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The Script Doctor

by Frank Macaluso 9 months ago in Script
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An absurd four-person sketch.

A virtual staged performance of "The Script Doctor" (2020)

The following is a sketch I wrote in my senior year of high school. I'm posting it here for the sake of anyone who wants it. I, the author of this work, hereby give you full permission to perform this in whatever capacity you desire, provided you give me due credit as its author. You also have my permission to modify it to best suit your needs as, admittedly, it's not my best work.

CHARACTERS

Dr. Timothy Hogan: 45; a dashing, diligent professional script doctor

Nurse Iris O’Hara: 28; a sweet. caring nurse

Nurse Joanne Hatchet: 60; a sarcastic, acerbic nurse

Elsie Harrigan: 25; an aspiring playwright

SCENE

Dr. Hogan’s office

New York, NY

TIME

Present day

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SETTING: A simple doctor’s office with a desk, a chair next to it, a small surgical table, a basin of water, and an empty waiting room. In the waiting room, there is a receptionist’s desk.

AT RISE: Dr. HOGAN sits at his desk, filling out paperwork. Nurse O’HARA sits on the chair next to his desk filing her nails. Nurse HATCHET is asleep at the receptionist’s desk. Suddenly, ELSIE barges into the waiting room with a script in her arms. She rings the bell on the receptionist’s desk, waking Nurse HATCHET.

HATCHET : Dah! Ugh, what do you want?

ELSIE : Is the doctor in?

HATCHET : Do you have an appointment?

ELSIE : No, but this an emergency!

HATCHET : That’s what they all say, honey, but without an appointment, you can’t see Dr. Hogan today.

(Nurse O’HARA overhears this statement, gets up, and walks to the receptionist’s desk.)

ELSIE : But your waiting room is completely empty! Surely the doctor has at least some time to see me today!

HATCHET: I’m sorry, but you can’t see the doctor without an appointment.

O’HARA : Don’t listen to her, dear. The doctor is free now; he can see you immediately.

(Nurse O’HARA leads ELSIE to Dr. HOGAN’s desk.)

O’HARA : Excuse me, Doctor.

HOGAN : (looks up from his paperwork) Huh? Oh, yes, uh, what is it, Nurse O’Hara?

O’HARA : This woman has requested to see you. She says it’s an emergency.

HOGAN : (to ELSIE) Sit down, miss. Tell me what’s wrong.

ELSIE : You’re a script doctor, correct?

HOGAN: Yes, I am.

ELSIE : (hands HOGAN her script) This is my latest play. It’s been rejected by five major publishing companies already. I was hoping you would be able to...well...

HOGAN : I’ll see what I can do, Miss...

ELSIE : Harrigan. Elsie Harrigan.

HOGAN : Thank you, Miss Harrigan. First, I’ll have to examine the patient. (reads script quickly, growing gradually more concerned as he does—he has little hope for it when he’s done; he turns back to ELSIE) Miss Harrigan, I’m afraid your play is suffering from an extreme case of flimsy plot.

ELSIE : (breaking down) Oh, God!

HOGAN : I’m afraid it doesn’t quite end there, Miss Harrigan. During the examination, I also discovered five Big-Lipped Alligator Moments, three overdone plot twists, and an overwhelming number of potentially-offensive stereotypes.

ELSIE : Did it at least pass the Bechdel Test?

(HOGAN slowly shakes his head “no”. ELSIE drops to her knees, sobbing her heart out. HOGAN reaches out to comfort her.)

HOGAN : I’m...I’m not sure what I can do for him, but I’ll try. I must tell you, though, that most scripts with these kinds of issues don’t live very long, even after heavy editing.

ELSIE : Please just try, Doctor. I spent three years writing him. He’s my baby. If he doesn’t make it, I don’t know what I’ll do!

(ELSIE starts sobbing again. HOGAN turns to O’HARA.)

HOGAN : Nurse O’Hara, get Nurse Hatchet. We’ve got to operate ASAP!

O’HARA : Yes, Doctor Hogan!

(HOGAN quickly produces an operating table from either a closet or offstage and places the script on it. O’HARA drags HATCHET to the operating table, then retrieves a tray full of surgical instruments from the receptionist’s desk and puts it on the operating table right next to the script. All the while, ELSIE is still sobbing loudly.)

HOGAN : Nurse O’Hara, the anesthetic.

(O’HARA quickly retrieves a bottle of ether from HOGAN’s desk, takes out a handkerchief, and pours some of the ether on it. She starts toward the operating table, then turns to go to ELSIE, on whom she administers the ether. ELSIE fights a little, but calms down as she is laid down onto the floor.)

O’HARA : Shh, shh, shh. It’s gonna be okay, Miss Harrigan. Everything’s gonna be all right.

(As soon as ELSIE in unconscious, O’HARA rushes back to the operating table. HOGAN holds his hand out to HATCHET.)

HOGAN : Scalpel.

(HATCHET does not comply.)

HOGAN: (irritated) Scalpel!

(HATCHET hands HOGAN the scalpel roughly, so much so that it cuts into him. HOGAN pulls it out of his hand and puts it in his other hand to operate. He opens the script to a certain page.)

HOGAN: Here’s the worst of the non-sequiturs. (cuts out the offending excerpt with the scalpel, then crumples it up and tosses it away) There. Should be smooth sailing from here on out. (turns to another page) See this character’s monologue, Nurse O’Hara?

O’HARA : Yes.

HOGAN : The dialect used here is not only borderline offensive, it renders it almost unintelligible to the average reader or viewer. It also slows the plot down significantly. The best thing to do for this is to remove it entirely. (beat) I just thought you’d like to know.

HATCHET : (sarcastically) Very interesting, Doctor Hogan.

HOGAN : I wasn’t talking to you, you old bat! (recklessly tears out the page, crumples it up, and throws it out)

O’HARA : Doctor, I think that incision was a little too rough.

HOGAN : Hey! Who’s the doctor here, you or me? I’ll make an incision however I damn well please!

(Correction fluid and red ink begin to spurt out of the script uncontrollably.)

O’HARA : Oh, God! We’re losing him!

HOGAN : Quick, Nurse O’Hara! Get the suture! Nurse Hatchet?

(O’HARA runs to HOGAN’S desk.)

HATCHET : What?

HOGAN : Get a bucket; this might get messy!

HATCHET : I think it’s a little late for that kind of statement, don’t you?

HOGAN : Shut up, Hatchet!

(O’HARA returns with a tape dispenser. HOGAN tries to tape some of the “wounds” shut, but to no avail. Soon, the ink and correction fluid spurts stop suddenly.)

HATCHET : That can’t be good.

HOGAN : (feels the script for a pulse; there is none) Damn.

O’HARA : Maybe if we re-write the monologue, we might be able to—

HOGAN : It’s no use, Nurse O’Hara. He’s dead. Go wake up Ms. Harrigan and break the news to her.

(O’HARA walks to ELSIE and shakes her. ELSIE wakes up and runs quickly to HOGAN.)

ELSIE : How was the surgery, Doctor? Did you save him?

HOGAN : Ms. Harrigan, I’m sorry. There was nothing we could do. His case was just too extreme. I’m so, so sorry.

(ELSIE breaks down sobbing. O’HARA embraces and comforts her.)

HATCHET : You know, no matter how many times I see this kinda thing...it still annoys the living crap out of me.

HOGAN : Shut up, Hatchet! O’Hara, please take Ms. Harrigan outside.

(O’HARA takes ELSIE outside, closing the door behind them.)

HATCHET : Face it, Doc. You’re washed up.

HOGAN : (agitated) Shut up, Nurse Hatchet.

HATCHET : This is the twelfth time you’ve lost a patient this year...and it’s only January 2nd!

HOGAN : (more agitated) Shut up, Nurse Hatchet.

HATCHET : Hell, a five-year-old could do your job better than you!

HOGAN : I told you to shut up, Miss Hatchet! One more word out of you, and you’re fired!

HATCHET : (smugly) Please. You haven’t got the grapes to fire me.

HOGAN : How dare you, you wrinkled old bag?! (picks up scalpel and holds it up threateningly) How about I perform a sassitude-ectomy on you?! How would ya like that, huh?

HATCHET : No way! Not with your record! You’re liable to cut off my head or somethin’!

HOGAN : Oh, I’ll cut off your head, alright! C’mere!!!

(HOGAN chases HATCHET around the operating table as they shout at each other.)

(BLACKOUT)

(END OF SKETCH)

Script

About the author

Frank Macaluso

A comedian. I may have made a huge mistake.

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