Adventures in Playwriting: Act One, Scene One

Do you have any idea how hard it is to write a “realistic play about adolescents” and you can’t use any crude or vulgar terms?

Allow me to be specific as to what I can’t say: fuck, shit, crap, whore, skank, damn, bitch, turd, penis and any of its synonyms, or even damn.

I know a guy who describes his school lunch food as looking like a “fried turd.” Some times I hear teenagers speak and I wish I could throw a bookmark at them because there are more words in the dictionary than just “fuck.”

It can’t be that realistic if kids are clean mouthed and don’t even refer to a girl dressing like a skank. (Although, the protagonist of Life After Death describes girls as dressing like “common whores.”)

There are other problems with the vulgarity-free play I’m trying to write for a grant. The play feels more like disconnected scenes strung together. There’s very little plot and not a real climax. The show is really a rah-rah about being nice to individuals with ADHD than anything else. And I don’t want to write anything that involves beating my chest.

To compensate for my own personal grief for writing such a thing for money (who wants to be that if it wins, I’m not going to acknowledge that I wrote it later on in life?), I’m writing another play.

And here’s a sample line, from a character that’s a professor of psychology:

“I got stuck teaching gen ed psychology. I have a class where half the kids are actually interested in what I’m saying, and half are Googling wangs.”

I did not just say wangs so I could use a word for penises in a play.


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