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Cheese (Help With A Scene) (1 Viewer)



Okay. So, I have a scene. It's the major moment in my play, and I'm almost happy with it. Almost. I just keep re-reading it, trying to get my theme (understanding) across while keeping it from being TOO cheesy.

A bit of an intro - the play is about A Blind Man who affects a bunch of lives, etc., but 'supposedly' forgets about a family he helped. So, Samuel is mad, and Alan and Linda are married. He has just died in this scene, after a (also cheesy, but rightfully so) fight with Samuel.

I would definately appreciate help eliminating some cheese. Also, it feels really rushed. Thank you!

(Beeping becomes louder. The Nurse runs in and looks at John for a moment, then turns the machine off. There is silence. Alan approaches Samuel.)

Alan: Who the hell do you think you are?

Linda: Alan, please!

Samuel: He didn't get it…you wouldn't understand.

Alan: Oh, I understand you. Trying to look like a big idiot when you're just little idiot coward looking for sympathy!

Samuel: Not sympathy! (Both stop and listen.) It was never sympathy. Empathy. He didn't feel empathy! He never cared!

Alan: He never cared? He…never cared!? Of course he cared - he was the greatest listening this world has ever seen.

Samuel: But he didn't mean it - he was slow!

Alan: Don't! - say that word. He was…challenged.

Samuel: That doesn't make him a good person!

Alan: It doesn't make him a bad one either!

Samuel: He never understood anything-

Alan: (yells) Hypocrite! He understood a whole lot more than you do!

Samuel: He left us practically on the street-

Alan: What would he have done to help you even if he hadn't!

Nurse: Excuse me…would you two please leave the hospital for this.

Samuel: He could have helped her - he made her happy-

Linda: Stop it! (They stop.) You two don't even know each other - a man just died!

(There is a black out. Nurse and Linda smooth out the covers on an empty hospital bed. Samuel and Alan watch quietly)

Linda (quietly.): Fifty-six…

(Nurse mimes pulling stage right curtain across the stage as if it was a hospital room divider as in the beginning of the play.)

Linda: (To Samuel) What did you say your name was?

Samuel: (After a pause) Sam Peterson.

Linda: Samuel?

Samuel: Sure.

Linda: We'll drive you home.

Alan: Linda!

Linda: We're driving him home! Where do you live, Samuel?

Samuel: I can walk…thanks.

(Alan gives an exasperated sigh.)

Alan: Just let us drive you home!

Samuel: I'll be fine, thank you.

Linda: Who is your father?

(Samuel pauses, but answers when Linda approaches.)

Samuel: He died.

Linda: Do you have any foster parents? A group home?

Samuel: I live…with a group…

Linda: Samuel…do you live on the streets?


Samuel: I did.


Linda: What happened when John moved away from your town?

Samuel: My mother called the society where his social worker was. They told her he was here.

Linda: Keep going.

Samuel: (silently with guilt) She wanted to visit him, so we drove up. She wasn't well…and we hit another car.

Linda: Where did they put you? (Silence.) Where did they put you…Sam?

Samuel: In a group home.

Linda: How old were you?

Samuel: Twelve.

Linda: Tell me what happened next.

Samuel: I got away - out, I mean - when I was fifteen. Then…my friends found me.

Alan: (sighs comically) Friends!

Samuel: I read about - him - in the paper.

Linda: Who took you in?

Samuel: A group of guys. They had an apartment. They didn't do anything bad! They didn't, at least.

Alan: Criminals - you spend your time with criminals!?

Samuel: They weren't so bad before.

Alan: Stop lying!

Samuel: I am not lying!

Linda: Why can't you two just stop!? Alan: he's just a boy. You have no right to treat him like this. (To Samuel) And you - I don't think you fully understood him.

Samuel: I understand him just fine, thanks. He hates me.

Linda: I was talking about John. You say that he never truly cared about anything - I disagree. Perhaps he could never feel empathy, perhaps he was only taught how to react to things, but sometimes - sometimes I felt as if he could understand me better than anyone else in the world. And I think that - maybe - he was just stuck.

(Samuel snickers.)

Linda: I think that there was a John there…but he just couldn't get out. He couldn't show people that he really could see…everything.

(Long pause.)

Linda: How old are you?

Samuel: (polite) I'm seventeen.

Linda: Come home with us.

Alan: Linda…

Samuel: No…they'll find me.

Linda: What could they do to you?

Samuel: I don't know.

Alan: Do you have any idea how serious this is? You should report them to the police!

Linda: Sam…come and live with us. We could help you - even just until you're eighteen.

Samuel: I couldn't…why don't you two hate me? (Alan huffs.) You should hate me after what I just did!

Linda: Maybe…maybe we just understand why you did it.

Alan: Linda!

Linda: Samuel - you could start all over again. Think about it. Instead of mourning your mother, you can do and be good - and make things right. Will you?

Samuel: (getting suddenly emotional) Do you think…that I could?

Linda: If you tried very hard.

Samuel: I will - I will! I'll try so hard. I promise.


Senior Member
I like it. The dialogue is believable and cohesive. My only complaint is that I think it's a little bit too melodramatic and as you put it, it does sound a bit cheesy.


Thanks for the kind words!

Are there any specific spots where you noticed the melodrama?



Alan: He never cared? He…never cared!? Of course he cared - he was the greatest listening this world has ever seen.
Cheese started there for me. Sounds like something I've heard before (over and over and over again "How dare you say that about the physically/mentally/disabled/otherwise-incapacited person, because hes touched our lives in these ways!")

Alan: Don't! - say that word. He was…challenged.

Wow, no wonder it sounds rushed, in reading your flow is going like:

At least 4 really short interjections followed by thoughtful pauses. If you get them to talk over eachother instead of doing the Talk-wait-talk thing you'll get a better argument.

.... -reads more-

Yeah I think thats the heart of your problem since you have someone coming in and breaking up their "Argument" get the important lines in and then try making them argue their lines at the same time. Let me try a quick rewrite that you could use at a rehersal to see what im talking about:

Alan: He never cared? He…never cared!? Of course he cared - he was the greatest listening this world has ever seen.

Samuel: But he didn't mean it - he was slow!

Alan: He was challenged!

Samuel: You think that makes him a good person? -- He never understood anything!

Alan and Samuel read their next lines near-simultaneously (sam follows Alan)

Alan: He understood a whole lot more than you do, damn Hypocrit! What would he have done to help you if he hadn't left you on the street? You are so selfish!

Samuel: He left us on the street! He didn't do anything to help her, he just, just left her! Stop protecting him! He was just a-

(after alan finishes saying "you are so selfish")

Nurse: *sternly* Excuse me!

Samuel: Blind old man!


something like that maybe