SURVIVING THE APPLEWHITES - Theatre for ??Surviving the Applewhites. (Thinks for a moment.) It ought to make a really great play. Very dramatic, just like my family. (SOUNDS of chaos from the book—bumps,

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SURVIVING THE APPLEWHITES A Play in Two Acts By Stephanie S. Tolan & Katherine Paterson Based on the novel by Stephanie S. Tolan Transmission of this play does not imply…

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SURVIVING THE APPLEWHITES A Play in Two Acts By Stephanie S. Tolan & Katherine Paterson Based on the novel by Stephanie S. Tolan Transmission of this play does not imply availability for performance. Both amateurs and professionals considering a production are strongly advised in their own interests to apply to The Susan Gurman Agency, LLC for written permission before starting rehearsals, advertising, or booking a theatre. No part of this play may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or further transmitted in any form, by any means, now known or yet to be invented, including mechanical, electronic, photocopying, recording, videotaping, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of The Susan Gurman Agency, LLC. CAST Speaking roles: E.D. Applewhite – Age 12, the organized, “non-creative” member of the Applewhite clan. Jake Semple – Age 13, the “juvenile delinquent” newly accepted into the Creative Academy. (Note: The more sullen and unpleasant he is to begin with, the better!) Randolph Applewhite – Theatre Director, E.D.’s father. Sybil Jameson – Author of the Petunia Grantham mysteries, E.D.’s mother. Cordelia Applewhite – Age 16, dancer, choreographer, composer. Lucille Applewhite – Poet “of the Spirit,” E.D.’s aunt. Zedediah Applewhite – Creator of Handcrafted Furniture, Randolph’s father. Destiny Applewhite – Age 4, the youngest Applewhite, with a passion for color. Jeremy Bernstein – Stringer for the New World Literary Review, avocational chef and secret accordion player. Non-speaking roles: Winston – Bassett Hound – this character can be handled in whatever way suits the feel of the individual production. He could be played by a person in a dog suit (a la Nana in Peter Pan).. This was the choice made for the first production at Columbus Children’s Theatre. The actor playing Winston was cross cast as Hal. Or Winston could be a puppet, (bunraku style), handled by someone dressed in black, the method used by Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. Hal Applewhite—seen (except for his head) only in a cross-over in Act II, Scene 8 Characters heard but not seen: Wolfbane—the invisible goat. He is represented by bleats and thundering hooves. Paulie—Zedediah’s parrot, represented by squawks and bleeps. Priscilla Montrose—unsuccessful auditioner for the role of Gretl, represented by very badly sung renditions of “The Lonely Goatherd.” Technical note: Inappropriate language in the production is bleeped. Again, the individual production will determine how this is done. In the premiere production the actors said “bleep” (as if involuntarily); in the second production the language was bleeped from the sound booth. Alternatively a noisemaker could be used from off stage. With either of the last two methods, of course, timing is critical. It is suggested that in any case actors are not to use inappropriate language aloud, or even clearly mouthed. Tolan/Paterson I,1 1 ACT I Scene 1 (The stage is set up in segments--Creative Academy classroom, kitchen and porch. Much of the change of scenery throughout the play can be done with lights and minimal set pieces suggesting other locations. At LIGHTS UP the set is in darkness and only a large copy of the book, Surviving the Applewhites downstage right is illuminated, its cover partly open.) E.D. (Comes out, filled with wonder and curiosity at having been able to emerge from the book.) Wow! I’m out! (She looks around at stage.) Looks like a theatre. (She peers into the audience.) With an audience! (She points back at the book.) That’s my story— Surviving the Applewhites. (Thinks for a moment.) It ought to make a really great play. Very dramatic, just like my family. (SOUNDS of chaos from the book—bumps, shrieks. CORDELIA emerges, holding a piece of fabric from her Ophelia costume. The other end is being held by something inside the book. There are a few moments of tug-of-war with SOUNDS of goat hooves and baa-ing.) CORDELIA Let go of my costume, you beast, you monster. Zut Alors! Merde! (E.D. goes to help on CORDELIA’s end. They give a gigantic tug and the costume comes loose, its end all chewed and frayed. CORDELIA shouts into the book) Look what you’ve done to it, Wolfbane. I’ll have to make a whole new one! (She goes off into the darkness.) E.D. (To CORDELIA) You’re welcome! RANDOLPH (Emerges from the book, play script in hand…) What is that infernal racket? (To E.D.) Can’t you make it stop? I’m trying to come up with a ground-breaking new concept for the show I’ve been hired to direct. E.D. Dad’s, it’s just The Sound of Music! Tolan/Paterson I,1 2 RANDOLPH Which is why it takes a theatrical genius to make it worth seeing again. (He heads offstage into the darkness, studying the script as he goes.) (During this exchange DESTINY, followed by WINSTON, has crept out of the Book, dressed as a pirate and carrying a shovel. He sneaks quickly off into darkness, WINSTON still following.) SYBIL (Emerging from the Book, balancing a laptop in one hand) Was that Cordelia shrieking a moment ago? Edith, dear, would you tell your sister to keep it down? I’m trying to write a very difficult scene in my book, and I can’t be expected to keep my mind focused while she’s playing with the goat. E.D. Nobody plays with Wolfbane. And it’s E.D., Mom, remember? E period, D period. Not Edith! SYBIL (Having paid no attention to E.D.’s response, wanders off into the darkness as the SOUND of Lucille Om-ing comes from the book.) A difficult scene in my book—a very, very difficult scene. LUCILLE (Emerging from the Book) I sense a great deal of jagged energy suddenly. It’s interfering with my muse. (She places her hands on E.D.’s shoulders.) Calm down, E. D. E.D. (Ducks out from under LUCILLE’S hands) Me calm down? LUCILLE I must go breathe by the pond. In—(breathes loudly in)—and out (breathes loudly out, continuing as she exits.) In—and out. (SOUND of a power saw cutting a board. ZEDEDIAH emerges, carrying the board.) ZEDEDIAH Do you know what your brother is working on, E.D.? I think he’s taken my hand sander, and I need it. E.D. Nobody knows, Grandpa. Nobody’s seen Hal in weeks! Tolan/Paterson I,1 3 ZEDEDIAH I need that sander! I promised I’d ship two rocking chairs by next Monday… (EXITS into darkness, muttering.) E.D. (To audience.) That’s the family. Except Uncle Archie, who’s gone off to Central America. You see what I’m up against! This play is the story of how I manage to survive as the only non- artist in this whole flakey, unreliable, impossible family. (She begins to push the book offstage. She moves it a couple of feet and it pushes its way back on. She pushes, it pushes back. And then a hand appears around the edge of the cover, with a studded leather bracelet. E.D. tries unsuccessfully to close the book on the hand. JAKE emerges from the book in all his scarlet spiked, black-clad, ear, nose and eyebrow-pierced glory.) Go back, Jake Semple! I don’t want you here. JAKE Nothing you can do about it. It’s my story. (To audience.) I’m the star of the whole bleeping-- (Reacts to being bleeped.) Hey! How’d that happen? E.D. Never mind how. (Points to audience.) This is going to be a family show. No cursing allowed. LUCILLE (Hurries on and sees JAKE.) I thought I heard your voice! (She stands for a moment, staring raptly at him.) A radiant light being, that’s what you are, Jake Semple. A radiant light being! (JAKE goggles at this description.) E.D. (To audience.) This she says about a kid who got kicked out of the public school system of an entire state! (She pushes the book offstage.) JAKE (Also to audience.) Rhode Island. Very small state! (LIGHTS fade out and up again for next scene) Tolan/Paterson I,2 4 SCENE 2 (This scene, the tour of Wit’s End, is a traveling scene that depends more on how the actors visualize what they are seeing than what is actually visible to the audience. Depending on production style as she gives the tour various small set pieces can appear.) LUCILLE I’m glad your grandfather dropped you off so early. It’ll give you time to settle in before the others are up. You’re going to love it at Wit’s End, surrounded by a loving family and all this nature. Nature is so healing, don’t you think? (JAKE, who has picked up a duffle bag in the darkness, ignores this—LUCILLE doesn’t appear to notice. She leads him down stage right.) You’ll be bunking here in Wisteria Cottage with my husband, Archie and me. He’s out of the country just now, seeking inspiration for his next work. (JAKE trips over something and reacts, staring at it incredulously.) Ah! Beautiful, isn’t it? It’s my favorite of Archie’s coffee tables. JAKE Coffee table? I thought it was a hippopotamus. LUCILLE Well, you couldn’t put a cup of coffee on it, of course, but then who would want to? It’s wonderfully soul-filling, don’t you think? That’s what all of Archie’s furniture is meant to be. (She takes his duffle off stage, speaking as she goes.) Our bedroom is on the right. First door on the left is the bathroom we all share. The next door is your room. (Returning) It’s been feng shuied, so the energy flow is excellent. It’s a little early for breakfast. Would you like to unpack and get settled, or would you like a tour of Wit’s End? (JAKE shrugs.) Tour, then. (She waves an arm and then points to each location and she explains it.) This little rise gives us a lovely view. The main house is where Randolph and Sybil and the kids live—and where the Creative Academy is, of course. That cottage is Zedediah’s and Archie’s work shop. That one is Cordelia’s dance studio. Behind Wisteria is Honeysuckle, Zedediah’s cottage. (As she points, there is the SOUND of a loud parrot squawk followed by several parrot-sounding bleeps.) That’s Paulie, Zedediah’s parrot. His language is even more colorful than yours. Those are the guest cottages over there—But I want to show you my garden. (JAKE sighs loudly as she leads him eagerly across to her garden.) No pesticides, no chemical fertilizers, of course. You’ll notice all my garden areas are circles. I work with nature spirits, and they advised me to avoid right angles. JAKE (Scoffing openly) Tolan/Paterson I,2 5 Nature Spirits! Right. LUCILLE Oh, yes. They’re endlessly helpful. (She looks off) Oh! There’s E.D.. E.D.! Come join us. (E.D. enters with a butterfly net, a camera hanging around her neck, and Winston- on-leash. Winston barks at JAKE, who backs away.) JAKE Keep that dog away from me! E.D. I’ve been out since dawn looking for a spangled fritillary and I still haven’t found one! (she swings the net angrily) LUCILLE A what, dear? E.D. Great spangled fritillary! It’s the last butterfly I need for my project and there just aren’t any. I haven’t seen one in the whole month I’ve been looking. They’re supposed to be common in the Carolinas! LUCILLE (Mimes psychically calling a butterfly.) Why don’t you just call one, Sweetie? E.D. (Scowls at JAKE, who is rolling his eyes. To LUCILLE, being tactful.) That sort of thing doesn’t seem to work for anybody else the way it does for you, Aunt Lucille. LUCILLE (She continues leading her tour) There’s the pond. There’s the barn, and this (they enter a light area with a gate and fence post) is the goat pen. That’s our Wolfie. E.D. Don’t get too close to the fence. JAKE It’s only a bleeping goat! (SOUND—goat hooves running. JAKE mimes Wolfie’s butting the fence post he’s leaning on as we hear the goat/fence collision. WINSTON barks and E.D. has to hold tight to the leash to keep him from running off.) Good thing the gate was closed. ACT I E.D. RANDOLPH (Emerges from the book, play script in hand…) SYBIL LUCILLE E.D. (To audience.) That’s the family. Except Uncle Archie, who’s gone off to Central America. You see what I’m up against! This play is the story of how I manage to survive as the only non-artist in this whole flakey, unreliable, impossible family. (She begins to push the book offstage. She moves it a couple of feet and it pushes its way back on. She pushes, it pushes back. And then a hand appears around the edge of the cover, with a studded leather bracelet. E.D. tries unsuccessfully to close the book on the hand. JAKE emerges from the book in all his scarlet spiked, black-clad, ear, nose and eyebrow-pierced glory.) Go back, Jake Semple! I don’t want you here. JAKE E.D. LUCILLE JAKE Coffee table? I thought it was a hippopotamus. LUCILLE (JAKE shrugs.) Tour, then. (She waves an arm and then points to each location and she explains it.) This little rise gives us a lovely view. The main house is where Randolph and Sybil and the kids live—and where the Creative Academy is, of course. That cottage i... JAKE LUCILLE JAKE Keep that dog away from me! E.D. LUCILLE A what, dear? E.D. LUCILLE (Mimes psychically calling a butterfly.) E.D. LUCILLE E.D. LUCILLE Poor, poor Wolfbane. He has post traumatic stress syndrome, you know. It’s very hard to heal! RANDOLPH Hal! Stop that infernal hammering! It’s the cracking of the dawn! LUCILLE E.D. Again! LUCILLE LIGHTS CROSS FADE TO KITCHEN SCENE 3 LUCILLE Everyone, everyone, welcome Jake Semple, the Creative Academy’s first non-Applewhite student. (The others barely take notice. To JAKE) Have a seat. Anywhere. Are you eating, E.D.? E.D. LUCILLE CORDELIA SYBIL CORDELIA I said, Hal’s been stealing food in the middle of the night. SYBIL I wouldn’t call it stealing. Hal has as much right to eat as the rest of us. CORDELIA JAKE Hi! CORDELIA RANDOLPH CORDELIA Oh, right! Then everybody can start calling me Thunder Thighs! SCENE 4 LUCILLE SCENE 5 JAKE DESTINY JAKE DESTINY JAKE Fifteen. DESTINY Are not! I know, ‘cuz Grandpa said you’re the same as E.D. That means you’re only twelve. JAKE I’m thirteen. I am! DESTINY Well—did you use matches? JAKE I don’t know what the bleep you’re talking about. DESTINY JAKE It is too a people word! DESTINY Is not! JAKE Is too. Try it. DESTINY JAKE That’s what they say. DESTINY With matches? JAKE DESTINY You’re a kid! JAKE I’m a teenager. CORDELIA That show is dead boring! I’d call it “The Sound of Mu-zak!” RANDOLPH CORDELIA Why is this happening so fast? They just called you yesterday. How come auditions are tonight? RANDOLPH CORDELIA But what about my ballet? RANDOLPH CORDELIA RANDOLPH Perfect. You’ll need dancers. Do this show for me and you’ll have a ready-made corps de ballet. CORDELIA I’m the dancer! It’s a one-woman ballet! RANDOLPH CORDELIA Oh, sure. One of the many choreographers in Traybridge! RANDOLPH CORDELIA Budget? I’d get paid? RANDOLPH DESTINY JAKE CORDELIA Sounds as if there are survivors. E.D. What was that crash? SYBIL Where’s Destiny? Has something happened to Destiny? Somebody call 911! DESTINY RANDOLPH JEREMY But…but… CORDELIA Dad! We all saw the way you drove away. If anyone is guilty of reckless… RANDOLPH Don’t you start with me, young lady! LUCILLE People, people—the negative energy. Breathe, everybody—breathe! ZEDEDIAH CORDELIA ZEDEDIAH Sorry about the welcome. (Offers his hand) Zedediah Apple… JEREMY SYBIL No! No! That’s not today! I distinctly remember that I invited you for the sixteenth. E.D. This is the sixteenth, Mother. RANDOLPH JEREMY SYBIL JEREMY It’s brilliant. It really is. SYBIL RANDOLPH ZEDEDIAH SYBIL ZEDEDIAH RANDOLPH Stop dilly-dallying, Father. I have an appointment. (They exit.) DESTINY LUCILLE JEREMY LUCILLE JAKE I haven’t had this much fun since the school burned down. LIGHTS OUT SCENE 6 LUCILLE ZEDEDIAH E.D. Is that it, Grandpa? ZEDEDIAH SYBIL JEREMY ZEDEDIAH JAKE ZEDEDIAH JEREMY ZEDEDIAH JEREMY ZEDEDIAH JEREMY Debbie Applewhite? SYBIL JEREMY But he said Applewhite? SYBIL My married name, of course. JEREMY CORDELIA You’ve heard of Dad? JEREMY LUCILLE And don’t forget my Archie. JEREMY ZEDEDIAH I hope you had the good sense not to try to sit on it. JEREMY DESTINY JEREMY SYBIL JEREMY SYBIL Hal, whom you haven’t met– ZEDEDIAH Nor are likely to, unless you’re planning to put down roots– SYBIL JEREMY CORDELIA I don’t sing. ZEDEDIAH DESTINY JAKE JEREMY What did you say? JAKE Me? Nothing. Don’t mind me, I’m just visiting. LUCILLE CORDELIA JEREMY E.D. E.D. LIGHTS CROSS FADE TO THE CREATIVE ACADEMY SCENE 7 SCENE 8 Shove off, will you. Oh, bleep. (He sighs.) I’m talking to the bleeping dog again! DESTINY Bang! Gotcha! JAKE What have you done to your hair? DESTINY JAKE I hope that wasn’t a permanent Magic Marker. DESTINY JAKE DESTINY JAKE DESTINY JAKE LIGHTS CROSS FADE TO THE CREATIVE ACADEMY SCENE 9 SCENE 10 RANDOLPH Well, son, you must be inordinately proud of yourself. I know I was proud of you. JAKE RANDOLPH SYBIL Oh, thank heavens, you’re home. I haven’t been able to get a word written all evening. CORDELIA SYBIL RANDOLPH You’ll have to manage without your dog sitter, Sybil. I’ve cast the boy. SYBIL Then you’ll have to cast the dog, too. He’s not staying here without Jake. RANDOLPH JAKE I–I could take Winston to rehearsal. I’m only in a few scenes. He could stay backstage with me. RANDOLPH And when you are on stage? JAKE I’ll tie him up where he can see me and give him plenty of liver treats. I think he’ll be okay. SYBIL RANDOLPH SYBIL No. Of course not. RANDOLPH SYBIL What on earth do you mean, Randolph? It’s after eleven o’clock! RANDOLPH Well, get them up. I’m calling a family meeting! CORDELIA You can’t mean everybody. RANDOLPH Everybody–Well, everybody except Destiny. And Hal. I haven’t lost touch with reality. SYBIL RANDOLPH CORDELIA I’ll go. SYBIL Can’t it wait until morning, Randolph? RANDOLPH CORDELIA Grandpa says nothing is important enough to get him out of his bed in the middle of the night. RANDOLPH Never mind. I have wonderful news! I have finally succeeded in casting my show! SYBIL Is this your idea of a joke, Randolph? RANDOLPH E.D. But Dad, Annalouise Mabry is black! RANDOLPH Yes, and your point? E.D. Well . . . I mean, wasn’t Maria von Trapp Austrian? Wasn’t she an actual, historical person? JEREMY It’s called color-blind casting. (He turns to RANDOLPH). That explains why you are such an extraordinary director! You have the courage, the vision, to make an unusual choice. RANDOLPH E.D. JEREMY RANDOLPH SYBIL Well, they’re likely to notice. JAKE Wait a minute. What’s The Sound of Music about, after all? CORDELIA Falling in love! (after a beat) And escaping the Nazis. JAKE Escaping the Nazis. Think about it—the Nazis were racists, right? (The others nod—this isn’t exactly a revelation.) They made the Holocaust—just about the worst example of racial hatred ever. So wouldn’t seeing three different races in one family g... JEREMY LUCILLE (Looking fondly at JAKE) What a lovely thought, Jake! SYBIL Is that what you had in mind, Randolph? RANDOLPH SYBIL RANDOLPH They wouldn’t dare! LUCILLE E.D. A rainbow Sound of Music!—produced in the South. Jeremy—couldn’t that be your hook for the network guys? RANDOLPH Yes, yes—That’s my ground-breaking concept! JEREMY The network will have to buy it now! ACT II SCENE 1 RANDOLPH ZEDEDIAH What is it, then? What’s happened? LUCILLE Is someone hurt? Take me to him… RANDOLPH Not hurt, dead! Murder, that’s what it is. Cold-blooded murder! SYBIL You don’t have to yell, Randolph. We’re all here now. What are you talking about? RANDOLPH My show! I’m talking about my show. The Sound of Music. You may have heard of it. ZEDEDIAH No need for sarcasm. RANDOLPH They’ve all quit! CORDELIA Who’s all quit? RANDOLPH E.D. The one you call the idiot? SYBIL What happened? RANDOLPH E.D. There must have been a reason. People don’t just– RANDOLPH SYBIL But what did they say the reason was? RANDOLPH SYBIL RANDOLPH SYBIL RANDOLPH I expect my talented and creative family to gather around me and support me in my hour of need. This is my work! SYBIL The rest of us have our work, too. LUCILLE RANDOLPH Costumes. Sets. Props. Choreography. Music. Lights. Everything! LUCILLE SYBIL RANDOLPH What condition is that, Sybil? SYBIL RANDOLPH I always give respect where respect is due. HAL ZEDEDIAH I suppose I could build it, although without Archie . . . JAKE SYBIL When you’re not watching Destiny. JAKE ZEDEDIAH I’d be glad for the help. CORDELIA All right, all right. I’ll do the choreography. RANDOLPH We’ll need someone to play the music. JEREMY CORDELIA I don’t read music. I compose entirely by ear. DESTINY JEREMY Er…uh…perhaps I could play the show. RANDOLPH JEREMY Um. I have never actually played a synthesizer. RANDOLPH Then what do you play? (Ironically.) A dulcimer, I suppose. Or a didgeridoo. Well, don’t keep us in suspense, boy. JEREMY RANDOLPH E.D. Back to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. You don’t need me here. RANDOLPH LIGHTS OUT Scene 3 JAKE DESTINY Jake, you’re the bestest brother in the whole world. JAKE DESTINY But Hal won’t come out and play and sing with me like you do. Aunt Lucille says you’re a real member of the family. So I choosed you to be my brother. ‘Cuz I’m just like you. JAKE E.D. JAKE Yeah, yeah, I know. You’re much too important to be babysitting. E.D. Just hurry up. I’ve got to go. (She exits.) JAKE What else were we going to take? CORDELIA DESTINY I want a uniform! Make me one, too, Delia! With a hat! CORDELIA DESTINY CORDELIA JAKE DESTINY JAKE You can’t. People in the show have to sing. And act. DESTINY I can sing. What do you gots to do to act? JAKE Pretend to be someone you aren’t. DESTINY JAKE Too late, big guy. All the parts are taken. You get to be the audience. DESTINY Does the audience get a costume? JAKE Nope. Come on. (DESTINY reluctantly follows JAKE off stage.) LIGHTS OUT Scene 4 (LIGHTS UP in a small area representing the Traybridge Little Theatre, where E.D. is sitting with the stage manager’s play script for Sound of Music while the rehearsal is going on. RANDOLPH is seated next to her. They are both looking forward and ... RANDOLPH (Speaking to JAKE, whom we can’t see) That’s good, Jake. But take her hand there. Remember, you’re going to dance with her in a moment. Now. Take it again from “You need someone…” (SOUND: Accordion music and JAKE singing,) JAKE/ROLF YOU NEED SOMEONE OLDER AND WISER, TELLING YOU WHAT TO DO… I AM SEVENTEEN, GOING ON EIGHTEEN, I’LL TAKE CARE OF YOU. (A wisp of smoke drifts into the light.) E.D. Fire! Fire! No, really—I mean it. FIRE! RANDOLPH Everybody out of the theatre. NOW! (He leaves the lighted area.) E.D. I’ll get a fire extinguisher. (She leaves the lighted area. We see only the backs of their chairs as SOUND: Pandemonium. Screams and shrieks from children and adults, thumps and bumps, a child crying, WINSTON barking wildly. Various voices, male and female, shouting, “Call 911... The fire’s out! It was only a wastebasket! (To Destiny) Where’d you get that lighter? And what were you thinking of? DESTINY I was acting! (JAKE enters, dressed in his brown messenger uniform.) I was pretending to be Jake burning down his school. RANDOLPH (Comes back into the light.) Are you sure the fire’s out? E.D. I put it out myself. Like I said, it was only a wastebasket. RANDOLPH Go get everybody back, then. We need to go on. (To Jake) How did this happen? Why weren’t you watching him? JAKE Me? I was on stage, singing, remember? RANDOLPH That’s it! Find Winston’s leash. We’re tying Destiny to my chair for the rest of the rehearsal. DESTINY I only wanted to be a actor so I could wear a costume. Jake said… RANDOLPH (To JAKE) Why are you standing there? Go get that leash! (JAKE, crosses his arms and doesn’t move.) All right, never mind, just take Destiny out of here. We’ll skip the rest of your scene and go on from there..(JAKE takes DESTINY by the shoulders and guides... E.D. (Comes back) I’ve called everybody back. It’s a good thing nobody called 911, or the fire trucks would be here by now. RANDOLPH Call the next scene. Act I, Scene Seven. (shouting off) We’re going on! E.D. We can’t. The next scene has all the children. Gretl fell off the stage in the panic, and her mother has taken her to the emergency room. RANDOLPH We’ll do it without her tonight, then. She can catch up at the next rehearsal. E.D. I don’t think there will be a next rehearsal for her. Her mother thinks she has a broken arm. We may have to find a new Gretl. RANDOLPH That’s impossible! No one else who auditioned for the part could possibly play it. That’s why I cast her in the first place. E.D. If her mom is right, we’ll have to find someone else. LIGHTS OUT Scene 5 E.D. Hello. E.D. Applewhite here. (Listens) Good morning, Mrs. Montrose. (Listens) Sorry, but my father isn’t here at the moment, may I take a message? (Listens) Hardly, arson, Mrs. Montrose. It was an accident. (Listens) It wasn’t a serious inju... RANDOLPH (Who entered just as E.D. finishes.) Who were you talking to, E.D.? E.D. Um. Dad. That was Mrs. Montrose. RANDOLPH And what did the old battleaxe want this time? E.D. But I managed to talk her out of it–momentarily. JEREMY E.D. was magnificent! And I’m a gourmet New York chef. E.D. Well, I had to promise her something. RANDOLPH What? E.D. LUCILLE RANDOLPH Dinner. And what else? E.D. RANDOLPH Absolutely not! E.D. I didn’t promise her the part, Dad. Just another audition. RANDOLPH SYBIL I thought appearances didn’t count. RANDOLPH Not when there’s talent. That child has the talent of a sea slug. E.D. RANDOLPH So let her. (All react.) I’d rather cancel the show than have a Gretl with a voice like a buzz saw. JEREMY CORDELIA SYBIL E.D. Come on, Dad. Just listen to Priscilla Montrose. ZEDEDIAH LUCILLE Put yourself in a meditative state, Randolph. You’ll hardly hear it at all. E.D. RANDOLPH LIGHTS OUT Scene 6 (LIGHTS UP in Creative Academy. JAKE and DESTINY are watching a butterfly chrysalis that is moving slightly. WINSTON, as usual, lies under JAKE’s desk.) DESTINY It’s moving! It’s moving! (SOUND: A car pulls up and stops. Doors open and close.) JAKE That’ll be Mrs. Montrose with Priscilla. Keep your fingers crossed. (DESTINY holds up his hands to show crossed fingers.) The show can’t happen without a Gretl. We all need to have this work. DESTINY There! Looky, looky! The criss-less is breaking open! (They stand and watch for a while without speaking, DESTINY with his nose pressed up against the aquarium. SOUND: Priscilla Montrose begins singing “The Lonely Goat Herd” a capella. Her voice is shrill, piercing, and wildly off key. When she finis... I sings it better than that! JAKE Must be all that singing we’ve been doing on our hikes. You’ve gotten pretty good! DESTINY I always been good! JAKE Well, I’ll give you this—you were never, never, never as bad as Priscilla Montrose. Hey, Destiny, look there. The butterfly is coming out! (E.D. enters) E.D. Jake, Jeremy wants you to come help get ready for dinner. He’s been working all afternoon. We’re using the best linen and the real silver. Jeremy wants everything to be exactly right. JAKE What’s he fixing? E.D. He won’t say, but from the smell in the kitchen (she wrinkles her nose), I’d say it has something to do with fish. DESTINY Come look, E.D. Meta—metamor— The worm thingie’s coming out! I’m not gonna eat dinner. I wanna stay here and watch. E.D. Don’t worry. We’ll be finished eating before that butterfly is ready to fly. It takes ages and ages. You’d get bored waiting. LIGHTS CROSS FADE Scene 8 DESTINY How come we didn’t go to reversal tonight? JAKE DESTINY JAKE I’ve fixed his dinner for him. (Stepping over Winston to get a pitcher off the desk.) Ta dah! Butterfly food. Sugar and water. We just pour some in a saucer and Blackie’ll come get it. JAKE I don’t see how it could hurt. DESTINY I’ll go get some. (Runs off in direction of kitchen) JAKE DESTINY DESTINY JAKE DESTINY Can Blackie sleep with me? JAKE JAKE E.D. Did any of the other butterflies hatch? JAKE No, just Blackie. E.D. Where is he? JAKE E.D. (Sighs.) So—Dad’s decided on the replacement Gretl. JAKE Not Priscilla Montrose, I suppose. E.D. JAKE Who’s he going to cast? E.D. Destiny. JAKE He can’t cast Destiny. Gretl’s a girl! E.D. JAKE It’s your fault, you know. JAKE My fault? E.D. JAKE E.D. Yeah, well it doesn’t matter. It’s all over. DESTINY Look at me, Jake! I did it with Kool-Aid. Amn’t I beautiful? CROSS FADE Yeah, yeah, it’s me. Jake, AKA Rolf. Cordelia took me to the barber. This hair’s going to be lots easier to take care of. Wish me luck! We open tomorrow. LIGHTS OUT LIGHTS OUT Scene 11 RANDOLPH Raves, every last one of them! SYBIL What about the local paper, dear? RANDOLPH SYBIL I doubt he’s ever seen an actual Broadway performance. RANDOLPH SYBIL Oh, Randolph. You’re not really considering a whole season. You wouldn’t–“ ZEDEDIAH Couldn’t. There’s no heat in the barn. E.D. What about summer? We could do shows in the summer. ZEDEDIAH No air conditioning either. RANDOLPH SYBIL RANDOLPH CORDELIA If we do another musical, there needs to be a lot more dancing. JEREMY LUCILLE E.D. Wow. RANDOLPH CORDELIA LUCILLE JAKE Mellifluous? SYBIL Mel means honey and fluere means flow—your voice flows with honey. JAKE DESTINY It’s my turn. Read one about me. (He is on the floor next to WINSTON drawing.) SYBIL CORDELIA Do you know what ‘gusto’ means, Destiny? DESTINY Sure. It means I’m like Wolfie. I don’t like to be herded. ZEDEDIAH Pretty close, boy. JAKE Uncommon gusto runs in the family. DESTINY Whatcha doing, Jake? JAKE Just reading your Grandpa’s sign. DESTINY What does it say? JAKE DESTINY Huh? JAKE DESTINY Jake. What color are you going to make your hair when the show is over? JAKE I don’t know. What color do you think? DESTINY Blond. Like mine. JAKE I think maybe brown. Like mine. E.D. JAKE Yeah. And so did the show, thanks to us! E.D. Turns out to be okay that I’m not an artist like everybody else. JAKE E.D. Do you know now? JAKE Yeah. I do. THE END

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