Emily Hageman

Blue

 

LILITH            A woman.  Same actress, plays ages six to adult.

GRANDMA LILITH        A grandmother.  60-80.

GRANDPA LOU        A man. 30-50.

SETTING:            Throughout time.

AT RISE:            LILITH sits in the middle of the stage.

LILITH
This could be a sad story, but I’ve decided it’s not.

                (GRANDMA enters.  She is performing a household 
chore.  Lilith is six.  She sprawls on the floor like a child.)

LILITH (cont.)
Gramma, did you know the sky isn’t blue, it’s really just a bunch of dusts and water.  The sky is black like outer space.

GRANDMA
Hmm, looks blue to me.

LILITH
Yeah, but it’s not.  I asked my teacher and she said so.

GRANDMA
Your Grandpa Lou always said that the sky was blue and he would know.

                (GRANDPA LOU enters, dressed like an airline pilot.  
Lilith ages for a moment and address the audience.)

LILITH
My Grandpa Lou was very dead by the time I was six.
               (six years old)
Grampa Lou, Grampa Lou, tell me, Gramma!

GRANDMA
Well, I don’t know, if you really think the sky is just dust and water--

LILITH
Please, Gramma, please?

GRANDMA
Alright, alright.  Grandpa was a--

LILITH
Pilot!

GRANDMA
Yes, and he--

LILITH
--was a big hero!

GRANDMA
Yes, and he--

LILITH
Saved all the people!

GRANDMA
Shall I tell it or you?

LILITH
Okay, okay, you tell, Gramma.

GRANDMA
Grandpa Lou was a pilot for a big airline.  One day, something went--

                (Grandpa sits in his cockpit.  He acts it out.  He and 
Grandma overlap.)

GRANDPA & GRANDMA
--wrong with the engines--

GRANDMA
And Grandpa had to think fast.

                (Lilith climbs into the cockpit next to Grandpa and watches 
him.)

LILITH
Think fast, Grandpa Lou!

GRANDMA
The plane was flying--

GRANDPA & GRANDMA
--out of control--

GRANDMA
And the ground was--

LILITH, GRANDPA & GRANDMA
--creeping up--

GRANDMA
And in those days he had no copilots so he had to drive it by himself and he was lucky he was so strong.  Everyone on the plane was--

GRANDPA & GRANDMA
Really scared--

GRANDMA
But he made them all feel safe because he was such a good pilot.  He did some quick thinking and then he touched down the plane and--

LILITH & GRANDMA
--saved the day!

                (Grandpa stands up and flashes a heroic smile.  Lilith 
claps.  Grandma watches him lovingly.  The grandparents freeze and Lilith ages.)

LILITH
I had never wanted a world that was simple, but this story I ate with pleasure and satisfaction.  All children love sweets.
               (Lilith is twelve)
Grandma, I have to write a report in English about a family member.  Can you tell me the story about Grandpa.

GRANDMA
Your grandpa was a big airline pilot--

LILITH
And he saved a lot of people--

GRANDMA
That morning he was late to work.

LILITH
He was?

GRANDMA
Yes, did I tell you that?

LILITH
I forgot that part.

GRANDMA
And as he was flying something went

GRANDPA & GRANDMA
--wrong with the engine

                (Grandpa Lou is back in the cockpit.  He looks tired.  Lilith 
sits next to him.)

GRANDMA
So grandpa had to--

LILITH
Grandpa, think fast

                (Grandpa thinks fast.)

LILITH (cont)
Grandpa, save the people.

                (Grandpa saves the people.)

GRANDMA
He did it without a copilot because they didn’t have--

LILITH
Grandpa Lou, the hero.

                (Grandpa Lou stands and smiles.  He is tired.)

LILITH (cont.)
Even people who are dead age.
               (Lilith is eighteen.)
It’s the anniversary of Grandpa Lou’s day, isn’t it?

GRANDMA
Yes.  I can still remember it so clearly--

                (Grandpa Lou is on the phone and he is tired and maybe 
hungover.)

GRANDMA (cont.)
He called me and he sounded so--

GRANDPA
Lily, I’m not sure if I should go in, I feel so

GRANDMA
And I told him

LILITH
               (plays her Grandma)
You only go in if you feel up to it, sweetheart.

GRANDMA
And he was very tired and felt sick, but he went in because he was responsible and it’s a good thing he did because

GRANDPA
Wrong, wrong, I don’t know how to--

LILITH
Grandpa, it’s okay, think--

GRANDPA
The ground is creeping up

LILITH
You can do it, Grandpa, you have to

GRANDPA
People are scared and I’m

LILITH
You’re a hero, Grandpa, you make everyone feel better by

GRANDMA
And he landed the plane and he was a

                (Grandpa drops his head into his hands.)

LILITH
And each year, the story shifted.  Maybe she thought I didn’t notice

GRANDMA
And he was a young pilot, he’d never flown without a copilot but he was late to work and

GRANDPA
Just give me a plane, any plane, I’ll

GRANDMA
He’d never flown a plane that size before and the folks weren’t sure

GRANDPA
I have to get home, my wife is

GRANDMA
He wasn’t sure if he should go in

GRANDPA
Lily, I’m not sure if I should

GRANDMA
But I was pregnant and I didn’t want to be alone

GRANDPA
My wife needs

GRANDMA
Maybe it was me

GRANDPA
The ground was creeping closer and I thought of all the people

GRANDMA
But he landed the plane so he was

GRANDPA
Don’t say it

GRANDMA
And everyone said he was a

GRANDPA
I’m not

GRANDMA
And he was always my

GRANDPA
I didn’t know what I was doing and all those people almost

GRANDMA
He was so brave

LILITH
And the years crumbled and so did Grandma until she was too worn to lie.

GRANDMA
He told me later

GRANDPA
When the plane was taking off, I saw the equipment wasn’t

GRANDMA
But he thought

GRANDPA
It’ll be fine if I just

GRANDMA
And he was so young

GRANDPA
And I thought I would never die

GRANDMA
And the plane was so big

GRANDPA
And I cried

GRANDMA
And his pants were soaked when he

GRANDPA
And when it was over I

GRANDMA
I told him he was a

GRANDPA
No, no, I almost

GRANDMA
But he didn’t, but because he’d almost

GRANDPA
I almost

GRANDMA
He couldn’t shake off the feeling that he

LILITH
He couldn’t remove the feeling that he

GRANDMA
He was broken in places I could see or touch and he couldn’t believe that I still

                (Grandpa is weeping.)

LILITH
And sometimes love can’t

GRANDMA
And if you can’t feel love, the world slips out from under you

LILITH
And if your feet aren’t on the ground

GRANDMA
And he could never leave the cockpit

LILITH
The story that people told about him scraped his skin raw

GRANDMA
And so he gave himself the end he thought he deserved

GRANDPA
Ground is creeping up

GRANDMA
And I found him

GRANDPA
And you can’t see

GRANDMA
I told people it was a heart attack because I couldn’t

GRANDPA
               (bitterly sarcastic)
A hero

GRANDMA
He could only see the dark parts of himself anymore and the thing people loved most about him was

LILITH
I know.  I know.  I know.

                (A moment of perfect stillness.  Lilith searches the faces of 
her grandparents.)

LILITH (cont.)
And I thought, I thought, my God.  My God, you beautiful, broken people.  And I thought--

GRANDMA
Maybe it was me

GRANDPA
I was so stupid

LILITH
I wish you could see that I

GRANDMA
I wish I could back and say, don’t go, I’ll be fine

GRANDPA
And I’d say I’ll come tomorrow

LILITH
And that the perfection of your heart is still so glittering to me and I never once thought

GRANDMA
Selfish

GRANDPA
Coward

LILITH
And that you didn’t have to be so

GRANDMA
I’m so sorry

GRANDPA
I hate everything about

LILITH
You deserved the sky.  The big, open, expanse of endless bright lights and color, a world of

GRANDMA
Will you ever know that I

GRANDPA
I couldn’t

LILITH
Not black and white but

GRANDMA
Think of him as

GRANDPA
I was never

LILITH
Blue.  Dust and particles and vapor.  You were blue.

                (Lilith turns and searches their faces.  Grandpa and 
Grandma are as she remembers them, as she chooses to.  Slow fade out.)
 

Misteri screen shot 2.png
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