Play script about love and farewells (3 characters)

In this short play for 3 characters the theme is love and, above all, farewells. The setting is a classic -an airport- but this story has something fantastic…

Title of the play: “Short tips for saying goodbye”

Author: Paulina Sandoval

3 characters:

  1. She, approximately 20 years old.
  2. He, a little older than she is.
  3. Airport janitor, an old man who looks strong despite his age. This character can be played by a young person wearing a mask, since he is an unreal character, almost magical.

Single act

Airport. Waiting room in the international flights wing, a flight to somewhere is occasionally announced. Generally, the atmosphere is quiet, not many people will be traveling today, maybe they are not in the mood. SHE is sitting in one of the chairs staring at the departure board, HE is next to her sitting on a suitcase staring at HER face, as if desperately trying to imprint it in his mind. A change on the board, they announce the departure of the flight that will take her away, SHE gets up almost automatically, HE gets up almost with a jump and they end up facing each other.

HE: I want to thank you for choosing me to keep you company on your last day here.

SHE: You’re welcome, it was my pleasure. I thank you for showing me your country, it’s beautiful.

HE: Do you really have to go?

SHE: Sure, time’s up.

HE: I still don’t understand. The day I met you you said you had come to stay, those were your exact words when I asked you what brought you from so far away.

SHE: It was a metaphor. Look, I’ve always been insignificant, I’m a coward and I don’t dare to stand out in anything, that’s why I came here and said that, I came to leave my mark, to stand out for the first time so much that it seems I’m staying even though I’m leaving, do you understand?

HE: I guess. (Pause.) Congratulations.

SHE: Why?

HIM: You made it, you stood out, you leave your mark here (He points to himself touching his chest, almost at heart level) Many of us will remember you with joy and….

SHE: Thank you very much, I really appreciate it.

HE: I wish it hadn’t been a metaphor and you could have stayed.

SHE: But I can’t; my life, though insignificant, is there, the colors, the smells, the food, the weather, my family, the people I love….

HE: There are people who love you here too.

SHE: (Pause. She picks up her suitcase.) It was a pleasure, thank you (She shakes HIM’s hand and in that gesture we understand that her coldness comes from a deep sadness for leaving. When their hands let go, SHE suddenly turns around but HE stops her by holding her by the wrist and pulls her to him to finally make their lips meet. SHE at first does not put up much resistance but soon breaks away and looks at him surprised).

HE: I’m sorry, but it’s for sure that I won’t see you again and I had to do it, I know that this makes everything more difficult and that I will cry irremediably for weeks, but at least it will be for a nice memory and not so much for the pain…

SHE: We could see each other again. (Her attitude is now more relaxed and it could even be said that her voice palpitates in her throat, she looks at him tenderly) I have liked your country very much and you always say you want to know mine. Who knows, we could meet again at any moment, anything can happen.

HE: (Smiles without conviction) Sure. (Pause.) Don’t you want to stay? Why wait for an uncertain future?

SHE: Don’t you want to go with me then?

They call again for the flight, SHE becomes restless, looks at HIM insistently, as if looking for the answer in his eyes.

HE: No… I can’t.

SHE: Exactly. Neither can I. I won’t give up the prospect of achieving there what I achieved here with what I learned. We’re young and stupid and that’s why we can’t afford to be impulsive, if I stay then I’ll wonder what would have happened if I left, if my life could have changed at all and you’ll miss here if you leave. Soon we’ll start blaming each other for the miserable life we lead and everything will go to hell.

HE: You mustn’t see it all black, we could be happy.

SHE: Or not. The wise say that in the end we regret more what we don’t do than what we do. And I don’t want to regret not leaving and trying.

HE: Or of not having stayed and given us a chance….

SHE: Stop it. If in any case I’ll be miserable then I’d rather be miserable alone than drag you down with me. I’ve already decided, I’m leaving. (She says this last sentence almost crying, this time the sudden half turn works and she starts her escape, but she stops half way, comes back, kisses HIM quickly on the cheek and when she separates she stays there a few moments, as if floating, their faces a short distance from each other, SHE speaks almost in a whisper) I’m sorry. I love you… (This time a tear manages to slip from her eyes, she turns around and heads off again with speed but halfway down the path she meets the JANITOR who blocks her path with a mop, SHE stops abruptly and walks around the JANITOR who calmly mops the floor. The entrance of the JANITOR must involve a change of lights to something almost blue; an unreal, almost magical atmosphere must be created.

JANITOR: (He is always going to talk to them but he is never going to look at them, as if he is really talking to himself) When are you going to tell her that in reality another love awaits you in your country?

SHE: What? Excuse me, are you talking to me?

JANITOR: Well, of course, I don’t see anyone else here (SHE scans the place with her eyes but only finds HIM, who is still standing there looking at HER with sad eyes, motionless, it is as if the magical atmosphere that accompanies the JANITOR only reaches HER).

SHE: Right, there is no one else.

JANITOR: Then there’s no room for pretenses here, that candid tear that traveled down your cheek a while ago has no reason to be, unless we find ourselves in a dramatic story of love separation, one of those that are shown on TV and make the faint of heart cry for hours.

SHE: What do you want?

JANITOR: Me, nothing, I’m just an old man telling the truth.

SHE: How do you know that someone is waiting for me back in my country?

JANITOR: It’s the truth, that’s why I know and I say it. (Pause. SHE is uncomfortable) That’s your greatest achievement, isn’t it? Being able to have hearts loving you unconditionally on both sides of the world. That was a very touching story about you not standing out in your country, quite convincing, well, at least for the love-starved brat you leave behind. Look at him, you really make him sad. But I understand you, don’t think this is a reproach, I understand your reasons. Although I know you will be miserable anyway, as you said yourself; trips change people and life goes on back in the place you left behind, it doesn’t stay on pause like this boy waiting for your return, there will be many different things when you land and then you will really be miserable.

SHE: Stop it! Stop it, please, you don’t know anything about me, nothing!

JANITOR: I only know what your eyes can tell me, your soul. (The JANITOR is slowly moving away from HER and towards HIM, who is regaining movement as he enters the magical halo of the JANITOR and SHE is becoming motionless as she leaves the halo, the change is slow until it is very noticeable. HE is crying, the crying is somewhat forced). Now son, stop it, she doesn’t see you crying, you can stop pretending here.

HE: (Puzzled, trying to look indignant) What? What are you saying? Why do you think I’m pretending?

JANITOR: I don’t think so, I know it because that’s the truth and my job is to tell it.

HE: What are you talking about? You’re crazy…

JANITOR: No. (Pause.) Why don’t you tell her to join you in your last months? You’re trying to hitch her to you with the idea of a happy life when all you want is someone to accompany you in your illness, it’s unfair, don’t you think? I think she loves you enough to wait a few months for you to die, because it’s the truth, son, face it, she would stay to see you die.

HE: No, I… (Now he’s really going to start crying) I’m afraid.

JANITOR: But not of losing her, but of being alone, and wanting to be with someone is very different from wanting to be accompanied. I know that you really love her, don’t let her keep your decadent image because of the illness, it’s better that she remembers you with joy and that she keeps your image of an agile and strong young man. Don’t be selfish, at least for the last time in your life. (HE begins to recover from the crying little by little, the JANITOR begins his exit and with his movements the other two characters are recovering their mobility, before they recover it completely; when the JANITOR is about to leave the stage, he pauses and turns to see them) Decide what to do, take into account my advice, but take them as advice to say goodbye, don’t tell each other the truth if you don’t want to, which mortals almost never tell it, but say goodbye decently and without so much fuss, the flight is leaving now and you both have a life to continue, take my advice only as a dramatic pause in your cheap melodrama you were doing. (The JANITOR finishes his exit and at that moment SHE and HE move with a nimble movement to their initial position, sitting on the chair and on the suitcase respectively, as at the beginning SHE looks at the board and HE looks at SHE but something has changed in them, it is noticeable. The board changes, the flight that will take her away is announced, they stand up as at the beginning).

HE: I want to thank you for choosing me to keep you company on your last day here.

SHE: And I thank you for showing me your country, it’s beautiful.

HE: Do you really have to go?

Awkward pause.

SHE: Let’s not do this, shall we? Let’s stop the drama and get on with our lives.

HE: Right, sorry, you’re right, we knew this would be brief anyway. (He holds out his hand, SHE shakes it) If you come back soon ask for me, or at least visit the places we visited together.

SHE: And if you visit my country soon you can look for me too, it would be a pleasure to show you my favorite places.

HE: Done. (They let go of each other’s hands, both wipe the sweat from their palms on their clothes and laugh when they see that the other does the same without any discretion, they are going to get closer as if to kiss each other but immediately HE bends down to pick up the suitcase and hands it to her). Come on, we don’t want you to be late.

SHE: Thank you. (She walks away slowly and somewhat confused, turns back several times and smiles at HIM. As she turns she almost trips over the mop of the JANITOR who is quietly cleaning the floor, only now without his magic halo of blue light. SHE lets out a little scream when she bumps into him) Ah! Excuse me sir… (The JANITOR smiles kindly and SHE, somewhat nervous and frightened, hurries her pace, without turning around, until she leaves. He calmly watches HER walk away and when she has left, he turns to see the JANITOR, who looks at him with attention.)

HE: Good advice, brother, good advice. Thank you.

(The JANITOR only replies with a slight smile and a nod. HE leaves and the JANITOR remains whistling a cheerful ditty. After a moment another couple arrives to sit in the chairs, they could be the same actors that made HIM and HER, only with a notorious change that indicates that they are other people, they start a mime in which the woman begs the man to stay and he does not agree, he looks annoyed, they are like that for a while and it seems that the discussion increases in tone until they sit exhausted in the chairs of the waiting room, they are in that pause characteristic of the discussions in which they take strength to make a final decision after having said everything, the couple will be completely frozen when the JANITOR stops whistling and at the same time the blue light suddenly enters, the JANITOR begins to approach the couple and when he touches one of them the DARK END suddenly enters. )

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