Kristen Kosmas – Part 3



plays for the mental theater

Editor’s Note: This is the third part in a weekly series of texts from a new work by Kristen Kosmas. Check back on Wednesday, Aug 21, for Part 4.
Read Part 1 here
Read Part 2 here
Read Part 4 here
Read Part 5 here




To the right, an unmade bed, a half-drunk
pot of coffee, a dirty
frying pan.

Someone says: YESTERDAY, EGGS!
Someone else says:  TODAY, EMOTION 
		                   IN SEARCH OF AN IDEA!

A curtain hangs sloppily in the middle of nowhere.
Recall Buffalo, 1993.
Tattered dresses nailed across
windows. Dresses are old, nails are rusty, windows are broken.
We find ourselves suddenly
in a grain silo performing a spontaneous opera. Niagra
Falls. Breaks an ankle. Woman carries it
all the way down the mountain.
Ankle bones sticking out of skin. Lot of blood. Torn flesh. Afraid of bears. Twigs snap underfoot. And yet she bears it
down. She was a good person then. If a little grumpy.

THE WOMAN (a little grumpily): I don’t like to see the insides of things poking through to the outside. The insides of things should stay where they are. Where they’re meant to be. I don’t like all this poking through!

FALLEN NIAGRA: It’s nature. It’s natural.

THE WOMAN: Nature is a terrorist! Naturalness is a myth
we make up to console ourselves
when things that ought to be on the inside
come poking through to the outside!

NIAGRA: Did you wake up
on the wrong side of the bed?

To the left, daisies
A windowsill
where growing nasturtiums.
Edible flowers. Almost enough
to make you believe in God.

To the right,
a chain saw buzzing through it all.

SOMEONE SAYS: Personality experiments!
SOMEONE ELSE SAYS: I’m sorry, I’m not available.

Someone dribbles a basketball to the left.
To the right, someone tries to sing.
Lot of little bones
caught in her throat though.
Can’t eek anything out.
But the gesture of trying
is full of pathos.

THE WOMAN: These trees. They make my hands ache.

The singer coughs up the bones.

THE WOMAN: Sometimes you wake up and you just want to have a fight with someone. You are raring to go. You look around. There’s no one there. To blame for everything. You throw a shoe at the wall. It makes a dull thud then lands on the floor. Just stays there. Unprovokable.

The singer gets down on her hands on knees and collects the tiny bones in a tiny bag made of very old and very worn fabric.

NIAGRA: Pull the hairs out of your head! One by one! Try to inflict some pain on something!

THE WOMAN: They come out so easily. It doesn’t even hurt. They just come. Right out.

NIAGRA: That’s defeatist.
Bite yourself on the knee! Really hard!

THE WOMAN: Sit up in blankets, knees pulled to chest, think: Television. Television. Maybe there’s something to it.

A telegram:

Being held hostage by bed. Stop.
Trapped in
nightgown. Stop.
Emergency! Stop.
Come quick.

Bit of advice from

NIAGRA: Get a cat. A cat will bite your knees for you. A cat is provokable. Much more provokable than a shoe. Look at me! I’ve got this constant

Somewhere in the middle of it all a tall candle.

In reality, it has begun to snow at this point.

Click here to read Part 1.
Click here to read Part 2.
Click here to read Part 4.
Click here to read Part 5.

Click here to read an interview with Kristen Kosmas in B O D Y.


KRISTEN KOSMAS is an American playwright and performer. She has had new works commissioned by The Chocolate Factory (NYC), Performance Space 122 (NYC), The Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf (NYC), Seattle University’s SITE Specific, Dixon Place (NYC), and the New City Theater in Seattle. Her plays (see links below) and solo performances have been presented in Boston, Seattle, Chicago, Austin, and many downtown venues in New York City. She is the writer/performer of four critically acclaimed solo shows: Blah Blah Fuckin Blah, Again, Slip, and The Scandal! As an actor, she has appeared in many notable new plays including Potatoes of August by Sibyl Kempson, Mark Smith by Kate Ryan, ASTRS and Some Things Cease To Be While Others Still Are by Karinne Keithley, The Internationalist by Anne Washburn, Producers of Fiction by Jim Strahs, The Florida Project by Tory Vazquez, and Hurricane by Erin Cressida Wilson. Ms. Kosmas is a founding member of the OBIE Award winning performance series Little Theater; the Brooklyn-based experimental writer’s collective The Ladies’ Auxiliary Playwriting Team/Machiqq; and The Twenty-Five Cent Opera of San Francisco, a monthly event for the enactment of texts and theatricals. She holds a BFA in Playwriting from Brooklyn College. She is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Whitman College and a member of New Dramatists in NYC.


Read more work by Kristen Kosmas:

Buy Hello Failure from Ugly Duckling Presse.
Buy This From Cloudland from PLAY A Journal of Plays
Buy Anthem and The Mayor of Baltimore from 53rd State Press.
A rave review of There There in The New York Times