Under The Mask; Inside The Cover

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is my entry in a one act play competition that my English class is doing on the theme of identity.

Submitted: November 14, 2016

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Submitted: November 14, 2016

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Scene One

[Stage empty other than an old armchair on the left and a pin board on the wall. Background neutral and stage quiet. Spotlight on Drew, pacing thoughtfully back and forth centre stage, glancing at their feet. Drew starts talking to themself.]

Drew: I thought I knew who I was but then something happened and I realised that have no idea who I am at all. Nothing is concrete, everything is temporary; fleeting. It’s hard to get a grip on life when it keeps changing. It’s like trying to pick up a bar of soap; no sooner have you gotten a tight hold on it, when it flies off in the opposite direction. Just when you think you’ve solved the puzzle it turns out there’s a piece you missed. Maybe it fell on the floor; maybe someone else had it and wouldn’t give it to you or maybe it was in the box all along, who knows. The point is, you can never know everything, [sighs longingly. Turns to audience and raises eyes to them] but sometimes I just want to be certain of some things, y’know? [Lowers eyes and glances left then right; turns with back to audience to examine artwork, poetry etcetera on the wall for a moment. Turns back to audience for final line before exiting stage] Do any of us ever really know who we are? [Stage cuts to black]

 

Scene Two

[Lights come up on the back of the stage. Lynsie and Vivian are sitting at a café table gossiping]

Lynsie: So I heard that Richard was seen yesterday with Allison!

Vivian: What! Are. You. Serious?

Lynsie: [leans across table to Vivian] Deadly. [Sits back to enjoy the effect she just produced. Drew launches themself across the stage and flops into the empty seat gasping] Drew!

Vivian: Are you okay?

Lynsie: What happened?

Drew: [still breathing heavily] Brutus

Lynsie: That-

Vivian: Language, Lyn! [Lynsie sticks out her tongue in an act of friendly defiance]

Drew: Guys, seriously! What are we going to do about him? He and his cronies followed me home and tried to corner me in the park.

Lynsie: Don’t try and stop me from now on, Viv; the times of calling Brutus and imbecile have long since passed. Stronger words of insult are needed. [To Drew] Leave this with me, D, I’ll sort it out.

Vivian: [under her breath] That’s what I’m afraid of.

Lynsie: [mock outrage] And what exactly do you mean by that?

[Stage darkens and lightens again with Drew walking alone]

Drew: What is Brutus’ problem? I’ve never done anything to him, so why does he always pick on me? I don’t think I’m that different. [Faces audience] Am I?

[Lynsie and Vivian jog onto stage, go either side of Drew and link arms with them]

Vivian: [shy grin] You didn’t think we’d let you walk home all on your lonesome, did you?

Drew: [attempting a smile] Erm…yeah?

Lynsie: Not after what Brutus pulled this afternoon we’re not. You’ve gotten yourself a 24/7 guard.

Drew: Guard?

Lynsie: Yep! And we asked our mothers so don’t worry about a thing; Brutus won’t know what hit him!

Vivian: [reassuringly] It’s okay I’ll do my best to stop her actually hitting anyone. [Drew laughs]

 

Scene Three

[stage re-lightens to Lynsie, Vivian and Drew in Drew’s bedroom talking]

Drew: I feel so left out you know. All the time, it doesn’t matter where I am. I’m different.

Vivian: Oh, Drew. [goes to embrace them] You’re not different –

Drew: [hand out to ward off Vivian] No, no. Leave me be. Let me finish what I have to say.

Lynsie: [encouragingly] Go on then.

Drew: Do you ever feel out of place somewhere you should fit in? Somewhere where everything you know says you belong there but you don’t? You feel like an outsider despite the fact that you belong there just as much as everyone else. I don’t sound the same as all the other people I know, I sound different and I don’t understand all those things that everybody seems to instinctively know. I feel so lost in those conversations that I leave or just ignore them. I don’t mean to be rude; it’s just that I don’t know what to say. Everyone seems so sure but I haven’t a clue. I keep so much inside and I’ve had enough! [Wipes eyes then goes and rummages around before throwing a small hardback book at Vivian] You want to know how I feel? Here you go! [runs off stage, face covered; assumed to be crying. Vivian picks up the book and opens it]

Vivian: “This is property of Leslie Drew Colby – keep out!” [Looks up at Lynsie who sits beside her] Should we really do this?

Lynsie: They said it was okay, go on!

Vivian: Should I start with the most recent entry?

Lynsie: No, start at the beginning.

Vivian: Okay… “December 13th 2014: There is a difference between being lonely and alone. I have always been alone, but now, especially at school, I’m lonely. I see so many people who I know; who last year were my friends but now aren’t nearly as much. I just don’t know what happened; we stopped talking and I don’t know how to fix it. I do my best but to no avail. I simply don’t seem to exist to many people. It’s like there’s a wall between us and I can’t fix it by myself.”

Lynsie: [shocked] Wow…keep going, Viv.

Vivian: [flicking] Okay, this is from a week later: “I keep thinking that no one would really miss me if I died. Yeah my family would a bit and people at school, but they’d get over it eventually and life would continue as normal. After all, who’s going to miss the person who sat in the hallway with ear-buds in? Who’s going to miss the person who barely said a word but just tagged along with your group from time to time? I feel like I’m slipping away and that my life has no purpose. As Green Day says ‘Check my vital signs/I’m still alive and I walk alone’” [flicking faster] and from the end of January; “Why do I always mess everything up? I either do it all wrong or say something that spoils it all. I’m losing everyone at school but now I feel like I don’t belong in my own home. I say I’ll do something then promptly forget. I’m not doing my homework. I’m either drawing or singing or talking through all my classes; I barely listen to the teachers. Everything is so much effort and there’s nothing I want to do. I think ‘oh yeah, that’ll be fun’ and then five minutes later decide I don’t want to do it after all. It’s getting worse.” [puts diary down] I can’t read any more.

Lynsie: [picks diary up and flicks to find something else] “April 25th 2015: I’m different to everyone else. I’m jealous of them too, to some degree. I don’t belong. There’s something between us; I feel like a stranger in my own home.” “May 7th: My opinion on self-harm and how it’s pleasurable and a release has always been that it’s a whole load of old tosh. However the night before last I was exhausted and wanted to cry but I couldn’t so I……” [quickly flicks on] “June 29th: All I need is for someone to realise that I’m not okay. To understand that sometimes I just need a hug and sometimes I need to be alone. That I don’t want to be awake all night. That it’s not fun crying until it hurts. That I need someone to listen. That ignoring it won’t make it go away.”

Vivian: That’s enough, Lynsie.

Lynsie: No, just the last one from February this year: “I feel like a fake a lot. I feel like I’m making it all up for attention but the thing is if it was only for attention I would have told more than just two people the whole truth. I feel like I’m drowning but no one listens. I think sometimes that how I feel is perfectly normal. I almost walked out into the path of a train last Friday but I still feel wrong using the word suicidal for myself.”

Vivian: Lyn, I love Drew. I can’t bear the thought of them being in so much pain alone. We need to say something.

Lynsie: I know, Viv, I love Drew too. We might have only known them a few months but you two are the closest friends I have. What can we do?

Vivian: I think we should start with showing them that it’s alright to be different, that being ‘different’ is what makes them ‘them’ and without it, they wouldn’t be the same wonderful person that we love.

Lynsie: Fight Brutus, great idea! [Vivan puts her head in her hands in despair] Only kidding, c’mon lets go and try to boost Drew’s self-esteem!

[stage goes black]

 

[Lynsie and Vivian are talking to a group of people that are all different e.g. tall, small, thin, fat, light skin, dark skin, foreign, disabled; mentally and/or physically.]

Vivian: We want to show Drew that it’s okay to not be the same because we’re all different. We all have something that make us stand out; that make us diverse. We’re humans, we aren’t meant to be identical because that would be boring.

Minnie:  (black woman) Why don’t we all just invite them here? We’re all different and Drew can see that they have nothing to be worried about.

Paul: (in a wheelchair) That’s an idea! But maybe we should try to show them how it’s good to be different; how we all have our own sense of identity.

Rose: (small) We could make a list of three reasons why it’s best to be me?

Flo: (plump) Or three ways we’re different from the person next to us –

Alan: (foreign accent) And then the person on the other side says why that’s a good thing!

Cameron: (tall) [turns to Lynsie and Vivian] When do we start?

Vivian: [laughs] Right now?

Lynsie: I’ll call Drew. [Stage darkens and re-lightens with Drew on stage]

Drew: Wow! Why are there so many people here?

Minnie: We’re here to show you that there’s no such thing as being ‘different’ –

Cameron: Because none of us are the same.

Rose: Everyone is unique and –

Alan: We’re all the more perfect for it.

Drew: [becoming emotional] Oh, thank you so much guys – [all start going into a group hug. When they break apart line is continued] I can’t believe how much you care about me

Minnie: It’s all down to Lynsie and Vivian; they came and found us.

Vivian: We love you, Drew. We love you for who you are and nothing can change that.

Lynsie: If someone wants you to change so they’ll like you then you need to drop them immediately.

Paul: Real friends are there for you through thick and thin.

Drew: I never realised how much you all cared….

Flo: Of course we care; we’re your friends, Drew!

Lynsie: We’re your friends and we love you and we wish that you would actually tell us when you’re feeling bad instead of bottling it up for months and months and drowning in a sea of your own despair.

Vivian: We just want to help, even if that just means holding you while you cry your eyes out. We’re here for you – all of us – whenever you need us. [Drew looks like they’re going to start crying there on the spot when someone walks past and stops beside the group.]

Brutus: [sneering] Oh are you going to start blubbering like a baby? Loser. [The others – especially Lynsie – look like they’re going to defend their friend when Drew speaks, startling them]

Drew: Leave me alone, Brutus! I’ve had enough of your taunting, thank you very much. Picking on me doesn’t make you a “big man”, it just makes you look pathetic. I’ve got my friends and they aren’t afraid to stand up for me so just you watch out. It’s the best I can do to keep Lynsie reined in as it is. [Lynsie makes an animalistic face and snaps her teeth at him, Vivian keeping a warning hand on her arm. Brutus pulls a face at them and walks off stage.]

Alan: We’re so proud of you, Drew. Standing up to Brutus like that took guts.

Drew: Thanks, Alan, but I couldn’t do it without you guys. You all gave me the confidence to confront Brutus. [Everyone on stage goes into a group hug]


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