This is the 10-Minute Play I wrote for the 2015 Trafalgar 24 Play Creation Festival – a fundraiser put on by DRIFTWOOD THEATRE.
Leaving Driftwood Manor was written on Thursday March 6th – and performed 6 times in front of a rotating audience of approximately 300 people on Friday March 7th. It was performed at Trafalgar Castle, in Whitby, Ontario.
This play is copyright protected. It can be used royalty free, with prior written permission. please contact me at kevintcraig @ hotmail.com
TITLE: LEAVING DRIFTWOOD MANOR
EMMETT ROBERTSON (Written for Shane Patrick McClurg for Driftwood Theatre’s Trafalgar24)
CARTER ROBERTSON (Written for Andy Pogson for Driftwood Theatre’s Trafalgar24)
DESCRIPTION: Emmett Robertson is finished with his home life. He’s ready to leave it all behind. If only he could.
SETTING – COMMON ROOM in a mansion
EMMETT [Standing at fireplace. Frustrated]: Father, father, father. Why? After all these years, you still lurk? [Waits a couple beats] I know you’re there. Leave me alone. Once and for all.
CARTER [Comes out from behind the wall]: That seems harsh, Em. How could you say something so—
EMMETT: It’s Emmett. I’ve told you. Numerous times. Not Em.
CARTER: Why are you so intolerant of me, Emmett? Haven’t I always had your best interests at heart? Don’t I cater to your every whim?
EMMETT: I can’t do this anymore. I want to leave this place. I need out of Driftwood Manor. I feel trapped. Smothered.
CARTER: I know, I know. No longer the little boy who ran these halls terrorizing the staff. No longer the boy who went hysterical with joy at the sound of my voice. I know, Em. [Stops himself] Emmett. You don’t need me anymore. I read you loud and—
EMMETT: That’s not true. I’ll always need you. But I need to have my life. I need to leave this old house and all the memories trapped inside it. I feel like the house itself is eating me alive.
CARTER: You always loved Driftwood. You wanted everything that went with it. You used to practice saying your name like an aristocrat because of this house. Emmett Forbes Robertson the third. Never mind there was never a first or a second. Or that Forbes is something you picked up out of thin air because you thought it had a nice ring to it. You were the Lord of the manor.
EMMETT: That was before I realized there could be life beyond these walls. “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” You used to quote that all the time, didn’t you? Well, I’m ready. To give up my childish ways.
CARTER: Am I one of those childish ways? Because, for me, there is no life beyond these walls. My God, Em. Why now?
EMMETT: It’s been ten years.
CARTER: No. That’s not possible. It couldn’t be.
EMMETT: You abandoned our family that day. Just like that. You can try to be the superhero father figure all you want. It will never change the outcome. You checked out. One day there, the next day gone.
CARTER: Emmett, please. I never once left your side. Haven’t I always been here for you? Haven’t I spoiled you your entire life?
EMMETT: It’s not the same. And you know it. You can’t leave this house. It wears you like… like you wear it. You’re one. And you’re trapping me here with you.
CARTER: Leave, then. If that’s what you need to do. Who am I to stop you?
EMMETT [Shakes his head. Discouraged]: You just don’t get it. You ruined my mother. Destroyed her life. All the good you do in the world will never change that fact. She’s destroyed. I want to get her out of here. I will find a way to get her to leave here.
CARTER: Em, you can’t. You must make her stay. We must convince her it’s the only way we can still be togeth—
EMMETT: No. Dad. It’s my decision. If you were really around—around all the time—you would know she’s incapable of making decisions. She’s practically incapable of getting out of bed in the morning.
CARTER: If she would just see me, it would be different.
EMMETT: She’s never going to see you. Don’t you get it? She’s done.
CARTER: What if I was the one to leave? Would that convince her to stay? Convince you it would be okay for her to stay?
EMMETT: We both know that won’t happen. That can’t happen.
CARTER: This house has been in our family for five generations. Driftwood Manor is part of who we are.
EMMETT: That’s the problem. It possesses us. But there’s life outside these walls. And, unlike you, I want to find it.
CARTER: I didn’t mean to, Emmett. I swear to God and all things holy and hellish. I did not mean for it to happen. If I could turn back time, I would. Oh God, Em. There are so many things I would do differently. Please believe me.
EMMETT: Dad, please. I don’t want to blame you. I know it wasn’t your fault. You can’t be held responsible for the outcome. But it’s still there. It’s as final now as it was then. I need to get her out.
CARTER: Please. Your mother loves this house.
EMMETT: My mother has been virtually catatonic for ten years. Ten years. You don’t know anything about her. You only have to listen, to hear her crying. She never stops.
CARTER: I know I love her. And I know that when we took over this house from your grandfather, we had the world in our grasp. Your mother was the happiest soul on earth. We had so many plans.
EMMETT: And every single one of those plans came to nothing. This house hasn’t changed a bit since you got your hands on it. Strike that. It’s fallen into ruin. It went from being the most beautiful home in the city, to being something Miss Havisham wouldn’t be caught dead in.
CARTER: Don’t say that. It’s still as beautiful as it was the day—
EMMETT: And speaking of Miss Havisham, that’s exactly who Mom has become. Only, her knight in shining armour actually married her. He gave her a son. He showed her happiness before he ripped it all away.
CARTER: Please, Em. You’re tearing my heart out. I can’t bear to hear these things.
EMMETT: You need to hear these things. You need to listen to her wails as they fill up the night. You gave her everything she could ever dream of and then you systematically tore it all away from her. There is nothing left of my mother.
CARTER: If I could take it all—
EMMETT: Back, you would. I know. I know. I know. But you can’t.
CARTER: If you get her out of this house, I won’t see her anymore. Is that what you want? If you get out… I won’t see you.
EMMETT: Maybe I shouldn’t see you anymore, father. Maybe neither of us should. Maybe it would be healthier for us if we didn’t.
CARTER: I couldn’t bear it.
EMMETT: It’s always about you, though, isn’t it? You can’t bear it. Maybe there are other people in the world who can’t bear things, father. Maybe my mother can’t bear it.
CARTER: I’m sorry, Em. I’m so sorry.
EMMETT: I want to get her out. I want to get myself out of here. Before I become—
CARTER: Me. I know. I know. Before you become me.
EMMETT: Yes. That much, you understand. I’d do it to save her. And to save myself. If I only knew how. Why?!
CARTER: With no regard for me, you would do it.
EMMETT: Don’t talk to me about regard. Don’t. Even. Attempt it.
CARTER: I would have done anything to prevent it. Anything.
EMMETT: And yet, you did nothing.
CARTER: You were so young.
EMMETT: I was.
CARTER: You still are. You talk as though you’re old now.
EMMETT: This house takes the best of what we are and it swallows it whole. I can’t let it take Mom down any further. I want her to have a chance before it’s too late. She’s going to wither away and die in this house.
CARTER [Looking off into space, ignoring Emmett]: If you can’t make your own beautiful son a paperweight and have him ground you to the earth like a string on a balloon, what else is there? I was desperate to be rescued. And you were so precious, Em. So precious. I thought having you in my life would somehow rescue me.
EMMETT: Dad, stop. I can’t hear anymore.
CARTER: You can’t want to take her away from me.
EMMETT: I never like telling you this next part. Because I love you so much. But you always forget it. You never want to hear it.
CARTER: I don’t know what you mean.
EMMETT: Yes you do. You put it out of your mind intentionally to stop the pain.
CARTER: I never meant for it to happen. If I could take it back, I would.
EMMETT: You took me with you, Daddy.
CARTER: No. Stop talking, Em. Please. Stop talking. I can’t bear to hear it.
EMMETT: I can’t bear it, either, Father.
CARTER: I don’t want to know.
EMMETT: But you have to. I don’t have a chance in hell of getting out of this house, and you know it. And neither do I have a hope in getting her to leave. As much as I’m desperate to get her out.
CARTER: The house will rescue us.
EMMETT: No, dammit. It didn’t rescue us then, and it sure as hell can’t rescue us now.
CARTER: Then you will let her stay?
EMMETT: Did you not just hear what I said? I can’t save her. And yet, can you hear her crying? She has no one. No one, Father!
CARTER: I can’t bear it.
EMMETT: In all the world. No one.
CARTER: She loved having all this. Us. Driftwood Manor. Her life. Her family.
EMMETT: And now she’s stuck with it. With only a house. With nobody to help her out of it. Trapped.
CARTER: No. I won’t hear it.
EMMETT: You know the truth, Dad. You lurk around corners waiting for me to talk to you. But you never hear what I have to tell you.
CARTER: We can all be happy again. We can save your mother together.
EMMETT: She is beyond being saved, Dad. You took away the only thing that mattered to her. The day you killed us, you sealed her fate.
CARTER: No, Em. No. I can’t bear it. No. It can’t be true. No.
EMMETT: And ours. [Exits.]
If you choose to use this play, please email me to let me know where you are in the world. (-:
If you’re in Ontario, don’t forget to check out Driftwood Theatre this summer in a park near you! They bring HAMLET to Ontario parks this year! Look for the Bard’s Bus! Click the image below to learn all the details!