the "WHAT IF" game

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Someone once asked me how I came up with ideas for plays. Well, the secret is that I play the "what if" game all the time. This, along with the "and then" game that drove my parents to the edge of sanity is the sum total of my technique. Begin with the "what if" game just to explore ideas... then follow up with the "and then" game to construct an outline.

For instance... here was the rough start to one of my plays...
WHAT IF... when you are dead you wear no pants?
WHAT IF... when you die you meet other dead people who lived where you use to?
WHAT IF... dying was just the begining of "the process"?

1. A dead man wakes up to find God's accountant summing up his life...
2. AND THEN he is given one hour to find out how he died or he can't "go into the light"...
3. AND THEN dead people from different eras appear...
4. AND THEN he discovers that his living wife is having an affair...
5. AND THEN...

and so on and so forth...
So, now you know. Here is an excerpt from that play....

JIM: So a 1258A-86 is finding out how I died in one hour… that’s it?

JOEY: That’s it? Will you get a load of this guy? First the dead joke, now… that’s it!

JIM: That’s all it is, right?

ROLAND: If you couldn’t provide that information to Gabe when he was originally here… I would venture to guess that you have a lot of work ahead of you, Jim.

JOEY: He’s right on the nose with that one.

JIM: Not a problem. I know how I died. I figured it out after Gabe left.

JOEY: Yeah? So we got nothing to worry about.

ROLAND: And how did you meet your demise, Jim?

JIM: I figure it was a mob hit.

JOEY: A mob hit?

ROLAND: How exciting!

JIM: Exciting?

ROLAND: Oh, yes! A mob hit is exquisitely exciting!

JIM: O.K… How did you die?

ROLAND: Oh it wasn’t half as exciting as what happened to you. For me it was the crash of 29. I was a stockbroker on Wall Street.

JIM: The crash... tough. You were one of those who went out a window? That’s sort of exciting.

ROLAND: Actually, I had no intention of ending my life. I was on my way home and someone fell on me. Very inconvenient. Very messy. Not very exciting.

JIM: I’m sorry.

ROLAND: Not as sorry as I was.

JIM: Wait... You died in New York… and you woke up here?

ROLAND: Yes, that was a pleasant surprise. I had many happy memories growing up here… at least in my early youth. At least until… I suppose it was the natural thing to do.

JIM: And what about you, Joey?

JOEY: I won this place in a poker game from a guy whose wife ran out on him.

JIM: No, no. I mean… how did you die?

JOEY: First tell me about this mob hit of yours.

JIM: It’s pretty simple. I had an affair on my wife. Her parents probably found out… and Kapow!

ROLAND: Kapow! See that’s real excitement! Almost operatic!

JIM: I guess if you put it that way… it really was kinda exciting.

excerpt from "The Dead Guy Show" copyright 1999 Marcel Nunis

5 Responses to “the "WHAT IF" game”

  1. Blogger airplanejayne 

    gosh - I wake up in the middle of the night and play a different version of "What If...And Then....."
    WHAT IF that noise I just heard outside is an escaped convict?
    WHAT IF he cuts through the screen window
    AND THEN he comes down the hall?
    WHAT IF I am sleeping so soundly that I don't hear him
    AND THEN he stabs me and steals my kitties?

    --think I like your version better....

  2. Blogger jade ed girl 

    Oh APj- perhaps you've spent to much time w/ SSM.
    What if that noise was Johnny Depp looking for a safe place to hide from the papparazi...
    And then he sees your open widow...
    What if he finds you sleeping...
    And then...
    Yeah , I know, I'll catch ya when you get back from the store:)

  3. Blogger airplanejayne 

    ....still at the store......

  4. Blogger Lelly 

    Is that SSM hiding behind the chair??

  5. Blogger lecram sinun 

    Yes, it is SSM.

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