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Friday, August 3, 2012

Play #2 - Welcome Home

Much like the first play, this one began with an initial picture of how the scene began, and then I just let the characters take it for here. The difference is that very premise demands immediate conflict and also insists on a resolution of some finality, as compared to "Men", which just sort of... ended.

Not that the play is perfect. It's way over the top melodrama, with extreme situations and gun play. (you can tell I wrote it immediately after writing the first) But I think it's a bit gripping and I sort of love how these characters communicate together. Definitely a Greek ending though. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Welcome Home

(A kitchen. Night. Veronica sits in the dark holding a small pistol and smoking a cigarette. We hear the sound of a car door slamming shut and then the side door opens. Dennis opens the door. He makes no effort to turn on the light. He sneaks his way across the room. He has not noticed Veronica. He is almost to the other side of the room when Veronica speaks in a calm voice:)
Veronica - Good morning Dennis.
(Dennis starts up, surprised. He turns back.)
Dennis - Jesus, Veronica. You scared me.
Veronica - I’m sorry, darling.
Dennis - What are you doing sitting out here in the dark? Is that-- are you smoking?
Veronica - Among other things.
Dennis - What’s wrong with you? It’s been ages since you... and in the house! (he turns on the light. We see that both are fully dressed, though Veronica is immaculately put together wheras Dennis looks rumpled. She has the small pistol aimed at him. She takes another drag off her cigarette.) What’s that?
Veronica - It’s a gun darling. I’m surprised you don’t recognize it. You bought it for my forty-fifth birthday after your brother got robbed in Florida.
Dennis - Yes, honey. I recognize it. What are you planning on doing with that thing?
Veronica - That remains to be seen, Dennis. (she takes another drag off the cigarette. Dennis does not move) Darling, while you’re up, do you think you could pour me a sherry?
Dennis - Veronica, it’s four o clock in the morning.
Veronica - What a strange time to be coming home.
Dennis - Look, I think before we jump to any conclusions, you should put away that thing.
Veronica - I don’t think so, Dennis. Funny, I’ve never once used it since you bought it for me all those years ago. I don’t know why. I look good with it, don’t you think, darling? It suits me.
Dennis - You’re frightening me, sweetheart.
Veronica - Thank you, Dennis. That was the general idea. The sherry, please.
Dennis - I’m not giving you any alcohol, Veronica.
Veronica - Oh. (she casually shoots at the wall behind him.)
Dennis - Jesus Christ!
Veronica - I don’t think you’re taking me seriously, Dennis.
Dennis - Are you out of your mind?
Veronica - No, Dennis. I--
Dennis - Are you crazy? Look at that, you just shot the wall! What is wrong with--
(She shoots the window on the other side of him. It shatters with a crash. Dennis shrieks and cowers.)
Veronica - Darling, I don’t think I’ve made mention of this much during our twenty-two years of marriage, but you are always cutting me off. And I. Don’t. Like it.
(beat. Dennis continues cowering.)
Veronica - Now. My sherry.
(Dennis, terrified now stands and without turning his back to her proceeds to get a glass down and pour the sherry.)
Veronica - Very good. How does it feel to listen to someone else for a change?
Dennis - It is clear that you’re very upset. And I’m trying to listen to you, but it’s very hard to--
Veronica - If you want to listen, Dennis, here’s a novel suggestion: stop. talking.
(Dennis nods acquiescently and continues pouring the drink.)
Veronica - This is nice. I like this. Us. In the same room. You not talking, which means you not lying. It’s a pleasant change of pace.
(Dennis has finished pouring the drink. He holds it apprehensively.)
Veronica - Well?
Dennis - I don’t think I should give this to you.
Veronica - Well, darling. I suppose you could try not giving it to me, though I think you might not be happy with what happens in that scenario.
Dennis - Jesus Christ, Veronica. What the hell is going on.
Veronica - Angela Granger. (beat.) She came to visit me today.
Dennis - I don’t know that name.
Veronica - No. I don’t suppose you do. She’s married now. She used to go by Angie. Angie Norbauer.
Dennis - (trying to remember) Norbauer..
Veronica - She was Rebecca’s friend.
Dennis - Becky...
Veronica - Remember now?
Dennis - I... I...
Veronica - Of course it’s been a while. I didn’t recognize her myself when she appeared at the door. She and Rebecca were so close, you couldn’t separate them. Girl scouts, summer camp, sleepovers...
Dennis - Listen, Veronica--
Veronica - But that was a long time ago. Angela’s father was in the airforce. I remember when she moved. Rebecca was inconsolable for weeks. But again, that was a very long time ago. They were both twelve at the time. Twelve.
(Dennis backs into the counter behind him but remains mute.)
Veronica - Do you remember her now, darling? Does she spring to your mind?
Dennis - Um.. I--
Veronica - Can you imagine what reason Angela could have to come back after all this time?
Dennis - Was she looking for Becky?
Veronica - No darling. She wasn’t. She was looking for you. You, Dennis. She seemed very upset but determined. There was a certain deadness to her eyes, a deadness I recognized. But a fire too. I told her you were at work. She asked if she could wait. I told her it would be a very long time. She said she had waited fifteen years, a few more hours weren’t going to kill her. And so I let her in and she sat on our living room couch for four straight hours. She wouldn’t eat. She wouldn’t drink. She just sat there. Waiting. After tonight I know what she felt like. It’s very late Dennis, but I didn’t mind staying up for you. Let me tell you, the hours flew by.
Dennis - I... I think I’d like to sit down.
Veronica - I think you’d like a lot of things, darling. But I’d prefer you stand.
Dennis - Veronica...
Veronica - Don’t. Don’t talk to me. Don’t you try to cudgel me with your haggard voice. After this four hours of waiting there, I finally wore her down. I finally found a crack and Dennis, do you know what she did? She started crying. These terrible, these heaving sobs. And she sat there and she cried like that for a very long time. And I sat with her and I watched her and eventually she stopped. And then: she told me what happened.
Dennis - Am I supposed to know what that means?
Veronica - She told me what you did to her. Repeatedly. During several nights over. She told me that you raped her.
Dennis - That’s a lie!
Veronica - I didn’t believe it either, Dennis. I... and I cannot believe this, I became indignant on your behalf. I threw her out of the house! I did. I feel shitty about it now, but it was my first reaction. There are some ideas that are so outrageous, so hurtful, such an anathema that the mind immediately rejects them. Cannot begin to come to grips with their implications, and as much as I know you to be an adulterous uncaring swine, even I couldn’t believe it was true.
Dennis - Veronica...
Veronica - Shut up. But then, I sat with it. And I had another lean cuisine microwavable feast all alone like every night, and I couldn’t stop thinking of her eyes. Those dead haunted eyes. And then I remembered where I had seen them before. Our daughter has them, Dennis. Rebecca. So I called her up.
Dennis - You spoke with her?
Veronica - I did. I spoke with the daughter I swore I’d never speak to again. It’s been a momentous day, Dennis. I wonder how it’s going to end?
Dennis - Listen, you know her. You know how much she lies--
Veronica -She’s clean, Dennis. So she says. Almost nine months. And more importantly: she corroborated. It wasn’t easy. She hung up on me twice, but I finally got her to talk about it and she says that you molested Angie. She says you did it with some of her other friends. She says you used to come to her in the middle of the night, into her bedroom, a great shadow of a man and she says that you would lay down next to her and stroke her hair and call her Daddy’s Little Girl. You can give me the sherry now.
(he gives it to her. She instantly throws the drink in his face. She has been calm up until now, but now she explodes with fury)
Veronica - How DARE you. She was our daughter.
Dennis - Becky was lying. That girl hasn’t told a straight story since she was fifteen.
Veronica - Don’t give me your bullshit. Is it any wonder she turned to drugs? Is it any wonder she made any excuse she could to leave this house? YOU did this. YOU did this to OUR daughter!
Dennis - Oh, don’t give me that high and mighty speech. As if you ever cared enough about her to pay attention to whatever the hell was going on. But no. Maybe she wouldn’t have run away if mommey dearest didn’t drink a third of vodka every night just to get to bed!
Veronica - You be careful how you talk, Dennis. I am on a knife’s edge and I am beyond the point of caring whether you live or die.
Dennis - Oh give me a break, Veronica. If you’re going to shoot me, just do it already. I can’t stand another moment of your grandstanding.
Veronica - Don’t think I won’t!
Dennis - But I’d think twice about it. I don’t think you’d like jail much. There’s no happy hour in prison.
Veronica - You had sex with our daughter!
Dennis - That is a lie!
Veronica - And what gives you any idea I’m inclined to believe you?
Dennis - Because you were right before. I may not be a good husband. I may be neglectful and a cad and all of these things, but look into my eyes Veronica. Look at them. I am not a monster. Don’t you see what she’s doing here? It’s what she’s always done. Feeding you some story, playing mind games. She probably put that friend up to it, sent her here knowing it would rile you up, knowing how much it would torture you, torture us both. This is a sick game to her. You were the fish. She had the hook. And you took the bait, hook, line and sinker.
Veronica - No.. you’re wrong... I don’t...
Dennis - Think back, Veronica. How many times has she led us down these blind alleys? Do you remember Patrick, our grandchild who didn’t exist? Do you remember putting her through an Art School she didn’t even attend? This is what she does. This is who she is. You can’t believe her. You know this. You know this.
Veronica - I... I...
Dennis - Give me the gun, Veronica.
Veronica - (confused) What? No, I--
Dennis - Honey, take a deep breath and give me the pistol.
Veronica - I don’t want to believe...
Dennis - You don’t have to. You don’t have to do anything. You’ve had a long day, a nightmare of a day, but it’s over. We can sort this out when we wake up in the morning, but for now, just close your eyes, give me the gun, and we can both get some sleep.
Veronica - ...sleep...
Dennis - Yes. Just hand me the...
Veronica - No. No. I don’t believe you. I don’t.
(but she’s out of it enough that she lets down her guard. Dennis lunges for the gun, two two fight, both hands on the gun. She knees him in the groin and slams his hand down on the counter.)
Dennis - You bitch!
(she pries the gun away from his hands and twists around. Dennis grabs her from behind, his arsm are holding her fast, scrabbling to reach for the gun.)
Veronica - You lying bastard.
Dennis - Give me the gun, darling. You don’t want to make this difficult.
(As Veronica speaks she, with great effort twists the pistol around so that it points at her chest, and at Dennis directly behind her.)
Veronica - You know Dennis, I truly loved you once upon a time. I used to think we could be happy together.
Dennis - It’s not my fault you’re a romantic.
Veronica - No. I suppose it isn’t. Goodbye Dennis. Thanks for the memory.
*LIGHTS OUT - coinciding with a GUNSHOT*

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