Ben




Ordering Instructions

To order a perusal copy, send me an email at jon@jondorf.com with the following information. Please provide ALL information requested below.

1. Your full name and your organization (theater company, school or other group). If you are a high school or college student, please include your teacher/professor's name.

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About The Play

Drama. 4 males, 3 females. 90 minutes. Multiple suggested settings. Contains mature themes. Finalist in the Charlotte Rep new play competition and third place in the Weinberger Playwriting Residency. Developed by Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey.



Synopsis

Act I, Scene 1. An early fall evening in hectic Harvard Square. FRANK and MICHELLE, a pair of street kids, hassle a PREACHER who becomes a FLYER MAN talking up a jewelry sale. The Flyer Man convinces BEN, a homeless teen, that the only way to his mother's heart is through a gift: a diamond. HOLLY, a woman old enough to be Ben's mother, walks through the Square, and Ben follows her. Ben sets up shop in front of Baxter's Restaurant. An initially hostile BAXTER agrees to let Ben return later and sweep for food.


Scene 2. Later that night. Baxter lets Ben sweep for food, but then it's back to the street for the night. Ben runs into LADY SHAKESPEARE, the homeless woman who may not be as crazy as her ranting might indicate.


Scene 3. The following night. When Baxter complains about the busboy, Ben wonders if Baxter would give him a job. As Ben leaves, he observes from a distance as Frank, looking for money, accosts Baxter. Baxter turns down Frank's subtle offer to prostitute himself. As he sleeps on the street, Ben is plagued by nightmares, recollections of being molested by his social worker.


Scene 4. The next morning. Holly, a regular, comes to Baxter's. She wants his promise that he'll testify if she tries to have Shakespeare, whose real name is Jennifer, committed. Holly has been volunteering at a local shelter, and Shakespeare has become the target of her volunteering, even though her official volunteering period has ended. Shakespeare has shown up in front of Baxter's on several occasions, and despite telling Holly she needs to let go, Baxter reiterates his promise to testify. Holly mentions that she's been getting crank calls, then quickly changes the subject. She needs someone to care for her lawn. Does Baxter know anyone? He'll look into it. Ben runs into Lady Shakespeare again, but this time Holly arrives to tell Shakespeare, her sister, to come home. Ben fantasizes about Holly taking care of him, but when he comes to his senses he's in the Square. Frank questions Ben as to why Baxter is being so nice to Ben and not to him, implying that Baxter is gay and interested in Ben. Ben comes by Baxter's later and asks Baxter for a job. Baxter tells him about the lawn job, then changes his mind and asks Ben to leave. Ben calls Baxter a "fag" and exits angrily.


Scene 5. The next day. With the jewelry sale ending the next day, Ben desperately looks for other jobs. Everyone turns him away. Ben doesn't want to steal, so Frank suggests prostitution, claiming that it's easy money. Ben tries one last time to get Baxter's help, but when he fails, Ben decides he has no choice and goes to the Combat Zone to earn the money.


Scene 6. The next day--Sunday. Holly rejects Ben's gift--he leaves it on her doorstep--not even opening it.


Act II, Scene 1. The same evening. A disconsolate Ben arrives at Baxter's. Baxter consoles him, though Ben has a hard time understanding that Baxter is gay but not interested in him, and that Baxter has a son. Baxter explains that he doesn't see his son much, and he allows Ben to sleep in the restaurant. In the meantime, Holly confronts Shakespeare and tells her she's going to get a court order to get her off the street. That night, Ben destroys Baxter's.


Scene 2. The next day. Baxter, though furious, agrees to let Ben work off the damage. Ben confides his belief that Holly is his mother. Baxter suggests that Ben try another gift. Ben looks unsuccessfully until Lady Shakespeare gives him a worn teddy bear. Feelings of guilt about her past finally purged, Shakespeare dies.



Scene 3. That evening. Ben, with Baxter's help, confronts Holly, who denies being his mother. Ben runs away, then returns after running into Michelle in the Square--she tells him that Frank has disappeared after getting into a car after the restaurant trashing. Ben returns to tell Baxter he's leaving, but as the lights fade, he does not leave.



 


 

 

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Co-Chair of the Alliance of Los Angeles
Playwrights
, member of The Dramatists Guild of America, and life member of the Philadelphia Dramatists Center.

Final Draft Resident Playwriting Expert and author of Playwriting101.com.

Resident Playwriting Expert of The Writers Store.





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