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.
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.
OWEN: Elbows off the table.
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.
OWEN: If you’d rather not …
NEDA: Puttin’ on the gloves.
(SHE pulls the “gloves” on, all the way to her elbows.)
OWEN: They’re tea gloves. They go to the wrists only. You put on opera gloves.
(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 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.)
(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.)
On my own, with all of my falls.
3 years ago