THREE WOMEN - one-act play
The characters can be of any racial or ethnic background. However, Lisa and Dana should be of different colors.
Dana: About 15 years old. Between 5ft and 5ft 6 inches, weighs between 120 and 150 pounds. Non-white (but can be acted by a white woman). Shapely and beautiful, but lacks confidence. In top fashion that brings out her shape. Lots of make-up.
Lisa: Dana’s adoptive mother. Over 35 years. Over 5 ft. White (but can be acted by non-white). Beautiful, but lacks confidence. Comfortable attire. Make-up.
Angel: Student and Lisa’s tenant. Any age. Any weight. Positive, confident, radiates happiness.
Sister: Voice or live. Any age.
Modest living room. Upstage, 2nd wall, a wall mirror and large poster of a model in seductive pose face the audience. A three sitter is on the left of the mirror while two cushion seats are on the right. In front of the mirror towards the audience is a low table with different fashion magazines. Television.
Popular music is playing on the television.
Dana: This is my sanctuary. (Springs up from the couch, stamps her feet across the room and turns off the music) I can’t even have some peace in my sanctuary! (Walking back to the couch) Some sanctuary (Sneering at the place. She walks to center stage where she begins the monologue. She is restless and moves to different parts of the room as she makes her speech).
I can’t even have peace in my
The family room in the basement used to be my hiding place.
But Mom has just rented it to Angel.
We need extra money for my new school.
I don’t even like the school.
I would have dropped out, but it will kill Mom,
who is already wounded just as I am wounded.
Maybe there is a wound in our gene.
Mom is my adopted mother, so it
cannot be in the gene.
Maybe it is in the family – family of Mom and me.
Yes, it is in the family,
because our tenant, Angel, is not wounded.
Some name, Angel (She sneers).
I hate her for being so different
from Mom and me.
I hate myself.
Look at me (She surveys different parts of her body on the mirror).
Look at my cheeks (Touches her cheeks).
Too chubby, too full (She goes to the table and flips open one of the magazines. Facing the audience, she holds it up and reads. The audience views the cover – model in sensuous pose). According to this magazine “The perfect face has high cheek bones” (Goes back to the mirror). My cheeks puff out here and here (Touching her beautiful cheeks).
My hair (Runs her hand through her braids). It is just too wriggly (She picks another magazine from the table. The audience sees a thin model with curly hair).
The perfect hair should look like this. This model has the perfect hair (She flings the magazine to the couch. She picks another magazine and begins to imitate the poses of the models. Facing the audience, she strikes one pose. She goes to the mirror and strikes another pose backing the audience. Lisa enters).
Lisa: You are supposed to be at a school party. Are you okay?
Dana: (Flopping on the table). I’m so sad, Mom.
Lisa: (Throws her pocket book on the couch, and rushes to hold and feel Dana). What’s wrong?
Dana: I hate parties.
Lisa: That’s odd. I thought that you like parties.
Dana: Yeah. That’s the word, ‘odd’. I am odd. Mom, I’m the only 15 year old who does not have a boyfriend.
Lisa: That’s not true. Your friend, Jade is very serious with her books and games.
Dana: Jade does not want a boyfriend, but I want one. I want to make out like other girls. I want to be liked.
Lisa: Come here (Takes her to the couch. They sit). Listen to me. Look at me (Lisa has a surge of heat- hot flush – on her face). Oh dear! (Takes tissue paper from the table, and cleans her face).
Dana: (Getting up) You too are not happy, just like me. See how your face is sweating. You are menopausal. You are fat. You are unhappy. Maybe it is in the family (She is about to leave).
Lisa: Don’t talk to me like that!
Dana: Sorry Mom (Reaching out to hold Lisa. They hold one another). I’m just mad at myself, Mom and I’m so sad.
Lisa: Listen Dana, you are a very beautiful girl.
Dana: (Moving away from Lisa) In your eyes only.
Lisa: You are.
Dana: If I am beautiful, why don’t they like me?
Lisa: They like you. You have friends. The teacher said that it is a phase that will soon pass. He said that we should be patient. He likes you.
Dana: Why don’t the boys like me? They were all making out with beautiful girls (Lisa frowns). Nobody wanted me. And don’t tell me that making out is not good. It is in the magazines. Girls that are younger than me are making out in the magazines. If you don’t make out, they won’t like you. If they don’t like you, you won’t make out. I’m just a loser. I’m not pretty. I’m going out (leaving).
I need my mother. I need my
father to call me his angel. I want my mother.
I need Sister.
I need my daughter.
I need myself (Angel enters).
Angel: (Spirited and smiling) Don’t tell me that you are still worrying about your hot flushes.
Lisa: (Startled). Oh! Angel, you startled me.
Angel: You are worried about menopause?
Lisa: (Winces) I am worried about a lot of things.
Angel: You think that you are growing old, so you hate menopause (Keeps her back pack).
Lisa: (Hurt) Well. You can run your mouth like that, because menopause has not slapped your face as it slaps mine with hot flushes.
Angel: I’ll not take it as a ‘slap’ but as a ‘massage.’ I believe that it will massage my face with heat. I’ll think of it as a natural sauna. A natural hot tub. I’ll embrace it as part of me, part of my experience.
Lisa: You can say all that, because it is not yet time.
Angel: (Stylishly – walking, displaying, gyrating her hips, twisting her shoulders romancing the words. Lisa is captivated) I’ll embrace all the dimensions and stages of my womanhood as I transcend the labyrinths, the mystery of my being a woman.
Lisa: You got that from a book?
Angel: Maybe. Maybe not. It is not important where I got it from. It is important that I feel it.
Lisa: You are really a happy woman. That’s because you are so beautiful, and you are dating.
Angel: Thank you. You are beautiful also and you can date if you want.
Lisa: I’m not beautiful.
Angel: (Taking her to the mirror) Come and look at yourself in the mirror.
Lisa: I don’t want to look in the mirror with you.
Angel: Come on.
Lisa: Let’s look at you first.
Angel: (Demonstrating) Okay. Hips. Top of the line. Form. Top of the line. The right hair cut for my face. Top of the line. My steps (Walking to the rhythm of the words. Lisa is enthralled) - top of the line, top of the line, top of the line. My emotion – top of the line. My spirit – top of the line. Inside and outside – top of the line beauty. Now, your turn!
Lisa: (Subdued) I have no top of the line.
Angel: This is crazy. It is an illness not to see your beauty. Your attitude might affect your daughter. She keeps buying all these fashion magazines and trying to look like pictures.
Lisa: My daughter is already in serious trouble. She is not in school today.
Angel: Where is she?
Lisa: She just walked out on me.
Angel: Did you make her angry?
Lisa: No. She is just angry. She thinks that she is not beautiful and so she left the school. I thought that she would grow out of this teenage anxiety, but now I think that we have to go for therapy.
Angel: You can go to all the therapy you want. Both of you have to look inside yourselves and develop positive attitude to life. I am talking from experience.
Lisa: Do you mean that you were not always happy?
Angel: I have had unhappy times, but I try to shake it off. I have a positive attitude from my mother.
Lisa: Dana said that it is in the family (Dana shows her face, but the women do not see her. She listens to the women and withdraws at intervals).
Angel: It may be in the family, but I also work on it. If I tell you my sad stories, you will forget your menopause and pity me. But, I don’t want pity and I do not dwell on negatives. I just like life and happiness.
Lisa: How do you work on being happy?
Angel: It involves a lot of
things. It is based on the mind. I focus on the positives and ignore the
negatives. I work hard like you – work that I really enjoy. The empowerment classes that I take also hel
Lisa: So you learn to be happy from books and classes.
Angel: (Dana shows her face and listens to the speech) It is not as simple as that. If you take the college catalogue, you will see many courses. Just pick out the ones that appeals to you. If you enjoy it, it will empower you to be a better person and love yourself.
Lisa: I heard something like that from a nun that I used to know, before I adopted Dana.
Angel: Now I understand why you and Dana look so different physically. I used to think that maybe she looks like her father. Maybe you can tell me why you went into adoption, so that I can enrich my life with your experience of mothering.
Lisa: You; learn something from me?
Angel: Why not? Your experience is different from mine. The composition of your beauty is different from mine. You really have to make up your mind to look at yourself in a new way and see your beauty. You have a lot to offer.
Lisa: I’ve heard these words before but mold has covered them in my memory.
Angel: If you have heard them before and muck has covered them, then remove the dirt and radiate all the segments of your beauty. Try not to focus on the make-up of another person’s beauty or the standard defined in those magazines. There are good magazines that portray realistic women of different shapes and colors, but Dana buys these ones that have negative images of women. (Picking one magazine). Look at this picture - retouched to depict an unrealistic shape – chest that looks like a milk-factory in a shriveled land (Lisa begins to laugh). This one has scallywag body. This one has smooth flawless skin, but her smile in planted on a morose face. She doesn’t even look alive and lively like me (Dana withdraws).
Lisa: (Animated) Your psychology is inspiring.
Angel: (Laughing) My psychology is top of the line.
Lisa: (Getting into the mood) …top of the line. Which classes do you take?
Angel: I take classes from Psychology, Sociology, Women’s Studies, Ethnic Studies. The department doesn’t matter. What matters is that you select the courses that you like.
Lisa: They don’t teach these courses in high schools.
Angel: As a parent, you can link up with other parents and get the school to introduce new courses.
Lisa: Did you get this from a book?
Angel: I got it from the group work method in my class, but it does not really matter where I got it from. It is important that I know that joining hands with other people to solve a problem works, big time.
Lisa: It may take a long time to get Dana’s school to introduce empowerment courses.
Angel: You can look at my books – see if there are issues that you like, and we can discuss them.
Lisa: We can begin from here. I’ll cook dinner. Dinning and leaning.
Angel: We’ll make it a fun thing.
Lisa: Can Dana be in it too? (Dana peeps again).
Angel: Sure. It is for Dana and you and me. I’ll also learn a lot from both of you.
Lisa: (In a hurry) Let me go and look for my daughter, then I’ll come back and cook for us all.
Angel: I’ll come with you. Let us go to the park. There were some young people there when I was coming.
Lisa: (Taking Angel’s hand) Thanks for being a friend of my family - me and my daughter (Exit)
title: Three women by Chinyere Okafor
Last update: January 5, 2011
Web page by C. G. Okafor
Chinyere G. Okafor