The Mini-Plays (Draft 10/282019) by Kyleen McHenry

WARNING: These plays may contain sensitive topics (miscarriage, death, depression, and so on).

**The first mini-play is free to the public, the other two are for patrons only.  To view the post please click HERE.**



AT PRAYER
By Kyleen McHenry
Type: Sustained Monologue, Stained Glass

CHARACTERS
CAROLINE, a janitor at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

TIME AND PLACE
Late night at the Andruss Library, Bloomsburg University, 2nd floor

(AT RISE: An empty floor, silent, a sense of lonesomeness in the air.

CAROLINE, alone on the 2nd floor of the Andruss Library, looks at the stained-glass window on the other end of the building, then slowly starts walking to them.)

CAROLINE
This window always reminds me of the stained-glass in churches.

(Pause.)

When was the last time I went to church?

(Sudden realization made CAROLINE tear up before lowering to her knees in front of the stained-glass window.)

CAROLINE
Father, in the name of Jesus I come to you with a broken heart because of the loss of my baby.

(Pause as CAROLINE tries to recollect the prayer she heard in service when someone else lost their child.)

I know that your ears are open to my prayers.
I am hurting and restless and feel overwhelmed.
Please rescue me out of this pit of hopelessness and fear.
You know the tears that I cry and my sleepless nights—

(Abrupt stop.  Tears fully flowing down CAROLINE’s face now.)

CAROLINE
Why!
Why would you end a child’s life before it even began?
Was I not a devout enough Christian?
Did I not pray hard enough?
Did I miss too many sermons since the miscarriage?
I never even got to hold my baby.
(Scoffs) What is your GREATER plan?
Is there even a greater plan?
It has been nearly eight months since my husband, and I, decided to try again.
Are you punishing us?
Punishing me?
(Anger rising.) No matter what, you never answer.
We have been trying not to lose faith, but it is nearly impossible.
(Becomes more somber and less angry.) I’m tired, so very tired.
Do you even care?
(Beat.) Father, I give you all my hurts, worries, and cares.
I thank you that you are not finished with me yet.
(Pause.) Are you finished with me?
(Continues chant.) I will choose not to be held down by a spirit of discouragement and grief.
Please relieve my grief.
By your grace I will stand firm and try and trust you.

(CAROLINE slowly stands up, wiping away her tears.

After a beat the lights dim and fade to black.

End of play.)

Trifles by Susan Glaspell | Action Analysis

To read Trifles by Susan Glaspell, go to the link.
The following analysis is what i wrote for a class assignment, please read the play for yourself and would love to discuss your thoughts on it.
You can order the book I used to understand how to analyze a play on Amazon.
My response to the play is located here (personal thoughts).


Review of the Facts
Mrs. Hale – wife of Mr. Hale, friend to Minnie Foster (Wright), neighbor to the Wrights.
Mrs. Peters – wife of the sheriff, new to the town (by sounds of it).
Lewis Hale – husband of Mrs. Hale, neighbor to the Wrights.
Henry Peters (sheriff) – husband of Mrs. Peters, sheriff who is investigating the murder.
Mr. Wright – deceased husband of Minnie Foster (Wright), an asshole.
Mrs. Wright (Minnie Foster) – widow of Mr. Wright, used to sing in choir, no children.
George Henderson (county attorney) – young male who is helping in the investigation of Mr. Wright’s murder.
Winter (below zero).
Isolated farmhouse (couldn’t see the road).

Seed: Gender inequality.
Theme:  Women’s roles in a male-dominated society.

Chain of Events
External: Mrs. Peters mentioned that Minnie Wright was worried about the canning jars of fruit exploding when it was cold.
Internal: Mr. Hale said that women wore over unimportant matters (‘trifles’).

External: The men accuse Minnie Wright of being a poor housekeeper.
Internal: Mrs. Hale is very upset by this, and starts to defend Minnie.

External: Mrs. Peters starts to grab Minnie’s clothing to take to her in jail.
Internal: Mrs. Hale starts to realize that Minnie didn’t have much for herself, even her clothing looked “shabby”.

External: The women talk about the way that John Wright was murdered.
Internal: Mrs. Hale doesn’t think that Minnie committed the murder.

External: The men laugh at the women when they find the pieces for a quilt.
Internal: Both women are abashed by the men’s laughter.

External: Mrs. Peters finds the bird-cage.
Internal: Mrs. Hale remembered how beautiful Minnie used to sing.

External: The women find the dead bird.
Internal: Mrs. Hale realizes what Mr. Wright did to his wife, and she feels remorse for not visiting Minnie all those years.

External: Mr. Henderson stated that they needed a motive to get a conviction for Minnie Wright.
Internal: Both women felt regret for what happened to Minnie, so they hid the bird from the men.

Three Major Climaxes
1.Mr. Hale calling the women’s concerns ‘trifles.’
2.The women find the dead bird.
3.The women hide the dead bird.

Super-objective: Mrs. Hale’s desire for equality.
Through-action: A farmer’s wife defends a neighbor from the law while looking for evidence to a murder.
Counter through-action: A farmer belittles what women think as significant matters as mere ‘trifles.’

Sample Play

The following is a play I made in Job Corps with a classmate named Rebecca Conrad.


Characters:
Daley Family: Dad, Manda, Amber, and Lilly
Best Friend of Amber: Emily Conrad
Pets: Chaos (German Sheppard)

Scene 1 Setting: The Scene opens with Emily relaxing in her backyard under a tree.  Her neighbor Lilly Daley looks over the fence and begins to speak to her.

Lilly: (cheerful voice) Hello Emily.
Emily: Hi Lily.  Where’s your sister?
Lilly: Amber? She’s inside; she can’t come out because she’s grounded.  But I will get her for you anyway. (Lilly raced through the yard before Emily could reply)

Emily and Amber were best friends since Emily moved next door when she was four.  Amber is a freckled blonde who received the nickname Bubbles from Emily.  She always had a bubbly smile and bright happy green eyes no matter what she went through in life.

Amber: Hey Emily.
Emily: How are you today?
Amber: Fine, and you?
Emily: You don’t look to happy today. Are you okay?
Amber: I am fine really, just a little tired that’s all.
Emily: (She didn’t believe her but Amber’s expressions told her she didn’t want to talk about it right now.  So she chose to ignore it) I heard you got grounded?
Amber: Yep.
Emily: For what? (Pulling her curly brunette bangs out of her blue eyes)
Amber: I got into a fight with my older sister.
Emily: Manda? (She was surprised to hear that considering they got along exceptionally well)
Amber: (Furious) Yeah but she didn’t even get grounded and she started it. Can you believe that?
Amber: She always gets her way, it’s not fair.  I hate being the middle child.

Emily got off the grassy area from under the tree and grabbed her dads step ladder and climbed up.

Emily: At least you have siblings but I have no one.
Amber: I wish you were my sister Emily (smiling at her with sad eyes)
Emily: I wish you were my sister too (She reached over and hugged Amber who was in tears)
Amber: (sighs) I guess I shouldn’t have thrown a glass candle at Amanda.  Even though she stole $30 from me, lied about it, and then told my dad I snuck out last night.
Emily: (wide eyed) Why would she do that? That’s not like her.
Amber: I know.  She’s been acting strange ever since she started dating that weird older kid.  She hangs out with him every night.  I think he’s like 22 or something.
Emily: Did you tell your dad about it?  She’s only 15; she shouldn’t be hanging around him at all.
Amber: I would never snitch on her, she’s my sister.  My dad would ground her for a year.  (Sounding worried) Or even smack her like he did last time she mentioned dating anybody.
Emily: Calm down Amber, nothing is going to happen to her.  Have you tried talking to her?
Amber: Yes, plenty of times.  I even threatened to tell dad on her and she smacked me.  She also threatened to lie and tell him I stole $100 from his wallet even though she was the one who did it.
Emily: I’m sorry Am…

Emily’s voice was cut short by a loud dominating voice. It pierced through the air like a bullet and hurt her ears. Amber turned around too fast and fell off the chair she was standing on and fell into the bushes.  Before Emily could do anything, Amber’s father was right beside her yanking her by the arm.

Dad: (Yelling) GO TO YOUR ROOM!

Emily stood on the ladder for a moment making sure her friend was okay before dismounting and heading inside her house.

Scene 2 Setting: Kitchen of Emily’s house.  Her German shepherd’s leash was on the counter.  She picked it up and called for her dog.

Emily: (Yelling) CHAOS!

The dog was lying on the sofa and ran to the kitchen when she called it.  Emily walked out of the house through the backyard.  She locked the gate behind her.

Scene 3 Setting: Walking down the sidewalk toward a nearby park.  Her jeans are worn low on her hips.  It made it baggy on the bottom and hard to walk fast.  She passed by many stores and restaurants on the way to the local dog park.  When she finally arrived, she checked the time on her phone and realized it was already 5pm.  She took her dog off the leash and let him run around for about an hour.  During this time, she contemplated the day’s events and tried to think of possible solutions.

Emily: (Speaking out loud to herself) I can’t believe Manda would do that to Amber.  I can’t believe she is with that guy.  What does she even see in him anyway?  What is she doing with the money that she stole from her dad? (Her head started to throb)
Emily: Chaos, time to go.

The dog ran to her.  She put his leash on and headed home.

Scene 4 Setting: Emily was almost home.  She was getting ready to turn the corner to the road she lived on when she heard a familiar voice.  She knew it was rude to eavesdrop but she listened anyway.

Joey: I’ll see you tomorrow Manda.
Manda: Bye Joey.

Emily peeks her head around the corner to hear them better.  Joey was already in his Mustang and half way down the road.  She could see Manda walking toward her house.  She shoved a cigar in the pocket of her purse and she smelled a funny scent blending in with the air.  She ran to her house.  Didn’t waste time unleashing Chaos.

Scene 5 Setting: Inside Emily’s kitchen.  She picked up the phone and dialed a number.  Each ring was irritating Emily and by the fifth ring she started to hang up.  Before she did, she heard a girl’s voice on the other end of the line.

Manda: (Girly voice) Yeah.
Emily: (Stuttering) Hi Manda.  Is Amber there?
Manda: She’s grounded.
Emily: Can I talk to her?  It’s really important. Please?
Manda: Whatever.
Manda: (Set the phone down and then yells) AMBER!
Emily: (Waiting for Amber while petting her dog)
Amber: Hello.
Emily: Oh my gosh Amber, guess what I just saw (almost at a yell).
Amber: (Pulled the phone away from her ear) Calm down.  What did you see?
Emily: Your sister, she was with that weird dude again.  And I saw her with...Umm…
Amber: (Becoming impatient) What?
Emily: I saw her smoking.
Amber: Why would she be smoking a cigarette?  She doesn’t even like it when my dad smokes.
Emily: It wasn’t a cigarette.
Amber: (Stutters) Cigars?
Emily: Yeah, but there was something different in the cigar.
Amber: (Long pause) Manda is into drugs (sounding horrified)?
Amber: But why?
Emily: (could tell Amber was about to cry) Please don’t cry Bubbles.  I don’t understand either.
Amber: What do I do about her?  How can I get her to stop?
Emily: You can’t force someone to do anything, but you can try to help her.
Amber: How?
Emily: Try talking to her.  I have a book in my closet about the importance of being drug free.  You can give it to her if you like.
Amber: (Trying not to cry) Thanks.
Emily: Meet me by the back gate in two minutes.  And don’t worry, she’ll be fine, she has you to look out for her.
Amber: Okay, I’ll see you then.

They both hung up the phone and headed outside.

Scene 6 Setting: Emily’s backyard.  Emily grabbed her dad’s ladder and Amber grabbed an old torn chair.  They didn’t have much time to talk so Emily handed Amber the book.  Then she hugged her sobbing friend.  They both headed back inside their houses.  Amber held the book to her side.  She opened the sliding glass door to enter her house.

Scene 7 Setting: Amber was wiping away her tears while walking up stairs to Manda’s room.  She knocked on her door three times before entering in with caution. Amber poked her head in just enough to catch a glimpse of her sister.  She was lying on her stomach reading a magazine.

Manda: (Smiling) What’s up little sis?
Amber: Can we talk?
Manda: Of course.  Is something wrong?  You look upset.
Amber: Yeah, something is wrong.
Manda: Talk with me, I’ll make it better. (She sat up and patted her bed for her sister to sit down)
Amber: It’s not exactly about me. (She was trying to find the words to use)
Manda: Is this about Emily?  Did you two have a fight or something?
Amber: No, this isn’t about her either.  (Forces words out of her mouth) It’s about you.
Manda: (Confused) I’m sorry about the other day that was a silly argument.
Amber: (Struggling with her speech) It’s about that guy you like and the things he has got you into.

Manda hoped that her sister didn’t realize what she was doing last month.

Manda: What do you mean?
Amber: Someone saw you smoking earlier with that guy.
Manda: Is that all you’re worried about? (Trying not to sound worried)
Amber: What do you mean is that all?  (Sounds more serious and angry) This is a serious thing Manda!
Manda: It’s just pot, it won’t hurt me.  Joey wouldn’t give me anything that would harm me in any way.
Amber: Then read this. (She dropped the book on the bed and began to stare at her sister until she picked it up and read it)
Manda: This means nothing, they just tell you that so they can be in control of your life.
Amber: Fine, keep smoking.  I’ll butt out of your business.  Just do me one favor.
Manda: What is that?
Amber: Tell dad, and see what he thinks.
Manda: (Raises her voice to almost a yell) No way, you know what will happen if he finds out!
Amber: Think what it’s doing to your body, it’s killing brain cells. (Becoming very frustrated)
Manda: (Not caring) I have plenty more.

Amber couldn’t believe she just said that.  She wanted to raise her fist and strike at her sister.

Amber: So you’re telling me it’s perfectly fine?  That it won’t hurt you at all?
Manda: It makes you better.
Amber: (Looks serious) Fine then let me try.
Manda: Ha, ha hilarious girly.
Amber: (Stares at her) I’m serious.
Manda: (Looks serious) I’m not going to let you smoke.  Are you crazy?
Amber: Why not?  I thought you said it’s harmless.
Manda: (Unsure) It is.
Amber: Then why won’t you let me try it?
Manda: Because… (Pauses) I’m not going to let you destroy your body. (Begins to look strange)
Manda: Oh my gosh, Amber, you’re right.  Why should I do this to my body if I won’t even let you? (Eyes beginning to water)  I really like him and he said it wouldn’t do anything bad to me.  He also said that it would be good for me.
Manda: I’m so sorry Amber.

Amber moved closer to Manda in order to give her comfort.

Amber: If he’s trying to hurt you like that then obviously he doesn’t care that much about you.
Manda: You’re right Amber.  I promise not to do anything like that again.  I am going to break up with him tomorrow.  Actually, I think I will call him now.  Thank you Amber. (Smiles at her sister and then runs downstairs to the phone)

Scene 8 Setting: Emily’s backyard.  Amber and Emily are talking to each other.

Amber: Thank you for the advice.  I’m so glad nothing happened to her.
Emily: I’m glad nothing happened to you.
Amber: I’m glad nothing happened to you either.

They both give each other a hug.

The Mini-Plays (Draft 10/282019) by Kyleen McHenry

WARNING: These plays may contain sensitive topics (miscarriage, death, depression, and so on). **The first mini-play is free to the public...