Tea Party, Act 1, Scene 3

Scene Three: Rupert’s backyard. A round table is set up under a large shade tree.

Patience: (apparently talking to herself since she’s alone on stage) Amelia was right last year. One of us did die. Who will be next this time?

Enter Calvin.

Calvin: Hi, Pat.

Patience: Hello, Calvin. Who do you suppose will die this year?

Calvin: (shaking his head) I don’t know. Last year Amelia and the year before Beatrice. We really ought to stop having tea parties.

Patience: This time will be Rupert’s fault for getting us here. I can’t believe he persuaded me to come! By the way, where is he?

Enter Rupert with a platter of brownies that look somewhat black along the edges.

Rupert: Hi, Pat, Cal. I’m glad you came. Try my brownies?

Rupert sets the platter down on the table and takes his seat.

Patience: Hello, Rupert. We were just wondering who will die next. (takes a sip of tea) I’m terribly afraid I’ll die next.

Calvin: No one will die, Pat.

Patience: (not looking at Calvin, but staring into her cup) That’s what I told Amelia last year, and she ended up dead!

Rupert: Let’s talk about something else. (lifts teapot and swings it from Calvin to Patience) More tea anyone?

The pot suddenly flies out of his hand and hits Calvin’s shoulder. It shatters and hot tea splashes all over him. Calvin stands up suddenly and tries to wipe the burning tea off.

Rupert: (standing) Sorry, Cal! Let me help.

Both wipe at the tea until most of it has been absorbed into their napkins. Meanwhile, Patience has continued to sip at her tea, a dark expression in her eyes.

Calvin: Pat? You okay?

Patience: I’m fine, Calvin.

Rupert: Brownie, Pat?

Patience takes a brownie and attempts to bite into it. She tosses down the hard brownies in disgust.

Patience: Amelia was right. These are bricks.

Calvin: We need more tea.

Rupert: Why? Do you want more tea spilled on you? Besides, Pat’s the only one drinking it.

Calvin: Well, maybe she wants to drink more tea.

Patience: No, I don’t.

Rupert: Are you okay, Pat?

Patience: (sighs) Just fine, Rupert. I just don’t want to die.

Calvin: (trying to be soothing) You won’t die, Pat.

Patience: (half to tears) You can’t know that.

Calvin: Look, Pat, I’ll personally keep an eye on you, okay?

Patience: (wailing) I don’t want to die! (grabs Calvin’s arm) Don’t let me die!

Calvin: (to Rupert) She’s hysterical, Rupert. What do I do?

Rupert: Knock her out.

Calvin: No way. You can do that, but not me.

Rupert: (shrugs) Okay. Now, how shall I go about it?

Patience: No! Don’t hurt me!

Rupert picks up a brownie and bangs it against the table.

Rupert: Just as she said. It’s hard as a brick. Now, where do I hit her?

One table leg and then another collapses. The whole table falls. Startled, Patience topples back in her chair and is knocked out by the impact. Rupert, however, lets loose the brownie and it hits Calvin. Calvin stumbles back, fighting to remain conscious, and falls upon a protruding knife from some bushes.

Rupert: (looking from Patience to the dead Calvin) Pat! Cal! Oh, Lord, I’m alone and vulnerable. Must be brave. Go after his killer!

Rupert leaps behind the bushes and attacks the murderer. By this time, Patience has awakened and runs inside to call 911. By the time the paramedics and a policewoman arrive, Rupert has the murderer subdued and wrapped up in rope. Calvin and Patience are taken away. The murderer is handcuffed and taken away. Rupert stares at the mess all around him.

Rupert: Great. I have a huge mess and no one to help me.

Exit Rupert.

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