THE FITTING ROOM
STANLEY and his wife MARGARET, a feisty couple in their late 70's are in a Fitting Room stall.

STANLEY
I’m getting claustrophobic Margaret.  Why do I have to stand in here with you?
MARGARET
I’m almost dressed Stanley. 
STANLEY
I’m getting motion sickness mom.  
MARGARET
Don’t be ridiculous.  You can’t get motion sickness if you’re not moving Stanley.
STANLEY
I can’t help how I feel.  It’s hot in here.
MARGARET
You are such a hypochondriac.  Unlock the door Stanley.  Go on out. (She crosses to the mirror.  Stanley to a chair) I don’t like it.  It makes my butt look big.
STANLEY
Your butt is big Margaret.
MARGARET
Stanley, that is exactly what is not allowed on my shopping day.
STANLEY
I don’t feel right in a lady’s dressing room, Mother.
MARGARET
You tag along with me, you have to follow the rules.
STANLEY
Okay, okay. Let me try again.  (He searches)  Plaid is not a good color for you.
MARGARET
Plaid?  Plaid?  Plaid is not a color Stanley.  You sound like such an idiot.
STANLEY
Your book said no name-calling.
MARGARET
Red,  yellow...these are colors Stanley.  Plaid?  Plaid, plaid -- it’s like polka dots.  Stanley, polka dots is not a color, and neither is plaid.    Where did you get that tie?  I put it in the Goodwill box-
STANLEY
And I fished it out.  I like this tie, Evelyn and Virginia gave it to me for my birthday.
MARGARET
When?  1968?  Go out there and pick yourself out a new tie Stan.
STANLEY
I don’t want a new tie.  I like this one.  The kids call it “retro.”  I read about it in Ginny’s Cosmo.
MARGARET
You’ve been reading Cosmo Stanley?  Since when?
STANLEY
She left it in the bathroom.  Interesting articles in there Margaret-
MARGARET
--And much better pictures than Modern Maturity. 
STANLEY
Mom, it’s good to know what the young people are reading.  Besides, it gets me in the mood.
MARGARET
So does Geritol Stanley.  Get away from me, stop that. Go, go, go.  Now I’m going to change—  I thought you weren’t feeling well.
STANLEY
I feel better now honey.
MARGARET
Get out of here.
STANLEY
You are spoiling all my fun Mother.
Scenes for Scene Study
   Written by Kathryn G. McCarty

From BESSIE SMITH:  A LIFE!

BESSIE SMITH, the "Greatest Blues Singer in the World"  and her niece RUBY are out on the town.   

BESSIE
Bring us one more-
RUBY
Bessss…I can’t feel my lips no more…my face…my face is disappearing…
BESSIE
One more of these, everything be back to normal.  Whatever normal gonna be these days.
RUBY
Where we at?
BESSIE
We’re in a bar.
RUBY
No, I mean what state we in?
BESSIE
Detroit in Michigan?  We’re in Michigan.
RUBY
(Wiping at her mouth, suddenly alarmed)  I can’t feel my mo---outh.  I gotta get to sleep Bes—sleep.
BESSIE
I’m only half drunk, we got hours to go –
RUBY
(Taking bottles and glasses)  Oh, Godddd.  I am in so much trouble – I promised Jack –
BESSIE
You promised Jack what? (Ruby is trapped)   Ruby, cat got your tongue girl?
RUBY
I don’t think I got a tongue no more.  Oh God!  I swallowed my tongue!
BESSIE
You gonna tell me why you all of a sudden listening to Jack?  (Stares a moment)  You gone dumb woman?  Give me the bottle-
RUBY
Bessie-
BESSIE
Give me the bottle or I’m gonna knock your ass to the floor and you won’t get up for a week.  Don’t be listening to Jack no more.  Less you want alotta trouble.
RUBY
Why’d you marry Uncle Jack?
BESSIE
You got eyes, don’t ya?  He’s a handsome man.
RUBY
I guess you gotta take the good with the bad.
BESSIE
What makes a man bad, keeps him good.  We got us an understanding in our marriage, we do whatever we want. 
RUBY
Long as one of you don’t catch the other at it, we all stay alive.   (Quickly changing course as she spots an man) Mmmm…look at that man B, ain’t he just fine.
BESSIE
Sure
RUBY
Them shoulders…those hips…mighty fine looking man.
BESSIE
I like that over there
RUBY
I don’t see no one-
BESSIE
In the corner, by the sign.  I like the one with the blue feathers – what I could do with them feathers…
RUBY
Elizabeth Smith!  That’s a woman!
BESSIE
And a mighty fine woman at that!

DEFINING FORM

HELEN and her mother's neighbor JOHN HENRY talk.  Helen has long since left the small town John Henry and her mother live in.

JOHN HENRY
Looks like they never made it to bed.  Want me to carry Squee upstairs?
HELEN
They look so peaceful. I’ll do it later.  (John Henry crosses to the kitchen and gets the pie out of the icebox.  Helen stands, watching her mother and Squee sleeping.  She pulls the blanket up over Squee’s legs) You know, she never lets me look at her obituary book.  It’s like a secret diary.  (She crosses to the kitchen)  Thanks for the walk tonight.
JOHN HENRY
Thank you.
HELEN
You know, I drove around town this afternoon.  Just to think.  A lot of the stores are boarded up.
JOHN HENRY
When Wal-Marts moved in, the stores on the square couldn’t keep up.
HELEN
You want some milk to go with that pie?
JOHN HENRY
Yeah, that’d be great.
HELEN
When I was at IGA today I ran into Meyers Reynolds.  He was the boy I loved in high school.  Long blonde hair, really cool guy - he wore a green army jacket and used to smoke out in the parking lot.  He’d make me so nervous I couldn’t even talk.
JOHN HENRY
Meyers Reynolds?
HELEN
They paged him. I hadn’t seen him in 25, no 27 years!  I get up the nerve to go up to the front of the store to check him out. There stands this pudgy gray haired old man wearing a T-shirt with a fish and beer motif, thongs - you know the kind you wear to the beach - and pants down to here - I mean the man has no rear end.  I couldn’t believe it.  I had to ask - “Are you Meyers Reynolds?”  Sure enough, its him.  I introduce myself.  He just stares at me.  I’m not even sure he recognizes me.  Then he says, “You look great.”
JOHN HENRY
You do.
HELEN
It’s all he can say.  “You look great.”  He says it over and over again.  That’s his answer to every question I have.  “Do you have kids?”.  “Yeah.  You look great.”  Then he says maybe we can go out to dinner and he asks me for my phone number.
JOHN HENRY
Then what?
HELEN
I couldn’t believe it.  Part of my brain is going “Meyers Reynolds just asked me out!”
JOHN HENRY
And-
HELEN
And I told him I was married and I live up north and my husband’s the jealous type and thanks all the same.  He won’t know the difference.
JOHN HENRY
Unless he talks to your Aunt Martha.
HELEN
Meyers Reynolds asked me out.  I’ve waited almost 30 years for this one.  Then I said no.
JOHN HENRY
Can’t say that I blame ya.
HELEN
Yeah, well...Everything here is just so different.  Didn’t you ever want to leave this place?
JOHN HENRY
This has always been home to me.  Annie always loved it here.
HELEN
How long has she been gone?
JOHN HENRY
Nine years now.  Your mom was really good with the kids.  I couldn’t have made it without her help.  She’d cook for us and she was always there whenever the kids needed anything. Well, they were teenagers - but they were still kids, you know.
HELEN
She’s lucky she’s had you around-
JOHN HENRY
I’m glad I can do something for her now.  Miss Cora’s a special lady.
HELEN
I’ve enjoyed spending time with her this summer.
JOHN HENRY
It’s been nice having you around again.  I said that already, didn’t I?  “God you look great!”  (Their laughter wakes Cora)

WHEN WE DANCED
A group of  female collegiate friends have gathered for a surprise birthday party.   They play a game of questions and answers.

DANNY   Okay, Okay.  “Subject:  Chance”.   You read it Toni, I don’t have my glasses.
TONI   (Reading) “At a Reno casino, a stranger gives you a 100 chip, tells you to play double zeroes, then leaves the casino.  Do you play it or pocket it?”
DANNY   Are you sure he left?  Is he going to catch me and make me pay it back?
FAIREST   He’s gone.  Never coming back.
DANNY  How long have I been here?
FAIREST   You just walked in the door.
ANDREA   Why are you hesitating so much?  Someone gave it to you, it’s the same as winning.
DANNY   I’m in Reno to gamble.
ANDREA   Exactly!   You won when he gave you the chip and walked out the door.
DANNY   This guy told to me to gamble, to play with the chip.
ANDREA  You’re going to play  $100 on a roulette wheel?  That’s nuts.
DANNY  It’s a chance I have to take. 
ANDREA    You’re good at taking stupid chances, huh?
DANNY    What’s that supposed to mean?
FAIREST    Birthday PARTY.  You get it?  Andrea? Party.  Happy.  Happy.  Fun.  Fun.
DANNY     What’dya mean, stupid chances?
ANDREA   Nothing--
DANNY  (Challenging)   Nothing.  Right.
ANDREA   You see the pattern here?
DANNY   What?
ANDREA   You consistently take chances that you don’t have to.  Stupid chances.   Sleeping with men you pick up in bars.
TONI    Andrea, maybe you shouldn’t drink any- 
ANDREA   How the fuck did you get yourself in this position Danny?  You’re an educated woman.
GIANNA   Back off -
ANDREA   Don’t try and protect her-
GIANNA   Ease up Andrea.
ANDREA  Don’t get into this Gianna.  You can’t be right all the time.
GIANNA   Back out of my face.  
ANDREA   How could you gamble with your own life?  Why did you do it?
DANNY   Do what? 
ANDREA   Was a one night stand worth it?  Fucking some piece of trash you picked up in a bar?
DANNY   I didn’t pick anyone up at a bar.  
ANDREA   Right.
GIANNA    She didn’t pick up anybody –
ANDREA   And you say I repeat everything I’m told?    You are the gullible one.  You’re the one who doesn’t think Gianna. 
DANNY   This isn’t the time-
ANDREA    But that’s your whole philosophy Danny!   No time like the present?
GIANNA   Back off! 
ANDREA   No.  Let’s get to the bottom of this.
GIANNA   Sit down and shut up.
ANDREA   You just can’t stand it that I know what I’m talking about and you’re standing in the dark.  Just admit it Danny:  You took a stupid chance!
DANNY    Okay.  Whatever.
GIANNA    She didn’t take any chances.  I did.   (A pause)   I set her up with Steven.
ANDREA   What?
GIANNA    I thought he was a good guy.
MALLORY   Gianna?
GIANNA   His ex-wife got beat up real bad in a car wreck.  
ANDREA   (As though remembering the name)  Steven.
GIANNA  She had blood transfusions….. 
DANNY   I dated him about four months.
GIANNA   It’s my fault.
DANNY   It’s nobody’s fault.  (Taking Andrea’s hand)  Andrea -- it just happened.  
ANDREA   ((Andrea  breaks away from her, grabbing her coat and purse)   I am so sorry.
DANNY   Where are you going?
ANDREA   Back to the hotel.  I have to go- Give me my coat (It is on the other side of Mallory who does not move).  Then move. (She grabs her coat and heads for the door)
DANNY   Don’t – No!  Don’t leave!  Please don’t leave! 
ANDREA    I shouldn’t be here.
DANNY   You belong here.
ANDREA   I don’t.  I’ve grown apart from you.  We’ve grown apart.
DANNY     We’ve changed.   We’ve grown stronger.  You have to understand --
ANDREA    I don’t understand a lot of things.
DANNY   It’s okay.
ANDREA   I’m sorry Danny.  I’m really sorry--
DANNY   (Triggered by the word “sorry”)  Don’t!  Don’t feel sorry for me!!
GIANNA   Stay.  Stay with us where you belong.
ANDREA   I am so stupid. 
DANNY    I need you to stay.  For me.  Please!    You wanted to know the truth because you cared.     You can’t just run away when the truth gets ugly.  (A moment of silence)  Andrea, it’s going to be all right.
ANDREA   How do you know?
DANNY   It’s more what I believe than what I know.    (A pause)   Dying is like loosing your virginity.  Conquering the unknown.    It’s faith.
FAIREST  (Handing out Kleenex)   It ain’t a party unless somebody cries.
GIANNA   Oh, God, what a night!
TONI     I love you guys.  I really love you.
GIANNA   It’s getting late.
TONI   I’m tired…  
MALLORY   When are they going to make Viagra for the whole body?

THE LAST HOORAH
BAGGS is greeted by his brother ROY after his father called the family together for a family crisis - he's dying.   Roy has learned his father's secret.    The family hasn't been together under one roof in a decade.

Pictures and synopis of play available at http://members.aol.com/KathyGPET/index.html

BAGGS
Hello...hell-oooo.     What a welcoming committee!
ROY
(Entering the room from upstairs and grabbing a beer from the cooler on the landing) What did you expect? 
BAGGS
Roy!
ROY
Little bro, leave your sanity behind, cause you are in for a bumpy ride!   How's it going!?
BAGGS
You smell like a brewery.
ROY
(Cracking a beer) It's impossible to get a hangover if you don't stop drinking. Can I get you one?
BAGGS
Can't drink till after breakfast.
ROY
You look great.   8 months in an Iraqi desert and you still look great.  Genetics sure as hell aren=t fair. 
BAGGS
I been back 4 months now.  Fully recovered.  Not coughing up sand anymore. (He makes a face as he smells something)
ROY
What's up?
BAGGS
I just can't get past the smell.  You musta really tied one on last night.
ROY
You are the last to arrive, one hell of a lucky man.
BAGGS
When did you get here?
ROY
Yesterday about noon.     Car died just as we pulled into town.  It was a sign.
BAGGS
Dad's gonna die?
ROY
Hell no.  It's a sign we're all trapped.  This afternoon anyway.
BAGGS
You only staying till tomorrow?
ROY
How long you staying?
BAGGS
Couple of days.  I=m on deadline for my publisher.  I=m gonna have to finish up some work while I=m here.
ROY
Publisher?
BAGGS
A book.  On my experiences as a war reporter.
ROY
What's it called?   101 Ways to Fuck a Camel?    Big men with little dicks run the world.  Otherwise you reporters wouldn't have been bending over and taking it so well.  Oooh.
BAGGS
How's Dad?
ROY
Looks good. Considering we didn't kill him.
BAGGS
Has he lost weight? How's he feeling?
ROY
Dudie said she hasn't seen him so happy since Carter was President.   That man can drink me under the table any day.
BAGGS
You were drinking with him?  Are you crazy?
ROY
Can I answer that on my way out of town?
BAGGS
Catherine go with you?
ROY
Ugh-huh.  And brother Coleman.
BAGGS
You all went out drinking?
ROY
A disaster in the making.
BAGGS
What kind of meds is he on?  Didn't his doctor tell him to stop drinking?
ROY
That would stop him?
BAGGS
Hell, Chester made it sound like he might not make it out of the hospital. Did Dad have any more clots?  What happened after they thinned his blood? 
ROY
Only thing been thinning dad's blood is whiskey.

FITTING ROOM
TRINA and ELIZABETH, sisters so opposite that they sometimes doubt they are related shop.    Trina is seated on the ground as Elizabeth examines herself in the mirror and tries on various garments in the fitting room.

TRINA
What mom hates most about these shirts is that I haven't shaved my pits for 2 years, (Examining pit hair in mirror, then laying on floor) 3 months and 5 weeks. 
ELIZABETH
(Entering from stall #1)  You are so disgusting.
TRINA
When I dumped Tim, I said:  Never again will I shave my armpits.  Mom hasn’t felt the same about me since.
ELIZABETH
You are sooo gross.
TRINA
You are such a girl.  Such a white girlie-girl.   No wonder you’ve always been mom’s favorite.
ELIZABETH
I’m mom’s favorite because I return her calls.
TRINA
I just paid off my psychiatrist bills from all that time I spent with her at Christmas.  I can not afford to call her back now.
ELIZABETH
Do you have to over-exaggerate everything Christina?
TRINA
You are the only person who calls me that-- 
ELIZABETH
Trina--
TRINA
It’s a matter of respect.
ELIZABETH
Exactly my point!  That’s why you should bite your lip and call mom.
TRINA
So, tell her you saw me and that I still haven’t shaved.  Are you seeing John tonight?
ELIZABETH
I don’t know.
TRINA
Meaning you can’t do anything with me because you’re sitting by the phone hoping it will ring.  You are such a girl.
ELIZABETH
Stop saying that!
TRINA
(Laying down) God, look at my toenails.
ELIZABETH
I’d rather not.
TRINA
You think toenails developed from... claws?  Barbarians could probably open cans with their feet.  I mean, if they had cans--
ELIZABETH
Oh, God Christina --
TRINA
In 200 years, maybe we won’t need toenails at all--
ELIZABETH
It’s not something I waste a lot of time thinking about.
TRINA
Did you know that there is a space meteor thingy headed directly for earth?
ELIZABETH
Who told you that?  The same people who said the government was putting anthrax into the exhaust of airplanes -- so we’d build immunity to it?
TRINA
No.  I saw it on Discovery.
ELIZABETH
That is exactly why I prefer HBO.  I prefer my scientist to look like Brad Pitt.  Or George Clooney. (Crossing into stall)
TRINA
Don’t you get it?  There is a comet that is going to knock us out of the sky.  At least then we won’t have to worry about our soil pollutants anymore.
ELIZABETH
What?
TRINA
CNN.  Last Saturday night.  
ELIZABETH
Sorry, I missed it.
TRINA
Earth is so over-inhabited that we are over-exerting our landfills and poisoning our groundwater!
ELIZABETH
Wonderful!
TRINA
Ya know, if we’da had environmentalist during the Ice Ages we’d still have dinosaurs!
ELIZABETH
(Jessica re-enters and hands Jodie a short business skirt over the door of the stall, then paces, waiting)  Of course, we wouldn’t have any birds, but there’d be plenty of dinosaurs. You are far too sensitive to be an environmentalist Trina.
TRINA
I have to help!  We have to help stop what’s going on in our world!   Don't even get me going on the sun.
ELIZABETH
The sun?
TRINA
The sun is going out.  PBS special.  For weeks, I couldn't leave my apartment in the daylight without feeling my blood go cold.  The sun is going out!
ELIZABETH
Yes, but not for a couple billion years.
TRINA
I know.  In a coupla billion years the sun is going out.  Bam!
ELIZABETH
(A look, then) Trina, I hate to break this to you, but you really need to get/rid/of/your/cable.
TRINA
I hate it when you make fun of me! (Laying back again and looking at her toenails)   This is serious stuff!   We have to prepare!!
ELIZABETH
Well, you could start by getting a pedicure.  Okay, I’m sorry, I’m sorry!   Trina, do you ever think about reincarnation?  (Trina looks at her, anticipating the knowledge of the universe)  You might not be around in a million years, but some incarnate of you will be. 
TRINA
Yes!  You finally understand!  We are getting through!
ELIZABETH
You've got to be kidding.
TRINA
What?
ELIZABETH
You're kidding, right?  Stop wasting your time worrying about the sun!  (Crossing to mirror to apply lipstick, readying to exit)    I’d rather worry about if John’s going to call.
TRINA
When’s the last time you talked to him? 
ELIZABETH
Last Tuesday when he came over to retrieve his toothbrush and spare underwear.
TRINA
You didn’t tell me that!
ELIZABETH
It’s no big deal, really.  I don’t want to talk about it.  And don’t tell mom!
TRINA
It might seem quite selfish, but if this keeps up  -- everyone I know will be single like me and I’ll have all my buddies back!