fiction 2019 / spring 2019 / volume 49

The Worst Play Synopsis—Jasmine Barlow

This is a tragic story of Chicago street violence. Victor is 17 years old and has lost his older brother to a rival gang. He stands center stage as the curtains opens and gives a long monologue about how awful it is to live in the hood. He emphasizes “the hood” while pulling his hood over his head. Victor is white, and so is his brother, as well as the entire cast. The setting is the South Side of Chicago which has a large Black population, but no one in this play is black. They dress in baggy clothes with Cubs gear and large gold chains. They use certain terms—hood, hooker, hoe, coke, et cetera in literal ways. For example, the hood doesn’t mean their neighborhood it means the hoodies that they all wear. Hookers sells hooks. Hoes are garden tools tossed on the ground in front of people who are being called out for anything—from cheating on a test, to gossiping. The drug of “the hood” is coke as in Coca-Cola. They hide cans underneath their seats, in their pockets, in their lockers, and drink cans in hiding. Police search backpacks for them too.

Characters

Victor Rochester: a young white male of 17, he is poor

Roger Rochester: a slightly older-looking white male, he is also poor

Virginia Rochester: the mother of Victor and Roger, a hooker who sells hooks at her hook shop on the corner

Luke Bradley: the king of the streets. Wants money Victor owes.

Kimberly Bradley: Victors’ ex-girlfriend, Lukas’ younger sister.

Susan Almanac: Victor’s new girlfriend

The Plot

Victor is a troubled youth who has all Bs except for English, which is a C. This causes his classmates and teachers to see him as a bad boy and treat him differently. His girlfriend, Kimberly dumps him and calls him a loser in the hallway. Everyone is watching them, and he says “no, you’re the loser”. She starts crying and runs to her friends, everyone’s “oohing” and a teacher comes and gives him detention. In detention he talks with Luke who offers him some cola. He says, “no I don’t do that stuff”. Roger joins them after calling Kimberly a hoe to “defend his brother’s honor”. Together they drink cola. We flash to the future. Lights flash across the stage, across the audience like a club—its’ bright and neon and the sound of a police sirens loudly echoes across the room.

Victor and his brother are now thugs with Luke. They are sitting on the benches by the gate of their high school, drinking cola when Kimberly arrives. They talk smack to each other, and she smacks Victor in the face. Her brother intervenes telling her to “walk away” firmly. She doesn’t and Susan grabs a hoe from the ground, and tosses it to Kim’s feet. The boys “ooh” and Susan says, “that’s right. I declare you a hoe”. The girls start to diss each other’s clothes, hair, taste in boyfriends, when they decide to have a rap battle. Kimberly rhymes Susan with losin and Susan starts saying all the words that start with K she can think of. Kimberley cries and runs away. Victor and Susan hug. The principal arrives to tell Susan she’s suspended but Victor says it was his fault. Victor is suspended for two weeks instead, and is warned he’ll be expelled if he doesn’t get a B in English. He goes to see his mom who is a hooker on the corner by the school. Her shop is dingy, with goldfish painted all over. She says he’s a bad kid and that she’s disappointed in him. He cries and she gives a long monologue about raising two kids alone because their father is in jail. Possibly she sings a lullaby to him and he takes a nap on her lap.

We flash forward to Luke yelling at Roger for kissing his sister. Victor comes and asks for an explanation. His brother tells how he felt bad for Kimberly when she kissed him in front of the girl’s bathroom and he breaks into song about love. Luke tosses a coke bottle cap to him, causes him to be severely injured. Victor screams and holds him in his arms. Roger dies, and Luke demands money for all the coke they’ve been drinking, and leaves. Kimberly comes from nowhere and runs to Roger and holds him. She says they were supposed to meet to tell her brother they were dating. They cry together and she kisses Victor on the lips. Susan arrives and they cat fight. They growl and crawl on the floor, circling each other, hissing. Victor tells them to stop, and shoos Kimberly off the stage. He pets Susan on the head and she calms down. They call the police and the police ask a lot of random questions before dragging Roger’s body off stage. The police are dressed like strippers with thick mustaches.

To end it all, Victor rushes off to his English teacher who wears a shirt saying, “teacher’s rock” and says he wants to take his final exam “right here, right now”. “But we still have a month”, “No, I need it now”. He takes the test and passes. The teacher says, “you did it, Victor. You got a B-.” Victor rushes to Susan and they hug. He rushes to the principal who says he’s no longer suspended. He rushes to his mother and she says “wow, you’re not a failure”. He rushes to his brother’s grave, and says, “Look Roger, soon we won’t be poor”. He gives his final monologue saying how he’s been through so much, learned so much, and grew so much as a person.

The End

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