Atomic Summer

Full Length Comedy — Single Set — 2 Women, 1 Man


Photos Courtesy of Theatre in the Square, Marietta, GA

Description: A lonely farmer with a two-headed calf in his basement woos a single mother through her unsuspecting daughters.

Synopsis: Since his brother passed on, Orrin is now forced to do something he has never done on the farm before. Hire help.

He takes on two teenage girls, Bobbie and Sarah, whom he has seen with their mother at a church sponsored meatball dinner. Privately, Orrin does this to “try out” being their stepfather and to gain more access to their mother. Both girls are to clean his house and cook his meals. He also has a unique responsibility for them. Orrin has a sick animal he needs them to care for – a two-headed mutant bull-calf. He once bought breeding stock during a moment of iniquity near the Nevada Test Site.

Sarah and Bobbie are not here to just clean his house. Their mother has instructed them to convert the stubborn Orrin. So the showdown begins. Will Orrin accept both the girls and their faith to start a relationship with their mother? Or will he live out his remaining years alone?

Why It Was Written: I had a great-uncle who lived by himself on a remote farm on top of a hill. By choice, he didn’t have running water or a telephone. He heated his house in the winter by constantly chopping wood. He didn’t think I should go to college. But I was always very curious about him, so naturally I wondered what it would take for him to fall in love.

I’m not really sure how the two-headed calf ended up in Orrin’s basement. When I was a teen, I had walked through an animal freaks exhibit on the Midway at the Minnesota State Fair, so that’s probably where the calf came from. Plus we had just moved away from Las Vegas, so the Nevada Test Site crept into the piece too.

The play had its first reading at the Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco, and an actor in the audience wanted to stage it. The play was soon produced at a community theatre in Pleasant Hill, CA, just north of Berkeley. Then the play was next produced at Theatre in the Square in Marietta, GA, a suburb of Atlanta. Some ladies from local church groups came, and they absolutely loved it, and I loved visiting with them. A newspaper critic ranked the production as one of the top ten plays in Atlanta that year too. I’ve adapted it into a screenplay, and that script was a 2008 Suzanne’s Prize Finalist, a romantic comedy screenwriting contest. The play even has lemon bars in it. Everybody likes lemon bars.

Read the first ten pages: Script Sample