What if your roommate loved serial killers a little too much?
EMILY, a 23-year-old senior at University of Vermont (UVM). She is a biology major and very studious. If she’s not sleeping or working, she’s probably studying. She lives with LAUREN and DANA in an off-campus apartment. She and Lauren are close friends. She acts as a buffer between Lauren and Dana.
LAUREN, another 23-year-old senior at UVM. She is an English major. She is also very studious, but she tends to go out more often in her limited free time rather than spending it holed up in the apartment. The relationship between her and DANA is rocky at best.
DANA, a 22-year-old senior at UVM. Her dream is to become a model, so she chose to be a photography major. Also because it seemed easy. She is a bit of an airhead. She lives with the other two girls because they needed a third to help pay for rent. She may be a ditz, but she is well aware of how Lauren feels about her.
TIME: The weekend after Ted Bundy’s death (January 28-29, 1989).
SETTING: It’s a snowy weekend. The three girls are having a study weekend because of it and are in the living room. The coffee table is stage right, down stage, with three bean bags around it. The TV, complete with a VHS player, is center stage, at least halfway upstage. A couch, rocking chair, and blue braided rug are in various positions around the stage. Other furniture, posters, and wall decor from the time period optional but welcomed.
Scene 1 - Saturday, almost 11PM
EMILY and DANA are sitting at the coffee table. The table and the floor around it are filled with various snacks, drinks, papers, and books. DANA is flipping through the channels while EMILY is furiously writing. LAUREN enters stage left with a bowl full of popcorn.
LAUREN: stuffing her face with popcorn and taking her seat Hey, Dana, change it. Saturday Night Live is about to start.
DANA: Do we have to watch that stupid show?
LAUREN throws an empty Doritos bag at DANA.
LAUREN: Put. It. On.
DANA: Fine! Just don’t throw things at me anymore.
EMILY: Can you guys stop fighting? We agreed that this was going to be a study weekend and I’m the only one studying.
LAUREN: playfully pushes EMILY Come on, Emily. Take a break. It’s late and we’ve been working all day. Watch Saturday Night Live.
EMILY reluctantly pushes her notebook away and sighs dramatically.
EMILY: Fine, but if I don’t get a good grade on this lab report, it’s your fault.
LAUREN laughs at EMILY’s reaction as SNL starts. Dana Carvey appears on screen as Ted Bundy. The girls are quiet for the most part, except for some chuckling from LAUREN and EMILY. DANA turns off the TV before Dana Carvey can finish his monologue. (Ideally, clip is stopped mid “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night.”)
LAUREN: Hey! Why did you turn it off? We were watching that.
DANA: How could you two laugh at someone so dreamy? He didn’t deserve that! And he’s probably not that guilty.
LAUREN: Dreamy?! EMILY: What?
DANA: I said probably.
LAUREN: I- what are- how- WHAT THE HELL, DANA?
EMILY: Lauren, relax. Dana why do you think that guy is - was- not that guilty?
DANA: He was just so foxy… and charming.
LAUREN: Bundy killed thirty women. / Emily: Maybe more.
LAUREN: standing Yes, Emily. Thirty or more women. And they have proof.
DANA: I don’t believe it. There’s no way someone like that is a murderer.
EMILY: Lauren, quit yelling.
DANA: Emily, you’re the smart one. Tell me you agree with me. Tell me there’s no logical way someone like Ted Bundy could’ve done something like that without a reason.
EMILY: Sorry, Dana. I have to side with Lauren on this one. They have a lot of evidence that he did it. And he didn’t exactly deny the charges. Oh, and his eyes…
DANA: dreamily Oh, his eyes. They were so beautiful.
LAUREN: No. His eyes aren’t “beautiful.” You can see crazy in them. How can you not see it? Like, seriously. There isn’t a normal, sane person who would have that kind of look in their eyes.
DANA: I truly couldn’t see it. I also don’t think they have actual proof. And even if he did it, there had to have been a reason.
EMILY: They… um… Have you watched the news? It’s been talked about since they first caught him.
DANA: No. You guys know that I don’t watch the news. It bores me.
LAUREN: Oh my god, Dana. You’re so dumb. If you don’t watch the news, how would you know? If he killed thirty women, there can’t be a “good” reason.
DANA: I’ve heard people talk about it and skimmed through newspaper articles. And don’t call me dumb!
EMILY: Okay, guys. Let’s relax. Name calling and arguing are getting us nowhere.
LAUREN: Are you taking her side now, Emily?
EMILY: stands No, I’m not. I just think this can be a civil conversation. You don’t need to be calling her names.
LAUREN: Fine. sarcastic Sorry I called you dumb. But seriously, why the hell do you think he’s not that guilty?
DANA: I may or may not have… quietly written him a letter.
LAUREN: You did what? EMILY: Excuse me?
DANA groans and leans back into her bean bag.
DANA: Don’t make me say it again. Please.
EMILY: Dana! He escaped from jail before! He could’ve found us!
LAUREN: I heard that he was born in Burlington. Here! This town! Where we live! Why would you put us in danger? You know what? I don’t want to hear it. I’m going to bed.
LAUREN exits stage left. A door is heard being slammed. EMILY sits down next to DANA.
EMILY: Dana, I get having a crush, but Lauren has a point. People are saying he’s escaped from prison. More than once. You put yourself and us in danger. Why did you do it?
DANA: I told you. I do truly believe he had to have a reason why he did it. I just really don’t get why they would put someone like him to death.
EMILY: And because you think he’s “dreamy” or whatever, right? That’s not a good enough reason. beat Listen, we still have newspapers that talk about the trial. Actually read them tomorrow and see if your opinion is the same afterwards. They’re in the kitchen. I’ll talk to Lauren in the morning.
EMILY gets up and exits stage right.
DANA: groans I fucked up.
Scene 2 - Sunday, around 10AM
LAUREN and EMILY are cleaning up the mess they made last night, putting each person’s books and papers in three different piles. It’s quiet. The TV isn’t on. It’s still snowing outside. DANA shuffles in from stage left wearing her UVM sweatshirt and grey sweatpants.
DANA: coughs Guys?
LAUREN and EMILY stop what they’re doing and look up.
DANA: Listen, I’m sorry. I know I shouldn’t have sent that letter. I wasn’t thinking. Even if he had a reason, it was still a really dangerous thing to do. And really stupid. Lauren, you had every right to call me dumb. I guess I just fell under his spell. / EMILY: Oh, shut it, Dana.
LAUREN and DANA look at EMILY in shock.
EMILY: I tried to defend you last night. I wanted to hear you out and try to understand why you fell for him. But I couldn’t sleep last night because of what you told us.
LAUREN: Wow, Emily. Good for you. And I had nightmares because of you, Dana. I hope you know that.
DANA: Guys, I’m sorry. I really mean it. I know you don’t consider me your friend. And, Lauren, I know you don’t like me, like, at all. But can’t we get past this? I need somewhere to stay. Emily? Please.
LAUREN: No, we can’t.
LAUREN: You admitted it yourself. You know exactly how I feel about you. Emily and I talked about it this morning. She’s tired of settling our fights, and last night was the last straw. For both of us.
EMILY: We’re kicking you out.
LAUREN: Yes. You have until the end of the week.
DANA: But where will I go?
EMILY: I don’t know. Figure that out yourself.
EMILY exits stage right. This time you hear her slam her door.
DANA: Lauren, you’ll help me, right?
LARUEN: scoffs You really think I’ll help you? Yeah, no way. I’m going to get breakfast for me and Emily. Good luck.
LAUREN exits stage left as DANA starts crying.
Scene 3 - Sometime in November, 2 months before Bundy’s execution
LAUREN and EMILY are out, leaving DANA alone in the living room. DANA is sitting on the rocking chair with the TV on a low volume. Various pictures of Bundy with hearts drawn on them are scattered on the table. DANA is writing a letter.
DANA (V.O.): I just felt it was love at first sight when I first saw you in the newspaper. And when I traveled down to Florida to see the trial and our eyes met, that’s when I knew someone like you couldn’t have committed those crimes. At least not without reason. You’ve had a troubled past, and I want to help you. I know I can-
The door slams and DANA rushes to close her notebook and stuff the pictures inside. She turns up the TV. LAUREN enters from stage left as DANA sits on a bean bag.
LAUREN: What the hell did you do?
DANA: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
LAUREN: You’re a terrible liar, you know that?
DANA: I’m not a liar!
LAUREN walks over to DANA and leans in close.
LAUREN: Whatever you did, I promise you, Dana, I will find out. And if it’s bad, we will have a serious chat about your name being on the lease.