Take your face off
All parts of the brain onstage in organized “clumps” according to brain layout. Their faces are grim with sorrow and mourning, appropriate to character.
Tammy: (Very sad) He was but one hour mine, the region cloud hath mask’d him from me now…
(The other parts of the brain speak all at once in a chaos)
Franny: Shut. Up. We don’t want to hear you complaining ALL THE TIME.
Delia: Oh, my poor son. (Breaks down with emotion) I think I’m going to be sick. (runs out of the room)
Amy: Anne will probably regret thwarting William’s advances now. That’s karma for you. Anne will come crawling back to him, I’m sure.
Stella: Do you think Anne and William will break up? They were almost too good to be true. A true celebrity couple. They could have gone by one name – Wanne, or Anniam. Alliam?
Marsha: Sounds too much like ‘alien’. Don’t hurt yourself, Stella.
Franny: Well Hamnet sounds too much like something you would carry bacon in. It was a weird name anyway.
Delia: Are you saying you’re glad he’s dead?
Franny: No. I’m just glad I don’t have to answer the question “why Hamnet?!” anymore. It’s a little impolite to make fun of a name on a gravestone.
Tia: We all know it’s the dash in between the dates that matters. Besides, what’s in a name?
(Cal points his pencil at Tia with excitement, and writes that down, musing his excitement)
Stella: I think his name would have been slightly better if it didn’t have the word “net” in it. Like… Hammet… or Hamlet… I like Hamlet…
Marsha: Stella, a good idea for once! Cal, write this down. (Cal takes note of it in a notebook) And date it. I’m sure we’ll want to remember this later.
Ollie: Hamnet was such a cute kid. What a gorgeous head of curls. He would have been a fox!
Oscar: He really was a lovely boy. Better looking than all the other kids in Stratford upon Avon. Better looking than his twin, that’s for sure.
Tia: (becomes upset) You mean Judith?
(Franny laughs uncontrollably)
Oscar: What. What the heck are you laughing at? You’re ruining everything.
Franny: Shut up Oscar! Stop being such a tool.
Marsha: The first rule here is no jerky comments… And no passive aggressive comments… And be friends.
Cal: …those are three rules.
Amy: A nicer thing to say would have been “your laughter is causing us to be unfocused, could you stop? Thank you very much”.
Marsha: Stop it! All of you! This is getting out of control. We are one man, for goodness sake. Why can’t we have one continuous thought? We don’t make a very good team. It’s no wonder William is on the verge of insanity.
Ronnie: (ignoring Marsha’s assertion) This is all my fault! Surely I could have prevented it.
Cal: If it’s William’s fault, it’s all our faults. Don’t beat yourself up about it.
Delia: So we can’t be a little upset that our only son just bit the dust?
Cal: Sings the tune to Another One Bites the Dust
Marsha: Let’s be productive. Like I said, teamwork. Organization! (in the same tone as the We Are Marshall cheer) We. Are. William!
Delia: (comes back from being sick, still violently ill) Let’s set William’s sights on something else before he turns to (with a dramatic beat/take) “other things”.
Amy: We need to get away from it all. And by all of it I mean the kids, the wife, and being a “husband”. Get away from everybody out there.
Franny: Whoa. Dream big. How would we plan on doing that?
Amy: (non sequitur) Maybe if I just died, everyone would forget about being sad about Hamnet and be sad about me!
Marsha: You can’t just kill off a portion of William’s central nervous system. That’s very inconsiderate. What would he do without his reasoning?
(After a beat to consider this, Tammie has a sudden thought)
Tammie: I say we leave. Now. London or bust.
Ronnie: That’s a rash decision. Where would we go? What would we do? We can’t just go wandering about, what would the neighbors think? I think we ought to stick it out, for Anne and the kids. Wedding vows. Do or die, thick and thin.
Stella: Actually it’s ‘in sickness and in health’ and ‘til death do us part’…
Delia: Are you sick if you’re dead?
Amy: Are you listening? This only lasts ‘til death do you part. And then you don’t have to stick it out in sickness or health.
Tilly: But Hamnet’s the one that died. Anne is still alive and well, and so is their spark of love.
Amy: That’s a technicality. The spark died out with Hamnet.
Delia: To be brutally honest, that is.
Cal: (suddenly coming alive at the opportunity to mediate) It sounds like we have an intra-cranial disaster coming on. Deep breaths. Get that oxygen flowing. Now, let’s assess both sides of the situation.
Polly: (ignoring Cal, talking to Ronnie still) You’ve just got to rationalize everything, don’t you? They’ll be fine, Anne’s got the second best bed. I’m going to get William out of here – who’s with me?
(The majority raise their hands, Ronnie is obviously uncomfortable about this)
Amy: It’s settled then, we’re going where William has never gone before!
(Others chatter in agreement)
Marsha: We should tell Anne… She’s kind of a big deal.
Delia: Ever heard of don’t ask, don’t tell? I’m with Polly on this one. Trust your gut feelings.
Amy: It might be entertaining to watch her reaction when we tell her. She’d feel so awful.
Stella: You’re sick.
Oscar: (with sympathy) I don’t know if that’s a good idea. I’ve never seen her look so – (about to say “sad”, “lonely”)
Ollie: Ugly? Old? That girl needs tweezers, stat. She’s really let herself go.
Oscar: (trying to recover and sound tough and cool) Yeah… dawg.
Ollie: (Imitating Anne Hathaway) Look! I’m Anne! My son just died so I’m depressed and I don’t have to shave or bathe because I’m in mourning. Isn’t life grand?! (Oscar forces a laugh and he and Ollie fist bump in agreement)
Tilly: Jerks. I can’t imagine life without Anne.
Amy: You are just desperate for William and Anne to be in love so you have a role in this society. There’s not much use for you when William is being governed by maddening love.
Tilly: I’m optimistic about the possibilities. And I’m convinced Anne is William’s split-apart, one-true-love.
Delia: It wouldn’t matter even if they were Siamese twins! Getting out is the best idea we’ve heard so far. I love causing a scene. Getting up in a fit of rage, storming out, it’s more exciting than anything William has ever gotten to do here. Polly, do you think on our way out William could smash some plates and set this house on fire?
Cal: Sings the tune to Burning Down the House
Polly: I completely agree. Without the fire, though. They might think William’s insane – wouldn’t that be offensive? It’s best for them to go their separate ways. (motioning to Ollie and Oscar) I need the two of you over here so I can see what I’m doing. And if we’re sneaking out, I need the two of you (pointing to Tammy and Tia) to be listening for anything suspicious. This is William, signing out.
(The members pack up and leave, some of them regretfully packing up and others eager to see something new, according to character)
(Everyone sitting in rows (almost like a bus seating arrangement. Every lobe is sitting together))
Cal: The Bus gets taken over by terrorists…
Franny: Calm down Cal. THIS is why you’re free from love. Can’t you just go with the flow?
Oscar: Can’t wait to see the “sights” in London, if you know what I mean.
Ollie: I can’t say I do…
Oscar: Eye candy. You know, the ladies…
Ollie: Boom baby! (they high five) Wait, you mean cheat on Anne?
Tilly: She was our first love!
Franny: (mocking Tilly) “She was our first love!” Please move on for once. You and goo-goo eyes over there (Stella) are just a little bit desperate.
Stella: Anne really was beautiful. A dream come true.
Marsha: A match made in Heaven.
Polly: I wonder if there will be any good looking men in London…
(Cal gives her a creeped out look)
Cal: Men? William? Do you hear yourself?
Polly: (sarcastic) Soooorry! It’s hard being a feminine member of what’s ultimately a male society.
(All the girls agree emphatically)
Oscar: Keep it straight, Polly.
Polly: Yeah, thanks, Oscar.
Oscar: Wait. You guys. (seeing that the girls are very sensitive to this word, makes a big deal of correcting the offense) Sorry, ladies and gentleman. I’ve found it.
Ollie: We found it. And by it we mean her.
Oscar: She’s got gorgeous, dark hair, and a rockin’ bod. (Ollie gives him a dark look) She’s pretty much the sun in my eastern sky.
Ollie: She’s not THAT great… (Oscar starts consoling her)
Stella: Now that’s poetry. That’s true love. Add that to the notebook.
Amy: Can’t wait to see how Anne feels about this…
Ronnie: NO! We can’t tell her. We shouldn’t even be doing this. I want to go home.
Delia: Can’t exactly do that, now can you? Scared of the big bad world? It’s one big stage, and William is in the spotlight. Are you afraid, wittle Ronnie?
Ronnie: No, I just don’t think getting involved with another woman is very respectful. Too soon, too soon.
Tia: We’re not giving Anne enough credit. Remember all the good things about her? The way she always smelled like roses, the way she served cake and ale at Christmas time, and the way she could get the toughest stains out of clothes? Such a good mother and wife.
Franny: You’re convinced Anne was our one true love because she smelled decent and kept house? You’re all confused. This is just a big joke. I never believed in it anyway.
Tilly: Maybe we have a shot at love with this “dark lady”. She sounds mysterious. This could be… fun.
Oscar: She’s getting away! Hurry! But let’s stay a just few meters behind…
Ollie: Oscar! Stop being so –
Marsha: (cutting her off) Perverse.
Tammy: I’m warning all of you right now, this can only end up in heartbreak.
Tia: How do you know? We’ve never known anything like it. All we know is Anne.
Ronnie: What’s wrong with that?
Cal: As much as I’d like to stay impartial, I have to admit you need to shake it up a bit, Ronnie. We need something new to experience, to give William something else to think about other than Hamnet. (Tammy lets out a long wail)
Ollie: I’ve got a visual. She really is pretty, I have to admit. Although she does have a lot of split ends.
Stella: I’m sure she’s wonderful. She’ll be so good for William.
Tammy: Let’s go talk to her.
Amy: Girls go for tortured guys – maybe we can slip in that we have a dead son.
Delia: She’ll go crazy for William. Women love bad boys.
Polly: Don’t I know it. (silence)
Franny: Polly. You love ANY boy.
Polly: YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE, OKAY? Don’t judge me!
Franny: One, I DO know your life… I live your life with you… and two, I’m not judging you, I’m merely stating a fact.
Cal: Ladies, let’s pull it together for Will. His possible true love (Ronnie whimpers) is getting away.
Oscar: Actually, the view from back here really isn’t so bad.
Ollie: If this is our chance at love, we should go for it. Just do it.
Delia: William had better get those legs moving before the dark lady is just a memory.
Tia: (glancing at Tammy, who is in shock over the decision to leave Anne) We’d better hurry before we add any more regrets to William’s conscience.
(The group files out in haste, the eager ones at the forefront and the more reluctant members toward the back, with Stella, daydreaming, at the very end)
Stella: Oh, it’s so romantic when boys chase girls!
(The members are all crowded around Ollie, Oscar, Tammy, Tia, and Polly, very much like all crowding around a TV. Ollie and Oscar are reporting what they see (occipital lobe), in short bursts, while the other members react. Tammy and Tia reporting what they hear (temporal lobe), William is in conversation with the Dark Lady, and they are all giving advice on what to do, which is controlled by Polly (parietal lobe), who is eager to engage the Dark Lady )
Ollie: She’s not a 10, but there’s something about her that just draws you in.
Oscar: She’s smokin’, that’s for sure.
Cal: It’s definitely an attractive quality that she plays the piano. A woman with talent worthy of our William.
Marsha: Let’s not rush this. We don’t know for sure if she and William are compatible. What if their star signs don’t match?
Tilly: We don’t even know her name. Polly, ask her for her name!
Franny: Whoa, you’re breaking out of your shell, Tilly. Just calm down a second.
Oscar: She’s leaning in…
Delia: GO FOR IT WILLIAM!
Cal: Let’s be reasonable. That might scare her off. I’m sure we can take it a little bit slower than that.
Polly: (with resolve) I’m going to put William’s arm around her waist.
Ronnie: No! You’re insane!
D+A: In the membrane!
Ronnie: It’s way too soon!
Polly: Too late. William has made the first move.
Ollie: (giggling) I wouldn’t be so sure. That little wink she gave when we made eye contact for the first time was definitely a summons.
Franny: Oh, JUST STOP IT. (peering in for a closer look) This girl isn’t playing. She knows her stuff. Ollie, what’s she doing now?
Oscar: She’s playing with her hair. And batting her eyelashes. Does she have an eye twitch?
Tilly: (disappointed) Anne never did that…
Ollie: She’s winking. Her physical control and Polly would be best friends. Same style.
Amy: Is she flirting?
Delia: Definitely flirting.
Amy: Hurry up! Tell her that Hamnet died. She’ll fall into his arms and want to comfort him and –
Tammy: (cutting Amy off) PLEASE RESPECT HIS MEMORY!
Tia: You’re right. We’re awful. We can’t just abuse Hamnet’s life and times. We need to look out for William. He can’t just forget everything that’s good.
Tilly: Shh! Worry about that later, I want to hear what she’s saying.
(Oscar and Ollie have been talking loudly about the way the Dark Lady looks, while Tammy tries to shout over them)
O&O: (mixture of these phrases, and etc, exclaiming at her looks) We hit the jackpot! Get it William!
Tammy: (trying to report what she hears) I can barely hear! I think she said she likes our snail? Wait. No smile! She likes our smile! What should we say?
Polly: Why say anything? I could just – (Gets cut off)
Oscar: Uh… (waving frantically at the other members, who are getting distracted amongst themselves) she’s seriously leaning in… Polly……!?
Ronnie: All I can think about is Anne…
Tilly: We’re just having fun… don’t be such a party pooper.
Oscar: I am so in love with her.
Stella: Me too!
Polly: Me three!
(everyone else joins in with a “so am I” or a “whoopee!” or a “she’s so fine” etc.)
Cal: We have a hot new girlfriend you guys. Yes! (celebratory reaction, then realizes he needs to remain calm) And listen to her play the piano. She’s got the magic touch.
Polly: I’ll be the judge of that. (another classic, questioning look from Cal to Polly) Let’s take the next step, shall we?
Marsha: Let’s not get ahead of ourselves…we’ve only just met the girl… no matter how perfect she is… Plus what about Anne?
(blank looks from all)
Marsha: Never mind.
Cal: What is there to get ahead of? If it’s love, it’s love. Am I right?
(all grumble their agreement)
Tia: That’s true! I remember the days of young love so vividly…
Tammy: So you obviously remember the heartache as well… This had better end well. You know what they say…
Tia: Seize the day!
Tammy: No, I was thinking more like…
Tia: (singing ABBA) Take a chance on me…
Tammy: So much for being perfectly in sync.
Cal: Enough! Let’s take care of business.
Tilly: This could be it!
(all are eager to see what happens next, listening as Ollie, Oscar, Tammy, Tia, and Polly work in sync)
Oscar: She keeps playing with her ring.
Stella: It’s not a wedding ring, right?
Ronnie: So what if it was?
Franny: What’s gotten into you?
Ronnie: I have to admit this is kind of thrilling! Talk about an adrenaline rush!
Ollie: She dropped the ring on the ground.
Marsha: She’s clumsy. Won’t make a good wife.
Polly: Not clumsy. Smart.
Amy: How does that make her smart?
Oscar: Oldest trick in the book. Bend…
(the three lift up their arms football game style and cheer happily)
Oscar. (complete amazement) Whoa. Just… whoa.
Tilly: She’s into Will. She’s so into Will!
Cal: (with anticipation) Keep it calm, keep it calm…!
Tia: This is going down in my records as “love at first sight”! (she adds it to Cal’s notebook)
Ollie: She’s smiling. A lot. Oh, wow. Crooked front teeth.
Stella: Ollie, don’t be so judgmental. I think it’s kind of endearing.
Oscar: (with a sports-announcer-esque voice) She really likes the “arm around waist” move you made, Polly. Game changing play there. Good early strategy.
Ronnie: Kiss her.
(all turn and look back at Ronnie, who has been on the outskirts of the group the whole time)
Ronnie: Get this show on the road. William needs to make the real first move.
Polly: Roger that. All systems go?
(the members are in chaos)
Tilly: This really could be it!
Franny: You’ve got to be kidding me…
Cal: I’m writing it all down as fast as I can!
Tammy: Tell me when it’s over!
Ollie: Eek! I can’t watch this. Too much pressure. (Oscar covers her eyes)
Oscar: Go for it Polly! Go! go! go!
Cal: (in the middle of the group, as usual, trying to keep everyone in balance, singing) “I kissed a girl, and I liked it!”
Amy: What happened to not getting ahead of yourself, Cal?
Delia: He can sing whatever he wants to, I’m so ready for this!
Marsha: Ronnie, what have you done to us?
Stella: William’s such a dreamboat.
Franny: You are so stuck up.
Oscar: Here it goes…
Ollie: Hello crooked teeth…
Tilly: This is it!
(Polly, Ollie, Oscar, Tammy, and Tia all lean in at the same time with anticipation (facing the audience) others are giddy with eagerness)
(P, O, O, T, and T, lean back with looks of disappointment or disinterest on their faces)
Polly: Not… bad for the first go round.
Ollie: Ew. I cannot deal with those teeth.
Oscar: Could have been worse!
Franny: Also could have been better.
Tammy: SHHHH! (Tia and Tammy cup their ears and listen hard)
Tia: She wants to go back to her place. Wait, what do we do?!
Ronnie: We say yes. Yes, yes, yes.
Stella: I think I’m going to faint.
Amy: Delia, stay with me here! (fanning Delia, who is overdosing on this emotional roller coaster)
Cal: I think we should take a vote! Who wants to go with her?
(everyone looks at Cal likes he’s absolutely crazy)
Tammy and Tia: NO!
Ollie: Well…What now?
Oscar: Find some other hot chick?
(Glares from everyone)
Oscar: I was kidding… (he clearly was not kidding) Ha. Ha. It was a joke…(glares from everyone especially Ollie)
Polly: Let’s get going, it’s not polite to keep a lady waiting!
Tilly: This is it!
(They all begin filing out, pushing to keep an eye on the Dark Lady)
Franny: You keep saying that, Tilly.
(Next morning, William and Co. have been thrown out of the DL’s house. The group is in a state of panic and decision of what to do)
Delia: I’m pretty sure this is our first time to be kicked out of a woman’s house…
Tia: That was not our finest moment, my friends.
Tammy: Our? Let’s be clear. Not Ronnie’s finest moment.
Polly: This is the reason I am William’s physical control. But you just had to stage a full take over, didn’t you, Ronnie?
Ronnie: You were going way over the line. William needed to set up some boundaries.
Tilly: And you just had to go on a guilt trip and feel bad about leaving Anne at the perfectly wrong time! That was it!
Delia: Amy, you have GOT to stop making William watch TV for women.
Oscar: Wow, way to throw Amy under the bus… That’s so not cool. Amy did nothing wrong.
Amy: Guys this is going absolutely nowhere. I want her back. If we don’t have her, we’ve got to deal with this Hamnet business. And we know how Tammy gets about Hamnet.
(Cal is singing “Should I Stay or Should I Go” to himself, but a little too loudly)
Oscar: Cal! Who appointed you DJ? Just keep it to yourself. Please.
Franny: Why do all of you look so upset? There’s no way you thought that was going to work out. You don’t find love walking the streets of London.
Tilly: Well where do you find it?
Marsha: At home. With Anne. Ronnie, why aren’t you with me on this anymore?
Ollie: Marsha, everyone is sick of you shooting down everything that we do. Can you just zip it for like 5 minutes?
Amy: She just got caught up in the moment, Marsha. Give her a break. Everyone should be allowed to shake it up every once in a while.
Stella: Not when it’s William you’re messing with! We’re on the verge of emotional collapse here. What’s the delia with Delia?
(Delia is rocking back and forth, ringing her hands and hair, having a general panic attack)
Amy: Delia? Sweetie? Okay, just breathe. We’re going to be alright… right everyone? (everyone halfheartedly nods. obvious lack of confidence)
Delia: (reverting to a childlike state) I want go home! Amy!
Amy: Me too… Just blame it on Ronnie. She’s the real source of all of this trouble.
Ronnie: Fine. Fine! We’ll head back for a mundane life in the country. Does that sound appetizing?! We can return to the second best bed, and our second best wife, and our second best twin of Hamnet.
Tia: Judith. Her name is Judith!
Franny: You know how I feel about that name… HamNET…
Tammy: SHHH. I hear footsteps.
Polly: Should William be running?
Oscar: (frightened) I don’t see anything… Ollie get over here, I can’t see anything!
Ollie: I’m coming I’m coming… (the two sit next to each other and are immediately afraid) Oh. There she is. Why is she so upset?
Marsha: Why do you think? Ronnie spilled the beans and sabotaged our situation.
Ronnie: Guys I really didn’t mean to! Guilty conscience.
Marsha: Feeling remorse isn’t your job.
(Tia and Tammy are listening intently, repeating in canon)
Tia: She says she’s never met anyone like William.
Tammy: Meaning she’s never met anyone quite so jerky.
Tia: She says she was caught up in the moment when she threw us out.
Tammy: She probably won’t take us back though.
Tia: She wonders if we can talk about it.
Polly: I don’t know if I’m up for that right now.
Tilly: Tell her she broke our heart!
Stella: Actually we kind of broke hers.
Tammy: She’s asking what we are. Friends, lovers, or nothing?
(Cal begins humming Friends, lovers, or nothing)
Ollie: She’s ugly when she cries.
Oscar: Anne never threw tantrums like this.
Tia: She wants to know who William loves more – Anne or her?
Amy: Maybe we could just escape them both?
Ollie: That does not seem like a good idea…
Delia: Maybe we could fall to the ground and confess undying love and passion?
Polly: You have got to learn to control your impulses. And coming from me, that’s saying something.
Tammy: She says if we aren’t going to respond, to get out of here. Right now.
Cal: We need to take a time out here. Is it possible to distract her with something else?
Polly: She’s crying. I’ll put my hand around her –
Ronnie: Shoulders! Put it around her shoulders! Don’t lead her on.
Polly: Trust me, let me do my job here.
Oscar: Okay, we’re good, she’s crying a lot, but rambling. (waving Tia and Tammy away) You probably don’t need to hear whatever she’s saying. Incoherent nonsense, from the looks of it.
Amy: She always speaks nonsense.
Cal: Let’s call this meeting to order. In all seriousness, should we stay or should we go?
Ronnie: I’m definitely having second thoughts. It’s back to Anne.
Ollie: I agree with Ronnie… This chick is crazy.
Tammy: We’ll stay. We can talk it out!
Tia: I second that.
Delia: Let’s run away in a fit of rage!
Amy: We need to do something super drastic! Stick it to the man! (Cal gives her an exasperated look) Woman.
Ronnie: Here’s something drastic: Let’s go home.
Tilly: We heard you the first time! Jeez. I don’t want to go home if this is a real chance at real love, not a shotgun wedding. THIS is IT!
Stella: Don’t say that!
Tilly: You agree with her?
Stella: No. ‘Shotgun’. It was not shotgun! It was just passionate love’s timing.
Oscar: …I’m pretty sure it was hasty.
Ollie: We saw it with our own eyes. Where were you when all of that was happening?
T&T: (whispering loudly, together) Selective memory…
Marsha: (covering Stella’s ears) She was terribly shaken after that incident. We don’t like to discuss it.
Franny: You are all obsessed with love. Completely head-over-heels for a thing that has never treated William well. You’re running around and panicking because you think love is going to make everything better. Love is just a delusion. It’s a complete and total joke.
Tilly: (totally offended in every way by Franny’s uncalled-for speech) What do you suggest we do then?
Franny: I suggest we go the “let’s just be friends” route. No harm in being friends.
Marsha: You are completely out of your mind. (beat, Marsha points for the exit, but Franny isn’t going anywhere) Literally. Get out. Leave. William is just going to get a headache with you around.
Cal: No, no, no, Franny, I think that’s a perfectly valid point, although not very constructive seeing as what’s done is done. We need a majority decision on how to move forward. Suggestions from the floor?
Amy: Guilt trip her into feeling bad for kicking us out. She’ll be forever indebted to us.
Marsha: That’s slavery.
Delia: Desperate times call for desperate measures. If William goes to an absolute extreme, she might not want anything to do with us ever again.
Tilly: We can’t have people thinking William is insane. That would be insulting.
Ronny: Who cares what people think? As long as we get this woman off William’s back, it doesn’t matter how we do it.
Cal: Since you’re so (searching for a euphemism) well-versed in dealing with personal image, what do you suggest?
Polly: Go big, then go home. We start up another little something on the side with another (corrects herself) girl and set them on each other, and they’ll forget about being upset with William.
Amy: The enemy of your enemy is your friend.
Delia: Wreak havoc and head for the hills. Live it up.
Cal: Tammy, Tia, how do you think we’re doing on time?
Tia: She’s blowing her nose, and crying about how she won’t have anyone to take her to “da club”.
Tammy: Oh, boo hoo. Who does she think William is?
Ronnie: A stand-up gentlemen. We have to do this the respectable way.
Stella: Like a knight in shining armor!
Marsha: I think you should be quiet for this part. You’re hindering our progress.
Cal: I like the idea of chivalry. We have a reputation to keep up.
Ronnie: Or to build. William’s kind of at rock bottom back in Stratford upon Avon for leaving Anne.
Polly: A reputation is a work in progress. Like Tia said earlier – (checks notebook) – what’s in a name?
Oscar: She’s making puppy dog eyes…
Ollie: She’s basically trying to melt our soul.
Cal: Let’s get it together people. Places! (as everyone assumes their “TV watching” positions, Ronnie attempts to hide from Cal’s view) Ronnie! You got us into this mess, you’re going to get us out.
Ronnie: Me? No. I can’t! I get nervous about public speaking.
Polly: Cal, there is no way you’re thinking of doing this. You saw what she did. She doesn’t know the first thing about how to be a lady, gentlemen.
Tammy: She’s getting offended about how quiet we’re being.
Ollie: psh i don’t care. Our gapped tooth beauty can be as offended as she wants!
Tia: Say something!
(Polly gives Ronnie a resentful look and waves her on, Ronnie speaks out loud, as William)
All: I’m terribly sorry. I don’t know what came over me.
Franny: Lame. This is so lame.
Delia: It’s a perfectly fine excuse!
Ollie: I agree.
Oscar: Me two
Amy: Shut up.
Tia: She says she doesn’t believe it and we knew perfectly well what we were doing.
All: (stammering) Sometimes I get ahead of myself. I have a zest for living!
Marsha: This is going downhill fast. No one, NO ONE says ‘zest’.
Tammy: She wants to know if she is just an object to us.
ALL: (very quickly and surely) Yes. (immediately embarrassed)
Tilly: That’s terrible. We need to get William’s priorities in order.
ALL: (still as William) It’s not me, it’s you!
(huge, over-exaggerated gasp from the members, even Stella, who until this point has been very distracted and detatched, Franny bursts out in laughter)
Polly: That’s it, I’m taking over! Move aside. That man that hath a tongue, I say, is no man, If with his tongue he cannot win a woman.
Franny: Or lose her.
Tia: We’re in for it now.
Ollie: She’s definitely thinking about hitting us.
Cal: What’s she saying?
Tammy: (makes a long, obnoxious beeping noise)
Tilly: Thanks for censoring.
ALL: (as William) I meant it’s not you, it’s me. Sorry, I just get so tongue-tied around you. And this is why we can’t be really in love. I wouldn’t be able to do a single thing. I can’t think! You can do better than me.
Amy: You’re empowering her! What are you doing?!
Tammy: She’s asking if we’re telling the truth.
Polly: (reluctantly consults Ronnie, who is the moral judgment/lie creator of the brain) For the good of all involved, I’m going to say we are completely serious.
ALL: My truth is truth, to the end of reckoning. And with that I bid you farewell, that we may go our separate ways and have only fond memories of this comedy of errors.
Tilly: Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. THAT was it.
Stella: That’s true love.
Tammie: Cal, didja get that?
Cal: writing it now… (pulls out notebook and jots it down)
Polly: William is going to walk away now. Not taking any more chances.
Tilly: Parting is such sweet sorrow.
Franny: No, it’s really just sweet.
Stella: (completely unaware of what is going on around her) God knows when we shall meet again!
Ollie: It is really, really, really hard to see in the dark. (sees oscar nodding off) Oscar, I know you’re tired, but could you please pull your weight?
Oscar: (waking suddenly) Ah, what? Oh. Yeah… (assumes “lookout” place) How’s that?
Polly: Much better. Thank you for joining us.
(Franny laughs uncontrollably)
Oscar: WHAT is funny? What are you ever laughing at?
Tia: Watch out for the creaky step. I think it’s the third one.
Tammy: Fourth. It’s the fourth one – (cringes) We’re busted.
Tia: I hear voices.
Oscar: There’s a light on at the top of the stairs. Shadows moving around.
Ollie: (church choir esque)Oh praise da lord! (gets weird looks from all) its not anne…(explaining herself)
Tilly: It’s not? Where’s Anne?
Ronnie: Who is it?
Oscar: It’s Susanna. And that other girl that looks kind of like Hamnet.
Tia: JUDITH. This has to be some kind of joke.
Ollie: great. We woke them up, and they’re running down the stairs.
Franny: (sarcastically) Well isn’t this just the grandest reunion you’ve ever seen?
Stella: I think this is precious. Just wait for a big family hug when Anne comes in.
Marsha: Then they’ll live happily ever after, right? Stella, you don’t know the first thing about a good story. A good ending doesn’t mean everyone comes together in a grand finale and the curtains close. Open your mind!
Cal: With the finer points of writing aside, let’s concentrate on the task at hand. Anne could get here any second.
Tammy: Uh oh. Susanna is asking where we went.
Tia: JUDITH is saying Anne told her Daddy went on vacation.
Ronnie: Pick up the girls. Anne won’t want to exact revenge on you while holding innocent children.
Delia: I wouldn’t be so sure.
Amy: Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
Tilly: That’s promising.
Oscar: Speak of the devil.
Ronnie: Watch it, Oscar.
Ollie: And Anne has arrived. Wearing the same nightgown she was wearing when we left. ew.
Franny: That’s pitiful.
Tilly: You are pitiful, Franny. You just keep denying it, but really, you love love. You just want attention. You can either sit out and leave William with less of his mental faculties or you can show some backbone and help us out here. The nerve of some people.
Cal: Alllllrighty then, let’s, uh, get back to Anne, our true love, in case you didn’t notice, who is about to come over here and set us all on fire.
Tammy: We have a lot of explaining to do…
Tilly: We can win her back, just say something! She loves it when you speak in rhyme, Polly, come up with something like that.
Tia: Too late. She says William needs to think long and hard about how he is going to explain himself to her.
Polly: Perfect. Cal, write this down.
Ollie: Tell her we are totally empty without her and that we truly want to… spend the rest of our days with her..and stuff. You can make that fancier than I said it.
Polly: Add that William, although imperfect, is true.
Marsha: Tell her about how much Hamnet meant to William, for starters. Like, children withstand the test of time or something profound like that.
Stella: Then tell her that without you, she wouldn’t have any of her children!
Cal: (treating her like a child) I’m going to have to rephrase that. But yes, Stemmy, that’s a valid point.
Tia: Sometimes the beautiful things won’t be as great as we expect, but –
Tammy: (finishing her sentence) nothing that has ever happened could have changed William’s love for Hamnet. That will sound really good, especially since Hamnet gets confused with that other girl.
Tia: (silently screaming judith)
(Tia gives Tammy a lethal glare look)
Oscar: Point out that the worst is death, and if we can get past Hamnet’s tragedy, we can get past anything together.
Franny: Admit we messed up big time, but our love is going to keep on going, no matter how annoying or sappy it may be.
Cal: Assure her that no matter what either she or William has done in the past, it’s over and done with. A clean slate between them.
Tilly: Remind her about the love they used to have – that they were so in love they would forgive and forget.
Delia: It was the heat of the moment. William fell to his weaknesses and won’t do it again.
Amy: And William loves her so much he would much rather her get rid of him completely than keep around and be sad, if that’s her wish.
Ronnie: But tell her this is our home. She is our home. And although we’ve run free, we’re back, and llet that be what counts.
Oscar: Anne’s back. She’s waiting.
Ollie: I hope there are some rhymes in that speech. Anne’s a sucker for rhyming.
Stella: This is so romantic.
Marsha: You have the strangest idea of romance.
Polly: Here we go.
Who leaves unswayed the likeness of a man,
Thy proud heart’s slave and vassal wretch to be.
I may be straight thought they themselves be bevel
And nothing ‘gainst Time’s scythe can make defense
Save breed to brave him when he takes thee hence.
Sings this to thee: “Thou single wilt prove none.
Every fair from fair sometime declines,
Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth.
And death once dead, there’s no more dying then.
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
But that your trespass now becomes a fee;
Mine ransoms yours, and yours must ransom me.
True a fool is love that in your will,
Though you do anything, he thinks no ill.
My love is as a fever, longing still
For that which longer nurseth the disease,
For I love you so
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot,
That is my home of love; if I have ranged,
Like him that travels I return again.
Tammy: How did you turn all that brainstorming into one nifty little speech like that? She’s head over heels!
Polly: We make a pretty good team, I think. We could go pretty far, dysfunctional as we are.
Cal: William’s got a lot going for him.
Tia: This notebook was a great idea, Cal. We’ve got some pretty interesting quotes here.
Franny: Somehow William doesn’t make love sound so one dimensional.
Ronnie: I’m sorry, everyone, I know I made this a lot harder than it had to be. I just couldn’t let William be so untrue like that. It felt wrong.
Cal: It takes all kinds.
Delia: This was kind of anticlimactic.
Amy: Very disappointing. Just a bunch of crying and hugging.
Tilly: I think it’s beautiful.
(oscar and ollie are tearing up and “crying” on eachothers shoulders. Polly is grinning from ear to ear at her accomplishment)
Stella: We are such stuff as dreams are made of.
Cal: And our little life is rounded with a sleep… I think we need to put William to bed. He’s nodding off. (points to O&O, who are fighting sleep) Let’s get some shut eye and see what the world holds for us tomorrow when we’re fresh.
(the members trudge off in different directions, ready for sleep. Tia remains, picking up Cal’s notebook)
Tia: Leave it to the long term memory to clean up after everyone… Cal. He just leaves his things everywhere because he’s so busy worrying about everyone else. (flips through book) Wow. This is something. This is really something. We really ought to do something with this! (takes notebook and clutches it to her chest, with excitement/adrenaline) If I chance to talk a little wild, forgive me! (runs offstage, joyful)
End of play.
Credit: Masque Acting Troupe, 2010-2011, Director: George Brock