Five Serious One-Act Comedies - five brief plays by Norman Weinstein for a laugh and a thought or two

"Mom's Sweetheart":

MOLLY. He would've loved these computers and those things you and William and everyone's touching and tapping and listening to.

JENNIFER. He would've, and boy would he have cursed big time if he had to face a computer glitch or two.

MOLLY. I loved the way Sam swore.

JENNIFER. Mom, you gave him holy hell every time he . . .

MOLLY. He wanted me to. He loved me innocent.

JENNIFER. Well, you sure make William and me seem very uncomplicated.

MOLLY. We played games.


MOLLY. Your father and I.

"Ghosts and Other Immigrants":

(Three figures, vaguely clothed in dress of over a hundred years ago, march very slowly and dream-like, male and female. Back and forth and around, they parade endlessly. Only MAMA LUCY sees them and follows them with her eyes, turning her head and body as needed.)

SANCHEZ. What's there?

JOSE. It's working, Mama Lucy?

LUIS. Is it, Mama Lucy? I don't see nothin'.

MAMA LUCY. Shhh . . . . Si, they are before me. I see them . . . . Sweet spirits, we are in need here.

SANCHEZ. Sure as hell.

MAMA LUCY. O dear spirits, these people suffer. Luis and Sanchez and Jose suffer. You know their story.

LUIS. How could they?

SANCHEZ. They're spirits is how.

MAMA LUCY. These three are Mexican, and people here do not see them and do not want to see them and do not trust them. They think they are no better than dirt.

LUIS. That's right, Mama, that's what they think.

"Be Reasonable - Agree!":

PROCRUSTES. Here in the home of your host you reject his special god. You refuse to recognize the superiority of dance over song. You hate your country. You cling to a cowardly peace instead of honorable battle. You reject wealth as the greatest human virtue. You don't even believe your leaders should think for you.

ARCHIPPOS. Oh, sir, we don't wish to counter you in any way. And the both of us would gladly offer you our two most valuable possessions.

AMARYLLIS. Yes, oh, yes. Here, please, please take my brooch.

ARCHIPPOS. And my ring. Here.

PROCRUSTES. Certainly not! I would consider that bribery. You have spoken as you have and, alas, offended. Your baubles can not allay this. I pray the gods will avert their eyes.

SYLEA. Oh, I did so want to change the subject, Procrustes.

PROCRUSTES. Let me show you now your beds and so return us immediately to the godly demands of hospitality. Oh, how sad all this has been! (Leads AMARYLLIS and ARCHIPPOS slowly and sadly out.)

"Homer Should Only Know":

AEGISTHUS. I've heard it all, I've heard it all.

CLYTEMNESTRA. Oh, have you? . . . Wealth, Aegisthus, we need wealth. With gold we can have all the food we shall ever want. With gold, we can have all the warriors we need. Those wild beasts from the north will never then disturb our peace. With gold I can do for my Orestes and Electra and Iphigenia whatever I choose without that lout deciding only what's best for him and his wretched honor. We need gold, Aegisthus, gold.

AEGISTHUS. Ah, yes, gold is good, I love gold. Now please, my dear, let me drink on and think what I must next direct him to do in the affairs of state. Soon he must ask the gods for a good crop of wheat. I'm not so sure he knows exactly how to.

CLYTEMNESTRA. (Slaps the flagon, still half filled with wine, away from him.) Listen to me! One fool here's enough!

AEGISTHUS. All right, I'm listening. See, all ears. (Trying to act cute, pushes his ears forward and smiles.)

CLYTEMNESTRA. By the gods, what is in the balls of men that obliges them to act so stupid.

"With Gods Like These":

GAEA. (Following him.) I am the come-back goddess, the female eternal. (Pausing to face CHLOE and MENANDER.) I expect your devotion, and soon. (Exiting just behind GOD.) You have not, you little homunculus god, heard the last of me!

(CHLOE and MENANDER stare at each other for a moment. Finally he stands and reaches down to help her up.)

CHLOE. (Going to the spot where GOD and GAEA had been standing.) They were right here, weren't they, Menander? Weren't they right here, Menander? That god was awful scary, don't you think? He didn't like us very much, did he?

MENANDER. The other one made me feel like tomorrow's sacrifice. Did you see how she looked at me and my throat?