"Richie Bernstein"

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Gordon, Fred Jay (American playwright, 19__- ), "Richie Bernstein,"

a 15-minute comedy in English set in Los Angeles, 1996,

1m (late 20s),

(c) 1996 by Fred Jay Gordon, script available here, rights available from playwright, 574 East Shore Rd., Kings Point, NY 11024 U.S.A. Cited to present author by playwright, via e-mail fjgordon@mail.earthlink.net, November 2, 1996; Gordon adds,

Synopsis "Racing out of the shower to get the ringing telephone, Richie dresses and deals with Julie who's calling him in a panic because she just had a fight with her mother. Richie's phone has 'Call Waiting,' and he juggles calls with Julie, then with Julie's mother who is both thrilled and terrified her only child is getting married. Then Mickey-doo calls trying to entice Richie to return to his old bachelor days. In the middle of this crises with Julie and her mother, Ingrid, an old one-night stand from college, calls Richie. She's back in town and wants to see him. How Richie deals with these conflicts and his impending marriage to Julie is both the thrust and the pangs of his dilemma. Will he go out one last time with Ingrid? Will he stay true to Julie? Only the final moment reveals his choice.

Comment "The play occurs in Richie's bachelor apartment in Los Angeles two days before he marries Julie. The play requires two chairs and a telephone with a very long cord. The actor must be real, anchored, funny, physically adept, and able to play the through-line and the conflicts. A good director is helpful. The play was first performed as an award winner by The Ensemble Studio Theatre in Los Angeles.

Script

"From a boom box comes Clint Black singing, 'No Time To Kill,' from his album of the same name (RCA 07863 66239-2). The stage lights come up on RICHIE BERNSTEIN'S one-bedroom apartment in a modern two-level building in West Los Angeles. The living room has an unlived-in quality. RICHIE mostly eats out. The telephone rings. Finally, RICHIE, late-20's, enters dripping wet with a towel around him. He dives for the telephone which has a 30-foot cord but it slips out of his wet hands and bounces on the floor.

"RICHIE

"Hello! Hello! Wait a minute. (HE picks up the telephone.) I just dropped you. Hello. . . . Julie, Julie, hi, hi, hi, you ready? I'm not, how was your day? . . . Oh, yeah, sure you can talk, sorry, g'ahead. (HE lowers the music.) Uh-huh, uh-huh. Oh, babe. . . . (HE shivers.) Ooooo-- . . . No, no, just a shiver, I just got out of the shower but I'm listening. What'd she say then? . . . Uh-huh. . . . She's not going to fire you. . . . Honey, she can't fire you, she's your mother. . . . Don't cry. . . Come on, Jule, I love you. . . . I'm going to take you out of that employment office and I'm going to wine you and dine you and love you. . . . Could you hold on a second, I'm freezing, lemme just get my--okay. (RICHIE throws the telephone on a big chair and goes off-stage, then returns with a bathrobe and pants. HE picks up the telephone and, during the following, puts on his robe, dries his hair, gets into his pants, etc.) (RICHIE assume an outrageous Indian accent: ) Oh, ho, my doty, I've got a special special restaurant for us tonight, yes, I do. Moroccan. You sit around a big pillows, no forks, just colored fountains and-- . . . Right, you're right, I wasn't listening but I'm listening now, see, I was just trying to cheer you up. . . . Well, yes, you are kinda upset and crying and sorta hysterical. . . . No, no, not a bad hysterical, a good hysterical, you can make a good hysterical work for you, you know? . . . All right, all right, tell me what happened, I'm listening. . . . Why can't you? . . . Uh-huh, uh-huh, you see her now, what's she doing? . . . Not necessarily, you could be just interpreting that, you know, her wanting to kill you is really just an interpretation. . . . Did she go back into her office? . . . Well, stare back at her. Okay, okay, fine, pick you up in fifteen minutes, bye, bye. (HE hangs up, turns up the music to the Clint Black song, then goes off-stage. The telephone rings again. When RICHIE comes back, he's carrying the rest of his clothes and, during the following, HE gets dressed.) Hello. . . . Yes, this is Richard. (HE turns off the music.) Mrs. Mauer, how are you? I couldn't hear you with the-- . . . Yes, Mrs. Mauer, I know you're having a fight, she just called me. . . . Well, I think it has a lot to do with the fact that-- . . . Uh-oh, wait a minute, I've got another call coming in, you know Call-Waiting, you know that thing? . . . Yes, right, okay, hang on, I'll be right back. (HE depresses the telephone button and gets HIS second call.) Hello? . . . Hey, he y, Mickey-doo, what's going on? ah--listen, Mick, I'm on a-- . . . No, no thanks, no, would you believe I'm not buying anymore. I'm getting married. . . . Yeah, Sunday. . . . Mushrooms? You mean like they did in the Sixties? Yeah? . . . Nah, I don't think so, Mickey, thanks anyway, listen, I really can't-- . . . Yeah, okay, great, yeah, bye, bye to you, too. (HE clicks back.) Mrs. Mauer? . . . Hi. . . . Okay, Pearl. . . . No, tell me from your point of view. . . . No, Pearl, I wasn't being patronizing, you just took it-- . . . Well, maybe you are a little upset. Look, it is two nights before the big day, and you've only got one daughter, all that. Ah, could you hold a second, I've got another-- . . . Yeah, right back, okay. (HE clicks again.) Hello? . . . This is Richard Bernstein, who's this? . . . No, I give up, who? . . . Ingrid? From Berkeley! Oh, my God, yes, yes, of course I remember, how could I forget? Am I crazy or weren't you getting married the next morning? . . . Of course. Well, hello, how are you, where are you? . . . You got in today? . . . Tonight? I--listen, co uld you hold a second, I'm on another call? Hang on. (HE clicks back.) Listen, Julie--I mean, Pearl, Pearl, I'm sorry, Pearl, I-- . . . No, I'm not taking this casually. Pearl, what do you want from me? Why are you screaming at me? Pearl, scream a t her. . . . Look, now we're all upset, you, me, Julie, yeah, we are. . . . All right, call me later then, but talk to her. . . . Yes, it will go well, don't worry. . . . Yeah, goodbye. (HE clicks back.) Hello. . . . Well, yeah, I am angry. . . . No, no, not at you, not you, at--oh, all sorts of--but tell me about you, Ingrid, g'ahead, I'm listening. . . . Uh-huh. . . . Uh-huh. . . . Oh, I've been living down here almost eight years. . . . Well, they say you need eleven years here before you really feel like you live in L. A., I don't know, it's different from Portland and the agency's been good to me, V. P. soon, I think, of Marketing and--ah--ah, I'm getting married here--yeah! yeah! so I guess--ah, how's your husband, and what are you doing? . . . Oh, that's too bad. . . . Uh-huh, he did? She was? Ooooo, sorry, must've hurt. Washington? Washington, D.C., yeah? Great, I mean--oh, so he's still back there, huh? . . . Yeah? .Yeah. . . . So what brings you here? . . . Television? Well, congratulations, welcome to L. A. . . . Oh, yeah, sure I'll bet you photograph great, you'll be terrific. . . . Ah, radio, I sell air-time. What else can you do with a degree in English! . . . Well, the rates vary: time of broadcast, length of spot, buying in bulk or a one-time shot--you know. . . . (HE laughs.) Really? . . . Tonight? Oh, boy--ah--well, see--ah--hang on a second, I got another call, don't go away. (HE clicks back.) Yeah, hello. . . . Oh, Julie, hi, honey. . . . No, no, I did not assume your mother's position in this thing, you're--I did not. . . . Yeah, well, maybe it is only in your head. . . . Julie, honey, please get the hell out of that pink and gray office before you go bonkers. . . . Oh, I am not trying to control you or your life, I am not, I'm not your mother! . . . Oh, I didn't mean that, I meant--never mind. . . . Julie? . . . Julie, hey, don't clam up on me, please. Julie? . . . Look, this is getting exhausting here, you know, I'm standing here half-dressed, f eel like I'm jammed up against a brick wall and people are throwing darts at me. . . . Yeah, well, you too, you're throwing, too. . . . Nah, we're both upset. . . . Well, thanks for saying that, I am trying. And so are you. . . . You think so? I don't know, I always figure you can teach me things about people, I don't think I see as much as you do. . . . You think so? . . . I even bought you flowers for tonight. . . . I am not saying that just to say that! I'm looking at them right here, Jule, they're right on the table here next to 'Iron John'--yeah, it is provocative, I suppose, yeah, I'm liking it, I really am, Julie, thanks.* . . . Wait a minute. (HE clicks back.) Hello? . . . Ingrid? . . . Listen, hang on for just a minute more, okay? . . . Oh, yeah, 'Chinatown'? Nicholson's great, 'Neither 'Iron John' nor the flowers is present.' Okay, hang on. (HE clicks back.) Julie. . . . Uh--where were we? . . . No, no , just someone from the office. . . . About the Bristol-Myers spot, yeah, go ahead, what were you saying? . . . All right, so I forgot, I've been getting a lot of calls today in the office and the numbers are down and the moment I come home more calls and it's Friday and I'm supposed to get married this Sunday and-- . . . What do you mean what'd I mean by 'I'm supposed to get married?' I 'am' getting--I mean, we 'are' getting married. . . . What? . . . Julie, Julie, my future soon-to-be almost wife, give me a break, huh? . . . Honey, you wanna call off tonight, and maybe we should both cool out? You know, sweetheart, two days and it's total commitment. . . . No, I mean it's commitment now of course but after we're married that's 'real' commitment: you--God--the law--everything. . . . Oh, I don't know, I got a lot of paper-work I can always do, you finished that paper for Doctor what's-her-name for Methods in Personality, didn't you? . . . Yeah, Norem, Dr. Norem, I mean I loved your last draft. . . . So hand it in tomorrow, it'll be early, she'll love you even more, A plus for you, kiddo. . . . Yeah, there's chicken in the frig from the other night. . . . Well, if you want to. . . . And you? . . . Yeah, maybe it would be good to try to work that out with her, go to a movie or-- . . . yeah, that's good, too, just the two of you. . . . Yeah, yeah, wait a sec. . . . (HE clicks back.) Hello? Ingrid, hey, it's gonna--want me to call you back? . . . Oh. Okay. Hang on. (HE clicks back.) Jule? . . . No, I'll get 'em back. Ah--no, I'll be fine here. You always say we gotta do what we gotta do, right? . . . No, no, go ahead. . . . I'll have flowers for you on Sunday--I'll have so many flowers for you on Sunday you'll think I'm a florist, you'll think I'm a greenhouse and you know what? You'll be right. . . . And you're going to be Mrs. Richard M. Bernstein, and I'm Richie Bernstein, and I'm a hot house of flowers for you, sweetheart, you know I am--I love you. . . . Okay, good, talk to your mother and I'll talk to you tomorrow then. . . . Okay. . . . Yeah, give her my best. . . . (HE laughs.) Well, give her anything you want to give her, all right. . . . (HE laughs more.) Don't say that. (HE laughs more.) You better not say that. (HE laughs more.) Julie, in two days you will be my entire life, yes. . . . Yeah, and I will be your entire life--kind of. . . . I love you--who do you love? . . . You. . . . Okay. Okay? Okay. Bye. (HE kisses the phone.) Bye. (HE clicks back.) Hello? Hey! Ingrid! Hello! You there? Is that Fay Dunaway screaming back there or you? Ingrid?! . . . Oh, hi--yeah, I'm back. . . . No, just something I had to work out. . . . Yeah, it's okay now, it's fine, in fact, it's great. So, hey, Ingrid, about tonight--it's not going to work out. . . . Exactly. . . . You got it. All right. . . . Keep in touch. Good. Right. . . . Yeah, you, too, good luck. . . . Bye. . . . Bye-bye. (RICHIE hangs up. He sits back.)

"(BLACKOUT. 'No Time to Kill' is played. The End)"

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