I Wrote a Play for School

So… I found this task very daunting, but I wrote my first play. A friend of mine told me to just change my book into a screenplay, but I think that writing in this fashion leaves too much to interpretation. This is a short 10 minute play written in the genre that I am most familiar: Dystopian. Enjoy!

“The Community” A Play By Dacia Arnold

Characters

JANNETTE, a 40 something year old woman

MICHAEL, JANNETTE’s husband

NANCY, JANNETTE and MICHAEL’s daughter around 20 years old

 

Setting

JANNETTE’s bedroom. Present time.

 

At rise, JANNETTE is swiftly looking for something in the room.

 

Michael stands in the corner by the door watching her.

 

MICHAEL

You’re never going to find it.

JANNETTE

Then why don’t you be so kind as to tell me where you put it.

MICHAEL

If you don’t know where it is, then there is no way for me to tell you where I put it. Even if I

could tell you, I’m not sure I would.

JANNETTE

(Stops searching and looks at MICHAEL unimpressed)

Well now, aren’t you diplomatic? There are only so many places in this room you could have hid it. I will find it eventually. You just sit back and annoy the shit out of me like always.

MICHAEL

What do you need the gun for anyway?

JANNETTE

I have to do it. If I don’t stop her now, you heard what the oracle said would happen.

(JANNETTE continues searching for the gun)

MICHAEL

You can’t mean Nancy. Jannette, you can’t kill your own daughter. OUR daughter. Have you lost your mind?

JANNETTE

(stops cleaning and throws her hands in the air)

What choice do we have? You heard the oracle. If we don’t do something to stop this it would mean complete destruction. The wall will fall, the enemy will get in and all will be lost. I hate that our daughter is the link to complete anarchy, but it is our duty to do what we can to stop it; to preserve this life for generations more.

MICHAEL

Duty. Not a duty to this family. How many times do you have to make that mistake before you realize that killing her is not the only answer. Don’t you love our daughter?

JANNETTE

I love her more than anything I am. I love her more than I can contain in my body. But if we are not able to see passed these things to the bigger picture, it won’t matter how much love we have if we have lost everything.

(sits down on the edge of the bed with her head down)

MICHAEL

Not everything the oracle says come to fruition. You know this or else you would not try to alter the future she saw. Surely there is another way.

JANNETTE

There is no other way that will definitively work. We can’t even risk the slightest chance.

MICHAEL

There is time. We can think this out. We will think of every possibility. What if we send her away to another village?

JANNETTE

How would that stop her from falling in love, Michael? It sure didn’t stop you. You’re her father, you should be an expert in such things.

MICHAEL

I only know what you know, Jan. You can speculate how I think all you want. It is not going

to get us any closer to solving this. We could make her undesirable. Give her a nasty scar or something so no one would want her.

JANNETTE

(laughs quietly)

Undesirable? That girl could have the face of a hound and still be able to charm the boots off any boy in this village. She’s my child you know. We could arrange her marriage to one

of the counsel families.

MICHAEL

(smiles)

See! There you go! I mean, she will never agree to that either, but I’ve got you thinking!

JANNETTE

Have you ever thought, what would happen if that oracle was just full of shit? I know I’m not supposed to say these things out loud, but who are you going to tell? If I said that to anyone else I’d be standing before the counsel for treason. I really don’t think they’d kill their own children, but I also guess that they pay enough money, the oracle would never require it. Soldier’s don’t have hearts. We just do as we are told. What if this whole system is horse shit?

MICHAEL

Then I kind of wish you would have come up this sooner. But all joking aside, what if it is? What if all this oppression is simply to control everyone? Nancy is young, beautiful, and smarter than most of them on that counsel. Is it possible that they feel threatened by her and want her gone? Scared that their sons will fall in love with her and corrupt them like those biddies at the nunnery?

JANNETTE

Then show me where the gun is and I’ll use it on the counsel.

MICHAEL

What happened to your duty, Hun?

JANNETTE

I hate when you call me that. I’m a soldier, not a pet.

MICHAEL

Is it because you can’t forgive yourself?

JANNETTE

It isn’t about forgiveness, Michael. It’s about doing what’s best for the greater good.

MICHAEL

At whose expense? Not theirs. Why do you keep going along with their schemes? How can’t you see how corrupt the counsel is?

JANNETTE

(stands up and begins yelling)

If there wasn’t a system all would be lost! I did what I had to do to protect what we have. I have come to terms that I do not own anything in this life, including you. If my family must be sacrificed for civilization to survive, then that is the price I will pay. You knew what you had going into this. Maybe you should have left me when you had the chance!

MICHAEL

You don’t remember do you?

(JANNETTE looks at him confused)

MICHAEL

You don’t remember why I was banished from my home and forced to your village to become a soldier? I told you why. Is that something you blocked out?

(a tear falls down JANNETTES cheek)

MICHAEL

Because I wouldn’t kill a child in my own village. They killed the child anyway, and then trained me to ensure I would follow orders. I still would never do it. But I never imagined that you would.

JANNETTE

(sobbing)

They told me to. They told me I had to do it. Just like I have to now. We have to maintain the order. It’s our duty.

MICHAEL

It’s YOUR duty, Jan. I’m just here to make you feel better about it.

JANNETTE

But I don’t. I tolerate you because I can’t bear you to go. But I don’t feel better. I feel empty and alone. Why won’t you just understand that I had to and let me be ok with that.

MICHAEL

(angry)

Because as long as you can’t forgive yourself, I will never let you forget how it feels. I keep

coming back so you can keep telling yourself that I never left. But I did, Jannette, and I am

never coming back. When you can be honest with yourself, try being honest with our daughter. I deserve that don’t I? You know she will hate you for what you’ve done. More than you hate yourself!

(JANNETTE walks quickly toward MICHAEL and he fluidlymoves out of the way. She pulls down a picture off the wall to reveal the gun hidden behind it and turns toward MICHAEL)

JANNETTE

She will never know.

(she points the gun at MICHAEL and fires. MICHAEL doesn’t flinch. He stands silently for two seconds and leaves the scene)

 

(NANCY swings bedroom door open)

NANCY

Mom! Are you alright?! What are you doing? Who were you talking to?

JANNETTE

(Without looking from the space where MICHAEL stood, she slowly lowers the gun)

I was talking to your father.

NANCY

Mom, Dad was executed for treason five years ago.

(JANNETTE looks at her daughter and raises the gun again. Lights go down)

NANCY

MOM! NO!

(Gunshot)

 

END OF PLAY.

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