OUTBURST is a drama with one set, a cast of 4 men and 2 women and inspired by a true story about Rodney Wilson. The play deals with the struggle of Nick, a teacher who tells his high school history class that he is gay during a discussion of the Holocaust. As a result he is alienated from his closeted lover David, beaten up, targeted by the religious right, and fired from his job. However, he gets great support from his transvestite neighbor Danny, a flamboyant fellow teacher named Flonny and her live-in lawyer partner Ray, and eventually even his lover. The play deals with social justice, discrimination, and self-realization, but includes considerable comic wit in its approach.

SCENES

ACT I:

Scene 1: A Sunday evening.
Scene 2: Tuesday afternoon.
Scene 3. Friday evening, a week later.
Scene 4: The following Saturday morning.

ACT II:

Scene 1: A week later, before dawn.
Scene 2: Later that morning.
Scene 3: The following Tuesday afternoon.

SETTING

The action is set in the living-room of Nick and David’s townhouse apartment in Wichita, Kansas.


TIME

The present.

CHARACTERS

NICK A high school history teacher in his late 20’s.
DAVID Floor manager of a college bookstore, Nick’s partner, late 20’s.
FLONNY A teacher, colleague and friend of Nick, 30’s.
DANNY Newspaper arts critic and drag queen, Hispanic, late 20’s.
MRS. RICHARDS High school principal, late 30’s-40’s.
RAY Flonny’s partner, a lawyer in his late 30’s.


SYNOPSIS
ACT I

Scene 1: A Sunday evening. Nick comes home from a conference in Washington D.C. with his colleague Flonny, another high school teacher. Nick is happy to be back with his partner David and happy to see his gay friend Danny.

Scene 2: Tuesday afternoon: Nick tells David about teaching a class about the holocaust. The principal Mrs. Richards comes to the house to question Nick about revealing to his class that he is gay. Flonny offers wisecracks, David runs upstairs, and Nick is in trouble. Mrs. Richards, the principal, confronts Nick—feeling betrayed, angry, selfish, while trying to be understanding. David tries to get Nick to understand his fears.

Scene 3: Friday evening, a week later: Nick and David have invited Flonny and her outspoken and lawyer partner, Ray, over to celebrate their 6th anniversary. David is upset that Nick went public. Ray sees David’s side and plays the Devil’s Advocate with Nick, pointing up how he is viewed as wrong in the straight world. Flonny tries to make peace.

Scene 3: The following Saturday morning: Nick and David receive hate mail and there is a protest outside by Reverend Phelps and members of the Westboro Baptist Church. Phelps is a well known Kansas right-wing radical who pickets AIDS funerals. David who is still in the closet is terrified his parents or boss will learn that he is gay. HE decides to leave Nick. Nick tries to make him stay.

ACT II

Scene 1: A week later, before dawn: Nick helps Danny into the apartment. Danny and Nick were attacked by three teens and beaten up. Nick and David get Danny’s dress off and administer first aid and liquor while trading barbs about the situation.

Scene 2: Later that same morning: Mrs. Richards comes by to give Nick a letter from the School Superintendent, Mr. Vane. This is a letter of reprimand. David comes to Nick’s defense. Both sides reveal their deepest feelings, fears and concerns with caustic and funny zingers. Mrs. Richards tells Nick that he is not allowed to return to school until the situation is resolved.

Scene 3: Late Tuesday afternoon: Nick ignored the Richards’ order and went to school and was arrested. David has secretly arranged a party to celebrate Nick’s release. Flonny and Danny show up. Ray brings Nick home. He has indeed been fired. They all try to bolster Nick’s spirits and urge him to fight the case in court. Reluctant at first, Nick eventually agrees.

CHARACTERS

HANK (NICK) NICHOLS He is a high school history teacher in his late
20’s. He is a warm, friendly gay man with a positive
attitude about life. He is masculine, forthright, and lively.

DAVID KELLY He is in his early 30’s, the floor manager at a college and
Nick’s lover. He is quiet, often kind and tender, and a
person who loves his home. He is still in the closet with his
family and at work.

FLONNY AUSTEN She is an English teacher in her late 30’s. She is
flamboyant and loud, with a raucous laugh. She
is loyal to her friends.

RAYMOND He is a lawyer in his late 30’s or early 40’s, masculine,
strong and down-to-earth. He is Flonny partner and lover.

DANNY BANNER He is the arts reporter and critic for the Wichita Eagle.
In his late 20’s or early 30’s, he is an escapist and
prefers living in a world of make believe. He is rather
vain, but has a good sense of style and good taste. He is
social and well-liked. He dresses in drag as Danielle.

MRS. RICHARDS She is a high school principal in her late 30’s or early
40’s. She is very conservative, always in a suit.

THE SETTING

The action takes place in the living room of Nick and David’s townhouse apartment. Stage right is the front door, which opens on to raised area about eighteen inches high. Two steps lead down into the room. On the left end of the platform are steps leading to the upstairs bedrooms. There is a bookcase on the platform between the door and the stairs. On stage left is a hallway that leads off to the kitchen and downstairs bathroom. Down right is the sofa with a coffee table in front. On the upstage end of the sofa is an end table. Next to it is an armchair. Down left is a desk, chair and wastebasket. There is a large carpet under the sofa and armchair grouping. The chair at the desk may be moved closer to this grouping when needed. Downstage of the desk is the television. Other dressings include lamps, plants, a phone and answering machine on the desk, magazines and newspapers, a runner on the stairs and a rug by the front door. There may be a dining table and chairs if the stage space permits. The atmosphere is spare, neutral and modern. There are several modern paintings or prints. The room is neat but there are stacks of magazines here and there, newspapers, and a stack of bills and letters on the desk.