A One Act Play
Party, Party: Tea & Antipathy
By G. L. Horton
copyright © 2010
Jarret Stone, 40something, a professor
Lisa Deckker Stone, his wife
Grandma -- Louisa Deckker, Lisa's mother
Lulu Stone, 12, and Nicky, 10, the grandkids
OFF-STAGE VOICE of a Policeman
SET: The living room of the Stones' modest house, where Lisa's mother is presently living in what used to be the family's TV room. Nicky and Grandma have just come in from outside, and Grandma is stuffing items ino a huge canvas shopping bag as she calls to her daughter in the kitchen. Lisa immediately enters with a pitcher of orange juice and glasses.
GRANDMA Lisa, we're home! Tired but happy, eh, Nicky?
NICKY Mom, we were in the parade! I played my drum!
GRANDMA You should be so proud of our little Patriot!
LISA I figured you'd be thirsty.
NICKY I'm hungry. When do we eat?
LISA You can have some graham crackers with your orange juice. But save your appetite for the barbeque. We're due at Ali's at three.
NICKY Will there be bacon burghers?
LISA Not today, dear. Ali's family doesn't eat pork.
GRANDMA This is the 4th of July! Americans eat sausage and pork chops and hot dogs. Pork belongs on our picnic tables-- just not in the congressional budget.
NICKY I want a bacon burgher.
LISA We want to be sensitive to our new neighbors: don't we, Nicky?
GRANDMA Not at the cost of our own traditions. Nicky and Lulu deserve to be raised like you were, Lisa: with Sunday School and Girl Scouts---
NICKY I'm not a girl.
GRANDMA -- learning to pledge the flag and singing God Bless America--
LISA We sing it. Our family sings it.
GRANDMA Nicky played and sang it in the parade today, but I had to teach him the words! You should have seen him. Show your mother, Nicky.
NICKY ( plays drum roll, sings)
God bless America, Chile (oops) I love
Stand beside her (GRANDMA joins in) and guide her (LISA joins in)
To the right (LISA sings "left") with the light from above
From the mountains, and the prairies, (JARRET and LULU enter)
To the oceans (JARRET and LULU join in) white with foam:
God bless America, my home sweet home.
(ALL smile, applaud NICKY, who bows)
JARRET Well done! That deserves the second verse. (begins song)
ALL God bless Anarctica, (GRANDMA sings "America") Chile, and Guam; Bless ole I-raq, And Afganistan (GRANDMA has dropped out, scandalized) And the other poor bastards we bomb.
For our stumbling, And our bumbling,
For our toxic waste, and greed:
God give America the humbling we need--
God correct America, in word and deed!
(all but Grandma laugh and applaud. She fumes)
LISA Where have you been? I expected you home from soccer hours ago. Mom spent the morning demonstrating and listening to Glen Beck. She's all fired up.
JARRET We took Ali and Fatima to the parade. To show them what democracy's all about. Veterans marching, peaceniks protesting, liberty and justice for all.
GRANDMA (worried) You were there?
JARRET The four of us were there. I have the battle-scars to prove it.
(Unzips jacket, shows ripped leftist logo T-shirt with dirt and what might be bruises and blood)
LULU It was awful! There were people with signs saying Muslims are terrorists, and "No Mosque Zone" painted in red with drops coming down to look like blood! And they saw our signs---
LISA What signs?
LULU You know, the ones we made for the anti-war rally. And they came rushing right at us and shouted terrible things at Ali and Fatima. I was so scared! Daddy was shouting back at them.
GRANDMA You poor darling! Your father should never have taken you! Everybody knows that when good people see their neighborhood filling with criminals and devil-worshipers, they're going to react!
JARRET That's how you look at this? Good people reacting?
LULU Grandma, Fatima's family has the same God we do. They just call him Allah!
GRANDMA That's what they want you to believe.
LISA Mother, Fatima is Lulu's friend. Her mother and I worked together during the last election, she's a kind and intelligent--.
GRANDMA That foreigner has no business meddling in an American Election. Glen Beck says they aren't legally eligible to become citizens, because if they take an oath to the Founder's real constitution it's a lie! Even Nicky understands that, don't you?
NICKY I think I--
LISA Have you been watching Glen Beck? Your father told you--
NICKY In Grandma's room. She--
GRANDMA These people come over here, they take our jobs. They're destroying our neighborhood!
LISA There's nothing wrong with our neighborhood! Except for that gang of teenage thugs trying to drive our new friends out!
JARRET All the thugs aren't teenagers, Lisa. I took photos. Look.
(hands cell phone)
LULU That's -- that's Grandma!
LISA Mother, what were you doing? (GRANDMA goes into her shopping bag and puts on tea bagger tricorn, bandolier, gets out anti-Obama sign and holds it up defiantly)
GRANDMA Fighting for the sake of my grandchildren!
JARRET Over my dead body. No Tea Party insanity in my house!
GRANDMA This is a free country. Why is your husband dictating what I watch on TV?
LISA You're an adult and can do as you please. But you used to monitor my TV when I was a kid. No Playboy, no "Adult" movies, no Saturday Night Live….
GRANDMA That's filth! This is the Truth about the dark forces that are undermining all that our Forefathers held sacred.
LISA Calling our President a secret Socialist Kenyan Muslim?! If somebody selling vacuum cleaners had come to our door and said that about Jimmy Carter, would Dad have put up with it?
GRANDMA Jimmy Carter was a weakling, a fool and a tool -- but not a traitor. A God-fearing Baptist kind of Democrat.
LISA We're all Democrats! Your parents, Dad's parents, me and my brother, Jarret and his brother-- you are too! Or at least you were until Dad died.
GRANDMA I went along with your father's politics because that's what a good Christian wife does. Sam was the one with more education. I trusted him--
LISA You campaigned for Carter!
NICKY Uh-- Dad?
GRANDMA But I don't trust any more. I verify! If it's not in the original Constitution--
LISA You want to go back to before women could vote?
JARRET Back past the New Deal--to the Dark Ages.
GRANDMA The New Deal is Socialism! The federal government has no right to--
JARRET Back past the 14th Amendment, to where blacks had no rights--
LULU (to LISA) They're scaring me, Mom. Can't you make them stop?
GRANDMA All for the coloreds and the foreigners, you elitists. You'll rob your own son of his rightful inheritance, all for a mess of pottage!
NICKY (admiring Grandma) Will he? How?
GRANDMA This is like the 1770s. Up the Revolution! Come to me, my little Johnny Tremaine! (gives Nicky tea bag hat and an ugly racist sign)
(sings) When we get all steamed up we won't just shout:
We'll tip Obama over and kick him out!
JARRET You and what army?
LISA Jarret, please, calm down. We can have a reasonable discussion…..
JARRET Nicky, put down that filthy f-ing--!
LISA Jarret! (pauses) Please.
JARRET Nicky, "please" put down that scurrilous sign. If you know what's good for you, you'll take off that silly hat too, and go to your room while your grandmother and I--
NICKY (defiant) I'm an American citizen! I've got free speech and-- and--
GRANDMA -- association. (NICKY hugs his Grandma) And you can petition for redress of grievances.
NICKY That's right! Grievances! Here, Grandma, I don't know that I agree with this. (gives GRANDMA the ugly sign.) But Free Speech means that I get to complain and you don't get to shut me up! (beats drum)
JARRET (grabs sign) Lies! Toxic Know-nothingism! (tears sign up)
GRANDMA O, yeah? Fox News people are better informed than people who watch the LameStream Networks. Polls say so! You're the Know-nothings!
JARRET Ha! Jon Stewart watchers know most of all! Oh, Fox feeds people like you the Big Lie: and repeats it like an echo chamber 24/7. You're buying snake oil!
NICKY What's snake oil?
JARRET Medicine that makes you sick. Liars make money selling it to people like your Grandma, people who can't think for themselves--
GRANDMA I'm perfectly capable of thinking for myself! I just didn't bother when my husband was alive. Sam had his clever friends over and I did the dishes and agreed with them.
JARRET Good practice for Fox News. Replace Sam Deckker's opinions with Rupert Murdoch's.
GRANDMA Did his friends ever invite me to lunch, once Sam was gone? Or you, Jarret? Have you ever asked me what I think, or invited me to check those so-called "facts" you're always spouting? Glen does! He gives me book titles and page numbers so I can judge for myself!
JARRET (beside himself) Beck's a raving lunatic!
(LULU silently asks LISA: why is Daddy so angry?)
GRANDMA Nicky, your parents are so eager to censor the Glen Beck show, but if it weren't for him and the Apostolic church I'd have perished in this house, from boredom and loneliness--
JARRET That's no excuse for worshipping a rodeo clown!
LISA Jarret, that's terrible thing to say! It's my mother you're talking to.
GRANDMA Glen Beck is the best teacher a student could have. Ask Nicky! Beck's show makes history come alive for him.
NICKY He teaches with stories and questions, not dates or multiple choice.
GRANDMA Glen tells us to open our eyes and see if what he puts on the blackboard is really happening. I had a teacher like him once, and for a semester I actually did extra credit homework and looked things up in the library! Now Nicky is, too-- aren't you, darling? All kids should be so lucky --
JARRET Sure. And slavery was a big step up from the darkness of Africa.
GRANDMA What does the Constitution say about slavery, Nicky?
NICKY (recites) "The Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars."
JARRET I'm impressed. You memorized part of the Constitution!
GRANDMA Too bad these days we don't ask anything of immigrants -- not dollars, not even that they abide by our Constitution.
JARRET The Declaration called for self government because all men were created equal, but the Constitution defined some men as property. Nicky, France outlawed the slave trade in 1794! When do you think Britain did?
(no clue) In 1807! In Britain, a man could be sentenced to death for killing a slave. If the Founders hadn't overthrown the government, some of them might have been hanged! For beating to death their human property.
LULU Beating to death!?!
LISA There was just one Founder who killed his--
GRANDMA Slander! Communist slander!
LISA I'm afraid the truth is they were slave-owning racists. They saw black and red people as subhuman-- like those skinheads who are harassing our friend Ali and his family.
GRANDMA Children, cover your ears! Leftists lie.
JARRET The reason your grandma's Tea Party friends want to go back to the Founders is that a black man as Commander-in Chief sends them into a kind of tribal panic.
GRANDMA We won't need to panic if we stick together. Blacks worship a God who is racist against white people. You saw that Reverend Jeremiah Wright preaching it in Chicago: God Damn America, he said!
NICKY Grandma! Wash your mouth out with soap! (beats drum) Gram said damn! Gram said damn! Gram said damn! Gram said damn! (Ect..marches around. GRANDMA protests and everybody shouts over one another)
GRANDMA I was quoting, Nicky! Quoting that bad man. Don't blame me, blame Obama! Blame Jeremiah Wright!
(sound of a police car approaching, with siren)
LULU Mom, everybody gone crazy? Please, please, make them stop. They're scaring me.
LISA (trying to grab and separate combatants) If we could all just be calm for a minute--
JARRET (fighting NICKY for the drum) Shut the frack up, you little demon!
GRANDMA (beating JARRET with her tricorn hat) Leave the poor boy alone, you monster!
(simultaneous VOICES and doorbell and pounding on the door from outside)
POLICEMAN Professor Stone? Police. We've had a report of a domestic disturbance. Open up, please. (ALL FREEZE) Open the door right now, or we'll break it down--
BLACKOUT. THE END.