Mistakes Madeline Made – Elizabeth Meriwether


Orig­i­nally pro­duced in New York City, April 23, 2006.

Orig­i­nal Cast:

Beth (late 30s to early 40s)                          Colleen Werth­mann
Edna (23)                                                       Laura Heisler
Wil­son (late 20s)                                           Thomas Sadoski
Buddy (late 20s to early 30s)                        Ian Bren­nan
Drake/Jake/Blake (20s)                               Brian Hen­der­son

Direc­tor:  Evan Cab­net
Set Design:
  Lau­ren Helpern
Cos­tume Design:
  Jes­sica Wegener
Light­ing Design:  Tyler Micoleau
Sound Design:  Drew Levy
Prop Design:  Faye Armon
Stage Man­ager:  Han­nah Cohen

Pub­li­ca­tion:  Meri­wether, Eliz­a­beth. Mis­takes Made­line Made. Drama­tists Play Ser­vice, 2006. Drama Library PS3613.E756 M57 2006.

Set­ting:  A base­ment office in an apart­ment build­ing in uptown Man­hat­tan, the year 2006.

Lan­guage:  Contemporary


Right. We’re not just buy­ing dupli­cate sneak­ers, we’re George’s first line of defense against the whole world! We get in there, we get our hands dirty, we get things done, we buy sneak­ers, we buy tooth­paste, we make sure noth­ing bad can ever hap­pen to this fam­ily. Every day. And I don’t know about you, but I think that’s what life is all about.

Genre/Style:  Comedy

Plot:   Edna, a recent col­lege grad­u­ate, works in a base­ment office as part of a team of per­sonal assis­tants to a very wealthy fam­ily.  Edna, deal­ing with the death of her brother, a jour­nal­ist who died report­ing in the Mid­dle East, devel­ops Ablu­to­pho­bia, the fear of bathing.  Although the play flirts with ideas such as the per­sonal becom­ing the polit­i­cal, com­pla­cency in the face of crises, at its heart, it’s really just about a young per­son try­ing to make her way in the grown-up world and works best when it tack­les that idea with­out any philo­soph­i­cal or polit­i­cal over­lays.  It wants to be a play about Big Ideas, but the struc­ture and the story can’t sup­port the weight of those ideas.  The play also would have worked bet­ter with­out the parade of New York writ­ers Edna sleeps with, who are instantly forgettable.


Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mono­logues:  Mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.

p.22–23:  Wil­son tells Edna about his dis­ser­ta­tion.  Edna’s lines can be cut. 


Leibniz’s per­cep­tual mon­ads. The def­i­n­i­tion of the soul. Tiny bub­bles of soul. (Revving up his engine.) Vrrrooooo… (In a funny mechan­i­cal voice.) The soul is the tini­est place that is capa­ble of memory—the soul is any tiny space where mul­ti­ple moments of time can exist at once. (He snorts.) NEERRRD

[Lines cut]


[Lines cut] This is the nature of our power—just by ignor­ing it, we can kill it… Ffff! Dead… So what do we choose to for­get? (A moment.) I don’t know. I don’t have a thesis.

p.24–25:  Buddy, Edna’s brother, has taken up res­i­dence in her bath­tub after return­ing to the US from a trip to the Mid­dle East where he reported on the con­flict.  Edna’s lines can be cut. Long monologue.


I can’t stay here and have all these lit­tle conversations—these lit­tle top­ics, here’s what I think and my ceiling’s been leak­ing, and what do I want and I love my new cell phone and that’s a pic­ture of my dog, and every­one loves my dog, and do you want to see more pic­tures of my dog and these lit­tle con­ver­sa­tions I have to have—I want to kill sec­re­taries. It’s nor­mal. It’s nor­mal, after your first big trip it just takes some time to readjust.

[Lines cut]


[Lines cut]  I know the sound she’d make. And he hits her again and she’s laugh­ing because she loves Derek Jeter, and he hits her again, and blood’s com­ing out of her mouth, and I opened the  kitchen drawer. And then I closed it. And then I started yelling. I think I started yelling. And I came here. Because I was yelling. I think I was… yelling.



Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Scenes: 

p. 7–9:  Beth makes Edna write an email apol­ogy to Judith, their employer, because Judith believes Edna didn’t make double-sided copies for her the day before.  Beth also instructs Edna in the proper pro­ce­dure for mak­ing George’s after school snack.  Wilson’s line can be cut. Starts with


Don’t there seem to be a lot of car bombs? Maybe they should put all the cars in a park­ing garage instead of leav­ing them on the street? Or. I don’t know. I’m no expert. God, what a mess.

and ends with


Right, right. I’m going to say some­thing:  I don’t think you’re ready for snack time yet. But we’re gonna get there and I’m going to make sure we do. ‘Nuff said.

p. 20–22:  Edna and Wil­son con­fess their hatred of Beth and destroy hand­fuls of hand­i­wipes which leads Wil­son to tell Edna a story about a woman he met on an air­plane whose nephew was in the Armen­ian army and wanted her to send him hand­i­wipes.  Starts with


Tweet, tweet!  (Wil­son runs in. Edna is caught with piles of hand­i­wipes in her fists.)

and ends with


Yeah, I have that.

p. 23–25:  Edna con­fronts Buddy about his Ablu­to­pho­bia and he tells her why he’s been stay­ing in her bath­tub.  Starts with


Look at us! We’re a coun­try of babies and secretaries–

and ends with





Select Bib­li­og­ra­phy of Reviews and Crit­i­cism:  (Note:  arti­cle title links are to the online ver­sions, mostly UW-only restricted unless des­ig­nated as open access.)

Gates, A. (2006, Nov 12). Young hero­ines, at work and at play. New York Times, pp.CT11.

Mac­Don­ald, S. (2008, Aug 07). A pol­ished glimpse of life’s dirty details. Boston Globe, pp.D7.

Metz, N. (2012, Oct 11). Neo-futurists’ ’44 plays’ con­nects pres­i­dents; uneven ‘mis­takes made­line made’. McClatchy — Tri­bune Busi­ness News.

Sanchez, A. (2008, Oct 05). ‘Made­line’ decries com­pla­cency. Albu­querque Jour­nal, pp.F3.

Zino­man, J. (2006, Apr 25). Romance finds the lov­able weirdo. New York Times, pp.E5.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *