Our Home – a play

Setting: A large, multi-level mansion inhabited by multiple members and branches of an extended family. They are looking for a new house manager.

Main Characters: Bob (current house manager), Grandpa, Grandma, Dad, Mom, Stepdad, Oldest Sister, Brother-in-law, Youngest Sister, Oldest Brother, Youngest Brother, several middle siblings, Uncle Crazy, House Manager applicants: Heather and Darrin

Act One

(Living room)

Grandpa: Damn, it’s hot in here!

Grandma: I know, Dear. The air conditioner still isn’t working right.

Bob: I hear you. I’ve been working with the guys on this problem the whole time I’ve been working here. It’s definitely better than it was before!

Oldest Brother: No, it’s not.

Youngest Brother: Yes it most certainly is!

Oldest Brother: You’re just saying that because it’s working in your room. In my room –

Youngest Brother: Yeah, it’s working great in my room. Bob’s done such a super job! And everyone’s totally happy!

Mom: You’re so right! I’m happy! Dad’s happy!

Dad: Actually, I’ve been really hot recently. The A/C isn’t working in my office or in the –

Mom: And Step Dad is happy, and –

Grandpa: Will someone fix the goddamn air conditioner already? I’m gonna pass out from this heat! Bob’s retiring next month and we need someone to run this place and fix the air conditioning. And the coffee maker. It’s broken, too. And the –

(Doorbell rings)

Youngest Sister: I’ll get it. It’s probably the new house manager applicants. (exits)

Grandpa: Thank god. We need the air conditioning fixed.

Youngest Sister, entering with two people: Here are Darrin and Heather, the applicants for our house manager position.

Heather: Pleased to meet you.

Darrin (scowling): It’s hot in here. Someone needs to fix the air conditioner. I can fix it. I’m a very successful radio salesman so I’ll be really good at fixing air conditioners. The air conditioning industry is totally fixed, you know. They make it impossible for anyone’s air conditioner to work. I’m gonna make the air conditioners work in every room of the house. I’m gonna get rid of the whole air conditioning industry.

Heather: Well, I’ve been working with house managers for a long time, and I understand what this job entails. I see that some rooms are getting pretty good circulation, but a lot of the rooms are just stifling. We’ll have to redirect some of the air from the high-flow rooms to reach some of the lower-flow –

Darrin: Wrong! You’re part of the problem. You’ve been in the house manager business so long that you have no idea what it’s really like to live without properly functioning air conditioning. Your people have had plenty of time to fix this already. We have a problem and I’m here to fix it. And you know what makes this air conditioning problem really horrible? The cousins living in the guest wing. They’re only second cousins once removed. I don’t know why they’re here. They use way too much of the air conditioning.

Cousin: Um, actually, we only have a window fan, and we’re chipping in on the electricity bill each month and we help with –

Darrin: Cousins are like that. They’re not good people. They use all the air conditioning so there’s none left for anyone else and it’s always the worst of the cousins who show up.

Mom (horrified): What did you say?

Darrin: Well, I’m sure some cousins are ok, but most aren’t. As house manager, I’ll make sure any uninvited cousins or cousins who were invited but stayed longer than they were supposed to are sent right back where they came from.

Heather: Most cousins are hardworking people. When I manage this house, I’ll make sure there’s a path for cousins who have been here a long time and are helping around the house and raising their kids here to make it their permanent, legal address.

Darrin: I’m gonna build a big wall around the house so that no more cousins get in.

Dad: That’s ridiculous. No one’s building a wall. But can you really get the air conditioning to run better?

Uncle Crazy: I hate cousins. They’re all stupid and inferior. And so are adopted kids.

Oldest Sister: Hey, I’m adopted!

Darrin: Well, that was a legal process, so it’s ok for you to be here.

Uncle Crazy: Nope. Not ok. Can’t stand any of those cousins or adopted folk. I say we hire Darrin. He’ll get rid of all the cousins and adopted kids.

Darrin: Just the uninvited cousins or the ones that’ve stayed too long.

Oldest Sister (to the room at large): How can you let him say that? How can you let him say that he’ll get rid of me? I’m part of this family!

Mom: Of course you are, Sweetie. Darrin never said he’d get rid of you – that was crazy Uncle Crazy.

Oldest Sister: But he said those awful things about our cousins!

Youngest Sister: He did. He’s disgusting. I don’t know why we’re still interviewing him.

Youngest Brother: I say we send Darrin back to wherever he crawled out of and let Heather take over.

Grandpa: But Darrin sounds like he can really overhaul this air conditioning system and give us some relief from this –

Youngest Sister: Yes! Totally we should go with Heather! You agree, right Mom? Right, Youngest Brother? Right, Cousins? Right, Oldest Sister? Yeah! Everyone agrees! This is great! And we’ve never had a short person as a house manager before, either – what a perfect step for our family to take!

Darrin: Heather steals.

Youngest Sister: What?

Darrin: Heather steals. And she lies.

Uncle Crazy: Fucking thief. Fucking liar. Thinking she can do a tall person’s job. Adopted person lover. Cousin lover. All of them should hang from trees. Darrin all the way. Darrin’s our man!

Darrin (tipping his hat to Uncle Crazy): (wink, wink)

Mom: Uh, Darrin, shouldn’t you maybe distance yourself a bit from crazy Uncle Crazy here?

Darrin: Who’s Uncle Crazy? Don’t think I’ve ever heard of him.

Youngest Sister: Oh my god! Darrin’s like Uncle Crazy! How can anyone still let Darrin stay in this house? Why haven’t you kicked him out? What’s wrong with all of you? Why do you all hate Oldest Sister and Cousins and all short people? You always do this! All of you! You always –

Grandpa: Isn’t anyone listening? I’m gonna pass out! I’m too hot! Please, someone fix the damn air conditioner!

Grandma: I really am hot, too. Will someone –

Darrin: The whole house manager system is corrupt. I know this. I used to buy them all off in my radio business dealings. I did whatever I wanted because I was the best in the radio business. I know these people. They’re all corrupt. I bribed them all the time to get exactly what I wanted, so I know that they’re all corrupt. And if Heather could fix an air conditioner she’d have done it already while her friend Bob was house manager. She was head of laundry while Bob was house manager, so she had plenty of time to fix the air conditioning. We need to build that wall and get rid of the air-hogging cousins now! Make this house cool again!

Grandpa: I remember when the house used to be cool! Oh, it was so much more comfortable then!

Brother-in-law: But back then, kids and short people weren’t allowed to use the air conditioning, only the –

Uncle Crazy: Yeah! Make the house cool again! Get rid of the cousins! Get rid of the adopted people! And the short people sleep in the garage where they belong! Darrin! Darrin! Darrin! Cool house! Cool House! Cool house!

Darrin (smiling at Uncle Crazy): (wink, wink)

Oldest Sister: Dad, do you hear what Uncle Crazy is saying? Do you see how Darrin is goading him?

Dad: How dare you call me anti-cousin! How dare you call me anti-adoption! I adopted you! I’m as pro-adoption and pro-cousin as they get! I paid for college for you and Youngest Sister and all your cousins, several of whom are short people! How dare you say I’m misoshortpeopleistic!

Oldest Sister: Where the hell did that come from? All I said was –

Youngest Sister: How can you support this guy? You care nothing about me! You hate me! You have no respect for me!

Middle Sister One (walking through the room): Hey, has anyone noticed how hot it is in –

Dad: This guy wouldn’t kick anyone out, no one hates anyone, it’s just talk to get attention so he’ll get hired and everyone’ll be totally safe and –

Darrin: I’m really rich, you know. It’s because I’m so good at everything I do. Everyone loves me. In fact, they love me so much that I can do whatever I want. Heather’s a thief and a liar.  Let’s make the house cool again! House! House! House! House!

Uncle Crazy: House! House! House! House!

Darrin: Liar and thief! Liar and thief! Liar and thief! Remember the laundry? She put red socks in with the white dress shirts. A disaster. A total disaster!

Uncle Crazy: Jail her! Jail her! Jail her!

Heather: I was never convicted of stealing or lying. They’ve investigated me 64 times so far and the charges have never stuck. I may have used some bad judgment with the laundry, for which I take full responsibility, but –

Darrin: Liar!

Uncle Crazy: Thief!

Mom: Heather has been investigated an awful lot times, do we really think that she would be the best alternative to Darrin?

Oldest Sister: Nothing’s been proven! If you look for someone else, Darrin will end up with the job, and he’s a vile, disrespectful –

Darrin (to Oldest Sister): You’re fat.

Middle Brother One (walking through room): Hey, don’t know if you all know this, but the A/C is out again in my –

Oldest Sister: What does my weight have to do with –

Darrin: I’ll make the house cool again!

Heather: Darrin knows nothing about air conditioning. He has no experience, and he doesn’t have the temperament to manage this house. There’s the driving to think about, the dry cleaning, the yard work, the cooking –

Darrin: I’m the only one that can make the air conditioning work. I’m the best at driving. I have the best laundry skills. I’m the best at food –

Mom: Darrin, who would you hire to help with meals? You’ve never cooked before and –

Darrin: I would hire myself first because I’m the best with meals and I’m really good at everything and I know way more than the career chefs.

Youngest Sister: You would put this in charge of our house?

Grandma: He was really successful selling radios.

Heather: I have significant experience with meal preparation. I was sous chef here for years and –

Dad: Yeah, and we had that kichen fire when you were here.

Heather: Wasn’t my fault.

Darrin: Yes it was. Liar. Pyromaniac.

Uncle Crazy: Pyromaniac! Thief! Jail her! Jail the cousins! Make the girls sleep in the garage! Laundry!

Heather: The laundry was thoroughly checked – the white shirts are fine. Yes it was a mistake, but I’ve learned from it and the shirts are ok. Most of the shirts were polyester.

Darrin: She threw out the socks! She threw out the shirts! She didn’t want to be caught!

Heather: The socks were all worn out – big holes in the heels and toes. The shirts were looked at and they’re ok, none of the good white shirts turned pink.

Darrin: Laundry! Laundry! Laundry!

Uncle Crazy: Kill the bitch! Kill all cousins!

Brother-in-law: Hey! I found this Youtube video of Darrin! Watch this!

(Video Darrin: I’m rich! I can do whatever I want to short people! I don’t even ask! I just steal their laptops!)

Mom: What the hell, Darrin?

Darrin: That was a long time ago. That was just hangin’ with the tall people talk. Heather’s a pyromaniac. Kitchen fire. Laundry incident.

Heather: The kitchen fire and laundry incident were looked into repeatedly. How many times do we have to revisit the same –

Mom: Potentially ruining the white dress shirts is a big deal. How could someone be so careless with something so important? Maybe she was getting paid by someone from another house who wanted a pink shirt.

Heather: The shirts have been thoroughly examined. It was poor judgement. Let’s move on and –

Darrin: Laundry.

Uncle Crazy: Hang her! House! House! House! House!

Darrin (smiling at Uncle Crazy): (wink, wink)

Middle Brother Two (walking through living room): Hey, guys. How’s everyone doing? I’m totally sweating here. The air conditioning is still –

Darrin: I’ll make the house cool again! I’m the only one who can do this!

Heather: The house is slowly getting cooler. Two bedrooms are averaging two degrees cooler than they were before Bob was house manager. It’s a slow process, but I know how to tweak it and get –

Darrin: Laundry!

Uncle Crazy: Make the house cool again! Kill the bitch! Build the wall! Build the cousin wall!

Darrin: It’ll be a tremendous wall. Just tremendous, really. And the cousins will pay for it.

Middle Brother Three (walking through living room): Man, it’s hot in here! I think we need to –

Youngest Sister: Look, we need to pick someone now to take over as house manager. Obviously Heather is the only reasonable choice. Only Uncle Crazy wants Darrin.

Middle Brother One (walking back into room): Darrin sounds like he could really fix the air conditioning in a meaningful way, and I think –

Youngest Sister: The Middle Siblings haven’t been in the living room enough to know what’s going on. They’re uninformed. Anyone who wants to hire Darrin is either Uncle Crazy or an uninformed Middle Sibling. Everyone knows that. Everyone agrees with me. Right, Oldest Brother? You wouldn’t choose Darrin, right? You’re not a crazy uncle or an uninformed middle sibling, right?

Oldest Brother (averting her gaze and mumbling quietly): Uh, right…

Youngest Sister: See? Everyone agrees with me.

Mom: Look, we’ve gotta decide who to hire. Let’s call everyone in and take a vote.

People yell and call everyone to the living room. All the family members squeeze in. Pieces of paper and pens are handed around for people to write in their choice for house manager. People fill out their papers and put them on the coffee table.

Grandpa and Grandma count the votes.

Grandma: Well, I’ll be damned. Darrin will be our new house manager.

(Close curtain)

Entr’acte

Youngest Sister is sobbing in the middle of the living room. Cousins are shaking in the corner of the room. Darrin has gathered his sons and closest relatives, all of whom are in his family business, to advise him and help in his transition to house manager.

Grandpa: Finally the air conditioning will get fixed!

Uncle Crazy: Kill the cousins!

Oldest Brother: No one’s killing anyone. We’re gonna get a new air conditioning system.

Middle Brother Four (to Oldest Sister): Dirty adopted person. Go back where you came from. With Darrin here, we won’t take your kind anymore.

Darrin: Gonna get rid of those uninvited cousins! This is the best! House! House! House! I’ll be the best house manager for everyone in the house! You’re all gonna love me!

Middle Brother Four (to cousins and Oldest Sister): Fuck you, Cousins. You’re outta here. All of you. No one was invited. And fuck you, adopted person. This is Darrin’s house, now. (Pushes Cousins and Oldest Sister)

Uncle Crazy: Damn straight!

Darrin (observes and says nothing)

Youngest Sister: Fuck you, Middle Brother Four! Fuck you, Uncle Crazy! Fuck you, anyone who voted for Darrin!

Brother-in-Law: Don’t worry. There are enough of us to protect cousins and adopted siblings and short people. We’ll work together and everything will be ok.

Mom: I hope so….

Act Two

We shall see.

 

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