Scriptic 24 hour challenge: Potted Plants

Potted Plants: A Play In One Scene


NATALIE SMITH (NATTY): 80 year old woman

GINA SCHULER: Natty’s 25 year old granddaughter.

MARLENE SCHULER: Gina’s 50 year old mother. Natty’s daughter.

FRANCINE DRAKE: Natty’s next door neighbor and attorney

LESLIE: Natty’s Neighbor

JEAN: Leslie’s teenage daughter



Late afternoon



(A pair of rocking chairs flank the door on the back porch.

 There is a porch swing hanging at one end, and

a small table with four chairs are halfway between the

door and the other end of the porch. Three stairs lead

down, and the sidewalk runs the length of the stage.

Potted Geraniums line the edge of the porch.

Natty and Gina are watching the sidewalk)



It’s your mother’s going to be the problem.


(gets out of her chair)

She doesn’t like to think about you not being here to do it is all.


You think I do?


(walks to the porch swing and sits down)

Did I say that?


Of course not. (beat) But you sure did think it awfully loud.




I haven’t got time for the pleasantries anymore, Gina Marie. I’m old.


(gets up and crosses to the plants, begins idly plucking off dead leaves as she echoes Natty.)

You’re old.


I can’t stay in this house any longer.


You can’t stay in this house any longer.


The place is falling down around my ears.


The place is falling down around your ears, and somebody has to take care of your house plants.


And somebody has to – Hey, you sure do think loud, don’t you.


Not half as loud as you, Natty.

(Stage Left, Enter LESLIE walking her dog.

She proceeds across the stage, staying on the sidewalk.)


(pauses in front of the porch and waves)

Morning Natty.


Oh, hiya! (lifts her glasses to squint under them) Uh, Jean.


Nope, it’s Leslie today. Jean will have walking duty again in the morning.



Oh, alright then. Have fun.



Where was I?


(returns to her rocking chair)

Mama and the plants.


That’s right. And figuring out I’ve already told you, probably twice.


You could go for three if you want.


No, that’s alright. I’ll save my breath for the attorney.


With a briefcase.)



(hurrying up the sidewalk)

Sorry I’m late! I got tangled up with those dumb animals of mine. (climbs the stairs.) Well, never mind, I’m here now. (To Gina) Are you her witness? (crosses to the table)


(rises and helps NATTY out of her chair, then escorts her to the table)

Yes. I’m her granddaughter, Gina Schuler.


(Shakes Gina’s hand)

Well, I’ll make this quick. (Pulls some papers out of her briefcase.)


(Sits gingerly)

Yes. Quick is best. I’m running out of time for anything else.

(ENTER MARLENE, Stage left. Stands with

folded hands and downcast eyes.)


(Hands NATTY and GINA pens. Reads:)

I Natalie Smith being of sound mind and decrepit body, do hereby bequeath all my worldly possessions


(picks up the speech. She and FRANCINE overlap by a single word, and there is no break.)

possessions to my daughter, Marlene Schuler. However, I leave my stamp collection

(MARLENE begins walking towards the house)


(stands smoothly, overlaps two words with GINA, again, there is no break. As she speaks, she takes Gina’s hand for a moment, then turns and walks away from the table)

stamp collection to my granddaughter Gina Schuler, my considerable marbles to my great-grandson Tyler Schuler, and my Bible to that rat bastard Jay Eisley, should he ever show up to pay his child support and act like a real man. Furthermore, my potted plants, I bequeath to the


(mounting the steps, meets NATTY at the top of the steps. They clasp hands and lock eyes for their overlapped words, then NATTY continues down the stairs and across the sidewalk to EXIT, Stage right, and MARLENE crosses to assume NATTY’s chair at the table)

Furthermore, my potted plants, I bequeath to the Summit County Senior Citizens home, with one plant to be placed in a sunny place in each patient’s room. There are plenty if you get the ones from around back.

(FRANCINE, MARLENE, AND GINA clasp hands at the table and bow their heads)

(ENTER JEAN, stage left, walking her dog)


(pauses in front of the house)

I’m really sorry about Mrs. Smith. Molly and I are really going to miss her on our walks.


(looks up and lets go of GINA and FRANCINE)

We’ll all miss Mama and her plants.

(EXIT JEAN and the dog, STAGE RIGHT)

(MARLENE, FRANCINE, and GINA all collect a potted plant and carry it off STAGE RIGHT)


(just before she EXITS)

I’d have watered them forever, Mama, if you’d let me.





Please be kind. This one was written in 24 hours for the Scriptic Collective’s 24 hour prompt which instructed us to do something we didn’t normally blog about. Since I’ve had pictures and poetry on here recently, and I haven’t written any plays since I was 18 or 20, it was my obvious choice. BUT. I’ve written no plays in at least 15 years. So be kind.


About jesterqueen:
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.


Scriptic 24 hour challenge: Potted Plants — 4 Comments

  1. Writing for the stage is tricky business. Some of the most fun I had in college (writing wise anyway). I like the way the scene move physically like a dance in concert with the dialogue.

  2. I don’t think I’m so good at reading plays. I am interested in film, so I really should get used to the way scripts are written. I tried to familiarize myself with the characters first, but that didn’t help me much because I’m forgetful. (I did notice that Marlene was Martina in the list of characters.)

    But with that all said, here goes: I could tell something important was happening to this family. I think it’s the beloved (and depended upon) grandmother’s impending death, but it feels as if she’s decided to take her own life and has prepared the legal papers in advance of that while her family tries to accept her decision. It doesn’t make sense to me otherwise, so I’d need a little guidance to help me.

    I agree with Cameron that the way you describe the movement along with the dialogue seemed like a dance. I’d love to see what it looks like onstage because I can’t picture it in my mind.

  3. Having done too many plays to count in my life, I don’t write stage directions, because directors and actors don’t follow them anyway. If you do another one, jettison the directions and focus on the dialogue. In the few scenes of this type that I’ve written, that’s what I did. Whether I did it to good result or not is another story.

    I love the characters in this piece. I can almost hear them talking.

  4. Oh man I totally DID that, didn’t I? I’m fixing her name now. But oh yeah, I SO had her named two things. This is exactly why I usually let things simmer for an extra day. You got the gist of thngs. I’m not sure if grandma is taking her own life or just facing death with this obnoxious practicality that denies others the right to say ‘I love you’ at the end, but either way, it has the same effect.