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Clock Work - A ten minute play

Updated on May 19, 2014
Source

Setting

A classic, retro diner with cheap fixtures. Lots of chrome. 3-5 tables, only one of which will be occupied. There should be a counter of some sort. The table at which Nessa and Blake sit should be adjacent to the audience. Nessa and Blake sit facing each other, cocked toward the audience.

Characters

Nessa, a 20-something quirky girl. Obviously pretty quick. A philosopher of sorts.

Blake, in his early 30s. He should act as though he has had a few drinks, making him confident and not easily swayed. His demeanor should be compliant.

Waitress, a typical diner waitress.

Act One

The lights come on to reveal a woman sitting at a table in a diner. A large clock is projected for the audience to see. It reads 11:32 P.M. She persistently stares at her watch. A man walks on stage and sees her sitting alone. Curious, he approaches her.

BLAKE

Excuse me miss, is this seat taken?

Nessa looks up at him then scans the diner, noticing that the only other person there is the waitress.

NESSA

Sarcastically

Well seeing as how every other seat is taken, I guess you can sit with me.

Nessa looks back at her watch.

BLAKE

I just thought you might like some company.

NESSA

Looking at him.

Did you?

She looks back at her watch.

Pause

BLAKE

Uh… what exactly are you doing? If you don’t mind me asking.

NESSA

What’s it look like I’m doing? I’m keeping an eye on the time.

BLAKE

He chuckles hesitantly.

Are you afraid it’s going to fly away?

NESSA

Very seriously.

Time doesn’t fly.

Confused and slightly abashed Blake almost gets up and leaves. Just then the Waitress comes over.

WAITRESS

What can I get you guys this wonderful evening?

BLAKE

I’ll just have a coffee, black. Thanks.

WAITRESS

And for you dear?

NESSA

A burger and a side of home fries.

WAITRESS

Coming right up.

The waitress retreats, leaving the couple awkwardly. Nessa continues to stare at her watch.

BLAKE

What’s your name anyway?

NESSA

Distractedly.

Nessa Marx.

BLAKE

I’m Blake Ross, nice to meet you.

He holds out his hand to shake. She misses the gesture.

Pause

BLAKE

Frustrated

Oh my God. What are you doing?!

NESSA

Startled

I’m keeping an eye on the time!

BLAKE

What does that mean?

NESSA

Rushed.

It means that things have a tendency to slip through seconds, becoming minutes, and then hours, then days, weeks, months, years, and before you know it… it’s all over.

BLAKE

So? That’s life!

NESSA

No it’s not. Life is all of the experiences in between. Time is completely different.

The waitress comes over, interrupting the discussion. Gratefully, Blake accepts the coffee and the Waitress walks off.

BLAKE

Calmly

What are you doing here?

NESSA

No longer looking at her watch.

I’m having an experience.

BLAKE

Pause.

You are intense.

NESSA

You’re brave.

BLAKE

What do you do for a living?

NESSA

I do what’s necessary to live. What else?

BLAKE

No. I mean, what’s your job?

NESSA

I know what you meant, I’m just testing you.

BLAKE

What, why?

NESSA

I want to know what makes you tick.

BLAKE

Suspicious.

I’m not a clock if that’s what you’re getting at.

NESSA

Of course not, that would be ridiculous. Unless of course you had an organ that beats at a regular interval keeping time with your body’s personal signature. Then I would say you are very much like a clock.

BLAKE

Taken aback.

Fair point.

The waitress appears holding a plate with a burger and home fries, also carrying the coffee pot. Blake stares at Nessa while the waitress fills up his cup and places the plate in front of her. She then walks back behind the counter. Nessa picks up her fork and tastes the potatoes.

BLAKE

Is it good?

NESSA

Very good. How’s the coffee?

BLAKE

Strong.

Pause.

BLAKE

So have you figured it out?

NESSA

Through a mouthful of food.

Figured what out?

BLAKE

What makes me tick.

NESSA

Not in the slightest.

BLAKE

Surprised.

Huh. I was sure you were going to hit me with another crazy smart answer.

NESSA

How could I know anything about you when you hardly know yourself?

BLAKE

What’s that supposed to mean?

NESSA

Ask yourself this, why did you come in here tonight?

BLAKE

Pausing to think about it. Choosing his words carefully.

I was walking home from the bar and I saw you sitting in here all by yourself.

NESSA

But why did you come in?

BLAKE

I don’t know. I just did it.

NESSA

Exactly!

Nessa points at him while she speaks here. Blake jumps, an almost delayed reaction.

You acted on an impulse. You had no idea who I was or what I was doing here, but you came in and sat down next to me.

BLAKE

Well? What does that mean?

NESSA

Crossing her arms and shrugging.

It means you weren’t keeping an eye on the time.

Blake raises the coffee to his mouth and takes a big sip. He sets the mug down and sighs. Nessa starts working on her burger.

BLAKE

Leaning back in his chair.

You are a trip.

NESSA

Thanks!

BLAKE

Why are you here?

NESSA

I was waiting for you of course.

BLAKE

Eyes wide.

You were waiting for me?

NESSA

Well, I didn’t exactly know it was going to be you, but yeah. I was waiting.

BLAKE

You didn’t escape from some mental place did you? Are you on the run?

NESSA

I make it a point in life not to run from anything. But to answer your question, no I’m not crazy. But maybe you are.

BLAKE

I’m starting to think I am.

Pause. The sounds of chewing, sipping, and scribbling fill the space. Throughout the play, while the audience is distracted by the actors, the clock is moving ahead, making ten minutes seem like hours.

BLAKE

When I came in here, you said it was because I wasn’t watching the time. What does that mean? What does time have to do with it?

NESSA

Only as much as you think it does. You acted spontaneously, and time couldn’t follow. Your experience took over and time took a back seat.

BLAKE

So what you’re saying is, that because I made a quick decision, time stopped existing.

NESSA

Sure, if you want to look at it that way.

BLAKE

Well how do you see it?

NESSA

Nonchalantly.

I see time as a human creation of limitation. Designed specifically to keep us on track with other humans. However, when someone acts impulsively, they stop perceiving time and they retain experience instead.

BLAKE

That’s deep.

NESSA

Good thing I can swim.

BLAKE

So if you reject time, why were you staring at your watch when I came in?

NESSA

Oh, right. Well I was making sure I wasn’t influencing your decision in any way.

BLAKE

What decision?

NESSA

The one that made you come in and sit next to me. I wanted time to stay put long enough for you to get away from it.

BLAKE

A confused look on his face.

Oh, that makes sense.

NESSA

Does it? Good.

The waitress comes over to take the empty plate and fills up Blake’s mug.

WAITRESS

Anything else I can get ya?

BLAKE

Turning to Nessa.

Do you want dessert?

NESSA

Sure.

BLAKE

Ok, two slices of carrot cake please.

NESSA

And a cup of coffee for me. Thanks!

The waitress goes to get the cake and the mug then places it in front of them. She fills up Nessa’s cup, then walks back behind the counter.

BLAKE

So you were waiting for me.

NESSA

Yeah. The question is who were you waiting for?

BLAKE

What do you mean? I wasn’t waiting for anybody.

NESSA

You mean you weren’t sitting alone at the bar waiting for someone who told you they were going to meet you there?

BLAKE

How did you know that?

NESSA

Good guess.

BLAKE

Tense.

She stood me up.

NESSA

You would think with everyone’s clocks set to the same time, we would be able to keep track of things better. It’s almost as if, time doesn’t matter.

Pause.

NESSA

Don’t take it personally. She missed out on a pretty great experience.

BLAKE

And what experience is that?

NESSA

Meeting you.

BLAKE

Confidently. Now smiling.

So Nessa Marx, do you make it a point to school dummies like me often?

NESSA

I prefer to think of it as an opportunity for you to discover a little more about yourself. We spend too much time trying to figure out other people.

BLAKE

Well that’s not fair.

NESSA

What do you mean?

BLAKE

Well if I spend this moment only getting to know myself, I won’t get the opportunity to know you.

Pause. Nessa looks at him and smiles.

NESSA

Fair point.

Blake reaches behind him and gets his wallet out. Nessa makes and effort to pay but he shrugs her off. He puts the money on the table.

BLAKE

What are you doing tomorrow?

NESSA

It is tomorrow.

Blake looks at his watch.

BLAKE

Would you look at that. Time really got away.

The couple laughs and rises, walking off stage together. The lights dim and the curtains close. The audience clock reads 2:13 A.M.

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    • desiderioac7 profile image

      desiderioac7 2 years ago

      This was a well-written play. The ten-minute-play structure was perfect with the story told, the characters were consistent, and believably written. Having written ten-minute plays myself for Play-in-a-Day festivals, I enjoyed this.

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