New Play Friday: GOONERS by Madeline Puccioni
Friday, June 12, 2015
About the playwright: Madeline Puccioni is a re-entry playwright, delighted to be back at her real work after grading English 1A papers for 30 years. Recently, she’s had short plays produced in SF, NYC, and L.A., and now she is working on two longer plays. She is a member of PlayGround SF, Towne Street Theatre L.A., Playwrights Center SF, SF Olympians Festival, Dramatists Guild and 3rd Street Playhouse, where she is now head writer. Gooners is one of the plays she's taking full length.
About the play: Ellery breaks up with her fiancé, Rob, a handsome, wealthy British tech mogul; Rob is hiding something, and won't talk to her. Patsy, Rob's sister, and her girlfriend Jules prepare for a Gooner party the next day. Ellery emerges from their closet, tipsy and a mess. The doorbell rings. Rob appears with Cezar; he reveals that he and Cezar are lovers, and asks Ellery to consider an open marriage. Ellery is appalled, furious - and intrigued. She needs time to think. Her friends give her a big gay family hug to comfort her, and they all jump up and down as Arsenal scores a goal.
Gooners was given a staged reading in the Playwright Cabaret at the 2015 Theatre Bay Area Annual Conference. Original Playwright Cabaret director: Amy Crumpacker. Original Playwright Cabaret cast: Scott Ragle (Rob), Genevieve Perdue (Ellery) and Heren Patel (Cezar), Michelle Navarrete (Jules) and Hilda Roe (Patsy).
© 2015 Madeline Puccioni. The play cannot be performed without obtaining a license from the playwright. Inquiries about performance rights for Gooners may be addressed to: Madeline Puccioni, firstname.lastname@example.org. All rights reserved. Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that performances of Gooners are subject to royalty. It is fully protected under copyright laws of the United States of America, and of all countries covered by the International Copyright union (including the Dominion of Canada and the rest of the British Commonwealth), of all countries covered by the Pan-American Copyright Convention and the Universal Copyright Convention, and of all countries with which the United States has reciprocal copyright relations. All rights, including professional, amateur, motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, video or sound taping, all other forms of mechanical or electronic reproductions, such as information storage and retrieval systems and photocopying, and the rights of translation into foreign languages, are strictly reserved. Particular emphasis is laid upon the question of readings, permission for which must be secured from the author in writing.
All characters can be played by actors of any race.
Rob: Man, about 30, tall, thin, sharp dresser, handsome, OCD-ish, a philatelist; Ellery’s fiancé, and Patsy's younger brother. British.
Ellery: Woman, about 30, attractive, a bit pushy, a bit desperate to get married, Rob’s fiancée.
Cezar: Man, about 30, handsome, Cuban, Rob’s friend, owns Cezar’s Restaurant.
Jules: Woman, 40, thin, gorgeous, tall, androgynous, Patsy’s lover, wears three-piece suit. Snarky.
Patsy: Woman, 40, kind, bossy. Rob’s older sister, Jules’ lover. Loves her friends, loves to cook. Overprotective of her brother, Rob. British.
The present; Patsy’s flat in San Francisco, overlooking the Panhandle, Sunday afternoon. An hour before the Arsenal at Tottenham English Premier League (EPL) football (footy) match at 4:00 p.m. PST.
1 small table, 2 chairs, 1 couch, if possible - or 3 small chairs could serve as couch.
Lights up. PATSY on cell; JULES pops a PBR.
Patsy: Cezar. She’s not here. I don’t know. You know how crazy she’s been, planning the perfect wedding. OH! AND sweetie! Don’t forget! GOONER PARTY here today! Arsenal at Tottenham. What? Really? No! Of course. Bye. (Hangs up.) Ellie’s gone missing.
Jules: (Slurps beer.) Ellie? How long?
Patsy: Since 7:30 last night.
Jules: That’s not missing. That’s not even half a hangover.
Patsy: Brace yourself. She and Rob broke up. Again.
Jules: AGH! Ellie moves OUT! I move IN! Here! With my Patsy! How hard was that, goddess? How hard WAS THAT?
Patsy: Which goddess? Laverne or Shirley?
Jules: (Lights a joint.) Laverne. Goddess of cheap beer and rent control.
Jules (cont’d): Uh-oh. (Peeks out.) Rob.
JULES opens door. ROB enters, slowly, tragically; gives JULES a purple day lily and a spritzer.
Rob: It was a Valentine’s gift for Ellery. For the garden we’ll never have. The color of the nursery we’ll never paint. Needs full sun. Likes a spritz. (Sobs.) Loves her pot.
Jules: (Tokes up.) As...who does not?
Patsy: Rob. Where’s Ellery?
Rob: Dunno. Ahh- (Stifles a sneeze.) She’s furious with me. STORMED out of CEZAR’S in the middle of dinner last night. -CHOO!
Patsy: (Gently) Because...?
Rob: (Sighs.) Oh. The Montauk Philatelic Society asked me to speak at their MONTHLY DINNER! Of course I said yes! But. I TOTALLY...forgot I had a date with Elle that night. Addressing - our wedding invitations. I’m an SUCH an idiot.
Patsy: You are such a - PHILATELIST.
Jules: Isn’t that illegal in Montauk?
Patsy: Robbie. Are you sure you want to get married? To Ellery? Is there something - you’re not telling Big Sister?
Rob: Ah...Oh! It’s Tuesday! I can still get our DEPOSIT back! (Gets his phone out, punches in a number.) Hello? Maury?
Jules: (Takes his cell.) Rob. Ellie is missing.
Patsy: Find her. Talk to her. She loves you. No idea why.
Rob: Ahh...ahh...No. AHHH - (Stifles sneeze.) She’s done with me. Done. As she should be. I am such a fool. I don’t deserve to live. - CHOO!
Patsy: Are you taking your allergy pills?
Jules: What’s he allergic to? Confrontation? Rob! At least tell Ellery what’s going on!
Rob: I can’t. I can’t. (Spins.) I can! I must! No. I can’t. GAK! GAK!
Patsy: BREATHE! (Stops him; breathes.) HOO! HOO!
Rob: HOO. I can. HOO. I will. HOO. Call me if you hear from her - ?
Jules: (Gives ROB his phone.) Don’t call us. We’ll call you.
ROB exits. ELLERY emerges from a closet. With a champagne bottle and a red valentine heart box. She’s tipsy, and she has chocolate on her face.
Jules: ELLIE! Sweetie. How on earth did you - ?
Ellery: (Sobs.) Can you believe I - still - adore that man?
Jules: And here I thought you were finally coming out of the closet.
Patsy: Oh, Ellie. (Hugs her, dabs chocolate off.) You’re a mess.
Ellery: There’s someone else. Who is she? He’s done with me. Isn’t he?
Patsy: No, Ellie, the poor man is - absolutely BESIDE himself.
Jules: Absolutely. Bilateral. (Glances at PATSY.)
Ellery: Jules, I’m sorry. I know you wanted to move in here next week -
Jules: Please. I’ll live. Alone, and miserable. In that shitty little room on Ellis. With no heat. Or kitchen. Or elevator.
Ellery: I have nowhere else to go! And I’m paid up through -
Patsy: HUSH! Both of you! (Checking her phone) Oh, dear.
Patsy: Rob just locked himself in his apartment. And bolted the door.
Ellery: Patsy. Is that a -
Jules: Nanny cam. Yes. I know. Pathological, isn’t it?
Ellery: It is kinda Big Sister.
Patsy: It’s only for emergencies! Well, you heard him! He’s suicidal! He did try to commit suicide when he was twelve!
Jules: Oh, who doesn’t. (Checks time.) GOONERS! Are we ready for the weekly drubbing? I say Arsenal to lose 1 nil! (Waves a $10 bill.) Anybody?
Ellery: Arsenal could WIN, today, Jules. Ozil IS off the injury list -
Jules: It’s not about winning, baby Gooner. It’s about getting BEAT UP every week, and crawling madly, desperately back for more! Arsenal, they break your heart. Being a Gooner is like -
Patsy: - BAD LOVE! Bad, bad love! (Pause.) Jules! Where’s the remote?
Jules: It’s right here in the TV THINGIE - where I always - hah?
Ellery: Bathroom. Medicine cabinet.
Jules: Medicine cabinet?
Ellery: I was watching "Friends" at 2:00 a.m. And I might have been -
Jules: - raging drunk? (Exits.)
Ellery: No. Just - raging.
Patsy: Elle. Sweetie. What happened at Cezar’s last night?
Ellery: It’s what didn’t happen...it’s what is NOT happening, Pats.
Patsy: (Looks at nanny cam on phone.) Oh. Oh, dear!
JULES enters, looks at PATSY’S phone.
Jules: It’s Cezar. And Rob. They’re -
Ellery: (Grabs the phone.) - kissing?
Jules: Oh. Honey. We had NO idea. (Exchanges glances with PATSY.)
Patsy: What? Me? No! Not a clue! Rob DID tell you he was bi, though, didn’t he? Didn’t he tell you he’s bi?
Ellery: Yes, but. I thought - he was over that!
Jules: Like...what. It’s the measles? (Turns on TV; crowd noise.)
Ellery: He said he’d...you know. Experimented, years ago, when he was at Oxford. I thought, okay, now he’s -
Patsy: (Gently) Immune?
Ellery: AHHhhhh! Ahhhh! (Screams.) AGHHHGHHH!
Patsy: (Answers her phone.) No. Rob. We HAVE NOT SEEN ELLERY!
Ellery: Rob? (Grabs for phone.) ROBBIE-E-E-EEEE!
Patsy: What part of “We’ll call you” did you not understand? (Hangs up.)
Ellery: Oh. Oh. (Sobs.) Am I the only actual straight person I know?
Jules: It’s okay, dear. You can’t help being who you are. (Hugs ELLERY.)
Patsy: (Looking at her phone) They’re going somewhere.
Ellery: He’s leaving me. He is, isn’t he? LEAVING ME-E-E-E?
Jules: Straight people.
Patsy: Such drama.
Jules: Her needs a great big gay FAMILY hug. (They hug ELLERY.)
Patsy: Her needs Patsy’s famous hangover nachos.
Ellery: I don’t have a hangover. (Swills champagne from bottle.)
Jules: (Answering doorbell) You will. (Opens door.)
ROB enters with CEZAR.
Rob: Elle. We - I have something to tell you.
Ellery: Have you.
Jules: (Getting out of war zone) GOONERS! TEN HUT! IT’S 4:00! OPENING KICK! (Puts on Arsenal hat and scarf; turns up TV.)
Rob: Elle. Cezar and I are...lovers -
Ellery: Maybe you and CEZAR should move into our new condo.
Cezar: No. Ellie. You and Rob. (Pours champagne in flute for her.)
Ellery: Well, Robbie. At least. You finally told me the truth.
Rob: I should have told you months ago. But I was so afraid -
Ellery: How long has this been - ?
Cezar: A year ago, when Rob help me get a loan? We - fall in love.
Ellery: A year? Rob? A YEAR is not enough time to make up your MIND?
Rob: I have. I did. Elle. I’m MAD about you. HOO! I’m mad about Cezar! (Pause.) HOO! I want you both in my life. Our life.
Ellery: (Covers her ears.) LALALALALALALALALA!!!
Cezar: Ellie. I am married. I have a lovely wife and two little boys.
Ellery: Your wife - knows about you and - Rob?
Cezar: Of course. There is...enough love for everybody.
Ellery: Rob? All those stupid STAMP MEETINGS? You were with - ?
Cezar: No, no. He go to all those estupid estamp meetings ALONE. All by himself. Trust me.
Ellery: I HATE STAMPS!
Cezar: Me too. Oh. Here. (Pours her more champagne.)
Rob: Ellie. Can you ever forgive me? Could you - ever consider -?
Ellery: No. I don’t know. No.
Cezar: Dinner with us tomorrow night? My wife is an amazing cook.
Ellery: Oh. Right. Dinner with Rob and Cezar and Ellery and -
Cezar: Lillian. Her name is Lillian.
Ellery: I should leave. I should just go back home. Happy, Jules?
Jules: Sweetie. (Sighs.) Back home is - Indiana. And - your Dad.
Rob: It could work - couldn’t it? Ellie? The condo? The garden? Our day lily nursery? Our own little family? It could work.
Ellery: (Kisses ROB, passionately.) I don’t think so. I don’t know...
Cezar/Jules/Patsy: (Leaping up) RED CARD? ON GIROUD? REF IS BLIND! NOT FAIR! NOT -
Patsy: (Hugs ELLERY.) Life is not fair. Is it?
Ellery: I thought at least I knew the rules.
Patsy: Jules: Oh, sweetie. What rules?
ELLERY gives PATSY her red valentine heart to share, sits down at table, alone. She spritzes her pink day lily. ROB sits down next to her, takes her hand. She does not pull away. Arsenal scores a goal. ALL jump up, hug each other and cheer.
All: OZIL! OZIL! GOAL! GO-O-O-OOOAL! GO-O-O-OOAL! GO-O-O-OOOAL!
End of play.