Collections of a Working Mind

Written in 2012, this work was first produced in Washington, DC, in 2015, as part of the African Continuum Theatre Company’s Festival of 10 minute plays, *A blaze of Horns: African American Voices in Briefs.


*Directed by KenYatta Rogers


A picture containing indoor, sitting, table, train

Description automatically generated

 SYNOPSIS:  ..a boisterous clutch of characters are the Companions and Guardians of a child; through each of them, memory of past deploys imagination, as a tool of protection,that both shields and mirrors the seeping deeper truths of tragedy.. 



LOCATION: -a police holding room? -a psychiatrist’s office? -it is, in any event, the space of a small room; in which is a small ‘toy chest’ in a corner; a small play table, and 2 ‘children’s chairs’.

There is a large box on the table; inside it is a jigsaw puzzle of hundreds of pieces.




BOY – 8 years old



UNCLE ED - adult

CLOWN - adult




MISS LOLLIPOP: (offstage, right) here..


[BOY looks into the room, right, as if from a doorway; he steps back, out of view.]


MISS LOLLIPOP: -In there. -yes. –Go.


[In a “clutch”, SCIENTIST (in a white doctor’s coat), UNCLE ED (who carries a hidden hip flask), MISS LOLLIPOP (in a crossing guard’s uniform), and CLOWN, look into the room.

They enter, moving in a tight ‘ball’ of motion, making their way to the center of the room.]




[They stop; each takes in a different area of the space; ultimately, MISS LOLLIPOP, CLOWN and UNCLE ED turn to look in the same direction as SCIENTIST, who moves the ‘ball’ of them, closer to the little table.]


SCIENTIST: A box! -..On a table. -Which reads..


MISS LOLLIPOP: (straining to read) -..”jigsaw.. puzzle”. 


SCIENTIST: Credible –is it credible!? 




SCIENTIST: ..-do we “believe” that?


[BOY comes in; stands, silent, at the ‘edge’ of the room, right; he does not interact with anyone, or anything..

CLOWN disentangles himself from the group - as SCIENTIST, MISS LOLLIPOP and UNCLE ED, fold their arms, and turn their backs on the table.


CLOWN is now standing near BOY.]


CLOWN: -You should. -..You should.


[BOY moves to the table, and stands looking at the jigsaw puzzle box.


CLOWN: ..Go on.. Go on… -Dump the box. Play with the dinky little things. Hey. You don’t like the game –chew the bits –spit ‘em on the floor –and let’s finger paint!


MISS LOLLIPOP: (turning back; delighted) Ou! 


CLOWN: The walls!


SCIENTIST: (turning back) A fresco!


CLOWN: Nice, big, grinning, Me!


 [CLOWN grins; but it appears as a scary ‘grimace’]


MISS LOLLIPOP:’re creeping me out.


CLOWN: I’m a clown.


SCIENTIST: (turning back) Technically, you’re meant to be “funny”.


CLOWN: Yeah? One word: Steven King.



[UNCLE ED is uneasy; BOY is motionless over the heaped jigsaw pieces.


MISS LOLLIPOP quickly begins dancing, very badly – it is a collection of motions which indicate that the BOY should ‘sit’.


BOY turns back slowly; sits.


SCIENTIST makes motion of ‘holding up the box’; 

BOY holds up the box lid.

MISS LOLLIPOP looks over BOY’S shoulder.]


MISS LOLLIPOP: -..ok. ..-ok. 


CLOWN: -no rules.


MISS LOLLIPOP: (in a “stage whisper”): from the outside. 


CLOWN: No rules. (looks at UNCLE ED)..-It’s a game.


[UNCLE ED takes out a hip flask, and has a nip.]


UNCLE ED: ..-sure. 


MISS LOLLIPOP: ..a game..


CLOWN: Sure.


SCIENTIST: The game.


UNCLE ED: me a headache. (another nip) ..head aches. (another nip) -games are.. 


CLOWN: -complicated things. 


SCIENTIST: Complex arrangements. 


UNCLE ED: (another nip) ..take too much time. And too much thought. 


[MISS LOLLIPOP breaks into a “German, lederhosen dance” -as UNCLE ED gathers momentum- a series of motions in which she variously twirls, slaps her heels, elbows, thighs- and] 


UNCLE ED: And too much making sure no one’s watching or following or wondering or waiting, while you’re somewhere else, doing something you’re not supposed to enjoy ‘cause it’s hurting someone else who isn’t playing with the pieces like you are, but wondering, like you aren’t, about where the hell-


[–then slaps UNCLE ED silent!]


SCIENTIST: -This one. (motions to move a jigsaw piece)