A two-act play written by Bea Gardner and David Russell
Widows at the Club
The setting for Widows at the Club is a round table in a country club where three widowed friends in their 70’s have been meeting for cocktails and dinner every Wednesday since they met one another on the golf course some 40 odd years ago.
They talk about life, such as parenting that never ends, coping with technology, and things that were taboo way back when. Our three widows at the club are experimenting with the possibility of online dating.
In this two-act play, you will see that not all of our widows are eager to change. Rising to the challenge of one’s life after the death of a spouse can become a mixed bag of confusing possibilities.
Today, widows and widowers are increasingly evident in the over-seventy population. They have a plethora of common experiences and stories to tell. They are dealing with the complexities of living at a time when everything is changing faster than any of them would like.
Their remembrances of days past and their frustrations with their new lives in a world that seems intent on rushing by without them surely will touch everyone.
In Widows at the Club, Becky, Daisy, and Judith struggle with the concept of meeting a man online. In fact, they struggle with the thought of even wanting a man in their lives.
It’s funny It’s poignant It’s nostalgic
Copyright © 2020, Bea Gardner
-Widows At The Club could be staged with minimum furnishings. The entire play takes place with three elderly ladies conversing at a table.
-The play takes place in a four seasons town. There are minimal costume changes between scenes.
-This play also comes off well as a staged reading with an after talk session from the audience.
-Minimal casting required. Widows At The Club has only three elderly women on stage during the entire play.
Cast of Characters
75-years old. Jewish, department store owner. Tenacious, goal-oriented businesswoman who appears comfortable in any kind of leadership role. Widowed for six years.
72-years old. Housewife who uses her humor in a sarcastic manner. Loves golf and is learning pickleball. Widowed for 10 years.
74-years old. Catholic, retired prim-and-proper schoolteacher.
Widowed almost 2 years.
1st week of December at the Club
[Play opening. Becky and Daisy are sitting at their usual table at the club. Becky raises her hand and circles her wrist to indicate that their drinks can be delivered.]
DAISY: Our drinks at the flip of your wrist. You know, I think it’s amazing how you’ve trained the wait staff here at the club.
BECKY: I didn’t train them. They’re just giving us good service after all these years.
DAISY: I was just thinking about that the other day. We’ve been doing cocktails and dinner ‘most every Wednesday for about forty years. That’s almost two thousand Wednesdays and yet we’ve never run out of interesting conversation. And Judith is almost always late, now.
BECKY: Tonight, I wish Judith were here on time. I’m so excited to talk to both of you about something.
DAISY: What are you talking about?
BECKY: Darn that Judith. You’ll have to wait until she gets here.
DAISY: I love it when you get your panties in a knot. Come on, Becky, tell me what you’re so excited about.
BECKY: Let’s just wait for Judith. So, how was your Thanksgiving?
DAISY: Just like I expected! The grandkids are in their own world… texting, not talking, Heather’s husband is glued to a football game and she is busy doing all the work. … So how was your Thanksgiving?
BECKY: Well, you know Jacob couldn’t be there. I was hoping he and his partner could come but that would be dreaming on my part. Mason really enjoys being a part of our family, now. Rivka hosted the dinner and I met Zack’s new girlfriend. She was the highlight of the day. The rest of the weekend I spent organizing and discarding stuff. I was throwing out some old health magazines and I found an ad … a full-page ad … and there he was, the former presidential candidate, Bob Pineapple. … You know, Daisy, I find it hard to believe that a man who ran for president of the United States was advertising for a drug to give him an erection.
DAISY: Yeah, “hard” to believe, Becky.
BECKY: Good one, Daisy. Advertising sure has changed since we were kids!
DAISY: I can remember when advertisements on TV were done in song like… “You’ll wonder where dah dah dah dah, dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah.”
BECKY: Oh, yeah. The Pepsodent jingle.
[Listen to this to get the right tune. Anyone who is over 70 will know if you get it right. You Tube link for Pepsodent ad jingle in Act I - Scene 1]:
BECKY: We should make up a song for a Viagra Ad. Hmmm. Maybe it could go something like this: … “You’ll wonder where the drooping went, when you take blue pills, they’re heaven sent.” [Beat]
DAISY: Or … ”You’ll wonder when he went downhill.” [Gesture going downhill with drooping finger.] “Could he need the Viagra pill?” [Beat]
BECKY: Or … Elizabeth, Elizabeth, wherefore art thou? I took the pill and can do it, now!
DAISY: New career! We should be writing for TV!
BECKY: I don’t think TV is ready for us!
[Becky and Daisy are laughing out loud when Judith enters and signals for her drink.]
JUDITH: What are you two laughing about?
BECKY: We were just talking about E.D...
JUDITH: E.D.? Oh, I know two girls who have eating disorders. [Beat]
BECKY: Judith, we weren’t talking about eating disorders. We were talking about Erectile Dysfunction.
DAISY: I heard that men are dancing in the streets over Viagra!
BECKY: Oh, Judith!
DAISY: Becky, since we’re all here now, what do you want to tell us that had you so excited a few minutes ago?
BECKY: Oh, this is going to be great! Such fun!
DAISY: What’s going to be fun?
BECKY: Let’s do online dating!
BECKY: We can do this. We can do this. We can compare notes and share stories! I think it’ll be exciting!
BECKY: What? What’s the matter? You look like I just killed your favorite pet! Can’t you see the possibilities?
DAISY: Fun? You call that fun?
BECKY: It could be a shared experience! We can laugh! We can cry! We can live again!
DAISY: Live again? Mr. Wonderful sure didn’t make me feel alive! Why would I want to relive that?
BECKY: Oy, your husband really was a schmuck, wasn’t he, Daisy?
DAISY: Yep, once a schmuck always a schmuck. He was a good provider, but a sneak and a cheat. It’s no wonder he died of a heart attack while in bed with his mistress. … And now you want me to meet another man?
JUDITH: Don’t forget. You were the one in the Will. She didn’t get anything. Only a creepy visit from the police.
BECKY: Maybe you could find a real mensch that will make you happy one day. You certainly deserve it.
DAISY: Oh, yeah, riiight, I need a man in every corner of my bedroom and maybe two in the kitchen for good measure…Uh huh, like a hole in the head….
[Prop person delivers drinks. Ladies ad lib thank-yous.]
JUDITH: Becky, you’re always so busy at the store. What made you think of online dating?
BECKY: Well, when I met Zack’s new girlfriend at Thanksgiving dinner, I asked him how they met. He said they met online. I said, “Online? Like buying a girlfriend on Amazon?” “Gramma,” he said, “You meet them by getting on a dating site.”
DAISY: What’s a dating site?
BECKY: He showed me one and said, “You just fill out the application and that’s all there is to it.”
JUDITH: Well, if you want my two cents, I wouldn’t like to meet anyone that way.
DAISY: Face to face without any faces? I wouldn’t want to meet any man unless I could look him in the eye.
JUDITH: Don’t you think we’re too old to be dating?
BECKY: Okay. I got it. Let’s change the subject. You used to drink wine like the rest of us. Why the Vodka lately?
JUDITH: Well, I read that Vodka can increase blood-flow and circulation in your body which can prevent clots, strokes, and other heart diseases. Vodka can also help lower your cholesterol, and…there’s only 64 calories in a glass.
DAISY: My God! It’s healthier than a smoothie! Thanks, professor. Should we be taking notes?
BECKY: Judith, how was your Thanksgiving? Are you still killing yourself to do the whole dinner?
JUDITH: No, thank God. This year everyone brought a dish. All I had to do was cook the turkey and set things up. Oh, and clean up after they all left.
JUDITH: Dinner was great. Everyone had a wonderful time. Even Maxwell had fun. He couldn’t stop laughing. What a clown! Everything seemed to tickle his funny bone.
DAISY: When someone is in good spirits, look for the good spirits! [Beat]
[Judith gives Daisy a puzzled look]
BECKY: Not having Jacob and Mason here for Thanksgiving was a real downer. I miss them.
DAISY: You shouldn’t be surprised that they couldn’t get away at this time of year.
BECKY: I know. Of course, this is when department stores make their money, but I sure did miss having them at my house for a day or two. It was quiet and lonely and boring.
DAISY: If Jacob and his partner worked at your department store, would you be eager to give them time off?
BECKY: I suppose you’re right. With all the year-end sales and promotions, I need all the help I can get.
DAISY: Bet you’re a regular slave driver every year at this time.
BECKY: I can still dream, can’t I?
DAISY: Dreams aren’t reality, and reality is not a dream. Wow! Sometimes I impress myself! Deep thoughts from Daisy. [Beat]
BECKY: You can’t tell me that you don’t get lonely these days. Can you?
DAISY: The house does get pretty quiet with everyone gone, but I still have Heather and her kids nearby. I can go to her house and listen to the TV or the latest argument between her and her useless husband if I’m hungering for noise.
BECKY: I get noise all day at the store, but when I get home, I have no one to talk to. When I was the furniture buyer, Hershel and I decided that I should use my maiden name. Since no one knew I was the owner’s wife, …
DAISY: Oh, so you were Hershel’s spy in the store!
BECKY: Well, you might call me that. I’ll tell you it made for interesting conversation once Hershel came home.
DAISY: At least he came home!
BECKY: Now, I have no one to share the excitement of my day. Yeah, I do get lonely since he’s gone.
DAISY: I get lonely, too, since the schmuck is gone. But that doesn’t mean I want to meet a man. I still think all men are useless.
JUDITH: I sure could have used Archie when I had to clean the kitchen after everyone went home. The house was so quiet. And I did feel the loneliness. I must confess, I actually poured myself a glass of vodka.
BECKY: Vodka? The silence must have been overwhelming!
DAISY: So, my daughter is contemplating dumping her worthless husband and you want me to have fun finding a man. Becky, you must be crazy to think I would be interested.
JUDITH: I don’t know when I’ll ever be ready for another man in my life.
BECKY: Are you saying you don’t think this would be fun?
JUDITH: I’m not looking for fun in that way. I know I would never be able to replace my Archie.
BECKY: Are you two trying to say you don’t want to meet anyone?
DAISY: How did you guess?
BECKY: Well, I’m still curious. I want to see what it’s like. Why can’t we just pretend? You know, just check it out? We don’t actually have to go out on a date.
JUDITH: Okay, I’ll agree to play your game, but you know I’m not interested.
BECKY: We can pretend and still check out some dating sites.
DAISY: Becky, you’re not giving up on this, are you?
BECKY: I’m not giving up on something that we haven’t even tried yet.
JUDITH: Okay, okay, you’ve made your point. I’ve got a computer, so I’ll volunteer to check a few things out and I will even bring notes next week.
DAISY: I think we’ve just proven that we’re never too old to learn something stupid! [Beat]
JUDITH: I’m getting hungry. I think I’m going to have a personal pizza, tonight.
DAISY: I’m in the mood for a burger and fries. I’ll work it off at pickleball, tomorrow.
BECKY: I think I’ll have the mixed pair: Soup and Salad.
DAISY: There you go, again! Still pairing yourself up!
[Lights down and girls exit stage.]
End of Scene 1 – Act l
Scene 2 – Second week of December
[Becky and Daisy stroll in and take seats. Becky raises her hand and circles her wrist to indicate that their drinks can be delivered.]
BECKY: It looks like Judith’s late again … as usual. I wonder what her excuse is this week.
DAISY: Maybe she got tied up teaching knot-making to girl scouts. [Beat] Did you get a chance to read Judith’s Christmas newsletter?
BECKY: I did. … It sounded like it was written by a professional novelist.
DAISY: Well, what would you expect from a retired English teacher?
BECKY: Talk about perfect … every word and description sounded like the perfect family. Do you believe that anyone’s family can be that perfect? Oy, I should be so lucky! Her grandson made the football team, another one got tapped for National Honor Society, and she wrote about the cruise she took them on.
DAISY: Her Christmas newsletter sure did sound as though she was living in a perfect world. We know it’s not all sunshine and roses! What about that no-good grandson, Maxwell…the one who’s always in trouble because of drugs? [Judith enters.] Don’t you remember when he got picked up?
[Judith is still bundled up for winter.]
JUDITH: Hi girls, who got picked up?
DAISY: Uh … I was just telling Becky that … some young girl that I golf with was … telling me … that her brother just got picked up by a gal that he barely knows.
[Judith stands behind her chair.]
JUDITH: Hmmm. These girls today. … So brazen. [Purse hits table.]
BECKY: Judith, you’re late again. What’s your excuse this time?
[Judith is telling them why she is late while she is taking off her gloves, scarf and coat and tosses them on the 4th chair that sits empty. She continues standing until she finishes her story.]
JUDITH: Well, I was late because I had to get gas. It was one fiasco after another. First, I didn’t go to my regular station. I had to get out of the car to put my credit card in and I remembered that I forgot to reach under my steering wheel to open the gas tank. So, I got back in the car and pulled the lever. Then I got out again and put my credit card into the slot and the machine wanted my zip code. Honestly, I almost forgot my own zip code.
Well, I got through that hurdle and the next thing I know, it was telling me I have to pay inside. By this time, I had not pumped any gas and my hands were already freezing because I needed to take off my gloves to put the credit card into the slot and “remove quickly.”
So, I tried again, and it still said I had to pay inside. Hmmm. I went inside, gave the cashier my credit card and said, “I want to fill up my gas tank and that pump seems to not understand me.” The attendant said, “You can’t do a fill up on your credit card. … We can only put in a specified amount.” By this time, I’m getting frustrated, but I said, “Okay, … give me $20.00 worth of gas.”
He ran my card through for $20.00 worth of gas and out I went into the cold to squeeze the pump for my gas. At least at this point I had my gloves back on … and … [Judith sits, exhausted.] and that’s why I’m late.
New Works Initiative
Hello, David and Bea!
Thank you for your patience during the New Works Initiative selection process this year. We are now extending invitations, and I'll get right to it: I greatly enjoyed reading your New Works Initiative application and samples and I would love for you to join the 2021-2022 New Works Initiative!
The rest of this email is more procedural, FAQs, and the like, so before you scroll down, let me just say that I'm excited to work with you on developing your play based on "Bring it On...We're in Our 70s." I love the idea of the book adaptation, and enjoyed the concept you emailed over regarding these longtime friends sharing their lives with us and cajoling each other into the world of online dating. From your application, I got a sense that you're new to playwriting (if I'm wrong, please correct me), and I think the New Works Initiative will offer you a wonderful opportunity to experiment and develop your playwriting as you adapt Bea's book.
So what happens now?
First, after reading through the details below, please let me know if you would like to join the NWI this year. Just reply to accept your spot, and we'll go from there.
What does joining the NWI mean for you?
· You'll work with me and the other NWI writers to workshop your new play.
· We will schedule check-ins later in June, July, and August. Check-ins will be online meetings with me and other members of the NWI Writers Room to discuss projects, ask questions, get opinions; the option to share pages will be available. Check-ins will also allow us to make plans for casting for the workshops.
· FIRST WORKSHOP: The goal is to have a first draft of your play ready to workshop in August or September (we will set workshop dates as a group, including casting-needs deadlines; i.e. the date you need to finalize characters for that draft so we can cast readers ahead of your workshop). You can plan to workshop sooner, but I want to make sure all of the writers have time to get first drafts in order.
· Workshops will consist of area actors reading the script for you and the NWI Writers Room (NOTE: all playwrights are expected to attend each other's workshops to offer feedback, schedules permitting). Following the workshop reading, actors and playwrights will discuss the script using the Liz Lerman Critical Response Process as a starting point.
· Workshop participants will be limited to the NWI Writers Room, guest actors, and special guests (i.e. directors, respondents invited by playwrights).
· SECOND WORKSHOP: Second drafts would be workshopped 6-8 weeks after the first draft (we're building in flexibility as playwrights work at varying speeds) in the same format.
· Following the second workshop, a revision deadline will be set for the reading draft to be presented at Curtain Players.
· PUBLIC READING: We are working with Curtain Players to set dates for public readings of the plays (currently planned for January 2022).
· You will have the option of working with a director for your reading. If you have someone in mind, we're happy to bring them on board. If you'd like us to find a director, we can do that, too.
· The public readings will be music-stand readings, and we will coordinate with you, the director, and actors to schedule six hours of rehearsal prior to the reading (this will take place in December 2021 or January 2022).
· At the reading, we will lead a post-show discussion (also in the Liz Lerman Critical Response Process style) with the audience.
· Readings / feedback will be recorded and made available for viewing by donation on the Curtain Players YouTube page for a limited time (30-45 days). Following this limited-availability period, videos will be made private, but playwrights will retain access via password for personal reference / use.
· · CASTING NOTE: You do not need to (and may not) have the same cast from workshop to workshop. Casting will be subject to actors' availability. Playwrights and directors may have input on casting. If you have someone in mind for a specific role and they are available, we can work with them. If you need to hear someone else read a part, that's welcome, too. Actors will be informed in advance that workshop roles are not guaranteed for the eventual reading (nor are they required to commit to future workshops/readings), as this is a development process and sometimes playwrights need to hear other voices throughout that process. Actors interested in continuing on to future workshops/readings will be given first consideration by the playwrights/directors as future casting decisions are made.
· A note on OWNERSHIP: Please know that you retain full ownership of your play. Curtain Players requests the right to present a reading of your play and share an unlisted video recording of that reading/discussion on Curtain Players' YouTube channel for a limited time (access by donation only). Curtain Players does not guarantee future productions of any play developed in the New Works Initiative, but you (or a director) will certainly be welcome to submit your play to our season selection committee for consideration in a future season.
· A note on VIRTUAL vs. IN-PERSON: check-ins will be scheduled as online events to get started. First and second workshops may be online, but this will be discussed during our first check-in to determine when we would like to shift to an in-person format based on everyone's comfort-level (and what we find will be most helpful). We will schedule any in-person workshops based on location availability (if not at Curtain Players, workshops would be held at area libraries in central Ohio). The 2022 readings will be held in-person at the Curtain Players playhouse.
If you have any questions about the New Works Initiative or our goals for the 2021-2022 season, please let me know.
We're as excited as you to get started, and look forward to helping you develop your play!
New Works Initiative
Our staged play reading by three talented actors under the direction of Kathy Hyland is Saturday, January 8 @ 7:00 p.m. at Curtain Players Theater. Seating will be limited. Donations will be accepted at the door. Bea & Dave (772) 539-1877
Curtain Players 5691 Harlem Rd Galena, OH 43021 (614) 360-1000