May 5 & 6: Cory Philley

May 5 & 6: Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

Cory Philley



Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

Two characters, gender not-specified, putting together something mechanical on a table. They are arguing about something non-specific over the course of the discussion but it is not until the end that the audience sees that it is a bomb. What they are doing with their hands is being projected up onto large screens around them, like a demonstration at a cooking show. They start in silence.

A: I’m not sure…

B: Well I am.

A: I’m not sure that I want to do this.

B: There’s no choice.

A: Of course there’s a choice.

B: No. No choice.

A: Come on. There’s always a choice.

B: No.

A: Really?

B: Yes.

A: No, I mean, really, really?


B: Ok there are choices but they are so awful.. so I’m back to there’s really no choice.

A: But there’s still a choice.

B: A bad choice is not a choice.

A: You just said it was.

B: Well it shouldn’t be.

A: But it is.


A: It is.

B: Maybe.

A: No it really is.

B: Possibly.

A: Nooooo. Is.


B: Alright.

A: So. Is. Right?

B: Ok.

A: Right.

B: Yes, Yes right. But there shouldn’t be.

A: Shouldn’t isn’t an answer. It’s not relevant.

B: It is relevant. Shoulds are relevant.

A: No it’s like you should exercise and be nice to old people and puppies. It’s like an opinion.

B: Shoulds are…

A: Not to this discussion, they aren’t . To this, for lack of a better word, reality. Shoulds really don’t matter because it doesn’t make people act with more.. .

B: Ok.

A: Besides if bad choices were being monitored…

B: Ok.

A: I mean think of the cigarettes you inhale…

B: Hey I’m trying to quit…

A: Or the fast food you eat. Or the assholes I’ve slept with…

B: Not your fault. I keep telling you not your fault.

A: Thanks.

B: You’re welcome.


B: I’ve really switched over to the whole 100 mile diet.

A: Except when you can’t.

B: Except then, yes ok except then.

A: Which is a lot.

B: Less than before.

A: Yes, but still a lot.


B: I don’t think of it as a choice.

A: I know.

B: It bugs me that you think it’s a choice.

A: I didn’t say…

B: ‘Cause really what else can we do except make this choice?

A: Really.

B: No what I mean is once you see it, how can you unsee it?


B: The answer is you can’t.


B: You can’t can you?


B: Should you?


A: Probably not. Most probably not. But that doesn’t make everyone bad or intrinsically monster-like.

B: No. I… no.


B: What does it make them?

A: … I don’t know.


B: I guess that I should really quit smoking.

A: Uh huh.

B: And eat better – more, like, ethically.

A: Ok.


B: Shouldn’t I?

A: Really?

They step back from the table and a bomb is revealed and flip a switch and a ticking sound starts.