The Dressing Room by Peggy Hallett


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


CAST LIST

      Set in the ladies’ dressing room of a community theatre company,
      this story takes places in the same space every year for five
      sequential years. Each scene is before, or during, an act of a yearly
      musical where each of the players play various musical theatre roles
      or is in the chorus.

      Cast Note: all characters age one year as the play progresses through
      five scenes

      Gail – (45 …55) motherly character actress, takes on many
      management roles in the company (nun, farm wife, streetwalker, Mrs
      Darling, wardrobe)

      Julia – (40…50) busy mother of teens, teacher and director of
      school musicals, mother of Kaitlyn. Deals with a cancer treatment.
      (nun, farm wife, stage manager, director, fork)

      Kelly- (22…30) very experienced musical theatre performer, vocal
      director of cast, newlywed, pregnant in scene 2, on crutches scene 3
      (nun, Laurey, Fantine, pirate, knife)

      Zoey – (20…30) a millennial, cynical, wise cracker (Leisl von
      Trapp, Ado Annie, streetwalker, native, plate)

      Rebecca– (22…27), quiet and shy new crew member, art student,
      suffering from depression, prop and stage manager (Eponine, pirate,
      Belle)

      Gigi – (60s) spunky older woman, grandmotherly, comedic. (Mother
      Abbess, Aunt Eller, Madame T, old pirate Mr. Smee, Mrs Potts)

      Liz – (25…35) newbie, quiet but very talented, (Maria von Trapp,
      farmgirl, streetwalker, native, duster)

      Kaitlyn – (13…17) teenage daughter of Julia, keen on musical
      theatre career, becomes choreographer. (Louisa von Trapp, farmgirl,
      street girl, native, Wendy, spoon)


      ACT ONE

      Scene 1

      The scene is set in a ladies’ dressing room backstage at a small
      community theatre. There are eight dressing tables cluttered with
      makeup, hair accessories, snacks and assorted objects. There is a
      motorcycle helmet and big carryall bag on one table to STAGE LEFT. One
      table in the centre is empty with just a bunch of daisies in a vase,
      and a framed photo as a sort of shrine.On another there is a curling
      iron, buried under a scarf, a Swear Jar, and a copy of Online Dating
      for Dummies. Many mirrors have on display good luck charms marking the
      space. Before the dialogue there are four women very casually sitting
      at the tables in various stages of undress, but robed loosely as nuns.
      A poster on the bathroom door indicates this is a production of “The
      Sound of Music”.

      KELLY
      (flipping through the box of programs she should be folding but is
      reading one instead.) What gives? I’ve been in eighteen shows since
      I was a kid and they still spell my name wrong. Who edited this?

      GAIL
      (knitting) I did. Don’t I always? Sor-ry Kelly. Guess I forgot
      “Kelly Elizabeth van Vlymen-Pappadopoulous” has a hyphen. Why
      didn’t you just keep your own name when you got married?

      JULIA
      (looking for the curling iron at each table) It’s a newlywed thing.
      She’ll drop it soon enough.

      ZOEY
      (on her cell phone, leaning over to Gail) Gail, Gail, Gail…WHEN are
      you going to teach me to KNIT? You’ve been promising for years!!

      GAIL
      (sarcastically) Can’t you learn online? YouTube?

      ZOEY
      I could, but you’d be a much better teacher. And you can fix my
      mistakes.

      JULIA
      (crossing across the room) Where’s the curling iron?

      GAIL
      The big one, the small one, the spiral or the flat iron?

      KELLY
      Julia, what do you need a curling iron for? You’re a nun in “The
      Sound of Music”.

      JULIA
      It’s for Kaitlyn. She hates that she’s playing a thirteen-year-old
      in braids and she wants me to curl her bangs.

      KELLY
      But she is a thirteen-year-old. Last year she played a Munchkin in Oz.
      I consider this a promotion!

      (KAITLYN enters and REBECCA is behind her)

      KAITLYN
      Oh, it’s so much nicer in here than the kids’ dressing area.

      KELLY
      You mean this organized chaos?

      REBECCA
      (with clipboard in hand shading her eyes and headset on) Are you
      ladies decent?

      ALL LADIES

      Yes, REBECCA!

      REBECCA
      Just checking. Twenty minutes to curtain. (exits)

      ZOEY
      So next time she asks if we’re “decent”, let’s throw her a
      curve! (looking for agreement from the others)

      GAIL
      Oh Zoey don’t! It’s her first time as an assistant stage manager.
      Be nice. She’s so shy and she’s dealing with a lot right now.

      KELLY
      Were all dealing with something. It’s called drama. And it’s why
      we LOVE it!
      GAIL
      No, it’s not like that for her. She’s in a pretty good place,
      right now, but a couple of months ago she was in pretty bad shape. You
      know she’s my next door neighbour.

      ZOEY
      (standing) Oh, you mean she’s got …depression! Like it’s the
      newest coolest trend.
      GAIL, KELLY, KAITLYN, JULIA
      Zoey!

      GAIL
      Seriously Zoey, you can be so insensitive sometimes. Yes, lots of
      people suffer from depression. No, it’s not new…

      JULIA
      It’s just new that we talk about it more. I like Rebecca. She told
      me her older sister was really into musical theatre but she never
      understood what she loved about it.

      GAIL
      It was her sister who suggested she get involved in something like
      this. She’s been fantastic backstage, very detail oriented.

      ZOEY
      Oh, I get it. So now we’re some sort of therapy? (then sits and
      dismissively puts her earbuds in. Starts reading “Online Dating for
      Dummies” book)

      GAIL, KELLY, KAITLYN, JULIA
      Zoey!!!

      ZOEY
      What? Isn’t she here to make her life better. You know, a reason to
      get out of bed in the morning!!?

      KELLY
      God, you’re awful. She’s here for her own reasons. Like all of us.
      ( walking to Zoey to show her a program Rebecca designed) It doesn’t
      matter why any of us are here. But I must tell you, she’s a great artist!

      JULIA
      Yes. Not only did she help with the set painting, but she’s designed
      some excellent props. Ah! Here it is! (pulls out the curling iron from
      under some scarves and gives it to KAITLYN.)

      KAITLYN
      (takes the curling iron and plugs it in front of JULIA’s table.)
      Thanks. (crossing over to ZOEY) Can I borrow that ruby lipstick you
      have?

      ZOEY
      (reading and bopping to music on her earbuds. Puts down book and meets
      KAITLYN centre stage with lipstick) Aren’t you supposed to be a
      little Austrian girl?

      KAITLYN
      Yeah, but on stage, like, all lips need a little colour. (walking back
      to JULIA’s table) Right, Kelly? You’ve been in shows since you
      were ten.

      KELLY
      Eight. My breakout role was Molly, the sweetest little orphan in “Annie”!

      ZOEY
      (removing earbuds) Yeah, the sweetest because your grandma was the
      producer? (Goes to check her jacket pocket in the closet)

      KAITLYN
      And wasn’t your mom the director?

      GAIL
      Yeeeees, (somewhat reprimanding) but let’s be fair to Kelly. (moves
      to KELLY) She’s earned every role. And now she’s a graduate of the
      Musical Theatre program at the college.

      JULIA
      And teaching most of our drama classes and acting workshops.

      GAIL
      … And our awesome vocal director, so be nice!

      ZOEY
      (arriving back at her stool) Me? I’m always nice.  Hey, I’m a nun
      aren’t I? (spinning around centre stage doing funky dance moves.
      Then goes back to her phone)

      KAITLYN
      So Kelly… was your first kiss… a theatre kiss?

      KELLY
      Sure thing, but I was playing a teenage fan in Bye Bye Birdie.
      (notices JULIA is struggling with the curling iron and offers to take
      over, while handing off the box of programs she was supposed to be
      folding)

      ZOEY
      And was he … gay?

      KELLY
      No, not at all! (pausing) I think … and the kiss wasn’t in the
      script! The best kind. (giggling with KAITLYN) Gotta love me a little
      improv!

      KAITLYN
      (sitting in front of JULIA’s mirror) Kelly, was it hard to get into
      the program? I mean, I know you have tons of experience, and you sing
      so great … but is the competition, like, really rough? I’m sure there are
      thousands….

      KELLY
      (Offhandedly) Oh yeah, there’s plenty of talented kids auditioning.
      (Thinks a minute then decides to be encouraging) But, let me give you
      a hint.  You’ll have an edge if you diversify. That was my secret.
      Try to earn all about the theatre, not just on stage. Try your hand at
      stage managing … and even set construction. Learn about lighting.
      Don’t just focus on performing. (nudging) You know … I can always
      use a helper with the kid’s Saturday classes.

      JULIA
      She already takes voice and two dance classes. Pretty busy. But maybe
      your dad should teach you some basic carpentry? You’ve been around
      plenty of set builds already.

      ZOEY
      (cynical) There’s an old joke about musical theatre graduates,
      Kaitlyn.

      KELLY
      One we haven’t heard?

      ZOEY
      Goes something like this: “If you have a degree in musical theatre,
      you may not know how to solve a math problem. (pauses) But you can…

      ZOEY and GAIL
      (singing) ‘solve a problem like Maria!!’”

      KELLY
      Cute! Kaitlyn, you’re only in Grade Eight. You’ve got years. When
      the time comes, I’ll coach you through it.

      KAITLYN
      (happily) Would you? I want to hear about all your roles. So… which
      was your favourite? I bet it was Roxy Hart? Or maybe Mary Poppins?

      ZOEY
      Hmmm … not Maria von Trapp?

      KAITLYN
      (shocked) Wait! What? You’ve played Maria in “The Sound of
      Music” before? So how come you’re not playing her now?

      ZOEY, KELLY, GAIL and JULIA
      (softly) shhh…. Liz is in there. ( Indicating the closed bathroom
      door)

      KAITLYN
      (whispering to KELLY) So how come they let the new girl play Maria?

      GAIL
      You’ve heard her sing and you still wonder? She’s fantastic!

      JULIA
      And we always need some new blood around here. Sometimes this is a
      small town and getting people to come out to auditions, or just
      volunteering for anything … is tough.

      KAITLYN
      I know. I know. That’s why my dad builds scenery and my Grandma has
      been running the Front of the House for years.

      LIZ
      (steps out of the bathroom and adjusts her costume as Maria, the
      postulant nun. She has her wimple in hand.) Oh no! Was I not supposed
      to flush the toilet? The stage manager was pretty insistent about that
      when she laid down the backstage rules.

      GAIL
      (walking to her to assure her) No, no, it’s fine. You can flush,
      just not once the show starts.

      KELLY
      The pipes in this old theatre rattle right out to the audience.
      We’ve had some funny mishaps though. Years ago we had a hilarious
      flushing sound during “Jesus Christ Superstar” … right at the
      crucifixion scene. (laughing with the others)

      KAITLYN
      Yeah, but it was during a dress rehearsal. (giggling) Not as funny as
      the time Toto took a poop on stage. Still my favourite moment.

      GAIL
      (LIZ at her table STAGE RIGHT is struggling with her wimple piece)
      Here, let me help you with that. (She moves to Liz’s table and
      starts fussing with the wimple.) Want some more blush too?

      LIZ
      A little. Thanks.

      GAIL
      (quietly indicating the bathroom) You okay in there? A little
      nervous?

      LIZ
      Very nervous.

      GAIL
      But you’re great! You’ve sung in public before. And you’ve been
      nailing the rehearsals.

      LIZ
      Well … School choirs, church choirs. It’s not the same.

      GAIL
      But that’s just it. You bring a real sense of … freshness to the
      role of Maria.

      REBECCA
      (Pokes head in the door) Are you ladies decent?

      ZOEY
      If we were indecent we’d be playing hookers, not nuns!

      REBECCA
      Mic check for the von Trapp kids, one minute Kaitlyn. (she closes the
      door)

      KAITLYN
      Be right there.

      ZOEY
      (pondering) So Rebecca is an art student and made some of the props
      too? Huh… She’s managing props and she’s an assistant to the
      stage manager. Okay, I’m impressed.

      LIZ
      (quietly to GAIL, but gesturing towards KELLY who raises eyebrows with
      the question) Was Kelly okay with this? I heard she’s played Maria
      before. And she has all that experience.

      GAIL
      Don’t worry about her. She’s fine. And she can be very gracious
      when others have leads and she doesn’t. After all, she’s an
      actress!  I have a feeling she was happier with the lighter rehearsal
      schedule this time. She’s a newlywed!!

      LIZ
      So am I. And we’ve only been in Kingston about a year. We both got
      great new jobs with Corrections Canada.

      GAIL
      (teasing) What! Are you one of those tough prison guards, ready to
      take down the big guys?

      LIZ
      (laughing) No, no, I’m a psychologist and my husband is an
      accountant.

      GIGI
      (entering with her robe open) Full house for opening night chicas!
      (arm to the audience and pointing) And my Aunt Genevieve is front and
      centre. As usual!

      ZOEY
      (waving the air) Oh Gigi, you wreak of cigarette smoke. (sprays around
      with her air freshener)

      GIGI
      Strange. I was smoking a cigar.

      JULIA
      Seriously? And you … our Mother Abbess.

      GIGI
      (flops onto her stool FAR STAGE LEFT) Relax. I was just having a few
      drags with some of the band members out back. And, shit, I’m only
      playing the old broad Mother Abbess because I’m the only old broad
      in this company.

      KAITLYN
      (Pushes the swear jar towards GIGI and jiggles it.)

      GIGI
      You’re killing me kid. I have to keep loonies in all my pockets for
      this swear jar. (drops coin in the jar)

      ZOEY
      It’s cuz there’s kids in the cast.

      GAIL
      Maybe I’ll reprint our program. “The Kingston Mellowtones proudly
      present: Rogers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music” featuring
      that perennial old broad Gigi Jones as Mother Abbess.”

      GIGI
      Hey, if it sells more tickets!

      KELLY
      It’ll zip up our radio ads.

      KAITLYN
      Thanks Kelly. (to everyone and as she leaves she puts Swear Jar on
      Daisy’s table) ‘Break a leg’ ladies. Back to the kids’
      dressing room …  or should I say, “space”! (exits)

      JULIA
      (calling to her) Appreciate it! We have to pay extra to rent that
      “space”!

      GAIL
      Yeah, and I hope they don’t trash it like our orphans from
      “Oliver!”. We were cleaning up every night that year.

      KELLY
      I’d take the kids’ dressing space over the men’s dressing room
      any day! That man cave is nasty. Down the far dark corridor, then
      three steps down. Like a dungeon.

      GAIL
      (knitting and looking down, to Zoey who is still on her phone) Are you
      always on that thing? I swear Zoey, you rarely look up anymore.

      KELLY
      Yup, got her head in the clouds over Adam. (moves to Zoey’s side)

      ZOEY
      (Not looking up) Adam! Oh he’s so last month.

      KELLY
      Last month? I thought last month it was Jordan. Or Paul, John, Tom…
      I can’t keep them straight.

      ZOEY
      (walks up to centre stage to take a selfie) I can, and right now
      I’ll have you know, it’s Daniel.

      KELLY
      Will we ever meet any of these mystery men after the show?

      GAIL
      I remember meeting Matthew once, … or was that Mark.

      ZOEY
      (walking back to her stool ) It was Michael, and that was just last
      year. Daniel is in Montreal so you might meet him … later.

      REBECCA
      (pokes head in) Ladies are you de… (enters) Oh whatever. Gigi, have
      you got a green marker? Mine just died.

      GIGI
      (rummages in her bag, holds up two green) Which one?

      REBECCA
      Dark, thanks. (exits)

      KELLY
      (Sees ZOEY taking another selfie) Zoey, I don’t think nuns wear that
      much eyeliner.

      ZOEY
      Hey, I’m only a nun in the first act, and in the back of the choir
      hidden by my wimple. I don’t want to reapply anything when I
      transform into a horny (sings) “I am sixteen going on seventeen”.

      (opens her nun robe to reveal that she is Liesl von Trapp)

      KELLY
      Horny? How about suppressed?

      GIGI
      Every woman was suppressed before the 70s… (looks around the room
      and crosses to the wardrobe) for those of us who remember! (going
      through pockets of clothes looking for something) Hey, did we find
      someone to operate the curtain?

      GAIL
      Yeah, I got Francois to help us out.

      JULIA
      Francois? … Isn’t he your exchange student from France? The cute
      one?

[End of Extract]


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