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Since Grandpa Died

A play in one act

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Continuation of 'Since Grandpa Died'

Talk to Liz at Miraclelizz@aol.com.

Conant's comments: O'Donnell's contribution to this play was to come up with the storyline and to interact with me while the script was in progress. My part was the finished product.

During the first draft, I used the name 'Liz' for the main character as a space-holder. We then got so used to that name that we left it.

We ask no royalties if this play is presented by a not-for-profit group. Profit-seeking groups may obtain further information by emailing Conant at prconant@yahoo.com.

Characters:

Liz: a woman in her twenties who goes through flashbacks to important incidents in her life.

Voice: a male voice who takes on various roles in Liz's memory and imagination.

Most of the play occurs in Liz's bedroom, though two scenes occur on a barren stage.

The play opens with a sparse set: a bed, a chair and a dresser. A few props change by scene. One prop is a vodka bottle, the same bottle being used throughout the play.

Each scene features a large poster that signals a period of Liz's life. Back-projection might be a convenient way to handle this.

SCENE 1

L: [staring intently at phone] Why won't he call? I know he's gonna call. I prayed he would. He's got to hear me thinking of him. Oh, Joe. . . why did this happen? You know you love me.

[Turns to vodka bottle, picks it up and cradles it, almost like a baby.]

L: Lizzy, come on, you know you should just pour it out. Tina [addressing bottle as if it is Tina], why did you decide to be nice to me and bring this over? I know you just wanted to be friends. How could you know I quit drinking?

[Puts bottle back down, fumbles for cigaret from pack on dresser, attempts to light it but breaks it, and then gives up in disgust.]

Joe's going to call. I KNOW he will.

[Closes eyes as if intently willing him to call.]

If he doesn't call, I'll drink this vodka. THAT'S what I'll do!

[Irritably]

That's why this bottle came to me. In case Joe doesn't call.

[long pause]

Oh Liz, you dope. You know God told you to quit drinking -- but it's too hard! I only have ten days clean and sober. Oh Christ, it's too hard!

[Then, as if a thought came]One day at a time. That's what they say. Don't drink just today. Cindy told me to call if I felt like drinking. Maybe I should.

[Peeks again at bottle; hesitates, and instead takes a well-worn paper from the bureau, reading aloud haltingly]

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.'

[After a moment of calm, she flies into a rage]

That's a nice prayer! Too bad it's bullshit! The only man I ever loved, my soul mate -- gone!

[Mood softens]

But it's not really his fault. It's more my fault. Oh why did I have to play it so dumb and go out with that other guy? I didn't even care about Travis at all. Joe was so mad when he found out! But it wasn't fair. He had broken up with me -- again! What was I supposed to do? I have feelings, too. Hey, I'm human. Who does he think he is to play those head games?

Still, I could have waited. Why didn't I wait a little longer? Maybe he wouldn't have minded if I'd dated different guys and not get serious with anybody. But I wasn't really serious about Travis! Shit! This is so fucked up.

I know what it really is. I can be a bitch. I had an attitude: I'll fix his wagon! Now I wish I hadn't gotten so mad, though. I fixed my own wagon, too. I can't live without him. If he's not in my life, all I want to do is drink.

Yeah. . . But he drinks too much, too. He could really tie one on. He beat the crap out of me once when I was really bad . . . But I goaded him into it. I know I did. I wouldn't shut up. That was the liquor talking. I'm sure of it now.

I wish he would call. Then maybe he'd go to some meetings with me. Those meetings are weird. A lot of talk about Higher Power. They mean God. I believe in God. Don't drink and go to meetings, that's what Cindy said. Maybe I should call her.

If only he would call. Please call, Joe. Please. I'm your soul mate. We"re meant for each other. You're the only one for me. If he calls, THEN everything will be OK. I'll turn on the sweet li'l me act. I'll get him back. I know how to make myself look good. He'll take me back!

I would go over there. But, what if he's with somebody new?

[Fondles bottle, then expresses disgust]

People are always leaving me! Can't I get anything to work right? Nothing has been right in my life. . .

[As lights dim, Voice joins Liz in completing sentence]

L and V: . . .since Grandpa died.

***endscene***

SCENE 2

[Liz takes a teddy bear from under the bed and places it on the bed, lying on its back with its head on the pillow. Poster is now something that would appeal to a young child. Liz sits on floor beside the bed.]

L: Grandpa, you're my favorite person in the whole world. We're going to get married when I grow up, huh?

V: Sure, Liz. We'll have a fine wedding. But [chuckles] what if Prince Charming takes you away from me? What then?

[Liz adamantly shakes her head, little-girl style.]

L: Nope. I'm marrying you.

V: Well, sure, Apple of My Eye. But let's not forget I told you I may have to go away for a while. . .

L: No!

V: And I don't want you forgetting all I told you about the saints and God and all his angels.

L: Grandpa, tell me about St. Michael. You know, the angel who likes God. I like God.

V: A great angel he was, and is. A terrible battle broke out in heaven. 'Who is like God?' shouts Michael. Then he and the other good angels drive out all those snakes: the devil and all his angels.

[Long pause.]

L: Why was the devil bad?

V: Now that's a funny question. But the answer is: He didn't want to do what God said. And so there was no end of trouble from then on.

L: And now he's . . .[points downward] down there.

V: Yes, but he's still sneaking around. That's why we should pray to Michael, and the other saints, and say the rosary to our Blessed Mother.

L: [Singing] 'Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so; little ones to him belong; we are weak but he is strong.' All the children sit on his lap!

V: The GOOD children.

L: [Impishly] And the bad little girl jumps off, and runs away, and turns into a . . .a . . . witch! [Sudden mood change.] How old was I when my mommy went away to be with the saints?

V: You were only two, my little pumpkin. You were very young. But you loved your mother, that's a fact.

L: I wish I had my real mommy, instead of JULIE!

V: Julia's a nice girl. She wants to do the right thing.

L: I HATE her. Daddy says he's not going to marry her. Good!

V: The blessed mother will be -- is -- your mother, Lizzie.

L: She WILL? But what if I turn into a WITCH!? [Sudden mood change] What does God look like, Grandpa?

V: Oh, you can't see . . . [rethinks his words]. He looks like Jesus, only his hair is white.

L: Is Mommy in heaven with Jesus.

V: Why of course, my little darling.

L: Why doesn't Daddy go to church with us? Maybe he could talk to God, and then he would stop being so mean.

V: We mustn't be talking about your father that way. He's a hard worker, but he just doesn't understand little girls.

L: Plus he drinks a lot of whiskey . . . a lot.

V: Yes. I'm afraid so. In that area, he was mistaught.

L: I hate him! He's so mean! And I hate his girlfriend! She's mean, too!

L: God made them, Liz. Some day you'll understand.

***endscene***

SCENE 3

[The poster should reflect a 13-year-old's tastes, as should her apparel.]

L: Grandpa, I wish you weren't gone. Daddy doesn't love me. He only loves whiskey. I feel so bad all the time. I ought to run away from home again. But there's nowhere to go. That was HORRIBLE in the city. Some people were nice. I guess it's OK that the police picked me up.

Daddy doesn't mean to hurt me. [Rubs arm.] He's too drunk. Anyway, they told him to watch out, 'cause I might get taken away. Julie told him to don't hit when he's drunk. She says we should get along.

Where are you, Grandpa? You're with God, I know.

[Shrieks.]

No! No! Please, Grandpa, don't be gone! You can't be gone! Why did you die, Grandpa! No!

[Sobs, then looks out at the audience and says:]

I hate you, God!

***endscene***

SCENE 4

[Lighting is spooky. Eerie music is heard, but not too loud. The poster emblazons some cult-like rock group. The bureau has on it the vodka bottle, a book, a phone and a few small items. During the scene change, Liz dons a dark robe.

Upon taking a swig from the bottle, she picks up the book and opens it near the beginning, holding it open as she reads.}

L: Which chapter do I want? Runic secrets? Shadows and shades? Mother goddess love spells?

[Laughs at herself.]

Why do I believe in this stuff? It's stupid, I know, BUT . . . If the other girls find out, I'm through. Lindie Crawford got all mixed up in this stuff, and now everybody calls her 'Halloween' . . . Still, that's better than being called a whore.

[Looks in mirror, then down at floor.]

Kenny shouldn't have done that to me. I was drunk.

[Liz takes another swig, then lights a bowl of cannabis. After a while, she speaks.]

If my dad and that slut girlfriend of his knew what I was into, they'd wig out. I oughta find a spell to hex her. She's the real witch!

[Liz sits on the bed, chilling out for a while as the music comes up. Suddenly, loud clangs are heard and the music cuts off. A dark-hued spotlight is played off center stage. Liz, a separate light on her, leaps up in fright.]

Voice: Death, blood and gore. That's what I have in store, for Grandpa's little whore.

Liz cries out: Grandpa! Grandpa! Help me!

V: [Mocking] Grandpa! Grandpa! Help me!. . .Help me get another hit, help Kenny cover me in shit!

L: [Anguished] Grandpa!

V: Help me get some real good shit. Help Kenny play with my little clit!

L: Grandpa!. . .Jesus, somebody. . .please!

[The instant Liz utters 'Jesus, somebody' the off-center spotlight switches off. As Liz recovers her composure, stage lighting becomes less spooky.]

L: [Lighting a cigaret.] I must be going crazy.

[Takes another pull from her bottle, then goes to phone and touch-dials.]

Hey Heather, what's up? Yeah. The play was a lot of fun. You should have tried out for it. [Pause.] Do you really think I was good? [Laughs.]

'O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou, Romeo? Deny thy father, and refuse thy name.

'Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,

And I'll no longer be a Capulet.'

Man, that play was hard. I didn't understand half the stuff I was saying, even though Mr. Jackson explained it all. But that was OK. It was fun.

You know, I was thinking of being an actress. I'm gonna try out for 'Our Town.' I think I'd make a good actress. When I get old enough, I'm definitely going to Hollywood. Why not . . . ? [Dreamily:] That would be SO cool. Maybe I won't be a star. But I MIGHT.

[Light-heartedly sings:]

'They're gonna put me in the movies.

They're gonna make a big star out of me.

They're gonna put me in the movies.

And all I gotta do is,

act naturally!'

[Ringo Starr made this Buck Owens song a hit.]

So anyway, are you going to the party Saturday? Dave's parents will be out of town for the weekend. It should be a blast. I'm gonna bring some good stuff.

I just hope that creep Jed isn't gonna be there. He's such a pain. Spoils everything. He thinks he's Tom Cruise [or latest matinee idol] or something. But when he gets trashed, forget it. He can't hold his liquor. Everybody makes fun of him, and he eats it up, the creep.

He sent me this dumb poem. If he wasn't such a creep, it'd be kinda sweet.

[Fishes in drawer and pulls out an envelope, from which she withdraws a piece of paper.]

Ready?

'My Angel' -- that's the title.

Once upon a time, there was this angel friend of mine.

She was there day or night, rain or shine.

The angel never said a thing.

Just smiled brightly there.

Sometimes she would flit around

putting music into the air.'

He said he wrote it for me 'cause I'm a star now.

Anyway, at least Dave's cool. But can you imagine him or any of the other boys writing a poem? [Laughs.] Yeah, right. Unless it's for a rock song, that is. But like I say, Dave's cool. And so is J.R. He's turning into a doll. I can't believe how good he looks. I wouldn't mind getting into his pants. . .

YOU got it on with him? REALLY? Tell me everything. What was he like? [Fairly long pause.] Oh you're so lucky. I can't BELIEVE this. Well, I guess you guys -- huh? -- just friends? Yeah. I get that. That's the way it is with me and Kenny. I don't know if it'll turn into anything. It's OK for now . . . I guess.

Well, you hang in there. You never know. Just don't get like Sally. You know what she says to me? She says, I feel like I'm a big slut.

You want to come over? [Drops voice.] Got any pot? Cool, we can put on some Slayer [or whatever gothic group is in vogue] and shit.

If you can get some vodka from your dad's liquor cabinet . . . listen! Don't worry about that. Listen to me. Pour the vodka from a bottle in the back into a soda bottle or something. Then fill up the empty vodka bottle with water. He'll never notice. Then we'll replace it later. I'm sure at the party one of the older guys can help us get some more. Good idea, right?

Way to go, Heather!

***endscene***

SCENE 5

[Wardrobe change is suitable for a young woman in the 19 to 21 age bracket. The poster has a Hollywood motif, featuring a female film star (of any decade). Be nice if the poster includes the word 'Hollywood.'

A waste basket is at center stage.

Scene opens with Liz kneeling in front of the waste basket, vomiting. No vodka bottle is in sight.

She slowly gets up and sits in chair, holding her head and using other gestures to indicate illness.]

L: What's WRONG with me? I can't do anything right. Not since Grandpa died. My life's a wreck -- at twenty! That big jerk of a boss of mine. Where did he get off firing me? I could sue the pants off of him. He had no right. I was trying to save up enough money so I could get my own place with Heather. Shit. And that clod, Ken. We've been going out forever, and he goes and joins the Marines! Like, what am I, dirt? He didn't even tell me until he was at Camp Lejeune.

Well, that's it. We're breaking up! Who needs him? Anyway, all he ever wants to do is get high and screw. He can't even hold a conversation like a normal person.

[Pause.]

I saw Jed yesterday. What a dreamboat he turned into. He kinda liked me once. But I was going with Kenny. And now he's got a girlfriend. . . I wonder what she's like. Yeah. But he got too religious for me. I can't handle that Goody Two-Shoes trip. I hear that if you give him half a chance, he'll shove the Bible under your nose. Still. . . you know, he's got a good job. . . Maybe I should make a play for him . . . No. What would he want with a loser like me? Anyway, his girlfriend is probably one of those la-de-da types. Too cool for school, don't you know. How old is she, anyway? Shit, I can't even think of her name.

Oh, what the fuck am I thinking about? Damn, what am I gonna do? I'm trapped here with my dad and Julie, who still has the idea in her head she's my stepmom. THAT'S a joke. Oh well. At least she's not so bad anymore. At least SOMETIMES I can talk to her.

I can't BELIEVE I got fired. So what if I came in a little late sometimes? I always did my job. I was a good worker.

[Liz withdraws the vodka bottle from a handbag that has been carelessly tossed onto the bed. She pours herself a stiff one into a tumbler that is on the bureau.]

I wonder if there's any OJ in the fridge. I've got to learn to drink like a lady. Oh well . . . bottoms up! [Drains glass.]

[Sweeping bag onto floor, she throws herself onto the bed and chills out for a while. At length, the phone rings, and she answers it.]

L: Hi Tara. What's up? . . . What!!! My God! How awful! My God! My God! She's my best friend! Oh God, you can't do this to me! Not again! Tara, tell me, how could this happen?! . . . She did?! How many stories up was she when she fell? . . . God! . . . I bet she was out with that get-high crowd of hers again. Everybody drinks a little. Everybody smokes a bone or two. But she always pushed it. I told her, listen Heather, you better watch out . . . but she just wouldn't listen. Not to me. Not to anybody.

What was she on? Oh, I already know. Mad Dog and Bad Boy . . . God, I told her to slow down . . . This is so AWFUL.

OK, I know you have other people to call. I'll let you go. No. I'll be OK. Really. Bye.

[Hangs up.]

Heather, Heather. You're my best friend! You can't go.

[Weeps.]

I know God is looking out for you. I hope he is. He must be. Heather, do you remember how we used to talk? You were gonna be a singer. . .a rock singer. Me an actress. You could SING, too.

[Liz sings first verse of 'Amazing Grace.']

You used to sing that sometimes, Heather. Remember? You sang it so good.

[Pause.]

Heather, you can't go . . . Now I have nobody . . .

[Pause]

I better call Joe. He must be feeling terrible.

[Dials]

Oh hi Joe. This is Liz. It's terrible about your sister. I just wanted to say how sorry I am. We were best friends for so long. I can't believe it.

Yeah, don't worry. I'll be sure to come.

Listen, why don't we get together over a beer and talk? How about 0'Toole's? OK, sure you can come pick me up. Nine o'clock? Sounds good. See you then.

I'll say a prayer.

***endscene***

SCENE 6

L: I should have known better than to hang out with Tammy Sue.

[Lights cigaret, takes a puff or two, then agitatedly stubs it out. Trembling, she attempts to pour vodka into a glass but unable to do so, she simply swigs from the bottle.]

That girl is TROUBLE. Now she's on probation. And my name is in the local rag. I used to see myself getting my name in the paper. Rave reviews for the great Liz. And now it's come to this: 'Dumb broad barely stays out of jail.'

Well, at least the judge let me off. Tammy Sue had gotten into trouble before. She gets probation. All I got was a fine. It could have been a whole lot worse. Maybe the judge felt sorry for us. Or, it could be because my dad's in good with City Hall.

But what stinks is that now I have to listen to a whole bunch of shit from Julie. Watch your P's and Q's, she says. You better watch out who you run with, she says. I don't know where that slut gets off talking . . . Who does she think she is? Miss La De Da? Miss Holier Than Thou? I notice Dad never stuck a wedding band on her hand. Slut.

You'd think she never snuck anything out of a store. Anyway, so what if I did boost a thing or two? The money's gotta come from somewhere. SURVIVAL. You gotta survive.

But that dumb Tammy Sue. She sashays her dumb butt out of Smart-mart with her coat bulging like Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey. We didn't even make it to the car before the cops were all over us. NOW I find out that the cops hang out on the mall roof, waiting to grab dumb clucks like us. So then the officer says, 'Well, if you paid for all this stuff, why are all the alarm doohickeys cut out?' God, that was so embarrassing.

[Takes a swig; thinks for a while.]

Now I've gone from Most Popular Girl -- well, I was once, during my high school acting days -- to Goofus, partner in crime with Dumbo. How could that happen?

[Another swig.]

Julie's watching her purse AND Dad's wallet like a hawk. Plus, she's got the liquor cabinet fixed up like Fort Knox. What was I supposed to do? Really, the truth is, they OWE me -- after all they put me through.

Then, when Heather dies, they have the nerve to send ME to a shrink. What about THEM? I never saw two such fucked up people. Anyway, that trip to the shrink was a laugh. I talked to her -- once. She asks me all these personal questions. Like, none of your goddamn business, bitch! I'll take care of my own self, thank you.

Still, I know Dad was just worried about me. He says, maybe Heather's death threw me off. I remember, at her funeral, Grandpa's wake came rushing back into my head. That was so awful, looking at him in the coffin, deader than a doornail, as they say. He was my best friend. How could God -- I mean, if there is a God -- do that to me? And then Heather. Ditto. [Pause.] They couldn't have an open casket for her. Too mushed up.

[Another swig.]

It's so funny, how Heather could be my best friend and I never paid any attention to her brother. And now Joe's my soul partner -- when we're not fighting.

[Pause.]

Sometimes I think he's looking for his sister in me.

That could be a big part of our problem. Why we always fight. I'm not Heather. I'm me.

Well, that's no prize. Poor guy. He doesn't need me. He should find somebody, you know, who's better for him.

Face it, Liz. You're just no good. You'll bring him nothing but tears.

Oh GOD! I'm so mixed up. I don't know what's right or wrong anymore!

That judge told me that if I ever came into his court again, the next time he wouldn't fool around. It'd be the Women's House of Detention for me. Christ, I'll kill myself before I ever let that happen.

[Pause.]

A lot of times I wake up and say, 'God, why am I still alive, stuck in this miserable hell hole of a life again?

[Another swig.]

One of these days, I may just do away with myself.

[Phone rings and Liz answers.]

Tammy Sue? Hi. . . You're right about that, we were really lucky. Hey, I don't feel like talking on the phone. Let's meet over at Riley's. You're broke? Me too. Don't worry, there's always plenty of guys over there who will buy a girl a drink or two. [Laughs.]

Yeah, I know, I know. I'd rather pay for at least SOME of my own drinks, too. But, you know, we've gotta stay away from boosting. Hey, something will turn up. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. Right? Right!

***endscene***

SCENE 7

[Hollywood poster signals that Liz is still in the same period of her life as she was in the previous scene.]

I can't believe that bitch Julie says I drink too much. Shape up or ship out, she says. My way or the highway. So I drink a little too much sometimes. What about THEM!? If I ever get as bad as my dad, then I'll quit. Besides, I smoke pot. That way I don't get fucked up on one thing. It balances out. That's the smart way to think.

What I should do is, I should move to Hollywood and start over. That would get me away from all this crap. And I'm good enough. People still make it out there.

[A pause, then, with resolve:]

OK, Hollywood! Here I come!

[Pause.]

Oh . . . who am I kidding? I don't know anybody and, even if I did . . .

[Takes long pull from bottle.]

Whatever happened to me? I was gonna be this big star. What a joke. My last audition -- when was that? -- I was so fucked up, they wouldn't let me finish. But what else could I do? I HAD to take something to calm my nerves. It's not that it was stage fright. It's just that I've been too nervous about everything.

[Rhetorically:]

Does that make me an alcoholic?

[Liz recites, haltingly and poorly, yet trying to sound high-toned:]

'Romeo, Romeo. Wherefore art thou, Romeo?

Deny thy father and, uh, refuse thy name.

Or, if thou won't be sworn by my love,

And ... uh ... I'll no longer be a... something.'

Oh, what's the use? I'm no good. I WAS good. But now I can't even hold a dumb data entry job. Stupid job, anyway. I was going crazy with a bunch of who-cares numbers. That's not ME. I should have been a star. Or, at least an actress.

But nothing ever comes of anything for me -- not since Grandpa died. Now all I do is drink and get high. I mean, I'm no alcoholic, but who wouldn't drink if they were in my shoes? And I've been seeing too many guys. Joe's hopping mad about that. But how did I know he'd want to get back together? And now he dumped me again! Oh I can't stand it! My life sucks!

How could somebody like me expect to get married? Kenny and me were gonna get married -- I think he's stationed in Okinawa -- three kids, a dog and a white picket fence. A big wedding. Everybody would be so envious. Yeah, but Kenny turned out to be no Prince Charming.

But then again, I'm not exactly Cinderella.

Can you imagine Cinderella having to get an abortion? God, I hope Joe never finds out. Now I've got 'baby killer' on my record, too.

[Weeps.]

I know what to do about this bummer life! Shape up or ship out? Well, I'm shipping out!

[Leaves stage and returns with prescription drug container. She dumps out a bunch of pills, puts a handful in her mouth and chases it with a long pull of vodka.

[Lights dim; in darkened theater, a siren wails.]

SCENE 8

[Lighting changes help signal mood change; poster is the one used in scene 2.]

Voice: Grandpa, tell me about St. Michael; you know, the angel who likes God. I like God.

[As Voice speaks, Liz arises from bed and takes up a string of rosary beads, which she fingers while reciting the 'Hail Mary' two or three times, breaking off in mid-verse.

[A white spotlight is cast onto the stage, slightly off-center. A lesser light falls on Liz.]

V: You're still the apple of my eye, Liz.

L: Grandpa? . . . Is that you?

V: Just good old me.

L: Grandpa?

V: Tell me, Lizzie, do you still like God?

L: You KNOW I like God. [Pause.] Well, sometimes I said I didn't. But I didn't really mean it. [Pause.] I know . . . you must be St. Michael, the archangel.

V: Who is like God Liz?

[Long pause.]

V: If you . . .

L: Well . . .

V: like God,

L: . . . Jesus

V: you're like God, Liz.

L: [Forlorn.] But Grandpa . . . uh, I mean, St. Michael? . . . I've been very bad. I don't know what's wrong with me. I feel terrible. I'm so sorry.

V: You'll always be the apple of my eye, Liz.

****endscene**** [Stage is barren, the furniture having been pushed out of lighted area. Poster is gone. Liz is now dressed as Juliet.

[Lighting is mottled.]

[Liz and Voice speak over dreamy background music for this scene.]

Voice: You're such a beautiful little dreamer, Lizzie, my darling dream girl.

Liz: [With confidence]: 'O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou, Romeo?' . . . Is that OK? A little more fluid? OK, how's this? 'O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?'

Better? Thanks. Good. You know, I'm beginning to hate that line. Everybody thinks they know how it should sound. But I bet Shakespeare wasn't making some big deal out of it. There's a lot more important stuff in the script, that's for sure.

You know, I've just about had it with this rehearsal. Can we take a break? OK, Sonny?

[Liz paces a bit.]

So Dolly, anyway -- cigaret? Look in my bag.

[No bag is onstage. Liz listens to Dolly before responding.]

L; Yeah. It sure beats some of the dogs we've been in. And imgaine, we're actually getting PAID. We're moving up in the world, Doll. At least this is real off-Broadway -- not off-the-wall Broadway.

[Listens.]

Yeah, true. Some of those jobs were fun. We got to work with a lot of good people. I guess we were lucky that way. It's amazing how often we ended up on the same stage. Well, anyway, correct me if I'm wrong, but this must be the fifth time since drama school.

Remember when we did [Pick a song the actress can handle]together? Hey that was good.

[Liz begins to sing that number, also doing some easy but pleasing dance routine, and laughing with pleasure at the conclusion.]

So anyway, Doll, you gotta admit this show is a big break for the both of us. Here's our big chance.

Did I ever tell you I played Juliet in high school? [Laughs.] It was kinda weird. 'Cause my so-called stepmom's name is Julie and all through the play I kept thinking wouldn't it be nice if Julie would drop dead, too? But anyway, it was back in high school that I decided that the stage was for me.

You too? Yeah, I guess that's a pretty common thing to happen. Yeah, lots of people have dreams, but we're going to make it! Next stop, Hollywood! Right, Dolly!?

[Listens.]

Yeah, that's true. Film and legitimate theater are two different worlds, I know. But acting's acting. That's what I always say. I mean, maybe they don't care about Shakespeare in Hollywood -- I mean, unless you get very, very lucky. Still, it's important to get known. And that's what we're doing!

And, like I say, this is such a good experience for me. Yeah, so professional. Yeah, Sonny is really, really straight. But that's cool with me. It doesn't bother me that he won't let anybody crack a beer in the studio and that you better not show up with liquor on your breath. That's -- actually -- good for me. There was a time when I might have resented that, but now I'm so glad to be a part of a professional production.

[Breaking glass is heard offstage and lights dim rapidly.]

Voice: [Loudly:] This is not your future, Liz.

L: Not my future? What does he mean, not my future?[Sobs.] But why? WHY can't it be my future? That's ME. That's where I BELONG. On stage. It's such FUN.

V: You won't let yourself have this future.

'Since Grandpa Died' is continued here

Email: prconant@yahoo.com