Where’re You Headed?

Where’re You Headed?

Where’re You Headed?

Synopsis: When Claire, a spoiled teenager, learns she’s adopted, she decides to fly to California during the Christmas season to visit her birth parents. At the airport, she meets a variety of humorous characters, including 3 homeless bums that help her understand the meaning of family.

Running Time: 60 minutes

Gus—A mercenary cab driver
Claire—A spoiled, self-absorbed teenager
Eileen—A single that’s overly preoccupied with marriage
Elaine—An amateur, psychoanalyst
Professor—An airport bum with unresolved pain and emotional detachment.
Roxy—Professor’s younger sister, a bit naïve, yet uncannily insightful
Chigger—A street urchin that hangs with the Professor and Roxy
Inspector Kloos—stereotypical, know-it-all airport detective who is clueless
Finder—Inspector Kloo’s, goofy, assistant sidekick
Sally—Owns a restaurant in the terminal
Flip—Greasy cook at Sally’s restaurant
Martin—Claire’s father, a successful business owner who needs a priority adjustment
Doris—Claire’s mother, a people pleaser
Vic—Trumpet playing Salvation Army volunteer
Executive—Ambitious, career ladder climber
Passenger that wears a wig
Passenger with a dollar bill
Passenger with ice cream cone
Passenger who spills a drink
Passenger going to Nashville
The stage is divided into three areas. The MAIN CONCOURSE, center stage, SALLY’S RESTAURANT, stage right and the TICKET COUNTER, stage left.

(Note: We performed this in a gymnasium using rented portable risers to create individual sections all connected by runway sections that allowed cast members to move between areas.)


To low. MUSIC begins playing: Leaving on a Jet Plane by Peter, Paul & Mary. The CAST enters from the back of the auditorium, passing through the audience in clusters with suitcases like travelers entering the airport. They walk across the stage and EXIT. As the song ends, LIGHTS ON FULL on the Ticket Counter.

Behind the counter at Metro International Airport, EILEEN, an amateur psychoanalyst, reads a book as ELAINE, a single who is overly concerned about marriage, rushes in.

ELAINE: Sorry I’m late. Met a cute guy in loading. There’s just something about men who concentrate in bulk.
EILEEN: No problem. It’s just the Christmas season…busiest time of traveling in the year. I’m glad to do both of our jobs so you can flirt with every single guy in the airport.
ELAINE: Hey, I’m not a flirt. I’m available. And if you’re so busy, why do you have time to read… (reads title) Freud and Modern Psychoanalysis?
EILEEN: Because you missed the early rush. But stick around. Something tells me this day is going to be a real trip.

A modern decor is decked out in festive Christmas decorations. In the foreground is airport seating with a couple of floor plants to add warmth. Along the back wall, a small Flight Attendant counter sits between the boarding gate and a large picture window with a view of the Tarmac. The PROFESSOR and ROXY, resident airport bums, are sleeping on the floor and the seats respectively, as GUS, a Cab Driver with a blue collar attitude, enters carrying luggage. He’s followed by CLAIRE, a teenager. Everything about her cries spoiled, rich brat. But there’s something missing that she craves, a discontentment that’s hard to define.

ANNOUNCER: (O.S) Attention please. All flights to Chicago are canceled since O’Hara is closed due to a winter storm. I repeat, all flights to Chicago have been canceled.
GUS: Finding your way isn’t hard when you follow directions. (holds up a Smart Phone) And they’re all right here. But you have to ask. You can’t be too proud to admit you’re lost. (speaks into phone) Siri, where am I right now?

SIRI: (V.O) I don’t know, Gus. I think you’re lost.
Gus smacks on the phone.
GUS: Can’t always get a good connection.
CLAIRE: So even with all your expertise, and your technology, you’re still not always sure where you are.
GUS: We all make a few wrong turns now and then. The point is, you admit it, make a course adjustment, and move on. Running away isn’t the answer.
CLAIRE: Who said I was a running away?
GUS: Look, Kid. You’re not the first runaway I’ve brought to this airport.
CLAIRE: Well, what would you do if you suddenly found out you were adopted?
GUS: Talk to my parents.
CLAIRE: Right. I’m fifteen years old and they never said squat. I’ll talk to them…as soon as I get to California and meet them.
He gives her an admonishing look.
CLAIRE: Well, they are my real parents. It says so in this letter I just happened to stumble on.
GUS: A letter you stumbled on?
CLAIRE: Yes, by accident…in the hidden compartment of a security box… that was inside the locked file cabinet…buried under a pile of clothes in the back of my mother’s closet.
GUS: Boy, you must be really accident prone.
She returns an admonishing look.
GUS: You ask me? The real parents are the ones who’ve raised you and loved you…in spite of your little attitude.
CLAIRE: Then why wouldn’t they tell me? Why do I have to find this letter and say, “Mom, Dad, the secret’s out.” They just sat there and looked at me…and didn’t say a word.
GUS: Maybe you should give them some time to explain.
CLAIRE: Time? They had plenty of time. And they blew it. Now it’s my time. Thanks for all your navigational insight and homespun philosophy. What do I owe you?
GUS: Thirty bucks.
She offers a credit card with a flourish and he frowns.
GUS: That’s thirty bucks…cash.
CLAIRE: Cash? What century are you from? Nobody carries cash. It’s a check or credit card. Take your pick.
GUS: It’s cash or a cop. Take your pick.
CLAIRE: Okay, okay. (hands him cash) Fifteen dollars. And that pretty much cleans me out.
He takes it, resigned to his fate.
GUS: Will there be anything else your highness?
CLAIRE: Excuse me. Are you giving me an attitude? Because I haven’t decided on your tip, yet.
GUS: (sarcastically) Oh, I can hardly wait for that chunk of change.
CLAIRE: I’m a kid. You don’t expect me to understand the intricate nature of capitalism and the inflationary value of money in a global economy do you?
GUS: No. Just cab fare from your house to the airport.
Dramatically offers her hands to be cuffed.
CLAIRE: Go ahead. Arrest me.
He shakes his head in resignation and turns to leave.
CLAIRE: Oh, and don’t forget your tip.
She slaps two quarters in his hand.
GUS: Gee, thanks Mrs. Bill Gates.
He leaves the terminal and crosses over to Sally’s restaurant for breakfast. Claire goes to the ticket counter and purchases a ticket from Elaine.

The Professor and Roxy wake up. The Professor is sophisticated, and somewhat aloof, as if slightly disengaged from reality. Roxy is naive, and childlike, but insightful in her observations.
PROFESSOR: Ah, Christmas. The season of glad tidings… (nurses a sore back) comfort and joy.
ROXY: (checks a seat) Comfort, I’m not so sure about. And joy..(shrugs) That’s your choice.
PROFESSOR: It’s only a choice when you have a say in the matter and your decision affects the outcome.
ROXY: This isn’t a choice?
PROFESSOR: This…isn’t what I’m talking about.
ROXY: I know.
PROFESSOR: (looks at the seat) Hmm. Water marks. Roxy, you’re drooling in your sleep again.
ROXY: I’m not the only person who lives here, Professor.
PROFESSOR: And soon we’ll be joined by weary holiday travelers on a journey somewhere, but without meaningful direction. Lost in a seasonal frenzy of seeking the illusive dream of peace and contentment. Like ships stranded in the desert. Like chasing after the wind. Like–
ROXY: (scratching her head) Dandruff trying to get a head.
PROFESSOR: (inspects her hair) And there’s no one more qualified than you to recognize a flake.
ROXY: I’m hungry too. You got any plans for breakfast?
He rummages through a garbage can, tossing its contents carelessly as he searches.
PROFESSOR: Plans? Plans are for those who would dare fate. I on the other hand, live for the moment.
He pulls out the remains of a partially eaten sandwich, takes a huge bite and smiles at her in satisfaction.
ROXY: I guess that’s a no.
PROFESSOR: Roxy, Roxy, my dear little sister. Haven’t I taken good care of you? Have I ever led you astray?
She adjusts her ragged clothes and sweeps her hand in a gesture of futile existence.
PROFESSOR: Okay, never mind.
CHIGGER enters hauling the spoils of thievery. He’s the youngest of the three, a mischievous con artist in the making.
CHIGGER: Hey, Professor, Roxy, check this out. What do you think?
He dumps out a diverse collection of goods.
PROFESSOR: Chigger, what have I told you about going through passenger’s luggage?
CHIGGER: Always be sure to look in every compartment?
PROFESSOR: (proudly) That’s my boy.
Chigger pulls a credit card, swipes it through the air and deftly slips it into his pocket.
CHIGGER: And credit cards are made to be swiped.
PROFESSOR: You’re a credit to worthless bums everywhere.
CHIGGER: (shows an empty wallet) What’s in your wallet?
PROFESSOR: Friends, it’s time to eat.
VIC, a Salvation Army volunteer collector enters. He takes a position and rings a bell for donations.
ROXY: Good, cause I’m so hungry my ears are ringing.
They EXIT.

Elaine primps as Eileen collects coupons from the newspaper.
ELAINE: Any Christmas bargains?
Eileen hands her a coupon.
EILEEN: This should interest you.
ELAINE: (reads it) Single white male who can bench press my own weight and still loves flowers, walking on the beach and candle light dinners. (an approving nod) Two for one.
She copies information as a MAN enters.
MAN: I’d like to buy a ticket to Los Angeles.
ELAINE: Single?
MAN: Yes.
ELAINE: (alluringly) Me too.
MAN: I…I thought you meant single ticket.
ELAINE: Is “Duh” written on my forehead? Do you think I don’t know the difference between a single person and a single ticket?
MAN: Of course. May I purchase a single ticket to Los Angeles?
ELAINE: Are you single?
MAN: No.
ELAINE: (nods at Eileen) She takes the married guys.
He moves over to Eileen.
MAN: What’s wrong with her?
EILEEN: Single and desperate. Some women can’t establish an identity outside of a relationship.
ELAINE: Thank you Dr. Phyl…iss.
EILEEN: If she was insensitive, be honest. Tell her how you feel.
Elaine takes the man by the arm and steers him back to her side.
ELAINE: Listen to her psychobabble and you’ll end up with a headache. Come on. I’ll sell you a ticket.
Eileen pulls him back.
EILEEN: Whoa, he’s my customer now. (to the Man) You can’t let people push you around.
Elaine grabs him and jerks him this time.
ELAINE: I’m not pushing. I’m pulling.
Eileen jerks him back.
EILEEN: Maybe he’s tired of being pushed and pulled.
MAN: I think–
ELAINE: (to the man) Who asked you? (to Eileen) Okay, Mrs. I wannabe a shrink, you want a piece of me?
Caught in the middle, the man tries to ease the tension.
MAN: Now ladies.
EILEEN: Oh, so you’re going to revert to adolescent, physical intimidation, huh?
MAN: I’m sure she didn’t really mean that, did you?
ELAINE: Yeah I did! (to Eileen) Want to make something of it?
EILEEN: Bring it on!
They close on one another, the man still trapped in between. He finally frees himself and leaves in a huff.
MAN: I think I’ll try the friendly skies.
It’s over as quickly as it started.
ELAINE: What’s his problem?
EILEEN: (shrugs) Probably a repressed memory from his childhood. Men are usually more trouble than they’re worth. You want some coffee?
ELAINE: Yeah, let’s go.
They EXIT and cross to the restaurant.

DORIS and MARTIN, Claire’s wealthy parents enter. Martin, an ambitious executive speaks on a cell phone. Doris, a people pleaser is obviously worried.
MARTIN: (on the phone) I’m at the airport right now. I’m not going anywhere. I’m here because we think our daughter might be running away.
DORIS: Martin, I’m worried. Why didn’t we say something? We just sat there and looked at her. And how in the world did she find that letter?
MARTIN: She didn’t give us a chance to say anything. (into phone) I wasn’t talking to you, I was talking to Doris. (to Doris) And if you ask me, we should have gotten rid of that letter a long time ago. (into phone) No, no. Don’t get rid of that letter. Would you hold on, you’re being ridiculous?
DORIS: I’m ridiculous?
MARTIN: No, not you, Doris.
He indicates the phone and his growing frustration of simultaneously carrying on two different conversations.
MARTIN: I mean…why would Claire run away?
DORIS: You saw the hurt look on her face. And you know how impulsive she is.
Gus enters carrying luggage for a BUSINESS EXECUTIVE. He sets it down, the executive pays him and exits. Gus starts to leave also, but over hears Martin and Doris.
MARTIN: Okay, let’s say she is running away. What makes you think she’d come here?
DORIS: Because I know.
MARTIN: You know? That’s it? You just know?
DORIS: That’s right. Because I’m her mother. And when you know, you know, you know…you know?
MARTIN: (into phone) You know, I’ll have to call you back.
He hangs up and starts to speak when Gus interrupts.
GUS: Excuse me. Are you two looking for a girl?
DORIS: Yes, our daughter, Claire. Have you seen her?
GUS: A teenager, cute, spoiled, and very bossy?
DORIS: A little demanding maybe, but I wouldn’t say bossy.
MARTIN: You mean she’s here?
GUS: I dropped her off earlier. After a very stimulating conversation, she stiffed me half the cab fare.
DORIS: Do you know where she is now?
GUS: No, but I could be persuaded to look. I know this place like the back of my hand.
He holds out his hand and Martin slaps a bill in it.
GUS: Wow. A whole dollar. Your kid all right. I can see the family resemblance.
MARTIN: (to Gus) Show me who’s in charge. I want this entire airport mobilized immediately.
GUS: Well, for a buck I’ll show you to the lost and found. (talks to his phone) Siri, why do people have children?
SIRI: So they have someone who loves them in spite of their stupid questions. But in your case, Gus, I’ll have to suffice.
GUS: Wonderful. No kids, but a phone with an attitude. How lucky can you get?
They all EXIT.

A small cafe in the airport that includes a counter and a small dining area with tables and chairs. A backdoor leads to the kitchen. There’s a sign that reads “Karaoke Every Friday Night.” SALLY, a cynical restaurateur with aspirations of culinary greatness looks through a magazine. Vic enters and Sally pours him a cup of coffee.
VIC: Morning, Sally. Ready for Christmas?
SALLY: I’m ready for customers. How’s your collection going so far, Vic?
VIC: Slow, but it’ll pick up as people get into the spirit of giving.
SALLY: When they do, direct a little of that action my way, will you?
VIC: (savors the coffee) Advertise this and you’ll be swamped.
SALLY: Advertising requires money. Although I have considered standing out in the main terminal and yelling, (imitates stadium vendor) “Hot coffee…get your nice, hot coffee here!” But I’m not sure, what do you think?
VIC: It’s good. What brand is it anyway?
SALLY: (shrugs) Some blend Flip’s concocted. Calls it Flip’s drip.
FLIP, the cook ENTERS. His greasy hair is slicked back and he’s dressed in a grungy t-shirt and wears an emotionless expression of boredom. He sniffs his nose and wipes it on the sleeve of his T-shirt.
SALLY: Might be good to keep the name and the person separate.
Flip pours a cup of coffee and starts to EXIT.
SALLY: Hey, Flip!
Flip looks back with a blank face.
SALLY: What’s the rule about customer service? Happy face, happy face.
Flip forces an exaggerated, phony smile then exits into the kitchen. Claire ENTERS.
SALLY: What can I get you?
CLAIRE: A vanilla latte, please.
SALLY: We only sell our house specialty…Flip’s Drip.
Claire shrugs an okay and Sally pours her a cup.
VIC: Well, got a full day of ringing although I might add a little music to my repertoire, what do you think?
She holds up the empty collection bucket.
SALLY: Go for it. At least you’ll be able to say you raised a few notes. Because at this rate all you’re going to end up with is a sore wrist.
VIC: See you later, Sally.
He slaps a bill on the counter and leaves as the Professor, Roxy, and Chigger enter.
ROXY: (reaches for the bill) People are so giving at Christmas.
SALLY: (snatches it first) Uh, huh. And what is it that you want?
PROFESSOR: Five meals.
ROXY: Starting with breakfast. I’m starving.
SALLY: How much money you got?
Chigger hands her the credit card with a flourish. Sally looks at it and slips it into her pocket.
SALLY: I’m sure Mrs. Hernandez will be glad to get this back.
Chigger dumps his loot on the table.
SALLY: What’s this?
PROFESSOR: Four meals.
SALLY: Professor, this looks like stolen goods.
PROFESSOR: It’s an airport, Sally. You know things get left.
The Professor looks peeved at the contradiction and Chigger hastens to explain.
CHIGGER: As in left. You know, you’re right that things get left…uh, behind…uh, never mind.
PROFESSOR: Okay. If you’re going to be miserly about it. Three meals.
CHIGGER: And a snack.
SALLY: I don’t think so.
PROFESSOR: Then just put it on our tab.
SALLY: I’m Sorry, Professor. But this is a business, not a homeless shelter. No money, no legitimate credit, no food.
The Professor pulls Sally aside privately. He takes off a ring.
PROFESSOR: This must be worth something.
Roxy intervenes when she sees what he’s doing.
ROXY: You can’t give that away. It was a gift from–
PROFESSOR: I know. But sentimental value is worthless to an empty stomach.
Roxy takes off a bracelet.
ROXY: Here, Sally.
The Professor stops her.
They face one another. Both struggling to express internal feelings but neither able to. Finally, the Professor turns to Sally, forcing a smile and calm exterior.
PROFESSOR: We’ll be back.
He nods to Chigger who returns his stash to the bag and they start to leave. But Claire, who has been watching intervenes.
She holds out her credit card to Sally.
CLAIRE: Add it to my bill.
PROFESSOR: Why, thank you young lady.
CLAIRE: (shrugs) What’s the point in a gold card from your parents if you can’t flaunt it?
Chigger offers to shake her hand.
CHIGGER: It’s still really nice of you and–
Claire avoids the hand with disdain.
CLAIRE: Uh…yeah.
Chigger looks at his hand, shrugs and cleans it by wiping it under his arm.
CHIGGER: So, where’re you headed?
CLAIRE: California. To meet my parents.
ROXY: I’m Roxy, this is the Professor and–
CLAIRE: It’s okay…really. And before we have a big group hug, would you three mind cleaning up little?
Chigger starts to reply in anger, but the Professor holds up a hand of reason.
PROFESSOR: You know, she’s right. When’s the last time we had a bath?
ROXY: I don’t know. What year is it?
SALLY: And you three had better be careful of the airport police. They’re out for you.
PROFESSOR: (sarcastic) You mean Inspector Clueless?
CHIGGER: Yeah, he and detective Finder, couldn’t find a 747 parked in the main terminal.
Claire leaves for the concourse as Inspector KLOOS, a Sherlock Holmes wannabe, and his goofy side kick, detective FINDER, enter. The Professor, Roxy, and Chigger quickly hide behind a newspaper as Sally covers for them.
SALLY: Inspector Clueless…I mean Kloos. Fresh coffee?
She pours two cups for Kloos and Finder as the Professor, Roxy and Chigger sneak away.
PROFESSOR: (disguised voice) Well, I…er…we must be on our way.
ROXY: Yes. Our way. The United Way.
CHIGGER: Thanks to you, it works for all of us.
As they slowly edge their way out, Sally enjoys the moment.
SALLY: What about your change, sir?
PROFESSOR: Uh…keep it. Donate it to a worthy cause.
SALLY: Oh, thank you sir.
ROXY: (in a man’s voice) You’re welcome.
Finder watches them suspiciously as they exit while Kloos circumspectly examines a donut.
FINDER: Inspector I thin–
KLOOS: You know Detective, donuts and law enforcement have a long standing tradition.
KLOOS: Finder, I’m trying to educate you on the finer points of law enforcement.
FINDER: But that’s–
KLOOS: And today, I’m catching those three no good bums and escorting them to their new residence… (he laughs) The county jail.
He motions it’s time to leave and EXITS. Finder stops next to the microphone at the karaoke stand and delivers an Elvis impersonation.
FINDER: I’ll have a blue Christmas without you–
Kloos returns.
KLOOS: Detective Finder!
FINDER: Thank you. Thank you very much.

Claire is seated as Kloos and Finder enter looking around.
KLOOS: (to Finder) Got an APB on a runaway somewhere in the airport. Here’s a picture.
Kloos hands Finder a picture. Finder looks at it and scans the room.
KLOOS: A kid like that could be anywhere. And as professionals, our job is part intellect… (smacks his stomach) Part gut instinct.
Finder looks at the picture, then Claire.
FINDER: (points at Claire) You know, Inspector, that looks like her right there.
Annoyed at Finder’s obvious incompetence, Kloos raps him on the head with his knuckles.
KLOOS: Use your head, Finder. Nobody would be that obvious. She’d be wearing a disguise. That’s obviously just somebody who bears a close resemblance. (points elsewhere) Look. That girl with the chocolate bar. C’mon.
Inspector Kloos jerks Finder along and he drops the picture on the floor. As they’re leaving, Roxy and Chigger lead the Professor in like a blind man. Noticing the picture on the floor, the Professor stops, picks it up and glances at it. He then quickly resumes his role of a blind beggar as Roxy and Chigger approach a PASSENGER.
CHIGGER: Excuse me. I’m collecting money so my big brother can have an operation. The doctors say it will bring back his vision.
PASSENGER: I don’t think so.
CHIGGER: Oh, please. Just a few bills…some loose change.
The passenger pauses, then grows artificially sympathetic and dangles a bill in the air.
PASSENGER: I’m afraid all I have to offer is this one hundred dollar bill.
The passenger hands it to the Professor who subtly looks at it then…
PROFESSOR: That’s only a dollar. (realizing his mistake) I mean…I…I can see…Hallelujah!
CHIGGER: It’s a miracle!
ROXY: This calls for a celebration.
The Professor returns the dollar.
PROFESSOR: Yes…let’s celebrate…somewhere else.
As they hurry away, Kloos and Finder enter and begin talking and gesturing towards Claire. The three bums stop to watch. When Kloos and Finder move towards Claire, the Professor grabs a long coat and hat from a seat, puts them on and intercepts them.
PROFESSOR: Kloos, Finder. I’m chief Nabber from Metro P.D. I need your help to apprehend a runaway over in terminal C.
FINDER: But that’s her right there.
He raps Finder on the head with his knuckles.
PROFESSOR: Think, man. Nobody would be that obvious. She’d be in disguise. That’s just someone who resembles our girl.
KLOOS: That’s what I said.
PROFESSOR: And why you’re the inspector and he’s the detective.
KLOOS: (gloating) Told ya.
PROFESSOR: Let’s go men. There’s not a moment to loose.
He leads them away with a subtle smile and salute to Claire. Roxy and Chigger both appear from hiding, smile, wave, and leave.

A PASSENGER approaches Eileen at the ticket counter.
PASSENGER: (to Eileen) I’m looking for some help.
EILEEN: Certainly. But it may take a few sessions before we see any real progress.
PASSENGER: (growing indignant) What’s your name please?
Eileen leans to the side.
EILEEN: Eileen.
The Passenger matches her lean.
Eileen lulls into a hypnotic, sing song chant.
EILEEN: Yes, and how may I help you?
She slowly begins to sway from side to side and the passenger matches her, captured by her hypnotic power.
PASSENGER: I’ve been changing flights all day and lost my bearings. What state am I in?
EILEEN: What state did you originate from?
Elaine joins Eileen in a matching sway and tone of voice.
ELAINE: And what’s your final destination?
PASSENGER: Louisiana.
EILEEN: And you’re disoriented.
The Passenger nods in a slow, trance-like state.
ELAINE: And perplexed. Like forever circling the airport and never landing.
EILEEN: Well, based on what you know…
ELAINE: And what you don’t know.
EILEEN: You’re currently in…
ELAINE & EILEEN: A state of confusion!
The Passenger is startled awake and EXITS in a huff. They laugh and exchange Hi Fives.
ELAINE: Enjoy your trip!
EILEEN: And come back any time you’re mixed up.
ELAINE: You know, straightening people out is exhausting work.
EILEEN: Agreed. I think we need a break.
ELAINE: I’m with you.
The EXIT together.

Flip cleans the counter as a successful BUSINESS EXECUTIVE enters and sits at a table.
FLIP: Coffee?
Flip pours a cup and leaves it on the counter.
FLIP: There you go.
Annoyed it wasn’t served to him, the Executive rises from the table, grabs the cup off the counter, and takes a sip. His aggravation changes to pleasure at the taste.
EXECUTIVE: Hmm, Starbucks?
FLIP: Flip’s Drip.
Sally pokes her head through the back door.
SALLY: Made with the finest ingredients to insure excellence.
EXECUTIVE: Excellence is necessary to achieve success.
FLIP: And success is necessary to achieve a sense of importance.
EXECUTIVE: Absolutely. I’m about to clinch my third promotion this year.
Flip busies himself cleaning and putting things in order, like the whole conversation is almost an afterthought. He disappears behind the counter searching for something, then pops up.
FLIP: And then?
EXECUTIVE: Partner. Where I’ll enjoy the level of income that success deserves.
FLIP: And after that?
EXECUTIVE: Raise a family. And advance in my career to secure a high standard of living.
FLIP: Then what?
EXECUTIVE: Well, I have a diversified portfolio so I expect to enjoy a comfortable retirement. I plan to end life on a high note and go out in style.
There’s a quiet pause as they both seem lost in reflection.
FLIP: What then?
EXECUTIVE: Well, then I…I…I think I’ll have some more of that coffee.
Flip refills his cup and the man drinks with an uneasy, contemplative look as lights FADE OUT.

What’s In a Promise?

What’s In a Promise?


Synopsis: Ben Goode, owner of Goode Enterprises that makes the Goody Good Candy Bar casually promises his daughter he will be home from work in time to attend a Christmas Eve service. But when his best customer demands that an order be filled by the end of the day, things begin to go wrong. In spite of his best efforts, he’s forced to make a difficult decision. And along the way, he and his wacky co-workers provide laughter in this entertaining story that takes a light-hearted look at what’s important in life.

Running Time: Approximately 35 minutes

Staging: Is divided into 2 areas. The main office area takes up most of the space and is centered and a break room that is smaller, is positioned stage right. Scenes alternate between the two areas. Lights alternate illuminating the areas for each scene.

Chuck & Eddie—Two goofy custodians that feature slapstick, physical humor
Del—Stereotypical IT professional
Ben Goode—Owner of the company
Gloria—Efficient, administrative assistant
Roger—Company salesman, a little short on work ethic
Donna—Plant lady
Eugene—Well-meaning but annoying Christmas Caroler
Geri—Production manager
UPS man—Delivery man
Hank—Head of security and power control freak

The corporate office of Goode Enterprises on the 7th floor of an office building. The main office area consists of the desk of Ben Goode, the desk of Gloria, his administrative assistant and the cubicles of Del and Roger. The cubicles are positioned so the audience can see Roger, but not Del. A window behind Ben’s desk reveals other office buildings in the background. Another window somewhere shows industrial buildings with smoke stacks. On the wall is the company name, Goode Enterprises. There is also the company motto: We’re Goode at Always Giving Our Best Effort.

LIGHTS ON FULL and MUSIC UP. Dance of the Toy Flutes.

CHUCK & EDDIE, two custodians ENTER. Chuck, a slob, vacuums in a careless manner, moving things around and leaving them in haphazard disarray. Eddie, very meticulous, dusts and follows after Chuck, to carefully return everything to precise order. Exasperated by Chuck’s disorganized methods, Eddie demonstrates how to make neat, orderly passes with the vacuum cleaner. Under Eddie’s watchful gaze, Chuck follows Eddie’s instruction, but roguishly, and surreptitiously rebels when Eddie isn’t watching. Eddie points to a spot Chuck missed and Chuck goes over the spot, but the cleaner doesn’t seem to work. He picks it up, shakes it, and looks underneath to see what’s wrong. Eddie points to the bag so Chuck opens up the cleaner and tries to remove the bag but can’t figure out how. Annoyed, Eddie takes charge and opens the compartment to remove the bag. As Eddie frees it and peers in the end, Chuck leans in for a better look. His hand squeezes the bag and a cloud of dust spews in Eddie’s face. Chuck laughs, but stops when he sees Eddie’s angry face. He EXITS running and Eddie chases after him as the song ends.

 Waltz of the Flowers begins as DONNA, the plant lady, ENTERS. She’s dressed in khaki pants, wears a green apron, and carries a water pitcher and container of flowers. She waters the office plants and places new flowers in a vase on Ben’s desk and a new rose into the vase on Gloria’s desk. She examines a floor plant, decides it doesn’t look right, picks it up, and carries it away.

GLORIA ENTERS carrying a cup of coffee, dressed casually in Christmas attire. She sits at her desk and begins working.

 DEL, a stereotypical computer nerd and IT expert ENTERS hugging his laptop in an important, protective manner. He glances around suspiciously and disappears in his cubicle.

 A UPS MAN ENTERS. He carries in a box, sets it down and has Gloria sign his manifest. He begs a piece of chewing gum from her, and EXITS. The MUSIC FADES.

 ROGER, shuffles in sleepily. He yawns, falls into his cubicle and drops his head with a THUMP on his messy desk. Del pops up and frowns at Roger.

Del: Do you mind?
Roger gazes at him sleepily.
Roger: Not at all.
Del sits and Roger goadingly SLAPS the desktop with his hand. Del pops back up with a scowl. He watches Roger warily and sinks slowly behind the partition. Roger fakes hitting the desk top, but stops short. Del pops up, realizes he’s been had, and sits with an angry HUFF as Roger chuckles to himself.
Del: Salesmen!
Gloria: Del.
Del pops up.
Del: Yes, Gloria.
Gloria: My computer is acting loopy again.
Gloria gives the terminal a few hand smacks, trying to straighten it out.
Del: Loopy?
Gloria: Yes, loopy.
She graduates to shaking it, then picks up a large, decorative candy cane next to her desk and winds up for a swing. Del stops her just in time.
Del: I’ll go check the servers.
He EXITS, the phone RINGS once, and Gloria transforms back into professional mode.
Gloria: Good morning, Goode Enterprises, home of the Goody Goode bar. Merry Christmas Eve, this is Gloria, may I help you?
She holds the phone away as she listens to protect her ear from the yelling of an irate customer.
Miz Baker: (Over the phone) This is Miz Baker from Baker and Associates. I’d like to speak with Roger right now, because I want to know why the sales material he was supposed to send us a week ago isn’t here yet!
Gloria: One moment please. Roger, are you in yet?
Roger: (face still on the desk) Who wants to know?
Gloria: Miz Baker from Baker and Associates. She’s asking about the sales material you promised her last week.
Roger lifts his head. Stuck to the side of his face is a brochure. He looks at it, realization dawning on his face. He leaps to his feet and rushes toward the door.
Roger: Gloria, you know I’m never in till after my third cup of coffee.
As he EXITS, Gloria dutifully covers for him.
Gloria: I’m sorry Miz Baker, Roger just left in a big hurry. I think he has a meeting with Mr. Coffee.
She listens again, holding the phone away as she writes on a piece of paper.
Miz Baker: (Over the phone) This is absolutely ridiculous! And you can tell that lazy, no good–
Gloria: Do you mind if I paraphrase that? Okay, I’ll give him the message.
Roger ENTERS again quickly, passing by Gloria and snatching the message from her hand. He EXITS again as BEN GOODE ENTERS right behind him. Ben carries a briefcase and crosses to his desk.
Ben: Good morning, Gloria, and Merry Christmas.
Gloria: Good morning, Ben. Can I get you some coffee?
Ben: Gloria, you’re not a dog who fetches for me, you’re my Administrative Assistant. I’ll get my own coffee in a couple of minutes. Was Roger sleeping on his desk again?
Gloria: Only briefly. But I’m sure he’ll return for another nap after lunch.
Ben: Would you mind handling whatever problem he’s dodging this time?
Gloria: Okay. Are you sure you don’t want–
Ben: Gloria, you’re my Administrative Assistant.
Gloria: (smiles with satisfaction) I know. I just like to hear you say it.

The WORKROOM has a counter workspace, automatic drip coffee machine, office supply storage, small refrigerator, and a small table. On the wall is the logo of the Goody Goode Bar.


Roger sits at the table cradling a cup of coffee with his head down, sleeping as Gloria ENTERS. She gathers material from the cupboard and SLAMS it on the counter which wakes him.
Roger: I see you’re efficiently on the job as usual, Gloria.
Gloria: Someone has to do your work, Roger.
Roger: I’m not a morning person. And who works on Christmas Eve anyway?
She gives him an annoyed look.
Roger: Oh, come on. Nothing really important happens at Christmas.
She smirks and he becomes defensive.
Roger: You know what I mean. Besides, they won’t need any of that material until the first of the year. So what’s the big deal?
Gloria: Roger, most people are too focused on what’s urgent to see the things they really need. And what’s important…they usually miss.
Roger: And of course, sales material tops the list of what’s important in life.
Gloria: (shrugs) It’s not my job to decide the value of a promise. Only whether I’m going to keep the ones I make.
She finishes and pauses on the way out.
Gloria: And clean your face, you look ridiculous.
She EXITS and Roger turns so that “Goody Goode” is visible on his face. He looks in a mirror and starts rubbing it off. As he does, he doesn’t see HANK, a security officer, ENTER. Hank grins mischievously, and imitates an arresting officer.
Hank: Freeze! Get those hands in the air!
Startled, Roger raises his hands and starts to turn, but Hank presses his finger against the back of Roger’s head.
Hank: I wouldn’t. The last person who tried something ended up an air head.
Hank frisks Roger and backs away.
Hank: Okay. You’re clean.
Roger adjusts his pants.
Roger: I was a few minutes ago.
He turns and looks at Hank, suddenly exasperated.
Roger: Man, Hank. What’s the big idea?
Hank: Just a little holiday humor.
ROGER: Yeah? You see much good humor going around during the holidays?
Hank pours himself a cup of coffee and Roger returns to cleaning his face.
Hank: (nods his head in agreement) What I hear is joy to the world, peace on earth and goodwill toward men…and what I see is people clenching their teeth as they empty their wallets. Funny isn’t it? And lots of talk about giving. But did you know robbery and theft skyrocket during the Christmas season? So I got security locked up so tight in this building even the cock roaches have to check in.
He glances at the floor and stomps on a bug.
Hank: Sorry, buddy, you weren’t cleared. (examines Roger’s face) You missed a spot there. And you ought to do something about those crows feet.
Roger: I’m not old enough to have crows feet. I’m only… (mentally calculates) Two wrinkles short of a face lift.
Hank: You just need to facecercise.
Roger: If that has something to do with Richard Simmons I don’t want any part of it.
Hank: No, man. (proudly) You see this profile? It’s because I facercise faithfully.
He thrusts his chin out in a proud pose as Roger scrutinizes his face.
Roger: (With a hint of pity) Well, brother. If that’s the result of faith in action, you’d better change your religion.
Hank: Let me show you. First, you assume a relaxed, neutral position.
He demonstrates a relaxed face which resembles a gaping mouth and dumb stare.
Hank: Then you exercise your face muscles.
Roger watches as Hank demonstrates making absurd faces.
Roger: Like this?
Roger follows with a buffoonish imitation.
Hank: That’s a good start. Now stretch it out.
Hank manipulates Roger’s face and Roger speaks as his face is pinched between Hank’s hands.
Roger: I think I’m getting the feel for it.
Hank: Keep pushing. Push till you feel the burn.
Hank twists his face into exaggerated expressions and Roger joins him in ludicrous, facial contortions. Gloria ENTERS and watches, curiously amused, and clears her throat. They freeze and look at her with sheepish grins.
Gloria: I don’t even want to know.
She EXITS. Roger and Hank look at one another, shrug and resume facercising.

LIGHTS ON FULL & MUSIC UP. King’s Brass CD “Sleigh Ride”

Chuck and Eddie haul in a Christmas tree. Eddie releases his hold on the tree to move the box that Gloria left in the middle of the floor. Chuck, straining on his own, swings the tree around out of control. Eddie stoops a couple of times to move the box. Each time, Chuck just barely misses hitting him with the tree. On the third pass, Eddie grabs the tree and helps Chuck bring it under control and stand it on the floor. Then Eddie has Chuck move the tree several times as he decides where he thinks it looks the best. But then it’s too crooked and he keeps making Chuck lean it first one way and then the other. Finally, Chuck hands Eddie a level, Eddie uses it to position the tree and nods satisfied. As they EXIT, Chuck kicks the box out of his way and into the path of Eddie who is backing up, still looking at the tree. He trips backward over the box, but Chuck catches him in the nick of time.


Ben ENTERS with a cup of coffee and sits at his desk. The phone RINGS and he answers it.
Ben: Good morning, Goode Enterprises, home of the Goody Goode bar. Ben Goode speaking, how may I help you? (his face softens) Hi Sweetheart. Daddy’s working, that’s what he’s doing. I’m putting food on the table and Christmas presents under the tree. (realizes his oops) No, of course, Santa puts the presents there. That was just a figure of speech. Well, a figure of speech is–what’s your Mom doing anyway? Getting ready for tonight. No, I haven’t forgotten. The Christmas Eve service starts at six-thirty. And the family is coming over to our house after that. I’ll be home by six. Sweetheart, stop worrying. I said I’d be home by six and I’ll be home by six. Okay, okay…I promise.
He hangs up as Gloria ENTERS carrying a package.
Gloria: The material for Baker and Associates is ready. I called UPS for a pickup.
The phone RINGS twice and she answers.
Gloria: Good morning, Goode Enterprises, home of the Goody Goode Bar. Merry Christmas Eve, this is Gloria, may I help you? One moment, please. (she pushes hold button) Ben, it’s Mr. Carter from Tillson and Carter.
Ben: Merry Christmas, John. Oh, uh, yes…Happy Holidays to you too. What can I do for you this morning? (starts writing on paper) Uh, huh.That’s one hundred cartons of Goody Goode Bars shipped to your warehouse in Cincinnati. We’ll get right on it the day after Christmas. You want it by six o’clock tonight? But John, it’s Christmas Eve. Yes, you are my very best customer. But–yes, I know what happens to my company if you take your business elsewhere. But–yes, six o’clock tonight.
Gloria: Problems?
Ben: Last year Tillson and Carter pulled their account from plenty good candies and now they’re plenty gone. If I had any nerve I’d give that guy a piece of my mind.
Gloria: But you don’t. So you can’t.
Ben: And what’s left of my mind, I can’t afford to lose.
He pauses, frustrated and struggling for words to express rising emotions.
Ben: You know, we live in a dog eat dog world and I’m wearing Kibbles and Bits underwear. (hands her the paper) Key in the order. Christmas Eve is going to be just another day.
Gloria looks at the paper and types on her computer, giving her terminal a few smacks to help it along. Donna ENTERS carrying a new plant. She begins arranging and watering it. EUGENE ENTERS. He blows a note on his pitch pipe and starts singing.
Eugene: Hark the Herald, Angels sing Glory to the newborn King…
Ben: Eugene.
Eugene: Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinner reconciled.
Ben: Eugene.
Eugene: Joyful all ye nations rise—
Ben: Eugene!
Eugene: Merry Christmas, Ben. Isn’t this a wonderful time of year? A time to celebrate the fruits of God’s love.
Ben: (Sarcastically) Yes, it’s just peachy. Would you mind telling me what you’re doing?
Eugene: Christmas caroling. Spreading the message of joy and peace on earth, goodwill toward men. I’m singing to every office in this building, one floor at a time.
Ben: Don’t you have any work to do?
Eugene: Not really. (leans in like sharing a secret) It’s Christmas Eve. (blows a note) Hark the Herald Angels Sing–
Ben: Eugene! Do me a favor would you? (he indicates up) Take it to the next level.
Eugene: Sure, Ben (blows a higher pitch) Hark the Herald Angels sing–
Ben: Eugene! I mean the next floor, level.
Eugene (in realization) Oh. (he looks around the office) Christmas Caroling is moving up to the next level.
As he blows a note, Donna joins him and they sing as they leave.
Eugene & Donna: Hark the Herald Angels sing Glory to the newborn king…
Gloria shrugs at Ben’s obvious frustration.
GLORIA: At least he wasn’t singing the twelve days of Christmas.
BEN: Right.

Hank ENTERS and pours himself a cup of coffee. Seeing no one else around, he tries a few quick draws and a Dirty Harry imitation.
Hank: Go ahead, Punk. Make my day.
Geri, the tough, no-nonsense, lady production manager, ENTERS.
Geri: Yo, Barney Fife! What’s happening?
Hank: Hey, Geri. Just practicing my piece keeping.
He blows imaginary smoke from the gun and sticks it in his holster.
Hank: How’s it going across the street in production?
Geri: Industrially. Man and machine, working in harmony to produce… (shows a candy bar) A cavity producer.
Hank: Is this a great country or what?
Geri: And there’s nothing like the melody of gears grinding.
Hank: The smooth feel of well-oiled hardware.
Geri: The spicy aroma of a greased axle.
Hank: Crowd control.
Geri: Raw sweat.
Hank & Geri: (With shared pride) Ar, ar, ar, ar…
Geri opens a soft drink and straddles a chair.
Geri: You know, I’m pretty much a here and now kind of person. But every so often I get this feeling there really is more to life. That maybe I’m missing something. And a gnawing sense of emptiness wells up inside like this ache in the very center of my being.
Hank: Yeah, then what?
She takes a swig and lets out a huge belch.
Geri: That usually takes care of it.
Ben ENTERS and pours himself coffee.
Ben: Geri. How’s that order coming?
Geri: What order is that, BG?
Ben: The one for Tillson and Carter.
Geri looks at him blankly.
Ben: I was standing there when Gloria keyed it in this morning.
Geri: It never came up on my production terminal. (reacts to Ben’s look of worry) We’ve got a problem don’t we?
Ben: We’ve got a problem is right.


What Can Be Trusted

What Can Be Trusted

Theme: Outside of the absolute Word of God, truth is untrustworthy. (Romans 9:6-13)
Characters: Two males, two females
Length: 5 – 6 minutes
Scene/Props: This is a reader’s theater. No props or staging is needed.

Synopsis: This reader’s theater script supports the doctrine that the Bible communicates absolute truth. Outside the Word of God, truth is difficult to trust.

(Readers are positioned in a line across the front platform.)
One: Truth…

Three: Is important.

Two: To say what you mean…

Four: And mean what you say.

Three: If you can’t believe what people say…

Four: How can you trust anyone?

One: How can you believe in anything?

Two: We live in a constantly changing world…

Three: With changing values.

One: Some say truth changes with circumstances…

Four: That truth is relative.

One: Not my relatives.

Three: Then maybe, truth is a matter of perception.

Two: Manipulate the words…

Four: Manage the perception.

Two: Truth then is optional…

Four: Political…

One: Practical…

The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas

Theme: There’s no specific theme. It’s intended as a humorous addition to a larger Christmas program and works for any age group in a variety of settings.

Characters: Two people of any gender and age. The key is for them to have an obvious chemistry: i.e. Two siblings, parent/child, boyfriend/girlfriend, etc. (be imaginative)

Length: 5 – 6 minutes
Scene/Props: The Night Before Christmas poem, A large children’s book (use the book as a prop or make a prop book) and a comfortable reading chair.

Synopsis: A couple read the traditional Night Before Christmas poem to the audience. Dale has a business-like approach, but Carolyn keeps interrupting with questions and comments that create a humorous exchange.

Note: The more you distinguish the two characters, the more humor you’ll create. As an alternative, eliminate the chair and have them stand. Use a reading stand for the book and let the second character turn pages.

(Dale and Carolyn enter together. Dale maintains an attitude of complete seriousness. He has a job to do and is all business. Carolyn also appears serious on the surface, but there’s mischievousness about her.)

Dale: As part of our celebration of the Christmas season, we’d like to read a favorite, traditional classic.

(He sits with exaggerated seriousness. Carolyn stands next to the arm of the chair as if in support. She’s serious too, but it’s a mock seriousness.)

Dale: (with much drama) T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring not even a mouse. The stockings were hung—

Carolyn: What would a mouse be stirring?

(Dale pauses. He’s caught off guard, almost surprised as he was completely immersed in the dramatic reading)

Dale: What do mean what would a mouse be stirring?

Carolyn: Would it be coffee, eggnog, or what?

Dale: He wasn’t stirring anything.

Carolyn: I know that. It says right there the mouse wasn’t stirring. My question is: what would he stir if he was stirring. Do mice drink coffee?

What is Christmas?

What is Christmas?

Theme: Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ and the salvation he offers.

Length: 2-3 minutes
Characters: Six different people. This one used youth
Scenes/Props: None

Synopsis: This reader theater script was used to begin a Christmas program.

(Readers position themselves as a line across the stage. The capitalized word in the first three lines is the one emphasized)

One: WHAT is Christmas?

Two: What IS Christmas?

Three: What is CHRISTMAS?

Four: Uh, would you repeat the question?


Four: Okay…I get it.

Five: Christmas is for kids.

Six: I thought Trix was for kids.

One: Okay, you guys, let’s get cereal…I mean, serious.

Three: Yes, this conversation is getting flakey.

Five: What I mean is that kids love Christmas because they get presents.

Six: I like presents.

One: And Christmas is about the most important present of all—the gift of eternal life.

Two: But more importantly, it’s the birth of our Savior.

Three: He’s the one who brought the gift.

Five: So Christmas is not just for kids, it’s for everyone.