Full-Length Play

Doll Play

A Play in Two Acts by William Ivor Fowkes

Life in a Dream House

LENGTH: 1 hour 40 minutes (plus intermission)

CAST: 2M, 3F 

 

SYNOPSIS: In this tragic and mystical tale of a man who accidentally kills his own son, things begin to unravel for the Notto family when the mother dies prematurely, and the father has no idea how to handle an effeminate son with a strong attachment to his mother's doll collection. The spirit of the mother hovers over the family and tries to set things right as the surviving members adjust to life without Josh.

 

SETTING: The "great room" of the Notto house in Briarcliff Manor, NY.

TIME: 2009-2016

 

 


AN EXCERPT

 

PROLOGUE 

Lights up on a beautiful dollhouse occupied by four Barbie & Ken-style dolls. The Josh and Nicole dolls (ages 9 and 7) are hanging out in their bedrooms. The Ted and Shannon dolls (ages 39 and 37) are watching TV or eating a meal downstairs. 

 

SHANNON enters and approaches the dollhouse. Examines it with great interest and excitement. Picks up the Josh, Nicole, and Ted dolls one at a time, taking a moment to play with each doll and kiss it before putting it back in place. Finally picks up the Shannon doll, studies it a moment, and then suddenly walks off stage with it. 

 

A moment after Shannon exits with the Shannon doll, the dollhouse blows up or collapses. Lights down.

 

END OF PROLOGUE

 

ACT ONE: Life

SCENE 12009.

 

Lights up. The house is furnished in a tasteful way, but looks very lived in. We see primarily its “great” room—a combination kitchen and family room with an eating area and a sitting area. A large screen TV hangs on a wall. We see just a part of the house next door, which is run down. TED is using the kitchen table (or island) as a staging area to sort through some things. He picks up a dish—a piece of fine china. Studies it. AMANDA enters.

 

AMANDA

Okay, I put that old Berber rug in the dumpster.

(spotting the dish)

What’s that? 

 

TED

The good china.

 

AMANDA

(looking more closely)

Oh, yeah. You never use it. I say dump it, too.

 

TED

I can’t.

 

AMANDA

Or take it to the consignment shop. I never really liked it anyway.

 

TED

                                                (sarcastically)

I wonder why.

 

AMANDA

What? Ted, I loved Shannon, too. I just didn’t always agree with her taste.

 

TED

Whatever. 

(not caring if Amanda is interested)

God, I remember when she found this pattern at Bergdorf Goodman and made me come into the city to see if I liked it, too. 

 

SHANNON enters. TED and AMANDA never see or acknowledge her presence. SHANNON looks into the box, delighted by the sight of the dishes. 

 

TED (CONT’D)

I wasn’t sure, but she was so excited—what could I do? We added the dishes to the registry and ended up with the whole set!

 

AMANDA

(critically)

There were lots of other things you coulda used instead! I’m just saying.

 

TED

(an announcement)

I’m keeping them.

 

AMANDA

                                                (defeated)

Fine.

 

SHANNON exits. TED moves the box of china out of the room.

 

AMANDA (CONT’D)

                                                (calling out)

How about her clothes? How could one woman own so many dresses? There’s like three closets full. Who’d she think she was—a runway model?

(softening)

Wait—that came out wrong. 

 

TED returns.

 

TED

No it didn’t.

 

AMANDA

It did. Seriously—I did love her. Everyone loved her.

 

TED

Then why’d you try to talk me out of marrying her?

 

AMANDA

I never—

 

TED

Bullshit! You even threatened to . . .

 

TED points to his wrist.

 

TED (CONT’D)

. . . you know.

 

AMANDA

What?

 

TED

Never mind. 

 

AMANDA

No—tell me!

 

TED

And you said I shouldn’t marry her because she wasn’t Italian. Said the Rileys were never gonna wanna mix with a bunch of wops. 

 

AMANDA

Well, all right, obviously I was wrong about that. Except I’m still not sure Shannon ever knew the difference between manicotti and cannoli.

 

TED

You said she was a snob cuz she was from Bronxville and went to Amherst College. 

 

AMANDA

You never knew people like that before you met her. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing—but she just wasn’t one of us, you know? 

 

TED

Then tell me this—if she was such a snob, why’d she date a dropout from SUNY Oneonta? 

 

AMANDA

Cuz she had her eyes on Daddy’s business!

 

TED

Oh, c’mon! She didn’t need Notto Contracting. She was an investment banker, for god’s sake!

 

AMANDA

Yeah, but I didn’t know what that was. I thought you meant she was a teller at a bank.

 

TED

So that’s why you threatened to kill yourself?

 

AMANDA

Teddy, I was just being dramatic.

 

TED

You scared the shit out of me! 

 

AMANDA

But you married her anyway.

 

TED

Of course I married her anyway. Boy, that convent really screwed you up!

 

AMANDA

It did not!

 

TED

You never tried to kill yourself before you went there.

 

AMANDA

Let’s drop it, okay? You know I don’t like to talk about it.

 

TED

How convenient! Just like you never mentioned anything until I got engaged. Then suddenly there’s this whole history and you’re gonna be triggered all over again if I marry Shannon.

 

AMANDA

Stop it! Please!

 

AMANDA starts to cry. TED goes to comfort her.

 

TED

Hey, hey! Don’t cry. I’m sorry I brought it up.

 

AMANDA breaks away from TED. 

 

AMANDA

Don’t touch me! Don’t! . . . I need air! . . . No, water!  

 

AMANDA crashes onto the sofa. Grabs a pillow. Punches it ferociously. Finally hurls it across the room. Puts her head between her legs. Heaves up and down until she calms down.

 

TED

Mandy, what’s going on? You haven’t had one of these attacks in years.

 

AMANDA

I’m not having an attack! 

 

TED

Maybe you should see your doctor again. Make sure everything’s all right.

 

AMANDA

Everything’s fine! It’s just that whole chapter of my life—please drop it. 

 

TED

I’m sorry. We don’t have to talk about it. 

 

AMANDA calms down.

 

AMANDA

Wow—that was no fun.

 

AMANDA takes a few breaths.

 

AMANDA (CONT’D)

I’m fine now.

 

A few more breaths.

 

AMANDA (CONT’D)

                                                (calmly)

Anyway, everything worked out. You got married. I got better.

 

TED

                                                (sullenly)

And Shannon died. So you got your wish after all.

 

AMANDA

                                                (heartfelt)

Oh, Teddy—no. That’s not true. I loved her. I really did. Just like I love you, and I love your kids. You guys are the whole world to me!

 

TED

                                                (softening)

I know . . . It’s all just . . . It’s so hard. I don’t know what to do. I don’t think I can go on without her. 

 

AMANDA

But you’ve got to! Too many people depend on you. It’s not fair, but there it is.

 

TED

                                                (crying)

I miss her so much! I wanna go off somewhere for a couple of years and just cry.  

 

It’s AMANDA’s turn to go comfort TED.

 

AMANDA

It’s all right.

(trying to make light of it)

Look at us—we’re both a mess.

 

END OF EXCERPT