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July 10th, 2020 donnahoke



Subscribe, subscribe! (Just fill in that little form at the right). Once this play is over, I promise you won’t be bombarded with posts from me; in normal times, I don’t do one a week, but I set this schedule for myself in order to get this play written. I’ve liked the idea of a series–I’ve done a bunch if you check the topics at the right (if you’re a playwright, please check out the Real Inspiration for Playwrights Project, #RIPP; it’s such important stuff in a 52-entry series that took me over two years), so maybe another idea will come to me before this is done. 


One of the characteristics that’s developed for Cha-Cha over the course of this play is self-acceptance. It comes out in her negativity, her struggle to be better, to be funny, to do something “worthwhile.” That plays heavily into this week’s content, which I think really cements who she is and what she wants. Let me know if you agree.


And so, because we will never run out of NPH images, we join FINDING NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, already in progress.


KATIE: Just do it! He’s walking away!

KATIE pulls out and opens the bag of ashes. CHA hesitates.

KATIE: Hurry!


CHA-CHA reaches in and takes a big handful of what’s left of the ashes.


CHA-CHA: Is this enough?


KATIE: It’ll have to be. Where’d he go? There! Go!


CHA-CHA: moves toward the edge of the stage, her hand outstretched like she’s ready to attack. She trips and falls and the ashes go flying.


CHA-CHA: Shit.


MAN’S VOICE (o.s.): Hey, what the hell are you doing?


KATIE rushes to try to scrape up the ashes. She uses a notecard or matchbook or anything she can find in her purse. CHA remains flat on the ground.


KATIE: I’m sorry. She just fell.


MAN’S VOICE (o.s.): Well watch where you’re going!


KATIE continues to desperately scrape up ashes.


CHA-CHA I’m fucking fine, thank you.


KATIE: Are you okay?


CHA-CHA: That was not Neil Patrick Harris.


KATIE: I know.


CHA-CHA: Not even close.


KATIE: I know.


CHA-CHA: Not even remotely chiseled.


KATIE: I know.


CHA-CHA: What the fuck is wrong with you?


KATIE: From a distance…. through the phone…


CHA-CHA struggles to her feet.


CHA-CHA:  A ladder.


KATIE: What?


CHA-CHA: If you climb a ladder halfway and don’t make a choice, you’re actually stuck.


KATIE: I didn’t think–


CHA-CHA: You know what else stuck? Cha-Cha. When I tried to learn to write Chanel, I couldn’t get past the C-H-A. Cha became Cha-Cha and you know what? That was fucking fine because Chanel is a stupid fucking name. So half a mile, half a cookie dough, half a name, and half a bag of ashes/


KATIE /It’s less than that now/


CHA-CHA: /Is FINE. It’s FINE. Better than fine! If you don’t climb the ladder, you don’t get stuck. I wouldn’t even be in this disaster if it weren’t for you.


KATIE: Because you can’t even make a plan! I’m the one who called Jose. I’m the one who figured out how to get the ashes. I’m the one who did the research. I took the lasagna and I don’t even eat meat! Because maybe I thought I was helping you. Maybe I thought it was something we needed. Something you needed. You needed a push and now I’m asking myself why because you can’t even thank me!


CHA-CHA: I don’t need this! I don’t need you. And I don’t need fucking Neil Patrick Harris!


KATIE: You’re a terrible person.


CHA-CHA: At least I’m funny.


CHA-CHA exits. KATIE tries to scrape up more ashes, but gives up, defeated.



CHA-CHA: About two years ago, Melinda called me and said I needed to come over right away. I told her she better not think I’m fucking babysitting, but she said no. She sounded scared and my sister doesn’t get scared, and if she is scared, why the fuck is she calling me? But you hear that and you go, right? And I get there and she tells me to feel her tit, and I’m like what? And she’s like no really, and she actually grabs my fucking hand and makes me feel her up. And there’s this lump the size of a fucking golf ball. Like how did she never notice that ? How did her husband never notice that? A fucking golf ball. I didn’t ask because she was crying and I knew she probably knew before today. I was the first person she told. Me. So I asked for her doctor’s number, and I called and made an appointment. And I went with her. She held my hand.

Turns out it was benign and she went back to being perfect.


I know that’s a little shorter than usual, but I didn’t want to start a new scene; apologies! As we head into the final five scenes, what are the questions you feel need to be answered? I think I’m setting things up to take care of everything, but would love to get the reader/viewer perspective.

Do you like the separation of play text with bold or does it make it harder to read?

Thank you for sticking with me!



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2 Comments on “EPISODE 18: FINDING NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, A Play In Process”

  1. 1 Melissa said at 3:28 pm on July 12th, 2020:

    Love it, love it, love it.

    How do you know how many scenes you have left? I’ve learned so much reading through your scenes and your commentary. Thanks again for sharing your process so openly.

    The bold text is fine 🙂

  2. 2 donnahoke said at 3:40 pm on July 12th, 2020:

    In Episode 15, I shared this very rough outline, so I’m going by that:
    Scene 8: Cha’s monologue about her dad and being funny.
    Scene 9: Cha and Katie on the road. Meet Tino.
    Scene 10: Katie on funny and intimate.
    Scene 10: Cha and Katie fight on NYC street corner.
    Scene 11: Cha/Melinda monologue
    Scene 12: Cha/Katie hotel room.
    Scene 13: Cha/Katie on NYC street corner.
    Scene 14: Salon
    Scene 15: The end (I will at least leave that haha)

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