If you’ve been following me for a little bit you probably know that I have been taking a playwriting class this semester at Southern New Hampshire University. Our end project is to write a 10-page play (Mine’s a little long – 12) and I have been reworking one that I had on this site for awhile. In this latest draft I rewrote some of the middle dialogue and made the story a little less abstract (Which I’m happy and sad about all at the same time). Read the previous draft here. Check out the new one below (The formatting may have shifted in the paste):
At Rise: Curtain does not rise. ADAM Baxter walks to center stage from behind the curtain. He comes out from behind the curtain and addresses the audience.
I remember the first time I really learned about HANNAH. We were working at a gas station in what they now call the international district of Albuquerque. They call it the international district because the “war zone” wasn’t really a property seller. HANNAH had just clocked in. She told me to follow her into the walk-in freezer. She got high the night before and was upset with herself. She said she had regretted what she had done but couldn’t control herself in the situation she was placed in. I asked her why she just didn’t take herself out of that situation. She said it was more complicated than that and walked out of the freezer. We never talked about it again. HANNAH was always like that. It’s like she was trying to repent to people she never wronged.
ADAM walks away from the audience off stage right.
End of scene.
Setting: Albuquerque city street, night.
At the Rise: The curtain lifts to reveal five streetlights. Only the streetlight closest to stage left is lighted. ADAM and HANNAH’s voices are heard off stage.
Why can’t we just drive?
Because it’s an adventure.
Adventures can be had in cars ADAM.
ADAM and HANNAH enter and stand at the first streetlight.
Come on, It’ll be fun.
You always say that.
ADAM begins to walk to the second streetlight but HANNAH stands firm underneath the first light.
What are you doing?
I, I don’t know. I thought you were behind me.
ADAM walks back to the first streetlight and stands next to HANNAH.
You were going to leave me.
No, I thought you were next to me.
I’m sorry. Like I said, I didn’t know.
HANNAH takes her hand off the light post and walks downstage between lights 1 & 2.
Can’t we stay here awhile? I want to look around.
But what about our journey?
I thought it was an adventure.
Aren’t they the same thing?
HANNAH (Ignoring his question)
ADAM walks downstage to be next to HANNAH.
Dance with me.
But there is no music.
HANNAH pulls ADAM close to her and ADAM puts his hands on her hips.
Do you really need music?
I think I do.
What type of music would you like to dance to?
I think I would find a nice samba pleasant.
A samba? Really?
MADAM, you did not establish any restrictions.
HANNAH adjusts her hands on ADAM’s body and begins to mimic the first couple of bars of a samba before an actual song can be heard by the audience. The couple dances for about 20 seconds before ADAM stops.
Can you do a power ballad?
When did I become a juke box?
Why are you stalling?
Unwilling to lose the challenge, HANNAH forcefully pulls ADAM close to her and loudly sings the chorus from Foreigner’s “I want to know what love is,” while PEOPLE walk awkwardly by.
After a moment, HANNAH and ADAM walk a little further. They stop between the 2 and 3 light and ADAM leans down to tie his shoe.
ADAM (leaning down)
HANNAH stops and turns around to look at ADAM.
Do you have any regrets?
Like serious regrets?
Just in general.
I think everyone has some sort of regret in their life; things they wish they could have done differently or things they would do differently, if given the chance.
What would you have done differently?
ADAM quietly looks downstage. The faint image of a dimly lit apartment becomes clearer.
It’s silly to think of things like that. Let’s keep going.
I’m not going anywhere until you tell me.
ADAM slowly walks downstage from between the two lights. The streetlights fade and the light of apartment becomes brighter, revealing a woman. ADAM walks from the shadows and gets into the bed in the middle of the apartment. He lies next to a woman who is not HANNAH.
ADAM (to HANNAH)
Fine. I guess the biggest regret I have is my last relationship, well; let me set the scene.
The lights where HANNAH stands fully darken and a faint rain-like nose become audible. ADAM sits up in the bed.
I awake in a building surrounded by serfs to spoons and idolaters to their ecstasy. The sleeping woman beside me blacked out over two years ago. Or at least that’s what she claims.
A loud bullet sound occurs.
The bellowing blast shivers through out my spine and I glance towards the window. It wasn’t a bullet. Just a car. She doesn’t move. She stays silent in the gallows of her sleep.
HANNAH (from the darkness)
Who is she?
ADAM (to HANNAH)
Are you going to let me tell my story?
HANNAH rescinds and ADAM continues.
ANNA stirs, she realizes I’m awake. She rolls over and puts a hand on my back. “Hold me” are the simple words she breathes into the nape of my neck. My hand gropes the left side of the bed, rifling for the remote.
ADAM pauses and turns the TV off.
Her body drives life into my chest and her presence is the only thing keeping me in this room. This room, situated in this run-down apartment, nestled in this no-where neighborhood, forgotten to the fast paced world.
HANNAH (from the darkness)
So it was about the girl?
ADAM ignores HANNAH and continues.
Leave or love-in-limbo is the dispute adulterating the molecules of my mind. It is the exhausting battle I perpetually endure. Days are spent deliberating of ways to kneel beside bedposts in the embargoed night. The only moment I have to breathe is the simple seconds spent holding ANNA in the early hours of the morning.
The sounds of the parking lot score the intimate scene; the howl of the cool wind, the hum of a quiet car. Everything works together to tempt the tensions of ADAM and ANNA.
I don’t sleep. The times I have counted the DVD’s along the wall in the light of darkness are innumerable. I paint plastered pictures of people along the withering white walls; I escape in the little bits of breaths exchanged while the clock counts upward.
HANNAH begins to giggle.
ANNA tenses. She must be dreaming. She speaks sonnets about situations centuries ago. I lustfully listen to every lingering syllable, awaiting answers to each professed antiquity
ADAM looks over at HANNAH, still giggling and standing in the darkness.
While I want, whistle and willfully yearn for the days when each facet of my faltering life is to be fulfilled, there is a comfort in the complacency of each caress that I could have never calculated. I know, in this moment, something, but not everything, is right. The myth of the moment, however, is that it is remembered. Moments fade and the memories eventually converge into maligned mistruths. They die, disfigured in the dalliances of a true connection.
HANNAH stops giggling..
ADAM (in earnest)
Will this die? Will there be a time of day when I don’t laugh at the way she wiggles her nose before she sneezes? Will I not find solace in a mid-morning text – just to meander, even if neither of us has the time? It is impossible. It is improbable. Sleep begins to seduce what’s left of my strengths. Before I close my eyes I look one last time at ANNA. She stays still, immortalized in the seconds it will be before I speak to her again.
The light dims on the apartment and the lights of the street begin to brighten. ADAM exits the bed and walks back to HANNAH.
It’s not solely about the situation or the girl; it’s about the fact I never had both at the same time. Eventually I got scared that I was fine with just one of them.
HANNAH jumps up and inquisitively looks ADAM in the eyes.
What are you doing?
HANNAH (playfully poking and prodding)
(continues looking over Adam)
HANNAH (While walking to the third lamppost)
You’re kinda fucked up, aren’t you?
ADAM (Slowly walking to catch up to HANNAH)
At least I gave you an honest answer. Don’t I get to ask you something now?
HANNAH swings around the middle lamppost with one arm.
Hmmm. I don’t know.
ADAM (almost playfully)
It’s only fair.
Not yet. One more question.
What else do I have to tell you?
What would our life be like now had we stayed together?
ADAM beams with optimism at the question and walks to the fourth light.
ADAM (with certainty)
I think we’d be in Paris?
HANNAH (Laughing, indulgent)
Yes, Paris. I would spend my days writing in our apartment and you would wait tables at some street-side café. At night we’d walk the streets and make up stories about the stars.
Would we travel?
Of course. We’d see Rome, Nice, London, Marseilles, Belgium, and Barcelona. We’d get so wasted in Amsterdam that we’d wake up in Warsaw with no clue how the fuck we got there.
What about the summers?
We’d summer in Crete. We’d spend all day drinking wine and watching the boats. We’d try painting but would be so horrible that we would use the canvas just to cover up dart holes.
Oh, and we’d play darts.
HANNAH gets visibly lost thinking about Crete. ADAM notices and walks back to HANNAH.
ADAM (waiving his hands)
Hey! Earth to HANNAH! Let’s get going.
HANNAH comes to and follows ADAM to the fourth light.
You never did let me ask my question.
Well, what do you want to know?
ADAM walks back and forth for a moment, doing his best to make it look like he is trying to think of a quality question. After a moment, his body straightens and he turns to HANNAH.
ADAM (Like he had been waiting to ask it)
Tell me about how you two met.
HANNAH’s head turns quickly.
You don’t want to know about that.
Why would I ask if I didn’t want to know? We should be able to talk about this stuff now, right?
You just don’t ADAM. And I don’t want to talk about it. Let it be.
ADAM chuckles. HANNAH rolls her eyes in an apparent angst and walks to the fifth streetlight. After a moment ADAM recomposes and follows.
HANNAH leans up against the fifth light bot doesn’t pass it.
ADAM (Shocked, with sincerity)
ADAM walks beside HANNAH and sits on the ground. After a moment HANNAH sits down next to him.
Well, have you told him?
I don’t know.
Are you going to?
Isn’t it better if you tell him sooner?
Of course it is ADAM. Things aren’t always that easy though.
Aren’t things as easy as you make them out to be?
No! Sometimes things just are whatever they are.
HANNAH and ADAM sit in silence for a moment.
I told him I’d be back twenty minutes ago.
I have to go.
We didn’t even get there.
I don’t think I’m up for it tonight ADAM. I think I’m just going to go home.
HANNAH stands up and walks toward stage left. Each light turns on as HANNAH passes. ADAM rises to his feet just as she is about to leave the stage.
Are you sure you’re ok?
I’m fine. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.
HANNAH exits stage left and ADAM watches her leave. He walks toward her for a moment but the lights don’t flick on as he walks. Eventually he is left in the dark in the middle of the stage.
End of scene.
Setting: In front of Curtain.
At the Rise: HANNAH appears at the middle of the stage with the curtains closed behind her.
Adam and I didn’t talk much after that. He got busy with his job and I took a chance on someone and we had an excellent life together. We had two kids. We were a family. I loved him.
I loved him. It wasn’t idyllic – it was real. It was tangible and I didn’t think about it. I didn’t have to think about it. I wasn’t attracted to this conceptual notion – I was attracted to him. Adam never got that. I couldn’t wait for someone when I had what I already wanted. When I had people depending on me. Adam and I were just friends. That was it.
HANNAH walks behind the curtain.