Scene 1

(Lafayette Park, daylight, two new 4' x 8' signs:



BO sits in the shadow of the signs with his banjo.

Parts of the scene should be choreographed. JONAH is painting a sign. MONK squats nearby. UJC sits under a two-sided teepee sign on which he has outlined his platform in geometric terms, quietly observing with amusement a steady procession of demonstrations: Iranians chanting "Down with Khomeini!"; Phillipinos chanting "Down with Marcos!"; Hispanics chanting "Down with Ortega!" (the chant led by White House aide); Sikhs chanting "Give us our homeland!"; anti-abortionists; pro-abortionists; voodoo dancers in skeleton masks under a bobbing mushroom cloud that reads


farmers bearing coffins chanting "How many farmers have you killed today, Mr. President?"; multi-races chanting "U.S. Out of Nicaragua!" and "USSR Out of Afghanistan!"; multi-races (particularly students) chanting "Apartheid No! Divest Now!"; Native Americans chanting "Don't Drive Us from our Homes!"; Unification Church "Moonies" bearing placards reading


singing hymns. The tail-end Moonie intentionally, though sneakily, knocks over one of the signs, which BO picks up.

Young Americans for Freedom swoop in, waving American flags and knocking over signs, chanting "Clean up the Park!" and "Nuke the Signs!"

Peace Punks in mohawks and other pink/green/raven hairdos, dash onstage waving "NO NUKES!" and "SAVE THE CHILDREN!" signs, chanting:)

"No more radiation! No more bloody WAR!
We don't want apartheid, nukes or hungry poor!
No more holocausts! No more deaths!
No business as usual -- out from your desks!
Hit the streets, check your facts!
Get off your ass right now and ACT!"

(Young Americans for Freedom (YAFers) make rude gestures and bristle combatively, shouting "COMMIES GO HOME!" The Positive Force punks drop to the ground in a dramatic "DIE-IN," then jump up and run offstage, tossing leaflets at the audience and laughing as police, blowing their whistles, run across stage after them, followed closely by the YAFers (a la Keystone Cops).

Weaving in and out, homeless advocates bear placards: "GIVE US A HOME!" "KEEP YOUR PROMISE!" "CCNV SHELTER NOW!" chanting:)

"What about tonight?
What about tomorrow?
Where are we going to sleep?
Who cares about our sorrows?"

(LUTHER enters with them, bearing a sign, "HELP THE HOMELESS," beaming and stumbling over the words and his feet. LUTHER remains onstage as the CCNV marchers exit, passing close by BO, who raises his hand in peace "V".)

BO: "Go, CCNV!"

(The marchers pause to hug him, then exit. Throughout the scene a yellow-robed Tibetan monk sits in lotus position, meditating, oblivious for the most part except to occasionally pick up his drum for a few measured (and timely) bongs.

Also throughout the scene there are robotic pedestrians who look only at their feet ... that is, until suddenly, what sounds like a missile taking off freezes everyone in attitudes of alarm and dread. All look over the heads of the audience toward the slide backdrop of north side of White House hanging at rear of theater. The sound disappears, and the frozen bodies begin to move again, though stepping lightly, as though that will keep the "possible" from happening.

As it becomes clear no bomb is dropping, the pedestrians go back to their robotic strides, their terror quashed, until the screaming laughter of JAKE, entering and crossing the stage, causes them to scuttle into the wings, their composure racked.

BO's banjo steps in from time to time, tuned to the action of the stage.

NORMAN, shrouded, steps out from behind the sycamore tree and performs his THIRD LAW OF REALITY:)

NORMAN: "Miscalculation, mistake, and accident -- I call this 'EMMA' -- are ongoing factors of every enterprise. EMMA may or may not be stayed by the amount of wisdom, accurate foresight, diligence and luck being applied by interested parties and historical circumstances."

(He leans against the tree nonchalantly, arms crossed, observing.

FEY, poncho slung from her belt, enters with a box of fast food on her shoulder, drops it heavily, goes over to JONAH and kisses his forehead.)

JONAH: "Well, the lioness returns from the hunt!"

FEY: "A good haul today! Look, the biscuits are still warm! I must have reached the dumpster right after they threw the food out...."

MONK: "Ah, Hardee's. The best garbage in town."

JONAH: "Now, I wouldn't go that far. There's some pretty good garbage over on 2lst street."

FEY: "Help yourself." (MONK examines the loot.)

JONAH: "A reporter came by, I talked to him for quite a while. Sorry you weren't here."

FEY: "Oh, well, what the hell. You're the one with the story, anyhow."

JONAH: "I think he might actually be fair. He asked some unusually intelligent questions, seemed to retain an open mind."

FEY: "Let's hope so. It'd be nice if they started writing about our ideas instead of our appearance."

MONK: "Face it. As long as they can laugh at you, nobody will listen to what you have to say."

FEY: "Well, we have to change that. Somehow. We'll find a way." (FEY turns away, accosts passing pedestrians.)

FEY: "Would you like a piece of literature?" (Pedestrian accepts.) "Thank you! God bless you!" (Turns to suited passerby.) "...We're here 24 hours a day -- my husband has been here nearly four years -- would you like to know why? No? You don't want to think, huh?" (She calls after a pedestrian who has ignored her.) "OR DID YOUR PARENTS FAIL TO TEACH YOU MANNERS? Ooooh?! Why are people so RUDE?"

MONK: "Could be because YOU're rude. Nobody likes to be hollered at. What's wrong with you today?"

FEY: (Stops,thinks.) "You're right.... Good afternoon!" (Pedestrian glances back, then walks on.) "You don't have to be afraid, you know!" (Pedestrian scuttles on.) "Oh, well." (To MONK.) "Was that better?"

MONK: "Yeah. But still not good enough."

FEY: "Communication. What a trick. No wonder the world's in the state it's in -- who listens, who responds? At least we're not shooting at each other, though, or threatening each other with missiles."

MONK: "Naw, we're too civilized. We just cuss each other out."

(JONAH finishes his sign, holds it up for review:


A well-dressed PEDESTRIAN stops to look at it.)

PEDESTRIAN: "Why don't you go to Russia, if you don't like it here?" (Looks around at the signs.) "And get this treasonous crap out of the park while you're at it!" (Spits.) "Swine."

(Stalks over to corner of stage, where he gestures imperiously for mousy AIDE to ENTER, marches back across stage with AIDE scribbling as he dictates.)

"Inter-office Memo to Senators Hatfield and McC. Mathias: Gentlemen: The First Lady complained to me last night at the candidates' ball about the eyesores cluttering the President's Park with their trash. I urge you to consider what influence you can bring to bear on our fellow legislators and the Park Service to bring this national icon back to its former pristine beauty. Signed, etcetera, etcetera -- p.s. I look forward to seeing you soon with our friends at the annual Arms Bazaar." (Looks back imperiously at JONAH.) "Your days are numbered."
(Marches offstage, AIDE scurrying behind.)

JONAH: "Have a nice doomsday!"

AIDE: (Returns, looking nervously behind him.) "So what are you saying? Get rid of our bombs?"

JONAH: "Do you like the prospect of extermination?"

AIDE: "Don't you think if we get rid of our bombs the Russians will use theirs against us?"

JONAH: "And blow up the goose that lays the golden egg? No, I don't. World opinion wouldn't let them. Besides, I think they'd be glad to be out from under the burden of fear. Remember, they built their bombs in response to US -- WE started the nuclear arms race, WE dropped the first bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. WE'RE the only country that has used nuclear weapons against fellow human beings. The Russians already know how horrible a nuclear bomb can be -- and how easily they can be detonated by accident. They had a nuclear accident in the Ural Mountains in 1957 -- 500 miles have been closed off for generations -- the best kept CIA secret for 15 years."

FEY: "A reporter from Pravda told us the Soviet people want peace more than anything in the world. They've suffered horribly from war. They lost 20 million young men during World War II. That's somebody in every family."

AIDE: "Well, what do you expect him to say? He's probably a Commie spy."

FEY: "Actually, he seemed kind. I've never met a Russian -- or anyone else -- who didn't seem pretty much like an American, once I got past the accent. People are people wherever they may accidentally be born."

(During this exchange, a couple of Preppy-ish college STUDENTS (STUDENT 1 and STUDENT 2) have stopped to listen. AIDE pulls out a notebook, and walks away a couple of steps, scribbling. Across the stage JAKE enters, dragging a toilet, sets it up nearby with a roughly lettered cardboard sign,


A TV cameraman enters, walks past JONAH and FEY's signs with camera lowered, raises it to catch JAKE pretending to urinate into the toilet bowl. LUTHER, seeing the camera, wanders over.)

LUTHER: "Whatcha doin', Jake?"

JAKE: "This here is my free speech commode, for those caught short when the facilities are locked, retrieved from that obscenely productive dumpster behind the Treasury." (LUTHER laughs gleefully and sits on the toilet.) "I'm going to go salvage some more treasure."

(JAKE exits; LUTHER grimaces and mimes at scandalized passersby.)

STUDENT 1:(Unaware of what's happening, addresses JONAH.) "So what you're saying is we should lay down our arms, unilaterally?"

JONAH: "Only worldwide disarmament will work. But we can't all just sit back and wait for someone else to take responsibility to start the process. A leader leads by example. Someone has to take the first step. The whole world is watching us very carefully -- the Europeans are incensed by the way we're threatening their existence, they're marching, vigiling, striking out against us and their leaders -- our government's so-called allies. Our policies are isolating us from the world. It seems to me if we set a moral example, we can't lose."

STUDENT 2: "Isn't that what we're doing? The papers are full of stories about how we're helping the exploited third world countries with food, technology..."

JONAH: "...weapons, armies, dictatorships, debts, industrial rape..."

FEY: "...all in the name of 'democracy' which is controlled by the voting machines."

JONAH: "...all for the dollar bill. Don't believe everything you read."

STUDENT 1: "So how do we stop it?"

FEY: "Go on strike. Refuse to support a system which threatens to blow up the planet. Don't pay their bills. Don't pay their taxes. Don't bank in their banks. Don't carry their guns. Don't buy their lies. Don't build their bombs."

JONAH: "That's why we're out here. To demonstrate how far it may be necessary for us all to go to stop the insanity that threatens all our lives..."

FEY: "...and the lives of our children." AIDE: (Who has been listening carefully, taking notes, inter- jects.) "You're advocating ... you're saying we should all stop working and sit down out here?"

JONAH: "Well, if enough of us did, we'd sure make the people at the top stop and think a minute. As it stands now, what incentive do those in power have to set a different course?"

FEY: "I wish it would happen soon, so we could get about the business of living free!" (JONAH sits down, begins writing as FEY continues.) "...Maybe it's unrealistic to think that everyone will vigil on the sidewalk outside the President's house or the Kremlin -- but we should each examine our minds and consciences and decide WHAT we CAN do -- and then DO IT! What I'D love to see is the secretaries and assistants of the leaders of all countries with nuclear weapons and nuclear power hogtying their bosses into their chairs -- like they did in the movie `NINE TO FIVE' -- and sit them down before open-circuit TV cameras and screens for a worldwide public dialogue."

AIDE: "You mean like a corporate conference call?"

FEY: "Exactly. On satellite TV, so everybody can watch what the leaders do. Don't let them out of their offices until they've agreed to the immediate dismantling of all nuclear weapons, the immediate shutdown of all nuclear reactors, so nobody else needs to die from radiation poisoning. Feed 'em, let 'em sleep, but keep 'em hostage by their own employees until the missiles and warheads are all dismantled, the reactor fuel is all safely buried. Turn the armies into peace corps, disarm all the youngsters fighting old men's wars. Instead let's help them travel the world teaching, learning and helping, rather than manning weapons. It can be done. It'd be simple, really. We just each have to take the initiative and do whatever WE can do. Like pieces to a puzzle. Like New Zealand's prime minister is doing, with the support of his people -- refusing nuclear submarines at New Zealand's ports. Like Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Las Vegas, New Mexico, and Marin County, California, which have proclaimed themselves nuclear-free zones...."

STUDENT 1: "Don't forget Garrett Park, Maryland, the FIRST nuclear-free zone! That's where I live!"

FEY: "Okay! ... Like the Plowshares activists, some of whom have been sentenced to up to 18 years in prison for banging on nosecones and computers, fouling up nuclear missiles and delivery systems. Like countless others, whose closeted feelings are beginning to come out in the open in acts of civil disobedience or in trans-continental marches and ribbons around the Pentagon."

(LUTHER becomes bored with his toilet, weaves over and sticks out his hand.)

LUTHER: "Can you spare a dollar?"

(AIDE glances at him.)


(AIDE turns and walks offstage. Students pat their pockets, shrug, and walk offstage.)

"LUTHER! Can't you see we're WORKING? Why do you keep DISRUPTING us????"

LUTHER: (Grins.) "I heard something about you...."

FEY: "Yes?"

LUTHER: "I hear you're VERY friendly ... can WE be friends?"

FEY: "If you'll act civilized."

LUTHER: "Here, let's shake on it."

(He reaches for her hand as if to shake it, seems to change his mind, bends over as if to kiss it, and then, grinning wickedly, guides her hand toward his crotch.) "Come to Big Daddy, momma -- he's VERY friendly, too! See?"

FEY: (Slaps his hand away and straightens into a tower of disdain.) "Come back when your body's sober, Luther, and your mind is free of lust. Right now your behavior disgusts me."

LUTHER: (Salutes and snickers.) "Self-righteous bitch."

FEY: (Voice rises.) "Leave, Luther. Leave me alone. You're not welcome here. I'm working, you arrogant twerp. You think I'm here because I want to sleep on the sidewalk? You think I like living in a glass cage, the object of ridicule, harassment, and potential violence? Believe me, if I didn't have to be here, I wouldn't be. Now shut up and act with some dignity or get out of my WAY!!!!" (Grabs a broom and sweeps vigorously.)

"Sweepin' up the sidewalk on a sunny summer day,
tryin' hard to live the words that Jesus had to say,
I find the way I choose not easy,
So here, I sing this song to you to make the sidewalk blues go away.

"Sidewalk blues / coat the air with vitriolic rage.
Sidewalk blues / cut the peace of a sunny summer day
with loud impediments to true communicants,
and I only wish the government would choose
to help, not kill, the poor and ease their blues,
so all could walk the Earth as free
as Jesus said God put us here to be."

LUTHER: (Turns to JONAH.) "That's some feisty female you got at your side, pal. Do you agree with her?"

JONAH: "Well, I'll tell you, Luther. When you're sober I like you. But most of the time you're not sober. And when you're not sober you're a pain in the ass."

LUTHER: "But I gotta have it, or I get the shakes..."

FEY: "I used to drink. So don't try any excuses on me -- I've used 'em all. Alcohol's poison to you, man -- it twists your brain. It was poison to me, too. So I quit."

LUTHER: "Just like that?"

FEY: "I drank orange juice. It satisfies the craving for sugar. And prayed. It satisfies the soul. If you ever need friends to help you not drink, Jonah and I will be here. But while you drink, Luther, do us a big favor and keep away."

(FEY turns her back to petition the audience with literature.)

"Waitin' on the sidewalk, a sister to you all,
I watch the tunnel vision that keeps you from God's call.
Your eyes slide past our signs, uneasy
that you might lose security if you should join our fight for sanity.

"Sister blue, don't hide your eyes from God's reality!
Brother blue, the end of Earth's in store for you and me
if we don't face the fact, and make the choice to act.
I only wish humanity would cease
their brainwashing, so we could live in peace,
and bring our children up with trust
that love's the only force that we should use."

LUTHER: (Weaves over to Monk.) "Betcha ten bucks she don't make it through the winter."

MONK: "Na-aw. I don't believe in losing money. I'd rather throw it away." (Pulls a hand full of pennies out of his pocket, tosses them offstage.)

LUTHER: "Hey!"

(Runs offstage after pennies. MONK grins and sits down next to FEY and BO. HESTER enters, pushing AC in a wheelchair, their belongings heaped in his lap. HESTER is no longer wrapped in plastic.)

HESTER: "Hello!"

MONK: "Well, if it isn't the lovebirds. You folks found a place to stay yet?"

HESTER: "No. I took AC down to Hope Village, they said they'd take him, but they wouldn't let me in 'less I paid, so AC refused to go. Happens at all the shelters I've tried. Won't take men at some, women at others, couples at any of them so's you can cuddle at night. We're still not too old to like cuddlin'."

AC: "Damn right, little darlin'. You're the dumplin' of my dotage." (Pats her on the rear.)

HESTER: "Behave."

JONAH: "Why the wheelchair, AC? We haven't seen you for ages. Where've you been?"

AC: "Laid up. Got caught on a car fender and dragged a block before the damn fool realized I was hooked and stopped."

HESTER: "On our wedding day!"

AC: "We're on our honeymoon. Just got out of the hospital last week. Good thing I checked out when I did. Hester was on the skids, sleepin' on a grate, kept herself numbed with vodka. She has no tolerance. Passes right out. Whump. Says the nastiest things. Don't remember a thing next day. I never tell her what she says. Drives her crazy."

HESTER: "AC, how could you? that's tellin' tales. Besides, I haven't touched a thing since you got out of the hospital."

FEY: "Good for you!"

AC: "Damn right. We stick together. Two peas in a pod. Come here, little chickpea, and play with my pod...."

HESTER: "Get on with you, you horny old goat. Behave. You're in company. Miz Fey don't like that kinda talk."

(Pushes his wheelchair forward and back sharply, then winces. No one notices except NORMAN. The others are distracted by AC's falling blanket.)

JONAH: "It's good to see you haven't lost your spirit, AC. Are you still in pain?"

AC: "Comes and goes. Not too bad for a man of 84. Hester keeps me goin'."

(HESTER winces again, leans against the wheelchair, then sits down next to AC on the ground.)

FEY: "I've been thinking a Bible reading might do me some good. Anybody want to hear Revelation 13?"

(General assent. FEY opens the Bible and begins to read aloud. JONAH relaxes nearby to listen. BO strums, the strumming develops intensity as she reads.)

"`And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads ... and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth followed the beast with wonder.'"

AC: "Didn't the President have a `mortal wound' and recover?" (BO nods and smiles.)

BO: "The pope, too."

FEY: (Resumes.)
"`... And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months..."

AC: "Forty-two months. Hmmm. Let's see -- January, February, March...." (Counts silently as FEY continues.)

"...It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and ... those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and tongue and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.'"
(FEY falls silent a moment, resumes passionately.)
"`...Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints...."

MONK: "You tell 'em, baby!"

"Then I saw another beast which rose out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed.'
That sounds like the President's evangelist!" (Reads silently a moment.) "Ah, here's the part Jonah mentioned the day I met him ... the part about Social Security Numbers ...
'It causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.... This calls for wisdom: Let him who has understanding reckon the number of the Beast, for it is a human number. ITS NUMBER IS SIX SIX SIX'."
(Looks up.) "And that's the number of letters in the President's three names."

(BO strikes a discordant strum and falls back, laughing. During the reading, the sun has gone down. FEY shivers, unrolls the poncho and pulls it over her head, lying back on the grass, gazing at the stars through the tree branches, repeating the last phrases of Revelation quietly.)

FEY: "`Let him who has understanding reckon the number of the Beast ... six six six.'" (Fey lies back; long pause, then she quietly begins singing.)
"Restin' on Momma's breast on a healin' tropic night,
watchin' all the stars combine in passing out blue light,
I find the paths they mark out easy,
so I beg to share this thought with you:
in this blue light God's showing the Free Way.

"Free Way Blue / coats my soul with disembodied light.
Free Way Blue / brings me peace on a healing tropic night
with loving sentiments, and true communicants,
and I only wish the governments would lose
their fear and banish war, all bombs defuse,
so we can live in harmony,
the way God gave us will to choose to be."

(Everyone's eyes close for a moment of peace. Suddenly Officers SPOOFNER and PAYNE sweep in. UJC and NORMAN stand in the shadows of the Sycamore, unobserved.)

PAYNE: "You're under arrest!"

(JONAH, FEY, MONK, BO, HESTER and AC all sit up.)

JONAH: "What for?"

PAYNE: "Camping."

FEY: "We're not even sleeping!"

PAYNE: "We don't care."

BO: (Stands up.) "If I'm under arrest, I'll go put on my shoes."

PAYNE: "Halt! Stay where you are!"

BO: "I didn't join your army."

(BO ambles over toward the sign. PAYNE leaps on BO from behind, chokes and bears him down, punching him several times in the back of the neck. HESTER hauls AC offstage, screaming. FEY reaches behind sign, pulls out a camera for JONAH, who photographs.)


(PAYNE turns on JONAH as two SECRET SERVICE cops enter to handcuff BO. PAYNE punches and kicks JONAH, who has tossed the camera to FEY; she photographs.)

FEY: "BULLY! COWARD! Ooooh! You'll be SORRY!"

(Camera clicks several times. SECRET SERVICE #2 holds and cuffs JONAH. Payne grabs for the camera, which FEY throws toward MONK; she's choked and thrown down by Payne. The poncho tears. Payne tosses it to Spoofner, who has been watching, stunned.)

PAYNE: "Evidence."

(SPOOFNER, seeing JONAH peering up at him, his shirt torn and stained with blood, turns away, thinks for a long moment, then pulls out a plastic bag marked "EVIDENCE" and stuffs the poncho inside, picks up the banjo and carries them offstage, pausing to kick over UJC's teepee sign while UJC and NORMAN watch quietly from the shadows, unseen. All remaining characters freeze in vignette of horror as the lights suddenly blink out.)


Peace Park Page | Proposition One