So an ironing board. The first thing that came to mind was a hotel. You're in a hotel you need an ironing board, simple. Who was in the hotel? A brother and a sister. Why? To go to a funeral? A wedding? I think about this some more. What's the drama? What's the progression. Maybe they were late for the funeral. Maybe they missed the funeral. But what is the need? Do the characters have an objective. OK, scratch the hotel.
What else can you do with an ironing board? Well, you can carry it...in an awkward place. Like a subway. Aha! Someone carrying a ironing board on the subway. Visual jokes. Relatable (if you're a subway rider). So who would be carrying an iron board on a subway? Someone new to the subway. An out of towner. This is Dmitri, he's a drummer from Iowa.
Now we have the second character. Someone who is annoyed by the ironing board carrying Dmitri. This is Shelly. She's had a bad day and just wants to be left alone. And Dmitri, unaware that strangers don't talk to each other in New York, starts talking to Shelly. OK, we have conflict.
But what's the want here? We'll know if the play is over if the characters get what they want (or don't). Shelly wants to know why Dmitri is carrying an ironing board. And Dmitri wants a place to stay.
Characters: Check. Structure: Check. Scene: Check. Title: I came up with the title “strays” around midnight. My temp title, “A pressing concern,” was a bad pun that didn't make any sense.
With all of the above in place, it was just a question of letting the characters have their say and writing it down. I got to see the results the next day (actors and director did an amazing job) and the audience liked it. If I ever try this experiment again, though, I'd like to get an earlier start. I get tired around midnight.