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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Empty and Full (06/04/09)

By Jan Ackerson


The lights rise on the living room of Theresa and Don Evans, a couple in their early forties. It is a typical American living room—a few nondescript chairs, a lamp, a coffee table.

Throughout the skit, the audience hears voice-overs (VO) of the thoughts of the two characters on stage, broadcast through speakers at stage left for Theresa and stage right for Don.

Don is seated, reading the newspaper. Theresa enters from stage left, sits in the second chair, and sighs loudly.

Don: Hey, bacon’s on sale at Kroger.

Don VO: Sure would like some bacon this week.

Theresa: (another loud sigh) Hmm.

Theresa VO: Is he deaf? I’ve sighed twice!

There is a short silence, then Theresa reaches over, grabs a section of newspaper, and snaps it open. She rustles the pages and appears to read. With a glance at Don, she tosses the newspaper aside.

Theresa: Tomorrow’s Friday already.

Theresa VO: That’s trash day, Don. Trash day!

Don: Short week, huh?

Don VO: Sure would like some bacon this week.

Theresa: So…yeah, Friday. Trash day.

Theresa VO: Put down the newspaper and empty the trash!

Don: (he turns a few pages of the newspaper) Oh man, gas prices are going up again.

Don VO: Did she leave a full gas tank in the Suburban? She knows I like her to keep it filled. Wonder if she’s going to buy some bacon.

Theresa: Doesn’t Ready Disposal want us to leave the trash can at the street pretty early in the morning?

Theresa VO: I’m trying not to nag here…but EMPTY THE TRASH ALREADY!

Don: (absently) Yeah…hey, did you drive out to your sister’s house Monday?

Don VO: Gas was cheap on Monday, you should have filled it up then. I wonder if I should mention that sale on bacon again.

Theresa: (sighing one more time) Yes, Don, I drove to my sister’s house on Monday. (a beat) Did you know that in their subdivision, they have trash pickup twice a week? Twice a week, Bob has to take the trash to the curb. (she waits) Do you wish we had trash pick up twice a week?

Theresa VO: Don! Don! DON! Empty the trash! How many ways do I have to say it?

Don: Nah, we don’t generate that much trash. So…did you notice the gas prices on Monday?

Don VO: You’d notice if you’d filled it up. Mmmmm, bacon.

Theresa: No, Don. I did not notice gas prices on Monday.

Theresa VO: Just like you don’t notice that the kitchen trash can is full.

Don: (now he’s annoyed) Well, they’ve taken quite a jump. It’s going to cost a small fortune to fill it up this weekend.

Don VO: You’d drive that thing fifty miles past empty, wouldn’t you, just to avoid having to pump it yourself? You know…I think I’d eat bacon with every meal if I could.

There is a long and silent pause. Theresa glances at Don, and Don glances at Theresa, but at different moments.

The next bit of voice-over dialogue overlaps by a few words; Theresa begins, but Don finishes.

Theresa and Don VO: I wish you’d hear what I’m saying to you..

After another short silence:

Theresa and Don VO: I wish you wanted to make me happy.

The silence stretches out as Theresa and Don perform a few actions: Don finishes reading and then clicks the remote at an unseen television. Theresa gathers the newspaper and some magazines into a neat pile, then picks up a crossword puzzle and begins to solve it.

And now the audience hears a third character in voiceover, projected from speakers in all areas of the auditorium.

Voice: Hey there…it’s Thursday already. I’ve missed you! I’ve got a few things to say to you—is now a good time? Hello?

Theresa? Don? I just wanted to say…do you know how precious you are to me? I had some things to show you this morning—I made an excellent sunrise, and the trees are starting to bud. The whole earth was full of my glory, in fact, and I was hoping you’d notice. Maybe sing me a few bars of that song…

There is no noticeable increase in the activity onstage, nor do the characters appear to hear the voice.

Voice: I wish you’d hear what I’m saying to you.

Theresa sighs.

Voice: I wish you wanted to make me happy.

Don clicks to another channel.

The lights dim.

Voice: (from the darkness) Theresa? Don?

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This article has been read 1273 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/11/09
This fun skit, hitting very close to home for many, would work very well in a church service. The message is just right.
Chely Roach06/13/09
Ooooh, I loved the subtle edginess of the message...it gave me goosebumps.
I am so petrified to attempt a skit-type piece myself, but this was the perfect scene for it. Loved every word. Bravo!
Sharon Kane06/14/09
Excellent! A great portrayal of the relationship between husband a wife. I thought it would get confusing, but somehow you made it work. I could never pull off writing something like this. Kudos.
Gregory Kane06/15/09
Hey, am I missing something? The poor guy wants some bacon so would someone please go out and buy him some...

Seriously though, I love the creativity. Painful, ouch!
Pat Guy 06/15/09
Wow, you made this seem so seamless--so easy! And so usable. IF by chance this doesn't make EC, I would submit it somewhere, whether it's in the Free Article section, or where ever, it really should get some exposure so it can be used. David Ian and Glenn have connections. ; ) I'm glad I read this. It was presented perfectly.
Carol Slider 06/15/09
You communicated very well how we often fail to say what we're really thinking to our spouses (sometimes just because our "subtle hints" seem SOOO obvious to us!). More importantly, though, you illustrated how trivialities can keep us from hearing the voice of God. Well done!
Rachel Rudd 06/15/09
SO well done! I love the line about the bacon. It introduced subtle humor in a skit that ends on a serious note.
Sonya Leigh06/15/09
This is such a fantastic play--so good, in fact that it would be perfect for a marriage retreat skit. Hmmm, our church is due for one of those...where do I sign? Not kidding.
Bryan Ridenour06/15/09
This would be an awesome skit performed during the month of February and pastor preaches on the sanctity of marriage. Well done!
Mona Purvis06/15/09
Yes, I think many of us tune out to others...and God.
This is rich. Really gets the point across and who would question the lesson?
Lollie Hofer06/16/09
Ouch! This one hurt. Okay, it's one thing to write a good play but did you have to go meddling too? Most of us can relate to this couple in one way or another. Extremely creative, entertaining, unique and ever so meddlesome. Great job!
Sara Harricharan 06/17/09
Okay, this made me laugh. It was good for making me think, but first it made me laugh. I loved the voice-overs for each of them, the invisible "cues" etc, just made them so real and brought them to life. I loved it! Great read! ^_^
Janice Giesbrecht06/18/09
This is a fantastic piece and I could reiterate much of what has been said already. Instead, I think I'll go spend some time Listening to God. He's calling.
Emily Gibson06/18/09
another humdinger of a submission! well done!
Diana Dart 06/18/09
Wow. Seriously, wow. The teeny little things - rustling of newspapers, glances at each other, the unseen TV - I could just feel the tension. Awesome job, especially with that Bah-Bang ending (and yes, the whole thing was a little close to home... sigh).
Catrina Bradley 06/18/09
Eliza Evans 06/18/09
Great title! :)
Jan - I love this entry. Wonderful writing, meaningful message.
Loren T. Lowery06/19/09
You could so easily become a playright. Like Satre, by being a minimalist, you said so, so much in so few words.
Your work is. in a word: inspirational.
Charla Diehl 06/23/09
I liked this creative skit and it made me wonder how many times I've been too busy to hear God speaking to me--guess we're all guilty of this from time to time. Thanks for the reminder.
Dianne Janak07/11/09
Congrats Jan! I loved this and if you want to know why? I realized I was on here reading it before I prayed this morning! Nothing like knowing you hit HOME to your readers today.. thanks.. ! :)