THAT’S WHAT I LOVE ABOUT ART
                    
by

Craig Abernethy


Copyright 2007


Cast of Characters

Henry:          A Museum Security Guard; a sort of rugged man of average size and weight. He
    is trustworthy, ardent, and sympathetic. He wears a dark suit, white shirt,
    and red and blue striped tie. A small silver colored star is pinned through
    his lapel buttonhole.

Katherine:      An extraordinarily composed and impeccably dressed early middle-aged woman in
     expensive casual shoes, slacks and sweater. Her hair, make-up, etc. are
     perfect are. She carries a tasteful purse and museum program guide.

Molly:          An enthusiastic young woman in brightly colored canvas shoes, jeans, casual
     top, and zipper “hoodie” sweatshirt. A “VideoPal” name tag is pinned to her
     shirt with “Hi, I’m Molly!” spelled out in colored letters. A few stickers
     including a silver colored star adorn the name tag. She carries a small
     backpack jammed with personal items, a CD/MP3 player, food, water, etc.

Announcer:      A Public Address announcer.


SETTING:        The Principal Gallery of the “Museum of Contemporary Experiences of Modern and
Post-Modern Art.” A bare stage save for a small bench (two black boxes) slightly Up Center and
three freestanding paintings: “Onion” (Center Left), “Banana” (Up Center), “Paradox” (Center
Right). “Onion” is a painting (of sorts) of a brown, red, and purple onion; “Banana” is
bright yellow and black; and “Paradox” is a badly painted picture of a green grape. The
gallery’s doorway is at Up Left.

AT RISE:        Lilting violins are heard as the lights come up on the empty gallery. After a
moment Henry steps into the doorway and takes in the empty room, and then, as if killing time
waiting for someone, begins to walk the four “walls” of the room. When he reaches the Down
Right corner Katherine is seen in the doorway. She stands for a moment then Henry sees her,
smiles, sheepishly shrugs his shoulders as if to say “Just us folks” and continues on his
perimeter walk. Katherine grins slightly, takes a deep breath, and steps into the gallery.
She first considers “Onion” and after a few moments walks first Up Stage and pausing at
“Banana” then moves toward “Paradox.” Molly is seen at the doorway and moves into the room
as Henry walks from Down Right to Down Left and then to just Up Stage of “Onion.” Katherine
sits at the bench facing “Banana” and tries to avoid Molly as she tries to make eye contact
with Katherine. The music fades.

    MOLLY
(Takes a breath)
Do you like her stuff?

(Katherine looks to Henry who grins and shrugs as if to say “Well, she seems
harmless” and, trying to be polite but not encouraging, looks to Molly)

    KATHERINE
A little.

    MOLLY
Okay…

(Katherine, unsure of what to do, stops)

    MOLLY (Cont)
I can’t say I “like” the onion, grim, and way too angry for my kitchen. And pricey! Do you
know what her stuff’s going for now that…? Well “rest in peace…” Are you religious?

    KATHERINE
(Surprised but poised)
No. Not really.

    MOLLY
Me either, I used to go to church. Do you…?


    KATHERINE
Excuse me, but…?

    MOLLY
Sorry! Crazy huh? Painted all those years and… I mean nobody “got” her stuff, and now “biggest
name in Swiss post-realistic still-lifery.” Hungry?

    KATHERINE
No. Thank you.

    MOLLY
No problemo. Now “Banana” I get. Ironic considering I’ve got a banana. Get it? I “get”
“Banana” and I’ve “got” a banana! If you get hungry let me know!

    KATHERINE
Thank you.
(Turns to face “Onion”)

    MOLLY
Sure. I always pack too much; or maybe I don’t eat enough? Did you see the last show?
(Waits)
“Fleck Doon-Hooerhooer?” Dutch techno-portraitist? I’m a big fan of Fleck’s. Really loved
“Archbishop Desmond Tutu In A Tutu!”

(Katherine laughs a little and Henry grins)

    MOLLY (Cont)
You did see it! Totally politically incorrect but, get out  funny!
    
    KATHERINE
(Turns to Molly)
Bishop Tutu roared when he saw it.

    MOLLY
Get out!

    KATHERINE
Said it was the “most refreshing” portrait he’d seen.

    MOLLY
No way!

    KATHERINE
Way!

    MOLLY
You have kids!

    KATHERINE
Yes.
(Tears up a little and turns away, Henry steps in to offer his handkerchief,
Katherine finds hers, seeing this he smiles and steps back)

    MOLLY
Do you have pictures?

    KATHERINE
(To Henry)
Pardon me,…?

    HENRY
I know: she goes on some, but she’s okay.

    KATHERINE
You know her?

    HENRY
She’s a regular… “regular.”

    MOLLY
So: the “Onion?”

(Katherine looks to Henry who shrugs as if to say “She really knows her art!”)

    MOLLY (Cont)
Really, what’s your take on the late, maybe not so great, Greta Heine von Gerd’s “Onion?”
(Waits a moment)
Bold color, strong outline, unique position.

    KATHERINE
Not standing impossibly on end or predictably on its side; top sliced off, dried, staring back.

    MOLLY
Doesn’t reek of “I painted an onion!”

    KATHERINE
No.

    MOLLY
More of “this is it.”

    KATHERINE
“I ‘am’ onion.”

    MOLLY
Totally!

    KATHERINE
“And do not bring up peeling ‘the layers’”

    MOLLY
“Spare me ‘the layers!’” A totally no peeling zone!

(They share a giggle)

    MOLLY (Cont)
So… do you like it?

    KATHERINE
Ominous. Too “dark.”

(Looks at Molly, after a moment smiles, and steps forward with her right hand extended)

    KATHERINE (Cont)
“Katherine.”
    MOLLY
(Walks to Katherine and they shake hands)
“Molly.” Hi!

    KATHERINE
Hi, Molly.

    MOLLY
He’s “Henry.” Say “hi” Henry.

    HENRY
(Smiles and nods)
Ma’am.

    KATHERINE
Hello Henry.

    ANNOUNCER        
“Ladies and Gentlemen, the museum will close in fifteen  minutes.”

    MOLLY
You’re sure you’re not hungry?

    KATHERINE
I’m fine, thanks.

    MOLLY
Henry? You hungry?

(Henry smiles and shakes his head as if to say “Not right now thanks”)

    MOLLY (Cont)
So how does “Banana” hit you?

    KATHERINE
The painting? Uncommon view… arching rather than leaning or sort of… springing up in a…

    MOLLY
“Sprung” manner?

    KATHERINE
Yes.

    MOLLY
No man would have painted an arching banana. Henry? Do you think a man would paint a banana
any way but “up!?”

    HENRY
Always teasing. All I know is I like paintings of horses. Beautiful. Names like “Cobalt” and
“Belle of Saint Joe.” Horses… and any fresco by Fra Filippo Lippi. That’s painting.

    KATHERINE
Yes! Amazing touch.


    MOLLY
You’ve been to Italy?

    KATHERINE
Years ago. Wonderful.

    MOLLY
Tell me!

    KATHERINE
Some frescoes are so alive you think a figure will turn and ask you where you’re from or…?

    HENRY
“Where’s the restroom?”

(Katherine and Molly share a chuckle)

    HENRY (Cont)
I get that a lot.

    MOLLY
More! Please?

    KATHERINE
Let’s see… they’re alive! That’s about all I can say. They  put “life” into their people;
breathed a reality into the most sacred of subjects. If you love painting you must go see them.

    MOLLY
That’s what I love about art!

(Katherine looks a bit perplexed)

    MOLLY (Cont)
That somebody puts their life into it! Like Greta here: she put all her heart and talent into
“Banana.” She’s alive in there! Her view, her “self” is in there.

    KATHERINE
Remarkable.

    MOLLY
Really makes me mad.

    KATHERINE
Why?

    MOLLY
What thanks does she get? She dies, she’s “discovered,” and the dealers clean up!

    KATHERINE
I doubt she painted for money.

    MOLLY
But she did make her mark, huh?


    KATHERINE
I suppose she did.

    MOLLY
I guess every painting’s a mark… a lot of marks, huh? But it’s sad: she steps off the curb and
bam(!) “toes up!”
    KATHERINE
That’s not really very funny.

    MOLLY
It’s an expression. I’m sorry… obviously death’s not funny.

    HENRY
Not your top comedy topic, no. Not like marriage or kids:  regular joke machines, they are.

    MOLLY
Uh-huh?

    HENRY
I mean, and excuse me for butting in, but there are jokes about what’s “around” death, like
funerals, but “death” itself(?)… pretty serious stuff. Still: “it’s always Friday the 13th
somewhere!”

(Katherine barely contains being stunned)

    MOLLY
“Happy Hour.” “It’s always ‘Happy Hour’ somewhere.”

    HENRY
Sorry.

    MOLLY
It’s like art: a matter of perspective!

    KATHERINE
“Perspective?” Excuse me, I must be…

    MOLLY
Just a minute, please? Please? Thank you. I meant you… “one” could make a joke out of…
dropping the casket, but…!

(Katherine sits on the bench)

    MOLLY (Cont)
How about a sip of water? I’ve got a water bottle. Brand new. Please?

    HENRY
I’m sure it’s okay, ma’am.

    KATHERINE
Yes, that might be wise. Thank you.

    MOLLY
No problemo!
(Reaches into her backpack, takes out a small plastic bottle of water and hands it to
Katherine who smiles faintly)

    MOLLY (Cont)
Or one could joke about spilling grandma’s ashes…


    KATHERINE
(Swoons)
Huhhh?!?!

(Henry steps in, sits alongside Katherine supporting her, takes the water bottle, opens
it, and helps her take a sip)

    MOLLY
And that’s not really funny!

    HENRY
Very serious, death.

    MOLLY
And sad.

    HENRY
Must be respectful.

    MOLLY
You sure you’re not hungry?

    HENRY
It might help?

    KATHERINE
I’m feeling a little,… I don’t know…?

    MOLLY
I’ve got the banana… That’s right: you don’t want the banana.
(Looking in backpack)
Let’s see: Goobers (too much fat), half a Luna Bar (probably stale),… uh, Tums?

    KATHERINE
I think it’s time I…

    HENRY
Let’s just rest for a moment? Maybe the banana’s a good idea.

    MOLLY
Maybe we should change the subject! Uh… Okay: I, uh… work at “VideoPal” on Hayes! And it’s a
pretty good place… Hey! I have coupons! It’s three for one week!

(Digs through her backpack and takes out the banana and hands it to Henry and then pulls
out brightly colored coupons)

    MOLLY (Cont)
Really! Rent any regular price movie and get two additional movies free! Really! It’s a great
deal. And, hey, it’s also “Sterling Hayden Week!” Rent any movie featuring or starring
Sterling Hayden and get another movie featuring or starring Sterling Hayden and a popcorn
free! You sure you don’t want the banana?

    HENRY
It could help. Natural… sweet… healthy…? Please?

    KATHERINE
(Partly out of hunger and to shut them up)
Yes, I would like the banana.

    MOLLY
Great!

(Katherine winces)
    
    HENRY
Not so loud, please?

    MOLLY
Oh, sure, sorry. Here. Do you need any help with it? No? Okay.

(Katherine peels the banana enough to take a small bite and closes her eyes as its sweet
taste and aroma suffuses her with strength; it is as if she has taken a bite of life
itself)

    MOLLY
Pretty good, huh?

    KATHERINE
Extraordinary.

(She takes a second bite and begins to sit up straightening her back slowly as new
energy moves through her)

    HENRY
Are you feeling better ma’am?

    KATHERINE
Yes, remarkably.

    HENRY
You seemed… maybe a little tired when you came in?

    KATHERINE
Did I?

    HENRY
Just my impression. How’s that banana?

    KATHERINE
(Takes a third, and larger, bite and after a couple of chews and with her mouth full)
Exquisite!

    MOLLY
Can I pick ‘em?

    HENRY
(Glares at Molly as if to say “Cool it!”)
Do you need any more water?
(Katherine, still chewing, shakes her head “No”)

    HENRY (Cont)
Because if you do I can always fetch some more.

(Katherine stops chewing and looks at Henry)

    HENRY (Cont)
Something wrong ma’am?

    KATHERINE
No.

    HENRY
You’re sure?

    KATHERINE
(Swallows)
One doesn’t hear “fetch” very often these days.

    HENRY
I’m sort of old fashioned I guess.

    KATHERINE
(Smiles)
Me too.

    MOLLY
(To Henry)
Now?

    HENRY
Shhh!

    KATHERINE
Excuse me?

    HENRY
Ma’am?

    KATHERINE
“Now?” What? What is “now…?”

    HENRY
(To Molly)
I’d say so, yes. A little early if you ask me but…
(To Katherine)
Little Miss Shoot-Her-Yap-Off has to shoot-her-yap-off. “Ease into these things?” “Subtle?”
Her!?


(End of sample)

Complete scripts can  be obtained by e-mailing
Craig here