The Entertainment Fulltext

barfly: (BAR-FLY slumps half- asleep on table.)

barfly: [BAR-FLY:] (Struggles to remember mental checklist.)

barfly: [BAR-FLY:] (Drunkenly fumbles in pockets, remembers. Places right hand on chin.)

barfly: [BAR-FLY:] (Places left hand on leg. Leans precariously into table. Closes eyes.)

barfly: [BAR-FLY:] (Opens eyes, scans table for landmarks. Remembers, spits.)

barfly: [BAR-FLY:] (Glances down at newspaper. Tries to be interested.)

barfly: [BAR-FLY:] (Sighs, shuffles, surrenders.)

sign: {SCENE: Late night. The same tavern.}

sign: {Ensemble, apprehensive}

jukebox: {Act III Sound cues:}

jukebox: {Sound 13: Distant highway.}

jukebox: {Sound 14: Jukebox love song.}

jukebox: {Sound 15: Disconcerting hum.}

evelyn: [EVELYN:] (Drunk) I love this song.

pearl: [PEARL:] (Sober) I've never heard it.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] It's a love song. It's a valentine.

pearl: [PEARL:] Sure.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Ever been in love?

pearl: [PEARL:] Nope.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Me neither.

pearl: [PEARL:] Well, there's Ted ...

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Son of a bitch!

pearl: [PEARL:] Evelyn ...

pearl: You love Ted, right?

evelyn: [EVELYN:] He's a son of a bitch, out on the road, selling hammers and hammering shop girls.

pearl: [PEARL:] You know he isn't.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Well I wish he would!

pearl: [PEARL:] You don't mean that.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Sure.

evelyn: I don't mean that ...

evelyn: [EVELYN:] He's a son of a bitch, but you have to stick by your family.

pearl: [PEARL:] Sometimes ...

evelyn: [EVELYN:] If it kills you.

pearl: [PEARL:] Do you? Why?

evelyn: [EVELYN:] You just have to.

pearl: [PEARL:] Why?

evelyn: [EVELYN:] I love this song.

pearl: [PEARL:] What if they're ... better off without us?

pearl: My folks could get better with money. Ted could ... I don't know. Meet someone new?

evelyn: [EVELYN:] He wouldn't. He's a good man.

pearl: [PEARL:] Would you?

evelyn: [EVELYN:] (Groans.)

pearl: [PEARL:] All I want is to be free of parasites. Keep my own money, pay my own debts.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Don't be a fool. Buy me a drink.

pearl: [PEARL:] What do you want?

evelyn: [EVELYN:] I want ... to ... run a hardware store with my dear husband.

pearl: [PEARL:] Evelyn ...

evelyn: [EVELYN:] I want a whiskey.

pearl: [PEARL:] That's all you want?

evelyn: [EVELYN:] And a love song.

production: {Writer's notes:}

production: {Many in the audience consider leaving.}

production: {If anyone leaves, let them leave.}

production: {The theatre is not a prison.}

production: {If anyone coughs, cough also.}

production: {The theatre is not a sickbed.}

production: {We minister to the audience.}

production: {We revere the pains of the audience.}

production: {- Lem Doolittle}


audience: {The conclusion of "The Entertainment"} {is obscure modernism posing as tragedy.} {We can only presume that this is another} {of this company's} {experimental interventions} {into the original script, as it betrays} {the human drama so carefully erected} {over the prior three scenes.}

audience: {Lula Chamberlain's set is unpretentious} {and realistic, with a handful} {of confident lighting cues.}

audience: {The dialog has an easy facility for} {bar-room banter,} {but a disconcerting habit of settling} {into familiar grooves.}

audience: {An uneven but decent production.}

audience: {Nathan Masters, Lexington Herald}

rosa: [ROSA:] She could have said.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] Sure.

lawrence: Pearl, you could have said something!

pearl: [PEARL:] I shouldn't have to say anything, dad.

rosa: [ROSA:] Letting us just sit and soak up a debt.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] We're celebrating.

lawrence: Pearl, it's supposed to be a celebration! Don't you know the news?!

rosa: [ROSA:] Larry, drop it ...

pearl: [PEARL:] So celebrate! I'm not stopping you. But I'm not paying for it.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] Your mother's going to be a manager!

pearl: [PEARL:] So put a manager's salary on that tab!

rosa: [ROSA:] It's not ...

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] Sure, they said she's "management material!" What kind of material are you, Pearl?

rosa: [ROSA:] Maybe. He said he ... he said maybe.

pearl: [PEARL:] I'm made of sweat and blood and beer. Just like you raised me.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] That's a damn strange thing to say! Sure, my hands are cut up, but ... you're a loan clerk and your mother is a manager at a supermarket!

rosa: [ROSA:] Damn it, Lawrence. It's not settled.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] Not settled? O'Neill just handed you a promotion, why can't you celebrate? Rosa, what did he say to you? Remember what he said to you?

rosa: [ROSA:] He said ...

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] Didn't he?

rosa: [ROSA:] He said ... "maybe eventually."

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] (Stunned) "Maybe eventually."

rosa: [ROSA:] "Maybe eventually management material. Keep your chin up."

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] "Maybe eventually."

rosa: [ROSA:] Sooner or later ...

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] "Keep your chin up."

pearl: [PEARL:] How's that, dad?

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] Enough.

pearl: [PEARL:] You can still settle. It'll just take longer.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] I should look again.

rosa: [ROSA:] Just sit with me, Larry. Let's just wait for the music. Get away from the awfulness.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] Sure.

rosa: [ROSA:] We can celebrate.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] Sure.

lawrence: The Slade women are moving up.

rosa: [ROSA:] Eventually ...

harry: [HARRY:] If she's this late,

harry: she's not coming.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Where's Junebug? Where's the entertainment?

harry: [HARRY:] I said, "If she's this late."

evelyn: [EVELYN:] She always shows up.

evelyn: I've got nothing better to do.

harry: [HARRY:] You gonna settle up first?

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Don't be a fool!

harry: [HARRY:] Watch it.

pearl: [PEARL:] I'll buy you a drink.

harry: [HARRY:] How about a ... water, Evelyn, and maybe ... call it a night?

evelyn: [EVELYN:] What time is it? I love this song ... it's relaxing. Like the sun ... by the pool ... on a beach full of gators ...

harry: [HARRY:] God dammit, Evelyn!

pearl: [PEARL:] Harry, your language. What would Bess think?

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Good Christian woman.

harry: [HARRY:] God dammit, who cares if I did or didn't go to New Orleans!

pearl: [PEARL:] She didn't mean anything by it ...

harry: [HARRY:] Maybe I just sat here alone in the dark. Would you like that? Evelyn? That what you want to hear?

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Watching nature programs in the dark.

harry: [HARRY:] Just me and the deer and the gators and the god-damned dinosaurs! It was Harry's ark, Evelyn! Two-by-two, out of the flood and into the poorhouse!

pearl: [PEARL:] She's just drunk.

harry: [HARRY:] All on my dime! Well there's gonna be a reckoning. All of you. Just stick around and you'll see.

rosa: [ROSA:] What are you talking about, Harry? What reckoning?

evelyn: [EVELYN:] I want to hear another love song.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] Where's Junebug?

harry: [HARRY:] I hope she never shows up. I can't pay her, the money's run out!

pearl: [PEARL:] What's that?

harry: [HARRY:] It's gone, the money's all gone! I let you sponges soak up so many free drinks now I can't even stock the whiskey without striking a deal.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] No more whiskey?

pearl: [PEARL:] Harry ... what kind of deal?

harry: [HARRY:] It doesn't matter.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] You can't blame us. Harry, we're just a little short from time to time.

rosa: [ROSA:] Sure.

harry: [HARRY:] Just leave, Pearl. Just trust me.

pearl: [PEARL:] (Worried) OK. I'm leaving. Are you sure ...

harry: [HARRY:] I'm sure.

harry: You don't deserve this.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] All I want is a love song! And a whiskey.

harry: [HARRY:] You'll have plenty of time for whiskey.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] I just want ... to be left alone ... that man is like a straitjacket.

harry: [HARRY:] I know, Evelyn.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] If only he'd ... meet some tall, young thing on the road ...

harry: [HARRY:] I know.

rosa: [ROSA:] Eleven years ... behind a supermarket till ...

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] Keep your chin up, Rosa. Eventually ...

rosa: [ROSA:] Maybe ... "maybe eventually."

harry: [HARRY:] Now, I ... you all should clear out.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Where would we go?

rosa: [ROSA:] Just let us wait. Let us wait for Junebug.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] We're good for it. We just want to have a few drinks, see the entertainment, then we'll go home.

harry: [HARRY:] You don't understand.

rosa: [ROSA:] Sure. We know you're struggling. We're all struggling, Harry. You said you have a deal, right?

harry: [HARRY:] God dammit! You don't understand me!

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Harry, your language.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] What's to understand? We'll settle our debt soon. Rosa's in line for this promotion!

harry: [HARRY:] All they want is debt! They feed on it! They put it in the whiskey!

evelyn: [EVELYN:] (Sobering up) What? What the hell are you saying?

harry: [HARRY:] He'll be here soon. The boy from Hard Times. There'll be a reckoning.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] Harry, our debt's not to the distillery ...

harry: [HARRY:] It is now. I traded it. I sold it. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry ...


barfly: ([BAR-FLY] sits alone at a table with two glasses, one empty.)

barfly: [BAR-FLY:] (Examines empty glass, examines full glass.)

barfly: [BAR-FLY:] (Looks at ashtray. Blows gently with pursed lips. Observes ash configuration.)

barfly: [BAR-FLY:] (Coughs, wipes nose with sleeve. At length, inspects sleeve.)

barfly: [BAR-FLY:] (Remembers something trivial about the prior evening, looks up suddenly. Looks left, right.)

barfly: [BAR-FLY:] (Skims newspaper article about cross-country travel by hot air balloon. Visualizes hot air balloon launch.)

barfly: [BAR-FLY:] (Forgets.)

sign: {SCENE Late morning.}

sign: {A roadside tavern in central Kentucky.}

sign: {The tavern is called 'The Lower Depths.'}

sign: {Its clientele is working-class.}

sign: {It is open morning through late night.}

sign: {The walls are wood paneling.}

sign: {The floor is linoleum tile.}

sign: {'The Lower Depths' is rarely busy.}

sign: {But it is never empty.}

harry: [HARRY:] Too G.D. hot!

evelyn: [EVELYN:] It's cool in here.

harry: [HARRY:] Yep.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Like Babylon outside.

harry: [HARRY:] G.D., you're right.

harry: Well, cool in here.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] It's an oasis.

evelyn: I wonder how Ted's holding up.

harry: [HARRY:] A.C.!

harry: Down there, they all have it.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Sure, you're right.

evelyn: I've never been to Texas.

harry: [HARRY:] Oh, sure.

harry: They all have AC. Too cold almost.

harry: In July, even.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] He's got a hotel.

harry: [HARRY:] Yeah, hotel life.

harry: That's living!

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Maybe too much!

evelyn: I mean what's to stop him, really ...

evelyn: Meet some tall thing at the hotel bar ...

harry: [HARRY:] Naw.

harry: Ted's a good man.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Naw, I know.

harry: [HARRY:] He wouldn't ... run around.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] You're right.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] How about a beer?

harry: [HARRY:] No beer today. Hard Times whiskey.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] That all you've got?

harry: [HARRY:] It's a good whiskey. Local.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Yeah.

evelyn: You take deliveries from them?

harry: [HARRY:] Sure.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] You ever see ... one of them? The boys from Hard Times?

harry: [HARRY:] What?

evelyn: [EVELYN:] I heard they're ... strange.

harry: [HARRY:] They work hard.

harry: They make a good whiskey.

harry: Who are we to judge?

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Sure. Who are we?

harry: [HARRY:] No one of consequence

evelyn: [EVELYN:] What's all this ... bread for?

harry: [HARRY:] Sandwiches. Raines law.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Ha.

evelyn: The old ones went bad while you were on vacation? You have a good time while the sandwiches rotted?

harry: [HARRY:] Oh, you know me. Couldn't shut it off.

harry: Seven days on a beach and all I could think about was work.

harry: You know, the new kitchen.

harry: Maybe hire a hostess. You know?

evelyn: [EVELYN:] A hostess! At the Lower Depths! Ha! Crazy.

harry: [HARRY:] Naw. It's not so crazy ...

harry: [HARRY:] I was in a bar ... down there in ... uh, New Orleans.

harry: They had a hostess. Some dive!

harry: She seats you, and uh ... I dunno. Points out the specials. Could have specials every night in here.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Drink specials! You make cocktails?

harry: [HARRY:] Naw! Food specials! Monday night, chicken ... I dunno, grilled chicken? Caesar salad?

harry: Class it up. You know?

harry: [HARRY:] Bess woulda liked it.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Here's to Bess.

harry: [HARRY:] Yeah, yeah. Let me grab a ... Here's to Bess.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Good Christian woman.

harry: [HARRY:] Good Christian woman.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] How about that sot in the corner?

harry: [HARRY:] Not bothering nobody.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Been here long?

harry: [HARRY:] As soon as I opened. Got started a bit earlier, I suspect.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] On a bender, huh? Sleeping in a ditch or something.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] You don't think ... maybe Ted ... ?

harry: [HARRY:] Naw. Ted's a good man. Honest. Well-liked.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] He's liked, but ...

harry: [HARRY:] He's well-liked. Sales is a good fit.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Selling hammers. Can you believe it.

harry: [HARRY:] Somebody has to.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] (Sardonic) The hammers ... they don't sell themselves.

harry: [HARRY:] (Sardonic) Hear, hear.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] It's just hard ...

evelyn: Ted on the road.

harry: [HARRY:] It's tough all over.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] What to do all day? Come here, I guess!

harry: [HARRY:] Sure! That's what I do!

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Cheap drinks ... conversation. And the entertainment!

harry: [HARRY:] Sure!

evelyn: [EVELYN:] What's tonight?

harry: [HARRY:] Oh, tonight it's ...

harry: Oh, Junebug.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] I'll stay for that.

evelyn: I need some music. Get my mind off Ted. Something romantic, you know?

evelyn: A love song from when the world was young.

evelyn: What time?

harry: [HARRY:] Around eight, maybe.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Well, set em up slow. Or I'll sleep right through it!

ceiling: {Lighting: four 400- watt 6" fresnels.}

ceiling: {Lights mounted on battens.}

ceiling: {Lights angled for general illumination.}

ceiling: {Lights are soft, low intensity.}

ceiling: {Two downstage lights greater intensity.}

ceiling: {Half-ellipse glow on wall behind bar.}

production: {Director's notes:}

production: {Lem Doolittle's original script for} {"A Reckoning" has almost no explicit} {stage directions.}

production: {From the author's essays and letters,} {we know Doolittle thought of the writer} {as an equal partner with the actors.}

production: {The actors should have equal authority} {to write-by-acting into what Doolittle} {called the "living script."}

production: {Given the lack of stage directions,} {and our own interest as a company in} {foregrounding the physicality of theatre} {we made the bold decision to borrow} {the stage directions} {from his rarely-performed} {pantomime "A Bar-fly"} {and fold them into the action of} {"A Reckoning."}

production: {We've always thought of these two pieces} {as related, so it's been a very natural} {gesture to perform them simultaneously} {and on the same stage.}

production: {- James B. Carrington}


audience: {"We have the right to lie," said dramatist} {Antonin Artaud,} {"but not about the heart of the matter."}

audience: {Obscure playwright Lem Doolittle seems} {to have made a project of this} {distinction in his play "A Reckoning."}

audience: {Originally written shortly before his} {mysterious disappearance} {several decades ago, and published} {"posthumously,"} {the play is a favorite among companies} {wishing to show their knowledge of local} {cultural history.}

audience: {How unexpected, then, to encounter a} {production that} {treats the script so irreverently!} {This student company has gone so far} {as to change the title of the play,} {and even add a new character:} {a silent, uncredited actor who pantomimes} {drunkenness with all the grace of a dog} {trying to escape from under a duvet.}

audience: {Still, this staging of "The Entertainment"} {stays true to the heart of Doolittle's} {work. Perhaps that's} {all these students owe him.}

audience: {Lily Thurston, Adair County News}

jukebox: {Act I Sound cues:}

jukebox: {Sound 1: Distant highway.}

jukebox: {Sound 2: Drone #1}

jukebox: {Sound 3: Glasses clinking}

jukebox: {Sound 4: Car passing by.}

barfly: ([BAR-FLY] slumps alone at table.)

barfly: [BAR-FLY:] (Remembers.

barfly: Scowls at memory of unkind word.)

barfly: [BAR-FLY:] (Remembers.

barfly: Considers retorts to perceived slights.)

barfly: [BAR-FLY:] (Remembers arguments, forgets specifics.)

barfly: [BAR-FLY] (Scans forecast.

barfly: Tries to remember day of week.

barfly: Considers past or future thunderstorm.)

barfly: [BAR-FLY:] (Scratches absently at table.

barfly: Silently repeats prayer to stupor.)

harry: [HARRY:] Talk to Pearl today?

rosa: [ROSA:] She worked all day.

harry: [HARRY:] She was here earlier looking for you two. She'll be back; why don't you just pace yourselves 'til you talk to her.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] We're celebrating!

harry: [HARRY:] Pace yourselves or pay your bill.

rosa: [ROSA:] Why are you so stuck on a bill all of a sudden? Are you sunstruck?

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Sure, you know it's twice as bright when you got the ocean and the pool both reflecting at you!

harry: [HARRY:] Evelyn ...

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] You catch sight of any alligators?

harry: [HARRY:] Sure, it was gators everywhere. A swamp.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] (Quietly) ... big, sandy swamp, with a pool and a hostess ...

harry: [HARRY:] What's that?

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Set 'em up, Harry. Junebug'll be here any minute and we want to be receptive.

harry: [HARRY:] Alright, but I keep track. There'll be a reckoning ...

evelyn: [EVELYN:] (Sardonic) You folks hear? About the reckoning?

rosa: [ROSA:] First I've heard.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] What's up, Harry? Short on your bills? Let the books get away from you?

harry: [HARRY:] That's an ignorant thing to say!

harry: Been doing my books for ten years, keeping this place alive all on my own ever since Bess!

harry: I oughta just let you run that tab up until you drink yourselves underground ...

rosa: [ROSA:] Now, he didn't mean nothing by it, Harry.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] Yeah, Harry, you know I'm only joking.

harry: [HARRY:] Sure, I know.

harry: I know you're joking.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Alright,

evelyn: let's drink ...

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] I better slow down.

lawrence: Hard Times whiskey comes on strong ...

lawrence: Don't want to end up like that boiled owl in the corner.

rosa: [ROSA:] I can't tell anymore.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] I hear they have some secret ingredients.

lawrence: Or a secret process, or something.

rosa: [ROSA:] Something in the wood they age it in.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] Yeah, something strange in that wood.

rosa: [ROSA:] Drink up, Larry.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] Don't call me Larry.

lawrence: It sounds like an old man.

rosa: [ROSA:] Alright, silver fox.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] Now, you ...

lawrence: I'll let it slide.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] Another?

rosa: [ROSA:] Well, I don't get paid until Friday, and I haven't seen Pearl all day.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] She can pick it up when she comes back.

harry: [HARRY:] Don't count on it ...

rosa: [ROSA:] What the hell kind of thing to say is that? Our own daughter.

harry: [HARRY:] Generosities have ...

harry: ... limits ...

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] I don't know what she said, but the Slades are good for it.

lawrence: This family takes care of our own!

rosa: [ROSA:] Sure, we'll get it straightened out when she comes back.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] Better get here soon, or she'll miss the entertainment!

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Shouldn't Junebug be here now, Harry?

harry: [HARRY:] Yep.

harry: That's what you get working with artists.

harry: Good entertainment, but it's always late.

harry: This is pretty late, though.

rosa: [ROSA:] We'll stick around.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] We're celebrating!

rosa: [ROSA:] Sure ...

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Yeah, not expecting a late-night, sentimental call

evelyn: ... and if he does, let it ring!

evelyn: The philanderer ...

harry: [HARRY:] Last drink, Evelyn?

evelyn: [EVELYN:] One more, Harry.

evelyn: I just want to hear some music.

harry: [HARRY:] Well, she'd better show up soon ...

sign: {SCENE: Evening. The same tavern.}

sign: {New patrons: ROSA and LAWRENCE,} {seated at a table,} {old, tired.}

jukebox: {Act III Sound cues:}

jukebox: {Sound 11: Distant highway.}

jukebox: {Sound 12: Drone #3}

production: {Dramaturg's notes:}

production: {To set the play in present day, 1973,} {we needed to adjust the price of gas} {as discussed by} {Pearl, Evelyn, and Harry.}

production: {We also made some adjustments to the} {description of Pearl's work.}

production: {We left in a line about Raines Law,} {which would have been archaic} {in Doolittle's time anyway.}

production: {I guess the biggest change we made,} {besides mashing} {the two Doolittle plays into one,} {was to the title.}

production: {I thought we should rename it} {"A Reckoning and a Bar-fly"} {to mix the two titles and really be clear} {about where it came from.}

production: {But Carrington liked the bleak irony of} {"The Entertainment."}

production: {- Joseph Wheattree}


audience: {There aren't many} {characters in "The Entertainment,"} {now playing at} {Buffalo Street Student Theatre,} {but director James B. Carrington} {has been able to give them all enough} {dimension to make them interesting.}

audience: {Edgar Foy's performance as} {dejected bartender Harry is convincing,} {but this is not a role into which an} {actor can project much power.}

audience: {The audience pities} {him, without ever really knowing why.}

audience: {Indeed, despite the} {cast's well-rounded portrayals,} {sparks only fly once or twice.}

audience: {Zoe Hook, Louisville Times}

rosa: [ROSA:] "Management material" that's what he said.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] Is that so?

rosa: [ROSA:] Eleven years behind a supermarket till, you're damn right.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] Damn right.

rosa: [ROSA:] I have commitment and reliability.

rosa: That's what he said. "Management material."

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] I bet they raise you to three dollars.

rosa: [ROSA:] I bet four!

rosa: The responsibility!

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] (Whistles)

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] You see Pearl today?

rosa: [ROSA:] She was working all day, I think.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] Usually doesn't work mornings.

lawrence: The Slade women are all getting promoted!

rosa: [ROSA:] I think they just put her on another shift.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] What's the morning shift like at a pawn shop do you think?

rosa: [ROSA:] (Sardonic) Black coffee and desperation.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] Let's celebrate.

lawrence: [LAWRENCE:] Harry! Another round! We're celebrating two promotions in the family!

barfly: (BAR-FLY sits alone at a table with two glasses, one empty.)

barfly: [BAR-FLY:] (Straightens shirt.

barfly: Checks pocket for currency.

barfly: Empty-handed.

barfly: Begins to calculate.)

barfly: [BAR-FLY:] (Makes mental note of room's exits.

barfly: Considers possibility of escape.)

barfly: [BAR-FLY:] (Inspects exit.

barfly: Estimates paces to exit.)

barfly: [BAR-FLY:] (Considers social effects of sudden exit.

barfly: Weighs options.

barfly: Fumbles in pocket.)

barfly: [BAR-FLY:] (Pretends to read.

barfly: Encounters troubling headline. Bites lip.

barfly: Pretends to inspect newspaper photograph.

barfly: Recognizes neighbor, pictured left.

barfly: Averts eyes.)

barfly: [BAR-FLY:] (Makes mental checklist for planned exit.)

barfly: [BAR-FLY:] (Adjusts position, prepares to bolt.)

barfly: [BAR-FLY:] (Remembers half-full drink. Pauses, sighs, relaxes shoulders.)

sign: {SCENE: Afternoon. The same tavern.}

sign: {The same people.}

sign: {Fresh drinks.}

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Put it back on that weird dinosaur show, will you?

harry: [HARRY:] Naw, those history programs don't make any sense.

harry: I prefer the nature programs.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] They think they can just say anything on TV.

evelyn: I don't believe there to be a damn word in the bible about dinosaurs on the ark.

harry: [HARRY:] Been a long time since Sunday school for me ...

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Do you go to church though?

harry: [HARRY:] Naw, not since Bess. It was her church, really.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Good Christian woman.

harry: [HARRY:] Good Christian woman.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Well I'm curious to see where they're going with it.

harry: [HARRY:] They've got you now!

evelyn: [EVELYN:] I just think they're gonna run out of rope before long.

evelyn: Dinosaurs on the ark!

harry: [HARRY:] I prefer the nature programs.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Yeah.

evelyn: So your vacation was good?

harry: [HARRY:] Seven days poolside.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] I thought you said it was a beach.

harry: [HARRY:] Oh, uh ... sure.

harry: No, it was a pool.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Was it a pool?

evelyn: Or a beach?

harry: [HARRY:] Uh. Maybe I don't remember.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Weird.

harry: [HARRY:] You think I'm making this up?

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Oh, no, I ...

pearl: [PEARL:] Hi Harry.

pearl: Are the old folks here?

harry: [HARRY:] Just me and Evelyn, all morning.

pearl: [PEARL:] Hi Evelyn.

harry: [HARRY:] And that sot in the corner.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] You're early, Pearl.

evelyn: Your parents usually don't roll in until the evening. Five or six.

harry: [HARRY:] Everything alright?

pearl: [PEARL:] Oh, sure. Thanks.

pearl: We just have some stuff to talk about.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Well, post up here and let's watch this weird dinosaur show.

evelyn: I'll stand you a drink.

evelyn: All Harry's pouring today is Hard Times whiskey.

pearl: [PEARL:] That all you got?

harry: [HARRY:] They make a good whiskey.

pearl: [PEARL:] Sure. But ... you know, the rumors ...

harry: [HARRY:] Rumors are rumors.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Put it on my tab, Harry.

harry: [HARRY:] You driving, Pearl?

pearl: [PEARL:] Oh God, no —

pearl: you know they want almost forty cents a gallon?

harry: [HARRY:] (Whistles)

pearl: [PEARL:] I had the early shift, so I just walked over.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] In this heat!

harry: [HARRY:] You still working over there at, uh ...

pearl: [PEARL:] "Ace Jewelry & Loan."

pearl: Joe Hardin, proudly trading shortcuts for dignity six days a week since 1962.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] At least they have the piety to shut down on Sunday.

pearl: [PEARL:] With Joe it's more likely a hangover.

harry: [HARRY:] (Sardonic) Can't it be both?

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Well, I know you see more trade than I do.

pearl: [PEARL:] Must be slow over at the hardware store.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Slow isn't the word.

evelyn: And now Ted is out shilling for Quality Hammers to make up income.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] (Mocking) "Have you considered Quality Hammers on your shelf?

evelyn: We made the switch recently and business has tripled!

evelyn: Well of course, I'd love to have dinner with your lovely daughters —"

harry: [HARRY:] Evelyn ...

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Hey, a man gets lonely out on the road!

evelyn: I know how it is!

harry: [HARRY:] Naw ...

pearl: [PEARL:] Harry, you've been traveling, right?

harry: [HARRY:] Sure, yeah, down in New Orleans. Just taking a break.

pearl: [PEARL:] A vacation.

harry: [HARRY:] Looking around for ... ideas.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Tell her about the pool or the beach!

harry: [HARRY:] Evelyn ...

pearl: [PEARL:] Sounds nice!

evelyn: [EVELYN:] And the hostess!

harry: [HARRY:] I may just cut you off!

evelyn: [EVELYN:] (Looks dejected.)

harry: [HARRY:] (Clears his throat.)

pearl: [PEARL:] ... so, the pool? Or the beach?

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Yeah, Harry, which was it?

harry: [HARRY:] Well, it was a week of relaxation and now I'm back.

pearl: [PEARL:] You still look ... stressed, if you don't mind me saying ...

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Ha, he just looks like that.

harry: [HARRY:] ... sure, that's ... just how I look.

pearl: [PEARL:] I've never known you to leave town, Harry.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] I've never known you to leave this bar!

harry: [HARRY:] Oh ... no, I get out.

pearl: [PEARL:] You still drive that old truck?

harry: [HARRY:] I dunno. I think they towed it eventually.

pearl: [PEARL:] The hell you say!

evelyn: [EVELYN:] That must have been years ago, Harry!

pearl: [PEARL:] How do you get around now?

harry: [HARRY:] I, uh ... I take the bus. Or I walk.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] You walk to New Orleans?

harry: [HARRY:] Watch it, Evelyn.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] (Looks dejected).

evelyn: I didn't mean nothing by it, Harry.

pearl: [PEARL:] Harry ... did you really go to New Orleans?

harry: [HARRY:] Now, just where do you two get off?

pearl: [PEARL:] Sorry, forget it.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Sure, she didn't mean nothing by it.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] We'll lay off you and get back to drinking.

evelyn: Got to be ready for the entertainment!

pearl: [PEARL:] Oh, who's on tonight?

harry: [HARRY:] Tonight it's Junebug.

pearl: [PEARL:] Works for me.

harry: [HARRY:] Round eight, I think.

pearl: [PEARL:] I'll stick around.

pearl: I could use some sad music.

pearl: I came here to break some hearts.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] What's that?

pearl: [PEARL:] To dash dreams.

harry: [HARRY:] What are you talking about?

pearl: [PEARL:] Got to talk to my parents about their bar tab.

pearl: I won't be paying for them any more.

harry: [HARRY:] ... hang on, now ...

pearl: [PEARL:] No, it's time to cut the old folks loose and head west.

pearl: I can't keep enabling them.

pearl: You know?

harry: [HARRY:] A debt's a debt, now.

pearl: [PEARL:] Harry, I'm sorry,

pearl: I know you've got a vested interest and I don't want to make a victim of you.

pearl: They'll come up with it somehow.

pearl: I'm sure.

harry: [HARRY:] No, it's not that ... the thing about debts is you never know when they'll ... be reckoned and called in.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] What's that mean?

harry: [HARRY:] (Awkward) I'm not saying anything, but ...

pearl: [PEARL:] I know debt, Harry.

pearl: I see it all day.

pearl: It's all around me, like a thick, gray fog.

pearl: It's in the air I breathe.

pearl: At the pawn shop, they have a new financial technology.

pearl: I'm the ambassador — did you know that?

evelyn: [EVELYN:] A new technology.

pearl: [PEARL:] It's a new kind of debt, Evelyn.

pearl: And it's a mess.

harry: [HARRY:] What do you mean, "a new kind of debt?"

pearl: [PEARL:] You know what we do at the pawn shop?

pearl: "Secured loans."

pearl: We don't buy used goods, we take personal property as collateral on a loan.

pearl: Then if you don't pay your loan, we sell your stuff.

harry: [HARRY:] Sure, I get that.

pearl: [PEARL:] It works for people who couldn't get loans otherwise.

pearl: I guess.

pearl: Now Hardin has this new idea.

pearl: He calls it a "payday advance."

pearl: But it's just a short-term, unsecured loan with a wicked interest rate.

pearl: There's no filtering.

pearl: Most who borrow can't keep up.

pearl: Then he has this big pile of debts with big returns on paper, and he can sell those debts to a bank.

harry: [HARRY:] Huh. Who's borrowing like that?

pearl: [PEARL:] Who do you think?

pearl: When Joe put me in charge of it?

pearl: The only dark-skinned clerk in the

pearl: whole shop?

evelyn: [EVELYN:] You think so?

pearl: [PEARL:] I know it.

pearl: "Don't you see, I look just like you, you can trust me."

pearl: But Joe knows they won't pay on time.

pearl: There's no money in lending, but there's money in usury.

harry: [HARRY:] That's in the bible!

pearl: [PEARL:] I won't be his shill.

pearl: I just have to save a bit more and then I go to California. I'll be a real clerk.

pearl: At a credit union or something.

pearl: Something ethical.

pearl: I just have to get rid of these old parasites first ...

pearl: "neither a borrower nor a lender be."

evelyn: [EVELYN:] Well my tab is in good shape, I think.

harry: [HARRY:] You're behind, too.

harry: Not as bad as the Slades, but ...

pearl: [PEARL:] Well, Harry, the only thing I owe you is a handshake and this whiskey you're about to pour me.

harry: [HARRY:] Let's say this one's on me, Pearl.

pearl: [PEARL:] Naw, I'm good for it.

harry: [HARRY:] ... for today, let's just say it's on me.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] You're awfully strict about cash for a guy who just got back from a vacation!

harry: [HARRY:] Drink up, Evelyn.

harry: Maybe you'd better find some other chair to sink into, so your debts don't get reckoned out from under you.

pearl: [PEARL:] I'm out for a bit.

pearl: I'll be back later to disappoint a couple of old deadbeats.

evelyn: [EVELYN:] I'll stay for the entertainment.

harry: [HARRY:] I won't throw you out.

harry: But just remember what I said.

jukebox: {Act II Sound cues:}

jukebox: {Sound 5: Distant highway.}

jukebox: {Sound 6: Nature program.}

jukebox: {Sound 7: Drone #2.}

jukebox: {Sound 8: Door opening.}

jukebox: {Sound 9: Door closing.}

jukebox: {Sound 10: Car passing by.}

production: {Set designer's notes:}

production: {Doolittle must have been an odd bird.}

production: {Many playwrights —} {a Tennessee Williams or a Eugene O'Neill} {— spend as much energy on precise} {descriptions of the} {play's set as they do on any of the dialog.}

production: {So my job is finding ways to be creative} {within constraint.}

production: {But Doolittle only described settings} {poetically.}

production: {To be honest, I think he'd have preferred} {there wasn't a set at all!}

production: {Well, here I am, building one anyway.}

production: {Serves him right for disappearing} {all those years ago, the enigmatic wino.}

production: {I don't mind a drunk, but I hate riddles.}

production: {- Lula Chamberlain}


audience: {The premiere at} {Buffalo Street Student Theatre} {was a curiosity.}

audience: {Two obscure plays by a local author} {were simultaneously presented, for the} {pleasure of a handful of baffled patrons.}

audience: {The result:} {an absorbing, if unfocused, drama} {about the ills of debt and dishonesty.}

audience: {Certainly, the highlight is} {Sarah Wakefield's performance.}

audience: {As Pearl Slade,} {the young woman who tries to rid herself} {of her parents' debts,} {she is a revelation.}

audience: {Sadly, her verve and imagination do little} {to salvage the tepid} {pantomime of the "bar-fly,"} {a character who perhaps could have} {done with a few lines after all.}

audience: {Levi Tolbert, Kentucky Post}