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PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 24.3 (2002) 110-123

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Three Short Plays

James Strahs

These plays were produced twice by The Little Theatre at Tonic in New York in spring and fall 2001: Jane Dorch was directed by Erika Hielman; Producers of Fiction by Ellen LeCompte; How to Act by Daniel Aukin. In the spring and fall productions, Jane Dorch was played by Kate Gleason; Barry in How To Act by Gary Wilmes. The three plays were done on different nights in the first production; in the fall all three plays were done together as one evening of theatre. The first cast of Producers of Fiction included Judy Elkan as Konnie, Kristen Kosmas as Jane, and Jim Fletcher as Gerald. The fall cast for Producers of Fiction was Sybil Kempson as Konnie, Kate Gleason as Jane, and Gary Wilmes as Gerald. How to Act was published in a slightly different form in the spring 2001 issue of Conduit Magazine.

Producers of Fiction

KONNIE: And welcome to the Producer's form. I'm Konnie and you all know Jane. These are a series of periodic seminars on and about producing and producers.

JANE: Who's producing what and where and wherecetera . . . topics and trends in production, personalities . . .

KONNIE: Okay. Think back to our last program. You may remember our promising a very special guest.

JANE: None other than Shirony Birtwhistle . . . Konnie?

KONNIE: We are not reneging. She will be on this program. Just not today.

JANE: Shirony has taken it into her head, and rather publicly reiterated, her vow never to appear on this program again.

KONNIE: Don't think we couldn't and shouldn't be able to say in full confidence, Shirony Birtwhistle will be on this program next week. Don't think that we are not that . . . close.

JANE: O no no no . . . We are very close. Were very close. You want to tell them what it was, Konnie?

KONNIE: Well, we were the best of friends, working hard, playing hard, all the rough and tumble . . . Until one day [End Page 110] she heard me making what she took to be an unflattering reference—

JANE: runt cunt

KONNIE: which she took personally and which somehow offended her sensibilities, for sure, because there's certainly no substance in a knick-knack, a pet name, a code name. She could have been some trash spy we were running . . .

JANE: We were not running any spies . . .

KONNIE: We love her. But she can't get over it.

JANE: But we're over it! We always seem to land butter side up.

KONNIE: Hold it, Jane . . . before we get in any deeper, I want to say a word about a colleague . . . who has up and died, Harry Dent . . . To say Harry was an extremely valued member of our community doesn't say half of it. We may look like we care about it, but we care a lot! We're close-knit. And we're all moaning about the loss of Harry Dent to producers, our Harry Dent . . .

JANE: Gone, like that . . . so sad. So fucking sad . . . But we've got a treat for you. Won't you welcome please our special guest Gerald Hochmueller!

KONNIE: Well well well. Well hi, Gerald. You're certainly one of the bigger names in producing. Most will have heard of Gerald. Some may not yet have heard. Heard what I heard anyway . . .

JANE: Let me add a couple of words: international style. Fashion art . . .

KONNIE: That's right; you're supposed to be the brains behind everything, the evil genius. What do you say to that?

GERALD: What's to say?

KONNIE: Well, I hear you do a class. Do you?

GERALD: I do teach. I feel I have a right—to do the teaching. I've earned that right in side of the code of law . . .

JANE: Really! Gerald. I think most people have a pretty fixed idea of who you are just by looking at you. But tossing that by the wayside until we come back this way, what do you feel...


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