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Truth And Consequences

A fun melodrama with a will, political debate, and a truth potion. Quickly becoming one of our most ordered melodramas.

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Truth And Consequences

A fun melodrama with a will, political debate, and a truth potion. Quickly becoming one of our most ordered melodramas.


Author:    Daris Howard

Synopsis:

     The heroine’s father has died leaving an intriguing will. He left to his daughter his fortune, but no none knows where or what it is. The hero and his friends, Beaker and Charlie, have got to find it before the villain and his cohort.
     Beaker, the friend of the hero, has created a truth potion. The villain wants to use it against the hero in a debate as they run against each other for mayor, but as usual, the tables are turned.
     The fun comes from learning that sometimes even true things are better left unsaid.
     This is a real fun melodrama.

Truth And Consequences

Truth And Consequences

By

Daris Howard Truth And Consequences

 Copyright 2003

by  Daris Howard

All Rights Reserved

CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES 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 TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES are controlled exclusively by Drama Source 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 and dates of production.  Royalties are payable one week before the opening performance of the play to Drama Source Co., 1588 E. 361 N., St. Anthony, Idaho 83445, unless other arrangements are made. 

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 Company, 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 Drama Source 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 Company for written permission before starting rehearsals, advertising, or booking a theatre.

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Cast:

Men

Frank – Hero.  Young and handsome.  Always tells the truth.

Charlie – Older, Onery, cowboy hand around the restaurant.  An older friend of Frank and Adeline.  Good but not intellectual.

Beaker – Friend of Frank and Adeline.  The smart, nerdy genius type.

Hobart – The villain.  Older and conniving.

Women

Adeline – Heroine.  Pretty, young, and innocent.

Bertha Barton – Villainess.  Aunt to Adeline.  Tough and bossy.

Josie Barton  – Adeline’s nerdy cousin and Bertha’s daughter.  Kind of a nerdy type.  Scared of her mother.

Judy – Judge.  Tough lady.

Others: There can be extra guests at the debate.  It would especially be useful to have at least a couple of other ladies to fill the parts of Guest1 and Guest2 though they can be covered possibly by Judy and Bertha.

Act I Scene 1

{The scene opens to a restaurant.  There are tables and chairs and bar with bar stools.  There are ugly paintings on the walls.  All the main people are  coming in.}

Judy: If everyone will hurry up and take your seats, we will get started.  I’d like to get this will read.

Charlie: I don’t trust no woman Judge.

Judy: You better mind yourself, Charlie, or I will find you in contempt of court.

Charlie: If you are the court, then I’m in contempt, cause you’re a contemptuous old wind bag.

Judy: I feel like locking you up and throwing away the key.

Charlie: Be my guest.  I could use a good nap and three square meals a day.

Judy: All right, take this then, you old coot.  One more word out of you and I’ll assign you 100 hours of community service.

Charlie: You wouldn’t dare!

Judy: Picking up garbage.  {Charley sits down.} Now, shall we get on with reading the will? {Reading from the will} “I, John Farnum, being of sound mind, even though the body is going, or is it sound body though the mind is going…”

Charlie: Should be the mind is gone.

Judy: {Pointing the gavel at Charley} Charley, you just keep the words “picking up garbage” in your mind and hold your tongue. {Going back to the will} “Do hereby bequeath to my dear sister the diamond broach she gave me, the only present she ever gave me.  Bertha, you told me it was the biggest diamond west of the Mississippi River.  I now give it back to you.  The cardboard box I put it in probably doubled its true value, if the word glass has any meaning to you.  It’s fakeness always reminded me of you.”

Bertha: {Indignant}  I have never had such an insult.

Judy: {Continuing to read} “It’s time you got such an insult.”

{Everyone stares at the Judy.  She just points at the will.}

Charlie: It doesn’t say that in there.

Judy: It does.

Charlie: Aw, you’re as full of wind as old Farnum.

Judy: I can hear the clinking of garbage cans, Charley. {Continuing to read} “To Frank, my young friend and assistant who has helped me keep my restaurant running as I’ve gotten older,  I leave my time piece.  Maybe he can figure out what time it is.”

Frank: Now, what did he mean by that?  I’m always on time.

Beaker: What time does it say?

Frank: Four-thirty-seven.

Judy:  “To Frank, Beaker, and Charlie, whom I affectionately call Brawn, Brain, and Brick Head…”

Charlie: He ain’t never called us that before.  {Acting tough} But it’s obvious which one is brawn.   I wonder which one is brick head.

Judy: {Continuing to read} “You may not know I called you that, Charlie, and you are not Brawn, Brick Head.”

Charlie: Now confound it.  That’s not in there.

{The Judy holds it up and everyone looks then they look at Charlie and nod.}

Judy: {Continuing to read} To you three I leave my old Model T.  

Charlie: To all three of us.  What in tarnation are three of us going to do with one car?

Judy: {Continuing to read} “Seeing what the three of you do with one car will be the fun of it.”

Charlie: What! {Everyone looks at him.} Yeah!  I know!  I know!  It’s in the will.

Judy: “To Hobart, if I am gone when you are still chairman of the city council,  I reluctantly leave you to be acting mayor, though I suggest the town get a new one as soon as possible.

Hobart: I’m sure he means that as an honor.

Judy: {Continuing to read} “To my dear sweet daughter Adeline, I leave everything else that I have not allotted in another way.  The house, the restaurant, and my fortune, though you must always remember to watch what you are doing to get it.”

Hobart: {Aside to audience} Did you hear that?  He left his daughter his fortune.  I always thought that old man was hiding something.  I must figure a way to get my hands on it.

Bertha:  {Aside to audience} Did you hear that?  He left his daughter his fortune.  I always thought my brother was hiding something.  I must figure a way to get my hands on it.

Judy: That’s it, folks. {Turning to Adeline} Adeline, are you going to be all right?  I know how much you loved your father.

Adeline: {Melodramatically wiping her eyes}  Yes.  I just don’t know how I can keep things going.

Frank: You know, Miss Adeline, I will always be here to help you.

Adeline: Thank you, Frank. {Dramatically fighting tears}  I think I’ll go change now before the noon rush comes in.

Hobart: {Aside to audience} Now where would old Farnum have hidden his fortune?  I must find it.

Bertha: {Aside to audience} Now where would my brother have hidden his fortune?  I must find it.

Hobart: {Aside to audience} Does there seem to be an echo in here?

{Hobart and Bertha start carefully looking around the restaurant, always acting innocent if anyone comes around or looks at them.  They eventually wander off.}

Charlie: {To Beaker and Frank} So, what are we going to do with that old Model T?

Beaker: I suppose we each own one third of it.  I was just calculating and I think, according to weight, that if one person took the engine, one person took the fenders, top and interior, the other person could have the frame and we would all be quite close to even.

Charlie: Are you nuts?  Take apart an old car like that?  I’d hospitalize you first!

Frank: I suppose we could sell it and divide the money three ways.  

Charlie: It isn’t in good enough shape.  We’d hardly get any money for her.

Frank: What do you suggest?

Charlie: I think we ought to have some contest for it and whoever wins it gets her full, free and clear.

Beaker: I’ve got just the thing.  We could have one of those mail-order places send us a test and whoever gets the highest score gets it.  Something like Pythagorean’s Theorem or Quantum Physics.

Charlie: Do I look like the type that is going to sit around and take some sort of test, especially when it belongs to somebody with a weird name like Pyth… Pyth, when it was made by a foreigner?

Frank: So what did you have in mind?

Charlie: Well, {pausing as he speaks} we could do like we did back when we ran the critters out on the range.  We’d exchange whoppers.  The biggest whopper wins the car.

Beaker: Whopper?

Charlie: Confound it, boy, don’t you speak plain English?  Lies.  The biggest lie wins the car.

Frank: I think that’s terrible.  Telling lies is a great sin.  Why, I’ve never told a lie in my life.

Charlie: {After a short pause and staring at Frank} All right, Beaker.  Give him the keys.  I can’t think of one to top that.  Confound it, Frank, you need to give the rest of us a chance before you pop off with one like that.

Frank: But I haven’t ever told a lie.  

Charlie: {Laughing} Sure.  And my mother’s a high society debate.

Beaker: The word is debutante.

Charlie: Don’t you go pulling your unabridged dictionary words on me.  If I said debate.  I meant debate. {Turning back to Frank}  I can tell you ain’t no one not told a lie.

Frank: {Looking stunned} I haven’t.

Charlie: Yeah right.  Ok, so maybe that wasn’t a good contest.

Beaker: How would the two of you like to buy out my portion and then you can figure it out among yourselves?

Charlie: We might could do that, but we would need to settle on a price.  How much do you two figure it’s worth?

Frank: I’d estimate about one thousand dollars.

Beaker: {Calculating} That would mean my share would be thee-hundred and thirty-three dollars and thirty three point three, thee, three etc. cents.  Half of that for each of you would be one hundred sixty-six dollars and sixty-six point six, six, six etc. cents.

Charlie: Forget the pointy cetra stuff.  We’ll just round it to seventy-five cents. {Reaching in his pocket or wallet} All right, here is one-hundred, sixty seven dollars.  And I want a quarter back.

Beaker: Why don’t you join a football team?

Charlie: {Staring at Beaker}  A quarterback?  Was that a joke? {Beaker nods.} I can’t believe it.  I lived long enough to hear Beaker tell a joke!  Did you hear that, Frank?

Frank: I heard it.

Charlie: I want a quarter back so join the football team. {Laughs} You didn’t get that out of a book or nothin’? {Beaker shakes his head pleased but embarrassed.} Well, I’ll be.  That was funny.  Almost as funny as your parents naming you Beaker.

Beaker: But my parents didn’t name me Beaker.  My name is William.  William J. Duck.  

Charlie: So people call you Beaker because you work with all those chemistry things?

Beaker: No.  They first started calling me Beak because we had a teacher at school that read our names backwards and I went by Bill instead of William.

Charlie: Duck Bill.  Beak.  Beaker.  Oh, I get it. {Laughs}

Frank: And I thought I was slow.  You know, Charlie, that’s not as strange as what your real name is.  I mean anyone that would name…

Charlie: We ain’t going to go there.

Beaker: Wait a minute.  Charlie isn’t your real name?

Frank: It’s Charlemagne.  

Beaker: Charlemagne. {He laughs}  Like the king.  

Charlie: Yeah, like the king.  And if you tell anyone I’m going to crown you.

Frank:  Hey, Beak, I’ll need to get ya that money from over at my house.

Charlie: By the way, Beak, what do you want the money for?

Beaker: I am working on a new compound and I need a few things to finish it.

Frank: What is it?

Beaker: {Signaling them to come closer} It’s a {looking around to make sure no one is listening as do Charlie and Frank following his lead} truth potion.

Charlie: A truth potion!

Beaker: Shhh.  Even more than that.  If I get it to work the way I think it will than a person won’t be able to resist answering whatever question they are asked.

Charlie: Why, that’s the biggest pack of horse biscuits I ever did hear.   There is no way to make a truth potion.

Beaker: Sure there is.  You just need something that works on the nervous system so that the inhibitions in the brain…

Charlie: Hold on just a minute here.  In this country we speak English.  We think English.  And we expect English.  What you’re speaking ain’t English.

Beaker: I tell you, it can be done.

Charlie: When you think you’ve got it you let me know.

Frank: Let’s go take a look at the car.

{All three of them exit.  Hobart and Bertha each come wandering in from different directions looking around, still searching, and end up backing into each other.  Each eyes the other with suspicion.  Each is holding something they were searching under, like a picture, etc.  Each puts it down and acts innocent.}

Hobart: Oh, excuse me.  Weren’t you just leaving?

Bertha: After you.

Hobart: Ladies first.

{Bertha leads the way off stage.  As they are going off stage, Adeline comes back on.  As they pass her, Hobart turns and starts to follow Adeline to center stage.}

Hobart: {Aside to audience} This might be a great opportunity to not only get my hands on that fortune, but to pick myself a sweet little Daisy.

{Adeline starts cleaning tables.  Hobart clears his throat to let her know he is there.}

Adeline: {A bit nervous} May I help you, Mr. Hobart?

Hobart: I just wanted to offer my condolences to you on this tragic, tragic day.  You’re father was a good man and a good friend.

Adeline: But Father always said were the lowest yellow bellied scum of a…

Hobart: {With a bit of an uncomfortable laugh} Oh yes, but that was only in public.  In private we were actually very close friends.  But I am not here to talk about my friendship with your father, but with a new relationship with you.

Adeline: With me?

Hobart: Why, yes.  Why should you work your fingers to the bone here in this restaurant when you can have so much more?

Adeline: Like what?

Hobart: {Shocked as if it isn’t obvious}  Me!

Adeline: You?

Hobart: Of course.  You could be my wife.  What more could a woman ask for?

Adeline: But you’re so old.

Hobart: But every year I have just gotten better and more handsome.

Adeline: Wow!  You must have been one ugly baby.  I mean, you must have been really, really, really…

Hobart: {Reaching out and covering her mouth} That’s another thing I like about you.  You’re sense of humor.

Adeline: I don’t have enough of a sense of humor to marry you.

Hobart: Even if you don’t want to marry me, why don’t you let me help you invest your father’s fortune for you?

Adeline: What fortune?

Hobart: The fortune your father left you in his will.

Adeline: But I don’t have a fortune.

Hobart: You surely can’t tell me your father left you with no fortune.

Adeline: I can’t tell you of one.  {Aside to audience} Even if I knew of one I wouldn’t tell him.

Hobart: {Aside to audience} I think she’s lying. {To Adeline} Perhaps he left it somewhere hidden where I can help you find it.

Adeline: I would rather not.

Hobart: {Getting up real close to her, almost threatening}  But I insist.

{He is interrupted by Frank and Charlie coming in.}

Charlie: Adeline, is this skunk bothering you?

Adeline: He was just trying…

Hobart: I was not bothering her.  I only asked her to marry me.

Charlie: Oh.  So you were insulting her, huh?

Hobart: Do you call an offer of marriage an insult?

Charlie: If it comes from you, I do.

Hobart: {Getting hostile} You would dare insult me that way?

Charlie: Sure.  I’ve got a weasel hunting license and you’re a weasel.

Hobart: You don’t want to go pushing me around.  If you remember, I am now the acting mayor.

Frank: What does that have to do with anything?

Hobart: Wait and see.  I’m not going to show my hand.  I mean, do I look stupid to you?  {The others all turn to look at him and then at each other kind of nodding.} Oh.  Oh yeah.  Well, we will see who wins.   Hobart never makes a mistake.

{He turns and falls over a chair, gets up, clears his throat and exits.} 

Frank: {To Adeline} What did he want?

Adeline: Oh, Frank.  I was so scared.  He asked me to marry him.

Frank: Him?

Adeline: Yes.  And when I refused he tried to get me to tell him where my father’s fortune is.

Frank: Did your father have one?

Adeline: I don’t know.  Before he died he told me he was going to make sure I was going to be taken care of so I could paint my future the way I wanted.

Charlie: Old Farnum was always a bit strange.  A good man, but strange. {Pointing to the paintings on the walls}  I mean, look at these paintings.  I drew paintings like these when I was in first grade.  Whoever painted these had a weird mind.  I think you ought to take them off the walls and burn them.

Adeline: I would like to keep things the way my father wanted them.

Frank: Charlie, you shouldn’t even talk of such things.  Especially so soon after she has lost her father.

Charlie: I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to be mean.

Adeline: I know, Charlie.  The thought of having to run the restaurant without my father is a bit overwhelming.  

Frank:  {To Adeline} I promised your father I would do what I needed to help you run this place, so don’t worry.

Adeline: Frank, I don’t know what I would do without you.

Frank: {Gallantly}  I know.

Charlie: We better keep an eye on Hobart.  He’s a slippery one.

Frank: Why don’t you be the one to watch him?  I need to help Adeline.

{Josie comes in.}

Josie: {Stammering}  Frank, Adeline, Charlie, I was wondering if, you, well, maybe, know where …

Adeline: Who, Josie?

Josie: Uh. Uh. {And then as if she can’t get herself to say it}  Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?

Adeline: Sure, Josie.  But weren’t you asking about someone?

Josie: {Embarrassed} Who, me?  Nope.  Just selling Girl Scout cookies.

Frank: But you just sold us some last night, yesterday morning, and the night before.

Josie: I did?

Charlie: Aren’t you a bit old to be selling Girl Scout cookies?

Josie: Well, uh, I just like the Girl Scouts?

Frank: I know someone that might like some cookies.  Beaker.  And he just sold us his portion of the Model T, so I know he has money.  And, {looking at his new time piece} since it’s only four-thirty-seven, I’m sure he’s working all alone out in the garage.

Josie: He is!?  I mean, do you think he would buy some?

Frank: I would bet on it.

Josie: Really?

Frank: Really.

Josie: Than maybe I ought to go sell him some cookies. {She starts to go off then comes back.} Do you think he would really buy some cookies?

Frank: Really.

Josie: Really?

Charlie: Really!

Josie: Really?

Adeline, Frank and Charlie together: Really!

{Josie starts to go and Adeline waves her on.  Josie waves and goes off.}

Frank: She and Beaker are just a pair.  He likes her and she likes him, but neither can bring themselves to say it.

Adeline: That’s because they are afraid of Aunt Bertha.  She told Josie that if she catches her with Beaker she will disinherit her, if not worse.

Frank: I would do it anyway.

Adeline: They’re both afraid of her.

Frank: But if they really love…

{Frank is interrupted by Bertha booming in.}

Bertha: Josie!?  Josie!  My heavens, where is that girl?  Adeline, have you seen Josie?

Adeline: Aunt Bertha, she was…

Frank: She’s not here.

Bertha: And since when did you become Adeline?  I thought you had gone back to work. {She taps on the table and looks at him.}

Frank: Not yet.

Bertha: Well, get back to work!  It won’t do to have you lollygagging around just because my brother died.  I need a few words with my niece alone.

Frank: I guess I should get back to work.

{Frank goes off.}

Bertha: You too, Charlie. {Charlie makes a face at her imitating her walk and wagging his head as he goes off.}  Now that we’re alone, my dear, there are a few things I wanted to talk to you about.  With your father gone I feel you need me to help you take care of his fortune.  Just tell me where it is and I will take care of it for you.

Adeline: I don’t know what fortune you are talking about.

Bertha: Of course you do, dear.  He left it to you in the will.

Adeline: But I really don’t.

Bertha: {Aside to audience} I think she’s lying. {To Adeline} Do you think I know how to manage money?

Adeline: Of course, Auntie.  Everyone knows you’re the richest woman in town.

Bertha: {Aside to audience} Little does she know that I just live that way.  All the money I have is what I was able to finagle out of my brother.  But with him gone I need to have his fortune. {To Adeline} You see, my dear, my only concern is for your welfare.  Why, with the death of your father, I am afraid someone will try and take advantage of you.  Perhaps someone like Frank.

Adeline: Frank would never take advantage of me.

Bertha: Don’t be too sure.  It is those you are closest to you can trust the least.  Just give me the fortune and I will be on my way.

Adeline: But I don’t know of any fortune.

Bertha: If that’s the way you want to be then so be it, but you haven’t seen the last of me!

{Bertha stomps out as lights fade}

 Act I Scene 2

{Charlie and Frank are sitting in the restaurant trying to figure our what to do with the car.}

Frank: How about this idea.  I get the car every other day and you get it the others.

Charlie: Hold it!  That would mean you would get it more than me.

Frank: All right.  How about you get the car every other day and I get it the others.

Charlie: That sounds more reasonable.  But what if I want on the other days and you have it?

Frank: Then I guess we could work a trade…

Beaker: {Running in all excited followed by Josie} I think I got it!  I think I got it!

Charlie: You got what?

Beaker: I’ve got the truth potion!

Charlie: And how did you test it?

Beaker: I drank some and then I asked myself a question.

Charlie: You asked yourself a question?  That is about the stupidest thing I have ever heard.  Do you go around asking yourself questions often?

Beaker: No, but after I drank it I couldn’t seem to not answer.

Frank: Why did you put it in a whiskey bottle?

Beaker: That is what I needed money to buy.  It’s mostly whiskey since whiskey is one of the best things to make a person lose their inhibitions.  

Charlie: You wouldn’t happen to have any, you know, stuff that didn’t work out?

Beaker: Gallons of it.

Charlie: I’ll tell you what.  I will gladly take it off of your hands.

Beaker: I was sure you would.

Frank: {Looking at potion}  How are we going to test this stuff?

Beaker: I was kind of hoping that one of you would be willing to test it.

Charlie: What, so you can go asking questions and finding out things you don’t have a right to know?

Frank: I thought you said a truth potion couldn’t work.

Charlie: Why take chances?

Beaker: How will we know if it works if no one tests it?

Frank: I will test it.  I mean, who’s afraid of the truth.

{Charlie mimes as if mocking “Who’s afraid of the truth.”  Beaker goes and gets a glass.  Frank pours a glass full and turns it around.}

Frank: Interesting stuff.

Charlie: Drink it already!

{Frank drinks it while the other three look at him for a short instant.}

 

Beaker: How do you feel?

Frank: Interesting.  Kind of relaxed.

Charlie: Ok.  My turn.  What was the biggest lie you have ever told?

Beaker: You’re not going to start that again.

Charlie: Of course I am.  Ain’t no one that hasn’t told a lie.  

Frank: I’ve never told a lie.

Charlie: See.  I told you.  The stuff doesn’t work.  Ain’t no one never told a lie. 

Frank: I haven’t.

Charlie: Right. {Taking the bottle} Well, since this one didn’t work I’ll

Truth And Consequences

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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