In these three short comedies for seniors by Marj O’Neill-Butler, characters of a certain age struggle against grown children, spouses, or friends to maintain their own psychological and social independence.
In “Cleaning House,” Marcia is trying to get her mother, who has recently had a fall, to move into an assisted living complex. Billie, the mother, wants no part of it as she has found a new life. Marcia is in for more than one surprise after Brad enters the scene.
Three mature friends, in “Flight Fright” have gathered for coffee and a discussion of Judy’s expected new grandson. After joking about how Judy, who is afraid of airplanes, will get to Denver to see the baby being born, she receives a phone call that her son has been in a serious accident. Using game playing, her friends try to talk Judy into flying out to be with him.
“They Call it Teasing” introduces us to a couple who turn the tables on their former high school tormenters at a class reunion.
From the Play
From Flight Fright:
JOAN: Here’s what we want! “Plane crash facts that could save your life.”
CAROL: Good let’s set up a potential crash. (She starts to move the furniture around.) Right. You’re three across in the exit aisle.
JUDY: What if I’m not in the exit aisle?
CAROL: We pay extra so you are. Everything’s extra these days. Sit down Judy. Okay, Joan. Take us through it.
JOAN: Alright. Have a plan of action. Read the instructions carefully. You know, read that whole fold out thingy they give you in the seat pocket.
CAROL: What else?
JOAN: Wear non-flammable clothing. Your polyester pants with the elastic waist will have to go, or you’ll burst into flames.
JUDY: I love those pants.
CAROL: They make your ass look flat, and they don’t have pockets.
JOAN: Yeah, they want you to keep your valuables and ID on you. Leave your baggage and get out of there quickly. Down the slide on your bottom.
CAROL: Okay, time for a run through. Close your eyes, Judy. Okay. Suddenly it gets bumpy. Check your seat belt is fastened.
JUDY: Um, okay. Check.
CAROL: Now it’s really bumpy. Suddenly the plane drops.
She tips Judy’s chair back and Judy screams, as Joan gets into it.
JOAN: The oxygen masks drop down.
Joan grabs an empty coffee cup and puts it over Judy’s nose.
JUDY: I can’t breathe.
CAROL: Don’t panic. Nice easy breaths. Suddenly the Captain says “We’re going down.” Brace yourself. Crash position.
JUDY: Can I get rid of this coffee cup?