A Wanting Of Winter

A Ten-Minute Play By Nick Comunelli

Characters

CHARLES Age: 33. Remembers the last time it snowed. He wants his kid to be happy

JOHN Age: 12. Enjoys life and loves his dad.

DR. Edson Age: 55. Kinda crazy scientist. Old friend of Charles

Mrs. Foust Age: 42. Disapproves of Charles' parenting techniques.

SETTING: Colorado, year 2123

Author's Note: The stage is always blank, except in Dr. Edson's scene. There are no set pieces, just props, like Dr. Edson's device. All of the characters wear all white. It is all clean and utopian looking. Since there is not set, use the edge of the stage or windows and such. Also, Charles is a single parent, though it is not expressly stated in the play, it is implied at points.

(Dim lights up on a blank stage. CHARLES walks out on stage as he starts talking. He is dressed in all white. As CHARLES talks, it slowly gets brighter as the sun rises.)

CHARLES

The morning is the only time of day when there isn't much sun light. After around ten in the morning, it's always ninety-five degrees, even here in Colorado. The weather hasn't been right in many years, since I was a kid. My kid, John doesn't even know what weather is. He just knows that it's always sunny outside.

JOHN

(Runs on stage and hugs CHARLES. He is also dressed in a crisp clean utopian white outfit.)

Dad!

CHARLES

(Returns the hug)

Hey, John. What are your plans for the day?

JOHN

The same as usual, go over to Annie's to start with and we'll see where the day takes us from there. Are you doing anything later?

CHARLES

I haven't made any plans, so I should be around if you want to do something later. And at least be inside while you're at Annie's. You need some break from the sun today. And think about what you want to get her for Christmas. You don't have much longer.

JOHN

Don't worry; I'll come up with something.

CHARLES

Don't forget to get her something or she'll get mad at you.

JOHN

Why?

CHARLES

(Ruffles JOHN's hair.)

You'll learn when you're older. Now run off. I'll see you later.

(JOHN exits. CHARLES watches in the direction he went for a moment. Then MRS. FOUST enters from the opposite side.)

MRS. FOUST

Good morning, Charles. How is John doing?

CHARLES

Oh, Mrs. Foust, good morning to you too. John is fine as far as I'm aware.

MRS. FOUST

Well have you asked him recently how he is?

CHARLES

No, but he seems quite happy. It is winter break after all. What kid doesn't love winter break?

MRS. FOUST

My children got bored during their winter breaks when they were younger. Is John bored?

CHARLES

Well he hasn't said anything about being bored. He did say he was going off to do his usual for the day.

MRS. FOUST

His usual? He has a routine already? Routines aren't good for kids. Routines are such adult things, and John is not an adult. It doesn't allow for their brains to grow and develop.

CHARLES

I'm aware how old my offspring is, Mrs. Foust. And it's not really a routine. He just has certain things he likes to do, so he does them.

MRS. FOUST

He should broaden his horizons. That's what I did with my oldest. I made him do things he didn't want to do and he is doing great in high school.

CHARLES

What did you make him do?

MRS. FOUST

Play sports, date girls, you know, high school stuff.

CHARLES

And Thomas is doing well?

MRS. FOUST

Thomas is an excellent athlete. And it helps him focus so his grades are outstanding.

CHARLES

What about the dating girls thing?

MRS. FOUST

What are you getting at Charles?

CHARLES

Nothing. Thomas is a great kid. I just think that as a parent, you need to have realistic expectations of who your kid is.

MRS. FOUST

You also need to have a grasp on whether or not your child is happy. And in my honest opinion, I do not think John is happy.

CHARLES

Then I need to make him happy. How do I do that?

MRS. FOUST

Well, what made you happy at this time of year when you were his age?

CHARLES

(Chuckling)

Presents.

MRS. FOUST

Such a typical answer for a man. Anything else? Something less…capitalist.

CHARLES

I enjoyed being with my family.

MRS. FOUST

Well John doesn't really have that luxury does he?

CHARLES

I am his family.

MRS. FOUST

(Ignoring CHARLES's tone)

Was there anything else from your childhood?

CHARLES

(He thinks for a moment and then)

Snow!

MRS. FOUST

(She laughs at the idea)

It hasn't snowed in twenty years, Charles. Get your head out of the sand. You can't give the child snow.

CHARLES

(He doesn't hear her. He is hooked on the idea of snow.)

Snow…That would fix everything. It would give us something to do together. It'd be a great new adventure for him, something different. It's the answer to everything and more!

MRS. FOUST

That's all good and well Charles, but if you haven't noticed, there isn't any weather anymore. All we ever have is sunshine. We drove the weather out.

CHARLES

Come now, Mrs. Foust. Don't tell me you aren't a believer in science. Almost anything is possible these days.

MRS. FOUST

You don't think science has tried to fix the weather? What do you think all of the scientists have been doing for twenty years?

CHARLES

Not all of the scientists.

(Shakes MRS. FOUST's hand excitedly.)

Thank you so much, Mrs. Foust, but there's someone I have to go see right away. Tell Thomas I said hi. Bye.

(CHARLES runs off stage in the direction JOHN ran off)

MRS. FOUST

What a strange man.

(Lights dim only for a second. In that time, MRS. FOUST exits. DR. EDSON comes on, carrying an assortment of aluminum duct pieces, an unattached light switch, and she is wearing a hard hat, white of course. Also there is now a metal table, which she deposits her items on. Lights up. She is messing with the stuff in her hands, clearly disorganized as can be. Then CHARLES rushes in.)

CHARLES

Dr. Edson!

DR. EDSON

(Startled, she drops her assortment of items.)

Charles, goodness, you scared me. You really must knock before entering. You never know, I could be working on something dangerous, which of course, I am.

CHARLES

I would have knocked, but it appears you don't a door anymore.

DR. EDSON

Oh yes, that. I forgot about that one. By the way, I believe I proved that ectoplasm is real. You just shouldn't touch it…

CHARLES

That's interesting. You must let me read the lab reports at some point. If they still exist that is. But anyway, do you have room in your mind for another experiment?

DR. EDSON

Charles, you've known me since college. Of course I have room in my head. There is just no room on my table. I must complete this experiment first.

CHARLES

Another time then.

DR. EDSON

I didn't say this would take long. Stay right where you are. That should be a safe distance.

CHARLES

Safe distance for what?

DR. EDSON

I, Dr. Edson, am on the verge of developing a particle accelerator with the radius of a car wheel.

(She attaches the ends of one of the pieces of duct to each other to complete a circle. She steps back, standing behind CHARLES. She dramatically flicks the light switch. Nothing happens. DR. EDSON flicks the switch several more times, and still nothing happens.)

Oh well, I tried. I'll try again tomorrow. No what was your idea?

CHARLES

(Pauses for dramatic effect)

Snow.

DR. EDSON

(Looks at CHARLES like he's lost his mind)

Charles, that's not new. Nature invented that on day one.

CHARLES

Have you looked outside recently? I think nature retired.

DR. EDSON

There are other scientists already working fixing the weather.

CHARLES

And how are they doing?

DR. EDSON

Well, that one lab in Missouri tried to recreate tornadoes.

(CHARLES waits for the end)

And the lab was destroyed. Fine, so they aren't getting anywhere.

CHARLES

See? And snow is much less dangerous than tornadoes.

DR. EDSON

Why snow, Charles?

CHARLES

Do you know what time of year it is? There should be snow. There was snow, when we were little. Don't you remember the last time there was snow?

DR. EDSON

Of course I remember. I have some in my freezer in the other room.

(CHARLES gives her a look)

I had a feeling it needed to be preserved. Look, okay, you want to try and make it snow. I'll try. There is one thing I can think of.

CHARLES

And what is that?

DR. EDSON

Atmospheric disturbance.

CHARLES

As long as it isn't anything crazy.

DR. EDSON

I thought that's why you came to me, Charles.

Now wait here. I may have just the thing to try this. But if this doesn't work, no snow.

(DR. EDSON runs off stage. After a minute, she returns with silver box that has a red light bulb on top.)

CHARLES

You're going to disturb the atmosphere all right.

(DR. EDSON gives him a look but proceeds in attaching a piece of aluminum duct to one side of the box and then to another. She steps back, holding the light switch in her hand. It's still not attached to anything.)

DR. EDSON

Science really has condensed everything into just a few parts. I can't decide if I like it or find it rather dull. Oh well, a question for another day. The question of the day is does this work?

CHARLES

Shouldn't we move it outside or something?

DR. EDSON

Charles, who is the scientist here?

(Pause)

That's right. Now, stand back.

(She shoos him back a few steps. She flicks the light switch. The red light comes on. She leaves it on for a moment and then turns it off. She runs to the window and looks out)

Hello Mr. Sun. I see you're still there being bright and all. Maybe if I just tinker with a few things…

(She goes back to the machine and proceeds to poke at a few things with a screwdriver she pulled out of her pocket. After a few moments of tinkering, DR. EDSON steps back and takes the light switch from CHARLES.)

Let's try this again.

(She flicks the switch and again the light turns on, and this time there is a humming sound. After a moment, she turns the device off. She goes over and checks the window again.)

I think the atmosphere is so disturbed already, my device won't do anything to help.I'm sorry Charles, but I cannot make it snow.

CHARLES

It's okay. Thank you for trying though. I just wanted John to be happy.

DR. EDSON

Why would you think he is anything but happy?

CHARLES

My neighbor said something and I guess it just got to me that she thought I was doing a good job parenting John.

DR. EDSON

Charles, you're doing a great job with John. I'm sure he's happy.

CHARLES

I just wanted him to experience the same joy that I did when I was his age in the wintertime.

DR. EDSON

I doubt John cares about the weather. He's never seen anything but sunshine anyway. He doesn't know the difference. It's like ignorance is bliss.

CHARLES

I don't know. I think every kid has an inner understanding of what snow is and what it means.

DR. EDSON

If you really think snow is that important to John's happiness, I think I have some of the last snow somewhere in my other lab room. I'll be right back.

(DR. EDSON leaves the room. After a moment, JOHN enters and runs over to CHARLES.)

JOHN

Dad! I thought you might be here.

CHARLES

How did you know where to find me?

JOHN

Mrs. Foust said something you were rambling about creating snow, and there's only one other person crazy enough to try it, Dr. Edson.

CHARLES

Oh, Mrs. Foust. But I thought you were going to hang out at Annie's today.

JOHN

I was going to, but on my way there, I realized you and I haven't hung out at all during my break from school. So I came home to do something with you.

(DR. EDSON enters as JOHN says this last part. She and CHARLES make eye contact. She is holding a small silver box, some of her preserved snow. CHARLES shakes his head and she backs out of the room. CHARLES embraces JOHN.)

CHARLES

Of course we can do something. What did you have in mind?

JOHN

Well I heard about a section of the river that is great for tube races. And I bet I could beat you.

CHARLES

I'll take that bet. Your dad has won many a tube race before and he can do it again.

JOHN

That's what you think.

(He runs off stage. Once he is gone, DR. EDSON re-enters. She gives CHARLES a look.)

CHARLES

Let me guess, you told me so?

DR. EDSON

And do you believe me now?

CHARLES

Don't gloat. It's not polite.

(The two friends stare at each other for a moment and then break into smiles. They hug it out. JOHN pokes his head back in.)

JOHN

Dad, are you coming or not?

CHARLES

Yes, yes, I'm coming. Goodbye, old friend.

DR. EDSON

Goodbye, Charles. Go enjoy the sunshine with your son.

(CHARLES waves to his friend as he exits with JOHN. DR. EDSON watches in the direction they left for a moment. The lights get dimmer, like clouds passing in front of the sun. DR. EDSON walks over to the window again and looks out.)

Well that's not exactly river tubing weather.

(She walks over and gives her machine a friendly pat before going offstage. After a moment, lights got out.)

FIN