Dodo of the Year

ACT II
SCENE 1

(PAUL, AMY, LYNN, KYLE, and GRIGORIY have just finished dinner. Enter JOAN, still holding the bottle. She wobbles. JACK follows.)
JACK: Okay, were here.
JOAN: (drunk)
I know exactly where I am.
JACK: Joan, give me the bottle.
JOAN: When we get home.
JACK: We are home.
JOAN: I said when we get home.
JACK: We’re home.
JACK: Give me the bottle.
(He reaches for it.)
JOAN: Get away!
(She threatens him with it. She guzzles from the bottle again, until it’s empty.)
Now you can have it.
(She rears back, preparing to throw the bottle at JACK. She stops, puts a hand over her heart.)
My chest.
AMY: Are you all right?
KYLE: She’s fine.
JACK: She’s had that heart condition for thirty years.
(JOAN takes a breath and her heart condition seems to ease. She spins, cocks her arm in order to throw the bottle at JACK, then passes out and collapses.)
KYLE: We should start without her.
LYNN: Let’s do. Dad, get something to eat. Who wants to take notes?
KYLE: I’ll do it.
LYNN: I think it might be nice if Amy had the honors.
PAUL: Amy. Da.
PAUL: Don’t make her do that.
LYNN: It’ll give her something to do.
PAUL: She’s not part of this.
LYNN: Well…then…if she takes notes, she’ll learn how it works. She’ll feel like part of the family.
PAUL: I don’t want her to feel like part of the family.
AMY: I don’t mind. What do I do?
LYNN: Just record the nominations. We might need to review them before we vote.
(LYNN produces a large three ring binder. She locates the right page and gives it to AMY.)
Here we go. Over twenty years of bird-brained deeds documented right here.
KYLE: We need to make a ruling on Mom. Obviously, she can’t vote or nominate or participate in the discussion. She can’t defend herself. But does anyone object to her being nominated or even getting the award in abstentia?
(They regard her, lying on the floor, and shake their heads in approval.)
JACK: This isn’t a trial. If she’s done something stupid, she’s eligible.
KYLE: Then I’ll nominate Mom.
LYNN: For what?
KYLE: For tonight.
JACK: It’s weak.
LYNN: Really not worth a nomination in and of itself.
KYLE: It is if it’s combined with other stuff. I nominate her for tonight, and multiple incidents like tonight – getting drunk and violent at family dinners.
LYNN: She ought to get the lifetime achievement award.
JACK: She should, but that’s another matter. We’re nominating now for this year. Does that qualify as a valid nomination: a series of dodoisms in a single year?
KYLE: This does, because it’s all the same theme – drunk, violent, dinners. There’s precedent for that.
LYNN: You got it for flunking out of college, which is the same thing.
KYLE: That was really one thing.
LYNN: It took an entire year of many, many failing grades – an accumulation of many, many, stupid actions – to do that. None would have qualified individually. All rolled into one, it got you the award.
KYLE: And you got it for your Bat Mizvah speech.
LYNN: That’s not the same. That was definitely a single event.
KYLE: It amounted to a year of individual stubborn refusals to write the speech, spanning several months.
LYNN: But I wrote it the night before.
KYLE: You wrote that in one night?
LYNN: I work better under pressure. The speech got me the award, not the procrastination.
KYLE: But it was so bad because you refused to write it in time to let people read it. There was no time left to edit or rehearse it.
LYNN: That’s not what we said then. Anyhow, my speech said what I wanted to say.
KYLE: It nearly made everybody barf. All that advice on how to be popular.
PAUL: By wearing shoes that aren’t ‘icky.’
KYLE: And hairpins that don’t match your outfit.
PAUL: I’m surprised you didn’t barf when you gave the speech.
KYLE: And all that stuff about cheerleaders sounding like their noses are stopped up.
PAUL: And that bit about people over the age of…was it fifty?
KYLE: Thirty.
(quoting)
“All people over thirty are weird. It’s best not to talk to them, look at them, or even go near them. Just ignore them altogether.”
PAUL: Everybody at the Bat Mizvah was over thirty.
LYNN: I was thirteen.
KYLE: But it was your Bat Mitzvah. You’re supposed to sound way older. The rabbi wrote you a good speech.
LYNN: I didn’t wanna give his speech.
KYLE: That’s his business. He’s a pro.
LYNN: It was his. It was all about the torah.
KYLE: It’s supposed to be about the torah.
LYNN: It was my Bat Mizvah. The whole thing was Hebrew. I wanted my speech to mean something.
KYLE: Your speech sucked. It embarrassed everybody in the room.
LYNN: My friends liked it.
KYLE: You didn’t have any friends.
LYNN: They would’ve. We chose a bad date. They were on vacation.
KYLE: No they weren’t. You didn’t have any friends.
LYNN: If I had had some, they would have liked it.
KYLE: They would’ve seen how stupid you are and not been your friends anymore.
LYNN: Can we talk about this year? That’s a bad example. It was a conventional, one-event, Dodo of the Year winner. Entirely different from this nomination. Okay?
KYLE: An aggregate of Mom’s dinners should be allowed.
LYNN: I agree. Any objections?
(no one objects)
KYLE: Okay. How many times has she done it this year?
LYNN: There was Thanksgiving.
JACK: She got hold of that bottle of bourbon.
LYNN: She almost hit Dad with a frying pan.
KYLE: She almost hit me, too. And that was cast iron.
JACK: It was too heavy for her. She couldn’t swing it.
LYNN: It swung her.
(pause)
There’s Passover.
KYLE: I had one glass of wine. Turned around, and all three bottles were empty.
JACK: Plates.
KYLE: She actually hit you that time.
JACK: I blocked it with a carafe.
KYLE: You were quick. But she did hit you.
JACK: More of a glance.
(He demonstrates.)
LYNN: No. She hit you. You had an X-Ray.
JACK: She caught a little of it. It was a bruise. Could have been worse.
KYLE: Hannuka.
LYNN: That’s right. Throwing the menorah. No damage, really – other than wax on the floor – but it was this year.
KYLE: It strengthens the nomination.
LYNN: Dad’s birthday cake.
KYLE: The birthday’s good.
JACK: It wasn’t just the cake everywhere. Remember, she had that knife for a while.
KYLE: I remember the knife.
JACK: Not the cake knife. A butcher’s knife.
KYLE: I know. I know. Amy, have you got that?
AMY: Got it.
LYNN: Two incidents at Yom Kippur.
KYLE: The hot plate at the dinner before, and what was it at the break fast?
LYNN: The hot plate again.
JACK: Plus the chards from the window. That had potential.
LYNN: Rosh Hashanna.
KYLE: Soup bowls.
JACK: Plus the chicken, right out of the oven.
KYLE: With the grease.
LYNN: That’s all I can think of. We went out on your birthday. I was out of town for mine.
KYLE: Wait a minute. Memorial Day.
LYNN: That’s right.
JACK: That damn George Foreman grill.
KYLE: Labor Day! The skewer.
JACK: Thank God it wasn’t hot.
LYNN: How many stiches did you have, Dad?
JACK: Fourteen.
KYLE: It’s a pretty strong nomination.
LYNN: Very strong. Anything else?
KYLE: I can’t think of anything. Dad?
JACK: Nothing comes to mind.
KYLE: There’s got to be more.
(They stop to think. Pause.)
Let’s move on. We can come back to Mom if we need to. Amy, have you got all this?
AMY: Got it.
LYNN: I’d like to nominate Dad.
KYLE: What for?
LYNN: Didn’t you get arrested for embezzlement?
JACK: No, I wasn’t arrested. They talked about it, but I cut a deal and settled out of court. I’m clean.
KYLE: What’d you do?
JACK: Nothing.
KYLE: Then why’d you settle?
JACK: Because I didn’t do anything, idiot.
LYNN: If you didn’t do anything, you didn’t need to settle.
JACK: I didn’t do anything because I settled.
KYLE: We really can’t nominate him for that. Hard to get a handle on it.
LYNN: We could nominate him for some of the repercussions, which we can get a handle on, even though we don’t have a handle on exactly what caused them. Like the embarrassing newspaper articles, getting kicked off a couple of boards of trustees, a few city boards. How many boards were you kicked off of, Dad?
JACK: Five or six.
KYLE: That’s worth a nomination.
JACK: They don’t mean anything. Only one of ‘em paid worth a damn.
LYNN: He lost his broker’s license.
KYLE: Good one.
LYNN: Didn’t you have some medical problems?
KYLE: That’s off limits.
LYNN: Not if we attribute the health issue to stress factors caused by the embezzlement charge.
JACK: I didn’t do anything.
LYNN: I said charge.
JACK: I wasn’t charged.
LYNN: Accused.
JACK: Obviously, since I didn’t do anything, the accusation was false.
PAUL: Medical should not count.
KYLE: You weren’t even here.
PAUL: I’m here now. I’m a voter. It’s my opinion. I don’t think it qualifies as being stupid.
KYLE: It’s part of the total dodo nomination package.
LYNN: The stress factor.
PAUL: I don’t think it counts.
AMY: I agree with Paul.
KYLE: You?
AMY: It’s an opinion.
KYLE: Who gives you the right?
AMY: It just seems that health problems are stupid.
KYLE: You weren’t here either.
AMY: It’s only an opinion.
KYLE: Okay. Have it your way. We won’t consider the heart attack.
LYNN: Which happened to occur the night before he was supposed to appear in court.
KYLE: While he happened to be in another state.
LYNN: And happened to delay the proceedings.
KYLE: And happened to facilitate a sense of urgency that assisted his attorney in cutting the deal…
JACK: …that proved I didn’t do anything. Is that it?
LYNN: That’s the nomination.
KYLE: Weak.
JACK: Because I didn’t do anything.
LYNN: We haven’t finished yet.
(to KYLE)
You.
KYLE: Me?
LYNN: Yeah, I nominate you.
KYLE: I didn’t do anything.
LYNN: You lost your house.
KYLE: On purpose. I didn’t need it.
LYNN: Your family did.
KYLE: No they didn’t. Without me around, they needed less space.
LYNN: The court disagreed.
KYLE: Not completely.
LYNN: The judge said he “sympathized with the argument.”
KYLE: See?
LYNN: He also said he couldn’t believe you had the audacity to use it. He said they might need a little less space, but he said it would have been better for the children to stay in the house they were in. As I recall, your decision to go behind your wife’s back and sell it factored into the judge’s decision to raise your child support payment above what the lawyers had already agreed upon.
KYLE: That’s not dodo material.
LYNN: I think it is. You also, in effect, lost your family and moved back in with your parents. At your age, what’s more dodo that?
KYLE: It wasn’t my fault.
LYNN: Dodoism is no-fault.
(clarifying, to AMY)
We’ve established, over the years, that being a dodo has less to do with blame or motivation than with what actually happens. Objectively, we determine if certain actions or results constitute dodo behavior.
(to KYLE)
The objective facts in regard to your family life definitely warrant a Dodo of the Year nomination, if not the trophy.
KYLE: Is that all you’ve got?
LYNN: Well, yeah. But I think the details warrant some discussion.
KYLE: First you want the bottom line. The ‘objective results.’ Now you want details. Which is it gonna be?
LYNN: Both. We’re talking about Dodo of the Year.
JACK: He didn’t talk to a lawyer before he walked out on his wife, so he got pinned with abandonment, which cost him any kind of reasonable shared custody of his kids.
LYNN: Stupid.
JACK: Not to mention marrying her in the first place.
LYNN: Stupid.
KYLE: That wasn’t this year.
LYNN: Then, the first thing you do after you leave is call up your old flame from high school.
JACK: Very Stupid.
LYNN: Who wouldn’t go out with you then and still won’t – because she couldn’t stand you then and still can’t.
JACK: But she’s willing to testify in court on behalf of your ex-wife.
LYNN: She’s eager to testify. She’s the star witness. She told the judge you were the biggest jerk she had ever met and asked him how she could get a restraining order.
JACK: So you lose everything you’ve got.
LYNN: Alienate your children.
JACK: And make a fool of yourself in public.
LYNN: It’s the essence of dodoism. Amy, have you got all that?
(She writes furiously.)
AMY: Give me just a sec.
KYLE: Lynn, since you didn’t do anything this year that we know about, I’ll nominate you for being boring.
LYNN: Not worthy of consideration.
KYLE: What’d you do all year? Go to work. Come home. Feed your cat. Watch TV. Visit your parents. I nominate you for not doing anything – that we know about – worth mentioning.
JACK: Very boring.
KYLE: You’re nothing. Amy, just write “Lynn. Nothing.”
JACK: Nobody.
KYLE: A speck.
JACK: Not even that.
LYNN: I did do one thing.
KYLE: Something we don’t know about?
LYNN: Yeah.
KYLE: What?
JACK: What?
PAUL: What?
AMY: What?
PAUL: What?
LYNN: You remember when I got my new car?
KYLE: Yeah.
LYNN: The reason I got it…remember my Toyota?
KYLE: Sure.
LYNN: It was really a pretty nice car.
KYLE: Not bad.
LYNN: I lost it.
KYLE: How?
LYNN: I went into a convenience store and went inside and bought a cup of coffee – left the keys in the car and the motor running – and when I came out this guy was driving away.
KYLE: You didn’t lose it. Somebody stole it.
JACK: It’s still stupid.
KYLE: A little. But anybody could do that.
LYNN: Insurance wouldn’t pay.
(Pause. They look at AMY. She writes.)
KYLE: Amy, put a little asterisks there. Say, “still a little boring.” She’s managed to conceal the real stuff.
(to LYNN)
I guess you had a bad year. Based on what we know.
(pause)
Relationships?
LYNN: What about ‘em?
KYLE: Any dodo material there?
LYNN: Do you know of any dodo material?
KYLE: No. Do you?
LYNN: No.
KYLE: Nothing?
LYNN: I didn’t do a thing.
KYLE: Anybody?
(pause)
Nothing?
(pause)
Hmmmm. Interesting. Amy?
AMY: I think I’ve got everything.
KYLE: You know anything about Paul?
AMY: I suppose I could make a nomination.
PAUL: I’d rather you not.
AMY: It’s only…
PAUL: I’d rather not be in it.
KYLE: That’s not for you to decide.
AMY: You won’t win. It’s only the bit about your bank account.
KYLE: Oh yeah? What happened to your bank account, Paul?
PAUL: Let’s not get into this.
AMY: They closed it.
KYLE: Oh really? Why’d they do that?
AMY: A mistake of some kind.
JACK: Didn’t by any chance have anything to do with bouncing checks?
PAUL: I didn’t bounce checks.
KYLE: Or forgery?
PAUL: I didn’t do anything.
LYNN: Or bankruptcy?
AMY: What?
KYLE: Just a few things he’s famous for in this country.
PAUL: That was years ago.
LYNN: Old patterns are hard to break.
AMY: Is this true?
KYLE: Maybe it was about his child support.
AMY: Beg your pardon!
KYLE: Don’t worry, he’s never been married before.
AMY: Child support!
LYNN: Calm down. He never pays it. (to KYLE) Kyle, there’s no need to get into that this year. Those are things he did in the past.
KYLE: You are absolutely right.
AMY: Is that why you use that other name sometimes?
PAUL: No.
KYLE: Spencer Baker?
LYNN: Christopher Miller?
JACK: There are so many. Lawrence Riley? Hal Wilkes?
AMY: That’s it. Larry Wilkes.
LYNN: A combination.
KYLE: He’s recycling. Larry Wilkes. Not bad.
AMY: That’s the name on your passport. You said it was because you were born in Canada and became an American citizen and your real name was already being used in this country. I’m an idiot.
LYNN: (to KYLE )Actually, she is.
KYLE: But it’s too abstract for a nomination.
LYNN: Hey, an idiot’s an idiot. I’ll nominate her. By acclamation.
KYLE: Second.
LYNN: All in favor?
PAUL: Wait a minute!
LYNN: Okay…withdrawn. We don’t want her to win that way. Amy, I doubt you’ll win, but put yourself down.
AMY: What’s going on here?
KYLE: You’re taking notes, remember?
PAUL: I nominate Grigoriy.
GREGORIY: Da.
LYNN: For what?
PAUL: For not speaking English.
LYNN: (to PAUL) We never finished your nomination.
(Speaking rapidly, desperately trying to divert the attention from himself)
PAUL: He came here for a two week visit. Didn’t know English and didn’t bother to learn it.
LYNN: He probably took it in school but doesn’t have an aptitude for languages.
PAUL: Then why’d he want to come here?
LYNN: To visit us.
PAUL: There might be more to it.
KYLE: What!
PAUL: He might be looking for an American wife.
KYLE: That’s not stupid.
PAUL: It’s very stupid. It works the other way around. No American would marry him.
LYNN: (to KYLE) That’s true. American men go there, Dodo. You should give it a try. Back to Paul.
AMY: (to PAUL )You use my bank account for everything.
KYLE: Have you checked the balance lately?
PAUL: I’ve been fair and square with you.
AMY: I’ve had some debits that looked quite strange.
PAUL: Have you balanced the account?
AMY: You know how I am. I never do that.
PAUL: Then you don’t know.
AMY: No I don’t.
LYNN: Dodo.
KYLE: Dodo.
PAUL: I didn’t do anything.
AMY: I’m not so sure.
PAUL: (Turning against AMY. Pointing at her.) She posed nude. Lots of times.
AMY: Hey!
PAUL: Made a lot of money. More than she makes at her job. Art history. Phooey.
JACK: Porn, huh? I thought so.
AMY: Those photos are art.
PAUL: Right.
AMY: They are. It’s erotic art by some of the best photographers in London. You know that.
PAUL: Sure.
KYLE: Does that warrant a nomination?
LYNN: I don’t think so. It’s slutty, but it’s not necessarily stupid.
JACK: It depends on the pictures, how much she got paid and what they really look like. Could we see ‘em?
AMY: No!
PAUL: They’re on the web.
KYLE: You’ll give me the URL.
PAUL: Later.
AMY: Wait!
(beat)
I’m done with this. Grigoriy!
PAUL: Da.
AMY: Come with me.
PAUL: Huh?
AMY: We’re going for a walk. A long, long walk. Grigoriy, would you like to take a walk?
(He doesn’t understand. Doesn’t respond.)
GRIGORY: Da.
(She pantomimes.)
AMY: Get up. Bring vodka. Walk.
(He responds. She takes the vodka and drinks. They begin to exit.)
PAUL: Amy, please. Things will be back like they were when we’re home. Please, we’ll get through this.
(She hits PAUL with the vodka bottle. He goes down. She takes the car keys from his pocket. GRIGORIY and AMY exit.)
KYLE: Now we’ve got a problem.
LYNN: No quorum.
(blackout)

2 Replies to “Dodo of the Year”

    1. I don’t mind sending you the script as an attachment — but would you mind giving me a little more information (the college, the class, etc.). Just so I know it’s legitimate — and to satisfy my curiosity.

      Thanks,

      Sam

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