An Out of the Hat Play
Copyright Jeremiah Liend 2023
This play was written for Out of the Hat produced by Bemidji Community Theater 7/7/2023 based on the following four random elements.
Location: Aisle 5 at the Grocery Store
Object: Great White Shark Fin
First Line: A fart is not an appropriate response to the question.
Actors: 3 Female 2 Male
Mom: An educated and frustrated parent.
Dad: An eloquent although rude parent.
Grace: A sophisticated and well read 8 year old.
Victoria: A reserved though insane 6 year old.
Arthur: A loose cannon maniac 4 year old.
Lueken’s Village Foods, Aisle 5
We are already two hours late
[The stage is empty as we find ourselves in the breakfast food aisle (5) of a grocery store. Enter the family in an ungainly mass. Dad has the shopping cart or basket, Mom is looking at her phone, Grace is reading a Mad magazine, Victoria is chewing gum and trying not to step on cracks, Arthur is careening around in a perpetual attempt at manifesting raw chaos. Mom looks up from her phone and sniffs the air.]
MOM: A fart is not an appropriate response to the question.
DAD: You asked what I thought about bran, it seemed like a clear non-verbal message.
GRACE: You’re gross, dad.
VICTORIA: Stinky daddy!
ARTHUR: STINKY DAD!!!
MOM: Children, please don’t bully your father in public.
DAD: Thank you.
MOM: But also you do smell bad; I wish you would shower.
DAD: A lot of people do.
[Arthur runs off stage.]
DAD: ARTHUR! Don’t run off where we can’t see you! And he’s gone.
MOM: This is aisle 5. Section Q. The app says it’s supposed to be here.
DAD: We’re already two hours late.
VICTORIA: This is BORING. I’m so bored.
DAD: That’s not helpful, kid. Not helpful.
[Everyone is waiting for Mom to find a box of cereal, she looks towards the audience, as if the fourth wall were a vast array of breakfast cereals. She is taking a painful amount of time.]
MOM: This IS aisle 5… Section Q…
DAD: Can’t we just get any one of these other more edible cereals?
MOM: It’s a coupon through the app.
VICTORIA: I’m BORED!
GRACE: SHUT UP! We know!
[Arthur returns with a weird thing.]
DAD: Arthur! What is that!?
ARTHUR: I don’t know, can we buy it?
DAD: No! No, put it back! We don’t need that. I don’t even know if we CAN buy it.
GRACE: Can I get something, Dad?
DAD: No! No, we aren’t getting things. We’re just here for your mother’s awful cereal and ketchup for the party.
MOM: Aisle 5!!! Stupid app.
ARTHUR: Please, Dad?
DAD: No. No way. Put it back.
[Arthur is devastated and walks away bawling at the top of his lungs.]
GRACE: I hope they aren’t waiting for us to eat.
VICTORIA: Mom, can I get cotton candy?
VICTORIA: It’s on sale.
MOM: OK, fine.
DAD: She’s really got you figured out.
MOM: I wish you wouldn’t call my breakfast cereal awful.
DAD: I wish your cereal didn’t taste like mechanically separated tree bark.
GRACE: I wish for a bichon frisé.
VICTORIA: I wish for this cotton candy!!!
MOM: Just help me look, the app says there’s one left. Kashi Maxbran Wheatlent.
DAD: I dunno. I feel like there’s such a thing as too much fiber? I worry.
MOM: I could use a lot less of your sass and a lot more of your looking for this cereal.
[The whole family is looking for the cereal now, to varying degrees of success.]
DAD: Two hours late. All the food is cold or gone.
[Enter Arthur with a grenadine filled water gun.]
ARTHUR: GOT YOU!!!
GRACE: STOP IT ARTHUR!!!
MOM: What the heck!?
VICTORIA: THE COTTON CANDY!?
ARTHUR: GOT YOU!!
DAD: Why is this red? Is this blood? Arthur, did you fill a water gun with blood again?!
ARTHUR: It’s grenadine!!!
MOM: Why would you put grenadine in a water gun!? Now we have to pay for these things! AND we’re all sticky!? Go get the packaging so we can pay for this!
[Exit Arthur in search of his packaging. Mom is reaching a breaking point.]
MOM: Girls, help me find someone. Someone, anyone who can help us.
[No one is being helpful.]
DAD: It’s a holiday weekend, everyone is at home or working up front.
VICTORIA: Let’s GOOO!!!
MOM: Hello!? Hello!! I need help finding the Wheatlent Kashi!? HellO!?!
[Mom is yelling at the audience, then seems embarrassed.]
MOM: Sorry! Sorry. They don’t work here. Crumbs.
GRACE: Come on Mom, let’s go!
MOM: NO ONE IS HELPING ME FIND THIS CEREAL!?
VICTORIA: I’ll help, Mom.
MOM: Thank you! Thanks. This is why I prefer to shop alone.
DAD: We all prefer it.
MOM: Did you fart again?
DAD: I ate 6 hot dogs for breakfast.
GRACE: You need help, Dad.
DAD: I know… I know I do.
[Enter Arthur with a Great White Shark Fin. Everyone yells in shock and/or disgust.]
MOM: Arthur, where did you GET that!?
ARTHUR: Seafood aisle!
GRACE: That’s a Great White Shark Fin. Shark fin hunting is illegal! Through maritime law!?
DAD: You’re right, kid. But also, where did the squirt gun go?
MOM: Arthur, that looks expensive, please put it back.
GRACE: But it’s a black market good, Mom!? We should call the police!?
MOM: They’re so busy. Maybe it’s soy? Like the soy turkey we get for our vegetarian friends on Thanksgiving?
DAD: Arthur, don’t put it in your mouth!
ARTHUR: Tastes sharp!
VICTORIA: WHY ISN’T ANYONE LISTENING TO ME!!?
MOM: Were you saying something?
VICTORIA: … no.
DAD: We’ve got to go! We are now two and a half hours late, people have probably gone home already. They have been barbequing hamburgers and hot dogs this whole time without any ketchup. It’s a madhouse. Help me out here!?
[Mom grabs a cereal box and Grace immediately screams.]
DAD: Oh my sweet lord, what!?
[Everyone remembers the strawberry aversion.]
MOM: Oh crap.
GRACE: GET THEM AWAY!!!
ARTHUR: Look at this!?!
[Arthur throws the shark fin like a discus at something expensive.]
[Arthur smiles wide and prepares to flee.]
ARTHUR: YOU’LL NEVER CATCH ME!!!
DAD: No NO PLEASE DON’T RUN!!!
VICTORIA: I FOUND THE CEREAL!
MOM: Grace, go tackle your brother before he runs into traffic, Victoria let me see.
[Grace charges off after Arthur.]
DAD: Is that it?
MOM: Yeah, but it’s 16 ounces instead of 18…
[Arthur and Grace both scream down the aisle in a circle and then off again. Pinter pause.]
MOM: It’s OK.
VICTORIA: Why is shopping always so BOOOOORing!?
[Victoria lays down.]
DAD: Life is boring, kid. Get used to it. Please get up.
MOM: Let’s go! LET’S GO! We’re so late!? Get up!
DAD: Go go go!!!
VICTORIA: I’m so tired. You have to carry me.
DAD: I’m not going to carry you, you’re a big girl.
VICTORIA: My legs hurt.
MOM: We have ice packs in the van.
VICTORIA: My head hurts.
DAD: We have medicine in the van.
VICTORIA: I’m hungry.
MOM: There are snacks in the van.
DAD: We are going to eat!
VICTORIA: I’M BORED!!!
MOM: We will let you watch blue light on the way there, just get your butt in the van!
VICTORIA: … OK FINE!
[Victoria reluctantly gets up.]
DAD: Besides, I just released some vaporized hot dogs, we all need to get out of here.
[All exit screaming.]