Going Home: A Comedy
Author: John Arnold
Genre: Play (Comedy)
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PLACE: A family vacation car ride from California to Michigan
with stops in-between
(The following roles can be doubled or tripled)
“DINAH SHORE”HUEY THE DUCK
MR. JOHNSON, THE MAILMAN
GREAT AUNT BEA
CHILDREN'S CHORUS (Singing) "Over the river and through the woods
To grandmother's house we go..."
"DINAH SHORE" (Singing) "See the U.S.A.
In your Chevrolet..."
CHILDREN'S CHORUS "...The horse knows the way
To carry the sleigh..."
"DINAH SHORE" "...America's the greatest land of all..."
"CHILDREN'S CHORUS "...Over the river and through the woods..."
"DINAH SHORE" "See the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet -
America's the greatest land of all!"
(She blows the audience a big kiss)
(There is the sound made by an alarm clock. Then...)
(Lights up. MOM enters carrying a Styrofoam ice chest and paper bag)
MOM (Calls off) Honey! Come on!
(DAD enters, carrying three suitcases)
DAD (Calls off) Hurry up! We got to make 600 miles today!
BILLY (Enters sleepily, wearing his jeans and still wearing his
pajama top) It's still dark!
DAD Oh, my God! He's still wearing his pajamas!
MOM (Helps him out of his pajama tops and into a shirt) Only part
DAD And his shoes aren't even tied!
BILLY I'm sleepy!
MOM (Tying the shoes) He's sleepy.
DAD My God, we got 600 miles to go!
MOM (Tying the other shoe) Are you excited about seeing Grandma and
your aunts and uncles and your cousins?
BILLY (Rubs his eyes) Uh-huh.
MOM Grandma's going to be so glad to see you!
MOM ...We haven't seen her in such a long time...
DAD (Looks at his watch) I want to get to Flagstaff TONIGHT.
MOM (Very seriously) Did you go to the bathroom?
MOM Number one or number two?
BILLY (Humiliated, softly) I went.
MOM Which one, honey?
DAD For God's sake. We don't need the details. Let's go!
MOM OK. (Indicates bag and Styrofoam chest) I've baked you brownies
and cookies and there's pop in there and things for a picnic!
DAD COME ON! (Goes off with suitcases. Mutters.) Holy s---
MOM (Holds a finger to her lips: "Not in front of the boy.") Honey,
shhh! (DAD exits muttering)
BILLY I have to say goodbye to Huey.
MOM Honey, you've ALREADY said goodbye to your duck.
MOM OK, but hurry up. You know how your Dad is. He wants to "get this
show on the road". (Goes off) We'll meet you at the car. And
HUEY, the duck, enters.
BILLY (Walks over and pats him on the head) Goodbye.
DUCK (Matter of factly) Goodbye. (To audience) I wish he wouldn't
pat me on the head.
BILLY The mailman is going to take of you while I'm gone. Mom and
Dad are paying him five dollars a week to change your water
and put your pellets in your dish every day. (Pets him again,
then walks away, then turns back.) Be good. (Exits)
DUCK (Shakes his "feathers") Be good yourself. God, I hate to be
The back seat of the car. MOM and DAD are in the front seat.
DAD is whistling "No Other Love". MOM is looking out the window. BILLY is
sprawled in the back seat.
MOM Mmm! Breathe that fresh air! (BILLY sticks his head out
the window. MOM pulls him back.) HONEY! Don't stick your
head out the window!
DAD Do you want to get it wacked off?!
BILLY Dogs do it.
DAD Well, you're not a dog. ...Now, sit back and settle down.
(Resumes whistling "No Other Love".)
BILLY I'm bored.
MOM (Turning around) Don't be silly. You can't be bored.
It's only been ONE hour since we left... (Turns back)
BILLY But I AM bored. And it's been FOREVER.
MOM Don't be silly. Why don't you work on one of your activity books?
BILLY I've already connected the dots. (Holds it out.) See?
MOM (Absent mindedly, looking out the window) Uh-huh.
BILLY (Turns a page) This is the Blue Fairy. (Turns a page) And this
DAD What happened to Pinocchio?
BILLY They don't have any dots to connect for him.
DAD Well, that's life. You're one top one day and the next they
don't give you any dots.
MOM Oh, they must have some dots for Pinocchio. Why don't you
you check it again?
BILLY Uh-uh! (Adamant, holds up book) You can look for yourself.
MOM OK! OK! I believe you!
His latest play is Going Home: A Comedy.
For More Information
- Visit John Arnold’s website.
By John Arnold
When I was an adolescent in southern California in the 1960s I subscribed to a monthly book club called The Fireside Theater. They published the texts of popular Broadway plays and musicals. I looked forward to getting the package every month because there was no way I was going to be able to go to Broadway – Broadway was coming to me.
It was a great idea – The Fireside Theater. As the famous American critic and author John Mason Brown was quoted on the back of every Fireside Theater book: “The Fireside Theater seems to be an excellent idea. It means the theater will once again be able to go on the road and to places seldom visited by it now. There is no reason why the theater in print should not win wide and devoted audiences among those who, for one reason or another, must do their theater-going at home.”
Sadly, The Fireside Theater no longer exists. But plays and musicals are still being published. And I’m still buying them and using my imagination to fill in the blanks, which is what I did when I first subscribed to the Fireside Theater.
When I got to see my first Broadway play (that I had read thanks to the Fireside Theater) – a touring company that came to Los Angeles – I was a little disappointed. The version I had in my head was better than what I saw on stage.
Reading a play is a little like listening to the radio. You see the people and places via your imagination.
I ended up writing my own plays. Some came to life on stage. And all are still on the page.
I’m hoping that readers will take a chance on my work, use their imagination to fill in the blanks and visit the theater in their minds.
It’s a great journey and a great experience to bring a play to life just by reading it.
John Arnold is author of “Autobiography of a Duck” and “Going Home” - available via Amazon.com. His blog is at http://johnharnold.wordpress.com.