WHAT WE NEED NOW

A PLAY IN ONE-ACT

SUMMARY: The story of five friends cooping with the death of their sixth member, Torin. She was a sister, a friend, and a lover, who died in a car accident three months before.

CHARACTERS (costumes):

Torin Fulton (wearing an older styled, less attractive, white or black plain dress, with her hair down)

McKenzie Fulton (dressed in jeans and a white shirt with her hair pulled back into a bun)

James Hillard (dressed as a normal 17 year-old boy in jean shorts)

Tyler Crest (dressed in khaki's and a long sleeved shirt)

Nick Olson (wearing khaki's and a gray shirt with a wrist brace on his right arm)

Anne Phillips (wearing a sun dress)

SETTING:

STAGE RIGHT: SET WITH A STAIR CASE WITH A FEW TREES BEHIND IT AND A LAMP POST (LIT)

CENTER STAGE: STAGE-BLOCK SETTING FOR SITTING/STANDING/HIDING (CLOSER TO THE FRONT)

STAGE LEFT: THE ROAD SIDE MEMORIAL (THINK SMALL WOODEN CROSSES, PICTURES, STUFFED ANIMALS, FLOWERS, ETC.) WHERE A ROAD SIGN SITS (BACKWARDS TO THE AUDIENCE), MANGLED AFTER AN ACCIDENT.

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CURTAINS OPEN TO A BLACK STAGE, AS SLOWLY THE LIGHTS FADE BLUE. FIVE TEENAGERS STEP FORWARD OUT OF THE DARKNESS FROM CENTER STAGE, FORMING A SEMI-CIRCLE AND STANDING (IN ORDER OF THE FIRST FIVE LINES) SO THEY ARE LOOKING AT EACHOTHER.

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McKENZIE: She was so young. So...

JAMES: ...funny...

NICK: ...So beautiful and...

TYLER: ...full of life...

ANNE: ...full of love.

McKENZIE: She didn't deserve to die.

TYLER: Who ever does?

NICK: The bastards that murdered her. They do...

ANNE: It was an accident.

NICK: (starting an argument) If it was an accident, then the only thing that they would have to say, would be I'm sorry. Then, everything would be okay. (steps towards ANNE, breaking the formation)

TYLER: (steping between NICK and ANNE) Look, Nick. All I meant was that the people in the other car, that killed her, they have people who love them too. People who don't think that they deserved to die.

NICK: What does other peoples love have to do with it? She's dead. She's dead, and there isn't enough love in the world to bring her back.

JAMES: (moving behind NICK and leaving McKENZIE by herself; trying to calm NICK down) We know, and we understand, too. (puts his hand on NICK's shoulder) Don't act like you were the only person affected by this.

NICK: (shrugging off his hand) I loved her. (turning towards JAMES)

ANNE: (moving beside him from behind) We are here for you. (NICK gives her an icy glare) Just remember that.

McKENZIE: (realizes something about what NICK said earlier; quietly to herself) She already did.

TYLER: (puzzled) What did you say?

McKENZIE: (turning towards the group) She already did.

ANNE: (moving towards McKENZIE) Who already did what Mac?

JAMES: (looking more confused than anyone else) I don't understand.

McKENZIE: She already said sorry. (looks towards the memorial)

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SPOT GOES UP ON TORIN, SITTING AMONGST THE PICTURES OF HERSELF ON THE ROAD SIDE WHILE THE TEENS ARE STILL SILENTLY TALKING.

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TORIN: (speaking as she slowly takes in everything around her) "The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death." I always liked that quote. Don't know why. Maybe the mystery of it's author. (moves along the twisted metal sign, dragging a finger) Or perhaps because I never understood it. Let's face it, I still don't. Somethings never change betweed life and death. (lightly snorts) Those would have been great last words. (picks up a single rose and then looks over towards the McKENZIE) Only problem is, I already said mine.

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THE FIVE TEENS MOVE UP STAGE, AND POSISTION THEMSELVES ON/AROUND THE BLOCKS, WITH McKENZIE IN THE MIDDLE OF THEM, AS THE LIGHTING SWITCHES TO RED, SPOT STILL ON TORIN.

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McKENZIE: I'm Sorry. That was the last thing Torin said to me.

ANNE: (taking her hand) Oh...

TORIN: (telling her tale to the audience) It was about three months ago. (playing with the rose) We went to a movie that night, the six of us, and we were just coming back. we were in two separate cars. Nick and I in my car, and the rest were drivng with James, ahead of us. It was about one in the morning, five miles from town, when we passed this sign. (moving towards the sign) Well, they past it...I never left. (looking down at her rose, and then looking back out at the audience) A car ran that stop sign (pointing at the audience at nothing) and hit me dead on. Smashed my car into that sign. Nick, he broke his wrist when it hit that sign, and got a few broken ribs, but he was fine. The driver and his passenger? (pissed at the memories) They only had a few bruises. The truck they were driving only needed a new bumper, while my car was totaled.

JAMES: Sorry? Sorry for what?

McKENZIE: (quietly) I don't know.

JAMES: (not hearing her responce) It's not like it was her fault.

McKENZIE: (slightly louder) I know.

JAMES: (carrying on, looking around, as if to ask Torin herself) Why would she say that, of all things to say, i mean, Torin was never great with words, but I'm sorry?

TORIN: (picking her story back up) Somehow, McKenzie knew to look back from Jame's car. She saw the whole thing, and when I got pulled out, (starting to cry) they laid me right here. God, she was so scared. She never let go of my hand, either. Just clug to it, like her life depended on it. (wiping her eyes and pausing to regain composure) I felt so tired...the only thing going through my head was sleeping. There was no pain, no fear, just tiredness.

JAMES: (continuing as if he never stopped) Seems off, if you know what I.....

McKENZIE: (pissed, cutting him off mid-sentance) NO. I don't know what you mean.

ANNE: (stepping between them) Mac, relax. It's just James being James. He doesn't mean anything by it. Do you?

JAMES: (slowing catching onto ANNE's point) Yeah, I mean no. You know me Mac, just trying to break the silence. (laughs to himself)

NICK: (to himself, bluntly) For leaving.

TYLER: What?

NICK: Nothing.

McKENZIE: (turning her attention away from JAMES, who is glad to see her focusing on something other than him) No, what did you say?

NICK: (sitting, so as not to have to look her in the eye) For leaving.

ANNE: I don't understand. (sits next to him) What do you mean, For leaving?

McKENZIE: (moves to the open side of NICK and sits) Nick?

NICK: (drops his gaze to the floor) I...I can't.

McKENZIE: (trying to look him in the eye) Will you at least look at me? (NICK continues to be facinated with his shoes) Please?

NICK: (raises head slightly) I...um...

McKENZIE: (lowers her so she's looking directly at his face) Look, Nick, I know what you're going....

NICK: (standing suddenly, but turing the opposite way of McKenzie) You know NOTHING about what I'm going through. Nothing. (everyone looks shocked)

McKENZIE: Unless you forgot, she was my sister. (standing, and speaking into the back of his head) You know what? (pissed off) YOU WEREN'T THE ONLY ONE THAT LOVED HER. (starting to cry) I did, too.

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McKENZIE WALKS OFF (STAGE RIGHT) CRYING. LIGHTING SWITCHES BACK TO BLUE, AND SPOT COMES BACK UP ON TORIN. THE REMAINING FOUR ARE SILENT, BUT NOT FROZEN. THEY SHOULD MOVE AROUND, AS IF UNCOMFORTABLE WITH THE SILENCE.

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TORIN: (slowly working her way to center stage) She's right you know. He wasn't the only one that loved me. They all did, in their own ways. (walking around them motioning in their general direction when mentioning them) James, was like an older brother, although younger than me, always making sure that I was smiling, no matter what....Tyler and Anne (comforting eachother), they loved me...like my parents. Always acting as my conscience and being the little voices in the back of my head trying to make me be more responsible. (laughs to herself, thinking about the memories, but suddenly realizes Nick looking up into the sky) Nick. (about to touch his face, but moves her hand away moments before) His love for me was...(starting to cry)...our love was unlike any other. It was a understanding of eachother. (wiping away her tears; more happily) We only had one rule: Live with no regrets.

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SPOT MOVES OVER TO McKENZIE WHO IS NOW SITTING ON THE STAIRS, (STAGE RIGHT) WITH HER HEAD IN HER HANDS, CRYING.

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TORIN: (forcing herself to move towards the light) And this little one. My Mac. She loved me as only a sister could. You see her love, although unwavering, was a mix of hatred, jealousy, and true compassion. She was always willing to help me out. (suddenly feeling guilty, and sounding more forceful, as if trying to convince herself) I was her big sis. I was supposed to be the one who protected her. But, as the situation goes, it was alway her who had to cover for my ass. And me, who ended up hurting her.

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TORIN MOVES BACK TO NICK (CENTER STAGE) AS THE SPOT FOLLOWS HER ONTO THE GROUP.

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TORIN: (mad at herself) I didn't live with regrets. I died with them. (speaking in to his ear that is facing the audience) I'm sorry. (kisses him on the cheek softly, dropping the rose she was holding at NICK's feet)

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TORIN RUNS OFF (STAGE LEFT) BEHIND THE GROUP OF TEENS (CENTER STAGE). THE SPOT STAYS ON THE GROUP AS SHE LEAVES. LIGHTING CHANGES TO YELLOW, AND SPOT TURNS OFF. NICK RAISES A HAND TO WHERE HE KISSED HIM, WHILE THE OTHER GROUP MEMBERS ALL VISIBLY NOTICE THE BREEZE THAT TORIN CREATED WHEN RUNNING BY.

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NICK:Impossible.(his hand still on his cheek, as everyone looks at eachother)

JAMES: Did you guys feel that, or am I imagining things?

TYLER: No, I felt it, I think, but...I don't know how to describe it. It was like a breeze...

ANNE: ...But sad. I don't know how to explain it, either, but it's as if the wind felt sad.

NICK: (picking up the rose and then turning to look in the direction that McKENZIE went) I'll be back.

JAMES: (as Nick leaves) I hope those aren't his last words... (ANNE smacks him upside the head, while TYLER rolls his eyes)...What? (the three of get up and move to a new standing posistion between the blocks and the steps) I was only saying... (his voice gets quieter as the others glare at him) ...It's just so overplayed. I'll be back. Who is he, the Terminator?...

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LIGHTING SWITCHED TO BLACK AS SPOT COMES UP ON NICK AS HE APPROACHES McKENZIE, WHO IS STILL ON THE STEPS CRYING.

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NICK: I'm sorry. I shouldn't have snap...

McKENZIE: ...Don't be. Live with no regrets, remember?

NICK: Yeah. I remember. (sits down next to her) But letting you think that I felt alone, that would be a regret.

McKENZIE: (gives him a puzzled look) What?

NICK: I know I'm not alone...there's actually so many people around that I feel suffocated.

McKENZIE: So, why are you telling me this? (with a hint of sarcasim) I don't know what it's like.

NICK: Well, maybe it's me that doesn't know what it's like...for you. (raising her chin so that he's looking into her eyes) Maybe it was leaving you that made Torin sorry.

McKENZIE: (starting to cry all over agin)

NICK: Don't cry. No regrets, remember? She wouldn't want us to be sad.

JAMES: He's right.

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SUDDENLY, THE OTHER THREE MEMBERS APPEAR FROM BEHIND JAMES, AND STAND/SIT BEHIND THE OTHER TWO, DRAPPING ARMS AND HUGGING EACHOTHER.

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McKENZIE: I was thinking, before you guys showed up here (drying her eyes with the kleenex from ANNE) that Torin was the heart of this group. Ya know? She was the one who held us together. It's like with her here, we were more than just friends, we were a family...

NICK: ...Mac...

McKENZIE: Let me finish. (sighs) I was thinking, that now, with her gone, it's gone. Our bond...

ANNE: ...Oh, McKenzie...

McKENZIE: Please. I need to get this out. (pauses) Back there, the way we were at eachothers throats...(looking around at each person) To any person walking by, we weren't even friends. (pauses, and everyone looks around thinking shes done, but just as JAMES opens his mouth to speack, she starts up again) But, I was wrong.

JAMES: (acting astonished) Mark it on your calendars people, McKenzie Fulton was wrong. (McKENZIE punches him playfully in the arm as ANNE hits him upside the head, again) OW! (turning towards ANNE) Why do you always do that.

ANNE: Because maybe, one of these days, I'll hit you hard enough so that you learn to keep your mouth shut.

McKENZIE: (starting to laugh) See! This is what I was afraid of....

JAMES: That I would learn to keep my mouth shut? (dodges ANNE's fist, but get's punched in the arm by TYLER, who is now between him and ANNE) What was that for?

TYLER: (pointing at him) Because she wasn't hitting you hard enough to shake anything loose in that thick skull of yours.

JAMES: (rubbing his sore arm;sarcasticly) Yes, MOTHER.

TYLER: (raising his fist) You're asking for it!

McKENZIE: (laughing again; speaking up) I was afraid that we wouldn't be able to laugh like this again. To be happy.

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EVERYONE LOOKS AROUND AT EACHOTHER, TO REALIZE THAT THEY WERE ALL SMILING.

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ANNE: (smile fading) But should we be able to laugh like this? (looking around) So soon?

TYLER: (putting an arm around ANNE and JAMES) This is what she would want.

McKENZIE: Us. Together, living our lives without regret, and remembering the times that we shared together....

NICK: And loving eachother for as long as we live.

JAMES: (seriously) You know what we need now?

ANNE: (worried) I'm afraid to ask.

McKENZIE: (indulging him) What. What do we need now?

JAMES: Flowers.

TYLER: What?

JAMES: (still serioius) It has been almost three months since the accident, and we still haven't visited her memorial out on the highway.

ANNE: Your right.

McKENZIE: This is definately a day we should mark on the calendar...I admitted to being wrong, and Anne admitted that James was right. Wow.

NICK: Let's go. (standing up)

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EVERYONE GETS UP TO LEAVE, (HEADING DIAGONALY TO THE BACK STAGE LEFT). NICK WITH HIS ARM AROUND McKENZIE'S (AS IF ESCORTING HER), FOLLOWED BY ANNE AND TYLER (HAND-IN-HAND), AND JAMES, BRINGING UP THE REAR, SPEAKING LOUDLY, SO THAT NICK & McKENZIE CAN HEAR HIM.

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JAMES: You know what else we need? (throwing his arms around ANNE and TYLER, breaking them up) Some music.

TYLER: (in a normal tone) Why?

(JAMES clears his throat)

TYLER: Oh, NO! Don't you start singing. (everyone but TYLER starts to laugh, except James)

(NICK throws the rose from TORIN at TYLER, who catches it)

JAMES: (breaking out in song [off key] while making their way back stage, singing the begining to "I'll Be There") You and I must make a pact. We must bring salvation back. Where there is love, I'll be there.

TYLER: (from off stage) MAKE HIM STOP! PLEASE MAKE HIM STOP!

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LIGHTS GO DOWN TO THE SOUNDS OF JAMES SINGING, AND EVERYONE LAUGHING. SPOT COMES UP ON TORIN SITTING IN HER MEMORIAL, HOLDING ONE OF THE STUFFED ANIMALS THAT WAS THERE BEFORE, AS McKENZIE AND NICK WALK BACK ON STAGE FROM AROUND THE CURTAIN AND STAND LOOKING AT THE MEMORIAL.

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McKENZIE: (lighting a candle as she sets it down in an open space next to TORIN, but speaking at the road sign) We'll always miss you.

NICK: (putting an arm around McKENZIE) And we will always love you.

TORIN:(talking to herself, and looking at the ground as she rocks) I know. I will, too.

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LIGHTS GO OUT.

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END.

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