Stage Right: A bed, a desk with a chair, and a laptop computer serve as the furniture for Alex’s dorm room. The back of the desk and computer are facing the audience so that when a character sits at the desk, we see the character’s face straight on.
Stage Left: A desk with a computer. When noted in the script, what Alex and Matt are watching in Alex’s dorm is performed live by Kara in her room. During these performances, Kara’s computer and desk are removed.
(in order of appearance)
Female. 19 years old. Awkward-looking. Real name: Stephanie Savinsky. Screen name: PrincessKara89. Her sole dream in life is to become a YouTube star. She has a video blog and posts almost daily. She is insanely comfortable with herself to the point of delusion at the beginning of the play. Her monologues are spoken in a sort of stream of consciousness.
Female. 18 or 19. College freshman.
Male. 18 or 19. College freshman. Alex’s boyfriend. Likes to use clichés when speaking.
Kara’s mother. Late 40’s. Always seems oblivious or depressed, sad or tired.
Kara: (As if recording herself. She is wearing a ridiculously revealing outfit. Her hair is unkempt. She is seated and looks at the computer screen in front of her. Before she speaks, she fixes her hair and looks at herself in the screen for a minute. She begins when she feels she looks pretty enough.) Hi, everyone. My name is Stephanie Savinsky. I’m 19 years old. Ummm, I’m a singer-songwriter. I’ve written over 50 songs. Haha, that probably sounds like a lot, but it’s really not that many. Ummm, I just get inspired a lot! There’s so much to write about. Like, the other day, Sunday, I think, THE FOURTH OF JULY! I had hiccups really bad all day, so I just wrote a song about it. Hahaha. I’ll probably post it soon so you can all watch it. Ummm, what else? I love to dance. I love it so much. I took dance classes when I was little, but I quit when I got to high school, but I still try to dance as much as I can. My favorite style of dancing is probably hip hop because, ummm, well, it’s really…..(a little embarrassed) sexy. Haha! I know, I know…it’s true though! You can just totally let go and let yourself be sexy…it’s so awesome. Umm, what else what else what else what else….. (thinks for a Moment) This is my first video ever, so I’m like not really that good at this. Haha. I just discovered YouTube a few weeks ago. Well, I mean, I heard of it, but I didn’t know you could like record yourself and put your videos on it. I think that’s so cool. I wonder how many people are going to watch this…..haha, I hope I look good! I just wanted to find a way to put my songs on the internet so that people could see them and hopefully like them. Soooooo…..ummm, I hope if you’re watching this, you’ll keep checking my page and watch any more videos I put up. I’ll hopefully be putting up a lot of my songs…as soon as I figure out how. Haha. (stares at the camera for a minute, fixes hair/overall appearance again) Eeeee! I’m so excited! I hope people are excited out there in, umm, internet land too. Hahah…oh my gosh, I sound so stupid. People probably think I’m so retarded right now. Okay…okay, I better stop because I’m just rambling on. Sooo, I hope you all like me enough to come back and watch my videos. My name is Stephanie, but I’ll be posting under the name PrincessKara89, soooo….look for me. Ummm, thanks! Bye, everybody! (Waves. She has a big smile on her face. Makes a sexy face, then turns off the camera.)
Alex’s dorm room.
Matt is seated on the bed. Alex is sitting at the desk using the computer. She reads aloud people’s Facebook statuses.
Alex: “Amanda Rogers is sad that everyone in the entire world hates her and wishes people would stop being so dramatic.”
Matt: Yes. I love when people have hilariously ironic statuses, slash, away messages.
Alex: “Riley Boger is so filled with the love of the lord Jesus Christ.”
Matt: (laughs) Look for one with some really mysterious song lyrics. Those are my faves.
Alex: Hmmmm….the best I can do is: “David Smith is booty booty booty booty, rockin’ everywhere.”
Matt: Not cryptic at all. Wasn’t he once a breast man?
Alex: (raps) Her chest is just whatever…he found the buried treasure. (Pause. She turns around to face Matt) I am the most bored I’ve ever been in my life right now.
Matt: I don’t believe you.
Alex: I don’t have anything due tomorrow. We just finished our first humongous paper in my writing class.
Matt: Ummmm….what’s on TV?
Alex: Nothing. Just kidding, Antiques Roadshow is on at 10:30.
Matt: (stands and stretches) Anyone up for a nice, lengthy exploration of YouTube?
Alex: Ewww. (Ponders, smiles, then raises hand slowly)
Matt: That’s what I thought. Scoot! (Sits on the chair with Alex) Have you seen the “George Washington Rap?”
Matt: Ummm, okay, have you seeeeen….“Read A Book?”
Alex: Please. You showed me that one like two weeks ago. It was that day we watched every Missy Elliot video ever made.
Matt: Ahhh, yes--the Missy “Misdemeanor” marathon. Epic.
Alex: Indeed. Tell you what…I’m just going to click on one of these random “Videos being watched right now.” So look out!
Matt: Whoaa, livin’ in the Moment.
Alex: Here we go. (Clicks. Kara’s room is illuminated Stage Left and we see her video performed live. It features PrincessKara89 dancing sexily to a song she wrote and recorded. Alex and Matt continue to watch the computer screen at the desk. The two react to the video, laughing, mimicking, dancing to the music, etc. The video ends. They stare at the screen. ) Oh my god.
Matt: That was…flabbergastingly hot.
Matt: I am now aroused.
Alex: Oh my god, me too!
Matt: Let’s watch it again and have sex at the same time!
Matt: What’s this fox’s name, pray tell?
Matt: Go to her page.
Alex: (Clicks link.) Oh, I love her background. Look, it’s a picture of her. The fact that you can see her ass cheek is my favorite part.
Matt: The extreme contrast of the photo is my favorite. (Reading aloud) PrincessKara89. Style: singer-songwriter. Real Name: Stephanie Savinsky. Stage Name…
Alex: (finishing for him) PrincessKara89. She’s the #22 Most Subscribed person of all time?! How do we not know about her?
Matt: Let’s watch this one (points to spot on computer screen).
Alex: (reading) “Blowin’ Bubbles.” I’m so excited. (clicks) Okay, here we go.
(Another of Kara’s videos is performed live Stage Left.. It’s another original song. Kara holds a bottle of bubble liquid and blows bubbles throughout the video, as well as dances like a pop star. Think Kelly Clarkson. Matt continues to crack up and make fun of the video. Alex laughs as first, but begins to look less and less amused. The video ends.)
Matt: Wooo! That was amazing. I think I’m in love. (singing) “Blowin’ bubbles all the time…I’ll blow yours and you blow mine.”
Alex: (Laughs a little, but doesn’t smile. She scrolls down the page to look at the comments.) Look at these comments. (Reading aloud, pausing between each quote) “Girl, you are beautiful. Don’t ever stop making music.” “PricessKara, you are so sexy. Please come to Texas and do me.” “You give me a boner.” “Your voice is amazing and your outfit is hot. XOXOXO.” “You are inspiring.” (No longer reading) This is so strange. Why are all of her comments so nice?
Matt: Because she’s so fucking hot.
Alex: No, seriously. I would have thought people would be so mean to her. Everyone’s like in love with her.
Matt: That bothers you?
Alex: Well, it’s obvious something is…wrong with her. She’s not…she probably has no idea she’s not good. And now everyone on YouTube is pretending they love her and she’s awesome? That’s so weird to me.
Matt: Would you rather they tell her the truth? She’d probably fucking kill herself.
Alex: I don’t know…
Matt: (Reaches over and clicks the mouse. Another of Kara’s videos is performed. This one is a “sexy” fashion show set to generic-sounding, instrumental hip hop. At the end of the video, she says, “Keep supporting my videos! I love all of you! Kisses. Stephanie.” Alex stops the video before it reaches the end. Matt is laughing. Alex looks thoughtful.) What’s wrong?
Alex: All the comments on this one are nice too. It’s a big joke and every single person is playing along.
Matt: That’s really kind of amazing.
Alex: Hah…yeah. There’s not even one mean one. I wonder what would happen if one person wrote something mean. Would it start a trend?
Matt: Of hateful comments?
Alex: Yeah…I bet she would feel so horrible.
Matt: There are people with videos that get tons of hateful comments though. That’s what a lot of YouTube is. (Gets up. Sits on bed.) And, I mean, if you’re putting yourself out there on the internet, exposing yourself for the entire world to see, then you have to be prepared to get some sort of flack…you know? You have to know that some people, probably most people, are going to watch your video and say that you fucking suck and they hate you, even if they don’t really mean it.
Alex: I know that, but I’m saying that PrincessKara89 doesn’t understand that.
Matt: But that’s nobody’s fault. People have no way of knowing the…uhh…(searching for the next few words) intellectual…capacity of the person they’re watching. What do you want them to do, put a disclaimer on every video that says, “Warning, the person you’re about to watch may be retarded, so try to be nice to them?”
Alex: I…….don’t want to talk about this anymore. (Long pause. Alex turns back to the computer for a few Moments, moving the mouse around.) Do you want to put a movie in? Netflix sent me some new ones. (Matt looks at her for a Moment, then repositions himself, lying on his side, his head propped up on his hand, and he smiles at Alex in a mock sexy way. Alex smiles and rolls her eyes). Ok, you can pick one while I go to the bathroom.
Matt: (Alex leaves. Matt sits at the computer. He goes to one of the PrincessKara89 videos watched earlier and scrolls down to the comment section. He is narrating his actions.) Okay…“Comments”. (Typing.) “Dear PrincessKara89. I feel the need to set a new precedent. You suck and you need to know you suck for the sake of all YouTube-dom. 99% of the comments you have been receiving from everyone are false and satirical. I urge everyone to tell this girl the truth; she deserves to know.” (Clicks “Post Comment.” The comment is left under Alex’s screen name—AlexIsGreat07.)
Kara is making another video and recording it with her computer. She is dressed in booty shorts and a belly-exposing halter top. She is trying to look sexy, but misses the mark. She begins by setting up her space and muttering/singing to herself. When she begins, a new original song is playing. She dances to it in an overtly sexual way with surprising ease and skill. There is a knock at the “door.” It’s Kara’s Mom.
When I’m in my room the world goes away.
When I’m in my room, I dance all day.
When I’m in my room, no one can see.
When I’m in my room, I feel sexy—ohh!
Mom: (From outside the room) Steph?
Kara: (Stops abruptly, shuts the computer, and puts on a bathrobe.) Yeah?
Kara: Mom, what?
Mom: What are you doing?
Kara: Nothing. Reading.
Mom: I made dinner.
Mom: (Long pause) Do you want it now?
Kara: Yes. Hold on. (Takes off bathrobe. Puts on pants and a t-shirt over other clothes.)
Kara: Mom, what?!
Mom: Are you coming?
Kara: Yes! (Mom leaves, expressionless. Kara finishes dressing and leaves the room. Mom returns and enters the room. She explores for a few Moments then stands in front of the computer. She opens it, presses play, and watches Kara’s unfinished video. We hear the music in the video. She is still very much expressionless when the video finishes. She looks away from the screen, stares into space for a Moment, shuts the computer, and leaves the room.)
Alex is trying to write a paper for a class. She’s sitting at her computer. She is experiencing writers’ block. Frustrated, she types and deletes a lot. She gives up and gets on Facebook. Matt has posted a link on her wall to Kara’s latest video. It’s the sexy one she was filming in the previous scene. Kara performs it Stage Left. Alex watches for a Moment, then scrolls down. She looks concerned. Matt knocks at the “door.”
Alex: It’s unlocked.
Matt: (Enters.) Good afternoon. (Kisses Alex on the cheek and throws himself on the bed.) How art thou?
Alex: I am confused. I read all the comments on the new PrincessKara video you sent me.
Matt: Crazy, right? They’re getting vicious.
Alex: How did that happen? Plus, how weird is it that we were just talking about that like a few days ago?
Matt: I don’t know. It’s one crazy world we’re living in, huh?
Alex: (Continues reading comments.) These are awful! These are the most hateful things I’ve ever read in my life. (Reading aloud) “Fuck you and your talentless life.” “I’m going to go gouge my eyes out now.” This one just says, “Fatass.” She’s not even fat!
Alex: Don’t laugh! It’s sad!
Matt: How is it sad?
Alex: It’s sad that all she ever did was put up videos of herself dancing or singing. I mean, she’s completely harmless, and this is how people react? What the fuck? She’s not hurting anyone or insulting anyone or making any sort of commentary on anything. She’s just having fun and being silly. And yeah, it’s weird, and she’s weird, but why do people feel the need to point that out to her? It’s none of their business. None of the people writing these comments are going to get any sort of satisfaction…all they’re doing is breaking some socially maladjusted girl’s heart. That’s how it’s sad.
Matt: Whoa, hold the phone! She’s the one putting up these videos, which means she should prepare herself for any sort of criticism or insult or whatever. It’s her responsibility to know that she is potentially subject to some really horrible comments. And even if she’s “socially maladjusted,” that’s nobody else’s fault! It’s each and every person’s right to say whatever the fuck they want about any video on YouTube. End of story.
Alex: It doesn’t Matter if it’s your right! You should be able, as a citizen…as a person, to have a little respect and….just not say anything. Make fun of her to your friends while you’re watching it! You don’t have to write your disgusting inner monologue on her comment section.
Matt: That defeats the whole purpose of the comment feature.
Alex: I DON’T CARE! Nobody deserves to be treated like that…to hear those things about themselves! Fuck anyone who feels the need to do that!
Matt: You’re getting hysterical for no reason.
Alex: Well, you’re being heartless! I can’t believe you think that.
Matt: Okay… let’s just agree to disagree.
Alex: Whatever. (Long pause) Let’s just decide right here and now to never discuss this again. Okay?
Matt: (Long pause. Matt lies down.) Come here.
Matt: Come over here and sit with me.
Alex: You’re not sitting.
Matt: Come lie with me.
Alex: This isn’t a TV show. You can’t fight with me and then expect me to make out with you two seconds later.
Matt: Alllllleeeeeexxxxxxxxx. I love when you’re frank with me.
Alex: (Looks at him and smiles slyly.) You’re a toolbag.
Matt: Get over here.
Alex: (Pretends to be reluctant, then jumps onto Matt, sitting on him.)
Matt: Owwww! (Sits up and begins to kiss Alex. They continue kissing for a few Moments.) I wish we had some PricessKara playing in the background. That would really put me in the mood.
Alex: (Looks at Matt for a Moment, then moves to the other side of the bed. She looks over at him again.) You are the gold-medalist of Moment-ruining. Did you know that? I have a lot of work to do tonight. You should go.
Matt: (Jokingly) It’s chilly in here. (He gets no response from Alex.) Nothing? Okay. Well thank you for today’s short, but very emotional roller coaster ride. Call me later. (Matt leaves. Alex lies down.)
Kara is sitting at her desk, making another video.
Kara: Ok, so…hi…umm. People have been saying some really mean things lately, so I just wanted to make a video to talk about it and maybe get some answers. Ummm…a few days ago, somebody wrote something really rude to me, and , like, I didn’t really care that much because there are always going to be people that hate out there and try to bring people down because they have nothing better to do. And I was just like, whatever, I mean, not everyone’s gonna like everything I do. So…I was fine. But then out of nowhere I started getting really mean comments from basically everyone. It’s because the first mean comment was like (in a mocking voice) “You suck and everyone needs to know you suck so I’m asking everyone to leave mean comments…” blah blah blah. Well, I guess people listened because now everyone’s saying really, really horrible things. And at first I was like, okay, I’m not going to let these things get to me because I love myself and I love who I am. But it’s really hard to stay strong, you know? (Begins to cry.) So… I just don’t know what to do anymore. I feel like everyone hates me and I feel really… and it………. I just need to take a break from making videos right now. That’s what I wanted to tell all of you. So… goodbye for now. (Wipes tears off her face, smiles, then ends the video.)
Alex comes into her room. She takes off the coat she is wearing, throws it on her bed, and sets her bag down. She immediately sits at her computer. She goes right to YouTube and begins to watch Kara’s latest video. Stage Left is illuminated where we watch Kara’s video live.
Kara: Dear fans. Thank you so much for watching my videos. I have really appreciated all your support. There was a time when you all inspired me so much to write and to sing and to dance. For that I thank you. Recently, though, all of you have shown me that I am not good enough to keep doing what I love. I’m not talented enough for all of you, or pretty enough. So I’ve decided to stop making videos forever. I know that I’ll never make another one because I’m going to kill myself tonight. As soon as I have posted this video, I’m going to hang myself in my bedroom, where I’ve recorded all my videos from. I hope all of you learn one thing from me, and that is that sometimes loving yourself just isn’t enough. Thank you all for letting me know that I’m not good enough to live in this world. Especially thank you to someone named AlexIsGreat07. You left me the comment that started it all. So, now I’m going to hug my Mom one more time, hug my cat one more time, and sing one of my songs one more time. Goodbye. You’re all beautiful. (The video ends. Alex is visibly stunned. She revisits one of the videos she and Matt watched in Scene II and clicks on the link that says, “View all comments.” She scrolls down and sees her own screen name—AlexIsGreat07. She reads the comment that Matt typed. She covers her face with her hands.)
Matt knocks. Alex doesn’t respond. He opens the unlocked door and slowly comes in.
Matt: Hey, gurl, heyyyy.
Alex doesn’t respond. She plays a section of the video for Matt, starting with, “I’m not talented enough…” and ending with, “…hug my cat one more time.” Kara performs the section on the other side of the stage. Alex pauses the video and Kara stops. There is a long silence.
Alex: (Slowly and carefully) I don’t know if that was real or not. I feel like maybe she didn’t really kill herself, I mean, I hope she didn’t. But, do you know anything about my screen name being mentioned? Because I’m pretty sure I never commented on any of her videos.
Matt: Why would I know anything?
Alex: (Flustered) Well, after I saw this, and after I freaked out for like ten minutes because… I don’t know, I still don’t know, she could actually have killed herself. Oh my god, this is crazy. Give me a second. (Long pause. Collects herself.) I looked through her older videos and started just reading every comment on every single one. I ended up on one of the ones we watched like the day we found her. And I found this comment that was like “I feel like I need to set a new precedent. You suck. 99% of the comments you get are false and satirical. I urge everyone to tell this girl the truth because she deserves to know.” And wanna know the really weird thing about that? The comment was left under my screen name. Now, I know I didn’t write it. And I know most of my friends who would have had access to my computer wouldn’t have used words like “precedent” and “satirical.” So…. what do you have to say for yourself?
Matt: So you think I wrote it?
Alex: Would I be wrong?
Alex: Oh my god. I can’t believe you.
Matt: You don’t actually think she committed suicide do you?
Alex: Maybe. There’s no way we can know for sure.
Matt: And you think it’s all my fault. Alex, I only wrote her one comment. Hundreds of other people wrote hundreds of comments that were way worse than mine. Statistically, I cannot be implicated. Plus, I’m almost positive she didn’t really kill herself.
Alex: Who are you right now?
Alex: No you’re not. You are a heartless, robotic imitation. And now I’d like you to leave my room.
Matt: Do you want me to call you later?
Alex: Ummm, I don’t think so.
Matt: Should I wait for you to call me?
Alex: I think you might be waiting a really long time.
Matt: Is this going to be one of those times when we get in a really big fight, yell in each other’s faces, then stop suddenly and start making out?
Matt: Wait, Alex…hold up, okay? Just stop for a second and look at what we’re fighting about. Our relationship is hanging in the balance because of something stupid I said on a YouTube video? YouTube is basically to thank for the two of us becoming friends. It would be way too… (searches for words) poetically… symmetrical if it ends up ruining us. What do you want me to do?
Alex: Let’s see here… apologize to me, erase the comment you left, find out if PricessKara actually killed herself, contact her family telling them it was you who wrote that comment, make a video of yourself apologizing for everything you said, and put it on YouTube… stuff like that. OR go back in time and reconsider writing that comment.
Matt: Awesome, I’m bidding on a time machine right now on Ebay. The auction ends in like two hours. Wait… are you serious?
Matt: (Long, awkward silence.) We’re okay, right?
Alex: I guess we’ll have to find out.
They stare at each other for a Moment. Matt leaves the room. Alex goes over to her desk, looks at the computer for a second, then slams the computer shut. Blackout.
Kara is sitting on her bed reading a book. Her mother opens the door and walks in. The two look at each other in silence. Finally, Kara’s Mom speaks.
Mom: Did you do it?
Mom: Did you make your last video.
Mom: What did you say in it?
Kara: I said goodbye to all my fans.
Kara: (Pause) I also told them I was going to kill myself right after I finished filming it.
Kara: Well, I’m obviously not really going to do that.
Mom: Stephanie, that’s very… extreme of you.
Kara: I wanted to go out with a bang, you know?
Mom: (Pause) I’m glad you’re not making those videos anymore. They weren’t… appropriate for a girl your age… for a girl of any age.
Kara: Mom. You don’t get it. You grew up like a million years ago. Things were different back then.
Mom: Well… I’m still glad.
Kara: I only did it because you made me do it.
Mom: I know. I just don’t want my girl to be on the computer like that for the whole world to see. (A long pause. The two stare at each other.) Steph… honey. I was in a toothpaste commercial.
Kara: What? When?
Mom: I was six years old and I was the prettiest little thing in Owens County. My Mom found an ad for an audition one day in the paper—we didn’t have a lot of money back then—and she figured I’d get it because I was so cute. So we went up to the city… and, well I got it. I still remember what they made me say—“A string of pearls is not as fine as a smile that brushed with Denta-Shine.” It took me about an hour and a half to memorize it—I was cute, not smart. After they started showing it on TV, my Mom would take me all over town—out to lunch, to the store, to the library—and show me off to all the adults. And they’d make me say my line—“A string of pearls… blah, blah, blah.” I loved it; I thought I was a movie star. And then I started the second grade. Nobody wanted to be my friend. Nobody wanted to even talk to me or walk next to me on the way to the restroom. During the third week of school, Sammy Wells emptied 20 bottles of Denta-Shine into my cubby hole and ruined all my notebooks and pencils and everything. After that I kinda did things on my own. Middle school, high school, I didn’t really have a lot of friends. I had a lotta boyfriends because I was so pretty, but they were from the wrong side of the tracks… like your dad. Steph, I love you. You are my beautiful baby girl. And if you put videos of yourself on the computer, not everybody’s gonna be nice to you, and not because you’re not pretty or smart, but because there are people out there who are either really mean or really bored. You don’t need them to tell you you’re beautiful. That’s what I’m here for. (They look at each other. Kara puts her head on Mom’s shoulder. They hug for a long time.)
Kara: (During the long hug.) Did you make dinner?
Mom: Oh. I guess I forgot.
Kara: I’m kinda hungry.
Mom: Okay. I’ll go… make it.
Kara’s Mom finally floats out of the room. Kara shuts her book and looks off into space. She smiles. (Optional: Kara tries to remember the catchphrase from the Denta-Shine commercial, but messes up, then trails off, smiling absent-mindedly.)