Some Girl(s): A Play

Some Girl(s): A Play

by Neil LaBute

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Your career as a writer is blossoming, your beautiful, young fiancee is waiting to get married and rush off to Cancun by your side—so what is your natural reaction? Well, if you're a man, it's probably to get nervous and start calling up old girlfriends. And so begins a single man's odyssey through four hotel rooms as he flies across the country in search of the perfect woman (that he's already broken up with). Some Girl(s) is the latest work from Neil Labute, American theater's great agent provocateur. In grand LaBute fashion, this by turns outrageously funny and deadly serious portrait of the artist as a young seducer casts a truthful, hilarious light on a typical young American male as he wanders through the heart of darkness that is himself. This edition includes a deleted scene.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The most legitimately provocative and polarizing playwright at work today.” —David Amsden, New York magazine

“[LaBute's] view of modern men and women is unsparing . . . [He] is holding up a pitiless mirror to ourselves. We may not like what we see, but we can't deny that—if only in some dark corner of our souls—it is there.” —Jacques le Sourd, The Journal News (White Plains, NY)

“LaBute . . . continues to probe the fascinating dark side of individualism . . . [His] great gift is to live in and to chronicle that murky area of not-knowing, which mankind spends much of its waking life denying.” —John Lahr, The New Yorker

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780571229826
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 06/27/2006
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 112
Sales rank: 1,246,643
Product dimensions: 5.51(w) x 8.22(h) x 0.32(d)

Read an Excerpt

Some Girl(s)

Silence. Darkness.

Part One: "Sam"

A fairly standard hotel room. High-end without being too obvious; a resort chain of some kind. Marriott or one of those. Bed, work space, TV, minibar. Probably a nice chair.


A man—thirty-three, fully dressed—sits at the desk and plays with the TV remote just as he is finishing a call on the house phone.


A knock at the door. Another. The man jumps up and crosses to a lamp, carefully arranging the shade. Satisfied, he goes over to the eyehole. Looks out. Takes a breath and opens the latch.


A woman—same age, let's call her SAM—enters carrying a Starbucks coffee cup. A silent "hello" from both of them; after a moment, a tentative hug. They venture into the room—the woman chooses the armchair, the man moves to the bed. They sit.


SAM ... always. It is always the same out there. Bumper-tobumper!

GUY Yeah. Yes, it is ... but you made it. Even with the traffic. Thanks.

SAM Sure. Of course. (Beat.) Used to be a great city, but then, you know. Boom! (holds up her coffee cup) Thanks to this bunch ...

GUY Exactly! (laughs) Anyway, I'm really happy, because ... well, you know.

SAM Right.

GUY Because it's so great to see you. It honestly is ...

SAM Good. I'm glad. (Beat.) Pretty nice here. I've never been before.

GUY Oh. Yeah. (looking around) They're good ... they've got 'em all over the place now, so ... a chain, I think.

SAM I mean, why would I, right? Live in town, how often are you gonna stay in a local hotel?

GUY Right ...

SAM You wouldn't.

GUY No, not usually.

SAM Not for any reason, really. Not even if there was a convention and you were attending or something ... you'd still just drive home after. (Beat.) I mean, unless ...

GUY What? Unless what ...?

SAM You know.

GUY No, I don't ...

SAM Yes, you do. You know what I'm saying.

GUY I don't, no. Truthfully. What?

SAM ... unless you were seeing someone. Illicitly.

GUY Oh, right. That.

SAM Yes. That. (Beat.) So?


The man nods at this and clears his throat. Jumps up and moves toward the minibar. Points out various items.


GUY You want anything? I mean, like, a water ...? They've got that Evian ...

SAM No. (points to her coffee) Thanks.

GUY Really?

SAM Nope. I'm fine.

GUY I might have some nuts, if that's all right with you. Cashews.

SAM Go for it.

GUY Even though they're, like, you know, six hundred dollars ...


They share a laugh at this, albeit a small one.

SAM Then don't eat them. Right? I mean, that'll teach 'em.

GUY Yeah, I guess. But I'm hungry ...

SAM Then you decide. Which was never one of your strong suits ...


He nods at this, remembering. On impulse, he snaps open the cannister and begins to eat.


GUY Geez ... no salt. I'm not big on that.

SAM No, you always liked the salt ... one of your many vices.

GUY Yep. (Beat.) So ... mmm, they're good, actually. Not too bad this way. (he offers again) You sure?

SAM Yes. I mean, no. No thanks. (Beat.) Oh, I read the thing you did for that one magazine. Somebody faxed it to me. It was pretty good ... clever. Mmm-hmm.

GUY Yeah? Thanks.


The man nods and shrugs. She smiles thinly again and exhales. She sets her latte down on an end table.


SAM ... funny how you know so much about women. Now. (laughs) Anyway ...

GUY Yeah, anyway. So, look, I know this is sort of out of the blue and all, and I appreciate how you might be kinda curious about what's up ...

SAM Well, I am, that's true. I do want to know that. What is up?

GUY I just ... look, I needed to see you.

SAM "Needed"?

GUY Wanted, actually, but there's some need in there, too. Yes. Need.

SAM ... and why is that? (Beat.) I only cut to the chase because, you know, my kids are home at three.

GUY Right, sure. (checks watch) Sorry.

SAM Don't be. It's fine ... I like when they come home. I just need to be there, that's all ...

GUY No, I didn't mean that ... I'm sorry about rambling on about the, like, peanuts and crap. Forgive me.

SAM Cashews.

GUY Right. Those, (puts down the nuts) I'll get to the point here ...


A long moment where the man looks at her, trying to decide the best way into this conversation. He eats another nut.


GUY ... well-I think I'm gonna have some water, these really do parch your throat after you eat a few.


He jumps up and heads back to the minifridge. Grabs a water and breaks open the seal. She steals a look at her watch.


GUY ... listen, you're probably wondering what I'm even doing here ... back in the, ahhh, Seattle area.

SAM It did cross my mind, yes.

GUY Right, sure, of course—although I do get back here sometimes. You know, every couple years to see my folks, that kind of thing. But I'm not here for that. To see them.


GUY Nope. I didn't even call them, let 'em know ... I'm flying out in a few hours.

SAM Oh. Huh. Well ...

GUY ...because I really just came here to ... you know, I needed to see you. Wanted to, I mean.

SAM ...maybe I'll have just a sip.


The man hands over the water, then sits back down. The woman takes a long guzzle, wipes her mouth. Thinks before speaking.

SAM ... I called your mom once. Just on a whim, like, a year ago. I didn't even remember the number, so I had to look it up in the book ...

GUY Wow. I never ... I mean, they didn't tell me.

SAM No, I didn't ask for you. Or leave a message or anything. I just ... your mom and I got pretty friendly there for a while, so I was ... I wanted to hear her voice. (Beat.) I thought about calling for you, but in the end I pretended to be somebody else. Selling raffle tickets for my kid's school or something ... she and I talked for a minute, and that was about it. It was nice.

GUY ... I never knew that. Huh.

SAM I know. I just said you wouldn't. I didn't tell her it was me, so ... it doesn't matter.

GUY Right.


They sit for a moment, staring at each other. Silence.


SAM ... it's two-thirty.

GUY Sure, okay, yes. Look ... I called you, I mean, came into town and contacted you because ... I just wanted to do something here. Right a wrong or, you know, make things okay.

SAM ... huh.

GUY Does that make any sense?

SAM Ummmm ... not really.

GUY Well, what I mean is ... when I think about it, us, I'm saying ... I get a feeling that it didn't end well ...

SAM All right.

GUY You know, things end, right? They do, in lots of different ways, for so many reasons ... and, ahh, we had a really really nice go of it. Back then.

SAM High school.

GUY Yes! Yeah, school. Great times back at Central Valley and a lot of fun, and then, you know ... we sort of ...

SAM You ended it.

GUY Uh-huh. Right.

SAM You broke up with me.

GUY Yeah, I did. True.

SAM What else did you wanna go over?


The man takes another drink of water and starts to speak. Stops. Grabs more cashews instead. Pops them in.


GUY ... are you mad at me?


She looks at him, then bursts out laughing. A big guffaw that seems surprising for her. The man is a bit perplexed.


GUY Seriously, though. Are you?

SAM I can't believe you'd say that.

GUY Well, you know ... you carry that stuff around. I think you'd be surprised.

SAM No, I wouldn't. Uh-uh. I would not.


SAM Because I do ... I do think about it. What happened. Between us.

GUY Well, good! Let's talk about it ...

SAM ... now?

GUY Yeah ... I mean, I know you have to go, but we could at least air a bit of laundry, or however that saying goes.

SAM You wanna "air" this stuff now ...

GUY ... only if it's okay ...

SAM ... instead of fifteen years ago? I mean, you flew all the way here to do this today?

GUY It does seem strange, but ... I just feel that we'd both benefit from ...

SAM No, great. Fine. (leans back) Go for it. I can be a little late ...

The man nods and looks around. He takes off his jacket and folds it neatly. The woman notices.


SAM You're very careful with your things.

GUY Yeah. I picked that up somewhere ...

SAM You must've, because you sure were never like that when I knew you. Back then ...

GUY Well, we were just kids, right?

SAM Eighteen. When you dumped me, I mean. That's an adult.

GUY True, but that's what it seemed like. To me. Kids.

SAM Whatever. Whatever you say ...

GUY You are angry.

SAM Maybe just a touch. Yep.

GUY Huh. All right ... Sam, I'm gonna be open with you here. Totally up front. Honest.

SAM That's promising a lot ...

GUY I know, I know it is, but I'm gonna be, and, well, I just am. (Beat.) I think the reason we broke up back then—

SAM Not we. You. You ended it.

GUY Yes, but ...

SAM It wasn't a "we" thing. "We" was when we were a couple, we decided to start dating, we would choose what movie to go to on Friday night, but the finishing-it-off part? That was you ...

GUY I know that. I do. I do know it ... So, yeah, I stopped calling, coming over, but it wasn't any one thing that prompted it, it wasn't ... and for some reason, I always had the idea that you thought you'd done something ... some ...

SAM No ... (Beat.) I ... no.

GUY Oh. 'Cause my mom said that, that the two of you had talked, and—not, like, recently, I mean, but back in the day, back whenever—and she ...

SAM ... I never said that ...

GUY No, but implied it, insinuated that I'd led you to believe that you'd done something, and—

SAM I don't think that was the case ...

GUY ... and I just wanted you to know, as in better late than never, that it wasn't anything of the sort.

SAM I know. I know that ... I mean, why would I think that? I wouldn't.

GUY Right, so I'm just reiterating for you, then—albeit a bit late in the game—you did nothing wrong.

SAM Thanks.

GUY It was me. All me. I needed to, ahh ...

SAM What? What did you "need"?

GUY Or "wanted" to, I dunno. I felt, like, at the time ... I wanted to have my freedom, do the college thing somewhere other than over at Community or maybe just pursue my writing stuff. Whatever. And you were a girl that I could sort of look at, you know, take a glance at and maybe ... see her whole future.

SAM Really?

GUY A bit. Yeah. And that's not bad or anything, it's not, but you're just that type of woman. And I think, if I can say this ...

SAM ... go on, you're on a roll ...

GUY ... history has proved me right. It has. You ended up almost exactly like I figured you would.

SAM Oh, have I, now? (Beat.) Huh ...

GUY ... well, kinda. (Beat.) I mean, still here, with kids and your husband doing what I pretty much would've guessed he'd be doing ... and back then, when I'm just this scared teenager staring eternity in the face, I could see myself with that produce manager's vest on and I suppose I got nervous and backed out of the situation the best way I knew how ... (Beat.) So.

SAM ... he's not the produce manager. He runs the store. The whole thing.

GUY Oh. Okay.

SAM He's the store manager. There is a difference.

GUY Granted. Sorry ...

SAM Forget it.

GUY ... I am sorry. You're not mad, are you?

SAM No, I'm fine.

GUY Because I didn't want to ...

SAM I said I'm fine. Just believe me, okay? I believe you, so why don't you go ahead and believe me ...

GUY ... all right. I'll ... yeah. Fine.

SAM ... and that's really it? That's the whole reason why we suddenly just ended like that? Because you had a vision of working at some Safeway for the rest of your life?

GUY Basically, yeah ... I mean ...

SAM Not some other girl?

GUY Umm, no, not that I ... I don't, you know. I don't recall anybody else.

SAM No? You don't?

GUY Uh-uh.

SAM 'Cause I always had this vague, you know ... this worry about that. Back in "the day." Back whenever ...

GUY No ... we were going out for, like ...

SAM Two years. A little over ... We were "promised" to each other for two years. (Beat.) And you never went to the prom with somebody else? Right?

GUY ... no. You know that. No, I even ... I worked that night. On prom night. (Beat.) It was our senior spring, and after we broke up I was—

SAM You, okay? You broke it off. Just say it ... (Beat.) Look, I don't even wanna think about this, not at all, I don't. I'm a mother now ... a wife and mother and this is like some ancient Greek history! Why did you have to call me about this? Do this to me ...? Huh?

GUY I wanted to ... I don't know. To just make sure that we were ... okay.

SAM Yeah, fine, yes ... we're okay. A-OK. Is that what you needed? Is that gonna be enough to get you back to your something special life in ... where is it, again?

GUY New York. I have a place in Brooklyn now, but I teach up near ... doesn't matter. It's all ... New York. City.


Silence for a moment as this all gets processed.


SAM Wow. Geez, it's amazing how ... it's all still pretty fresh. You know? I mean, you think it's gone, put in some box under your bed, but God ... somebody mentions a dance or a boy you knew and it's, like, just right there. Instantly it's ... there.

GUY Yep. That's true ...

SAM Yeah. (Beat.) Guess it's partly due to the whole "virginity" thing ...

GUY ... right. I feel the same way.

SAM Well, that's great. Terrific. At least we have that ...

GUY I am sorry about stirring up all the—(checks his watch) It's almost quarter of.

SAM 'Kay. Thanks ... (Beat.) I know that you're looking at my face. I feel you doing that—it's a skin thing. Sometimes after a baby your pigment can get all ... doesn't matter. Anyway, take care. Good to see you, I guess ...

GUY Hey, Sam ... you, too. Seriously. I hope I didn't ...


She starts off but comes to a dead stop. Turns.


SAM ... I didn't mean our prom. I was referring to the one over at North Central. That one.

GUY Oh. Okay ...

SAM So? Did you go there with someone? To her prom?

GUY ... not that I can ... I mean, this is, you know, fifteen years ago ...

SAM Please.

GUY I didn't ask anybody to that prom, no. I didn't.

SAM Okay. Not what I heard, but okay ...

GUY I think I ... there was some girl, a senior friend of—remember that guy I knew from, like, kindergarten? Tim somebody? Him—and he asked me to just drop in with this ... really just stop over with this one gal who was his date's friend. A tall girl, played volleyball, I think ...

SAM ... now this is what I heard. Go on.

GUY Nothing else. No, we just ... didn't do the pictures or even, like, a corsage or anything, it was not at all like that ... I was more like a, what do ya call it?

SAM I dunno, I'm dying to hear ...

GUY A, you know ... a chaperone. More of that, really.

SAM Her "chaperone."

GUY Yeah. Basically ...

SAM And she's a senior. I mean, you're a senior, and she's a senior ...

GUY Right, true, but it felt like ... you know, like when your brother takes you to something, accompanies you to a ... (Beat.) I left her there, Sam. Didn't even drive her home, or ...

SAM I don't have a brother. Remember?

GUY No, I know, but I'm just saying ...

SAM I thought maybe it slipped your mind. So much else seems to've ...

GUY ... I thought we even talked about this once.


GUY We didn't? Over the summer there, just before I ...?

SAM No, we didn't. Not ever. (Beat.) We talked about marriage, but not this ...

GUY Oh. Okay, my mistake.

SAM Yeah, apparently so ... (Beat.) No, I overheard it once, just a mention of it this one time in the store ... you know, where you almost ended up. In your vision. I was in there, dropping off lunch for my husband and I was looking at something, I don't remember what now, some new thing on an end cap display—cookies or whatever—and I hear a voice, a woman's voice that I recognize, this blast from thepast. It's your mother. Your mom, standing in the juice aisle and talking to somebody, a neighbor lady or from church, and they're going on about the good ol' days, like women do, and somehow they get on the subject of proms. Of big dances. Maybe because her daughter—not your mom, obviously, but the other woman—her last kid is getting ready for hers, and off they go, chatting about this and that. I don't mean to, but I keep standing there and listening and, boy, do I get an earful! About you, and us, and, well, lots. Lots of stuff. And part of that "stuff" is how nice you looked—how well you "cleaned up," she called it—for your big night. Prom night. And imagine me, standing there next to this Hearty Fudge Crunch, and I'm thinking, "What night? I didn't have a big night. We didn't go to any prom." But of course she wasn't talking about me. Or us. No, this was about you. The night she was referring to was all about you. And her ... some girl. (Beat.) She also said you don't call home enough. Your mom did.


The man tries to say something but just goes for a quick nod instead. Not much to say, really. He glances at a clock.


SAM I know, I know ... (checks her watch) It's time for me to ... need to get going before the, you know, traffic and all that. So ...

GUY ... 's good to see you. It really, really is.

SAM Yeah, you said that.

GUY Okay, and if you want to ...

SAM What?

GUY Nothing. I was gonna say, if you'd like an e-mail address or anything ...

SAM No, that's all right. No. I'm ... I should just ...


Without warning, she reaches over and slaps the man hard on the cheek. His head snaps back as he catches himself.

The woman exits through the door, shutting it tightly behind her. The man wanders over to the bed, absently picking up the can of nuts. He eats one or two. Snaps on the TV. Dumps the Starbucks cup in a nearby garbage can.


He begins to open a drawer in one end table but is stopped by a light knock. He jumps up and goes to the door, swinging it open.


GUY ... hey.

SAM Forgive me. That suddenly felt ... overdue. Just couldn't help myself. So ...

GUY ... that's okay. I mean ... (points at TV) I'm just checking the news ... or, I mean, the weather. I'm flying out, so ...

SAM Yeah, you mentioned that ... (Beat.) It's so awkward, all this, so I'm sorry for ... but I'm just ...


They stand there a moment, a curious kind of face-off. The man silently offers the cashews—she shakes her head no.


SAM ... I was almost out to the lobby ... (Beat.) This is ... I don't need her name. I don't. This is so childish! I can't believe that I'm ... just, look. Tell me what page she's on. All right?

GUY Hmm? What do you mean?

SAM In the yearbook. Their yearbook, at North Central.

GUY I don't ... why? I mean ...

SAM Just ... because, okay? My husband's a Bronco, so I have his ...

GUY He graduated from there?

SAM Yes. (Beat.) What page is she?

GUY She was ... I mean, I'm not ...

SAM Just tell me. Please.

GUY ... near the back, I guess. Last name was Walker, maybe? Yeah. Something Walker. She was a ...

SAM Fine. Thanks. (Beat.) It's funny ... I mean, not ho-ho-ho, but still. You want to believe that, at some point in your life, you mattered to someone, that at least when you're young and cute that you ...

GUY ... Sam, you did. To me. Absolutely.

SAM Yeah, but I mean, you know. Really mattered. Like, Romeo and Juliet—type stuff. And I always kind of wanted to feel that way about us. (Beat.) But I realize now, though, it was just a teenage thing and you dated somebody else right after me, so ... how's that for a wake-up call, huh? Shit.

GUY ... I just gave her a ride.

SAM Sure. (Beat.) ... out on the freeway, just before I hit this exit, I had, like, a moment ... this daydream for a second where I imagined that you were really asking me here because you wanted me to run off with you to, I dunno, an island or back to Manhattan. Somewhere. How's that for crazy?! Now ... I wouldn't, I'd never do it, but that's the kind of crap running through my head since I heard your voice again. So ...

GUY That's ... Sam, that's amazing to, I mean, for you to tell me. I'd never do that ... (realizing) Because of your family, I'm saying—but it's really very moving. Thank you.

SAM 'Course. Well, so long ...

GUY ... bye. (Beat.) Oh, wait, hey ... did I mention I was getting married?

SAM Ahh, no. (Beat.) ... no, you didn't.

GUY Well, I am. Yeah. I'm getting ...

SAM ... married. Huh. (Beat.) Good for you ...


This time she's gone for sure—the man tries to get in a last hug, but misses it. Catches himself without too much dignity lost.


He wanders back to the bed and sits. Starts up again with the cashews. Turns up the volume on the TV. Loud.

Copyright © 2005 by Neil LaBute

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