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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/1207452
Rated: 18+ · Script/Play · Career · #1207452
What if you could experience the consequences of a choice before you had to make it?
Clap Switch
A Ten Minute Play

By

Matt Jones


CHARACTERS

BRODY: Twenty-five years old, a grad student with bachelors' degrees in English and Film Studies. Though intelligent and talented, he often has a difficult time keeping his priorities straight.

EVELYN: Fifty years old, a professor of Creative Writing and Film. A veteran of both the world of publication and film production, her work is her top priority and expects her students to show the same dedication.

HARPER: Twenty-four years old, a grad student with a bachelor’s in Biology. He values his relationships with others above all else, and is more vulnerable to hurt and heartbreak than most people.

TIME

Summer

SETTINGS

The stage is divided into two settings:

Stage right is a university video production studio in New York. Full size video cameras are aligned in a neat half-circle, in the center of which is sits a news desk.

Stage left is a small apartment in Australia. The room is packed with boxes of things yet to be unpacked. There is a bed, lacking both linens and comforter. Several items lay strewn across the floor, among which must be a notebook. Inside the notebook is a copy of a screenplay.

THE PLAY


(Lights up on BRODY, who stands alone at center stage. A puzzled expression floods his face as he looks to the two darkened scenes, first the apartment, then the studio.)

BRODY
Well…I suppose I have to start somewhere, right?

(He hesitates, flustered with indecision, then claps once. Lights rise on the studio, where EVELYN fiddles with one of the cameras. She looks up as BRODY approaches.)

BRODY
Should write our Oscar speech now, or wait ‘till we’ve filmed this thing?

EVELYN
They bought the rights? You got them to buy the rights?

BRODY
They wrote the check five minutes into my pitch. I dunno what I did to convince them, but they're sold.

EVELYN
Oh, Brody, that’s fantastic! I can’t believe you pulled it off!

BRODY
I dunno about you, but I think its time to celebrate. C’mon. I’ll buy you a drink.

EVELYN
Oh, Brody, it's a tempting offer, but I can’t. I still have to patch up my half of the script.

BRODY
So? I’m only halfway through with mine. It’s Friday, Evelyn! Live a little, for Chrissake!

EVELYN
We don’t have lives anymore. We have a deadline instead. A year may not seem like a tight schedule to you, but trust me: two novels, a documentary, and a feature film later, you’ll learn twelve months can be one hell of a ride.

BRODY
Two weeks into sabbatical and you can’t even go out for one lousy drink?

EVELYN
Just ‘cause I’m not teaching doesn’t mean I can afford to break my dry spell...yet. We can drink ourselves silly once we’re at the premiere, but for now its crunch time.

BRODY
I’ll have my half of the script ready and waiting Monday morning, then.

EVELYN
You’d damn well better. They don’t hand out too many extensions in the real world.

BRODY
Yeah, yeah. I know.

(He begins off)

EVELYN
Oh, by the way, Harper called me at my office earlier. He said he was looking for you.

(BRODY stops dead in his tracks)

BRODY
Harper? For me? What’d he want?

EVELYN
Just to check in and let you know his flight got in okay...and that he's thinking about you.

BRODY
Oh. Thanks. If he calls again, tell him I’ll call later. I should…get working on this script.

EVELYN
That’s a first. Never thought I’d see the day you put off a call from Harper.

BRODY
Well, since I don’t have time for my lousy drink, doesn’t look like I’ve got much choice.

EVELYN
Touché. I suppose Monday is a bit of a tight deadline. But you will call him back, right?

BRODY
Yeah, sure. I’ll call him. Just…not now.

EVELYN
Alright then. I’ll see you here bright and early Monday morning. Eight o’clock sharp. I expect that script to be bloody with corrections, got it? Brody?

BRODY
(Claps his hands)
Switch!

(Lights darken on the studio and rise on the apartment. HAPER sits alone on the bed. BRODY enters and sits, draping and arm around HARPER’s shoulders.)

BRODY
Well, truck's empty. For someone who hates materialism, you sure have a lot of stuff.

HARPER
God, I’ve never been this jet-lagged in my life. I feel like a train-wreck.

BRODY
Whose bright idea was it to have us on back to back red-eyes, anyway?

HARPER
Best the university could come up with on short notice, I guess. People told me Australia was amazing, but Jesus…we’re here. You’re here. I still can’t believe you came.

BRODY
Believe me, Harper, I had to. I wouldn’t want it to be any other way.

(HARPER smiles and nestles against BRODY. There is a slight pause.)

HARPER
I guess we should start unpacking now, huh?

BRODY
We just lugged those damn boxes up twelve flights of stairs. I think I’m spent.

HARPER
Yeah. Me too. We could go out exploring if you want, but I think I could use a nap.

BRODY
Come to think of it, I could do some writing right now.

HARPER
You wrote for the entire plane ride over! You’re not the least bit tired?

(BRODY picks the notebook off the floor)

BRODY
Nah, I’m fine. I have a lot of ideas jumping around in my head that I wanna get on paper while I still have ‘em. Keep the creativity flowing, you know?

HARPER
You know, I had a thought while we were flying over. Maybe you could come to the University with me on Monday. You could see if there’s an opening in the English or Film department. I’m sure Evelyn would be happy to give you a recommendation.

(BRODY opens the notebook and stops; he pulls out a copy of EVELYN’s screenplay, staring.)

BRODY
Yeah. Maybe.

HARPER
You don’t sound all that enthused, Brody. Something wrong?

BRODY
(Claps his hands)
Switch!

(Lights up on the studio, down on the apartment. EVELYN paces, glancing at her watch. BRODY stumbles in after a beat, out of breath. The notebook and script are tucked beneath his arm.)

EVELYN
(Sarcastic yet friendly.)
Well g’morning sunshine. Nice of you to drop by on such short notice.

BRODY
I know, Ev, I’m sorry. I overslept. Here. It’s done.

(BRODY hands the script to EVELYN, who eyes him with suspicion.)

EVELYN
How done? Done done? Or “done” as in “I went to the club last night and didn’t do any work on it until three o’clock this morning” done?

BRODY
C’mon, Ev, that’s not fair.

EVELYN
I can understand a celebration, Brody, but on a Sunday night?

BRODY
I ran into an old friend who wanted to take me out. I hardly ever see him anymore-

EVELYN
You had all weekend, Brody. Did you really need that much time to yourself?

BRODY
I’m sorry. It won’t happen again. Famous last words, I know, but I swear to you I won’t.

EVELYN
It’s alright, Brody. I understand. I was young once too. I’ve got the whole day off to work on it, so we’re still in the running. But I don’t want to see this happen again, got it?

(BRODY nods vigorously. EVELYN sighs and begins leafing through the script.)

By the way, if you’re going to be late, at least have the decency to take a shower. You smell like a brewery.

BRODY
(Claps his hands)
Switch!

(Lights up on the apartment, down on the studio. HARPER is standing over a pile of boxes, looking flustered. BRODY enters.)

HARPER
Hey. Welcome home. Where’ve you been all afternoon?

BRODY
In the park, writing. I’ve got a lot done on my draft. I have a good feeling about this one.

HARPER
How did the thing at the department go? Did you find anything?

BRODY
Well, they don’t have any positions open at the moment, but they said they’d keep me informed. The guy in the English department really took a shining to me, I guess.

HARPER
That’s nice, Brody. I’m glad. I really am.

BRODY
You sure as hell don’t sound it. What’s wrong, Harp? Bad first day?

HARPER
No, Brody, it went fine. It’s just…I was really hoping you were gonna help me unpack.

(BRODY throws the notebook on the floor)

BRODY
Jesus, that’s right. I forgot. I am so sorry Harper. I got so excited about my story that it completely slipped my mind!

HARPER
I know, Brody, I know. You’re writing is important to you, and I understand that, but I have a lot of stuff I need out of these boxes. You said we’d do it this weekend, but all you did was go to the park and write.

BRODY
I’m sorry, Harper, I really am. Here. I can help you unpack now, can’t I?

(BRODY moves to one of the stacks of boxes and begins unpacking in a bit of a frenzy. HARPER watches him.)

HARPER
Brody, you did want to be here with me, right? I mean, you don’t regret leaving, do you?

BRODY
(Claps his hands)
Switch!

(Lights down on the apartment, up on the studio. EVELYN sits atop the desk, glaring at her watch. BRODY marches in.)

BRODY
I got your call, Ev. What’s going on?

(EVELYN stands, throwing her hands up.)

EVELYN
He graces me with his presence! What fortune! He’s only an hour late, but he still remembers where the studio is!

BRODY
Ev, please, don’t start with me. There was traffic and I had to-

EVELYN
Bullshit. You were at the clubs again, weren’t you? I could smell it the second you walked in. How far gone are you, anyway? Two shots? Three? Five?

BRODY
I only got off one before you called. I didn’t think-

EVELYN
No, you didn’t think, did you? Just 'cause it’s a weekend it means the movie gets put on hold, doesn't it? It's been almost a month since I told you to cast. Where the hell are my actors?

BRODY
Look, Ev, I mailed out every last copy of the script I could find, alright? The audition-

EVELYN
Was that before or after your flavor of the week took you home and tucked you in?

BRODY
Excuse me?

(Pause. EVELYN looks away.)

EVELYN
I’m…I’m sorry Brody. I don’t know why I said that. I didn’t mean to get upset, it’s just…maybe you should’ve gone to Australia with Harper. You’re not going to find a replacement for him in any bar, trust me. I just…I guess I didn’t realize what I pulled you away from.

BRODY
(Claps his hands)
Switch!

(Lights down on the studio, up on the apartment. HARPER is sitting on the floor, leafing through BRODY’s notebook. His back is to BRODY as he enters.)

BRODY
Harper! You’ll never guess what happened to me today. The guy from the English department-

(He freezes, noticing that HARPER is reading the contents of his notebook.)

What are you doing?

HARPER
It’s amazing, Brody. Absolutely amazing. I mean, yeah, I always knew you were a good writer, but this…all of this….now I see what Evelyn saw in you.

(Pause. BRODY face is mixed, unable to decide if he should be angry or concerned. He approaches HARPER with caution.)

BRODY
Harper…you do know I don’t like it when people go through my draft notebooks, right?

(HARPER nods, then turns the page.)

HARPER
I know.

BRODY
So…why are you?

HARPER
Oh, I don’t know. Curiosity, I guess. Just wanted to see what you’ve been up to, y’know?

BRODY
Well, I’m happy you’re interested Harp. I really am. But I’d appreciate it if you didn’t go through my notebook like that, alright?

HARPER
There’s a lot of stuff in here. Wow, you’ve been busy this past month, haven’t you?

BRODY
Did you hear what I said?

HARPER
Evelyn would be so proud…so damn proud…

BRODY
Harper, I’m being serious here. I don’t want you going through my notebook. Stop ignoring me, please!

(HARPER looks up from the notebook, glaring at BRODY with a bitter sadness)

HARPER
Ignore you? Why the hell would I do that? I love you. I don’t ignore the people I love.

(Pause. BRODY stares, speechless.)

BRODY
Harper-

HARPER
Save your breath, Shakespeare. I’ve had it.

(He flings the notebook at BRODY)

Here. Take your notebook and get the hell out. I’m tired of competing for your attention, Brody. You have been better off in New York with Evelyn.

BRODY
(Claps his hands)
Switch!

(Blackout. Pause. A spotlight drops on BRODY at center stage, who looks around, confused. He claps once. Nothing happens)

BRODY
What the hell? (Clap) Switch! (Clap) Switch! Come on! Why isn’t this working?

(A spotlight drops on EVELYN, who scurries over to BRODY in excitement.)

EVELYN
Brody! Brody! There you are! I must’ve circled the university five times looking for you. I have great news! You know that script I showed you a while ago? The one I planned on filming? I just got off the phone with Warner Independent. They want to hear the pitch!

BRODY
Evelyn, what’re you talking about? I pitched your movie weeks ago. They bought it like-

(BRODY stops, stares at EVELYN, then takes a step back.)

BRODY
Oh, God. Not now.

(A spotlight drops on HARPER, who dashes to BRODY and embraces him from behind.)

HARPER
Brody! I got it! I got the research position in Australia! They said they want me to fly over right away. They’ve gotten me an apartment and a car and everything! Oh, Brody, this is incredible! I can’t believe it!

BRODY
It’s not fair. This isn’t fair. I can’t do this now.

(EVELYN and HARPER begin to crowd BRODY, moving closer as they speak.)

EVELYN
I know its short notice, but I’d love it if you could sell this thing for me.

BRODY
Stop…please, stop…

HARPER
My flight leaves tonight at eight. We can still get you a ticket and have your stuff shipped once we get there, but you have to let me know now.

BRODY
I can’t…I don’t know enough to-

EVELYN
I know you’ve been looking for work, Brody. Sell the rights for me and you’ll have some.

BRODY
But I need to see more before I can-

HARPER
I can’t stand to think of leaving you here. Please, Brody.

BRODY
I can’t do this, alright? I just can’t! For the love of God, please don’t make me do this!

(BRODY shoves EVELYN and HAPER away and runs to the edge of the stage.)

BRODY
I thought…I thought seeing was supposed to help…I thought I wouldn’t have to choose like this if I did. I know I have to choose…and I will…but I can’t do it like this…not like this…

(Silence. BRODY bows his head, sighs, and claps once. The spotlight on EVELYN darkens. Lights on the apartment fade in. HARPER walks up and hugs BRODY from behind, whispering into his ear.)

HARPER
Did we get everything out of truck?

BRODY
Mmm-hmm.

HARPER
And we’re all unpacked?

BRODY
Mmm-hmm.

HARPER
Brody?

BRODY
Hmm?

HARPER
I’m really glad you’re here. I know that job Evelyn offered you meant a lot to you, and I’m sorry you had to give it up. But I don’t think I could see this any other way.

BRODY
Yeah. Me too.

(HARPER gives BRODY a kiss on the cheek, then goes to sit on the bed. BRODY follows, stopping to pick up the notebook.)

Switch?

(Nothing happens. BRODY sits next to HARPER, lying his head on HARPER’s shoulder. He hesitates, then hands the notebook to HARPER.)

Here. I want you to read something for me.

(HARPER stares at BRODY for a moment, then, smiling, accepts the notebook. He opens it as BRODY looks on over his shoulder. The lights dim.)

END OF PLAY
© Copyright 2007 Jonesys (jonesys at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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