free & fun
Desperate Quilters, by Eleanor Levie
Skit for 5 actresses, for Guilds and Symposium Classes
This is a black comedy about the fabric of 4 lives, a sketch about women who live on Wisteria Lane in [insert your town name here], and are all members of our guild. All are desperately seeking to grow in their creativity and to contribute to the [insert guild name here] as much as they can. However, complaints have been made. And now [insert guild president's name here] will need your help. She and her board have discussed that the environment at guild suffers too deeply from their presence. And as you all know, we have a waiting list of people who are desperate to join our ranks. So that's the situation, FYI. Let’s meet these ladies.
[Allow actresses to perform, in this order or as you desire; introduce each one as they come up to the front: 1 Susan 2 Bree 3 Lynnette 4 Gabrielle]
[Costume: Tight-fitting--flaunt your curves; jeans. Susan trips on way in, has to say "excuse me" to at least 3 women on her way up. Loses her place repeatedly in delivering this script. Also loses her balance. Kicks the podium. Bumps the narrator, if narrator remains at the front.]
This is sooooo great. I am so happy to be a member of [insert guild name here]. You are all sooo great.
You all know me and you love me JUST the way I am. My work, as you all know, is all wild and crazy, isn't it? I just improvise, and I'm fine with those happy accidents.
Hey, you know my [insert block of the month or challenge quilt here] began well enough, but each piece I ended up cutting wrong, and I could never get any piece to stick on my flannel-backed tablecloth, so pieces kept falling off and getting lost….Oh well…my second sample fell on the floor and I accidentally threw it in the trash. No biggie…
And I swear, it was an accident when I fell onto [insert quilter's name who makes painstaking masterpieces] newest work at the [insert quilt show or show 'n tell or other exhibit here]. Is it my fault the 60mm rotary cutter I was holding at the time happened to be open? Boy, who would have thought that such a dense,firm piece could slit apart so easily. Especially with all that quilting. Honestly, you'd think it would be more durable. OK, not everyone finds me adorable, but Wow, the subtext of her reaction was not exactly hidden. And really, you'd think she'd have handled it with more of a sense of proportion. At least, I'd expect [insert quild member here who produces rusted, discharged, or raw edge work] especially since she's so interested in surfaces that look worn, torn, weathered, aged, decrepid, rotted away, ready for burial…Hey, it's just me. Happy, happy, happy! It's all great, right??!! Did I mention how happy I am to be here? How great this is?! It's great, isn't it?
[narrator gives her the hook, so to speak:] OK, Susan, we need to move on, now.
[Costume suggestions: Hair impeccable; classic, conservative outfit with pearls]
Hello, It’s so very nice to meet me, am I right? Isn’t guild a marvelous experience? All the different types of people, coming from so many backgrounds, and one really can learn from even those who come from the wrong sort. Well, there’s so many points of view….although you do have to wonder about some of the women here…Ah, well, perhaps not everyone belongs here, but we have to be charitable. It’s clear though, that there’s no accounting for taste. And some people, if you know whom I mean, don’t seem to be able to take constructive criticism. You know, after I finished my first piece—a piece de resistance, if I do say so myself, I tried to help my guild sisters, but I met with nothing but resistance. One very vulgar, [insert description of guild member who can take teasing here] no-talent hag had the gall to tell me at the last workshop to be quiet and quit needling everyone around me. You’d think my fellow students would want to be corrected. After all, the quilting teachers who come in are certainly not going to transform these nobodies into respected artists…All she says is “It’s your piece; it has to work for you, decide what interests you, and so on and so forth.” Obviously I’m the only one here who has the discipline, the technical skills. Why, even the back of my work is impeccable. Really, I hate to sound sharp, it’s not like I’m a muenster, after all, but mark my words, if the art world doesn’t regard the work of this quilt guild as downright cheesy, then my name isn’t Bree.
[Costume: Bathrobe and fuzzy slippers, hair in curlers, dark circles under her eyes]
Ohmygod, I'm so tired. I was up ALL last night catching up, trying to finish just one UFO. Really, I'm stretched to the limit. My nerves are frazzled and my tension is out the whazoo. That's why my blocks of the month have all looked buckled and distorted. They're just stretched to the limit….and so am I. I just work soooo darn hard to please you all, and you just clap and say whatever I do is nice. Nice! What am I supposed to do with that comment? How am I supposed to improve? I keep trying to keep up with [insert name of prolific members in guild here] and there's just not enough time.
[her cell phone, in her pocket, rings—have someone put in a call at this moment]
Hi……Yes, dear, but I'm in the m-mid…I do understand, but can't this wai…OK,yes, I can take care of your kids then…Oh, well, I do have the [insert out of town quilt show coming up] coming up, but I don't need to go, I suppose… you need me then, too? Well, I had already applied for the show, and have this deadline, but I can help you out. I'll just hold the quilt on the steering wheel and sew the binding on while I drive…
Yes, dear, I can take off from work and watch the kids next week. How are the triplets doing? The've jumped on the beds wearing their cleats again? Oh, that's all right, I can make them each another quilt. You say Tiffany is into Goth style these days?....No, you really can't get black nail polish off the table runner, but perhaps it will be a good counterpoint to the pastel postage stamp water lilies I did on there.
Yes, hon, but you know I really must get off, now; I'm at guild. No, don't call me back later, I have to get some sleep.
[If possible, give this role to someone whose husband is an active member of the guild] Glamour girl: big hair, glitz, feather boa, etc. etc.]
Hello, Hello, I am Gabriel, and...what's that? yes, all of my clothes are couture. They're really not available in stores here, I do all my shopping in New York. Yes, fabrics, too.
Now I’m not proud of my humble beginnings….You know I grew up on the other side of the tracks, with the Eleanor Burnses of the world. Like Eleanor I went dumpster diving and even thrift shopping for fabrics, and I was in fact a stripper for many years. Oooops, I meant strip PIECING, now that’s sooo last year. Well I’m on my way up, and I’m not looking back. Now I'm doing black on black patchwork cut from the finest dupioni silk, and like my friend Laurie Alle [pronounce it L’Oreal] used to tell me, I’m worth it!
Yes I'm in the [insert guild name here], but really Ladies [and Gentlemen], I am so busy with so many projects. When I heard that the quilt show was going to take place at [insert location of guild show], I just had to think twice. I mean, why not the [insert name of fanciest place in town]?
As [insert name of highly regarded, hard to book quilt celebrity here] says, There are bigger and better things out there..." By the way you do know that [name celebrity again] and I are VERY close, why I even have her direct line, I'm telling you we are bff's. (that's best friends forever, for all of you who don't keep up with what's kinda now, kinda wow. Ah well, not all of you can be as trendy and au currante as I am).
I know those guild ladies think I'm not a real quilter, because I've never made a queen size quilt, but I AM A FIBER ARTISTE!
I do contribute so many things to this guild, I gave all of my evening gowns (last year's of course) to [mention member of guild who is the most creative and artsy here] to cut up and fuse, and I when I joined PETA (it's so in!) I gave my sable coat to [mention member of guild who uses paint here] to keep her in paintbrushes. Yes it's true I do sleep with [mention her husband's name, and add what he does for the guild], but that's my business...all I can say is, keep a watch out on your husbands, ladies, because all is fair in love and quilting.
Anyone knows that if you don’t have the best fabrics, silk batting, hand-dyed threads, and precious gemstones embellishments, there’s just no point in making an art quilt. It’s just going to look frumpy. I mean have you seen the fabrics that people here are using?--from collections that were put out TWO YEARS ago!!! No, I may not have time to share my work at show 'n tell tonight, and can't even worry about the next guild show …I just know that my talents will win me big prizes. Just wait until the next [insert major quilt show]. You'll all be green with envy.
OK, now you’ve met them. And it’s time for you to vote:
1--Should Susan be allowed to stay in the guild? Remember, she’s extremely accident prone, and you might not know this, but all the stitching she did on our raffle quilt had to be taken out and redone. And [insert chair of raffle quilt's name here] was extremely annoyed. Also, it seems that Susan has shown an interest in a dyeing and discharge workshop, but nobody is willing to take the class if Susan is anywhere within 5 miles…So let's see a show of hands. Who thinks Susan should stay? [Take a vote] Go? [Take a vote]
2--Should Bree be allowed to stay in the guild? She’s really quite insufferable because she inflicts her perfectionist style and unrelenting standards on everyone around her. On the other hand, she's a really great cook, and for the refreshment table she brings the best cheesecake that's to die for, even when it's not her turn…[Take a vote]
3--Should Lynnette be allowed to stay in the guild? She’s always struggling to please everyone but herself, and just ends up a whiner. Honestly, the most amazing thing about this guild is that we all have problems with our health and family, but we come here, and this takes our mind off our troubles. You hardly ever hear anyone complain….except Lynnette…. And the constant cell phone use with her family during meetings and workshops is making everyone around her desperate for peace and quiet.…[Take a vote]
4--How about Gabrielle? Should she be allowed to stay in the guild? She wants to work on the next show, but everyone worries that she’ll steal all the credit, everybody's expensive fabrics, everyone's well-thought out ideas, and everyone's husbands. [Take a vote]
OK, [insert president's name here] was desperate for your help. And you've voted, so let's hear whether she will accept the will of the group…..[turn to president for final verdict]
So that's it! Thank you all for your attention. And now, unless there are any commercial messages, I'm sure you are quite desperate for us to sit down!!