Getting Inspired from Objects: a Scene

Playwriting Exercises - CREATIVE CUP OF TEA

Professor Musgrave held a workshop about getting inspired from objects (I wrote a post about it in the section “About Playwriting”) and then he told us to write a scene in which an object that was at least 30 years old was present. This is my scene.


The stage is slightly inclined in a rise. The trees grow tall on the sides of the street. Snow is melting on the ground. The light is white and cold. Noise of solitary birds. Jen enters the scene. She is reading the book Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis. She is a college student of 21 years old. She’s holding two shopping bags and rising the hill slowly, walking on the pavement. She’s wearing a long black skirt, a fur coat and a fur hat. She is also wearing gloves. Jen tries to turn the page, but she can’t because of the gloves.

Jen: Bloody hell…

She tries again and fails, flipping the whole book. She puts them off.

Jen: Fuck. Stupid cold.

Harry enters on scene. Jen looks up as she hears the noise of his steps. He’s wearing a hat and he’s taking a plastic bag full of clashing bottles. He’s coming in the opposite direction. She stops. They’re a metre apart.

Jen: Party hard tonight.

Harry: Yeah. Just off the city. What are you doing instead?

Jen puts down the book, keeping a finger in the middle of it.

Jen: Just chilling, I guess.

Harry: Which means no plans at all?

Jen: Yes. No plans.

Harry moves the bag full of bottles from his right hand to his left as it is too heavy for him. Silence.

Harry: Is it true then?

Jen: What?

Harry: That you’re going to quit college.

Jen: Who told you?

Harry: The black squirrel. It’s our mascot. Everyone knows that the black squirrels know everything at Sarah Lawrence College.

Jen: I’m not sure who told you, but I am positive I don’t want to talk about it.

Harry (pointing at the bags she’s holding): Did you buy clothes because you felt miserable?

Jen (looking at her own shopping bags as if she sees them for the first time): I may have. None of your business as well.

Harry: At least you’re reading a book. It is a good sign that you didn’t get as low as you seem.

Jen: Woah. Should I get it as a compliment or should I just tell you to go fuck yourself? Please enlighten me.

Harry (pointing at the book with his chin): What is it?

Jen: Lucky JIm by Kingsley Amis.

Harry: Never heard of it.

Jen: Why it doesn’t surprise me?

Harry (smiling sarcastically): You got worse, you know it?

Jen: Oh really? Cause I have only been insulted in the last 5 minutes. And I am cold, and I want to go home. You’re on my way and start telling me how low I am. Do you think I should be jumping around with joy?

Harry (nodding knowingly): You’re definitely going to drop school.

Jen: I am definitely going to drop a huge shit on your front door tonight, if you keep on assuming stuff you don’t know anything about.

Harry: You may be right, I don’t know anything about the matter, but I know you.

Jen: Oh, this really sounds like a fucking romantic comedy shit to say. Now step off, Daniel Cleaver.

Jen walks past him, avoiding any contact with Harry.

Harry: Who the fuck is Daniel Cleaver?

Jen: Never mind.

Harry turns around and grabs her forearm.

Jen (getting back suddenly): Don’t touch me.

Harry leaves her.

Harry: Have you stopped?

Jen: Stop what?

Harry: You know what. I swept your whole room and washed your own vomit away from your stupid hair.

Jen: That was nice of you. You had told the whole counselling team that I was depressed. They checked on me everyday. They opened the door while I was fucking waxing my vagina, watching Harry Potter and crying. At the same time.

Harry (laughing): That’s funny though.

Jen: Oh really? Very funny. They found the pills. And the alcohol. Then they called my parents. I am going back to that shitty hole in New Jersey now.

Harry: So it’s true then.

Jen: Of course it’s true. Thanks to you.

Harry: Oh, come on, don’t fuck with me. You hated this college almost as much as you hate yourself.

Jen (turning and going away): I am not going to thank you for a stupid decision you took that screwed up my whole life. Forget about it.

Harry: I did it because I wanted to help you.

Jen (turns to him again): You did it because you didn’t want to feel like the worst piece of shit when I was depressed and you went fucking that skank in your Old English class.

Harry: Depression didn’t make you nicer.

Jen: Never mind. You wouldn’t get nicer even if you spent a three-months full time etiquette training at Buckingham Palace.

Jen goes away. Harry watches her leaving.



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