Theater

Play in the Drawer: Rinne Groff

by

New Dramatists.

We begin with one of the loveliest, playwright, performer, and new mother Rinne Groff. Ms. Groff’s work Her work has been produced by the Public Theater, Trinity Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Women’s Project, PS122, Clubbed Thumb, Target Margin, and Andy’s Summer Playhouse, among others. Rinne is a recipient of an Obie Award grant, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and Whiting Writers Award, and a NYSCA Individual Artist grant. She was a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, the Sundance Theatre Lab, the Australian National Playwrights Conference, the Perry Mansfield New Noises Festival, and The Chautauqua Theater Company. She is currently working on two musicals and an adaptation of a novel for the stage.

She offers a few scenes from scenes from a musical called IN THE BUBBLE (book by Rinne Groff; lyrics by Michael Friedman, Rinne Groff, and Joe Popp; music by Michael Friedman and Joe Popp).

JOEY
…You know what really bugs me? When they discovered the tumor, I was
too young for girls. Now that I’m old enough, I can’t do anything about
it.
TODD
What do you mean “about it”?
JOEY
I mean how the first thing I’m gonna do when I get out of here is get
myself a prostitute.
TODD
You are not.
JOEY
I am. What are you gonna do?
TODD
Who says I even want to get out of here?
JOEY
Come on, if you could snap your fingers and be free, what would you do?
TODD
I wouldn’t get a prostitute.
JOEY
Why not?
TODD
I’d be scared of all the germs. Aren’t you?
JOEY
No way. I want germs. I want to flip the bird to all those nurses
trying to keep me antiseptic all the time.
TODD
Would you really flip the bird to a medical professional?
JOEY
Maybe one day. When I’m walking down the street with my hair all long
and greasy and my very own moustache. Then I’ll be flipping the bird at
whoever I want any time I want. And I won’t care either, because I’ll
be making it with every chick that walks. I’m gonna…

SONG: I Want Germs
JOEY
Swap spit with Farrah Fawcett
Her cooties on my skin
Nibble on her earlobes
Get dribble on my chin
No one lives forever
Life’s got temporary terms
I want sickness, I want germs
TODD
You do not.
JOEY
I’ll ride my motorcycle naked
Watch commuters cringe
Buy drugs from a sleazy dealer
Shoot with a used syringe
Book a tour for adventure
And the travel agent squirms
I want infections, I want germs
TODD
But you’re not serious.
JOEY
Serious as Strep Throat.

Tattoo my entire body
Pen ink and a razor blade
Screw a heroin junkie
Get a job in the sex trade
When life expectancy is shortened
You douse the wick that burns
I want germs, I want germs

Come on, Todd, give it a try.
TODD
Fine.

I’ll go to a discotheque
In a leper colony
Dance around ’til my legs drop off
Right below the knee
Wanting life, seeking death
No contradiction in terms
I want disease, I want germs

I want Botulism, Tuberculosis
JOEY
Chicken Pox, and Mononucleosis
TODD
Shingles, Rabies, Meningitis
JOEY
Crotch rot, and Vaginitis!
TODD
Vaginitis?
JOEY
You get the idea.
All of a sudden Todd looks serious.
TODD
Joey.
JOEY
Yeah?
TODD
Do you ever um…? Do you ever… You know, when no one’s around?
JOEY
(knowing exactly what Todd’s talking about)
All the time.
TODD
So it’s not just me?
JOEY
It is not just you.
TODD
Thank God.
(and then)
Keep going.
JOEY
No, you go.
TODD
You start.
Joey tries to come up with the dirtiest, germiest thing he can think
of, and then Todd tries to top it.
JOEY
Dry-hump a dirty blow-up doll
‘Til the cows come home
TODD
Then get it on with those horny cows
With no spermacidal foam
JOEY
We’ll taste life to the fullest
TODD
We’ll feel the heat that burns
JOEY & TODD
We want sickness, we want germs
We want infections, we want germs
We want germs, we want germs!

SCENE SEVEN
The Jenners’ House. Gina is drying herself off. Hank calls to her from
the pool.
HANK
Hey, come back in here.
GINA
I told you I gotta go.
HANK
Where’s the fire?
GINA
You gotta go, too, Hank.
HANK
I will. But jump back in for a sec.
GINA
I’m already dry.
HANK
I’ll get you wet again.
GINA
My mom can hear you.
HANK
Your mom can’t hear anything; she’s been drinking since noon. Ricky’s
not coming over after me, is he?
GINA
Not that it’s any of your business.
HANK
So what’s up?
GINA
Todd’s been in the hospital a whole month tomorrow.
HANK
So?
GINA
I want to make a card and everything.
HANK
So just a quickie. Then you can make a whole Rose Bowl float for the
geek.
GINA
Get out of the pool, Hank.
HANK
I said I’ll be fast.
GINA
And I said no.
HANK
Don’t be a bitch.
(beat, Gina glaring at him)
I didn’t mean that. You’re not a bitch.
GINA
Thanks.
Hank gets out of the pool.
HANK
Fine, be that way.
GINA
Fine, you be that way.
HANK
I’ll see you tomorrow.
GINA
If I’m lucky.
HANK
(under his breath, as he exits)
Bitch.
Hank exits.

SCENE EIGHT
The Fielding House. Vicki is alone.

SONG: Then You Fail
VICKI
A child is born into this world
That’s a happy joyful day
You have dreams of what he’ll do
Favorite food, where he likes to play

Images of who he’ll be
Doctor, scholar dressed in tweeds
You try to give him what he wants
You try to satisfy his needs

And then you fail
You fail to be
You fail to do
You fail to see
Then you fail fail fail
You fail

It’s hard to raise a kid these days
There’s no manual to read
All these competing theories
How do you find the one you need?

Either smother him with attention
Or he’s wild with unkempt hair
Either force-feed him with pressure
Or be so lax he doubts you care
Brady enters with the mail.
VICKI
Still you fail
You fail to be
You fail to do
You fail to see
Still you fail fail fail
You fail
Vicki notices Brady. She pulls it together.
VICKI
Oh, hello. What do you have there?
BRADY
Gina Jenner made him a card.
VICKI
What does it say?
BRADY
I didn’t read it.
VICKI
Let me see.
BRADY
We’ve got to give it to him.
VICKI
No, we don’t.
BRADY
It’s his mail.
VICKI
That girl tried to kill him.
BRADY
She didn’t try to kill him. Maybe she’s writing to apologize.
VICKI
And maybe she wants to twist the knife a little deeper. We are the
adults here. We decide what’s best for Todd.
BRADY
That’s what being an adult is: lying? Then I don’t want to be an adult.
VICKI
That’s been obvious for some time.
Brady hands her the card.
BRADY
Here, grown-up. You decide what’s best.
Vicki takes the card. Brady leaves.
VICKI
I always wanted to have a boy
A longing deep down in my heart
I thought I could be a good mother
I got off to a good start

But now my son’s a stranger
I can never get it right
I feel myself getting hard and cold
And all we do is fight

That’s how you fail
You fail to be
You fail to do
You fail to see
That’s how you fail fail fail
You fail
Vicki rips up the card from Gina and hides it away.
VICKI
You fail fail fail
You fail

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