Spot Has a Big Red Ball

  Spot Has a Big Red Ball (3m, 4w) is set in the ruins of a suburban house and an old barn.  As the play begins we hear the sound of crickets and lights come up on Brother, Sister, and Baby Sister sitting on the sofa watching tv, Mother doing dishes in the kitchen as Father tries to put together an old gun, and Grandfather and Grandmother on the porch swing; she is making a sock puppet and there are sock puppets scattered here and there.  Brother says he remembers the dog chasing a big red ball and knocking Grandma over, breaking her hip.  Mother says dogs were sent by Satan to destroy the furniture.  Baby Sister says she can’t go into the barn ever again but she still dreams of the light slanting down through the slats in the barn and how she thought God was watching her.  Grandfather asks Grandmother if she remembers the hammock in the barn.  She hands him a sock puppet and starts making another.  Sister tells us her brother was hit in the head with a large red ball and hasn’t been the same since.  She thinks the war may have had something do with it.  She says she took a lot drugs in college.  She says the barn is a story in a book and Baby Sister wouldn’t tell her about it.  Father says children are not innocent but monstrous.  Grandmother says she always thought they looked like the mailman.  Grandfather says he once saw his son’s wife taking a shower (a deeply religious experience). He says he drilled a peephole when she locked the bathroom door.  Mother says Grandfather still touches her ass and says she is going to take a shower.  Grandfather thinks he hears the phone ringing and leaves.  Grandmother says he does that every time Mother takes a shower..

     Brother and Sister argue over the dog’s name.  Brother doesn’t want to talk about the war and thinks he is going blind.  Sister says he isn’t and thinks they should kill Grandfather.  Grandmother hands her a sock puppet.  Mother tells Father that their younger daughter is trying to teach the cat to speak French.  Mother thinks they should invent a horse that doesn’t shit.  Father wonders why, after thirty years, his conversations with her always end up talking about sending a cat to France, and flying in a Zeppelin to buy a dead horse.  He says he needs a drink and she says she’ll have three.  He says he was in France during the war but she says there was never a war in France.

     Sister asks Brother if he remembers playing Doctor in the barn.  He says he doesn’t and tells her that he, Father, and Grandfather were all in wars and that history is a long sequence of mass murders broken by brief periods of sexual depravity and macaroni and cheese. Mother picks up sock puppets to put in the garbage as Grandmother follows her putting new ones in their place.  Grandfather puts his hands over Grandmother’s eyes and asks her who he is.  She suggests Adolph Menjou and asks him how many balls he has, suggesting that he stuff pork chops up his ass.  Mother tells Father that it is God’s plan for them to hate each other.  Grandmother tells Grandfather that sock puppets are the secret of life.  She tells him that some night the sock puppets will eat him until there’s just a little pile of bones.  Grandmother tells Brother and Baby Sister that it’s bath time and that she shoved a sharpened pencil through the peep hole and that’s how Grandfather got his eyepatch.  (Grandfather puts on an eyepatch.) 

     Sister and Baby Sister talk about playing a game and Father says Mother dropped Brother on his head.  Baby Sister asks Grandmther how she and Grandfather have managed to stay together so long.  Grandmother says the secret is to pretend you don’t know each other.  Grandfather thinks that identity is an illusion and that all we remember is imagining we’re remembering.  Grandmother says she will remember what she wants to remember and says if he doesn’t like it he can fuck the dog or this sock puppet.  She moves the mouth of the puppet and speaks in a high squeaky voice:  “No.  No.  No.  No.  No.  Unless I can be on top.”  Father and Mother decide that the children have been replaced by alien pod people and must be destroyed.  Mother tells him to get the bazooka and she’ll bring the popcorn. 

     Sister tells Father that she was raped at a fraternity party in college and the leader of the gang is now a judge and she got tired of being molested as an actress.  Brother, Father, and Grandfather speak of their memories of war and Mother talks to Sister about driving in a Plymouth to buy hats.  Sister says that never happened and Brother says he remembers his father dressed like Caspar the Ghost but it wasn’t Halloween  Father says we now wear little red hats.  Baby Sister says the dog has dug up a bone in the backyard.  Mother says they buried her fourth child in the garden, along with their innocence and tomorrow they’re taking the grandparents to the dump.  Mother says she used to stand on her head and Grandfather puts on an old leather football helmet.  He puts his hands over Grandmother’s eyes and asks her to guess who he is.  Sister says she used to stand on her head and Baby Sister says this is a funny, funny family.  Mother tells Father that none of the children are his, except the fourth which she strangled a birth.  Sister offers to help Mother but she says she just has to put up some wallpaper into which she will disappear.  Mother says Grandfather is the only person who looks at her and that Father doesn’t see her and doesn’ t talk to her, that they are characters in a play about the death of the soul.  Father says he works for a government agency overseeing brain control experiments , working with ex-Nazis on highly questionable top secret projects.  When his son came home from the war with brain damage, he offered him as part of an experiment but that didn’t work out too well, nor did the electroshock therapy they tried on his elder daughter.  Father tells Mother that she is too stupid to have any secrets and Mother says that she and his mistress have lunch in the city and laugh about his penis and the ridiculous noises he makes when he ejaculates.  Grandfather says he’ll go have a heart attack in the barn.  Baby Sister says we’ll make everything great again and will all go away.  Sister accuses Father of killing all our heroes and Father says we are the deep state, responsible for the murders of many prominent persons, overseas and at home.  He complains about not being able to fix his rifle and Mother tells him he has the safety catch on.  Brother takes the gun and adjusts the safety catch and Sister takes the gun, saying she could now shoot Father in the head.  Father tells her to squeeze the trigger gently.  She points the gun at him and the lights black out.


In Hallucination, Becky, 87, Lester, 87, and Ben, 65, sit in chairs representing, in the first scene, the front seat of Lester’s truck, in the second a sofa in Becky’s trailer and a chair in Ben’s house, and, in the third, the sofa.  In the first and third scenes, Ben is in the dark and Becky and Lester are in the light, while in the second scene, Ben and Becky are in two circles of light and Lester is in the dark.  As if in the truck (no steering wheel), Becky complains that her children never call her.  Then she screams because she thinks she sees a cow in the middle of the road.  But there is no cow.  Then she screams that there is a brick road in the middle of the road, and Lester says he is going to drive right through it.  Becky says she has been seeing things, faces of horrible old men and women, like a layer of reality between her and everything else.  Lester says he is going to drive her to the doctor.

     In the second scene, Lester eats walnuts in the dark as Ben and Becky in the light talk as if on the phone.  Ben tells Becky she is not losing her mind, that the problem is in her optic nerve.  She says the doctor gave her a shot in her eyeball but she wonders how she can trust her brain if she feels the hallucinations are real.  She says she is a better person than she used to be, better than when she ran off and left Ben’s father.  Ben says his father had phantom pain after his leg was amputated.  Ben says he hears voices before he goes to sleep and when he is writing.  He says Becky might learn to enjoy the experience.  She says it could be like a vaudeville show in her head, except that she couldn’t control it and wouldn’t know what’s coming next.  She asks Ben if she is real and he says she is.  “Not for long,” she says as the light fades on Ben and comes up on Lester.

     As they watch television, Becky tells Lester that Ben told her to enjoy her hallucinations.  She complains that her children never call her and says she sees the red eyes of a panther in the dark.  She says that everyone who loved her is dead.  She says the panther is kind of beautiful and tells Lester to look at the panther’s eyes.  Lights fade out.