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“Interpretations”


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Barry


Putt, Barry M., Jr. (English/Italian playwright, 1969-____), “Interpretations,”

a 30-minute drama in English, set (1) in the cafeteria of the Jubilee Advertising Agency, U.S.A., lunch time, 1997; (2) Tammy's cubical, the next day; (3) cafeteria, lunch time, one week later; (4) Lee's office, late that day; (5) cafeteria, lunch time, two days later,

1m3f;

 •  © 1997 by Barry M. Putt, Jr.;  •  script/rights available from Barry M. Putt, Jr., P. O. Box 7233, Somerset, New Jersey 08875-7233, U.S.A., e-mail bmputt@aol.com, telephone (home) 732-846-1497, (work) 732-846-1497.  •  Cited by Barry M. Putt, Jr., via ftp May 25, 2000; Putt says,

  §  Dramatis Personae Doris Stratmier (f), 35, stocky build, compulsive liar, cunning, self-indulgent, opportunist; April (f), 28, attractive, compassionate, honest worker; Lee (m), 35, studious looking, smooth-talking, company man, Director of Creative Services; Tammy Shoelure (f), 25, deaf, proficient at lipreading, humanitarian, Creative Services Associate working for Lee.

  §  Synopsis “(scene i) When deaf, new, Jubilee Ad Agency employee, Tammy, is unable to find an interpreter, Doris Stratmier, a hapless company elder, offers her sign-language skills. Everyone, including Doris’ best friend and co-worker April, is impressed. While the three women get acquainted, Doris fills Tammy in on the company’s jaded political games. This frightens Tammy and she quickly darts back to work. Afterward, April points out that Doris was too harsh with Tammy. She also contends that Doris let the fact she feels short-changed and over-looked by management color what she told Tammy. Doris pledges to be more aware of herself. (scene ii) The next day, Doris apologizes to Tammy and gives her an agency laptop as a communication aid and a sign of friendship. She also offers to assist Tammy with her backlogged work. Tammy, highly appreciative, takes her up on the offer. (scene iii) In the cafeteria a week later, Tammy laments to April that, despite having to cover for a few of Doris’ mistakes, her assistance has been invaluable. April feels Tammy shouldn’t let the mistakes slip by and urges her to speak with Doris. When Tammy does, Doris clarifies that generally she’s the one that catches Tammy’s mistakes. Tammy admits she’s made mistakes but suggests they both need to be more careful. Just then, Tammy’s boss, Lee, storms in, furious with Tammy regarding an error that has cost the agency thousands of dollars. Doris translates for Tammy as she denounces involvement in the blunder. Lee isn’t convinced. He puts her on warning and promises a thorough investigation. After he leaves, Tammy accuses Doris of misinterpreting. Doris swears she did her best to translate. Tammy glares at her, then marches off, as April looks on, unsure who to believe. (scene iv) Several days into Lee’s investigation, tension fills the agency. Everyone keeps a distance from the others. (scene v) When Doris enters the cafeteria for lunch, April excuses herself to avoid taking sides. Doris sits uncomfortably and skims the agency newsletter while eating. She gasps upon reading a news-brief that claims she lied and hurt the agency. Knowing that Tammy edits the newsletter, Doris accuses her of writing the slander and vows to expose her as a liar. Tammy laughs off the situation as coincidence. Infuriated, Doris snatches Tammy’s laptop almost destroying it, as April walks in. Appalled by Doris’ actions, April shuns her and consoles Tammy. Moments later, Lee enters and informs Tammy that his investigation has found her to be the source of countless mistakes. He fires her on the spot and offers Doris a long-awaited promotion for her outstanding work. Doris gleams, as Tammy digs out her project notes and insists Lee compare them with those of Doris. Lee is stunned to find Tammy’s work perfect while Doris’ is full of errors. Doris denies any wrong-doing and calls Tammy on the newsletter slander. Tammy shamefully admits to the slander—but only as a last resort because no one would listen. Realizing his judgement error, Lee apologizes for treating Tammy unfairly and orders Doris suspended pending further investigation. Soon after, Doris sits alienated and alone in the cafeteria. She realizes that her bad choices have hurt her in the long-run. After introspection, she decides to start anew. She knows that won’t be easy, but it’s all she can do.

  §  Comment “Minimal props are needed for this play. At least one actor should know ASL (American Sign Language.)  •  Premiered August, 1997, at New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, Madison, New Jersey, U.S.A. Other productions include a run in September, 1998, at The Theatre-Studio, Inc., New York City, New York.”

  §  Themes advertising, ASL (American Sign Language), cafeteria, communication, deafness, fairness, firing, friendship, honesty, interpreting, investigation, judgment, laptop, manager-employee relationship, mendacity, newsletter, notes, office politics, promotion, recognition, sign language, slander, suspension, alienation, translation, workplace.

See also Barry M. Putt, Jr.’s
  • "Gutter Rat," a 31-minute drama in English, set in the bottom of a sewer, daytime, 2001, 2m
  • "Mother of the Year," a 12-minute comedy in English, set (1a) The bedroom of a teenager, Charl Shifaman, in a suburban house, U.S.A., 1999, (1b) Charl's family room, recent past; (2) a  town sidewalk, recent past; (3) Charl's bedroom, recent past, (4) Charl's family room, recent past, (5) entrance to a trendy dance club, recent past, (6) restaurant waiting area, recent past, (7) Charl's bedroom, 1999, (8) Mom's room, sanitarium, three months later, 3m1f
  • "The Porch," a 10-minute drama in English in three scenes, set on Hank's front porch, Beaverdam, Virginia, U.S.A., 2004, 2m1f
  • "The Reign of Leaves," a 30-minute mystery, set in the living room of an Iowa farm house, U.S.A., on a winter evening, 1997, 2m2f






 

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Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online

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