Thursday, March 15, 2012

English for Beginners: Act 2, Scene Two


Everyone is seated in the living room.  They are in various states of dress.  Almost all have coffee mugs. Empty plates from breakfast as scattered everywhere.  Laura and Mike are, of course, dressed and ready for the day.  Laura stands to speak to the group, Mike sits close to her, and AJ at the opposite end.  Ann sits in the center looking more hung over than anyone.  Jason is also hung over, but he seems to be hiding it better.  Sadie can hide nothing and doesn’t try too.  She is not nearly has hung over as she thinks she is or as she makes out to be.

SADIE
Is there more coffee?

LAURA
Can you wait a minute Sadie? We’re about to get going here.

SADIE
Fine.

LAURA
Is everyone ready?


Everyone affirms in their own way.

LAURA
Rule number one: Quiet time is between 2am and noon and noon and 5pm.  If you want to talk, you have to go out onto the porch.  If you want to write on the porch, you have to be OK with people talking out there.  Rule number two: Breakfast and lunch will be served at 8am and noon.  If you don’t wake up for it, you don’t get it.  You can make it yourself, but then you have to clean up after yourself. Rule number three: Readings of scripts will be after 5pm.  Everyone who wants to have something read should sign up on this sheet.  First come first served.  We’ll read as many as sign up. Rule number four: Bedtime is 2am. Rule number five: Disorderly behavior will no longer be tolerated.

GREG
And what is your definition of disorderly?

AJ
Throwing up on someone.


ANNE
Jesus.


LAURA
I know it was an accident, Anne –

AJ
I don’t know it.

LAURA
You just need to control yourself more.

ANNE
Fuck you Laura.

CLYDE
Anne.


ANNE
Fuck you too.

LAURA
And that’s it.

BRIAN
Can I make an amendment to the rules?

LAURA
What’s that?


BRIAN
No smoking inside.

LAURA
That’s already a rule.


BRIAN
I want it reiterated. 

LAURA
Was someone smoking inside?

BRIAN
Well…I don’t want to name names.

ALEX
It was just a spliff.

FRANCIS
Dude!

ALEX
What?

FRANCIS
Share!


ALEX
I didn’t know you smoked.

LAURA
Ok.  Just not inside guys. Lets move on.  We’ve got one last thing: The writing buddy assignments. We all agreed over email that everyone will have a writing buddy assigned to them so that everyone will have someone they can bounce ideas off of.  Someone who they can be accountable to. I’ve drawn up a list of people that I think will fit well together, have similar styles, or can have a sort of mentor-menti relationship.


SADIE
Who wants to be my partner?

LAURA
I’ve already assigned partners, Sadie. Alright. Everyone ready?


Clyde beats on the floor like a drum.

LAURA
Ok. Mike and Lorelei. 

LORELEI
Which one is Mike?

MIKE
Me.

LORELEI
Cool.

LAURA
Jason and Sadie. 

SADIE
Hooray!

LAURA
Brian and Francis.  

BRIAN
Hooray!

LAURA
Me and Greg. 

FRANCIS
Surprise surprise.


LAURA
Alex and Clyde.

ALEX
Right on!

CLYDE
It was ment to be bro!

LAURA
AJ and Anne.

ANNE
What? Are you fucking kidding me?

LAURA
I thought you two –

ANNE
Bullshit.  This is bullshit.

AJ
Really, Anne?  That hurts.

ANNE
You have to be fucking kidding me! What the hell makes you think he and I - 

AJ
It was my idea.

ANNE
You do know that I fucking hate you, right?

AJ
Really? I had no idea.

MIKE
I think you could both learn a lot from each other.

FRANCIS
Not to mention it’s going to be fucking hysterical.

LORELEI
I second that.

GREG
And adversarial relationships sometimes create the best work.

AJ
Consider it an opportunity to finally convince me that you are a good writer.

ANNE
I don’t want to spend two weeks in the same house as you, much less two minutes, no, two seconds across the table from you.  Laura, if you make me do this, I will walk out of this house!

Laura starts crying.  Everyone gets very uncomfortable.  Sadie runs up to Laura and hugs her. Jason stands up, but is too far away to move toward her. Mike looks at his hands.
 GREG
(To himself) Oh Jesus Christ.

SADIE
Sshhh.  Shhhh. It’s all right.  We’re sorry.  Aren't we, Anne? Aren't we sorry.

Anne doesn't respond.
  
MIKE
(To Laura.) Ok, let’s just take a break.

LAURA
(To everyone.)  I just wanted –

MIKE
They know.  We all know.  You are working so hard to make this nice.

SADIE
It’s ok.  Anne and AJ wont fight any more.  They'll be good. Won't they?

LAURA
I’m not trying to act like a king or anything –


BRIAN
(To Francis.) Wow. I didn't think Laura cried, like, ever.

FRANCIS

(To Brian.) Me neither. Shit just got real bitches.

GREG
(To Brian and Francis.) Please.  She's the godfather of emotional blackmail.

LAURA
It’s just all started out so bad!

SADIE
No.  No it hasn’t. Everyone's having a good time.  Aren't they? And I'm excited about my partner! I get to be with Jason! Aren't you excited Jason?

JASON
Absolutely. 

SADIE
Come on, guys? Who's excited?

LORELEI
Sure.  Why not?  I mean, it’s not like it matters or anything.

ALEX
I think we should name our team.

CLYDE
Bros before Hos?

ALEX
Megatron!

CLYDE
Magical Mystery Tour!

ALEX
Fuck yeah!

They high five.

FRANCIS
I think I know who’s going to be the first to sleep together!

BRIAN
Gross.

FRANCIS
You first assignment will be to expand your vocabulary.

AJ
I'm in love with the idea. 

SADIE
Anne?

AJ
In all seriousness. I want to mend fences, Anne.  Give me a chance.

 Pause.

ANNE
Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. And fuck you!

Anne gets up to leave.

MIKE
Where are you going?

ANNE
I’m going to go lay down.  And then I am going to write until 5pm.  And then I’m going to do whatever the fuck I want to.  So you can all take a flying fuck!

Anne exits.

FRANCIS
I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

AJ
She’ll come around.


MIKE
Alright.  Well.  Let’s break it up.  How about everyone gets into their teams and then we’ll get started writing. Does that sound ok, Laura?

Laura nods.

SADIE
Jason! Jason! Jason! I can’t wait to get started!

JASON
Hey… yeah… me too…

SADIE
Let’s go pick a spot that will be our very own.

JASON
Uhm…all right…yeah…sure…

SADIE
Are you going to be ok?

LAURA
I'll be ok.  Thank you Sadie.

SADIE
Alright. Let me know if you want to talk. Come on Jason! Let's go!

Jason looks at Laura, who smiles at him and waves him off. Jason and Sadie exit. Laura is in command of herself again.

ALEX
Wanna toke?

CLYDE
Done!


FRANCIS
Wait up. Wanna come?

GREG
I’m going to talk to Laura real quick.

FRANCIS
Cool.  Brian?


BRIAN
No.

FRANCIS
You don’t have to.

BRIAN
No –

FRANCIS
Great.  I’ll see you in a few.
Francis kisses Greg on the forehead, they all exit except for Brian.
BRIAN
I'll be your partner AJ.

AJ
That's alright Brian.  I think I'll be fine.  Thanks anyway.

AJ exits. 
GREG
Laura?

LAURA
I'm fine.

GREG
Then do you want to meet?

LAURA
Yeah.  Just a sec.  Mike? You said you were going to make lunch right?


MIKE
Yup. Wanna help Lorelei?

LORELEI
Sure.  I don’t touch meat or wheat and I don't eat cheese or beets or spinach. 

They exit to the kitchen. Laura turns to Greg.

LAURA
All right -

JULIA
Laura, can I talk to you?

LAURA
Sure. Greg, want to meet out on the couches outside?

GREG
Sure.  I’ll see you out there.

Greg exits.

LAURA
So, what’s up?

JULIA
I don’t have a partner.

Pause.

LAURA
Oh my gosh!  I can’t believe I completely forgot about you! That’s so crazy!


JULIA
Yeah…

LAURA
Who do you want to partner with?  I guess you can pick any group you want since you will be a third wheel – not in a bad way – I mean like – you’d make it stronger.  That’s what third wheels do right?  - Like triangles – I am just digging myself deeper aren’t I? I’m so sorry Julia.  I can’t believe I forgot.  Do you want to just join up with Greg and I?  I mean, that wouldn’t be ideal.  Greg and I already sort of have a special writing relationship. I know it’s unfair, but he and I work so well together.  Uhmmm what about Mike and Lorilei? Lorilei seems like an odd duck. And you two know each other so well.  But I wouldn’t want Mike to feel out of place. AJ and Anne are sort of a special case so…or maybe I don’t know.  You could be the only girl in one of the all guy groups.  Maybe Sadie and Jason could use you.  I mean, I figured since Jason is so far along in his career he’d be like a teacher to Sadie.  I don’t know how you’d fit in.  But I’m sure he wouldn’t mind. Do you want to float around? Join whatever group you want? I mean when you think about it you have it the best.  You get to pick.  I mean it’s really best when you can decide these things for yourself, isn’t it?  I think so.  I think this is just great.  Well, have fun.  Let me know what you decide!

Laura follows Greg out. 
Julia is alone on stage.
 End of Scene. 




1 comment:

julindia said...

I can't wait for the next scene!