Academic journal article TheatreForum

In a Word

Academic journal article TheatreForum

In a Word

Article excerpt


1. FIONA, female, 30s-40s

2. GUY, male, 30s-40s, FIONA'S husband

3. MAN, male, multiple people:

- KIDNAPPER, a guy you'd otherwise hang out with

-DETECTIVE, missing persons detective

- TRISTAN, seven years old, smart, different, maybe has Asperger's


- ANDY, Guy's friend, a real nice fucker



- OFFICER, police officer on the day of the kidnapping


In this play, objects have a life of their own. Objects come up again whether you want them to or not. Words also come up again, and sometimes the characters realize this or not. Time is very fluid. The play runs approximately 75 minutes with no intermission.


Living room

Lights up on FIONA. She holds a glass jar in her hands, as if she has just come across it. The jar is empty. And yet, it feels like something is inside. FIONA starts to unscrew the lid. Very faint whispering is heard. Lights up on the rest of the room. FIONA stands next to a large cardboard box filled with papers and children's sweaters. Papers and various belongings litter the floor. Behind her, a pair of glass doors leads into the backyard. GUY returns home from work with a newspaper and a small paper bag.

GUY: Fiona, you ready?


GUY: You're not ready.

FIONA: I am.

GUY: Thought you wanted to go to dinner.

FIONA: I do.

GUY: Thought you wanted to go now.

FIONA: In a minute.

GUY: It took me two months to get this reservation.

FIONA: Then another minute's not gonna hurt. I just need to find one little thing and then we'll go.

GUY: You absolutely, positively promise?


GUY: Okay.

GUY drops a small bag in FIONA'S lap.

GUY: Here.

FIONA: What is it?

GUY: What's brown and sticky?

FIONA: A stick.

GUY: A cupcake.

(FIONA pulls out a chocolate cupcake from the bag)

GUY: A little something, from Andy.


GUY: Just to celebrate.

FIONA: Celebrate what?

GUY: I don't know. "Happy birthday," I guess?

FIONA: Oh. Right. (beat) Later. I'll have it later. After dinner.

FIONA puts the cupcake away.

GUY: So how was your day today?

FIONA: Fine.

GUY: Anything interesting?

FIONA: Not really.

GUY: I saw, you know.

FIONA: What?

GUY holds up his newspaper.

GUY:The article, in the newspaper.

FIONA: Good.

GUY: Local section, front page.

FIONA: I know.

GUY: I thought we agreed we weren't talking about this anymore.

Thought you said you never wanted to talk about it again.

FIONA: They called.

They wanted to know how we were doing, two years later.

They just wanted a word.

What was I supposed to say?

GUY: "No?" That's a word. Say that.

FIONA: If it's for the case-

(shrugs) It was for the case.

GUY: 'Cause you know:

Andy once had a girlfriend. Who had a kid.

She stopped talking to the media. And it helped.

FIONA: Hey, you get something in the paper, and all kinds of people come out of the woodwork.

GUY: Exactly.

FIONA: Just today: I was in the grocery store and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, this guy comes right up to me and says-

From out of nowhere, a KIDNAPPER approaches FIONA.


FIONA: Hey...?

Flashback to earlier in the day. At the grocery store. FIONA in the fruit aisle, examining melons. Next to her, a KIDNAPPER. GUY remains in the background, listening to the story.

KIDNAPPER: I know you.

FIONA: Excuse me?

KIDNAPPER: In the paper. This morning? Fiona Hamlin?

FIONA: Oh. Right. Yeah.

The KIDNAPPER smiles, stares at FIONA.

KIDNAPPER: You don't remember me, do you?

FIONA: I'm sorry, should I?

KIDNAPPER: Think I had your kid. …

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