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ANNIVERSARY

Cast of Characters Michael…………………………male. 40-something Angel………………………………female. 40-something

Synopsis Two cheating lovers wake up in a hotel room, but one of them is dead.

Note: Anniversary had productions at FirstStage and at the Write Act Repertory.

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The Time:

The present.

The Place: In a bed in a hotel room. (At Rise: early morning, about 4:30 a.m. Subdued lighting. MICHAEL and ANGEL asleep, lying back to back. Silence except for MICHAEL’s breathing. Presently MICHAEL begins moving, slowly at first. Then we see him moving more, tossing about. Then he starts waking up by degrees. He props himself up to get his bearings. He switches on light) Angel. up. Angel. MICHAEL: Wake up, Angel. The cushion is soaked. Wake

(Silence.

ANGEL does not move)

Angel.

MICHAEL: (A little louder) Wake up. Angel! (Silence. ANGEL does not move)

MICHAEL: (Prods ANGEL with hand) Angel. Angel. Are you okay? Are you sick? Angel please. Angel. Wake up. Please wake up. (His face close to her lips) You’re not breathing, Angel. What’s the matter, Angel? Oh God, Angel, no. Please, Angel. Please be okay. Please. What do you do when there’s no breathing? Tilt head back. Yes! Tilt head back! (He rolls ANGEL onto her back. Tilts her head back) What’s next? What do I do next? Listen for breathing. Yes! Listen for breathing. (He listens) Oh God, you're not breathing. Breathe, Angel. Come on, breathe. (He listens) No breathing. What next? Uh. Pinch nose, cover mouth and blow. (He does this) Nothing. Oh God. Oh God. (He does it again)

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MICHAEL (Cont): Oh God. Oh God. Oh God. Angel, please. (He straddles her body, starts pressing on her chest, speaking panicky encouragement through grunts) Come on, Angel. Please start breathing. You can do it, Angel. Let’s see you start now. Come on. In. Out. In. Out. Breathe, Angel, breathe. Do like this. In. Out. In. Out. Come on. Do it for me. Do it for Michael. Please, Angel. Breathe. Breathe. Come on, Angel. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Oh God, God, it’s not working. (Stops. He is out of breath. He puts hand in front of her nose) Nothing. (Then he slowly gets off her. Then he stands, stares down at her, running his hand through his hair in dismay. Silence. Then suddenly he blurts out……) My God, Angel. You’re……you’re dead. You’re……dead. Nothing. ANGEL: Yes. MICHAEL: I. I can't believe this. ANGEL: I'm sorry, Michael. You know, you’re. MICHAEL: You’re my first. My first dead person.

ANGEL: His first. He always does that. Michael's big on lists and prioritizations. First, second, third, etc. Like it means something. MICHAEL: And. And I don’t know what’s supposed to happen next. the rules when. When you wake up and you get. This? ANGEL: He’s asking me? He thinks I know? Believe me, Michael. wasn’t planned. You’ll just have to feel your way along. What are

This

4 MICHAEL: I read somewhere. People Magazine, I think. I read. That people who. You know. People who uh. Like. Die? Their souls don’t leave right away. They uh. You know. They stick around for a while. ANGEL: Yes. That’s right. I’m still here. Some of the cell groups take a while to switch off. I stay until all the systems are down. Then I get to turn off the lights. MICHAEL: You have such a beautiful body, Angel. ANGEL: Speaking of which. Not to sound crude, but I’m kind of lying here in my own pee. It would be nice if someone moved me. MICHAEL: I wish I could take you in my arms right now. ANGEL: Yes. Please. Please do. I’m asking you to. arms, Michael. MICHAEL: But the police. ANGEL: Darn! MICHAEL: They’ll want nothing disturbed. Fine. Okay. ANGEL: Whatever. Take me in your

(Silence. Then MICHAEL starts weeping) ANGEL: Oh gosh, what now? MICHAEL: (Sobbing) All I wanted. All I ever wanted was a simple, uncluttered office romance.

5 ANGEL: I wish he wouldn’t do that. I can’t deal with a crying man. anybody should be crying, it’s me.

If

MICHAEL: (Blubbering) All the other managers have simple uncluttered office romances. ANGEL: All the other managers are simple uncluttered pricks. Did I just say that? MICHAEL: I just wanted to be like the other guys. ANGEL: Michael, you’re a lot of things, but you’re not like. Like them. MICHAEL: Was it so wrong for me to want an uncomplicated relationship? ANGEL: Is this a rhetorical question? MICHAEL: A relationship uncomplicated by - ANGEL: Uncomplicated by. By you-know-what. Oh, sure. love got to do with it? MICHAEL: It was supposed to be about sex. Right. What’s Oh God!

And no regrets.

ANGEL: Exactly. Love never says, “Oh gee, what if she goes and gets all emotional and starts making things complicated?” MICHAEL: No apologies. Exactly. ANGEL: Love never says, “Oops, sorry about that.” MICHAEL: No second thoughts.

6 ANGEL: Right again. Love never says, “Uh, can we maybe go back and, like, undo what we did?” MICHAEL: No tears. No fears. ANGEL: No recriminations. Love never says, “You’re wearing me out. You’re suffocating me. How about let’s just be friends for a while?” (He pulls himself together, dabs his eyes, blows his nose on a Kleenex. Silence, then...) MICHAEL: You know, it’s funny. Funny? ANGEL: You see me laughing, Michael?

MICHAEL: Today's our anniversary. Our one-year anniversary. Oh really? ANGEL: I wasn’t aware. I totally forgot that.

MICHAEL: Valentine's Day. A year ago. Megan was out of town visiting relatives. I was working late on a report. You agreed to stay and help get it typed up. Oh yes. Yes! ANGEL: I do remember.

MICHAEL: Valentine's Day means nothing to Megan. She's not sentimental. She's a practical, by-the-numbers person. She - ANGEL: You described her as clinical. As passionless. MICHAEL: Not that I'm complaining, mind you. She's a good mother. A wonderful housekeeper.

7 ANGEL: Those are, of course, fine qualities. MICHAEL: And as for this being our anniversary, I guess it’s a moot point now. Moot. moot? ANGEL: Why do manager types use that word? What exactly is a

(He picks up a wrapped present, holds it up) MICHAEL: I was going to surprise you. Well. ANGEL: This is definitely a surprise.

MICHAEL: Happy anniversary, Angel. Happy Valentine's Day. (He sets the present on the bed) ANGEL: Thank you, Michael. MICHAEL: I don’t mind admitting, I've been thinking long and hard about us, about this. This thing we have. Had. Several times I came into work with a speech all prepared. ANGEL: Yes. Me, too. Several times I was going to break it off. I was going to say something like. (Clears her throat) Michael, I love you, but I can’t do this. I can’t look at myself in the mirror and - MICHAEL: (Clears his throat) Angel, I love you, but I can’t do this to Megan. her in the eye anymore.

I can’t look

(They are both suddenly Silent. Then...)

8 MICHAEL: You know, studies show office romances can result in a. disruptive workplace.

A

ANGEL: Disruptive? He should count the times I worked overtime ALONE to save his bacon! MICHAEL: And there’s always the appearance of showing undue favoritism. ANGEL: Who made sure all his files were up to date? Who watched his back? Who made sure no one blindsided him? Who told him who’s coming in late, who’s leaving early? MICHAEL: Plus I have family obligations. ANGEL: And I don’t? MICHAEL: You have a cat. ANGEL: Winston’s not just a cat. Winston’s not like. Okay! Okay! MICHAEL: You know.

ANGEL: You don't have to say it!

MICHAEL & ANGEL: Not like Megan and the twins. ANGEL: I want you to promise me. Promise me that you’ll care for Winston. MICHAEL: I don't want you to worry about Winston. I’ll go get him. take him to a shelter. I’ll

9 ANGEL: No! MICHAEL: I’ll make sure it’s done tomorrow. No! ANGEL: He’s an old cat. They’ll put him to sleep.

MICHAEL: He’ll find a nice home. Read my lips. ANGEL: Nobody wants an old cat.

MICHAEL: You know I’d take him in a heartbeat, but the twins need a kitten. And I don't think Megan would - ANGEL: So this is how it ends. Just toss us out. File and forget. I must admit I always hated Valentine's Day. I'd see the ads on TV about a man bringing his lover a pearl necklace or a diamond bracelet and I'd cry out, “What about me? What do I get?” What is there for a woman with a cat who's married to her job? I'm sorry, Michael. It's the wrong time for me to be venting. (Long silence. ANGEL quietly sobbing. Then………)

MICHAEL: When Megan finds out, I don’t know what she’s going to do. ANGEL: Megan’s a proud woman. MICHAEL: It’s fifty-fifty she’ll take me back. ANGEL: More like sixty-forty against. MICHAEL: It’s a tossup. ANGEL: More like a toss out. Keep a bag packed.

10 MICHAEL: I’ll tell her it was just one of those things. didn’t mean anything. Purely physical.

I'll say it

ANGEL: No problem there. Just sex, no regrets. Every woman understands that. Nothing to worry about. Oh God. MICHAEL: What am I saying? She’s going to skin me alive.

ANGEL: I read something about cheating. I think in People Magazine. A lot of men end up cheating after a couple of years, because they feel they’re missing out on something. It’s a kind of a frustration thing and they need to get it out of their system. After which, in seven out of ten cases, they come back, renewed and recharged. Tell her that, Michael. She’ll kill me. MICHAEL: No doubt about it.

ANGEL: I’m sorry. I wish I could be there for you, Michael. Oh God! Here it comes. I’m starting to stiffen. MICHAEL: Angel? ANGEL: (Trembling, scared) Yes? MICHAEL: I’ve changed my mind. I’ll take care of Winston. ANGEL: Oh thank you, Michael. Thank you. You’ve made me very happy. (A sudden tremor, her voice shaking) Oh God! Cover me, Michael. I don’t mind your looking at me, but please, not the others. (He covers her with a sheet. He picks up the phone and dials and waits while it rings at the other end)

11 ANGEL: (From under the sheet, struggling to speak) I’m leaving, Michael. Good bye. Good. Bye. MICHAEL: Megan? Hi. Yes, I know it’s early. Yes, I’ll. I’ll be flying home tonight. Flight 622. Yes, the usual flight. Listen, I have something to tell you. Something very bad has happened. Somebody died. (Blackout) The End

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