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The Charles in Chloe

“The Charles in Chloe”














CHARACTERS
A (Chloe Dentelle): A celebrated, eighty-year old, retired, movie star.
B (Charles Dentelle): The younger brother of Chloe. He would be seventy-six.
C (Sarah Clement): Secretary to Chloe Dentelle.
D (Doctor Branson): Chloe Dantelle’s doctor.

PLACE
THE PLACE OF THE PLAY IS A SQUARE DRESSING ROOM, PLACED IN THE CENTER OR THE LEFT OR RIGHT PARTS OF THE STAGE. THERE ARE EASLES WITH OLD MOVIE POSERTS; POSTERS FROM OLD MOVIES IN WHICH CHLOE DENTELLE STARRED. THERE IS A SIMPLE CHAIR, MAYBE A SMALL TABLE WITH MAKE-UP CONTAINERS ON IT (THINGS FOUND IN A DRESSING ROOM), AND A SMALL RACK WITH ANY AMOUNT OF COSTUMES HANGING FROM IT. LIGHTING SHOULD BE FOCUSED ON THE DRESSING ROOM AREA. THE OUTISDE AREA SHOULD BE DARK.
TIME
ANY TIME BETWEEN 1980 TO THE PRESENT DAY.












“The Charles in Chloe”

BEFORE THE CURTAIN:
BEFORE THE CURTAINS THERE IS SILENCE THAT SLOWLY GROWS INTO THE SOUNDS OF PEOPLE ORGANIZING AN EVENT.
LIGHTS:
THE LIGHTS ARE DARK UNTIL THE CURTAINS ARE OPENED.
AT THE CURTAIN:
THE LIGHTS ARE DARK UNTIL THE CURTAINS ARE OPENED AND THEN SLOWLY THEY RISE TO SHOW SARAH ASSISTING CHLOE INTO THE DRESSING ROOM. THE NOISE OF PEOPLE PREPARING DIES DOWN AS THE TWO MOVE INTO THE DRESSING ROOM. SARAH SAYS WORDS OF ENCOURAGMENT AS SHE PRODES CHLOE INTO THE CHAIR.
LIGHTS:
THE LIGHTS FOCUSED ON THE DRESSING ROOM WILL BRIGHTEN. THE LIGHTS SHOULD HAVE A WHITE GLOW.
SARAH- IS DRESSED IN THE FORMAL ATTIRE OF A SECERTARY. SHE HAS A CLIPBOARD IN ONE ARM AND A PURSE SLUNG ACROSS HER MIDDLE. HER HAIR IS VERY FASHIONABLY DONE, BUT NOTHING STANDS OUT FROM HER PERSON. ALL OF HER COLORING IS NEUTRAL.
CHLOE – CHLOE IS DRESSED FORMALLY, ALL IN BLACK EXCEPT FOR TWO STRINGS OF PEARLS AROUND HER NECK. HER HAIR IS IN A TIGHT BUN.
CHARLES- CHARLES SHOULD BE DRESSED ALL IN BLACK. EVEN HIS SHOES AND SOCKS.

SCENE I
SARAH
Well, here you are Miss. Dantelle. At the sixtieth anniversary celebration of your very first film. Does it not feel amazing? (She says this colorfully, clasping her hands together).
CHLOE
Yes. Yes. I should say so. (Chloe says, sitting back in her chair and tiredly closing her eyes).
SARAH
Oh dear Miss. Dantelle. You look parched. All that rehearsing for your speech must have worn you out. Here, let me get you some water. (Sarah looks in her purse as if looking for a water bottle, and in not finding one, she sighs with frustration). It looks as though I left the water bottle upstairs in the auditorium.
CHLOE
That is fine Sarah. Do no worry yourself.
SARAH
Oh, but Miss. Dantelle. Trust me in that you need it. It is best for your illness to always stay hydrated. That is what Dr. Branson said. Do you recall? Oh, dear, you really do look rather pale Miss. Dantelle. Should I call for Mr. Branson? He is here you know. Just in case anything should happen.
CHLOE
Yes Sarah. I recall, and no. I do not need the doctor. (Chloe says this, sitting straight in her chair and with a sense of annoyance).
SARAH
Alright then. Well, I shall go fetch it and all will be well. (Sarah makes her way to where the dressing room door would be. She pantomimes opening it, but then hesitates, concerned). Do you think it is all right that I leave you?
CHLOE
(With great annoyance) Yes Sarah. I will be fine. It should only take you a moment.

SARAH
Alright, Miss. Dantelle. Just, do not get up and exhaust yourself. Please Miss. Dantelle? Stay where you are?

CHLOE
Sarah I will be fine. I have lived for eighty years, caring for myself for five minutes won’t kill me. I can care for myself.
SARAH
If you say so, but don’t blame me if anything happens. You know your state. (She says lightly, smiling at the old woman, and then leaves neglecting to “close” the doors behind her).
CHLOE
Nothing will happen (mumbles to self as she carefully stands and begins to observe the posters. She is silent at first, but as she progresses, she begins to mumble gibberish about each poster, mentioning the names of other actors-ex. Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Katherine Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Carry Grant. Her voice slowly grows louder, and she begins audibly mumbling. Charles enters through the supposed dressing room door slowly and goes unseen during her chatter). Oh Charles, what would you have said? Charles. I don’t think you would like this one. No, no Charles. (Her voice becomes clearly audible, as if she is talking with another person. Charles sits in the chair and watches, smirking). Would you Charles? No. I do not think he would have liked this one. Not enough sport. Not enough action. Not enough jokes.
CHARLES
Well of course I wouldn’t like it then. No sport? No game. No fun. (Says with good humor, jumping from the chair).
CHLOE
(Chloe freezes and turns to face him. A strange look overcomes her, as if she has fallen back into time. Charles smiles. There is a silence) Where have you been? It is dark outside.


CHARLES
Of course it is. It is winter Chlo. It gets dark early. (Nears his sister as if he is going to wrap his arm around her, but doesn’t.)
CHLOE
You’ve been boozing. You reek. (Chloe pouts as she folds her arms across her chest, inching away from Charles, who is still smirking).
CHARLES
Je ne sais pas. Je ne me derange pas.
CHLOE
You only speak French when you are drunk. (Now very upset, her arms tighten) Mere and Pere would be very displeased.
CHARLES
Not in hearing me speak French.
CHLOE
Alcohol killed them. You should be ashamed.
CHARLES
Nah, it was the drunk man who lit the factory on fire. It was the man who lit the fire that killed them. It was not the alcohol.
CHLOE
(Any form of patience has left her. She begins to shake, releasing her arms form their fold and her hands into fists of anger). You are always drunk Charles. I do all the work and all you do is spend our money on your friends, your games, and your alcohol.
CHARLES
You? Work? You do not work! You play and dress-up all day, waiting for a movie’s director to come find you. (Charles grows angrier with every word he speaks and nears Chloe). You do nothing yourself! Whereas I work in the very factory that killed our parents! (Looms over a trembling Chloe, his words become smooth and icy). The very scorches of the fire that raged through it still hang to the dismal walls. The very ashes that suffocated them, run through my throat. The very ghosts of who died that day speak to me, they are my only true friends.
CHLOE
(Begins to cry angrily and attempts to move from Charles, but he corners her). Move away from me. Please Charles. Just move. I cannot talk with you like this anymore. (Begins to sob as he leans in more closely, his hand twitching as if it were to strike her).
CHARLES
(Moment of silence as Charles backs away, regaining his senses. Chloe’s face deepens within her hands. The lighting dims and focuses on Chloe, Charles is in the darkest upstage corner, frozen).
CHLOE
(Removes her hands from her face and looks as though she has seen a ghost. Carefully, shaking her head and mumbling to herself again, she sits in the chair, regaining her senses). Charles. How I do miss you. (Pauses, the strange look creeping back onto her face and into her conscious). If only my career had not become…as it did. If only I could have paid more attention. (Charles begins to stir again, the lighting brightens and focuses on both actors) If only he had chosen to stay with me. If only I had listened! (A short silence passes as Charles slowly strides to the back of Chloe’s chair, not physically touching it. He looks sympathetic and as if he sympathizes. He watches her face sink back into her hands).
CHARLES
Yes. If only you had listened and helped me more, but yet, it was my fault as well sister. Had I listened to you.
CHLOE
Charles! (She exclaims with joy in hearing his voice and swivels in her seat to look up at Charles) Oh! Charles! How happy I am that you have come!
CHARLES
Why of course. I wouldn’t miss a show. I came to every one. Even when I was drunk or had spent the night in the gutter.


CHLOE
You came? Every night? (Chloe gasps, sounding and appearing youthful. She stands from the chair and goes to Charles side. She does not make eye contact with him, but appears to be looking through him or right past him. Charles stares directly at her, smiling).
CHARLES
I did.
CHLOE
Did it make you cry Charles? Did watching make you cry?
CHARLES
Yes. Every time.
CHLOE
Does it still?
CHARLES
Yes. Every day.
CHLOE
I cried. Every time. Every day. Charles, I cried for you. I prayed for you! I still do. To this day Charles.
CHARLES
I know Chloe. And I did know.
CHLOE
Then why did you never come to me? Why did you disappear? Why did you go away until now?
CHARLES
Revenge. Rebellion. Independence. Stupidity. Depression. Jealousy. (A heavy, resolved breath) Chloe, forgive me.
CHLOE
Charles! (Chloe cries, finding her way back into the chair).
CHARLES
(Charles watches Chloe as she weeps and makes his way to her side, kneeling beside her. There is a moment of silence) It is beautiful you know. Life now.
CHLOE
How? For you? How could it be? (Removes hands from face and looks down at him-looking past him again).
CHARLES
I have repented Chlo. Now, my job is to repay you. For all you have done.
CHLOE
You, (She pauses, straightening her posture and sighing deeply) You have come then? For the last time?
CHARLES
Yes dear Chlo. For the last time.
CHLOE
Charles. Will you forgive me, dear brother? (Sarah can be heard making her way towards the dressing room. She is humming a popular song of whatever time period the play is in).
CHARLES
For what you have done for me? Living your life the way you have, all in search for me? Of course. I have come and I am not leaving without you.
SARAH
(Sarah enters, water bottle in hand and smiles thinking that Chloe has fallen asleep. As she nears and offers Chloe the water bottle, she realizes that Chloe has slipped into a mental fit. She does not see Charles) Miss. Dantelle? Miss. Dantelle? What is wrong? Miss. Dantelle? (Chloe stands, Charles reaching his hand out for hers, but Sarah steps between them. Chloe frowns, reaching her hand out toward Charles. Sarah drops the water bottle). Miss. Chloe Dantelle?
CHLOE
Charles? (Chloe calls, moving from Sarah’s side, attempting to follow Charles who is backing away with his hand out-stretched for hers. Sarah flinches, the white look of panic spreading across her face.) No Charles. Do not leave me here! Not like this. Charles! ( As she says this, she stumbles towards him, falling to her knees and outstretching her hand towards his. Though Chloe is exclaiming, her voice is weak. Sarah begins to call for help).
SARAH
Help! Doctor Branson! Doctor! Anyone! Help! It is Miss. Dantelle! (Sarah shouts, running towards Chloe’s side. Chloe falls to her stomach, weeping uncontrollably. Charles backs off stage). Oh please! Someone help! (At her last call, clamoring can be heard and the sound of alert voices sounds from backstage).

(Chloe and Sarah freezes, Sarah kneeling beside Chloe and looking through the doorway, her mouth still opened as if she is calling for help. Footsteps can be heard. Lights dim. Curtain closes.)
[End]



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