Embers

by Jessica Moody

 

Character List (In order of appearance)

SASHA The protagonist

BETTY The owner of the burning house

SILVIA The daughter

GEORGE The father

GRACIE The mother

 

The entirety of the play takes place at night in an urban neighborhood in Maine. A house is present on one side of the stage and BETTY’s front yard is on the other half.

Scene Breakdown

Scene 1- SASHA and BETTY on BETTY’s front yard

Scene 2- SASHA and SILVIA inside the house

Scene 3- SASHA and BETTY on BETTY’s front yard

Scene 4- SASHA, GEORGE, GRACIE, and SILVIA inside the house

Scene 5- SASHA and BETTY on BETTY’s front yard

Scene 6- SASHA, GRACIE, and SILVIA inside the house

Scene 7- SASHA on BETTY’s front yard

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SCENE 1

SASHA is walking down the sidewalk on her way home.

SASHA

(On the phone) Yes I know. Yes… yes, you’re right. Y- yea ok. Well look, it’s not my fault. How was I supposed to know it would get loose? Ok, yes I opened its cage. But it hadn’t moved in hours! I thought it was dead. Ok. Ok! I’m on my way home now, so just hang tight, and I will come help you. What? Pick up what? Ok, I will. Alright. I’ll-

BETTY

    Help! Help!

SASHA

   (On phone): Hang on. There’s something-

BETTY

   Help me! Oh thank god! You need to help me.

SASHA

   (To BETTY) What’s going on? Is that your house?

BETTY

   Yes! My house is on fire! You need to help me!

SASHA

   (On phone) Look I’ve got to go, something’s come up. I’ll be home as soon as I can. No I’m not trying to--

BETTY

   Hey! Seriously I need help.

SASHA

   You’re already out of the house. What could I do to help you now?

BETTY

   I don’t care that I’m out!

SASHA

   You should be more grateful. At least you have your health--

BETTY

   My baby’s still in there!

SASHA

   What? You didn’t grab your baby on the way out?

BETTY

   I forgot he’s in there!

SASHA

   How do you forget--

BETTY

   Help me get him out of there! I can’t go back in, I hurt my arm. A bookshelf fell on me as I was trying to escape the fire.

SASHA

   Well, alright. I can’t just stand by and watch your house burn down with an innocent baby inside.

BETTY

   What are you doing?

SASHA

   Preparing to go inside.

BETTY

   So you’re… stretching?

SASHA

   I’m getting into the mindset.

BETTY

   For?

SASHA

   Rushing into your house! This may come as a shock, but I’ve never ventured into a burning house before.

BETTY

   And I appreciate it. Now will you please get going? The house isn’t going to wait for you.

SASHA

   Alright. Here goes.

SASHA runs towards the house, pauses to take a breath, and then bursts through the door. To her surprise, the house is not on fire.

SASHA

   What the… (SASHA looks around the house.) Where’s the fire? Oh! (SASHA drops to the floor.) It must be one of those hidden fires. It’ll appear out of nowhere. (SASHA crawls around the room.) Or not…

SASHA crawls out of the house. She turns to look at it.

SASHA

   What the hell?

BETTY

   Did you find him?

SASHA

   The house--

BETTY

   You’re not holding him. You crawled out of the house.

SASHA

   But the house--

BETTY

   You could find him right? Upstairs to the left!

SASHA

   But inside… it’s not… your house is on fire.

BETTY

   Yes I know it is!

SASHA

   But I went in…

BETTY

   Yes I know! And you came back empty handed! Oh my god… could you not get to the stairs?

SASHA

   Stairs… yes I think there were stairs…

BETTY

   So where is my baby boy?

SASHA

   The house wasn’t--

BETTY

   Wasn’t what?

SASHA

   Are you sure this is your house?

BETTY

   What?

SASHA

   Inside, it’s not on fire.

BETTY

   It is absolutely on fire!

SASHA

   I was just in there. It is most certainly not on fire.

BETTY

   The whole thing is a towering inferno!

SASHA

   No it’s--

BETTY

   You need to save my baby!

SASHA

   Fine, I will go in again.

BETTY

   Oh bless you! Remember, upstairs to the left.

SASHA

   Upstairs to the left. Right.

BETTY

   No. Left.

SASHA

   Right, the left.

BETTY

   The left.

SASHA

   Left.

BETTY

   The second door on the right.

SASHA

   Second door on the right after I turn left. Right.

BETTY

   Left!

SASHA

   Left. Right. Gotcha.

BETTY

   Ok, yes, please just go!

SASHA

   I will be back.

 END OF SCENE 1

 

SCENE 2

SASHA enters house.

SASHA

   Still no fire…

SASHA explores house more. She walks into the kitchen and peers into the dining room.

SASHA

   Ah, there are the stairs. What did she say, up, left, second on the right? I think that’s it.

SASHA ascends the stairs, turns to the left and finds the second door on the right. She feels the door for warmth, and finding none creaks it open a notch, just in case there is a fire on the other side.

SASHA

   Seems safe. Where are the lights?

SASHA turns on the lights. She is surprised to find SILVIA sleeping on a bed.

SILVIA

   Mom?

SASHA

   Oh shit.

SILVIA

   Hello? Mom? You’re not my mother.

SASHA

   No, clearly I am not.

SILVIA

   Then who are you?

SASHA

   I… uh…

SILVIA

   Do you know Mom?

SASHA

   Um…

SILVIA

   Are you supposed to be here? If you aren’t, I will scream.

SASHA

   No! No. Don’t scream, I know your mother. I--

SILVIA

   Really? Wonderful! So you know where my mother is?

SASHA

   Uh…

SILVIA

   I haven’t seen her in days! I’m so happy, you know where my mother is! I miss her.

SASHA

   I need to go. Excuse me.

SASHA calmly closes SILVIA’s door and then runs out of the house.

END OF SCENE 2

 

SCENE 3

BETTY

   Did you find him?

SASHA

   I need to go--

BETTY

   This is ridiculous! You were in there for barely five minutes. How could you have found anything?

SASHA

   No, you don’t understand. The house isn’t on fire--

BETTY

   I am damn sure that it is on fire. That’s my life right there! It’s burning down! And my son with it.

SASHA

   Inside, I went up the stairs to the left and opened the second door on the right and found a little girl sleeping soundly in her bed in a house that was definitely not burning.

BETTY

   Oh dear! I sent you to the wrong room. My son’s room is to the right of the stairs, second door on the left.

SASHA

   I think you’re missing the point.

BETTY

   Please go back. Please. I need my baby boy.

SASHA

   Fine. The house isn’t burning and I’m trespassing on someone else’s property, but I will check one more time for you.

SASHA enters the house again.

 END OF SCENE 3

 

SCENE 4

GEORGE

   Who was that?

GRACIE

   How should I know?

GEORGE

   Were you expecting company?

GRACIE

   No.

GEORGE

   Silvia!

SILVIA

   (Running into the dining room.)Yes Daddy?

GEORGE

   Answer the door.

SILVIA

   Yes Daddy. (SILVIA runs to the door.) Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!

GRACIE

   What?! What is it dear?

SILVIA

   It’s your lady friend.

GRACIE

   Who?

SILVIA

   Your friend who was here a few weeks ago.

GEORGE

   You had a friend over?

GRACIE

   No.

GEORGE

   Since when do you have friends?

GRACIE

   Oh hush George!

SILVIA

   (To SASHA) You’re just in time for dinner!

GRACIE

   (Entering living room where SASHA and SILVIA are.) Hello. Who are you?

SILVIA

   She’s your friend, Mommy. She was in my room a few weeks ago and told me that she knew where you were.

SASHA

   Oh no, I--

GRACIE

   You were in my daughter’s room?

SASHA

   Please let me explain--

GEORGE

   Gracie! What’s the hold up? I’m starving!

GRACIE

   Just a minute!

SASHA

   Look--

GRACIE

   I don’t know who you are or why you’re in my house, but you stay the hell away from my daughter or I swear I’ll--

SASHA

   I’m here because your house is burning.

GRACIE

   Of all the dumb things--

SASHA

   No really it is. From the outside. It’s been for quite a while. You see I was outside and this injured lady came up to me and needed me to save her child trapped inside this burning house--

GRACIE

   Does it look like this house is on fire?

GEORGE

   Gracie! The pot combusted!

GRACIE

   What?

GEORGE

   On the stove! I went to get my food because I’m extremely hungry and the pot just… blew up!

GRACIE

   I can’t leave anyone alone in this house… I’ll tell you what. You seem like a nice enough girl. A little eccentric, but I suppose there’s no harm in offering you dinner. So stay for dinner then get out of my house and don’t come back.

SASHA

   I don’t mean to impose--

GRACIE

   You already have. So come in and have a bite to eat.

SILVIA

   Yay! I like your friend, Mommy.

GRACIE

   And don’t lay a finger on my daughter.

SASHA

   I would never--

GEORGE

   Gracie! What is taking so long? Who is at the door?

GRACIE

   Just a friend of mine. She came over for dinner.

GEORGE

   Is there going to be a dinner? Because all I see are empty plates.

GRACIE

   I’m coming right now, hold your damn horses!

Everyone sits at the table as GRACIE brings out dinner.

GRACIE

   George, this is…

SASHA

   Sasha. Pleased to meet you.

GEORGE

   Likewise.

SILVIA

   And I’m Silvia!

SASHA

   Nice to meet you, Silvia.

GRACIE

   Oh dear, I forgot to get you a drink. What would you like, Sasha?

SASHA

   A ginger ale, please.

GRACIE exits to get SASHA’s drink. An awkward pause.

GEORGE

   So… you Canadian?

SASHA

   No, I am not.

GEORGE

   Oh.

SASHA

   Yeah.

GEORGE

   I only thought cuz you got a ginger ale… Canadian Dry… you know?

SASHA

   Yes, I know.

GEORGE

   Where are you from?

SASHA

   I grew up in Alaska.

GEORGE

   Well that’s similar. They both… have snow.

SASHA

   True.

GEORGE

   You know you’re very pretty.

SASHA

   Oh. Thank you.

GRACIE enters with SASHA’s drink

GRACIE

   Here you go.

SASHA

   Thank you. This dinner is delicious, you are quite the cook.

GEORGE

   This is nothin’ compared to back when she used to give a damn.

GRACIE

   George! Language.

GEORGE

   Like she hasn’t heard it before. Silvia’s a big girl.

GRACIE

   But still. Make an effort to be a parent, George.

GEORGE

   My chicken needs pepper. Is there any pepper out here?

GRACIE

   I don’t see any.

GEORGE

   I don’t either.

GRACIE

   I’ll go get the pepper.

GRACIE exits

GEORGE

   So, Sasha. You have a boyfriend?

SASHA

   Uhm, yes as a matter of fact I do--

GEORGE

   Is he rich and successful?

SASHA

   He’s well liked…

GEORGE

   I know someone rich and successful.

SASHA

   Oh I really don’t--

GEORGE

   I’m fairly rich and successful myself.

SASHA

   I suppose that’s good for you--

GEORGE

   It can be good for you, too.

SASHA

   I don’t know what to say--

GEORGE

   You don’t have to say anything. I’m at the office 8 to 5. You should stop by.

GRACIE enters with the pepper

GRACIE

   Boy it is windy out there! I could hear the bushes beating up against the wall of the house. Good thing we don’t have to go outside any time soon.

SASHA

   Shoot! I need to find the baby!

GEORGE

   What?

SASHA

   I’m sorry, but I need to go. Please excuse me. Thank you for dinner, it was wonderful.

GRACIE

   You can’t stay for dessert?

SASHA

   No, I really must go.

SASHA exits house

 END OF SCENE 4

 

SCENE 5

BETTY

   Thank god! I was afraid something had happened… Where’s my baby?

SASHA

   For the last time, the house is not on fire.

BETTY

   Don’t try to pull that on me. Not again! My house is most certainly on fire! Why don’t you wake up and see it? I’ve been through so much… I can’t live without him.

SASHA

   But there’s nothing I can do.

BETTY

   Fine. If you can’t do anything, I’ll go in again.

SASHA

   Listen--

BETTY

   Nothing more from you! I’m out of time. Goodbye.

SASHA

   Wait!

BETTY enters house, SASHA debates for a minute and then follows her.

END OF SCENE 5

 

SCENE 6

SILVIA

   Sasha!

SASHA

   Hello.

GRACIE

   You again. Get out.

SASHA

   I’m sorry, I was just following the woman into her burning house. Did you see her come by? …What’s wrong?

GRACIE

   Out. Now.

SILVIA

   We didn’t see anyone come by, Sasha.

GRACIE

   And we’ve seen enough of you.

SASHA

   What is the problem?

GRACIE

   Oh I suppose you don’t know, do you?

SASHA

   No.

GRACIE

   No clue. Nothing at all.

SASHA

   Like I said, no.

SILVIA

   Daddy left.

GRACIE

   Silvia!

SASHA

   What? I’m so sorry.

GRACIE

   He left me. For you.

SASHA

   For me? I don’t understand.

   GRACIE

I don’t understand either. I don’t understand why you have a vendetta against me. I don’t understand why you were in my daughter’s room while I wasn’t. I don’t understand how I can run away from my awful husband for one night, and he replaces me with some common whore with a cheap haircut!

SASHA

   Okay, let’s not be cruel--

GRACIE

   I don’t understand why you keep sauntering into my house unannounced, and I don’t understand why you think it is alright to tear apart this family! Who do you think you are?

SASHA

   I had no idea--

GRACIE

   That you are a home wrecker? That you’re the bitch who managed to destroy my life? I’ve only seen you once before and somehow you’ve had more of an impact on my life than anyone else, which is why I insist that you get out. Go back to my husband, I’m sure he’s waiting for you, you slut. He told me all about the two of you. How he’s never felt anything like this for anyone else. How he gets through the workday thinking about you, not me. I hope you appreciate what you’ve taken from me. So get out. Go. I better never see you again. If I do, I swear you’ll never see anything again.

SASHA

   There’s been some misunderstanding.

GRACIE

   Out!

SASHA

   Alright.

SILVIA

   Goodbye Sasha, I’ll miss you.

END OF SCENE 6

    

SCENE 7

SASHA exits the house. She stands watching as it burns down. Her phone rings. After a brief pause, she answers it.

SASHA

   Hello? Yes, I know. I’m on my way now.

SASHA runs offstage

 

 

Last Updated: 4/8/13