Grounded

Act1
Scene 1

Setting: The departure lounge of a larger airport

                                  NATHAN is seated. He is wearing a dark suit and has a briefcase with him. He’s reading the paper.                                     ELIZABETH is just sitting there. She starts to read the outside of his paper – the Sports page. As                                         NATHAN turns the page, he notices ELIZABETH. She sees and turns away.

NATHAN:         Would you like a section?

ELIZABETH:    No thanks.

                                  NATHAN goes back to his paper. ELIZABETH starts to read the back page again. He notices.

NATHAN:         Here, I can get another.

                                  NATHAN tries to give her the whole paper.

ELIZABETH:    You don’t need to do that.

NATHAN:         There’s a stand not far from here.

ELIZABETH:    I don’t want to put you out.

NATHAN:         It’s no bother, really.

ELIZABETH:    But you don’t even know me.

NATHAN:         It’s a newspaper, not a marriage proposal.

ELIZABETH:    I appreciate it, but I don’t feel like reading right now.

NATHAN:         I see that.

                                NATHAN goes back to his paper. A few seconds pass. ELIZABETH is sneaking little glances at the                                    back page. NATHAN talks without lowering it.

NATHAN:         How did your team do last night?

ELIZABETH:    Won by 14.

NATHAN:         (lowering his paper) So you’re a sports fan.

ELIZABETH:    Yeah, I love the excitement of sports. I’m Elizabeth.

NATHAN:         …Nathan.

ELIZABETH:    So, Nathan, what section do you read?

NATHAN:         The stock report.

ELIZABETH:    Oh.

NATHAN:         I suppose you find that boring.

ELIZABETH:    They’re endless rows of numbers. I can’t see them being very exciting.

                                NATHAN goes back to his paper.

NATHAN:         Well, I find sports boring, so I guess that makes us even.

ELIZABETH:    That’s interesting.

NATHAN:         It is?

ELIZABETH:    Yes. You felt the need to even the discussion by finding something I enjoy boring. I find that interesting. I’m                         kind of a student of the human condition. Airports are the best places to observe people. You see some                             hurrying to catch a flight and others just sitting, waiting. You can tell a lot about people by the way they                               wait for things. Do they occupy themselves by reading or listening to music? Do they engage others in                               conversation? Or do they just sit there? And if they do, what do they think about? Maybe they’re watching                           other people, and wondering what they’re thinking… so many possibilities. It’s fascinating, don’t you think?

NATHAN:         …I’m sorry, were you talking to me?

ELIZABETH:    I’m disturbing you. Sorry. I guess I’m the type who engages others in conversation.

NATHAN:         Is that what this is, a conversation?

ELIZABETH:    Sure. What would you call it?

NATHAN:         A monologue.

ELIZABETH:    Don’t be silly. For it to be a monologue, one person would have to be doing all the …

                                  NATHAN just looks at her.

ELIZABETH:    Right. What can I say, I’m a people person. How about you? Do you like people?

NATHAN:         When they keep to themselves.

Copyright © John Spurway 2009