"A heartwarming evening of theatre."-- London Free Press

Scott Wilkinson & Ric Reid in the Grand Theatre production of Ethan Claymore. 1998. Photo by Elisabeth Feryn.

Ethan Claymore is the story of a young reclusive widower who, with the help of a determined neighbour and the spirit of his recently-deceased brother, finds love and laughter again.



ACT 1 SCENE ONE

Time: The present. Monday, December 21'st.

Place: The home of Ethan Claymore.

 
It is a farmhouse. The kitchen and the living areas are contained in the same space. There is a kitchen table and chairs in the room and a woodstove for heat. There is also an easel in the room on which sits a canvas, and there is a small table with paints nearby. The door leading outside is U.C., as is a window which looks out into the front yard.

As the lights come up there is no one onstage. It is night. The room is dark. We see a figure pass by the window. It is Douglas McLaren, a man in his fifties. He wears a winter coat over his overalls. He knocks on the door.

DOUGLAS: (OFF) Ethan!!? Ethan!! (He knocks again.) It's December the twenty-first, now open up!! (He cups his hands around his eyes and peers in through the window.) I know you're in there, Ethan, now open this door before I break it down!!
  (Ethan Claymore enters from his bedroom. He is tying a robe around himself as he moves.)
ETHAN: What the...Who's there??
DOUGLAS: Never mind who's here. Just open this door.
ETHAN: Douglas? (He moves to the door and opens it.) Douglas, what are you doing?
DOUGLAS: (Enters the room.) Ethan, it's December the twenty-first.
ETHAN: What?
DOUGLAS: It's December the twenty-first.
ETHAN: December the twenty-first.
DOUGLAS: Yes.
ETHAN: Well, thank you, Douglas. Are you spreading this news to all the neighbours, or just the ones you suspect of being without calendars?
DOUGLAS: Ethan, I've come to inform you that your period of mourning is officially over.
ETHAN: My what?
DOUGLAS: December the twentieth, five years ago, your Jenny passed on, rest her soul.
ETHAN: And?
DOUGLAS: And you've been mourning that sweet thing for five years now. Well, it's over, Ethan. Enough is enough. For five years I've watched you work this place all by yourself, never visiting your neighbours, never attending any social functions, never going out at all for that matter. Not to mention the fact that you haven't celebrated Christmas for five years. Good heavens, Ethan, you don't even put up a Christmas tree anymore. Well, it's December the twenty-first, and that is going to change starting today. Starting right now!
ETHAN: Douglas, it's one a.m..
DOUGLAS: Yes, it is. And it's over. Today, you are returning to the world of the living. And I'm the one who is going to lead you there.
ETHAN: You?
DOUGLAS: Me. Douglas Aloysius McLaren. Now, I've taken the liberty of drawing up a list of things we have to do. (He takes a piece of paper out of his pocket.)
ETHAN: Douglas...
DOUGLAS: Uh-uh-uh!! You just hold your tongue until I'm through. Now, sit down. Sit, sit.
  (Ethan sits.)
  All right, now. Number one. We're going to get you some new clothes. I am sick and tired of seeing you in those godforsaken overalls of yours. How do you expect to make an impression when you walk around looking like Little Abner every day?
ETHAN: What about you? You wear overalls.
DOUGLAS: I'm married. I don't have to impress anyone.
ETHAN: And who do I have to impress?
DOUGLAS: Teresa Pike. Number two on my list. I'm going to introduce you to her.
ETHAN: Who?
DOUGLAS: Teresa Pike. She moved to Gladden's Head four months ago. She's a teacher at the public school.
ETHAN: Never heard of her.
DOUGLAS: Well, of course you haven't, you donkey's ass. You never go out. You never talk to anyone. How would you hear anything!?
ETHAN: Donkey's ass? Isn't that redundant?
DOUGLAS: Never mind! You're going to meet her and you're going to like her!
ETHAN: Douglas, I don't want to meet....
DOUGLAS: Uh-uh-uh!! It's been decided. There's no point in arguing. That brings me to number three. You work too much, Ethan. You need to consort more. Fraternize. And to that end, you're going to start coming with me to Robert Ludlow's Fina Station, and you're going to sit around there and talk to me and Robert and Woody Hull and Calvin Chase.
ETHAN: What'll we talk about?
DOUGLAS: Nothing. Not a blessed thing. That's the whole point. That's why I go there every afternoon.
ETHAN: So you can talk to Robert, and Woody...
DOUGLAS: And Calvin, yes.
ETHAN: About nothing.
DOUGLAS: Absolutely nothing. The afternoon passes and our minds go completely unchallenged.
ETHAN: And you enjoy this?
DOUGLAS: I wouldn't miss it for the world. And you'll feel the same way, I guarantee it. (Looking at his list.) And finally, number four. A Christmas tree. Something to brighten up this tomb you've buried yourself in. You leave that one up to me. I won't rest until I find you the perfect Christmas tree, Ethan. A tree that'll fire up the Christmas spirit, and set you on the road to recovery. There. That's it. That's the list. You can go back to sleep now. (He puts his list away.)
ETHAN: Have you been drinking, Douglas?
DOUGLAS: I had an eggnog.
ETHAN: Did you put anything in it?
DOUGLAS: Half a pint of rum if it's any of your business! Now, you march yourself into that bedroom of yours and get some sleep, Ethan Claymore, because you've got a big day ahead of you, and I want you at your best. Goodnight, sir! (He exits.)
  (Douglas walks by the window, glances in, and sees that Ethan hasn't moved.)
  I said get to bed!
ETHAN: All right, I'm going!
  (Ethan exits to the bedroom. Lights down. End Act 1 Scene One.)
   
  Copyright 1998 Norm Foster

 

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