The story behind What Cricket Knows is interesting: My wife Lori was attending an acting class at Castleton University in Vermont, and one requirement was for the class to write a scene from a totally non-existent play. Since I have a smidgen of acting experience, Lori asked me to help her pen the scene. Our collaboration was well received and the instructor casually commented that she would love to see the (as-of-that-moment-unproduced) play that the scene came from. That comment gave life to the seeds of What Cricket Knows. If you like this and want to stay informed of the progress, please follow this blog (the button is on the right), LIKE and SHARE my Facebook page, and follow me on Twitter.
Here is Act I/Scene 4 from What Cricket Knows.
***Please be aware that this scene has strong language and themes and is NOT intended for reading at work or for children under 16.***
SETTING: The next day, on stage. Exterior, city park picnic table next to large tree. STORMY is dressed provocatively, the tips of her hair are sprayed in multiple colors and her make-up is overdone. CRICKET is seated at the picnic table.
AT LIGHTS UP: As the curtain opens, STORMY is leaning against the tree while CRICKET sits at the table quietly coloring. STORMY is outwardly agitated as she continually checks her cell phone’s time and (lack of) activity. STORMY spews random curses under her breath, as she alternates between leaning and pacing.
STORMY then looks CR, stands and crosses her arms in disgust. CRICKET looks CR and smiles.
‘Bout fuckin’ time! You know, I actually got somewhere to be.
JEREMIAH enters from CR wearing a business suit with a loosened tie and collar.
Sorry, girls. I left my phone at the office, or you know I would have called.
Kisses CRICKET on the head
This happens all the time, Jeremiah. You shoulda been here like an hour ago, son of a bitch. It seems like you try to fuck up my Fridays on purpose, man. You know they’re, like, the only day I get a frigging break.
I know you like your “breaks.” It’s just that I got on a phone call with Carter, and you know how long winded he can be. Like I said, I would have called, but I left my cell on my desk.
Whatever. It’s just, you know I need my Fridays. After I’m done with my crappy job, I like hanging out with my friends. I’m only 23, for Chri’sake.
You have obligations, too, Stormy! (Points to CRICKET) You need to be with her. In fact, you are more than aware that’s something I’ve been trying to talk to you about.
(Recognizing what JERRY means) Nah. Forget about it, Jere. I was, like, overreacting. It’s all good.
Grabs a suitcase off the table and hands it to JERRY
It’s been a heck of a week and Cricket’s been missing you. No bigs.
She hugs CRICKET; JERRY lightly grabs STORMY’s elbow and pulls her to him, away from CRICKET
(Just above a whisper) Now, hold on a sec, Stormy. You know we need to talk about this. Hell, I’ve been trying to talk to you about this for months. No slipping away, and you’re not brushing it off this time.
Jere, like, you know I been having it tough. The store’s only got me workin’, like, 28 hours a week, now. Plus, my rent just went up. (Points toward CRICKET) And you know paying for stuff during her visits ain’t exactly cheap.
Do not use Cricket as an excuse! You have her three days a week, and you don’t pay for any of her expenses. Plus, the judge told you that you only have to pay $100 a week, Stormy. How much do you spend on make-up and dresses and your “Fridays?”
That ain’t fair, Jere. I told you, they’re, like, my fuckin’ break.
Not anymore, Stormy. That’s what we need to talk about. You’ll be getting a letter from my lawyer in the next couple of days. I’m requesting full custody of Cricket.
(Softly) No. (Louder) No! (Shouts) NO! NO YOU CAN’T!
This can’t keep happening, Stormy. I have grounds. It’s not just about the 6 months of child support you owe her, either. You’re not taking care of her, and you know it. Your mouth is foul. I know you’re still using. And you hang out with that deadbeat, Weasel!
(After a short PAUSE) Tell me why the police came to your house on Sunday.
You bastard! That was an accident. I told them I just forgot. If it was a big deal, why didn’t they take her that night?
Fuckin’ bullshit. This is, like, fuckin’ bullshit.
You will never take Cricket from me. I will totally fucking kill you first!
Immediate BLACKOUT and CURTAIN CLOSES