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I Know What Boys Want
by Penny Jackson

Production photo

Nick Vennekotter and Sara Hogrefe in a scene from I Know What Boys Want

Author: Penny Jackson

Description: A high school girl discovers that this week's Internet sensation is a video of her having sex and is determined to handle this crisis alone.

Year Written/Copyrighted: 2013
Date Added: 3/27/2013
Content Advisory: Strong language. Sexual situations
Keywords: Adaptations · Characters are Mostly Young Adults · Coming of Age · Drama · Large Cast Size · Literature and Writing · Mostly Female Characters · Non-traditional/Non-narrative/Experimental/Post-dramatic · Philosophy · Politics · Pop Culture · Pornography · Sex · Social Issues · True Stories
1 Act, 87 Minutes
5 Females, 3 Males

NOTE: I Know What Boys Want 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

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From the Author:

I Know What Boys Want is about a young woman who has been attacked by a bully who uses the Internet. Her journey is to try to repair the damage he has done to her. She is one of the high school mean girls who must use that toughness and take charge of what happens to her.

I Know What Boys Want was created because I read a news story about a young girl in Staten Island who threw herself in front of the subway because of a video of her having sex with several football players went viral on the web. I discussed this story with my director and collaborator, Joan Kane, and she suggested I write a version where the girl is NOT the victim. Then the Steubenville, Ohio sexual assault case occurred, with the teenage boys involved videotaping and tweeting about the incident, and we knew that this was an issue that needed to be dramatized for social awareness. Joan and I have both been victims of bullying and I have learned that to avoid being a victim you have to take charge of your own life. That is exactly what the lead character is trying to do.

My play also deals with feminism. Vicky believes her mother has been betrayed by feminism, and that feminists make girls hate their bodies and sexuality. Vicky embraces her own form of feminism, and uses her body to fight back against the boy who abused her.

My play directly deals with the younger generation, a generation completely involved with several technical gadgets. I hope that the audiences who see this play realize that posting things on the Internet can have far ranging, unintentional consequences. It used to be that you would send your friend a chatty postal letter about people you know. The information would be strictly between the two of you. Now you can send a photograph or a tape through the Internet and destroy somebody's life.

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Original Production Information

I Know What Boys Want was first presented by Ego Actus at the WorkShop Theater, New York City, on March 28, 2013, with the following cast and credits:

Vicky: Sara Hogrefe.
Margaret: Dara O’Brien
Lin: Janice Amano
Emma: Kimberly Diamond
Hannah: Lauren D. Salvo
Roger: Liam Rhodes
Ted: Teddy Lytle
Oliver: Nick Vennekotter

Director: Joan Kane.
Set: Starlet Jacobs
Costumes: Cat Fisher
Lighting: Bruce A! Kraemer
Sound: Ian Wehrle
Stage manager: Kim Marie Jones
Fight choreographer: Andrew Kenneth Moss
Graphics: Alexis Camp
Press representative: Scotti Rhodes Publicity

Excerpt from I Know What Boys Want


How much more footage of that party do you have?


Me to know and you to find out. Come on, Vicky. Play nice.


Play nice? Is that what I’m here for?


Then we’ll talk business.


That’s right. Your Dad was in the paper lately. Was it security fraud or a Ponzi scheme?


Hey, this is just about you and me. Barter. I give and you give. Sit on the bed.

(VICKY sits on the bed. OLIVER starts rubbing her shoulders.)

God, you’re gorgeous. I bet Roger never tells you that. You’ve always broke my heart.

(OLIVER’S hands slip further and further toward her breasts.)


And if I don’t negotiate?


It won’t go away. Next year, when you’re in college, someone in your dorm will see the video on Facebook. Five years from now, when you’re working in a office, you’ll hear people at the next desk laughing, and they’re watching you and Roger. Ten years from now, maybe you’re about to get married, and your fiancee gets an e-mail with a link. You didn’t know I was such a tenacious person, did you? I get that I want. So come on, now. Let’s finish this. Won’t be long, I promise. And then I’ll give you my phone and you’ll never have to think about it again.

(OLIVER now kisses her neck, VICKY turns and holds his face in her hands.)


Okay, Oliver. I’m ready to make a deal.