The Plays:

Smoke Damage

A comedy in two acts

Sample of Dialogue (PDF) | Cast of Characters | Set Requirements


It’s a challenge for an adult daughter to care for her mother, when she doesn’t much care for her mother. Smoke Damage is one woman’s experience in dealing with her brash mother.

Valarie Foray has lost her house and car in a fire, and is moving in with her daughter, Kristen Reece. When we first meet Kristen she’s at home juggling her job as a wedding planner with cleaning her grown daughter’s old bedroom, making room for Valerie. Helping Kristen is her sister, Heather. Married to a deadbeat, Heather struggles to keep her life together. She looks up to Kristen and counts on her for support. Then we meet Kristen’s husband, Wade. Wade understands the potential misery his mother-in-law will inflict on his life, but knows how important helping her is to Kristen. Valarie soon arrives with few belongings and a bitter attitude. From early in life Valarie’s feelings have never been given much consideration and in turn she gives little consideration to the feelings of others. Accompanying Valarie is her son, Dean. Dean has little patience with Valarie and seems to carry a chip on his shoulder where she is concerned. Finally, we meet Michael Dewar. Since his wife died Michael has been escaping loneliness by burying himself in work and local politics.

Act one begins in the early evening. Kristen is working from home while Heather boxes things up to make room for Valarie. Unaware that his mother-in-law is moving in, Wade arrives from work, and before he can recover from the news, Valarie and Dean arrive. It is apparent that Valarie expects to have things her way, creating instant tension. Later in evening, after Valarie has gone to bed, Michael arrives with an offer for Wade to run for city council.

Act one scene two takes place a week later. Wade, Kristen and Heather are working to surprise Valarie with a new bed, but when Valarie returns she rejects it and wants the old bed back. Before the beds can be switched back Wade reports chest pains and everyone, except Valarie, head to the hospital. Moments later Michael arrives for a meeting with Wade, but instead helps Valarie with a bed swap.

Act two begins the next morning. Valarie and Michael work to conceal a night of passion as Wade and Kristen return from the hospital where Wade was treated for indigestion. With her workload increasing and Wade’s pending political campaign, Kristen turns to Heather and Dean for help with Valarie, only to find excuses. It gets worse when Kristen discovers that Valarie has ruined the wedding of the governor’s daughter.

Act two scene two opens the next evening. Kristen has salvaged the wedding and now waits for Valarie to return so she can lay down new house rules. As Kristen waits, Heather arrives in tears; she has left her husband and needs a place to stay. Before Kristen can approach Wade about letting Heather stay, Michael and Valarie arrive to announce they’ve eloped and Valarie is moving out. Now Heather is moving in with the newlyweds, and Kristen realizes, just because she loves her mother, doesn’t mean she has to like her.

Set Requirements:

Single Set: Condo living room
Time: Present

Cast of Characters:

Kristen Reece:

Female wedding planner, mid-forties

Wade Reece:

Kristen’s husband, mid-forties.

Valarie Foray:

Brash mother of Kristen, Heather, and Dean, mid-sixties.

Michael Dewar:

City councilman, mid-Sixties.

Heather Young:

Sister of Kristen and Dean, late thirties.

Dean Marshall:

Brother of Heather and Kristen, early forties.

Melody Winslow:

Distraught bride to be, early twenties.