ABSOLUTES
_________                

A One-Act Play

by

Craig Abernethy

Copyright © 2010


Cast of Characters

One:       A woman or man wearing a conservative suit.

Two:       A younger woman or man dressed “like” but not as “well” as One.


SETTING:   A bare stage, doorway Right, and an overstuffed chair Right of Center.

AT RISE:   Stage is bare and dimly lit. One is seen at the doorway. Lights brighten as One
moves from the doorway to the chair and sits. One closes eyes, exhales, tilts head back,
and slowly inhales. Two is seen at the doorway. Two watches One for a moment and then
quietly enters.


ONE
(On hearing Two Enter)
It’s not as easy as it looks.

TWO
No. No, it’s not. It can’t be, that is. It can’t be as easy as you make it look.

ONE
(Eyes remain closed)
The talking.
(Breathes)
The explaining. The indignation.

TWO
That you do so well.

ONE
Thank you. The talking. The explaining. The indignation.

ONE and TWO
(Together)
That I/you do so well.

ONE
Talking. Explaining. On and on, over and over: the same questions; the same answers.
Always “different,” though. Always “new!” “New.” And “current.” Always “new,” “current,”
and the same. Talk. Explain. Listen just enough. Get the gist. Answer. Explain. Re-state
with indignation bordering on righteousness.

TWO
That you do so well.

ONE
Thanks.

TWO
Still…

ONE
(Nearly motionless)
Not getting any younger. Takes it out of you. Especially the indignation: the bordering on
righteousness. That’s the hardest part: the bordering on righteousness. Talk. Explain…
What!?

TWO
No big deal.

ONE
Do it all the time.

TWO
Quite skilled at it.

ONE
You’re no slouch yourself.

TWO
Why, thank you.

ONE
It’s nothing.

TWO
Yet…

ONE
What!? “Still.” “Yet.” What!?

TWO
Huh!?

ONE
No naiveté! I know you, Two. Candor! “Still.” “Yet.” What’s next: “perhaps?”
What?

TWO
You did very well. Do very well. Talk. Explain. You give terrific indignation.

ONE
“Yet?”

TWO
Nothing. Really. Just a sort of an… academic… sort of…
curiosity.

ONE
Oh, God!

TWO
It’s nothing really.

ONE
“Academic curiosity?” Oh, well, go on. Go ahead.

TWO
Yes?

ONE
Yes.

TWO
I was just wondering…

ONE
Were you?

TWO
I was.

ONE
Uh huh?

TWO
Must we always be so… sure?

ONE
Hmmm?

TWO
"New," "current," of course, and given our well scripted spontaneity, and carefully
projected solicitude, we are yet so certain. So… sure?

ONE
Is something wrong?

TWO
Excuse me?

ONE
“Wrong.” At home? Is everything all right?

TWO
Of course! Everything is just fine.

ONE
Everything? “Fine?” No money worries? Getting enough bumpty-bumpty?

TWO
Fine. Everything’s fine.

ONE
Good, good. It’s an odd question. Your question.

TWO
“Odd?”

ONE
For someone like yourself.

TWO
Is it?

ONE
Yes, for someone here: someone at this level? Someone here?

TWO
Not “academic?” Socratic, sort of. Keep us on our toes. Keeps me… keeps
me sharp. “Must we
be sure?” Of course we must! Of course. But why? That, it seems to me, is important to
review from time to time. Take a look at. Academically… speaking.

ONE
“Why?”
(Thinks)
“Why?” Because we are. We have a right to be and we are. We are. We are sure because we
are right… correct, and certain. We are right and therefore entitled to be correct. We are
sure. It’s required. Part of the act.

TWO and (followed rapidly by) ONE
Yeah.          Yeah.
Right.         Right.
Sure.          Sure.

ONE
(Takes a breath)
One, two, three: “still!”

TWO
Yes?

ONE
Yes.

TWO
Just for the sake of honing our wits here: wouldn't’t a little doubt, “reflection’s”
probably a better word, strengthen our position? A little musing? Sort of humanize the
whole thing? Where do we get our righteousness from anyway? Not that it’s really an issue,
but… what makes us so damn good? For the sake of honing our wits.

ONE
It’s not a matter of  “good.” We have to be right because we know they are wrong. We
publicly allow as a given that they are doing the best they can, and that “the best they
can do,” obviously, is not good enough. And it goes without saying that we will have to
look into why their best isn’t better. But they are wrong and that makes us right!
(Takes a breath)
“Yet!?”

TWO
For purposes of discussion, only. Is there not even the slightest possibility that they
may be righter than we give them credit for being? Is there not the slightest chance?

ONE
No. Should I be concerned about you?

TWO
No!

ONE
No? “Still?” “Yet?” “Righter than we give them credit for being?” This is the stuff of
counter-revolutionary-dialectically-revisionist-brain-farting!! Stop now! We have a job to
do – a role to play – and we are not going to get bogged down with some sort of
introspective examination or review or re-assessment! Not gonna happen! It’s their fault!
That’s it! They are to blame. Done. Over. Finito compadre. Over!!

TWO
Right.

ONE
Wrong! They are wrong. Right?

TWO
Right.

ONE
(Stands)
You’re not convinced! Are you? Are you going all sorts of  “truth,” “justice,” and the
“American way” on me? Stop now. Do not proceed. Do not try passing “Go.” Do not pursue any
further. “Academically speaking.” Too much to lose. And may contribute to a
destabilization of the apple cart: creates uncertainty, worries consumers, stifles
investment, and won’t get you laid.

TWO
Won’t get you laid?

ONE
No.
(Waits)
You can’t let go, can you?

TWO
I guess not.

(End of sample)

Complete scripts can  be obtained by e-mailing
Craig here