Playtime

In this short dramedy Playtime, PENELOPE talks to her husband STRATFORD about her boredom in the life that they are living together.  Takes place 20th century. 

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Playtime

Stratford:  Aren’t we a bit melancholy this evening?

Penelope: I don’t feel like being casual this evening, darling.  It’s too daunting.

Stratford: Since when is casual daunting?

Penelope: I want to be careless.

Stratford: Whatever do you mean love?

Penelope: I want to break from the monotony of life.

Stratford: What—

Penelope: We never go anywhere.  We don’t do anything.  We are either home or away to some ballroom, meeting with the Chaperones or the Marques or the Billingtons and it’s all so rubbish.

Stratford: Darling, these are our friends.

Penelope: But are they really, Stratford?

Stratford: We’ve know the Chaperones for fifteen years mind you and—

Penelope: Oh, put me to sleep!  They are such bores darling.  Do you realize we have no friends that are outgoing, fun, alive!

Stratford: Getting drunk and dancing the other night was not alive?

Penelope:  But it is with the same people, at the same places, with the same conversations, the same gardens, cars, dresses, dances and onward…

Stratford: Actually, you are right I’m afraid.

(they laugh)

It is quite a bore, is it not darling?

Penelope: It is!

Stratford: When we were at the Hamilton’s, I thought I was going to suffocate to death!

Penelope: My dear, why haven’t you uttered a word to me?

Stratford: I don’t want to come off being, being, oh—

Penelope: Honest?

Stratford: Well, I thought you so enjoyed these gatherings and therefore I would muster up the strength to go on your behalf.

Penelope: I was going all along for your behalf!

Stratford: I didn’t want to spoilt your fun.

(they laugh)

All this time.  I truly thought you were having a grand time.  To think you were, oh, my poor darling, come here, please.

(they hold hands)

Darling, I only wish for you to be happy.

Penelope: As I do you.

Stratford: Darling, from now on, we will stop attending this traditional nonsense.

Penelope: But what about your business?  Surely, it will have a negative impact?

Stratford: Not at all.  I am embedded at the thighs.  Business is business.  One does not always have to make appearances.

Penelope: But what about the Chevaliers?  You got started with them because Mr. Tandum introduced you both.

Stratford: Yes, but I imagine I would have met with him sooner or later at that.  Our circles are very similar.  We would surely have met sooner or otherwise.  (beat) My darling, from now on, let’s never keep anything from one another.

Penelope: Yes, my love.

(they kiss)

There is one thing, however, I mean, while we’re at it, that I think you should know about and that I want to come clean about, this way we can start on this new honest road together.  Yes?

Stratford: By all means darling…what?

Penelope: Well, the other day Mr. Caldwell came to visit.  He stayed here for nearly two hours.  He knew you were at work but stayed on for two whole hours regardless.  I’m not sure why he came to visit while you were away.

Stratford: Really?  Well, I think that is a different issue altogether.  Nothing for you to worry about. Why didn’t you tell me he came to visit?

Penelope: Well, he wasn’t acting like himself.  He came off being, I’m not sure what word to use, perhaps a phrase…rough around the edges.

Stratford: In what way?

Penelope: He came on to me.

Stratford: Did he?

Penelope: Yes, yes please don’t be angry with me.

Stratford: Darling, I’m not upset with you in the slightest.  But do tell, why didn’t you tell me sooner?

Penelope: For the very reason you would think I did something wrong.  I was afraid you would accuse me.

Stratford: Accuse you?

Penelope: Yes.  You see, Mr. Caldwell, he kissed me.  He, forced himself upon me.

Stratford: Did he?

Penelope: Indeed.

Stratford: What happened next?

Penelope: He made love to me.

Stratford: He…made love to you?

Penelope: At gun point.  He said that if I uttered a word, he would shoot us both dead.

Stratford: I’m…

Penelope: Yes, I know but there’s more.

Stratford: More?

Penelope: I enjoyed it.

Stratford: Enjoyed, it?

Penelope: I enjoyed his love making, I’m pregnant and I’m going to have his child.

(Penelope smiles and begins to laugh.)

Stratford: Is this a joke?

(Penelope laughs even louder)

(Stratford chases Penelope around the room playfully)

(He catches her and they land on the couch)

You are so cruel.  I cannot believe your imagination.  My heart is pounding dear.  I might, I may…wait a minute…

(Stratford falls to the floor)

Penelope…

Penelope: Darling!  Darling?!  Stratford!!

(Stratford starts laughing)

That wasn’t funny!

(She smacks his arm)

Stratford: Now we are even my love.  So, for the record, there was no Mr. Caldwell visitation of the sort?

Penelope: Not at all.

Stratford: Whew!

Penelope: But darling…

Stratford: Yes, my dear.

Penelope: I want us to go out and enjoy our youth together while we can.  Are you interested in adventure?

Stratford: Wildly so.  How does Australia sound?

Penelope: Australia?  You will take me?

Stratford: Absolutely.  Let us go abroad!

(they kiss)

Joseph Arnone

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