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Laurie May Gleanons: A Story of Revolution
Laurie May Gleanons
(The setting is a large beautiful garden filled with plants and flowers of all sorts: daisies, daffodils, crocuses, carnations, hostas, chrysanthemums, geraniums, absolutely everything you can imagine. It is a lovely sunny day in mid afternoon and a small crowd is gathered surrounds the garden’s entrance, chattering among themselves excitedly. Two wooden stakes stand on opposite sides of the little path and a red ribbon has been tied between the two stakes to block off the garden. Four burly-looking men and one tall skinny woman stand in front of the ribbon, smiling broadly. The woman is particularly glowing with pride.)
Good afternoon, everyone, and isn’t it just a lovely day? (Murmur of agreement goes through the crowd. Beat) I am ever so pleased to announce that the Little Falls Community Garden has finally been finished! (A loud cheer comes from the crowd at these words.) I would like to give a big thank you to Mr. Benjamin Cunningham (Beat), Mr. Joshua Quinn Davis (Beat), Dr. Lawrence E. Coleman (Beat), Mr. Jacob Brown (Beat), Ms. Laurie May Gleanons (Beat), and all of the wonderful volunteers who have made our beautiful little garden dream, a reality!
(A cheer from the crowd)
Now, it would be my greatest honor to have the garden project’s faithful leader, (Beat. LAURIE closes her eyes and clenches her fists.), Mr. Jacob Brown, to come up and cut the ribbon!
(The crowd erupts in a long loud cheer and BROWN steps forward (DCS) with a pleasant smile on his face. The MAYOR hands him a pair of large fabric scissors and BROWN cuts the ribbon just as the crowd surges forward to see the garden. The other three men clap politely for BROWN ,but LAURIE stands there, heartbroken and shaking. Her mouth hags open and a hurt, betrayed expression is in her eyes. Beat. Scene fads out.)
END OF SCENE 1
(The scene opens in a small kitchen. There are birch countertops and overhead cabinets lining the walls, all made of a dark oak. A large wooden table stands in the center of the room, littered with flour, used ceramic bowls, eggshells, and other baking materials. A small woman in her early fifties stands at the table, kneading a large ball of dough, humming cheerfully as she works. A wooden door is in the back of the kitchen and you can hear footsteps coming up to it from outside. The door slams open.)
(Mother looks up at her when she enters. LAURIE stamps into the kitchen in a passionate fury, throwing her pocket book violently into the corner.)
The nerve! (Shouting furiously)
What is it deary? Back from new garden welcoming ceremony already? My, that was quick. (Friendly, cheerful tone.)
(Slams her hands down on the table top, looking straight at her mother.) They barely even acknowledged me, Mother! Can you believe it? I wasn’t even recognized as the project leader (Emphasize on “leader”.) Brown____
Mr. Brown, sweetheart. (Interrupting)
(Gives MOTHER a brief glare.) Mr. Brown got all the credit! He was even invited to cut the ribbon! Cut the ribbon, Mother! I did all work! I thought of the idea to plant a community garden! I planned out and ran the fundraiser! I gathered all of the volunteers! I should be given credit for all of my hard work!
(Shaking her head) Tsk, tsk, what a shame.
(Drops into a chair by the table in frustration, resting her chin on her fist.) All because I’m a woman. Men can do absolutely ANYTHING with full recognition and what do I get? My name read off the roll call. I’m a human being, for God’s sake, that’s all that matters!
Oh, Laurie, that’s just the way it is and there ain’t much we can do about it, but make the best outta what we got. I wish that I had the same rights as a man too. I wish that I could vote, and own property, and get the same pay, but I just can’t! The best thing you can do right now, is to calm down before you do anything rash. You’re simply knackered, that’s all.
(Slams her fist on the table and stands up suddenly, looking MOTHER right in the eye.) Oh Mother, don’t you get it? Don’t you understand? I want to make a difference in this world! I want to contribute to my community in other ways that baking cookies for a bake sale! I can’t let men control my life! I want to give to the poor! I want to find home for the orphans! I want to open park! I want to plant gardens! I want to build libraries! And I want the credit! I want to be acknowledged for all of my good deeds without the credit being given to some arrogant, half-hearted man! I need to be seen as a leader! Not only by men, but by women. We are just as good as any man and we all need to remember that. I am proud to be a woman and we all should be! Show some pride, Mama, show some pride! I need to become a leader in this town and I will! (Defiantly, LAURIE sits back down, completely out of breath.)
Well! You truly are passionate about this, aren’t you?
(Still breathing hard.) Yes! Yes!
(Seriously) You had better be prepared for a whole lot of ugly things coming as you. Now, just what do you think you’re going to do?
(Smiles triumphantly) Oh Mother, I know just the thing. I’ve known it since I was twelve years old and now, I’m a grown twenty-five year old woman and this garden project has simply been the last time that I, Laurie May Gleanons, will be humiliated!
Well? Say it, child!
Representative. The community representative for our neighborhood. Mr. Johnson is finally retiring and they’re looking for candidates. One of them is going to be me!
(MOTHER puts her dough aside, walks over to LAURIE slowly, and pinches her sharply.)
Ouch! What was that for? (Clasping her hand over the place where MOTHER pinched.)
Oh dear. I was trying to wake you up from your dream.
END OF SCENE 2
(The setting is a small room with two fairing large store-display windows in the front with a wooden door in between them. The walls are covered in dark chocolate oak paneling and a long counter occupies the back half of the room. The remainder is cluttered with a couple of moth-eaten armchairs in a waiting room style. A skinny old man sits behind the counter, reading a newspaper with rectangular reading glasses. His balding head shines in the sunlight. Suddenly, there is a chime of bells and the CLERK looks up to see who has entered.)
Enter LAURIE. (LAURIE is wearing a long maroon-colored dress and a small hat decorated with colorful feathers.)
(Gives a forced smile.) May I help you today, Madam?
(Removes her hat.) Why, yes, sir, you may. I am here to see the board of representatives. I am under the impression that there is a meeting today.
(Widens his eyes in surprise and stutters in confusion.) Um…uh….um…….
(Raises her eyebrows in an inquiring expression.) Yes, sir? Am I mistaken? Do tell me, sir.
(Shifts in his seat and sits up straight; pulling himself together.)
No, Ma’am, you are quite right. There is a meeting today, right now in fact. Do you have an appointment?
(Surprised and obviously unprepared.) I, um, have some ,um, urgent news for the board. (CLERK raises his eyes suspiciously.) About….about…the new garden! Yes, the new community garden! I am Laurie May Gleanons, you see.
(Convinced of her story.) Oh yes! You are the young lady who assisted with the project, I remember now, I recognize you. Lovely lovely garden, I must say. (Stands up abruptly and walks out from behind the counter.) Right this way, Ms. Gleanons.
EXIT CLERK AND LAURIE
END OF SCENE 3
(The setting is a long narrow room with the same dark oak paneling as in the waiting room. A long mahogany table with several matching chairs alongside it. Five men sit in the chairs, discussing an important topic passionately. Two of the men are BROWN and DAVIS. Suddenly the door swings open.)
ENTER CLERK AND LAURIE
(Opens the door for Laurie.) Here you are, Miss Gleanons. Good morning, gentlemen, Miss Laurie Gleanons. (Indicating towards LAURIE.)
Miss Gleanons! May I ask for the meaning of your current presence?
(Stiff, formal) I had an urgent inquiry that needed to be voiced straight away to the board.
(Impatiently, annoyed) Well, get on with it, Madam, what is this “urgent” inquiry?
(Shoots LORRENSON a furious glare.) How might one come along to become a candidate in the election of the community representative for the Knollwood neighborhood?
(Raises one eyebrow curiously) You are, in fact, only here to carry this message to another, am I correct, Miss Gleanons?
No, Mr. Davis, this information is sorely for my own use.
(Shock in his eyes and voice.) You do not mean to say that you wish to run for the position yourself?
(Smiling) That is exactly what I mean to say, sir.
(Stiffly) Oh Madam, I regret to inform you that I’m not sure that we can let you run for representative.
And may I ask why not? I am a citizen of this town. I have my rights.
Well, Miss, traditionally, the spot of representative is usually taken on by a male figure.
(Still calm ,but icy)
Are you being sexist towards my gender, Mr. Brown?
No, Ms. Gleanons, I am simply informing you of the rules. (Emphasize on “rules”)
(Raising her voice gradually.) Do you all believe that a woman such as myself could not handle the job? That it would be too much of a weight upon her fragile little soul?
No, ma’am, it is nothing of the sort.
Don’t lie, Mr. Brown! For centuries, women have simply been the dolls and playthings of men, nothing more! We are expected to cook and clean and sew! How many days of my life will I have to spend having society eating away at my heart and soul?
(Stands up and addresses LAURIE angrily) Madam! Control your emotions and understand that what you are asking us, simply cannot be done! We will not allow someone to enter the election whom we believe no one will vote for! It would be an utter waste!
Oh, no one will vote for me, will they? Well, I don’t care! Just one vote under my name would be a triumph for women across the nation.
(Still calm ,but cold)
So, Ms. Gleanons, let’s just say that you do win the Knollwood election______
And pigs might fly…..
(Gives LORRENSON a sharp glare.) __what might be some of your first proposals?
(Raises her head high) Well, do let me inform you, Mr. Brown, that I have a list longer than any you might imagine, but my number one priorities are simple. I plan to work towards equal rights for women: voting rights, the ability to own property, and so many more of the injustices that we have dealt with for so long!
(Stands up at this outburst.) Ms. Gleanons! I truly thought that you were a sensible woman. I demand a stop to this nonsense! Do leave or we shall have the clerk come and fetch you!
(Calmly and firm.) I shall not leave until you allow me to become a candidate for representative.
(Boldly, acting as the leader of the group.) Miss Gleanons, you have exactly three seconds to go back through that door and we will pretend as if this little incident never occurred.
(Shouting passionately) Do you not feel shame, Mr. Brown? The shame of treating other human beings like slaves and no-goods? Do you not feel this? All the great women in history have had to face some horrid selfish rat before reaching their goal and YOU (Pointing at all the community board members.) are all, my selfish rats!
Nothing, I say, nothing, will stop me from getting this position. I have been cheated by men for my entire life and it is time for that to finally come to an end! The garden project, for example, I organized the entire making of that garden , and I wasn’t even recognized as the leader? I am absolutely disgusted with you ignorant___
___arrogant pigs! I shall be going straight to the mayor about this with a party of loyal supporters as well. Together, we will take a stand for the women of Little Falls, Maine whether you “representatives” like it or not! Even if I have to change my name to Lawrence Mason Gleanons!
Three. Mr. Lorrenson? Could you please ring the clerk for me?
(Smiles in an evil triumphant manner.) My pleasure, Mr. Brown. (Muttering) The loony feminist…..
(BROWN ushers LAURIE to the door forcefully.)
Mark my words, this isn’t the last you’ve heard of Laurie May Gleanons!
(Fad out as LAURIE is being ushered out the door.)
END OF SCENE 4