Donna Hoke offers page-by-page script analysis and career coaching for a reasonable fee. If interested, please inquire at


May 1st, 2020 donnahoke


Welcome back! If you haven’t yet, please take a few seconds to subscribe at the upper right. Thank you ?


It’s hard to believe that I’ve been in the house now since March 10. And while the news continues to be grim and scary, playwriting keeps happening, playwright rejections and acceptances keep happening, my Zoom calendar keeps filling up with readings and meetings. I’m not sure what it all will mean in the end to get into a festival or not, to have a virtual production or not, to take in lessons and classes or not. Often, it seems often that the thing that feels the most real right now is the writing itself, so thank you so much for continuing on this silly sharing journey with me. This play is a labor of love, not my next big O’Neill submission, but a play that means a lot to me and hopefully the people I’m writing it for. Maybe, someday, when we’re allowed to go to theaters again, it’ll make some people laugh together.


I write all this today because there’s not much process to talk about. Katie and Cha-Cha just have to retrieve those freaking ashes! So, without further ado, we join FINDING NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, already in progress:


Neil Patrick Harris Interview O Magazine



KATIE: Maybe we can just take the ashes.


CHA-CHA: How are we gonna do that?


KATIE looks around the room and sees nothing (because it’s an empty set lol!)




KATIE opens her purse and starts pulling things out and putting them in her coat pockets.


KATIE: Here. Put these in your pockets.


CHA-CHA: What the–


KATIE: Just do it.


CHA-CHA puts things in her pockets but is not happy about it.


CHA-CHA: Now what?


KATIE: Put the ashes in my purse.


CHA-CHA: I can’t just pour Tonio in your purse.


KATIE: It’s better this way! We don’t take the urn and more importantly, she doesn’t notice the urn is missing.


CHA-CHA: That’s smart.


KATIE: I’m not an idiot.


CHA-CHA: But you’re not funny.


The teakettle whistles.


KATIE: Just do it!


TINA (o.s.): Teabags in or out?








TINA: Just another minute then.


CHA-CHA picks up the urn and takes off the lid. KATIE opens her purse. CHA-CHA pours the ashes in. This is messy business. There is sputtering and coughing and ashes and little bits that get on the floor.



KATIE: Hurry!



CHA-CHA: It’s not like I have a fucking funnel.


CHA-CHA finishes pouring the ashes, or at least what she was able to get in the purse. CHA-CHA and KATIE now scramble to get rid of the evidence, put the lid back on the urn, put it back on the table, blow ashes off each other, pick up bits from the ground and put them in the purse. TINA enters with tea.


TINA: I’m sorry that took so long.


KATIE: Out teabags takes longer.


CHA-CHA: We’re sorry we intruded on you.


TINA: Oh no. I meant it about the pedicure, but I’d also like to talk to people who knew Tonio. Did he tell you he had a twin sister?


KATIE: A twin?


TINA: I know we look nothing alike, but we’re fraternal after all. That means we are no more alike than any other brother and sister.


CHA-CHA: I know what fraternal means.


TINA: So many don’t.


CHA-CHA notices ashes on KATIE’s face and tries to motion to her to wipe them off. KATIE is not understanding. CHA-CHA blows in her face.


KATIE: What are you doing?


CHA-CHA (still trying to indicate her face): You looked tired.

(to Tina)

She’s a little narcoleptic.




TINA: What’s on your face, dear?


KATIE: My face?


TINA: Yes, there’s a little… smudge.


KATIE (finally getting it): Oh! It must be… makeup.


CHA-CHA: Smoky eye.


KATIE: I need a better fixer. I’ll just get a tissue–


KATIE reaches into her purse for a tissue, forgetting what is not in her purse, and she has now put her hand into a purse full of ashes. CHA-CHA has not forgotten.


KATIE: I– Don’t seem to have any tissues. Maybe in your pocket?


CHA-CHA: My pocket?


KATIE: Yes. In your pocket. My tissues might be in your pocket.




CHA-CHA digs in her pockets and comes up with a tissue, which she hands to Katie.


TINA: You could just use the restroom–


KATIE pulls her hand from her purse in a cloud of ashes.


KATIE: It’s a very old purse.


KATIE wipes her hand with the tissue.


KATIE: I’m sorry. You were telling us about Tonio. He was so lucky. I always wanted to have a sister.


TINA: A sister who doesn’t go to her brother’s funeral isn’t a very good sister, is she?


I know, I know; I still have to get them out the door but this is the fun part! It’s where they go once they have the ashes that’s keeping me up at night…



(don’t forget to check out my new website by clicking on the home page!)

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

–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.

3 Comments on “EPISODE 8: FINDING NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, A Play In Process”

  1. 1 Josie said at 11:42 pm on May 11th, 2020:

    I’m baaaack and loving it! Such funny, witty writing. These characters are so clear, I can see them. And the timing is written right in. As an actor I can feel it in my bones. Love the circumstance, the cleverness of a sparse living room set. (They look around and see nothing because it’s empty!) So fun.

  2. 2 Bill Crouch said at 1:13 am on May 19th, 2020:

    I’m loving all the stage business with the ashes, the narcoleptic line made me laugh, very, very fun.

  3. 3 tina said at 8:11 pm on May 23rd, 2020:

    Oh the ashes! This is great slapstick. Love it.

Leave a Reply