I wrote a new script for this student playhouse class I've taken for a few quarters. The theme this time was space. It's called POP. Enjoy! Feedback is always appreciated.
LIGHTS UP on a park, indicated by a long park bench center stage (at least four blocks). Enter Robert and Charles, both with hula-hoops attached with strings around their waists and wearing suit jackets. Robert, who carries a newspaper, goes straight to the bench, sits down, and begins to read. Charles carries a fancy phone and has a Bluetooth piece in his ear.
CHARLES: Daryl, I don’t care what you have to do, get me that deal. (Pause) Well I disagree. I think you’re not doing your best, because if this is your best, it’s high time I find myself a new personal assistant. Are we clear? Now get me that eighty percent, or pack your desk. (Ends the call and sits down next to Robert. Their hula-hoops never touch.) I swear it’s as if that kid thinks he’s still in college.
ROBERT: (Not really paying attention) Isn’t he?
CHARLES: Robert, I’m not a professor. I don’t tolerate mistakes. He’s got to learn.
ROBERT: You’re a wonderful role model, Charles.
CHARLES: Kids these days.
ROBERT: (Indicates paper, which his eyes have never left) The rest of the world isn’t much better.
CHARLES: As long as I can retire on some white sandy beach with WiFi by the time I’m forty, I don’t care about the rest of the world. (His phone vibrates in his hand; he activates his earpiece.) You’d better have some good news for me. (Pause) Ah, much better, Daryl. You have redeemed yourself—(Pause) What do you mean, there may be a hitch? (Robert ruffles his newspaper pointedly, Charles begins to make his way offstage, still speaking as he exits.) Do you know how many resumes are sitting in my inbox, Daryl? Young hopefuls who would do anything for your job, and I mean anything…
(Robert sighs and continues to read his paper. After a beat, enter Daisy, sans hula-hoop. Let it be known that this is very unusual. She instead wears a white belt around her waste. She sits down on the bench next to Robert, humming some perky tune, perhaps fidgeting. Robert glances at her pointedly, as if to see what kind of person would be so happy for no reason. He then sees that she does not have a hula-hoop like he does, and he scoots down the bench uncomfortably, avoiding eye contact, perhaps hiding behind the paper. She turns and looks at the front page, sighs, and with a resigned air, begins:
DAISY: When will there be happy things on the front page? (Robert says nothing, and over the course of her speech he becomes more and more uncomfortable) Always stuff about politics or epidemics or, you know, whatever. It’s like the bad stuff is the only thing worth paying attention to. What about a nice big picture of a village in Africa someplace getting a new well? I’d read that story!
ROBERT: (Tightly) Quite.
DAISY: Aww, come on, they’d sell a million copies! Wouldn’t you read that story? All the little kids with their pretty white teeth, or the ones they’ve got left, smiling so big you’ve got to stop and think, wow isn’t that nice? Seeing little kids smiling always makes my day, before they know any better to start worrying about stuff. Those were the days, huh?
ROBERT: Miss, what is it you want from me?
ROBERT: Yes, from me. There are plenty of benches in the park, and you had to sit here at mine.
DAISY: It’s just a bench.
ROBERT: It is. That’s… true.
DAISY: And benches were made to sit on.
ROBERT: That is their primary function, yes.
DAISY: And are useful as places to meet people at, and a lovely place at that. Would you look at all those flowers?
ROBERT: Ye—no! Not for meeting people. You meet people at meetings.
DAISY: Well what is it we’re doing here if not meeting?
ROBERT: This was not a prearranged agreement to socialize.
DAISY: Not that you know of.
ROBERT: Look here, miss, you—
ROBERT: Excuse me?
DAISY: My name is Daisy. (She offers her hand.) You shake it.
ROBERT: I know what a handshake is!
DAISY: What’s you’re name?
ROBERT: It’s Robert.
DAISY: And shame on you for making me ask. What harm would it do? We’re even now; it’s only fair.
ROBERT: We are most certainly not.
DAISY: Can I call you Bobby?
ROBERT: I would rather you didn’t.
DAISY: Woops, I bet your girlfriend calls you Bobby, huh?
ROBERT: No one calls me “Bobby”. No one.
DAISY: Not even your girlfriend?
ROBERT: I don’t—
DAISY: You look more like a Bobby to me. Wait a second. (She reaches over and ruffles his hair a bit.) There, now you look
more like a Bobby for sure.
ROBERT: (Clutching at his hula-hoop, embarrassed) Don’t do that!
DAISY: That gets in the way, I bet.
ROBERT: It’s just where it’s supposed to be.
DAISY: It doesn’t really do anything, you know. (She gets right in his face) See? (He scrambles away, possibly holding her back at arms length.)
ROBERT: This is highly irregular!
(Charles enters from where he exited from earlier, looking triumphant.)
CHARLES: He might be a pain, but he certainly doesn’t crumple under pressure. (He notices Daisy for the first time. Robert lets her go abruptly. Charles looks at both of them with objective curiosity.) Oh, hello, miss.
DAISY: What is with you guys and your misses? I’m not a debutante, for goodness’ sake.
ROBERT: (Clears his throat uncomfortably. Polite out of habit, not necessarily by choice.) Charles, this is Daisy. Daisy, this is Charles.
CHARLES: I say, Robert. When were you going to tell me about this?
ROBERT: About what? There’s nothing to tell. I just met her.
DAISY: And we’re getting along swimmingly.
CHARLES: So, Daisy, what do you do?
DAISY: I’m a kindergarten teacher. Don’t you just love kids?
CHARLES: I wish I could remember being that young.
ROBERT: I do.
DAISY: It's a shame more people don't.
CHARLES: Young lady, I can’t help but notice, you don’t have…
DAISY: Before you start, yes I do. It’s right here. (She indicates her belt)
ROBERT: I would hardly call that personal space.
DAISY: I wouldn’t wear it if I didn’t have to. They don’t in lots of places.
CHARLES: No personal space?
ROBERT: Don’t—but—how? How is that possible?
DAISY: I can show you if you want.
ROBERT: Who, me?
CHARLES: Oh, that might not be such a good idea. Robert hasn’t cut loose since college, there’s no telling what could happen.
ROBERT: (Highly embarrassed) Charles! Not in mixed company!
CHARLES: Come now, she’s really not the type who would care.
DAISY: I’m not, honestly. What happened in college, Robert?
ROBERT: No, really, I couldn’t.
CHARLES: Go on; inform this young lady of that time you—
ROBERT: No! Stop right there, Charles!
DAISY: You’re killin’ me, here! Just tell me!
ROBERT: (Imploringly to Charles) Is this really the time to bring this all up again?
CHARLES: No time like the present.
DAISY: Right. What he said.
ROBERT: (Flustered, stalling) Well it’s—you see I was quite young, and, being immersed in my studies, had little experience when it came to… personal relations… Well you know how it was back then. Students were experimenting with larger allowances, and I became… somewhat fascinated, almost enamored with the cultural significance of our particular generation, and--
CHARLES: Out with it already!
ROBERT: (In a rush) I—I opened my space!
DAISY: I knew it! I just knew it!
CHARLES: I wish I had been there to see it.
ROBERT: (To Charles) I should never have told you. (To Daisy) He hasn’t let me live it down since.
DAISY: (In awe) How could you ever close it again, having lived that?
ROBERT: Well, when my father found out—
DAISY: Why should that make a difference?
CHARLES: Oh, you don’t know his father.
ROBERT: I had a very strict upbringing.
DAISY: Well so did I. It was the thing for parents to do back then.
ROBERT: More so than others.
DAISY: I couldn’t have been—
CHARLES: I wouldn’t dispute this one, my dear. His father was particularly formidable.
ROBERT: He was.
DAISY: (Shit just got real) I see.
ROBERT: Anyway, when he found out what I had done… It’s just safer inside.
DAISY: (Pity) Oh Robert, you can’t really think that, can you?
ROBERT: Yes. Yes I can.
DAISY: Look… I’m not trying to tell you how to live your life or anything. But I can maybe show you… This works for me. And, yeah, it doesn’t work for everyone. Some people just need their space. But it’s worth a shot.
CHARLES: No doubt, it is an admirable enterprise, but…
DAISY: It’s so much more than that! This is a lifestyle choice that is becoming more and more rare, just because people are scared.
ROBERT: There is a great deal to be—scared of.
DAISY: I’m not saying there isn’t! I’m scared every day.
DAISY: All the time.
ROBERT: But you seem so… happy.
DAISY: I am.
ROBERT: How? (Then, almost desperate) Please, tell me how to be happy.
DAISY: Well, for me, it was just a matter of being okay with not knowing what might happen next. (She thinks) The more space I kept to myself, the more disconnected I felt. I felt like I was saying no all the time, whether I wanted to or not. (Joyfully) Now I feel like I wake up to every day saying, “Yes. Yes, I will take what live has to give me, and goddamn it if it isn’t a hell of a ride.”
CHARLES: (Generally uncomfortable by how far this whole conversation has gone) That’s quite commendable, Daisy. I hope we meet again. Sometime. (He starts to exit, turns back) Robert?
ROBERT: (Visibly shaken) Yes, Charles?
CHARLES: Shall we?
ROBERT: No. No, I don’t think so. (He looks at Daisy, who is beaming as the realization dawns on her.) I think I’ll stay a little while longer.
ROBERT: I’m staying, Charles. I’m tired of being scared all the time, of not feeling comfortable in my own skin.
CHARLES: You can’t be taking this hippy seriously.
DAISY: You can stay, too. But you won’t. That’s okay, as long as that makes you happy.
CHARLES: (At a loss for words) It—that doesn’t—(Trying to reason) Robert, we’ve known each other for a long time.
ROBERT: We have.
CHARLES: Right! So, you’re just going to give your life up to go live on some commune, smelling flowers and getting in touch
with yourself? Is that your plan?
ROBERT: (Looking at Daisy) I hadn’t really thought that far.
DAISY: Doesn’t it feel great? (They share a moment, in which Charles is decidedly left out.)
CHARLES: Just don’t say I didn’t warn you. (Exits)
ROBERT: I’m still not sure what’s happening.
DAISY: You’ve done it before.
ROBERT: It was such a long time ago; I barely remember anything.
DAISY: But you know how.
ROBERT: Will you help me? Please? (She nods kindly, helps him remove his hula-hoop. He stands there, somewhat embarrassed, smiling nervously.) Now you’ve got me beat.
DAISY: Oh, I’m sorry! That was so unfair of me–hold on. (She turns away from him and removes her belt. She turns around slowly, smiling gently. He is in awe for a moment, and then turns his face away, again embarrassed.)
ROBERT: Forgive me. (Daisy walks to him, reaches out, and turns his face towards hers. He gasps at the contact. She then takes his hand and places it on her face.)
DAISY: There is nothing to forgive. (She kisses his hand.) You are alive. There is no reason or need to feel ashamed. Just be.
(She pulls his face to hers and kisses his cheek. His eyes close, he breathes deeply, resting in her touch. She lets go of the kiss, touches her forehead to his. He tentatively kisses her. She kisses back. They break apart, holding hands. Then they both start to laugh, first softly, then building to a crescendo as “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” by Cat Stevens plays and)