The Playwright

TIME: The present. About 2:00 P.M.

PLACE: The lobby of a regional theatre in a large American city.

SCENE: The lobby is decorated with theatrical posters advertising the plays scheduled for the coming season. One large poster, up-stage center, announces in big bold lettering. “November Production, To Be Announced”. Large photos illustrating scenes from last season line the walls. In the far up-stage area is the box office. A sign posted over the opening lists show times, prices, etc. The lobby is lined with padded seating and is divided by similar seating and contains a wide variety of exotic indoor plants. At the extreme up-stage wall are the doors leading to the auditorium area of the theatre. On either side of the lobby are open stairways leading up to the balcony. As the curtain rises, Vincent Benda is seated on the padded seating down-stage center. He is dressed in a dark, fashionable suit, complemented by the appropriate fashionable accessories. After a while, he rises and paces briefly. He stops at one of the posters and begins to examine it. He glances at his watch again. One of the doors from the auditorium opens and Milo Pryor enters. He is dressed in a chauffeur’s uniform. He crosses down to Vincent and speaks.

 

Milo

Are you Mr. Benda?

 

Vincent

Yes.

 

Milo

Miss Fitzgerald sent me to tell you that she’ll be with you in just a few minutes.

 

Vincent

Thank you. (There is a short pause. Attempting to make conversation) Does that limousine, parked out front, belong to you?

 

Milo

I drive it. It belongs to Miss Fitzgerald.

 

Vincent

Oh.

 

Milo

Why do you ask?

 

Vincent

When I was coming in here, a policeman was putting a ticket on it.

 

Milo

(Not showing any concern) That’s nice.

 

Vincent

(Observing his unconcern) Aren’t you concerned, that a policeman has just put a ticket on your, or rather, Miss Fitzgerald’s car?

 

Milo

(Slight pause) No.

 

Vincent

(Looking around the lobby) It must be nice.

 

Milo

What?

 

Vincent

To be rich. Not having to worry about paying fines.

 

Milo

Fines? Oh, the ticket on the car? Miss Fitzgerald won’t have to pay a fine.

 

Vincent

Really? Why not?

 

Milo

Because the Chief of Police is a member of the Board of Directors, here.

 

Vincent

I see. (Pause) What’s she like?

 

Milo

Miss Fitzgerald?

 

Vincent

Yes.

 

Milo

Then you’ve not met her?

 

Vincent

No.

 

Milo

(Pause) She’s not easy to explain.

 

Vincent

Is any woman?

 

Milo

Yes. I think I know what you mean. But, Miss Fitzgerald is not exactly any woman.

 

Vincent

Obviously not. It’s apparent that she’s spent more time than most, out of the kitchen.

 

Milo

One might say that, yes.

 

Vincent

How long have you known her?

 

Milo

A long time. (Looking around the lobby) I knew her before all of this. We used to work together.

 

Vincent

What kind of work did Miss Fitzgerald do before all this?

 

Milo

We were teachers. She taught eleventh grade English and I taught ninth. After school, we were both moderators for the schools Thespian Society. Our school won the “ONE ACT, CITYWIDE PLAY COMPETITION”, every year she directed. She always had a tremendous knack for knowing exactly what the judges wanted. (Pause) This began as a community theatre, you know?

 

Vincent

I didn’t know.

 

Milo

Oh, yes. Miss Fitzgerald and I started the first community theatre in the city. We leased an old garage over on Bolton Street. We bought the first equipment out of our own pockets. We produced almost all original plays in those days. We couldn’t afford the royalties that the play services were charging. (Slight pause) Have you ever heard of Tallahassee Willard?

 

Vincent

Who hasn’t. He’s had a new play on Broadway, every year, for the past ten years.

 

Milo

We produced his first play.

 

Vincent

Is that right?