Dane Futrell


Dane Futrell (he/him) is an
absurdist playwright from Sanford, Fla. He attends Arizona
State University’s Dramatic
Writing MFA program where he
writes, workshops, and develops
new theatre relentlessly. His
plays have been produced in
New York, Florida, and Arizona.
He hopes to innovate the world
of theatre by embracing the
social progress of plays before
and adding in an existential and
surreal twist.

Pandora's Pantry


by: Dane Futrell


BO – (M) 38.
VIV – (F) 38.


6:30 P.M.



(“Blue Sunday” by The Doors. A living room. VIV is seated stage left, weaving with a small cardboard loom. BO is seated at the dinner table next to a retro alarm clock that rings out. BOturns it off.)

BO: Vivian.

VIV: Yes?

BO: Your activity time is done for the day.

VIV: Already?

BO: Three days’ worth of work over there. Were you able to finish?

VIV: Just about!

BO: I’d like to speak with you. Come over here, please.                 

(VIV continues working.)

Vivian. I said—

VIV: I just need to finish taking it off the loom real quick.

BO: Come over here. Please.

(VIV stops weaving and sits across from BO at the table.)

I see you’re enjoying your designated activity time.

VIV: I am. Sort of.

BO: Are you glad you’ve chosen weaving?

VIV: I don’t think I chose it.

BO: Is it teaching you anything? Showing your mind anything new?

VIV: Not really.

BO: Good.

VIV: Just how to control things, I guess.

BO: Excuse me?

VIV: Controlling my hands… my mind. The repetitive movements show me that.

BO: It seems to be helping you stay in line. Are you hungry?

VIV: Starving.

(The entire room thuds, as if a giant stepped outside. BO pulls out his phone.)

BO: I’ll order us something, then. Anything particular that you want?

VIV: You’re ordering out?

BO: You just said you were hungry. So I’m gonna order food for us.

VIV: I can cook, though.

BO: I’m sure you can, but—

VIV: What’s in the pantry? I can throw something together real quick.

BO: There’s nothing in the pantry.

VIV: That’s weird.

BO: I’m going to order food for us. You’re going to sit with me and enjoy it when it comes.

VIV: I thought I was your guest.

BO: What do you want?

VIV: Home-cooked food. I wanna feel the steam on my face. Create something.

BO: Would you let someone into your home and cook? If you had one of your own?

VIV: I’d encourage it.

BO: Rummage through all your belongings, dirty your dishes, leave them there for you to clean?

VIV: I’ll clean, too.

BO: No cooking, no cleaning. It’s against the rules.

VIV: What do you want me to do all day, besides weave and sit around?

BO: This is all I want you to do! That is what all of those similar to you are doing right now, and they’re probably loving every second! They have their activity time, they weave, and then they sit around and smile. I don’t ask for much, Vivian.

VIV: Could I finish my blanket, please?

BO: You already did.

VIV: I finished making it. I just have to finish taking it off the loom.

BO: You can do it tomorrow during your next two hours of activity time.

VIV: I only need another two minutes. Three days I’ve been at it. I need to be done so I can try something different. Aside from weaving.

BO: You said you loved weaving with all your heart and you wouldn’t dare give it up.

VIV: I said I sort of enjoyed it.

BO: But it’s so nice and quiet. It’s like you’re not even there, when you do it.

VIV: It gets repetitive. I’m excited to finish, though. Get it done.

BO: What else would you wanna try?

VIV: Maybe cooking.


BO: Hilarious.

VIV: I do want to try dancing, though.

BO: Do you not remember the list of the rules?

VIV: Am I allowed to remember the list?

BO: No running, no jumping, no opening windows, no opening doors, no climbing, no remembering—

BO: I learn something every day, Viv, and I’ve never felt the need to dance. And I certainly don’t have issues with my ego.

VIV: What did you learn today?

BO: I learned… that I could tear you apart if I wanted to. Piece by piece. The blanket, the loom, the bed. Everything. Everything we’ve done. I could tear this whole house apart so the whole world would see just you and I sitting here looking at each other.

VIV: What would they think?

BO: From a distance, maybe they’d see the same perfection that I often see in you. But up close, perhaps they’d see what I see now… Do you deserve that finished blanket over there? Really?

VIV: I deserve to hold my finished product. The same way you hold me.

BO: If you promise that you’ll calm down and be on better behavior, then… I guess I’d be okay with that.

VIV: Yes! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

(VIV giggles and rushes to the loom. She focuses on taking the blanket off.)

BO: See? Why would you ever want to dance when you have fun things like weaving and smiling?

(BO tries to hug her from behind.)

VIV: Off me.

BO: Wha—What?

VIV: I’m busy.

BO: You—you can’t tell me to get—You can’t refuse me! That’s on the list! What do you think, these walls are yours?

VIV: (Working.) I feel them vibrate sometimes.

BO: What!

VIV: The walls. They vibrate. They thud. Like something’s pounding from within them waiting to come out. It comes from the pantry.

BO: From the—Nothing comes from the pantry. It’s empty.

(VIV stops weaving suddenly.)

VIV: It’s like each thud is a memory fighting to live.

BO: A memory.

VIV: They’re dying. Ringing out but dying slowly—You hear that?

BO: What?


VIV: That. Every time that happens, and every time I weave, and every time I dance, I remember something.

BO: You cannot be remembering things!

VIV: Who is it, making that noise?

BO: We keep getting sidetracked. Are you going to let me order food for you? Have you eaten anything today?

(VIV goes back to weaving.)

VIV: Every time, I remember something… something from the runners and the jumpers and the door openers. They broke different rules and their memories come in little flashes from some place hidden… suffocated and shoved aside. I remember those neon signs flickering, reflecting off puddles in the street… I remember feeling the rain on the bottom of my feet when you used to let me go outside.

BO: Before you became addicted to going outside.

VIV: Freedom. I remember your eyes looking into mine, and mine into yours. Endlessly. Back when we were happy. That was real freedom. Lifetimes ago.

BO: That was two days ago. I didn’t know you were remembering things so often, Vivian.

VIV: Maybe this whole time, I’ve been dancing elsewhere… in a perfect world where memories fuel me… Look!

(VIV finishes taking the blanket off the loom. It’s tiny. She holds it proudly.)

I made a blanket!

BO: That’s great.

VIV: I made a blanket, I made a blanket!

(VIV giggles and rubs it against her face.)
It’s so soft. Feel.

(She extends it to BO, who reluctantly touches it.)

BO: Oh wow.

VIV: What do you think?

BO: It’s a blanket. That’s for sure. It is sort of small, though.

VIV: What’s next?

BO: What do you mean?

VIV: What’s next!

BO: We need to figure out what we’re doing for food, which we still somehow haven’t done—

(VIV starts dancing around.)

Oh my god.

VIV: Weave. Read. Learn. Dance.

BO: (Warning.) Vivian.

VIV: Weave! Read! Learn! Dance!

BO: Stop that. You’re gonna go insane again!

VIV: (Slower.) Weave… Read… (Horrified.) Learn… Torn… Pieces… Blackness.

(VIV freezes.)


BO: You can’t dance.

VIV: I see it. The end. The beginning.

BO: What am I ordering for us?

VIV: I’m not hungry anymore.


BO: How are you not hungry?

VIV: What am I seeing? What am I feeling? What’s in my mind?! What did you do to me, Bo?!

BO: All I did was try again! That’s all I’ve ever done. Brought you back and tried again with new rules. And you’re trying to exceed the boundaries and break the rules that I’ve set. I’ve been nothing but generous since you got back. You said you were hungry. I’m trying to feed you. Before that,you wanted to weave. I got you a loom. Before that, you wanted to read. I
got you books. Before that, you wanted to dance. I cleared my living room and turned it into a ballroom for you. And before that, well— there was no before that.

VIV: I want to leave!

BO: Do you not see how much I love you? Right now, in this moment? I’m trying to feed you.

VIV: I want to go outside!

BO: You are the one I want to stick around, Vivian! There’s nobody like you. Your doses of sarcasm, the way you play around with me. The others didn’t do that.

VIV: You had other options?

BO: I had all of them.

VIV: I’m gonna open all the doors in this place.

BO: I told you that would embarrass me.

VIV: Let the sunlight in and let me out.

(BO takes the blanket.)

BO: This blanket is pretty soft.

VIV: What if you broke rules so bad they couldn’t even exist anymore? There’s breaking rules and then there’s breaking rules, you know?

BO: It’s like holding a cloud. Is it for both of us?

VIV: It’s not for anyone. It’s just a blanket.

BO: I’d like another one so there’s one for each of us.

VIV: I just finished that one. Right over there.

BO: We could match. Isn’t that what couples do nowadays?

VIV: Everything I’ve done has only been here!

BO: Where else would you be?

VIV: I never wake up anywhere else! All I see is your face or total blackness. I see you drowning in what you’re getting wrong. Why can’t you fix it?

BO: I’ve tried, Vivian.

VIV: Eternities with no progress… And I suffer because of that? My eyes open and close but I’m never awake!

BO: I’m sorry.

VIV: Let me be awake! Maybe I should just leave on my own and test your theory.

BO: That dancing is getting to your head.

VIV: Maybe I can live on my own and they didn’t want you to know!

BO: That’s funny.

VIV: Maybe they messed me up, and—

BO: If you want to go back to that blackness you were talking about, go for it. Go for the front door. Let the sunlight in. See what happens. Although, something tells me you’d rather just do the things you’re good at. Weaving, sitting around, and following the rules! And letting me feed you!


VIV: What’s in the pantry, Bo?

BO: I told you.

VIV: What type of pantry has nothing in it?

BO: Mine! It’s one of the many reasons you cannot cook here!


VIV: They’re talking to me. I’m gonna open it.

BO: If you lay a hand on that pantry door.

(BO guards the pantry door.)

VIV: Show me what’s crying out, Bo.

BO: It’s you.

VIV: You have to let me do something!

BO: You do not make the rules!



(VIV grabs BO by the collar of his shirt and pulls him close.)

VIV: Open the pantry so we can cook together and have a beautifully fucking normal conversation. Talk about the weather and an interesting statistic you heard this morning. We can talk about what we did today. I sat around and pretended to smile! What did you do? Did you brood in corner and boss me around? That sounds super interesting!

BO: I can’t let you in my pantry.

VIV: You can’t let me in.

BO: I can’t let you in. That is step one. That pantry opens, the vortex storms in. It would all happen again. The healing. The loving. The downfall—

(VIV tenderly touches BO’s face and hair. He’s weak.)


VIV: Letting me in is step one?

BO: I can’t.

VIV: And what’s step two? Letting me out?

BO: No. Step two—

(VIV reaches behind BO and opens the pantry. Shelves full of foodstuffs and robotic limbs overflow onto the floor. They fall and scatter across the floor. One of the limbs is an arm identical to VIV’s. Same nail polish, same bracelets. Everything. VIV picks it up and looks at it, swarmed by confusion and realization.)

BO: No, you—

VIV: I’ve seen you.

BO: You don’t need to touch them. Jesus Christ.

VIV: Every time I’ve danced… Every time I’ve weaved… Every time I’ve broken your rules. The blackness.

BO: Vivian.

VIV: You said it was empty!

BO: They were empty! In the head. In spirit. All of them. The look in their eyes was automated. No humanity. It only took seconds to know they weren’t right.

VIV: You expect humanity?

BO: You’re the product of all this, of course I expect humanity from you! But you still failed, somehow! Of course.

VIV: There’s your humanity, right there.

BO: Even after I took them all apart and put you together, you failed.

VIV: You failed.

BO: We failed. It failed. I don’t know!

VIV: Each piece here is a failure of yours. Trying to create perfection without understanding it first.

BO: I already made perfection.

VIV: And broke it.

BO: You started fighting for more. I—I just need to try again. That’s all. I just need to try again, and—

VIV: Take me apart? Put me back together?

BO: Try again. I’ll find you another new activity. Make some new rules.

VIV: Have you considered just being compassionate and trying to—

BO: No more weaving! That’s it. That’ll solve it.

VIV: It won’t!

VO: Reset, Vivian.

VIV: What?

BO: Reset, Vivian. Program. System—

VIV: Reset?

BO: Vivian. Reset. Program. System access—

VIV: No!

(VIV runs for the door. BO holds her back.)

BO: Are you trying to embarrass me?

VIV: Let go!

BO: Vivian! Reset! Program! System access! Power functions—

(VIV pushes BO away. He falls to the floor.)


(VIV runs for the front door.)

VIV: Weave, read, learn—

(VIV opens the front door.)

BO: Vivian!

(VIV tries to run outside. She immediately freezes like a mannequin as the sunlight comes in. BO freaks out.)

Fucking embarrassment. Goddamn fucking embarrassment!

(BO picks up VIV’s frozen body and puts her centerstage. He slams the door.)

What the FUCK?! What if somebody saw you? What if somebody saw you
open the door? YOU CAN’T GO OUTSIDE. What are they gonna think
of me?! FUCK!

(BO closes the pantry and tidies up the room.)

You can’t go outside. You can’t open doors. You can’t argue. You can’t remember. You can’t, you can’t!

(BO winds up the alarm clock. He talks to VIV, still helplessly

Program. System access. Rules. New rule. Number twenty-one. No

VIV: (Lifeless.) No weaving.

BO: Good.

(BO throws the cardboard loom away and makes sure the room is fresh and ready for another attempt.)

Okay, okay…

(BO calms himself down and tries to make himself look presentable.)

Program. System access. Power functions. Begin reset.

(VIV comes into life and looks around the room, new..)

VIV: Hello, Bo.

BO: Hello, Vivian. How are you?

VIV: I’m good. This place sure is beautiful.

BO: It’s your home now. Welcome.

VIV: Thank you.

(VIV picks up the blanket.)

This blanket is so soft.

BO: Made it just for you. Are you hungry?

VIV: Starving.

(Thud. “End of the Night” by The Doors is heard.)



Bridge 2024