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.
Pizza was performed in the 2nd Annual Pregnant Chad Play Festival in Cornwall, NY, March 15, 16, 2001. It is a ten-minute play unto itself — but it’s also a scene from Silent Visit, a full-length play.
© 2001 by Samuel M. Post
Dinah, his mother
The 90’s. The middle class home of DINAH, a social worker, and her twelve year old son, MATT. The two of them share a pizza.
MATT pulls the pieces of pepperoni off and eats them first. Then he pulls cheese off the top and eats that, leaving the dough and crust on his plate.
DINAH: What are you doing?
MATT: Eating pizza.
DINAH: Just the cheese?
MATT: And pepperoni. That’s how I always eat it.
DINAH: Not even a bite of dough?
MATT: I don’t like it.
DINAH: angry Well, if you don’t start eating the dough and the crust, I’ll stop buying the pizza. You throw away as much food as you eat.
MATT: I don’t care.
DINAH: There are children in North Korea who are starving.
MATT: I still don’t care.
DINAH: There are people — right here — within two blocks of here — classmates of yours — who would love a pizza.
MATT: So what?
DINAH: There are people who can’t afford pizza.
MATT: Who cares?
DINAH: There are families who wouldn’t dream of wasting a piece of pizza.
MATT: Big deal.
…with brothers and sisters — and the kids would fight over the last piece.
MATT: Well, I don’t have any brothers or sisters. I always get the last piece.
DINAH: There are Russians who would give anything…
MATT: I don’t care about them either!
DINAH: Matt…I want you to think a little deeper.
DINAH: You should appreciate the abundance of whole pizza. It’s your obligation. Don’t squander it. Appreciate our prosperity. Not everybody is lucky enough to be an only child.
MATT: You’re mostly talking to yourself. Whatever it is you’re trying to tell me…just get it over with and say it.
DINAH: You have too much.
MATT: We don’t have much.
DINAH: We have plenty.
MATT: I don’t think so. I don’t think we have much at all. Daddy always went to the grocery store and got extra cheese. Then he had the oven already hot when he brought it in and he sprinkled the extra cheese all over the top and put in the pizza so it came out better. Sometimes he got extra mushrooms. It was better! Much better!
DINAH: He put extra cheese on it one time. One, single time.
MATT: He did it lots of times. Two hundred, at least.
DINAH: No, he didn’t. But you’ve thought about it so much — you’ve replayed having pizza with your Daddy so many times in your memory that you’ve multiplied the experience and now it seems like two hundred times.
MATT: I like extra cheese.
DINAH: I could have just brought home a hunk of cheese and a pack of pepperoni, you know. Why pay for something you’re not going to eat?
MATT: You tried that. It didn’t taste the same. Just get extra cheese. That’s simple enough. Extra cheese. Then microwave it in a coffee mug until it completely melts and pour it all over the top of the pizza. Daddy did that, too — and it works.
DINAH: I’m not Daddy.
MATT: I know.
Beat. DINAH becomes uneasy as she anticipates MATT’S inevitable question.
MATT: Why did God kill Daddy?
DINAH: snippy God did not kill Daddy. He was in an accident.
MATT: God made the accident.
DINAH: No. That’s not it.
MATT: Why didn’t God stop the accident?
DINAH: Quit saying that!
MATT: Then answer me!
DINAH: I told you. That accident was a random physical event in time and space.
MATT: A what?
DINAH: A neutral, normal occurrence in objective history.
DINAH: It happened. It’s over. Nothing can be done about it. But you and I are still alive. That’s what concerns me. You. Me. People. There’s no such thing as God.
MATT: You don’t think so?
DINAH: No. And neither do you.
MATT: Because we’re atheists, right?
DINAH: Yes we are.
MATT: Our guidance counselor told me that if I don’t believe in God, then Daddy will be in hell.
DINAH: Talking with a guidance counselor is good. I, myself, counsel people all the time. I believe in counselling. But she shouldn’t discuss religion with you. It’s unethical.
MATT: She is not.
DINAH: You don’t know what it means to be unethical.
MATT: I just don’t think the guidance counselor is one.
DINAH: It’s not right. It’s wrong, according to…
DINAH: Ethics! She’s not supposed to comfort you that way, with unrealistic notions of God. Not in that setting.
MATT: She lets me stand up.
DINAH: Never mind. That guidance counselor of yours surely shouldn’t tell you that your beliefs could land your daddy in hell. That’s too much responsibility for a child. She is a government employee.
MATT: She is not. She’s a guidance counselor.
DINAH: What’s her name, anyway?
MATT: Mrs. Rankum.
DINAH: Mrs. Rankum ought to be disciplined for that.
MATT: I’m the one who brought it up. I want Daddy to be in heaven.
DINAH: There’s no such thing as heaven. It’s like the Land of Oz. Mother Goose.
MATT: We believe that?
DINAH: We don’t believe in heaven, but we do believe in responsibility. Thus, if there were a heaven, your Daddy would have had to get himself there; your belief wouldn’t help him.
MATT: Then where is Daddy?
DINAH: He’s dead.
MATT: But he’s got to be somewhere.
DINAH: Not really. Well, technically, the ashes from his body are in the urn.
She pulls the urn down from a shelf and holds it.
MATT: Where’s his soul? My guidance counselor said his soul is still alive. Where’s it?
DINAH: We don’t believe in the existence of the soul.
MATT: I don’t even know what a soul is.
DINAH: A part of every person that keeps on living. But we don’t believe in it.
MATT: I believe in it.
DINAH: No you don’t.
MATT: The hell I don’t.
DINAH: Don’t talk that way.
MATT: You do it.
DINAH: No I don’t.
MATT: There is a soul.
DINAH: Ah! Show me one. Show me one soul.
MATT: I can’t. I don’t know anything about God. You never took me to Sunday school. You won’t even let me watch the preachers on TV.
DINAH: They’re lunatics!
MATT: I don’t know the stuff the other kids know.
DINAH: And that’s the way it should be.
MATT: God says there is a soul, Mamma! And Daddy had one, and it’s in heaven now.
DINAH: When did God tell you that?
MATT: God didn’t tell me.
DINAH: Who’d he tell?
MATT: Other people.
DINAH: Has he ever said anything to you?
DINAH: Then how do you know those other people didn’t make it up?
MATT: Why would somebody make up God?
DINAH: So they can then make up a place for him to live — heaven. So they have something to say to little boys when their daddies are killed in automobile accidents. So those little boys can think their daddies have souls that live on. So people can try to make those little boys feel better.
Matt stands up on the kitchen table.
DINAH: What’re you doing?
MATT: I’m going to step on the pizza.
DINAH: No you’re not.
MATT: Yes I am.
DINAH: That pizza costs money. That represents my labor.
MATT: I’m stepping in it.
DINAH: Get down. Right now.
Matt lifts his foot.
A person’s labor represents a person’s…essence! If you step on that pizza, you’re stepping on me. Don’t you dare!
He looks at her, his foot hovering above the pie.
I mean it. Right now.
Don’t let that foot get any closer.
He lowers his foot.
Young man, you’re going to pay dearly for this.
This is your last chance. Either get down off that table or I’ll get you down.
He steps in it. She pulls him off and pops him. He cries.