2 characters. 2F. 5 pages long. Approximately 5 minutes running time. A short play about creating real friendship by Martha Patterson.

The Rules is a play about two teen girls, Jamie and Julie, who are assigned to be science partners. Jamie is pretty and popular and Julie is plain and introverted. As they get to know each other better and Julie shares her “rules” for living, they realize that they have both misjudged each other and have more in common than they knew. This short play for teens emphasizes the need for acceptance and the desire for meaningful relationships.

Martha Patterson is a playwright and essayist who has written more than 185 plays and a dozen essays, and has had her work published by Pioneer Drama Service, Smith & Kraus / Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, the International Centre for Women Playwrights, Silver Birch Press, the Sheepshead Review journal of arts & literature, Original Works Publishing, and JAC Publishing. Her plays have been produced in nineteen states around the US as well as in England, Scotland, France, Canada, Denmark, Korea, and Australia. She began writing plays in her 30s and discovered, after a half a life pursuing an acting career (Off-Off-Broadway, regional theatre, and stock), that writing suited her just as well as performing did. She soon began networking with other playwrights and, not having an agent of her own, currently submits her work to between 500 and 600 theatres a year. She is a member of Screen Actors Guild and Actors’ Equity Association. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts, the USA.

Excerpt from the play:

CAST OF CHARACTERS

JAMIE: 14 or 15, a junior high student who is very “cool.” She wears bright clothes and has long hair and wears a little bit of makeup.
JULIE: 14 or 15, another junior high school student who is not cool at all. She wears a plaid dress and loafers and has frizzy hair and glasses.

SCENE: The steps outside the high school building, just after classes have ended.

TIME: The present.

AT RISE: JAMIE comes out of the door to the steps where JULIE is sitting and drops her backpack on the steps. JULIE is studying from a book open on her lap, which she puts away after a minute. During the scene they may get up and pace around.

JAMIE
Thank God that gnarly old bell finally rang. I was just about to croak! And that science project we have to do! How am I ever going to finish that?

JULIE
I like school.

JAMIE
Guess what? I just bought this sweater with a $25 gift certificate I got for Christmas! It cost $20 more than the gift certificate was worth, so it means I can’t go skiing next weekend with the kids from school.

JULIE
Life Lesson 1: don’t spend more than you have coming in.

JAMIE
What’s that?

JULIE
Something my father taught me. Don’t spend what you don’t have.

JAMIE
But I did have it. It just means I can’t go skiing.

JULIE
Life Lesson 2: You have to make choices.

JAMIE
Uh, excuse me? I think I did. I chose the sweater. Which’ll keep me nice and warm while I’m writing that term paper that’s due tomorrow.

JULIE
Life Lesson 3: Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

JAMIE
Wrong again. I AM writing the term paper today. Tonight, actually.

JULIE
I always start my papers the day I get the assignment.

JAMIE
That’s kind of obnoxious. Guess what? Joel asked me to go to a movie with him Friday night.

JULIE
Your parents let you date? Who’s Joel?

JAMIE
That cute guy in biology. Dark hair, blue eyes like sapphires.

JULIE
Really? Sapphires?

JAMIE
Well, they’re intense. Awesome, in fact.

JULIE
Rule Number 4: Don’t judge people by their appearance.

JAMIE
Huh? How am I supposed to ignore it? He’s CUTE!!

JULIE
Rule Number 5: Don’t use overdone slang. Like “awesome.”

JAMIE
Your father sounds like a moron.

JULIE
Rule Number 6: Honor thy mother and father.

JAMIE
I thought that was one of the Ten Commandments.

JULIE
It is.

JAMIE
Well, I’ve got one for you. Keep your mouth shut when you’re not asked. (Gives JULIE a shove.) And don’t act superior when you’re not.

JULIE
(Lying on her side.) That was uncalled for.

JAMIE
It was, like, totally called for.

JULIE
Rule Number 7: No one is without sin.

JAMIE
Rule Number 8: Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, idiot.

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