Perception, a 10-minute play

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

False perceptions can be devastating.

This comedy is one of eight short plays in the "Random Nature of Life" series. They were translated into Spanish and performed in June 2018 in Oaxaca, Mexico.

CHARACTERS

A: a female, 54 but looks several years younger

B: a male, 60 but looks several years younger

TIME

The Present

PLACE

New York City

 

1.

B

Don’t leave!

 

A

I really should.

 

B

You have other plans?

 

A

No plans.

 

B

A curfew?

 

A

No, but it’s getting late.

 

B

It’s 6:30.

 

A

(looks at phone) So, it is.

 

B

Am I bad company?

 

A

No, that’s not it.

 

B

I think maybe you’re bored.

 

A

Are you kidding?

 

B

No.

 

A

Bored with you?

 

B

With me.

 

2.

 

A

Why do you say that?

 

B

Because I’m old.

 

A

The universe is old.

 

B

I’ll bet you’re very active.

 

A

How do you know?

 

B

Your look. Healthy. Fit.

 

A

I try.

 

B

Do you swim?

 

A

No, but I work out.

 

B

I’m not surprised. Anything else?

 

A

Rock climbing. Triathlons.

 

B

Jesus, you’re Superwoman.

 

A

Not really. What about you?

 

B

Boring stuff.

 

3.

 

A

Tell me anyway.

 

B

I jump out of planes.

 

A

Oh, you parachute.

 

B

No chute. I just jump.

 

A

You’re funny.

 

B

I’m not active. Football knees.

 

A

But, when you were young...

 

B

I did everything.

 

A

You look like an athlete.

 

B

And now you’re going to...ummm.

 

A

See, you forgot already.

 

B

No, I didn’t. Wait. Africa.

 

A

Yes, Sierra Leone.

 

B

Like the Humphrey Bogart movie.

 

A

That was Sierra Madre.

 

4.

 

B

Right. And, you’ll be teaching.

 

A

Training teachers, actually.

 

B

For two years.

 

A

Yes. If they take me.

 

B

See, I’ve been listening.

 

A

I’ll give you a B.

 

B

Maybe a B+?

 

A

Closer to a B-.

 

B

Wow, you’re a tough grader.

 

A

My students loved me.

 

B

You’ll be accepted.

 

A

I think I will.

 

B

Just my luck.

 

A

What?

 

B

Nothing.

 

5.

 

A

Africa has always intrigued me.

 

B

New York intrigues me enough.

 

A

I love New York, but...

 

B

You’re going alone?

 

A

Three teachers will be selected.

 

B

All women?

 

A

Why?

 

B

No reason. Just wondering.

 

A

I really don’t know.

 

B

Until you’re chosen.

 

A

If I’m—yes.

 

B

Africa’s so far away.

 

A

Closer than Asia. Or Australia.

 

B

Do they speak English there?

 

A

All classes are in English.

 

6.

 

B

That’s good. Are you afraid?

 

A

Of what?

 

B

Don’t they have evil mosquitos?

 

A

I’ve had all the shots.

 

B

What about Ivanka?

 

A

Ivanka?

 

B

Wasn’t that a disease there?

 

A

You mean Ebola?

 

B

Are you sure? Not Ivanka?

 

A

Now, it’s really getting late.

 

B

Because I didn’t know Ebola?

 

A

I thought you’d be...

 

B

More aware?

 

A

Well, you went to college.

 

B

Yes. Barber college.

 

7.

 

A

Really?

 

B

No, not really. Northwestern.

 

A

Then you knew about Ebola.

 

B

Yes.

 

A

Why pretend you didn’t?

 

B

Your sense of humor test.

 

A

You’re testing me?

 

B

You just graded me.

 

A

Touché’. Did I pass?

 

B

So, the disease is gone?

 

A

I wouldn’t go, otherwise.

 

B

Some African countries are dangerous.

 

A

What place is safe today?

 

B

True. London, Paris, Las Vegas.

 

A

I won’t live in fear.

 

8.

 

B

Positive attitude.

 

A

What about you?

 

B

I try to live fearlessly.

 

A

It’s not always easy.

 

B

Why are you doing this?

 

A

Time for a change.

 

B

Running from something? Somebody?

 

A

That’s a little personal.

 

B

Sorry.

 

(A touches B’s arm, forgiving the question)

 

A

Running? Yes. But, running to.

 

B

The best reason. Something new.

 

A

Teaching middle school got old.

 

B

There’s high school. Or college.

 

A

Living here has gotten old.

 

9.

 

B

Don’t forget crazy, too.

 

A

I want to travel more.

 

B

It’s so enriching.

 

A

Where have you been?

 

B

I did Europe after college.

 

A

What part?

 

B

Eastern Europe, mostly.

 

A

No Paris or Rome?

 

B

No money for it!

 

A

Got it.

 

B

What about you?

 

A

Never been outside the US.

 

B

Got a favorite place?

 

A

I love Louisiana.

 

B

I’ve been to New Orleans.

 

10.

 

A

Been to Cajun country?

 

B

No.

 

A

It’s wonderful. The food, music.

 

B

I like zydeco.

 

A

My favorite!

 

B

I’ve kinda stopped traveling, actually.

 

A

Why?

 

B

Tired of doing it alone.

 

A

That’s a problem for you?

 

B

You’re surprised?

 

A

You’re good looking. Kinda smart.

 

B

Thanks. I think.

 

A

I’m joking.

 

B

Going places solo gets lonely.

 

A

You must know people.

 

11.

 

B

That’s not the problem.

 

A

Money?

 

B

No, not anymore.

 

A

Then I can’t imagine.

 

B

Age.

 

A

Age?

 

B

Age.

 

A

Explain.

 

B

You won’t believe me.

 

A

Try me.

 

B

I’m older than you.

 

A

I doubt it.

 

B

Up for a wager?

 

A

It would be like stealing.

 

B

Take my money. I insist.

 

12.

 

A

Ok. How about dinner?

 

B

You’re on. How old?

 

A

You?

 

B

Me.

 

A

Forty-three.

 

B

I love you. Sixty.

 

A

No way.

 

B

Wanna see my license?

 

A

Unbelievable. But, sixty isn’t old.

 

B

Woman thirty-two thinks I’m forty-three.

 

A

Ok.

 

B

I’m dating material.

 

A

Of course, you are.

 

B

But, when she hears sixty?

 

A

You’re her dad.

 

13.

 

B

Bingo.

 

A

You’re still the same guy.

 

B

Doesn’t matter. It’s about perception.

 

A

People are so judgmental.

 

B

Even you think differently now.

 

A

I don’t.

 

B

You’re lying or very special.

 

A

Neither. Ok, a little special.

 

B

I’ll go with very special.

 

A

That’s nice. Now your turn.

 

B

Twenty-one.

 

A

Quit playing.

 

B

Um, thirty-five.

 

A

Love you back. Fifty-four.

 

B

No Shit!!?

 

14.

 

A

Wanna see my license?

 

B

You go from hot chick—

 

A

To cougar.

 

B

Same coin, different sides.

 

A

Exactly. I’ve given up trying.

 

B

For a relationship?

 

A

Yes.

 

B

Amazing that two people...

 

A

Chance or fate?

 

B

(Shrugs with palms up)

This might be brash, but...

 

A

Go on.

 

B

We can eliminate our problems.

 

A

By dating?

 

B

It’s crossed my mind.

 

A

Well, you’re interesting enough.

15.

 

B

I think so.

 

A

For an old guy.

 

B

You passed the test.

 

(A’s phone DINGS)

 

A

One second.

 

(A taps on the screen)

 

B

Important?

 

A

Very. (pause) I’ve been accepted.

 

B

When do you leave?

 

A

(long pause) Next week.

 

(Lights down)

 

THE END


Submitted: January 21, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Michael Licwinko. All rights reserved.

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