Play in the Drawer: Lucy Thurber

Sweater Girl: Lucy Thurber

Welcome to another week of Play in the Drawer, where we feature unproduced plays by our favorite playwrights. This week we offer a selection from Monstrosity by Lucy Thurber. She describes Monstrosity as "a play about fascism and commerce. It is a re-telling of the Hero Story with several girls functioning in the role of the hero.”

Lucy Thurber is the author of seven plays, Where We’re Born, Ashville, Scarcity, Killers and Other Family, Stay, Bottom of The World and Monstrosity. She has had readings and workshops at Manhattan Theatre Club, The New Group, Primary Stages, MCC, Encore Theatre in San Francisco, PlayPenn, Williamstown and SOHO Rep. She is a member of MCC Playwrights’ Coalition, Primary Stages writing group, 13P and New Dramatists.

After the jump, a selection from Monstrosity, if you dare!

Act One Scene One

The sound of marching feet. The beginning of an assembly. Thomas enters marching followed by a group of teenage boys and girls in uniform. As they enter they are singing and marching in time.

Group Warm rooms and cigarettes, jewels and powder puffs, perfumed soaps and sweet privileged faces, we don’t want them! We are Three, with wild manes and stomping fists, with hobnailed boots and laughing teeth; we accomplish things and do not rest. We are Three and we are best.

(Thomas steps forward, he raises his hand, the young men and women fan out and stand behind him in formation. He lowers his hand. There is silence. Light change, a spot light on Thomas)

Thomas He has come to speak to us, to lead us and to help us lead ourselves.

(Thomas turns and marches back to his place in line. Michael enters, he crosses center stage and stands facing the audience.)

Michael Choose your way oh youth. Go where your talent tells you to go. This country needs you to be clever, it needs your hands and your words. Your words are banners for us to follow. Your thoughts are bridges to cross. So why won’t you speak? Why won’t you stand? Do you lack the courage? Do you lack the strength? Or is it that you stand alone and see no others beside you? Do you feel that your thoughts and hearts are falling into a void till your words don’t work, your feet frozen, your hand raised? Are you tired? Are you small? Too small to speak, too small to be heard? Do you think it is possible that I could hear you? That we (He motions to the teenagers standing behind him.) could hear you? Is it possible that you may not be alone? I know that you wake up every day without a sense of purpose. Is it just another day? Endless in its sameness. Endless in its pettiness. Endless in the shallow glances and remarks of your peers. I’ll tell what I know. The truth will set you free, but first it will make you very, very, miserable. But aren’t you miserable now? Don’t you feel it? I know you can feel it. Way down in that place you hide from everyone. Down in that place no one can touch, the place you guard with your very life. The thing you protect with space. The space from which you watch. You know what you have. You are gifted with a unique potential. You can build it, meld it, bend it strengthen it until it shines and cuts through reality like a sword. Yes a sword, you possess a weapon. Put your hands on it and dare to wield it. Learn The Code of Three.

(We hear the sound of canned applause. Michael turns and strides off stage followed closely by Thomas. The teenagers turn and march as a group off stage singing as they go.)

Group The Code of Three guides our nights. We eats its words to help us fight. We fight for good. We channel power. Beautiful Code of Three you are our mother. We are four to a unit. We are stronger than steel. We march as four heel to heel. We make a square and cannot be divided. Watch us march and know what pride is.

(A moment of silence. The feel of an empty street after a parade. The Twins ride in on their double bicycle.)

Twins We are the children of no time. We take what we want and we leave nothing behind. We know everything and nothing at all.

Twin 1 Tell me a story the little boy said.

Twin 2 A brother, a sister better off dead.

Twin 1 Horror of horrors a world full of sorrows.

Twin 2 Nothing but straight lines and boxed in shadows.

Twin 1 Tell me a story the little girl said.

Twin 2 A story of magic, a story that’s true.

Twins We’re the children of no time. Take everything and leave everything behind. We’re here to tell you a story, to bewitch you one and all. We’re here to tell you a story of heroes who want to live for a cause.

Twin 2 A boy running to hide and a girl trying to rise.

Twin 1 A sister and brother with identical eyes.

Twins Fighting for freedom can be such a bore. Atrocity is timeless, humanity’s greatest chore.

Twin 1 It’s coming dear audience and you know it’s true-

Twin 2 You know it’s true and that they will be blue-

Twin 1 Bluer than the bluest night, filled with terrible frights-

Twins And where will they stand when they don’t know how to fall? And how will they know if we forget to tell them at all?

Twin 1 Are they strong enough to make the stand? And what about the little girl when she’s frozen with fright and there’s nothing left but you, but dear audience, as her sight?

Twin 2 And what about the brother? Is he strong enough to grow into a man? How many times can he take her bite, before he falls back into the darkness and refuses to fight?

Twins It’s coming dear audience and you know it’s true. It’s coming dear audience and we’ve chosen you

(The Twins ride off stage.)

(Light switch. Michael sitting at a big wooden desk. He is sorting through papers and making notes. Thomas enters and stands at attention waiting to be noticed. Michael makes one final note and then looks up.)

Michael You spoke well today Thomas.

Thomas Thank you Sir.

Michael And what did you think of my speech?

Thomas Moving as always, Sir.

Michael Thank you, thank you.

Thomas You’re welcome Sir.

Michael And you look well.

Thomas Thank you Sir.

Michael So you’re back.

Thomas Yes Sir.

Michael And how do you feel?

Thomas I don’t know what you mean Sir.

Michael I see. Would you like to sit down Thomas?

Thomas I would rather stand if that’s O.K. Sir?

Michael Yes, that’s O.K. Thomas. How was your father’s funeral?

Thomas Elegant.

Michael Your mother was pleased?

Thomas Who can tell, Sir?

Michael I see. I know the two of you were never that close.

Thomas No, Sir. I look too much like my Father for her taste.

Michael Right. For God’s Sake Tom, sit down. We know each other too well for this, don’t you think.

Thomas I can’t sit down Sir, if I sit down I may never get up again.

Michael It’s that bad?

Thomas Yes Sir.

Michael I see. Well you better tell me about it, don’t you think?

Thomas I didn’t have a chance to tell him I hated him.

Michael I see.

Thomas Though I think he hated me more. He felt I’d robbed him of his youth. He never wanted an heir. It only reminded him he would die one day, and now he has.

Michael Yes. But you’ve worked very hard these past few years. I know you pleased him.

Thomas It hasn’t been him I was trying to please Sir…

Michael I see. You know it’s against my principles to play favorites-

Thomas Of course Sir-

Michael But I am only human after all.

Thomas Yes Sir?

Michael I’ve become quite fond of you over the years. I know I’m not your father-

Thomas But you are Sir. You are more a father to me than my own-

Michael Yes, yes. I know. I do know. Well, enough of that don’t you think?

Thomas Yes Sir.

Michael I’m glad you’re back. I’ve found I’m quite lost without you. There’s so much to do.

Thomas Yes Sir.

Michael Work always takes my mind off things. It’s helpful in times of stress. (He pulls out a sheet of paper and hands it to Thomas.) We have some new arrivals.

Thomas Yes Sir.

Michael The Morgans and a few of their friends have had an unfortunate accident.

Thomas That’s really for the best Sir.

Michael Yes of course. We have possession of their two children.

Thomas Sir…?

Michael A boy and a girl.

Thomas I see Sir…

Michael Who knew they had children, kept them hidden away.

Thomas Yes Sir.

Michael Exceptional test scores, some of the best I’ve ever seen. Train your enemy’s children to love you. That’s what we’re all about Thomas. Their children must be given the gift of Three.

Thomas Yes Sir.

Michael I’m terribly excited.

Thomas Of course Sir.

Michael Your father and I…I have always depended on your father Thomas, over the years he and I…but I’ve always felt closest to you…I’ve always felt as if, in a way you were my son…

Thomas Sir I...

Michael Well we’ve said enough, Thomas you and I understand each other. You may go.

(Thomas salutes and turns to go. He reaches the door.)

Thomas Sir?

Michael Yes?

Thomas It’s good to be home again.

(Thomas exits and Michael goes back to work.)

End of Scene

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