Marie Tessler is at her wit’s end. Her husband Marvin has time only for his new business. Her eldest son copes well with learning difficulties, but relies on her for support. Her younger son is a baseball fanatic who drops catcher’s mitts and uniforms as he goes. And her married daughter is threatening to leave her husband and move back into the family home–with her new baby! What will they do when she goes on strike?
From the Play
Marie Tessler: a woman in her early forties
Marvin Tessler: her husband, an architect, late forties
Billy: their 16-year-old son, pretty much a jock.
Eddie: their 17-year-old son, with mild mental disability but socially well-developed.
Laurie Hamish: their married daughter, early twenties
The Scene: The family room of the Tessler household.
Time: The present.
Marie Tessler enters with a fancy watering can in her hand. She is a woman in her late forties. She crosses to a group of plants and tries to water them. Nothing comes out of the can, even when she tilts it further and further. Finally, she holds it up and tries to look up the spout. Still nothing. She puts it down with a sigh. Crossing the room, she stops to pick up a few remnants of papers and crumbs. She looks for a wastebasket but can’t find one. She sighs and considers for a moment then nonchalantly puts the trash back on the floor. Marvin Tessler, her husband, enters.
Marvin: Did you see the plans for the Cummings property? I was working on them last night.
Marie: Then you’ll find them. Nobody ever throws anything away around here.
(Marvin looks around the room. He pulls out drawers and looks under the couch.)
Marvin: (Not listening.) What am I going to do? I have to meet Cummings this morning. I can’t tell him I lost the plans for his private estate, including a zoo with a nursery for pregnant and nursing yaks! My God! I’ve sold out. I’m an architect for lactating yaks. But it’s a two million dollar project! Should I have turned it down? I’ll tell you, this wasn’t what I had in mind….
Marie: I had the strangest dream last night. I can’t get it out of my mind. I’m alone somewhere. On an empty street. Made out of bricks. Not cobblestones. Like the alley behind my house I grew up in. I think it was raining. Just like it is, now…
Marvin: (Suddenly alert, he almost knocks her down.) Raining! Did you say, raining? (He rushes to the door and looks out.) Marie! It’s raining and I left my umbrella in the office!
Marie: That’s six of them. I hope the rain starts one day while you’re in the office. Then you can start bringing them all back in this direction.
Marvin: Very funny.
Marie: But what the hell would I do with six umbrellas. The hall closet is already full of golf shoes!
Marvin: You’re talking about golf shoes! Please… help me look for those papers? I’ve got to meet Cummings in twenty-eight minutes.
Marie: You left a stack of papers out on the patio last night.
Marvin: (Weakly.) The patio? Outside?
Marie: Don’t worry. I took care of them. I asked Eddie to bring them in before he went to bed.
Marvin: Eddie! You asked Eddie? I don’t believe it. He doesn’t even remember the alphabet!
Marie: (Testily.) Then go look on the dining room table. His memory seems to be better than yours.