by Steve Munson
Talk show format with three legendary guests whose fame or success is revealed to be built on faulty foundations.
Luke 6:46-49; Jeremiah 2:13
Sheila de Jesus Raphael- successful daytime talk show host
Charlotte O'Hara-- a Southern belle
Norma Desmond- a decaying silent screen star
Don Juan-legendary Spanish lover
Sister Brigid-a nun
2 Male Hospital Orderlies
(Seated on stage are Charlotte O'Hara (very much the Southern belle, dressed in flouncy print dress and hoop skirt, sun hat, fanning herself with a stack of money); Norma Desmond (decaying silent screen star, ghastly in heavy white makeup and too much mascara, leopard stole, turban with feathers galore, in one hand a mirror, which she continually consults, in the other a cigarette holder); Don Juan (suave, slick and arrogant, thick Spanish accent, moustache, hair slicked back, puffy shirt and red sash). Standing in front of this distinguished panel is daytime talk show host Sheila de Jesus [dee-Hay-soos] Raphael, wearing pink-rimmed glasses, pant-suit, holds hand mic and cuecards in other hand).
Sheila: (grave and serious) Hello, I'm Sheila de Jesus Raphael, and welcome to our show. Today's topic: Faulty Foundations. And we're fortunate to have with us that perennial Southern belle, that blossom of the Old South, Miss Charlotte O'Hara.
Charlotte: My, what a pretty dress, Sheila.
Sheila: Do you like it?
Charlotte: Just can't take my eyes off it.
Sheila: We also have with us an actress-
Norma: A great actress!
Sheila: A great actress-
Norma: And a legend.
Sheila: Yes, a legend, long celebrated for her beauty. Silent screen star, Miss Norma Desmond.
Norma: (waving her fingers at the audience) Hello, all you beautiful, little, ordinary people sitting out there in the dark. (blows them a kiss) (to Sheila) Is it time for my close-up?
Sheila: Not yet. And lastly, another icon, and a great favorite with the ladies. Don Carlos Ricardo Enriquez de Valencia y Zubaran, also known as… Don Juan.
(Don Juan waves suavely, winking and making eye-contact with the ladies in the audience)
Sheila: Miss O'Hara, we'll start with you. Or should I call you by your full legal name: Mrs. Katie Charlotte O'Hara Hamilton Kennedy Butler?
Charlotte: Why, Sheila, I don't know what you mean? (nervously fans herself)
Shelia: Isn't it true that you love money? That it was in fact your insatiable pursuit of financial security that contributed to the violent death of your second husband, Frank Kennedy?
Charlotte: Yes (sniffs, takes out hankie). Poor Frank. I felt just awful about it.
Shelia: Yes, in fact, you felt so awful about it, that within an hour after Mr. Kennedy's funeral you were engaged to marry your third husband, the wealthy Mr. Butler!
(the other guests gasp)
Charlotte: I…I was prostrate with grief! I …I didn't know what I was doing. B'sides, I just hate wearing black, and anyway, well, money does help.
Sheila: Isn't it true that your wedding followed so closely after the funeral that instead of shoveling dirt on the dear departed, the pall bearers threw rice? (Charlotte nods, weeping) Isn't it true that you had the only funeral hearse in Atlanta with old shoes tied to the back bumper?
Charlotte: (rising) It's a lie! I may be greedy and I may have done murder, but no one can accuse me of being tacky! Anyway, (puts her head in her hands) I can't think about that today. I'll go crazy if I do. I think about it tomorrow. (she sits, hiccoughs)
Shelia: Miss Desmond.
Norma: Is it time for my close-up now?
Sheila: Yes, yes it is. Let's all take a closer look at the real Norma Desmond. Your last picture was a pathetic attempt at a comeback. In fact, it was a box-office disaster, which prompted one critic to write (reading card), "In her bright red dress and mountains of makeup, Miss Desmond resembles a decaying wedding cake sliding into a bowl of Hawaiian punch." Miss Desmond, do you fear growing old?
Norma: I will never grow old. My beauty transcends time.
Sheila: Miss Desmond, is it true you apply your makeup with a trowel?
Norma: (livid) What?!!
Sheila: Isn't it true you've had so many face lifts, the doctors had to make slits in the back of your head so you could blow your nose? (Norma is sputtering, speechless) Isn't it true your last three chins are now living in Florida under an assumed name?
Norma: (standing, dramatic and terrible with rage) How daaaaare you! Mr. DeMille! Mr. DeMille! Who's the director here? Have this woman thrown off the set!
(During the commotion Don Juan tries to sneak off the set)
Sheila: Not so fast, Don Juan. I have a question for you. To what do you attribute your success with women? (he sits down, confident with the question. Norma sits in a huff.)
Don: Well, Sheila, jou know, some mens got it, and some mens doan. And well… I got it.
Sheila: Tell me, Don - if that is in fact your real name. Isn't it true that your so-called romantic prowess is really an insatiable desire for female affirmation, rooted in a mother fixation?
Don: I am el Don Juan, de Latin lover!
Sheila: Well, you might be interested in knowing that our research department finds that your real name is Floyd McIlheny. That you were born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and that the only Latin you have in you is from a 7th grade confirmation class, which you never completed.
Don: (horrified) No!!
(enter a middle-aged nun dressed in black habit. She gives Don Juan a stern look of disapprobation. He sinks into his chair.)
Sheila: Is this the man, sister?
(The nun nods, grabs Don Juan by the ear like a schoolboy and roughly pulls him offstage. Norma begins posing before the audience, as though she were doing her famous serpentine Salome scene. Aware Norma is trying to steal the scene, Charlotte gives her a light rap with her fan. Norma returns the blow with her mirror. This is repeated twice, as the fight beings to escalate during Shelia's closing remarks. The two celebrities now beginning to tear things off each other. When Charlotte rips off Norma's turban, the wig goes with it, revealing she is bald as a billiard ball. They begin to wrestle).
Sheila: Ladies and gentlemen, I'm sorry you had to witness this. But being a successful daytime talk show host isn't always pretty. What do these three notable persons have it common? They've all built their lives on faulty foundations. Money, beauty, sex. The result you can see: guilt and insecurity, fear and insanity, loneliness and addiction. You see, if they had only built on something…or someone…more enduring. Who that can be, will be the subject of my next show.
Enter two male orderlies dressed in white pants and T-shirts. They grab the two women forcibly and lead them off as they struggle. But both ladies have to be literally dragged off in a most undignified way.
Copyright 2000 by Steve Munson, all rights reserved.
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