David Rimmer’s NEW YORK is a 21 scene play depicting the reactions of 17 characters to the events of 9/11. Most of the characters speak to a central psychiatrist character (DOCTOR in the script), as shown in scene 12, which is reprinted here.

Rimmer, the Pulitzer-finalist author of ALBUM and other plays, originally wrote NEW YORK to raise funds for volunteer psychiatrists dedicated to helping the overwhelming number of patients psychologically affected by 9/11. The play has since been performed at theaters, schools and colleges throughout New York and the Northeast. If you’re interested in putting this play on in your community, or reading the rest of it, please contact the author at: rimmersandhaus@aol.com.

TIME: Fall 2001

SCENE: A psychiatrist’s office.
STAGE PICTURE Two armchairs in an area of LIGHT. One for the Central Psychiatric Character– the DOCTOR, a warm, welcoming woman who listens and reacts with great compassion and understanding, but also keeps a professional demeanor. PATIENTS of the DOCTOR use the other chair. Other areas of DOWNSTAGE LEFT, RIGHT and CENTER for scenes not involving DOCTOR or PATIENTS. No set pieces; minimal props.


The CAREGIVER, middle-aged guy, and the DOCTOR, listening to him.

So I get to the office. There’s a manic depressive, two paranoid schizophrenics, a delusional, a denial, a psychotic episode, two unresolved Oedipal complexes, father and son–an anal retentive, an anal explosive, an anal compulsive, an anal confused. A little syndrome, a little deficit, a little this, a little that. Post-traumatic stress disorder–big on that these days. Socially-challenged, erotically-challenged, appetite-challenged, hetero-challenged, homo-challenged, challenge-challenged.

Just another day at the orifice. Dreams, fantasies– low self-esteem, high penis envy, fear of phobia. Obsessive- compulsive disorder, compulsive-obsessive disorder, rejection, projection, protection, detection, confection, which direction?

“Help! I need help! Help!” So do I! Jeez! D’you have any idea?

Nightmares, hallucinations, fear of interpersonal relationships, a partridge in a pear tree. A guy who keeps asking, “Do babies get boners? Do babies get boners?” The acid flashback that never ends–take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’! Transference! Triskadeskaphobia–fear of Triscuits. The screaming meemees–Nature-Nurture! Nurture-Nature! Ying yang, walla walla bing bang! –Yes, babies get boners!

…I have that dream where you go back to college and you don’t know the course and you take the final exam? Except I go back to med school. I know the course, I ace the final exam, I take everybody in the class’s final exam, I take everybody in the school’s final exam, I go before all the teacher’s review boards and I ace them– and I end up ruling the world but I have to abdicate because of insomnia. If I could get some sleep, I could have that other dream that I like so much, the one where the ham sandwich eats me.

Jeez, who do you go to when you get burned out? And who does he go to? And him and him and him and her and her and her, all the way down the the last guy– and who does he go to? Me?… Cause that’s scary.

I haven’t messed up my job… yet. I’m fine, aren’t I? I’m fine. You know what I need? More patients. You know any? –Bipolar, bisexual, biennial, bicentennial, buy American!

I had a girlfriend somewhere along the line. Infantile sexuality– God, I would’ve killed for some infantile sexuality when I was a kid.
(Sad and tired.)

Grief. Despair. Loss. Loneliness. Fear. Anxiety. The shakes. Just an old-fashioned case of the blues. Whatever you call it, they got it. John. Judy. Miguel. Heather. Dennis. Dov. Tommy, Jenny, Rashid, Angie, Guiseppe, Fred. Tasha, Kelly. Sid and Elaine. Bob. Poor Bob. Stress. Jack. Stress. Alexandra. Manny.
(Takes a breath.)

And that was Tuesday. Before lunch.
(Glances at his watch–)

Gotta go–
(Exits in a hurry–

The DOCTOR sits there, taking it in.