Tuesday, March 23, 2010

scene five

SCENE FIVE
(The same. JEREMY is onstage, looking through battle plans. BEN enters.)

BEN
It’s the big day! Are you ready?

JEREMY
Yep. You?

BEN
I think so.

(The GOVERNOR enters.)

GOVERNOR
Hello!

BEN
Governor Summerson?

GOVERNOR
You boys ready to give us a good show?

JEREMY
Think so.

GOVERNOR
Good, good. Good old Pea Ridge. Not the biggest battle we got, but it’s got a special place in my heart. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but they say it was a Summerson who captured Colonel Hebert.

BEN
We have heard that.

JEREMY
Not many people know much about Pea Ridge.

GOVERNOR
A damned shame, isn’t it? Fine little battle. Good Arkansas boys on both sides.

JEREMY
Mostly with Missouri regiments on the Union side.

GOVERNOR
Really, now?

BEN
Jeremy knows more about Pea Ridge than anybody.

GOVERNOR
A specialist! Well, then, I’ll be looking forward to great things from this event.

BEN
You won’t be disappointed.

GOVERNOR
What did you say your name was?

BEN
Ben Forrest. And-- (he glances at JEREMY, who has gotten distracted by his battle plans) --he’s Jeremy Lee. He’s the head of the site.

GOVERNOR
Well, well. Wouldn’t want to keep him from any last minute preparations, then. Pleasure to meet you boys! See you on the battlefield, eh?

(He exits.)
BEN
(calling after) Yes, sir! (to JEREMY) You’re hopeless. He’s gone.

JEREMY
Huh?

(BEN exits and JEREMY follows. The sounds of a battle begin, and after a moment, JEREMY and CHARLIE enter, the same as the first scene. CHARLIE, however, is much more engaged and present in the scene they are creating.)

JEREMY
They’ll be here soon.

CHARLIE
What will we do?

JEREMY
If we try for the tavern…

CHARLIE
What if they’ve taken the tavern? We might get captured.

JEREMY
We might. Do we have a choice?

CHARLIE
Alright, alright. The tavern.

JEREMY
Charlie?

CHARLIE
Yeah?

JEREMY
If anything happens… to, uh, to me…

CHARLIE
(once again catching herself getting too involved, she laughs) Tell your wife…?

JEREMY
No.

CHARLIE
Huh?

JEREMY
I want you to know that I-- I love you.

CHARLIE
What?

JEREMY
I think I’m in love with you. (A long pause) ‘m not… not very good at this kinda stuff…

(JEREMY trails off as CHARLIE turns and looks at him. Immediately, a loud shot from offstage, and the sounds of the battle go suddenly quiet. CHARLIE doesn’t react. As the sounds of the battle gradually resume, CHARLIE and JEREMY move together and into a kiss. As they kiss, BEN and TESS enter from either side and, seeing them, stop. After a long moment, they move closer and BEN taps CHARLIE on the shoulder.)

BEN
You’re supposed to die about now, I think.

CHARLIE
Right.

(She drops to the ground. TESS picks her up/drags her and starts to exit.)

CHARLIE
Now I can just co-direct with you.

JEREMY
What?

(TESS and CHARLIE exit before she can reply.)

JEREMY
(smiling) Huh.

(He starts to exit as well.)

BEN
Hey!

TESS
Oh. Right.

(He uses CHARLIE’s rifle to shoot BEN, then exits. BEN falls. After the stage has been clear for a moment, BEN glances around, then crawls offstage. The sounds of the battle slowly fade. Once they have gone silent, the GOVERNOR enters, applauding.)

GOVERNOR
Never saw a battle like that, no sir. A bit of a surprise at the end, there. I had absolutely no idea boys kissed like that, right on the battlefield. Well, we’re open-minded here in Arkansas. (He exits, chuckling to himself. The lights go down.)


END

scene four

SCENE FOUR
(The same, the next morning. CHARLIE is on her cell phone.)

CHARLIE
I’ll be there Saturday evening, at the latest. Great, thank you. Oh! What were you thinking? (a long pause. Then, slowly) …yes. That’s… fine. I’ll… yes. Thank you. Okay. Good bye. (She closes the phone) God damned--!

TESS
(entering)
What’s wrong?

CHARLIE
Nothing. Just-- the place.

TESS
What’d they do?

CHARLIE
Well, I called to ask if I could come a day late, so I wouldn’t miss the big event.

TESS
And they wouldn’t let you?

CHARLIE
No, that’s no problem. It’s… well, so, I call, right? And the director-- Mr. Carstone, he’s a complete ass-- he says, while he’s got me on the phone, he’s been considering which (mimicking him) “aspect of the exhibit I’d be best suited to preparing.”

TESS
Oh, cool! Did he tell you?

CHARLIE
Yes.

TESS
And that’s… bad…?

CHARLIE
Clothing. They want me to research clothing, which basically means dress mannequins.

TESS
What? Why? Because you’re missing a day?

CHARLIE
No! Because I’m the only woman!

TESS
You don’t know that’s why.

CHARLIE
Fine. I don’t know. But who cares why? This was supposed to turn my career around, and all I get to do is dress mannequins.

TESS
It’s still a big chance.

CHARLIE
I know. But still, I wanted to get out of here so I could finally start studying history instead of putting on skits in the middle of nowhere. Going from playacting to dressing up giant dolls doesn’t seem like much of an improvement. None of it’s history.

TESS
What is?

CHARLIE
What is what?

TESS
History.

CHARLIE
You know-- books. Documents. What I’m supposed to be doing.

(She sits with a sigh. TESS goes over to her.)

TESS
(trying to comfort her) What did you want to study?

CHARLIE
I really hoped I’d get to look at the build-up to the battle.

TESS
Yeah?

CHARLIE
Yeah. Because at Antietam, the whole Union army showed up a whole day before the battle even began. Which was McClellan’s stupid mistake, everyone knows that. But-- I was thinking, the other day, when we were practicing-- can you imagine, waiting by this creek all day long, knowing there’s another army just across the way? You’re sitting there, you probably imagine that you can hear them, even though you know they’re too far away for that. But you’re imagining it anyway, thinking maybe they’re going to creep up across the way. And you’re scared at first, but by the end of the day, you’re dying to get started just so that you’ll be doing something besides waiting, even if it means-- (realizing that she’s getting worked up, she stops) --sorry. That was--

TESS
It’s fine.

CHARLIE
I’ve been doing that lately. Thinking about battles like that. I don’t know what it is.

TESS
Is it bad?

CHARLIE
No, it’s kind of-- it’s kind of cool. I just don’t know what it is.

TESS
You sounded like Jeremy.

BEN
(entering, before CHARLIE can reply) Charlie? Jeremy wants you to go show some tourists how to load a rifle.

CHARLIE
Yeah, sure.

BEN
Thanks.

(BEN exits and CHARLIE starts to follow, but pauses in the doorway.)

CHARLIE
You’re right. That’s exactly what it is.

(She starts again to go, but stops again.)

CHARLIE, cont’d
Hey, Tess?

TESS
Uh-huh?

CHARLIE
Do you know if something’s wrong with Jeremy? He’s been kind of weird.

TESS
Oh, I don’t know.

CHARLIE
Oh. Just wondering. The other day he-- well, never mind.

TESS
What?

CHARLIE
When he asked me to stay for the event, I thought he was going to ask me to, like… stay.

TESS
Would you have said yes?

CHARLIE
It’s not like he’d ever ask.

(She exits.)

BEN
You know, Tess.

TESS
Yeah?

BEN
You could come talk to the tourists, too. About how they cooked stuff on the march?

TESS
Why me?

BEN
It’s cooking. You know about it, you’re… (trailing off as TESS gives him an evil look) What?

TESS
I cannot believe you.

BEN
What? You got all offended when I forgot to say you were a girl, now I’m just making sure not to forget!

TESS
Oh, my God. (starting to exit) Charlie! Want to show me how to load that rifle?

BEN
Hey! Tess, wait!

(He runs out after her. Lights down.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

scene three

SCENE THREE
(A transition: the sounds of the battle are in the background as the following is heard from offstage.)

JEREMY
Then you grab him.

ANOTHER SOLDIER
Grab-- wait!

BEN
You have to catch me if you want to capture me!

THE SAME SOLDIER
Get the hell back here!

(BEN runs across the stage.)

JEREMY
Okay, who else wants to play Colonel Hebert?

(There is the sound of a gunshot volley and CHARLIE enters, also at a run, absolutely terrified. She throws herself to the ground and covers her head. Suddenly realizing that she’s completely into it, she sits up slowly.)

CHARLIE
Whoa.

(She stands slowly, then exits. BEN reenters, JEREMY and TESS enter from the opposite side. JEREMY gives BEN a look.)

BEN
What? He couldn’t catch me.

TESS
Jeremy.

JEREMY
Mm?

TESS
Charlie’s coming back over here. You have to just do it.

BEN
Do what?

JEREMY
No—

TESS
Jeremy loves—

JEREMY
Stop!

BEN
What? Who?

JEREMY
No one.

TESS
Charlie.

BEN
Really?

TESS
Don’t you?

JEREMY
…Yes.

BEN
Does she know?

TESS
No. That’s the whole problem. He wants to tell her before she leaves but he won’t just do it.

BEN
He can’t ‘just do it.’

JEREMY
Yeah!

BEN
Really, Tess. You’re a girl, you’re supposed to be more romantic than that.


TESS
Excuse me?

BEN
Um…

JEREMY
Need to get going. ‘s almost dark.

TESS
Okay, okay. But really, Jeremy…

(CHARLIE enters)

TESS, cont’d
(trying to pretend they hadn’t been talking about Charlie) --uhh, when do you get shot again?

CHARLIE
Are we starting?

TESS
…yeah. Uh-- I’m going back to my tent.

(She exits quickly)

CHARLIE
Is she okay?

JEREMY
Think so.

BEN
It’s Tess. She’s always freaking out about something. Like—Charlie. Do you think it’s sexist to say she’s supposed to be romantic because she’s a girl?

CHARLIE
…yes.

(A beat)

BEN
...so. Are we starting?


JEREMY
Yep.

BEN
Yeah, okay. See you in a second.

(He exits.)

CHARLIE
That was odd. What’s with everybody?

JEREMY
Dunno.

CHARLIE
It’s just getting late, I guess. People get weird when they’re tired. Though I guess ‘weird’ is a relative term when you’re talking about Civil War re-enactors.

JEREMY
Same with anybody.

CHARLIE
Yeah, I guess that’s true. Well, let’s start pretending to shoot people.

(A battle begins. Extra soldiers may be used if necessary. Sooner or later, BEN and TESS end up on one side of the stage, JEREMY and CHARLIE on the other. BEN is lying on the ground, dead, while TESS sorts through medical supplies. Each pair cannot hear the other. As each pair converses, the other continues in silent pantomime, lights on them dimmed.)

BEN
Charlie says it’s sexist to say girls are supposed to be romantic.

TESS
That’s what I said.

BEN
That’s why I’m telling you. And I was just saying, if Jeremy’s asking you for advice, he really must have no idea what he’s doing. So you’re going to have to give something better than ‘just do it.’

TESS
Aren’t dead people supposed to be quiet?


BEN
Just saying.

TESS
Can you really see Jeremy making some kind of big romantic speech, anyway?

BEN
Well…

TESS
And can you see Charlie listening to something like that?

BEN
…yeah, okay.

TESS
We don’t have time for romantic hints or dramatic build up or anything, anyway. Charlie’s leaving in four days.

BEN
Well, maybe he’s telling her right now.

(Lights up on CHARLIE and JEREMY’s side of the stage.)

CHARLIE
Why aren’t your buttons as shiny as mine?

JEREMY
Not supposed to be shiny.

CHARLIE
Yeah, I know! How’d you do that?

JEREMY
Soak ’em in vinegar.

CHARLIE
Yeah?

(Lights down, and up on TESS and BEN.)

TESS
Do you really think so?


BEN
No. He should, though. They’re just sitting there.

TESS
He should have done it six months ago. He just won’t.

BEN
I’m gonna go make him.

TESS
What? How?

BEN
Just leave it to me.

(BEN crawls across the stage and resumes his ‘dead’ position behind CHARLIE, so that JEREMY can see him but CHARLIE, practicing loading her rifle, cannot. Moments after he arrives, she stands and moves downstage to practice aiming.)

JEREMY
What--

BEN
Shh!

JEREMY
(whispering) Aren’t you supposed to be dead over there?

BEN
(whispering) I’m going to help you.

JEREMY
(whispering) Huh?

(BEN nods towards CHARLIE.)

JEREMY, cont’d
Oh, no. Don’t want any--

BEN
Charlie!

CHARLIE
(hearing, but not seeing BEN) Hm?

JEREMY
Uhh…

BEN
(whispering) Ask her to come back over.

JEREMY
Uh…

CHARLIE
(coming back over) What’s up?

BEN
(whispering) You have something to ask her.

JEREMY
Got something to ask you.

CHARLIE
Yeah?

BEN
(whispering) Ask her when she’s leaving.

JEREMY
When-- when’re you leaving, again?

CHARLIE
Oh, Friday. At, like, four in the morning. I don’t know how I’m going to get up that early.

BEN
(whispering) “You know, Charlie…”

JEREMY
You-- you know, Charlie…

BEN
(whispering) It’s not going to be the same here without her.

JEREMY
W-won’t be the same around here without you.

CHARLIE
Thanks. I’ll miss you guys. And of course I’ll miss getting yelled at by hardcore re-enactors for being a girl.

JEREMY
Had more woman soldiers than people realize.

CHARLIE
Yeah?

JEREMY
Well, folks like Belle Boyd. But then you got women in the field, too. Most letters and journals got soldiers talking about some young private who doesn’t talk much. So must’ve been more than a few women out fighting.

BEN
(whispering) “--but none were as pretty as you!”

JEREMY
No!

CHARLIE
What?

(She looks over at BEN, who immediately plays dead. She doesn’t see him, and looks back to JEREMY)

BEN
(whispering) Stand up!

(JEREMY does so)

CHARLIE
Are you okay?

BEN
(whispering) Say: “Charlie, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you for the past…” however long.

JEREMY
I-- really enjoyed getting to know you this past year.

CHARLIE
Me-- me too, Jeremy.

BEN
(whispering) “In fact…”


JEREMY
In fact…

BEN
(whispering) “I think you should stay.”

JEREMY
I-- I think you should stay.

CHARLIE
Why?

BEN
(whispering) “Because…”

JEREMY
Because…

BEN
(whispering) “I…”

JEREMY
I…

BEN
(whispering) “Lo--”

JEREMY
(interrupting) --need you to be here for the battle!

CHARLIE and BEN
What?

JEREMY
The big battle, in four days. Governor will be there and everything. Need-- need you to be there, too.

CHARLIE
…oh. Okay.

(A beat, then CHARLIE exits, leaving her rifle behind. BEN stands up.)

BEN
What the hell was that?

JEREMY
Couldn’t do it.

BEN
I noticed that part. (No reply.) I hate to say it, but I think Tess is right. You have to just do it.

(JEREMY doesn’t reply. BEN throws up his hands and exits. JEREMY picks up CHARLIE’s rifle. Lights down.)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

scene two

SCENE TWO
(The same. TESS, CHARLIE, and JEREMY are sitting playing cards.)

TESS
You’re cheating!

CHARLIE
If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.

(BEN enters.)

BEN
Hey, uh… Jeremy?

JEREMY
Yep?

TESS
What’s up, Ben?

BEN
The governor just called. About coming to see us on the seventh.

JEREMY
He still coming?

BEN
Well, yes.

TESS
But?

BEN
Can I just talk to you, Jeremy? Please?

JEREMY
‘course.

(BEN and JEREMY move to the side. TESS watches them)

CHARLIE
Come on, let’s keep playing.



TESS
What do you think the problem is?

CHARLIE
Who knows? Come on, it’s your turn.

TESS
Okay, okay. Hey, um. Have you talked to Jeremy since you found out about your new job?

CHARLIE
(her attention on the cards) We talk all the time.

TESS
Yeah, but you know. Like…talked.

CHARLIE
You can’t talk to Jeremy. Every other word he says is a fact. Why? Did he say he wanted to talk about something?

TESS
No. I was just… I don’t know. Nevermind.

CHARLIE
Oh. Okay.

JEREMY
(still off to the side with BEN) What?

BEN
(shrugging) That’s what he said.

TESS
What’s wrong?

(JEREMY exits quickly)

CHARLIE
What’s going on?

BEN
Governor Summerson called. He says he’s looking forward to seeing Colonel Hebert get captured.


CHARLIE
I thought we didn’t show that.

TESS
We don’t.

BEN
But the governor is really looking forward to seeing it. Apparently, Summerson family lore claims one of their boys was instrumental in the capture.

CHARLIE
Wait, so… we have to add in Colonel Hebert getting captured?

JEREMY
(reentering, calling out to offstage soldiers) Who can stay for a practice tonight?

CHARLIE
(standing) I can.

JEREMY
Thanks, Charlie.

CHARLIE
Of course. I never get tired of letting you drag me around in the dirt.

JEREMY
Always a pleasure to do it.

CHARLIE
Ha ha. Oh, but Jeremy? If it gets much past seven, do you think I could go? I have to get to the post office to make sure they know where to forward my mail.

JEREMY
…oh. Yeah. Sure.

TESS
Can we finish the game?

JEREMY
Sure. Whatever.

(He exits. CHARLIE glances at BEN, who shrugs. TESS sighs and plays a card. Lights down.)

Saturday, February 28, 2009

character list & scene 1

Setting:
A field in Leetown, Arkansas. The present.

Characters:
JEREMY, head of a reenactment group, plays a Confederate solider
CHARLIE, plays a Confederate soldier
BEN, plays a Union soldier
TESS, plays a nurse
THE GOVERNOR, the governor

SCENE ONE
(A field. CHARLIE enters, wearing a Confederate Army uniform. BEN, wearing a Union uniform, enters a few moments later. CHARLIE levels a rifle to fire at him, but BEN charges, knocking CHARLIE to the ground and the rifle out of the way. They fight, and BEN is gaining the upper hand when JEREMY, also in a Confederate uniform, enters. JEREMY forces BEN off of CHARLIE and frightens him off, then helps CHARLIE up.)

CHARLIE
Thanks.

JEREMY
They’ll be here soon.

CHARLIE
What are we going to do?

JEREMY
The General’s dead. Maybe if we try and get to that tavern…

CHARLIE
What if they’ve taken the tavern?

JEREMY
Do you have any other ideas?

CHARLIE
Fine, then. The tavern. What if we get captured?

JEREMY
We’ll find a way out.

CHARLIE
If you say so.


JEREMY
Charlie?

CHARLIE
Uh… yes?

JEREMY
If anything happens… you know, to me… tell my wife--

(CHARLIE’s cell phone rings.)

CHARLIE
Oh. Shoot. Sorry.

JEREMY
We’re trying to practice, Charlie.

CHARLIE
I’m sorry, okay. It’s not my fault. I forgot it was on.

JEREMY
A soldier wouldn’t have a cell phone anyway.

CHARLIE
Well, obviously. But I’m not a Confederate soldier. I pretend to be.

JEREMY
Could pretend a little better, then.

CHARLIE
What?

JEREMY
You don’t reload between shots!

CHARLIE
Of course not. I don’t need to.

JEREMY
They did.

CHARLIE
I know that.


JEREMY
Here, come here. Sit down. Gotta pretend at least.

CHARLIE
Okay, okay.

JEREMY
(going through the motions as he explains them) Get the cartridge out of the box-- ‘s why those fake ones are in there, you know-- tear it open… Real one would have powder, of course, so you prime it with a bit of that, then pour the rest down the barrel here. Put the minie ball in after… [Note: “minnie”]

CHARLIE
MiniĆ© ball. [Note: “min-yay”]

JEREMY
You think some soldier from Arkansas’s gonna pronounce it miniĆ©? Probably can’t even read.

CHARLIE
That’s a good point. (She watches JEREMY finish loading the rifle) How do you know all that? It’s really cool. None of my books ever said how to load a minie ball.

JEREMY
Think they want a bunch a students loading up rifles? Let’s start again.

CHARLIE
With what? The “tell my wife” crap? You’re not even married.

JEREMY
It’s a role, Charlie. (calling offstage) Let’s go!

CHARLIE
(getting back into character, perhaps indicated by some sort of dialect) The tavern, then. Come on, hurry!

(They start to run across the stage. A loud gunshot is heard, and JEREMY dives forward to ‘protect’ CHARLIE. Both fall to the ground. For a moment, their eyes meet. Both quickly look away)

CHARLIE
What the hell!

JEREMY
You could have been shot.

CHARLIE
They’re caps, crazy!

JEREMY
You’re missing the point.

CHARLIE
I’m missing the point? You just tackled me! You-- (the phone rings again) I’m just going to get that.

JEREMY
Go fast. Only got a week to get ready, you know. Governor’s coming to the battle this year, remember?

CHARLIE
Yeah, okay, whatever. (loudly, into the phone) I’m sorry, I can’t really hear you-- let me get somewhere more-- one second, okay?

(Exits. Once CHARLIE is gone, BEN enters at a run.)

BEN
Put your weapons down! I-- where’s Charlie?

JEREMY
We’re gonna take five.

BEN
Oh. Okay.

JEREMY
You mind letting everyone else know? Gonna go with McCulloch getting shot.

BEN
Sure. (starting offstage) Jim! Tell McCulloch’s division we’re taking five!

JEREMY
(calling after him) Don’t forget the medics.

BEN
Uh-huh!

(JEREMY sits down to peruse his battle plans)



TESS
(shouting from offstage) Why is no one dying?

JEREMY
Taking a break.

TESS
(entering) Oh. Where’d everybody go?

JEREMY
Ben’s telling everybody. Charlie’s on the phone.

TESS
Oh. Is everything going well?

JEREMY
Yep.

TESS
Good! Did you--

JEREMY
Nope.

TESS
Oh. Jeremy, you know--

CHARLIE
(offstage, excited) Oh, my God!

JEREMY
(standing back up) Ben and Charlie coming back.

(BEN and CHARLIE reenter, talking)

TESS
There’s my dead soldiers.

JEREMY
Who called?

CHARLIE
I’m being offered a job!

TESS
Again?

CHARLIE
Those weren’t jobs. They were just interviews. I’ve actually got this one.

JEREMY
Well, that’s great! What is it?

CHARLIE
It’s a research position. We’d be putting together this Civil War exhibit. I applied for it forever ago. I just assumed they’d picked somebody else.

JEREMY
What’s it on?

CHARLIE
The Battle of Antietam. It’s a big deal. It’ll open on September 17th for the anniversary of the battle, and they’ll have this big opening gala. We’ll be researching with real historians. Famous ones, I mean. Shelby Foote might contribute.

BEN
That sounds great. We’ll all have to go see it.

TESS
Yeah!

CHARLIE
Yeah, of course! If it’s not too much trouble to get out there.

BEN
Out where?

CHARLIE
Well, Maryland, of course. Sharpsburg.

JEREMY
Antietam Creek. Sharpsburg, Maryland.

CHARLIE
Yeah. That.

TESS
Well, jeez! When do you leave?

CHARLIE
A week.

TESS
Oh, Charlie! That’s way too soon!

CHARLIE
For what?

TESS
For… (she glances sharply at JEREMY, who shrugs and looks down) For… anything.

CHARLIE
(laughing) We can have a party or something. Of course I’ll be sorry to leave you guys. But I’m really excited. It sounds like I’ll be the only woman on the team.

BEN
Not too different from here, then.

TESS
Hey.

BEN
…except Tess.

TESS
Thank you.

BEN
We should get back to practicing, though.

TESS
Yeah, true.

(They start to exit. CHARLIE stops as BEN and TESS continue out.)

CHARLIE
You coming?

JEREMY
Yeah. Be right there.

(JEREMY watches CHARLIE exit. He sighs, then forces a smile and exits as well.)