10 characters. 8F; 2M; 13 pages in length. Approximately 15 minutes running time. A comedic revue (with classroom materials) written by August Mergelman. (3 Credits)

Trade Trade Secrets is a revue style play. On a big-city sidewalk, Drip and Dash exchange secrets of the trade—that is, how to be popular with the female of the species. Drip is one of the top top bananas in showbiz; Dash is more of the handsome, straight-man type. Drip’s inspiration is a bedtime story his mama used to read, “The Three Nanny Goats Gruff.” Dash prefers to work with the little ditty about the pretty red cape and the basket full of goodies. The cop on the beat and the local fortune teller get their moments in the spotlight, but no one steals the scene quite like one aspiring top banana does; in Margie, Drip has met his match.This hilarious play also includes added materials including improvisation and acting exercises, projects on lighting and makeup for students and questions for discussion and research. You can find these other fantastic plays by August Mergelman in our Script Library: Spider Besider, Fancy Nancy & the Ants, Persephone, The Magpies, By Jove, A Merry Interlude at Camelot, Mum’s the Word, The Vixen, Couth, Pantalone’s New Pantalones, The Honest Impostor, The Weaver Girl & the Cowherd, The Dragon & the Pearl, Polly Peachum & the Pirates, Lady Scottish Play, Penny from Heaven, The Cat Noir, Jackie & the Beans Talk, North Paws.

As a playwright, August Mergelman has one simple goal: to bring classical works to the modern audience. It seems that so many of the world’s great dramas are obscured by their own magnitude. August does not believe that any of history’s great playwrights would truly want their works to be intimidating or bewildering. First and foremost, they were showman; they crafted their works to be engaging, challenging, and most importantly, entertaining. As a fourth-generation Colorado native, August is proud of his western heritage, which is manifest in several of his western settings. His works have been featured in the Playwrights’ Showcase of the Western Region and the Rocky Mountain Theatre Association’s playwriting Competition.

Excerpt from the play:

CAST OF CHARACTERS

Drip — the top top banana in the business
Dash — his straight man
Margie — Drip’s match
Josie — a lovely pedestrian
Lillie — another
Lydia — another
Sally — another
Sophie — another
Makepeace — the cop on the beat
Rosalee — a gypsy fortune teller

(On a park bench down center, Drip enjoys a pleasant afternoon dream. While he naps, he doesn’t move. Margie enters left with Lydia, Lillie, and Josie behind her.)

Margie
There he is, girls, just like I promised—the top top banana in show business.

Josie
Oh, look at Drip lying there. Isn’t he adorable?

Margie
(Turns to leave.) Even more so when he’s sleeping.

Lillie
Aren’t you going to stick around, Margie?

Margie
Naw. I’m not the girl of his dreams. I’m the girl of his realities. Be gentle with him, though.

(Margie exits left. Lydia, Lillie, and Josie stand behind Drip and adore him.)

Drip
(Interacts, but still dreaming.) Ignore the last thing she said.

Lydia
Drip, are you sure you’re comfy there?

Drip
Sure, I’m sure. It’s softer than the sidewalk any day.

Lillie
Why don’t you forget about that park bench and have dinner with me? My treat.

Drip
Gee, I’d love to, Lillie, but I promised my pal I’d meet him here and give him a few pointers on how to be popular with the girls. I don’t want to disappoint Dash.

Josie
Dash who?

Drip
Funny. A lot of girls actually think “who” is Dash’s last name.

(The ladies laugh. Officer Makepeace wanders on right, unseen.)

Lydia
Oh, Drip. You always put a smile on my face.

Drip
For free, even, but if you want to catch my act in the show, the guy in the box office charges you two bits. That reminds me—the producer better not catch me passing out smiles for free.

Makepeace
And I better not catch you selling smiles on the street without a vendor’s license. I’ll take you down to the station.

Drip
Sweetheart, you have a low and sultry voice. (Takes a peek.) Oops, my mistake, Officer Makepeace… Hey, is this some sort of raid?

Makepeace
You might say that.

(The ladies sigh with disappointment.)

Drip
Sorry, girls. You may as well do the only ladylike thing and run screaming.

Lillie
Oh, if you insist, but we’ll be back.

(The ladies calmly exit left.)

Drip
(Calls after them.) Please do, but I have a feeling I’ll have been rudely awoken by that time.

(Drip is annoyed with Makepeace’s prodding.)

Drip
All right, all right. I’m awake already, Officer Killjoy.

Makepeace
That’s Makepeace to you, and I ought to take you in for loitering, but that just seems so petty. I think I’ll wait for you to commit an offence that carries a stiffer fine.

Drip
(Pathetic.) Like selling smiles without a vendor’s license?

Makepeace
Uh, sure. That’ll do nicely. (Turns to leave.) I’ll be waiting… patiently.

(Makepeace exits right as Dash enters left.)

Drip
I’d have offered him a bribe, but I’m fresh out of doughnuts.

Dash
What about doughnuts?

Drip
Dash, old pal! Never mind the doughnuts. You’re finally here, and just in time for me to give you some pointers on how to be popular with the ladies.

Dash
I could have sworn it was the other way around, but now you’ve piqued my curiosity. Point the way with these pointers of yours.

Drip
Okay, well, my favorite trick is to find a busy sidewalk and block the way. If you want to pass by, you have to pay me a toll.

Dash
I see. That makes you the… uh… troll.

Drip
Exactly! I got the idea from a bedtime story Mama used to read.

Dash
You never did listen very well to what your mama told you, Drip. Don’t you remember who it is that wants to cross that bridge?

Drip
Only the three most drop-dead-devastatingly-gorgeous, curvy-in-all-the-right-places, put-your-eyeballs-back-in-their-sockets nanny goats you’ve ever seen. (Looks off left.) Ooh. Here comes one now. You’d better hide.

(Dash conceals himself. Drip moves the park bench to block the way and then reclines on it.)

Sally
(Enters left.) Oh. Hi, Drip. Do you mind if I pass by?

Drip
It’ll cost ya a phone number.

Sally
Mine or somebody else’s?

Drip
Yours’ll do nicely.

Sally
Well, I’d love to give you my phone number, Drip, but it’s like this…. You see, I feel it’s only fair of me to let you know that my friend Sophie is right behind me, and she—you won’t believe this—she recently won the um… (Looks around.) …Parking Meter Sweepstakes. And, well, I know how you can be so… thrifty when it comes to going on a date, so I just wanted to let you know that she’s loaded.

Drip
Oh, that was so sweet of you to forfeit your claim on me. Just for that, I’m gonna let you pass for free, but first—have you noticed my new tie?

Sally
Honestly, I was trying not to.

Drip
What’s your opinion of it?

Sally
There are no words.

Drip
You don’t say.

Sally
I won’t say. I’ll use sign language instead.

(Sally plugs her nose and waves goodbye, moving around the bench and exits right.)

Drip
(Waves goodbye and then tucks his wiggling fingers under his chin after she exits.) I know a little sign lingo too, sister. (Writes in his notepad.)

Dash
(Emerges from hiding.) What are you writing down there?

Drip
All the cute little things the girls say to me. It makes good material for my act.

Dash
And it all fits in that cute little notebook?

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