"Foster knows just when to tickle the funny bone or pull on the heartstrings, and here he does both with equal skill." --Fredericton Daily Gleaner

 

Catherine Barroll & Wayne Best in Theatre New Brunswick's production of The Affections Of May. 1990

 

 

In THE AFFECTIONS OF MAY, May Henning is the owner of a bed and breakfast in the town of Grogan's Cove. In Act 1 Scene 1, May is deserted by her husband Brian, who has decided that small town life is not for him, and so he's returned to the big city leaving May to fend for herself. In the following scene, May has her first encounter with Quinn, a local handyman.

 

   
  ACT 1 SCENE 2
  Time: About a week later.
  Place: The same.
  As the scene opens there is no one onstage. The pot of coffee is on the table. Quinn appears outside and looks into the house through the door U.C.. He looks around for a moment, then knocks. There is a beat, and then he knocks again.
May: (OFF) Just a minute!
(QUINN OPENS THE DOOR AND STEPS INSIDE. HE IS A MAN IN HIS MID-THIRTIES ALTHOUGH HE LOOKS OLDER BECAUSE OF HIS UNKEMPT CONDITION. HE CARRIES A BEATEN OLD OVERNIGHT BAG.)
Quinn: Hello?......Hello? (HE MOVES D. AND LOOKS AROUND.)
(MAY ENTERS ON THE STAIRS. SHE WEARS A HOUSECOAT NOW, AND IS SOMEWHAT UNKEMPT IN HER OWN WAY AND APPEARS DRAGGED OUT. SHE STOPS, LOOKING SLIGHTLY STARTLED TO FIND THIS MAN STANDING THERE.)
May: Yes?
Quinn: Did you say come in?
May: No, I said just a minute.
Quinn: Oh, sorry. (HE TURNS AND STARTS TO EXIT.)
May: Well, hold on.
Quinn: I thought you said come in, so...
May: Well, you're in now.
Quinn: Well, I can go back out.
May: No, no. Come in.
Quinn: No, I'll go out and knock again.
May: No, you don't have to do.....
Quinn: Please, please. I'll feel better. This way I feel like I've intruded on you.
May: But, you haven't.
Quinn: But, I feel like I have. I'll just go out again. It's okay. (HE EXITS.)
(MAY WAITS FOR A MOMENT AND THERE IS NO KNOCK.)
May: Well?
(QUINN ENTERS AGAIN)
Quinn: Well what?
May: Are you going to knock?
Quinn: Are you in a hurry?
May: Well, I'm standing here waiting.
Quinn: Oh, okay. Sorry. (HE EXITS AGAIN.)
(QUINN KNOCKS ON THE DOOR.)
May: Who is it?
(QUINN ENTERS SMILING.)
Quinn: That's a good one.
May: Do you feel better now?
Quinn: Yes. Thank you.
May: Good.
Quinn: I didn't wake you, did I?
May: No.
Quinn: I mean, it's eleven o'clock and you're still in your night clothes, so I thought...
May: I was just lying down.
Quinn: Ah. Feeling sick?
May: Well, I've been better.
Quinn: Yeah, you and me both. Oh, the name's Quinn. (HE HOLDS OUT HIS HAND TO SHAKE.)
May: (SHE SHAKES HIS HAND.) Yes, I've seen you around town. May Henning.
Quinn: Pleased to meet you. I've seen you around too. You're the ones with the car phone.
May: Yes.
Quinn: Right. Pretty exciting stuff. (MOVING S.R. AND LOOKING AROUND.) So, you're the new owners here. (HE CHECKS OUT THE CRAFTMANSHIP OF THE FIREPLACE.) It's a beautiful place, Mrs. Henning. Beautiful. Built way back when workmanship was a thing of pride. Not like now. No, m'am. Nowadays speed's the thing. Like an insatiable sailor in a whorehouse. Get it up quick and move on to the next one.
May: Yes.
Quinn: You get much use out of that thing around here?
May: What thing?
Quinn: The car phone.
May: Oh. Well, not really, no.
Quinn: Didn't think so.
May: So, what can I help you with Mr. Quinn?
Quinn: Well, actually it's what I can help you with. You see,...I wonder, is that coffee I smell?
May: Yes.
Quinn: (BEAT, WAITING FOR AN INVITATION.) Are you saving it for anybody, or...
May: No. Would you, uh..would you like a cup?
Quinn: M'am, I'd love one right about now.
May: All right. Come and sit down. (SHE MOVES DOWN L.)
Quinn: (FOLLOWING MAY.) Thank you. Thank you very much.
(MAY GETS A MUG OUT OF THE CHINA CABINET AND POURS QUINN A COFFEE.)
Gettin' cold out there. I'd say we've got some weather comin' our way.
May: Could be.
Quinn: Yeah, wouldn't surprise me one bit to see a frost overnight. Damn near cold enough last night for one.
May: Really.
Quinn: Damn near.
May: There you go. (SHE SETS THE MUG ON THE TABLE THEN POURS A CUP FOR HERSELF.)
Quinn: Thank you. (HE SITS. HE PULLS A MICKEY OF WHISKEY OUT OF HIS COAT AND UNSCREWS THE TOP.) Ahhh. The first cup of the day is always the best one, isn't it? (HE POURS SOME WHISKEY INTO HIS COFFEE.) A little enhancement. Takes the edge off. You? (HE HOLDS THE BOTTLE OUT TO MAY)
May: No, thank you.
Quinn: (PUTTING THE BOTTLE BACK IN HIS COAT.) Oh. All right. You know, some people don't like to drink alone. Fortunately, it's never bothered me a helluva lot. I guess I've kinda gotten used to it. (HE TAKES A DRINK AND HAS A CHOKING SPELL.) Decaf, right?
May: Yes.
Quinn: Shoulda warned me. (HE TAKES THE BOTTLE OUT AGAIN AND POURS A LITTLE MORE INTO THE CUP.)
May: So, you had something you wanted to talk about?
Quinn: Well, yes. Now, I don't know whether you've heard or not but I had a..well, a little mishap last week with my motor home.
May: Yes, I heard. I'm sorry.
Quinn: Thank you. Stove blew up. I got out with the clothes on my back and this bag. Actually I never liked living there especially. It wasn't the best of situations. Particularly in the winter. I mean, somehow it just doesn't sit right, a man having to go out on a cold January morning to jump start his house. It was more a dwelling of convenience.
May: Convenience?
Quinn: (HE GETS UP AND WALKS AROUND WITH HIS COFFEE, LOOKING THE HOUSE OVER AS HE MOVES.) Yes, m'am. You see, I'm afraid I'm a little short in the way of capital. Financially embarrassed as they say. So, anyway, since the fire, I've been living over in Frank Tucker's barn, but like I say, the nights are gettin' awfully cool now and that barn's got quite a draft. And, that's why I've come to you. You see, I know that you're in, well, kind of a tough spot yourself, I mean, what with your husband dumping you the way he did, so...
May: What?
Quinn: I'm sorry. Maybe that was a little indelicate of me.
May: My husband did not dump me.
Quinn: No?
May: No.
Quinn: I'm sorry. I heard he left.
May: Well, he left, yes, but, he just had to go back to the city on business, that's all.
Quinn: Business?
May: Yes. He's a salesman for an electronics company.
Quinn: I thought he quit that job.
May: Who told you that?
Quinn: Ronny Hall. The fella who runs the Esso station? Said he heard it from Les Judson over at the donut shop. Word is you and your husband both quit good jobs so's you could move out here and be a little closer to the poverty line.
May: We did not move out here to get closer to poverty. In fact, that's why my husband took his job back. Because...because we need the money.
Quinn: Oh. So, you expect him back then?
May: Well, yes
Quinn: I see.
May: Sometime.
Quinn: You're not sure when?
May: Well, not completely no, but sometime.
Quinn: Uh-huh. So, your husband left, took a job in the city, and didn't say when he's coming back.
May: That's right.
Quinn: I don't know, Mrs. Henning, that sounds like being dumped to me.
   
  Copyright 1990 Norm Foster

 

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