alex :)
constantly nervous about everything
likes music, books, chem and soft toys
always up for an adventure (despite much trepidation)

Message from Writer

happy writing everyone!

Michael and the Success Story

May 19, 2020


Lights come up, revealing a table sitting MP and FEMALE PLAYWRIGHT (FP) on stage right with a computer.

MP: (Typing) Enter six-year-old MICHAEL.

MICHAEL, in overalls and a propeller hat, runs onto stage left.

MICHAEL: (As MP types) Hi, I’m Michael! I really like pizza! My teacher asked the class what we wanted to be when we grew up, (MP stops to think) so I said…… Ah…….

MICHAEL turns to MP.

MP: (Turns to FP excitedly) What about a pilot?

FP: Really? (Gives MP a pointed look, taking the computer) A…… 

MP chants “Pilot”.

FP: (Typing) Lawyer.

MICHAEL: (Shouts at audience) A lawyer!

MP: Come on, we’re writing a success story! We need a hero, so what’s more heroic than a pilot? We have the next Top Gun with Maverick right before us!

FP: Why write the next Top Gun when we can write something original? And money is success. We want Michael the well-adjusted adult not Michael the stray bum on the street!

PLAYWRIGHTS stare silently at one another, MP with a pleading look in his eyes and FP with a stern look in hers.

MP: Oh, alright. 

MP shakes his head, chuckling. FP smiles appreciatively.

FP: Moving on. (Typing) Six-year-old MICHAEL leaves and twelve-year-old MICHAEL comes in.

MICHAEL (SIX) runs backstage. Crew brings in a desk covered with books and a chair onto stage left. MICHAEL (TWELVE), wearing a school uniform, comes onstage and sits at the desk, studying.

FP: MICHAEL studies hard to get straight As and enrolls in tuition, aiming to get above two-sixty for the final exam. 

MICHAEL: (Turns to PLAYWRIGHTS) Wait, that’s too much!

MP: (To FP) Give the kid a break.

FP: Trust me, this character development is needed. He has to grow up.

MP: (Whines) You’re turning the character into a nerd!

FP: (Raises voice) We’re writing something inspirational here!

MP: (Raises voice, pointing at audience) You’re boring them to death! What he needs is adventure, some real life experience!

MICHAEL: Actually, my music teacher told me she liked my voice-

FP: (Snaps) Anyone can sing! You need qualifications to get into a school of choice. 

MP: (Under his breath) Of whose choice, exactly?

FP shoots him a glare and starts typing.

MICHAEL: (Monotonously) I’m trying out for the debate team- (protesting) but I don’t like debate! 

MP: Let’s liven things up! What about the football team-


MICHAEL stands up from the desk and walks towards PLAYWRIGHTS, stopping at stage centre.

MICHAEL: Let me choose!

FP: (Stands up) I’m the one writing! I know what’s best for the story! Not you! (Types as MICHAEL opens his mouth to protest) MICHAEL. Keeps. His. Mouth. Shut!

MICHAEL sighs and goes back to his desk to study.

MP: Man, you’re bumming me out. Just change the scene already.

FP: (Glares at MP) Fine! (Sits down, typing) MICHAEL leaves!

MICHAEL (TWELVE) goes offstage.

FP: MICHAEL, now EIGHTEEN, comes onstage.

After a pause, FP raps the table impatiently. MICHAEL (EIGHTEEN), now in a graduation robe, shuffles onto stage left.

FP: MICHAEL studies even harder.

MICHAEL: (Sullenly) I study even harder.

FP: MICHAEL gets top grades in all subjects… 

MICHAEL: I get top grades in all subjects… 

FP: Especially English.

MICHAEL: (Long sigh) Especially English.

FP: MICHAEL applies to Harvard to study Law.


FP: Michael?

MICHAEL: (Softly) I didn’t apply.

MP laughs.

FP: What are you talking about?

MICHAEL: (Raises voice) I said, I didn’t apply. I’ve had it with your narrative.

FP: (Grabs the computer screen, scrutinizing it) This can’t be, the script- “MICHAEL applies to Harvard Law”- yes, the script doesn’t call for this! This is a success story, Michael! What were you thinking-

MICHAEL: (Shouts) Ma! I don’t want to be a lawyer! (Pause, his voice quietening) I know how bad your grades were…… especially English.

MP: Good! (Stands) I told your mother this isn’t the right path for you. And I’ve always thought being a pilot would really suit you. You need an adventure, not some boring desk job! 

MICHAEL: Not some boring desk job like yours, you mean.

MP: Yeah! So?

MICHAEL: You’re just as bad as Ma!

MP: Oh! So you know what to do with your life, then?

MICHAEL: (Hesitates) I-

MP: You. You what? What do you know? You are a kid! 

FP: (Stands) Michael, please reconsider.

MP: Do you know how many regrets we have? How much I wished for a more exciting life?

FP: How much I wished I took my grades more seriously?

MP: You can’t mess around! (Laughs) Later you end up like us!

MICHAEL: (Snaps) Shut up! SHUT UP! (Pause) I get it, okay! You’re writing a success story! BUT IT’S NOT YOURS! (Marches over to stage right to snatch computer away, then retreats to stage centre) IT’S MINE!

FP: Michael!

MICHAEL: You’ve controlled my studies, my hobbies, all eighteen years of my life. You can’t possibly control me anymore!

FP storms offstage. 


MICHAEL: And you, Pa? Is my life that disappointing to you too?

MP: (Sighs, leaving table at stage right to join MICHAEL) We aren’t disappointed, son. Hurt, confused, worried, yes… but not disappointed. (Puts hand on MICHAEL’s shoulder) You’re stepping towards the man you want to be. How could we be disappointed? (Pause) We just got carried away… We didn’t want to waste your potential on the same mistakes we made.

MICHAEL: (Scoffs) You still don’t approve.

MP: I don’t. But don’t let that stop you. (Long pause) I should go see Ma. (Begins to walk offstage, then stops) Just know that we love you, Michael. Beyond all expectations and worries.


MP walks offstage and MICHAEL sits down at his desk at stage left, opening the computer.

MICHAEL: All these directions for one great success story…… deleted. (Presses key and closes computer) I just want a life of my own.

MICHAEL leaves the desk and approaches the audience.

MICHAEL: Sorry to disappoint, but I’m done acting.

MICHAEL goes offstage.


See History
  • May 19, 2020 - 12:08am (Now Viewing)

Login or Signup to provide a comment.

  • Bhavya's Treasure

    That was a very different piece indeed! How the story opens is just fabulous! I loved the way the letters of "BUT IT'S NOT YOURS!" are dancing on the screen! Well done! Congrats! :)

    12 months ago
  • ek503

    Wow!! I love this idea! Awesome piece :)

    12 months ago
  • joella

    congratulations!!! this is amazingly written :))

    12 months ago
  • delete

    This is so clever! I love how you’ve written a play about two playwrights writing a play and incorporating the character they are writing about on stage as part of the drama. I love it! Well done for receiving runner up

    12 months ago
  • Brielle P. Chor

    Replying: Congrats to you too! And yes, I almost screamed (in excitement, of course) when I realised that you're a Singaporean writer too haha:)) Looking forward to reading more of your writing!!

    12 months ago
  • Ree Sethu

    Wow! Great work!

    12 months ago
  • Briali Rain

    The whole concept and idea of this play is amazing!! Congratulations, hope to see more of your work :)

    12 months ago
  • Brielle P. Chor

    This is real cheeky, and dramatic in good measure. Well done:)

    12 months ago
  • batman_is_a_cracker

    CALLED IT! Good job! Congratulations!

    12 months ago
  • FizzyBaguette

    wow, WOW! This is such a clever idea! Congrats on winning!

    12 months ago
  • sunny.v

    wow, amazing! this is so creative and such a nice metaphor of parents passing on their hurtful expectations onto their child!

    12 months ago
  • sherry171

    THIS IS SO CREATIVE HOLY MOLY that was amazing. Congrats!!

    12 months ago
  • Anne Blackwood

    Woah, this is amazing!! Congratulations!!!

    12 months ago
  • batman_is_a_cracker

    WOW! This is really good! You've got a great chance of winning, in my opinion. Keep up the good work! I look forward to reading more from you. :)

    12 months ago