"A charming, sometimes painfully realistic story of many twists and turns."--Halifax Chronicle-Herald

 

Jerry Franken, Megan Francis and Hume Baugh in Theatre Aquarius' production of Jupiter In July. 1997.

Jupiter In July is the story of Donald Springer, a married man, fifty one years of age, who finds himself falling for a woman half his age, Heddy Athens, who he meets one day in an allotment garden. Donald is a very gentle, quiet man. His wife Joanne is bedridden with what she terms a "heart ailment", but with what Donald suspects is actually hypochondria. The following is the scene where Donald first meets Heddy.


Donald enters R.. He is carrying a portable cassette player, and a sack of small gardening tools. He sits on the park bench and turns on the cassette player. We hear music by Vivaldi. Donald sits back and closes his eyes. Heddy enters L.)
HEDDY: (To herself.) Stupid gardens. How in the hell are you supposed to tell which one is yours when nothing is marked?
DONALD: (He turns off his music.) Hello.
HEDDY: (Turning to notice him.) Oh, hi, yeah.
DONALD: Lovely day.
HEDDY: Yeah. This is your garden here, is it?
DONALD: Yes. Yes, it is.
HEDDY: Uh-huh. I'm looking for mine but I can't find it. They said it was around here somewhere but nothing's marked.
DONALD: What number are you?
HEDDY: One-fifteen.
DONALD: Well, that's you right there then. (Pointing to the empty spot in front of them.)
HEDDY: Here?
DONALD: Yes. It used to belong to Doris Friar, but she's gone.
HEDDY: Where'd she go?
DONALD: Well, she died.
HEDDY: Oh, there. So, this is me, huh?
DONALD: That's you.
HEDDY: Good.
DONALD: I'm one-sixteen. Right here.
HEDDY: Well, nice to meet you, one-sixteen.
DONALD: Donald. Donald Springer. (He holds out his hand to shake.)
HEDDY: (Shaking Donald's hand.) Heddy Athens. Pretty garden you've got there, Donald.
DONALD: Thank you.
HEDDY: What've you got in there?
DONALD: Well, I've got some Baby's-breath, some English Daisies, uhh....Petunias there for colour and fragrance, and Chrysanthemums for late summer bloom. African Marigolds too, right there. My favourites actually, the Marigolds.
HEDDY: Very nice.
DONALD: And you've brought a rose bush.
HEDDY: Are you making fun?
DONALD: No, I think it's lovely. I love roses.
HEDDY: My mother's favourite too.
DONALD: Oh. Are you planting it for her?
HEDDY: Well, yeah. She died last year .
DONALD: Oh, I'm sorry.
HEDDY: So, I thought I'd plant some flowers for her this summer.
DONALD: Well, I'm sure she'd like that very much.
HEDDY: I'm not much of a gardener though. The only thing I've ever planted is my dog Queenie when I was ten years old.
DONALD: Excuse me?
HEDDY: Hit by a milk truck. Had to bury her.
DONALD: Oh, I see. Well, would you like some help?
HEDDY: Oh, no, you don't have to do that.
DONALD: Oh, not at all. There's not much to it really. I see you've brought a shovel.
HEDDY: Yeah, well, I don't know a lot about gardening but I do know that you don't screw the things into the ground.
DONALD: Right. Well, here. Let me dig the hole for you.
HEDDY: Are you sure?
DONALD: Oh, I love doing this sort of thing. It's therapeutic. Calms the nerves. Now, all you do is you dig a hole that's twice the circumference of the roots of the plant. (He digs.)
HEDDY: Circumference. That's around, right?
DONALD: That's right. Twice as big around. And then when you've done that, you set the plant into the hole.
HEDDY: You got bad nerves?
DONALD: What?
HEDDY: You said this is good for the nerves. Something bothering you?
DONALD: Oh, no, no. Haven't a care in the world.
HEDDY: Uh-huh. Well, maybe watching you will calm my nerves then. (She sits on a park bench.)
DONALD: Something's bothering you then I take it.
HEDDY: Outside of money problems and man problems? Not really. This is nice of you to do this, Donald.
DONALD: Well, like I said, I enjoy a garden. I'm out here almost every evening in fact.
HEDDY: You don't have a yard either, huh?
DONALD: No. No, I don't. We own a little shop and we live above it.
HEDDY: What kind of shop?
DONALD: Coffee and candles. A little coffee shop and we also sell homemade candles.
HEDDY: Oh. Yeah, I live in an apartment too. Well, for now. I'm going to be moving soon. Maybe into a house, who knows?
DONALD: Apartment getting too small for you, is it?
HEDDY: Well, you could say that. My boyfriend and I are breaking up, so it's probably a good idea that we live apart.
DONALD: Yes, it probably is.
HEDDY: (Looking at the cassette.) Vivaldi, huh?
DONALD: Hmm? Oh, yes. My favourite composer.
HEDDY: You listen to this while you're gardening?
DONALD: Yes. Well, mostly while I'm sitting. I put the music on and close my eyes, and imagine myself somewhere else. Say, in Italy on the hills overlooking Florence.
HEDDY: Why Florence?
DONALD: No reason. In fact, I don't even know if there are hills overlooking Florence. It's just some place I go.
HEDDY: You're sweating.
DONALD: Hmm?
HEDDY: You've broken a sweat.
DONALD: Yes, well, at my age let's be thankful that's all I've broken.
HEDDY: How old are you?
DONALD: Forty-nine. All right, that should do it. (He puts the shovel down.) Let's have that rose bush.
(Heddy hands him the bush. Donald puts it into the hole.)
There we go. Perfect.
HEDDY: Oh, that's great. Thank you.
DONALD: Now, for the first week or two you'll have to give it water every day.
HEDDY: Every day, right.
DONALD: Can you come around every day?
HEDDY: Uh, yeah I think so. It'll probably be after work.
DONALD: In the evening then?
HEDDY: Yeah.
DONALD: Well, if you can't make it some night, I'll be here, so I'll put some water on it for you. The water is over there. That tap there. (He points off R.)
HEDDY: Oh, good.
DONALD: What do you do?
HEDDY: Hmm?
DONALD: Your work.
HEDDY: Oh, I'm a bartender . Well, they call me the day manager, but bartender is what I do.
DONALD: Oh, and where's this?
HEDDY: The Widow's Peak. Ever been there?
DONALD: No, I haven't , no.
HEDDY: Oh, you probably don't spend much time in bars, huh?
DONALD: Well, I've been in bars, just not that particular one.
HEDDY: Well, stop in sometime. I owe you one for the planting job here.
DONALD: Yes, well, maybe I will. Thank you.
HEDDY: Boy, I guess I should get some more plants in there, shouldn't I? The rose bush looks kind of lonely.
DONALD: Well, you do have some room there, that's for sure.
HEDDY: Maybe you could help me out, Donald. I mean, I don't know my annuals from a hole in the ground.
DONALD: I could make some suggestions.
HEDDY: Great. Hey, maybe you could go to a plant place with me one day.
DONALD: A greenhouse.
HEDDY: Yeah, maybe you could go to a greenhouse with me and help me pick out a few things.
DONALD: Maybe. I suppose I could.
HEDDY: Terrific. How's Thursday?
DONALD: What?
HEDDY: I get paid Thursday. I'll meet you here at six o'clock.
DONALD: Uh..well...
HEDDY: Do you drive?
DONALD: Drive? Yes, but....
HEDDY: Great, because I don't have a car. So, are we on?
DONALD: Uh..well..
HEDDY: I'd really appreciate it.
DONALD: Yes, all right, I suppose we could do that.
HEDDY: Terrific. Well, gotta go, Donald. Thanks again for the help.
DONALD: My pleasure.
HEDDY: See you Thursday.
DONALD: Yes. Good-bye.
(Heddy exits U.R.. Donald stands there for a moment.)
(Smiling to himself.) Annuals from a hole in the ground.
 
Copyright 1996 Norm Foster

 

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