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1,000 Times
By: Meghan Dwyer

Characters In Order of Appearance:

Charlotte (Charlie)- An adolescent girl on the border of being a young adult.

Mom- Single mother of Charlotte and Maggie

Maggie- A preadolescent girl, younger sister of Charlotte

Scenery: A black background with three separate scenes in a row. If walls are used, each should be only one disconnected piece of a wall without a window, displaying a poster, childhood art, telephone, or something to designate the location of the scene.

Center Stage- A bedroom with a desk, chair, bed, and bedside table (optional). This room should radiate Charlotte in decoration, and therefore shouldn’t be especially tidy, but things are generally where they belong.

Stage Left- A kitchen with a table, three chairs and a trash can. The table should be messy, with various props that Mom will use

Stage Right- A bedroom. This room clearly is rarely tidied and it is Maggie’s space.

Special Instructions: The soliloquies should be directed toward the character herself, unless stage-directions specify otherwise. These soliloquies are self-reflected examinations, not confessions. Often lines in scenes will overlap; these are indicated in boldface. The director may chose to directly overlap or to echo these lines.


 

Fade Up

Charlotte fumbles at her desk in her room, slamming the drawers, produces sheets of loose-leaf paper and a pencil and then sits haphazardly as she angrily begins to write.

Mom sweeps pieces of a broken plate into a dust pan and the dumps them in a trash can. Throughout the scene she sweeps, and cleans the floor with paper towels, she can also tidy and untidy

Maggie can be working on a project, doing homework or being completely unproductive.

Charlotte:  I will not lie. I will not lie. I will not… But I didn’t! Why doesn’t she believe me?  I will not lie. I will not…

Mom: Not using her head. Just when I start to think she is going to be reasonable, adolescence flares up again! Why lie?

Charlotte: Lie. I will not lie. I will not lie I will not…stupid punishment! 1,000 times! More like a waste of my time… And it wasn’t just me anyway. Maggie always gets away with things. One of these days I should just leave and let her see what happens. I will not lie. I will not

Maggie: Not my fault! Just keep telling myself that it’s not my fault, no matter what she says later. Charlie had still better take me to the movies when she’s done. What was mom thinking? 1,000 times…

Charlotte: 1,000 times… and I still have… (to audience) What’s 1,000 minus 73?… 937? left to go…Maybe 927? I don’t know. I suck at math. I should be doing homework instead of this waste. How can she expect me to write? Every word is like admitting that I lied, but I didn’t! It’s so stupid! I don’t lie. She is making me lie by making me write! Now I AM a liar. Just get this over with. I will not lie. I will not lie. I will not lie. I will not lie…One, Two, Three, Four, Nine-Hundred and something left to go.

Mom: Just let it go. Admit that you did it! Just say that it’s your fault Charlotte! Passing off an accident to get your sister in trouble. You know better Charlotte! 1,000 times isn’t even enough. You are supposed to set an example! I know I haven’t always made good choices but at least you can try. We have enough problems already without…

Maggie: Without a ride, I’ll never get to the movies. It’s all Charlie’s fault. Mom won’t take me, and Becky said that her parents can’t bring us. Why did Charlie have to go and do that? She could have kept her big mouth shut. Even I know better than that. At least I keep my mouth shut and stay out of trouble. She got herself in this mess and I

 

Charlotte: I will not lie. I will not lie I will not lie… Why does she even think that I would lie? Its not like I walk around lying all the time making our family look bad. You know my mom lets me watch R rated movies while we sit around and drink beer and eat cheeze curls. We take baths once a month and we only own one pair of underwear. I’m not like those messed up brats you try to help at work. At least I try. Don’t try to fix other families. Fix ours! What about…

Mom: What about money Charlotte? I don’t work all day for nothing. I’m trying to make things better for us and you’re causing problems. I work overtime so that we can have a nice house and dinner on the table. It’s hard enough to keep my cool at work with cases of messed up kids crossing my desk everyday, much less coming home to my own ‘loving caring family.’ I don’t want to come home and deal with more shit. Everyday I see families that are falling apart and I try to give them a chance. I’m trying to give you a chance, too. I know you have it inside of yourself to pull it together. WE can fix things and move on. What about our family Charlotte? What about your dad

Charlotte and Maggie: If Dad was here I/she wouldn’t be in trouble.

Mom: Trouble, nothing but trouble. He’s just another mistake coming back to haunt me… Can our family get more cliché? All we need is a theme song and we’d be on cable in no time. We need to just live our life. We need to pull ourselves back together and get back on track. We need to be strong again, hold on to what we have. I work all day to make things better, why can’t you do your part? Grow up and stop whining and arguing. Help me show Maggie that we’re going to be okay. Can’t you see I need you?

Charlotte: Why won’t she just let me live my life!

Mom: We need to work together if we want to survive. We need to move on. I know I messed up. Everyone does. But that doesn’t mean that you have to spite me for it. Don’t throw it in my face. I’m changing, It’s hard to do this by myself. I want to show you how life should be, but it’s so hard. Everything is changing.

Maggie: Why can’t things be back to normal?

Mom: We have to make a new beginning…start over again. I’m too old for this.

Charlotte: I’m too old for this punishment. I’m not a baby like Maggie any more.

Mom, Maggie, Charlotte: I just can’t…

Mom: Do this alone

Maggie: Understand her

Charlotte: Take it any more!

 

Charlotte: Maybe if I did lie sometime, then she’d see how bad it really could be. Then she would see how stupid this punishment is. How bad life really could be.

Maggie: Ugh, this is taking forever… Now mom probably won’t even let me go to the movie. Even when Charlie is done. If she is ever done. Why did she do it?

Charlotte: If I did lie, maybe mom wouldn’t even know I was lying. She always says I’m lying when I’m not. Its not like I was trying to get Maggie in trouble by lying! She really did it. I I I Will Will Will Not Not Not Lie Lie Lie… 600 more to go…

Mom: I need her help in this. I’ve tried to do it alone, and I can’t. She just wants attention that’s all. Well, she got attention, 1,000 times more attention than she bargained for. Bargains. Everything has to be a bargain in our life today. Time, love, money… A bargaining balancing act. Maybe she’ll wake up and see there’s more out there than her little world. I face the real world everyday, and soon she’ll have to deal with it too.

Charlotte: Doesn’t she know that life doesn’t have to be this hard? She’s making it more difficult! I Will Not Lie. I Will Not Lie. I will not… If she wasn’t so worried all the time…

Mom: I’m just trying to fix things. Make her wake up to the real world. I should have had her write “The world does not revolve around me,” instead. Maybe 1,000 times of that would knock some sense into her. Make her see that things need to change. That it’s getting too hard… That I need her help.

Maggie: Didn’t she see that Mom was crying? If she had just been quiet I wouldn’t have to wait.

Mom: (sigh) I wonder how far she is… It’s been a long time, maybe I should …. No! Don’t let her think you were wrong. The punishment is “I Will Not Lie” 1,000 times and that’s final.

(long pause)

Charlotte: Finally, half way… I will not Lie, I will not Lie. Ugh, my hand hurts, why did it have to be 1,000 times? Why can’t she just change it? Even if I did lie, isn’t 500 times enough?

Mom: Don’t doubt your decisions. Be confident… like the toothpaste commercials. Be strong. Be right. Be confident.

Maggie: So bored…so bored… I wish I could help Charlie go faster. All this waiting.

 

Mom: Waiting for this to blow over.

 

Maggie: To go to the movies.

 

Charlotte: For her to stop blaming me.

 

Mom: For everything to get better.

 

Maggie: For her to finish.

 

Charlotte: For her to believe me.

 

Mom: For her to grow up!

 

Charlotte: For her to give me a chance! What do I need to do for her to see that I am better than this? How am I supposed to learn if I don’t make mistakes? Doesn’t she know that I see the consequences of my actions? Not every little thing is a big deal.

Maggie: Ugh, Charlie is ruining my life! I’m never going to make it to the movies now.

Mom: Next time

Charlotte: Next time

Maggie: Next time

Mom and Charlotte: I’ll just sit her down and tell her what I’m thinking. Then maybe she will understand.

Maggie: I’ll just get someone else to get me a ride.

Mom: I’ll try to fix things when they start and not just send her away. I’ll treat her like the young adult she is supposed to be.

Charlotte: I’ll stand my ground and I won’t let her treat me like a child.

Maggie: Next time, I’ll just say that I am sorry. And then Charlie won’t have to lie. And Mom won’t get mad. And our family will get better. And I’ll get to go to the movies.

Charlotte: Next time I won’t back down.

Mom: Next time everything will be better.

Mom, Charlotte, Maggie: Next time.

 

Charlotte: I Will Not Lie.

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