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Adrienne Wilson

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Finished Play Vanilla Suede

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VANILLA SUEDE

a play by Adrienne D. Wilson

for

Walter Dallenbach

copywright SBWC 2019

based on her short story Vanilla Suede first published at ERWA c. 2013

 

CAST OF CHARACTERS

THE MOURNERS                       an assorted group of people at a funeral

TRENT                                         a man in his 50’s, divorced

MARINA                                      a woman in her 50’s, divorced

CORE THEME:  Love conquers all, even death

SCENE

A temporal space on a black stage

An apartment, a balcony, moonlight

TIME

The present

STYLE OF ACTING FOR VANILLA SUEDE = METHOD ACTING

 

VANILLA SUEDE

SCENE ONE, ACT ONE

SETTING: We are at a funeral attended by several mourners. They are all friends who have known the deceased. The stage is PITCH DARK BLACK. These are the MOURNERS and all of them form a circle around a capstone laid flat on the floor. ONE WHITE CANDLE sits near the capstone on the grave. Each MOURNER carries a FLOWER to represent taking flowers to a grave. EACH MOURNER PRESENTS THE EMOTION OF SADNESS IN DEAD SILENCE almost as a PANTOMIME.

AT RISE: We see the lights slowly come on to illuminate a group of people. In silence and slowly one by one while doing a pantomime style set of grief actions similar to Marcel Marceau audience watches them each in turn place a flower near the candle. They will show grief as EXPRESSION on faces and BODY. At the LAST MOURNER we hear the words, “TAKEN TOO SOON.” THE MOURNERS HAVE WALKED SLOWLY UPSTAGE INTO COMPLETE DARKNESS TO EXIT IN TURN STAGE RIGHT AND LEFT. Characters TRENT and MARINA are the only two left on stage. The LIGHTS move to their faces and TRENT is the first to speak, after a long audible sigh.

TRENT

(letting out long and deep sad sigh)

Sometimes you just need to be held.

(he looks at MARINA, as he says this – lights illuminate their faces only)

MARINA

(looking sadly up at him)

What do you mean?

TRENT

It helps, especially when life throws you curve balls

MARINA

Maybe you’re right

TRENT

I am

MARINA

What about the ghosts of the past

(she moves away from him, looks off into space as if she is remembering all the ghosts of people and her marriage, that ended very sadly)

TRENT

Forget ’em

MARINA

What if I can’t?

(she looks back at him across a great void on the black dark stage, light illuminates her expression, which is of a lost thing)

TRENT

You have to

MARINA

I can’t

TRENT

You have to

(he looks off into distance, across the great black void of space and we see him turn back to face her)

TRENT

Going to that Halloween Party tomorrow?

MARINA

I might

TRENT

Let’s go together

(he puts his arm around her, as a friend would, after the sadness of the funeral – not romantically, as a friend.  They begin to walk a little, lights are on the two of them, as full bodies now)

TRENT

What are you going to wear?

MARINA

I thought I might go like the 1920’s. I saw some shoes.

(says this wistfully)

TRENT

What kind?

(he perks up out of sadness, gives a little smile at her)

MARINA

Vanilla suede with a tiny strap,.  My grandmother would have worn shoes like that, while the moon shimmered off the surface of the lake.  My grandfather would have taken her in his arms.

TRENT

A different time I guess

MARINA

It was

TRENT

People fell in love

MARINA

I guess they did

 

END SCENE – STAGE FADES TO DARKNESS AGAIN

 

VANILLA SUEDE

ACT ONE,  SCENE TWO

“Moonlight Serenade”

SETTING:  TRENT APARTMENT

Look:  EMPTY STAGE, only a table with a portable record player.  There is an opened wine bottle and two empty glasses.  Trent has invited MARINA over before they are both about to go to Halloween Party together, for a drink.  This will be liquid courage for Trent.  He has invited her in friendship.

AT RISE:

TRENT paces around his empty apartment nervously awaiting MARINA’S arrival.  This is shown in PANTOMIME perhaps with “Sugar Mountain” playing. For instance he could MIME himself as brushing his hair, he keeps checking his looks in the mirror.  Both TRENT and MARINA live in a small town, and so some of the MOURNERS will also be at the PARTY they plan to go to.  They have been friends in the way that they have known each other across many years and even in their marriages at parties and social events.  They had not seen each other in many years, until the funeral.  Now they are both divorced.

I love the imagery in this one for TRENT inner state.

WE HEAR A KNOCK AT THE DOOR (sound of knocking)

MARINA

Trent I’m here

TRENT

Just a second, I’ll be right there Marina

MARINA

(entering from stage left)

TRENT

(warmly)

You look beautiful

MARINA

(smiles softly, turning to show him a tilt of her new shoes)

TRENT

(smiling)

Let’s have a glass of wine, shall we?

MARINA

(glances around apartment and heads over to bookshelf – this can be pantomime and she says)

I can’t believe you have read e.e. cummings, he is one of my favorites

TRENT

I have a favorite one

MARINA

(smiles softly at Trent)

So do I

TRENT

Another glass?

MARINA

(nods, smiling, hands her glass to him so he can refill it)

TRENT

(Pantomimes looking through records til he finds it)

Moonlight Serenade have you ever heard that?

MARINA

I don’t think I have

TRENT

I’ve got it around here somewhere

MARINA

(to opening of the song)

It’s beautiful

TRENT

Want to dance?

MARINA

I’m not sure I know how

TRENT

You just relax and let me lead

MARINA

What if I trip you?

TRENT

You won’t

TRENT

(very gently and softly, with great male confidence, places her hands into a position for a slow dance to Moonlight Serenade, they begin to move every slowly)

My hand goes here and yours goes there, now we’ll just sway a little in place before we start moving

MARINA

(slowly starting to relax, in a slow whisper)

That’s nice, like this

TRENT

(nodding softly against her)

Your hair smells so wonderful

MARINA

Does it?

TRENT

You’ve always smelled like that

MARINA

I’m afraid

TRENT

Of what?

MARINA

The past and the future

TRENT

Don’t be.

MARINA

I can’t take any more death

TRENT

This is the worst decade isn’t it?

MARINA

I think it is

TRENT

You know what we have to do?

MARINA

(spoken very softly, against him, she almost exhales at the word and the feeling of relief as she says)

No

TRENT

Try and love

MARINA

What if that’s not possible?

TRENT

It is.  Put your head on my shoulder

MARINA

You’re so warm

TRENT

Am I?

MARINA

Strong.  You feel so strong.  Stronger than me.

TRENT

Maybe

MARINA

What did you do after Janine?

TRENT

Rambled

TRENT

(pauses for some time, softly says)

What did you do after Evan?

MARINA

Folded up

TRENT

You don’t seem folded to me

MARINA

I don’t?

TRENT

No

MARINA

Our grandparents, they lived in such a different time

TRENT

1929

MARINA

All those years they were together

TRENT

Yes, mine too

MARINA

They knew about love

TRENT

(nods, slowly, pressing her more tightly)

They did.  I’ve made so many mistakes

MARINA

I feel like that too at times.  Maybe it’s this era we have lived

TRENT

Shhhhhhhhh

MARINA

That feels good Trent.  Having your arms around me.

TRENT

Good

MARINA

You’re warm.  It’s like you are solid

TRENT

(rubs his stomach)

I’m solid, as solid as can be.  Feel

MARINA

You big silly.  I wasn’t expecting a washboard

TRENT

Yes you were

MARINA

No, I wasn’t

TRENT

Let me hold you?

MARINA

What do you mean?

TRENT

It’s been years since I’ve touched anyone

MARINA

Trent?

TRENT

It would feel good Marina

MARINA

I haven’t since Evan

TRENT

Janine cut me off at the end

MARINA

She did?

TRENT

The last ten years.  It’s been so long

MARINA

I can barely remember Evan, Trent.  I never thought I could go fifteen years without sex, you know?

TRENT

Me neither

MARINA

How did we do it?

TRENT

I don’t know.  Love’s a funny thing

MARINA

After marriage?

TRENT

Yeah.  Let me put that song back on.

MARINA

Okay

END SCENE FADE TO BLACK

VANILLA SUEDE

ACT ONE, SCENE THREE

SETTING:  TRENT’S Apartment, BALCONY SCENE

AT RISE:  In soft light, we see MARINA and TRENT a little giddy from the wine, having danced away the sadness of the funeral of their old friend.

TRENT

Which one of the poems is your favorite, can you read it to me?

MARINA

It’s somewhere I have never traveled, gladly beyond.

TRENT

I don’t think I know that one

MARINA

(clearing her throat a little)

begins to read https://poets.org/poem/somewhere-i-have-never-travelledgladly-beyond

TRENT

Did you see the moon tonight?

MARINA

No

TRENT

Take my hand, let’s go see

MARINA

(puts her hand in his, he leads her to the balcony)

Funny old moon

TRENT

Ever see the face, I did once

MARINA

Really?

TRENT

I’ll never forget it

MARINA

I don’t want to say anything

TRENT

Me either

MARINA

What if our lips

TRENT

Met?

MARINA

I don’t know

TRENT

Let me make love to you

MARINA

Must be the moon or that song or?

TRENT

It’s you

MARINA

We’ve always been friends

TRENT

(kisses her on her neck)

MARINA

If you keep that up I might melt

TRENT

You look so beautiful in this moonlight

MARINA

So do you

TRENT

I think we should lie down

MARINA

On this balcony?

TRENT

We can use my jacket and make our bed out of moonlight.  I just want to hold you.  It’s been so long since I felt a woman underneath me.

MARINA

Starts to cry a little

TRENT

It’s okay if you cry Marina, I understand

MARINA

It’s been so long

TRENT

Do you know how I want this to be Marina?  Like the Moonlight Serenade neither of us ever had in our marriages.

MARINA

I thought I’d be rusty

TRENT

I guess it’s the kind of thing you never forget

MARINA

You’re crying

TRENT

Must be the magic

MARINA

Must be the moonlight

TRENT

Must be you

MARINA

Must be you Trent

TRENT

Put your head on my shoulder

MARINA

But Janine was

TRENT

Forget it.  Life can be Heaven or Hell here on earth.

MARINA

Your eyes are twinkling

TRENT

Stars, I saw them for the first time

MARINA

I did, too.

 

END FADE TO BLACK

 

 

 

 

 

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