Playing video games can be fun, but sometimes gamers forget to notice the world around them. Can Benji’s family capture their gaming son’s attention, help him put down the controller, and start to enjoy the real world?
This script includes discussion questions and director’s notes on casting and set design.
Debra A. Cole is a celebrated humanities teacher, youth theatre director, and children’s playwright with degrees in journalism, art history, and elementary education. She understands the needs of young performers and their directors and creates pieces that encourage engaging discussion, creative thought, and quirky playfulness. Her goal is that young performers discover the power and delight that theatre brings to actors and audiences alike.
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Excerpt from the play:
BENJI — (M) obsessed gamer, isn’t connecting with his family
MOM — (F) frustrated with Benji
DAD — (M) frustrated with Benji
CHARLIE— (F) sister of Benji, dramatic theatre kid
(The action takes place in modern day times in a normal living room.)
(Lights come up in an average living room. A couch sits in the middle of the stage with Benji wearing a gaming headset and holding a game controller. Benji is vigorously playing a video game.)
(screaming at invisible screen which is now the audience) Get him! (moves the controller more) No! Where did this guy come from? Are you kidding me?
(Mom enters stage right and begins talking to Benji while tidying up. She doesn’t notice that Benji is not paying attention.)
Benji, I am going to need some help before dinner. If the bikes aren’t moved out of the garage and into the shed, I will never be able to park my car again.
(yells while still playing the game and not hearing Mom) Yes!
(Still not seeing Benji) Wow! I didn’t expect you to be so excited about the task.
(yells at screen while still playing) Are you kidding me! Who do you think you are?
(shocked) Well, young man, I think I’m your moth… (notices Benji is not paying attention) …mother.
(Enter Dad stage right who walks right up to Mom who looks concerned.)
What are we making for dinner tonight? I would love to make a batch of cornbread if that sounds good to you.
(still irritated) What really sounds good to me is to have my son actually hear me instead of playing that video game of his.
(to Benji) Benji, listen to your mother.
Nice try. That video game seems to be the only thing our dear son can experience these days.
(Charlie enters stage right blowing bubbles with her gum. She approaches Mom and Dad. Benji just keeps playing.)
(to Charlie) What have we told you about gum in the house?
(popping a bubble) You told me not to do it, but my teacher told us that gum helps us destress, and I am stressed with my upcoming play auditions.
You? Not ready for auditions? You are the most dramatic kid we have.
That’s only because Benji (nods his way) never leaves the couch. If he were a part of the real world instead of the virtual world, he would be dramatic too.