Meet the Club. Meet Karen, estranged gay daughter wants to force mother out of closet
A One Act Play
CAST OF CHARACTERS:
DOROTHY: --Dorothy has a secret she doesn't want anyone to know about
COOKIE: --One of Dorothy's oldest friends but does not know what the secret is
SHELBY: --One of Dorothy's oldest friends but does not know what the secret is
KAREN: -- Is the big secret and is determined to spill it.
JACK: -- the waiter at The Club
Setting: The Country Club in a city called Old Oaks
Scene I: The Club, Sunday morning
Dorothy, Cookie and Shelby, are at their usual table for Brunch.
The ladies are discussing summer plans and guzzling
champagne and orange juice drinks called mimosas.
Will you and William tour the Cape this year, Dorothy?
Not this year. We've done that twice. This year William is planning something very special. We are renting a luxury condo high up in the mountains in Wyoming. Just he and I this time. We're going to spend four weeks practically living on top of the world.
SHELBY (chokes on her mimosa):
You are not actually going to rough it for the summer, are you? Please tell me that is your husband's idea of a joke.
We will hardly be roughing it, Shelby. William has assured me this will be a four-star trip the whole way. The luxury condo we are renting is fully furnished even with house staff. Everything we need will be at our finger tips.
Wade and I are renting a yacht. All of our children are going to go with us, except Kevin. He is going to be climbing Mt. Everest this summer.
That’s nice Cookie. Shelby, what are you planning?
(Dorothy turns to Shelby as she is draining her glass, smacking her lips)
Well, Gunther and I are going to tour Europe, Asia and Australia. We have been invited to dine with royal and political dignitaries in several countries. Jessica and my grand-daughter Jennifer are going to be meeting us in London. Little Jennifer is so excited, she gets to meet a real Princess.
My, my ladies. We are a spoiled bunch. I propose a toast.
(Dorothy raises her glass. Her demeanor is beginning to become a bit more sloppy than before. Not quite drunk, but no longer pretending to be sober.)
SHELBY & COOKIE (together):
To our wonderful and very rich husbands—Hopefully they don’t die young, and but if they do, may they leave everything to us—
(all three snicker.)
To our beautiful children, grandchildren and hopefully someday great grandchildren. May they all grow up to be important, rich men or sweet, gentile women.
(They clink their glasses and all three greedily suck down the contents.)
COOKIE: (sets her champagne flute down very hard on the table):
Jack! Jack! Dammit! Where are you?
(Jack, the waiter, enters and stands silently next to the table beside Cookie)
(yelling and swinging her arms wide, nearly hitting Jack standing beside her.)
Yes, Mrs. De Pierre.
Oh there you are Jack. Bring us another round of mimosas. Oh hell, bring two. And bring me a Gin and Tonic. And hurry up I'm thirsty.
Yes, Mrs. De Pierre.
(Jack looks up and gestures at the other women at the table.)
Ladies, may I get you anything else?
Will you bring some more jam for the English muffins, and a bloody Mary?
Bring me a chocolate martini and another mimosa.
(Jack silently backs away from the table and exits. Jack immediately re enters and comes back to the table. He does not have any drinks with him and he is greatly agitated as he approaches Dorothy.)
Mrs. Van Needer, there is someone here for you. I told her that it wasn't possible to see you. That The Club is private. I tried to stop her. I'm sorry Mrs. Van Needer.
(He wrings his hands and waits for her reaction)
I’ll handle this.
(Jack exits again.)
(There is the sound of heavy footsteps on the floor, coming from far away)
What on earth?
(Cookie turns and faces the direction the stomping sounds are coming from.)
(Karen enters wearing heavy boots and black motorcycle gloves with half fingers.)
My goodness! Who are you? And in those horrible clothes no less.
(Shelby says to Dorothy):
Who the hell would interrupt your Sunday Brunch with the girls? Not even William is that stupid.
(Dorothy is ashen and speechless.)
KAREN (mimics the snotty voices of the three women):
Girls! It's so good to see you.
DOROTHY (still stunned):
Oh, uh…um…..Do I know you?
KAREN (Karen leans down so she is closer to the faces of the three women sitting at the table and directs her comments directly at Dorothy seated in the middle of the three women):
I should hope so … Mom.
I'm not …. I don't know who you are. I think you have me mixed up with someone else.
Who are you and how the hell did you get in here? This is a Private Club. I'm calling security. Jack!
(Jack enters with the drinks and he sets them down on the table and turns toward Shelby for direction.)
Call Security Jack. Have this woman removed from the premises.
(Jack bows and exits.)
Believe it or not, I still have my Club card so that means I'm allowed to be here, and besides I've come to talk to Dorothy anyway, not you, Shelby.
How the hell do you know who I am?
You'd be surprised.
(Karen grabs a chair from a far away table, and sets the back of it against the table. She straddles the chair and begins to eat things off the table, picking them off with her motorcycle gloves still on.)
So, did you miss me Mom?
I'm very sorry, who-whoever you are. I don't know you. Do not call me Mom. Please leave.
Oh come on Mom, I'm disappointed in you. It's me, Karen. You know the kid you jerked out of private school because someone found her in bed with another female student? Don't you remember? The one you haven't seen in ten years since you kicked her out on the streets when she was 18 years old. Sound familiar yet?
SHELBY (pats Dorothy on the back):
Oh my God Dorothy, you're as white as a sheet. Are you alright?
(and then turns back to face Karen)
You should be ashamed of yourself. Look what you're putting this poor woman through.
Me? How is your gold digging whore of a daughter, Shelby? Still sucking the dollar bills out of anything that accepts credit cards?
You shut your mouth right this instant.
COOKIE (slurring most of her words):
Whad are you doin’ here Karen? Whad are you tryin’ to prove… by bein’ here and doin’ this to your…mother?
DOROTHY (full of venom):
Why did you come here? To my Club so you could embarrass me in front of my friends and everyone else. What is the matter with you?
So, I'm still a sore spot for you, huh? You still won't be honest about what you did to me.
What I did? What about what you did? To me? To your father? You turned us into the laughing stocks of the whole damn town and practically ruined us.
On my eighteenth birthday you gave me $5,000.00 and told me to never show my face again in Old Oaks. You jerked me out of school, and then promptly threw me out on the street. You didn't care where I went, or what happened to me. That’s what you did. You got rid of me.
Children don't always understand why their parents do the things that they do.
(Continuing to pat Dorothy who is beginning to hyperventilate.)
There, there Dorothy.
(Turning back to Karen.)
Especially, when it's for their own good.
(Karen leans back in her chair and sets her big boots up on the table.)
No. I’m going to have to disagree there.
Although, I would never send Jessica away. But then again she would never disgrace her family enough to warrant something like that.
And of course, I'm sure Jessica is still the perfect daughter--never doing anything to upset Mommy and Daddy. When it’s really never doing anything to upset Mommy and Daddy's checkbook.
How dare you say that about my daughter? Who do you think you are?
I remember what Jessica was like when we were kids. She definitely was no angel. Tell her that her best friend, the dyke, crashed your brunch today. She oughta like that.
DOROTHY: (through clenched teeth):
Don't say that word.
KAREN (sets her feet down, and prepares for a battle):
What word Mom? Dyke? How about faggot? Gay-wad? Lesbian? What about this one: homosexual?
Karen! Stop this. Please stop this. Why did you come here? These people know me.
(Glancing around nervously.)
They respect me here.
Oh mom, relax. They'll still respect you, they better, as much money as you blow here. They'd still respect you if got up on the tables naked and did the mashed potato, don't get any ideas Cookie--and to answer your question, I'm here today to ask you to come to my wedding in two months.
DOROTHY (chokes on the sip of mimosa she's trying to swallow):
Gay people can't get married. I voted against that.
It isn't right, the way you people always flaunt what you are. You all should be rounded up and put on a deserted island somewhere. That way when every last one of you dies, there won't be anymore because you can't breed. Thank God.
Actually, Lisa and I live in Boston. It's legal for us to get married in Massachusetts so we're getting married on June thirtieth. I told Lisa it would do no good to come here today, but I thought I'd make the effort anyway, for her. She’s the one that wants you there.
DOROTHY (stands up, visibly upset):
No Karen. I don't want to ever see you again. I don't want you to come back to Old Oaks. I don't want to go to your wedding. I don't want to have anything to do with you.
KAREN (stonily and stubbornly):
How can you say that? I come from you. I am part of you. I am your blood, your bone. I have your eyes, and your hair. I have Daddy's strong back and strong mind. How can you just shove me out of your life?
You don't understand. This is not easy for me Karen. There are certain social standings that I have to uphold. I cannot be the person I am and have an openly gay daughter. It's not acceptable.
And who is the person you are today--a cruel, unloving, frigid old hag? A rich old woman who has nothing but her money and mimosas to keep her warm?
(Karen swings an arm wide and knocks over a few full champagne flutes in front of her on the table)
And just so you know I've already talked to Daddy. He's who told me where to find you. He's coming. Daddy loves me, why can't you?
I know why she doesn’t wanna talk to you Karen. I don' remember what year, but Dorothy had a very s-special roommate when she was at school, remember Shelby? What was her name again? Janet. Jenny. No. Juliet. That was her name, it was Juliet.
(She sucks down the rest of her Gin and Tonic noisily.)
The two of them were inseparable, remember?
(Cookie giggles. Realization dawns on Shelby's face as she remembers.)
I remember someone saw them kissing in the balcony of the old theater playhouse on campus. Wasn’t that you, Shelby?
DOROTHY (throws a fork at Cookie):
Shut up, you fucking lush.
Whoa-ho-ho. Now that is something to talk about.
(Karen leans toward Cookie conspiratorially.)
Tell me about this Juliet. Was she pretty?
Juliet was beautiful. She had long black hair and coffee colored skin. Her eyes were dark brown and she was such a sensitive person. A poet I think. She was Puerto Rican or Mexican or something-can, I forget. She always called your mother Dorothea.
She was Cuban.
(Dorothy covers her mouth, squeezes her eyes shut and shakes her head. She finally opens her eyes.)
Why do this to me Karen? Why hurt me this way?
I'm not trying to hurt you. Your reputation won't be tarnished just because you're big gay daughter came to see you at The Club. In fact, it will probably make for excellent fodder around the dinner table for everyone here today--especially these two bitches.
(gesturing at Cookie and Shelby sitting to either side of Dorothy).
Stop it mother. I came here to ask you to care about me. Take a good look at me. I am happy, I am healthy and I am successful, and I don't need you. But I want you to come to my wedding. I want my family to be there too. You owe me that.
I don't owe you anything Karen. Not a thing. You are not my daughter. I will not accept the blame for the way that you choose to live your life.
No, you're right. It's not your fault. And I didn’t choose to live my life this way. I was born this way. God made me this way. It doesn't mean there is something wrong with me. It doesn't mean there was something wrong with you. You aren’t to blame for this.
DOROTHY (beginning to sob):
But why? Why do you have to be this way? Why do you have to put your family through this?
I'm not putting my family through anything they can't survive. My brothers and my father are coming to our wedding in Boston. If you don't come, if you decide to miss out on your only daughter's wedding, this will be the last time you ever see me. I won't even come to see you on your death bed. You will already be dead to me.
(Karen stands up, holds eye contact with her mother for several seconds and turns around and exits stomping her heavy combat boots.)
She’s got a lot of nerve.
(Both Cookie and Shelby turn toward Dorothy like birds of prey eyeing their kill.)
So, Dorothy, why didn't you ever tell us why Karen was sent away?
I'm sorry Dorothy …I’m sure you have a perfect esplanation for not telling your bestest friends the truth…about Karen. I prolly would have done … the same thing--escept … we would have sent her to one of those ex-gay places. You know … the ones that are sposed to cure homo …s.
Shut up, both of you. I don't want to hear another word.. Just leave me alone.
(Turning to Cookie)
Go pay your tab, you fucking lush.
(turning to Shelby)
Get away from me you vapid judgmental bitch.
(Dorothy stands up and grabs her purse)
Jack! …. Jack!
(Jack enters and appears at her side)
Have my car brought around. I suddenly do not feel well and want to go home.
(Jack and Dorothy exit together.)
But what about the mimosas?
SHELBY (throws a linen napkin at Cookie and hits her in the face with it.):
You ordered them. You drink them. I'm going home. Jessica will not believe this.
(Cookie is left at the table with quite a few half empty glasses. She sits for just a little while as if frozen and then picks up the first flute in front of her and drains its contents, then picks up another and drains that one too. She continues through the flutes as the lights begin to lower and darken, leaving Cookie alone with just her empty glasses until the stage is completely black.)