Poetry Slam (2015)


Delaney Gruber and Kailee McGuire in Camille Van der Watt’s play, “Poetry Slam.” Photo by Tom Kochie.

Poetry Slam by Camille Van der Watt

Click here to watch “Poetry Slam” on YouTube

SCENE 1: JESS and DARIA talking on the phone to each other

JESS: I am soooo excited for this debate! I’ve been studying all about the British in the American Revolution!

DARIA: And I’ve been studying all about the rebel colonists!

JESS: I wanna wish you good luck, and I want you to win, but I am going against you. And I really wanna win this slam-poetry-debate.

DARIA: Same! I want you to win, but I want me to win! Ugh! Do we have to go against each other?

JESS: Don’t be stupid. I’ve been to way too many slam-poetry nights at the café in town, surrounded by weird hippies, trying to ‘find themselves,’ just so I could learn how to write my own weird, over-dramatic, cryptic poetry. You aren’t quitting now!

DARIA: Okay, sorry – one second, just got a text. (DARIA looks at phone) It’s from Alyssa. She wants me to hang out with her tonight. What should

JESS: No way! Tell her you’re busy. You spend way too much time with her, we never hang out anymore.

DARIA: Okay… Shouldn’t I get a say in this? You’re being a little selfish right now.

JESS: Daria! I’m the one who introduced you guys and you think I’m being greedy?

DARIA: (Mumbles) Now I see why you’re arguing for the British…

JESS: What?

DARIA: Never mind. I’ll see you at the competition. Bye.

JESS: Okay, Bye.

SCENE 2: Later that day, time warp towards the end of the debate. There is a timer behind them counting down from about 0:40 . JESS and DARIA are each on a stool, on opposite sides of the stage, wearing berets. The scoreboard thing says JESS: 58, DARIA: 59.

(They both speak very emphatically for the entire scene) 

JESS: The British; no escape from the everlasting weight! The debt from the battles, the hostile strifes, of the French, and the Indians! French! And In-di-ans! So where, where do they turn, in search for help? Help! In this dark abyss they find themselves, abandoned in? To none other than those beings who settled, who colonized, who dance freely upon, the New World! The colonists! Colonists! Dancing! Free!

DARIA: Ah yes, the colonists! Everything, taken! Taken from them, the British being undeniably selfish! (DARIA quickly glares at JESS) Self-ish! Self! Taxes! Taxes, marking their tea, their sugar, marking their paper! Deep ! Uri-removable taxes! Forever! Intolerable! In-tol-er-a-ble!

(*Ding!* DARIA earns a point)

JESS: They rebelled! Attacked, inflicted pain, wounds, and dread, upon the innocent British! Innocent, like a baby child, holy infant, so tender and mild! How unfair it is, that the British are the ones who gave the colonists this opportunity, just so they may exploit it, and scornfully ignore (JESS quickly glares at DARIA) the British! Scorn! Ignore! British! The radical colonists casted away the Bries tea! Tea! Away! Into the cold, apathetic, unforgiving depths! The depths that are, the Boston’ Harbor! The depths!

(*Ding!*JESS earns a point) 

DARIA: That was merely the colonists breaking free Breaking free, that is, from the restraining cuffs of the British! They have been oppressed! Sadness Hurting! They should be free, to go where they please, with whomever they wish! To flutter and fly, flutter like a butterfly! 

JESS: They attacked! They assailed! Brought their mighty reign down Upon the soldiers! Soldiers who defended themselves, what Paul Revere called, the Boston Massacre! Shame! Everlasting shame on the colonies! Shame!

(*Ding!* Jess earns a point) 

DARIA: The colonists were-

(*Buzzer goes off, * timer is at 0:00)

OFF-STAGE VOICE: Due to an un-breaking tie, we will go into a final tie-breaker round, after a short intermission.

SCENE 3: Stools are moved away, lighting back to normal

DARIA: I totally saw you glaring at me when you said the colonists were ignoring the British during your debate! les not my fault that you think you’re being ignored. And it wasn’t the colonists’ fault that the British decided to be big giant jerk-faces and cause the Boston Massacre!

JESS: I saw you glare at me too, and it was the colonists threw rocks and ice at the British soldiers in the first place. They also pulled a totally cheap move, attacking on Christmas in the battle of Trenton.

DARIA: Now that you bring up the battle of Trenton, it was totally awesome, with George Washington leading his troops across the Delaware River and all the aliens that helped him!

JESS: Daria, first of all, there were no aliens, and second of all, George Washington was a huge loser.

DARIA: Then how’d he win the war? Huh?

JESS: He was totally awful except for the fact that he just happened to win the very last battle at Yorktown. He sucked at everything else! George Washington is still overrated, to this day!

DARIA: Your face is overrated to this day!

JESS: That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard you say, and I’ve heard you say a lot of things! You’re so annoying.

DARIA: You’re the annoying one who started this whole argument. I’m not talking to you, or ever looking at your dumb face ever again!

(Both girls stomp away, turn away from each other, both realty annoyed. Silence for a few seconds. then, Jess suddenly turns around and nervously looks over at DARIA.) 

JESS: (shyly) Uhh… Daria?

DARIA: (rolls eyes) What do you want?

JESS: Your mom is giving me a ride home after this, and I don’t wanna sit in the back of the car without talking to you. It’ll be really uncomfortable.

DARIA: Well, you have good point. I take back what I said before. I guess I have been hanging out with Alyssa a tot more than with you lately. I’m sorry.

JESS: That was really cheesy, but I’m sorry too.

DARIA: This club is really stupid, anyway. Remember we only signed up for this ’cause we made a bet that whoever quits first has to give $5 to the other person? Anyway, I totally accept your apology. Are we cool now?

JESS: Yeah, totally cool.

DARIA: Cooler than Britney Spears?

JESS: Nobody likes Britney Spears, anymore, Daria. But yeah, we’re cool.

DARIA: Okay good, ’cause our break is going to end any second now, and I really don’t want to finish that tie-breaker round. Why don’t we sneak out the backstage entrance and get my mom to drive us to the pizza place? Then we can hang out at my house.

JESS: (laughs) Yeah, sounds awesome. I’m so glad we worked this out.

(JESS lifts her hands, then DARIA smiles and lifts her hands. They then both start doing some incredibly elaborate secret handshake and the girls run off stage together.) 


The cast, crew and writer of “Poetry Slam.” Photo by Tom Kochie.



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