Sample Play

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An excerpt from DOG BONE, a short play  

The black box set consists of a circle of light, stage left. Stage right, a generally-lit area with a 5x10 shallow sand box (representing a small flower garden) Planted in it are a plastic dogwood tree, a few crocuses with blooms about to open, and a few clumps of weeds.

Cast:

Mother—aged 40, hair pulled back in a low pony tail, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. 
Daughter—aged 20, Dressed in jeans and t-shirt. They’re both sweaty.
Dog—played by a slightly built male or female in reddish brown leotard and tights. Hair died the same color as the tights. 
When Dog is in the sand box set, he behaves like a dog, moving on all fours. After he wakes up at the beginning, he improvises various dog actions—scratching, lifting his leg, sniffing, sitting back on his haunches like he’s “sitting.” He sometimes listens to the Mother and Daughter. Sometimes, he seems to get bored and ignore them. The Mother and Daughter don’t see ever him. When he moves to the circle of light, he stands upright and moves like a human. When he’s in the circle of light, he directs his actions and gaze toward the audience.

Lights up. Mother is kneeling on the edge of the sandbox, peering into it. Daughter is rooting around at various places in the sandbox with the edge of a shovel. The Dog is sleeping just behind the sandbox, lying so flat the audience almost can’t see him. As the Mother and Daughter dig, he gradually begins to wake up and look startled. The digging and poking continues for a little while before the Daughter speaks to allow the Dog time to start waking up.

DAUGHTER
Is this the right spot?

MOTHER
The crocuses are just starting to come up. 

DAUGHTER
Is this it?

[Digging continues for a few moments while the Dog continues to wake up. He looks annoyed and disoriented , then gets up and stretches.]


MOTHER
This is the last time we’ll ever see them.

DAUGHTER
We’ve got to hurry. The truck’s almost loaded up. Those men aren’t going to wait forever. Please tell me where it is.

MOTHER
I’m not sure. [Daughter starts to dig the shovel in a particular place.] Don’t. Wait.

DAUGHTER
Maybe we should forget this.

MOTHER
Those people will turn this little plot into a show place. [bitterly] They are such big gardeners.

DAUGHTER
Yeah, yeah, they are. So let’s get on with it.

MOTHER
I never thought I’d have to do this. I hate to garden. I can’t stand digging, dirt under my fingernails.

[Dog lifts it legs on some weeds.]

DAUGHTER
This just looks like a bunch of weeds here. [Digs shovel in it. It clinks against something that sounds metallic.]

MOTHER
Please, please be careful

DAUGHTER
Look. I don’t think we should do this. Where can we put them, even if we find them?

MOTHER
Put them?

DAUGHTER
These bones or whatever they are?


MOTHER
They’re Shannon. Shannon. You remember Shannon.

DAUGHTER
I don’t.

MOTHER
You’ve always said you remember him.

DAUGHTER
Can anybody really remember? I remember what you said I remember. I remember the idea of a dog.

MOTHER
What do you mean?

DAUGHTER
I remember lots of things. My Elsie the Borden Cow jumpsuit. The bathroom before we added the shower. The spooky wallpaper in my room—those terrible brown dots I tried to chip away when I was supposed to be sleeping. 

MOTHER
Well, these people will take of that, I’m sure. They’ll stipple the wall or panel it. Or maybe even box it into a powder room with a bidet. [Dog lifts his leg on the tree.] I had a dream last night. [pause] Shannon was galloping or more like loping, the way he used to. But he was on the roof. Something was burning—asphalt, falling shingles hitting the ground. Your father was wearing one of my old nightgowns. He was leaning over the gutter with a butcher knife trying to cut a hole for the dog to fall through. I think he was trying to save him.

DAUGHTER
Save him from what?

MOTHER
Just save him. It was a dream. 

[long pause while digging continues in order to allow Dog to begin moving to the circle of light.] 

[During this following exchange, Dog stands and moves to the circle of light. In sync with the speech, he lies down like he’s sleeping. At the appropriate moment in the monologue, he mimes getting hit on the head by a thrown object. He looks startled at the audience and stands upright. Facing the audience, he mimes catching things in a catcher’s mitt. After each catch, he gently lays the object on the ground in front of him as he stares at the audience.] 

MOTHER
When you were first born, Shannon would sleep under your crib. When you got bored, you’d throw things through the slats onto the floor. 

DAUGHTER
What kinds of things? 

MOTHER
Your wind-up lamb that played music. Those soft ABC blocks. He’d pick them up so gently and walk around with them in his mouth like they were doves and he was trying to find the hunter. He’d end up dropping them right on the edge of the carpet so you could reach them and throw them out again.

DAUGHTER
I loved that.

MOTHER
I thought you didn’t remember.

DAUGHTER
For God’s sake. I was there. They were my toys.