What follows is the second scene of END ZONE, a play by Bob Shuman; its serialization on Stage Voices will continue to run on Tuesdays for the next three weeks (Scene 1 was posted June 23 and can also be read in the blog’s archives under: Full-length Plays: Drama Serial).

 

The play was first developed at Hunter College and then given readings at The Lark Play Development Center and Second Stage Theatre. It is excerpted in two anthologies from Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.

 

In the following scene, Lucian’s oldest son is getting ready to go to the headmaster’s dinner. )

 

END ZONE

 

A Play by Bob Shuman

 

                                                           

SCENE:

A motel. It’s about a mile down the road from a prep school in the Northeast.

 

TIME

A while back, in November. Before dinner.

 

CHARACTERS:

 

LUCIAN “LUCE” TRAINER: A legendary prep-school football coach and former dean of the Masters School.  Late 70s.

 

ARTHUR TRAINER: LUCIAN’s  youngest son. A freelance composer and percussionist who emphasizes environmental sounds in his work.  Late 30s.

 

NORM TRAINER: LUCIAN’s oldest son. A sporting goods salesman in his late 40s. He has a slight Southern accent.

 

 

 

Scene 2

 

6: 30 PM. LUCIAN'S motel room.  NORM, who has just taken a shower and is in his underwear, is on the floor tickling LUCIAN.   In the next room, ARTHUR is reading from the school bulletin wearing NORM's clothes.

 

(LUCIAN and NORM are laughing.)

 

NORM:  . . . I think that’s what it is . . . 

 

LUCIAN:  No. . . . No.

 

NORM:   . . . I think you’re really ticklish!

 

LUCIAN:  Stop it!

 

NORM:  I don’t want you faking.

 

LUCIAN:  I’m not ticklish!

 

(LUCIAN is laughing.) 

                                                           

ARTHUR:  (From the other room.) . . . Pep rally tonight.

 

LUCIAN:  (Laughing.) You hear me?!

 

ARTHUR:  Boys, boys.

 

LUCIAN:  That tickles!

 

ARTHUR:  I don’t think that’s what we had in mind.

 

(LUCIAN is roaring with laughter.)

 

LUCIAN:  LET ME GO . . . WILL YA!?

 

(ARTHUR gets up and enters into LUCIAN's motel room snapping a towel.)

 

ARTHUR:  All right, all right . . .

 

LUCIAN:  . . . STOP IT!

                                                             

NORM:  Tickle, tickle.

 

ARTHUR:  Break it up, break it up.

 

NORM:  Let me get your belly

 

LUCIAN:  THAT'S ENOUGH NOW!!

                                               

NORM:  You want me to stop?!!

 

(The next two lines overlap.)

 

LUCIAN:                                                                   

Yeeessss!

 

ARTHUR:

You heard what I said.

 

(Pause.)

 

NORM: No.

 

ARTHUR:  If I’m going to take care of him tonight . . .

 

LUCIAN:  I CAN’T BREATHE!

 

NORM:  Say the goddamn, fucking . . . !

 

(The next three lines overlap.)

 

NORM:                                               :

You want me to let you up?                

You have to say the speech.

 

LUCIAN:

I’m not going to!

 

ARTHUR: YOU BETTER DO

WHAT I SAY!                                    

 

LUCIAN:  Never!

 

(The next two lines overlap.)

 

NORM:                                                                                  

I'm allowed to tickle you . . .   

 

ARTHUR:

WHY WON’T YOU JUST SAY IT?

 

(They’re ALL laughing like crazy.)

                                                           

LUCIAN:  Look out . . . !

 

(The next three lines overlap.)

                                                             

NORM:                                              

I didn't do anything.                           

 

LUCIAN:

All right, all right.      

 

ARTHUR:

There isn't anything the 

matter with that.                                                        

 

LUCIAN:   I’LL SAY THE SPEECH!

 

NORM:  WHAT?!

 

LUCIAN:  I SAID I’D SAY IT.

 

NORM:  What did you say?

 

LUCIAN:  JUST LET ME GO, WILL YA?!

                       

(The next three lines overlap.)

 

NORM:                                              

Promise.  You have to promise.         

 

LUCIAN:

I’m serious.     

 

ARTHUR:

You’re really going to say the speech?

 

LUCIAN:  You have to let me get up.

 

(LUCIAN gets up, NORM and ARTHUR are snapping their towels at each other. LUCIAN escapes and bolts.)

 

ARTHUR:  GET HIM!

 

LUCIAN:  I’m not doing anything.

 

(The next two lines overlap.)

 

ARTHUR:

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE             

DOING, GET BACK HERE!

 

NORM:

FREEZE!

 

LUCIAN:

 You have to give me an introduction, don’t you?!

 

(The next two lines overlap.)                                                      

 

NORM:  HEYYYY . . .

 

ARTHUR:  What are you talking about?

 

NORM:  I HAVE TO TELL CLAYT IN 45 MINUTES!  

 

LUCIAN:  I need an introduction . . .

 

ARTHUR:  Don’t you try anything.

 

NORM:  Clayt wants to know how it’s coming along.

 

LUCIAN:  Course I need an introduction.

 

NORM:  "8:00 pm Lucian Trainer Pep rally!"

 

LUCIAN: (Getting away.) How else am I going to do the speech?

 

NORM:  Tomorrow morning.  "7:00 am.  Prayer breakfast," Reverend Jenks and Coach!

 

LUCIAN:  I need a big build up . . .

                       

NORM:  Farts, will you give him the introduction?!

 

ARTHUR:  TONIGHT!

 

NORM:  IT’S  TOMORROW AT THE DEDICATION OF THE FIELD,  NOT TONIGHT.                                          

 

ARTHUR:  Right, right.

 

LUCIAN:  I'm not going to do a speech without an introduction.

 

NORM: Tomorrow afternoon, 2:00.

 

ARTHUR:  HERE HE IS!

 

NORM:  "Home game against Blair with half time dedication . . .  DOESN’T ANYBODY KNOW ANYTHING?!

 

ARTHUR:  Man of the hour, man of the moment.              

 

NORM:   . . . to Lucian Trainer and recipient speech!"

 

ARTHUR:   Man for all seasons!

 

LUCIAN:  (About ARTHUR's introduction.) Bigger.

 

NORM:  (To LUCIAN.) You better watch your step.

                                                           

LUCIAN:  I thought I was the best coach this school ever had.

 

 ARTHUR:  (Trying out the introduction.) . . . and now!!

 

NORM:  (Changing direction, analyzing.) . . . He's right. Needs a little more. 

 

ARTHUR(Trying to give the introduction.) HERE HE IS!!

 

NORM:  Needs a bigger introduction.

                                   

ALL:                           

Masters School football great.                        

 

LUCIAN:  That’s better.

 

(The next three speeches overlap.)

 

NORM:

Legendary football coach, Lucian Trainer.

 

ARTHUR:

LUCIAN!  THE ARM!  TRAINER!

DRUM ROLL, MAESTRO!!

(ARTHUR makes a drum roll           

sound on the table  with his hands.)

 

LUCIAN:  LET ME HEAR YA!

 

NORM:  I need a drink!                                 

                                                           

(The next three speeches overlap.)

 

NORM:                                                          

The man.

The event.                                                      

The man with the message.   

 

ARTHUR: 

Ladies and Gentlemen!

What you see before youmay

disturb you . . .                        

 

LUCIAN: I’m waving, I’m waving at the crowd.       

 

(NORM goes to make a drink.)

 

(The next three speeches overlap.)

 

NORM:                                              

(Sincere as                                           

he begins to                                        

mix drinks.)                                        

Two State Championships.                                                                

Undefeated 1950 season.

 

ARTHUR:

Standing up.

Can’t  conain . . .

Going wild!

 

LUCIAN:

Need a big Introduction.

Of course, I’m right.

 

ARTHUR:  Won’t you please join me in welcoming Lucian Trainer back to the Masters School . . . !

 

(ARTHUR and NORM point at LUCIAN to begin the speech.)

 

LUCIAN:  . . . Aaaa. (Having forgotten the speech.)

 

ARTHUR:   . . . IN ALMOST 20 YEARS!

 

NORM:  Say it!

           

(Stop. Pause.)

 

ARTHUR:  . . . You want more!?

 

NORM:  Razza-dazz.  Razza, dazza, dazza dazz.

 

LUCIAN: . . . Can't . . .

 

ARTHUR:  TAKE IT AWAY!

 

NORM:  OK, OK.

 

ARTHUR:  YOU’RE ON!

 

LUCIAN:  . . . remember  . . .

 

NORM:  (Helping.) “I’m . . .  so  . . . happy . . . to . . .  be . . .”

 

LUCIAN:  . . . Must a  . . .

 

ARTHUR:   HERE HE IS, PLEASE JOIN ME IN WELCOMING LUCIAN TRAINER BACK TO THE . . . !

 

LUCIAN:  Don't know how it . . . .

 

ARTHUR:  MASTERS SCHOOL . . .

 

NORM:  “Invited back today . . . “

 

LUCIAN:  Lost it . . .

 

(Silence.)          

           

NORM:  What do you mean? 

                                               

LUCIAN:  I don't . . . 

 

NORM:  You were practicing in the breezeway

 

LUCIAN:  Can’t . . .  

                                   

NORM:  I heard you in the middle of the night.       

 

LUCIAN:  Just had it.

 

NORM:  You couldn't have lost it.

 

(Silence.)

 

ARTHUR:  You can't remember it?

 

NORM:  Gotta get tough here.

 

(NORM tears through the luggage.)       

 

ARTHUR:  You have to remember your speech.

 

NORM:  Gotta get serious.

 

ARTHUR:  It couldn't have just disappeared into thin air.

 

NORM:  That speech must be around here somewhere. 

 

ARTHUR(Suddenly, getting an idea:) The car.

 

NORM:  Just say the fuckin speech! 

 

ARTHUR: I’ll try to find it in the car.

 

NORM:  I thought you had it memorized!

 

ARTHUR: I’m coming back . . .

                                               

NORM:  (Pulling apart the suitcases.) Find it and read it! 

 

ARTHUR:  Clayt wants to know what you’re gonna say!

                                                             

NORM:  He’s gonna be asking me, WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO TELL HIM?!

 

LUCIAN:  (Pondering, about the speech.) Where did I put it?

 

NORM:  I gotta get to dinner, look what time it is?

 

ARTHUR:  I’ll be right back.

 

NORM:  (Nice.) Oh, I’m sorry, Farts.

 

ARTHUR:  See ya in a few minutes.

 

NORM:  (Polite.) Would you do me a favor before you go?

 

ARTHUR:  (Snapping out of it.)  Oh, a sure, Norm.  What's that?

 

NORM:  (Very polite.) I wanted you to take the keys to the car, so you can unlock the door!

 

ARTHUR:  Oh, a, right.

 

NORM:  Take the wheelchair, too, while you’re at it. . . . 

           

ARTHUR:  Right, right . . .

 

NORM:  So we’ll know where it is tomorrow when we can’t fucking find where the fuck it is!

 

(ARTHUR gets the wheelchair, exits. Pause. NORM gets dressed.)

 

NORM:  I gotta get dressed, I gotta get moving here. 

 

LUCIAN:  (About the missing speech.) I'm sorry about this, I . . ..

 

NORM:  I’m supposed to be there.

 

ARTHUR:  Let me get the wheelchair.

 

NORM:  Clayt wants me there at quarter to seven . . .

 

LUCIAN:  It'll come to me.

 

NORM:  He doesn't have the fucking speech.

 

LUCIAN:  (Trying to stop NORM'S bad language.) Hey, hey, hey.

                                   

NORM:  I thought you had it! 

 

LUCIAN:  That’s enough now.

 

NORM:  I needed to shave.

 

LUCIAN:  . . . Don't have to use that kind of language!

 

NORM:  Name your first team captain! 1942!

 

(Pause.)

 

LUCIAN:  First team captain. . .

 

(Pause.)

 

NORM:  Tiny Thompson.

 

LUCIAN:  Tiny Thompson.

 

NORM:  You must really be falling apart, Trainer . . .

 

LUCIAN: . . .  weighed 287 pounds.

 

NORM:  . . . can't remember your first team captain.

 

(NORM mixes another drink. Pause.)

 

LUCIAN:  I told you I didn't want to come back here!!

 

NORM:  GET FARTS DOWN TO GEORGIA, YOU'LL STILL HAVE THE GOOD WEATHER FOR YOU HEALTH– HE CAN TAKE CARE OF YOU, FOR CHRIST SAKES! 

 

(Silence.)

 

LUCIAN:  You don't start drinking.

 

NORM:  Don't tell me what I have to do.

 

LUCIAN:  I don't want you drinking, now, you heard me.

 

NORM:  What you have to do is . . .   

 

LUCIAN:  Makes me mad.

 

NORM:  Get him down there! 

 

LUCIAN:  You don't have to–

 

NORM:  Yes, I do!  Yes, I do! I’ll drink if I want!  I don’t care if you don’t!  What are you doing tellin me  . . . ?! 

 

LUCIAN:  (About HIS speech.) I know I had it with me . . . 

 

(NORM takes a huge swig of bourbon from the bottle.)

 

NORM:  . . . My wife’s in AA . . .

 

LUCIAN:  (Trying to remember his speech.) "I want to thank everyone . . . " 

                                                           

NORM:  . . . Incontinent father who thinks his wife talks to him from the dead. . .

 

LUCIAN:  ". . . So happy you could all come out here today."                                                           

           

NORM:  . . .  a brother who comes out from underneath a rock!

 

LUCIAN:  (Still trying to remember speech.)  No, no.  That's not it.

 

NORM:  (Unimpressed.) I get the chance to introduce you at half-time?!

 

LUCIAN:  (Trying to make up speech.) "I want to thank everyone . . .

 

NORM:  (For his coat pocket.) I need a handkerchief.

 

(LUCIAN continues looking for his speech as he picks up the scattered clothes.)

 

LUCIAN:  . . . for coming out here today. . ."

 

NORM:  Starts Thomasia all over . . .

 

LUCIAN:   . . . No, no, no.  I have to mention your mother first.

 

NORM:   START HER ALL OVER AGAIN!

                                   

(Pause.)

 

LUCIAN:   Go along with you now.

 

NORM:  SHE TAKES ALL YOUR MEDICATION!

 

LUCIAN:  You just keep going!

 

NORM:  ON DRUGS!

 

LUCIAN:  I WATCH HER.

 

NORM:  Not well enough, apparently—

 

LUCIAN:  I LOCK MY PRESCRIPTIONS UP, I PUT THEM AWAY!

 

(Silence.)

 

NORM:  Come on, you're coming with me to the dinner.

 

 (Pause.)

 

NORM:  Didn't you hear what I just said?

 

LUCIAN:  No, sir . . .  

 

NORM:  Finish getting dressed.

 

LUCIAN:  . . . not me.

 

NORM: I'm tired of talking about it.                                    

 

LUCIAN:  Go on if you want.

 

NORM:  Put your clothes on. Of course they fucked you over, what do you want them to do?      

 

LUCIAN:  (About Clayton.) I told you I wasn't going to see Clayton!

 

NORM:  I’m tired of talking about it.

  

LUCIAN:  You knew I didn't want to come here.

 

NORM:  Hurry up, do what I say! 

 

LUCIAN:  (Remembering his past at the Dean's office.) You're the one who wants to come back.

 

NORM:  You say to him, "Clayt, give my boy the job!"

 

LUCIAN:  I shouldn't be here!

 

NORM:  They owe it to you.

 

LUCIAN:  I don't belong here anymore.

 

NORM:  Of course, you belong here, it's your—it’s OUR– home!   

 

(Silence.) 

 

LUCIAN: (Remembering the day he was fired.)  I saw Clayton that morning . . .  

 

NORM:  "Give it to my boy."

 

LUCIAN:  Walking up to me after not even seeing for weeks. . .

 

NORM:  . . . All you have to say.

                                   

(Silence.)

 

NORM:  I know what you’re thinking . . .

 

LUCIAN:  (Remembering the day he was fired.) . . .  I know what’s happening.

           

NORM:  (NORM helps LUCIAN get dressed.) You’d do that for me, wouldn’t you?

 

LUCIAN: (Still in memory, reliving his firing.) . . . Clayton doesn't shake my hand. 

 

NORM:  . . . . Doesn't matter after so many years.

 

LUCIAN:  (As if talking to Clayt.) "What's wrong, ?"  

 

NORM:   It’s twenty years ago!

 

LUCIAN:  (As if talking to Clayt.) "It's me, Lucian.” 

 

NORM:  Do you know how many people. . . GET FIRED. . . !?  FOR THINGS . . . THEY’VE NO CONTROL OVER, THROW THEM IN THE STREET WITH ABSOLUTELY NOTHING?!

 

(Pause.)

 

NORM:  You were too old.

 

LUCIAN:  At least you could shake my hand.

 

NORM:  They didn’t like you.

 

LUCIAN:  (Coming out of the past.) I WAS NOT TOO OLD!

 

(Silence.)

 

NORM:  Jenks is the problem.

 

LUCIAN:   I coached Clayton.

 

NORM:  I know what it is.

 

LUCIAN:  Zant bragging he'd get my job.

           

NORM:  Doesn’t surprise me.

 

LUCIAN:  Shake my hand!

 

NORM:  They're going to give me the director's . . .

 

LUCIAN:  (Still at his firing.) I’ve watched all of you.

 

NO RM:  Listen to me.  They’re going to give me the alumni director’s position.

 

LUCIAN:  I see what you do!

 

NORM:  This is important, Coach.

 

LUCIAN:  . . . I’ve been very loyal . . .  

 

NORM:  Not just as a representative.

 

LUCIAN:  I’ve been at The Masters School forty years.    

 

NORM:  They want me to be the Director of Alumni.

 

(Pause.)

 

NORM:  Clayt wants me to have it!

 

LUCIAN:  . . .  Alumni?

 

NORM:   Alumni Director.  

 

LUCIAN:  Don't know what you're  . . .

 

NORM:  They’re givin’ it to me Coach.

 

LUCIAN:  . . . talking  about . . .

 

NORM:  The Big Cigar!

 

(Silence.)

 

LUCIAN:  They lie to you.

 

NORM:  THEY’RE NOT LYING TO ME! 

 

LUCIAN: I won’t listen to this . . ..

 

NORM:  . . .  They lied to you!

 

(Silence.)

 

NORM:  . . . A Christmas card from Jenks.  The one he sends you: "In hopes of finding strength for the year to come."

 

(Pause.)

 

LUCIAN:  (To Norm, about working the job.) How are you going to do a job? 

 

NORM:  . . . That’s a lie . . .

 

LUCIAN:  How will you do that?!

 

NORM:   I don’t see why you’re so friendly with Jenks!

 

(Pause.)

 

NORM:   It was Jenks who led the vote to have you taken out!  

 

LUCIAN: No!  

 

NORM:  He did!

 

LUCIAN:  You don’t know what you’re talking about! 

 

NORM:  Clayt told me he blackballed you!

 

LUCIAN:  Don’t know . . .

 

NORM:  Jenks is not your friend!

 

LUCIAN(Faltering.) Jenks would not. 

 

NORM:  He was never your friend!  

 

(Silence. NORM puts on his own coat and goes to LUCIAN.)

 

NORM:  Get up.  

 

LUCIAN:  I worked here my whole life . . .

 

NORM:  We're going to be late.

 

LUCIAN:  Got up every day . . .

 

NORM: Come on.

 

LUCIAN:  Till I looked like someone in my job, thought like someone in my job, till you couldn’t see me as anything else than my job . . .  

 

NORM:  You hear me!

 

LUCIAN:  (As if talking to Clayt.) “You’re trying to get me out, Clayton?!” Sneaking behind my back.  I  wiped your nose . . . ! 

 

NORM:  Do what I say.

 

(Pause.)

 

NORM:  You don't think I would . . .

 

LUCIAN:  I know you would do it!

 

NORM:   I would put you in these places, I would put you in that center, so help me!

 

(LUCIAN grabs hold of NORM, spitting in his face.  It is sudden and disgusting and LUCIAN will not let go of NORM, virtually climbing on him.)

 

LUCIAN:  This is what you want them to see? 

 

NORM:  . . . Stop that!   

 

LUCIAN(As he's spitting.) This is what you want them to see of me at this dedication?! 

 

NORM:  . . . Get it off of me.

 

LUCIAN:  Look at it!

 

NORM:  (Repulsed.) Owwf.

 

LUCIAN:   This is what you're talking about!

 

NORM:  Get off!

 

LUCIAN:  Look at me!

 

NORM:   . . . What are you doing?!

 

LUCIAN:  You won't get it, you won’t get this job.

 

NORM:  It’s all over me!

                                                           

LUCIAN:  You think they would give it to you?!

                                                           

NORM:  Jesus!

 

LUCIAN:  You’re not smart enough, what people do you know?.

 

NORM:  You get it all over!

 

LUCIAN:  Don’t tell me, I know it!

 

NORM:  Stop it!

 

LUCIAN:  What school did you go to?

 

NORM:  . . . I said stop it!

 

LUCIAN:  They want someone to tell what to do.  Someone to kiss their ass, to make fun of and talk about behind their backs!  Deciding what’s to be done with you until they can get you out for somebody else  . . .

 

NORM:  It’s no worse than what I have.

 

LUCIAN:  Until someone’s younger than you or smarter than you or thinks they deserve more and wipes your face in what you’ve had to build—DESTROY YOUR SOUL. LISTEN TO WHAT I SAY! 

 

(Pause.)

 

LUCIAN:  I was made into the same!

 

(NORM turns away.)

 

(END OF SCENE)

 

 

(END ZONE is excerpted in One on One:  The Best Men’s Monologues for the 21st Century and in the upcoming Duo!:  The Best Scenes for Two for the 21st Century—both from Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.)

 

 

(END ZONE, © 2008, before being revised, was entitled GLORY DAYS © 1994 and then DEDICATION. All rights, including but not limited to professional, amateur, motion pictures, recitation, lecturing, public reading, all forms of mechanical or electronic reproduction, including information storage and retrieval systems and photocopying, and the rights of translation into foreign languages, are strictly reserved.  Permission for the use of END ZONE or any portion thereof must be secured in writing prior to such use from the Author’s agent, Marit Literary Agency, 3801 Hudson Manor Terrace, Suite 6I, Bronx, New York 10463; Maritagency@gmail.com; 646-667-8512; ATTN, Bob Shuman.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.