Grocery List

Copyright 2001, by Samuel M. Post.
Note: If you’d like to produce this play, on stage or in a class — please email me and ask permission. It will be granted, but I’d really like to know about it.


A living room. She stands, holding a list. He sits in a chair.

DR. GIMPLE: Yogurt.

Why yogurt?

DR. GIMPLE: I like yogurt. I love it.

Since when?

DR. GIMPLE: Yesterday.

MRS. GIMPLE: You’ve never eaten yogurt. Suddenly you like it?

DR. GIMPLE: I’m changed. Get peach.

MRS. GIMPLE: Okay. Anything else?

While she scribbles, he takes a peek at the list.

DR. GIMPLE: Black cherry. Apricot if they have any.

MRS. GIMPLE: Anyting else?

DR. GIMPLE: Black beans.

MRS. GIMPLE: You don’t like beans.

DR. GIMPLE: Now I do.

MRS. GIMPLE: What’s wrong with you?

DR. GIMPLE: I don’t know. What do you think it is?

MRS. GIMPLE: You sound like your pregnant.

DR. GIMPLE: Maybe I am. In a sense. I had an unusual client yesterday. What kind of fruit do you have on that list?

MRS. GIMPLE: Apples and bananas.

DR. GIMPLE: Get pears and oranges.

MRS. GIMPLE: What’s the matter with you?

DR. GIMPLE: Nothing. I want pears and oranges.

MRS. GIMPLE: You complain about pears – and oranges – because they drip.

DR. GIMPLE: They taste good. I don’t mind dripping. I love pears and oranges. Get sardines.

MRS. GIMPLE: They stink!

DR. GIMPLE: Good. Get at least a dozen cans.

She records this on her shopping list.

MRS. GIMPLE: A dozen cans of sardines.

DR. GIMPLE: And any other cold water fish. Good for the memory.

MRS. GIMPLE: I don’t know which fish come from cold water.

DR. GIMPLE: Ask the guy in the fish department.

MRS. GIMPLE: He’s in high school.

DR. GIMPLE: Salmon. Canned.

MRS. GIMPLE: Okay. Better than sardines.

She’s perplexed, but not amused.

DR. GIMPLE: Are you laughing at me?


DR. GIMPLE: Sometimes you wear the stupidest grin on your face for no reason.

MRS. GIMPLE: Huh? You always said…what are you talking about?

DR. GIMPLE: You heard me.

MRS. GIMPLE: You say…you always said…you like my smile.

DR. GIMPLE: I know. It seems different now.

MRS. GIMPLE: You’re horrible.

DR. GIMPLE: I know. It’s what you want, isn’t it?


DR. GIMPLE: Honesty, right?


DR. GIMPLE: Okay then. It just struck me that way…in general…a stupid grin. Not today, in particular…just a constant sort of thing.

MRS. GIMPLE: What is wrong with you?

DR. GIMPLE: I don’t know. Things are changing for me. Have you ever thought what it would be like to wake up and not know anything about yourself…and suddenly you must invent yourself from scratch, from memory? Cottage cheese!

MRS. GIMPLE: Another food you don’t like.

DR. GIMPLE: Nixon loved cottage cheese with tomatoes. Get tomatoes.

MRS. GIMPLE: How about some bagels?

DR. GIMPLE: No thanks.

MRS. GIMPLE: What kind of bread should I get?

DR. GIMPLE: Doesn’t matter. No bread.

MRS. GIMPLE: You love bread.


MRS. GIMPLE: Always.

DR. GIMPLE: Don’t get any bread.

MRS. GIMPLE: Coffee?

DR. GIMPLE: Not necessary.

She walks to him and leans close.

MRS. GIMPLE: Look at me.


MRS. GIMPLE: I want to tell you something.

DR. GIMPLE: Tell it.



MRS. GIMPLE: I want you to hear this.

DR. GIMPLE: I’m listening. Say it!

She takes a blank piece of paper from the pad and writes. She gives him the paper and he reads what she wrote.

MRS. GIMPLE: You are out of your mind.

accepting this casually

DR. GIMPLE: I know.

MRS. GIMPLE: Psychiatrists need…therapy…for themselves.

DR. GIMPLE: Do we?

MRS. GIMPLE: You’ve always told me that.


MRS. GIMPLE: You say it goes with the territory.

DR. GIMPLE: Does it?

MRS. GIMPLE: You’ve gone a long while.


MRS. GIMPLE: Call somebody.

DR. GIMPLE: There’s no one to call.

MRS. GIMPLE: No! Call somebody! You know good ones all over the place.

DR. GIMPLE: So I do.

He stares at the ceiling. She stops, studies him.

MRS. GIMPLE: How’s the weather up there?

DR. GIMPLE: Fine, a little cool.

MRS. GIMPLE: I’m going now.

DR. GIMPLE: So you are.

MRS. GIMPLE: I’ll be back shortly.

DR. GIMPLE: So you will. Say, about that stupid grin.


DR. GIMPLE: It’s not stupid, really.


DR. GIMPLE: I mean, it’s really not, is it? I suppose I’d call it a ridiculous grin. It represents, you know, some sort of false impression you have of yourself. Ridiculous, yes. That describes it. Common sort of thing, don’t you think? Onions!

MRS. GIMPLE: Onions.

DR. GIMPLE: In a can! Onions in a can!

MRS. GIMPLE: I’m going to the grocery store.

DR. GIMPLE: That’s great. Green peas. Canned.

MRS. GIMPLE: Canned.

DR. GIMPLE: I’m tired of frozen. All we get is frozen, or fresh. I want canned. Get everything canned.

MRS. GIMPLE: Everything canned.

DR. GIMPLE: Have you ever forced yourself to eat something – either from a can or not from a can – forced yourself — to eat something you didn’t like, pretending you did like it, convincing yourself you liked it.

MRS. GIMPLE: Apples. How many ways have I fixed them? I don’t think they’re that great.

DR. GIMPLE: We understand each other. Cheese in a can!

MRS. GIMPLE: No such thing.

DR. GIMPLE: Do apples come in cans?

MRS. GIMPLE: Of course.

DR. GIMPLE: Get some.

MRS. GIMPLE: They aren’t good.

DR. GIMPLE: I want some. I’m going all out here. Get me some grape juice, the more purple the better. In a can, of course.

MRS. GIMPLE: I’ll see if they have it.

DR. GIMPLE: They do. I remember.

MRS. GIMPLE: You haven’t been to the grocery store in years.

DR. GIMPLE: My mother used to buy it.

MRS. GIMPLE: Packaging has changed.

DR. GIMPLE: Why wouldn’t they have grape juice in a can?

MRS. GIMPLE: Because it’s probably in a bottle.

DR. GIMPLE: Ridiculous!

She gives him the list.

MRS. GIMPLE: Here. You put what you want on here yourself.

DR. GIMPLE: That’s an idea.

He writes.

Okra. Peanuts. Cabbage. Cucumbers. Cans only. I’d like some pickled beets for my cottage cheese. I’d like a can of oysters. We’ve got the onions. Artichokes – in cans. Let’s get rid of a few of these. No need for tea.

MRS. GIMPLE: I want that.

DR. GIMPLE: I don’t see the need.

MRS. GIMPLE: I drink it.

DR. GIMPLE: You’ll have the grape juice.

MRS. GIMPLE: If it makes you happy, cross it out.

DR. GIMPLE: It makes me happy. No need for the rice, or the sirloin.

MRS. GIMPLE: It’s on sale.

DR. GIMPLE: Ridiculous. I’m crossing these out.

MRS. GIMPLE: Do you want me to make dinner?

DR. GIMPLE: Not necessarily.

MRS. GIMPLE: Then we’ll be going out?

DR. GIMPLE: If that’s what you want.

MRS. GIMPLE: Just finish the list.

DR. GIMPLE: That’s what I’m doing. Get rid of this. And this. And this.


And this. And this. This – we don’t need this. None of these. No need for this…


55 Replies to “Grocery List”

  1. hey i found this funny…May I copy this sir for our radio drama project?..I think it’s nice to have a husband-wife bonding before going to a grocery store..

  2. I would like to use this with my English class. Year 8. My kids don’t like to read a lot at a time and we are focusing on drama this unit. I want them to read the dialogue in pairs and then try to describe how the two characthers might look, what they’re wearing and so on. Can I copy the play and use it for that purpose?

  3. Hey
    May I please use this for a random play between my sister and I? we scrolled through this show and found this script very entertaining!
    Thanks x0x0

  4. Hey,a friend and i wanted to know if we could perform this play. We thought this was a very good. how did you come up with it?

    1. Danielle,

      You and you’re friend are welcome to perform it. I’d be curious to know where.

      I don’t remember how I came up with it — just something I wrote ten years ago. It has been produced several times in 10 minute play festivals.



  5. May I read this to my 8th grade class as an example of a one act play? We’re studying drama and I think they will like it.

  6. Well imm suppose to write a play for theater class so me & a frend could perform it but i want to use this one i lvoe it; i think they would like it.

    1. Well, Daysi — are you supposed to write a play for your class or perform one? If you need to perform one, I’m glad you like this and hope the class goes well. If you’re suppose to write one…well, then this one really doesn’t qualify, does it?

  7. Hey Sam

    I just wanted to say that i love your work, especially “Ignition Switch”, “Panic Attack”, “who am i” and “Grocery List”. I am A 3rd year drama student in Directing, Acting and Writing at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa. I would possibly (Probably) like to use one of your scripts for my directing piece. there will be photo’s and the whole thing will be on video here in grahamstown in the Rhodes Box Theatre.

    Hope that you will permit me to use your inspiring work,

    1. Hi Roscoe,

      Please use whichever play suits your needs. It would be my pleasure. If you do have pictures or video of the performance, could you send me a copy or a link so I can share it on my website?



  8. I have two students who are interested in performing this piece for our Middle School Speech Tournament. I teach at an international school in Manila, Philippines.

    1. Wonderful, Becca. Please give my best regards to your students. If you get the chance, please let me know how it goes.


    1. Sandra,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, it has to do with memory. It’s the third play in a group of four, with recurring characters. The play before it (“Who Am I?”) is about amnesia, and Dr. Gimple, who treats the lady with amnesia, appears with his wife in “Grocery List.” Then she appears in the next play, “Ignition Switch.” All four of these short plays are connected — and they all have to do with stress and memory.


      Who Am I?
      Grocery List
      Ignition Switch

  9. Hi! Mind if I use this for a Theatre II project scene? I would also like to know copyright fees? we also must come up with a budget and include such things. Thanks in Advance!

  10. Mind if i use this for class presentation. My class has to bring in a play, and act it out in class? Thank You!

  11. Hi. I’m an English Teacher living and working in Foshan, Guangdong Province, China, and would love to use this (and your ‘Who Am I’ one also) in some extra curricular Drama (my university major) classes with my chinese students. Theyre aged 14-16 and this is fun and simple and could help them massively with their english pronunciation and also help them to practise their listening, speaking and reading in English.

    1. Hi Libby. You’re welcome to use it. Thanks for asking. And thanks for being such a generous, adventurous teacher!


      1. Thanks very much! I want to introduce them to some plays that ARENT Shakespeare. As wonderful as they are, i imagine they get bored of learning about the same thing always!


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