Search This Blog

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Once Upon a Time, Gay was NOT okay!




Anti-homosexual PSA from 1950's/60's


This post follows on the heels of my last one.  It is very hard to believe in today's enlightened age that homosexuality was once considered not only a sin, but a moral defect.  Gay men and lesbian women had to hide in the shadows because otherwise, they would be viewed as social pariahs and misfits.  Homosexuality was a mental disease, a flawed defect.  We can see the attitude toward homosexuals in the above PSA.  I decided to write a play centered around the viewpoint of gay people during the 50's and 60's.  It wasn't until the sexual, hippie revolution of the late sixties that gays began to be viewed as people.  That and the Gay Movement that was ignited by Harvey Milk in the seventies.  Up until that point, gays had to pretend to love the opposite gender in an effort to 'pass' as heterosexual.  The play I wrote, A Posion Tree is in three parts.  'Coming Out' is the first part of three.  It is dedicated to the brave men and women who grew up in the 50's and 60's and had no choice but to live in fear and shame because of their sexuality. 


A Poison Tree 
((this is my original work and any attempt to reprint or copy needs my written permission))


 Part I: ‘Coming Out

Characters: Betty- Younger McAdams sister, 15 years old
                     Barbara- Older McAdams sister, 18 years old
                    Lawrence- Barbara's boyfriend, 18 years old
                    Radio announcer- 50's/60's radio personality voice

Setting: early 1960’s (circa 1962).  Bedroom scene.  Debutante Ball.

Pre-show ‘End of the World’ by Brenda Lee.  As music begins, show slides showing era of context of late 50’s/early 60’s.  This images should show women in traditional roles at the time.

                             

Two young teenage girls are primping for a Debutante ball.  They are not in their undergarments but rather, they are in some form of semi-dress.  One girl may have on a bathrobe while the other girl has on a t-shirt and shorts.  The younger sister, Betty, has her dressed laid out on the bed, but it is not as neatly laid out as Barbara’s, whose dress is hung up.  Barbara, the older sister, is very neat, orderly, and perfectionist.  She likes to chide Betty for her untidiness and disorganization, much like a mother would to a little child.  Betty hangs off of her sister’s words and tries to be more like Barbara each day.  She looks up to her as very the definition of idealized feminine beauty.  In an age of ads and social construct of gender, Barbara is the visual of both pin-up girl and Comet spokeswoman. 

Barbara is putting on make-up in front of the mirror while Betty lays on the bed reading a magazine.  She noisily ruffles pages and blows bubble gum while Barbara instructs her about life from the mirror.

                                                                        BARBARA
(trying to get sister’s attention but not wanting to ruin make-up or get up)  Betty!  Pause  BETTY!?    Pause  B-E-T-T-Y!  Pause.  Bet!?  Pause.  Sheesh.  (Picks up brush and throws it at her sister.)
                                                                            BETTY
(absorbed into her magazine and not at all aware Barbara is even in the room) Ow!  Gee wiz, Barbie, get a thicker brush why don’t you?  This one will only leave a bruise for two days.  If you used your Webster’s Thesaurus I bet you could leave a mark until I’m married with my own chicklettes to attend to.

                                                                         BARBARA
Old maid is more like it!  If any guy finds out about your smelly feet and snoring, you’d be lucky to marry the Creature from the Black Lagoon!

BETTY
Well, one day I’m going to marry one of the Fab Four if he’ll wait for me.  I would just die to live that life of riches and luxury.  Most of all I’d die to be arm in arm with a beefcake with a British accent.  (Screaches.  Holds up her magazine.) Ahhh..they’re all so dreamy. 

BARBARA
(while applying eye liner) You know Betty, we only have one hour to get ready.  You haven’t even showered yet!
BETTY
(smacking loudly on her gum) C’mon sis, while you’re caking up your already gorgeous face, I’m reading all the latest gossip about Ringo so when I meet him next month at The Paramore for their second appearance only to our quaint little town I’ll have something interesting to say.  Then he’ll just ask me to marry him and I’ll be Mrs. Starr.  (Pauses.  Thinks about it.  Screaches again)  I think Ringo is so dreamy I could just die!

BARBARA
Well, you will if mother ever finds out you’re not even half-dressed yet.  Pauses.  Ringo?!  Bet, now c’mon.  You know that all the girls in school admire John the most.  He’s the out of sight one! Ringo doesn’t hold the band together like John does.  Or, Paul who is so invested in his music.  Ringo doesn’t really do anything.

BETTY
Well I think he’s cute.  Besides, if the other girls don’t care for him then that means the chances of having him as my own one day are way out of sight.

BARBARA
(putting on lipstick) You’ll be out of sight if you don’t hurry up, because if you’re not dressed in twenty minutes, you aren’t going to the ball.  (Betty pouts and begins getting her clothes on but is pulled back to her magazine.)  Oh, grow up sis!  You are living in a dream world.  Now, get focused and get ready for tonight.

BETTY
(mocking, under her breath) I’ll do what Barbie says because Barbie knows what’s best for all of us.

BARBARA
I heard that. Pause  Fine.  If you end up with ratted hair and looking like something the cat dragged in, Lawrence won’t take any notice of you at all.

BETTY
Lawrence is soo dreamy!

BARBARA
You think every boy is dreamy.  Now, get dressed before I tell mom that our precious Betty decided to be a square and not to come while ruining her dating life for the next year and then you’ll be sorry. Now scram!

BETTY
Don’t flip a wig!  Pause.  Tell me about what it was like when you first kissed Lawrence?!

BARBARA
Why do you want to know that?

BETTY
Because I bet it was outta sight!

BARBARA
(half-muttering to herself) Well it was not as far out as you might think.  He’s actually a pretty bad kisser.  In fact, it was like kissing a cold, dead fish.

BETTY
EW!  (builds up anticipation, says it slowly) But was it a French Kiss? 

BARBARA
Well it wasn’t an old squaresville married couple kiss if that’s what you mean.

BETTY
(giggling)  OHH!  He smiles just like Dick Clark on ‘American Bandstand’.

BARBARA
 Oh get real!  (throws Betty’s gloves to her)

BETTY
I hope Donald is a better kisser than Lawrence.

BARBARA
Keep on dreaming.  Donald doesn’t even know you exist.

BETTY
He will after tonight.  I’m going to make sure he notices Barbara’s baby sister.

BARBARA
Well maybe I’ll help you with your make-up and your hair.  Right now, you look like the Bride of Frankenstein.

Barbara moves about the room looking for things to help improve Betty’s appearance.  As Barbara does this and in the next beat, ‘Ain’t She Sweet’ by The Beatles plays.  Barbara begins helping Betty choose a hairstyle that suits her by playing with her hair in different positions before settling on a hairdo.  She also tries to begin putting make-up on but Betty is as difficult as a fussy baby eating peas. 

BARBARA
If you don’t stop moving, I’ll never get your face on right.  Now hold still.

Betty stops moving and lets Barbara put some make-up on her.

BETTY
Hey, can I borrow your pearl necklace?

BARBARA
That was Aunt Gerdy’s and mom told both of us that it belongs to no one.

BETTY
Then why are you getting to wear it tonight?

BARBARA
Because Einstein, I am being (affected) presented into society.  That is a girl’s (mocking) most important duty to her future party guests and prospective husband’s clientel.  (Rolls eyes)  You know mom did the same thing about eighteen years ago and grandma did it. 

BETTY
(mocked repetition) And even dear Aunt Gerty was a debutante even though she had a hunchback and a lazy eye.

BARBARA
(Moves over to Betty to hand her a brush.) She just had bad posture.  And, it’s not her fault that one eye chose to wobble around in place.  (Laughs.  Tickles Betty.) Get out of here!  Go finish getting dressed.

Betty and Barbara continue getting dressed.  As they dress, ‘Calandar Girl’ by Neil Sedaka plays.  Barbara is farther along and only has to put on her shoes and gloves.  She is at the point of putting finishing touches on her ‘costumed’ demeanor.  Betty leaves stage in a presumed bathroom.  She puts on her dress and returns with her hair a mess.  Barbara sees the mess that is her sister and begins helping her look more fitting.

BARBARA
Your hair looks like a rat’s nest!  Here let me help you. 

(She takes the brush away and combs Betty’s hair. She also buttons up and smooths out her dress.  Betty pretends she doesn’t appreciate the help but relishes anything her sister does for her.)

BETTY
Ouch!  That hurts!

BARBARA
You’re such a big baby!

BETTY
Well you’re a boob and a ratfink at that!

BARBARA
Fine, I won’t help you at least look like you care about your sister’s big moment of glory.  Go into the lavatory and finish up so at least Frankenstein will be able to find his bride tonight!

Betty pouts and stands there.  She begins trying to look for Barbara’s necklace while she talks at her. 

BARBARA
You are not getting that necklace!  You insulted Aunt Gerty and besides you’ll get to wear it one day when you’re a debutante.  Pause.  Which will be never if you don’t hurry up with that polio leg of yours.

Betty storms off into the bathroom, which is offstage.  Barbara looks around to make sure she is alone.  She has her back to the ‘bathroom’.  Barbara gets a locked jewelry box out of a closet hidden from view.  She has a key hanging from inside the mirror.  She takes the key and opens the box to take out some letters.  As she reads the letters, ‘Love Letters’ by Ketty Lester begins to play.   She begins reading them to herself and gets overjoyed.  She is so happy to read them that she has to quiet her cooing down and looks around again to make sure no one is watching.  After spending a beat with the letters, she takes out the pearl necklace, marvels at it, and puts it on, puts it back into the box, and closes it.  When Barbara turns back around Betty lurks back into the ‘bathroom’.  Betty has been looking out from the bathroom as soon as she hears the cooing, thinking Barbara has gotten the pearls out.  She watches without Barbara knowing and covets the necklace. 

A telephone is heard ringing. As Barbara tries to put the key back behind the mirror her attention is diverted to the telephone and talking to her mother, so she drops it on the floor.  The key dropping to the floor should be obvious to the audience.  Betty also sees the key drop to the floor and she now knows the location of both box and key.

BARBARA
Yes mother?  Pause.  What is it?  Pause.  Lawrence?  Pause.  Okay I’ll be there to get the phone in a second. 

Barbara makes sure to put her locked box with the letters and pearl necklace back into its hiding spot.  She has already locked the box even though the key is on the floor.  She exits.

As Betty enters and looks around the bedroom, the Pink Panther theme by Henry Mancini plays.   Betty suspiciously looks out and looks around trying to make sure her sister has left their room.  She comes out of the bathroom and goes straight to the spot with the locked box and then the key.  She takes it down, opens it up, and puts on the pearl necklace.  She dances around but in the process bumps into the box.  The letters inside fall on the floor.  Betty stops, picks up the letters, picks them up with interest, and begins reading first silently and then out loud.

BETTY
Oh la la!  What have we hear?  A secret admirer?!  I knew it.  She is going steady with Lawrence but she has her eyes set on Hank.  Ohhh!  She is going to…. (Betty slows down and her mood changes.  She begins to read the letter out loud.  She is confused and really taken aback.)
Oh dearest Barbara.  My love, my muse.  My only true one!  I wish we could be together, but Lawrence is so hot headed and doesn’t even like you spending time with girlfriends so where do I fit in?  We can barely sneak away to the movies or the park without him driving around looking for you.  I fear that this cannot continue for now.  Maybe next year we can both go to Wellesley or Sarah Lawrence and then we’ll be free.  Free from the awful shackle of our small minded town.  We could even move to New York City one day.  My Cousin Mable is an artist there and knows all kinds of gay folks, and I don’t mean the common definition.  One can dream can’t she.  Oh my dear one, I dream of the day when we can be in each other’s arms.  Until that day, I’ll dream of you each night.  Yours forever.  Love and kisses, Judith. 

BETTY
What the..?  No..it can’t be.  These lines can be ad libbed.  The raw emotion should be realistic.  She looks like she has just seen an open coffin for a motorcycle accident victim.  She stands on stage for a couple beats stunned.  She sits on her bed with the letters and begins to cry.  She literally doesn’t know what to do or say.

BARBARA
(from the hallway) Yes mom.  I told her to be ready.  I’m sure she is by now.  I’ll go check. 

At hearing Barbara’s voice, Betty jumps and tries to put all the letters back in the box.  She also quickly takes the pearl necklace off but it is sticking.  She is about to be caught red handed but then the necklace unsticks.  She gets all of the box’ contents back in and puts it back in its hiding place.  She is left holding the key when Barbara walks in.

BARBARA
Stop right there in your tracks ratfink!  What were you doing while I went downstairs to answer the telephone?

BETTY
Oh nothing.  Pause.  I..uh..erm..you know me and that pearl necklace.  I just couldn’t resist. 

BARBARA
(grabbing the key from Betty) You snoop!  If you touched that necklace..I promise this will be the last debutant presentation you ever see.

BETTY
(lying but believable) I couldn’t find your secret hiding spot.  I mean, do you hide that necklace in an old shoe or something?  (frazzled) I looked everywhere and I couldn’t find it.  Maybe you put it under the mattress.  (pretends to look)

BARBARA
Stop looking.  (partly relieved) It’s well hidden. Beat.  And now that I have my key back it’s time for Cinderella to get ready for the ball my dear.  You wouldn’t want Donald to see you without your rouge on.  Go put on your face dearie!

BETTY
Oh Donald!  He’s so dreamy.

Betty exits again to the bathroom offstage.  ‘Barbara Ann’ by the Regents (or The Beach Boys) plays.  Barbara takes the key and puts it back behind the mirror.  She looks for the box in it’s hiding place, sees that its seemingly untouched, and gets the key out to unlock the box for the pearl necklace.  She notices that the hook gets stuck and starts to look annoyingly toward the bathroom.  She begins to panic and looks at her letters.  They seem in place so she calms down and sits down in front of the mirror again.  After returning the box to a new part of the closet, she begins primping at the mirror again.  She looks at herself a long time in the mirror and admires the necklace. 

BETTY
(from bathroom) I’m almost ready.

BARBARA
(lying, mimicks listening) Good because I think I hear dad getting the car started.  I bet mother will be in a fit.  (knocks on the door and pulls her sister out of the bathroom to go)

Cue Music.  ‘Elmer 21 Century Hop’ by Rodd Keith plays.  It is followed by ‘Glow Worm’ by Johnny Mercer.  Lights dim as scene shifts from bedroom to debutante ball.  This can be a pretty bare bones scene. The lighting should be mock chandelier lighting and the d├ęcor can be simple.  What the audience sees now is the lobby of the banquet hall for the ball.  There is 60’s style swing/ball music being played.  If there are extras (ie. vignettes), they can walk casually back and forth in ball attire (white dress and tuxedos). 

As lights go up, Betty is sitting on couch/divan contemplating a decision.  She thinks out an imaginary conversation with someone or maybe a small group of people.  As, she thinks, the people walking by begin to stop and say certain lines to Betty.

BETTY
..and that is what I’m worried about.  Pause.  Oh no, it doesn’t mean that I’m… Pause.  Well, I always knew that she was… Pause.  She said that kissing boys was like kissing a cold fish.  Pause.  Whenever I bring up the boy topic, she always gets nervous.  Pause.  I always knew something had to be wrong with her.  It’s not natural the way she acts.  Pause.  I saw a movie about this in science class and they call it a disease.  Barbara is perverted and a deviant at that.  Pause.  Yea, they should lock her up in the funny farm for good.  Keep us all safe.  Pause.  Betty, did you ever meet the other girl?  Does she look like half-ape, half-human or what?  Pause.  For real, is she a B movie experiment gone wrong?  I bet she looks like the bearded lady at the circus!  Pause.  What does this mean Betty?  What does this mean Betty?  What does this mean?  What does this mean? 

The people walking by repeat these lines and they leave one by one.  Then Betty repeats these lines out loud to herself.

A very handsome, debonair but conceited young male walks onto stage.  He is wearing a (period early 60’s) tuxedo with a rose in his lapel.  He looks rushed, worried, and pressed for time.

LAWRENCE
(shushes Betty)  Will you keep your voice down.  You’ll wake the dead. What on earth is the matter with you?  Have you seen Barbara anywhere? 

BETTY
Oh sorry.  I guess I am being too loud out here.

LAWRENCE
Well, it’s not like you’re about to act in a Shakespearean play for crying out loud.  What in Sam’s hill are you doing?

BETTY
I was just talking something over.

LAWRENCE
To yourself?  Pause.  You are crazier than a loon.  Your sister was right when she…

BETTY
What did Barbara say about me?

LAWRENCE
Well, she always says what an imagination you have and how you get carried away in your daydreaming but this is really taking the cake.  Laughs. (snidely) I’m sure the boys would love to hear about this. 

BETTY
You mean Donald?  You hang out with him right?  Donald Milstadt? 

LAWRENCE
(laughs) Oh, you don’t mean the boy you long for and stare at all day do you?  That wasn’t obvious at all.

BETTY
What did my sister tell you?

LAWRENCE
It doesn’t take a Braniac McGee to know how much you pine for The Donald Milstadt, number one quarter back and forward..the handsome and suave Donald Milstadt whose mother is a close friend of my own?

BETTY
Stop teasing me.  You’re always so mean to me.

LAWRENCE
I do it because it’s easy and it’s fun.

BETTY
(muttering) Well thank goodness it’s just temporary.

LAWRENCE
What did you say?

BETTY
Just that you being so mean to me is only temporary.  Once Donald gives me his pin,  you’ll be forced to change your tune.

LAWRENCE
You mean, if he gives you his pin.  It’s a big if.  And you better start sucking up if you want me to do you any favors. 

BETTY
I’d be doing you a huge favor by telling you what Barbara really thinks of you.

LAWRENCE
What are you talking about?  Barabara’s wild about me.  I bet you didn’t even know that we’ve been to Lover’s Point.

BETTY
Ew, I don’t want to know about that.  Pause.  But I’m sure she really, er, um enjoyed herself.  Betty begins laughing.

LAWRENCE
It seemed like she did.

BETTY
She probably had her mind on other…things.

LAWRENCE
What are you talking about?  Is there another boy?   What did she tell you exactly?

BETTY
I mean…well..erm…Barbara thinks kissing you is like kissing a cold, dead fish.

LAWRENCE
Oh she does?  Then how come she never pushes me away?

BETTY
Your breath smells nice.

LAWRENCE
C’mon your sister Barbie thinks I’m number one.  I’m the supreme hot honcho in her book. We’re going to be married someday. No guy can ever replace me..not now..not ever. (smoothes hands through hair.)

BETTY
(mumbles) Yea, not a guy is right.

LAWRENCE
Didn’t Barbie ever tell you that mumbling isn’t polite?  Pause.  What did you say? 

BETTY
(enjoying getting a rise out of Lawrence) Oh nothing.  (smirks)  It’s fun to play the secret game though.  I love watching a big goon like you squirm.

LAWRENCE
Who could replace me?  I’ll ask you again.  Which boy is she with? Is it Scott?  Is it Paul?  I knew I smelled another man’s aftershave on her letter sweater!  I don’t buy that cheap stuff from the Five and Dime.  I’m too dignified for that.

BETTY
I didn’t know they made you pay for bathing in garbage and dead fish.

LAWRENCE
(smells himself) I smell like a guy.  Girls like the way guys smell.  Pause.  Who is it already!?  I’ll beat him to a pulp.  Is it that greaser Paul?

BETTY
Paul!?  (laughs nervously)  I have the key and you will never unlock the secret.

LAWRENCE
Even if it includes getting Donald Milstadt to take you out and even ask you to go steady?  Even if it means your saga filled heart breaking ballad of a life will at this very moment never be the same again?

BETTY
What?

LAWRENCE
I could more than guarantee Donald’s phone call late morning tomorrow asking you to wear his pin.  Maybe even his letter jacket.

BETTY
(unable to contain herself)  You mean it!?

LAWRENCE
Consider it already done.

BETTY
Why should I believe a ratfink like you?  I’ll never tell Barbara’s secret!

LAWRENCE
So she is keeping something eh?  Pause.  What if I guaruntee you a spot on the cheerleading squad? 

BETTY
How can you do that?

LAWRENCE
Duh!  Because my sister is the captain!  She told me that this year you had good moves but there is just no room for freshman pipsqueaks like you.  (mock cries)

BETTY
Fine!  You have to promise Barbara that you never heard this from me!

LAWRENCE
Who is it?  It’s Paul right?  That hood who rides the motorcycle around town thinking he’s so bad.  Well I’ll show him who’s bad.

BETTY
Not he.  Pause.  She.

LAWRENCE
(getting worked up, takes a minute to sink in)
He’s so tough.  I’ll be the one laughing.  He’ll be…WHAT?!

BETTY
It’s not some beefcake you have to worry about.  Pause.  Do you know that girl who sits in the library reading poetry during pep rallies?  The girl who is in all the school plays and basically teaches Ms. Ray’s English class? 

LAWRENCE
Judith Thompson?  (laughs maniacally)

BETTY
No.  I’m serious.

LAWRENCE
What?  How can..??  Pause.  That is disgusting.  Your sister is not a pervert.  Pause.  Well that means.  I’m not…  No way do I like other beefcake..I mean other boys.

BETTY
Well no one said that!

LAWRENCE
I have to stop her.  I have to warn…this is not going to bring me down.  Pause.  Betty, your pin.  A promise is a promise.

BETTY
(hands her pin to Lawrence) So what about Donald and the cheerleading pep squad?  I just know I’ll fit right in with the other girls.  I wonder if..

Lawrence thinks for a while pacing back and forth.  Betty dreams up a popular fantasy life for herself and as she does, Lawrence walks off while her back is turned and she talks to herself.

BETTY
Lawrence?  Pause.  LAWRENCE!  (fearfully) Oh no, what have I just done.

Cue music ‘You Don’t Own Me’ by Leslie Gore which has cultural and contextual significance here.  As music plays, Betty paces through the audience looking for either Lawrence or Betty.  She even asks audience members, shaking them and asking ‘Have you seen my sister or Lawrence?’.  Betty remains in wings in audience immobilized in place as she looks at the stage in front of her.  Barbara and Lawrence enter and begin fighting.

BARBARA
Lawrence, have you gone mad?  You’re making a scene!

LAWRENCE
Betty told me all about your little side squeeze. 

BARBARA
Lawrence, you know you’re the only boy for me.

LAWRENCE
Did I say that you’re seeing another boy?

BARBARA
(worried but trying to mask it) Lawrence, what are you going on about?  You don’t know what you’re talking about?

LAWRENCE
I think we both know that’s not true.

BARBARA
Lawrence.  Stop this right now.  We have to present ourselves to the guests.

LAWRENCE
(Grabs Barbara’s arm) I don’t want to be even seen with you in public.  You disgust me!

BARBARA
What did I do?  You’re the only boy I’ve been going steady with. 

LAWRENCE
Do you love me?

BARBARA
Of course.  I have your pin and your class ring.  I even have your letter sweater. 

LAWRENCE
If I asked yout to marry me right now, would you say ‘yes’?

BARBARA
That’s a little premature don’t you think?  Even more traditional women go to college for a couple of years before getting married. 

LAWRENCE
But you’re no traditional woman, are you? 

BARBARA
Lawrence, you have known this whole time that I’m more of a modern woman.

LAWRENCE
Yea, a little too modern for my taste.

BARBARA
What do you mean by that, Lawrence?

LAWRENCE
Are you and Judith just friends?  Or is there more to that story?

BARBARA
Who told you that?

LAWRENCE
Is it true or not?

BARBARA
I can’t believe…Betty.  (aside) She was snooping around looking for that pearl necklace.  I have been so careless.  I should have been more careful.

LAWRENCE
That’s what I thought.  (Puts his hand out).  My pin.

Barbara gives Lawrence his pin.  Lawrence gives Barbara her pin.

BARBARA
(in tears) Lawrence, I can explain. 

LAWRENCE
There’s no need for any explanation.  You digust me.  I can’t even look at you.  You lied to me and what’s worse is that this is all an act.  You don’t deserve to be a debutante.  You’re immoral, a disgrace to your family, to the entire town.  And to think I was going to marry you one day and have you raise our children.  You should be locked away and hidden from the world. 

Barbara is beside herself.  She runs away crying.  Cue music.  ‘Chapel of Love’ by the Dixie Cups begins to play as set-up changes. 


At this point, the stage can be half-lit and house lights half up to make the audience think something is amiss.  Don’t go as far to make the audience get up though.  Betty can say coaxing things like ‘No it’s okay, don’t leave.’  Lawrence has a microphone in his hand and either there is a recording which he speaks over or the microphone actually works.

LAWRENCE
Excuse me everyone!  Ladies and gentleman.  I don’t want to alarm you but there seems to be something not  quite right here.  (sarcastically) Have you seen Barbara McAdams?  Barbara?  Oh there’s her sister Betty (points to Betty).  Hi Betty!  Well everyone, I was just parlayed some interesting juicy gossip.  It seems that we have a debutante no no, a taboo.  According to (reads from document) article 35 in the Parksville Debutante and Society Handbook that under no circumstances are debutantes to fraternize with members of the opposite sex that come into violation of the rules of dignity, modesty, and decency.  It seems one of our debutante’s has broken this rule.  Pause.  I know what you’re all thinking.  Who’s the boy?  Well it certainly isn’t me and we’re not talking about a boy either.  Now, I think you can imagine what I’m talking about.  I don’t need to spell it out.  We cannot allow ‘pariahs’ and ‘sexual misfits’ to be presented out into society.  Not our humble, modest society of Parksville.  I won’t stand for it and neither will either of you.  Pause.  On a happier notePause.  You may continue the dance. 

During this speech Betty exits.  Cue music to play ‘Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows’ by Leslie Gore.  She returns after Lawrence has exited/  Betty is in a state of disarray.  She is barefoot.  Her dress is disheveled as well as her hair.  Her make-up is running and she is missing a glove. She is screaming and pleading with the audience, rousing a person every now and again.

BETTY
(different volumes of whimpers and distressed screams)
Barbara?  Where is my sister?  Where is…(cries)?  Where is my sister?  Have you seen my sister anywhere?  Did you see her?  Barbara?  Was she here just now?  Where did she go?  She went where?  I don’t understand.  No, Barbara, my sister. 

While Betty is rousing the audience, the stage is in darkness.  Barbara creeps onto stage without being noticed and lays down on the floor.  Music should swell and come to crescendo as lights go up and Betty notices her sister’s body.

BETTY
NO!  Barbara!  What have I done?  I can’t believe… No!

RADIO
Tonight, Barbara McAdams of the prominent McAdams enterprise in real estate has been laid to rest at St. Angelica’s Cathedral in the west side of town.  She is survived by her parents, Mitsy and Thomas, and also by her sister, Betty.  Her parents found her body hanging in the bedroom.  No note was found but there was a brokoen pearl necklace and several shredded letters all over the floor.  Excuse me folks, this just in.  We’re getting the news as we broadcast it to you live.  It seems that the said victim was in a lover’s spat and I guess she read too much into that good ole’ play we know as ‘Romeo and Juliet’.  Her boyfriend could not be found for comment.  In other news today…(broadcast fades)

Slowly cue eerie music. ‘Poison Tree’ by Grouper begins to play.   Betty is left holding her sister’s body, cradling it in her arms. She is crying and emoting heavily as music cues and there is an eerie blue filtered light on both sisters. 

 END OF PART 1


As I said, this play has three parts.  This first part takes place in the early 1960's on the East Coast and it is about the love and ultimate betrayal between two sisters, Betty and Barbara McAdams.  The second part is set in the early 1970's in San Francisco and focuses on the blossoming love between a hippie white woman, Amber and a strong black man, James.  The third part is set in Israel around 2007.  It is about the friendship between an Israeli, Eron and a Palestinian, Fouad.  All three parts are about the love and betrayal between two people.  If you are interested in the entire play, please send me an email.  I appreciate you reading my original material.
--------------------------
Theatrically yours,

~R~
 

No comments: