Charlotte runs an influential political blog from her home on Cape Cod. Irene, working for a long-time Senator in the midst of a tough campaign, supplies Charlotte with damaging material about the Senator’s opponent. Megan, an aide to that opponent, arrives with new reports, and these three power-brokers lock horns in a battle of manipulation and political intrigue. As charges escalate and the battle swerves in unexpected directions, these highly intelligent and articulate women serve up blackmail, power plays, and plenty of media spin. In other words, politics as usual!
The scene opens to an oceanfront patio of a Cape Cod home. Its owner, Charlotte, a highly respected political blogger, is on her phone asking a colleague to run a story. As Charlotte speaks, Irene Hopkins, a woman in her fifties, approaches the house.
Irene was once Charlotte’s professor in college. They haven’t spoken to each other in years. The conversation is slow at first, but then it is clear that Irene has a bigger agenda than rekindling past relationships.
Irene has been working for Bob Farrington’s Senatorial campaign as an advisor. She met the candidate when he came to speak at the university. She has come to ask Charlotte to use her media influence as a favor to the candidate. Charlotte spends some time questioning Irene, who is taken back, joking, “Why do I feel like a student?”
Small tensions between the two begin to unravel. While in school, Charlotte was almost expelled for the way she went about completing an assignment in Irene’s local politics class. Eventually this was sorted out, but their relationship has remained tense. After realizing that television and newspapers were restrictive, Charlotte started a very powerful blog with a fellow classmate named Brittany Matthews.
Eventually Irene gets to the root of her request. She reveals that the candidate’s competition, Senator James Hamilton Cullen, is a fraud. A former colleague of Irene’s used to work at the Department of Defense and uncovered depositions from Cullen’s unit when he served in the military. An incident that had made Cullen a war hero has been depicted to the public falsely. In truth, Irene claims, Cullen led his men into danger, giving confusing orders, and saved a man who was shot by members of his own unit. His men were in such disarray that they fired on one another in the cross fire. Irene gives Charlotte some documents to prove that her version of the story checks out.
A few days later, Megan has made her way from the beach to the patio, where Charlotte offers her a towel to clean off her feet. Megan is an associate of the other candidate, Senator Cullen. Megan dropped out of college to join the Marines and afterwards got into politics to continue to serve her country.
Megan has arrived with the intension of squashing the rumors against the Senator. She claims that the military documents that Irene brought are lies. She begins to give Charlotte some alarming information about the soldiers who gave testimonies regarding Cullen. Then, she unveils that she has dirt on Bob Farrington. Farrington has been meeting with a lot of big time lobbyists, some of which are rumored to be crooked. Charlotte is not content with rumors and asks Megan for proof. Megan adds that Farrington might be seeing several women outside of his marriage, including Irene. She gives Charlotte a choice; if she forgets about Cullen’s military career, they will forget about Irene Hopkins.
At the top of the next scene, Megan and Irene are sitting on the patio; Charlotte is nowhere to be found. Charlotte has asked both women to meet her at the same time. Though the two know exactly who the other is, they make small talk. They eventually exchange some blows about each other’s candidate. Megan begins to ask Irene what Charlotte was like as a student.
Irene reveals to Megan that Brittany Matthews is Charlotte’s partner in creating the blog. Irene mentions that Matthews is not her real last name, it was her mother’s name and her father was absent most of the girl’s life. Megan contacts a source to do some research and finds out that Brittany’s real name is Grezandiwinsky, but her grandfather changed the name to Grandis, a name famous for its wealth.
Charlotte enters and interrupts the two, revealing that she invited them both to “thrash things out.” Both Irene and Megan reveal what they have on the other’s candidate, including that Megan is aware of Irene’s intimate relationship with Farrington.
Irene cuts deep and reveals that Senator Cullen’s wife has been having affairs with young women, and one of them is Megan.
After Irene and Megan realize that Charlotte now has the undeniable upper hand, they team up and go on the attack. They reveal that the government has been after Brittany’s grandfather on cases of racketeering, extortion, prostitution, drug dealing, and murder. The two accuse Charlotte of using the crime family for her sources, and its money to run the blog. A Mexican standoff is suddenly apparent, and the two decide to leave Charlotte with the choice to print or to ignore the stories that have surfaced, threatening to out her blog’s criminal ties. The two agree to leave each other’s names out of, what is bound to be, a cutthroat campaign.
A tight drama, cleverly constructed!
–New York Theatre Wire
Charlotte – Approximately 40, she writes an influential political blog. Bright and determined, she spends her life uncovering, then publishing facts. She takes pride in her integrity and devotion to truth, unbiased by political affiliation. She is energetic and articulate, yet offers both humor and charm.
Irene – Approximately 50, she is a successful professor, a charismatic classroom performer who has temporarily abandoned academia for the real world of electoral politics. She is intelligent, but, unlike the stereotypical academic, stylish and sophisticated. She is reserved, but her involvement in the campaign has toughened her, and her liberal passions inspire her to fight for her cause.
Megan – Approximately 32, she is a former Marine who now holds a senior position on the campaign staff of a conservative Senator. She is all business, and has no tolerance for hypocrisy or foolishness. She is also perceptive and dedicated, but not without a sense of humor. She has always had to fight to establish herself, and now she relishes each new battle. Whatever her actual physical size, she exudes authority and strength.
Setting: The oceanfront patio of Charlotte’s beach house on Cape Cod. The sitting area, elevated and shaded by an awning, features stylish furniture and a bar. A screen door leads inside the house. UPSTAGE and DOWNSTAGE, as well as STAGE LEFT and STAGE RIGHT, are the beach.
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“A brilliant piece of writing … I was mesmerized … a powerful experience.” –BlogTalkRadio.com
“Dally With The Devil by Victor L. Cahn is politically and theatrically right on target.” –T2conline.com
“The writing bites, and the counterpoints are so interesting that I was engaged from start to finish. And it has a good theatrical twist near the end. How sleazy is the business of politics? See this enjoyable play, and you’ll get a clue.” –Richmond Shepard, Performing Arts Insider
“Cahn has created three highly intelligent and articulate women … a fun evening of contemporary political blackmail.” –Show Business
“A sharp new play … Even the most astute audience members will be taken by surprise with the dramatic manipulations that ensue in the tense Third Act … These characters also remind us that women not only can play the political game as well as men, but that they can – for better or worse – make and break the rules with equal zeal.” –Jedcentral.blogspot.com
“These are three modern archetypes of smart, assertive women … an arsenal of punchy one-liners … fans of political dramas will find it riveting.” –Theasy.com
“A tight drama of three power-brokers locking horns … I like how well these lobbyists did their homework and use their knowledge as power wedges … cleverly structured and contributes a new timely subject to Off-Broadway.” –Glenda Frank, New York Theatre Wire
“Imbued with taut one-liners and biting sarcasm … a unique window into the backstage drama of media-hyped politics. Kudos to Victor L. Cahn.” –Robertaonthearts.com
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The production materials for Dally With The Devil include:
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