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Thank You, Roma

Thank You, Roma is a short dramatic scene that takes place between two women, MRS. ADELAIDE and her housekeeper, ROMA. Running time under 7 minutes.

Thank You, Roma

ROMA:  Mrs., would you care for more tea?

MRS. ADELAIDE:  Care?  Why would I care about drinking tea?

ROMA:  …Mrs.?

MRS. ADELAIDE:  No!  I don’t want tea!

Roma motions to exit.

Wait!…I didn’t mean to shout.  It isn’t your fault…

ROMA:  …Can I help you?

MRS. ADELAIDE:  Can you?  No.  No, it’s too late and too early all at the same time.  I was born in the wrong era. I’m certain that there will be advancements made for those spoiled future generations, where aging will be invisible, when a forty-year old woman will still look twenty, without unwanted blemishes, zero lines, no drooping, puffiness, discoloration, oh, I can’t stand myself anymore!

ROMA:  You are very beautiful, Mrs…

MRS: ADELAIDE:  Words.  Probably the only thing left.  When there’s nothing left, one can always cling to words for comfort.  Words can make you believe the unbelievable.  You said I was beautiful.  Well, there’s a word.  Beautiful.  The word feels like it sounds but sadly, that is the wrong adjective to describe me, I’m afraid.  …What’s an honest word?  I don’t want a ‘feel better word’.  Give me some truth…

ROMA: …Pretty?

MRS. ADELAIDE:  No!  Next word!

ROMA:  Friendly?

MRS. ADELAIDE:  Friendly…do you mean inviting?

Roma nods.

Friendly, friendly.  Hmm.  That’s good.  There’s truth to that.  It’s not flattery but yet honest.  Friendly.  I have a friendly face?

Roma nods.

That’s good.  That’s accepted.  No one will run for the high hills after looking at me, I suppose.  There’s a warmth to that word.  Okay!  Good!  I’ll have my tea now.  Thank you for, well, for helping me see me.

ROMA:  Honestly.

MRS. ADELAIDE:  Yes, honestly.

ROMA:  …Mrs.?

MRS. ADELAIDE:  Yes.

ROMA:  ..What about me?

MRS. ADELAIDE:  What about you?  (beat)  Oh!  Oh.  You.  Yes.  Well…SOFT…that’s you…soft.

ROMA:  Soft?

MRS. ADELAIDE:  Yes.

(pause.)

Don’t get down, dear.  Soft is a very sound word.  It means gentle.  Perhaps, I should have said gentle.  I meant gentle.

ROMA:  Gentle.  I like that word.

MRS. ADELAIDE:  Gentle is a fantastic word!

ROMA:  Thank you, Mrs.—

MRS. ADELAIDE:  You’re very welcome.

ROMA:  I’ll be right back with your tea.

MRS. ADELAIDE:  Excellent!

Roma exits room.

(to herself)

MRS. ADELAIDE: Gentle.  Soft.  Why didn’t I just say gentle?  Why am I always so rude to that girl?  I shouldn’t be, I shouldn’t…she called me beautiful.  Ha!  She did say friendly, mmm, friendly’s a good word LOOK wise but what about internal?  Maybe I’m not so friendly.  Maybe she said the word friendly as a ploy to get me to BE most friendly.  Ha!  Clever.  How can I look friendly if I’m not a friendly being?  What form of charade did God play on me?  Am I supposed to live up to my appearance?  And if that’s the case, how does one pull that drama off?  Beautiful!  Ha!  Friendly!  Ha!  I am neither!  I am an old, rotten, angry little toad, with nothing standing me up but an empty existence and I cannot stand myself any longer!

(she looks into the mirror)

You wretched old broad!

Roma enters the bedroom carrying a tray of hot tea.  She sets the tray down on the table.

ROMA!!!

Roma appears frightened.

Do I look friendly to you now?!

ROMA:  Nnoo, Mrs…

MRS. ADELAIDE:  How do I look this instant?

ROMA:  You look angry…at me?

MRS. ADELAIDE:  I’M ANGRY AT THE WORLD!!!

ROMA:  …But not at me?

MRS: ADELAIDE(calming)  …No…not at you, dear.  (grabbing and sipping her tea)  Perfect.

ROMA:  Do you need anything else, Mrs.?

MRS. ADELAIDE:  Do I?  Do I, do I, do I? …that will be all, thank you, Roma.

Roma leaves the bedroom.

Scripts

Joseph Arnone

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