Youíre It

by

Characters

MELINDA

late 20ís, in an old Laura Ashley dress. Cropped hair.

ANDREW

late 20ís, in khakis and a shirt with a collar.

PHILLIP

late 20ís, in corduroy pants, a short-sleeved shirt and tie. Thick glasses.

A Note on Staging:This play takes place primarily inside a wardrobe just large enough to hold the three actors.Ideally, the set would consist of an actual wardrobe constructed without the back wall (which faces the audience) and lit mainly from the ďroomĒ behind it, so that when the wardrobe door is closed the stage is lit only from light entering through cracks around the wardrobe door.Alternately, the actors can mime opening the door and climbing in and out of an imaginary wardrobe.The only required prop is a cardboard box, which says ďSTAR WARSĒ prominently but neatly on each side, sitting on the floor of the wardrobe.

 

Blackout.The sound of footsteps coming up a staircase, then across a room.From behind, MELINDA opens the wardrobe door, steps inside, and closes the door behind her.She nestles into a coat.More footsteps follow, again up a staircase and across the room.ANDREW opens the door.

MELINDA

You found meóoh.

ANDREW

Sorry.I can go somewhere else.

MELINDA

No, thereís plenty of room.See?

ANDREW

You donít mind?

MELINDA

Please.

ANDREW

All right.

He steps into the wardrobe and closes the door.Darkness.

MELINDA

Maybe you could...

ANDREW

(opening door)Of course.(He settles back from doorway.)Weíll close it when we hear someone coming up.

MELINDA

Right.

ANDREW

Those stairs have always been creaky.Or at least they were 25 years ago.

MELINDA

Did you grow up with Jim?

ANDREW

Practically. Iím Andrew Parker, the Prodigal cousin.Just came back for the party, for Jim, you know.

MELINDA

(offering her hand)Melinda Murphy.I live next door.

ANDREW

Cool.So what brought you to the wardrobe?

MELINDA

Youíre going to think Iím silly.

ANDREW

Come on.

MELINDA

Itís stupid.

ANDREW

Wait until you hear my reason.

MELINDA

Fair enough.I was watering plants for Jim while he was in St. Anne's.Had to come up here for that poofy ficus, and the moment I laid eyes on this wardrobe I wanted to climb in and see if I ended up in Narnia.Told you it was stupid.

ANDREW

No, I'm laughing because I thought the same thing when I first saw it.When weíd play hide and seek as kids, Jim would always find me first because Iíd hide in here.

MELINDA

Every time?

ANDREW

Every last time.I was sure that one day the portal would be open andó

MELINDA

And then Turkish Delight.

ANDREW

Itís such a great story.My kids and I read it every year.

MELINDA

How old are they?

ANDREW

Eleven, twelve, some might be a year older or younger.

MELINDA

You donít know how old your kids are?

ANDREW

Not my kids.I donít have any, far from it.I teach fifth grade.

MELINDA

Oh.

ANDREW

But that doesnít mean Iím gay.

MELINDA looks confused.

ANDREW

For some reason, people hear ďmale elementary school teacherĒ and think ďgay.Ē

MELINDA

I canít imagine why.

Slow footsteps on the staircase, continuing through the next lines.

ANDREW

Do you mind stepping back a little?I want Jim to find me first.

MELINDA

For old timeís sake.

ANDREW

Exactly.

ANDREW centers himself in the doorway, closes the door.Footsteps across the room.

ANDREW(lunging out as the door opens, triumphant)

You caught me!Oh, sorry.I thought you were Jim.

PHILLIP

No, heís, uh, still counting.

ANDREW

Well, youíre welcome to join us.

PHILLIP

Are you sure?

MELINDA

You just have to let Andrew stand by the door.He wants to be It next.

PHILLIP

Well, I sure donít want to be It.Didnít want to play at all, but Jim said if he saw me first, hiding or not, Iíd have to be It.

MELINDA

Well, climb on in. We wonít bite.Iím Melinda.

ANDREW steps out, and PHILLIP climbs in. When ANDREW steps back in, the three are pretty uncomfortable, but still able to climb over and around each other as they talk.

PHILLIP

Phillip.

ANDREW

Iím Andrew.

PHILLIP

I deduced that.You want to be It?

ANDREW

Itís sort of a family joke.

PHILLIP

Your family always play children's games?Peculiar thing to do, given the circumstances.

ANDREW

No, but if Jim wants to, I mean, this is his day.

MELINDA

Poor guy.

ANDREW

So, Phillip, how do you know Jim?

PHILLIP

I work at the library, which Jim frequents.Not just researching the disease, either, he has a broad range of literary interests.He came in every few days for years, and then he invited me to his book club.

ANDREW(not insinuating anything)

Oh, I see.

PHILLIP

But Iím not gay. It's not a gay book club or anything like that.

ANDREW

Okay.

PHILLIP

You see, people hear ďlibrarian,Ē and they think ďhomosexual.Ē

MELINDA

But your story would be so romantic if you were.Gazing across the stacks...

PHILLIP

But Iím not.

ANDREW

Know what you mean, man.Fifth grade teacher.(He holds his hand up for a high-five.PHILLIP eventually catches on, and meekly high-fives.)Yeah.Straight men can work with kids.

PHILLIP

Or read.

ANDREW

Yeah.

A long beat.In the pause, PHILLIP begins sniffing loudly.

MELINDA

Oh God, donít you start crying, or Iíll bawl my damn eyes out.

PHILLIP(sniffing some more)

Itís not that.There were mothballs in here.

ANDREW

I donít smell anything.

PHILLIP

Four years ago, Iíd say. The smell is overpowering.Iím sure you can tell from my lenses that Iím legally blind in my left eye.

MELINDA

Iím sorry.

PHILLIP

Youíve heard of blind peopleís other senses sharpening to compensate?

ANDREW

Sure.

PHILLIP

You always assumed it was hearing, didnít you?Well, itís not.

MELINDA

You can smell mothballs from four years ago?

PHILLIP

Naphthalene is unmistakable.

MELINDA

What a gift!

PHILLIP

Itís a curse.Most smells on this planet arenít good. I canít go into most public places:stores, restaurants, virtually anywhere.And most things and people canít come into my house, either.Guests and pets are out of the question.

ANDREW

You must be losing your mind, in such tight quarters with two people.

PHILLIP

Actually, the mothballs are so strong I canít smell anything else.

ANDREW

Not even her shampoo?

MELINDA

I donít smell a thing.

ANDREW

(to MELINDA)Itís nice.

PHILLIP

The Naphthalene was here, believe me.

ANDREW

Interesting.

PHILLIP

Say, would you mind if I stepped out for some air?

ANDREW starts toward the door.

PHILLIP

Wait, Iím fine.

ANDREW

You sure?

PHILLIP

What if Jim comes?I donít want to be It.Why would you want to be It?

ANDREW

Itís not that I want to be It so much.I just want to see the look on Jimís face when he says, ďAndy, youíre It. Again!Ē

MELINDA

Oh, do you go by Andy?

ANDREW

Not in fifteen years.

MELINDA

Crazy how a little reminder can transport you to another time or place.Not literally, like the wardrobe to Narnia, but every time I pass High and 12th itís my sophomore year in college again.Even though I do it seven or eight times a day.

ANDREW

You work around there?

MELINDA

I drive a cab.

ANDREW

Wow.

PHILLIP

I donít know that intersection.

MELINDA

High and 12th?OSU.

PHILLIP

I donít drive.

ANDREW

Your vision?

PHILLIP

No.My right eye is within legal parameters.The stench of the exhaust is torture.

MELINDA

I live to be behind the wheel.Andrew, I'm guessing youó

PHILLIP

Sorry, Andrew, would you mind? (eyeing the door again)

ANDREW

Please.(ANDREW steps out. PHILLIP follows.)

ANDREW steps back in, and he and MELINDA make awkward interested eye contact.After a moment, ANDREW looks away, noticing the Star Wars box for the first time.

ANDREW

Star Wars!(He jumps to the box, and starts rummaging through it.)If Iím not mistaken, this is Jimís pristine Death Star play set.

PHILLIP

More working parts than any other play set, except the Droid Factory.

MELINDA

I donít remember a Droid Factory.

ANDREW

It was stupid.(More rummaging.)But with the Death Star you could reenact the whole movie.Jim always got the good toys.

MELINDA

I always wanted an X-wing.Not the toy, a real one.

ANDREW

Look at this trash monsterónot a nick or scuff.Know what this thing would bring at a Con?

PHILLIP(climbing back into the wardrobe)

Mint condition trash monsters range from fifty to sixty dollars.

ANDREW

All this stuff together, that's...

PHILLIP

Not yours to sell off yet.

ANDREW

I wasn't...I wouldn't... (beat)

MELINDA

What's a Con?

PHILLIP

Thatís a science fiction convention.

MELINDA

Did you play Star Wars with Jim when you were kids?I was the only girl in my family, so I always got Leia.

ANDREW

Jim was Luke.I had to take Han Solo.

MELINDA

Han turned out to be the right choice for the long run.

ANDREW

But in 1977, all the girls loved Luke.

MELINDA

We made my little brother be Chewbacca or he couldnít play.

PHILLIP

I had to be Chewbacca.

MELINDA

Youíd be a better C3PO.

PHILLIP

Whatís that supposed to mean?

MELINDA

Just that heís smart, and you are, too.(beat)I like C3PO.(beat)

MELINDA

Itís sure taking Jim a long time to find us.I hope everythingís okay down there.

PHILLIP

Maybe heís not coming.

ANDREW

What?Weíre playing so he can find me.Like when we were kids.

PHILLIP

Maybe he found some people on the first floor and then gave up.This is the furthest room from where Jim was counting.The least likely place to be found.

ANDREW

No, you keep looking until you find everyone.Thatís how itís played.

PHILLIP

When youíre not too sick to climb.

ANDREW(exiting the wardrobe and looking toward the stairs)

Heís in remission.Thatís the wholeóHe can climb the damn steps.

PHILLIP

I meant thatís how itís played when youíre...kids.

ANDREW

Heís going to find me.

MELINDA

Of course he will.

ANDREW

Thatís how we play.

MELINDA

You stay hidden until It calls Ollie Ollie In Free.

PHILLIP

Ifósure.

MELINDA

So, Andrew, you don't live around here now?

ANDREW

No.New York City.

MELINDA

Why so far from home?

Andrew shrugs.

MELINDA

The Big Apple.Now thatís a cabbieís town.Bet youíve seen some crazy shit.

Oh, to drive through Times Square.One foot on the gas, the other on the brake.Right hand on the horn, left fist shaking at the pedestrians jumping out of your way.

PHILLIP

Sounds hazardous.

MELINDA

I could drive in New York City.Iím good.Iíve already mastered this town.I know the fastest route from anywhere to anywhere, at any time of day.Hey, Andrew?(ANDREW returns to the wardrobe.)

You know, your family should have my pager number on hand for when they need to get Jim to the hospital.I mean, if they ever need to get there quick.If Iím on duty, I could even radio it in as an emergency and maybe get a police escort oró

ANDREW

Look, could we talk about something other than Jim for a minute?

MELINDA

Okay.(beat)

PHILLIP

If youíre in New York, did you make it to Empire Union 2000?

ANDREW

I wish.

MELINDA

Back to the science fiction?

ANDREW

I take it you're not a fan.

MELINDA

They always do it wrong.To see one cool chase scene, you have to sit through an hour of intergalactic politics and green people.

ANDREW

Yeah!

MELINDA

Oh.(She wanders out of the wardrobe and looks toward the staircase.)

PHILLIP

Kirk or Picard?

ANDREW

(ďduhĒ)Picard.

PHILLIP

Hands down. Wars or Trek?

ANDREW

Totally Trek.

PHILLIP

Tasha Yar, Deanna Troi, or Seven of Nine?

ANDREW

Seven!

PHILLIP

Yeah!(He offers his hand for a high five. Andrew smacks it with enthusiasm.)Hey, Melinó(He notices that MELINDA has left, and then follows her.)

ANDREW follows PHILLIP.The sound of footsteps on the staircase.The three run toward the wardrobe, pushing ANDREW in first.

ANDREW

Wait, could I?It would mean a lot.

They scramble over and around one another so that ANDREW is next to the wardrobe door.ANDREW closes the door.Blackout.

End of play.

 

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