Worst Year Ever
Charlotte Miller in a scene from Worst Year Ever
Author: Charlotte Miller
Description: Welcome to a short presentation about why Charlotte Walker Miller, age 12, is having the worst year ever.
First Produced: 2013
Date Added: 9/8/2013
Keywords: Coming of Age · Single Set · Divorce · Drug Use and Abuse · Dysfunctional Families · Solo Play · Families
1 Act, 50 Minutes
1 Female, 0 Males
NOTE: Worst Year Ever 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 email@example.com.
Original Production Information
Worse Year Ever was first presented on August 9, 2013 at the New York International Fringe Festival, with the following cast and credits:
Charlotte Walker Miller: Charlotte Miller
Review by Carissa Cordes
Worst Year Ever begins with a shy girl stepping up to a music stand. This music stand will eventually hold what appear to be hand-written sheets of lined notebook paper. In the background is a colorfully decorated poster board detailing the all too familiar Summer Vacation Oral Report. Above the sign is written “Worst Year Ever” in chalk on the wall.
The shy girl begins reading from her handwritten report and identifies herself as Charlotte Walker Miller aged 12 in the seventh grade (played by the playwright and adult Charlotte Walker Miller). While Charlotte may appear to be shy she is much more socially awkward and hyper self-aware. She doesn’t appear to have much of a filter when detailing the events in her life or when she openly insults her teacher, Mrs. Rogers.
Thankfully, these affects lend humor and pathos to what could be an angsty piece full of self-pity. The awkwardness Charlotte claims to have is the very thing connecting her with the audience.
The play starts the fall after Kurt Cobain died (1994), and her year really does seem to go from bad to worse. It folds out in four oral reports: the summer, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Spring Break. Each Act can be its own piece but together they build on the previous story fleshing out details, and an awkward throughline in the teacher-student relationship eventually emerges.
These Acts merge together as more of a story rather than a play. The main conflicts for Charlotte aged 12 are the events in the past she is presenting as a story in her oral reports. She does not agree with Mrs. Rogers on the validity of her assignments; however, this does not present as an obstacle to overcome, but more as an act of aggression.
As a one-person play Worst Year Ever's character work relies primarily with the character of 12-year-old Charlotte. There are hints of other characters popping through, but these contrasts are not around for more than a few seconds.
While I did not know the real Charlotte Walker Miller aged 12, this presented version of her is likeable, a sympathetic heroine. Her stories are brutally honest. Her dry humor and the resolution at the end make her even more likable. The persistent insults directed towards Mrs. Rogers are over the top, but in the end, Mrs. Rogers must have made a positive impact. Mrs. Rogers must have been the most patient and understanding teacher of all time.
Overall, I would recommend Worst Year Ever for anyone who was an awkward seventh grader, or was a fan of the television shows My So Called Life and Daria.
reviewed at the 2013 New York International Fringe Festival
Excerpt from Worst Year Ever
The following takes place in the fall of 1994 after summer break. A girl walks out and crosses to a music stand, she fumbles with a few papers and looks out nervously but determinately on the audience.
Worst Summer Ever
By Charlotte Walker Miller
Dear Mrs. Roberts,
I have only submitted to your tyrannical request for a report on my summer because I suspect that you intend to subvert my lack of interest into some kind of psychological test. I submit to you in order to reinforce how average my mind actually is. I am totally normal, Mrs. Roberts, if you have an issue with my lifestyle choices I suggest that you look inward and see what it is about me that bothers you. Is it my youth? Youth is fleeting Mrs. Roberts, I am 12 now but someday I might be as old as twenty-nine, or even thirty. Please take comfort in this, I know that I don’t. I would like to impress upon you during the duration of this oral report that we will, in fact, all die. And if it seems as though I am a little strange it is probably more likely because you are strange, or because my life is very bad. Yes, Mrs. Roberts, my life is very bad. I would like to give a short presentation about why my life is over. Not over, but just pointless maybe.
You see Mrs. Roberts, Kurt Cobain died last spring, and that’s made things a little tough for me. You probably don’t know who that is because you’re old, you’re probably even older than the 29 or 30 years that I mentioned before, you’re probably at least, like, 35 or something and I applaud you for taking care of your body so that you could make it here. I hear that tyrants often have rigorous work out routines and such, like chairman Mao, he was a dictator, like yourself. I don’t know much about him but I think that he probably didn’t like kids either. Why are you a teacher Mrs. Roberts? I beg you to abandon your post. You are like an owl that hoots in my soul, awaking me in the deepest dreams to haunt me. Do you believe in ghosts Mrs. Roberts? I do, you are like a ghost with a pulse but I still think you are attractive for your age. Good job Mrs. Roberts.
FringeNYC 2013 Play Collection #2: Four playwrights who are first time FringeNYC participants join Martin Denton in a round table to talk about their FringeNYC plays and about themselves. The playwrights are: Lawrence Dial (Carroll Gardens Aborning), Wendy Herlich (Another Evening of Awkward Romamce), Charlotte Miller (Worst Year Ever), and Molly Rydzel (Certifiable).