Sara is wisecracking, single, broke, and secular. Neshama is serious, married, infertile, and Orthodox. When fate, God, and Sara's Episcopalian roommate bring these two Jewish women together, each must question what really matters, what they really want, and what they're willing to do to get it. As Sara considers donating her eggs and Neshama ponders accepting them, both women find themselves unexpectedly scrambled.
Winner of the 2012 Charles M. Getchell New Play Award.
At the top of the play, we see Nashama Gottlieb, who is telling a story from the Jewish bible, the Tanakh, or the Old Testament, in a sort of ‘limbo,’ (so set, just a spot on the actress). The story is from the first book of Samuel, and is about the plight of Hannah. Hannah cannot have children and she prays to God to send her help. Eventually God delivers to her a baby boy. She names the boy Samuel, meaning “I prayed for him and I was heard.”
The action begins in the apartment of Sara Reuben and Margie Snyder. The girls are old friends and have been roommates for a long time. Sara is culturally Jewish, and Margie is a lapsed Episcopalian. We learn that Margie is having a very stressful time at work. She is a lawyer and she has been working hard so that she might make partner of the firm one day. Sara, on the other hand, has been out of work for two months now. She spent her day polishing up her resume and is drinking wine when Margie comes home. The two of them drink together and begin to talk about their days.
Margie lays into Sara a little about getting a job. Sara says she doesn’t like that ‘game.’ The two decide to play truth or dare instead. Sara dares Margie to put her bra on over her shirt. She does it and Sara takes a photo on her phone, joking that she will put it on Facebook.
Margie has a ring on her finger and is trying to get her best friend to notice it. After a while she gives up and just tells Sara that she is engaged. Her boyfriend, John, popped the question the night before. The girls agree to spend the evening talking about wedding plans, and go out to dinner together.
Margie remembers something she clipped out of her alumni magazine to give to Sara. It is an advertisement: a wealthy Jewish couple is looking for a smart, healthy, Jewish woman 28 or younger to donate her eggs. They say that they will give fifty thousand dollars in return. Margie knew that Sara was thinking of going back to graduate school and thought it might be a great way for her to earn money, and think about what she wants to do with her life. Sara is really taken aback, and asks not to talk about it anymore. Just as the girls are about to go out to dinner, Margie gets a phone call. John is calling to tell her that he cooked dinner for her. She gives Sara a rain check and exits.
The action picks back up again the next weekend in the kitchen of the Reuben home. Sara’s mother, Janice, and her grandmother, “Bubbe,” are talking. Bubbe is nagging Janice about whether or not the food she is cooking is kosher. Janice assures her that it is. Then, Sara enters and is greeted warmly. It is Sara’s birthday and her mom has been cooking for her.
Bubbe presses in on Sara for not having a job or a boyfriend after Sara mentions that Margie is getting married. When Bubbe is out of the room, Janice reveals how hard it has been since she moved in with her and Sara’s dad. Sara attempts to tell her mom that she is considering donating her eggs, but can’t. She decides to stay the night so that she can see her father, who is working late.
The next day, back at their apartment, Margie is looking through a huge stack of bridal magazines when Sara enters with leftovers. Margie has gotten donuts for the two of them while they search through the magazines for the right dress, cake, etc. As the girls go through the magazines Margie encourages Sara to consider donating once again. Sara thinks that it is risky and isn’t sure. Margie pledges her faith in modern medicine.
There is a short moment in “Limbo,” where we see Neshama looking at a pregnancy test; it is clear that it is negative.
Three months later we see Neshama sitting in a coffee shop as Sara enters to meet her. This is the first time the two of them have met. Sara has gone through the application process for giving her eggs to Neshama. Sara is a little taken aback by how orthodox Neshama is. Neshama, similarly, is uneasy with Sara’s more liberal views of Judaism. After Sara reveals that her mother converted into the faith, things get tense. Neshama questions whether Sara is really Jewish, which causes Sara to get upset and leave.
Sara goes back home to find Margie with cucumber slices on her eyes listening to a meditation CD. Sara explains what happened to her, and Margie convinces her to cucumber-up and meditate with her. As the two begin to relax, Sara gets a phone call from her mother. Her father has had a heart attack and has died.
At the beginning of Act II, we see Janice, Sara, and Bubbe in their kitchen, all wearing black. They have just been at the funeral and are now waiting for guests to arrive and mourn. Margie enters after a bit and offers to get the door when the guests begin arriving. After a bit Nashama Gottlieb enters and gives her condolences to Bubbe. Apparently the two know each other. Sara is really put on her toes, but Nashama leaves.
A week passes and we see Janice sitting alone in her home with a book in her lap. She is not reading. After a while Bubbe enters with some yarn and knitting needles. Bubbe says that it is good that Janice kept a traditional Shiva, a week of specific mourning rituals. Janice defends her choice of religion and tells Bubbe that she converted for herself, not just for her husband. At the end of the scene, both women agree on one thing: something is wrong with Sara.
One month later Margie and Sara are in their apartment, surrounded by boxes. They are preparing to move. Margie’s fiancé will be coming soon with a moving truck. Sara is going to move in with her mother and grandmother until she goes to school. She finally decided that she wants to be a teacher and is going to graduate school. The two order Chinese food for lunch. Margie goes down to help her fiancé park, and Janice enters. Janice and Sara talk as she helps with the last of Sara’s packing. When Sara begins to carry a load down, she asks her mother to get her keys out of her purse so that they don’t get locked out. Now alone, her mother gets the keys but also finds the advertisement for the egg donor. She shakes her head in disapproval but says nothing about it to her daughter.
Later that week, Sara meets Nashama again in the coffee shop. Nashama e-mailed her again and wanted to meet. She tells Sara that she has changed her mind and would consider Sara as her donor. She does request that Sara go into the mikveh before. She insists it is an important ritual at any time a woman’s life is changing in an important way. Sara is still unsure but tells Nashama that she will think about it and e-mail her. Nashama exits and Sara is alone.
In a spotlight signifying "Limbo," Sara has a contemplative moment. At the close of the play, Sara delivers a monologue about fate and new beginnings— which we realize might be about her and Neshama, but is also her maid of honor speech for Margie's wedding, leaving questions unanswered but full of hope.
Scrambled is funny, poignant, and relevant to anyone who has ever wondered what they're supposed to be doing with their life. The characters feel familiar, and yet the story feels fresh—a powerful combination.
–Denise Halbach, SETC
Sara Reuben – F, 28. A currently-underachieving over-achiever; witty, broke, culturally Jewish, questioning everything.
Margie Snyder – F, 28. Sara's roommate: just-engaged, lapsed-Episcopalian, successful lawyer who seems to have it all together.
Janice Reuben – F, 56. Sara's mother, a teacher. Warm, supportive, converted to Judaism. A bit frazzled by her now live-in mother-in-law.
"Bubbe" Ruth Reuben – F, 80s. Sara's grandmother, Janice's mother-in-law, an Old World Bubbe struggling with her loss of independence. She speaks with an Old World, Eastern-European accent— or at the very least, the rhythm of that dialect (i.e. Ruth doesn't say, "Those are nice pillows," she says, "Those pillows, they're nice.")
Neshama Gottlieb – F, 27. A fertility-challenged young Orthodox woman. Religious, determined, educated, and articulate.
Note: There is also a Relaxation CD Voice, which should be pre-recorded. Can be male or female. Must be almost comically Zen.
Setting: An apartment, a coffee shop, and the Reuben home.
Performance Royalties for AMATEUR and EDUCATIONAL Groups begin at $90.00 per performance for theaters under 150 seats, and rise depending on ticket prices and theater particulars. Please fill out an application for your personalized quote.
Performance Royalties for PROFESSIONAL Theaters will be quoted as a box office percentage, with a minimum guarantee based on ticket prices and theater particulars. Please fill out an application for your personalized quote.
An Authorized Materials/Rehearsal Package must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement (see Materials).
Billing responsibilities, pertinent copyright information, and playwrights' biographies are available in the show rider that comes with your license agreement.
“Top 10.” –Jewish Plays Project
"Scrambled is funny, poignant, and relevant to anyone who has ever wondered what they're supposed to be doing with their life. The characters feel familiar, and yet the story feels fresh— a powerful combination." –Denise Halbach, Past President, Southeastern Theatre Conference
An Authorized Materials/Rehearsal Package must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement. Your materials will be sent to you two months prior to your opening date, unless other arrangements have been made in advance with your Stage Rights Licensing Representative.
The Authorized Materials/Rehearsal Package for Scrambled consists of:
13 Production Scripts / $160.00 (shipping included)
Production Scripts for Plays are professionally printed and bound with a full-color cover.
You will have the option to purchase additional Production Scripts at a discounted rate when you complete your Licensing Agreement.
Official Logo Pack Now Included! To help you promote your show, Stage Rights now includes a logo pack with your license. The logo pack includes high resolution versions (both color and black and white) of our show logo. The logo is the portion of the artwork with the title of the show. The surrounding artwork is also available for an additional fee.
Stage Manager’s Script – Printed on standard 8.5” x 11” 3-hole-punched paper, with the same page numbers and text as the Printed Production Scripts, but with more space on the page for notes and cues.