Rooftop, Night

Rooftop, Night

A Stage Play by PonQo
"

Lovely character study about an American and Indian at crossroads in their lives.

"

Characters:


Montana - A heartbroken young person (written male, but can be played by anyone).  Distinctly American.


Anisha - A young woman from India.  She has lived in America long enough to connect to the culture, but she feels deeply obligated to put her family’s wishes and traditions before her own.





Setting:


The roof of an apartment building.  It is night-time in late Spring. Present day.





Playwright’s Note:


With this script, I have sought to explore an idea that different cultures may not understand one another’s traditions and ideals, but we can all still respect each other as people.  This script calls for an Indian woman, and I do not consent to the production of this script without an Indian woman playing Anisha. Montana can be played by any gender, race, etc., so feel free to change pronouns when dealing with that character.  Also, I intentionally left the gender of Montana’s previous romantic interest vague. Love is love. Heartbreak is heartbreak. Finally, I wrote this play with the intention that the silence between characters’ lines tells as much story as the lines the speak.  I encourage actors and directors to explore and embrace this idea.






(MONTANA is standing on the roof of his apartment building, drinking beer and listening to SFX: STREET NOISE.  He looks out over the ledge, curious, as he finishes the bottle. He steps back and crosses toward a pack to get another beer before returning to the edge.  ANISHA emerges from the building. She notices him, then approaches, cautious. Pause, then....)


ANISHA

Hey.


MONTANA

Hi.


(Pause.)


Want a beer?


ANISHA

No thanks.


(There is silence for a moment.  ANISHA sizes MONTANA up, then, deciding he’s not dangerous, walks toward the ledge too.)


The stars are very bright tonight.


MONTANA

Yeah.  Weird for the city.


ANISHA

I come out here to look at them sometimes.


MONTANA

That’s nice.


ANISHA

I usually don’t stand so close to the ledge.


(MONTANA looks up at the stars.  ANISHA looks at MONTANA. He drags up an old chair or a bucket.)


MONTANA

I thought you might want to sit.


ANISHA

Oh, no thank you.


MONTANA

Okay.


(MONTANA sits down.  A beat, then….)


ANISHA

I haven’t seen you here before.


MONTANA

I don’t usually come up here.


ANISHA

I like the stars.  And the fresh air.


MONTANA

I can leave.


ANISHA

No, it’s okay.  Why are you here?


MONTANA

I don’t know.  I just needed to go somewhere.


ANISHA

So you went to the roof?


MONTANA

I’ve got some things going on.  Some personal things.


ANISHA

Do you want to talk about it?


(MONTANA ponders.  He is about to decline when….)


I’m not very helpful, but I’ll listen.


MONTANA

I love someone, but they don’t love me.  And now I’m confused.


ANISHA

It sounds pretty simple.


MONTANA

That’s not what I mean.  I just mean…. I thought they loved me.  I really thought so--I was certain. But here I am.


(A beat, then….)


ANISHA

I don’t love anyone.


MONTANA

Oh yeah?


ANISHA

No, and I don’t want to.


MONTANA

It’s just as well.  Jesus. You know, I don’t believe in bullshit.  No fake facts, no pseudo-science, no parallel dimensions, none of that crap, but….  It was supposed to work out. Any minute now, somebody’s going to pop out and say “Smile!  You’re on candid camera!” I’m living in a bizarro world.


ANISHA

I know what you mean.


MONTANA

I had my brain wired one way, right?  But it was wrong. And I just have to think and figure everything out again.


ANISHA

I see.


(Another beat.)


MONTANA

Nobody, huh?  You don’t love anybody?


ANISHA

Nope.  And I don’t want to.


MONTANA

So you’re, what, an independent woman?  Asexual?


ANISHA

It’s not like that.  It’s…. I’m Indian.


MONTANA

Not to be insensitive, but I can tell.


ANISHA

I mean, I’m Indian, but my parents are Indian.


MONTANA

Oh yeah?


ANISHA

They don’t really want me here.  I’m becoming too “Americanized.” They want to marry me off so they can brag to their friends.


MONTANA

Damn.


ANISHA

My cousin got married tonight, on the other side of town.


MONTANA

How was the wedding?


ANISHA

I didn’t go.  I didn’t want to.


MONTANA

Good for you.


ANISHA

I was supposed to be a bridesmaid.  My mother is pissed at me. But, then again, she’s always pissed at me.  I guess I’m not the perfect, quiet daughter she wanted.


MONTANA

She sounds lovely.  You know, you can do whatever you want.  If you don’t want to get married, just tell them that’s how it is.


ANISHA

It’s not that simple.


MONTANA

I think it is.


(Pause.)


ANISHA

Were you going to jump?


MONTANA

What?


ANISHA

Did you come up to the roof to jump?


MONTANA

I came up to the roof to drink beer.


ANISHA

It looked like you were going to jump.  Have you ever thought about killing yourself?


MONTANA

I think everyone has.


ANISHA

Really?


MONTANA

I mean, I don’t know for sure, but I think so.


ANISHA

I work in a hospital.  One time I thought I might try cutting myself pretty badly, but….


MONTANA

It’s too messy.


ANISHA

Or taking too many pills, but I work in a hospital.  I see that sometimes, what happens when people try to kill themselves.  They aren’t usually successful.


MONTANA

Then there’s hospital bills on top of….


ANISHA

Yeah.


MONTANA

Damn.


ANISHA

How would you do it?


MONTANA

Kill myself?


ANISHA

Yes.


MONTANA

I sure as s**t wouldn’t jump off a building.  No, I’d do it slow - nice and slow - and make it look like an accident.


ANISHA

How so?


MONTANA

Clogged arteries.  Midnight snacks, fast food, beer, TV.  I’d savor it, and then one day….


ANISHA

Another victim of heart disease.


MONTANA

That’s the idea.


ANISHA

You’re drinking out here tonight.  Is that coincidence?


(Another pause.)


MONTANA

Just tell your parents you won’t get married.


ANISHA

I can’t just do that.


MONTANA

Why not?


ANISHA

It’s complicated!


MONTANA

It seems pretty simple to me.


ANISHA

Simple like loving someone who doesn’t love you back?


MONTANA

Real mature.  Look, what’s your name?


ANISHA

Anisha.


MONTANA

Listen Anisha, you can change this.


ANISHA

You don’t understand.


MONTANA

You just have to tell them it’s your life and your choice!


ANISHA

You don’t understand.  I can’t just do that.  Family, arranged marriage, social status, it’s part of my culture.


MONTANA

Then your culture is poison.


ANISHA

But it’s still my culture.


MONTANA

S**t.  I don’t understand.  I’m sorry.


ANISHA

You know online dating?


MONTANA

Yeah, I’ve thought about it before.


ANISHA

They have that for Indian parents, to meet other parents looking to marry their kids.


MONTANA

I never thought about that before.


(Pause.)


ANISHA

I told you my name.  What’s yours?


MONTANA

Montana.


ANISHA

Well Montana, what are you going to do now?


MONTANA

Get another beer.


(Having emptied his beer, MONTANA gets up to fetch another from his pack.)


ANISHA

I don’t mean now, I just mean… now.


(ANISHA sits.  MONTANA offers her the first sip of the new bottle.  She accepts, takes a swig, then )


MONTANA

I have no idea.  We’ve been through so much together.  I can’t imagine getting to this point with anybody else.  


ANISHA

It’ll happen.


MONTANA

I know.  It just hurts.  You know, I heard this poem once, about how pain is just carving out a place for happiness to go later.  I don’t know how I feel about that.


ANISHA

It sounds too….


MONTANA

Optimistic.


ANISHA

Naive.


MONTANA

Juvenile.


ANISHA

Aren’t we a happy pair?


(Beat.)


MONTANA

It’s cold out here.


ANISHA

Maybe you should go inside.


MONTANA

No, I just meant….  Do you need a jacket or anything?


ANISHA

You’re the one complaining.  Do you want a blanket?


MONTANA

If I’m going to feel miserable on the inside, I’d like to feel miserable on the outside too.


(The two sit for a long moment, looking up at the stars and out at the street.)


ANISHA

You know, I know this ice cream place that’s open all night.  It’s terrible for you. If you’d like to go, I can drive.


MONTANA

Oh, what the hell.  I’ll go.


ANISHA

Do they make better tasting beer?  If we want to die, I think you picked a good way to go.


(ANISHA and MONTANA exit into the apartment building.)


BLACKOUT

© 2019 PonQo


Author's Note

PonQo
I approve of the production, sharing, recording/uploading, etc. of this play under the following conditions. The script must not be altered if posted on the web or anywhere else. When producing the play, including uploading videos online, credit must be given to me as the author. I embrace the “pay-what-you-can” philosophy regarding production of my scripts, and whatever payment you can afford, and you believe is fair, can be sent to me at $ponqo using Cash App ($15 per performance would be lovely, but you know your financial situation. I don’t. Also, visit www.ponqosprojects.wordpress.com for any updates regarding my payment information, contact, etc.); please understand this is not an obligation, but any support you can provide will greatly help me in continuing to provide free scripts and opportunities!

My Review

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Featured Review

Since I haven't read a play since I've been at the cafe (3 years), I find it interesting to read the instructions you include, regarding the use or production of your play, even suggesting a reasonable payment! This seems unusual to me, but I know nothing about what kind of situation such a play might be produced for. Media relationships have changed dramatically in my lifetime.

So here's my honest response to your storyline. I like where you are trying to go with this, but I don't believe you actually got there, as far as presenting a sharp & irresistible contrast between two cultures. I feel you showed a sort of typical conversation that included colors of such a culture clash, but there was nothing that makes this conversation memorable or unique. Maybe one thing that felt missing for me is that I did not get any sensory input about your characters. There was hardly any mention of setting or how the characters look or act, not showing mannerisms really feels like a barren conversation. I feel that a person's mannerisms show as much as the words. You say you use "silent stretches" to make a point or to show something, but to me, showing the mannerisms of your characters would say much more.

The best part of your conversation is the way you contrasted him thinking her dilemma was easy to solve while she was thinking his dilemma would be easy to solve, but each one is not being very understanding of the other, in this regard. I don't feel your characters had an epiphany surrounding this point, tho, which is what would make this story more powerful. I feel your characters did not have much movement toward understanding each other.

Your writing is top notch (a pleasure to read) & your storytelling is clear & easy to follow. I just feel this doesn't have much of a punch. Maybe I'm more accustomed to stories where people are somewhat made into caricatures in order to emphasize a certain type of person. I'm trying to respect your understated approach, but I would prefer to see this punched up a few notches in almost every regard (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

PonQo

4 Months Ago

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and honest review! I am especially thankful for your comment .. read more


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Reviews

Since I haven't read a play since I've been at the cafe (3 years), I find it interesting to read the instructions you include, regarding the use or production of your play, even suggesting a reasonable payment! This seems unusual to me, but I know nothing about what kind of situation such a play might be produced for. Media relationships have changed dramatically in my lifetime.

So here's my honest response to your storyline. I like where you are trying to go with this, but I don't believe you actually got there, as far as presenting a sharp & irresistible contrast between two cultures. I feel you showed a sort of typical conversation that included colors of such a culture clash, but there was nothing that makes this conversation memorable or unique. Maybe one thing that felt missing for me is that I did not get any sensory input about your characters. There was hardly any mention of setting or how the characters look or act, not showing mannerisms really feels like a barren conversation. I feel that a person's mannerisms show as much as the words. You say you use "silent stretches" to make a point or to show something, but to me, showing the mannerisms of your characters would say much more.

The best part of your conversation is the way you contrasted him thinking her dilemma was easy to solve while she was thinking his dilemma would be easy to solve, but each one is not being very understanding of the other, in this regard. I don't feel your characters had an epiphany surrounding this point, tho, which is what would make this story more powerful. I feel your characters did not have much movement toward understanding each other.

Your writing is top notch (a pleasure to read) & your storytelling is clear & easy to follow. I just feel this doesn't have much of a punch. Maybe I'm more accustomed to stories where people are somewhat made into caricatures in order to emphasize a certain type of person. I'm trying to respect your understated approach, but I would prefer to see this punched up a few notches in almost every regard (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

PonQo

4 Months Ago

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and honest review! I am especially thankful for your comment .. read more

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Added on June 4, 2019
Last Updated on June 4, 2019
Tags: theatre, drama, short, play, rooftop, night, free, ten, minute

Author

PonQo
PonQo

TX



About
I'm a 21-year-old theatre student from rural Texas. I am passionate about accessible theatre and improv comedy. I hope to become financially self-sufficient as an artist, but... one day at a time :) more..

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