Today I’m featuring a different sort of Siren, New York City playwright Danielle Burby. The opening night of her new play Hooked is sold out, but if you’re lucky you may still be able to get tickets to one of the other nine performances at Bare Bones Theater Company.
Danielle is a writer-in-residence at Dramatic Question Theatre Company. She’s also a literary agent at HSG, and—full disclosure—she’s my agent.
*resists urge to add lengthy string of smiley emoticons*
When I asked Danielle about the inspiration behind Hooked, she generously provided the following about the play, and her creative process.
“Hooked is about a three roommates in their early twenties—one a hopeless romantic, one with a hidden past, and one with a fear of attachment, as they navigate the world of modern-day dating, love, and friendship.
For twenty somethings, casual sex is an expectation; it’s the price of admission. The hookup culture is a mentality that informs how people approach everything from one-night stands to romance. I wanted to examine how different characters with conflicting desires and priorities react to this strict set of cultural rules. Hooked explores how this plays out in one weekend that changes everything.
I actually started writing this play for fun when I was a junior in college and, my senior year, it morphed into a much bigger project that my school went on to produce. That version of the play is so different from the one that Bare Bones is producing that it feels like a completely different show to me at this point. The characters are the same, as is the overarching plot (for the most part), but the actual scenes and dialogue, are almost completely new. I think a real turning point was when I decided to add a bit of a ticking clock and condense it all to one weekend. Before that, even though the same things happened, it sprawled over months. I like it a lot better this way.
This play went through years of revisions, which was sometimes fun and sometimes painful. The actors are definitely breathing new life into the show for me. Sitting in on the rehearsals is so entertaining, although I always feel a little silly when I laugh at my own dialogue. I can’t help it, they make it really funny.”
Hear that writers? YEARS of revision. And let’s not forget, a ticking clock. Pace is so important, and Hooked zips right along. After reading the script, I asked Danielle if I could post a bit of dialogue—the way I usually post lyrics here on Sirenstories. This is the part Danielle chose. Love it.
TESS: Liam? What are you doing here?
LIAM: My bed was feeling crowded so I decided to pop by.
TESS: You left that girl in your bed to come here?
LIAM: She fell asleep right away and stole all the blankets! I was cold! What happened to that guy you were with?
TESS: Oh him? We hooked up in the club bathroom. Up against a wall. Very steamy. Then he came back here, but we called it a night.
(Liam goes into the kitchen and rummages around.)
Oh my god Tess, you have mint chocolate chip ice cream?
TESS: Oh wait, you like that?
LIAM: You know perfectly well that it’s my favorite kind of ice cream. Aww, Tessie bought me ice cream!
(He reemerges with the ice cream and two spoons. He and TESS sit down on the couch
and dig in.)
TESS: Shut up, you know I love mint chocolate chip.
LIAM: And who do you have to thank for that? Come on now, don’t be shy. I believe the answer is me.
TESS: (Affectionately) You’re such an idiot.
LIAM: That’s not very nice!
TESS: It’s a good thing I like idiots.
LIAM: (Taking a big bite of ice cream.) So minty. (Beat.) I know you’re lying, by the way.
TESS: About what?
LIAM: About that guy. I saw you leave together, but he doesn’t seem to be here.
(Looks under couch cushions and under the area rug dramatically)
Nope, I don’t see him.
TESS: Was somebody keeping tabs on me?
LIAM: It’s more that I can always tell when you’re lying.
TESS: So you know when I’m faking it and when it’s real?
LIAM: Nobody I have sex with would ever need to fake it. I’m too good.
TESS: You sure about that?
LIAM: What are you saying? You fake it?
TESS: If you always knew when I was lying you’d know the answer to that.
LIAM: Fine, we don’t have to talk about your fake hookup. We could always take this into your bedroom…
TESS: After you just slept with some rando?
LIAM: Technically, I left before the sleeping part.
TESS: How about we finish the ice cream first?
LIAM: You’re going to have to fight me for the last bite.
(They playfully wrestle with their spoons and LIAM is triumphant. He says his next line with his mouth full.)
Here, let me share.
(He kisses her and TESS can’t hold back her laughter.)
TESS: Eww! What are you doing?
LIAM: I thought we could share the last bite.
Check out Kyle Grant, Stephanie Kaltsas, Marina Montes, Miriam Korn, and Ravi Tawney, the cast of Hooked.
Jeff Bennett is the director of Hooked, and as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, opening night is sold out. Apparently this is one of the best pre-sales experiences ever at Bare Bones—congratulations Danielle!
And congratulations to the cast and director as well. Break a leg, Sirens!
You can connect with Danielle Burby on twitter and fb.
Follow the blog Danielle runs for HSG here.