An Audience with Miss Georgia Chalmers by Scott Peeler


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This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author's PRIOR consent


TIME: November, 1999.

PLACE: Saint Paul's Episcopal Church in Benicia, California.

An organist plays Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" as
people file into the church. It is a small but beautifully appointed
church whose nave is built in the shape of the cross. The ceiling is
designed to resemble the hull of a ship. When the music ends, Georgia
Chalmers's 34-year-old grandson, SCOTT, nervously approaches the
podium.

SCOTT: (fumbling with his notes, clearing his throat) Good morning.

The congregation responds, "Good morning."

SCOTT: Thank you, all of you, for coming here today. Our family is so
grateful you are here. We're, (tapping the microphone) is this thing
on? (SCOTT looks around for confirmation, then nods) WE'RE
HONORED (He recoils as his voice thunders throughout the church.
Then more quietly) We're honored you've come to pay your
respects to the woman who has been the foundation of our family our
matriarch my nana. Grand dame, actually. Nana was no ordinary
woman. No: an extraordinary woman. She was she was. (drifting
off, tearing up)

SCOTT: Nana was she was my Auntie Mame. The stories she told me.
Some outrageous and wonderful and impossible things she told me.
Patrick Dennis's aunt had nothing on my nana. But she could be Norma
Desmond, too. She had, shall we say, a flair for the dramatic? And I
loved her for that, too. (Imitating Gloria Swanson, bug-eyed, in
"Sunset Boulevard") "We had faces then." (Laughs) Oh, Nana
Nana had a face.

SCOTT fumbles with the slide projector and manages to display Georgia
Chalmers's glamor shot for the audience.

SCOTT: See what I mean? Look at that face. That poise. That attitude.
That confidence. Where did that come from? How did an only child who
was raised by a single mother in a lawless western town become Miss
Georgia Chalmers?

GEORGIA enters. She is 24 years old, and wears the ensemble that we
see in the photograph. She speaks in a mild Mid-Atlantic accent.

GEORGIA: Practice, practice, practice.

SCOTT: (in shock) Nana?

GEORGIA: (addressing the congregation) I entered the American Academy
of Dramatic Arts in 1921. (SCOTT projects the image of the Academy. He
will continue to project the images that correspond to the script as
Georgia speaks.)

[End of Extract]


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