Saturday, May 31, 2008

Excerpt from the work in progress play THE TEA POT COLLECTOR

OWEN is a 70-year-old reclusive white man. NEDA is a 14-year-old street wise black girl. What brings them together is a mutual love for Owen’s tea pot collection. We join the play at the point where they are having tea together for the first time.

OWEN: Watch it. This is hot.

NEDA: What is it?

OWEN: Tea. My own blend. It’s hot.

NEDA: Where’s the tea bag?

OWEN: This is real tea. Peasant.

(SHE takes a sip of tea, burns her tongue, yelps in pain.)

Did I mention it was hot?

NEDA: I burd by toug, (I burned my tongue.)

OWEN: I did. I’m almost positive.

NEDA: What’s this black stuff in the bottom of the cup?

OWEN: Tea leaves.

NEDA: And they’re supposed to be there?

OWEN: Later I’ll read your fortune, if you’d like.

NEDA: What’s that smell?

OWEN: My own blend. A full bodied aroma, don’t you think?

NEDA: Smells like warm cat pee.

OWEN: It’s an acquired taste.

NEDA: Gotta be.

OWEN: Would the reigning debutante care for a small repast?

NEDA: You’re talkin’ about me again, right?

OWEN: I am.

NEDA: An’ you asked me if I wanted somethin’ t’ eat. Didn’t ya?

OWEN: I did. Yes

NEDA: You sure do know a bunch of big and useless words.

OWEN: Maybe you’re not ready for this.

NEDA: T’ eat?

OWEN: To make it an occasion.

NEDA: I eat every day. I do. I’m not liein’.

OWEN: Do you have your gloves?

NEDA: Mittens. I’ll run home an’ get ‘um.

OWEN: In your lap.

NEDA: What?

OWEN: Your gloves. Pretend. They’re in your lap.

NEDA: I’m eatin’ lunch with mittens on. In th’ middle of summer.

OWEN: Gloves. You are. And it’s not lunch. You’re breaking your fast.

NEDA: Uh-huh.

OWEN: Elbows off the table.

NEDA: Uh-huh.

OWEN: Frances, my dear, would you care for a small repast?

NEDA: Yes, please. See? I can do it.

OWEN: Ah, let’s see …

(OWEN reaches for an imaginary plate of finger food.)

Oh yes, we have a choice; crumpets, scones, or tea sandwiches.

NEDA: Oh, how will I ever choose? I don’t think my little mind is able to make such a big decision. You pick.

OWEN: Nice try.

NEDA: I’ll take the sandwich … please.

OWEN: As you wish.

NEDA: I don’t know what that other stuff is.

OWEN: Now the gloves.

NEDA: You really eat with gloves on.

OWEN: I don’t. You do.

NEDA: Why?

OWEN: If you’d rather not …

NEDA: Puttin’ on the gloves.

(SHE pulls the “gloves” on, all the way to her elbows.)


(OWEN frowns.)


OWEN: They’re tea gloves. They go to the wrists only. You put on opera gloves.

NEDA: Sorry.

(NEDA rolls the “gloves” back down to her wrists.)


OWEN: Very proper.

NEDA: Now what?

OWEN: Now you eat.

(NEDA stuffs a “sandwich” in her mouth.)

NEDA: Yum.

(NEDA notices that OWEN is staring at her.)

What? What I do?

OWEN: Not like that. Not … Look.

(OWEN takes a “sandwich” and nibbles around one edge.)

You watching?

(HE then takes a “napkin,” daintily dabs his mouth, places the napkin in his lap, and folds his hand over it. )

What do you think?

NEDA: You don’t wanna know.

OWEN: Yes I do.

NEDA: I’m gonna starve t’ death. That’s what I think.

OWEN: It was good enough for my grandmother.

NEDA: Lemme talk to her.

OWEN: She’s been dead for years.

(NEDA stares at him with a “I’ve proven my point” look in her eyes.)


Nicki said...

I like it! It's very Pygmalion by way of Oscar Wilde writing Waiting for Godot. I'd like to know how these two characters got together... :)

Julie Morrison said...

If I may be so bold as to confess, I currently identify with the 14 year old but would love to see where this goes...