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Survivors Club
Four survivors of a shared traumatic childhood experience - a visit to a chocolate factory that went disastrously wrong - confront the terrifying news that a man they thought was dead is plotting to give away five new golden tickets.

Time: Present
Setting: A private venue room in a chain hotel

Characters: (2w, 2m)
VEE (f)

Stage Reading Cast at Theatre Southwest
Augie - Lance Stodgehill
Michael - Steve Carpentier
Ronnie - Madie Scott
Vee - Kathryn Noser
January, 2023

Theatre Southwest

About Survivors Club

Comedy, 10 min, 2w, 2m

survivors club
Survivors Club is a brand new play. This is just a placeholder photo - the cast of the 1971 movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory all grown up!

In the play, four survivors of a dark childhood trauma have their annual meeting, but this time they learn the terrible news that the fifth child - the one they believed had died - survived, took over the chocolate factory, and is once again giving away five golden tickets to traumatize a new generation of kids.


Why this play?

So, the original 1971 movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory had its fiftieth anniversary, which caught my attention. I didn't see it when it came out, but I know many people who were utterly terrified by that movie. It's an interesting phenomenon. I started musing about how Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt, Mike Teavee and Violet Beauregard would have turned out... and honestly, they were brats but they were also kids. I know too many people who are still fighting to overcome childhood trauma, and, just for a moment (or a ten minute play), I decided to treat that idle musing as seriously as I could.
Survivors Club ended up as a strange hybrid - I hesitate to call it a comedy or even a dramedy because it is played as a straight dramatic piece - but the premise is so ridiculous that it is a comedy. It creates its own absurdity out of pain, and I love the dark, subversive humor created by taking the events of the movie at face value, the dissonance of it. I also worked hard to make sure that I was never being dismissive of their trauma - that this isn't a play that makes fun of the work of overcoming psychological harm, but celebrates it, and celebrates that struggle and those four for making it. We are not our pasts.


Survivors Club was performed as a live reading at Houston's Theatre Southwest as part of their 17th Annual Readers Theatre 2023, on January 22!

Southwest Theatre's 17th Annual Readers Theatre

Sample Dialogue...

Survivors Club Dialogue


New Play Exchange Reviews

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This one is available for production from the playwright. Contact me.