Memory

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(Modern day, 2010. The sketch takes place in a kitchen. At absolute minimum, the set requires a simple breakfast table, a chair with a back, and perhaps a door; the actors can pantomime what is not there. If desired, design the set in a stereotypical 1990s style and place a photograph of Mother, Charlie, and a man who looks like Charlie on the kitchen windowsill. Charlie would look about twelve in this picture. Mother is forty-five, and bustles around the kitchen, cleaning and mixing, preparing to bake, and acting incredibly stereotypical, almost Stepford. She is wearing a pale yellow flowery dress with a half apron over it; use the stereotype and expand on it for her overall look. Charlie, nearly 20, who looks somewhat like a lifeguard, enters the kitchen from a doorway to the side, and sees Mother preparing to bake, humming. She doesn’t see him, but he watches her sadly, seeming more depressed the cheerier she acts. He’s remembering something. He sighs, depressed, and slumps a little as he enters further into the kitchen. Mother notices him and starts.)

Mother: (sounding perky) Dave! You’re home early! (Charlie’s frown deepen)

Charlie: (a dull, sad voice, he sounds and looks a little depressed) No, Mom.
(She frowns a little and looks closer, before giving a smile. It looks somewhat forced.)

Mother: (Still trying for perky, but not quite reaching it) Oh, sorry dear. You look more and more like your father every day! (Noticing expression for first time) What’s wrong, dear? (Concerned, hovering)

Charlie: “Oh… nothing.” (He puts his keys on the table and grabs a chair back, for support, as he watches her)

Mother: Nothing? Are you sure?

Charlie: No. Nothing at all. (Pause) You know, I think I’m going to head back to the pool. It’s about time for me to take over from Jane, anyway.

Mother: (Charlie is already turning to leave, her acknowledgement is a formality)
“You are? I still think you are awfully young to have a job. But I know you’ll be careful; you’ve always ‘done your duty’,” (She laughs a little, the last spoken like one humoring a small child) “They must have thought you would be, too! A lifeguard! I still can’t believe it. Well, have fun! Don’t forget bring sunscreen!” (She turns back to working in the kitchen. Charlie slowly straightens up, looking like he aged fifty years.)

Charlie: (lifeless) “Yes Mom.”

Mother (Perky, oblivious, she stops working and turns partially, calling over her shoulder as she thinks of something):
“And a hat!”

Charlie: “Yes Mom.”

Mother: “And sunglasses!”

Charlie: “Yes Mom.”

Mother: “Don’t fall in, dear!” (By this point she is at the opposite side of the table, facing Charlie. She makes eye contact and smiles with motherly concern) “Would you like me to pack you some lunch?”

Charlie: (still as patiently as ever) “No, mom. Jane and I are going out to lunch after my shift. I think she wants to talk about Obama’s healthcare plan again.”

Mother: “You are! That’s my little man. You’re so like you father, and grow more like him every day! Sometimes I look up and almost don’t even recognize you! (Charlie’s mouth tightens) Well, you go get ‘em!” (She turns back to bustling around the kitchen. Charlie turns to go, and has one foot out the open door before he realizes he left his keys on the table. He turns around and steps back inside just as Mother turns around from putting her baking in the oven. She doesn’t recognize him.) “Sweetie! You made it home for lunch! I’m just putting a meatloaf in the oven, Hun. Would you like a salad with your lunch?” (She bustles about prepairing food, not waiting for his answer) “I’m afraid you just missed your son, Dear; off to that summer job of his. I still can’t believe that-” (Charlie stares at her hard as she chatters, and then seems to slump a little. She notices and stops moving, but continues speaking, perhaps a little unnerved.) “Dear? David, dear?”

Charlie: (Charlie’s frown deepens, and he straightens, leaning forward a little, looking her in the eyes. He speaks quietly, intensely, sounding a little desperate) “Charlie.”

Mother: “What?”
(She is confused, perhaps a little flustered. She seems a little reluctant to meet his eyes.)

Charlie: “I’m Charlie, Mom.”

Mother: (She looks closer and recognizes him. She gives him a smile, this one distinctly forced. She sounds flustered) “Oh yes, yes. Sorry, dear.” (She seems to regain a little steam and some false cheer, but is still clearly unsettled) “I thought you had already left. If you don’t leave soon, your father will be back before you’re out the door!”
(Charlie distinctly slumps. He sighs, and doesn’t bother to muffle it. Mother doesn’t take notice.)

Charlie: “Mom.”
(she ignores him, still embarrassed, and goes around the kitchen cleaning up. He speaks louder.)
Charlie: “Mom.“ (Still no response) “Judith.” (She finally turns and makes eye contact, absently scrubbing an old stain on the counter. He straitens a little, looking her face on. Charlie sounds a little desperate, a little resigned) “Tell me today’s date.”

Mother: “Of course, sweetie. It’s September tenth!” (Slightly amused and confused, she seems to have forgotten her mix up.)

Charlie: “Of what year?” (he sounds is suspicious, doubtful, cautious, like he wants to be hopeful but can’t)

Mother: “Why, don’t you remember? It’s 2001. Your…you just turned thirteen.”

(She stumbles over the pronoun, but quickly recovers. She still sounds confused, and perhaps a little less amused. Charlie sounds more desperate than before.)

Charlie: “Mom, no it’s- “ (Cutting himself off, he continues dully, hopelessly and with a sigh) “Sure mom. I’ll be back before dinner.”

Mother: “Thank you, dear! Your father will be home around seven. You know how the traffic around the Towers is around rush hour.”

(Charlie winces, flinching away from her as if struck. She either doesn’t see or doesn’t seem to notice.) “Have fun at the pool!” (She is cheerful, clueless)

Charlie: (Again in a dull, sad voice, he sounds and looks depressed) “Yes Mom.”





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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

PeacePerson said...
Oct. 17, 2011 at 8:09 pm
I just reread this. It gave me goose bumps. Nice job. :)
 
PeacePerson said...
Jun. 8, 2010 at 5:59 pm
ya... email me!!! (please)
 
PeacePerson said...
Jun. 8, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Hannah (my friend) said, "Oh, that's deep, Anna. Real deep." (about my comment)

So she wanted to tell you: lol (to anna)

Even deeper, right?

 
PeacePerson said...
Jun. 8, 2010 at 5:56 pm
Wow, how sad!! She has Alzheimers, right? That's really touching!
 
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