MFA, a Very Short Play, by Brad Vance

MFA

by Brad Vance

CHARACTERS (Names are deliberately ambisexual, can be cast male or female)

LORE, early 20s

DAKOTA, early 20s

SKYLER, early 20s

TEACHER, early 40s

LOCATION

A classroom.

TIME

Late afternoon.

 

LORE is reading from a manuscript.

LORE

They said no more, but only regarded the fading light, that made the motes of dust sparkle like stars, if only for a moment.

(A pause as everyone digests this.)

TEACHER

Excellent, Lore. Really excellent. This is a great choice for your submission. Exactly the kind of story that the Golden Apple Prize jury is looking for.

(Turns to the other students)

All of you, congratulations. You all deserve to be finalists. And I’m so glad you agreed to come together to help each other polish your prose before final submission. Okay. Feedback? Dakota?

DAKOTA

There are some lovely sentences in there, really lovely prose. It’s an interesting choice, to leave the two of them there, in that moment, with the conflict unresolved.

SKYLER

Well, it didn’t feel like a choice to me. It felt like you didn’t really know how to end it, how to resolve the conflict. You just kind of…kicked up a cloud of flowery language.

LORE

Oh, really? Flowery? You make it sound like, well…

SKYLER

Well what?

LORE

Like one of those purple prose romances, like “My Billionaire Stepbrother’s Dungeon” or something.

SKYLER

Oh, so exactly like the book I told you I wrote?

LORE

No, I didn’t say that. I didn’t say your name. Your secret was safe with me.

SKYLER

I told you I needed the money. In confidence. We both had a good laugh.

LORE

I think you enjoyed doing them, frankly. I can see the change in your work since then. Much more emphasis on plot.

SKYLER

Oh, yes, heaven forbid a story have a plot. We gentlemen word farmers recline in our solariums and putter with our lovely sentences all day long, unlike those vulgar tradesmen who traffic in

(Shudders)

“plot.”

LORE

Well, plot is easy, isn’t it? All the tropes are laid out for you and you just…write by numbers.

SKYLER

I’d like to see you try it. Oh wait, you just did, and failed, because you couldn’t come up with a proper ending.

TEACHER

Hold on now. Let’s not get personal. Dakota, do you think the ending was a good choice?

DAKOTA

(Hesitantly)

Well, it’s really good for what it is.

LORE

What does that mean, what it is?

DAKOTA

Just what I said, that’s all.

LORE

No, you’re implying that there’s something that it isn’t?

DAKOTA

Well, everything isn’t something. Nothing can be everything.

SKYLER

Now there’s a lovely sentence.

LORE

(To DAKOTA)

Maybe you should change programs. Maybe you should get a philosophy degree.

SKYLER

Go ahead, pick on Dakota for calling you on your shit. Because it’s obvious to [him/her] what’s missing.

LORE

Yeah, well, how would you end it, [Lord/Lady] Perfect Plotter?

SKYLER

I really couldn’t say, because you didn’t build up the characters enough for them to have any motivation. They just… gaze at their navels for twenty pages and ponder the infinite. With a stop at the strip mall for your little cliché “isn’t it ironic” stab at commercialism.

(Turns to DAKOTA)

Isn’t that cliché? Isn’t it like some recycled old New Yorker story?

DAKOTA

Well, it’s definitely a long established ironic technique…

SKYLER

Haha, see? Cliché.

LORE

No, it’s fine writing. If you want to get your MFA, you’ll have to learn how to do that. If you can.

SKYLER

Well, you’ve already got your MFA. If it stands for mother fucking asshole.

TEACHER

Please, please, this is very inappro…

LORE

(Talking over her)

You want my nuanced, well thought out response to that? Fuck you is what.

(Hurls pages at SKYLER, who hurls pages back. Pages fly like snowflakes. They physically fight.)

TEACHER

(coming between them)

That’s it. Lore, violence is the most serious student code violation. I’m afraid there are serious consequences.

SKYLER

There. How do you like that ending?

TEACHER

And you as well, Skyler.

SKYLER

But Lore started it!

TEACHER

Rules are rules. I’m so disappointed in both of you. And I’m afraid you’re both suspended. And of course, you’re both disqualified from the Golden Apple competition.

SKYLER and LORE leave, pushing and shoving each other.

TEACHER

Well, Dakota, you’re the prize winner by default. I’ll have to notify the judges. This is most unusual.

DAKOTA

Oh I really don’t think that’s fair, I haven’t…

TEACHER

Regardless, you’re the winner of the Golden Apple. Congratulations.

DAKOTA

Thank you so much. I just need… a minute to process this, I’m so humbled and overwhelmed.

TEACHER

Of course.

TEACHER leaves.

A physical and facial transformation comes over Dakota

DAKOTA

(Fist pump)

Yessss!

BLACKOUT

2 Comments on MFA, a Very Short Play, by Brad Vance

  1. LOL–MotherFucking Asshole” I loved that part 🙂 I liked Dakota–he/she reminds me of my 19 year old granddaughter, whose middle name is, ironically (snort see what I did there?) Dakota 🙂

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