MP: (Raises voice, pointing at audience) You’re boring them to death! What he needs is adventure, some real life experience!
MICHAEL: Actually, my music teacher told me she liked my voice-
FP: (Snaps) Anyone can sing! You need qualifications to get into a school of choice.
MP: (Under his breath) Of whose choice, exactly?
FP shoots him a glare and starts typing.
MICHAEL: (Monotonously) I’m trying out for the debate team- (protesting) but I don’t like debate!
MP: Let’s liven things up! What about the football team-
MICHAEL stands up from the desk and walks towards PLAYWRIGHTS, stopping at stage centre.
MICHAEL: Let me choose!
FP: (Stands up) I’m the one writing! I know what’s best for the story! Not you! (Types as MICHAEL opens his mouth to protest) MICHAEL. Keeps. His. Mouth. Shut!
MICHAEL sighs and goes back to his desk to study.
MP: Man, you’re bumming me out. Just change the scene already.
FP: (Glares at MP) Fine! (Sits down, typing) MICHAEL leaves!
MICHAEL (TWELVE) goes offstage.
FP: MICHAEL, now EIGHTEEN, comes onstage.
After a pause, FP raps the table impatiently. MICHAEL (EIGHTEEN), now in a graduation robe, shuffles onto stage left.
FP: MICHAEL studies even harder.
MICHAEL: (Sullenly) I study even harder.
FP: MICHAEL gets top grades in all subjects…
MICHAEL: I get top grades in all subjects…
FP: Especially English.
MICHAEL: (Long sigh) Especially English.
FP: MICHAEL applies to Harvard to study Law.
MICHAEL: (Softly) I didn’t apply.
FP: What are you talking about?
MICHAEL: (Raises voice) I said, I didn’t apply. I’ve had it with your narrative.
FP: (Grabs the computer screen, scrutinizing it) This can’t be, the script- “MICHAEL applies to Harvard Law”- yes, the script doesn’t call for this! This is a success story, Michael! What were you thinking-
MICHAEL: (Shouts) Ma! I don’t want to be a lawyer! (Pause, his voice quietening) I know how bad your grades were…… especially English.
MP: Good! (Stands) I told your mother this isn’t the right path for you. And I’ve always thought being a pilot would really suit you. You need an adventure, not some boring desk job!
MICHAEL: Not some boring desk job like yours, you mean.
MP: Yeah! So?
MICHAEL: You’re just as bad as Ma!
MP: Oh! So you know what to do with your life, then?
MICHAEL: (Hesitates) I-
MP: You. You what? What do you know? You are a kid!
FP: (Stands) Michael, please reconsider.
MP: Do you know how many regrets we have? How much I wished for a more exciting life?
FP: How much I wished I took my grades more seriously?
MP: You can’t mess around! (Laughs) Later you end up like us!
MICHAEL: (Snaps) Shut up! SHUT UP! (Pause) I get it, okay! You’re writing a success story! BUT IT’S NOT YOURS! (Marches over to stage right to snatch computer away, then retreats to stage centre) IT’S MINE!
MICHAEL: You’ve controlled my studies, my hobbies, all eighteen years of my life. You can’t possibly control me anymore!
FP storms offstage.
MICHAEL: And you, Pa? Is my life that disappointing to you too?
MP: (Sighs, leaving table at stage right to join MICHAEL) We aren’t disappointed, son. Hurt, confused, worried, yes… but not disappointed. (Puts hand on MICHAEL’s shoulder) You’re stepping towards the man you want to be. How could we be disappointed? (Pause) We just got carried away… We didn’t want to waste your potential on the same mistakes we made.
MICHAEL: (Scoffs) You still don’t approve.
MP: I don’t. But don’t let that stop you. (Long pause) I should go see Ma. (Begins to walk offstage, then stops) Just know that we love you, Michael. Beyond all expectations and worries.
MP walks offstage and MICHAEL sits down at his desk at stage left, opening the computer.
MICHAEL: All these directions for one great success story…… deleted. (Presses key and closes computer) I just want a life of my own.
MICHAEL leaves the desk and approaches the audience.
MICHAEL: Sorry to disappoint, but I’m done acting.