Note: If youâ€™d like to produce this play, on stage or in a class â€” please email me and ask permission. It will be granted, but Iâ€™d really like to know about it.
Panic Attack was produced at Off-Tryon Theatre Company, in Charlotte, September 16 and 23, 2002, as part of the Noda New Play Festival. Bradley Moore directed.
Copyright 2002, by Samuel M. Post
Doctor (a psychiatrist)
Setting:Â Doctor’s office
DOCTOR, WIFE, and HUSBAND sit in the psychiatristâ€™s office.
DOCTOR: (to HUSBAND) So you disagree.
DOCTOR: Iâ€™d rather him answer.
WIFE: He canâ€™t describe it.
DOCTOR: Let him try.
HUSBAND: I donâ€™t disagree, but I donâ€™t think I needed to come here.
DOCTOR: You feel that your anxiety is within the normal range.
WIFE: Itâ€™s not normal.
HUSBAND: Everybody has anxiety.
WIFE: Not like yours.
DOCTOR: Does he have panic attacks?
HUSBAND: I donâ€™t.
WIFE: You panic all the time. About everything. About anything!
HUSBAND: I donâ€™t have attacks.
WIFE: You panic.
HUSBAND: Sometimes I panic. But they arenâ€™t attacks.
DOCTOR: Do you get short of breath?
WIFE: Remember when we ran out of hot water?
HUSBAND: I wasnâ€™t short of breath.
WIFE: You were clutching your chest.
HUSBAND: I was freezing. That wasnâ€™t a panic attack.
WIFE: You screamed for an hour. It took an hour for you to catch your breath?
HUSBAND: I was not screaming.
WIFE:Â (to the DOCTOR, explaining) I ran the dishwasher and washer and then he ran out of hot water while he was in the shower.
HUSBAND: I still had soap in my hair.
WIFE: He got out and waited until we had hot water again. You would have thought his head would fall off.
HUSBAND: That feels really slimy, having soap in your hair.
WIFE: You should have felt the hot water running out and rinsed. Who needs to take showers that long?
HUSBAND: It was not a long shower!
WIFE: What do you do in there?
HUSBAND: (exploding) I shower!
WIFE: Easy.Â (to the DOCTOR) See what I mean?
DOCTOR: Does he worry a lot?
WIFE: Thatâ€™s all he does.
HUSBAND: For good reason. DOCTOR. Whatâ€™s the reason?
HUSBAND: I hate my job. My kids are driving me crazy. Iâ€™m broke. And my bodyâ€™s falling apart. Plus I have goals. Real, lifelong goals â€“ and thereâ€™s no time for those. So Iâ€™m sort of an unfulfilled person.
DOCTOR: What goals?
HUSBAND: Iâ€™m an artist. Pottery.
WIFE: Nobodyâ€™s stopping you from making pots.
HUSBAND: Where in that house am I suppose to work?
WIFE: Clean up the basement. It would make a nice studio.
HUSBAND: We donâ€™t have the money for that.
WIFE: It doesnâ€™t cost much to sweep and paint.
HUSBAND: Where am I supposed to get the money for a wheel?
WIFE: Buy the damn wheel!
HUSBAND: You expect me to buy something when you say it like that?
WIFE: (to the DOCTOR) See what I mean? He whines and complains all the time. Heâ€™s always irritable. Always tense. You wouldnâ€™t have known this if I hadnâ€™t come here with him. Donâ€™t you think it was a good idea for me to be here.
DOCTOR: I think so. Do you have trouble sleeping?
HUSBAND: (conceding this) Iâ€™ve always had a problem with insomnia.
He writes a prescription and gives it to him, along with a box of samples.
DOCTOR: Here. Why donâ€™t you try this for a couple of weeks and see if it helps.
HUSBAND: Side effects?
DOCTOR: There might be some in the beginning, but why not find out for yourself? Iâ€™m afraid if we focus on that â€“ that is…suggest what they will be â€“ youâ€™ll experience those. Everybodyâ€™s different.
HUSBAND: Jesus, I wish I had stock in these pharmaceuticals.
HUSBAND: I donâ€™t have any stock. Never could save enough money to get started. Of course, I should be thankful after today.
DOCTOR: Why, what happened today?
HUSBAND: You didnâ€™t hear?
DOCTOR: Hear what? Iâ€™ve seen patients all morning.
HUSBAND: The market tanked.
DOCTOR: It did?
WIFE: Oh God. They say Black Monday was a picnic in the park compared to this. You know, I guess that is one thing we can be really, really thankful for.
HUSBAND: Youâ€™re right. Everybody lost their shirt and we didnâ€™t have one to lose.
DOCTOR: How much did it drop?
HUSBAND: The DOW lost, what was it? I donâ€™t keep up with it. Three hundred?
WIFE: Three thousand.
DOCTOR: Three thousand!
HUSBAND: I think thatâ€™s what it was.
DOCTOR begins to tremble. His breathing becomes short. He gasps for air. He stumbles to the sink and pours himself a glass of water. Wiping sweat from his brow and loosening his tie, heâ€™s barely able to drink it.
DOCTOR: I, uh, excuse me…Iâ€™ll be all right in a second.
HUSBAND: Sounds like you own some stock.
WIFE: He is a doctor.
DOCTOR: Of course I own shares, you moron!
HUSBAND: Well, damn. I didnâ€™t do it.
DOCTOR: (still gasping) Iâ€™m sorry. Terribly sorry. Iâ€™ll be okay. Iâ€™ll be all right. Iâ€™m the moron.
DOCTOR: (muttering to himself) Real estateâ€™s always safer. First thing they told us in med school. Buy houses. Get a beach house. Get a mountain house. Get a lake house. Live in a mansion. Buy land. And here I went my own way, thought I could put it in the market. I donâ€™t make a killing, you know. Psychiatrists donâ€™t make the kind of dough other doctors make. Iâ€™m an idiot!
HUSBAND: Iâ€™m sure it will go back up.
WIFE: Of course it will. It always does.
HUSBAND: Itâ€™ll take awhile.
DOCTOR: Three thousand!
WIFE: Donâ€™t worry so much. They closed the exchanges for the day.
DOCTOR reaches for the samples he just gave him.
DOCTOR: Give me those.
HUSBAND: I thought you gave these to me.
DOCTOR: Use the prescription.
HUSBAND: Donâ€™t you have more samples?
HUSBAND: Thatâ€™s not really fair. This could save me a few bucks.
DOCTOR: Give me the damn pills! You think these things grow on trees!
He tries to snatch them away from him. They struggle. The
DOCTOR: knocks him to the floor, gets a pill, and swallows it.
DOCTOR: Come back in two weeks.
HUSBAND: Donâ€™t you have some paperwork for me to give the receptionist?
DOCTOR: Just go. Iâ€™ll give it to you next time.
WIFE: Will she make the appointment without it?
DOCTOR: She will if I tell her to!
He goes to the door and screams.
DOCTOR: Give this dumb ass an appointment in two weeks!
He collapses in the chair and shuts his eyes.
HUSBAND and WIFE rise.
HUSBAND: Good luck with the market.
WIFE: Everything will be fine.
end of play
40 Replies to “Panic Attack”
hello it isnt that good sorry
It was good until you started talking about the market. I was rather enjoying the panic attack conversations with the husband and wife, but if you make them longer it will just seem to drag on.
love it planing on useing it for a drama activity thanks a million…
Well, I liked it a lot. It was very funny how the doc ended up panicking. cute. I can’t wait to have my high school students do this play. Thank you so much for letting us use these plays for free. You are wonderful. I will let you know how it goes. =)
Thank you, Amy, for your kind words. Break a leg. Would love to hear how it goes!
Hello sam, my name is Luis Aguilar and i’am a student currently attending Elac (East Los Angeles College). i’m required to find a 10 min play to stage for my directing class. i came across your play that i ejoyed reading. would like to get your permission to use this play for my class project! please feel free e-mail back. thank you!
You’re welcome to use it Louis. Break a leg.
thank you sam! i’m hoping to do a good job with this project! do you have any tips that can be usefull to me?
Hi. I would like to use your play “Panic Attack” for a classroom discussion. Is it ok?
Sure thing, Parames. I hope it goes well.
Hello, I would love to use “Panic Attack” for a drama assignment in class. Is it fine?
It’s fine, Wexie. Thanks for finding my play. Break a leg!
Hi I love your short plays. I would like to use Panic attack as a short performance piece for our Secondlife Theatre group.
Thanks, Rowan. I’d be delighted for you to use Panic Attack. Where is Secondlife located? I’d love to see a production photo, if you take any.
Hi Sam, thank you and sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Secondlife is a virtual world. I have posted the link to our theater group in the link. Every Friday we do an hour of experimental theater and improv in the virtual world of secondlife http://secondlife.com/
I think this is just mean, I get panic attacks and this is just outrageous! I am reporting this. Panic attacks are compleatly different, you vomit and shake and cry when you have a panic attack, this is simply a mickey take. You might say I don’t get a joke but this is just not funny.
Hello, I would like to use â€œPanic Attackâ€ for a drama activity in class. Is it fine?
Yes, Melisa. You’re welcome to use it. I’m curious to know — where is your school located?
I love this play!
I’d like to use it for a school theatre production. It’s an exam project… Is that okay?
Sure it’s okay. Thank you for loving the play. I hope your exam project is a big success!
I was wondering if I could have your permission to use this play as a Humorous Interpretation piece for my school’s DSD season next year. If you would be so kind, please email me at email@example.com letting me know either way. I will, however, need to get absolute proof that this is a published play, so if you could give me all of that necessary information that would be beyond fantastic. Thank you very much!
You’re welcome to use it. It’s published here:
Where’s your school?
sir, I am a english teacher from china. I’d like to use this one for a drama activity. do u mind?
That’s fine with me, Robin. I hope it goes well.
I live in INDIA and is willing to get your permission from you to allow me to perform this skit with my friends for my project.
Thanks and regards
Yes, Yuktha. You have my permissino to use this short play with your friends.
I am required to read a 10 minute scene for my acting class and I absolutely love this scene! May me and my friends use this?
Hi. I just saw this and apologize for taking so long to respond. Sure — you’re welcome to use it.
Hi, I just saw your play. Would it be okay for me to perform this for my drama clas>
Yes, Brianna, you’re welcome to use the play in your class. Break a leg!
May I use this ten minute scene for a project in High School?
Yes, Alyssa — you are welcome to use it. Which High School?
With your permission, I would love to use it for my final project in my directing class at Lamar University. I enjoyed reading this piece and feel that with the actors I have at my disposal, this would be perfect.
You’re welcome to use it. When it’s complete, if you get a minute, I’d love to hear how it goes and see pictures.
Break a leg,
I’m a junior theatre major and was hoping to use your play for my final project in my directing class? I really like it!
I’d be honored for you to use the play, Catherine. Break a leg. What school?
Cute. However, do you really think mental health professionals could possibly have panic attacks? Terry Roberts Greenberg, LCSW,LOL
Thank you for your comment. Sorry for the LONG delay in response time! I just saw this.
Yes — I know for a fact that mental health pros have plenty of panic attacks 🙂