You are Cordially Invited to Elika Strauss’ Birthday Celebration
occurring faster and faster, depicting the TWINS in comically
disturbing and hyper-theatrical poses. Eerie music crescendos
and speeds up until the stop, when lights are up on ELIKA. The
audience can clearly see the TWINS in the back as ELIKA speaks.
their beginning spots. They perform “Happy Birthday.” ELIKA
applauds them along with the audience. They exit the stage
Scene 2 – ELIKA 9
It’s my birthday. My ninth. My older twin siblings said that
they polished their routine so they’re performing it as my gift
again this year. I’m not complaining, though. I’ve been trying
to learn it myself. It’s pretty impressive stuff.
ELIKA sits down to watch in the same place as the TWINS find
their beginning spots. They begin to perform “Happy Birthday”
slightly more enthusiastically than before. However, at “Last
year you were a year younger,” ELIKA begins to sing along and
tries clumsily mimicking their dance steps. Music cutoff and
new, harsher, brighter lights.
What are you doing?
You could have ruined our performance.
She DID ruin our performance!
Sorry, I didn’t mean-
It might be your birthday, but we still sing and dance as we
please. You cannot stop us.
I didn’t! I just-
One of these years she’ll finally get it right.
unintelligible stage whispers
Excuse me? Are you listening to me? Are you even here?
Oh, you’re still here.
Can you not be, please?
Scene 3 – ELIKA 10
It’s my birthd-
My birthday. I’ve turned-
YOU ARE TEN.
Thanks. I’m ten. My ol-
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELIKA.
YOU’RE TEN YEARS OLD TODAY ELIKA.
You know, I just want to say I don’t need this. I can handle my
interruptions from the TWINS.
I can handle my own life now. You’ve made your point. Are you
seriously going to just- ugh. Why do I talk. You have a show.
They have a show, everyone, so I am going-
grabs a chair, facing the house, as TWIN 2 grabs her and forces
her in it.
-to SIT DOWN and NOT GET UP and JUST. WATCH. IT
Enjoy the show. Happy birthday, you’re ten!
the last note in harmony as ELIKA gives a sarcastic golf clap.
The TWINS drag her off. ELIKA protests, but does not leave the
It’s my birthday. I am now eleven years of age. My older twin
siblings have made their show a tradition. I don’t mind, they
worked so hard on it. Here it is.
I know the song. I know the song. I know the song. We keep
coming back here! I know it!
She doesn’t know. So many new things out there to see, ELIKA.
She knows the song.
TWIN 1 has grabbed her by the hair and TWIN 2 slaps her.
reverse back to their spots before ELIKA’s line, a time
warp. Rewind sound during the warp.
She doesn’t know. So many new things out there to see, ELIKA.
She will learn it. I will learn it.
IT’S ELIKA’S BIRTHDAY. SHE IS TWELVE. SHE HAS A SHOW FOR
US. COME ON OUT, HONEY!
like proud parents at a dance recital. ELIKA performs
“Happy Birthday” but keeps losing control of her body and
voice. She knows it all, but somehow fails. She doesn’t
have their stamina. The TWINS express extreme, genuine
nachas throughout the entire performance. They end with a
standing ovation as ELIKA looks drained, exiting
resignedly. They keep applauding, aimed at the empty space
where ELIKA stood before she left.
It’s my birthday. Thirteen years since my escape from the
womb. My older twin siblings have this family tradition
where they perform a show for me every year; it’s my
favorite part of the celebration. Enjoy!
The TWINS perform. After “grow,” ELIKA begins her
monologue. The TWINS continue performing at the same
volume, ignoring the interruption. When “Happy Birthday” is
done, the TWINS sit in the audience and watch ELIKA lip
sync to a recording of the monologue. Nobody acknowledges
the unintelligible cacophony of their overlap.
This is the one time a year where I feel like they care
about me, honestly. They never put these theatrics on like
this. I mean, they’re connected in a way I will never fit
in! It’s… isolating, you know? I miss them. It’s weird to
miss somebody you’ve never had a connection with. I miss
what I imagine our relationship could have been? I don’t
know. They’re so clingy and codependent and I’m just… here.
I’m here. And they are somewhere else entirely, with no
intention to move, so… I have to find them. I have to find
It’s my birthday. Fourteen, a pre-teen. What a-
What are you doing, ELIKA?
What are you saying, ELIKA?
It’s my birthday. Fourteen, a-
No, it’s not.
It is not your birthday. We celebrated your thirteenth birthday
You’re wrong. I want my birthday now.
ELIKA, ELIKA what are you doing…
Please don’t do this, ELIKA. It’s not your birthday, okay? It’s
not your birthday.
You were thirteen years old yesterday and you’re thirteen years
old now , so you can’t, you can’t do this today. It’s not today.
You are not here today, ELIKA. Please.
I want my birthday present.
Do it. I want to see it again.
Not now, ELIKA. In fifty-one weeks.
Don’t do it. ELIKA. ELIKA? ELIKA please!
My older twin siblings-
-have a family tradition of putting on a show every year.
This is not right. It’s just not right.
nooses. The tempo and dynamics fluctuate and they try to keep
up, visibly in pain as they dance. ELIKA says a few of the
following phrases throughout the song, egging them on, drill
It shouldn’t matter, should it? Should it? Should it matter?
Tell me how it feels. Tell me why. Why does it matter so much?
do the same, whooping and running round.
It’s my birthday. Fifteen years. My older twin siblings want to
present their show, so uh, won’t you humor them for me?
lip-sync unenthusiastically to a recording of themselves singing
“Happy Birthday.” They stand in place. ELIKA eventually realizes
they aren’t going to start dancing, so she jumps in confusedly.
She fumbles her way through the performance, unsuccessfully
trying to coax them into joining her. The siblings face each
other and applaud.
Scene 9 – ELIKA 16
Today I am turning… sweet sixteen! My older twin, uh,
siblings have a um, family tradition…
Where are my parents? And everyone else I must have
invited over? That’s what you do on a birthday, right?
That’s what you do. That’s what a person does when they
have a birthday, especially their sixteenth. Sweet sixteen.
Who is here? Jesus, it’s just the TWINS. You know what?
Fuck it. Give them their performance. At least they care
about me right now when nobody else will.
ignoring ELIKA completely. They skip her name and the word
“sister” in the lyrics. It is by far their best performance
yet, with more impressive choreography than before. Disco
ball/colored, moving lights create a more elaborate,
produced feel. Once ELIKA realizes she can’t force them
into acknowledging her, she is distressed, pacing and
hyperventilating, muttering to herself all around the
stage. At the cue of audience applause:
STOP! STOP! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I poured my soul into each
one of you and this is your response? Clap for those who’ve
humiliated me? Shunned me? Insulted, interrupted, yelled,
whispered, pushed me to the ground and, and, hit me? They
hit me! These are not good people! What do you know about
them anyway? What’s YOUR motive here? Your drive to spite
me? Was it just the jazz hands that caught your attention
all planning on some dramatic betrayal, did you have to do
it on my BIRTHDAY?!
ELIKA removes her party hat.
This sixteen is sweet as your performance, you know that?
And, and, and that’s not a fucking compliment either,
because it wasn’t sweet. Your whole “two good cops” act
isn’t working. It’s corny. It’s cheesy and camp without the
fun. Just tacky.
I know you can see me. You’re just looking away in an
attempt to exclude me, but my, my EXISTENCE here means
something to you, I feel it.
(To TWINS only) You failed. Okay? You couldn’t celebrate
me, you can’t control me! You never could. And I am here
and the same as I have always been. Didn’t accomplish
anything. Don’t just stand there, you look so disturbing!
(To audience only) They’re breathing. They are trying, and
failing, to look in the same spot. (Right in a TWIN’s face)
Stillness is not BECOMING TO YOU!… YOU CANNOT ESCAPE YOUR
HUMANITY! Ha! You blinked! (To the audience only) Come on,
you saw it!
than I ever was with them. Sitting up there, at such a
distance, you think that exempts you from, from doing … Do
you think you’re exempt? You have a job too! And I don’t
know who raised you, but you can’t just sit there, forcing
me to coax you and cue you in at every point like you’re in
fucking kindergarten. Yeah. You failed at loving me. I mean
isn’t THAT your job? I’m supposed to stand here and spill
my guts and then you love me. And then you root for me, for
my success. One job.
Elika gasps. Beat.
Is anyone here?
Lights up for bows.
“Happy Birthday Elika”
Track composed by Jason Curren
Track links for on YouTube and New Grounds
Lyrics and vocals composed by Hannah Weisz
Last year you were a year younger
So much to learn then
But now you are one year older
Fifty-two weeks ahead
You have come so far, dear sister
And we want you to know
We love you and we’re proud to watch you
We’re watching you as you grow
Happy birthday Elika
A full bloom Elika
Thanks for being born
Today you were born Elika
From your favorite twins!
Hannah Weisz (any pronouns) is a high school junior based in New Jersey. Weisz has been involved in theater, mostly on the performing side, since as long as they can remember. Some productions include: She Kills Monsters (Tilly Evans), Don’t Tell Mama Cabaret (Ensemble), The Music Man (Harold Hill), Twelfth Night (Olivia), The Addams Family (Grandma Addams), Catch Me If You Can (Agent Branton), Disney World Performing Arts (Dance Ensemble), Cinderella (Prince Charming, ballet), Sleeping Beauty (Suitor of the North, ballet), Swan Lake (Ensemble), and A Magic Trash Can (Cameron Mitchells, co-writer). Outside of theater, Weisz enjoys creative writing, cosmetology, arts administration, and drag!