Screen and Stage Plays
IF A TREE FALLS(a screenplay)
On the tenth anniversary of the fall of Saigon I was at a bar in Tillamook, Oregon. Walter Cronkite was on the TV recalling the day the North Vietnamese Army crashed through the gates of the Presidential Palace. There was just one other customer there and he was the right age so I asked him if he was in Vietnam. He said yes and looked away but then turned back to me and said it had ruined his life. I’d seen him around town and in the bar before and knew he was a carpenter and builder and he knew about as much about me so he explained. The way he started gave me the feeling that the news that night triggered something and that maybe he hadn’t talked about it before. He was a gunner in the Air Calvary which meant he operated the M60 machine gun and had probably fired it many times in battle. He told me that his life was fine when he got home. Nobody spit on him and he wasn’t shook up by having to kill people. It wasn’t the war that caused the disruption in his life but what his wife found out after he’d been back for about a year. Her discovery, which he revealed to me, led to the events that he said were ruinous. What she found out is the true circumstance on which the story is based.
© Robert A. Crimmins, Felton, Delaware, USA
OUR GUEST(a one-act stage play)
Judi (my wife) was an assistant manager at the Pier 1 store in Dover, Delaware in 1992 when she became acquainted with Jane Polo. Jane decorated her home with Pier 1 furniture and artwork and Judi, who is a good designer, went to Jane’s house a time or two to offer advice. I met Jane at the store and went to her home for some reason, maybe to help Judi with a delivery, and discovered that she and her son were active in the local theater group, the Dover Playhouse Players. She told me that some of the actors in the group were going to a competition and that they were looking for a one-act play to perform. I wrote “Our Guest” for that purpose but I don’t think they used it. An interesting aspect of the relationship is that Jane is Teri Polo’s mother. Teri, of course, is the movie and TV actress and the only native of Dover, that I know of, who has succeeded so well in the field. Judi met Teri at the store too. Teri lives in California but she visits her family in Dover occasionally. She likes Pier 1 too, or at least she did then.