I Am the Brother of Dragons
by Gillette Elvgren
In this drama, a family struggles to cope with drug addiction. Highly theatrical, the actors wear the masks that represent the many disguises they all assume in the dance of addiction.
From the Play: (copyrighted material)
(They all do a lot of doubling up.)
SCENE ONE: FAMILY PHOTO
(Simple set. Consisting only of four chairs MOM, DAD and SIS enter and take stylized pose. Mom and Dad stand behind. Masks will come off and on during the first scene.)
DAD:We’re your typical American family.
MOM: Church on Sundays.
DAD:Throw the ball around with the kid.
SIS: Bedtime stories. Did I ever tell you the one about . . .?
MOM: (Interrupted.) We do things together, like trips to the mall.
DAD:I got a minivan. V six. Bucket seats.
MOM: So we can rattle around, you know.
DAD: Smile! (Steps forward.) I work for Heinz in Pittsburgh. (Mask off.) It's not easy, with all the new things they teach kids in college these days. They teach those kids things that I've never heard of. You've got to keep on your toes, work hard.
SONNY/SIS:(Echo) Work hard!
DAD: He wants weights. (Sonny poses.) She's got to have ballet lessons (Sis poses.) and you want to go to where, Jamaica this summer?
MOM: (Mask off.) Frank, we don't see you anymore.
DAD:(Mask on.) We do things together. Like picnics, Memorial Day.
MOM: You fell asleep.
DAD:I was tired.
MOM: You drank a six pack of beer those big cans, Frank.
DAD:(Mask off.) That was six months ago.
MOM: You know what I mean.
DAD:No, I don't know what you mean.
MOM: Shhh! Don't yell. (DAD stops. Masks on. ) Smile!
(They pose again. Slower this time. MOM takes mask off, steps forward.)
MOM: It's a full time job keeping this family on the right track and moving along I wish I had the time. Frank does O.K. at Heinz (mask on in response to Frank), I mean he's a good provider. For all that we never seem to be able to make ends meet. So, I work too . . . I’m a travel agent. I'm the one who actually arranges vacations to all those far away places you read about. Exotic islands and beautiful cities. Those far away places seem so romantic. That's really what I love, deep down, Romance and adventure... (Mask on.) And the security of home, of course... So in my free time which isn't much I take out my lap top and work on one of my novels: Desires of the Islander. (SONNY and SIS pose.) It's one of those historical romances. But it's not trashy! Just fun, escapist stuff. I love that. That's why I want to go to Jamaica. It's so primitive and rustic -- not so many bars.
DAD:That's enough! Remember . . .
ALL:We're just one big happy family.
(Overlapping. SIS steps forward.)
SIS: They call me Sis, but my real name is . . .
DAD: Go ahead, Son. (SIS mask off.)
DAD:Tell them about yourself.
SONNY: I play football.
DAD:Should have been high school all American.
MOM: (Mask off.) But he didn't finish the season.
DAD: (Mask off.) He should have made it on the games he played.
MOM: (Mask on.) It was a pinched nerve, wasn’t it, Sonny?
(SIS sits down, defeated.)
DAD: (Mask on.) Well, there's always next year. He's going to be a Manager like me, right son? Go ahead, Sonny.
SONNY: (mask off. Flashes fingernails.) See? He's always talking about my fingernails. No matter how hard you scrub you never...seem.. I'm rebuilding a '77 Charger. It's older than I am. I keep thinking about the disco freaks that must have cruised around in that thing. (Pause.) I don't know, I'd like to go out West just fly. Spread my wings, just take off. Maybe I'll never get that Charger on the road.