At Curtain....

Kathleen Vaught

At Curtain

(At curtain, lights up to bare stage. No sets, or scrims or teasers. Bare to the back wall.

A Woman from the audience stands up and walks onstage.

She looks around the space, slowly, affectionately and takes a deep, cleansing breath. She then begins to solemnly undress until she is standing nude center stage with her clothes haphazardly at her feet.

She smiles broadly and opens her mouth to speak.

Another audience member jumps up and runs onstage, yelling.)


No! You cannot be naked!

(Audience Member 1 quickly covers the woman with their coat. It is much to big and engulfs the woman, who is no longer smiling. Someone runs in from the wings, also yelling.)


You can’t cover her with that! It’s much too big!

(Costumer pulls the coat off and covers the woman with a beautiful flowing fabric.)


Listen, I bought the ticket – I say how the nakedness gets covered.

(Audience Member 1 puts the coat over the flowing fabric. Another audience member yells from the seats.)


I bought a ticket, too, and I think she should be younger!


Yea! And prettier! This one looks like she’s been a few too many plays.

(Another person from the wings enters.)


Well, I can’t change her age that much.


Then change the actor!

(Audience Member 2 goes onstage and waves for someone from backstage to come out. A Man of Some Importance enters. Audience Member 2 hands him a large wad of cash. Man puts it in his pocket and indicates to Makeup Artist to take Woman aside and then waves to someone offstage. Woman is ushered to stage left as Audience Member 2 follows behind, covers her with another article of clothing and then stands between her the rest.

From offstage comes another woman, much younger. She is followed by Playwright holding a script.)


Okay. We shouldn’t have to change the script much.

(From the audience another cry comes out. Audience Member 4 runs onstage holding even more money than Audience Member 2.)


Wait! Woman are great and all, but don’t you think a man would sell more tickets?

(Man of Some Importance holds out his hand to Audience Member 4. AM4 gives him a very large bag of money. Man users for the younger woman to go join the older woman.)


But – it’s about a woman.

(Man waves to someone offstage. A Handsome Young Man enters.

All four Audience Members applaud. Man takes some of the money out of the bag and offers it to the Playwright. Playwright pauses then walks over to the women.)


Listen. I know I wrote this about you. From your point of view and I get it, I do, there are not many parts for women out there today – well, okay, there are more for women under, well, shall we say “a certain age” than there are for those over that cracking ceiling but, in general, I mean to say, parts that go to the depths and challenge the ancient patriarchal foundation of theater are scarce and being a writer of words I realize I could change that by standing my ground and making my voice be heard and show that we don’t have to give up on roles for women and in fact we need to stay strong and fight for them because the more wrinkles on the face and the more gray strands of hair only prove she has lived through enough to survive and thrive up to this very point in time! (pause) But, um, can you see how much money this is?! I mean, really, I promise, I swear, once I have enough of this – I will write those parts for you and make sure women of wrinkles and color and gray and happy and sad and young and weathered and fresh and boisterous and soft and feminine and strong and heroic and villainous and shocking and really real get representation soon!

(Playwright turns and runs back to Man, Handsome Young Man, Crew and Audience Members. They huddle over the script and begin to walk offstage.)


Well, he’s going to need a love interest, right?

(They all look back at Younger Woman and Older Woman. Man points to Younger Woman, who quickly runs over to group. The group continues their exit offstage, leaving Older Woman once again alone onstage. She crosses back to center, removes all of the extra garments that have been placed upon her and once again smiles.)


Well, I know how to write.

(Lights fade out.)