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Mortimer and Myrtle: A Love Story

A one act play about the distance between husband and wife.
Note: This is not your usual Lush story. It is an experimental play in a theater of the absurd style. There is no sex but it is an entertaining comment on marriage. I encourage you to indulge in something different. I think it will make you laugh and maybe cry.

Scene: A formal living room. Mortimer is seated on a sofa in the center of the room when Myrtle enters and sits on the sofa next to him. She is wearing a blue floral dress and a pearl necklace, her gray hair is tied in a bun. Mortimer is wearing a blue pin striped suit with a gray tie. His white hair is parted in the middle and neatly combed. He is reading the newspaper and has one leg folded over the other. After a moment Mortimer turns to Myrtle and has a bewildered look on his face as if trying to remember something.

Mortimer: Well, hello there. I haven’t seen you in this room before.

(He folds his newspaper, placing it on his lap
)

Myrtle: (She turns to face him, looking puzzled)
No, I’ve been here for quite some time; however, I’m not sure whether or not I’ve seen you before, but you do look somewhat familiar.

Mortimer: (shaking his head, looking at her, puzzled)
I don’t know. I have a good memory for faces, but I do not recall seeing you here. Do you come here frequently?

Myrtle: As a matter of fact, I do come here frequently. This room is one of my favorite places.

Mortimer: This is one of my favorite places, too. Now that I think of it, you do look somewhat familiar. Yes, I believe I have seen you before, but I cannot recall when or where. When was the last time you were in this room?

Myrtle: Why, I believe I was here this morning. In fact, I sat here on this very sofa. Yes, this morning.

Mortimer: That’s strange. I sat on this sofa this morning, too, but I don’t recall seeing you.

Myrtle: I don’t recall seeing you either. There was no one here when I sat on this sofa.

Mortimer: (Rubbing his chin, thinking)
I am trying to remember where I’ve seen you before. Now it will be bothering me. I can’t stand it when I’ve seen a familiar face and can’t recall where we’ve met.

Myrtle: I’m the same way. When I see a familiar face I want to know where we might have met.

Mortimer: What is your name?

Myrtle: My name is Myrtle. What’s yours? Perhaps if I hear your name, it will ring a bell, so to speak.

Mortimer: My name is Mortimer Redgrave.

Myrtle: Hmmm. Mortimer Redgrave, that name sounds very familiar, but I can’t quite place where we might have known each other.

Mortimer: Where are you from, Myrtle? Perhaps that will help us remember. I’m from St. Louis.

Myrtle: My, my, isn’t that utterly extraordinary. I’m from St. Louis, also. Perhaps, that is where we met.

Mortimer: That is extraordinary, utterly extraordinary! But I can’t recall ever meeting you in St. Louis.

Myrtle: Well, let me see. How long have you lived in Blue Hill, Maine?

Mortimer: (Mortimer stands up and starts pacing back and forth in front of Myrtle)
Well, let me see. I moved to Blue Hill in the spring of 1995. Yes, that’s it. I moved here in the spring of 1995.

Myrtle: (clasping her hands in excitement)
You did! My, my, isn’t that extraordinary? I, too, moved to Blue Hill from St. Louis in the spring of 1995.

Mortimer: (Looking stunned)
You did. That is extraordinary. I can’t believe we haven’t met before today. I must say that’s very curious and fascinating.

Myrtle: That does seem strange. We both moved here from St. Louis in the spring of 1995. I, too, can’t believe we haven’t met. But you do look so familiar. It is indeed utterly baffling and extraordinary that we can’t recall having met.

Mortimer: Yes, I agree. It is utterly baffling and extraordinary that we can’t recall having met. I think, however, if we keep trying we will recall where we have met.

(Mortimer and Myrtle look at each other, trying hard to remember, looking puzzled)

Myrtle: Would you like some tea?

Mortimer: (Considering her offer, nodding)
Yes, I believe I would. I could go for a cup of tea.

Myrtle: What kind would you like?

Mortimer: English Breakfast, please. That’s my favorite.

Myrtle: (Clasping hands, acting surprised)
My, my, English Breakfast, that’s my favorite too. Isn’t that utterly extraordinary

Mortimer: Yes, yes, that is utterly extraordinary. Both of us are from St. Louis. Both of us moved to Blue Hill in 1995. And both of us consider English Breakfast our favorite tea. That is utterly extraordinary.

Myrtle: Yes, it certainly is. Now, I’ll get the tea. It won’t take very long.

Mortimer: (When she leaves the living room, he goes to a small statue on a book shelf, touches it, then picks up a photograph)
Hmmm, the woman in the photograph looks a little bit like Myrtle, how curious.

(He turns and looks around the room, goes to the sofa, walks behind it, running his fingers over the back.)

Mortimer: This is such a nice room, so cozy. My how I enjoy coming here every day.

(After a few more minutes, Myrtle returns with a tray and two cups of tea)

Myrtle: Well, here is the tea. Do you like lemon? You look like a man who would like lemon in his tea.

Mortimer: As a matter of fact, I do love lemon in my tea.

(He picks up his cup, squeezing the slice of lemon and takes a sip. Myrtle places the tray on the table and picks up her cup of tea. They are standing and then both decide to sit down on the sofa at the same time. They both take a sip of their tea)

Mortimer: Ahhhhhhh.

(Myrtle sips)

Myrtle: Ahhhhhhh.

(They both sip their tea, looking at each other then around the room)

Mortimer: Mmmmm, nice.

Myrtle: Yes, nice.

Myrtle: (Placing the cup and saucer on her knee)
Well, how is the tea?

Mortimer: Just fine, thank you. How is your tea?

Myrtle: Mine is fine, too, thank you. I love English Breakfast.

Mortimer: I do too. It’s brisk.

Myrtle: (Looking at Mortimer, smiling, nodding)
Yes, I think so, too. Brisk. That’s it. Brisk.

(Mortimer and Myrtle sit stiffly on the sofa sipping their tea. Both cross their legs at the same time as they lift their cups to their lips then both look at each other then around the room. Both continue sipping their tea, looking at each other and finish their tea. Pausing, she puts her cup on the tray)

Myrtle: Let me take your cup.

(Mortimer hands his cup to her)

Mortimer: Thank you. That tea really hit the spot.

(After a moment, Myrtle turns to Mortimer)

Myrtle: I’m still trying to recall where we’ve met. Now let me ask you something and I hope you won’t think it’s too personal.

Mortimer: Go right ahead. I won’t think it’s too personal.

Myrtle: Are you married?

Mortimer: Yes, I am married to a wonderful woman, a lovely woman. Are you married?

Myrtle: Yes, I am happily married to a wonderful man and we have two wonderful children.

Mortimer: How nice. What are the names of your children?

Myrtle: We have a lovely little girl named Eunice and a handsome young boy named Eugene.

Mortimer : How extraordinary. I also have two children. And what is utterly extraordinary is I have a lovely girl named Eunice and a handsome young boy named Eugene.

(Myrtle’s mouth is wide open and she clasps both hands to her heart)

Myrtle: Now isn’t that utterly extraordinary. Imagine that. We both have children named Eunice and Eugene.

(Mortimer shakes his head in disbelief. He scratches his head, puzzled, thinking)

Mortimer: Would you mind if I asked where you live?

Myrtle: Oh course not. I wouldn’t mind at all telling you where I live.

Mortimer: Perhaps that will help us remember where we might have met.

Myrtle: Yes, that’s an excellent idea. I live at 199 Parker Point Road in Blue Hill.

Mortimer: You do? 199 Parker Point Road. Why that is utterly extraordinary.

Myrtle: It is. Why?

Mortimer: I too, live at 199 Parker Point Road in Blue Hill.

(Myrtle’s eyes grow wide with excitement)

Myrtle: You do, my, my. That is utterly extraordinary. We both live in the same house. And we both have children named Eunice and Eugene.

Mortimer: Yes. That is extraordinary. Perhaps, that is why you look familiar to me.

Myrtle: Yes. It’s possible that we have met in this very house. In fact, it might have been in this very room. I believe that is where we might have met. Isn’t that extraordinary?

Mortimer: You might be right. Yes, I think it is in this very room where we might have met.

Myrtle: (Excited, astonished)
Now I recognize you. I believe we are married to each other.

Mortimer: That’s it. That’s why you look so familiar. I think you are right. We are married to each other. How extraordinary!

Myrtle: Yes, this is utterly extraordinary.

Mortimer: Yes, utterly

(Myrtle takes Mortimer’s hand. Mortimer takes Myrtle’s hand and they both stand up and hug each other)

CURTAIN OR LIGHTS OUT
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