A Weekend in the Nuthouse! (Some Strong Language)


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Thread: A Weekend in the Nuthouse! (Some Strong Language)

  1. #1

    A Weekend in the Nuthouse! (Some Strong Language)

    This is my first time trying to write a play. It is about two people's experience in a psych ward. I'm sure it isn't very good but I would love to get some feedback from people. Any feedback would be really appreciated. It will really help me grow as a writer.

    This is the first scene and a little bit of the second scene.

    Thanks for all of the help.

    P.S I used final draft. When I copied it here the formatting didn't copy over.

    SCENE ONE.
    David is standing over his bed, unpacking his bag.



    SARIT
    You know you arent going to see a doctor for three days?



    DAVID
    (Pause) Excuse me?


    SARIT
    Well its Friday night. The doctors take the weekend off, so its going to be three days till they even see you.



    DAVID
    Can I help you?



    SARIT
    Just figured Id let you know whats going on.



    DAVID
    Wait so the doctors arent around?



    SARIT
    Nope not on the weekends. Some reason they think they can have lives. They are probably playing golf and spending time with their families. I guess if they spent too much time with the crazies, they are worried theyll join the crazies. The chutzpah, right?



    DAVID
    So Im stuck here for three days before they even evaluate me?



    SARIT
    Now he gets it.



    DAVID
    What the hell am I suppose to do for three days? This was the first weekend it was actually suppose to be nice outside and here I am suck in a nut house.



    SARIT
    Think of it this way -- at least there are windows.



    DAVID
    Great! So I can see all the great weather Im missing.
    (Pause)



    David reaches over to Sarit. He offers his hand to shake.
    I
    m sorry for complaining. You just met me. Its just --
    (Pause)
    Im David Goldberg, by the way.



    Sarit doesnt return her hand.



    SARIT
    So Dave what brings you into such a lovely place on such a lovely evening?
    David looks away embarrassed.



    DAVID
    Dont you think thats kind of personal? I mean I just met you. I dont even know your name.



    SARIT
    Sarit. (She answers quickly and sharply.)
    There is nothing personal about it. You obviously were going to hurt yourself in some fashion. Im just curious to find out how. Dont have any tips of the trade to share with the audience?



    DAVID
    Tips of the trade?



    SARIT
    Ya, you know a new way to kill yourself. Youd be surprised by the creative ways Ive heard during my tenure here.



    DAVID
    How long you been here?



    SARIT
    You know you have this really annoying habit of answering every question with a question. If didnt know better I would think you were Jewish.



    DAVID
    I am Jewish.



    SARIT
    With a name like David Goldberg I would have never guessed.



    DAVID
    You know you didnt have to come in here. Its not like I was looking for company.



    SARIT
    Maybe I was.



    DAVID
    You dont really want to get to know me. Hell I dont want to know me



    SARIT
    Oh so we are having a pity party? Why wasnt I invited?



    DAVID
    Youre a real wise ass you know that?



    SARIT
    Ive been told its part of my charm.



    DAVID
    I just got in here, cant you give me a break.



    SARIT
    Life here isnt that bad. You kind of get use to it.



    DAVID
    Well I dont want to be here long enough to get use to it. I just want to get back to my life.



    SARIT
    Isnt it your life that got you here in the first place?



    DAVID
    Well-
    (Pause)



    David gives Sarit a look that practically begs for empathy. David continues to unpack his bag. David points to a book.



    Can you pass me that?



    Sarit looks at the book and than hands it to him.



    SARIT
    Syd Field: Screenplay. So youre a writer?
    DAVID
    Trying to be.



    SARIT
    A depressed, suicidal writer, now there is an innovation. Its nice to see someone is following in Hemingways footsteps. So what kind of stuff do you write?



    DAVID
    Im trying to write a play. Ive written some mini comics.



    SARIT
    Comics? Like Superman and Batman



    DAVID
    More like Daredevil meets X-men. Listen do you mind if we talk tom--



    SARIT
    So youre a bit of a nerd.



    DAVID
    I dont want to be rude but I really just want to be left alone right now. Ive tried asking you to leave me alone and you wont. Can you please leave?



    SARIT
    No need to get mad.



    Sarit begins to move towards the door.



    DAVID
    Im sorry. Its just been a really stressful day. Mind if we just talk tomorrow?



    SARIT
    Sure. Good night.



    DAVID
    Sweet dreams.



    Sarit leaves the room.


    FADE TO BLACK.



    SCENE TWO
    Sarit walks into the lounge area holding her lunch and sits next to David on the couch.



    SARIT
    So how was your first night in paradise?



    DAVID
    Oh hey.



    David turns around shocked.



    SARIT
    Oh hey to you too.



    DAVID
    Sorry, I just didnt expect you to want to talk to me after the way I blew up last night.



    SARIT
    Itll take a lot more than that to piss me off. So how was it last night?



    DAVID
    Well I didnt really sleep. I dont sleep well in general, being here doesnt help. You just getting up?



    SARIT
    Well I got up for meds but I went back to bed.



    DAVID
    They dont mind you sleeping in till 2 in the afternoon?



    SARIT
    Not when there arent groups.



    DAVID
    So what are we suppose to do all day? Ive been up since 4 in the fucking morning.



    SARIT
    Well there is always staring out the window.



    DAVID
    That sounds like torture.



    SARIT
    Wait we arent here to be tortured?



    DAVID
    Oyyyyyyy. Maybe Ill go write.



    SARIT
    How long have you been doing that?



    DAVID
    Writing? On and off since high school.
    (Pause)
    I just picked it up again when shit hit the fan.



    SARIT
    Not a big people fan are you?



    DAVID
    I like people just fine. I just dont think they like me much. Its just easier to say what I want to say when I get to do rewrites.



    SARIT
    You seem to be expressing yourself just fine now.



    DAVID
    No offense but I dont really have to worry about what you think, we are in the nut house. You arent really one to judge.

  2. #2
    Welcome to the forum. You don't have to ask for feedback in your introduction to the script; that's what we're here for. Although it does take us a while sometimes.

    You seem to have a good ear for dialog. It seems natural and not forced. The characters have some depth to them, there are hints of a back story for each of them, I like that.

    The main problem I see with the piece was actually stated by you in your introduction: "It is about two people's experience in a psych ward." The reason this is a problem is that it is not enough to have a play be about a situation. A play needs a premise or a good story.

    A premise is the goal it intends to show or prove. For example, a premise for a play such as yours could be "Ill temper leads to isolation." The format of a premise is the first part tells of character, (Ill temper) the next part is the conflict (leads to) and the last part is the conclusion (isolation). Once you establish your premise (and you don't have to have one right away, one may emerge as you write, but be prepared to make revisions when it finally does come to light) it will steer your characters, drive your story and ultimately give the play a conclusion. I personally believe that a good story is often a substitute for a premise, but a situation or even a good idea won't carry a play.

    It seems to be a good start, post more when you get it worked up.
    "PS: don't take technical advice about cold fusion from someone who can't spell fuzhun."

    Hidden Content

  3. #3
    I really appreciate your kind words and the advice. I realized that I was missing that through line. I think this draft may have more of that. I think the more I wrote it sort of came out. I went back and added a couple of lines to emphasize it. I hope it works. Let me know what you think.

    Once again I appreciate all the help! It means a lot to a beginning writer.

    SCENE ONE.
    David is standing over his bed, unpacking his bag.
    SARIT
    You know you aren’t going to see a doctor for three days?
    DAVID
    (Pause) Excuse me?
    SARIT
    Well it’s Friday night. The doctors take the weekend off, so it’s going to be three days till they even see you.
    DAVID
    Can I help you?
    SARIT
    Just figured I’d let you know what’s going on.
    DAVID
    Wait so the doctors aren’t around?
    SARIT
    Nope not on the weekends. Some reason they think they can have lives. They are probably playing golf and spending time with their families. I guess if they spent too much time with the crazies, they are worried they’ll join the crazies. The chutzpah, right? DAVID So I’m stuck here for three days before they even evaluate me?
    SARIT
    Now he gets it.
    DAVID
    What the hell am I suppose to do for three days? I don’t even want to be here. This wasn’t exactly my choice. This was the first weekend it was actually suppose to be nice outside and here I am suck in a nut house.
    SARIT
    Think of it this way -- at least there are windows.
    DAVID
    Great! So I can see all the great weather I’m missing.
    (Pause) I’m sorry for complaining. You just met me. It’s just --
    David reaches over to Sarit. He offers his hand to shake.
    (Pause)
    I’m David Goldberg, by the way.
    Sarit doesn’t return her hand.
    SARIT
    So Dave what brings you into such a lovely place on such a lovely evening?
    David looks away embarrassed.
    DAVID
    Don’t you think that’s kind of personal? I mean I just met you. I don’t even know your name.
    SARIT
    Sarit. (She answers quickly and sharply.)
    There is nothing personal about it. You obviously were going to hurt yourself in some fashion. I’m just curious to find out how. Don’t have any tips of the trade to share with the audience?
    DAVID
    Tips of the trade?
    SARIT
    Ya, you know a new way to kill yourself. You’d be surprised by the creative ways I’ve heard during my tenure here.
    DAVID
    How long you been here?
    SARIT
    You know you have this really annoying habit of answering every question with a question. If didn’t know better I would think you were Jewish.
    DAVID
    I am Jewish.
    SARIT
    With a name like David Goldberg I would have never guessed.
    DAVID
    You know you didn’t have to come in here. It’s not like I was looking for company.
    SARIT
    Maybe I was.
    DAVID
    You don’t really want to get to know me. Hell I don’t want to know me
    SARIT
    Oh so we are having a pity party? Why wasn’t I invited?
    DAVID
    You’re a real wise ass you know that?
    SARIT
    I’ve been told it’s part of my charm.
    DAVID
    I just got in here, can’t you give me a break.
    SARIT
    Life here isn’t that bad. You kind of get use to it.
    DAVID
    Well I don’t want to be here long enough to get use to it. I just want to get back to my life.
    SARIT
    Isn’t it your life that got you here in the first place?
    DAVID
    Well-
    (Pause)
    David gives Sarit a look that practically begs for empathy. David continues to unpack his bag. David points to a book.
    Can you pass me that?
    Sarit looks at the book and than hands it to him.
    SARIT
    Syd Field: Screenplay. So you’re a writer?
    DAVID
    Trying to be.
    SARIT
    A depressed, suicidal writer, now there is an innovation. It’s nice to see someone is following in Hemingway’s footsteps. So what kind of stuff do you write?
    DAVID
    I’m trying to write a play. I’ve written some mini comics.
    SARIT
    Comics? Like Superman and Batman
    DAVID
    More like Lord of the Rings. Listen do you mind if we talk tom--
    SARIT
    So you’re a bit of a nerd.
    DAVID
    I don’t want to be rude but I really just want to be left alone right now. I’ve tried asking you to leave me alone and you won’t. Can you please leave?
    SARIT
    No need to get mad.
    Sarit begins to move towards the door.
    DAVID
    I’m sorry. It’s just been a really stressful day. Mind if we just talk tomorrow?
    SARIT
    Sure. Good night.
    DAVID
    Sweet dreams.
    Sarit leaves the room.
    FADE TO BLACK.
    SCENE TWO
    Sarit walks into the lounge area holding her lunch and sits next to David on the couch.
    SARIT
    So how was your first night in paradise?
    DAVID
    Oh hey.
    David turns around shocked.
    SARIT
    Oh hey to you too.
    DAVID
    Sorry, I just didn’t expect you to want to talk to me after the way I blew up last night.
    SARIT
    It’ll take a lot more than that to piss me off. So how was it last night?
    DAVID
    Well I didn’t really sleep. I don’t sleep well in general, being here doesn’t help. You just getting up?
    SARIT
    Well I got up for meds but I went back to bed.
    DAVID
    They don’t mind you sleeping in till 2 in the afternoon?
    SARIT
    Not when there aren’t groups.
    DAVID
    So what are we suppose to do all day? I’ve been up since 4 in the fucking morning.
    SARIT
    Well there is always staring out the window.
    DAVID
    That sounds like torture.
    SARIT
    Wait we aren’t here to be tortured?
    DAVID
    Oyyyyyyy. Maybe I’ll go write.
    SARIT
    How long have you been doing that?
    DAVID
    Writing? On and off since high school.
    (Pause)
    I just picked it up again when shit hit the fan.
    SARIT
    Not a big people person are you?
    DAVID
    I like people just fine. I just don’t think they like me much. It’s just easier to say what I want to say when I get to do rewrites.
    SARIT
    You seem to be expressing yourself just fine now.
    DAVID
    No offense but I don’t really have to worry about what you think, we are in the nut house. You aren’t really one to judge.
    SARIT
    I can judge you all I want.
    DAVID
    You know, you’re a pain in the ass.
    SARIT
    It’s why you like me so much.
    DAVID
    Who said I liked you at all?
    SARIT
    Hardy har har!
    DAVID
    I’m going to go write.
    David gets up and starts to walk away.
    SARIT
    Why don’t we role play your evaluation instead?
    DAVID
    Why would I want to do that?
    He sits back down.
    SARIT
    So you know what to say. Don’t you want to get out of here? Thought I could help you blow this joint.
    DAVID
    If you know how to get out of here, why are you still in this hell hole?
    SARIT
    Maybe I choose to be here. Come on! You know I can help you. It’s not like you have anything better to do.
    DAVID
    Fine!
    (pause)
    How do you want to do this?
    SARIT
    Well I’ll be the shrink and you, well you can be you.
    DAVID
    I guess I can do that. Are you sure this will really help?
    SARIT
    Wow you whine a lot and you call me a pain in the ass.
    She sits up and pulls on the collar of her make believe lab coat.
    So Mr. Goldberg, Why do you think you are here today?
    DAVID
    I-- Listen-- I’m not --on second thought I’m not sure I can do this. I don’t even know you. I don’t know if I can really talk about it.
    SARIT
    Stop being such a baby. If you can’t talk about it now, how are you ever going to be ready to talk about it later.
    Again she fixes her imaginary lab coat.
    So Mr. Goldberg what brings you in here today?
    DAVID
    Maybe I can just write it down.
    (Sarit gives David a stern look of disapproval)
    Fine! Things have been kind of hard lately but they are getting better. I feel a lot better now.
    SARIT
    Yes, yes. Of course you feel a bit better here. That is natural. This is a stress free environment. So tell me what kind of things have been hard lately?
    DAVID
    Life. Life has been hard.
    SARIT
    What about it has been hard?
    DAVID
    I can’t do this!
    He stands up and starts to walk away frustrated. Sarit grabs his wrist and pulls him back to his seat
    SARIT
    Stop being such a pussy. Don’t you want to get out of here?
    DAVID
    Ya, but--
    SARIT
    No buts. It’s hard, I get it. Sooner or later you are going to say what you need to say or you are going to be stuck here for a very long time. Trust me I know. Hey maybe I got you wrong. Maybe you want to be here.
    DAVID
    No
    (He says in almost a whisper)
    SARIT
    What was that?
    DAVID
    No! I don’t want to be here.
    SARIT
    So come on. Maybe try this. You’re a writer right?
    DAVID
    Ya
    SARIT
    Pretend you are writing a story. Pitch it to me.
    DAVID
    Pitch you?
    SARIT
    Ya. You say you’re better at writing so tell me a story. Pretend I’m some Hollywood big wig. Pitch me your story. Tell me why the fuck I should care about you.
    DAVID
    Ok.
    (sigh.)
    So there is this guy. Let’s call him David. He’s doing great. He’s what everyone want to be: smart, talented, has tons of friends. He’s got it all.
    SARIT
    (Breaking character)
    A little into himself...
    DAVID
    Hey!
    SARIT
    Sorry. Go on.
    DAVID
    So things are going really well. He aced college and got himself a great job in publishing. Then one day his life takes a turn for the worse.
    SARIT
    Oooh how dramatic.
    He stands up and starts pacing back and forth with his eyes closed.
    DAVID
    One day he’s at work. It starts off as just another day. Sun is out and he is feeling good. He’s on top of the world. Then he gets a call from his girlfriend.
    He stops pacing.
    He can’t stop her.
    SARIT
    Stop her?
    DAVID
    From jumping.
    SARIT
    (In an almost whisper.)
    Oh wow.
    DAVID
    David’s life spirals out of control. He begins to hide into himself; becomes a real recluse. He even takes a leave of absence from work.
    He turns away from her, hanging his head in shame.
    He starts seeing the world the same way his girlfriend did. His world becomes a dark, dismal, hopeless place. It just gets too much for him. He can’t see anyway back to the light. One day he and his roommate are talking and he slips up and lets his roommate know how grim he’s truly feeling.
    SARIT
    What does the roommate do?
    DAVID
    What any friend would do I guess. He called 911.
    SARIT
    I definitely make that movie. It has it all: love, action, heart break, life, death. It has hit written all over it.
    DAVID
    Ya, it’s a regular tear jerker.
    SARIT
    Now all you have to do is change he to I and you’re all good.
    DAVID
    I’m pretty sure if I do that I’ll end up here for a while. I thought the point of this whole exercise was to get me out of here quicker.
    SARIT
    Well that’s a pretty intense story.
    DAVID
    Thought you’d love the intrigue. Besides don’t you like seeing me miserable.
    SARIT
    Just a little bit.
    DAVID
    Any notes?
    SARIT
    I wouldn’t pace around so much. You look super nervous. Hell you got me nervous.
    DAVID
    I am nervous!
    SARIT
    But you don’t want them to know that.
    DAVID
    Won’t they assume I’m nervous?
    SARIT
    A little nervous is normal. Bouncing off the wall looks a little too “One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest”.
    Sarit puts her hand on his knee.
    The calmer you look the better.
    DAVID
    I think I can-
    Sarit sits back in her seat, putting some distance between her and David.
    SARIT
    But not too calm!
    DAVID
    I thought you just said I should look calm.
    SARIT
    Well you don’t want to look like the fact that you almost killed yourself didn’t phase you. They tend not to release people who think attempted suicide is no big deal.
    DAVID
    So calm but not too calm. Anything else?
    SARIT
    Maybe leave out the part where your girlfriend kills herself.
    DAVID
    Won’t they want to know why things went to shit?
    SARIT
    Ya but that’s big
    DAVID
    So I should lie?
    SARIT
    Give them something they can fix. Maybe your dog died. You can always get a new dog.
    DAVID
    My dog?
    SARIT
    Ya, your dog. Heinzy.
    DAVID
    Heinzy?
    SARIT
    You named him after Heinz 57 Variety Sauce because he was a mutt. He got hit by a car when you were walking him.
    DAVID
    I name my dog after a barbecue sauce and that’s not suppose to make me sound crazy?
    SARIT
    Work with me here. The truth will give you twenty five to life.
    DAVID
    I thought the truth will set you free.
    SARIT
    Not from here it won’t.
    David stands up.
    DAVID
    Talking about all this has me wiped. I’m gonna go lay down.
    SARIT
    Fine, just leave me here.
    (Pause)
    Alone
    (Pause.)
    Bored.
    DAVID
    I’ll see you at dinner.
    FADE TO BLACK.
    SCENE THREE
    Sarit knocks on David’s door. She calls out to him.
    SARIT
    David! Hey lazy bum, you still sleeping? Sleeping all day isn’t going to get you out of here any faster.
    Sarit knocks on David’s door again. She calls out again as she walks through the door.
    SARIT
    David? Hey you coming to dinner. They are closing the dinning room in a few minutes.
    She find David laying on the floor next to his bed in the fetal position, shivering and murmuring to himself.
    DAVID
    (In a whisper)
    I should have stopped her. I should have stopped her.
    SARIT
    What?
    DAVID
    Why couldn’t I stop her? I did everything I could. Why wasn’t it enough?
    He breaks down crying. He is holding his wrist. A plastic knife is sticking out of his hand.
    SARIT
    Oh David what’d you do?
    DAVID
    I wasn’t able to
    (His voice drifts away.)
    SARIT
    Oh man we need to clean you up.
    Sarit reaches over to the night stand and grabs some tissues.
    Put pressure on that. Don’t let go till I tell you to, ok?
    DAVID
    Ok.
    SARIT
    Where’d you get the knife?
    DAVID
    I snuck it out after lunch. I just can’t be here. It’s too much.
    SARIT
    I don’t understand, you seemed fine before. Ya a bit nervous but--
    DAVID
    After talking about it --
    The dreams were just too much. It’s like they are haunting me. I just can’t go on. I can’t do it. I’m not strong enough.
    SARIT
    Ya you are. The fact that you’re here- you could be at the bottom of a ditch but you reached out to someone. Maybe not consciously but deep down you knew you wanted to live; you wanted your roommate to figure out that you were going to hurt yourself. That takes strength. It takes courage. Living is not easy. It takes guts.
    DAVID
    How are you always so cheery and perky? I don’t understand. I don’t understand how you can act like that and be stuck here. I don’t understand how I’m suppose to just smile while she’s rotting in a grave. I don’t-
    Sarit puts her arm around David, pulling him close. She takes the knife from his hand. David let’s go of the tissue.
    SARIT
    Keep pressure on it.
    Sarit takes David’s hand and puts it back on his wrist.
    It’s hard but what choice do we have. Sure we can wallow in our misery but for what? To what end? Life has more to offer than that.
    DAVID
    I don’t know- All I feel is pain. It hurts. It physically hurts.
    SARIT
    I know. I know exactly how it feels. It’s like someone is stabbing you hard in the chest, twisting the knife, cutting out your soul and leaving nothing but an empty husk behind. An empty husk that burns for more but doesn’t know how to get it or where to find it. Hell you probably don’t even know what you are looking for.
    DAVID
    I just want the pain to stop.
    SARIT
    It will. The pain is a bitch but it will get better.
    DAVID
    How do you know? How could you?
    Sarit roles up her sleeves and reveals her arms for the first time. She shows David her scar covered arms.
    SARIT
    I began cutting myself when I was 10. I hid it pretty well for a while but eventually my family found when I nicked a vain the night of my Bat Mitzvah. I’ve been in and out of hospitals ever since. Sometimes to get help with my cutting, other times because I wanted to die.
    DAVID
    Then how can you be so sure?
    SARIT
    Because I feel it. I see it. You do too. It’s not like you always want to hurt yourself. There are moments of clarity. That light breaks through. Maybe even just for a second. Soon enough that second stretches a little longer.
    DAVID
    You’ve been dealing with this since you were 12, I can’t wait that long.
    SARIT
    And you won’t.
    She pulls David up to the bed.
    Life will get better. You will meet someone wonderful and you will start a family. You will begin your life again. This time it’ll be better because you will be stronger.
    DAVID
    How can you be so sure?
    SARIT
    Because you’ll learn from this. You’ll see what it is like to be in the darkness and you will do everything you can to keep that light alive. I see the light inside you already. I have seen and met a lot of people in these hospitals and I know who I’ll see again and who I won’t. You I won’t see again.
    DAVID
    I’m not so sure about that. Look what happens when I even talk about why I’m here. I didn’t even go into that much detail. If I tell the shrink what happened they will never let me out of here.
    SARIT
    And what if they keep you a little longer?
    DAVID
    I don’t want to be here. I just want to go home.
    SARIT
    So you can come back here in a few months? A few weeks? A few days even? Wouldn’t you rather be out of here for good.
    DAVID
    I need to go home.
    SARIT
    So go home. You know how. I told you how to beat the system. It’s not so hard. I’ve certainly done it plenty of times, but I’m telling you if you do that you will end up back here again and again and again, just like I did. I don’t want to be here. I need to be here. This may be my last chance.
    David hugs Sarit tight, pulling her close to him.
    DAVID
    I’m scared.
    SARIT
    I know but remember you’re not in it alone. We are all in this together.
    DAVID
    I just miss her so badly.
    SARIT
    Don’t you think she would want you to get help? Do you really think she would want to see you suffering like she did?
    DAVID
    No. I just don’t know what to do.
    SARIT
    The only thing you can do is reach out. Admit that you can’t do this alone. I need to be here too. It’s not a bad thing.
    David collapses to the floor and grabs Sarit by the legs.
    DAVID
    I need to be here too. Please help me!
    FADE TO BLACK.
    SCENE FOUR
    DOCTOR
    So what brings you in here today?
    DAVID
    I need help.
    The End.
    FADE TO BLACK.

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