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Jun 01

Stars (ten minute play)

This isn’t something I’ve really done before, but I thought I’d give it a shot. In between drafts of the current full-length play, I put together a little ten-minute piece that I can start sending around. It’s both completely like me, and a bit of a departure.

Please note that I’m using the singular ‘they’ for both the characters. I would have no problem with a director casting this with any combination of genders, but I wanted to leave it open from my point of view.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

STARS, by D.J. Sylvis

 

SETTING: The stage is split into two outside areas, with porch / patio furniture, etc. It is night and the lights are dim.

AT RISE: AKIA is lying on their back to one side, looking up, talking on the phone. When we hear REN reply, at the beginning they are offstage.

 

AKIA
You need to come see this.

REN (O.S.)
Don’t.

AKIA
Seriously.

REN (O.S.)
That’s cruel. I can’t do that.

AKIA
You know what I mean.

REN (O.S.)
I can’t come outside. I can go outside –

AKIA
Okay –

REN (O.S.)
But it’s a different outside. And I’ll be seeing something different.

AKIA
Just get your ass out there, please?

REN (O.S.)
Okay, fine.

AKIA
It’s worth it.

REN (O.S.)
That’s what you said about that Youtube thing.

AKIA
Had you ever seen a lemur do that?

REN (O.S.)
Admittedly not.

AKIA
Outside.

REN (O.S.)
I am outside.

AKIA
Liar.

REN (O.S.)
It’s a beautiful night. The crickets are … doing that crickety thing.

AKIA
I can tell by your voice. It’s still got that echo from those the green and white ceramic kitchen tiles –

REN (O.S.)
You pay way too much attention to my pictures.

AKIA
No lie there.

REN
(entering the stage on the other side)
I’m really out now.

AKIA
Did you turn off the lights?

REN
What?

AKIA
You have to turn off the lights.

REN
Is there someone waiting in the bushes? Just a minute.
(they exit, the lights dim further, they come back on)
It’s dark, you know. Really dark.
(raising their voice)
GOOD THING I HAVE MY MACE RIGHT HERE. AND A DOG. A BIG DOG.

AKIA
I think you’re safe.

REN
WITH BIG TEETH.

AKIA
Yes, yes. Have you found a comfortable spot?

REN
You know there are ants out here. And … non-ant crawly things.
(they settle in somewhere comfortable)
Only for you. Now what?

AKIA
Are you looking up?

REN
What?

AKIA
Look. Up.

REN
To see what? A tree branch? A passing plane?

AKIA
Way beyond that.

REN
A satellite?

AKIA
Look up!

REN
Did you hire a skywriter? Because, you know, night time. Where am I looking?

AKIA
Everywhere. The sky is the thing. Look at it.

REN
Okay. Jeez.
(they take a moment, gazing into the sky)
Okay, I’m …That’s pretty … wow.

AKIA
Finally.

REN
Wow.

AKIA
Very wow.

REN
It’s just …

AKIA
Exactly.

REN
(stretches, trying to find a comfortable spot)
How did you even know the sky – my sky – would be clear?

AKIA
I always know. Your weather is set up in an app beside mine.

REN
I guess it is the information age.

AKIA
No one calls it that anymore.

REN
Just shut up, you. You wanted me to see, I’m seeing.
(they just look up into their respective night skies.)
It looks endless. How far up can we see into space?

AKIA
Generally, about thirty quadrillion kilometres.

REN
Is that all? I thought it’d be at least, at least, forty. A good forty-one.

AKIA
Very funny.

REN
I knew you’d have the answer.

AKIA
I always do.

REN
Okay, Bill Nye the Science Guy, how many million stars are visible?

AKIA
Wayyyy off the mark.

REN
I didn’t even guess!

AKIA
Still.

REN
How many then, wiseass?

AKIA
Maybe two thousand, twenty-five hundred stars at any given time.

REN
Nerd.

AKIA
I’m the nerd?

REN
My nerd. My adorable, sexy nerd.

AKIA
Well … that’s different.

REN
I’d hope so.

AKIA
It’s a little chilly here.

REN
You need someone to curl up with.

AKIA
Did you have a suggestion?

REN
I might. How far apart are we?

AKIA
About thirteen thousand kilometers.

REN
About?

AKIA
Well, you move around. Thirteen thousand, six hundred and fourteen.

REN
I do like that you know the particulars.
(spends a moment looking up again)
Which one of them is closest?

AKIA
Alpha Centauri. Four point two light years.

REN
I don’t know light years.

AKIA
About … thirty-eight trillion kilometers.

REN
Again with the about?

AKIA
You gotta give me this one.

REN
So it’s further.

AKIA
A bit.

REN
It’s gotta suck if you’re the Sun with a crush on Alpha … whatever.

AKIA
Centauri. You have a crush on me? You have a crush on me …

REN
Shut up. Nerd.

AKIA
Again! I take umbrage with a person who has multiple – MULTIPLE – sci-fi tattoos calling me a nerd.

REN
You love it.

AKIA
All your stuff could be happening out there, right now, you know. All your Treks and Wars and Bases …

REN
Hush, you. Respect your elders.

AKIA
I’m trying, ancient one.

REN
I’ll have you know I was in the star wars.

AKIA
Is that a fact?

REN
I fought in a star war.

AKIA
Wasn’t all of that long ago and far away?

REN
That’s how old I am.

AKIA
Uh huh. I don’t recall watching you in the –

REN
Not the one that everyone knows about. One of the others. There have been lots of star wars they didn’t write up in the history books.
(they point up into the sky)
You see that star right there?

AKIA
I can’t –

REN
Not that one, to the left. That’s the one I saved. I’ve got a medal.

AKIA
Dork.

REN
You’re a nerd, I’m a dork. We were made for each other.

AKIA
They could have, you know, made you here.

REN
We should register a complaint.

AKIA
Sorry, I know I talk about it a lot, but …

REN
Yeah. Dammit.

AKIA
Thirteen thousand, six hundred and fourteen.

REN
We’ll make it to zero. We’ll make it to millimetres.

AKIA
Closer than that.

(There is another pause while they get lost in the sky and the closeness between them. There is a beep in the background.)

AKIA
What happened?

REN
My phone is starting to die.

AKIA
Oh.

REN
I meant to charge it.

AKIA
You are getting forgetful.

REN
I’ll have to set alarms soon to set my alarms.

AKIA
I’m glad we had some time. I’m glad you told me to come out.

REN
I still have a few minutes.

AKIA
Okay.

REN
Just keeping you in the loop. Give me another one of your sciencey star facts, big brain.

AKIA
I knew it was getting you hot. Umm … did you know that just about every star you see is actually more powerful than the Sun?

REN
Now that’s hot.

AKIA
Red hot. Or even … blue hot.

REN
Okay.

AKIA
Because blue is the –

REN
Don’t ruin this for me.
(there is a rustling noise)
Fuck what was that?

AKIA
What happened?

REN
I don’t know. It’s dark.
(yelling as earlier)
CUJO! GET BACK HERE, BOY! STOP EATING THOSE TRESPASSERS!

AKIA
Cujo?

REN
I was improvising. I think it was just a … whatever. Thing that runs around in bushes.
(their phone beeps again)
Shit. Five percent. Anything else you wanted to share with the class?

AKIA
One more. The greater majority of the stars you’re looking at, probably about four-fifths or so –

REN
Get to the point.

AKIA
Are binary stars.

REN
Really?

AKIA
Two stars locked in orbit.

REN
Yeah.

AKIA
Balanced together, rotating around one another –

REN
But never touching.

AKIA
Well, no. They couldn’t really –

REN
Never close enough to …

AKIA
(getting it just then)
Not yet.

REN
Not yet.
(after a long, quiet moment)
My phone’s gonna die.

AKIA
Okay.

REN
But I’ll stay out here a while longer.

AKIA
I will, too. Hey.
(sounding a bit rushed)
I love you.

REN
(pauses, a bit surprised)
I … love you, too.

AKIA
Good, then.

REN
Yeah.

AKIA
Good.

REN
Have a good night.

AKIA
And a good sleep. And good dreams.

REN
They will be.
(after a moment)
Maybe there’s time for one more –

(There is another beep, and the phone obviously dies. Akia is looking at their phone, too. They both smile wanly and set them aside, looking back up at the sky.)

copyright 2016 D.J. Sylvis, please email with any request for rights

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