Breaking Out | TeenInk

Breaking Out

February 8, 2019
By Cooperamitchell, Shallowater, Texas
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Cooperamitchell, Shallowater, Texas
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Author's note:

The common missconceptions that violence and mental issues go hand and hand inspired me to write this play. Instead of making her out to be a crazy, uncontrolable criminal, I wanted to share the story of a girl who, like many people, has gone through things no one should ever go through. There is always a story and a reason behind someone's mental issue. Let's focus on the story and the person. 

Character list


VIRGIL:     A boy, mid 20s. He is full of anger and hatred towards everything. Classic goth demeaner. He is the cluster A personality- passive, odd in thinking, and has bizarre fantasies.


Mira:       A little girl, 6 years old. She's young but knows her situation isn’t normal. Fearful and transforms when in contact with her father.  Personality disorder stems from sexual abuse as a child. She was the first personality to form as an escape from her father.


Gale:       A women, mid 30s. She puts herself out there, clothing, dating, doesn’t matter. A country accent. She falls in cluster B- attention-seeker, provocative, excessive self-admiration.


Kate:       A teenage girl, 18. Uses a British accent. Very friendly and social. Pretends everything is great. She only speaks to an employee at the pub she visits about her situation.  She is normal and takes over as the dominate personality.


Annie:      A teenage girl, 15. She entered into the hospital at this age. Very shy and almost no self-confidence because she was brainwashed by her father that she will amount to nothing. She never wants to upset anyone or create issues. This puts her under cluster C- dependent, avoidant, and indecisive.


Lucy:       The original personality that was taken over. She has been trapped in her own body for the past 19 years. The doctors didn’t realize they had met their goal when bringing her out, leaving her sane but trapped in a mental hospital.


This play has also been done without Virgil. If any character needs to be cut, it should be him.



“BREAKING OUT” is the story of a young girl who suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder. This causes her to unwillingly switch between her different personalities at random. She is put into a Psychiatric Hospital at the age of 15 due to the increase in frequency of her episodes. The doctors have put her under medical treatment that forces her to switch between personalities in order to study them. The story begins with VIRGIL standing center stage, in front of the curtain with a single spot light. Behind the curtain sits four different locations- a bedroom, a living room, a bar, and a graveyard. The story should be told by one person in a strait jacket who transfers between personalities.


An interview room.




VIRGIL (a boy)

This doesn’t help, you know. Just send me back to my room and shut the door. I like the darkness. It’s better than anything you could give me! It doesn’t work! Nothing you do works!! I’m VIRGIL freakin' Carp! Nothing you do can ever control me. You’re terrible! You’re just a bunch of no-good, sons of… (the transformation interrupts him).


KATE (a British teenager)

Blimy! Please do pardon him, he’s not himself today. I don’t mean to expose him (looks around and lowers her voice), but he’s not taking those pills you prescribed him. He shows no respect to you all, I am very sorry you must put up with him. I, on the other hand, do understand your intentions. You simply wish to make me feel better, (jokingly) to get this head of mine to stop spinning around. You asked me to stand here and talk, so that’s what I shall do. I do have one simple request however; do you think we could do away with this jacket? It’s quite uncomfortable and…(the transformation interrupts once again).


GALE (a woman)

It doesn’t fit my boobs right. I mean, most things don’t because their just so dang big, but it’d be nice if the jacket could at least show them off a little bit.

(The first curtain opens partly, revealing GALE’s house. There are clothes and trash in every direction, but she doesn’t seem to notice).

Like, oh I don’t know (she walks to her house and rummages through the clothes), something like this could look good (she continues searching) or THIS! Oh my gosh, I didn’t know I still had this!! I wore this on my first date with little ol’…ol’…well I guess I’ve had one too many men after him I can’t remember his name, but I do remember walkin' in to that restaurant and him lookin' me up and down and sayin' “GALE, you look fine as hell.” Quite the poet if you ask me. I think we could just cut a little ‘v’ right here (she gestures with her head to her chest). The girls could come out, breathe a little, yeah that works ni…(the transformation takes over).


MIRA (a small girl)

Do you want to play with me? I have enough dolls, I’ll share with you. This one is mine because her name is Mira, and my name is Mira so you can’t play with her. But I have this one (she scoots a classic Barbie doll away from the others), her name’s Britney. She’s the most prettiest one ever. See? she has long hair. My daddy said I can’t cut it, but I really want to, but if you want to play with her, you can. Or I have Stephanie, she’s not that cute because my puppy likes to play with her. He grabs her with his teeth like this (she demonstrates) and swings her around, and sometimes when he shakes her, his slobber gets all over everything (she laughs).  (Whiningly) No daddy, five more minuets! I’m playing! (She starts to cry but suddenly stops) But da- (she stops) yes, sir. (She pushes the dolls under her bed). Daddy says it’s time for bed, so we have to hurry and go to sleep before he comes in so he won’t… (transformation takes over)


ANNIE (an insecure teenage girl)

(She returns back to center stage and speaks facing the glass but rarely looks up)

 Tuesday. Tomorrow’s Tuesday. The 14th. I um, could I like, well you don’t have to, but um it’s my birthday tomorrow, and it could be cool if I could wear something other than this, maybe something nice. My mom used to always buy me a new dress for my birthday, and I always got a card with it- “To my dearest Annie”. But it’s whatever you guys think. You’re all doctors, so you know better than me. You know, I actually used to want to be a doctor (slight giggle). Yeah, I wouldn’t have been very good. Everybody used to say I could be a great doctor, but thank goodness for my dad. He’s the one who made me realize I’d never really be good enough, I mean like I didn’t even know what kind of doctor I wanted to be, and you have to know that stuff in order to go to college. I could never do what you guys do... deal with crazy people every day, no thank you. Oh, well I guess I’m apart of those “crazy people” you have to deal with. You know I tried really hard not to be here, but I just couldn’t do it I guess (her mood shifts into a serious, regretful tone). It was my fault. I let it happen. My dad always told me I’d be the one to go crazy with all my out of the box ideas. He said it’s best to shut my mind off before it got me in trouble. I tried to shut it off, I really did, but I just can’t do anything that’s good enough. (The transition takes over and the actor moves back to GALE’s house).


GALE (a woman)

(She continues to dig through the clothes). Yeah, I think this top is the best option, none of these other ones do the girls as much justice. Now, don’t be thinking I’m some loose woman who puts everything out there, I’m a respectable one, some of the time. (She notices the time) Oh crap! I forgot he’s coming! I’ve got to pick this place up!

(She pushes everything in a pile and kicks it behind the couch. Through all of this, she repeats “I am a respectable woman.” She sits on the couch waiting nervously).

 Dear Lord Jesus, I know I don’t do this as much as I should, but please if you could just help me out this one time, I’ll be better! Please, please, please give me the strength not to kill this man. You know better than anyone what he’s done to me.  Please don’t let me kill him, and if I do, please don’t let me get caught. Am…(the transformation takes over again).


VIRGIL (a boy)

All men are evil. All women are evil. Everybody in this world seeks to kill and destroy everything for their own selfish gain.

(He walks over to his scenery that is a grave stone with his mother’s name on it and sits down next to it).

Everybody except for you. You’re the only person I let love me and who I let myself love. (He smiles as a memory comes to him) I remember my first day of 7th grade when I had finally found myself. I came down stairs in my skinny black jeans and matching black shirt and jacket, my black boots and freshly painted black fingernails. Dad couldn’t stand to look at me. He yelled and yelled and forced me to change into something more “socially acceptable.” But you, you drove me to school, dropped me off, and told me you loved me. Then when you came to pick me up, you had a bag waiting for me in the passenger seat. A black bag with two black eyeliner pencils and a box of black hair dye.  That’s when I knew you loved me. You didn’t just say it because you had to... like dad. You said it because you meant it. I started to love you too. I didn’t even know what I was missing out on. I had closed myself off to everyone, thinking it was the best way to avoid, well, feelings in general. You weren’t like everyone else. You only wanted what was best for me.  You protected me from the world, from him. Then you left me. (He begins to get angry) You left me with him! The only love I had ever felt was gone, and I was stuck with that disgrace of a man! How could you do this? Why?!  Why? Why’d you have to go? I have no protection now. You did this to me! (He gets up, looks at himself and then back to the gravestone). I..I I hate you. You gave me this hate! You left me with him!

(He tries to fight his way out of the jacket and becomes angry but then falls back into his stagnate personality.)

(Softly) You left me with him. How could you leave me with him? (The transformation takes over).


MIRA (a young girl)

(She talks to her dolls). Don’t worry, I won’t leave you. You can sleep in daddy’s spot right next to me. You have your jammies on, and I have mine. Did you brush your teeth? Eww! You have to brush your teeth. The tooth fairy only takes the good ones! Do you want to be poor?!

(She climbs out from under her covers and heads to the door but stops as the door opens).

 Oh um Britney didn’t brush her teeth, so I was just (she stops)... I didn’t mean to break the rules, I promise! I am a good girl. I didn’t mean to.  Yes, sir.

(She runs back to her bed and faces away from the door. A few seconds past then there is a sound of footsteps, she looks over her shoulder where her “dad” is standing).

I promise, I didn’t mean-

(She scoots to the furthest side of the bed like she is letting someone else in it).


KATE (a British teenager)

(She’s walking down the street towards a pub, it’s late).

Just the usual please, thanks lad. Yes, another late night for me. My dad is back from city again so here I am. I can’t keep doing this. I keep telling myself, KATE, you only have two more years, and then you’re off to study some place far off from here.  That is if I gather the money. Maybe I could work here, part time at least. Ha, my dad would have my guts for garters.  (Slight pause as if someone else was talking to her). No, yeah he’s better, going to AA meetings, sometimes he tries and other times he just… you know (laughs and changes the topic) well, I should be getting off, it's getting quite late. Maybe I can sneak in without waking him. Same time tomorrow, eh?

(She exits and is walking towards the front of the stage when the transformation takes over and pushes her into GALE’s house).


GALE (a woman)

(A doorbell rings, and GALE gathers herself from the couch and heads to the door).

You can do it, GALE. Just don’t kill him. (She opens the door). Hi, dad. How are you doing? I’m fine, thank you. Please have a seat. So, I read up on Facebook that you got that new job you were hopin’ for, got you a new girlfriend, a nice new house, everything’s lookin’ good for you. But I ran into Dr. Martin the other day, and he said you quit going to AA. Look, I know you don’t like it, but now’s the perfect time. Everything is going good, and you don’t want to mess it up with this girl you got, and I just think it’s a good- well, I didn’t mean it like that I just meant you know mama and me, and you know before the AA it was just a mad house- oh no I didn’t mean to offend you by any means. Please sit down. I’m sorry I didn’t mean it. (She stands up and walks behind the couch). Just take a deep breath, you worked through this remember.

(She walks backwards towards MIRA’s room while trying to calm her dad down).

 No sir, I’m not telling you what to do, I just…well…I thought you worked through this (Once in MIRA’s room she sits on the bed). You don’t have to do this, you’re better than this. Please don’t daddy (her voice is breaking as she pleads) You were done with this. Daddy please-


MIRA (a young girl)

Please, no. I promise I didn’t mean to!


GALE (a woman)

I didn’t mean to! (She lays back on the bed as if someone was forcing her to). Oh God, please kill me. (The lights cut).


ANNIE (an insecure teenage girl)

(She is back to center stage. A recording of a mans voice plays, a doctor asking her questions through an intercom, and she answers after each question. His first question- Describe your favorite restaurant ANNIE, the second being- describe your house, and the final question being- describe your bedroom. Each description should match the other sets on stage).

 Um well that’s a hard one, I usually don’t have a preference I just go with the flow. Umm I guess there is this bar down the street from my house. I think it has really good Dr. Pepper. I’m not sure what makes it so much better, it’s probably just me. One guy there is really nice to me. I thought he liked me at one point, but I bet he just feels bad for me. I go there to vent sometimes. (The doctor asks the next question). My house, sure. Well it’s on the first floor. A red door. Pretty small, just three bedrooms, my mom and dads, mine, and then my dad took the other one. When you walk in, you’re in the living room. I tried to decorate it with my mom, but we never got to finish it. It just has a green couch and a little coffee table that’s usually covered in clothes or my dads leftover stuff. There’s a lamp and a white rug that’s not so white anymore.

(The doctor moves on to the last question. Her expression changes, and she gets nervous).

It’s just a room. A bed, a dresser, that’s all really. (The doctor asks her to describe the color and decorations). Umm I... I... I don’t really remember. Uh... I... um think it may have maybe some pink stuff somewhere. It's right across from my dad’s room. I... um... (She starts to back away from the window, towards MIRA’s bedroom). I’m sorry. Do I have to talk about this? I don’t really want to... if that’s okay? I'm sorry I just, you already know what happened. Why do I have to tell you? Oh... I'm... sorry... I just... um... I... um... uh... (The transformation takes over, and she is behind the windows of MIRA’s bedroom).


KATE (a British teenager)

(She comes in through the window trying to stay silent. Once in, she browses through her books and picks one to read while sitting on the floor facing the door. Her back is against the bed. After a few seconds, she hears footsteps and quickly gets into her bed. There is a sound of a door opening then closing then KATE sits up, sighs, and turns on the tv. The volume is loud, and she quickly turns it off).

Oh no no no no, bloody h- (There is a sound of a door opening.) Oh I’m so sorry, dad. I didn’t mean to wake you. It was an accident. I must have rolled over onto the remote. I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry! (there is a sound of a door closing). I said I was sorry. It was an accident. There’s no need to um… please (The transformation takes over).


VIRGIL (a boy)

(He is standing in MIRA’s room pacing back and forth, kicking loose toys and clothes).

 They can say all they want. Nothing is going to change my mind. I’m leaving. I can’t take him anymore. No one does that to me. Not in my own bedroom, my own bed. That’s not how it’s suppose to go. Sons shouldn’t have the want to ring their fathers neck but stop right before he passes out so he can see the hammer coming towards his helpless face. I’m going to do it. I’m going to kill him.

(He searches around the room for a weapon but becomes frustrated because he can’t use his hands).

 UGHH Get this preposterous jacket off of me!

(As he struggles to get out of the jacket, he moves back towards center stage).

I don’t need it. It doesn’t work. Your medicine is useless, not to mention your ludicrous therapy. That does nothing. You do nothing. She does nothing! She doesn’t do anything! She didn’t do anything! Ever. All she did was die.

(The transformation takes over but is flipping faster and faster between each personality. Throughout the characters' break downs, the curtains slowly close around the actor, and the lights slowly fade into a single spotlight).


ANNIE (a teenage girl)

I really don’t want to talk about it anymore. You already know so-


GALE (a woman)

I thought you were over this. Please don’t. You’re better than this.


MIRA (a young girl)

I’ll go back to bed. I’m sorry, daddy!


KATE (a British teenage girl)

I’m sorry I didn’t mean to! It was an accident! I promise!


VIRGIL (a boy)

You did nothing mom! Nothing!!


MIRA (a young girl)

MOMMY! Mommy help!!


KATE (a British teenager)

I’m sorry daddy! LISTEN to me!! I’m sorry, please!


ANNIE (a teenager)

I... I... I told you. I (she gets louder and angry) I don’t want to talk about it!

(She falls to the floor, out of breath and crying. The curtains should be around her and the single spotlight on. The crying turns to a soft laughter. She slowly looks up and around. She is able to uncross her arms from the jacket and becomes excited.)


LUCY (the original personality)

(She slowly stands up and begins shouting and jumping around)

I’m free! I’m free! I’m out, I’m out! Oh my gosh! (she notices the glass) Hey! Hey, it's me. It worked, it's me! Where… where are you going? No don’t leave. Wait. Wait!! It’s me!!

(She starts to run to the edge of the stage, but the front curtain closes right before she gets to it).


The End

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This book has 8 comments.

CoachC said...
on Feb. 24 2019 at 7:44 pm
CoachC, Lubbock, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Go Cooper!

Justresa1 said...
on Feb. 24 2019 at 6:03 pm
Justresa1, Wolfforth, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Great script and performance!!!! So proud of Cooper!!!❤️

on Feb. 21 2019 at 8:45 am
Therickmitchell, Shallowater, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Wow! Incredible script and performance.

Mom212 said...
on Feb. 19 2019 at 11:20 am
Mom212, Lubbock, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Outstanding job

sbatson said...
on Feb. 18 2019 at 5:30 pm
sbatson, Shallowater, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Fantastic play, very well written and the performance was breath taking (literally chills)!! Also, a wonderful tool to get people to break down walls and talk openly about mental illness!

Anghami82 said...
on Feb. 18 2019 at 5:27 pm
Anghami82, Lubbock, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
An amazing story that grabs you from the beginning!! The play was wonderful to watch!

on Feb. 18 2019 at 11:45 am
toriajmitchell, Shallowater, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Love this play and the one woman performance of it is amazing!

Taystanford said...
on Feb. 18 2019 at 11:33 am
Taystanford, Lubbock, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment