It's my Party and I'll Cry if I Want To / by Jo Hardy

Cast

LUCY
STELLA
TINA
BECKY
MINA

The play requires these five girls to play a variety of other roles, constantly swapping roles.

The main character girls themselves are supposed to be about fourteen years old.

Lasting about half an hour, this play is an ideal examination piece far GCSE.

Sample Pages from the script

Extract 1

THE SLEEP-OVER

It is Lucy's fourteenth birthday.

When the lights come up the five girls are asleep in Lucy's bedroom. The set need not be realistic. large mobile phones, lipsticks, love hearts, etc. make a fun and symbolic set. After a few seconds there is the insistent 'beep' of a mobile phone and klina jumps up.

MINA
Text message!

All the girls. jump up and gather excitedly around the mobile. It is noticeable, even at this early stage, that Stella is elbowed away by the others.

MINA
... [Beginning to cry.] He doesn't love me...!

There is general consternation until Tina has an idea, feels in the pocket of her pyjamas and pulls out a packet of Lovehearls. She offers one to Mina who reads it then shows it to Tina.

TINA
He loves you!

The girls squeal and cheer and the Lovehearts are handed around.

BECKY
reading Hug me! [Excited response.]

TINA
reading Tease me! [Excited response.]

LUCY
reading Loverboy! [Very excited response.]

STELLA
reading No way...

Silence, but it is broken by Mina, who is staring with great respect out into the audience.

MINA
with reverence which borders on adoration Top Shop!

THE SHOPPING TRIP

BECKY
playing mother to Tina as the rest of the girls become shop window dummies of a somewhat downbeat nature
Come on. We're going to get your new school clothes. Primark.

TINA
Not Primark, Mum. Top Shop. Pleeeasel

BECKY
Nothing wrong with Primark. Look. Shall we buy you some new pants?

TINA
in an agony of embarassment I don't need pants. Don't talk so loud. And anyway, I want thongs, not pants. I want to go to...

BECKY
You aren't wearing those things. They aren't warm enough. You're having proper knickers. [Becky raises the volume on the word 'knickers' and Tina dies of embarassment] What about this nice nary jumper?

TINA
I hate navy. I want to go...

BECKY
Or these trousers?

TINA
No. Everybody will laugh at me. Can we go to...?

BECKY
Oh. For goodness sake! We'll have a look.

The models suddenly look very pleased with themselves, displaying an altogether more confident pose. Tina is now dragging her mother from model to model.

TINA
Mum! These trousers! They're fab. Can I have them?

BECKY
No.

TINA
This belt. I love it!

BECKY
I'm not buying that.

TINA
examining a pair of shoes worn by someone in the audience These shoes...?

BECKY
No.

TINA
as they finally approach the last model This top. Pleeeease, mum...

BECKY
after a long hesitation in which Tina wills her to say yes Well. I must admit it's a nice garment. Well made.

TINA
visibly appearing to thank the Goddess of everything fashionable
It's really nice. All the seams finished off and stuff. [She clearly has no idea what this means but has heard her mother say it, often.]

BECKY
I like a garment that's well made.

TINA
nodding vigorously Yeah, it's really well made. I like it 'cos it's well made... and it's...

BECKY
But are you sure they'll let you wear it for school?

TINA
almost nodding her head off They'll definitely let me wear it for school. They like you to wear... well made... things.

BECKY
Have they got one in your size?

TINA
who checked that long ago This is my size.

BECKY
taking the garment Right. How much? [She reads the price tag.] Forty five pounds!! I'm not paying forty five pounds for...

TINA
on her knees, in agony it's forty four pounds ninety nine, mum and it's ever so well made pleeeease...

BECKY
No. Put it back. [She drags her absolutely distraught daughter out.] I need a drink!

Extract 2

THE COMPETITION

MINA
to the audience I got in terrible trouble with my sister you know...

GIRLS
who have now formed a line behind Mina Why?

MINA
Well. You know those awful friends she has. The ones she sees on Saturdays...

LUCY
who, along with the other girls has become a sophisticated, cigarette-smoking 'awful friend' I know where we should go today!

OTHERS
Where?

LUCY
The new place. The cool place. You know, where the fit lads hang out...?

OTHERS
Yeeaahh.

STELLA
playing the older sister I'd like to, but I've got to look after Mina.

TINA
looking at Mina as if she has just crawled out of somewhere very nasty Oh my God, what a bore! Can't you just get rid of her somewhere? [Handing over a pound coin.] Here, give her this quid and tell her to shove off.

STELLA
Mina. [Pleading.] Look. Can you just go and buy something then go home?

MINA
reverting to wronged kid sister, and not without a touch of malice Mum says you are supposed to be looking after me. She said you had to bring me to town. You know I'm too young to be left in town on my own.

STELLA
I know. But we're going somewhere you can't come. [Glancing at the other girls who are rolling their eyes and not even trying to disguise their superior amusement.] took, just go home, will you? You're big enough - and you know the way...

MINA
to audience So I ran all the way home to tell mum. [Wailing and almost incoherent] Muuummm!

LUCY
as Mum What's the matter, Mina?

MINA
still almost incoherent with exaggerated wailing She left me on my own... [Sob.] ... and went off... [Sniff] ... with those awful... [Wail] ... girls. [And as a malicious afterthought.] And they were smoking.

LUCY
Right. I'll deal with her when she gets back. Go and watch television in your room, Mina, and stop crying. Oh, there's some chocolate milk-shake in the fridge.

MINA
after collecting the milk-shake So I went to my room and waited. It wasn't long before she came home and I listened at my door.

LUCY
Look. I've had enough of you and these friends of yours. You know you were supposed to be looking after Mina. What if she'd been abducted in town? How would you have felt then?

STELLA
in an undertone As if I'd won the lottery...

LUCY
What?

STELLA
She makes me look a fool, mum. All the others laugh at me...

LUCY
And you've been smoking. ! can smell it on your clothes!

STELLA
I haven't. I don't smoke.

LUCY
Well, Mina says you were. And if your father finds out, you'll wish you never had. Now go and apologise to Mina. I'm sick of you two arguing. It's time you grew up!

STELLA muttering ominously She'd better not be in my room... [Looking in her own room, then going to Mina's.] Mina... I'm sorry. [Mina takes this opportunity to be obnoxiously petulant.] I didn't mean to leave you... [No response.] And I did give you a pound. Look, you can read my old copies of Blimey magazine, if you like. [There is an instant transformation as Mina rushes and grabs the magazines.] But only the old ones! Don't take this week's because there's a competition I want to do...!

MINA as she struggles to the centre with a pile of magazines So I took them all to Lucy's house so we could read there at the sleepover.

Sample Pages from Production Notes

PRODUCTION NOTES + TECHNICAL CUES etc.

N.B. These notes are suggestions only. You may find them helpful to follow; or they may act as a springboard for your own ideas; or you can choose to ignore them entirely!

INTRODUCTION: THEMES, THE PLAY'S INTENTION.

The play works on several levels. partly, it is a romping exploration of the younger teen mind. Designed to be played by slightly older [GCSE] students, they should appreciate this candid look at 'what it was like to be a couple of years younger than this!' It should spark off many memories and associations - all of which will help with the playing of the piece.

There are playful swipes at the younger teenage boy, at older sisters, at families, much of which will be familiar ground for the actors. But there is a darker side running through. Balancing the 'girliness' of the teens is their cruelty to one of their own age - Stella. And Stella herself acts as an antidote to the other girls - more sensible, clearly clever - a reminder that not all girls are like Lucy and her friends.

By 'flash-forwards' to the future, the play is further balanced by what happens to the girls later on. Most of their futures are not dwelt on: Lucy, who ends up as a dropout, Tina - who doesn't want kids - but is constantly pregnant, these are reminders that in the party of life, there will be many tears ahead. The storyline in the future that is picked up and followed through is that of Mina, the popstar who blows herself out with the stress of the lifestyle and dies young - only two years after the `party' that is the centre of this play. In fact, this storyline is begun around the time of that same party, when she enters a competition in a magazine to become a popstar for the day - and wins.

The somewhat bleak storyline is saved from being dismal by the snappy style and constant character and scene changes. Nonetheless, it is not an easy style to carry off, requiring talented and disciplined students who can switch paces and moods quickly and fluently.

CHARACTERS - all of whom will be 18/19 years old

Since the cast play a large number of characters, it is probably easier to list these, plus a few notes that differentiate the core characters.

LUCY
plays a shop window dummy; future Lucy - a drop-out; sophisticated older teenager; reporter; member of backing group; woman caller to Judy's programme; different young teenage girl.

STELLA
plays a shop window dummy; a boy's mum; future Stella - a business woman; sophisticated older teenager - Mina's elder sister; member of backing group; TV floor manager; reporter; newsreader.

TINA
plays a teenage boy; future Tina - a pregnant mum; sophisticated older teenager; reporter; member of backing group; Judy. a bitchy chatshow host.

BECKY
plays Tina's mother; teenage boy; future Becky - a perpetual student; sophisticated older teenager; Serena, of 'Blimey' magazine; reporter; member of backing group; Mina's manager; different young teenage girl.

MINA
plays a shop window dummy; teenage boy; future Mina - the pop star.

There is little to differentiate Lucy, Tina and Becky when they are playing their main characters. they are all as 'girly' as can be - into fashion, gossip, celebrity stars, magazines, the problem pages and boys. All hate school.

There are one or two ironies that are written into the script - and these need careful pointing to emphasise them.
Lucy says on Page 7 that she'll never leave home - yet she becomes a dropout, presumably homeless amd living on ther street.

Tina says she doesn't want to have babies on Page1 0 but ends up constantly pregnant. She is also perhaps the most innocent of the young girls, showing an endearing lack of sophistication re-kissing, sex and so on, compared with the `superior' pseudo-knowledge of the others. This could be a clue to playing her slightly differently - a follower, not quite so confident, nervous giggle - something like that.

Becky says she hates school and can't wait to leave - on Page 5 - yet ends up as the perpetual student, collecting degrees.
Mina is the lead part. We follow her tragic short life for the second half of the play. The other girls, except Stella, look up to her_ She is clearly the lynchpin of the group - the most confident.

Stella acts as a contrast to the others. She is excluded by them whenever possible - the outsider. Sensible and a bit of a swat at school, she despises the silliness of the girls at the same time as she wishes she were one of them, just to be accepted. However, this doesn't stop her castigating Mina for her stupidity.

Once again there is a built-in irony to Stella's life. She becomes the editor of a popular magazine, despite saying she despises the values and attitudes formulated in young girls' minds by the same kind of magazines.

The hardest thing about this play is the constant changing of voice and movement to play all the different roles. Care should be taken to build in differences in voice tones, in particular- by pace or depth - when playing the core characters.

SETTING

This must be as neutral as possible, since it has to stand for a number of different areas. Best is the writer's own suggestion: a non-realistic setting composed of teen girl images: giant size lipsticks, mobile phones, love hearts, etc. Bright colours and/ or a quantity of pinks needed. Other than this, which is decoration to liven the set up and suggest the dazzle of the fast-moving script, you need a practical space offering different levels. A possibility would be a high level round two thirds of the outer perimeter, a mid level acting as a step-up, seating or just an alternative level. If these two levels could be wide on, say Stage left side and narrow along the back, this would allow for a number of possibilities:

The girls in Lucy's bedroom could drape themselves over the stepped levels, perhaps using the top wide level on the left as Lucy's bed.

The dummies range themselves along the back top two levels in different poses. The backing group could perform on the top wide level ... and so on.

Very few entrances and exits are used in the play; usually the cast simply regroup into different positions.

If possible, paint any rostra you use a bright colour which fits in with the other decorations.

LIGHTS

These can be very simple and mainly bright all over the whole stage area. However, some of the darker side of the play can be emphasised with light as it progresses. I would suggest, though, that the bedroom area is separately lit - if only to help the audience realise that we have gone back to that place and those characters, whenever it occurs. Add warn colours, such as orange or red to the light for this bedroom and make sure these are on a separate circuit, because occasionally Lucy's bedroom area is used as part of the whole stage area, when it needs to be more brightly and starkly lit. Otherwise, you need the following, if possible: six profile spots, set in `random' areas around the stage - with at least two in a front position, towards either side. One spot is used for Mina's narration, one is also used for such as Stella's announcements, one is also used for Mina to collapse in, and this should be centre a little set back from the front. All these need to be separable.

Also needed is a reduced area of light taking in the front central part of the playing area. The lighting areas are, therefore:

A = whole stage area with the capacity to be brightly lit.

B = Lucy's bedroom area, which needs to be part of bright stage area at times and to have warmer lighting to differentiate it

C = reduced front central area of stage

D = single profile spot, towards one of the front corners. Mina's spot.

E = further 5 profile spots, randomly around stage, except one further spot the opposite side front to D, and one centre a little way back from the front of the stage, G.

F = single profile spot - one of the five from E, the opposite side front of the stage from D. Stella's spot.

G = another one of the five profile spots, a little back from the front, but central. Mina's collapse spot.

LIGHTING CUES

PAGE 2
Beginning of play. Lights up to bright, over bedroom area, Area B
Two thirds of way down page. Cue - Mina `Top Shop': Add rest of stage lights to three quarters - not dim but perceptibly dimmer than when we go to Top Shop! Area A PAGE 3
Quarter of way down page. Cue - Becky `Oh. For goodness sake! We'll have a look.' - Brighten all stage lights to full. Area A

PAGE 4
Extreme top of page. Cue bottom of previous page: Becky `I need a drink' Fast fade all lights except Lucy's bedroom area. Area B
Halfway down page. Cue: Lucy `Mum says I can invite some boys.' Bring up rest of stage lights again to bright. Area A