I’ve been so unbearably disappointed in you for years.

Drama scene from the play act, “Last Line of Defense” where two longtime friends meet one another halfway to smooth out a rough situation.

MRS. HELMSLEY: Why do you think I have the power to convince him?

MR. ROGERS: Perhaps it isn’t so much a question of power, but of influence.

MRS. HELMSLEY: Mr. Lennington has done many a bad thing and Charles is all too much aware of it now. The fact that you are in business with Lennington, surprises me.

MR. ROGERS: I consider myself fortunate. He is a superb business man.

MRS. HELMSLEY: Superb? (she laughs) He has bribed half the town! He’s responsible for more damage than good, ruminating over his own grandiose vision, his own fraudulent money schemes, and yet, never considering the good of others if not for his own selfish pressing need to satisfy his own whimsical fantasies. (she scoffs) Ah! Never thought I’d even speak about that rotten man in my beautiful garden. What about the time he tried building that spa that would have drained the entire community down with him…all for profit? That’s all he cares about and by the sound of it, that’s all you seem to be concerned about as well.

MR. ROGERS: Mrs. Helmsley…Laura…Laura, we’ve known one another since we were children.

MRS. HELMSLEY: Do not break formality!

MR. ROGERS: Stop it, Laura and meet me halfway. We cannot allow formality to get in the way of speaking righteously.

MRS. HELMSLEY: Righteously? (she laughs) You really have changed. Breaks my heart. You were once a true loyalist, good and honorable in every way…I used to admire you.

MR. ROGERS: Please, don’t speak in such a way.

MRS. HELMSELY: How can I speak any other way? You went from a decent young man to an old crooked shark.

MR. ROGERS: I’m not that old.

MRS. HELMSLEY: Your ugliness makes you grow grotesque.

MR. ROGERS: If I didn’t know you better, I’d say you meant what you utter.

MRS. HELMSLEY: This is more than mere utterance, this is how I feel! I’ve been so unbearably disappointed in you for years.

MR. ROGERS: And you’ve never spoken to me about these feelings?

MRS. HELMSLEY: I have my own life to tend to.

MR. ROGERS: People change, Laura.

MRS. HELMSLEY (sadly): But not you, Jack.

MR. ROGERS (softly): …Sometimes we are forced to change. You know, there have been a series of personal events in my life that I’ve kept private…things I’ve been…I wouldn’t be lying if I said I felt condemned to abide by. Circumstances outside of my control that I must carry…it’s so burdensome, you can only imagine if I told you the agony…

MRS. HELMSLEY: Surely, you can open up to an old friend…

MR. ROGERS: I wouldn’t want to involve you in any of it, for your own good. I have no choice but to see things through…please, talk to your husband on my behalf, if that hotel does not get the room in which it needs to be built, I will have no oxygen left in my lungs to breathe. Can I make it any plainer?

MRS. HELMSLEY: Are you in some sort of trouble for your well being?

MR. ROGERS: Laura, will you talk to Charles? You’re my last line of defense.

MRS. HELMSLEY: I’ll do my best. You do seem to have a habit of placing me in the most awkward situations, I’m afraid. You speak vaguely but I do feel, as though perhaps, you are in grave danger and yet, I almost feel that I should help in any way that I can, despite how you spoke to me when you first arrived, which was rude and destructive, but you must be a man with a tremendous burden on your head as you’ve claimed. You see, Mr. Rogers, I am only the wife in this matter…my husband’s politics, his business affairs are largely kept out, they are his matters, not mine.

  • To read the full one-act ePlay, find purchase link below:

Last Line of Defense by Joseph ArnoneIn the one act eplay Last Line of Defense, Mr. Rogers visits Mrs. Helmsley in her garden in order to convince her to influence her husband’s desire against a much needed building permit, for a new hotel construction in town. 1 Woman, 2 Men. Drama.

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Joseph Arnone