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In the Eye of the Beholder

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In the Eye of the Beholder


SCENE 1
(Note: Set up on the stage is a round table with two chairs CS, and a bar counter with two stools SR. These two portions of the set are never moved and remain on the stage for the duration of the play. When they are not being used in a scene, the lights will simply be down in that area. Accessories will be added and removed on the CS table to symbolize the two different locations the scenes using it take place in.)
(Lights come up on a restaurant CS, symbolized by a small round table with a red table cloth and a candle in the middle. Fancy dinnerware is set in two places at the table across from each other and there are two chairs. We see LUKE, HAYLEY, and a WAITER. LUKE is a young, handsome man of 27. He wears a classy black suit with a white buttoned-down shirt and a black skinny tie with his hair brushed and styled nicely. He is kneeling on one knee before HAYLEY. He is holding an open velvet ring box with a diamond ring inside. HAYLEY is sitting in the SL chair. She is 27 as well and is wearing a fancy black dress with tights and heels. Her hair is done in an elegant fashion. There is a WAITRESS, in his mid-30s, wearing a black buttoned-down shirt with black pants and an apron. He is holding a small digital camera, pointing it at the couple. HAYLEY sits strangely still considering LUKE had just proposed. There is a pause.)
HAYLEY
No.
(A flash from the camera goes off as the WAITRESS takes a picture. HAYLEY and LUKE both turn to flash a glare at him. The WAITRESS shrugs, puts the camera down on the table and walks away. LUKE stands.)

LUKE
What?

HAYLEY
Luke, I’m sorry. I can’t say “yes” to marrying you.

LUKE
Why not?



HAYLEY
Luke, I love you. I love you so much. But, marriage is a whole different ballgame. It’s like a cage that bounds you to the same spot for the rest of your life.

(Beat)

LUKE
So… marrying me would be like being trapped in a cage?

HAYLEY
No, that’s not what I mean.

LUKE
Then what do you mean, Hayley? We have been dating since junior year of college. That’s six years, Hayley. I would think that would be plenty of time to figure out if you would be happy in this “cage.”

HAYLEY
It’s… too complicated, Luke.

LUKE
What’s complicated about it? Do you not want to be with me? Is that it?

(HAYLEY stands.)

HAYLEY
Of course I want to be with you! You’re my best friend.

(HAYLEY kisses LUKE sweetly.)


HAYLEY (cont.)
It’s just that I’ve never seen myself as the marrying-type. I love you and I love the life we have created together. I don’t want that to end. But, marriage to me is… well… I just can’t. I’m not asking you to understand. Believe me, I love you so much. Things are going so well for us right now; I don’t want anything to change.

LUKE
Okay. If you feel that strongly about it…

HAYLEY
Thank you, baby.

(She kisses him again)

(Lights down on CS.)

End of Scene.

SCENE 2

(Lights come up SR at a bar setting with two stools US, being hidden by the bar. In one of the stools is RYDER. RYDER is 28 years old and is LUKE’s best friend. He wears a navy blue t-shirt and a backwards Yankees cap. LUKE is now sitting without his suit coat. His sleeves are cuffed and his tie is loosened. He appears slightly distraught. Two mugs of beer are in front of them. Sporadically throughout this scene the two of them take swigs out of their mugs.)

RYDER
So she just said no, just like that?

LUKE
Basically. She said she loves me and she wants to be with me, but she just can’t get married.

RYDER
Like… ever?

LUKE
I guess.

RYDER
That’s rough. When is she moving out?

LUKE
What do you mean?

RYDER
You broke up with her, right?

LUKE
No! I love her. If she doesn’t want to get married then I have to respect that.

RYDER
Luke, you two aren’t disagreeing on vacation plans or your favorite TV shows. This is marriage, dude. This will be a huge obstacle in the rest of your relationship. Marriage is something you have always wanted, and all of a sudden you have just let that go?

LUKE
What do you expect me to do, Ryder? Just kick her her to the curb? That wouldn’t make things better for me. I like my life. Hayley and I are happy now. I would have liked to get married, but if she wants our lives to stay exactly like they are now, that’s fine with me.

RYDER
Ryder, by not marrying her you are giving her a free pass to walk out on you whenever she damn well pleases.

LUKE
What the hell are you talking about? She could do that in marriage, too.

RYDER
Yes, but it’s much more complicated. When you’re not married, things can just be over in a second. But when you’re married, there’s all this stuff you have to do first. You would need to go to court, get a money settlement… it would take forever. And if you have a kid, that makes it ten times more work. Statistics show that a woman is more likely to stay with a man simply to avoid the stresses of a divorce process.

LUKE
What “statistics” are you quoting?

RYDER
You get the point. Your relationship is headed for disaster unless she lets you put a ring on that finger. Plus, she should want to marry you, dude. You’ve got a great job, a nice apartment, and you’re devilishly handsome.

LUKE
Ryder, you’re insane. I’m going home. You’re better at hailing cabs. Come outside with me.

RYDER
Alright. But, just think about it.

(LUKE drops a ten dollar bill on the bar and they get up and walk off.)

(Lights down SR.)

End of Scene.

SCENE 3

(Note: Sometime between Scene 1 and Scene 3, the restaurant table will be emptied, leaving a bare wooden table for the kitchen set. The chairs will stay.)

(The next morning. Lights come up on a small, empty wooden table CS. HAYLEY walks in with hair up in a messy ponytail. She is wearing pink pajamas and an open robe. She is carrying a coffee mug and a magazine. She sits at the SR chair and begins to read. Sporadically throughout the scene she sips her coffee.)

HAYLEY (calling offstage)
Baby! Did the paper come yet?

LUKE (offstage)
I don’t think so! I’ll check again after my shower.

HAYLEY (calling offstage)
Alright, thanks!

(She begins reading her magazine. After a beat, we hear her cell phone vibrating. She fishes it out of her robe pocket and answers.)

Hello?

(Lights come up DSL on MONA, HAYLEY’s mother. She is around 58. She is dressed in a pant suit with her grey hair in a neat bun. She is holding a cordless landline phone.)

MONA
Congratulations, honey!

HAYLEY
What?



MONA
Your father and I sent flowers to your apartment. They should be there soon! I’m so excited for you!

HAYLEY
Wait… Mom what are you talking about?

MONA
You’re getting married, of course!

HAYLEY
Where did you hear that?

MONA
Well, Luke came to ask for your father’s permission to marry you last month. Such a gentleman! He said he was going to do it after dinner on your six-year anniversary!

(Beat.)


MONA (cont.)
Wait… last night was your six-year anniversary, wasn’t it? Oh no, did I just ruin the biggest surprise of your life? Oh my goodness, I can’t believe…

(She continues to ramble apologies to HAYLEY who stops her after another beat.)

HAYLEY
Whoa, Mom. Easy. Yes, last night was our anniversary and yes, he did propose.

(MONA squeals with delight.)
But I said no.

(There is a long pause as MONA straightens her posture and takes a deep breath.)

MONA
What do you mean you said “no”?

HAYLEY
I mean exactly that. I don’t want to marry Luke.

MONA
Oh, sweetheart. I’m so sorry. Where are you staying? Do you need to come live with us? Do you have all your things with you or should your father collect them from Luke’s apartment?

HAYLEY
Mom, I’m still living with Luke. We didn’t break up. We’re just not getting married.

(Beat.)

MONA
Honey, do you realize how important this was to Luke?

HAYLEY
It must have been very important, seeing as he did propose. But, he understood my not wanting to get married and he is okay with that. We’re still happy.

MONA
He is not okay with that.

HAYLEY
What?
MONA
Honey, when he was here last month he went on and on for hours about marrying you. He said he knew from the moment he laid his eyes on you that he was going to marry you. He ensured your father and me that you would always be taken care of financially, emotionally, and everything. He went on and on about how marriage is such an important step in a relationship because it means that there will always be a best friend and a soul mate there to always keep you both grounded and make you feel loved and how he was so happy that he had you because the decision to marry you was the easiest decision he had ever had to make. He had a sparkle in his eyes that I had never seen in a boy’s eyes before. He may have said that he was okay, and he probably won’t even admit this to himself, but that crushed him. You rejecting him crushed him.

HAYLEY
You’re wrong, Mom. You don’t know him like I do. I will always be there to keep him grounded and to make him feel loved just like I would in a marriage. I don’t see the difference between that and what we have now. We will always be here for each other. I will always be there for him.


MONA
Does Luke know that?

HAYLEY
Of course he does.

(Beat)


HAYLEY (cont.)
I’m sure he does.

(Beat)


HAYLEY (cont.)
He does.

MONA
Think about it, honey. I love you.

HAYLEY
Love you too, Mom. Bye.

(Lights go out on MONA DSL as they both hang up the phone. After a pause, LUKE enters freshly showered and dressed in a graphic t-shirt and jeans. He has a towel draped around his neck over his shoulders. He is carrying the newspaper. He is also carrying a comically large bouquet of roses from HAYLEY’s parents with a large pink banner attached reading “CONGRATULATIONS!” He places both on the table. Beat.)

LUKE
Well the paper’s here.

(Lights down CS.)

End of Scene.


SCENE 4

(Note: After lights go down DSL when MONA has finished her dialogue, a garbage can and a “No Parking” sign will be added to that area to signify a city street curb.)

(Lights up on RYDER and LUKE standing DSL. LUKE has his hand in the air trying to flag down a taxi. He waves it and watches ones pass by him sporadically throughout the scene. There is faint SFX of the hustle and bustle of Manhattan traffic.)

LUKE
Ugh! That one had no one in it. Why didn’t he stop?

RYDER
You have to talk to her, man.

LUKE
I don’t need to talk to her, Ryder. She’s happy. I’m happy. We’re both just overflowing with happiness.

(He watches a cab pass by)


LUKE (cont.)
That one was empty, too and he just drove right by! Help me out, please.

RYDER
You’re not happy, Luke. I know you. You want to get married and the fact that she doesn’t is killing you.

LUKE
I love Hayley, Ryder. I fell in love with her when neither of us wanted to get married junior year. Nothing has changed. She’s still the same Hayley. The one I fell in love with. Help me, please. I need to get home.

(He watches yet another cab drive by.)


LUKE (cont.)
Damn it, Ryder. I’m missing them all! Help me!

RYDER
I refuse to help you hail a cab until you agree to talk to Hayley about this.

(LUKE puts his hand down and turns to RYDER.)


LUKE
Why can’t you just accept that we are happy? I thought that nothing would make me happier than marrying Hayley. But as it turns out, just being with her is enough for me. She hasn’t changed in all these years and she isn’t going to. She is still the same girl that I fell in love with so why can’t you just let us be happy? Maybe marrying her isn’t what I want anymore? Maybe her rejecting my proposal was the best thing that ever happened in our relationship because it shows that she is still the same girl that she was six years ago and she isn’t going to change so I can never stop loving her? Did you ever think of that? Please, just let us be happy.

(Beat. RYDER lifts his arm and immediately there is a SFX of a car coming to a screeching halt. Beat.)


LUKE (cont.)
Thank you.

(Lights down DSL.)

End of Scene.

SCENE 5

(Lights up on HAYLEY sitting at her and LUKE’s kitchen table, set the same way as in SCENE 3. She is sitting in the SR chair. She is now wearing a sundress with her hair done nicely. She appears to be waiting anxiously. She perks up as she hears LUKE’s offstage voice.)

LUKE (offstage)
I’m home, baby! Where are you?

HAYLEY
In the kitchen!

(LUKE enters from SL.)

LUKE
What’s up, baby?

HAYLEY
Hey, Luke. I need to talk to you.


LUKE
Sure, what’s up?

(He sits down in the SL chair at the table. Beat.)

HAYLEY
Yes.

LUKE
What?

HAYLEY
Yes, I’ll marry you.

(Pause.)

LUKE
Hayley. I don’t understand. What happened to-

(She cuts him off.)

HAYLEY
I thought about it. I’m ready for more.

LUKE
I thought you said that you would never want more. I thought you said that you were happy with our relationship just the way it was.

HAYLEY
Well, I’m ready now.

LUKE
Really?


HAYLEY
Really. Luke, I want more.

LUKE
How much more?

(She goes over to him and kisses him tenderly.)


LUKE (cont.)
Wow. Where is this all coming from? You seemed pretty sure last night.

HAYLEY
I thought about it a lot today. Luke, I’m ready.

(She kisses him again. Beat.)

LUKE
I’m…not.

HAYLEY
What? You’re not?

LUKE
I’m not.

HAYLEY
But… you told my mom…and… I thought you have always wanted more from our relationship.

LUKE
I thought I did, too. But I guess I’ve changed.

HAYLEY
You’ve changed? When did you figure all this out?

LUKE
Just now, I guess.

HAYLEY
But… Why, Luke? I don’t understand.

LUKE
You’ve changed.

(Pause.)




LUKE (cont.)
I’ve got to go.

(LUKE runs off SL, leaving HAYLEY alone. She sits down in the chair that LUKE was just sitting in. After a beat, she buries her head in her hands.)

(Lights out.)

END OF PLAY.




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