Daily Dojo

M.A.A.C. – MMA Fight Choreographer JOHN SALVITTI: POUND OF FLESH – KUNG FU JUNGLE, MAAC EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

July 12th, 2014

Great interview with Fight Choreographer John Salvitti.

John designed the fight scenes in our movie POUND OF FLESH… here he discusses his career and the film, it’s a great read, I highly recommend it, John’s a master who’s created some absolutely classic fights.

The interview is here: M.A.A.C. – MMA Fight Choreographer JOHN SALVITTI: POUND OF FLESH – KUNG FU JUNGLE, MAAC EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

John’s reel is also a must watch:

Oss!

Something Situation

May 30th, 2014

Hey friends, another free play from my collection The Joshua James Project… this one is called:

Something Situation

Lights up.

(A hospital room. BERDENE, 58, sits upright in her bed. She wipes tears from her eyes with a handkerchief. RITA, 13, enters the room with a book in hand.)

BERDENE: Rita. What are you doing up here all by yourself?

RITA: Mom sent me to cheer you up.

BERDENE: Oh. Well. All right.

(BERDENE shifts in her bed. A quiet uncomfortable moment.)

BERDENE: So. Where’d your mother get to?

RITA: She’s hiding from Aunt Arlene.

BERDENE: Arlene is here? Oh my Lord, here we go.

RITA: She’s on her way. Mom and Aunt Arlene have been fighting.

BERDENE: I’m not surprised, they’ve fought ever since they were your age, so don’t worry about it. Come here and have a seat. What are you reading there?

(RITA sits in a chair next to the bed.)

RITA: The Mechanical Theory of Heat by Rudolf Clausius.

BERDENE: Oh. Are you reading that for a class or something?

RITA: No. Just for fun.

BERDENE: Oh. Okay.

RITA: Are you feeling all right, Grandma?

BERDENE: Not really, no.

RITA: Do you want me to get a nurse?

BERDENE: No, don’t, it’s just … It’s just, having to be here, in this situation . . . going through this, having all this stuff happen to me and all that. Doesn’t seem right.

(Brief quiet moment.)

RITA: Look at the bright side. It’s not a pickle.

BERDENE: What’s not a pickle?

RITA: This is not a pickle.

BERDENE: Where do you get pickle, how do you get PICKLE out of all this?

RITA: I’m just saying—

BERDENE: Where is this PICKLE THING coming out of?

RITA: I’m just saying it’s not the pickle that you think it is.

BERDENE: What is?

RITA: The situation.

BERDENE: My situation?

RITA: The situation, it’s not the pickle that you think it is.

(BERDENE looks at her granddaughter for a moment.)

BERDENE: You know, I know that you’re supposed to some sort of genius and all that, but would it be TOO much to ask if you could just make a LITTLE bit of sense every now and then instead of throwing pickles at me?

RITA: It’s a saying, you know, a folk saying, when something happens to someone and they find themselves in a tight situation, sometimes people say, “She’s found herself in a pickle” or “I’m in a heck of a pickle.” And all I’m saying is that the something situation that you have currently found yourself in is not the pickle that you think it is.

(Brief pause.)

BERDENE: You READ entirely TOO much!

RITA: Of course I do. That’s all I do.

BERDENE: And the OTHER THING, HOW can you say this situation is not a pickle?! This situation is mostly CERTAINLY a pickle, it’s nothing BUT a pickle! This is the biggest goddamn dill pickle that I’ve ever seen, that’s for sure!

RITA: I can see how it may be perceived that way.

BERDENE: What other way can it be perceived?

RITA: The other way it can be perceived is as something that happens. It’s just something that happens to everyone. All of us. You. Me. Everyone.

(Brief quiet moment.)

BERDENE: And why is it described as “being in a pickle?” Certain situations, I mean. Why would someone say that, where does that come from anyway?

RITA: Because pickles traditionally taste very sour. Actually being INSIDE of one is thought to be sour beyond all recall.

BERDENE: If that’s the case, then this situation is definitely a pickle. In fact, pickle is the nicest thing you can say about it. THIS IS A PICKLE!

RITA: It’s not the pickle that you think it is.

BERDENE: Well honey, it sure as hell ain’t a TWINKIE, either!

(Brief pause.)

RITA: You’re right. It’s not a Twinkie situation either.

BERDENE: I thought the reason you were sent in here was to cheer me up?

RITA: It was.

BERDENE: Well Honey, you’re doing a HELL of a job!

RITA: I’m sorry. My social skills are somewhat stunted. I don’t interact with real people very well, especially during something situations.

(Brief quiet moment.)

BERDENE: Don’t you interact with other people up there at that school of yours?

RITA: I do, but most of them are more socially handicapped than I am.

BERDENE: You’re not handicapped, Honey, don’t ever say that you’re handicapped and don’t ever let anyone TELL you you’re handicapped.

RITA: It’s all right, it’s a natural result of my intellectual being growing so much faster than my emotional being. It’s just something that happens. I’m only thirteen and I’m going to graduate from MIT this spring. That’s something, and as a result of that, something else happens. It’s how things work. The price of being a prodigy.

(Brief moment. BERDENE sighs.)

BERDENE: I used to know this fella named Pickle. He used to come into my Daddy’s bar all the time, almost every day, we’d say “Hey Pickle.”

RITA: His name was Pickle?

BERDENE: I don’t think his real name was Pickle, it’s just what everyone called him. I never knew what his real name was. We all just called him Pickle. Not exactly sure why.

RITA: I imagine that there was some sort of sexual connotation attached.

BERDENE: Someone’s not nearly as socially stunted as she’s been pretending to be. Yes, I’m pretty sure he got the nickname because of something like that, but he was always real polite and decent to me. I was kind of sweet on him, even though I was nothing but sixteen and he was almost my father’s age, I always batted my eyes at him. He always smiled at me. I was always hoping something would happen between us, though it never did. Nothing ever happened. He liked me, though. I could tell. He was always real sweet to me. Real sweet fella.

RITA: So he was more of a Twinkie than a Pickle.

(They look at each other quickly. They both giggle.)

BERDENE: Yes, Pickle was definitely a Twinkie. A big sweet Twinkie. I liked him. I was always sad nothing ever happened between us.

RITA: Where is he now?

BERDENE: I imagine he’s passed on. Like my father and mother and brother and sister. Like I’m probably going to do.

RITA: Like all of us.

BERDENE: I shouldn’t be telling you this, Rita, but I’m pretty scared right now.

RITA: You haven’t even gotten the test results back yet. You could be fine, it could turn out to be benign.

BERDENE: This time, but what about next time or the time after that? I’m old enough that I’m feeling my mortality. I’m feeling it down deep in my bones. I’m feeling the crush of time.

(Brief pause.)

RITA: Have you heard of Stephen Hawking?

BERDENE: Fella in the wheelchair, right?

RITA: Yes. He has some interesting theories on the perception of time. I’ve been toying with some of his theorems as of late. Can I give you an example?

BERDENE: Keep it simple, Sweetie, remember that I’m a civilian.

RITA: Simple is best anyway. You ever notice a bicycle tire, how when it spins, the spokes of the tire seem to go in the opposite direction of the tire?

BERDENE: Like a wagon wheel.

RITA: Exactly. The tire is going one direction but we perceive it as going the other. Perception is key. Long and short of it, life to us appears as though we are born, we live and then we die.

BERDENE: And that isn’t what happens?

RITA: That’s what we PERCEIVE happens. The reality, like the spokes of the wagon wheel, could be and probably is the opposite. Instead of birth as the beginning and death as the end of the cycle, birth could be the end and death could be the beginning. That’s what it could be and most of us simply aren’t in a position to see it.

(Brief pause.)

BERDENE: Are you currently in that position?

RITA: I think I could be.

BERDENE: And you can see … something?

RITA: I’ve always seen something. The big difficulty is in describing it.

BERDENE: So it could be?

RITA: It could be. I’ll keep working on it.

BERDENE: I just wish I knew for sure. What happens, I mean, when we … when I die. I never bought into any of that other jumbo, the bible and all that silliness, it just never seemed right or even fair to women. But the only alternative I can see is that nothing happens, and that doesn’t seem right either.

RITA: And that’s why you’re scared?

BERDENE: Yes. Because I don’t know what’s going to happen when I die, if anything. That’s what I’m frightened of most. Maybe nothing happens. I just hope … I really, really hope … that something …

RITA: Grandma?

BERDENE: Yes dear?

RITA: I don’t know everything. I know quite a lot about a lot of things, but I don’t know everything. But one thing I definitely do know.

BERDENE: What’s that?

RITA: When you die?

BERDENE: Yes?

RITA: Something happens. Something definitely happens.

(BERDENE looks at Rita for a moment. BERDENE opens her arms. RITA goes to her. They hug for a long moment.)

Lights fade.

THE END.

SOMETHING SITUATION NOTES:

First produced in 2002 as part of Manhattan Theatre Source’s SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION, featuring Holland Hamilton as Rita and Carla Hayes as Berdene. I believe Andrew Frank curated / directed the entire evening, if I recall.

SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION shows were like those 24 hour plays. You showed up on a Friday night and were assigned actors, a first line and something that had to be mentioned in the play at some point (in this case, it was pickle). The writers took those ideas home, wrote a play THAT NIGHT, brought it back Saturday morning and gave to the actors, who memorized it and staged it, and opened to an audience on Sunday night.

It was a lot of fun, and I did four of them, which resulted in the plays THE PAP, THE ITCH, SOMETHING SITUATION and PRETEND IT IS.

Holland, who was 13 or 14 at the time, was someone I’d known already for quite some time. Her father, R. Paul Hamilton, had acted in several of my plays and her mother, Anita Hollander, directed my play QUITTING. Great people, all of them.

I also met Carla Hayes through this play and she’d go on to act in much more of my work. It was one of those instances where everything came together perfectly. They elevated it to a level beyond anything I could have imagined. It really moves me, even to this day.

I actually later expanded this play to one act length and added the aunt character, and it also did well. That version is featured in the one act play section of the book.

If you like the piece, it is one of 44 royalty free plays in The Joshua James Project, please check it out and share with your friends.

All The Rage

May 12th, 2014

One of my short one act plays that’s now ROYALTY-FREE, via The Joshua James Project.

ALL THE RAGE

(Evening at a dark semi-crowded singles bar.

MARCUS, a slick handsome dude in his thirties, sits by himself at a table. He holds his drink up and gestures to someone across the room. He is signaling a bartender that he wants to buy a drink for someone. After a moment …

LISA, an attractive woman in her twenties with a drink in her hand, joins him.)

LISA: Thank you for the drink.

MARCUS: Hey, it was my pleasure. My name’s Marcus.

LISA: Lisa.

MARCUS: Hey Lisa. Lisa, I have a confession to make.

LISA: You do?

MARCUS: Yeah, see I’ve never done anything like this before.

LISA: Like what?

MARCUS: Bought a drink for a woman I didn’t know.

LISA: Really?

MARCUS: It’s true, all true, this is my first time. I was sitting here thinking to myself, Marcus, it’s time to do something different in your life, do something out of character for a change. Smile to someone you don’t know, order a vodka martini with a twist instead of a Jack and Coke, and buy a pretty lady a drink. Do something new with your life. Do one thing, ONE thing that you’ve never done before, Marcus, and if you get nothing else out of it, at least you get that. You know what I’m saying?

LISA: Um. I think so.

MARCUS: You do?

LISA: I think. Trying something new.

MARCUS: That’s what I’m saying. Take a chance, buy a pretty lady a drink.

LISA: You think I’m pretty?

MARCUS: I think you’re very attractive. You are a very attractive woman.

(Short pause.)

LISA: Okay. Thank you.

MARCUS: You’re welcome. (Short pause.) So.

LISA: So.

MARCUS: So tell me about yourself.

LISA: I’d rather not.

MARCUS: Excuse me?

LISA: I’d really rather not.

MARCUS: Oh. Okay.

(Short pause. LISA takes a sip of her drink.)

MARCUS: So what would you like to talk about?

LISA: Anything you like.

MARCUS: Anything …

LISA: Except me.

MARCUS: Except you. Okay.

LISA: We can talk about you, if you want.

MARCUS: Hey, I can do that—

LISA: Only if you want to—

MARCUS: Talking about myself—

LISA: You don’t have to.

MARCUS: Not a problem, one of my favorite subjects.

LISA: Okay.

MARCUS: Okay. (Short pause.) Well, like I said, my name’s Marcus, and I—

LISA: Are you happy?

MARCUS: I’m sorry?

LISA: Are you happy?

MARCUS: Happy with what?

LISA: Happy with, you know, your life.

MARCUS: Happy with my life?

LISA: Yes.

MARCUS: Pretty much, I think, yeah. I’d say yeah.

LISA: You would.

MARCUS: I would, I mean, there are some things I could have that would make things better, I mean, the promotion I’ve been waiting for, I want a new car, those things. More money is always welcome, but for the most part, I’m pretty satisfied. With my life.

LISA: You are.

MARCUS: Yeah, I’m pretty satisfied, yeah.

LISA: Oh. Okay.

(Short pause.)

MARCUS: So. Umm, like I was—

LISA: What about people?

MARCUS: I’m sorry?

LISA: How do you feel about people?

MARCUS: How do I feel about people?

LISA: Yes.

MARCUS: Which people, where?

LISA: All people, do you like people? In general.

MARCUS: Am I a people person, is that—

LISA: Yes, that’s it.

MARCUS: I would say yes, I like people. I’m pretty social, I like most people. Not all people, but—

LISA: Who don’t you like?

(Very brief pause.)

MARCUS: I don’t like Barbara Walters, no reason, really, she just annoys me, and this guy in accounting at work because he’s a snide bastard, but for the most part …

LISA: As for most people …

MARCUS: I like them, yeah. I like people.

LISA: Okay.

MARCUS: People like you.

LISA: Oh. Okay.

(Short pause.)

MARCUS: So …

LISA: I don’t think I like people.

MARCUS: You don’t?

LISA: I don’t. I don’t like people.

MARCUS: Most people?

LISA: Just about all people.

MARCUS: Almost all people, you don’t like?

LISA: Pretty much, yeah. Just about every person out there, I don’t like.

MARCUS: Oh. Well …

LISA: Can I ask you a question?

MARCUS: Sure you can ask me a question.

LISA: It’s kind of personal.

MARCUS: I can take a personal question.

LISA: Okay. (Very brief pause.) Have you ever felt like killing somebody, I mean REALLY felt like actually killing somebody?

MARCUS: Uh …

LISA: It doesn’t have to be anyone you know, it could be just Joe-Schmoe on the street, you know? You ever just see somebody and get the urge to hit them, you know, over the head with something hard and heavy?

MARCUS: Well …

LISA: Or have you ever been standing in line behind somebody at the grocery store, stuck behind a very loud person with nowhere to run and she’s complaining to the check-out person and she’s usually complaining about something completely beyond the power of the clerk to do anything about, say she’s mad because macaroni’s not on sale this week, it was on sale last week why can’t it be on sale this week too and you look at this person standing in line bitching about NOTHING and you just want to rip her arm off and beat her to death with it. Just hammer her over her head with her own arm, screaming over and over “SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP! IT’S JUST A COUPON SO SHUT UP!” That ever happen to you?

MARCUS: Actually …

LISA: And the way some people get off the bus or train, run into you and not have the common fucking decency to say “excuse me,” and sometimes they won’t even look at you, like they couldn’t be bothered, and it makes you just want to take out your apartment keys, go up to them and stab them right in the eyes!

MARCUS: As a matter of fact …

LISA: And especially people with cell phones, I am to the point now where anytime I see someone with a cell phone I want to take it away from them and make them EAT IT whole, it’s like you can’t go anywhere without having someone else’s boring fucking private conversation forced down your throat! I was standing in line at the movie theater and I was forced to listen to some asshole discuss the results of his proctology exam with his doctor! I wanted to take the phone away from him and shove it straight up his ass! I was even on a date last week, we were out at dinner and he took a call right in the middle of the appetizer that lasted halfway through our main course! And it wasn’t even anything important, he was setting up a squash match with one of his buddies! And I had to sit there and listen to him josh around with his pal, like I had nothing better to do! You know what I did, you wanna know what I did?

MARCUS: What?

LISA: I waited until we were finished eating, because it was a wonderful filet mignon and I didn’t want to waste it, excused myself, went to the ladies room, called him from there on his cell phone and screamed “HEY ASSHOLE! DON’T EVER CALL ME AGAIN YOU SELF-IMPORTANT CONDESCENDING PRICK WITH TOO MUCH MONEY AND NOT ENOUGH HAIR! ASSHOLE ASSHOLE ASSHOLE! And then I left.

(MARCUS reaches into his pocket with no small amount of stealth, takes out his cell phone and turns it off. Tucks it back in his pocket.)

LISA: I wanted to do more, I did, I wanted to really hurt him. But I had to settle for just screaming at him. People, people just drive me crazy sometimes, sometimes I want to crush them all, they’re so stupid.

MARCUS: Well. Wow.

LISA: I think I’m kind of angry. Do you think I’m kind of angry?

MARCUS: I think you might be a little angry.

LISA: You do?

MARCUS: Just a little bit, a little bit angry.

LISA: Don’t you ever get angry?

MARCUS: Sure I do.

LISA: When was the last time you got really angry?

MARCUS: Well. I’m not sure. Ah, I know. At work, every time I get on the elevator to go home, this guy, this guy from accounting I don’t like, he gets on usually right after me, from the floor below. And I’ve already pressed the button for the first floor, the button is lit up so you know it’s been pressed and we’re already going to the first floor but it never fails, it never fails, when he gets on the elevator, he presses the button for the first floor as well, even though it’s already lit, it’s like he doesn’t trust me, a guy from marketing, to push the right elevator button, and he always has to push it again himself, always. And I always, I always feel a little … peeved … when he does that.

LISA: Peeved?

MARCUS: Peeved.

(Very short pause.)

LISA: Haven’t you ever thought about just grabbing him by his tie, twisting it around his neck until he turned purple, then banging his head against the elevator doors, again and again and again until he learned his lesson, you ever thought about doing that?

MARCUS: I have thought about that, yes. Once or twice.

LISA: Don’t you just want to kill him? Don’t you just want to kill him and everybody like him? Just find all the assholes of the world and just kill kill kill?

(Short pause.)

MARCUS: Well Lisa, I’m going to be utterly honest with you. Much as I think that getting rid of the genius that invented car alarms, long-distance telephone commercial pitchmen and members of the Republican National party would be a step in the direction toward greater good, much as I believe that there are people, annoying people like Pat Robertson, Bill O’Reilly and Jenny McCarthy who well and truly deserve a fate such as the one you describe, no, I do not want to kill people. Not them or anyone. Not that I haven’t thought about it, not that I don’t get homicidal urges whenever someone calls me on my home phone and tries to sell me something I don’t need, I do. But I don’t act on it. I don’t and I won’t.

LISA: Why not?

MARCUS: Well, I guess it’s because … you know, I could sit here and bitch about the gym teacher I had in junior high, I could hunt down the sadistic prick and really make him pay for being such a mean, scheming asshole all throughout my puberty, I could do that, but ultimately … ultimately I think it’s better to forgive and let it go. Almost sounds kind of like some retro-sixties bullshit, I know, but it’s what I believe. Forgive them. Forgive all the petty assholes of the world, forgive the bullies, the plastic people, the fruitcakes, the pre-packaged teen boy bands, the telemarketers, the born-again Christians and the Scientologists. Forgive the bullies that have beaten you up. Forgive the psychotic ex-girlfriend who’s still obsessing and stalking you despite the fact it’s been five years and there’s a restraining order. Forgive the relatives that keep forgetting what it is you do for a living. Forgive the woman that refuses to wear a bra and yet gives you shit about looking at her chest. Forgive the men in charge everywhere that feel free to look you right in your face and lie their ass off. Forgive the slick guy in the suit who’s pretending he’s never bought a woman a drink before just so he can get into her pants. Forgive all the bullshit and let it go. Let all the anger and rage go. You have to do that in order to get to the good stuff. That’s what I believe, I believe … ultimately I believe in love. Not love in the Jesus-freak kind of way, but love in the sense of all the great things that can sometimes happen between people. I believe in love. And what I think is that you can either kill all the people in the world that deserve it, or you can love all the people that deserve it. But you can’t do both. You can only do one. And I choose love. That’s what I believe.

(Short pause. LISA finishes her drink. Looks away.)

LISA: Huh. Well.

MARCUS: Yeah. Yeah.

(LISA stands, prepares to leave.)

LISA: Thanks for the drink and for … everything.

MARCUS: No. Thank you.

LISA: Okay. Good-bye.

MARCUS: Good-bye.

(LISA walks away.)

MARCUS: Lisa?

LISA: Yes?

MARCUS: Take care of yourself, all right?

(She looks at him a full moment.)

LISA: I’ll try.

MARCUS: Okay. Good.

(LISA exits. MARCUS finishes his drink.)

THE END

Originally produced by THE DEFIANT ONES at Manhattan Theatre Source, featuring Ato Essandoh and Carrie Keranen, directed by the author, as part of the evening CLOSE ENCOUNTERS. Produced numerous times since, but that was the first.

If you like the piece, is is one of 44 royalty free plays in The Joshua James Project, please check it out and share with your friends.

Jean-Claude Van Damme Joins ‘Pound of Flesh’

January 18th, 2014

I’m pleased to announce the following… Jean-Claude Van Damme Joins ‘Pound of Flesh’… I’m so happy right now.

DIPLOMACY - A Sample From The Joshua James Project

January 7th, 2014

A short play sample from my collection The Joshua James Project

DIPLOMACY

CHARACTERS
MAN ONE: Career Diplomat in a suit.
MAN TWO: Career Diplomat in a suit.

SETTING
Outside the United Nations

Lights Up.

MAN ONE stands outside, smoking a cigarette to relieve his stress.

He is joined by MAN TWO.

They nod to each other politely. MAN TWO gestures for a light for his cigarette.

MAN ONE gladly gives him a light.

They both stand and stew for a moment.

ONE
Those bastards.

TWO
I know, I know.

ONE
Those backstabbing bastards.

TWO
I’m with you.

ONE
You can’t trust ‘em.

TWO
You said it.

ONE
They’re just not … trustworthy.

TWO
Not one bit.

ONE
It’s a cultural thing, I think, it’s just not genetically possible for them to be trusted, there’s just something …

TWO
Something somewhere, in their wiring, something in their …

ONE
DNA, it’s in their fucking DNA …

TWO
That’s right, in the DNA, something that’s programmed to be …

ONE
Untrustworthy.

TWO
Untrustworthy, Yeah. Yeah. I’m with you. Yeah.

ONE
Those bastards. After all we’ve done for them.

TWO
Those bastards.

ONE
And there’s no talking to them!

TWO
No communication!

ONE
You try and be reasonable, you state your case with logic and intellect and fucking … fucking …

TWO
Reasonableness!

ONE
Reasonableness! And what do they do? Drop their pants, turn around and immediately start talking out of their ass!

TWO
I know, I know. It’s shameful. Nothing but Ass-talk. It’s a Goddamn shame. It’s like they think every day is their birthday or something.

ONE
Those bastards.

TWO
Those fucking bastards.

ONE
Where would they be without us, anyway?

TWO
Nowhere, that’s where!

ONE
Between you and me …

TWO
Yeah?

ONE
Just between you and I. I sometimes think that the best thing to do in the name of world diplomacy …

TWO
Yeah, yeah?

ONE
Best thing to do, and I wouldn’t say this to anyone else on the council but you …

TWO
I hear you, same from me to you, big guy …

ONE
And this is just my opinion, but I sometimes think that the best thing to do with those people, would be to just simply drop a big fucking nuclear warhead right in the Goddamn center of them. I mean, I’m all about peace, I want the peace just as much as anyone, but sometimes, sometimes you just wanna go, okay, you’re going to be that way? BOOM! Take that you ungrateful fuckers, BANG! WHOOSH! All gone.

TWO
Between you and me …

ONE
Yeah?

TWO
I feel the exact same way.

ONE
I’m telling you …

TWO
That’s not our official policy, mind you …

ONE
Ours neither, of course.

TWO
Our OFFICIAL policy is to TRY and be diplomatic with the stubborn fuckers. TRY TO, anyway.

ONE
Same with us, same with us.

TWO
Because they bring SOME assets to the table.

ONE
A few, a few, that’s true, they do.

TWO
But there are days, I’m telling you, there are days …

ONE
I hear ya …

TWO
There are days when I dream of us, our people, doing just that same exact thing to those greedy fuckers. Just go, is that what you have to say? Okay! Bang! Whoosh! Boom!

ONE
BOOM!

TWO
Bang! All gone!

ONE
All gone! Those bastards.

TWO
Those fucking bastards.

ONE
All we’ve done for them and this is how they treat us?

TWO
It’s a disgrace, how’re they’re behaving, seriously. This is a problem, this is a big serious fucking problem.

ONE
You know what I think? Fuck those guys. You know? Just fuck ‘em!

TWO
Fuck ‘em! Fuck those assholes and their Ass-Talk, fuck ‘em!

ONE
Fuck those fucking bastards. Just what do they offer the world in terms of culture, anyway?

TWO
Shit. Not much.

ONE
Try nothing! Nothing! They make a few decent movies …

TWO
That they do, it’s true …

ONE
But we always remake them for ourselves anyway …

TWO
We do too!

ONE
Other than some cool movie ideas and an okay film festival, they do nothing!

TWO
Fucking nothing!

ONE
Their cuisine is pretty good, too. But other than their food and movies, there is NOTHING that they have to offer to the civilized world, nothing. Those bastards.

TWO
That’s right, those bastards. Wait a minute. You said food?

ONE
Sure, the food is good.

TWO
Are you serious? Their … cuisine?

ONE
Come on, admit it, their food is pretty good, they got good restaurants. I always eat like a pig when I’m over there.

TWO
Wait a minute, wait a minute. Who are we talking about again?

ONE
Who are we talking about? Who do you think we’re talking about?

TWO
Aren’t we talking about the Americans?

ONE
What? Are you fucking crazy? We’re talking about the Goddamn FRENCH, why would you think that we were …

(Short pause as they look at each other.)

TWO
You’re from America, aren’t you?

ONE
And you’re with the French team, aren’t you?

TWO
Mais Oui.

ONE
Well. At least we’re PRETTY MUCH on the same page, save one or two wrinkles.

TWO
Right, right. We should probably …

ONE
Get back to the table, get on with the diplomatic talks …

TWO
Got a lot of work to do …

ONE
You said it, you said it.

(The two men walk off in opposite directions.

They stop and glance each other.

They turn toward the audience.)

ONE
Bastards.

TWO
Bastards.

Blackout.


POSTSCRIPT & PRODUCTION NOTES

This piece was developed and presented through No Shame Theatre (which allows artists to present new, unfinished work, without staging or memorization, in front of audiences) during the white-hot days of protest in New York right before the Iraq War.

“Diplomacy” debuted February 21, 2003, featuring:

Adam Devine as Man One
Joshua James as Man Two

Performed at No Shame Goes To War (Los Angeles), on March 8, 2003. Directed by J.J. Hickey.

? as Man One
J.J. Hickey as Man Two

Performed at No Shame Goes To War (Charlottesville), on March 21, 2003, performed by Chris Patrick and Scott Silet.

Performed at No Shame Goes To War (Cedar Falls), on April 4, 2003, performed by Luke Pingel and Grant Tracey.

An early version of this script was subsequently presented through No Shame Goes To War, a non-profit protest against the war seen at theatre venues throughout the country.

DIPLOMACY received its professional world premiere in the summer of 2006 at The City Theatre in Miami, Florida, as part of their Summer Shorts Festival. James Randolph directed the production.

A personal note. I wrote this piece in one afternoon and performed it that very same night at No Shame (back when it had a New York City branch) with my buddy Adam Devine. Nothing more exciting than to get an idea and put it on stage right away.

It always cheeses me now to hear wealthy pundits proclaim on TV that “everyone thought Iraq had WMDs,” completely forgetting that we renamed french fries and french toast because the French weren’t buying it at the time (not just the French, of course, but the UN and hundreds of thousands of Americans were smart enough to see through it, which is why a half a million Americans marched in protest of the war before the invasion … just in NYC alone).

Like it? There are 44 royalty free plays in The Joshua James Project, please check it out and share with your friends.

The Joshua James Project: The Complete List of Plays

December 27th, 2013

As warned, I’m going to keep the topic of discussion about The Joshua James Project.

For those new to this, The Joshua James Project is a collection of 44 of my short plays that are now royalty free for independent and educational production.

Because I got an email or two asking about it, I’m posting the complete list, from my table of contents.

THE TEN MINUTE PLAYS

MY TOP FIVE

1 – All The Rage (1M, 1W)
2 – Burnmarks (1M, 1W)
3 – Ambivalent (2M, 2W)
4 – Something Situation (2W)
5 – Extreme Eugene (1M)

THE RAWNESS

1 – A Gay Thing (2M)
2 – Pretend It Is (1M, 1W)
3 – The Forgiven (1M, 1W)
4 – Three Times (1M, 1W)
5 – Bad News (1M, 1W)
6 – The Call (2W)
7 – Bigger and Better (2W)
8 – Little Details (2M)
9 – The Dance (1M, 1W)
10 – The Taste (1M, 1W)
11 – Whatever (2W)
12 – Broccoli (1M, 1W)
13 – The Big Question (1M, 1W)

SOLO, YO

1 – Pauline On The Plane (1W)
2 – Paul On The Plane (1M)
3 – Jerry In Jail (1W)
4 – Doctor (1M)
5 – Lanna (1W)
6 – Ryan and The Beaver (1M)
7 – Wally In The Waiting Room (1M)
8 – Happy Wendy (1W)
9 – The Futility (1M)

POLITICS, SATIRE AND SHIT LIKE THAT

1 – I Am America (4 actors of any sex)
2 – Diplomacy (2M)
3 – New Texas: Or Now That The War Is Over, Party On! Written with Joshua Peskay (4M)
4 – Afraid of The Dark (2W)
5 – All Fun And Games Until… (4M)
6 – Fast Learner (1M)
7 – F**k You! (3 actors of any sex)
8 – F**k You! The extended City Theatre version. (5 actors of any sex)

THE ONE ACT PLAYS

1 – The Beautiful One (3M)
2 – Best Shot (2W, 1M)
3 – Prudence (2W)
4 – Something Situation, extended one act version (3W)
5 – Like The Song (2M, 1W)
6 – Bodily Functions (2M)
7 – Quitting (2M)

LAST WORDS

1 – Love, Lust & Life (3M, 3W)

These plays cover the near entirety of my short play library (there are only six missing, which were already published in The THE Plays, bringing my total to fifty) and now the performance rights for these forty-four are essentially free for independent production.

So there you go, if you’re interested in doing one of these works, all you have to do is pick up a copy of The Joshua James Project at Amazon.

Please check them out and, if you don’t mind, spread the word.

Thanks all!

Giving Thanks - Actors & Directors

December 13th, 2013

So I just recently launched The Joshua James Project and I have to say, it was a surreal experience to look back over years and years of work…

For the record, I actually arrived in New York City, fresh from school, exactly twenty years ago this coming week. I drove a truck here and had only a few hundred dollars in my pocket.

Before I left Iowa, I began the short play A BOY, A GIRL AND A DOG but had no idea how to finish it. The ending, and the subsequent plays A MAN, A WOMAN AND A CAT and GRANDMA, GRANDPA AND THE CAR would come to me the following spring and be produced the fall afterward, directed by the great Nick Corley, and set me on a path that would continue up until this day.

And in those years, I’d be fortunate enough to meet a work with a whole bunch of great and wonderful people, actors, directors and producers and learn so much from each and every one… I named as many as I could in the book, and I’m going to list the names here, too…

Ato Essandoh
Carrie Keranen
Adam Rothenberg
Luisa Battista
Taylor Ruckel
Chuck Bunting
Lou Carbonneau
Jason Howard
Catherine Zambri Riggs
Mitchell Riggs
Carla Hayes
Holland Hamilton
R. Paul Hamilton
Anita Hollander
Sam Zavieh
Josh Casaubon
Tara Platt
Yuri Lowenthal
Maggie Bell
Adam Devine
David Title
Journey McFarlane
Michele Ammon
James McCauley
Courtney Jones
Kathy Rawlinson
Jeff Bender
Dennis McNitt
Debbie Jones
Abigail Lopez
Chuck McKinney
Jenn Shirley
Mahlon Stewart
Joshua Peskay
Fiona Jones
Liana (Riccardi) O’Connor
Anthony Wood
Melissa Picarello
Constance Boardman
Karina Miller
Heather Dilly
Cindy Keiter
Tina Polzin
Nick Corley
Clyde Kelly

My thanks to you all…

The Joshua James Project

Announcing THE JOSHUA JAMES PROJECT

December 10th, 2013

It is with great pleasure that I announce The Joshua James Project!

“New York playwright and screenwriter Joshua James (SPOOGE - The Sex & Love Monologues) has made forty-four of his popular short plays royalty-free for independent and amateur production in THE JOSHUA JAMES PROJECT. Included in this collection are the favorites ALL THE RAGE, A GAY THING, AMBIVALENT, SOMETHING SITUATION, THE BEAUTIFUL ONE and the Off-Broadway premiering EXTREME EUGENE, among many others.”

Joshua James’ work is bold, intelligent and subversive. Read it. Then find a way to make it happen on stage.” - Obie award-winning playwright Naomi Wallace.”

Please check it out, friends…

The Joshua James Project

Completely Zuckered

December 5th, 2013

I now have a Facebook Page Writer Joshua James which you can like and follow my adventures there, if you’re of that mind.

Ninth Anniversary of The Daily Dojo

November 28th, 2013

Today actually marks nine years since I started this blog.

Usually I go on and on about how blogs have changed (and they have) and so on and so forth… I’m not going to do that this year.

Instead I’ll note that when I began this blog, I worked part time in a vet’s office while supporting my theatre habit, had been married for just two years and change, and had no kids. And I had just stopped training Muay Thai, spent far too much time playing Xbox and was gaining weight fast.

Today, nine years later, I’m a professional writer, full time, with work in development. I’ve seen words I’ve written uttered onscreen (tho’ I wasn’t credited, heheh), I’ve been published and produced, untold number of scripts, pilots, plays, pitches, treatments, and novels written in that time since. I’ve learned more than I could have ever imagined about being a writer (and continue to learn every day), I have a disciplined approach to my craft, I’m back into martial arts again (Brazilian Jiujitsu, baby!) four years strong and, even better, I’m still married and the father of two very rambunctious boys.

I’m very aware now, more than I ever was when this began, of how precious time is. It’s been a wonderful nine years to share that with you, my precious few readers, and I am grateful and thank you for it. I hope the next nine are even better.

I wish you all a wonderful thanksgiving.

How To Appease The Distracted Creative Mind | Sessionville

November 26th, 2013

My latest column is up at Sessionville, it’s called How To Appease The Distracted Creative Mind | Sessionville… please check it out.