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Yesterday, Starring A Woman Named California Red by Joseph Robinson - HTML preview

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A Drama and Dark Comedy in Two Acts


Yesterday, Starring A Woman Named, California Red

Written by Joseph Robinson III

This play has no previous production history

Copyright © 2016 Rewrites in 2017 and 2018 by Joseph Robinson III CHARACTERS




BARISTA — Female


LISA (Voice Over) — Female

SAMMY — Male


AA MEMBER — Female

TERRY — Male

LADY — Female


LENA — Female

TOM — Male


JAKE — Male

MARGOT — Female


• California Red is a typically kind and fun person, with a good job and a great husband…the event of “yesterday,” though is so great that she is crushed in spirit; like her father, Terry, California is mean when she’s angry.
• Pete Red, is California’s loving, wise, supportive, and at times facetious husband, who also is heart-broken by the driving event of the play.
• Micky Page is an all-star business man and friend of California, Pete, and Lionel.
• Sammy Leland is California’s fun-loving boss and friend.
• Lionel is a friend of California, Pete, and Micky; he is a typically kind person, and owns a software company.
• Terry is California’s father; he truly is a good man, but we find him very angry and having a severe internal conflict; this isn’t anything new to Pete and California; they know this side of Terry well.
• Lady is California’s sweet and honest mother.
• George Jr. is the son of George and is eighteen, smart, and in need of family.
• Lena is George Jr.’s super nice, yet tough, mother.
• Tom is calm, brilliant, and just. George is conflicted; he has done something wrong in the eyes of everyone, though he stands by his innocence; he is a person bothered mentally.
• Jake is a kind-hearted priest.
• Margot is a mother who has lost her only child; she is angry, saddened, and lost.
• The two baristas are proudly kind, vain, efficient, and politically correct.
• Lisa (V.O.) is the typical hard-working office assistant.
• The AA Member is outspoken and young.


The Next Day: A Prologue

Lights up. George and Tom in Tom's office.

GEORGE. I don't know why I did it, but, you know what, it's done - so let's move on. Soon.

TOM. It's not that easy, George.

GEORGE. You told me, "to the best of my ability" explain what I was thinking, and I believe, to the best of my ability, that I have done exactly that.

TOM. George, the problem is this: you just killed forty innocent people and then yourself - GEORGE. I know that!

TOM. Then do better! (Pleading.) Period.

GEORGE. I... (Beat.) I can't.

TOM. George, look, you hurt a lot of people and we have court in three days; try harder.

GEORGE. Tom, then you don't get it.

TOM. Then what am I missing?

GEORGE. Everyone has been in my head for years now, and after therapy, and drugs, I came to one conclusion: kill myself.

TOM. But you killed others also.

GEORGE. Because justice eventually came to that point.

TOM. Excuse me?


TOM. Whose justice?

GEORGE. Who cares?

TOM. Excuse me?

GEORGE. I don't know, God's, Satan's, the President's, no matter what, I was broken so I did what I did not to be broken. Am I sorry? Only if justice wasn't done. Period. Do you think I would just hurt people? I wasn't made for that; but honestly every bad thing I did I believe was warranted. These people tore me apart. I hurt just knowing that I existed there, or that they existed at all. Did they hurt me outwardly — physically? No. But I swear to you and to whomever is listening that they were there mentally. They were there, at that point, intentionally.

Wholeheartedly. I saw through them. They were two faced. All of them.

TOM. So, you killed them.

GEORGE. It's not that simple, but I only had one option. TOM. Murder is not an option, there are better ways - GEORGE. It wasn't murder! It was justice!

TOM. Whose justice?

GEORGE. If I do something that is bad, or evil, consider this: I believe in hell...I fear it. I work against it so I don't end up there. So, why would I do something that would take me there? I don't want to burn forever. Come on. I wouldn't do bad things when I could be hurt by it. Am I fearful of the truth? No. But murder is not my truth. Justice is. It happened because it should have.

Anything else is impossible. It happened because it should, not because it could. TOM. It happened because it should and not because it could?

GEORGE. Right.

TOM. You, maybe not tactfully or eloquent enough for the court, but still something case worthy, and in your favor, finally said something. Good job, Kid.

GEORGE. I don't follow you, sir. What did I say?

TOM. That's fine, don't worry about it, the rest is up to me. By the way, I have never lost a case.

GEORGE. How many cases have you worked?

TOM. About four billion. GEORGE. "About?" TOM. Technically.

GEORGE. What's "technically?"

TOM. Sometimes I view every case as one big suit.

GEORGE. Oh. (Beat.) Am I really dead?

TOM. Are you Superman?


TOM. Then you bet your ass, son. And, son, you died hard. You all did.


TOM. Oh, also, you're fortunate to be tried here.


TOM. Because it's my home and I know you'll be given an honest case.


TOM. Because I am everyone and everything. Consider this a blessing.

GEORGE. (Beat.) How many of you are there?

TOM. I lost count.


TOM. What?

GEORGE. Your home or not, everything is subjective. My life is still in the hands of someone else's opinion.

TOM. (Beat.) Duh.

Lights fade.



Another Next Day

Lights up. California and Peter at home.

PETE. Are you okay?

RED. I don’t want to talk about it.

PETE. Why?

RED. Because I’m angry.

PETE. California, then you really should talk about it.

RED. I’m mad.

PETE. Like crazy?

RED. Don’t be funny.

PETE. Then talk about it. Come on, California.

RED. Don’t “come on, California” me.

PETE. Listen, honey, we need to talk about this.

RED. Or you could just understand me and go away.

PETE. Understand what? Because I'm getting a whole lot of nothing from you.

RED. Just go away.

PETE. So, I'm supposed to know something and do nothing about it?

RED. Nothing is something.

PETE. Let me try this again: So, I'm supposed to know something and do nothing about it? (Silence. Peter can see he will get nothing else from her.) Fine.

RED. Alright, Pete.

PETE. Fine. (Under his breath.) Bitch.

RED. Fuck you, you motherfucker!

PETE. Whoa.

RED. Yeah, I said it. In the eyes of God!

PETE. Alright, Red.

RED. And you know what?

PETE. Please, tell me.

RED. Fuck him too.

PETE. Who? RED. God.

PETE. Why?

RED. Because yesterday sucked! (Beat.)

PETE. So? Yesterday sucked, so that means everyday now sucks? And it's God's fault? What does he owe you? Nothing.

RED. I thought God is in control of everything.

PETE. He is, but we have a choice.

RED. I didn't choose bad. I didn't choose this. I didn't choose yesterday.

PETE. That's not how that works.

RED. Enlighten me.

PETE. Red, sometimes really bad things happen because we live in a place where, at times, evil has an at bat opportunity and gets a home run. Some battles evil wins.

RED. And sometimes it's only good people who are punished. Who asked for that? No one. It's God's fault.

PETE. That's a poor way to view things. That's a poor way to view life. We may be powerless at times but come on, Red, we can either get busy living or get busy dying.

RED. (Beat.) Did you just quote Shawshank Redemption?

PETE. Look, and yes, but look, just because your yesterday sucked doesn't mean you can go around saying, "[eff] God."

RED. But it's his fault, Pater. So, I am going to say this one more time: Fuck! God! (She exits in a rage. Beat.)

PETE. (Looking up and speaking to, God.) By the way, Jesus, I'm not always with her.

Lights out.


Micky Page Get’s Coffee

Lights up. Micky is in line at a cafe about to order coffee; he is next.



BARISTA. Hi. How may I help you?

MICKY. I would like a…a…is a Venti a small? I rarely buy coffee.

BARISTA. No, it’s a large.

MICKY. To me it sounds small.

BARISTA. Grande is the small.

MICKY. That sounds huge.


MICKY. Good, because I’m becoming uncomfortable.

BARISTA. I’m sorry.

MICKY. Whatever, you're not the coffee king.

BOTH. That would be a lot of pressure.

MICKY. Right. Yeah, well, look, here’s the problem, I want a large coffee, but I want to sound impressive, I mean, at least to myself, I want to sound like some huge massive muscle—ly man, do you understand?


MICKY. And listen, I'm not arrogant, I'm just really down today. Now, with that said, I want a large coffee — a Venti — but I need you to say it’s a Grande when you call for my order pick-up.

BARISTA. But people will know that.

MICKY. What?

BARISTA. People know the difference between a Grande and Venti. They'll spot the cup and think we've gotten something wrong.

MICKY. (He thinks for a moment.) ...I don't really care. Besides, I didn't know.

BOTH. So, there must be other people who do not know.

MICKY. Correct. You're a - a winner.

BARISTA. The thing is, though, that could confuse new customers.

MICKY. Holy hell.

BARISTA. If they see it they may say it, and next thing you know, all we'll have here are huge problems. We're awfully vain here, sir. (Beat.) Proudly vain.

MICKY. You're awfully proudly vain?

BARISTA. (Happily and proudly.) Oh, yes.

MICKY. (Disappointed.) I'll never get what I want.

BARISTA. You could buy two grandes.

MICKY., no, that's okay, I only have fifty dollars on me.

BARISTA. Our grande is only $7.95.

MICKY. "Only?" If "only" you could hear yourself.

BARISTA. You're funny.

MICKY. Thanks. I appreciate that. I needed a boost.

BARISTA. Rough morning?

MICKY. Friend, you have no idea.

BARISTA. That bad?

MICKY. Yesterday was just awful.


MICKY. Yeah. Did you hear about the latest mass shooting?

BARISTA. I did hear that.

MICKY. This guy took a rifle into his place of work, killed forty people, and then himself.

BARISTA. I did hear that.

MICKY. These mass shooters somehow always get the order of things wrong. You're supposed to walk into an office building with an AK-47 - then kill yourself. Not others then you, just you... Your world is over, not ours. The thing about it is, and I hate to say it, but the truth is, that's my company he shot up. (Beat.) Yesterday sucked. (Beat.) Big time. (Beat.) I’ll have a large hot

black coffee, suck free, please. (He extends his credit card. The barista hesitates.) BARISTA. I'm sorry, about yesterday.

MICKY. We all are. (Meaning the deaths of the people.) So many people...too many people...look I need to go - but I still need that suck free coffee. Please take my card I'm dying here. (After a beat she does.)

BARISTA. May I have a name?

MICKY. Micky...better yet, call me, Yesterday Sucked...

BARISTA. I need to keep it p.c.

MICKY. What? I thought when Trump won p.c. died?

BARISTA. (Tickled.) That's not how that works.

MICKY. Well, it should. (Beat.) Fine, say, "Y. S.

BARISTA. Okay. (The Barista types in the name he gave, swipes his card, then hands the card back.) Would you like a receipt?

MICKY. Yes. (The barista hands Micky a receipt.)

BARISTA. Okay, your order will be up soon.

MICKY. What’s “soon?”

ANOTHER BARISTA. Grande black coffee for, Y. S.!


BARISTA. Yes, sir. We're proudly vain and proudly efficient.

MICKY. My god, you're like the Jimmy John's of coffee.

BARISTA. It is also just a black coffee.

MICKY. Simple stuff?


MICKY. I guess I'm a simple guy. (Beat.) Awesome. (He takes his coffee.) Have a nice day. BARISTA. Same to you. (Micky exits.) Next.



California Confesses

Lights up. California is in her office. She works. After a couple beats Sammy knocks on the door.

RED. (Presses a button on her office phone; it’s an intercom to her assistant.) Lisa?

LISA. Yes, Mrs. Red?

RED. I said to notify me when I have a visitor; who is knocking on the door?

LISA. Mr. Leland.

RED. Oh, alright. (To Sammy.) Come in. (Sammy enters.) SAMMY. California.

RED. Hi, Sammy.

SAMMY. Do you know why I’m here?

RED. To bother me, boss?

SAMMY. (He has no clue that her brother is the mass shooter.) To give you an opportunity to confess your sins.

RED. Just mine?

SAMMY. Or everyones, just be smart about it, no need to confess to crimes you didn't commit. Though...I could use a fall guy for an event back in 1997. (Beat.) What were you up to on May 10, 1997?

RED. What?

SAMMY. Never mind. Anyway, speak your mind.

RED. Alright, here I go: A good clean joke about death on TV is great to me, I masturbated 20,000 times before my first marriage, which is my current marriage, and my brother is a murderer. (Beat.)

SAMMY. Ohh-kaay. Look, Red, did I catch you at a bad time? Because I promise you, this confession game of ours used to be fun.

RED. (Sarcastic.) And right now it's not?

SAMMY. Right.

RED. (Sarcastic.) Dang-it. How dare I? Though, what if I'm not the problem?

SAMMY. In all my life I never seemed to be the problem, but here's a good question: Do you think it's me? Right now?

RED. (Sarcastic.) Hm. Maybe. Did I catch you at a bad time?

SAMMY. Red, what’s wrong?

RED. That shooter from yesterday?

SAMMY. That crazed guy who killed forty people in his office building?

RED. And then himself.

SAMMY. And then himself?

RED. Yeah, him.

SAMMY. What about him?

RED. That’s my brother.

SAMMY. Oh. Shit.

RED. Yep, just shit.

SAMMY. Holy, shit.

RED. You see, Sam, you really did catch me a bad tim..

SAMMY. Holy shit.

RED. Yeeeeep.

SAMMY. I… I’m speechless.

RED. Who isn’t?

SAMMY. Was he sick? I mean, actually crazy?

RED. I don't know.

SAMMY. Damn.

RED. That’s my brother. Look, no one truly knows why he did it...but he did it.

SAMMY. What are you going to do?

RED. I have to give a speech.

SAMMY. On the news?

RED. Yes.

SAMMY. Which one?

RED. All of them.

SAMMY. Knowing you they should make sure their seven second delay is working. RED. Shut up. (Beat.) SAMMY. Do you need anything?

RED. Like what?

SAMMY. "Like what?" I don't know, these conversations never get this far, or personal — though I love you.

RED. Give it a shot?

SAMMY. about a hug?

RED. (Beat.) What?

SAMMY. Do you need a hug?

RED. I'm sorry my ears must be clogged. Say that again.

SAMMY. Would you like a hug?