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The Six Basic Rules
by Mara Lathrop

Production photo

Keith Anderson and Stacy Bean in a scene from The Six Basic Rules | William Cole

Author: Mara Lathrop

Description: Marriage can be hell unless you know the six basic rules. Please join newlyweds James & Louise Pettigrew as they spend the rest of their lives figuring out the rules and attempting to achieve marital bliss.

Year Written/Copyrighted: 2000
Date Added: 1/25/2012
Content Advisory: NA
Keywords: Comedy · Single Set · Small Cast Size · Surrealism/Absurdism
1 Act, 110 Minutes
1 Female, 1 Male, 1 Gender Neutral

NOTE: The Six Basic Rules 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 mara@maralathrop.com.

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Casting/Production Comments:

At the top of the show, James and Louise are newlyweds on their honeymoon, in their 20s - 30s. In each subsequent scene, they age 10 years, and by the end of the play, they are in their 70s - 80s and it's their 50th anniversary. Ther wear their wedding finery throughout and their clothes age as they do, so that by the end of the play, they're in tatters. Velcro add-ons and a costume change at intermission makes it happen. The actors playing James and Louise should be age appropriate to each other, although they can be young or old. I would love to see a production with actors in their 50s or 60s (or older). The third actor doesnt need to be age appropriate with the other 2, can be either gender, wildly inappropriate, etc.

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Original Production Information

The Six Basic Rules premiered in 2000, at the 4th Annual Mae West Fest at the Union Garage in Seattle, Washington, with the following cast and credits:

James Pettigrew – Keith Anderson
Louise Pettigrew – Stacey Bean
The Bellhop et al – Ethan A. Kozaki

Director – Monique L. Kleinhans
Producer, Mae West Fest -- Heidi Heimarck
Stage Manager – Nat Whitten
Assistant Stage Manager – Jeff Hillman
Set Designer – William Cole
Costume Designer – Stacey Bush
Lighting Designer – Gina Scherr
Textile Artist / Prop Mistress – Leslie Straka

Excerpt from The Six Basic Rules

JAMES

Louise, look, we’ve done this a million times. We’re very good at it.


LOUISE

No, we’re not.


JAMES

No, we are. We’re very, very good at it.


LOUISE

Then why did we have to see a fertility specialist?


JAMES

Louise, Dr. Delinkus is a nationally renowned fertility specialist. We were happy that he agreed to see us.


LOUISE

Right, we were thrilled.


JAMES

We WERE thrilled. Because what did he say? Well, what did he say, Louise?


LOUISE

Delinkus? Who can remember? He talked forever.


JAMES

Louise, what did he say?


LOUISE

My tubes are good. I appear to produce an egg with every cycle. You have an adequate number of sperm and they have good motility.


JAMES

Yes. And then he explained to us all about the Ducray position. And he swore to us that if we used the Ducray religiously it would only be a matter of time. Didn’t he? Didn’t he?


LOUISE

Yes.


JAMES

And so now you take your basal temperature every morning to determine your ovulation, and I wear boxer shorts just like he told me to, and we use it faithfully, don’t we, the fabulous Ducray, whenever we have sex.


LOUISE

Yes.


JAMES

So, Louise, sweetheart, it really IS just a matter of time.