Comedy-Drama/ 4 Characters, 2 Men, 2 Women/ Full Length, Two Acts
After ten years of marriage, Sadie and Vance are experiencing the all too familiar trials that arise when lovers become parents, job and home responsibilities become never-ending, and alone time becomes scarce. To Sadie’s further frustration, reticent Vance refuses to acknowledge — or discuss — any of them. Next door, demographic equals Janet and Rich have fared much better; their happy marriage is full of passion, love, empathy — and multiple sex partners.
When the ever-ready Rich overhears Vance and “hot burrito” Sadie having wild sex, he’s intrigued, and determines to invite the couple over to test the waters. Janet is also curious, but hesitant: They live so close, what if it goes bad, and why is Rich so insistent? Through a comedic series of events, Sadie and Vance arrive at the Lewis house one Fun Friday, hoping that — as they’ve read on-line — a “just sex” evening of swinging will open up communication and elevate them to a new level of closeness.
All appears to go well . . . until the morning after. At the Nelson house, Janet senses the encounter with their new playmates was a little off, while Rich — dazedly fondling Sadie’s left-behind underwear — feels something is definitely on. At the Lewis’, the experiment has seemingly proved a bust: The couple is barely talking, and it’s clear that Sadie is more pissed at her husband than ever.
In the ensuing days, Janet’s suspicions grow, and Rich visits Sadie to confess that she made him feel something he never has before. While Sadie insists it was “just sex,” Vance gets a cryptic visit from Janet that makes him realize his marriage is on the line. That night, Vance and Sadie bond after he digs deep to reveal his feelings about what happened last Friday, and the two take tentative steps toward reconciliation, which include a new start. Crushed, Rich nonetheless recognizes the need to recommit to his family, albeit with the unsettling knowledge that there might be more to love — and sex — than he’s ever known.
“Playwright Hoke can write: dialogue flows naturally, real people saying real things . . . . the story has verve, it lives and breathes.”
– The Buffalo News
“The play challenges notions of what defines a stable relationship, as neither couple leaves the encounter unchanged. This is not a cautionary tale warning against the evils of swinging; neither does the play condemn the practice. We see characters learn about themselves and learn about their relationships in surprising ways. That is the pleasure of The Couple Next Door.”
Amateur and professional rights:
Playwright’s website: donnahoke.com
Agent for international inquries: Tonda Martin,
About the Playwright: Western New York representative for the Dramatists Guild, Donna Hoke is an award-winning and ensemble playwright at Road Less Traveled Productions. Her work has been seen in 27 US states, and on five continents. She is also a New York Times-published crossword puzzle constructor, author of Neko and the Twiggets, a children’s book, and founder/co-curator of BUA Takes 10: GLBT Short Stories. For the past three years, she was named Buffalo’s Best Writer by Artvoice, the only woman to ever earn the designation.The Couple Next Door premiered at The Road Less Traveled Theatre, Buffalo, NY, in September, 2010.