Coming Home (The Play)
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Coming Home (The Play)

Shauna find herself in the small town her husband grew up in when her car breaks down. Interesting things start to happen. This also has a fun musical.

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Coming Home (The Play)

       Shauna Smith and her two daughters, Susan and Sally, along with Susan’s fiance, Tom, find themselves in a small town for Memorial Day weekend when their car breaks down. It turns out to not be just any town but the town where Shauna’s husband, Richard, grew up, though none of them have been there before. 
        It seems too much of a coincidence to have just happened. The old man, Ben, seems to know them as well. Susan and Sally also find a picture of him in a history book about the town and believe he is the ghost of their great-grandfather, Ben, who had died many years earlier. Why does he want them there? 
        The people of the town add humor by just being their ordinary selves. Soon everyone begins to love the town. They soon realize that the town needs them and they begin to love the simpler life. 
        The ending has some interesting twists as Richard shows up. He thought he had planned the whole thing, but soon finds out perhaps he was just part of a plan by Ben. 
        For a real fun, community play, this is one you will want to do.  For the musical version see Coming Home (The Musical).

Coming Home (The Play)

Coming Home

(The Play)

By

Daris Howard


Coming Home

Copyright ©1998 by Daris Howard

All Rights Reserved

CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that COMING HOME is subject to a royalty. It is fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, the British Commonwealth, including Canada, and all other countries of the Copyright Union. All rights, including professional, amateur, motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, and the rights of translation into foreign language are strictly reserved.

The amateur live stage performance rights to COMING HOME are controlled exclusively by Howard Music and Publishing Company and royalty arrangements and licenses must be secured well in advance of presentation. PLEASE NOTE that amateur royalty fees are set upon application in accordance with your producing circumstances. When applying for a royalty quotation and license please give us the number of performances intended, dates of production, your seating capacity and the admission fee. Royalties are payable one week before the opening performance of the play to Howard Music and Publishing Co., 1588 E. 361 N., St. Anthony, Idaho 83445.

Royalty of the required amount must be paid whether the play is presented for charity or gain, and whether or not admission is charged. For all other rights than those stipulated above, apply to Drama Source, 1588 E. 361 N. St. Anthony, Idaho 83445.

Copying from this book in whole or in part is strictly forbidden by law, and the right of performance is not transferable.

Whenever the play is produced, the following notice must appear on all programs, printing and advertising for the play, “”Produced by special arrangement with Howard Music and Publishing Co.””

Due authorship credit must be given on all programs, printing and advertising for the play.

No one shall commit or authorize any act or omission by which the copyright or the rights to copyright of this play may be impaired.

No one shall make changes in this play for the purpose of production without written permission.

Publication of this play does not imply availability for performance. Both amateurs and professionals considering a production are strongly advised in their own interests to apply to Drama Source for written permission before starting rehearsals, advertising, or booking a theatre.

No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, by any means, now known or yet to be invented, including mechanical, electronic, photocopying, recording, videotaping or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.


IMPORTANT BILLING AND CREDIT REQUIREMENTS

All producers of COMING HOME must give credit to the Authors and Arrangers of the Musical and in all instances in which the title of the Musical appears for purposes of advertising, publicizing or otherwise exploiting the Musical and/or a production. The names of the Authors must appear on at least one separate line no other name appears on, and the names of the Arrangers must appear on at least one separate line from the Authors on which no other name appears. Both sets of names must be immediately following the title. The names of the authors must appear in size of type not less than 50 percent the size of the title type. The name of the main arranger must not be less than 30 percent, and the name of the secondary arrangers not less than 20 percent of the size of the title type.

© 1998 by Daris Howard


Drama Source

1588 E. 361 N.

St. Anthony, Idaho 83445

Phone: (208) 624-4726

E-Mail: sales@dramasource.com



Dedication

I dedicate this play to the good people of communities everywhere that make you feel like you are coming home when you are there. I especially dedicate it to the good people of the Snake River Valley in Idaho where I grew up.

Daris Howard

Special Thanks

To Cathy Clark for thoughts that triggered ideas for this musical. To the citizens of the town of St. Anthony, Idaho and the surrounding areas whose lives give me plenty of material for this musical and whom I hope assume any similarities to themselves is purely coincidental.

Dramatists personae

Smith Family

Richard (Ben) Smith – This has got to be a person that is about 40-50 but can be made to look about 80 with makeup/beard and wig.

Shauna Smith – A sophisticated lady who is about 40-50.

Susan Smith – A young lady of about 22-24 years of age.

Sally Smith – A young lady of about 14-16 years of age.

Tom – Susan’s fiancé. He is a young man of about 22-24 years of age.

Community People

Men

Mayor (Ray Perky) – A sarcastic man of late 30’s to 50 years old.

Bob Hansen – City councilman. Older man made to be in his eighties.

Fred Jensen – A man of about 30-60 years of age.

Jed Coppinger – A man probably at least in late forties. Leader of VFW post.

John Jones – A man of any age from twenties older.

Jim Stout – A man in age of about forty.

Women

Virginia Olsen – Young lady newspaper reporter of about 20-25 years of age.

Mary James – Lady that can be in age from about 25-40 years old.

Jenny Hampton – Lady probably in her forties or older. Leads women’s choir.

Mrs. Brown – Lady in her mid forties. Old enough to have ten children, but young enough to have a three year old.

Children and Youth

Billy Stout – A boy scout of about 12 or 13.

Cindy Stout – Billy’s little sister. Probably about six. She has no lines.

Dixie Brown – Little girl of about 3 or 4. Possibly in pig tails and as cute as possible.

There could be more children and community people in the community scenes.



Coming Home

Act I , Scene 1

{The curtains open to a scene that is a town backdrop with old style buildings. There could be a park type bench down stage left. Ben is tipping his hat and saying hello to everyone he meets as they come on.}

Ben: Hello, Mrs. Brown. How are you today?

Mrs. Brown: I’m fine, Ben. Is this the day?

Ben: This is it. {Just then the Mayor goes by and Ben turns to him.} Mayor, have you talked to everyone?

Mayor: I think I have. You think they’ll like it here?

Ben: We’ll see. I just want everyone to be normal. They must like it with everyone just being themselves.

Mayor: You don’t have to worry about that. No one is ever different.

Jim: {Who has just coming in.} That’s the problem around here, if you ask my opinion.

Mayor: Well no one did that I recall.

Jim: Someone should now and then because…

Ben: {Looking off stage left.} Here they come.

{Everyone begins to fade off stage until it is bare. Shauna Smith comes in from stage left followed by her daughters Susan and Sally. Sally turns and waves from the direction they came.}

Shauna: Sally, stop it! You don’t want to encourage him. I have never been so humiliated in my whole life. Riding in the cab of a tractor, all four of us with that … that cowboy.

Susan: At least we didn’t have to walk the five miles to town.

Sally: And he was kind of cute. How old do you think he is? Sixteen, seventeen, maybe?

Shauna: Who cares. The thought of having to stay the night in this, this, dumpy little town is more than a person can stand. I can’t even get a signal on my cell phone.

Sally: But Mom. Think of the excitement. Think of the adventure.

Shauna: I think I can live without it on my résumé. I plan to get hold of your father and get out of here tomorrow with or without our car. I’m going to make a call from the phone booth.

{She goes over to a phone booth that is at the corner of upstage right or she can go off stage. Tom comes in looking quite bedraggled. He has four big suitcases, one under each arm and one in each hand. He has hand bags around his neck and at least one camera and is basically weighed down with as much luggage as a person can get wrapped around them.}

Sally: {Running over and taking the camera from around Tom’s neck.} Thanks, Tom. I want to see if I can get a picture of the guy driving the tractor.

{As Sally pulls the camera loose it causes Tom to drop all of the bags. Sally runs off stage with the camera. As he is trying to pick things up Shauna comes back. }

Susan: Tom, you didn’t have to carry all of those bags. You could have made a second trip.

Shauna: {Coming back on.} Yes, Tom. If we have to live out of those suitcases we don’t want anything broken.

{Tom begins to pick up the bags. When he gets them all stacked he sits on the curb.}

Susan: What did Father have to say?

Shauna: Actually I got his secretary. She said he didn’t even come in today. She doesn’t know where he is.

Susan: What about at home?

Shauna: The maid said she hadn’t seen him, which isn’t unusual since he has almost always gone to the office before anyone else is up.

Susan: He does know we’re on our way?

Shauna: Yes. In fact he was very insistent that I call the minute the car was packed and we were heading out the door.

Susan: That’s it! He must be planning a surprise. I mean, he missed graduation so he’s probably got something up his sleeve. I can’t wait for him to meet Tom.

Shauna: He’ll be the one who’s surprised when we don’t make it home Sunday.{Shaking her head.} And he just had my Mercedes gone clear through.

Susan: Daddy won’t be worried yet. It is a long trip from Chicago to L.A. We’ll just spend the night here and maybe our car will be ready tomorrow.

Shauna: Just what I wanted. To spend my Friday night on Memorial Day weekend in a cow town. There’s probably not even a restaurant.

Susan: You did tell his secretary where we are, didn’t you?

{The town people start coming in as if going down the street.}

Shauna: How could I tell her where we are? I don’t know the name of this town. It’s not even on our map.

Mayor: You’re in Smithville, Wyoming. If it weren’t for a few people who think they own the road and drive their combine right down the middle of the street, it would be the best place in the world.

Jim: It’s you with your cattle truck that thinks he owns the road.

{Sally comes running in as most of the town folk begin to fade off.}

Sally: Mother, you should see what I saw. Every pickup that went by had a dog in the back and there was this guy driving down the road with a pickup truck and his dog was standing on the spare tire in the back with his paws up on the cab and his ears just a flapping in the wind. It was so funny.

Bob: Pickups are about all anyone drives and everyone knows dogs love pickup trucks.

Mayor: My dog thinks my only job in life is to be his personal chauffeur.

Bob: Sounds like a good job for you.

Mayor: Come on. Let’s go give them dogs a ride.

{The Mayor and Bob leave as Ben comes back in.}

Sally: So what did he say this town was?

Ben: This is Smithville. Smithville, Wyoming.

Shauna: Smithville! {She sits down in shock.} Smithville! It can’t be.

Susan and Sally together: Are you ok, Mother?

Shauna: We can’t be in Smithville.

Susan: Smithville? That would be the town where Dad grew up.

Sally: Do we have any relatives here?

Susan: I don’t thinks so. You’ve heard the story. Dad was an only child as was his father before him. Dad’s parents were killed in a tragic fire. He lived with his grandfather until his grandfather died.

Shauna : That’s when your dad went off to college and met me.

Sally: But if we have no relatives here why is it called Smithville like our last name?

Shauna: I think it has something to do with your great-grandfather being the first to settle here in the late 1800’s.

Sally: Why haven’t we ever come to visit?

Susan: Yes, Mother. Why haven’t we ever been here before?

Shauna: {Disgusted.} Look for yourself. Why, this town doesn’t even have a stop light.

Ben: Why do we need a stoplight? We hardly see any traffic.

Shauna: The question is, do you even have a hotel?

Ben: Of course we’ve got a hotel. It was even remodeled last year with more work planned.

Susan: This town has enough business to have it remodeled?

Ben: Well, I don’t know about that, but we felt it ought to have running water and electricity.

Sally: You mean the hotel only got running water and electricity last year?

Ben: Yip. But it’s always had swimming.

Sally: All right, a pool?

Ben: I didn’t say a pool. I said swimming. {They look at him in surprise but he doesn’t explain but grumbles under his breath.} Tourists. Give them swimming and they want a pool. Next thing you know they’ll think they need indoor toilets.{Shauna looks shocked as Ben grabs some suit cases.} Come on, Mrs. Smith, I’ve already got you a hotel room. Tom can stay with me in my cabin.

Shauna: {Sarcastically.} Well, that’s very nice.

Ben: Come on, Tom, I’ll help you carry the bags to the hotel.

{They pick up the bags. Tom indicates which bag is his and they leave it and go off upstage left. Even as old as Ben acts he seems a bit spry. The girls help their mother to her feet. As she starts to follow Ben and Tom, Susan stops her.}

Susan: Mother, wait a minute.

Shauna: Oh, Susan. Not now. I can’t wait to put my feet up.

Susan: But, Mother. Don’t you think that was a bit strange?

Shauna: What?

Susan: How did he know that you’re Mrs. Smith?

Shauna: I don’t know? Maybe he guessed. You do look a bit like your father.

Susan: Then how did he know Tom’s name?

Shauna: How am I supposed to know? Maybe he overheard us call him Tom. Anyway, Susan I am really tired. Can’t we just get to the hotel?

{Ben and Tom come back on from stage left.}

Ben: We put your bags in your hotel room. Here’s your key.

{Shauna takes the key.}

Shauna: Thank you, uh, I don’t think I caught your name.

Ben: {Pausing and stammering as if trying to make up something.} Uh, my name. My name is uh, Ben. Ben Smith.

Shauna: Your last name is Smith too. Any relation?

Ben: Just might be. {The ladies exit stage left. Susan stops and takes a questioning look at Ben, then follows the other ladies off.} So, Tom, tell me a bit about yourself.

Tom: Well, I… Wait a minute. How do you know my name?

Ben: Oh, I know a lot of things. So, how did you get engaged to Susan? You two seem worlds apart.

Tom: Well I … Wait a minute. How did you know I was engaged to Susan? And how did you know her name?

Ben: Just call me psychic. Now, how about my question?

Tom: If you’re so psychic why don’t you already know the answer?

Ben: Let’s just say my crystal ball has never been able to pick up things about women? I’m not sure I’d understand them anyway.

Tom: What do you mean?

{Some of the men come wandering in, totally agreeing with Ben.}

Ben: Let me give you a little free advice for your wedding. Don’t try to understand women. You’ll never be able to.

Tom: Why?

Ben: As I understand it, the good Lord made them that way to keep men guessing. I mean, take one day you’ll go out and buy a women a blender or something to make life easier and she’ll say that you just buy things for her to work and nothing for her, like you bought her a lawn mower or something.

Mayor: Yeah. Take my wife for instance. I asked her what she wanted for her birthday and she said “”Surprise me!”” So I bought her a new trollin motor for my fishin’ boat. Boy was she surprised. But she wouldn’t speak to me for a week.

Bob: She wouldn’t?

Mayor: A whole week.

Bob: Maybe I ought to get a trollin’ motor.

Jim: But you don’t own a boat?

Bob: {As if ignoring him.} A whole week?

Mayor: A whole week.

Bob: One night I came in and my wife was cryin’. Not peelin’ onions or nothin’ just cryin’. I ask her what was wrong, but she couldn’t tell me. I thought it must have been something I had done. I thought and thought. “”Honey””, I said, “”is it because I bought you that size 20 dress when you only wear a size 12?””. “”No””, she said. “”Well””, I said, “”was it because I spent $250 on a new shotgun?”” “”No”” she said. Well there I sat confessing all my sins but to no avail. Finally I said, “”Honey, just why are you crying?””, “”I don’t know””, she said, “”but this has sure been interesting.””

Tom: So what do you do?

Ben: You just love them.

Mayor: But don’t try to understand them. It just don’t do no good.

Bob: {To the mayor as they wander off.} Let’s go check out this new trollin’ motor of yours.

Mayor: We can’t fish until tomorrow, you know.

Bob: Who said anything about fishing. We’re not going fishin’ were just drowning worms. {He laughs slyly as all but Tom and Ben exit.}

Ben: So how did you meet?

Tom: We met in a calculus class. Susan needed some help so I became her tutor.

Ben: You know her father is very rich.

Tom: I know, and I wish he wasn’t.

Ben: {Surprised.} You wish he wasn’t?

Tom: It seems that everyone expects me to be part of the family business.

Ben: What’s wrong with that?

Tom: I’m an architect. I’m not a businessman.

Ben: Perhaps you could build hotels or restaurants. That is what the family business is.

Tom: I want more than that. I’m not a carpenter. I want to make a difference in life. I want to work to renovate beautiful architecture and design new ones of my own. It’s as if to marry Susan I have to give up my dream.

Ben: Wouldn’t you like to be part of the family fortune?

Tom: Not if I have to give up my life for it.

Ben: Then why are you marrying Susan?

Tom: {Almost getting a bit disgusted.} You know Ben, some people do marry because they love each other. I love Susan. I just feel I have to give up my dream to marry her.

Ben: I’m sorry, Tom. I didn’t mean to offend you. I understand more than you may know. I too had a dream once and let life get in the way.

Tom: Oh, really?

Ben: Yes, but I am trying to correct it now. I think we ought to get your stuff over to my house. Then I want to bring you back and show you something.

{They exit off upstage right. Susan and Sally come in from down stage left.}

Susan: This is the perfect opportunity.

Sally: What are we doing?

Susan: While mother is resting we are going to find out more about that old man, Ben. There is something strange about him.

Sally: What do you mean?

Susan: He looks familiar and he knows too much about us. And you know what else I just thought of?

Sally : What?

Susan : It’s as if he knew we were coming. I mean, he even had us a hotel room.

Sally : That’s right!

Susan : Something suspicious is going on and it’s up to us to find out what.

Sally: Where do we start?

Susan: I don’t know.

Sally: You know what else I would like to do?

Susan: What?

Sally: I would like to find something about Dad’s life here. You know – books, pictures, or people who knew him.

Susan: That’s it. We’ll go to the library. We can see if there is anything about Dad’s family and ask the librarian about Ben.

Sally: Oh, this is so exciting! It’s like being private investigators.

Susan: {Pointing off stage left.} There’s the library and city hall all in the same building. Come on.

{They run off upstage left. Ben and Tom come on from upstage right.}

Tom: So what’s so important that you want to show me?

Ben: {Pointing to the old buildings on the back drop.} These.

Tom: These what?

Ben: These buildings. Ever since I was young I have loved these old buildings.

Tom: {Examining the buildings suddenly gets excited.} You know I must have been too tired to notice these before. These have a strictly western architecture that mimicked the Baroque. It was developed in certain fast growing western towns. Most of the towns ended up growing so fast that the buildings of this type were torn down and replaced with sky scrapers. I have only seen these type of buildings in books. This is wonderful. {Pausing to catch his breath a moment.} Why do you think they were built here?

Ben: When I was younger this was a booming town. But the lumber mill closed, the mines ran out, all farms began to be big operations instead of small family owned acreages and the population began to decline. Most of these buildings are empty and there has even been talk of having them torn down.

Tom: They can’t do that! These could be a few of the remaining buildings of this type of architecture. They should be designated historic land marks.

Ben: Would you be willing to go to the city council tonight and talk about it?

Tom: Gladly. I will need to make some notes and I need to do some sketches.

Ben: You get the material you need and I will visit with the mayor and city council to set up our visit for tonight.

{Tom goes off upstage right and Ben starts to go off upstage left. He runs into Susan and Sally. Sally is carrying a large book which she quickly hides behind her. They smile and wave then Ben goes off stage and the girls come on to down stage center.}

Susan: I find it strange that the librarian didn’t know Ben.

Sally: I don’t know everyone who lives in L.A.

Susan: L.A. doesn’t have a population of 1057.

Sally: The mayor knew him.

Susan: Yes, but he wouldn’t say too much.

Sally: That mayor is a bit of a grouch isn’t he?

Susan: He wouldn’t get my vote, if that’s what you mean.

Sally: {Starting to thumb through the book.} Do you think this book on the history of the town will have Dad in it?

Susan: {As if deep in thought.} I just want to know how he knows so much about us. He just…

Sally: Oh, look, here is a picture of Ben. His real name is Benjamin Alfred Smith.

Susan: With Dad’s name being Richard Benjamin Smith he must be some relation. Let me see that.

{Sally hands Susan the book. Susan reads the book a few seconds as Sally starts to chatter on about the town then Susan and drops the book. Ben comes in from upstage behind the girls and listens. He could kind of go back off stage as if hiding but poke his head out as if listening.}

Sally: What is it?

Susan: {As if scared.} That picture.

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Coming Home (The Play)

Author: Daris Howard
     Daris Howard is an author and playwright who grew up on a farm in rural Idaho. He associated with many colorful characters including cowboys, farmers, lumberjacks and others.
     Daris and his wife, Donna, have ten children and were foster parents for several years. He has also worked in scouting and cub scouts, at one time having 18 boys in his scout troop.
     His plays, musicals, and books build on the characters of those he has associated with, along with his many experiences, to bring his work to life.
    He and his family have enjoyed running a summer community theatre where he gets a chance to premiere his theatrical works and rework them to make them better. His published plays and books can be seen at http://www.darishoward.com. He has plays translated into German and French and his work has been done in many countries around the world.
     In the last few years, Daris has started writing books and short stories. He writes a popular news column called Life’s Outtakes, that consists of weekly short stories and is published in various newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and Canada and has won many awards for his writing.

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