Act One, Scene One
Grove City High School, Graduation Day
[The graduation march plays. A voice calls out, "Congratulations, class of 2016!" The sound of students cheering follows. The curtain opens on teenagers in caps and gowns clothing milling around, talking and shaking hands. Four boys stand in the foreground, arms around each others' shoulders, as they grin broadly for a woman with a camera]
SYBIL: [Snapping several pictures] Oh, you all look so handsome! I can't believe you're actually graduating. It seems that just yesterday… [Stopping abruptly, she lowers the camera] Can I get a couple with just Daniel and Sandy? [Ted and Fletcher step out of frame] Thank you.
DANIEL: [Speaking through his smile] You coming to the party at my house tonight? There'll be karaoke.
SANDY: [As the boys switch to a handshaking pose] While I would love nothing more than to hear your rendition of "Forever Young", I'm afraid I'm going to have to miss it. My mother wants me to stay in with the family tonight.
SYBIL: Are you sure, Sandy? It wouldn't be much of a party without Daniel's best friend there.
SANDY: [Laughing awkwardly] Sorry, Mrs. Stull. My mom's word is law.
[The attention shifts over to Ted and Fletcher, who are talking with a girl, Rebecca]
REBECCA: I'm having dinner with my parents until seven, and then they're leaving for the weekend for my aunt's wedding. The house will be empty all night.
TED: What about your sisters?
REBECCA: [Grinning] They both have sleepovers they're going to. You guys in?
FLETCHER: [Shaking his head] I think I'm just going to go home. I'm kind of tired.
REBECCA: [Scowling] So, Fletcher's out. What about you, Ted?
[Before he can answer, a girl rushes up behind him and wraps her arms around his torso]
LINDA: We'll both be there. [The couple briefly kiss]
REBECCA: [Ticking off her fingers] Great, so that's Ted, Linda…what about Sandy?
TED: He says his mother is making him spend time with his family, but he can sneak out.
REBECCA: That just leaves Avery. [Sighing] She won't come, she never wants to hang out.
LINDA: [Grinning] Just tell her Sandy will be there. She'll change her mind pretty quick.
[Several girls call Rebecca's name, wanting to take pictures. The group disbands, with Rebecca heading toward the girls, Linda and Ted joining her parents, and Fletcher walking offstage, his hands deep in his pockets. Sandy finally manages to shake off Daniel and his mother. He hurries over to his own family. Cut to black]
Act One, Scene Two
Rebecca's Living Room, That Night
[The only props are a couch, an armchair, and a coffee table, upon which are several bottles of wine and a bowl of pretzels. Rebecca stands alone, talking to Avery on her phone]
REBECCA: Look, can't you just sneak away for, like, an hour? [Listens, examining her fingernails] I see…well, far be it from me to drag you away from your family, I just thought you might like a little break. [Sighing] All right, I guess I'll talk to you later. [Smiling slightly] And I'll make sure to give Sandy your love. [Listens, her smile growing wider] Wow, your schedule cleared right up there, didn't it? [Laughing] I'll see you soon then. Bye.
[Rebecca hangs up and sits down on the couch. A doorbell chimes]
REBECCA: Come in!
[Ted, Linda, and Sandy walk onstage, all in their pajamas. Linda joins Rebecca on the couch, while Sandy claims the armchair and Ted hunkers down beside him on the floor]
TED: [Grabbing one of the wine bottles and looking at the label] So, what are we drinking tonight?
REBECCA: [With a very sophisticated air] Ah, tonight we will be partaking in the finest wines my kitchen pantry has to offer.
LINDA: [Taking the bottle from Ted] Fancy, fancy.
SANDY: Won't your parents notice that you've gotten into their stash?
REBECCA: [Waving him off] I'll replace what we drink with grape juice, they'll never notice the difference. [Smirking] If you check the price tag on the bottom of that bottle you're holding, Linda, then you'll see that my parents don't really care about the quality of their wine. They usually chug it down too fast to notice the taste.
[As Ted and Sandy begin to talk about something that happened earlier that day, Rebecca turns to Linda]
REBECCA: [In a low voice] So…how are things with you two? [Looks pointedly at Ted] Have you two discussed at all what's going to happen in August?
LINDA: [Looking down and shaking her head] No. I've kinda been avoiding it. [Looking up] It's just so good right now. We're spending all our time together…God, Rebecca, I'm crazy about him! [Smiling brightly, but quickly faltering] I just wish we hadn't waited to get together until five months before graduation. [Sighing] We could have had years, and now we're down to two months.
REBECCA: Maybe not. Maybe he'll want to try the long distance thing. [Shrugging] Although, you know what my views are on that.
LINDA: Yeah, you think it's a bad idea, I know.
REBECCA: Either way, you'll never know how he feels until you talk to him. [Smiling slightly] Maybe he'll break up with you right then and there so you won't have to make a decision.
LINDA: [Mockingly] Oh, that's funny. [Biting her thumbnail] But how do I even bring it up?
REBECCA: Get drunk first.
LINDA: I'm serious.
REBECCA: So am I! [Taking the bottle from Linda] Trust me, it's much easier to have a difficult conversation when you've got a little wine in you. [Smiling] Have a glass, it'll relax you.
[She holds out the bottle to Linda who, after a brief moment of hesitation, takes it and smiles]
REBECCA: Okay. [To Ted and Sandy] Shall we get started?
SANDY: Wait, where's Avery?
REBECCA: [Muttering to Linda out of the corner of her mouth] Probably still preening.
[As Linda giggles, the doorbell chimes for a second time]
REBECCA: Come in!
[Avery walks onstage. She is in her pajamas, just like everyone else. She waves to her friends and sits down on the floor beside the armchair where Sandy is sitting]
REBECCA: [Spreading her arms wide] Now that we're finally all together, pass me the corkscrew! [Lifting the bottle in her hand upward] Tonight, we drink to our youth!
[Cut to black. Ted is now taking up most of the couch, with Linda sitting in between his knees. Rebecca is on the floor beside the coffee table. Avery is in the armchair, her knees drawn up to her chest. Sandy is perched on the back of the couch, and he is obviously the drunkest of the five teenagers. All of them are holding glasses of wine]
SANDY: [Taking a swig of his wine and grimacing] Wine is…wine is gross. [Slurring his words slightly] Why do adults drink it?
AVERY: Without it, they don't know how to laugh.
[Sandy sighs, drains the rest of his wine, and holds his glass out for Rebecca to refill. He takes a sip and sighs again]
SANDY: I'm going to be a failure.
TED: [Chuckling] Sandy, king of non sequiturs.
SANDY: I'm…I'm serious, Ted. I'm going to fail. I'm going to be a big, fat failure.
TED: No, you're not, you're going to be fine. [Looking at Rebecca] You cut him off.
SANDY: [Growing more agitated] Don't you ever worry that you won't succeed? Don't you…don't you ever worry that you're not going to live up to your potential? [Sips his wine] When we were little, our parents and our teachers filled our heads with these…these fantasies that we can achieve whatever we want, be whatever we want to be. I decided on being a movie director when I was eight. [Swaying slightly] I want to win an Oscar by the time I'm thirty. Could I have set a more impossible goal for myself? [Looking down into his glass, dejected] I'm going to fail.
AVERY: [Staring straight ahead at nothing in particular] So?
SANDY: [Looking up, startled] What?
AVERY: So you never direct a critically acclaimed film. That's not you failing to live up to your potential. It doesn't even matter.
SANDY: [Looking around, confused] What do you mean?
AVERY: [Leaning forward and looking Sandy in the eye] When you complain that you're worried that you're not going to live up to your potential, that's code for "I'm worried that I'm never going to be recognized for the genius that I am." [Leaning back and sipping her wine] How successful you are does not depend upon how many awards you accumulate or how revered you are by the general public. Success is working hard at something that you love, a project you believe in. It's putting all your effort into something without thinking about the outcome. [Looking away] You might direct a critically acclaimed move. You might win an Oscar. [Shrugging] Then again, you might not. But that doesn't matter. You might die without anyone knowing who you are, but it doesn't matter. Fame and talent are two different things, and if what you're shooting for is universal admiration, then no, you will never live up to your potential.
SANDY: [Still uncomprehending in his inebriated state] I just…I just want an Oscar to lord over my older brother.
AVERY: [Snorting] You're going to be a happy adult, Sandy.
SANDY: Happier than my brother.
TED: [Sitting up suddenly and pointing at Sandy's crotch] Sandy! You peed yourself!
SANDY: [Scrambling] What?
[In his haste to check whether or not he's peed himself, Sandy falls behind the couch. Rebecca and Ted roar with laughter, Linda peeks over the couch to check on Sandy, and Avery shakes her head, smiling]
SANDY: [Groaning] You're a jerk, Ted.
TED: [Shrugging] At least my pants are dry.
SANDY: [Popping up from behind the couch] I did not pee myself.
TED: Yes, but the very fact that you had to check is pretty embarrassing. [Takes his first sip of wine and immediately spits it back into his glass] God, this is disgusting. [Looks at Rebecca] Got anything a little more…palatable?
AVERY: [To Rebecca] Doesn't your mom keep a bottle of schnapps in her sock drawer?
REBECCA: [Nodding] Ah, yes, her emergency schnapps. [Getting to her feet] I'll go grab it.
[Rebecca starts to leave, but stops as she notices Linda, who is biting her lip and watching Ted as he continues to tease Sandy. She looks like she is bursting to say something, and as she catches Rebecca's eye, the two girls nod at each other in understanding]
REBECCA: [To Avery] Avery, why don't you come help me?
AVERY: [Looking up at Rebecca, confused] You need help? Jeez, how heavy is your mother's schnapps?
REBECCA: [Looking pointedly at Ted and Linda] Just…just come help me.
AVERY: [Sighing and getting to her feet] All right.
REBECCA: [Muttering under her breath as they walk away] Trust me, you're not going to want to be in the room for the next few minutes.
[They walk offstage, with Avery giving Rebecca a completely bewildered look, leaving Ted, Linda, and Sandy alone. Sandy slumps back behind the couch with a groan. Ted begins to play with Linda's hair, at ease. Linda, on the other hand, appears distressed]
LINDA: [Picking at her pinky nail] What's going to happen in August, before we leave for school? [Looking up] Are we going to break up?
TED: [Stops playing with her hair] What?
[Linda pushes herself up and moves to the other end of the couch. She turns so she and Ted are facing each other]
LINDA: Are we going to break up in August?
TED: [Looking down] Is that what you want to do?
LINDA: No, of course not!
TED: [Sitting up] Then why are we even talking about it?
LINDA: [Frustrated] Well, haven't you thought about it? What's going to happen to us when we go off to school? I mean, you're going off to Colorado for law school, and I'm staying here in Grove City. [Scratching her arm] That's over a thousand miles between us. We'll never see each other! [Tilting her head to the side] You seriously haven't thought about it at all?
TED: Not really, no.
LINDA: [Angrily] Ted!
TED: I haven't thought about it because imagining a future that you're not a part of, even just as my friend, is too hard. [Sighing, he pulls her closer to him] Look, if we try the long distance thing, it'll be good at first. Then, we'll slowly stop talking everyday, only texting every once in a while to see what the other's doing. It'll be awkward. Finally, we'll stop talking altogether until you call me a week before Christmas break to tell me that you're dumping me for an Italian guy named Pietro!
LINDA: [Smiling despite herself] I doubt I'll meet any Italian guys at Grove City College.
TED: [Pushing on] And if we plan on breaking up in August, then we'll just be dreading it rather than enjoying our summer together. [He grabs her hand and kisses her fingers] So I am choosing not to think about it.
LINDA: [Softly, almost embarrassed] I love you.
TED: [Smiling] I love you, too.
[The couple kisses. Still unseen behind the couch, Sandy loudly sniffs back tears]
SANDY: [Tearfully] I'm rooting for you two crazy kids!
[Rebecca and Avery walk back onstage. Rebecca is carrying a small bottle of schnapps, which she tosses to Ted]
TED: [Catching the bottle] Thanks. [He takes a sip and seems to enjoy it] Yeah, that's a lot better. [Looking at the label] What's in this? [Squinting] What is this word?
REBECCA: [Severely butchering the word] It's Kirschwasser. Mom got it a couple months ago when she and Dad went to Germany for their anniversary. I think it's made with cherries. [Reclaiming her spot on the couch] I'm going to Germany someday.
AVERY: [Sitting in the armchair] Then you better get a firmer grasp of the language, because that pronunciation was embarrassing.
REBECCA: [Ignoring her] And not just Germany. I'm going to travel all across Europe. [Growing more excited] Biscottis in Italy, Big Ben in London…I'll spend my days in Paris smoking cigarettes in outdoor cafés. [Holds her fingers to her lips and pretends to exhale smoke]
AVERY: And how will you pay for this little excursion, Hemingway?
REBECCA: I'll strap all my belongings to my back and hitchhike across the continent. I'll…I'll eat out of dumpsters! [Thoughtfully] You know, I bet Parisian dumpster food is still better than most food in America. [Smiling] I'll sleep on park benches and stay in hostels-
SANDY: [Suddenly popping up] This is…this is…this is literally the plot to…to…Hostel. [Slightly crazed] Do…do you want to d-die?
REBECCA: Shhh… [She slowly pushes him back behind the couch before turning to Avery] And do you know how easy it is to traverse across Europe? Everything is right next to each other! Do you know what the Three-Country Cairn is?
REBECCA: It's the spot where Finland, Norway, and Sweden meet. You could be standing in three countries at once!
AVERY: [Looking down at Rebecca's feet] How many feet do you have again?
REBECCA: [Without missing a beat] You could have one foot in Sweden, one in Finland, and a hand in Norway.
LINDA: Like Twister!
REBECCA: Yes, Linda, like Twister. [Sighing and drifting off into a daydream] God, I can't wait to get away from this house.
[She trails off. The room is silent for a few moments. Avery swirls her still mostly full glass of wine]
REBECCA: [Suddenly] But tonight is about celebrating. We're high school graduates now, we'll be off on our own soon, forging new paths for ourselves and all that. Forget the past! [Raising her glass] To the future!
TED, LINDA, & AVERY: [In unison] The future!
[As they clink their glasses, there is suddenly a loud barfing noise behind the couch. Everyone immediately scrambles to check on Sandy]
TED: [Concerned] How much did he drink?
[Rebecca walks over to the table and picks up two of the bottles. She holds them up to check the amount of liquid left]
REBECCA: There's almost nothing left. [Thinking back] I had two glasses, so did Linda, Avery barely had anything, and you took a couple of sips of schnapps…that's about one bottle, but somehow we went through two. [Looking down at Sandy, astounded] You drank a whole bottle of wine all by yourself?
AVERY: You're the one who kept refilling his glass!
REBECCA: I wasn't paying attention!
TED: Jeez, Sandy, ever heard of pacing yourself? [He starts to help him up] Somebody give me a hand.
[Avery and Ted pull Sandy to his feet, where he hangs between them limply. Painstakingly, they walk him over to the couch and lay him down]
AVERY: [Looking down at Sandy] What do we do?
TED: He can't go home like that. His mother would kill him. [Running his fingers through his hair] I think we should just let him sleep it off.
SANDY: [With great difficulty] This was…this…was such a b-bad…bad idea. [Begins to retch again]
REBECCA: [Panicking] Not on the couch!
[She picks up the bowl from the table, dumps the pretzels out on the floor, and holds it under Sandy's head just in time. He begins to vomit again]
SANDY: [In between vomiting] I'm sor-sorry, Rebe-Rebecca.
REBECCA: [Exasperatedly] It's fine, just shut up. [Grimacing as a fresh wave of vomiting hits, she looks to Ted] How long do you think this will last?
TED: Maybe all night. I think he'll be fine, but we should keep an eye on him in case he gets any worse.
REBECCA: Any worse? [Looks down at Sandy, who is breathing heavily after his vomiting spell] How could he get any worse?
TED: Well, he could choke on his vomit and die.
AVERY: [Snorting and shaking her head] What a way to go.
TED: Which is why we just need to watch him, make sure he's okay.
REBECCA: [Sighing] Fine. [To Avery] Can you take over here? I want clean up that mess behind the couch.
[Avery and Rebecca switch places]
REBECCA: [To Ted and Linda] You two. There are cleaning supplies under the bathroom sink upstairs. Go grab them, and I'll meet you back here with the scented candles. Ready? Break!
[The three kids walk offstage, leaving Avery and Sandy alone. As Sandy begins to vomit again, Avery sighs and holds the bowl up higher for him. Cut to black. The room is now lit with several scented candles. Ted is sprawled out on the couch, asleep. Rebecca and Linda are leaning against the couch, heads tilted toward each other, also asleep. Sandy and Avery are awake, sitting cross-legged, facing each other, in the center of the stage. Sandy's head is pointed downward, toward the bowl on the floor]
AVERY: [Softly] How do you feel?
SANDY: [Groaning] Brilliant.
AVERY: [Smiling slightly] Let this be a lesson to you…
SANDY: No, I have learned absolutely nothing from this experience. [Weakly] Alcohol is great! I want more of it.
[Avery laughs, but stops as Ted shifts in his sleep. She looks down]
AVERY: [After a while] Sandy?
AVERY: If I ask you something, do you think you'll remember it tomorrow?
SANDY: Probably not.
AVERY: [Hesitantly] Am I…unlovable?
SANDY: [Confused] What do you mean?
AVERY: [With difficulty] I mean…I'm eighteen years old I've never…I've never kissed anyone. I've never even come close.
SANDY: Are you…propositioning me? Because I'm flattered, but I'd think, in my current state, I'd be pretty…unappealing.
AVERY: No, I'm asking you-as a person whose known me for years-if there's something inherently unlovable about me. What's so wrong with me that I've never had a…a boyfriend?
AVERY: [Cutting him off] I'm not saying that I'm, like, ready to get married tomorrow or anything. [Scratching her arm] It would just be comforting to know that, someday, I'll have…somebody who will love me…unconditionally.
SANDY: You will.
AVERY: But what if I don't? Because there's just something about me that turns people off. Am I cold? Mean? I know I can be difficult, but am I really that bad? [Looking down] I don't want to be alone.
SANDY: You won't. You aren't. Avery…I know you feel like that now, like you'll never find someone, but…you will. And as far as why you never had a boyfriend in high school…I promise, it's not you. The pickings were slim.
AVERY: [Smiling] Sandy-
SANDY: [Cutting her off] No, seriously, look at your options! I spent the night with my head in a bowl of my own vomit. [Shoving his head toward her] Smell my hair.
AVERY: [Grimacing and pulling away] I'm good, thanks.
SANDY: Ted's decent, I guess, but he's taken, so that leaves…who? Daniel Stull? You want to date Daniel Stull? You want to spend the rest of your life listening to poorly sung covers of Fall Out Boy? [Leaning in] And don't forget…Sybil Stull would be your mother-in-law. [Shivers] God, could you imagine? She'd never let you leave Grove City, she wouldn't want her precious son living too far away. [Leans even closer in] Church and brunch every Sunday…forever. [Leans back out] And the political discussions!
AVERY: Okay, enough, I don't want to have any nightmares. [Getting to her feet and nudging Sandy's head as she walks past] Goodnight, Sandy.
SANDY: [Smiling] Night.
[Avery settles into the armchair, while Sandy lies back with his arms behind his head. Cut to black. Ted, Sandy, Avery, and Linda are all asleep. Sandy is spread-eagle on the floor and Avery is curled up in the armchair. Ted and Linda are in their same positions from the night before. Rebecca walks onstage, holding a skillet]
REBECCA: [Cheerfully] Morning!
[Everybody groans as they wake up. They sit up and begin to stretch out their stiff limbs]
REBECCA: I made Eggs Benedict Cumberbatch!
AVERY: What is that?
REBECCA: Well, I was trying to make them sunny-side up, but…there was a bit of a mishap and the yolks broke open. [Holding out the skillet] Kind of like Sherlock's head after he jumped off-
LINDA: [Cutting her off as she sticks her fingers in her ears] La la la, I haven't seen that episode yet!
REBECCA: [Talking loudly over her] That episode came out years ago, Linda, the two week grace period has come and gone! [Nudging Sandy with her foot] How are you?
SANDY: Better, thanks. [Rubbing the back of his head] What time is it?
REBECCA: Almost nine. Which means my parents will be home soon. Which means you all need to be gone. [Handing Sandy the skillet] Eat up and get out. [She walks offstage]
SANDY: [Calling after her] What, no fork?
[A fork is thrown from offstage. Sandy picks it up]
TED: [Yawing widely as he stretches his arms high above his head] What a night. Good company, good schnapps…and bonus, I got to see Sandy make a complete ass of himself.
REBECCA: [Running back on stage, excited] Oh, that's not the bonus. [Pointing offstage] Somebody toilet-papered Sybil Stull's house last night!
[Everybody jumps to their feet and hurries offstage, talking excitedly. Sandy brings the skillet with him. End Act One]