Yetta Breen has just been widowed. For most of her life, she has been a “good Jewish mother.” Her husband Jacob had done most of the talking for the two of them. Now . . . well, she’s taking a drink now and then, smoking a cigarette, encouraging her children’s independence, and spending money like a drunken sailor. Her children, however, liked her as she has been all through their lives–centered on them. Romance is fine for them, but not for their mother!
These characters are charming, funny, and authentic. This is a play to make you laugh and warm your heart.
From the Play
YETTA BREEN – Woman in her mid-fifties
DANNY BREEN- YETTA’s eighteen year old son
CLARA YETTA’s friend – British woman in her forties
MR. LEVINSON – In his late fifties
RACHEL LEVINSON – Levinson’s eighteen year old daughter
ROBERT BREEN – YETTA’s second son; about twenty-three
MARY BREEN – ROBERT’s wife
PHILIP BREEN – YETTA’s oldest son; about twenty-seven
JUDY – PHILIP’s wife
MAX LUZZATO An Italian-Jew in his mid-fifties
The 1960ís. Brooklyn, New York. A home in a quiet, middle-class neighborhood.
Prologue: Early morning in late spring
Scene 1: A week later in the late afternoon
Scene 2: That evening after dinner
Scene 3: About 7 months later. A winter evening.
Scene 1: The next day in the later afternoon
Scene 2: the following morning
Epilogue: A week later in the afternoon
DANNY: No, I can’t.
CLARA: Why not? You always used to.
DANNY: I don’t think she’d turn to me for support if she knew how mushy I feel inside. She needs me to be strong.
CLARA: She doesn’t need you to be a martyr. And she needs you to need her, too. Otherwise she won’t have the incentive to continue
(The phone rings. DANNY starts for the kitchen as YETTA rushes into the bedroom and picks it up.)
YETTA: Who is it? Oh, Mr. Levinson, how are you?
DANNY: (calling up the stairs) you got it, Ma?
YETTA: I’ve got it up here. My apologies, Mr. Levinson; I didn’t mean to holler in our ear. Yes, I’ll be home this evening. My Clara is coming for dinner; I don’t know if you ever met. That’s right, of course, she was at Danny’s Bar Mitzvah; yes, she does have a lovely accent. How can you remember so far back? Yes, it was a beautiful affair. Jacob went all out; it was the last one, you know. So come; bring your wife too, we’ll have coffee. Danny went to the bakery. Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. What? Of course bring your daughter, what’s her name again? Rachel, that’s right. So bring her. Danny can talk to her while you look at the papers. Did you get the accountant? Good; thank you. Maybe next week I’ll go to his office; we’ll talk about it tonight. All right. Yes. So long. (She hangs up and calls downstairs) Danny, did you remember the bakery?
DANNY: Yes. I got three of everything. Couldn’t make up my mind. (to CLARA) Double chocolate blackout cake –)
YETTA: Levinson’s coming to get the papers with his daughter.
DANNY: His daughter/? Can I go to the movies?
YETTA: She won’t bite you.
DANNY: Ah, Ma – he’s been trying to fix me up with her for three years. It’s a trap.
YETTA: For two hours you can manage to stay single. It won’t hurt you. You can play cards or something, records or something. What time is it? Clara should be here.
DANNY: Clara’s been here for ages.
YETTA: So what’s the military secret? Send her up. I got a zipper down the back I can’t reach.
(CLARA gets up smiling, takes her shopping bag and starts upstairs.)
YETTA: Maybe you’ll set the table, Danny?
DANNY: It’s set already.
(DANNY puts the scotch away and exits to the kitchen)
YETTA: Everyone’s so Goddamn efficient. (greeting CLARA) Madame Santa Claus! You never come without schlepping something. Come tell me what to do with this pile of stuff. I can’t sleep nights with bits and pieces of Jacob all over the room. Should I call the Salvation Army, maybe?
(CLARA fixes YETTA’s dress)
YETTA: That Breen had a helluva Goddamn nerve dying on me like that.