Author Topic: High School Love Letters  (Read 3016 times)

Offline matsamu

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High School Love Letters
« on: May 05, 2009, 07:23:54 PM »
Sorry i haven't posted in awhile. Being a senior in highschool doesn't leave much time for recreational writing...however, i have written some stuff for classes that i really enjoyed.

This is a play we had to write for my Drama, Screenwriting and Performance Poetry class. (mouthful of a name). Anyway, it is a one person play, seen from the perspective of a "damager" in a damaging relationship, and you see the course of their relationship throughout their letters to each other. Anything in quotations is the writings, anything outside is Ben's talking/reactions to it. Oh...and pay attention to the dates. They are important...shows times and distances between letters to each other.

HIGH SCHOOL LOVE LETTERS

(Fairly empty stage. Desk on SR with paper and writing utensils and a desktop computer. There should be several places around the stage, various tables, bags, etc. where one could hide letters for BEN to pick up. BEN enters with a backpack, sits at the desk and begins to rifle through it. He finds a note, is confused, and begins to read it out loud.)

BEN
“March 12th. Dear Ben. You know me, but I’m not goin to tell you who I am. I don’t want to get shot down right away. I just thought you should know that I like you. A lot. I’ve had a crush on you for, like, a really long time. So, there is someone who likes you. You told me in class that you could never get a date, but here I am if you’re interested. Whether you are or not, leave a note in locker 604 before school ends tomorrow. Sincerely, your secret admirer.”
(BEN pauses and thinks, then begins to pace.)

Oh dear god. Who have I talked to? Uh…oh shit, I hope it’s not Jennifer. God she’s creepy. Umm…ok. Wait. Um.
                  
                  (Sits at desk again, begins to write.)

“March 13th. Dear…you. It’s hard…to know if I’m interested or not. I don’t know you, or if I do, I don’t know which “you” I’m talking to. Let me know? We’ll take it from there…I guess. From, Ben.”

(Stands, walks a bit, finds a note on a random stack, begins to read in girl’s character.)

“March 13th. Dear Ben. Ok you’re right. That was kinda stupid, not telling you who I am. It’s Amber. Umm…I hope you ARE interested, cuz like I said before, I really like you and…well even if you don’t like me, I hope we can be friends and all that. Amber, you’re not so secret admirer.”

(Refolds letter, smiling. He is clearly happy about the prospect of Amber.)

Amber? Damn. I remember talking to her, but…she likes me? Me? Oh…What do I say to her? Ok, Ben, play it cool.

                  (Sits at desk again.)

“March 14th. Amber. Wow. I didn’t expect this, but this is great! I really like talking to you  and hanging out with you. Well…do you want to…um. Go to a movie sometime?” Ok, that’s good, movie. “You can just answer me, you don’t need to send another note. Ben”

                  (Folds, finds a new letter. Back to AMBER.)

“March 18th. Ben. Oh my god. That was soooo fun. I’m surprised we didn’t get, like, kicked out of there or something for all the noise we made. And thanks for buying everything. God, you couldn’t even let me pay for the drinks? Lol. Oh, and thanks too, for being the arm I could latch onto for the scary parts. I bet that got annoying…sorry. I really hope we can do something like that again. Amber.”
Oh thank god. She had fun. Ok, benny boy, you’re doing good. Now…now it’s time to make it official.
                  (Desk.)

“March 18th. Amber, Hey don’t worry about it. My arm doesn’t mind pretty girls holding it.” Oh, yeah, that’s good. Nice and smooth. “In fact, the rest of me was jealous of my arm. And since I asked you out, I had to pay. It’s guy ethics. Umm. By the way. I was on Facebook, the other day and I noticed it says I’m single. Should I change that to “In a Relationship?” Please say yes. Ben.”
                  
                  (Folds, stands, finds AMBER’s note.)

“March 19th. Ben, of course yes. It’s not official until it’s Facebook official! It’s soooo cool, cuz now I can get my mom off my back and tell her I have a real boyfriend. Ooh, that came out different than I wanted it to. Lol. You can’t see it right now, but I’m jumping for joy! Happily, Amber.”

(Refolds, sits at computer and begins to type as each “action” is completed.)

Facebook.com. signing in, account settings, personal info, relationship status: In a Relationship with Amber Lapine. Score!

                  (Finds new note in his backpack.)

“April 3rd. Ben. I can’t stop thinking about last night. I don’t want to put any pressure on you, but that WAS my first kiss, and it couldn’t have been more perfect. The stars, the parking lot, your car. Everything was magical. Thank you. Hoping for more, Amber.”

First? Whoa. Well, that takes a load off my chest.

                  (Takes out paper.)

“April 4th. Amber. It WAS perfect, for me too, and I’m glad I was your first kiss. It makes me feel so good that you kept yourself pure for me, that you would wait like that. So I wrote you this poem, just on a whim.
This can’t be real
Must be a dream
So I wave a white flag
Surrender to the illusion
Of Perfection
As you surrender
To me.
It’s not great, and it’s not long, but it’s the first thing that came to mind, and it really explains how I feel.”
(Waits for a second, as if unsure, then resolves to write.)

“Love, Ben.”

                  (Finds new note in one of the stacks.)

“April 25th. Benny. Thank you sooooo much for your poem. I couldn’t fit it on my corkboard with all the rest, but don’t worry…I’ll find a place for it. These past months have been really beautiful for me, and I never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, want us to end. Love, Amber.”
                  
(Ben swoons a little, hugging the note, refolding it very carefully then placing it into a drawer softly, so as not to soil it. Starts to write a note.)

“April 26th. Amber, my sweet. Never fear. I don’t see our love coming to an end. I noticed something on the calendar, and I wanted to ask you. What color is your prom dress? I assume we ARE going to prom together? I want my tux to match. Love, Ben.”

(Signs it, folds it nicely, then walks to the other side of the stage and begins to seethe suddenly. He opens a note from his pocket as if reading it again.)

“May 12th. Dear Ben.” Yeah…dear. “I’m sorry. Let me explain”…explain what? “We were dancing and we got separated. I didn’t notice”…yeah right, you didn’t notice, you were looking for an excuse all night. “I didn’t notice and I kept dancing. There was nothing to it. I didn’t mean to dance with him, he just happened to be around us before we got separated.” Yeah, bullshit. I saw you staring at him. Ok, Ben. Calm down. What do I say to her…um…ok.

                  (Grabs paper and begins to hurriedly write.)

“May 13th. Amber. It’s ok. I’m not mad. I just want you to know what it feels like to realize that your girl isn’t there any more and when you find her, she’s grinding on some other guys. It’s not good for me to look like some kind of dumbass, watching his girlfriend get it on with another guy. It doesn’t look good for me. Do you understand? Ok. It might have been an accident, and I’ll let it go this time, but seriously Amber, be more careful. Ben.” Ok. That was good. Straight, to the point. I think she got it.

                  (Finds a letter around.)

“May 23rd. Dear Ben. What’s going on lately? I didn’t want to say anything, because I thought that if I waited, you would just tell me, but you haven’t said anything yet. Are you, like, angry with me? When we’re alone, you’re all distant and weird, like you don’t want to be there, but when we’re in a group of other people, you won’t let me talk to my friends. Please tell me if something’s wrong. I love you. Amber.”

                  (Angry/Cynical/Sarcastic.)

Right. I’m being distant? I have to be to make up for all the time you spend flirting with every guy that comes your way. And I won’t let you talk to your friends? God damn it, I gotta fight to talk to you at all.

                  (Pulls out paper.)

“May 23rd. Amber. If I’m making you angry, just think about how I feel. I try to be nice and talk to you and be, I don’t know, your boyfriend in public, and all you want to do is talk to every guy that walks into the room. Then you can understand why I don’t want to talk or even look at you when we’re alone. I just don’t want people talking around and saying that MY girlfriend is one of THOSE girls. Keep that in mind next time you want to just say “hi” to those guys at those parties. Ben.”

                     (Finds new note.)

“May 24th. Ben. What the hell do you mean by one of THOSE girls? Are you saying I’m some kind of slut? I’ve never even thought about cheating on you, why would I? If it really bothers you that much, just tell me, don’t just sit there and let your friends call me a whore, not just to you, but also to my face. Amber.”

(Genuine confusion as he thinks about the note.)

Whoa, where did all that come from? I was trying to be nice and protect our image as a couple and she thinks I’m calling her a whore? Ooh, that’s good, I should say that.

                     (Writes note.)

“May 24th. Amber, I was trying to be nice and protect our image as a couple and you think I’m calling you a whore? Yeah, my friends say that, but it’s what they see. If you want them to stop saying those things, you should take their comments to heart, and change yourself a bit. Ben.”

                  (Reads new letter.)

“June 2nd. Ben. What the hell? Why did you yell at me in front of all those people?” She doesn’t know? “It wasn’t just my friends at the bowling alley, it was everyone else there that saw you do it too.” Yeah, everyone else saw what you were doing too. “Why can’t you just handle the fact that I have other people to hang out with other than you? You have friends, I have friends. Once you learn that, we’ll be fine. Amber.”

                  (Enraged as he writes the note.)

June 3rd. Amber. You know what? You’ve just been looking for an excuse to go screw that kid, Jered, for weeks. Ever since prom, you’ve been eyeing him up and down every chance you got. And don’t give me that bullshit about it not meaning anything, you were there with 3 girls and 10 other guys. You think I don’t know what was going on? You want to know why I yelled? You need to get it through your head that you are MINE. And everyone there needed to get it through theirs, too. Just remember that Amber, You are MINE. Ben”

                  (Hears his cell phone ring with a text.)

God, what the hell does she want now. “Ben. I think we should break up. You and I are obviously not a good match if you don’t trust me enough to hang out with my friends. I’m sorry I had to do it this way, but I can’t look at you right now. Amber.”

                  (Distraught.)

Wait…what? What the hell? Oh my god! Why would she break up with me?

                  (Hurries to desk for paper.)

“June 6th. Dear Amber. I’m sorry. I don’t know what I did wrong, but you’re right. I didn’t trust you enough, and I’m sorry for that. It’s just that our relationship was so perfect, I didn’t want anything to ruin it. Please come back to me, I love you. Ben.”

                  (Hurriedly drags a note from his pocket.)

“June 15th. Dear Ben. I’m sorry again, but I took you back because I thought you could change. But obviously you can’t. For the first few days, it was like we were just going out again, just you and me. But then I talked to a guy and you dragged me bodily away from him? That’s what I meant by no trust. I can’t be with you. It’s over. Amber.”

                  (Denial as he write 2 new notes.)

“June 16th. No. We aren’t. what about all those plans with going to Friday night movies and the dinner dates. We can’t break up now, we can’t. It’s not over. I love you, you love me. Ben.”

“June 18th. So, are we on for tomorrow night? We should be, I haven’t heard anything different. You haven’t spoken to me in 2 days…is something wrong? Please respond. Love, Ben.”

                  (Reads another note.)

“June 19th. Ben. Stop sending me notes. I’m with Jered now, and I know what you’re going to say and what you’re going to believe, but I started dating him after we broke up. It’s over between us, and I’m with someone else. Amber.”

(BEN cries and sobs and just cries no for a while before gathering himself together and writing again.)

“June 25th. Amber. I wrote you another poem you love so much.
A rose as black as midnight
Intentions as dark as it’s hue
Stings with a  kiss
The opposite of bliss
Almost as beautiful as you.
You like these kinds of poems right? Right? Love, ben.”

I don’t know what went wrong. I don’t know, I don’t know. I loved her and I thought she loved me.
(He stumbles offstage crying. A few seconds later he comes back, perfectly composed. Some time has passed, as you’ll see in a second. He goes to his computer and sits to check his facebook/email.)

“July 4th. Happy Independence day! Hi, it’s Morgan, just checking to see how you’re doing. I know you just went through a really bad breakup, but if there’s anything I can do to help, let me know. Morgan.”

                  (BEN smiles and begins to type.)

“July 4th. Dear Morgan. Hey, I’m glad you emailed me. Listen, I was wondering if you might want to grab a bite to eat sometime…”
                  (Stage goes dark. End.)


Hope you liked it more than my last writing...which was...crap. anyway...

~Matsamu
*pop* That was my head. It just got blown.

Offline Nancy Newsom

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Re: High School Love Letters
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2009, 08:13:37 PM »
Ah, painful stuff. Teen angst is something we never forget, so you should consider that you are writing for an infinite American audience.

As far as the stage arrangement goes, I would suggest that the different spots actually look like different, and not random, spots. His room. A classroom. so on and on.

Perhaps if the lights faded between each date, the passage of time would be clearer. As it stands, it seems as if Ben is just finding all of these notes at one time.

You've grabbed the essence, girl. Good job!!

Offline Flmngo

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Re: High School Love Letters
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2009, 09:25:20 PM »
I really like this. This has a very theatrical feel to it. Especially if you use lighting - a different spot on the stage for each note - to enhance the time passages. You might also think about subtle costume changes for Ben as he moves from spotlight to spotlight to support the transition in his character. How can you show what is happening to him internally to the audience?

One small thing, however. In two of the notes, Amber writes, "lol." Have you thought of how that sounds when someone says it aloud? If Ben is reading the notes aloud, is he saying, "l-o-l" or is he saying, "laughs out loud?"

Also, the Facebook entry would be handled quite nicely with some media images on stage. If you could add a projector so that what Ben is writing on the computer shows to the audience via a screen. You could even show a mock-up Facebook page. In that way, again, Ben is not faced with speaking those lines. You might also think about have the dates flash on a screen or backdrop for each note and leave those out of the character lines. The image stays in the audience view while Ben reads each note. Just a thought.
"There is little grace in a life that never extends beyond the boundaries of self."

Offline matsamu

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Re: High School Love Letters
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2009, 11:03:58 AM »
Great media suggestions. I've not seen or been in any shows that use that sort of connection between media and stage, but i have heard they go off really well. I heard of a Godspell show with tv screens all over the stage, it sounded pretty epic.

I will look at this piece over the summer though. My teacher said he liked it but to try to put another person into it...not sure who...but then he said something about "not keeping the happy ending..." not sure if he actually listened to me reading the piece...but the class chewed him out on it...

he was sick that week anyway.

he says l-o-l. by the way.


umm...kinda awkward...but nancy? I'm...a guy...sorry if i confused you by my writing style or my picture. We're still friends though.

~Mats
*pop* That was my head. It just got blown.