DRIVER S ED TEN MINUTE PLAY. By Steven Schutzman. Copyright MMV by Steven Schutzman All Rights Reserved Heuer Publishing LLC, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

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1 DRIVER S ED TEN MINUTE PLAY By Steven Schutzman All Rights Reserved Heuer Publishing LLC, Cedar Rapids, Iowa The writing of plays is a means of livelihood. Unlawful use of a playwright s work deprives the creator of his or her rightful income. The playwright is compensated on the full purchase price and the right of performance can only be secured through purchase of at least eleven (11) copies of this work. PERFORMANCES ARE LIMITED TO ONE VENUE FOR ONE YEAR FROM DATE OF PURCHASE. The possession of this script without direct purchase from the publisher confers no right or license to produce this work publicly or in private, for gain or charity. On all programs and advertising this notice must appear: "Produced by special arrangement with Heuer Publishing LLC of Cedar Rapids, Iowa." This dramatic work is fully protected by copyright. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without permission of the publisher. Copying (by any means) or performing a copyrighted work without permission constitutes an infringement of copyright. The right of performance is not transferable and is strictly forbidden in cases where scripts are borrowed or purchased second hand from a third party. All rights including, but not limited to the professional, motion picture, radio, television, videotape, broadcast, recitation, lecturing, tabloid, publication, and reading are reserved. COPYING OR REPRODUCING ALL OR ANY PART OF THIS BOOK IN ANY MANNER IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN BY LAW. PUBLISHED BY HEUER PUBLISHING LLC P.O. BOX 248 CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA TOLL FREE (800) FAX (319)

2 DRIVER S ED. By Steven Schutzman SYNOPSIS: At her first driving lesson, Patricia, a precocious, effervescent teenager, alternately daring and fragile, reveals her grief over her father's death to test and perhaps establish trust with a teacher she thinks is very cool. Patricia's honesty and incredible openness allow both the teacher and the audience a rare and affecting view into her life and heart. CAST OF CHARACTERS (1 MAN, 1 WOMAN) MICHAEL (m)...42 years old PATRICIA (f)...16 years old - 2 -

3 AT RISE: MICHAEL and PATRICIA enter and move toward car. MICHAEL: I like teaching teenagers to drive, especially girls, because girls need it more in general. Don t get mad. I ll say stuff you won t like, but it ll make you a better driver in the long run, better than any boy. The truth is that girls start at a disadvantage: because you don t ride bikes wildly in the streets; because you don t make cars the enemy of your ball games in the streets. That could be good: to think of traffic as the enemy. It could make boys cautious, but boys like to turn everything into a fight. They attack. PATRICIA: Because boys are idiots. MICHAEL: Boys attack the exterior. Girls defend the interior. A girl is less likely to know about traffic and how fast it can come on because you haven t paid attention, because you sit sunk in your body in the haze of morning carpools and afternoon carpools resisting entrance by grownup questions. While a girl may pay attention to her appearance, to the exterior of her vehicle, she is also deeply caught in the interior of her vehicle. Unlike boys who simply attack, there is this separation. PATRICIA: You are so surreal. Everybody s talking about the poetic things you say. It must be depressing for you to have to teach driver s ed. in this school. MICHAEL: I like teaching teenage girls to drive because you are not by nature attracted to machines and how they work. Because of your stillness on the interior, you are not connected to the speed of your vehicle, but we can use your natural defense of your interior as an asset in driving. Now that I have your attention, the first thing we re going to do is walk around the car. PATRICIA: I know, three times. I also know other things about you. (Pause; PATRICIA smiles.) I know you re going to teach me to feel safe behind the wheel. Because of you the world will be a safer place. I already feel safe with you. MICHAEL: All right then

4 PATRICIA: I know you re old enough to be my father. When my Dad was alive and couldn t sleep, he d go down to the basement with milk and Oreos, wrap himself up in his old sleeping bag and listen to the Beatles. I could hear the music way up on the second floor through the air conditioning ducts. This is not surreal. This is real life. It was my job to wake Dad in the morning. He was like a sixyear-old kid then, all milky and warm. (Pause.) MICHAEL: You have to listen now. PATRICIA: I love the Beatles. MICHAEL: The first lesson is just you listening, no driving at all. PATRICIA: I know. Boys live by conquest and occupying an interior other than their own. That s a direct quote from you. MICHAEL: Who told you that? PATRICIA: One of the idiot boys. I m a virgin. I resist conquest. I d never let that idiot put his idiot hands on me. MICHAEL: As I said, we can use your natural defense of the interior as an asset in driving. The first thing we re going to do is walk around the car. PATRICIA: I know, three times. MICHAEL: We re going circle the exterior of the vehicle three times before we occupy the interior. PATRICIA: I know. The whole junior class knows this drill. MICHAEL: I m glad it made an impression. PATRICIA: It did. Because of the idiot boys. The girls have health together and the boys have driver s ed. Then the boys have health together and the girls have driver s ed. You know what health really is? Sex education - so we have it separate from the boys, and this idiot boy said you learn more sex in driver s ed. than you ever do in health. I never saw eyes as blue as yours. MICHAEL: If you learn today s lesson, it could save your life. I m going to try to burn it into your brain so that every time you drive you ll remember what I said. You will touch the exterior of your vehicle before getting in and when you slide behind the wheel, you will think of yourself as occupying the interior of the exterior of your vehicle. The exterior and interior will merge in your mind so you ll never forget how you re speeding along, never forget and believe in the illusion that you are sitting still. As opposed to other times, - 4 -

5 when you are driving, the exterior and interior must be one and the same. PATRICIA: I already know how to drive. MICHAEL: I hate that teenage arrogance, but in driving too much arrogance is better than no arrogance at all. Now walk with me around the exterior of the... PATRICIA: You are famous in this school. MICHAEL: Because of the idiot boys? PATRICIA: What would you do if I came on to you right now? MICHAEL: What? PATRICIA: Came on to you right now. Offered myself to you. MICHAEL: I m your teacher and I m married. PATRICIA: No, you re not. I followed you walking home on Tuesday. You have no car. Who ever heard of a driving instructor without his own car? You live in a studio apartment past the green from here. You have no wife but wear a wedding ring like I wear lip and tongue rings, to keep the faint of heart away. I am not faint of heart. MICHAEL: I m separated. PATRICIA: I was going to secretly tape record you today but decided it d be a sucky thing to do. I thought I could use the interior-exterior rap for the school literary magazine. My life is completely screwed up and my screwed up mind gives me this irresistible energy. I m a genius, the editor of the magazine and the main writer. I d be careful if I were you because talking like you do could get you into trouble around here. This is the suburbs, not the city. MICHAEL: I ll watch my step. Now let s walk. PATRICIA: If you had to give up one of your senses, which one would be first? Could you make a list of the order in which you d give them up? Where would touch be on the list, before or after seeing? Would you rather be blind and have feeling when someone touches you, or see and have no feeling at all? MICHAEL: I ll have to think about that. PATRICIA: It s a question game I made up. I think it can teach you a lot about a person. You re not like a teacher at all. I m speeding on the exterior but the interior of my vehicle is peaceful and still. Do you find that attractive? - 5 -

6 MICHAEL: It s not an asset in driving. PATRICIA: I have the highest grade point average in my class. I make my own clothes and could play the flute professionally. It s something to fall back on, my mother says. I also sing and dance. Last year I was the star of the school musical. I have never failed at anything. All the boys are idiots. When I sleep down in the basement, I can hear my mother and her boyfriend Donny through the air conditioner ducts. Donny has a silver Jaguar. He let me drive it once in the parking lot of the old fairgrounds. My mother waited only seven months before she d let Donny sleep over. Do you think that s enough time? I don t. After my father died, I used to see his ghost sitting on my windowsill and his ghost seemed happy and that made me happy. Ghosts can t talk and they can t hear you talk. It s not like Hamlet at all. Ghosts just want to be in the room with you. They just want you to see them. I filled a whole composition book the night I first saw Dad again. My hand couldn t stop. Whenever I read it over, it makes me cry. I will be reading it over my whole life. Let me introduce you to who I was and let who I am now express the terrible surprise of what has happened to me. How could a twelve-year-old girl write that? I m a virgin. I have my father s eyes. For more than a year afterward, every night at six o clock the dog would sit by the door and wait for Dad. My brother who s in college now thought it was the sequence of cars coming home to the neighborhood, every car but Dad s, so it fooled the dog. The dog has lived in that house all his life and so have I. He will be famous one day - my brother, not the dog. I started sleeping in the basement when my mother started letting Donny stay over, for privacy, but when their lovemaking noises come through the ducts I can t help but listen. If I asked, would you kiss me just once? MICHAEL: No. PATRICIA: Dad was supposed to teach me how to drive, not you. (Pause.) How come you don t have a car? If they let you teach driver s ed. without a car, would they let you teach sex education without a wife? MICHAEL: I have a wife

7 PATRICIA: You have no wife. I found out you wrote a book of poems, and I took it out of the library. I read half of it last night and it s really far out. I have it here in my backpack. MICHAEL: Thanks. That s nice. It s in the library. I never thought... PATRICIA: Tonight, will you think of me reading your book in bed? MICHAEL: Yes. PATRICIA: To see and not feel would be horrible. I d much rather be blind and feel on the inside, wouldn t you? MICHAEL: Yes, I would, but don t try driving that way. PATRICIA: Don t worry. I won t. MICHAEL: I m sorry about your father. PATRICIA: That s all right. No problem. Now you may teach me how to drive. MICHAEL and PATRICIA begin to walk around the car. THE END - 7 -

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