How to Separate Your Soul from Your Body 
(in ten easy steps!)

Petra, an agoraphobic how-to blogger, begins communicating with a strange identity on the Internet, while her partner, Ramona, is being seduced by her master’s program. A metaphysical comedy about what it means to love, to learn, and to fall apart.

 Design Research by  Ashley Cusack

Design Research by Ashley Cusack

 

 Design Research by  Ashley Cusack

Design Research by Ashley Cusack

Characters:

Ramona – A femme queer who desperately wants answers, believing that answers lead to truth, truth leads to wisdom, and wisdom grants power.

Petra – An oddball queer who is trying to find a way to exist in the world. Ramona’s partner.

Anonymous – A strange internet personality; a lonely logarithm.

Gertrude – Ramona’s thesis advisor. A maddeningly brilliant woman who manages to make nihilism look sexy.

Basil – A coworker of Ramona’s who is simultaneously queerer than thou and yet somehow incredibly narrow-minded.


Place:

Small and cramped interior spaces in New York

and

The incredible abyss of the internet

as seen through a window

of a small and cramped interior space in New York.

 Design Research by  Ashley Cusack

Design Research by Ashley Cusack

Excerpt:

Petra has just finished delivering her direct address: How to Plan a Romantic Dinner. Lights up on the rest of the apartment. There are groceries everywhere in bags that say freshdirect.com. It’s a huge mess, but the table is set romantically. Petra cooks furiously, swearing as she chops. She keeps looking at the clock—Ramona is due home any second. Petra is running way behind schedule. Something is burning. Shit shit shit. It’s a whole big disaster.

 Ramona enters. 

RAMONA
Whoa, Pet, there is smoke coming out into the hallway—are you okay?

PETRA
SURPRISE!

RAMONA
You…set the apartment on fire for me?

PETRA
Just sit down. Open the champagne. Take a load off.

RAMONA
Can I open the window?

PETRA
Yes.

RAMONA
Do you want any help?

PETRA
No, no, no. Sit down.

RAMONA
Are you sure? Is something still burning?

Let me help you.

PETRA
SIT DOWN PLEASE.

RAMONA
Okay?

PETRA
THIS IS ROMANTIC.

RAMONA
Okay…

Petra keeps chopping and intermittently swearing.

Ramona sits uncomfortably in her chair as she has been ordered.

Petra opens the oven.

There is a fire.

She closes the oven.

She quietly approaches Ramona. 

PETRA
Gas oven fire—Water or smother?

RAMONA
Smother.

PETRA
Right.

Right.

Petra puts out a fire.

Ramona sits patiently waiting for her romantic dinner.

Petra comes in and lights the candles.

Ramona wants to make a joke about fire but she resists.

Petra serves a plate of ash with a side of asparagus.

PETRA
Leg of lamb with rosemary and a side of garlic-roasted asparagus.

RAMONA
Thank you, darling.

PETRA
It’s what you ordered on our very first date.

RAMONA
I ordered leg of lamb?

PETRA
Yes. I thought it was so beautifully indelicate. So much carnage for such a small frame. I think that’s when I first knew I was going to fall in love with you.

RAMONA
When I ordered leg of lamb?

PETRA
Yes.

RAMONA
Well thank you darling. This is…

it’s a pile of ash.

RAMONA 
very thoughtful.

PETRA
I’m sorry it’s so... well-done.

RAMONA
It’s okay, Pet.

PETRA
I know you like your meat bloody.

RAMONA
It’s okay.

PETRA
I just… wanted. I thought… I would do better.

RAMONA
It’s alright. Leg of lamb is kind of an expert level meal.

PETRA
I know…

RAMONA
Maybe next time you should aim to make me a romantic… casserole.

PETRA
Maybe.

 

 

CASTING SPECIFICATIONS

5 Characters for 4-5 Actors

3 Female

2 Male/Female

DEVELOPMENT HISTORY

APRIL 2015
Reading directed by Margot Bordelon at Ensemble Studio Theatre in NYC

FEBRUARY 2015
Reading directed by Jay D. Brock at Rainbow Theatre Project in Washington D.C.

APRIL 2014
Reading directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt at The Playwrights Festival of New Plays at Rutgers University
 

RESEARCH