Anima’s sphere of desperation and self-destruction is invaded by the arrival of her perky new roommate, Christa. Moved by a particularly malevolent statue of the Virgin Mary and a houseplant named Susan, Anima and Christa soon enter into a profound and intimate friendship that incurs traumatic results.

Read Sample

MOVEMENT ONE
A phone rings thrice in the blackness. Lights full on ANIMA in the apartment, lying sideways on the floor and wheezing. A large bucket of dead wildflowers festers in the corner and a beat-up second-hand sofa lingers crookedly in the center of the room. Slats of morning light blanche the floor and ANIMA's rumpled clothing, which appears not to have been changed for days. There is a knock.

CHRISTA (off-stage)
Hello?

Another knock. CHRISTA enters with her suitcase.

CHRISTA (cont.)
My goodness you're on the floor well I'm here it took me long enough it's a five hour flight the bus system here is appalling is that my room?

CHRISTA steps over ANIMA and exits. ANIMA wheezes. The slats of light creak across the floor and it is now afternoon. CHRISTA re-enters the room with her camcorder poised at her eye.

CHRISTA (cont.)
Wow, you're still on the floor well I have nothing to do until my meeting at seven with my new classmates over coffee how grad school of us I'm going to check out the neighborhood right now you have an interesting place or should I say we

CHRISTA aims the camcorder lens at her face.

Well here's my new apartment and there's my new roommate on the floor and here's my first day in Los Freaking Angeles

She exits. Lights move again and fade to a blue shade of evening. ANIMA is still on the floor. CHRISTA enters holding a white deli bag.

CHRISTA (cont.)
There you are again, ha, do you ever get up to pee, boy I'm exhausted I already have seminar tomorrow my cohorts are geniuses they all came from ivy leagues I can't finish this sandwich if you want it jesus christ will you just look at me

ANIMA does not move. CHRISTA kneels on the floor next to ANIMA.

CHRISTA (cont.)
It always helps me to verbalize when I'm miserable

CHRISTA touches ANIMA, who jerks violently.

I have to prepare for this thing

CHRISTA exits.

ANIMA
This is it:

It was the third one that did it at three thirty in the morning in the night or the night/morning that no one can seem to make up their mind about which is it really, not even the sky that stays dark until it's damn good and ready to lighten up even when you are not.

The third ring that shot me out of bed and for no apparent reason made me feel urgency. Not fear urgency. It was like I remembered a pot of boiling water on the stove that was spilling over and wetting the pilot light that for some reason didn't go out when it got wet.

The ring, the ring. I leaped up and I was naked and as I ran to the phone I felt the cellulite of my ass bounce a little and I involuntarily sucked in my gut because that is what I have learned to do now when I am naked or in a bikini or ashamed of the little womanly curve above my pubic bone that was sexy on Marilyn Monroe. And my breasts that are round and lovely in my wonderbra but point out to either side like the eyes in the head of a lizard were doing just that as I ran to the phone the phone the phone

Ring and I picked it up and my eyes were wide in the dark and I saw colors, the black was segmented into photograph pixels like a color shot in a magazine, the grainy kind like in Paris Match not the glossy super American high fashion perfection of Vogue or Vogue or that other Vogue/Cosmo/Teen nonsense. The black gets divided in colored pixels at night now and then ever since I did acid my sophomore year in college in that wonderfully large catherdral club in new york where everything was frightening and hysterical and put there for my entertainment and not real. not real.

My hand on the phone. My elbow touching the coiled cord as the phone was lifted to my ear. My arm was naked, the cord was cold. Coiled. Cold coiled cord and I said oh God I said why did I say it I said could I really have said it but I said. Hello.

ARTIE steps into the light, holding the phone.

ARTIE
Annie. It's Artie. Daddy died this morning.

ANIMA
Oh. Can you call me back?

ARTIE disappears.

I must have hung up the phone because it rang later, not five but seven, twenty, a hundred years later that night again but I don't remember placing the receiver back down. I remember my inner skin being cold and my outer skin being hot and I walked in to my room and picked up my shirt and pulled it over my head but

Funny. I can't recall if I told Him before or after I put my shirt on.

ALAN steps into the light, sleepy and naked and wearing a sheet.

He had heard the Ring Ring and Ring as well but it meant little to him because HIS phone sounds different than MINE so the mental alarm that goes off when your phone rings very late/early didn't go off for him so he was unprepared for what. I. Said.

ALAN is shocked and sympathetic-looking.

He was skinny and naked and nine years older than me and suddenly I couldn't see him. I saw an outline of who I thought he was, but his center had just dripped out right before my very eyes ladiesandgentlemen

Cast Requirements

1-2 men
3 women

Press

Scab… is written with a yen for interesting language and liberally salted with well-observed details of the lives of newly minted adults…. The play shines.”
—New York Times

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Press

“Sheila Callaghan crafts sparkling dialogue for two goofy graduate students in LA… Romantic entanglements are added with wit, and sensitivity. A whip-smart play.”
—Time Out New York

“A provocative playwright who’s just beginning to garner a national following, Callaghan creates work that’s realistic and unpredictable, dark and funny, reassuring and disturbing.”
—Philadelphia Weekly

“It’s opposites-attract meets love-triangle, though Callaghan spices it up by bringing into this fray a heckling Virgin Mary statue, dark angels who play tiny musical instruments and relatives who poop their pants. This magical David Lynch-esque undertow sets Scab apart from others in this oeuvre. Where some plays are quirky, Scab is downright weird; where others give closure, Callaghan opens a wound.”
—Seattle Times

Production and Development History

Produced: Live Girls! Theater, Seattle (2005); Blue House Theatre, Los Angeles (2004); Impact Theatre, Dan Francisco (2003); WET, NYC (2002).

Workshopped: South Coast Repertory (2001); Printer’s Devil Theater, Seattle (1999).

Staged reading: Playwrights Horizons (2000).