Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language and mature content.
A/N: Women with Dead Children was originally written in the early summer of 2018. The idea was tossed around a year prior, with approximately four pages of that script existing. I sacrificed any and all time that could have been dedicated to it to focus on a play that actually saw the light of day, Sigourney. WwDC was revived for a school project my Senior year.
Due to it only being saved on a student account (and my classmates involved ceremoniously ripping their physicals up), it has been "lost" for two years. I gave the tech copy to a friend afterwards, who somehow held onto it. Having an interest in reworking this script and logging it someplace it'll be safe, here's my poorly written, Kama Sutra/Golden Girls/Feminist Existentialist inspired "sex" black comedy in five scenes, Women with Dead Children. Completely unedited and not revised.
SCENE 1. Bonney's Living Room.
Lights up. Laura, Martha, and Bonney are sitting at Bonney's dining room table. The three are scanning their eyes across the room, acknowledging their surroundings. They look out into the audience, acknowledge the crowd, and put their heads down at the table. Bonney, aware of the awkward silence, is tempted to break it.
BONNEY. So... (the other two glare at her, then look back at the table) are you either of you sexually frustrated or am I the only one?
LAURA. Um, okay. That isn't topical.
BONNEY. Was there even a topic at all?
LAURA. No. We weren't even talking.
BONNEY. Thank you for the stating obvious. Martha.
MARTHA. Yes, dear?
BONNEY. I want to know about who or what has been tickling your pickle recently. Any fancy love interests or is it just dry?
MARTHA. Do you understand how hard it is for me to be successful in the dating game?
BONNEY. I do not, it's been years since I've been out on the scene!
MARTHA. Guess what, Bonney? It's difficult. It's so damn difficult.
LAURA. I don't see why. You're fairly attractive.
MARTHA. Pfft, that's crap. I guess I'm mildly attractive, but I haven't had any surgery unlike all those other bimbos. The only men who are willing to go after me are those who haven't had any action in years.
BONNEY. And how long ago did your man die?
MARTHA. Hmm... March marks three years?
BONNEY. Any action whatsoever?
MARTHA. Yes, but...
BONNEY. But what? Not a single relationship?
MARTHA. Well, yes, but I'm not talking about that.
BONNEY. Then what is it?
LAURA. Yeah. If men at the bar won't sleep with you, how are you getting so-called "action"?
MARTHA. I...you see...I...(under her breath) I answer to backpage Craigslist ads. (Laura has a face of shock. Bonney has a face of confusion.)
BONNEY. Backpage Craigslist ads? Do...do you sleep with used furniture? Job offerings?
BONNEY. Oh, shucks! You answer to those men who put up "desperately seeking female who bla bla bla" ads?
LAURA. Hooking up with random men is rather... unsafe. They can be untested and have an ungodly amount of diseases.
BONNEY. Lord, I know! They have to be paying you!
MARTHA. I'm paying them. (Bonney immediately smacks the table and her and Laura instantly look at Martha in shock. Martha tries to look away). I'm...I'm sorry.
BONNEY. ...(yelling) what in the living hell, Martha!
LAURA. Dear, calm down.
BONNEY. Got overheated, thanks.
LAURA. Prostitution, Martha!
MARTHA. I'm desperate! I want a man and it gets lonely without Geoff around! No one is going to willingly hook up with a widow!
BONNEY. Have you tried playing the tragedy of his death to your advantage?
MARTHA. What's tragic about a suicide? It makes me seem like I'm the reason why he was unhappy. There would be no gain.
LAURA. I thought it wasn't a suicide though.
MARTHA. It wasn't, but that's what we had to tell the Coroner. There's no in hell a person would purposefully decapitate himself. And how are we supposed to tell family, "Hey, Geoff had a sick kink, couldn't find rope so he used piano wire, tripped down a small set of stairs on accident, and died just like his grandpa? It's genetic, like cancer! Except it's...autoerotic asphyxiation!"
LAURA. (with snark) We did not need to know that.
MARTHA. (getting more in her face) What would you like to know? Oh, how about he always requested that I get a plastic bag ready because the only way he felt properly "hot and heavy" is when he was acting like a careless four year old!
LAURA. Stop! (Bonney is evidently getting frustrated with this exchange)
MARTHA. I'm not going to! I forgot to mention that one time on the beach-
BONNEY. (in the same frustrated tone as last time) Shut up, Martha, you...you whore! (pretends it was a joke but it was incredibly aggressive). Apologies. (It remains silent) You know, I rescued Sigourney when I, too, was at a time of loneliness. And it worked. It felt nice to have a companion for once. A form of reassurance. Sure, I didn't like it when my therapist implied we had a sexual and romantic relationship, but that's a given. I like what we have and I'm sticking by it. (It remains silent) So...are either of you sexually frustrated or am I the only one?
MARTHA. You already asked that.
LAURA. You don't have to be dependent on a man to be happy.
MARTHA. Are you calling me a whore?
BONNEY. Well, technically I did, but that was a Freudian slip. (Bonney stands up, walks to center stage, and sits.) It got rather boring just sitting there. (Laura stands up.)
LAURA. I wasn't calling you out, specifically. It's a trend in society today and has been one for centuries. We must change ourselves to better suit men, the guys of our dreams, just so we can satisfy them. What about us? We can't be shallow manic pixie dream girls whose only purpose is to get our partners out of their depression. We aren't meant to fix them. You don't need to be dependent on anything.
MARTHA. I don't agree with that statement.
LAURA. Then live in ignorance.
MARTHA. That was cold. We all have to be dependent on one thing or another.
LAURA. That's unhealthy. Codependency is unhealthy. You need to fix your attitude.
BONNEY. I'm not dependent on men.
LAURA. You sell art. Art is a male-dominated field. Stop.
MARTHA. Not all women have to be feminazis. I'm proud with who I am. Anyways, can I call out your hypocrisy by pointing out the fact that you have two kids?
LAURA. Yes, and while I regret the man I had them with, I don't regret having them.
MARTHA. But you were dependent once.
LAURA. I was stupid once.
MARTHA. Having a sex drive doesn't mean you're feeding into patriarchal constructs.
BONNEY. (under her breath) Dear God, just shut up.
LAURA. I am not shallow enough to change myself like that.
BONNEY. I have an idea, if either of you care to listen to me.
LAURA & MARTHA. I'm done talking to this brick wall (simultaneously, followed by weird stares.)
BONNEY. Yikes. I do see the points both of you are making. However, can we agree that whatever we are talking about, its inherent? How about we base our actions on the original book that explained it all?
LAURA. The Feminine Mystique?
MARTHA. The Bible?
LAURA. The Unbearable Lightness of Being?
MARTHA. The Bible?
BONNEY. What did Cain and Abel teach you about love? How to bash someone's head in with a rock? I'm talking about love, human connection, and how people, specifically women, should connect with men. Now, what book could I be talking about? (they all look at each other and seemingly nod in agreement.)
BONNEY & LAURA. The Kama Sutra!
MARTHA. The Bible!
BONNEY. Stop it! It's the Kama Sutra. The classic Hindu text that taught us anything and everything.
LAURA. Who actually reads that nowadays?
BONNEY. My nephew. Weird kid. I have his copy, him and his friends went to a bookstore up at the lake and that's...that's what he walked out with.
MARTHA. What does it have to say about love? Is it only pictures?
BONNEY. Believe it or not, no! (walks off stage to grab the copy, walks back on.) If you look past all the patriarchal sex stuff, it provides interesting commentary on relationships, desire, and human tendencies. (lights on center stage above the three. Bonney reads.) "'How to please'. When the Man is tired, it's completely up to you to satisfy his needs. When he arrives home, take him to the bedroom, and request that he lays on his back and-"
LAURA. (grabbing book) "Make sure the Man is cleared by the father when you are entering marriage. No Man deemed unworthy can-"
MARTHA. (grabbing book) "What will attract a suitor? A woman whose father is a merchant. A woman with an unfaithful husband. (Laura and Bonney nod) A woman of royalty. A woman who has been widowed. A woman in the art field... A woman with less than ten fingers? A woman with dead children?" (the three stare at the audience, then look back. Lights normal.)
BONNEY. Well, babes, here's what we do: we follow one of these categories, and next time we meet, we will see how many men we have bed. (they are all in silent agreement. Black out.)
A week has passed. Lights up. The exact same set up as last scene.
BONNEY. So...are either of you sexually frustrated or am I the only one? (Martha, excited. Laura, distant.)
MARTHA. Surprisingly not! (Bonney oo's.) I have bed three men, all of whom deemed me qualified to bed because of my husband's horrible "decapitation" accident. And I didn't even have to pay anyone!
BONNEY. You go, darling! I frequented art exhibits and found a few cuties who have been divorced multiple times and write pretentious poetry. Slightly disappointed, but... (confronts concerned Laura) Any progress for you?
LAURA. No. I, uh, was going to try, but when I was heading out, I'm pretty sure my ex did something crazy and took the kids without telling me? (Martha snickers) Which isn't the first time, but I've been concerned. Plus, divorce is the only thing I'm qualified for. Divorce isn't sexy. It shouldn't be. I don't fall under any of the other categories.
MARTHA. (to herself) Yeah, you do.
BONNEY. She's not going to tell people she's divorced.
MARTHA. Not that.
LAURA. My father wasn't a carpenter.
MARTHA. Not that.
LAURA. My father isn't rich.
MARTHA. Not thaaaaaat.
LAURA. Single motherhood? I'm older than twenty? What? Dear God, what? (looks at her hands slowly, all ten fingers present.)
MARTHA. Craigslist is much more than just hookups. (silent revelation)
LAURA. You psychosl-
(police sirens, Coppo walks in)
COPPO. Ms. Laura Franklin, you are under arrest for the murder of your two children.
BONNEY. How do you know it was her?
COPPO. The note left by the bodies says, (pulls out note) "Hi, I'm Laura Franklin, and I murdered my two children. Also, I'm a stingy bitch who needs to get laid."
LAURA. (getting cuffed) Well, if I get laid in prison, I don't need to pay fifty dollars for it. (mouths naughty words towards Martha, gets dragged off stage.)
BONNEY. (to Martha) Why?
MARTHA. Why not? You can't escape something that is inherent and bound to happen. She needs to grow up and realize you need codependency and you need to be dependent on a man.
BONNEY. So, you prove your point by hiring a hitman to take out her children? Dear, I gave you the benefit of doubt, but you took it too far. Your point is valid, we all need dependency, but it doesn't have to be a male suitor. It can be something. Art, knitting, any hobby. One doesn't have to conform solely to a man. It isn't black and white. Everything doesn't lead to a nuclear family. It's the abstract. And sending a hit on children isn't abstract, but it sure is insane.
BONNEY. But you just ruined someone's life because they don't follow your strict conservative guidelines. (beat.)
MARTHA. I did something bad, didn't I?
BONNEY. What a stupid question.
MARTHA. How do I fix it?
BONNEY. Well, dear, as long as you've come around, then that's good enough. However, there's one more thing you should do. Seeing as you're already a criminal, would you be willing to break into a jail?
(smiles. black out.)
(interrogation room. Coppo walks in.)
LAURA. Shut up, you pig.
COPPO. I didn't say anything.
LAURA. I didn't kill my children. I didn't kill my children. I didn't kill my children.
COPPO. Didn't you read the note? You said explictl-
LAURA. You don't need to explain it to m. I heard you read it.
COPPO. I'm sorry.
LAURA. Let me go.
COPPO. Once again, I can't.
LAURA. Why aren't you giving me the chance to speak?
COPPO. I'm leaving it all open for you to do so.
LAURA. It's been rough. Some psychoslut read the Kama Sutra and decided, since I haven't had a partner in quite a while, that the death of my two children will get me laid.
LAURA. I know! It's ridiculous. People are allowed to be independent. You don't need anything or anyone else, just yourself.
COPPO. How do you spend most of your time?
LAURA. Taking care of my kids.
COPPO. How much of your time does that take up?
LAURA. The majority of it.
COPPO. If you are proven innocent, what are you going to do now since they're...you know...dead? (beat. Revelation for Laura.)
LAURA. I don't know.
COPPO. You don't need a man, but you do need something. Maybe that something is a man. Maybe it's your children. But I can guarantee you haven't had a thought separated from your children since you've had them.
LAURA. (pause) You're right. I'm sorry.
COPPO. For murdering your children.
LAURA. No, not that. I'm sorry to Martha.
COPPO. That's sweet, but you have to say sorry to the judge now.
(Martha and Bonney sneak in.)
MARTHA. Do you have a plan?
BONNEY. (clutching purse) Trust me, I do. (Bonney makes it somewhat obvious she is sneaking around. Laura notices her.)
(Bonney pulls a gun from her purse and holds it to Coppo's head.)
BONNEY. Put your hands up! Let her go! Filthy pig! Filthy pig! Filthy pig!
LAURA. Bonney, stop it.
BONNEY. ...overheated. Sorry.
(Laura and Martha look at each other.)
LAURA & MARTHA. I'm sorry.
BONNEY. Well. Dears. I sure am glad we got this all resolved.
LAURA. My children are dead.
BONNEY. That's not the point of this play.
(All three embrace, Coppo looks up.)
BONNEY. You can join too, fella.
(They all hug for a long moment. Then, Laura looks up.)
LAURA. So... are any of you sexually frustrated or am I the only one?