March 13, 2010

Mountain Top

mount-olympus.jpgMy second script for Chicken Hat weekend. My prompts last night were Oscar Wilde, A Clown's Nose, and Olympus (the actual mountain, not the home of the gods) and I was writing for 2 men, plus a walk on by Kaylee Matuszak.

I had several false starts on this one, including a funny but ultimately unsustainable scene of 19th century authors downhill skiing, but finally focused on the parenthetical note about Olympus as my jump off point. It was, of course, my son, Simon, who threw that prompt in there. It is another of my more philosophical pieces returning to a common theme in my writing - the true believer meets the skeptic. Enjoy.

Don't read further if you don't want any spoilers.

Continue reading "Mountain Top" »

March 12, 2010

Sesame Street Blues

ernie_koekie.gifIt's time for another round of Chicken Hat plays, and so here is my original script for the day. The twist this time is that instead of writing one 10 minute show we are writing two 5 minute scenes, presumably 12 hours apart. I got one actor and a walk on and an optional off stage voice. I took that option.

I broke two cardinal rules in this script. Don't make your actors sing. Don't make your actors do impersonations. Yet, after the read through, I feel fairly confident this should be good.

My prompts were:

WHO: A Bitter Academic
WHAT: Harmonica
WHERE: Sesame Street
TIME: 11:00
WALK ON: Super Dave Anderson (area television meteorologist)

If you are coming tonight, don't read on unless you want spoilers.

Continue reading "Sesame Street Blues" »

May 29, 2009

Duluth Playhouse Promo

My daughter, Emma, is featured in this promo video. What she says is true. When she was six and first auditioning she was extremely shy, but also extremely charming. I'm very proud of her, in case you didn't know.

November 17, 2008

A Man's World

I was looking for something else on my computer and stumbled upon this 4 year old script which, on second read, is pretty funny.

I wrote it for Out of the Hat, which is a 24 hour play project where the writers get prompts and have to write their scripts overnight. My prompts for this script were "A Condiment Taste-Tester," "Battle of the Sexes," and "A Radio Station." The opening line given to me was "Do I know you?" And I was writing for 1 man and 2 women. So here's A Man's World...

Continue reading "A Man's World" »

May 31, 2008

Manly Things

hunting_stand.jpgEven though my kids were in Ohio I have to wonder if they sent in prompts for my script that I wrote. My "who" was Napoleon Dynamite, an oft quoted movie in my family, and my "what" was a kumquat, which we think is one of the funniest named fruits ever. My "where" was a hunting stand and our common cameo was "Brian Matuszak," director of Rubber Chicken Productions.

The first few pages flowed fast for me but I kinda ran out of steam at the end, but I drew a great cast and I think they will sell it.

So, without further ado, I present "Manly Things"...

Continue reading "Manly Things" »

May 29, 2008


Mini-Jellybeans-Poster-C12134148.jpegIt's Out of the Hat time again, only now it's under new management, sorta, so it's called the Chicken Hat plays. At any rate, the rules are still the same and I have to produce a short play tonight and tomorrow night based on prompts.

My play I just finished for Friday night probably uses the prompts more literally than any play I've ever done.

Who: An Expensive Radio Consultant
What: A Hatful of Jellybeans
Where: A Dock

The different thing this time around is that each play on Friday will feature a cameo by Mayor Steve Anderson of Proctor.

Once again I return to a common theme of my plays. There's a true believer in conflict with a skeptic. I really should just call these the On the Couch Plays since I work out my own issues in them.

Continue reading "Ploink!" »

April 23, 2008

Pulp Fiction as written by William Shakespeare

url.jpegWhat began as a wonderful thread going on at the livejournal of Kevin Pease is now a full fledged wiki for the reconstruction of Pulp Fiction as if it had been written by William Shakespeare.

Here's a sample:

JULES: Your pardon; did I break thy concentration?
Continue! Ah, but now thy tongue is still.
Allow me then to offer a response.
Describe Marsellus Wallace to me, pray.
BRETT: What?
J: What country dost thou hail from?
B: What?
J: Thou sayest thou dost hail from distant What?
I know but naught of thy fair country What.
What language speak they in the land of What?
B: What?
J: English, base knave, dost thou speak it?
B: Aye!
J: Then hearken to my words and answer them!
Describe to me Marsellus Wallace!
B: What?
JULES presses his knife to BRETT's throat
J: Speak 'What' again! Thou cur, cry 'What' again!
I dare thee utter 'What' again but once!
I dare thee twice and spit upon thy name!
Now, paint for me a portraiture in words,
If thou hast any in thy head but 'What',
Of Marsellus Wallace!
B: He is dark.
J: Aye, and what more?
B: His head is shaven bald.
J: Hath he the semblance of a harlot?
B: What?
JULES strikes and BRETT cries out
J: Hath he the semblance of a harlot?
B: Nay!
J: Then why didst thou attempt to bed him thus?
B: I did not!
J: Aye, thou didst! O, aye, thou didst!
Thou sought to rape him like a chattel whore!
And sooth, Lord Wallace is displeased to bed
With aught but Lady Wallace, whom he wed.

April 19, 2008

Director's Notes

crystal-ball.jpgI went to a production of Blithe Spirit last night at a local high school. It had a Director's Note like none I've ever seen. Most Director's Notes for plays fall into the following categories:

  • My Artistic Vision - These are always amusing, typically arrogant, and often portend disaster for the next 2 hours.
  • Thank You So Much - This is what a director says when he or she can't think of anything else to say. Also often portends disaster.
  • Wink Wink, Nudge Nudge - The director makes little inside jokes that you just had to be there for. Your friend in the cast will explain it after the show through hails of laughter. Smile and nod.
  • I Have a Masters Degree - Hey, the director spent a lot of time and money getting that degree. Might as well put it to use. Yawn.
  • The History of this Play - Blah, blah, blah. Start the frickin' play already.

This page long "note," however, read like a paper on British-Indian relations in the middle of the 20th century when Great Britain was divesting itself of its colonial possessions. When I got to the bottom of this dissertation it was all because of two lines in the play that disparage Indians and how they decided to leave the lines in even though they are "offensive" and how they do "not in any way condone these beliefs."

I rolled my eyes.

I had never seen Blithe Spirit, though I knew the gist of it. Fabulous dead wife returns from the dead to haunt living husband and domineering living wife. So it was fun for me, considering the lengthy disclaimer in the Director's Notes, to see what this Catholic High School thought wasn't worth disclaiming...

  • Alcohol Abuse - The characters are constantly drinking and it's a major theme of the play, but, on the whole, apparently better than racial slurs.
  • Wife Beating - The dead wife mentions how her husband struck her with a pool cue but that she still loved him. Better than calling Indians lazy!
  • Occult Practice - Summoning people from the dead, while strictly forbidden in scripture, is still more acceptable than racial epithets!
  • Tobacco Use - Considering the current civic obsession about smoking I'm surprised that there wasn't a disclaimer about people smoking in the 1940s being the social norm, but apparently casting aspersions on Indians is worse!
  • Adultery - There's plenty of discussion about infidelities and trysts and indiscretions and other naughty extra-marital behavior which kinda made me blush coming from the mouths of 16 and 17 year olds, but apparently that doesn't merit a disclaimer.

Oh, and not only did these brief comments merit a full page disclaimer, but were the main topic of the opening curtain speech which went on for several minutes. Nothing about how hard the kids had worked on the play or how fun the play was to do. Nope, the director seemed bent on making sure no one was offended.

And that, unfortunately, is what it all comes down to... making sure no one is offended. And, of course, this is evidence of social psychosis. Because we can't control what offends people any more than we can control what makes people sad, or happy, or angry. I mean, sure, it's good to be considerate, but it's a slippery slope to start apologizing for certain things and leaving other issues out. And if we can only do plays that don't offend anyone well, there goes Shakespeare, Moliere, Eugene O'Neill, Tennessee Williams, and, well, just about any other playwright of note.

So, to all the artists out there, I hereby give you permission to make art that may offend me. Go for it.

February 4, 2008

Improv Everywhere Rocks... Again

I first heard of Improv Everywhere a few years ago when a handful of "agents" set up a moebius loop of action in a Starbucks. Since then I've been following their exploits with slackjawed amazement. I love the fact that they create a bit of fantasy and wonder in the world. This mission really exemplifies that. They create a Twilight Zone moment for some people in Grand Central Station. Truly inspiring.

November 10, 2007

Katie & Martin

luther13.jpgAs long as I'm posting plays, I thought I'd pull this one out of the attic. I wrote this one about 10 years ago. It was the final "paper" for a class on Martin Luther. I was reminded it of it recently when I was watching Luther, the 2003 film starring Joseph Fiennes. I think the love life of Katharina von Bora and Martin Luther would make a fun romantic comedy in the mold of Tracy and Hepburn. Tell me what you think.

Katie & Martin

Dramatis Personae

Conrad - chorus and narrator
Martin - reformer, theologian, monk
Katie - an escaped nun
Koppe - a merchant
Wolf - Koppe's nephew
Jerome - a young scholar
Amsdorf - a professor
Various Nuns and Townspeople

Scene 1

Conrad - This is a tale of love and marriage, made more remarkable because the two people in question are a monk and a nun. The monk is none other than Martin Luther. (gestures toward Martin) At the beginning of our story it has been five years since he posted his famous 95 theses on the eve of All Saints' Day in 1517 and almost a full year since he appeared before the Diet at Worms. (pronounced "vorms" with an "o" as in "gore")

Continue reading "Katie & Martin" »

Kiss Me? Please...

burundi_ants.jpgHere's my second Out of the Hat script for this go around. While I think it's a pretty funny script it's definitely one of my more philosophical scripts, but the prompts just sort of directed me that way. Can't help it, can I? I mean, if your prompts were an ant hill, a Dunkin' Donut, and Bruce Lee, wouldn't you get all philosophical too?

You wouldn't?

Maybe it's just me then...

Continue reading "Kiss Me? Please..." »

November 8, 2007

Like, Whatever


It's Out of the Hat time again! And that can only mean one thing - original scripts on!

Tonight's script is very local and really focused around two local blogs and since I'm a regular on one, I make no pretense about being impartial.

I don't know if it's a good script, but it was cathartic to write.

Continue reading "Like, Whatever" »

June 13, 2007

Out of the Hat


Continue reading "Out of the Hat" »

June 8, 2007

What Just Happened

copierroom.JPGWell, here's my second Out of the Hat installment for the weekend. My prompts for tonight were:

Who: The traveling TB patient
What: copier machine
Where: in a UPS truck

I sort of cheated in that my Who became my What and my What became my Where and my Where became my Who... but who cares?

I really like this script not because it's brilliant, but because it's brilliantly simple. It is definitely an actor's script. It should be easy to learn and quick to put up on its feet and good actors should have a ball with it.

Anybody who has done improv will recognize immediately that this is based on an old short form game called "emo replay" where you do a simple scene over several times with different emotional overlays. This is really no more than a scripted form of that.

Continue reading "What Just Happened" »

June 7, 2007

Home of the Brave

suspect.scarlet.jpgIt's Out of the Hat time again, so I'm writing a short play for tomorrow night and for Saturday night based on prompts drawn (where else?) out of a hat.

This time around for the 8 short plays each night, 2 of the writers will share the same prompts so the audience can see what different directions the set of prompts can take the writers. These were the prompts for Lauren Fleischman and me...

Who: Bruce Wayne
What: heart-shaped tattoo with the name “Bubba” in it
Where: a house where there’s been a murder

It's going to be performed Friday night at Renegade Comedy Theater, but you can read it here first!

Continue reading "Home of the Brave" »

June 3, 2007

Paul Live

paullivemic.jpgAbout 14 years ago some friends and I wrote, produced, and performed a play called "The Reduced Bible - from Genesis to Revelation in 60 minutes or less or your money back." A few years ago I rewrote a few parts of it and made them into self standing one acts. This week I rewrote Paul Live, in which all of the Epistles of Paul are reimagined as a radio call-in show, and it was performed at the church I in which I grew up in Wapakoneta, Ohio. Here's the whole thing for anyone who wants to read it.

It can also be found on

If you want to perform this piece, I remind my gentle readers that everything on this site is under a Creative Commons license.

Continue reading "Paul Live" »

December 2, 2006

It’s Hummer Time!

h2-hummer-limousine.jpgThis script was written for the second night of Out of the Hat 7, June of 2006. It's not one of my stronger scripts, but it was fun to write nonetheless. In the performance I particularly like how the actors used a music stand for the partition between the front and back of the limo and would slide it up and down while the tech would bump up the ever present music when the partition was down. My prompts were:

Who: Cleopatra
What: Osama bin Laden’s Turban
Where: Back Seat of a Car
Common Line: “There’s a first time for everything.”
Cast: 2 Men, 2 Women

It’s Hummer Time!
by Lawrence Lee

June 10, 2006

Arnold – Chauffeur
Karen – Chauffeur in training
MP - Male Partier
FP - Female Partier
Cop – Offstage voice

[Loud party music blares. Lights up. Music fades down to the sound of loud music being muffled. The distinct sound of squeaking can be heard. Arnold and Karen are sitting in the front seat of a car. Karen’s arms are folded. Arnold is working on a crossword puzzle. The car is rocking.]

Karen: Does this happen often?

Arnold: Hmm? Oh, yes, sometimes the client asks us to go someplace, you know, romantic. I usually take them up here to the Coppertop parking lot. Lovely view.

Karen: I think you and I are the only ones appreciating the view.

Continue reading "It’s Hummer Time!" »

A Monotonous Succession of Jello Salads

27964398_f86a51f060_m.jpgThis is one of my favorite scripts I have written for Out of the Hat and probably one of my most personal. I have way too much experience with what Amy calls "the talk." This was written for Out of the Hat 7 in June of 2006 and my prompts were:

Who: The Devil
What: A Pineapple
Where: A Church
Common Line: “But, is it contagious?”
Cast: 2 Women

A Monotonous Succession of Jello Salads
Lawrence Lee

June 9, 2006

Amy – A young woman about to be ordained.
Emily – Amy’s sister, a rock singer.

Emily: Amy! Amy, what the hell are you doing here in the Sunday School room? They are lining up. Mom’s worried sick about you.

Amy: (sobbing, trying to push her tears away) I know, I know. I just… I’m not doing it, Emily. They can’t make me. I’m not going up there. (tries to compose herself)

Emily: Come again? Because I thought I just heard my little sister say that after years of school, hundreds of papers, thousands of dollars of loans, dozens of interviews, and numerous late night phone calls to her big sister, she’s not going through with ordination?

Amy: Yep, that’s pretty much it.

Continue reading "A Monotonous Succession of Jello Salads" »

December 1, 2006

Plastic Dreams

astroe.jpgIn Out of the Hat 3 I struck pay dirt. Plastic Dreams was not only a hilarious script, I drew amazing actors for the production. My prompts were:

Who: Barbie
What: Palm Pilot
Where: Hockey Game
Opening Line: "Goodnight everybody, and be kind."
Cast: 3 Men, 1 Woman

This show brought the house down when it was first performed and was performed again as a directing project at the College of St. Scholastica.

Plastic Dreams
by Lawrence Lee
June 5, 2004

BARBIE - a real live Barbie doll
KEN - a real live Ken doll
MARTY - friend of Ken's, regular joe
SAM - another friend of Ken's

MUSIC The closing strains of the Star Spangled Banner as if being played on a hockey rink organ.

LIGHTS up on KEN and MARTY standing at attention, hats off (if any), hands over hearts. KEN is rigidly at attention. MARTY less so.

BARBIE (from offstage, bubbly) Goodnight everybody, and be kind! And Budweiser wants everyone to get home safely so drink responsibly! (giggles) Bu-bye! Bu-bye!

KEN & MARTY (sit)

SAM (enters carrying beers and food) Did I miss it?

MARTY Oh yeah...

SAM Damn! How was it?

MARTY Let me put it this way, Ken you are one lucky S O B.

KEN Thanks, Marty! And, yes, I feel lucky. Lucky to live in such a great country. To know the fruits of freedom that so many men - and women - have fought for and laid down their lives. Yes, I am a lucky man.

Continue reading "Plastic Dreams" »

Go Your Own Way

Fleetwood%20Mac%2012-10-78.jpgThis is my second Out of the Hat script. I wasn't feeling in a very silly mood when I wrote this so this became the first Out of the Hat drama in the second night of the second Out of the Hat in December of 2003.

My prompts were:

Who: Mickey Mouse
What: Dark Swiss Chocolate
Where: Fleetwood Mac Concert
Cast: 2 Women

I'm very pleased with this script and it was performed again in December of 2005 in a series of student directed pieces at the College of St. Scholastica.

Go Your Own Way
by Lawrence Lee
December, 2003

Liz: Woman in her early forties, dressed stylishly, but not frumpy. Maybe artistically.
Beth: 15 year old, dressed somewhat retro, circa 1979, perhaps a bit provocatively.

(lights up, music up on Fleetwood Mac song, loud at first so that Liz has to shout her opening few lines, but fading as scene continues)

Liz: Amanda! Amanda Mae Barnes, where are you? (as if struggling through crowd) Ah, there you are! (grabs Liz's shoulder from behind, turns her around) How dare you go to this concert without my... (take) Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you were...

Beth: Somebody else, yeah, I got that... (turns back around, moving to music)

Liz: (not knowing what to do) Excuse me, but, I'm looking for my daughter.

Continue reading "Go Your Own Way" »

Campbell of the Mounties and the Maple Syrup Plot

craig-mountie.gifI decided after the good response my last two Out of the Hat scripts got I'd put my previous scripts up here just for fun.

This is my first Out of the Hat script and it was written for the second Out of the Hat in December of 2003. My prompts were:

Who: A Canadian Mountie
What: The Shrinking Machine from "Honey I Shrunk the Kids"
Where: Beach
Cast: 1 Man, 1 Woman

Well, this was my first attempt, and it shows. It was far too ambitious for a script people only had 1 day to work on, but it is still a fun read. Enjoy!

Campbell of the Mounties and the Maple Syrup Plot
by Lawrence Lee
December, 2003

Man - Tour Guide, Reginald Campbell, Arnold Schwarzenegger
Woman - Thief, Border Guard, Star Banner

Scene 1

(museum interior, a stand in the middle with a bottle with a black cloth draped over it)

Tour Guide: (enters from audience, to audience) And we're walking, we're walking, we're walking, stop. Here is the last exhibit on our tour of the Canadian Heritage Museum, eh. This is the last known bottle of John McIntosh's famous batch of 1954 maple syrup, known world wide for its extraordinary purity. It is rated by the Canadian Maple Syrup Board as being 100% pure which gives it certain special qualities. Please put on your protective glasses. (puts on glasses and uncovers case with one bottle of maple syrup) The syrup is of such unsurpassed quality that anyone looking at it unaided could actually be blinded. Canadian Maple Syrup scientists are still discerning its special properties. (recovers syrup) It's been a real pleasure to be your tour guide. Now, if you'll follow me, we'll finish the tour at the Canadian Heritage gift shop where you can purchase Bachman Turner Overdrive albums and autographed photos of William Shatner.

Continue reading "Campbell of the Mounties and the Maple Syrup Plot" »

November 4, 2006


bloodelffemale2.jpgEvery so often one writes a script that you know you will want to share with your great grand children some day. Something that will stand the test of time. Something that, when you finish it, you feel as if you actually transcended your own ability as an artist and have gone to another plane, another level.

This is not one of those scripts.

My prompts for today's script were:

Who: Victoria’s Secret Salesperson
What: A Dripping Faucet
Where: A Glass House
Opening Line: “Watch out!”

and I was writing for two women.

So naturally I wrote a script about World of Warcraft.

Part of this script was inspired by a game my daughter and I do in which we take a sentence or phrase and repeat it over and over with as many different interpretations as possible.

Continue reading "Again" »

November 3, 2006

Signs of Intelligent Life

vla1_grande.jpgI'm writing for Out of the Hat again, which is a 24 hour project where the writers draw out of a hat (literally) a who, what, where, and, this time around, an opening line and have to write an approximately 10 minute script overnight. My prompts for today's script?

Who: Oprah
What: Gummi Bears
Where: Elmo’s World
Opening Line: “Oh… I see.”

Oddly, three of these prompts were placed in the hats by my daughter. What are the odds?

So, lucky you, you can read my play before it's performed tonight. I remind gentle readers that all writings on this site are under a Creative Commons License.

Continue reading "Signs of Intelligent Life" »