THREE TALES FROM THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS
By Phyllis Zatlin
These three short plays, written in April and May, 2020, place the COVID-19 pandemic in the background and find humor in our difficult time.
LOVE IN THE TIME OF CARRY-OUT GROCERIES
For people living alone, stay-at-home policies because of the coronavirus crisis enhance loneliness. In one village, a widower is attracted to a widow who also retrieves carry-out groceries at the one little store in town. He attempts to talk to her from appropriate social distancing but is rebuffed. Gradually they learn more about each other thanks to the couple who run the neighborhood grocery. What will happen to their unexpected friendship when lockdown rules begin to soften?
SETTING: Single set. Several steps going up each side at the small entrance to a
store door. Sign in a window on one side of the doorway urging customers to call in
their order and knock on the door when coming for groceries.
TIME: COVID-19 pandemic. The several scenes take place over a period of weeks.
Two customers, both senior citizens:
Husband and wife who own the little grocery. They wear face masks and gloves:
ONLINE DA ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING
SETTING: While Stay-at-Home is still in place, the four members of the cast can participate via Zoom. If the play is performed before a live audience, each actor sits in front of a distinguishing panel that will represent that personís home location. Each may have a laptop to facilitate participating in the on-line meeting. The actors look ahead, toward the audience, to simulate seeing each other on their screens while interacting.
TIME: COVID-19 pandemic.
A retired professor in Stay-at-Home isolation remembers her former students and decides to contact three of them in particular both to find out how they are doing and to alert them to problems that may lie ahead. Accordingly she learns to use Zoom and sets up a virtual meeting. Each of the three former students, separated in age by one or two decades, was an only daughter in a family with two sons. The professor believes these women, successful professionals who put themselves through school, will recognize similarities in their backgrounds despite coming from different ethnic groups. Two of them are first generation Americans; the third arrived as a child and is a naturalized citizen. All four of the women have good senses of humor and manage to laugh even as they recall difficult times in the past and contemplate more difficult times ahead for an only daughter or only sister.
PROF. DANSON: Woman in mid-70s who has been retired for some ten years.
ADRIANA: Woman approaching retirement age. She comes from an Italian-American family.
ARACELI: Woman in her mid-50s. She is a naturalized American citizen from a
family (perhaps Mexican or Cuban).
AMY: Woman in her mid-40s, from a Chinese-American family.
WHAT COULD GO WRONG?
How will the COVID-19 pandemic affect the lives of grandparents who operate a business from their home? In this short play, over the period of weeks, they quickly learn that coronavirus is not isolated to China and Italy. As it gets closer to their own home, they find themselves providing before and after care to three school-age grandchildren, then all-day care for five grandchildren, and finally 24/7 as the contagion reaches the homes of both their daughters. Fortunately for the grandparents, their two oldest grandchildren, ages 12 and 8, are able to provide guidance and help, including for home schooling. The dialogue is marked by humor even though the characters, like the rest of the United States, has no clear idea of what lies ahead.
SETTING: Sitting room at home of Mark and Doris. Sofa, armchairs, coffee and end tables. Door stage right leads to their home office. Door stage left leads to kitchen where an outside door goes to their driveway.
TIME: COVID-19 pandemic. Over a period of weeks.
MARK: Man in late 50s/early 60s.
DORIS: Woman in late 50s/early 60s.
VICKY: Their oldest grandchild, age 12.
RYAN: age 8
Three other grandchildren do not have to appear on stage. From time to time we
will hear their offstage voices; they can make entrances on stage at directorís
They are: Vicky and Ryanís sister Marie (age 5) and their cousins Carter (6) and Madelyn (Maddie, 4). The childrenís names can be changed, also at directorís discretion.
© 2020 Copyright by Phyllis Zatlin. This work is fully protected under international copyright laws and is subject to a royalty. Contact the author at email@example.com for permission to perform.
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