New Play Friday: NOSEJOB by Susan Rabin
Friday, May 22, 2015
About the playwright: Playwright, actress, and founder of Windy City Productions, Susan Rabin grew up in Chicago. Her writing draws upon that city’s climate and colorful characters. She earned BS and MA degrees from Northwestern University; worked as a television producer and drama teacher; then became an entertainment lawyer, practicing in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Rabin’s first play, Rainbow, a musical, was staged by the Mill Valley Center for the Performing Arts. Her second play, Jive, received a Marin Arts Council award. Her play, Aunt Lakie’s Not Coming to Dinner, recently played in San Francisco to critical acclaim. Rabin garnered rave reviews for her portrayal of Mama Rose in the Alameda Civic Light Opera’s Gypsy. She currently performs in the long-running musical revue, Foodies—The Musical, at San Francisco’s Shelton Theatre. As a singer, Rabin has recorded and toured internationally with Dan Hicks and The Hot Licks. [Photo: Ben Krantz Studio]
About the play: Nosejob follows the journey of a young woman, Eleanor Shapiro, as she pursues a better life and a better nose. Fresh out of Northwestern University, with a degree in broadcasting, Eleanor is bright and talented. However, without any industry connections, the only job she can get is as a weathercaster at a tiny Chicago cable station—a job she loses after she is ridiculed on the air about her ethnic nose. Nosejob surgery seems out of reach when Eleanor’s father borrows her savings to pay off a gambling debt with the mob. Eleanor tries desperately to clone herself after her roommate Valerie, a fashion model, pleading for medical help from Robert, a handsome plastic surgeon, and for career help from wealthy former boyfriend Derk. Ultimately, Eleanor confronts the shallowness of her quest for beauty and realizes what is genuine in her life.
Scene eight of Nosejob was given a staged reading in the Playwright Cabaret at the 2015 Theatre Bay Area Annual Conference. Original Playwright Cabaret cast: Zach Eulberg, (Robert), Andrea Gerlach (Valerie Sinclair), Kelli McCrann (Eleanor Shapiro) and Alex Sandru (Derk Wrigley).
© 2015 Susan Rabin. The play cannot be performed without obtaining a license from the playwright. Inquiries about performance rights for Nosejob may be addressed to: Susan Rabin, email@example.com. All rights reserved. Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that performances of Nosejob are subject to royalty. It is fully protected under copyright laws of the United States of America, and of all countries covered by the International Copyright union (including the Dominion of Canada and the rest of the British Commonwealth), of all countries covered by the Pan-American Copyright Convention and the Universal Copyright Convention, and of all countries with which the United States has reciprocal copyright relations. All rights, including professional, amateur, motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, video or sound taping, all other forms of mechanical or electronic reproductions, such as information storage and retrieval systems and photocopying, and the rights of translation into foreign languages, are strictly reserved. Particular emphasis is laid upon the question of readings, permission for which must be secured from the author in writing.
Eleanor Shapiro: a bright and talented woman, fresh out of Northwestern University with a degree in broadcasting.
Valerie Sinclair: a fashion model, and Eleanor’s roommate in a trendy Old Town Chicago apartment. The two women alternatively support and compete with each other.
Robert: a plastic surgeon Eleanor hopes will change her destiny with a new nose. Robert has been keeping a secret from Eleanor: that he used to be a nerdy kid in high school with a serious crush on her.
Derk Wrigley: Eleanor’s former boyfriend. He has the television industry connections Eleanor needs. Despite his lack of brains, Eleanor finds she needs to keep him in her life.
Scene eight takes place on a Saturday night in winter, in Eleanor and Valerie’s apartment in Chicago’s Old Town. Eleanor is preparing for a date with Derk, having forgotten she led Robert to believe the date that evening was to be with him.
The living room is empty. The mirror hangs crookedly. There is a Bloomingdale’s shopping bag on the sofa. VALERIE enters from her room and ELEANOR enters from the bathroom. Each is wearing the same silk kimono.
Valerie: Why are you wearing my robe?
Eleanor: Honey, you’re wearing your robe. Couldn’t find my old one, so I bought this at TJ Maxx. Guess we have similar taste.
Valerie: You have taste?
Eleanor: That’s mean!
Valerie: You know if it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t have bought that robe.
Eleanor: What’s the difference? At least it looks better on you. Everything does. How fair is that? You don’t even have to work at it, do you?
Valerie: You don’t know what you’re talking about! Modeling is hard work. Do you know how much time I spend on my hair and skin care regimen, not to mention what I have to go through to stay thin? You wouldn’t be able to handle it. Getting that runway walk down … in high heels … takes a hell of a lot of practice. And did you ever have to stand in a pose for hours, under lights so hot you could faint?
Eleanor: People in my family never faint. Then they can’t argue.
Valerie: Yeah, I’ve noticed you like to argue.
Eleanor: Ok, relax, I didn’t mean anything. Of course you work hard. I mean, look at you. And I don’t even work. If you don’t mind, I’d like to drop it. Derk is on his way. I gotta finish getting ready. Gotta bronze my cheeks, like you taught me.
ELEANOR rushes to her room and closes the door.
Valerie: I created a monster.
VALERIE peeks inside the Bloomingdale’s shopping bag. She pulls out a sweater that is basically identical to one VALERIE wore earlier.
Valerie: Oh, man!
We hear knocking at the door. VALERIE throws the sweater back in the shopping bag. She turns down the stereo and gets the door. ROBERT is there.
Robert: Hi. Uhm … I’m Robert.
Valerie: Robert? Well, do I know you?
Robert: I’m here to pick up Eleanor.
Valerie: You are?
Robert: Yes. Why? Something wrong?
Valerie: Well, … I just thought … uhm … I don’t know what I thought. I guess Eleanor’s plans are … well … with you. So … come on in.
Valerie: I’m Valerie.
Robert: Hi. Yes, I know. I recognize you! You’re the model.
Valerie: That’s right! I am!
ROBERT is checking out VALERIE’s nose.
Valerie: What’s the matter? Something on my nose?
Robert: No, no … sorry, there’s nothing. You have a great nose. Some might say, perfect.
ELEANOR comes out of her room.
Eleanor: Robert! Wow! It’s you.
Robert: Hi. I know … I’m early. You were expecting me … weren’t you?
Eleanor: What? Of course I was expecting you! Who said I wasn’t expecting you? When I heard the doorbell, I knew it had to be you, or … Val’s date!
Valerie: My date?
Eleanor: Yes, Silly … your date with Derk! Remember … the hockey game?
Valerie: The hockey game … wow … the hockey game . Oh, wow … the hockey game.
Eleanor: Stop repeating yourself and get dressed. Remember … he wants you to meet him downstairs. You know how they ticket cars around here.
Valerie: Downstairs … uh … right.
Eleanor: She has to hurry.
VALERIE rushes to her room.
Eleanor: We’d better hurry, too.
Robert: Oh, we’re o.k. I was able to get an eight o’clock reservation at Alinea. It’s a Michelin three-star restaurant. Unbelievable that I got it.
Eleanor: Yep. Unbelievable. Well, hey, I’m really hungry, so, why don’t we get going? Maybe they’ll take us early!
We hear a knock at the door.
Eleanor: What’s that?
Robert: Maybe it’s Valerie’s date.
ELEANOR does not move.
Robert: Aren’t you …? Here … I’ll get it.
Eleanor: That’s ok! I got it!
ELEANOR runs and practically knocks ROBERT down. She opens the door and DERK is there.
Derk: Hey there, Honeybun.
Eleanor: I’m not your “Honeybun,” Derk.
Robert: So, you’re “Derk”?
Derk: Uh … you heard her, man … “Derk.” That’s my name. Don’t wear it out.
Robert: (extending his hand to DERK) Well, I’m Robert. Nice to meet you.
Derk: (entering without shaking ROBERT’s hand) Yeah … I’m sure it is.
Eleanor: Oh, no time for chitchat! Derk … why don’t you go down and warm up your car! I’ll send Val right down. Ok?
Derk: Val? What? But—
Eleanor: Derk! Help me out here. I need you to wait downstairs, ok? Just do me this favor and please don’t argue!
Derk: Hey … something’s got your panties in a bunch.
Eleanor: (shouting towards VALERIE’s room) VAL … VAL … DERK IS HERE! ANYTIME YOU’RE READY! (to ROBERT) Poor thing hasn’t been out in so long. She’s so excited about the hockey game. (to DERK) It’s so sweet of you to take her.
Derk: (to ROBERT) What you staring at?
Robert: I’m not sure.
Derk: Well, let’s not cop an attitude, Slim. Obviously, you’re the man of the hour.
Eleanor: Derk, it’s really important that you go check on your car! I’m telling you … the cops tow around here!
Derk: Not my car. I got commercial plates. Besides … my dad is tight with the mayor.
ROBERT walks over to straighten out the crooked mirror. DERK rushes to beat ROBERT to it, practically pushing ROBERT out of the way.
Derk: Hey! I got it! I hung that baby.
DERK straightens out the mirror.
Robert: How nice. We have something in common. We both work with our hands.
Eleanor: Derk, please! You don’t want to be late for the Blackbirds!
Derk: I think you mean the Blackhawks.
VALERIE comes in wearing a tight, revealing dress.
Valerie: Hi, Derk.
Eleanor: Wow. You auditioning for the Playboy channel? Isn’t that a bit much … or, rather, a bit not enough … for a hockey game?
Valerie: I bet Derk and Robert like it. Robert, what do you think? How do I look?
Eleanor: Like a tart. Why are you asking? You know you always look great.
Valerie: I wasn’t asking you. And don’t you dare buy a dress like this.
Robert: What’s going on?
Derk: It’s women. They got a special language. Say, Ellie, we’re not going to the hockey game. I got tickets to Goodman Theatre.
Eleanor: What? Sure … you would do that!
Robert: I guess we’re supposed to be impressed.
Derk: I would be if I were you.
Robert: We have a reservation at Alinea.
Derk: My family has a private booth at Alinea.
Eleanor: Showtime! Hitch up the horses!
Derk: Uhm, Ellie, we need to talk, you know?
Robert: Actually, Eleanor, maybe we should talk. When you were in my office—
Eleanor: Gosh! Time to go, everyone!
Valerie: Ah ha! You’re the plastic surgeon! That’s why you were so interested in my nose! Is she doing Botox?
Robert: Uh … I’m sorry … but, I can’t divulge what a patient discusses—
Derk: He’s your doctor? That’s pretty rank.
Valerie: Is that ethical … to date your patient?
Derk: “Theoretically,” why don’t you kiss my keester?
Eleanor: Derk! Val! Don’t be stupid!
Valerie: Excuse me. I am not stupid! And I’m not the one who forgot who’s coming to—
Eleanor: Whoa! Time to go! Curtain’s going up!
Derk: Too bad. Wanted to tell you … my dad is gonna talk to the cats at WGN.
Eleanor: He is?!
Derk: Damn straight. I wouldn’t kid around. I know I blew it with the engagement ring.
Robert/Valerie: Engagement ring?
Eleanor: His Mom’s engagement ring! Derk’s into heirlooms. Uhm, Derk, we’ll talk business soon! We all have to go! Giddy-up!
Eleanor: (whispering to DERK as she ushers him to the door) Oh, my God, Derk … WGN!
Derk: I told you my Dad’s the Man.
Robert: I’m sure Eleanor has her own prospects.
Derk: You dissing me, man?
Robert: You know, I’m a doctor. I might be able to write a prescription for your moods.
Eleanor: Ok! Val, Derk … bye bye. Catch you later!
Derk: Don’t wait too long.
Robert: Maybe you two want to talk tonight?
Valerie: Yeah. Robert and I can find something to do.
Eleanor: Val, get your tush out the door. Derk knows business is business and pleasure is … oh, something cryptic. My people will call your people. Ok? So, ta ta … off you go!
ELEANOR nudges DERK with VALERIE’s coat. VALERIE and DERK start to leave. DERK winks at ELEANOR before closing the door. There is a long pause.
Eleanor: Such a cute couple.
Robert: He’s hot for you.
Eleanor: Please! Oh, that’s silly. “Hot” for me. He just likes to be helpful.
Robert: Are you sleeping with him?
Eleanor: What?! No! Of course not! He’s just an old friend.
Robert: Who likes to give away vintage rings.
Eleanor: Oh, yeah … quirky guy. I’m really just being friendly because his dad can maybe help my career. It’s strictly business. “Sleeping with him”? No need for that.
Robert: Hey, listen … I wonder if we should take a rain check.
Eleanor: What? Did I say something wrong? I was just trying to explain—
Robert: No, no, you’re fine. I’m just … I don’t know ….
Eleanor: Hungry? I know you get low blood sugar. Simple fix—let’s go eat! I’ve been looking forward to it.
Robert: You have?
Eleanor: You kidding? Like a puppy waiting to pee.
Robert: Ah. Ok. Well, I guess we better go before the police tow my car.
Eleanor: Oh … right. Don’t want that.
ROBERT helps ELEANOR on with her coat. As they exit the apartment, the mirror rattles. We hear Megadeth music swell up, then stop abruptly.
End of scene eight.