Lacey, a teenage girl, has finished work at the mall and is waiting – and waiting – for her boyfriend to pick her up. Left stranded yet again, she reevaluates her love life while shuffling through the songs on her iPod. Actors portraying each of the songs appear with comedic monologues that stir her emotions, offer advice, and affect her decisions. Ethan, a good-humored co-worker, offers her a ride home and the possibility of future romance. The play may be performed with anywhere from 3 to 16 actors. Actors playing Songs portray the spirit and style of the genre rather than a particular musical number. Without mimicking a specific artist, your audience may make their own connections - creating individual personal playlists - as the performance unfolds.
PLAYWRIGHT KEN PREUSS
TALKS ABOUT “SHUFFLING”
Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS PLAY?
A: Music is a big part of a lot of people’s lives. I have no musical talent whatsoever, but there is rarely a moment when I am not listening and/or singling along, badly. Songs can connect us to our past, change the way we feel in the present, and even challenge our ideas about the future. I was inspired to try to capture that magic on stage, creating a non-musical play about the music we play.
Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PART OR LINE IN THE PLAY? WHY?
A: Choosing a favorite part of this play is like choosing a favorite song…different ones appeal to me at different times. Some days I relate the anger of Song 5, some days I wallow in the sadness of Song 10, some days I’m drawn to the hopefulness of Song 13. The script is like a personal playlist: there’s a little something there for all of my moods.
Q: WHERE DID THE CHARACTERS COME FROM? ARE THEY BASED ON PEOPLE YOU KNOW?
A: Lacey is a lot like me. (Okay, technically, she is a teen-aged girl and I am a grown man in my forties – but we share similar personality and a deep connection with music.) Ethan is the clever and funny guy I wish I had been in high school. Trevor is the guy who stole all the girls I liked in high school because I wasn’t clever and funny like Ethan.
The rest of the characters are tracks on Lacey’s playlist. Although they may have been inspired by specific songs in my life, the identities have been left open to interpretation so that actors, directors, and audiences may create their own personal connections.
Q: WHAT DID YOU TRY TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS PLAY?
A: I tried to write a fun and creative play that will become a totally unique production each time it is presented. A play where directors and actors will have a great time creating characters to reflect their own sense of style and humor.
Q: DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO ADD?
A: I’d like to add a little more hair to the top of my head. Aside from that, I’d like to remind the actors and directors that there are many ways to portray each song. Brainstorm and have a blast. Remember to capture the spirit and style of each track without mimicking a specific artist so your audience may make their own connections - creating individual personal playlists - as the performance unfolds.