The Magnifying Glass
By Anonymous, Chappaqua, NY
Author's note: Roosevelt is my high school. All the characters in this play are my friends and peers. Granted,... Show full author's note »
Scene One: The Gilded AgeSCENE 1: THE GILDED AGE
(Stage is entirely blank and dark, except for one spotlight in the center and four folding chairs downstage left. There is a light switch on the wall downstage left. ORA STANLEY starts out standing in the spotlight. MIRANDA STEVENS, ELLIE FEINMAN, and NARRATOR are sitting in the chairs. PAMELA RUTH and LISA STANLEY are offstage stage right).
NARRATOR: Scene One – The Gilded Age.
ORA STANLEY: Roosevelt High is one of the best high schools in the country.
NARRATOR: Ora Stanley is a struggling student.
ORA STANLEY: We’re ranked, like, 50, or something (she ponders this for a moment, then snaps out of it). There are so many opportunities to try so many different classes. Everyone does well. Teachers are caring and want to help the students. We have freedom, and get the experience one should have right before college.
NARRATOR: Ora has endured increasing pressure from her parents and peers as her grades drop and she is placed in less and less advanced courses.
ORA STANLEY: This school, surprising to some, is like the Gilded Age. Looks golden and perfect from the outside, with many smart, happy-go-lucky kids getting 4.0s. Inside, the school oozes with exhaustion, judgment, and competition. It's like we've all become little robots, or machines, trying to be the best (she sits in the empty chair).
MIRANDA STEVENS (walks into spotlight): Roosevelt’s slogan is, like, “a lifelong love to learn,” something like that.
NARRATOR: Miranda Stevens is a student and competitive dancer.
MIRANDA STEVENS: But that’s literally bull, that’s like saying that… well, it’s just not true. I can’t have one freaking conversation without the word “college” coming up. Today I told my friend Pam that all day I wasn’t going to think about college or SATs or my GPA or being valedictorian or any of that stuff that gets me freaked out. (She yells, facing towards stage right) Tell them what you said to me, Pam!
NARRATOR: Pamela Ruth is Miranda’s best friend.
PAMELA RUTH (walks briskly from stage right, into spotlight): I told her that she was crazy. How could you not think about college now? Literally everyone knows that junior year is all about college. Why else would anyone take AP Chem? (She exits stage left).
MIRANDA STEVENS (waits in silence, with head down, until PAMELA RUTH exits stage): I told you. The damn slogan should be… should be “a lifelong joy of getting into AP classes,” that’s what it should be. Or “a lifelong joy of cheating in AP classes,” for that matter (she shakes her head and sits in the empty chair).