Save the Pier by James Harris


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


      West end of the Santa Monica Pier.

      At stage left are a counter and two small tables with chairs. At stage
      right are a podium and a soapbox.

      Randomly scattered people, ďPIER LOVERSĒ and ďMEN OF PROGRESSĒ
      stand against the rail, facing the ocean, their backs to the audience.
      LUCKY, carrying a fishing pole over his shoulder, enters and addresses
      the audience.

      LUCKY: Well hello! Welcome to the Santa Monica Pier!
      Itís a great place, isnít it? And a great day! (Beat) Theyíre
      all great. I am Lucky. (Beat) Thatís my name. Itís true! But ďluckyĒ is
      mostly just what I am. Lucky to come here every day. Youíre lucky
      too! Itís fun, isnít it!!! And thereís something really special
      about this old pier… Something ďEnchantingĒ.

      One by one, the Pier Lovers on the rail turn around to address the
      audience. Lucky fades up to the rail, sets down his fishing pole, and
      listens to his colleagues, admiring.

      COLLEEN: Oh yes, enchanting. Hi, Iím Colleen. And I find the Pier to
      be ďExtraordinaryĒ.

      LARRY: Hello, Iím Larry! To me the Pier is…

      JOAN: ďLovelyĒ! Iím Joan, and I think the Pier is just

      GEORGE: George here. If you ask me, the best word for the Pier is

      MAYNARD: Hi, Iím Maynard - the bumper car guy.

      SHEILA: Iím Sheila.

      Maynard puts his arm around Sheila.

      MAYNARD: My wife! (Smiles at her, then turns again to the audience)
      ďInterestingĒ! My word would have to be ďInterestingĒ.

      SHEILA: ďPeopleĒ. Interesting ďPeopleĒ.

      MAYNARD: Yes! Lots of interesting people!

      PAT: Itís really… awesome!

      Lucky clears his throat to get Patís attention. Once he does, he
      whispers and nods to Pat.

      PAT: (To Lucky) Huh? Oh, I gotcha! (To audience) Iím Pat! And the
      Pierís really ďAwesomeĒ! Itís the coolest hangout for me and
      my buddies.

      LARRY: Itís always been cool for artist and activist-types, too.

      DIANA: And fishermen! Hi Iím Diana! Letís donít forget the
      fishermen. And women!

      GEORGE: The Pier is like… home.

      COLLEEN: Oh yes! I lived here, you know! Above the merry go-round.

      DIANA: I fished here. Every chance I got!

      LARRY: I worked here. A lot of us worked here.

      PAT: I surfed here. And worked here. And fished. Heck, sometimes I
      even crashed here! I guess you could say that I lived here too!

      MAYNARD: We all LIVE here.

      LUCKY: Itís true. When you really think about it, we all LIVE here.

      The Men of Progress turn in unison, casting an air of darkness as they

      SCOTT: Itís an eyesore.

      COUNCILMAN: A blight on the fine City of Santa Monica.

      Lucky crosses to them and pushes them aside as he speaks.

      LUCKY: Of course, not everyone has loved the Pier.

      SCOTT: Iím City Manager Scott, responsible for all matters of this
      city, including this pier.

      COUNCILMAN: And I am your honorably elected City Councilman. That
      would make me Mr. Scottís esteemed boss.

      SCOTT: This old pile of scrapwood is in constant need.

      COUNCILMAN: Itís a terrible, wasteful financial burden!  (To Scott)
      You should do something about it. Mr. Scott.

      SCOTT: What do you propose I do?

      COUNCILMAN: Fix it! Youíre the City Manager. Itís your job to fix

      The Councilman ďwashes his hands of itĒ as he walks offstage.
      Scott follows him, frustrated and mumbling.

      SCOTT: Fix it? How am I gonna fix this old broken-down pile of sticks.
      Itís nonsensical, unimaginable…

      Lucky watches them exit.

      LUCKY: Some donít see it as being so special, I guess. And thatís
      how we almost lost it… Thatís right, this very place your standing
      on was almost destroyed. On purpose!

      He crosses in front of the Pier Lovers.

      LUCKY: And these fine folks, along with many, many, many others, saved
      it. They saved the Pier!

      The Pier Lovers nod, pat each other on the back, smile.

      LUCKY: It made for a great story too! With heroes and villains. Cheers
      and boos. Oh, I love the story of when they saved the Pier… (To the
      Pier Lovers) Letís tell it, shall we?

      The Pier Lovers all boisterously approve.

      LUCKY: Hooray! Oh, youíre in luck! Weíre going to tell you the
      story about these folks saved the Pier! So sit right back and weíll
      all tell you the tale!

      He nods to the Pier Lovers and they scurry to the counter and tables
      to prepare. George exits altogether. Diana returns to her spot on the
      stage right rail facing the ocean, fishing.

      LUCKY: Now, letís see… Where to begin… It was way back in
      1972… Once upon a time… Ah! I know! Hereís how I best remember
      it. And itís all got to start at a place called Alís Kitchen and
      with the fella who was the mastermind behind it all, a guy named

      Diana takes notice of what Lucky has just said and shouts to Lucky.

      DIANA: Hey! Whatíd you say about ďmastermindĒ to save the Pier?

      LUCKY: Ah, Diana! I was just telling these folks here about Jack, down
      at Alís-

      DIANA: And what about me? Arenít you going to tell them about me? Or
      did you forget?

      LUCKY: N-n-no, Diana. I didnít forget. Itís just that-

      DIANA: Just what?

      LUCKY: Well Diana, you never hung out at Alís.

      DIANA: Thatís right, I didnít.

      LUCKY: You were always out with the fisherman, rallying them up.

      DIANA: And everyone else who came within earshot!

      LUCKY: Yep. Thatís true. You were always good at that.

      DIANA: And I am a mastermind!

      LUCKY: Yes, you are! But you see, I had to start the story somewhere,
      so I chose Alís. Iíll get to your part, I promise.

      DIANA: Alright then.

      LUCKY: Besides, I know how you like to fish, so I thought youíd want
      a little time-

      DIANA: Are you gonna tell them how I learned to fish?

      LUCKY: Well no, I-

      Diana leaves her fishing pole at the rail and crosses downstage to

      DIANA: Oh youíve got to! Wait, let me tell it. Iím a better talker
      than you anyway.

      She nudges him out of the way, then addresses the audience.

      DIANA: Fishing. I love fishing! Now, do I look like a fisherman? Heck
      no! Iím a woman. Right? A fisher-woman! And donít you forget it!
      Now, like I said, I love to fish… But it wasnít always that way.
      Oh no! I used to come down to the Pier just to walk out over the
      ocean, take in all the beauty. Itís always peaceful, you know. No
      matter how busy it gets, itís always peaceful… Good times… Well,
      one day Iím walking down here, minding my own business, when this
      crusty old fisherman - Smoky was his name - (to Lucky) Remember

      LUCKY: Yeah, I remember him.

      DIANA: Good. Here, you be him for a minute.

      LUCKY: Huh?

      DIANA: Be Smoky! Come on, help me tell the story! These people want to
      see story, not just hear words!

      LUCKY: Oh! Okay.

      DIANA: Well Smoky comes up to me and asks me if I want to learn how to

      She motions to Lucky, who slowly catches on.

      LUCKY: Um… (Affecting a growly voice) Hey little lady. Wanna learn
      how to catch a fish?

      DIANA: ďFish? Me?Ē I said to him. And before I know it heís got
      one big smelly hand on my shoulder…

      She waits for Lucky, then finally grabs his arm and puts his hand on
      her shoulder.
      Lucky catches on, helping her act out the rest of the story.

      DIANA: And his other grimy, filthy paw handing me a fishing pole. Then
      he turns me to the water and helps me cast out maybe twenty feet or so
      and tells me:

      LUCKY: Now you wait.

      DIANA: So I waited. And you know what happened next?

      LUCKY: You caught a fish.

      DIANA: No, I did not catch a fish. Not a single bite all day long. But
      let me tell you - I was hooked! Yes, I know thatís a pun, but I
      gotta tell you, thatís the way it was! There is nothing like the
      anticipation, the hope and yet, still, the peace. Itís the most
      amazing feeling - exciting yet gentle. Thatís what I love about
      fishing. And thatís what I love about this pier! And thatís why I
      had to save it.

      She smiles, proudly, then returns to her spot at the rail, giving
      orders to Lucky as she goes.

      DIANA: You can continue with your story, Lucky.

      LUCKY: Thanks.

      He addresses the audience.

      LUCKY: That was, uh, well, Diana. Of course. Isnít she something?

      He looks over his shoulder, toward her. Sheís fishing.

      LUCKY: Now letís see, where were we…

      Scott abruptly enters, carrying a large sketch pad. He looks at Diana,
      then at Lucky, and shakes his head. He is oblivious to the Pier
      Lovers, but they certainly see him!

      PIER LOVERS: (Softly) Boo! Hiss!

      Scott continues toward the pier rail and sits on a bench, facing the

      LUCKY: (To the audience) The City Manager. Remember?

      Scott opens the sketch pad and begins drawing as the booing subsides.

      Jack enters, walking aimlessly.

      JACK: (To the audience) Hi, Iím Jack - the guy they warned you

      He observes Diana.

      JACK: Any luck today?

      DIANA: Not even a nibble, but I feel a whopper coming on!

      Jack smiles, then observes Scott and crosses toward him close enough
      to get a peek at what Scott is drawing. Scott senses him and pulls the
      sketch pad close to his chest.

      JACK: Whatcha doing?

      SCOTT: Drawing.

      JACK: Whatcha drawing?

      SCOTT: None of your business.

      JACK: I see…
      I was just curious, you know. But I respect your secrecy. I always
      respect an artist!

      SCOTT: (Disdainfully) Artist?! Oh, I am not an artist.

      JACK: You donít have to be modest. Art is very personal.

      SCOTT: Well, I wouldnít really call it art. Itís just an idea
      Iím working on.

      JACK: Isnít that what art is? Sharing ideas?

      SCOTT: This is something bigger. Something more important.

      JACK: More important? Than art?

      SCOTT: Absolutely. Itís the future. Itís progress!

      JACK: Progress? Youíre kidding me.

      SCOTT: I kid you not.

      JACK: Well, this Iíve got to see! May I?

      He nods toward the sketch pad. Scott is hesitant, sizes Jack up for a

      SCOTT: I suppose so.

      He opens the sketch pad and shows Jack his work.

      JACK: Say, thatís pretty good. How can you say youíre not an

      SCOTT: (Flattered) Well, not by trade.

      JACK: Itís like a floating city, isnít it?

      Scottís pride begins to swell.

      SCOTT: Itís an island.

      JACK: Yes, yes it is!

      SCOTT: Itís a paradise.

      JACK: Itís a metropolis.

      SCOTT: Yes! A fantastic man-made island with a metropolitan paradise
      floating right out there!

      He points to the water just beyond the pier.

      JACK: Wow!

      Scott smiles, pleased with himself

      JACK: Too bad itíll never work.

      SCOTT: Huh?

      JACK: It would ruin the great ocean view! Nobody wants to look at a
      floating city.

      Scott slams his sketch book shut, sizes Jack up once more as his
      frustration mounts, then storms off, exclaiming:

      SCOTT: Contrarian!

      Jack smiles, satisfied with his exchange.

      LUCKY: So, thatís Jack. The guy I was telling you about!

      Jack crosses into the cafe, nods with a cool gesture to acknowledge
      the audience, then sits on a stool, sips a cup of coffee and reviews

      LUCKY: He was the manager of a great little greasy spoon on the Pier
      called Alís Kitchen.

      Larry, Pat, and Joan gather at the counter while Colleen, Maynard and
      Sheila sit at the tables.

      LUCKY: Now ya see, Alís was one of those places that didnít look
      like much on the outside. But itís the kind of place that, when you
      walked inside, you were likely to hear people talking about politics,
      or art or some other intellectual stuff. There were famous people too!
      With names like Tom Hayden, Jane Fonda and Joan Baez hanging out there
      talking over coffee. Sometimes you could hear a cantankerous olí guy
      named Bukowski recitiní racy poems full of lusty women and salty

      The scene is set. The cooks -  Pat and Larry -  and Joan are behind
      the counter. Joan is at the register. Colleen sits alone at one table.
      Maynard and Sheila, a married couple, share another.

      LUCKY: The place was owned by a sweet, lovely woman named Joan.

      JOAN: Hello!

      LUCKY: Howís the coffee today, Joanie?

      JOAN: Nice and hot!

      LUCKY: Joanie was great. Started as a waitress when she was young,
      ended up buying the place!

      JOAN: Order! Order!

      PAT: Ready.

      JOAN: Letís see, we need two eggs scrambled with bacon and…

      PAT: And?

      JOAN: I canít quite read it. Let me get my glasses.

      Without even looking at the ticket, Larry answers.

      LARRY: Toast?

      JOAN: Yes, toast!  (To the audience) Isnít he amazing? (To
      Pat)Toast, please!

      PAT: Right on!

      JOAN: (To Larry) Thank you again, Larry.

      LARRY: Youíre welcome.

      JOAN: Arenít you about due to take your break?

      LARRY: I am, thanks! Quick cup of coffee before I go?

      JOAN: Is it hot?

      LARRY: Of course!

      JOAN: Good. You know how I like my coffee hot.

      Larry hands her a cup of coffee, then searches the counter for

      LARRY: Anyone seen todayís-

      Jack holds up a rolled newspaper.

      LARRY: -newspaper? Thanks Jack!

      He sits beside Jack and begins reading.

      George enters, distraught, searching the room for someone in
      particular. Maynard spots him right away and flags him down.

      MAYNARD: George! Over here!

      George joins Maynard and Sheila at their table. Joan recognizes George
      from the register.

      JOAN: Good morning, George!

      George politely waves to Joan.

      GEORGE: Sheila, Maynard! Iím glad youíre here.

      SHEILA: You look terrible. Are you feeling alright?

      GEORGE: Why, havenít you heard the news?

      MAYNARD: What news?

      GEORGE: What news? What news! Itís the island!!!

      MAYNARD: Island?

      GEORGE: The 35-acre man-made resort island - right out here in the

      SHEILA: You must really not be feeling well, George. Thatís old

      MAYNARD: Sheís right. That old island project was shot down by the
      voters years ago.

      GEORGE: Iím telling you, itís back!

      He grabs the newspaper from Larry.

      GEORGE: Itís right here in the paper. ďScott Proposes New Island

      Maynard studies the newspaper.

      JACK: Funny,  the other day I saw a guy out at the end of the Pier
      drawing a picture of an island.

      GEORGE: And hereís the worst of it!

      MAYNARD: (Reading) ďThe plan calls for the-Ē

      GEORGE & MAYNARD: ďDemolition of the Santa Monica PierĒ.

[End of Extract]