EPISODE 20: FINDING NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, A Play In Process | Donna Hoke

Is it just me or do these weeks go by insanely fast? So fast you almost feel like you’re reading this in one sitting? I really intended to go through and work on the opening monologue jokes but got caught up with two little commission deadlines and moving my daughter and just a ton of other stuff so these four pages were the best I could do. In March, I thought COVID would replace every other anxiety in life, and here I am now worrying about deadlines again.

Anyway, when I’m working on a play, the slide into home plate is the easiest, and most fun, part. I never have those instances where my brain just hurts, or where somebody walks into my office and catches me just staring out the window. I know where I’m going, I kind of know how I’m getting there, and I can just put one foot in front of the other and see how it goes because the heavy lifting of first drafting is over. I still have that end-of-play checklist to worry about an I want to get to it before I’m done with this, so that I have illustrated my complete process.

But right now, there isn’t much left to do or think about except getting to the end and trying to have fun doing it. So let’s get going and join FINDING NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, already in progress:

SCENE 13 Once I saw Pete and this woman at a McDonald’s counter when I was with Lily getting McNuggets and fries after school. I could see them through the drive-through window. He was probably ordering a Big Mac and a chocolate shake-that’s what he always ordered-and the woman said something to him. He turned to her and laughed. I actually could hear it from the drive-through. Then he kissed her and paid for Big Mac and shake. When I checked our order, I said, “Well, I ordered large fries but it looks like there’s a bunch of small ones in here.”

And Lily laughed. SCENE 14
KATIE and CHA-CHA are pacing the street as before. KATIE is still trying to take the perfect picture with her phone. KATIE: I almost hope we don’t find him. CHA-CHA: Are you fucking kidding me? KATIE: I’ve gotten attached to his remains. CHA-CHA: What’s left of them. There’s a trail of lost Tonio across the state. KATIE: Maybe that’s the point. CHA-CHA: Don’t get deep. I’m still trying to process your passion speech. KATIE: I kind of want to save some. CHA-CHA: So fling half. KATIE: Never do anything halfway. CHA-CHA: I thought we established that some half-finished things are perfect. KATIE: Take a selfie with me. CHA-CHA: Why? KATIE: Because I NYC You. Bright, bright passion purple. CHA-CHA smiles. KATIE: Cha-Cha and Katie are doing New York City and we haven’t even documented it. CHA-CHA: Staking out the same block for four days is doing time, not New York City. KATIE: Come on. Reluctantly, CHA-CHA poses for a selfie. KATIE holds up the phone to take it, stops dead. KATIE: He’s behind us. CHA-CHA looks into the phone. CHA-CHA: Where? KATIE points. KATIE: There. CHA-CHA: Are you sure this time? KATIE: Yes, he’s not even wearing a hat. CHA-CHA peers closer into the phone. ANTOINE enters. CHA-CHA: I can’t tell. Is that David? KATIE: I don’t know but that’s definitely NPH. I think. ANTOINE: You could just turn around and look. KATIE: Who are you? ANTOINE: Antoine. CHA-CHA: You look- KATIE: No time, no time! ANTOINE: He’s walking away. CHA-CHA: But he- KATIE: Get the bag! CHA-CHA: You have the bag! KATIE: Right! KATIE digs in her purse and comes out with-an empty plastic bag. Well, not totally empty; there’s a pickle. CHA-CHA: Did you take the rest? KATIE: No! CHA-CHA: Where are they? KATIE: I don’t know! CHA-CHA: What are we going to do? KATIE: It’s a real pickle. CHA-CHA: This is no time for humor! KATIE: Was that funny? 44th and 9th, New York City.
KATIE:
[opening joke that connects]
I was watching Survivor and this one poor castaway was on the outs. You knew she was because they showed her looking all sad and then cut to all the other people on her tribe yukking it up on the beach. That’s how it works on TV: sad person alone, cut to other people laughing. Other people connecting.
Pete told me women can’t be funny. I said what about Ellen and he said she doesn’t count. He likes Jeff Dunham but I kind of like Taylor Tomlinson. That’s a woman. I don’t only like women. I like John Mulaney, too. Humor is personal. Making someone laugh is personal.

Thank you for being here! I think we’ve only got two weeks to go!

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Originally published at http://blog.donnahoke.com.

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Award-winning playwright, Dramatists Guild Council, founding co-curator BUA Takes 10: LGBT Short Stories, xword puzzle maker, author, blogger, word slayer!

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Donna Hoke

Donna Hoke

Award-winning playwright, Dramatists Guild Council, founding co-curator BUA Takes 10: LGBT Short Stories, xword puzzle maker, author, blogger, word slayer!

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