Here’s one of my 2 InspiraTO Festival plays from their 2013 festival. As always, I welcome others to use my plays. All I ask is that you email me for permission, so that I know it is being produced. Thank you! (kevintcraig @ hotmail dot com)
TITLE: WALK-INS WELCOME
©Kevin Craig 2013
ONE LINE SYNOPSIS: Cherie has an emergency hair crisis. Her name is not in the appointment book.
CHERIE: Disheveled hair. Frantic.
WANDA: Has attitude. Questionable intelligence.
DESCRIPTION: Cherie comes to the salon for a much needed but unplanned hair setting. She has to get past the centaur at the gate before anything else can happen.
SETTING: CURL BAR BEAUTY SALON (This was a site-specific play in the festival. It took place at an actual hair salon, but could be easily adapted to stage)
CHERIE (bursts into salon in a panic, heads for the counter): Please. Help me. I’m having a terrible hair emergency. (She holds her hair awkwardly, as though it may fall from her head)
WANDA: Sure, sweetie. My name’s Wanda. Name?
CHERIE: Cherie. Cherie Reynolds.
WANDA (hopelessly scours appointment book): I. Um. Hmm? Is that with an S?
CHERIE: C. Cherie. Cherry, hold the second R and switch the Y to an IE. (pulls at her hair in frustration, attempting to save it)
WANDA: Oh. Yes. I like that. Still. I don’t see it in the book.
WANDA: I cannot. Find. Your. Name. In the appointment book. CH, S or otherwise. You sure you’re not Violet? Because Violet would be early, but I could probably fit her in.
CHERIE: I’m sorry, but do you recall what I said when I rushed in here?
WANDA: Something like, (raises her voice in faux-alarm and waves her hands in the air above her head) “Please! Please! Help! Help me, help me. Emergency hair thing!”
CHERIE: Not quite. But that’s the gist.
WANDA: So, your name is Violet?
CHERIE: No. I told you. (fusses non-stop with hair) Cherie Reynolds.
WANDA: Your name’s not in the book.
CHERIE: Is that not what emergency means?
WANDA: No. I’m pretty sure emergency means a serious, unexpected and possibly dangerous situation requiring immediate atten—
CHERIE: Bingo! That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you.
WANDA: Well, I said your name wasn’t in the book and you said that’s what an emerg—
CHERIE: Please. No. My name’s not in the book. You can look all you want.
WANDA: Well, why didn’t you say so?
CHERIE: I’m having a hair emergency. You can’t book an emergency. They just happen.
WANDA: I know that.
CHERIE: I’m in desperate need of an emergency appointment. I need a hair medic now, as you can see.
WANDA: (looks at CHERIE’s messy hair) Do you have an appointment?
CHERIE: I’ve lost you again, haven’t I?
WANDA (puts a hand to her chest): I’m right here in front of—
CHERIE: I was hoping I could get in without an appointment.
WANDA: I’m sorry, ma’am. We require an appointment to see—
CHERIE: Oh good lord.
WANDA: Wednesday afternoonish sound good? Wednesdays are ideal for emergency appointments.
CHERIE: I. Don’t. Want. An. Appointment. Put your book away before I—
WANDA: You’re confusing me now, Violet.
CHERIE: My name’s not Violet! It’s Cherie. If I said my name was Violet, would you help me out?
WANDA: No, ma’am. At this point, we both know you’d have to show me I.D. to pull that off. Cherie.
CHERIE: Now you know my name.
WANDA: Hold the second R. That’s right (narrows her eyes at CHERIE).
CHERIE: (stomps her feet) I. Need. My. Hair. Fixed! I have a big night ahead of me. Have you ever had an ex, Wanda?
WANDA: (sudden change in personality. piqued) Well…yes. But I don’t see what that’s got to do with—
CHERIE: I mean, like, a real ex? Not some jerk who took you to the movies once and spilled an extra-large Coke in your lap. I mean a man you lived with, made a life with? Maybe married. That kind of ex.
WANDA (looks sympathetic. comes around to Cherie’s side of the counter): Yes, honey. I believe I have. You’re talking about a Mr. Right kinda ex…but the kinda Mr. Right that got away and left you flat.
CHERIE: Exactly. The man you picked out curtains and sheets with. Paint colours. Him. Tall…dark. Never-gonna-give-him-up.
WANDA: (stares off into the middle distance, remembering, and stage whispers dreamily) Terrance. (puts a hand on CHERIE’s shoulder and squeezes sympathetically) I’m there. I gotcha.
CHERIE: Imagine you have to go to a dinner party and your ex is also going to be there. With his new and strikingly beautiful fiancé.
WANDA: (gasps loudly) No! (puts a hand to her mouth)
CHERIE: (yanks at hair) Yes.
WANDA: He’s gotta see what he’s missing! Regret leaving. Beg you to take him back. So you can tell him, ‘uh-uh…you had your chance, Mr. Man!’ You get yourself into that chair over there (points to one of the stations). We’ll fix this up nice.
CHERIE: (elated) What about the rules?
WANDA: Rules are for times of peace, Cherie. They go out the window in times of war.
CHERIE: And Violet?
WANDA: Don’t worry about her. (she goes and locks the door, puts up the ‘Closed’ sign) You have a man to devastate, missy.
CHERIE: You saved my day.
WANDA: (goes to work on CHERIE’s hair) Don’t worry about that. Tell me what happened. Wait. (passes CHERIE her implements) Hold these. I’ll need my hands on my hips for this. (puts her hands on her hips while CHERIE looks on, perplexed) What’d he do?! (takes back her implements and continues to fix CHERIE’s hair)
CHERIE: The girl from the corner store by our condo.
CHERIE: Yes. I thought I could count on Marlin. (WANDA stops fiddling and has a look of shock on her face) He seemed so perfect. I was ready to—
WANDA: They’re aren’t many Marlins in this city that I know of. Only ever came across one myself.
CHERIE: No. Impossible. You know Marlin?
WANDA: There can’t be two of them, could there? I cut that man’s hair last Tuesday. Yes, and he was here with his sugar. Ooh. I would have slit his throat had I known.
CHERIE: (shrinks into her chair a bit) Well, maybe it was a different Marlin.
WANDA: Big ears, mole under his bottom lip looks like a—
WANDA: That man’s been coming in here must be ever since he hooked up with that willowy little girl he’s with. They always come together.
CHERIE: (Slinks further into her chair) This is doomed to fail.
WANDA: No, now. You sit up in that chair. We can do this. No man wants the bacon strip when he can have the pig.
WANDA: No, no. That’s a compliment. Sit down. That girl’s skinnier than a credit card. He’ll have some fun with them bones, but they’re too sharp to keep a man like that happy. He’ll want those curves of yours in no time. Just remind him you’re still there.
CHERIE: (nods her head, as though she sort of understands. sits back down.) What happened to ‘you had your chance, Mr. Man’?
WANDA: You’ll want to land him completely before you drop him like a glass doohickey. You’ll hurt him more if the hook’s set.
CHERIE: You’re being so nice.
WANDA: Well, I like fixing hair. And I like fixing hair for a purpose even more. If I can fix you enough to break this man’s heart, my work here will be done.
They both laugh.
CHERIE: I feel better already. Thanks.
WANDA: Hell with it. We have to look out for one another these days. You’re gonna step into that place tonight, and ole Marlin’s heart is gonna burst his chest. Mark my words.
CHERIE: I don’t think I could afford that kind of makeover. I just don’t want to look like a total wreck. Fix this mess and I’ll be forever in your debt.
WANDA: No. That’s not enough. We have to lay. Him. Flat.
CHERIE: (looking worried) No, no. Honestly, I just want to look like I’m keeping it together. Really…I’m fine.
WANDA: I should come. (starts to get a bit rough with CHERIE’s hair) I’ll put that man in his place. (reflexively takes some anger out on CHERIE’s hair) I’ll just keep scratching her name out of that book. She won’t get in like you did. I only break that rule for friends and no one messes with my friends.
CHERIE: Your what? Friend?
WANDA: He did not treat you right, sweetie. We can’t have that, now, can we? (looks unstable, ready to kill)
CHERIE: You know…if you could just quickly finish up here—
WANDA: (stops working on CHERIE’s hair) Oh my. I’m sorry. (looks into the mirror, so she can look CHERIE in the eye). I’m so sorry. (looks like she may burst into tears) I don’t know where I went there.
CHERIE: (relaxes noticeably) It’s okay. Clearly, you know what I’m going through. (smiles at WANDA’s reflection) You said something about Terrance earlier.
WANDA: Yes. We all have those men who break our hearts to cookie crumbs, don’t we? Terrance was mine. But I’m okay. Just lost my senses for a moment. (pauses and takes in CHERIE’s reflection) You’re looking better already. Why a little dweeb like that Marlin fellow would ever let you go, I do not know. Don’t try to understand men, sweetie. Soon as you do, they’ll change.
CHERIE: I didn’t mean to bring up—
WANDA: Old trash. That’s all you drug up. Old trash. No bother. Just do me a favour, once I’m done with you. You go to that dinner party head held high. You crush that man with your good looks. Make him realize his mistake. You’re a beautiful woman.
CHERIE: Thank you. (smiles) I’ll do my best.
WANDA: And then you’ll do better. (they share a laugh and WANDA continues to work at CHERIE’s hair.)