I wrote this play for the Superhero-themed Faster Than a Speeding Bullet One-Minute Play Festival held at The Theatre at St. Claude. This play is actually five minutes long, but a shorter version was performed at the theatre. http://www.thetheatreatstclaude.com/
This is the play in its entirety:
TITLE: Leaps Tall Buildings
AUTHOR: Sara Jacobelli
A Play in One Act
Five Minute Play
© Copyright 2016 by Sara Jacobelli
A small library branch in a New Orleans neighborhood, which is beset by gentrification and changing demographics, yet still dealing with rampant street crime.
Molly: mid to late twenties, a young library staff member with hair dyed (bright, multi-colored), tattoos, dressed young and hip.
Bernadine: An older librarian lady of the old school, glasses on a chain around her neck, dressed more conservatively.
Superman: A middle aged man who appears to be homeless. He comes into the library daily in regular clothes carrying a backpack. He goes into the restroom and changes into a home-made Superman costume, complete with cape.
The scene takes place at the library circulation desk. Molly and Bernadine are seated at high stools at the desk. Molly is chattering about her nails and thrift shop excursions. Bernadine is absent mindedly stamping books.
MOLLY: How long’s he been in there this time?
BERNADINE: I don’t know. Ten, Fifteen minutes.
MOLLY: Do’ya think he’s violating any rules?
BERNADINE: Holds up a card about the size of a postcard. Says here, it says, “No shaving in the restroom, No bathing in the restroom, No washing clothes in the restroom, No smoking in the restroom, No sleeping in the restroom.” Doesn’t say a damn thing about changing into a Superman suit.
MOLLY: Admires her nails. Laughs. Dude. Never heard you swear before, Bernadine. Had you for a church-lady type. Looks at her nails again. These are mood nails. They change colors with your mood.
BERNADINE: Reminds me of mood rings! Shakes her head. There’s a lot you don’t know about me. You’d be surprised. Places I’ve been. Things I’ve done.
MOLLY: Eyes open wide. Wow. Really. You getting wild now that you’re gonna retire? Next week’s your last week right? Then what’re ya gonna do?
BERNADINE: Pulls out a notebook, puts her glasses on. Writes in the notebook. Stops writing, looks off into the distance. Think I might go take a trip. Visit my granddaughter. That’d be nice. Maybe take her on a trip. Get to know her.
MOLLY: How in the WORLD can you have a grandkid when you’ve never even had ANY kids?
BERNADINE: Oh, none of you at the library know this. But I had a son. My ex-husband kidnapped him, so I didn’t get to raise him. All those years. Missed all those years. Found him, finally, just last year. Good thing for the Internet.
MOLLY: Stands up and looks Bernadine up and down like she never saw her before. And you NEVER told us? You NEVER told us? I can’t believe it!
BERNADINE: I just don’t, I’ve never. I don’t tell people my private personal business. Now you kids, nowadays, you tell everyone everything. I don’t know. Looks off into the distance. Maybe it’s healthier. People didn’t used to talk about private things. My own mother never even told me that I had a sibling that died. A sister. I didn’t find out until after my mother passed. Looked through her papers, found photographs of my sister Angela. I just didn’t see the point of telling people I had a son. Michael. Then they’d want to ask about school and birthdays and holidays and then I’d have to say I didn’t raise him. Then they’d want to feel sorry for me. Or else they’d judge me. Nope. Nobody’s business.
MOLLY: Jumps up. That’s it! He’s been in there too long. I’m gonna go bang on the door.
BERNADINE: Don’t bother. He’s out.
SUPERMAN: Walks over to the circulation desk. Walks slowly as if he has a lot of aches and pains. Well, how are you lovely young ladies doing today?
MOLLY: We’re doing OK. Dude. But, like, you really can’t spend too much time in the bathroom. We have other patrons, ya’know?
SUPERMAN: Yes, young lady. I know. Don’t mean no harm. It’s just that, there ain’t no more phone booths around this town. Looks at Bernadine. You remembers phone booths, Miss? Used to be all over, on every corner, and I could change into my suit in one of those. Now everyone has cell phones and iPhones and all a that, and nobody thinks about where Poor Ole Superman is sposed to change into his SUIT. Shakes his head. It’s a changing world, Miss. No phone booths, no newspapers, no mailboxes. Nobody even talks to each other anymore. They pass you right by without sayin anythin. All these here new Rich People changing everythin. If I’m lyin I’m dyin. An rents going through the roof. Now me, I’ve been homeless so long, I ain’t PAID rent in years, but I’m thinkin of you workin folks. How you gonna pay TWO THOUSAND A MONTH rent? There didn’t used to be so many of us homeless. Now there’s so many people any time you line up for a free meal. It’s a crowd. It’s a crying shame.
MOLLY: Gets up off her stool. Lunch time. Gonna ride my bike to Satsuma. Wanna go, Bernadine?
BERNADINE: Shakes her head. Nah, you go. Looks at Superman. But as high as the rents are, the street crime’s getting worse and worse. Maybe you can help with that. Get rid of the armed robbers and get rid of the high rents too, while you’re at it.
SUPERMAN: Laughs. Darlin, I would. I would if I could. All I have is my fantasies. That’s what keeps me going. Yes, indeed. It’s a changing world. Yes, indeed yes.
BERNADINE: You’re right about that, Superman. It’s a changing world. And we never know what’s coming next. We never know what’s right around the corner.
SUPERMAN: I hope it’s a phone booth. I hope they brings back phone booths. Superman needs a place to change. He sure does.
They both laugh. The curtain closes.
Picture Credit: Superman is copyrighted by DC Comics, originally created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1933.