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Celeste and Starla Save Todd and Win Back the Day
by Francesca Sanders

Author: Francesca Sanders

Description: Celeste and Starla, the starfish are off to solve a mystery with a capital M!

Year Written/Copyrighted: 2008
Date Added: 2/6/2012
Content Advisory: No adult content
Keywords: Action/Adventure · Characters are Mostly Young Adults · Comedy · Mystery/Suspense/Noir · Politics · Small Cast Size · Surrealism/Absurdism
2 Acts, 120 Minutes
1 Female, 1 Male, 1 Gender Neutral

NOTE: Celeste and Starla Save Todd and Win Back the Day is fully protected by copyright law and is subject to royalty. All inquiries concerning production, publication, reprinting or use of this play in any form should be addressed to Rochelle at

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From the Author:

The question I get asked most at talkbacks for this play is “what were you smoking when you came up with this?” I can honestly answer “Nothing at all.” Apparently I’m naturally weird. No additives needed.

When you write a play about a girl who’s half Alice in Wonderland/half Nancy Drew and has a famous starfish (with a multi-million dollar cosmetic contract) for a companion, you know you’re in for a fun ride. I’ve seen this play in three different cities and it never ceases to amuse.

Yet that’s not all it does. It turns out there’s quite an interesting message about a current political topic wrapped up in this play that isn’t revealed until near the end. I love to watch the audience’s faces when all is revealed. All the clues are there, yet you don’t see them until they line up like dominoes.

When writing this play I was laughing out loud. Luckily when the reviewers came, they laughed out loud as well. Madison, Minneapolis and Portland audiences were rolling in the aisles. Each theatre company told me it was the top grossing play in their theatre’s history.

Celeste and Starla seem to get their own cult following in each city they play in. You sort of have to read or see the play to understand exactly why.  Simply put, they steal your heart.

That being said, this isn’t all happy-happy-joy-joy. It doesn’t tie up in a bow at the end… and yet somehow, just like our plucky heroine, it doesn’t seem to matter, because we believe strongly in Celeste’s ability to pick herself up and keep going. Eventually her dream will come true. I’m sure of it. She and Starla deserve it.

Casting/Production Comments:

Someone or Anyone plays both male and female characters. I leave it to the director to find what gender will fit their needs for their particular production.

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Original Production Information

Celeste and Starla Save Todd and Win Back The Day opened June 6, 2008 at the Mercury Theatre Lab in Madison, Wisconsin, with the following cast and credits:

Celeste - Jessica Joan Evans
Todd - Sean Langenecker
Someone/Anyone - Damon Butler

Director - Greg Harris
Assistant Director - Karin Silet
Stage Manager - Sadie Yi
Producers - Pete Rydberg, Megan McGlone & Casey Sean Grimm
Set Design - Casey Sean Grimm & Doug Holtz
Lighting Design - Bryan Streich
Costume Design - Matt Schroeder
Sound Design - Mark Penner
Props - P's Props

Excerpt from Celeste and Starla Save Todd and Win Back the Day

At rise. CELESTE stands amid the azure blue of her life. She looks as if she might make magic happen at any moment. But will she want to?


I’ll tell you straight off, I don’t have a very good memory. Which is funny considering I’m named after an elephant.

Oh, and there’s a scrim somewhere.

You can laugh, it’s true.

And even though tidal waves happen with no warning, and feudal lords pop up out of nowhere and begin to rule us… the very minute they’re gone, I can’t seem to conjure up their faces… or find the water left behind in my shoes.

CELESTE pulls something out of a large pocket that’s embroidered with the word “Starla.”

That’s why I keep Starla, the starfish around. Did you know she can store memories in her points… and she’s got five? Each one holds a million, jillion gigabytes of memory.

Starfish were the first computers of the world. Pretty amazing, huh?

(Sighing) If only I had a point.

Then I could store something that lasts. Instead of forgetting all the time.

I have a roadster, did I mention that? Just like Nancy Drew. I remember Nancy Drew somehow despite forgetting feudal lords and shiny white blizzards.

Perhaps I’ll BE Nancy one day. Perhaps I’ll uncover a tantalizing mystery. One never knows when a tantalizing mystery is headed their way. Well, not till it happens.

HARPO/SOMEONE OR ANYONE enters in overcoat and bowler hat. HE or SHE opens a newspaper and begins to read.

Oh my! Will you look at that!


Are you my tantalizing mystery?

HARPO/SOMEONE OR ANYONE covers his or her face with the newspaper.

I have a tingly feeling that says you are. Everyone should have a mystery all their own, don’t you think?

HARPO/SOMEONE OR ANYONE turns his or her back on her.