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"The Painter"
by Brian Price


3 Females
5 Males
2-3 bit parts
  (actors can easily play more than one part)

12 pages, 12 minutes

general, juvenile, college

Copyright 1988 by Brian Price
all rights reserved


About the author:  

Audio drama and comedy writer/producer Brian Price's work has been produced and performed by some public radio's biggest names--Garrison Keillor, David Ossman of the Firesign Theatre and Dan Coffey-aka, Dr. Science.  In 1995 with Jerry Stearns he formed Great Northern Audio Theatre Productions.  They have written and produced Tumbleweed Roundup, Permafrost, MN and many other shows incuding the live performances celebrating the annual Mark Time Audio Science Fiction Awards.  Price is a founding member of the National Audio Theatre Festivals, Inc.

Author Comments:

The Painter seems like a pretty silly skit and it is.  But it also ends up being a little combination of an art history lesson and an exercise in how much fun radio theater can be at suggesting outrageous imagines.  When I was writing this piece I wracked my brain trying to come up with art styles and paintings that are almost universally known.  There are not that many (I bet there's less than a dozen), but once you have those pictures in your mind, you can bend and shape them anyway you want.

For information regarding this script contact:

Brian Price
721 Medary Ave
Brookings, SD  57006


Summary of Production Script

It's morning and commuters are gathering at a bus stop waiting to go to work.  An artist comes up and sets up an easel and begins to paint a picture.  The people at the bus stop offer their opinions and critiques until they decide to change the landscape around the bus stop and change themselves to suit their ideas for the painting.  The script plays off mental pictures of famous paintings and icons (such as American Gothic by Grant Wood) to create pretty silly and wild imagines.  Finally, the bus arrives and the painter wishes he'd stuck to painting a still life.


Excerpt from Production Script

page 2 of the Painter:


ANNABEL:        Now, what's that man with the beret doing with that easel?

ED:             I don't know but I'm not gonna give up my seat for all that stuff.

KATHY:          Somebody oughta ask him what he's doing.

ANNABEL:        Not me.

OLD MAN:        I don't think it's my place to get involved, you know.

KATHY:          Why don't you ask him, Ed.

ED:             Me?  Why me?

KATHY:          I don't know.  I just thought maybe you wouldn't mind doing me a little.  It's no big deal.

WIMPY:          I'll be glad to ask for you, ma'am.

ED:             Oh, all right, all right.  I'll ask him.  Hey, you, with the beret?

ARTIST:         Yes?

ED:             What's with the easel?

ARTIST:         I am Henri Formage.  I am a painter.

ANNABEL:        Well, that explains the beret.

ARTIST:         I will paint the scene at this bus stop.  I want to capture real life on the canvas.

OLD MAN:        Hey!  We're going to get painted.


ANNABEL:        I'd better turn around so he'll catch my good side.

ARTIST:         No, no, no.  I want to capture real life on the canvas.  I want everyone to look natural.

ANNABEL:        Are you implying that my good side doesn't look natural?

ED:             Well, what are we supposed to do?

DOUG:           Yeah.

ARTIST:         Oh, please, just go about your everyday business.  Just pretend that I am not here.

ANNABEL:        Well, what if you don't have any everyday business?

DOUG:           Yeah.

ED:             (BEAT)  Maybe I oughta go over and have a peek just to see how he's doing.

KATHY:          Oh, don't, Ed.  Artist's are very sensitive.  You might ruin his concentration.

ED:             Ah, no I won't.

KATHY:          Well, if you move, you might ruin his composition.  You might be standing right where he wants you.

ED:             Ahh, I doubt it.

KATHY:          Well, you'd better ask permission before you step out of the painting.

ED:             Oh, ok. (SHOUTS) Hey artist, are you painting me right now?

ARTIST:         No.

ED:             (CROSS OVER TO ARTIST SIDE)  Great.  I'll just step over here and see.   Mmmmmm.

KATHY:          What, Ed?  What?  How is it?

ED:             Not bad.

ANNABEL:        Am I in it?

WIMPY:          How do I look?

OLD MAN:        Is that smudge me?

ANNABEL:        Don't look over his shoulder.  It's not polite.

OLD MAN:        I've got a right to know if I'm a smudge or not.

ARTIST:         Please.  Please, just act natural.

KATHY:          I wonder if he means natural as in "everyday, ho hum" or natural as in 19th-century romanticism.

ED:             You know, this bus stop is kind of a cruddy backdrop for a painting.

DOUG:           Yeah.

ARTIST:         That's the whole concept.  I want to capture real life on the canvas.

ED:             Yeah, but does it have to be such a cruddy life?

KATHY:          Perhaps a little neo-realism?

WIMPY:          Yeah.

ED:             Well, I don't know about that, but let's get those trash cans out of the way.  You guys, give me a hand.

ANNABEL:        Where do you want to go with them?

KATHY:          Let's see.  Why don't you try over by the curb.


ARTIST:         No, no, no.  Now they are blocking the bus stop sign.  That is an integral element in my work's composition.

ED:             Ok, ok.  Hey, you guys.  Just push them over there.


ED:             Good, good.

OLD MAN:        I never knew getting painted could be such hard work.  I think I strained something.

KATHY:          Oh, there's something wrong.  I think what we need is a little symetry.  If we have some trash cans over there, then we should have some garbage over here to balance the picture out.

ED:             Brilliant, Kathy.  Simply, brilliant.  Let's do it, guys.


ANNABEL:        I don't know.  This doesn't look like much of a painting to my eye.

ED:             That's because we don't have everybody posed yet.

WIMPY:          I thought I was posed.

ED:             Naw, you were just loitering.

ARTIST:         But all I want to do is capture real life on the canvas.

ED:             (WITH ARTIST) ...on the canvas.  Yeah, right.  Hey.  You.

OLD MAN:        Me?

ED:             And you.

ANNABEL:        Oh, this is exciting.

ED:             Ok, stand here.  Now hold this pitchfork.  And, ma'am, you stand right there beside him.  And stop smiling!!!!

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Last modified: June 04, 2015