2021-2022, Play, Writing

Plagiarist

By Mantripat Dhami, ’23

  1. INT. STAGE – NIGHT

(DILLON is seen wearing a traditional Indian bridal gown, while looking in the mirror. SOPHIE rushes on stage, and is wearing a Western, baby pink gown.) 

SOPHIE: Dillon- 

(Sophie leans down and pants from all the exhaustion, then gets up.) 

SOPHIE: Dillon… 

DILLON: Yeah? Are you okay? 

SOPHIE: Never been better. I-I just want to thank you. I want to thank you for being a great, great friend in high school, in middle school, in elementary school while I was getting bullied, isolated, and utterly depressed. Y-you 

DILLON: Okay, settle down, Sophie. 

SOPHIE: You are the reason I am here today. 

DILLON: At this wedding? 

SOPHIE: No, you are the reason that I am still living on this planet. And I just wanted to say thank you.

(SOPHIE looks down at Dillon’s dress.) 

SOPHIE: Geez, Louise, That dress is gorgeous. But you probably heard that multiple times, huh? 

DILLON (chuckles): You’ll get used to it. 

(Suddenly, WRITER 1 and WRITER 2 entered the stage. They are both in black leggings and a black t-shirt.) 

WRITER 1: Cheats! THey’re all cheaters! 

SOPHIE: What the heck? What is this guy talking about? 

DILLON: Hey, Scram! No one invited you. 

WRITER 2: The author of this play is a plagiarist! 

SOPHIE and DILLON: Huh? 

WRITER 1: She wrote this play about two childhood friends, where one dies from a disease at age eight. 

WRITER 2: It leaves the other friend growing up with schizophrenia. This is the exact same storyline we wrote and produced.

(Writer 2 faces Sophie.) 

WRITER 2: By the way, your mini monologue sucked. 

SOPHIE: Oh, come on! 

DILLON: Wait, I’m invested. So which one of us dies?

SOPHIE: Dillon, we have the same fucking script. 

(Writer 2 points to herself and Writer 1.) 

WRITER 2: We wrote the original play together, and nobody gave a shit. This lady cheats her way to the top, and suddenly, she becomes an American icon. 

SOPHIE: Shut up. It’s called inspiration, referencing, and basing. 

WRITER 2: Lemme guess…this is your one shot? 

SOPHIE: My one shot of what? 

WRITER 2: Of getting a big break. I’ve seen a lot of wannabes like you just ending up as a plumber. 

(Sophie faces the audience.)

SOPHIE (giggles): This lady obviously has no idea what she’s talking about. 

(Writer 1 points to both Dillon and Sophie, then points in their opposite direction.) 

WRITER 1: Now both of you, get off this stage. 

DILLON: Why? I haven’t punched someone, slapped someone, beat the shit out of someone. My teacher, Ms. Ortega said those are the only reasons to get kicked off stage. 

(Writer 1 turns to Sophie.) 

WRITER 1: How do you get along with this woman? 

DILLON: We don’t. 

SOPHIE: Well anyways, the writers and directors are too successful for your shenanigans. Believe me. This was a waste of time. 

WRITER 2: Then why isn’t anyone pushing us off stage? 

(Dillon and Sophie look at each other in surprise.) 

DILLON (chuckles): They’ll come down any minute now.

(Dillon taps her foot, and bites her lip.) 

DILLON: Any minute. 

(Dillon moves her head from side to side. Sophie leans her head towards Dillon’s side.) 

SOPHIE: Um, Dillon. 

(SOPHIE chuckles nervously.) 

SOPHIE: I think they left. 

DILLON: Who left? 

SOPHIE: The writers left. 

DILLON: Really? Then I gotta go, too! 

(Dillon walks a few steps away before Sophie grabs her by the arm, and pushes her back.) 

SOPHIE: No! We have to be known as the actresses who saved this show. Can you imagine how many promotions we could get? 

WRITER 1: Promoted for supporting plagiarism? 

SOPHIE: What? Like that’s our fault that the storyline is a little…

WRITER 2: Oh, not a little. A LOT PLAGIARIZED! 

SOPHIE: How about this, we continue going over the lines, and now you will decide if this is original or plagiarized. 

WRITER 1: Alright, if you wanna play that game.

(WRITER 2 leaves the stage, and returns with two scripts, and hands one to WRITER 1. Sophie turns to Dillon and puts her hand on her shoulder.) 

SOPHIE: Now don’t you ever get cold feet, alright? 

WRITER 2: It’s the exact same line. 

DILLON (laughs): Alright. 

(Dillon leaves the stage. An older woman enters the stage in religious attire.) 

WRITER 2: Oh my god that’s the exact same… WOMAN: Ma’am. What are you doing here?

SOPHIE: I’m here to see my friend’s wedding. She’s the one getting married. 

WOMAN: What? Are you okay?

(Writer 2 frantically flips through the pages of her script.) 

WRITER 2: What the hell, that’s the exact same 

WOMAN: What? Are you okay? 

SOPHIE: Of course. Why wouldn’t I be? 

WOMAN: No one’s getting married. 

SOPHIE: What are you talking about? I just saw her ri- 

(Sophie turns to where Dillon left. Sophie runs off stage.) 

SOPHIE (offstage): Dillon? Dillon? 

(Writers 1 and 2 move their heads out of the scripts. look at each other in shock and run offstage. They return, dragging Sophie and Dillon back on stage. The woman leaves the stage in fear.) 

WRITER 1: Oh boy, you are gonna LOVE all the money we’ll get from this. 

DILLON: You would understand, you work to become rich. So why aren’t you understanding that this is so important for us?

WRITER 2: We don’t write for money. We write for ourselves. 

DILLON: Then why do you care? 

WRITER 1: Because people only care about these untalented, useless people who don’t know the difference between inspiration and fucking cheating! 

SOPHIE: You know what…let’s make a deal. 

(Sophie walks closer to Dillon, and softly touches her gown.) 

WRITER 2: What deal? 

SOPHIE: Do you have any Indian friends? 

WRITER 1: What? That’s literally not the point! 

DILLON: Listen, she may have a point. 

SOPHIE: Any that are engaged? 

WRITER 1: No, none of them are.

SOPHIE: Eh, they will be. And imagine if you enter the room of their wedding reception in an outfit, like this. 

WRITER 2: Why would we want that? 

SOPHIE: Because you like it. And you feel inspired by it. 

(Sophie then moves away from Dillon.) 

SOPHIE: Now what if I told you that I could make an exact replica of it. 

(Sophie shrugs.) 

SOPHIE: I mean it’s not plagiarism, if you actually love it, feel inspired by it. Plagiarists just copy off of what is popular. 

(Writer 1 walks up closer to Sophie.) 

WRITER 1: Sophie, you are just as stupid as Dillon. 

(Everybody gasps in response, including Writer 1.) 

WRITER 2: No one’s buying it, Sophie. You can unintentionally plagiarize something you love or like.

SOPHIE: OH COME ON! Is everything you take as inspiration plagiarism? 

WRITER 1: I don’t know how you got to that assumption. Inspiration is taking just a few small things from another work of art. Not taking 95% of the work of art. 

(Writer 1 turns to Writer 2.) 

WRITER 1: So, how much are we thinking? Thirty, forty thousand? 

SOPHIE: You wouldn’t dare. 

(The four continue bickering with each other, as security guards enter the stage, and pick up Writers 1 and 2. They carry them off the stage, as they both keep fighting to be released. There is an awkward, notable silence. At the end of the silence, Sophie gradually smiles.) 

SOPHIE: Well…that happened. 

DILLON: Yeah… 

(Dillon faces Sophie.) 

DILLON: Well anyways, hi dead friend. 

SOPHIE: Dillon, you’re the – oh, nevermind. Where were we?

(SOPHIE takes deep breath.) 

SOPHIE: Dillon, don’t ever get cold feet. You hear me? 

DILLON (laughs): Alright. 

(Dillon walks off stage. Sophie has a bold smile, until she raises her eyebrows and runs offstage.) SOPHIE (offstage): Dillon? Dillon, are you chatting with the writers? 

DILLON (offstage): They have some nice ideas? 

SOPHIE: Are you serious? 

(The DIRECTOR enters the stage.) 

DIRECTOR: I think this is the part where I end the show? Yes? 

(The Director pulls down the curtain. End of play.)