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: What's that?

DWIGHT puts the cases down.

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

DWIGHT: No honey, this ain't it, this is just the warm up feature,
the main show don't begin till tomorrow.

DWIGHT has started unpacking from a large case. LEANNE's bag is
still on the floor.

LEANNE: Well thank the Lord for that, cos I was starting to think
you'd 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 an' all. I don't like all this
countryside and Scenery.

DWIGHT: I told you, Leanne it's just for one night. Wait till you
see what I've got planned for tomorrow.

LEANNE: I don't wanna wait. Why can't you tell me now, put me out
of my misery. (She looks around) Much as you can round here.

DWIGHT: It'll ruin the surprise.

LEANNE: That's a risk I'm prepared to take. What you got lined up
that'll make this worthwhile? Tell me.

DWIGHT: Okay, but you gotta close your eyes.

LEANNE closes her eyes.

LEANNE: They're 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 LEANNE's 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 that's not all, honey.

LEANNE: It ain't?

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 you'd 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 don't understand.

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

LEANNE: No, you don't, that's just it Dwight. You don't 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 'that's good baby,
thanks for doing that'. You don't for a moment think about what I
might want, and, hell, the thought of asking me never even crosses
your mind. That's the way it is with you. That's the way it's
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 wasn't 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, that's just so
far the other side of it. (BEAT) Why d'you do it Dwight?

DWIGHT: I did it because we've 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. We'll be on the
road, and we'll be following the King, what could be better?

LEANNE: I could think of a few things, leastways I could if you'd
've asked me.

DWIGHT: But him starting a tour on our anniversary, it's like he's
planned it for us. It's serendipity or fate or something.

LEANNE: Aw, honey, that's sweet, but it's a bag of crap.

DWIGHT: It's 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: It's fate I tell you.

LEANNE: Dwight, if fate really had anything to do with it, he'd be
starting the tour in Memphis, or Vegas, or somewhere I want to go to,
not Portland, Maine. Starting a tour there ain't fate, it's just
mean.

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

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

LEANNE: (Stopping unpacking) The real deal? It's 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. I'd 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 I'd make it up
and take you to Shreveport, for the New Year's Eve Hayride.

LEANNE: Yeah, I thought you were just sweet talking me at the time, I
didn't think you meant it, but I snuck out of the house that morning
and went down to the mall, just in case, and ten o'clock, 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. 'Specially after we got to
Shreveport, and we didn't see him outside then either. Huh, for all
we saw of him inside, we could've just stayed at home and listened
on the radio.

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

LEANNE: Yeah, and we couldn't even get tickets that time. Just goes
to show how wrong I was.

DWIGHT: Oh I don't know, sure, it wasn't lucky like we wanted it
to be, but maybe if we had've seen him, we wouldn't have gone to
all the other shows like we did, and we'd never have gotten married
either. But we did, and that's lucky for me.

LEANNE: You're goddamn right that's lucky for you. I didn't have
much choice.

DWIGHT: What d'you mean?

LEANNE: You know what I mean. I'd 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 didn't see me. It was bad enough I was going
off with a man I hardly knew, but if he'd 've known we were
following Elvis too, he'd 've locked all the doors and thrown away
the keys. But I didn't care, I was a rebel then. I was going out on
the road, living my dreams. Then I got to Memphis and the bike
wasn't there anymore, and you weren't there either. You were out
buying a van. Just two months since we'd 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 didn't have any money, there
was no way we could afford a life of motels and hotels, and I wasn't
going to make you sleep in a tent.

LEANNE: But I'd have liked to have slept in a tent Dwight, I'd
've given anything to end up every night under the stars, just you
and the moon for company. That's what I wanted, what I dreamed
about. But it didn't 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 didn't.

LEANNE: I couldn't. There was no home for me to go back to, not
then, not now, not ever. You'd 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 didn't honey, we saw America, not the world.

DWIGHT: That is the world to me. I can't believe it, all my life I
thought the time in that van's what's kept us together.

LEANNE: No honey, it wasn't. 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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