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Jason Sharp as Al, Sharon Barto Gouran as Patty, Brandon Ryan as James, Annie Lareau as Nancy. Photo by Omar Willey.

This Isn't Happening

Produced at the 14/48 festival, 1/15/16. The randomly drawn theme for that night: "Unfinished Business." My random actor draw: write a play for two men and two women.

Two separate, interleaved conversations: James & Nancy; Al & Patty.

JAMES: I want to get the band back together.

NANCY: Are you out of your fucking mind?

JAMES: Iím not.

NANCY: The band broke up because we all hated each other.

JAMES: That was five years ago.

NANCY: Have you even spoken to Al or Patty in the last five years?

JAMES: I just had coffee with Al.

NANCY: What?

JAMES: Heís back in town.

NANCY: When did that happen?

JAMES: I donít know. Recently I guess.

NANCY: What about Patty?

JAMES: Al said he would talk to Patty.


PATTY: Are you out of your fucking mind?

AL: Heís been writing songs again.

PATTY: Great. He can put out a fucking solo record.

AL: Yeah I suggested that, and he said, ďWhat am I, Paul McCartney?Ē

PATTY: He fucking wishes he was Paul McCartney.

AL: Anyway the point is he wants to tour again. As a band.

PATTY: Heís broke, right? Thatís what this is about?


NANCY: Because it sounds like youíre broke.

JAMES: Iím not!

NANCY: Do you know how ugly it is when bands get back together because theyíre broke?

JAMES: Iím not broke. I still live uptown. I just bought a $12,000 espresso machine.

NANCY: What?

JAMES: I mean, I bought it used. It has some light scuffing. Look, Iím not rich, Iím not broke, Iím just - Iím writing songs again.


PATTY: Are they any good?

AL: Yeah, the feel is definitely there. I mean, theyíre just demos. But theyíre really tight.

PATTY: What are they about?

AL: I donít know. Heís just laying down scratch vocals right now. Placeholders.

PATTY: Whatever. All he ever writes about is himself.

AL: To be fair, heís considered one of the most nuanced practitioners of the autobiographical idiom in songwriting-

PATTY: Donít you fucking quote Pitchfork at me, Al.

AL: Sorry.


JAMES: And we didnít all hate each other. I mean, you guys never hated each other, right? And you and Al didnít hate me or Patty, you just hated me and Patty.

NANCY: And Patty hated you in the end.

JAMES: Obviously, but look, I never hated anybody, not even Patty. I was sad about her, yes. Iím still sad about her.

NANCY: Ohhhh. Thatís what this is about?

JAMES: What?

NANCY: You want to get the band back together so that you have a rational excuse to be in the same room with Patty again. Am I getting warm here?

JAMES: No, thatís ridiculous, I mean, I told you already, Iím just - Iím writing songs again.

NANCY: About what?

JAMES: About Patty.

NANCY: Dammit!


AL: You should come into the studio and just listen to the demos.

PATTY: Thereís no point.

AL: Sure there is. Theyíre good songs. I think if you heard them-

PATTY: If I heard them, what? Iíd drop everything going on in my life to be a side player in his band again? Because why would I do that?

AL: Well - the studio has an extremely nice espresso machine.


NANCY: Anyway you did actually hate somebody. You hated yourself. Thatís what all your songs were about. Thatís what Patty hated about you in the end.

JAMES: Did she tell you that?

NANCY: No. She didnít have to. Thatís what her songs are about.

JAMES: What songs?

NANCY: The songs on her albums? Please tell me youíve listened to her albums.

JAMES: I havenít. Are they any good?

NANCY: Of course theyíre good!

JAMES: Donít say ďof courseĒ like itís some automatic thing to write good songs.

NANCY: She spent most of her twenties playing your songs in your band. She had plenty of exposure to genius songwriting. Trust me, she picked up a few things. You really havenít listened to her albums?

JAMES: I didnít know about her albums! Are they on Spotify?

NANCY: Of course theyíre on Spotify!

JAMES: See, I hate Spotify, I prefer vinyl.


PATTY: Are you recording with him?

AL: I was thinking about it.

PATTY: Why donít you play in my band instead?

AL: What band?

PATTY: Iím opening for Airee Macpherson. East coast for sure, probably Europe.

AL: Really?

PATTY: Yes ďreally,Ē Jesus.

AL: No, I just meant - thatís huge. Congratulations.

PATTY: Thank you. Itís all happening very fast though, and Iím scrambling to pull together a touring lineup. I mean - I realize you now have access to an extremely nice espresso machine...

AL: I donít care about the espresso machine, Patty.

PATTY: It sounded like you were pretty into it.

AL: No, Iím not into it - itís lightly scuffed, for godís sake.

PATTY: Anyway I hear they have espresso in Europe. If touring Europe in the near future interests you.

AL: Yes of course it does. You know, you should ask him too. The man can still play drums, Patty.

PATTY: So can my drum machine, Al. And I wonít be tempted to sleep with my drum machine.


NANCY: You can get her albums on 180 gram vinyl. You should. She practically recorded them for you.

JAMES: I will. Iíll go to the record store right now.

NANCY: And then maybe, after you listen to them - instead of staging a big reunion tour - you can just try calling her sometime.

JAMES: But I want a big reunion tour.

NANCY: You might not, after you listen to her albums.

JAMES: Oh. Long pause. Why - is something wrong with the way theyíre mixed?

NANCY: The mixes are fine, you jackass! Jesus, no wonder she went solo.

End.



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