The Costs of War

The Costs of War

A Stage Play by Eli

This is a stage play that I wrote for my creative writing class. I didn't do a lot of editing to it, so I'm willing to let you guys help me with that.


The Costs of War


Two spots of light are shown. One shines on a Wounded Soldier and Nurse in a hospital, and the other shines on a Grandfather and Granddaughter in a family living room. The two groups are separated on two different ends of the stage. The first light shines on the Grandfather and Granddaughter. The Grandfather is sitting on a chair, and the Granddaughter is sitting on the floor in front of him.


Granddaughter: [With curiosity in voice] What were they like, Grandpa?


Grandfather: The soldiers? Why, they were heroes. [Stating matter-of-fact]


Granddaughter: What made them heroes?


Grandfather: Many things. But, they most importantly, they did what...they had to. [Voice trails off, starting to stare at the wall].



Light fades away and goes on the Wounded Soldier and Nurse. The Nurse is treating the Soldier.


Nurse: Is that better?


Wounded Soldier: [With an edge to voice] Yeah, I'm fine.


Nurse: [Finishes patching, looks over to Soldier] I appreciate what you...did.  


Wounded Soldier: [A pause, then in a distant voice] I didn't do nothing.


Nurse: What do you mean? Of course you did something. You fought for us.


Wounded Soldier: [Teeth clenched, softly speaking] You have no idea what we did.



Light fades out and goes back to the Grandfather and Granddaughter. They are still in their previous positions.


Granddaughter: Well, what did they have to do?


Grandfather: Oh, unimaginable things [shakes head slowly]. Things-


Granddaughter: Things like what?


Grandfather: Ugly things. Things that- things that you're too young to know.



Light goes back to the Nurse and Wounded Soldier.


Nurse: Was it that bad?


Wounded Soldier: Was it that bad? [Saying in shocked, mocking tone. His eyes were locked on hers. He began to shake his head in disgust].


Nurse: Listen, you don't have any right to treat me like this! I was just asking a simple question-


Wounded Soldier: Well you don't have to ask anymore, okay?


Nurse: [Stares wide-eyed in disbelief at the Soldier] Do you know how I feel about this war? Every day I see little kids just like you, screaming for help all day long. But once they get it, they are complete jackasses. What is it with you? Aren't you glad to be away from it all?


Wounded Soldier: You think that's bad? You just really have no clue, do you? How can I enjoy being here when the only thing on my mind is the blood? And the pain? [Pauses, still staring at Nurse. Then whispers]. I watched my best friend- [starts to tear up] my best friend disappear in front of me. Have you ever had that happen to you? Have you?


Nurse: [Just stares with tears in her eyes, repeatedly tries to look away but eyes keep coming back to him].


Wounded Soldier: [Sobbing, quietly] Have you?



Light returns to the Grandfather and Granddaughter. Granddaughter is now standing next to Grandfather. Curiosity still present in her expression.


Granddaughter: Then...can you tell me more about them?


Grandfather: [Hesitates between words and sentences] Well, they were very, very brave. And, uh, survived a lot of scary fighting.


Granddaughter: Was it the same fighting you did?


Grandfather: [Pauses before responding] Yes. Yes it was... [eyes lowered].


Granddaughter: So are you a hero too?


Grandfather: No, I'm not a hero. But they all were. They were the true heroes [voice trails off].



Light returns to the Nurse and Wounded Soldier, except the Nurse has left. The Wounded Soldier is staring up at the ceiling, not crying anymore.


Wounded Soldier: [Whispering. Takes long pauses after certain words and phrases].What happened? What made this happen? Why is everything so different? Even she doesn't understand... does anyone? Does anyone understand?



Light goes back to the Grandfather and Granddaughter. Both in same positions as before.


Granddaughter: [Hugs Grandfather] You will still be a hero to me.


Grandfather: Why is that?.


Granddaughter: Well not only did you fight with them, but you were hurt too.


Grandfather: [Whispering, as if to himself] I never knew why people think I'm a hero because of that...



Lights back to the Wounded Soldier and Nurse. The Nurse had come back and is looking over the wound again.


Nurse: You're going to be a hero back home, you know.


Wounded Soldier: Why?


Nurse: For what I said earlier. Everyone is proud of what you boys have done.


Wounded Soldier: You guys really think it was that glorious, like it was that easy or something?


Nurse: No, but-


Wounded Soldier: Because it was nothing like that! We lived as if we were rats in the mud for months at a time! Being here for you may almost be Hell, but it's Heaven for me. I can actually light up a smoke without wondering if some sniper is waiting to blow my head off! What we did wasn't heroic. We just did it because we didn't want to die.


Nurse: [Pauses before responding] Well you're not dead. That's all that matters now. You should get some rest. 


Wounded Soldier: [Looks away from her out at nothing.]



Lights go back to the Grandfather and Granddaughter. The Granddaughter is standing up, both looking at each other.


Grandfather: That's enough stories for tonight. Time for sleep.


Granddaughter: Okay, but are you going to sleep now too?


Grandfather: Yes I will.


Granddaughter: [Runs off to bed.]


Grandfather: [Speaks as if to himself, thinking] If the nightmares don't come back ...

© 2013 Eli

Author's Note

Please, please give honest reviews. I appreciate it if you think it was really good and nothing needs to be done, but there are things that can be fixed/added. So please tell me.

My Review

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yeah, you took my breath away for a while.. a pretty long while. The way your words painted the scene is just mind-boggling, artistic and touching. You absolutely controlled the stage [the utterance, the lightening, the features, the emotions : all is perfectly done]. It's a canny and inventive idea to put the light on the psychological state of soldiers after the war!
beautifully written and the last parole is outstanding and just tells everything.

Posted 10 Years Ago

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Stunning, beautiful, heartbreaking. I loved this. I don't think you need anything to be fixed here because it's an emotional and strong rooted stage play. At a point, while I was reading, I felt like crying, such sad and regretful thoughts. I could also clearly see everything you've written in my mind, and I think it's something I would also go and see. War is an ugly time, and it changes many things, especially people, and those around them. Soldiers are truly those who we could never repay back for their service. I also like the last line where it says:
"Grandfather: [Speaks as if to himself, thinking] If the nightmares don't come back ... "
This was an amazing ending. The grandfather having to live with the weight of war on his shoulders is heartbreaking. I can imagine why he would have nightmares every night. All in all you did an amazing job with this. A very emotional stage play. Magnificent job :)

Posted 10 Years Ago

This was a really good stage play. I really enjoyed it. To be honest this is something that I would pay to see.

Posted 10 Years Ago

This was a good stage play. I understand what you mean. War changes people more than you know. You see terrible things while you are war. It just haunts you to the point where you get hurt over and over again. I understand the wounded soldiers point and the grandfathers. I know nightmares would be caused. Thanks for sharing.

Posted 10 Years Ago

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5 Reviews
Added on May 5, 2011
Last Updated on March 11, 2013



Charleston, SC

I'm a 17 year old kid who loves writing, photography, reading, mathematics, science, and music! *IF you review any of my work, please don't just say how good it was. I want strict reviews that can.. more..

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