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Sex and Violence: A Comedy in One Act

Tags: dorothy marc

CAST OF CHARACTERS

MARC DANSON: An unemployed, ex-public relations man

DOROTHY DANSON: His wife, a receptionist for Dr. Loiter, a psychiatrist

LENA BASINGER: Dorothy’s younger sister

JEROME BASINGER: Lena’s husband

DR. HIROSHI MORIYAMA: Director of the Zen Gakuren Interfaith Institute in Osaka

 

SETTING

A large front room.  It’s messy and comfortable, with books everywhere.  There are two chairs, one Marc’s overstuffed chair, a lectern stand for a big Bible, a corkboard with dozens of classified ads from the newspaper pinned to it.

There’s a box of chocolates, a bottle of Sambuca, and a bouquet of oleanders on a table.  On another, there’s a working blender with a large knife beside it.  The blender contains liquid.  A cordless phone and an answering machine on a cabinet are prominently placed, as is a tape recorder and a video tuner.   The answering machine is recorded with both Marc and Dorothy’s voices.  Marc says, “Marc,” Dorothy says, “and Dorothy Danson.”  They both say, “Leave a number.”

There’s a closet, and exits to the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom offstage.  We can just see a working front door.

 

TIME

The present.   Afternoon.

 

AT RISE

(MARC DANSON looks through his audio tapes in the living room.  He’s wearing plaid pajamas and large earphones to which a long cord is attached.  The cord is plugged into the video tuner.

SFX: department store noises. LENA BASSINGER enters an area isolated by light, carrying a cellphone.  She’s wearing a beautifully cut coat, with matching silk scarf and purse, and high heels. She’s carrying two shopping bags from the Galleria.  She dials.  The phone rings twice.)

 

ANSWERING MACHINE

Marc and Dorothy Danson. Leave a number.  BEEP.

(Marc selects a tape.)

LENA

            (into phone)

It’s me, Lena. I’m at the Galleria, doing some damage. Jerome gave me the Platinum card this morning.

I know I should be pleased. But suddenly, I got all paranoid.. I thought, “Why is he giving me this? You know?  I think there’s something wrong. I know I should ask him about it. I know communication’s what it’s all about. But what if he tells me something I don’t want to know?  Are you there? Dottie?

(The answering machine clicks off. Marc puts a tape in the tape machine. Lights down in Lena’s area. She exits.  Marc presses the remote. He’s heard nothing.)

MARC

Kiri ga kakarimasu (kee-dee) (gah) (kah-kah-dee-mahss), it is foggy. Kiri ga kakarimasu (kee-dee) (gah) (kah-kah-dee-mahss), it is foggy.

(paces, pulling the cord along)

Ame ga furimasu (ah-meh) (gah) (foo-dee-mahss), it rains. Ame ga furimasu (ah-meh) (gah) foo-kee-mahss)...it rains.

(stops at the lectern stand which holds a big red book, The New American Bible)

Kaze ga fukimasu (kah-zeh) (gah) (foo-kee-mahss), it is windy. Kaze ga fukimasu (kah-zeh) (gah) (foo-kee-mahss), it is windy.

(presses the remote to stop the tape recorder, goes to his lectern, opens the Bible and then lectures to an imaginary class.)

Sex. The Bible’s full of it. King David committed adultery with the beautiful Bathsheba, had her husband killed, and then married the widow. Lot committed incest with his drunken daughters who bore him two sons. And grandsons. Absalom had sex with his father’s ten concubines in the “sight of all Israel.” He had a tent built for the occasion. Rehoboam had eighteen wives. His father, Solomon had seven hundred.

(He shudders).

Violence: Samson was blinded by the Philistines and bound in fetters of brass.  Jezebel was thrown out the window and devoured by dogs. There was nothing left but the feet, the head and the palms of her hands. Absalom…ah…

(reads from the Bible)

Absalom….was mounted on a mule, and, as the mule passed under the branches of a large terebinth, his hair caught fast in the tree. He hung between heaven and earth.

(to himself)

Terebinth.

(picks up a dictionary and looks through the pages, spells)

T-e-r…t-e-r-e…terebi…terebinth.

(slams the dictionary shut, puts it back.)

A turpentine tree. Of course.

(back to the lecture)

Then, gentlemen, his enemies stuck three pikes through his heart, while he was hanging, still alive, from the tree. Reference? Two Samuel, Chapter eighteen, Verse nine, the New American Bible.

(imaginary applause)

Thank you.

(picks up the newspaper, takes out the Classified section, drops the rest on the floor, does a little dance step and sings.)

K-Earth 101.

(Marc sits in his armchair and reads. DOROTHY DANSON enters through the front door, carrying two grocery bags. She’s wearing an old sweatsuit and her hair is windblown.)

DOROTHY 

God, I need a cigarette. Every time you light up out there, somebody hisses and whines about second hand smoke.

(puts the bags down)

Non-smokers. They make me sick.  Where the hell are my cigarettes?

(looks in her purse, finds an empty cigarette package, which she crushes, exits to bedroom, speaks offstage.)

They call themselves victims. They’re not victims. They’re control freaks.

(enters, exits to kitchen)

You can’t smoke in airplanes. You can’t smoke in elevators. You can’t smoke in the john. You can’t smoke in the entire city of Beverly Hills.

(looks in desk)

All that crap about cancer. Heart attack. Wrong. Look at me, two heart attacks and I’m still here. Smoking relieves stress.

(She searches frantically through the grocery bags.)

I forgot to buy cigarettes!

(Marc sees her and bows.)

MARC

Ohayo (oh hi oh) gozaimasu (goh-zye-mahss). Good morning.

DOROTHY

It’s afternoon.  Aren’t you dressed yet?

(Marc lifts an earphone off.)

MARC

You’re out of breath.

DOROTHY

It’s windy out there.   If you ever went out, you’d know.

MARC

Ah.  Kaze ga fukimasu (kah-zeh) (gah) (foo-kee-mahss).  It is windy.

DOROTHY

I’m so sick of that gobble, gobble.

(raises her voice)

Are you going to get dressed?

(Marc lifts an earphone.)

MARC

What?

DOROTHY

Are you going to get dressed?

MARC

I am dressed.

(He puts the earphone back on.)

DOROTHY

And I’m so sick of those plaid pajamas.

MARC 

What?

(He lifts an earphone off.)

DOROTHY

Why anybody in his right mind would buy four pairs of plaid pajamas is beyond me.

(He puts the earphones on his shoulders.)

MARC

Lena bought them for me.

DOROTHY

Well, whoop de doo. Why the hell don’t you throw away these old earphones? They look ridiculous.

MARC

They cut out the ambient sound.

(Dorothy kicks the earphone cord.)

DOROTHY

I hate this damned cord.

MARC

I kind of like the cord, Dot.

DOROTHY

It’s positively umbilical. Someday, I swear, you’re going to strangle me with it.

MARC

Where have you been?

DOROTHY

I went to my homeopath, where I picked up my heart medicine and echinachea. Then, I went the bank…

MARC

Ah.

DOROTHY

 …where I discovered we have exactly two hundred, fifty one dollars and twenty three cents in cash left in the account and owe yet another one thousand, five hundred and twenty five on our plastic, which brings that to a grand total of thirty seven thousand, five hundred and twenty nine dollars.

(Marc tears a square out of the paper.)

MARC

You did go through that severance package pretty fast, Dot.

DOROTHY

That wasn’t difficult.

MARC

And we get the monthly company pension…

DOROTHY

Two thousand and thirty seven big ones a month…

MARC

And the bridge pension…

DOROTHY

Three hundred and twenty-four….

MARC

And the monthly IRA rollover payments…

DOROTHY

A whopping six hundred and sixteen, which brings that to a monthly total of two thousand, nine hundred and seventy-seven dollars. Whoeee. I’m dancing.

MARC

We can live on that pretty well if we watch our money.

DOROTHY

Maybe you like living like a pauper but I don’t. What the hell is the blender doing in here?

(turns away from him. Marc put the phones back on.)

And then…

(She puts the earphones on his shoulders.)

I watched our money at Vons where I bought rice, flour, coffee, bread, one roasting chicken, a bunch of carrots, some celery, a dozen eggs, and a box of Quaker Oats cereal, which is now five dollars and twenty five cents a pop.

MARC

Did you take the coupon?

DOROTHY

I’ll die before I use a coupon. I ran into Elaine Dorfman. Her maid must have quit. They all quit. She was in the gourmet section, of course. They have a new Jag-u-ar, not a Jaguar, a Jag-u-ar, and they’re going scuba diving in the Antilles. She tried to avoid me but I almost rammed her with my cart. I mean, what’s her problem?

MARC

Maybe, she remembers the party when you tore off all your clothes and jumped naked into her pool…

DOROTHY

You’re not going to bring up that old thing again.

MARC

…with Ed Dorfman right behind you.

DOROTHY

Just because you don’t have a spontaneous bone in your whole body.

(exits into the kitchen with a bag. Marc shoots her in the back with the remote. Dorothy speaks offstage.)

Next time I see her, I’m going to rip her heart out.

MARC

(softly)

Well, whoop de doo.

(Dorothy enters.)

DOROTHY

Why are we out of Pepto Bismol?

MARC

Bismol.  Rhymes with dismal.

DOROTHY

It does not. You know how much I depend on it. Where the hell does it go?

MARC

Is your stomach upset, Dot?

(Dorothy takes a bottle of Sambuca from the bar, pours a drink, downs it.)

Were you out late last night?

DOROTHY

I told you. I was transcribing tapes for Dr. Loiter. That stupid machine has a hum on it.

Do you know what it’s like, trying to think with all that static in your ears?

(Marc puts the earphones back on. He pins the ad to the corkboard.)

I wish you’d stop doing that.

(Marc sees her talking, lifts an earphone off.)

MARC

What?

DOROTHY

(fixes him with her eyes and raises her voice)

I wish you’d stop doing that.

MARC

Doing what?

(Marc puts the earphones on his shoulders.)

DOROTHY

I’ve said it so many times.

(She takes a Pepto Bismol bottle out of the second bag, loosens the cap and puts it on a table.)

MARC

Dottie, you always say something new and surprising.

DOROTHY

No, I will not, I repeat, will not repeat myself.

(Marc waits.)

Except to say this.

(Marc goes back to his chair.)

You will never, never, never get a job from the Classified Ads in the L.A. Times.

(Marc picks up the Classified Ads again.)

MARC

The perfect job might be advertised in here today. It might have my name on it.

DOROTHY

Why do I bother?

MARC

You can’t help it.

DOROTHY

Right. Now, I’m compulsive.

(picks the newspapers up off the floor, looks at corkboard)

Look at these. How far do they go back? God, years.

(reads)

Caretaker, Botanical Gardens. Tree sitter. Wooden boat builder. Must have own tools. Why on earth would you want to be a boat builder? You’re a public relations man.

MARC

It has come to me, Dot, that the fifteen years I spent scuttling into my cubicle and scrunching over my desk in the service of Dorfman, Drucker and Strumpf were not particularly meaningful.

DOROTHY

You were the Senior VP of PR. You meant something.

MARC

“Danson, clear out your desk. You’re fired. And don’t think this is easy for me to say. It’s Christmas after all.”

DOROTHY

(speaks with him)

It’s Christmas after all.

(sighs)

Oh, please. If you’d had the sense to push yourself a little, you could have been a lot more.

MARC

Well, you pushed for me, didn’t you?

DOROTHY

Was that a crack?

MARC

I admired your ambition, Dottie.

DOROTHY

Thank you.

(She exits, carrying the other bag.)

MARC

Ed Dorfman did, too. He thought you were wonderful.

(Marc throws the papers back onto the floor. Dorothy enters, carrying a spoon.)

DOROTHY

You got downsized. So what?

MARC

Without warning. Without explanation.

DOROTHY

I don’t suppose it’s ever occurred to you that my life went into the toilet, too. Do you see me carrying on like the walking wounded? I’d die first.

If you want to keep on tearing out these little ads, it’s your funeral. Just let me say this. They aren’t magic. They have telephone numbers and addresses. You’re supposed to call the numbers, write to the addresses, enclose your resume.

(Marc springs up, finds a book and shows it to her.)

MARC

I give you How To Write A Winning Resume or Do You Have a Curriculum Vitae? which I have read from cover to cover. I write an excellent resume.

DOROTHY

And when was the last time you sent one out?

MARC

For one hundred and seventy seven days, I put between eight and ten resumes in the mailbox every day. That’s approximately nine a day, which adds up to one thousand six hundred and twenty. Out of that, I got eleven written replies, three telephone calls and one interview. Do you know what that adds up to?  Humiliation.

DOROTHY

Don’t be smart.

MARC

The only job I really want is the one in Osaka. The Old Testament fellowship at the Zen Gakuren Interfaith Institute.

DOROTHY

How many times do we have to go over this? You are not eligible. It is a job for single men. Not married men. Single men.

MARC

I could be single, Dot.

DOROTHY

Try to divorce me and you’ll have such a fight on your hands. You don’t like fights, do you?

MARC

I’d like that job.

DOROTHY

Well, whoop de doo.  If you think I’m going to go out there and try to live on the measly ten dollars and fifty cents an hour Dr. Loiter pays me, you’ve got another think coming.

MARC

You could have the house.

DOROTHY

And pay the third mortgage for the rest of my life? No, thank you. Make up your mind, you are a married man.

MARC

They might make an exception for me. I’m very qualified.

DOROTHY

You applied eight months ago. Have you had a reply? Did you hear one word? Get real. It is not going to happen.

MARC

It might. I wrote a very good letter.

DOROTHY

(amused)

Oh, please. You’ll get that job over my dead body.

(Dorothy exits to the bathroom, carrying the Pepto Bismol and spoon and closes the door. Marc makes a raspberry, then puts the phones on.)

MARC

(reading out loud)

“Embalmer’s Assistant. High school graduate. Must be citizen. Bilingual preferred.”

(He tears out the ad. The bathroom door opens and Dorothy enters. Marc sees her and puts the newspaper up in front of his face again.)

DOROTHY

Uugh, that stuff tastes terrible. Why does it have to be so pink?

(puts his earphones on his shoulders)

Now. I want you to get dressed and get organized. Do something useful.

MARC

What would that be, Dot?

DOROTHY

I don’t know. Think about it. Make a list.

MARC

I have made a list.

DOROTHY

Good.  Start with the least important things, do them, cross them off one by one, and soon, surprise, you’ll have accomplished something.

(She exits to the bedroom. Marc takes a crumpled list out of his pocket, and smooths it out.)

MARC

(reading out loud)

List :

#1. Get through language tapes. Aha. Done.

(crosses #1 off his list)

#2.  Get to end of twelfth prophet.

#3.  Get rid of Dorothy.

#4.  Get that job in Japan.

Right. #2.

(He picks up the Bible and exits into the bathroom.

JEROME BASSINGER enters, carrying a phone. His area is isolated and defined by light. He’s wearing an expensive suit, silk tie and handmade shoes. He dials.

The phone rings twice.)

ANSWERING MACHINE

Marc and Dorothy Danson. Leave a number. BEEP.

JEROME

(growls like a tiger into phone, then sings)

“You made me love you,
I didn’t want to do it
I didn’t want to do it.
You made me want you
And all the time you knew it
I guess you always knew it…”

(Dorothy enters and listens, unimpressed.)

DOROTHY

Why is this in here?

(She picks the blender up and starts off with it.)

JEROME

Dottie. I was such a bastard last night. You were right. It was all about Fear of Commitment. I slept on it, Babe, and now I’m ready!

(Dorothy puts the blender back and picks up the phone.)

DOROTHY

Tiger?

(Jerome growls, then into phone)

Why are you phoning here? What if Marc heard you?

JEROME

(into phone)

I thought he couldn’t hear anything.

DOROTHY

(into phone)

Not when he’s got the radio blasting in his ears but he takes them off sometimes.

JEROME

(into phone)

What’s he doing? Is he in the room, watching you?

DOROTHY

(into phone)

He’s sitting on the john, reading the Bible.

JEROME

(looks at his watch, then into phone)

Look at your watch. Is it two o’clock?

DOROTHY

(looks at her watch, then into phone)

One minute to. Why?

JEROME

(into phone)

Somebody’s going to be ringing your chimes. Right about now.

(The doorbell rings.)

DOROTHY

My God. The doorbell’s ringing.

JEROME

Did I tell you?

(The doorbell rings again. Dorothy, phone in hand, exits, re-enters with a large tropical plant.)

DOROTHY

It’s gorgeous!

(takes a card out of the plant, reads out loud)

“Come fly with me. J.”

(into the phone)

Oooo. I always fly high with you, Tiger.

JEROME

(into phone)

Look again.

DOROTHY

(looks in the leaves again and finds an airline ticket, then into phone.)

I can’t believe it.

(looks at it again.)

Ooo, first class.

JEROME

(into phone)

You’re the one, dollface.

DOROTHY

(into phone)

Are you really, really sure? Don’t let me down, Tiger. I’m a Type A personality. I could drop dead.

JEROME

(into phone)

Would I put out that much money for a dirty weekend? No fooling around, Babe. It’s you and me. Forever.

DOROTHY

(into phone)

I knew you’d see it my way. We were meant for each other.

(Offstage, a toilet flushes. Dorothy puts the ticket in her pocket.)

Where’ll we meet?

JEROME

(into phone)

How do you feel about a late lunch at Lucques?

DOROTHY

(into phone)

I love Lucques. I’ll wear that silk black thing. It’s been to more weddings than J. Lo.  I think I wore it to yours.

JEROME

(into phone)

Dorothy…let’s join the mile high club.

(growls)

Whaddya you think?

DOROTHY

(into phone)

There’s a naughty boy inside that Armani suit. Kiss, kiss.

(Jerome hangs up. Lights down in Jerome’s area. He exits. Dorothy hangs up.)

Thank you, thank you.

(She exits. Marc enters, carrying the Bible. He sees that Dorothy is gone, exits, then with the Pepto Bismol bottle. He unlocks a cupboard door, hides the bottle in the cupboard, next to half a dozen other Pepto Bismo bottles. He locks the door, then dances to the music he hears in his earphones.)

MARC

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers…

(sings, improvising a tune)

Deuteronomy, The Book of Joshua, The Book of Judges, Ruth, First Book of Samuel, The Second Book of Samuel, The First Book of Kings, The Second Book of Kings, The First Book of Chronicles, The Second Book of Chronicles, The Book of Ezra, The Book of Nehemiah, Esther, The Book of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Songs, The Book of the Prophet Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, The Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, The Book of Daniel.

The Twelve Prophets: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi!

(holds Bible over his head in triumph, then sings)

K-Earth 101.

(takes list and pencil out of pocket.)

#2. Done.

(crosses off #2 on the list, listens)

Thank you. Don’t mind if I do.

(He takes a chocolate from a box.)

Ah. I use both The New English Bible and The New American Bible – two excellent translations. The King James version is so archaic, it’s incomprehensible, which is why some people like it.

(chuckles)

Nothing seems more profound or wise than something you can’t make head nor tail of.

Me? A Bachelor of Arts, Major in English, Minor in Philosophy. Now, of course, I’m a practicing autodidact without a pot to piss in.

(Dorothy enters, singing, wearing blush and lipstick and a black dress and carrying a hairbrush.)

Pot. Rhymes with Dot.

DOROTHY

(sings softly)

“You made me love you,
I didn’t want to do it
I didn’t want to do it.
You made me want you…

(SFX: Department store noise. Lena enters, carrying more shopping bags. She dials. The phone rings twice.)

ANSWERING MACHINE

Marc and Dorothy Danson. Leave a number. BEEP.

(Dorothy starts to pick up the phone but stops when she hears Lena’s voice. She listens, brushing her hair.)

LENA

(into phone, and on answering machine)

I’m obsessing, I’m definitely obsessing. Do you think he has someone else? When he’s with me, he’s not with me. You know? Do you think he’s bored? I’ve always been a little uptight about…you know…S-E-X.

I’m going to take some of the Xanax you gave me. That was so nice of you. How did you get your hands on it?

(takes container from her bag)

Listen, Dot, if you want anything, let me know. How about another Versace pantsuit? Page me if you get this. I’m at Bloomies.

(The machine clicks off. Lena turns off her cellphone and exits.)

DOROTHY

(singing softly, puts hairbrush in purse)

…And all the time you knew it

I guess you always knew it…”

(speaks)

Zip, please.

(Marc zips up the back of her dress, puts the earphones on his shoulders.)

MARC

Is something wrong?

DOROTHY

Why?

MARC

You were smiling.

DOROTHY

Don’t be funny.

MARC

I’ve read through all the books of the Old Testament and the Twelve Prophets.

DOROTHY

Oh, good news.

MARC

That’s the New Testament.

DOROTHY

Were you talking to yourself again?

MARC

I was addressing an imaginary class.

DOROTHY

Well, whoop de do.

MARC

Are you going somewhere?

DOROTHY

No.

MARC

I thought the….uh…

(He indicates the dress.)

DOROTHY

Well, don’t tax yourself.

MARC

(about the plant)

Where’d that come from?

DOROTHY

(improvising)

It’s from one of Dr. Loiter’s patients.

MARC

They think you’re wonderful, don’t they?

DOROTHY

That’s because I’m upbeat and positive. I tell them, “Change your outlook. That’s all you need to do. A cheerful, optimistic outlook makes a cheerful, happy person.” He wouldn’t tell them that. At $185 an hour, he likes them to keep coming back.

MARC

Ah.

DOROTHY

I’d have half those patients terminated in six months.

(She exits.)

MARC

Terminated. What a beautiful word.

(takes list out of pocket, looks at it)

#3.

(looks at list again, puts it in his pocket, takes it out again.)

Aha. #3.

(hesitates, then puts the list back in his pocket.)

Right. Get rid of Dorothy.

(sings and dances)

Sex and vi-lence

Sex and vi-lence

Dum de da da

And the rest is silence.

(exits into kitchen. Dorothy enters, takes a snorkel and mask out of the closet. Marc reenters, carrying a tray with strawberries, a banana, and a carafe of tea. He puts the earphones on his shoulders.)

Ah, something new for the bath?

DOROTHY

No.

MARC

Ah.

(Dorothy exits, carrying the snorkel. Marc sings)

Sex and vi-lence…

(speaks)

I hate violence. It takes so much energy. Consider this instead:

(holds up the carafe)

Oleander tea. I brewed it myself.

(picks the bouquet up)

The oleander. What delicate flowers. What long, slender leaves. Some say the Ark was made of oleander wood. The Biblical roses at Jericho are not roses at all but oleander. What a beautiful phrase, the roses at Jericho. Ecclesiasticus 24:14. This ancient flowering shrub has been a folk remedy for edema, hypertension, leprosy, ringworm, corns. The Mesopotamians used it. The Babylonians used it for hangovers. The Arabs in the 8th century A.D. used it for cancer. Today, my dear wife goes to a hole in the wall homeopath who sells her extract of oleander for her heart congestion.

The ironic thing is, gentlemen, it’s also poisonous. Every part of it. That’s why Dottie’s heart medicine has just a teensy tiny bit of oleander. With not too much more, she’d have something very much like a heart attack. Just an ounce of the leaves can drop a fair sized horse.

(SFX: store noises. Lena enters. Lights up on her area. She’s bought sunglasses, which she’s wearing. She’s carrying her coat, two Bloomie bags and her purse. She takes out her cellphone and dials. The phone rings twice. Marc, annoyed, puts the earphones on.)

ANSWERING MACHINE

Marc and Dorothy Danson. Leave a number. BEEP.

(Marc chops strawberries and puts them in the blender.)

LENA

(into phone)

Dottie, I phoned home.

(Dorothy enters and listens to the answering machine.)

You always say, “Make contact,” and somehow, everything felt kind of O.K. You know? This Xanax is marvellous. Guess what? There’s a Fredericks of Hollywood in the mall! The stuff is wild, isn’t it? They’ve got those string thongs and demi bras you love so much. In animal prints!

(laughs)

I’m browsing, I’m definitely browsing. Let me buy you something. It would be my pleasure. I mean, what are sisters for?

(She clicks off, exits, carrying her cellphone and bags. Lights down on Lena’s area. SFX out.

Dorothy takes a tennis racket out of the closet.)

MARC

Tennis, anyone?

(Dorothy looks at the blender. Marc puts the earphones on his shoulder.)

DOROTHY

Oh, now I see. You’re working on that stupid antacid again.

MARC

(enthusiastically)

I think I’ve got it right, this time.

DOROTHY

Swell.

(Marc lifts the carafe.)

MARC

The secret ingredient.

(He adds the tea to the blender while Dorothy watches.)

DOROTHY

Why do you do these things in here?

MARC

Try some.

(He waves the container under Dorothy’s nose.)

DOROTHY

Don’t be ridiculous. A natural fruit antacid. Who cares? A couple of shots of

Pepto-Bismol and I’m done.

MARC

Dorothy, this could end your stomach problems forever.

DOROTHY

(sniffs container)

It smells like old socks.

(She exits, carrying the tennis racket. Marc smells the drink. She’s right. He puts the drink on the blender, then pours himself a glass of Sambuca. He drinks it, then picks up the bottle and pours the rest of it into the blender. He smells the drink. Smiles.)

Jerome enters with his phone, dialing. Lights up on his area.

The phone rings twice. Dorothy enters, tennis racket still in hand.)

ANSWERING MACHINE

Marc and Dorothy Danson. Leave a number.

JEROME

Dot?

(She puts the tennis racket down, and picks up the phone.)

DOROTHY

(into phone)

What?

JEROME

(into phone)

We’ve got a problem. My passport’s at the office.

DOROTHY

(into phone)

You’re just thinking about that, now? Have someone send it over.

JEROME

(into phone)

Nobody’s there on Saturday. I’ll have to pick it up.

DOROTHY

(into phone)

But it’ll take you over an hour to get there and back. That means no Lucques. You promised me lunch at Lucques.

JEROME

(into phone)

You can eat on the plane, babe. Do you want me to get it or not?

(Marc puts the lid on the jar and turns on the blender and dances to the music in his earphones.)

DOROTHY

(into phone)

Just a minute.

(to Marc, covering the receiver)

Marc! Marc!

(No answer. The blender continues and Marc keeps dancing.)

JEROME

(into phone)

Are you still here?

DOROTHY

(into phone)

I can’t hear you.

(The blender continues. She raises her voice.)

Will you stop that?

(The blender continues.)

I am trying to talk on the phone!!!

(Marc presses another button on the blender and the speed and sound increase.)

Oh, God!!

(Marc continues blending, making the blender start and stop, start and stop, start and stop.)

JEROME

What the hell’s going on over there?

(Dorothy speaks loudly, into the phone.)

DOROTHY

Could you pick me up a couple of packs of Marlboros? I’m out.

JEROME

I’ll buy you a whole carton, babe.

DOROTHY

Thank you.

(She hangs up the phone. Jerome exits. Lights down on his area.

Marc stops the blender and lifts the jar off, sniffs it.  He notices Dorothy staring at him and puts the earphones on his shoulder.)

MARC

Were you talking to me?

DOROTHY

Sometimes you respond and sometimes you don’t. What the hell do you call that kind of behavior? I call it random behavior.

MARC

(muttering)

I’ve never called it anything.

DOROTHY

And muttering is a form of passive-agressive behaviour. I imagine you know that.

MARC

Are you upset about something, Dot?

DOROTHY

No.

MARC

You seem upset.

DOROTHY

I am not upset.

MARC

You are not upset.

DOROTHY

I am not upset.

MARC

You just seem upset.

DOROTHY

(very upset)

Yes!

MARC

If you were upset, this would make you feel much better.

(He waves the container in front of her.)

It’s right this time. Smell it.

DOROTHY

I don’t have time.

MARC

Are you in a hurry, Dot?

DOROTHY

No!

MARC

Take a minute. What do you think?

(Dorothy sniffs it.)

DOROTHY

Is there booze in there?

MARC

Could be.

DOROTHY

Oh, alright. Pour me a little drinkie.  And it better be good.

(She exits. Marc puts the earphones back on. Victory! He dances and pours the mixture into a glass. Jerome enters, with his phone. Lights up in his area. He dials. The phone rings twice.)

ANSWERING MACHINE

Marc and Dorothy Danson. Leave a message. BEEP.

JEROME

(into phone and on answering machine)

Dorothy. I can’t find the office keys.

(Dorothy enters and picks up the phone.)

DOROTHY

(into phone)

Did you look in your briefcase?

(Marc smiles benignly, holding the drink.)

JEROME

(into phone)

I’ve looked all over the goddamned house. I can’t find them.

DOROTHY

(into phone)

I want you to think very carefully. People lose things for a reason, you know.

JEROME

(into phone)

Are you saying I lost them on purpose?

(Marc offers her the drink, she waves him away. He goes back to the tray, picks up a little paper umbrella.)

DOROTHY

(into phone)

I’m not suggesting that. What I’m hearing is hesitation. And that’s normal.

JEROME

(into phone)

This is a big move, Babe. I’m a little nervous, that’s all.

DOROTHY

(into phone)

Just change the word. Take a deep breath and say, “I’m not anxious, I’m excited.”

(Marc puts the umbrella on the corner of the glass, puts the glass on a cocktail napkin. Holds the glass out to her. To Marc)

Not now.

JEROME

(into phone)

I’m not anxious, I’m excited.

DOROTHY

(into phone)

Say it as if you mean it, “I’m not anxious, I’m excited.”

(Marc hovers, drink in hand.)

JEROME

(into phone)

I’m not anxious, I’m excited.

DOROTHY

(into phone)

Again.

(Marc offers her the drink again. She covers the receiver.)

I’m on the phone!

(She walks away from him. He follows.)

JEROME

(into phone)

I’m not anxious, I’m excited.

DOROTHY AND JEROME TOGETHER

(into phone)

I’m not anxious, I’m excited, I’m not anxious, I’m excited.

JEROME

(into phone)

Jesus, Dorothy, I’m getting so excited.

(Marc offers her the drink again. She covers the receiver.)

DOROTHY

(to Marc)

No! I don’t want it now!

(Marc stands there, doggedly, drink in hand.)

JEROME

(into phone)

I found them. They were in my pocket.

DOROTHY

(into phone)

That’s wonderful.

JEROME

(into phone)

Holy shit! They were there all the time. Did I scare you, Babe?

DOROTHY

(into phone)

I almost had another heart attack.

JEROME

(into phone)

Worry no more. I’ll pick up my passport and speed to your door.

DOROTHY

(sharply, into phone)

No. We’ll pick it up on the way.

JEROME

Alright. Ten minutes, Babe. Be ready.

(He hangs up, exits. Lights down in his area. Dorothy hangs up and starts off.  Marc puts his earphones on his shoulders and follows her, drink in hand.)

MARC

Where are you going?

DOROTHY

I am attempting to get dressed. You should try it sometime.

MARC

What about your little drinkie?

DOROTHY

You never give up, do you? On and on. Why? Why? Why?

(She exits.)

MARC

It’ll keep. I’ll freeze it for you.

(Marc puts the drink on the table, puts his earphones back on, then hits the back of the chair with the tennis racket several times. He grabs the blender and pours some of the mixture into the plant.)

Have a drinkie, little plantie.

(Dorothy enters with the suitcase, now packed. Her jacket is on top of it.)

You’ve packed your suitcase!

(Dorothy puts on her jacket. Marc puts the earphones on his ear.)

Dorothy?

DOROTHY

What?

MARC

What’s going on?

DOROTHY

Nothing.

MARC

You are going somewhere.

DOROTHY

You really can’t hear with those things on, can you?

(He stares at her.)

I don’t know why. I sometimes suspected you could hear me all the time.

MARC

What’s going on?

DOROTHY

I’m going. That’s what’s going on.

MARC

Going where?

DOROTHY

I’m going to Cancun.

MARC

For how long?

DOROTHY

Forever. I’m running away.

MARC

Who are you running away with?

DOROTHY

Jerome.

MARC

Jerome? You’re running away with your sister’s husband? Does Lena know?

DOROTHY

He’ll fax her.

MARC

How long has this been going on?

DOROTHY

Six months.

MARC

And you’re just running away now?

DOROTHY

He had to be sure. Now, he’s sure.

MARC

That’s all you have to say?

DOROTHY

What’s there to say? I don’t need you now. Jerome has buckets of money.

MARC

Oh.

DOROTHY

In this world, there are winners and losers. Jerome is a winner.

MARC

Ah. Isn’t that a false dichotomy?  Separating people into winners and losers in terms of their material success? Aren’t we all just human?

DOROTHY

Oh, please. I hate that kind of talk.

MARC

Ah.

DOROTHY

Who’d have thought she’d marry the successful one? She’s always been so stupid. Have you seen my gun?

MARC

You’re taking your gun with your lover to Cancun?

DOROTHY

It’s a dangerous world out there, Marc.

MARC

What about airport security? They won’t let you on the plane.

DOROTHY

Oh, poo. Jerome can get anything through.

(She exits. Marc leaps in the air, and clicks his heels together.)

MARC

Whoo hoo. Whoo hoo.

(whips the earphones off, throws the remote in the air and catches it. He pulls the cord out of the radio. A wall of sound comes up, a long guitar riff ending a song. He takes his list out of his pocket.)

#3. Done.

(crosses off #3, puts the list back in his pocket, picks up the blender and pours some of the liquid into the plant) Have another drinkie, little plantie. Have it all.

(pours it all into the plant. A slow instrumental song starts.)

Would you like this dance?

(He dances with the plant. Dorothy enters with the gun.)

DOROTHY

What are you doing with that? Are you out of your mind? This was a gift to me.

(She puts the gun on the table and exits, carrying the plant. Marc turns the music off. Alarmed, he gingerly picks up the gun and locks it in the cabinet with the Pepto Bismol bottles. He exits with the blender.

Dorothy enters, carrying the plant. Its limp flowers and leaves droop over the pot)

My beautiful plant. I can’t believe it.

(Marc enters)

You did some stupid thing to it, didn’t you? The soil’s soaking. It’s finished.

MARC

(muttering, awestruck)

It’s dead!

DOROTHY

(shoves the plant at him)

Throw it out.

(She clutches her stomach.)

MARC

Did your stomach get upset?

DOROTHY

I don’t know why.  It was just a little gift.

(airily)

There’s a lot more where that came from.

(Marc exits, carrying the plant.)

It’s my time, now. I’m better than this, I deserve more, it’s my time, now. I’m better than this, I deserve more, it’s my….

(She rolls the suitcase to the front door and exits with it.

Jerome enters with his phone, dialing. He’s wearing a silk robe, silk boxer shorts, and socks. Lights up on his area. The phone rings twice.)

ANSWERING MACHINE

Marc and Dorothy Danson. Leave a number. BEEP.

(Marc enters, sees the drink on the table and starts off with it.)

JEROME

(into phone)

Dorothy, I don’t know how to tell you this.

(Marc, listening to Jerome, puts the drink back on the table.)

It’s about Lena. She came home before the stores closed. And boy, did she surprise me.

(laughs)

I won’t tell you what she was wearing under her coat.  You were right about me the first time. It was all about S-E-X. All I ever wanted was a good time. And you deserve more, Dottie. You’re better than that.

MARC

You wuss!!!

JEROME

(into phone)

I know you’ll understand, Dottie. And forgive.

(sings)

“You made me love you,
I didn’t want to do it
I didn’t want to do it.
You made me want you
And all the time you knew it
I guess you always knew it…”

You made me happy sometimes…’

(Marc puts the key in the cupboard but in his anger can’t turn it in the lock. He slams the answering machine with his hand. Jerome looks at his phone, hangs up and exits. Light down in his area. Marc pulls the cord out of his earphones, stretches it, taut.)

MARC

Dorothy!! Where are you?

(He exits into the bathroom.)

DOROTHY

Where the hell is the Pepto Bismol?

(exits into the kitchen. Marc comes out of the bathroom and runs outside. Dorothy enters and tries the cupboard door.)

Why is this cupboard always locked?

(She goes over to the bar and tips the empty Sambuca bottle.)

Oh, God!

(sees the drink on the table, picks it up.)

Well, whoop de doo.

( takes the umbrella off, raises the glass in a toast)

To Escape. At last.

(drinks, puts the glass down. The phone rings. Dorothy stops suddenly, surprised by what she is feeling. The phone rings again. Dorothy staggers, gasps, stumbles toward the phone.)

ANSWERING MACHINE

Marc and Dorothy Danson. Leave a number. BEEP.

(Dorothy tries to pick up the phone and it falls out of her hands.)

DOROTHY

Marc?

DR. MORIYAMA

(on answering machine)

Mr. Marc Danson? Do I have the correct number? This is Dr. Hiroshi Moriyama, calling.

(Marc enters, carrying the taut cord.)

I am the new Director of the Zen Gakuren Interfaith Institute in Osaka.

(Marc drops the cord.)

We were reviewing applicants for the overseas position and I came across your resume.

(Marc glances at Dorothy, who is struggling forward, gasping for breath.)

MARC

The deus ex machina!

(Dorothy tries to call out but no sound comes.)

DR. MORIYAMA

I am very impressed by your monograph on sex and violence in the Bible. It is very, very good. If you are still available, we would like to fly you to Osaka a week from Monday.

(Marc picks up the phone.)

MARC

(into phone)

Moshi (moh shee), moshi (moh shee), Dr. Moriyamama.

(to Dorothy)

Rhymes with pajama.

(into the phone)

Excuse me, Moriyamasama. A little joke. Konnichi wa (Kohn-nee-chee) (wah). Ogenki desu ka? (oh gen kee) (dess) (kah). I am fine, thank you.

(tries to catch his breath)

I just ran in. Yes.

(closes the front door)

Kaze ga fukimasu (kah-zeh) (gah) (foo-kee-mahss).

(listens, then into phone)

Hai (hi) Hai (hi).

(crosses to the Bible stand. Dorothy reaches for him, grabs his pajama pant. He covers the receiver with his hand, to Dorothy.)

I’m on the phone.

(Dorothy gasps, dies. Marc doesn’t notice, into phone.)

The New English and The New American Bible. Both excellent translations.

(listens, then into phone)

Yes. Sex and violence. My thoughts exactly, sir.

(steps over Dorothy’s body and goes to his chair. He settles comfortably and crosses his legs.)

There are a couple of things I have to clean up. But I’ll be there. Domo (doh-moh) arigato (ah-ree-gah-toh) gozaimasu (goh-zye-mahss).

(looks down at Dorothy’s body, mildly surprised to see it there, takes a piece of lint off her dress, listens, then into phone)

Single? Oh yes…

(awestruck)

I’m a single man.

(takes his list out of his pocket. Crumples it and throws it away.)

(BLACKOUT)

THE END

You Made Me Love You – Words by Joseph McCarthy, Music by James Monaco, 1913.

 

 

 

Diane Grant, authorDiane Grant is an award winning playwright and screenwriter, whose film Too Much Oregano, won the Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize. She was a co-founder of Redlight Theatre, the first professional women’s theatre in Canada, and her plays have been produced and published in the US, Canada, and Italy.

Ms. Grant has performed at the Stratford Festival and the National Arts Centre of Canada. She was Literary Manager of the Los Angeles Write Act Repertory Company, a mentor for the young playwrights’ group HOLA, and a member of Los Angeles Wordsmiths. She’s a member of the Dramatists Guild, The Playwrights Guild of Canada, the International Center for Women Playwrights, blogs for The Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative, and is Vice-Chair of the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights.

 

Photo by Anomalous Productions.

The post Sex and Violence: A Comedy in One Act appeared first on Xenith.



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Sex and Violence: A Comedy in One Act

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