Impassioned Embraces

From “Cheek To Cheek”:

HE: Pardon me. May I have this dance?

(She smiles. The music begins. They dance for a few moments in silence.)

SHE: This music is so…I can’t think of the word.

HE: Essential.

SHE: Yes.

(A beat.)

HE: It speaks to my bones.

SHE: Mine too.

(They dance in silence.)

HE: The ceremony was very…

SHE: Moving.

HE: Yes.

SHE: I cried.

HE: I know.

SHE: Was I loud?

HE: A little.

(They dance in silence.)

SHE: Cecilia makes such a lovely bride.

HE: Doesn’t she?

SHE: I hope you two will be happy.

(They dance in silence.)

HE: You make a lovely bride’s maid.

SHE: Thank you.

(They dance in silence. She begins to cry.)

HE: Don’t cry.

SHE: I’m sorry.

HE: You’ll ruin the tux.

SHE: I’m sorry.

(They dance in silence. Suddenly she begins to sob.)

HE: Stop it.

SHE: Why, why, why, why, why?

HE: Ssssssh. Everybody’s looking.

SHE: I don’t care. I don’t care if they see.

HE: You’re acting like a child.

SHE: I don’t care.

HE: I’m not going to dance with you if you continue to behave like this.

(She stops crying. They continue to dance in silence. She is sniffing.)

HE: I’m only marrying her for the money, you know that.

SHE: I know.

HE: We’ll soon be seeing each other again.

SHE: Just like old times.

HE: You don’t believe me.

SHE: Why should I believe you?

HE: Nothing’s changed between us.

SHE: Ha.

HE: I don’t like you like this.

SHE: Like what?

HE: Bitter.

SHE: I’m not bitter.

HE: After all, she’s your best friend.

SHE: I’m not bitter.

Impassioned Embraces is a collection of very short plays, many of which received their premiere at Actors Theatre of Louisville. They’re confections, none to be taken too seriously except by the characters themselves, bon-bons for actors, perfect for scene-work, in and out of class.

(Note: Cheek To Cheek, excerpted above, was turned into a lovely short film by Gregory Jensen.)