The Letters

January 19, 2018
By Anonymous

Emily Swihinski
Grandma Jane Jacobs
Anne Swihinski
Mary Jane Hobbit

Props: Love-seat, rocking chair, walker, coffee table, deck of cards, kitchen table, glass of water, dinner plates and utensils, bed, night stand, phone, box with pictures and letters, stove, frying pan, toaster, coat rack, TV, couch


Act I
Scene i
Setting: Sitting in the kitchen playing cards at the kitchen table.  Stage left is GRANDMA’S bedroom.
ANNE (making dinner in the background): Dinner's almost ready, why don’t you set your card game aside so I can set the table.
GRANDMA: After dinner I think I am going to head into bed, I’m not feeling the best, must be the old age getting to me again.
ANNE: (hesitated at her mother's request for a moment, then sighing) Are you feeling ill? Do I need to call the doctor?
GRANDMA (insistently): No, no. Don’t call him; I’m just fine. (continuing to play cards with Emily)
EMILY: Gram you look fine; maybe you’re just a little tired.
GRANDMA: (shaking her head in agreement and turning to Emily) You’re right Emily, like I said, it's probably just my old age catching up to me. I’m gonna head up to bed.
EMILY: Alright; we can finish our card game tomorrow.
GRANDMA (jokingly): Now don't touch the cards because I’m winning!
EMILY (giggling): I won’t Gram. (talking to Anne) Gram is just going to go to bed; she doesn’t want dinner.
GRANDMA struggles to get up from the rocking chair, and EMILY helps her. EMILY grabs her walker for her. EMILY walks off stage left with her as they communicate with each other.
GRANDMA: Emily, I’m fine, I can do it myself (joking) I’m not that old!
EMILY: Oh gram..
As Emily escorts Grandma to her bedroom- stage left, Anne is in the kitchen setting up the dinner table for only two now.
Scene ii
Setting: Kitchen; ANNE is already sitting at the kitchen table waiting for EMILY.
EMILY enters the kitchen, grabs a glass of water, and sits at the kitchen table with her mother ANNE, who already started eating.
ANNE: Is she alright?
EMILY (pushing her food around on her plate): Yeah, she told me she just had a long day at her doctor’s appointments. I believe her though. I think she would tell us the truth if she thought she was sick.
ANNE (worriedly): Did the doctor mention anything wrong with her?
EMILY: No, just old age. That’s all.
ANNE: Well, at least we know she still has her sense of humor.
EMILY: (giggling): That’s for sure!  If she ever stops joking around, then we could worry.
ANNE: Alright. Can I take your plate Emily, I’m gonna start cleaning up so I can go and check on her.
EMILY (handing her plate to ANNE): Yeah, here. Yell to me if she needs anything.
EMILY sits at kitchen table while Anne is  cleaning up. After all the dishes are done ANNE exits stage left to GRANDMA’S room.
ANNE (shouting from off stage running toward the kitchen from stage left): Emily call an ambulance! Grandma isn’t waking up!
EMILY (with urgency, grabs phone and calls 911): Hi, my name is Emily, I need an ambulance at 47 Oak Street, my grandma went to bed a little while ago and she won’t wake up.
(EMILY hangs up the phone and her and ANNE sit at the kitchen table waiting for the ambulance to arrive.  Music slowly fades into the background as the lights fade.  A few moments pass, and the sound of an ambulance plays as the ambulance drives away from their house.)
ANNE (breaking the silence at the kitchen table): Emily, why don’t you get to bed it is very late? You need your rest.
EMILY (relentlessly): I’m not going to be able to sleep, I can’t believe she’s gone. Just like that.
ANNE: At least try sweetie, there’s no sense in staying awake.
EMILY gets up and walks slowly out of the kitchen crying, ANNE breaks down into sobs then gets up and leaves as well. Stage goes dark)
Scene reopens.  The girls are again sitting at the kitchen table. Some time has passed. They have just returned home from GRANDMA’S funeral service. 
EMILY: That was one of the most beautiful services I have ever seen.  I think the whole town was there to mourn with us. 
ANNE: Yes, I think it was exactly what Grandma would have wanted.  I am sure she’s smiling down at us as we speak.
They both pause for a second and then EMILY breaks the silence.
EMILY: Hey mom, I have an idea! Why don’t we get those old memory boxes out of Grandma’s closet and look through them. 
ANNE: Good idea Emily, I will go grab them.
Anne exits stage left and returns a few moments later carrying boxes from GRANDMA’S room. As EMILY sits waiting for ANNE to return, she looks over at the unfinished card game from the other night.  She reaches over and stacks all the cards to put back into the box.
EMILY (opens the first box and pulls out a stack of letters) What are these letters? I’ve never seen these before.
ANNE: Oh, I’m not sure. Check it out. (She opens the first letter then begins to read it to outloud to ANNE)
Dear Mary Jane,
Despite our past, I am writing to you a sincere apology.  I know that we have not gotten along in recent times, and I am to blame for that, but I wanted to inform you that in my old age I have realized that there is no sense in feuding.  The last time we spoke, I sensed you still had not forgiven me for stealing Michael away from you.
ANNE (interrupting EMILY with shock): oh my goodness! Are you sure that’s what it says?
EMILY: Let me continue mom… (she begins to read the letter again) I knew how much you loved him, but I let my feelings get the best of me and lost sight of what was most important, our friendship.  For years I felt that Michael did not love you the way you deserved to be loved, but I never had the courage to tell you.  On the warm August day when he asked to meet for lunch, I did not think anything of it.  Just a few minutes after we sat down to eat, I realized that we were on a date, and that I had real feelings for him.  I had known him for years, but I never felt this way about someone before, not even my own husband. When my husband passed away, I never thought I would love again but during that lunch date with Michael, my heart was so full.  I laughed more than I had in years, and I was so caught up in the moment that I did not even realize what I was doing.  I know that what I did to you caused you more pain than I could imagine, but if you can find it in you to forgive me, I would like nothing more.  No one else ever found out about our date, so if you can, please forgive me. If you choose to accept my apology, write back to this address… I will be waiting to hear from you.
(Emily sets the letter on the table and her and mom sit in silence for a moment)
ANNE: Wow, I always knew Grandma was a little wild, but I never expected this!
EMILY: Oh mom, stop it. She didn’t mean to steal Michael away from her, she was in love. Did you know Mary Jane at all?
ANNE: Yes, Mary Jane was Grandma’s best friend. Then one day, Grandma just stopped talking about her.  I tried asking Grandma a few times what happened to her, but she never seemed to want to tell me.
EMILY: Well, this is why you haven’t heard about her! Gram had an affair with her husband!
ANNE (laughing in surprise):  Oh Mother!!  No wonder why she hasn’t talked about her in years!!
EMILY (cutting her mother off): To be fair to Grandma, I don’t think it lasted long, but Mary Jane was extremely hurt and it cost them their friendship. There are a bunch of other letters in here, too. (jokingly) Do you think these to more people whose husband’s she stole?
ANNE: Well I certainly hope not! Grandma couldn’t have kept that many secrets from us… could she?
EMILY: I mean she did surprise us with this one, so maybe we should keep reading to see what else that crazy woman did.
ANNE: Alright, I guess we could.
EMILY (reading bits and pieces of the other letters): … and I am so sorry that I got the job that you have wanted for years now.  I did not think I had a chance at even getting an interview when I applied or else I would not have done it.  In the end you ended up with a similar job, but our friendship suffered because of it… (put letter down and grab the next) … My dearest friend, please forgive me for forgetting your 50th birthday.  It completely slipped my mind, and I want to make it up to you.  Listed below I wrote…
ANNE (cutting EMILY off): That one is boring, we don’t need to hear about that “old age” getting to her again.
EMILY (laughing): Your right, I just find it so interesting that Grandma kept all of this from us.
(Silence again)
EMILY (comes up with an idea): What if we deliver the letter Grandma wrote to Mary Jane?  It says here that she lives only a few blocks away.  Can we mom?
ANNE: Good idea Emily, how about we take it over in the morning?
EMILY: Okay, sounds good to me! Goodnight mom, I’ll see you tomorrow. (Emily gets up from the kitchen table and exits stage left. The lights fade, and music plays.  Anne is still sitting at the table.)
(When the lights turn back on, Anne is in the kitchen preparing breakfast for Emily and herself before they leave to visit Mrs. Hobbit.)
EMILY (walks into the kitchen from stage left): Good morning.
ANNE: Morning Emily, cereal and a banana okay for breakfast?
EMILY (sitting down at the table): Can I just have the banana? I want to leave to get to Mary Jane’s as soon as possible.
ANNE (handing Emily a banana): Okay, I am going to go get changed then we can leave. (Anne exits stage left and Emily sits at the table eating the banana.  Anne returns, changed, from stage left.)
EMILY: Ready?
ANNE: Yeah, let’s grab our coats and we can leave.
(Emily stands up, and grabs the letter.  They both put on their coats and walk out the door.  Lights fade and music plays as the scene gets changed to the inside of Mary Jane’s house.)
Scene v
Setting: Mary Jane’s front door.
Stage is set up as if inside of MARY JANE HOBBIT’S house. She sits at her kitchen table as she reads the newspaper. The front door is at the back of the stage where EMILY and ANNE are approaching. They knock and MARY JANE gets up and walks over to the door.
MARY JANE (as she is walking to the door in an annoyed tone): Who is it??
EMILY (still standing behind the door): Emily and Anne Swihinski, relatives of Jane.
MARY JANE (turns the door handle and opens it slightly): What are you doing here?
EMILY: Are you Mary Jane Hobbit?
MARY JANE: Yes, so what are you doing here?
EMILY (answering MARY JANE): I am sure you have heard that my grandma has passed away a couple days ago. (MARY JANE shakes her head in agreeance) Well my mom and I were looking through her picture boxes and and we found letters she wrote, one was for you. I have it right here, it is an apology letter.
MARY JANE (ripping the letter from EMILY’S hand and rudely speaking): She wrote me an apology letter? (raising her voice) After all the years of our friendship! We shared the best memories and all she could do was write a letter?!? … and not even deliver it herself??? She ruined my marriage so easily and never had the decency to apologize.
EMILY (clearly distraught and torn down by what MARY JANE was saying): Listen, I know what my Grandma did was wrong, but if you just read the letter, even just a little bit of it, I think you will understand what really happened that day and how she felt afterwards. (becoming desperate) Please Mrs. Hobbit, it will just take a moment.
ANNE: This is something my mother really wanted.
MARY JANE opens the letter and begins to read it she becomes less tense and her eyes fill with tears.
EMILY(interrupting MARY JANE as she continues to read): She just wanted to make things better between the two of you but she never got the chance.
Once MARY JANE  finishes reading, she takes a moment to collect her thoughts, but goes right back to her previous demeanor.
MARY JANE: She is unbelievable! She ruined my marriage and wrote me this stupid letter! (angrily hands the letter back to EMILY and slams the door.)
EMILY and ANNE are startled as she shuts the door in their faces.
MARY JANE turns around and sits back down at the table, talking to herself.
MARY JANE: An apology letter? That’s it? (Lights fade as MARY JANE sits at the table thinking about what she just found out)
Scene vi
Setting: Kitchen
The lights go up in the kitchen and ANNE and EMILY are sitting at the kitchen table playing cards.
ANNE: Em, are you ok?
EMILY (responding to mom with sadness in her voice) : That was horrible Mom. Why was she so mean to us? We were just trying to give her an apology and make things better.
ANNE: I know, I know but I guess what Gram did really hurt her.
(as the two of them sit there they hear a knock at the door)
ANNE (gets up and answers the door): Mary Jane? … after your reaction back at your house, I never expected to see you at my front door.
MARY JANE (showing remorse): After you left, I sat at my kitchen table for a long time thinking about what you two said, and the letter Jane wrote me, and I realized that neither of you deserved to be treated the way I treated you.
EMILY (from the background as she walks to the door): I really didn’t mean to upset you, I thought you would have wanted to hear from my grandma.
MARY JANE: Oh honey, I am very grateful you brought that letter to me.  I just didn’t react how I should of at the time… I guess my emotions got the best of me.
(there is a short silence between the three.)
MARY JANE: Well anyway, I came here to apologize to you both, and I want you to know that I forgive your grandmother as well.  What she did really hurt me, but she made it clear that it was not intentional, and I can’t hold a grudge against her forever.
EMILY: Thank you, that really means a lot.
(Mary Jane starts to leave when Emily stops her.)
EMILY: Mary Jane, wait!  Mom and I just started a card game, would you like to stay and play with us? And maybe after we finish,  we can finish looking through Grandma’s boxes?
MARY JANE (gratefully): Yes, I’d love that.
(The three of them sit down at the kitchen table and begin to play a card game.  The lights fade and the curtain falls.)


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