Saturday, October 06, 2012

Heartbeat (A 10 Minute Play)

I present to you here a rough draft of a short play that I am process of writing for my Playwriting class. Upon reading, any thoughts or comments would be greatly appreciated. This sums up what's been going on with me for the past few weeks, and so to have taken the time to pen it all makes it one of my most valuable works. Thank you, and enjoy.

CHARACTERS


GIRL A freshman in college, aged 17 or 18.

REASON Wise.


TIME

The present. Midday turning to Night at end.


SETTING

Somewhere outside with steps, potentially an amphitheatre. 

(Enter GIRL, coffee in hand. Sits down, CS.)

GIRL
So I awoke from a nap not too long ago to a message on my phone... from my best friend. And... and she’s.... there really isn’t any other way to say it... she’s dying. In a little less than a month she’ll be gone. It’s crazy... we barely talk anymore the way things are now. She’s old enough to have a kid and I’m a freshman in college. So it’s not like things are really going to be any different. But yet... she’ll be gone. Knowing that I won’t be able to call her up and tell her stories... to hear her advice on what to do about boys. I’ll never forget the time when she warned me, “College freshmen are high school boys only one year older.” I never thought that I’d keep that mentality for every guy I met. But the memories... when she’s gone, we won’t be able to make more... To eat an entire pound of Reese’s pieces wouldn’t be the same with anyone else. We won’t have any more trips to the mall, complete with making fun of the kid in the hurricane machine, or adventures to the Crayola factory. Our first visit there was together... and we’re both short, so at the time, being in a sea of little kids, it made us feel like giants! Oh the good times... All the possibilities... Poof.
     (Sits in contemplation, cradling the coffee.)
Just the way life passes us by... there’s barely any time to accomplish anything. There’s not nearly enough time to have a fulfilling job, to find true love, let alone to travel and see the Seven Wonders! I just... there’s too many things running through my head. Too many feelings. I have this impulse to scream and to break things, to take it all out on myself... but I can’t. I can’t go back down that road... I can’t go back to hurting myself... All I can do is keep my hands glued to this cup... all I can do is sit here, fight the tears.
  (Pause)
Dear God... Ha! At this point... I don’t see how anyone could believe in such a thing.

(GIRL starts to cry. Enters REASON, to CS, one step above GIRL.)
REASON
The thing is... you don’t have to believe in God, or a higher being all together. You just have to believe in something bigger than yourself. Not to say that everything happens for a reason... but... everything is connected.

GIRL
     (Tries to stop herself from crying. Wipes her tears away.)
Ha. The voice of reason. Just the thing I need at a time like this.

REASON
  (Sits down, step above GIRL.)
Well I’m here now. And there is a purpose behind every-
GIRL
     (Does not turn around to face REASON. Keeps a firm grip on the coffee)
Every what? Every death? Why do the young die? Why can’t they have the ability to live their life, to share their talents with the world? Why can’t she raise her child? He’s only one for crying out loud!

REASON
Death is tricky. No one wants to address it. There’s the chance of offending someone, bringing up bad memories, or making someone cry. None of which is pleasant. But the honestly, you can’t change the situation at hand. 

GIRL
I know that I can’t. But-

REASON
  (Gets up and shows self to GIRL.)
“But” nothing. You can’t make her better. I know that if you could you would switch places with her and give her your life in a heartbeat. I know that you’d rather wish pain and suffering upon yourself instead of others. 

GIRL
That’s because I’m used to it. Life obviously keeps on throwing me hard times for a reason. Why should this situation become an exception?

REASON
Exactly. Do you know what those reasons are?

GIRL
  (Gets up with coffee, walks DSL.)
Those reasons? Oh... Ha. You’re tricky.

REASON
  (Starts to make way over to GIRL.)
I’m merely trying to get you to understand the path that your thoughts are taking you down on. You’re on to something that will make your life easier.

GIRL
If my life got any easier, well, something new would just come along and make it ten times worse.

REASON
That’s not true.

GIRL
     (Crossing stage to DSR, keeps back to REASON.)
Sure it is! Every time I say I’m content with life, somewhere, the higher being that you say I don’t have to believe in laughs and decides to mix things up again!

REASON
The only force that is working against you is yourself.

GIRL
  (Faces REASON.)
Oh? I’d love to hear you explain this one.

REASON
It’s all about your state of mind. 
     (Tapping to head and heart respectively.)
What’s up here and in here. Life will forever give you challenges that you have to face. It will never be perfect 100 percent of the time, there has to be some give and take. But if you believe in hope that things will get better, you will always have a tiny ray of light that will carry you through even the darkest of times.

GIRL
  (Starts to make way to meet REASON CS.)
Sure, of course! But when it all comes crashing down and her life is over-

REASON
Is her heart still beating?

GIRL
Excuse me?

REASON
Is her heart still beating?

GIRL
For the time being, yes.
REASON
  (Meets GIRL CS.)
Then there is still hope. For as long as there is a pulse beneath her skin, there is a chance for things to turn around. Life begins and ends with a breath and a beat of the heart. Don’t forget the power of a miracle. Let me see your wrist.

(Reaches for GIRL’s wrist. She holds back at first, but then puts down her coffee cup and slowly gives her wrist up to REASON. REASON takes it tenderly to find her pulse.)

GIRL
I used to-
REASON
Don’t speak. Just feel. The past doesn’t matter right now. Take a deep breath, and hold it. Feel the beat of your heart pounding. That is hope. You can make things better for yourself; you can be the support that she needs. I know that you two haven’t talked in ages, but you can start catching up now. Don’t let the fear of losing her stop you from making the best of the time that you still have. 

(REASON pats GIRL’s hand as it lets go of her wrist. GIRL sits down.)

GIRL
I would do anything to see her again. But the physical distance between us... it’s just not possible.

REASON
But perhaps it’s better this way... you being so far apart. You don’t have to see her suffer. 

GIRL
That sounds terrible.

REASON
  (Sits step below GIRL.)
Yet true. But if you were there, your last memories of her would be full of watching her in pain and suffering. You don’t want to remember her like that. 

GIRL
I could help her though...

REASON
How? The only way for you to possibly help would be if you could donate your kidney, but you know that you can’t. Why cause yourself more worry and stress? Like I said earlier, there’s nothing you can do to make her better. 

GIRL
  (Jumping up out of frustration.)
Surely there must be something! At this point, like I said earlier, I find it hard to believe in a God but... there must be some sort of value in luck! I have a four-leaf clover... but I’ll pick up every penny that’s heads up, I’ll wish on every 11:11. Hell, I’d eat lucky charms every day if I knew it would increase her odds! I’ll believe in hope...
  (Turns to face REASON.)
Why are you smiling like that?

REASON
  (Gets up to sit GIRL back down.)
Because I have taught you something. I have done my job.

GIRL
You have?

REASON
     (Sits down, this time once again a step above GIRL. While speaking, REASON slowly makes its way off
     stage. Meanwhile, the lights fade from DAY into DUSK.)
You came to this place, lost and unaware of what to do. You had no guidance or support. Just the presence of your thoughts and the temptation of old bad habits. I am the voice of reason, your voice of reason. I have given you ideas to dwell on... seeds in which I have planted within your thoughts so that you can spend some time focused on the positive rather than the negative. The balance of your life has shifted... and it will forever continue to change. If it didn’t, there would be nothing to look forward to. The better days wouldn’t seem better, because there would be nothing to compare it to. But, seeing how this is not one of those better days, you can trust in the fact that things will look up from here. At the end of my rambling, take some time to sit before you attempt to get back up and re-enter the life you have made for yourself here at school. No one else knows your story the way you do, and if you choose to explain it to those who want to listen, then that is your choice. But make sure to keep in mind that they won’t know how to react and that many of them will forget soon after telling them. The people who will take time to sit down and talk to you are the few who you know you can count on, should things end unfavourably. But if I may leave you with one last seed... Everything will work out in the end. Everything will be okay. If it’s not okay, then it’s not the end. At the time, it may seem like things aren’t working out for the better, but if you give it time... well... time will show you why things happen the way they do. 
  (In almost a whisper, off stage.)
It’s all about time.

(The lights are now faded, GIRL is left in a spotlight alone on stage. She sits in silence, as the sound of crickets begin. Remembering that she had a cup of coffee, she turns to pick it up from its place on the step behind her. She expects to still see REASON there.)

GIRL
Oh... Well...
  (Takes a sip of coffee.)
Cold coffee... yum.
     (Gets up and throws it in the garbage. Makes her way back to where she was sitting previously.)
It’s all about time, eh? Every breath I take here, that’s a moment of life I can’t get back. My story is being written in heartbeats. I don’t feel like breaking anything or hurting myself... and I’m not sure that there are any tears left for me to cry but-
     (The sound of her cell phone ringing interrupts her. Into phone:)
Heather?

(GIRL walks off with a smile as she starts to cry again, lights fade out completely.)

3 comments:

  1. Great job Stephie. I love how she's forced to see Reason in the beginning and then when she's looking back at Reason towards the end she finally's understanding. Not sure if you did that on purpose but you can say take you did.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. please excuse all the grammatical errors that managed to escape my sight of vision

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    2. Thank you Honey... I kind of did... it's the development of her character but I'm glad that you can see the transition of it too.

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