The Patriarchy Truly Sucks: A Play

Photo by Honey Yanibel Minaya Cruz

Act One — Scene 1

(The Present. Allendale, Michigan. GVSU campus. Evening. The sounds of crickets and intermittent, raucous voices are heard over the house speakers through an open window upstage. Lights up on BRENT, a bearded grad student in his mid-twenties with sleepy eyes, considered by his friends “a man of few words,” and TORI, an extroverted first-year undergrad with ADD and a manic sense of social justice — they enter BRENT’s apartment chatting amiably. The room is well lit with a headache-inducing fluorescent glow. In downstage center, a small wooden desk is flanked by two chairs. A neatly made twin bed is pressed against the beige wall; a used copy of Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality rests conspicuously on the pillow; a large, glossy photo of Ben Roethlisberger’s head hangs above the bed. Next to the door lies an island counter-top with a tea kettle, an orange frying pan, dirty dishes stacking up in the sink, and a mini-fridge underneath.)

TORI: This is so nice. It’s way bigger than mine.

BRENT: Yeah.

TORI: Oh my gosh, you have a little stove, a sink — literally everything.

BRENT: I guess.

TORI: My room is half as small, and I have to share it.

BRENT: Bummer.

TORI: Honestly, I hate it.

BRENT: Rachel said your paper needs work…

TORI: I love Rachel. We’re basically twins.

BRENT: Great. (TORI distractedly explores BRENT’s room.) Do you want to start, or…?

TORI: Oh my gosh. Why do you have a giant poster of Big Ben? Are you gay for him?

BRENT: No.

TORI: It’s ok if you are.

BRENT: I’m not.

TORI: It’s whatever.

BRENT: Do you want to start?

TORI: Honestly, there’s no rush.

BRENT: Tori, I —

(TORI picks up BRENT’s Foucault book.)

TORI: Queer sex, huh?

BRENT: Sorry?

TORI: Your book.

BRENT: What about it?

TORI: You like queer sex, huh?

BRENT: Can we —

TORI: Dude, you seriously need to clean your dishes: that’s super gross.

BRENT: It’s not —

TORI: Oh my gosh! Look at this cute little frying pan.

BRENT: Let’s —

TORI: It’s filthy…

BRENT: I have plans tonight.

TORI: Since when?

BRENT: Since now.

(BRENT sits at his desk. TORI reluctantly joins him and hands over her paper.)

TORI: My paper might be really good or really bad.

BRENT: (Reading) What is this?

TORI: I don’t remember what I put.

BRENT: The title reads, “Hot Feminist Destroys the Tyrannical Patriarchy.”

TORI: Now I remember.

BRENT: What’s your topic?

TORI: Some book by this dead white male.

BRENT: About the patriarchy?

TORI: I have no idea. Honestly, I hate reading.

BRENT: You’re an English Major.

TORI: Yup.

BRENT: Why?

TORI: Don’t worry about it.

BRENT: Your intro is —

TORI: Perfect?

BRENT: It says, “Batman’s a certified sex offender. Catwoman needs a #Metoo moment.”

TORI: Solid.

BRENT: In the same paragraph you put, “Mary Jane can do better. Spider-man’s a legit creeper. Dump that fool.”

TORI: True.

BRENT: It’s not academic.

TORI: It sounds pretty academic.

BRENT: Next, you have a quote: “Drake’s a sexist pig.”

TORI: It’s a fact.

BRENT: You cited your own “tweet.”

TORI: Honestly, I still agree with it.

BRENT: This will take all night.

TORI: Whoops, sorry…

BRENT: (Sourly) It’s fine.

(Time passes. BRENT grabs a six-pack of beer from his mini-fridge and starts drinking heavily while editing TORI’s paper. TORI wanders around BRENT’s apartment and messes with his stuff.)

Act One — Scene 2

(Cross fade. Lights up on center stage.)

BRENT: I’ve highlighted a ton of syntax and grammatical errors — not to mention serious content issues.

(TORI sits down beside BRENT.)

TORI: I’m a legit academic.

BRENT: Sure…

TORI: I’m not even kidding.

BRENT: I couldn’t tell.

TORI: For real though, I might get an M.A.

BRENT: Don’t bother.

TORI: Why not?

BRENT: It’s a waste of money.

TORI: Really?

BRENT: Trust me. Employers want experience. An M.A. is basically worthless.

TORI: You’re getting one.

BRENT: Yup.

TORI: Any ideas about —

BRENT: Nope.

TORI: Get a PhD.

BRENT: Yeah…right.

TORI: No really. Do it.

BRENT: I don’t know what to do.

TORI: Oh my gosh, just drop out.

BRENT: I can’t.

TORI: Why not?

BRENT: I hate everything.

TORI: Honestly, just graduate. Everything will work out.

BRENT: At least I have Rachel. Seriously, I couldn’t live without her.

TORI: Oh…That’s awkward.

BRENT: What?

TORI: She’s breaking up with you.

BRENT: Excuse me?

TORI: Sorry…

BRENT: Why?

TORI: She was using you. Why do you think?

BRENT: That’s a lie.

TORI: You wrote all her papers for her.

BRENT: So?

TORI: She found a new paper-writer.

BRENT: Since when?

TORI: She texted me five minutes ago.

BRENT: How is she?

TORI: Really, really happy.

BRENT: Oh.

TORI: You’ll be fine.

BRENT: I loved her.

TORI: Move on.

BRENT: I can’t.

TORI: By the way, sorry for ruining your plans tonight.

BRENT: I was going to see Rachel.

TORI: (Awkwardly) That sounds fun.

(BRENT finishes another beer.)

BRENT: I’m glad you’re here.

TORI: No problem…

BRENT: I like your paper.

TORI: Really?

BRENT: You call R. Kelly a human pile of garbage.

TORI: I know, right.

BRENT: That guy sucks.

TORI: Totally.

BRENT: Your ending’s funny.

TORI: Honestly, I don’t remember it.

BRENT: You said, “The patriarchy truly sucks. I think all men should be castrated — except Frank Ocean — that dude’s seriously hot. Mamma wants.”

TORI: I’m not kidding.

BRENT: Mamma wants?

TORI: It’s a stupid joke.

BRENT: I don’t think it’s stupid.

TORI: That’s fair.

BRENT: It’s nice to be wanted. (Brent chugs another beer).

TORI: What?

BRENT: Do you…?

TORI: What?

BRENT: Want me?

TORI: Okay…I think someone’s had too much to drink.

BRENT: (Woozily) Should I be castrated?

TORI: You’re drunk.

BRENT: Am not.

(BRENT leans over to kiss TORI. She instantly recoils.)

TORI: Oh my gosh. What are you doing?

BRENT: I thought —

TORI: That’s super gross.

BRENT: I didn’t —

TORI: Seriously, dude?

(Tori frantically begins packing her bag.)

BRENT: You’re —

TORI: Leaving.

BRENT: I was just —

TORI: Being a toxic male. Yeah, I noticed.

(TORI exits stage right. BRENT collapses drunkenly on his bed.)

Act One — Scene 3

(Cross fade. Soft lights up on BRENT’s bed.)

BRENT: (BRENT’s phone vibrates.) What’s happening? What time is it? (Grabs phone) Rachel? Why’s she texting me? She says, “It’s over. Tori told me everything. I always believe the survivor. Stay away from us you sicko. You’re worse than Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein combined.” Oh no, no, no, no…what did I — ? Oh no. My head hurts. What’s wrong with me? I can’t be worse than Jeffrey Epstein. (BRENT’s phone vibrates.) She says I’m definitely worse than Jeffrey Epstein… (Staring up at his Big Ben poster.) It’s just you and me Big Ben…Just you and me…You understand me… (BRENT’s phone vibrates.) She says I’m worse than Big Ben…and she’s calling the police.

(Lights fade to black. End of play.)

Creative writer, Essayist.

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