Patrick Schley


DILEMMI OF A MODERN WORLD by Drew Williams

This play won first place in the first annual Metro Milwaukee Young Playwrights Competition. The author, Drew Williams, attends Milwaukee High School of the Arts. The play was directed by Jacque Troy of Milwaukee Repertory Theater, assisted by Louisa Diliberti, Pius XI High School Alumnus.

The original cast is as follows:
MISS RILEY: Tanya Stanfield
LILY ROSWELL: Annemarie Smith, Brookfield Central High School
AKIA MORGAN: Catherine Ries, Pius XI High School
TYLER ALECK: Steve Chudy, Pius XI High School


Character Roster
MISS RILEY: Looks to be in her late twenties/early thirties. History teacher.
LILY ROSWELL: Age 14. Freshman in High School. Volatile and ditzy.
AKIA MORGAN: Age 14. Also a Freshman. LILY’s best friend. Likes to bend rules.
TYLER ALECK: Age 16. Junior in High School. Old childhood friend of LILY’s.

THE SCENE: We open on the view of the end of a school’s hallway, sometime in the mid morning. Lockers line the wall to the up left and up right, with doors leading into classrooms in places down right, center right, and a staircase exit up left onstage. The back wall of the stage (wall of hallway) has a large window.

AT RISE: The classroom door at the down right opens to reveal MISS RILEY, who steps into the hallway and stands in front of her door, facing the fourth wall. The bell rings, and she sighs and turns to go back in the classroom. However, LILY and AKIA enter from the staircase entrance, both out of breath, and run downstage to MISS RILEY’s side. LILY carries a pile with her that contains her binder, three folders, and a book. She also has a messenger bag on. AKIA, however, only has two folders with her. MISS RILEY quickly turns around to face the two girls, crosses her arms, and clears her throat. The two girls glance quickly at each other before straightening and looking up at her.

CURTAIN

MISS RILEY: Miss Morgan and Miss Roswell. You’re both late. Again.

AKIA: Yep. (Crosses arms)

LILY: (Stepping forwards) I am so sorry, Miss Riley, but see, we got out of Geometry late, and then we had to go to the bathroom, and then the bell rang as we were walking down the hallway and so then we had to run down the hallway and up the stairs and (Inhales) I’m really sorry for being late, and you can ask our Geometry teacher to verify this, seriously!

MISS RILEY: (Uncrosses arms, and puts hands up) It’s okay, Lily… don’t worry about it.

LILY: (Exhales) Okay.

MISS RILEY: Anyway…you two were gone yesterday… Oh! You went to go see a play for your English class?

LILY: Yeah! It was fantastic!

AKIA: Eh, I fell asleep after the first six minutes.

MISS RILEY: I’m going to pretend that I didn’t hear that, Akia. (Sighs, and turns to LILY) Now, you did miss a short quiz yesterday…when do you want to make it up?

LILY: Oh… well, could we maybe make it up now? Today? Only if it’s not too much trouble for you…

MISS RILEY: No, no problem. I just have to go find the tests, so just wait a couple minutes… I know those tests are somewhere on my desk. (Exits into the classroom)

AKIA: (Beat, then spins around in the center of the hallway) Lily, you must be the best teacher manipulator ever.

LILY: Hey, I was being honest!

AKIA: Seriously? You couldn’t have really liked the play…

LILY: I thought it very interesting! The dialogue was believable, the actions were surprising—

AKIA: Wow, and here I thought you were just being a teacher’s pet. You’re a geek, too.

LILY: H-hey! (Gives AKIA a playful shove)

(As the two girls speak, TYLER enters from the staircase and walks downstage towards the girls with a bit of a swagger. He clears his throat loudly, and the two girls turn, notice him, and groan unanimously.)

LILY: (Monotonous) Good morning, Tyler. (Rolls her eyes)

TYLER: (Shoves hands in his pockets, gives a nod) Good morning, ladies! Skipping, I see? Right outside of the classroom you’re supposed to be in? Not smart, you know. I’ve tried it. There is a much higher chance of getting caught.

AKIA: Buzz off, Tyler. You know we’d never skip. We’re good little girls. (Flutters eyelashes)

TYLER: Well, then, you two shouldn’t be talking to me. I’m a very bad influence on good little girls.

LILY: Yuck. Can you two please wait to flirt until I’m gone? (AKIA and TYLER glance at LILY in response to this, but LILY ignores them and starts to dig through her messenger bag, sitting in the middle of the hallway) Shoot. Akia? Did you happen to see what I did with my compact this morning?

TYLER: (Walks over to LILY, and looks over her shoulder) Perhaps, you, oh, left it in the cafeteria?

LILY: No, I don’t-

TYLER: Oh, but you did.. Along with your Spanish book and folder.

LILY: (Looks up) So that’s why that book wasn’t in my locker! That makes sense!

AKIA: You ditz.

LILY: (Quickly) I am so not a ditz! I just forget to remember the things I’m supposed to remember…I think…

AKIA: Exactly.

LILY: Wait, I think I said that wrong.

TYLER: Before you attempt to unravel that string of wordsI must ask a question of you, Lily.

LILY: Oh, okay. Go ahead.

TYLER: Were you doing anything else downstairs in the cafeteria? Listening to your digital music device, perhaps?

LILY: Um…I was listening to my iPod, yes. But what—

TYLER: Did you remember to grab this “iPod” before you left?

LILY: (Quickly, before he can interrupt again) Of course! I wouldn’t forget that.

TYLER: I’m most certain you wouldn’t. (coughs) But do you know that you have it with you at this moment?

LILY: I thought I… wait…

TYLER: (Turns to the fourth wall and starts walking downstage) Well, as long as you’re certain, my dear. I saw a small silver iPod mini in the cafeteria, so I just wanted to check— --

MISS RILEY: (Enters the stage from the down right classroom door) Mr. Tyler Aleck. And where are we supposed to be?

TYLER: (Turns to face MISS RILEY) World Geography. But you know how that class irritates me, Miss Riley. The teacher has the IQ of a fruit fly.

MISS RILEY: (Points down the hallway) Keep moving, Tyler

TYLER: Aren’t we being touchy today? Hmph. (Crosses stage to center right classroom, and exits through door)

MISS RILEY: I don’t know who that boy thinks he is, running around like he owns the place…anyway, here are your quizzes, girls. (Gives AKIA and LILY tests) I’ll be out here to check on you in a few minutes, but I know you two won’t cheat.

AKIA: Of course!

LILY: Right! (examines test) Wow, it IS short.

MISS RILEY: Yeah… well, you see (checks classroom)… I just gave it because your class was horrible. I don’t know what they put in this school’s water. (chuckles) You girls can begin. (Exits to classroom)

AKIA: I bet you if we made a break for it we could take refuge in the Chemistry room. (Beat, then looks at LILY) You okay, Lily?

LILY: Well…I’m sort of trying to remember if I have my iPod with me right now…

AKIA: Don’t worry, LILY, you do. Tyler was just messing with your mindhe does that sort of thing. (Puts an arm around her shoulders) You’re not THAT ditzy.

LILY: (Flatly) Oh, thank you for those kind words.

AKIA: You are most certainly welcome. Now come on, let’s get this over with.

(With that, the two girls sit next to each other across the hallway against the lockers, with their backs to the lockers, concentrating on their tests. LILY writes for a few seconds before putting down her pencil and lifting her hand, shaking it out. AKIA gives her a look, but LILY ignores it and leans back against the lockers, holding her hand with her eyes closed. After a moment, she returns to writing, turns the test over to check the other side, shrugs and sets the paper aside. LILY then begins digging through a messenger bag, creating some general noise. AKIA, who was still writing, slams down her pencil and stares at LILY, who doesn’t notice. AKIA shrugs and returns to writing.)

(LILY continues digging through her messenger bag for a few more moments at an easy pace. But suddenly she pauses, and proceeds to empty out all of the bag’s contents. AKIA jumps at the noise, and turns to look at LILY, who is glancing over the pile of materials, searching for something. Suddenly, LILY’s eyes widen and she begins sorting through the assortment of items from her messenger bag frantically. She grabs her messenger bag and thrusts her hand into it, groping about for something, then tosses the bag to the side, where it hits AKIA’s leg. AKIA picks up the bag by a corner, flings it farther into the hallway, and looks back at LILY for a reaction. However, LILY is too absorbed in her search to notice. AKIA watches her for a reaction for a few moments, and then finally crawls out to where the bag fell, grabs it, and brings it back.)

(LILY moves on to her binder, tossing papers out in several directions. After a moment she stops pulling out individual papers and empties the binder completely. She proceeds to sort through these materials as she did the messenger bag ones. The papers crinkle and make about the same amount of noise, and AKIA finally slams down her pencil, turns her test over as well, and stares at her.)

AKIA: (Quickly and quietly) What the heck are you doing?!

LILY: (Grabs three folders) N-nothing, just…hold on for a second.

AKIA: (Looks from the papers to LILY’s face) Are you okay?

LILY: (Fingers through several papers in her folder) Yes, I’m fine!

AKIA: I’m sure you are… (LILY peeks in the next folder) Seriously, what’s the matter with you?

LILY: Nothing’s the matter, and I told you, I’m fine! (Moves on to the next folder, and peeks in) Not there, either….

AKIA: (Look of realization dawns on her face) You did forget your iPod in the cafeteria, didn’t you?

LILY: No! (Snatches her bag from its resting place by AKIA’s feet and thrusts her hand into it, feeling around and unzipping pockets) I mean… it’s here somewhere!

AKIA: Lily…that bag is empty.

LILY: I could have missed something! (Feels in the pockets for a few more seconds) Akia, just leave me alone for a minute!

AKIA: I’m just asking what’s wrong.

LILY: (Crams the materials strewn about the floor into the messenger bag) I know, but I need to concentrate for a moment.

AKIA: Tch, suit yourself. (Stands with her paper) You’re done too, right? Want me to take it in for you?

LILY: (Sticks hand into the binder) I mean, I know my iPod’s here, right? I mean, it’s not like it just disappeared into thin air or whatever! (Unzips the front pocket of the binder) I know I have it…

AKIA: (Rolls her eyes) And that’s why you’re panicking.

LILY: (Puts her books and folders into a pile and shouts) I am so not panicking!

MISS RILEY: (Enters the stage from the classroom door with two papers in her hands, slams the door and crosses her arms) What’s all the noise out here about?

LILY: (Looks up) Miss Riley! (Continues getting her stuff together) I’m sorry, but I lost my iPod and—

MISS RILEY: What did you have electronics in school for at all?!

LILY: My study hall! The teacher lets us listen to music. (Finishes gathering her materials and stands)

MISS RILEY: Oh. Continue…

LILY: Anyway, can I just really quickly get a pass to go down to the cafeteria and check to see if I left it down there?

MISS RILEY: (Drops hands to her sides and shrugs) I’m sorry, Lily…but we can’t let any students have passes unless it’s an emergency.

LILY: (Nearly drops her books) But…but this is an emergency!

MISS RILEY: No, this is a personal problem.

LILY: (Shouting) Miss Riley, this is too an emergency!

MISS RILEY: Lily Roswell!

LILY: (freezes) … I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m just

MISS RILEY: (sighs, lifts hand to head) It’s okay, don’t worry, I know you’re upset. But honey, I just can’t give you a pass.

LILY: (Beat, then looks away) Okay, Miss Riley.

MISS RILEY: Now then…did you finish your quizzes?

LILY: Yeah… (Picks it up, and gives it to MISS RILEY. AKIA does the same.)

MISS RILEY: Thank youHere is today’s worksheet, and it’s due at the end of class, as always.

AKIA: Oh! Can we keep working out here?

MISS RILEY: Well, I don’t see why not… (Glances at LILY) Don’t worry, Lily! As soon as the bell rings, you can go down to find it. I’m sure you can wait. (Exits by going back through classroom door)

LILY: (Pauses, and slowly trudges over to where she was sitting before, across the hallway next to AKIA) Oh man… (Picks up worksheet, and shoves it away)

AKIA: (Sets her own papers aside) So…Tyler was right? You did leave it?

LILY: Yes! (Whines and falls back into the lockers) This isn’t fair! I can’t wait until the bell rings, some… hallway roamer could have stolen my iPod by then!

AKIA: At least she’s still going to let us work out here, I thought with all the noise you were making it would be, “Now you’re going to have to take this after school!” (Pause) Why is this little toy so important to you anyways?

LILY: (Flatly) First of all, it’s not a toy. It’s an MP 3? player. Two hundred dollars worth of silicone chips.

AKIA: Ouch.

LILY: And second, my music, my address book, my calendar for the next 3 months…even my stories are on there!

AKIA: Your stories? You can put writing on an iPod?

LILY: (Quickly, loudly) Yeah, you can! (Groans) I know it’s stupid of me to put all that on there, but didn’t think I’d…lose it!

AKIA: Well, I’m sure—

LILY: (Continuing without notice of AKIA, her speaking rate accelerating as she goes on) And now someone’s going to steal my iPod and read my stories— (Stands, starts pacing across the hallway) — and steal them all and they’ll become a bestselling author and no one will know of the work I put in to every single detail—

AKIA: (Stands, walks to center stage where she interrupts LILY’s pacing and grabs her by the shoulders) It is not the end of the world, Lily. No one is going into the cafeteria until lunch. And if you’re this upset about it, go down and get it yourself!

LILY: (Hold) What?

AKIA: (Stands, walks over to door, and peers in through top window) Ms. Riley is seeing about 12 people at her desk right now…I’m guessing it’s about today’s worksheets. Ten bucks says she’s not coming out here any time soon.

LILY: I….Akia, I don’t want to get into any trouble. I mean, if I just…walked away…I could get written up!

AKIA: (Puts a hand on her hip, walks back over to LILY) Lily, I’m a good student too, you know. And I’m the one recommending this to you. Think about it. If you shoot down the stairs and up again, it’s not going to make a difference, right?

LILY: (Pause) Well…

AKIA: And if you don’t go get it by the end of this period, it will get stolen. End of story. It’s a situation where you lose either way. Just chose the lesser of the two evils, you know?

LILY: But if I get caught…

AKIA: At most, you’ll get a warning! I get warnings all the time and you’re a better student than I am. Oh, come on, Lily! We’ve been good little girls all our lives! Or are you going to sit here and complain for the rest of the hour?

LILY: (Clenches her hands into fists) I—I just can’t do that, Akia! It’s not right… I’d be guilty the whole time!

AKIA: You’re being a big baby, Lily! You’re a perfect student! One little run down the stairs won’t hurt anything! (Starts walking upstage to the staircase exit) Look at me! I’m roaming the hallways and nothing’s happening!

LILY: Akia! Please stop!

AKIA: (Walks back over) But you won’t get in trouble! You could skip down the hallways shouting “I’m skipping” at the top of your lungs and no one would even turn around! Look at what just happened today… Miss Riley totally let you off the hook for having an iPod in school! I mean, no teacher doubts you! When we walk down a hallway together, they attack me for a pass, not you!

LILY: Akia, I’m not going to!

AKIA: (Brings a hand to her forehead and sighs) You’re being so stubborn!

LILY: (Wrings her hands) But I just don’t want to get in trouble! Remember the last time you told me I wouldn’t get caught? During that World Geography test, when everyone was swapping answers because Ms. Whitman was out of the room? She walked back in the moment I told you where Nigeria was!

AKIA: (Sharply) Hey, that was your fault. If you had just shut your mouth and looked up when the class quieted down—

LILY: —I would have just sat there feeling guilty for the rest of the class, like always, and that always drives me to tell them what I’ve done!

AKIA: Lily, what people don’t know won’t hurt them! That’s why you don’t tell them!

LILY: But I….just…stay….guiltier than you, so it hurts me!

AKIA: Lily, come on—

LILY: Akia, no!

(For a moment, the two girls are silent, standing in the hallway, the air tense and charged. Then AKIA kneels to gathers her things, stands, and walks to the DR classroom door. She turns in the doorway, and stares at LILY.)

AKIA: I’m working in here. Don’t follow me.

(With this, AKIA exits into the classroom, slamming the door after herself. LILY stares at the closed door. After a moment, she starts to follow, but as her hand reaches for the door it falters and she looks away. She walks over to the lockers she had been sitting against, leans against them, and signs. She slowly slides down the lockers until she’s in a sitting position with her knees up to her chest. After a moment of sitting like this in silent thought, she crosses her legs and drags her test paper over to herself, writes in a few more things, turns it over and buries her face in her hands and gives a shuddering sigh.)

(Meanwhile, TYLER enters the stage from the center right classroom, and notices LILY sitting with her face in her hands. He walks over to her, and nudges her with his foot. She doesn’t respond. He nudges her again, and she lashes out with her fist for his foot. TYLER stares at her for a minute, and then crouches down next to her.)

TYLER: (Crouches down next to LILY’s figure, pokes her) So. Lily. You’re on the floor.

LILY: (Slowly, loudly) Tyler, go to class.

TYLER: Ah, yes. Class. Well, you see, this time the teacher kicked me out, and I’m certainly not going down to the office. Now, back to you. On the floor. Did something… occur?

LILY: (Stands quickly, wipes her eyes, spins around to face him and stomps her foot) Go away and leave me alone, it’s none of your business!

TYLER: (Stands and backs away) Wow. Calm down, I just wanted to help you out.

LILY: (Kneels to gather her books) Well, you’re not helping. (Picks up books, stands and steps forward, but trips and nearly falls on her face) Ah! (Her books fall, and the papers from several folders empty their contents on the ground, which go flying out into the center of the stage.) No….

TYLER: Just get it together. (Steps forwards to help her)

LILY: (Frantically grabbing at papers) Get away from me! I don’t need your help; I don’t need anyone’s help! (He backs away again, and she looks up at him) Plus, it’s your fault, so you’ll probably just make it worse! (She gathers several papers and jams them in her folder)

TYLER: (Pause) Well, excuse me for being polite and chivalrous citizen of this school… (He kicks a book nearer to her) And what exactly was my fault again?

LILY: My books falling, that’s what. (Reaches for a paper)

TYLER: (TYLER kicks it over to her) Actually, if it was anyone’s fault, it was your jeans’ fault.

LILY: You’re absurd.

TYLER: You never know, my dear.

LILY: DON’T call me dear. (Sighs loudly, speaks softer than before) Listen, can you please just…continue on, Tyler? I mean, I haven’t had the best morning and I’m a little….

TYLER: Testy? Oh, Is it that time of month again?

LILY: (Turns quickly to stare at him) God! What is WRONG with you?! (Reaches for a pencil) And no.

TYLER: (Grabs the pencil before LILY can) Don’t get so… bent out of shape. I’m only joking, Lily. (Hands her the pencil) You must know, you little freshies are so visible, running amongst the others of this school like mice among cats.

LILY: (Snatches the pencil from him) And you must know, Tyler, you upperclassmen are so visible, running your mouths like the overbearing know-it-alls you only think you are. (She puts more papers into a folder, stacks her folders and gets up)

TYLER: (Waggles a finger at her) My, my, my, what a temper! What is wrong with you?

LILY: (Loudly) You.

TYLER: (Waves his hand) You weren’t angry with me this morning, dear.

LILY: Don’t call me DEAR! (TYLER snatches a book from the top of the pile and holds it above her head) H-hey! Give that back!

TYLER: Not until you divulge your secret.

LILY: What?

TYLER: Why you’re attacking me. People aren’t just impolite for no reason.

LILY: It’s pick on Lily day, isn’t it? (Pause) Well, fine. I did lose my iPod, you jerk.

TYLER: (Beat, gives book back) Ah, yes, your iPod…I had warned you about that.

LILY: (Stares hard at him) I know, Tyler.

TYLER: (Continues) But aren’t they replaceable?

LILY: (Starts walking away again) Oh, yeah, they sure are. Just give me $200 and I’ll replace it right away.

TYLER: Oh, you can earn $200 with a lemonade stand. Just pick a really hot day.

LILY: (stops) What the… (Turns to look at TYLER) You….you are impossible! It was the one Dad sent me! Remember? I showed it to you the day I got it!

TYLER: (Places a hand over his mouth) Lily! You lost the personalized one?

LILY: Yeah. Sucks to be me, right? Anyways—

TYLER: (Interrupting) Well, it really doesn’t “suck” to be you…today. (Pulls out a silver iPod)

LILY: (Drops books all over again, freezes) You….You….

TYLER: What a freshman! Yes, you should indeed thank me repeatedly for this. I told you that I saw an iPod downstairs in the cafeteria, but I didn’t tell you what I did with it, now did I?

LILY: (Throws herself at him, hugging him) Oh my god! Thank you! Fate smiles down upon me! I already freaked out when I figured out it was gone and yelled at a teacher because she wouldn’t let me go find it and then got into an argument with Akia… (jumps away, hugging iPod best she can, then bends over to gather the rest of her books. This time, no folders have emptied their contents so the clean up is easier.)

TYLER: (Stares at her, sighs) Yes, and you know…. you should think before you snap. You assumed I was here to laugh in your face about losing your iPod, didn’t you?

LILY: (Stops gathering books instantly and jumps up) Yeah, and I am so sorry for snapping at you…thank you so much, Tyler. My day is now one hundred percent better.

TYLER: (Starts off towards staircase exit, then turns) Oh, and Lily?

LILY: (Stops in mid bend to get books, and turns to him) Yes?

TYLER: (Turns to look at LILY, puts his hands behind his neck and stretches) I did look at your song choices. Personally, I didn’t know Britney Spears HAD any more fans. Hm. I wonder what your friends would say

LILY: W—what?! TYLER! (Acts as if she’s going to run after him, and he jumps and dashes forward a little)

AKIA: (Enters the hallway from the down right classroom door with her worksheet in her hand) Lily?

(LILY freezes, and TYLER quickly exits to the staircase. LILY turns to see AKIA, and the two girls are silent for a moment. Then AKIA tentatively steps forwards.)

AKIA: Lily, please wait and hear me out. I just want to explain myself.

LILY: (Pauses, then sighs loudly. She crosses her arms and turns her back to AKIA’s face) Well, I’m not going anywhere.

AKIA: Thanks. And I don’t want to yell at you anymore, if that’s what you were thinking. I don’t think either of us wants that… Well, anyways…I was out of line earlier. Ever since we met I’ve known that you hate getting pushed into stuff and going against the rules…even when it’s obvious you have no chance of getting caught. (LILY begins to walk away) No, wait, I shouldn’t have said it that way. (LILY stops, and AKIA walks up to her) I should have respected your decision to not break the rules. But it’s just that…I don’t know, teachers love you, you get straight A’s, and you wouldn’t run down to the cafeteria once because “it was putting your record at risk”. All you would have to do is tell the teachers why you disobeyed, and they would probably let you off the hook completely! (She sighs and rubs her neck) I guess I just want to see you do something wrong sometimes. Be normal. (Pauses, and LILY shifts her stance a little, and looks at the ground) But you know, I didn’t mean to yell at you. I just got frustrated with you, I wasn’t mad at you. (AKIA stands there for a moment, staring at LILY’s back. LILY turns, and AKIA averts her eyes to the ground) But… I’m sorry for arguing with you, Lily. I really am.

LILY: (Hugs AKIA) Aww, you know I could never stay mad at you. And don’t take all the blame for it, Akia. Some of that was my fault, too.

AKIA: But you’re Little Miss Perfect!

LILY: Hah! Yeah, right. (Lets AKIA go, and shakes her finger at her) Well, I’ll have you know that I may be the good girl, but I am not perfect. I was a little irritated too.

AKIA: A little?

LILY: Well…a lot, then. And that probably made it worse. So I’m sorry, too.

AKIA: Well..okay…But I AM sorry.

LILY: Oh, but look what I found! (Lifts iPod) Tada! It gleams! And I shall be so careful with it from now on that it will scare people!

AKIA: (Brings a hand to her head, and the two sit against the lockers together) Oh, Lily….you are such a ditz.

LILY: Am not!

CURTAIN

Copyright © Drew Williams. This work may not be reproduced without express, written permission from the author.

Last edited by PatrickSchley.   Page last modified on July 28, 2006

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