Chore Monkeys

As a young black man, trying to make his way as a handyman via the Chore Monkey web site, Dante found it impossible to get customers to look past his profile photo and hire him. So he turned to Peter, an old, white high school friend who dropped out of college to smoke pot and play video games. Now they use Peter’s white face to land jobs—Peter gets them in the door and Dante does all the physical labor....
As a young black man, trying to make his way as a handyman via the Chore Monkey web site, Dante found it impossible to get customers to look past his profile photo and hire him. So he turned to Peter, an old, white high school friend who dropped out of college to smoke pot and play video games. Now they use Peter’s white face to land jobs—Peter gets them in the door and Dante does all the physical labor.

The arrangement grates on both of them—Peter wants more money and recognition, and Dante is constantly confronted by the racism that underlies the whole situation. When Peter’s habit of stealing little “souvenirs” from their clients gets noticed and the police are called in, their partnership and friendship crashes into pieces.
  • Recommend
  • Download
  • Save to Reading List

Chore Monkeys

Recommended by

  • David Beardsley:
    2 May. 2020
    Chore Monkeys is an insightful, moving, and funny comedy about racism, especially the micro-aggressions and insidious biases that often fuel it. Peter’s betrayal of Dante, his friend and gig-economy partner, gives this play surprising power without ever causing it to lose it’s comedic way. The ending is subtle, complex, and real. There are laughs but no easy resolutions in this terrific play.
  • Nick Malakhow:
    16 Mar. 2020
    This insightful exploration of racism and gig economy offers some pointed and painful truths between copious laughs. Not only are Dante and Peter well-fleshed out characters, but the ensemble of folks hiring them also ring true. Gabridge uses the unexpectedly theatrical act of assembling IKEA furniture as a central, grounding image throughout to great effect. The scenes move briskly and the unsettling relationship between Dante and Peter becomes palpably more tense. The ending feels inevitable, but packs a punch when you see how it plays out--it is uncomfortable and reveals social patterns that demand shifting.
  • Donna Hoke:
    8 Jan. 2019
    Bravo to Patrick for writing the best kind of comedy: conscious, resonant, without frivolity, and unrelenting FUNNY. Perfectly structured and ultimately so satisfying, I hope it continues to find home after home. Highly recommend!

Character Information

  • Dante Williams
    20s,
    Black
    ,
    Male
    Extremely handy—can put together IKEA furniture in a flash. Wants to be independent and stay independent. Has a learning disability that makes reading very difficult. Always hungry. Very much does not want to be arrested.
  • Peter Mecklenberg
    20s,
    White
    ,
    Male
    An old high school classmate of Dante’s. Extremely bright, witty, and completely unmotivated—lives with his divorced parents, smokes a lot of pot, watches a lot porn, plays a lot of video games. Business partner with Dante.
  • Abby
    30s-40s,
    White
    ,
    Female
    recent arrival to this town
  • Becky
    40s-50s,
    White
    ,
    Female
    butch, married to Cheri. A biologist by trade. Protective of her wife and suspicious of men and the world
  • Cheri
    30s,
    White
    ,
    queer female
    pretty, someone who finds the good in people. Married to Becky.
  • Diane
    30s-40s,
    White
    ,
    Female
    A chocolatier operating out of her home.
  • Elizabeth
    40s-50s,
    White
    ,
    Female
    Undergoing chemotherapy, but her prognosis is poor.
  • Frances
    30s,
    White
    ,
    Female
    Uncomfortable having strange men in her home, especially strange black men.
  • Zander
    30s-50s,
    White
    ,
    Male
    Dressed for business. (Non-speaking role.)

Development History

  • Reading
    ,
    North Shore Reader's Theatre
    ,
    2016
  • Reading
    ,
    Wilbury Theatre Group
    ,
    2015

Production History

  • University
    ,
    College of Charleston
    ,
    2018