Cast Of Characters Sid: Teenager. African American. Male. Speaks quickly. Has the hiccups. Mom: Mother of Sid. Early 40s. Dad: Father of Sid. Early 40s. Lucy: Sister of Sid. Younger than Sid.
Time: The present.
SETTING:In the family dining room. Table in set on center stage. The table is set for dinner.
AT RISE:SID is sitting in a chair facing the audience. He is to the right of LUCY. MOM is sitting at the head of the table on the left side of the table. DAD is sitting at the head of the right side. Family is eating dinner. There is only the sound of plates scraping.
MOM: Do you believe in God anymore? [Lights down on stage. Spotlight on SID.] SID: Yes of course. Maybe? No. No, I don’t think so, Mom. Wonder how you could expect me to praise a man, a lord, who made me from sticks. Blow on me and I’ll collapse in on myself. God could never love me, not this excuse of a man, not this church-sick kid. Bet I could chant every hymn without a word lost. Everything I am, forgotten for your- [hiccup. Lights up on stage.] I went to church last Sunday... MOM: Hm. Good service? Mr.Briggs said he tried to say hi, but you seemed to ignore him? You are representing our family Sid, don’t disappoint our name. SID: Of course not. Must’ve missed him. Forgive me. [lights down on stage. Spotlight on SID] Forgive me, I didn’t miss him. I watched him, in his white wrinkle-free button-up, tan blazer. I watched him sit next to his white wrinkle-free wife. Do you think Mr.Briggs loves her? I’m not supposed to ask that. A man and a woman's connection is undeniable. So I wonder when Mr.Briggs kisses her cheek if she can feel it sting hot, like when Mr.Briggs kisses me. God works in ways I would rather not try to untangle. I believe my chances of escaping this labyrinth are more dependable. I guess I wonder why Mr.Briggs was given two children, or why he has a wife. Does he touch her body like he does mine? Does she lean in too close because she realizes everything in that moment is everything she could’ve asked for? A man's hand is meant to lift another brother when he is so far in the ground he smells like dirt but, Mr.Briggs hands are meant to go soft against my- [hiccups. Lights up on stage.] MOM: How’s Stephanie been? SID: Good. [lights dim on stage. Spotlight on SID] Not sure. Been awhile. [hiccups. Lights up on stage.] Got to meet up with her Sunday after church. Her dad is finally warming up to me. MOM: About time. She’s the one girlfriend you’ve had, we can’t lose her. SID: Not planning on it. [lights dim on stage. Spotlight on SID] She broke up with me last night. She kissed me, and for the first time I felt a girl’s lips.They are colder than I imagined. I’m not sure I kissed her the way a man is supposed to. My hands didn’t raise up her thigh or pull at her skirt. I just kissed her the only way I knew how. The way Dad kisses you with numb lips when work is over and his boots are hung. Like the quick peck of your mother knows best lips, on top of my blood-busted cheek when I sneak out again. Everything I was taught that meant love and care and fascination, and everything I can’t feel for a woman. So when I kissed her, Mom, you must’ve not taught me how to kiss back. I thought maybe she didn’t notice, until everything was soft. Soft like her angel skin, soft like familiar hands, soft like me, soft soft soft soft. [Hiccups. Lights up on stage. silence for three beats, besides the sound of plates scraping.] DAD: Hear what happened to Brigg’s boy? SID: No. What happened? DAD:Come on, Sid. You really don’t know man? SID: No. [Lights down on stage, spotlight on SID.] No. [Hiccups. Lights up on stage. A pause.] DAD: They got em real good. Accused his Daddy of being a faggot lover. LUCY: Dad. DAD: A black man can’t be gay, Lucy. If you ain’t black, you’re hated for being gay. If you ain’t gay, you’re hated for being black. Can’t be both. Isn’t that right Sid? SID: [nods.] Mhm. [lights down on stage. Spotlight on SID.] Dad once gave me fifty cents in quarters, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. He told me to keep it in my socks, “Save it for when it matters.” Strawberry ice cream on a tuesday evening was when it mattered. Tuesday night nothing was left in the freezer beside a pint of strawberry ice cream and two quarters, Wisconsin and Oklahoma. He slapped me in the face and told me to try harder next time. He knows everything, all my mistakes. [Hiccups. Lights up on stage.] MOM: If I was Mrs.Briggs, I would already be long gone. SID: Just rumors, Mom. You can’t believe whispers. [lights down on stage. Spotlight on SID] Expect, the whispers are right. That’s why I’m so scared, Mom. Would you leave me if I told you the truth, just like you said you would leave Mr.Briggs? Would you be so quick to forget your son that my name wouldn’t linger over the dinner table? Is it all so important to you? Is the son of God waiting for your cocoa hands when life becomes all too much? When your son is crying do you really think it’s because God showed me his ultralight beam? I’m crying because it’s been too dark. Because God didn’t show me the way. Because I am hanging on a man’s lip. I am fucking in love with a man and I can’t help it. All I ask is that you will love me more than God, more than a book you haven’t read since you were eleven. If I tell you, confess my sins and fall to my knees, will you bless me or doom me to hell? If there is a God I have but one question; am I your biggest mistake? [Hiccups. Lights up on stage.] MOM:I believe the truth, Sid. Do you? SID: Would you love me otherwise?
END OF SCENE
The Empty by Madeline Marks
Cast of Characters: Seiko:A plain-looking fourteen-year-old girl dressed in loose brown pants, a loose white shirt, and no shoes. Miyami:A clean, nice-looking womanin her early 20s, dressed in loose grey pants, a loose grey shirt, and no shoes. Scene: An empty room.
Time: Present day.
SETTING:A completely barren space with nothing but a stool placed in the middle.
AT RISE:Seiko sits on the stool with her head down. A single spotlight shines down on her.
[After several seconds of unmoving silence, the ring of an old, bell-based alarm clock is heard, quiet at first, but quickly becoming louder and louder. The alarm clockis screaming when SEIKO’s head shoots up, and the sound abruptly stops. SEIKO looks around the empty stage, confused. She examines her shirt and her hands. Slowly, she stands up from the stool.]
SEIKO:Hello? [beat] Excuse me? [SEIKO wanders around the stage, investigating, ending up on stage right, but there’s nothing there.] Can someone tell me where I am? [The ringing of the alarm clock can be heard,getting louder and louder. Under her breath, she says….] What the-- [As the ringing comes to a crescendo, SEIKO winces in pain, covers her ears, and brings her chin to her chest. Abruptly, SEIKO’s head shoots up and turns to her left, as if she senses something there. Just as she does this, the ringing stops. Standing there is MIYAMI, who has appeared as if on SEIKO’s cue. MIYAMI faces outwards. She has a somewhat robotic but gentle smile and stance. Upon seeing MIYAMI, SEIKO runs to her. MIYAMI doesn’t respond or even look at SEIKO.] Excuse me, miss? Can you tell me what’s happening? [SEIKO’s voice drops off as she realizes MIYAMI isn’t responding. SEIKO pokes MIYAMI’s arm, and MIYAMI continues staring out into nothing. SEIKO steps back and says under her breath...] What the hell is going on here. [There is a long beat as SEIKO begins walking away.] MIYAMI: [calmly, still facing forward.] Hello, Seiko. [Seiko quickly turns and doubles back.] SEIKO:[urgently] Yes? Hello? [beat] MIYAMI; Seiko. [beat] SEIKO: How do you know my name? MIYAMI: We’ve met before, Seiko. You’ve been here before. [beat] I don’t expect you to remember me. SEIKO: I’m sorry, but I’ve never been here before. What is this place? [The alarm clock begins, amplifies rapidly.] And what is that-- [SEIKO covers her ears, winces in pain. The alarm stops. SEIKO uncovers her ears, looks at MIYAMI, both fascinated and concerned.] Your name is Miyami. MIYAMI: If that’s what you’d like it to be. SEIKO: No, I--something told me that, something in my head. Am I dreaming? MIYAMI: Do you feel like you’re dreaming? SEIKO: I--no, I don’t know, this is so weird. MIYAMI: You can tell me, Seiko. [beat] SEIKO: It’s like everything else was the dream. But that’s not right, I have to be dreaming, or something, because this... [SEIKO grabs MIYAMI’s shoulders and physically turns her so that they’re facing each other.] Miyami is this real? MIYAMI: Who’s to say any of it is? SEIKO: You’re me, right? MIYAMI: A part of you. It’s been so lonely here, you know. SEIKO: So, are we… in my head? [MIYAMI is silent.] Somewhere else. MIYAMI: Not quite in the world you know. SEIKO: Did you bring me here? MIYAMI: Seiko, I’m not the one who has that power. SEIKO: Miyami, please, you need to help me get back. [beat] I can’t stay here. I have my family, I have a life, I… [calm, but shocked] Why can’t I remember it? It’s all so hazy, why… MIYAMI: Seiko-- SEIKO: I can feel it, I know it’s there, but I just can’t-- MIYAMI: Seiko-- SEIKO: [tearing up] I’m reaching out but I can’t grab it-- MIYAMI: Seiko. [Slowly, SEIKO looks up at MIYAMI.] SEIKO: [calmer, but heartbroken]I brought myself here. But I can’t remember why. MIYAMI: You were in control. Whether you knew it or not. [beat] SEIKO: Why would I want to forget? MIYAMI: I can’t help you. [Gradually, the ringing comes back, but this time, it stays quiet. SEIKO doesn’t look concerned. She simply turns slowly from MIYAMI to the audience, distant.] SEIKO: You said I’ve been here before. MIYAMI: It’s not going to keep ringing forever. [beat] SEIKO: I know. [beat] That’s how I get back, isn’t it? But I don’t have to go. What happens if I stay here? MIYAMI: I only know what you know. Neither of us can know what’s beyond this place. [beat] SEIKO: However we ended up here, I came here for a reason. I didn’t want to be there. [beat] MIYAMI Seiko? [SEIKO turns to look at MIYAMI. You can see the fear in her eyes. She’s almost pleading with MIYAMI, as if she could make the decision so SEIKO didn’t have to.] Is this really how you want it to end? [Slowly, SEIKO turns back to the audience. The fear in her eyes is still there, but there’s something else; a resolution. The will to face whatever it was that brought her here. She brings her hands up to her ears, and as she does, the ringing of thealarm clock rises to a familiar deafening volume. She winces, closes her eyes, but her body is firm. She bites her lip. It looks as though she’s crying. After several excruciating seconds, the alarm stops, and SEIKO’s eyes shoot open. She falls back, stiff as a plank. She lays motionless. MIYAMI walks calmly over to SEIKO’s body. She sits down, cross-legged, and stares at SEIKO softly. In the thick silence, the scene fades to black with MIYAMI watching SEIKO’s limp body, waiting.]
Madeline Marks is a senior creative writer at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts. She’s an avid piano player, film lover, and comic book nerd. She lives with her parents, sister, cat, and dog in Hagerstown, Maryland and she can’t wait to leave the house again.
Note: This story was written junior year.
Agoraphobia by Gabriella Ganoe
Cast of Characters: Gabriella: A teenage girl.
TIME: The present.
PLACE: Outside Gabriella's house
[A plain white door, center stage, faces the audience. GABRIELLA walks in from stage left and stops in front of the door. She looks at it for a beat, and then faces the audience.]
GABRIELLA: I hate opening doors first. I always wait for someone to go in before me. I wait for them to see what's there, to take it in. It happens the most at home I think, when we pull into the garage and my mom goes down the driveway to get the mail and all I want to do is put my backpack down but I can't hear my dog barking and that makes me think she's dead. Or that someone is in the house. Or that there's a fire or a flood or any number of things that I know haven't actually happened, but are things that I don't ever want to be the first to see. [Long pause.] Or rather, things I don't ever want to be the first to know. I’m afraid of being the only one to know. When I was a kid I found my guinea pig dead, but I didn't tell anyone. Throughout the day I never looked at his cage and told myself he was just sleeping. Deep down I knew what happened, but the idea of facing it by myself scared me. It was so much easier to have my mom sit me down and tell me that little Newman went to heaven. It was so much easier to cry with someone beside me. [Long pause.] When my mom comes back with the mail, she opens the door and everything is fine. My dog is jumping and barking, nothing is wet or on fire or missing. There's no man hiding around the corner. So sometimes I force myself to go in before her. I swallow the fear building in my throat, I exhale the anxious thoughts swelling in my stomach. I tell myself that nothing has happened before, so there's no reason why something would have happened now. But there's always a chance that’s a lie and that I could be the first. The ones who are first are always alone. [Pause.] Some might say that being first is a good thing. It's a gold medal or a place in the history books. It’s an acknowledgement. But even then, doesn't that separate you from everyone? Because now you’ve achieved something they couldn't, been special in a way they aren't? I don't want to be special. I don't want to be first, I don't want to have something to myself. It makes me feel different, like I’m left out of something because I no longer have the luxury of not knowing. I envy people that have the ability to not know. The people that come second, the ones that aren't the victims, but the witnesses. And the thing is I’ve never even been a victim. There's never been something behind the door. [Pause.] But it's the fact that I could be first or couldbe second or fifteenth or could be nothing at all. [GABRIELLA turns back to the door. She takes a deep breath and opens it slowly. The lights go down before the audience can see her step inside.]
END Gabriella Ganoeis a student at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, currently in her junior year. She enjoys writing in all genres but particularly enjoys Drama, because of its structure and possibilities. In her free time, she likes to play video games, cuddle with her dog, and get really competitive in board games with her family.