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“Frikken Justice”

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Gambrell, La’Nelle (American playwright, writer, 1954-____), “Frikken Justice,” a 70-minute comedy in English, set on a split-stage living room in Frikken Texas, U.S.A., 9:00 a.m., March, 2001,


  •  © 2001 by La’Nelle Gambrell;  •  script/rights available from La’Nelle Gambrell, 1685 CR 1333, Liberty, Texas 77575, U.S.A., e-mail lanelle@lanelle.com, telephone (home) 936-334-0095, (work) 936-334-0095, fax 936-334-0333.  •  Cited by La’Nelle Gambrell via ftp August 26, 2001; Gambrell says,

  §  Dramatis Personae Mary Louise Dodds (f) 57, wife and animal shelter volunteer; Emma Ruth Pressley (f) 52, widowed mother and Frikken, Texas, socialite.

  §  Synopsis “When a local criminal goes unpunished, Mary Louise Dodds and Emma Ruth Pressley take it upon themselves to see that Justice is done in Frikken, Texas. Emma Ruth lost her husband just last Christmas and now Hollis has poisoned her little dog. Emma Ruth’s only son, Booger, has gone off to A & M on a synchronized swimming scholarship, and her housekeeper, Carmelita, has retired to her bedroom and won’t come out. Just when things couldn’t possibly get any worse, she discovers a secret about her dead husband that she would rather have never known! Mary Louise is on a mission to find a home for every rescued animal at the shelter. But lately she thinks she has reason to believe her husband Buford is having an affair—every time he goes out of town several Viagra disappear. And now, Miss Juanita, the local palm reader has just told Mary Louise’s 73 year old Auntie Rea that her future husband will be the next man that asks her to have a cup of coffee. Their neighbor, Mr. Wilson, was once abducted by aliens, and now he’s hearing voices again—this time underneath Main Street. Dee Dee Partlow, another neighbor, has the members of her motorcycle ministry putting a new roof on her house and bingo partner Mildred Moore has passed away under mysterious circumstances! Mary Louise and Emma Ruth, lifelong residents of Frikken, Texas, have been neighbors for over thirty years. They may argue over the merits of Art Bell and CBN and what to wear to Mildred Moore’s funeral, but their friendship has survived Frikken gossip mongers and Gulf Coast hurricanes; and when it comes to Frikken Justice, there’s just not very much that they can’t find a solution for.

  §  Comment “Justice in Frikken, Texas, is sometimes hard to come by, unless you can take a look at things from the local perspective, . . . then anything is possible!  •  Frikken Justice . . . can easily be extended to a two-act or tightened for a one act. This play does require one untrained dog onstage for about one minute.  •  Set in Frikken, Texas, the entire play occurs in eight scenes on a split stage, one side in darkness while the action takes place on the other.  •  Set design for right half of stage is the interior of a kitchen. It should include a door, kitchen table and two chairs, a kitchen counter with a coffeepot, coffee mugs and a telephone on the wall. Next to the door is a hook with 10-12 dog leashes hanging from it. This is Mary Louise’s kitchen. In her fifties, Mary Louise may look like an Edith Bunker but she has a bite. When she’s in her kitchen, she wears a bib apron and is sometimes decorating a wedding cake. When she visits Emma Ruth, she carries a pocket-book-type handbag and wears a house dress or pants and over-blouse. She wears big patterns and loud colors. The right half of the stage is the interior of a living room. It has a door (with doorbell) and a small, formal (somewhat gaudy) settee and chair. A coffee table has a silver coffee service with china cups, etc. There’s a small end table with an ornate telephone and a sofa table with laptop computer placed so that the users face can be seen by the audience; there’s a chair facing the computer. This is Emma Ruth’s living room—she’s a little more upper-middle-class than Mary Louise, also in her fifties. She’s usually wearing a dressing gown trimmed in marabou feathers and little gold mules with heels. She has big rhinestone eye glasses and big hair, sort of a Barbara Cartland/Dame Edna look. She wears lots of jewelry and big shoulder pads She wears a crazy, gaudy hat when she goes to funerals.  •  Minimal props and effects. Two different telephone ringers, a doorbell, a wine bottle and one wine glass, box of tissue, big wedding cake, sounds of barking/whining dog with puppies. A small gift wrapped box about the size of shoe box. A very small dog collar with several clinky tags, a very small doggie bed, two very small doggie dishes and one medium to large dog. The last scene requires a walk-on with a dog on a leash. Any gentle (untrained) dog will do, If the dog is unruly, that’s OK. A liberal amount of baby powder should be applied to the dog’s coat and s/he should shake just after he is led on stage in the last scene—or, Mary Louise can reach down and pat him, sending up a cloud of what appears to be dust. Preferably a dog from a local shelter that is available for adoption after the final curtain would be used. As an animal rights advocate and animal shelter volunteer, I would love to see an animal placed after each performance.”

  §  Themes American South, dog, female bonding, minimalism, Texas.

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