This is a scene from my new two-act comedy thriller, Ashland Falls, which is available here on Theatrefolk.
Aidan and Gavin are rehearsing a scene involving their two characters, Dalton and Wynter. In the scene, Wynter is trying to convince Dalton not propose to Ashley. Unfortunately, Gavin has been getting some advice from a fellow actor, which leads him to question his character’s motivations. Laura, the director, and Aidan try to answer his questions so they can just get on with the scene.
GAVIN: (about to start, then turns out to LAURA) I might have a few questions. Ava’s been helping me with some character things and I need to make sure I’m clear on it.
AIDAN: God. I told you not to talk to her.
LAURA: It’s fine. I’ll help where I can. (AIDAN and GAVIN take a moment, and then the scene begins.)
GAVIN: I can’t believe you’re going to go through with this.
AIDAN: What reason would I have not to?
GAVIN: I can think of many.
AIDAN: (turns to him) Really?
GAVIN: Listen, I’m your friend and I’ve always had your best interests at heart.
AIDAN: When have you ever had my best interests at heart?
GAVIN: When it benefited me, of course. Like now. (AIDAN/DALTON laughs) Listen, Dalton, I know she’s beautiful and also quite charming but her looks will fade, and probably her charm as well, and then you’ll be left with nothing but a charmless, homely, penniless woman.
AIDAN: My looks will fade as well, and I already lack charm.
GAVIN: But you are not penniless. At least not yet. (laughs and sits down) Besides that, why tie yourself down to one woman when you can have them all? (GAVIN looks out to LAURA) Did my dad cheat on my mom?
LAURA: I don’t know that much about you, Gavin.
GAVIN: No, not my dad. Wynter’s dad. Do you think he messed around a lot?
LAURA: I don’t know. Why?
GAVIN: Well, if he did, that might be why Wynter doesn’t respect women. To be like his dad.
LAURA: Then yes.
GAVIN: Okay. That was simple. (Turns back to AIDAN/DALTON. Then looks back out to LAURA.) But it could’ve had the opposite effect too. Like if his dad did mess around, maybe he would be more protective of women, because clearly he would be a mama’s boy. So which is it?
LAURA: Whichever gets you to keep going.
GAVIN: But I--
AIDAN: You know what… your mom cheated on your dad, left you guys, and now you don’t respect women because you think they’re going to abandon you.
GAVIN: (stares at AIDAN, then looks out to LAURA) That works. I’m ready.
LAURA: Good. Nice job, Aidan.
AIDAN: Thanks. (gets back into character and turns to GAVIN/WYNTER) What you desire, Wynter, is not what I desire. You care for only three things in a woman: looks, money, and the fact that there should always be more than one.
GAVIN: What else is there? (he laughs) And money should have come first.
AIDAN: Of course.
GAVIN: (takes a moment, looking at AIDAN/DALTON) But in this case, there’s something else.
GAVIN: Listen, you always think with your heart and I’ve always been the one--
AIDAN: Without one?
GAVIN: (takes a moment and looks at AIDAN/DALTON) You’re very witty tonight. And perhaps you’re right, but I do know this. You don’t just marry the girl. You marry her family, and in Ashley’s case, they’re an embarrassment. If you marry her, they will bring that embarrassment to your name. To your family name, and your father has been quite clear--
AIDAN: She’s a wonderful girl, Wynter.
GAVIN: This is not about her, Dalton. (breaks character and walks downstage to talk to LAURA) See, I don’t get that. It’s obviously about her, but he says it’s not. What gives?
LAURA: What he means by that is that if it were just Ashley… he’d be okay with it. But her family issues cause more trouble.
GAVIN: I don’t get it.
AIDAN: Wynter’s saying that Dalton can’t marry her because her family is basically trash.
GAVIN: I get that, but I don’t get why he would say it’s not about her when it clearly is.
AIDAN: It’s about her family at that point in the conversation.
GAVIN: But then it is about her.
LAURA: No, it’s about her family.
GAVIN: But her family is her, and her is… her family. (AIDAN and LAURA look at him.)
GAVIN: Sorry, I got confused. So what’s my motivation?
LAURA: Your only motivation is to prevent Dalton from marrying her.
GAVIN: Why? Why am I so anti-Ashley? What has she ever done to me? (gets an idea) Do I have a thing for Dalton? I mean, we are pretty close. (looks AIDAN over) And he’s a good-looking guy, so… I guess I could play that, but--
LAURA: No, you don’t have a thing for Dalton.
GAVIN: Then why am I so anti-Ashley?
AIDAN: Because that’s the way the playwright wrote it.
GAVIN: But what the playwright wrote doesn’t make any sense.
AIDAN: Maybe he was drunk when he wrote it.
GAVIN: You think?
LAURA: No. Listen. I don’t normally do this, but we’ve been here a long time and we’re on page three of the script, so… the reason that you are against Dalton marrying Ashley really has nothing to do with him, or her, or her family.
LAURA: That’s right. It’s all about you, Wynter. You want to protect what you have. A friend to go out drinking and picking up women with so you can continue lying to yourself that you won’t, at some point, be the lonely old guy at the bar.
GAVIN: Ouch. (silence) I think I understand now. (Scene continues . . .)
Here it is. Steven's blog, where his thoughts about things are revealed. Good luck.