway Baby is headed for jail.

Star is headed for hell.

But I’m headed for Broadway,

oh I’m headed for Broadway

yes I’m headed for Broadway

And I’ll be a household name

by the end of the year.