A small group of singers is getting ready to perform at a funeral the next day.  One of the girls reveals something that makes them question whether they should perform.

MARGARET – Soprano;  warm, loving woman

FANNY  – Soprano;  Margaret’s daughter, a teenager

JANET   – Alto; from Texas

ANN   –  Soprano

LIZZIE – The soloist

Margaret and Fanny’s Living Room in Albany, California.  The play takes about ten minutes to perform.

[Margaret, Fanny, Janet and Ann are around a piano, singing “Amazing Grace”. On top of the piano is a tambourine.  The women finish with a flourish, pleased with their work.]
JANET: Well, we are getting to be better than a stack of flapjacks under real maple syrup.
MARGARET: Let’s hope we sound that good at the service.
ANN: How can we, at 8 a.m.?  Who ever heard of a funeral at 8 a.m.?
MARGARET:  Ken told me it was specifically requested by his family.
FANNY: Maybe we won’t sing till the end, and it will be close to nine.
MARGARET: No, he said “Amazing Grace” comes right after the invocation.
JANET:  Drink yerself a whole dang pot of coffee; that’s what I aim to do.
ANN:  Oh, great; and half way through the service, I have to pee like crazy.
FANNY: I am going to get up way early.  I don’t mind.  Mr. O’Rourke was such a wonderful teacher.  I want it to be perfect.
ANN: How could you ever have him?
FANNY: Well, no, of course.  But all the boys who did said you automatically loved soccer and volleyball when he taught you and he got everybody moving around and in better shape.
MARGARET: The whole town of Albany will be up early seems like, to see him off.
JANET:  Well, it was such a terrible shock; him only 40 something and all.  Terrible.
FANNY:  I hope they find who did it.
ANN:  My friend Danny had him and he said he talked your ears off about doing your best and practice, practice, practice.  He wasn’t interested in just the star players.  Danny is a total athlete but he said he paid attention to all the class, unlike a lot of gym teachers.
FANNY: In fact, they said, he seemed to like the small weak boys best.  He gave them lots of encouragement.  “Diligence pays off”, he always said.
MARGARET: Well, we certainly practiced this piece diligently.  He’ll be looking down very pleased, I would think, knowing how hard we worked.
JANET: Speaking of which, what do we do now?  I don’t want to be here until midnight if I’m singing at 8.
ANN: [looking at watch] An hour.
JANET: I’ve never known her to be on time especially but this is a little ridiculous.
MARGARET: Well, maybe she’s had car trouble or something.
ANN: She gets worse at every rehearsal.
FANNY:  She does?  I was thinking she sounds better every time.
ANN: I mean she gets later.  Not her voice, dummy.
MARGARET: I guess we could just go over our part.
ANN: It’s her entrances and all that we need to practice.  Our part is easy all by itself.
MARGARET: Fanny, you sing her part so we can practice.
MARGARET: Your voice is actually a little better suited than hers for the song anyway.
JANET: It might be good to have a stand-in, in case she does this tomorrow.  I mean, if she’s an hour late manana, they could have him all tucked into the cemetery ‘time she’s ready to do her thing.
ANN: Oh, for a performance, she’s on time.  Are you kidding?  An audience?


I wrote this play for the Playfest of a group called Women’s Will, a group of women performing Shakespeare.  Every year they held a 24-hour fundraiser in which a group of 5-6 playwrights each wrote a play overnight.  The plays were then rehearsed the next day and performed the second evening.  When I was first asked to do it, I was curious whether I could do such a thing.  It was extremely satisfying to see that I could create a plot, developed characters, and have a point to the play, and do it in 24 hours. (Actually more like 10, since we met our actors and got the required prop list between 8 and 10 the first evening, and turned in the finished plays at 8 am.)  Not all the “playwrights” could; some had a bunch of people doing soliloquies, like week two of “Playwriting 101.  Not that I ever took Playwriting 101, so I found the whole experience exhilarating, knowing I had figured out for myself that I was a playwright, and had gone out and figured out my craft.  I think I did Playfest three times, before I decided I was too old and tired to stay up all night.