By Kathy Hart
A modern day one-act Lenten play. Following a sermon about the Lenten season at church, the Taylor family has vowed to give up some of their possessions to the families at the local homeless shelter, instead of their usual fasting of cheese and French fries during the Lenten season. As the story unfolds, each family member makes a difficult decision about parting with something special. Keywords: Lent, Lenten, sacrifice, memories, fast, fasting.
Sue: Mother, wife, age 40-45
Scott: Father, husband, age 40-45
Kimberly: Daughter, age 13
Ryan: Son, age 10
Setting: Attic cluttered with cardboard cartons and two benches.
Props: 1 carton marked in big letters, “Homeless families” 1 carton marked in big letters, “Scott’s college stuff” 1 carton marked in big letters, “Sue’s college stuff” 1 carton marked in big letters, “Socks and shoes” 1 carton marked in big letters, “Blankets” 1 carton marked in big letters, “Coats” 1 carton marked in big letters, “Fishing stuff” 1 carton marked in big letters, “Jackets” 1 empty box of diaper wipes 1 handful of yellow cellophane Easter grass 1 pair of children’s red boots 1 fishing hat 1 large black garbage bag 1 flashlight 1 torn Furman frat shirt 1 80’s style jacket 1 pair of moldy men’s shoes 1 blue baby blanket 3 other blankets 1 term paper
(Husband and wife, Sue and Scott Taylor, enter their attic. Scott is carrying a large box marker “Homeless Families”. Sue is carrying a plastic bag and a flashlight. The stage is black as they enter with flashlight on.)
Scott: (Looking around) I haven’t been up here in a long time.
Sue: (Sniffing) It smells so musty.
Scott: It’s an attic. What do you expect? Where’s the light?
Sue: It’s over here. (Turns on light and turns off flashlight)
Scott: Look at all this junk!
Sue: I’ve saved everything….. in case we had a need for it.
Scott: I can see that. Here we have a box of diaper wipes. Sue, our kids are 10 and 13.
Sue: (In a logical tone) There are no diaper wipes in the box anyway. I just saved the box. (Takes box from Scott)
Scott: You saved an empty box of diaper wipes for… let’s see…. seven years. Why?
Sue: I thought I could use the box to put stuff in. See. Here’s some yellow cellophane Easter grass from last year that I can put right inside this box. (Puts grass in box) It fits perfectly.
Scott: (Moan) OK, “Martha Stewart”, that’s enough! We are here on a mission.
Sue: Well, I’m not sure about this mission. I know you call it junk, but all this junk is important to me. It’s going to be hard to give anything up.
Scott: It’s going to be hard to give up diaper wipe boxes and yellow plastic grass? Come on. You have got to be kidding.
Sue: Think of the memories. The last time we changed a diaper was when we went to Disney World. Kimberly was six and Ryan was three. Ryan decided it was time to go to the potty and that was that.
Scott: I was greatly relieved. No more diapers. I recall that being a good thing. Right?
Sue: Well, yes, but it meant that our baby was growing up.
Scott: That was seven years ago. He’s going to middle school next year.
Sue: (Weeping) I know.
Scott: What about this yellow plastic grass? This stuff gets all over the house and gets trapped in the vacuum cleaner roller. Why are we saving this?
Sue: Because it’s pretty. I like the “yellow” grass best for the Easter baskets.
Scott: (Shakes his head) Plastic grass to go with plastic eggs. Here they are! What is the point of all of this?
Sue: It’s part of Easter.
Scott: No, no, it’s not.
Sue: Well, it’s been a part of Easter for as long as I can remember.
Scott: That’s true. I just don’t remember why. I don’t remember in the Bible, Jesus saying to his disciples, “Come on, Peter, James and John. Let’s go hide Easter eggs in the Garden of Gethsemene.
Sue: Don’t be ridiculous. I’m just glad I found them, so I don’t have to buy any new grass or eggs this year. Let’s go. (Sue starts toward ladder)
Scott: (Firmly) We are not going anywhere. I think you have forgotten why we are up here.
Sue: I was hoping, anyway. (Sits down) So what if Reverend Brown suggested that for Lent we share what we have with the poor?
Scott: I like the idea. Sue, we have a lot. Just look at what we have here in the attic that we are not even using. Sue: I know we are blessed with a lot. But, maybe we could give up something else for Lent like cheese. Cheese just makes me fat anyway. Or French fries.
Scott: We gave up cheese and French fries last year for Lent. And you finally blew it when you decided that Tater Tots from the Sonic Drive-in didn’t count as French fries.
Sue: Well, I will agree that it was probably a weak moment on my part. The temptation got the best of me.
Scott: I think it’s a great idea for us to clean out this attic, throw out some junk and give some useful things to the homeless families at the Family Shelter.
Sue: (Reluctantly) Well…OK….. Where shall we start?
Scott: We need some extra strength. Would you like to start with a prayer?
(Sue nods. They both bowed their heads.)
Scott: Oh Lord, our Father, you have blessed us with good memories and happy lives. We know that other families are not as fortunate as we are. Please give us the strength to graciously share what we have with others. Amen.
Sue: Amen. (Big sigh) I think I’m ready now.
Kimberly: (Yelling from downstairs) Mom, where are you?
Sue: I’m in the attic with your father.
Kimberly: Can I come up?
Scott: Sure! Be careful on the steps.
Kimberly: What are you doing up here? (Starts going through stuff.) Oh cool! Look at this jacket. It’s so retro. (To Sue) Can I have it? I can wear it to the party next week. The theme is the 1980’s. It will go with my…….
Scott: What party?
Sue: (Ignoring question) See Scott, I saved this all these years and now she needs it. It’s retro!
Scott: What’s retro? What party?
Kimberly: Oh Daddy, you’re just impossible. Matthew Walker is having his birthday party at the club. And he’s invited the whole tennis team.
Scott: (Beginning to panic) Matthew Walker, Matthew Walker. Now, which one is he?
Sue: Oh, you know that nice Walker boy. They live over near the new Kroger. He goes to Spring Valley High School and plays tennis with Kimberly at the club.
Scott: (Wild guessing) The one with the brown hair?
Kimberly: Yes, that’s him. Gotta go. I’m going to Dana’s.
Scott: (Firmly) Now wait a minute here, missy. Who said you could go?
Kimberly: Go where?
Scott: (Steamed) Go to Dana’s or for that matter… to the party. You may think you’re all grown up and on your own, but you are only thirteen years old. (Pounding on box) You are still under our roof. We love you and I don’t want you running off to who knows where. (Building to an uncontrollable anger) You will go downstairs and call Dana and tell her that you cannot come to her house to goof off all afternoon calling that Walker boy with the brown hair and wearing silly retro clothes. (To Sue) What do we know about him? He might smoke cigarettes or worse…… smoke pot. We can’t have our daughter going to a crack house. (Pregnant pause)
Sue: (Calmly) Sweetheart, I talked to Mrs. Walker about the party when we were at church today. Meme and Paul Walker sit over near the Harbors. Remember them?
Scott: Oh. That Walker boy. His hair is light brown. He seems Ok.
Sue: Good. (Calmly) Kimberly needs to study for her South Carolina history exam. I told her it would be OK for her to go to Dana’s to study for 2 hours.
Kimberly: Gosh Dad, are you OK? Have you had too much caffeine? Maybe you should give up caffeine for Lent.
Scott: (Hugging Kimberly) I’m sorry. It’s frustrating to see you grow up so fast. Your Mom was just reminding me of when you and your brother were little. It seems like yesterday and now you’re going to parties and running off with your friends. And here’s ya’ll’s diaper wipe box.
Kimberly: (Confused expression) What? You’ve totally lost me now.
Sue: It’s a long story. Forget it. But, it’s funny that you should bring up Lent. Have you thought about what you are going to give up for Lent?
Scott: Broccoli? You hate broccoli.
Kimberly: I know. Last year I gave up green beans.
Scott: You hate green beans.
Kimberly: I know. (Mimicing mother’s voice) Green vegetables are good for me……., but it IS Lent.
Scott: I think you are missing the point. Lent is a time of self-examination and a time to avoid our temptations.
Kimberly: I promise I can avoid the temptation of eating broccoli.
Scott: (Sarcastically) Ha ha.
Kimberly: Our Sunday School teacher told us the word Lent means “fast.”
Scott: It’s based on the time when Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days to fast and pray.
Kimberly: So I’m going to pick green vegetables to fast.
Scott: (Frustrated) I give up.
Kimberly: OK. What are you giving up for Lent? Cheese? French fries. (Looking at Sue) Maybe Tater tots from the Sonic Drive-in?
Sue: No. Your father and I have decided to clean out the attic and put together some useful things to give to the homeless families.
Kimberly: Wow! I’m impressed. That’s a good idea. Can I help?
Scott: I thought you needed to study.
Kimberly: I can wait a little while. Dana has cheerleading practice until 4:00.
Scott: Where’s Ryan?
Kimberly: He’s watching TV.
Scott: I wonder if he wants to help.
Kimberly: I’ll go see.
Sue: You know. I’m beginning to see this in a different light. This is a good idea.
Scott: So, you’ll be able to gladly share some of our stuff with the homeless families?
Sue: I think so.
Scott: Will you be able to throw out some of this stuff?
Sue: Mmmm. (Holding up the diaper wipe box) Maybe.
Sue: I guess it does clutter up the place. (Tosses diaper wipe box in black garbage bag.)
Scott: We can definitely toss some of this clutter. Let’s start with this box?
Sue: (Goes over to box marked, “ Scott’s college stuff”) OK. Let’s see. We have your fraternity shirts in here. (Pulls out torn frat shirt) I don’t think the homeless families can use this torn up shirt. Should we toss it?
Scott: What? Toss it? Are you crazy? Look at this shirt. I wore it through all my frat days at Furman. This is a good shirt.
Sue: Good for a dust rag, maybe.
Scott: A dust rag! (Grabs shirt from Sue) It just has a little tear here.
Sue: What happened?
Scott: I think I remember Eric Gardner grabbing my shirt as I ran for a touchdown in a Frat game at Furman.
Sue: Let me remind you that that was 20 years ago.
Scott: It can’t be…… It was….. Wow. (Pause) I remember I had so many dreams of what my life was going to be like.
Sue: Like what?
Scott: You know when you’re 21 years old and your life is ahead of you. You think you can do it all. I wanted to make my first million and then save the world.
Sue: You’ve done pretty well. You make enough money to support our family. And as you have pointed out, we have enough to help others too. In a small way, you are saving the world.
Scott: I also wanted to marry and have kids.
Sue: You’ve succeeded on those points.
Scott: (Lovingly) I succeeded past my expectations on that.
Sue: Oh really?
Scott: I’ll never forget the first day I saw you at the Piggy Wiggly. As I recall you told me you were bulk-buying for some church event. I knew right then that you were the woman for me.
Sue: (Laughing) As I recall, one of my many cartons of eggs fell on your foot in the check-out line.
Scott: Yes. And you know that egg mess never did come off my shoes.
Sue: Oops. Sorry about that. I wonder whatever happened to those shoes?
Scott: Just wait. (Looks in Box) Look. Here they are.
Scott: These were good shoes.
Sue: These shoes have mold on them.
Sue: I think I’m going to gag. Where is the garbage bag?
Scott: I guess we shouldn’t keep them.
Sue: No, we are not keeping them.
Scott: I guess we shouldn’t give them to the homeless.
Sue: No, nobody wants your smelly moldy old shoes.
Scott: OK. (He tosses them into black bag)
Sue: What else is in this box?
Scott: Oh it’s just all my stuff from before we married.
Sue: Lots of memories, but nothing to help save the world?
Scott: No, but it has given me room for thought. Am I doing everything I can do to save the world?
Sue: What else can you do? We are just two people, Scott. I’m not ready to go off to a third world country and save oppressed people. We have Kimberly and Ryan to consider.
Scott: That’s probably not what God would have us to do. I just know that I need to be more open to what God wants me to do.
Sue: We both do, but how?
Scott: I don’t know. How about this box? (Opens box marked, “Sue’s college stuff”)
Scott: What is this?
Sue: I believe this is my term paper from college. (Takes paper from Scott)
Scott: What’s the subject?
Sue: “Can Today’s Superwomen Be Truly Happy?”
Scott: What did you conclude?
Sue: Twenty years ago, I believed a woman could do it all and be truly happy. It was all about balance.
Scott: Ah. Now what do you believe?
Sue: I believe God leads the way. It’s about God’s master plan and not mine.
Scott: You are right about that. I hope you are happy.
Sue: I have no complaints. God has blessed us in many ways.
Kimberly: (Yells from downstairs) Mom, Dad, Ryan is hitting me!
Sue: One of our blessings is hitting the other.
Scott: Ryan, come up here now, and Kimberly, you come up here, too.
Kimberly: Look at what he did! He hit me right here.
Ryan: She kept changing the channels, and I was watching “Scooby-Doo.”
Scott: Ok. Now, let’s go back and review the situation. Kimberly, were you being thoughtless of your brother or were you trying to annoy him?
Kimberly: I wanted to check the weather channel.
Sue: It sounds to me like you were being thoughtless.
Kimberly: Maybe so, but he shouldn’t hit me.
Scott: Ryan, is hitting the best approach you have for handling your frustration with your sister?
Ryan: (whiny) She changed the channel, Dad.
Scott: So you are saying to me that you have no better way to handle this situation except to hit?
Ryan: No. She’s bigger than me.
Scott: Maybe you need to sit here and think about this? It concerns me that the “Scooby Doo show” is so important to you that you would hit someone who changed the channel.
Ryan: sarcastically) Oh great, another “Leave it to Beaver” moment.
Kimberly: Can I go?
Sue: No, you need to sit here and think about this too.
Kimberly: Think about what? He hit me.
Sue: And you provoked him. You are not Miss Innocent, here. You need to think about your thoughtless behavior.
Kimberly: Oh brother.
Sue: (To Kimberly) Sit down.
(Kimberly reluctantly sits down on bench)
Sue: Now….. Where were we? Scott: Sue, let’s check out this box. (They both go over to box marked, “Blankets”).
Sue: Oh, I think the blankets are in here.
Scott: You’re right. These are in good shape. Why are they up here?
Sue: When I painted our bedroom, they didn’t match the new paint, so I bought new ones.
Scott: Well, I didn’t notice the difference. I think we can agree on giving these away. (Starts to move blankets from one box into the other.)
Ryan: (leaping up) Wait! Let me see what’s in there.
Scott: It’s the blankets. That’s all.
Ryan: (Tossing blankets out of the carton) Is my blue blanket in here?
Sue: Your baby blanket?
Sue: I’m not sure.
Ryan: (Finding it) This is my blanket.
Scott: You haven’t used that blanket in years.
Ryan: I know. But I always knew it was up here just in case I needed it.
Scott: What if a homeless child needs it more than you?
Sue: Your Dad and I have decided to give some of our stuff that we are not using to the homeless families at the Family Shelter.
Ryan: You mean that place where we painted the dining hall.
Scott: Yes, and you played ball outside with some of the children.
Scott: Those children are homeless and have no blankets or warm clothes.
Ryan: I thought they lived there.
Scott: They do temporarily, until their parents can find work.
Ryan: Oh. Then where will they live?
Scott: I don’t know.
Ryan: What if they can’t find work?
Scott: I don’t know.
Ryan: I have my old winter coat from last year that doesn’t fit me anymore. Maybe they can use it.
Sue: Maybe so. Let’s see if we can find it in this box. (Opens box marked, “Jackets”).
Kimberly: I do think this is a cool idea. (Sue pulls green jacket out of box) Wait. Are you going to give away my green coat?
Sue: Does it fit you?
Kimberly: (Putting coat on) No, the sleeves are too short now. I just love this coat. I wore it to the Alan Jackson concert and the State Fair and….. when we went to Charleston and….
Scott: You remember what you wore to the State Fair?
Kimberly: Of course! I wore it over my striped shirt with the satin ribbon edging and the jeans with the little flowers on the pocket.
Scott: I don’t believe it. You remember that and you have trouble with memorizing history.
Kimberly: That’s different. (To Mom) Mom, do we have to give this away?
Sue: It’s up to you. You have to make the decision.
Kimberly: Let me think about it.
Scott: I found another box of socks and shoes.
Sue: Oh, look at these little red boots. Both of you wore these.
Ryan: They were my fireman boots!
Kimberly: They were my magic dancing boots!
Sue: We have the cutest pictures of each of you in these red boots.
Scott: Well, are we ready to give them up? I guarantee nobody here can get their feet into them now.
(Ryan tries unsuccessfully and then Kimberly tries unsuccessfully)
Sue: Look how shiny they still are.
(Sue holds them tightly to her chest)
Kimberly: (Finding the fishing stuff box) Here’s a box marked “fishing stuff.” Look Dad, here’s your fishing hat.
Sue: Oh, now, that’s a find. I’m trying to remember the last time you went fishing. Actually, if I recall correctly, it was your first and last time.
Scott: My brother Bill invited me to go fishing on the Green River.
Sue: You had to have everything….the hat, the new rod and reel, a fishing jacket, and a tackle box and a tent, a sleeping bag and a Coleman stove. You and Bill were going to fish every weekend.
Kimberly: Did you kill innocent little worms, Dad?
Scott: Worms are bait. That’s fishing.
Ryan: How many fish did you catch?
Scott: It’s not about the number of fish you catch. It’s about the whole experience. Bill and I shared an experience of being one with nature.
Sue: You shared a vicious attack of wasps and sunburn.
Scott: Oh yeah. That’s right. How could I forget?
Sue: I don’t know. You spent the evening in the Emergency Room.
Scott: Well, before that, we had such a great time. Bill and I sat in the boat for hours and just talked. It’s the closest we’ve ever been…. You know, I need to give him a call and see how he’s doing.
Kimberly: Are you ready to give up your hat?
Scott: (Quietly) I don’t know. Let me hold on to it for a minute.
Sue: (Looking in box) Our box for the homeless is a little empty. We’ve got those blankets and a couple of coats and that’s it.
(Long pause as everyone holds on to their special item.)
Kimberly: OK. I’m ready to give up my green jacket. (Puts green jacket in box) I have some good memories wearing it. Maybe some other girl can have good memories wearing it too.
Scott: Gosh Kim. I’m proud of you. If you can do it, I can do it too. Here’s my fishing hat, and maybe they will have a use for all that fishing stuff. Sue, what about those boots?
Sue: Boots? (Pregnant pause) OK. You’re right. They don’t fit anybody here. I can still have my memories, and I have the pictures. Some other Mom can have the fun of putting them on her children.
Scott: And pulling them off.
Sue: (laughingly) Every ten minutes.
Scott: That’s it, (To Ryan) unless you want to give up your blanket.
Ryan: I don’t know. I’m still thinking about it.
Sue: I don’t know about ya’ll, but I’m ready for some hot vegetable soup and homemade cornbread.
Kimberly: Does it have broccoli and green beans? (Sue nods)(Kimberly makes face.)
Scott: Sounds good. I wonder what the folks are having at the shelter.
Kimberly: Remember, I’m going to Dana’s.
(All leave, except Ryan)
(After a long silence with his head bowed, he gets up, rolls blanket into ball and does imitation of basketball player in a game and moves for slam dunk into the “Homeless Families” box. He raises hands in victory as if on basketball court. And leaves.)
© Kathy Hart, all rights reserved. The script may not be reproduced, translated or copied in any medium, including books, CDs and on the Internet, without written permission of the author.
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed. She may be contacted at: email@example.com