This short comedy tells an all-too-familiar story. How do family members come to take each other for granted? Set during the Christmas season, Neil and Gerri could be any of us in our young older years!
From the Play
Neil: about 65, upper middle class
Gerri: about 62, his wife
The action takes place in three separate areas of the stage close to the audience. The props are simple and suggest the setting:
Scene 1: Boxes of Christmas decorations and a comfortable living room chair.
Scene 2: A dressing table and chair.
Scene 3: Two lawn chairs.
Costuming is simple also:
Scene 1: Neil wears a shirt and sweater and Gerri wears a dress with a jacket.
Scene 2: They are dressing to go out to a semi-formal affair. Neil puts on a tie and dress jacket and Gerri removes her jacket and puts on a fancy top that coordinates with her dress.
Scene 3: A summer day, Gerri removes her cover and reveals her sleeveless dress; Neil removes his tie and jacket revealing a short-sleeved shirt.
Neil: There’s not going to be enough tinsel.
Gerri: I told you to buy more! There’s never enough of anything around here. Every time I look, there’s something missing. Not enough of this-short of that-.
Neil: Well, you live here, too. I’m sick of you talking about what’s here and what’s not. Did you ever think you could put something into this house?
Gerri: We agreed years ago that I’d concentrate on other things. I put in my dues too many years being a wife, raising children, going to PTA meetings, cooking meals, doing laundry, cleaning house, running errands. I don’t see how other women do it. And love it! Gaining their identity sitting behind a steering wheel in a car pool, wiping the noses of children who are going to ruin your good furniture. Now I do volunteer work and can’t believe that I actually spend six hours a day with women who wear pink jackets and sell gifts to customers in a hospital -boutique.; People feigning cheeriness for people who are too sick. The sick ones are the ones who should be strong for us. During my father’s last illness, I put myself in that hospital with him night after night to be there-sitting-sitting. Nobody put on a pink jacket for me and smiled. No, wait. There was a pink lady once. She smiled and sold me an attempt at comfort-a-touching; card and silk flowers that looked real until they got dusty sitting on the table. My daddy was there in that hospital with plastic tubes coming out of him everywhere and I waited, waited for him to help me. All my life he gave me strength, oomph when I needed it, and with him slipping away and you not there, I looked for him to give me something to go on. That last night, he raised his hand and whispered: -Gerri-; and I thought: -Daddy’s going to be there, just like always.; Then he said: -Water.; I got a glass and poured some water from the pitcher, turned around to give it to him and he was gone. I was alone-really alone. Well, you’ve heard this loads of times-.
Gerri: Did you get the children’s Christmas gifts like you said?
Neil: Sure. (He pulls out a stack of envelopes.) Bonds.