September Mourning

by

SEPTEMBER MOURNING

A Ten-minute, One-Act Ceremony in 3 scenes for 4 actors in a performance space:

1. “Arrival”
2. “Boy Meets Girl”
3. “A Day of Promise”

First presented as “A Day of Promise in New York” at Players Theater, NYC, June 21-24, 2018.
Produced with the same cast at Equity-Library Theatre, in New York, on August 4, 2018.

Cast:
Raz Ayer as THE MAN
Sean J Moran as THE BOY
Olivia Gjurich as THE WOMAN
Claire Hilton as THE GIRL

Peter Charney: Director and Sound Designer.
Produced by America’s Theatre Lab at Players Theatre, New York City.

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ROLES AND SETTING

MAN, WOMAN, BOY, GIRL.

THE BOY is about 20,
THE MAN is 17 years older than THE BOY,
THE GIRL is 18,
THE WOMAN is 19 – 36.

An office building “sky lobby” and adjoining café.
New York City.

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All “stage directions” are stage suggestions.

 

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SEPTEMBER MOURNING

 

1. “Arrival”

The morning light of late summer, early fall. High up in an office building. Massive floor-to-ceiling expanse of picture windows. They overlook New York Harbor. A Tuesday morning. A bright, sunny day.

The feel of a big terminal feeding on the energy of: ARRIVALS. But here, the passengers are not coming from other cities, but from outside the Building. Workers rush to get to their offices before 9 a.m.

An open concourse or sky lobby, and, adjoining it — with an open doorway — a café serving breakfast.

SOUND: banks of elevators opening and closing, disgorging people from below—loading people who want to go higher. Lots of people coming up, out of the elevators. ARRIVING.

THE BOY is standing at the center of the open concourse. He is a young man about twenty. Looks like a tourist, taking it all in, a first day for him. A morning of wonder, psyching himself up to take on the City, make this his world, venture into it, inhale its adventure: conquer it. He stands there – walks a little –stops, drinks in the energy.

Morning SOUNDS from things we do not see: The gurgle of an unseen fountain starting up. The whir of machinery in the building’s depths The low growl of an sleepy elevator being called into service. Akin to this: you’re walking down a street. You hear someone behind you. You turn – no one is there. You walk on—Sound of something next to you: Nothing is there. Suddenly (the sound of) leaves or branches blowing along next to you. Where there was no wind a moment ago. It’s just the wind. Or is it? This is the spooky quality that the heralds the entrance of THE MAN.

A MAN enters, walks towards THE BOY.

There is a resemblance. It’s in the faces — a strong resemblance. But THE MAN is older. Almost twice his age, almost twenty years older — the boy’s face is younger, his hair is darker.

THE MAN goes up and stands before the boy. Stands there right in front of him. THE MAN lets his hands drift to the sides of THE BOY’s face. There’s a tenderness, THE MAN takes the boy’s face in his hands. It could be his own face.

THE BOY does not resist. His stance suggests a person slightly open to new experiences, & curious. THE MAN cradles the boy’s face in his hands.

His look / – The boy’s eyes / – Their gaze. As if it’s some sort of reunion.

{=> Alternatively: MAN & BOY rise in elevator.}

THE MAN

Do you know who I am?

No response.

THE MAN

(His tone, his manner, his inquisitiveness — show that the man is not talking to this boy as if they’re related– He is talking to this boy as if they are the same. . . person)

Do you know who you are?

No response at all.

Do you know that I have come back? to our first day. To my First Day. To your first day, here?

THE MAN gestures to the Building that surrounds & shelters them, an arm gesture that takes in The City.

Morning sunlight is streaming in from outdoors. They’re both standing in the center of the concourse. There’s a sense of swarms of people, that the man and boy could be swept away.

And THE BOY moves away from the Man. An open doorway of a café is near them, at the edge of the concourse. THE BOY walks towards the café. He exits the concourse area, goes inside.

THE MAN

And I am you? years later?

THE MAN heads over to where THE BOY went. He exits, going into the same café.

 

 

2. “Boy Meets Girl”

(Action is continuous from 1.)

Inside the café. THE BOY walks to a table. It holds some partially-filled glasses, nothing else. THE WOMAN is seated at the table. Pale, pale skin. Blonde hair. THE GIRL is sitting next to her.

THE MAN, entering, sees that THE BOY has just spoken to THE WOMAN.

Lighting suggestion: at the moment of the Man’s entrance into the circle of Boy, Girl, and Woman – Lighting could give the Man a bold Silhouette created by the bright outside light and, perhaps, the pale café-wall background.

THE WOMAN invites THE BOY to come sit with her.

THE MAN goes over to the boy who looks like him.

THE MAN

(As if he, the older one, is the tourist now. Not one of the three looks his way. He asks THE WOMAN: )

So is this the way it was? that first day?

Then THE BOY gets up from where he’d sat down, to THE WOMAN’s right.

THE WOMAN

(Speaking quickly before THE BOY confronts THE MAN — She asks THE GIRL:)

Do you know how to give a light, kiss-on-the-lips kiss?

I like that kind of kiss. A kiss with no pressure.

If you give a long kiss, a kiss where he presses your lips hard — the kind the mouth wants, where your lips swell — it is too much.

Better is a light kiss-on-the-lips. A kiss with no pressure. Like this–

Then she kisses THE BOY. Gives him a quick peck.

THE MAN

(To The Woman, watching her with THE BOY:)

Excuse me. . . .

Was that really the way it was?

Or is this the way it was?

He takes possession of THE WOMAN:
he gives that woman a long, long kiss–.
And then THE WOMAN sits back, body now turned towards him, her face just looking at him.
No longer pale, but glowing with color.

SUNLIGHT from an outside window is coming into the café. And THE WOMAN’S face — her skin looks softer — her eyes look moist, her expression tearful — She looks touched, and troubled.

THE WOMAN

A kiss is not supposed to feel this good–

And THE MAN sits down next to her, where THE BOY had been sitting.

THE GIRL

(To THE BOY:)

You look like you have an appetite, there. Here’s the “Carte du Jour. Tuesday the 11th ” : Cherry, cream-cheese blintzes. . . Omelet with shallots and Gruyere. –Sound good?

(No response.)

Or, if you are one of those men who never eat breakfast – if you want a gyro, or souvlaki, or a frank– we can go down to the street. To some of the food carts-. We could go outside the Towers.

THE MAN

A good idea. Yes.

THE WOMAN

When they built these, the Westside fought the construction. They said the height would block their TV reception.

THE MAN

Before they laid cable.

THE WOMAN

Before the plans grew from eighty stories –to one hundred. To be the highest.

THE GIRL

(To THE BOY:)

–That’s the Statue of Liberty down there. See it? We’re on the seventy-eighth floor.

THE WOMAN

Jack’s book is supposed to be released today.

THE GIRL

“Jack”?

THE WOMAN

The GE guy.

THE MAN

“. . . Welch.”

THE WOMAN

It will be his first book. “Straight from the Gut.”

THE GIRL

Today?

THE WOMAN

Yes.

THE BOY

September 11th?

THE WOMAN

Yes.

THE GIRL

It feels. . . like the kind of day on which you end an affair/

THE WOMAN

/– or begin one.

THE GIRL

Just hold me.

 

 

3. “A Day of Promise”

Action is continuous from §2.

THE MAN

Wonder how much time we have.

THE WOMAN

Time for one more? A kiss for the road?

THE MAN

(As he had cradled THE BOY’s face in his hands when he got there, now he takes THE WOMAN’s face in his hands:)

Give me this face.

I fold you in my hands, like bringing hands together to pray:
and finding your soft face between them.
Each time I meet your lips…
it is a prayer for one more kiss.

THE MAN kisses her. THE MAN AND THE WOMAN hold the kiss. A long, long kiss – the kind you cling to, a dream you want never to end.

THE GIRL

I wish — we could stay like this — Forever.

THE BOY

Just like this —
you kiss —
my day.

THE GIRL

It feels good, just to think about.
In time we’ll kiss.
But this will be the time
always to remember
the moment before.
Before you first tell me
you love me.

THE BOY

Forever.

THE GIRL

Forevermore.

THE BOY

I feel it will happen now . . .

THE GIRL

What?

THE BOY

. . .The moment you’ve imagined.

THE GIRL

What moment?

THE BOY

It’s here!

THE GIRL

What?

THE BOY

The moment before I take you in my arms.

THE GIRL

Yes!

THE BOY

The moment your face glows with such beauty, it must be seen.

THE GIRL

Look.

THE BOY

The moment your skin has a warmth that must be touched.

THE GIRL

Touch.

THE BOY

The moment your lips are closer to me than my own heartbeat.

THE GIRL

Like this?

THE BOY

Put your head against my chest.
Listen to your heart
beating inside me.
Yes, this is the Moment
before our first kiss.

THE GIRL

Feel my heart how it’s racing.

THE BOY

No danger in a kiss.

THE GIRL

No danger? Promise?

THE BOY

No.

THE GIRL

I want this moment to remember.
The moment before our lips touch.
The moment before we first kiss.

THE BOY

Nothing shall part us.

THE GIRL

Nothing.

THE BOY

No one shall part us.

THE GIRL

No one.

THE BOY

Nothing shall keep me from you.

THE GIRL

Not if we grow old. Not if I take another man to my bed. Not if I bear another man’s child. I could not get enough of you.

THE BOY

Like this, be like this always. Flushed with desire. These lips invite endless kissing.

THE GIRL

Let me feel your fingers, in my hand.

THE BOY

When I kiss you at night till it takes my breath away,
let’s kiss all night till we welcome the day.
With each dawn a first kiss,
Each day, a new, first kiss. Like this.

Just like this
you make
this day.

THE GIRL

Oh if you ever stopped kissing me I’d die. Never stop; promise?

THE BOY

I promise
when you come my God
when you come
into my arms to stay,
I will belong to you
as you belong to me.

{Outside a threat approaches; inside, all felt threats sink below the wave of emotion rising as: }

-THE BOY and THE GIRL kiss.

-THE MAN and THE WOMAN embrace.

As both couples kiss:

FLASH & ROAR. Alternately: high-pitched sound.

The Girl vanishes.

The Boy vanishes.

The Woman vanishes.

Only the haunted face of The MAN remains.

 

 

 

==END OF PLAY==

 

 


Paul K. Smith first studied theatre at Midwood High and then, across the street, at Brooklyn College–Beckett, Albee, Aristophanes, and Genet; and subsequently with Adrian Hall. His plays celebrate the healers, not the technicians; the nurturers, not the exploiters; the ravenous, not the swine.