OLD RINGERS (Comedy 2M,5F character ages 35 TO 80)
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IPEX Theatrical Artists
In this semi sequel to 'Men Are Dogs,' four senior women try to fight the shrinking economy and their shrinking pocketbooks by opening up a home phone sex service after receiving an unsolicited obscene phone call! This is an adult bawdy comedy and although two characters are reprised from 'Men Are Dogs' the play stands on it's own and a production of the earlier play is not a pre- requisite!
What the critics said!
"A comedy masterpiece! Mr. Simonelli has provided a timely take on how four seniors cope with a shrinking .economy and their shrinking pocketbooks! Go see it now!"
Joe Franklin - Bloomberg Radio
"THE CHRONIC LAUGHTER OF A PACKED HOUSE AT THE RIDGEFIELD THEATRE BARN INDICATES THAT THE AUDIENCE WAS GREATLY ENTERTAINED!" - Broadway World
"Go see Old Ringers to experience the lighter side of the economic downturn as told by comic playwright Joe Simonelli. Balancing innuendo with drier subjects like social security checks, keeps the play believable but doesn't deract from it's raucous, crowd pleasing comedy!"
Grange Playhouse NJ 2011 (premiere)
First Avenue Playhouse NJ 2011
Traco Theatre NJ 2012
Full Cup Theatre NYC 2013
Theatre Suburbia TX 2013
Paper Wing Theatre CA 2014
Unitarian Theatre NYC 2014
Manvers Amatuer Drama CAN 2015
Spotlight Theatre MI 2016
Brook Arts Center NJ 2016
Little Victory Theatre NYC 2017
Haines Comm Theatre FL 2017
James Downing Theatre Chicago 2017
2nd Act Players IL 2019Liberty Theatre OR 2019
Marco Island Players Fl 2019
Ridgefield Theatre Barn CT 2019
Central Park Players MI 2020
Playmakers Civic Theatre OH 2020
Bourne Comm Theatre TX 2021
Old Academy Players Philadelphia 2021
Lemon Bay Playhouse FL 2022
Diane (mid 60’s)
Rose (late 70’s)
Verna (mid 50’s)
Kathy Ann (Late 50’s)
Harry (early 60’s)
Amanda (early 30’s)
Tony Rumson (about 40)
The living room of Diane and Amanda
Act 1, scene 1 - Late Morning
Act 1, Scene 1 - Later that Evening
ACT 2 - Five days later
ACT I ,
SETTING: The living room of Diane and her daughter Amanda. Front door is back left. Hallway leading to bedroom, den and bathroom is up right. Kitchen is down left. There is a couch, easy chair, dining room table and chairs and bar.
AT RISE: Amanda, a thirty one year old born again Christian, is sitting at dining room table working on her lap top.
AMANDA. (to herself as she types her blog) ‘Salvation can only truly be gained by those willing to forgo the physical rewards of the flesh for the spiritual rewards of the soul!’ There, that sounds about right!
DIANE. (From bedroom) Amanda honey…did you bring in the mail?
AMANDA. Yes mother, it’s right here on the table. (she grabs five letters and holds them up)
DIANE. (enters holding a glass of Vodka, she grabs the letters) Thanks sweetie…what are you up to?
AMANDA. Just finishing up my daily blog.
DIANE. (as she starts to look through letters) Which one today? The ‘Holy Rollers Society’ or the ‘Church of Latter Day Martyrs of the Bronx?”
AMANDA. I like living in the Bronx and you are not funny Mother. Make light of my religious beliefs if you like but don’t come crying to me when the time comes for you to be called home and all the spiritual energy you have is gained from that vodka you are consuming at (she looks at her watch) eleven thirty A.M.
DIANE. …(coy ) it is not Vodka, it’s water. You dumped out all the liquor, remember? (perusing mail) Gas bill, electric bill…
AMANDA. Sure! I know you mother! Just add lying onto the tab of sins you are committing!
DIANE. It's only a venial sin!
AMANDA. Venial sin?
DIANE. Oh, I forgot you weren’t raised religious. It's a term for a less egregious sin …..(back to mail) Cable bill, telephone bill…
AMANDA. Less egregious? How many types of sins are there?
DIANE. Two, venial and mortal...sort of like a misdemeanor and felony for Catholics.
AMANDA. And what do you think God would say about you drinking spirits at all hours of the day?
DIANE. I don’t know. What did he say about your father running off with a pole dancer from Newark?
AMANDA. God had nothing to do with that happening! Dad simply lost his way.
DIANE. No he didn’t. He took the George Washington Bridge to The New Jersey Turnpike and got off at Exit Thirteen.
AMANDA. That’s not what I’m talking about! Just because daddy succumbed to the ‘sins of the flesh’ is no reason you should have to follow. I suppose your lothario friend Harry will be over for his usual noontime liaison?
DIANE. He better be… Besides don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.
AMANDA. Fornicating without the benefit of matrimony is not acceptable in the kingdom of heaven!
DIANE. Then I sure hope I’m going to the other place.
AMANDA. Besides, you know I’ve been saving myself for marriage mother.
DIANE. Suit yourself, but you’re thirty one years old, you know if you don’t let the train in the tunnel once in a while the tunnel might collapse.
AMANDA. That’s disgusting mother! You’ve been hanging around with that trampy friend of yours again, haven’t you?
DIANE. Which one?
AMANDA. You know perfectly well which one! Verna!
DIANE. Verna, trampy?
AMANDA. And that’s an understatement.
DIANE. You’re right, Verna is looser than a broken shingle in a Miami Hurricane! And by the way, she and my other friends are on their way over here for coffee as we speak.
AMANDA. Oh I see, first vodka then coffee.
DIANE. Well I have to sober up later on for Harry don’t I?
(Verna fifty five, trying to look younger, enters, she is dressed provocatively in a low cut blouse)
VERNA. Hi all, the door was open.
AMANDA. Speak of the devil, look who’s here! What’s wrong, did Sodom and Gomorra close early today?
VERNA. (To Amanda) Good to see you too dear.
(Amanda Closes Lap top and notices a letter that was hidden beneath it. She rises and hands the letter to Diane)
AMANDA. This letter was under the lap top.
VERNA. Who’s it from?
AMANDA. (to Verna) Oh, loose, crass and nosey.
DIANE. A Trifecta
VERNA. (slightly insulted to Diane) Is she still…
DIANE. A virgin?
AMANDA. Yes, for the time being. Hopefully there is still a man left in this state who you haven’t slept with yet. My job… is to find him.
DIANE. (As she opens letter) Better try Connecticut….she’s already lived in Jersey.
VERNA. (Looking over Diane’s shoulder) So who’s it from?
DIANE. The Social Security Administration. I wonder what they want? I already get direct deposit.
VERNA. (Moves towards an club chair) May I sit here?
AMANDA. Makes sense, it is the ‘easy’ chair!
DIANE. Oh shit! Shit! Shit!
AMANDA. Mother, such language!
DIANE. (Sarcastic) Sorry, oh darn, darn, darn!
VERNA. What’s the matter honey?
DIANE. Those god damn bastards from social security!
DIANE. Sorry, those most inconsiderate people from social security!
VERNA. What did they do?
DIANE. They cut my benefit down by twenty five percent!
VERNA. Why would they do that?
DIANE. (coyly) They’re trying to re-coup a small over payment they’ve been making to me.
(Shows Verna the paper)
VERNA. Twenty five percent? Couldn’t have been that small.
DIANE. Son of a….
AMANDA. (Reprimanding) Mother!
AMANDA. (to Verna) Now you! Sinner, Sinner! Repent! Lest thou fall into the breeches of hell.
VERNA. Would you get her the hell out of here so we can curse in peace!?
AMANDA. Fine, fine, I’m leaving, I’ll be at the church meeting house if anyone wants me….
(she exits front door)
VERNA. Still a virgin at her age. What did you do, keep her chained up in her room for thirty years?
DIANE. I don’t know what that’s about. At this point I wouldn’t even care if she were pitching for the other team.
VERNA. The dry spell I’ve been in lately, I’m thinking of switching sides myself.
DIANE. Not me, I love the penis. The trick is to find one without an asshole attached to it!
VERNA. I wouldn’t know, my bullshit meter has been out of action for a few years.
DIANE. Why, how long has it been for you?
VERNA. New Year’s Eve.
DIANE. What year?
VERNA. I think the year I won Miss Turnstiles. Get my drift? If I don’t get my pipes cleaned soon they’ll have to cap me like a dry oil well.
DIANE. Come on, it can’t be that bad.
VERNA. What do you know, you’ve got Harry the Hat to keep you satisfied. Why do you call him that anyway?
DIANE. Because when he’s completely naked he still has a place to hang it.
VERNA. Wow! Does he make house calls?
DIANE. He’s an accountant, not a doctor.
VERNA. Perfect, I file quarterly!
DIANE. The only extension he’s filing is with me sister. Find your own boyfriend.
VERNA. So what are you drinking?
DIANE. (Playing coy again) Water.
VERNA. Yeah, right.
DIANE. Vodka. You want some?
VERNA. Why not? (she moves towards bar) Wait, I thought you told me your daughter emptied out all the liquor bottles in the house?
DIANE. She did. So I emptied out a bottle of seltzer and poured the last bottle of vodka in there before she could get to it. It’s under the bar with the rest of the mixers. There’s some orange juice in the mini fridge under there too.
VERNA. Well, if I can’t have a screw I might as well have a screw driver.
(she mixes herself a drink as there is a knock at the door)
DIANE. It’s open.
(Kathy Ann enters carrying a box of donut holes. She is sixty two years old with a childlike demeanor. Tastefully dressed in a sharp dichotomy from Verna. She is sweet and naïve in nature and clueless about adult issues. During down time in this scene she can be reading a children’s cartoon book or coloring book she keeps in her pocket book)
KATHY ANN. I brought some donut holes.
VERNA. You couldn’t afford the whole donut?
KATHY ANN. No! They just cut back my hours at the dentist’s office so I’m trying to economize.
DIANE. So is Verna, she’s buying smaller shirts….I’ll put the coffee on…
(she exits to kitchen)
VERNA. So the dentist cut your hours, huh?
KATHY ANN. Isn’t it terrible? In this bad economy people cut back on everything, even going to the dentist!
VERNA. As if they needed an excuse to cut back on that!
KATHY ANN. It’s throwing off my whole schedule. I used to get up in the morning, have breakfast,watch Skippy the Bush Kangaroo reruns on Animal Planet…take a shower….
VERNA. Skippy the Bush Kangaroo? You don’t watch the morning news show, or the financial channel or something like that?
KATHY ANN. Too complicated and sad. I like to watch the animals or cartoons, Bugs Bunny is my favorite.
KATHY ANN. Some prefer the more modern cartoon shows but I think they are a bit too crass. No, I prefer the old Warner Brothers classics. But, now with all this extra time to fill in my day I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself. You know what they say… ’an idle mind….
VERNA. You should know.
(Diane re-enters with tray of coffee cups)
VERNA. Did you know that Kathy Ann watches cartoons?
DIANE. To each his own.
(Rose Monahan, eighty one, enters. She walks with a cane)
DIANE. Hi Rose, you’re just in time, have a seat.
ROSE. Thanks, my hip is killing me. Ever since I had it replaced it acts up on rainy days.
KATHY ANN. But it’s not raining.
ROSE. Great, thanks for the news flash, now it hurts in any kind of weather. Anybody got a cigarette?
DIANE. I thought you gave up smoking?
ROSE. I did. Force of habit makes me keep asking…besides, who can afford cigarettes at their current price! Between that, rent increases and the price of gas, people can’t even afford to commute to their job anymore. It’s a good thing I stopped working, I’d go broke!
DIANE. Tell me about it. Social Security just cut my benefits!
KATHY ANN. And the dentist just cut back my hours.
ROSE. (to Verna) How about you Lady Godiva?
VERNA. I’m independently wealthy. Trust fund.
ROSE. How nice for you. Too bad the rest of us need to scrimp and cut corners whenever we can. If I get bad service at a restaurant, I leave an eleven cent tip.
KATHY ANN. Eleven cents? Why not just leave nothing?
ROSE. If you leave nothing they might think you’re just an old lady who forgot to tip them! If you leave eleven cents they’ll know the service was lousy!
(knock at the door)
ROSE. Why does everybody knock? Don’t you believe in door bells?
DIANE. Do you know how much it costs to fix a doorbell? This house is ancient, that old relic has been out of commission for five years.
ROSE. Sounds like my last boyfriend.
DIANE. Who is it?
HARRY. Lover boy! At your service!
VERNA. (moving towards door) I’ll let him in.
DIANE. (to Verna) Down girl. (to door) It’s open Harry.
(Harry Hitchcock, mid sixties, enters)
VERNA. We’re ready for you ‘Lover boy’!
HARRY. Four of you huh? Be right back.
(He turns to exit)
DIANE. Where are you going?
HARRY. Back to my car to get the Viagra.
DIANE. Have a seat Harry. Have some coffee and donuts. You know all the girls.
HARRY. Of course. Hello girls.
VERNA. How’s it hanging Harry?
HARRY. (To Diane) I hate when you women talk shop.
DIANE. Calm down Verna.
HARRY. So where’s ‘Sister Amanda’ today?
VERNA. If she were here she could hold a prayer meeting.
DIANA. (reprimanding) Verna!…. (to Harry) She’s down at her ‘We Take All Comers’ church.
HARRY. (with hand gestures as if preaching) ‘Yes, the church where all faiths are accepted and sinners are welcome twenty four hours a day.”
ROSE. She really has gone religious on you. When did all that start?
DIANE. About a year after my ex hooked up with that…that…
VERNA. Pole dancer?
DIANE. That’s the one.
HARRY. Pole dancer. Good cash business. Of course, a lot of singles but if invested properly, that cash could generate a decent return.
ROSE. So who’s got extra money to invest?
VERNA. (using Rose’s cane as a prop) Hmmm. Pole dancer, that’s an interesting career move.
ROSE. Don’t you think you’re a little long in the tooth for that.
VERNA. So I’ll be the Jello shot girl.
KATHY ANN. “Long in the tooth”. That’s a good name for a dentist’s office.
ROSE. I think you’ve been inhaling too much of the laughing gas honey.
VERNA. You know I once heard about a perverted dentist on Long Island who used to anesthetize his female patients and then take advantage of them.
KATHY ANN. Take advantage of them how?
VERNA. You know, the usual way.
KATHY ANN. Oh, Ohh …you mean….
ROSE. Exactly, they caught him filling the wrong cavity!
KATHY ANN. That’s horrible. I hope they locked him up and threw away the key.
VERNA. They did. Caught the bum before I could make an appointment.
KATHY ANN. How could you even joke about such a thing?
DIANE. She’s right, that’s distasteful, even for you. I think you’ve sunk to a new low.
ROSE. You know my daughter is married to a dentist.
DIANE. That’s right! Cecelia finally married that dentist. Good for her!
ROSE. Yeah, but bad for me, she kicked me out of her house in Queens and stuck me in that senior living apartment in the Bronx. Hey, I don’t blame her, I think it was that dentist.
KATHY ANN. Men. Who needs them, especially at our age.
DIANE and HARRY. Speak for yourself.
KATHY ANN. I mean really, it’s been ten years since Jack died and I’ve never even dreamed of being with another man. And believe me we had a very healthy sex life for thirty years! Every Saturday night at ten like clockwork. He’d climb on top, do his business, and ten minutes later, bedie bye.
HARRY. Really. So what did he die of?
VERNA. Boredom probably.
KATHY ANN. That’s a terrible thing to say. He died in an industrial accident at work.
HARRY. How? I never heard the story.
VERNA. Oh, it’s a beaut.
KATHY ANN. (Stands up to describe what happened) He was a brassiere manufacturer and at one of the trade shows one of the more well- endowed models tried to get into a smaller push up bra. Well under the pressure the bra snap broke off and out they came! Jack got hit square in the eye.
HARRY. That’s exactly the way I want to go!
DIANE. That’s not what hit him in the eye you idiot!
HARRY. Then what?
KATHY ANN. Why the bra strap of course.
HARRY. Killed by a flying bra strap in the eye.
ROSE. Well, beats a stiletto heel to the head I guess.
KATHY ANN. Oh that didn’t kill him, he died six months later from a brain aneurysm that developed as a result of the eye surgery he had.
DIANE. What a shame honey. And how long has he been gone?
KATHY ANN. It will be ten years next month.
ROSE. So you’re telling me it’s been ten years since you’ve…my God, I’m a lot older than you and it hasn’t been that long.
KATHY ANN. Well I guess sex just doesn’t interest me anymore.
VERNA. Aside from the ten minutes every other Saturday night did it ever before?
KATHY ANN. It was every Saturday!
VERNA. Woo hoo!
KATHY ANN. (proudly) And the first five minutes was foreplay.
VERNA. Five minutes of foreplay followed by five minutes of sex? I’ve been vaccinated slower than that. No wonder you don’t miss it.
DIANE. Well I’ll tell you what I’m going to miss. Food on the table and a place to live if I don’t figure out a way to make some more money.
HARRY. Come on now sugar, it can’t be all that bad.
DIANE. You’re my accountant, you see the finances, I’m practically living hand to mouth here.
HARRY. Well you just need to cut down on some stuff, that’s all.
DIANE. Like what?
ROSE. You could cut back on that Viagra Harry keeps in the car. That’s pretty expensive.
DIANE & HARRY. Out of the question!
HARRY. Alright, alright, let’s figure something else out. (he sits at computer) Let’s see. I’ll just pull up that spread sheet of your finances that I saved. Here it is. (He peruses spreadsheet on laptop). Hmmm, that’s income, good. More income, excellent….(a beat) oohh, there’s an expenditure, Oh boy, another expenditure, and another expenditure…..Hmmm (suddenly a lightbulb goes off) Oh I got, yeah, yeah, that’s it’s so simple, why didn’t I see that before? Simple!
DIANE. You have the answer?
HARRY. I do.
DIANE. Well what is it?
HARRY. You!….. have to get a job.
DIANE. `Give me something to hit him with…
ROSE. Here, use my cane! (she holds it out)
DIANE. How do you expect me to get a job at my age, nobody's hiring women over fifty anymore!
VERNA. Over what age?
DIANE. Shut up Verna!
KATHY ANN. Oh you must be well over fifty. You have to be at least sixty two to collect Social Security don’t you? Even I know that.
DIANE. She knows one fact and it has to be that.
ROSE. Yeah, and you’ve been collecting that check for a few years now.
DIANE. (starting to rant) Sixty five okay, is everybody satisfied, I’m sixty five freakin’ years old!
HARRY. You told me you were sixty four.
DIANE. So what, when we spoke on the phone before we met you told me you had hair.
HARRY. I do have hair.
DIANE. Where, where?… (looking at the top of his head) somebody hand me a magnifying glass! Oh there’s one.
HARRY. It’s home in the drawer. I only wear it on special occasions!
VERNA. Alright you two knock it off!
(Authors note***If the actor playing Harry has hair make it a gray hair joke…i.e ‘you told me you had a full Head of jet black hair.’ To which Harry replies I do. I keep it home in the medicine chest. It’s called ‘just for men’ or ‘Grecian formula’)
AMANDA. I forgot my bible….oh hello everyone.
HARRY. Hi Amanda.
AMANDA. (coolly) Oh, hello Mr. Hitchcock. Have your hands full here I see.
HARRY. Nothing I can’t handle.
AMANDA. I’m sure. (to Diane) Mother, a private word with you in the kitchen?
DIANE. What for, these are my friends, there’s nothing you can say to me that they can’t hear.
AMANDA. Okay then. The Reverend Harkley informed me that when he was walking down Arthur Avenue yesterday he noticed you walking into the ‘Pink Palace‘ adult book and video boutique. Pornography mother? And God knows what other accoutrements they sell inside such a debauched emporium.
KATHY ANN. Is she speaking English?
VERNA. Oh the Pink Palace! They’ve got a great selection! (catching herself) I hear.
DIANE. You’re right, let’s take this in the kitchen.
AMANDA. What’s the matter mother, too embarrassed to have the sordid details revealed? Think of my shame and embarrassment when I have to hear such things from my own minister.
DIANE. Oh, now you’re ashamed of me? And were you ashamed of me when I used to drive you to school every day, helped you with your college tuition, sacrificed like an animal after your father left? Where was the Reverend Harkley then? And now you’re going to begrudge me a little pleasure after all I’ve done for you?
HARRY. Maybe you should take this into the kitchen?
ROSE. Why, this is better than the afternoon soap operas.
AMANDA. Stay out of this Mr. Hitchcock.
HARRY. Please, I’m schtooping your mother, call me Harry.
VERNA. The hat!
AMANDA. See what I mean. It’s all just a big joke to them mother but I happen to take immorality very seriously.
DIANE. (to the group) I don’t get it. Where did this come from? I sent her to public school. Never made her go to church. She saw a nun on T.V. when she was eight and asked me why that woman was dressed like a penguin.
KATHY ANN. Aha, there’s your answer. She was never exposed to formal religion and now she’s overreacting to it.
AMANDA. I am not overreacting to anything. I just choose to follow the passage to righteousness with the Lord as my constant guide and companion.
VERNA. Wouldn’t a cute Chippendale dancer do the trick?
AMANDA. Unlike you, the man I choose will have high ideals and morality! He’ll be a dedicated family man with more on his mind than just meaningless carnal pleasures and sexual forays.
VERNA. And how are you going to tell when you find such a paragon of virtue?
AMANDA. Oh I’ll know him when I see him, don’t you worry!
KATHY ANN. (sincerely) I hope you find him honey.
AMANDA. Thank you. (To Diane) Have you seen my bible mother?
DIANE. You left it in the den last night so I put it on the bookshelf.
AMANDA. Thank you.
(She exits as there is a knock at the door and Diane moves to answer it)
HARRY. You expecting anyone else?
(Diane opens the door and a plain clothes New York City policeman, early forties steps in. He shows his badge)
TONY. Hi, I’m Detective Rumson. I’m just doing a door to door to some of the homes in the neighborhood.
ROSE. (noticing a familiar face) Tony, is that you?
TONY. Mrs. Monahan, how are you? What’s it been, seven, eight years? What are you doing in the Bronx?
ROSE. Nine years, and I should be asking you the same question.
VERNA. (rises) Why Rose, you sly minx, you know this excellent specimen of New York’s Finest?
ROSE. Tony used to help my daughter with her single and divorced women’s support group back when I lived with her in Queens.
TONY. Oh yeah, Cecelia the psychologist. Actually, I’ve tried to repress that role playing incident.
HARRY. Why, what happened?
ROSE. The women in group got a little carried away with the role playing and wound up beating the crap out of Tony. Oh it was pathetic.
TONY. Thanks for reminding me. Helping your daughter with her therapy session sent me right into my own. I decided to toughen up after that and join the force and the police psychologist has been working with me every week. Been ‘on the job’ six years now.
ROSE. And Tony was quite the ladies man as I recall..
VERNA. (As she sidles up to him) Really, and is that still the case tiger?
DIANE. Asks the cougar.
TONY. (crossing downstage to get away from Verna)Yeah well, as a matter of fact I do prefer women that are closer to my age. No offense.
VERNA. Oh, there’s no substitute for experience Officer Rumson. You don’t know what you’re missing.
TONY. Hey, I didn’t say I wanted a woman with no experience, it’s not like I’m looking for a virgin or anything.
AMANDA. I’ll be back in a few hours…
(notices Tony and both are immediately smitten and infatuated )
Oh, you have a visitor.
ROSE. He’s a policeman honey.
AMANDA. Oh, a nice, virtuous… policeman. Hi I’m Amanda…Officer?
(Holds her hand out to shake his and he grasps it gently with both of his, holding it just a few seconds to long)
TONY. Rumson. But why don’t you just call me Tony.
AMANDA. So what brings you here Officer Rumson?
TONY. Tony please, for you it’s Tony.
AMANDA. Yes (sighs) Tony!
ROSE. Here we go again.
TONY. (momentarily snaps back to reality) I’m afraid this isn’t a social call. I’m here on official police business.
AMANDA. (pointing to Verna) There she is, probably wanted in four states for solicitation.
TONY. No, no. (Now trying to act official again) I’m just here to inform you that there has been a flasher running around the neighborhood exposing himself to some of the young mothers in town. He follows them home from the playground, knocks on the door, then shows them the goods and runs away.
KATHY ANN. Why that’s terrible.
TONY. Of course I don’t think he’d really be interested in any of the present company…well, (again smitten with Amanda) except one real cutie…
AMANDA. Oh you flatterer! Tell me officer Rumson…
TONY. It’s Tony.