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Authors: Nicole Moeller

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An Almost Perfect Thing

BOOK: An Almost Perfect Thing
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An Almost Perfect Thing
© 2014 by Nicole Moeller

Playwrights Canada Press

202-269 Richmond Street West, Toronto, ON, Canada M5V 1X1

phone 416.703.0013 •
[email protected]
•
www.playwrightscanada.com

No part of this book may be reproduced, downloaded, or used in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher, except for excerpts in a review or by a licence from Access Copyright,
www.accesscopyright.ca
.

For professional or amateur production rights, please contact the publisher

Cover design and illustration by Sébastien Thibadeau

Book design by Blake Sproule

Author Photo © Fred Katz Photographic

The Alegreya serif typeface used was designed by Juan Pablo del Peral. The Source Sans Pro sans serif typeface was designed by Paul D. Hunt. The typefaces are used under the SIL Open font license version 1.1.

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

Moeller, Nicole, author

   An Almost Perfect Thing [electronic resource] / Nicole Moeller.

A play.

Electronic monograph in multiple formats.

Issued also in print format.

ISBN 978-1-77091-208-3 (PDF).--ISBN 978-1-77091-209-0 (epub)

I. Title

PS8626.O4325A64 2014   C812'.6    C2013-907999-8

C2013-908000-7

We acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council (OAC)—an agency of the Government of Ontario, which last year funded 1,681 individual artists and 1,125 organizations in 216 communities across Ontario for a total of $52.8 million—the Ontario Media Development Corporation, and the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund for our publishing activities.

For Jared and Tracy

A Note About the Style of the Play

The scenes in which the characters address the audience directly are indicated throughout the play. In these scenes, each character is telling his/her individual story. They are not interacting with each other, but it is important to note that often one character's line informs or affects the next character's line. The scenes should bleed into each other quickly without solid blackouts. This is especially true of act one, scenes two through nine, which should almost be treated as though they were one.

An Almost Perfect Thing
was first produced by Workshop West Theatre at La Cité Francophone, Edmonton, Alberta, in March 2011. It featured the following cast and creative team:

Chloe: Tess Degenstein

Mathew: David Ley

Greg: Frank Zotter

Directed by Michael Clark

Dramaturgy by Tracy Carroll

Set and costume design by Daniela Masellis

Lighting design by Itai Erdal

Composition/sound design by Darrin Hagen

Movement coach: Marie Nychka

Stage managed by Lester Lee

Special acknowledgement: Michael Peng

Characters

Greg: forty

Mathew: in his forties

Chloe: twelve to eighteen

Locations

Multiple settings are used throughout, with Mathew's house and Greg's condo often used on stage at the same time.

ACT ONE

SCENE ONE

To the audience.

GREG

Once upon a time…

MATHEW

There was a girl.

GREG

A woman I guess you could call her by now.

CHLOE bursts onto the stage gasping for air.

A lady.

CHLOE

Bouchard Crescent.

MATHEW

She falls from the sky it seems.

GREG

Out of nowhere, really.

MATHEW

She appears like an angel.

GREG

Clinging to some sort of hope. Like she did for thousands of days before this one.

MATHEW

Waiting—

CHLOE tries to catch her breath.

CHLOE

Smithson Avenue.

MATHEW

—to be saved.

CHLOE

Oak. Pine. Crab apple.

GREG

She races past the houses that once meant something.

MATHEW

Searching, hoping, praying.

GREG

Past that same brown Ford truck that's been rusting in front of that—

CHLOE

—grey house—

GREG

—since she was a little girl. And then she sees it. Like a piece of heaven and hell all mixed in one. She sees it.

CHLOE

Home.

Beat. They all breathe together.

SCENE TWO

Shift. Martini Bar. To the audience.

GREG

I'm at this party. Opening of a new martini bar downtown called Martini Bar. I know four things about most people here:

Career choice.

Accomplishments or lack thereof.

Where they sit on the political spectrum.

And their preferred alcoholic beverage.

Other than that I know as little about them as they do about me.

Beat. He looks around the bar.

Feel the beat of the music in my chest.

Drink burning my throat.

Head light.

Search the bar…

For someone…

Anyone…

Breathe…

SCENE THREE

Police station. To the audience.

CHLOE

(said at the same time as GREG)
Breathe…

My dad takes me to the police station. They put me in a small room and—

The sound of a heavy door slamming.

Dad!

Why am I here? Am I in trouble?

—Dad

Don't cry. Bite my cheeks. Dig my fingernails into my hands.

(imitating police officer)
"Sorry for the wait there uh, Miss Evans. My name is Constable Peterson, but I want you to call me Ann, okay? We're going to get ya to the hospital in a bit here. But first, how 'bout we retrace your steps. How did you get to your dad's?"

(to audience)
Her voice… her body, her smile, the way she holds her hands together like that… She's nervous. I'm not in trouble. I can tell.

(to police officer)
I have to go. I have to go to the dentist. My teeth hurt. My teeth hurt so bad. Please. I have to go. I have to go NOW! I HAVE TO GO NOW!

SCENE FOUR

MATHEW's house, upstairs. To the audience.

MATHEW

Chloe!

My head is…

Chloe?

He reaches for her.

The couch…

So groggy…

Chloe?

Fell asleep… I fell asleep…

He looks around for her.

Chloe?

The light…

downstairs…

keys…

The door is… open.

What?

Chloe?

SCENE FIVE

Martini Bar.

GREG

(to woman)
Hey—I was hoping I'd see you. How've you been? I've missed you.

(to audience)
Alicia. Alyssa? Alyssia…

(
to woman)
So. You feel like getting outta here? For old time's sake…

(imitating woman)
"Didn't you just turn forty? Aren't you getting a little tired of the one-night stand? Greg."

Beat.

(acknowledging someone across the bar)
Hey.

(to the audience)
We work together. He's young—younger than me—and he's already moved his way to the top. Traffic report to front page to "number one news blogger." Apparently his Twitter account has about five billion followers.

(to co-worker)
This, my friend, is for you. I figure it's time that I—

He takes it and hands me the empty he's holding.

(imitating co-worker)
"Thanks."

Asshole. Why do they all love him? Why did he get promoted? Why do I have to—

SCENE SIX

The hospital. To the audience.

CHLOE

(cutting GREG off, as if continuing his line)
Why do I have to stay at the hospital?

Why are the police holding my dad? Why won't he stop crying?

(imitating dad)
"Chloe! My baby! My baby! Chloe—"

Why don't I feel anything?

They make me share a room.

I lock myself in the bathroom.

I think about him.

I breathe deep 'cause we have a connection and it'll make him breathe deep.

He'll get crazy if he doesn't. Five… four… three…

SCENE SEVEN

MATHEW's house. To the audience.

MATHEW

Two… one…

Search every room.

Outside.

Inside.

She—

Must—

Be—

Chloe—

Somewhere.

Through the house—

Under the beds.

Chairs.

Cupboards.

Chloe—

She said—

She'd never—

Chloe—

Grab my gun.

Grab my gun.

Finger on the trigger.

She said she'd never leave me.

Sweat dripping. Eyes burning—

SCENE EIGHT

Martini Bar.
GREG
wipes sweat from his forehead. To the audience.

GREG

I hate when I sweat. Drips from my forehead. Burns my eyes.

Beat. He looks around the bar.

I'm sick of this shit.

He hails a cab.

I grab a cab and head home.

(to neighbours)
Nice night.

My neighbours don't talk. Not even when spoken to.

We ride the seventeen floors in silence.

Go inside.

Turn on the TV.

Make myself a drink.

Rye and ginger.

Go out on the balcony.

Look down on the people below.

Breathe.

Beat.

There are three million people in this city.

If I jumped… if I fell…

Would any of their lives be disrupted… altered… changed?

I imagine, like everyone does sometimes, standing on the railing, looking down on the people below, and then just falling.

Free. Finally…

Beat. Lights up on MATHEW.

And then—

MATHEW

I see it.

GREG

Hear it.

MATHEW

Chloe—

GREG

Evans. Chloe Evans.

MATHEW

A note. Her writing.

GREG

Run inside.

MATHEW

(reading)
Dearest Mathew—

Chloe—

GREG

Evans. Eighteen. Missing since she was twelve.

MATHEW

Chloe, no—

GREG

We— I— We— Thought she was dead.

MATHEW

Chloe!

GREG

This was my story. Six years ago this was—

SCENE NINE

To the audience.

CHLOE

(to nurse)
I need air. I need to feel fresh air in my lungs.

The sound and lights of flashing cameras.

It hasn't even been a whole day… Their lights—

She shields her eyes.

They push past each other, trip over each other to get to me.

Microphones in my face.

Tape recorders at my mouth.

More cameras, flashing and clicking.

I need to… I want to… I don't know how to—

Beat.

And then I see it.

Lights on MATHEW and GREG.

MATHEW

Turn on the
TV.

GREG

Turn up the volume.

CHLOE

My reflection in the camera.

GREG

She looks—

CHLOE

Terrified.

GREG

Weak.

MATHEW

Remember your strength.

CHLOE

Remember my strength. Dig my fingernails into my hands. Bite my cheeks. Breathe. They look like animals.

MATHEW

Hair messy. Sweater crooked.

CHLOE

Desperate.

GREG

Face changed. Eyes the same.

CHLOE

Someone tries to pull me inside.
(to nurse)
Stop it!

MATHEW

And now—

CHLOE

I lock eyes with all of them. Smile. And say nothing.

MATHEW

I'll go back to the beginning.

CHLOE

Smile and say nothing.

GREG

This is my story.

CHLOE

Because this is
my
story.

MATHEW

This
is my story.

SCENE TEN

Shift. To the audience.

MATHEW

I admit—

CHLOE

—the beginning—

GREG

—is a bit of a blur.

CHLOE

They push me from hospital to police to my dad to psychologists to my dad to police.

GREG

The picture of her smiling is in every newspaper, every news website across the country.

MATHEW

Ever since my mum died, I like to go to the library. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. It's a Wednesday when I first see her. The little girl.

GREG

Immediately my editor tells me someone else is assigned to the story.

MATHEW

She sits alone in the corner. Eight feet from where I am.

GREG

Her dad—

CHLOE

My dad—

GREG

It's him I need to talk to.

MATHEW

That leaves her here.

CHLOE

He doesn't have a clue what to say to me.

GREG

Of course he's not talking.

MATHEW

I watch him leave her here alone. For weeks he does this.

GREG

For weeks we hear nothing. The police keep saying the investigation is ongoing.

MATHEW

She's so well behaved. Barely moves a muscle.

GREG

We find out she's refusing to work with the police. They can't force her. She's done nothing wrong. They leave it up to the team of psychologists but—

CHLOE

No one can make you talk.

GREG

The story goes from national to international.

CHLOE

People follow me everywhere.

GREG

They say she was a runaway in Vancouver, Seattle, Winnipeg, Toronto, New York, London, Beijing. Men take credit for taking her. Women take credit for taking her.

MATHEW

The way she bites her fingernails and sticks her tongue out just a bit when she's writing… the way she smiles whenever she catches me looking at her.

GREG

Media from around the world park outside of her house. Still she says nothing.

CHLOE

I open the curtains. I stand at the window and I stare at them.

MATHEW

I'm drawn to her.

GREG

Lots of people wrote about her six years ago, but not like me. I was in the right place at the right time. For some reason I got exclusive interviews with her father. I sat with him as he cried. He showed me her bedroom, toys, video games. I interviewed her teachers, her friends. It wasn't just a story. I cared about her. About finding her. About catching the person who took her.

CHLOE

No one found me. For six years no one—

GREG

So I feel like I deserve this.

MATHEW

I feel like we're connected.

GREG

But just because you deserve something doesn't mean you'll get it. Because who am I, right? Nobody. Nothing. The words echo through my mind as I drive past her house two, three, four times a day. Follow her as she's driven around the city. Waiting for… something. Anything. A picture. Chance to talk to her. Some new information. You are so pathetic, Greg. I'm about to give up and—

Beat.

It's a random night. A not so random 7-Eleven.

SCENE ELEVEN

Shift. A 7-Eleven.
GREG
is inside.
CHLOE
enters. He checks her out, and she notices.

GREG

Go with cinnamon. Always a good choice.

CHLOE

Thank you for the recommendation. But I like spearmint.

She looks at him. He recognizes her. She walks away. He follows.

GREG

Uh…

CHLOE

It's just gum, Mr. Kalowitz.

GREG

You know who I am?

CHLOE

I read your stuff. You're okay. A little boring sometimes.

GREG

Uh, right… Uh… look, I know you're probably getting a lot of requests for—

CHLOE

Can I have some of your Slurpee?

GREG

…Sure.

He hands it to her. She takes a very, very long sip.

CHLOE

You shouldn't drink this, you know. It's bad for your teeth.

GREG

Yeah… right. So—

CHLOE

I've seen you in here before. I recognized you from the paper. You didn't recognize me. I was in my disguise. Scarf, sunglasses. It's stupid. They make me do it.

GREG

Where's your disguise now?

CHLOE

Do you live around here?

GREG

No.

CHLOE

But I do, right? Lots of people want to talk to me.

GREG

I know.

CHLOE

Why should I?

Beat. She stares at him.

I have to go. He's getting impatient.

GREG

Your—

CHLOE

—bodyguard. Thanks for the Slurpee. Nice to finally meet you.

CHLOE
exits.

GREG

(to the audience)
I get in my car. Don't think. Just write. What have I got to lose?

I dedicate this column to you, Miracle Girl. I'll try not to make it too boring. It's a random meeting on a random night. It's hot, muggy, suffocating almost. I run inside a store to grab a drink. Cue left. You enter. We chat about gum. You say you read my column, so I know you're reading this. You've piqued my interest, Miracle Girl. And after talking to you, it's not just your story that's got me hooked.

BOOK: An Almost Perfect Thing
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