Actor Support Group
(A group of actors are attending a support group. They are a wide range of ages and a very diverse group. This is their first meeting, and nobody knows what to expect...)
DR. TABITA. Happy Sunday afternoon everyone, thanks for joining me today for our first ever actor’s support group, through the screen, to come together and talk to each other and support each other. Before we start I want to say that I value each and every one of you for being here… you are so brave, you are so courageous. I want everyone to repeat with me now: I am so brave, I am so courageous. C’mon now, say it with me: I am so brave, I am so courageous. (group mumbles it, some remain muted, Bradleigh unmutes and then starts making jumbled noises.) Alright, that was-
JOSIAH. -I am so brave, I am so courageous.
DR. TABITA. Yes you are Josiah. Alright, that was a great start, let’s keep this crazy train going, shall we? Now, I am going to share a little bit about myself. I am Doctor Tabita, but I’m known to most as crazy Dr. T! I used to also be an actress, you know, I was the one lady in all those back pain medication ads on the televisión! Yeah, it was a pretty good run, by the end I had “contracted” almost every kind of arthritis known to man - you know, hand, neck, toe, left eyeball, all of the sort. But enough about me - anyone wants to start us off with sharing?
Beat. Johnandrina unmutes, then mutes again.
DR. TABITA. John-andrin-uh? Honey, do you have something to say?
JOHNANDRINA. Ok, I guess. I’m Johnandrina, you can call me John.
DR. TABITA. Hi, John. short beat. C’mon everybody now, say it with me.
ALL. Hi, John.
JOHNANDRINA. Ok, so-
JOSIAH. Hi, John.
JOHNANDRINA. Hi. Ok. short beat. I came here because I’m just so completely lost right now. I wish-
(Bradleigh begins to make garbled noises once again.)
DR. TABITA. Johnandrina? Johnandrina, you’re cutting out.
JOHNANDRINA. No, I think-
Dr. Tabita continues to speak, but she’s muted.
JOHNANDRINA, shouting over the noise. Umm, is it… Bradleigh? Could you mute yourself?
DR. TABITA, unmuted. Who’s me? Oh my god, Johnandrina! I can see you! I’m so sorry, there was just this noise from my computer and I was-
JOHNANDRINA. You’re good. Beat. Dr. T is pouring herself a glass of wine/distractedly doing something completely random. Um.
DR. TABITA. Oh yes, continue, my dearest sweetest creature.
JOHNANDRINA. Ok. So, I guess I’ll get right to the point-
Jamal joins the zoom, loud kidz bop music playing in the background.
JAMAL. Wuh- wuh- wuh- What’s up, kidz, and welcome back to Jam Up the Halls with Jamal! Did ya miss me?
Beat. Silence. Music fades out.
JAMAL, starting to break down into tears. FUCK! Fuck fuck fuck
DR. TABITA. No need for the f-words here, ken doll. What’s gotten to you?
JAMAL. I just- I can’t do this anymore. I hate my job, I hate my life. I moved here from fucking middle-of-nowhere Ohio, and my nice big-ass house and my parents and even a motherfuckin lake just to host a motherfuckin KIDZ BOP zoom dance party channel that’s on the brink of fucking extinction alone in my fuckin closet-size apartment like I’m motherfuckin Harry Potter, I’m twenty fucking years old why the fuck
DR. TABITA. Woah, calm down Jamal. We have a lot to unpack here.
JAMAL, still going. YEAH, “don’t pull out the 9” well so what if I do pull out the 9? Huh? What are you gonna do about it? Fire me? Because I couldn’t give a shit-
Jamal freezes, then leaves the meeting. Bradleigh starts to make garbled noises again. Chaos ensues.
JOHNANDRINA. That’s it! That’s fucking it! I disappointed my parents, I don’t have a fucking future, I don’t have a college degree, and I’m a terrible fucking actress. I can’t do anything, I’m flat out broke but I’m too scared and too prideful to face my problems and get a job.
I don’t know where to go - maybe I can just kill myself, or maybe I’ll do some pornos or some shit. Hell, I don’t even know if I can do pornos without getting some plastic tits or something - but oh yeah, just remembered I have to 2,000 fucking dollars out of my ass to pay for rent so I won’t be fucking homeless and keep myself alive at the same time. Why am I even here right now? Why am I not mopping the floor at McDonalds, or cleaning up aisle 5 at Walmart?
Beat. Johnandrina sits there, breathing heavily. Angry tears. Everyone processes what she just said.
DR. TABITA. Thank you for sharing lovebug.
One by one, everyone says thanks. Bradleigh types it in the chat.
DR. TABITA. You know, I just-
JOSIAH. Thank you, Johandrina.
Beat. Dr. T recollects herself, continues.
DR. TABITA. I just wanted to try to make the world a better place and make people happier, you know, and also make a load of money and get rich. Maybe I should never have gone into acting - maybe none of us should’ve. It’s a useless job, it’s hard and it’s exhausting and ugly at times. No matter how hard you work, you might never get anywhere. And that’s what really crushed me.
Beat. Everyone’s still.
DR. TABITA. Look at me now: I work for the Church of Scientology. Maybe that’s why hollywood doesn’t love me anymore. Maybe that’s why I’ll never be able to land another role. At least I get paid, but it’s far from enough. I once went a week without getting new baby wipes.
JOHNANDRINA. Baby wipes?
DR. TABITA. I’m fifty years old. How else do you think I keep my face as smooth as a newborn’s bosom?
I’m sorry guys, I wish I could give you all whatever you needed and more, but I’m not Oprah. The best I could do was to offer my ears.
JOHNANDRINA. It’s ok. I know you probably have it rough too. I mean- scientology? That seems kinda rough.
DR. TABITA. Yeah right? If it wasn’t for the 5k a month, I would have left a long time ago.
JOHNANDRINA. Hold on, you said 5K?!
DR. TABITA. Yeah, right?
JOHNANDRINA. Holy shit. Dr. T, are there any openings at the scientology lab or whatever?
DR. TABITA. Oh trust me, there always are.
One night in a room
There he stood, so perfect, across the room from me, in his stupid sweater and stupid shorts and smiling his stupid perfect smile. Ugh, all of it just makes me angrier. And then he slowly put his little red solo cup down and made his way toward me, still smiling. What was he trying to do?
I stood my ground, but I could feel the air changing. Maybe half of the people just decided to leave. My head started doing little laps until all my thoughts were jumbled and he was too close for comfort.