Zoom by Lisa Jo Rudy, April, 2020
You can download Lisa-Jo's play by clicking the link below:
[A living/dining room space in a Boston apartment. To SL a couch covered with blankets, pillows, remotes, charger cables, etc. sits too close to a large screen TV. Next to the couch is a coffee table littered with snacks and half-empty glasses. At center stage is a table with a laptop computer open. Upstage of the computer table is a small bookcase and a window. As the lights come up, Alyssa – a woman in her mid-20s wearing pajamas and rumpled hair – is carefully arranging the upstage bookcase with a vase of fresh flowers, and selecting particular books and family photos to be arranged strategically. Once she is satisfied, she sits down and starts typing; all other voices are heard from offstage.]
Robert: Is anyone there? Hang on – I can’t see anything.
Alyssa: Yeah, I’m here – can you see me now?
Robert: Jesus, Alyssa, your hair! And what are you wearing – pajamas?
Alyssa: What do you care?
Robert: Do you really want Mom sending you little clippings on the importance of hygiene during the pandemic? Because –
Alyssa: Oh jeez, is that really how I look? OK, stall them – I’ll be back! (Alyssa rushes out SR)
Robert: Hey Allie, how are the kids?
Allison: Oh my god. I’m trying to homeschool all three of them while I’m on meetings all day... and we only have the two laptops... Jason is having a nervous breakdown because he can’t play basketball and they just took all the nets off the hoops at the school... which is probably good because I’m pretty sure he was closer than six feet away from his friends, but now he’s downstairs pounding his drums in the basement and his brother is losing his mind... and my boss is freaking out OF COURSE because we can’t possibly meet deadlines when half the staff is furloughed, but –
Robert: So where the hell is Sam in all this chaos?
Allison: Didn’t I tell you guys? Oh my god. So you know his dad has dementia and his mom has rheumatoid arthritis, right? And they’re living in this retirement community in Arizona – independent living, right? So they have this caregiver who comes in every day, right? But now the caregiver has COVID, and the place won’t let new people come in at all... So basically the only choice was for Sam to move in with his mom and dad until the whole thing blows over. He’s got another caregiver for a few hours a day, so he can work, but – he should be on in a minute, though... Brittany, stop that! No, you can’t use the stove if I’m not right there – hold on a second –
Robert: Wait Allie – it looks like Mom’s getting on.
Allison: I can’t – ok, just a sec, I’m back.
Allison: Hi Mom, can you see us?
Mom: Hello? Roger, get over here, the kids are on. Hello?
Robert: Mom? Can you hear me?
Mom: I can see Robby...
Allison: I can’t see you mom, turn on the video.
Mom: ROGER! Get in here!
Dad: I’m just getting my coffee, keep your shirt on!
Robert: Mom, turn on the video.
Mom: What do you mean?
Robert: Do you see the little picture of the video camera?
Allison: Turn on the audio!
Dad: For Christ sake, Janet, you just click on the pictures of the camera and the microphone!
Mom: But I’m wearing –
Allison: Hi mom! I can see you now!
Mom: But I’m – here, Roger, you sit down. Let me fix my face.
Dad: Are you kidding me? These are your kids – they’ve seen you in the bathtub for Christ’s sake.
Mom: Just a MINUTE, I’ll be right there.
Dad: So, Robby, Allie – where’s Alyssa?
Robert: Who knows?
Dad: What? Is she okay?
Robert: Just fixing her face.
Dad: Why? What’s wrong? Is something wrong? I KNEW it, she went to the grocery last week, and I don’t think she wears that mask I sent her. And that boyfriend of hers – did he come over? I never did trust that guy – I bet he’s one of the asymptomatic carriers and now – oh jeez. JANET! Get in here!
Janet: WHAT? I’ll be there in a minute, I said!
Dad: Alyssa’s got the virus!
Janet: What did you say?
Dad: I said –
Sam: Hello? Is anyone there?
Robert: Sam! Great to see you, man! How’s it going in Arizona?
Dad: Sam? What are you doing in Arizona? Are you sick?
Robert: No, Dad, he’s not sick, he’s –
Sam: It’s my parents, you see –
Dad: Oh my God – aren’t they in their 90’s? You shouldn’t be with them, you know what they say on the news –
Sam: No, no, it’s not the virus, it’s –
Mom: All right, I’m back! So – what’s new with everyone? Roger, what were you saying about Alyssa?
Robert: You look lovely Mom!
Mom: Oh thanks, sweetheart. How are you holding up in New York?
Robert: Well –
[drums at full volume]
Allison: JASON! Stop the drumming! No – NO, Tyler, put down the hammer – NO! Listen, I gotta run –
Mom: Love you honey!
Allison: Love you!
Dad: Good bye!
Robert: Well, I can’t stay on much longer – got a food delivery coming, and I have to be downstairs when they drop it on the stoop or someone will take it...
Mom: Oh dear... but you’re feeling okay?
Robert: I’m fine.
Dad: Wait – didn’t you say Alyssa –
Robert: Alyssa’s okay, Dad, but I gotta run.
Mom: Love you honey!
Robert: Love you!
Mom: Roger – what were they saying about Alyssa? Is she all right?
Dad: Look, it’s only us on the line now. Click on the “leave meeting” button.
Mom: What do you mean?
Dad: The green button, right there –
Mom: It’s not green, it’s teal.
Dad: Oh, for heaven’s sakes. THIS ONE!
[Alyssa re-enters. She is perfectly groomed and made up from the waist up; she is still in pajama pants and slippers below. She seats herself at the computer]
Alyssa: All right everyone, I’m ready! Who wants to chat? Mom? Robby? Allison??
Sam: Hey, Alyssa. I think they’ve all hung up...
Alyssa: Seriously? Jesus. Why do I try? OK, well... nice chatting... gotta run! [she signs off, sighing deeply]
Alone at last!
[she pulls off wig, grabs a beer, and plops herself on the couch, and starts clicking the remote]