Unvle Tommy’s records, by Paul A. Lavrakas

CHARACTERS

ADULT GEORGE

YOUNG GEORGE (age 11)

AL, his father  (age 42)

MARIE, his mother  (age 39)

UNCLE TOMMY, Marie’s younger brother  (age 29)

[ADULT GEORGE narrates from the present.  The other characters exist 50 years ago.  They live in an American suburb.)

 

ADULT GEORGE

My Uncle Tommy just showed up one day.  No warning.  That’s what he was like.

UNCLE TOMMY

(TO YOUNG GEORGE)  Hey, Georgie!  What you doing living in a place like this?

ADULT GEORGE

I was eleven.  What could I say?

YOUNG GEORGE

It’s my home.

UNCLE TOMMY

(laughs heartily)  [AL enters]  Hi Al, all my records are in the car.  I want to keep them here.  You know what they mean to me.

AL

Hi, Tommy.  [MARIE enters]  Your brother’s here to honor us with his presence.

MARIE

Are you okay, Tommy?  Are you still in the Army?  You didn’t….

UNCLE TOMMY

I’m fine.  I brought my records.  I need to leave them something safe.  .

[A long silence.  The ADULTS study each other, motionless.]

ADULT GEORGE

What could my father do?

[TOMMY and AL spring into action and using a wheelbarrow move TOMMY’s large collection of old fashioned vinyl discs into the house.  ]

MARIE

[To YOUNG GEORGE]  I wish you’d known him when he was young.  He was….

[MARIE exits.  UNCLE TOMMY enters carrying single disc.]

TOMMY

[To YOUNG GEORGE]  This place ain’t so bad.  You got red squirrels in the back.  That’s good [YOUNG GEORGE is silent.]  Georgie, please, don’t touch the records, they break easy, they scratch.  But you got to listen to one.  This one song.  “Body and Soul” and this guy here, Coleman Hawkins, he plays it, , like God was humming in his ear.

[Coleman Hawkin’s 1938 recording of “Body and Soul” is heard.]

ADULT GEORGE

On the record cover was a guy with a gold saxophone, what we called then a colored man, no harm intended.

UNCLE TOMMY

You listen to that song.  Then you’ll know what music is.  Gotta run.

[TOMMY exits.  YOUNG GEORGE presses the recording to his ear:  “Body and Soul” rises in volume.]

ADULT GEORGE

That music made no sense at first, but later it became it became part of my…body and soul.  I never saw Tommy again.

[Time passes.  The music stops.  MARIE enters.  Then AL.]

MARIE

Remember your Uncle Tommy?  He died.

ADULT GEORGE

[For his younger self]  I remember him.

AL

Walked into the street, got run over.  Live like he did, that’s what happens.

[The music returns.]

ADULT GEORGE

The records?  My dad threw them away.  Except for the Coleman Hawkins, I kept hidden.  I talked to Tommy maybe twenty minutes in my life and I hear “Body and Soul” running in my head every day.  He gave me something no one else did.  And this means…what?

THE END


I live in the state of Wisconsin and see red squirrels every day.  My best known play for young audiences is an adaptation of “Princess and the Pea.”

 

 

BIOGRAPHY:  Paul A. Lavrakas

 

I live in the state of Wisconsin and see red squirrels every day.  My best known play for young audiences is an adaptation of “Princess and the Pea.”