Annalise Cain is a theatre artist from Massachusetts. She is the recipient of the 2017 National Partners of the American Theater Playwriting Award. She is the 2023 candidate for Indiana University’s MFA in Playwriting. She has a BFA in Theatre Arts from Boston University. In 2018, she attended the O'Neill Conference as a Playwright Observer. Her plays, What Screams I Hear Are Mine and A Brief History . . . have both been semi-finalists for the O’Neill Theater Conference. Her work appeared in Applause Theatre and Cinema Books’ Best Men’s Monologues from New Plays 2019. Her work has been developed by the Tribe Theatre Company, Playhouse on Park, Queens Theatre, Violet Surprise, Strident Theatre, Emerging Artists’ Theatre, Brimmer Theatre and BU’s School of Theatre. In 2016, she co-founded the Clementine Collective, a small theater collective dedicated to producing new and neglected works and connecting young artists.

Hurry Up and Wait

Annalise Cain

 

CHARACTERS

 

GEMMA - Mid to late 20s

RAISEL - Mid to late 20s, uses a wheelchair

Gemma and Raisel are a mixed-race couple. Ideally, Raisel is a disabled BIPOC, but a white disabled actor may also perform the role.

 

SETTING

At the bottom of the stairs of a city hall in So Cal.

 

TIME

Present.

 

RAISEL, dressed in a modest wedding dress, waits at the bottom of the stairs. She takes a deep breath—the eye of the storm. Offstage, we can hear an argument. Suddenly, GEMMA bursts through the door (in a dapper outfit she threw together this morning), and yells one last thing through the door.

 

GEMMA

Offstage

And don’t you think for a second I’m joking about calling for that recount! It’s no mystery why District 12 looks like a crooked wiener! I’m ON to you, Kevinson!

And she slams the door. Under her breath, as she descends the stairs.

 

Un-accommodating, gerrymandering breeder!

 

She sits down on the final step.

 

RAISEL

Did you ask for facilities?

 

GEMMA

Fucking asshole. This is a government building, for fuck’s sake, how can they not have an accessible entrance?!

 

RAISEL

They have other things to fund—

 

GEMMA

Oh yeah, like what? To stuff those useless cops’ salaries for gesturing vaguely on that downtown intersection?? Instead of ACTUALLY installing a crossing signal, which would save, what, thousands? Tens of thousands? And save how many of us from how many bike accidents annually? Going in there is like watching my tax dollars get pissed on. Just wait, tomorrow I’m gonna be busting down doors—

 

RAISEL

I think you’ve busted down enough doors for today.

 

GEMMA approaches RAISEL.

 

GEMMA

Babe, the fight never ends—you know that.

 

RAISEL

Mhm.

 

GEMMA goes in for a kiss, but RAISEL interrupts her.

 

Are—facilities on their way?

GEMMA

I don’t know—I didn’t—

RAISEL

Was there someone in the entirety of that building who could help lift me? Someone you didn’t yell at?

 

GEMMA

Raisel, we’re not getting married in that—that monument to ableism!

 

RAISEL

Did you even call to check?

 

GEMMA

What do you mean?

 

RAISEL

Did you call to check if they had an accessible entrance?

 

Short pause.

 

GEMMA

It’s a government building, I assumed that—

RAISEL

Well, I think that’s our problem right there.

GEMMA

They’re legally obligated to—

 

RAISEL

So?

 

GEMMA

I don’t get how I suddenly became the bad guy here.

 

RAISEL takes a deep breath.

RAISEL

Some things require planning—

GEMMA laughs.

GEMMA

Oh no no no, I think we need to go over exactly what happened Wednesday morning, Ms. Horowitz: I’m sleeping in on my one day off, and I am forcefully awakened by my stunning girlfriend of 3 years who says “We should get married on Friday.”

RAISEL tries to interrupt.

 

To which I say, “Isn’t that a little impulsive? We might want time to prepare—" And the girlfriend in question sits up and swears: “No! I’m done making excuses! Financial stability is a myth! To hell with ‘waiting for the right time’! This Friday, I will marry you at City Hall come hell or high water!”

 

RAISEL

You’re neglecting a central part of this arrangement /

GEMMA

/ What am I—

 

RAISEL

/ That you said you would take care of the details.

 

GEMMA

There’s no way I could’ve foreseen this!

RAISEL

I could have.

Beat.

GEMMA

Raisel, it is before 10 AM on a weekday, and I have already physically intimidated at least three government employees. What is this about?

RAISEL

Who asked you to go all middle-aged-white-lady on them?

GEMMA

Nobody needs to ask me—

 

RAISEL

I don’t need you to prove your righteous anger every time—

 

GEMMA

But don’t you get mad?!

 

RAISEL

YES!

GEMMA

Don’t you just wanna go ripshit on the whole fucking bureaucracy!

RAISEL

Sometimes, sure! But does that help us get married?

GEMMA

It’s the principle of the thing!

RAISEL

And was it about the principle of the thing when you screamed at that 16-year-old at the garden center about my arm getting scraped in a narrow aisle?

 

GEMMA

It’s her job—

RAISEL

What about the time you saw that car parked illegally in the accessible spot, so you smeared dog shit on the windshield?

GEMMA

Ok, you definitely thought that was funny.

RAISEL

You left me in the car for a half an hour while you looked for dog shit, and I never even got my fucking Doritos!

 

Beat.

Do you know why I woke you up on Wednesday?

GEMMA

Cause you couldn’t wait?

RAISEL

Cause you yell at me when I don’t take the recycling out.

GEMMA

Well, yeah, it’s fucking annoying.

RAISEL

Cause of your passive aggressive Post-it notes. And cause you call me out when I’m being a baby. You refuse to be gentle. And I love that, I do.

GEMMA

But . . .

RAISEL

But if you lose your shit every time something gets in my way, we’re not gonna be able to do this.

GEMMA

I don’t mean to lose my shit. I just want you to be able to do everything you want to—

RAISEL

Nobody gets to do everything they want to!

GEMMA

But that doesn’t mean—

RAISEL

I don’t want my life to be a constant battle! Sometimes, I just want to be a person. And sometimes that involves staring disrespect right in the face, and waiting patiently.

GEMMA

I don’t know if I can do that.

RAISEL

Then I don’t know if this is meant to be.

GEMMA

El—

RAISEL

I want to do this, I really want to do this. I want to be able to pick up and take a cross country road trip, or build a cabin in the woods, or just get married like that! But when I just jump in without all the prep work . . . I know it’s not my fault, but at the end of the day, I’m a magnet for this kinda shit. I want to spend my life with you, but I hate—reining you in like this—

GEMMA

Whoa, whoa—

RAISEL

I know, I know, I—it’s fucked—

GEMMA

You don’t—

RAISEL

I don’t need to hear it from you.

 

GEMMA

Our lives are . . . different—

RAISEL

I KNOW! I know our lives are different!

Beat. GEMMA sinks.

GEMMA

I don’t know what you want me to say—

 

RAISEL

This isn’t me backing out—

GEMMA

I think you’ve made yourself pretty clear.

Beat.

 

Do you wanna go back to the WASPY Mother Teresa types?

 

RAISEL

Gemma, no—

 

GEMMA

You want somebody to go, poor, delicate Raisel? Better not ruffle her feathers? Better not touch her, or she just might break?

 

RAISEL

Stop it—

 

GEMMA

Well, I’m not a babysitter, I’m not a nurse, I don’t have a fetish—and I wouldn’t ever treat you that way, even if that’s what you think you want.

RAISEL

Can you just admit that I’m holding you back?

GEMMA walks over to her and restrains her in some way.

GEMMA

THIS is holding somebody back. / Is this what you’re doing? Is it?!

 

RAISEL

Gemma, get OFF!

 

RAISEL knocks her over, and GEMMA falls to the ground.

 

RAISEL

Gemma, / shit, are you ok?

 

GEMMA

/ fuckkkkkk

 

RAISEL goes over to her, and tries to help her up.

 

RAISEL

Is it your shoulder?

GEMMA

No, no—it’s my—

 

GEMMA and RAISEL

Ankle.

 

GEMMA

Hey, third time’s the charm.

 

RAISEL

Hello! Excuse me! Can we get some help out here!

 

GEMMA

Just gimme a second—

 

GEMMA tries to get onto her foot, and she topples.

 

RAISEL

HELLO!! WE’VE GOT A TWISTED ANKLE OUT HERE! HELLO!!!

RAISEL grabs her shoe and is about to throw it up at the window, but GEMMA stops her.

GEMMA

El, don’t! Just head around back to the loading dock.

 

Beat.

RAISEL

There’s a loading dock?

 

GEMMA

Sort of.

 

RAISEL

What does that—there either isn’t one or there is. Which is it, Gemma?

 

GEMMA

It’s a service elevator. For trash and recycling. That’s their accessible entrance.

Pause.

I just didn’t want you to have to use that, to feel like that, on your fucking wedding day.

RAISEL

Gemma, I—

 

RAISEL rolls towards her and accidentally nudges her ankle, and she cries out.

 

GEMMA

AAAAAHHHH—before we, do the, can you call a—

 

RAISEL

Uber XL.

 

GEMMA takes out her phone.

 

GEMMA

The bus is coming in like, 8 minutes—

 

RAISEL

You’re full time now, we can afford to—

GEMMA

Paychecks come in on Tuesday.

RAISEL

Bus it is.

 

RAISEL buries herself in her phone.

 

7 minutes.

 

A beat. GEMMA makes a raspberry sound. RAISEL looks on, amused. GEMMA keeps making noises to entertain herself.

 

GEMMA

How / much—

 

RAISEL

12 minutes.

 

GEMMA

How did it take longer?!

RAISEL

Traffic.

GEMMA

Ughhhhh.

The sound of a jangling dog collar. GEMMA notices something across the street. RAISEL sees it too. GEMMA begins laughing. RAISEL tries to keep it in, but fails.

 

GEMMA

Don’t tell me you didn’t see that! How did that little thing make a—it’s massive!! It’s half its size! I think that is the single biggest piece of dog shit I’ve ever seen in my life.

 

She’s cracked: RAISEL begins giggling, then laughing.

 

RAISEL

It—it—it could . . .

GEMMA

What?

RAISEL

It—it could be its own territory—

They laugh together. A beat or two after they stop.

 

GEMMA

You aren’t even thinking about it?

 

RAISEL

What good would it do?

 

GEMMA

Cause it feels fucking awesome. Come on. You don’t have to marry me, but you have to smear that on—

 

RAISEL

This isn't some strangers’ car—I could be arrested!

 

GEMMA clucks like a chicken.

 

RAISEL

Excuse me?

GEMMA

Hmm?

RAISEL

Did you have something to say?

 

GEMMA

No, no, nothing.

 

GEMMA settles into the ground, then clucks like a chicken again. RAISEL huffs, then wheels offstage.

 

Come on, come on. NO! No, that’s just a little piece of it! You want the whole mound! There ya go!

She comes back onstage with the dog shit in a baggie in her hands. She takes it, and smears it all on the top step with such joy.

RAISEL

VIVE LA RESISTANCE!

She leaves it there like the button on a musical number. Somehow they manage a kiss.

GEMMA

You got any plans tomorrow?

 

RAISEL

Ugh, yeah, sorry, I would love to hang out, it’s just, I’m marrying this girl--

 

GEMMA

Oh yeah?

 

RAISEL

Yeah, she’s so sweet, we like to smear dog shit on government buildings together.

 

GEMMA

She’s got a hobby, that’s good—

RAISEL kisses her again.

BLACKOUT.