Theatre Bay Area Chatterbox

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Literary Adventures of Claire and Elana, Part 1

The Literary Adventures of Claire and Elana: LiteraryManager.org Edition

ELANA rummages through the fridge at Theatre Bay Area, grabs a paper bag and pulls out her lunch, staring disdainfully at the stale bread and old apple that she packed herself in her sleep-deprived morning haste. Enter CLAIRE, who crosses cheerily to the water cooler to get a drink.

CLAIRE: So, I did it! I submitted a play to the Playwright’s Foundation for the Bay Area Playwright’s Festival.

ELANA: When was the deadline?

CLAIRE: I know, I know, I took my sweet time. Maybe someday I’ll get in a submission one or two days before the very second they are due.

ELANA dons her Judging Cap—a stylish porkpie, complete with feather.

CLAIRE: (sheepishly) I think I heard a quote somewhere that real playwrights wait until the last minute. Have you heard that one?

ELANA: No.

CLAIRE: Oh. Well. This year I didn’t even have to mail in my submission, so I was able to procrastinate more than usual. They're using this new website called LiteraryManager.org. Have you heard of it?

ELANA: Yes.

(Pause.)

CLAIRE: Well, it was great! I just filled out an online form, uploaded my script, and that was that. I didn't have to print or mail anything. Did you submit a play this year?

ELANA: No...

ELANA rotates her Judging Cap to reveal the words “PLAYWRIGHTS FOUNDATION SELECTION COMMITTEE” written on the back. CLAIRE gasps and drops her water.

ELANA: So we meet.

CLAIRE: Well, technically, we’ve known each other for a few months, being coworkers and all.

ELANA: So we meet...as judge and judged.

CLAIRE: I didn’t realize you were on the selection committee!

ELANA: I didn’t realize you submitted a play to the Playwrights Foundation! Wait. Does this not strike you as odd? Two coworkers, standing around the water cooler for an inordinately long time, able to provide complementary views on a new online literary database and seemingly unable to talk about anything else?

(CLAIRE and ELANA make eye contact and slowly, suspiciously cast their eyes skyward, where a giant pencil eraser threatens to poke down from up above.)

CLAIRE: Elana, you’ve resorted to a metatheatrical representation of yourself as the playwright-slash-literary puppetmaster?! Thank god you didn’t submit a play this year, or you would’ve been the laughingstock of the local theatre community!

ELANA: Don’t look at me, I’m not the one pulling the metaphorical strings here!

CLAIRE climbs atop the refrigerator and peers into the left eye of META-ELANA.

CLAIRE: (Scrambling down) OH MY GOD. I can’t believe I’m in a play with a character named “META-ELANA.” Just being a character in this play is going to regress my writing 10 years. OH MY GOD! REGRESS MY WRITING? IS THAT EVEN A PHRASE??

(The giant pencil eraser starts to erase Claire’s left foot.)

ELANA: WAIT, SHE'LL TALK, DON’T ERASE HER!

(The eraser hesitates.)

ELANA: Claire, say something! Say something more about the database!

CLAIRE: Uhm….I totally didn’t feel all angsty about paying the readers fee, because I didn’t have to spend any money on copies or binding or envelopes or postage. Wouldn’t it be great if someday, in the future, this was the way all plays were submitted.

(The eraser starts to erase CLAIRE's right hand.)

ELANA: WAIT! Stop! She's given you what you wanted! She's talking!

CLAIRE: (Louder) Freelance dramaturges can also use it to - --

(The eraser erases CLAIRE's mouth.)

ELANA: NOOOOOO! WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM US?? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM US, META-ELANA?!?

To be continued...

Will Claire and Elana escape from the water cooler unharmed? Will Claire get her mouth back? And just what *is* this literary database of which Claire and Elana speak so passionately, anyway? These questions and more will be answered in Part 2 of The Literary Adventures of Claire and Elana: LiteraryManager.org Edition.

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