— From October 2015 New Plays
Full Length Play
Cast: 3m., 1w.
Four World War II veterans have been playing a monthly game of poker since 1945. They have been dragging 5 percent from every pot for more than 50 years, and this "side pot" has grown to a sizable fortune. As Billy, Earl, Kooch and Dale compete in this monthly game of skill and luck, they struggle over what to do with their shared nest egg. As the debates escalate, their conflicting views on love, friendship, politics, death and taxes are revealed. The only referee in the debate seems to be Judy Clabber, a single mother who is Billy's cleaning lady. She is both adored and revered by the men, who seem to look to her for any shred of common sense. The events of their lives are revealed as each player comes upon a random "history chip" among their piles of poker winnings. The history chips were created during the past 50 years by one of the players when a significant event occurred in their lives. A child or grandchild is born, and the baby's name is forever memorialized with a black marker on a poker chip and tossed back into the pile. While the significance of history chips such as Grand Slam, Raccoon, Celery, Nazi, Limpy G and Jellofish are revealed, the deeper implications of a lifetime of friendship and competition are explored as the cards are dealt. In the end, which player holds the trump card? Who will survive this game of wits and be the heir presumptive to their poker fortune? Will rivalry and resentment destroy their friendships and the game itself? The table is set. Shuffle up and deal.
Unit set. Approximate running time: 1 hour, 45 minutes.
JELLOFISH is a winner of the AACTNewPlayFest.