Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Let Freedom Ring, tomorrow.




This is a one act play. 

Curtains -

Setting: Kitchen with formica table and two chairs, cabinets, sink, stove, and coffee machine. It is morning. The entire play takes place during a ten minute phone conversation. The main character is on the phone with her sister. The husband is off stage. You never see him, but you hear him.
One character: Esther – is seventy years old – active and passionate. Her facial expressions reinforce her words and feelings. She is originally from Long Island, New York, so she has a distinct New York accent.

She is sitting down at the kitchen table, which is cluttered with breakfast items. She is drinking a cup of coffee and she’s on the phone, so every pause indicates she is listening to what her sister is saying on the other end.

Esther – Hey sis, did I wake you up? No? Good. I haven’t slept since four o’clock this morning, (she sounds exhausted).
Pause
Esther – Yeah, I’m ok just had a lot on my mind (big sigh). I’m calling you to let you know I’m finally leaving him.
Pause
Esther – Yeah, you’re right. I’ve said it a thousand times before, but this time I mean it. I’ve had enough.
Pause
Esther – No, nothing’s different. That’s the damn problem. Fifty years of catering to his every need. Fifty years of picking up after him. Fifty years of begging him to do something around the house. Nothing has changed.
Pause
Esther - During this pause, Esther walks around the table clearing up breakfast dishes and bringing them to the sink.
Husband - (yelling from off stage)– Esther! Where’s my blue golf shirt?
Esther – Hanging in your closet. Where else would it be? (She says this to her husband) to herself she says, "Pain in the ass" and she makes a face.
Esther - (back to the phone) Did ya hear him? He didn’t even help me with the dishes this morning. He eats and leaves. He never stays with me. We never even talk anymore; he just eats and leaves. I may as well live alone, for god’s sake.

Pause
Esther - Yes, I heard you. We’ve gone to counseling. You know we’ve gone to counseling thousands of times. It does no good. He’ll never change.
Pause
Esther - Me? Me? Why should I change? I do everything around here. He’s a pain in the neck. That’s what he is. I’m a slave to his every whim.
Pause
Esther - What do you mean he’s a good guy?  Maybe to everyone else he seems like a good guy, but for fifty years it’s like I’ve been talking to the wall. How many times have I had to ask him to pick up after himself? How many times have I told him to help me out in the yard? He only does what he wants to do when he wants to do it. I’m tired of it. Tired, I tell ya.
Pause
Esther - No, I’m not coming to visit with you for a month. That only changes him for a week or two until he forgets what it was like without me. He’ll clean up, he’ll work in the yard, heck he’ll even bring me flowers. But then, it’s back to his old routine.
Pause
Esther washes the dishes and puts them back in the cabinet. She pours herself a fresh cup of coffee and is just about to sit down when her husband calls out again.
Husband – Esther! I can’t find my golf shoes. Where did you put them?
Esther – They’re where you left them – in the hall! Why don’t you pick up after yourself! (Pain in the ass).
Husband – What? What did you say? I can’t hear you.
Esther – Pain in the ass, you can hear me all right, you just don’t want to.
Husband – What? Did you say something?
Esther makes a face like she’s totally disgusted with him and doesn’t want to listen to him anymore.
Pause
Esther – ( she’s sitting down now and gives her attention to the phone) Yeah, I hear you, but this time it’s really different. My health is starting to pay for all the stress. I tell you I’m going to have a stroke if I don’t leave. Sometimes my head aches so bad I think it’ll explode. Yesterday, my heart was pounding so fast I thought I was having a heart attack.
Pause
Esther – No, I didn’t go to the doctor. What’s he going to tell me? I’ve got to get away from these Florida summers anyway.  Summers here are like hell on earth. I feel like I’m in Dante’s Inferno, for god’s sake. I never wanted to come to this god forsaken place. It’s his fault we’re here.
Pause
Esther – No, I don’t even want a divorce. I just want to leave and never come back. I’ll have my social security check sent up north. He can have it all. I can live with Helen. She’s got that big house in Maine all to herself.
Pause
Esther – Yeah, she’s doing great after Stan died. She’s been traveling all over the world. She just came back from Bermuda. She loves being single. Hasn’t mentioned Stan since he passed away.
Pause
Esther – I don’t think it’s terrible. All he ever did was nag her about everything she did or didn’t do, and everything in between. Stan was a pain in the ass too.
Pause
Esther – No, I’m nothing like Stan. What’s wrong with you, sis. I call you to tell you I’m leaving my husband because he’s intolerable and all you can do is tell me how I should try to work things out and how I should change. Whose side are you on anyways? (Esther stands up, goes into the kitchen and begins cleaning the coffee pot, puts away the milk and sugar and returns to the kitchen table. She sits down again. We can tell she’s agitated (drumming of fingers or biting finger nails).
Pause
Esther – I’m sorry. I know you’re trying to help, but I need sympathy not a lecture.
Pause
Esther – So, now you agree with me? I should leave? (she smiles) Her attitude is beginning to change.
Pause
Esther – I know, I love Helen too. She’s a good friend and has been for years.
Pause
Esther – Yeah, she’s great and all that, but she does have her quirks. She’s kind of sloppy. If you know what I mean. The last time I visited her, I was cleaning up after her. (She makes a face as if she’s disgusted by the memory).
Pause
Esther – (she says the following as though she’s not really sure anymore): Oh sure, it’s a lot better than here, but at least here I can say what I want. There, I’ll have to watch my tongue. You know how sensitive Helen is.
Pause
Esther – (she’s shaking her head)No, no I don’t think I’ll go after all.  Anyway, the last time we talked, she said she might visit with me next month. We can go shopping and relax in the pool afterwards.
Pause
Husband – Esther honey, you wanta go out for lunch today? How about that new Chinese restaurant?
Esther – (she cups the phone with her hand - to her husband: “sounds great”) to her sister, “Hey sis, I’ve got to go. Thanks for listening. You’re the best.  I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” (she hangs up).



1 comment:

Lee said...

She needs to look, deeply, into a mirror (take-off on our lunch convo yday)!