6 Bonus Plays from Out of the Mount cover

6 Bonus Plays from Out of the Mount title page

TABLE OF CONTENTS
• BONUS PLAYS •

Something Shocking
Enoch Allred

Lettuce Alone
Bianca Dillard

Maror
James Goldberg

Job Well Done
Matthew Greene

A Restaurant
Katherine Gee

Así Es (That’s Just How It Is)
Lyvia Martinez

• THE PLAYERS •

Contributors

Copyright & Permissions

SOMETHING SHOCKING

Enoch Allred

DR. S. Sit down.

DR. F. It can’t be right.

DR. S. We just need to think this through.

DR. F. It just doesn’t make any sense.

DR. S. Sit down sit down. You’re making me nervous.

DR. F. I’m making you nervous? This whole thing is making me nervous.

DR. S. Just please calm down.

DR. F. Maybe the numbers are wrong.

DR. S. Numbers don’t lie.

DR. F. But they can be wrong. If we did them wrong. Human error.

DR. S. You know we didn’t.

DR. F. Let’s check them one more time.

DR. S. There’s no point. We’ve checked them thirty times already.

DR. F. There has to be something we’re missing.

DR. S. You know there’s not.

DR. F. Well then what are we gonna do?

DR. S. What can we do?

DR. F. We can call the President!

DR. S. What can he do?

DR. F. Something maybe! He should at least be informed.

DR. S. I do have one idea.

DR. F. Tell me! I’m all mixed up!

DR. S. We should scream.

(They scream for a long long time. DR. F peters out before DR. S. There’s an extra note of desperation to DR. S’s screams.)

DR. F. Did that work?

DR. S. No.

DR. F. Oh no.

DR. S. I know.

DR. F. We’re so mixed up.

(LORRAINE enters.)

LORRAINE. Is everything okay in here?

DR. S. Get out! Can’t you see how busy we are?

DR. F. We’re working!

DR. S. Don’t you see how important we are?

LORRAINE. All right, I’m sorry.

(She exits.)

DR. S. She doesn’t understand.

DR. F. We’re all mixed up.

(There’s a small silence as each contemplates what to do.)

DR. S. We need to reverse the particle flow.

DR. F. Yes!

DR. S. Then fire a tachyon beam.

DR. F. Yes! Brilliant!

DR. S. Don’t just stand there. Start reversing the particles.

DR. F. I don’t think I know how.

DR. S. Like this.

(He starts waving his arms as if to shoo the particles.)

DR. F. Of course!

(They both shoo particles, but to no avail.)

DR. F. Stop. Please go the other way. It’s important that you reverse position.

DR. S. It’s not working.

DR. F. Please, please. Everything depends on this.

DR. S. They won’t listen. No one will.

DR. F. Go! Go! Just do it!

(LORRAINE enters.)

LORRAINE. Sorry, but do you know why the hallway is full of cotton balls?

DR. S. Don’t touch those!

DR. F. We’re trying to shoo particles.

DR. S. They’re important! You can’t just touch them.

DR. F. It would just mix things up further.

LORRAINE. All right, I won’t bother with it for now.

(She exits.)

DR. S. Don’t bother with it ever!

(Beat.)

DR. S. This isn’t looking good.

DR. F. I think I have an idea.

DR. S. Please do tell.

DR. F. Okay, we’ve got to fill up our pockets with all these pens.

DR. S. It couldn’t hurt, I guess.

(They overload their pockets with pens. It’s ridiculous how many pens there are. They’re everywhere.)

DR. F. Okay, now we throw them at each other.

DR. S. I don’t see how this is going to help.

DR. F. It couldn’t hurt!

(They proceed to throw pens at each other. It’s an all-out pen war.)

DR. F. Better?

DR. S. Marginally.

DR. F. I’m still pretty mixed up.

(LORRAINE enters.)

LORRAINE. I’m sorry, it’s just that there’s so much noise coming from this room, and I still can’t figure out where that weird smoke is coming from.

DR. F. Can’t you see how mixed up we are?

DR. S. This is important! We’re important!

DR. F. We’re so mixed up.

DR. S. You don’t go around interrupting important people doing important work!

LORRAINE. Fine, sorry.

(She exits.)

DR. F. There’s gotta be something.

DR. S. There’s nothing.

DR. F. We can make a time portal.

DR. S. No.

DR. F. Go back before any of this happened. Before we even happened.

DR. S. I don’t think it’ll work.

DR. F. We can be farmers. Work the land. Raise families. Forget about all this.

DR. S. I can never forget.

DR. F. Or we can make a rocket. Lose ourselves in the infinity of space.

DR. S. We’re too dirty.

(DR. F begins to dig through a cabinet. DR S collapses on the couch.)

DR. F. There’s something in here. We have everything. There has to be something that can unmix everything.

(DR. S whimpers. Dr. F pulls an eggbeater out of the cabinet.)

DR. F. It just might work.

(He runs off.)

DR. S. Don’t go.

(DR. S is nearly in tears. LORRAINE enters.)

LORRAINE. Are you okay?

(She waits for a response but none comes. She sits down next to DR. S, and takes his head into her lap.)

DR. S. Don’t you see what’s going on? Don’t you see how important we are? We’re so mixed up. I’m so mixed up.

LETTUCE ALONE

Bianca Dillard

(STEVE sits in his La-Z-Boy with a shotgun across his lap; at his feet lay a towel, bottles of cleaning solution, oils, cleaning rod, bristle brush, and pieces of old band t-shirts for cleaning. The chair he sits in is tilted to one side. To the right lies an open box of shotgun shells. BRIDGET walks briskly into the living room, wearing a black tank top, shaking the tangles out of her wet hair with her fingers. She starts to straighten up the living room without noticing STEVE. She straightens the magazines on the coffee table, the couch cushions, throw pillows, etc. STEVE grins like a little boy waiting for his sister to see the snake he left on her pillow.)

STEVE. I’m almost ready for him.

BRIDGET. Funny, Steve.

STEVE. I thought so.

(She sighs and walks to down the hall to her room. LAURIE enters just to see BRIDGET start down the hall.)

LAURIE (Calling after BRIDGET). It looks good in here, honey! (To STEVE.) Gonna put that away?

STEVE. No, I think it’s a nice touch.

LAURIE. Wha’d she say about it?

STEVE (Doing his best impression of BRIDGET, complete with a defiant toss of his imaginary hair). Funny, Steve!

LAURIE. Sounds about right. (Looking around the living room.) It does look nice in here. Hey, did you vacuum?

STEVE. Uh-huh.

(He stands and kisses her.)

LAURIE. Thanks, I’m sure it is appreciated. Now will you put that thing away?

STEVE. I think it’s a nice touch. I mean, when was the last time you heard of a dad really meeting his daughter’s date with a shotgun on his lap? It’ll make a good story.

(LAURIE looks at him.)

STEVE. What? (Kisses her.) And Laurie—she’s not going to wear that outfit tonight is she?

LAURIE. What was she wearing?

STEVE. She came out in just a tank top.

LAURIE. I assume not—she knows the rules. They were our rules before they were our rules, remember.

STEVE. I just don’t want her to think she can get away with anything because they are our rules now.

(STEVE bends over to collect the towel and the various implements of seventeen-year-old torture that lay on it. LAURIE smacks him friendly on the butt before walking down the hall to BRIDGET’S room.)

LAURIE. I’ll check.

(LAURIE slowly opens the door to BRIDGET’s room to see her tying a green sash around her waist and looking into the mirror.)

LAURIE. You’re not wearing that outfit, are you?

BRIDGET. Did Steve say something?

LAURIE. No, your bossy mother was just giving you a hard time. (She holds up a green sweater.) Are you wearing this, too?

BRIDGET. Yes. (Either pointing with her foot, or holding up a pair of green rhinestoned slippers.) And I borrowed these great shoes from Kelly.

LAURIE. Very sassy, baby. (Beat.) And you’ll wear that cardigan all night?

BRIDGET. Yes, Mom. I’ll only take it off when we’re having sex.

LAURIE (Calmly). Well remember, honey: protection, protection, protection. Steve and I just bought a box of condoms; I’ll send one with you.

BRIDGET. Mom! Gross! I was just kidding. (Beat.) You don’t have to worry. You know I’m responsible. I don’t even know how much he likes me.

LAURIE. I know baby, just be careful. I do worry about you. And I worry about all those boys that you hang out with. What you don’t realize is that all guys think about is sex; whether they act on it or not that’s all they think about. So don’t give them an opportunity to get carried away.

BRIDGET. I know Mom, you’ve told me.

LAURIE. I know, you’re a smart girl, smarter than I ever was.

(She gives BRIDGET a hug.)

BRIDGET. Can I borrow your eye liner?

LAURIE. Sure. Want a condom too?

BRIDGET. MOM!

LAURIE (Laughing). Just jokin’ with you baby.

(LAURIE walks back into the living room with a grin on her face. The gun is gone.)

LAURIE. You don’t have to worry about Bridget’s outfit tonight.

(She sits in her husband’s lap.)

STEVE. What time was he supposed to be here? A respectable gentleman would be on time.

(BRIDGET enters the living room.)

BRIDGET. I’m glad he’s late—I wouldn’t have been ready five minutes ago.

STEVE (Noticing her green, accessorized outfit). Hyddidiedie, oh they’re always after your lucky charms! (He chants it in his best Irish accent, complete with the best sitting jig he can muster with his wife still on his lap. Laurie nudges Steve with her elbow, and smiles to hold in a laugh.)

BRIDGET. Where’d your gun go, Steve? Or is there a knife in your boot now?

STEVE. No, but I do have a tommy gun behind my chair.

BRIDGET (Not amused). Ha. (Beat.) Okay, guys, so how do I look?

STEVE. Magically delicious.

BRIDGET. No, really! (Looking to LAURIE.)

LAURIE. You look just fine.

STEVE. I still think you look like a leprechaun.

BRIDGET. Thanks, Steve, you sure know how to instill a lot of confidence in a girl.

STEVE. My job as your stepfather is not to instill confidence, it is to tear down your psyche and intimidate your date. Should I bring the gun back out?

BRIDGET. No thank you, I’ll take the damaging blows to my psyche.

(BRIDGET goes over to a “mirror” by the door facing the audience. She examines herself very closely, pulling the little clots out of her mascara, checking her teeth, lipstick etc.)

STEVE (To BRIDGET). You know. I heard somewhere that if you look in the mirror too long you may get skin cancer.

(BRIDGET doesn’t respond.)

LAURIE. Baby, if that were true, I’d have cancer for sure.

BRIDGET (Decidedly done with the mirror). ’Kay, guys, he’ll be here soon, be on your best behavior. (Looking at STEVE.) Please.

(The doorbell rings. BRIDGET takes a deep breath, tousles her hair, straightens her shirt, presses her lips together, takes another deep breath. Goes for the handle.)

STEVE. Now the real fun begins.

BRIDGET. I said, PLEASE!

(She opens the door to find—to her horror—a UPS delivery man.)

UPS MAN. Last name?

BRIDGET. Nielson.

UPS MAN (Handing her the package). Thanks, have a good night.

BRIDGET. Special delivery for Laurie Patterson.

LAURIE (Taking the package). Oh? Thanks, babe. (Kissing BRIDGET on the cheek as she takes the package.) Maybe it’s that new laundry detergent I got online.

(She goes in the next room to put her package away.)

BRIDGET. This is just absurd. What UPS guy comes at seven (Looking at the clock.) twenty-seven in the evening?

(She plops onto the couch with a sigh.)

LAURIE (Offstage). I’m sure there’s a good reason he’s late. Maybe his car broke down.

BRIDGET. He has a cell phone.

STEVE. How old is he?

BRIDGET. It’s under his parents’ plan.

LAURIE (Coming back into the living room). Bridget, he just asked you a question.

BRIDGET (Dryly). Sorry.

LAURIE. Why don’t you call him?

BRIDGET. Yeah and be like, hey why are you standing me up?

LAURIE. Honey, I’m sure he’s not standing you up. Who could stand up a girl as cute as you?

BRIDGET. Thanks, Mom. That would be meaningful if you weren’t my mom.

LAURIE. You can always hang out with us tonight.

BRIDGET. Woo, that sounds exciting. What are you guys watching, Nerd Fest 2000?

STEVE. Yes, we did have plans to watch the Star Trek marathon tonight.

BRIDGET. Yippee, that does sound better than hanging out with a hot guy. Why didn’t I think of that first?

LAURIE. Bridget, there’s no need for that. I think you should call him to see if something happened. Maybe he thought he was picking you up at eight.

BRIDGET. I’m not calling him. It will make me look dumb or desperate or something.

LAURIE. Well then, sit and pout all night. I don’t care. Just do it in your room. We don’t need you taking this out on us.

(BRIDGET gets up and goes to her room, without looking at either one of them.)

STEVE. Where does she get off?

LAURIE. She’s seventeen, that’s where she gets off. You know you didn’t make this very easy for her tonight.

STEVE. If she would come down off her high horse and mingle with us common folk, she might see that we’re not that bad.

LAURIE. It was her first date with this guy. She really likes him. How would you feel?

STEVE. Pretty crappy, but I sure wouldn’t take it out on her.

LAURIE. Maybe you would if you were a seventeen-year-old girl.

STEVE. Well I’m not and I never have been.

LAURIE. She’s not a forty-year-old man and she never will be. You both need to calm down and show some respect for each other.

STEVE. She should respect me first; I’m the father of this family now.

LAURIE. Not to perpetuate the clichés, (Looking for a reaction.) but respect is a two-way street, babe. And you’re the adult.

STEVE. I was just teasing her.

LAURIE. I know that. Sometimes you have to feel her out, know when to be a smartass and when to just ignore her attitude.

STEVE. You love my smart ass.

LAURIE. Yes I do. (She smacks his butt.) Babe, you’re just going to have to figure each other out.

STEVE. This is a lot harder then I thought it would be.

LAURIE. Yeah, you’re telling me. Just don’t give up. I have faith in you guys, in all of us making this family work.

STEVE. Hey look on the bright side: if not, we only have nine months until she turns eighteen.

MAROR

James Goldberg

“In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.” (Matthew 2:18)

Based on events described in “The Uses of Adversity” by Carlfred Broderick

(Lights up on a BISHOP speaking. Note: throughout the play, scenery is minimal—a simple bed and a few chairs are used, but otherwise the only points of visual reference are the actors themselves. )

BISHOP. You know, it’s been just a few days shy of a year since I was called as your bishop? And already, we’ve seen some great times together...and some hard ones, too. We’ve welcomed some friends, said goodbye to others. There have been fifteen babies born in the ward this year: Could end up sixteen, if Sister Carlson doesn’t hold out for the first spot in the next. We’ve also had four funerals. I did a quick count last night: In the past year, over sixty callings have been extended and accepted. Can you imagine that?

With so much happening, and so many volunteers, I’ve sometimes wondered how God manages to run his church. I certainly can’t keep track of it all. I used to think He did it just by revelation, but over the past year I’ve become convinced that He has a deeper secret than that.

Turn with me to First Corinthians 13. In verse 8 we find out what power God uses to run this church. Follow along with me here and see if you agree.

“Charity never faileth,” says Paul. Do you believe that? “Charity never faileth.” That’s the secret. That’s what keeps this church alive through the years.

“But whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall pass away.” We have to put our faith in things that aren’t one-hundred-percent reliable, he’s saying. And with me as your bishop, you’ve probably noticed that that’s true. “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.” But to paraphrase the next verse: Until we see God face to face, that part is going to have to do.

(Pause.)

BISHOP. And then Paul says something I told my son when he went on his mission. I told him to remember this verse: “When I was I child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” And then the night after we put him on that plane to Salt Lake to head to the MTC, while I was feeling the kind of vulnerability only a parent who’s had a child leave home like that for the first time can understand, I was reading again and I realized I had that scripture all wrong. Because if you look at the last verse, it’s clear that Paul is not actually telling anyone’s son just to start acting like a man.

He’s telling us all to start acting like children. Like the children of a loving Heavenly Father, willing to grope and stumble our way forward, armed only with the belief that doing so will somehow lead us back to His presence again. As Paul put it, “Now we see through a glass, darkly; (Pause.) but then face to face:— (Pause.) Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known. (Pause.) And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

(Pause. Closes scriptures. Pause.)

BISHOP. You live in an imperfect world full of imperfect bishops, spouses, neighbors, home teachers, etc. I want you as a ward to know how proud I am of your example to me of pure Christlike charity. It feeds this ward. It keeps us spiritually alive, and allows us to keep stumbling god-ward together.

And I thank our Father every time I think of those fifteen, (Smiling at BROTHER CARLSON and the children out in the congregation.) soon to be sixteen, children He sent to be reared in an environment of such great love. And it’s my hope and vision for this ward that we maintain and strengthen the atmosphere of charity so that those children can grow up strong in the Lord and do great works for him throughout this life and into the next.

Brothers and sisters, I leave this testimony and my love with you. (Lights begin to fade out.) In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

(Black. In the darkness, we hear the scream of a mother giving birth, followed by the sounds of a newborn child. Sound fades out as light fades in on BROTHER and SISTER CARLSON’S HOME TEACHER.)

HOME TEACHER. “Go see the baby,” I told him. “Don’t worry about the other two kids. It’s a miracle—a time like this. Go see your wife and baby. We’ve got tons of kids at my house. Bring yours over, my wife’ll watch ’em.”

I gotta tell you, it felt good to do that. It really did. Home teaching is the backbone of this church in my eyes, and if a home teacher can’t help a man feel the Spirit as he sees his own new baby—why are we here? That’s what I thought.

“If a home teacher can’t take care of a man’s kids—” (Stops.) He slipped away somehow. The two-year-old. Must’ve hit his head running around the pool, fallen in... Unconscious.

He was—I mean, his lungs were all full of water, when she found him, and—his color (He is visibly disturbed, almost physically sick.) Just different, you know. It’s.

I thank God for that woman. She— (Exhales.) When my wife found him. I can’t imagine how she must’ve felt. She pulled him out, she pushed the beat back into his heart, breathed air back into his lungs... Shaking over his tiny body, praying God please let him live with every breath, till the ambulance came.

She didn’t break down till the hospital. (Breathes.) We were trying to do a good thing. We were trying to do something good. (Directly out at audience. A plea.) But now we don’t know if he’s ever going to wake up...

(Lights fade out. We hear the beep—beep—beep of a sanitized hospital room as we sit in the darkness. The sound fades out as the lights fade in on another hospital room. SISTER CARLSON is still lying in bed, exhausted from giving birth. The BROTHER CARLSON stands behind the bed, holds her hand.)

SISTER CARLSON. How is he?

BROTHER CARLSON. I don’t know.

SISTER CARLSON. You should go back to him.

BROTHER CARLSON. My mother’s there. She’s with him. I need a few moments with you, too.

(Pause.)

SISTER CARLSON. Maybe he has a reason to live. He could’ve died in that pool. It’s almost like he did and then got sent back to struggle to live. Like someone up there said “Joshua, not yet—there’s work for you to do.” Do you think? Maybe the Lord wants him...for something great, even small things can be great. Think of all the prophets and apostles who almost died as children. Maybe if you see it—

BROTHER CARLSON (Gently). Please.

SISTER CARLSON. I mean it might be easier for you.

BROTHER CARLSON (Very carefully, gradually). There are tubes in his nose, and his mouth, tubes in his veins feeding him. His heart is attached to a machine that helps it beat. I don’t know how I’m supposed to see that. I don’t know what I’m supposed to think.

SISTER CARLSON. Then don’t think anything. Just believe.

(Lights fade out. An organ playing the last six chords of “All is well.” Lights up on the BISHOP. He is distracted, tired, somber.)

BISHOP. I’d like to welcome you all to sacrament meeting today. (Pause.) As many of you know, Sister Carlson gave birth on Monday to a beautiful, healthy baby girl.

And—

As many of you are aware, two-year-old brother Joshua Carlson drowned, or nearly drowned, in an accident on Tuesday.

He’s in critical condition in St. John’s Hospital.

Joshua—was given emergency CPR by a well-prepared sister. There is no doubt that otherwise he would not be alive and in a hospital today. And I think that’s something we should all take note of in terms of emergency preparedness and keeping our lamps full. These situations, thankfully, don’t come up every day. That doesn’t make it any less important to be ready for them and I urge you all to review your knowledge and prepare. There’s more than one way to become a savior on Mount Zion.

Now.

Joshua has been blessed, he’s been visited by a great number of you. We are keeping a constant vigil at the hospital so that...so that when he wakes up, there will always be a friendly face there to greet him. The Relief Society and priesthood quorums have reached out to the Carlson family to help ensure that temporal needs are cared for, so that they aren’t distracted in this very difficult time. We are doing a great deal, brothers and sisters. And that is a good thing.

We can do more. We can do so much more. We can extend our faith, our prayers and a ward fast to young Joshua. I know you are praying, I know a few of you have already fasted and I do not wish to suggest that those efforts have been half-hearted or lacking in any way. I simply want to suggest to you, and remind you that there is a power in focused, collective fasting and prayer which I don’t think we’re even aware of.

And I know it’s unorthodox, but I’d like to spend the majority of this meeting, after the administration of the sacrament, in communal prayer and organizing a rotating perpetual fast for this child’s recovery.

(Pause.)

BISHOP. We’ll now proceed with a hymn and the administration of the sacrament.

(BISHOP crosses away out of sight and sits. Whisper from the darkness. The BISHOP returns to his original position in the spotlight. Laughs a little through the stress as he says:)

BISHOP. Before the hymn and sacrament, my counselor has reminded me that we ought to open this meeting with a prayer.

(Lights fade out. Lights fade in on DOCTOR.)

DOCTOR. From a biological perspective, the prognosis is not good. It’s very simple, really. The brain needs a constant supply of oxygen to continue functioning in a normal way. If the brain is functioning, that’s what we call alive, and when there’s no brain function, even if we’ve kept another system up artificially, the patient is dead.

This patient. Joshua. Is not dead. His brain is still alive, if you want to say it that way.

It’s just hard, because...there was no oxygen being carried to his brain for an indefinite period of time. Not long, we don’t think, but it doesn’t take long. It doesn’t take long for a child to drown in a few inches of water. It’s...they’re so small, and developing still, and...very accident prone, honestly. (With some force.) Biologically. He’s young. His brain isn’t all that developed. It was deprived of oxygen, it’s at least in severe shock, more likely seriously damaged, and I DON’T KNOW WHY it works this way, but that boy is dying. As far as I see. That boy is going to die slow and hard. It’s a simple biological process. It’s an event and a process of consequence.

And I understand that they must want to know why, and maybe I do, too.

I’m a doctor. You know? I’m a doctor.

I can’t tell you those kinds of things.

(Lights fade out. Lights fade back in on a SISTER, at least mid-forties, preferably older.)

SISTER. You know I used to be jealous of the pioneers? When I was a little girl, before I knew struggles and heartache, I was jealous of them. How they walked with God across the snow all those thousands of miles. But now I can see: These are the days for miracles. These are God’s days.

When you think about how many men, women, and children died on the trek west of fevers and from cold, in accidents, who knows? I know they found strength in that. I know they found comfort. But I wonder if they didn’t get just a little numb, too, burying children in the ice. Wonder if they didn’t just surrender to God, which is a blessing, but without the time to reflect on the worth of his individual children, too. We always say Jesus would have atoned, would have died for any single one of us alone. And these days, our days, medicine has slowed down the comings and goings of mankind enough that we have time to take that in. Time to be cut to the heart even through the hectic and comforts of modern life by a tragic thing that happens to one individual child.

Medicine has checked death so much that we can fight as a ward for a single individual with all our hearts, might, mind, and strength.

And I’m not saying this was a bad ward to start, but it’s a miracle how this has brought us all together. We are one at heart, anymore, and that heart is all focused on Joshua.

(Lights fade out. Fade in on BROTHER CARLSON and SISTER CARLSON. She’s up and moving now, although probably more than she should be. The light should cut off sharply immediately in front of them. The desired effect is that they are in Joshua’s hospital room, standing behind his bed, but Joshua and all the connected medical devices should not be shown.)

BROTHER CARLSON. You should take a break.

SISTER CARLSON. I want to stay here.

BROTHER CARLSON. You still need your rest. I know it feels longer, but it’s only been a few weeks...

SISTER CARLSON. I want to stay with him.

BROTHER CARLSON. I’m here. Grandma’s here. The doctors and nurses are here. The ward is here.

SISTER CARLSON. I want to stay.

BROTHER CARLSON. I don’t want you hurting yourself when you don’t have to. It’s not helping anyone. You need to moderate.

SISTER CARLSON (Silent tears streaming down her face). I want to be here when our faith makes him whole.

(Lights out. Beep—beep—beep. Lights fade in on the BISHOP, seated, BROTHER CARLSON seated opposite him.)

BISHOP. It’s a difficult situation

BROTHER CARLSON. Yeah.

BISHOP. I know it doesn’t change anything, but I want you to know how much I admire the way you’ve handled it. You’re a strong man, and also a wise and kind one. It’s not often you see all three qualities that way.

BROTHER CARLSON. It’s not my qualities. It’s just that there’s nothing else I can do right now and bring my family through.

BISHOP. How’s the daughter?

BROTHER CARLSON. Everything’s fine. Could hardly be better. We’ve been blessed in that baby. She’s long-suffering already. Which is good when...you have to...

BISHOP. Yeah.

BROTHER CARLSON. I believe, Bishop. And when I don’t I’ve asked for help in my unbelief. It’s been six weeks. He isn’t getting any better. When is the time to wait for a miracle and when is the time—

(Long pause.)

BISHOP. To let go?

BROTHER CARLSON. To consider other options. Just: To think again. Does that make my faith less—?

BISHOP. David. You carry a heavy load of care for your family. And carrying that load is going to mean some thought.

BROTHER CARLSON. How do I talk to her, Bishop? How do I talk to my wife like this?

(Pause. The phone rings. The BISHOP is visibly frustrated. The phone keeps ringing. Persistently.)

BISHOP. I think...maybe I better take this.

(He hesitates, waiting for some sign of permission. BROTHER CARLSON nods. He picks it up. Into phone:)

BISHOP. Hello?... Yes. Yes, this is he... Of course. He can stay at our home if he’d like... I understand. Just passing through... Flight 7920. Delta. We’ll be there. How long—?... I have the father right here in my office, I can ask now. One second. (Covers phone.) Elder Diener from the Quorum of the Seventy is going to be at the airport tonight on his way to South Asia. He’s only got an hour or two, but somehow he heard about Joshua and was asked if he could give a blessing. He wouldn’t give one, of course, without a request from the family, but he wanted to at least visit and make sure you knew he has time.

I know Joshua’s already been blessed by you, by the patriarch, by the stake—

BROTHER CARLSON. Tell him to come.

BISHOP. It’s the same authority, David. There’s no difference between your priesthood and his.

BROTHER CARLSON. It can’t hurt. Tell him to come.

BISHOP (Into phone, taking notes on a Palm Pilot). He’d love it. Thank you... Tomorrow at 6:45 P.M.... Got it...801...936...2...175... Got it. I’ll call if there’s any confusion... Thank you again... Bye.

(He hangs up the phone.)

BISHOP. See you at the hospital tomorrow around seven o’clock?

(Lights out. Lights fade in on the DOCTOR.)

DOCTOR. An extended coma...when you’re dealing with this length of time. It’s not an easy thing for people.

The, ah, the human body is designed for a more active kind of homeostasis: That means, the balance of your health is dependent on a certain amount of physical activity. That’s how we’ve survived through millennia, that’s why we exercise: It’s part of the system. And it’s a part that’s been disrupted in this case.

The only initial problem was with an unknown amount of brain damage due to a lack of oxygen, pure and simple. We’ve established that the extent of that damage is, ah, fairly...severe. But at the beginning, at least, the body was fine.

(Pause.)

DOCTOR. His knees have bent backwards. And his feet. It doesn’t usually happen that way...muscles always atrophy, they often stiffen and contract, but it doesn’t usually cause—

His bones are just so young. They’re softer, still more flexible than even a five-year-old’s. I’ve never seen that before. His knees bent backwards.

We asked the nurses to massage them more frequently. We’re hoping that helps alleviate the current condition and prevent any further...

His mother asked if they would let her do it, too. Train her to do it properly. Five of the women from her church have done the same.

You know, most people wouldn’t want to look at that child right now, but they stay with him night and day, and those six massage him every fifteen minutes. It’s incredible. When the men come to be with him, or to be there with the women, you can tell it’s hard for them to watch.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to watch.

I admire these people. I really do. (Pause. Very cool, collected.) You want my professional opinion? The child is going to die. He’s been dying since day one, and every day the infinitesimal chance that he’ll somehow pull through and bounce back gets smaller. I don’t even know if there is a chance, anymore, realistically. It’s not something I’ve ever seen. Even seen documented.

There was a time not too long ago when people just died at some point. But you know the thing that breaks my heart for those people?

He’s not going to just die. Not with what we’re doing to him.

They’re going to have to decide to let him go, and until they do it’s costing them I don’t even know how many thousand dollars a day.

(Lights fade out. Pause. Lights fade in on BROTHER CARLSON and SISTER CARLSON, arguing.)

SISTER CARLSON. He said his work is not done! A Seventy.

BROTHER CARLSON. He said a lot of other things, too. He talked about the spirit world.

SISTER CARLSON. He said his work in this life is not done. In the blessing, he said it.

BROTHER CARLSON. I don’t think it necessarily meant—

SISTER CARLSON. I took hope in it.

BROTHER CARLSON. You found hope. You want to find hope. You want to find hope so badly you’ll dig it out of anything. You want hope so badly you shut out everything else.

SISTER CARLSON. Yes. Yes. Why don’t you?

(Lights fade out. Fade in on SISTER.)

SISTER. And they ask us: How long are we going to fast once a week? How long are we going to wake up in the middle of the night unsettled and pray for that boy? How long will we go up to the hospital? How long will our hearts stay there?

As long as his mother asks us to.

All through history, the Saints have been tried. From the very beginning, they respond with enthusiasm, but they tire and slacken in the long run. All through history, they’re like the workers who planted the vineyard but were slow to put up the guard towers. All through history, they run the first quarter of the first mile, but have forgotten what they were doing before they can walk the second.

We can’t slacken this time. We can’t because the stakes are too high.

They used to be a boy’s life but now they’re a mother’s breaking heart.

(Lights fade out on SISTER and in on BROTHER CARLSON with BISHOP.)

BROTHER CARLSON. It’s hard.

BISHOP. I know.

BROTHER CARLSON. It’s just really, really hard.

BISHOP. Or maybe I don’t know. Maybe I can’t know.

I certainly can’t counsel you, but maybe the Lord can do it through me.

BROTHER CARLSON. It’s not about the pain, or the stress.

BISHOP. Of course.

BROTHER CARLSON. It’s not about the expense.

BISHOP. We can help with that, you know that. The Church can’t do a lot, but we can: My wife and I, other families. The burden is lighter evenly spread.

BROTHER CARLSON. I would wait forever if it were right. Literally forever. I would do it. (Pause.) I just feel like— I wonder...

If we aren’t holding him back. I mean, it’s like some nights, I can feel God tugging, feel him calling my son.

And he waits. Because we ask him to. But he won’t stop. He won’t let go.

I think sometimes my wife hates him for it. I’m no better—I’m just too tired to hate.

All I have strength for is a worried four-year-old, an infant daughter, a wife I love, and a son.

Who will always be my son.

And then I look at his body, with all the tubes that tie him down to that last scrap of mortality.

And I don’t think that’s how he wants to spend the next ten years.

Bishop.

I wonder if it’s best to let him go now.

(Lights fade out. Sounds of mother singing. “Hush little baby don’t you cry.” She trails off as lights fade in on HOME TEACHER.)

HOME TEACHER. Callings don’t go even after you wreck them. And maybe the Bishop’s right that it’s not my fault. I just wanna know: How do you home teach someone in this position? What do you say? How do you take care of a man who’s cut wide open, even if you didn’t mean to cut? And how do you look at his wife, who’s got faith like Jesus on the water, without starting to sink down yourself?

What do you give to people who’ve had every kind of casserole you know? When there’s no way to give them what they want back.

(Lights fade out. Fade in on BROTHER CARLSON and SISTER CARLSON.)

BROTHER CARLSON. Pray about it. That’s all I’m saying. After you’ve had some time to pray alone, we can pray about it together.

SISTER CARLSON. No.

BROTHER CARLSON. We won’t do anything unless it feels—

SISTER CARLSON. I don’t need time to pray.

BROTHER CARLSON. Okay. Just— Think about it, at some point. Think about whether we ought to pull the tubes.

SISTER CARLSON. I’ll think but I don’t have to pray. (Pause.) I already know you’re right. (Pause.) I just can’t stand it. I don’t want to kill that little boy again. How many times is he going to die?

(She weeps as the lights fade out. Lights fade in on DOCTOR.)

DOCTOR. So his grandmother went and held him when they pulled the tubes. But he didn’t die.

He will. That’s a matter of certainty. We know that. And I think they can feel it. They’re not hoping for a recovery anymore.

It’s been a week. Since he’s off the machines.

I wish that body would let go and leave the family alone.

(Lights fade out on DOCTOR and partially in on SISTER CARLSON, alone. She’s just dimly lit. We can make her out but color shouldn’t be very clear.)

SISTER CARLSON. I asked for a fish, and I got a serpent. I asked for a loaf, and I got a rock. Is that what the scriptures say?

(Lights fade out. Sounds of a baby crying. Sounds from SISTER CARLSON: “Shh, shh, shh... Dear! DEAR!” Silence. A phone rings. Lights fade in, again just barely, on the HOME TEACHER, in bed.)

HOME TEACHER (Into phone). Hello?... David... The baby?... A hundred and five degrees!... You’re at the hospital. Three doors down from Joshua. I’ll be right there.

(Bolts out of bed as the lights fade back out completely. Fade in on DOCTOR and BROTHER CARLSON.)

DOCTOR. This isn’t final by any means. (Pause.) But it sure doesn’t look good.

BROTHER CARLSON. What’s wrong?

DOCTOR. It looks like spinal meningitis.

(Lights fade out. Fade in on BROTHER CARLSON, SISTER CARLSON, and HOME TEACHER.)

BROTHER CARLSON. Honey, let me go bless the baby.

SISTER CARLSON. No!

BROTHER CARLSON. Rachel.

SISTER CARLSON. You keep your priesthood hands off my baby. (Pause.) God’s got all the babies he wants. Why does he want my baby?

God doesn’t need her on a mission—don’t tell me that. He’s got billions of babies, and I only have one. Don’t tell me she has a mission that can’t wait fifty or sixty years more on the other side. There’s lots of work for her here. We’ll keep her close. We’ll keep her busy.

Doesn’t he trust us? Doesn’t he trust us just that much?

Doesn’t he trust us with even one of them?

(Pause.)

BROTHER CARLSON. Please. Let me bless the baby.

SISTER CARLSON. Go.

(BROTHER CARLSON walks past her toward the baby’s room. HOME TEACHER begins to follow. In a sudden burst of hostility, SISTER CARLSON grabs the HOME TEACHER’s arm to hold him back. She stares at him, furious, mouth quivering. He looks down at the ground, wishing he could call the mountains down to cover him. And that’s when she notices: deep below all the faith and hope, something dark and angry took root and settled in. She’s already exhausted, now. She feels the force of that exhaustion, feels herself drained, but does her best to use her last strength to tear the dark thing out. Dropping her arm:)

SISTER CARLSON. You go, too.

(Pause. He looks up at her slowly, straightens himself, and begins to walk forward. As BROTHER CARLSON disappears into the darkness, SISTER CARLSON calls to HOME TEACHER, at the edge of light:)

SISTER CARLSON. I’ll pray for you.

(He exits. Lights fade out. Pause. Beep—beep—beep—beep—beeeeeeeeep. Lights up on SISTER CARLSON and BROTHER CARLSON. She is asleep in a chair. He wakes her gently.)

BROTHER CARLSON. Doctor just told me: they misdiagnosed. He looked back and can’t see why they thought it was spinal meningitis. Was just a fever. It’s broken now.

She’s fine. She’s all fine.

(Pause.)

BROTHER CARLSON. Joshua died early this morning. Sister Henry was with him. He just died.

I guess he’s home now.

(Lights fade out. We hear the SISTER CARLSON let out the long, full mourning wail of Pacific Islanders or ancient Hebrews. As the cry recedes, lights fade in on BROTHER CARLSON and BISHOP.)

BROTHER CARLSON. We’d like my mother to give the opening prayer. Rachel’s father will dedicate the grave.

I think...

(Pause.)

BISHOP. Yes?

BROTHER CARLSON. I think we’d both like to speak.

(Lights out. Lights up on BROTHER CARLSON. There’s a silence as he looks out on the assembled. A long, hard silence as all the words he’d planned or considered fall dead and hollow in the weight of this moment. Their taste is bitter and they don’t digest well. He’s left, anguished, uncertain, alone in front of the crowd. The silence continues until it is almost excruciating, and then he speaks:)

BROTHER CARLSON. This is my son’s funeral. I never expected to be at a son’s funeral. (Pause.) And now that I’m here, I don’t know what to say.

(Another pause...but this time, he doesn’t fight it. His muscles begin to relax, his face becomes more smooth, his breathing changes.)

BROTHER CARLSON. I know the scripture says “Be still, and know that I am God.”

(Long pause. In this stillness, he finds a soft but deep kind of peace. Finally, barely audible.)

BROTHER CARLSON. Amen.

(Crosses away, preferably off the stage and into a free seat in the audience area as theater arrangement allows. SISTER CARLSON crosses into the light.)

SISTER CARLSON. You know, I pray that our faith will never again be tried as it has these last three months. The things I have faith in have come down to a short list, (Beat.) but that list is immovable.

I do not have faith that God must do what we entreat him to do. (Long pause.) I am content that God be God. I will not try to instruct him on his duties or on his obligations toward me or toward any of his children. I know he lives and loves us, that he is God.

He’s not unmindful of us. We don’t suffer out of his view. He doesn’t inflict pain upon us, but he sustains us in our pain. I am his daughter; (Chokes back emotion.) my son is also his son; we belong to him, and we are safe with him.

I used to think we were safe from grief and pain here because of our faith. I know now that is not true, but we are safe in his love. Christ’s pure love saves us from hate and despair. And in that love we are protected in the most ultimate sense of all—

We have a safe home forever.

(Lights begin to fade.)

SISTER CARLSON. That is my witness.

(Black. Lights fade in halfway on the upper right corner of the stage. BISHOP is seated, Bible open in his lap. He reads.)

BISHOP. Second Samuel, chapter twelve. Look at verses nineteen through twenty-three.

“Therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, he is.

“Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the Lord, and worshipped: then he came unto his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat.

“Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? Thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.

“And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live?

“But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again?

“I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”

(Fade out on the BISHOP and in on the SISTER, seated up left with triple combination.)

SISTER. Doctrine and Covenants 42:44 and 45.

“And the elders of the church, two or more, shall be called, and shall pray for and lay their hands upon them in my name; and if they die they shall die unto me, and if they live, they shall live unto me.

“Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die.”

(Lights fade out. In the darkness, we hear the DOCTOR’s voice singing.)

DOCTOR. Shebachol haleyot / ahnu ochlim / she’ar yerakot / she’ar yerakot

Halilah hazeh, halilah hazeh, maror, maror

Halilah hazeh, halilah hazeh, maror

maror.

JOB WELL DONE

Matthew Greene

(A bedroom. LAURA, a stunning woman, is letting her hair down and taking off her makeup. DAVID, her husband, is removing his shoes. DAVID is significantly older and not particularly attractive.)

DAVID. I really wish Frank wasn’t always at these things.

LAURA. Honey...

DAVID. He’s so...obtuse. It’s impossible to feel comfortable around him, you know?

LAURA. Well, his wife is sweet.

(DAVID smiles.)

DAVID. Of course.

LAURA. Of course? What do you mean—

DAVID. Nothing. She’s...lovely. Kind of a Lady Macbeth but, yeah, she’s sweet.

LAURA. I thought tonight was fun. It was your party!

DAVID. Well, it was the firm’s party.

LAURA. For you. For winning.

(He puts his hands on her shoulders. Playfully.)

DAVID. Been a long day.

LAURA (Coyly). Yeah.

(He kisses her neck.)

DAVID. I missed this.

LAURA. Mmm hmm...

(He pulls HER closer.)

DAVID. These eyes... This...

(They kiss. She turns her head.)

LAURA. Lady Macbeth? What do you mean?

DAVID. Shakespeare.

LAURA. Oh, okay.

DAVID. She’s conniving and malicious and...

LAURA. Manly.

DAVID. Masculine. I mean... Yeah.

LAURA. So you mean Frank’s wife—

DAVID. Oh, well... You know, wears the pants in the relationship. She was pretty upset when I got this case. She’s always in the office... I dunno... I guess it just happens when you’ve been married as long as they have.

LAURA. Is that gonna be me?

DAVID. Never.

(He kisses her again.)

LAURA. How long have they been married?

DAVID. I dunno...a while.

LAURA. Does Frank have a problem with you?

DAVID. Well, he’s a little worried I’ll be made partner.

LAURA (Flirtatiously). The smart successful new guy.

(He smiles.)

DAVID. That’s right. And he’s mad with jealousy over the sexy young thing on my arm.

(He begins to kiss her neck again. No response.)

DAVID. And who can blame him?

(Continues with his seduction, but LAURA is unresponsive.)

DAVID. Is something wrong?

LAURA. What about with us? Who wears the pants?

DAVID. Right now? Preferably neither one of us—

LAURA. David.

DAVID. I don’t know, Laur. Is that really important right now?

LAURA. You said—

DAVID. I was just talking about Frank’s wife. I’m sorry if it...bothered you.

LAURA. No. It’s not that. I...never mind.

(Beat.)

DAVID. I love you.

LAURA. I love you. I’m so proud of you.

(Beat.)

LAURA. I watched that press conference today.

DAVID. That one I told you not to watch—

LAURA. You were adorable. The big strong lawyer with the big important case.

DAVID. Honey. It’s boring stuff.

LAURA. Well, I think it’s pretty interesting. All this.

DAVID. You mean with Jeff Larson?

LAURA. Yeah.

DAVID. Honey, I’m tired. Aren’t you tired?

(Beat.)

LAURA (Casually). Did you mean what you said there?

DAVID. What?

LAURA. On TV. About him having no crime and...defending him like that.

DAVID. Well, I’m his attorney, so...

LAURA. Yeah, but do you really believe that?

DAVID. Look, it doesn’t really matter what I believe.

(Beat.)

DAVID. But, for the record, what he did isn’t against the law.

LAURA. Isn’t there a law against marrying two women?

DAVID. Actually, Jeff Larson married nineteen women. But they weren’t legal ceremonies. As far as the law is concerned—

LAURA. But it’s the same thing, though, isn’t it?

DAVID (Patronizingly). Well, no. One is legal. Plural marriage complicates things legally. Taxes, government records...

LAURA. Complicates. Like how?

DAVID. Laur, this is office stuff.

LAURA. You think I wouldn’t get it?

DAVID. All right then, for one thing, polygamist unions are a drain on the welfare system of the state. They undermine the precedents set by a legally binding nuptial agreement.

LAURA. Is that what he was on trial for?

DAVID. What?

LAURA. All of that. What he did... Isn’t that...what’s it called...bigamy, or rape or...some kind of abuse?

DAVID. Well, all kinds of abuse notwithstanding—

LAURA (Hurt). Don’t make fun of me, David.

DAVID (Carefully). I’m sorry. He’s not on trial for that.

LAURA. He said something about the women were given to him...

DAVID. A blessing for his faithfulness. Yeah. One of those wacko religions.

LAURA. You’d never say anything like that, would you?

DAVID. I don’t have a prophet handing me extra wives.

LAURA. I know, but—

DAVID. What brought all this on? Is something the matter?

LAURA. I...

(Beat.)

LAURA. Why did you defend him?

(Beat.)

DAVID. He has a right to an attorney.

LAURA. He’s a sexist pig.

DAVID. Well, he’s a sexist American-citizen pig. Laur, look, don’t worry about this. You don’t need to think about it.

LAURA. Do you just not want me to turn into a Madame... uh, Lady...

DAVID. Lady Macbeth? Honey, no. That’s not you.

LAURA. I know—

DAVID. You have enough to worry about here.

(Beat.)

DAVID. Now, do you really want to talk about this?

LAURA. David, I want—

DAVID. Then, shoot.

(Pause.)

LAURA. Well, this Jeff Larson, why did he get so many wives?

DAVID. He earned them. Payment for a job well done.

LAURA. But why would they go for that? The women.

DAVID. I guess they know their place.

LAURA (Shocked). What—

DAVID. There. They know their place there. (Beat.) They accept it.

LAURA. Well, I wouldn’t.

DAVID. Of course not.

LAURA. You don’t just get a wife like a prize or something.

DAVID. That’s right.

LAURA. It’s a marriage. That’s how it used to be but not anymore.

DAVID (Closing in again). No.

LAURA. Thank goodness things are better now, you know? And that we don’t live with people like that.

DAVID (His hands on her waist, softly in her ear). Thank goodness.

(She is loving the attention.)

LAURA. You marry someone you love. Someone you want.

(They kiss again. This time it is more passionate and lasts longer, but, after a moment, LAURA gently breaks it off.)

LAURA (Simply). Right?

DAVID. Right.

(He kisses her.)

LAURA. David? Why did you marry me?

(DAVID has no response for a moment.)

LAURA. Why did you want to marry me?

DAVID. Laura, why... (Beat.) You know why.

(Pause. Takes a breath.)

DAVID. I couldn’t live without you. You’re...beautiful and sweet and sexy and fun.

LAURA. Do you feel like you...won me?

DAVID. Laur... (Beat.) I feel like I’m the luckiest man alive to stand next to you at all these boring parties and look in your eyes and...

(Moves in again, this time more cautiously.)

DAVID. You know that, don’t you?

LAURA (Pause). I was watching that interview with Jeff Larson—

DAVID. Oh, to hell with Jeff Larson.

LAURA. I don’t think he’s right. And I know you don’t. Right?

DAVID. Laur—

LAURA. And I thought about us and... (Pause.) We’re not...that.

DAVID. Honey, of course not.

LAURA (Almost a question). And you love me. (Beat.) And no one gave me to you and there’s no one else for you and... I love you.

DAVID. I love you. And he’s wrong.

LAURA. And I like going to the parties. It feels so important and I hear you talk about how pretty I am and... I’m, I’m with you.

(He pulls her closer.)

DAVID. Listen, I love you. Jeff Larson paid for one hell of a lawyer to get him off the hook. And there’s a big check coming our way. And a trip to Puerta Vallarta like we talked about.

(She finally relaxes in his arms.)

LAURA. Oooh, time on the beach. Together.

DAVID. When was the last time... Just the two of us away from all this. The city and the firm and Frank.

LAURA. And his wife. (Smiling girlishly.) And when I get a tan you can really show me off.

(She kisses him, leans in and whispers in his ear.)

LAURA. Let’s go to bed.

(He sits down, takes off his socks, and watches LAURA, who begins to take off her dress.)

DAVID. Tonight was a good night.

LAURA. I bet it felt great.

(He untucks his shirt, loosens his belt, etc.)

DAVID. It did. I mean, it really did. I won the Larson case. This is huge. Huge! They had a party for me.

(She’s taken off her dress, and stands in her slip.)

LAURA. Only the best for you. Payment for a job well-done. (Beat.) It must be awful for those women. Sharing a husband, being treated like...property. I mean, just there to please the man. That’s all marriage is to them.

(He regains his train of thought.)

DAVID. Yeah, uh...yeah.

(She removes her earrings.)

LAURA. I guess that’s what I thought this morning. Just...how glad I am to be with you. ’Cause you love me.

(Beat.)

DAVID. I do.

(She steps toward him.)

LAURA. I love you, David Gray, Attorney at Law.

(He is unresponsive.)

LAURA. You okay?

DAVID (Thoughtful pause). Yeah. Yeah, I’m fine.

LAURA. It’s been a long day.

(She sits down in his lap.)

LAURA. We should get you to bed.

(They begin to kiss as the lights fade.)

A RESTAURANT

Katherine Gee

(A restaurant. A French restaurant with French music—preferably “La Vie En Rose”—playing in the background. There are three couples at three tables. SCOTT and JENNIFER are Stage Right, finishing their meal. MARK and MAGEE are seated at the middle table, looking at their menus. MAN and WOMAN are seated Left on their first course—soup. They do not speak to each other. WAITRESS clears SCOTT and JENNIFER’s table while WAITER talks.)

WAITRESS. Let me take that out of your way.

JENNIFER. Thank you.

WAITER. How did everything taste?

JENNIFER (Simultaneously). Delicious. Just delicious.

SCOTT (Simultaneously). Mmm. Just great.

WAITER. Could I interest you in some dessert? We have a delicious crème brulée.

MARK (To MAGEE). He’s doing a great job.

(MAGEE looks up from menu, and MARK indicates the WAITER. MAGEE looks around.)

SCOTT. That’s sounds good. Does that sound good, Jennifer?

JENNIFER. Um, I like their ice creams too—they have a pear flavored one...

WAITER. That is one of my favorites.

MAGEE. I see what you mean.

MARK. I know my servers.

(MAGEE rolls her eyes.)

MARK. What?

MAGEE. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have rolled my eyes. Sorry. It’s just your “expertise syndrome,” that’s all.

MARK. What? I was just talking about being a server...

MAGEE. I know. I’m sorry. Forget it. Never mind. Never mind, okay?

MARK. Okay.

SCOTT. We’ll get the crème brulée and the pear ice cream then.

JENNIFER. Will that be too much, Scott?

SCOTT. Not at all! Get whatever you like!

JENNIFER. Thanks.

WAITER. All right, so the crème brulée and the pear ice cream! It will be just a minute.

SCOTT. Thank you.

(SCOTT grins at the WAITER and WAITRESS, and they grin at each other. The WAITER gives a little nod at SCOTT while JENNIFER isn’t looking.)

JENNIFER (Catching the end of the exchange in the middle of her line). Thank you, Scott... Are you planning something?

SCOTT (Looking at menu). Oh, we should have gotten the fruit and cheese platter!

(JENNIFER laughs off his evasion.)

MAGEE. We could get the fruit and cheese platter.

MARK. I don’t like berries.

MAGEE. Right.

JENNIFER. Really, Scott. Thank you.

(SCOTT just grins.)

MARK. I’m sorry for exploding at you.

MAGEE. I’m sorry for rolling my eyes. It was silly.

MARK. A little.

MAGEE. You’re irritated, aren’t you?

MARK. A little.

MAGEE. I’m sorry. Just forget it. Okay?

MARK. Okay.

(There is a pause. We hear the silent couple sipping their soup.)

JENNIFER. This place is so beautiful.

SCOTT. Isn’t it?

MARK. What’s happened to us, Magee?

MAGEE. That’s a depressing topic, Mark. I’d rather we didn’t talk about it.

MARK. Okay.

MAGEE. But if you want to, we can.

MARK (Grinning). Okay.

MAGEE. I’m sorry!

MARK. I know.

MAGEE. I know you know.

MARK. Did you know I knew you knew I know?

MAGEE (Correcting him). Knew.

(MARK sighs. The WAITER and WAITRESS pass each other, as the WAITER removes soup bowls from the MAN and WOMAN, and the WAITRESS brings in salads.)

WAITER (To MAN and WOMAN). Did you enjoy the soup?

(The MAN gives curt nod, and the WAITER removes the soups, passing the WAITRESS.)

WAITER. Hey you.

WAITRESS. Oh hello! (To couple.) Here you are—honey mustard, and blue cheese. Enjoy!

(The couple doesn’t respond. The WAITRESS walks to the WAITER, grabbing soup bowls from him. She nods in the couple’s direction and raises her eyebrows.)

WAITER. I know. What’s your guess?

(WAITRESS shrugs.)

WAITRESS. Unfriendly, or unhappy. Your guess?

WAITER. Financial ruin—their last night at a place like this. Or bad marriage.

WAITRESS. Ooh. Well, either way, quite a contrast from our puppy love in the corner.

(The WAITER gets excited and nods. The WAITRESS grins at his enthusiasm.)

WAITRESS. And the couple in the middle?

WAITER. Too soon to tell.

WAITRESS. Hm. Well, keep me updated.

WAITER. Yes, ma’am.

(MAGEE stands up.)

MAGEE. I’m going to go to the restroom. Tell the waiter the usual.

(MAGEE leaves, the menu still in her hand.)

MARK. Do you want to leave that?

MAGEE. I’m going to study it in the bathroom.

(MARK grins. The WAITER walks up.)

WAITER. Can I get you something to drink, sir?

MARK. I’ll just have a water, and she will have water with a lemon. And could you give us about twenty minutes—we like to take a bit of time with the menu. We might get an appetizer though.

WAITER. All right. Just let me know.

(MARK sits back and looks around, watching the couples.)

SCOTT. Jennifer, can I admit something?

JENNIFER. Admit away.

SCOTT. These have really been the best months of my life.

JENNIFER. Mine too.

SCOTT. Yeah?

JENNIFER (Smiling). Yeah.

SCOTT. Jennifer...

JENNIFER. Spit it out, Scott.

SCOTT. You’re beautiful tonight.

(JENNIFER rolls her eyes and laughs.)

SCOTT. What? Is that a cop-out?

JENNIFER. Yes—but a very forgivable one.

(They pull their heads in closer to talk. MAGEE returns. Before she sits, she sticks her hands in MARK’s face. He smells instinctively.)

MARK. Lavender?

MAGEE (Nodding). They had an apricot too, I’ll have to make a second trip.

(She sits and opens her menu.)

MARK. Did you get very far?

MAGEE. Nope. Did you get the usual?

MARK. Water with lemon and twenty minutes.

MAGEE. Excellent.

(They sit in silence for a moment. MARK starts to talk. He’s about to say, “Did you have any epiphanies?” but MAGEE anticipates the question.)

MAGEE. Yes. But only one.

MARK. Do tell.

MAGEE. I plan on taking over the world.

MARK. One stall at a time.

MAGEE. Precisely.

MARK. Good bathroom epiphany. Better than most.

MAGEE. You’re my best friend, Mark.

MARK (Painfully). I know.

MAGEE. It sucks.

(MARK nods.)

MAGEE. Do you want to try escargot?

MARK. Not particularly.

MAGEE. Coward. Chicken.

MARK. Whatever.

MAGEE. I will do the chicken dance.

MARK. You wouldn’t.

MAGEE. I would.

MARK. Don’t, or I’ll propose to you in public.

(MAGEE shudders, then frowns.)

MAGEE. I would like to get it anyhow.

(WAITER arrives with drinks.)

WAITER. Any appetizers?

MAGEE. Is that all right, Mark?

MARK (Shrugging). Sure.

MAGEE. Escargot, please.

WAITER. And for you, sir?

MARK. I’m fine, thanks.

WAITER. A little longer with the menu?

MAGEE (Simultaneously). Please.

MARK (Simultaneously). Please.

(WAITER nods and leave.)

MAGEE. Were you thinking of proposing to me again?

MARK. I don’t know.

(MAGEE nods and bites her lip.)

MAGEE. Would you mind not threatening it again then?

(MARK nods.)

MAGEE. Don’t want to put any ideas in my head.

(MARK frowns and looks at menu. The WAITRESS checks on the quiet couple. She meets the WAITER at the station.)

WAITRESS. Still haven’t said a word to each other all night.

WAITER. Lack of evidence. Don’t think we’ll pin that one down.

WAITRESS (Indicating MARK and MAGEE). Or them...

WAITER. Well, they haven’t ordered yet.

(The WAITRESS nods knowingly.)

WAITRESS. So, he’s going to pop the question?

WAITER (Grinning). Mm hmm!

WAITRESS. Let me know when it’s coming.

WAITER. I will.

MAGEE. Though that reminds me, I still need to pay you for the ring.

MARK. It still hasn’t shown up on my credit card. If it doesn’t for a while I’ll probably just take it back.

MAGEE. Oh. You wouldn’t hold on to it?

MARK. Not for four years...

MAGEE. Oh. What were you planning on doing with my ring then?

MARK. I don’t know. I mean, that one is paid for. I might sell it.

MAGEE. When?

MARK. I don’t know.

MAGEE. Is there a timeline?

MARK. I would probably sell it when I met someone I thought I could marry...

(MAGEE swallows and looks down at the menu.)

MAGEE. I’ll buy your ring.

MARK. It’s not about buying it from me, you would have to buy it from Gordon’s.

MAGEE. Okay.

MARK. I mean, maybe you’re comfortable using the ring with whoever you end up with, but I would get a new one for...

MAGEE. I would too.

MARK. Then...

MAGEE. Why do you get the rings?

MARK. Do you want them?

MAGEE. This is really hard to talk about.

MARK. Yeah, it suddenly got very tense.

MAGEE. I mean, you might be thinking purely practical, but it’s a little painful to be talking about how you have both our wedding rings and...

(Her voice chokes and she can’t continue.)

MARK. I’ve never stopped loving you, Magee.

(MAGEE nods.)

MAGEE. I’m starting to hate it when you say that, Mark.

MARK. I know. I’m sorry.

MAGEE. We did it to ourselves remember? It was a mutual thing...

(She stops again, unable to go on. MARK is quiet. Small tears start trickling down MAGEE’s face. Just then, loud music starts to play. The WAITER walks in with the desserts for SCOTT and JENNIFER. On the pear ice cream is a ring. JENNIFER sees it.)

JENNIFER. Scott!

(JENNIFER takes the ring carefully from the ice cream and stares at it. SCOTT gets to one knee. MARK watches. The other couple ignores it all.)

SCOTT. May I?

(He takes the ring from her and looks at her. She starts to cry.)

SCOTT. Jennifer Jane Autumn, will you marry me?

JENNIFER. Yes.

(She grins and cries, and SCOTT goes up to kiss her. The WAITER and WAITRESS clap.)

SCOTT. Ladies and gentlemen, this young lady has agreed to be my wife!

(Cheers are heard from the restaurant, but MAGEE does nothing—neither do the silent couple. MARK gives a weak smile. SCOTT kisses JENNIFER again, and they rejoice with the WAITER and WAITRESS. The WAITRESS leaves to check on drinks for the silent couple.)

WAITRESS. Did you see that? Wasn’t that beautiful?

MAN. We’ll have the check please.

WAITRESS. Certainly.

(The WAITER and WAITRESS eye each other, exchanging disbelief over the silent couple, and congratulations over SCOTT and JENNIFER. The WAITRESS goes to SCOTT and JENNIFER and offers congratulations before exiting. The WAITER goes to MARK and MAGEE’s table.)

WAITER. That was my first time helping with something like that.

MARK. It was great.

MAGEE. Very cute.

(MAGEE turns around to SCOTT and JENNIFER.)

MAGEE. How long have you known each other?

SCOTT. Four months.

MAGEE. Wow. Do you feel like that’s a bit fast?

JENNIFER. Four months was enough to know.

MAGEE. Hm. Well, don’t break off your engagement. It’s like getting a divorce, but without the sex—unless of course, you’ve had sex.

(JENNIFER starts to shakes her head.)

MAGEE. And if you haven’t, don’t. (Pointing to SCOTT.) Especially with other women. (Then, less emphatically, to JENNIFER.) Or other men.

(MAGEE turns to the WAITER.)

MAGEE. I’ll have the salmon. And I would like the fruit and cheese platter too, if that’s all right, Mark.

MARK (Kindly). You surpass awkward, Magee.

MAGEE (Turning back to the happy couple). Good luck to you both. You seem like simple people, so you’ll be happy.

(The WAITRESS brings out escargot for MAGEE. She picks one up and offers it to MARK.)

MAGEE. Marinated snail?

(The WAITRESS stops by silent couple.)

WAITRESS. I’ll be right back with your check.

MARK. Magee.

MAGEE (Loudly to JENNIFER and SCOTT). Mark and I knew each other for...ten years? Eleven? Anyhow, we’re best friends, and we love each other a great deal. But we still broke off our engagement. Something just happened—both of us did stupid things, I guess, or we figured out that it just wouldn’t work long-term romantically. Something like that.

MARK (To WAITER). I’ll have the chicken strips.

WAITER (Turning back to MARK). You’re getting the one American dish at a French restaurant?

MARK. I’m in the mood for chicken strips.

MAGEE. You’re paying, right?

MARK. We’re splitting. Or I can pay if you would like.

(MAGEE shrugs, and turns back to SCOTT and JENNIFER.)

MAGEE. Anyway, so it’s really depressing this little situation we have here. So, because we still love each other, but can’t stand each other, we made a deal—you know, one of those best-friend’s-wedding things? By 2012, if we’re not married, we’ll marry each other. Good idea, right?

JENNIFER. That’s sweet.

MAGEE. Actually, the uncertainty and jealousy and pain is a living hell, but thank you for being so kind. (Mood change.) I’m sorry I rained on your parade. I’m sure you guys will be fine. I just sometimes want people to feel as miserable as I am, and I’ve sort of lost all my faith in relationships lately, you know?

SCOTT. Yeah, I can understand that.

MAGEE. So good luck to you, and don’t be stupid!

(MAGEE turns back. JENNIFER and SCOTT look at each other, bewildered; SCOTT mouths “I’m sorry,” and JENNIFER shrugs and grins and points at the ring as if it negated everything else.)

WAITER. Will that be all, Miss?

MAGEE. Food, yes. Words...never.

(The WAITER nods, and gives MAGEE a strange look, then turns back, meeting the WAITRESS.)

WAITER (Throwing up his hands). No idea whatsoever.

(He exits.)

MARK. So over-dramatic...

(MAGEE drops her façade and looks down, then up at MARK.)

MAGEE. You know me so well.

MARK. I know.

MAGEE. I love that about you. (A sigh or a pause.) I wish we could work.

MARK. Yeah.

MAGEE. And then sometimes...

MARK. It’s a relief that we don’t.

MAGEE (With a smile, because he finished her sentence). Yeah.

(They both take drinks.)

MAGEE. So ironic that he proposed right next to us.

MARK. And you ruined their evening...

MAGEE. I did, didn’t I?

MARK. Yes.

(MAGEE leans on her hand and sighs.)

MAGEE. I can’t believe you ordered the chicken.

(The WAITRESS drops off the check at the silent couple’s table and leaves.)

WOMAN. What is her name?

MAN. Carol.

WOMAN. From book club?

(The MAN nods.)

WOMAN. How long?

MAN. About a year.

WOMAN. She hasn’t been the only one, has she?

MAN. No.

WOMAN. Before we were married?

MAN. A few.

(The WOMAN nods.)

WOMAN. We got married in a church.

MAN. I know.

(She nods, then sighs.)

WOMAN. And you won’t change, will you?

(The MAN is silent. She looks at him.)

WOMAN. But you’re trying.

(He’s silent.)

WOMAN. Well.

(She gets up. The MAN stand up, gets her coat, and puts it on her. He squeezes her shoulders. They start to walk out. The WOMAN walks over to SCOTT and JENNIFER.)

WOMAN. Congratulations to the both of you.

JENNIFER. Thank you.

SCOTT. We’re very excited.

(The WOMAN nods, and takes her husband’s arm as they exit.)

MAGEE. So much to say, and so much I don’t want to talk about.

MARK. Admit it, Magee. You’re more upset that I ordered chicken than anything else.

(They both grin—like they share a secret.)

MAGEE. Maybe...

SCOTT. I love you, Jennifer.

JENNIFER. I love you, Scott.

(MARK and MAGEE overhear. MARK looks at MAGEE, and MAGEE looks at her escargot.)

MARK. I love you, Magee.

(He waits, she stares at her escargot. She stabs one with her fork, and offers it to him. He considers, and takes it. He looks it over and reluctantly eats. MAGEE gives a half-hearted grin as he grimaces. He quickly takes a drink of water. Meanwhile, the WAITER and WAITRESS are clearing the couple’s table.)

WAITRESS. You’re floating on air, you know.

WAITER. Well!

WAITRESS. I know, I know, your first time.

WAITER. There’s something about food that brings out the romance in people you know? And the whole aura of a restaurant. The candles, the music, the abundance of butter and garlic...

(The WAITRESS laughs.)

WAITER. People find their true love in places like this. I feel like Cupid.

WAITRESS. You’re such a romantic.

(The WAITER shrugs and grins as they both exit. SCOTT and JENNIFER are gathering their things and exiting. MARK has recovered from the escargot, and looks at MAGEE again. He takes her hand.)

MARK. I do love you.

MAGEE (An observation, not bitter). Funny. In most stories, that’s usually enough.

(Blackout.)

ASÍ ES (THAT’S JUST HOW IT IS)

Lyvia Martinez

(JAVIER—18, Hispanic—stands Center Stage, hands in pockets, rocking on his heels, looking out at the audience.)

JAVIER. I had several reasons for deciding to study at BYU. First, sadly, I’d get a better education than if I stayed Puerto Rico. Second, it’s affordable, and third...well, I grew up being the only Mormon in my high school, always having to explain myself to everyone. “Do you think Joseph Smith was a god?” “Do you have more than one mom?” “What’s with the funny underwear?” I hated getting those questions, and going to BYU, where there would be lots of Mormons and I wouldn’t get those questions, seemed like a good escape.

(Lighting change. We see that JAVIER stands in a dorm room full of moving boxes. MONSERRATE—20, also Hispanic—enters with another box.)

MONSERRATE. Is that all?

JAVIER. Casi. [“Almost.”] I think I only have one or two more smaller boxes left.

MONSERRATE (Letting herself fall onto JAVIER’S bed). Well, all’s I gotsta say is they better be small, because I only have one more “back down and up five flights of stairs” trips left in me.

(JAVIER begins organizing his things. Every now and again he glances out the door.)

JAVIER. Hay tanta gente aquí. [“There are so many people here.”]

MONSERRATE. Bueno, estamos en los cuartos de los prepas [“Well, we’re in the freshman dorms”] and the semester starts in just two days. Everyone’s scrambling to get settled in. I’m surprised there aren’t more people.

JAVIER. Aún así, [“Still,”] there’s lot of people. You sure no one will care that you’re in my room?

MONSERRATE. Yeah. Of course. Not only am I your cousin, but I’m helping you move in. We have two loopholes to the dorm guidelines right there. We’re good.

(He looks a bit nervous. MONSERRATE notices and sits up.)

MONSERRATE (Looking through a box, pulling out a snack). No te preocupes. [“Don’t worry.”] I won’t let anything happen to you.

JAVIER. You’d probably let me make an idiot of myself so you could get a laugh.

MONSERRATE (Starts to eat a bag of platanutres). I would never do such a thing. Besides, your mom would kill me if I did.

JAVIER. Mom would probably laugh too. No te comas mis platanutres. [“Don’t eat my platanutres.”]

MONSERRATE. Hey, come on. I haven’t had a platanutre in months. They’re not that easy to come by over here.

JAVIER. Ay, esta bien. [“Oh, fine.”] But I need to save those for when I really start to miss home.

(He starts to think about something else.)

JAVIER. What do I do when I say hello?

MONSERRATE. What do you mean, what do you do?

JAVIER. Well, in Puerto Rico we always kiss on the cheek to say hello, even when meeting someone for the first time, you know? So...what do I do?

MONSERRATE. You just say hello.

JAVIER. There’s nothing else I can do?

MONSERRATE. Well, what would you want to do?

JAVIER. I don’t know. But something, you know? It just feels incomplete otherwise.

MONSERRATE. You could shake their hand. That’s what I did.

JAVIER. Is it the same?

MONSERRATE. Not at all, but it’s something, you know? When I first came here there was definitely a lot of this happening to me.

(MONSERRATE stands and goes to JAVIER.)

MONSERRATE. Hi. I’m Monserrate.

(She moves in to kiss him on the cheek, but stops awkwardly and twitches through going in for a kiss, pulling back, and sort of holding her hand out to shake JAVIER’s.)

MONSERRATE. The first few people I said hello to thought I was having an aneurysm. Tuve que acostumbrarme a no volverlo a hacer. [“I had to get used to not doing it.”]

JAVIER. But how do you get used to something like that?

MONSERRATE (Shrugging). Time. You just are, eventually.

(JAVIER takes a moment, but then nods.)

JAVIER. Okay.

MONSERRATE. Well then, let’s get those last couple of boxes and go back to mom’s. She’ll have some arroz con gandules y pasteles [“rice with chick-peas and pasteles”] ready for us. See, I’m glad you’re here, because she never cooks like that when it’s just me. Usually it’s like, “Monse, hazte tus propios tostones si los quieres tanto.” [“‘Monse, make your own tostones if you want some so much.’”]

(MONSERRATE exits as she talks.)

JAVIER (To the audience). Going to my first singles ward was...you remember that one Mormon comedy? Singles Ward? First time I saw that movie I was about fourteen or fifteen and I remember sitting there thinking, “Oh. What a funny idea they came up for this movie. All of the singles trapped into one ward without adults or children? Que ridicules más cómica.” [“What a ridiculous and funny thing.”]

(Small pause.)

JAVIER. I’d never seen or heard of something like it in Puerto Rico, so I thought the singles ward was the joke of the movie. ¿Cómo iba a saber? [“How was I to know?”] And there seemed to be a lot of things I didn’t know about.

(Lighting change, or something to indicate that it’s a different day. MONSERRATE enters.)

JAVIER (Pulling a small notebook out of his pocket). Okay. I’ve made a list.

MONSERRATE. Dímelo. [“Tell me.”]

JAVIER. DTR?

MONSERRATE. Determine the relationship.

JAVIER. Y, ¿qué es eso? [“And, what’s that?”]

MONSERRATE. It basically means like when a couple sit down and talk about what their relationship is. Are they just friends, dating, or just get together for NiCMO.

JAVIER. NiCMO?

MONSERRATE. Non-Committal Make-Out. It means—

JAVIER. Yeah, I think I get what that means.

(He goes back to his notebook.)

JAVIER. Pre-mie.

MONSERRATE. Pre-missionary. Means a young man that hasn’t gone on a mission yet.

JAVIER. FHE.

MONSERRATE. Family Home Evening. It’s noche de hogar.

JAVIER. Oh. Pero mi familia no está aquí. [“But my family’s not here.”]

MONSERRATE. No, no. They divide up the members in your ward into groups and you just get together on Monday nights to share a message, play games and eat treats.

JAVIER. Oh, okay, but...por qué? [“Why?”]

MONSERRATE. To socialize, creo. [“I think.”]

JAVIER. So basically they kept the name, but it’s really a group of students, pretending to be a family because they are at college, away from their real families, and they want to get together every Monday night just to socialize.

MONSERRATE. It’s just how it is.

JAVIER. I didn’t expect to have been missing out on so many things.

MONSERRATE. You’ll get used to it. No todo de cantaso, pero eventualmente. [“Not all at once, but eventually.”]

JAVIER. What, to them looking at me como si fuera un idiota? [“Like I’m an idiot?”]

MONSERRATE. No, no. Just that feeling. It happened to me pretty often. One time I called it a tangent instead of tandem bike and it turned into this big thing with my roommate because she couldn’t believe I mixed them up. It was like she was suddenly realizing I was from another planet.

JAVIER. And what’s with ward prayer?

MONSERRATE. Well, usually on Sundays, the ward gets together to pray.

JAVIER. I know that. But what is it? I mean, did we have it in my old ward and I just didn’t know about it?

MONSERRATE. No. I think it’s just something they do here, in singles wards.

JAVIER. But why?

MONSERRATE. I don’t know. That’s just how they do it.

(JAVIER is still a bit frustrated.)

MONSERRATE. It can be quite a bit of a shock, the culture shock. (She chuckles at her own joke.) Okay, enough of that. You coming over again today? Mom’s making some tres leches this time.

JAVIER. Yeah. Yeah. I’ll drive myself this time. I’ve got something I want to do. I’ll see you there.

MONSERRATE. Esta bien. Nos vemos. [“Okay. See ya.”]

(MONSERRATE exits.)

JAVIER (To audience). I hadn’t expected to have to re-learn so many things. I never know what hymn someone is talking about when they just mention the name, because I know all the names in Spanish. Even the names in the Book of Mormon are hard to remember. Nefi, Neefai; Leji, Leehai. (A frustrated sigh) It’s hard for me to adjust and it’s hard for people to understand.

(Lighting change. MONSERRATE enters. She looks a little worried.)

MONSERRATE. Hey Javi.

JAVIER. Hey.

MONSERRATE. Um. So, you haven’t been to church in three weeks.

JAVIER. Yeah.

MONSERRATE. Mami y yo estamos preocupadas. [“Mom and I are worried.”] I mean, I won’t force you to go to church if you really don’t want to. That’s not what I’m here for. I guess, I just want to know why?

JAVIER. It’s...it’s just hard to...it’s complicated.

MONSERRATE. Well, ¿podemos hablar sobre eso? [“Can we talk about this?”]

JAVIER. I don’t want to talk about it right now.

MONSERRATE. Oh. Esta bien. [“Okay.”]

(Small pause.)

MONSERRATE. I, uh, heard about the thing with Tammy Baker.

JAVIER. Yeah...

MONSERRATE. It’s not...that bad, you know? In a few days, no one’ll remember—

JAVIER. No, Monse. It was pretty bad. I’ve been pretty good about saying hello to people and not doing anything. I just really started to miss being able to say hi with a kiss on the cheek and it’s still really weird not to. And I guess my body just went into auto-mode.

MONSERRATE. I’m sorry, Javi. Te entiendo, lo sabes. [“I understand, you know.”] Really, I’m sure this’ll all go away in a while.

JAVIER. Monse. It’s not going to go away. (Small pause.) There I was, the bishop introducing me to a girl in our ward, Tammy Baker, and my real thought was to shake her hand but then, all of a sudden, I’m moving and her face is getting closer to me and the next thing I know, she slapped me.

MONSERRATE. Well...you kissed her on the lips—

JAVIER. It was her fault for flinching!

MONSERRATE. Okay, okay.

JAVIER. And then all the girls would avoid me for the rest of ward prayer. It was just...upsetting. And then it just got awkward at every meeting. I used to love going to church.

MONSERRATE. You mean now you don’t?

JAVIER. I just miss reading the Book of Mormon out loud or praying in Spanish. I just want to talk to God in the language that I’m used to. Here, if I do that, people don’t say “amen” at the end of the prayer because they don’t understand it.

MONSERRATE. It just takes some getting used to, that’s all.

JAVIER. Monse, why do you always have to give me advice? Can’t you just listen for a moment?

MONSERRATE. Okay, Javi. I’m sorry, I guess? That was a little rude.

JAVIER. I’m just frustrated. And right now hearing advice isn’t helping.

MONSERRATE. Okay. Ya no lo hago más. [“I won’t do it anymore.”]

(Pause.)

JAVIER. I’m going back to Puerto Rico. This isn’t working out.

MONSERRATE. What? It’s only been a couple of months. Just like that, you’re giving up?

JAVIER. There’s so much more that goes into living here and being a member. Back in Puerto Rico, I thought it was hard being the only Mormon, but up here I’ve found it’s even harder to be a Mormon around Mormons. It’s like, you don’t fit into people’s view of what a Mormon is, then you’re not. You have to go to ward prayer, you can’t miss FHE, and then you get these ridiculous callings. I hand out the programs in Sacrament Meeting. I don’t even make them. I hand them out. They could just ask me to do it, they don’t have to make it a calling.

(Small pause.)

MONSERRATE (Trying to lighten the mood). I’m a Relief Society greeter.

JAVIER. See what I mean? And then if I don’t accept the calling, I’m a bad member! In Puerto Rico, I was who I was because I was a Mormon, and here, I can’t be myself because I’m a Mormon.

MONSERRATE. Is leaving really what you think will fix everything?

JAVIER. I don’t know. It seems like it could. No sé si puedo seguir tratando. [“I don’t know if I can keep trying.”]

MONSERRATE. Javi...yeah, things are different, but it’s still the Church. And it’s still the truth.

JAVIER. It just sometimes feels like a whole other religion over here.

MONSERRATE. I won’t argue with that. (Small pause.) For what it’s worth, I hope you don’t leave. You know, at first it was just me over here. Then mom came, which was better, but having more family around...well, it’s been fun.

JAVIER. I forgot you moved up here alone. How was it for you to adjust?

MONSERRATE. It was hard. At first. But staying felt like the right thing for me and I knew I had Heavenly Father with me, so I just kept through it. (Pause.) Just...pray about it before making any decisions?

(JAVIER sighs. He nods. MONSERRATE goes to exit.)

JAVIER. Monse?

MONSERRATE. Dímelo. [“Tell me.”]

JAVIER. I’m sorry you had to go through all of this alone.

MONSERRATE. It’s okay. I wasn’t. And neither are you.

CONTRIBUTORS

Enoch Allred — The sixth child of a Mormon heretic and a Mormon pagan, Enoch Allred spends his time exploring truths too terrifying/boring for the average mortal.

Bianca Dillard — Bianca calls Idaho’s Boise Valley, where her Mom and siblings still live, her home, though she’s now living in Provo. Bianca started her professional study of theater with the Idaho Shakespeare Festival in 2002. She spent a year at Boise State University before transferring to BYU, where she still studies (when she has the money and the sanity). Bianca is the “fifth” and unofficial founder of New Play Project; she served as its Lead Dramaturg from 2006-2009, and is currently the Artistic Director. She has one husband and one dog.

Katherine Gee — Katherine Gee’s first play, about a dog that wanted to pursue show business, was written in pencil at the age of seven. Sequestered from society for hours on end for this play, she discovered the ruthless sorrows of hovel writing. So she turned to collaboration, and has since helped direct, write, perform in, and create countless productions on the local and national scene. Through her teaching and writing experience, Katherine has always been an advocate for many voices, rather than one. An award-winning essayist and professional storyteller, Katherine enjoys exploring the collective world of myths, legends, folktales and personal stories in an effort to broaden understanding and promote optimism for life.

James Goldberg — James was a co-founder of New Play Project, and served as its Artistic Director from 2006-2008. He is also the author of three blogs: goldbergish.blogspot.com, mormonmidrashim.blogspot.com, and caucajewmexdian.blogpsot.com. His primary claim to fame is having once written a letter of recommendation for award-winning Bollywood screenwriter Abhijat Joshi.

Matthew Greene — Matthew is a BYU graduate with a degree in theater Arts Studies. In 2008, he worked with Plan B Theatre and Theatre Arts Conservatory as a writer in their Student SLAM event. His short play “Job Well Done” was selected as a national finalist in the KCACTF Ten Minute Play festival. He wrote “Bread of Affliction,” a play commissioned by the Society for the Study of Jewish American and Holocaust Literature; the play was presented at the JAHL symposium in September 2008. Matthew’s plays, including Racine’s Berenice, Man to Man, For Dear Life, and Single and Looking, have been performed at New Play Project, Provo Theatre, BYU, and The Theatre Arts Conservatory in Salt Lake City. Matthew currently resides in California.

Lyvia Martinez — Lyvia A. Martinez grew up in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. From an early age, she loved creating stories and acting them out with costumes made out of cardboard boxes. Lyvia produced and co-wrote the double-Emmy Award-winning short “Inspector 42,” and has written several short plays performed by New Play Project, two of which won audience choice awards.

Steve Morrison — Steve Morrison was born in Illinois. He graduated from BYU with a BFA in Illustration, and has created illustrations for NPR, Highlights Magazine, National Storytelling Magazine, and the Core Knowledge Foundation. He currently lives in South Carolina.

6 BONUS PLAYS FROM
OUT OF THE MOUNT

Copyright © 2010 by
Enoch Allred
Bianca Dillard
Katherine Gee
James Goldberg
Matthew Greene
Lyvia Martinez

newplayproject.org

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Edited by Davey Morrison
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All rights to the plays presented in Out of the Mount: 19 from New Play Project are maintained exclusively by the playwrights. For permission to perform any of the plays contained herein, please contact the playwrights personally, or send an email to newplayproject@gmail.com.

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