16 May 2014
24 Jan 2014

You’re Tearing Us Apart

Marlon_Brando_in_'Streetcar_named_Desire'_trailer

Oh hell yeuh.

INT. A DINING ROOM TABLE – NIGHT

A family of three sits around a modest dining room table, eating supper.

BUTCH (40) is wearing just his undershirt, boxers and a chip on his shoulder. ESTELLE (30), is clearly trying to make do, fretting at her house dress as Butch shoves dinner into his mouth. BILLY (12) eats quietly, his eyes trained at the food.

Estelle clearly wants to ask something. It takes her several attempts to finally get the words out.

ESTELLE
So, Butch: how was work on the streetcar?

BUTCH
How do you think it went?

ESTELLE
Well I don’t know.

BUTCH
Yeah, there’s a lot you don’t know. Like how meatloaf should taste.

(stage whisper) Like meatloaf.

ESTELLE
Pardon me?

BUTCH
I didn’t get the part.

ESTELLE
But you were auditioning for Stanley.

BUTCH
Yeah.

ESTELLE
You’re perfect for that one.

BUTCH
(pounding the table, just like Brando would) You think I don’t know that?!

ESTELLE
I’m just saying: I’ve always thought you looked like Marlon Brando…

BUTCH
Well maybe that’s it, huh? Maybe Brando in a Streetcar Named Desire’s just yesterday’s news. Is that what you’re saying?

ESTELLE
I didn’t mean anything–

BUTCH
‘Cause you’re no spring chicken yourself.

ESTELLE
I beg your pardon?

BUTCH
You can beg all day, sweetheart, doesn’t change the fact that your projection’s weak and you couldn’t catch a director’s note if it was tied to a brick.

ESTELLE
How dare you! I’m in this house every day, working my fingers to the bone on Meisner techniques.

BUTCH
Oh! It all makes sense! You’re auditioning for an Oscar Wilde play and this meatloaf’s Method acting. Because it’s so dry!

ESTELLE
I–

BUTCH
Dry like his wit, Estelle!

ESTELLE
You’re jealous I got a part last month.

BUTCH
Ha! A walk-on in Death of a Salesman?

ESTELLE
I was Linda Loman’s understudy, you heartless creep! I could have been a contender!

BUTCH
On the Waterfront! Not even a play!

BILLY
Mom, dad, will you please stop fighting?

BUTCH
Oh, look who decided to chime in…

ESTELLE
Butch don’t…

BUTCH
The little big man himself. This because you got to be Tiny Tim, Billy? Feature role in a regional production and you think you can tell your old man what’s what?

BILLY
(staring down, touching the table) Aw c’mon pop…

BUTCH
(eyes wide, pointing) Are you doing a sense memory exercise? Are you bringing Stanislavski into my home?!

ESTELLE
Billy, you know how your father gets about the system.

BILLY
I did not serve  four years in Juilliard so my boy could go around spouting a bunch of Ruskie bullhockey!

ESTELLE
You’re tearing this family apart!

BUTCH
Well at least something’s getting torn apart! It’d take a jackhammer to tear through this meatloaf!

ESTELLE
Stop talking about the meatloaf! You don’t even like meatloaf!

BUTCH
Well maybe I–

(He shakes his head) Huh. Totally… totally lost the motivation in that scene.

ESTELLE
I’m so glad you said it, because I just wasn’t connected to my centre at all.

BUTCH
(Claps his hands together) All right, then. Let’s break for now, do some yoga, come back and work on really finding our breath.

ESTELLE
I’d like to try this visualization exercise I learned about on that last retreat where we–

BUTCH and ESTELLE exit.

BILLY
Wait! Are you guys getting a divorce? Mom? Dad? There’s no response from the other room. BILLY sniffs.

(Singing without affect) There’s no business like show business, like no business I know…

BILLY sobs quietly. Cue Ethel Merman’s “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”

End.