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SCRIPTING SAMPLE: plays, drama

 

Harry M. Bagdasian

hbagdasian@aol.com

240-381-3196

 

 

 

Sharon's Play

a short play by Harry Michael Bagdasian

 

SYNOPSIS

Young marrieds, Sharon and Jerry, both in their mid-twenties, see their relationship nearly crumble because of a miscarriage.  Then when going through a box of snapshots, they find a way to cope.

 

CHARACTERS:

SHARON MICHAELSON, age 25, an ex-farm girl with a tough exterior, yet big heart, traits acquired while growing up in this rural farmland.  The repercussions (seemingly beyond her control) from a recent event, have left this clerk-typist unemployed, very unsure and frightened.  She is married to:

 

JERRY MICHAELSON, age 25, the son of a local waterman, and who wants a career in the well-ordered world of electronics.  He's currently a TV cable installer and moonlighting handy-man.  Usually a very amiable young man he now finds himself a little overwhelmed in new, uncharted waters.

 

VERA KINGSTON (nee Edwards), an aging "bobbysoxer" who owns and manages this boarding house.

 

 

TIME: 1988

 

 

SETTING:

The set could be as simple as a small couch and coffee table representing Sharon and Jerry’s sparsely furnished apartment.  A pool of light could serve the short scene on the front porch of this old Victorian manse. There is a medium sized cardboard box sitting by the entrance to the apt.  Several "Book of Lists" or other such “easy reading” books are on the couch.

 

 

SCENE ONE

Wednesday Evening

 

SHARON, dressed in faded jeans and a tee-shirt, is looking through a bag of groceries, delivered by her landlady, VERA KINGSTON.  SHARON extracts a jar of dry-roasted peanuts and munches a few during the following:

 

                                                                  VERA

... happy to do it for you; change is in the bag there.  I'm just amazed at all the different kinds of bottled water they're selling nowadays.  Did I get you ...

 

SHARON pulls a gallon jug of inexpensive spring water from the bag as:

 

                                                                  SHARON

This is fine, thanks.

 

                                                                  VERA

S'amazing, don't you think?  Years ago whenever anyone went to Europe they were told not to drink the water.  Now they're paying a dollar a bottle for it.

 

                                                                  SHARON

Doctor says well water and I aren't getting along too good.

 

                                                                  VERA

I'd think you'd need the iron.  Oh whatever.  You're feeling better now, aren't you?  Not that I mind picking things up for you at the grocery, I just think maybe some sun ...

 

                                                                  SHARON

I appreciate you running all these errands for me ...

 

                                                                  VERA

I always tell everyone you and Jerry are dream tenants ...

 

                                                                  SHARON

Since I got out of the hospital ...

 

                                                                  VERA

It's been three weeks.  Maybe some sun.

 

                                                                  SHARON

... I've been too weak to go ...

 

                                                                  VERA

I'll let you rest, then.  (pauses at door)  Jerry is fixing to repair that front porch light.

 

 

                                                                  SHARON

He's taken on extra work -- moonlighting nights.

 

                                    VERA notices the box of clothes by the door

 

                                                                  VERA (sympathetic)

You bought all those clothes.  Should I ... [take them out?]

 

                                                                  SHARON

He needs a new breaker. 

 

                                                                   VERA

Maybe you should keep them.  I mean eventually ...

 

                                                                  SHARON (cutting VERA off)

For the light to work on the porch he needs a new breaker.

 

                                                                  VERA

Fine.  I'd feel better if it were working properly before I leave Friday morning.  When the Chairman of the Board performs in the east -- I'm in the audience.  Did I tell you I was there at the Paramount in New York?  He was singing with the Tommy Dorsey Band back then.

 

SHARON's heard it all before, but she likes VERA and the stories she tells

 

                                                                  SHARON  (almost smiles)

Girls fainting, throwing panties at the stage ...

 

                                                                  VERA  (with mock modesty)

Some were.

 

                                                                  SHARON  (kidding)

Vera ...

 

                                                                  VERA

The man just had that kind of power over us.  I feel sorry for those Elvis fans.  Their King is gone.  But my Frankie?  -- still with us.  What a voice!  He doesn't sound the way he did back then, but I can't wear a size six any more either.  There's no stopping time, is there?

 

                                                                  SHARON

No.

 

                                                                  VERA

Hon, let me take you out to the beach while the sun's still with us.

 

 

 

                                                                  SHARON

I have my books. 

 

                                                                  VERA

With Jerry working for the cable TV I'd think ...

 

                                                                  SHARON

I never liked that much television anyway.  We got good money for it.

 

                                                                  VERA

I've got that old black and white portable television. 

 

                                                                  SHARON

(SHARON shakes her head, "No")  The doctor said just rest. 

 

                                                                  VERA

You're still young, there's plenty of time for more babies.

 

                                                                  SHARON

I'll let you know about the beach.

 

                                                                  VERA (exiting)

Everything looks better with a little perspective, hon.  Well, have a good evening.

 

                                                                  SHARON

Thanks, Vera.

 

                                                                  SHARON

Evening already.  Another evening.  (sighs).

 

SHARON picks up one of her books, opens the jar of peanuts and begins reading.  Abruptly, there's a lighting shift.  SHARON gets up, and, fully energized, steps into a light downstage center.  This is the SHARON she's lost touch with, the dynamic woman she remembers herself to be before the miscarriage.  She addresses the audience:

 

                                                                  SHARON

Damn!  Who is that woman?  Weak-willed.  Frightened!  What have I become?  Let me tell you something.  Ten, eleven years back, when I was in school, there were warm and maybe not so warm days when walking home from the bus, I'd cut across the pasture instead of going all the way up the road to the drive.  I'd find Blackjack -- moody and spirited as he was, I'd jump up on his back, grab his mane and ride him up to the house.  No reigns, no saddle, no tack, nothing.  Just hop that unpredictable horse and ride.  I handled him. Just me and that big animal, and I always could handle him.  Damn, but that took some nerve!  Did that die inside me, too?

 

                                                                 Blackout

 

 

                                                            SCENE TWO

                                                    That Night around 10:00

 

LIGHTS: up

SHARON is lying on the couch, covered with an afghan. She's just put her book down.  JERRY, dressed in tan work clothes stands at the end of the couch sipping a soda.  He makes no move to embrace his wife.  During the following he never touches her, nor does he sit close to her.

 

                                                                  SHARON

Jerry.

 

                                                                  JERRY

You still up?

 

                                                                  SHARON

You're kinda late tonight.

 

                                                                  JERRY (pleased)

Got the job finished.  Re-cabled all the TV's in that old nursing home.

 

                                                                  SHARON

Good.

 

                                                                  JERRY

Gonna pay me tomorrow night.  Ready, under the table cash.  That'll sure help, huh?  Get the hospital off our back for a few weeks at least.

 

                                                                  SHARON

You eat?

 

                                                                  JERRY

Got something on the road.  You?

 

                                                                  SHARON

A snack.  Wasn't much hungry.

 

                                                                  JERRY

But your strength -- you gotta ....

 

                                                                  SHARON

Wasn't hungry.

 

                                                                  JERRY (looks in bag)

Get over to Servicestar for that breaker I needed?

 

                                                                  SHARON

Vera picked up a couple things from the I.G.A. for me.

 

                                                                  JERRY

I wanted to fix that light tonight.

 

                                                                  SHARON

It's late.

 

                                                                  JERRY

Wanted to get it over with.

 

                                                                  SHARON

I got to reading.  Listen to this -- the ten most bungled burglaries ...

 

                                                                  JERRY

All that'll turn your brain to oatmeal, Sharon.  Damn.  You could'a gotten me that breaker switch.

 

                                                                  SHARON

I was tired.

 

                                                                  JERRY

I'll pick up the damn thing myself.

 

                                                                  SHARON

Listen to this, it's a grin.  This guy see, he tries to ...

 

                                                                  JERRY

I don't wanna hear it, okay?

 

                                                                  SHARON

Well, I thought it was funny

 

                                                                  JERRY

I'm not in the mood ...

 

                                                                  SHARON

I wasn't in the mood to go out, okay?

 

                                                                  JERRY

You call the Goodwill?

 

                                                                  SHARON

I forgot.

 

 

                                                                  JERRY  (indicating box)

It's been sitting here for ...

 

                                                                  SHARON

I'm not ready

 

                                                                  JERRY  (picks up box)

I'm taking it to the dumpster.

 

                                                                  SHARON

No, I'll take care of them.

 

                                                                  JERRY

When?

 

                                                                  SHARON

Soon.

 

                                                                  JERRY

You said that last week.

 

                                                                  SHARON

I don't think I want his clothes in a Goodwill store somewhere, okay?

 

                                                                  JERRY

It's gotta go.

 

                                                                  SHARON

Jerry, put it down.  (He puts it down)  You just can't put it in the trash.  Why are you acting like nothing happened?

 

                                                                  JERRY

I'm not acting like nothings happened.  I'm being realistic.

 

                                                                  SHARON

No you're not.

 

                                                                  JERRY

We didn't get a lot of choice in the matter.  Life's tough, okay?

 

                                                                  SHARON

"Life's a bitch, then you die."  Thanks, Jer.

 

                                                                  JERRY

I'm going to bed.

 

                                                                  SHARON

Wait.

 

                                                                  JERRY

What?

 

                                                                  SHARON

What about never going to bed angry?  Didn't we ... [agree]?

 

                                                                  JERRY

Yeah, well, that was back then.  Before.  This is now.

 

JERRY exits.  SHARON plops down on the couch, pick up her book and tries to read.

Abruptly, the lights shift.  SHARON enters a pool of light downstage center and  talks to the audience.

 

                                                                SHARON

You know what steams me?  The first thing everyone asks is how old I am.  'Oh," they reassure me, 'you're young enough to have other babies.'  Right.  I wanted that baby --  William.  Not Bill or Billy -- he was too strong.  We could see that from the ultra sound thing they did.  We even got to keep the pictures of him in there.  Oh yeah.  He was definitely a William.  They just don't know how real he was to us.  It's gotten almost silly now, three weeks since it happened.  People call.  "I'm so sorry you lost the baby."  "No problem," I want to tell them.  "We're still looking.  It's a small apartment, so I'm sure he'll turn up someday soon."  I didn't lose the baby,  I had a miscarriage.  Our son died.  But they don't know.  They're sure I'll have more because I'm young enough.  Young enough for what?  To go back to work?  To understand why Jerry won't talk about it?  Young enough for what?  To have extra years to live with it -- or young enough to forget.  I'll never be that young.

 

                        SHARON retreats to the couch.

 

Blackout

 

 

                                                          SCENE THREE

                                                        a few moments later

 

Holding a shoe box, JERRY enters quickly to the pool of light downstage, desperate to talk to someone But he is alone.  For a moment, we're more aware of the night.  We hear crickets, maybe a boat passing on the river.

 

                                                     VERA  (entering, crosses to JERRY)

That you, Jerry?

 

                                                     JERRY

Yes, ma’am..

 

                                                     VERA

Good evening.

 

                                                     JERRY

Sorry that the porch light's not fixed, Vera.  Sharon forgot to pick up the breaker I needed.

 

                                                     VERA

She didn't forget, Jerry.  The girl's petrified.  She won't leave the house.  She needs to let it all go and you do to.

 

                                                     JERRY

It's not my fault!

 

                                                     VERA

She knows it's not your fault.  She thinks it’s hers.

 

                                                     JERRY

She's telling me I'm acting like nothing's happened.  I was so angry!  Her talkin' to me that way!   My Dad would've smacked her!  But that's not me. 

 

                                                     VERA

You're better than that, Jerry.

 

                                                     JERRY

So I'm up there standing at our dresser, looking at myself in the mirror and for the umpteenth time in three weeks, I decide it's time to cut out of here; no figuring her out -- no hope of changing things. 

 

                                                     VERA

That's not you, either, Jerry.

 

 

 

                                                     JERRY

Absolutely!  So I'm not sure whether to go back and talk to her or just go to sleep all angry and all.  Damn!

 

                                                     VERA

What's in the box?

 

                                                     JERRY

Was on the bed -- box of pictures -- some of them scattered on the quilt.  I started tossing them into the box when I saw this one picture.  The two of us.  It was back when ... (he stops) ... doesn't matter when it was ...

 

                                                     VERA

A better time?

 

                                                     JERRY

Better times, yeah.  And I'm thinking while I look at that picture, where's that girl gone?  She's not like that now.  Not anymore.

 

                                                     VERA

You're certain of that?

 

                                                     JERRY

It's just ...

 

                                                     VERA

How do you know?  Go to her.  She needs you.

 

                                                     JERRY

I don't know who's got the bigger need right now, Vera; her for me or me for her.

 

                                                     VERA

Go on.  Go upstairs.  And if she's asleep, wake her up.

 

                                                     JERRY

Goodnight, Vera.

 

                                                     VERA

Good luck, Jerry.

 

LIGHTS: fade out as

JERRY takes a couple of deep breaths and exits

 

 

 

 

Scene Four

Immediately Following

 

JERRY enters, goes to the couch where SHARON is reading

 

                                                                  JERRY  (quiet, tentative)

(indicating the shoe box)  When you get this out? 

 

                                                                  SHARON

Was looking at 'em earlier.  Did you ever realize that everyone in your family wears glasses?

 

                                                                  JERRY

Really?

 

JERRY sits on the couch, places the box between them.  He takes off the lid, folds back the tissue paper, and they begin to look through the pictures.

 

                                                                  SHARON

See.  Here.  B.J.'s wedding.  Your parent's anniversary party.  Lots of specs.  The lunch after Donny's kid's baptism.

 

                                                                  JERRY

Yeah.  So they do.

 

JERRY pulls out another picture

He shows it to her

 

                                                                  SHARON

High School senior picnic. 

 

                                                                  JERRY

Just a few year's ago.

 

                                                                  SHARON

More like six or seven, Jer.

 

                                                                  JERRY

I'spose.

 

                                                                  SHARON

You'd been playin' touch football, remember.  Good lookin' boy.

 

                                                                  JERRY (slightly defensively)

Still am.

 

 

                                                                  SHARON

Little, yeah.

 

                                                                  JERRY

Damn, I look so young. 

 

                                                                  SHARON

That long hair.

 

                                                                  JERRY

You dyed it blond, remember?

 

                                                                  SHARON

A great smile.

 

                                                                  JERRY

Looks different.  Makes you wonder who that person is and where he's gone, don't it?

 

SHARON picks up another picture

 

                                                                  SHARON

That was a while ago.

 

                                                                  JERRY

We were out looking for a tree.  Our first Christmas tree.  (picks up another picture.)  Here.  This is just after you axed it down, remember?

 

                                                                  SHARON (a little amazed)

That was me.

 

                                                                  JERRY

It's you.

 

                                                                  SHARON

Me?

 

                                                                  JERRY

Course.

 

                                                                  SHARON

Different.  I look different.

 

                                                                  JERRY

You took the axe from me and chopped that sucker down.

 

 

                                                                  SHARON

I did, didn't I?

 

 

                                                                  JERRY

You were on the ball that day.

 

                                                                  SHARON

Gimme another.

 

JERRY rummages into the box and pulls a picture from the bottom of the pile.  He starts to give it to her, but stops

 

                                                                  JERRY

Ah, not this one.

 

                                                                  SHARON

Let me ... oh.

 

Without thinking, SHARON quickly takes the picture from JERRY before she realizes what it is.  She becomes very still.  Both of them do because it is the ultra-sound photograph of their dead son.

 

 

                                                                  SHARON

William.

 

They sit quiet, the two of them, without looking at one another.  Then, after a moment, SHARON without looking at him:

 

                                                                  SHARON

I'm stuck, Jer.  It feels like quicksand and I don't know what to do about it.  I know what I'm supposed to do.  What everyone's expected.  I'm supposed to be some kind of "super mom" -- the super mom of the eighties.  Have a job, be a wife, be a lover, be a mother.  (she stops, then quietly:) I messed up.

 

They do not look at each other during the following:

 

                                                                  JERRY

Don't say that.

 

                                                                  SHARON

How do I stop it?

 

 

 

                                                                  JERRY

You just stop.

 

                                                                  SHARON

Thanks!

 

                                                                  JERRY

What do you want?

 

                                                                  SHARON

I don't know.  (then quickly:)  I want you.

 

                                                                  JERRY  (finally, turning to her)

Sharon, I have all these emotions.  They're all bigger than me!  All these feelings with not enough places to put them.

 

                                                                  SHARON

You want to just file them away, don't you?.

 

                                                                  JERRY

I have to.  Otherwise there'd be too much goin' on, dontcha see?  And, and, and, hell, I don't even think I have enough room for it all any more!

 

                                                                  SHARON

You think I do?  You think 'cause I'm a girl I have more pockets or something like that to carry all this, this stuff?  Well, I don't!  Who's gonna help me figure this out if you can't?

 

                                                                  JERRY

Who's gonna help me?  I'm sorry you lost the baby, Sharon!

 

                                                                  SHARON

It's not that easy!  It's not like losing car keys or something!

 

                                                                  JERRY

I know this isn't car keys!

 

                                                                  SHARON

At least when I do that I know they're in the apartment!  Somewhere!  That kept things under, you know, a kind of control.  This room, that one or you know, in there.  There's a limit to it.  But there are no boundaries to this.  This is endless!  We have to do something!

 

Desperate to help, but unsure how, JERRY looks at her for a short moment, then gently asks:

 

 

 

                                                                  JERRY

You need some kind of boundary here?

 

                                                                  SHARON

Can't we do something, you and me?  It has to be you and me.

 

JERRY doesn't have an answer.  They both look down at their hands.  Neither has an answer.  Then JERRY gently empties the shoe box, holds it out to her.

 

                                                                  JERRY

Maybe we just need to say goodbye.

 

                                                                  SHARON

You think?

 

                                                                  JERRY

Maybe it's like a finish line we have to cross or something.  We can even put in some of the clothes or a toy -- from that box over there.

 

Hesitantly, SHARON goes to the box next to the door and removes a little receiving blanket from it as she tells him very matter-of-factly:

 

                                                                  SHARON

When Blackjack got so old and was dying, we didn't want to put him down.  But the way that old horse looked at us -- he was just layin' there.  We'd been up with him most the night.  It was hopeless.  Daddy suggested I go back to the house and fix us some coffee, so I did.

 

SHARON carefully wraps the ultra-sound photo in the blanket, and returns to the couch as

 

                                                                  SHARON

Back over to the house, I was at the sink, water was running, but I still heard the gun shot.  It hurt, but, you know, it was cut and dry.  Daddy took care of everything.  All I had to see was a mound of fresh dirt on the hillside up from the pond.

 

SHARON sits on the couch.  The shoe box is on JERRY's lap.  She carefully places the little bundle in the box.  JERRY then lovingly folds the tissue paper closed and carefully places the lid on the shoe box.  JERRY keeps both hands on the lid during the following:

 

                                                                  JERRY

I loved him, too, you know.

 

                                                                  SHARON

You did, Jer, I know you did.

 

 

                                                                  JERRY

First thing in the morning?

 

                                                                  SHARON

Over to Dad's farm.  Under that big dogwood.

 

                                                                  JERRY

Good.

 

                                                                  SHARON

I want to wear black.

 

                                                                  JERRY

Can we ask Vera?  She can read from her Bible.

 

                                                                  SHARON

I'd like that very much.

 

JERRY places the box on the coffee table before them.  They look at the box a moment, then …

 

For the first time, they embrace. 

They hold each other very tight until the lights have faded to black.

 

LIGHTS BLACKOUT

END OF PLAY

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