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
Amateur and professional rights:
Playwright’s website: donnahoke.com
Agent for international inquries: Tonda Martin,
About the Playwright: Resident playwright at Road Less Traveled Productions, Donna’s work has been seen in 40 states and on five continents. Plays include THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR (Princess Grace semi-finalist), SAFE (winner of the Todd McNerney, Naatak, and Great Gay Play and Musical Contests), BRILLIANT WORKS OF ART (2016 Kilroys List), and ELEVATOR GIRL (2017 O’Neill finalist). Donna 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. She has received an Individual Artist Award from the New York State Council on the Arts to develop HEARTS OF STONE, as well as an Artie Award for Outstanding New Play (SEEDS). For three consecutive years, she was named Buffalo’s Best Writer by Artvoice — the only woman to ever receive the designation.
Donna Hoke serves on the Dramatists Guild Council and also as Western New York regional representative. In addition, she is a blogger, and moderator of the 10,000+-member Official Playwrights of Facebook. Recent speaking engagements include Citywrights, Kenyon Playwrights Conference, the Dramatists Guild National Conference, Chicago Dramatists, and a live Dramatists Guild webinar. Her commentary has been seen on #2amt, howlround, The Dramatist, the Official Playwrights of Facebook, the soon-to-be-published Workshopping the New Play, and at donnahoke.com.
The Couple Next Door premiered at The Road Less Traveled Theatre, Buffalo, NY, in September, 2010.
“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.”