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(THE FINAL) EPISODE 22: FINDING NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, A Play In Process

August 11th, 2020 donnahoke

 

 

 

I began this play March 24, wrote it week by week, and shared it here as raw pages.


Today, a first draft is done.


If you have enjoyed this, thank you for sticking around. If you’re a playwright with a New Play Exchange account, please please consider leaving me a recommendation there; I’ve uploaded the complete FINDING NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, which has gone through all the revisions I talked about throughout this process, so it won’t be exactly what you read here each week but hopefully is better.

 

Remember I talked about keeping that running list to worry about later? Those things are below on the Before list. The After list are things that came from peer review with my online writers’ group. They’ve all been addressed (I hope!) so that if you read the final version, you can see how much has changed since you first read.



BEFORE:
*Introduce a type of humor at the start of each monologue? (I actually decided against this. I may later come up with jokes, but I’m still on the fence. What do you think–too much?)
*Create a three-mention throughline for the lasagna.
*Add the Marsha Norman moment, i.e. on page eight, we learn when we get to go home.
*Make their needs and wants clear. And that sometimes the journey is the answer, not the success.
*More NPH facts.
*After the journey, Katie and Cha-Cha are sisters. Katie didn’t need to be funny; she needed love. Cha-Cha can accept herself for who she is, which doesn’t need to be what her sister is.
*Have Katie show a picture of Lily.
*Address the pickle in the final scene, and have Cha acknowledge it’s funny.

 

AFTER:
*Create a bigger obstacle with Tino.
*Have Cha promise to make this trip.
*Make NPH more symbolic
*Follow the rule of “you’re allowed to say it once” re: the takeaway

 


And that’s all to finish the first draft! Once I show this to my trusted first reader, there will be more revisions. After it gets its first table read, it will have even more. Its first staged reading, more than that. And so on. But I hope this process gave you some insight and a few laughs during this time. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

 

And now, the finale of FINDING NEIL PATRICK HARRIS. And your final NPH image:

 

 

CHA-CHA: My dad always said you have take all the shots with confidence knowing some might not land.

 

NPH (o.s.): Ha. Was your dad a comedian?

 

CHA-CHA: Yes. He was. But I loved him anyway.

 

KATIE and CHA-CHA wave good-bye. KATIE and CHA-CHA watch NPH walk away.

 

CHA-CHA: So that just happened.

 

KATIE: And we didn’t get arrested.

 

CHA-CHA: Next time.

 

KATIE: Would you say this shot landed?

 

CHA-CHA: We didn’t fling a single ash.

 

KATIE: Sometimes only one person laughs.

 

CHA-CHA: I reached my deep quota an hour ago.

 

KATIE: The picture!

 

ANTOINE: I’m afraid he’s already gone.

 

CHA-CHA: You’re still here.

 

KATIE: Who are you?

 

ANTOINE/CHA-CHA: I’m/He’s Antoine!

 

KATIE: Will you take a picture of us Antoine?

 

ANTOINE: I’d be delighted.

 

KATIE and CHA-CHA strike a few poses. ANTOINE snaps the photos. KATIE takes the phone back from him.

 

KATIE: Thank you.

 

ANTOINE: Thank you! I met Neil Patrick Harris!

 

ANTOINE exits. KATIE looks at the photos.

 

KATIE: This one is–

 

CHA-CHA: Don’t say it. 

 

KATIE: But it really–

 

CHA-CHA: Let’s go walk the High Line.

 

SCENE 16

NAIL AREA OF THE SPA. THE BAG WITH THE PIC OF KATIE AND CHA-CHA IS HANGING BY THEIR STATIONS.

 

CHA-CHA: Big Foot girl said she missed me.

 

KATIE: I think you missed her.

 

CHA-CHA: She was worried I left.

 

KATIE: You did.

 

CHA-CHA: But I came back.

 

KATIE: So now you know.

 

CHA-CHA: Don’t act like I want to dump my ashes here.

 

KATIE: Would that be the worst thing?

 

CHA-CHA: I have no idea where I want them dumped.

 

KATIE: There’s no quiz.

 

TINA enters, looking unsure of herself and trying not to touch things. CHA-CHA does a doubletake.

 

CHA-CHA: I’m never going to get used to that.

 

KATIE Tina!

 

CHA-CHA: I thought we were coming to your house.

 

KATIE suddenly realizes the bag is hanging where Tina can see it, and tries to motion to Cha-Cha to turn Tina around.

 

TINA: You are. You, but I had to see where you work. Where Tonio–

 

CHA-CHA (trying to redirect Tina toward the door): He’d be proud of you. But this is a big outing after what? Six years in your house? That’s a lot for one day.

 

TINA resists and continues looking around.

 

TINA (looks around): I see why he loved it.

 

TINA looks around some more, and all three lock eyes on the bag at once.

 

TINA: Jose called me.

 

CHA-CHA: Oh?

 

TINA: I told him I decided to go with the pendants after all. I gave a him a blue one. I hope it’s close to the Babylon shade.

 

KATIE: But–

 

CHA-CHA: I– Awkward all around.

 

TINA: At least some of the ashes on my carpet were Tonio, right?

 

CHA-CHA: ….I think so.

 

TINA: And if Jose gets a little of my husband, oh well!

 

CHA-CHA: Justice has been served.

 

TINA: I hope your quest was successful. He deserved it.

 

CHA-CHA: It was. Wait–

 

KATIE: How did–

 

TINA: We didn’t tell each other everything, but we did share a childhood crush on Doogie Howser.

 

KATIE: We still miss him so much.

 

CHA-CHA: And we still have the lasagna.

 

TINA: Why don’t you bring it by?

 

CHA-CHA When we come for the pedicure?

 

TINA: Oh no, let’s make it an occasion. I’ll order in some wine and we’ll have a toast. To my brother.

 

KATIE: And our newest color.

 

TINA: I did a little Google. I don’t think the Babylon is right for me.

 

KATIE: Finding Neil Patrick Harris. It’s kind of a pearly gray charcoal color.

 

CHA-CHA: With sparkles.

 

TINA: I love sparkles.

 

KATIE: We’ll tell you all about it.

 

SCENE 17 LIGHTS DIM AND THERE IS A SPOTLIGHT.

 

KATIE retells her story but she’s got more confidence, most ability to laugh at herself. Perspective is everything.

 

KATIE: In eighth grade, my best friend Marti convinced me to do the variety show. She said we were almost in high school and if we didn’t do something to get ourselves noticed, we’d spend prom night at Dairy Queen.

 

CHA-CHA laughs, and will continue to laugh throughout even though we don’t see her yet.

 

Marti wanted to do Who’s On First, which was cool because girls never do Who’s On First and we were so not cool that they actually forgot to put our names in the program. Who’s On First by… two nobodies. Less Who’s On First and more Who The Hell Is That?

 


I was Abbott and Marti was Costello. That’s what she wanted and I said okay because Abbott’s taller, another curse of early puberty. We practiced every beat of that thing and we killed it. But being tall? Not as good as being funny. Everybody congratulated her and not me. She got super popular. I became a huge fan of Peanut Buster Parfaits.

 

The Alligator Lady loves that story. She laughs her ass off. If your manicurist makes you laugh, think about how nice that made your day. Thing is, her imitation had better lines. I could have done that.

 

LIGHTS UP on CHA in the spa, TINA in a chair; echo of the first scene.

 

CHA-CHA: Alright, what do you want to know?

 

KATIE: Now who’s playing third base?



CHA-CHA: Why do you insist on putting Who on third base?

 

KATIE What am I putting on third?

 

CHA-CHA No, What is on second.

 

KATIE You don’t want who on second?

 

CHA-CHA Who is on first.

 

KATIE I don’t know.

 

KATIE/CHA-CHA Third base!

 

KATIE Third baaaaasse.

 

CHA starts laughing. TINA, in a chair with her feet in a tub, starts laughing. KATIE looks over, starts laughing. They don’t stop.

 

END OF PLAY

(Applause!)

 

 

(Click on the home page to read about my plays!)

–Please follow me on Twitter @donnahoke or like me on Facebook at Donna Hoke, Playwright.

–Read my plays and recommendations on the New Play Exchange!

–Playwrights, remember to explore the Real Inspiration For Playwrights Project, a 52-post series of wonderful advice from Literary Managers and Artistic Directors on getting your plays produced. Click RIPP at the upper right.

–To read #PLONY (Playwrights Living Outside New York) interviews, click here or #PLONY in the category listing at upper right.

–To read the #365gratefulplaywright series, click here or the category listing at upper right.

–For more #AHAinTheater posts, click here or the category listing at upper right.

(Click on the home page to read about my plays!)

–Please follow me on Twitter @donnahoke or like me on Facebook at Donna Hoke, Playwright.

–Read my plays and recommendations on the New Play Exchange!

–Playwrights, remember to explore the Real Inspiration For Playwrights Project, a 52-post series of wonderful advice from Literary Managers and Artistic Directors on getting your plays produced. Click RIPP at the upper right.

–To read #PLONY (Playwrights Living Outside New York) interviews, click here or #PLONY in the category listing at upper right.

–To read the #365gratefulplaywright series, click here or the category listing at upper right.

–For more #AHAinTheater posts, click here or the category listing at upper right.



One Comment on “(THE FINAL) EPISODE 22: FINDING NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, A Play In Process”

  1. 1 Melissa said at 10:05 pm on August 24th, 2020:

    Happy six-month FNPH anniversary. Huge congratulations on finishing this project and keeping so focused when life was suddenly so abnormal. And additional congratulations for the development opportunity. I can’t wait to see this play performed one day. It’s so great. It’s funny and it’s got some lovely bittersweet moments. It’s got soul. It’s a great story about friendship, about helping others’ dreams come true, even the wishes of those who are no longer with us.

    I would love to see a draft of this all put together and read it all in one big continuous go. Do you think that would be possible for your fans? 🙂


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