Scene One of "The Ticket"
A One Act Play in Five Scenes
By Sara Ybarra Lopez

CHARACTERS

JULIE; late thirties, third generation Mexican-American.

CLAIRE; mid-thirties, third generation Mexican-American. Sister to Julie. Fashionably dressed and trim.

ELENA; mother to Julie and Claire. Bustling and insensitive.

BRUCE; Claire’s husband. Anglo, success oriented and perfectly dressed.

MADISON; Claire and Bruce’s three year-old daughter.


GRANDMA ROSITA
; wears a red polka dot dress. 82 years old at death.

A COUSIN;

AN AUNT;- all aging heavy set Hispanics in black funeral clothes

AN UNCLE;

A PRIEST; be-robed (could be played by barista actor)

PASSENGERS; may be played by “cousin,aunt,uncle” actors

BARISTA; an impatient white guy

 

The time is the present, early spring, in a suburb in Arizona.

SCENE ONE takes place in Claire’s living room, late morning.
SCENE TWO is at a funeral home for an open casket viewing, same day, late afternoon.
SCENE THREE takes place in Claire’s living room that evening.
SCENE FOUR is outdoors at a cemetery the following day.
SCENE FIVE takes place in an airport, later that day.

SONG CREDITS: ‘Dos Abolitos’ by Cucho Martinez (permission pending)
‘ Siempre Abuelita’ by Tish Hinajosa (permission pending)

LITERARY CREDIT: Untitled poem by Rabindranath Tagore

SETTING

(The action takes places on a split set. The areas are distinguished by way of lighting. At Center Right there is a white leather sofa where a bright Mexican weaving is carefully arranged. Around the sofa, a coffee table and an end table with a baby monitor and a contemporary lamp on it. On the floor Down Right is a wicker basket and a few brightly colored toys on the floor around it. Behind the sofa up center is a doorframe with a door that opens and closes. At Center Left is a casket. Eight compact folding chairs are set up in rows of four facing the podium and casket. To the right of the casket is a podium. To the left of the casket is a tripod holding a large flower ring. The flowers echo colors on the weaving to the opposite end of the stage. The living room set and the funeral setting are distinctly separated with lighting, one darkening as the other is lit. Scene one opens darkened stage left and bright stage right on the living room set.

A knock is heard. Claire enters stage right, picks up the strewn toys and hurriedly puts them in the wicker basket. She is wearing white pants and a black tank top. She opens the door and Julie walks in carrying a suitcase, a bulging purse, a cumbersome coat and a large gaily wrapped box. She is a little flustered.)

JULIE
(Speaking the name with a distinctly Spanish accent, the rest with standard American accent.) Clarissa! I’d hug you but I packed too much for one weekend. (Extending box.) Here, this is for the baby.

CLAIRE
(Annoyed) Julie, it’s “Claire”, remember? Only grandma calls, I mean, called me Clarissa. Even mom calls me Claire. We’re not from Mexico anymore, Julie. Anyway, come in. I’m sorry we couldn’t pick you up at the airport.

JULIE
Oh that’s all right, goodness gracious, I grew up here. I know my way…

CLAIRE
Things are just crazy around here with the new baby…

JULIE
Where is the sweetheart? I have this present…

CLAIRE
… the funeral, Bruce’s schedule…I’m a wreck. (She pats her perfect hair).

(Julie has put down all but the box, which she holds extended and is reluctant to put it down.)

JULIE
Wow! Your new place is beautiful Clari---Claire.

CLAIRE
Oh, it’s just a mess. But you know how it is with kids.

JULIE
(Looking around) If this is your idea of “a mess”, Claire, it’s a good thing you never visit me.

(Claire notices the gift box for the first time.)

CLAIRE
Julie, would you put that box down. You must be exhausted.

JULIE
I am a little…

CLAIRE
Can I get you something? Iced tea, a coke?

JULIE
This is for the baby. (Places the box carefully on the coffee table.) I had plenty of soda on the plane. (She sits down gingerly.) So how’s Elena taking it?

CLAIRE
Mom? Well, being busy with the arrangements and, today—the viewing, I think it hasn’t sunk in yet.

JULIE
(Pause) Can I see the baby? I can’t believe you gave birth just two months ago, Claire. You’re so thin already. Where’s Madison? She’s, what, almost four years old now?

(Claire picks up the baby monitor and listens.)

CLAIRE
The baby’s still sleeping I hope. He is so colicky, Julie, I’m going insane. Madison was easy when she was a baby. This one—I nurse him, give him bottles, change his formula, nothing works and I’m getting hardly any sleep. Then grandma Rosita…and mom busy with the arrangements. She couldn’t help me at all this week. I must look terrible.

JULIE
(Lightly touching Claire’s shoulder) You look muy bonita mi hermana, really you do.

(The two sisters look at each other and then appear to wake up and move on.)

JULIE
It’s me who must look terrible. I’ve been furious with Kurt for this whole ticket business. I couldn’t believe he’d do that.

CLAIRE
Well I expected as much…

JULIE
If anybody knew how close I was with grandma, he would after all these years…and still, he just flat out said “no we can’t afford it”…

CLAIRE
Why can’t you afford it? I thought Kurt was making good money.

JULIE
Well, he bought a boat last summer and that takes a lot of maintenance and (hesitation) I don’t know what…parts and, and moorage fees and (with a nervous gesture) so on.

CLAIRE
A boat? For Christ’s sake, Julie. You’re going to let him get away with that?

JULIE
(In a quieted voice) I can’t tell him anything, Clarissa. I mean Claire, I’m sorry. God, I just didn’t know what to do. And you know how it is with Elena. I couldn’t ask her again. It’s too embarrassing.

(There is an awkward silence.)

JULIE
Thank you so much for the ticket.

CLAIRE
Julie, do you want to get your hair done for the funeral tomorrow? There’s no time before the viewing today of course, but I bet I can arrange an appointment for you in the morning.

JULIE
(Nervously) Well, I didn’t budget in something like that, Claire…

CLAIRE
Oh, now now. I’ll spring for it. (Touching Julie’s hair) It looks like it’s been a while. (She takes Julie’s hand.) And how about a manicure while we’re at it?

(Julie tugs her hand away but Claire is looking at her own nails and doesn’t notice. After a pause, they both look at the package on the table.)

JULIE
(Beginning to open the package and speaking enthusiastically) This is for the baby. Honestly I found it at the thrift store for…

(As Julie brings the gift out of the box, which is a Mr. Peanut lamp that Claire is not looking pleased about, Madison, their three year old daughter, enters stage right. She’s running and yelling noisily, wearing tap shoes and a ballet costume. She crosses the stage in front of the sofa and exits through the door, slamming it behind her loudly.)
CLAIRE
Madison! What have I told you about…

JULIE
… only three ninety-nine.

(The sound of a baby crying is heard through the monitor on the end table.)

CLAIRE
(Looking angrily at the monitor) Ah shit!

(The stage lights dim to signal end of scene.)