My comprehensive Outline for the play A Time to Leave
Name of Play: A Time to Move
Names of Characters:
Central Character: Elizabeth Marie Johnson
Supporting Character #1: Marie Elizabeth Horning (mother)
Supporting Character #2: Alexis Ann Johnson (daughter)
Minor Character(s): Mr. Chastain (boss)
Synopsis of Play: General comments not specific to a scene
This play is about a single mother who has struggled for years trying to support her daughter alone. Her mother is now living with them, and she wishes she could give her mother the lifestyle the older woman had when her father was still alive. She is offered a big promotion at work, but the promotion also involved a move to a much larger city 3 hours away. Her daughter and mother fight the move, then realize how it could benefit them, too, and also realize how good it could be for the main character. Through this play they all find that while they have definite differences, they also have so many similarities.
The scene starts with Beth “putting out fires” in various departments in her current facility. Other employees look to her for guidance. Beth finds out that she is up for a big promotion. Another franchisee in her hotel chain has contacted her boss. He has stayed at their hotel several times and attended various functions there. He’s seen Beth’s work and would like to hire her as the manager of a new property he is opening. The promotion will entail a move, but it will mean that Beth can finally support her daughter and mother and be able to live the way she wants to live.
We also meet Lexi and Marie. They are both thinking about their own lives and plans and don’t want to be bothered by waiting around for Beth, who is in her boss’ office.
Scene 2: Overview
Beth tells Lexi (her daughter) and Marie (her mom) about the job offer. Chaos ensues. Neither of them want to leave the small town they call home. They have their network of friends and neither has lived anywhere else. There is a huge fight, which is not what Beth expected. Beth leaves after a huge argument. Lexi and Marie continue on after Beth leaves. They see each other as being selfish. Both want their own thoughts heard so much that they don’t hear the other at all.
Scene 3: Overview
At breakfast the next morning Beth tells her mother and daughter that she has decided not to take the job. Lexi tells her that she is really looking forward to moving to a bigger city and how much more there would be there to do. Marie tells her she’s read about some great community events at the senior centers there, and how much she’d like to get involved in various volunteer activities she found out about while researching online the previous night. Beth tells them that she’s already told her boss that she didn’t think she could accept the job. Just as they are all adjusting to the fact that they will probably live in this small town forever now – the phone rings. It’s the franchisee who wanted to hire Beth. He called to see if he could get her to change her mind. Beth accepts the job.
Scene 1 Setting:
1. The Central Character will give one or more monologues.
Yes, Beth has a monologue after hearing a conference call between her boss and her potential boss. She weighs her options – the benefits and drawbacks of staying here as well as the benefits and drawbacks of moving to a bigger city,
2. The two Supporting Characters will give one or more monologues.
Yes. Marie and Lexi are waiting outside of Mr. Chastain’s office. Lexi had the car, so they are there to pick up Beth. Lexi is texting on her phone in the hallway, setting up a get together with her friends. Her monologue is about how great high school is and how she is the most popular girl in her class. Marie has a monologue as well. She talks about her church group and how it would all fall to pieces without her. She’s going to be late for the planning session for the spaghetti dinner if Beth doesn’t hurry up and get out of Mr. Chastain’s office. She’s confused about what they could possibly be talking about. She assumes Beth is being reprimanded for something – that would be the only reason her boss would want to talk to her.
3. The Central Character will appear in the first scene.
Yes. Beth learns from her boss that she is wanted as a manager at another property
4. The Central Character will be involved in one or more dialogues.
Yes. Beth talks with her boss about the possible move. He doesn’t want her to go. He wants the promotion for himself. She also talks with multiple hotel employees and shows a cool head under pressure. Finally, she has a dialogue with Jerry Lynch, the franchisee who owns the property where she now works as well as the new property in Green Bay.
5. Should run not more than about eight minutes.
It should be about 8 minutes
6. The Dramatic Premise is in evidence.
The theme is being able to grow while not letting go of the things you have now.
7. Foreshadowing is evidenced.
Yes. Mr. Chastain tells Beth the new move could mean problems and it wouldn’t be all sunshine and roses. She doesn’t think that her means her family will rebel, though – she thinks he’s just talking about moving to a new city and learning everything that he knows to run the business.
8. A symbol is evidenced.
Yes. The grandfather clock in Mr. Chastain’s office symbolizes the passage of time and how things change over time – for better or worse.
9. Give initial snapshot of the Central Character.
Yes. Beth is a single mom trying to do the best for the two of them as well as for her mother, who lives with them. She’s also a strong presence in the hotel, although she doesn’t really realize it (solving multiple problems, but then going about the task of tidying the sitting area in the hallway as if nothing had happened)
Scene 2 Setting:
1. Must include the three primiary actors.
Yes. Beth is at home with her daughter and mother and is telling them about the job offer.
2. Should run not more than twenty minutes.
I see this as about 15 minutes.
3. Must include an element of humor.
I see the humor here as being more irony than anything. Beth is trying to better all of their lives while Lexi and Marie think they want their lives to stay the same, even though neither of them is truly happy.
4. Show evidence of the "Dramatic Ingredients”.
I believe all of the ingredients are here. Beth is the central character who has an inner desire to make her family’s life better. Her mother and daughter hate the idea of a move (for different reasons and reasons that, it happens, are not even clear to themselves anymore). The beginning of the resolution is when the two of them realize that it might not be bad – it might even be better – if they make the move.
5. Show Central Character realization of the problem
Yes. Beth sees that her mother and daughter both have valid points. It still gnaws at her that, by staying here, they are accepting life as it is, but maybe that’s not so bad. Things could be worse.
Scene 3 Setting:
1. Must include the Central Character
Yes. Beth is present and has another monologue as she waits for Lexi and Marie to come down to breakfast. We find out that she’s decided not to take the promotion. She will stay where she is for her mother and daughter. She is not happy about it, but she will do it for them. She’s never had a lot of confidence in her decision-making, so she assumes the two of them are right
2. Show conflict leading to resolution
Marie and Lexi both tell Beth that she is right and they are ready to move with her. Both give their reasons for wanting to move. They apologize for the way they acted – they weren’t ready for that kind of upheaval, but they’ve both looked into the new town, and they like the idea now.
3. Show change in the Central Character.
Beth is truly changed. She realizes that her family has faith in her. More than that, even though she decided she probably would not be able to take the position, the franchisee calls to try to change her mind. Her current boss even gave her a recommendation (even though he didn’t want her to go, he knows she’s got all the right qualities to be very successful). She finds out that both of these men have confidence in her, too. She is definitely a changed woman.
4. Runs about ten minutes
This scene should take 10 minutes or so, I think.
5. Have a happy ending.
The family is moving and all three of them are definitely “for” the change. They all look forward to a great life in a new town.