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Let Sleeping Joes Lie

by TheOffBroadwayAuthor

For my father. Thanks for the idea!


JOE: Your average Joe.

BRAINY JOE: The straight(A’s)man.

FEMME JOE: Cries at chick flicks. Recommended to be playing by a girl, but it's the director's call.

MACHO JOE: Never skips leg day. Talks like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

SCOTTISH JOE: The only one aware of the true situation.

SAD JOE: Listens to MCR while crying in his room.

JOENITOR: Needs a new job.

At the start of the show, we see JOE in a nightcap and pajamas, walking towards a bed with a table and lamp by its side. There are other furniture pieces in the set dependent on availability. The various JOEs are hiding behind furniture -- specifically, FEMME is under the bed and BRAINY is behind the headboard.

JOE (yawning): Tomorrow's another day. (He belly-flops onto the bed.) And it might be worse! (He smacks his head.) No, Joe we can’t think like that! (sleepily) Let’s focus on the positive… like those weird dreams…

BRAINY: Actually, we’re alternate personalities that stem from your--

ALL: Shhhh!

(JOE doesn’t hear them. They are him.)

(FEMME sticks her head and upper chest out from under the bed. She’s wearing a frilly dress and an obviously plastic wig. [She’ll stay partially under the bed for the whole play.])

FEMME: Is he asleep yet?(BRAINY turns toward her from behind the bed and pushes up his glasses. He wears a vest, a tie, and pocket protectors.)

BRAINY: Actually, it takes an average Joe fifteen minutes to fall asleep.

(MACHO reveals himself. He wears shorts and a muscle shirt. He pulls JOE’s pillow out from under his head, and hits JOE’s head with it to knock him out.)

RECORDED VOICE: Approaching REM sleep…

MACHO: It can take shorter if you have the guts.

FEMME: Ugh! That is so mean.

BRAINY: I think the word you’re looking for is “insensitive”.

FEMME: YOU’RE insensitive!

BRAINY: What did I --

FEMME (fake crying): You’re just like my father!

(SCOTTISH reveals himself. He wears a professional outfit.)

SCOTTISH: Looks like we got some issues with ye pa, eh?

FEMME: I am so much more than my father!

MACHO: And I lift more!

(MACHO pulls some extremely small dumbbells out of their hiding spot. He starts doing bicep curls, clearly struggling. [His exercises become increasingly ridiculous as the play goes on.])

FEMME: Ugh! You’re so vain! (She pulls out a compact mirror and fixes her hair.)

BRAINY (to SCOTTISH): Who are you?

SCOTTISH: Ahm Scottish!

BRAINY: I can hear that.

SCOTTISH: That’s mah name! Ahm here to figure out what’s wrong with this guy! (He gestures to the sleeping JOE.)

FEMME: THEY’RE the problem! (She waves her hand at BRAINY and MACHO.) I’m fine!

SCOTTISH: Daddy issues don’t make ye fine. (He begins to take notes.)

BRAINY: Can we please stay focused?

MACHO: No plot, no focus.

BRAINY: This isn’t a story, Macho! This is real life. And we need to handle it! (He pulls a small notebook out of his pocket and begins scanning it.) At 12:03 pm, our boss--

MACHO: No boss. Only lift!

FEMME: Right. You “lift”, and I’m going to actually look pretty. (She pulls out a makeup bag and begins doing her makeup.)

(SAD reveals himself. He wears a black hoodie and black sweatpants.)

SAD: We’ll never be pretty! (He falls face-first on the ground dramatically?

SCOTTISH: You know what this all stems from?

SAD: Vanity? Oh, I knew it! I’m so conceited.

SCOTTISH: Nay, these are some self-worth issues!(pause) I need teh write that one down! (He does so.)

BRAINY: Can we focus on what’s important?

MACHO, FEMME, and SCOTTISH: This IS important!

SAD: Nothing is important.

BRAINY: As I was saying, our -- well, my boss asked us to “sleep on it”, we’re sleeping, and I’m trying to find what he said! Am I the only one here who cares?


SAD (whining): I don’t know how to care.

SCOTTISH: I see we’ve got some apathy here too! Might have a wee bit o’ depression! Mind tellin’ me about it?

SAD: Yes! I do mind!

SCOTTISH: Fine, then, I’ll figure it out fer meself. Looks like we got some trust issues too. (He sits down either in a chair or on the ground and begins watching, taking notes when necessary.)

BRAINY: ENOUGH! We need to find out how to fire Ben without making a scene! Any ideas?

MACHO: Throw him.

FEMME: Throw him where?

MACHO: Out the window.


SAD: Throw me out the window. That sounds good.

FEMME: How about we… I forgot what we were talking about.

BRAINY: Of course you did.

SAD: We forget everything these days.

FEMME: Oh, I’ve got it!

(BRAINY sighs.)


FEMME: We give him a nice pat on the shoulder, tell him he’s a good man but he’s not… what’s he getting fired for?

BRAINY: Irrelevant.

FEMME (taken aback): Okay then. (pause) Well, he, uh, doesn't seem to understand... something. But don't tell him that! Just tell him he has some stuff he needs to work through but we’re sure he’ll do good in the future!

SCOTTISH: Aye lass, now there’s a plan!

BRAINY (defeated): It’s not good enough.

SCOTTISH: Wouldja say yer a little obsessive? A bit of a perfectionist, maybe?

BRAINY: No! (pause) Okay, maybe, but I need to be! Someone has to do the heavy lifting around here.

MACHO: I do heavy lifting! You do boring!


SAD: Life is boring.

FEMME: And whose fault is that?

SCOTTISH: Okay, looks like we got a wee bit of a situation here. Can we calm down a little?

(Everyone ignores him. MACHO, FEMME, and BRAINY begins to talk over each other in an improvised argument while SAD screams self-deprecation. After thirty seconds or so, the lights turn blue.)

RECORDED VOICE: Approaching deep sleep...

(FEMME, BRAINY, and MACHO run to their original hiding spots. SAD continues to lie on the floor, asleep. JOENITOR enters with a mop and bucket or similar object and SCOTTISH walks up to meet him.)

JOENITOR: Hey Scottish.

SCOTTISH: Hey Joenitor.

JOENITOR: You got some stuff sorted out?

(JOENITOR begins to adjust JOE so the pillow is under his head again.)

SCOTTISH: Aye, we got a lot o’ problems here. (He waves his notepad.)

JOENITOR: I’ll pick ‘em up, you name ‘em.

(JOENITOR lifts MACHO’s dumbells and takes them to their original place.)

JOENITOR: What are these?SCOTTISH: Those are some self-worth issues. They go with the makeup over there.

(As SCOTTISH speaks, JOENITOR picks up FEMME’s makeup and puts it into its bag. When he finishes, he sets them down next to the dumbbells.)

SCOTTISH: Aye, those two are a vicious cycle! (He points at MACHO.) He thinks he needs to be a real man! (He points at FEMME.) But she’s afraid of toxic masculinity cause of her pa! Must’ve been more like him. (He points at MACHO.)

JOENITOR: I see. (He picks up BRAINY’s notebook.) How about this one?

SCOTTISH: That’s some OCD right there. He’s got it in the organization and perfectionism way.

JOENITOR: That’s a tough one. (He puts BRAINY’s notebook on the bedside table, then walks up to SAD.) Does he have a prop?

SCOTTISH: He IS the prop.

(JOENITOR starts dragging SAD to his original spot.)

JOENITOR: Then what is he?

SCOTTISH: Depression.

JOENITOR: Called it. (pause) So, what’s your plan?

(SCOTTISH picks up BRAINY’s notebook.)

SCOTTISH: Ahm going to write him a reminder to see a therapist. (He does so, then sets the notebook down on the bedside table.)

JOENITOR: Good. I’m sick of cleaning up after these folks. (pause) Look, thanks for coming in. Means a lot.

SCOTTISH: Aye, mate. Anytime.

(They walk offstage together.)

RECORDED VOICE: Approaching wake-up...

(The lights go back to normal and JOE wakes up, rubbing his eyes. He checks his notebook.)

JOE: “Make a therapist appointment.” (pause) When did I write that down? (pause) Probably a good idea. (He stands up and begins walking offstage.)


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User avatar
15 Reviews

Points: 386
Reviews: 15

Sat Mar 20, 2021 1:31 am
Beccablue wrote a review...

Hi TheOffBroadwayAuthor,

I really like funny skits and this was definitely one that pulled me, giving us a humours take on what goes on (or can go on) in the head of the 'average joe'. I really liked this approach and there is a lot to work with, you could even take this into Joe's regular life and show the audience what he is thinking about throughout the day. I really like how you created a whole personality for each Joe, have the banter and sarcasm really pulled my attention. It can be hard to create natural occurring comments and jokes that I'm sure, if this is a live production, you could easily allow room for improv.

Thanks for the laughs! It was a great read with a good plot that shows that not everyone is perfect nor has it all together.

Thanks for the review!

User avatar
11 Reviews

Points: 1703
Reviews: 11

Wed Mar 10, 2021 6:10 pm
leslieloo wrote a review...

Good play! I would actually like to see how it would all be acted out. The story pulled me in quickly. Just curious. Does the average Joe have a multiple personality disorder? Are these other Joes his alters? Are they running in his mind while he sleeps? If they are not alters, what exactly are they and where did they come from? Does this happen every night?

Other than that, good play!

Joe doesn't have multiple personality disorder. The "alters" are just the personification of different facets of his personality, and they get up to shenanigans while he's asleep. They didn't really "come from" anywhere, they just are. To be honest, I only do barebones worldbuilding in the best of scenarios, and for this I really didn't do any. My objective is to be funny, not thorough. No judgement to anyone who is thorough, just stating my preference.

leslieloo says...

Oh okay. Good story!

User avatar
590 Reviews

Points: 65150
Reviews: 590

Wed Mar 10, 2021 2:55 pm
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Plume wrote a review...

Hey there! Plume here, with a review! And happy belated welcome to YWS!

This was a really fun and innovative script! I loved the whole concept of the different aspects of Joe's brain working together. It's got kind of Sanders Sides/Inside Out vibes, and I really love it. I can clearly picture this being performed, which is great. It was entertaining, and I didn't get bored at any point! Lovely job!!

One thing I think you did really well was your dialogue. In a script, it's probably the most important part, and you totally nailed it. It was consistent with each character, and you could tell who was speaking even without the little character identifiers. They each had a unique voice that fit right in with each of their personalities. Well done!

I also really liked the part where the Joenitor (nice pun, by the way) came in and cleaned up. I thought it was so symbolic and nice. The way he kinda went around and explained/named everything was super interesting. It was a nice climax/resolution to this little scene.

Much like the other review, I also wondered about the Scottish Joe. It seemed a little random to me, but other than that, I think you did a great job!

FEMME: And who’s fault is that?

This is tiny, but as a grammar stickler I felt I had to point it out: who's should be "whose."

Overall: nice job! I really enjoyed reading this script and I hope to read more of you in the future.

Thanks for the review! I'll fix that mistake. The Scottish Joe was super random, my dad came up in the middle of me writing and said "what if there was a Scottish guy who pointed out Joe's daddy issues and stuff" and I said "yeah that'd be hilarious".

User avatar
23 Reviews

Points: 1966
Reviews: 23

Wed Mar 10, 2021 2:51 am
blueca wrote a review...

This is a really fun way to break down mental health! All the "Joes" are very stereotypical, which is far from a bad thing in this context. Going into the individual issues they represent and how that affects the whole Joe at the end was a great subversion of the internal dialouge trope. The only desicion I'm not entirely sure about with the characters is Scottish Joe. He isn't given an explicit reason for being Scottish within the skit, and kind of feels out of place. Does Joe have Scottish heritage that he wants to embrace? Why is he the only self-aware one? Just something to consider! There's also a couple places where lines run into each other without a break, which is distracting, but that's probably just typos. Overall, very entertaining, and I'd love to see this performed!

Thanks for the review! I'll look over those lines and put breaks in. As for Scottish Joe, he's a foreign entity that Joenitor brought in to evaluate Joe, hence the accent.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for a day. Don't teach a man to fish, you eat for a day. He's a grown man. Fishing's not that hard.
— Ron Swanson (Parks and Rec)