Devising Farmington

Wed, 06/05/2013 - 08:07 -- sewm02

Devising Farmington


Here are some links that explain and discuss the devising process.

Wikipedia discussion of devising theatre. [1]

Conventions [2]

Improvisation ideas [3]

The information below is from the devising sessions. To go to the draft of the script, use the following link.

Script draft [[4]]

Devising session - March 5

Senario --- A young wife is fixing her husband's lunch for the cat-eye shift. She is subtly suggesting he take a new job he has been offered. His is unsure. He knows the mine is "gasey" but he feel an obligation to his co-workers. The children wander in and out of the kitchen, interrupting the conversation.

Notes from the improv

Group #1

  • Children stand by, in the room next door, chatting and playing. Dad comes in scares Mom and wraps his arms around her. They laugh and Mom starts to prepare dinner. Mom is in almost constant motion. Dad is seated at the table.*

Mom- You want chicken?

Dad- Yea, sure.

Mom- And cheese?

Dad- No just chicken. Did you get the car?

(Kids run in, circling Mom)

Child #1/Sara- He broke my toy.

Child #2/Rob- No. No. I didn’t....

Mom- I’m not dealing with this. Just go to your room.

(Kids exit)

Dad- What about the car?

Mom- Well I went down to get it, but they have something else to do on it.

Dad- Something else?

Mom- Yes.

Dad- How are we ever going to pay for all of this?

Mom- I just... We’ll find a way through. We always do.

(Children come rushing in. Pam is in front with a broken doll and tears on her cheeks.)

Child #3/Pam- Mom she broke my Barbie!!! She popped her head off!! (Cries, whining)

Mom- Really now?!?!

(Dad comforts child)

Mom- Just go to bed all of you. You two just go. To your rooms!

(Two of the kids leave. Pam remains.)

Pam I just can’t deal with this right now. Just stop your whining.

Child #3/Pam- Fine! I’m GOING!! (Exits)

(There is a beat of silence as Mom returns to dinner.)

Dad- If I’m gonna switch jobs, we can’t be having these extra expenses. We barely get by as it is.

Mom- But, sweetie, we always get by somehow.

Dad- Somehow...

Mom- We’ve been through some tight spots. We’ll be alright.

Dad- (Resigned) Yea, yea... We’ll be alright.

Group #2

  • Mom is cleaning the kitchen. Dad enters after a nap and sits lazily at the table. Mom brings over some coffee. She is constantly bustling about the room. He starts to smoke a cigarette.*

Mom- Did you sleep well?

Dad- You know I can’t sleep well during the day.

Mom- Were the kids too noisy? I told them. I told them to keep quiet a thousand times...

Dad- No, no, it’s fine.

Kid #1 voice- MOM!!

Mom- Yes?

Kid#1 voice- Mom! I can’t find my ball!!!

Mom- You left it outside. It’s too late now to get it. You’ll have to get it in the morning.

Kid#1 voice- Can’t you get it?

Mom- Not right now.

Kid #1 voice- MOM!!

Dad- Do I need to come up there?

Kid #1 voice- Will you bring my ball?

Dad- Do I?!

Kid #1 voice- No sir!

Mom- So what’s going on in your shift today?

Dad- Same old. Same old. Did you get the car?

Mom-Well, I went down to get it, but they have something else to do on it.

Dad-Something else?

Mom- Yes. (hands him a piece of paper)

Dad- (sighs) That car costs us more money than it's worth. How am I ever going to pay for all of this?

Mom- I just... We'll find a way through. We always do.

(Children #2 and #3 come rushing in. #2 is in front with a broken doll and tears on her cheeks.)

Child #2- Mom, she broke my new Barbie! She popped her head off!! (cries, wining)

Mom- Really now?!?!

(Dad comforts Child #2. Child #3 looks both ashamed and resentful.)

Mom- Just go to bed, both of you. Just go. (pause) To your rooms! (children exit)

Mom- Did you ever make that call? About working in the machine shop?

Dad- If I'm gonna switch jobs, we can't be having all these extra expenses. We barely get by as it is.

(Mom sighs, then starts to speak.)

Kid #1 voice- MOM!! MOM!!!

Dad- Do I need to come up there?!!!!

Kid #1 voice- No.

Dad- That kid is driving me crazy.

Mom- You know, he gets it from his father.

Dad- (Laughs a bit) He'll be a good worker someday. (Beat) Get me some coffee, honey.

(Mom takes cup and pours coffee)

Dad- So, what’s for lunch today?

Mom- I made you something special. ( Beat) Tuna fish.

Dad- Tuna? (Beat) You know you make that tuna so much I’m gonna have to start calling you that. Tuna fish.

Mom- Maybe if you took up that new job we’d be able to have something better. Maybe even chicken salad!!

(They laugh together)

Mom- (Beat) So, I heard about those readings. (Beat) See my brother brought me back from the garage, and...

Dad- I know about the readings.

Mom- Doesn’t that worry you a bit?

Dad- I’ll be fine.

Mom- Will you?! You know what happened to my Aunt.

Dad- Yes, yes I know.

(Mom’s pace has quickened)

Mom- She got turned up out of her house after her man died. Just turned up out of her house like that.


Dad- Some of the guys and me were planning to talk to management about the gas readings. We'll be okay, Tuna Fish. (pause) Besides, your Aunt was crazy.

Mom- Yeah, she was a bit crazy. She wanted me to marry you.

Dad- Crazy like a fox.

Group #3

  • Mom stands about the kitchen, but she is always within close reach of her husband. Dad sits at the table, laid back.*

Mom- How are you sweetie?

Dad- Good, good. What’s for dinner?

Mom- You can have a ham sandwich.

Dad- Can you make me peanut butter and jelly instead?

Mom- Yea, Sure honey. (Goes to work on the sandwich)

Kid #1/Sam voice- MOM! Can I get a glass of water?

Mom- One minute...

Kid #1/Sam voice - MOOOOOM! I need a glass of water! Pleeeeeeease!!!

Mom- I’m getting it!

Kid #1/Sam voice - MOOOOOOOOM!

Dad- Can you please just get her that glass of water? She’s gonna drive me crazy. (Small Beat) Please?

Mom- I’ve got it. (Fills a glass. Exits for a moment.) So, have you thought about it?

Dad- Yea. I thought about it, but I just don’t know. I mean, if that job doesn’t pay as much as mining.... And we’re doing alright now. The kids have got a roof over their heads. They’ve got food and clothes.

Mom- Yea. (Beat) But I really want you to put some thought into this. I worry about you down there in those mines.

(Kid #2 enters)

Kid #2/Mike- Mom.... Mom. I had an accident. (Cries bitterly)

Mom- Oh, sweetheart!

(Comforting and walking him out of the room) It’s alright. Just go on in and change your pajamas. I’ll come in a little bit to help you clean up. It’s alright honey. Just go change. (Beat. Child exits)

Dad- You were saying...

Mom- I was just saying, I’ve been hearing things is all. I heard about those gas readings, and I know you don’t worry about it too much, but I do. I can’t help worrying.

Dad- I know. I know. But we gotta think about the kids, about our life here. If that job doesn’t pay well enough we could be going into some really hard times. I just don’t know about changing everything around. I feel like I gotta work down there. (Beat) And everything will be fine. I’m sure.

Mom- I understand. And I know this is your decision in the end. I just want you to know that, no matter what, I’ll support you. No matter what decision you make. I’ll worry. I always do. But in the end, this is what I signed up for. I knew when I married you, and I am not gonna back out on you now.

(Sigh. Beat)

You better be going to work now, honey.

Dad- Yea. I’ve gotta get going. (Getting up to leave) Don’t you worry about me.

Mom- Bye sweetheart! (Kisses his cheek)

(Dad exits.)

Devising Session March 6

Scenario 1 A little boy steals spark plugs from his neighbor who is fixing his car. The neighbor catches him. He feels the need to punish the boy (it takes a village). The boy tries to convince hih that he was "only funnin'." (Once you have played this out a couple of times, create a monologue for the boy. Have him talk to an off-stage person. We should only hear the boy.)

Group #1

(A little boy is crying to his mother. This speech is given in between sobs).

Mommy….. Mr. Wilson…. He……he…..he spanked….. me! He was so…… mean….. and I didn’t do nothing,…… never…… done….. nothing to him. He hit…… me…… so….. hard…… He’s such a mean….. old… man…..

(Same character, grown up and reflecting on his memories of his neighbor, Mr. Wilson.)

I remember Mr. Wilson. He used to have this car. He loved that car. We used to sit on it, and he’d get so mad at us. Then one time I thought it’d be funny to steal some of his spark plugs. Boy, did he get me. He beat my ass so hard. (beat) He took me fishing once. He was a good man, like a father to me. I really do miss him.

Group #2

(young boy talking to his friend)

Hey, hey Johnny! Come over here! So today, me and Billy, he came over, and we played truth or dare. And he said which do you want “truth or dare”. I just wanted to warm up so I said truth. Then he said “Ok, what are you most afraid of?” And I said the dinosaur out under my bed. Then he told me I was a chicken, and then I says, “FINE! I want a dare.” Then he looked out, over to Mr. Wilson’s yard, and said “fine you go over there and take one of them alligator plugs.” And then I went over there like the brave kid I am and grabbed ‘em. But what I didn’t know is that he was watching me the whole time from his window. And I saw him, and I ran right outta there fast as I could, all the way up onto my porch. But then he came out right after me. He grabbed me, and he whooped me right there, right there on my porch. But, you know what, I’m not afraid OF HIM. I think I’d do it again if I could.

(Same situation from the perspective of the old man, Mr. Wilson)

I’m sorry sir. It’s this car here. I had this rotor to fix, and well I didn’t have it here. So I went out to my house, and then I caught this little shit stealing my spark plugs. I had to run clear across the street right up on to that boy's porch, and then I whooped him right there in front of his Momma. (laughs) Yes, Sir. Thank you sir.

Group #3

(Kid comes sneaking from the side, grabs a spark plug from the car)

Oh, hi Mr. Williams. (turns and puts it in his pocket)

No, no, school let out same time as usual. I just got home real fast is all. What’s in my pocket? Nothing! Nothing’s in my pocket, sir. No, no, just my marker. Yea, my teacher Mrs. Mills she gave it to me. Yea, yea. See we got this art project there at school. You want to see this marker. No, no, you don’t want THIS marker. It’s not a very good one. I think that’s why Mrs. Mills gave it to me. It’s sorta dried up. Not very good. Yea. Well it’s a sorta black marker maybe a little white…. No, no, this isn’t a really good marker. No, no, don’t count! Don’t count! I’ll show you. (pulls out the spark plug) Yes, yes, I know. I’m sorry. I just thought maybe if I could borrow it, and I could trace it then I’d have the best spark plug in the whole school for my art project. No, I’m sorry. Yes, I know my Daddy wouldn’t want me to be stealing. Yes I know. Oh no, you don’t have to tell my Momma. Please, Please don’t tell her. Teach me a lesson! Oh, oh, but I promise I won’t do it again. I won’t never steal nothing from no one NEVER! I promise. Please don’t. A SPANKING!?!? No, no! Not a spanking! Please, sir! PLEASE!! Not a spanking. Oh, oh, alright but just not too hard, okay. Wait, wait. Can I go in and get a frying pan? One time I put a frying pan in my pants and when my Momma spanked me it didn’t hurt nearly so bad. OH! Ok, I’ll do it. Just, just not too hard. (boy is spanked 3 times). Oh, ok. I learned my lesson. I’ll be going now. Oh, I know why you spanked me. (long beat) You want me to repeat all that! Oh, Alright. First, cause I, uh, I shamed my father by stealing. Second, ummm, cause, ummm, cause I came in your yard and I stole from you. Third, well uhhh, oh I can’t remember! Wait, oh, um third, cause I tried to lie about it. Yes sir, I know. I promise I won’t ever do it again.

Scenario 2 An older man and his wife are spending the evening together before he goes off to the cat-eye shift. He wants to dance to the radio. She thinks he is being foolish. She is trying to watch her TV program. He tried to talk her into it as he moves back the furniture.


Devising Session March 13

Jason Young -Two possible lines for the store owner on the phone

                "What do you want me to tell them? Don't tell them anything?"
                One possible line for the reporter "J.R." in his confrontation with "Rev"
                "I recognized half the cars in that parking lot."
                Two possible lines between between Female Times West Virginian Reporter and  Family Member - Family Member - "Why are you here, you weren't here to cover the roof fall last year." Fanny (Times Reporter) "That wasn't really news."