Background: This story takes place in the future where the world is divided into sectors. Each sector represents a different time period. Our story’s sector takes place in the suburbs of Troutdale, Oregon in the 1950’s. We are looking at a community of about seven residents in a particular neighborhood that becomes exposed to an unknown disease. As the residents are notified by an unreliable doctor, their lives become forever changed.
DOCTOR ELLIOT FRITZ- (in his late 30’s)A confident, reassuring man. Knows little, but can convince anyone that he knows what he’s talking about through one simple interaction
MR. NEAL BALM- (51) An impulsive, take action man. Works in road construction. Always intense and serious.
MRS. ANNE BALM- (46) A stereotypical 50’s housewife. The street socialite. Has strong maternal instincts.
VERONICA BALM- (15) A curious, nosy girl who constantly seeks the truth. Has good intentions
CINDY QUELL- (43 yrs. Old) widowed for about a decade, husband died in Pearl Harbor (1941) the street gossip.Talks like a diva
GREGORY HOBBES- (74) single man, untidy, but a hard worker in his yard, very superstitious, and a bit of an oddball. Talks like a southerner.
MR. STEVEN SMALL- (48) A respected man of the neighborhood, very well-off
MRS. LAURI SMALL- (39) shallow,and snobby, tends to over exaggerate,also a drama queen
OSCAR SMALL- (11) childish, and worried
SETTING: Outside the door of Cindy Quell, a resident on Riverwood Street.
(Enters Doctor Fritz)
DOCTOR FRITZ: Well here we are in the peaceful suburbs of Troutdale, Oregon. It looks like I’ll be paying a visit to Riverwood Street today to deliver some unfortunate news.
(Doctor Fritz knocks on Cindy Quell’s door)
CINDY QUELL: “Good Morning darling.”
DOCTOR FRITZ: “Good Morning Ms. My name is Elliot Fritz, and I am a doctor from the city. I come with some very time sensitive news. I am afraid there is a disease present in this very neighborhood--specifically, right here on Riverwood Street.”
(Fritz makes a gesture indicating the disease’s location)
CINDY QUELL: (concerned and worried) “What sort of disease do you speak of dear doctor?
DOCTOR FRITZ: “This disease in particular is still being analyzed. The bacteria we have discovered so far cannot be described in simple terms. Therefore, my dear, I am afraid I cannot give you an explanation of this illness in its current early stages.
CINDY QUELL: “This appears to be a complicated matter... But Doctor, tell me this. How exactly will this disease affect me? Or anybody else on this street for that matter?”
DOCTOR FRITZ: “For some odd reason, traces of the bacteria can only be found on this street. Symptoms of this sickness can be very concerning. It is more productive to determine if you possess any. So tell me this, Ms. Quell, have you experienced any personality changes, fatigue, or... loss of memory? Reporting any oddities at all would help with such a cause.”
CINDY QUELL: “Thank you for warning me darling. I do not think I have felt anything out of the ordinary, but I will keep you posted.”
DOCTOR FRITZ: “Good day, Ms. Quell. Perhaps I shall hear from you soon.”
END OF SCENE
SETTING:Split stage, one side is the Balm Residence. A door separates the house from the other side of the stage which will be the street.Scene starts with the entire street gathered together at the Balm residence to discuss this mysterious disease.
(Mr.Balm, Veronica Balm, Ms. Quell, and Oscar Small all sit at a table while Mr. and Mrs. Small are standing.Everyone is frozen as Doctor Fritz enters)
DOCTOR FRITZ: It wasn’t long before the entire street heard word of the mysterious disease.
(Fritz exits offstage and Mr. and Mrs. Balm enter carrying food and drinks for their guests)
MRS. SMALL:(She says while pacing back and forth)
“I simply do not know what I would do if my poor Oscar were to fall sick. How may he grow with such an illness in our midst?”
MR. SMALL: (stops his wife’s pacing, and holds her still) “Our Oscar will grow strong and go to college one day. No disease may ruin his bright future.”
(Mrs.Small nods her head and sits down at the table)
(Mrs. Balm approaches Mrs. Small with a cup of tea)
MRS. BALM: “Oh Lauri! Oscar is a fine boy, we mustn’t let this fright get out of control... Although, I have been feeling a bit off lately.”
(Mr. Balm approaches his wife and looks concerned, others look up at Anne with worried expressions)
MR. BALM: “Anne, how have you been?”
MRS. BALM: “Umm...I can’t quite describe it Neal.”
CINDY QUELL: “Would you say you don’t feel like yourself, Anne?”
MRS. BALM: “Why...yes, I do feel oddly different.”
CINDY QUELL: “Anne! You have it! The disease! A change of personality!
(Doctor Fritz enters onstage and stands in front of all characters as they act frazzled,and move around but remain mute)
DOCTOR FRITZ: “Mrs. Quell begins explaining all the symptoms of the disease to the residents, and now the chaos begins.”
MR. SMALL: “Why, I can’t remember who my own parents were. Perhaps I have this disease as well?
GREGORY HOBBES: “I’ve been beat, and haven’t had the stomach for any food. I...I’m sweating heavily right now!! WE ALL GOT IT,THE DISEASE!
(Doctor Fritz enters into the scene)
DOCTOR FRITZ: Residents of Riverwood Street, it appears we have discovered the source of this disease. One resident has an oddly-shaped mark, this person is the source of our troubles, the carrier of the disease! Now, I must hurry back to discover more information on this most unusual disease. I leave the task to discover its source up to you citizens. Good day!
(Doctor Fritz walks out of the Balm’s house, and walks out on the street. Before he can get offstage Veronica Balm calls out to the Doctor)
VERONICA BALM: “Wait, Doctor Fritz!”
DOCTOR FRITZ: “Yes my dear?”
VERONICA BALM: (suspicious of Fritz) “Tell me more about this deadly, mysterious disease! How could such a rare thing show up only here on Riverwood Street?”
DOCTOR FRITZ: “Well...I believe--”
(before he can finish his sentence Veronica interrupts)
VERONICA BALM: “Tell me this, Doctor Fritz, how could a disease like this be so contagious if it is so hard to contract? Why is this disease only on our street?” “Wouldn’t such a disease show up all over Oregon, not only here, on Riverwood?”
(Doctor Fritz begins to nervously stutter)
DOCTOR FRITZ: I...um...Well, you see, Miss, um--”
VERONICA BALM: “Veronica, sir, Veronica Balm.”
DOCTOR FRITZ:“Ah, well you see, Miss Veronica Balm, such a disease like this one is much too complicated to understand so soon. Like I have said before, all we know is a few of the many, still unidentified symptoms. The traces lead back to here in Riverwood, and someone is carrying this disease.”
VERONICA BALM: “Yes, but who?”
(Fritz pulls out his pocketwatch, clearly distracted)
DOCTOR FRITZ: “Like I said before Veronica, you must look for some sort of odd marking on someone to find the carrier. As for your other questions, you sure are a curious one, aren’t you Veronica?”
VERONICA BALM: “I only want to know the truth, sir, and from what I can tell, we are far from it.”
DOCTOR FRITZ: “I may only tell you what I know for sure, Miss, now if you’ll excuse me, I better get going back to the city.”
(Fritz exits in a hurry as Veronica faces audience and while in deep thought says)
VERONICA BALM: “That Doctor is one strange character.”
(Mrs. Balm enters onstage and yells to her daughter)
MRS. BALM: “Veronica, darling, come quick! Many are ill now, we must make sure you are okay!”
VERONICA BALM: (sighs) “Coming, Mother.”
(Both run through door and re-enter the Balm Residence)
SETTING: Veronica re-enters the Balm Residence.
Once Mrs. Balm and Veronica enter the house Mr. Balm approaches Mrs.Balm panicked.
MR. BALM: “Anne! Where have you been! Cindy Quell has fallen ill. She is burning up while the rest of us are as cold as can be. Now that I think about it, I’m not feeling so good myself.”
(Mrs. Small cuts in to the conversation and intensifies the situation)
MRS. SMALL: “Anne! Thank god you are back! Cindy Quell is dying in your home! I...I...feel frail...feeble...woozy…”
(Mrs. Small faints)
MRS. BALM: “Lauri! Quick everyone, Lauri has fallen.”
(Chaos breaks out as everyone starts shouting out…)
GREGORY HOBBES: “She has the disease, as do I. I think I am going to be sick…”
(Gregory Hobbes runs offstage)
(Mr. Small lifts up his wife and “carries” her offstage with him as well)
(Everyone talks over each other about not feeling well adlib...while Oscar Small shouts looking for his mother in the midst of the chaos)
OSCAR SMALL: “Mom? Mom? Where are you? Mom…?
(Veronica bumps into Oscar and he falls down, Veronica then notices an odd marking on Oscars arm as she helps him up)
VERONICA BALM: (yells unintentionally) “Oscar...YOU’RE THE CARRIER!?”
GREGORY HOBBES: “Did I hear that right? Oscar Small is the cause of our troubles.”
MRS. BALM: “No, it can’t be. Oscar is a fine boy...a fine boy… (Ms. Balm pauses, thinks about the disease, appears upset, shakes her head, then reassures herself that Oscar is not the carrier) no, we mustn’t get angry at poor Oscar.”
CINDY QUELL: “Anne darling, I know that you want to look out for little Oscar, but some of us are dying because of him. By no means is this a small problem. We are talking about a deadly disease here!”
(Everyone appears riled up and nod their heads in agreement with Cindy Quell, Veronica runs behind the mob, and Anne Balm jumps in front of Oscar protecting him)
GREGORY HOBBES: “Now Anne, you best move out of the way right now.”
MRS. BALM: (whispers) “He’s just a boy Greg.”
(tensions arise, without warning, Cindy Quell pushes Mrs. Balm to the ground as Gregory Hobbes reaches for Oscar)
OSCAR SMALL: (whimpers) “Ah! Mr. Hobbes what are you doing?”
MRS. BALM: “OSCAR!”
(Mr. Balm helps his wife up, but keeps her away from Oscar while the others begin to circle around Oscar who’s being held down by Gregory Hobbes)
MR. BALM: “Anne, it’s for the best, we can’t save everyone. At least this way we can get rid of the disease once and for all.”
MRS. BALM: “Just listen to yourself Neal. I don’t even recognize you.”
(Neal Balm leaves his wife standing in shock as he joins the others. Veronica runs to Mrs. Balm as they both weakly attempt to break the circle)
(Everyone begins to yell angrily at Oscar and start to kick and hit him)
VERONICA BALM:“Everyone STOP! STOP! STOP!”
(Mr. and Mrs. Small Re-enter)
MR. SMALL: “Say, what is all this raucous about?”
(The yelling stops. Everyone slowly backs away from Oscar, and begin to stare at Mr. and Mrs. Small ashamed as Oscar lays dead on the floor)
MR. SMALL: (slowly walks over, and kneels down by his son. Speaks with a quiet, melancholy tone) “Oscar?...son?...”
(Mr. Small stands up slowly, and looks at all of the neighbors in shock)
MR. SMALL: (in a puzzled, sad tone) “He was just a boy…”
(Mr. Small shakes his head in disappointment, then turns to look at his fellow neighbors in anger)
MR. SMALL: “YOU PEOPLE ARE THE DISEASED ONES! YOU KILLED AN INNOCENT CHILD! YOU’RE ALL ILL!
MRS.SMALL: (runs into her husband’s arms in tears)
(Everyone stares at Mr. Small ashamed,then after a while, Gregory Hobbes will go up to Mr. and Mrs. Small)
GREGORY HOBBES: “Neal...We’re awful sorry, all of us are. You know we had to though. Your boy was the carrier, we had to.
(Mr. Small lets his wife go and walks right in front of Hobbes)
MR. SMALL: (with deep resentment, speaks slow, in a wickedly calm voice) “Say Greg, if we are so keen on doing away with this disease once and for all, how are we sure Oscar was the only carrier. You did look awfully sick just a while earlier.”
(whispers fill the air as everyone begins eyeing Gregory Hobbes suspiciously)
GREGORY HOBBES: “Come on now. You all know me. I am no carrier. If anyone is the carrier, it is Lauri Small. Oscar and her shared the same DNA.”
(Whispers, and eyes shift to Mrs. Small)
MRS. SMALL: “Why I haven’t anything to do with this disease, look at Cindy now, Cindy Quell! The first to know about the disease. She has to be the carrier.”
(First one at a time, then accusations muddle together)
GREGORY HOBBES: “It’s Mrs. Small I tell you!”
CINDY QUELL: “NO, ITS MRS. BALM! SHE’S THE ONE!”
MRS. SMALL: “It has to be Gregory, Gregory Hobbes.”
(Adlib, muddle accusations, call out random character names until Doctor Fritz walks onstage)
(Once Doctor Fritz enters, everybody freezes and lights shine on Fritz only, other characters are frozen)
SETTING: The audience play the part of the people in The Oregon Social Science Department. Doctor Fritz addresses them as fellow scientists, and explains the entire social experiment that is the disease on Riverwood Street.
DOCTOR FRITZ:“On behalf of Division One of The Oregon Social Science Department,I would like to share with the entire research center the results of our most recent social experiment right here in the 1950’s sector of Troutdale, Oregon. We began our experiment by causing an uproar among a single street simply by fabricating the outbreak of an unknown disease. I paid multiple visits to this neighborhood to gather observations and play the part of a “legitimate” doctor. After informing the residents on this street of all the “known dangers,” of this fraudulent disease, I left them to react. Unfortunately, we did experience one casualty during the process. However, we did still gather enough data to confirm our theory. As Shakespeare once stated to describe humanity, “There is something tragic about a creature so profoundly random, unstable, and chaotic as man.” Thanks to our Riverwood Street experiment we can now justify this statement. All it took was one uncertainty implanted into a single street. After a short while, chaos erupts, people die, and bonds are forever broken. All of this from a disease that does not even exist. Now tell me this, scholars, if humanity cannot handle an imaginary disease, how in the world are we going to proceed with our endeavors. A year from today on December 25th, 2177, our Earth will no longer exist. Even though we have discovered another planet to inhabit, are any of us truly ready to venture out of our current planet? To permanently inhabit another world? Perhaps we are meant to perish along with Earth. After all, its demise is our doing. So before we proceed with our preparations to leave, tell me this-- Have I finally convinced you all that humanity is simply not ready for this drastic change, or are we still about to release man’s insanity into another world?”
(Fritz pauses, shakes his head, and exits. Curtain closes, end of script)