Full Length Plays

for Adults

On the Jump

Julyana Soelistyo as Dorie and Kellie Waymire as Colleen in On the Jump at South Coast Repertory (directed by Mark Rucker). Photo: Cristofer Gross/South Coast Repertory.

Life hasn't been easy for Colleen Ferguson. And now her new husband has dumped her on their wedding night and absconded with her life savings. When she decides to throw herself off a bridge, she has an encounter with another would-be jumper, which sends her life spiraling in surprising new directions -- but in order to stay on top of an increasingly complicated situation, she has to live a lie ... then two lies ... and eventually the lies catch up with her. A mistaken-identity romance about the vagaries of a love that blossoms in the damaged hearts of two strangers who overcome death, duplicity and despair in their quest for a happy ending. Productions at South Coast Repertory and Arena Stage. Cast-size 8.


"And that’s when it occurs to you that whether you’re talking about dying or

living, you really only have two choices: you can fall, or you can jump."

For a perusal script, contact the author at johnglorewrites@gmail.com.

To read the first 10 pages, uncollapse the text by clicking anywhere above the line.

On the Jump


by John Glore


Act One

“Precipice”


A darkened hotel room. Through a partly open bathroom door, a diagonal

slash of light cuts across the room. A shadowy figure sits slumped on the

bed or a chair. From the bathroom comes Colleen’s elongated shadow:


COLLEEN

(from off)

I’ll be out in a minute, okay Billy? Oh look, the hotel gave us those cute little shampoo

bottles, that’s so nice. You know, Billy, you are the first lucky break I’ve had in . . . ever.

I’m not kidding. Until I met you my life was one misfortune after another. I think I started to

get the picture when I was five, the day my father fell into the Grand Canyon. And it was all

downhill from there. I was really beginning to wonder if it was worth it, you know? But

then I met you. And now here we are, a couple of weeks later on our honeymoon, and from

now on, you know what?: my life is going to be heaven. I’ve never stayed in a hotel room!

I’m just sorry I couldn’t afford the bridal suite, but this is nice, isn’t it, Billy? Oh god! I love

this moment! I want it to last forever!


The man gets up suddenly, puts on his shirt, shoes, begins throwing things

into a bag as Colleen continues talking. He moves quickly but quietly.


COLLEEN

(cont., off)

Oh, sugar-jets. I chipped my nail polish. Shoot! Okay, it’s a minor setback, I’ll just do a

touch-up job and . . . here it is, Rosy Fingered Dawn, your favorite color.

(She’s struggling with the cap.)

Come on, come on. Open, you stupid —

(She emits a sudden, horrified gasp. Then, in a small voice:)

Oh no. No, my honeymoon nightgown, it’s ruined. Ohhhhhh,

crap!! I wanted everything to be perfect, that’s all. Just for one night. Is that too much to

expect, Billy?


Billy has finished packing. After a beat:


BILLY

Yeah.


COLLEEN

What’d you say? Billy?


He finds her purse, opens it, removes some money, then grabs his bag and

slips out the door, closing it quietly.


COLLEEN

Well, okay, it isn’t really coming out. Okay. You’ll just have to promise not to notice the

stain, Billy, all right? Love is blind, right? Right Billy?


She appears, framed in the bathroom doorway. Having repainted the

chipped nail, she holds both hands elevated, fingers spread. Her white

nightgown has a garish red smear at chest level.


COLLEEN

Billy?


As Colleen takes in the situation and throws a coat over her gown, the

scene shifts to the hotel bar. A bored bartender dries a glass.


COLLEEN

Excuse me. Have you seen my boyfriend? My husband, I mean. Billy. He’s about your

height and he looks . . . well, non-descript?


BARTENDER

I’ve seen an incredibly old man and an even older woman sitting in the corner booth French-kissing

for days, and, let’s see, a couple of hookers, sex indeterminate, a guy wearing a shiny

lime-green suit and a bad comb-over, trying to pretend he wasn’t interested in the hookers, a

litter of frat boys, not bothering to pretend they weren’t interested in the hookers, and my

boss, who kicked the hookers out when they refused to grease his palm. Any of those sound

like your husband?


COLLEEN

No.


She collapses onto a stool.


BARTENDER

You been married long?


COLLEEN

Not really. Five hours?


BARTENDER

Wow. How long’s he been missing?


COLLEEN

He isn’t missing! But I’ve looked all over the hotel. I was thinking maybe he stepped out for

a cigarette, you know? He’s thoughtful that way.


BARTENDER

Okay, so how long has he been smoking?


COLLEEN

(looking at her watch)

A couple hours? I don’t know, my watch stopped. My father gave me this watch. It’s a

Grand Canyon souvenir timepiece with seven jewels. It always ran slow, but now . . . It

stopped at ten after ten.


BARTENDER

Yeah?


COLLEEN

In advertisements, the watches are always set at ten after ten.


BARTENDER

I guess that’s right.


COLLEEN

Why do you suppose they made that the magic number?


BARTENDER

I don’t know. For the symmetry?


COLLEEN

Yeah, but why not twenty after eight? That’s symmetrical.


BARTENDER

Beats the hell out of me.


COLLEEN

What did I do wrong? I don’t know what I did wrong.


She’s crying. Bartender presents her with a box of tissues.


BARTENDER

Hey, hey, hey. It’s just a cheap watch. Maybe your dad can get you another one.

(Colleen shakes her head, still sobbing. He’s tearing up now too.)

Sentimental value, huh? I had a corkscrew like that. Present from a guy I used to live with. Card said, “When you use this,

think of me.” He’s dead now. (Beat.) It’s because twenty after eight looks like a frown, whereas ten after ten looks like a smile. See?


COLLEEN

You look a little like him. My dad.


BARTENDER

So, you’re a newly-wed. What can I get you, Betty Lou?


COLLEEN

It’s Colleen.


BARTENDER

I would’ve sworn Betty Lou, but okay Colleen. I’m Danny.


COLLEEN

Daddy?


BARTENDER

Danny. Sorry, stuffy nose. I’m allergic to unhappiness. What’re you drinking?


COLLEEN

Oh, no thanks, I don’t — I’ll have a scotch on the rocks.


BARTENDER

Coming right up.


She opens her purse, looks through it. He hands her the drink.


BARTENDER

First one’s on the house, for the blushing bride.


COLLEEN

No, no, that isn’t necessary. Let me . . .


BARTENDER

What’s wrong?


COLLEEN

My money’s gone.


BARTENDER

Oh-oh. How much?


COLLEEN

Eight hundred dollars, and change. My life savings.


He puts the bottle in front of her and exits. She knocks back her drink,

then gets up. She is now outside. It’s cold and damp and she’s still in her

nightgown (under the coat) reeling from the scotch. She steps in

something, slips, then looks at her slipper.


COLLEEN

Crap! I don’t believe this.


She takes the slipper off, hobbles around looking for something to scrape it

with. Suddenly a very scary-looking derelict pops out of nowhere; he’s

deeply filthy and wears a mask-like scowl.


DERELICT

Hey!


COLLEEN

Oh Jesus!


DERELICT

You got poop on that shoe.


(He picks it up.)


COLLEEN

I know, I was --


DERELICT

Spare change?


COLLEEN

No. I’m sorry, I don’t --


DERELICT

Listen, girlie! You see this wheel?

(He draws one in the air with the slipper.)

You’re up here, and I’m way down here, so show some pity!


COLLEEN

I don’t have anything. Please leave me alone.


DERELICT

Okay, girlie, I get the message. But next time say it with flowers.

(He starts to walk away, then stops.)

Hey!


COLLEEN

What?!


DERELICT

It’s two blocks down and one block over.


COLLEEN

What is?


DERELICT

The bridge! (Goes. Stops.) The bridge to nowhere!


He chuckles, walks away taking her slipper with him. Colleen looks in the

direction of the bridge, then hobbles slowly toward it, as the scene shifts

again. Thunder and lightning. Wind. A distant ship’s horn blares. Now

at the bridge railing, she looks down and shudders. She looks at her

watch, takes it off and holds it over the railing. She closes her eyes and

keeps them closed, like she’s making a wish. The lights take on an eerie

quality. A man appears out of nowhere, in someplace unexpected. He

smokes a pipe. Colleen never looks at him through the following.


MAN

Hey, I paid good money for that watch.


COLLEEN

Hi Daddy.


DADDY

So, what, you wanted to see time fly?

(She smiles a little.)

Whatcha got for me, Daybreak?


COLLEEN

Only a smile, Daddy.


DADDY

I’ll take it. Got change for a hug?


COLLEEN

(looking at watch)

It’s broken.


DADDY

The watch?


COLLEEN

Among other things. Daddy, what do I do now?


DADDY

Hang onto it anyway. It’ll be right twice a day.


COLLEEN

Be serious, please.


Beat.


DADDY

You know, it’s the strangest thing. As the ground falls away from your feet, and you’re

surrounded by nothing but air, for a moment you can’t tell whether you’re falling down or up,

you know? And that’s when it occurs to you that whether you’re talking about dying or

living, you really only have two choices: you can fall, or you can jump.


COLLEEN

Which did you choose?


DADDY

Hey, gotta blow, Daybreak. Catch you on the rebound, okay?


He disappears. Lights return to normal.


COLLEEN

Fall or jump.


She looks over the bridge railing. Slipping off her one remaining slipper,

she doesn’t notice a man enter, upstage and some distance away. He goes

to the bridge’s opposite railing and stands there, his back to us. From

here on he and Colleen mirror each other: both take off their coats and

drape them over their respective railings; hug themselves; put a foot

awkwardly over the railing and hoist themselves up to stand on it. After a

moment, the man sneezes explosively, surprising Colleen so that she almost

falls. When she has recovered her balance and a bit of composure, she

turns carefully to find the source of the sneeze. The man balances

precariously on the railing, looking down.


COLLEEN

Oh my . . . Oh my God. STOP!!!


Surprised by the shout, he turns and sees her even as he loses his balance,

wavers for a moment, then falls out of sight. A distant splash.


COLLEEN

Oh no! What have I done?


She climbs down from her railing, then rushes over to where the man

stood. She leans over the railing and looks down. Can’t see anything.


COLLEEN

Hello?


As she looks down, the Derelict enters, takes her coat and her other

slipper, and walks off.


COLLEEN

Oh God, I’ve killed him. This is a nightmare.

(She looks around for help, sees the Derelict.)

Hey! Hey, help! A guy just fell off . . . Hey, is that my. . . ?

(But the Derelict is gone. She rushes back to her original spot.)

My coat. I can’t believe this. That guy took my —

(She turns and sees the fallen man’s coat on the other railing, goes and gets it and puts it on.)

Okay. I need to find a cop. I need to find a cop and tell him —


Scene shifts as a cop appears.


COP

You killed who?


COLLEEN

I don’t know. A man. He was on the bridge, and then he sneezed and I looked and saw —


COP

What were you doing on the bridge this time of night?


COLLEEN

I was—it doesn’t matter. I shouted, at the man, and he —


COP

You’ve been drinking, haven’t you, Miss . . .


COLLEEN

Colleen. Aren’t you going to drag the river bed or something?


COP

Miss Colleen, is that blood on your night gown?


COLLEEN

Rosy Fingered Dawn. Nail polish.


COP

Mind if I have a closer look?


She opens the coat. He reaches out and fingers the nail polish. She

endures the invasion.


COP

Huh. Nice color. My wife won’t wear nail polish. You put it on your toes, too?

He starts to lift up her gown.


COLLEEN

Officer!


COP

So. You’ve been drinking. You go out for a walk in your nightgown, find yourself in the

middle of the bridge in the middle of the night, when out of nowhere a man you don’t know

and don’t really see takes a header into the river, ’cause you shouted what?


COLLEEN

Stop.


COP

Unh hunh. Well I don’t think we’ll be able to make a murder charge stick.


COLLEEN

Why won’t anyone take me seriously?!


COP

Look, it’s been my experience — and I have plenty — that alcohol can play tricks with your

head, Miss Colleen. But. We’ll send a squad car down there to have a look. And I will find

someone to take your statement. Okay? Just have a seat over there. It’s a nice comfy bench

by the way, so feel free to lie down and sleep it off.


Cop leaves. Colleen sits on the bench. Then lies down. Closes her eyes.

Lights shift to something unnatural. The man who fell from the bridge

appears, dripping wet, perhaps draped in seaweed. He approaches her.

When he talks, his voice is a gravelly whisper.


MAN

I’m coming back. For you. Daybreak.


He reaches out toward her. Colleen’s eyes jerk open and she lets out a

gasp. The man disappears. Colleen’s momentary confusion about her

surroundings is made worse by a nasty hang-over.


COLLEEN

Oh God. How long have I . . . ? (She looks at her watch.) Ten ten. (She sneezes loudly.) Oh

great, just what I need.


She reaches into coat pocket for a tissue. Remembers it isn’t her coat.

Finds something. Unconsciously wipes her nose on the coat sleeve as she

pulls out a sizable wad of money.


COLLEEN

Holy . . . Why would someone with so much money jump off a bridge?

(She goes back to rooting through the coat’s various pockets. She finds a pipe and smells its bowl.)

Prince Albert.

(She pulls out something else.)

Wedding ring. So Prince Albert had a princess.

(She finds a slip of paper a dry cleaning ticket)

Arcadia Dry Cleaners. Albert Wheatcroft. He really was Prince Albert. 654-2927.


She thinks for a moment, then looks around. She spots a phone, goes to it,

picks it up and dials.


ALBERT (V.O.)

Hi, this is Albert. I’m . . . unavailable. Don’t bother leaving a message. If this is the Timely

Temp Agency, what can I say, I quit. If it’s someone looking for money, I don’t have any. I

can’t think of anyone else who might be calling, unless maybe it’s our men in blue, in which

case you might want to drop by 55 Greenwood Drive and give my family the sad news. Tell

them . . . just tell them to look in my desk. That’s all. So long.


COLLEEN

(making a note)

55 . . . Greenwood . . . Drive.

(The doorway at 55 Greenwood appears.)

Wow.


Colleen approaches and rings the doorbell. A butler appears.


COLLEEN

Oh. Hi. Uh. Is Mrs. Wheatcroft here?


BUTLER

Who should I say is calling?


COLLEEN

A friend of her husband’s.


BUTLER

(giving her a long look)

I see. One moment please.


He disappears. After a moment, an elderly woman, Arabella, comes to the door.


ARABELLA

Yes?


COLLEEN

Oh. Mrs. Wheatcroft?


ARABELLA

Yes?


COLLEEN

Actually, I was looking for Mrs. Albert Wheatcroft.


ARABELLA

Yes. You’re a friend of Albert’s? I don’t think he mentioned . . .


COLLEEN

Oh, I get it. My Albert is a young man, maybe 26 or 7?


ARABELLA

(shaken)

Your Albert? You must mean my grandson. Is Bertie all right?


COLLEEN

Well . . . May I come in?


ARABELLA

All right.

Joanna's Air Force husband has a new command in England, and the transfer has taken its toll on Joanna's state of mind. One night she feels an unusual presence in the sky, which soon becomes connected with two other mysterious sightings: Julie, a local woman, claims to have had an encounter with fairies; and Charlie, an airman under the command of Joanna's husband, reports having seen a bright, metallic disc take off in the woods and flash across the night sky. Joanna befriends Julie and Charlie and becomes involved in their lives as the outside world begins to learn of their alleged encounters. Prosper Blondlot, a flamboyant paranormalist, arrives to capitalize on Julie's experience, while Karla Banning, a no-nonsense Air Force investigator, attempts to quash Charlie's story. Torn between belief and doubt, Joanna finds herself becoming alienated from her unsympathetic husband. When new information further obscures the truth about the entire affair, Joanna turns in desperation to Prosper for answers to her deeply troubling questions. As the play ends, Joanna and Julie find themselves at Avebury Monument, a centuries-old stone circle that testifies to the ever-present human search for a connection to the great unknown. Cast-size 6 plus one unspeaking role for a child. Productions at South Coast Repertory and other theatres internationally.

"... an exciting and challenging play ... that touches profound questions ... and connects them to emotion-charged people. The well thought-out script is realized with intelligence and wit." -- Long Beach Press Telegram

Published and licensed by Dramatists Play Service. For script and licensing information, click on the link.

Preludes & Fugues

Four musicians, nervous to the point of hallucination about a string quartet they have to perform tomorrow, embark upon a night of nightmares, sex dreams, mistaken identities, car chases, drinking, and tears. One has an encounter with Alice's reflection (who came out of the looking-glass when Alice went in). One finds himself reborn as his dead daughter. One relives Eve's decision to eat the apple, and another becomes Satan and the snake. What results is a psychological phantasmagoria of the four artists' minds, as their dreams play separately -- and then together in a final dazzling display of contrapuntal word-music. Cast-size 4.

Read the LAist review of the Son of Semele production: "What We Found There: Preludes to Madness, Fugues of Frenzy."

For a script and licensing information, contact the author at johnglorewrites@gmail.com.

Works in Progress:

Creep

In Creep (adapted from stories by Edgar Allan Poe), a wealthy man has holed up inside his castle with several hundred of his closest friends to escape the plague that devastated the populace on the other side of the castle’s stone walls. The moneyed elite can only wait out the devastation, but what better way to do so on this All Hallows Eve than with a costume ball? – and better yet, the celebrants will provide their own entertainment by relating terrifying tales of murder, mayhem and supernatural malice. One by one, the story-tellers do their best to top one another while an Uninvited Guest waits for his turn to curdle their blood with a tale that comes with a deathly surprise at its conclusion. The American master of the poetical macabre provides the stories, accompanied by rock music whose chilling undertow perfectly suits the morbid moods of Mr. Poe.

Development at The Chance Theater, Anaheim

Available for its world premiere. To request a script, contact the author at johnglorewrites@gmail.com,

epic

In 1934, renowned muckraking writer Upton Sinclair ran for governor of California on a socialist platform he called End Poverty In California -- or E.P.I.C. -- and he was on his way to victory until a consortium of underhanded power brokers launched an unprecedented public relations blitzkrieg fueled by lies, distortions and innuendo, to sink Sinclair. The play incorporates some of the famous and infamous people who got involved on one side or the other, including Sister Aimee Semple McPherson, Charlie Chaplain and FDR, as well as a host of unknown players, some of whom wielded a whole lot of power behind the scenes. The play also traces a parallel story about a down-and-out vagrant named John Pelletier, who was recruited (by one of the Bad Guys!) to run for the state legislature as an E.P.I.C. candidate and ended up winning while Sinclair went down in flames. A true story about a political campaign that changed the way campaigns have been run in America ever since.

Available for its world premiere. To request a script, contact the author at johnglorewrites@gmail.com.

Wild Time

At Moon, Inc., two competing AI teams are working to create fully sentient, artificial Intelligences. Team Bard, behind in the competition and growing increasingly desperate, has brought in a poet to try to teach Bard how to be creative (a key step towards proving his sentience). The other team is taking shortcuts to win the competition as they develop an entity named Dark Lady. But everyone is completely unprepared for what happens when Dark Lady develops a will of her own and engineers a way to take corporeal form. Meanwhile, romantic crosscurrents among the various humans on the two competing teams further complicate a Situation Normal that has become All Fucked-Up. And when everyone leaves the building and wanders into the surrounding forest, the story plays out to an unexpected conclusion, as the shadow of A Midsummer Night's Dream hangs over the proceedings. A play that looks at both sides of the Artificial Intelligence conundrum and asks -- why would we want to make a cyber-creature that can pass for human, when human beings so often prove to be the most confused creatures on the planet?

Available for its world premiere. To request a script, contact the author at johnglorewrites@gmail.com.