Father's Heart

A musical by Robin & Delwyn McKenzie

Summary

'Father's Heart' is a story of relationships between people: there are people who oppress others, those who are hurt by them; there are those who are indifferent to the suffering they see, and there are others who care. Primarily it is the story of two very different sisters and the Father who loves them equally. The younger of two daughters is sick of working in her father's orchard business and leaves her father and sister to make a name for herself in the city. Her father sets out to find her, doesn't succeed, but finds and forgives a private investigator who has wronged him. He also rescues someone from the merciless private investigator. Later, when his daughter is mugged, she is aided by the same rescued someone who has learned to 'pass on grace.' On returning home she finds her father ever-loving. You'll have no trouble recognizing the main story as that of 'the Prodigal Son'. You will also likely recognize 'a good Samaritan' among the characters. Besides these two well-known parables, there are five others that crop up at other points in the play.

Characters

Optimum: 7 female, 4 male, 4 M/F + any number for chorus
Minimum: 5 female, 4 male
Father
May (Older daughter)
Amy (Younger daughter)
2 fruit pickers (+several others who don't speak (chorus))
Reba, Lana, Tara (Amy's shallow friends)
Joe Spinks (an unforgiving PI)
Sam (a one-time PI's contractor and later good Samaritan)
Bess (supervisor of city janitors)
Thug(s)
2 (or more) Passers by
Nurse

Scene 2: In the kitchen

Script

[Father and May are seated at the breakfast table. Amy enters sleepily and sits down]

Amy: Morning.

May: Afternoon!

Father: Morning, Amy. You were late coming in last night.

Amy: Yeah, sorry. I was held up.... Man, it's freezing in here this morning!

Father: The first frost - three weeks early this year.

Amy: Oh really? Did you manage to finish picking in time?

Father: We did. We beat the frost. The fruit was all picked and packed before dark.

May: No thanks to you!

Amy: Yeah, well, like I said, I was held up.

May: That's a poor excuse. You shouldn't have taken off like that in the middle of the day. What could be more important than getting the harvest all in?

Amy: That's my business.

May: Well what about the family business?

Father: [to Amy] Your sister's right. You really should be thinking seriously about priorities. But enough of that right now. Have some breakfast.

May: Before lunch!

Father: [looks at watch] Right, time's getting on. Eat up, there's plenty more to be done today. First I'd like one of you to finish banding the rest of the export cartons and label them. May, how about you tackle that?

May: What about Amy? She needs to make up for the time she lost us yesterday. Besides, I was going to begin pruning for next season.

Father: How about it, Amy? Those cartons need to be banded and labeled today.

Amy: Sure, Dad. I'll get on to it straight after breakfast. Just one band around each carton, right?

Father: Hey, you know better than that. Two short straps and one long. You'll find new strapping reels in the storeroom at the back.

May: Think you can handle that?

Amy: I can handle anything... except 'Big Sister watching over me.'

Father: Cut it out, you two. There's no need for that. I trust you to do a good job with the cartons, Amy, just as I trust May to do a good job on the pruning.

I'd better be on my way. I'm going to be gone for the day, but I'll see you both this evening. [Father gets up, rests a hand of blessing on them both and exits]

May: [getting up from the table too] Do you even know which ones to label for export? [exits]

Amy: [calling after her] Yeah, I think I'll stick an export label on you! [leans back in the chair, yawns, smiles and closes her eyes.]


[short blackout. As lights come up Amy is still seated, slumped over the table asleep. May enters.]


May: Hey, you lazy slug, get off your backside! Do you know what time it is?

Amy: [yawning and stretching] No idea. Do you know how irritating it is to be woken up from a good, I mean a really good, dream?

May: That's all you're good for: dreaming, while the rest of the world gets on with living. Have you been sitting there the whole day?

Amy: No, I got up to answer the phone at one point. But then the food on the table started calling me back: Amy, Amy, have some more. You need some calories before you face the day.' And, before you know it, I was too full to move and drifted off back into the land of nod, where I had this terrific dream about living in the city, away from the drudgery of market gardening and orchards. [Amy stands] I had wealth, prosperity, plenty of friends and, of course, my own good looks. I tell you, Sis, I was going places!

Song: Going Places (CD track 2)

Amy: And then, just when it was getting really good...

May: Forget your dreams.

Amy: Exactly! [sits heavily] You interrupted! Just like that!

May: Your dreams don't mean a thing. What about your obligations to the business, to your family: to Dad and me? Take today, for example, what did you do about the export cartons? Have you forgotten what Dad told you to do before he went out?

Amy: I distinctly remember him asking you to see to them.

May: Oh no. I was to begin pruning and you were to strap and label the cartons.

Amy: Oh well, it's getting dark now, it can wait until tomorrow.

May: No it can't. There are trucks coming tomorrow to take them. Besides, Dad could be back any time now. And if they're not done you're in for it!

Amy: Ah, I see. Well, do you think you could give me a hand before Dad gets back. You strap and I'll label - How about it?

May: [seeing Father enter behind Amy] Too late.

Father: Hi, girls! [sighs wearily] Oh it's good to be back. What a day it's been! [sits heavily] But I'm glad to know I could leave the place in such capable hands. I had a quick look at your work before I came in. Nice job on the pruning, May, though I thought you would have got through a few more trees. No rush on that though. And as for the cartons, Amy, excellent job. Has May been showing you some shortcuts?

Amy: Uh... yes... I suppose you could say that. [aside, to May] Thanks!

May: [aside, to Amy] You owe me one, in fact you owe me a dozen.

Father: What's that, May?

May: Uh... dozen... uh... Doesn't matter! It was nothing. I'm really tired, Dad. I'm off to bed. Good night.[exits]

Father: Goodnight, May. So how was your day, Amy. Not too strenuous?

Amy: Look, Dad...um... I've got a confession to make. I...uh... I didn't strap and label the cartons. May must have.

Father: I thought so.

Amy: It's just... it's just... it isn't me. {stands and paces] I really don't think I am cut out to be an orchardist, Dad. I find it really hard to get out of bed in the morning. I am all fingers and thumbs when it comes to fixing things. I get backache using a sprayer. I sneeze when it's picking time. I can't pick out a bad apple from a crate of pears. I'm about as useful in an orchard as a ship in the desert. And I think it is time I spread my wings and set sail.

Father: You've been thinking about this for some time, Amy?

Amy: Yeah. Thinking and dreaming. I can see myself set up in the fashion industry. Or perhaps in a governmental position in a city. Dad, if I were ever to be a market gardener or an orchardist, I would feel like I couldn't do it justice if I hadn't seen the world first. [leans against table]

Father: The world is a big place.

Amy: I know. But I don't know how big yet.

Father: Not everyone out there thinks the way we do.

Amy: I know. But I'm my own person - I'm not easily led.

Father: And living in cities costs money. How do you intend to finance yourself?

Amy: Gulp. Here goes...I was thinking... that is I was hoping...um...that you could...uh...advance me some. A lot. Quite a lot anyway. I mean, a few thousand to get me set up in business or whatever, so that I wouldn't have to wait and be like nearly as old as you before I get to see the world. Please, Dad, can I? Before I'm too old to enjoy it?

Father: Ouch! Life must be really boring for us geriatrics.

Amy: That wasn't what I meant. But you don't know how my heart aches for adventure. I think I'll never amount to anything if I stay here. But if I go live in a city somewhere, the sky's the limit and the world is my oyster.

Father: I get the picture. [stands and joins Amy leaning against table] But I must confess that I have my concerns. There are people out there who have very different values from ours. I want you to promise me that you will keep the faith as you have been brought up to, and live in a way that will honor the Lord.

Amy: Of course.

Father: And I want you to know that...

Amy: ...Then I can go? I mean I can have an advance now? So that I can go?

Father: Much as it pains me to see you go, Amy, it pains me even more to think of you as unhappy with the life I've provided for you. It will take me a week or two to get it together, but... yes you will have your advance. And yes, you can go.

Amy: [Hugs Father] Thanks Dad, I'll make you proud of me yet.

Father: I am already. I'm concerned, but I'm still proud of you. Now off you get to bed.

Amy: You're the best. [starts to exit] Oh, and Dad?

Father: Yes?

Amy: Why 'oyster'? We say, 'The world is my oyster.' Why oyster'?

Father: [thinks a moment and smiles ironically] For a few there's a pearl. But remember: an oyster is a creature of the deep, offering only the shallowest of chances.

Amy: [still puzzled] Oh. Okay. [shrugs] Well, goodnight.

Father: Goodnight, Amy. [rises from the table, paces and begins to sing]


Song: Father's Heart (CD track 3)

[blackout]

Scene 3: Downtown

Reba: [pointing to Lana and Tara] Here they come.

Amy: Hi, you two. What kept you?

Lana: I had to stop in at the ATM. I'm right out of cash.

Tara: Yeah, and there was this long line of people in front of us.

Lana: Yeah, and wouldn't you know it, just when it was my turn...

Tara: ...it went off-line.

Reba: Murphy's Law!

Tara: That Murphy has a lot to answer for.

Lana: So, anyway, no cash.

Tara: I'd lend her some, but I'm like down to my last dollar. And pay day is four days off.

Reba: We can always window shop.

Amy: Don't worry, I've got plenty. If there's something you need, well, that's what friends are for, isn't it?

Lana: Amy, you're terrific.

Tara: One out of the box.

Reba: So, where to first?

Lana: I gotta get some new jeans. I bought these at Bigmart, but they're like going untight in all the wrong places. I gotta get something better quality. It's my own fault - what did I expect from Bigmart, anyway? What does anyone expect from Bigmart?

Reba, Tara:

[singing jingle] Just what you're looking for - at a nice low price!

Amy: We could try one of the specialist clothing stores, I'm sure there'll be plenty of them.

Reba: Like JJ's boutique, they've got the coolest gear.

Tara: Or Pizzazz, that's pricey, but nice.

Lana: [pushing in between other two] I saw exactly what I'm looking for in La Mode.

Reba: Whoa!

Tara: Let's start at the top!

Lana: Well, why not? I'm not just thinking of me. It will be nice to introduce Amy to the best in town. I'm sure Amy will find something at La Mode that she'll look stunning in.

Tara: [eyeing Amy up and down] Something less ... rural.

Reba: [eyeing Amy up and down] And less pre-post-modern.

Lana: And not just Amy [winks at Reba and Tara] -- I'm sure we'll all find something special. Good thing we're not relying on my dumb ATM.

Tara: Or my pitiful paycheck.

Reba: Or my unemployment benefit.

Amy: Glad to help out. Which way is it?

Tara: Round the corner, through the main doors, right past the Lotto counter. By the way, while we're passing, I just got to pick up some tickets...for my boss.

Reba: And if you don't mind, can we swing by Bottle Barn. I need to pick up a couple of bottles of plonk... medicinal purposes, you know...for my... sick aunt.

Lana: Then on to La Mode, and we can look in at Pizzazz and JJ's as well.

Tara: [pushing in between other two] Don't you just love shopping.

Reba: Retail therapy.

Tara: Especially when someone else is pay...

Reba: [elbows Tara]...Especially when we have a new friend to share the experience. [gives cheesy grin to Amy]

Lana: I could shop 'til I drop!

Song: Shop 'til You Drop (CD track 4)

Tara: And afterwards we could all go down to Zinny's and show Amy a different kind of high.

Reba: [rapping] A-B-C, Do-Re-Mi

Lana: [joining in] L-S-D, Ec-sta-cy!

[blackout]

...................................

Copyright Robin and Delwyn McKenzie, all rights reserved.
This document contains only the 2 scenes of the script. The full script (+ music) may be purchased by contacting the authors at the address following. A royalty is required for performance. Details can be obtained, or a copy of the full script and music may be purchased, by contacting the authors at: accentmusicschool@gmail.com