Home | About | Accolades | Contact

  The Plays:

Sorting Trash. Play by Dan Gordon

Sorting Trash

Type: Comedic Farce in two acts
Cast Requirements: 7 characters (4 females 3 males)

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


Everyone is chasing something: love, money – warlocks. Sorting Trash is a comedic farce about a family chasing all three. Emily Barcus, a plain looking, hard working, socially deficient young woman, shares her home with her mother, Judy, who she struggles to care for. You’d struggle too if your mother wore a nun's habit, sprayed everyone with holy water, and stored her trash in the basement; all for the cause of fending off an imaginary warlock. Emily’s only support comes from her neighbor and best friend, Crystal. Although her social status is white trash and her personality less than delicate, Crystal’s heart is gold; slightly tarnished gold, but gold just the same. But as a single mother Crystal has her own problems. Her daughter Shannon is behaving like the teenager she is and Crystal has imposed harsh labor as punishment. Then there’s Emily’s brother, Ryan. A petty crook with a petty brain, Ryan has just been released from jail and he’s moving back home, bringing both trouble and hope with him. He’s bringing trouble in the form of Joey Almanac. A more unorganized than organized crime boss, Joey launders money through many enterprises including the pizza joint where Ryan now works. Ryan’s also bringing hope in the form of Mark Lorenz, his parole officer. Mark too is socially deficient and has real potential as a match for Emily.

Act one begins as Crystal and Shannon are trying to sneak bags of trash out of the basement past Judy. Ryan arrives home from jail unexpectedly, and unnoticed. As Judy, Crystal, Shannon, and Ryan enter and exit the room - hiding from, and unseen by, each other - Emily returns home from work. Ryan is shortly discovered, but before Judy can get him to sort his first bag of trash Mark arrives and a romantic chemistry between he and Emily is quickly established.

Act one scene two takes place one week later with the arrival of Joey. It seems that Ryan has been trading coupons for cash down at Joey’s Pizza. Now, in order to protect his limbs from serious damage, Ryan has twenty-four hours to pay Joey back, with interest. In the mean time Mark has invited Emily to dinner, but she’s keeping her date a secret from everyone except Crystal. Emily doesn’t want Ryan to know she’s dating someone who can force him to pee in a cup.

Act two begins the next night. Mark and Emily are out on their date. Ryan has raced in the door with Joey just a few minutes behind. Judy thinks it’s the warlock who’s chasing Ryan and she prepares for the worst. Ryan ducks into the basement as Crystal arrives, looking for Emily. Before Crystal can get the scoop from Judy, Joey shows up. Right after Judy sprays Joey in the face with water he pulls his gun, locks Judy and Crystal in the closet, and begins to search the house for Ryan. Moments later Mark and Emily arrive home. A fast paced scene of entrances and exits follows. Eventually Mark catches Joey, quite by accident, and both Joey and Ryan are arrested.

Act two scene two takes place a week later. Crystal and Shannon are working to clear trash from the basement when they find Emily depressed and moping around the house. We discover that Emily and Mark have not spoken since the night Joey and Ryan were arrested; in true grade school fashion neither thinks the other likes them. We soon learn that Crystal has set up a scheme to get Emily and Mark back together, but her scheme is in jeopardy as Ryan has been unexpectedly released from jail. Now Crystal has to catch him before he gets to the house. As Mark and Emily stumble through reconciliation, and Crystal binds, gags, and stuffs Ryan behind the couch, Judy chases Shannon through the house trying to spray her with holy water.

Love will triumph, evil will fail, and in the end we’ll find that imaginary warlocks are like imaginary problems. They’ll follow you everywhere but they’ll never catch you. So don’t sweat em’.

Set Requirements:
Single Set: living room
Time: Present

Cast of Characters:

Judy Barcus:

A sixty year old woman suffering from schizophrenia.

Emily Barcus:

Thirty something single woman who lives with and cares for her mother, Judy.

Ryan Barcus:

A not too smart petty crook, son of Judy and brother to Emily.


Thirty something friend and neighbor of Emily.

Mark Lorenz:

Thirty to forty year old parole officer and eventual love interest of Emily.

Joey Almanac:

Forty to fifty year old career criminal and member of organized crime.


Sixteen year old daughter of Crystal.

Special thanks to Hali Linn for the custom artwork created for each play!