The people have spoken... The January People's Choice Award goes to Aimee Suzara for her short play, The Bedtime Story, presented as a staged reading at the Monday Night PlayGround S.T.E.M. Night on January 16 at Berkeley Rep. Congratulations, Aimee!
Courtesy of Ms. Suzara, we're pleased to share the first two pages from the award-winning script. Enjoy!
THE BEDTIME STORY
by Aimee Suzara
GIRL – female – mixed-race black and Filipina or passably so – any age playing a smart 8-year-old, revealed to be named Michelle at the end.
FATHER – male – African-American, late 20-s-late 30s, girl’s father, is revealed to be the slightly older version of Malcolm, another character.
MARIA – female, Filipino-American, 20s, community organizer and muralist
MALCOLM – male, African-American, 20s, is FATHER but 8 years ago, bohemian slightly-afro-centric artist
SANDEEP – queer male, Indian, Muslim, 20s or 30s, a chef and restaurant owner, very pensive guy, tends towards melancholy
JULIO – queer male, Mexican, 20s or 30s, a business owner in tech, an optimist, loves music and dancing
JEN – woman of color, Filipina, East or other Asian, Latina, African American, 20s
VOICE – general male or female computer-ish voice like Siri
Oakland, California, 2025. In a bedroom in a family’s home and outside, in public spaces; also in another home around the dinner table.
(Lights up on a Girl and Father in Girl’s bedroom. She’s being tucked in.)
Tell me the story again, about how things came to be?
You mean the story about…
GIRL and FATHER (with gusto and giggles)
The Love Virus!
I can’t believe you don’t get tired of this story.
I want to hear about how Michelle became president too.
One thing at a time now. So, once upon a time…a bit before you were born…
(Sound of a harp as the stage lights up with people entering a public space. Five people, MALCOLM, MARIA, JULIO, JEN and SANDEEP get on stage, roaming with their smart phones, heads down, nearly bumping into one another and clearly irritated and distracted with no awareness of their feet.)
It was a regular day in Oakland, California in 2017, just at the start of the Trump presidency. Everyone was walking around the City Center doing what they normally do….
…Looking at their stupid-phones!
Well, at that time we called them smart-phones, but you’re right. Everyone was taking their lunch breaks…
(Maria, Malcolm, Sandeep, Julio and Jen wander, nearly running into each other, irritated. Sandeep is carrying several grocery bags. After some wandering, Maria and Malcolm become back-to-back. Sandeep and Julio are nearly back-to-back; Jen is in the center. All of them freeze all at once, jabbing at their phones and trying to turn their phones back on.)
Hey! What happened to my phone!
(turning to Maria) Did yours freeze too? Wait, there’s a message…
Mine too. It says…
MALCOLM and MARIA
“You’ve just been hit with…the LOVE virus! Your phone no longer works. Look in the eyes of the person beside you. Good bye!” Huh?
(Malcolm and Maria turn to each other and look into each other’s eyes. They look fondly, and shake hands, and keep mouthing words as if conversing, shyly.)
And that’s how…
…wait, wait, we’re not quite there yet! You do want to hear the whole story again, right?
Yes! Okay, tell me about Julio and Sandeep Daddy!
Well, Sandeep had been very sad and lonely, especially depressed because his family was Muslim and the Trump election had been bad for them, and they had gotten bullied by a lot of mean people. Julio was a very nice man who always thought about other’s feelings. Even though he was an undocumented immigrant from Mexico he was still very optimistic about things getting better, and when the Love Virus hit at that moment…
(As he keeps trying to make his phone work, shaking it and pressing buttons, Sandeep’s bags fall and the groceries scatter. Julio leans down to help him…)
Join us for the next Monday Night PlayGround on Monday, February 20, at Berkeley Rep and choose your own favorite. Click here for more info.