This past fall semester, I had to write a play for a Dramatic Literature course I took. It was our final exam, so it was a huge grade. The first few paragraphs sort of explain the premise of the play, this was required before actually beginning the writing process. The professor wanted to make sure we knew what we were writing about, and that it was something we could accomplish with minimal difficulty…after all, it was an introductory course.
The play will take place at an Irish Pub in modern day New York City, and the characters will be Clytaemestra, Cassandra, Antigone, Lysistrata, and perhaps Everyman. There may be some additions of characters with small parts or one line. The idea is that the main characters are all friends, with the exception of Everyman-he’s more of an acquaintance. Clytaemestra, Antigone and Lysistrata know each other from their college days, and Everyman is the bartender at the bar they frequent. Cassandra was brought to the group by Antigone, after they met on the subway a few years ago and started chatting. The play will take place BEFORE the stories that we’ve read in class take place, assuming they were to happen around the same time. However, the elements of the makings of the stories can/will be brought about through either dialogue, Cassandra’s foresight, or hidden meaning/insinuations.
Clytaemestra is suffering from loneliness due to the loss of her daughter, her husband off at war, and the disappearance of her son. She is having a hard time dealing with it all and calls for a girls’ night at their favorite bar. She seeks solace in her friends, even if they can sometimes drive her mad due to their bit of immaturity. Lysistrata is also feeling lonely due to her husband being off at war, but she tends to put a more comical spin on the whole situation since she knows there’s nothing she can do about it. She finds humor in her good friend Clytaemestra’s moaning and groaning about the absence of her husband and her jealousy of her sister Helena. Antigone felt a likeness towards Cassandra, because most people either don’t listen to them or brush them off, so this made them kindred spirits. Once Cassandra is introduced to the group, she immediately forms a bond with the other girls and earns their trust.
For Antigone, I’m sort of changing her character up a bit. The play we read in class will be used as a script for Antigone. In my play, she is an actress at a local film making company and there has been talk throughout the company about her character being killed off. The way the company hands out the script for each new scene only 12 hours before they are to begin shooting. With all the talk about her character being killed off, she is in a panic when she is handed her new script.
At the table sits Cassandra, Clytaemestra, and Lysistrata. Antigone walks in, holding a yellow manilla envelope, similar to the ones messengers or school teachers use. She stops at the bar, orders her drink, and greets the bartender, Everyman. She takes her drink, joins her friends, looking especially anxious. When she sits, she gently tosses the envelope on the table in front of her. Lysistrata, sitting across from Antigone, accidentally puts her beer glass down on the envelope.
Lysistrata ~ Oh dear, I’m sorry, Anti! (She wipes the water ring off with her napkin.)
Antigone ~ Eh, don’t worry about it. It’s my script and I’m terrified to open it. I wish it would get destroyed.
Cassandra ~ (Recognizing Antigone’s feelings of panic and knowing full well what is in store for her friend.) Oh Anti, I wish you could find the positive side of this. If the talk is true, then maybe it means you’re not meant for this role or company for that matter. Maybe you’re meant for another role.
Antigone ~ (Looking up from her glass.) Oh yeah, like what? The only thing I’ve wanted more is to find a good husband to raise a family with.
Lysistrata ~ What do you want a husband for? Please, it’s much more of a headache to be married and sleep alone because he’s off to war somewhere, than it is to be single and live your life the way you want to.
Clytaemestra ~ Yeah, there’s no one to make a mess right after you clean, no one to tell you dinner tastes gross, and no one to leave you dirty clothes with muddy pants and skid marks in their underwear.
Antigone, Lysistrata, Cassandra ~ Eww gross!
Cassandra ~ Yeah, that’s definitely too much information.
Lysistrata ~ Geez, tell your man to use toilet paper. Will ya?
Antigone ~ That doesn’t help me feel any better.
Lysistrata ~ Better yet, throw out all of his underwear!
Clytaemestra ~ So he can have skid marks on his pants? No thanks.
They all laugh, except for Antigone, who is seen by Cassandra staring at the envelope. Lysistrata puts her beer glass down on the envelope again, this time she doesn’t realize she’s done it.
Clytaemestra ~ Well, girls, you really do know how to lift my spirits. How about we do a shot to loosen up?
Antigone ~ (Breaking from her daze.) Great! I’ll buy!
Lysistrata ~ How about some Petrone? The way I’m feeling tonight, I don’t want to feel anything at all.
Clytaemestra ~ I agree, and the best part about it is you can all crash at my place since it’s right upstairs.
They all happily agree, and Antigone walks over to the bar where she is greeted by Everyman. Meanwhile, the girls begin messing with the envelope. Lysistrata decides to hide it from Antigone in her purse, but doesn’t do a very good job of it.
Everyman ~ Hey, Antigone, how’s it going?
Antigone ~ Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to know something but didn’t have the guts to find out? The thing that you don’t know, but want to know could change your life, and you’re just not sure if you are ready for your life to change.
Everyman ~ Yeah, that’s how I felt when I applied for the loan to buy this bar. I was so full of doubt that I could do it, be successful, that it would thrive, I almost prayed the bank would deny the loan. (He chuckles as he thinks back.)
Antigone ~ Really?
Everyman~ Yeah, and when it was approved I almost died.
Antigone ~ (Relating to the feelings, she looks at her friends a moment.) Yeah, I know what you mean. How did you work through it, though? I mean, you’re obviously doing well, right?
Everyman ~ Yes, I am. I just took a deep breath, and went with it. I took each day as it came, and tried not to worry about the little things. Once things started progressing, I hardly even had time to think about what was going on. Before I knew it, I had been open for over a year, and things were going great. Besides, can you imagine what would have happened if I hadn’t gone through with it?
Antigone ~ No, what?
Everyman ~ Well, for one thing, I wouldn’t have met you. (They share an awkward look into each other’s eyes.) I’ll tell you what, since you and the girls are regulars and you all seem to be having a rough day, your shots are on me.
Antigone ~ You don’t have to do…
Everyman ~ I insist. (He pours the shots as Antigone walks away. A moment later he arrives at the table with the shots.)
Lysistrata ~ Woo hoo! Let’s get this done!
Everyman and Antigone share a look, then smile at each other, and Everyman passes them out to each girl.
Cassandra ~ (Noticing the look they shared.) Ooh, looks like someone has a crush on Antigone.
Lysistrata ~ (Surprised she missed it) Who does?
Clytaemestra ~ Yup, I saw it too. (Smiling at Cassandra in agreement.)
Cassandra ~ It looks like Everyman has a crush on our Antigone.
Lysistrata ~ You little harlet, I knew you two would get together eventually. I just didn’t realize it would be so soon.
Antigone ~ Lysie, you’re crazy. There’s nothing going on between me and Everyman.
Cassandra ~ Maybe not now, but…
Antigone ~ No! (Realizing she does have feelings for Everyman, but doesn’t want to admit it.) Now, can we just do our shots? I’d like to forget about the… Where’s the envelope? (Lysistrata looks at Cassandra who is sitting next to Antigone. Antigone notices the look on Lysistrata’s face and immediately knows what’s going on.) Lysistrata, you give me that envelope right now or I’ll (she grabs Lysistrata’s shot) do your shot for you!
Lysistrata ~ You have to work in the morning, remember? If you do two shots, you’ll never even be able to read your script!
Antigone ~ (Realizing how right she is, she begins to laugh. Then she laughs even harder when she sees the envelope sticking out of Lysistrata’s purse – plain as day.) You’re right, Lysie, now can you please put that on the table?
Lysistrata ~ (Putting the script on the table.) It’s about time you laughed. Geesh, I was beginning to think we were all going to be a bunch of depressed bitches tonight.
Clytaemestra ~ Lysie! Must you use that kind of language?
Lysistrata ~ I’m sorry, Mother. (She looks down, mockingly in shame, as if to poke fun at Clytaemestra for acting too motherly.)
Clytaemestra ~ No, I’m sorry. I just miss my children so much. What will I do without my darling daughter, and wonderful son? (Tears begin to fall) What if my husband doesn’t come home from the war? (Wiping the tears from her cheeks.)
Lysistrata puts her arm around Clytaemestra and Antigone and Cassandra reach across the table to hold her hand.
Not being able to take the mushiness anymore, and for fear of crying herself, Lysistrata is the first to break off the comforting moment.
Lysistrata ~ (Picking up her shot and putting the bent envelope back on the table.) A toast, to my best friends. May our husbands return from war unharmed, and filled with love, may Clytaemestra’s son come home, may Antigone’s fate be something she never could have imagined, and may Cassandra find the man she is meant to be with.
They all clink their glasses, and suck down their shots.
Lysistrata ~ (Feeling a bit daring) Hey, Anti, open the envelope.
Antigone ~ No, not yet. I’m really not ready. (She glances over to Everyman, who nods at her to open it.)
Cassandra ~ Come on, you’ve got to open it eventually.
Clytaemestra ~ She’s right, you can’t sit there and stare at it forever.
Lysistrata ~ (Begins chanting) Open it, open it, open it, (the other girls join in) open it, open it.
Antigone ~ Fine, I’ll open it. (She nervously looks over at Everyman who is watching her with anticipation. Then she picks up the envelope with shaking hands. She unwinds the string, lifts the flap, and pulls out the script. She scans the words, and flips the pages as she looks for the words. Suddenly she stops. She looks up at Everyman, then her friends. Everyone is looking at her in anticipation…waiting for her to say something.