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Rated: 18+ · Script/Play · Drama · #1949744
A family crumbles as they learn more and more about one another.

I've been working on this for some time, and I'm aiming to develop it as much as I can in the next few months; any advice at all is welcome.  Specifically, I want to work on driving the action forward, and adding further tension to the first half of the act.  I also want to move the parent's characters further away from stereotype, and add more depth to David himself.  Most importantly, the second act is still in it's infancy, and any advice as to where it should take place or what should happen next would be very welcome.  I apologize for any minor spelling or grammatical errors-I'm still peeling through it.  Enjoy!

Act I

Scene I

(Lights up on David, sitting in the living room of a well-furnished apartment.  It is wealthy, but it is not rich: It presents a feeling of old-money classicism without the taste to make it feel cohesive.  David is typing on his computer on a couch.  He is well dressed, fashionable.  His clothing is somewhat feminine, but not overtly so; the femininity could be achieved by the fit rather than they style alone.  When he speaks, it is deliberate, and clear, like an actor offstage.  His face and figure must by necessity by somewhat androgynous.  He continues typing, struggling to find a word.  An oven alarm goes off.  He gets up to take care of the turkey, when Martha enters-she is high-strung, and controlling.  She is well dressed, but clearly very preoccupied by everything going on around her-the dinner is her production, the house is her kingdom.

Martha: I’ll do it, I’ll do it! (She begins to baste the turkey) David, what time is it? (glances at a clock)  The relish should be done by now, put this back in, will you please?

David: (He does) When is Nanna going to be here/

Martha: Her plane is coming in a bit late, she told me five thirty…Can you get the relish?  It’s in the fridge.

David: Here…(he does)

Martha: She called, apparently they lost her bags on the connecting flight…I told her to go through O’Hare, but she is nothing if not a persistent woman.  (She takes the relish, turns the bowl upside down, and out comes a well molded Cranberry Relish) Hmmm (she tastes it, careful not to damage it’s structure) It’s not nearly as sweet as last year.

David: It’s a gorgeous color.

Martha: Use agave nectar they all tell me…I swear, this is the last time I’m taking advice from a woman who has a maid do all of her housework. (beat) Has Sam called you yet?

David: No…not yet.  She said she’d gone to study with a friend uptown; she’s bringing him for dinner, remember?

Martha: What is she doing?  I need her here to help, not lounging around with friends with friends! Who’s she with again?  James?

David: She told me she was with Frey.

Martha: (Shocked) She’s In Harlem again?  She knows it’s not safe!

David: (grinning) I’d be more worried about Nanna then Sam if she’s bringing Frey tonight.

Martha: Ha!  I’d be more worried about Frey than Nanna.

David: Everything should be fine.  I like Frey…

Martha: This evening has everybody fraying at the edges. It’s a pun.

David: I got it.

Martha: Yeah, yeah…I just remembered, I was going to give you, where is it? (she digs around in the kitchen, and finally pulls out a pamphlet)  Here it is!

David: Thanks?

Martha: Well, go take a look…

David: I will later. (beat) Don’t you think we should be looking at…other options?

Martha: What, you think you might not get in?  Please, with your GPA? They’d be blessed to have you.

David: I meant that…I’m still not sure that it’s the best place for me, that’s all.

Martha: Why?  Your Father went to Yeshiva College; your grandfather went to Yeshiva, and his father got kicked out of his appartment when they expanded the campus in 1887.

David: I know, it’s a fine school.

Martha: It’s a very fine school.  You said it yourself how important it was that you be in a community that would understand your culture!

David: You said that.  I really just want a change of scenery; The City isn’t the safest place; it’d be nice to go out late at night without having to worry.

Martha: What are you talking about?  The Heights have been clean for years!

David: I know, I know-but what about everything else uptown?  It’d be great to be able to walk more then ten blocks without having to worry about my wallet. 

Martha: You’re smart, you’re a fast runner, it’ll all be fine.

David:  I just don’t think it feels right for me.  Everyone there is just to…Jewish.

Martha: That’s why it’s a good fit.  Everyone there will understand you-your beliefs, your values, what is important to you.

David: I won’t be like them.

Martha: Of course you’ll be like them, why would you not be like them?

David: I am like them, but not entirely like them.

Martha: Then what’s to worry about?  I really don’t understand why you have a problem with this.  What’s going on?

David: It’s a bunch of things.

Martha: Like what?

David: For one thing, I don’t want to go to a school that is segregated by gender.

Martha: Is that what you’re worried about?  Getting a girlfriend?  Your father and I met while we were in school…I remember we went out to a fancy restaurant 20 blocks from the school, it was a Friday night. As soon as we finished eating, all of a sudden, your father jumped out of his seat and started sprinting towards the dorms!  (Chuckles) It was five minutes to sundown. 

David: Mom, I promise you, getting a girlfriend is not something I worry about.  It just sounds wrong for me.

Martha: The people you are spending the next four years with are your people.

David: They’re not all of my people.

Martha: I have no idea what that means.

David: It means nothing, I just want to explore other options.

Martha: Ok, let’s say you go somewhere else; what could possibly make you happier?

David: A smaller school, maybe one up north…Do you remember Sandy? Jamie, Rachel and I met her for lunch yesterday, and she told us how much she loves it at Bard.  She said she’d found a community.

Martha: That girl’s making a mistake, what do you think she’s going to be doing in four years?  How much do you think reading poetry to gay, retarded inner city penguins pays?  We want what is best for you David.

David: I know you do.

Martha: (She goes through everything in the kitchen, making sure that everything is ready for dinner; perhaps she quietly lists the names of items as she goes.  Eventually, she stops and realizes.) Damn it, I forgot the Challah…David, watch the bird while I’m out, I’ll be back in a few (she walks out).

Exit Martha

(David spends a minute or so mucking around in the kitchen)

(Sam enters through the fire-escape.  She is clearly trying to be “alternative” though her attempts are stifled by parental regulation.  She peers around the door, trying to see if her mother is in the house.  Sam stays low to the ground and close to the walls, trying to keep a low profile.  She skillfully crosses to a bemused David, and pops up behind the couch.  When she speaks, she is nonchalant, blunt in a way reminiscent of her mother, and comical. )

Sam: (Sticks her head out-looks around, and loudly whispers) Where is she?  Is she in the house?  (She slides back behind the couch.)

David: Mom went out to get challah.

Sam: (Nonchalantly getting out from behind the couch and sits down) Thank god.

David: She’s just herself today, don’t worry.

Sam: That bad, huh? (beat) Has the mail come yet? 

David: Over on the countertop.  (He points) I don’t think I saw anything for you though.

Sam: (Already at the counter, she sorts through the letters, pulls one out, and then deftly opens the oven a crack and drops the letter in.  Flickering light within should suggest burning.) There we go…

David: What are you doing?  What was in there?

Sam: Nothing important.

David: But you-you just burned-

Sam: There you go again, why do you keep assuming things?  It’s what is wrong with the world today…

David: You know what, forget I said anything (beat).  You might really want to air out the oven before mom gets home.

Sam: Fuck! (Sam goes over to the oven, open it and starts using some found object to fan the smoke). 

David: Sam, at least tell me what is going on…please.

Sam: Oh, you know, the usual; recreation, miscommunication, accusation….

David: Come on.

Sam: I just told you what happened.  Me and a few friends tried to get a bit of recreation, but we had a miscommunication with the guy who sells the recreation on account of all of the recreation he’d been smoking.  He gives us the wrong stuff, and next thing we know Kyle starts screaming because he thinks the building is on fire.  Everyone comes running…hence the impending accusations.

David: Holy shit…

Sam: Please, it’s not that bad-I’m just going to get a warning, I’m being treated as a…what is it?  A negligent witness.  The hearing’s on Friday.

David: And they believed you had no idea that Kyle was…wait a second, shit!  Is Kyle Ok?

Sam: He had a bad trip, that’s all-he’s fine.  Well, he’s in the hospital but he’ll be fine.

David: Kyle’s in the hospital?  Is he alright?

Sam: Relax, he’s ok…He made a break for it once all of the people started showing up.  Fell down two flights of stairs.  He didn’t break anything important.  Just his leg.  And jaw.  And a few fingers.  And possibly his balls, but that might just be a rumor.

David: I like Kyle, that’s terrible!

Sam: I like ‘em too, but he was an idiot, everyone knows you don’t use the stairs when you’re tripping.  Anyhow, the point is I got off with a warning.

David: Not yet.  What were you thinking, you could have been expelled!

Sam: (Somberly) I know…(Brightly) But I wasn’t.

David: You need to not do this again.

Sam: Yeah, yeah, I know…

David: If dad finds out about this he’ll have your head.

Sam: He won’t find out, why’d you think I just broiled a letter?

David: And what if he does?  Just…be careful.  Don’t get in over your head.

Sam: Please-you, telling me not to get in over my head?

David: What are you talking about?

Sam: What about her?  What about-

David: (cutting her off) Leave her out of this.

Sam: Ok, Ok…anyhow, I’m not an idiot, really!  Just trust me on this.

(Martha enters.  She’s a bit flustered and rushed, but otherwise unphased)

David: That was quick; did you get the bread?

Martha: I bought the last one at Grisgan’s!  How was your day Sam? (Sam nods.  Martha sniffs the air-suddenly, she becomes alarmed).  Is something burning?  (She rushes to the oven and throws it open) Water!

David: Here (he grabs a cup of water).

Martha: Thanks…(She opens the oven and empties the cup and closes it again as it hisses with steam-the fire is out though) David, I told you to watch the oven.

David: I’m sorry…(to Sam) I looked in on it and everything seemed fine.

Martha: Well, what’s done is done…Can you go downstairs and get the onions?

David: ‘course (he goes).

Martha: So Sam, how was school today?

Sam: It was fine.

Martha: Yes, and?

Sam: It was fine.

Martha: How was the test?

Sam: Fine, easy. 

Martha: Good.  Did you get here OK?  You got on the right train?

Sam: Yes.

Martha: Frey…he’s coming, right?  When is he going to be here?

Sam: I’m not sure when…he’ll be here in time for dinner
(They work in silence for a few beats-setting the table, removing the turkey and moving it to a warming drawer or under a heat lamp, etc.)

(David enters with the stewed onions)

Martha: Oh, thank you.  These look delicious!

Sam: He said he’d call when he leaves.

Martha: Tell me when he does.

(Sam exits)

Martha: Now where did I…(the phone rings, David moves but Martha picks it up first) Hello?  Who? Oh, hi Frey.  Sam or who?  Mia?  Who’s Mia?

David: I’ll run the phone up to Sam! (grabs phone) Hello, Frey.  If you want to talk to Mia, you can call her cellphone.  Just, don’t.  Let me give the phone to Sam.

(Sam shows up at the bottom of the stairs, grabs the phone and goes back up)

Martha: What was he talking about?  Who’s Mia?

David: I’ve never heard of her before.

Martha: Is she one of Sam’s friends? 

David: Might be.  You know how many friends Sam has.

Martha: That’s so strange, why’s he call the house looking for her then?  Ah, well.

David: I’m going to go upstairs, ok?

Martha: Stay here, I still need your help.

(Enter Sam)

Sam: He’s leaving his place now, he should be here in twenty.

Martha: Good.  You don’t know what he was talking about, do you?

Sam: He said half an hour, it’s kinds hard to misinterpret that.

Martha: When he called before-he asked for a Mia.  Is she a friend of yours?

Sam: Nope, never heard of her, sorry, who again?

Martha: Are you sure?

(Saul enters.  He is well dressed, and would fit the mold of the wealthy professional perfectly were it not for his brutish mannerisms and ideals; he has recently found success in spite of this.  His word is law, and he is very aware of that.)

Sam: Hello dad, going upstairs.

(She exits)

Martha: Always in a rush…so, how’d the deal go?

Saul: Not as well as it could have.  Mort spilled coffee all over the VP.

Martha: But they’re interested?

Saul: We think so.

(David quietly exits)

Martha: That’s wonderful!

Saul: Let’s not get carried away yet, they still haven’t bought anything.

Martha: They will though, they’d be fools not to.  Even with Mort and his wandering hands.  You should ‘a seen him at dinner last week, coffee wasn’t the only thing he was putting on people’s shirts.

Saul: I think so…how’s dinner looking?

Martha: Very nice, if I do say so myself.

Saul: It smells fantastic.  Are they both here?

Martha: Sam just got home a few minutes ago.

Saul: Where was she?  It’s almost five thirty!

Martha: She was over at her friend Frey’s house. (Awaiting a reaction that never comes) He’s coming for dinner tonight!

Saul: Frey…is he the one with the science thing?

Martha: I think he has more of a horticulture thing.  Frey, the one with the nose ring?

Saul: Doesn’t ring a bell…

Martha: He broke your father’s porcelain vase?  Not vase, the, what do you call it?  Urn.

Saul: Wait, him?

Martha: Sam insisted.  She said he didn’t have anywhere else to go.

Saul: Why does he have to come here of all places then?

Martha: He’s already on his way, are we supposed to turn him out at the door?

Saul: That would be alright by me.

Martha: Do you think I like him?  Sam wants him to come, and I think we should be more accommodating. (Beat) She’s been distant lately.

Saul: Distant how?

Martha: If she’s being distant, that how am I supposed to know how?

Saul: She’s just bored, that’s all, and she’ll get over it whether we start taking in street punks or not.

Martha: Did you see her last report card?

Saul: No, why?

Martha: Well I didn’t either.  It never came, or if it did I never saw it.  I called the school last week and they told me they would send another one.

Saul: And?

Martha: Here (she opens a cabinet and pulls out an envelope).

Saul: (He reads it) I don’t understand…

Martha: She must have hidden the first one

Saul: But why would she do it?

Martha: I have no idea.

Saul: It’s almost all A’s. 

Martha: I thought it was all typos at first; so I called the school last week…they told me she’s a star student with just three absences and a few detentions…

Saul: Then why would she hide it?  Have you asked her?

Martha: And say what?  “Sam, I just saw your report card and I’m very disappointed in you for all of the A’s you’ve earned”?

Saul: She lied to us though, that can’t be ok…

Martha: I’m not going to get into it with her, that’s probably why she did this in the first place.

Saul: You should say something.

Martha: She’s doing it to prove a point.  It’s a rebellious phase, the worst thing we can do is get involved, and it’ll just encourage her.

Saul: I still don’t want her spending time with Frey.

Martha: She’s growing up.  We can’t keep pushing her in the right direction, even if it’s what’s best for her.  Eventually, you just have to step back and hope they don’t break anything you can’t replace.

Saul: You mean things like my mother’s vase?

Martha: That’s not what I meant.

Saul: It’s what happens when they don’t have any control.

Martha: It’s not just her either; I spoke with David right before you got here; about college?

Saul: And?  He’s not worried again, is he?

Martha: David doesn’t want to go to Yeshiva.

Saul: Well, he is going.

Martha: I told him that but he won’t listen to me.

Saul: He ought to, what else would he do?

Martha: I don’t know, he never said.  He doesn’t know what he wants.

Saul: He can’t, he’s only seventeen!

Martha: But he doesn’t know that.

Saul: He can’t just…I’ll go talk to him.  Do you remember what my father said last thanksgiving?  “Our people have survived for 5000 years because we community and traditions.  Even when we’re all gone, they will still be here.

Martha: Of course, I don’t think anyone could forget. He was drunker than an Irish bartender…

Saul: (beat) I still don’t want Frey coming over; it’s the Sabbath, he’s not…

Martha: Well, if he has a problem he can leave.  But we can’t turn him away.

Saul: I know, I know.

Martha: Your mother will take care of him if he gets out of line.

Saul: (Smiling) That I don’t doubt; I’m going to go change.

Martha: Saul, wait-do you know anyone named Mia?  Frey mentioned her on the phone and I can’t get the name out of my head…

Saul: I think Andy’s sister has a daughter named Mia…I don’t know her though. (Beat) I think I’m going to change before we eat.

(Saul exits)

(Martha goes to the window and looks out for a few beats.  Then, she turns sharply around and walks straight towards Sam’s backpack.  She pulls out Sam’s cellphone.  How to depict what comes next falls to the director: Martha searches through Sam’s phone contacts, and finally comes across an entry labeled “Mia”.  She’s about to call, but instead grabs a pen and paper and writes down the phone number; Just as she’s putting back Sam’s phone, David comes down the stairs.)

(David enters)

Martha: There you are!  You should get dressed for dinner.

David: What are you doing?

Martha: Doing what?

David: I…never mind.  I need to call Jamie; I left my phone at his house.

Martha: Well, go on then.

David: Why are you staring at me?

Martha: Sorry, I’m busy. (She goes into the kitchen, starts heating something up-her actions should be able to compete with David’s for competition)

David: (His cellphone rings and he answers) Hey!  Yeah, my phone-you will?  Ok, great, see you then.  Yeah.  Of course, see you (hangs up).

Martha: Your grandmother will be here soon, you should go get dressed.

David: I think I’m good.

Martha: Come on, David…Your grandmother might not think it’s suitable.  She’s a very traditional woman, and I don’t want any trouble tonight. 

David: Trouble?  What the hell does what I wear have anything to do with trouble?

Martha: Because, it’s suitable for a young woman, and not a young man; please, take it off.

David: I’m not-(he stops short).

Martha: Not what?

David: Nothing, it’s nothing.

(Saul enters)

Saul: What’s going on?

Martha: He can’t be dressed like that, not if Estelle is coming.

Saul: (tiredly but not angrily) Listen to her, go and change.

(David exits)

Martha: (Sighs sadly)

Saul: It’s the best thing to do. 

Martha:  I know, I know.  Why does it even matter?  Really?

Saul: It’s not good for him.  We can’t just encourage this sort of thing. It’s not appropriate for him…we should have been stricter when he was younger.

Martha: We’ve talked about this with Dr. Palmer.  What else could we have done?

Saul: I don’t care what some discount shrink says.  It wasn’t normal, even if he is homosexual!

Martha: How could it have been our fault?  How could it have been my fault?

Saul: You kept letting him see those girls for one thing!

Martha: Oh, so it was my fault for letting him play with his friends when he was a toddler?

Saul: It was irresponsible.

Martha: How was it irresponsible? 

Saul: If your son keeps trying on skirts and dresses every time he goes over to a girl’s house, then it is irresponsible to let him continue to do so!

Martha: But he grew out of it.

Saul: I hope so.

Martha: Of course he has!  It was just a phase.

Saul: But what about this then?

Martha: He’s only seventeen.  I don’t mind it, really I don’t.  It’s nice.  Classy.

Saul: I want better for him. We want better for him.

Martha: It’s not that I think it’s wrong.

Saul: Your mother knows it’s wrong.  I do too.

Martha: Is it?  Is that what we believe?

Saul: It’s complicated…

Martha: He’s complicated though, we’re all complicated.  I would know though.  A mother always knows.

Saul: He had a girlfriend.  Two of them.

Martha: What about-could she be one?

Saul: Who?

Martha: Mia. 

Saul: Who’s that?

Martha: Frey mentioned her over the phone, sounded like a friend.

Saul: Could they be a couple?

Martha: It’s optimistic, I know.

Saul: Who else could she be then?  Sam would tell us if she was a friend.

Martha: Of course she wouldn’t, she would never tell us.

Saul: I wish she would, it could come back to hurt her.

Martha: It’s different; he’s different from her.

Saul: Even if it is just a phase-

Martha: If it’s a phase, it’ll pass.  She’ll straighten out.  They both will.

Saul: What if something happens before then?

Marta: Happens?

Saul: What if she gets into trouble?  The kind that she can’t get out of?

Martha: Stop being so cynical.

Saul: Well, what if she does?

Martha: Don’t be a pessimist, Dr. Palmer says that once you get like this there’s no getting out. (Beat) You did all right for yourself.

Saul: It wasn’t the same thing.

Martha: How was it not the same thing?

Saul: Because we didn’t have the same things to throw away!

Martha: (sarcastically) Oh, you have nothing to throw away!  You had absolutely no future, your apartment is a wreak, you have a shit job and your wife’s skin is something less than glowing. 

(Enter Sam, hidden)

Saul: I never said that.

Martha: And Sam?  Why can’t she do the same you did?

Saul: She can’t, that’s just it!  Because she’s lazy, this entire feel-good generation is lazy, and she is just as lazy as the rest of them!

Sam: Lazy?  You think I’m lazy?

Saul: It’s rude to eavesdrop.

Martha: And you didn’t finish setting the table.

Sam: Lazy?  You have no idea what we are.  You don’t have an inkling of what I do in my spare time, and you don’t even have a clue about what David is going through right now!

Martha: What’s wrong with David?

Sam: Ask him yourself, it’s not my place to-

(There is knocking on the door.  Everyone falls silent, and there seems to be a general, unspoken consensus between them to keep their dysfunction from the world.  They all adopt strained relaxed poses, and replace the rage in their voices with venom.  The knocking on the door continues, gets a bit louder.  Finally, Martha a the move to open the door)

(Frey is behind the door-he is thin, a few years older than Sam, and clearly not of the same social circle as those around him.  He is not well dressed, but clearly trying.  His face is well pierced, but he has the good sense to cover his tattoos.  He is a nice kid, even if he’s not the best sort of person to put your faith in.  This next scene should feel like a silent war that Frey is oblivious to.)

Frey: Hello Mrs. Silverman.

Martha: Hello Frey (doesn’t move).

Sam: Come in, please (she gestures, and Martha reluctantly lets him in)

Martha: Did you get here all right?

Frey: Yes, it was fine.  Thank you.

Martha: You didn’t run into any trouble?

Frey: No, it was ok.

Saul: Good.  Fantastic.  And how was school today?

Frey: I think it went well.

Martha: Is school ok?  You aren’t struggling, are you?

Sam: I’m sure he is doing very well in school.

Martha: Don’t speak for him; you don’t know what he’s thinking.

Sam: You got here quickly.

Martha: Yes.

Frey: The train wasn’t crowded.

Martha: Thanksgiving and the trains aren’t crowded?

Frey: It makes sense really…

Martha: Oh?

Frey: It’s not crowded because everyone is going home.  (Martha begins to look smugly at Sam) Really-listen, everyone is going home for dinner early tonight, right?  You came up here from midtown, everyone is coming up to these nice places if they work in midtown.  Everyone else goes farther downtown into Chelsea and the rest of it.  People who work up in Harlem live there, so they don’t have anywhere else to go.  The only people on that train would be the ones who are working up in the Bronx and live on the Upper East Side.  Who works in the Bronx and lives here?  (Sam looks smugly at Martha) It’s basic sociological zoning.

Saul: And how did you find all about this?

Frey: I dunno…common sense, right?

Martha: (yelling upstairs) David, are you almost done?

(He enters after a moment, wearing something else)

David: What is it?  Oh, hi Frey.

Frey: Hey.

Martha: (Pause) So, what did you do this afternoon?  I know she was over at your place. 

Frey: Nothing much; we just hung out.

Sam: Nothing much.

Frey: Working also.

Martha: You have a job?

Sam: Yes mom, Frey has a job.

Martha: Oh, what does he do?  Pharmaceuticals?

Frey: Wait, you haven’t told them about the bagel project?

David: What’s that?

Frey: We sell bagel holes.  Most bakeries just throw them away, so  we get the dough for free and give most of it away to a shelter.  We also sell though…are you interested?

Martha: Bagel holes?  You donate bagel holes?  How enticing.

Frey: We’re feeding the homeless with them.

Sam: It’s a good cause.

Saul: How do you get them?

Sam: Get what?

Saul: Don’t make me say it; where do you get the (uncomfortably) bagel holes?

Frey: Well, most places just throw them out, so it’s usually free.

Martha: Wait, are you feeding people from the dumpster?

Frey: Not at all, now we get all of them straight from the bakeries.

Martha: Now?

Frey: We just needed some start-up cash to get everything going, that’s all.

Sam: Damn it Frey-

David: Well, I think it’s fantastic!

Frey: You do?

David: Do you have any idea how wasteful throwing all of that dough away would be?

Martha: You’ve got to be kidding me.

Sam: Why is everything such a crime when I’m doing it?

Martha: (sweetly and venomously) It’s not, I’ve very proud of you.  I was just remarking that it might not be smart to feed people something that’s been in the trash.  That’s all honey.

Sam: Thanks, it’s appreciated. 

David: Can you both please just give it a rest?

(The family goes about setting up the dinner, finalizing the table)

(Nanna knocks and enters with her bags enters.  She has the power to command the entire room with a glance and is well aware of this.  She is a woman who has thrived on tradition, and values her conventions above all else.  She knows that her way is the correct one because it has remained the same for hundreds of years-she wants things to be done a certain way: her way.)

Nanna: Martha honey, how are you?  You look wonderful!

Martha: (Embracing her) Quite good, still setting up, have a seat in the meanwhile.

Nanna: Just as soon as I find a place to put these bags down (Saul or David immediately take the bags from her hands and move them out of the way). Saul, David, how are you? (She embraces them).  And Samantha, how good to see you! (She sits down) Who is this?

Martha: (cutting off Frey as he begins) This is Frey, a friend of Samantha’s.  She invited him to dinner, isn’t that nice?

Frey: It’s a pleasure to meet you ma’am.

Nanna: And you as well, um, what was his name again?

Martha: Frey.

Nanna: Frey, tell me a bit more about you.

Frey: Like…what?

Nanna: How did you meet Samantha?

Frey: We’re in school together; we started studying for her English class together.

Nanna: Martha, you never told me that Sam was in Remedial English.

Martha: She isn’t.

Nanna: Well, the world’s full of little miracles I suppose.

Sam: Frey is a very good student.  He’s a writer.

Nanna: Oh, a writer?  How marvelous.  If there is one thing out world needs in this day and age, it’s more writers.  What do you write?

Frey: Oh, ah, poetry mostly.

Nanna: What a surprise.

Sam: Frey is also a philanthropist; he founded a charity with me this past year.

Nanna: It’s about time someone in this family do as much; and tell me, what is it that you do exactly?

Sam: We provide food for the homeless.

Nanna: Well, I suppose somebody has to make sure the bums don’t expire prematurely.  (Beat) Now David, come here, it’s been half a year, hasn’t it?  What have you been doing of late?

David: School related things mostly.

Nanna: Going to Yeshiva, yes?  Are you writing your application essay?

David: For a number of places, yes.

Nanna: A number of places?  But where else could you want to go?

Martha: That remains to be seen.

Saul: It’s only speculation; he’s probably going to Yeshiva.

Nanna: Well of course you are!

Sam: Don’t force him.

David: Stop fighting over what I am going to do with my life!

Nanna: Easy now; what else have you been up to? 

David: I’ve been working more in the school theatre.

Nanna: My grandson an actor, and my future grandson in law a poet…you’ll bury me both.

Martha: (Aghast) Future grandson?

David: Actually, I’ve been writing.

Nanna: Writing for the theatre, what is it you’re writing?

David: Well…I’m working on a new script now.

Nanna: What is it?

David: It’s about a family that hasn’t had a dinner together for nine months and decide to sit down together for thanksgiving.

Nanna: What happens?

David: They learn more about each other than they wanted to know.  They decide that they were better off not spending so much time with one another.

Nanna: Oh? 

David: Their son throws himself out of a window.

Martha: Why on earth would he do that?  Why do people always need to die is these little plays of yours?

David: (Coldly) It’s a tragedy. 

Nanna: That hall table is a tragedy but nobody was ever killed by it.

David: He dies because he needs to die.  He dies so that when the others go on their way, it means more.  He dies to make the ending hopeful.

Nanna: Unseemly and morbid if you ask me.

Martha: Your Nanna is right; it’s all very dark; why can’t you just write something happy for once?  With jokes, or a talking Jewish dog?

David: The last one has a happy ending.

Martha: The guy kills himself with a heroin overdose!

David: After reconciling with his daughter.

Nanna: I think it’s high time we ate!

Martha: David, Sam, go set the table.

(They go about it)

Nanna: And what about you?

Saul: What, me?  I’ve been fine.  Work is going pretty well.

Nanna: About time to, I was beginning to worry my daughter had married Willy Loman.

Saul: It’s been very busy lately; the company is strong.

Nanna: Well, I’m very happy!

Saul: Did you get the basket we sent by the way?  I still don’t know how to thank you enough for this.

Nanna: It was delectable; and I should be thanking you, my investment

Saul: We’re about to close our deal with PepsiCo; it’s amazing what some people will pay for basic privacy software.

Martha: And that new office!

Saul: The view; its just amazing.

Martha: Not to mention the interior!

Saul: She decorated the entire suite; the entire place is varnished hardwood.  My office still smells like fresh oak.

Nanna: It sounds lovely, very tasteful; most decorators wouldn’t know tasteful if it hit them in the nose.  Speaking of good taste, (to the kids) when is dinner going to be ready?

David: You can sit down if you like, everything’s almost done.

(The family moves around the dining room table, and after a brief exchange about who is going to sit where, they take their seats.  The kids ready everything and Martha gets up from her seat to help them.  Soon, the table is covered in a small feast.  Then, they all rise.  The sun has almost set, the lights dim.  Saul stands, and walks deliberately to a cabinet and removes two tall, silver candlesticks, and prepares them ritualistically.  They all gather around.)

Saul: Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, asher kidishanu b'mitz'votav v'tzivanu l'had'lik neir shel Shabbat.  Good shabas.

All: (at different times) Good shabas.

Saul: Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha-olam, borei p'ri hagafen.

David: Thanks (he passes it on to Nanna).

Nanna: You bought the nice wine! (She passes it to Sam.  Sam drinks, and is about to pass it to Frey when Martha steps in, takes the cup, and drinks.  She sets the empty cup down on the table)

Saul: David, pass me the Challah.  Will you cut it or shall I?

David: I-(He glances at his phone after it chimes) I’m sorry, I need to go, Jamie just texted me.

Saul: Well, you’ll have to wait until we finish.

David: I’m sorry, I need to go.

(David exits)

Martha: And what was that?

Saul: He’s not like this usually.

Nanna: (After a very long pause) He’s losing respect for his heritage.

Saul: He’s always respected his heritage.

Nanna: Oh?  What about that boy Jamie, what about Yeshiva?  What about this, just now?  You’re losing him.

Martha: There’s no harm in a young man trying to find his own way.

Nanna: There is if he finds himself to be lost.

Martha: He’ll come around eventually. 

Nanna: Martha, I certainly hope so.  If he does not…(beat) If you don’t make him, he’ll be long gone.

Martha: Sam, can you please get dressed for dinner?  I don’t want you wearing that old coat at the table.

Sam: Nope.

Martha: Now.

Sam: Fine, fine.

(She exits, and Frey follows)

Martha: He just left during a blessing, I know it’s not “right” but he’s not hurting anyone.

Nanna: He’s hurting me, he’s hurting his children, and he’s hurting his people.

Saul: We’re doing our best; we’re setting him on the right path.

Nanna: Then do better. (beat)  I’m not going to be alive for very much longer.

Martha: Don’t think like that.

Nanna: Oh, please…I won’t be, and before you know it you be my age.  You’re going to lose him.  This is how it starts:  First the benedictions, then the services, and before you can push a tanach back into his hands he’ll be preaching atheism.  If you can’t make him respect where we came from, then he will never carry our ways on to his children.

Martha: What if he doesn’t want to?

Nanna: It’s not about him.  It’s not about you, or me.  It’s about us.  Soon enough, we’ll be gone.  And what can we do about it?  Nothing.  So we leave something behind.  Even on his deathbed Eric made me put a burning splint in his hand and lift his arm so he could light those candlesticks on Friday night.  The next week, he was dead and I was lighting them by myself.  One day, probably one day soon I’ll be dead and you’ll still light the candles every week, and when you’re gone, David and Sam should be doing the same.  You, both of you-will have left nothing except your ashes if they don’t. Why have we survived for five thousand years, even in the face of certain destruction?

Martha: I know why.

Nanna: Because your grandfather made Eric light the candles in the Krakow ghetto, and Eric made you and your brothers light them here.  You must make him know how important it is that he lights his candles so he can have his children to do the same.

Saul: (beat) Let’s eat something…

Nanna: What about the motzi?

Saul: Well…David’s not here, what’s the harm?  I’m hungry, you’re hungry…

Nanna: Saul, my son in law, (suspenseful pause) you have a very good point.

(They serve themselves and begin to eat. David enters with Jamie.  If David’s expression is soft and sensitive, Jamie’s should be anything but.  He’s flamboyant, loud, brash, and shameless.  He is proud of who he is and it shows in the way he moves.  When he speaks, it is in bold, sassy, staccato phrases and tones.  His manner of dress should further denote his sexual orientation.)

David: Looks like you three got started; it looks delicious.

Nanna: It is.  Who’s this with you?

Jamie: A friend of his.  Jamie?  Damn shame, thought the world knew my face already.  Don’t remember me?

Nanna: It’s all coming back to me now.

Saul: David, what is he doing here?

David: He was just dropping off my second phone.

Martha: I still have no idea in the world why you need two cellphones…

David: It’s my business phone; everyone’s using separate personal and professional numbers these days.

Nanna: This friend of yours seems like quite the professional.

David: It was free anyways.

Jamie: Not taking a free phone? That would be cray.  Anyways, he left it at my studio.

Nanna: What were you doing in his…”studio”.

Jamie: Business things.

Saul: What sort of business things?

Jamie: Things that aren’t any of your business.

David: (Playfully) Stop it!  No; I was helping him with his film project.

Martha: What about?

Jamie: Business; different kinds of alternative methods of doing business.  Like scissoring?

Nanna: How charming.

Jamie: Well, I guess I’d better take my leave.

David: Where are you going tonight?

Jamie: Tragically, I seem to have found myself alone for the evening.

David: Stay here?

Jamie: Oh, I couldn’t…

David: You’ll forgive yourself.  Come on.

Martha: I’m sorry, but we don’t have another place on the table set.

(Sam entering.  She has not changed her clothes)

Sam: It’s no problem; I can do it in a moment.

Martha: I don’t think I made enough food for seven…

David: But you said we’d be having leftovers for weeks.

Martha: Sam, what did I tell you?

Sam: What?  It must have slipped my mind.

Martha: Please…oh, whatever, wear the damn thing.

Saul: No.  You can’t just let her…

Jamie: I don’t know what you two are bickering about!  You look gorgeous honey.

Sam: Hello Jamie, and thanks.  You look quite the character yourself.

Nanna: She asked you to do something and you disobeyed her.  Go on; take the ratty old thing off.

(At this point David is standing in the middle of the group)

Saul: Young lady!

Martha: It’s not worth the fuss…

Jamie: She looks wonderful, why bother?

Frey: Can we all just-

Sam: No, I won’t.  Who the hell do you think you are?

Martha: Just forget it, please.

Saul: We can’t just let her get away with this!

Sam: David?  Can you back me up here?

(David finds himself in the middle of this dispute-he looks around for a short moment)

David: Don’t get me involved.  (Sam nudges him)  Fine…I…can’t you just calm down and listen to dad?

Saul: Thank you David.

Sam: No.  I won’t do it. (aside) What the fuck David!  (Saul walks to her and then tries to remove the jacket) Get off of me!

Saul: Just…(He removes the jacket.  Sam hastily conceals her upper arm) Calm down!

Sam: Give it back!

Martha: What’s that on your arm?

Sam: Can I just have my coat please?  I’m cold!

Martha: What is that?

Sam: Give it to me! (In anger, she makes a grab and her hand moves to reveal a dove, tattooed below her shoulder). 

Martha: What is that?

David: Sam, is that-

Sam: What?

David: You didn’t.  You can’t.

Martha: Oh my god… 

Saul: What did you do?

Jamie: It looks gr-(David gives him a look) morally deplorable as per the stringent religious guidelines dictated by the Jewish faith.

Sam: Fuck.

David: What were you thinking?

Martha:  It’s no big deal; We’ll just scrub it off.  Yes.  We’ll just wash it off!  (She goes looking for soap and a sponge; when she returns she begins to violently attack her daughter’s arm with the sponge).

Nanna: You disrespectful little girl…What drug induced impulse in that ungrateful head of yours could give you the gall?

Sam: It’s a dove.  A dove for peace.

David: You never think!  Peace-yeah, you’ve just created that in abundance!

Frey: What’s the problem, its just ink…

Saul: And you, you little punk-I suppose you facilitated this?

Frey: I told her not too, I’ve seen Curb Your enthusiasm!

Saul: Save your god-dammed epitaph for the police, you pothead.

Martha: Saul!

Saul: His mother is an addict, he’s is an addict, and he’s taken advantage of her!  You can’t expect us to just let him¬–

Martha: You can’t do that.

David: Because Sam has done it to.  If you report him for possession, Sam gets arrested same as he does.

Sam: How could you?

David: Please, I’m saving both of your asses!

Nanna: She made her decision.  Let her pay for it.

Martha: Don’t say that!

Frey: Please…I told her not to…

Sam: Oh, cool it dad!  He did!

Saul: What have you done?

David: You never think!  Have you ever ONCE considered that your actions have consequences?

Saul: It can’t be here.  It has to leave.

Sam: What the fuck are you talking about?

Saul: I cannot have it in my house (pause).  You need to leave.

Martha: Don’t be stupid, it’s dark outside.

Saul: Get out.  Here- (He begins to leaf through his wallet).

Sam: And where am I gonna go, huh?

Saul: I don’t care, you have to leave.

Sam: You’re joking!  You’re…you’re joking?

Saul: Take this (He hands her a wad of cash).  Don’t bother coming back until it’s gone.  Get it removed, you can come back then.

Sam: It’s just a tattoo!

Martha: What’s wrong with both of you?

Jamie: I’m going to leave-

David: No, don’t.  Stay.  Not now.

Saul: (to Sam) You need to leave.

Sam: You…you controlling fuck!

David: Calm down, both of you!

Martha: Sam!  What in god’s name was going on inside your head!?

Sam: You can’t make me leave!

Saul: Get out, or we will have you removed.

Sam: Removed!?  That’s a good one.  You can go fuck yourself.  Are you going to try and commit me?  Think third times a charm?  Think they’ll finally decide that I’m the crazy one?  Because some old book says I’ve done wrong? You’re all full of shit, full of fucking shit! 

David: Stop yelling so we can figure this out.

Sam: You’re one to talk!  You’re so perfect, aren’t you?  You’re such the little angel?  You, the prodigal son!

David: I never said I was, I just think-

Sam: You hypocrite.  The only difference between you and me is that at least I can own up to what I’ve done!

David: Are you completely oblivious?

Sam: No, I’m not.  This is your goddamn fault…you know that, don’t you?  Or are you totally oblivious?

David: I had no idea!

Saul: Get out of my house.

Martha: Saul, calm down.

David: Dad-

Sam: (to David) You’ve done as much as he has, you hypocrite!  I’m the deviant one?  At least I don’t have to make up bullshit to cover up what I do.

Saul: You need to leave.

David: Just…be quiet.

Sam: And now you won’t even bother to try and keep me here? You asshole, you lying hypocritical asshole!  What if I told them about her?  What I had a chat with them about Mia?  What if I told them that every weekend, you’ve been climbing down the fire escape-

David: SAM!

Sam: (after a pause) You fucks!  You little fucks!  I’m going, I won’t bother you for another minute, don’t worry yourselves about it!  I’m going! (She storms to the door.)

Saul: Get it removed, come back then.

Sam: You’re all so wonderful, aren’t you?  I give you fifteen minutes before you’re slitting each other’s throats without me to pin your problems on.  I’m going.  (beat) And David?  Send my fucking regards to Mia!  You really should have her over to dinner!  Be a fucking MAN for once.

(She exits.  Frey hesitates for a moment and then runs out after her.)

Martha: Oh my god.

David: We need to go after her.

Nanna: No, we do not.

Saul: She’ll be back once she has it removed.

Martha: What is wrong with that child?

(David goes upstairs with Jamie)

Saul: David!

Martha: What’s wrong with her?  What on earth is wrong with her?

Nanna: She’s lost respect for her heritage among other things.  She’s lost.  She’s lost to you, and David will be too soon enough.

Martha: How can you say that? 

Saul: She’ll be back, don’t worry.

Nanna: That girl? (Stands)  She’s dead to you.

Martha: How dare you! (She strikes Nanna)

Saul: She’s lost, Sam is lost!

Martha: Then we will find her!  We will help her, not throw our teenage daughter into the street!  What’s come over her?  What’s come over you?

Saul: It’s Frey, It’s Mia, It’s that swish upstairs-it’s not her! (beat) She’s been corrupted.

Martha: Mia…It’s killing me!  I know that name…I know I know it.

Nanna: Mia?

Saul: David’s girlfriend.

Martha: Yeah, right-stop kidding yourself.  He’s never going to have a girlfriend.

Saul: That’s not true.

Martha: Keep telling yourself that.

Saul: Who else could she be then?

Martha: I don’t know.  Wait-I have this. (She takes out the phone number)

(David and Jamie begin to enter, staying on the stairs)

Saul: How’d you get her number?

Martha: I found it on the ground.

David: (Coming down) Have you finally come to your senses?

Martha: Give me the phone, will you David.

David: Of course (he gets the phone).

Jamie: Is she all right?

David: Why do you think we’re calling her?

Martha: 214…(she mumbles numbers under her breath and slowly copies them onto the phone)

David: I think I should talk to her first…she’ll be angry.

Martha: Why’d she be angry?

David: Sam?

Martha: No…Mia. (She finishes dialing)

David: Wait!

(The next sequence should go as follows:  Upon hearing the name “Mia”, David tries to get his phone from Jamie’s pocket; when he finally manages, he desperately tries to turn it off as Martha begins the call.  In a final act of desperation, he throws the phone at the window-the window cracks, but the phone remains functional.  It begins to ring in time with Martha’s phone.)

(The phone continues to ring; finally, it goes to the answering machine’s recording.  The voice is clearly David’s, but different.)

Recording: This is Mia; I’m not here right now, so leave a message (beep).

Martha: What is this?

David: I think I must have grabbed the wrong phone.

Martha: That’s your voice.

David: No.

Martha: What’s going on?

Jamie: Don’t push him! (The two move together in solidarity)

Martha: I am his mother!  David…what’s going on?

David: Can we talk about this later?

Martha: Why?

David: I’m not ready.

Martha: You’re not ready?

David: I just need some time, please!

Martha: What is it?  Tell me and we can discuss it later.

David: I can’t.  It’s nothing.  I’m fine, it’s fine.  No need.

Saul: We’re fine?  Who is “we”?  You and Mia?

David: No, it’s not like that.

Saul: You and Jamie?  Is this about you and Jamie?

David: I don’t want to…

Saul: Well, is it?

David: It’s not relevant.

Jamie: We’re just friends, isn’t that right honey (pulls David closer).

David: Get off, you’re not helping.

Jamie: Sorry.

David: No, no I’m not.  Just…not now, alright?

Saul: But she sounded just like you.  Is this a joke you’re playing?

David: No.  I’m going to call Sam…

Martha: You can tell me.  We’ll never talk this it again.

David: I won’t, no.

Saul: David, answer your mother right now!

David: I can’t.

Saul: You won’t?  Tell what is going on this minute, or you can go join your sister. 

David: Dad, I’m-(he chokes up) I’m sorry, I can’t even speak right now. 

Jamie: Should I tell them?

David: No, no…I’ll just show them, like we talked about.  Why the fuck does this have to happen now? (To the family) I’ll be back down in a minute.

(David exits. The following conversation should be very slow to allow for a quick change, and uncomfortable)

Saul: Jamie, can you please tell me what in god’s name is going on?

Jamie: Honestly, I can’t.

Martha: Why?

Jamie: For one thing, I wouldn’t know how.  This is something I can’t do for somebody else.

Martha: Well, what can you tell us?

Jamie: I’m sorry, no.  Can we talk about something else?

Martha: (After a painfully long pause) Are you applying to collages?

Jamie: Yes.  Yes, I am.

Martha: Where do you want to go?

Jamie: Sarah Lawrence looks best for me.

Martha: Oh. 

Nanna: I knew a woman that had gone many years back; such a nice lady, shame she was a dyke.

Jamie: Never use that word in front of me.

Nanna: I will use whichever words I please when I am in this house, thank you very much.

Jamie: I have put up with your blatant homophobia, passive aggression, and general unpleasantness for my friend’s sake, but if you are going to use fowl slurs-

Nanna: You’ll what?  Leave?  Punch me in the face?  Don’t you dare tell me what is wrong and right, you have absolutely no authority there.  You children-you always speak your speech and then just sit doing nothing.

Jamie: Estelle Koleman, if you were not an old woman and my friend’s grandmother, I would be happy to oblige that request. (Beat) (To upstairs) Are you coming down soon?

David: (from upstairs) Just a minute!

Martha: What is that boy doing?  Why can’t you just tell me what this is about? 

Jamie: Just wait, you’ll know soon.

Martha: Jamie?

Jamie: What?

Martha: Is David gay?

Jamie: (A silence, after which Jamie slowly breaks into laughter) Is David gay…

Martha: What is so funny?

Jamie: No.  Technically. 

Martha: What?  Is he…with…both?

Jamie: Ha, not that I know of.  Only boys.

Saul: Have you two been…gay together?

Jamie: Only once.  At a party, but we were drunk so I don’t count it.  Nothing nasty, just a bit of fun.

Martha: Hasn’t he had girlfriends before?

Jamie: I mean, I had a girlfriend for like, a year, but that didn’t save me, did it?  My folks named me Jamie, I never had a chance!

Nanna: A tragic all oversight on their part, I’m sure.

David: (From upstairs) Jamie…can you…I need you to come up.

Jamie: Hang on.

(Jamie exits upstairs)

Saul: What an evening.

Martha: We finally all get together for something nice, and then…(She makes an explosion noise)

Nanna: It’s because you have all lost respect for your heritage! (Beat) I’m kidding. 

Martha: I’m really sorry you’ve had to see all of this…

Nanna: Does the family descend into chaos often then?

Martha: No, not at all.  Just tonight; I feel like we’re getting to know one another too well.

Nanna: Martha, Saul; don’t worry about it, really.  The food is truly fantastic.

Martha: Yes.

Saul: It is.

Martha: If only someone was here to enjoy it; ce la vie I suppose.

David: (Offstage) I can’t do this, I can’t do this.

Jamie: (Offstage) Honey, you look fabulous.  Besides, you said it yourself: It’s going to happen tonight whatever you do.

David: (Offstage) Ok…ok.  I’m alright, this is alright.

(Note: From here on, the character referred to as “David” will now be called Mia in the script, and will use female pronouns She/Her)

(Mia and Jamie enter.  Mia has changed her clothes-she is now dressed as a girl, wearing makeup, a padded bra and possibly heels as well.  Whatever she wears must be in the same vein of taste as what she wore as David; Even though the clothes must be clearly female, they still belong to the same person.  A wig may be used if it looks natural.  Jamie helps Mia walk down the stairs, and supports her as they out into the living room.  Mia is clearly emotional, but when she speaks it is also with strength and pride)

Mia: I’m Mia.  I’m her. 

Martha: Oh.

Saul: I, um…What?

Mia: (becoming emotional) I’m sorry, I can’t…

Jamie: I’m here, you look fabulous and I’m here.  Let her breathe.

Mia:  I’m sorry; I don’t know how to say this. (A silence) I’ve always known that I was different.  No, that’s wrong.  I always knew I was…like this.  Not David.  When I would wear dresses as it child it was just second nature for me.  I had no idea it was…I feel wrong, as him.  Everything feels wrong, my body, my clothes, and that word…He.  It makes me throw up in my mouth every time I hear it.  But when I’m like this, I don’t.  Feel sick.  Not as sick.  Every saturday we go down to the Village, at night.  Me, Jamie, Steph and Aiden.  Sam too.  I sneak out the fire escape in heels; Sam caught me a few months back.  She just shrugged and asked if she could come along.  Here I’m always quiet and shy.  But when I can be her?  I feel happy and alive.  Truly happy, for the first time in a long, long time.  I can’t explain it.  I just feel liberated, like I can breathe.  I feel right like this.

Martha: David, how long have you been doing this?

Jamie: Her name is Mia!

Martha: Stay out of this.

Mia: Stop it!  It’s been almost a year.  I started last spring.

Martha: Why?

Mia: Because I needed to!  Because I couldn’t keep being him all of the time.  It’s killing me.  Do you remember last January when I slept for an entire weekend, vomiting all over my room? 

Saul: You had the flu.

Mia: How fucking oblivious can you really be?  Pills.  A lot of them. I’d be lying i knew couldn’t keep being him.  Not any more.  It’s funny; when I was a kid I would do this all the time.  When I played dress-up, it never felt weird or wrong.  The moment I realized I was like this; I thought I’d feel better.  Every time I hear that name…I cringe.  It makes me physically ill.  This is just something I need to do.  I can’t keep being him.  I’m not sure what else to say.

Martha: David? You are my son, and I will always love you.

Mia: But I’m not really; I think I might be your daughter.

Saul: He thinks he’s a girl.

Jamie: She is one; her brain tells her she is one.  She’s transgender.  Sorry.

Mia: You’re good.  Yeah, that’s…that’s it. 

Saul: Do you really believe this is true, then? 

Mia: I know.  I just know.  I can’t even explain how I know.  How do you know you’re a man? 

Nanna: Saul, I think it’s time I head up to my room, would you care to help me with my bags?

Saul: Of course.

(Nanna and Saul exit)

Martha: David, David…you’re my Son.  And I will always want what’s best for you.  But this is a problem, you understand that, right?  You need help.

Mia: I’ve been talking with the school councilor.  And this…this won’t just go away.  I tried, believe me.  But it won’t.

Martha: What about Michel Jackson?  He thought he was white and bleached his skin.  Was that not mental illness?

Mia: It’s not that simple.

Martha: Yes, it is.  You are ill, and you need help.  I want what is best for you, but right now I need you to believe that I know what you need better than you do.

(At this moment, she sees Frey outside the fire escape window.  It must be separate from the main window Mia threw her phone at.  She hesitates then decides to let him in.  She opens the window.  As he enters, he begins to speak but Martha shushes him)

Mia: Frey?

Martha: Both of you be quiet, your father is upstairs!

Frey: Is Sam here?

Martha: No, I thought she was with you.

Frey: She was, but we were separated.

Mia: Is everything all right?

Frey: (Unconvincingly) Yes.

Martha: When did you last see her?

Frey: We went over to Kyle’s place, just a few blocks from here.

Mia: And she’s not there?

Frey: No.  (Privately) David, there’s something I need to tell you.

Mia: What is it?

Frey: (Still privately) Privately, now!

(Mia glances around for a moment.  Then, she casually begins to walk backwards as Martha and Frey communicate non-verbally.  Meanwhile Mia “accidently” knocks a plate to the ground; it breaks)

Saul: (From upstairs) What’s going on down there?

Martha: Damn it.

Mia: Keep him upstairs!

(Martha nods and exits upstairs)

Jamie: And doth do we descend into madness.

Frey: What happened to you two?

Jamie: Mia came out to her parents.

Frey: Wha¬…Oh!  Oh.  Congratulations?

Mia: I wish.  Now what’s the matter with Sam?

Frey: I…I don’t know how to say this.

Mia: What happened?

Frey: I made a mistake, I…

Mia: What did you do to her?

Frey: It was an accident; I didn’t do anything, not on purpose.

Mia: If you’ve hurt her, I swear to god, I will-

Frey: She’s fine.  Well, she’s safe.  Not hurt, at least for now.

Mia: Then what happened?

Frey: We went over  to Kyle’s.  He’s been tight on cash, and-

Mia: What’s going on?

Frey: He started making…um, he started making acid to sell.  LSD, a bunch of other stuff.

Mia: What has she done?

Frey: Listen to me, David, I mean Mia…I tried to stop her, I really did…she just drank it.  She was crazy.  She drank all of it. 

Mia: How much was there?

Frey: Five milligrams dilute.  At least.

Jamie: Oh my god…

Mia: What, is that a lot?

Frey: It’s enough for five hundred people.  Don’t worry, it won’t kill her. I think.

Mia: Sam, you fucking idiot.  Frey, you huge fucking idiot!

Frey: We tried to keep her in the apartment…she ran out, I thought she’d come here.

Mia: She needs to be at a hospital.

Frey: It’s…it doesn’t work like that.  It shouldn’t make her sick!  She just needs to be somewhere until it gets out of her system! 

Jamie: You let her take 5mg of acid?  It will NEVER get out of her system!

Frey:  It wasn’t acid, not really! It wasn’t my fault; Kyle was guarding the door, but his leg’s been messed up, she attacked him.

Mia: Where is she then!?

Frey: I don’t know!  I chased her. I lost her a block from here, I couldn’t keep up!

Jamie: Where was she going?

Frey: Where would she go but here?

Mia: Holy shit...Who leaves out acid on a countertop?  Who the fuck leaves it out like that?

Frey: It wasn’t really acid, he mixed other things in.

Martha: (From upstairs) What’s going on?  I’m coming down!

Mia: Get out, quickly.

Frey: I can’t, if she comes back…I can handle her.

(Enter Martha with Saul behind her)

Martha: What’s going on down here?

Saul: (Seeing Frey) Get out of my house you thug!

Frey: Trust me, I don’t want to be here, but…something’s happened.

Mia: Sam’s gone.

Saul: What do you mean gone?

Frey: I don’t know where she is.

Saul: That’s probably a good thing.

Mia: You don’t understand! ¬ Are you going to tell him or do I need to?

Frey: We went over to Kyle’s house, he had something out on the shelf…she drank it.

Saul: You gave my daughter alcohol?

Frey: It wasn’t alcohol, no.  I tried to stop her; I swatted it out of her hands…

Saul: What did you give her?

Frey: I didn’t give her anything! 

Mia: It was LSD.

Frey: It was mixed with other things!

Martha: What?

Frey: It was Kyle’s, I had no idea he had any at the house.  He’s been making it, she saw the flask sitting out…

Saul: She drank it?

Frey: All of it.

Martha: How did this even happen?

Frey: We had just been there a few minutes.  She was screaming, and she just drank it.  She was out of control.

Saul: Did you give it to her?

Frey: I tried to stop her.


Frey: No!  She was out of control, she just drank it!

(Sam knocks on the door; Mia opens it and she staggers in.  She is wearing less, and her speech slurred and grandiose.)

Martha: My god, Sam!

Sam: I feel weird.  You-I was going to tell you that I, uh-

Frey: Sam, you’re having a trip right now.  You need to sit down.

Sam: I came because I-

Mia: Sam, It’s me, it’s me.  You need to see a doctor.

Sam: (After a short haze, she experiences sudden lucidity) You sent me away!  You fuckers sent me out onto the streets!

Martha: Young lady, sit down here now!

Sam: You think you can keep me locked here?  You can’t control me, nothing can control me.  I’m leaving… (She tries to exit and is blocked) I need to leave.

Frey: Come here right now, you need to go to a hospital; you’ve had too much!

Sam: You’ve had to much!  You’ve all had too much!  You’re drowning in a pool of your own shit, and I’ve had too much? (Becoming scared, she stands on top of a chair and begins to balance) What are you? What are you!  What’s happening to me?

Mia: It’s me, I’m here.

Martha: Samantha R. Silverman, get down from there this second!

Sam: You can’t control me anymore.

Saul: (He makes a grab for her, and tries to hold her down in the chair) Stop…kicking.

(Nanna enters)

Nanna: What’s all the commotion?

Martha: Sam, Sam!  You need to calm down, you’re sick!

Sam: (She is fighting and eventually breaks free as she speaks-she is snarling and violent) You’ve lost me.  You’ve lost your daughter.  You fucked her and fucked her and finally killed her.  Are you happy now?  How about now?

Saul: (To Frey) What is this?  What can we do?

Sam: I can see everything now.  I can see the window; I can see your fucking bullshit.  I can see the moon.  I need to leave!

Mia: Stop, stop, just stand still!

Martha: Sam, quit it right now!

Sam:  There’s a light outside the window. (Suddenly screaming)  Get away from me!

Martha: You are not well.  We are going to make you better again. 

Sam: No…you can’t control me, you can’t!  You tried, didn’t you, but you still can’t do even that.

Saul: Get her-(He tries to make a grab for Sam, who runs towards the door)

Sam: I feel sick.  I need to…I need to go.  Get away from me, I need to leave, I need to breath, I’m leaving.  I can’t stay here.  Why did I…I came back.  I came back.  And now I’m leaving, and I don’t think I’m going to come back.

Mia: Stay, please stay for me!

Sam: No, no.  I’m not coming back, I’m never coming back!

Martha: (Sobbing) You need professional help!

Sam: I don’t need your help anymore.  I’m leaving.

Mia: Don’t.

Sam: Try and stop me.

Mia: Sam, sit down.

Sam: Good bye.  I’m going now.  I’m leaving.  I’m leaving and I’m not coming back.

Saul: SAM!

Sam:  (coldly and lucidly) Go fuck yourself.

Mia: Let me take you outside then, let us help you!  Sam…It’s me. 

Sam: (Lucidly and deliberately) I’m leaving. 

(Sam stands still for just an instant, and then she takes off running straight towards the door.  Mia blocks her, and pushes Sam away from the door.  She then tries to make a break towards the window.  First, Saul tries to grab her, then Martha tries to tackle her.  Nanna has been standing in front of the window, but she steps out of the way.  Sam keeps running–through the glass, out the window, and then onto the street below.  It is silent for two, long seconds.  Then, we hear her hit the ground.  When the family speaks, it is all to nobody in particular)

Martha: Oh my god.

Saul: You little shit, you did this!

Frey: I did this?

Nanna: Divine providence.

Frey: Shut your mouth you fucking cunt!

Saul: You killed my daughter, you killed my girl!

Mia: Both of you be quiet! 

Frey: I could have stopped her, I could have taken her somewhere else!  But you…(Frey walks towards the broken glass.  He gazes out; he looks down at her far below on the street)

Nanna: Good riddance!

Frey: Say another word and I won’t let you go until we both hit the ground.

Martha: Enough people have jumped from this window for one evening!

Nanna: Do it now you coward.

Mia: Get back from there.

Frey: I deserve this!

Mia: DON’T! (Frey grabs Nanna and attempts a step out onto the ledge, but Mia grabs him and wrestles him to the ground.)  You’re not going to join her.  You can’t.  Now get up! You’re coming with me.  Jamie, we’re leaving.

Jamie: If you need a place to stay…

Mia: Fine.

(Mia exits.  Jamie and Frey follow.  Martha gets up, and then walks to the phone.  She dials 911)

Martha: Yes, I’d like to report an…accident.

(Lights out)
© Copyright 2013 Alice Conroy (aliceconroy at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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