I’m Not People

Stephanie Okun
I’m Not People Stephanie Okun, 16, is a student at Riverdale Country School and Writopia Lab NYC. Her plays, short stories, poetry, essays, and works of creative nonfiction have been recognized both regionally and nationally by The Scholastic Writing Awards, Young Playwrights Inc., and The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. Stephanie has had professionally staged readings of her plays in New York City at The Producers Club, June Havoc Theatre, Lucille Lortel Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, Theatre Lab NYC, Manhattan Repertory Theatre, and at Irvington Town Hall Theatre. In addition to writing, Stephanie enjoys acting, paddle-boarding, ping pong, tennis, and rock climbing.

“Ew, no! Like, I love Brit, but this is an issue that needs to be addressed. If he has a beer belly at sixteen, then it’s a no-go.”

Characters:

DARA – A high school girl who lives in a superficial world, but is searching for more. She has trouble truly understanding self-involved girls like Audrey. However, she knows how to “play the game” and blend in to survive the social scene.

LYLE –  A boy in Dara’s homebase class. He is a bit of a loner because, like Dara, he is fed up with other people’s dishonesty and shallow values. Lyle has a direct approach to life. He is frustrated with peers who are not straightforward like him and is driven away by their social climbing, political correctness, and selfishness.

AUDREY – Dara’s best friend. She is quite the diva, but not a “valley girl.” She is shallow, gossipy, and self-absorbed. Audrey likes to boss around the less dominant, more submissive Dara to make herself feel superior without being directly mean to her friend. However, she does love to criticize and judge other people.

 

(We see LYLE in an Italian restaurant. He is eating lunch alone in a booth. DARA and AUDREY walk onto the sidewalk, laughing, dressed in SoulCycle brand attire.)

 

DARA

Oh, please!

AUDREY

No, but she so did. Hold up, my shoe’s untied.

   (AUDREY bends down to tie her shoelace.)

But seriously. Why would she hook up with him? It makes no sense.

DARA

It was unexpected. I’ll give you that.

AUDREY

He literally looks like the little, green guy from that “phone home” movie.

DARA

E.T.?

AUDREY

Yeah, that’s it.

DARA

I guess she just has low self-esteem. Or maybe she’s actually into him.

AUDREY

Ew, no! Like, I love Brit, but this is an issue that needs to be addressed. If he has a beer belly at sixteen, then it’s a no-go.

DARA

Maybe his soft stomach felt like a pillow.

AUDREY

No, Dara! That’s gross!

   (beat)

Oh shit. You have a tampon?

DARA

Sorry, Aud.

AUDREY

I need a bathroom asap. Like, I’m in my Lulu’s and everything.

DARA

Right now?

AUDREY

Yes. Like Mother Nature, I don’t wait.

DARA

Wait, maybe I do have one. Hold on.

AUDREY

Finally.

   (DARA starts digging through her bag. AUDREY is impatiently waiting.)

Take your time. Really, I’m fine standing here in my own filth.

DARA

   (Gets out a tampon and hands it to AUDREY)

Relax. I got it.

AUDREY

   (noticing the restaurant)

Okay, let’s go in here.

   (DARA and AUDREY enter the Italian restaurant.)

AUDREY

   (noticing LYLE)

Wow. Some kid’s eating alone on a Saturday. That’s really pathetic.

DARA

Wait, we know him.

AUDREY

We do?

DARA

He’s in my homeroom. His name is Lyle.

AUDREY

That’s weird.

   (beat)

Where’s the bathroom in here? There’s no arrow pointing to the restrooms or anything. It’s ridiculous.

DARA

   (ignoring Audrey)

Should we say hi?

AUDREY

No way. We would look like such creepers.

   (catching DARA staring at him)

Why?

DARA

Why not? He’s really cool, actually.

AUDREY

Ooh. Does Dara have the hots for the lone wolf over here?

DARA

   (giggling)

Will you stop it?

AUDREY

You know you want it.

DARA

I do not! He just looks a little sad, and I want to comfort him.

AUDREY

   (teasing)

I’m sure you want to comfort him all night long.

DARA

Oh shut up and

   (slightly louder)

get your tampon

   (back to normal)

that you were desperately searching for.

AUDREY

Shush! Dara! That’s so embarrassing! Now, everyone’s looking at us.

   (LYLE is minding his own business in the booth.)

DARA

Lyle?

   (LYLE looks away as she repeats herself louder.)

Lyle!

LYLE

Dara?

DARA

Yeah, from homeroom.

LYLE

No, I know you. What are you doing here?

DARA

   (slightly sheepishly)

Well, my friend needed a bathroom, and I’m a little hungry, and I saw you, so I decided to come over.

LYLE

   (a little surprised)

Oh, okay.

   (DARA sits down with LYLE.)

DARA

I couldn’t help but notice. Is, uh, something wrong?

LYLE

With me?

DARA

You just look kind of down. That’s all.

LYLE

Why would I be down?

DARA

I have no idea.

   (beat)

I know you probably don’t want to be seen here. Alone and everything.

LYLE

Oh, I’m fine.

DARA

You sure?

LYLE

Really, I just like to get away from people sometimes.

DARA

Then am I interrupting?

LYLE

Kinda.

DARA

Okay, then.

   (beat)

Do you like to be alone?

LYLE

Yeah, sometimes, I guess.

DARA

Well, you picked the right place. There’s no one here.

   (beat)

Literally no one. It’s kind of creepy actually.

LYLE

I like it.

DARA

  (beat)

So. It’s weird seeing you out of homeroom.

LYLE

Why?

DARA

I don’t know. I guess it just shatters the illusion of the unknown.

   (LYLE looks at her differently.)

LYLE

Wow. Deep.

DARA

I know, right?

LYLE

I never knew you had it in you.

DARA

Neither did I. I don’t think I like it.

LYLE

I won’t tell anyone.

DARA

Promise?

LYLE

I swear.

DARA

I knew you wouldn’t anyway.

LYLE

Then why’d you make me promise?

DARA

Just to make sure. You never know with people.

LYLE

I’m not people.

DARA

What’s that supposed to mean?

LYLE

I’m Lyle.

DARA

Yeah, so?

LYLE

Yeah.

DARA

   (finally understands)

Oh, you mean you’re not like other people!

LYLE

Yeah, try to catch on, Dara…

DARA

   (quietly smirks to herself)

Sorry.

LYLE

You knew what I meant.

DARA

Not really. You never know with people.

LYLE

I told you I’m not people.

DARA

Right.

LYLE

Are you people?

DARA

Maybe. I hope not.

LYLE

Why not?

DARA

I don’t like what people do to nice people.

LYLE

I don’t let them do anything to me.

DARA

I’m sure you do. If you want to get away from them and eat alone on a Saturday, then I’m sure you do.

LYLE

Are you judging me?

DARA

No, I’m just saying.

LYLE

What’s wrong with eating alone on a Saturday?

DARA

Because it’s not fun! It’s sad!

LYLE

Maybe I enjoy this.

DARA

Maybe you do, but on some level, I bet you don’t.

LYLE

How do you know? Maybe I’m trying to run away from something.

DARA

Couldn’t you just run away from what you’re trying to run away from and find family or friends or something else?

LYLE

Family and friends. They don’t care. People care about themselves more than anyone.

DARA

Anyway, all I’m saying is that you could’ve found another distraction.

LYLE

Maybe this is my distraction.

DARA

Maybe.

LYLE

You should try it sometime.

DARA

Try what?

LYLE

Try eating alone.

DARA

Oh, no way!

LYLE

I think it would be good for you.

DARA

I don’t.

LYLE

I think everyone needs to learn how to be alone.

DARA

You think I don’t know how to be alone?

LYLE

I think you know, but you avoid it.

DARA

You don’t really know my story.

LYLE

You don’t really know my story.

DARA

Then why do you say I avoid being alone?

LYLE

Because I know you don’t really like going to SoulCycle on Saturday mornings with Audrey!

DARA

I do too.

LYLE

Bullshit! Who likes getting up at 8 AM on a Saturday to get yelled at by some bulimic bitch to “pedal faster” or “raise the incline”?

DARA

You’ve clearly never gone to SoulCycle. And the instructor wasn’t bulimic.

LYLE

   (sarcastically)

Oh, I’m sorry. I don’t know if she’s bulimic or not. That’s not fair. She could be anorexic.

DARA

You’re terrible. You’re actually terrible.

LYLE

How is that terrible?

DARA

I mean, what would people say if they heard that?

LYLE

You think it was offensive or something?

DARA

All I’m saying is that you’re lucky you’re talking to me.

LYLE

Of course. I’m just talking about people’s stupid standards and what they drive other people to do. It’s called satire. Obviously, I’m not trying to hurt people with eating disorders or whatever. People who are offended by everything all the time get so tangled up in their own underwear, because they don’t really stand for anything at the end of the day. Most people don’t, I swear. I know they teach us in homeroom not to joke about anything that could possibly hit a nerve with anyone in the world, but fuck being politically correct. If the best thing people have to do is go around criticizing what everyone else has to say and knocking other people down, then chances are, they have nothing of their own to show for.

DARA

Wow.

LYLE

Sorry. I just watched a clip of people criticizing Louis C.K. for a joke he made that wasn’t even that bad, and it got me kinda riled up, I guess.

DARA

You’re not like anyone else I talk to.

LYLE

I should take that as a compliment?

DARA

I don’t know. Take it how you want to take it.

   (beat)

You’re a lot more upfront than they are.

LYLE

I like it better that way.

DARA

Me, too.

   (beat)

I didn’t mean to be one of those people that you hate so much.

LYLE

You aren’t, believe it or not.

DARA

You’re interesting, you know that?

LYLE

   (playfully)

I do. Thank you.

   (AUDREY reenters and takes a mint from a small dish.)

DARA

   (seeing AUDREY from afar)

Well, I’ll get going.

LYLE

You didn’t eat anything yet.

DARA

There’s no waiter. There’s nobody.

LYLE

Right. I guess I just forget sometimes.

DARA

I did too, for a little bit.

   (beat, noticing AUDREY is starting to look for her)

Well, I guess I should get going.

LYLE

Do you have to go somewhere?

DARA

   (beat)

Not really.

LYLE

Then why are you going?

DARA

I don’t know, actually. It’s a reflex, I guess.

LYLE

People always leave. Why don’t you stay?

DARA

I just thought you wanted to be alone. I thought you wanted to get away from people.

LYLE

You’re not people.

DARA

I’m not?

LYLE

No. People don’t say hello when they see you eating alone on a Saturday.

DARA

Then I guess I’m not people.

LYLE

I’m surprised you admitted it. People don’t admit things.

DARA

I just told you I’m not people.

LYLE

You’re right.

DARA

I’m Dara.

LYLE

Nice to finally meet you.

   (beat)

Come on. Sit down.

   (AUDREY sees DARA after a while.)

AUDREY

Dara! What are you doing?

DARA

   (to LYLE)

Sorry.

   (to AUDREY)

I thought I’d eat something here.

AUDREY  

Eat something? There’s nobody here. Even if there was, it’s Italian food. It’s stuffed with carbs.

   (DARA looks back at LYLE. She wants to stay, but she looks back at AUDREY. LYLE is confused. He doesn’t get why she doesn’t sit down if she wants to sit down. They look at each other for a beat.)

LYLE

See you around.

DARA

See ya.

   (DARA reluctantly walks away from LYLE and goes over to AUDREY.)

AUDREY

Dara, what was that?

DARA

Oh, I just decided to say hi.

AUDREY

Come on, we both know you could do better. Let’s go.

   (As they start walking offstage)

Anyway, so as I was saying, Britney needs to get it together.

 

   (AUDREY and DARA exit. LYLE is left onstage.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.