My One Act Play About The Statue Of LibertyPosted: June 19, 2015
This week, I read quite a bit about the one-hundred-thirtieth anniversary of the Statue Of Liberty’s arrival in New York. One of the things I learned is that the statue is sort of in New York and sort of in New Jersey. Liberty Island is part of New York, but the waters surrounding the island are part of New Jersey.
As I was trying to fall asleep last night, I thought about how important the statue is to us as Americans. I considered how my relatives saw Lady Liberty as they came to the United States and what that meant to them. And I wondered why nations don’t seem to give each other cool gifts like that anymore.
But where the statue ended up…sort of in New Jersey, sort of in New York, got my imagination running on the idea of the statue being an over-the-top housewarming gift that a couple didn’t really know what to do with.
I tossed and turned. Eventually I got the idea far enough along that I could get some sleep. And this morning, I wrote a play about the statue as that outrageous housewarming present.
To paraphrase an old Army recruiting slogan – “I write more off the wall stuff before noon than most people write all day.”
Behold, my one-act play.
The setting is a small kitchen, late at night, after a housewarming party.
The curtain rises.
New Jersey (carrying in the last of the plates from the party, then picking up a towel): OK, we’re all cleaned up out there, what a mess in here though, huh?
New York (washing dishes as the dishwasher hums in the background): I know, but what a great party.
New Jersey (drying what New York washes): The best. Everyone loves our place. Germany was pretty drunk though. I’m glad he agreed to take a cab home.
New York: Oh, My God…what is it with him? Every time he gets a few beers in him he wants to invade France. He’s not even subtle. I feel so bad for her.
New Jersey: Yeah, it is kind of bad. I don’t understand the attraction. I mean, she always wears those berets and wants to show me clips of old Jerry Lewis routines on YouTube.
New York (in a friendly, mocking tone): “I don’t understand the attraction.” Come on, you don’t expect me to believe that do you? I know you noticed her wine regions, everyone does. And the striped top did not help. Germany was all over her.
New Jersey: OK, I’ll give you that. Her wine regions are kind of prominent, but come on, yours are pretty nice too.
New York: Thanks for noticing…and don’t get any ideas tonight, setting up for this party has worn me out.
New Jersey: (nods)
New York (noticing New Jersey’s disappointment, smiling): Maybe in the morning, before I pick up the kids from my mom? I may not have wine regions like her, but you won’t have to pretend Jerry Lewis is funny to get to mine.
New Jersey (brightening and putting some plates away): Sweet!
New York: So, about France. The ummmm….statue.
New Jersey: Oh wow, your face when you opened the box…
New York (interrupting): Oh my God, please tell me she didn’t notice…
New Jersey: No babe! It’s all good. I noticed because I live with you. I know you. It was very subtle, but obvious to me. I think you played it off.
New York: Well, I mean…it is in 350 pieces! And once we get it assembled it will be huge
New Jersey: I know!
New York (wiping hands and finishing a glass of wine as she talks): No, I don’t think you do. A hundred and fifty feet! Hello? Can you say over the top?
New Jersey: Oh crap. Yeah, guess I missed that. Well, Christmas is coming and we always struggle with a gift for Canada.
New York: Re-gift it? Really? Hon, we’re not talking about a cutting board and some cheese here. (grabbing New Jersey’s shoulders and shaking him as she says…) One…hundred…fifty…foot…statue! France will notice that we don’t have it the next time she comes over. Besides, come on, you’re on Facebook, France and Quebec are BFF’s!
We’re going to have to put it up.
New Jersey: You mean that I’m going to have to put it up.
New York: Well, yeah. I love you, but I think we both remember when we wallpapered together. Do you want to go through that again? I sure don’t. Maybe you can call Delaware and Pennsylvania. Some beer, some pizza, a weekend. Done.
New Jersey (rolling his eyes): Gimme the directions.
I’m sorry, hand me the directions, please.
(Looking them over)
Oh crap, are you friggin’ serious? What the hell?!?
New York (puts down the wine glass and comes to look): What? What’s wrong?
New Jersey: Copper.
New York: Copper? So?
New Jersey: I can’t believe she gave us a copper statue. OK, look, here’s what’s gonna happen. I’m gonna put this thing up, it’s gonna be all shiny. It’ll probably grow on you.
New York: Well, I mean, maybe. I’m not making any promises.
New Jersey (impatiently): Honey, work with me, please? So I put this thing up. It’s shiny to start, then it gets kinda dark-colored. Will you still like it?
New York: Well, I don’t know. I’ll have to see it.
New Jersey: EEEEEXACTLY…and I can tell you that once I put this thing up, it is NOT coming down. And then it is going to turn…green.
New York: Whaaaaaaa…..?
New Jersey (smiling): You’re with me now, huh? Giant green woman! Decorate around that! And that’s assuming we can get it put together before some crack head realizes we’ve got a ton of copper and starts stealing parts of it to sell for scrap.
New York (panicking): No, No, NOOOOOO! What are we gonna do?
New Jersey (glumly): If we can’t re-gift it, France has screwed us.
You can’t tell her that it broke?
New York (drinking right from the wine bottle, shakes her head no)
New Jersey: Why’d you invite her anyhow?
New York: I was trying to set her up with Spain. They’d be so cute together. They live so close together anyhow.
New Jersey: Great. You play match maker and we get screwed.
New York (shouting and stomping away): Yeah, you’re right. This is my fault. I should have let her run off with your jerk friend, Germany, in his stupid BMW! Is that what you want?
Well, I want good things for my friends.
New Jersey (softly): I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that. We all know Germany is bad for her; he has proven that…twice.
(stepping closer as New York nods sadly)
Look, we’re both upset because we’ve got this thing…and it’s a good thing, she means well….right?
(New York nods)
We’ve got to put it up. I get that. I’ll call Pennsylvania, he owes me. Delaware is my doormat, he’ll get here when I tell him. You pick the spot.
(They turn off the lights and head up stairs)
New York (distantly, as if on an upper floor): What about there?
New Jersey: Next to the tree?
New York: No. Waaaaaaay over there. The island.
New Jersey: Oh, that’s perfect, baby. When I get that done, I was thinking, Germany’s BMW is pretty sweet. I’d love to get one.
New York: A sports car? Are you having a mid-life crisis?
Bang. Playwright added to the résumé.