NERVOUS BREAKDOWN OF A DRAMA TEACHER
A Play for Monday 7/16/14
Scene: A classroom. There are pictures of Shakespeare hung on the walls, as well as several copies of “Best Short Plays of 1982” even though the play takes place in the present.
MS. LANDIS: Okay, guys. So before we do a run through of the play, I just want to remind everyone that we only have two more rehearsals left before our final dress on Thursday. Then the show opens Friday night. I need everyone to be here at every rehearsal between now and then. Are there any questions?
CRAIG: When is the next rehearsal?
MS. LANDIS: Well, we’re having a rehearsal right now. You are at rehearsal right now. Then we’re having rehearsals every day after school until Friday.
MS. LANDIS: Yes. There is rehearsal tomorrow. We’re having rehearsal every day after school until Friday.
TAMMY: We’re not rehearsing Friday?
MS. LANDIS: No. Because we’re performing the show on Friday. So it’s not a rehearsal. It’s a performance.
MS. LANDIS: Here. Right here. Same place we always rehearse.
CRAIG: Are we rehearsing Thursday?
MS. LANDIS: Yes. We are rehearsing every day after school until Friday.
MS. LANDIS: Yes, Tammy. You already asked me if we were rehearsing tomorrow and I said yes. We are rehearsing every day after school until Friday when we will perform the play.
MS. LANDIS: Yes, Daniel. The play will be performed here.
TAMMY: I have a question.
MS. LANDIS: Okay.
TAMMY: Are we gonna perform the play for the whole school?
MS. LANDIS: Well, anyone who wants to come and see the play can come. It’s open to everybody.
CRAIG: Can my parents come?
MS. LANDIS: It’s open to everybody.
CRAIG: Can my cousins come?
MS. LANDIS: It’s open to everybody.
CRAIG: Can my dad come?
MS. LANDIS: If he is one of your parents, then yes he can come.
DANIEL: Do I have to have my lines memorized?
MS. LANDIS: Yes.
MS. LANDIS: Well, you should have memorized them by now. You have three days to memorize your lines.
DANIEL: How come we’re not doing the show tonight?
MS. LANDIS: How would you do the show when you don’t have your lines memorized?
DANIEL: I don’t know. Are you married?
MS. LANDIS: (ignoring him) Yes, Craig. You have your hand raised.
CRAIG: Can my dad come?
MS. LANDIS: Yes, I already said he can come. It’s open to everybody.
TAMMY: I can’t come on Friday.
MS. LANDIS: What?
TAMMY: I have something.
MS. LANDIS: What do you have?
MS. LANDIS: It’s December.
TAMMY: I mean Chess Club.
MS. LANDIS: You will have to miss Chess Club this Friday.
TAMMY: I can’t. Mr. Simmons gets really mad.
MS. LANDIS: Well, I will get really mad if you miss the performance.
TAMMY: Yeah, but Mr. Simmons gets really, really mad.
DANIEL: Ms. Landis, do you have a boyfriend?
CRAIG: My dad can’t come.
MS. LANDIS: How do you know?
CRAIG: I just called him.
MS. LANDIS: Okay. Everyone. Stop calling people during rehearsal. We have to get through the show tonight. We’ve never run the show with all three of you here. Not even once.
TAMMY: Are we ever gonna do the show for real?
MS. LANDIS: What do you mean?
TAMMY: I mean for real, for real.
MS. LANDIS: I don’t know what you…we’re doing it… yes…we are doing it for real this Friday.
TAMMY: I have Photography Club.
MS. LANDIS: You can’t go to Photography Club.
DANIEL: Those are nice earrings, Ms. Landis.
MS. LANDIS: Stop complimenting my earrings!
DANIEL: I only did it that one time. Geez.
CRAIG: Ms. Landis?
MS. LANDIS: Yes?
CRAIG: Could my dad give his ticket to someone else? He’s asking me right now.
MS. LANDIS: He’s asking…? PUT DOWN THE PHONE!
CRAIG: (into phone) I gotta go…
TAMMY: Are we rehearsing Thursday?
MS. LANDIS: YES! YES! WE ARE REHEARSING THURSDAY!
TAMMY: Not Friday?
MS. LANDIS: THERE IS A PERFORMANCE ON FRIDAY! WE ARE PERFORMING THE SHOW ON FRIDAY NIGHT!
TAMMY: I think I have a thing at the Boys & Girls Club.
MS. LANDIS: I don’t give a shit! You have to be at the show on Friday night! If you’re not there, we can’t do the show!
TAMMY: Why can’t I do my part on Saturday?
MS. LANDIS: Because that’s not how it works! You have to be there when everyone else is there! You can’t just show up anytime you want and say your lines if nobody else is there to say their lines! That makes no sense!
TAMMY: Can everyone else come on Saturday?
DANIEL: I can.
CRAIG: What time?
MS. LANDIS: No! The play is on Friday night! It’s not on Saturday! It’s on Friday! You all have to be here Friday!
TAMMY: What if I have something else?
MS. LANDIS: You can’t go to chess club! You can’t go to track! You can’t go to Photography club!
TAMMY: No, I have this other thing.
MS. LANDIS: Oh, my God. What other thing?
TAMMY: I don’t know. It’s like this thing where I go to the auditorium and I say all these words.
MS. LANDIS: THAT’S THIS!!! THAT’S THE PLAY!!! YOUR OTHER THING IS ACTUALLY THIS THING! IT’S THE PLAY! IT’S NOT SOME OTHER THING! IT’S THIS THING!
CRAIG: I might not be able to come on Friday. I have to drive my cousin somewhere.
MS. LANDIS: You’re fourteen!!!
CRAIG: I know.
DANIEL: I don’t know if I can come either. My brother just bought his tux for prom and we have to all be there to watch him try it on.
MS. LANDIS: Seriously? Seriously???
TAMMY: I have Float Practice.
MS. LANDIS: What the hell…? That’s not even a thing!!! Float Practice is not a thing!!! That doesn’t mean anything!!! These are lame fucking excuses!!!
DANIEL: Do you cuss out your boyfriend like that?
MS. LANDIS: I don’t have a boyfriend!
DANIEL: I knew it!
CRAIG: My mom has a new boyfriend.
MS. LANDIS: SHUT-UP! SHUT-UP! EVERYBODY SHUT-UP AND LISTEN TO ME FOR ONCE IN YOUR GODDAMN LIVES! WE ARE DOING A PLAY! WE’VE BEEN REHEARSING IT FOR SIX WEEKS! WE ARE PERFORMING IT THIS FRIDAY! WE ARE REHEARSING IT EVERY NIGHT BETWEEN NOW AND THEN! AND YOU WILL COME HERE ON TIME AND YOU WILL REHEARSE! YOU KNOW HOW TO BE ON TIME! WHEN YOU WANT TO SEE A MOVIE, YOU KNOW HOW TO GET TO THE THEATRE ON TIME SO YOU DON’T MISS ANY OF IT! SO WHY ARE YOU CONSTANTLY SHOWING UP LATE FOR REHEARSALS LIKE IT’S TOTALLY OUT OF YOUR CONTROL? THAT MAKES NO SENSE! AND WHY CAN’T YOU MEMORIZE A DOZEN STUPID LINES? YOU KNOW EVERY WORD OF EVERY KANYE SONG TEN SECONDS AFTER YOU HEAR IT FOR THE FIRST TIME! YOU ARE GOING TO SHOW UP WITH YOUR LINES MEMORIZED AND YOU WILL KNOW YOUR BLOCKING! THEN WE WILL PERFORM THE PLAY! AND THEN IT WILL BE OVER! AND THEN I WILL DRIVE HOME AND COLLAPSE ON MY COUCH AND CRAWL UNDER THE QUILT THAT MY NANA MADE ME WITH HER OWN HANDS AND I WILL DRINK WINE AND BINGE WATCH “BREAKING BAD!” AND I WILL SPEND THE NEXT WEEK CALLING IN SICK AND CRYING BECAUSE I HAD NO IDEA THAT THIS WOULD BE MY LIFE! THE PRINCIPAL WANTED ME TO DIRECT “GREASE” THIS YEAR! CAN YOU IMAGINE? IT HAS, LIKE, EIGHTY KIDS IN IT! I CAN’T EVEN GET THE THREE OF YOU TO DO A THIRTY MINUTE ONE-ACT! THIS PLAY IS TWENTY PAGES AND THE FASTEST RUN THROUGH WE’VE HAD TOOK NINETY MINUTES! WHY, WHY, WHY CAN’T ANY OF YOU RETAIN A SINGLE PIECE OF INFORMATION? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOUR BRAINS? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME THAT I THOUGHT THIS WOULD BE MY DREAM JOB! OH MY GOD!
(MS. LANDIS starts to cry and collapses on her desk. Long pause.)
TAMMY: I can’t believe you guys made Ms. Landis cry.
CRAIG: We’re sorry.
DANIEL: Do you need a hug?
TAMMY: Come on. Let’s do it. Let’s run through the play. I think I know it. I think if I try really hard, I can do it.
MS. LANDIS: (lifting her head) Yes. You can. If you work really hard you can do it. You really, really can.
CRAIG: I didn’t know you were gonna cry. Dang.
TAMMY: Come on. Let’s do it.
DANIEL: I have to leave at 4:30.
CRAIG: That’s in ten minutes.
MS. LANDIS: It’s okay. It’s okay! We’ll start and then I’ll read in Daniel’s lines after he leaves.
CRAIG: I have to leave at 4:30 too.
MS. LANDIS: That’s okay. Let’s just get through as much as we can.
TAMMY: Can I go to the bathroom real quick?
MS. LANDIS: (sighs) I guess so.
CRAIG: I need a drink (exits)
(MS. LANDIS is alone with DANIEL)
MS. LANDIS: Don’t say anything to me.
DANIEL: But –
MS. LANDIS: I mean it. Nothing.
DANIEL: I was just gonna say you look really pretty and I’m sorry we made you lose your shit. Excuse me.
MS. LANDIS: Thank you, Daniel.
MS. LANDIS: So…
DANIEL: What play are we doing?
END OF PLAY