Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Untitled Play: Scene 4 Rewritten

(everybody comes into the dining room and sits down at the table, seem to be talking to each other during the end of scene 3 but we can't hear what they're saying. The exception to this is Cousin 5, who absconds offstage.)

Dad: Where's you're daughter? Her aunt made a Glatt Kosher soup especially for her just the way her niece told her to make it.

Aunt: (sighs) That's too bad.

Dad: Uh-oh.

Aunt: Still she won't eat it unless she's there to watch your wife make it. 

Dad: (chortles, shakes his head) What an idiotkeh (idiot).

Aunt: She brought her own food and she's probably eating in the other room.

Dad: Well, if she's eating in the other room, I wouldn't want to interrupt her.

Aunt: No, she's part of this family, she's going to sit with us (shouting so the next room can hear her) Ms. Frummette, you're a member of this family so you're going to sit with every Apikores (heretic) at this table and you're going to like it!

(Cousin 5 comes in with a downcast look)

Cousin 3: Come on, we're not so bad. 

Cousin 5: I just don't understand why I have to be here.

Cousin 3: Because you're one of us, whether you like it or not.

Brother 1: Of course she doesn't like it.

Aunt: And you do?

Brother 1: Believe it or not,there are moments... But I don't know what the big deal is, there's lots of things I don't like about here but I show up because I don't have anywhere better to be. 

Cousin 5: But I do.

Brother 1: (chortle) No, you really don't. 

Cousin 5: (seething) If I don't think this is a Jewish gathering, why do I have to be here?!

Brother 1: So much for religious tolerance.

Cousin 5: (shouts at parents) You're the ones who were happy that I wanted to be more Jewish! Now you're stopping me!

Brother 1: If being more Jewish means turning into what you turning into, then I think we're all going to start eating pork. 

Cousin 5: (gasps, inarticulately fuming as adolescent girls do) You're so annoying!

Brother 1: That's the nicest thing you've said to me since you were a little girl. 

(everybody laughs) 

Cousin 5: (giving up) Y'know, I really don't like you. 

Brother 1: I know, but nobody here likes me so why should I care.

Uncle: That's not true. Of course we like you, we love you!

Brother 1: I'm sure you do, you just can't stand anything about me. 

Cousin 5: Why do you always have to be like this???

Brother 1: Take a good luck around kint (kid). This might come as a shock to you, but I really like you even if you can't stand me. You've got real spirit, you're not just some Jewish American Princess like my sister. 

Mom: Oy, stop with that...

Brother 1: (ironically) Sorry, I'm just trying to get it out of my system before she gets here.

Mom: Wait. She's actually coming? (Cousin 5 looks down to read at her book again)

Brother 1: (pause, long enough to register the full awkwardness) Oh yeah,... sorry, she told me to tell you she's coming with the Podiatrist and his daughter, I forgot... (thinking he hasn't forgiven) Sorry...

Dad: (gets up) Of course you forgot. (to Brothers 2 and 3 who are nearer to the door) Now help me get three more table settings. 

Brother 1: I'll get them.

Dad: It'll go faster if we get them.

(Uncle and Cousin 3 leave the room. Nobody else notices.)

Son 1: Sit down. I'll get them.

Dad: What's the big deal?

Son 1: If you get them it'll just be another guilt trip later.

Dad: We're closer to the door.

Son 1: You always do things you think everybody else should do and then you complain how ungrateful we are because you do everything!

Dad: Why are you getting angry at me?

Son 1: Why do you have to say 'of course you did.'

Dad: I know, I know, I'm a horrible father, one day soon I'll be dead and you can complain to everybody else about how much I made you suffer.  

Son 1: (over this) Oh my god... Do you promise?

(Uncle and Cousin 3 emerge with three chairs)

Uncle: Here, we have them. 

Dad: What about the plates? (looks at son #1)

Son 1: Alright, you go get the plates and utensils since serving your children gives you so much pleasure. 

(Dad leaves the room, noticeable pause)

Aunt: Well, I was waiting for a lull in the conversation to tell you all about our special guest tonight.

Brother 1: Oh shit...

Aunt: Helga Bernheimer is coming to eat with us tonight.

Brother 2: Oh fuck. Not that old sow. (Brother 3 laughs) 

Aunt: What are you talking about?

Brother 2: She used to come in at Schechter and Beth Tfiloh once a year to talk about the Holocaust. Every year it was the same thing. 

Brother 1: (says in mock German accent, increasingly screaming as it goes on and banging on the table) "In Auschwitz I vas sent to ze gess chembahs feefteen times everrry day! And feefteen times a day ve zaw how prrrechious life eez. Now you vill give deine money to ze Shtaet of Isrrrael und marry anderer Juden und macht schnell mit ze Jewvish babies...!!" (Brother 2 goes into fit of hysterial laughter)

Uncle: (slightly raised voice) I don't think that's funny.

Brother 2: I know you don't. 

Uncle: The Holocaust isn't a joke. 

Brother 2: Yes, if we make fun of Hitler, Hitler wins. 

Uncle: You wouldn't be here to make fun of him if he did win. 

Brother 2: Well then Thank God he lost and that people like you are here to protect us from Yassir Arafat annexing the Sudetenland. 

Brother 1: (to Brother 3 who's sitting on his other side) Well there goes the next five hours... (Brother 3 chortles) 

Uncle: Why are you making this personal? All I said was that I don't think this is funny. 

Brother 2: You were the one who started yelling.

Uncle: I wasn't yelling. 

Brother 2: This is what you do every time. You get offended when somebody challenges your precious Judaism and then you accuse everybody else of overreacting!

Uncle: It's your Judaism too!

Brother 2: It's my choice whether or not it's my Judaism and I'm not a horrible person if I decide it isn't. 

Uncle: It's not your choice in the slightest.

Brother 2: I guess it's not my choice to associate with fascists like you either.

Uncle: How is it that every political discussion we have gets to you calling me a fascist in fifteen seconds?

Brother 2: This is what you call a discussion? No wonder you're such a fascist!

Uncle: Why do you take these things so personally?

Brother 2: Because you mean them personally.

Uncle: All I said was that I don't think it's funny.

Brother 2: You spend an hour every day making Schvartzeh jokes and this is the joke you don't think is funny?

Uncle: No I don't think it's funny. Nothing blacks endured is as bad the Holocaust.

Brother 2: Sure, and while you're at it why don't you yell more about the terrors of being Jewish from the porch of your four story house?

Uncle: Every time I say anything at all you might disagree with, you interpret it in the worst way.

Brother 1: (to uncle) Well he is right, you do froth at the mouth about liberals like it's your job and then get angry when people take offense to what you say. It's a very Nixonian tactic. 

Dad: I've told him and his father that for decades. 

Brother 1: (to Dad) Shut up Tricky Dick. 

Aunt: (Yells) May-I-Continue-Please?!

Brother 2: By all means you Bernheimer collaborator!

Aunt: Stop it! Mrs. Bernheimer is a very poor woman with no family! Her husband dropped dead forty years ago and since then she's made her living for three months every year in Ocean City selling donuts. 

Dad: I remember her donuts from when we were kids. She only had one flavor donut.

Mom: What flavor was it?

Dad: Glazed. It was the greatest treat I ever had because Mom wouldn't let me eat a donut from anybody who wasn't a Holocaust Survivor. 

Aunt: Do you mind?

Dad: Sorry, I know Mrs. Bernheimer doesn't deserve the life she had.... (under his breath) Even if she always was a cunt. 

Mom: Will you just let her talk!

Dad: Who's stopping her??

Aunt: (one second pause) Well, I don't know if you've ever heard her speak, but we had her at a school assembly for Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) last year, and she was just amazing. All the teachers were crying, all the girls were crying too. 

Dad: What about the boys?

Aunt: Well of course they didn't care. 

Dad: Glad to hear you were so respectful my son. 

Mom: He wasn't there this year! Remember?

Dad: Oh, that's right. I took you down to Washington for the 50th anniversary. I never asked you, what did you think?

Brother 3: It was OK...

Dad: Just OK?...

Brother 3: It was OK.

Dad: Were you even paying attention?

Brother 3: ...I dunno...

Dad: (throws up hands) This is the Jewish Day School education I pay for...

Mom: I dunno, it seemed like you were interested when you went. You were telling me one day all these details about the camps. 

Brother 1: He probably got those from me. I remember when I was a little kid, I read as much as I could about the camps. 

Uncle: (complimenting) Well you were always interested in Jewish History.

Brother 1: (with mischief) And I remember that I would fantasize about how I would have fought the war differently if I were Hitler. 

Cousin 3: Relax Dad. It's just a joke. 

Brother 1: No, I really thought about it. 

(door opens, in walk Cousins 1 and 2)

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