"The Reason" is a short drama about grief and compassion, as a married couple struggle to come to grips with the battlefield death of their only son. An answer comes in the form of an unexpected and unlikely visitor.
Keywords: grief, anger, suffering, compassion, heroics, valor, sacrifice, forgiveness.
Bible Reference: John 15:/p>
Cast: Three adults: 2 males, 1 female, all old enough to be parents of a military-aged son.
Set: Typical American living room: couch, armchair, small coffee table, etc.
Special effects: Doorbell (knocking okay)
Props: Folded American flag, framed photograph of military man
Costumes: Formal clothing; suitable for funeral
Tom’s clothes aren’t as new/nice as the couple’s.
Helen's part should be played with angst & anger -- loss of her son is devastating. Visitor is nervous, uncertain, yet obviously grateful and overwhelmed.
Time: 20 minutes
Sample of script:
Ray and Helen enter, appear distraught. Ray carries folded American flag. Helen sits, struggles to keep composure.
Ray: I thought it went well, didn't you?
Helen does not reply. Ray moves to table, sets flag next to framed photograph, touches picture lovingly
Ray: The chaplain gave a good sermon. Very moving. I thought the Army colonel had some nice things to say, as well. Kenny may receive the Medal of Honor. Imagine that.
Helen: Why should I imagine our son receiving a medal? What good is a medal when you're dead?
Ray: Helen, he saved four lives.
Helen, angry: What for? Answer me that, Ray! Saving from what? We're losing that war! We're accomplishing absolutely nothing! Nothing's changed, they still hate us, they're still training terrorists!
Why did my son have to die when it means nothing?
Ray struggles for words, walks towards Helen
Special FX: doorbell
Ray moves toward offstage, opens door, Tom enters stage
TOM: Mr. and Mrs. Gilmore?
Ray: We're the Gilmores, yes.
TOM: Mr. Gilmore, please forgive the intrusion. My name is Tom Lewis. I saw you at Private Gilmore's, that is, your son's funeral. I wanted to speak to you then, but it didn't seem the right place. Would it be all right if I came in, sir?
Ray: This is really not a good time, Mr. Lewis.
TOM: Yes, sir, I understand, and I truly apologize. It’s just that, well, my son, Sgt. Paul Lewis, he was one of the soldiers your son saved in Afghanistan.
Ray, glances at Helen:
Oh, well, yes, please. Please come in.
Tom steps inside, smiles politely at Helen.
Ray: Did you know my son, Mr. Lewis?
TOM, sits down at Ray's motion:
Thank you, sir. No, sir, I didn’t. I’m sorry.
Helen: You said Kenny saved your son’s life?
TOM: Yes, ma’am. Paul wanted to be here himself, but he’s still in Walter Reed. He was wounded in the attack. He’s going to be okay, though. (a beat) Thanks to your son.
long, awkward pause, all smile nervously at each other, struggle for words.
TOM: Yeah, well, where to start? My son, Paul, he and I never really had the best relationship, you know? His mother and I split up when he was pretty young, and I was never exactly father of the year after that. I think we maybe saw each other a couple of times a year for a while, then we just sort of lost contact. His mom died in a car wreck not long after he joined the army, so they called me when he got wounded. (choking up) When I saw him laying in that hospital bed, that was the first time I’d seen him in six years.
Helen: My apologies, Mr. Lewis, but how is this about Kenny?
Oh, yeah, I’m sorry. Got off track there for a minute. Paul, my son, he said that Private Gilmore – may I call him Kenny? – he said Kenny was sent up to his unit as a replacement the same day he was killed. Paul never really got to know him. He did say that Kenny was a good kid, a good soldier. Very polite, very polished. Said he followed orders without back talk, which Paul said is something of a rarity.
That's Kenny. Always polite.
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