When I set out to write In-Laws, Outlaws, and Other People (That Should Be Shot), I was attempting to create a story that would be a tremendous amount a FUN for the audience! I knew that I wanted it to have a holiday setting, so I chose Christmas as the backdrop and began to brainstorm what would capture the “American experience” of that festive time. We all have our own particular traditions and rituals, but the one common factor for most everyone is family.
It’s been said, “You can pick your friends, but buddy you’re stuck with your relatives!” That statement helped to form the basis for much of the humor in this show. Coming from a large extended family with my dad having 12 siblings and my mom having 5 (not to mention the go-zillion cousins as a result) gave me a lot to draw from in terms of characterization. Every family has their curmudgeon (Uncle Leo), their smart-aleck teen (Beth), and their wise-cracker (Uncle Bud) who tend to make gatherings a lot of fun. The challenge was to put all of these personalities (and many others) together in one room and let them duke it out for comic effect.
I decided however, that it would be a lot more fun for the audience if “outsiders” were introduced into the family-blend, just to see how they would deal with these nut-jobs. The result was the introduction of two outlaws (Tony & Vinny) into the mix. Having just knocked off a liquor store on Christmas Eve, they find themselves in a bind when their get-away car won’t start. They flee on foot into a near-by neighborhood in search of a house to hide-out in for a while, and that is where the fun begins!
Tony & Vinny use a ruse to gain entrance into the house and take the two inhabitants hostage, unaware that they are about to be hosting a family Christmas Eve dinner. With each ring of the doorbell, the two criminals find themselves in charge of more and more guests, until we begin to wonder just who is holding who hostage!
Because the play is centered around the theme of family – it was extremely important to me to write a show that families could enjoy together. Thus it is free of any profanity or adult situations, and only hints at any violence. In-Laws, Outlaws, and Other People (That Should Be Shot) is a true holiday farce that is FUN for the whole family. Because of its theme, content, and laugh-a-minute dialogue—it is the perfect show for high schools, community theatres, churches, and professional theatres alike. It will have your audiences rolling in the aisles!