Sweethearts

Characters:

BARNABY: Initially shy, and has a stutter.

OLIVIA: Initially outgoing, and very articulate.

PA ANNOUNCER/FUNNEL CAKE VENDOR: A high school student (spoken over the God Microphone.)

MOTHER: A bystander.

UNCLE: A catalyst.

Setting:

Suburbia. From childhood to adolescence, over the course of 15 years.

Scene i

[At rise, we see a paddling pool for little kids at a community swim club. In the distance, the adults and older children swim in the larger pool. There is patio furniture is strewn about including a table with an umbrella, folding chairs, and lounge chairs for sunning. There are also beach towels lying on the grass with bags and belongings indicating the pool is busy. Loud 1990's Alternative Rock music can be heard blaring from the PA system. A little girl named OLIVIA, dressed in a black bikini with neon flowers and pigtails, is joyfully splashing around in the paddling pool by herself. Her MOTHER sits and keeps a watchful eye on her from the table with the umbrella. A little boy named BARNABY, dressed in Mickey Mouse swim trunks and short hair, is standing holding the hands of his UNCLE and quietly keeping to himself. Both children are toddlers. Suddenly, the music stops. OLIVIA swims over to BARNABY, splashes him, giggles, then quickly leans in and kisses him on the lips.]

OLIVIA

I pick you!
[BARNABY falls backwards, splashing and smiling.]

PA ANNOUNCER

Slide on in kids! Adult swim is now over!
[Black-out.]

Scene ii

[The lights come up, and we are again at the pool. A couple of years have passed and the two children are finishing pre-school. OLIVIA is wearing a big t-shirt. Her MOTHER still looks on from the table with the umbrella and chairs. OLIVIA sits with BARNABY, also wearing a big t-shirt, and his UNCLE on their beach blankets. The 1990's Alternative Rock airs softly in the background. The two children play with a coloring book and some crayons. OLIVIA is humming Disney songs, and BARNABY is quiet.]

UNCLE

I'll be right back. I need to use the big boys room. Play nice!

BARNABY

[Nods in the affirmative.]

OLIVIA

Okie dokie, Artichokie!
[UNCLE exits.]
I'm Olivia. What's your name?

BARNABY

[With a stutter.]
I'm Ba... Ba... Barnaby.

OLIVIA

[All of time freezes for a moment. Colored lights flash, and the sound of a beautiful chime rings. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and beaming.]
You have a stutter?

BARNABY

Ya…Ya… Yes.

OLIVIA

That's AMAZING! I want a stutter!

BARNABY

Re… Re… Really? Why?

OLIVIA

'Cause it's classic!

BARNABY

Okay. I... I don't think so. I… I sound funny.

OLIVIA

You sound nifty!

BARNABY

Na… Na… Nifty?

OLIVIA

Yeah… You sound so cool! I don't know. It's like… BINGO!

BARNABY

BINGO!

OLIVIA

[Kisses BARNABY on the cheek.]
You're my childhood sweetheart!

BARNABY

I am?

OLIVIA

You are!

BARNABY

W… W… What's that?

OLIVIA

It means I like you!

BARNABY

Okay. I… I like you, too!

OLIVIA

Where do you go to pre-school?

BARNABY

I… I go to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. W… W… Where do you go?

OLIVIA

Me too! Who's your teacher?

BARNABY

Ma… Ma… Mrs. Charles.

OLIVIA

Me too! Are you in the morning class?

BARNABY

I am.

OLIVIA

I'm in the afternoon.
[Pause.]
Oh! My mommy is waving.

BARNABY

Ma… Ma… My uncle is here.
[Enter UNCLE.]

UNCLE

I'm back! Did you miss me?

BARNABY

[Nods in the affirmative.]

OLIVIA

My mommy is waving at me. I got to go. Bye Barnaby!

BARNABY

Ba… Ba… Bye Olivia!

OLIVIA

See you at school!

BARNABY

Okay!
[OLIVIA runs over to her mother at the table.]

UNCLE

Olivia? Is that her name?

BARNABY

[Nods in the affirmative.]

UNCLE

Olivia, we hope to see you at our pizzeria again, soon!
[OLIVIA takes a few grapes from the cooler, and snacks on them. BARNABY and his UNCLE continue to color in silence. We see them talking to each other, but we hear nothing.]

OLIVIA

Hi!

MOTHER

Who was that, Pumpkin?

OLIVIA

Barnaby and his uncle. He goes to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, too! He's in the morning class.

MOTHER

His uncle owns our favorite pizzeria in town.

OLIVIA

Really?

MOTHER

Yes, that's how we know him.

OLIVIA

That is so cool! Mommy, can I get Snickers Ice Cream?

MOTHER

Sure, but be careful with it. Let me get my purse.

OLIVIA

Thank you, Mommy!

MOTHER

You're welcome, Pumpkin.

PA ANNOUNCER

Slide on in kids! Adult swim is now over!
[Black-out]

Scene iii

[The lights come up, and we are outside a convenience store like Seven Eleven. BARNABY is sitting on HIS bicycle drinking a Slurpee in front of the store. HE wears a black "Austin 3:16" t-shirt and jeans. From around the corner of the block walks OLIVIA ahead of MOTHER. OLIVIA passes BARNABY, until HE gets HER attention. SHE wears a floral spring dress with sneakers. THEY are in third grade.]

BARNABY

Hey!
[OLIVIA stops for a moment.]
Hi there!
[OLIVIA faces HIM.]
Remember me?

OLIVIA

Maybe?

BARNABY

I'm… I'm Barnaby! We met at the pool, a few summers ago. You… You come all the time to at my uncle's pizzeria, Casa Nostra.

OLIVIA

Barnaby! I remember you!
[From around the corner, enter MOTHER.]

MOTHER

Olivia, I'll be inside, okay?

OLIVIA

Okay, mommy!
[Exit MOTHER through the convenience store's double doors.]

OLIVIA

I remember meeting a boy at the pool who had a stutter, and I remember I was mesmerized.

BARNABY

Mesmerized?

OLIVIA

Yeah.

BARNABY

That was me!

OLIVIA

No way! What happened?

BARNABY

They… They made me take a speech class in kindergarten. It helped… It helped with saying the beginning of words. Now, I have more of a stammer.

OLIVIA

Oh, wow! They made me take advanced reading; they wanted me to skip a grade. I passed the test, but I didn't want to leave my friends.

BARNABY

You're so smart!

OLIVIA

Yeah, thanks… What kind of Slurpee did you get?

BARNABY

It's Cherry and Coke… Cherry Coke.

OLIVIA

Sounds good!

BARNABY

Are you going to get a Slurpee?

OLIVIA

Maybe…

BARNABY

You… You should mix Cherry and Coke! It's the best!

OLIVIA

Okay, I will!

BARNABY

So, I have big news! I… I went to the eye doctor, and… And I'm colorblind.

OLIVIA

[All of time freezes for a moment. Colored lights flash, and the sound of a beautiful chime rings. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and beaming.]
You are?

BARNABY

Yeah, I get my blues confused.

OLIVIA

My eyes are grey-blue. What color do you see?

BARNABY

Your eyes look BLUE… Like, BLUE-BLUE… Like, the only blue I can see.

OLIVIA

BINGO!

BARNABY

BINGO!

OLIVIA

That's AMAZING! That's how I want my eyes to look!

BARNABY

You do?

OLIVIA

Yeah!

BARNABY

You… You don't think I'm weird?

OLIVIA

My mom is colorblind. She can only see one kind of red. Marlboro red.

BARNABY

So, you understand?

OLIVIA

Yup!

BARNABY

Hey! I… I am doing S.T.A.R.S. this summer to help… To help with my speech.

OLIVIA

What's that?

BARNABY

Summer Theatre Arts Recreational Stage. It… It spells S.T.A.R.S. Ever heard of it?

OLIVIA

Nope… What is it?

BARNABY

It's… It's in town, and it's… It's run by Mrs. Charles. It's… It's like a summer camp, but all the kids get do a play. This year we're doing Li'L Abner.

OLIVIA

Sounds fun!

BARNABY

Maybe… Maybe I'll see you there?

OLIVIA

Maybe, I'll ask my mom… She runs a summer day camp, too. I usually go there.

BARNABY

Oh okay…

OLIVIA

Break a leg!

BARNABY

Why?!

OLIVIA

In drama club, it's bad luck to say, "Good luck!" So, you say, "Break a leg!" My sister is in drama club, and she taught me that… Break a leg!
[Kissing HIM on the cheek.]
My mom is waving at me from inside the store.

BARNABY

My… My uncle over there, somewhere… Talking to a friend.

OLIVIA

Oh okay… What's your elementary school?

BARNABY

South Corner, you?

OLIVIA

North Corner.

BARNABY

Maybe… Maybe I'll see you at over the summer!

OLIVIA

Maybe! Bye Barnaby!

BARNABY

Bye… Bye Olivia!
[OLIVIA exits through the convenience store double doors. As she does, BARNABY yells to HER.]
You know, they… They sell comic books here!
[To HIMSELF.]
She didn't hear me.
[Black-out.]

Scene iv

[The lights come up, and it is Independence Day. In the field of South Corner Elementary School, near the baseball diamond, we see a funnel cake stand, a lemonade stand, and a grill stand run by the same people. OLIVIA is waiting in line at the funnel cake stand, when BARNABY walks over to HER. SHE is dressed in a t-shirt and overalls and a backpack, and HE is dressed in a Yankees t-shirt, jeans, and a backwards baseball cap. THEY are both in fifth grade going into sixth grade.]

BARNABY

Say Gumby!

OLIVIA

Gumby…

BARNABY

[Poking HER.]
Pokey!

OLIVIA

[Laughing.]
Hey!

BARNABY

Good joke, right?

OLIVIA

Yeah, I guess…

BARNABY

You probably don't recognize me with my Yankees cap, and without my stutter.

OLIVIA

Barnaby! You went to South Corner, right?

BARNABY

Yeah, and you went to North Corner?

OLIVIA

Yup!

BARNABY

I'd see you at the pool and at Casa Nostra all the time… And at the Point!

OLIVIA

The Point?

BARNABY

The Check Point convenience store.

OLIVIA

Oh yeah!

BARNABY

I also saw you at the Street Fair last month… I asked you if you were coming to the fireworks, and here you are!

OLIVIA

You're right! I didn't recognize you under that goofy cap. You like the Yankees?

BARNABY

I love them! I watch all their games!

OLIVIA

I'm Mets fan…

BARNABY

That's cool, sometimes I watch Mets games. My uncle's a Met's fan.

OLIVIA

Oh, cool! You really sound different without your stutter…

BARNABY

Acting in S.T.A.R.S. has helped a lot. I have… I have more confidence. This year we're doing Damn Yankees! So, of course, I'm wearing all my Yankees stuff today! I'm… I'm so excited, a play about baseball! It's my favorite sport!

OLIVIA

Mine too. I played recreational softball.

BARNABY

I played rec baseball. Did your team win?

OLIVIA

They did. I got a trophy!

BARNABY

Neat! My team lost, but that's okay! There's… There's always next year!

OLIVIA

Are you in line for anything?

BARNABY

I just wanted to say hi… But, now that you mention it, I could use a lemonade. What about you?

OLIVIA

I'm getting a funnel cake.

BARNABY

Yummy! Can we share?

OLIVIA

Sure!

FUNNEL CAKE VENDER

Next!

OLIVIA

I'd like one funnel cake, please…

BARNABY

I'd like on lemonade, please…

FUNNEL CAKE VENDER

One cake and one aide! Coming up! Anything on your funnel cake, young lady, besides powdered sugar?

OLIVIA

Just plain, thank you!

FUNNEL CAKE VENDER

And for you, young man. Would you like strawberry lemonade or original?

BARNABY

Original, thanks!

FUNNEL CAKE VENDER

As you wish!

BARNABY

[With a big cheesy grin.]

Classic!

OLIVIA

What?

BARNABY

The vender just quoted The Princess Bride. Have you ever seen that movie?

OLIVIA

It's one of my favorites! "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!"

BARNABY

"Inconceivable!" Mine too!

[THEY laugh.]

FUNNEL CAKE VENDER

You two really know your stuff!

BARNABY

[Blushing.]
I… I… Yeah, thanks.

FUNNEL CAKE VENDER

Well, you'll both be happy to hear the food is ready! One old fashioned funnel cake for you, young lady. And one classic… Original lemonade for you, young man. Dig in!
[FUNNEL CAKE VENDER hands over the food and drinks with napkins. BARNABY and OLIVIA hand the FUNNEL CAKE VENDER exact change in cash.]

OLIVIA

Thank you!

BARNABY

Enjoy the fireworks!

OLIVIA

[Aside.]
Oh good, he gave us napkins.
[THEY share a bite of funnel cake.]

BARNABY

[In between bites.]
Hey, would like to sit with me and watch the fireworks?

OLIVIA

Definitely! We can sit on my blanket. It's in my backpack.

BARNABY

Great!

OLIVIA

We should get a good seat on the side of hill.

OLIVIA

I'm going to quickly call my mom and tell her where we're going to be.

BARNABY

Sure. I'll text my uncle.
[THEY both take out THEIR flip phones, and inform THEIR family members.]

OLIVIA

[On the phone while BARNABY texts.]
Hi Mom! Would it be okay if I sat with Barnaby to watch the fireworks? Barnaby… From the pizzeria? Yes, that Barnaby. Right now, we're at the food stands. I bought a funnel cake. Plain. Mom, please! Is it okay or not? Yes, I brought my blanket. Yes, I have bug spray. Okay. On the hill. I don't know, we haven't found our seats, yet. Okay. I'll call you if necessary. Okay, thanks, Mom! Bye!
[Pause.]
Geez, I'm sorry. My mom is a bit of a worry wort.

BARNABY

[Looking up from HIS phone.]
No biggie. Did she say okay?

OLIVIA

Yeah.

BARNABY

Cool. My uncle said okay, too. We should go find our spot.

OLIVIA

[Pointing DSR.]
There's an empty spot over there! At the base of the hill! We better hurry before somebody takes it!

BARNABY

I'll run over there, so you can take your time with the funnel cake.

OLIVIA

Okay. I'll catch-up.

BARNABY

[At the spot, DSR. Waving.]

I'm here!

OLIVIA

[A moment or two afterwards.]

Phew! I thought I'd get powder sugar all over me! Here. Hold the cake.

BARNABY

Go it!

OLIVIA

Take good care of it.

BARNABY

[Tugging at a piece.]
I… I will!

OLIVIA

I'll get the blanket out of my backpack.

BARNABY

And the bug spray.

OLIVIA

Yeah, I don't use the bug spray. I bring it along so my mom relaxes. Honestly, it's too sticky and stinky.

BARNABY

[Laughing.]
Agreed. Is the magic carpet prepared for flight?

OLIVIA

You bet!
[THEY sit on the blanket with THEIR backs turned away from the audience.]

BARNABY

I've got dessert!

OLIVIA

Yum!

BARNABY

Do you want to share my lemonade?

OLIVIA

Yes, please!

BARNABY

[Pulling a second wrapped straw from the pocket of HIS jeans.]
I picked-up a second straw just in case.
[Inserting the second straw, both BARNABY and OLIVIA lean in to take a sip of lemonade, as the
lights fade down on them. THEY are in silhouette, and a dusk-lit scrim is in front of them. Trees can be seen in the distance. Patterns of bright fireworks are projected on the scrim. First a few at a time, then many. After THEY finish the lemonade and funnel cake, BARNABY slowly puts HIS arm around OLIVIA. They watch the finale. Blackout.]

Scene v

[The lights come up, and it is the Spring Fine Arts Festival. Located in the lunchroom, several panels labeled "9th Grade" with two-dimensional artwork in various colors, styles, and media are on display CS. Wearing a white top and a black skirt with formal shoes, OLIVIA sits sullenly at a lunch table eating refreshments such as cookies, crackers, and cheese. Enter BARNABY, dressed casually in a Nirvana t-shirt with an unbuttoned green flannel shirt worn as a jacket. He is also wearing Converse sneakers, blue jeans, and the same backwards Yankees cap. THEY are both in ninth grade. Now in high school together, THEY see each other regularly.

BARNABY

Heeey, it's Olivia Dukakis!

OLIVIA

You mean Olympia Dukakis.

BARNABY

[Pronouncing it the same way.]
Tomato, tomato. What's up?

OLIVIA

Nothing much. I thought you never come to these things.

BARNABY

I do, sometimes. The Home Ec class is making cinnamon buns, and some of my friends are in Woodshop doing a demonstration. I saw the Jazz Band perform. You guys are so cool!

OLIVIA

Thanks!

BARNABY

One day, I'm going to be in Jazz Band. I want to play trumpet so badly. It's such a nifty instrument!

OLIVIA

We need a guitar player!

BARNABY

Guitar shmitar. Everybody plays the guitar. I want to play the trumpet. Will you teach me?

OLIVIA

Me?

BARNABY

Yeah! What do you say? Will you? Please?

OLIVIA

Sure. Next time I come over your house, I'll bring my trumpet.

BARNABY

Thank you so much, Olivia! "Baby, you're the greatest!" Quick, what TV show did I quote? C'mon! C'mon!

OLIVIA

The Honeymooners.

BARNABY

"You go it, dude!" Now, name that TV show quote!

OLIVIA

Full House. That one's easy.

BARNABY

Okay, let's find you a tough one… I've got it! "Oh man, I just shot Marvin in the face."

OLIVIA

I have no idea.

BARNABY

Okay, that's because it's a trick question. It's a movie quote from the Quentin Tarantino masterpiece, Pulp Fiction. Have you ever seen Pulp Fiction?

OLIVIA

Nope.

BARNABY

There's another movie for our marathon list! You'll love it! It's a comedy, and it's hilarious!

OLIVIA

Really?

BARNABY

Okay, and it has gratuitous violence, drugs, and it's rated R. But John Travolta's in it, and he has an all-time classic dance number. I know you love John Travolta dancing!

OLIVIA

Yup.

BARNABY

Oh, I almost forgot! Didn't you say yesterday at the pick-nick table that you had some artwork displayed here, too. Which one is yours?

OLIVIA

I don't take art this year.

BARNABY

You don't? Then, who does?

OLIVIA

I don't know, maybe one of your adoring fans.

BARNABY

Hey, low blow! You're one of my adoring fans!

OLIVIA

Don't remind me.

BARNABY

Are you… Are you okay, Olivia? You don't seem like yourself.

OLIVIA

I don't? How do I seem?

BARNABY

Sad. Depressed. Grumpy.

OLIVIA

Grumpy! I'm one of the seven dwarfs now?!

BARNABY

It was a joke. I was trying to make you smile with a Disney reference.

OLIVIA

It didn't work.

BARNABY

I can tell. So why don't you tell me what's really going on, then?

OLIVIA

I'm okay, really.

BARNABY

[Sarcastically.]
Clearly. You're the spitting image of my childhood sweetheart.

OLIVIA

Who?

BARNABY

My… My childhood sweetheart. My friend from Cosa Nostra.

OLIVIA

I can't believe your family closed the pizzeria. To be honest, I can't believe your family owned that pizzeria… My favorite pizzeria. Anyway, why did you close it?

BARNABY

My aunt got sick, and there was nobody to run the pizzeria while my uncle took care of her.

OLIVIA

What about an outside workforce? You know, somebody not related to you.

BARNABY

There's a secret family formula to our pizza… The recipe stays with us! That's why it's so delicious!

OLIVIA

Makes sense. Still. It's very sad.

BARNABY

I know. Is that why your upset? We don't have our old hang-out any more?

OLIVIA

A little.

BARNABY

I mean, there's other great places to chill. And there's still The Point. And the pool… Oh man, the pool. My parents just got a pool. We should go swimming!

OLIVIA

Now?

BARNABY

No, not now, silly! This summer, of course!

OLIVIA

Maybe.

BARNABY

[Sitting on the table.]
Okay, Miss I Love Mermaids and All Forms of Aquatic Life, what's wrong?

OLIVIA

[Standing.]
I'm going to get some more refreshments. Do you want anything?

BARNABY

An oatmeal raisin cookie, if there's one left.

OLIVIA

Sure.
[OLIVIA exits, as BARNABY takes a moment to inspect the artwork.]

BARNABY

I could have sworn she said she had artwork displayed. Oh! I like this one. Looks like a colorful giraffe. Who's did this piece? Eileen Quinlan. I should have guessed! She's so creative in drama class, with such wild costumes and incredible make-up… She smelled like vanilla when she did my make-up… Yeah…
[Enter OLIVIA with more refreshments.]

OLIVIA

I'm back with your cookie. Here.

BARNABY

Thanks!
[Pause.]

Now, that we have more food in our stomachs, will you please tell me what's wrong?

OLIVIA

Am I your girlfriend or what?

BARNABY

What?!

OLIVIA

I thought so.

BARNABY

No, I mean, yes. I mean… You blurted… You shocked me, that's all.

OLIVIA

Well, you kept asking. Don't ask if you don't want to know the answer.

BARNABY

I… I didn't think that was the question. I… I thought we had an understanding. You… You didn't want the title, but I did. Look, now… Now my stutter's back.

OLIVIA

It's okay. It's just with all the other girls you talk to, I get nervous. I mean, I know we're close, but like yeah. Maybe the title would be good.

BARNABY

[As an over-the-top British actor.]
Why Olivia DiGregorio, are you changing your mind on the overall "girlfriend" rule?

OLIVIA

[Seconding HIS lead.]
Why Barnaby Fitzherbert, I do believe I am.

BARNABY

Good, because… Because I already secretly use that word anyway.

OLIVIA

You do?

BARNABY

Yup!

OLIVIA

Confession. Sometimes, I say "Boyfriend." Sometimes. On rare occasions.

BARNABY

[Laughing.]
See?! We both do it!

OLIVIA

I only say it to my family, sometimes. Like, you're my first boyfriend.

BARNABY

It slips-out with me, like if I'm being bullied. I'll say, "Yeah, well, my girlfriend would disagree with you." I don't think anybody has caught on that I mean you.

OLIVIA

Do you ever say it around your friends?

BARNABY

Do you?

OLIVIA

Not really. If they ask, I say…

BARNABY

[Interrupting.]
We're going out.

OLIVIA

Yeah, we're going out… Like friends can do.

BARNABY

Or more than friends, right?

OLIVIA

Yeah.

BARNABY

The Fine Arts Festival is a strange time to bring up this topic.

OLIVIA

I know, but it's better that we talk about it.

BARNABY

You know, those other girls don't count. I mean… After all, you're my first.

OLIVIA

[Embarrassed.]
BARNABY!

BARNABY

What? You're my first kiss… Crush… Love. You know… Everything!

OLIVIA

Barnaby… Maybe I don't want the title after all.

BARNABY

Oh, don't turn back now, Girlfriend. See what I did there, Girlfriend? It's not so bad, Girlfriend. You'll get used to it, Girlfriend. I'm serious, Girlfriend.

OLIVIA

[Laughing.]
Barnaby, you're ridiculous.

BARNABY

I got you smiling again! And laughing! Girlfriend.

OLIVIA

Barnaby…

BARNABY

Oh, c'mon, Girlfriend. Give it a try!

OLIVIA

Okay, Boyfriend…

BARNABY

Yay, Girlfriend! Hey, name this movie quote… "Shhhh… Listen, you smell that?!"

OLIVIA

Ghostbusters!

BARNABY

Another one for our movie marathon list!

OLIVIA

I've seen Ghostbusters.

BARNABY

Obviously, it's the best! And worth watching, again! Right? I mean, Bill Murray at his finest!

OLIVIA

Obviously!

BARNABY

But no seriously… You smell that?

OLIVIA

What?

BARNABY

Cinnamon Buns! We should get to the Home Ec demo before they run out of them!

OLIVIA

Okay!

BARNABY

[As THEY clear the plates and cups from the table, and gather their things such as HER trumpet case and purse.]
Now that I came to your art thing, Girlfriend. You should come to mine, Girlfriend. The drama class Showcase is in June, and my class is performing a short ten-minute play. I am one of the leads. A bumbling burglar trying to steal a money tree. It's me and my best buddies, with costumes and make-up, and everything. You'd really dig it, Girlfriend!

OLIVIA

The theatre bug really bit you, huh? You're like always on stage…

BARNABY

I'll be honest… It… It helps!
[THEY exit holding hands. Blackout.]


Author's Note: I don't know if it's as complete as I originally intended, but it's as done as far as I feel like exploring these themes.