D.C. Copeland
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PLAY

CHARACTER BREAKDOWN

All of the ages of the actors are entirely dependent on how the director would like to tell the story. Personally, age does not matter to the playwright at all. What would the significance of age be when telling a story like this that already acknowledges that its characters are everyday people "acting"? In terms of the story that I am telling and which the Narrator is narrating, and which Flan is writing, linear time is not only not valued, but is a hindrance to PLAY'S progression.

Narrator            Male,
Flan                Female,
Lola                Female,
Grace               Female,
Lila                Female,
Rosalind            Female,
Andrew              Male,
George/Ralph/Tommy  Male,

TIME
Now in the most literal sense

SETTING
Nothing except what Flan writes in her script or the Narrator decrees. A theater swept clean. Metaphorically and literally: "Ok if the wires show...but the magic should at the same time be thoroughly amazing." (Kushner, Angels in America)

STYLE
Self-conscious, fun, playful, incongruently fast-paced mixed with periods of abrupt pauses and slow thinking moments in space. The word "SILENCE" can be spoken by the NARRATOR or simply incorporated - it is the only true d bit of chicanery through which the playwright speaks on the page without the audience being privy to the stage note. If spoken out loud by the Narrator it would most likely lead to a moment that is funny and awkward (GOOD!)

PLAYWRIGHT'S NOTE
Play is a work that is absurd, but should be played realistically. The greater the realism, the more absurd it will read and the more an audience will draw laughter from tragedy and sorrow from the comedic elements. There is a great deal of fun about it all. "When a play employs unconventional techniques, it is not, or certainly shouldn't be, trying to escape its responsibility of dealing with reality, or interpreting experience, but is actually or should be attempting to find a closer approach, a more penetrating and vivid expression of things as they are." - Tennessee Williams

If it's helpful, *** designates a new beat in the movement of the play



PLAY


NARRATOR
Where does the time go? Alright. It is the beginning of the play. We've been waiting an eternity or since we've bought the tickets....It seems.

My name is (actor's name) and I will be narrating this play. I have been called many names in many different plays: narrator, guide, oracle, Greek chorus, voice, minstrel, fiddler. I am NOT the playwright. I am NOT the director. No no. It must be very clear to you, dear persons, of who I AM and who I am NOT. The playwright, D.C. Copeland, wrote this and I am reciting her lines to tell the story that she wanted to tell and the director, (director's name) has provided all of the blocking and character development and cohesiveness in those other regards that directors do. So if you like this play or hate it, do not accost or praise ME. Hate is a strong word isn't it?

HATE. Hate. Hate. Hate. That's not my job - to be responsible. Tut. Tut. For I am just like you and my name could be Bob, Mary, Sue, or Archilochus. Say that ten times fast: Archilochus. Archilochus. Archilochus. My name is. Period. Now you see me and for the next ninety minutes you can see me if you choose. And if you don't, just don't look at me. The end. I am here for you. If you choose. If it get's weird. I am here. So remember me as I am.

Before we begin I have to bring to the table a question you may want to ask yourselves...or may not want to ask yourselves.


SILENCE. He looks out at audience.

Are you insane?

SILENCE.

Are you insane?

SILENCE.

You come to this theater and what do you expect? A little night music? "In the true theater a play disturbs the senses' repose, frees the repressed unconscious, incites a kind of virtual revolt...." The artist, Artuad said that and then he likened theater to a plague, "IN THE CITY OF GOD St. Augustine complains of the similarity between the action of the plague that kills without destroying the organs and the theater which, without killing, provokes the most mysterious alterations in the mind of not only, an individual, but an entire populace." "The most mysterious alterations in the mind of not only an individual, but an entire populace."....That's you audience...you are the populace.

Would anyone like to leave now? Now that you know what the stakes are for PLAY and for your role in this little...ahem....alchemy experiment....or shall I say, theatrical experience?


Silence. He looks out at audience. No matter the response he says:

Good. Good. Good. Now, let's begin.

Once upon a time, there was a woman named Flannery Shepherd who made a decision.

Flannery bounds onstage.

FLAN
I'm going to write a play!!!!

NARR
She sits at her desk. A desk is rolled in magically - no stage hands - just pushed onto the stage on rollers, stopped by Flannery who begins the work at hand. She writes. Soon Lola MacDonald enters the scene.

LOLA
What are you doing here?

FLAN
What do you mean?

NARR
Just then, Lola makes a decision.

LOLA
This is my apartment.

FLAN
This is your apartment?

LOLA
Mine. Truly. I pay rent.

FLAN

Well.

NARR

Flannery returns to writing.

LOLA
No. No. No. What are you doing here?

NARR
Just then, Flannery makes a decision.

FLAN
I do, too.

LOLA
What?

FLAN
I pay rent.

LOLA
You do?

FLAN
Yes!

LOLA
Well, then.

FLAN
Well.

LOLA
We must live together!

FLAN
Yes, we must be roommates!

LOLA
Or bedmates.

NARR
Flannery thinks about the possibility of herself having lesbianic tendencies. She thinks about her attraction to Elize Snyder in the tenth grade. Then, Flannery makes a decision.

FLAN
We are roommates.

LOLA
Not bedmates?

FLAN
Where were you before now?

LOLA
Backstage.

FLAN
Would you like to go back there again? I'm a bit preoccupied right now.

NARR
Lola makes a grunting sound.

LOLA
Arrrrrgggh!

FLAN
So why don't you go?

NARR
Lola, realizing this play isn't featuring her at this moment decides to leave... "In a huff."

LOLA
In a huff!!!! I go. "Huff"!

NARR
She exits backstage.

FLAN
That's great!

NARR
Lola hears Flannery from backstage.


LOLA
What is?

FLAN
The huff.

LOLA
Oh, thanks.

FLAN
I'll use it.

LOLA
Use it?

FLAN
For the play!

LOLA
Oh right: "The Play."

NARR
Flannery writes and writes and writes. A long stage time passes in Play, whoever is narrating chooses to entertain the audience or groom himself or herself, depending on the mood or do nothing but stare into the audience. Dance. I can dance, too.

Lola returns.

LOLA
It's boring back there.

FLAN
There is nothing that is boring only people who are boring.

LOLA
Oh huff!

FLAN
Haha! Glad you're back, Lo.

LOLA
Oh puffle huff!

FLAN
Wouldn't be the same without you.

LOLA
You haven't paid rent this month.

FLAN
Gotta finish the play.

LOLA
Well, can you get some money from your parents?

FLAN
I'll try Lo, but honestly I doubt it.

LOLA
Why?

NARR
Flannery makes an important character decision.

FLAN
Well Mom's dead and Dad's an alcoholic. Who knows where he is.

LOLA
True?

FLAN and NARR
Yes.

NARR
Everything that is said by the characters onstage is true.

LOLA
Well, then.

NARR
As Flannery goes back to writing, Lola opens up a sandwich.

Lola decides to eat her sandwich.

LOLA
When I was bored I went to the deli downstairs and bought two sandwiches.

FLAN
Hmm.

LOLA
Want one?

FLAN
Huh?

--

LOLA
Want a sandwich? Turkey, cheese, lettuce and mayo - sourdough. Not bad.

FLAN
Oh. Yes. Yes. Good.

NARR
Lola gives Flannery a sandwich and they both eat.

LOLA
I also checked facebook.

FLAN
You did a lot of things for a person who is so bored.

LOLA
Well, it's because I was so bored that I had to do a lot of things.

FLAN
Oh?

LOLA
--- to forget about being bored.

FLAN
Ah yes. That makes sense.

NARR
They eat quietly and then Lola makes a decision to confide in Flannery.

LOLA
A boy I slept with announced he had herpes. Oral herpes.

FLAN
Everyone has herpes.

LOLA
But that's not the point, Flan.

FLAN
It's not?

LOLA
No. He announced it on social media, where everyone, including me, who slept with the bastard can see it.

FLAN
Hm.

LOLA
Now why would a man, who I thought such a gentleman and sane and normal do such a thing?

FLAN
Maybe he was drunk?

LOLA
Definitely.

FLAN
And he subconsciously feels guilty about sleeping with lots of women.

LOLA
How do you know he sleeps with lots of women?

NARR
Flannery makes a decision that she will not tell Lola about.

FLAN
Oh...I just heard...He's a player.

LOLA
A gigolo.

FLAN
Yes. Anyway Lo, you don't need a man like that in your life.

LOLA
True. But still. A part of me wishes he'd gotten me pregnant.

FLAN
Really?

LOLA
Well. Yes. No. Maybe.

SILENCE.

FLAN
Hmm.

NARR
Just then, Flannery has an idea for her play.

FLAN
Ah! Excellent, Lola! Excellent!

NARR
Flannery returns to writing while Lola cleans up from their lunch.
Lola goes backstage and returns with a chair.

FLAN
Where did you get that from?

LOLA
Backstage. I thought our apartment could use some furniture!!!!!!

NARR
Flannery continues her work.

LOLA
I thought our apartment could you some furniture!!!!!

NARR
Flannery makes a decision.

FLAN
I'm putting you in the play!

LOLA
No!

FLAN
Yes!

LOLA
Alright.

FLAN
Good.

LOLA
But you have to change my name.

FLAN
Aw. I like the name!

LOLA
My name?

FLAN
Lola! Lo-lo-lo-lola!

LOLA
Oh huff.

NARR
Enter two women on the opposite side of the stage from Flannery and Lola.

FLAN
Well I'll call her Lila.

GRACE
Hold my hand, please...Lila.

LOLA
And who are you going to be?

FLAN
What do you mean?

LOLA
Well, you are obviously in the play too, if I'm in the play?

FLAN
Oh well.

NARR
Flannery makes a decision to call herself what she's always wished she'd been called since the day she was born.

FLAN
Grace.

LILA
Just breathe, Grace. Just breathe.

FLAN
Grace's huffs begin to be the breathing of labor as the birthing process resumes.

LOLA
So Grace is having a baby?

FLAN
Yes, she's having the baby that she's always wanted to have, the baby she always wishes her one night stands had impregnated her with and now she finally has and Lila is a midwife and -

LOLA
Her best friend.

FLAN
Yes.

LOLA
Truly. Love that. Now whose the father of this baby?

FLAN
Hmmmm.

LOLA
Does she even know?

FLAN
Oh she knows. She doesn't have one-night stands too often you see.

NARR
Flannery makes a decision.

FLAN
The father?

NARR
Flannery ponders.

FLAN
He is currently narrating a play in (whichever city PLAY is currently being performed in) at the (whichever theater PLAY is currently being performed in). He travels a lot.

NARR
I look at the audience knowingly.

FLAN
He's not in the play, however. He's just narrating.

NARR
I continue to look into the audience knowingly.

FLAN
He just had sex with Grace once and then left.

NARR
I look at the audience. Flannery makes a decision.

FLAN
Grace just wanted to have a one night stand you see.

FLAN
The way of the one night stand. Easy and breezy.

LOLA
...and possibly impressionable? Impregnable?

FLAN
What's the kind of breathing you do when you give birth...?

LOLA
Lamaaz.

FLAN
LaMAAAAz.

LOLA
Yes.....Lila should be Grace's friend but also her nurse...Her mid-wife and they should practice LaMAAAAAAz.

FLAN and LOLA
LaMAAAAz.

FLAN
In the meantime, Grace and Lila are huffing and puffing LaMaaaz together. Grace is drenched in sweat and Lila is putting cold water on her forehead and handing her ice chips.

GRACE
I'm frightened.

LILA
Just keep breathing--

GRACE
Aargh!!!!!!!

FLAN
Lila and Grace are breathing together. Stronger and stronger and faster and faster.

NARR
Flannery is writing furiously while Lola goads her on.

LOLA
Yes. That's great keep going!

NARR
She's terrified. What if the baby is a mutant.
What if he has four heads? Why did she let anyone get her into this mess? She'll never be a good mother. There's no going back now! All these thoughts are running through her mind and she's suffering these birth pangs...And the father's not even there. Will she be a good mother? Her own mother's a drunk somewhere in Nashville. She's gotta be able to do better than her. What if the baby's autistic? Or bipolar? Or ocd? Or learning disabled? Or mentally retarded or aspergers or hates her? What if she hates him, it, her? Oh----

GRACE
FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!

NARR
The baby as voiced by me: CRRRRRYIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII - ING!!!!!!!

A little baby emerges from underneath Grace.

LILA
It's a boy!

LOLA
A boy!!!!

FLAN
Yes. It's a boy.

LOLA
I wanted it to be a girl.

NARR
Flan makes a decision. Very important.

FLAN
It's a girl.

LILA
It's a girl!!!

LOLA
A girl! Hooray!!!

GRACE
I'll name her Flannery.

LOLA
Silly.

GRACE
I'll name her Lola.

LOLA
No!

GRACE
I'll name her after my Great Aunt Rose: Rosalind.

LOLA
As you like it.

FLAN
Oh yes! Perfect. Strong female name.

GRACE
It means "tender rose".

LILA
She is so sweet.

SILENCE.

FLAN
So now they've had the baby.

LOLA
What happens now?

FLAN
Exactly.

NARR
They sit and stare in silence at one another. Lola walks around the stage several times.

FLAN
Stop that Lola I can't hear myself think!

LOLA
Thinking. Stinking. Lincoln. Drinking. Hey!

FLAN
What?

(to the tune of an old limerick)

LOLA
Lincoln, Lincoln, I've been thinking.

FLAN
What the heck have you been drinking?

NARR
They do a jig together:

LOLA and FLAN
Smells like liquor, tastes like whine - oh my god! It's turpentine!

LOLA
Let's get drunk!

FLAN
Aah! Excellent idea. Should we go out or stay here?

LOLA
Out, of course.

FLAN
Flan---tastic.

NARR
Lola and Flan leave the stage while club music or house music plays depending on whatever the producer can get the rights for. Feel free to dance. The night passes. Flan bounds onstage in a gorgeous, low-cut dress. It is now early in the morning and Flan and Lola are both acting drunk.

LOLA
Now came ere you fellers.

GEORGE
We'll follow you ladies till the ends of the earth.

RODNEY
Right behind you.

LOLA
Did you bring the whisky, George?

NARR
Lola and two men appear. Lola is wearing a purposefully and stylishly ripped t-shirt and short skirt. The men are pushing a couch onstage on wheelies. Lola carries tea candles.

FLAN
Hey, where did you find the couch?

LOLA
Same place you found your dress! That room backstage gots all the props and stuff.

FLAN
Aah, that's great, Lo!

LOLA
This is Rodney.

ROD
Ello.

LOLA
And this is George.

FLAN
Hello.

LOLA
Do you have a match?

GEORGE
Use my lighter.

LOLA
Thank you, kind gentleman.

NARR
Lola is laughing and lighting candles. Everyone is dancing. I light candles also along with Lola. Flan watches Lola. Rodney watches Flan. Lola lies down on the couch and George begins to make love to her. Flan continues watching from the desk until Rodney begins to cover her in kisses and they also make love or the innuendo, the insinuation is that love is being made. Flannery and Lola and the men they found backstage have made that decision - to affect the act of drunken sexual intercourse. Lights go out and candles flicker. Stage magic. No real penetration. The girls are at play with one another and their fellows. Lovers. Audience, you are now voyeurs....as I am....always.

***
I blow the candles out. The two girls snuggle up with one another on the couch. The morning. Men leave in darkness.

FLAN
Wow.

LOLA
That was a night!

NARR
Flan makes a decision.

FLAN
I'm not drunk anymore.

NARR
Lola makes a decision.

LOLA
I have a hangover. I'm going to the deli downstairs.

FLAN
Where did you find those guys anyway?

LOLA
Backstage.

FLAN
Oh.

LOLA
Want anything?

FLAN
Um...

LOLA
Surprise?

FLAN
Yea, whatever.

NARR
Lola leaves the stage holding her feigned aching head and Flannery goes to the desk and begins to read what she's written.

FLAN
Rosalind. Now a child of nine is going to her first day of a new school. Her Mom packs her lunch. Her stepfather is a used car salesman and is abusive and alcoholic. No. No. I don't like that at all. Her stepfather is a lawyer...a good provider...well wait...where does she live?

NARR
Flannery makes a ---

FLAN
California. Los Angeles.

NARR
---decision.

FLAN
He is an editor. For commercials and bad TV shows. He's a great Dad. He loves Grace. He's a good husband. He loves Rosalind.

NARR
Rosalind bounces onto the stage. If you notice, Rosalind's father is played by the guy backstage who played Flannery's lover: Rodney.

FLAN
Rosalind's father follows her onstage with a bagged lunch.
He has packed Rosalind's lunch. Sign of the utmost care and affection. Andrew. Andrew is Rosalind's father's name. Andrew has packed Rosalind's lunch. Andrew is her father. Andrew Miller. Jewish.

NARR
Note....The actor playing Andrew may or may not be Jewish.

AND
So are you excited for school?

ROS
Yes!!!!!

AND
How are you going to make friends?

ROS
I am going to walk right up to people and introduce myself and say "Hi, I'm Rosalind. What's your name?"

AND
Awesome! You are going to do great, kid! And when you get home Mom and I and you and auntie Lie are going to go out for the best Chinese food this side of the Pacific, Ya?

ROS
Ya!

FLAN
So then they go off to school. Meanwhile, Grace is working at her hair salon.

***

NARR
Lola reenters with a big shopping bag. She lays out the contents on the floor: V8 juices, waters, celery stalks, cups and vodka and potato chips. Flan stares at her as she makes a Bloody Mary for herself and also eats potato chips.

LOLA
Aww. I thought Grace would be more educated...like a professor or something.

FLAN
No she works at a hair salon.

LOLA
Really? ---- Want a Bloody Mary?

FLAN
No.

LOLA
Aww, Flan. Give you liquid courage - make you strong!

NARR
Lola wishes Flan were more of a lush. No. Lola wishes Flan would join her in a Bloody Mary. No, Lola wishes Flan had made Grace a Professor.

FLAN
Water.

LOLA
Water.

NARR
Lola is resigned and accepts her friend's decision.

FLAN
Our bodies are mostly water. Know that?

LOLA
Yes. But mine is red also. So I need red drinks too.

NARR
Lola accepts herself...Flan moves on with her play.

***

FLAN
Maybe Grace had a really tough childhood and even though she is extremely bright, she just never got a lot of education and she was always really good at talking to people and empathizing with them...and she was really good at cutting hair: the hair of her dolls, of her dog growing up, the neighbors' dogs...Ha. Hmmm.

LOLA
Ok.

FLAN
Ok?

NARR
Lola pushes further.

LOLA
Maybe. She's also really good at mystical things. Maybe Grace is kind of psychic too and when she's cutting hair she also can tell people about their future or have insight about what's going on in their lives.

FLAN
She reads tarot.

LOLA
Yes. She's a channel. A priestess.

FLAN
She visits a tribe in South Dakota every year and learns special healing techniques. When she's home, Grace makes trips to hospitals.

LOLA
Yes and hospices.

NARR
Lola makes a decision.

LOLA
Like where my Dad had to go before he died of cancer.

NARR
Flan makes a decision.

FLAN
That's where Lila and Grace met.

LOLA
At a hospice?

FLAN
Yes...ten years ago. When Lila's Dad was dying, and Grace
would visit everyday and then Grace discovered Lila was a midwife, so when she found out she was having this baby, she asked for Lila's help but by then Lila had already become her best friend in town so of course she said "yes".

LOLA
And meanwhile, when you go to Grace for a haircut you are really clearing away debris that is clouding your highest self.

FLAN
Hmmmm...Yes....Fine. Anyway, that's how her and Andrew, fell in love. He wanted a haircut and went to her. She told him that his mother was going to recover from breast cancer and she did. He hadn't even told her that his mother had gotten the mastectomy a week ago and then she did
his tarot. The lover card appeared and he asked her out for the next week and they've been inseparable ever since.

NARR
True love.

LOLA
True love.

FLAN
Yes. I think so.

NARR
Lola reads what Flan wrote while she was at the deli while Flan walks around the stage. In the meantime, little Rosalind is also onstage. Waiting.

***

LOLA
At school, Rosalind is holding her lunch tray. It's lunchtime. She is smiling so brightly. She drops the lunch tray. Spaghetti and meatballs all over her and yogurt. Splat. There is laughter. Maybe there's a narrator who holds up a sign for the audience to laugh and even participate in the play!!! Huh, a narrator. Absurd, but effective? Maybe there is an interactive element though with the audience. Good, Flan. Save this idea. Another girl stares at her as if she's lower than a toad. Lot's of laughter from the girls and even the lunch aides titter. Rosalind's face turns bright red and she runs away in shame. That's good! Then she's out of the cafeteria and the next scene is at the Principal's office where Lila comes to pick her up.

LILA
What happened honey?

ROS
I don't want to talk about it.

FLAN
And the principal just says that you know she had some problems with some kids at lunch and was refusing to go back to class.

LILA
Oh sweetheart. I'm sorry. Let's go to Mommy's.

FLAN
And the principal is a real jackass maybe.

LOLA
Forget about the principal.

FLAN
Ok maybe we don't even need the scene where Lila picks her up.

LOLA
I like that scene. I feel like Lila is part of their family.

FLAN
That's what I was going for.

LOLA
Yes. Let's keep it.

FLAN
Nah....How about after the school incident they are all at the Chinese Restaurant, Lila too, and Rosalind is being silent. Andrew, Lila, Grace, and Rosalind. Rosalind won't talk.

AND
So are we having spare ribs tonight, Rossie?

GRACE
Just let her be, Andy.

LILA
She's been like this since 3:30.

AND
Ok. How was your day, my angels?

GRACE
Oh mine was fine. I was booked with clients until six and met this wonderful old lady who wanted her hair dyed pink. "Well if I have to be old, I may as well treat myself to a good laugh every morn and evening." She was quite chipper. Everything was "Aah wonderful. Wonderful."

LILA
And did you read her?

GRACE
Yes. So much life to live and lessons to learn at eighty-seven. It's amazing. We both chuckled. She said, "My goodness, I thought my time was up and here it seems there is magic still to come." Extraordinary woman we could all learn from...to see life as magic.

FLAN
Rosalind begins to cry.

GRACE
What's up, honey bear?

ROS
I hate this school.

LOLA
Wait. Why does she start crying now?

FLAN
Oh hush. Just listen.

LOLA
Seriously...why? It doesn't make sense.

FLAN
Why anything? Sometimes, we just start to cry. She was triggered by something. Probably because Rossie is like the little old lady and LOVES life and Grace had known this would be a good story to open up her little one and that's why she told it.

AND
What happened, tiger?

ROS
It's just like the other ones. The kids laugh at me. I'm not right. I'm not right. I just don't fit in.

LOLA
How many schools has she been to?

FLAN
Well, Grace moved around a bunch until she finally settled in Lila's hometown. But first she took up with two other men. One in Seattle, and then she left that man because he was a cheater and liar and stole her money. She moved to San Diego to be with her brother for a while. He's the second man, her brother. This is backstory. Maybe the narrator tells it. In the beginning, Lila comes forward before the audience.

LILA
I've decided Grace that you and Rosalind are to come stay with me. Hollywood people ---they need their hair done and they love the new age tarot readings and healers and besides...

LOLA
What are best friends for?

LILA
I love you.

LOLA
She loves her. She really really loves her. Not in a sexual way, but another kind of ---

FLAN and NARR
True love.

NARR
Lola nods.

FLAN
Grace comes forward.

GRACE
Oh but we couldn't impose.

LILA
I'm lonely, anyway.

FLAN
Lila's lonely because her husband, Ralph, died of prostate cancer at a really young age.

LOLA
Wow, and her father? That's a lot of men dying around her.

FLAN
Yes. Especially of prostrate cancer.

NARR
Sorry, I am thinking of the playwright's lack of originality in terms of ways men die. Anyway, Flan makes a decision.

FLAN
She's got issues with abandonment...

LOLA
And death...Do you?

FLAN
Well..."write what you know..."People come and go.

SILENCE

LOLA
Grace wanted to help Ralph, but there was nothing she could do.

GRACE
Oh Lila. I'm so sorry. We'll make his crossing over as comfortable as we can for both you and him, but sometimes people are called before they or we are ready to let them go.

***

NARR
Just jumping in for a second here. Decisions are important. They are like the rules of the game. You understand that, right audience? In your individual lives I'm sure you have wrestled with a decision or two. Decisions can be like the steering of the boat safely to shore. The moments the surfer decides to catch the wave. The maneuvering of
the soccer ball, when he passes to a teammate or shoots the basketball to score a point. I mean I have been following along. It's not so difficult. Have I been emotionally following along? Have you? You could also go to
sleep. That happens. Don't fault you. Hard to watch other people having feelings and they do seem to be having them, don't they? I mean in plays, people aren't lying about their emotions...It would seem to be anyway. Regardless, the playwright is using me less. I'm sitting out awhile, you see? But I'm not sleeping, just becoming more like you. Watching, being absorbed in the vast space around the playing field. You understand?. They don't need a referee as much to draw attention to their decisions - they are just making them. Anyway, as for Grace's living situation...

***

GRACE
Thank you, Lila.

FLAN
So now they are sitting back down at the Chinese restaurant, and Rossie cries still. These adults do not understand day after day what it is like for her at these schools where adolescents love to pick at the new kids
and there is something bright and joyful and therefore just plain odd about Rosalind. She can't fit in. First of all, she's taller than most of the kids and she's exuberant in a beautiful different kind of a way. She has Grace's kindness and Lila's gentleness and models Andrew's brashness. Grown ups all love her, but her schoolmates, well they just haven't grown up enough yet to know a diamond when it's sparkling right in front of them.

ROS
I don't belong. I'm scared of everyone and everything. I mess it all up.
I'm such a fuck-up.

LILA
Don't use that word.

ROS
Why not? You use it.

LILA
VERY rarely.

AND
These stuck-up little twits from this county will call anyone whose different a "fuck-up" even if she's better than them. They don't know any better.

ROS
Gordon Patrick called me a "fuck-up" today when I got spaghetti all over Lauren's dress.

AND
You are not --- Don't say such a thing. No daughter of mine is a "fuck-up".

ROS
But I'm not even your daughter!!

GRACE
Rosalind.

AND
It's ok, Grace. She's pissed. It's fine. To me, in my eyes, in my heart, you are my daughter. You can think of me as you wish.

LILA
Listen. Listen. Listen. It wasn't a big deal. She dropped her lunch tray today. And it just became a bigger deal than it was. Ok? Let's not do the same at Uncle Chow's.

FLAN
And Grace and Lila and Andrew share a little smile, meanwhile Rossie feels alienated again AND patronized by the adults.

ROS
Everyone laughed and laughed and laughed! Laughed and Laughed and laughed. I don't understand. I just dropped a tray.

FLAN
It's like she's in a trance remembering the episode.

LOLA
Poor Rosalind.

FLAN
And maybe that laugh sign comes up for the audience to encourage audience participation.

FLAN
Poor Rosalind.

LOLA
I'm going backstage. I'll see if I can get one of those signs.

FLAN
Ok. That would be interesting....absurd really...but interesting.

LOLA
Ok. Here's a sign.

FLAN
Wow. That was fast.

LOLA
I know. One of those guys we were with last night had it ready for me. I think he's been listening to us from backstage. I think he likes you.

FLAN
Who?

LOLA
Uh. George?

FLAN
Well, I slept with Rodney.

NARR
Flannery makes a decision.

FLAN
You are right. It must be George. He must like me.

LOLA
Good. I mean I had sex with him. He's got no business showing me how much he wants you the next day, but...

FLAN
The ways of the world.

LOLA
The ways of men.

FLAN
Always wanting what they can't have.

LOLA
...or just didn't have.

FLAN
Are you saying I'm a floozy?

LOLA
-a floozy!?

FLAN
-a slut?

LOLA
-a slut?!

FLAN
That I'd sleep with Rodney AND George in a short amount of time?

LOLA
Well? Wouldn't you?

FLAN
Well.

NARR
Flan makes a decision.

FLAN
Yes. Yes. I suppose I would.

LOLA
Why are you so hesitant? It's fantastic to own your sexuality and prowess...Men do it all the time.

FLAN
It's true. Men do it all the...and we women feel guilty that we'd fuck for the fun and pleasure of it, while they carouse over it.

LOLA
That will change one day though...Don't you think?

FLAN
More women in political office. Perhaps...

LOLA
In business skirts that suck in their stomachs.

FLAN
But accentuate their curved buttocks.

LOLA
Bringing men to THEIR knees with desire and fawning subordination.

NARR
Lola makes an important character decision.

LOLA
Look, I'm not the jealous type anyway.

FLAN
Very lucky for me, Lo. Ooh. Idea.

***

NARR
And Flan resumes her writing while Lola decides to hold up the Laugh sign. People out there, are you going to Laugh? Laugh! It's an audience participation moment. I'll do it too, just in case you don't pick up. I'll jump
into the audience: HAHAHAHA.

LOLA
Holy moly! There's sound coming from out there.

NARR
When she holds up the sign you should laugh. I'm just saying.

LOLA
Flan! Flan! There are people out here. A real audience.

NARR
Flannery does not hear her. Lola decides to keep it to herself for the time being. She holds up the sign.
(to the audience) You can join me...HAHAHAHA!

He is keeling over with absurd, inappropriate laughter letting it go on for an inordinate amount of time...Especially if there is little laughter coming from the audience, his should sound all the more stark and mean.

ROS
The laughter always the laughter. It's so cruel.

NARR
She holds up the sign.

He is laughing.

ROS
CRUEL!!!!!

NARR
Lola disappears backstage.

FLAN
Rosalind runs offstage and Andrew and Lila are talking about the incident at night. Grace has gone to bed. Rosalind climbs into bed with her. Grace and Rosalind sleep on the edge of the stage. Andrew and Lila take the center.

AND
They're just being kids. They don't know any better.

LILA
I feel so bad for her.

AND
What can we do?

LILA
Tell her this will pass.

AND
She needs outside interests.

LILA
Like what?

AND
Maybe she could start acting? Or modeling? Or surfing? Doing some kind of activity outside of school that would build her self-esteem.

LILA
Ha - why not all of the above?

AND
Why not? And we could enroll her in yoga classes. She's amazing. She should have every opportunity that this damn city affords. Los Angeles, man. City of superficial doltish nimrods...but let her rock the fuck out of them.

FLAN
He's being sincere and Lila knows it.

LILA
You...You are something else you know?

AND
What? Why?

LILA
Grace is lucky and so is Rosalind.

AND
Thanks, Lila. But I think I'm the lucky one.

LILA
I know you do. And you are. Grace is my best friend and I'd never have introduced you if I didn't think you'd be a pair made in heaven.

FLAN
And she's sighing heavily because she's thinking about her own husband.

AND
You're thinking about Ralph.

LILA
Yes.

FLAN
Andrew knew Ralph? No. Lila knows Andrew because she helped his sister give birth three years ago. Ralph died four years ago.

LILA
Anyway, I should be getting home.

AND
You can stay here a little longer...If you don't want to be alone.

LILA
Yes. I'd like that, Andrew. Thank you.

FLAN
Someone rolls a couch onstage and Andrew and Lila sit.

AND
Do you want to talk about Ralph?

FLAN
Ralph comes onstage. He is also the guy playing George.

NARR
George or the techie - whoever he is, appears onstage.

FLAN
Thanks.

GEORGE
Ya. Not a problem.

FLAN
So you are Ralph.

GEORGE
Ralph?

FLAN
Lila's dead husband, who died young. You were in love with her. Can you tell me about yourself?

NARR
Wanting to make this woman happy, the man onstage begins a monologue for her benefit...but it's clear he's no dramatist.

RALPH
I was a good guy. I died too soon. What's there to tell? I was Lila's high school sweetheart. We fell in love at fourteen. Track team. Both drafted to varsity. Hotshots we were. Lost our virginity to each other at sixteen. Man, I waited. I wanted her. We had a good run. A really good run. I loved her everyday that I met her. That was the kind of love we had. I wore red-tinted sunglasses and I loved Tom Waits and Muddy Waters. I had a guitar. My friends and I had a band.

LILA
I'd go to all of his shows.

RALPH
She'd go to all my shows.

FLAN
Lila falls asleep and Andrew holds her and strokes her hair. Andrew kisses her hair.

NARR
George is looking at Flannery.

FLAN
You can go now. Thank you ever so much.

GEORGE
Any time.

FLAN
Lila and Andrew fall asleep on the couch. Andrew holding her. Hmm. Do Grace and Andrew have an open relationship? Maybe he just loves Lila also and has always loved her. And Grace, because she's not the jealous type has just let their closeness develop.

***



NARR
Flannery walks around the stage and starts dancing a bit and stretching. She does a cartwheel if she can or a backbend or some yoga. She eats a potato chip or two. She returns to writing.

FLAN
At dawn, Lila wakes up, covers Andrew gently...(There's got to be a blanket)...

NARR
A blanket is thrown onstage.

FLAN
Thanks!...and creeps out. She feels guilty, as if she's betrayed Grace's trust. When Andrew awakens he climbs into bed with Grace and Rosalind. He does not feel guilty. It's as if he's laid with his sister. That's it. For Andrew, that's Lila. A sister...even if he is attracted to her he can bracket it in this way, as men sometimes do...I've heard. Of course, if Lila were to make the move he'd probably have sex with her.

***

ROS
I don't want to go to school today!

GRACE
You have to go, honey.

ROS
NO!!!!!

AND
How about coming to work with me, tiger?

GRACE
What? No!

AND
Relax, Grace. There's actually a talent agency next door and I think we should let Grace spread her wings a little outside of school. Lila and I both were talking it over last night and we think it would help take some of the pressure off trying to fit in. Let her find her own way.

ROS
YES!!!!! OH YES OH YES!! OH YES!! Oh please, Mommy?

GRACE
You and Lila? Where was I?

AND
Aah! You, my mistress, goddess of the fates...tie-er of knots and weaves and painted locks, were sleeping peacefully worn out by the weariness of
others' woes.

FLAN
And Rosalind is chuckling because she knows Andrew has adequately charmed her mother into letting her skip school. Grace and Andrew kiss deeply.

GRACE
I love you.

AND
And you trust me?

GRACE
Yes.

ROS
And you love me?

GRACE
More than ten billion elephants loving their kin.

ROS
Far out.

FLAN
That's good.

LOLA
Yes. Everyone knows elephants love their children very deeply.

***

FLAN
Where are you, Lo?

LOLA
I come.

FLAN
Where were you, Lo?

NARR
Lola makes a decision to come onstage with bounteous hats and scarves and gloves. She is wearing the costume shop on her shoulders basically.

LOLA
I was backstage, of course. I love it back there. It's so safe and fun and free. Make believe. Heey!!! Make believe, Flan. Make Believe.

NARR
Lola makes a decision.

LOLA
Like when we were young. Make believe you are an old grandmother and I am your granddaughter. Here.

NARR
Lola dresses Flan up in an old dress and funny hat and wig. Flan can't help herself but to laugh at Lola's antics. It is a welcome distraction.

FLAN
Oh huff.

LOLA
Oh puffle huff.

FLAN
Oh puffle wuffle huff. It's no fun being old.

LOLA
Tell me something, granny.

FLAN
What, my young, childy wildy?

LOLA
How did you first meet my father?

FLAN
We were dancing!

LOLA
Dancing.

NARR
Lola and Flan both twirl and dance together.

FLAN
Yes we were at the community center and we were dancing and he told me:

NARR
I come close to Flan and tell her: "You are an excellent dancer."

FLAN
Why thank you, sir.

NARR
"I have been watching you for a long time now."

FLAN
And, what do you think?

NARR
"Would you like to go out with me Friday night?"

FLAN
I told him that my sister, Lola was coming to town Friday night, but that I could see him Saturday. I think he thought I was lying, but on Friday night we were watching a baseball tournament and I waved to him and
introduced him to my sister. "This is Lola, my sister."

NARR
"Beauty and grace run in your family."

LOLA
Thank you! And you better be nice to my sister...Mister!

FLAN
I think he was also impressed that we liked sports.

NARR
"I promise to behave myself." I stare into Flan's eyes longingly and return to my place.

LOLA
Who was that man?

FLAN
Your grandfather.

LOLA
No. Who was he really?

FLAN
Ummmm...

LOLA
I know.

NARR
Lola looks out at the audience self-satisfied, even though she's wrong.

FLAN
Share.

LOLA
Not yet.

FLAN
Ok. Fine. Secret Sally.

NARR
Flan disrobes herself.

FLAN
Put these clothes away, Lo. I have to write more. Rosalind's growing up right before my mind and I need to write it down.

LOLA
Aye! Aye! Mon Capitan!!!!

NARR
Lola salutes her and militantly strides offstage with the costumes.

***

FLAN
Rosalind grows up. She becomes first a child model and then lands a sitcom in a television series. She is a little celebrity. She buys a house for her, Grace and Andrew to live all together in...She wants Lila
too, live with them too, but Lila refuses...

NARR
Lola returns.

LOLA
What's happening now?

FLAN
Read.

NARR
While Lola reads. Flan stares out into space thinking, unseeing of the audience. Lost in her mind. Her memory.

LOLA
So what's going to happen with Lila and Andrew?

FLAN
Well, nothing. Space of desire. You see, right after the scene where Andrew is taking Rosalind to the talent agency, Lila comes over before Grace gets home. She wants to address the night before.

LILA
About last night...

AND
I'm always here for you.

LILA
Oh.

AND
I mean it, Lila. You're like my sister. You're part of my family. I love you.

FLAN
Broken-hearted, because she realizes she truly loves Andrew and thought that he was going to reciprocate, she silences herself.

LILA
It meant the world to me.

FLAN
He kisses her on the forehead but she tilts her head up to kiss his mouth.

AND
Whoa.


LILA
I'm in love with you. That's really the truth.

AND
Ok. You know that-

LILA
That you'll never leave Grace. That you don't have those feelings for me. Yes. I know that now. I just wanted to see but now I do.

LOLA
And then Rossie comes in obliviously!!!

ROS
I booked an agent today!

AND
I was going to tell you but -

NARR
Lola comes in eagerly and holds up her laugh sign.

NARR laughs crudely.

ROS
I said I booked an agent today! Isn't that amazing?

FLAN
Andrew and Lila are sheepishly looking at each other.

NARR
Lola holds up the laugh sign again demanding a response.
The laugh sign is so - (He laughs even if alone. He laughs, high pitched and low pitched - as if testing the resonance of his voice - or to make up for the lack of laughter in the room and if that is the case, trying to throw his voice around the theater.) What are you going to do, audience? Rosalind's timing is funny, isn't it? Isn't it? Breaking an intimate moment with joyous naivete? Fantastic. Fantastic! It's not sadism...It's not...(Less convincingly) It's not! (He laughs and laughs and laughs.)

FLAN
As if being snapped out of a trance, Andrew and Lila look at Rosalind.

LILA
That's fantastic!

AND
Things are really turning around.

ROS
When's Mom coming Home?

AND
She's working at the hospital tonight, honey.

ROS
Can we go to her?

LILA
No sweetie. It's really a very private experience you know that.

ROS
Aah! Ok! I can't wait to tell her.

FLAN
Rosalind leaves and Lila and Andrew are left alone once more. Andrew wants to help her save face.

AND
I get that last night we were talking about Ralph and everything kind of got confused.

NARR
Flannery makes a decision.

FLAN
But Lila's loved Andrew for a long time.

LIL
I've loved you for a long time.

AND
I love Grace.

***

LOLA
I love you, Flan, but this is getting too intense for me.


NARR
Lola makes a decision.

LOLA
I'm going to bed. Couch!!!!

NARR
A couch is rolled onstage.

LOLA
Thanks!

GEORGE
Yep!

***

NARR
Do all of these decisions mean anything? Signify anything? Do I even need to be here to proclaim them? That's what I mean I suppose.

***

NARR
Lola lies on the couch and sleeps.

FLAN
Alone.

NARR
I watch Flannery. Flannery Shepherd.

FLAN
Alone. Lola sleeps. I'm alone. Lila leaves the apartment and Rosalind grows up. The next time we see her she's eighteen. She's a successful actress on a sitcom and breaking into films... She didn't do school but received her GED. She's bought her Mom and Andrew... Ok, we know about the house...A scene with Andrew and Grace out to dinner. A table and chair is brought onstage. Probably by the actors themselves.

GRACE
What are you thinking?

AND
What do you mean?

GRACE
You're a million miles away.

AND
I was thinking about how beautiful you are.

GRACE
Nice try.

AND
We don't see Lila much anymore.

GRACE
That's true.

AND
Why?

GRACE
You know why.

AND
I don't think so.

GRACE
She can't bear it.

AND
Bear it?

GRACE
Her feelings for you - the yearning and the desire. She'd rather keep her distance.

AND
I wish it didn't have to be this way.

GRACE
Me too. I love Lila. But I do still see her quite a bit, for coffee, tea. We are in the same softball league after all.

AND
Yes and I guess she really doesn't need to help us raising Rosalind anymore.

GRACE
No.

AND
I'm worried about her, Grace.

GRACE
Lila's very strong.

***

FLAN
In the meantime, it's not Lila that they should be worried about. Here's a scene. The actors push on some comfy pillows and bedding or a mattress. Rosalind is with Jordan, an actor of twenty-five or so with whom she recently acted in an independent film. They are getting high on smack. After he gets her high, Jordan is kissing her and Rosalind is talking gibberish. They could be lines from the film.

NARR
Flan calls backstage.

FLAN
George or - ya - whoever you are!

NARR
I'll do it. I'll play Jordon.

FLAN
Oh. Ok. You're an actor of twenty-five or so and you are nonchalant and arrogant and ---

NARR
Since I'm up to speed on everything already, I just say "Got it. I'm here for you." George appears onstage awkwardly.

GEORGE
Flan?

NARR
Flan's infatuated with me, being an unknown entity and well, I'd like to think that I don't look too shabby. There is something between us instantly. She doesn't even look at George.

FLAN
It's ok. Thanks, anyway. We've got it.

GEORGE
Right. I'll just go back there. If you need anything---

FLAN
Thanks. We've got it.

NARR
In the meantime I am tying up Rosalind for a dose and groping her slightly and silently and reverently. I give her the medicine during her speech and it alters her, how she talks and moves. Sways.

ROS
You've loved me forever, and I've never cared. I don't care. Don't you know that that's part of why you love me? I don't care about you. I've stopped caring about anyone or anything, that's the only way through this world. To make yourself into an ice queen and freeze people with your stare - that's the only way to melt them into your heart, to keep myself alive. It's what I do. Take their warmth, their blood their love. Fucking idiots. I go warm through your heat and you desire me because I'm untouchable, gorgeous and untouchable.

FLAN
She pushes his head down passionately.

ROS
So we all get what we want don't we babe. Don't we?

NARR
I rise as Rosalind passes out.

***

FLAN
I like that. It's good. Lo? Sleeping. Let her sleep on. Better for the script if I get on with it alone. We all know how it needs to end, right? I think I do anyway. Better to go on without the distraction. The furniture from the previous scene is taken away...Um....Could you?

NARR
I don't work backstage.

FLAN
Oh um? Well, who are you then?

NARR
Not yet.

FLAN
Um...

NARR
Flan looks at me scared.

FLAN
George?

GEORGE
Yes?

FLAN
Could you take the stuff offstage?

GEORGE
The drug props and pillows?

FLAN
Yea.

GEORGE
Sure.

NARR
Rosalind and George remove the props together.

***

FLAN
Another scene. Lila goes over to Grace and Andrew's home. She is going to pick up Rosalind for a shopping date. Rosalind's not home from a shoot yet. Andrew answers the door. They are rarely alone together, but Lila's desire has never faltered, even if she has dated other men she has a special place in her heart for her best friend's husband.

AND
Hi.

LILA
Hi.

AND
You are picking up Rosalind for a shopping date? Good deal. That girl does not have enough stuff!

***

NARR
Just to intercede a moment. Do you care a rat's ass about these character's, audience? I'm asking you...hold that in your head it may change or alter the rest of the play. Do I care?

***

FLAN
Lila smiles at this.

AND
Would you like anything? Water? Seltzer? Freshly pressed orange juice? Only the finest.

LILA
I'm fine. Thanks.

AND
So, what's new? I've missed you.

LILA
Well. Yesterday, Larson Thompson the Fifth was brought into the world in a cozy mansion in Calabasas, right near the nature preserve.

AND
A cozy mansion?

LILA
Yes, it actually was quite cozy.

AND
And I take it everything went smoothly?

LILA
Well, yes. The mother did her breathing and nature did the rest.

AND
And the midwife?

LILA
Well, she did her best.

FLAN
Andrew smiles at her, taking out two glasses of water.

AND
A toast.

LILA
To?

AND
The company of a fine mid-wife, the birth of Larson Thompson the Fifth, Cozy Mansions in Calabasas, and friendship.

LILA
Yes. To all of those wonderful things, especially friendship and the ties
that bind.

FLAN
Just then, Andrew puts down his drink and kisses Lila squarely on the mouth. Lila responds with her whole body in a passionate embrace.

AND
I've wanted to do that for years.

LILA
Because I've needed you to do that?

AND
Because it's nice to feel needed. And yes, desired.

FLAN
He kisses her again. The lights dim. They make love. They become lovers. Another scene.
***

FLAN
Rosalind's in the hospital in a coma. Grace and Lila are by her bedside. A heroin overdose. It happens with children from broken homes who have a lot of light to give the world, but who the world maybe isn't quite ready for. If they don't have a really strong family unit, and lots of literature and historical precedents, and education, etc, they usually don't survive. Not that Grace isn't strong, but the network of Grace, Lila and Andrew is fragile. They each are a little self-centered in their own way. They only have the present moment - not the history of theater and film and literature to endow her with and make it safe for her to continue on in this field independently and Rosalind has the pressure of actually being the breadwinner of the family since her pre-teen model days. Grace also isn't grounded really. She's of another world. Rosalind knows deep down her talents as a Hollywood ingénue is temporary. Family, love, trust and loyalty are true and can be everlasting. She does not have consistent models of this in her life. Thus, she becomes more and more reckless with her own life. If all she knows is the temporary parts of life, then that is exactly how hers will be. Yes, good. This next scene can all be happening on the floor.

***

AND
I came as quickly as I could. There's a ton of press outside. Vultures.

GRACE
Stop, Andrew. Only positive energy please. Pray with us.

FLAN
They are praying.

NARR
How do they pray?

LILA
Dear God, watch over little Rosalind, and send her back to us so that she might live another day in our presence. Please aid us in this time of affliction and walk with us in this valley.

GRACE
Amen.

NARR
Flan makes a decision.

FLAN
Rosalind never recovers.

GRACE
Noooooooh. No NO No no ooo!

FLAN
The shriek or moan is desperate and up to the actress to find within the truest part of herself. It is the dullest most primal moan...soft and loud and indescribably excruciating all at once. Bambi. Mother's dead.

***

NARR
Lola wakes up.

LOLA
What's up?

FLAN
I just killed Rosalind.

LOLA
Like hell you did.

FLAN
It was inevitable.

LOLA
No. Get out of my way. Let me read what you've got.

NARR
There is a struggle and Lola gets herself sitting at the desk.

FLAN
Hey this is not your play!!!!

NARR
Lola makes a decision.

LOLA
It is my play.

FLAN
How dare you say that!

LOLA
It's my play.

FLAN
The play is mine.

LOLA
You said I was in it.

FLAN
As INSPIRATION! I'm the writer!

NARR

Lola makes a decision.

LOLA
Well, I'm the director.

FLAN
You don't even know what that is!

LOLA
Fuck you!

NARR
They struggle over the script. Papers fly everywhere!

FLAN
Look what you've done!

NARR
Flan is crying.

LOLA
It was sucking anyway. You were destroying it.

FLAN
I was not, you asshole! It was truthful. It was real.

LOLA
Lila would not do that to her best friend! Never!

FLAN
Maybe she just can't help herself. She's human. She has human needs.

LOLA
And Andrew was a good man. Loyal. Faithful. He loves Grace.

FLAN
I never said he didn't.

NARR
Flan is disoriented. Do you need help Flan? It's only a play. Shall I say your lines for you. She doesn't hear me yet but slowly there is some sort of dawning recognition, an echo that pervades her consciousness while I speak her thoughts. A shadow self. Flan's thoughts: His affair doesn't mean he doesn't love Grace. Only, Grace is so self-sufficient and has been working so much, he doesn't feel like they are a partnership anymore. He liked it more when it was the three of them all working together. Grace shared his bed then, but the contact with Lila was so important to his mental and emotional well-being. He missed it. Maybe in order to rekindle that he gives Lila what she always has wanted from him. Lola retrieves the Laugh sign and holds it up in an attempt at vengeance. I laugh cruelly as Lola might want me to do because Lola knows you are out there. Audience, this is another moment for your participation. You should LAUGH at Flan if you care to participate as is written. Easy for me to laugh, you think? Seen it all before, you think? I don't care, you think? Immunity after awhile...maybe... Flan hears me now and any of you who are laughing in the audience.
Hahaahaha.

FLAN
Who are you? Why are you laughing? This isn't funny! I'm being serious. The characters are serious. This is a critical moment.

NARR
Flan is in tears. I jump down at her feet overpowering her. Flan cowers.

"Hi. That's your audience, Flan. We've been watching you."

FLAN
Shut up. Who are you even?

NARR
"My name is (his name). I'm just some dude, some guy, hired to talk a little, show up - help out, make your play run smoother...I'll tell you we out there in the audience, really like a good strong climax --- especially crazy females, we love it when they just go bonkers and drugs - We love drugs. Me and the audience out there."

FLAN
You mean you're a play butcher.

NARR
"A what?"

FLAN
Play butcher. Editor. Critc. Well I gave you the drugs and the death.

NARR
I'm ignoring her insults but pushing further. "It's really not enough. It's work to be here. It's work don't you see. Emotionally. There has to be a payoff in some way or a payout." At this point, Flan's actors have all abandoned their posts and Lola has even left the stage confused. It's just Flan and myself.

FLAN
Go back from whence you came. It's not your play.

NARR
"It's not yours either."

FLAN
It is.

NARR
"What's the name of your play?"

FLAN and NARR
"I don't know."

NARR
"There's another playwright here, Flannery Shepheard."

FLAN
What?

NARR
"Older than you or I."

FLAN
What are you talking about?

NARR
"Predestination. Inevitability. Go back and finish writing."

NARR
Flannery is now tentative. She returns to her desk. I return to my place. Flan understands she's not alone now. Never has been. She's writing. An inevitable force driving her to the end.

***

FLAN
Grace is in mourning. Her child has died. Lila and Andrew are distraught. Rosalind is their favorite person ever and they feel selfish and deceitful.

Yet, they also long to hold each other. Grace is distant. A chair is brought onstage and Grace sits. Lila and Andrew stand over her. They look at each other. Rosalind's body is lying on the floor. Grace stares at her child's body. Everyone wears black.

***

GRACE
I know.

AND
Yes?

GRACE
Yes.

LILA
What do you mean?

GRACE
You and my husband, Lila.

AND
I can stop it.

GRACE
I'm not asking you to.

AND
I can stop it.

GRACE
I said, "I'm not asking you to."

LILA
I didn't mean for this to happen.

GRACE
It doesn't matter what we mean. It's what we do. I don't want to be alone. Why don't you stay with me? You can sleep in my room. I'll take Rosalind's...

FLAN
Lila begins to protest, but Grace interrupts her.

GRACE
It's bigger anyway, Lila.

FLAN
Rosalind gets up and faces the audience, reading her will by memory.

ROS
To Andrew I leave one quarter of my estate and my entire postcard collection. To Auntie Lie I leave one quarter of my estate and all of my jewelry, except the tiffany locket my Mom bought me. To Mom, I leave one half of my estate and all of my clothes because she still can rock them and I want her to have my locket, which has a picture of me and her. Don't let me get buried in it. Ok, I'm writing this will now because my lawyer said after I made 500 K I had to, but I'll probably revise it a ton so don't think you'll really be getting all this stuff but if I died before you I'm really sorry. Don't be sad because you know, like Mommy says, I'm watching you from the ether world and some people just pass before they or anyone else is ready. I had a really nice time remember that all of you people, ok? No regrets. Remember me as I was for I loved you and will love you eternally. Rosalind.


***

NARR
Lola reenters.

LOLA
So she's really dead?

FLAN
Yes.

LOLA
Why?

FLAN
Some people just have to go.

LOLA
But I'm still here.

NARR
Lola hugs Flan.

FLAN
You see him up there?

LOLA
Him? He's from backstage.

NARR
"Not really."

LOLA
No?

NARR
"No my job is in front with you."

FLAN
Oh.

LOLA
Oh.

FLAN
So is there a difference between us?

NARR
"Well I've been here this whole time and you've only now just noticed me."

LOLA
But you've been here this whole time?

NARR
"Yes."

FLAN
I've been here this whole time too.

NARR
"Even before you were onstage."

FLAN
Oh. Well wouldn't you like a break?

NARR
"A break?"

LOLA
Ya. Come with me downstairs to the deli, ya know? We'll fix you up with a cup of tea and some donuts or a sandwich.

NARR
I really couldn't...Could I? I flip through the remainder of the script and find that I am not in the next page or so and I say, "Well I guess I could join you."

LOLA
Excellent. C'mon then, chappie.

NARR
I leave with Lola...Amazed at myself...But yet, so it is written.

***

FLAN
Alone. Truly Alone. But you're still there aren't you. I see you. He's opened my eyes to that. You're the ones who have truly been here before it all began, right? No maybe that's not right, either...He spoke of...well...whatever... I bet you want to know how my play ends...Well, it ends how it begins. Lila is pregnant and Grace is at her bedside and a baby pops out. Late in life sure but it's possible. LaMaaz. Nothing. No inspiration. No one emerges to help me. It's not right is it?

Rosalind and George.

FLAN
Guy playing George can you come out here?

GEORGE
What's up? I'm here for you, babe.

FLAN
Er- thanks. What's your name?

GEORGE
(says his real name).

FLAN
Thanks, (actor's name).

GEORGE
No problem. Like I said, I'm here for you...

FLAN
Ok. Well (actor's name), just hold Rosalind. You were there when she od'ed. You heard her last words, ok? Let's see that scene.

GEORGE
Sure. What should I - uh - do?

FLAN
Just be yourself.

GEORGE
Oh - ok.

FLAN
But your name is Tommy in the play.

GEORGE
Tommy. Got it.

FLAN
Thanks...(says actor's name)

SILENCE


FLAN
So the actress playing Rosalind slips off her black dress and is now in a hot little shorts number. Very cute and she and a guy she picked up named Tommy, bring the bedding onstage. Tommy can also play the actor playing Ralph. It's a minimalist play. I'll have to write that in the beginning. The actors bring in the scenery. This way it can play in smaller theaters. I love smaller theaters. They are so cozy. If big theaters want to perform it, the set designers will have to creatively think of ways to warm it up a bit. A fun challenge I think.

***

GEORGE
You're gorgeous.

ROS
I know.

FLAN
Tommy has brought cocaine and they have been doing it for days it seems.

ROS
Blow it off my stomach.

FLAN
She flirtatiously lies across him. He does.

GEORGE
Wow.

ROS
My Aunt Lie and my step-father Andrew are fucking each other hard every night in my house. It's hilarious.

GEORGE
Who?

ROS
Those two bozos I introduced you to when you picked me up three days ago.

GEORGE
Oh right. Bozos.

ROS
It's really funny. I totally love them both but they are so fucked and I want to be like you "poor, poor people, don't you realize how fucked up you are.
Control yourselves". But they basically raised me and everything I am I owe to them so what does that say about me? Who am I?

GEORGE
They probably just can't help themselves.

ROS
Can you help yourself?

GEORGE
Do you want me to?

ROS
Not in the least.

FLAN
Tommy kisses her. Go ahead. I want you to...It's part of my play.

They make out passionately but also like those who are on speed. Overtly passionately and as if they were in a porno...That's really how people coked up look. Have you ever seen it? Have you ever experienced it yourself? It's really funny. A little fun, too.

ROS
I guess I forgive them. Fucking around is fun.

GEORGE
Where's your Mom?

FLAN
Rosalind is just spewing out language, but she's all high and horny too.
Breathless between sentences and words. It's like she's making love to herself and Tommy is just a prop.

ROS
Helping sick people. Isn't that a laugh? She knows exactly what's happening also. I know she does. She just doesn't find the need to make a fuss over it. It's like she's above it something - floating above it. I don't know what happened to make her so detached, but she's not really of this world. She just like a goddess or something but she's not a Mom, aunt lie is like a mom and she's fucking my stepdad so I guess in the end everything is insanely perfect and beautiful. She's so untouched. My Mom. My angel.

...

I want to come down now. Bring me down now, Tommy. Please.

FLAN
She begins to cry. Rossie begins to cry.

ROS
What have you got to bring me down?

GEORGE
(as if in a trance or Meisner exercise) What have I got---?

FLAN
Smack. Go backstage and get some props. Wait. No. Stay here. Stay here. Lola, can you bring on a spoon and stuff? At the deli. Fucking deli. Fucking friend. Supposed to be there.

GEORGE
I'll get it, babe. I'll get it.

FLAN
No, let's just wait.
Lola! LoLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

***

LOLA
I come!

NARR
"We've arrived."

LOLA
What, my pet?

FLAN
I've been calling for you. And and...

LOLA
Well? I told you where I'd be...

NARR
Lola is tender. Flan is distraught. She looks abandoned.

FLAN
I just need some props.

LOLA
Oh huff.

NARR
Lola leaves. "Are you killing someone else?"

FLAN
No. This is before she dies.

NARR
Lola returns with a baggy, spoon, lighter, rubber hose.

LOLA
I heard that. Fuck. Fine here. I'm not watching this.

NARR
Lola leaves the props at the stage in front of George and Rosalind. She leaves.

LOLA
I'm going to fuck Rodney backstage in the props room wearing your granny hat.

FLAN
Whatever!

NARR
Flannery makes a decision.

FLAN
I don't give a rat's ass you know! Have fun! Damn her. Distraction. Ugh-
- Where was I?

GEORGE
I'm going to bring her down?

FLAN
Oh yea. Well. Tommy administers the dope and Rosalind seeps down below him and foams at the mouth and twitches and ods.

ROS
I don't get to say anything?

NARR
Flan sighs.

FLAN
What do you want to say?

ROS
Oh huff. Puffle huff. Deep. It's so deep. Thank you. Thank God. No more of this charade. I hate here. This is a meaningless place to be. I'll leave it thank you very much. For a while. Thank you so very much. Thank you.

FLAN
And with a huff she is extinguished into the ether.

ROS
Huff.

FLAN
Tommy and Rosalind leave the stage.

***

NARR
"That was nice, Flan."

FLAN
Thanks.

NARR
"I enjoyed that very much."

FLAN
Thank you.

NARR
"Watching her die was sensual but also made me feel something in my heart."

FLAN
Good.

NARR
I wanted you to know." I jump down to be with her. I put my hand on her cheek. "I want to kiss you."

FLAN
You do?

NARR
"Come here." I kiss her and embrace her. She responds to me. There's no way of affecting sex. I make a decision.

NARR
"I've just made love to you. And you enjoyed it."

FLAN
I enjoyed having sex with you. You're really attractive.

NARR
Flannery makes a decision.

FLAN
You desired me the moment you saw me.

NARR
We kiss again...Lola enters.

LOLA
Oh you!

NARR
"Hi Lola." I return to my place.

LOLA
Well, so what now? How does the play end?

NARR
Lola behaves jealously.

FLAN
How was Rodney?

LOLA
Alright.

FLAN
You've had better.

LOLA
He's a bit dry. And overly excited. Too fast.

FLAN
Well, we haven't much time, anyway.

LOLA
That's true. "...and our little life is rounded with a sleep."

FLAN
Oh my dear, Lola. That is the title of my play.

LOLA
What?

FLAN
"Prospero's book."

LOLA
Really?

FLAN
You don't like it?

LOLA
Not really. Pretentious. Anyway, Prospero was a magician. There's no magic in your play.

FLAN
I'm insulted... Theater is magic. No? Anyway, there is definitely magic in my muse.

NARR
Flan kisses Lola.

LOLA
Me?

FLAN
Yes.

LOLA
Awww....But no. Finish the play. After Rosalind dies, Grace goes into mourning. She does not talk. She does not heal others. She becomes a shell of her former self.

FLAN
How will she survive?

***

AND
What can I do, Grace?

GRACE
It's like I'm looking at you for the first time.

AND
What? What do you see?

GRACE
You were disloyal to me.

AND
I thought you didn't care. Oh God. I thought you didn't care.

GRACE
I thought so, too. But I do. I really do.


LOLA
He holds her sooooo tightly.

GRACE
I really don't want you to leave me.

AND
I'm here. I've loved you the moment I saw you.

GRACE
I can't get through this without you. I can't do it. I feel like I'll die. Can we get back to the place where we were when we met?

AND
YES. Yes. I want to. I do.

GRACE
Stay with me. Don't be unfaithful to me again. I do care.

AND
I won't. I won't, God help me. I'm here. I'm here. I'm here. Sweet angel.

FLAN
And it's like being called an "angel" triggers something in her for the first time even though she's been called that one thousand times before.

GRACE
NONONONO! I'M NOT AN ANGEL!!! SHE'S DEAD! MY DAUGHTER'S DEAD AND I WASN'T THERE. I WASN'T THERE FOR HER. WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY DID SHE HAVE TO GO? I DON'T WANT IT TO BE TRUE.........OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD I'M AN AWFUL PERSON. I'M NOT A MOTHER...I'M A LIAR...I WASN'T THERE...I WASN'T THERE...A MOTHER SHOULD BE THERE...I WAS NEVER THERE...

AND
No...NO...You are a good person. You are a good mother. Sometimes people just leave before they or we are ready ---You say it better.

GRACE
Yea. Yea. I say it like I mean it.

AND
Well - yea. Yes. You do.

GRACE
I did. I did once. I'm not sure anymore. I never want to say those words again. Oh God! Oh God. THEY DON'T MEAN ANYTHING!

AND
Sssh. Ssssh. Hushababy. It's ok. It's going to be ok.

GRACE
No. No. No. It's not. You know that, too. Let's not pretend anymore, ok? Let's just...No more pretending.

**

FLAN
Andrew holds her. Grace has never experienced loss like this. She has never allowed so much emotion into her world. It's too close. Too personal. She can't help but to suffer the heartbreak. She's told hundreds of people what Andrew has told her about "people leaving before we or they are ready" and yet; being the recipient of those words, she feels like they are hot coals scorching her back.

LOLA
Karma's a bitch.

FLAN
Lola!

LOLA
Imagine the anger that she aroused when she would tell people this over the years.

FLAN
She feels that too. She feels the sadness of hundreds of people that she has told her platitudes too.

LOLA
Believing of course, at the time that they were more than platitudes. It's actually Grace's story.

FLAN
Her coming of age story.

LOLA
It ends with Andrew and her coming together.

FLAN
And Lila?

LOLA
She goes to the deli? I wink at the audience playfully.
I hold up the laugh sign.

NARR
Narrator laughs. I laugh but it is different now. Its different, you know? You laugh, Audience. That's your role now.

NARR laughs with difficulty.


LOLA
I hold up my hand for silence after a few moments. No, but seriously.

FLAN
Seriously?

LOLA
Is she going to have Andrew's baby? There are consequences to be faced from our actions.

FLAN
Especially the ones experienced in coitus?

LOLA
But Lila's not going to fuck around with Andrew again. She's got her baby now and Grace is finally walking on this earth, human and in need of a partner and a friend.

SILENCE

FLAN
The characters haven't emerged. I wonder if they thought the play had ended with Rosalind's death.

LOLA
Maybe Lila can't give birth that's why she's a mid-wife. So really there's no baby. Lila moves away to get on with her life and let Grace and Andrew get on with theirs. She loves Grace first and foremost and knows Grace needs time to heal alone with her husband.

FLAN
Lila needs time to heal too and get over her own heartbreak.

LOLA
The play ends with Grace alone onstage.

FLAN
Yes. Grace and Rossie.

***

GRACE
I buried a child. She was eighteen years old.


FLAN
Rosalind emerges and they talk to one another without seeing each other but as if they could hear one another.

ROS
I'm here Mom.

GRACE
My Rosalind.

ROS
I'm watching over you.

GRACE
Thank you for being with me.

ROS
Always.

GRACE
You're the big kid now.

ROS
I've flown away.

GRACE
That's hard for me to hear.

ROS
I know. I don't blame you.

GRACE
That's even harder.

***

FLAN
It fades out. Forgiveness. It's a fucker.

LOLA
I hold up the laugh sign.

NARR laughs with internal desperation.

NARR
Lola looks at me.

LOLA
Hey, like I said I'm going to the deli, you want to come with me?

NARR
"Sorry Lola, I-I made a promise to the audience and I already filched on it once."

FLAN
What was your promise?

NARR
"That I would be there with them, the uh - people-out there- throughout this...um...journey. But I went to the deli with you."

LOLA
For a short time. Don't damn yourself.

NARR
I shake my head at her.

LOLA
Oh. Alright well maybe one of the guys backstage...

FLAN
Bye!

LOLA
Bye.

NARR
Lola puts on a brave front as she walks offstage a little lost but not without grace or dignity.

FLAN
So you want to stay?

NARR
"Of course."

FLAN
What's the title of my play?

NARR
"It's your play."

FLAN
What about the other one.

NARR
"The grand playwright of us all?"

FLAN
Yes.

NARR
"Forget about her. She's not here, is she? And who can be sure if she even existed in the first place? She set the characters in motion maybe. Started a dialogue...Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe this is free will...An empty stage. Me and you. Alone together. For the first time, second time or one hundredth. To make decisions. Scripted?
Maybe. Maybe this was her plan all along. Either way. Does it matter? (Now my charms are all o'erthrown and what strength I have's mine own....) Inevitable uncertainty, destiny and fate. Witnesses (He indicates the audience) Conclusion. For all of us. You choose, Flan. You make the decision. What's the name of your play?"

FLAN
Well, I think to name it: "Grace's Folly".

NARR
"You think? You THINK?"

FLAN
Yes.

NARR
"Well then, I think I am in love with you."

FLAN
My God. That is a turn of events.

NARR
Is it?"

FLAN
You unnerve me, so I know there's something there.

NARR
"I do."

FLAN
But I like you.

NARR
"You do."

FLAN
Do you like the title of the play?

NARR
"Yes."

FLAN
Thank you. Do you think it's controversial?

NARR
"You're controversial."

FLAN
But you love that about me?

NARR
"Yes, I do."

FLAN
But you didn't answer my question.

NARR
"Do I think your play is controversial?"

FLAN
Yes.

NARR
"No."
Flannery is disappointed as if her entire existence were to implode. I make a decision. "I take it back. It's wonderfully narcissistic, experimental, absurd, ironic, sad, depressing, a tad pretentious, passionate, and evocative. It's very controversial and I doubt many people will even like it." Flannery is overjoyed.

FLAN
I've made a decision.

NARR
"Oh?"

FLAN
I want you to come home with me tonight.

NARR
"Yes?"

FLAN
Yes.

NARR
Flan bounds off the stage as is her nature, where I remain looking out at you, dear Audience. I thank you for coming to PLAY. And then, I too, take my leave of you. Tut. Tut. There are things we all must do I'm sure. "Flannery Shepherd, I come."

FIN