Issuu on Google+

SIMPLY WONDERFUL

A Musical by Ben Patton

scripped.com

July 15, 2011 Copyright (c) 2009-2011 Ben Patton All Rights Reserved


SCENE SYNOPSIS ACT I Scene 1

Arthur's apartment, early afternoon.

Scene 2

Meanwhile, at Port Authority bus terminal.

Scene 3

Richard's apartment, late in the afternoon.

Scene 4

RICHARD's apartment, late that night.

Scene 5

A cafe, the next afternoon.

Scene 6

RICHARD's apartment, that evening.

Scene 7

RICHARD's apartment, late that night. ACT II

Scene 1

Arthur's apartment, day.

Scene 2

The cafe, day.

Scene 3

RICHARD's apartment, later that day.

Scene 4

Port Authority bus terminal

Scene 5

RICHARD's apartment, some days later.


ACT I Overture to a stage with only the Manhattan skyline lit, behind the scrim curtain. Scene 1 CURTAIN RISE. ARTHUR's apartment, early afternoon. A small, cluttered living room. There is a door to the hallway on the wall L. Down L on the back wall is a door to a bedroom. Beside that door is an intercom, with a buzzer, to open the exterior door. R is the wall of a tiny kitchen, unseen. Up C against that wall is a sofa covered with newspapers, etc and an armchair up R. On the wall is a framed photo of ARTHUR and RICHARD. There is no one onstage, and the sound of snoring can be clearly heard, coming from the bedroom. SOUND: DOORBELL RINGING The snoring stops abruptly. DOORBELL RINGS FASTER AND FASTER ARTHUR (groggy, irate) Oy... I'm coming, I'm coming, take it easy. ARTHUR, a stocky but effeminate man in his 60's, emerges from the bedroom door, wrapping a flamboyant pink dressing gown around himself. He presses the intercom button.

Helloooo?

ARTHUR (sarcastically, into the intercom)

RICHARD (voice coming from the distorted intercom speaker) Oh Arthur, it's wonderful! It's simple wonderful! Wait till you hear-ARTHUR presses the buzzer to open


2. the door, and the buzzing sound cuts off RICHARD's voice. He unlocks the door to the hall L, and exits into the kitchen, staggering. RICHARD bursts through the hall door, an elegantly dressed handsome man in his 60's. RICHARD Oh Arthur it's wonderful, it's simply wonderful! Wait till you hear my news... As RICHARD speaks, he crosses R, takes off his coat and flings it onto the armchair. RICHARD I met this boy- This most extraordinary guy. He's quite a find. I'll tell you why: This fellow Paul, he writes ingenious poetry, His way with words had it's way with me... ARTHUR (entering from the kitchen with a cold compress on his head, and a cup of coffee. He throws the newspapers off the couch, and sits) For God's sake Richard, keep your recitative down, alright? I had a trying night in surgery... Imagine! This pale white woman comes to me the spitting image of a late 90's Michael Jackson, and she asks me to make her look like the little black boy from the Jackson five. Naturally, afterward I had a few Manhattans. RICHARD (whispering) Oh Arthur, it's marvelous! Completely marvelous! Just get a load of this: This fellow Paul- he came from somewhere out midwest, To put his poems to the test, I heard him read his simply splendid poetry In a dingy dive on Delancey.. It knocked me dead-ARTHUR (rising, exiting back into the kitchen) I should've stayed in bed.


3. RICHARD (rising to pace back and forth excitedly as he goes on) Oh Arthur, he's fabulous, he's simply fabulous. Wait till you read his work! ARTHUR (from the kitchen) I know I've got a tylenol around here someplace. RICHARD I said Hello. I introduced myself to Paul. We talked and laughed until last call. He's very bright. He mentioned that he needed somewhere he could stay... I have that guest room anyway... he's there right now! ARTHUR (sticking his head out from the kitchen for a moment... disappointedly:) Oh Richard! Holy cow! RICHARD Then, acting on a whim, I said I'd sponsor him! You should have seen his grin! ARTHUR (entering from the kitchen, tossing back pills) Oh I suppose I'll wish I hadn't asked you this, But just how old is Paul the poet? RICHARD Maybe 18, 19, What does it matter? ARTHUR You don't even need to say If Paul is straight or gay I think we both already know it... RICHARD He's straight, but what are you driving at? ARTHUR (stepping up C to address the audience) Ladies and gentlemen, I have seen this show before, and it's not what it's cracked up to be. (covering his eyes and gesturing toward the exits) I'll cover my eyes and you can exit the theater. You'll be better off, take it from me...


4. RICHARD Oh Arthur, I know what you're thinking. But it's really not that sort of thing... ARTHUR Of course not. Do you remember that young singer songwriter jerk? You were awfully hot for his body... of work, So you took the kid under your wing-RICHARD Arthur no, it's not that sort of thing. ARTHUR Of course not. And who could forget that little playwright punk, Who looked like a hunk and smelled like a skunk, You had to air out your guest room all spring-RICHARD Arthur no, it's not that sort of thing. ARTHUR Remember the kid from Ohio? RICHARD He could've been a big star. ARTHUR Or that boy with the bongos... Timpanis Arthur, please. Oh, deja vu

RICHARD ARTHUR

RICHARD (simultaneous with next line) You've made your point, okay. ARTHUR I have been here before, and what's more, so have you For hundreds of years, you and I have been friends. Don't think I don't know how this sad story ends. It's more than money that you're gambling-RICHARD Well I'm touched by your concern for me, But try to understand: that sort of thing, Is NOT what's happening.


5. ARTHUR No of course not. How very silly of me. How very cynical I am. Do you remember that fiddle playing Kraut from Berlin? You bought him a priceless old violin. I could see he was playing your strings RICHARD Arthur no, It's not that sort of thing... ARTHUR Of course not. And how 'bout that dancer who brought tears to your eyes, (doing a mock modern dance move:) Interpreting Mahler's fifth with his thighs, You treated that klutz like a king... RICHARD Really Arthur, you have the most vulgar way of expressing yourself sometimes... ARTHUR (interrupting) All of these straight little dreamersRICHARD Arthur you've got it all wrong... ARTHUR Take you to the cleaners... Don't be a drama queen. Round and around

RICHARD ARTHUR

RICHARD (simultaneous with next line) You've made your point, Okay. ARTHUR Like a record that's broke, or a very old joke. Does he know that you're rich? Does he realize you're queer? RICHARD We've talked it all over, it's perfectly clear. We can tell between friendship and fling. ARTHUR Well, hallelujah, praise the Lord. I'm awfully glad to hear that sort of thing, Is not what's happening. - What a load off my mind. The relief that I feel is exquisite. (MORE)


6. ARTHUR (CONT'D) But Dickie, if, this is not that sort of thing, pray-tell, What sort of thing is it? RICHARD Well... you know how I love being active and hate being bored. ARTHUR

I do.

RICHARD You know how I loathe feeling worthless, old and ignored. ARTHUR

I do.

Richard stands up R looking out into space. RICHARD Well now, I have someone. Someone who truly needs me. Someone to whom I'm someone, wise and wild, free and fun. Now I am someone. Someone who's truly useful. At the risk, of jumping the gun, I must say I've become, at last someone to someone. ARTHUR You know how I love when you're cheerful and giddy like this.

I know.

(laughing)

RICHARD

ARTHUR You know how I feel in my gut when there's something amiss? RICHARD No, no. This time I've found someone-ARTHUR crosses up R, singing to himself, the two men now in their own heads. ARTHUR (singing simultaneous with following lines) Look at the man, he's in love. I've seen it a hundred times, he's lighter than air, He really looks alive again, how I wish it could last.


7. RICHARD Someone who truly needs me. A sensitive, adventurous friend. He makes me feel alive again. For years I'd been someone-ARTHUR (simultaneous with following lines) Oh how I wish it were real. I wish I could do something, but I know that nothing can be done, not by me, or anyone. RICHARD Someone who's lost and lonely, But at the risk of jumping the gun, I must say I've become, at last someone to someone. LIGHTS DOWN. Scene 2 LIGHTS UP. A decaying sign reading "Port Authority bus terminal" is the only decoration. CHLOE is pacing in a small circle holding her cell phone to her ear. She is an attractive girl with punky attire, a nose ring, and dyed streaks in her hair, wearing a backpack. SOUND: RINGING COMING FROM PHONE, NYC NOISE. CHLOE Trisha, pick up. Pick up the phone Trisha. Trisha pick up. Pick up the phone Trisha. Trisha? It's Chloe. (we hear TRISHA's side of the conversation as musical instrumentation) What? I can't hear you. This connection is crap? What? OK I hear you. Yeah I'm fine. What? What do you mean where am I? I'm at the Port Authority, I just got off the bus. What? What?!? But you said you were gonna meet me here! Trisha? Crap. You're breaking up again. Hello? Yeah? I hear youListen Trisha, I better start over... Trisha, I'm here. I'm in New York, just off the bus, on 42nd. You said I could stay with you and Jamille, Do you remember? You told me last night. I called you up and I said that I had to vent. Me and my Mom had an argument. (MORE)


8. CHLOE (CONT'D) She kicked me out of the house, so you told me to get on a bus and get out to Manhattan, hello, can you hear me? I'm losing reception. Only two bars, okay I hear you, did you understand that? What? What do you mean? You broke up with Jamille? You're where? New Hampshire? But what are you doing in? But last night you said-- I know but-- I know but-- I know but- I know but-- I know but, where am I supposed to-- Crap, can you hear me? There's some kind of echo... Hello? Yeah. I can hear you. Listen Trisha, I better start over. Trisha, I'm here. I'm in New York. I don't know a soul here in Manhattan. What? Can you repeat that? Hang on. SOUND: OFFSTAGE, A BOOMBOX BLASTS SPANISH HIP HOP (shouting to someone offstage) Hey! Hey could you please turn that music down? Yeah, you, turn it down alright? Trisha? You still there? My battery is low. Oh, for the love of-- Wait, don't hang up, Trisha please, can you hear me? Well this is just wonderful. It's simply wonderful. I am completely screwed. LIGHTS DOWN. Scene 3 LIGHTS UP. RICHARD's apartment, late in the afternoon. An elegant spacious living room. Down C are open french doors leading to a terrace, overlooking the Manhattan skyline. Inside the living room, on the wall R are two doors, one leading to Richard's bedroom, the other to the guest bedroom. On the wall L is a door leading to the outside hall. Beside that is a small bar. Up C is a backless divan. Beside it is a small table with flowers in a vase. The walls are covered with Modern Art, and one framed photo of RICHARD with ARTHUR. PAUL (offstage, his voice coming from the open guest-room door) Ladies and gentlemen, the moment you've all been waiting for. Presenting the winner of this year's Academy of Arts and Letters gold medal for poetry. He's the youngest to have this honor bestowed upon him by (MORE)


9. PAUL (CONT'D) the Academy for Distinguished Achievement. Please put your hands together and welcome....

Me!!!

(stepping out from the guest room, wearing only boxers and socks. He is a thin, clean cut young man)

(He bows to the audience up R and then crosses and bows again up L, blowing kisses. He crosses C, picking up the vase full of flowers as if it's a bouquet, and stands up on the divan, addressing the audience) This is all so sudden! There are so very many people that I want to thank... Daddy dear, for supporting my poetry career, Though I'm aware you found it just a little queer. (going into an impression of Al Jolson, putting the vase back on the table) And Mammy! Don't be distressed! Though I've left you with an empty nest. You can keep my golden medal so your friends will be impressed. (Turning to address the photo of RICHARD on the wall) And of course, my friend and financier, Who rescued me from obscurity- and put me up here... Richard, without your support and care, I wouldn't be accepting this award in my underwear. (jumping down from the divan, skipping to the terrace, looking out at the skyline) Everything's just so swell, It's getting hard to tell Reality from fiction. Look at this country lad, In this Manhattan pad, What an amusing contradiction. If I'd paid the frightening fee, To attend some dull university, Would Richard have discovered me, And found our great rapport... The Guggenheim, the symphony, With all of this to inspire me, I'm sure to write the poetry, I'll be remembered for! I look out at the urban unrest, And all I see is poetry! Sirens, horns and alarms in my ear, But all I can hear is poetry!


10. Everything my senses eat, I spit back out in iambic feet, And poetry is born! When I feel sad, not a tear do I shed, Instead I pour out poetry! When I feel good, not a word goes to waste, My laughter is laced with poetry! I'm merely a vessel for verses to use, An instrument for poetry! And when I heed the call of my muse, My pens starts to ooze sublimity... (he pauses, thinking) What a lovely phrase... My pen starts to ooze sublimity...I should write that down... (looks around for his pen and notepad, which he finds on the bar. Slowly, as he scribbles the words:) My... pen... starts... to... ooze... sublim... it... tee... (throwing his notepad on to the divan, seized with feeling:) The glitz and grit of NYC, will be my Bachelor of Arts degree! And here I'll write the poetry, I'll be remembered for... (Paul stands on the divan again) A haiku! Manhattan summer. A junkie on the subway. (Counting five syllables with his fingers) Do I smell urine? (leaping off the divan) Everything is new! What is a Wisconsin boy to do? What a simply grand New York debut! And it's been such a breeze! It's come about with such ease! Am I dreaming? Could someone pinch me please? Plato said the nearest to truth's not history but poetry, I believe that, in spite of my youth, I illuminate truth in poetry, (Paul crosses L and climbs up to stand on the bar) And that's the gift that brought me here. That's what turned Richard on his ear. My poetry will reign this year! Richard enters from the hallway door, L and crosses C, then turns around, sees Paul in his underwear standing on the bar, and turns


11. toward the audience covering his eyes. Paul, startled, leaps off the bar. Oh excuse me! Oh excuse me!

PAUL RICHARD

PAUL (running to exit into guest room) I'll put on some clothes. RICHARD (turning around, taking off his coat and hanging it up beside the door.) I should've knocked. PAUL (offstage, from the guest room) How's your friend Arthur? RICHARD Y'know... I think I forgot to ask... PAUL You're terrible! (emerging from the guest room, clothed) We should all have lunch tomorrow! RICHARD (picking up Paul's notepad from the Divan and placing it on the little table beside the vase) That's a lovely idea. PAUL Alright, we've settled that, but we ought to address a more pressing matter... how shall we attack the city tonight? RICHARD (producing two tickets from his back pocket) Don't you fret. I got us tickets impossible to get! And after the show we'll improvise...


12. PAUL Oh it's so exciting! This metropolitan scene... Forgive me if I sound a little green... RICHARD Nonsense, I'm excited too. PAUL Back in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, nothing was happening anywhere. Richard, you'd go crazy living there! RICHARD Au contraire! It sounds like it's beyond compare! The land of the free and the home of the square! Richard laughs. PAUL It's no laughing matter... I grew up yearning for culture In a town who's one noteworthy trait Is the tallest flagpole in the country And some of the smallest minds within the state. Oh you're awful.

RICHARD

PAUL I'd dream of life here in Manhattan, Bleeker street, Carnegie Hall, And I swore, if I escaped it, I'd never go near "the badger state" at all. RICHARD (ironically)

Nonsense, Paul, Sheboygan, Wisconsin! That's where we ought to be! It isn't in the Atlas, but it's good enough for me. Forget about Manhattan, we've got bigger fish to fry! Sheboygan, Sheboygan, WI.

WI.

WI.

PAUL (shaking his head) RICHARD (defiantly)


13. PAUL (shrugging)

WI. Let's dine out - maybe at Sardi's! And see the famous faces in the frames. All those great big apple legends! The Sheboygan folks don't even know their names. RICHARD And why should they? That's alright if you're old fashioned. If you like that quaint sort of a thing. But every bohemian hipster Is migrating to Sheboygan in the spring. Very funny.

PAUL

RICHARD Sheboygan, Wisconsin- there's ever so much to see! New Yorkers had their moments in the twentieth century. But ask me where the future lives, and boldly I reply: (facing the audience, hand on his heart) Sheboygan, Sheboygan, WI!

WI.

WI.

WI.

PAUL (mimicking Richard's pose, hand on heart) RICHARD (changing position to a salute) PAUL (also changes to a salute)

RICHARD Sheboygan, Wisconsin, that singular spot... PAUL The curfew's at eight on the dot. Tonight let's go down to the Vanguard Where the baddest bop licks occur. Richard scats a bebop lick RICHARD We could go down to the Vanguard But there's another destination I'd prefer


14. PAUL Let me guess- Sheboygan, Wisconsin. A paradise so divine!

RICHARD

PAUL The home of the Fighting Falcons! RICHARD And the smallest ball of twine. See that famous flagpole disappear into the sky! PAUL The view of old Lake Michigan's enough to make you cry! RICHARD AND PAUL And if you've lived a goodly life, you'll go there when you die! As they sing, RICHARD puts his coat on, and motions to the hall door. Sheboygan! Sheboygan, WI, WI, Sheboygan, Sheboygan WI. WI! RICHARD flicks off the light and, with PAUL, exit through the hall door, slamming it behind them. Scene 4 RICHARD's apartment. A ticking clock is heard as the cityscape outside the window lights up and the sky darkens to night. RICHARD and PAUL can be heard offstage, singing as they come up the stairs, (something from the show they just saw) and enter through the hall door L, merrily. RICHARD AND PAUL Have more than thou showest, Speak less than thou knowest, Lend less than thou owest. They laugh. RICHARD flicks on the light. That show was incredible.

PAUL


15. RICHARD An outstanding production, I agree. Richard takes off his coat, as Paul crosses R to the guest room. PAUL Oh, I'm so exhausted I could die. I gotta take a shower. So take a shower.

RICHARD Paul exits to the guest room.

RICHARD (humming to himself, as he hangs up his coat) Have more than thou showest, speak less than thou knowest... SOUND: 3 KNOCKS AT THE DOOR RICHARD (to himself) Who could that be knock knock knocking at this hour.

Hello--- oh...

He opens the hall door, and sees CHLOE standing there.

CHLOE (nervously) Hey. Listen, I'm sorry to show up so late without calling or anything... I didn't have your number but I remembered where the place was. RICHARD (also nervous) Chloe, what a... surprise, come in. CHLOE (Still in the doorway) I don't wanna bother you, but I need a place to sleep for a couple nights. Can I sleep here? RICHARD What brings you to the city? CHLOE I was going to stay with my friend... it's a long story. I need a place to crash, just at night. You won't even know I'm here. Is everything alright?

RICHARD


16. CHLOE Yeah, fine, fine. I just need a place to sleep. RICHARD (noticeable hesitant) Well... of course. Of course, uh... Of course, there's not a lot of space. A very dear friend of mine is staying in the guest room. At this moment the light changes expressionistically and RICHARD and CHLOE freeze, as does time itself, as PAUL enters from the guest room in childish pajamas, with his hair up in a towel, and sees CHLOE. He is transfixed, and crosses L to her, as if in a trance, standing between her and RICHARD. PAUL Wow. Wooowww. Wooowww. Here I am a poet, and all that comes to me now, Is wow. Wooowww. This must be the feeling Shakespeare's sonnets capture, Suddenly I'm in the throes of total rapture This must be the moment when my heart begins to speak, Suddenly I'm strong, suddenly I'm weak, Here I am a poet, and all that comes to me now, Is wow. Wooowww. The lights return to normal and time unfreezes. RICHARD is startled by PAUL's inexplicable nearness. RICHARD (gesturing, breathlessly, toward PAUL) Oh speak of the devil. Chloe this is Paul. Paul, this is Chloe, Chloe is.... um... Chloe is my... CHLOE Daughter. I'm his daughter. Hi Paul. Chloe nods to Paul, cooly, who beams back at her. RICHARD Chloe needs a place to sleep for a couple nights. PAUL (joyfully) Richard, that's wonderful! That's simply wonderful! You never even mentioned that you had a--


17. RICHARD (interupting defenisvely) Didn't I? I thought I did. CHLOE (crossing C, looking around, taking off her backpack) Listen, I won't get in the way, I'll just crash on the couch. PAUL Nonsense, take the guest room- I insist you do. I will sleep here on the couch... Paul, are you sure?

RICHARD

CHLOE (crossing C) No, I'd rather sleep on the couch, really. Is that okay? PAUL As long as you're comfortable! I'll get a blanket for you. PAUL exits to the guest room. CHLOE and RICHARD share an uncomfortable moment. CHLOE You're sure you don't mind? RICHARD No... Lord no. It's just... it's just such a surprise. Paul reenters with a blanket, cutting them off. PAUL If you should get chilly let me know and I'll give you my sleeping bag also, no prob.

Thanks Paul.

CHLOE (taking the blanket)

PAUL You're absolutely welcome, if there's anything-RICHARD (interupting) I suppose we should turn in... you said you were tired, right Paul?


18. PAUL What? Oh. Oh yeah. Okay. Goodnight, Chloe. Goodnight Richard, thanks for tonight. (to Paul) Goodnight my friend.

RICHARD

PAUL exits to the guest room, sneaking peeks at CHLOE all the way. RICHARD turns to CHLOE. There is an uncomfortable silence. (coldly, to Chloe) You're alright with the couch? I'm good.

CHLOE Another silence, as they face eachother.

RICHARD (at last) There's a spare key under the bar. RICHARD turns and exits to his bedroom, leaving CHLOE standing alone. Chloe goes down C to the terrace, and looks out at the skyline. CHLOE (to no one) I won't be a nuisance. Won't get in the way. I won't bring in rodents or worms. I won't steal the paintings. Won't touch anything. I won't spread my working class germs. I won't make a racket. I'll be so discreet. A guest you don't see and don't hear. I'll be just like a mouse, in a hole in your house. You won't even know I'm here. I hate to impose on you. I won't stay long. I'll be an invisible ghost. You don't have to pretend that you are my friend. That's too much to ask of a host. I won't eat your caviar, or whatever you eat. I won't drink your imported beer. It'll be just like it's been every day of my life... ...You won't even know I'm here. Chloe goes up C to the couch and lies down, pulling the blanket over herself. LIGHTS DOWN.


19. Scene 5 LIGHTS UP. A cafe, the next afternoon. Seated, from R to L are ARTHUR, PAUL, and RICHARD. They sit at a table, with plates of mostly eaten food before them. Above their heads is a framed poster of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. RICHARD It's so nice to finally get you two together, Art and Paul. ARTHUR I'd been dying of anticipation waiting for you call. PAUL (to Arthur) Richard tells me you're a plastic surgeon. ARTHUR Yes, alas. I spent all those years in med-school just to lyposuct some aging actor's ass. PAUL How long have you known eachother? ARTHUR We were both just thirty-three, So I guess that means I met this lug in 19-RICHARD (Cutting him off self consciously) Okay, that's enough reminiscing, let us talk of things to come. PAUL (still to Arthur) So of course you must know Chloe! She dropped in on us last night. ARTHUR (after a shocked pause, mischeviously:) Chloe!!!.... Really?... How nice.... RICHARD Arthur, you've just GOT to read what Paul's been writing--


20. ARTHUR Paul, I don't suppose you've ever heard the sordid tale, Of the night when Richard thought he was a heterosexual male. RICHARD (laughing defensively) Arthur, please, perhaps some other time-ARTHUR (interupting) Our friend here is bonkers, Doing coke with a girl from Yonkers, When the talkative rock and roller chick, Begins to make a move on Dick. Dick is at first resistant, But Miss Yonkers is persistent, Dick starts feeling experimental so Off to the ladies room they go. RICHARD Arthur, I think you're boring our distinguished guest-ARTHUR (interupting) Aaaaaand nine full moons later, Who should call but the Straightenater, See, when Dick and the dame made love that day, One of his tadpoles got away. Guess what the baby's sex is? Both those chromosomes are X's, So appropriately the female fling, Lead to a female offspring, (raising his glass) Here's to the fairer sex! And their feminine intuition, That guides them on their mission To astonish and perplex, Oh, here's to the fairer sex!

Bravo.

RICHARD (applauding)

PAUL (interupting, to Arthur) It was funny, Chloe left when we were both asleep in bed. At the crack of dawn this morning she just took her bag and fled. (to Richard) I was awfully disappointed that she left so soon, weren't you? Oh absolutely.

RICHARD


21. PAUL (simultaneously) The disappearing daughter simply vanished, leaving not a single clue. ARTHUR How like a female. Gone without so much as an e-mail. Aren't they wonderful in their mystery? PAUL Wonderfully mystic, I agree. ARTHUR (encouraging Paul) I've often had the feeling That the reason they're so appealing Is the elegant way they baffle you PAUL Baffle, yes! That's absolutely true! ARTHUR (lifting his glass again) Here's to the fairer sex, in their fetching little bonnets! PAUL They'll have you writing sonnets... ARTHUR Then they'll have you writing checks. OhHere's to the fairer sex!

PAUL AND ARTHUR

RICHARD Very good. Now Paul has this work called the City Cycle. It's a simply remarkable-ARTHUR Tell me Paul, is someone waiting back at home for you? PAUL No, Sheboygan girls don't understand my work or me, Infact, few people do. ARTHUR (spurring Paul on) Paul, that's a pity. But cheer up! This is New York city! We have girls who could really mix you up. Maybe Dick could fix you up. Richard is noticeable enraged. Somewhere in NYU, There must be some pretty girl for you,


22. Who you could argue about Walt Whitman with. Doesn't that sound positively hot? PAUL (springing from his seat with his glass raised) Here's to the Fairer sex! ARTHUR (also springing to his feet, glass raised.) To the maidens and the muses! Richard is stewing in his chair, head in his hands. PAUL They'll take your heart on cruises! ARTHUR Then they'll make you swab the decks! Three cheers for the fairer sex! PAUL (putting one foot up on the chair) Here's to the fairer sex! ARTHUR That's the ticket! (putting his foot on his chair also, to RICHARD:) Oh it must be great, to be straight, and to feel the full effects, of PAUL AND ARTHUR

The fairer sex.

RICHARD (exploding:) Alright if you two want to act like idiots that's your business, but I don't have to sit here and listen to it. RICHARD exits the cafe L, in a huff. PAUL tries to follow him, but ARTHUR holds him back.

Richard! Wait!

(confused)

PAUL

ARTHUR (motioning for PAUL to sit) He'll be alright, he gets that way when he eats curry. PAUL sits. ARTHUR pulls his chair


23. closer to PAUL and sits, as he continues. Listen, Paul, while I've got you alone, There's something I'd love to talk over with you, if I may. Paul. Maybe I don't know my place, I apologize if that's the case, But I feel that I should see, That you and I agree, That... nothing comes for free. Uhh, I don't follow you.

PAUL

ARTHUR Let me try to make it clear. For instance, take our waiter here. (gesturing offstage) If we were to neglect To tip him, I expect He'd feel some disrespect. PAUL (hunting through his pockets) Do you need some change for the tip? I have some quarters, I think. ARTHUR No no no no. What I'm trying to say here is, there are no selfless deeds. PAUL (nodding, confused) There are no selfless deeds. ARTHUR And every favor we perform, fulfills our own little needs. PAUL I'm still not totally certain that I'm following you. ARTHUR Let's pretend you come to me, For some plastic surgery, And I say, "Mon ami, I'll do your nose for free." Paul feels his nose, self consciously. But I'm hoping that you'll say: "Don't be silly, let me pay." Is this about the check?

PAUL


24. ARTHUR (losing patience) No, it's not about the check. (sighing, giving up) Oh, heck. I like you Paul. (putting a hand on PAUL's shoulder) Nevermind. LIGHTS DOWN. Scene 6 LIGHTS UP. RICHARD's apartment, that evening. PAUL is sitting on the divan, looking at a large book called "the Nude Form". RICHARD enters from the hall door, L. PAUL puts the book under a cushion quickly. PAUL Richard, what happened? You had me so worried- where have you been? RICHARD Oh Paul, it's just wonderful! It's simply wonderful. PAUL You seemed upset when you left us at breakfast, are you okay? RICHARD (taking off his coat and pacing as he goes on:) Forget that, it's nothing, Paul. It doesn't matter at all. Wait till you hear my newsWho should I meet, while pacing 57th street? Surprise surprise, my old friend Pete. Pete is a Queen, from the New Yorker magazine. We went to share some Thai cuisine, Began to chat, and yadayada, I had your chapbook there, Which I thought I would share, He sat there in his chair Completely glued to every page of poetry he viewed, Forgetting all about his food. (grabbing Paul by the shoulders) Paul, do you realize what this means? You're going to be in the New Yorker magazine!


25.

No this cannot be! Oh, but it BE baby! No this can't be so! Oh, but it's so, Joe! Have I gone insane? You haven't gone insane. Champagne!

PAUL RICHARD PAUL RICHARD PAUL RICHARD PAUL

RICHARD I don't have any champagne... how about rum? Perfect!

PAUL RICHARD and PAUL run to the bar, and RICHARD pours them both a champagne glass full of rum.

A toast! A toast.

To us! To us!

RICHARD PAUL RICHARD (holding up his glass) PAUL

RICHARD To the two of us! We're partners plus We share a connection so harmonious, To the two of us. Cheers. Cheers.

PAUL PAUL takes a small sip. RICHARD guzzles his down, emptying the


26. glass. Seeing this, PAUL guzzles the rest of his down also.

Aaah...

RICHARD (satisfied) PAUL

Aaah...

A toast!

RICHARD (filling each of their glasses with rum again) PAUL

A toast.

To New York!

RICHARD (holding up his glass)

To New York! To this crazy place, Where artists race, To find deeper meaning-And larger living space! To this crazy place. Cheers. Cheers.

PAUL

RICHARD RICHARD AND PAUL RICHARD PAUL RICHARD and PAUL guzzle down the rum, emptying their glasses again.

Aaah...

RICHARD

PAUL Aaah... Oh, say, have you seen Chloe yet today?

A toast!

RICHARD (cutting him off)


27.

A toast.

PAUL

RICHARD (pouring each of them another glass, and raising it:) To the New Yorker magazine! PAUL To the New Yorker magazine! RICHARD To that highly thought of publication, which most people flip through just to read the wry cartoons. I'll drink to that. Down the hatch.

PAUL RICHARD The two guzzle the entire contents of their glasses again. PAUL yanks the bottle from RICHARD and pours them both another glass.

PAUL And of course to poetry- the noblest pursuit! It's a sacred, ancient discipline, and kinda fun to boot. Cheers. Amen. May I have this dance?

RICHARD They guzzle down another glass. They begin waltzing drunkenly around the room, still holding their glasses.

PAUL Holy cow, this rum is potent. RICHARD Now here comes the big twirl. Ready? Alright. Woah!

PAUL Richard tries to twirl Paul, but he staggers backwards into the Divan, in a sitting position.


28. RICHARD Oh I'm sorry. And most of all(filling and raising his glass again) To the poet, Paul. A more promising prodigy I can't recall. (suddenly serious:) Here's to you, dear Paul. Aww shucks...

PAUL

RICHARD You're a most extraordinary guy, you know. A most extraordinary guy. You're just sensational, and I should know. I've seen so many passing by. RICHARD sits on the edge of the divan that Paul is sprawled upon. The way that you laugh like you've suddenly lost all your self control. The way that your eyes seems to show something fragile about your soul, On the whole, You're a charming, prepossessing guy, it's true. I'm extraordinarily fond of you. (raising his glass) Here's to you. RICHARD drinks his glass to the bottom. PAUL is speechless. It may shock you to learn that I'm normally not such a cheerful guy. But with you nearby... (putting his hand on Paul's leg) I am most remarkably upbeat and spry. You're a most extraordinary guy. PAUL (getting up, uncomfortable, putting his glass aside) We should go to bed. We've big days ahead. And I think that the rum is going to my head. We should go to bed. Goodnight. PAUL exits L to the guest room. Now alone in the room, RICHARD looks down at the floor. Goodnight.

RICHARD LIGHTS DOWN.


29. Scene 7 LIGHTS UP. RICHARD's apartment, late that night. The lights are all out. PAUL sneaks out of the guest room and tip toes to the couch. Finding CHLOE not there, he stands on the terrace, looking out at the city. CHLOE enters from the hall door, trying to be discreet, not seeing PAUL. PAUL pokes his head out from the terrace. CHLOE, startled, stifles a scream. CHLOE (startled) Jeez! You scared me! What are you, a Jack in the box? PAUL (laughing, still drunk) Sorry! How are you? How was your day? CHLOE I didn't think you'd still be up... I can come back later. PAUL No no, it's fine! I was just admiring the view of the city out here... isn't that a fantastic view?

I guess. You guess?

CHLOE (stepping out onto the terrace with PAUL, taking off her backpack) PAUL

(laughs) Well you're probably sort of used to the view from your old man's terrace. CHLOE Yeah right. I've been here once when I was a kid. PAUL Oh? So you and Richard are not really close?


30. CHLOE (interrupting) So, what's your story, Paul? How long have you been seeing my old man? Seeing?

PAUL

Paul laughs, a bit affectedly. Chloe no, it's not that sort of thing. CHLOE Of course not. Do you mean to say, that you're sort of his ward? Like Batman and Robin? You're out of your gourd. But if that's the way you like to swing... PAUL Chloe no. It's not that sort of thing. CHLOE You mean you're not playing Doctor? I am completely straight.

PAUL

CHLOE It's none of my business... He's helping my career... I bet he is.

PAUL CHLOE

PAUL What do you mean? I'm lost. CHLOE I should just bite my lip But I'll give you one tip: Better lighten your loafers, or he'll give you the boot. Chloe, you're funny!

PAUL

CHLOE I know. I'm a hoot. I'm hilarious. Ring-a-ding-ding. PAUL Well, cross my heart and hope to die. I swear on Shakespeare's grave, that sort of thing, Is not what's happening.


31. CHLOE Whatever you say, boy wonder. PAUL (looking out at the city) Gosh, what a view. Look at all those lights! All that stuff happening out there... CHLOE What a view, a bunch of lights. There must be more impressive sights, than these lights. What a view, a swarm of bugs. Hookers, pimps, desperate bums, and thugs dealing drugs. PAUL Well Chloe, I'm surprised to view This dark and poetic side of you, You seem a little tragic too, If I may be so bold. CHLOE Yeah sure, knock yourself out. PAUL My talent is for poetry, Infact, they call me a prodigy (putting his hand on CHLOE's shoulder) But why are we discussing me, With a view like this to behold? CHLOE clears her throat, picks up PAUL's hand from her shoulder and drops it. CHLOE (muttering) You are straight, aren't you? As PAUL says the following lines, RICHARD enters from his bedroom, up R, peering into the terrace, spying on PAUL and CHLOE furtively. PAUL Fleets of flickering fireflies Float slowly down Columbus Avenue, with mystifying grace. Oh what an enchanting lovely view, What a view. Softly from below the muted streetlights trace the splendid contours of your fascinating face Oh, if only you could see yourself as I do.


32. CHLOE (simultaneous to Paul's previous lines) What a view, a bunch of lights. There must be more impressive sights, than these lights. PAUL and CHLOE go on talking, inaudibly. RICHARD (to himself) What's this that I hear, little whispers have roused me from sleep... Oh no... What's this that I see, are these lovers upon whom I peep? Oh no... Well what a lovely view. This tender scene before me.... Damn it all. What's this I observe? I guess it's all I deserve. (The next lines of all three players are simultaneous) What a lovely view, I should have seen this coming. I'm in love, and I'm a fool. This heart of mine can be so cruel. What a lovely view, I should have seen it sooner. Now I know, the mess that I'm in, He won't love me, I'll never win. PAUL Fleets of flickering fireflies Float slowly down Columbus Avenue, with mystifying grace. Oh what an enchanting lovely view, What a view. Softly from below the muted streetlights trace the splendid contours of your fascinating face Oh, if only you could see yourself as I do. CHLOE What a view, a bunch of lights. There must be more impressive sights, than these lights. What a view, a swarm of bugs. Hookers, pimps, desperate bums, and thugs dealing drugs. PAUL, CHLOE AND RICHARD Goodness! What a vision! What a view. CURTAIN.


33. ACT II Scene 1 CURTAIN RISE. ARTHUR's apartment, day. ARTHUR's cell phone, on the couch, begins to play an "If I Was a Rich Man" ringtone. ARTHUR (from offstage, the kitchen) Hang on, hang on, hang on. SOUND: CLATTERING POTS AND PANTS ARTHUR enters from the kitchen, wearing a very feminine pink apron, and an oven mitt. He picks up the cell phone and tries to answer it but can't push the button with the oven mitt. Darnit.

ARTHUR

(he switches hands and answered the phone) Hello? Speaking. Miss Kurtzman, hello! How are those new boobs working out? With some difficulty ARTHUR shakes the oven mitt off his hand while the other holds the phone to his ear, during the next lines. ...Of course, ask away, all my experience as a cosmetic surgeon is at your disposal. ...You ears look too OLD? I don't understand, are they too small or too big? ...Uh-huh. Fear not Miss Kurtzman, I'll fix your ears. At otoplasty I'm without any peers. I could make you look just like a young Britney Spears. I could make you look older, but that takes several years. Why, I know a surgeon way out in El Paso, Who can make you look resemble a Pablo Picasso. ...Could you say that again? ...Yes, of course, I'll hold. (covering the phone with his hand, whispering to the audience:) The things people do when they start feeling old! Why would anybody want to be young? Isn't the teeny-bopper fashion passe? Try to remember that pure Picture of youth you adore May really prove to be more


34. Like a picture of Dorian Gray Why would anybody want to be young? Why would anybody envy a kid? With little pimples always oozing with puss? The virtue of youth is a hoax, It's one of the oldest of jokes. Every boy gambles and smokes, And wants to be free from his folks, just like us. Why would anybody want to be young? (lying down on his couch, stretching) Why would you trade, life in the shade, serenely reclined, For something as vulgar as youth? Good Lord. You'd have to be out of your mind! (sitting up) Where's the magic in a fella's first kiss? It's just the folly of an ignorant tongue! First encounters like these Really aren't worth a reprise. You learn of the birds and the bees By going out and getting shat on and stung. You'd have to be somewhat insane, To harbor the thought in your brain, That you'd prefer to remain young. ARTHUR hears Miss Kurtzman's voice on the phone and lifts it back to his ear. Hello? Yes, I'm still here, Miss Kurtzman. ...Your eyelids? ...I never noticed anything wrong with them. ...Well sure, I can do that. There's not a whole lot I can't do. Blepharoplasty is a cinch. Abdominoplasty I can do in a pinch. And if you're feeling especially nasty, I can even administer labiaplasty. Mammoplasty's my bread and butter, At Rhinoplasty I'm a skillful cutter, But it's my way with rhytidectomy That makes the medical world respect'o me. Pardon me? ...Again? ...Yes, I'll hold the line. (covering the phone with his hand, whispering to the audience:) This woman is crazy, her eyelids are fine. Why would anybody want to go back, To a time when they were less than mature? Maybe they simply forgot, All of the lectures they got, When they were caught smoking pot, Frankly I'm not able to spot the allure. Why would anybody want to be young? Why would anybody fear growing old? They say that sixty's the new forty you see, They say now forty's like twenty, But twenty's still twenty, And one year of twenty is plenty of twenty for me.


35. Why would anybody want to be young? Millions of men, Want to be schoolboys again, Knowing what they know now. But, unlike those tiresome men, I can Remember the things I knew then. (gesturing toward the photo of Richard and himself on the wall) Take for instance, Little Richard, my pal. And the pubescent punks he travels among. Like this protigee Paul, Who's recently learned how to crawl, And while he's having a ball, All Dickie's sonnets are going unsung. Tell me class, what did we learn? You're just begging for a burn, The instant you yearn, to be young. (Ending the call and throwing the phone to the couch) Why would anybody want to be young? He exits to the kitchen. LIGHTS DOWN. Scene 2 The cafe, day. Seated around the table are, from R to L, RICHARD, ARTHUR, CHLOE and PAUL. RICHARD and CHLOE look uncomfortable. PAUL It's so nice to finally have us all together here at last. ARTHUR (sarcastically) The entire happy family, yeah this oughta be a blast. PAUL (gesturing toward Chloe) And I understand you seldom get to see this lovely lass, So I'm sure you've got an awful lot to talk about... CHLOE (sarcastically) Yeah, this'll be a gas. So...

PAUL

A VERY long, silent pause. The weather is nice today. Another long pause.


36. Although it's a little grey. Do you think it'll rain? It may.

CHLOE RICHARD A very long pause.

Tra la la la. I like this cafe a lot.

PAUL

RICHARD This is our favorite spot. An extremely long pause. PAUL inhales and looks as if he's about to say something- the others all lean in, expectantly. PAUL Oh dear I just lost my thought. Tra la la la. Time freezes for all but CHLOE, who stands up and addresses the audience: CHLOE This is the most unbearable lunch. I think I'm about to blow. How could I have possibly been so completely stupid as to say I'd go? Time unfreezes as CHLOE takes her seat. PAUL Oh, I remember now, it came back to me. Today I read an article that sort of made me laugh. It was saying often zoos are not that safe for a giraffe. With their neck so tall they're sometimes hit by lightning, so it said... (a long pause, the others are not amused) Well, I guess it's not that funny, but it's something kind of interesting I read. Time freezes again, for all but RICHARD, who stands and addresses the audience:


37. RICHARD This is the most disastrous lunch. I wish I could disappear. I'd rather spend the afternoon inside a cozy coffin than be sitting here. Time unfreezes, as RICHARD takes his seat. A long pause. The next two lines are delivered simultaneously. CHLOE I think I should probably-Have you ever seen the--

PAUL Chloe and Paul both laugh nervously.

I'm sorry, you first. No you first. No, I interrupted. No, I interrupted YOU. No, I insist. No I insist.

PAUL CHLOE PAUL CHLOE PAUL CHLOE In unison, CHLOE and PAUL look toward ARTHUR.

ARTHUR What are you looking at me for? I'm not the referee! Time freezes, except for PAUL, who stand and addresses the audience. PAUL This is the most mysterious lunch. Has something gone awry? Something in the air is making everybody nervous, and I don't know why. PAUL sits and time unfreezes.


38. PAUL This service is awfully slow. CHLOE We ordered like hours ago. ARTHUR (looking at his watch) It's just been six minutes. Oh.

Tra la la la.

PAUL AND CHLOE (long pause) PAUL Time freezes and ARTHUR rises, to address the audience.

ARTHUR This is a simply riveting show! Who's gonna flip out first? This is so divinely entertaining, any second one of them will burst. RICHARD, CHLOE, and PAUL now stand also, so that all four are addressing the audience, in a state of frozen time. The following four lines are delivered as a round: CHLOE This is the most unbearable lunch. I think I'm about to blow. How could I have possibly been so completely stupid as to say I'd go? RICHARD This is the most disastrous lunch. I wish I could disappear. I'd rather spend the afternoon inside a cozy coffin than be sitting here. PAUL This is the most mysterious lunch. Has something gone awry? Something in the air is making everybody nervous, and I don't know why. ARTHUR This is a simply riveting show! Who's gonna flip out first? This is so divinely entertaining, any second one of them will bust.


39. PAUL

Help me!

RICHARD

Save me!

CHLOE

Shoot me!

ARTHUR

Goody!

All sit down quickly except RICHARD, who remains standing: RICHARD Oh how awful, how completely rude and awful I can be! Just this moment an engagement I'd forgotten came to me. It's important that I'm present at this meeting with... RICHARD pauses, looks around, sees the poster of Dean Martin hanging above the table, does a double take...

With ...The dean... Of St. Martino's school of music, It's a situation, you know what I mean.

RICHARD exits L, as the others protest "Whaat?" etc. There is a pause. PAUL (to Arthur) Have you noticed Richard never FINISHES meals here? You're very astute.

Tra la la la.

ARTHUR

PAUL (after a long pause)

(looks at Chloe, then, to Arthur) You don't have to... meet with the dean do you? ARTHUR Me? Oh no. I've got the whole day free to hang out with you two! Now, let's see, what shall the three of us do today? Paul clears his throat suggestively.


40. ARTHUR (gesturing toward the Dean Martin poster) Well, I suppose I can think of something to say to the Dean. (getting up) You children be good, don't do anything I wouldn't do! Ta ta. ARTHUR exits L. CHLOE (after an awkward pause) Paul, I should really be going too, because... PAUL Chloe, I have to tell you something. The way I've come to feel about you makes it hard for me to believe, That only a couple of days ago, I didn't know you from Eve. I thought, before I met you, that I had silenced my every yen, But that was a couple of days ago, What a life I've been living since then... I thought my dreams had all come true, Each little wish upon my list, But there's one I've yet to realize now, Now that I know you exist.

Oh, Jesus.

CHLOE (rubbing her temples)

PAUL I thought I had all I could want, But look at what I nearly missed. What a different world I'm living in, Now that I know you exist. CHLOE (shouting offstage) Check please! Can we get the check over here? PAUL I thought I'd charted the sea of feeling, But my exploration left a gap, I found a whole new part, Of my foolish heart, Now I've got to redraw my map.

Holy Moly.

CHLOE (head in hands)


41. PAUL I think I've made it crystal clear, I'm sure by now you get the gist. And you must see why, I've no choice but to try, Please consider before you resist, That I simply can't live without you now... Now that I know you exist. PAUL leans in and tries to kiss CHLOE, who pushes him away and stands. CHLOE Paul... No. No. Let me make this crystal clear: this will never be that sort of thing. That won't be happening. PAUL is hurt. He exits, stage L.

Oh, Paul!

CHLOE (Calling after him, sympathetically) She sighs. LIGHTS DOWN. Scene 3 RICHARD's apartment. RICHARD is seated on the divan, head in hands. ARTHUR, wearing a hat, stands beside him, L.

ARTHUR The Dean of St. Martino's??? Dick, I'm disappointed. You used to be the best, The smoothest liar in the upper west. I guess you're getting old. PAUL enters from the hall door, L, looking depressed. Paul!!!

ARTHUR AND RICHARD

PAUL (in a horribly gloomy voice:) Oh, hi. What happened to your meeting? ARTHUR What happened to the meeting, Dickie?


42.

The Dean is... dead.

RICHARD

ARTHUR (removing his hat and placing it over his heart) Long live the Dean. Paul throws himself on a barstool at the bar, L, and starts to weep. Paul, are you crying?

RICHARD

ARTHUR (To the audience) He and the Dean must've been close! (sobbing) It's about Chloe...

PAUL

Richard gets up, crosses L and puts his arm around Paul. ARTHUR (gesturing to the bedroom, whispering, ignored by the others) I'll just be in the other room. ARTHUR exits R into the bedroom. PAUL All of my poetic words of love had no effect, The very heart she brought to life she promptly wrecked She isn't like the meek Sheboygan girls I've known, Never have I felt, so useless and alone. Here I am a poet, and all that comes to me now, Is Ow. Ooowww. RICHARD (holding PAUL closer) I can't stand to see you in such deep distress, Dry your tears, don't tell me, let me guess. I bet it feels as if you're empty inside. I bet it's thrown your life askew. You lost your heart and then your dream was denied. I know the feeling, I do. I bet your thoughts are spinning round like a wheel. I bet you're trying not to cry. Believe me buddy, I know just how you feel. No one knows better than I. I know the feeling like the back of my hand. I know it like my A B C's. (MORE)


43. RICHARD (CONT'D) I am an expert, trust me, I understand. Let me share my expertise. Nothing you do will make the storm clouds disperse. You won't just shake it like the flu. I know the feeling, that heartbreaking feeling, I know the feeling, I do. There is no antidote, you can't lift the curse. Do you hear what I'm telling you? I know the feeling, that heartbreaking feeling, I know the feeling, I do. RICHARD leans in, and kisses PAUL on the lips. PAUL, startled, suddenly pulls away from RICHARD, and walks backwards, crossing R to the other side of the room. PAUL No! Richard, no. Let me make this crystal clear. This will never be that sort of thing. That won't be happening... Paul nods, grimly, thinking. Then he suddenly opens the guest room door, R, and drags out his two large travel bags, opening one, as he continues. PAUL Did you ever really like my work?

Please, Paul.

RICHARD (As Paul darts into the guest room)

PAUL (emerging from the guest room with a pile of clothes, shoving them in the bag) Do you have a friend at the New Yorker at all? RICHARD (as Paul again ducks in and out of the guest room to get another pile of his things.) You're a most extraordinary guy.


44. PAUL (throwing the last items into the bag and zipping it shut.) Alright. I'll be on a bus for the midwest tonight. PAUL crosses L with his bags. Paul... Paul.

RICHARD PAUL grabs a few more of his things and exits L. RICHARD goes to the bedroom door and opens it. ARTHUR has been eavesdropping, crouching with his eyes closed and ear cupped to the door.

ARTHUR (opening his eyes and realizing the door is open, sheepishly,) I couldn't help but overhear. C'mere, you. ARTHUR leads RICHARD to the divan, where RICHARD wordlessly curls up, with his head on ARTHUR's lap. ARTHUR I've watched you make the same mistakes, time and time again. I guess I thought that you'd grow out of it in a year or two... or ten, I've wrestled with my conscience, choosing not to interfere. And every time your sky fell down I'd wipe up every tear. Year after year after year after year. Why do I do it? I'm getting there, dear. (sighing, stroking Richard's hair) I love you. You stupid idiot. I love you. You senile oaf. I never had a sister or a brother, But in you, I found a bit of both. I love you. You brain-dead nitwit. I love you. You tedious pill. You're my buddy, and I'm glad. Cuz you're the best I ever had. And I love you, and I always will. (kissing him on the forehead) You stupid idiot. RICHARD sits up, hearing CHLOE enter from the hall door.


45.

Oh. Hi.

CHLOE

ARTHUR (getting up, grabbing his hat, crossing L) That's my exit cue. (whispering to Chloe on his way out) Did you hear the Dean died? ARTHUR exits from the hall door, L. CHLOE Sorry, I thought you'd be gone. RICHARD (snippy) Naturally, you come here when I'm out or I'm asleep, To avoid the pain of talking to me, am I such a creep? CHLOE (snippier) You're the one who couldn't bear to talk to me today, I was making you uncomfortable and so you ran away. RICHARD That isn't true. I had to go. You're full of shit.

CHLOE

RICHARD It's complicated. Personal stuff. CHLOE Right, let me guess. Your little poets been driving you nuts. I said it's private. Forgive the intrusion.

RICHARD CHLOE

RICHARD Hey. I never ask where you spend the day. You stay out long after dark-CHLOE I just sit in the park, drawing sketches, it's not like I'm dealing. CHLOE opens her backpack, dumps her sketchpad and pencils on the floor, and shakes it upside down, to show


46. RICHARD it has no drugs in it. RICHARD Alright, what I mean is, it's none of my business. CHLOE Yeah, whatever, I guess it's better if we don't hang out much. RICHARD (standing, turning away from Chloe) You're probably right. What do I know about being a father. I'm such a child, I'm a burden and a bother. What do I know, about being a Dad. I'd be a hypocrite to scold you when you're bad. Listen, I'm sorry I didn't raise you, But my ineptitude with children would amaze you. What do I know, what could I do? (turning to face Chloe) What possible good could I be, to you. CHLOE (Facing away from RICHARD,) What do I know about being a daughter? I'm not some helpless little child treading water. What do I care if you didn't raise me? I turned out fine without a Dad to scold or praise me. (She begins gathering her pencils and things from the floor and stuffing them in her bag, not noticing that RICHARD has picked up her sketchbook and opened it,) So listen thank you for letting me stay here, I guess I'll take off because there's not much else to say here. What do I know? What could I do? I'm glad that we finally agree. I don't need you and you don't need me. What possible good could I be... CHLOE is distracted, noticing that RICHARD is flipping through her sketchbook. She looks over his shoulder at it. LIGHTS DOWN.


47. Scene 4 Port Authority bus terminal, that evening. PAUL enters from the back of the auditorium, lugging his two heavy bags down the isle toward the stage. Halfway there he drops the bag and leans back rubbing his aching spine. PAUL Pain!! I am broken into pieces like a shattered pane of glass! PAIN!! I discovered Eldorado but I lost it all alas! Furthermore, I lost the only love my heart has ever known and now I must be banished to Sheboygan. PAUL continues, and lifts the bags up the steps to the stage, stopping under the Port Authority Bus Terminal sign. PAUL Pain!! Like a demon from the deep intent on swallowing me whole, Pain!! Like furious inferno spewing soot upon my soul... (suddenly composed:) Soot upon my soul, what a lovely phrase.Like a furious inferno spewing soot upon my soul. I should write that down. (taking out his pad and pencil and jotting it down) Furious inferno spewing soot upon my soul... (changing back to his dark mood) Pain!! I am tossing madly in a violent wrathful stormy sea of pain! (again suddenly changing mood, scribbling in his pad:) That's very good. ...Violent, wrathful, stormy sea of.. (suddenly inspired) This is brilliant! When I feel sad, not a tear do I shed, Instead I pour out poetry. When I feel good not a word goes to waste, My laughter is laced with poetry. Now that I know misery, My work holds newfound maturity. I've finally found my voice! Maybe in this mood so black, My words have something they used to lack. Perhaps it's put me right on track, This suffering I've found... Perhaps my heart was meant to break (MORE)


48. PAUL (CONT'D) And bleed and ache for my poetry's sake. The missing spice that's sure to make My poetry renowned. ...A haiku! Unrequited love, Her father tried to kiss me, Only in New York! (suddenly remembering New York) Oh... New York... (He sighs. Sadly:) Oh, New York. Oh New York, You'll have to find a way to carry on without me, Dry your rusty tears, New York, New York. I must go, but every precious memory of our romance I'll keep as souvenirs, New York, New York. You'll be fine. Your A-train will keep on running. Your broadway shows will open and close without me, Oh, New York. I know that someone else will come along, be patient. You will love again, New York, New York. LIGHTS DOWN. Scene 5 RICHARD's apartment, some days later. ARTHUR enters from hall door L to an empty room. ARTHUR (calling out to RICHARD) Hey, I'm here. The traffic is hell out there. No parking anywhere. I should'a took the tube. RICHARD (entering from bedroom in a tuxedo, beginning to search all over the room for something, lifting couch cushions, etc.) Oh good, you're here. I hope you're ready for a treat. La Traviata can't be beat. And we'll be joined by an artistic prodigy, This kid who's just moved in with me. ARTHUR Oh God, you must be kidding Dick! You masochist, you're truly sick!


49. RICHARD I've lost the tickets. Help me quick! ARTHUR (stepping up C to address the audience, fatigued,) Ladies and gentlemen, I have seen this show before, and it's not what it's cracked up to be. (covering his eyes and gesturing toward the exits) I'll cover my eyes and you can exit the theater... RICHARD (calling to the guest room) Chloe, where did I put the tickets? CHLOE enters from the guest room, in the middle of doing her hair, and reaches into RICHARD'S inside jacket pocket, handing him the tickets. ARTHUR uncovers his eyes and gapes at her.

Hi Arthur.

CHLOE (to Arthur)

Thank God.

RICHARD She exits again into the guest room.

ARTHUR (shocked) Chloe? Really? ...How nice.... RICHARD Arthur we've had so much fun the past three or four days. ARTHUR Richard, that's wonderful... RICHARD Visiting galleries, going to concerts and plays... That's simply wonderful.

ARTHUR

RICHARD Now I have someone. Someone who truly needs me. Someone to whom I'm someone, wise and wild, free and fun. For now I am someone


50. ARTHUR Look at the man, he's alive. RICHARD Someone who's really useful. ARTHUR Just look at him! At the risk, of jumping the gun, I believe he's become at last someone to someone. RICHARD (simultaneous with previous line) At the risk, of jumping the gun, I believe I've become, at last someone to someone. CHLOE enters from the guest room again, finding her coat and putting it on, CHLOE Let's go to the opera, let's go to the Met! Halfway through I'll be asking you: "Is this thing over yet?" What I'm about to utter I suspect I will regret: Let's go to the Metropolitan Opera. RICHARD Let's go to the opera! Such passion ahead! I brought an extra hanky for the tears you're sure to shed. CHLOE I heard it won't be over 'til the fat lady's dead... ARTHUR Ha! Let's go to the Metropolitan opera! RICHARD I don my tux but once a year when these occasions happen. ARTHUR If you don't mind I'll bring my sweats. They're easier to nap in! CHLOE (Laughing,) Good one Arthur! High five!

ARTHUR ARTHUR and CHLOE slap a high five.


51. RICHARD Let's go to the Opera, Oh, we'll have a ball! I'm curious to see how much Italian I recall. ARTHUR I'll bring the binoculars, you bring the tylenol. CHLOE (Pushing them impatiently toward the door,) Let's go to the Met, Let's go to the Met, Let's go to the Met, Let's go to the Met,

ARTHUR AND RICHARD CHLOE ARTHUR AND RICHARD

RICHARD ARTHUR AND CHLOE (As Richard opens the door,) Let's go to the Metropolitan Opera!

LIGHTS DOWN.

They all exit from the hall door, slamming it on beat. LIGHTS UP. Bows, exit music, etc. CURTAIN. THE END.


Simply Wonderful ~ a musical