Winter’s End One Act Sample

SCENE 1

(In the darkness before rise, the sounds of a the Husband and the Wife making love can be heard. They seem to be enjoying themselves. As they climax and fall into silence, the LIGHTS RISE on an empty living room. There are no windows, but there is a door. The furniture, including a couch, is all white, as are most of the decorations. The only real pop of color is a bowl of pomegranates resting on a table. Suddenly, there is a loud banging on the door.)

CASSIE: (offstage) Help! Help! Please! Somebody help me! Please! (She continues to bang.) Is anybody there? Please! You have to help me! (The banging slows down.) Help…

(In desperation, Cassie tries the doorknob and finds that the door is unlocked. It swings open to reveal her. She’s young and wears a simple, but pretty dress. Her ankle is bruised and swollen, but she quickly hobbles inside, closing the door behind her, locking it, and leaning against it to catch her breath.)

CASSIE: Shit. Shit, shit, shit! (beat) Oh, my God…

(After she collects herself, she starts to limp through the room, examining it, looking for a phone. She is cold and shivers a little, holding herself. She notices the bowl of pomegranates.)

CASSIE: What the…

(She reaches out to touch one of them. The Wife enters. She’s not much older than Cassie, wearing a timeless, white nightgown.)

WIFE: Hello.

(Cassie screams in surprise, pulling her hand back.)

WIFE: I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to startle you!

CASSIE: Shit!

WIFE: I’m so sorry! (beat) I’m not going to hurt you.

(She holds up her hands in a gesture of surrender. Cassie and the Wife both yell the next few lines.)

CASSIE: Who are you?

WIFE: I live here!

CASSIE: I’m sorry I broke into your house!

WIFE: It’s okay!

CASSIE: Why are we still yelling?

WIFE: I don’t know! You started it!

(Cassie blinks in surprise.)

CASSIE: Sorry.

WIFE: It’s all right. Everything is all right. (beat) You’re shaking.

CASSIE: I had to leave my coat. There wasn’t any warning. I just had to go…
The Wife goes over to Cassie, putting a hand on her arm.

WIFE: You’re ice cold.

(Cassie flinches, trying to wiggle away from her touch.)

CASSIE: I’m sorry, I don’t like…

WIFE: Come with me.

(The Wife leads her to a couch and encourages her to sit. She fetches a white blanket and throws it over Cassie’s shoulders. Gratefully, Cassie wraps it around herself. The Wife sits down next to her.)

WIFE: There.

CASSIE: Thank you.

WIFE: You’ll thaw out soon. My husband likes to keep it warm here. Always precisely the same temperature. (imitating her husband) “Seventy eight degrees, buttercup. That’s what it should be. Seventy eight degrees. Twenty five point five five five Celsius.”

CASSIE: Okay…

WIFE: (she laughs) Always to the decimal. It drives me crazy sometimes. (beat) What’s your name?

(Pause.)

CASSIE: Cassandra.

WIFE: Is that your real name?

CASSIE: Does it matter?

WIFE: It’s up to you, I suppose.

CASSIE: Cassandra.

WIFE: May I call you “Cassie?” I knew a Cassandra once. The day we met, she wouldn’t stop screaming. I don’t like numbers as much as my husband, but I swear to you, she must have screamed for at least fifteen days straight before she would calm down.

CASSIE: Fifteen days? How is that even possible?

WIFE: It’s not a record, I’ll admit. There was this one man who went on and on for at least a month. I don’t know how he managed. (beat) Oh, what was his name? Something with an “A” I think? (musing) Adam? Achilles? Adolph?

(Pause.)

CASSIE: Cassie is fine.

WIFE: It’s nice to meet you, Cassie.

CASSIE: I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to barge into your house. I’m not a–

WIFE: Anthony!

CASSIE: What?

WIFE: That was his name.

CASSIE: Who?

WIFE: The man who screamed for a month. His name was Anthony!

CASSIE: Oh. (beat) Well, listen. I’m sorry for just walking right in. I’m not a murderer or a rapist or a cat burglar or anything like that. I swear to God. It’s just that your house was the only one that–

WIFE: Oh, it happens all the time.

CASSIE: What?

WIFE: Sometimes we get as many as thirteen, fourteen people a day. I remember this one time, fifty eight people walked in.

CASSIE: Fifty eight?

WIFE: My husband went on and on about that for weeks. (beat) I suppose that’s what happens when you’re the only house on the street.

CASSIE: Well, yeah…I mean…that’s why I…

WIFE: It’s perfectly understandable.

CASSIE: I’m still–

WIFE: Would you like something to eat? How about a pomegranate?

(She gets up and picks up a pomegranate from the bowl, holding it out to Cassie.)

WIFE: They’re very sweet.

CASSIE: Pomegranates. That’s what those are. They look like something that fell out of a doctor’s anatomy model.

WIFE: Yes.

CASSIE: A liver or a kidney or a uterus or something.

WIFE: Or a heart.

CASSIE: A heart. (beat) I used to wonder what they looked like. I’ve only ever heard of them in the myth about Persephone.

WIFE: Myth?

CASSIE: You know? Hades brings her down to the Underworld to be his bride, but her mother wants her back and she eats six pomegranate seeds so she…

(The Wife is staring at her with a puzzled expression.)

CASSIE: Never mind. We had to read it in sixth grade. My mom lodged a formal protest with the school district. Thought that it was just a gateway drug to Satanic worship and tongue piercings.

WIFE: Would you like one?

CASSIE: A tongue piercing?

WIFE: A pomegranate.

CASSIE: No. Thank you. (beat) Listen. I need help. You have to call the police. There’s been–

WIFE: Your ankle!

CASSIE: What?

(She puts the pomegranate back and hurries back to Cassie’s side, kneeling down to examine her ankle.)

WIFE: Oh, that looks painful. What happened?

CASSIE: I fell.

WIFE: Poor dear.

CASSIE: Slipped on the ice while I was running.

WIFE: (sighing) Mother…

CASSIE: What?

WIFE: You should let me wrap that up.

CASSIE: It’s fine, really.

WIFE: Look at that color.

CASSIE: No, it doesn’t even hurt, see?

(She wiggles her foot. And looks a little astonished.)

CASSIE: It doesn’t hurt at all…

WIFE: But–

CASSIE: Listen, I need you to call the police.

WIFE: And it’s almost the size of a pomegranate.

CASSIE: What?

WIFE: Your ankle!

CASSIE: Look, forget my ankle. There’s been an attack!

WIFE: I’m going to get some bandages first.

CASSIE: You don’t need to–

WIFE: What kind of host would I be if I left my guest sitting there unattended?

CASSIE: I told you, I’m fine!

WIFE: Won’t be a moment.

CASSIE: Wait, please!

(The Wife stands up and starts to head out.)

WIFE: Just wait there.

CASSIE: You don’t have–

WIFE: I’ll be right back.

(The Wife exits.)

CASSIE: Okay…

(Cassie probes her ankle lightly with her fingers.)

CASSIE: Guess it is the size of a pomegranate.

(Restless, she tries to relax, but she can’t. She’s twitchy and agitated. Every little noise makes her jump. After a few moments of this, she lets out a sob, burying her face in her hands.)

CASSIE: Oh, God…

(And she starts to cry.)

SCENE 2

(As Cassie sits there crying, there are footsteps offstage.)

HUSBAND: (offstage) Buttercup? Where are you? Are you down here?

(The Husband enters. He is a handsome gentleman, currently wearing nothing but a bedsheet around his waist that trails behind him.)

HUSBAND: Buttercup, why are you–

(Cassie looks up. She gasps. The two of them lock eyes for a moment.)

HUSBAND: You are…not my wife.

CASSIE: No.

HUSBAND: Oh.

CASSIE: She went to get some bandages.

HUSBAND: Bandages?

CASSIE: For my ankle.

HUSBAND: Ah. Yes. I see. (beat) Oh dear.

(He laughs uncomfortably.)

HUSBAND: Well, this is uncomfortable. (beat) I’m in a bedsheet.

CASSIE: I noticed…

HUSBAND: It’s draftier in here than I remember. (beat) Let me just…

(He wraps the bedsheet around his waist again, covering up his backside.)

HUSBAND: There.

CASSIE: I’m sorry to intrude.

HUSBAND: Oh, it happens all the time.

CASSIE: Your wife told me.

HUSBAND: Did she?

CASSIE: Yeah…

HUSBAND: That’s so like her. She’s always been so good at that kind of thing.

CASSIE: Um…

(There’s an awkward pause. The Husband doesn’t quite know what to do.)

HUSBAND: Would you…like a pomegranate?

CASSIE: No. Thank you.

HUSBAND: Are you sure? They’re ripe.

CASSIE:: I’m…sure.

HUSBAND: Their season’s almost over.

CASSIE: I’m fine. Your wife already offered.

HUSBAND: Of course she did. She’s so thoughtful.

(Pause.)

HUSBAND: Did you know, the number of seeds in a pomegranate can vary from 200 to about 1400?

CASSIE: No.

HUSBAND: It’s true. I always count them when I eat one. (beat) I once ate a pomegranate with 1476 seeds.

CASSIE: That’s…a lot of seeds.

HUSBAND
Yes.: (beat) The pomegranate shrub can grow between five and eight meters tall.

CASSIE: I didn’t know that.

HUSBAND: That’s 16 to 26 feet. (beat) I like numbers.