Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Untitled Play: Act 1 Scene 3 Draft 1

Scene 3 (Interrupted by the entrance of Brother 2 and Cousin 3)


Cousin 3: I dunno… this dumpster diving thing sounds dangerous.


Aunt: (overlapping when she sees Cousin 3 and walking over to him) Oh there he is! Let me see you.


Cousin 3: Hang on a sec Ma. I gotta go to the bathroom.


Mom: (overlapping) Oh my god, what a sight for sore eyes (gives her son multiple kisses) If I’d have known you’d be here so early I’d have had us wait to say Kiddush.


Son 2: That’s ok! We can always say it again!


Cousin 5: (finally giving a subtle glance up from her book) No you can’t, you only say it once.


Son 2: (enthusiastically) Hi there! How are you?? You never call me anymore! (tries to hug her, she moves out of the way)


Aunt: You can’t touch her now, she’s Shomer Negyia, it means no man can touch her until she gets married.


Son 2: Oh my god! That’s horrible!


Cousin: It’s what Hashem wants.


Son 2: Oh really? How’s God doin’?


Cousin 5: He’s great! He doesn’t judge me the way you do.


Son 2: Oh you can’t really believe that, can you?


Cousin 5: Of course I do.


Son 2: You know, you’re basically joining a cult...


Aunt: Yeah, but it’s our cult.


Cousin 5: MOM!


Aunt: Don’t mind her, this is just her teenage rebellion. Now stop avoiding me and say hello to your aunt (kisses him on the cheek). I hear your gay now.


Son 2: Yeah. For now...


Aunt: What? Is it like a shirt that you change every day?


Son 2: That’s what the Rabbis always told us.


Aunt: But your boyfriend, he seemed so Jewish! How could he possibly be a goy?


Son 2: You can always try to break us up.


Aunt: So men to you are like women and you can just go through them like water.


Son 2: C’mon, be fair to me. Every one of them was at least cattle.


Aunt: And at least they were kosher cattle. Well, I just want you to know that we’re all really proud of you for coming out. Even if your gay guy’s a goy.


Son 2: Yes. The goy guy’s a gay.


Aunt: So the gay boy’s a goy.


Son 2: Yes, the goy boy toy.


Aunt: Now let me see my boy. (grabs him for a hug) Oh my god you’re so handsome.


Cousin 3: I certainly think so.


Aunt: How was your trainride? What time is your wife getting in?


Cousin 3: She’s coming in with your other son, they should be here in about twenty minutes.


Aunt: Aren’t you ever scared that she might confuse the two of you?


Cousin 3: Not really. I’m three years older than him.


Aunt: I’m your mother and once the two of you were fully grown had to look at your teeth to tell you apart.


(enter Dad, Uncle, and Son 1)


Dad: You couldn’t have waited 20 minutes and all take a cab together?


Son 2: You can afford to pay for both…


Cousin 3: We couldn’t all have fit in one cab with the luggage; and I paid for the cab.


Dad: Well anyway, come here my son (gives his son a big hug and a kiss) I love you. And I just want you to know that we’re all very proud of you for coming out.


Son 2: (Waiting for it…) But....


Dad: (slaps him upside the head) Yes, but!… You’re going to break up with this goy tomorrow and I’m gonna find you a nice gay Jewish mixer.


Son 2: That’s very thoughtful of you Da...


Dad: (interrupting) You should have thought of your poor father and his ulcer! However long your mother was going to live you took ten years off her life! You sh...


Uncle: (interrupting, stepping between them) Easy there. Anyway, everything he said but without the slap. (hugs and kisses his nephew)


Son 2: I figured.


Dad: And nu? (going up to his nephew) How’s my favorite son? If only my real children had half your sechel for anything that really matters!


Son 1: (irritatedly sarcastic) Thanks Dad.


Dad: What? All I want is for you to make money, is that such a crime?


Son 1: And all I want is to spend your money.


Dad: I know you do. That’s why you’re going to put us all in the poorhouse before you move out of this one.


Son 1: Do you promise? That would be delightful.


Dad: (turns around to leave room before things get ugly. As he leaves, he exclaims with both hands) Ochen vey! I have a son!


(Exit Dad)


Cousin 3:  Well his kids are great. (puts arm on Son 1’s shoulder) I believe in them, even if they don’t.


Son 1: Oh go lose another million dollars!


Cousin 3: Well that’s the difference between me and my brother. When you’re in finance, you lose a million dollars every day. When you’re in computers like him, you make it.


Mom: Oh he’s not doing that well is he?


Cousin 3: Give him another few years and he’ll invent the robots that kill us all.


Son 1: And of course they’ll start with the Jews.


Mom: Why would they do that?


Son 1: I dunno, but of course his invention would beg the question: would killer robots be good for the Jews or bad for the Jews?


Aunt: I’m sure I’m not the only one who wishes you wouldn’t make fun of our religion so much.


Son 1: Don’t mind her. She’s still mad about my idea of the Holocaust themed Bar Mitzvah party.


Cousin 3: Oy gevalt.


Son 1: The place cards would all have yellow stars on them and you could be seated at the Bergen-Belsen table or the Majdanek table.


Cousin 3: Well (shrugs), it is very creative.


Son 1: Isn’t it? I really wish everyone in this family would stop acting like they don’t hate Bar Mitzvah parties so much


Mom: I think it’s nice to see all your family and friends together to celebrate.


Son 1: Well at my bar-mitzvah all our family and friends got together to watch Dad make fun of me. So I wouldn’t know.


Mom: You’ll appreciate them when your children get bar-mitzvahed.


Son 1: Let’s face it Mom, I’m never going to have children. Sorry about that.  


Aunt: Of course you are. All you need is one woman to pick you out of a lineup and say ‘this is the guy for me.’


Son 1: How romantic.

Uncle: That's what your Aunt did. Do you really think I had any success until she glommed onto me?


Son 2: You just need to get out of this cage and into the real world. You can always join me in New York. There’s no end of women up there!


Son 1: And get set up with all your sloppy seconds? I think I’ll pass.


Son 2: There are millions of women in New York I haven’t slept with.


Son 1: What about men?


Son 2: Gimme two years…


Son 1: Y’know, it really is unfair. You got the charisma, the looks, the competence. All I got was the brains and you were still the one who went Ivy.


Son 2: You still could if you wanted to.


Son 1: With my standout resume?


Son 2: Everybody lies on their resume. It shouldn’t be too hard to fake one.


Son 1: So I’m going to fake a resume to get into Harvard just to find out that the reading is all jargon and the courseload is going to give me a nervous breakdown? I’ll pass.


Son 2: It’s gotta be better than here.


Aunt: For him? Everything’s better than here.


Mom takes the second turkey out of the oven and makes announcement that dinner is served…


(everybody leaving except Cousin 3 and Brother 1)


Cousin 3: So how you been feeling?


Brother 1: The usual. It’s touch and go every day. Every time I’m happy, Dad notices it and makes sure to find a way to make me miserable again. I’m sure he feels the same way about me.


Cousin 3: I know you’ve heard this a zillion times but…


Brother 1: I know. I need to move out, but I gotta be ready for it.


Cousin 3: A lot of things will improve when you do.


Brother 1: If I do…


Cousin 3: You will.


Brother 1: Who knows if he’ll pay for the rent.


Cousin 3: Of course he will.


Brother 1: I don’t know that. And what happens if he doesn’t, or if he stops. I get evicted and Dad might not let Mom take me back in.


Cousin 3: That’s nonsense.


Brother 1: (agitated, slightly raised voice) You don’t know that!


Cousin 3: (calming) I’m just trying to help.


Brother 1: (collects himself) I appreciate that. Really I do.


Cousin 3: Are you taking your medication?


Brother 1: Of course.


Cousin 3: We should go in. You know I’m here no matter what if things go wrong tonight, and I’m always just a phonecall away.


Brother 1: I do, and thank you for that. I can’t imagine it’s easy.

Cousin 3: Don’t worry about it. I work on Wall Street, I see bigger psychopaths every day.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Untitled Play: Act 1 Scene 2 Draft 2

Scene 2 (in the kitchen. Mom and Aunt are preparing food, Cousin 5 is reading at the kitchen table, doesn’t look up.):


Aunt: What’s all the commotion in the dining room?

Mom: (dismissing it) They’re probably just fighting.

Aunt: (rolls eyes) Why’s this night different from all others?

Mom: (trepid) Well,... there’s a bit of news from the other one.

Aunt: What news? You told me he was gay months ago.

Mom: Yeah but... (pointing to the dining room) he didn’t know.

Aunt: Your husband wouldn’t care if his son were gay.

Mom: Well, that’s not the problem.

Aunt: What is?

Mom: Well,... remember the boyfriend, Robert Gold?

Aunt: Yeah.

Mom: It turns out he lied about the boy’s name, the name is Robert GOULD!

Aunt: THE BOYFRIEND’S A GOY!?!

Mom: Shhhhh. Don’t let your husband hear, he might have a heart attack.

Aunt: How can he do this to us?!

Mom: He never cared what we thought. He always did whatever he wanted. (small beat) Remember when he was four years old and I was pregnant again? Well... one day, just a few weeks before I had his sister, I couldn’t find him, so I asked his brother where he was. He told me, ‘he went out to lunch.’ So I went outside and I still couldn’t find him. I start looking down the road and still I couldn’t see him. That was when I realized that he was totally serious. So I ran as fast as I could toward Main Street screaming his name. When I finally see him, he's riding his tricycle in the middle of main street, with stopped cars honking their horns as far as the eye can see in either direction. I screamed at him ‘What do you think you’re doing?!’ And he shouts back: I’m going to McDonald’s.

Aunt: (laughs) Wow. How did you not have the baby right there?

Mom: Who knows? All I know is that was the moment I realized that I would have to watch him with both eyes. (sighs) By the time I realized the other one needed another two eyes, it was too late.

Aunt: (resigned) He was always so bright.

Mom: And his whole life, I never knew what to do to help him. We don’t know musicians, we don't know from writers, we know from Jews.

Aunt: Couldn’t one of us help him find some of those people? Some people like him might make him happier.


Mom: We could if we tried, but why would we ever do that? If we helped him, he’d turn his back on us the way they all do. He might be happier but he’d become just like his brother and hate everything about us. (emphasis on us)

Aunt: You can’t know that.

Mom: Look at his brother! Y’know I almost would be OK with our sons becoming more assimilated if they actually assimilated. But they wouldn’t be Americans, they’re just America-haters like every Jewish kid these days that comes out of college. They complain about everything in this country and ignore that this country did everything for them! From when they were little they both did everything they wanted and thought they were entitled to it. They never cared that their parents had no lives except taking care of them! And they both live like we’ll be there forever.

Aunt: Well look at your mother. You might be around forever!

Mom: I don’t think I will be. (comes right up to the aunt and says very quietly) I don’t want you to tell anybody this, but the reason I lost all the weight on that diet is that around this time last year I was diagnosed with Lupus.

Aunt: (concerned, perhaps overly) Oh my god!

Mom: Shhh… I don’t want the kids to know.

Aunt: Well, you’re obviously taking care of yourself.

Mom: But my kids can’t take care of themselves. It’s my fault for not teaching them, but I have to live with the fact that I've failed as a mother.

Aunt: That’s not true at all. You’re the best mother in Baltimore!

Mom: No I'm not. I have to be around as long as I can because nobody else is gonna take care of them. They didn’t need the world's best mother, they needed a drill sergeant.

Aunt: Well, your husband certainly tried.  

Mother: And I should have let him. But he’s such a shithead.

Aunt: He means well, and when you really need him he’s a real tzadik.

Mother: A manic-depressive tzadik for sure. He always tells me that I want him to be miserable because the times when he’s miserable are the only times I’m not.

Aunt: (laughs) Was there ever any doubt about that?

Mother: Of course not. But he's proof that you can still be a complete asshole and still be a great husband, son, and father. We have parents and children to take care of. And he takes care of them - anything they need: money, laundry, food, cars, apartments, tuition.

Aunt: (jokingly) And he wants every bit of credit for it.  

Mother: Yeah, he complains about it every second, but can you blame him? All these years when his Dad was sick: stroke after stroke, screaming nightmares from both his parents for their years in the camps. All the fights in his house during the growing up and the breaking of the furniture.

Aunt: Did you ever wonder if his dad hit his mother?

Mother: (immediately) Never. Jews yell so they don’t have to hit each other

Aunt: Nobody in my family ever yelled, my parents just sat in the living room simmering at each other for fifty-eight years.

Mother: Your family was German Jews. Your great-grandparents all got here in the 19th century and moved out to the midwest to run stores. To Jews like us, your family might as well have been goyim.

Aunt: That’s not very nice!

Mother: You should be happy! You had a real American upbringing! The rest of us were just poor Jews in the middle of a neighborhood that became black after the fifties.

Aunt: We had antisemitism too!

Mother: Not the way we did! My family didn’t move out to the suburbs until 19fucking70 - in the sixties the schvartzes harassed me every day. Dad had to drive me and pick me up from college so I wouldn’t get groped on the way home from school.

Aunt: Yeah,... I'm sure that must have been hard. We didn’t have anything like that.

Mother: And I had it easy compared to my husband. He never really had a childhood! All those years in his parents store he would have to help out, stay up late to count the money from the day, get up early to help unload the stocks.

Aunt: And still he skipped two grades.   

Mother: And then he got PhD in Toronto back when getting one meant something…

Aunt: Yeah. Why does he always dismiss that so much?

Mother: He always says he did it because of the war. But I think he just did it to get away from his family. He'd have loved to go to Vietnam if it meant getting out of that house, he might have almost been more scared that his draft number wasn't high enough! But it doesn't matter, that's all nearly thirty years ago. (sighs) I got pregnant, five months later we have a wedding with 400 people while I'm showing through my wedding dress. And now we're old too and I wonder if that brilliant mind of his isn’t gonna go sooner than his father’s did. The seizures are getting more frequent.

Aunt: I remember seeing it, it’s pretty scary. But long as you keep taking care of yourself, you’ll be there forever.

Mother: I don’t know that.

Aunt: Your kids still have plenty of time to figure it out. (decisively) They'll be fine. (beat) Anyway, I know you’ve known about him being gay for months. But how long have you known about the goyfriend?

Mom: (resignedly) From the beginning. I kept the whole thing a secret from his father until he told me to tell him, which was just this week. He didn’t want his father to know about the boy either because he knew his Dad would grill him about it until he got the truth.

Aunt: Well that’s just stupid. He should have told you everything right away.

Mom: (throws hands up in the air) He knew we’d try to break them up.

Aunt: Yeah, well, so what? There are plenty of gay Jews out there.    

Mom: You know him. If we tell him he can only date a Jew, he’ll go through every schkotz in New York.

Aunt: (confused) Y'know, I just don't get it... All those girls from college… Not a single shikse.

Mom: He probably shtupped his way through the whole Hillel house.

Aunt: How did he even find time for studying with all those schnozzy meydlach? (make a beak against your head with your elbow)

Mom: (shrugs) I don’t think he did. He was just one of those kids who could do the reading five minutes before class and ace the test.

Aunt: (shakes head) That’s so weird. I never thought of him as the type to cut corners.

Mom: (bitterly joking) Well, apparently he still likes things uncut…

Aunt: That’s horrible... (beat) But he was never the smart one. How did he turn out so well and your other one fuck up so badly?

Mom: (half-heartedly chuckles) Well, the other one always joked that he sold his birthright to his brother for a bowl of soup.

Aunt: I don’t get it… (thinks about it for a second) you mean like Esau did to Jacob?

Mom: Yeah. He keeps repeating that joke like it’s hilarious, but you know... nobody ever seemed to get most of his jokes but him.

Aunt: (as if to broach a difficult subject) Did you ever test him for some kind of autistic spectrum, like Asperger’s?

Mom: We did,... he has some traits in common, but if he has anything like that it’s mild. Between you and me, I always wondered if he had Borderline Personality Disorder.

Aunt: (aghast) Don’t say that! That’s horrible!

Mom: (bitterly and resignedly) You’ve never really seen how bad his temper gets.

Aunt: Well I’ve seen flashes of it, and I’ve certainly heard all about it, but you should have seen the way my sister got when she was younger!

Mom: Yeah,... (knows she's broaching a difficult subject) y’know, about that, I know this is none of my business.

Aunt: (interrupting, angrily) Don’t start with that. You have no idea what she put me through. I know everybody gets along your family. But she’s crazy.

Mom: (beat, confused look) Have you taken a good look around here?

Aunt: She hasn’t thrown away a single article of paper in thirty years! She doesn’t let anyone come over to visit her so I can't even be in my mother's apartment anymore! She’s never had a job and now that Mom is dead she moved into Mom’s apartment with only her crap for company!

Mom: That sounds incredibly sad.

Aunt: I know it’s sad, but you can’t talk to her without her blowing up. She can’t even be in the presence of mustard!

Mom: Y'know... I might regret saying this, but with your permission of course,... if you want,... I’ll…

(Interrupted by the entrance of Brother 2 and Cousin 3)

Untitled Play: Act 1 Scene 2 First Draft

Scene 2 (in the kitchen. Mom and Aunt are preparing food, Cousin 5 is reading at the kitchen table, doesn’t look up.):

Aunt: What’s all the commotion in the dining room?

Mom: They’re probably just fighting.

Aunt: (rolls eyes) Why’s this night different from all others?

Mom: Well, there’s a bit of news from the other one.

Aunt: What news? You told me he was gay months ago.

Mom: Yeah but (pointing to the dining room) he didn’t know.

Aunt: Your husband wouldn’t care if his son were gay.

Mom: Well, that’s not the problem.

Aunt: What is?

Mom: Well,... remember the boyfriend, Robert Gold?

Aunt: Yeah.

Mom: It turns out he lied about the boy’s name, the name is Robert GOULD!

Aunt: THE BOYFRIEND’S A GOY!?!

Mom: Shhhhh. Don’t let your husband hear, he might have a heart attack.

Aunt: How can he do this to us?!

Mom: He never cared what we thought. He always did whatever he wanted. Remember when he was three years old and I was pregnant again? Well one day, just a few weeks before I had his sister, I couldn’t find him, so I asked his brother where he was. He told me, ‘he went out to lunch.’ So I went outside and I still couldn’t find him. I start looking down the road and I still couldn’t see him. That was when I realized that he was totally serious. So I ran as fast as I could toward Main Street, screaming his name all the way. When I finally saw him, he was riding his tricycle in the middle of main street, with stopped cars honking their horns as far as the eye could see in either direction. I screamed at him ‘What do you think you’re doing?!’ And he said: I’m going to McDonald’s.

Aunt: Wow. How did you not have the baby right there?

Mom: Who knows? All I know is that was the moment I realized that I would have to watch him with both eyes. By the time I realized the other one needed another two eyes, it was too late.

Aunt: He was always so bright.

Mom: And his whole life, I never knew what to do to help him. We don’t know musicians and writers, we know Jews.

Aunt: Couldn’t one of us help him find some of those people?

Mom: We could if we tried, but why would we ever do that? If we helped him, he’d turn his back on us the way they all do. He might be happier but he’d become just like his brother and hate everything we are.

Aunt: You can’t know that.

Mom: Look at his brother. Y’know I would almost be OK with our sons becoming more assimilated if they actually assimilated. But they wouldn’t be Americans, they’re just America-haters that complain about everything in this country and ignore that this country did everything for them. From the time they were little they both did whatever they wanted and thought they were entitled to it. They never cared that their parents had no lives except taking care of them, and they both live like we’ll be there forever.

Aunt: Well look at your mother. You might be around forever!

Mom: I don’t think I will be. (comes right up to the aunt and says very quietly) I don’t want you to tell anybody this, but the reason I lost all the weight on that diet is that I have Lupus.

Aunt: Oh my god!

Mom: Shhh… I don’t want the kids to know.

Aunt: Well, you’re obviously taking care of yourself.

Mom: But my kids can’t take care of themselves. It’s my fault for not teaching them, but I have to live with the fact that I failed them as a mother. So I have to be around as long as I can.

Aunt: That’s not true at all. You’re the best mother in Baltimore!

Mom: They didn’t need the best mother, they needed a drill sergeant.

Aunt: Well, your husband certainly tried.  

Mother: And I should have let him. But he’s such a bully sometimes.

Aunt: He means well, and when push comes to shove he’s a real tzadik.

Mother: A manic-depressive tzadik for sure. He always tells me that I want him to be miserable because the times when he’s miserable are the only times I’m not.

Aunt: (laughs) Was there ever any doubt about that?

Mother: Of course not. But we have parents and children to take care of. And he takes care of them - anything they need: money, laundry, food, cars, apartments, tuition.

Aunt: (jokingly) And he wants every bit of credit for it.  

Mother: Yeah, he complains about it every second, but can you blame him? All these years when his Dad was sick. Stroke after stroke, screaming nightmares from both his parents for their years in the camps. All the fights in his house growing up and the breaking furniture.

Aunt: Did you ever wonder if his dad hit his mother?

Mother: Never. Jews yell so they don’t have to hit each other

Aunt: Nobody in my family ever yelled, my parents have just sat in the living room simmering at each other for fifty-eight years.

Mother: Your family was German Jews. Your great-grandparents all got here in the 19th century and moved out to the midwest to run stores. To Jews like us, your family might as well have been goyim.

Aunt: That’s not very nice!

Mother: You should be happy! You had a real American upbringing! The rest of us were just poor Jews in the middle of a neighborhood that became black after the fifties.

Aunt: We had antisemitism too!

Mother: Not the way we did. My family didn’t move out to the suburbs until 1970 - in the sixties the schvartzes harassed me every day. Dad had to drive me and pick me up from college so I wouldn’t get groped on the way home from school.

Aunt: Yeah, that must have been hard. We didn’t have anything like that.

Mother: And I had it easy compared to my husband. He never really had a childhood. All the years in his parents store he would have to help out, stay up late to count the money from the day, get up early to help unload the stocks.

Aunt: And still he skipped two grades.   

Mother: A PhD from Toronto back when academia meant something…

Aunt: Why does he hate to talk about it so much?

Mother: He always says he did it for the war. But I think he just did it to get away from his family. But now, I wonder if that brilliant mind of his isn’t going to go sooner than his father’s did. The seizures are getting more frequent.

Aunt: I remember seeing it, it’s pretty scary. But long as you keep taking care of yourself, you’ll be there forever.

Mother: I don’t know that.

Aunt: Your kids still have plenty of time. They will be fine. (beat) Anyway, I know you’ve known about him being gay for months. But how long have you known about the goyfriend?

Mom: From the beginning. I kept the whole thing a secret from his father until he told me to tell him, which was just this week. He didn’t want his father to know about the boy either because he knew his Dad would grill him about it until he got the truth.

Aunt: Well that’s just stupid. He should have told you everything right away.

Mom: He knew we’d try to break them up.

Aunt: Yeah, well, so what? There are plenty of gay Jews out there.    

Mom: You know him. If we tell him he can only date a Jew, he’ll go through every schkotz in New York.

Aunt: But all those girls from college… Not a single shikse.

Mom: Yeah. He probably slept his way through the entire Hillel house.

Aunt: How did he even find time for studying?

Mom: I don’t think he did. He was just one of those kids who could do the reading five minutes before class and ace the test.

Aunt: That’s weird. I never thought of him as the type to cut corners.

Mom: Well, apparently he still likes things uncut…

Aunt: That’s horrible. (beat) But he was never the smart one. How did he turn out so well and your other one crap up so badly?

Mom: (half-heartedly chuckles) Well, the other one always joked that he sold his birthright to his brother for a bowl of soup.

Aunt: I don’t get it… you mean like Esau did to Jacob?

Mom: Yeah. He keeps repeating that joke it’s hilarious, but nobody ever seems to get most of his jokes but him.

Aunt: Did you ever test him for some kind of autistic spectrum, like Asperger’s?

Mom: We did, he has some traits in common, but if he has anything like that it’s mild. Between you and me, I always wondered if he had Borderline Personality Disorder.

Aunt: Don’t say that! That’s horrible!

Mom: You’ve never really seen how bad his temper gets.

Aunt: Well I’ve seen flashes of it, and I’ve certainly heard all about it, but you should have seen the way my sister got when she was younger.

Mom: Yeah,... y’know, about that, I know this is none of my business.

Aunt: (interrupting) Don’t start with that. You have no idea what she put me through. I know everybody gets along your family. But she’s crazy.

Mom: (beat) Have you taken a good look around here?

Aunt: She hasn’t thrown away a single article of paper in thirty years. She doesn’t have anyone come over. She’s never had a job and now that Mom is dead she moved into Mom’s apartment with only her crap for company.

Mom: But that sounds incredibly sad.

Aunt: I know it’s sad, but you can’t talk to her without her blowing up. She can’t even be in the presence of mustard!

Mom: If you want, I’ll…

(Interrupted by the entrance of Brother 2 and Cousin 3)