Maynard Dines In

A farce in two acts

Copyright 1998, 2004, Lauren and Mark Arnest

The Setting / Awards / Production Particulars / Detailed Synopsis / A Scene / Playwrights' Note / Review of the 2004 Production

The Setting

"Maynard Dines In" details the preposterous escapades of Harold and Gina Blandleigh, a young Queens couple struggling to get ahead. Harold is a shy violist in the Flushing Philharmonic; Gina, who works for wildly successful Wall Street broker Morton Mirmelstein, is a schemer, always on the lookout for an angle. Tonight, she's invited Yevtuslav Rostronitzin, a famous classical pianist, over for dinner, in hopes he'll play a benefit for the Flushing Phil. Since their place is a dump, Gina and Harold pretend to live at Morton's (Mr. M's) luxurious apartment, since Mr. M has suddenly and mysteriously left town. This will convince Rostronitzin that they're worthy of being taken seriously, and anyway, if everything goes smoothly, no one will know the difference.

But since this is a fluffy farce, nothing goes smoothly. Rostronitzin turns out to be a lecherous gasbag. Mr. M's gigantic cat, Maynard, escapes, after shredding Mr. M's priceless modern painting. Mr. M's parents arrive unexpectedly; they decide Rostronitzin is some sort of Christian evangelist, trying to convert their son, while Rostronitzin thinks Harold is Mr. M. Then Mr. M's lover, Max, shows up, and is immediately suspicious of what he imagines are Rostronitzin's and Harold's relationships with Mr. M. Meanwhile, Harold's successive attempts to recapture Maynard meet with something less than success while Gina attempts to maintain the increasingly complicated charade.

"Maynard Dines In" has received two productions: its premiere in July 2002 by the Maverick Players in Midland, Texas, and in January 2004 at the Manitou Art Theater in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Each production has inspired a re-write, but we think "Maynard" is finally finished, with the right balance of smart dialogue and over-the-top visual humor.

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Awards

Prior to its premiere, "Maynard Dines In" did well in play competitions.

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Production Particulars

Cast:

GINA BLANDLEIGH: Resourceful but schemeing secretary for Morton Mirmelstein, a wealthy stockbroker, Harold's wife, mid-20s.

HAROLD BLANDLEIGH: Gina's husband, mild-mannered violist in struggling Flushing Philharmonic. Mid-to-late 20s, slight build, wears glasses.

YEVTUSLAV ROSTRONITZIN: Famous Russian pianist, vigorous, lecherous man in his mid-60s or so.

MIMI MIRMELSTEIN: Miriam, mother of Morton, wife of Malcolm, a chatterbox who never ever thinks before she speaks. Mid-50s.

MALCOLM MIRMELSTEIN: Father of Morton, from Yonkers. A down-to-earth man who has an explanation for everything. Mid-to-late 50s.

MAX MORGENSTERN: Morton's estranged male lover, interior designer. Early-to-mid 30s.

Also:

Telephone voice of MORTON MIRMELSTEIN: Gina's boss, wildly successful stockbroker, also known as Pookie and Mr. M. Owner of nice townhome in Manhattan.

Voice and tail of MAYNARD: Morton's cat.

Voice of Zinaida: Rostronitzin's wife

Telephone voice of CECIL RAMSBOTTOM: Famous impresario

With one intermission, "Maynard Dines In" is approximately two hours long. It requires one set, which must be both fairly opulent and sturdy (there's skulking on the windowsill). One scene requires some quick demolition, though it takes place in the dark. We are happy to provide information on props and sound cues (some of which we can provide).

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A scene from "Maynard Dines In."

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