Scene Detail

"The doctor told you not to anthropomorphize."

From: Touched By A Handbag (or Highway To Handbag)
3 Characters
Gender Age Character Name
Female 50s EDWINA
Female 20s PAULINA
Either Adult: Any Age HANDBAG
 
Setup:
This is the beginning of the play. Read on...

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The full text of "Touched By A Handbag" and its related plays, including "Dog Tag," are available for purchase as part of "Theatre Unbound's 24 Hour Play Project, Selected Plays, Volume 1" (in hard copy or download form) at

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/24-hour-play-project-volume-1/4941815

All proceeds from the sale of the "24 Hour Play" books go to support the work of Theatre Unbound - www.theatreunbound.com

Part of Matthew's online script store

http://stores.lulu.com/matthewaeverett
 

Scene

copyright 2005 Anne Bertram & Matthew A. Everett



TOUCHED BY A HANDBAG

AT RISE:

An actress sits on stage with a sparkling purple handbag in her lap.

Enter EDWINA, PAULINA's hand in the crook of her arm. They walk slowly, circling the perimeter of the stage. PAULINA takes in their surroundings, wonderingly.


EDWINA

I put the flannel sheets on your bed, but otherwise I kept everything just the same. Cleaned it, of course. I clean it every week. Just vacuum and dust, I don't move anything around. It's all ready for you.

The crocuses are in bloom out in front. The yellow ones?

You got a beautiful day. It's a beautiful day.

It'll be so good to have you home, sugar.

PAULINA sees the handbag and moves toward it.


EDWINA (cont'd)

What - ?

No, sugar. You don't want that. Come on, let's go home.

PAULINA makes another feint toward the bag.


EDWINA (cont'd)

You don't want that. You don't know where that's been. It's just a nasty old handbag someone left in the street. It could be dangerous. It could be full of germs. It could be full of...dope, it could have - I don't know, anthrax - sugar, there could be a bomb in there YOU DON'T WANT IT.

PAULINA

There's no need to worry, mama. It looks just like the handbag you had back when I was a little girl.

EDWINA

I never. It's PURPLE. I never had a handbag looked anything like that.

PAULINA

You did so. With a pocket on the outside, just like that.

EDWINA

Nasty old thing. We'll order a pizza for lunch when we get home. What do you think about that? Shrimp and pineapple. Anything you want.

PAULINA

It used to tell me I was the prettiest girl in the world.

EDWINA

That was a long time ago. You're done with that now.

PAULINA

It was friendly.

EDWINA

The doctor told you not to anthropomorphize.

HANDBAG

Enough with the four-bit words.

PAULINA

Hello!

EDWINA

Oh Lord, she's slipped her tether.

HANDBAG

HEY. Edwina.

EDWINA

So have I.

HANDBAG

You're perfectly fine and so is she. Nothing wrong with talking to your accessories now and again.

PAULINA

Where have you been all this time?

HANDBAG

Well, I bounced from garage sale to garage sale for a while. Then I spent some time in the costume stock room of a local community theater. All that, you'll pardon the expression, acting. I finally had to make a break for it. Ah, sweet freedom! I see you just got sprung yourself.

PAULINA

You haven't changed.

EDWINA

Stop talking to my daughter like that.

HANDBAG

And your mother hasn't changed either, I see.

EDWINA

Stop talking at all. Handbags don't talk.

HANDBAG

Well, then who exactly are you arguing with right now?

EDWINA

Let's go, honey. This is not the way to celebrate your first five minutes out of the hospital.

HANDBAG

You call pizza celebrating?

EDWINA

I'm only thinking of Paulina, what she wants.

HANDBAG

Maybe she wants to talk to me.

EDWINA

Grown women don't have imaginary friends. It's not seemly.

HANDBAG

Where do you get this stuff? Imaginary friends beats no friends at all anyday.

PAULINA

Mother, I'm right here.

EDWINA

Are you?

PAULINA

Let's take her with us.

EDWINA tries to hustle PAULINA away from the handbag.


PAULINA (cont'd)

She's had a hard life. Don't you want to come back home with us?

HANDBAG

Oh yeah. Back home with Mrs. Flannel Sheets. Big whoop.

PAULINA

But no productions of "Inherit the Wind."

HANDBAG

Good point.

PAULINA

So you'll come with us.

EDWINA

It will not.

HANDBAG

I will not. You come with me, sweetie. I'll show you what it means to live.

EDWINA

Haven't you done enough damage already? You, and the singing toaster, and the dancing blender, and those glow in the dark sneakers?!

HANDBAG

Look into my tiny mirror, Edwina. What do you see?

EDWINA

It's cracked.

HANDBAG

But my seven years of bad luck are long since past. C'mon, Eddie. Take a good look. Look at your daugther. What kind of world do you want to live in?

EDWINA

This is ridiculous.

PAULINA looks into HANDBAG's mirror.


HANDBAG

Looky here! The prettiest girl in the world.

EDWINA

STOP IT. Don't encourage her. Paulina. Sugar. Don't listen.

PAULINA

You don't think I'm pretty.

EDWINA

Of course you are. You don't need a handbag to tell you that.

PAULINA

I've only ever had a handbag tell me that.

EDWINA

You're lovely. A lovely girl. A lot of people could see it if you didn't waste all your affection on inanimate objects.

HANDBAG

Holy hannah. Blow out your candles, Laura. I've been in way too many productions of "The Glass Menagerie," too, you know.

EDWINA

Then you know a mother has to look out for her daughter.

HANDBAG

Maybe she's not crazy. Maybe she's just different.

EDWINA

The world doesn't tolerate different. It never did. And nowadays, it tolerates it less and less.

HANDBAG

So? That's the world's problem, isn't it? Why make it yours? Or hers?

EDWINA

Five minutes out of the psych ward and my daughter and I start talking to a handbag on the side of the road. The world isn't the problem at the moment. You are.

HANDBAG

I can let go of her. Can you?

EDWINA

I am not negotiating with a faux leather purse.

HANDBAG

Faux leather, my ass. Like that's your real hair color.

EDWINA

I am not fighting a PLASTIC PURSE for custody of my daughter.

PAULINA

I'm right here.

HANDBAG

I've got a lucky penny in my zippered pouch and a zipper that just won't quit. What do you have to offer? Fear? Judgment?

EDWINA

That lucky penny won't get you as far as the end of the next block.

HANDBAG

That lucky penny has gotten me a lot farther than either of you have ever gone.

EDWINA

I am not listening to inspirational speeches from a cast off --

HANDBAG

Oh, I'm a cast-off? That's rich.

EDWINA

Wrinkled -- !

HANDBAG

Dried up -- !

EDWINA

Well beyond last year's model -- !

HANDBAG

Right back at you, sister!

EDWINA and HANDBAG

You old bag!

PAULINA

Maybe I should leave the two of you alone to work this out.

HANDBAG

You wanna piece of me? Huh? Give it your best shot, Eddie!

EDWINA

Why, I never -- !

EDWINA makes a move for the handbag. HANDBAG snaps at her hand.


HANDBAG

Hmmm... I'd say it tastes like lady fingers. But there are no ladies present. Tastes more like... fishsticks. Ones that have been in the freezer too long!

EDWINA

Oh, you mean the freezer that periodically presented us with a terrifying fascimile of the Northern Lights in miniature? That freezer? I replaced it!

HANDBAG

(gasps!)

EDWINA

I should have done it long ago. The same time I kicked you to the curb, you falsehood-spewing piece of --

HANDBAG

How can you help your daughter face the world if you can't even face yourself?

EDWINA

THAT'S IT!





(there's more, but the conclusion of the story isn't available for viewing on this website)

copyright 2005 Anne Bertram & Matthew A. Everett

© Matthew A Everett
matthewaeverett.com