I entered this play in DramaRama’s One Minute Play contest at the Contemporary Arts Center, about two years before Hurricane Katrina. My friend’s husband Max played Louie the Fish. I had to play Mama Rosa. I cannot act, but couldn’t find anyone else to play her role. Our only props were a big blond wig for Mama Rosa, a suitcase, and two chairs. We came in second out of three plays! It was a lot of fun, wish someone had videotaped it, but we didn’t know anyone with a video camera at the time.
I hope they start having DramaRama again. I would like to write another short play and enter it. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to see a whole bunch of plays.
(Fiction) © copyright 2003, 2012 by Sara Jacobelli
A Play in One Act
The title: A Cheaper Version of Robert De Niro
The characters: Mama Rosa (indeterminate age): Sara Jacobelli
Louie the Fish (about thirty): Max Rivera
The time: 11:00 pm
Both are seated on a bench. She has a suitcase, he has no luggage.
Louie the Fish: New York accent. Gotta light, ma’am?
Mama Rosa: Shrieking. For God’s sake, don’t call me ma’am!
She rummages in her huge purse for a gold lighter, hands it to him.
Here’s a light. Just don’t call me ma’am, plee-eease.
She pulls out a gold compact, and peering into the tiny mirror, dabbles her red lipstick and adjusts her towering blond, bouffant hairdo. He lights his cigarette and hands the lighter back.
Louie: OK, babe, sorry. Combs his dark hair back away from his eyes. Won’t make that mistake again. Thought that’s how they talk down here. You know. Forgedda bout it. OK, I’ll call ya toots, sugar, dame, whatever. You know? He looks down at his shoes.
Mama: Oh, what was his name? Good lookin, rugged. He has that “lived in look” my mama always liked in a man. “Don’t give me a pretty boy,” she’d say, “give me that lived-in look.” Anyway, just call me Mama Rosa. Like the pizza place on Ramparts. Mama’s fine. I’m not exactly a Spring Chicken. Ma’am’s just too, too Old. Where you going, anyway? You look like you just broke out of prison.
Louie: Mama Rosa, huh? You own that pizza joint?
Mama: Indignant. Hell no, darling, I don’t own a damn thing!
Louie: Well, please don’t mention pizza, Mama Rosa. I ain’t eaten today. Yesterday neither. Spent my last four bucks on this pack of smokes.
Mama: I’ve never seen that brand before. “American Spirits”? She peers at the writing on the pack. You sure it isn’t pot?
Louie: laughs. Hell no, it ain’t pot. It’s just plain tobacco, healthy cigarettes, no additives. Supposeta be better for you—
Mama: Now I’ve heard everything, boy. Healthy cigarettes! HA! With no food in your belly. And they say I should be locked up, they say I’m nuttier than the proverbial fruitcake. Oh, there I go spouting off about food again. What time does your bus leave?
Louie: Two am. I got three hours to sit here, do nothing but watch the clock and listen to my stomach growl. I gotta stay off the streets, so I—Guess I could read that two day old Times-Picayune again.
Mama: Don’t bother, the writing won’t get any better. Let’s get a bite to eat. She grabs her suitcase and totters toward the bus station diner on unsteady high heels.
Louie: Let me get that for you, Miss. He carries her bag as they slowly walk off stage.
Mama: What’d you say your name was, boy?
Louie: I’m too old to be called a boy. Least not after what I been through. Guess I got that “lived-in look” myself. Name’s Louie. Louie the Fish, some call me.
Mama: Oh, Lordy, now don’t go bringing up seafood. We’re not going to Ralph and Kacoo’s, we’re lucky if this filthy dive has a decent hamburg.
Louie: Oh, lady, that’ll do me fine. Just fine.
Mama: I got it! De Niro, Robert De Niro. That’s who you remind me of. Oh, I could kill for a decent martini.
Author’s note: I used artistic license in having the New Orleans Greyhound bus station have a diner open at 11:00 pm. In real life, you’re lucky if you can find a vending machine with stale Twinkies at that time of night.
“L’acteur ame’ricain Robert De Niro,” Wikipedia.
“Greyhound bus station,” ibison 4, Flickr, Creative Commons non commercial share alike photo.
“Martini” by ginsnob, Creative Commons non commercial share alike photo.