ABOUT LAST NIGHT, A One-Act Play by Bryan William Myers
Cast of Characters BRENT, a hipster with a mustache DAD, a dirty old man DUDE ON THE PHONE, a dude on the phone THREE GIRLS, staring at their cell phones SCENE 1 [BRENT AND DAD ARE STANDING NEXT TO EACH OTHER, CENTER-STAGE. BRENT IS WEARING A MISFITS T-SHIRT. RIPPED SKINNY JEANS. SHORT HAIR, SLICKED BACK WITH GEL OR HAIRSPRAY. WHATEVER. HE'S GOT WHITE SHOES OR BLACK SHOES OR RED SHOES OR YELLOW SHOES. DAD'S WEARING A V-NECK SHIRT. WITH STRIPES AND SHIT. HE'S GRINNING, ALWAYS GRINNING. ON THE CONTRARY, BRENT NEVER SMILES. IT'S ONLY A WICKED SMILE BRENT GIVES TO NOBODY IN PARTICULAR. OKAY. THEY'RE STANDING IN LINE TOGETHER, WAITING TO GET INTO A BAR. A DUDE ON THE PHONE IS STANDING BEHIND THEM. HE'S WEARING A FEDORA, FLANNEL SHIRT TUCKED IN, SUSPENDERS, A GOATEE. HE'S MUMBLING ON THE PHONE, TALKING INCESSANTLY AND INCOHERENTLY.] BRENT This line is going to take forever. DAD There's a lotta ladies for you here, Brent. BRENT (Scoffing) Yeah. DAD Ahh! Come on! (He elbows BRENT in the ribs.) BRENT I feel out of place. DAD Why?
BRENT I dunno. I just do. (He starts fucking with his mustache.) DAD Maybe you shoulda wore a different shirt? BRENT (Looking down at his chest.) Why? What do you mean? I like this shirt. DAD No wonder... BRENT (Concerned.) What are you talking about? DAD Never mind. (He laughs to himself.) BRENT How long do you think we'll be in this stupid line? DAD I don't know, Brent. Why does it matter? Do you have somewhere to be? BRENT No. It's not that. I just can't stand lines. (Looking around.) Just look at all these people. DAD What about them? BRENT I don't know. There's just something about them... (He's shaking his head.) DAD Well, don't worry about them. Your brother will be here soon.
DUDE ON THE PHONE Don't worry about it! If you just put your faith in God, everything will work out fine! (DAD and BRENT both look at each other. Then they stare forward again.) DAD Can you believe this kid? Comes out to talk on the phone all night. BRENT Forget it. DAD Yeah, you're right. (He elbows BRENT again in the ribs.) There 'ya go, Brent! (He laughs, grinning.) Did you see her? BRENT Yeah. I saw her, dad. DAD There are a lot of girls here for 'ya. BRENT You said that already. DAD Did I? (He's looking around, absent-minded.) BRENT Yeah, you know what. DAD What's that? (He's not really listening.) BRENT Oh, nothing. I think your period will end pretty soon. DAD Yeah, probably.
BRENT What's it like to be a geriatric stooge? Do you usually need a bib past 8 PM? DAD Yep. I like naps. BRENT Naps. I remember those. Do you change your diaper before you suck your thumb? Or do you take a bottle when you're feeling clean? DAD Yeah, that's what I always told you, Brent. Stay clean. Keep working hard... (He's still staring at all the women in line.) BRENT I tried some crack last night. DAD Oh, yeah? How was that? BRENT It was good. I spent my whole paycheck in about five hours. DAD Yep. You know what I always told you. Save your money... BRENT Yeah, then I went to Tony Luke's, Pat's, Geno's. Poured that shit on every cheesesteak. What a night. DAD Did you Uber home? BRENT No, I stopped Ubering. Didn't you hear? DAD Hear what? BRENT They were hacked by the Russians.
DAD Oh, yeah. I did hear that... (He shakes his head and whistles.) Lotta girls here for 'ya, Brent! DUDE ON THE PHONE Oh, I know right! Yeah, I'm almost in now! I'm standing right outside. Yeah. Can you believe it? I know. What the hell was she thinking? He doesn't even have his own apartment. She needs to find somebody else. It's getting old. I'm tired of hearing about it. Yeah! I know! She really should just dump him... DAD (Eyeing up the DUDE ON THE PHONE. Then he's staring forward again.) I'll tell 'ya. I can't take much more of this kid. BRENT I think we're almost there. DAD Yeah, it's going pretty fast. I can't believe this place used to be a school. What a world! My dad went to school here when he was a kid. Brings back memories. BRENT Yeah, tell me about it. Time doesn't exist. We're living in multiple dimensions, simultaneously. It's all in our minds. All we have to do is think about something and the entire universe responds. Even the most distant star is connected to us right here, now. Now. That's all there ever really is. It's all just one moment happening at the same time. It all bends and twists and explodes, over and over again. DAD Brent, did you see her! Holy shit!
BRENT It's all this really big dream. Whatever we think becomes reality. If we doubt ourselves, then we attract those feelings from outside of us. There's one giant source for the universe, it creates itself. We were self-created, WE ARE SELF-CREATED. WE CREATED OURSELVES... DAD Yeah, I know. Your mother and I have been married a long time. You're right about that. BRENT (Confused.) Wait. What the hell are you talking about? DAD I can't believe it. (Shaking his head.) Look how many girls there are here for 'ya, B! Dad? Wut.
BRENT (He looks at DAD for a brief moment. Then he shakes his head.) Yeah, this line is moving fast. I don't think it'll be too long before we're in there. DAD I think you're right, buddy! BRENT Then we can get in there and order expensive beers. And we can see all the girls standing around staring at their phones, talking to no one. DAD (Laughing.)
BRENT Can you imagine that? DAD Imagine what? BRENT Getting dressed up to go out to the bar and waiting in line to stand around staring at your phone and talking to nobody. DAD How do you know that's what happens here? How do you know they'll be doing that? BRENT They're doing that already! DAD (Looking around, seeing everything with new eyes.) THE LIGHTS GO DIM FOR ABOUT THREE TO FIVE TO SIX TO SEVEN SECONDS:
SCENE 2 [The lights come back, aglow. Notice how I'm typing this in lowercase letters. DAD and BRENT are standing there again, center-stage. This time, there's a short red rope. You know the kind. You're waiting there, wondering when the hell you're going to get into the bar. Sure. The DUDE ON THE PHONE is standing behind them.] DAD (CONT'D) One step closer, buddy. BRENT Yeah. DAD So, how's the writing going? BRENT Oh, it's going.
DAD When can I get a copy of the piece you wrote for the Broad Street Review? BRENT What do you mean? DAD Won't you get a copy of the magazine? BRENT No, dad. It's a digital magazine. DAD (Puzzled.) Oh. Okay... BRENT Yeah, when it gets published, I'll let you know. DAD All right. Well. How's everything else going? Fine.
DAD Are you still painting? Yeah.
DAD Well, how's it going? BRENT I haven't hacked off a part of my ear yet. So I guess it's going fine. DAD (Laughing.) BRENT I was actually just painting before you picked me up. DAD Oh, yeah? What were you painting?
BRENT Demons. No. Just one demon. With oils and pastels. (He stares at the ceiling.) DAD (Rolling his eyes.) I thought I raised you better than that? BRENT I'm joking. It's not a big deal. It's just something to do when I'm not writing and working. DUDE ON THE PHONE Yeah! I'm closer now! I'm almost at the elevator. I'll be up there soon. I heard it's a great view. Where are you? What are you doing? DAD Oh, man. I think I might say something to this kid. This is brutal. BRENT You can't. I know.
BRENT Just forget it. I know.
BRENT You know, I was here on the Fourth of July. DAD Yeah? How was that? BRENT It was fun. The line wasn't as bad. When we got here, though, there was this baby in line. He kept crying. And I came really close to walking up to the parents and saying something.
DAD You can't do that. I know.
DAD So what happened? BRENT I just ignored it. But, still. It really bothered me. Who the hell takes a kid to a bar? DAD (Shaking his head, laughing.) I don't know. We never did that when we were younger. BRENT Yeah. The kid was screaming and crying. Like, what the hell? I couldn't understand it. DAD Just get a babysitter. BRENT Right. Well, it looks like the line is moving faster than I thought it would. DAD Yeah, it's not too bad. I think your brother should be here soon. BRENT Good thing I didn't bring that bottle of wine. DAD Yeah, they would've never let you bring that in here. BRENT Yeah, I know. It's hard enough just to get into the bar. DAD So what's up there, anyway? BRENT What do you mean?
DAD What's up there? Look at all these people waiting in line. (Indicating all the people waiting in line.) There's gotta be a reason why they're all standing here. BRENT No. I don't think so. DAD (Grinning.) Oh, look! The line's moving. I think we're next. How do you get up there anyway? BRENT The elevator. DAD Really? That doesn't seem like a good idea. What if it breaks? Then what? BRENT Then, it's chaos. The lights will go off in the building. No more air-conditioning. No more plumbing. The toilets will get backed up. Somebody will start breaking windows. And that's all it'll take. People will start pushing each other and screaming. It won't be pretty. DAD I think you need a drink. BRENT I think you're right. I mean, who doesn't? It's Saturday night. DAD That's right, buddy. (Slapping BRENT on the shoulder.) I'm glad we're here together tonight. This is fun. Your mother would enjoy this. BRENT Yeah, I hope she's having fun. She deserves it.
DAD And your brothers will be here soon. DUDE ON THE PHONE Oh. My. God. I can't believe that! What the hell! Did she say why she did that? Oh, she's so bad. Why can't she just be normal? She was always crazy. That's why I haven't seen her in months. She's just too much... DAD (Shaking his head.) I can't wait to get away from this kid. BRENT Can't believe he's still on the phone. DAD (Looking around.) There's a lotta girls here for 'ya, Brent. Dad... What?
BRENT Never mind. DAD Oh, look. We're up next for the elevator. BRENT Yeah. Maybe we'll all get stuck on there together. And we'll run outta air. That'll be interesting. Maybe there'll be some Facebook philosophers on there with us. I'm sure they'll have some deep things to say when we're stuck in the middle of death and impending doom. DAD (Laughing.) All right, kid. The first round's on me.
THE LIGHTS GO DARK:
ACT 3 [The backdrop is the city skyline at night. Some lights in the windows. Pretend like there are a buncha people and shit. No more red ropes. No more lines. Just crowds of people getting drunk. Except, wait. There are THREE GIRLS standing center-stage, staring at their cell phones. BRENT and DAD are stage-left, standing together. The DUDE ON THE PHONE is stage-right. Still on the phone. DAD and BRENT are holding beers. Finally.] DAD Cheers, son! We finally made it! BRENT Yeah, this is all I wanted. (They both take a sip from their beers.) DAD See all that detail on the cornice? (He points to the ceiling.) BRENT Yeah. What about it? DAD They don't make 'em like that anymore. BRENT What do you mean? DAD I mean, they don't make cornices like that anymore. Look at all the detail. BRENT (stares at the ceiling) Yeah, I guess not. (he pauses) What the hell's a cornice?
DAD (laughing) It's at the top of the building! That's probably been there since about 1940. BRENT No, way. Really? DAD Yeah. I told you, this is where your grandfather went to school when he was young. BRENT Oh, okay. (uninterested) So, what was that like? DAD What do you mean? BRENT World War Two. DAD Very funny. BRENT I know I am. DAD (turning around to look at the city) Just look at this view, kiddo! BRENT (turning around also) I know. It's a beautiful night. When we were here on the Fourth of July, you could see all the fireworks, from every direction. It was pretty great. DAD You could see them from here? Yeah.
DAD Could you see the fireworks in New Jersey?
BRENT Yeah. (Pointing stage-left.) You could see them all the way out there. And then you could see all the fireworks that were being let off from all around the city. (He takes a big sip of his beer.) It was amazing. DAD You seem like you're loosening up a little bit. BRENT (Finishing his beer.) Yeah, this beer really helped. I'd been waiting on it. (Belches.) I love beer. DAD (laughing) That's the way I taught 'ya. BRENT Uh huh. Do you want another one? DAD Not just yet. I'm still working on mine. Old man.
DAD (Checking his cell phone.) I wonder where your brother is? BRENT Yeah, he'll be here. DAD (looking over at the girls center-stage) There 'ya go, buddy. Why don't you go talk to them? BRENT (looking over at the THREE GIRLS) I don't know. (MORE)
BRENT (CONT'D) They look like they're pretty enthralled by their phones. DAD So what? You can't go over there and talk to them? BRENT What the hell could I say? DAD I dunno, kid. Say anything. BRENT Yeah, I'm sure that would go well. DAD Don't you have any self-confidence? BRENT Sure I do. That's why I'm going to get another beer. (He walks off-stage.) DAD That kid, I'll tell 'ya. (Shaking his head.) There's something wrong with him. THREE GIRLS WE LOVE CELL PHONES! BOYS ARE STUPID! DAD Hmm, maybe he was right. THREE GIRLS THE QUANTUM FIELD IS INFINITE! WE STAY AWAY FROM BOYS 'COZ MOST OF THEM ARE CREEPS! WE LOVE OUR CELL PHONES BECAUSE WE'RE NERVOUS MOST OF THE TIME! THIS WHOLE FUCKING BAR IS FILLED WITH CREEPS! (One of them shouts.) I HAVE MY PH.D. IN ANTHROPOLOGY! (Another one of them shouts.) I JUST GOT OFF OF A THIRTEEN HOUR SHIFT AT THE HOSPITAL! (The third girl shouts.) I HATE MY BOYFRIEND! HE'S A FUCKING ASSHOLE!
DAD (talking to the THREE GIRLS) Why don't you meet my son? He seems kinda shy. But maybe you could talk to him? THREE GIRLS (horrified and disgusted) WE SAW HIM! WHAT THE HELL IS WITH THAT MUSTACHE! WE DON'T COMMUNICATE WITH MISFITS! DAD (laughing) Oh, come on. He's not that bad! THREE GIRLS (They say nothing and go back to staring at their phones.) DAD Here he comes again, ladies. BRENT (Walking back on-stage.) I got another beer for 'ya, pops. DAD That's nice of you! You didn't hafta do that. BRENT Yes, I did. How were you going to get another beer? (He hands a beer to DAD.) DAD (taking the beer) Thanks, son. (He places the other beer down on a table in front of them. Did I mention that? Yeah, there's a table there, too.) So, I was just talking to these ladies here... EW!
BRENT (alarmed) Yeah? What did you say? DAD I told them how you need to... DAD!
THREE GIRLS (Laughing.) Oh, my god. What a creepy 'stache! DUDE ON THE PHONE Yeah, I wish you were here right now, too. You totally missed this hipster dude getting made fun of by these girls staring at their cell phones. Are you still in line? No? Okay. Well, this place sucks. I'll probably be leaving soon... THE LIGHTS GO DIM. EVERYBODY LEAVES THE STAGE EXCEPT FOR BRENT. THE LIGHTS COME BACK ON. BRENT IS CENTER-STAGE.:
SCENE 4 [BRENT is standing there, holding a bottle of beer.] BRENT I left because I was afraid. I didn't want to spend any more money. I'd had enough. I wanted to get away from everyone. The lights, the conversation. I'd had enough. All the girls staring at their cell phones. My dad was ready to leave, and I'd left the bottle of wine in his car. The bottle of wine I'd bought for my brother's girlfriend -- it was her birthday. (MORE)
BRENT (CONT'D) It's her birthday tonight, in fact. All her friends were there. And my other brother came. He was with his friends, too. What have I got? (He turns around and points to the city skyline.) See that? That's everything to me. I can see it all from my kitchen. The Walt Whitman Bridge. The Ben Franklin Bridge. (He points to his right and left.) It's all out there. And I'm right in the middle of it. I can see the planes coming in from New Jersey and across the Delaware River. (He takes a big sip of his beer.) I can even see the bar from here, where I just was -- see it out there? (He points off into the distance.) [THE LIGHTS GO DIM. THE MISFITS "SATURDAY NIGHT" PLAYS.] THE END
I wrote this play to make fun of myself, hipsters and the relationship I have with my father. I'm a total loser!!!