THE WOMEN OF BRADVILLE - COPY OF THE SCRIPT

THE WOMEN OF BRADVILLE
 

Play Image By Artist DARLENE WOOD-HARVEY

A One Act Play
 By
Frances Presley Rice
 WGA REGISTRATION NUMBER: 1870360
 
Performance Rights Granted
for Educational Purposes
 

DESCRIPTION: A black woman Republican must overcome self-doubt and join forces with her two sisters to defeat the shady Democrat mayor’s political machine and free the town from his grip. 

THE STORY: A group of white and black Republicans join forces to defeat the town’s corrupt white Democrat mayor, but find they can’t do so without the support of the town’s black residents who are the majority—and all Democrats. Will they be won over by learning the truth about the Republican Party’s rich civil rights legacy? This fast paced script is a fun journey that challenges pre-conceived notions about politics and civil rights history. 

GENRE: Political Drama 

TYPE: Short one act play – Performed as a Table Read

LENGTH: Twenty-five minutes 

NUMBER OF ACTORS: Eight - 4F, 4M; One Narrator

AGES OF THE ACTORS: Adults of any age 

SUITABLE FOR: All ages

SET: Simple – Chairs, a table, a vase, two books, sheets of paper 

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY:  6/10 – fun for the cast

CHARACTERS: Narrator; Mary Dupree; Ruth Dupree; Jolene Dupree; Winston Reid, Ken Cranfield; Billy Ray Forrest; Hank Hughes
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
 
FRANCES PRESLEY RICE: A retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, lawyer and Block Starz Music Television LLC executive producer with a Master Screenwriting Certificate from ScreenwritingU.

Co-produced films OSCAR MICHEAUX: THE CZAR OF BLACK HOLLYWOOD that chronicles the early life and career of African American filmmaker Oscar Micheaux (1884-1951) and IN THE HOUR OF CHAOS about Rev. Martin Luther King Sr. (father of civil rights icon, Martin Luther King Jr.) and King family history.
Wrote and co-produced PROFILES OF AFRICAN AMERICAN SUCCESS that features African American entrepreneurs who over achieved success against the odds in the late 19th century and early 21th century.
Co-created, co-wrote and co-produced a new TV talk show program THE BLACK-O-SCOPE SHOW WITH TEDDY LANE JR.
Wrote THE WOMEN OF BRADVILLE as a three-act play that premiered in 2010 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC where it was produced and performed as a staged reading by drama students at Bowie State University located in Maryland.
Produced and directed THE WOMEN OF BRADVILLE as a one-act play presented in 2017 as a staged production at Florida Studio Theatre.

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

BY PLAYWRIGHT FRANCES PRESLEY RICE


Thank you for your interest in my one-act play.
In 2010, my play premiered as a three-act play at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC performed by drama students at Bowie State University, Maryland.
So, why did I write THE WOMEN OF BRADVILLE?
I’ll start my explanation with words from George Orwell
“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”
My play is inspired by a true story, as told in Dr. Eric Foner’s book: A SHORT HISTORY OF RECONSTRUCTION.
In his book, Dr. Foner wrote:
“Founded in 1866 as a Tennessee social club, the Ku Klux Klan spread into nearly every Southern state, launching a ‘reign of terror‘ against Republican Party leaders, black and white.
“In effect, the Klan was a military force serving the interests of the Democratic Party, the planter class, and all those who desired the restoration of white supremacy.
“Jack Dupree was a victim of a particularly brutal murder in Monroe County, Mississippi.
“Assailants cut his throat and disemboweled him, all within sight of his wife, who had just given birth to twins.
Jack Dupree was ‘president of a Republican club‘ and known as a man who ‘would speak his mind.’"
I wrote this play with fictional Dupree descendants—Mary, Ruth and adopted Jolene—to honor Jack Dupree, a principled and courageous man who was killed because of his beliefs.

SCRIPT - THE WOMEN OF BRADVILLE

ACT I

SCENE 1

(A living room with well-worn furniture.)
(Mary, Ruth and Jolene enter.)
(Mary holds an urn that has a golden glow.)

MARY

We can’t let her death be in vain. 

(Mary puts the urn on a table.)

(The three women stand near it.)

RUTH
It breaks my heart but there’s nothing we can do.

MARY
We owe it to mom to at least try to get justice. She was too good a driver to let herself get run off the road like that. I’ll never believe it was an accident. Never.

JOLENE
Me neither. Listen, I have an idea.

RUTH
No surprise. It would be if your name wasn’t Jolene.

MARY
Let’s hear it.
JOLENE
In mom’s memory and to thank her for adopting me, I say let’s turn our home into a Bread and Breakfast -- what she dreamed about.

MARY
Works for me. It can be my campaign headquarters, too.

RUTH
Campaign? For what?

MARY
I’ve thought about this all day.

JOLENE
About what?
 
MARY
I want to do what mom tried with her failed recall petition. Unseat Billy Ray. Run for mayor.

RUTH
You can’t be serious. That’s an even bigger, nastier hill to climb. You’ll make mom’s tilting at windmills seem sane.

MARY
You may be right but I feel honor bound to at least take a stab at it. And I know I can’t do it alone.

JOLENE
You won’t get an argument from me on that. Oh, alright. Okay. It’s risky but it’s an idea worth trying, for mom.

RUTH
We’ll live to regret it.

                          MARY
Maybe. Or die trying. We are, after all, Duprees: dying for our causes for over a hundred years.

 

SCENE 2

(Mary and her team are in the Dupree's lobby.)

(The lobby is decorated as Mary’s campaign HQ.)

(Winston strides in with flyers in hand.)

(He puts the Flyers by the books near the urn.)

 WINSTON

Just about everybody in town has one now. 

(Ken rushes in and waves a flyer.)

KEN
I don’t believe this.

HANK
That’s a fine howdy do after you’ve been gone so long. What’s got you so riled?

KEN
Don’t play innocent with me. This has your fingerprints all over it. Did Mary put you up to this? A woman who’s done nothing in life but busy work at her family’s Bread and Breakfast?

MARY
I manage this place with my sisters and will run the town like a business. I hope I can count on your vote.

KEN
No way in God’s name.

MARY
Ministers take the Lord’s name in vain? Who knew?

KEN
And you have the temperament to be mayor. Ha. I won’t sell out my flock and ask them to vote for a Republican. A traitor to her race.

MARY
No need for insults.

RUTH
You’re out of line, Ken. Way out of line.

KEN
What’s outta line is you, Miss “tough as an old boot” Ruth. I about lost my lunch when I heard you wanted to be a cop. A cop!

RUTH
What’s wrong with that?

KEN
Idiot. They’ve got black folks in their crosshairs.

RUTH
Nonsense. What do you want? Anarchy? Cops protect black people -- everyone -- from criminals. Who you gonna call when a thug robs your church? God? 

KEN
At least I’m not acting like a “House Negro” for white Republicans. 

RUTH
You wound me. 

JOLENE
That’s offensive, mean spirited.

WINSTON
Oh, man, your mama, if she was still alive, would be ashamed of you.

HANK
You’d call me a racist, if I said such a hateful thing to a black woman.

KEN
You are a racist.

HANK
Of course I’m a racist. Why else would I eat lunch at The Dupree Bread and Breakfast every day to support a black-owned business? You owe me an apology.

KEN
I have nothing to apologize for. It’s obvious. You’re white. You’re a Republican. That makes you a racist. My vote goes to the Democrat, Billy Ray. Why do you think most blacks vote for Democrats?

HANK
Ah, black leaders keep saying Republicans are racist?

KEN
Democrats are our champions, like Billy Ray.

WINSTON
You say that with a straight face? Maybe you should invite Mary to Willow Creek to give a speech.

MARY
That might not be such a good idea.

RUTH
Might not. Billy Ray controls Willow Creek and he’s a bully from a long line of bullies. They’ve intimidated this whole town for over a hundred years, some wearing hoods, if you believe the rumor.

HANK
I believe it. They ran my family off our farm and squatted on it, just because great granddaddy gave black sharecroppers a fair deal. No, I’m not holding a grudge against Billy Ray.

                          KEN
Watch it. Walls have ears. The mayor won’t put up with his name being drug through the mud.

WINSTON
Ohhh, I’m so afraid. 

KEN
You better be. He’s got friends in low places, if you catch my drift. 

JOLENE
Another reason for change. The man’s a crook with two faces. One before; one after elections.

HANK
He promises everything to everybody but delivers nothing. Whites vote against him. He’d lose if the blacks in your church did, too, dammit. They’re the majority in this town.

KEN
You run your bank. I’ll run my church.

HANK
We’d all be better off, if you kept politics out of the pulpit.

KEN
Our “feed the hungry” charity would be nothing without Billy Ray. Why, pray tell, would I want him to lose? It’s you Godforsaken Republicans who’ve kept black people down.

HANK
Wrong. Your party, not ours, fought against civil rights and ran this town into the ground with high taxes and wrong-headed regulations that killed jobs. Ignorance is not an attractive garment for a cleric.

KEN
Who you calling ignorant? That’s racist. I told you. You’re a racist!

WINSTON
And you throw the word racist around like confetti. Keep it up and it won’t mean a damned thing to anybody.

RUTH
Ain’t that the truth? People are sick and tired of being called names, just because they don’t swallow left-wing swill.

JOLENE
Hey, everybody, listen up. I have a novel idea.

MARY
Let it rip.

JOLENE
How about if we just focus on the truth, for a change, and not get hung up on emotions?

KEN
Ya’ll wouldn’t know the truth if it was right there in your face.

(Mary picks up a book from the table near the urn.)

(Mary gives the book to Ken.)

MARY
An eye opener. “Whites, Blacks And Racist Democrats” written by a real black reverend, Wayne Perryman. He sued the Democrats for their two hundred year history of racism and the case went all the way to the Supreme Court where the Democrats confessed but refused to apologize.

KEN
No devil-inspired book will make me go up against the Billy Ray machine and vote Republican. I could get killed, don’t ya know.

MARY
We need to stop giving in to fear. The only way for bullies to win is for us to let them. Read the book. Read my platform. You’ll see I’m the best candidate.

KEN
Sure you are and I’m the best pastor this side of the mighty Mississippi. Un-huh.

(Ken struts out with Perryman’s book.) 

(Winston picks up the stack of flyers.)

(He heads to the door.)

WINSTON
May as well give the rest of these to the folks down in Willow Creek.

                          RUTH
You think they’ll be receptive? Staunch Democrats? 

                          WINSTON
Worth a try. Won’t hurt. 

              (Winston dashes out of the room.)

 
SCENE 3

(Ken is just outside the lobby.) 

(Winston steps around Ken.)

(Winston strides down the street until he’s out of sight.) 

(Billy Ray walks up and confronts Ken.) 

BILLY RAY
I’ve searched high and low and where do I find you? Enemy territory. You’re here because?

KEN
I’m doing the Lord’s work, stopping the poisoning of black minds with evil propaganda, like this.

(Ken holds up Perryman’s book.)

BILLY RAY
Pure garbage.

KEN
Yeah, exactly. So, why are you looking for me?

BILLY RAY
To give you this.

(Billy Ray extracts an envelope from his pocket.)

(Billy Ray gives the envelope to Ken.)

KEN
What in Heaven’s name is it?

BILLY RAY
A little something for your “feed the hungry” charity.

KEN
Thanks, but, ah, don’t you think it’s way past time we ended poverty in Bradville for good?

BILLY RAY
Yeah, sure. Why not?

KEN
I’ll hold you to that.

BILLY RAY
You can count on me. I’ll get a kick outta going after a pipe dream. 

KEN
Pipe dream? 

(Billy Ray grins.)

(Billy Ray gives Ken a light slap on the back.)

(Ken walks away.)

 
SCENE 4

(Mary, Ruth, Jolene and Hank are in the lobby.)

                   (Billy Ray ambles in.)

BILLY RAY
Worse than I thought. Not much of a headquarters, if you ask me. 

                          MARY
Nobody asked you.

BILLY RAY
A pity. I could’ve saved you a boatload of trouble.

(Billy Ray points to one of Perryman’s books.)

BILLY RAY
Not a soul will believe a thing that’s in there. 

MARY
Why not? It’s well researched. 

HANK
I don’t get it. 

BILLY RAY
Get what? 

HANK
How Democrats get away with mudding the waters. 

BILLY RAY
What the hell are you talking about? 

 HANK
First you put on our backs your racist past, filled with terrorism to stop blacks from voting Republican. Now you call yourselves “liberals,” bent on using government handouts to trap blacks in poverty and keep them voting Democrat.

BILLY RAY
What have you been drinking? 

                          HANK
Not your liberal “Kool-Aid.”  

BILLY RAY
I’m a “progressive,” not a liberal. 

RUTH
Progressive -- liberal. Two sides of the same coin. What’s up with you liberals, anyway? Calling us conservatives “fascists.” We’re capitalists and you’re a bunch of socialists, blind to how the word “NAZI” is the German acronym for “National German Socialist Workers’ Party.” 

                          BILLY RAY
You dare call me a NAZI? 

RUTH
Live with it. 

BILLY RAY
You’ll regret this slander. That, Miss, is a promise, not a threat. I’ll see you in court! 

 RUTH
Bring it on. The truth is the ultimate defense! 

HANK
Yes, yes, let’s battle this out in a court of law. You can’t lie under oath. I’m sick of the truth being buried by liberals running our schools and the media. I want the truth told. The truth is--

JOLENE
The truth is the fight for black freedom and civil rights was between Democrats and Republicans -- not liberals and conservatives. And we Republicans won the fight. Now, we’re being condemned as “racist?”  

MARY
If the black people in Bradville knew the truth, they’d vote for me, a black Republican, not you, a white Democrat. 

BILLY RAY
Talk, talk, talk. Bottom line. You gonna lose. Big time. 

MARY
Then you have nothing to worry about. 

BILLY RAY
You’ve learned nothing from your ma’s death. I warned that woman not to try kicking me out of office. Did she listen? Nooo and she lost her life. 

MARY
Who made her pay that price? You? 

BILLY RAY
Don’t blame me. Every town has its hoodlums. I’m a law and order kinda guy. That’s why I prefer to fight my battles in court. I warned your ma because I didn’t want her inciting a riot with her anti-government rhetoric and get thrown in jail. That’s all.

                          MARY
Why do I have trouble believing that? I’ll get to the bottom of what happened to my mom someday. You can count on it. And I’ll start with your “hoodlum” supporters. 

BILLY RAY
Now you listen to me, Miz Dupree, get outta this race now, or pay the price. Got it? 

                          MARY
Got it. Now get the hell out of here. 

(Billy Ray shoots Mary the evil eye.) 

BILLY RAY
You’ve been warned.

 (Billy Ray storms out.)

                          RUTH
A viper, pure and simple. 

JOLENE
He doesn’t scare me, well, maybe a little. 

                          HANK
Ignore him.

MARY
We do so at our peril. 

RUTH
I’ve never had a good feeling about this. Now I’m thinking... Taking him on was a very bad idea. 

JOLENE
No idea is bad but sometimes it may be bad to pursue an idea.

                          RUTH
Smart people know when it’s time to throw-- 

HANK
Wait a minute, we can’t wimp out now. 

RUTH
We may have no choice. 

                          HANK
Chin up. Let’s go and do some door-to-door. Meet and greet the people. What do we have to lose?

(Winston bursts in with a the stack of flyers in hand.)

WINSTON
The poor blacks in the Willow Creek district are something else.

MARY
Meaning?

                          WINSTON
“Uncle Tom.” How many times did they call me that?

RUTH
Okay, I’ll bite. How many times was it?

WINSTON
I stopped counting. You’d think they’d have some pride in what a fellow black man has accomplished. But, noooo.

MARY
I had hoped...

WINSTON
First they were happy to see me. A black lawyer, come by to say: “hi.” And get their opinion on the election. Then, well, no more Southern hospitality when I said I wanted a Republican to be our next mayor.

(Winston slaps the flyers against one hand’s palm.)

WINSTON
Worthless as rubber lips on a woodpecker.

MARY
No word yet from Ken about Perryman’s book?

WINSTON
Nope. His Willow Creek flock lives in squalor. They subsist on welfare checks and Billy Ray’s handouts. And yet--

HANK
Nobody wants to hear about Mary’s vision for Bradville.

WINSTON
Exactly.

RUTH
We couldve seen it coming. Plain as the noses on our faces.

JOLENE
This up and down, back and forth is giving me a whiplash. 

HANK
Maybe it’s time for MARY to go on down to Willow Creek and give that long overdue speech.

MARY
Ah...

JOLENE
Sounds good to me.

HANK
You can tell them Republican President Abraham Lincoln fought the Civil War where over three hundred thousand white Republicans died to free the slaves.

WINSTON
Speak truth to power. Give credit where credit is due. Let’em know Republicans amended the Constitution to grant blacks freedom, citizenship and the right to vote. 

RUTH
If you gonna risk it all and stick your nose in the lion’s den, you might as well toss in dynamite, explode their heads. Tell everyone how Republicans passed the civil rights laws of the eighteen-sixties and nineteen-sixties, over the objection of Democrats. How many know that? 

                          JOLENE
Not many, I’ll bet. Just like they don’t know President Johnson couldn’t get the nineteen sixty-four law passed without the support of Republicans who voted more for that law than Democrats. Say it and you’ll get their attention. Guaranteed. 

HANK
You wanna know what would really make me happy? 

                          MARY
Don’t stop now. Spill your guts. We’re all on a roll, doing more preaching than KEN ever dreamed about. 

                          HANK
I would love for people to know Democrats passed those Jim Crow laws. Then started the Ku Klux Klan and killed three thousand Republicans -- one thousand white, like me. 

RUTH
It’s a wonder any Republicans were left in the South -- ah, in fact there weren’t many for one hundred years until President Nixon came along with his “Southern Strategy.” 

                          HANK
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Nixon urged whites like me to stop being scared of the Democratic Party that was backed by their Klan militia, and get back to supporting the racially tolerant Republican Party.

JOLENE
There’s one BIG lie, I want stuffed in a coffin and buried six feet under. The parties did not switch sides. 

                          WINSTON
I never understood the logic behind that lie. It takes a real numskull to believe this: After Republicans spent over one hundred years fighting for black freedom and civil rights and won, all of a sudden they stood up, crossed the isle and switched sides. 

HANK
Never happened. It galls me how racist Democrats said they’d rather vote for a “yellow dog” than a Republican because the Republican Party was -- and still is -- the party for black people.

WINSTON
Amen, bro. Democrats toss out words like “Dixiecrats” and “Southern Strategy” to blow smoke and hide the truth that’s laid out, clear as day, in Perryman’s book. 

RUTH
I guess spilling the truth now wouldn’t hurt. We’re batting zero, right now, like I suspected from the git go. 

                          WINSTON
So, we’re all on the same sheet of music, right Mary? 

MARY
Let me think about it.

WINSTON
Something going on with you and speaking?

MARY
Ah, no. It’s just that, if I do decide to give a speech, I’ll need some fresh ideas.
 

SCENE 5

(The house lights are on.)

(Ruth, Jolene, Winston and Hank sit with the audience.)

(Mary banters with the audience.) 

MARY
Any ideas about how a Republican can win the hearts of our Willow Creek residents? Handouts, the Democrats way of winning votes, keep them in poverty.

WINSTON
I can’t think of a thing we haven’t already tried. 

RUTH
It’s hopeless.                  

HANK
Seems it’s time to face reality and shut everything down. 

                          MARY
Well, if that’s the consensus, I guess I should just-- 

JOLENE
Wait, wait I have an idea.

MARY
Great. Push it out.

JOLENE
Show everyone how you’ll create more jobs. Good paying jobs. Who wouldn’t like that?
 

SCENE 6

(The house lights are out.)

(Mary and her team are in the lobby.) 

MARY
Don’t look now but job creation is already the center piece of my platform. The people aren’t listening.

JOLENE
I said “show,” not tell. What if we turn our town into a tourist destination? Showcase Bradville’s unique Southern charm.

HANK
Makes sense to me.

WINSTON
I can see it now. We’ll have period costumes. Riverboat rides. Plantation house tours. An ad campaign: “Take a trip back to the Old South.” People will love it!

RUTH
You’ve got my attention.

HANK
Sounds like a winner.

MARY
But do we have time to do a demo project, with only two weeks left before the election?

WINSTON
Sure. We could renovate this Bread and Breakfast as a first project in less time than that, if we hire enough workers.

MARY
Jobs, for the people, right away? Perfect.

HANK
I’ll talk with my board about a renovation loan but I can’t guarantee anything.

WINSTON
I’ll review contracts and might even forego my pay in exchange for a kiss from Mary--ah, forget I said that.

JOLENE
Hmmm, now I know why you volunteered to be MARY’s campaign manager while we’re chasing an elusive butterfly.

MARY
I had wondered. 

RUTH
The fog’s gone now. You betcha.

WINSTON
Dupree Women. You’re starting to all sound alike. You need to get out more, like on dates, or something.

MARY
Is that your way of asking me for a date?

WINSTON
Me? Ah, no, ah. It was a joke. Yeah, you do have a nice personality and all but--
HANK

Winston! When you’re in a hole, man, it’s best to stop digging.

(Winston makes a “Zip it” motion with his fingers.) 

MARY
Well, if I win, I’ll gladly plant a wet one on you, anyway. For now, let’s get on with it, so people can see what a real mayor, a businesswoman, can do. Our new slogan: “Make Bradville Shine Again.”

 
SCENE 7

(Mary is alone in the renovated lobby.)

(Ruth, Jolene and Winston join her.)

WINSTON
Come on, you gotta get out there. Hank has told all his bad bank jokes. Now, he’s doing “knock, knocks.” The crowd is getting restless. 

MARY
Did I ever tell you a survey found most people would choose death over public speaking?

WINSTON
So, that’s it. Stiffen your spine. You can do it. We have faith in you. Speak from the heart. People listen more to how you say things than what you say.

MARY
Not this time. Content matters. So does being a seasoned politician. I could fall flat on my face and... Oh, God, I can’t handle another failure right now. Mom’s death was all my fault.

RUTH
What are you talking about?

MARY
Like you and Jolene, I knew mom was making a big mistake but I... Egged her on when we were alone, hoping for the best.

JOLENE
You shouldn’t blame yourself. If she was murdered, only the killer is to blame. If it was just an accident, it was God’s will.

WINSTON
Amen to that. And listen up, people, there’s something bad we really need to worry about.

MARY
I don’t think I want to hear this. 

WINSTON
When I milled around outside, I heard a rumor Billy Ray spread about you.

MARY
What did he say?

WINSTON
You haven’t paid taxes in years.

MARY
That’s a lie!

JOLENE
The truth’s not worth a hill of beans, if people believe the lie and refuse to vote for you.

MARY
Damn Billy Ray. He’s slimed me, right before the election tomorrow.

WINSTON
Ah, I gotta confess.

RUTH
Confess what?

WINSTON
I’m to blame.

MARY
For what? You mean I’m not the only one with guilt eating me? Go ahead. Get it off your chest.

WINSTON
Uh, when Billy Ray asked about your tax return, I said your B&B losses exceeded revenues, so you paid no taxes.

MARY
Oh, Winston, you should’ve told him to get lost. It’s none of his business. There’s no law that says anyone has to release tax returns to run for public office.

WINSTON
I know, I know. He’s a snake and--I’m sorry, so sorry.

MARY
Apology accepted. I know you didn’t mean any harm.

WINSTON
Thanks.

                          RUTH
Well, you’ve got this one last chance to connect with the voters and make them believe you’re honest.

WINSTON
And Ken’s out there, huddled next to Billy Ray. Both seem downright gleeful. I guess they think you’ll bomb and get booed off the stage.

 
SCENE 8 

(The house lights are on.)

(All actors, except Mary, sit with the audience.) 

(Mary addresses the audience.)

MARY
Citizens of Bradville, greetings and thanks to Hank, for that fine introduction. One supporter once said, someone voting for BILLY RAY is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders.

(Muted laughter from the actors in the audience.)

BILLY RAY
Cut the bull crap. Layout your platform. Let the people hear how you’re offering nothing but mindless campaign rhetoric. 

MARY
I appreciate the commentary from my worthy opponent.

KEN
You sound like a politician.

MARY
I guess I am now. As I was about to say, this is a choice election. You can choose the status quo or take a chance on change. Let’s compare our records.
 
BILLY RAY

Do that. Let the voters hear how much more “experienced” you are than I am.

KEN
Let her finish, for God’s sake. She won’t change minds but it’s only fair to let her have her say.

MARY
Why, thank you, Ken. It’s no secret I’ve never held a public office, like Billy Ray.

BILLY RAY
Glad to hear you admit it. Why don’t you do what’s best for our town? Drop out now and endorse my candidacy.
MARY

Give up without a fight? Not a chance.

BILLY RAY
Not a choice a smart woman would make. You’ll regret it.

MARY
What I regret is how, after two terms, you’ve failed to create jobs for the people. In two weeks, my team and I generated dozens of jobs in construction, landscaping, interior decorating and plumbing. 

BILLY RAY
All temporary jobs. So what?

MARY
Temporary work is better than no work. Permanent jobs are—

 JOLENE
Tell everyone how it happened so fast. 

MARY
Private Enterprise. HANK was the key. Right, Hank? 

HANK
Yes, ma’am. The Bread and Breakfast had a solid growth plan, so my bank board approved the renovation loan. 

BILLY RAY
Sounds like crony capitalism. The bank owner is on my opponent’s campaign team. Can we say “white privilege?” 

RUTH
We’re black. 

                          BILLY RAY
Yeah, I keep forgetting. Can we say conflict of interest? 

HANK
No conflict. We all share the same interest. What’s good for the Bread and Breakfast is good for our bank and the citizens of Bradville. A win for all. 

WINSTON
Don’t forget the best part: the bank’s pledge to help us transform our entire town into a tourist destination, like Dollywood.

JOLENE
This will create even more jobs, you betcha. Permanent jobs. 

                          WINSTON
Oh, yeah, you can count on that, people. There’ll be equal opportunities for all. 

                          RUTH
The fly in the ointment? Billy Ray. 

BILLY RAY
Slander me, court danger -- from hoodlums. 

RUTH
I’m going to ignore that. 

KEN
I guess we should all ignore the negative and focus on the positive. What you’ve promised sounds good so far, Mary. 

MARY
That’s the spirit. 

KEN
But I must confess. I suspect it’s just the usual web of lies politicians spin to get our votes, then--nothing. 

MARY
I promise you this. If you elect me, I’ll not only create more jobs, but also lower your taxes, so you can keep more of your hard-earned money. 

(Cheers from the actors in the audience.) 

                          MARY
The more money you have, the more you can spend to grow our economy. And with economic growth comes more money for schools, roads, bridges and public services. 

(Cheers from the actors in the audience.) 

                          MARY
If you like what you’ve heard, join our movement. Vote for me. Mary Dupree. A mayor for the people. 

(Thunderous applause from the actors in the audience.)

 
SCENE 9

(Mary, Ruth and Jolene sit in the lobby.)

(Mary turns off the TV.)

JOLENE
Why’d you do that?

MARY
Anxiety over the trickle in of district results was pushing me to the outer edges of stress and sanity.

(Mary grabs her cellphone from the table near the urn.)

(Mary dials and waits.)

MARY
Hey, Winston, call when the results are in. Thanks. 

(Mary listens.) 

MARY
Dinner tomorrow night? Okay. I thought you’d never ask.

(Mary ends the call.)

(Mary returns the cellphone to its place by the urn.)

                          JOLENE
Well, well. That man finally screwed up his courage and asked you out on a date. Hallelujah.

MARY
He’s quite a catch, isn’t he? I let him chase me until I caught him.

JOLENE
Been that way, since the dawn of humankind. 

MARY
One win down, one to go.

RUTH
Win or lose the election, you’ve made history as the first black Republican to run for mayor of Bradville. 

MARY
Not a bad record but I’d be lying if I said it wouldn’t matter if I lost.  

JOLENE
The wait is killing me. No news is good news, right? 

(Mary’s cellphone rings.)

(Mary picks up the cellphone near the urn.)

(Mary hands the cellphone to Ruth.)

(Ruth answers and listens.)

(Ruth ends the call.)

(Ruth puts the cellphone back by the urn.)

MARY
Well?

RUTH
A miracle! The majority voted for you, even most black people in the Willow Creek district.

MARY
Oh, thank God!

RUTH
Ken came through after all, like Hank and his bank.

JOLENE
Congratulations Mayor Dupree! 

MARY
Justice has been done. Mom can now rest in peace.

(The glow disappears from the urn.)

(Lights Out.)

 

THE END