This Is How I Disappear

January 24, 2010
Scene I – “Do I exist?”

The play opens with the stage brightly lit in a high school classroom setting. All the desks (except for one) are occupied by students who are either studying hard, sleeping, or chatting with their friends. The teacher is standing at the front of the room, writing some notes on the chalkboard. Willow Brady sits at the very back of the class, completely ignored by her classmates.

Willow: (taps the shoulder of the girl in front of her) Was there a pop quiz yesterday? I wasn’t here.

The girl just stares at Willow disgustedly and turns back to her friends.

Willow: (sighs and turns to the boy sitting across from her) Excuse me, um, was there a pop quiz yesterday? I was absent.

The boy shrugs, leans back in his chair, and is fast asleep in seconds.

Willow: (to herself) Why bother? (slumps in her seat)

The teacher, Ms. Finn, sets her chalk down on the ledge and turns to face the class.

Ms. Finn: (loudly) Alright, settle down!

Students continue to chatter.

Ms. Finn: (shouts) Quiet!

Grumbling, the class finally becomes silent.

Ms. Finn: (picks up a clipboard from her desk and glances at it) Is everyone here today?

Students look around, searching for a missing person.

Mark: (raises his hand) ReiAnn isn’t here.

Ms. Finn: (notices the empty desk) ReiAnn Wallace? That’s odd, I didn’t even realize… (checks her attendance records) She hasn’t been absent all year…strange…

Mark: I saw her earlier today; I don’t know what happened to her.

Ms. Finn: (sets her clipboard on her desk) Well, I’m sure she had a good reason for missing English class today. (clears her throat) Ok, because all of you finished Macbeth last week, I’d assume you all have formed your own opinions on the play. Who would like to share theirs with the class?

Willow is the only student who raises her hand.

Ms. Finn: (scans the room) Anyone?

Still no one makes any move to participate, and Willow raises her hand higher.

Ms. Finn: Class participation does count for a grade, you know!

Reluctantly, a few people raise their hands. Willow keeps hers in the air.

Ms. Finn: (points at a girl in the front row) Carly, what’d you think about Macbeth?

Everyone puts their hand down, including Willow who looks extremely glum.

Carly: (twirling her hair) Well, I didn’t really like it…it was boring…

Ms. Finn: Care to expand on that Carly?

Carly: Not really…

Ms. Finn: Ok, would anyone else like to share their opinion with their class?

A couple more people than before raise their hands. Willow raises hers again, this time more hesitantly.

Ms. Finn: (moves about the room) Gordon, how about you?

Students lower their hands. Willow lowers hers slowly, staring at her arm as if to say “What’s the point?” Giving up on participating, she sighs and leans against the small pile of books on her desk.

Gordon: I don’t understand why Macbeth would let Lady Macbeth push him around like that. I mean, aren’t men supposed to be strong?

Ms. Finn: Gordon please don’t stereotype people, not all men are strong and rugged. But do you really think this was a matter of Macbeth’s strength?

Before Gordon can answer, Willow’s English book falls off her desk onto the floor with a loud bang. Everyone in the room jumps, startled, and looks around for the person who caused the disruption.

Willow: (bends down to pick up the book) Sorry…

Before Willow can pick up the book, the girl in front of her picks it up.

Bridgette: (examines the book) It’s that weird girl Willow’s…but…wait…where’d she go? (turns to stare curiously at the seat behind her)

Class reacts to Willow’s apparent disappearance. Willow stands up slowly, looking extremely puzzled.

Willow: (shouts) I’m right here, you guys!

Ms. Finn: (picks up her clipboard again and glances at it) Willow Brady was here at the beginning of class…I marked her as present on the attendance sheet…did anyone see her leave?

Students murmur to each other. Willow grabs a pencil from her desk and throws it at the chalkboard.

Willow: (angrily) I didn’t leave, I’m right here! Is this a joke?!

Class reacts to the pencil that was just thrown at the board. To them, the pencil looked as if it were tossed by an invisible person.

Willow: (stands directly in front of Bridgette, waving her arms wildly) Hello! Can you hear me?!

Bridgette stirs and shivers a bit.

Bridgette: (scared) Ok, it’s May right? Tell me why I just got really cold for a second…and don’t even get me started on that freaky pencil!

Students react, speaking to each other in hushed, frightened voices. Willow just stands there looking completely horrified.

Ms. Finn: Alright, class, calm down! Bridgette I’m sure there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for the chill you just felt; it was probably just the wind. As for the pencil, well…one of you must’ve done it. Whoever threw that pencil, please confess now before things get more out of hand.

Class is completely silent.

Ms. Finn: (starts to panic) Come on, one of you had to have thrown it. How else would you explain what just happened? Who did it? Confess!

Willow: (stands on her chair and screams at the top of her lungs) I DID IT! IT WAS ME! I THREW THE STUPID PENCIL! WHY CAN’T ANYONE SEE ME?! WHY CAN’T YOU HEAR ME!? I’M RIGHT HERE!

Willow bursts into tears, jumps off the chair and runs out of the room.

Mark: Ms. Finn…um…the window isn’t open…

Ms. Finn: (sets her clipboard back onto the desk) Well it must’ve been the vents then.

Bridgette: Then how do you explain the pencil?

Ms. Finn: I already told you, somebody in here threw it! They’re just not owning up to their actions!

Mark: Are you sure? Because –

Ms. Finn: (interrupting Mark midsentence) I know for a fact that someone in this room threw that pencil!

Mark: Well, whoever it was must’ve been invisible…

Class reacts to Mark’s statement.

Ms. Finn: (chuckles quietly) Invisible…(shakes her head) Ridiculous!

For lack of anything better to do, Ms. Finn sits down behind her desk and starts shuffling around random sheets of paper. The students sit in total silence, looking around themselves in a paranoid manner.


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