This is the third play in the FRIED MEAT series!
Stakes are high when a surprise fire inspection threatens to shut down the motel our hillbilly heroes call home. With Mitchell’s pregnant girlfriend’s arrival and the impending inspection, it seems the Fried Meat gang may go their separate ways. When a mysterious man shows up thinking JD may be just the opportunity he was looking for, JD has the chance to save the motel and keep his makeshift family together— but it will all come down to a game of beer pong.
The play opens with Mitchell helping Marlene prepare for an interview at The Sub Shack. She’s behind on the rent and desperately needs a job or Flip might kick her out. JD enters and convinces Mitchell that the best way to help her is to employ a bad cop/bad cop strategy for the practice interview. Fed up and frustrated, Marlene leaves when Flip enters and applies more pressure.
JD is then visited by two women, Abigail and Blue, who are devotees of a man named Dr. Jörgen. They think they saw JD performing a miracle earlier and want him to meet their leader. Flip re-enters and blows them out the door with a leaf blower. He chides JD for entertaining these women, explaining that they are part of a cult. Flip then reveals that there will be a fire code inspection later that week and that the motel will be closed down unless he can come up with $5000 to bribe the fire marshal. JD tells Flip that he will figure out a way to save their home.
Later, Marlene visits Mitchell to thank him for helping her with her job interview. She presents him with a jar of pills as a present, explaining that he’s been a good influence on her and she’s trying to stay clean. Their romantic chemistry is palpable. Just as things start to develop, JD interrupts, telling Mitchell that he has a visitor. It is Bridget, Mitchell’s pregnant ex-fiancé, who’s spurning of him landed him at the motel. A bruised heart sends Marlene out the door, followed by JD. Bridget explains that she is to marry the dentist for whom she left Mitchell, but she is convinced the marriage won’t last. She wants Mitchell to move back to Maine and raise his rival’s baby with her. He needs some time to think. She says she will be back later tonight for his answer.
In the next scene, Marlene visits JD, wearing a voluminous quinceañera dress for her job interview. She is upset about how things were left with Mitchell. After Flip stops by and applies the thumb screws in a mocking way, Mitchell returns. When he and Marlene are left alone, he tells her how fantastic she is. But, he explains the situation with Bridget and his conflicting sense of duty. She resists the urge to punch him in the privates and leaves in a rage with a broken heart. Mitchell decides to run away from the situation. When JD enters, he convinces Mitchell to stay using lyrics from “Life Is A Highway” as a kind of cock-eyed metaphor.
When Mitchell goes off to think over his dilemma, Abigail and Blue return with Dr. Jörgen. He is a devilishly charming man with a Swedish accent. He tells JD he has been looking for him for some time. Now that he has found him, he wants JD’s soul. He suggests that they compete in a contest of skill. JD, at first, refuses, but when Jörgen offers JD anything he desires should he be victorious, JD sees this as an opportunity to save the motel and Marlene.
At the rise of the following scene, we find JD practicing every skill he can think of to prepare for the contest. He doesn’t know what the contest involves, so his preparations involve “carpentry, arts and crafts, athleticisms and dancin’.” Bridget returns for Mitchell’s answer. JD invites her in to wait for Mitchell. She becomes freaked out by JD’s bizarre behavior and locks herself in the bathroom. Marlene hears the commotion and rushes in. She convinces Bridget that JD is harmless. Flustered by the drama, JD lets it slip that Mitchell is off thinking about his decision regarding the two women. The scene turns tense.
JD leaves to let the ladies sort things out. Marlene offers clear-headed perspective on Bridget’s relationship with the dentist. Bridget sees she has been foolish and can’t believe she may be jilting Mitchell a second time. She asks hopefully about Marlene’s relationship with Mitchell, but Marlene sees it as hopeless. Mitchell returns, ready to reveal his decision. Marlene wants him to talk to Bridget alone, but Mitchell wants them both there. Marlene stubbornly refuses and the scene turns into a free-for-all as Mitchell tries to keep her in the room. His decision is revealed when in the midst of the fracas, he kisses Marlene passionately. Although Bridget is relieved, she feigns heartbreak and wishes Mitchell the best as she leaves.
As soon as the new lovers are left alone, Dr. Jörgen appears with his two disciples. Flip enters to check on the scene just before JD appears. JD explains to his friends that he will battle Jörgen in an attempt to save the motel and Marlene. In a dramatic speech, Jörgen reveals that the contest shall be beer pong, but with some vague rule changes to the standard game. Just as the competition begins, Jörgen opens his coat to reveal that he is armed with several ping pong ball blasters. He quickly starts leading in score. All seems lost until JD uses divine intervention to win the game. The devil is defeated, the Mohigan Arms is saved, and the lovers are set off on their newfound romance.
Playwright Keith Stevenson has a way with words and a cockeyed view of the world.
–Stage & Cinema
JD – 25-40. Long-haired, bearded bumpkin. He is kind, has an enthusiasm for life, and a genuine love for his fellow man. He is at times dim, but at the same time incredibly wise. (JD’s age is not as important as the tenderness of his heart.)
Mitchell – 25-35. A straight man type. Originally from Maine, he moved to West Virginia with his girlfriend for a job. He has been rooming with JD for eight months now and they have become confidants. Any initial unease with JD has been replaced by trust. He has also developed an affection for Marlene.
Marlene – 25-35. JD’s next door neighbor. She slipped into a bit of a pill habit after the events of A Fried Meat Christmas, but she’s straightening herself again. The temper is still there, but she has gained some self-awareness and emotional intelligence.
Flip – 65-80. The owner of the Mohigan Arms. Flip is the same as ever. He holds a black belt in folksy racism. Crotchety, grouchy, and suspicious of most, especially strangers. But every once in a while you might catch him revealing a soft spot for JD. (See casting note below.)
Bridget – 25-35 (must play close in age to Mitchell). Mitchell’s ex-fiancé. She is an attractive and usually pragmatic woman. But her distrust of her now-fiancé, John Fanti, has sent her into an emotional tailspin.
Dr. Jörgen – 40-65. A stylish and charismatic man with a Swedish accent. He is the enigmatic leader of a small cult, whose charm disguises a darker agenda. He’s… OK, fine, he’s the Devil.
Abigail – Any adult age. She is Dr. Jörgen’s top disciple and de facto executive assistant. She has magnetism that could draw a man in to trouble.
Blue – Any adult age. She occupies the lower rung of Jörgen’s hierarchy. She’s not bright, but she’s eager.
Casting Note: Role of Flip can be cast Female; change name to Bunny.
Setting: JD’s and Mitchell’s shabby room at The Mohigan Arms, a motel in the backwoods of Mineral County, West Virginia.
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“Playwright Keith Stevenson has a way with words and a cockeyed view of the world.” –Stage & Cinema
"Hysterically funny tableaux.” –Stage and Cinema
"The cast is pure gold.” –Will Call
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The production materials for The Unfryable Meatness of Being include:
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Director's Script – Single-sided script with space for director’s notes.