Sarcastic Voyage - Radio Plays - The Lovesick NunThe tired old cliché — it was inevitable that we ended up doing one of these!
Sarcastic Voyage - Radio Plays - The Lovesick Nun
- Long ago, we were working on a sketch for Sarcastic Voyage set at the sunset of the golden age of radio. The basic idea was “nobody wants to listen to these popular radio shows anymore because television exists, but they're all still under contract so the network just combined them all into one big show.” As I was brainstorming possible characters, I asked Amanda to throw out some tired old clichés. One of the things she suggested was “a lovesick nun.” I didn't know what she meant. Neither did anyone I asked. In her mind, there are literally thousands of lovesick nun stories in the world, but nobody can come up with even a single example of one. And we've been giving her crap for that ever since.
- That said, it was great to finally pay the joke off by actually writing a lovesick nun story... sort of. This is the most screwball of our screwball-inspired stories, down to us casting each character with a 30s star and asking the performers to perform an approximation of said star. Nora is Kristy doing a fantastic Jean Arthur; Geri is Kara doing a gender-bent Melvyn Douglas; Susie is Amanda's take on teen Shirley Temple (with a bit of the loudmouthed Red Riding Hood from that old Bugs Bunny cartoon); Jerry is Bob's Cary Grant and Father Dulcet is my best Charles Coburn.
- In addition to watching a lot of very excellent screwball comedies, I also did a fair amount of reading about them and I tried to make this as authentic an homage as possible, though with a more modern sensibility. I'm not going to list all of those things here (mostly because I made this six months ago and I forget some of it now) but a lot of it had to do with strong female protagonists. Oh, and ensuring that every supporting character isn't just a straight man for jokes, but is themselves an interesting (and often bizarre) addition to the story.
- Every good screwball also had what Amanda and I came to refer to as a "chaos room," where a thousand things are happening at once and everything just flies completely off the rails. Because we were so enamored with this concept, we decided to make chaos rooms — and our main character's frustration with them — central to this particular narrative.
- Another common theme in a lot of screwballs is “hectic city life vs. calm country living,” which ended up forming another big chunk of this one.
- I couldn't resist doing an Aristocrats reference in this story about a talent agency.
- Serious kudos to the performers for stepping up the pace of this one, too. It was written to come at you non-stop and they were all completely up to the challenge.
- “Melvyn Douglas and Joel McCrea in The Good Ones Were Busy” is a very specific-to-the-period joke, but I'm pretty proud of it.
- Susie's college-level understanding of psychiatry came from a lot of movies, but probably mostly from All That Heaven Allows.
- I like that Nora hears the xylophone music in her head, and I absolutely love Kristy's vocalization of same.
- Nora's from Connecticut because seriously, like half of every movie made in the 30s took place in Connecticut for some reason.
- I'm hardly the first person to write jokes about a character stumbling their way through the lord's prayer, but I still think this bit was funny.
- A lot of my writing, for whatever reason, has these massive first acts and then I realize I need to wrap things up pretty quickly. I've tried to be more aware of this and improve it, but one advantage of writing in the style of old movies is that a lot of them had really weird pacing issues. Probably because they hadn't quite worked out how a movie should work just yet. But now it's no longer a weakness — it's an homage!
- A lot of screwballs also had what Amanda referred to as “the meathead boyfriend.” Our main character would often be torn between this meathead and the much more handsome fellow she was meant to be with. Kara-as-Melvyn Douglas is our meathead; Bob-as-Cary Grant is our non-meathead.
- Charles Coburn — upon whom I based Father Dulcet — was probably my favorite character actor from the 30s and 40s. He was an absolute delight, as long as you absolutely don't look up what he did when he wasn't playing lovable grandfather types.
- “I've used the word frantic several times already” is one of those writers' jokes I just can't avoid making sometimes.
- Some of this dialogue is very broad and old-timey. It might even read as a bit hacky. But it was a deliberate attempt to channel the vibe of the movies we were referencing and honestly I think we kinda nailed it in parts. Like Nora's entire first conversation with Father Dulcet.
- This MacDougal is no relation to the other MacDougal... since his name wasn't actually MacDougal.
- Hey! Sugar Crunch cereal! That's a callback!
- You gotta end your screwball with a wedding. You just gotta.
Mark “Bob” Boszko - Jerry
Kristy Brannon - Nora
Kara O'Connor - Geri
Amanda Smith - Susie
Ron “AAlgar” Watt - Father Dulcet
Written & directed by Ron “AAlgar” Watt with Amanda Smith
© 2018 AAlgar Productions