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Attics

A year after their father’s death, a brother and two sisters are not speaking to each other so their mother gets them to meet without them knowing.

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Attics

A year after their father?s death, a brother and two sisters are not speaking to each other so their mother gets them to meet without them knowing that is what she is doing.


Author:    Judy Clemens

Synopsis:

Attics

Attics

by 

Judy Clemens


Attics

 Copyright © 2004  

by 

Judy Clemens

All Rights Reserved

CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that ATTICS 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 ATTICS 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.

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.


Cast

Andrea – woman in her mid-thirties

Eric – man in early thirties

Kelly – woman in mid-twenties


Setting

The attic of a family home.  Boxes and other attic paraphernalia sit around the space.  A bare, headless sewing mannequin sits in the midst of things.  A single practical light-bulb dangles from the ceiling.  Backdrop need only be simple black or brown curtain, or a simple dark or wooden two-sided or three-sided wall.


This play was commissioned 

by 

Bethany Christian Schools. ATTICS



{The stage is dark.  We hear footsteps, noises as someone navigates through boxes, then the single light bulb is illuminated when the person pulls the string.  Stage lights fill in.  Kelly, a woman in her early twenties, stands and surveys the room.  She is dressed casually, like a college student.  She moves from item to item, touching them, looking at them, then stops to look at the beams of the house.  She looks out an unseen window {at front of stage}, perhaps at the street below or trees outside.}

ANDREA:{off-stage}  Hello?

{Kelly looks toward the voice.}

ANDREA: {still off-stage}  Mom?

KELLY:  It’s just me, Andrea.  Up in the attic.

{Andrea, an attractive woman in her mid-thirties, comes on-stage.  She is wearing a suit and heels, and swipes at cobwebs.}

ANDREA:  Kelly?  What are you doing here?

KELLY:  Mom’s meeting me.  We’re supposed to take my stuff out.

ANDREA:  But now’s my time.  I mean, she said she’d be here with me.

{A pause while the two check each other out.}

ANDREA and KELLY:  You look…

KELLY:  What?

ANDREA:  Yes?

KELLY:  Uncomfortable.

ANDREA:  Young.  You could probably re-enter that Junior Miss pageant Mom wouldn’t let me be in.

{Pause}

ANDREA:  Why didn’t Mom have someone move these things downstairs?  It’s disgusting up here.  And hot.

KELLY:  It’s not so bad.  Here.  I’ll open the window.  {She does.}

ANDREA:  Well, where’s my stack?

KELLY:  Over there, I think.

ANDREA:  I can’t believe she kept all this stuff.  Who wants it?

KELLY:  I guess she thought we would.

{Andrea surveys her pile without touching it.}

KELLY:  So how have you been?

ANDREA:  Fine.  Busy.

KELLY:  It’s been a while.  Since we’ve seen each other, I mean.

ANDREA:  I guess.

KELLY:  Dad’s funeral?

ANDREA:  Probably.  Last summer.

KELLY:  I didn’t really see you much, though.

ANDREA:  Not with all Dad’s church members weeping and wailing all over the place.

KELLY:  They loved Dad.  And he loved them.

ANDREA:  Yeah, I know.  He spent more time with them than he did with us.

KELLY:  Andrea…

ANDREA:  Don’t start.  I know how it was.

{Pause}

KELLY:  I never would have imagined Dad going because of his heart, would you?  He just wasn’t the type.

ANDREA: {after a moment}  Is that a joke?

KELLY:  Of course not.  I wouldn’t joke about that.

ANDREA:  No.  No, you wouldn’t.

{Kelly watches Andrea for a moment before speaking again.}

KELLY:  So how are things with you?

ANDREA:  Fine.  Busy.

KELLY:  Oh, right.  You said that.  Good.

{Kelly wanders while Andrea digs through her purse and gets out her phone, turning it on.  Kelly stops by the mannequin.}

ANDREA: {into phone}  Mother?  It’s Andrea.  Remember?  Your older daughter?  It’s {she looks at her watch} just the time you said you’d meet me.  I’m here at the house.  With Kelly.  If you’re not here in ten minutes, I’m leaving.  {she hangs up}

KELLY:  Leaving?

ANDREA:  Well, I didn’t come all the way from Chicago to spend time with you.

{Andrea dials her phone again.  Kelly turns away, looking at the mannequin.}

ANDREA: {into phone}  It’s Andrea.  Looks like I’ll get back to the office sooner than I thought.  Any messages I need to take care of before then?  Again?  Oh, good grief.  Call their realtor and tell him I’ll be back this afternoon.  I’ll call him then.

{Andrea hangs up the phone and clips it onto her clothes.  She checks her watch.  Kelly watches her, then gestures to the mannequin.}

KELLY:  Remember when we’d put Mom’s old dinner gown on this and Eric would stand behind it and pretend he was Nancy Reagan?

ANDREA:  Not me.  That was just you two.

KELLY:  Oh, come on.  You remember.  And the time we found the mouse nest in the garment bag and were set on raising the babies till Mom found out?

ANDREA:  Definitely you and Eric.  {Looks toward the window}  Was that a car door?  Is Mom here?

KELLY: {looking out window}  Don’t see her.  But there’s a new minivan out front.  One of those Hondas.

ERIC: {off-stage}  Hello?

{Kelly looks toward voice.}

KELLY: {to Andrea}  I think it’s Eric.  {to Eric}  Up here!

{Eric comes into the room.  He is wearing “Dad” clothes.  Soccer T-shirt, shorts, sneakers.}

ERIC:  Am I late?

KELLY:  Well…no.  I don’t think so.

ANDREA:  If you want to talk to me you are.  I’m staying exactly {looks at her watch} seven more minutes.  Nice outfit, Eric.  Is it Clay who plays on a team, or you?

{Andrea’s phone rings.  She checks caller ID and answers it.}

ANDREA: {into phone}  What now?

ERIC: {to Kelly}  I had to take Clay to summer soccer league.  It started today.  I need to pick up Molly in an hour.  {looks at his watch}  Forty-five minutes.  She’s at dance lessons.  I’ll just have time to take her home to change for a birthday party, then pick up Clay on the way back from that, and take him to baseball.

ANDREA: {into phone}  We’ll make it work.  I know we can.

KELLY:  Wow.  Busy schedule.

ERIC:  Yeah, but I want our kids to be able to do the stuff they want.  Unlike some other parents I know.

KELLY:  What do you mean?

ANDREA: {into phone}  We just have to make them see our way.

ERIC:  Nothing.  Forget it.

ANDREA: {into phone}  See if you can arrange something for today.  I’ll be back by mid-afteroon.

KELLY:  So… Is that your minivan?  It looks new.

ERIC:  We’ve had it almost a year.  You wouldn’t have seen it before since you haven’t been around.

ANDREA: {into phone}  Call me when you get things set up.

ERIC:  So where’s Mom?

KELLY:  We don’t know.  We’re hoping she gets here soon.

{Andrea hangs up her phone.}

ANDREA:  Soon as in six minutes.  Then I’m out of here.

KELLY: {to Andrea}  Give her a chance.

ANDREA:  I’ve given her many chances.  Obviously one too many.

KELLY: {to Eric}  Did you know Andrea and I would be here?

ERIC:  Can’t remember.  Mom might’ve told me.  {he looks at Kelly}  You look…

KELLY:  I know.  Young.

ERIC:  Just like Mom in her old pictures.

KELLY:  You think?

ANDREA:  Mom didn’t bother telling us anything about today, so she better not have told you.

ERIC:  What’s the point of this if Mom’s not here?

ANDREA:  Knowing her, we’re supposed to get sentimental about the good old days.

ERIC:  The what?

KELLY:  They were good old days.

ANDREA:  For you, maybe.

ERIC:  If that’s what Mom wants, I don’t have the time.  She should’ve done this before we had kids.

KELLY:  But–

ANDREA:  Look, Kelly, Mom probably thought it was a nice idea.  She just managed to forget that it’s also impractical.  It doesn’t matter so much for you.

ERIC:  What are you doing with your stuff, anyway?  Aren’t you off to Guatemala sometime this summer?

KELLY:  Honduras.  Tomorrow.  Mom has an extra bedroom in her apartment for my boxes.

ANDREA:  Her apartment.

{Pause}

ERIC:  I guess I’ll get started, then.  {He picks up a box.}

KELLY:  You’re not going to go through things?

ANDREA:  What for?

ERIC:  With what time?

{He exits with the box.  Andrea and Kelly watch him go.}

ANDREA:  So you’ve seen Mom’s new place.

KELLY:  Sure.  It’s nice.

ANDREA:  She hasn’t bothered to show it to me.  I guess my opinion doesn’t matter.

KELLY:  It’s not… I’ve been staying here the last couple of weeks since graduation, so I’ve been helping her move stuff over.

ANDREA:  How nice.  I don’t remember the last time she had me overnight.

KELLY:  Where else am I going to go?  Besides, I wanted to come home.

ANDREA:  Whatever.  {Pause}  So what’s it like?

KELLY:  There’s a little kitchen, a couple bedrooms, a good-sized sitting room.  Enough space for her piano.

ANDREA:  She’s moving fifty years of stuff into that?  And she’s paying how much for it?

KELLY:  I don’t know.

ANDREA:  Of course you don’t.  {Pause}  Can you believe what she’s getting for this place?

KELLY:  Sounded good to me.

ANDREA:  It sounded good to you.  Do you have any idea how much she’d get for it in Chicago?  How much I could sell it for?

KELLY:  No.  How much?

ANDREA:  Enough I wouldn’t have to sell another house till Christmas.  {Pause} She didn’t even ask me for advice.

KELLY:  I’m sure she would’ve if–

ANDREA:  Sure.  Sure she would’ve.  {Pause}  She never even asked if I had interest in buying it myself.

KELLY:  Did you?

ANDREA:  Of course not.  Why would I want to buy this crummy old house?

{Eric comes back in without the box.}

ANDREA:  Did she ask you?

ERIC:  Who?  Ask me what?

ANDREA:  Mom.  If you wanted the house.

ERIC:  She mentioned it once.  But why would I want it?  I have a house.

KELLY:  I wish I had the money for it.

ANDREA:  Of course you do.  {she and Eric exchange a look}

KELLY:  What’s that supposed to mean?

ANDREA:  Nothing.  {to Eric}  I take it Mom wasn’t out there.

ERIC:  Nope.

ANDREA: {looking at her watch}  She’s got four minutes.

{Eric grabs another box and exits.  Andrea takes out her phone and makes a call.}

ANDREA: {while dialing}  I’m surprised Mom’s not giving you the house.

KELLY:  What?

ANDREA: {into phone}  So what did he say?  Can they meet this afternoon?

{Kelly looks out the window.}

ANDREA: {into phone}  Great.  I’ll be leaving here in a few minutes.  Make sure our client knows what time to be at the office.  Okay.  {hangs up}

KELLY:  Why would you say that?  Why would Mom give me the house?

{Eric comes back in, hears Kelly’s question, and snorts.  Andrea steps out of his way and snags her hose on something.}

ANDREA:  Darn it, this is ridiculous.  I have a major deal going and Mom stands me up.  I don’t know why I bothered to even come.

KELLY:  You need some nail polish for that?

ANDREA:  I have an extra pair in the car.

ERIC:  You might as well start loading your stuff and get out of here.

KELLY:  If you’re sure you don’t want to go through it first.

ANDREA:  I’m not taking anything.  I just came to spend time with Mom.  Obviously not a mutual feeling.

{Eric picks up another box, then adds something else to his stack, making it so he can’t see.  He trips over something and falls, spraining his ankle.}

KELLY: {rushing over to him}  Eric!  Here.  {she tries to help him up.}

ERIC:  I’m fine.  I’m fine.  Ow.  Oh, crap.

{With Kelly’s help, he gets situated on a box or trunk, his foot elevated.  Andrea watches.}

ANDREA:  You should get ice on that.

KELLY:  The freezer’s still plugged in.  There’s probably some ice cubes left.

ERIC: {sarcastically}  Oh, well then why don’t I just go downstairs and get some?

ANDREA:  Kelly will go.

KELLY:  I’ll go.  {she rushes out}

{A pause while Andrea and Eric avoid looking at each other.}

ANDREA:  So you really didn’t want the house?

ERIC:  I don’t need it.

ANDREA:  But, Eric, fifty years.  {Pause}  She didn’t even tell me she was going to sell it.  Apparently I’m not worth bothering about.

ERIC:  Don’t feel bad.  She had us over for Sunday dinner, told us she’d already bought the condo, said if we wanted to buy the house we should let her know within a week or the realtor would sell it.

ANDREA:  The realtor.  Not me.

ERIC:  I told her right then we weren’t interested.  I mean, we have a house.  A nice house.

ANDREA:  What did she say?

ERIC:  That she figured as much.  She just offered it to us because she thought she should.

ANDREA:  I can’t believe she offered you the house, but not me.  She didn’t even tell me she was moving till the papers were already signed.

ERIC:  I asked her if she’d talked to you about it, and she said you obviously weren’t interested, seeing as how you ran off to Chicago to get away from it.

ANDREA:  It wasn’t the house I ran away from.

{Kelly comes back with a make-shift ice pack.}

KELLY:  Here.

ERIC:  Take off my shoe first.

KELLY:  Are you planning on staying here the rest of the afternoon?

ERIC:  Is that a joke?

KELLY:  Then let the ice do its work.  If you take off your shoe you’ll never get it back on.

ERIC:  Oh.  That’s right.  I remember Clay’s coach saying something like that.

{Kelly gets the ice pack in place, then looks around at Eric’s stack.}

KELLY:  Want me to start taking your stuff down?

ERIC:  No, I’ll do it.

KELLY:  I can go pick up Molly if you want.

ERIC:  No.

KELLY:  But–

ERIC:  Will you stop fussing?

{Kelly goes back to the window.  Andrea checks her phone.  Eric looks at his watch.  A pause.}

ERIC: {indicating the mannequin}  So, who’s taking that?

{They all look at it.}

ANDREA:  And do what with it?

ERIC:  I wouldn’t know.  I don’t want it.

ANDREA:  I couldn’t fit it in my car.

{They look at it some more.}

KELLY:  We can’t just leave it.

ERIC:  Then you take it.

ANDREA:  You’re the one who used it, anyway.

KELLY:  Oh, come on.  You did, too.

ANDREA:  Did not.

ERIC:  Didn’t Mom use it to make clothes for you?

KELLY:  Yeah.  Your banquet gown.

ANDREA:  And my wedding dress.  That’s right.

ERIC:  How is Jack, anyway?  Couldn’t come along today?

ANDREA:  I told him not to bother.  It was just going to be me and Mom.

{Pause}

KELLY:  You used the mannequin for other stuff, too.

ERIC:  Yeah.  I remember.

ANDREA:  What?

ERIC:  Come on.  {in girly voice}  Oh, Todd, you want to go with me?  You really like me?  {makes kissing sounds}

ANDREA:  I didn’t–

KELLY:  We caught you!  You were using the mannequin–

ERIC:  For kissing practice!

{Eric and Kelly laugh, and Andrea manages a grin.}

ANDREA:  I was hoping everyone had forgotten about that.

ERIC:  Yeah, right!

{The giggles die down.}

ERIC:  I used it to practice speeches.  I’d pretend it was Mrs. Hoover, and see just how fast I could talk and still meet the minimum time.

ANDREA:  Was that before or after you beat it up and Mom had to sew those busted seams?

KELLY:  What?

ERIC:  Which time?  Do you mean when Mom and Dad wouldn’t let me join Little League, or when they formed their vendetta against Boy Scouts?  Or when I wasn’t allowed to buy a skateboard?

ANDREA:  You know why they wouldn’t let you join Little League.  The other kids’ parents were worse than watching an R movie.  And Boy Scouts—

ERIC:  Couldn’t have me saying the Pledge of Allegiance.  I might just rush off and join the army.

KELLY:  And skateboarding?

ERIC:  Think about it.  Hang around with those people and I might actually want to pierce my ear.

ANDREA:  You remember when I came home with my ears pierced?

ERIC:  Mom sure did a tap dance that night, trying to keep Dad from ripping those earrings out.  Said the church members would throw him out of the pulpit if you showed up with those ornamenting your earlobes.

ANDREA:  How about the night I got back from a date and admitted I’d been at a dance?  I thought Dad was going to have a coronary.

{Pause as they remember he died of one}

KELLY:  You know Mom and Dad just wanted what was best for you.

ANDREA: {sarcastically}  Right.  It had nothing at all to do with how it would look to the church.

ERIC:  And I guess somehow those things weren’t as bad once you came along.

KELLY:  What?

ERIC:  You went to dances all the time.  Got your ears pierced for your twelfth birthday.  And played volleyball and summer softball.  What am I missing?

KELLY:  I don’t—

ANDREA: {sarcastically}  Oh, Eric, leave her alone.  It’s not her fault she was the beautiful baby.

{Pause}

KELLY:  I didn’t want to enter that Junior Miss pageant, you know.

ANDREA:  Yeah.  Mom and Dad just forced you into it.

ERIC:  Oh, boy.

KELLY:  It wasn’t like that.

ANDREA:  Okay.  Whatever.  I don’t want to talk about it.  I should be used to the role of the ugly sister by this time.

{Pause}

ANDREA:  So do the bathrooms in this house still work?

KELLY:  Well, sure.

{Andrea takes her purse and leaves.  Kelly tries to make eye contact with Eric but he looks elsewhere.}

KELLY: {after a moment}  So how’s Laura?

ERIC:  She’s fine.  Busy.

KELLY:  Still working at the college?

ERIC:  No.  She moved over to the hospital last summer.  She’s the CFO.

KELLY:  Oh.  I didn’t know that.

ERIC:  No, you wouldn’t.

{Pause}

KELLY:  And the kids?  They’re fine, too?

ERIC:  Clay’s going into third grade this fall.  Molly will be in kindergarten.

KELLY:  Wow.  I can’t believe they’re that old.

ERIC:  That’s what happens.

{Pause}

KELLY:  And Clay’s in soccer?

ERIC:  In the mornings.  In the afternoon he’s got baseball.

KELLY:  And Molly?  What’s she into?

ERIC:  Dancing.  Swimming.  {Pause}  Girl Scouts.

{Andrea comes back in, her lipstick freshened and her hair combed.}

ERIC: {to Andrea}  You all right?

ANDREA:  I’m fine.  {looks at her watch}  Mom’s window of opportunity has closed.  I guess next time I see you Mom will be in her new apartment.  And this house will belong to some other family.

{Kelly sees someone out the window and backs out of sight of the street.}

ANDREA:  What?

KELLY:  Mrs. Yoder.  She’s walking that ugly dog.  The big hairy one.

ANDREA:  Don’t tell me she still has Frieda the Fluffhound.  {she goes to the window}  I can’t believe it.  That dog must be twenty years old.

KELLY:  Dogs don’t live that long, do they?

ERIC:  It’s not the same dog.  This one’s Bruce.  Frieda died ten years ago.

KELLY:  Oh.

{Andrea waves out the window.}

ÅNDREA: {yelling down}  Hi, Mrs. Yoder!

KELLY:  Will you stop? {she backs further into the room}

ANDREA:  What’s with you?

ERIC:  Mrs. Yoder never liked Kelly.

KELLY:  Neither did Frieda.

ANDREA:  Well, she loved me.  {she waves out the window again, and smiles}  But then, why wouldn’t she?  I was the perfect little pastor’s daughter.

ERIC:  Mrs. Y made great cookies, too.  Always came out right when I was done mowing her lawn, and the chips were still gooey.  Would give me a little carton of milk to go with it.

ANDREA:  She bought two glasses of lemonade the first time I had my stand out.  Said it was the most refreshing drink she’d had all day.

KELLY:  Why didn’t she like me?

ANDREA:  Maybe she had a younger sister who was the parents’ favorite, too.

ERIC:  Or she just didn’t like kids who got everything they wanted.

KELLY:  I didn’t–

{Eric changes position, and winces.}

KELLY:  Ankle still hurt?

ANDREA:  You should take some Advil.  Mom probably has some.

ERIC:  Hasn’t she cleaned out the medicine cabinet?

{They look at Kelly.}

KELLY:  I’ll go check.  {she leaves}

{Andrea moves slowly to a corner, looking at the wall, while Eric tries to stand up.  After a brief struggle, he sits.}

ERIC:  I thought you were leaving.

ANDREA:  I am.

ERIC:  What are you looking for?

ANDREA:  Nothing.

{Pause}

ERIC:  I know you used to come up here.  Every time you found out you had to baby-sit instead of going out.  You’d come up here and shut the door.

ANDREA:  It happened a lot.

ERIC:  I know.

ANDREA:  I missed a lot.  {she pauses by a part of the wall}  Here.  You want to see how much I missed?  Count these dates I scratched on here.  Along with the plans I had to cancel.  And Mom wonders now why I don’t want kids.

{Kelly comes back in with two pills and a paper cup with water.}

KELLY:  Found these in the rose bathroom.  The bottle said they expired last fall, but they should be okay.

{Eric takes them and do

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