Just a Play – The Ross School (2015)


Gianna Scala and Winter Shaw in Sophie Griffin’s play “Just a Play.” Photo by Tom Kochie.

Just a Play by Sophie Griffin

Click here to watch “Just a Play” on YouTube

(Emma enters a study hall-ish room and throws down books)

Harper: Geez. What’s up with you?

Emma: (angrily) I’m stressed about the big play deadline, duh.

Harper: Tomorrow:

Emma: Yeah, the completed play is due tomorrow!

Harper: I did it during study hall yesterday.

Emma: What! I don’t even have an idea. How did you write it?

Harper: What do you mean, how did I write it?

Emma: Nothing…I just –

Harper: You just think I’m stupid?

Emma: No…I just…I’m sorry, ok. I’m really stressed.

Harper: It’s fine. (sighs) Have you brainstormed?

Emma: Yes. No. No ideas. I can’t figure it out.

Harper: It’s ok. It’s just a play.

Emma: No it’s not!

Harper: Ok. Chill!

Emma: It’s so easy for you to say it’s simple. You have such a defined personality. I feel like a blob of nothing floating around in a sea of boring ideas.

Harper: Are you having an existential crisis? You’re letting 50 lines of dialogue define who you are?

Emma: It’s not just a play!

Harper: Why are you making such a big deal out of this?

Emma: I don’t know, ok. I just feel like such a boring person, not being able to think of one creative idea. And I feel like this play is an extension of my personality, just having free range and all, letting all of your feelings and ideas and experiences amalgamate into one piece.

Harper: It totally isn’t.

Emma: Maybe not for you.

Harper: Not for me? You always do this to me.

Emma: Can you just feel for me?

Harper: (sarcastically) It’s so difficult being you, with your perfect grades and perfect life.

Emma: My life is not perfect!

Harper: Perfect grades, perfect family.

Emma: (interrupting) – stop! So what if I do well in school. Everyone likes you.

Harper: Not true. Um…so what are you thinking for the play?

Emma: I just don’t know. I can’t think of a single feasible idea.

Harper: What are your interests, what do you like to read, what do you love, think like that.

Emma: I have been. I hate this I hate this I hate this.

Harper: Calm down.

Emma: I can’t. I need an idea. This is 20% of our final grade.

Harper: Stressing isn’t going to help.

Emma: Can you please just leave me alone?

Harper: Sorry for trying to help.

(Harper gets up to go)

Emma: I didn’t mean it like that, I’m sorry.

Harper: No, I’ll leave you alone.

(Harper leaves, but forgets backpack.)

Emma: God, I was being such a jerk to her, but this is so hard! Why can’t it just come easily like everything else at school. School’s supposed to be easy for me, not like everything else. I need to write this but I can’t. I can’t do it. It’s impossible. And I can’t not do it. (groans)

(Emma leaves and Harper comes back on to grab the backpack she forgot)

Harper: Why did I lie to Emma? I never wrote anything. She’s always been the smart one, I should be used to that. I guess I just, I don’t know, I wanted to feel smart. I wanted to be better than her at something. I think I really hurt her feelings, not that she has any right to be angry! I know I can write it though, but hers will probably be better. (sighs)

(H leaves, next scene is day of play performance)

(off-stage voice) Actor: Not the turtle!


(Off-stage voice) Teacher: Great job Harper, A+! Okay Emma, it’s your turn.

(Emma comes on stage)

Emma: In lieu of a play I’ve written a monologue. (Clears throat) I am always the goody-two shoes perfect student and I’m sick of it. I want to be known for my personality rather than a percentage. You all wrote plays that reflect you: funny, clever, dark, thoughtful, and intelligent. I’m not going to. I’m going to write an Emma play, which is a monologue. I’m not going to put myself into a box anymore and be the smart student. I’m being Emma. Not the Emma 16 hours ago who got so stressed about the play that they became a huge jerk. Or the one who 12 hours ago cried about how sad it would be to be a dinosaur. Or the one who had a panic attack about writing something so personal, less than a minute ago. I want to be the Emma that’s confident, and funny, and kind. I hope you’ll all join me in this.


Teacher: Emma, the assignment was to write a 2 person dialogue. I’m afraid I’m going to have to give you an F.

Emma: I don’t care.

(After the plays)

Emma: Hi Harper…Let me just say-

Harper: -No, no. Let me apologize. I was being selfish and rude.

Emma: No way, I was being a total jerk and putting you down.

Harper: I still had no right to act like a prick.

Emma: No, no. You play was great!!

Harper: (laughing) Don’t act so surprised.

Emma: No, really. It was hilarious.

Harper: It was ok. But you! That was so brave of you.

Emma: (laughing) Don’t act so surprised!

Harper: You took a risk. She shouldn’t have given you an F! You expressed yourself, and it was great.

Emma: I don’t think my parents will agree…

Harper: Who cares. It was awesome!

Emma: (shrugs shoulders) It was just a play.


The cast and writer of “Just a Play.” Photo by Tom Kochie.

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