Neither/nor (The Date Scene)

Spotlight turns on to reveal a single bench facing the audience. The young mother runs into view and hurls herself onto the bench. The young father follows her into the spotlight and begins to pace around the bench.

Mother: So this is it! The place where you murder me?

Father: You got it. Not a bad place to die right?

Mother: It is not too shabby, not too shabby mister. Do you take all the girls here?

Father: Oh, you know — a murderer never reveals his secrets. [beat] Well, I guess some of them do. But I don’t. [A second spotlight turns on. The father walks to the centre of the second spotlight. We see a knife in his hands] I’m a man of integrity; a murderer who murders for the love of the murder [he makes stabbing motions] and not for some spotlight. No, not for the money; not for the audience; not for some platform; but for the pure joy I get from—

Mother (interrupting): Ok, I think that’s enough murder jokes for me tonight. 

[Second spotlight off. The father walks into the first spotlight carrying the knife to the same spot he was standing in prior.]

Father: I’m sorry. I overdid the murdering bit.

[He sits down.]

Mother: It’s alright, it happens. Just don’t murder me please.

Father: I’ll try my best [he puts the knife down].

[They look into the audience. We hear distant bird noises.]

Father: You think birds talk?

Mother: Sure they do. They talk, they sing. 

Father: What do they sing about?

Mother: Freedom.

Father: Freedom? I thought it was more like ‘shit, George, get over here, I found  another one of these tiny houses full of seeds!’

Mother: Hey now! Food! Food is … freedom. If I found a tiny house full of pasta, I’d sing too. 

Father: I wish I could sing.

Mother: You can. I’m sure you can. Everyone can sing. Singing is talking set free. Birds are animals set free. Just set yourself free. No bird is beating herself up because she can’t hold a note! Humans are so funny sometimes. We trap ourselves in our heads and then convinces ourselves we are free. We don’t know anything about freedom! 

Father: I mean, sure — I can make some freedom sounds, not sure you’d really call it singing. I can hold this A sharp.

[The father starts and continues to hold a note. The second spotlight turns on. The mother sits down in the centre. She puts her head in her head.]

Mother (speaking over the father): The only way out. To love your cage. To sing for freedom. To sing for life. Find the note, hold it. Hold onto it. No other way. 

[The mother returns to the bench]

Father: Do you believe in fate?

Mother: In what?

Father: Fate. You know, things turning out a certain way. You seem to be so sure about freedom.

Mother: No I don’t believe in fate.

Father: Why not?

Mother: Because I believe in freedom.

Father: Well I believe in both. I’m pretty sure I can’t sing. That’s fate. I’m pretty sure I’m meant to be here with you. That’s fate. But look, check it out: I can move my fingers! That’s freedom.

Mother: You’re sweet. But that doesn’t make you right. 

Father: We’ll see about that.

Mother: Listen, there’s something else I need to tell you.

Father: Uh oh. 

Mother: I like you. I really do. But before this gets any further, you need to know something about me.

Father: If this is about you liking no pulp orange juice, it’ll be tough. But I’m sure we can work on it, maybe we’ll buy both types at first and then eventually you’ll realize the error of your…

Mother: No no, I am not one of those no-pulp heathens. I just don’t want to have kids.

Father: What?

Mother: I don’t want to have children of my own. I’m sorry, if this is a showstopper, I understand.

Father: Well, it’s not.

Mother: Really?

[Second spotlight turns on. The father carries the knife with him to the spotlight. He sits down. He lets out a big sigh. He stands up.]

Father: A tale signifying nothing. A tale signifying nothing. Sound and fury. I knew it.

Mother: Are you alright?

[Father walks back to the bench. He sits down.]

Father: Yes, of course. Is it too much to ask why you don’t want them? 

Mother: I don’t know. I thought I did but I don’t. I just don’t think I’d be a good mother. 

Father: A good mother! How do you know? 

Mother: How does anybody know anything? I know. I’ve decided. I’m sorry — if this is important to you then maybe it’s best we go our separate ways.

Father: I didn’t say that! We can’t just go our separate ways. 

Mother: Well, do you want to have children of your own?

Father: I mean, I don’t not want to have children of my own. It’s certainly occurred to me. I may have picked out a name or two. But I like you. I do.

Mother: I’m sorry. This has happened to me before, I should have told you earlier. 

Father: This is fine. Don’t apologize. We’re fine.  We’re fine, I think. I’m ok with not having children. Maybe we can adopt. 

Mother: I’m not sure I’d want that either. Like I said, I don’t want to be a mother.

Father: At all? Of any kind? What about pets?

Mother: That’s different and you know it.

Father: It’s got parallels. Take them for a walk, feed them, sing them a song. Snuggle at night. 

Mother: I don’t want to be a mother. It’s not in my blood. 

Father: You don’t know that.

Mother: Excuse me?

Father: You don’t. You believe in freedom. Maybe you’ll change your mind. Maybe you’ll sing a different song.

Mother: I won’t. I’m sorry.

[First spotlight off. Second spotlight on. We see a small bird feeder with ‘PASTA’ written on it. We hear birds singing.]