FAR FROM CHEKHOV (Part 2)

25 Mar

How a play goes from someone’s brain to a stage in New York City. Part 2: The play.

Melissa, Charlie and Carolyn all grew up in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. They were raised by their single father after their mother ran off with another man when they were children. Charlie fled, at age 19, to Los Angeles forcing Melissa, the eldest, to move back home to take care of her ailing father and 11 year old sister. The play begins 8 years later, with Charlie returning to South Carolina for the death of their father. She attempts to make amends with her estranged sisters with out revealing why she had to leave in the first place.

Setting:
The LaClaire House. Located in South Carolina.

Characters:
Melissa: The eldest sister. Unforgiving.
Tom: Melissa’s husband. Knowing.
Charlie: The middle sister. Sarcastic.
Carolyn: The youngest sister. Frustrated.

Flower
(Melissa enters Carolyn’s room. She just sits on the bed and stares off into space.)

CAROLYN
What?

MELISSA
I’m thinking.

CAROLYN
Don’t strain yourself.

MELISSA
She’s been here all of ten minutes and you’ve already adopted her attitude.

CAROLYN
Good.

MELISSA
Why am I so angry? So angry.

CAROLYN
Because you’re a drama queen.

MELISSA
Thank you, my baby sister.

CAROLYN
You’re angry because she hasn’t been part of our lives.

MELISSA
Aren’t you?

CAROLYN
Yes. But I’d rather not waste this time being angry with her. I’d rather get to know her. Who knows when she’s gonna up and leave again?

MELISSA
Exactly. Why waste your time?

CAROLYN
Mel, when you say stuff like that you make me feel older.

(Charlie, in the kitchen with Tom, begins drinking.)

CHARLIE
How was the funeral?

TOM
It was… really nice.

CHARLIE
(annoyed) Was he cremated?

TOM
These are questions you can ask Melissa.

CHARLIE
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but she’s not exactly forthcoming with information.

TOM
You two need to be locked in a room with one another and just hash this out.

CHARLIE
That’s your prognosis, Doctor? How long have you been out of practice?

TOM
Too long.

(Carolyn stands and prepares to exit.)

CAROLYN
Alright. Bed’s made. I cleared out the bottom two drawers of my dresser so she can use those. How long is she staying?

MELISSA
Don’t know, don’t care. (Begins to follow her out.)

CAROLYN
Oooh. You’re so jaded.

(Melissa playfully hits the back of Carolyn’s head as the two of them exit the bedroom. Charlie shoots the rest of her drink and goes to get more.)

TOM
I really hope Melissa catches up, otherwise, this will not be a fun night for you.

CHARLIE
Guess what? Under every circumstance, this will be anything but a fun night for me.

TOM
You don’t know that.

CHARLIE
I don’t know, Tom. Maybe just too much damage has been done.

TOM
It’s never too late.

CHARLIE
Christ. When did you get so glass is half full? I know that’s not her influence.

(Mel enters with Carolyn behind her. Charlie does not see them)

CHARLIE (CONT’…)
I mean, you have this unbelievable Poly Anna view of how Melissa and I are going to patch things up. I know her. When there is pure hatred in the eyes, you can’t break it. It’s just not going to happen.

MELISSA
Then why did you come back?

CHARLIE
(Notices her and looks up directing her comment towards God.)
Oh, you…

MELISSA
If you see no hope of making things right, then why are you here?

CHARLIE
Well, I had to come here to see if that pure hatred was in fact in your eyes before I made a proclamation like “there’s no hope in making things right.”

MELISSA
Why are you here?

CHARLIE
Uh…

MELISSA
What are you doing here Charlie? You definitely didn’t come for the funeral being that you’re more than a few hours late.

(Carolyn enters)

CHARLIE
(breathes)
I didn’t come for the funeral. I came for you and Carolyn.

MELISSA
You were able to fit us into your schedule?

CHARLIE
Okay. Have at it. Let’s hear it. I know you must have a lot to say to me.

MELISSA
Why waste words?

CAROLYN
She’s upset because you didn’t come to her wedding.

MELISSA
Carolyn!

CHARLIE
I couldn’t come. I had no choice.

MELISSA
Oh, you always have a choice, Charlie.

CHARLIE
Why are you so bent out of shape? I bought you a gift!

MELISSA
Yes, thank you. It was a beautiful toaster.

CHARLIE
Hit me. Punch me. Just get it over with, cause I refuse to walk on fucking hot coals around you.

CAROLYN
Can we not do this? Please? I don’t have it in me to partake in or even watch this display of “you hurt ME. No you hurt ME”

CHARLIE
Mel, you hurt me!

(Charlie smiles at Carolyn, Melissa is not amused.)

MELISSA
Look, I thought maybe when you came for the funeral, we might… I don’t know. But when you didn’t show… I don’t have the energy to…

CHARLIE
Effort, Melissa. This will take effort. But nothing’s unfixable. I didn’t go to the funeral, I know. But Jesus Christ. I’m here now, aren’t I? Get off your high horse of judgments and

CAROLYN
Get over yourselves. Look at each other and deal with it. (begins making her and Melissa a drink.) Do either of you remember how close we were growing up?

CHARLIE
Well, things happen.

MELISSA
What? What happened? What are these things that happened in your life that made us so unbearable to be around?

CHARLIE
(beat) I’m not ready for this.

MELISSA
You’re never ready for anything! For funerals, for weddings…

CHARLIE
This really is all about your wedding.

MELISSA
No. It’s not. But you are my sister. I wanted you there. I mean, come on Charlie! I grew up right beside you and I don’t…

CHARLIE
No, you did not grow up beside me. You were barely in the same house.

MELISSA
What?

CHARLIE
You were never here. You were never here to see what was going on.

CAROLYN
What was going on here? Really, Charlie, what was going on? Because I was here too. I was here with you.

CHARLIE
Carolyn, please…

CAROLYN
No. I want to know. You reprimand Melissa for not being here to see what it was like. What was it like? Because I was happy.

CHARLIE
I know you were, Car. That’s the problem.

MELISSA
What problem?

CHARLIE
You were hap… Forget it. We were happy. I left because I was selfish and I was given an opportunity to make money somewhere else. So I did. I went. I wanted to be better.  I wanted out of this town. I knew I couldn’t be better here.

(Melissa doesn’t believe Charlie.)

CAROLYN
Better than what? Better than us?

CHARLIE
Better than myself.

MELISSA
(serious) She’s lying.

TOM
Mel…

MELISSA
No, she’s lying.

CHARLIE
Believe what you want, Melissa. No one can change your mind.

MELISSA
But you just did. You’re telling me what I want to hear. It’s what I believed. I believed that you were just being selfish when you left.

CHARLIE
That’s how I felt.

CAROLYN
You said that I was happy, and that was the problem. What happened to make you so unhappy?

CHARLIE
This is unbelievable. I was bored. I felt ignored.

MELISSA
You’re lying right into my face, Charlie.

CHARLIE
Why do I feel like I’m being interrogated?

CAROLYN
Because you are.

CHARLIE
Back off. If you’re looking for some hidden story, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

MELISSA
Stop lying.

TOM
Mel, please… just…

MELISSA
Why are you defending her? Do you honestly not see it?

TOM
I just think that you maybe…

MELISSA
Do you know something about this?

TOM
What?

MELISSA
Oh my God.

TOM
Melissa.

CAROLYN
What does he know?

TOM
Nothing. I don’t know anything.

MELISSA
What the hell is going on here?

CHARLIE
Oh, will you stop? Stop! Stop with the conspiracy theories and the questions. Just stop.

MELISSA
You tell me, you swear to me that you were only bored and that you just needed to get away from the city. Swear to me.

CHARLIE
Grow up.

MELISSA
(turns to Tom)
Tom. Swear to me.

TOM
(silent) No. Mel, I can’t.

(Charlie becomes disappointed and Melissa becomes very upset. She exits, hurt.)

CAROLYN
(emotional) He would have wanted you to sing!

CHARLIE
What?

CAROLYN
At his funeral! He would have wanted you to sing at his funeral!

(Carolyn storms off in anger, reaches her room and slams the door shut leaving Tom alone with Charlie.)

CHARLIE
I would have killed myself before I would sing at his funeral.

Part 3: The Cast and Crew…

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