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SCENE. Mrs. Turner’s sixth grade classroom. MRS. TURNER is sitting at her desk, and MOM and DAD are sitting in chairs across from her. ZOEY is in a desk, sulking. MRS. TURNER. First of all, I would like to thank you both for taking time out of your busy schedules to meet with me today. I know with your jobs, that you may find it hard to take time. Now, I don’t expect that you know why I asked for this parent teacher meeting, but it is meant to discuss Zoey… MOM. I don’t understand, Mrs. Turner, is Zoey in trouble? Did she get into an altercation with another student? DAD. Because if she did, we could punish her for that. MRS. TURNER. No… it’s nothing like that. Zoey is an exemplerary student. She maintains perfect attendance, receives B pluses or above consistently, and she has cooperated with her peers on many in class projects. She is a fine student. MOM. Then I don’t see what the problem is. MRS. TURNER. Your daughter is… well, I believe she has trouble making friends. DAD. Do you want us to punish her for that? MRS. TURNER. Heaven’s no! It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but… well, last year in 5th grade, according to Ms. Church, she was a fine social being. She was invited to all the girl’s slumber parties, and received numorous cards on Valentine’s Day… but lately, her social interaction with her peers have been dismal, and rare. MOM. Are you unhappy, Zoey, dear? (She turns to Zoey. She looks up at her mother, but then back at the desk.) She seems so distant… MRS. TURNER. She is. Many of the friends she had made earlier she has lost because of a… shift, I believe. It’s very strange to see, but not necessarily uncommon in a child her age. DAD. Should we be speaking about it in front of the child? MRS. TURNER. We can. Zoey and I have already discussed it. Now, Zoey is about twelve years old, yes?
MOM. Her birthday was last February. MRS. TURNER. Yes… well, that is a prime time for young girl to… blossom. DAD. Excuse me? MRS. TURNER. Please excuse the term. DAD. No, I don’t know what you mean. MRS. TURNER. Really? Well… your daughter is coming into her own. DAD. Like.. money? MRS. TURNER. No, sir, she’s becoming a young lady. A woman. DAD. No! She’s too young for that! Should we punish her? MOM. Darling, relax. There’s no need for that. Mrs. Turner, what are you saying? MRS. TURNER. I believe that since Zoey is developing a bit sooner than some of her peers, that her tastes have changed. She no longer likes to eat pizza in the cafeteria, opting for a salad and some skim milk. She doesn’t wish to play extracurricular sports, but instead chose to try out for the local theatrical production of “The Music Man”. MOM. She did? Zoey, you didn’t tell us that. MRS. TURNER. She got in. DAD. Should we… MOM. No, dear! DAD. I was going to say “buy a video camera so we can record her performance”. What did you think I was going to say? MRS. TURNER. My point is, because Zoey is growing up faster, her changing tastes and lifestyle choices have alienated her from her fellow students, her former friends she can no longer relate to. MOM. That’s horrible! MRS. TURNER. She has completely no liking for Justin Bieber. MOM. Oh, the horror! DAD. That’s just blasphemy! We should punish her for that! MRS. TURNER. Your child is turning into an “outsider” and unless we nip this in the bud, she could become… an artist.
MOM. Oh my! MRS. TURNER. A vegan! DAD. Please, stop… MRS. TURNER. Perhaps even… a music teacher. MOM. Oh, Mrs. Turner, tell us what to do! MRS. TURNER. I have an idea on what we can do for her, but I would like it if she could come speak to us. She has replaced the normal Justin Bieber obsession with something far more strange… I’ve noticed on her notebooks she continues to write “I heart P.S.H”. When I questioned Zoey about this, she was very shy. I did a little research, and it was curious what I discovered. DAD. Go on. MRS. TURNER. Has Zoey ever seen the movie “Capote”? MOM. Not to my knowledge? Dear? DAD. Oh my. MRS. TURNER. You understand don’t you? DAD. It can’t be! MOM. What are we talking about? DAD. I didn’t think it was such a big deal! It was on instant play on Netflix and she was simply doing her homework in the other room. She finished, and came in to watch with me. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. MRS. TURNER. It’s a big deal to your daughter now. She’s completely infatuated with him. MOM. Who? MRS. TURNER. In a time in her life where many of her peers are quote, unquote “crushing” on such notable figures at Justin Bieber, those young men from One Direction, and Josh Hutcherson, Zoey has been experiencing a serious crush on… (as if the words cause her pain.) Philip Seymour Hoffman. MOM. The actor? MRS. TURNER. The actor. MOM. He’s like… forty. MRS. TURNER. He’s slightly older than that.
DAD. Should we punish her? MRS. TURNER. No, I don’t think that’s neccessary. But… this is something to be concerned about. Perhaps we should talk to the child. Zoey, could you come over here please. (She does.) Zoey, why don’t you tell your parent’s what you told me. ZOEY. About what? MRS. TURNER. About the… about your… little crush. ZOEY. He’s a good actor. MRS. TURNER. And do you think you love him? ZOEY. I love his acting. MRS. TURNER. And Zoey, how do you feel about Justin Bieber? ZOEY. I think he’s a no talent ass clown who should be taken out into the street and publicly executed. MOM. Oh my! You don’t like his music! This concerns me. MRS. TURNER. As it should. DAD. Zoey, we don’t understand… ZOEY. No, I don’t expect you would… MRS. TURNER. Now, I have arranged for a specialist to come within the hour to speak to Zoey about this situation. DAD. Is that entirely necessary? MRS. TURNER. Just for a little talk. There’s no reason to believe that Zoey has a clinical affliction, this just be a phase she’s going through. I’ll let you discuss. Be back in a moment. (Mrs. Turner leaves.) MOM. Zoey… ZOEY. Mom, this is so silly. Let’s go home. MOM. You… I don’t believe this… ZOEY. Mom, it’s not like I’m doing drugs or flunking out of school. I admire his work. So I don’t like what the other kids like, that doesn’t make me strange. MOM. It makes you very strange. DAD. Dear…
MOM. All I wanted was a normal little girl who did normal little girl things who liked normal little girl singers. But I got this… I don’t even know what I got. ZOEY. Please don’t be mad at me. DAD. We’re not mad. I blame myself. MOM. I blame you too! If this weren’t for your Netflix instant play, this never would have happened. Your child is very impressionable, and you have exposed her to filth. ZOEY. It’s just a movie. He won an Oscar for his performance. MOM. Regardless, I think it’s vulgar. Our 6th grader having a crush on a who’s 40! ZOEY. He’s 45, actually. MOM. Oh my god! Isn’t there someone we can call to arrest him, or something? ZOEY. Mom… please, you’re overreacting. I just like his movies. I don’t understand why Mrs. Turner even called you down here. This is embarrassing. MOM. You are right. It is. I’ve tried buying you those other CDs, I’ve tried making you like them, dressing you in their tee-shirts, but nothing seems to work. I’m at a loss, Zoey. I’m just at a loss. DAD. Dear, maybe she… MOM. I think we should go wait in the car. ZOEY. Mom? MOM. I just… don’t know if I can look at you right now. (She exits. Dad turns to Zoey and shrugs, as he follows.) ZOEY. Everyone ‘s crazy. (After a few moments, AMBER enters. She is about Zoey’s age, perhaps a year older.) AMBER. Hi. ZOEY. Hi. Are you the specialist? AMBER. Me? No. Mr. Braley sent me in here. He said there was some sort of specialist coming. Told me to come to room 444. I’m Amber. ZOEY. Zoey. AMBER. Nice to meet you. I guess you’re here for the same reason I’m here. ZOEY . They find us odd? AMBER. And they don’t know what else to do. Sounds about right to me.
ZOEY. This is so ridiculous. Just because we don’t like Justin Bieber. AMBER. I know! It’s like they expect us to adhere to some sort of social norm put upon us by some unseeable, unknowable entity. I blame MTV. ZOEY. I blame Nickelodeon. AMBER. Don’t forget Disney. ZOEY. Right. So… what are you in for? AMBER. Mr. Braley found a piece of artwork in my desk that “concerned him”. ZOEY. You’re an artist? AMBER. And I’m really good. The art teacher, Ms. Sparks, told me I had the best eye for lines and shadowing that she’s ever seen in her 20 years of being a middle school art teacher. ZOEY. Good for you. So this piece of art, it was… disturbing? AMBER. To them. I think it’s beautiful. ZOEY. I bet it is. AMBER. What are you in for? ZOEY. I auditioned for “The Music Man” instead of playing sports. AMBER. Oh… that’s a ticket straight to hell, according to them. ZOEY. I know. That, and I hate Justin Bieber. AMBER. I know, right? That guy is no Edward Norton. ZOEY. Edward Norton? AMBER. Oh… yeah, that’s the other thing. I love Edward Norton. I’ve seen like all of his films. “Painted Veil”, “Illusionist”, “Red Dragon”… ZOEY. I love “Red Dragon”. AMBER. You do? You’ve seen it? ZOEY. I love Philip Seymour Hoffman. That’s the real reason I’m here. Because they think it’s “unhealthy” for a middle schooler to respect great acting. They think I should get all giddy about a good dancer with a girly voice. He’s not even that great of a dancer, either. AMBER. You must have seen “The 25th Hour”, right? ZOEY. No, I haven’t.
AMBER. It’s my absolute favorite movie! Eddie and Philip all over the place, sharing scenes, Spike Lee directed. It’s like acting porn. ZOEY. What’s porn? AMBER. Oh… well, you’ll find out someday. But seriously, it’s amazing. (The door opens, to a wave of teenage screams. Lo and behold, JUSTIN BIEBER is on the other side of the door. His song “Baby” plays as an underscore.) JUSTIN BIEBER. Babies, don’t y’all be sad. I’m here for you now. ZOEY. Is that who I think it is? AMBER. It can’t be. JUSTIN BIEBER. I am Justin Bieber, in town for one night only, to see my favorite ladies, Amber and Zoey. AMBER. Oh my god… ZOEY. This can’t be happening… JUSTIN BIEBER. Ladies, your teachers asked me here to today to chat with you. It seems you do not like my music. AMBER. That’s for damn sure. JUSTIN BIEBER. But I am completely age appropriate for you, and I look damn good in a bowl cut and a pair of skinny jeans. ZOEY. I want to go home… JUSTIN BIEBER. Ladies, ladies. I sense some hostility! I thought this would be a treat for you. ZOEY. You thought wrong… very wrong. JUSTIN BIEBER. Now, let’s sit down and talk about this, ladies. I don’t want there to be any animosity among us. All I’m here for is to make your ladies see the errors of your ways. Not being a fan of mine has alienated you from your peers. And that can lead to a very lonely life, indeed. AMBER. What are the “errors of our ways”? Not being a fan of a talent-less ass clown. ZOEY. Hey, that’s what I said! AMBER. Awesome! JUSTIN BIEBER. Excuse me?
AMBER. Your mere presence here is an insult to my way of life. JUSTIN BIEBER. Your way of life? ZOEY. Have you ever had a dream, Justin? JUSTIN BIEBER. Of course I have. ZOEY. And what was that dream? JUSTIN BIEBER. To be a youtube sensation and then to be a multi-platinum selling artists for my appropriate age groups. And to work with Usher. ZOEY. And you’ve experienced those dreams, haven’t you? You’ve reached them? JUSTIN BIEBER. Of course I have. ZOEY. And how did that make you feel? JUSTIN BIEBER. It feels great! I’m rich, I have a smokin’ hot girlfriend, and I get to make thousands to teen girls happy every day. AMBER. Well, Justin, you don’t make us happy. JUSTIN BIEBER. I don’t? AMBER. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that… in everyone else’s minds, you’re the expected, the norm, you’re in the box. Those of us who think out of the box and maybe have our own original ideas…well… we just don’t like your music. All I wanted was to paint a beautiful portrait of my favorite actor, Edward Norton. And this beautiful piece of work… (She brings it out of her backpack.) has gotten me in so much trouble because everyone seems to think that I’m an outsider. Someone who doesn’t belong, an artist, who is “strange” because I don’t like your music. And Zoey? Well… she loves Philip Seymour Hoffman. She is inspired by him, not you, because he’s an Oscar winning actor. Someone who she can experience her dreams through. Because she auditioned for “The Music Man” and by gosh, she got in. Just because we don’t go along with every other 12 and 13 year old girl by being a fan of yours, we’re being told that our dreams aren’t good enough. That we can’t explore them. How does that make you feel? JUSTIN BIEBER. Pretty shitty. AMBER. I thought so. JUSTIN BIEBER. You got into “The Music Man”? ZOEY. I’m a lead. I’m Amaryllis.
JUSTIN BIEBER. That’s amazing! And… I love Philip Seymour Hoffman. And Edward Norton. ZOEY. You do? JUSTIN BIEBER. You really should see “The 25th Hour”. It’s a great piece of work. Both of them are excellent in it. AMBER. Thanks, Justin. They really are, aren’t they? JUSTIN BIEBER. So I… I guess my time is up. Do you ladies want me to sing you a song before I go? ZOEY. No… AMBER. Please don’t. JUSTIN BIEBER. How about a picture? (Casey and Amber look at each other.) AMBER. Sure. (Amber takes out her cell and takes a picture with Zoey and Justin, and then Zoey takes the phone so Amber can take one with him as well.) ZOEY. Thank’s, Justin Bieber. JUSTIN BIEBER. You are very welcome! You ladies take it easy. (He pretty much moonwalks out the door. Zoey and Amber look at each other.) AMBER. Did that really just happen? ZOEY. I think it did. AMBER. All the girls in my class are going to be so jealous! They’re gonna go crazy! ZOEY. I know! No one’s going to believe us! Think of all the friends we’ll have. Good thing we have those photos. (Amber and Zoey look at each other, smile.) AMBER. Should I do it? ZOEY. Yeah. Do it. (Amber deletes the photos.) AMBER. That felt good. (Mrs. Turner, Mom, and Dad reenter.) MRS. TURNER. Well, Zoey, have you learned your lesson? ZOEY. What lesson? MRS. TURNER. About conformity? ZOEY. Yeah, I think I have. Mom, Dad? MOM. Yes dear?
ZOEY. I’m sorry I’ve been so distant lately. I want to make things better. Look, I made a new friend, Amber. AMBER. Hi. I’m Amber. ZOEY. She’s an artist. And she loves Edward Norton. MOM. Oh, I love Edward Norton! (She realizes what she has said, and covers her mouth.) DAD. Should we punish her for that… I’m confused. ZOEY. Then I think we should all go and rent “The 25th Hour” together, and watch it, and enjoy it, because dammit… they are great actors. DAD. Sure. MOM. Why not? Amber, you’re welcome to join us. AMBER. Yay! I’d love to! (They all begin to exit.) MRS. TURNER. No! Wait! This wasn’t part of the treatment! I brought in Justin Bieber for you two girls! We must have conformity! You must fit in! This isn’t right! You can’t grow up to be artists! You must… oh hell… (They are gone. Mrs. Turner sits in exasperation, as the lights fade.) END OF PLAY
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