Scene 1

(Spotlight rises on JONAH, stretched on sidewalk of southeast corner of Lafayette Park between two 4' x 4' signs:


There are perhaps a dozen people fringing (but not crowding) JONAH, engaged in quiet conversations, including STUDENTS, a pair of TOURISTS, and an OFFICE WORKER standing or sitting, reading literature; MONK, BO and LUTHER are eating soup and sandwiches under the tree, which stretches its limb from the wings. CHARLES sits writing, feet propped on one of two 4' x 4' signs, partially tucked into the wings, which read in red-white-and-blue


The light fades from daylight to street light during early part of scene.)

BO: "Yes, Luther, I'm back to stay. The homeless will have a new shelter, Mitch doesn't need me anymore -- and people are dying of radiation poisoning halfway across the world. The vigil does need me now. Particularly with Doc and Jonah fasting."

LUTHER: "Jo's carrying this fast too far, don't you think? Doc can handle it -- but he's three times Jonah's size. How's Jo gonna be able to think straight come trial day?"

BO: "That's why I'm offering to take his place. He says he wants to shoot for 30 days this time. But he's tired...."

MONK: "Remember the simple days, when our biggest challenge to the administration was releasing rats on the White House lawn?"

BO: "And cockroaches inside."

(They laugh. FEY enters, wearing a banner reading "NO MORE CHERNOBYLS!", carrying a cup of soup from McKenna's Wagon in one hand, a jug of water in the other, which she places next to JONAH, who doesn't move. The others all move back to give the couple space.)

FEY: "Here. Dinner."

(JONAH's eyes remain closed.)

"Jonah." (His eyes flicker.) "Can you sit up?" (He shakes his head.) "Well, then, I'll go call an ambulance."

(She takes off her banner. JONAH lifts his head slightly.)

JONAH: "No. Please. Don't."

FEY: "Count on it. The day you can't get yourself up, I call the ambulance. I'm not going to let you die. There will be no more deaths by neglect in Peace Park."

(JONAH sits up, drinks from jug.)

"I've finally had it, Jonah. I've been silent so far..."

JONAH: "You have?" (He smiles gently.)

FEY: "Very funny. You're anemic, and you're wasting away while there's work to be done. Look ... I've given you space. Right?"

(JONAH nods.)

FEY: "I'm furious with Charles. Let him teach people about nuclear radiation. Let him use his expertise to explain the dangers of Chernobyl and Four Mile Island. Let him make any announcements he wants about his own plans. But he has no right to speak for you. He's telling people that you two have committed yourselves to a terminal fast! Please, tell him not to speak for you."

JONAH: "But I don't mind. I have committed myself. Don't blame Charles."

FEY: "To a terminal fast?"

JONAH: "If necessary."

FEY: "What's 'necessary'?" (Interrupts by throwing her soup across the stage.) "You selfish bastard! You nihilistic males infuriate me! If your 'morals' tell you you can't kill anyone else, damned if you don't just kill yourselves! Well, I won't support you if you fast to death. I'll leave. I'll change my name."

JONAH: (Sighs heavily.) "You're not listening."

FEY: "...I don't need to be left to do this filthy job alone, just because you're tired of the struggle. You think I'm not tired, too? Oh, I know you've been out here five years -- but for God's sake, Jonah, we're winning -- the judge has granted us a trial, other people are joining the vigil.... What about the lawsuit? Are you going to leave that dangling for the survivors?
"Besides, it's easy to die. What's hard is to live. You think you'll get any honors in heaven for taking your life? You'll be laughed right out, `couldn't take the heat.' C'mon Jonah, take your vitamins, fill your belly, get off your ass, climb out of yourself and work for peace -- don't die for peace."

(FEY turns away, turns back. JONAH settles under his blanket.)

"You're as bad as those guys across the street. What makes you think 'Thou shalt not kill' doesn't apply to your own body? Why do you think Jesus fasted only 40 days? Do you think you're wiser than He? I won't canonize a cop-out, Jonah. Watch out. You may have found our point of incompatibility. I know the day we were married I said 'I'll follow you anywhere.' But I will not follow you into self-imposed death." (Waves at the others sitting nearby.) "And I won't tolerate these vultures roosting around passively sucking up your energy in this orgy of self-glorification!"

(The others, stung, gather their belongings and leave. JONAH sits up, face set in stubborn lines. His voice rises in pitch as he speaks.)

JONAH: "We don't NEED this!"

FEY: (Gets up, picks up her backpack.) "That was just the beginning, m'love. You can believe you're going to get my opinions, again and again, until I break through that thick ego of yours." (Turns to leave.) "I'm fighting for your life, Jonah, whether you like it or not. I won't LET you give up. If talk won't convince you, I'll climb a tree again, or stand naked in the U.N. General Assembly, or address Congress dressed in a winding sheet, or I'll construct a Good Year blimp and fly it over the White House. I'll send the story across the AP/UPI wires -- I know how to tap in. I'll walk to every TV and radio station in Washington, D.C. I'll make puppets, I'll sing songs, tap dance from the Washington Monument to the Statue of Liberty, make an ass of myself. I WILL find a way. There's been ENOUGH dying. ENOUGH!"

(Shakes her fist at CHARLES, who lifts his head, startled.)

"Stop pushing, Charles! You WON'T capture his soul!"

(FEY charges offstage. CHARLES settles back pensively. JONAH curls back into ball; lights on CHARLES and JONAH dim, but JONAH is still visible. Third spotlight remains focused where FEY exited; she paces back onstage, groans.)

"Oh, God, what am I going to do?how do I get through to him?"

(NORMAN's voice emerges from the shadows.)

NORMAN: "Let go." (FEY looks around, startled.)

FEY: "WHAT?" (NORMAN materializes.) Who are you?"

NORMAN: "Irrelevant. I'm here to help."

FEY: "Man, play me no platitudes. I feel like Jonah has leukemia, with two months to live -- only much worse. Because he doesn't have to die ... and the only reason he would die is because of stubborn..." (She snarls.) "-- some call it indomitable -- will. Jonah is tempting God. Maybe this is his ultimate act of faith. Maybe he believes God will make sure he doesn't have to die. But I keep remembering two passages from the Bible: 'Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.' And 'Let no man put asunder what God hath joined together.' My man is willfully about to sunder us."

NORMAN: "So. What's that, incipient loneliness I hear?"

FEY: (Laughs bitterly.) "Yes. I confess. I felt loneliness too long."

NORMAN: "Do you own Jonah?" (FEY winces.) "Does Charles?"

(JONAH stirs; spotlight rises; FEY turns.)

FEY: "No."

JONAH: (Lifts his head.) "Now you're talking." (Stretches, pats the blanket beside him.) "Got anything to eat?"

(FEY grins, pulls a sandwich out of the backpack. JONAH devours it, takes a swig from the water jug.)

FEY: "I give up."

JONAH: "Once again logic saves the day."

FEY: (Crawls under his blanket and hugs him. He hugs back.) "Which killer argument convinced you?"

JONAH: (Grins.) "You."

FEY: (Holds JONAH tight.) "We'll need more than logic to win the next round, m'love. Better get some sleep for starters. We have work to do, saving Charles' life."

(They settle under the blanket, spoonlike. FEY covers them both, head to foot, with the quilt. Her muffled voice can be heard through the quilt.)

"Dear God, give us all a miracle."

(As FEY and JONAH fall into exhausted sleep, lights dim; spotlight rises on ANNIE seated on bed, writing letter, FEY's MOTHER beside her, stitching rosebuds on an elegant wedding dress.)

ANNIE: (Lifts letter to read.) "How's this, Grandma? 'Dear Mom, we've all talked it over, and there's no way we could have the wedding without you. Either you come to us or we'll come to you."

MOTHER: "And Jonah?"

ANNIE: "Oh, sure." (She writes.) "'And Jonah.'" (Looks up worriedly.) "Do you think Mom'll forgive me for being so weird?"

MOTHER:(Bites off a thread.) "Moms usually do."


Peace Park Page | Proposition One