A One Act Play
One More Time
By G. L. Horton
copyright © 2003
A modern dance studio where a class has just ended. SHARON,
wearing rehearsal clothes and a sweat shirt, is collapsed onto
the bench, looking shell shocked and weepy. Her
friend MARVA has filled a paper cup with some restorative
liquid and brought it to SHARON, offering comfort.
MARVA: Here, drink this. (SHARON sips, blubbers, sips again)
SHARON: Thanks. I--
MARVA: No, dont try to talk yet. Sip and breathe. Right.
SHARON: I just--
MARVA: Deep breath. (SHARON breathes) Now?
SHARON: (nods) Im back.
MARVA: Good for you.
SHARON: Thanks to you.
MARVA: I could see it coming--
SHARON: Not me! I was so shocked I could still be standing there,
rooted to the spot!
(points to spot on dance floor)
MARVA: Unbelievable! Ive seen some low blows in my day,
SHARON: Was it so obvious? Did everybody...?
MARVA: Not at all. They knew something was happening, but--
SHARON: You picked it right up. Came to my rescue.
MARVA: Because I know your back story. All the old stuff. Truth
be told, I was expecting something like this.
SHARON: I sure wasnt! It felt like I was hit with a-- with
a -a- wet mattress. I couldnt move, couldnt breathe--
did I turn blue?
MARVA: Gray, actually. But anybody who noticed probably thought
it was from the pace, or maybe a sprain....
SHARON: Im hypersensitive.
(MARVA begins to massage SHARONs shoulders)
MARVA: I wouldnt say that. You had good cause.
SHARON: Not to most people. Reacting like that--
MARVA: I told you. You looked fine.
SHARON: I felt raped.
MARVA: I could see the steam coming out of your ears-- but anybody
SHARON: I really thought I was over him.
MARVA: Not over enough to be in the same room, apparently.
(SHARON jumps up off bench protesting)
SHARON: But I was! Last year, already. I took Pauls
class last year, and acted just like any other student. I mean,
Pauls a really great teacher, why shouldnt I take
MARVA: Because part of his really great thing is seduce
SHARON: (deflated) I guess I never learn.
MARVA: Id say it depends on the teacher. (MARVA stands
to continue massage)
SHARON: Oh, I learn all right, but then I forget. The same shit
all over again! I swore I would never let this happen.
MARVA: You were really strong when we talked over the holidays.
SHARON: This all started Friday night. Up till then I was fine--
you saw me.
MARVA: You at least looked fine.
SHARON: I was fine. In class I looked in the mirrors, not at him.
(steps away, does a dance move in front of imaginary mirror)
I concentrated on myself, on what I was trying to achieve.
But then Friday night--
MARVA: But we talked Friday night! We touched base.
SHARON: I never should have gone to the jam.
MARVA: You told me he wasnt there.
SHARON: He wasnt! You saw for yourself!
MARVA: It was dark. And the strobe.....
SHARON: (sets the scene with gesture) There were only about
a dozen on the floor, nobody I know very well, and Paul wasnt
there. I felt sensuous and safe. (dances)
MARVA: I should have stayed with you, but the the music wasnt---
SHARON: Yeah! And it got worse! Still, at that moment I didnt
care, I felt so good and perfectly on top of it! (an expressive
MARVA: (sits) Then what happened?
SHARON: Paul came in.
SHARON: He didnt see me, I was coming back from the ladies
and I just stopped at the end of the corridor, sort of behind
the curtain there. I could see he wasnt with anybody, hadnt
MARVA: So what happened?
SHARON: Nothing! I just watched him.
MARVA: Jesus, Sharon!
SHARON: I know, I never watch. I either dance or I go away. But
though I wasnt getting much from the boomita boomita of
this particular DJ,
on the other hand I wasnt ready to say Id had a nights
dancing. So I told myself itd be a short set, and I got
a chair from the bathroom and put it behind the curtain there,
where I couldnt be seen but I could watch for a few. And
there he was. Perfect. Beautiful. So beautiful its impossible
to believe that he could be what we perfectly know the shit he
MARVA: He knew you were watching.
SHARON: He never saw me.
MARVA: He could feel you watching.
SHARON: There was nothing in that whole room for Paul but his
Not even the music. The music you heard, that I didnt like--
Paul wasnt dancing to that.
MARVA: He hears different drummers.
SHARON: From inside.
MARVA: Shit. He saw you. Or somebody--
SHARON: No. he wasnt showing off, or coming on to anybody.
His eyes were glazed: he was in his own space.
MARVA: (rises) Pauls always in his own space! All
space is Pauls space.
SHARON: Most of the time, it is.
MARVA: It is-- or he walks away from it.
SHARON: Now wait: I have seen Paul be generous. Paul can partner,
actually. He can wait his turn.
MARVA: When? You notice hes not taking anyone elses
classes this year.
SHARON: He isnt?
MARVA: Cant bear to be in a studio if hes not in control
SHARON: I suppose youre right. (slumps onto bench)
MARVA: You know Im right.
SHARON: I suppose I have trouble believing what I know because
of what I saw.
MARVA: I grant you hes a hunk.
SHARON: Dont say that!
MARVA: Come on.
SHARON: Beautifuls not a hunk.
MARVA: Beauty is as Beauty does.
SHARON: Pauls beautiful.
MARVA: We must have different definitions.
SHARON: When hes dancing. Improvising. When its just
him and the music.
MARVA: O, hes got talent--
SHARON: Talents skill. This is different. Hes open,
revealing his spirit.
Which is beautiful. (MARVA pulls SHARON to her feet)
MARVA: Open your eyes! What Paul does is ugly.
SHARON: I cant deny what Ive seen.
MARVA: Love may be blind, but even a blind woman--
SHARON: Sometimes love sees best.
MARVA: Are you saying what he just did wasnt ugly?
SHARON: I made it worse because I didnt respond. I was --
MARVA: Of course! Coming out of the blue like that.
SHARON: But you said you expected--
MARVA: Well, Ive seen him in action.
SHARON: Negative energy just floors me. I need a moment to process.
MARVA: Uglys hard to deal with. Afterwards, as well as at
SHARON: My first response is to wonder what Ive done to
MARVA: Thats why he does it.
SHARON: Lay something like that on me, then walk away!
MARVA: What did you expect? (sits, invites SHARON to sit)
SHARON: (pacing) Its just like 3 years ago all
over again-- except condensed.
MARVA: Sucked in one more time. Poor baby.
(again inviting SHARON to sit next to her)
SHARON: Poor baby is right! Its Daddy over again! This is
just so Daddy!
MARVA: You think?
SHARON: Sure! Obviously. Hi honey hows it going--
bye got to get to the office. I also realized that moving
from New York last year was divorcing Daddy.
MARVA: Does your father know that?
SHARON: If he thought about it. He does give me the casual Are
you sure business, little hints about haste makes waste
sort of thing, but Ive stopped expecting anything. Hell
never admit he even wants me to care.
MARVA: Wants you to want his approval...
SHARON: Earn it.
MARVA: Or kill yourself trying.
SHARON: So he can ignore me.
MARVA: Of course.
SHARON: Not even bother to notice.
SHARON: Stay or leave, nothings keeping you.
MARVA: Youre making progress, Sharon. Two years ago--
SHARON: Then why do I keep doing this Paul thing? Jesus!
MARVA: Why does anybody? Hes damn near irresistible.
SHARON: To idiots.
MARVA: Brains are not the point, here.
SHARON: You warned me, Alexandra warned me. I should listen.
MARVA: Safer to keep your distance.
SHARON: Behind closed doors, like a bitch in heat. Walk on a leash,
MARVA: Whoa! (rises, embraces SHARON to calm her)
SHARON: Isnt it? Like Im taken over by pheromones,
like Im overcome. Smart women like you have more sense.
MARVA: More sense?
SHARON: Or maybe youre missing a sense, so not susceptible.
MARVA: Youve got to be kidding.
SHARON: So youd never fall for--
MARVA: But Sharon, I did!
SHARON: You couldnt.
MARVA: I knew at the time I shouldnt, but--
SHARON: (pulling away) You cant have! Were
best friends. Youd have told me.
MARVA: I did tell you.
SHARON: No you did not!
MARVA: But I did.
SHARON: I cant believe-- How could you?
MARVA: I told you! I told you at Nickys wedding.
MARVA: Over the champagne.
SHARON: Not when did you tell-- you didnt tell! When did
you do it?
MARVA: Years ago. Before I even knew you.
SHARON: Years ago!
MARVA: It was the summer there was a fire in the sauna.
SHARON: You did it because there was a fire?
MARVA: Of course not! That was when, not why. (dropping onto
Women dont need a why with Paul, at least not a personal
one. He projects that whatever it is he has-- maybe like you say,
He directs it at you, and why is beside the point.
SHARON: Not to me it isnt.
MARVA: Because I wanted to! At the time.
SHARON: So 3 years ago, all the time I was confiding in you, and
you were ha ha helping me--
MARVA: I told you! I warned you.
SHARON: From your heights of superiority.
SHARON: I should never have trusted you. If Id known you
were Pauls lover--
MARVA: One of Pauls lovers! Pauls hundreds of lovers.
Pauls one night stands. (pause. SHARON just stares.)
You cant take Paul personally. Its like being
jealous of the Easter Bunny, who gives out a treat to any good
little girl who believes in him.
SHARON: Seeing me with you all the time, he probably thought Im
MARVA: Right. A female.
SHARON: Someone who looks at him and sees a hunk.
A one night stand.
MARVA: He doesnt care! If anything, Paul prefers that.
SHARON: Because its easy. Youve spoiled him, you and
MARVA: Dont live in a fantasy, Sharon. Paul doesnt
care. If you care,
hell punish you. Over and over.
SHARON: I deserve it, listening to you.
MARVA: Your life will be scenes like the one you just got hit
MARVA: What can I do but warn you? Learn from my--
SHARON: Youve done quite enough. So just stop.
MARVA: Stop what?
(SHARON stares at Marva coldly, then turns and walks out.
It takes the shell shocked MARVA a moment to process
that she is being rejected, but then she pulls herself together
and runs out after her friend.)
MARVA: Sharon? Sharon!