A One Act Play
by Mark A. Keeton
Setting – A makeup table backstage, “the mirror” being the audience.
Enter Bobby, a mook type; Veronica, a hardened veteran actress; James, an all-American type; Cheryl, a younger actress with a slight southern lilt; and Vincent, a commanding presence with supreme language skills. They are “chorus” type actors who’ve just finished a performance, all dressed similarly or in matching attire. They sit down at a makeup table facing the audience & mime the fact there’s a mirror while taking off makeup.
Bobby Did you see that woman in the front row? I couldn’t believe it. Was that Kathleen Turner?
Veronica You wish. I think it was an oil baron’s wife or something like that.
James Whoever it was, she was hot.
Veronica If you like peroxide…. (Veronica is actually adding makeup while the rest remove it.)
Cheryl I think it was Kathleen. Maybe I should go out and say “hello.” We worked together.
Cheryl I’m serious. I was in “Serial Mom.”
Cheryl Yeah! I was in the last courtroom scene. She was so brilliant.
James What was your part?
Bobby I like Kathy. Yeah, she used to be kinda cute.
Vincent Kathy? It’s Kathleen. And she’s still quite attractive…
Veronica Whatever. I think she’s overrated…
James Jealous much?
Veronica Jealous? Of her? Please…. I’m twice the actress she is!!!
Vincent And what have you done lately, Veronica?
Veronica For your information, I am doing a spot on “Law and Order” tomorrow. I play the wife of a man who was murdered.
Veronica exits temporarily.
Bobby Just like real life….
James Except I bet it was suicide!
Cheryl Would you blame him?
Vincent Did I tell you guys? I did an indie for two weeks… It was called..
All “The Haunting of Howard Fisk.” We know, we know….
Vincent Well, don’t be surprised to see it at Sundance. We’re waiting for the acceptance, but I’m sure it’ll get in…
James Sure it will, Vincent.
Cheryl I just know it’ll be great. Are you going to get us tickets?
Vincent Of course, darling. I’ll always remember the “little people.”
Vincent exits temporarily.
James “The little people?” Ha! I’ve seen some of that film. It’s like a film noir with no noir. The scene I saw was terrible…
Bobby Come on, James. Be a little supportive to a guy.
James You’re right. You’re right. But that’s nothing compared to my bit on “Guiding Light” – I bet I get an Emmy nomination…
Bobby They don’t do those for under-5’s….
James I wasn’t an under-5 and you know it!
Cheryl Calm down, James. He was just kidding. You had a very important role.
James Damn right I did. Damn right. (to Cheryl) Do you need anything, babe? I’m going to the deli.
Cheryl No, James. I’m fine.
James Well, I’m starvin’ Marvin. I’ll be back in a minute. (He kisses her goodbye almost too passionately to prove his virility.)
James exits temporarily.
Cheryl James is always so sweet about getting me things….
Bobby Is that a crack, Cheryl?
Bobby When are you going to…
Cheryl Not now, Bobby. I’m tired. And I’m not in the mood to……
Cheryl falls silent as Vincent enters, clothes changed.
Vincent Why so quiet, kiddies?
Bobby Nothing to say.
Cheryl Where’s, uh, you know?
Vincent She’s still changing.
Bobby You know women….
Cheryl You’re such a pig, Bobby.
Cheryl exits temporarily.
Bobby So what?
Vincent Did you find out whether or not she…
Vincent Sorry, man. Some bad habits are hard to beat.
Vincent Yes, Veronica?
Veronica We going for drinks or not?
Vincent Don’t know. Bobby, you up?
Bobby I… I don’t think so….
Veronica Oh, Bobby. Do come. It would be, uh, nice, I guess. Right Vincent?
Bobby Wellll, if you insssiiisssttt….
Bobby exits temporarily.
Veronica Vincent, do you think he knows?
Vincent No. Not a clue….
Cheryl What are you two doing?
Veronica Nothing. That was fast. Just like you….
Cheryl What’s that supposed to mean?
Veronica Oh, nothing, darling. Nothing at all.
Cheryl Well, it sounded like something... (pause, then suddenly excited) Oh! Did I tell you I have a callback tomorrow? I’m so scared.
Veronica What’s it for, honey?
Vincent A movie?
Cheryl No. It’s a cat food commercial. But the exposure could be wonderful.
Veronica Well, considering you’ve got your claws into everything, it seems very appropriate…
Cheryl What are you getting at?
Veronica You know very well what I’m talking about. I have someone waiting for me out front.
Cheryl I expect an answer!
Veronica exits, ignoring Cheryl.
Vincent Ignore her, Cheryl. It’s just…. It’s just Veronica.
Vincent goes to Cheryl and kisses her passionately.
Cheryl Vincent, we shouldn’t…. not here.
Vincent Oh, come on Cher… I see you so little already….
James enters, finding Cheryl in Vincent’s arms.
James What’s going on here?
Cheryl Oh, uh, hi James. I’m, uh, I wasn’t feeling well. Vincent caught me. I thought I was going to faint….
Vincent Yesss, she wasn’t feeling too well…
James goes to Cheryl and puts an arm around her other side. Vincent doesn’t release her other side.
James Honey, you really should let me get you something to eat. Let me take you to McDonalds or something. You can let go, Vincent. I’ve got her.
Vincent I’ve got her, James. Why don’t you let go?
Bobby Jesus Christ, what are you guys doing?
Cheryl I wasn’t feeling well….
Veronica Well, well, well… The plot thickens…
Bobby Shut up, V. Cheryl, it’s time you made a choice.
James Choice? What are you talking about?
Vincent I agree. You need to pick.
James Pick? Pick what? You can let go now, Vinnie.
Vincent VINCENT! And don’t you ever forget it!
Bobby Why don’t you BOTH get off of her. She’s my girl.
James “Your girl?” “Your girl?” She’s MY girl. What do you mean “your girl?”
Cheryl Oh my God! Stop it. All of you!
James (disgusted) Have you been cheating on me, Cheryl? With that…that…
Bobby That what, Jaimie-cakes? That MAN!? That REAL man?
James Forget you, Bobby. (to Cheryl) Well?
Cheryl Uh…. I didn’t want to tell you like this, James. I… I wanted to tell you in private.
All Shut up, Veronica!
Veronica Well, I never…
Vincent And we all know why!
James You shut up, Vinnnnieee. Why are you still holding on to her?
Bobby Yeah! Why are you holding on to her? Get off’a her!
James (in shock) Him, too!?!
Bobby What? You?
Cheryl Well, uh…
Veronica Oh, Cheryl…you've been practicing your splits again....tsk, tsk, tsk…..
Cheryl Shut up, Veronica. This is none of your business.
Veronica Oh, but it is, darling. It is…
Vincent She’s my wife.
All (shocked) What?
Cheryl You’re married?
Veronica Yes. Vincent has decided to wade in the shallow end of the genetic pool of our species...
Vincent Shut up, Veronica. You and I have been over for a long time…
James Wait a second. What’s the answer, Cher? You’ve been seeing all of us?
Cheryl (guilty, in a little girl way) Well…
James Jesus…. I feel so… Betrayed.
Bobby You and me both.
Vincent The best man won. Don’t be too upset, boys.
Bobby (approaching angrily) Who said you won?
James (approaching) Yeah? Who do you think you are?
Vincent I’m the one she wants.
Veronica That makes one of us….
James She doesn’t want you! She loves me. We’ve been together for….
All 6 months and 5 days. We know, we know…
Bobby And we’ve been together for three months… Tells you a lot, don’t it?
Vincent And we’ve been together for two. I beat you both. I won!
Cheryl (tearing away) Nobody won! I… I…. I am NOT a piece of meat! I’m a person! I… I made a mistake here…. I just…Oh my God! I don’t want ANY of you!
Cheryl You’re acting like I’m a prize. I’m a human being… Not a… trophy.
Veronica Well, you’ve sure been mounted.
Cheryl That’s enough of you, too. I’ve put up with your “wit” for long enough. You may view me as some idiot from the south, but I have my degree. I have an education beyond 7th grade!
James 7th grade?
Veronica Of course not… it was… 8th….
Bobby Really? Even I got through 10th!
James What? I thought you’d gone to Juliard!
Bobby I thought you’d worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company!
Veronica I did… I was….
Vincent What? Tell them, dear. It’s time all of us came clean…
Veronica A stagehand…
Veronica Fine. Laugh. Laugh away, kiddies. But at least I’m not the one sleeping with the dim-bulb-bimbo from Georgia!
Laughter stops. A pause.
Veronica So who’s it gonna be, Maggie the Cat? Hmmm? I’m dying to know…
Cheryl None. I don’t want any of you. Bobby, you’re a pawing creep who can’t keep his hormones bottled. And James, you’re as bland as vanilla. And Vincent, you’re... you're a pompous ass! I don’t want any of you.
James I can’t believe it… you loved me.
Bobby I can’t either! You told me you loved me, too!
Vincent (thinking hard) Pompous ass? Pompous ass? Me????
Cheryl YES! Goodbye! Goodbye to ALL of you!
Cheryl starts to exit.
Veronica See you tomorrow, dear. The call is at 7.
Cheryl screams and exits. There is a very long pause as they look at each other. Suddenly, tension breaks and, as if breaking character….
James Really. She doesn’t even know how to play the love triangle... she didn't make a real choice..
Vincent She’ll neeeever make it in this business. She’s got no chops.
Bobby Well, she’s young. Maybe she’ll get better. Give a girl some support.
Veronica Drinks, darlings?
Bobby Yeah, where to?
Vincent How about Sadies?
Veronica Perfect. I just love the ambiance there.
James So, I didn’t know you guys were married! That’s wonderful…how long?
Vincent Twelve years now….
All exit happily and excitedly.