For licensing inquiries on this and other titles, please contact: Brian ShermanIPEX Theatrical Artistsp: 646-355-8050e: firstname.lastname@example.org PRODUCTION HISTORY First Ave. Playhouse NJ 2004 (premiere) Fiest Ave,. Playhouse NJ 2011 SAMPLE DIALOUGE: CHARACTERSRalph………………….Stock Broker 35 – 55Sarah………………….Stock Broker 35 – 55Sam……………………Delivery Man 25 – 35Tom……………………Office Manager 50-60Jeff……………………..Stock Broker 35-55Lois…………………….Secretary 25-45Herb……………………Client 40-70Martha…………………Compliance Officer 35-60Janet…………………...A former client 35 -60Frank……………………Mary’s Husband 50-65
SCENE ISETTING: A brokerage office in New Jersey. A desk is up center on which sits a computer terminal. This desk has two chairs on either side and is shared by Sarah (left) and Ralph (right). Smaller desks for Lois and Jeff are up left and right. Jeff’s desk also has a terminal while Lois’ desk has a call center. A fourth desk for the manager is down left. File cabinet next to Tom’s desk .Outside entrance is up right. Interior doorway is up left. Conference room entrance is back center and supply closet door is down right.AT RISE Ralph Cella is seated at desk.
RALPH. Ring, ring, ring…
(Out loud and methodically to himself as he points his finger at the phone…a beat…Phone rings, a look of triumph as he answers)Ace financial Services, ‘we’re tops at stocks.’ Ralph Speaking… Oh, hello Mary…No, Jeff hasn’t arrived yet… Yeah, sure I’ll tell him to call you…huh, tell him what? He’s supposed to pick up your kids at school and then drop them at your mother’s house, got it…what else? Today’s his birthday and you’re sending him a surprise to the office…Of course I shouldn’t tell him that, just tell him about your mother and the kids…I’m getting really confused now….What’s that?... I’m not doing anything later, why?… (Naughty demeanor) Oh you are a bad little girl Mary. I don’t think Jeff would appreciate the tone this conversation is taking… Come on now Mary, I’m married!…I know you don’t mind but my wife probably would! And besides, aren’t you and Jeff engaged?…Oh, your not announcing it till after your divorce… Say Mary, are you interested in buying a stock or bond today, business has been pretty slow and… no? I didn’t think so… Sure, I’ll remember to give Jeff the message. Goodbye Mary.(He hangs up phone, looks at his watch, then stares at phone for two beats before pointing his finger at it for emphasis as he says the next words.)Ring…Ring…Ring…(Sarah Hart Enters)SARAH. Good Morning Ralph.
RALPH. (Still Preoccupied) Good morning Sarah. (Back to Phone) Ring…Ring…Ring…
SARAH. (Over his shoulder) What the hell are you doing?
RALPH. I’ve been boning up on positive thinking techniques. If I assume the phone will ring with a client’s order then it will. Ring…Ring…Ring…
SARAH. (Matter of fact) Have you gone off your medication again?
RALPH. Sure, make fun, but when the orders start rolling in… Ring…Ring…Ring…
SARAH. You better knock that off before Tom gets here.
(Ralph waves his arm at her as if signifying he’s not worried)
By the way, did Jeff and Mary Brown break up?
(All Ralph’s answers are sandwiched between his ‘Ring’ chanting until otherwise noted)
RALPH. Not that I know of, why? Ring… ring… ring…
SARAH. I was at a restaurant last night and I noticed that she and someone who definitely wasn’t Jeff were getting pretty cozy in a corner booth.
RALPH. You must be mistaken; she just called here looking for Jeff. Ring…Ring…Ring… SARAH. Then it must have been her twin sister…would you cut it out already, I’m getting a headache.
RALPH. You’re just jealous 'cause you didn’t think of it. Ring… ring… ring
SARAH. And you’re just jealous 'cause I’m not a lunatic.
RALPH. Aha! Lunatic am I?(He answers Phone) Ace financial services, “We never met a stock we didn’t like.” Ralph speaking…Huh, Securities? Of course we sell securities, stocks, bonds, mutual funds…what’s that? …You sell securities? (realizing) Oh, you sell security systems. Well you’d really have to discuss that with the office manager, Tom Witherspoon, he’s not in yet…No, there’s no need to send one of your representatives down here with an armed guard, I’m sure your security firm is top notch…Yes, well the one you really need to convince is Mr. Witherspoon. Why don’t you try back later…You’re welcome. SARAH. That sure worked like a charm.
RALPH. I don’t give up that easily. Ring …ring … ring.
SARAH. And what’s with the dopey slogans?
RALPH. What do you mean? Ring…Ring…Ring…
SARAH. “We never met a stock we didn’t like.” Where you’d come up with that gem, read it in a book or something?
RALPH. Nah, I just make ‘em up as I go along. Ring…Ring…Ring…
(Sam Enters and walks up to Ralph. He is dressed in a tuxedo)
SAM. Can you direct me to Jeff Hanson please?
RALPH. Who wants to know? Ring, ring, ring
(Sam looks at Ralph askance and directs next question to Sarah)
SAM. (as if reciting a slogan) My name’s Sam with a birthday gram.
SARAH. Who sent you, Doctor Seuss?
SAM (refers to a note he is holding)No, someone named Mary.
RALPH. He’s not in yet. Ring…ring…ring…
SAM. Do you know what time he’ll be in?
SARAH. Not really. Maybe you should come back later.
SAM. (consults his schedule on cell phone) Alright, but I don’t know when I can get back. I’ve got another birthday gram across town at ten. Then a little Bo peep across the street at eleven thirty. Then a gorilla gram across town at two. So by the time I get back from across town, change from the tuxedo into the Bo peep dress…Okay, maybe I can be back up here by twelve but I’m not guaranteeing the tuxedo…Damn, I forgot I have to stop at the petting zoo and pick up the sheep. Make it twelve thirty.
SARAH. You’re going to dress as Little Bo Peep?
SAM. Don’t you think I have the legs for it? Besides I’m only subbing for our regular Bo Peep. She has to fill in for Boffo the Clown because he called in sick.
SARAH. Call me naive but wouldn’t it be better if you subbed for the clown and she did Bo Peep?
SAM. Are you kidding? Then she’d have to do this gig too, and she looks terrible in a tuxedo.
SARAH. That explains it.(She crosses and sits at desk)SAM. Well, I guess I’ll see you later.
(Sam crosses to exit and stops to look at Ralph)
Is he alright?
SARAH. Don’t ask?(Tom Witherspoon enters as Sam is about to exit. Sam points to Tom as if to ask if he’s Jeff and Sarah shakes her head no. Sam exits as Tom crosses center and stares at the chanting Ralph.)TOM. (To Sarah) What’s with him?
SARAH. Who knows?
TOM. Did he go off his medication again? (to Ralph)Hey, Ma bell, what’s going on?RALPH. Just trying to make some money Tom. Ring…Ring…Ring…
SARAH. (To the puzzled Tom)It’s a new sales technique, reverse cold calling.
TOM. (To Ralph)Okay, knock it off. You need something to do, start calling those leads I got for you.
RALPH. (Stops chanting) That’s too much like real work.
SARAH. Yeah, we became stockbrokers so we wouldn’t have to work.
TOM. Look you two, I may only be the interim manager in this satellite office but I do have to answer to New York. Your production combined wouldn’t pay to keep the coffee maker going around here.
RALPH. You know it’s a bear market Tom.
TOM. Well I don’t know about you but I have a mortgage, two kids in college, and an ex-wife who’s addicted to the Home Shopping Network and refuses to re-marry. You know what that means?RALPH. Permanent Alimony?
TOM. Besides that. It means we better figure some way to make money.
RALPH. I got a part time job bartending on the weekend.
TOM. (sarcasm) Wonderful. (To Sarah) And you?
SARAH. I’m independently wealthy, remember?
TOM. (realizing) Oh yeah that’s right.…(Take stage) Nevertheless, we’ve got to try to crank up the production around here. If it wasn’t for Jeff Hanson…by the way, where is he this morning?SARAH. It wasn’t my turn to watch him.
TOM. Well if it wasn’t for Jeff’s production they would have shut this office down long ago. I’m thinking of taking out a life insurance policy on him.
RALPH. You know he derives most of his commissions from one client, that Herb Willy.
SARAH. (cross down left) That’s right, maybe you should take out the insurance policy on him.
TOM. Keep making jokes and we’ll all be bartending soon.
RALPH. (cross down center) Well where is that help you promised us. We’ve been without a sales assistant for six months already.
TOM. (cross down right) Relax, I’m interviewing a young lady for the position this morning.
SARAH. (cross down left) And how about getting the water cooler fixed?
TOM. I’m working on it. There’s bottled water in the kitchen. Help yourself. (phone rings)RALPH. I got it!
(Picks up phone)Ace financial Services, “Whatever you need, with Ace you’ll succeed.” (to self) Hey, that was a good one, I better write it down. (He starts to write as he speaks on phone) Oh Hi Mary…No, he hasn’t arrived yet…I’m sure he’ll be here any minute, the markets about to open for the day…What are you worried about, he’ll show up sooner or later… Look, just because he left your place early this morning and you haven’t heard from him in a few hours doesn’t mean you have to panic… No way he’s cheating on you Mary, Jeff’s true blue. Okay. I’ll tell him to call you as soon as he gets here.(He hangs up phone)How do you like that? Mary thinks Jeff is cheating on her.SARAH. Ain’t that the pot calling the kettle black?
TOM. Stop the chit chat, is this a brokerage office or “General Hospital”.
(Tom sits at his desk and starts searching for something)
SARAH. Hey Tom, I’ve got a bone to pick with you.
TOM. What is it this time?
SARAH. All the cutbacks this firm is making.
TOM. Has anybody seen my Pepto Bismol?
SARAH. (cross to Tom’s desk) First you cut back our commission percentage. Then you threaten to make us pay for the free coffee, and now I heard that New York is cutting out the Christmas Formal.
TOM. It is a bear market, just like Ralph says.
SARAH. But I was taking ballroom dancing lessons.
TOM. What do you want from me? I’ll get you a gift certificate to Arthur Murray’s for a stocking stuffer. (aside) Where is that bottle?
SARAH. And all the new clients who call in always go to you guys. I never get handed an account. I realize I’m not here as long as you guys are …
TOM. That’s it exactly, the leads go by seniority. Look at Ralph, he’s here five years and we’re still afraid to let him handle an important client.
RALPH. (Not realizing, he agrees) That’s right.(It hits him) Hey wait a minute…
SARAH. (up left) Well that better be the reason. I hope it’s not because I happen to be the only female broker working here because if that were the case it would be a real problem.
TOM. Relax, I’ll take it up at the next managers meeting. You sure nobody’s seen my stomach medication…never mind, I found something better.(He takes a swig from a hip flask in his top drawer. Offers it to Sarah) You want a hit?
SARAH. No thank you.
TOM. Look, nobody’s trying to screw you out of anything around here. Besides, what do you care about new clients? All you do is trade your own account anyway.(He busies himself at his desk)SARAH. That’s beside the point. I should still be entitled to the same treatment as everyone else. I show up here everyday the same as everybody.
TOM. And just why do you, Sarah? Nobody’s twisting your arm to stay. You can leave any time you want.
SARAH. I didn’t say I wanted to leave Tom.
TOM. Why? You could just as easily trade your account from your house.
SARAH. I like it here. I like having some place to come to everyday. I don’t want to just sit home alone. I’d go crazy.
TOM. Get a cat.
SARAH. I had one. My last boyfriend took it when we broke up.
TOM. (cross to Sarah) We’ve all got problems honey. If I fall anymore behind in my child support payments the court is going to pull my drivers license. I need to make money. I need for this office to make money. That’s why we need Jeff and his big account. Now where the hell is he?
RALPH. Hey Tom, I’ve got my two nephews visiting for Halloween this year. You know a scary place I can take them?
TOM. (deadpan) Try your apartment.
RALPH. What do you want from me? The cleaning lady quit.(Jeff Hanson enters carrying a briefcase and brown bag containing his lunch)JEFF. Hello all.
SARAH. Here’s the golden boy now.
TOM. (Laying it on thick) Hey Jeff my boy. How are you doing this morning? Can I get you some coffee? Sarah, get him some coffee will you.
(Jeff crosses to his desk)
JEFF. No time for that now Tom, have to make money. Well, maybe a latté’, feel like trotting down to the coffee shop Sarah?
SARAH. (sarcasm) Sure. Just for you. Anything else I can do for the ‘fair-haired’ boy... Pick up your dry cleaning, wash your car?
JEFF. (Dialing phone) Oh, touchy this morning.
TOM.(reprimanding) Sarah, that’s no way to talk to your co-worker…(To Jeff) Never mind Jeff, I’ll just go in the kitchen and make a fresh pot.(Tom exits interior door)JEFF. (Into phone) Hello, Herb Willy please…
RALPH. Hey Jeff, your girlfriend called.
(Jeff holds up hand so as not to be interrupted)
JEFF. Herb, Jeff…
(Loud enough and with emphasis for everyone to hear as he rubs it in)Got it, buy five thousand shares of I.B.M. at the open… Of course Herb, don’t I always give you a discount. (Hangs up phone and redials)RALPH. Did you hear me Jeff, I said, Mary called.
JEFF. (To Ralph) Not now (to phone) Hello order room, I want to buy ten thousand shares of I.B.M. at the market. I’ll call you back with the account number... Yes, the usual discount, that’s right, one dollar off.
RALPH. A whole one dollar discount. Why bother?
JEFF. Any amount given gets the customer a confirmation printed that says discount applied. You need to learn how to work the system my friend.
SARAH. Didn’t I hear you take that order for only five thousand shares? You just bought ten thousand.
JEFF. Don’t worry, he’ll probably buy more shares later on.
RALPH. What if he doesn’t?
JEFF. If the stock goes up, I take the extra shares in my account.
RALPH. And if it goes down?
JEFF. My mother gets it.
SARAH. You mean you’d deliberately lose money for your own mother?
JEFF. She’s a realtor, she can afford it. Besides, she made money last week.
(Sarah walks over to Jeff’s desk)
SARAH. (suspicious) So how are things going with you and Mary?
JEFF. (Big smile) Couldn’t be better. She’s crazy about me you know. The poor love sick kid. Ah, but how could she help herself. When I turn on the old Hanson charm…
RALPH. That’s our Jeff, the consummate ladies man. Remember the ice cream girl?
RALPH. Before your time. Jeff used to date this woman who wholesaled premium ice cream to upscale markets. Every time he got lucky he used to bring a gallon of pistachio into the office the next day.
JEFF. (Reminiscing) The good old ice cream girl. I sure gained a lot of weight during that relationship.
RALPH. The whole office did.
SARAH. How long have you been divorced Jeff?
JEFF. Ten years.
SARAH. And how many girlfriends?
JEFF. (Ralph keeps count in Italian as Jeff recites his conquests)Let’s see there was the ice cream girl,
RALPH. (holds up one finger) Uno.
JEFF. Then Paula the doctor,
RALPH. (two fingers) Dos
JEFF. Gladys the lawyer, Sue the accountant…
SARAH. Whoa, hold the phone… that’s a lot of relationships.
JEFF. And that was just the first year.
SARAH. How’d you meet so many?
JEFF. When I first was divorced I joined this dating service that matched up professional people. I took the trial offer, three dates.
JEFF. (take stage) Well, apparently there was such a shortage of qualified professional men the service would just keep calling me and setting me up with dates.
RALPH. For free?
JEFF. (cross to Ralph) Absolutely! They were practically begging me to meet these women. One date a month whether I wanted it or not. I think I was up to ten free dates.
RALPH. What a system! Why did you stop?
JEFF. It was getting too expensive. I finally told the service that if they wanted me to keep helping them out with the dates they’d have to give me an expense account.
RALPH. That did it, huh?
JEFF. No, actually they agreed.
SARAH. I don’t believe it.
JEFF. Neither did I. I finally told them I needed a rest so I referred one of my friends to them.
SARAH. I just don’t get it.
JEFF. (cross and sit at desk)I’m telling you, it’s the old Hanson charm. That’s how I landed Mary.
SARAH. Oh, yes Mary.
JEFF. And she’s been the longest relationship I’ve had with a woman since my divorce. Over a year now.
SARAH. (Sarcasm) A whole year with the same woman?
RALPH. And they say romance is dead.
JEFF. I never thought I’d meet the right woman till Mary came along. She was just the perfect woman for me. Smart, attractive, loyal.
SARAH. (to Ralph) I knew love was blind but I never realized it was deaf and dumb too.
JEFF. There’s just something about Mary that sends me, I don’t know, I just can’t put my finger on it.
SARAH. Well everyone else has.
JEFF. (To Ralph) What is she talking about?
SARAH. I don’t want to burst your bubble Jeff but…
RALPH. Sarah, it’s not your place.
JEFF. What do you mean?
SARAH. Well somebody ought to…never mind.
JEFF. Never mind what?
SARAH. So everything’s going well with you and Mary, huh. No little tiff’s or storm clouds on the horizon. You’re both exclusive with each other?
JEFF. Of course. We’re practically living together you know. If she’s not at my place then I’m with her and her kids. As a matter of fact since we first met we’ve never been apart for more then one day. Except for a long weekend in Vegas she took about a month ago for a company convention.
SARAH. And how many times has she been married?
JEFF. She just separated from her second husband.
SARAH. Well, you know what they say, third times a charm.
JEFF. I guess.
SARAH. So what did you two do for dinner last night?
JEFF. Last night…last night… Oh, last night I was at the ballgame with my client, Herb.
SARAH. And what did Mary do?
JEFF. She told me she was staying home and ordering in.
SARAH. Really? And I bet I know what she had for dessert.
(Jeff examines the contents of his brown bag)
SARAH. Never mind. What’s in the bag?
JEFF. My lunch. (He holds up Brown paper bag)Baloney sandwich, rice pudding and a cucumber.
SARAH. You are so predictable. The same lunch everyday. Don’t you ever do anything spontaneous?
JEFF. What do you mean?
SARAH. I mean everyday the same baloney sandwich. Why don’t you try something new? Ham? Liverwurst?
JEFF. I don’t like liverwurst.
SARAH. It must be a man thing.
JEFF. What do you mean by that?
SARAH. (she paces) Man thing. You know the way men act; self serving, always looking for a good time, always chasing the young blonde “chipies.”
RALPH. Boy somebody’s pretty moody today.
JEFF. What’s the matter Sarah, are you upset because I happen to be in a nice stable, monogamous relationship while you have trouble meeting “Mr. Right.”
SARAH. For your information, I have plenty of gentleman acquaintances whom I can call on when the mood strikes me.
RALPH. I think the last time the mood struck was during Woodstock.
SARAH. Never mind wise guy. And you’d better start opening your eyes about your current relationship…
RALPH. Sarah, behave.
JEFF. (to Ralph) What’s she talking about?
SARAH. Never mind.
JEFF. Why don’t you go on the internet or something?
SARAH. Is that how you met Mary?
JEFF. Nah, she was driving for a limo service. She took me to the airport one morning, we got stuck in traffic, she invited me into the front seat, and the rest was history.
RALPH. What do you know, Limo Love.
JEFF. What a ride! ( Tom re-enters carrying two cups of coffee.)
TOM. (Handing Jeff cup) Here’s your coffee Jeff.
RALPH. Tom, some guy with a security firm called you this morning.
TOM. Tell him it’s a bear market and we’re not hiring.
RALPH. No, he’s not with a brokerage firm, he’s with a securities firm. “We nab em” security and alarm systems. He wants to replace our alarm system or something. He was going to send an armed guard down to demonstrate.
TOM. As long as he doesn’t send the Sheriff, I’m four months behind in my alimony payments. It’s a bear market you know.
RALPH. I heard.
JEFF. You really should keep up the payments Tom.
TOM. I will Jeff my boy. Just as soon as you do a few trades with that big client of yours and we all make some nice cash. Now go get ‘em tiger.(To Ralph, sarcasm) You think you might possibly do a trade or two this month?
RALPH. I’ll try Tom, but after all …
TOM. I know, I know, it’s a bear market…Listen, if that security firm calls again just get rid of them.
TOM. How do I know how? You’re a stock broker, make something up.
(Tom crosses to his desk as Lois enters. She is blonde and chewing gum. She wears a low cut blouse.)
LOIS. (To Ralph)Hi, I’m Lois Cleaver, I’m here to see Tom Witherspoon.
(Jeff fly’s across stage from his desk to meet her. He lays on the charm as he is totally smitten)
JEFF. Well lucky him. Sit down and make yourself comfortable. I’ll let Tom know that you’re here. Can I get you some coffee?
LOIS. That would be nice.
JEFF. (Staring at her chest) Regular or D-cup, ah decaf.
LOIS. You better make it decaf, regular might keep me up.
RALPH. (Also starring at her chest) It’s sure keeping me up.
JEFF. (Looks at watch) It’s nine in the morning.
LOIS. Yeah, but the job before last I worked the graveyard shift and I guess I’m still on pacific standard time.
JEFF. You worked the graveyard shift? Where?
LOIS. At the graveyard. I was the night receptionist in the mausoleum department. I guess my body still hasn’t adjusted.
JEFF. It looks fine to me.
SARAH. Down boy, your engaged, remember?
(She crosses to fax machine and has trouble sending something)
RALPH. Hey Jeff, Did you ever call Mary back?
JEFF. (As he’s crossing to Tom) Who’s Mary? Oh yeah, yeah Mary.( With lecherous attitude)Hey Tom, Miss Cleaver is here to see you.
(He crosses to Lois and leers at her chest)
Pleased to meet you Miss Cleavage.
TOM. My mistake.
LOIS. I’m from the employment agency. You sent for a receptionist to answer the phones.
TOM. (looks her up and down) You’re hired.
LOIS. But don’t you want to see my resume. Ask me a question?
TOM. I can already see your qualifications…but what the hell, alright a question. Let’s see… have you ever had a job before?
LOIS. Of course I have.
TOM. Great, you’re hired.
LOIS. But don’t you want to know what I did?
TOM. (Patronizing, he doesn’t really care, she’s hired)Sure.
LOIS. (cross down center stage) Well, right before the graveyard I worked for a think tank in Washington D.C. called Mensa. You ever hear of it?
TOM. You worked for Mensa? What did you do?
LOIS. False positive testing.
TOM. Come again?
LOIS. False positive testing. They used to make me answer questionnaires that they would later use to test applicants. Sometimes I had to answer hundreds of questions a day. Then, any question that I answered right they would delete from the questionnaire. Can you imagine that? They paid me all that money just to answer questions wrong.
TOM. And that’s all you did?
LOIS. Nah, I also had to feed the acrophobic fish twice a day. That’s why I had to leave there.
TOM. (Pondering last answer) Acrophobic fish? You mean the fish were afraid of heights?
LOIS. Yes. My boss said they were rare tropical fish from the Amazon, which, as everyone knows is in a very low lying area. Therefore the fish are afraid of heights, which is why they kept the fish tank on the floor. So every time I went to feed them I had to bend way over like this…(She bends from waist towards audience and Tom bends with her)And after a while my back started to hurt and that’s why I had to leave that position…Do you see?TOM. (deadpan as he stares at her chest) Perfectly.
LOIS. So, do I have the Job?
TOM. Only if you can start in thirty seconds.
LOIS. Why not? (Phone rings)
TOM. And there’s your first call.
(Lois picks up phone)
LOIS. Ace financial services, can I help you.(To Tom)It’s “We nab em” security and alarm systems.
TOM. Tell them we don’t need any help. And if they ever call again keep telling them the same thing.
LOIS. Okay. (to phone) My boss says we don’t need any help. Bye bye.
LOIS. How was that?
TOM. (still patronizing) Perfect.
RALPH. Tom, I’m on with a client and I’ve got another person holding who wants to open a new account.
TOM. Send the call over to Miss Cleavage, ah Cleaver, she can take the new account information. I’ll watch her.