PENSACOLA. A Play by David-Matthew Barnes

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1 PENSACOLA A Play by David-Matthew Barnes David-Matthew Barnes 159 London Drive McDonough, GA (H) (C) Nominated for six Elly Awards, including Best Original Script, Best Leading Actress and Best Supporting Actress by the Sacramento Area Regional Theatre Alliance

2 AUDIENCES AND CRITICS ARE RAVING ABOUT PENSACOLA! "Pensacola depicts the lives of an eclectic collection of Southerners in the tradition of Tennessee Williams... humorous and witty dialogue...the authentic portrayal of human nature...the poignant depiction of people reacting to crushed dreams..." The California Aggie "Pensacola, both touching and humorous, explores the lives of four eclectic Southern women as they discover their personal strengths and destinies...think Steel Magnolias by way of Tennessee Williams, with a detour through the mind of Elmore Leonard..." Charlotte Theatre Magazine "Local yokels who haven't stepped foot out of P'cola may not have heard the buzz surrounding this eclectic collection of Southerners in the tradition of Tennessee Williams. Or, that the play, written by up-and-coming phenom David-Matthew Barnes, is set in our sleepy 'lil community. Performed in theatres across the country, Pensacola chronicles the lives of four Steel Magnoliatype women and has become one of the prolific writer's signature pieces." Sam Baltrusis, Independent News "It is to the playwright's credit that Pensacola doesn't become melodramatic...recent events add poignancy to its message about the randomness of violence and the fragility of love..." The Sacramento Bee "The reaction of some of the women to an immigrant as a love interest gives Pensacol a social slant that the all-white small-town characters of Steel Magnolias lacked...barnes has engineered some amusing dialogue...and also works in an abrupt shock at the end, which transforms all that came before..." The Sacramento News & Review "Pensacola is the Steel Magnolias of the 21st Century. Robert Harling and David-Matthew Barnes have created idyllic lives for all classes of Southern women." Dianne Parker "I was there for the premiere of Pensacola and have seen this show every time it makes its way to Sacramento. This is one that gets 5 stars. John Stanolpolis Pensacola is a wonderful gift to anyone who likes to be dazzled. The most intense and clever work that Barnes has delivered in his career. You will forget to breathe. Charlotte Nielsen, Cie Cie Entertainment "David-Matthew Barnes' award-winning plays speak with emotional fervor. His characters refuse to be ignored, driving at the heart of the human condition with their intense desire and longing." Jackie Corley, Editor, Word Riot Press Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 1

3 PENSACOLA by David-Matthew Barnes Cast of Characters TRUDY BAKER, early 40 s. A single mother. A cocktail waitress. A true survivor. CHARLOTTE NORWOOD, 26. A young mother and a young wife. Harbors feelings of selfblame. Lacks self-esteem. MARIE BAKER, 18. A young woman in search of her destiny. A dreamer. A romantic. Irresistible. BERNIECE COLE, early 40 s. Flamboyant and starved for attention. Has an affinity for younger men. A gossip. A real friend. STEVEN NORWOOD, 27. A young husband and a young father. Feels like a failure. Sexy. Intense. MIGUEL CASTILLO, 22. Romantic. Sensual. Poetic. Cuban. A poet. Place The modest living room of a ranch-style home in Pensacola, Florida. Time Summer. Present Year. Music Suggested songs for productions of Pensacola are God s Been Good To Me as recorded by Crystal Lewis, Rock The Casbah as recorded by Solar Twins (dance scene in Act One, Scene Three), Deliver Me as recorded by Sarah Brightman (the end of Act Two, Scene Five), That s What I Like About You as recorded by Trisha Yearwood and most importantly Pensacol as recorded by Joan Osborne. Production companies are encouraged to license the use of these songs to maintain the playwright s original vision. The Story Already hailed as "a new classic for Southern women", this touching and humorous story explores the lives of four Southern women. Trudy has been a single mother since her husband went to work one day and never came home. Since then, she has tried to find a cure for her loneliness while working as a cocktail waitress at The Tide Pool. Charlotte is married and has two daughters of her own. Recently, Charlotte suspects that her husband has been unfaithful and that their marriage is falling apart. Marie, a recent high school graduate, has had a difficult time deciding on the right career for herself and ponders over going to secretary school, competing for the title of Miss Florida or becoming the U.S. Ambassador to Cuba. Always armed with the best gossip in town, Trudy s best friend Berniece decides to end her affair with a younger man when a lifealtering tragedy hits home. Pensacola is a powerful and heart-warming celebration of family, love and strength. Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 2

4 Acknowledgements Pensacola received a world premiere** at The Thistle Dew Theatre in Sacramento. The play opened on May 3, The original cast was as follows: TRUDY BAKER..Debra Otto CHARLOTTE NORWOOD.Kristine Fairfield MARIE BAKER..Michelle Leigh Thompson* BERNIECE COLE Bonnie Blakely STEVEN NORWOOD..James Williams MIGUEL CASTILLO..Robert Taylor *Elly Award Nominee, Best Leading Actress **Elly Award Nominations, Best Original Script, Best Original Production Pensacola received a Chicago premiere at The Wing and Groove Theatre Company. The play opened on July 7, This production was produced by Nick A. Moreno and presented by The Dorothy Nickle Performing Arts Company. The Chicago cast was as follows: TRUDY BAKER Sondra Sellars CHARLOTTE NORWOOD..Robyn Paris MARIE BAKER Natalie Oravec BERNIECE COLE.Marjorie Hicks STEVEN NORWOOD...Jamie Kelsey MIGUEL CASTILLO..Alberto Laurenzana Pensacola has received subsequent productions in Sacramento, Charlotte, and Atlanta. An excerpt from the script appears in Audition Arsenal For Women In Their 20's: 101 Monologues by Type, 2 Minutes & Under edited by Janet Milstein and published by Smith and Kraus. Pensacola is dedicated to Jill McMahon and Susan Madden, and to the wonderful people of Pensacola, Florida. And in loving memory of Shirley Torres whose contributions to this play were immeasurable. Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 3

5 PENSACOLA by David-Matthew Barnes ACT ONE Scene One (At rise, we are in the modest living room of a middle class home belonging to Trudy Baker. In the center of the room is a tattered sofa, covered with an afghan and pillows. Nearby is a lamp table that has a telephone, framed photographs and an address book on it. Also in the room, there is a magazine rack that is overflowing with current housekeeping and gossip magazines, a coffee table and a black and white television set. On the television set is a healthy houseplant. The décor in the house is dated, but not tacky. Trudy has taken a lot of care decorating her home. Trudy lives here with her youngest daughter, Marie. Her other daughter, Charlotte, visits regularly. The front door is located stage left. Stage right there are two doors. The down stage door leads to and from the kitchen. The upstage door leads to and from the back of their house, where the bedrooms are. When the play begins, it is a Saturday afternoon in the middle of June. TRUDY is home alone, sitting on the sofa and playing a game of solitaire. She is wearing her bathrobe, her hair is in curlers and she is surrounded by a sense of newfound peace. A few moments pass before CHARLOTTE makes her entrance from the front door. She is dressed in shorts, a white blouse and sandals. Her hair is the color of honey and it is pulled up into a ponytail. With her she carries a laundry basket of clothes, a bottle of liquid detergent, her purse and car keys. As usual, Charlotte looks worn out and pensive.) CHARLOTTE. Hi, Mama. TRUDY. Charlotte, I didn t know you were coming by. CHARLOTTE. I hope you don t mind if I do some wash. Steven still hasn t fixed that damn washing machine. TRUDY. I got my towels on the line right now, but they ll be done soon. (She puts away her cards.) Where are the kids? CHARLOTTE. I took them over to Missy s. She s watching them for me this afternoon. Lord knows I needed a break from those children. Probably not as much as they needed a break from me. I don t know what is, Mama, but lately I have been my own worst company. Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 4

6 TRUDY. What about a Dr. Pepper? You want me to get you a Dr. Pepper? CHARLOTTE. (Suddenly a little girl again:) With ice cream? TRUDY. Of course, sugar. Anything for my eldest. CHARLOTTE. I haven t eaten all day. TRUDY. Well, a lil bit won t hurt us. CHARLOTTE. A lil' bit goes a long way, Mama. Look at me. I'm a house. TRUDY. Hush up and go put your wash in the machine. Do you want to stay for supper? I'm teaching Marie how to cook tonight. CHARLOTTE. I reckon that ll make front-page news. TRUDY. Well, would you like to stay? CHARLOTTE. I don t know how late Steven has to stay at the gas station. TRUDY. Well, do you need his permission to have supper with your family? CHARLOTTE. No, Mama, I do not need his permission. TRUDY. Then stay for supper. CHARLOTTE. I will discuss it with my husband when he gets off of work. TRUDY. Since when did Steven start working on Saturdays? CHARLOTTE. Around the same time he stopped coming home at night. (She exits to the back of their house.) TRUDY. Charlotte, the things you say. (She exits to the kitchen.) (MARIE enters from the front door. In her arms she carries a manual typewriter. She puts it down on the coffee table and then steps back to stare at it. She smiles, bursting with pride. CHARLOTTE and TRUDY enter the room, from different doors.) MARIE. (She clears her throat, then:) I have made a decision. (Beat.) I'm going to be a secretary. Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 5

7 TRUDY. A secretary? CHARLOTTE. What for? TRUDY. Honey, I thought you wanted to be a pilot. MARIE. Not anymore, Mama. CHARLOTTE. That was last week, remember? MARIE. Monday morning I'm signing up for a summer session at that secretary school that Katie Morgan went to. CHARLOTTE. Katie Morgan just got arrested, Marie. MARIE. I know. Because she dropped out. She lost hope. But not me. TRUDY. You want to be a secretary? (Beat.) Explain to me why. MARIE. Because I like the sound. I'm going to grow my nails out so I can make that click-clickclick noise when I type. You ll see. I just have to learn how to type this weekend in case they give me a typing test or something. TRUDY. Don t they teach you how to type at this school? MARIE. You would think so, wouldn t you? CHARLOTTE. Of course they ll teach her how to type, but what difference does it make? She ll just change her mind again within a week. MARIE. Charlotte, that is no true. CHARLOTTE. No? Well, last month you wanted to be a beautician and you fried Regina Madison s hair so bad, you can see her skull. And before that you cut up all of Mama s curtains because you wanted to be a fashion designer. MARIE. I couldn t speak French. CHARLOTTE. Then we had that phase when you thought you wanted to be a firefighter. And until the day I die, I won't forget about the morning when Mama called me up and thought you were dead on the front lawn because you wanted to be a stuntwoman. Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 6

8 MARIE. But I didn t break any bones so I don t see what your point is. (Beat.) Why are you over here? CHARLOTTE. I m doing my wash. My machine is broken. MARIE. I thought Steven was going to fix it. CHARLOTTE. So did I. TRUDY. (To Marie:) Did you pick up the chicken on the way home? MARIE. What chicken? TRUDY. Marie, I told you this morning that I was going to teach you how to cook tonight. MARIE. I forgot. TRUDY. You forgot? MARIE. I was so excited about school, Mama, that the chicken just slipped my mind. Why doesn t Charlotte cook since she s over here being ugly and bothering everybody? CHARLOTTE. Because that is why I moved out. MARIE. You don t cook for Steven? CHARLOTTE. Of course I do. MARIE. Then what s the difference? CHARLOTTE. Look, I m not even staying for supper. TRUDY. Of course you are. CHARLOTTE. Mama, I have things to do. Besides, I don't know when Steven's getting off work. And I'm in no mood for Marie s cooking. MARIE. (Reaching for the phone:) I'm going to call Papa John s Pizza. TRUDY. (Taking the phone away from Marie:) You are not. You're going to learn how to fry a chicken. Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 7

9 MARIE. We must be the only family in the entire country that doesn't have a computer. I m stuck in a time warp in this place. CHARLOTTE. Marie, they have computers at school. I swear to you they do. MARIE. Well, I hope so. If you aren t going to stay for supper, at least help me find the pizza coupons. I saw them around here somewhere. (She makes this sexy without realizing it:) I think I want a pepperoni pizza with extra cheese and thick crust, with plenty of Parmesan and hot peppers. CHARLOTTE. Oh, merciful God. (She exits to the back of their house.) MARIE. What s she so miserable about? TRUDY. It ain t easy being married, Marie. She s got a lot on her mind. I think her and Steven are having some problems. MARIE. Well, I hope they work it out. (She starts to look around the living room for typing paper.) Mama, do we have any typing paper? TRUDY. Why would we, Marie? We don't even have a computer. MARIE. Well, other people do. We live like cave women here. Might as well put a bone in my hair. TRUDY. Berniece is coming by in a bit. I ll ask her if I can borrow some. MARIE. When she gets here, I'm hiding in my room. TRUDY. For goodness sake, why? MARIE. Because I ve been telling you for years, Mama, that woman is crazy. TRUDY. That s nonsense. She's my dearest friend. MARIE. I know. But she's still crazy. (Beat.) And she's nasty, too. TRUDY. Well, since you forgot the chicken, what do you suppose we should have for supper? MARIE. (Going for the phone:) I told you. I'm ordering a pizza. Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 8

10 TRUDY. (Taking phone from her again:) Forget it, Marie. I'll fix supper. We are not ordering a pizza. MARIE. Well, why not? It s simpler. No dishes. No mess. And it tastes good. TRUDY. Never mind about the pizza, where did you get that typewriter? MARIE. Vernon Taylor was having a yard sale. It was only ten dollars. I figured it was a good investment. TRUDY. Don t they have typewriters to use at the library? MARIE. I wanted my own. TRUDY. Well, when you change your mind about secretary school, you ll have to get rid of it. The garage is already full of useless junk. MARIE. I won't change my mind. I want to be a secretary. TRUDY. I just can t figure out why. MARIE. What difference does it make? Do I have to have a reason for everything I do? TRUDY. You never have, Marie. MARIE. That s why people like me, Mama. For my spontaneity. I'm impulsive. TRUDY. Oh, I see. You ve just graduated from high school and suddenly you are impulsive. MARIE. That s right. TRUDY. And now you re planning to go to secretary school to become a secretary. MARIE. (After a thought:) I think I prefer office assistant, actually. It sounds more glamorous. TRUDY. Marie, there ain t nothing glamorous about answering phones all day and typing letters. MARIE. But Mama, I have to start somewhere. I mean, if I want to own my own company one day. (She moves towards the front door.) I think I m going to go terrorize the neighborhood for a bit and see who I can blackmail into giving me a ream of typing paper. If you hear about an impulsive woman on Pensacola Boulevard - it s only me. I ll be back soon. (She exits.) Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 9

11 TRUDY. (Yelling after her:) Well, pick up a chicken while you re out! (She turns to enter the kitchen, mumbling.) Lord, she ll probably steal one out of someone s yard. (She exits to the kitchen.) CHARLOTTE. (She enters from the back of their house. She waits a moment to find out if she is alone. She goes to the telephone and dials a memorized number. She cringes a little when someone answers.) Hi, John. This is Charlotte. (Beat.) I m fine, thank you. I haven t seen you in a while. Yeah, not since the Jazz Fest. Is your wife still working at The Oyster Bar? (Beat.) Pregnant? Again? How many does that make - four hundred and eleven? (She laughs a little.) You know I m just teasing you. I'm happy for you both. That s great news. (A nervous Beat.) Listen, John, is my husband still there? (Beat.) What time did he leave? (She fights to maintain composure.) Did he say where he was going? Because that was nearly two hours ago. (Beat.) Well, if you hear from him, just tell him that his wife called and that she's over at her Mama s doing the wash. Will you tell him that for me? (Beat.) All right. Thanks, John. And tell Arlene I said congratulations. I will talk to you soon. (She hangs up.) That son of a bitch. MARIE. (She enters from the front door carrying a ream of typing paper.) I got some from the neighbors! (She sits down at her typewriter and inserts a piece of paper into it.) CHARLOTTE. Marie, are you serious about this secretary school thing? MARIE. Of course I am. Why do you ask? You think it s a dumb idea? CHARLOTTE. No. I never think your ideas are dumb. You just have a lot of them. (She takes a moment to calm down.) I'm sorry I was in such a bad mood when you first got home. MARIE. That s all right. Mama said you and Steven were having some problems. I understand. CHARLOTTE. You always do. MARIE. I'm your sister. It is my obligational duty to understand you no matter how hormonal or pre-menstrual you get, Charlotte. My love for you is unconditional. Like a rock. CHARLOTTE. Things with me and Steven are all right. MARIE. Are you sure? CHARLOTTE. Yeah. MARIE. Are you staying for supper? CHARLOTTE. Probably. Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 10

12 MARIE. Don t tell Mama, but when I was out, I used the neighbor s phone to call Papa John s Pizza. It should be here soon. (Beat.) Does Steven spend a lot of time with Julie and Ashley? CHARLOTTE. When he can. MARIE. He ain t home much anymore, is he? CHARLOTTE. Can you tell? (After a moment:) What about you? How are things with you? MARIE. Well, I'm going to secretary school. Maybe I ll marry some rich guy. CHARLOTTE. You could move to Atlanta. MARIE. New York City. CHARLOTTE. Why would you move to New York? It s crazy there. MARIE. (Dreamy:) I like the lights. I think I want to be in love. I have decided. CHARLOTTE. Oh really? MARIE. You know, I ve never really told you this, but I'm a bit jealous of you. CHARLOTTE. What for? MARIE. You have the perfect life. You have a husband and two beautiful girls. That is exactly what I want. CHARLOTTE. My life isn t perfect, Marie. It never has been. MARIE. I think it is. I mean, you have what every girl dreams of. CHARLOTTE. This is not what I dreamed of. In a few years, you'll understand that there is so much more to life than getting married and raising children. MARIE. Not unless you leave. CHARLOTTE. Well, I'm not going to New York. I love it here too much. Pensacola is where I belong. With the ocean and the white sand. You know what it s like, staring out at the Santa Rosa Sound or walking down the Quietwater Beach Boardwalk. Just strolling arm in arm on a summer night with a boy you have a crush on. Nothing can compare to that. Because it is magic. Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 11

13 MARIE. When I was twelve, do you remember when Bobby Raymond took me on my first date? CHARLOTTE. Yeah. Didn t he take you some place just awful? MARIE. We went to the Civil War Soldiers Museum. And then he tried to kiss me and he bit my lip and I started bleeding everywhere. I've never been so embarrassed. To this day, I hate that place. And Bobby Raymond. CHARLOTTE. Whatever happened to him? MARIE. Last I heard he was working at The Waffle House and engaged to Katie Morgan. CHARLOTTE. Poor man. MARIE. Charlotte, sometimes I feel like I'm going to be stuck here for the rest of my life, just me and Mama in this house. CHARLOTTE. Do you really want to leave? MARIE. I think about it a lot. Maybe after I graduate from secretary school, I can join the Peace Corps. Anything to get me out of here. I want to go far, far away. CHARLOTTE. Don t be silly. You have a great life. You just graduated from high school. The whole world belongs to you. MARIE. (After a moment:) Sometimes I'm happy for Daddy. CHARLOTTE. (Almost a whisper:) What? (She pauses, uncertain.) Marie, he left us. How could you be happy about that? MARIE. Because he got out. He hopped into his pick up. He hit the highway. He went and found a new life. (Beat.) He was impulsive. CHARLOTTE. Yeah, and he left his children and wife behind to survive with nothing. MARIE. I know that part, Charlotte. And I ll never forgive him for that. But sometimes, I can understand why he did it. You get that feeling of looking at all the same stuff for too long and soon your eyes start to burn and you think you ll go blind if you don t see something new real soon. It's like going to the beach and lying there in the white sand and looking up at the sky and watching the birds and thinking - where are they going? Why do they want to leave? Can I go with them? CHARLOTTE. I didn't realize that you wanted to leave so badly. Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 12

14 MARIE. Neither did I until just recently. CHARLOTTE. Well, take your time if you make any big decisions. I mean, you re my baby sister and you're only eighteen. MARIE. You were sixteen when you got married just like Mama. CHARLOTTE. That s my point exactly. MARIE. I'm kind of torn, Charlotte. See, if I stay here, I want a life like yours - you know, secure. But if I go, I want it to be romantic and exciting. I'm not sure what I want to do. I can't decide which option sounds more appealing. CHARLOTTE. But secretary school does? MARIE. It's a lot better than sitting in this house all day with Mama. She whines and complains that she is miserable, just because she s turning forty-three soon. I don't want to end up like that. Left and abandoned by a man. Working some measly job, just to get by and pay the bills. She's been working at The Tide Pool for over half of her life. CHARLOTTE. Mama is the best cocktail waitress in Pensacola. MARIE. But she s lonely. I see it in her eyes and it makes me sad. I don't know why she never re-married. If I were her, I would have gone on a cruise or something or moved to Miami. You know, she is pretty. If she got out more on her nights off CHARLOTTE. Mama s happy. She likes living here because she knows practically everybody in Pensacola. She makes a point of it. And she's got Berniece just living a couple of doors down. She has lots of friends. There s no reason for her to get married again. MARIE. Charlotte, you have a husband. You have a family. I bet you re never lonely because you know that everyday at six-fifteen, Steven will be home from work and the two of you will have lots to talk about. CHARLOTTE. It isn t like that, Marie. MARIE. What do you mean? CHARLOTTE. (After a moment:) Let me just say, there are many nights when I don't know where my husband is. MARIE. Do you think he s cheating on you? Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 13

15 CHARLOTTE. I don t want to believe it. MARIE. He doesn t come home? CHARLOTTE. Just like Daddy. MARIE. Let s not talk about this anymore, Charlotte. I don't want you to get upset. I'm sure that Steven is staying faithful. You just need to talk to him. The two of you just need to straighten things out. That s all. CHARLOTTE. I hope so. MARIE. (Suddenly:) I have an idea! For Mama! CHARLOTTE. What is it? MARIE. For her birthday. You and I could send her on a cruise. CHARLOTTE. What? Are you insane? I don t have that kind of money. MARIE. Well, I do. I ve been saving since Christmas and with the check for graduation that Granny sent me - CHARLOTTE. You would do that? You d spend all of your savings just so Mama could go on a cruise? MARIE. Well, why not? She needs to have a good time. Lord, let us both cross our fingers that she meets a man and he takes a liking to her and she comes home with a glow. We both know it s been a while for Mama. She probably forgot how to do it. CHARLOTTE. Oh, Marie, the things you say. MARIE. But I ll tell her that the present is from both of us and then you can just pay me back later. CHARLOTTE. What about Berniece? MARIE. What about her? CHARLOTTE. She ll want to go. Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 14

16 MARIE. Then she can follow behind on a raft or something. I'll go see some travel agents this week and see what I can figure out. CHARLOTTE. Mama would love it so much. It would be the perfect gift for her. MARIE. Oh, I hope so. (The doorbell rings. Marie lets out a squeal.) That would be supper. CHARLOTTE. Mama is going to kill you for ordering a pizza. MARIE. (She rushes to the door to answer it. She catches her breath when she sees MIGUEL CASTILLO standing in front of her. Miguel is extremely good looking. He holds the pizza out to her and she stammers a bit before regaining complete composure. Suddenly, she flashes a warm smile at him.) Well, hello there. You brought me a pizza. And you were so fast. Come in. MIGUEL. (His accent is heavy:) Thank you. (He steps inside.) CHARLOTTE. (Taking notice of Miguel:) Oh my. You re not the usual deliveryman. MIGUEL. No, ma am. MARIE. Charlotte, keep this nice man company, will you? I have to get some money from my purse. (As she heads to her bedroom:) Wow, that pizza sure smells good. (She exits.) CHARLOTTE. (After an awkward silence:) Hello. MIGUEL. Hello. CHARLOTTE. (Searching for something to say:) Busy night? MIGUEL. Yes. It is very busy on Saturdays. TRUDY. (She enters from the kitchen.) Charlotte, who was at the (She stops when she sees Miguel, then:) Marie Baker! MARIE. (She enters from the back of their house.) I'm coming, Mama. TRUDY. Marie, I told you that I would fix supper. MARIE. (She moves gracefully over to Miguel.) What is your name? MIGUEL. My name is Miguel Castillo. Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 15

17 MARIE. (She turns to Charlotte:) That's kind of romantic, don t you think? CHARLOTTE. (With a nod:) Sure. MARIE. (She turns back to Miguel. She speaks in a loud, breathy whisper:) Keep the change. My phone number is there, written down on a little pink piece of paper. Use it. Call me. We should date. Thank you, Miguel Castillo, and you have yourself a wonderful evening. (She ushers him out the door. She turns around to face her mother and sister. She can not stop smiling.) Well, I don t know about the rest of you, but I can't eat a thing. TRUDY. And why not? MARIE. Because, Mama. (She takes a step forward, ready to make an announcement.) I am in love! TRUDY. In love? With who? You don't even date, Marie. MARIE. I have made a decision. (Beat.) I am going to become Mrs. Miguel Castillo. (Beat.) And soon, there will be free pizza for everyone! (She waltzes off stage to her bedroom.) TRUDY. I don't know what happened to her, Charlotte. It has to be a brain tumor or something because that girl just ain't right. CHARLOTTE. She s just young. TRUDY. Well, if I didn t know better, I'd swear she was mental. CHARLOTTE. What are we going to do about the pizza? TRUDY. Take it home with you. CHARLOTTE. I ll take it into the kitchen for now. TRUDY. Good idea. CHARLOTTE. No telling what time Steven will be home tonight. TRUDY. Honey, he ll be coming by here soon. I'm sure of it. CHARLOTTE. (She tenses up:) What, you mean like Daddy? TRUDY. Charlotte, it's not the same thing and you know that. Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 16

18 CHARLOTTE. I'm not sure anymore, Mama. He s getting that same look Daddy had right before he left. He's anxious and nervous and a million miles away. It scares me. TRUDY. Everything will be all right. You ll see. CHARLOTTE. I sure hope so. I don't know how much more of this I can take. (She exits to the kitchen with the box of pizza.) BERNIECE. (She enters from the front door. She is carrying a make up case with her, as usual. She is colorful and loud, matching her flamboyant personality and wears a huge wig. She has a thick Southern accent.) Trudy? Trudy Baker, do I smell pizza in your house? TRUDY. It s Marie. She ordered it. Now she's in love. It s been a day, Berniece, I tell you. Marie wants to go to secretary school. Charlotte and Steven are having problems. I can't find any piece of mind and this is my only day off. BERNIECE. (Almost melodramatic:) There is no peace in Pensacola. Have a seat. We can do your nails. TRUDY. I don t think my nails are up to it. Did you get that hand cream I ordered? BERNIECE. Of course. I have it right here. (She pats her make up case. Berniece sits on the sofa and opens the case. Trudy sits beside her.) Did you hear about Katie Morgan? TRUDY. I heard she was arrested. BERNIECE. Yes, but did you hear what she was arrested for? TRUDY. Bobby Raymond said it was shoplifting. BERNIECE. Bobby Raymond is a birth defect. She was arrested for solicitation. TRUDY. What? BERNIECE. And she wasn't selling candy bars outside of the grocery store. TRUDY. What was she doing? BERNIECE. She was selling something else in a motel parking lot. TRUDY. Berniece, are you sure about this? I've known Katie Morgan since she was just a baby. She comes from a good family. Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 17

19 BERNIECE. They usually do. Then they get ruined. It's sad. So very sad. TRUDY. That i sad. BERNIECE. So, you say Charlotte and Steven are having problems? Do tell. Do tell. TRUDY. Now, Bernie, you know that I never gossip about my own family. BERNIECE. I don't see why not. I do it all the time. My niece Evelyn still doesn't know that I was the one who let it slip out at church that she was pregnant. I told her that I heard it from Rindy Sinclair. She'll never know the difference. I even played the sad bit. You know, "You are too young to be a mother. How can you do this to yourself, Evelyn? And my poor, poor sister, she ain t ready to be a grandmother yet." They fall for it every time. TRUDY. How old is Evelyn now? BERNIECE. The little tramp is only sixteen. TRUDY. Same age Charlotte was when she had Julie. Same age I was when I had Charlotte. BERNIECE. Yes, but Charlotte did the right thing. She married Steven. My niece is a sinner. Just like my sister was before she found Christ and started beating the bible to everyone. Who knew that my sister would reform her filthy self and actually become a decent Christian woman, just like me? TRUDY. Maybe it was my fault that Charlotte was such a young mother. Maybe I let her go to the drive-ins too much. BERNIECE. You set good examples for both of your girls. TRUDY. I wish you had children.(berniece looks disgusted at the thought of children.) Maybe you could understand better. I just want things to be better for Charlotte. She seems so unhappy all of the time. BERNIECE. That child of yours is as bitter as an old cup of coffee. You like the hand cream? It has a nice smell, don t you think? TRUDY. I like it. BERNIECE. So, what is this about Marie being in love? And she s going to stewardess school? TRUDY. Secretary school. It will be over in a few days. You know how she is. Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 18

20 BERNIECE. All I can say is thank God she ain t mine. TRUDY. My children are all right, I suppose. They did the best they could without a father. I know I could have done better with them. Maybe Charlotte wouldn t have gotten married so young and maybe Marie wouldn t be mental. BERNIECE. (Devouring this tidbit of gossip:) Mental? She s mental? TRUDY. No, of course not. She s just a little off, that s all. She always has been. You know that. BERNIECE. Honey, this is the South. We re all a little off down here. Now, check out this lipstick. Isn t it sexy? CHARLOTTE. (She tears out of the kitchen. MARIE follows closely behind her.) Mama! TRUDY. What? What is it? CHARLOTTE. Marie told me that I had a fat ass! TRUDY. Marie Baker! CHARLOTTE. I was in the kitchen eating pizza and she walked by and said, Good Lord, Charlotte. We could show a movie on your fat ass. That is what she said. (She turns to her sister:) You neurotic freak of nature. MARIE. I didn t mean it to be insulting. It s called constructive criticism. I read about it in one of those self-help books that I got from Granny for graduation. CHARLOTTE. Make her move out, Mama! TRUDY. Marie, did you tell your sister she had a fat ass? MARIE. I did, Mama. But I meant it in a helpful way. Charlotte, in case you haven t noticed, your figure just ain t the same since you ve had two children. You're getting a little wider and I just wanted to point it out to you. But I love my sister and I think she's beautiful just the way she is. CHARLOTTE. Mama never told you this but we adopted you from circus freaks at The Salvation Army. And I believe that the time has come to send you back! (She exits to the kitchen.) MARIE. Mama, I'm terribly sorry that I ve upset my sister. I know that she s very angry and hostile now, but soon she ll agree with me. She ll see my point. Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 19

21 TRUDY. No, I don t think she will, Marie. MARIE. (After a moment:) Mama, do you think she has a fat ass? TRUDY. I won't discuss this with you. Go in the kitchen and you apologize to your sister. The two of you are grown adults and you re acting like a couple of three years olds. MARIE. (To Berniece:) What are you staring at? TRUDY. And you will not be rude to my guest. MARIE. She s not a guest, Mama. She s a trailer park. (She exits to the kitchen.) BERNIECE. (Louder than she intends:) Bitch. (Lights fade to black.) Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 20

22 Scene Two (It is after eleven o clock that night. When the scene opens, the lights are dim in the living room. CHARLOTTE is sitting on the sofa. She looks pensive as she thumbs through one of her mother s magazines. The laundry basket and the bottle of liquid detergent are all nearby. A few moments pass before MARIE enters from her bedroom. She is dressed for bed.) MARIE. (In a loud whisper:) He didn t call yet? CHARLOTTE. Who, Steven? MARIE. No, Miguel. CHARLOTTE. The phone didn t ring. MARIE. (She picks it up.) Maybe it s broken. CHARLOTTE. He ll call, Marie. Give the boy a chance. You just met him four hours ago. MARIE. I m impatient, I reckon. CHARLOTTE. Believe me. He ll call. MARIE. How do you know, Charlotte? CHARLOTTE. Boys always call. They don t lose your number until you've lost your mind. MARIE. (With a giggle:) Or your virtue. CHARLOTTE. Marie, the things you say. MARIE. He's just so beautiful. I can't stop thinking about him. Hey, did you eat all the pizza? CHARLOTTE. I wrapped up what was left. It s in the fridge. MARIE. I'm going to heat some up. You want a slice? And a Dr. Pepper? CHARLOTTE. No, thank you. Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 21

23 MARIE. I think I'm getting my appetite back. I was in the bathtub and I was singing a little love song for my new husband and all of a sudden I started to think about corn nuts and macaroni salad. I don't know why. It's an odd combination. CHARLOTTE. Well, it's been an odd day, I reckon. MARIE. I reckon so. Are you sure you don't want to join me for a little snack? CHARLOTTE. I ve telephoned a seamstress, Marie, to have my mouth sewn shut because according to you, double features will be shown on my ass. MARIE. Are you still mad about that? CHARLOTTE. Just go get something to eat. MARIE. Fine. (She exits to the kitchen.) STEVEN. Hey. (A moment passes before STEVEN enters through the front door.) CHARLOTTE. (She does not look up.) Hi. STEVEN. Did you know that there's a typewriter on the front porch? CHARLOTTE. It belongs to my sister. She almost went to secretary school. STEVEN. Changed her mind? CHARLOTTE. Something like that. STEVEN. I guess you re mad at me. CHARLOTTE. Something like that. STEVEN. I just lost track of time, Charlotte. I m sorry. CHARLOTTE. Save it, Steven. STEVEN. No, just listen to me. Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 22

24 CHARLOTTE. I'm not interested. It s after eleven o clock at night. You were off work at 4:30 this afternoon. STEVEN. I stayed late. CHARLOTTE. Don t lie. I called John at the gas station. He told me exactly when you left. While I'm here, washing your dirty clothes, you're off doing God knows what. STEVEN. Charlotte, it s not what you think. CHARLOTTE. You don't know what I think. STEVEN. You think I m cheating on you, don t you? CHARLOTTE. Well, the thought did cross my mind. You don t even call to give me some stupid excuse. You could at least do that. So I don t worry about you. If you would just lie to me, Steven, I'd feel a little better. I might not believe you, but at least I wouldn't worry. STEVEN. I figured you were over here with your mother. CHARLOTTE. You figured right. Missy's watching the girls for me. STEVEN. I didn t mean to worry you. CHARLOTTE. I did the wash. (Angry at herself for this:) I ate pizza. I watched some television. Meanwhile, I've been sitting here wondering what you could possibly be doing. I have a couple of ideas and they make me sick. STEVEN. I was with some friends. We went for a drink. CHARLOTTE. Do these friends take off their clothes for a living? STEVEN. Don t be ridiculous, Charlotte. Let s not talk about it anymore. I m here now. (He moves to kiss her. She pulls away.) CHARLOTTE. You smell, Steven. STEVEN. I had a couple of beers. CHARLOTTE. It s more than that. STEVEN. What are you talking about? Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 23

25 CHARLOTTE. (She gets up and moves away from him.) You smell like my father used to. Like you've been sitting in a bar all night, planning your big escape. Forget the wife and children at home. Just bring me another beer so I can get it all figured out. When I'm going to sneak out. When I'm going to leave them. STEVEN. I'm not leaving you, Charlotte. CHARLOTTE. I shouldn t be surprised. The two of you are the same. He worked at the same gas station for crying out loud. I'm just as stupid as my mother. STEVEN. Will you stop this, please? You're making a big deal out of CHARLOTTE. (Explodes:) Am I?! Am I really?! You're a liar and I can see it all over your face! I can smell it on your skin! STEVEN. You don t know what you re talking about. CHARLOTTE. I do know! I see it. I hear it, Steven. It's all over town! STEVEN. I'm your husband and you're going to listen to me. I'm not cheating on you. If you don t believe me, then that s your own damn fault. CHARLOTTE. Then tell me where you go. Tell me who you spend your time with at night, because it sure ain't me! How can you stand there and look me in the eye and lie. You re just full of lies. Just like my father. STEVEN. (He grabs her and shakes her.) I m not your father! I m nothing like him! CHARLOTTE. (She struggles to get away from him.) Aren t you?! STEVEN. No! (He pushes her away. She stumbles a little.) You don t know what I do, Charlotte, but I'm not cheating. I wouldn t do that to this family. CHARLOTTE. We don t have a family anymore! STEVEN. Whose fault is that? CHARLOTTE. Are you saying it s mine? STEVEN. You ve changed so much. CHARLOTTE. Because I'm not happy. Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 24

26 STEVEN. I don t make you happy anymore? CHARLOTTE. I'm twenty-six years old. I have a husband and two children. STEVEN. Are you complaining? CHARLOTTE. I wanted to go to school. When I was twelve, I wanted to be a lawyer. STEVEN. Yeah? Well, I wanted to be the President. CHARLOTTE. I wanted to go away to college. I wanted to go far, far away. (Quick beat.) Just like my sister does. STEVEN. But then you met me. CHARLOTTE. I do not want to end up like my mother, Steven. That's what you're doing to me. STEVEN. Go ahead, Charlotte, blame me for everything. CHARLOTTE. I'm not blaming you. Just listen. STEVEN. So you can tell me that I ruined your life? CHARLOTTE. Maybe you did. STEVEN. You re crazy. You were the one who wanted to get married. CHARLOTTE. I couldn t take the shame. I was pregnant with Julie. STEVEN. But you decided to have her. I wanted to wait. CHARLOTTE. And you decided to stop coming home at night. STEVEN. We re not going to talk about this anymore. CHARLOTTE. You re humiliating me. I hear it everywhere I go. People are whispering about us. They know it s gone bad. Just like when Daddy left and Mama had to raise us on her own. STEVEN. Stop comparing me to him. CHARLOTTE. How can I help it? Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 25

27 STEVEN. Charlotte, it s late. If we keep yelling - CHARLOTTE. Fine. We ll talk about this at home. Just let me get my purse. Then we can go pick up our kids and go back to our house and we can fight there. Sound good to you, honey? STEVEN. Just stop it, will you? Yes, I went out. Yes, I had a few beers. And I'm sorry that I didn t call. I really am sorry. CHARLOTTE. So am I, Steven. I let a man humiliate me twice in my life now. But I can guarantee you that it will not happen again. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get my purse. STEVEN. I ll wait in the car. CHARLOTTE. You do that. But will you at least get the wash first? STEVEN. Fine. CHARLOTTE. Do you expect me to carry everything? (Lights fade to black.) Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 26

28 Scene Three (It is Sunday morning. MARIE is scurrying around, preparing for her first date with Miguel. She places a bowl of tortilla chips and two bottles of Dr. Pepper on the coffee table. She runs to the magazine rack and pulls out a Spanish dictionary. She paces, thumbing through the book, mouthing Spanish phrases. When the doorbell rings, she lets out a squeal of delight. She replaces the dictionary in the magazine rack and checks her reflection in a hallway mirror. She takes a quick deep breath and then opens the door.) MARIE. (Very loudly, as if he were deaf:) BONE-ASS DIE-ASS, Miguel Castillo! Come in. MIGUEL. Hello, Marie Baker. Thank you for inviting me to your home. MARIE. Oh, it's my pleasure. You know - my CASE-AH is your CASE-AH. MIGUEL. You are very nice. (A nervous beat.) And you are very pretty. (Beat.) Tu eres mui bonita. MARIE. (Embarrassed:) Oh, well - DONKA SHAYNE! (She pulls him further into the living room.) Mama's at church right now. I was supposed to go with her, but I told her I was sick. MIGUEL. You are sick? MARIE. (With a giggle:) No, I lied. MIGUEL. (He laughs.) You are a liar. MARIE. (She laughs with him.) I know. Isn t it great? Well, have a seat. (Shoves him onto the sofa.) Do you like Tostitos? And we have Dr. Pepper. MIGUEL. Thank you. MARIE. (She sits down next to him, nearly in his lap.) Tell me all about yourself, Miguel Castillo. MIGUEL. Marie Baker, I'm from Havana. I'm from Cuba. MARIE. (She screams this and Miguel is frightened:) Babalu! (She laughs.) Ricky Ricardo! MIGUEL. Is he your father? Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 27

29 MARIE. No, honey, he's Lucy s husband. My sister and I used to watch the program on television all the time. We just loved it. MIGUEL. I have been in America for two years only. My English is not so good. MARIE. Really? (She suddenly grabs him and pulls him towards her.) Well, how's your French? (She kisses him passionately.) MIGUEL. (He pulls away from her, breathless.) You are a wild American girl, yes? MARIE. I have made a decision. (Beat.) I'm going to become Miss Florida if it kills me. MIGUEL. (His voice cracks.) Miss Florida? MARIE. I've been studying all night. I just never realized it until just recently that this is my calling. Now, let me tell you what I found in my studies. I didn't care much for Miss Jamie Lynn Bolding. She won way back in 1996 and her talent was lyrical ballet. How tacky. But I simply died when I discovered Miss Kristin Alicia Beall Ludecke. She was Miss Florida five thousand years ago in and she was wonderful. Very classy and elegant. Her platform issue was selfesteem through music and the arts and then she sang opera. It was something foreign and breathtaking. Sort of like you. And I just loved Miss Jennifer DelGallo. Now she was Miss Pensacola in 1996 and she sang the hell out of (She actually sings this, very operatic:) Don t Rain On My Parade! I swear to you when I read about this, the hair on my scalp stood up when I imagined her performing. I was beside myself. I nearly peed my pants. And her platform issue was the value of the family. Couldn t you just die? She was so brave in those democratic times. I'm going to write to her, a belated letter of support. And I'll tell her about my plans. Maybe I'll even take her to lunch. Some place healthy and Christian. Up until last night, around midnight, I wanted to go to secretary school. But now, I have opted for a more glamorous and socially fulfilling career choice. (She stands on the sofa and looks out at an imaginary crowd.) I'm going to become Miss Florida and feed starving children in third world countries. It came to me in a dream, a vision I had last night. I saw myself, in a bathing suit with cute polka dots. (She suddenly notices that Miguel s tie is covered with polka dots. She grabs his tie and squeals with delight.) I was wearing a tiara and a sash and I was surrounded by hungry children. And I was feeding them pizza and they all loved me. And the President of the United States of America was there and he shook my hand and he said to me, Miss Florida, Miss Marie Baker, you have changed the world. I smiled. (She does.) I waved. (She does.) I even cried. (She starts to and stops.) There was a video crew there and they shot the whole thing and in my dream it was being sold on television for only $ So, as an American girl, I feel compelled to make my dreams come true. (Beat.) I just haven t told Mama yet. MIGUEL. You will be Miss Florida because you are beautiful. MARIE. Do you really think so, Miguel Castillo? I mean, I know we just met last night, but I haven't stopped thinking about you. You're very attractive. Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 28

30 MIGUEL. I look much like my father. MARIE. Is he married? MIGUEL. For why? MARIE. For my mother. She never re-married once Daddy ran off. Her birthday is next week. She's going to be forty-three years old. I don t think she has a date for the party. MIGUEL. My father is in Havana, with my family. MARIE. I want to meet them. MIGUEL. You want to go to Havana? MARIE. I want to go everywhere. I get tired of Pensacola. I need a change of scenery. Havana must be very nice this time of year. MIGUEL. You are a little loca, yes? Crazy, I mean. MARIE. Everyone says so. My sister, Charlotte - well, she's the serious one. She always has been. But not me. MIGUEL. Not you. MARIE. No, because I like to have fun. Do you like to have fun, Miguel Castillo? MIGUEL. Yes, Marie Baker. Fun is good. MARIE. (She stands up.) Dance with me. MIGUEL. You wish to dance? MARIE. I will have you know that I was almost a ballerina. But Mama wrote a check to pay for classes at the Starrstep Dance Studio and it bounced. MIGUEL. I like to dance very much. MARIE. Well then, put your arms around me and get into the groove. We can dance all afternoon until Mama gets home from church. MIGUEL. You are a nice girl, Marie Baker. I like you very much. Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 29

31 MARIE. Isn t that sweet? But I need you to fall in love with me. (Beat.) And not just for my looks either. Come on, now. Let s dance. (Music is suddenly heard. Suggested song: "Rock The Casbah" as recorded by Solar Twins. Marie begins to do an interpretive dance, very dramatic and outlandish. Suddenly, she grabs Miguel firmly and forces him to dance around the living room.) MARIE. Miguel Castillo! Oh, we are dancing. We are having fun. We are getting down. Let s get funky. (They dance.) Oh, can we slow down a little, please? (They dance.) I'm getting a little dizzy. Wow. We are moving pretty fast now. You sure like to dance, I can tell. (They dance.) Can we stop just for a second? I can t feel my teeth. MIGUEL. Dance, Marie Baker, dance! MARIE. I'm dancing, Miguel Castillo. I'm dancing. MIGUEL. Faster! MARIE. I'm really dizzy now. Let s have Tostitos. MIGUEL. But we must dance for love. MARIE. Yes, I know, but I can't see anymore. (She suddenly stops and breaks away from him. She lowers her head behind the sofa and we can hear her vomiting. The music fades out.) MIGUEL. Marie Baker, you are sick. You are not a liar. MARIE. (She rises up and wipes her mouth. She begins to cry.) I'm so sorry. MIGUEL. For what are you sorry? MARIE. I just threw up all over your shoes. Now you ll never love me! (She cries, à la Lucy Ricardo as Miguel pulls away in disgust.) (Lights fade to black.) Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 30

32 Scene Four (It is late on Tuesday night. When this scene opens, the living room is empty and dimly lit. A few moments pass before TRUDY enters, home from work. She has just worked ten hours at the bar. She stops in the center of the room, car keys and purse in hand. She looks around and for a moment it seems as if she might start to cry.) TRUDY. Sure is quiet. (She picks up a framed photograph and stares down at the face of her exhusband.) You rotten son of a bitch. I imagine you aren t lonely. (She replaces the photograph.) You never were. (She sits down on the sofa.) MARIE.(Enters from her bedroom. She carries an armful of research material on beauty pageants and the city of Pensacola.) Mama, I was getting worried about you. You haven t worked this late in months. I almost called up Charlotte to tell her to go down to The Tide Pool and check up on you. TRUDY. I stayed a little longer. It was busy. MARIE. On a Tuesday night? TRUDY. A bunch of tourists came in. On their way to Montgomery. Then to Atlanta, I reckon. I made a small fortune in tips tonight. Not enough to run off to the Bahamas, I m sorry to say. But the electric bill will get paid on time this month. MARIE. (She takes a closer look at her mother.) Mama, you look sad. TRUDY. I am, a little bit. MARIE. What s wrong? Was Walter in a bad mood? Mama, I told you he s just a grumpy man and a mean boss. He works you to death. That man needs to find some happiness. TRUDY. No, I can handle Walter. Maybe I ve got a bad case of the birthday blues. MARIE. But your birthday isn t until Saturday. It s too early to get sad. TRUDY. Marie, I think I have been sad for a long time. MARIE. (She sits beside her mother and puts an arm around her shoulders.) Do you miss Daddy? TRUDY. No. I hate that lousy excuse for a man. Pensacola by David Matthew Barnes 31

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