A prominent family in a small Kansas town is followed over a period of twenty-five years, each act taking place on one summer day during the 1970’s, 1980’s, and 1990’s.  Six men, two women, unit set.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

[from Act One, Scene One – 1972 – the front porch of a rich man’s house]

RUSSELL:  (looks off)  That’s Fergis, coming up the road. Those kids better stay out of sight.

LIBBY:  Doubt if you’ll have to worry about that.

RUSSELL:  Listen…could we not speak of religion for the next half hour?

LIBBY:  You see? You try to take God out of your life.

RUSSELL:  Honey…

LIBBY:  If you were right with God everything else would just naturally be in its place.

RUSSELL:  Don’t it say in the Book a wife is supposed to obey her husband?

LIBBY:  That’s the only thing in the whole Bible you ever remember.

RUSSELL:  Don’t it say that though?

LIBBY:  Okay. I’ll just sit here and try to look pretty, just like you want me to.

RUSSELL:  You still are pretty, Libby.

LIBBY:  No, I’m not.

RUSSELL:  Of course you are.

LIBBY:  Those kind of things make no difference to me anymore.  They’re earthly things.  (rises)
I’ll get us some ice tea.

RUSSELL:  (stops her)  That’s all right.

LIBBY:  It’s no trouble.

RUSSELL:  I don’t want you hiding in the kitchen and make me drag you out.

LIBBY:  (sits)  Shucks.

RUSSELL:  We can afford a maid, you know.

LIBBY:  Don’t want a maid. Don’t want her under-foot, talking bout me with all her friends.

RUSSELL:  Libby…

LIBBY:  Fluttering around. My legs ain’t broke.

RUSSELL:  Just play along with me here, okay?

LIBBY:  Oh, I know my part. Shut up and smile.

(she gives fake smile as a car is heard driving up, stopping, and car door slams)

RUSSELL:  You help me handle this…I’ll go to church with you come Sunday.

LIBBY:  Really?

RUSSELL:  I promise.  (kisses her cheek)  Boy, that’s making a deal with the devil, now ain’t it?

LIBBY:  Russell Cunningham…

FERGIS NICHOLSON:  (enters) Why Russell Cunningham…

RUSSELL:  Here I am.

NICHOLSON:  The man himself. And his beautiful wife Libby.

RUSSELL:  Morning, Fergis.

NICHOLSON:  Why Miss Libby, you look better than ever.

LIBBY:  He’s come to tell you no, Russell.


LIBBY:  If he’s laying it on thick like this, the answer’s going to be no.

RUSSELL:  Stop it.

LIBBY:  Want some iced tea, Fergis?

NICHOLSON:  No thank you, Miss Libby.

(FERGIS pauses; RUSSELL gives LIBBY a “stop it” look)

NICHOLSON (cont’d):  Fine day.

RUSSELL:  Beautiful day.

LIBBY:  Wind’s going to start to blow, out of the south. Be hot and dusty by the afternoon.

NICHOLSON:  Yes sir, fine day.  (doesn’t know how to say what he has come to say, so changes the subject)  You know, driving in, I was probably on your land for half an hour, Russell. I was just trying to  remember everything you own.

RUSSELL:  Well, I’ll tell you. Still got the television station.

NICHOLSON:  I figured.

RUSSELL:  Still got the half interest in the Chevrolet dealership there in town.

NICHOLSON:  Man like you, that’s just the icing on the cake, ain’t it?

RUSSELL:  Just added a half section last week. That makes it, oh… (figures a moment)…three thousand four hundred and fifty-two acres, give or take. Got it planted in wheat and milo, soybeans.  And the land I don’t have planted, hell, government pays me not to plant.

LIBBY:  I think you just take advantage of that, Russell.

RUSSELL:  The Lord’s been good to me.

LIBBY:  You should be on your knees more, thanking the Lord.

RUSSELL:  I can’t complain.

LIBBY:  (to Fergis)  It sure don’t seem to stop him none.

RUSSELL:  Oh, I could complain. My kids ain’t worth a damn.

NICHOLSON:  Hell, nobody’s kids are worth a damn anymore. Don’t you know that?

RUSSELL:  I ain’t quite give up on them yet.  (a beat)  What’s the news, Fergis?

NICHOLSON:  Oh, come out to talk about the convention.

RUSSELL:  I figured. Let’s quit pissing around the bush here and get to business.

NICHOLSON:  Guess there’s no way to say it but just …come right out and say it.

RUSSELL:  I’m waiting. Been waiting all week.

NICHOLSON:  They don’t want you to run, Russ.


RUSSELL:  Come again?

NICHOLSON:  They don’t want you to run.

LIBBY:  I knew it.


NICHOLSON:  They want Peterson.

RUSSELL:  Pete Peterson?

NICHOLSON:  He’s worked his way up. Been lieutenant governor for eight years.

RUSSELL:  Any man who would be lieutenant governor for eight years deserves to stay there.

NICHOLSON:  He’s worked the state, Russ. Been to every single county.

RUSSELL:  I have a record of government service.

NICHOLSON:  County Commissioner is…nice. But it’s not a real high office, Russ, and you know it.

RUSSELL:  I have been active in the Republican party for…


RUSSELL:  I have bankrolled…

NICHOLSON:  You have been more than generous.

RUSSELL:  And Crawley said…

* * * * * * *

From Act I, Scene Two

That night – the four kids in the back yard

DREW:  I really shouldn’t tell you this but…I’m seeing these people in Lawrence.

CHRIS:  Who?

DREW:  Promise not to tell?

CHRIS:  I promise.

DREW:  Swear?

CHRIS:  I swear.

DREW:  (looks around; conspiratorially)  They’re communists, man.

CHRIS:  Really?

DREW:  Yeah. Real communists. It’s so cool.

CHRIS:  Wow.  (pauses)  What’s that mean exactly? Communist.

DREW:  They share everything. I mean everything. Even girlfriends.

CHRIS:  Even girlfriends?

DREW:  Yeah. Personal property is wrong.

ELIZABETH:  Since when are girlfriends property?

DREW:  Any money they make, they put it all into one pile and it belongs to everybody.

CHRIS:  They even share girlfriends?

DREW:  One of them is a girl. She sleeps with all of them.

CHRIS:  Wow.

DREW:  No shit, wow.

ELIZABETH:  I didn’t know communism was so sexual.

DREW:  There’s a lot you don’t know.

ELIZABETH:  Maybe that’s just the American take on it. Can you see Lenin and Stalin sharing a girlfriend?
(shudders) Ew.

DREW:  You don’t know anything.

ELIZABETH:  I think communism has more to do with economics than sex.

DREW:  Don’t listen to her. She tries to take the fun out of everything.

ELIZABETH:  This is a revolution about fun?

DREW:  Hell yes.  (puts joint into roach clip)  It’s about learning how to live. We never knew how to
live until now.


DREW:  It’s all going to be beautiful. Soon as we get rid of all the pigs and plastic people.

ELIZABETH:  Which is it with you? Peace and love or kill all the pigs?

DREW:  Depends on how we feel when the revolution goes down.

DAVID:  Are you getting rid of mom and dad?

DREW:  What do you think, David? Are they plastic?


DREW:  Of course they are.

DAVID:  Why?

DREW:  (ticking off reasons on his fingers)  They have money. They support the war. They’ve never been stoned. They don’t listen to rock and roll.

CHRIS:  Mom goes to church and she makes us go with her.

DREW:  See?

CHRIS:  Dad owns a television station, and now he says we can’t even watch it.

DREW:  Dig it, man. Plastic.

DAVID:  You’re going to kill mom and dad?

DREW:  Hey…who knows?

DAVID:  You can’t do that!


DAVID:  I’m going to tell!

CHRIS:  Ssshhh. He’s not going to kill mom and dad.  (pauses; to Chris)  Are you?

DREW:  Keep everybody guessing. That’s my motto.

ELIZABETH:  You’re so full of it, Drew.

DREW:  What do you know?

ELIZABETH:  You have no idea why you’re doing this. You just copy whatever you see on tv.

DREW:  I don’t copy. I’m an original.

ELIZABETH:  Original butthead.

DAVID:  Are you going to kill mom and dad?

DREW:  No, I’m not going to kill mom and dad. Sheesh.

CHRIS:  Do communists let you smoke pot?

DREW:  Hell yes. That’s what their countries are built on.

CHRIS:  Sign me up, man. (takes another puff)

ELIZABETH:  We’re not workers, Drew.

DREW:  Maybe you’re not.

ELIZABETH:  You don’t even mow the yard anymore.

DREW:  I drove a tractor. And the wheat harvest? That time on the combine?

ELIZABETH:  Oh, one time. Big deal.

DREW:  You’re bringing me down here, babe.

ELIZABETH:  You can’t be a communist, Drew.

DREW:  Why not?

ELIZABETH:  Because we’re rich.

DREW:  Every communist in Lawrence has a trust fund.


DREW:  What?

ELIZABETH:  You don’t even know the stupid things you’re saying.