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Old 05-01-2014, 03:13 AM View Post #1 (Link) it is what it is and what it should be
OrionRising (Offline)
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Edit: just a few things I should point out. This is a one-act/single scene less then 10 minute play. It was submitted to a playwright contest and got an honorable mention. The criteria were the same as stated above, the play must be a single scene, contain less than four characters, and be 10 minutes or less.

First post on this site in a long time. I'll get some critiques in shortly, I promise.

This is is the first play I've written, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the style.

it is what it is and what it should be
By: OrionRising

Characters:
Terry: A young man and author
Mr. Blake: An older man, a publisher

Setting:
The play takes place in Mr. Blake’s office where Terry is attempting to get Mr. Blake to publish his handwritten novel.

Scene:
(Lights rise on Terry and Mr. Blake. Both seated. Blake is behind a desk and Terry is sitting across from him. Terry is holding a hardcover book)


TERRY:
Well, Mr. Blake, I am here for one thing, to make this book a classic.
(Places book on desk.)
After a good six months, I bring you what will be my third book published under this company’s name. I have even taken the liberty of editing it myself.

MR. BLAKE:
(Picks up the book and begins flipping through it.)
By golly, Terry, have you gone mad? This is but a mere journal. You cannot come to a publishing company with a handwritten draft! You must at least have this typed.

TERRY:
(smugly and confidently)
But sir, my identity is in my handwriting. Not to mention, the handwriting is clear and careful, essentially indistinguishable from the Comic Sans font.

MR. BLAKE:
(laughs)
Clear and careful, you say—

TERRY:
(interrupting)
Yes I do.

MR. BLAKE:
You do?



TERRY:
(crossing arms, sticking chin up, and leaning back confidently)
I do.

MR. BLAKE:
(growing increasingly agitated)
Terry, Terry, Terry, you cannot be serious. I’ve always known you to be a great writer, but I cannot publish this, simply because it isn’t typed. I mean, for goodness sake, Terry, your lowercase ‘m’s look like seagulls and your ‘t’s are not holy crosses, but—

Terry:
(interrupting again, angrily)
Holy crap!

MR. BLAKE:
Precisely!

TERRY:
I have followed guidelines, I have taken suggestions, and been forced to change aspects of novels which I did not want to change, all because of this publishing company. My novels are the face of the company so this time I will do things how I like.

MR. BLAKE:
I cannot let you.

TERRY:
(rises to leave)
Then I guess this meeting is over.

MR. BLAKE:
Wait, wait. We want your novel, only we cannot accept it in this format. Your handwriting is truly atrocious, nobody will be able to understand it.

TERRY:
Bennett Blake, you have got to understand, that this is not your typical novel. This is a manifestation of life pure of the digital, and thus, distancing, touch.

MR. BLAKE:
It is illegible.

TERRY:
It is intelligible.

MR. BLAKE:
No man could read this.

TERRY:
Yet every man could relate to it.

MR. BLAKE:
Not I.

TERRY:
Have you read it?

MR. BLAKE:
I cannot.

TERRY:
Let me hear it.

MR. BLAKE:
(Rolls eyes and opens to a random page. Using a finger to guide him, Mr. Blake begins reading, slowly, squinting hard at the text.)
“Time goes by so quickly,” I say, pointing down at the freeway below us, “that sometimes, I wonder, if it is better to speed or to coast. As I understand it, to speed is to fill life while to coast is to fulfill life. Which is better I cannot say, but neither should be taken for granted.” We sat for a while.
(Thinking, Mr. Blake sits for a while.)

TERRY:
Well?

MR. BLAKE:
(startled)
It’s treacherous, yet… No, it is…

TERRY:
It is what it is.

MR. BLAKE:
Well, yes, but what it isn’t is finished.

TERRY:
It is.

MR. BLAKE:
What! It is? It is finished or it isn’t finished?

TERRY:
It is.

MR. BLAKE:
I’m not sure I understand.

TERRY:
It is finished.

MR. BLAKE:
Can you have it typed by tomorrow?

TERRY:
I could, but then it would no longer be “finished.” It would, perhaps, be overcomplete. Uhhh… overdone, burnt, a piece of toast left for too long in the oven. And, for goodness-sake, Mr. Blake! Nobody likes burnt toast.

MR. BLAKE:
But Terry, we are trying to sell a book. No one in this day and age will buy a book which is not typed. It must be typed, proofread, revised, proofread again, and revised again.

TERRY:
(sarcastically astonished)
Well, by that time the toast will be nothing but charred ash!

MR. BLAKE:
We are not selling toast. This is a book and this is a publishing company, not some toaster-oven propped up on your kitchen counter.

TERRY:
I’ve written and read this book and read it and written some more, and read it again, and revised where revision was needed, and edited out the senseless babbling which I am prone to, and I’ve read it and I have finished. And yes, it is finished. I fear you have forgotten, that I am not trying to sell a book, but share a book, a story, an adventure, a thought or two. But I’d burn this book as crisp as those ashes of toast before I let you, for the sake of money, at the expense of passion and art, sway me to overperfect what must remain overdone by being underdone.
(Terry stands, angrily to leave and takes several long, unfaltering strides towards the exit.)

MR. BLAKE:
WAIT! I… uhh… I will publish it!
(Terry, suddenly cheerful, returns to his seat.)

TERRY:
In its current form?

MR. BLAKE
Well, yes and no. I was thinking, that, since you insist that your book must be published handwritten, that perhaps we could publish the novel in two editions, handwritten and typed.

TERRY:
(angry again)
Absolutely not. It simply would not work.

MR. BLAKE:
But it cannot be read without strain. It is a mess. The pure illegibility destroys all meaning in the book.


TERRY:
I beg to differ. Have you even read the book?

MR. BLAKE
Yes, only a few minutes ago you insisted I read it.

TERRY:
You read a paragraph.

MR. BLAKE:
And that was a struggle enough. Your handwriting is atrocious. No other successful novel has been written by hand.

TERRY:
I know of one.

MR. BLAKE:
(Raising eyebrows sarcastically)
Do you?

TERRY:
Yes, the Bible, the Anno Domini Times best seller for 2,014 years in a row, that was handwritten!

MR. BLAKE:
(muttering to himself)
Moses, though, probably didn’t have the handwriting of a monkey.

(Mr. Blake flips, slowly through a few pages of Terry’s novel, stopping on some pages shortly to read)

MR. BLAKE:
Here, this is a perfect example:
(Begins reading out loud)
“Daddy, what is that?” my daughter shouted from the backseat, pointing at the cement wall of fog rising from the riverbed to cloak the rigid peeks.
“That is the mountains missed,” I replied sadly.

TERRY:
I don’t see your problem.

MR. BLAKE:
It says “mountains missed” when clearly you mean “mountain’s mist.”

TERRY:
(Joyfully confused)
Huh?

MR. BLAKE:
You have written here, the word missed: m-i-s-s-e-d, when clearly you mean to say mist, m-i-s-t. Or perhaps…
(looking at the text again)
it is spelled m-i-s-t. It is impossible to tell. I look at it one way and it says mist and I look at another and it says miss-ED.

TERRY:
But either way you read it, it says mist.

MR. BLAKE:
No, one way it says mist and…

TERRY:
(interrupting)
The other way it still says mist.

MR. BLAKE:
Well…

TERRY:
Either way it says the same thing…

MR. BLAKE:
(Interrupting)
But it always means something different!

(Mr. Blake begins reading madly and becomes deeply enthralled in the book in a matter of seconds.)

TERRY:
Precisely! When one word does not do, make that one word two!

(Terry looks up to see Mr. Blake reading and rises from his seat.)




TERRY:
(To himself/aside)
My handwriting may be rough but it is what it is because it is what I am. The deeper one digs to decipher it, the deeper they dig themselves in thought. Most would not back down from a challenge issued by an opponent made of paper so they read and we wait to see what comes of it.

(Lights fade)
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						Last edited by OrionRising; 05-04-2014 at 08:01 PM.
					
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Old 05-03-2014, 04:53 AM View Post #2 (Link)
Infinity_Man (Offline)
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I critique this as someone who as acted in, directed, and written several plays, and has a small sense of how theatre works.

Originally Posted by OrionRising View Post
First post on this site in a long time. I'll get some critiques in shortly, I promise.

This is is the first play I've written, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the style.

it is what it is and what it should be
By: OrionRising

Characters:
Terry: A young man and author
Mr. Blake: An older man, a publisher

Setting:
The play takes place in Mr. Blake’s office where Terry is attempting to get Mr. Blake to publish his handwritten novel.

Scene:
(Lights rise on Terry and Mr. Blake. Both seated. Blake is behind a desk and Terry is sitting across from him. Terry is holding a hardcover book)


TERRY:
Well, Mr. Blake, I am here for one thing, to make this book a classic.
(Places book on desk.)
After a good six months, I bring you what will be my third book published under this company’s name. I have even taken the liberty of editing it myself.
This strikes me too much as exposition. I get that you're trying to catch the audience up to what's happening, but I shouldn't be able to tell that. I mean, obviously Mr. Blake knows why Terry is there. Mr. Blake knows it's been six months. Mr. Blake knows it's the third book under this company's name. Probably. And Goddamn, Terry better have edited that book himself (because you don't just give your editor a first draft and they come up with the finished novel). (EDIT: Reading ahead, I realize this last point is foreshadowing Terry's attitude, so you got me there)
Some of this I could see being how two people really talk to each other, but altogether it's a little bit much to start the play with.


MR. BLAKE:
(Picks up the book and begins flipping through it.)
By golly, By golly? Really? Is this the 50s? Terry, have you gone mad? This is but a mere journal This is really formal/academic. Since this is a play, it's paramount that you get voice down right, so I'm really going to grill you about this.. You cannot come to a publishing company with a handwritten draft! You must at least have this typed.

TERRY:
(smugly and confidently)It's up to the director and actor to interpret how this line is said. Chances are, they'd just ignore you anyway)
But sir, my identity is in my handwriting. Not to mention, the handwriting is clear and careful, essentially indistinguishable from the Comic Sans font. Haha, if the Comic Sans thing was a joke then it made me laugh. If it wasn't supposed to be a joke, well... it made me laugh.

MR. BLAKE:
(laughs)
Clear and careful, you say—

TERRY:
(interrupting)As indicated by the interrupted dialogue, yes
Yes I do.

MR. BLAKE:
You do?

TERRY:
(crossing arms, sticking chin up, and leaning back confidently)
I do.

MR. BLAKE:
(growing increasingly agitated)
Terry, Terry, Terry, you cannot be serious. I’ve always known you to be a great writer, but I cannot publish this, simply because it isn’t typed. I mean, for goodness sake, Terry, your lowercase ‘m’s look like seagulls and your ‘t’s are not holy crosses, but—

Terry:
(interrupting again, angrily)
Holy crap!

MR. BLAKE:
Precisely!

That's a joke I think could translate well to the stage.

TERRY:
I have followed guidelines, I have taken suggestions, and been forced to change aspects of novels which I did not want to change, all because of this publishing company. My novels are the face of the company so this time I will do things how I like.

MR. BLAKE:
I cannot let you.

TERRY:
(rises to leave) I'm just going to say this now, but longer scenes of just two characters sitting gets boring to watch pretty fast. If I was directing this, my first goal would be to get at least one of them out of their seat as soon as possible, get them moving around a bit. Hell, I'd probably just start the scene with Terry standing. Basically, two people sitting and talking is a conversation, but people standing and moving around/blocking is theatre
Then I guess this meeting is over.

MR. BLAKE:
Wait, wait. We want your novel, only we cannot accept it in this format. Your handwriting is truly atrocious, nobody will be able to understand it.

TERRY:
Bennett Blake, you have got to understand, that this is not your typical novel. This is a manifestation of life pure of the digital, and thus, distancing, touch.

MR. BLAKE:
It is illegible.

TERRY:
It is intelligible.

Nice wordplay.

MR. BLAKE:
No man could read this.

TERRY:
Yet every man could relate to it.

MR. BLAKE:
Not I.

TERRY:
Have you read it?

MR. BLAKE:
I cannot.

TERRY:
Let me hear it.

I don't know if I get this logic. "I can't read this." "Oh yeah, well let me hear you read it." Not sure what Terry hopes to gain from it.

MR. BLAKE:
(Rolls eyes and opens to a random page. Using a finger to guide him, Mr. Blake begins reading, slowly, squinting hard at the text.)
“Time goes by so quickly,” I say, pointing down at the freeway below us, “that sometimes, I wonder, [b]Neither comma should be there[/]b if it is better to speed or to coast. As I understand it, to speed is to fill life while to coast is to fulfill life. Which is better I cannot say, but neither should be taken for granted.” We sat for a while.
(Thinking, Mr. Blake sits for a while.)

TERRY:
Well?

MR. BLAKE:
(startled)
It’s treacherous, yet… No, it is…

TERRY:
It is what it is.

MR. BLAKE:
Well, yes, but what it is isn’t is finished.

TERRY:
It is.

MR. BLAKE:
What! It is? It is finished or it isn’t finished?

TERRY:
It is.

MR. BLAKE:
I’m not sure I understand.

TERRY:
It is finished.

MR. BLAKE:
Can you have it typed by tomorrow?

TERRY:
I could, but then it would no longer be “finished.” It would, perhaps, be overcomplete. Uhhh… overdone, burnt, a piece of toast left for too long in the oven. And, for goodness-sake, Mr. Blake! Nobody likes burnt toast.

MR. BLAKE:
But Terry, we are trying to sell a book. No one in this day and age will buy a book which is not typed. It must be typed, proofread, revised, proofread again, and revised again.

TERRY:
(sarcastically astonished)
Well, by that time the toast will be nothing but charred ash!

MR. BLAKE:
We are not selling toast. This is a book and this is a publishing company, not some toaster-oven propped up on your kitchen counter.

TERRY:
I’ve written and read this book and read it and written some more, and read it again, and revised where revision was needed, and edited out the senseless babbling which I am prone to, and I’ve read it and I have finished. And yes, it is finished. I fear you have forgotten, that I am not trying to sell a book, but share a book, a story, an adventure, a thought or two. But I’d burn this book as crisp as those ashes of toast before I let you, for the sake of money, at the expense of passion and art, sway me to over-perfect what must remain overdone by being underdone.
(Terry stands, angrily to leave and takes several long, unfaltering strides towards the exit.)

MR. BLAKE:
WAIT! I… uhh… I will publish it!
(Terry, suddenly cheerful, returns to his seat.)

TERRY:
In its current form?

MR. BLAKE
Well, yes and no. I was thinking, that, since you insist that your book must be published handwritten, that perhaps we could publish the novel in two editions, handwritten and typed.

TERRY:
(angry again)
Absolutely not. It simply would not work.

MR. BLAKE:
But it cannot be read without strain. It is a mess. The pure illegibility destroys all meaning in the book.


TERRY:
I beg to differ. Have you even read the book?

MR. BLAKE
Yes, only a few minutes ago you insisted I read it.

TERRY:
You read a paragraph.

MR. BLAKE:
And that was a struggle enough. Your handwriting is atrocious. No other successful novel has been written by hand.

TERRY:
I know of one.

MR. BLAKE:
(Raising eyebrows sarcastically)
Do you?

TERRY:
Yes, the Bible, the Anno Domini Times best seller for 2,014 years in a row, that was handwritten!

As was almost all literature before books became a big enough success to deserve the printing press treatment. Until then, most writers just wrote out a few copies and handed them out to their friends. That includes a lot of famous literature, too.

One example off the top of my head: I have a copy of William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience that, because he wrote them in metal with corresponding illustrations, are still in his hand-writing (and are very hard to read)


MR. BLAKE:
(muttering to himself)
Moses, though, probably didn’t have the handwriting of a monkey.

Just in case these errors are not on purpose (and it is really hard to tell sometimes, especially in comedy) let's just get a few things straight:
1) Since Anno Domini starts counting from the birth of Jesus Christ, not his death, the bible couldn't be 2014 years old, as it includes Jesus's death in it
2) Scholarship suggests that neither Old or New Testament were written until a few centuries into A.D
3) This also ignores the fact that the only people who could read for a good several hundred years were priests who copied the bible by hand, since that was their only way to actually make copies of things (I bet their hand-writing was fabulous) and so commercial versions of the bible definitely haven't been "best-sellers" for 2014 years)
4) I'm guessing the bible Terry is talking about is the new testament, i.e the Christian bible. Moses wrote the old testament, I.E the Hebrew Bible.

Maybe I'm just analyzing the joke too much, but if I can do that--if it falls apart the second I give it a moment's thought--then it's really not that funny of a joke.


(Mr. Blake flips, slowly through a few pages of Terry’s novel, stopping on some pages shortly to read)

MR. BLAKE:
Here, this is a perfect example:
(Begins reading out loud)
“Daddy, what is that?” my daughter shouted from the backseat, pointing at the cement wall of fog rising from the riverbed to cloak the rigid peeks.
“That is the mountains missed,” I replied sadly.

TERRY:
I don’t see your problem.

MR. BLAKE:
It says “mountains missed” when clearly you mean “mountain’s mist.”

TERRY:
(Joyfully confused)
Huh?

MR. BLAKE:
You have written here, the word missed: m-i-s-s-e-d, when clearly you mean to say mist, m-i-s-t. Or perhaps…
(looking at the text again)
it is spelled m-i-s-t. It is impossible to tell. I look at it one way and it says mist and I look at another and it says miss-ED.

TERRY:
But either way you read it, it says mist.

MR. BLAKE:
No, one way it says mist and…

TERRY:
(interrupting)
The other way it still says mist.

MR. BLAKE:
Well…

TERRY:
Either way it says the same thing…

MR. BLAKE:
(Interrupting)
But it always means something different!

(Mr. Blake begins reading madly and becomes deeply enthralled in the book in a matter of seconds.)

TERRY:
Precisely! When one word does not do, make that one word two!

(Terry looks up to see Mr. Blake reading and rises from his seat.)


TERRY:
(To himself/aside)
My handwriting may be rough but it is what it is because it is what I am. The deeper one digs to decipher it, the deeper they dig themselves in thought. Most would not back down from a challenge issued by an opponent made of paper so they read and we wait to see what comes of it.

(Lights fade)
Mmm, this isn't really a play, more like a scene. It would probably take five minutes to perform, maybe ten. The ending felt a bit rushed there, and I'm not a huge fan of how Terry had to stop and, basically, face the audience to deliver the message of the scene. It felt a bit cheap and easy, and too fast. I think you had something interesting going with Mr. Blake getting enthralled in it--I was understanding that just by reading it--but then you kinda seemed to panic, as if I wasn't going to get it on my own, and you basically explained the punchline to me.

That aside, with a bit of work it could be a really good scene. It's funny, but isn't trying too hard, and I always prefer things that rely on wit rather than physical comedy. There're some nice exchanges here, and I could picture how I would deliver the lines if I had to say them, which--if I was a director looking for something to put on--would be a big plus, because it means I have a vision of what I want. Though, if I was a director looking for something to put on, I'd probably get turned off by the lack of movement in the scene, especially because Mr. Blake seems to be trapped behind his desk. That could be something I'd just fix with my own blocking, but the scene itself doesn't really lend itself well to movement, and I'd be afraid of that being boring.
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Old 05-03-2014, 08:20 PM View Post #3 (Link)
Dalibor (Offline)
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With good acting, this scene could be very funny.

I agree that there should be more movement in the scene, or at least more energy. Mr. Blake was great (If an old man acted well enough, the "by golly" part would certainly work)

What I dislike about this (by the way, if this isn't the first scene of the play, then I'm probably mistaken), but anyway what I dislike is Terry. He's not likeable or funny. Throughout the scene I was on Mr. Blake's side, although it seemed as though we were supposed to sympathize with Terry.
He was also predictable other than his holy crap outburst. I pictured him as a pseudo-intellectual with hipster glasses trying to be writer-ish (and by "pictured" I mean it was a little too obvious).

Since many writers in plays are like that though, it still seemed professional. Even though this is your first play, you really seemed to have a grip on the style. Apply more imagination to that style and you'll have a great scene.
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Old 05-28-2014, 01:39 AM View Post #4 (Link) Wow. WOW. WOW! WOW!!!!!!
unicorn04 (Offline)
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I wrote this in Comic Sans because it says that in the play.

You are a fabulous script maker, and you should know that. There are some things you should know though.

~You should introduce Terry and Mr. Blake more.
~To make this a more exciting piece, include a more fun location (for example, a skyscraper in New York, or a Town in California)
~As much as I enjoyed the argument, you should also add more event to the script. By that I mean you could start off with Terry drinking a cup of coffee and handwriting the novel. That was a suggestion- Do not consider it as a must!
~What is the reason that Mr. Blake dislikes written novels more than actual typed novels? What is his problem?
~There is a problem to the script, I can tell. But, where is the solution? It might sound more finished.

Great job on the writing, and keep making scripts!
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Old 06-01-2014, 01:34 AM View Post #5 (Link) Impressive
bluestars263 (Offline)
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I will warn you I am not a professional playwright, but I have had experience in theater and through working with the authors of a few plays. I really enjoyed the script, and good job on the honorable mention. And if you keep at it, your work will only get better.
Oh, and you're my first critique! I hope It helps someway

Originally Posted by OrionRising View Post
Edit: just a few things I should point out. This is a one-act/single scene less then 10 minute play. It was submitted to a playwright contest and got an honorable mention. The criteria were the same as stated above, the play must be a single scene, contain less than four characters, and be 10 minutes or less.

First post on this site in a long time. I'll get some critiques in shortly, I promise.

This is is the first play I've written, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the style.

it is what it is and what it should be
By: OrionRising

Characters:
Terry: A young man and author
Mr. Blake: An older man, a publisher

Setting:
The play takes place in Mr. Blake’s office where Terry is attempting to get Mr. Blake to publish his handwritten novel.
I like the setting, and honestly, I think the plot's good enough that a more detailed or fantastical office wouldn't add much.

Scene:
(Lights rise on Terry and Mr. Blake. Both seated. Blake is behind a desk and Terry is sitting across from him. Terry is holding a hardcover book)


TERRY:
Well, Mr. Blake, I am here for one thing, to make this book a classic.
This line is too bold, if you know what I mean. Maybe more of an introduction of the characters?
(Places book on desk.)
After a good six months, I bring you what will be my third book published under this company’s name. I have even taken the liberty of editing it myself.
too much explaining. This information could be conveyed later as the interaction between the characters evolves.

MR. BLAKE:
(Picks up the book and begins flipping through it.)
By golly, Terry, have you gone mad? This is but a mere journal. You cannot come to a publishing company with a handwritten draft! You must at least have this typed.
This is a great line. I think the By golly! could be very entertaining if played up by the right actor.

TERRY:
(smugly and confidently)
But sir, my identity is in my handwriting. Not to mention, the handwriting is clear and careful, essentially indistinguishable from the Comic Sans font.

MR. BLAKE:
(laughs)
Clear and careful, you say—

TERRY:
(interrupting)
Yes I do.

MR. BLAKE:
You do?


TERRY:
(crossing arms, sticking chin up, and leaning back confidently)
I do.

MR. BLAKE:
(growing increasingly agitated)
Terry, Terry, Terry, you cannot be serious. I’ve always known you to be a great writer, but I cannot publish this, simply because it isn’t typed. I mean, for goodness sake, Terry, your lowercase ‘m’s look like seagulls and your ‘t’s are not holy crosses, but—

Terry:
(interrupting again, angrily)
Holy crap!

I think the holy crosses/crap joke is a great idea, but needs to be clarified. It seems easy to miss.

MR. BLAKE:
Precisely!

TERRY:
I have followed guidelines, I have taken suggestions, and been forced to change aspects of novels which I did not want to change, all because of this publishing company. My novels are the face of the company so this time I will do things how I like.
I didn't understand some parts of this just because it seems a bit rushed. It could definitely be slowed down to show more frustration or agitation on Terry's part.

MR. BLAKE:
I cannot let you.

TERRY:
(rises to leave)
Then I guess this meeting is over.

MR. BLAKE:
Wait, wait. I want your novel, only I cannot accept it in this format. Your handwriting is truly atrocious, nobody will be able to understand it.

TERRY:
Bennett Blake, you have got to understand that this is not your typical novel. This is a manifestation of life pure of the digital, and thus, distancing, touch.
Again, try slowing this out and pull more description into the voice of Terry. He really wants to publish this book handwritten.

MR. BLAKE:
It is illegible.

TERRY:
It is intelligible.

MR. BLAKE:
No man could read this.

TERRY:
Yet every man could relate to it.

MR. BLAKE:
Not I.

TERRY:
Have you read it?

MR. BLAKE:
I cannot.

TERRY:
Let me hear it.

MR. BLAKE:
(Rolls eyes and opens to a random page. Using a finger to guide him, Mr. Blake begins reading, slowly, squinting hard at the text.)
“Time goes by so quickly,” I say, pointing down at the freeway below us, “that sometimes, I wonder, if it is better to speed or to coast. As I understand it, to speed is to fill life while to coast is to fulfill life. Which is better I cannot say, but neither should be taken for granted.” We sat for a while.
(Thinking, Mr. Blake sits for a while.)

TERRY:
Well?

MR. BLAKE:
(startled)
It’s treacherous, yet… No, it is…

TERRY:
It is what it is.

MR. BLAKE:
Well, yes, but what it isn’t is finished.

TERRY:
It is.

MR. BLAKE:
What! It is? It is finished or it isn’t finished?

TERRY:
It is.

MR. BLAKE:
I’m not sure I understand.

This could be very funny but hard to articulate

TERRY:
It is finished.

MR. BLAKE:
Can you have it typed by tomorrow?

TERRY:
I could, but then it would no longer be “finished.” It would, perhaps, be overcomplete. Uhhh… overdone, burnt, a piece of toast left for too long in the oven. And, for goodness-sake, Mr. Blake! Nobody likes burnt toast.
Nice metaphor

MR. BLAKE:
But Terry, we are trying to sell a book. No one in this day and age will buy a book which is not typed. It must be typed, proofread, revised, proofread again, and revised again.

TERRY:
(sarcastically astonished)
Well, by that time the toast will be nothing but charred ash!

MR. BLAKE:
We are not selling toast. This is a book and this is a publishing company, not some toaster-oven propped up on your kitchen counter.

TERRY:
I’ve written and read this book and read it and written some more, and read it again, and revised where revision was needed, and edited out the senseless babbling which I am prone to, and I’ve read it and I have finished. And yes, it is finished. I fear you have forgotten, that I am not trying to sell a book, but share a book, a story, an adventure, a thought or two. But I’d burn this book as crisp as those ashes of toast before I let you, for the sake of money, at the expense of passion and art, sway me to overperfect what must remain overdone by being underdone.
(Terry stands, angrily to leave and takes several long, unfaltering strides towards the exit.)
Very good right here

MR. BLAKE:
WAIT! I… uhh… I will publish it!
(Terry, suddenly cheerful, returns to his seat.)
Maybe more drama here? It seems a bit rushed.

TERRY:
In its current form?

MR. BLAKE
Well, yes and no. I was thinking, that, since you insist that your book must be published handwritten, that perhaps we could publish the novel in two editions, handwritten and typed.

TERRY:
(angry again)
Absolutely not. It simply would not work.

MR. BLAKE:
But it cannot be read without strain. It is a mess. The pure illegibility destroys all meaning in the book.


TERRY:
I beg to differ. Have you even read the book?

MR. BLAKE
Yes, only a few minutes ago you insisted I read it.

TERRY:
You read a paragraph.

MR. BLAKE:
And that was a struggle enough. Your handwriting is atrocious. No other successful novel has been written by hand.

TERRY:
I know of one.

MR. BLAKE:
(Raising eyebrows sarcastically)
Do you?

TERRY:
Yes, the Bible, the Anno Domini Times best seller for 2,014 years in a row, that was handwritten!

MR. BLAKE:
(muttering to himself)
Moses, though, probably didn’t have the handwriting of a monkey.
(Mr. Blake flips, slowly through a few pages of Terry’s novel, stopping on some pages shortly to read)

MR. BLAKE:
Here, this is a perfect example:
(Begins reading out loud)
“Daddy, what is that?” my daughter shouted from the backseat, pointing at the cement wall of fog rising from the riverbed to cloak the rigid peeks.
“That is the mountains missed,” I replied sadly.

TERRY:
I don’t see your problem.

MR. BLAKE:
It says “mountains missed” when clearly you mean “mountain’s mist.”

TERRY:
(Joyfully confused)
Huh?

MR. BLAKE:
You have written here, the word missed: m-i-s-s-e-d, when clearly you mean to say mist, m-i-s-t. Or perhaps…
(looking at the text again)
it is spelled m-i-s-t. It is impossible to tell. I look at it one way and it says mist and I look at another and it says miss-ED.

TERRY:
But either way you read it, it says mist.

MR. BLAKE:
No, one way it says mist and…

TERRY:
(interrupting)
The other way it still says mist.

MR. BLAKE:
Well…

TERRY:
Either way it says the same thing…

MR. BLAKE:
(Interrupting)
But it always means something different!

(Mr. Blake begins reading madly and becomes deeply enthralled in the book in a matter of seconds.)
There needed to be a lot more action between the characters during the whole argument. I think if one of them stood up and shook their finger at the other while making a point, or threw up their hands in frustration, it would add more drama and/or humor.

TERRY:
Precisely! When one word does not do, make that one word two!

(Terry looks up to see Mr. Blake reading and rises from his seat.)




TERRY:
(To himself/aside)
My handwriting may be rough but it is what it is because it is what I am. The deeper one digs to decipher it, the deeper they dig themselves in thought. Most would not back down from a challenge issued by an opponent made of paper so they read and we wait to see what comes of it.
I don't like the monologue ending. Most of what Terry says is explained to the audience during the play, so why try to restate the main idea in the conclusion? I love the ending dialog; try to capitalize on that instead of a concluding monologue.
I think
(Lights fade)
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Old 05-19-2015, 09:16 PM View Post #6 (Link) Why am I writing a title anyway?
Jr.genius (Offline)
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I really enjoyed this. . . .However--by golly? You gotta be kidding me. I also felt the end part was a little bit cheesy, and rushed. I also didn't like the exposition in the beginning--it was way to obvious, however, other than that, this was an enjoyable read, and quite funny!!
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Old 05-31-2015, 03:10 PM View Post #7 (Link) I loved it!
Jowal (Offline)
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I wish I could write a long-winded critique of this play but I just can't; maybe because I'm still a newbie. But I liked it, it deserved the honour it was awarded.
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Old 06-08-2015, 01:07 AM View Post #8 (Link)
Raven72 (Offline)
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I really enjoyed reading your script, I think it would be very funny if it was acted out. It would be cool if you continued the play though with reactions from other people reading it the book though.
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