princess perfect (scene 1)

By Gwen Bowman


SCENE 1

(A mostly empty stage. In left front stage, there is a comfortable chair. A woman, GROWN ALEXIS, sits on the edge of it, fidgeting a bit as she speaks towards the audience. There is a spotlight on her.)

                                                                GROWN ALEXIS
You know, Doc, I really don’t see how this is going to help me. Who gets better by listing off their problems? That’s just complaining. I get that you’re a trained professional and all, but are you sure that you know what you’re doing?

(Silence for a moment.)

Okay, okay, bad choice of wording there. I’m sorry about that. I’m sure that you are very intelligent and know what’s best. But I mean, come on. I’m only doing this because my fiancé is concerned for me. That’s the only reason I’m going to be playing along with your stupid little exercises. So… where do we begin?

(Silence for a moment as another spotlight goes on a man who comes onstage, on the right. It’s her DAD, who’s holding a small blanket in one arm. GROWN ALEXIS looks over at him, and then back at the audience.)

You… you already want me to talk about my father? I get that’s why I’m here, but still. How about we start with something else, work up to that? No? Not going to throw me some softballs? Alright, fine. Let’s just dive into the deep stuff.

(GROWN ALEXIS looks over her father for a moment before starting to speak.)

My father was a bit… particular, to say the least. I remember that as a kid, while at his house, I’d try to avoid him. Things didn’t always go well when he saw me.

(Stage lights go up as the DAD starts shaking out the blanket. An eight-year-old girl, YOUNG ALEXIS, runs onto the stage and ends up tripping over her own feet. She laughs as she pushes herself back up. Her jeans are torn, there’s mud all over, and her hair is a complete mess. She yells into the direction she just came from.)

                                                             YOUNG ALEXIS
Ha! I told you that you’d never catch me!

(At the sound of her voice, DAD stops what he’s doing and glares down at YOUNG ALEXIS, who has yet to notice him.)

                                                                      DAD
Alexis! What do you think you’re doing?

(YOUNG ALEXIS spins towards him quickly, surprised. She halfheartedly tries to brush some dirt off her knees.)

                                                              YOUNG ALEXIS
I’m just playing.

                                                                       DAD
Not again, Alexis. Look at yourself! You’re covered with mud!

                                                             YOUNG ALEXIS
Yeah, but so are Mike and Carson.

                                                                       DAD
Your brothers have nothing to do with this. Get inside the house right now and clean yourself up. For Christ’s sake, you’re supposed to be a lady.

(YOUNG ALEXIS follows DAD offstage, her head down. GROWN ALEXIS shakes her head at this as she begins to speak again.)

                                                                GROWN ALEXIS
That was one of my dad’s big problems with me, I guess. I wasn’t lady like enough for him. I was this clumsy, tom boy kid that wanted to run around rather than play quietly with dolls. It must have been quite frustrating for a man that wanted to raise a little lady and not… I don’t know, a ruffian. 

(DAD and YOUNG ALEXIS reenter the stage, stopping at the center. DAD carries on two chairs, and the two sit down in them. YOUNG ALEXIS now has a clean sweatshirt on over her dirty clothes, and is wearing a hat to try to hide her tangled up hair.)

                                                                          DAD
What have I told you about going out into the woods with your brothers?

                                                                 YOUNG ALEXIS

(As if she’s said this multiple times before.)

That I need to stay clean and not act like a hooligan.

                                                                           DAD
Then why weren’t you doing that?

                                                                 YOUNG ALEXIS
Because barbarians don’t act all nice and pretty.

                                                                           DAD
What?

                                                                  YOUNG ALEXIS
That’s who I was today. Carson was a wizard and Mike was an elf. We were fighting off the orc bad guys!

                                                                            DAD
Next time you play that game, you should play the princess that gets rescued by the brave knights or something like that.

                                                                  YOUNG ALEXIS
No, I can’t do that.

                                                                           DAD
Why not?

                                                                YOUNG ALEXIS
Because that’s not very fun.

                                                                           DAD
You can’t always have fun, Alexis.

                                                                 YOUNG ALEXIS
Why?

                                                                            DAD
Because you just can’t. How do you expect to stay decent if you get yourself dirty all the time while playing?

                                                                 YOUNG ALEXIS
I don’t care about that. And Mom says that it’s fine as long as I can clean up before I go to bed. And I’m not ready for bed yet.

                                                                             DAD
Those are the rules at your mother’s house, not here. Next time you come back here covered in mud, I’m banning you from entering the woods at all.

(YOUNG ALEXIS nods to show she understands as the GROWN ALEXIS begins speaking.)

                                                                   GROWN ALEXIS
I never really did figure out what the big deal was about me being clean. It was just really annoying. But honestly, he wasn’t all that bad when I was a kid. He actually did have a few sweet moments with me. Times that I can actually, ya know, cherish. There was this one thing… oh yeah, I remember.

(YOUNG ALEXIS pokes DAD on the shoulder.)

                                                                  YOUNG ALEXIS
Dad, how come you keep moving all the time? Like, aren’t people supposed to stay in one house?

                                                                            DAD
Not necessarily.

                                                                  YOUNG ALEXIS
But Mom doesn’t keep moving.

                                                                            DAD
Your mother and I are very different people.

                                                                  YOUNG ALEXIS
But don’t you want to just stay in one place? Moving everything around has got to be really tiring and confusing.

                                                                             DAD
You know, one day we won’t have to worry about that.

                                                                   YOUNG ALEXIS
Why not?

                                                                              DAD
Promise not to tell your brothers?

                                                                   YOUNG ALEXIS
Pinky promise.

                                                                           DAD
I’m going to build us a house, just as soon as I get the money to. It’s going to be out in the woods, with no nosy neighbors or street lights. It’ll be just us and the beautiful world around us. We’ll see the stars every night, it’s going to be so clear out. And the actual house itself? It’s going to be wonderful.

                                                                 YOUNG ALEXIS
How is it going to be wonderful?

                                                                           DAD
I’m going to make it huge. At least two stories high, with a bunch of rooms. When you’re there, you won’t have to sleep in a sleeping bag on the ground. I’ll make you your own room.

                                                                 YOUNG ALEXIS
My own room?

                                                                            DAD
Yes, your own. We’ll make it into a princess’s castle, because that’s what you deserve.

                                                                 YOUNG ALEXIS
That sounds so cool!

                                                                             DAD
You just trust your old man, he’ll get you your princess castle. That house is going to be the greatest one you’ve ever seen. Now, come on. It’s time for lunch.

(DAD and YOUNG ALEXIS leave the stage, leaving the chairs behind. GROWN ALEXIS walks over and leans on them, and sighs. Stage lights go out and spotlight goes up on GROWN ALEXIS.)

                                                                GROWN ALEXIS
That promise of a house really meant something to me. Even a stupid kid like me could realize that a house mean stability, comfort, safety. And it was something only me and my dad knew about. My brothers always had the better relationship with him, but only I got to know about the
princess castle room that would be out in the woods. This was special. This gave me some sort of hope that things were going to end up great one day. Just as soon as he got the money. That’s all I had to wait for.

(GROWN ALEXIS shakes her head and lets out a sad laugh.)

Well, I mean, I guess that if anything, that promise taught me how to be the most patient person in all the world, because it’s been 15 years and I’ve yet to be told to come try out my new princess bed.

(GROWN ALEXIS looks down to the ground.)

END SCENE