• Dana Kinsey

WaterRise, a one-act play: When two highly creative, successful women reveal their darkest secrets,


Characters

Kennedy do not go gentle into that good night

Alina lost as a light is lost in light

Lucas i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)

SCENE ONE.

Lights rise on a bench in New York City's Bryant Park in winter as a young couple enters from stage right.

The set is representational. There are two benches in front of the curtain. One is center stage and the other is up stage right. Some gentle music rises with the emotion of the scene.

ALINA sits sketching on the upstage bench. She is lost in her work until the following scene begins. Then, she watches intently from the shadows. LUCAS suddenly lifts KENNEDY and pretends to throw her, then changes mid-toss and places her gently standing on the center stage bench. He kneels in front of the bench, takes a small velvet box from his pocket, opens it, and lifts it to her with his right hand.

LUCAS

You could place three letters of the alphabet in the right order, look down at the man who adores you, say them to him, and change both of their lives forever.

KENNEDY

Lucas....

LUCAS

Yes? (PAUSE) Just please say yes.

KENNEDY

I can't.

LUCAS

You can. You're a writer. You've combined millions of letters to build myriads of words. I just need ONE.

KENNEDY

You said it yourself. That ONE changes everything. Forever.

LUCAS

That's what I want. It's what I've always wanted. I thought you wanted it too. I'm sorry.

KENNEDY puts her hands into her pockets and looks away from LUCAS.

KENNEDY

Don't.

LUCAS takes the ring box and slips it back into his jacket pocket. He extends his hand to KENNEDY to help her down from the bench. KENNEDY steps down slowly and reaches to embrace him, but he walks downstage. KENNEDY sits on the bench, puts her elbows on her knees and drops her head into her hands.

LUCAS

(gathering himself )

I won't.

KENNEDY sits up straight and regards him with sorrow.

KENNEDY

You deserve better.

LUCAS

I deserve the best.

LUCAS continues to face downstage waiting.

KENNEDY

Please don't give up on me.

A SILENCE.

KENNEDY'S words give LUCAS hope and he moves to join her on the bench. She melts into him and rests her head on his shoulder. He puts his arms around her.

LUCAS

That was never an option.

LUCAS kisses the top of her head and closes his eyes.

Blackout

Scene two

Lights up on: ALINA is downstage right corner and LUCAS is downstage left corner. KENNEDY is center stage. They form a visible triangle. The spots shift as each character speaks leaving the silent ones in the dark.

ALINA

A man like Lucas should not have had to wait an entire month for her answer, but even that didn't discourage him. He could barely concentrate on his residency or think of anything else. It nearly cost him everything. Kennedy humiliated him. He waited and wondered, held that ring in his pocket for weeks in case she made up her mind, and then he could slip it on her finger at a moment's notice. He couldn't bear the thought of not becoming her fiance the instant she was ready. She hypnotized him. She had that power.

KENNEDY

He was the man I waited my entire life to encounter. I couldn't breathe when he brushed my sleeve on our first date. My hesitancy had nothing to do with my love. It was about accepting a lifestyle that terrified me. My books were always the priority, so making sure that I was ready to be a doctor's wife seemed rather imperative. He had this scenario of where we would live, and what we would do, how our lives would mesh. I wanted him from the day we met, but losing my dreams became the issue.

LUCAS

Have you ever connected with someone so completely that the best mirror to really see yourself is in her eyes? I'll openly admit that I read Kennedy's books before I read her face, but no one ever believes me when I say that. Sure, her photo was on the back cover, but I took in every page before turning it over, placing it on my desk, and typing her name across my search bar. As luck would have it, she had a book signing at a store near Mount Sinai. If I could clean myself up after an on-call marathon, maybe there was a chance I could convince her that my name would fit neatly in her search bar too.

ALINA

He wanted her for the lost poetess she was, not some silly girl he could transform. She started to have trouble writing around the time of his proposal and so she blamed it on him.

KENNEDY

Lucas was all that my mind could hold. There was no room for words because he poured in so much love that the words all overflowed and my ideas came spilling out onto the floor. They were dazzling as they quivered there, but they were helpless and cold.

LUCAS

I found a pink crayon in the waiting room and covered the inside of her book with questions. Do you like Max Brenner's? Maybe we can watch Casablanca? Maybe you'll be compelled to call me someday? Making sure my phone number was legible, I headed for the bookstore and waited in line. She never really did sign my book, but that, in and of itself, was a sign. My plans usually work.

ALINA

She worked constantly, obsessively - as if her life depended on flinging those stories and poems from her head in the shapes of castles and cities....

KENNEDY

The stories made me tell them. It was never work. I had a responsibility to the words and no one would acknowledge the pressure I felt...

LUCAS

Every minute I was not at the hospital became a minute in her company, so my days were filled with my two passions - medicine and her. Sometimes I combined the two, like nights before exams or days I needed to sleep. Her ideas came pouring out when we were together, and the stories sprang up around us like a lavish kingdom. Of course, as potential king, the happily-ever-after scheme fell to me. I dropped lots of hints, but of course Kennedy was too proud to even consider the idea without a formal proposal.

ALINA

She gave this guilt to herself like an extravagant gift. She convinced herself that she didn't need to eat or sleep or have a normal relationship when a man like Lucas was waiting for her. I swear she enjoyed seeing him so confused and in turmoil over her. What else would prevent her from just saying what he was longing to hear?

KENNEDY

I was scared to have children, not the physical part exactly. I just wouldn't make a good mother. That requires selflessness and sanity. Loving children would have been so easy, but what could I really have given them? A pile of books and scattered poems wasn't enough. What if they were afraid of the dark or failing algebra or crying after a nightmare. Then what?

LUCAS

If we were to reign in our kingdom, I wanted to do it in the traditional way, the fairytale way. She deserved it. Alina was kind enough to help me find the perfect ring since no one knew her better. The two of them rode the school bus together in the same seat from age four to sixteen. My relationship came with so many bonus gifts. Alina was one of my favorites. After weeks of shopping, she chose this opal with fire inside it, much like her friend. The problem became convincing Kennedy to trust me enough to move it from the velvet box to her finger.

ALINA

The calendar days crossed themselves off in their unrelenting fashion and Kennedy decided that she would tell Lucas her answer. We planned a party on my rooftop terrace. She looked so beautiful in her turquoise dress as the summer wind lifted and twirled it around her legs as she sipped champagne. I kept watching Lucas and wondering when she would tell him.

KENNEDY

I finally decided that there was no fear that could overshadow my love for Lucas. It was breaking my heart to make him wait. I wanted to make my "yes" echo in his mind forever. I remember dropping my hairbrush because my hands were shaking, but later the champagne infused me with courage. Everything was spinning, and I knew it was time to make the announcement. The bass in the music thumped in my pulse and