Summary: Drama 3m, 3w (can use 3-6 women)
Full-length play, about 85 minutes, no intermission.
Dante is a young black man, trying to make his way as a handyman on the Chore Monkey web site, but he found it impossible to get customers to look past his profile photo and hire him. So he turned to Peter, an old, white high school friend who dropped out of college to smoke pot and play video games. They use Peter’s white face as the key to land jobs—Peter gets them in the door and Dante does the physical labor.
The arrangement grates on both of them—Peter wants more money and recognition, and Dante is constantly confronted by the racism that underlies the whole situation. When Peter’s habit of stealing “souvenirs” from their clients gets noticed and the police are called in, their partnership and friendship crashes into pieces.
Chore Monkeys looks at subtle racism facing young men trying to work and the challenges of maintaining interracial friendships in a world of white privilege and racial discrimination.
Characters: Minimum required 3 men, 3 women. (Can use up to 6 women.)
DANTE WILLIAMS: A black man, 20s. Extremely handy—can put together IKEA furniture in a flash. Wants to be independent and stay independent. Has a learning disability that makes reading very difficult. Always hungry. Very much does not want to be arrested.
PETER MECKLENBERG: White guy, 20s. An old high school classmate of Dante’s. Extremely bright, witty, and completely unmotivated—lives with his divorced parents, smokes a lot of pot, watches a lot porn, plays a lot of video games. Business partner with Dante.
ABBY: White woman, 30s/40s, recent arrival to this town.
BECKY: White woman, 40s/50s, butch, married to Cheri. A biologist by trade. Protective of her wife and suspicious of men and the world.
CHERI: White woman, 30s, pretty, someone who finds the good in people. Married to Becky.
DIANE: White woman, 30s/40s. (Can double with Abby.) A chocolatier operating out of her home.
ELIZABETH: White woman, 40s. (Can double with Becky.) Undergoing chemotherapy, but her prognosis is poor.
FRANCES: White woman, 30s. (Can double with Cheri). Uncomfortable having strange men in her home, especially strange black men.
ZANDER: White man, 30s+. Dressed for business. (Non-speaking role.)
Setting: Living rooms and bedrooms of various apartments across a large city. (Boston.)
- Reading, North Shore Readers Theatre Collaborative, Newburyport, RI, 2016
- Reading, The Wilbury Group, Providence, RI 2015