2 Across

by  Jerry Mayer

Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy  /  1m, 1f

An eighty-minute ride described by critics as "Hilarious," "Witty," "Romantic," "Poignant," and "Wonderfully entertaining." 

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    1m, 1f
  • Duration

    Duration

    90 minutes
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Romantic Comedy
  • Suggested Use

    Suggested Use

    • Cutting Approved for Competition
    • Scene work
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences
    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

Two strangers, a man and a woman, board a San Francisco BART train at 4:30 a.m. They're alone in the car, each is married, both are doing the New York Times crossword. She's an organized, sensible psychologist. He's a free-spirited, unemployed ad exec. She is a crossword pro, he always quits. When he tosses his puzzle away, she snaps, "Crosswords are a metaphor for life, those who finish, succeed, those who don't, fail." Now he vows to finish. Why?  He's a competitor and she happens to be lovely. This starts an eighty-minute ride described by critics as "Hilarious," "Witty," "Romantic," "Poignant," and "Wonderfully entertaining." Two opposites in an enclosed space, attacking each other's values but also being swayed and intrigued by them. They each have serious life problems that the other helps solve. Their trip is filled with unpredictable, but believable, surprises, even a passionate kissing embrace or two. As the train ride ends, it's obvious each of them has been changed for the better. 
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Reviews

REVIEWS

"[...] lovely [...] a battle of the sexes throwback." - The New York Times, Read More

"Must-see play of the year. Witty. Mesmerizing." - Beverly Hills Lookout

"Recommended! A charming, character-driven comedy strives to entertain and succeeds admirably." -  Los Angeles Times

"A rich theatrical piece [...] A fascinating eighty minutes in which light banter turns to raw emotion [...] creates a tone that perfectly underscores both the comic and dramatic elements of this suprisingly memorable play [...] 2 Across is a must-see [...] Play of the year." - Los Angeles Weekly

"We had to stop laughing to hear the next line [...] The plays asks us to think, then think again. It's entertainment with revelation [...] Excellent timing." - The Santa Monica Observer

"[...] a bright, witty, poignant and deceptively simple play about two emotional and supposedly mature people [...] Intriguing plot twists and surprises [...] Sparkling, confrontational dialogue." - Palisadian Post

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Senior Theatre
  • Church / Religious Groups
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Cautions

  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: Contemporary, Present Day
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Setting: The inside of a San Francisco BART car, at 4:30 in the morning.   The set can be as simple as needed or more developed.
  • Additional Features: No intermission

Casting

1m, 1f
SHE (JANET) - Janet is Catholic, structured, responsible, a good mother and usually right. She's an achiever whose standards are high and her patience is low. As a psychologist, she's blunt and honest. She's a law abider and a rule follower. Everything she attempts, she does well, except for one thing, she got to learn about how to have fun.
HE (JOSH) - Josh is Jewish and a paradox. He's part free spirit, part executive, part dreamer, part good son, part Peter Pan. During the trip, each time Janet decides Josh is a flake, he does or says something that wins her total admiration, or he makes her laugh, which she's not used to. About two thirds through their journey, Josh decides that he and Janet might be meant for each other. Now all he's got to do is convince Janet of that.
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Cast Attributes

  • Non-Traditional casting
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
  • Parts for Senior Actors

Casting Notes

HE and SHE, who eventually exchange first names (JOSH and JANET), can be cast late forties to middle fifties, or even sixties if the actors look youngish. Each is the exact kind of person that the other has always found irritating. At first, they are worlds apart on everything, but as the trip continues, they begin to relax and enjoy each other, even as they argue about their differences. Is it possible to believe that you could find love on an eighty minute rapid transit ride? Absolutely, if the actors play it real. The humor comes from their extreme differences, with each trying to change the other for the better, as they struggle to finish their crosswords before the end of the line.

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Authors

Jerry Mayer

Jerry Mayer, born and educated in St. Louis, Mo., has had an impressive career in television, writing and producing such prized shows as M*A*S*H, The Bob Newhart Show, All in the Family, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Facts of Life and five Mitzi Gaynor's TV Specials, plus her famous Las Vegas Act.  Mr. Mayer thoroughl ...

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2 Across premiered at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica, CA in November 2004 under the direction of Deborah Harmon.

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