Crap (alternate title: "Second Bananas")
by Alan David Perkins
Copyright © 1998


Full-length, three-act comedy.


Randall Gardner is about to begin his first day, and maybe his last day, as the assistant director on a new Broadway show. Little does he know that the show is perhaps the worst thing to ever grace a stage, and he is just the next in a long line of assistant directors. The actors are so desperate for the show to close before it opens that they've taken to sabotage. Meanwhile the stagehands can't get anything to work, the director makes no sense whatsoever and the leading man is making barnyard noises. But is it enough to close the show?


Click here for an excerpt (first act) in PDF format.

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Click here for Production History.


ABNER CLARK - Actor. Male, mid 30's. Abner is a very gifted and highly-trained character actor.  Unfortunately, he has learned that it takes more to make it on Broadway.  Therefore, he has reinvented himself and has learned to act off-stage as carefully as he acts on-stage.  Now, off-stage he's a dimwitted bumpkin, which now gives him attention since his on-stage performance is such a contrast.

LEONARD SEDGWICK - Assistant Associate Producer. Male, mid-30's. Obsequious and manic. Leonard wields very little power, but that's enough to make him feel above everyone else.  He's not a bad person, and he's definitely on the right side.  But he is a bit of a weasel and does tend to look out for himself more than others.

CARLA MAXWELL - Actress. Female, mid-30's to mid-40's. Bitter, loud, sharp and clever. Carla has struggled along for a long time to get a role of any substance.  Having paid her dues in tiny roles and doing stand-up, she scored her big break ... doing a tampon commercial, something she'll NEVER be able to live down. Still, she's cunning, conniving and very much the ring-leader.

RANDALL GARDNER - Assistant Director. Male, late-20's. Randall is a bit overwhelmed by this golden opportunity to AD a Broadway show. His most saving grace is his heart and patience.  He knows that someone of his youth and lack of experience would never be able to advance so quickly, and when he finds out WHY he has advanced so quickly, he now has to face the stakes involved.

REX ROGERS - Leading Man. Mid- to late-40's. Arrogant, pretentious, clueless soap star. Errol Flynn wannabe. Rex has gotten very far with his good looks and suave personality.  Talent and acting ability have never been necessary.  He speaks and acts with effected mannerisms because he genuinely believes he's wonderful in every way.  Rex isn't a bad person - he's actually very kind and treats the people around him well ... each time he meets them, as he can barely remember them from moment to moment.

LAINE MENCKEN - Ingénue-in-training. Female, late-20's. Naive, sweet. Laine is trying to have as much fun with her big break, but follows her heart too much.  She undoubtedly lucked her way into the role, as her acting abilities are marginal.  But she fits the role enough to be part of the cast.  It's also her lack of experience that prevents her from seeing the disaster in front of her.

KEN PRITCHETT - Actor. Male, mid- to late-40's. The old pro. Ken worked his way up slowly as second, third and fourth banana and has well paid his dues for this position.  He has been in more Broadway shows than the entire cast combined, though he's only had about a dozen lines ... combined.  Directors and Producers everywhere love to work with Kenny because he's good-looking, flexible, punctual, learns his line(s) quickly, hits his mark each time and gives no trouble.  Unfortunately, this has locked him into being the perennial third and fourth banana as he gives Directors and Producers nothing to worry about.  Earl Grey and Mozart have helped him feel at home in every dressing room in town.

JOEY BAGGIO - Union Representative. Male, late-30's to late-40's. Mafia thug-type. Joey is well-cultured and well-read for someone who'd just as easily break your thumbs as say "hello."  But it's strictly business.  Granted, he would normally have someone "under" him do such mundane tasks as picking up contracts and checking on union members, but Joey loves the theatre.

IL PAPA - Director. Male, 60's or older. Bigger than life, flamboyant, incoherent Italian director. Il Papa lost his marbles decades ago. Having directed old Hollywood movie musicals, he's trusted with a Broadway show for the first time despite the fact that nobody quite knows what he's saying at any given time.

LYDIA RUBINO - Production Assistant. Female, mid-30's. Frenetic, sarcastic, overly efficient and totally burned-out. Don't mess with Lydia. Ever.  Lydia has run bigger and shows and could run this one in her sleep if she were allowed to.  She could also do many other people's jobs, including Leonard's.   She's paying her dues and knows it, though this time it's gone too far.  Why don't they just let her call the shots?

SIDNEY COHEN - Rex's Agent. Male, 50's or older. Jewish borsch-belt type. Kindly but no-nonsense. He's one of the biggest in the biz.  He says if you make it in this business or if you don't.  Next to William Morris, he is The Man as far as artist's representation.


100 - 125 minutes.


The play takes place in the Green Room of a large Broadway theater.

The play is present day and in three acts. Act 2 takes place the afternoon after the first act, and the third act takes place the next morning.


Parkside Players' production of "Crap."
L-R:  (Back) Ray Bonétt, Shana Aborn, Nick DeCesare. 
(Front) Vera D'Elisa, John C. Snyder.
This thing sucks! I mean it
      really sucks!!!
This play is a landmark for me. It's been almost three years in the making, but that's mainly due to having to juggle so many life changes that I was concerned that I'd never write again. I struggled through the first two acts over the course of almost three years when all of a sudden my brain freed itself up and I was able to tie it together quickly and neatly. It also marks my first three-act play. Okay, so each act isn't terribly long and therefore, if you REALLY want to, you can perform them without intermissions (a popular practice these days), but rhythmically it's in three equal parts.

I've been mulling over this play for a long time, as well as the subtext. I mean, what do you do if, through no fault of your own, you've invested yourself into a losing venture? What do you do if you can't win, and it's not your fault? I really didn't want write a backstage comedy, but I couldn't come up with a different scenario and still maintain the stakes.

A piece of this play is actually based on the adventures of a friend of mine (who will remain nameless). He was one of a seemingly endless string of assistant directors on a Broadway show that was quite a mess. I don't want to get into what the problems were, but there were many (a few of them I reflect in the play). He was eventually fired. I understand at opening night about a quarter of the audience were people who were fired from the show. Needless to say, it closed within a week.


The entire script of Crap is available upon request from the playwright. No production of this play can take place without permission from the playwright.


from Queens Chronicle, February 21, 2002

"Second Bananas" Gets First Show With Parkside Players

by Susan Lin
Assistant Editor

Once again, the Parkside Players theater company of Forest Hills is taking a chance by staging an original comedy by a local playwright, rather than a proven hit of yesteryear.  The theater group has debuted only two original plays during the past 22 years.  The first one, "Don't Touch That Dial," was the first play the company put on when it opened its doors in 1980.  The other one, now running, is "Second Bananas" by Alan David Perkins of Middle Village.

L-R:  Ken Anders, John C. Snyder, Miriam P. Denu, Vera D'Elisa, Peter Vrankovic, Richard Weyhausen, Ray Bonétt, Shana Aborn.
What are you trying to say, Leonard?

That "Second Bananas" is home-grown is apparent in the characters' asides.  "I used to do a little Queens community theater," says local Mafia boss Joey Baggio, played by Peter Vrankovic.  He later mentions his mother lives in a nice place in Howard Beach.

Originally titled "Crap" by Perkins, "Second Bananas" centers around a group of actors, producers, directors, and their assistants who are deeply involved in a major production that they know will be "crap."  Despite the amount of work they have already put into the play, the actors try to sabotage it from ever opening.

As with most comedies, the underlying message is quite sad.  The analogy to real life is when people who are involved in something where they are doomed if they stay, doomed if they bail.

"Second Bananas" involves many characters, and because they play almost equally prominent roles, can be overwhelming at times.

Individually, though, Perkins's wife, Miriam Denu, is very natural in her part as Lydia, the production assistant.  Her no-nonsense attitude comes through each time she announces "Rehearsal time!" to a group of unmotivated actors and assistants.

In contrast is Ken Anders as Rex Rogers, the character who is already so successful he's the only one enjoying being part of the doomed production.  Just as Rex's name is above the title of the play on the marquee, the character is above the nitty-gritty and the worry that consumes his fellow thespians.  At almost 6-foot-5, about a head higher than everyone else, Anders is especially convincing in the role.

Vrankovic is delightful as Joey Baggio.  The actor is expertly both funny and menacing at the same time.  In the storyline of "Second Bananas," the production crew has yet to make an important special effect work.  Although more difficult to pull off than his humorous scenes, Vrankovic realistically bellows at the unseen stage crew, threatening them with violence.  Then, for the first time, the special effect takes off, and the play is funny again.

The medley of characters form a web that thickens until the final third act of the play, where the audience finds out if the crew has been successful in its sabotage or not.  The only flaw in the play is that it ends too abruptly.

from Queens Ledger, March 21, 2002

"Second Bananas" - A Comedy By a Talented Queens Playwright

by Judi Willing

Second Bananas played to a full house on Saturday March 1. Excellent acting, and an excellent script kept the audience entertained and laughing.

The playwright, Alan David Perkins, 39, lives in Middle Village.  He has written 15 full length plays, some one acts, and musicals.  His plays have won prizes, and have been performed in several countries.  Mr. Perkins has been involved with the Parkside Players for 8 years, but the company has not produced his work because it is so risky to put on the work of a new playwright.  Hopefully this will change, because Mr. Perkins brings considerable skill and talent to his work.  Mr. Perkins is wonderfully proficient at defining each of his characters by the patters of their speech.  He can 'do' to perfection, the Jewish guy, the Italian Italian, the American Italian, the Brit, the soft spoken lesbian, the white gay guy, and the sexy babe.  He can write their speech with the correct cadences, rhythms and inflexions.  Put these individuals together, and the results are loaded with humor; they crunch together like the unexpected ingredients of a fashionable salad in a trendy restaurant.

L-R:  Vera D'Elisa, Ray Bonétt, Shana Aborn.
We're with you!

Using many ethnic variations of speech so well, Mr. Perkins is in effect, encapsulating the essence of the people of New York City in the first part of the twenty first century, unlike the way in which Mark Twain caught the voice of the black American in the 20th.  Mr. Perkins is admirably placed to acquire such first hand knowledge - he lives in Queens, the ethnically 'cultural capital of New York'.

The set of Second Bananas was the green room of a Broadway show, with a coffee machine, cups, doughnuts and bottled water.  On a bulletin board, the essential Rehearsal Schedule was prominently pinned at eye level, amongst details of a missing cat and statutory employee information.  A pay phone, and a few tables and chairs completed the decor.  The set stayed the same throughout the 90-minute performance, but actors were constantly coming and going in a kaleidoscope stream.

The main action of the play was not actually on the set, but elsewhere- presumably on the adjoining stage.  The actors merely passed through the green room - pausing to collect themselves before being called to rehearsal.  In the few moments that each actor had between arriving and leaving, they were able to tell the audience what was going on, and advance to plot to their advantage.  This was a very clever arrangement that provided a reason for actors to come and go quickly, ensuring a very fast pace, and many rapid changes.  The plain set as a backdrop was ideal.  The plot involved the entire cast who individually and collectively wanted to put an end to their Broadway play; it was not going to be a success, and would probably end their careers.  Needless to say, nothing went according to plan.

The leading actor of the play, within a play, was Rex Rogers (Ken Anders).  He was tall, imposing, had a British accent, and came with the studied gravity of Sir Lawrence Olivier.  Apparently in the advertising promotions, his name was 'over the title of the play' - a fact that was constantly referred to by the other members of the cast, becoming funnier with each mention.  The, 'over the title' was always accompanied by a sweep of the arm heavenward.  Each actor that referred to it felt the need to illustrate it (a piece of direction added to the fun).  Rex's penchant for taking Americanisms at face value was a source of mirth.  To the colloquial 'Get-out-of-town', he replied pleasantly 'But I like it here, why should I leave.'

When the super confident, brash, Mafia-affiliated Joey Baggio (Peter Walter Vrankovic) arrives, the play really takes off.  Mr. Vrankovic plays Joey as a stereotypical Italian American, and gets every ounce of fun from Mr. Perkins' script.  The audience roared with approval when the macho Joey, knowing full well that this was a public release for a selected audience only, shyly announced that he had 'done some community theatre in Queens'.  It was the incongruity that made it the funnier.  Mr. Vrankovic added vast amounts of authentic Italian body language to his performance for extra measure, and the audience loved it.  Scenes with the gracious, pretentious Rex, and the lets-see-what-you've-got-don't-mess-me-about, Joey, were comedy at its best.

A nice feature of this play was that all eleven members of the cast had an almost equal time on stage, and contributed equally to the plot development - very contemporary.  The lack of a 'star' makes Second Bananas ideal for community theatre; the responsibility for a good show is more equally shared, and no single person gleans all the attention.  The downside of such a construction is that one weak actor could effectively spoil the show, but this did not happen with the Parkside Players.  Miriam Denu as the production assistant yelled at actors to get out of the green room:  'Come on lets go- hup-to, hup-to.  Let's get out of here', whilst adding 'Let's get one thing straight, right up front.  I don't have a sense of humor'.  Ed Ferruzza was Rex's Jewish agent who stepped in to defend his client's interest - or was it his own 20% that was on the line?  Vera D'Elisa was the sexy babe with lots of red lipstick and a fabulous smile.  Bernard Bosio was the absolutely impossible Italian director blowing very hot (boiling) and very cold (freezing) without warning.

John Snyder was his unfortunate assistant, new to the job who tried his very best to make sense of it all - such a decent type.  Richard Weyhausen as the executive producer, built his character around this expressive fingers, agile feet and an obsession with this tie.  Ray Bonétt and Nick De Cesare were convincing second bananas.  Shana Aborn did some excellent silent miming, and her wicked laugh at the end of the first act, had us all wired for more, through the intermission.  All in all, the show was a very pleasant evening in the theatre, with actors that were able to develop their characters fully because of some excellent script writing, their own talent, and great team work.


Parkside Players - February 16 through March 2, 2002.

presented the World Premiere of Crap (under the alternate title of Second Bananas). The production was directed by the author.

The set was designed by John O'Hare. Lighting designed by Glenn Rivano. Assistant Director/Stage Manager was John O'Hare. The cast was as follows:


ABNER CLARK..................Nick DeCesare
LEONARD SEDGWICK.........Richard Weyhausen
CARLA MAXWELL..................Shana Aborn
RANDALL GARDNER.............John C. Snyder
LYDIA RUBINO................Miriam P. Denu
LAINE MENCKEN.................Vera D'Elisa
REX ROGERS......................Ken Anders
KEN PRITCHETT...................Ray Bonétt
IL PAPA......................Bernard Bosio
JOEY BAGGIO.........Peter Walter Vrankovic
SIDNEY COHEN...................Ed Ferruzza

Click here for bios.
Click here for photos from the Parkside Players' production.