Hovick, Marcia (American playwright, director, producer, actress, 19__- ____), “Mac’s Place,”
a 20-minute comedy in English set in a little coffee shop near a shabby neighborhood movie in a large city on the West Coast of the United States, 1944,
3f (+ m voice and m extra),
© 1997 by playwright, script/rights available from Marcia Hovick, 31 Via Encina, Monterey, California 93940, U.S.A., telephone (home) 831-375-3986, (work) 831-624-1531. Cited by playwright on February 20, 1997.
§ Dramatis Personae Rosie (f), a waitress; Old Woman (f), a newspaper vendor; Vicky (f), 30, a career woman, attractive and tailored; Mac (m voice), the coffee show owner
§ Synopsis Mac (offstage), the owner of the coffee shop, directs Rosie, the waitress, to close up after a long day. He warns against serving the Old Woman, who may come in, because she was drunk and draped over a table this morning. Rosie agrees. When the Old Woman, a paper vender, obviously drunk, does enter and ask for a meal, Mac yells that only coffee and doughnuts are available and leaves by the back door. Rosie moves as in a dream, pulling down the shades. The Old Woman reminisces of bygone attractive battle-haunted men from an earlier war and fails to notice the waitress' intense emotions and near fall. Vicky, a regular customer who has not been in for a few days, enters for a cup of coffee. Rosie, too disturbed to serve her, leans on the counter then slips to the floor. Vicky and the Old Woman mistake her condition as pregnancy. Rosie recovers enough to display a telegram from the Government: her fiance, Billy, is missing. The Old Woman insists the telegram could be wrong. Rosie wearily describes having come during her long workday to accept the bad news. Vicky regards the Old Woman's pushy advice as cruel and offers to walk Rosie home. When the Old Woman promises more men will be in Rosie's life, Vicky's anger grows. Rosie, on the verge of accepting Vicky's offer to escort her home, suffers a panic attack and flees to the kitchen. Vicky unsuccessfully tries politeness on the Old Woman, who scorns her as having no experience in heartbreak. Vicky claims being more like Rosie than is apparent. She starts to reveal something about her officer husband, Greg, two weeks ago having returned home after an absence of two years, but breaks off. Footsteps outside mark the arrival of Greg. While he halts in the doorway, the husband and wife silently look at each other until he smiles calmly, indifferently, then picks up his bag and leaves. The Old Woman urges Vicky to go after him to the corner bus stop, while there is yet time. She suggests that Vicky must have been unfaithful, unlike the Old Woman, who has remained true to her own jealous, alcoholic husband, Tom, all these years after he deserted her. The women exchange insults loudly enough to prompt Rosie's return. Rosie tries to placate them. Vicky regains control of herself and apologizes, protesting that she faithfully has loved Greg these two long years and still does but that he has returned a hollow, unloving man-a stranger who wants a divorce and distance. The Old Woman challenges her either to forget him or to go after him and nurse him back to life and love. The Old Woman leads Rosie out the front door toward home, dismissing the cringing wife as incapable of helping or being helped, as hopeless. The Old Woman and Rosie leave. Vicky slowly crosses to the front door and regards the two departed women. She closes the shop, stands briefly in the dim light from the street, then pulls the door behind her and goes into the night.
§ Comment The playwright is founding director of Children's Experimental Theatre, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California (408-624-1531). For the April 21-May21, 2000, production at the Indoor Forest Theatre, Mountain View & Santa Rita, Carmel, California, Director Nick Hovick’s program comment reads, “. . . As Vicky faces her living husband, whose soul has been seared away for years of destroying life, she, like us, tries to bring back her ordinary life. He has become a walking corpse and will not be held. She seeks refuge in a diner and finds nothing. Is there some moral superiority to the Old Woman, or Rosie? The Old Woman has been brought to humble circumstances and chooses a drunk's life. She is a dying thing, and in that sense seems to me not far removed from Vicky’s husband. It seems that to her the horror of loss must still be so fresh and overwhelming that drunkenness is her daily refuge. Is she the persona of the helper? The modern version of the mourners in ‘Riders to the Sea’? Or Rosie, who determines to face facts, is she somehow closer to reality? We know she feels. We know she wails and grieves. We hope this storm of grief will impel her in the right direction. She does seem prepared to accept physical loss. We may be tempted to morally align ourselves with the Old Woman contimepuous of Vicky’s defeat before her husband’s loss of self. But ultimately, the Sea of Being . . . claims its children and will not return them.”
§ Themes 1944, affection, alcoholism, apology, bus stop, coffee shop, contempt, defeat, desertion, diner, divorce, fidelity, Government, grief, hopelessness, insult, jealousy, loss, love, marriage, missing in action, moral superiority, mourning, normality, panic attack, paper vending, reality, refuge, separation, telegram, waitressing, World War II.
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