One-Act Plays
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a play in one-act

by Walter Wykes

The following one-act play is reprinted here with the author's permission. Inquiries concerning all rights, including amateur and professional performing rights, should be directed to the author at:

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A bare stage.

[A MAN. A chair. Laughter. Silence. More laughter.]

MAN: File. Open. Innocence.

[Lights shift. A BOY and GIRL appear. Laughter.]

GIRL: You're so funny!

BOY: Looking, you mean!

GIRL: Yes! Funnyface!

[She touches him. They freeze. Uncertainty. She lets her hand drop. Laughter.]

BOY: Why are you laughing?

GIRL: Why do you think?

BOY: It's not funny.

GIRL: What isn't?

BOY: That.

[He touches her. Silence.]

GIRL: You didn't like it?

BOY: No, I did.

GIRL: Me too.

[Pause. Laughter.]

BOY: You're laughing again.

GIRL: I can't help it.

BOY: Are you pulling my leg or something?


BOY: You are.

GIRL: I'm not.

[She kisses him.]

See. Not pulling.


BOY: Good.

MAN: File. Stop. Replay.

[Lights flicker.]

BOY: You're laughing again.

GIRL: I can't help it.

BOY: Are you pulling my leg or something?


BOY: You are.

GIRL: I'm not.

[She kisses him.]

See. Not pulling.


BOY: Good.

MAN: File. Close.

[Lights shift. He revels in the memory.]

Hah! Those days! Those glorious days! Such hope! Anything was possible! Anything!

[He laughs.]

File. Open. Happiness.

[Lights shift. BOY and GIRL.]

GIRL: It's perfect.

BOY: You like?

GIRL: It's ... amazing.

BOY: Yup.

GIRL: Our own house.

BOY: Uh-huh.

GIRL: Our home. We'll have children here. In this place.

BOY: Children. Yeah. Maybe. Lots of sex. For sure.

GIRL: You're bad.

BOY: You make me bad.

[He kisses her. Pause.]

GIRL: Are you sure this is what you want?

BOY: Pretty sure. Yeah. I'll put down a deposit.

GIRL: No. I mean this. Us. Marriage.


This is what you want?

BOY: Yes.

GIRL: Good.

BOY: I want you.

GIRL: Want?

BOY: Need. I need you. I do.

[They kiss.]

GIRL: I need you too.

MAN: File. Stop. Replay.

[Lights flicker.]

GIRL: Want?

BOY: Need. I need you. I do.

MAN: Love! Love! The word is love!

[The BOY and GIRL kiss.]

GIRL: I need you too.

MAN: File close.

[Lights shift. He dances wildly around the room.]

One little hiccup! Otherwise brilliant! Brilliant! Those days! Not everyone has such days! It's something special! Some people never experience!

[He dances. Laughs. Sings. Stops. Silence.]

File. Open. Disillusionment.

[Lights shift. BOY and GIRL.]

BOY: I punched him in the face! That's what!

GIRL: You hit him?

BOY: Yes! Right in the nose! Blood everywhere! All over his shirt!

GIRL: Oh my god. Are you okay?

BOY: Yeah. I'm fine. He went to the hospital!

GIRL: The hospital?

BOY: Yup! He'll think twice before he opens his mouth like that again!

GIRL: You shouldn't have done that.

BOY: Why not?

GIRL: Because. It was stupid.

BOY: I was defending you!

GIRL: You weren't defending me.

BOY: I was!

GIRL: From what?

BOY: From him! What he said!

GIRL: No. You were mad. Your feelings were hurt. You threw a temper tantrum.

BOY: I couldn't just walk away―could I?!

GIRL: Why not?

BOY: People would have believed him!


BOY: So! It isn't true!


Is it?

GIRL: Yup.

BOY: All of it?

GIRL: Everything.


BOY: Oh.


I ... I thought ...


I mean ...


You must think I'm really stupid.

MAN: Yes! Stupid! Näive!

GIRL: I don't think that.

MAN: She did! She knew!

BOY: Why him?

MAN: Stupid boy!

GIRL: I don't know. I was a teenager. It just happened.

BOY: You didn't pick him out of the crowd?

GIRL: No. He picked me.


BOY: Did he rape you?

GIRL: What?! No! Why would you think that?!

BOY: I don't know.

GIRL: You'd ... you'd be happier if that were true! Wouldn't you?! You'd rather have something awful happen than accept the fact that I used to like another guy!

BOY: You really believe that? That I could wish that? It isn't true. I didn't. I don't.

GIRL: It's none of your business what I did with him.

BOY: What did you do? What exactly?

GIRL: I'm not going to give you a play by play. It's none of your business.

BOY: I think it is. It is my business.

GIRL: I knew this would happen. That's why I didn't tell you.

BOY: You've been intentionally hiding this? Keeping it from me?

GIRL: You're being really childish.

BOY: What else have you been hiding?

GIRL: Oh, c'mon.

BOY: I'm serious. What else?

GIRL: I didn't always know you. Okay?

BOY: So you just took whatever came along?

GIRL: Yeah. I made do.

BOY: And you don't think I have a right to know the details?

GIRL: It's none of your business what I did before I met you!


BOY: No. It's not. Not anymore.

GIRL: What's that supposed to mean?

BOY: I don't know. I have no idea. I'm just talking. Saying words.

GIRL: Are you breaking up with me?

BOY: Maybe. Why not?

GIRL: Over him?

BOY: I can't believe you slept with someone else!

GIRL: Before I met you!

BOY: Someone else!

GIRL: Before I even knew you existed!

[The BOY cries. Pause.]

Hey. Hey. Come here. It's okay.

[She holds him.]

It's no big deal. Just the past. There's no going back. It's over.


BOY: I thought I was the only one.

GIRL: You are. The only one I ever loved.

BOY: Why couldn't you have just waited?

GIRL: Because. I didn't know you were coming.


MAN: File. Stop. Replay.

[Lights flicker.]

BOY: I thought I was the only one.

GIRL: You are. The only one I ever loved.

BOY: Why couldn't you have just waited?

GIRL: Because. I didn't know you were coming.


MAN: Close file.

[Lights shift. He broods. Silence.]

One little thing!

[He thrashes about wildly. Kicks at his chair.]

One blemish! One impurity!

[He picks up the chair and smashes it into the ground.]

It's still a diamond!


Not a rock to be thrown away!


A clod of dirt! To be stepped on!

[He hesitates. Stares at the mangled chair in his hands.]

So stupid. A waste.


I wasn't innocent myself.

[He drops the chair.]

Not completely.

[Silence. He stands motionless.]

File. Open. Regret.

[Lights shift. BOY and GIRL.]

BOY: We're about to get married!


BOY: I have a right to know!

GIRL: I thought we were past this.

BOY: Well, we're not!

GIRL: Then why did you propose?

BOY: Because! I love you!

GIRL: If you really loved me, you'd forget about all this. You'd accept me for who I am. You'd love me for it.

BOY: That's not who you are.

GIRL: Who I used to be. My past. It's just baggage. I slept with a few boys.

BOY: A few?

GIRL: Yes. A few. So what?

BOY: How many?

GIRL: It doesn't matter.

BOY: Not just him?

GIRL: No. Not just him.


BOY: How am I supposed to walk around town? How am I supposed to look people in the eyes? In the grocery store. At the gas station. Every guy I see, I'll wonder if he's seen you. Been with you. I'll picture you in bed with every stranger. Touching them. Pleasing them. Letting them defile you.

GIRL: Why would you do that? Think something like that?

BOY: I can't help it.

GIRL: What's wrong with you?

BOY: How many?

GIRL: Stop.

BOY: How many have you fucked?

GIRL: Don't say that word.

BOY: Fucked!

GIRL: It isn't like you.

BOY: You don't know me! Okay?! You obviously don't know me! I mean, this whole thing is just an illusion! There's nothing real here! It's melting away!

GIRL: This is so stupid.

MAN: Stupid! Yes!

GIRL: I can't believe you thought I was a virgin.

BOY: Well, I did.

MAN: Idiot!

GIRL: I never said that.

MAN: Never! Not once! She didn't say!

BOY: No. I just thought.

GIRL: You were wrong.

BOY: Yeah. I was wrong.

[She touches him.]

Don't touch me.


GIRL: So ... I'm not good enough for you now?


I'm tainted or something? Is that it?


I'm not a good girl anymore?


MAN: File. Close.

[Lights shift. He broods.]

File. Open. Replay.

[Lights shift. BOY and GIRL.]

BOY: I was wrong.

[She touches him.]

Don't touch me.


GIRL: So ... I'm not good enough for you now?


I'm tainted or something? Is that it?


I'm not a good girl anymore?


MAN: [To the BOY.] Say something! Say something!

[Silence. The MAN broods.]

File. Stop.

[The BOY and GIRL freeze. The MAN approaches. He strokes the GIRL's face.]

I was tainted. Not her.


It was me.

[Silence. He turns away.]

File. Close.

[Lights flicker.]

No. Wait.

[The BOY and GIRL remain frozen.]



File. Delete.

[Lights fade on the BOY and GIRL. Then the MAN.]

* * *

Copyright © 2010 by Walter Wykes

CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that Tainted Love is subject to a royalty. It is fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, and of all countries covered by the International Copyright Union (including the Dominion of Canada and the rest of the British Commonwealth), and of all countries covered by the Pan-American Copyright convention and the Universal Copyright Convention, and of all countries with which the United States has reciprocal copyright relations. All rights, including professional and amateur stage performing, motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, video or sound taping, all other forms of mechanical or electronic reproduction, such as information storage and retrieval systems and photocopying, and the rights of translation into foreign languages, are strictly reserved.

Inquiries concerning all rights should be addressed to the author at

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