Length: Full length, 90 minutes
Characters: 5 female, three male (two of the males can be double-cast)
Four longtime friends – who couldn’t be more different from each other – gather weekly to work through their problems while working through a list of exotic beverages, like absinthe and slivovitz. The gatherings are “like a book club, only without all that inconvenient reading.” Beneath the usually light-hearted conversation, though, is a current of conflict. The serious illness of one of the friends leads to revelations of anger and jealousy and ultimately becomes the catalyst for change – of one kind or another – in all of their lives.
WHY YOU SHOULD PRODUCE THIS PLAY: It has four rich, complex, non-stereotypical roles for Women of a Certain Age – something sorely lacking in contemporary theatre.
~Staged reading – Magenta Giraffe Theatre Company, Detroit, MI
~Staged reading at: Renegade Theatre Festival, Lansing, MI
~Semi-finalist in the Arizona Bridge Initiative’s playwriting contest
~Full production at: Barefoot Theatre, Plymouth, MI (pictured below)
~Full production at Freshwater Theatre, MN
Two longtime friends find themselves locked in an increasingly bitter competition that plays out during weekly gatherings of “The Bucket List of Booze Club” – an ironically named excuse for a group of 50-something women to sample exotic liquors and talk about their lives.
Collette’s battle with cancer forces her to confront a lifetime’s worth of regrets and face the fact that her smart, ambitious daughter Ree-Ree idolizes her “Aunt Jen,” much more than herself. Jen is a successful lawyer who’s been unsuccessful at love and is coming to the realization that she may be forever single. Lively grandmother Mary Ann has a much-younger boyfriend, Eric, who inadvertently makes her feel old. Amy is coping with classic Sandwich Generation challenges: an empty nest, a mother with Alzheimer’s and a dull, unsatisfying marriage.
Collette’s increasing resentment toward Jen threatens the delicate balance of the group, as does the sudden reappearance of Collette’s ex-husband Barry, who’s moved back to town after a long absence.
Already stressed from being the object of a tug-of-war between her mother and Jen, Ree-Ree now has to deal with the anger she feels toward the father who abandoned her when he remarried.
Mary Ann has a hilarious meltdown in which she reveals her menopausal madness to Eric — hot flashes and all — and nearly scares him away.
Collette gets grim news from the doctor and announces that she’s done with treatment – a decision that infuriates Ree-Ree. After more sniping from Collette, Jen finally reaches the breaking point and leaves the group. Collette reluctantly meets with Barry. While she doesn’t get the apology she wants, she does get some closure, along with the realization that Ree-Ree will need Barry in her life when she’s gone. Amy decides to inject some excitement into her marriage by buying non-refundable cruise tickets and surprising her husband with them. It’s a gamble that does not pay off the way she expected it to. Mary Ann decides to embrace her cougar-ness and take a chance on love.
It is Ree-Ree who manages to bring about a reconciliation between the two most important women in her life. Collette finally confesses that she’s jealous of Jen, who reminds her of all of the mistakes she made in the past – and the future that she will not have with her daughter.
The play ends on a bittersweet note – a happy memory of Collette asking Jen to be the godmother to her newborn daughter, Ree-Ree.
For information about producing The Bucket List of Booze Club, contact Maureen Paraventi at firstname.lastname@example.org.