Transcript – Episode 6 – Personality Test by Max Langert
Ava Love Hanna: Welcome to Stories Found. Each week, we feature funny, weird, and mostly true stories from writers, artists, and storytellers around the world. I’m your host, Ava love Hanna, a writer and humorist from Austin, Texas. Joining me is my writing partner, audio engineer, and all around cool guy, Paul Hanna. You’re listening to Stories Found
Our featured organization for this episode is Cinnamon Path Theatre, a small collective of artists based in Austin, Texas. Scrappy, and well intentioned. They like site specific work. They’ve produced a number of new plays by emerging writers, as well as a handful of variety shows, featuring a slew of local artists benefiting the autism society of central texas, safe place, Vela families, and more. You can read more about them and what they do at cinnamonpath.com.
Thanks for joining us for this week’s episode of Stories. In this episode will be chatting with one of my good friends and one of my favorite Austin based playwrights Max Langert then we’ll hear his super funny 10 minute play Personality Test. Max is a playwright producer and storyteller. His plays have been performed in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Dallas, and elsewhere.
He’s told stories for Listen to Your Mother, the Vancouver story slam, Testify and Austin Bat Cave and is a regular performer at Frontera Fest. He’s produced benefit shows for the autism society of central Texas, the Safe Alliance and Vela Families I’ve had the pleasure of performing and writing with Max for a number of years. He’s a talented writer and storyteller, and we’re so excited to welcome him back to the show.
Hi, Max, welcome back to Stories Found. So, the last time you were here, we talked about you being naked and, and this time it looks like everyone involved is fully dressed. So thanks for taking us. Right, just fully clothed this time. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today about your play Personality Test.
Max Langert: It’s great to be here. Thanks for having me
Ava Love Hanna: Awesome. Well, I have to say that your last episode is still very, very popular. Whenever I check my stats, I always laugh a little I’m like, oh, look, they’re downloading the nekkid one again. So ,
Max Langert: I wonder what, what does that, what attracts people to that story?
Ava Love Hanna: I’ll have to look and see who exactly is downloading it, but they, they, it is very popular and they love it a lot.
So all right. Well first, tell us a little bit about your play personality.
Max Langert: This is a, what they call, I think a two-hander in the theater world. It’s basically the setup is a confrontation on the street between a man and a woman. And he basically asks a passing woman if she’d like a Personality Test.
And he tries to convince her to take it by letting her know it’s free. And they have some back and forth about why or why she should not take this test.
Ava Love Hanna: And so well, where did you get the idea for this?
Max Langert: I was just trying to remember I wrote it some time ago and I will actually tell you that, I think I came up with the idea when I was walking past the Scientology building in Austin and they were doing free testing
Ava Love Hanna: I have seen that to,
Max Langert: yeah. Yeah, yeah. I, I only just remembered that. So that’s where it came from.
Ava Love Hanna: Well, I’ll tell you, I always ask that question because as a fellow playwright, I don’t know how I would answer it. I feel like my ideas just sort of pop in and out of my head randomly. And I’m always sort of curious about the process for other writers.
Like I think the only thing that really motivates me is a hard deadline and just sort of the threat of embarrassment if I miss it.
Max Langert: Mm-hmm ,
Ava Love Hanna: you’re, you’re pretty prolific though. So do you have any tricks that help you generate ideas?
Max Langert: No
I think my fallback is always I do have a, you know, a, a, I do have day jobs and I find a lot of absurdity in the day jobs and, and the back and forth.
So whenever I’m struggling for ideas, I, I do sort of lean on funny conversations I’ve had in the kitchen of an office or
Ava Love Hanna: mm-hmm
Max Langert: interesting, you know, back and forth with, with sort of vice presidents or something that I find kind of absurd. So that is a source of a lot of material for me.
Ava Love Hanna: That’s perfect.
So I know at one time I had seen that you had like a, a notebook where you would write out your scripts by hand, before you move to typing them. Is that something you’re still doing? I, I wondered.
Max Langert: Yeah, definitely. I was actually just hanging out at a cafe with a friend earlier today with my notebook.
He had his laptop out. I had my notebook. I didn’t have a laptop anywhere, so yeah. I like writing by hand. So, yeah.
Ava Love Hanna: See, I don’t think I can write anything legible by hand anymore. And I’m fascinated when I see other writers who can take the time to do that. So what is it about that, that handwriting process that works so well for you?
Max Langert: That’s funny. It’s funny you asked that. I just seem, I, I have convinced myself that writing out by hand somehow allows me to craft the wording in a way that is not as satisfying when I’m typing it straight into a computer. I don’t.
Ava Love Hanna: So you’re really more in touch with it and
Max Langert: sure, sure. Yes.
the tangibility, right? It’s tangible, right. I don’t, I dunno. I just, something about crossing out words rewriting here, and you know, sometimes I draw arrows like, oh, put this line after that one and something about that, I find I like.
Ava Love Hanna: Oh, that’s, yeah, that’s amazing. So I’ve been a big fan of your writing for years. Your work is always funny and a little dark and often very weird, and I will say that Personality Test, it hits all those same notes. So , every time I read it, I see it a little differently. Sort of like a Personality Test. Do you have a lot of experience with Personality Tests?
Max Langert: no, I’ve taken a couple for work. Of course. I don’t have a ton. I don’t have a ton. Can I tell you actually one little anecdote?
Cause I had a reading of this a while after I wrote it and I I took it to a, there was a, a reading of a couple of short plays mm-hmm and mine was one of them. A few people walked out before my play was gonna be read which I, which really hurt my feelings. Yeah. And I sort of, I overheard a woman walking away and, and she said goodbye to her friend.
And she said, I’m not gonna stick around for some play called Personality Test. Oh. And thinking like, I remember thinking titles matter, but I kept it and it went over really well. So she missed out,
Ava Love Hanna: you know, it’s funny because the title is what drew me to this piece. I remember when you sent it over and I was like, well, I I’ve gotta see what happens here. I didn’t know if a test was gonna happen or what, but I loved it. So I do have a final question for you. If someone on the street called out and tried to offer you a Personality Test, would you take it?
Max Langert: I would, I would definitely, I would grill them first. I would wanna know why, what I got out of it, what they get out of it. You know, that kind of thing.
Ava Love Hanna: Very much like the script.
Max Langert: Yes. Yes.
Ava Love Hanna: Awesome. Well, thanks so much for chatting with us today, Max. Oh, and, and for wearing pants this time.
Max Langert: You’re welcome. Thanks for having me
Ava Love Hanna: great. We are now proud to present Personality Test by Max Langert
INSTIGATOR: How would you like a free personality test?
PASSERBY : No thanks.
INSTIGATOR: Are you sure? It’s free.
PASSERBY : I don’t need my personality tested.
INSTIGATOR: How do you know? Have you ever had it checked?
PASSERBY : My personality’s my personality. What do I need it tested for.
INSTIGATOR: You’re afraid you might fail.
PASSERBY : I wouldn’t fail. How can you fail a personality test?
INSTIGATOR: Only one way to find out.
PASSERBY : I’m fine. I don’t need a test.
INSTIGATOR: It’s free.
PASSERBY : You mentioned that. Why are you giving free tests? What’s the catch?
INSTIGATOR: No catch. Community service.
PASSERBY : Oh I get it. You invite insecure passersby to take a test, they sit there nervously for their evaluation and you’ve got them in the palm of your hand. Is that what this is, a power trip for you?
INSTIGATOR: Let’s see. You’re stubborn, self-righteous, suspicious, have low self-esteem and have been burned in past relationships. Currently single, you worry that you’re no good in bed.
PASSERBY : You’re ridiculous.
INSTIGATOR: Ouch. I hit a nerve.
PASSERBY : What gives you the right to judge people? You’re a scrawny geek with weasely eyes and bad posture. Currently going bald prematurely, you’d lose an arm-wrestling match to a seven-year-old with pneumonia.
INSTIGATOR: See, that’s all visual. Too easy. It takes something special to see what’s inside.
PASSERBY : It this successful for you? This method? Is this how you meet women?
INSTIGATOR: Women, men, children, I don’t discriminate.
PASSERBY : And does it work, do you lure them to your side?
INSTIGATOR: I’m offering a service. Some people wash windows, some sweep chimneys, I test personalities. What do you do? Wait, let me guess. You’re in marketing.
PASSERBY : No.
PASSERBY : No.
PASSERBY : Un-uh.
INSTIGATOR: Law. You’re a paralegal.
PASSERBY : You’re not very good at this.
INSTIGATOR: I’m in the personality business, not human resources.
PASSERBY : I’m a professional tennis player.
INSTIGATOR: You’re making that up.
PASSERBY : You’re right. I’m a consultant.
INSTIGATOR: Who do you consult?
PASSERBY : Whoever can afford me.
INSTIGATOR: So you’re well off?
PASSERBY : Up and down. No one can afford me right now.
INSTIGATOR: Would you like to join me?
PASSERBY : What, testing personalities?
PASSERBY : Like a partnership?
INSTIGATOR: So to speak.
PASSERBY : For free?
INSTIGATOR: That’s right.
PASSERBY : How would I make any money?
INSTIGATOR: There’s more to it than I’m letting on.
PASSERBY : Aha. What’s the scam?
INSTIGATOR: I can’t tell you.
PASSERBY : Then I won’t join you.
INSTIGATOR: Oh okay. I’ll tell you. But it’ll cost you.
PASSERBY : How much?
INSTIGATOR: One hundred dollars.
PASSERBY : That’s not a very good scam.
INSTIGATOR: You’re strangely attracted to me, aren’t you.
PASSERBY : What? No, not at all.
INSTIGATOR: Don’t fight it. It’s natural. I feel the same way.
PASSERBY : About yourself?
INSTIGATOR: Actually yes. No, I take that back. I’ve got a long history of self-loathing that I haven’t been able to completely shake. I meant you. I’m strangely attracted to you. Well, not strangely. Just attracted.
PASSERBY : The feeling’s not mutual.
INSTIGATOR: Give it time.
PASSERBY : I’ve got a bus to catch.
INSTIGATOR: Consultants don’t take buses.
PASSERBY : Some do.
INSTIGATOR: There’ll be another one in 20 minutes. You’re unemployed. What’s the hurry.
PASSERBY : What do you want from me?
INSTIGATOR: Your attention. If you don’t want to talk about your personality we can move on.
PASSERBY : To what.
INSTIGATOR: Physical fitness. I could give you a free exam.
PASSERBY : You’re insane.
INSTIGATOR: Mental competency. That’s later. Are you married?
PASSERBY : No.
INSTIGATOR: Ever been?
PASSERBY : What do you think?
INSTIGATOR: Mm, close. You were engaged. He broke if off.
PASSERBY : Very astute.
INSTIGATOR: Personality issue?
PASSERBY : Something like that.
INSTIGATOR: That’s why you need it tested every once in a while. Make sure things are running smoothly.
PASSERBY : So where do I take this test.
INSTIGATOR: My apartment.
PASSERBY : Uh-huh. I get it.
INSTIGATOR: It’s not like that.
PASSERBY : Like what?
INSTIGATOR: Like whatever you were thinking it was. Though I like that you were thinking it. Have you pictured me naked?
PASSERBY : God no.
INSTIGATOR: You should. Keeps the imagination exercised. I’ve thought of you.
PASSERBY : You’re disgusting.
INSTIGATOR: It’s healthy. Would you ever consider going out with me?
PASSERBY : Would it involve going to your apartment?
INSTIGATOR: I never take a girl home on a first date.
PASSERBY : Unless you’re giving her a personality test.
INSTIGATOR: I don’t mix business with pleasure.
PASSERBY : You couldn’t handle me.
INSTIGATOR: Is that a dare?
PASSERBY : I’ve got baggage.
INSTIGATOR: We could go on a trip.
PASSERBY : Emotional baggage.
INSTIGATOR: An emotional trip.
PASSERBY : I’m very intense.
INSTIGATOR: I’m a free spirit. We’d match perfectly.
PASSERBY : You seem naïve.
INSTIGATOR: A mask. I’ve been around the block dozens of times.
PASSERBY : And you’re superficial.
INSTIGATOR: Depends on my mood.
PASSERBY : I’d wear you down.
INSTIGATOR: I’d cheer you up.
PASSERBY : You’d frustrate me.
INSTIGATOR: I like challenges.
PASSERBY : I’m easily annoyed.
INSTIGATOR: I’d give you space.
PASSERBY : Are you a morning person?
INSTIGATOR: Morning, noon and night.
PASSERBY : I’m a light sleeper.
INSTIGATOR: I don’t sleep.
PASSERBY : I hate morning people.
INSTIGATOR: You and me both.
PASSERBY : You’re too agreeable.
INSTIGATOR: I don’t think so.
PASSERBY : And too upbeat.
INSTIGATOR: That’s what they said about Hamlet.
PASSERBY : They did not.
INSTIGATOR: Some did. About half way through the play. But he was just pulling their legs. It was all an act.
PASSERBY : Is that what this is?
PASSERBY : This.
INSTIGATOR: It’s a game. It’s life.
PASSERBY : I have kids.
PASSERBY : I knew it. That always shuts ’em up.
INSTIGATOR: How old.
PASSERBY : Six.
PASSERBY : Years.
INSTIGATOR: You said kids. Plural.
PASSERBY : That’s right. Twins.
INSTIGATOR: Both six? Never mind. You don’t dress them the same, do you?
PASSERBY : Sometimes.
INSTIGATOR: I hate that. Squashes individuality.
PASSERBY : It’s cheap and easy.
INSTIGATOR: And psychologically damaging.
PASSERBY : They’re just clothes.
INSTIGATOR: Clothes make the man.
PASSERBY : They’re girls.
INSTIGATOR: Oh. I guess that’s okay then.
PASSERBY : Because they’re girls?
INSTIGATOR: I don’t know. Clothes don’t make the woman, do they?
PASSERBY : I’m not sure. What makes a woman?
INSTIGATOR: Sugar and spice and everything nice.
PASSERBY : They say it’s a girl’s prerogative to change her mind.
INSTIGATOR: Have you changed your mind about me?
PASSERBY : Yes.
PASSERBY : No. I don’t know what you’re after.
INSTIGATOR: What we’re all after.
PASSERBY : Money?
PASSERBY : Companionship?
PASSERBY : Are you religious?
PASSERBY : On what.
INSTIGATOR: How desperate I am.
PASSERBY : Have you taken this personality test of yours?
PASSERBY : And?
INSTIGATOR: I already knew the answers. It wasn’t fair.
PASSERBY : Why do you do it?
PASSERBY : Test personalities.
INSTIGATOR: Make a connection, learn something new about people.
PASSERBY : Why don’t you just talk to them?
INSTIGATOR: Like we’re doing now?
PASSERBY : Sure.
INSTIGATOR: People are never completely honest in conversation. Not sincere.
PASSERBY : What about you?
PASSERBY : So that’s what this is about? Sincerity?
INSTIGATOR: Truth. Cutting to the chase.
PASSERBY : Isn’t this the chase? You chasing me?
INSTIGATOR: I never thought about it like that.
PASSERBY : Well I don’t like tests.
INSTIGATOR: This one’s easy. Multiple choice.
PASSERBY : Even worse. Too much pressure.
INSTIGATOR: It’s free.
PASSERBY : Doesn’t matter. I would get a drink with you if you wanted.
INSTIGATOR: What about your bus?
PASSERBY : There’ll be another one in 20 minutes.
INSTIGATOR: Aren’t you afraid I’ll take advantage of you?
PASSERBY : I can hold my liquor.
INSTIGATOR: Too bad. I’d like to take advantage of you.
PASSERBY : Except that you never take a girl home on the first date.
INSTIGATOR: Unless she’s taking a personality test.
PASSERBY : I told you I don’t like tests.
INSTIGATOR: But if you were drunk…
PASSERBY : You’d take advantage of me by giving me a personality test?
PASSERBY : Can’t you get to know me the old fashioned way? Over time?
INSTIGATOR: I’m getting too old for that. It’s too big an investment. I need to know up front so I’m not disappointed later.
PASSERBY : That’s so… so…
PASSERBY : Cold.
INSTIGATOR: Saves time. Saves pain. Saves money.
PASSERBY : Money?
INSTIGATOR: On drinks, meals, all that incidental mumbo jumbo.
PASSERBY : Well, I’m sorry. I’m not very good at tests.
INSTIGATOR: That’s unfortunate. I think we had a lot of potential.
PASSERBY : Had?
INSTIGATOR: That’s right. It’s over.
PASSERBY : What’s over? Us?
PASSERBY : That was fast.
INSTIGATOR: An effective use of time.
PASSERBY : Maybe if we hung out a little longer things would work out.
INSTIGATOR: Maybes don’t cut it in this day and age.
PASSERBY : You can end it that easily?
INSTIGATOR: Well it never really began, did it.
PASSERBY : Is that we’ve come to? A few questions, a multiple choice test to figure out if two people are compatible?
INSTIGATOR: It’s called progress.
PASSERBY : It’s cowardly, impersonal.
INSTIGATOR: We could have sex.
PASSERBY : Before or after the test?
INSTIGATOR: I thought you don’t like tests.
PASSERBY : I don’t.
INSTIGATOR: We could have sex instead of the test. A fling. If you’re looking for something less impersonal.
PASSERBY : And would we see each other again?
INSTIGATOR: Not unless you took the personality test. I wouldn’t want any loose ends.
PASSERBY : So we’re talking about meaningless sex.
INSTIGATOR: It’s the best kind.
PASSERBY : I’m not interested.
INSTIGATOR: I didn’t think you would be. You’re going to miss your bus.
PASSERBY : I suppose you’re right. Maybe I’ll see you around?
INSTIGATOR: I hope not. Too many memories.
PASSERBY : Of course. Well…
INSTIGATOR: So long.
PASSERBY : It was nice knowing you.
INSTIGATOR: Ditto. Get your personality tests here. Step right up. No obligations. No dotted lines. Absolutely free. Right this way…
Ava Love Hanna: You’ve just heard Personality Test by Max Langert. If you’d like to read more of Max’s work, you can visit his website maxlangert.com. You can also find him on Twitter or read his plays on NPX the new play exchange. We’ll have a blog post with more information about Max, links to his social media pages, as well as a link to a free Personality Test you can take at home.
You can find all of that on our website storiesfound.com
This episode has been graciously sponsored by Team Jemini Designs the perfect place to find bold, fun, pop culture themed items. I’m not exaggerating when I say that most of the t-shirts in my own closet were designed by Tasha. Visit her at TeamJeminiDesigns.com
Thanks for listening to Stories Found. We’ve been your hosts, Ava Love Hanna and Paul Hanna. Get more info about this week’s episode, subscribe to our newsletter, or submit your own story and be a featured storyteller in a future episode. You can do all that and more on our website StoriesFound.com.
Stories Found was recorded at ELA studios deep in the heart of Austin, Texas.