July 4, 2022

”NEW KID NEXT DOOR” by Arthur M. Jolly

”NEW KID NEXT DOOR” by Arthur M. Jolly

NEW KID NEXT DOOR: Two siblings are stuck with the weird, creepy - and ultimately maybe not even human - kid from next door, on July Fourth, when there are firecrackers to be stolen and played with. Let freedom ring!
Written by Arthur M. Jolly
Directed by Jonathan Cook
Performed by Luke Romagnoli, Sophie Cook, and Kelsie Johnson


NEW KID NEXT DOOR: Two siblings are stuck with the weird, creepy - and ultimately maybe not even human - kid from next door, on July Fourth, when there are firecrackers to be stolen and played with. Let freedom ring!

Written by Arthur M. Jolly

Directed by Jonathan Cook

Performed by:
Kelsie Johnson as KERRI
Sophie Cook as SIMONE
Luke Romagnoli as RAZIEL (the new kid next door)

Intro/Outro music: JK/47

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If you are associated with a theatre and would like to perform the stage version of this play, please contact playwright Arthur M. Jolly (http://www.arthurjolly.com)

If you have any comments or feedback, please send an email to gatherbytheghostlight@gmail.com

Playwright Bio: Arthur M. Jolly (he, him) is the writer of over 75 produced plays and screenplays, whose work focuses on strong, smart people who are usually their own worst enemy, or at least the worst enemy of those nearest to them. He writes across genres, frequently blending humor and tragedy.
Jolly was recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with a Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting, and the 2017 Hammond House International Literary Prize for a Screenplay. As a playwright, he is a three time winner of the Joining Sword and Pen competition, received a Todd McNerney National Playwriting Award, the Region IV David Mark Cohen Playwriting Award, and was a Woodward/Newman Drama Award finalist. In 2019, Jolly was invited to participate in the Alley at Ucross Residency sponsored by Houston's renowned Alley Theatre. Jolly is a proud member of the WGAw Caucus, The Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights, and the Dramatists Guild. He is represented by Brant Rose Agency.

Transcript

00:00 - Intro

01:05 - "NEW KID NEXT DOOR" by Arthur M. Jolly

SCRIPT: NEW KID NEXT DOOR

CHARACTERS

SIMONE...         Younger sibling.

KERRI...          Older sibling.

RAZIEL...         The new kid next door.

 

SETTING

The front lawn of a suburban house.

July 4th, this year.

MUSIC CUE: “BLOOD MERIDIAN”

SUBURBAN SOUNDSCAPE - BIRDS, MAYBE A LAWN MOWER FAR AWAY.

DISTANT, A STRING OF FIRECRACKERS EXPLODES.

FOOTSTEPS IN THE GRASS.

KERRI:            Whaddaya mean, you don’t celebrate the Fourth? Where are you even from?

RAZIEL:           Wheelock Mill. It’s in Maine.

SIMONE:           They don’t have Independence Day in Maine?

RAZIEL:           Other people do. We don’t.

SIMONE:           No cookouts, no nothing?

RAZIEL:           We never have.

SIMONE:           Not even fireworks?

RAZIEL:           I’ve never seen fireworks.

KERRI:            Okay - hold on. You’ve never seen fireworks?

RAZIEL:           No.

KERRI:            You’ve never seen fireworks?

RAZIEL:           No.

KERRI:            Not ever?

RAZIEL:           No.

KERRI:            (TO SIMONE) He says he’s never seen fireworks.

SIMONE:           I know. I’m here too.

KERRI:            (TO RAZIEL) Not even once?

SIMONE:           You’ve seen them on TV though, right?

RAZIEL:           We do not have a TV.

KERRI:            Woah! How do you - is that like a thing? How does that even - what do you watch?

SIMONE:           Are you like… Amish or something? Like a religious thing?

RAZIEL:           I don’t think so. My parents don’t seem very interested in those things. But I am happy that you invited us here. We never go where we aren’t invited.

KERRI:            Okay, well let’s get one thing straight - my parents asked over your parents. I don’t think they knew you existed. So, you’re just like… here.

SIMONE:           Don’t be mean.

KERRI:            He’s weird.

SIMONE:           (TO RAZIEL) I’m sorry. My sister can be a jerk.

KERRI:            Simmi - can I… can I talk to you a sec? Over here? Come on.

THEY MOVE A COUPLE OF STEPS.

                  (WHISPER) Okay. This kid’s weird.

SIMONE:           (WHISPER) Yeah.

KERRI:            (WHISPER) I dunno why Mom and Dad want us to play with him.

SIMONE:           (WHISPER) I don’t think they care. They just didn’t want us around while they drink.

KERRI:            (WHISPER) Happy Fourth of July.

RAZIEL:           (OFF) I would like to see a firework.

THEY MOVE BACK.

KERRI:            They’ll have’em tonight. Are you going down to the lake with everyone?

RAZIEL:           My parents never leave the house after dark.

KERRI:            Yeah - weird.

SIMONE:           Kerri!

KERRI:            He is! (TO RAZIEL) You are! Your parents are! You don’t have TV, you don’t play any video games, you don’t know any sports, you don’t celebrate anything… you don’t go out after - what do you even do every night?

RAZIEL:           We wait for morning.

KERRI:            You wait.

RAZIEL:           We are very good at waiting.

KERRI:            Oh brother.

SIMONE:           You never leave the house after dark?

RAZIEL:           My parents think it would not be safe.

KERRI:            Not safe? This is Cypress. This is like the most safe, most boring… nothing happens here.

RAZIEL:           That’s why we moved here. To be safe. To be quiet. Not seen. But not after dark. It would be… not safe. (BEAT) It’s never safe. It would be worse after dark.

SIMONE:           Well, if you were ever going to - I mean, tonight would be the night. Sneak out. Go see the fireworks with us at Towne Lake. It’s like, ten minutes walk along the bayou.

RAZIEL:           I heard a radio announcer describe a fireworks display once. That was a long time ago. Nineteen thirty-seven.

KERRI:            You heard a recording made in nineteen thirty-seven of someone describing fireworks? They played that on the radio. (BEAT) Well, that’s almost as good. So, you guys have a radio at your house.

RAZIEL:           No.

KERRI:            Ah!

RAZIEL:           But we used to.

KERRI:            Now you just wait. Sit around until it’s time to go to bed, waiting.

RAZIEL:           I like the summer. The nights don’t last as long. For the last three nights, we have heard the sound of fireworks in the distance.

SIMONE:           What about firecrackers? You ever blow stuff up in the daytime?

KERRI:            (POINTEDLY) No.

SIMONE:           What no?

KERRI:            I know what you’re thinking. We would get in so much trouble.

SIMONE:           He won’t miss’em. (TO RAZIEL) Dad got a bag of fireworks and a case of beer, and there’s only the four of them drinking - if your parents even drink.

RAZIEL:           They don’t.

KERRI:            Figured.

SIMONE:           So, by the time it gets dark, he probably won’t even remember he bought the fireworks at all. They’re in a paper bag on the back porch. Mostly fountains and roman candles, but there’s a Cracker Bomb in there - it’s like a bunch of really powerful firecrackers in a tube, and you can pull’em apart and set them off separately. Blow up all kinds of things. If you stick one in a soda can, it’ll rip it wide open.

KERRI:            How’re you gonna get the bag without him seeing?

SIMONE:           I dunno - they’re really quiet back there. Maybe they went inside to watch the stupid parade.

KERRI:            Show your parents what a TV is.

RAZIEL:           Maybe they’re dead.

AWKWARD BEAT

KERRI:            Okay.

ANOTHER AWKWARD BEAT.

SIMONE:           If you stick one under a rock, it’ll go like twenty feet in the air - but you gotta run when you light it, ‘cause you never know what direction the rock will go.

KERRI:            I heard there was one kid over at Woods High lost an eye doing that. Just went BAM - right into his face.

DOG BARKING IN DISTANCE.

RAZIEL:           What happens if you put a firecracker under an animal?

KERRI:            An animal? What kind of -

RAZIEL:           Any animal. Or feed one to a dog or something.

SIMONE:           That’s sick!

KERRI:            Why would anyone do that?

RAZIEL:           I was just wondering.

KERRI:            You’d… man, no. Stop. Just - just no.

RAZIEL:           All right. I would like to put a firecracker under a rock.

KERRI:            Why am I not surprised?

SIMONE:           How about a soda can? That’s just as fun, not quite as dangerous.

RAZIEL:           I would like to blow up a soda can.

KERRI:            That’d be cool.

SIMONE:           So Kerri - you gonna go get them?

KERRI:            It was your idea.

SIMONE:           You’re less likely to get in trouble.

KERRI:            You go, and I’ll keep watch for you.

SIMONE:           That’s just more suspicious. They’d know we were up to something.

KERRI:            Choose you for it.

RAZIEL:           (QUIETLY) I will go.

SIMONE:           Odds or evens?

RAZIEL:           I will go.

SIMONE:           Wait. Really?

RAZIEL:           Yes.

SIMONE:           Okay. It’s on the back porch, right by the door. Sneak around the side of the house. Wait ‘til they’re not looking, grab the tube inside the paper bag – it says “Cracker Bomb” right on it. Stick it under your shirt, come on back.

RAZIEL:           I will.

FOOTSTEPS LEAVING.

MUSIC CUE: “BLOOD MERIDIAN”.

KERRI:            Okay - doesn’t that kid creep you out?

SIMONE:           I feel kinda sorry for him. Like, no TV, no fireworks - no fun, ever. That’s gotta be some weird religious thing.

KERRI:            What if he’s like Chris?

SIMONE:           Cousin Chris?

KERRI:            Would you trust Chris to set off firecrackers?

SIMONE:           Yeah. I would.

KERRI:            Really.

SIMONE:           He’s not stupid - he just… if you explain to him how to do it step by step, he’ll do it.

KERRI:            This kid isn’t like Chris, though - he’s not… he’s just different.

SIMONE:           I think it’s like a cult thing. I bet his whole family was probably in a weird cult, and they finally break out and leave and move here, and he’s here with them and he’s free for the first time, and he should get to try blowing up a soda can with a firecracker. It’s the fourth, doofus. Independence day. You gotta celebrate freedom.

FOOTSTEPS APPROACH.

RAZIEL:           I’m back.

BAG OF FIREWORKS CRINKLES.

KERRI:            You brought the whole bag? They’re gonna know!

RAZIEL:           It’s okay.

SIMONE:           What is that all over it? Is that ketchup?

RAZIEL:           It’s blood.

SIMONE:           What… wait - why is there blood on the bag?

RAZIEL:           Because there is blood everywhere. Your parents are dead, and my parents are eating them.

FX: SWELL INTO AN EERIE STINGER.

Now all we need is a soda can.

END.

09:11 - Interview with playwright Arthur M. Jolly

Jonathan CookProfile Photo

Jonathan Cook

Playwright / Voice Actor / Host

Jonathan Cook is heavily involved in the fine arts as an actor, writer, and filmmaker based in South Carolina. Many of his short plays have been produced in theatres around the World and and he is a six-time recipient of the Porter Fleming Literary Award in the playwriting category. Aside from playwriting, he has also written and directed several short films that have been presented in regional film festivals as well as distributed internationally on ShortsTV. He is also the host and producer of the radio theater podcast GATHER BY THE GHOST LIGHT. Launched in 2020, GATHER BY THE GHOST LIGHT is a collection of stage plays adapted to an audio only format performed by voice actors and edited with appropriate sound effects and music.

Arthur M. JollyProfile Photo

Arthur M. Jolly

Playwright

Arthur M. Jolly (he, him) is the writer of over 75 produced plays and screenplays, whose work focuses on strong, smart people who are usually their own worst enemy, or at least the worst enemy of those nearest to them. He writes across genres, frequently blending humor and tragedy.
Jolly was recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with a Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting, and the 2017 Hammond House International Literary Prize for a Screenplay. As a playwright, he is a three time winner of the Joining Sword and Pen competition, received a Todd McNerney National Playwriting Award, the Region IV David Mark Cohen Playwriting Award, and was a Woodward/Newman Drama Award finalist. In 2019, Jolly was invited to participate in the Alley at Ucross Residency sponsored by Houston's renowned Alley Theatre. Jolly is a proud member of the WGAw Caucus, The Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights, and the Dramatists Guild. He is represented by Brant Rose Agency.

Luke RomagnoliProfile Photo

Luke Romagnoli

Voice Actor

Kelsie JohnsonProfile Photo

Kelsie Johnson

Voice Actor

Sophie CookProfile Photo

Sophie Cook

Voice Actor

Artist extraordinaire and lover of all things cats related.

JK/47Profile Photo

JK/47

Composer

Composer based in Austin, TX.