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“Nowhere Zen New Jersey”

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Lauinger, Joe (American playwright, college professor, 1947-____), “Nowhere Zen New Jersey,”

a 15-minute comedy in English, set in a car on the New Jersey Turnpike, New Jersey, U.S..A., daytime, 2000,


  •  © 2000 by Joe Lauinger; in Joe Lauinger’s Nowhere Zen New Jersey (Ossining, New York 10562, U.S.A.: The Author, 2000);  •  scripts/rights available from Joe Lauinger, 34 Hudson Street, Ossining, New York 10562, U.S.A., telephone (home) 914-762-0839, (work) 914-395-2264, fax 914-762-0839, e-mail jlauin@mail.slc.edu.  •  Cited by Joe Lauinger via ftp, August 14, 2002; Lauinger says,

  §  Dramatis Personae Buster (m), 25, in the passenger seat, hungry and lazy; Missy (f), 25, driver of the car, a no-nonsense type.

  §  Synopsis “Missy and Buster, a young couple from New England, are driving south on the New Jersey Turnpike. They are hungry, bored, and they hate New Jersey! Or is it just the turnpike they hate? Is the turnpike really all New Jersey is? Their memories of shared experiences in New Jersey diverge strangely and frighteningly. They agree to get out of the state as soon as possible, but Missy has to pee. They stop at a rest station, and mysterious karmic forces conspire so they can’t get out of the car! They try to exit the turnpike and find themselves routed back onto it! They can’t escape New Jersey! What are they going to do?

  §  Comment “Simple set: two chairs to represent front seat of a car.”  •  Lauinger contributed to the The Gallery Players' Black Box Series, Box 2, June 7-10, 2001, “three one-act plays from a collection of six called ‘States of the Union.’ In each play a different man and woman meet in a different state. . . . Lauinger took the title of ‘Nowhere Zen New Jersey’ from Allen Ginsberg's ‘Howl,’ and indeed the play is something of an existential cry, recounting the experiences of a couple who first can't get off the New Jersey Turnpike, then can't get out of their car. ‘It's a comedy about how New Jersey is a commuter land and a place of no real destination,’ Lauinger explains.”—GO Brooklyn, http://www.go-brooklyn.com/html/issues/24_22/blackbox.html, accessed August 15, 2002. The other two of the three are ‘Oregon Mist” and “You Really Ought to Give Iowa a Try.’  •  Joe Lauinger’s Curriculum Vitae: B.A. University of Pennsylvania (summa cum laude), M.A. Oxford University, M.A. Princeton University, Ph.D. Princeton University.

  §  Themes “entrapment, road trip, surreal situation.”

See also _’s

  • The Box,” a 10-minute comedy-drama in English, set in a confessional box, 6:00 p.m., Saturday evening, 1995, 1m1f
  • Bury Him,” a 15-minute drama in English, set at a table in a restaurant, evening, 2002, 1m1f
  • The Chamberpot,” a 20-minute comedy in English, set in a junk shop, lunchtime, 1996, 2m1f
  • Close Enough for Jazz,” a 20-minute comedy-drama in English, set in a single woman’s bed, after midnight, 1995, 1m1f
  • Flight,” a comedy in English, set in a jetliner, afternoon flight, 1996, 2m1f
  • The God Who Made New Hampshire,” a 20-minute drama in English, set in a cabin in New Hampshire, 6:00 p.m., a snowy wintry evening, 2000, 1m1f
  • The Green Angel,” a 15-minute comedy-mystery in English, set at the circulation desk of a college library, night, 2002, 1m1f
  • The Green Cheese Mystery,” a 30-minute comedy in English, set in a kitchen in a beach house, 1:00 a.m., Saturday morning, 1999, 1m1f
  • Half in Love,” a comedy-drama in English, set in a cemetery, lunchtime, a sunny day, 1995, 1m1f
  • High-Risk Giving,” a 20-minute comedy-drama in English, set at a blood bank, almost 5:00 p.m. closing time, 1995, 1m1f
  • Ill Met by Moonlight,” a 20-minute comedy in English, set in a research laboratory for nocturnal animals, 3:00 a.m., 1999, 1m1f
  • In the California Home for the Criminally Beautiful,” an 18-minute comedy in English, set in the reception office for the California Home, morning, on a work-day, 2000, 1m1f
  • Mushroom Pie,” a 15-minute comedy in English, set in the kitchen of a townhouse, dinnertime, 2002,1m1f
  • Oh Moonflower!” a 15-minute comedy in English, set in a flowershop, noon, 1999, 1m1f
  • Oregon Mist,” a 20-minute comedy in English, set at the end of Oregon Trail, near Oregon City, Oregon, U.S.A., late afternoon in the misty rain, 2000, 1m1f
  • Prepost'rously Befallen or Ass-Backwards in Washington Square,” a 10-minute comedy in English, set in Washington Square Park, New York City, 2001, 1m1f
  • Red Weather,” a 15-minute comedy in English, set in an Indian jungle, day, 2002, 1m1f
  • Sometimes a Wind in the Georgia Dusk,” a 15-minute comedy in English, set in a public park in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A., a beautiful summer evening, 2000, 1m1f
  • Victims,” a 15-minute comedy in English, set in the green room of a TV studio, afternoon, 2002, 1m1f
  • Waiting for Wood,” a 20-minute comedy-drama in English, set in the green room of a porn movie theatre, 4:00 p.m., 1996, 2m1f
  • Wax and Wane,” a 15-minute comedy in English, set on the moon, lunch break, 1999, 1m1f
  • What A Moon!” a 10-minute comedy in English, set on a blanket in a park, midnight, summer, 1999, 1m1f
  • Woo at the Zoo,” a 20-minute comedy in English, set at a bench at the zoo in front of the monkey house, tea time, 1996, 2m1f
  • You Really Ought To Give Iowa a Try,” a 15-minute comedy in English, set in a bank in central Iowa, U.S.A., middle of a work-day, 2000, 1m1f
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