Dan Duling


[full length play, no intermission]

A “modern gothic fable for the stage.” When Rachel Winters answers a Craigslist ad for a live-in personal assistant, she had no idea what she was getting herself into. Following the most uncomfortable job interview of her life, she must confront her fears of the unknown and the unknowable in the basement of Maxine’s house. Her evolving attempt to understand the relationship between Maxine and her 34-year-old son Timothy veers from dark comedy to something approaching tenderness on the way to a shudder-inducing denouement. [cast 1 m, 2 w]

MAXINE: “The places that we have known belong now only to the little world of space on which we map them for our own convenience. None of them was ever more than a thin slice, held between the contiguous impressions that composed our life at that time; remembrance of a particular form is but regret for a particular moment; and houses, roads, avenues are as fugitive, alas, as the years.”…Marcel Proust…

[She sighs, then chuckles.]

“Bottom line, death is the end of pratfalls, the final fadeout with banana peel in perpetuity throughout the universe. If one takes even a moment to peel back the tent canvas of experience and see the rapid-beating heart pounding away blindly like a meth-head percussionist in a slaughterhouse, everything is exposed as transitory, fake and fallible.” –Maxine Iverson. How’s that for an intro?

TIMOTHY: Just let me hold your hand.

[She hesitates, then offers her hand. He holds it gently.]

You’re afraid…What are you afraid of?

RACHEL: I don’t know.

TIMOTHY: Is it me?


TIMOTHY: Is it death?

RACHEL: Maybe.

TIMOTHY: I’ve seen death. Let me show you.

Looking ahead in 2012.

All screenplays are registered with the WGA–West and are fully protected property of the author.

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A little extra...

Duling’s plays have been produced throughout the United States. Most recently, “Monstrosity” received staged readings at the Skylight Theatre in Los Angeles as part of the Inkubator reading series by the Katselas Theatre Company. Before that, “Monstrosity” also received a staged reading at Innovation Theatre Works in Bend, Oregon. The search for theatres interested in producing “Monstrosity” continues in earnest in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.