Sneak Preview of DISCLOSURE

Maya wants to disclose the truth, confront the past, and move on

Come to a reading of DISCLOSURE, a new full-length play by Carol S. Lashof on Monday, October 8, 7:30 PM at the Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco.

For more information, visit http://playwrightscentersf.org
or contact the playwright at clashof(at)gmail(dot)com

Keep scrolling down to read the opening scene …

DISCLOSURE

SCENE 1

(Early afternoon.  ANNA is sitting alone at a café table with two empty chairs.  She is folding and twisting a letter in her hands.  MAYA approaches.  ANNA looks down at her hands.)

MAYA

Hi, Mom.

ANNA

Hello, Maya.

(MAYA sits down across from her mother.)

MAYA

How are you?

ANNA

How should I be?

MAYA

Good, I hope.  You should be good.

ANNA

How can I be “good” when you drop something like this on me?

(ANNA gestures with the letter in her hand.)

You want to tell me something to keep me awake at night, you could at least have called.  Why write me a letter?  Who writes letters anymore … ?

MAYA

Let’s not talk about this now.  It’s not a good time. Or place.

ANNA

You decide to write to me out of the blue about something that happened years and years ago, and then you tell me that now is not a good time to talk about it. Is that reasonable?

MAYA

It’s Adam’s birthday.  We’re celebrating.  He’ll be here any minute.

(Looking at the menu)

I’m going to have the Salad Nicoise.  How about you?  Have you decided what you want to order?

ANNA

You should have told me a long time ago about all of this with Uncle Robert.

MAYA

“All of this”?

ANNA

Thirty-five years ago … And you only get around to telling me now?

MAYA

I didn’t want to upset you.

ANNA

You didn’t want to upset me before, but now you do?

MAYA

Of course not.

ANNA

But why now? What am I supposed to do about it now?

MAYA

Who said you were supposed to do anything?

ANNA

You must want me to do something, or why tell me?

MAYA

It’s me who needs to do something, Mom.  Not you.  I need to deal with what happened. I need to confront it.

ANNA

This is your therapist talking, isn’t it?

MAYA

No, it’s me talking.  To you.

ANNA

But this is what he said you should do, isn’t it?  And you do what he tells you to do.  The infallible Dr. Jugular, who thinks that everything wrong in your life is my fault?  Your divorce.  Your cigarette smoking.

MAYA

His name is Jugar.

ANNA

When I started smoking, we didn’t understand the dangers.  But by the time you started … Anyway, I quit.  I wish you would quit.

MAYA

My cigarette smoking is not the point, Mom.

ANNA

I realize that.  But it worries me … lung cancer, I mean.

(Pause.)

MAYA

Suppose I had told you before?  About Uncle Robert.

ANNA

If you had told me when you were a child that my brother was hurting you?  I would have done anything necessary to protect you.  How can you doubt that for even a moment?

(Pause.)

MAYA

I did try to tell you.  Once.

ANNA

You did?  When?

MAYA

The summer when I was ten, when we were staying in that cabin in the foothills … do you remember?

ANNA

(Mystified)

I remember the cabin.

MAYA

I told you about Doctor Dolittle …

ANNA

Doctor Dolittle?

MAYA

About going to see the movie with Uncle Robert.  How scary it was.

ANNA

You were scared of Doctor Dolittle?

MAYA

Yes, I had nightmares.  Don’t you remember?

(ANNA shakes her head.)

Of course, you thought it was silly.  Who could possibly be frightened of Rex Harrison?

ANNA

Oh.  I remember one time you threw a temper tantrum when My Fair Lady was on TV.  But … but you never said …

MAYA

I didn’t know what words to use.

ANNA

So then how was I supposed to know …?

(MAYA looks at her watch.)

MAYA

That boy is always late.

ANNA

Did Dr. Jugar say how I was supposed to know?

MAYA

That’s not the point.

ANNA

Then what is the point?

(Pause.)

MAYA

I’m not going to Ilene’s wedding.

ANNA

What?

MAYA

Cousin Ilene’s wedding in December.  I’m not going.  Not if Uncle Robert is going to be there.

ANNA

It’s his granddaughter’s wedding.  I assume he’ll be there.  But lots of other people will be there too. You wouldn’t have to talk to him.

MAYA

I refuse to be in the same room with him.

ANNA

I already sent the RSVP to Bobby and Sharon. I said we’d be there, you and me and Adam …

MAYA

An RSVP is not an irrevocable contract.

ANNA

But what will we tell them about why you’re not coming?

MAYA

Why we are not coming.

ANNA

You mean you don’t want me to go either?

MAYA

Yes, that’s exactly what I mean.

ANNA

Ilene is my niece.

MAYA

Grand-niece.

ANNA

It’s a family gathering.  Everybody will be there.

MAYA

Mom, listen to me. I am asking you not to go.

ANNA

But, Maya …

MAYA

Please.

ANNA

Of course, if you feel that strongly about it …

MAYA

I do.

ANNA

All right.

MAYA

Thank you.

(Pause.)

ANNA

You know, Robert hasn’t had a drink in almost fifteen years.  He’s a different person now than he used to be.

MAYA

That doesn’t change what he did to me.

ANNA

I know.  And what he did was horrible. Truly horrible.  But it was a long time ago. And you must have been in same room with him dozens of times since then.

MAYA

For years I blocked it out of my mind.

ANNA

You mean, you forgot about it?

MAYA

No, not forgot.  Just tried very hard not to think about it.  And sometimes I succeeded.

ANNA

But not any more?

MAYA

Please tell me you won’t go to the wedding.

ANNA

I told you already.  I won’t go to the wedding.

(Pause)

But it doesn’t seem fair to Ilene.  It’s not her fault that her grandfather is … what he is. Was.

(Pause.)

MAYA

Would you call them?

ANNA

You want me to call Bobby and Sharon?

MAYA

Yes.

ANNA

What do you want me to tell them?

MAYA

The truth.

ANNA

You want me to tell Bobby that his father molested you when you were a child and therefore we’re not coming to his daughter’s wedding?

MAYA

I would really appreciate it if you would do that for me, yes.

(As ANNA is hesitating over her reply,  MAYA sees ADAM approaching, and her face lights up.)

MAYA

Here’s Adam!

(The following four lines are whispered.)

ANNA

Does he know?

MAYA

No.  Hush.

ANNA

Aren’t you going to tell him?

MAYA

Not today. Not on his birthday.

(MAYA stands up as ADAM reaches the table.  She hugs him warmly.  ADAM also hugs his grandmother.  Both women are obviously delighted to see him.)

ADAM

Hi, Mom.  Hi, Grandma.

ANNA

Happy birthday, Adam.

MAYA

Happy birthday, darling.

(ANNA and MAYA produce birthday cards and hand them to ADAM, who opens them eagerly.  There are checks inside.  ADAM kisses MAYA and ANNA on the cheek and puts the checks in his wallet, taking a credit card out as he does so.)

ADAM

Lunch is on me!

MAYA

Adam, no, you should save your money for school, or car repairs, or …

ANNA

Or to treat a pretty girl.

ADAM

Don’t worry, grandma, I promise to treat lots of pretty girls, and I’m going to start with my two favorite ladies.  Have you ordered yet?

MAYA

No, we were waiting for you.  After all, you’re the birthday boy.

ADAM

I’m sorry I’m late.  I had to finish the reading for my class this afternoon.

(ADAM glances briefly at the menu.)

Let’s order champagne.

MAYA

Didn’t you just tell us you had class this afternoon?

ADAM

It’s a class on James Joyce.  His characters are drunk all the time, so why shouldn’t I be?

MAYA

Well, I shouldn’t be drunk to meet my client.  I have a two o’clock appointment, and it’s already almost one.

ANNA

It’s a party.

MAYA

Easy for you to say.  You’re retired.

ADAM

C’mon, Mom.  It’s my twenty-first birthday. Anyway, I’m sure you can drink half a glass of champagne and still tell your clients how they should invest their money.  If anybody can.

MAYA

Okay.

(ADAM stands up and gestures to the waiter.)

END SCENE

I Survived the 24-Hour Play Fest!

I want a t-shirt that says, “I survived the 24-Hour Play Fest”!

On Saturday, September 15, the Playwrights Center of San Francisco presented its second (but my first) 24-Hour Play Fest.  The experience was far more exhilarating and artistically satisfying than I could have imagined—and every bit as exhausting as I expected it to be.

For the playwrights, the adventure began on Friday evening about 6 pm at Theatre 250 on Mission Street when we (Vonn Scott Bair, Rachel Bublitz, Gaetana Caldwell-Smith, Modecai Cohen Ettinger, Jerome Joseph Gentes, Laylah Muran, and I) gathered to draw little slips of paper out of a hat.  By virtue of this wonderfully random process, we were each assigned actors and a director, and were collectively assigned a theme: “That’s Not True!”  We met briefly with our ensembles.  Then we went home to write a play for them.

7:45 pm on Friday: Since the sorting hat has assigned me a cast of four—three women and one man—my fancies turn to Macbeth and the witches … Scratch that, witches are overdone.  How about the witches’ “familiars”—the spirits who attend upon them, or perhaps, actually govern their actions?  Two familiars are named in the text of the Scottish play: Graymalkin and Paddock, a cat and a toad.  Google around to find a third appropriate name:  “Pyewacket.”  For variety, let’s call her a dog.  Set the scene: between life and death.  The time: the day after tomorrow.  Start writing dialogue.  “Pyewacket” rhymes with “thwack it” … If Macbeth had thwacked less and thought more, he might have lived to see tomorrow … Oh, this is fun … Write more silly lines …

And then discover, around about midnight, that my characters have no reason for being.  Why are they here?  What do they want from each other?  Why on earth did I volunteer to write a ten-minute script overnight when I am by nature a slow, deliberative, and matutinal writer?  In other circumstances, I would give the premise up as a bad idea.  But there is a 7 am deadline looming.  It’s way too late and I’m way too wired to come up with a new concept.  So I allow my characters to interrogate each other:  “What do you want from us?” they ask. And lo and behold, they answer.  The Familiars:  We want recognition.  The witches always get all the credit.  Macbeth: I want a chance for a do-over, not to make the same mistakes again.

A little before 4 am, I checked my formatting and e-mailed “The Day After Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow …” to festival producer Jennifer Roberts.  Twice.  Just to be safe.  Then I went to bed and failed to sleep.

Rehearsals were well under way when I walked in the front door of Say Media on 3rd and Townsend shortly after noon on Saturday.  (Thank you, Say Media, for loaning PCSF this fantastic rehearsal space.)  Rising from the stairwell came the clamor of seven casts rehearsing seven new plays.  I found my stalwart ensemble and settled in to watch. Their turn now to work.  My turn for the pleasure of seeing my characters come beautifully to life.

7:45 pm on Saturday:  Back at Theatre 250.  A sold-out show.  In spite of a non-functioning dimmer board, the house lights go down, the stage lights come up.  Paddock croaks.  The audience laughs.

Thanks. And thanks and ever thanks to director Amy Crumpacker and actors Riley Krull, Sarah Nowicke, Shaun Plander, and Ashley Sullivan:  you were brilliant, bold, and resolute!  And off book too.