Everyday Monsters

A One-Act Play

by Donald E. Baker

SYNOPSIS

25-30 MINUTES. A man confronts his abuser 27 years after the fact. Douglas, a White romance novelist, and Timothy, a Black college professor, have a history. Twenty-six years previously Douglas hired the 13-year-old Timothy to mow his lawn and subsequently sexually abused him for several months. In the intervening years Douglas has enjoyed increasing success while Timothy has been mired in fear and self-loathing. Now Douglas opens his door to discover the grown-up Timothy standing on his doorstep, and he has a gun. Issues of sexual trauma and white power emerge as the two men hurl conflicting memories at each other, and the tension builds to a shattering conclusion. Note: 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual assault. About 3% of American men—or 1 in 33—have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. (source: RAINN.org)

CHARACTERS (2M)

DOUGLAS RYAN NELSON--White male, age 67, successful writer of romance novels, abuser of adolescent boys.

TIMOTHY PARKER--Black male, age 40, college professor, one of Douglas’s victims.

 SETTING

A simple set representing the den of the home of a best-selling author. What minimal décor there is, is masculine in the style of an English gentleman’s club. Two comfortable chairs facing each other, each with a small end table on its downstage side. Small bar or drinks cart. A door exits to a hallway that connects to the front door of the house.

 TIME

Night. The present.

 CONTENT WARNING

This play has adult language and content. It references rape and childhood sexual abuse although neither is depicted on stage. A gun is seen on stage and there is the sound of a gunshot in darkness.

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM READERS ON NEW PLAY EXCHANGE

Andrew Martineau: The emotional weight that Timothy has carried for 27 years is brought to a blinding moment of confrontation in Donald Baker’s extraordinarily powerful short play of abuse. Baker layers issues of dominance and White privilege in this very heartbreaking piece that starts out tense and continues to tighten until you realize that there can be no positive outcome. This would be an amazing play for a carefully led post show discussion on an important issue that rarely gets the attention it needs. Great work!

Hank Rion: “Wow. When I finished Donald Baker's Everyday Monsters, I had to put down my laptop and finally exhale. The stakes were so high leading up to the almost inevitable conclusion. This play shines a light on the abuse of males and how trauma infects their lives and the long-lasting repercussions it creates. Men are supposed to be strong, don't cry, don't talk about feelings. As an abuse survivor, you think you did something to deserve it, gave off signals that made it your fault. Powerfully told. I am going to read it again. Thank you for your brave storytelling.”

Lee R. Lawing:Everyday Monsters paints such a vivid and horrific encounter between abuser and abused and the pain and torment of what such abuse can do to anyone. The homey setting only intensifies the drama and conflict and what those past decades must have been like for Timothy as he has finally decided to confront the man who has caused him nightmares and agony. You will not forget this play when the blackout occurs, not should you be able to.”

Jacquelyn Floyd-Priskorn:  “This play shook me to my core. It comes in hot and never releases you until the very end. It's true that hurt people hurt people, but Douglas made a career out of being a hurtful monster and justifying it as love. The triggers are pulled metaphorically as well as literally for Timothy, and Douglas, as well as the audience, are left with the mess. Absolutely heartbreaking and important work.”

Aly Kantor: “This tense play starts off with a bang, with clear stakes and a heightened scenario that had me at the edge of my seat. It's immediately clear through the carefully crafted dialogue that these two characters have a history, and the nature of it is clear from the jump. What moved me was how this play was more than a story of abuse - it is a clear call to action about breaking cycles and moving forward without perpetuating violence. The ending is shocking but effective and will stay with me for a long time.”

Rene Zabel: "Oh my goodness! What can I say about this work...I had the pleasure of reading for Timothy, and it took every ounce of control not to fall apart. The story is bold, dark, and heartbreaking. Many in this world, unfortunately, have attested to the brutality and cruelty of a person such as Douglas. Timothy's revenge is calculated with timely effect. Bravo Don!!”

Morey Norkin: “This is my second time reading and recommending Everyday Monsters because it has been significantly shortened from the previous version. I’m happy to report it is still an outstanding work! I didn’t think it possible, but with this streamlined version, Don Baker has turned the tension up a notch or two. The character of Douglas is as unlikeable as before, and the story remains heartbreaking. With this shorter runtime, I hope more opportunities for production will be available. Two great roles and a power-packed drama. Stage it!”

John Busser: “Powerfully told by Don Baker, Everyday Monsters paints an ugly picture of abuse masked in the connection of a predator and a young man who never got past being his victim. The events of his childhood bring him to the doorstep of his abuser, and the discussion they have is as riveting as it is disturbing. One point that struck me is just how quickly Douglas recognized Timothy, not from his appearance, but by the utterance (in a childlike manner) about cutting the lawn. Douglas must have kept THAT memory close to home, a detail quite unsettling. An amazing play.”

Sam Heyman: “Chilling, tense, and powerful, Everyday Monsters is a two hander with incredible resonance and what will surely leave a lasting impact on audiences. Don Baker’s newest iteration of the script is a taut, gripping drama that deftly evokes a wide range of emotions. Excellent work!”

Rachel Feeny-Williams: “On finishing this piece I had to sit back and take a breath! Don has done it again by creating a highly charged emotional scene in which Timothy stands face to face with his abuser after many years. Their conversation intertwines through the story beautifully and draws you in wanting to know more and how it ends. It offers a wonderful opportunity for two male performers to bring these incredibly charged and emotional characters to life and is guaranteed to leave the audience feeling. A wonderfully dark and powerful piece.”

Lisa Dellagiarino Feriend: “Wow, this took a couple turns I wasn't expecting! This play about a man confronting the man who abused him as a child is a quick, emotional read. Heavy but incredibly engaging, it deals not only with child abuse, but racism in America as well. With two characters and a single set, this would be easy to stage and prompt a lot of conversations on the way home. Very powerful.”

Paul Donnelly: “Timothy's return to confront his abuser offers a thoroughly engrossing, if profoundly disturbing, exploration of the effects of early sexual trauma and white privilege. The impact ratchets up as we come to know why Timothy has chosen this night for the confrontation. The last few beats are simply shattering.”

Peter Fenton:  “Whoa. This one's a dark, heavy two-hander. Don Baker has illustrated a bone-chilling everyday monster with this piece and it's really not for the faint of heart, in all the right ways. Definitely worth a read when one is in the mood to explore a dark character study with themes of sexual abuse, racism, and privilege. I can see this being a very powerful theatrical experience when performed live. The monologues were especially strong. Well done, Don.”

Philip Middleton Williams: “Donald E. Baker has crafted a taut, intense, and suspenseful tale of confrontation and confession. It is made all the more so by the seemingly casual nature of the confrontation between the abuser and the survivor. It is worthy of the comparison to Rod Serling's work in the intricate depiction of the memories and realities they both recall, almost as if there could have been something more than abuse. But, as we learn, that is how the manipulator weaves his web. The build-up to the end is a masterpiece of writing, suspense, and payoff. Stunning.” 

Christopher Plumridge: “Everyday monsters is deep, profound and ultimately disturbing. It’s been proven all too often that one despicable monster can create such a troubled, lost and broken soul, all the while thinking it’s perfectly acceptable behavior. All through the play the audience will be rooting for Timothy, disgusted by the nonchalant attitude of his abuser. This play is uncomfortable, yet needs to be produced and will have the audience transfixed.”


Nora Louise Syran: “Monsters have to be destroyed.” It takes such courage to read or watch let alone write a piece like this. The characters are well defined, the tension palpable ... . The opening plunges us, as it does Douglas, firmly into the past. And then the play does not let go. It is simultaneously disturbing and freeing. Well done.”


Morey Norkin: “Donald E. Baker’s Everyday Monsters is a powerful, disturbing tale of how power and privilege can be used to subject others to the most extreme conditions. Even when confronted by his victim, the abuser remains unmoved, comfortable in his superior position. Baker’s writing is authentic, intelligent, and intense. Even the ending will leave you trying to catch your breath.”