Thursday, December 22, 2011

December People's Choice Award

The people have spoken... This month's People's Choice Award goes to Leah Halper for her original short play, Home Front, presented as a staged reading at the Monday Night PlayGround "Holiday Extravaganza" at Berkeley Rep this past Monday.  Congratulations, Leah!

Courtesy of Ms. Halper, we're pleased to share the first two pages from the award-winning script.  Enjoy!

by Leah Halper
Franklin Roosevelt—male, late 50s, ending his third term, tired but calm, in shirt sleeves
Eleanor Roosevelt—female, mid-50s, busy, sad; in period dress, shoes, & hat with purse
Mrs. Henrietta Nesbitt—female, 70, plainly dressed

Franklin’s White House study the week before Christmas, 1941. Sounds of moving furniture overhead off and on throughout.

(Franklin sits writing and smoking. Overhead, sound of breaking glass. He rolls his eyes.)

                                                                        ELEANOR (entering, breathless, peevish):
Franklin! How could you let me go off without telling me? They’ve taken over the entire upstairs! And now for Christmas dinner we’re to have three dozen 

It’s wartime. Hardly knew myself.  (They wince at the sound of scraping furniture.)

But Christmas! And Winston—(Stops short. Removes hat.) You mean you didn’t know?

I knew he was coming. No idea when.  Security’s tightened up.

                                                                        ELEANOR (in despair):
Is this what it’s to be like? Our boys all off to war and within two weeks swoop! a convoy of babbling
Winston’s fond of you. (Smokes.) You never complained of his babbling before.

He’s already put in orders for sherry before breakfast, scotch and sodas—he said three or four, Franklin—before lunch, and French champagne and brandy before bed.

Give it to him if it cheers him up. He urgently requested a visit—left right after the Jap attack. Couldn’t hold him off. (Leaning in, pointedly.) We have a war on our hands now.

He specifies that the brandy must be 90 years old. (They look at each other. They have to laugh.) It’s provoking. (Really concerned.) And what can I possibly tell Mrs. Nesbitt? She planned a quiet dinner for six on Christmas Eve and a simple Christmas breakfast

I’m firing Mrs. Nesbitt in the New Year.

You can’t.

Wartime necessity.

You cannot interfere with my management of the household, Franklin. Upon that I insist.

Three times a day I’ve choked down the ungodliest food woman can inflict on man. Do you know word is out to pack hotplates so guests can scramble eggs on their own here?

She serves

                                                                        (Franklin joins in wearily)
plain food plainly prepared.

It’s bad enough that all Washington knows to eat before a state dinner. (Smokes.) The White House is now the meeting place for the free world. Very important people will be coming and going at very high levels, secretly and without notice. I will not torture prime ministers, presidents, and governments in exile with chipped beef on toast, shrimp wiggle, prune paste, or any other atrocity issuing from that woman’s kitchen. She’s fired as of the first of the year.

It’s prune whip. Where will she go? A widow without professional skills

Exactly! I see you grasp the situation.


Join us for the next Monday Night PlayGround at Berkeley Rep on Monday, January 16, 2012 at 8pm and choose your own favorite!

1 comment:

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