Ariel Stess

Ariel Stess

 

an excerpt from HEARTBREAK
 
a new play

 
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In this excerpt, the characters are:
 
    Steven: Father
    Stell: Wife
    Stara: Daughter

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STEVEN
So… How is the apartment?

STARA
You should come visit.

STEVEN
Why?

STARA
Well, to see some pieces of stuff there.

STEVEN
K. I’ll uh.

STARA
K.

STEVEN
How’s the man?

STARA
Well, I need your help I think.

STEVEN
Okay. With what?

STARA
Heartbreak.

STEVEN
Ohh. Yeah.

STARA
Can you help?

STEVEN
Shaking his head “no”.
Ohh. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

STARA
Well. Just um.

STEVEN
…wooppph.

STARA
Well, when you were my age…

STEVEN
Ooopph. Yeah.

STARA
Twenty-seven.

STEVEN
Twenty-seven. Dad was not pleased with my… choices.

STARA
He was like how will you support your wife, right, chopping firewood in the forest?

STEVEN
Miss the forest.

STARA
But, your office here. Phasing out at the forest.

Stara looks out the window.

STARA
For sale?

STEVEN
Oh yeah forest for sale. Bought it. Sold it. No selling it. Sold it.

STARA
But, your awfuls. I thought you wanted to hold on to the forest. For us? Stammy and I.

STEVEN
Sorry sold it. Hold it. Selling it? Yeah, sorry sold it. Hold it. Selling it? Yeah sorry sold it. Stell says.

STARA
Wait wait wait wait wait. Selling it? What about for us? Forest? Stammy and I? We played there.

STEVEN
Yep. Bad. But, yep selling it soLD IT!

STARA
Hoe-Kay. No biggie. But, dad…

STEVEN
Forest for us is not so important now. For us, traveling, drinking espresso, trying new blends, for us, phasing out of the company, the office.

Richard Toth and Keilly McQuail in HEARTBREAK. credit: Jessica Osber.

Richard Toth and Keilly McQuail in HEARTBREAK. Photo: Jessica Osber

STEVEN (cont’d)
Nice to see you.

STARA
Your company.

STEVEN
My. Company… is?

STARA
Nice, dad. Your company is nice.

STEVEN
Yeah? Who do you like in particular? Mell?

STARA
No.

STEVEN
Brell?

STARA
No.

STEVEN
Kell?

STARA
No.

STEVEN
Jacobsen?

STARA
No. Dad. Your. Company. Nice.

STEVEN
Me? Or my… company?

STARA
No YOUR company, dad, nice.

STEVEN
Ohhhhh! Me? That’s really nice, Stara.

Steven notices lint in the carpet.

Bends down.

Tries to pull a piece of brown lint out of the carpet.

STARA
Dad?
Dad?
Dad?
Dad?
Dad?
DAD?
Dada.
Dada.
Dada.
Dada?
Da Da?
Da Da?
Da Da?
Da Da?
DA? DA? DA? DA? DA? DA? DA?

STEVEN
Hm? You say something?

STARA
Yes.

STEVEN
Hmmm?

STARA
Though… Did you hear anything I’ve said.

Steven, looking at wall, stucco.

STARA
Da?

STEVEN
Hmm? Oh.

Yes?

STARA
I said a lot, though.

STEVEN
Hmm? Oh. Yes. I heard it. I heard it all.

STARA
But you said nothing about it.

STEVEN
Well. I heard it. I heard it all.

STARA
But what about how you said nothing about it at all?

STEVEN
Hmm? Oh well. I heard it all.

STARA
So I should just assume that you hear everything?

STEVEN
Yeah. Oh yeah. Been phasing out but, still listening to stuff, you say, mostly. Yeah, listening to stuff, you say, mostly.

STARA
Da?

STEVEN
Hmm? Mmmhm.

STARA
Heartbreak, DA… what to do about it?

STEVEN
Shaking his head “no”.
Oh. Oph. Well, yeah. Mm-mm. Well, yeah.

STARA
So… what to do, about it?

STEVEN
Sorry, uhhh.

STARA
Okay okay.

STEVEN
So, how’s your house?

STARA
The apartment?

STEVEN
Mhhm. Your home your home, I mean.

STARA
Thank you. I know. That’s why I came. Wanted to feel, home.

STEVEN
No no. I mean, my awfuls. Your OLD room. Your not-home. My home. Your not-home. Not anymore.

STARA
Oh. But, Stell said, make yourself, at home…

STEVEN
Yeah. I know. Sorry bout that but this is your not-home. Your anti-home. So you are NOT home, ya know?

STARA
Oh.

STEVEN
Yeah. You’re not home. That’s okay, though. I meant, how’s your home-home? In the city? The little home.

STARA
Oh… dad. But, no. Heartbreak, remember? We’re like splitting up. I actually have to find a new place. What to do about that?

STEVEN
Ohhh heartbreak. YEAH I remember heartbreak just being pretty bad. Hard.

STARA
Hoe. Hoe-kay. Hoe-kay. Bad.

STEVEN
Yup.

STARA
Yeah.

STEVEN
You, screwed, something up?

STARA
Me? Ohh. Dad. No I did. Yeah I did. I screwed something up.

STEVEN
Oh okay. There is now… something, I can say.

STARA
Yes?

STEVEN
Try not to… be… alone. Ever.

STARA
Oh hoe-kay.

STEVEN
Try to be always, like, with someone else, ever.

STARA
Oh hoe-kay hoe-kay.

STEVEN
When you’re like, oh shit I’m alone, then try to be always, like, with someone else, ever. Okay?

STARA
Oh like friends? Friends-friends?

STEVEN
No, I mean a pardner.

STARA
Oh. But, dad. Heartbreak. / What to do about that?

STEVEN
Ohhhh right!

Steven scratches head.

STEVEN (cont’d)
Yeah just try not to look around and be, like, realizing like, oh shit, I’m alone-alone. Just always be, like, WITH someone else, like a pardner-pardner, not like a friend-pardner. No, you want to stay with a pardner-person, not like a friend-pardner-person. Have a team-pardner-person. Tackle problems-pardner-person, pardner-problems. Celebrate problems-pardner-person, pardner-problems. Support-pardner-person. Listen-pardner-person. Laugh-pardner-person. Adjust-pardner-person. Person-person stuff, pardner-person stuff. Pardner stuff. Be WITH one yeah. I’ve said what I meant.

STARA
Oh okay okay. I am going to go wash up now. Thanks, dad.

STEVEN
Kay. But, water is limited here.

STARA
Oh okay.

Stara leaves.

Stell enters.

STEVEN
She’s, uh, not doing so good.

STELL
Why? She’s fine. She’s going to be juuhst fine. I have the UTmost confidence in her.

STEVEN
Heartbreak, she says.

STELL
Oh, shit. Why?

STEVEN
I don’t know. She just says, “heartbreak, what to do about that”?

STELL
Hmm. She showering?

STEVEN
Yep.

STELL
Did you remind her water is limited here?

STEVEN
Yeah. Of course.

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See HEARTBREAK now at The Bushwick Starr.

Read Helen Shaw’s 4-star review of HEARTBREAK in Time Out.

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ARIEL STESS is a Brooklyn-based playwright originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her work has been developed, presented, or supported by Playwrights Horizons, Mabou Mines, New Georges, Clubbed Thumb, The Lark, The Bushwick Starr, Catch, Little Theatre, Prelude, and Dixon Place. Ariel was a 2013-14 New Georges Audrey Resident and a 2014 resident artist at Mabou Mines. Ariel is a member of The Falcons Writers Group and Bookshop Workshops Writers Group, and is under commission from Playwrights Horizons. Her play I’m Pretty Fucked Up premiered in Clubbed Thumb’s Summerworks 2014. She holds a BA from Bard College and an MFA in Playwriting from Brooklyn College.
www.arielstess.com

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