In Godís Country

A Comedy in One Act
by
Alan David Perkins

Copyright © 1991

 


In Godís Country is a one-act play that takes place during the intermission of a Broadway play in the worst four seats in the house. The set should consist of four theatre seats. Props include a program and a pair of opera glasses.

CHARACTERS

 
MARCY Long Island Jewish-American Princess. Female - mid 20's to early 30's.
AMI A talkative, excitable drama student. Female - early 20's.
STUART Businessman. Buttoned-down, nebbishy male - late 30's and up.
DAVID Marcy's henpecked husband. Male - late 20's to early 30's. Very handsome and very emasculated.
TICKETHOLDER Jesus, the Son of God.

 


(Sound of applause. Lights slowly come up. Seated from SL to SR are STUART, AMI, MARCY and DAVID. DAVID is sleeping. MARCY is angrily fidgeting. AMI is gleefully riveted, mangling her program. STUART is looking through opera glasses.)

MARCY
David?

AMI

That was terrific!! Wasn't that terrific?! Oh boy, I can hardly believe I'm here! Who is that guy? You know, the guy who plays the other guy's best friend? I swear I've seen him somewhere before. Wasn't he in that movie with Dustin Hoffman or Robert DeNiro or some guy like that?

MARCY
David?

(STUART puts down his opera glasses, opens his program and shows AMI a page inside.)

AMI
Oh, THAT'S where I've seen him! He looks different.

STUART

They all look different. If it wasn't for my opera glasses I would doubt that they even had faces.

MARCY
DAVID!!!

DAVID
(Wakes abruptly) Huh? Is it over?

MARCY
It's intermission.

AMI

How could you sleep through this play?! It was nominated for a Tony! I heard it's sold out for the next three years!

MARCY
Butt out. Why my thoughtless, classless, rude and inconsiderate husband fell asleep is MY business.

 

(STUART looks through his opera glasses again, stands and starts exaggerated waving at someone far, far away.)

AMI
Friend of yours?

STUART
My client.

AMI
Hmm. He got a great seat.

STUART
Orchestra. Ninth row center.

MARCY

That's where WE should be sitting ... instead of up here in God's country.

 

(STUART sits.)

DAVID
Daddy was lucky enough to get us these. You should be grateful.

MARCY
GRATEFUL?!! I'm INSULTED! These are the worst seats in the house! They should be paying US to sit in them! (seething) Some Hanukkah present. Hmpf. The date could have at least been around the holiday. But no, he has to wait for TDF to come through.

AMI
I'm thrilled just to be here.

MARCY
Who asked you.

STUART
Yes. Who indeed.

AMI

You people have no appreciation for what New York has to offer.

STUART
Certainly I do. I have a strong appreciation for trash in the streets, and the homeless, and the high cost of living. That's why I live in Connecticut.

MARCY
Bloomingdale's. I have a high appreciation for Bloomingdale's. Also Loehmann's.

AMI
I'd like to thank you all for completely missing the point.

 

(Pause as DAVID readjusts and STUART looks through his opera glasses. He notices something and puts the glasses down.)

MARCY
David, what are you doing?

DAVID
Just getting comfortable, muffin.

MARCY

Don't get too comfortable. If you fall asleep again I'll make you suffer.

DAVID
Is THAT all it takes?

MARCY
I'm warning you ...

STUART
It's still there, you know.

AMI
What's still there?

STUART
That empty seat.

AMI, DAVID & MARCY
(in unison)
WHERE?!

STUART
(Points) Right there. Four rows down, three over.

(All look eagerly.)

MARCY
(Elated) It's ... it's WONDERFUL!

AMI
(Elated) It's the best seat in the theatre!

DAVID
(Disgusted) It's no better than these!

MARCY
I'll bet from there you can see the back of the stage!

AMI
I'll even bet you can make out their faces.

STUART
Finders-keepers. See you on MetroNorth.

 

(STUART starts to leave.)

MARCY
Oh, no you don't! That seat is mine!

STUART
I beg your pardon? DAVID But MY father gave us the tickets. It should be mine.

MARCY
WHAT?!

AMI

Wait! I think we can decide this in a fair and reasonable fashion. I have the most to gain by watching this play, therefore I deserve the seat.

STUART
Deserve?! What the devil are you talking about?!

AMI
Well, if you MUST know, I'm an actress.

 

(Long pause.)

MARCY
So?

AMI

I NEED to see this play. It's like a form of research. By seeing as many plays as possible and exposing myself to all aspects of theatre, I will become a better actress. Don'cha think?

STUART
At least you can write if off on your taxes.

MARCY
I've never heard anything so ridiculous in my life!

AMI
And you think YOU deserve the seat?

MARCY

I KNOW I do. I've always had the best opportunities and the best things. I refuse to compromise myself for anything. Face it, some people were meant to have everything and some people were meant to have nothing.

AMI
I hope you weren't referring to me.

MARCY
There's no money in Theatre.

AMI
Oh? And what do YOU do?

 

(DAVID rolls his eyes -- he knows what's coming.)

MARCY
Do? (laughs)

DAVID

Marcy, I think the actress has a point. Let her have the seat, dear.

AMI
Ami, with an "I". And thanks. (AMI extends her hand but DAVID does not shake it.)

MARCY
(Whining) But Daaaaa-viiiiid! I want the seeeeeeeeeat!

DAVID

Miss, let Marcy have the seat. Please. I can't take the whine. Anything but the whine.

MARCY
Wait. On second thought, I want to stay right here in this very seat. The very seat that was so irresponsibly bought and given to ME. That way SOMEONE's cheap father will know that I had to endure this play in the WORST seat in the house.

DAVID
I'm sure Daddy will appreciate the guilt all the way from Manhattan. (to STUART and AMI) We're from Long Island.

STUART
I would have never guessed. Which exit?

 

(DAVID and MARCY chat quietly to each other.)

AMI

Well ... I ... I don't need the seat. I'm just thankful for the HONOR of being able to be in this city and in this theatre. I'm thankful for all those humid days and those rainy nights ... (pauses to get DAVID and MARCY's fading attention back) (resumes) I'm thankful for all those humid days and rainy nights I spent on line to buy this student ticket. (glares back at DAVID and MARCY to see if they're still paying attention) I'm thankful for my craft. I'm thankful for Lee Strasburg! I'm ...

STUART
(Interrupting over "Lee Strasburg") Oh, PLEASE! Will someone shut Little Miss Martyr up?!

MARCY
What's the matter? Why aren't YOU diving at the seat? You know, "Finders-Keepers?"

STUART
I have my opera glasses. Besides, I've got my client to think about. At least HE got my money's worth. I hate ticket brokers.

DAVID
How much did he stick you for?

STUART
One hundred dollars each.

DAVID
Ouch!

STUART

Apparently these were the last two seats available. But Mr. Miazawa wanted to see this play while he was in this country. He represents a very important, very LUCRATIVE Japanese deal. We spare no expense to make his stay a "preasant" one.

AMI
That's the man you were waving at?

STUART

Yes, that gentleman down ... (looks through opera glasses) ... where did he go? Why, that little ingrate! So help me, for the trouble I went through to get these stupid tickets he'd better plant himself in that seat and ... oh, he's back.

AMY
There, there. You'll be okay. Can I see those?

 

(AMI takes STUART's opera glasses and proceeds to look at everything through them.)

STUART

I hate my job. They always make me kiss up to the clients ... forcing me to going to concerts and plays and those nasty bars off Times Square. I just wanted a simple partnership in a quiet office and six figures a year. I never wanted to have to go out into ... the field, ESPECIALLY up here in God's country. (beat) I'll give you ten dollars each for that seat!

AMI, MARCY & DAVID
(unison) NO!

STUART
Make it twenty! I MUST HAVE THAT SEAT!!

AMI
Look, your friend is waving.

STUART

He is?! Where! (stands and panics) Dammit! Give me my opera glasses!

 

(AMI pulls the glasses out of STUART's reach. STUART is terrified.)

AMI
You're afraid of heights!

STUART
So?! Is it any business of yours?

AMI

Well, no ... I guess. It's just that four rows down is still pretty high up, and right near that LOW railing -- the only barrier between you and that LETHAL drop ...
STUART
I don't care! It's better than this! Now GIVE ME THE FUCKING GLASSES!!

 

(STUART lunges toward AMI for the glasses. They wrestle for a moment and the glasses drop and break.)

STUART (cont'd)
OH MY GOD! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!

AMI
Look, I'm sorry. I'll replace them.

STUART
That's not what I mean! I can't survive without those glasses!

AMI
Sure you can. Don't have a hissy.

 

(AMY pulls STUART to his feet and takes him through an actor's breathing exercise. She sits as he continues breathing.)

STUART

(Regaining composure) You're right, Ami. (breathes) I'm ... I'm sorry. (breathes) I don't know what came over me. (breathes) I'll be alright.

DAVID
Excuse me, fella ...

STUART
(Breathes) Stuart.

DAVID

Look, Stuart. I don't know a lot about psychological disorders, but I do buy a lot of tickets, and your seat is hardly worth a "C"-note. I think Ami got the best deal of all of us.

MARCY
(Clears her throat) I got the best deal.

AMI
Oh? How do you figure?

STUART
(still breathing, starts wheezing) I'm feeling dizzy ... AMI
Stop breathing.

MARCY
I didn't pay for them!

DAVID
(Under his breath) But I'm sure payin' for 'em.

MARCY
I heard that. You'll pay for it now.

DAVID

I'll pay for it! I'll pay for it! All you do is threaten me and treat me like a child! I'm not a child, Marcy! I'm an adult! More so than you'll EVER be, you pathetic paternally pampered princess!

MARCY
I'm telling Daddy!

STUART
Oh, Jesus!

DAVID

I move that Marcy take the seat. Does anyone second the motion?

AMI
I second it.

DAVID
All in favor?

 

(AMI & DAVID enthusiastically raise their hands.)

DAVID (cont'd)
All opposed?

 

(All look to MARCY, who is confused.)

DAVID (cont'd)
Abstentions?

STUART
I abstain.

DAVID

Two in favor, one abstention. Motion carried! Goodbye, Marcy! (cackles maniacally)

MARCY
Oh, no you don't. I've made up my mind and it's final. I'm staying right here in this seat.

STUART
Oh, no. I think my nose is starting to bleed.

AMI
You'll be okay once the second act starts.

DAVID
(To MARCY) Take the seat or I'll throttle you by the neck.

MARCY
You wouldn't dare.

 

(DAVID maniacally grabs MARCY by the throat. STUART jumps up and holds DAVID back.)

STUART
It's not worth it, man. It's just a seat in a theatre.

DAVID
You seem to want it pretty bad.

STUART
It's different. I need it for health reasons.

DAVID
Same here. If she doesn't take the seat, I'll ruin her health.

MARCY
David, take me home.

DAVID
Nope. I want to see the play.

MARCY
Then I'm going without you.

DAVID
Can't. I have the car keys.

MARCY
Fine. I'll take a cab.

DAVID
I'm holding all the cash.

MARCY
I have credit cards.

STUART
Cabs don't take plastic.

MARCY
Butt out, death breath.

STUART

Death breath?! Okay, David. I'll hold her down first so you can take a swing at her. Then we'll switch.

DAVID
Deal.

AMI
Guys! Let's get reasonable!

MARCY
Yeah! Listen to Miss No-Talent Actress!

AMI
No-Talent?

MARCY
(Realizing her faux pas) I meant it as a ... uh ... compliment.

STUART
How frightening.

AMI

That's enough. I can only take so much abuse. All I ever get is abuse. But this is a theatre ... this is where I belong. I'm at home here, and I will NOT be insulted in my home. Now take that seat or ... I'll call the house manager.

 

(All start advancing on MARCY when the TICKETHOLDER enters from behind.)

TICKETHOLDER
Release her. (All release MARCY.)

*** END OF EXCERPT ***