Yard Sale

I wrote this little play for the Lee Street 10 minute play festival. The guidelines requested a comedy with the theme Yard Sale. Alas, the period of suspense has ended and this script was not picked. Which gives me the opportunity to share it here ūüôā

The picture here is my front yard — and what it will look like, briefly, in a couple of weeks.


Copyright 2015. Samuel M. Post.yard


MAN: (answering the phone) Yellow!

WOMAN:¬†(on phone) I saw your listing on Craigslist. I’m calling about the yard sale.

MAN:¬†Yes Ma’am. What do you need to know?

WOMAN: Well, how long have you had it?

MAN: Forty-nine years.

WOMAN: How big is it?

MAN:¬†She’s two thirds of an acre, and of course there’s the house.

WOMAN:¬†I’m not looking for a house.

MAN:¬†No ma’am. We live in the house. Just selling the yard.

WOMAN: How big is the yard?

MAN:¬†It’s right around half an acre.

WOMAN: Does it include any trees?

MAN:¬†We’ve got some trees.

WOMAN: How many?

MAN:¬†Let’s see, it’s got some old shrubs. Of course, a shrub is not a tree. It’s got three beautiful dogwoods. Five or six pines, and there’s a maple tree.

WOMAN:¬†I’m just trying to visualize how much shade it has. I’d like to have a garden.

MAN:¬†You could have a garden. I don’t know if it would suit you. You’re more than welcome to take a look and see for yourself.

WOMAN: I might do that. When could I come over?

MAN:¬†I’m home now.


(They walk around the yard.)

MAN: We used to have a garden. Right there.

WOMAN:¬†That’s all shade. What did you grow?

MAN: Mostly tomatoes. We used to love tomatoes. Tomatoes and cucumbers. One time I tried beans but that got out of control.

WOMAN: Did they get enough light?

MAN:¬†It was before I planted that maple tree. Dumbest thing I ever did. But if you cut it down, you could have a nice vegetable garden right there. That’s good dirt. I promise you that.

WOMAN:¬†You wouldn’t mind if I killed a tree you planted?

MAN:¬†Lady — I’m selling the yard. Whoever buys it can do anything they want.

WOMAN:¬†I’d like a garden.

MAN:¬†Is that why you’re looking to buy a yard?

WOMAN:¬†That and some other things. I just like the space of my own yard. I like sunbathing. I also like to sit outside and read. So some trees are good. I could get a hammock. But mostly, it’s for my dog. I’ve got an apartment and we’re happy there — but she needs more room to play.

MAN: What kind of dog?

WOMAN:¬†She’s a mutt.

MAN: Big dog?

WOMAN:¬†She’s sixty-three pounds.

MAN:¬†That’s a big dog.

WOMAN:¬†Not so big. She’s friendly. Do you like dogs?

MAN: Sure I do.

WOMAN:¬†She loves people. You don’t have to worry about her.

MAN:¬†If it’s your yard, you’re free to do whatever you want in it. You can have a dog, cat, chicken, camel — whatever you want.

WOMAN: So I could put in a fence, for the dog?

MAN:¬†You can build a ladder to the sky if you want. I’m selling the yard in its entirety.

WOMAN: Why are you selling?

MAN:¬†We’re retired and we have some medical expenses. The house is perfect, but keeping up with the weeds and the grass is more than I can handle. One thing about a yard — it never stops growing. In fact, I’ll tell you a little secret. I’m not trying to discourage you — but just to be straight. You don’t have a yard. A yard has you.

WOMAN:¬†I understand. It’s a big decision.

MAN: Yes it is.

WOMAN: My dog would love this.

MAN:¬†What’s your dog’s name?

WOMAN: Ginger.

MAN:¬†That’s cause of her color.

WOMAN: Yep. With a little dark brown on her paws and white patch under her chin.

MAN: I had a little beige dog. Named Stranger. Best little dog you ever saw. Buried her right there.
(He points at where she’s standing. She steps back a little.)

WOMAN: Here?

MAN: Right there.

WOMAN: When was that?

MAN:¬†Sometime back in the 70’s or 80’s. I also buried a few cats over there. And some other dogs. Fru Fru, Kellie, Ding Bat. My daughter’s mouse. That cockatiel. Come to think of it, your standing on quite a little graveyard right there.

WOMAN: I was kind of thinking about putting the hammock there.

MAN: It is a good place.

WOMAN:¬†Not if it’s a graveyard.

MAN:¬†It’s been a long time. It’s just a yard. Dust to dust, as they say.

WOMAN:¬†I wish you hadn’t told me that.

MAN: You know what that is?

(He points up)

WOMAN: That piece of wood?

MAN:¬†Yep — know what it was?

WOMAN: A birdhouse?

MAN:¬†Nope. That’s what’s left of a tree house. I’d say it’s about forty years old.

WOMAN: Did you build that?

MAN: My children did.

WOMAN: How many children do you have?

MAN: Two. They used to take a lot of food up there. What is it about kids and a tree house that makes them want to eat in it?

WOMAN:¬†I don’t know.

MAN:¬†I guess when there’s food in there it makes it like a real house.

WOMAN:¬†Maybe that’s it.

MAN:¬†They got to where they’d take their dinner up there rather than eat in the kitchen. And they’d sleep in there too. Now right over there, they had a playhouse. I built that. They never woulda’ ever thought to eat or sleep in the playhouse. And believe me, it was a lot nicer than the tree house. We had this swing set over there. Two swings, a slide, monkey bars. I guess you could say that’s why I don’t need this yard anymore.

WOMAN: They grew up.

MAN:¬†Grew up and now they’ve got their own yards.

WOMAN:¬†It’s a nice yard. I’m gonna go home and think about it.

MAN:¬†Do that. It’s a big decision to buy a yard. It’s not going anywhere.

WOMAN: Somebody else could buy it.

MAN:¬†They could. But most people are looking for a house with a yard — not just a yard by itself. You don’t want to rush. By the way, that strip right there is not for sale. We’ll need a way to come and go.

WOMAN:¬†If I buy it, I won’t mind you walking through my yard.

MAN:¬†Oh no. I wouldn’t want to impose. We just won’t be selling that little strip there.

WOMAN:¬†Is there anything else I should know? Anything underground you haven’t told me about?

MAN:¬†There’s a water line, of course. And gas and electric. You can’t move those.

WOMAN: Of course. Anything else?

MAN:¬†That’s it. That’s the yard.

WOMAN:¬†I’ll call you.

MAN: Okay. Bring Ginger back if you want. Let her have a sniff.

WOMAN: I might do that.

MAN:¬†Oh — there is one more thing.

WOMAN:¬†What’s that?

MAN:¬†That little patch we wanna keep — to get in and out of the house.

WOMAN:¬†That’s fine with me. If I buy it.

MAN:¬†My wife and I — we want to be buried there. That kills two birds with one stone. Access while we’re alive, and then a final resting place. It won’t be on your yard, but I thought you should know.

WOMAN: You want to be buried there?

MAN: Just that one spot. The rest of it will be yours.

WOMAN:¬†I don’t want you buried there.

MAN:¬†It won’t be on the part we sell you.

WOMAN: I want a yard, not a cemetery.

MAN: Same difference.

WOMAN:¬†I don’t think so.

MAN: Well, you can go home and think about it.

WOMAN:¬†I’ve thought about it. I don’t want it.

MAN:¬†Because we’ll be buried there?

WOMAN:¬†Yes! I don’t want that.

MAN:¬†Then it’s a good thing I told you.

WOMAN:¬†Why can’t you get a plot in the cemetery?

MAN: Why?

WOMAN:¬†Because that’s where everybody else is!

MAN: You think it looks better?

WOMAN:¬†Of course! That’s weird, being buried over there like that.

MAN:¬†I’ll be dead, so I don’t care how it looks.

WOMAN:¬†Okay — I thought this was an actual yard sale.

MAN: It is.

WOMAN: Not when you plan to put yourself in it.

MAN:¬†Hopefully that won’t be for while.

WOMAN:¬†Never mind. I don’t want it.

MAN:¬†Ma’am, everybody’s gonna die and end up somewhere.

WOMAN:¬†That doesn’t mean I need a daily reminder.

MAN: What reminder?

WOMAN: You being buried next to my yard!

MAN:¬†You can’t ignore it.

WOMAN: I most certainly can. Forget it.

MAN:¬†That’s fine.

(as she leaves)

WOMAN: Nice meeting you.

MAN:¬†I’d like to meet your dog.

WOMAN: No thanks.

(She exits.)

End of play

Review: Paolino and his gang are great in “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity”

Want to be in a play?

You don’t have to audition, get the part, or rehearse.

Just go to “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,” playing through March 23 at CAST in Charlotte. It’s very theatrical, and you’ll be in it.

As a member of the audience, you get to play the part of a wrestling fan. In this bizarre piece of engaging, high energy theater, the characters interact with the audience more than they do with each other.

When they speak, it’s mostly to us, the audience, with a collection of soliloquies, or side talking as they sit among us, or having conversation as they move through the house.

When they connect with each other, it’s less words and more physical — with body slams, power bombs, and kicks.

Bob Paolino, Michael Smallwood, and J.R. Jones in “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Diety.”

Yes, you’re watching something — and you’re inside the experience of a scripted show with people performing around you.

It’s done in the round. The entire set is a wrestling ring. The play, written by Kristoffer Diaz, was a 2010 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in drama.

Bob Paolino, of Salisbury, plays EKO, the sleazy mastermind behind all this fakery. For him, diversity in America is an opportunity to create bad guys, attract fans, and cash in on America vs. Everybody Else. With a cigar in his mouth and a wad of money in his fist, he gives a dynamic, comic performance that fills the room. When you step into to the ringside space, Paolino, who plays the owner of THE Wrestling, becomes your Maitre ‘D. You may even experience a swell of Salisbury pride.

Occasionally, the microphone descends from the ceiling and into the ring, and we get a booming announcement from EKO or one of these colorful wrestling personalities..

Michael Smallwood plays MACE, the lead narrator and sole authentic voice in this cartoony bunch. He’s the human glue, given by reluctant generosity, that gives life to this play and this production. MACE¬† gives us a peek into the world of a guy who wins by losing, the one with superior skill. His job is to lose to the American superstar Chad Deity, played by J.R. Jones. That takes humility and teamwork. He gets paid not with glory, but with the fulfillment of getting to do the thing he loves.

The smoke and lighting create glamour and thrill, but it would take film editing to make Chad Deity’s tooth emit a sparkle when he smiles and preens his biceps.¬† Jones is brave and corny enough to have you imagine it. Deity is the inferior athlete who revels in getting to win every time. He’s the lucky winner, a complete fake — and he brags about it.

Denny Valentin plays VP, the smaller but tougher “Fundamentalist” with an unusual set of charismatic gifts. He’s got an attitude that turns out to be a double edged sword — one moment the hero, the next moment the foil.

Amid all this charisma, farce, and humor, it’s easy to forget how physically amazing these performances are — and I almost did. Director Michael R. Simmons creates a swirl of words and drama and stage fighting (or wrestling) that’s more complicated than your basic stage play. It’s continuous motion, a choreographic achievement that’s so integral to the show that it’s easy to take for granted. These guys are not only telling us the stories of their lives, but they’re throwing each other around while they do it. Even Paolino, the old guy in the group, gets hammered to the mat.

So here we have a hundred people gathered around a wrestling ring at CAST — Carolina Actors Studio Theatre, for a bright, flamboyant evening of theatre. We have a superb show. It’s fun, real, and intimate — an example of excellent actors doing excellent work. In terms of numbers, that’s nothing compared to the millions who watch professional wrestling. Which is also theatre.

So why is one so much more popular than the other? With theatre, we know it’s not real. We’re told it’s not real. And we tell ourselves that, for a couple of hours, it is.

With professional wrestling, we’re asked to believe that it is real. We know it’s not. But nobody comes out of character in the end and takes a bow. If we want to pretend the whole thing is legit, we can. And some people do.

It’s reality television. We’re told it’s real and we love watching it, thinking it is, knowing it’s not.

So I’m here to say that there’s something about an actor being a human being first, and then a character, and then breaking with character and being him or herself again, that creates a new dimension and requires more from the audience. It’s all theatre, but when it’s on stage, it takes shape, and we, the audience, are asked to bring our own thought and creativity to the experience. We have to. Watching sport is awesome entertainment. Great theatre is that too, plus the chance to think, create, and transform ourselves.

√Ę‚ā¨ŇďThe Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity√Ę‚ā¨¬Ě performances are at 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through March 23 at the theater, 2424 North Davidson St. in Charlotte. Tickets cost between $18 and $28. They are available online at https://secure.ticketsage.net/ or by calling 704-455-8542. No late seating. This performance contains profanity, body slams, head locks, power-bombs, super-kicks and some sweet chin music. For more information, visit www.nccast.com.

Poor Jud is Daid

I wrote this short play or the Lee St. Theatre upcoming evening of 10 minute plays on the theme “6 feet under.” Comedies about death. Alas, it wasn’t selected by Lee Street, so I thought I’d share it here!


thursday, october 20

Thursday morning, in the wee hours, I checked the Salisbury Post website on my phone and read the newly posted review of my play, Poochie.

It was a great review, so the normal action to take, next, would have been to celebrate the good publicity by posting a link on Facebook.

But I never did share that link. Because of what was going on, it would have been most unseemly. I did peck out a quick thank you note on my phone to Ed Norvell. He had been kind enough to attend dress rehearsal the night before and then — a day later, with a last minute request and no warning — write the review.

Still wearing a suit from opening night, lying in the recliner, which I had pulled up next to my mother’s bed, I lay there, alone with her, watching her breathing get slower and slower until it stopped. It was 3am.

An hour or so later, Karen, from Hospice, told me that I had been given a gift. Such an understatement.

About 5am, I emailed something short to a few friends, and at 6am, one of them called me and asked about my mother and what she meant to me.

I said she had encouraged me, she had supported me, she had taught me, and she had inspired me. He suggested I take a minute before the show that night and share that with the audience — which I did.

I also added a little joke, saying that she was waiting on me to get a good review before she died. Whatever context we have for our lives is invented anyway — so I might as well make up something that empowers me.

Some of my dearest friends came to the show that night. The new play had opened, gotten a great review and great audience, my mother had passed away, I had worked very little and was totally broke, and I had not slept in two days.

And there they were. Great friends with smiles and hugs. And they watched my play.  It was the perfect visitation.

I never posted that review on Facebook, but something even better appeared there. Throughout that day and the next, my iPhone blinked and winked at me every few minutes as another friend posted a condolences on my wall.

Religions and cultures give us things to do at times like these. But no religion and no culture could possibly invent this. This was a completion filled with poignancy and love and luck and God and magic. Thank you.

a few notes about Poochie, my play, that opens Wednesday

Production shot from 'Poochie,' (Bob Paolino and Chris Speer -- from The Salisbury Post)

This new play has been different from any production of any play I’ve ever had.

I’ve had plays in other cities or states where I just showed up and saw the show. And I’ve had some around here where I basically watched the sausage being made.

But I’ve been busy. So I wrote it, gave it to the director, Justin Dionne, and basically left it at that.

I’ve had very little input. Even if I had had time for input, it wouldn’t have been a good idea. The direction and design is way beyond anything I had in mind for the little black box theatre on Lee St.

Because I didn’t really have time to go to rehearsal, I even gave Justin permission to change any lines he thought needed changing. A new play needs a little work, and I trusted him to do that.

It opens this Wednesday.

Saturday night, I went to rehearsal and saw the second act for the first time.¬† I was moved to tears — and I’m not exactly sure where the emotion came from.

Maybe it came from the profound gratitude I felt for these people applying such talent and hard work to the task of realizing something I wrote. Or maybe it was just the realization that I’m putting this material out there for others to see. Or maybe it was that I wrote about a piece of my life and saw it given back to me.

The play is about caring for a person with Alzheimer’s Disease, and although I intentionally did not make this autobiographical — I have had experience watching the progression of the disease — with my aunt, my grandmother, and now my mother.

What it is, I think, is that my own play brought back memories in the staging that I didn’t experience in the writing — if that makes any sense.

People may think or say I wrote a play about my mother. And there’s some truth to that. But I realize now it’s not about the mother who is now in the final stages of Alzheimer’s.¬† It’s about the mother who took care of my grandmother when she had Alzheimer’s. And it occurs to me now (and not before now) that the granddaughter is me.

So that’s my note on autobiography. It’s all so personal and subjective. I don’t¬† know how audiences will react but will find out soon enough. Wednesday night.

Whatever happens, I’m awfully proud — stunned, actually — by what these folks are doing.

It’s called groupfunding

Forgive me, I have sinned. I give my plays away, free, online.

And it’s always a pleasure when somebody wants to use one of them in small space or classroom.

I get plenty of requests for scripts from overseas, sometimes for film projects.¬† What happens after they get the script is anybody’s guess.

The pleasure comes from the request itself, and that’s almost always the last I hear of it. Occasionally I get a thank-you email, sometimes with a photo.

But while there’s satisfaction, there’s also a certain emptiness that comes with the online giveaways to faraway places. I’ve had the urge to see my own work done and thereby grow as an artist from the experience. My first two plays, Coffee Therapy, and another that I don’t care to think about, much less name, were produced first as dinner theatre, here in my lifelong hometown of Salisbury, NC.¬† Both were done in the upstairs of a local restaurant. I’ve had lots of fun seeing my work produced in Charlotte, and even traveled to New York a couple of times.

But I’ve never had a play produced here, in my hometown, in a theatre. And we have a number of theatres spaces and companies here.

So I recently wrote a play, set a date for production, and put down a deposit at our new, cozy little theatre space downtown, a converted warehouse now known as  Looking Glass Artist Collective.

Since declaring this, things have started to happen.

We’ve had a few readings, with great feedback. And I’ve done a good bit of rewriting based on that feedback.

I started a theatre company, Spoken Space Theatre, and I plan to use this entity to give birth to more of my plays in the future.

Justin Dionne, an energetic, talented young director, has generously agreed to take on the project. He gave the script a careful reading, with more feedback, and suggested more rewrites.

Auditions are two weeks away, and I’m working on the script.

So this is exciting.

Producing my own play, here, offers the opportunity for me to see it, and work on it.

This has its disadvantages.¬† That is, if it sucks, I’ll be there — and that can be difficult.¬† And, if it’s great, I’ll be there — and that can be difficult.

And I’m responsible for paying for it.

The deposit for the theatre space was a chunk, and about as much as I can handle.¬† And I’m assuming we will sell tickets that will bring in some funds.

But there’s still a gap.

So I’m looking for a corporate sponsor or two to put in a thousnd dollars.

And I’m asking friends and family to chip in, via Kickstarter.com. It’s called groupfunding. That sounds better than “asking friends and family for money.”


PoochieFund the Project with Kickstarter

There are rewards involved. Anybody who pledges $10 gets a ticket, which is the cost of a ticket. So while it is asking for money, it’s really no different that asking people to buy a ticket in advance.

Kickstarter makes it a game, such that the project gets funded when the goal is met, or not funded at all.

So there’s a bit of drama involved in paying for the drama.

So far, it’s been interesting.¬† Some of my oldest, dearest friends and family members have chipped in. Many of them live in other states and will not travel to see the show.

And I’m a third of the way there.


The play is called Poochie, and it’s about a family dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease.¬† People who know me think I’ve written a play about my family and my mother.¬† I didn’t.¬† I’ve had some experience with this disease (mother and grandmother), but I want to honor them. So instead of writing about my own family, I made one up. Which is the way it should be.

So that’s that.

Want to be a producer? This is your chance. Go to Kickstarter.com.

long time, no blog…

If you read this blog, thank you. And I apologize. It’s been so long since I last blogged.

I’ve been durn busy. And the time I’ve had for writing has gone into the writing of a new play.

It’s called Poochie, and it’s about Alzheimer‘s disease, how it progresses, and how it affects families.

And although I’ve finished a draft, the play is not finished. It needs some work. It needs a little something something — not sure what.

I’ve scheduled a reading, in order to get some feedback, for July 23. And I’ve booked the black box at the Looking Glass Artist Collective in Salisbury for Oct. 19-22. That’s for production. So wish me a couple of broken legs on that. I need to get the play in shape!

(Hint:¬† I’d love a few sponsors to help with production costs, if you know anybody…)

Meanwhile, speaking of plays, I got the nicest email from Laura Facciponti Bond — which I’d like to hereby share:

Dear Sam,

First, and most importantly, I would like to tell you how much I enjoy your writing. I very much appreciate how your blog encourages people to use, discuss, and perform your plays.  How generous!  I am a Drama professor at the UNC-Asheville, where I teach acting, voice, and directing.  I recently came across your plays and have used a few of them for class scene study, script analysis exercises, and discussion of directing approaches in my Directing I class.  I do plan to purchase your recent book of ten minute plays Рin hopes of having my students use them in my future acting classes.

I have also been working on writing an acting text book Рand am getting ready to publish it Рhopefully in the next couple months. I was wondering about how you felt about my inclusion of some of your ten minute plays as appendices and recommended scene study material for the skills introduced in my acting book.  Would this interest you?  If so РI would be thrilled to include them, and would be sure to write to you for permission to use specific plays.  I would also include the address of your web site so readers can connect with even more of your plays.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this proposition.

Laura Facciponti Bond
UNCA Drama Department – www.unca.edu/drama