Collected Stories
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Collected Stories

Donald Margulies

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  1. 112 pages
  2. English
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eBook - ePub

Collected Stories

Donald Margulies

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About This Book

Long-running production at the Manhattan Theatre Club with numerous productions scheduled through 1998. Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Sight Unseen and Other Plays, author’s first collection, published by TCG. (1-55936-103-4, sold 1500 copies).

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Information

Year
2012
ISBN
9781559367486

ACT ONE

· SCENE 1 ·

September 1990. Late afternoon. The Greenwich Village apartment of Ruth Steiner, a writer, who looks every bit her fifty-five years. She is reading a short, typed manuscript while dipping mondel bread in tea. A jazz station is on. She makes notes in the margins. The downstairs buzzer sounds. She finishes making her notation. The buzzer sounds again. With no urgency, she gets up, opens the window—with difficulty because it sticks—and calls to the street below.
RUTH: Hello-o-o. Hello? Up here.
LISA (Three stories below, barely audible): Oh, hi! Lisa.
Remember?
RUTH: I’m throwing down my key.
LISA: What?
RUTH: The buzzer doesn’t work, I’m throwing down my key.
LISA: What? I can’t—
RUTH (Waving a key ring): My key, my key! I’m throwing down my key!
LISA: Oh! You want me to let myself in?
RUTH: Yes! (Mostly to herself) That’s just what I want you to do. (Calls) I’m throwing it down—back up, I don’t want to hit you!
LISA: What?
RUTH: I don’t want to hit you, back up! (To herself) Jesus . . . (She tosses the key ring out the window) By the tree. The tree. No no no. Yes yes!
LISA (Overlap): Got it!
RUTH: Good! 3-F.
LISA: What?
RUTH: Apartment 3-F! F! (To herself) As in fucking-can’t-believe-this.
LISA: What?
RUTH: F! F! F as in Frank! 3-F! (She ducks her head back in; to herself) Is it me or is she deaf? (She tries to shut the window but it’s stuck) Oh, for God’s sake . . . (Ruth continues to struggle in vain to shut the window)
(Soon, Lisa Morrison, twenty-six, breathless from her trek upstairs, appears at the front door, which had been ajar all along.)
LISA: Professor?
RUTH (Her back to Lisa; working on the window): Yes yes! Come in!
LISA (Pushes open the creaky door, sees Ruth): Hello! I’m sorry I’m late.
RUTH: That’s all right.
LISA: I hadn’t checked my mailbox? So I just got your note we were meeting here and not in your office like fifteen minutes ago?, and practically ran all the way? And then on top of that I got lost . . . ?
RUTH (Still struggling with the window; preoccupied): Mm. Yes. Well.
LISA: You need help with that?
RUTH: Why, yes! As a matter of fact I do. See if you have any better luck with this, will you, dear?
LISA: Sure.
RUTH: The damn thing’s warped and I’m freezing.
(Lisa puts her bookbag down on a chair and crosses to the window. Ruth wraps a throw blanket around herself and watches Lisa work on the window.)
LISA: It’s stuck.
RUTH: I know it’s stuck; it sticks. These goddamn old windows . . .
LISA: Have you got a screwdriver or something?
RUTH: A screwdriver?
LISA: Yeah, you know, to like . . .
(Lisa continues to try to maneuver the window while Ruth exits to the kitchen and rummages through drawers.)
RUTH (Off): There’s a particular angle, I’ve found it before . . . You have to . . . If you jiggle it just right . . . My arthritis . . . (Ruth returns with a metal spatula) I couldn’t find a screwdriver; try this.
LISA: A spatula?
RUTH: Yeah, see if you can . . . (Lisa wedges the spatula between the window and the frame) There you go . . . (Lisa manages to get it closed) Excellent! Thank you, thank you.
LISA: Hey, no problem; I do windows. (A small laugh, then) So. Hi.
RUTH: Hi. (Picks up Lisa’s assignment)
LISA: It’s nice to be here. I mean, I was beginning to think I was never gonna find this place.
RUTH: Oh, really? Why? It’s not that difficult.
LISA: I know, but you know how you’re walking along and all of a sudden West 12th and like West Something streets intersect?
RUTH: Oh, yes.
LISA: And it’s like, “Wait a minute?, what is going on here?” Like Alice Through the Looking-Glass or something.
RUTH: Mm. Yes.
LISA: Anyway, this is such a neat place. It’s so nice of you to have me over.
RUTH: Have you over?
LISA: You know what I mean.
RUTH (Continuous): I hardly think of this as “having you over.”
LISA: I know. I meant . . .
RUTH (Continuous): This isn’t exactly a social call.
LISA: I know.
RUTH (Continuous): I do this from time to time: meet with my students here.
LISA: Uh-huh.
RUTH (Continuous): Mainly because I’m a terrible slug. And if one of us has to shlep, it may as well be you; you’re younger.
LISA: No, what I meant was, it’s so nice to be in a real home for a change, where a real person actually lives, with ...

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