HELEN OF TROY
by Tess Collins
Troy, Tennessee, a small unincorporated community in eastern Tennessee
Helen Ramsey - wholesomely attractive woman in her late 30s.
Rudy Ramsey - Helen's husband, a good ole boy in his late 30s. Together they run the Troy Hardware.
Garland Cookson - reflective man in his early 40s, runs the grocery store.
Cassandra Dimsdale - Garland's sister, town busy-body, prone to making predictions based on her own morals.
Maude Robinson - Helen's foster mother, dying of leukemia.
Rachel Kinkaid - Helen & Maude's friend, mid-20s, vampish and trampish.
Joan Johnson - librarian, early 30s. Pretty but bookish.
Townspeople (some of these roles can be shared with costume change):
Jimmy Lee Novack
Old Man Selcutty
Arnold Dimsdale - Cassandra's Husband
Kids (roles can be shared):
Tansey - Rachel's young daughter, approx. age 10
Comanche Joe - young boy (can be played by Tansey/actress)
Tennessee Tom - young boy (can be played by Tiger/actor)
Tiger - Cassandra's young son
Approx. 2 hours
ABOUT THE STORY
Helen of Troy, the play, is based on my novel by the same name. It is basically the Helen of Troy story set in a small town in Tennessee. I don't have a publisher for the novel yet, but keep checking back 'cause I hope to have one some day.
SAMPLE: ACT I, SCENE I
Fade up on the main street of the small unincorporated town of Troy, Tennessee, present day. Troy Hardware and Troy Grocery are on opposite sides of the street. We can see inside both stores and the apartments above them.
Above the hardware store is a bedroom with oversize TV set. Off the side is a porch and yard where grows a tree with a dilapidated treehouse. On the front a dusty marquee is marked with bird droppings. A flower box is built along the sidewalk.
Inside the grocery store is a small gathering area with chairs circling a potbelly stove. Above the grocery store is a kitchen, dining table and a bathroom with a window that looks down on the hardware store's yard. On a third level of the grocery a greenhouse is being built.
WORKMEN put the finishing touches on the greenhouse. Townsfolk go in and out of stores, apartments, chat, then go on their way. One straightens a sign advertising the Thanksgiving Sidewalk Sale.
GARLAND COOKSON, 40ish, tall, friendly-looking and handsome, unpacks boxes in the apartment above the grocery. He pulls out a wooden box, opens it, looks at a photo then stores the box in a bottom drawer in his kitchen.
Across the street RUDY RAMSEY, 38, shorter than Garland and beginning to bald, leans out his bedroom window adjusting a TV antenna. His attention is drawn to two children dressed as COMANCHE JOE and TENNESSEE TOM facing off in the street below him. He watches as they point toy weapons at each other.
HELEN RAMSEY, Rudy's wife, 38, wholesomely attractive, moves about the hardware store, cleaning and moving merchandise. Tired. She pauses to watch the kids, staring pensively at them.
Mister, hand over your jewels or I'll shoot you down.
My jewels are more precious to me than my momma's memory.
You saying you'd rather face the wrath of Comanche Joe than give me a few old rocks?
That's what I'm a'saying.
Then get ready to shake hands with your Maker.
Never mess with Tennessee Tom.
Rudy Ramsey! We'll never be ready if you don't get down here and clean the marquee.
Fixing the cable. I'll do it next summer.
Bootlegging the cable is not fixing it.
Helen! Make me a burnt baloney sandwich.
Pilot light's out. Come fix it.
I swear to God... Can't figure why you don't learn to do this yourself.
You know fire spooks me.
It's silly that a grown woman won't hold a match to her own pilot light.
It went out again.
That's not gonna make it light.
I hate it when the damn thing does that. I lit it three times yesterday. Damn thing should stay lit when I light it.
Why did you do that?
I was scoring the winning touchdown for me and my pal, Ol' Smokey, the greatest receiver in the Southeast Conference.
You ate the last piece of baloney.
Damn it, Helen, why didn't you say something?
Well, I figured I could place a bet on that touchdown and win enough money to buy an electric stove.
Well, run across the street and get some more.
You run across the street. I been working and scrubbing all day while your lazy backside's been watching football.
Don't smart-mouth me, woman.
Or you'll what?
Come on Mr. Tough-Guy, you'll what?
All I wanted was a baloney sandwich.
No, all you wanted was a burnt baloney sandwich.
What's wrong with you?
I'll tell you. Six o'clock this morning the alarm went off. Seven to ten I stickered sales prices on the summer inventory. Twelve to two I pulled those kiddie swimming pools that I told you not to order from the store room, and stacked them up real pretty out front. Two to six I re-stocked the bags and packing, did a bank deposit, and in between all this waited on fifteen customers. I haven't eaten, sat down or pissed all day, and I reckon you could say I've just about had it.
You know what you need, Helen? You need a baby.
A baby would keep you occupied. It'd delight and entertain you. You wouldn't be so upset all the time. Besides that, it's about time I got me a namesake.
You want something named after you, honey, take that hounddog right there over to the courthouse, and change its name to Rudy Ramsey, Jr. 'cause that's as close to a namesake as you're gonna get in this house!
What'd I do?
Other Plays by Tess Collins:
All content © 2003-17 by Tess Collins