To Be Frank by Allison Arnold

2015 Recipient of the Sherwood Collins Playwriting Contest by the Massachusetts Educational Theatre Guild.


Sensing the death of the fishing industry, 18-year-old Frank Asher realizes he has to save himself. Ungoverned by morality, this pathological liar's ambitious escape plan stretches the stories and sympathies of his entire family, town and history; but it might just be crazy enough to work.


Cast Requirements

  • FRANK: 18, male

  • AVA: 18, female

  • LLOYD: 18, male

  • FRANK'S MOM: : 40-50, female

  • BRENDA BANNERMAN: 35, female

  • MONICA: 17, female


  • BESS MONTERO, 40, female

  • WEIRD TOM: 18

  • RACHEL: 21, female

  • TOM'S MOM: 40-50, female

  • TRISTIAN: 19, male

  • ALLAN REED: 50-60, male

  • WENDELL PARKER: 27, male

  • ENSEMBLE: A Gruff Voice, Fisherman 1, Fisherman 2: 30-60, male, Fisherman's Wife: 30-60, female, Suit: 30-40, male or female

Left to the discretion of the director

A Note About the Set
The set remains constant throughout the play, and thus, only appropriate areas of the stage are lit for certain scenes. Because one of the main aims of the play is to get the audience to empathize with pathological liars, and pathological liars believe their own lies, in scenes where the audience is aware that Frank is lying, elements of the set change to fit his falsehoods. During these moments, the set is altered appropriately as the scene continues.

To Be Frank by Allison Arnold
ISBN #1-60513-262-4; JAC #2015-0004


$30/performance royalty

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Read an Excerpt

<Tristian is cleaning tables. Lloyd is sitting down.  Weird Tom is also present.>

LLOYD:  <Already speaking.> ...and so I says, are you a girl, or a buoy?

<Tristian and Lloyd laugh.  Weird Tom smiles.> It is strange seeing you here though, I don�t know if I�ll ever get used to it.

TRISTIAN: <To Weird Tom.> Give him a day.

LLOYD: I remember when my uncle used to take the both of us out as little kids, you remember that? With the gray skies and the blue waters�

TRISTIAN: The water is usually the same color as the sky, Lloyd.

LLOYD: You know and that is a shame!

TRISTIAN: That water�s reflective?

LLOYD: No, that that was something you weren�t all pouty about; you were good at it! Like way better than you are at this job- missed a spot- and, and I know that you and Weird Tom don�t usually take what I say very seriously, but I feel like you made a mistake. Man, you were made for the sea, and you choose something you could do anywhere-

TRISTIAN:  It wasn�t a choice it was a sentence.

LLOYD: <With mock grandeur.> Oh, excuse me kind table-faring, sir. Allow me to take your burden as you tell the story of your �judgment day�.

<Frank emerges and Lloyd and Tristian freeze.>

FRANK: <To audience.> Judgment day is a little joke we have that refers to when boys figure out if they�re going to be a fisherman or not. You�d probably think it strange for such an important day to be thrown at you all at once, but fisherman fathers are notoriously cold and distant, even when they�re not at sea. On judgment day, you�re either thrown a yellow jacket or thrown to the sharks. It seems like someone scooped Tristian up, but look how he loathes captivity. As for me, well, I�ve never feared the sight of blood�

<Everyone resumes>

TRISTIAN: Ah, when judgment day arrived, my father sat me down. He came up to me, laid a hand on my shoulder� <Lays a hand on Lloyd�s shoulder.> and said� <Puts a leg up on Lloyd�s chair.> Son, you are a pussy. <Lloyd laughs.>  That and crap about how <In a mock-voice.> �tourism is the future, the government is cracking down on us for catching all the cod, and I don�t know how else we�re going to make any money in this bureaucratic hellscape�. 


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