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Attic of Dreams
by Yolantha Harrison-Pace

Dedicated to my daughter, Erin Salay Pace, on her 20th birthday

CAST OF CHARACTERS

CHIEF, an older, seemingly stereotypical Indian man as portrayed in movies of the 'Old West'
RAPHAEL, an African American boy, between 9 and 12 years of age
GEORGE WASHINGTON, African American, around 55-60 years of age, lives with Elaine
ELAINE WASHINGTON, African American, around 55-60 years of age, lives with George
BOB SMITH, White, around 70 years of age, married to Vera, has a weak heart & is diabetic
VERA SMITH, White, around 70 years of age, married to Bob for over 50 years
DIAMOND, African American, female rap artist, Beyonce type, age 15-21
TRUCE, African American, male rap artist, lover and playah type, age 15-21
ANIMAL, African American, male rap artist, tough gangsta type, 15-21
LOOTER ONE, White male
LOOTER TWO, African American male
FIREMAN, African American
NATIONAL GUARD, White

TIME
August and September 2005, following the Katrina Hurricane

PLACE
An attic in New Orleans

Act I

Scene 1

(Houselights are up, all actors except for CHIEF are in the audience. BOB, VERA, GEORGE, ELAINE, TRUCE, ANIMAL, DIAMOND are dressed in black. RAPHAEL is dressed in red, white and blue celebrating America.)

RAPHAEL
What you are about to witness canít be real. Not here in America. Nope, no way. Not my America.
(cups his hands to his mouth, leans his head back and shouts)
Aaaaaaaaaaaall Aboooooooooooard. The HURRI-CAAAAAAAAAAAANE.

DIAMOND, ANIMAL, TRUCE, VERA, BOB, ELAINE, GEORGE
(sounding like a train starting down the track and speeding up)
Ka--trinaÖKa--trinaÖKatrina-trina, Katrina-trina Trina-trina-trina-trina--trinatrinatrinatrina

(Houselights fade as faint Indian drums are heard in darkness. As lights fade up the Indian music becomes louder and CHIEF is standing in front of the stage curtain, dressed in full Indian Chief Attire, including feathered headgear. He is holding rattles and begins to dance. He has Indian bells on his feet. As the drums increase his dance becomes more intense. He sings as he dances.)

CHIEF
Dream-ah dream-ah dream-ah dream-ah
Dream-ah dream-ah dream, dream, dream.
Dream-ah dream-ah dream-ah dream-ah
Dream-ah dream-ah dream, dream, dream.
Dream-ah dream-ah dream-ah dream-ah
Dream-ah dream-ah dream, dream, dream.
Dream-ah dream-ah dream-ah dream-ah
Dream-ah dream-ah dream, dream, dream.
(Dance slows down as drums slow down. CHIEF goes into sitting cross-legged, softly shaking rattles. The other actors are still dispersed in amongst the audience.)

RAPHAEL
Whatís that smell?

CHIEF
The carrion of humanity.

VERA
The new aroma of a dead Orleans.

DIAMOND
Will she be born again?

ANIMAL
Can there be a reincarnation?

RAPHAEL
Will she come back?

BOB
Or will she come back as somebody else?

ANIMAL
The American Renaissance?

RAPHAEL
The America Remix?

CHIEF
Dream big, baby, dream big.

GEORGE
(walks on stage from audience)
It is said that dreaming is an act of pure imagination, attesting in all men a creative power, which if it were available in waking, would make every man a Dante or Shakespeare.

CHIEF
A Cochise or Sitting Bull.

ANIMAL
(coming on stage)
An Usher or Kanye West.

GEORGE
(coming on stage)
A Mozart or a B.B. King.

VERA
(coming on stage)
A Betsy Ross or Dear Abby.

BOB
(coming on stage)
A Dr. Phil or an Einstein.

ELAINE
(coming on stage)
An Aretha Franklin or Lena Horne.

DIAMOND
(confronting Elaine)
A Beyonce.

ELAINE
(challenging Diamond)
Mahalia Jackson.

DIAMOND (more confrontational)
Or Missy Elliot.

RAPHAEL (still from audience)
How can that be?

GEORGE
(squats from the stage speaking to Cameron and the audience)
Dreams are only thoughts you didnít have time to think about during the day.

BOB
(to audience)
I saw an episode of X-files, it said, ďDreams are answers to questions we havenít yet figured out how to ask.Ē

GEORGE
(to Bob)
My dreams are todayís answers to tomorrowís questions.

ELAINE
We are all geniuses when we dream, the butcher, the poetÖare all equal then.

ANIMAL
The jug heads, the nerd herds ... all equal then.

CHIEF
The cowboys, the Indians, when we dream.

TRUCE
The Black man, the White man ... the playah, the playah hater ... all geniuses.

RAPHAEL
How can that be?

GEORGE
A dream is a microscope through which we look at the hidden occurrences in our soul.

RAPHAEL
What?

ELAINE
Dreams say what they mean, but they donít say it in daytime language.

GEORGE
The best reason for having dreams is that in dreams no reasons are necessary.

BOB
Thatís brilliant.

ELAINE
Of course itís brilliant. A woman said that. As a matter of fact her name was Ashleigh Brilliant.

GEORGE
(offers his hand to Elaine, pulls her in close and slow dances with her)
And a woman, Barbara Kingsolver wrote in a play.

ELAINE
I canít think of anything to dream. Except my ordinary life.

GEORGE
Your dreams are ordinary only if you have an ordinary life. If you want sweet dreams, youíve got to live a sweet life. Dream sweet, baby, dream sweet.

(Chimes are heard. DIAMOND dressed in black Enters wearing colorful butterfly wings and does an interpretive dance to ChiefĎs speech)

CHIEF
A Chinese philosopher said: ďOnce upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly ... Suddenly I awoke ... Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man."

RAPHAEL
Sweeee-eeet

(Lights slowly fade into black out)

SCENE 2

(Spotlights come up. TRUCE AND ANIMAL are in front of curtain, clothing is hip hop with Mississippi logo on Animalís shirt. Louisiana is written down the side of Truceís jeans. A beat box sound is heard done by actors or as recorded background music)

ANIMAL & TRUCE
(Usher/Busta Rhymes/hip-hop rap style through the process of this rap they get the audience to clap and wave their hands) Hey-----Ho Hey-----Ho Mississippi, M-S dreaminí Loo-eezee-anna, Zee-anna L-A Alabama, bama bay-bay Can you see, oh say, oh say Hey-----Ho Hey-----Ho Can you see the winds a blowiní Washing my dreams, my dreams away Mississippi, M-S dreaminí Loo-eezee-anna, Zee-anna L-A Alabama bama bay-bay Can you see, oh say, oh say

TRUCE
(spoken in quick rap rhythm) To dream or not to dream
That is the question
Whether tis nobler to
Give me dreams or give me death
Can you see, oh say, oh say
Can you see the winds a blowiní
And washing my dreams, my dreams away
We must walk softly but carry a big dream
Dream away, dream away
It was the best of dreams, it was the worst of dreams
Mississippi, M-S dreaminí
Loo-eezee-anna Zee-anna L-A
Alabama, bama bay-bay
Can you see, oh say, oh say

ANIMAL
(rapped with more of a rock and roll type rhythm with Jimi Hendrix psychedelic sounding guitar playing in the background)
I double dog dream ya
My dreams are gonna scream ya
I dream rock and roll
I dream rock and roll
Dreamy mountain high in Colorado
Dreamy valley low dark dark shadows
Get your dreams a running
Headiní for the highway

TRUCE and ANIMAL (simultaneously)
I dream rock and roll
Dream on and on, til the true break of dawn
I dream rock and roll
Where my dreams at, where my dreams at
Rock and roll dreams bay-bay
Where my dreams at, where my dreams at
Dream on, Dream on and on til the true break of dawn
(Truce and Animal both waving arms back and forth, house lights come up getting audience to join in)
Where my dreams at, where my dreams at
Where my dreams at, where my dreams at
(Animal continues through Truceís next rap)

TRUCE
My dreams are made for liviní
And thatís just what theyíll do
One of these days my dreams are gonna
Live all over you
My dreams are made for liviní
And thatís just what theyíll do
One of these days my dreams are gonna
Live all over you
My dreams are made for liviní
And thatís just what theyíll do
One of these days my dreams are gonna
Live all over you

TRUCE AND ANIMAL
(clapping and exiting through audience getting audience to participate)
Born to dream wi-ild
Born to dream wi-ild
Born to dream wi-ild
(house lights fade as Truce and Animal exit through back of audience)

SCENE 3

Day 1

(Curtain slowly opens on the attic a radio announcement is heard in the darkness)

RADIO
I repeat...(static) All people in the city of New Orleans must evacuate ... Tune into your local television station for evacuation plans for your area. I repeat (static) is of the utmost urgency (static) safety ...(static)... emergency survival kit ... (static) ... water ... batteries, flash ...

(High wind sounds are heard, sounds of a huge storm. There is a long static sound, then silence. Stage lights slowly come up to reveal an attic loft apartment. One-third is a living area with 3 rocking chairs, couch that makes into a bed, a futon, an old ghetto blaster, a recliner. The rest of the attic is an abundant storage space of many attic-type things. There are trunks marked with years, like 1920, 1930, 1960 etc, in which are clothes from that particular decade. There are lawn chairs, hurricane lamps, Indian relics, a totem pole, tee-pee, fencing sword, Star Wars laser sword, fishing equipment, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, hanging wedding gown in a clothes bag, an old record player with vinyl album records and album covers, a lot of tapes and Cds, butter churn, washboard and wash tub, exercise equipment, a long pole, jump ropes, stationary bike, a tricycle, free standing weights, a shelf of games that include Trouble, Scrabble and Twister. There is a door down stage right that leads down from the attic.)

(Sound of glass breaking. CHIEF climbs in attic window, sopping wet, just wearing jeans. When other actors enter they are wearing every day attire which is torn and filthy from wading through the hurricane waters. CHIEF walks around the attic, examining things. He opens the stage right door. Shuts it. He finds an Indian headband with a feather, he ties it on his head. He goes to the totem pole and kneels down low with palms outstretched toward the heavens and then to the floor. Voices are heard outside of the window, CHIEF goes and looks, then grabs the pole.)

(CHIEF at window with the pole pulls in ANIMAL)

ANIMAL Thanks, thanks ... Chief. There are 2 more. Get the girl.

(DIAMOND comes through window, coughing, covered in mud and dirt. ANIMAL helps Chief pull in Truce.)

TRUCE
Thanks man. Whereís Diamond? Good. At least we were able to stay together at my recording studio. Iíve never seen anything like it. The world has gone crazy. The weather, the people.

DIAMOND
The door just burst open. And a wall of water chased me up the stairs. Next thing I knew I was being shoved by water through the bedroom window.

ANIMAL
The basement of the studio was filling up fast. I kicked out the window and squeezed through. It was like some bizarre Tom and Jerry cartoon.

TRUCE
Alfred Hitchcock movie.

DIAMOND
Except it was real.
(crosses over and opens SR door)
Look at all that water.

(CHIEF helps VERA through the window)

VERA
My husband is down there and heís sick. Heís real weak. I canít get him up the pole.

CHIEF
Iíll go with this rope. You pull.

(CHIEF Exits out of window. Vera, Truce and Animal pull up Bob. He is breathing hard and lays down on the floor.)

TRUCE
He doesnít look so good.

VERA
Is there something sweet around? Any food? Some water?

DIAMOND
We just got here. Iíll help you look. Here look, hereís part of a bag of M&Mís.

VERA
That will do fine.

ANIMAL
Plain or Peanut?
(takes one)

TRUCE
Chill, you animaniac, we may have to ration that. What else is there?

ANIMAL
Wow, look at all of this stuff. Trunks and trunks of stuff.
(He opens one trunk.)

(CHIEF falls through window. DIAMOND screams.)

TRUCE
Oh, sorry, Chief, we didnít mean to forget about you.

CHIEF
Two more. (He holds pole out of the window. ELAINE & GEORGE Enter)

DIAMOND
Looks like this is some sort of attic loft storage space. Someone was living up here. They must have got out early.

ANIMAL
Any food?
(sound of yelping out outide window, as if a puppy is crying)

DIAMOND
(runs to window)
Itís a dog, get it. Save it.

ANIMAL
We donít have enough food for all of us, let alone a dog.

ELAINE
Get it. Have a heart.

ANIMAL
Yeah, we might have to eat it before this is all over.

CHIEF
No dog.
(Chief Exits out of the window. All gather and watch. He returns carrying a child.)

ELAINE
Itís a little boy. Get a blanket.

BOB
Look at all of this stuff. Pieces of Americana. (hands over an Indian blanket)

VERA
Leave the things alone. Theyíre not ours.

TRUCE
We all need a change of clothes. Weíre filthy, and no telling what all was in that water. We need to change.
(They all begin going through trunks finding a change of clothes.)

TRUCE
This attic is like a time capsule.
(holds out a Star Wars laser sword and a fencing sword)

VERA
Look at all of this Indian paraphernalia.

CHIEF
Hmmm, never heard us spoken of as paraphernalia

VERA
Iím sorry, I mean Indian souvenirs.

RAPHAEL
Are people paraphernalia and souvenirs?

ANIMAL
Just a way of dehumanizing a culture of people.

TRUCE
A way to justify past, present and future injustices.

ANIMAL
Itís a semantic form of power and control.

RAPHAEL
Is there such a thing as African American paraphernalia and souvenirs? Is there such a thing as white folks paraphernalia and souvenirs?

ELAINE
Hush, little boy, donít you see the white folks standing right there?

VERA
Oh thatís okay, Iím sure he didnít mean any harm.

DIAMOND
It's like some kind of Attic of Dreams.
(He tries on a queens crown from the Renaissance days.)

GEORGE
Hereís something for the boy.
(He hands her a baseball uniform that says Admirals on the front. RAPHAEL changes then goes and looks in a trunk)
(to Elaine)
And I found these scrubs for you.

ELAINE
In your dreams. No way are those gonna fit me.

GEORGE
(He goes back to a trunk and digs. He pulls out a skimpy negligee, looks at it, looks at his wife)

ANIMAL
Man I donít think so.

GEORGE
I think youíre right.
(He finds a sparkly evening type of dress in a larger size and takes it to Elaine.)

ELAINE
Give it here. At least its my size.

RAPHAEL
This would look good with that. (wearing a boa to match Elaineís dress)

GEORGE
Boy, give me that.

ELAINE
How lovely, bring it here, little boy. Whatís your name?

RAPHAEL
Raphael.

ELAINE
Raphael? Thatís a nice name. What happened to your family?

RAPHAEL
I donít know ... I was asleep. I woke up, water was everywhere and my bed was starting to float like I was in a giant bathtub. I couldnít find my mom or my dad.

ELAINE
(taking the boa)
You have tremendous taste Raphael. Thank you, you are a class act.

RAPHAEL
Youíre welcome.
(softly)
Thank you.

(TRUCE is in a zoot suit. DIAMOND is in a go-go girl outfit with boots. Bob is in a Cowboy outfit. ANIMAL has found some large clothes to make a hip-hop/gothic look. VERA is colonial-looking. GEORGE has on bib overalls and a flannel shirt.

VERA
Look at all of this stuff. CRISIS MAGAZINE.

RAPHAEL
Whatís that?

ROBERT
My wife and I belong to that organization.

RAPHAEL
What organization?

(VERA whispers in Raphaelís ear)

RAPHAEL
NAACP? Thatís a black organization.

ANIMAL
Canít have nothing.

DIAMOND
They probably have a subscription to O Magazine.

RAPHAEL
Oprahís magazine? Do you?

VERA
Well, yes we do.

VERA
(introducing herself)
Vera, Vera Smith. And this is my husband, Robert.

ELAINE
My pleasure I think, Vera, Robert. Iím Elaine, and thatís Mr. Washington.

GEORGE
George, and thatís my wife Elaine.

RAPHAEL
George? Washington? Man oh man I bet you got teased.

BOB
(shaking hands)
Call me BobÖGeorge, Elaine.

DIAMOND
Iím Diamond, and thatís Truce and thatís Animal. And together we are ďIN YOí FACEĒ.

DIAMOND, TRUCE & ANIMAL
Face, face, face
Inter face with face
Saving face, saving grace
For the big face off
We are
In youí face

RAPHAEL
In Yoí Face? You came to my school. Wow man.

VERA
I found 2 packages of ramein noodles and a can of pork and beans, and a package of blue berry muffin mix. And two pieces of Dentyne gum.

GEORGE
Look at this. An old record player.

TRUCE
And some real records. Animal check it out. B.B. King, Joe Tex ...

GEORGE
5th Dimension. Dionne Warwick. The Mamaís and the Papas

TRUCE
(sings holding up Beatles cover)
She was just seventeen, and you know what I mean, and before too long, I fell in love with heeeer. Oh Iíll never dance with another. Whoooooo The Beatles.
(raps)
Just seven teen
Know what ah mean
She was just so clean
As she stood over they-er
Dance Shorty dance, Dance Shorty dance
And Iíll never ever dance with no other
Whooooo when I saw Shorty standing there

DIAMOND
I donĎt think so

TRUCE
(stops trying to rap)
Well, something like that. Hereís Simon and Garfunkel.

ANIMAL
An old Harley Davidson. I wonder if she still rides.

BOB
Found some batteries.

ANIMAL
Hereís an old timey ghetto blaster. Look at all of these tapes. From Nancy Sinatra to Thriller, the Bee Gees ... lues Brothers.

RAPHAEL
Whose Nancy Sinatra?

ANIMAL
Gimmie those batteries.

BOB
No itís in our best interest to save them we may need them later.

ANIMAL
Iím not planning on staying here long. Are you?

BOB
I guess you have a point.

ANIMAL
(puts in Nancy Sinatraís ďThese boots are made for walkingĒ)

DIAMOND
(walking and strutting and rapping over the music, she does the jerk and the monkey, the poney maroney, dances from the past)
Boots, boots, sha-boots boot
Walkin and talkin
Boot-toots, sha boots boot
Thatís just what Iím gonna do-doot
Boot-boots, sha-boots boot
Walking, talkin, over you

GEORGE
(stops the music, takes out the batteries)
Iím with Bob. We need to save the batteries. We need to orchestrate a plan. Nobody knows weíre here.

VERA
(looking out of the window)
Somebodyís gotta come soon to get us out.

ELAINE
But nobody knows weíre here.

RAPHAEL
(has a package of the ramen noodles, smashes it on the ground by stepping on it. Opens the noodles, takes out the seasoning packet and pours it over the dry noodles. Everyone stares at him as he begins to eat the dry noodles.)
What? This is how my sister and her best friend, Kaitlyn eats them. Right before they run cross country.

GEORGE
I use to run

ELAINE
Dream on.

ELAINE
Do you run young man?

RAPHAEL
Yes, but not as fast as my sister.

ANIMAL
Let me try some of that little man.

RAPHAEL
Sure, anybody else want some?

ELAINE
Thatís gonna leave us with just one package of noodles, a can of beans, some gum and the rest of the M&Mís and the muffin mix.

ANIMAL
Look what I found.
(opens the bottle and takes a long drink leaving it half full)
A half a bottle of water.
(lights out)

SCENE 5
(day two)

RADIO VOICE
(static)
Whatís taking so long to respond? (static) too long ... discontent among the Black leaders (static) ... if this were white people stranded (static)

BRITISH RADIO VOICE
Look how quickly the great America responded to the Tsunami, what about her own? (static)

FEMALE RADIO VOICE
Death rising, dreaded death toll to surpass September 11 (static)
(They have gone through the trunks of clothes lights come up to costume vignettes)

TRUCE AND DIAMOND
(dressed Victorian style, and are humming dancing a minuet)

GEORGE
(dressed as George Washington)

ANIMAL
(dressed as Zorro, uses the Star Wars laser and is fencing with Raphael who is dressed as Sponge Bob and is using a hanger)

RAPHAEL
Ow, ow, ow that hurts. No fair.

ANIMAL
Come on, you big baby. Come on you wanna piece of me? Ya big yellow bellied baby.

RAPHAEL
I donít want to play any more. Youíre mean.

ANIMAL
We need to be planning how to get out of here before we all die.

GEORGE
I think we should take turns on the roof.

TRUCE
And what colors the roof? Pitch black.

DIAMOND
Nobody will see some of us on the roof.

ANIMAL
Exactly, theyíll come quicker for white folks. Put the white folks on the roof.

VERA
This isnít about color.

RAPHAEL
When youíre dead, youíre dead. Death doesnít have a color does it?

ANIMAL
Letís just say that when youíre white and dead, America grieves differently. But when youíre black in a America itĎs not the same, one is good bye, the other isÖ good riddance.

BOB
Thatís not true. Look at Kennedy and King. My wife and I cried equal tears.

VERA
And we donít celebrate JFK day, but America does celebrate MLK day.

RAPHAEL
You do have a point.

DIAMOND
But when the rescuers come who will they rescue first?

RAPHAEL
Women and children?

TRUCE
White women and children. And we have one of each.

ELAINE
Sheís older than me, she should go first.

RAPHAEL
Than I ... the correct grammar is sheís older than I, she should go first.

GEORGE
And heís a sick man, as a Christian I would let him go first.

ANIMAL
You sure itís not your slave mentality that would let him go first?

GEORGE
No, itís my Christianity.

ANIMAL
The white manís brainwashing religion.

ELAINE
What did you say?

RAPHAEL
Yes, you need to check your bible. Jesus was a Jew, not a white man. A black man helped Jesus carry his cross up the hill. Moses wife was Black. Thatís right, there was even a Black person in the fiery furnace.

ELAINE, GEORGE, VERA, BOB
What?

RAPHAEL
Shadrach, Meshach and a baaaahd Negro.

(All laugh loudly.)

ELAINE
Thatís Obindago.

(RAPHAEL, embarrassed, goes away from the group)

(ELAINE brings him 2 M&Mís.)

RAPHAEL
(walks over to Vera)
I know he needs the sugar. Iíll let him suck off the sugar coated color and then Iíll just eat the peanut inside.

VERA
(hugs Raphael)
Youíre such a sweet little boy. I mean young man.

ELAINE
Heís under 12, heís still a boy.

RAPHAEL
We could spray paint a sheet with the word help. They would see that.

ANIMAL
Yes and looters would see where we are and consider it an open invitation to come and ďhelpĒ us out.

BOB
(Dressed as Abraham Lincoln carries 2 fishing poles, hands one to George, they sit off the edge of the stage and pretend to fish)
Kidís got a good idea. But it also might be good if we got out so people could see us and know that weíre here.

GEORGE
Thereís the canoe. Maybe we could send out a canoe patrol.

BOB
Thatís not a real canoe.

ANIMAL
Hey Chief, is this canoe real?

(The men try to get the canoe through the window and it wonít fit)

GEORGE
Tilt it son, you gotta tilt it.

ELAINE
Canít you see itís not gonna fit.

GEORGE
This is menís work. You women just leave this to us men.

DIAMOND
Menís work?

ELAINE
Like I said, itís not gonna fit. A woman can just look at things and tell itís not gonna fit. Just like a woman can just look and tell, ďHoney, weíre lost.Ē Just like packing, a woman can always get one more item in, you may have to sit on it to close it, but we know how to make it fit in the suitcase. So as a woman, Iím telling you, the canoe is not gonna fit.

GEORGE
What if you sawed off part of the tips of the canoe

BOB
You might have a point. Get it point? Tip?

ELAINE
Thatís not funny. Now if you had said, ďThanks man, thatís a good tip,Ē then that would have been at least a little humorous, not funny, but interesting in an amusing type of way.

RAPHAEL
Oh, now I get it. Itís not funny, but itís an on the inside make you say hmmmm smile.

GEORGE
(finds a saw and starts sawing off the tip of one end of the canoe, when he saws off the other tip, the whole canoe falls apart)

ELAINE
Well, itíll fit now.

GEORGE
Iím trying to save us.

ELAINE
Well I feel real saved right now.

GEORGE
(sarcastically)
Youíre really breaking my heart.

RAPHAEL
Please stop it, donít fight. Husbands and wives are suppose to love each other.

DIAMOND
(all women are dressed like Diana Ross and the Supremes back up singers imitating their dance moves as they sing)
Stop in the name of love
Before you break my heart

VERA, ELAINE
Havenít I been good to you
Oo ooh

RAPHAEL
(joins in still dressed as Sponge Bob)
Baby love, my baby love
I need you oh how I need you love

RAPHAEL, VERA, ELAINE, DIAMOND
Ainít no mountain high enough
Ainít no valley low enough
Ainít no river wide enough

RAPHAEL
To keep me from you---whooooooooo

GEORGE
Hey, please, give a President a break.
(goes to SR door)
Waterís still way up. Looks like itís moved up a step. Weíve gotta do something, let people know weíre here.

ELAINE
Why donít you organize that roof watch in case a rescue helicopter comes.

CHIEF
Too steep. The roof is too dangerous.

TRUCE
How would you know?

CHIEF
I went out last night and looked. Roof is too steep. We are onto a back remote road.

RAPHAEL
I still say we should make a sign and hang it on the roof.

VERA
That says "help" and the number of people here.

ANIMAL
I still say thatís inviting trouble.

DIAMOND
But the looters are way downtown, they arenít coming way out here.

RAPHAEL
There are some sheets in this trunk right here.

(ELAINE grabs a sheet and tries to rip it in half but canĎt)

GEORGE
Get back woman. Think about it, where there are looters, there are police and where there are police, there is help.

DIAMOND
Thatís in the inner city. Weíre in the outer city.

TRUCE
On the edge of whitey city, which wants nothing to do with blackey city.

GEORGE
Right. So there will be security coming through here, to keep the likes of you out.

(VERA gives George a spray can of red and blue paint)

(GEORGE sprays ďhelp (8)Ē in large letters and hold it up for all to see)

DIAMOND
(sings)
Ainít no mountain high enough, ainít no valley low enough, ainít no river wide enough, keep me from you-whooooo ...
(lights fade out)

Scene 6
(day 3)

(Lights come up and RAPHAEL is riding around on a tricycle that is too small, dressed as a Darth Vader. He rides over to the radio and turns it on.)

RADIO
(static) ... Fema representative says they are on their way. Well where are they? Get off your (static) and do something. God (static).

BOB
(dressed in wooden shoes, knickers and suspenders) Thank God for the good olí days and kerosene lamps.
(quietly to Vera)
Vera ... I donít know if I can make it. I donít want to die here. I donít want to die with these people. Iíd rather die out there.

VERA
Donít say that.

BOB
I donít want to die among strangers.

VERA
This doesnít make any sense. Some one should have been here by now.

BOB
And you and I arenít Black. There arenít just black folks in Louisianna.

VERA
Radio says its not about race, its about economics, its Ďcause weíre poor.

RAPHAEL
(circling round and round on bike)
But poor doesnít have a color. Are you feeling sick again? Here. Iíll let you have one of my M&Mís. Here, you can have my favorite. The red one.
(he rides up to Bob, fishes out a red M&M and places it in Bobís mouth. Bob just automatically opens his mouth and takes it almost by reflex or instinct)

ANIMAL
(dressed as super man)
The good olí days.
(starts a beat on a washboard)

(TRUCE joins in with a butter churn, dressed as Spider man.(DIAMOND plays some pipes dressed as Cat woman in shiny patent leather.

RAPHAEL
(still riding the tricycle)
What time is it?

GEORGE
Anybody have a watch that still works?

CHIEF
Itís 11:45 am

GEORGE
How do you know?

CHIEF I know.

RAPHAEL
What day is it?

DIAMOND
The levees broke on Monday morning the 29th CHIEF
Itís Wednesday August 31st, 11:46 am.

ANIMAL
Weíve been here a long time.

RAPHAEL
(riding)
A long, long, long time

DIAMOND
(laying with her head on Truceís lap, dressed as a 1920Ďs flapper)
Everything that I see and that I seem, is as if it is but a dream within a dream.

GEORGE
(dressed in Army fatigues)
Thatís the ticket. Miss Diamond. Letís talk about our dreams. That will pass the time.

ELAINE
(she passes out a small palm full of ramen noodles) This is it. All of the noodles

TRUCE
Dreams? Dreams are a measure of our lack.

ANIMAL
Donít you mean a measure of our reality?

CHIEF
(still dressed as he was on day one, he never changes clothes)
Dreams are a proof of our divine nature. To dream is divine and to be divine is to dream.

TRUCE
Sigmund Freud said. Dreams are often most profound when they seem the most crazy.

ANIMAL
Give me a dream any day. This reality, this attic, this waiting, this is crazy.

GEORGE
William Shakespeare said, we are such stuff as dreams are made of.

BOB
Iím not quite sure whether I am dreaming or remembering, whether I have lived my life or dreamed it.

RAPHAEL
(holding the box of muffin mix)
Iím still hungry.

ANIMAL
(grabs box)
Me too.

VERA
Thatís for tomorrow.

ANIMAL
Iím hungry today. Letís just dream like itís tomorrow.

VERA
Grabs at box.

(RAPHAEL is on his bike between Animal and Vera. Raphael watches them grab back and forth as if it is a ping-pong match. The box opens and muffin mix spills all over Raphael. Raphael wets his finger and tastes the spilled mix on his body.)

VERA
Look what you did.
(lights fade as all gather around Raphael)

Scene 7
(day 4)

RADIO
(static)... looters have broken into gun stores ... looters have gotten out of control and are robbing and stealing (static) out of control ... armed looters ... police and rescuers have withdrawn for their own safety hampering the rescue efforts (static) two police suicides (static) some believed to have deserted their posts (static) no one is safe (static) where are you Mr. President ... (voices chanting) Help us, help us, help us!

RAPHAEL
(dressed as a clown, whispering to the chant)
Help us, help us, help us.

ANIMAL
(wearing tan safari gear)
Theyíre coming? Right, dream on.

VERA
(dressed like 1950ís in apron and wearing pearls a la June Cleaver of Leave it to Beaver)
Itís not a dream. Itís a reality. They are coming. I know it. My America. Land of the free, home of the brave.

RAPHAEL
(carrying Twister game, lays the playing sheet on the floor. Spins the marker.)
Thatís right we just have to be brave. Right foot blue (stands with right foot on blue space, spins again) Left hand yellow.

ANIMAL
Get real, dreams are for old folks who never did anything with their lives.

DIAMOND
(wearing Spanish, flamenco style dress with ruffles a deep leg split and flower behind her ear)
Where have all the dreams gone?

TRUCE
(dressed as a matador)
Theyíve all been dreamed

ANIMAL
One by one. What do I need to dream about? I have everything I need ... had everything I needed.

RAPHAEL
Are we gonna have to dream it all over again?
(spins game)
Right hand red

GEORGE
(dressed in scrubs)
Young folks donít know nothing about dreaminí

ELAINE
Why should they?

RAPHAEL
(spins)
Left foot blue.

ELAINE
HeĎs right. They have everything we ever wanted growing up. BOB
(wearing train conductors outfit)
I never wanted a game boy, or an ipod, or super Mario brothers.

ANIMAL
More like Lincoln logs and a toy train.

GEORGE
A red flyer wagon.

ELAINE
(dressed as a nurse) A stick and some mud.

VERA
A princess phone. A pink princess phone. Just like this. This is what I dreamed of.
(holds up phone)

ANIMAL
Dreams, hah, what are they good far? Absolutely nothing.

BOB
I once read in one of my wifeís womenís magazines, ďA dream is a wish with wings.Ē

ELAINE
Hogwash. The young folks are right. A dream is a mission statement with goals and strategies for completion

GEORGE
Then itís not a dream anymore.

VERA
Well then you have to dream again, dream bigger.

BOB
Yeah, thatís what Oprah Winfrey says.

ANIMAL
Oprah Winfrey? What has Oprah got to do with the price of tea in China and real people stuck in an attic?

TRUCE
The price of tobacco in Kentucky.

DIAMOND
The price of potatoes in Idaho.

RAPHAEL
The price of Cajun food in Louisiana
(long silence)

DIAMOND
What is there left to dream about?

TRUCE
Moon, Mars and beyond. (begins chanting softly, whispering to DIAMOND, then begins to get louder, does River dance steps, which evolves into him using a chair as a dance prop, then doing a very strong virile tango style dance with Diamond)
Hah, Mission statement, goals, strategies for completion.
Hah, Mission statement, goals, strategies for completion.
Hah, Mission statement, goals, strategies for completion.
Hah, Mission statement, goals, strategies for completion.
Hah, Mission statement, goals, strategies for completion.
Hah, Mission statement, goals, strategies for completion.
Hah, Mission statement, goals, strategies for completion.
Hah, Mission statement, goals, strategies for completion.
Hah, Mission statement, goals, strategies for completion.
Hah, Mission statement, goals, strategies for completion.
Hah, Mission statement, goals, strategies for completion.
Hah, Mission statement, goals, strategies for completion.

(RAPHAEL has been watching the dance and starts spinning the game board over and over again with out playing)

GEORGE
Dreams make life a better place, more efficient.

TRUCE
(twirls Diamond, then dips her)
Like I said, mission statement, goals, strategies for completion.

ANIMAL
Well Iím dreaming about a steak, and potatoes, with sour cream, onions, bacon bits, washed down with a cold Dr. Pepper. Mission statement that.

RAPHAEL
Iím hungry. I want a potato and I want to wash it down with some red kool-aid, it doesnít have to be cold.

DIAMOND
Iíd settle for a hot can of caffeine free pepsi.

RAPHAEL
I wanna go home, I want my Daddy. I want my Daddy. Dad-deeeeeeeeee (sobs)

ELAINE
See what you started, talking about dreams.

RAPHAEL
My daddy isnít a dream. My daddy is real. Dad-deeeeee. Daddy come get me daddy. I promise to be good from now on. I wonít steal from mamaís purse no more. Iíll do all of my chores. Just come get me daddy.

ELAINE
See what youíve done. All of this nonsense about dreams?

RAPHAEL
My daddy ainĎt a dream.
(screams and runs at Elaine, flailing his arms at her trying to hit her. Animal grabs him, holds him tightly Elaine takes him, sits and begins to rock him)

ELAINE
DonĎt worry honey America is coming soon. SheĎll be here soon.

RAPHAEL
I donĎt want America. I want my daddy and my momma.

GEORGE
That is America. Your mother and your father. Your sister, brother, your uncle, your aunt, your cousins.
(light slowly begins to fade)
Your poppy, your nana.
(grabs ElaineĎs hand)
Our nephews and our nieces. Our grand fathers and grand mothers, great grand fathers and great grandmothers, great-great grandfathers, our great-great grandmothers.

SCENE 8
(evening of day 4)

(Truce and Animal are playing a game of Chess. Vera, George and Diamond are playing dominoes.)

ELAINE
(holding Raphael and rocking him as he sleeps) Heís just exhausted, and hungry and weak.

GEORGE
What was your dream Pookie?

ELAINE
Donít call me that.

GEORGE
Pookie, come on, what was your dream?

ELAINE
Hush. Iím not talking to you, you made the child cry.

GEORGE
Poooooookeeee. (tries to hug her)

ELAINE
Get away. Big Daddy ... Mr. Washington we are not at home. (pause) Gone itís all gone.
(rocking quickly)

GEORGE
Oh, you know I love it when you call me big Daddy. Tell me what was your dream home Pooo-

ELAINE
Donít call me that, youíll wake the boy. And why waste a dream on a home. You rent what you can afford.

GEORGE
But throw caution to the wind.

ELAINE
You mean the hurricane.

GEORGE
How many stories? A swimming pool? You used to talk about it way back when we first were together. With a Jacuzzi tucked nearby, a rock garden pathway, kissed along the way with monkey grass and stately rooster combs. A house flanked with huge yellow budding rose bushes, two circus tent sized weeping willows. We used to dream about the changes weíd make.

ELAINE
You know what Iíd change. You know exactly what Iíd change.

GEORGE
Donít go there woman. After 40 years if it ainít broke then why mess with it?

ELAINE
You asked about my dreams. You asked about my dream home.

GEORGE
As long as weíve been together. Forty something odd years. And you still dream the same olí naggy whining dream.

ELAINE
Whatís wrong with my dream? Mister, I wanna be a mad scientist patent pending Nobel peace prize winning ainít never gonna happen wanna be Einstein inventor.

GEORGE
Why you gotta dis my dreams?

ELAINE
And why you gotta dis mine?

(RAPHAEL wakes up)

ELAINE
I gave up on my dream. Dreams should never depend on other people. They will only disappoint you. Dreams are a wasted life. I think the young people make a lot of sense. Life is about action. America is about action. When America ceases to act, it ceases to be America.

TRUCE
August 29, 2005. America just stopped being America. Check.

VERA
America canít just stop being America.

GEORGE
America is an ideology.

RAPHAEL
You mean America is an idea? Iím not an idea. Iím not just a thought.

BOB
America is a democracy.

TRUCE
What was democratic about the Katrina catastrophe?

ANIMAL
Or September 11 for that matter.

RAPHAEL
Well in some ways they both were very democratic. The people are all equally dead.

CHIEF
(putting up a Tee Pee)
Itís in the rescue where equality has failed.

GEORGE
A strong nation is built on its imagination and its ability for negotiation.

CHIEF
Is the white man still negotiating with beads? And whiskey?

BOB
A nation is based on commonality. Commonality of territory, commonality of political system. Commonality of law and language. Commonality of ethnicity, traditions and interests.

CHIEF
Commonality based on genocide? Stolen territory, propaganda ridden political systems? English as the universal language? Whose interests? Whose traditions?

BOB
Bottom line itís a shared community of citizens willing to accept one another.

ANIMAL
Thatís not the America I know.

TRUCE
Checkmate.

ANIMAL
You cheated man, you cheated.
(tosses the game off of the table)

VERA
We pride ourselves ... I pride myself on my ability for tolerance.

ANIMAL
Tolerance is not acceptance.

ELAINE
Tolerance equals co-existence. It doesnít equal community.

RAPHAEL
Chief, one of the worst feelings in the world is the feeling of being tolerated. At school, I think that some of the teachers only tolerate us Black kids. They donít really want us there. One day the other three black kids in my class were out with the flu for a whole week. I was at the teachers desk and I wasnít meaning to look but she had emailed one of the other teachers and it was still on the screen, it said, ďThis week is heaven without the three little monsters.Ē And Chief, this same tolerance some how gets passed down to my friends. At least I think they are my friends. If it's an odd number for choosing teams, Iím always the odd man out. The last one chosen. Then they tell stupid racist jokes like IĎm not even there. Chief, do you know how to get a Black man out of a tree?

CHIEF
I donít know son. How do you get a Black man out of a tree?

RAPHAEL
Cut the rope.

(TRUCE bursts out laughing)

DIAMOND
Thatís not funny.

RAPHAEL
And I didnít even get it. My mom had to explain it to me, about lynching and tarring and feathering.

CHIEF
Iím sorry.

RAPHAEL
I know the other students can tell that the teacherís only tolerating me. By her actions. Itís the way the teacher leans away from me when I come to her desk, and crosses her legs away from me if she has to sit next to me. Itís how she puts her arm around the back seat of other students and lets them into her personal space. She never lets me go into her personal space.

CHIEF
Youíre a smart boy.

RAPHAEL
Chief? Can I tell you a secret? Iím suppose to be on medication. But for two years now, I have been tricking the teachers into thinking Iím taking it. Iíve got a sock full of Ritalin in my locker at school. Every now and then I have to act bad so that the teachers donít get suspicious. I even have gotten good at pretending I canít read. I think drugging kids is one of the new ways that America negotiates. I begged my mom to take me off of the medicine. But she gets a check every month since I am considered attention deficit. They are buying some of the parents off. Chief and I have a friend who sells his Ritalin. But thatís wrong. So I just sock it everyday.

ELAINE
What are you two so chummy about? Time to get your rest, so you can have energy in case they come tomorrow.

(RAPHAEL nestles up with Chief in his tee pee for the night)

VERA
Arenít they beautiful. Why does everything have to be black and white, black and white. Why canít everybody see past color? I do.

ELAINE
Personally I see because of color.

VERA
I donít see color. I just see people. I see people and all people are people.

ANIMAL
(getting his hair combed and braided by Diamond)
I feel sorry for you. All you Bushatoid, left-wing conservatives with your right hand fingers crossed behind your liberal backs. Thatís just like saying I just see flowers, and all flowers are flowers. Or I just see animals and all animals are animals.

DIAMOND
That means that you miss out on the iris and the magnolia and the African Violet and the fall mums. You miss out on the cocker spaniel or the German shepherd.

AMIMAL
(lights begin to fade)
The lion and the muskrat, the blue jay and the eagle or the humming bird and the toucan. The quail and the ostrich. The peacock and the elephant. Youíre saying you canít tell Mother Therea form Coretta Scott King or ... or ...

RAPHAEL
(peeks his head out of the tent)Ellen Degeneris Or Ellen DeGeneres from Oprah Winfrey.Ellen Degeneris (lights out)

SCENE 9
(morning of day 5)

(DIAMOND, RAPHAEL, TRUCE AND ANIMAL are playing a game of Trouble. Audience hears the sound of the game as the lights come up.)

VERA & BOB
(playing scrabble)
I pulled an X, you pulled an F. You go first.

BOB
J-U-G-H-E-A-D.

VERA
Jughead.

BOB
Add it up, baby, add it up.

VERA
Thank you for the 'U'. Q-U-I-Z.

BOB
Iíve only just begun, D-A-Y-B-R-E-A-K, daybreak, add it up baby.

VERA
You provided the H, now I have the U-R-R-I-

BOB
Thatís not how you spell hurry.

VERA
C-A-N-E. Hurricane.

GEORGE
Tell me again. Your dream house.

ELAINE
You know I never dream about things.

GEORGE
Okay, what was your dream job.

ELAINE
Dream job? Never dreamed about that. I always knew what I wanted to be. A nurse. I knew how to get it. So whatís the use of wasting a dream on it? Go to school, keep my grades up, graduate high school, go to nursing school, graduate ... voila, a nurse.

VERA
Didnít you ever dream of becoming a doctor?

ELAINE
Nope. I wanted to be a nurse. So I became a nurse.

DIAMOND
Animal, I landed on you, you have to go back.

GEORGE
Well, who would be your dream man?

ELAINE
Dream man? Now thatís another story.

GEORGE
(preening as if describing himself)
Strong, sense of humor, beautiful soulful eyes, charming smile, debonair.

ELAINE
Well, Iím still dreaming about him.

RAPHAEL
1,2,3,4,5,6 -- Go back, Animal, go back.
(tickles Animal under his chin)
Coochee, coochie coooooooooo

ANIMAL
I quit. You cheated. (making fun of his name) Ray---field.

RAPHAEL
No I didnít, I didnít cheat, I landed on you fair and square. Coochie coochie coooo? I beat you?

ANIMAL
Get away from me little boy.

DIAMOND
Donít mind him, heís a sore loser.

ANIMAL
Weíre all losers stuck up in here.

GEORGE
Ah Pookie, why you gotta act like that? My dream woman was you, always was you, always will be you.

BOB
Same here. Vera is my dream girl.

VERA
And you are my dream boy, I love you Bob.

BOB
And I love you Vera. Well look at this. L-O-V-E-R. Add it up, baby, add it up. The great American philosopher and writer Henry David Thoreau said, ďLove is an attempt to change a piece of a dream world into reality."

VERA
And you are my reality.

ANIMAL
Ahhh, ainít that real sweet, all lovey dovey. When the real reality is that we are dying off up in here.

VERA
The real reality is the heat index in this attic is bad for old folks and children.

ANIMAL
And me.

DIAMOND
It's bad for all of us.

ELAINE
Change the subject, thereís a child present.

ANIMAL
Ignoring reality doesnít make it go away. Unlike love. If you ignore love it will eventually go away. But not reality. Iím thinking, Iíd rather take my chances out there.

DIAMOND
In all that filth and stench. Youíd just become another floating body. At least in here you have us.

ANIMAL
I donít have you. Heís got you.

TRUCE
Aw man, what you trying to say?

RAPHAEL
(pulls on Animal's sleeve)
I donít got nobody either.

ELAINE
You have us, little man. Letís talk about something else. Vera, what did you dream about as a little girl?

VERA
When I was young, one Christmas I dreamed that I wanted my very own transistor radio in a black leather pouch. And I got it. I listened to it at night under my pillow with an earplug. Black shiney, fit right in the palm of my hand. Iíd use my thumb to change the channels and my pointer to set the volume and it had a little black switch to change it from AM to FM.

RAPHAEL
A transistor radio? Never heard of that. After you got that, then what did you dream for?

VERA
My very own black and white TV.

RAPHAEL
Black and White? A Zebra TV.

GEORGE
No son, the picture, the images were all in black and white and grey tones.

RAPHAEL
Get out of here.

VERA
Yep, black and white, thatís all they had back then.

BOB
Did you dream?

GEORGE
Well ...

ELAINE
Gone and tell them. Them Big Daddy. Tell them your dream.

GEORGE
Naw, yall will just find it funny.

VERA
No we wonít.

ELAINE
Yes you will. Gone and tell them, hee, heee, heeeee.

GEORGE
See how you do me. What kinda way is that to treat your dream man.

ELAINE
I never said you was my dream man. You are a dreamer, but you shoí ainít my dream man. Thatís all you ever did was dream. Dreaminí of owning a boat ...

GEORGE
A yacht woman a yacht. Not a boat. Any olí man can have a boat. Not just anybody can own a yacht.

ELAINE
And thatís exactly right, thatís why you never ever had one.

GEORGE
Donít you get me started.

ELAINE
Donít you get me started. Ya dreamer. Gone, tell the folks. Tell the folks Big Daddy, what your dream is.

GEORGE
Gone woman, mind your own business.

ELAINE
Tell em Big Daddy, or Pooookieís gonna tell them. He ... wanted to be a ... a ...

GEORGE
An inventor there, I said it.

ELAINE
More like a mad scientist.
(laughing) And his mentor? The one and only George Washington Carver.

RAPHAEL
But heís dead.

ELAINE
Precisely, just like your dream. Even wanted to change his name to Carver.

GEORGE
Woman.

ELAINE
Donít you woman me. Itís your dream. Your Dr. Jeckyle and Mr. Hyde, mad scientist dream.

GEORGE
Pookie ...

ELAINE
Now what kinda name would that be. Pookie Carver.
(laughs)

RAPHAEL
Pookie Carver?
(laughs)

ELAINE
Yep me, Pookie Carver, who ever heard of such a thing.

GEORGE
See thatís why I never married you.

RAPHAEL
(comes up behind Mr. Washington and taps him on his back) You really wanted to be a mad scientist?

GEORGE
An inventor, an inventor. I could have changed the world.

ELAINE
(sarcastically)
Yuh, right.

GEORGE
Woman, America is what she is today because of magnificent black inventors. The broom, the iron, the golf tee, the stop light, the pace maker. The refrigerator, the fire fighters mask.

RAPHAEL
Did you know that it was a Black man that invented the super soaker?

ELAINE
Yep, and the super soaker changed the world.
(laughing real hard)

GEORGE
Okay two can play this game. Y'all know who her dream man is?

ELAINE
The ultimate, quintessential dreamer.

GEORGE
You ought to see the walls in our house. The dining room, the living room, all up and down the hall.

ELAINE
Stop.

GEORGE
She even has a paint by number that she did with her own little hands, hanging right next to the velvet portrait over the couch in the living room, next to a calendar with his picture on it. And in every purse she has a fan with his picture on it.

VERA
Elvis Presley. Next to you honey, heís the king of my dreams.

GEORGE
No, not Elvis Presley. The other king, the other dreamer.
(making fun)
I have a dream. That one day, little black boys and little blaaaaack girls will one daaaay walk haaaand in hand.

ELAINE
(icily)
He had a dream that changed a nation.

GEORGE
(making fun)
Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiíve been to the mountain top, aaaaaand Iíve seeeen the other side.

ELAINE
Iím gonna show you my other side.

ANIMAL
And look where his dream got him.

ELAINE
(to Vera)
What else did you ever dream about?

VERA
I always had a secret dream of wanting to be a woman who mattered.

RAPHAEL
Like Oprah Winfrey?

VERA
Or Barbara Jordan, or Condoleezza Rice.

RAPHAEL
But those are Black women. You wanted to be a black woman?

VERA
I always dreamed that if your life mattered it didnít matter what color you were.

ELAINE
True, that. If the truth really be told, dreams have no color boundaries.

VERA
You may dream in color. But color never limits your dreams.

GEORGE
Iím like my boy, George Bernard Shaw.

ELAINE
Oh no, not another George

GEORGE
Some men see things as they are and say why ... I dream things that never were and say why not?

ELAINE
Okay Mr. Scientist. What did you ever invent?

GEORGE
(ignoring Elaine)
Dreams keep your mind sharp. Dreams motivate you to stay alive. Without a dream there is no reason to get up.

ELAINE
Responsibilities. Thatís reason enough to get up. Some times you gotta get up, just cause you gotta git her done. Life is not a dream. Itís about gittin her done. Diapers are not dreams. Ear infections, strep throat, and shooing away childhood monsters in the night, thatís real. Thatís life and life is Ďbout gittiní her done. Being a doctor, a lawyer, Martha Stewart, Mandela, Donald Trump, Jesse Jackson, thatís about gittiní her done.

GEORGE
All that I have a dream fol-d-rol... King was about Gittin it done.

ELAINE
Marching, police dogs, jails, fire bombings of little innocent children that was not a dream. Assassination, thatís no dream. King wasnít a dreamer, he was about gittiní it done.

VERA
Without his dream, youíd still be riding the back of the bus.

BOB
Whew, it sure is getting hot in here.

TRUCE
We do still ride the back of the bus.

ELAINE
But thatís by choice. Not by law. His dream was about the right to have a choice Your right to a quality education. And you, Big Daddy, made the choice not to even finish high school, you made the choice to drop out. There was a time the law said you had to drop out and you couldnít legally get a high school educationÖ

GEORGE
Dream killer, thatís what you are. Dream assassin.

ELAINE
Inventions are real, the golf tee, the traffic light? Thatís real. Peanuts are real.

RAPHAEL
When are they coming? Iím so hungry.

ANIMAL
Itís hot. This heat alone is gonna kill us. Iím really considering taking my chances out there. Americaís not coming. Bush doesnít care about me.

RAPHAEL
Yes he does. Heís our President.

ANIMAL
The only reason Bush would ever care about you is for a photo opportunity.

RAPHAEL
(to Elaine)
How long is it gonna take for America to come, Mrs. Washington?

ANIMAL
(sarcastically)
How long? Too long.

RAPHAEL
(turns on the radio, music is playing)
Theyíre playing music now. Does that mean theyíve forgotten us? (lights fade slowly out as music continues to play on radio)

ACT II

SCENE 1
(day 6)

(RAPHAEL has taken off the cover to an electrical fan & is spinning it with his hands)

ANIMAL
White man, what do white men dream?

BOB
(wearing an Elvis Presley type jump suit) Uhhh, just things.

TRUCE
Nothing you boys would be interested in.

VERA
Young men, honey, not boys. Tell them.

BOB
No Vera.

VERA
Show these young men a thing or two about your dream.

BOB
(Does Elvis Presley impersonation)
Blue, blue, blue suede shoes.
(Hitís a Johnny Travolta pose. Sings in high Bee Gee voice)
You can tell by the way I use my walk Iím a womanís man, Iím a womanís man

TRUCE
Your dream was to be a singer?

BOB
Back up singer.

TRUCE
(standing by Bob)
Oh, oh, I heard it through the grape vine, that no longer would she be mine

BOB
(doing Temptations move, gets real excited)
I heard it through the grapevine that no longer would she be my baby, baby.

VERA
Careful.

TRUCE
(rapping while Bob is doing Travolta moves)
You can tell by the way I live my dreams
Iím a playah man, Iím a playah man
Places to go and dates to keep
No time to sleep, my loviní is deep
Liven large 24 seven
You playa hate but thatís okay
We love the shorties any olí way
You may never understand
So dream your dreams weíre making plans
Ah, ah, ah, ah dream yoí lie, weíre making our plans
Ah, ah, ah, ah dream yoí liiiiiii-ie
Dreamin yo lie weíre making our plans

BOB
Boom, boom-boom, boom boom-boom
Shugahpie honey bun
You know that I love you
I canít help myself
I love you and nobody else
(does real fancy move, then drops to his knees, falls forward)

VERA
His heart, his heart. Heís diabetic. Weíre out of M&Mís, anybody have a stick of gum, anything, sugar, sweet ...

BOB
Theyíre not coming.

VERA
Yes they are.

BOB
They wonít come in time for me.

VERA
Somebody, help me, help me. Help me please? Youíre not going back out the window.

RAPHAEL
(spins fan toward Bob)
Donít die, donít die. Iím sorry, Iím sorry I ate the last M&M.

BOB
I ... I, have to go. I canít die up in here.

VERA
Then Iím going too.

BOB
Nobody knows weíre here. I have a note in my pocket, theyíll find you, they will.
(he staggers to the window)

VERA
Nooooooo!
(lights out)

SCENE 2
(day 7)

RAPHAEL
(takes out a pocket knife and joins Chief who gives him a stick to whittle)
You know the favorite part of my day at school?

CHIEF
(whittling)
Math and science.

RAPHAEL
Not really, cause the kids call me a geek, a nerd, the jocks call me Erkel. I really hate school. I get stuffed in my locker a lot. Once in gym, my backpack ended up in the toilet.

ANIMAL
Hey little Erkel, I can help you with that. Itís all in how you carry yourself. In how you walk. Here walk this way.
(does a gangstah walk)

(RAPHAEL tries to imitate but is unsuccessful)

ANIMAL
No, no, no. I gotta take you back to the basics. We better just teach you how to stand tough, before you trip and hurt yourself. Let me see how you stand. No not like a girl. Stand with your legs apart.

(RAPHAEL stands straddle with his arms folded across his stomach)

ANIMAL
Little man you stand like you have a stomach ache. Cross your arms up high. And then watch the enemy walk by.
(walks past Raphael)

(RAHAEL watches Animal pass by turning his whole head)

(ANIMAL walks by and smacks Raphael on the forehead)

RAPHAEL
Ow.
(squats down holding his forehead)

ANIMAL
Stand up little man, stand up, never show youíre weak. That didnít hurt you.

RAPHAEL
Yes it did.

ANIMAL
Raphael, no it didnít.
(pinches Raphael real hard on his arm)

RAPHAEL
Ow, ow, ow, that hurts.

ANIMAL
(smacks Raphaelís forehead)
But I thought you said that hurts.

ELAINE
Stop it. Leave the boy alone.

RAPHAEL
Is nobody really coming to get us?

ANIMAL
Our great lady says, Give us your tired your poor, your huddled masses longing to breathe free. They say itís not a black/white issue as the reason they havenít come. Weíre huddled up in here breathing this stale air, smelling the putrificaion of deathís bondage all around us, and letís just forget Iím black. Iím still waiting because Iím poor? Sooo Iím suppose to say. Oooooh America, itís okay that you donít care about me because Iím poor. Whew. For a minute I thought you didnít care because Iím black.

TRUCE, DIAMOND
(step dance/stomp/Black College marching band movement combination)
I have a dreamÖI have a dream
Dream-a-Dee, dream-a-Dee, dream-a-dee dream dream dream
Dream-a-dee, dream-a-dee, dream-a-dee dream dream dream
Dream-a-dee, dream-a-dee, dream-a-dee dream dream dream
Dream-a-dee, dream-a-dee, dream-a-dee dream dream dream
I have a dreamÖI have a dream
Dream-a-dee, dream-a-dee, dream-a-dee dream dream dream
Dream-a-dee, dream-a-dee, dream-a-dee dream dream dream
Dream-a-dee, dream-a-dee, dream-a-dee dream dream dream
Dream-a-dee, dream-a-dee, dream-a-dee dream dream dream

ANIMAL
Itís time out for kiddie dreams. He needs to be a man. Okay, little man, letís try this again. You stand with your legs apart. Arms folded high, watching the enemy go by. You gotta watch him in a way that he doesnít know youíre watching him.

RAPHAEL
But what if itís a girl.

(ANIMAL smacks him on the forehead again.)

RAPHAEL
(grabs his head)
OwÖI meanÖthat didnít hurt.

ANIMAL
Now say, You wanna piece of me?

RAPHAEL
You want a piece of me?

ANIMAL
Louder.

RAPHAEL
Do you want a piece of me?

ANIMAL
Wanna, wanna, not want a.

ELAINE
(pulling Raphael away from Animal)
Stop it. You said once that you hated school, but there was a favorite part that you liked. What was that?

RAPHAEL
(in angry gangstah pose and in angry tone imitating Animal)
Back off lady, you wanna piece of me? My favorite part was at the end of morning assembly. When errr-body, the janitors, the teachers, the principal, jug head jocks, the kids in the wheel chairs, even the deaf kids, and the cheer leader types and us geeks, the nerd herd, weíd all say together on one accord, I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND TO THE REPUBLIC FOR WHICH IT STANDS ONE NATION UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL. My favorite part was saying UNDER GOD. Now you wanna piece of me?
(breaking gangsta pose, looks at Animal)
Howís that?

ANIMAL
Good job little man. But when youíre strong you donít care what other people think.

ELAINE
You are strong because ... you DO take into consideration what other people think.
(stands toe to toe with Animal, with hands on her hips)
Leave the child alone. Now, ya wanna piece of me?

ANIMAL
No ma'am.

ELAINE
Then leave the boy alone.

RAPHAEL
Mrs. Washington, howíd I do? Was I tough? Did I scare you?

ELAINE
(still standing toe to toe with Animal, Animal backs away)
Your pledge was beautiful. And no, you didnít scare me.
(black out)

SCENE 3
(evening of day 7)

ELAINE
(has the can of pork and beans)
Vera, eat something.

VERA
Give it to the child.

ELAINE
Youíll die.

VERA
My life left me when Robert left. What was your dream?

ELAINE
Never mind that. Some dreams are best forgotten.

GEORGE
Tall, dark and handsome.

ELAINE
Forgotten.

GEORGE
(making motorcycle noises)
Varooom, Varooooom

ELAINE
I ainít playiní with you.

GEORGE
Vaaaaaaaroooooooom

ELAINE
Okay, whenís my birthday?

GEORGE
Donít start.

ELAINE
You started it. Come on scientist, you remember formulas. But tell me when is my birthday.

GEORGE
February.

ELAINE
February?

GEORGE
March?

ELAINE
Hah, itís not March, thatís your motherís birthday. Feb. 7th, three days after yours. It has never changed, dreams change, but not my birthday. Ya dreamer.

GEORGE
If man hadnít of dreamed, Columbus would never have discovered America.

ELAINE
If youíd stayed in school you would know that Columbus didnít discover America. Ainít that right Chief?

(CHIEF is standing over Vera who has quietly died)

SCENE 4
(day 8)

ELAINE
Whereís Animal?

CHIEF
Gone.

DIAMOND
Gone?

TRUCE
He couldnít take it any more. Waiting to die. He said his dream has always been to die doing and not to die waiting.

DIAMOND
But weíre not going to die.

TRUCE
Weíre not going to die.

RAPHAEL
(to CHIEF)
America isnít a dream. We studied democracy this year in school. America is government of the people, by the people and for the people.

TRUCE
Of some people, by some people, and for some people. We hold half truths to be self evident yadda, yadda, yadda.

RAPHAEL
Thatís not what it says.

TRUCE
What?

RAPHAEL
Thatís not what it says. It doesnít say yadda, yadda, yadda. It says: when in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and Natureís God entitle them, a decent respect of the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation ...

TRUCE
Okay, little man, okay.

RAPHAEL
But it doesnít say yadda, yaddy, yadda. It says: We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are
(does the Harlem Shake)
Life
(pops his collar)
Liberty
(C-walks)
and the pursuit of Happiness. It doesnít say yadda, yadda, yadda.
(imitating ANIMAL)
That to secure these rights, these rights, these right-right-rights
Governments are in-in-instituted among men, men, men
Deriving their just, ju-ju-just powers from the consent of the gu-gu
Governed, the governed, theeeee governed
Thatís the people, people, you, her, him everyone in this room, me. And Iím not a dream.
(strikes a rap pose)

TRUCE
Ah, my little man, but to some people you are Americaís nightmare.

(Door bursts open loudly and two armed looters stand with guns)

LOOTER A
Everybody down, Everybody down!

(CHIEF steps into the shadows)

LOOTER B
DownÖdownÖNOW

LOOTER A
Whereís your food?

LOOTER B
You heard the man. FoodÖwhere is it. And water.

LOOTER A
Speak up or somebody dies, somebody dies. Y'all got any drugs up in here?

BOB
Hold up, young man. Slow down before someone gets hurt.

LOOTER B
Hurt? Iím in the killing business
(hits George with gun)
That hurt?
(puts gun to Georgeís head)
This is killing.
(shoots gun just past him)
Now, food, water, drugs.

ELAINE
We have nothing. Weíre dying here.

(RAPHAEL moves close to Mrs. WASHINGTON)

LOOTER B
So what have I got to lose.

LOOTER A
Well lookie, lookie what I got here. This outta be fun. I saw your little ďhelpĒ sign on the roof. Iíve come to rescue you. Iíve come to save your day.
(grabs Diamond and kissed her on the lips)

(TRUCE stands up)

CHIEF
(dressed in Indian Chief attire, holding a bow at his side, arrows are in a quiver on his back)
Let her go, now.

LOOTER B
(laughs)
Hi-ho silver, if it ainít Tonto.

LOOTER A
How Kemo Sabe
(kisses Diamond again)

CHIEF
Take your hands off of her.

LOOTER A
Dream on Indian man.

(TRUCE lunges at Looter A)

LOOTER A shoots Truce. Diamond runs toward Truce)

CHIEF
(chants)
Dreama, dreama, dreama
(he reaches behind his back and draws an arrow)

(LOOTER B laughs)

(CHIEF shoots Looter B with arrow)

(LOOTER A fires 2 times. Looter A is aiming gun at CHIEF. Diamond, screaming, gets in the cross fire and is shot. Second bullet hits Elaine)

RAPHAEL
(covered in blood because he was standing by Elaine when she was shot, he jumps on Looters AĎs back)
I have the right as an American to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. And the constitution says that I have a right to declare war ďwhenever any Form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the people to alter or to abolish it" -- it doesnít say
(stabs looter 3 times)
yadda, yadda, yadda.

(lights go out)

SCENE 5
(day 8, a few minutes later)

(Chief and George are inspecting the damage and dragging bodies toward the window)

ELAINE
(huge blood stain on her dress)
Big Daddy, Pookie needs you. Iíve been hit.

GEORGE
Elaine? No, my lady, my sweet life, Oh ... oh ...

CHIEF
Give me something to stop the bleeding. Hurry, she is losing fast.
(RAPHAEL grabs towels and gives them to CHIEF)
Sheís not going to make it.

GEORGE
Yes she is. Pookie Ö Iím coming. Itís your dream man.
(gets the wedding dress and pulls it on Elaine, he pulls up the motor cycle.)
Will you marry me Pookie ... Elaine, will you marry me?

GEORGE
Chief, come here now. Marry us.

CHIEF
I am not a -

GEORGE
(grabs CHIEF)
Man to man, do this.

GEORGE
Here, my queen. Your dream. To be made an honest woman. And you wanted to ride down the aisle on a motorcycle. See Iíve got it all right here. Right here. Your knight in Harley armor.
(he and CHIEF help her onto the bike)
Do it, Chief, do it.

CHIEF
Do you, Ms. Washington, take Mr. Washington and do you Mr. Washington take Ms. Washington, til death do you part?

GEORGE
I do ... say it Poookie, say it. Pookie? Say it ...
(he sobs)
I waited too long. I waited too long. And it was an easy dream, and I waited too long
(she begins to slump off of the bike, she is dead, Chief goes to grab her)
Donít touch her. She is my bride. I will handle it.
(George takes her to the window)
(to RAPHAEL)
Do better, little America, do better.
(he Exits with Elaine out of the window)

SCENE 6
(day 8)

(Only Chief and Raphael are left. Raphael is dressed like Chief in full Indian attire. Chief doesnít have on the head dress. Chief is putting war paint on Raphael as they listen to the radio.)

RADIO VOICE
(static) ... knew this would happen. Who builds a city of this magnitude in a bow. (static) a huge study over a year ago. This very scenario was predicted (static) reported to the President (static) how America looks to the rest of the world.

CHIEF
The great America receiving aid.
(turns off radio)

RAPHAEL
This canít be happening, can it, Chief? Not in my America? They are laughing at us. The other countries are laughing at us.

CHIEF
Sometimes laughter brings a person to her knees. It's been a long time since America has been brought to her knees.

RAPHAEL
What about September 11.

CHIEF
September 11? That only caused America to lower her head for a moment.

RAPHAEL
Do you think this will make America put prayer back in school?

CHIEF
Do you pray in school?

RAPHAEL
I used to at lunch, but my teacher said we shouldnít.

CHIEF
Is this your America?

RAPHAEL
(Raphael goes to window)
Help us, help us!
(goes to attic door)
Help us, help us
(goes to edge of center stage facing audience)
Help us.

RAPHAEL
(doing an Indian dance with his pocket knife used to stab the looter)
Inter face with face
Saving face, saving grace
For the big face off
I am in--yo--face---

CHIEF
What do you have there, Little Chief?

RAPHAEL
My pocket knife ... my daddy gave me for Christmas.

CHIEF
You used it well, my brave. Itís good to have a good father. May I see it?

RAPHAEL
For what? You know ... I really donít know my daddy. My mother gets me things for my birthday and for Christmas and says its from my father. I know itís not, but it would hurt her feelings if I told her that I knew the truth. Sure you can use it.

CHIEF
Let me show you something.
(uncovers totem pole, he begins to carve)

RAPHAEL
What are you doing?

CHIEF
Leaving a message.

RAPHAEL
Whatís it say?
(CHIEF steps aside)
Little Chief 9/11/05, is that me?

(CHIEF nods and gives back the knife)

RAPHAEL
Thatís a good idea, just in case we donít ... or they donít find ...

CHIEF
Theyíll know you were here.

RAPHAEL
Is it true, Chief, that all tribes did not have totem poles?

CHIEF
True that. This attic has many things that represent many aspects of America. A totem is something that a group of people have as their sign. Something that the people have a kinship with.

RAPHAEL
I think Americaís dreams are the totem that unite us. This is an attic of dreams. We should carve everybodyís name. Diamond and Truce. Animal, Mr. And Mrs. Washington, Mr. And Mrs. Smith, Big Chief ... You know what? We need to get more names because we never know...

CHIEF
You never know.

RAPHAEL
(walks out into the audience, he is showing major exhaustion from lack of food water and proper rest)
Hey whatís your name?
(get the audience memberís name, then goes and carves it on the totem pole, goes back out into the audience, get 2 more names and goes back on stage, carves them into pole)
Iím tired now. Very sleepy.

CHIEF
Stay awake my little brave, stay awake. You mustnít sleep. Sing me a song. Do you know ... HOME HOME ON THE RANGE?
(sings)
Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam, where the deer and the antelope play. Where seldom is heard, a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day.

RAPHAEL
Home, home on the range, where seldom is heard, a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day.
(they sit in silence)
Chief? Iím hungry. Chief? My mama said that when she was little, they prayed in school every day. And even before they ate, the whole class would sing what she called a Ďgraceí. Chief, Iím hungry. Real hungry. Do you know this song?
(sings)
Thou art great and thou art good. Lord we thank thee for this food. By thy hands have we been led, give us Lord our daily bread, give us Lord our Daily bread. Aaaaaahhhmaaaan.

CHIEF
No, I donít know that one. But you make even me hungry.

RAPHAEL
Chief, we learned in school that Indians had a pouch that they wore around their neck and that they kept medicines and beef jerky in it when they went on long hunts.

CHIEF
(pretending to have a pouch and pulling something out)
Want some?
(pretends to have a pouch and pulls out an imaginary piece of beef jerky, he takes a bite and pretends to chew, then offers one to Raphael)
EAT.

RAPHAEL
(joins in the pretending, he imitates Chief)
Ah, buffalo. Takes like chicken.

CHIEF
Ah, green apple.

RAPHAEL
Ahhhhh, strawberry banana.

CHIEF
Ahhhhhhhhh, egg foo yong.

RAPHAEL
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, original recipe Kentucky fried chicken.
(starting to nod off to sleep, wakes with a start)
Daddy? Daddy? Oh, it's you Chief. Who will keep Americaís dreams if America stops dreaming?
(lays his head on Chiefís lap)

CHIEF
God bless America, land that I love, stand beside her and guide her through the night with the light from above. Through the mountains, through the prairies, through the oceans, white with foam. God bless America ... my
(RAPHAEL is asleep. CHIEF puts on Indian Chief headdress and fades into the back ground.)

(Door bursts open, and two NATIONAL GUARDS are standing in the door)

(RAPHAEL jumps up, grabbing bow and arrow)

FIREMAN
Itís okay. Weíre here, weíve come to get you out. Are you here alone? He canít be more than 11 years old.

NATIONAL GUARD
Itís a shame, all those bodies floating outside. Man itís got to be 120 degrees in here.

RAPHAEL
America? Is that you? Identify yourself.

FIREMAN
Heís delusional, dehydrated, give him some water.

NATIONAL GUARD
Son, itís okay.

RAPHAEL
Stand back, I have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

FIREMAN
Itís okay. We heard you singing.

RAPHAEL
Identify yourself, are you America?

(ANIMAL Enters)

FIREMAN
We heard you singing. God bless America.

RAPHAEL
God bless America, My ... Chief? Chief? What have you done with Chief?

ANIMAL
Hey little man, its me.
(squats down to RAPHAELíS level)

(RAPHAEL approaches Animal, bow and arrow drawn and aims it at Animalís heart)

(ANIMAL arms opened out wide)

RAPHAEL
(very menacingly)
You want a piece of me?
(louder)
I said you wanna piece of me?
(lowers arrow slowly in left hand, he tries to smack Animal on the forehead)
Wanna piece of me?
(crumbles to the floor in exhaustion)

ANIMAL
(catches him and picks him up in his arms)
I came, didnít I? Through the mountains, through the valleys, through the ocean white with foam...

FIREMAN and GUARD
God bless America.
(They Exit through the audience)

CHIEF
(blending in next to Totem Pole like waxed figure, shaking rattles)
My home sweet, home.
(Indian drums are heard as lights slowly fade out)

CURTAIN CALL

(Actors Enter, except for RAPHAEL, each giving a statistic surrounding the Katrina disaster and then sit in audience, as a montage of power point photos and statistics from the Katrina Disaster are shown, as well as those who helped. The music is Jimi Hendrix playing the Star Spangled Banner, and Indian drumming sounds ending with an Indian Flute version playing Amazing Grace.

RAPHAEL
(Enters)
America is not a dream
(points at Audience)
Because I see you, touch you, taste you, hear you and I feel you clearly.
(He sits on edge of stage and Sings America The Beautiful.)
Oh Beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain. For purple mountains majesties above the fruited plains, America, America, God shed His grace on thee and crown thy good with brother hood from sea to shining sea.

(All Actors join in singing and Exit the theater, joining hands with audience members as they exit)

END OF PLAY










Women's Lives, An American's Eyes | Pyroglyphics: A Gallery | Arriving at a Hyphen |

The B Word | Media Glance: "Friends" - If You Can Take It

 

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