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Four in the Park - Four One Act Plays
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Four in the Park - Four One Act Plays


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Mourning the Marigolds: Eccentric, sixtyish Bessie Levinson she sits on a park bench in Russell Square Park in London and tells her life story to Charlie Hampton, a stranger. Elsewhere in the park is Father Frank McAllister, an Irish priest, also in his sixties, strolling with his niece. He's telling Julie a very similar story... Frank's and Bessie's love affair unfolded and ended. However, on this particular chilly autumn afternoon, with Bessie's beloved marigolds about to gasp their last, there's a chance meeting between two old lovers...


A Day in the Life of Eleanor Duncan: Eleanor Duncan is a 72-year-old homeless woman living on a park bench in Central Park. She believes her bench to be her "home", which is wonderfully located so she can overlook skaters and lovers. She has been on the streets for twenty-four years and wouldn't have it any other way. On this Christmas Eve, Eleanor welcomes a string of visitors and regales them all with stories from her past. As she enjoys Christmas Eve dinner, she's surprised by her final visitor of the day... the last visitor of her life. 


Wednesday: An aging woman chances to meet her long-time housekeeper in the park after thirty years. The time has been kind to one and not so kind to the other. As the two elderly women sit in the chill of a late November afternoon, they discover their differences may not be as great as they always thought. 


Thursday:  Two sisters in their seventies--one with Alzheimer's, the other her caregiver--have taught each other about coping and unconditional love.

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A Day in the Life of 

Eleanor Duncan

A Play in One Act on One Bench

by
S.B Sturdevant




Cast of Characters


Eleanor Duncan - a homeless woman in her Seventies

  

Ruby - Eleanor's older sister


Randy and Babe - two teenagers (male or female)


Joey - a ten year old child (male or female)


Laura - a young woman


Mr. D - a stranger




Setting


Central Park, NYC - The Present - Christmas Eve


A Day in the Life of Eleanor Duncan


As the curtain rises, we hear an old ballad playing softly in the background and we see a park bench at center stage. Behind the bench is an iron fence, and hanging between the fence and the bench is an old blanket which forms a sort of makeshift tent. There is a working street lamp upstage, a trash can downstage and around the bench and the ground are a number of old newspapers and books, and a large shopping bag that contains ELEANOR'S belongings. As the music continues, we see ELEANOR DUNCAN slowly emerge from the tent. She is dressed in old, worn clothing but she appears clean and neat, as if she takes great pride in her appearance. She stretches, taking deep breaths and then stands on one leg and then the other in Yoga fashion. She straightens her coat and proceeds to remove the blanket, folding it neatly and placing it behind the bench. She then removes a toothbrush from her pocket and a bottle of water from the bag and brushes her teeth. As she continues to carry out her morning ablutions, JOEY enters wearing a winter coat, a stocking cap and carrying ice skates over his/her shoulder. JOEY sits down on the bench and starts to put on his/her skates as ELEANOR goes to search the trash can. After a moment, she comes up with half of a hamburger on a roll. She wipes it on her sleeve, looks it over, and walks back to the bench where she spots JOEY.


ELEANOR

Well, good morning to you, dear child. My name is Eleanor Duncan, welcome to my home. 


(JOEY looks around confused)

So pleased you decided to stop by on this lovely Christmas Eve. 


(ELEANOR sits and JOEY continues to stare at her)

Would you like to share my breakfast with me?


JOEY

No thanks... it doesn't look very good.


ELEANOR

No? It's almost a whole bun... see... and it even has a bit of ketchup on it. Very healthy...tomatoes.


JOEY

But it's garbage.


ELEANOR

Only if you're not hungry. What did you say your name was?


JOEY

You took it out of the trash can, lady.


ELEANOR

Yes, I did. That's where some of the best things are. 


JOEY

You live here?


ELEANOR

(Takes a big bite)

It's nice, isn't it? This is one of the choicest spots in the whole park.  Do you by chance have the time...uh, what was your name?


JOEY

It's Joey. I don't have a clock, lady, but I got an ice skate lesson at ten-thirty, so it must be close to that.


ELEANOR

Thank you, Joey, that's very helpful. Would you mind holding this? 


(ELEANOR hands the burger to JOEY who looks at it as if it was alive. ELEANOR takes out an old pocket watch and adjusts the time. She then puts the watch away and takes back the burger as JOEY finishes putting on his skates.)


JOEY

Lady?


ELEANOR

Yes, Joey.


JOEY

Why do you live here?


ELEANOR

Because this is my home. Where do you live?


JOEY

Over there at the Dakota... on the third floor. We have an elevator with a guy in a red coat.


ELEANOR

That's where John Lennon lived, you know.


JOEY

Who?


ELEANOR

(Laughs)

Well, I don't have an elevator, I'm afraid.


JOEY

Did you ever have one?

ELEANOR

An elevator? No...I never did. I lived in the Bronx... on 33rd Street. Do you know where that is?


JOEY

No... but my Gramma lives in Brooklyn. She has a poodle.


ELEANOR

Oh... is she nice?


JOEY

Who... the poodle?


ELEANOR

(Laughs)

No...I meant your Grandmother.


JOEY

Yeah...she's pretty nice. She always has stiff hair and sleeps with a thing on her head.


ELEANOR

Uh huh.


JOEY

Yeah... and she always has marshmallows with coconut on 'em.


ELEANOR

I see.


JOEY

Yeah...I hate coconut.


ELEANOR

My grandmother always had molasses cookies with white icing.


JOEY

How could you have a Grandma...you're old?


ELEANOR

Well, my dear, I wasn't always old. But she passed...a long time ago. We lived on the fourth floor, there in the Bronx.


JOEY

But no elevator, right?


ELEANOR

That's right... and no bathroom either.


JOEY

Yuck, that's gross, lady! You mean you were dirty your whole life? And where'd ya...?


ELEANOR

No, no, no... we had a washroom, but it was down the hall and everybody on our floor had to share it.


JOEY

Cool!


ELEANOR

Yes...I guess it was... in the winter. But I certainly learned to share in those days. 


JOEY

Did you have brothers?


ELEANOR

No... but I have a sister...Ruby is her name.


JOEY

Lady...ya' know what my Daddy says? He says it's too bad there are so many people who have no place to live and no food on Christmas. He says they live in the streets and have no money to buy presents and stuff and food too. Why is that...that some people get to eat turkey and pumpkin pie and you gotta eat a germy old, half eaten burger for breakfast?


ELEANOR

Well...I guess if I understood that, child, then my name wouldn't be Eleanor Duncan... it would be God. And I sure wouldn't want that job.


JOEY

Why not?


ELEANOR

'Cause that's a terrible job to have. She sits up there all day and night and watches us, her own creations, disappointing her on a regular basis. 


JOEY

She?


ELEANOR

Of course! You didn't know that? All the lies and the hatred and the greed... all the jealousy and the cruelty. Too much ugliness... and she has to see it all. Can you think of a sadder job to have than that?


JOEY

(Looks at ELEANOR a long time and then stands to go)

I gotta go, lady.


ELEANOR

Well, have a wonderful Christmas, my friend, and say hello to your Grandmother for me.


JOEY

Sure. 


(JOEY exits as ELEANOR tidies up after breakfast and settles down to read a newspaper she digs out of the trash can. The light changes to reflect midday shadows. RANDY and BABE approach the bench - BABE is wearing an I-Pod. They stop in front of the bench and stare at ELEANOR. ELEANOR looks up from her paper.)


ELEANOR

Hello.


RANDY

Get up old lady... we wanna sit here.


ELEANOR

Please, be my guest. 


(She folds the newspaper and points to the bench.)

My name is Eleanor Duncan...welcome to my home. It's so nice of you to stop by. 


BABE

(Still listening to the music, speaks to RANDY)

Huh? What'd she say?


RANDY

(Shouts)

Turn that piece of garbage off and maybe you'll hear 'er.


BABE

(Takes it off)

What?


RANDY

She said have a seat and welcome to her home.


BABE

Is she friggin' kidding?


RANDY

Why don'cha ast 'er yourself, ya' know what I'm sayin'?


BABE

(Sits next to ELEANOR and starts to push her toward the end of the bench)

Did you say you was just leavin', old lady?




ELEANOR

Excuse me... but this is my home and I have no intention of going anywhere. 


(Just as they are about to protest further, ELEANOR catches them off guard)

And a Merry Christmas to you both. You do know it's Christmas Eve? Well, of course you do...bright children like you.


RANDY

(Sits next to BABE)

So now what? We was gonna wait here for Mill on this bench. What are we gonna do with her?


BABE

This stupid old broad is too old to live...just let 'er sit here. When Mill shows up, we'll go somewhere else.


RANDY

(Grunts)

But he said here...he's gonna be totally pissed... and you know how he gets. I don't wanna wind up like Blue Boy...he's still sippin' his dinner through a straw.


BABE

Shut up will ya'. I aint interested in Blue Boy! 


ELEANOR

(Overhearing)

My, he sounds rather scary, this Mill friend of yours.


RANDY

'Scuse me? You wasn't talkin' to us, was you, old lady. Was she talkin' to us, Babe? Like you wasn't stickin' your nose in where it don't belong?


ELEANOR

I beg your pardon, young man, but as long as you're in my home, you'll have to have some manners. I'm not accustomed to rude children. Why, when I was...


RANDY

When you was what...a "children" like us? Huh? Yeah, well, when you was a kid, the dinosaurs was still roamin' the friggin' earth and the cave men was relievin' themselves in holes in the ground and gruntin' at each other 'cause they was too stupid to talk real words. Huh, Babe? 

(BABE grunts)


ELEANOR

I see things haven't changed all that much, now have they? Do you by chance, have the time?




BABE

(Smirks at RANDY)

Yeah, sure...it's like about, eh, one o'clock, okay. So maybe it's time for you to go get your oxygen fix or somethin', huh? 


(They both laugh as if this is the funniest thing they've ever heard while ELEANOR takes out her watch and adjusts the time. She stands and goes to her bag where she removes a handful of tinsel and some Christmas ornaments. She starts to decorate the fence.)


ELEANOR

You're very funny... but I gotta tell ya' the truth, child...I find your nasty attitude a little bit offensive.


BABE

Really?


(To RANDY)

You hear that? 


(Laughs again, stands and then gets very serious and threatening)

My nasty attitude, ya' old wort? Maybe I'll show you some real nasty attitude. How would you like that? Huh, Randy...should I show this homeless geriatric case some real nasty attitude? 


(BABE walks up to ELEANOR in a very intimidating manner and speaks right in ELEANOR'S face)

Would ya' like that, huh? See some attitude, ya' old beggar lady?


ELEANOR

My name is Eleanor Duncan...I am not homeless...although I do admit to geriatric. I am, however, not an old beggar... and I most certainly am not an old wort...


BABE

Shut up!


ELEANOR

(Very calmly and not intimidated at all)

My dear young friend, please have a seat...I'd like to tell you a little story.


BABE

Are you nuts? 


(To RANDY)

She's nuts, this old broad. 


(To ELEANOR)

You're a real loony, you know that? You're gonna tell me a story? Maybe I'm gonna rip your friggin' heart out...


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