This is what is known as Sebastian Rex’s ‘favourite’ challenge. The rules for this play are as follows.
- The play has 3 talking characters and two that don’t talk. You have an option of adding one more character – but only if he delivers pizza!
- One of the characters is magical (in whatever way you see fit) and/or one of the characters is obsessed with fish.
- You may use a maximum of 7 pauses in the play, but 3 of them must be in the middle of a sentence.
- One character has a total of exactly 26 lines in the play. Each line must begin with a different letter of the alphabet.
- Every line of dialogue must have one of the following: either 4 words, 15 words, 21 words, 25 words, 47 words or 104 words (you can punctuate as you like).
- The play will contain three scenes/acts.
- One of the scenes involves all the characters dancing.
- Each scene/act must have a minimum of 18 lines of dialogue, and each scene/act must contain one group action.
- One person sings a drunken song on a table; one person spits; and one tries to commit suicide (can all be the same person)
- One of the characters must make a life changing decision and two others realise they need to change their relationship.
…..I hate this challenge. I managed to finish it in the end, you can probably tell where I gave up to be honest.
Just Another Tuesday Night
Stage is shrouded in darkness. Club music starts to fade in and lights, and disco lights up, on a pub. Tables and chairs have been pushed to the side to make way for a pitiful looking dance floor. The pub is incredibly bare looking, yet the staff has clearly made an effort to try and make it a “hip” night out.
There is one bartender/chef who is cutting up a fish on the bar, he is ADAM. There is a table with a 30-something man reading a newspaper, he is SIMON, and a third table with three young 20-somethings, LOUIS, CHARLOTTE, and SUSIE. The three of them are sat all looking rather awkward. ADAM brings his knife down onto the fish with a loud BANG, cutting off the head.
Louis: So (Pause), this is fun?
Adam: (Singing) Here’s a little song I wrote, you might want to sing it note-for-note…
Louis: Just give it a few hours and a few drinks and this place will be-
Adam slams down a machete, cutting off another fish head.
Adam: Don’t worry, do-do-do, do-do-do, be happy. Don’t worry be happy now.
He starts whistling the tune.
Louis: Oh come on this place isn’t that bad. Plus if we buy 3 drinks each them we all get a free meal, don’t we?
The girls down their drinks and gesture for Louis to head to the bar
Adam: Don’t worry, do-do-do, do-do-do, be happy. Don’t worry be happy now.
Charlotte nods towards the toilets and the two girls both get up and exitt
Louis: Right (pause), I guess that means it’s my round then? OK then, no worries, that’s fine.
He gets up and walks to the bar
Adam: Can I help you?
Louis: Three more drinks please.
Adam: What do you want?
Louis: Erm, another pint of beer and two glasses of wine please. So we’ve had three-
Adam holds up the fish and makes it talk.
Adam: -You can take a fish to water, but you cannot make it drink, can you?
Louis: Yes I erm- I was just saying that we’ve now had three drinks each. So that means we get a free meal, is that right?
Adam puts the fish down.
Adam: You want fish then?
Louis: I’m – er sorry I-
Adam: Fish, you want fish?
Louis: Ah well. I should probably see what the others want. Is there a menu at all? What else is there to-?
Adam: Just fish. Just fish.
Louis: Kay, well what kind-
Adam: Fish, we have fish.
Adam spits on the fish and rubs it on the fish.
Louis: What- OK well maybe-
Adam: Gotta lather her up. Got to make her slippery enough to slide down your throat.
Simon: Good – Good to know.
Adam stabs the knife into his chopping board.
Adam: You don’t like fish?
Louis: No I never said-
Adam: You don’t like fish do you. You come into my house, my pub – my fish pub and you don’t even like fish. Are you here to insult me, are you disrespecting me? Why are you here if you don’t want my fish? What is the point of me being here if you don’t want my fish?
He grabs the knife and puts it to his neck.
Is this what you want? This is what you are doing to me. You’re driving me to the edge, is this what you want? Is it? Is it? Is it? Is it? Is it? Is it? Is it? Is it? Is it? Is it? Is it? Is it?
Simon: Calm it down Adam.
Adam removes the knife from his throat.
Louis: Maybe we’ll just get some more drinks instead, we don’t need to eat right now.
Adam: Fish. Its just fish, this is a fish pub. We serve fish. You want fish?
Louis: Um it’s OK we’ll
Adam whistles and Simon gets up and locks the pub doors
Adam: No one leaves here until they’ve had a fish meal. This is a fish pub. You don’t go to steak house and order salad, huh?
Louis: Quite right yes I-
Adam picks up the fish and makes it sing.
Adam: So thou shalt have a fishy in a little dishy. Thou shalt have a fishy in a little dishy, or you won’t leave…
Simon is now sat on a stool at the bar, reading the paper, whilst Adam is stroking a large dead sea bass. Louis, Charlotte and Susie are sat at a table together, each with a dead fish a lemon slice on a plate, in front of them.
Simon: I mean there are so many other things you can do with fish. There’s fish stew, fish pie, fish omelette, fish pasta bake, fish pie, fish sandwich, fish finger, fish cake, fish pie – I said pie already. Fish ice cream. The list goes on, yet all you do is put a dead fish on a plate and call it a meal. I mean, that’s not cooking is it? A dead fish lathered in spit is not cooking. You said you were going to become a high class chef, and yet we are still stuck in this literal God Forsaken pub. Why are we here?
Adam: We have a fish-
Simon: -Pub, yes you keep saying that you have a fish pub, like it’s some grand achievement, but it’s not. A fish pub, who wants a fish pub in their life? Nobody goes out on a Saturday night, let alone a Tuesday to come to a fish pub.
Adam: We have customers here.
Simon: Yes and they look so thrilled to be here, don’t they. Sat there with their spit fish corpses – Look at them, they’re young; they’re probably in their prime, like we were at their age. And they are wasting their evening in this dump. We were young once.
Adam: If only we had a fish pub, when we were younger, to go to, right?
Simon: Wrong. Nobody wants this.
Adam: They’re staying here though.
Simon: Because you made me lock the doors, they are not staying here by choice though.
Louis: This is nice huh?
Adam: He said it’s nice.
Simon: Scared for his life.
Adam: Don’t be ridiculous Simon.
Simon: We should let them-
Adam picks up a fish head and makes it talk.
Adam: No, let them stay.
Simon: Adam stop this please.
Adam: They want to stay.
Simon: No Adam, they don’t.
There’s a knock at the door.
Stu: Anyone order some pizza?
Everyone collectively looks at the door in total shock.
Stu the Pizza Guy is tied to a chair on the dance floor, with Simon stood over his pizza boxes. Adam is pacing back and forth behind Stu. Charlotte and Susie look even more unimpressed at Louis.
Louis: Look I (Pause) I know this seems bad, but you’ve gotta admit that something interesting is happening.. You wouldn’t get this at Wetherspoons would you, right?
A long pause, the two girls stare at him
Simon: I’d shut up mate.
Louis: But I was just-
Simon indicates for him to sssh.
Adam: So you are Stu?
Stu: That is correct, yes.
Adam: Stu the pizza guy?
Stu: My name is Stu.
Adam: And you are a-
Stu: Pizza guy, I am.
Adam: And you thought you could bring Pizza into my establishment, is that right, is it?
Stu: Got the address wrong-
Adam: -That old chestnut ey?
Stu: It is, I mean-
Adam: So you admit it?
Stu: Just got the wrong-
Adam grabs the fish and makes it talk in Stu’s face.
Adam: You think you could bring pizza into my house? You come into my house, and bring fucking pizza, you little shit?
Stu: OK look guys, can-
Adam: Don’t ask them, they’re not going to save you Stu, no one can, or will!
Louis: Can I say something?
A long pause
Adam: What do you want?
Louis: Xylophone Jimmy, my mate from school – he’s called that cause he plays the recorder on weekends, he often mixes his food in weird ways. Maybe you could put fish on one of the pizzas? Just a thought, it might work. Might be worth a try, perhaps – maybe?
Adam stalks across the stage to him, fish in hand. The two girls stare at Louis with a “really” look on their faces.
Adam: Fish… on a pizza?
Louis: Um… it might work.
Adam makes the fish talk.
Adam: You think I want to lay my spit lathered body onto that fucking filth, HUH?!?!?
Louis is shoved onto a seat.
Louis: I – I – I – I-
Adam: Would you do it?
Louis: Do what, do what?
Adam: Lie on a pizza?
Louis: Fuck man, I’m sorry.
Simon: Adam this is madness.
Adam: (As the fish) Shut up Adam. You always try to hold me back. Always holding me back man.
Simon: I hold you back?
Louis: OK this is a-
Simon: -I hold you back.
Adam: You heard me Adam.
Simon: I have been stuck with you for so fucking long, in this stupid fish pub, when you, when we could be both out there in the world, using our talent for good instead of this shit. What are we doing here man, we are wasting away Adam.
Adam slams the fish down on the ground.
Adam: Don’t push me Adam.
Simon: I can’t do this.
Adam: What do you mean?
Simon: I want to leave.
Adam: Leave what? Leave what?
Simon: You! I think we-
Adam: -Don’t you dare Simon.
Simon: We should finish this! I want to leave you; I am leaving you Simon, OK!
Adam: No it’s not OK!
Louis: Kay, we should go.
The girls roll their eyes.
Stu: Should someone call the-
Charlotte rolls her eyes and snaps her fingers. Suddenly the fish comes alive. Adam screams and jumps up on the table. The fish starts nipping at Adam’s legs. He tries to dodge them, looking like he is doing a drunken dance on the table. Susie then clicks her fingers and shoves her hand towards Simon which knocks him back across the stage.
Simon: Jesus hell what was-
Charlotte puts a finger on Louis’ lips and shushes him. She then nods at the pizza boxes. Louis walks over and grabs the boxes. Susie clicks her fingers and the ropes around Stu untie themselves, he is free.
Stu: My God I’m free.
Simon: Pizza, we have pizza!
Everyone cheers. Susie clicks her fingers and the music plays the disco lights whirl and they dance on the dance floor with pizza.
Stu: Not bad for a Tuesday.
Simon: Very good girls, hooray.
They dance the night away