LuLu’s Dance – a short play

LuLu’s Dance is a short play I am working on – kind of a dark, otherworldly piece. I hope you enjoy it, but keep in mind that it is a work in progress. I was inspired to write this by one of my favorite song’s by Tina Turner, “Private Dancer.” Enjoy, and leave constructive comments, please.

LuLu’s Dance

By Rebekah L. Pierce

 (a dark, smoky dance hall room circa 1940s – men in uniform and some not laughing and drinking uproariously along with female counterparts to Benny Goodman’s “Wartime Swing”; a .50 cent per dance club- a lone woman sits with her back to the party dance holding on tightly to an empty glass eyeing the clock above the bar fervently – deep frowns crowd her face; she is named LuLu; she is wearing a black wrap dress with red lipstick on pencil thin lips; her skin is pale & she has thick, black hair which is rather tangled up like a spider’s web)

 BARTENDER

You want another drink, LuLu?

 LULU

(a raspy voice, tired)

 Yeah, sure! Why not?

 BARTENDER

(suspicious)

 You got money to pay for this one? We’re closed for freebies, girl.

 LULU

(closes her eyes and shakes her head no)

 But I’m good for it, Frank. I swear. I got money comin’ tonight.

 BARTENDER

You’ve been saying that every night now for 3 weeks.

 (leans in closely)

 He ain’t comin’ back, LuLu. There ain’t no money.

 LULU

(near broken now)

 You don’t know him, Frank. He wouldn’t lie to me. Not Jimmy. Not now. He knows how badly I need to return home. He wouldn’t leave me here … alone.

 STRANGER

(grabbing LuLu)

 Hey, sugar! You wanna dance?

 LULU

Leave me alone!

 (pushes him violently and flashes a small pocket knife at him)

 STRANGER

Hey, you ain’t gotta be nasty about it! Bitch!

 (storms off sloppily)

 BARTENDER

Calm down, LuLu! We don’t need no trouble in here tonight. Here’s a drink. It’s on me this time.

 LULU

(eyes Frank suspiciously, but then downs the cool drink)

 What’s the date, Frank?

 BARTENDER

June 2 … 1943.

 LULU

1943. Are you sure?

 (bartender nods his head in confirmation)

 That long?! It’s been years … since I came here? All those many years gone by … that fast. Isn’t that funny, Frank? Seems like centuries, even.

 BARTENDER

(nods his head watching her closely – she is a danger to herself and others, he knows)

 Yeah! Time don’t seem to move around here.

 (the music stops and the dancers clamour gloriously back to their tables for fantasy and more drinks – LuLu watches the door intently, waiting)

 LULU

Remember when he first came here, Frank? I … I was new, fresh off the bus.

 BARTENDER

Yeah, came here to find your fortune … same as everyone else.

LULU

(glares at him for interrupting)

 I wasn’t like them other girls, Frank, and you know it. I had big plans for my life … real plans. I’d already saved $10 when he came here. You know how hard it is to save that kind of money these days, Frank? The war has everyone clutching their wallets close to their hearts. You need a knife to remove it, but back then, it was so much easier.

 BARTENDER

LuLu, ain’t nothing easy no matter what it look like on the outside.

 LULU

What?

 BARTENDER

(pouring her another drink)

 Drink?

LULU

(looks at the glass softly then back to the door waiting)

He’s gonna come tonight, Frank. I can feel it. None of these guppies got anything on him. We’re gonna make it big, I tell you.

 (pause)

 Hey, remember when he proposed to me? Right here!

 (she tries to stand up, but must use the chair as support)

 He got down on one knee … right here. He didn’t care I was a … a … dance girl. No, he saw somethin’ special in me. I always knew I had it, too. All that travelin’, I knew it.

 (the band starts playing again, a swing, Glenn Miller’s “One O’Clock Jump” ; the dance floor is alive and breathing again; LuLu glares heatedly at the dancers and then gives up; her eyes soften towards the door)

 Why’d he have to go over there? They could’ve got on without him. Time is leaving me behind, Frank. I gotta catch up soon.

 (in walks a lone man in an Army uniform – tall and dark, he looks unsure at first, hesitant, but then he storms in with fake exurberance and heads for the bar where LuLu is watching him)

 SOLDIER

Bartender, a bourbon, please.

 (he turns to notice LuLu staring at him; a small smile crosses his face reluctantly)

 And one for the lady?

LULU

(silent, staring)

 SOLDIER

You like bourbon?

LULU

(finds her voice)

 It’ll do.

 BARTENDER

(eyeing LuLu carefully)

 Sure thing.

 (pours more drinks for the two)

 SOLDIER

My name’s John.

 (LuLu is still silent; Ellington’s “Take the a Train” serenades the dancers)

 What’s yours?

 LULU

(eyes him squarely, sizing him up)

Are you sure it’s not Jimmy? You look like a Jimmy.

 JOHN

(laughs a little squeamishly)

 No, I know my name. It’s John.

 LULU

(inhales and returns to looking at the clock above the bar)

It’s .50 cents to dance; a quarter to know my name.

 JOHN

Whoa! Ok, then! Let’s dance.

 (pulls .75 cent from his pocket and places it in her outstretched hand – they exit to the dance floor where Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood” now plays)

I paid. Now can I know your name?

 LULU

(crestfallen)

 You mean you don’t know already?

 JOHN

(smiles sheepishly)

 No I don’t. Why? Should I? Have we met before? I think I’d remember if we did. You’re not the kind of girl a man could forget.

 LULU

What kind of girl am I to you?

 JOHN

Oh, I don’t know. A nice girl … to hold onto in a dance.

(a little nervous)

 (Maxine Sullivan’s “When Your Lover Has Gone”)

LULU

I love this song. It makes me whimsical.

 (chuckles)

 JOHN

What’s so funny?

 (turns her round, dancing)

 LULU

Where are you from, John?

 JOHN

Oklahoma. This is my first tour of duty. I ship out tomorrow for Europe.

 LULU

So you came here for one last dance, then?

 JOHN

Yes … something like that. I mean … Where I come from, there aren’t too many pretty girls like you to dance with.

 (the band has stopped playing for another rest; LuLu and John go back to the bar)

 LULU

You think I’m pretty?

 (sips her drink)

 JOHN

Why yes!!!!! The most beautifulgirl in the room! I noticed you first … as soon as I came in … So where are you from?

 LULU

Does it matter where I come from?

 JOHN

Oh, I don’t know. Just making conversation, I guess.

 LULU

I’ve been waiting here for a long time … for someone special … to return. We have plans to marry and move to my home … where I’m from … to start a family.

 JOHN

Really? A family … well, I … wish you luck with that.

 (prepares to leave)

 LULU

Where are you going?

 JOHN

Well, I don’t want to intrude on some other man’s space, you see.

 LULU

(narrowed eyes; John wonders if she can see him out of them)

 Texas. I’m from Texas. Yes, there’s plenty of space there … and time.

 JOHN

(anxious to leave now)

 That’s nice. Why, we practically live right next door to each other. Well, I gotta be going now.

 (stands to leave)

 JOHN

(grabs his arm)

LULU

Won’t you stay a minute and buy me another drink? It feels as if I’ve been waiting forever and I’m awfully lonely.

 JOHN

Lonely?! But you can’t be … wait? What is your name? You never told me.

 LULU

My name?

(pauses)

 I’m whomever you want me to be, John. I’m your private dancer, you see.

 JOHN

(nervous again)

 My pri … well that sounds crazy¸ you know! You gotta have your own name. I can’t give you one.

 (Band plays Glen Miller’s “In the Mood” – the soldiers and girls dance)

 LULU

Do you want to dance?

 JOHN

No … I …

 LULU

(smiles sweetly into his face and lays her hand on his arm)

 No charge, John. Please. I have to earn my keep or I can’t go … home, you see. We must all earn our way home … John.

JOHN

Oh, alright! I don’t like to see a pretty girl such as yourself put out. But I really must go afterward.

 LULU

Yes, you will go … afterwards.

 (they dance in the middle of the crowd – John is beginning to enjoy himself as they twirl around to “In the Mood”; LuLu takes out the small pocket knife and stabs him in the heart where her head had laid as they embraced in the dance; no one notices his body fall to the ground)

LULU

It seems we’ve run out of time after all, Jimmy.

 (LuLu walks back to the bar, blood dripping from the knife onto the dance floor creating a trail)

 BARTENDER

What happened? Wasn’t that him?

 LULU

(looking earnestly at the door to the club)

 No. He didn’t even know my name.

 BARTENDER

Oh, well. Maybe tomorrow night! Another drink?

 LULU

(slides a quarter absentmindedly towards him as she eyes the clock once more)

 Yes. Maybe.

(the end)


 

 

 

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About rebekahpierce

Rebekah L. Pierce is an award-winning and bestselling socially conscious author and playwright whose work primarily focuses on contemporary women and family. She is also the founder and CEO of The Pierce Agency, LLC, a literary and publishing services agency whose mission is to assist aspiring and emerging authors and playwrights bring professionally edited and designed works to the market. To learn more about her work, visit www.rebekahlpierce.com and www.ThePierceAgencyLLC.com.
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8 Responses to LuLu’s Dance – a short play

  1. Loretta Walls says:

    Wow! LuLu is really missing her beau…or was she? I enjoyed the dark tone and stream of hope she was clinging to.

  2. Jane says:

    I agree with Loretta, WOW. I can almost hear the music and feel the sadness. Great job

  3. Tonya says:

    Okay, Oklahoma has 2 a’s not three. Why kill a man without reason? If John didnt recognize her then why cling to him for a second dance? He sounds like a young hick going to Desert storm and she’s an old gal from world war II. How many years has it truly been? Why is the bartender not freaked out like he was earlier? She just killed a dude and he doesn’t blink…. First Frank wants her to pay and then he gives in. Iam new at this so take my feedback in stride.

    • Ok, yeah, working on edits/storyline. Now, this is dark, sci fi work, so reality can be suspended. As for the format, yes, plays are formatted in this way, but wordpress also does not have the proper Word doc line spacing you are used to seeing, so it looks weird. I am posting an updated version of the story in a few. Reread it and see what happens.

  4. Tonya says:

    Is this 7 pages? Why waste so much white space or is that how are written? Fill a girl in on the standards.

  5. Darryl Davis says:

    I see the similarities to Dutchman. It does have a dark element to it and I find myself wanting to know more about her and this place where people don’t even seem to notice John’s slumping to the floor or seem to care. There is an element of Picasso at Lapin Agile as well….it has an other dimensional feel and that too is based in a bar setting…a pass through point.

  6. Mark Stanley says:

    This was good until she stabbed John for no reason.

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