New Year’s Eve at the Flowers Boarding Hotel

New Year’s Eve at the Flowers Boarding Hotel, part of the Pendragon Cycle, is a one-act for four men and two women, set in Armitage, Ohio, on New Year’s Eve in 1899,  The unit set represents a comfortable parlor of the hotel.  Loopy Rye, the village idiot, is picking out a tune on the piano as James Rose on the sofa looks at his brother Hugh whose wife is having a baby in the doctor’s office in the next room.  Doc Braine comes in to tell Hugh that his wife is fine and the baby will come when it wants to.  He takes out a flask and drinks, telling Hugh that it’s New Year’s Eve and his hand is steadier with a few drinks.  Doc says that Vonnie (his housekeeper and receptionist) is driving him crazy.  The men talk about Vonnie being acquitted of killing her father and giving her baby to Odin Grim’s wife.  Doc wonders when the fireworks will begin and questions the capabilities of the Proctor brothers who run the fireworks factory.  Zinnia, the 50-year-old woman who runs the hotel, says Hugh’s wife is all right but that the baby doesn’t want to come out.  Doc goes to check and Zinnia says that Vonnie, who can turn a grown man into a bowl of cranberry sauce, is making the men crazy.  Vonnie tells Zinnia that Doc wants her.  Loopy tells Vonnie that James thinks the end of the world is coming at midnight.  After Vonnie leaves, James tells Hugh that he had a vision of the world disappearing and that he has a big sin to confess.  He says he fathered Vonnie’s baby, and that her father went crazy when he found out, and Vonnie killed him.  Hugh says a burglar killed the father and that James is having a mental breakdown.  As director of the local theatre group, James says that when he heard Vonnie do Juliet’s speech “take him and cut him out in little stars,” he fell hopelessly in love with her.  When Doc comes in Hugh asks him if Vonnie ever identified her baby’s father.  Doc says no and Loopy comes in to say that the baby is coming.  Doc goes back in; James insists that the world is going to end; Hugh says maybe someday but not now.  Vonnie says the baby is a girl, born in the first minute of the new year.  Hugh goes in to see the baby and we hear the sound of an explosion as the fireworks start.  James apologizes to Vonnie for taking advantage of her.  She says she needed somebody to hold her and love her and he was there.  She is not sorry and he should not be apologizing.  Loopy brings in a bowl of popcorn which he gives to Vonnie before he sits down to play the piano and sing “Hello, My Baby” as the lights fade out.

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