Something in Common by Harris Freedman

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This Play is the copyright of the Author and must not be Performed or Copied without the Author’s prior consent


    Scene One

                (TIME:  The PRESENT.  1 p.m.)

                (SETTING:  London.  Restaurant).

      (As the LIGHTS come up, we see CHARLIE dressed smartly in a business
      suit, sitting alone at a table for two in the restaurant reading a
      magazine.  There is an untouched meal in front of her and another meal
      is at the place opposite her.  She looks at her watch.  She is waiting
      for someone.)

      (DAVE ENTERS. He is dressed in a business suit and finishing a call on
      his mobile phone.  DAVE approaches CHARLIEíS table looking directly
      at her and she is watching him.  He arrives at the table and stands
      opposite her.)

      DAVE:  Sorry, I didnít mean to keep you waiting.

                      (CHARLIE looks at him.)

      CHARLIE:      Turn your phone off.

                (DAVE watches her as he turns off his mobile phone and places it
      into his jacket pocket.)

      DAVE:  Youíre angry.

                (CHARLIE places her magazine on the table.)

      CHARLIE:      Your food is probably cold by now.

                (DAVE sits opposite CHARLIE.)

      DAVE:  Have I done something wrong?

      CHARLIE:      They use the same bland cream sauce on everything.

      DAVE:  The speciality of every English chef.

      CHARLIE:      How would a hamburger addict know anything about English
      chefs?

      DAVE:  Ouch.

      CHARLIE:      What took so long?

      DAVE:  An important phone call.

      CHARLIE:      More important than being on time to meet me?

      DAVE:  I didnít realise the time, sorry.

      CHARLIE:      She was right about you.

      DAVE:  Who?

      CHARLIE:      Never mind.

      DAVE:  What did this person say?

      CHARLIE:      Youíre not the naturally romantic type.

      DAVE:  Nonsense.  Who told you such a thing?

      CHARLIE:      Eat.

                      (DAVE hesitates and then tastes the food.)

      DAVE:  Itís cold.

      CHARLIE:      I should have asked them not to serve the food until you
      arrived.

      DAVE:  Itís my fault for keeping you waiting.

      CHARLIE:      Yes, it is, isn’t it?

      DAVE:  Your food must be cold.

      CHARLIE:      It will do.

      DAVE:  Which when translated from British English means itís ghastly.
      Let’s send it back to the kitchen to be re-heated.

      CHARLIE:      Iím not sure they have a kitchen.

      DAVE:  Who chose this restaurant?

      CHARLIE:      You did.

      DAVE:  I guess I blundered.

      CHARLIE:      No, darling, not at all.  It’s marvellous.

                (DAVE waves to get a waiter’s attention.)

      DAVE:  Where is that waiter?

      CHARLIE:      Don’t bother, the food didnít taste much better when it was
      hot.

                (DAVE gives up on the waiter.)

      DAVE:  So we should muddle through in true British fashion.

      CHARLIE:      Something like that.

      DAVE:  Who told you Iím not romantic?

      CHARLIE:      She said you werenít naturally romantic.

      DAVE:  Who?

      CHARLIE:      My psychic.

      DAVE:  What does she read?  Palms?  Tarot cards?  Crystal balls?

      CHARLIE:      She does cards, handwriting, palms, clairvoyance, past
      lives.

      DAVE:  Did she tell you that I also have psychic powers?

      CHARLIE:      No.

      DAVE:  Well, I do.

      CHARLIE:      And how do these powers manifest themselves?

      DAVE:  I can see the planet Mars lining up with Neptuneówhich means
      youíre in a romantic sentimental mood. But, ooh; watch out for your
      Moon in Scorpio.  Intrigue can be very dangerous so donít keep any
      secrets from me and you will have good luck.  And, yes, I can see that
      weíve been together through many past livesówe are very old souls
      and we have shared centuries of intimacy . . .

      CHARLIE:      So Mr Psychic you should know what day this is.

      DAVE:  Itís not our anniversary?

      CHARLIE:      We met in October, didnít we?

      DAVE:  Shit!

      CHARLIE:      Yes, you are, darling.

      DAVE:  Damn!  I’m so sorry.

      CHARLIE:      So am I.

      DAVE:  How could I forget?

      CHARLIE:      Yes, how could you?

      DAVE:  You thought this lunch was to celebrate.

      CHARLIE:      Stupid sentimental me.

      DAVE:  What can I do to make it up to you?

      CHARLIE:      Do what you used to do in past lives.

      DAVE:  Times were different then-you were the number one wife in my
      harem.

      CHARLIE:      Typical male wishful thinking. Your psychic powers are
      dangling between your legs.

      DAVE:  You were the brains of the harem.  You were my tutor in things
      metaphysical.  I can remember it like it was today.

      CHARLIE:      Iím sure you can.
                (CHARLIE takes a small gift-wrapped box from her handbag and places
      it on the table in front of DAVE. )
          Open it.

      DAVE:  But I haven’t bought anything for you.

      CHARLIE:      Iím not surprised. Remember we know each other through so
      many lifetimes.  Open it.

      DAVE:  You’re making me feel worse.

      CHARLIE:      Good.
                (DAVE hesitates.)
          Open it.

      (DAVE opens the gift.  It is an expensive fountain pen. )

      DAVE:  You shouldn’t have.

      CHARLIE:      Youíre right, I shouldn’t have.

      DAVE:  Itís an expensive one.

      CHARLIE:      Of course.

      DAVE:  I canít accept this.

      CHARLIE:      You will, or Iím leaving.

      DAVE:  Youíre serious.

      CHARLIE:      Of course I am.

      (CHARLIE gathers her things and begins to rise.  DAVE rises to
      convince her to stay.)

      DAVE:  In that case, thank you.

      CHARLIE:      Don’t mention it.

                      (CHARLIE sits back down and then DAVE sits.)

      DAVE:  I hope I won’t lose this one.

      CHARLIE:      You probably will.  Eat.

      DAVE:  I feel like shit.

      CHARLIE:      It isn’t Politically Correct to say shit.  In America it is
      now anal effluent.

      DAVE:  Well, in that case, I feel like anal effluent.

      CHARLIE:      But, darling, you look like shit.

      DAVE:  Youíre wonderful.

      CHARLIE:      Eat your lunch.

      DAVE:  I mean it.

      CHARLIE:      Iím sure you do

      DAVE:  I’ll make it up to you.

      CHARLIE:      In this life?

      DAVE:  And the next and the next and the next.
                (DAVE takes CHARLIE’S hand.)
          Did I tell you you look beautiful today?

      CHARLIE:      Only today?

      DAVE:  You are more beautiful in each succeeding life.

                (CHARLIE retrieves her hand.)

      CHARLIE:      Sure.

      DAVE:  You are very beautiful.

      CHARLIE:      I need a haircut.

      DAVE:  Your hair looks fine to me.

      CHARLIE:      Itís too long.

      DAVE:  Itís great.

      (CHARLIE slips off her shoe and rubs her foot sensually up DAVEíS
      leg to his crotch.)

      CHARLIE:      Did I tell you you look sexy today?

      DAVE:  I donít.  I need a haircut.

      CHARLIE:      Shut up.

                (CHARLIEíS foot is now between his legs and rubbing his crotch.)

      DAVE:  Nice.

      CHARLIE:      You like it?

      DAVE:  I love it.

      CHARLIE:      Eat.  Pretend nothing is going on.

                (DAVE tastes the food.)

      DAVE:  Mmmm.  The food tastes better already.

      CHARLIE:      Don’t talk, eat.

      DAVE:  I wish you were as playful in bed.
      (CHARLIE withdraws her foot.)
      :    Don’t stop.

      CHARLIE:      Haven’t you learned to take things as they come?

      DAVE:  I should have kept my mouth shut.

      CHARLIE:      If we had so many past lives together you would be tuned into
      me.

      DAVE:  I am.

      CHARLIE:      Are you telling me what I feel!?
                      (CHARLIE gathers up her handbag, rises and begins to leave. DAVE
      goes after her to convince her to stay.  He tries to keep his voice
      down, but she doesnít care who hears what they are saying.)
          You donít know when Iím turned on, do you?

      DAVE:  Iím trying.

      CHARLIE:      Then why didnít you let me sleep last night instead of
      pawing me and rubbing yourself on me?

      DAVE:  I must have done that in my sleep.

      CHARLIE:      Donít you try to pretend innocence.

      DAVE:  I thought I could arouse you.

      CHARLIE:      You have to be sensitive to my state, to me, instead of just
      following your urge to satisfy yourself.

      DAVE:  I want to give you pleasure.

      CHARLIE:      Then learn when to leave me alone and when the time is right
      go slowly.  Be gentle.  Be tender.  Then Iíll show you what I
      enjoy.

      DAVE:  Iím ready.

      CHARLIE:      I am sure you are.

      DAVE:  How about tonight?

      CHARLIE:      Men are always ready and they assume women are the same.

      DAVE:  Youíre not very trusting.

      CHARLIE:      Any woman who is is a fool.

      DAVE:  Tonight at midnight when Venus lines up with Neptune the force
      will be with us.

                (CHARLIE is amused-she sits down.  DAVE does the same.)

      CHARLIE:      Just eat.

      DAVE:  Do you really believe?

      CHARLIE:      What?

      DAVE:  Psychic powers.  Clairvoyance.  Past lives.

      CHARLIE:      Is that an insult or a serious question?

      DAVE:  Serious.

      CHARLIE:      Apparently you donít believe.

      DAVE:  No.

      CHARLIE:      Are you telling me that all of your experiences have ordinary
      explanations?

      DAVE:  Are we serious now?

      CHARLIE:      Canít you tell?

      DAVE:  Youíre asking for my real feelings.

      CHARLIE:      Yes.

      DAVE:  Itís difficult to be serious after weíve bantered about
      everything.

      CHARLIE:      Try.

      DAVE:  Well, the truth is the subject of psychic experiences always
      fascinated me.

      CHARLIE:      Me too.  And?

      DAVE:  Iíve always known, since I was a child, Iíve always known
      privately, quietly in myself that there must be more to my existence
      than my ordinary life.

      CHARLIE:      How?

      DAVE:        Experiences of intuition, of premonition.  For example,
      something extraordinary happened to me a few months ago.

      CHARLIE:      Do you take drugs?

      DAVE:  No drugs.

      (TOM ENTERS DSL.  He doesnít see CHARLIE or DAVE.  He is engrossed
      in a telephone conversation on his mobile phone.  He is wearing a
      business suit.)

      (CHARLIE sees TOM.)

      CHARLIE:      You have to go now, immediately.

      DAVE:  Are you sure?

      CHARLIE:      Yes.  Go.
                (DAVE stands up. )
          Go before he sees you with me.  Go!

      (CHARLIE places the empty gift box and wrapping in her Handbag.)

      DAVE:  How can I contact you?

      CHARLIE:      Take the pen.

      DAVE:  I shouldnít.

      CHARLIE:      Take it.

      DAVE:  Please let me have your telephone number.

      CHARLIE:      Go now!
                (DAVE begins to leave, but he stops when CHARLIE picks up the pen
      and holds it out as she speaks.)
          Take the pen, or you wonít see me again.
                (DAVE looks at her.)
          He forgot, so he wonít miss it.
                (DAVE takes the pen.)
          Go!

                (DAVE EXITS.)

                (CHARLIE quickly tidies the table, switches plates and the place
      setting opposite and takes up her magazine to read.)

      (TOM quickly crosses to CHARLIEíS table, kisses her forehead, and
      sits opposite her as he speaks.)

      TOM:  Sorry, I didnít mean to keep you waiting.

      CHARLIE:      Turn your phone off.

                (TOM looks at her, turns his phone off and places it into his jacket
      pocket.)

      TOM:  Youíre angry.

      CHARLIE:      Your food is probably cold by now.

      TOM:  Have I done something wrong?

      CHARLIE:      They use the same bland cream sauce on everything.

      TOM:  The speciality of every English chef.

      CHARLIE:      How would a hamburger addict know anything about English
      chefs?

      TOM:  Ouch.

      (QUICK BLACK OUT)

      End of Scene One

[end of extract]

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