GIRLS' NIGHT OUT
ANNA, a young woman. Unsuccessfully climbing the corporate ladder.
TYLER, a young man. Former Army but was discharged due to an injury.
MINNIE, a young woman. Has never been told she’s ugly. Except once.
BRIDGE, a young woman. Raised by religious environmentalists.
JOAN, a young woman. Possesses the grace of an untrained dancer.
#3, a slightly older man. Thinks he’s God’s gift to women.
— at the end of dialogue indicates interrupted/overlapping speech
— in the middle of dialogue indicates a rushed thought/feeling
The length/meaning of pauses/silences/reactions/time is to be explored/defined by the directors/actors.
The song being hummed can be made up or a popular song from any genre of music. In any case, it must have a haunting quality to it.
Whatever is going on here is open to interpretation. What’s going on or what happened isn’t what it’s really about. Live in the unspoken melody. Try to be in harmony with one another. Something is off-key.
(Darkness. Silence. The sound of a record being put on. A song fades in, something in the spirit of "I Know What Boys Like" by The Waitresses. Shimmery rainbow rays of light coming from the ceiling suddenly penetrate the darkness. Time passes. A door is opened. The lights shut off. The song starts skipping, quickly echoing towards silence. A light is turned on, revealing ANNA, a young woman dressed in casual office attire struggling to hold onto two bags of takeout food and a brown paper bag with champagne in it. We are in a private karaoke room. Two mismatched couches rest against a mirrored back wall covered in band flyers and posters with parts left uncovered. In the center of the room is a long wooden table riddled with sharpie musings, watermark rings, unused coasters, empty cups, microphones, and a huge binder. Three chairs and a lowered mic stand are against another wall. A small trash can is next to the door. ANNA closes the door, jiggling the handle a few times. She puts the bags of takeout on two of the chairs and the champagne on the couch. ANNA takes in the room before going to clean the table. She catches her reflection in the mirror. She walks over and stares at herself. As this is happening, TYLER quietly opens the door, carrying another bag of takeout and a bag of "party supplies." He watches her for a second before silently backing out, quietly closing the door. ANNA notices the binder. She flips it open to a random page, sees a song title, and slams the binder shut. Three knocks at the door. ANNA jumps. A few seconds pass.)
TYLER. (outside the door) It’s me.
TYLER. (peeks through the door)
ANNA. (a look)
ANNA. Did they take the card?
TYLER. Yeah, they did—
ANNA. Two hours.
TYLER. Two hours.
ANNA. Just making sure.
TYLER. Of course.
ANNA. Can you not?
TYLER. I’m not doing anything.
ANNA. Put the decorations up.
(TYLER puts down the takeout on the table.)
ANNA. Not there.
TYLER. Oh yeah. Of course. Sorry.
(TYLER walks over to the chairs and puts a bag on the only other empty chair. He brings the other bag to the couch and takes out streamers and scotch tape. ANNA gets a text. She reacts. She starts messaging back.)
TYLER. They’re on their way, right?
TYLER. Is one of them bringing the other...stuff?
TYLER. Awesome. I was getting tired. Of doing it—on my own?
TYLER. Are you going to put out the—
(ANNA holds up a finger.)
TYLER. Well, I’ll get...started. That okay?
TYLER. Never mind.
(TYLER starts trying to tape streamers across the room but finds that he can’t reach the top of the wall. TYLER goes to the chairs and puts the takeout bags on the floor. TYLER brings the chair to the wall, steps on it, and gets back to work. TYLER checks on ANNA every once in a while. ANNA gets another text. She reacts. Another text. Reacts. More texts come flooding in. TYLER drops the scotch tape on the floor.)
ANNA. (jumps) Tyler!
ANNA. Stop saying...just stop, ok? I don’t need to hear it again.
ANNA. Where’s the other bag?
TYLER. (points to floor) Do you know what kind of gross stuff is on the floors of these places?
ANNA. Just hang the f...just hang them.
(TYLER starts humming a song softly. ANNA gets a text. She reacts. She slams the phone down on the table and starts taking sandwiches out of the bags, methodically stacking the food on a chair.)
ANNA. Where is it?
ANNA. It was in this one—its—not in... where is it?
TYLER. Is it in the other one maybe?
ANNA. No, it’s not—I know I put it in this one—because of the weight?
TYLER. You had it last.
ANNA. Yeah. I did. But you took the other bags.
TYLER. So I lost it?
ANNA. I didn’t say that.
ANNA. I’ll just text Bridge to bring hers.
(ANNA sends a text and continues to set up. A few seconds pass. TYLER starts humming the same song again, climbing onto the couch. ANNA finishes taking out the food and throws the bag into the trash can. Victory. She goes back to texting on her phone, pacing the room while doing so. TYLER. starts humming a little louder. And louder. And louder.)
ANNA. Quit it.
TYLER. Sor...It’s stuck.
ANNA. Well, unstick it.
TYLER. I’m not trying to-
ANNA. Oh my god, do you want me to go deaf or something-stop hearing-stop hearing-stop hearing all those awful—awful—that awful s-sounds—just forget th-those people staring at me today—like a—like a—like a—museum exhibit—like a monkey at the zoo—like—
ANNA. Stop treating me like I’m—
(ANNA gets a text. She reacts.)
ANNA. The date’s running long.
TYLER. Oh. Do you—
(ANNA leaves the room.)
TYLER. (whispered) I love you.
(TYLER gets back to it. Time passes. TYLER places the last streamer against the wall. Three knocks are heard. A millisecond later MINNIE comes whirling in with another brown bag of champagne, wearing an expensive glittery designer mini dress. She’s a "little bit" tipsy.)
MINNIE. What’s up, bitches?!?
TYLER. Just...me. I think she’s in the bathroom—
MINNIE. Oh. Greeeaaat. I need to, like, powder my nose anyway so I’ll—
TYLER. Don’t. Not yet.
MINNIE. What the fuck did you do this time?
TYLER. Nothing. Seriously I—
MINNIE. Nothing. Seriously. Wah wah wah. You guys are like a bad soap opera.
TYLER. Do you enjoy making fun of me?
MINNIE. That’s a stupid question. Of course I do.
TYLER. Get over yourself.
MINNIE. I’ve been trying to. For, like, years. The doctors tell me I have an incurable case of something called self-respect.
TYLER. Are you sure they didn’t mean “narcissism?”
MINNIE. I’m not a part of Greek Mythology and I, like, hate small bodies of water so, no, I don’t fucking think so.
(MINNIE gets a text. She reacts. She starts scrolling through her phone. MINNIE laughs.)
TYLER. You-You think that you know me.
TYLER. (quickly) And maybe you do. A little. But you don’t know- everything. And you’re definitely not any better than...this. I just can’t...I can’t believe you’re both doing this...making me out to be the bad...when I’m not that. I understand-I mean I’ve served two tours overseas and I still get...I know it’s not the same thing that you and...so I know I don’t have the...right. To say anything. Because this isn’t about me. I know that. But I’m tired of the way you all look at me-treat me like I’m not with you—
TYLER. (quicker) And it’s not cool for you to show up so late. Like before. You know what that does to us, don’t you? You have to show up. Like actually show up. On time. Otherwise, well it would be really...bad. And other stuff. So just...I don’t know. Take this more...seriously. For them at least.
MINNIE. If you need some Xanax I know someone at work who, like, knows someone. Until then...relax.
(MINNIE gets a text. She reacts. She puts down the bottle of champagne on the table. She pulls a cigarette from behind her ear.)
MINNIE. One sec. Business.
(MINNIE exits, leaving the door open. TYLER meanders around the room before catching his reflection in the mirror. He goes to the mirror and looks at himself. Time passes. ANNA comes back in and watches TYLER for a moment. TYLER turns around.)
ANNA. Can we start over? Again? Please?
ANNA. So much could always go wrong even though I know we’ve done everything...perfectly. I’m just mad? About how normal every day is? After everything?
ANNA. Yesterday, I’m on my lunch break and I see this kid on the street with her dad. And she’s holding his hand, and he’s talking to someone, and she’s trying to get his attention. She starts getting upset. So, she stomps on his foot, and he screams, and the friend didn’t know what to do, and I thought he’s going to...but he doesn’t. He just gets down on his knees, people passing all around. And he hugs her. For a long time. Isn’t that something? I want it to be. I want it to be so bad. I wanted you to-I want us to be...I want to...feel that. Again. I thought I’d remember by now. How to? But I keep forgetting. And I don’t know to stop it. And I’m just snapping at everyone like I’m still...I am not broken. My normal is? Do you think something like that can ever be fixed?
(MINNIE stumbles back in, under the influence of something a bit more potent. ANNA and MINNIE drink each other in.)
MINNIE. Come here, queen!
(MINNIE goes to hug ANNA. ANNA is hesitant at first then gives into it, maybe a bit too much. MINNIE pries herself from the hug.)
ANNA. Bridge and—
MINNIE. We’re in the same chat. I know.
(MINNIE struts to the chairs, grabs a sandwich off the chair, unwraps it, rips the sandwich into tinier pieces, and starts chomping away.)
ANNA. So, uh, I guess your agent isn’t still telling you to lose ten pounds?
MINNIE. Didn’t I tell you?
ANNA. Tell me?—
TYLER. He got fired.
MINNIE. Nobody told you.
TYLER. Last month? You mentioned—
MINNIE. Anyway. So, like, yeah, turns out he is fucking Max, in accounting, and his secretary like walks in on them and tells Molly, his wife, who proceeds to fuck him up royally. I hear he’s living at that Best Western near the Taco Bell with the broken sign and those hookers who always have the best fucking weed like unFUCKINGbelievable!
MINNIE. Major shakeup at the agency. Now I have Andrea, the girl with the fake boobs she says are real but, like, girl, who are you kidding? Own your truth before it owns you, right? I’m getting booked like crazy though so whatever.
MINNIE. Like I get to go to Tokyo next month—
MINNIE. You like dogs, right?
MINNIE. I’m like totally bringing you back one of those Shiba Inus. Fuck all the customs and forms and shit. I mean men get to come onto planes with bombs the size of their egos strapped to their chests, like a trend that never catches on. I’m going to bring my brand new loyal Shiba onboard and if they try to stop me they can just kiss the sharp end of my Louboutins.
ANNA. Minnie, are you on s—
MINNIE. I heard some guys are into that though. Maybe I can smuggle myself onto a boat. I hate fish though. Stinky. I could, like, just stay forever. Me and Mickey—that’s what I’m going to name mine—are gonna go to Tokyo Disney and ride Space Mountain five million times till I travel back into my childhood. First class rollercoaster to divorce settlements and botched plastic surgeries, am I fuckin’ right?
ANNA. Do you want some water—
MINNIE. YES, I AM! You, like, know those postcards that you get on vacations that say shit like "Wish you were here" or whatever? I’m gonna make one that says, "Wish you weren’t here because me and Mickey are doing us and only us this year." Men are dogs...so actually I’m not getting you one—
MINNIE. But I promise to like get you something else. Something like...loyal. That won’t hurt you. I promise.
(Three knocks are heard outside the room. ANNA jumps. MINNIE grips her bag. Silence. BRIDGE opens the door and slowly walks in with a bottle of champagne, a hiking backpack hanging off one shoulder. BRIDGE ducks her head back out and checks around. She closes the door and taps the knob three times.)
BRIDGE. She’s on her way.
(BRIDGE puts down the bag and champagne and takes in the room.)
BRIDGE. (nods to TYLER.)
TYLER. What’s up?
BRIDGE. (notices the food) Is that?
ANNA. Oh yeah. Help yourself. I got extra ranch and mustard.
BRIDGE. You remembered?
ANNA. I always remember. Everything.
(BRIDGE picks up a few sandwiches and packets of ranch and mustard. She brings them to the bag and delicately puts them in a pouch. Silence.)
MINNIE. So... how are the, like...trees doing?
BRIDGE. They’re healthy! The conservation says the ones that are sick have to be chopped down, but that just means we get to plant new ones.
BRIDGE. The weather’s been fantastic too. Lots of rain and sunshine. At least for the next few weeks.
ANNA. Why only—
TYLER. Heat wave coming in. Chance of wildfires. They think.
BRIDGE. It might not be as bad as last year, though. And it’d only make the forest stronger in the end.
MINNIE. But...they’ll die?
BRIDGE. True. But they’ve been there for hundreds of years. Hundreds of years of everything happening to them. Most of them are still standing after countless fires. Still growing. Some of them regrow. Up, up, and away into the blue sky. A little fire isn’t going to stop them from being reborn. Some of them at least. The strong ones.
(BRIDGE gets a text. She reacts to it.)
BRIDGE. We’ve got a little bit longer.
MINNIE. I have, like, an event to go to. Later.
MINNIE. It’s, like, no big deal. Everyone is gonna be so fucking wasted, no one will notice I’m late.
(TYLER’s phone rings. The girls stare at him. TYLER answers it.)
TYLER. Hey, mom! Yeah...yeah, I’m doing well...um, no I haven’t thought about getting a... dog? That was... hey, can you hold on one sec?
(TYLER motions going outside. TYLER exits, closing the door behind him. Awkward silence. The girls begin to wander about the room. MINNIE sits down and thumbs through the binder. Time passes.)
MINNIE. I wanted to be a singer when I was little. Britney Spears.
ANNA. I think everyone wanted to be her.
BRIDGE. I always liked the drummers more.
MINNIE. I’ve slept with a lot of drummers. FYI though: they never take baths.
MINNIE. I know. I hate them...that—I hate that.
ANNA. We’re all...good? Right?
ANNA. Sorry, I’m just...never mind.
(A few seconds pass. The women are in their own worlds. Something is coming and they’re trying to steady themselves. ANNA slowly paces around the room, quietly humming the same song from before. BRIDGE catches herself in the mirror and judges her appearance. MINNIE notices this.)
MINNIE. You, like, got highlights.
BRIDGE. Joan said it’d bring out my eyes.
MINNIE. Like, totally. Earth Mother vibes for sure.
MINNIE. Hold on.
(MINNIE pulls out a blush compact and approaches BRIDGE.)
BRIDGE. Oh no, I can’t—
MINNIE. I got it for free from the last shoot. It costs like $200 online.
BRIDGE. That could’ve saved a rainforest.
MINNIE. Then don’t waste the Amazon’s life on not looking even more gorgeous than you already do. Duh.
(MINNIE hands the compact to BRIDGE. BRIDGE takes it. MINNIE goes back to the song binder. BRIDGE cautiously opens the compact and puts on the blush as if it were sacred war paint. A few seconds pass. ANNA’s humming gets a little louder. MINNIE notices and listens. BRIDGE notices and listens. ANNA notices them noticing and stops.)
MINNIE. I, like, know it—
BRIDGE. But you don’t want to?
ANNA. Dejá vu.
(Something clicks for all of them. They remember something that can never be forgotten.)
MINNIE. Picture time?
(ANNA, MINNIE, and BRIDGE gather on the couch. MINNIE takes out her phone. They all take a second to situate themselves.)
MINNIE. On three?
(MINNIE takes the photo. Flash. Shudder. Three knocks are heard. ANNA jumps again. MINNIE grips the couch. BRIDGE gets up. Silence.)
TYLER. (outside the door) It’s me...again.
(Deep breath. TYLER opens the door and comes in.)
TYLER. Mom says hi. And they’re coming to visit in a few weeks. To see Paul and Carly and the baby? He just got back from his deployment, remember?
ANNA. Oh. Yes. I do.
TYLER. You can come. If you still want to. Go there that is. Either way, I’ll be there. Wherever we are. I’m there. Or here. I’m not going anywhere...without you.
(ANNA gets up, walks over to TYLER, and kisses him on the cheek. A moment of peace. Three text message sounds. ANNA and BRIDGE check their phones. Silence. All three phones ring. A ringtone similar to the feel of "What’s a Girl to Do?" by Bat for Lashes plays. BRIDGE and ANNA hang up simultaneously. MINNIE’s phone keeps ringing.)
(Everything moves like clockwork. TYLER opens the backpack and pulls out a clear vinyl tablecloth. ANNA and BRIDGE help tape the tablecloth down over the table. ANNA goes to the party supply bag and pulls out photos of girls, electric candles, party hats, masks and plastic champagne flutes. She hands over the photos to TYLER and the candles to BRIDGE. BRIDGE takes the candles and places them around the room. ANNA places the other things around the room and then grabs the champagne bottles and moves them to one of the chairs. TYLER sets up the photos on the couch next to MINNIE, who’s been frozen the entire time. Her phone stops ringing. MINNIE grabs TYLER’s arm.)
MINNIE. You’re not...bad...looking.
TYLER. (a look)
MINNIE. You’re welcome.
(Three text message sounds. The girls check their phones. They react. They slowly come together and hold hands. BRIDGE and ANNA squeeze MINNIE’s hand. TYLER watches. Silence. Inhale.)
ANNA/MINNIE/BRIDGE. “The time has come,” the walrus said—
ANNA. “To talk of many things—”
MINNIE. “Of shoes—”
BRIDGE. “And ships—”
ANNA. “And ceiling wax—”
MINNIE. “Of cabbages and kings.”
BRIDGE. “And why the sea is boiling hot—”
ANNA/MINNIE/BRIDGE. “And whether pigs have wings.”
(A moment of silence. Three knocks. BRIDGE stalks to the light switch.)
BRIDGE. Let’s fly girls.
(Lights out. Darkness. Time passes. Shuffling of feet and laughter outside the room. A jiggle of the door handle. Three knocks. The door opens, light shining through slightly. JOAN and #3 are making out near the door. JOAN lightly pushes him away.)
JOAN. Save it for later.
#3. You’re such a tease.
JOAN. I’m no bully. I’m a good girl.
#3. Uh huh, and I’m a saint.
JOAN. Oh, I know that’s not true.
(#3 looks into the room.)
#3. I thought you said your friends were waiting on us?
JOAN. This isn’t the room, babe.
#3. Oh. Really?
JOAN. I know what you’re thinking and the answer is—
#3. C’mon! Just for a little bit. Strictly over the clothes action.
JOAN. How romantic.
#3. Do I have to beg?
JOAN. No. Not yet.
(JOAN guides him into the room and closes the door. The rainbow lights begin to shimmer. JOAN and #3 are making out, eyes closed. Something like "Happy Days Are Here Again/Get Happy" by Barbara Streisand/Judy Garland starts playing. A click is heard. The candles come on and flicker, revealing TYLER/ANNA/MINNIE/BRIDGE in pig masks and party hats, holding weapons, surrounding JOAN and #3.)
JOAN. Hey, babe?
JOAN. You can beg now.
(#3 opens his eyes. JOAN backs away. The swarm attacks. The disco ball strobe lights. Flashes of the ambush are shown. #3 gets hit over the head/punched/kicked. #3 gets dragged to the table and tied up. Snippets of improvised speech are heard interspersed with the song, which begins to repeat itself on a loop. The girls taunt #3 while TYLER keeps guard, catching the events on his phone. The girls, except MINNIE and JOAN, take turns torturing #3, hitting him, pouring champagne into his wounds, etc. #3 begs. And begs. And begs. Finally, MINNIE takes off her mask, grabs a photo of a girl and shoves it in #3.’s face. He stops. The music lowers. #3 says something no one can hear. MINNIE screams. The music comes back in full force. MINNIE stands on the table over #3, back turned to the audience, digging her heel into #3’s crotch. #3 screams. BRIDGE gives MINNIE a knife. MINNIE lowers herself over #3, whispers into his ear, then motions the girls to come over. The girls, except JOAN, all grab the handle, saying something unintelligible, chant-like. The music reaches a climax. They all start stabbing #3 collectively in the heart. #3 dies. The music slashes its own throat.)
(Lights on. JOAN is sitting on a chair, sipping a glass of champagne, thumbing through sandwiches.)
JOAN. Did you get the pastrami on whole wheat I asked for?
(Blinding disco lights.)
Kullen Burnet is a senior BFA Performance Major from Oahu, HI. He is an active member/historian of Alpha Psi Omega. Previous projects include Looking Through the Prism (Writer/Director/Ensemble), And Then There Were None (Fred Narracott), Sleepy Hollow (Ensemble), Tartuffe (Laurent), 4.48 Psychosis (Ensemble), Galileo (Philosopher/Ensemble) and You Can't Take It With You (G-Man). In addition to playwriting, Kullen is also a lyricist, painter, and avid pizza consumer.