Molly struggles with anxiety and depression, personified by two figures over her shoulder
MOLLY LEVAN-EVERDELL: Twenty-seven year old who has Generalized Anxiety Disorder and depression
WHISPER: A looming feminine figure dressed all in black that appears behind Molly
WAVE: Another looming figure in black behind Molly
AUGUST EVERDELL: Twenty-eight year old, Molly’s husband
ALICE LEVAN: Molly’s mother. Never heard, but Molly has a brief phone call with her
Laguna Beach, California, a small house a few miles from the beach. The windows flood the empty living room with light except for DL and DR. Birds outside chirp as MOLLY EVERDELL, a young newlywed enters stage left.
MOLLY: (sighs) Welcome home, Molls.
Her husband, AUGUST, enters stage left, sets down two boxes and walks over to wrap his arms around her from behind.
AUGUST: So, did we do good?
MOLLY: Yeah, I’d say we did good. Two bedrooms, and the lighting is spectacular. I can see living here for the foreseeable future. (She smiles faintly up at August)
AUGUST: Foreseeable future? I hope you mean the rest of our lives.
MOLLY: If you become a world renowned mathematician and I get back into the film industry, we could move to LA, live in a mansion, have a million beautiful babies, and live happily ever after.
AUGUST: Your optimism is adorable. I’ll go get the last of the boxes, unless for some reason you want to help me.
MOLLY: Mmm, no thanks.
AUGUST: (sighs) Very well. Let me embrace the stereotype of the muscular, boorish husband while you, the tiny, weak wife enjoy the breeze and the California smell.
AUGUST starts to walk off stage and MOLLY calls after him
MOLLY: You’re a nut!
AUGUST: (Calling back) I know! (Exits)
MOLLY wraps her arms around herself in a tight hug, smiling gleefully as she looks around the bright room. DL, a spotlight flicks on to see WHISPER, smiling at MOLLY.
WHISPER: We made it, Molly! You went from just another girl in the Midwest to a one-hit wonder in show business, and I’ve been with you through it all.
Crosses over to MOLLY and places a hand on her shoulder as the spotlight fades
MOLLY: Not today.
WHISPER: (Nods) Today.
MOLLY: I just moved here. Can you give me twenty-four hours?
WHISPER: You see, I would, but then I’d have to call her instead. You don’t want that. Would you rather worry about everything you do or spiral down into your inner turmoil and bring down August with you?
WHISPER: It doesn’t work like that, sweetie. It’s been how long? A week or so? It’s about time we came back.
MOLLY: I’m trying to be happy.
WHISPER: We can’t all be neurotypical, Molly. So, who do you pick?
MOLLY: Do I even have a choice?
MOLLY: Okay, just one thing, then.
WHISPER: God, what?
MOLLY: This, you whispering to me, isn’t going to affect August, is it?
WHISPER: Keep quiet about it, and he doesn’t have to know. God, why do you care so much about that man, anyway?
MOLLY: Because I love him!
WHISPER: And what the hell makes you think he loves you back?
MOLLY: He says so.
WHISPER: People say a lot of things. People lie. He’s opened you up, made you weak in the knees, smiled and winked at you and made you feel something, but once he’s done, he’ll get rid of you and move on to someone else.
MOLLY reaches out to slap WHISPER, but WHISPER grabs her wrist, smirking triumphantly.
WHISPER: And yet, you can’t let him leave. You need him.
She releases MOLLY’S wrist.
MOLLY: Fine. Do what you do best, but don’t even think about saying that about August.
WHISPER: I’ll say what I want. It’s not like you can stop me.
Footsteps are in the distance
WHISPER: Oh, that’s my cue. I’ll be right over here.
Crosses back to DL, sitting down on a small chair and crosses her arms and legs, smiling at MOLLY as AUGUST enters stage left carrying three more boxes. The spotlight on her fades as AUGUST begins to speak.
AUGUST: That’s the last of them, your Majesty. Your royal moving van should be here tomorrow.
MOLLY: (smiles sadly) Okay.
AUGUST: What’s wrong? Did I say something?
MOLLY: (shakes head slightly and smiles genuinely) No. I’m fine. We’re fine. I love you.
AUGUST: I’d hope so. I married you in front of people.
MOLLY: I know, I was standing across from you.
AUGUST: You’re sure you’re alright?
MOLLY: I’m fine, August, really.
AUGUST: Whatever you say. (Pauses) Your dad called, by the way.
The spotlight on WHISPER appears again as she rings a little bell. AUGUST freezes at the sound of the bell and WHISPER begins to speak.
WHISPER: What did that pause mean?
WHISPER: God, you are so naïve, aren’t you?
MOLLY: I’m naïve because I’m not reading into a small pause? He’s tired. I’m tired. We’ve had a long day.
WHISPER: Believe what you want. It was a pause. Pauses can mean things, like ‘Why did I ever marry this woman’ or ‘I hate her’ or ‘I don’t love her’
MOLLY: Or it means nothing.
The spotlight on WHISPER fades.
MOLLY: Why’d Dad call you?
AUGUST: He loves me more than you, obviously.
MOLLY: Very funny.
AUGUST: No, he just has my number in his phone as “Molly and August”.
MOLLY: What’d he say?
AUGUST: Just checking in. Told me to say “I love you, Marshy.”.
MOLLY: (chuckling) Twenty-seven and he still calls me Marshmallow. Probably always will.
WHISPER gives her bell a small chime. AUGUST freezes again.
WHISPER: Obviously, since you abandoned him back in Michigan.
MOLLY: (distressed) Shut up!
WHISPER shrugs and AUGUST speaks again.
AUGUST: I’m starving. I saw a cafe a few blocks from here. We might even meet some neighbors.
The spotlight on WHISPER brightens as she rings her bell again and stands up. AUGUST freezes once again
WHISPER: Neighbors! First impressions! The people you’ll live near for the foreseeable future!
MOLLY: They’re probably very nice people.
WHISPER: Or judgemental jerks.
MOLLY: (frightened) Or both.
WHISPER: That’s the spirit!
MOLLY: I don’t have time for this.
WHISPER: (mocking) I don’t have time for this! I have a busy life and a busy husband and a busy neighborhood! All I do is whine. God, you’re pathetic.
MOLLY: I’ll just try my hardest to give a good impression. We probably won’t meet any new people anyway.
WHISPER: Okay, have fun, sweetie. Make friends, tell me all about it.
AUGUST: If you don’t want to go that’s-
MOLLY: N-no no! I do… I uh, just don’t think I look well enough to meet neighbors.
AUGUST: You look great! We probably won’t meet anyone, anyway.
Spotlight on WHISPER, who sends a skeptical look at MOLLY.
MOLLY: Okay. It’s fine. I’m fine.
AUGUST: You ready?
WHISPER: Fine. Whatever. I’m coming, though.
WHISPER crosses to MOLLY and ties a small string connecting their wrists. MOLLY sighs and gestures for her to come along. MOLLY, AUGUST, and WHISPER exit stage left. Fade to black.
THREE MONTHS LATER
The living room has much more furniture in it, though it’s devoid of people, curtains swaying slightly in the breeze. MOLLY enters stage left, fatigue showing on her face. A spotlight flicks on DR to see WAVE, grinning at MOLLY. WAVE crosses to MOLLY in a swaggering fashion.
MOLLY: Not today.
MOLLY: She just visited me a few days ago.
WAVE: She and I have different schedules. What, is it a bad time?
MOLLY: Yes, actually. August and I are going to dinner with the Reginalls.
WAVE: And are they nice?
WAVE: They're faking it. Why would anyone be nice to you?
MOLLY: Because I'm a nice person.
WAVE: Nice people are obnoxious and pointless. Let go of your little Midwestern shtick and be what people want you to be.
MOLLY: What do people want me to be?
WAVE: Quiet. No one needs to hear your opinion.
WAVE shoves MOLLY down onto the couch angrily. MOLLY falls so that she is lying down on the couch in a fetal position. The lights begin to fade.
WAVE: You’d think with all the talking you do that husband of yours would’ve never said ‘I do’. (Flatly) Face it, Molly, you don’t matter. If you ceased to exist right now, nothing would change. Nothing. August would move on, meet a woman that actually deserves him. Your parents wouldn’t hear the news for weeks because you abandoned them back in Michigan and your friends? The people that ‘care’ (WAVE does air quotes) about you? They wouldn’t even blink. So go on, lay there. Let the world spin without you in it. You lose, Molly. You lose, you lose, you lose.
Footsteps are heard from offstage. WAVE looks up, alarmed, and scurries away to her corner sitting, balled up, as her spotlight fades once more. AUGUST is seen briefly before exiting quickly, never seeing MOLLY. Fade to black.
ANOTHER THREE MONTHS LATER
A small rotary phone on a side table rings loudly as MOLLY enters stage left. She runs to pick up the phone.
MOLLY: Hello? Oh, hi Mom! I’m great, thanks. Yeah, August and I are fitting in perfectly. Everyone’s a delight here. Mom, what’s wrong? You sound so... deflated. Mom, what is it? Just tell me.
A look of surprise washes over MOLLY’S face for a moment before she sits on the couch slowly.
MOLLY: Oh. He… oh.
WAVE’S spotlight flicks on. WAVE smiles and waves at MOLLY cheerfully.
MOLLY: Two weeks? Well gosh, yeah, I’ll try to get out there, but I don’t know how booked some flights are. I know it’s just Michigan, Mom, but… Yeah. Mmhmm. I’ll try to get out there as soon as possible.
WHISPER’S spotlight flicks on. WHISPER smiles, arms folded triumphantly.
MOLLY: Of course I care about my own father, Mom, and I’ll try to get out there as soon as possible, but… yeah, okay. Alright. I’ll call you when I have the flight booked. Bye, Mom. I love you too.
MOLLY hangs up the phone and slouches into the couch, mouth barely open. WAVE and WHISPER run over to her, sitting on either side of her on the couch. They smile at each other before turning to MOLLY.
WAVE: (mocking) Well! Isn’t this just heart wrenching?
MOLLY: My dad’s sick. Leave me alone today, just for a day.
WHISPER: If you don’t go out there, you’ll probably never see him again.
WAVE: But if you go out there, you might watch your father die, knowing that you could’ve done something.
MOLLY: I don’t like either option.
WHISPER and WAVE: Exactly.
MOLLY: I kinda just want to lie here…
She begins to lie down but WHISPER pushes her back up forcefully.
WHISPER: You might lose him!
WAVE: Nothing will change, whether you leave or stay. Stay.
She tugs on MOLLY’S arm. WAVE grabs her other arm and tugs on it. They fight over her, shouting “Stay” and “Go”. This continues for a brief period of time until the sound of a loud ripping. They drop her suddenly like a limp doll. MOLLY sinks to the ground, lifeless, but eyes still open. The lights fade, except for a spotlight on WHISPER and WAVE on the couch.
WHISPER: What did you do?
WAVE: What did I do? What did you do?
WHISPER: I didn’t do anything.
WAVE: You tugged on her arm first.
WHISPER: I wouldn’t have if you hadn’t insisted on her staying.
WAVE: What are we supposed to do?
WHISPER: As if I know. What did we even do? You heard that ripping sound, I presume.
WAVE: Obviously. Her clothes are fine. She still has a pulse, and I think she’s breathing.
WHISPER: She’s definitely still alive. No blood. What did we do?
A light offstage flicks on. Cheerful whistling is heard as footsteps grow nearer and nearer. WHISPER and WAVE look at each other, terrified, before running off to their separate corners. Their spotlights fade as AUGUST enters stage left, book in hand. He crosses down to where the limp MOLLY is, not aware of her.
AUGUST: (calling) Molly, where are you? Are you ready to go for-
He sees MOLLY down on the floor as she makes a small whimpering sound. He drops his book, startled, but sits on the floor next to her, wrapping her up in a tight squeeze.
AUGUST: Molls, what’s going on?
AUGUST: Molly, talk to me. You’re scaring me.
AUGUST: This isn’t funny, Levan. I can tell you’re still alive. Stop messing with me.
AUGUST: Please, talk to me. I don’t know what-
WHISPER and WAVE’S spotlights turn on. AUGUST looks at both of them before their spotlights dim again.
AUGUST: No, you’d tell me. We tell each other everything. I know everything there is to know about you.
AUGUST: Unless you didn’t know. That’s possible, right? I mean, lots of cases of depression go undiagnosed. I think I read that somewhere. And anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses in the country, probably the most common.
AUGUST: Jesus, Molly. If I’d’ve known we could've gotten you help. (Pauses) No, we’re going to get you help. I can’t bear to see you like this. Just talk to me, say one word. Tell me what you need to get you out of this state right now, and we’ll get you all the help you need.
AUGUST: Okay. Then I’ll just sit here through it all. I’ll be here until you’re ready.
They sit in silence for a moment before WHISPER and WAVE’S spotlights come back on. A trickle of a smile appears on MOLLY’S face through the tears. WHISPER and WAVE look at each other and exit as lights dim.