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Goblins

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CHARACTERS

ALEX, a twelve year old boy. Has dyslexia and ADHD.
JOAN, Alex’s mother, in her early forties.
KYLIE, Alex’s sister, seven years old.
DAVID, Alex’s father, in his early forties.
LD (Learning Difference) GOBLINS, the personification of Alex’s dyslexia and ADHD.

SCENE 1

A simple table sits center stage. ALEX, a young boy, is sitting hunched over a binder, one hand in his hair, spiking it up. JOAN, ALEX’S mother, sits next to him. They are both holding pencils. ALEX’S backpack is on the floor next to him.

JOAN
And then what do you have to do?

ALEX
You…um…have to find out the area of the—

JOAN
The area?

ALEX
No, no, the, the volume?

JOAN
Exactly. Then you—

KYLIE enters, waving a paper in the air and shouting.

KYLIE
Mommy Mommy Mommy! Look, I got a one hundred!

JOAN and ALEX turn towards KYLIE. JOAN smiles and ALEX turns back to his homework.

JOAN
That’s great, sweetie. You got a one hundred on what?

KYLIE
On my spelling test. Daddy says I’m just like you ’cause you’re smart too and that’s why he married you.

JOAN
(calling offstage)
David!

DAVID
(from offstage)
It’s the truth!

JOAN and KYLIE laugh, while ALEX winds his fingers more tightly into his hair and makes a face. He taps his pencil restlessly on the paper. JOAN and KYLIE continue their conversation soundlessly. An LD GOBLIN enters, laughing meanly, and snatches ALEX’S pencil out of his hands. ALEX tries to grab for it back, and the LD GOBLIN dances backwards, still laughing at him. Meanwhile, KYLIE exits the way she came, and JOAN turns back to ALEX. The LD GOBLIN puts the pencil back down on the table and exits just as JOAN starts talking.

JOAN
Sorry about that, Alex. Make any progress?

ALEX
Um…

JOAN
(kindly)
No?

ALEX
Sorry, Mom.

JOAN
It’s fine, sweetheart. So, we were finding the volume of…?

ALEX
The cube.

JOAN
Right. So…

JOAN’S voice goes quiet, but her mouth keeps moving. Another LD GOBLIN enters, and whispers something in ALEX’S ear.

JOAN (cont.)
…you remember the formula?

ALEX
How do people even figure out the formula in the first place?

The LD GOBLIN snickers and exits.

ALEX (cont.)
I mean, the very first guy who thought, oh, the volume of a cube is, um… I mean, what do you think?

JOAN
(wryly)
I think that we should stick to the practical math, not the theoretical math.

ALEX
(contritely)
Sorry.

JOAN
You wanna take a break and go to English?

ALEX
Sure.

JOAN
So what’s the homework for that?

ALEX
I’ve gotta read and annotate an article and then answer some questions for it.

JOAN
(cheerily)
Well let's see it then!

ALEX rummages in his backpack, and pulls out a slightly rumpled packet of paper, handing it to JOAN.

JOAN
“The Effects of Oil Spills on the Environment.” Fascinating.

ALEX
(laughing)
It really is, though! We’ve learned so much about the environment, and how humans are screwing it up and stuff.

JOAN makes a face, and spreads the paper in front of them.

JOAN
Alright. Let’s read about how humans are ruining the world. You read first.

ALEX
(slowly)
“Large-scale oil spills have been a problem for Earth’s environment since oil started to be produced in greater amounts."

ALEX’S voice continues in a murmur. A group of thirteen LD GOBLINS comes onstage, each of them holding a white cardboard sign. As ALEX stumbles over a word, the LD GOBLINS hold up their signs. Each sign has a letter on it, and the letters spell out “BIODEGRADABLE.” The LD GOBLINS, cackling, switch places until the letters spell out “BOIEGARLADBDE.”

ALEX
Bio…bo…

KYLIE skips onstage, sucking on a lollipop. She stops to peer over ALEX’S shoulder.

KYLIE
(slowly)
Biodegradable.

ALEX glares down at the paper. All the LD GOBLINS but one dance offstage, laughing loudly. The singular LD GOBLIN left onstage waits.

JOAN
Thank you, Kylie, but let’s let Alex do his homework.

KYLIE shrugs, and skips offstage. ALEX heaves a sigh.

JOAN
Okay, Alex. We were at biodegradable?

The LD GOBLIN creeps forward and flicks the back of ALEX’S head. He whirls around and stares at it. It sticks its thumbs in its ears, wiggles its fingers, and sticks out its tongue at ALEX.

ALEX
(gripping his hair)
I can’t do this!

JOAN
Okay. Let’s take a break.

She folds the packet and puts it to the side. ALEX drops his head into his hands. JOAN rubs his shoulder.

ALEX
(mumbling)
I’m sorry.

JOAN
It’s okay, Alex. It’s okay. Some days are better than others. I get it.

She pulls him into a hug.

End scene.




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