Are You Lonesome Tonight? by Andy Moseley


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


August 16, 1977

      Lights go up as LEANNE enters the motel room. She has a large handbag.
      The room is a basic motel room with a double bed, a bedside cabinet or
      table and a radio. Leanne looks around, unimpressed with what she
      sees.

      LEANNE:      So this is it?

      DWIGHT enters with two cases.

      DWIGHT: Whatís that?

      DWIGHT puts the cases down.

      LEANNE:      This is where youíve brought me to celebrate our twentieth
      anniversary? Two weeks in a shack?

      DWIGHT: No honey, this ainít it, this is just the warm up feature,
      the main show donít begin till tomorrow.

      DWIGHT has started unpacking from a large case. LEANNEís bag is
      still on the floor.

      LEANNE: Well thank the Lord for that, cos I was starting to think
      youíd brought me out here to kill me. I mean where the hell are we?


      DWIGHT: The edge of the Appalachian Trail, not far from Washington.

      LEANNE: Too far for me baby. (She looks out of a window) I want a
      city, somewhere with a bit of life aní all. I donít like all this
      countryside and Scenery.

      DWIGHT: I told you, Leanne itís just for one night. Wait till you
      see what Iíve got planned for tomorrow.

      LEANNE: I donít wanna wait. Why canít you tell me now, put me out
      of my misery. (She looks around) Much as you can round here.

      DWIGHT: Itíll ruin the surprise.

      LEANNE: Thatís a risk Iím prepared to take. What you got lined up
      thatíll make this worthwhile? Tell me.

      DWIGHT: Okay, but you gotta close your eyes.

      LEANNE closes her eyes.

      LEANNE:      Theyíre closed.

      DWIGHT has been carrying on unpacking, putting various items into
      various places through the above. He now reaches into the bottom of
      the case, and picks out a collection of tickets, one of which he puts
      in LEANNEís hand. He keeps the rest behind his back.

      DWIGHT: Open them.

      LEANNE opens her eyes, looks at the ticket and stares in a speechless
      way.

      LEANNE: Elvis Presley?

      DWIGHT: (very pleased) Yeah.

      LEANNE: Elvis Presley?

      DWIGHT: Yeah.

      LEANNE: In Portland, Maine?

      DWIGHT: First night of the tour.

      LEANNE: (Nonplussed) Uh, huh.

      DWIGHT: But thatís not all, honey.

      LEANNE: It ainít?

      DWIGHT: No baby, we got two nights in Portland, then we got (he reels
      list off, handing her the tickets as he goes through it) Utica,
      Syracuse, Hartford, Uniondale, Lexington, Roanoake, Fayetville,
      Asheville and two nights in Memphis. The whole tour. How good is
      that?

      LEANNE: You know I said I thought youíd brought me here to kill me.

      DWIGHT: Yeah.

      LEANNE: Well, I wish you had.

      LEANNE pushes the tickets back at DWIGHT. They drop on the floor.
      DWIGHT looks at them dumbfounded.

      LEANNE: I mean, did you ever stop to think about me before you booked
      this.

      DWIGHT: I donít understand.

      DWIGHT begins to pick up the tickets, and put them back in date
      order.

      LEANNE: No, you donít, thatís just it Dwight. You donít try to
      understand. You get what you think is a good idea and you just go
      right ahead and do it and expect me to go Ďthatís good baby,
      thanks for doing thatí. You donít for a moment think about what I
      might want, and, hell, the thought of asking me never even crosses
      your mind. Thatís the way it is with you. Thatís the way itís
      always been. (She sits on the bed, despairing) I want to go home.

      DWIGHT: (Moving over to her as he speaks) We will go home, I told you,
      the last dates are in Memphis.

      DWIGHT holds the tickets out. LEANNE takes them and then throws them
      on the floor again.

      LEANNE: I want to go home now. This just wasnít what I had in mind
      for our anniversary. I know when we took our vows we said for better
      or worse, but there is a limit, and stuck all the way out here, with
      nothing but two weeks of Elvis to look forward to, thatís just so
      far the other side of it. (BEAT) Why díyou do it Dwight?

      DWIGHT: I did it because weíve been arguing so much. I wanted to do
      something to make it better.

      LEANNE: And how does this makes it better?

      DWIGHT: If you want to bring back the magic in a marriage you have to
      do something you did when you were starting out, that way you can
      clear out all the other stuff you got going on and rediscover why you
      liked each other in the first place.

      LEANNE: Where did you get that from?

      DWIGHT: I read it in one of your magazines.

      LEANNE: I really should stop buying that crap.

      DWIGHT sits on the edge of the bed to the left of LEANNE. He moves the
      tickets to his right hand.

      DWIGHT: A couple of days after, I found out that Elvis was gonna be
      touring and I just knew I had to get the tickets. Weíll be on the
      road, and weíll be following the King, what could be better?

      LEANNE: I could think of a few things, leastways I could if youíd
      Ďve asked me.

      DWIGHT: But him starting a tour on our anniversary, itís like heís
      planned it for us. Itís serendipity or fate or something.

      LEANNE: Aw, honey, thatís sweet, but itís a bag of crap.

      DWIGHT: Itís not, I mean what are the odds on Elvis Presley starting
      a tour on the day of our anniversary?

      LEANNE: Three hundred and sixty five to one. People get married every
      day of the year.

      DWIGHT: Itís fate I tell you.

      LEANNE: Dwight, if fate really had anything to do with it, heíd be
      starting the tour in Memphis, or Vegas, or somewhere I want to go to,
      not Portland, Maine. Starting a tour there ainít fate, itís just
      mean.

      LEANNE gets up and starts unpacking small items from her handbag.

      DWIGHT: Aw, itís not the best place I know. I mean Iída liked
      somewhere we could have driven to in a day, no overnight stop, and no
      early morning start. But thatís not the way it is. Just look at this
      as a free night. The real deal starts tomorrow.

      LEANNE: (Stopping unpacking) The real deal? Itís a wedding
      anniversary, not a car sale.

      DWIGHT: (Ignoring her) Be like our first night. December 19, 1955, the
      Ellis Auditorium. You looked so sweet that night when I first saw you,
      just like Audrey Hepburn.

      LEANNE: Last show before Christmas. Iíd come over especially from
      Tupelo. Got my hair done in the morning, all cropped bangs and tight
      curls like the movie stars, cost me 4 dollars, the most expensive
      haircut I ever had. I was too scared to dance once I got inside in
      case it all fell apart. I stood outside the theater for hours after
      the show, just hoping to see him. Then you came up and spoke to me and
      I missed him as they headed out the back.

      DWIGHT:      Yeah, you were pretty mad at me till I said Iíd make it up
      and take you to Shreveport, for the New Yearís Eve Hayride.

      LEANNE:      Yeah, I thought you were just sweet talking me at the time, I
      didnít think you meant it, but I snuck out of the house that morning
      and went down to the mall, just in case, and ten oíclock, just as
      you said, there you were.

      DWIGHT: There I was.

      LEANNE: Your hair was greased back, you had the sideburns, the jacket,
      the motorbike. You could almost have been Elvis.

      DWIGHT: I wished I was.

      LEANNE: I wished you were too. ĎSpecially after we got to
      Shreveport, and we didnít see him outside then either. Huh, for all
      we saw of him inside, we couldíve just stayed at home and listened
      on the radio.

      DWIGHT: (Oblivious to Leanneís tone) The next day we decided to head
      up to St Louis. Third time lucky, you said.

      LEANNE: Yeah, and we couldnít even get tickets that time. Just goes
      to show how wrong I was.

      DWIGHT: Oh I donít know, sure, it wasnít lucky like we wanted it
      to be, but maybe if we hadíve seen him, we wouldnít have gone to
      all the other shows like we did, and weíd never have gotten married
      either. But we did, and thatís lucky for me.

      LEANNE: Youíre goddamn right thatís lucky for you. I didnít have
      much choice.

      DWIGHT: What díyou mean?

      LEANNE: You know what I mean. Iíd burnt all my bridges. When we
      decided to give up our jobs and follow him round the country, that was
      it for me. I gave up everything. I used my last paycheque to buy a
      helmet and a ticket for the greyhound from Tupelo. I had to sneak out
      the house so my daddy didnít see me. It was bad enough I was going
      off with a man I hardly knew, but if heíd Ďve known we were
      following Elvis too, heíd Ďve locked all the doors and thrown away
      the keys. But I didnít care, I was a rebel then. I was going out on
      the road, living my dreams. Then I got to Memphis and the bike
      wasnít there anymore, and you werenít there either. You were out
      buying a van. Just two months since weíd met and the wild young man
      I loved had turned into an old truck driver.

      LEANNE sits.

      DWIGHT: But I had to get the van. We didnít have any money, there
      was no way we could afford a life of motels and hotels, and I wasnít
      going to make you sleep in a tent.

      LEANNE: But Iíd have liked to have slept in a tent Dwight, Iíd
      Ďve given anything to end up every night under the stars, just you
      and the moon for company. Thatís what I wanted, what I dreamed
      about. But it didnít happen. I tell you Dwight, when I first saw
      that van, and you sat there like it was the best thing ever, I so
      wished I could go home.

      DWIGHT: (As if dismissing this) But you didnít.

      LEANNE: I couldnít.  There was no home for me to go back to, not
      then, not now, not ever. Youíd taken hold of my destiny when I first
      got on your bike, and then you slung it in the back of that van along
      with everything else you owned.

      DWIGHT: (Deflated and angry, he rises). I thought you loved that van.
      We saw the world in that van.

      LEANNE: We didnít honey, we saw America, not the world.

      DWIGHT: That is the world to me. I canít believe it, all my life I
      thought the time in that vanís whatís kept us together.

      LEANNE: No honey, it wasnít. I did love that time, I did love you,
      but the van? That was a bit of a disappointment.

 

[end of extract]



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