(The WAITRESS snorts and Phil leaves)

 

Scene Six

     (Lorraine sits at a table covered with a red tablecloth with her attractive, late-30s MOM and DAD.  A waiter in a white shirt, black pants a bowtie fills their water glasses.  Lorraine looks around the room and rolls her eyes)

LORRAINE:  (sighs)  Ah, the club.  Unmitigated decadence, and the food’s not very
                       good.

MOM:  What have you got on your hands?

                                    (Lorraine looks at her hands and sees purple stains)

LORRAINE:  Ink.

MOM:  (smiles)  It’s just your shade.

LORRAINE:  Yes, it is nice, isn’t it?

DAD:  So, did you get an early start on solving the world’s             problems today?

LORRAINE:  As a matter of fact, I did.  I think I’ll be having a very big meeting
                       Sunday night.

DAD:  I hope you do.  But honestly, Lorraine, do you really think a bunch of
           college kids meeting in a low-rent downtown office are going to get
           those five Negro boys set free?

LORRAINE:  I certainly hope so.  If nothing else it will raise people’s awareness
                       of  the problem.  A line has to be drawn somewhere.

                                    (Mom turns to Dad)

MOM:  How did she turn out this way? 

DAD:  It’s got to be your fault, I’m never home.

MOM:  You can say that again.

                                    (Lorraine points at herself)

LORRAINE:  I’m my own fault.                              

MOM:  You were such a happy little girl, Lorraine.  What happened?

LORRAINE:  I developed a social conscience.

MOM:  Well it certainly hasn’t made you any happier, I can tell you that.  Why don’t
             you go away to Europe for a while – say a year – and make up your mind
             there?

LORRAINE:  I live here in America, mom.  The problems of America are my problems. 
                       And my mind is made             up.

DAD:  Your mom’s not kidding, Lorraine.  You want to go             to Europe for a year, see the
            sights, go to school,    don’t go to school.  Anything you want, just say the             word.

LORRAINE:  Oh, Dad, please. 

DAD:  You were accepted to the University of Florence, weren’t you?  You loved Italy
            when we all went there a few years ago.  You ran around the house talking Italian
            for months.

LORRAINE:  (sighs wearily)  This is such a bore.

                                    (Lorraine’s Mom and Dad look at each other
                                    and shake their heads

DAD:  So, Lorraine, how many people are you expecting at this rally of yours?

LORRAINE:  I don’t know.  About a hundred, I’d say.

DAD:  Well, how many chairs did you rent?

LORRAINE:  Fifty, but there’s twenty or thirty chairs there and I figure some people
                       can stand.

DAD:  How’re you getting the rented chairs there?

LORRAINE:  (exasperated)  Dad, please, I’ll work it out.

DAD:  Look, you want to be an organizer and organizers bring in the people.  If they
           don’t bring in a decent crowd, you’ll have to admit, they’re not worth much
           as an organizer, right?

LORRAINE:  (begrudgingly)  Yeah, I suppose.

DAD:  OK, how about this?  If less than fifty people show up to your meeting, you
            consider doing something else.  Anything else.  More than fifty and I’ll shut
            up, for a while.  What do you say?  But you have to give me a fair count.

LORRAINE:  All I did was agree to go to lunch, I’m not here to negotiate any deals.

DAD:  Just think about it, OK?  That’s all I ask.

LORRAINE:  Whatever you say.

                                    (Lorraine sighs deeply.  Her hand goes into
                                    her sweater pocket, but she still doesn’t have
                                    any cigarettes)
                                   

 

Scene Seven

     (Phil sits on his bed noodling with his guitar.  He has the newspaper on the floor and glances at it over the top of the guitar) 

PHIL:  Folk songs, folk songs . . .  Crap!  I don’t know any folk songs. 
                                    (focuses on the newspaper)
            Hey!  Lyndon Baines Johnson, Lady Bird Johnson, Lynda Bird Johnson and
            Luci Baines Johnson?  They all have the same initials.  How weird!

                                    (Phil’s Dad walks past the bedroom door, sees
                                    the newspaper and stops)

MR. BUCKLEY:  There’s the newspaper.  What’s it doing in here?

PHIL:  I’m reading it.

MR. BUCKLEY:  Great day in the morning, what next?  So, what’s up? 
                                                           
PHIL:  Nothin’. 

MR. BUCKLEY:  Y’know, I’ve been meaning to speak to you.
                                    (he comes in and sits down on the bed
                              So, Phil, what are you doing?  You’ve been out of high school for
                              six months.

PHIL:  (sighs)  I’m working at the shoe store.  Knockin’ ‘em dead, too.

MR. BUCKLEY:  What does that mean?

PHIL:  It means, Dad, that working at the shoe store is a bore.

MR. BUCKLEY:  You don’t like it?  Find another job.
                                   
PHIL:  Like what?  Working in a gas station?
                                                           
MR. BUCKLEY:  Well, don’t you have some goal?  Some ambition?

PHIL:  (guffaws)  Yeah, I wanna be president and get my brains blown out.
                                               
MR. BUCKLEY:  (shocked)              That’s not nice. 
                                               
PHIL:  It sure wasn’t.

MR. BUCKLEY:  What’s with you?

PHIL:  What?

MR. BUCKLEY:  Now come on, you must care about something?
                                   
PHIL:  (timidly)  Well . . . 

MR. BUCKLEY:  Yeah?  Go on.

PHIL:  Well, I like playing the guitar. 

MR. BUCKLEY:  (confused)  You took lessons for about three weeks, then dropped
                              out.  How serious can you be about that?

PHIL:  (serious)  Hey!  People can be serious about things in their own ways, can’t
            they? 

MR. BUCKLEY:  (unconvinced)  I suppose.  Look, Phil, what about college?
                                               
                                    (His Father lights a cigarette)

PHIL:  Yeah, well . . .  I’ll probably go to community college in the fall.

MR. BUCKLEY:  I meant, a university.  What about State?  I went to State.
                                     
                                    (Phil points at his Dad’s cigarettes

PHIL:  Could I have cigarette?

                                    (His Dad shakes a cigarette out of the pack
                                    and gives him one)

MR. BUCKLEY:  You smoke too much.

PHIL:  So do you.  I didn’t get into State.

                                    (His Dad lights Phil’s cigarette with a match,
                                    then his own)

MR. BUCKLEY:  If your grades are good at the community college you could get in.

PHIL:  Yeah?  Well . . .
                                                           
                                    (Phil shrugs and puffs on his cigarette)

MR. BUCKLEY:  You just don’t care, do you?

PHIL:  Not about that.

MR. BUCKLEY:  So what do you care about?

PHIL:  Hey!  Come on, Dad, lay off, will ya?

MR. BUCKLEY:  Fine.  So what are you doing tonight?

PHIL:  I have a date.

                                    (His Dad grabs the wastebasket and uses it
                                    as an ashtray)

MR. BUCKLEY:  Really?  Have I met her?

PHIL:  Uh-uh.  I just met her today at the music store.  She’s a cute folkie girl that’s
            really committed to all kinds of things.

MR. BUCKLEY:  (interested)  Really?  Like what?

PHIL:  (waves his hand)  Oh, you know, Negroes and equality and things like that.

MR. BUCKLEY:  (impressed)  Yeah, things like that.  Well, she sounds interesting.

PHIL:  Yeah, she is.  And cute, too.

MR. BUCKLEY:  Maybe you should become a folkie, then you’d be committed to all
                              kinds of things, too.

PHIL:  I’ve been thinking about it.

                                    (The conversation grinds to an uncomfortable
                                    halt.  They both sit there looking at each other. 
                                    Finally, his Dad points at the guitar)

MR. BUCKLEY:  Go on, Elvis, play something. 

                                    (Phil quickly considers for a moment, then hits
                                    upon a possibility)

PHIL:  Wait a minute.

MR. BUCKLEY:  What?

PHIL:  I think I’ve got it!

MR. BUCKLEY:  What?

PHIL:  What song to play.

                                    (Phil opens his beginning guitar book, finds
                                    what he’s looking for, then crudely and hesitantly
                                    begins to play and sing “If I Had a Hammer”

 

 

PHIL:  (singing)  If I had a hammer
                            I’d hammer in the mornin’
                            I’d hammer in the evenin’
                            All over this land
                            I’d hammer out danger
                            I’d hammer out warnin’
                            I’d hammer out love between
                            My brothers and my—

                                    (Phil’s Dad looks at his watch and jumps to
                                    his feet)

MR. BUCKLEY:  —Holy Christ!  Look at the time, Jackie Gleason’s on.

                                    (His Dad abruptly exits)

PHIL:  —Sisters . . .

                                    (Phil sighs, picks up his cigarette, which has
                                    gone out, and puts it in his mouth.  He takes
                                    his guitar over to the mirror and begins posing
                                    again)

PHIL:  The one, the only, Phil Buckley!

                                    (Phil strums the guitar, adds in the sound of
                                    the cheering crowd, and smokes his unlit
                                    cigarette like he’s Frank Sinatra.  The lights
                                    fade out)

 

Scene Eight

     (The lights come up.  Phil steps into the living room all dressed up and ready to go out, his guitar case in hand. His mother, father and brother all sit watching the black and white TV, while eating TV dinners at folding TV tables [Ronald Reagan is pitching “20 Mule Team Borax,” saying, “I’m standing here in a borax mine . . .”].  None of the three can look away from the TV for more than a brief second)

DAN:  Where ya goin’

PHIL:  Out.

DAN:  Where?

PHIL:  None o’ your beeswax, ratfink.

MR. BUCKLEY:  Phil’s got a date with a folkie girl.

                                    (This catches his Mother and brother’s
                                    interest)

MRS. BUCKLEY:  What’s a folkie girl?

DAN:  You know, mom, like Mary from Peter, Paul & Mary.  She’s hot stuff, too.

MRS. BUCKLEY:  Oh, well, she is a lovely girl.

PHIL:  Yeah, but I’m not going out with her.

DAN:  So, where ya goin’?

PHIL:  (hesitantly)  To the Purple Onion. 

DAN:  That’s a folk club, right? 

PHIL:  (nods)  Yeah, what of it?

DAN:  So, what’s up?  Are you suddenly becoming a folkie like Bob Dylan? 

PHIL:  (embarrassed)  Maybe I am and maybe I’m not!

MRS. BUCKLEY:  And you’re performing? 

PHIL:  (coughs)  Yeah. 

                                    (All three look at him in astonishment)

DAN:  But Phil, you don’t know how to play the guitar.
                                   
PHIL:  Yes I do.
                                    (everyone looks at him in silence)
            Kind of.
                                                           
DAN:  Well, just remember one thing, Phil.

PHIL:  Yeah.  What’s that?

DAN:  The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

                                    (This gets a laugh from his family as they all
                                    simultaneously turn back to the television,
                                    suddenly mesmerized in rapt silence as a
                                    new show begins.  Phil exits quietly.  Blackout.)

 

 

ACT TWO:

Scene One

     (The lights come up on Phil as he’s steps up to the front of the Purple Onion Club.  He finds  a whole, big-deal, folk scene going on.  There are folkies all over the place.  All the men are wearing sport coats and thin ties and the women are wearing skirts and dresses.  There are a lot of crew-cuts on the boys, girls with their hair up or wearing babushkas, and many cool hats on both the men and the women.  Almost everybody smokes cigarettes.  People are playing guitars, someone has bongos, someone else plays a harmonica.
     Phil approaches warily.  Who are these people?  He knows no one.  Except Lorraine, that is, who stands in front of the club handing out flyers) 

LORRAINE:  Please come to this meeting tomorrow, it’s really important.  See what
                       you can do, OK?
(The person takes the flyer and one step later
tosses it on the ground.  Lorraine looks pained,
goes over and picks it up.  She sees Phil standing
there, smiles and waves him over)
                       Phil!

PHIL:  Lorraine.

LORRAINE:  You made it.
                                   
                                    (Phil steps up

PHIL:  I said I would, didn’t I.

                                    (Lorraine gives him a hug and a kiss, which
                                    Phil finds very encouraging.  She gives him
                                    his 3rd flyer, but keeps holding onto his hand)

LORRAINE:  Yes, you did.  Will you be here tomorrow for the meeting?

PHIL:  (nods)  Yeah, I think I will.

LORRAINE:  You gonna sing a song tonight? 

PHIL:  Yep.

LORRAINE:  What song?

PHIL:  I’m not telling.  What song are you singing? 

LORRAINE:  “If I Had a Hammer.” 
                                    (Phil grimaces like he was kicked in
                                    the gut)
                       What’s the matter?  Don’t you like it?

PHIL:  (grins painfully)  No, no, it’s a great Peter, Paul & Mary song.

LORRAINE:  It’s a Weavers song.  Peter, Paul & Mary re-did it.

PHIL:  (not listening)  Yeah, right, the Wheelers.  They’re great, too.
                                   
(Just then a slouchy fellow named TERRY,
with thick, black-rimmed glasses, and rather
long, shaggy hair, walks up and gets a big
hug and a kiss from Lorraine, which distresses
Phil)

TERRY:  Hey, Lorraine.

LORRAINE:  Hey, Terry.  You made it.

TERRY:  Said I would.

LORRAINE:  This is Phil.

TERRY:  Nice to meet you, Phil.
                                   
                                    (He puts out his hand.  Phil somewhat
                                    begrudgingly shakes Terry’s hand)

PHIL:  Yeah.  You, too.

LORRAINE:  (to Terry)  Are you singing a song?

TERRY:  No.

LORRAINE:  (frowning)  Really?  How come?

TERRY:  ‘Cause I don’t want to. 

                                    (Phil looks at Terry with sudden respect,
                                    then glances down at the guitar in his own
                                    hand – why the hell is he singing a song? 
                                    Phil is about to bring this up to Lorraine
                                    when she turns away and yells)

LORRAINE:  Make way for the pregnant lady!

                                    (A good-looking couple in their mid-twenties
                                    comes walking up, both holding guitar cases.
                                    They are ALVIN & DEBBIE and Debbie is six
                                    months pregnant.  They too give Lorraine hugs
                                    and kisses.  Lorraine introduces Phil and Terry)

LORRAINE:  Phil, Terry; Debbie and Alvin.

                                    (Everybody shakes hands and says hello.  Phil
                                    attempts to speak to Lorraine again)

PHIL:  Uh, Lorraine –

                                    (Lorraine is paying attention to Alvin &
                                    Debbie)

LORRAINE:  So, are you guys going to sing?

DEBBIE:  Yeah, we’re all signed up and everything.  All I need is a few drinks first.

LORRAINE:  Me, too.

                                    (Lorraine and Debbie both laugh.  Phil looks
                                    at Terry who seems casually bemused, then he
                                    turns back to Lorraine)

PHIL:  Um . . .

                                    (Lorraine points at Phil)

LORRAINE:  Phil’s singing a song, too.

                                    (Alvin slaps Phil on the back)

ALVIN:  Good, I thought maybe we were the only ones.  Man oh man, we’ve been
                practicing our heads off.

DEBBIE:  I’ll bet we’ve rehearsed this song a thousand times.

                                    (Phil looks like he’s about to say something
                                    when Lorraine takes hold of his arm and
                                    leads him inside)

LORRAINE:  Let’s get you signed up so you don’t miss your big chance to sing.  Phil’s
                       gonna be a famous singer some day, like Bobby Darin and Al Martino.

TERRY:  Boy oh boy are you in the wrong place. 
           
                                    (Lorraine hustles Phil inside and the others
                                    happily follow along)

PHIL:  She means, Dean Martin.

TERRY:  I got news for you, Dino wouldn’t be caught dead in this joint.

 

Scene Two

     (Lorraine, Phil and the others enter the Purple Onion, a small dark club with fifteen round tables that are all full.  All the tables face a small stage.  Lorraine points  toward the stage)

LORRAINE:  I’ve got the front table staked out with my guitar.  We’ll be right there.

                                    (Terry, Alvin and Debbie head to the table

                                    (Lorraine takes Phil over to the M.C., a 40-year
                                    old guy with a graying beard, who stands behind
                                    a crude lighting board.  The M.C. looks at Phil
                                    and winces)

M.C.:  Who’s he?

LORRAINE:  A friend.

M.C.: You sure have a lot of friends. 

LORRAINE:  As a matter of fact I do, what’s it to you?

M.C.:  Nothing.  Not a thing.

LORRAINE:  (nods at Phil)  He wants to sing.

M.C.:  Then sing out, my friend, sing out.  What’s your name?

PHIL:  Phil Buckley.

M.C.:  OK, Phil there you go.

                                    (The M.C. writes “Phil” at the bottom of the
                                    Hootenanny list, a blackboard with ten acts
                                    listed above him.  Phil gulps, thinking what
                                    have I done?  The M.C. tells Phil . . .)
                                   
M.C.:  Keep in mind, though, friend, that with ten acts ahead of you there’s a pretty
           good chance you won’t get to go on at all. 

PHIL:  (mumbles to himself)  God willing. 

LORRAINE:  (encouraging)  Oh, now.  You said you want to be a musician, right?

PHIL:  Right.

LORRAINE:  Here you go.
                                    (to the M.C.)
                       Are we set for tomorrow?

                                    (The M.C. steps up to Lorraine and whispers
                                    in her ear)

M.C.:  Sure.  Uh, Lorraine . . . ?
 
LORRAINE:  Yeah?

M.C.:  (looks at Phil and shakes his head)  Later.

                                    (Lorraine and Phil walk across the club)

LORRAINE:  (excited)  I’m so glad Terry made it, I really think you two will hit it off. 
                        He’s really smart.  I met him at a sit-in, and I met Alvin & Debbie at an
                        SDS meeting.  They are very committed to the cause. 

PHIL:  What cause?

LORRAINE:  The cause of freedom and equality.

 

PHIL:  (nods)  Oh.  Right.  That. 
                                    (casually)
             By the way, what are some of your favorite folk songs? 

LORRAINE:  (thinks)  Well, I really like Bob Dylan’s “Talking Word War 3 Blues.” 

PHIL:  (shakes his head; sighs)  I don’t know that one. 

                                    (The guitar is starting to feel like 500 pound
                                    weight to Phil)

LORRAINE:  Bring your guitar tomorrow night to the meeting and we can have our
                       own little hootenanny afterward.  I’ll teach it to you.

                                    (That sounds like a fine idea to Phil, who nods
                                    and grins

PHIL:  Boss.

(As they cross the room, Lorraine waves and
says hi to just about everybody and they all
wave and say hi back to her.  Phil’s impressed)

                                    (They arrive at the table down near the stage
                                    where Terry, Alvin & Debbie are sitting drinking
                                    a pitcher of beer and are all smoking cigarettes. 
                                    Lorraine sits beside Terry.  Phil quickly sits on
                                    her other side.  Lorraine leans across the table
                                    to speak and whispers with Debbie.  Debbie
                                    points at Phil)
 
DEBBIE:  Wow!  He looks like Troy Donahue.  Where’d you find him?

LORRAINE:  At the music store.  I think he’s got potential, too.  He just needs some guidance.

DEBBIE:  From you, perhaps?

LORRAINE:  (considers; looks at Phil)  . . . Perhaps.

 

                                    (Phil and Terry look at each other past Lorraine’s
                                    shapely derriere)

TERRY:  (to Phil)  What song are you singing?

PHIL:  I’m still thinking about it.  What are some your favorite folk songs? 

TERRY:  I don’t like folk songs. 

PHIL:  (confused)  Then what are you doing here? 

                                    (Terry glances at Lorraine’s derriere, then up
                                    to Phil.  Phil grins and shrugs, indicating that
                                    he too is there for the same reason)

                                                            TERRY
                                    You a student?

PHIL:  Uh, no.  I’m gonna start at SCC in the fall.

TERRY:  (grins)  Harvard of the highway.  It’s like high school with ashtrays.  I went
                for a year.  Workin’?

PHIL:  At a shoe store.  You?

TERRY:  I work on the college newspaper.

PHIL:  (nods; impressed)  Your parents rich?

TERRY:  No, not really.
                                    (whispers and points)
                But Lorraine’s sure are.

PHIL:  (interested)  Really?  But she seems so . . .

TERRY:  . . . Down to Earth?

PHIL:  Yeah.  Right.

TERRY:  It’s the rejection of the money.  Very common.

PHIL:  (fascinated)  It is?

TERRY:  Sure, take a look around you.  What do you see?

PHIL:  (looks around)  People.  Folkies.

TERRY:  Middle-class to upper-middle-class white people, with just a few token
                Negroes thrown in for color, whose own self-hatred causes them to have
                to pretend to help other people less fortunate than themselves to ease their
                own guilt. 

PHIL:  (looks around)  Huh. 

                                    (Across the table, Alvin & Debbie are having
                                    a discussion)

DEBBIE:  So, when will you start looking for a new job?  You said after the New Year,
                 well it’s February.

ALVIN:  But, Deb, I like my job.     

DEBBIE:  You like your job?  Come on.

ALVIN:  All right, I don’t hate my job.  I’ve had plenty of jobs I’ve hated, too.  And then
                I don’t like waking up in the morning.

DEBBIE:  But Alvin, dear, you don’t make enough money.  We’re going to need
                 more money soon.  We might even have to buy a house.

ALVIN:  (holds up his handsWhoa!  Slow down, will you.  I’m not ready for
               any of this.

                                    (Debbie points at her protruding belly)

DEBBIE:  Too late.

LORRAINE:  Hey!  Come on you guys, you’re out in public, remember.

DEBBIE:  There are times when his complacency makes me want to kill him.

LORRAINE:  But you’ve decided to have his child instead.

                                    (Terry and Phil continue to talk)
                                   
PHIL:  So, you’re up at State?

 

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