2013, III Prize Section Theatre: An ordinary drama, written by Niccolò Matcovich
Mary is in the living room, sitting on the couch watching television.
Will, her husband, comes in with her phone in his hand.
Mary motions him to wait in silence.
WILL: You’ve got a message.
WILL: Mary, I’m talking to you.
Will gets close to her, picks up the remote and turns off the television.
MARY: What are you doing?
WILL: (putting the phone in front of her eyes) So let’s see if you wake up.
MARY: What’s this?
WILL: You tell me.
MARY: Will I’m tired. (switches on TV) James’s sleeping?
WILL: Mary, what does it mean?
MARY: I’ve asked you if James is sleeping.
WILL: What does this message mean?
MARY: Will, don’t raise your voice! Tell me if James is sleeping.
WILL: Sleeping, yes, he is!
MARIA: My angel. He is so beautiful when he sleeps!
WILL: Now tell me what this message means.
Will switches off the television again and put the remote closer.
Mary gets up, takes a cigarette, lights it.
MARY: Sh! Are you crazy? Do you want to wake him up?
WILL: Whose is this number?
MARY: I don’t know Will, I don’t know. I don’t have it saved, you see?
WILL: It’s a man?
WILL: Mary, is it a man?
MARY: I told you so. Yes, it is a man, a man!
WILL: So what?
MARY: Enough. I’m going to sleep.
WILL: No Mary, you aren’t . Now you sit here and look me in the eyes. Look at me!
MARY: Will I already told you to quiet down.
WILL: (taking her face in his hands and looking into her eyes) Now you tell me what this message means.
A long silence.
Mary starts crying.
MARY: (weakly) You’re hurting me.
WILL: Mary, I beg you, I’m more tired than you, I need to rest in preparation for tomorrow and we’ve already dragged it on too long. Tell me what the hell is that message.
MARY: I don’t … Oh Will, it seems like a nightmare.
WILL: I’m not moving until you make yourself clear.
MARY: I knew he would come back. I felt it. But nobody’s gonna take my baby away from me.
WILL: Mary, what are you talking about?
MARY: I had forgotten, I had blotted it out. It was disgusting, Will. It was… a dangerous adventure, and he was a coward, a desperate. My baby saved me, you know?
WILL: No, I don’t get it.
MARY: (as if she hasn’t heard his answer) James, who was gradually taking shape, he swelled me up like a balloon and he gave me so much pride!
WILL: Mary, what are you talking about? Why must you make me insist? You make me feel stupid.
MARY: Will I can understand no more. No, you’re not stupid. I am. Actually he is an idiot. He’s always been.
WILL: But who is him?
MARY: Will, don’t scream! You mustn’ t scream.
WILL: Mary, you’re getting me pissed off.
MARY: I have a headache.
WILL: I read something that I should not have read. Now tell me who is this guy.
MARY: (whispering and quickly) I had an affair.
MARY: Shortly before the birth of James, Will. Shortly before the birth of James.
WILL: We were already married.
MARY: I know.
WILL: Do I know him?
Will lights a cigarette.
WILL: But why?
WILL: What were you missing?
MARY: Reason, maybe.
WILL: How long did that fling go on?
MARY: I don’t know Will, I don’t remember. It was a bad time.
WILL: I don’t understand.
MARY: There’s nothing to understand.
WILL: Oh yes, Mary. It’s all to be understood. And you have to explain it. Why did you marry me?
MARY: I love you.
WILL: (blurting out) So why another one?
MARY: Will please!
WILL: I really don’t understand. Maybe I’m stupid, but I can’t get it. We were… stable. Happy. We chose it all together: the church, the neighborhood, the home furniture. And I never understood anything. Please Mary, at least tell me how long it lasted.
MARY: It was short-lived. As soon as I knew I was pregnant I disappeared.
WILL: And him?
MARY: He looked for me for a while, he wrote to me. I never replied. He did not even know where I lived.
WILL: And that you had a husband, did he know?
WILL: Do not say yes, because it is not a matter of course. And above all, it is not normal.
MARY: He liked that about me. The thought of going with a married woman excited him. He said I was brave, going against the rules, against morality.
WILL: That sucks.
MARY: Yes Will, you have spoken well. He was a worm.
WILL: So why were you into him?
MARY: What kind of questions are these ? It just happened. When you do these things you do not know why. You do not even ask yourself. You just do it.
WILL: And when you got back to me you were the same as always. This is absurd! How could you be always the same, always the same?
MARY: Because when I got back to you I forgot him.
WILL: You went to bed?
MARY: It was all that. That’s why I forgot.
Will lights another cigarette.
WILL: Why have you never told me ?
MARY: Because I love you, Will. I did not want to break this balance. Because the “yes” I said at the altar was true, and it still is.
WILL: I do not know what to say. It’s one of those situations where everything falls apart on you and you feel drained. I cannot even get angry. (After a pause) Why did he wrote now? It was three years you didn’t hear from him, wasn’t it?
WILL: Then why? What does he still want from you?
MARY: I do not know.
WILL: You said earlier that you knew he’d come back. Mary, have you met him again in these three years? Have you got in touch with him again?
MARY: No Will, I swear. I had cancelled him, seriously. But I had something inside, three years ago, which led me to think that one day he would show up again.
WILL: What does the baby have to do with him?
WILL: Yes, James. The message speaks about him too. When you broke it off did he knew you were pregnant? Did you come back to me just for our child?
MARY: No, he didn’t know. I never explained anything to him. I disappeared. I just had to find a strong motivation and my child saved me.
WILL: Did you return to me only for James?
MARY: Will, I…
MARY: I do not know who’s James’ father.
A long silence.
MARY: Will, don’t make that face. It is not my fault. I’ve been sincere. Aren’t you satisfied? I told you everything, really. But now don’t look at me like that. James is our baby… We’re bringing him up together and it is so beautiful! The past doesn’t matter, Will.
MARY: Will tell me anything.
Will gets close to her and gives her a sharp slap.
Exits the room.
MARY: (as if talking to herself, crying) Will what are you doing? Where are you going? Are you going to bed? I know you understand me. Let’s go to bed now. We are tired Will. We really need to rest! I’m coming to sleep too. Just settle the kitchen then I go to sleep too.
Will comes back with James nestled in his arms.
MARY: (while Will takes the keys, jacket, covers the child with a light blanket) See how beautiful our baby is? Did you bring him to me, right? What are you doing Will? Why are you covering yourself? Are you cold? I can turn the heat on. Now let’s give a kiss to the baby and put him back to sleep. Bring him here and let me look at him. Will? Will?
Will leaves the house with the baby in his arms.
MARY: (crying) I’ll miss you.
September 26, 2021