The Uptons Come Down

A couple are leaving a fancy party at the Mark Hopkins Hotel in SF, and the woman discovers she has something in common with the elevator operator.

AGNES UPTON         Society Matron

GEORGE UPTON      Agnes’ Husband

AGNES LEVEL          Elevator Operator

In and near the elevator of the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco.  It is a short, short play:  five minutes, maybe.

[Mr. and Mrs. George Upton are waiting for the elevator on the top floor of the Mark Hopkins in San Francisco. They are dressed for a party.]
MRS. UPTON: Dreadful party. I thought I would absolutely fall asleep standing up, I was so bored.
MR. UPTON: You should have sat in the corner like I did; I had a good nap.

We stayed long enough. [looks at watch]

MRS. UPTON: Darling, you can’t leave until they cut the cake. And when they’re turning sixty, they cut the cake as late as they can.
MR. UPTON: It was a birthday party. What did you expect, dancing elephants?
MRS. UPTON: You’d think people with all that education would have something to say. Did you see Edna Simm’s dress? She more or less looked like a dancing elephant. Or zebra maybe.
MR. UPTON: Mm-mm.
MRS. UPTON: It’s a Givenchy, she said. It must have cost at least three thousand.
MR. UPTON: It probably took that much material to go around her.
MRS. UPTON: Oh, George, honestly. You must have seen it. It had big black and white stripes, up and down. You hate to say it but someone that heavy should stick to black or dark brown or something. Of course she’ll buy anything at those little shops on Maiden Lane. She likes the attention of all those “sales vultures”, I call them.
MR. UPTON: Mmmm. This elevator sure is slow. At least our car will be waiting.
MRS. UPTON: Her dress was the only interesting thing in the room. How could you miss it?

[The elevator door opens. The elevator is operated by Miss Level, a plain but trim, carefully-coifed woman.]

MISS LEVEL: Going down. Lobby? [George nods yes briefly] I guess Mrs. Rockwinter’s party is breaking up.
MR. UPTON: Finally.
MISS LEVEL: The older they get the later they cut the cake, I’ve noticed.
MRS. UPTON: That’s what I said. Isn’t that exactly what I said, George?
MR. UPTON: Mmmm.
MRS. UPTON: Men. I was mentioning the large woman in the black and white striped dress and he didn’t even see her! I’m sure you noticed her.
MISS LEVEL: Edna Simms. Nobody can tell her what to do. She got it at a charity shop, she said.
MRS. UPTON: Really! She told you that?!
MISS LEVEL: Well I already know her. I play mah jongg with her sometimes.
MRS. UPTON: Mah jongg?

I started writing UPTONS after a tony party at the Mark Hopkins.  I mulled all the way home how to do it without much cost.  The elevator could be imaginary, and you’d just have the costuming.  The whole point of the play is the fun of the party comes from actual interactions; by the end of the play Mrs. Upton thinks she had a great time at the party because of her conversation with Miss Level.