Rosemary

a short play by Kevin Kautzman

ROSEMARYa short play by Kevin Kautzman
CHARACTERS

ROSEMARY, Female, 40
NURSE, Female, 30s
ROBERT, Male, 42

SETTING

July 1968. A mental hospital. Just after midnight.

HISTORY & DEVELOPMENT

ROSEMARY was commissioned as part of ’1968′ for use in the Raw Stages: New Works Festival by History Theatre of St Paul Minnesota. ROSEMARY was developed and presented as a staged reading during that festival at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis in January of 2011.

NOTES ON THE SCRIPT

* A dash at the end of a line ( – ) suggests a hard interruption. The character who speaks next should sharply interrupt the character delivering the dashed line.

* A forward slash at the end of a line ( / ) suggests a soft interruption. The character who speaks next should begin his or her line ìearly,î such that both characters speak briefly at the same time.

* Numbers inside brackets (i.e. [1]) refer to endnotes.

SCENE
July 1968. A mental hospital. Just after midnight. ROSEMARY sits on the edge of a bed and stares outward.

ROSEMARY
(speaking, monotone)
When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings

(SHE coughs.)

When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings

I think about a nursery and I picture curly heads… [1]

Dah deh dah deh…

(SHE coughs. SHE stands, clears her throat, and tries to sing. NURSE enters. ROSEMARY coughs yet again, a hacking dysfunctional cough. SHE clenches her fists. SHE attempts to sing. SHE cannot. SHE raises her hands and covers her throat with both of them, then brings both hands to her mouth.)

NURSE
You’re awake. Again.

ROSEMARY
I’m going to sing.

NURSE
It’s very late-

ROSEMARY
I am Rosemary Clooney, I am a famous singer, and I will sing when I want to sing!

NURSE
Here now. Just you sit down and relax.

ROSEMARY
I won’t sing too loud.

NURSE
Just you relax now. You can-

(Sound of a gunshot. ROSEMARY starts. NURSE does not hear it.)

ROSEMARY
Get the gun. Get the gun. Get the gun!

NURSE
Look at me. Here! Yes. I’m here, and you’re here, and here we are. Listen to that. Listen. It’s quiet. There’s nothing-

ROBERT
(out of the dark)
I thought they’d get one of us, but Jack, after all he’s been through, never worried about it. I thought it would be me/ [2]

ROSEMARY
Nineteen sixty pop. Pop pop. Pop-

NURSE
Are you okay? Rosemary? Rosemary!

ROBERT
(emerging)
No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason. [3]

NURSE
I asked if you’re okay.

ROSEMARY
I am not okay.

NURSE
I’m tired of having to come in here. It’s time you take these.

ROSEMARY
I can’t swallow.

NURSE
Here’s some water.

ROSEMARY
Nothing helps. There is something in my throat.

NURSE
Open your mouth.

ROSEMARY
There’s something in my throat!

NURSE
I heard you. Say ‘ahh’. Now-

ROBERT
Now it’s on to Chicago!

ROSEMARY
Chicago.

NURSE
What about Chicago?

ROSEMARY
There’s something in my throat.

NURSE
You said that. Rosemary. You’ve been talking to yourself all night. Do you want to tell me what you’re saying?

ROSEMARY
Just a song.

NURSE
What song?

ROSEMARY
Just a song from a movie I made with some guy named Bing Crosby. Maybe you’ve heard of him.

NURSE
I saw that movie.

ROSEMARY
It was corny. All those movies were corny.

NURSE
I like those movies. They’re cheerful. People aren’t cheerful anymore.

ROSEMARY
People are getting smarter.

NURSE
Say ‘ahh’ for me. Won’t you please?

ROSEMARY
(quickly)
Ahh.

NURSE
Don’t tease me. Say ‘ahhhh’ and hold it.

ROSEMARY
Ahh and hold it.

Ahhhhh.

NURSE
I don’t see anything.

ROSEMARY
It’s stuck right here.

NURSE
You need water.

ROSEMARY
I don’t need any goddamned water!

NURSE
Language.

ROSEMARY
I want to be alone now.

NURSE
I’m going to set these here for you. Please take them.

ROSEMARY
I have something in my throat. I can’t swallow. And I can’t si-

(A second gunshot. ROSEMARY starts.)

If I can’t sing, I might as well be dead.

NURSE
You don’t mean that.

ROSEMARY
Maybe I do.

NURSE
Do I need to call the doctor?

ROSEMARY
No. I asked you to leave.

NURSE
You don’t look like you want me to leave.

ROSEMARY
I have to get out of here before Christmas. I just have to.

NURSE
It’s July. You’ll be out of here well before Christmas. If you get some rest.

ROSEMARY
Do you work on Christmas Eve?

NURSE
What?

ROSEMARY
Do you work Christmas Eve?

NURSE
Every year. I get New Year’s off.

ROSEMARY
If I don’t get out by then, let’s give each other presents.

What do you want?

NURSE
Not to have to work on Christmas Eve. What do you want?

ROSEMARY
Oh oh oh. I want a lot. I want the first half of this God-awful year back. I want the bullets from inside Dr. King and from Bobby back. I want to vote for Bobby in November. And I want Jack Kennedy back too, while we’re at it. And I want all those boys to come home from Vietnam. Hell, I want to turn back time and-

NURSE
I’ll get you a scarf.

ROSEMARY
That will be nice.

NURSE
What was he… I shouldn’t. They told me not to ask. They said, ìDon’t you bother that nice woman about-

ROSEMARY
Bobby.

NURSE
Was he… you really knew him, didn’t you?

ROSEMARY
(to ROBERT)
On the campaign people would
It was very special they would
just reach out and try to touch
him, the candidate, the Kennedy

like he wasn’t a politician, like they were
moths, and he was

It’s hard to talk about.

NURSE
It’s all right.

ROSEMARY
You know he didn’t have to keep going. In politics. After his brother. How brave it was for him to run for that office.

NURSE
The man was brave.

ROSEMARY
But that’s it!

He was just a man
Flesh and bones
I was at the hotel when
First the cheering and
then I heard the shots and
Pop. Pop pop-

NURSE
That must have been terrible.

ROSEMARY
I don’t know why… why people put all their hopes and dreams and faith onto somebody, some one person like that. There’s too much pressure in it. People need to… I’m guilty of it too. I am.

NURSE
People need hope.

ROSEMARY
Sure. And everybody wants somebody else to-

(The sound of a third gunshot. Rosary beads fall and dangle from ROBERT’s hand. This time ROSEMARY does not start. SHE brings a hand to her face and covers her mouth a moment.)

That terrible man shot him in the head.
Right in the back of the head.
Right here behind his ear, and another here
and then one in the back of the neck
It took him a day to die.

NURSE
It’s awful.

I remember what he said that day they killed Doctor-

ROBERT
This is a time of shame and sorrow. It is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity, my only event of today, to speak briefly to you about the mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives.

NURSE
That was special.

ROSEMARY
Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God. [4]

NURSE
Is that what you think you need, Rosemary? Wisdom?

ROSEMARY
I just want to sing again.

NURSE
You can try to sing a bit if you want, but you have to be quiet. I’ll close the door.

ROSEMARY
I can’t. There’s something in my throat.

NURSE
You’re talking fine. You can sing a bit.

ROSEMARY
I don’t know what to sing.

NURSE
Sing ‘Come On-a My House’. I used to love that song.

(NURSE sings a bit of ‘Come On-a My House’.)

ROSEMARY
Stop! I hate that damned song.

NURSE
Fine. Sing something you like then.

ROSEMARY
‘Rock-a-bye Baby’. I’ll sing that.

(SHE stands, clears her throat and opens her mouth to sing. SHE coughs. SHE clenches her fists. SHE stares at ROBERT. SHE cannot sing.)

NURSE
It’s all right.

ROSEMARY
I’m so tired.

NURSE
Sleep then.

ROSEMARY
It’s just all this rattling in my head. And I have this thing-

NURSE
In your throat. I know. Take these. You’ll be asleep in no time.

(ROSEMARY takes the pills.)

Good night.

(NURSE exits.)

ROBERT
What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness, but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another/ [5]

(As ROBERT speaks, ROSEMARY remains seated at the edge of the bed, listening. SHE coughs. SHE places her hands on her throat. SHE coughs again. SHE opens her mouth and gags some. SHE places a hand over her mouth and draws it away.)

ROSEMARY
Nurse! Nurse!

(NURSE enters.)

From my throat. See? I had bullets in my throat.

NURSE
There’s nothing there.

ROSEMARY
They’re right there. Look, goddamn it! There they are, covered with blood. Don’t you see them? Goddamn it! Look! Use your eyes and look!

NURSE
Shh. Come on now. Shh. Just relax.

ROSEMARY
I want you to see them.

NURSE
I do see them, Rosemary. I do. Come on now. You’ll sit down with the doctor tomorrow. Now you have to go to sleep.

ROSEMARY
I just want to sing. Please. One song. I’ll sing now my throat is clear.

NURSE
One song. Quietly.

(ROSEMARY clenches her fists and closes her eyes. SHE opens them and looks at ROBERT. SHE sings but approaches only the idea of the song.)

ROSEMARY
When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheeps
And I fall asleep counting my blessings

When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings…

Those pills are really… I can’t remember the-

NURSE
It was lovely.

(ROSEMARY lies in bed, clutching the bullets to her chest. ROBERT comes to stand at her side.)

ROSEMARY
The dead don’t ever really go away, do they?

NURSE
Is that what…

Bobby’s here in the room with you, isn’t he? That’s who you’re-

(When delivering the following, ROSEMARY begins shortly after ROBERT, starting roughly when HE says the word ‘sleep’.)

ROSEMARY & ROBERT
Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.

(NURSE sees ROBERT. ROSEMARY sleeps now, clutching the bullets in one hand and ROBERT’s hand in another.)

End of Play

ENDNOTES

[1]“Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)”

http://www.mathematik.uni-ulm.de/paul/lyrics/bingcrosby/county~1.html

[2] “Robert Kennedy on John F Kennedy’s Assassination”

http://www.quotes.net/quote/5009

[3] “Robert Kennedy Speech after the Assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

http://www.negotiationlawblog.com/2008/06/articles/conflict-resolution/robert-f-kennedy-on-the-mindless-menace-of-violence-forty-years-later/

[4] “Robert Kennedy Speech after the Assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_F._Kennedy%27s_speech_on_the_assassination_of_Martin_Luther_King,_Jr.

[5] ibid

Author Bio
Kevin Kautzman is a playwright originally from North Dakota. He is currently pursuing his M.F.A. with a focus in playwriting and screenwriting as a Michener Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. More >
Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Rosemary

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s