Bit 2 End of Scene 2, Scene 3-7

A: (slow paced) And she’ll bury her head in your chest, and you’ll hold her tightly. (As he says this next part, they separate, and hold hands, walking forward and ducking as though rice is being thrown at them) You’ll get married, and invite everyone to the ceremony. It’ll be a celebration the likes of which we’ve never seen before, and never will see again. (they dance) You’ll have your first dance as husband and wife, and she’ll lean in as the song ends and give you a kiss. (beat, as they kiss, then she leaves, letting his hands go last) And you’ll be happy.

 

T: You think so?

 

(Albert looks back to Thomas, broken from a reverie)

 

A: (composing himself) I know so. Now come on, we’ve wasted enough time as it is. The boat will leave without us if we don’t hurry.

 

T: Alright, alright, I’m coming.

 

(A foghorn sounds in the distance. The men freeze, and look at each other before running offstage shouting things like “Wait!” or “Hold the boat!”) Scene

 

Scene 3

 

(lights up and Audrey, now covering herself with an oversized shawl, is on stage. Thomas, in uniform, stands to her left. They each hold a letter.)

 

T: Dearest Thomas,

 

Au: Dearest Audrey,

 

T: I miss you wholeheartedly!


Au: I miss you even more.

 

T: I remember the things we’ve done together and the experiences we’ve shared and I wonder how I ever got through even a minute without your presence.

 

Au: I understand how you feel.

 

T: Nowadays, those sixty seconds feel like an eternity; I can’t sit still.

 

Au: Time seems to be growing old, getting slower in his age.

 

T: I’m listless just waiting for your letters, just waiting for some kind of response so that I may reply and receive another.

 

Au: I’m constantly distracted by the thought that I might receive another letter from you, and the men have noticed and tease me mercilessly.

 

T: Tell me about Europe!

 

Au: Europe, or what I’ve seen of it so far is magnificent; hopefully it will live up to your expectations.

 

T:  Where have you been deployed to?

 

Au: We have not yet been deployed, though we are set to be soon.

 

T: Please let me know as soon as you are told that you will be coming home!

 

Au: Unfortunately it looks like I’ll be here for a while longer.


T: Letters may be fine for now but my eyes long to see your face again.

 

Au: I miss you as you miss me, but we’ll be reunited soon.

 

T: It’s been not a month yet and still I can’t fall asleep without looking at the photograph you gave to me.


Au: This war won’t last long.

 

T: I love you.

 

Au: I love you.

 

T: Yours, Audrey.


Au: Yours, Thomas.

 

(Thomas becomes less energetic, more hardened. He reads Audrey’s letter with a sort of sad longing.)

 

T: My Dear Thomas,

 

Au: My Dear Audrey,

 

T: I don’t see how you could possibly miss me more than I you.

 

Au: I am doing fine.

 

T: It drives me to distraction when I return home to yet another empty mailbox.

 

Au: I can’t say the same for some of the other men.


T: I hope the men don’t tease you too brutally, as that is my job.


Au: Many have been sent home from injuries.

 

T: I’ve always longed to go to Europe!


Au: Some are so horrid that it would be a crime simply to describe them to you.

 

T: Any country therein would be fine, as I’ve never travelled out of our own fair country before.

 

Au: Teasing hasn’t been as much of a problem as of late.

 

T: Will you take me one day?

Au: Trying to keep the spirits up around here is hard enough as it is.

 

T: Have you been deployed since your last letter?

 

Au: I would not recommend travelling at the current moment, considering we are at war.

 

T: If so, to which exciting locale?

 

Au: You are in the safest place you can be.


T: I do hope you are staying out of harm’s way.

 

Au: I cannot tell you where we are, only that I miss home more than I ever thought possible.


T: I love you.

 

Au: Yours, Thomas.

 

T: With all my love, Audrey.

 

(Thomas now reads as though emotionally drained and empty, or intensely melancholic.)

 

T: My dearest love. The conditions of your situation seem rather morbid! I do so hope that you and Albert are doing well? If you should be hurt, please return immediately! You have such a wonderful sense of humor, so I believe that if anyone could keep the spirits up, and raise them even higher it would be you. I hadn’t actually intended on travelling to you, as I have to work here now, and I know it’s safer than where you are. But if I could switch places with you! How fast and assured my decision would be! I wish for your safe and swift return. I love you.

 

    Yours always, Audrey.

 

Au: (to Albert) Should I be worried?

 

(Albert enters carrying a blanket, limping. He has been injured in the war, and thus sent home. His leg is bandaged, and his arm is in a sling. As he says the line, he wraps a blanket around Audrey’s shoulders)

 

A: He’ll be fine, Audrey. He was there - all of him - and he was good and healthy when I left.

 

Au: But that was so long ago!

 

A: That was two weeks ago. That’s not that long.

 

Au: I haven’t received a letter from him in months, Albert.

 

A: Sometimes letters are lost and don’t make it home, or sometimes they don’t make it there. I’m sure Thomas probably didn’t receive some of the letters you sent to him as well.


Au: (not convinced) Maybe…

 

A: I’m sure he’s fine. He saved my life, if you remember. He’s the most capable man I know. C’mon now, let’s get inside, it’s getting late. It’s rather chilly out here, and there’s no use standing out here waiting for the mail to come. It won’t be here until tomorrow. You need your rest. C’mon…

 

(He leads her inside. Thomas )

 

T: Dear Thomas. I’m worried about you. I have not received any of your letters in quite some time. Is everything alright? I miss you. Please let me know how you are faring. It’s the only way I’ll get through the day without sighing every few minutes. It’s driving Albert mad! He’s worried about you too, though he doesn’t care to show it to you. He says you are capable, and I know you are but I still worry. Stay safe. I love you. Yours, Audrey.

 

Scene

 

Scene 4

 

(Audrey is sitting at the table reading a newspaper. She wears a demure dress, more conservative than her red one. She sips a cup of coffee. When she places it down, it is near the edge of the table. The doorbell rings.)

 

A:(offstage)  I’ll get it!

 

(Albert enters, stage right, excited, leading Thomas inside with a hand on his back. Albert no longer has a sling, but he still limps, though not as exaggeratedly. Thomas’ whole state of being has changed. He no longer has the metaphorical spring in his step. He tosses his duffel to the side as he enters)

 

A: Audrey, look who’s home!

 

Au: Thomas!

 

(Audrey glances up from her newspaper and does a double take. She stands up quickly, jostling the table and knocking the coffee mug off. The mug falls, and as it hits the floor Thomas jumps back, terrified, and they all freeze. Sounds of gunshots and screams of men are heard. They unfreeze.)

 

Au: (seeing the mug) Oh how clumsy of me! I’ll clean it up in a second. (crossing to him) Why didn’t you write to tell me you were coming home? I would’ve come to meet you!

 

(she wraps her arms around his neck and kisses him. Albert turns politely away. Thomas leaves his arms by his side and does not respond to her kiss.)

 

T: I must have forgotten. My apologies.

 

Au: (startled, she lets her arms slip from around his neck.) Forgotten…? Thomas, is everything alright?

 

(He brushes past her and begins to mop up the coffee spill with the newspaper she has left on the table. Albert and Audrey stare.)

 

T: What a mess. I’ve just gotten home too.

 

Au: Thomas…?

 

A: We have napkins to wipe this up if you prefer, Thom.

 

T: (slowly coming to a stop) Oh. Of course. How silly of me to use a newspaper. (quickly standing up, he puts the soaking paper to the side) Sorry.

 

(An awkward silence follows. Albert clears his throat.)

 

A: I should get going. It was nice to see you, Thom. It’s been a while. (to Audrey) I’ll be back later. Let me know if there’s anything you need.

 

Au: Thank you.

 

(Silence that lasts a beat too long after Albert leaves)

 

Audrey: Do you like what I’ve done with the place?

 

Thomas: (looking around belatedly) I hadn’t realized you changed it.

 

Au: Yes. (beat) A lot has changed since you left.

 

T: I see.

 

Au: These chairs are different. (he doesn’t respond) The walls are a different color too. Albert helped me repaint it. It’s more down to earth now, more… sensible, don’t you think? Better to raise a family in.


T: I suppose so.

 

Au: The house just wanted to look nice for when you got back. Not that it didn’t look nice before. The old color was just a tad too liberal. (he doesn’t respond) The house missed you.

 

T: I think I need to get some rest. I’ll be upstairs.

 

Au: (swallowing) Oh… Of course. You must’ve had a long trip. We can catch up later.

 

(Thomas nods distractedly and exits stage left. Audrey sits down at the table, slightly shocked. She glances at the soaking newspaper. Lights fade to black.)

 

Scene

 

Scene 5

 

(A childhood memento, perhaps a toy of some sort lies on the floor. Thomas is sleeping in his bedroom. He tosses and turns. The sound of gunshots echo. He startles awake, breathing heavily. He tries to calm himself, but the gunshot sounds continue. He covers his ears, and when that doesn’t work, he shoves his head under his pillow and screams. Audrey rushes in. The sound of gunshots subsides. Thomas feigns sleep.)

 

Au: Thomas? Is everything alright? I heard shouting.

 

(she waits but there is no reply)

 

Au: Thomas?

 

(She sits beside him and touches his shoulder gently. Thomas instantly springs up, grabbing her arm)

 

Thomas: (hissing) Don’t touch me!

 

Au: Thomas, you’re hurting me! Let go! Please!

 

(Albert enters quickly)

 

A: Audrey are you- (he sees them) Dear god, Thomas let her go!

 

(Albert pulls her away from him and protectively stands in front of her)

 

A: What the hell were you doing?

 

T: This isn’t between you and I, Albert. This is between Audrey and I.

 

A: (gently bringing Audrey’s arm forward) Look at what you’ve done, Thom. Look at her arm. Look at it, it’s all red.

 

T: (startled, realizing) I- I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to- I just-

 

(Thomas backs away.)

 

T: I just need some time to myself. Please.

 

(Audrey and Albert hesitantly look to each other, and back to Thomas. Albert gently escorts Audrey out of the room, as she holds her arm. Thomas stands alone in his room. He begins to pace. As he paces, he accidentally kicks the toy, and it skitters across the floor. Gunfire is heard, and Thomas hits the floor. He crawls, army style over to his bed. He climbs in, and curls up into a ball. He once again pulls his pillow over his head and screams. Lights black, gunfire stops.)

 

Scene 6

(Thomas stands center stage, Audrey stage right, Albert stage left. Audrey takes a drag on her cigarette before dropping it and squishing it with her foot. She sighs.)

 

Au: Everyone has a moment of doubt in their lives. A moment where they can’t trust their own judgement. A moment when they flounder in a sea of choices, gasping for decisiveness, but never quite having the courage to choose. For some, life is simply wave after wave of these moments; for others these moments are interspersed with sprees of seeming self-confidence and joviality. (beat) But those sprees can’t last forever, can they? At some time we all feel voiceless. Well, less of a voice, more of a silent scream that can’t gather enough power to pierce the air. And breathless. Less of a breath, more of a sputtering gasp that can’t quite suck in enough oxygen. But we’re still here, aren’t we? (beat) Are we? We are lost, disregarded, thoughtlessly ignored. Casually discarded trash that no one cares enough about to even pick up. I would pick you up, you know. Would you do the same for me?

 

T: Reeling.

 

T + Au: Feeling worthless.

 

All: Worth nothing.

 

Au + A: Nothing matters.

 

A: Matter over mind.

 

A + T: You don’t mind because I don’t matter.

 

All: I am simply a voiceless face in a deafening crowd.

 

T + Au: It would be easy to let me slip away with the current.

 

Au: So you do.

 

(Audrey and Albert glance at each other, concerned, before exiting. Thomas does not notice them. Loud gunshots erupt. Thomas places his hands over his ears and crouches down. The sounds eventually become very faint, but they continue to play throughout his monologue, as well as the voice of a little girl singing “London Bridge is falling down…” See lyrics below. He removes his hands gingerly from his ears, and stands cautiously. He steps forward.)

 

T: A miniscule girl, blank faced, traipses through the rubble on her way to school. She carefully picks her way around immense craters and colossal slabs of rock. The crumbling dust beneath her little feet used to be firm walls that could stand tall through even the most trying of times. Until time decided to try a little bit harder. She looks - really looks - at the sky, wondering what it would like to fly away from here, away from this desolation - but knowing her dream will never be realized, she sighs, and continues to lie to herself, saying everything will be alright as she climbs over the fragmented glass and granulated brick that used to be her school. (beat) Imagine being the cause of that.


 

(The voice of the little girl gets louder, as well as the gunshots. Thomas looks around guiltily and runs off stage left.)

 

London Bridge is falling down

Falling down, falling down

London Bridge is falling down

My fair lady

 

Build it up with iron bars

Iron bars, iron bars

Build it up with iron bars

My fair lady

 

Iron bars will bend and break

Bend and break, bend and break

Iron bars will bend and break

My fair lady

 

Build it up with silver and gold

Silver and gold, silver and gold

Build it up with silver and gold

My fair lady

 

London Bridge is falling down

Falling down, falling down

London Bridge is falling down

My fair lady.

 

Scene 7

(Thomas is lying in bed. Audrey and Albert stand to one side of the stage, as though just outside Thomas’ room. As they have this conversation, Thomas lazily sits up, pulls a bottle of indeterminate alcohol from under his pillow, and slowly starts to drink it.)

 

Au: What are we going to do, Albert? It’s been five months. He refuses to come out of his room for anything more than food and to go to the washroom. He hasn’t changed clothes or showered more than four times since the night he got back no matter how many times I’ve insisted. It’s disgusting! Any time I ask him if he wants to go for a walk, or if he feels like going out for a change he simply turns his back to me and ignores me entirely! All he does is sleep. I don’t know him anymore, Albert. Thomas didn’t come back from the war, he sent a stranger to take his place. The man in there scares me.

 

A: Hey, he just needs a little time to readjust to his old life again. It’s hard to come back and have everything be so calm and normal after what he’s been through.

 

Au: You went through it too.

 

A: Everyone is different, Audrey. He’s just taking this a little harder than others.

 

Au: A little harder?

 

A: Well, I suppose a lot harder, then.

 

Au: (beat) Thomas drank everything in the liquor cabinet.


A: What?

 

Au: I can’t even have a glass of wine in this house anymore, or he’ll snatch it away. His moods are as inconstant as the weather. One moment, he’s sulking like a child, the next he’s infuriated, swearing at me and throwing things. I had to remove all the hard objects from his room while he was asleep.

 

A: He throws things at you?

 

Au: (defensively/impatiently) Yes, Albert, that is what I just said.

 

A: I’m sorry, I was just surprised, is all.


Au: (sighing) No, I’m sorry. I’m getting so irritated and impatient all the time now.

 

A: Why don’t you come stay with me for a while? I’ve got an extra bedroom. It might be good for you to spend some time away from him.

 

Au: I can’t. He’s incapable of taking care of himself. Maybe he just doesn’t want to anymore, I don’t know. Either way, I’m the only thing that’s keeping him alive. I have to stay.

 

A: (getting worked up) Why? The way / you describe him right now, (quieting down) he’s no better than a parasite! (beat) I don’t even know him any more.

 

Au: (/) Albert! Shhh! He can hear you when you yell!

 

Au: You better take that back right now! He’s your friend! He saved your life, remember?

 

A: (quieter) No friend of mine would treat you like this. I’m leaving. I can’t stand to see him do this to you, and to have you defend his actions makes it even worse.

 

Au: Albert! Albert, wait!

 

A: Goodbye, Audrey. If you need anything, don’t hesitate / to call.

 

Au: I think - maybe you’re right.

 

A: What?

 

Bit 1 Bit 3

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