Friday, July 8, 2011

The Art of Painting: A Play in One Act

Scene: The Kiefer Cottage dining room. Midday. Ryan sits at the table, shirtless, unshaven, and generally unkempt, drinking steaming coffee from a mug with a broken handle and reading the newspaper comics.

Enter Starr, dressed to make men salivate and women ball their fists. She approaches Ryan from behind and leans down to whisper in his ear.

Starr: I hate this room. It disgusts me.

Ryan: And? What are you going to do about it?

Starr: We must paint. I will die if this room remains this revolting beige shade another day.

Ryan: Fine. Go buy paint. Take a kid with you.

Starr jerks back, visibly disgusted.

Starr: You lazy BASTARD! I keep these crotch fruit ALL DAMNED DAY, is it so much to ask you to watch them all alone for ONE HOUR? You pig – you *expletive deleted* pig. Men are all the same.

Ryan, never taking his eyes from his comics, takes a sip of coffee while Starr fumes behind him.

Ryan: Fine. If you’re going to blow a gasket about it, leave them all with me.

Starr starts to leave. She pauses before closing the front door behind her and looks back at Ryan, glaring daggers. Ryan ignores her, continuing to sip at his coffee and read his Comics. Starr slams the door so hard the venetian blinds rattle in the adjacent rooms.

Ryan sags on the table, visibly releasing tension.

KB walks up to Ryan, looks at him curiously.

KB: Daddy, you sad?

Ryan: Yes, KB.

KB: You mad at mommy?

Ryan: No, just sad, sweetie. Daddy hates painting...

Later, Starr returns, carrying buckets of paint and smiling broadly. Ryan is lounging on the couch with a High Life in one hand and acknowledges Starr’s presence with an exaggerated belch. KB is napping on the couch next to him

Starr: Hello! Ready to paint?

Ryan: [snorts derisively] No. Am I ever?

Starr:(unperturbed) Haha! No, but I won’t let that stop you! Come on – let’s get the room ready while the kids are still napping.

Ryan groans loudly, but gets up, chugs the remainder of his beer, belches loudly for punctuation, and ambles into the dining room. Starr waits, the broad grin still plastered on. Together, they move all furniture into the middle of the room or out of the room. Ryan shambles from task to task while Starr bounces around.

Ryan: There, now we’re all ready to get started after the kids go to bed.

Starr: Why not now? Let’s start now. Come on! Spread out some newspaper on the floor and pour me some paint – you know I’m no good at that. I’ll start the trim and you can do the roller.

Ryan: Fine.

With the same shambling lack of enthusiasm, Ryan goes about the preparation tasks while Starr watches, still bubbling. He takes position on the largest wall, roller in hand, and begins to cover the wall with the new shade. Starr watches him for a moment before starting to paint the trim.

Ryan completes his portion of the task quickly and neatly, puts down his roller, retrieves another beer, then flops on the couch and turns on the TV.

After a couple of minutes, Starr stops her painting and looks at him. She frowns and whimpers. Ryan gets off the couch and trundles back to the dining room.

Ryan: Do you want me to finish the trim work?

Starr: (smiling, sings) Yes! You’re so much better at it than I am!

Ryan: Yes, dear.

Ryan starts to paint the remaining trim while Starr bounces over to her computer to blog about how lovely the dining room is in its new color.

As time passes, Ryan completes the work, gathers the materials for cleaning, and mumbles as he walks out of the room.

Ryan: Done.

Starr looks up from her computer, smiles brightly, and leaps from the couch.

Starr: Oooooh! Let me see!

Starr walks around the room, inspecting some areas very closely. After a few minutes, Ryan walks back in.

Ryan: Can we go to bed now?

Starr: It looks so good, baby!

Ryan: Okay. Glad you're happy. Can we go to bed now?

Starr takes Ryan by the hand, still grinning brightly. She bats her eyes in mock flirtation and begins to lead Ryan to the stairs.

Starr: We sure can...


  1. I think that Ryan would be more interesting if you painted him as a dynamic character.


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