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Jan 2013
ACT I

MR. REYNOLDS: university linguistics professor in his 30's.

MS. LENDER: 1st-year graduate student in the university linguistics program.

SARAH: university undergraduate.

Scene 1

MR. REYNOLDS' office. The walls are covered with prestigious accolades and degrees. MR. REYNOLDS and MS. LENDER are sitting together, both with good posture, on one side of the table. SARAH is sitting comfortably in a chair on the other side.

MR. REYNOLDS

Okay, first of all, Sarah, I want to thank you for taking the time out of your day to work with Ms. Lender and I.

SARAH

Oh, like no problem at all. When I saw the bulletin saying that you guys needed like research subjects, I thought to myself that I would like love to talk and help.

MS. LENDER

(Staring). Do you work in the Student Union? And do you know--

MR. REYNOLDS

Ms. Lender, those questions are irrelevant. Let's get right to the task.

turns to make direct eye contact with SARAH

Are you ready, Sarah?

SARAH

Yes!

MR. REYNOLDS

Great! We are delighted with how excited you are. First question, Sarah. Would a sentence like this be something close to what you might ordinarily hear amongst your peers: 'I think I like like John?'

SARAH

Yeah, totally. Except, if you want to get like technical, I need to ask you like a follow-up question.


MR. REYNOLDS

Oh, there's no need to, Sarah. We're not testing for content. Only grammaticality. There's no need to get--

MS. LENDER

No, please do. Do get technical.

SARAH

I'm just confused with the way the sentence was like worded. Does this person like, like-like John, or does he or she only like John like a friend?

MS. LENDER

I'm sorry, come again? All I heard was a series of 'likes' and what may have been English if we really--

MR. REYNOLDS

Ms. Lender! Excuse me, Sarah. One moment.

SARAH

Oh, no problem.

MR. REYNOLDS turns his chair around to face MS. LENDER. He motions her to do the same.

MR. REYNOLDS

(Whispering). What are you doing? Why are you being so hostile towards our subject?

MS. LENDER

I'm sorry, Mr. Reynolds. It won't happen again. It's just that one of my biggest pet peeves is like-insertion.

MR. REYNOLDS

I understand that, Kathryn, but you are damaging your professional integrity by getting mad at a test subject. Remember, we're only here to record the descriptive rules of English language as it is spoken on campus, not prescribe suggestions or ridicule.Do you understand?

MS. LENDER

Yes, completely.

MR. REYNOLDS

Splendid! Now, let us continue. (Turning). Sarah, may we proceed?

SARAH

Of course, just I have to like leave soon. I'm sorry about that. It was totally like unanticipated that my ride would be here so fast.

MR. REYNOLDS

Oh not a problem at all, we can continue this another time if we have to, but we'll try to speed things up for you.


Okay. So, the second question runs with the same conditions. Would a sentence like this be something close to what you might say personally or hear on campus, amongst your peers: 'John and I partied all weekend. Oh well, YOLO!'?

MS. LENDER

Yes, please think really hard to yourself about this one. Are there any John's that you may have partied all weekend with, or for several weekends in a row with, and decided to say at the end of a good run, 'You know what? YOLO! You Only Live Once, so why shouldn't I be an ******* and steal someone's boyfriend?!'

MR. REYNOLDS

That's enough, Ms. Lender! Out of my office, right now.

MS. LENDER grabs her belongings and exits stageleft. She sits outside the closed office door.

SARAH and MR. REYNOLDS make their exit. SARAH is halfway out the door with an apologetic MR. REYNOLDS following on her heel.

MR. REYNOLDS

I'm very sorry for the unexpected turn of events. You will receive due credit if we decide to publish any work containing your responses. Please take care, and once again, I am so sorry.

Sarah walks offstage


Kathryn, we need to talk. I am incredibly disappointed in you. What was that whole fiasco about? You are aware that she was an integral part of the research for your end-of-the-semester project, aren't you?

MS. LENDER

Mr. Reynolds, please forgive me. It's just, of all the kids on campus, it had to be her...I mean, I'm positive it was her. It's just my luck that it had to be Sarah Ross.

MR. REYNOLDS

Pardon? Where did you get Ross from? I'm afraid I don't understand, Kathryn. Her full name was Sarah Blackstone.
chris iannotti
Written by
chris iannotti  New Haven, CT
(New Haven, CT)   
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