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Christmas Preliminaries

Note: If you’d like to produce this play, on stage or in a class — please email me and ask permission. It will be granted, but I’d really like to know about it.

Not only is this play just awful, but it was actually performed in December, 2003 (Theatre Charlotte 9×9).  My apologies to the actors, director, and audience.

Christmas Preliminaries
© 2003 by Samuel M. Post

Characters
RUTH, mid fifties
LORRAINE, a youthful 60 with a hind of glamour
BILL, 50

Time….present
Setting…LORRAINE’S HOUSE

(LORRAINES’S house. A well appointed parlor. Antiques. Soft Christmas music in the background. Something classical, instrumental. RUTH, LORRAINE, and BILL are relaxed, in soft light, enjoying cocktails. LORRAINE might be so relaxed that she’s lying down with her feet up.)

RUTH: I love your new rug.

LORRAINE: (insecure) Do you really?

RUTH: It’s fabulous.

BILL: Did Yuntz find it?

LORRAINE: He sure did.

BILL: I always said, if you need something, ask Yuntz. He’s a crazy son of a bitch, but he can find what you need – if he knows the room you’re talking about – and if you give him time.

(indicating an antique lamp)

BILL: He got me that lamp.

RUTH: It’s gorgeous.

LORRAINE: I love it.

BILL: That’s what he’s best at – knowing what will work. I just told him I needed a lamp. About three weeks later, he brought it over.

LORRAINE: That’s the secret. I told him I wasn’t in a hurry – “just call me when you find a nice Persian.”

RUTH: He’s such a weird little man.

LORRAINE: With a tiny, tiny penis – I’m sure.

(BILL rises with an empty glass.)

BILL: I need another one. (to LORRAINE) You okay?

(She hands him her glass to be refilled.)

LORRAINE: Please, darling. (to RUTH) Isn’t he a dear?

RUTH: (to BILL) You didn’t ask me.

BILL: I know you want one.

RUTH: You’re right.

(BILL takes RUTH’S glass and exits.)

LORRAINE: Does he look like he’s gained weight?

RUTH: That’s what I was thinking.

LORRAINE: In his butt.

RUTH: And belly.

LORRAINE: You know why?

RUTH: Why?

LORRAINE: Julie. He’s been going out with her – a lot.

RUTH: So? They’ve been friends a long time.

LORRAINE: No – I mean going out to dinner, almost every night of the week. All that food.

RUTH: She eats like a horse.

LORRAINE: She’s a cow. And she’s such a heavy, heavy drinker – every night. Look what it’s doing to him.

RUTH: I love Julie.

LORRAINE: So do I!

RUTH: No, I really love her!

LORRAINE: Me too!

RUTH: But it’s a shame they’re getting that close.

LORRAINE: It’s all her doing.

RUTH: You don’t think he likes her that much.

LORRAINE: Hell no. He’s not assertive.

RUTH: She’s such a bad influence on him.

(Enter BILL, giving out the drinks.)

BILL: I saw Yuntz the other day. He was going in The Henley with a crate of flowers. Beaucoups.

LORRAINE: The Tremers’ wedding.

RUTH: They’re getting married three days before Christmas? How ridiculous.

LORRAINE: She’s obviously pregnant.

RUTH: The date’s been set for months.

BILL: I don’t think so.

RUTH: That’s what I heard.

BILL: She’s pregnant.

RUTH: Really?

BILL: Look at her. Yuntz said he bought that house on Kern Street.

LORRAINE: The little one that’s always for sale?

BILL: He’s such a weasel! He probably got it for nothing. You know what he’s like. He’ll fix it up and sell it and make a killing.

RUTH: He acts like he’s so poor he can’t heat his house and he’s probably got more money than all of us combined.

(BILL looks at LORRAINE, who looks down at her drink.)

BILL: Maybe.

LORRAINE: I think I’ll go to the little girl’s room.

(Exit LORRAINE)

RUTH: She’s drinking too much.

BILL: Huh?

RUTH: She’s drunk.

BILL: C’mon. She’s a big girl. It’s Christmas.

RUTH: No – it’s more than that. She’s depressed. She’s having problems with Frank.

BILL: She’s always having problems with Frank.

RUTH: It’s catching up with her. She farted when she walked out the room.

BILL: What!

RUTH: She did. She does that when she’s had too much to drink.

BILL: I didn’t hear it.

RUTH: I did. It was a quiet one. It’s Christmas and she misses him.

BILL: They’ll be together in a few days and he’ll give her something expensive – like he does every year.

RUTH: A car.

BILL: Again?

RUTH: That’s what she told Calvin. A Mercedes.

BILL: Some people have all the damn luck.

RUTH: Something’s different. I think Frank’s seeing someone. Someone really young.

BILL: So what’s new about that! Look at how she almost lived with that Herbert idiot!

RUTH: He was a cutie.

BILL: Don’t worry about her and Frank. He’s taking her to Mexico next week.

RUTH: She wanted to go to Aruba.

BILL: They went there like three months ago. Frank likes Mexico.

RUTH: She’s just now realizing she’s over the hill. Everybody else has known it for years. Everybody but her.

BILL: I think she looks pretty good.

RUTH: You do?

BILL: Yeah.

RUTH: I don’t. Look hard at her eyes. Surgery can only get you so far.

BILL: Ruth, she’s sixty years old!

RUTH: You don’t notice because you’re her friend.

BILL: You’re her friend too.

RUTH: Women notice more.BILL_She looks better than anybody I’ve seen that age.

RUTH: Best body money can buy.

BILL: Hey – she’s not stupid. She plays Frank like a fiddle.

RUTH: She ought to treat him better. He could cut her off if he wanted to. He’s too kind.

(Enter LORRAINE)

LORRAINE: I wonder if that rug has enough red in it.

RUTH: I think so. It’s perfect.

LORRAINE: What do you think, Bill?

BILL: I think it’s beautiful. Did Yuntz see it on the floor?

LORRAINE: Of course he did. He put it there.

BILL: He always leaves my stuff on the porch.

RUTH: He wouldn’t say if he didn’t like it. He’s so slimy.

BILL: He’s slimy with most people – but he knows he can’t pull anything over on Lorraine.

RUTH: True. Excuse me a minute.

(Exit RUTH)

LORRAINE: She is being such a bitch. All week. How long do think it’s been since she’s been laid?

BILL: Years.

LORRAINE: Since she and what’s-his-name divorced.

BILL: God – what was his name?

LORRAINE: I can’t remember either. That’s how long it’s been.

(They stop and think.)

BILL: Well, we didn’t really know her back then.

LORRAINE: I did.

BILL: You did?

LORRAINE: We were in a show together. What was his name?

BILL: He was crazy. That’s all I know.

LORRAINE: Oh – he was certifiably insane. No question about that.

BILL: Too much acid.

LORRAINE: Drugs. Mental hospitals. The whole bit. I heard he was living on the street now. What was his name!

(pause)

BILL: Was it Gainer?

LORRAINE: Gaines!

BILL: That’s it.

LORRAINE: I ought to hire a gigolo to put her out of her misery.

BILL: Lorraine.

LORRAINE: I’m serious. A good fuck would do her a lot of good. It would help her self-esteem.

(Enter RUTH.)

RUTH: Are the Carlson’s having their open house this year?

BILL: I saw Eric yesterday. He said to drop by anytime after three.

RUTH: Oo. Caviar.

LORRAINE: I guess I’ll miss it again. We’ll be in Mexico.

RUTH: Poor baby. How about Lynn and Michael’s on Christmas Eve?

BILL: I thought I’d go about nine.

LORRAINE: Pooh. That sounds like fun too.

RUTH: Well – you’re here now. I say we make a toast.

LORRAINE: To friendship.

(They raise their glasses.)

ALL THREE: Friendship!

End of play

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