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Family Portrait

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Family Portrait

Written by: Roberta Simmons-Smith

Frank - Father; Musical leader in his corps; prop = instrument
Joyce - Stay at home mom working hard to keep her family involved and looking good; prop = daytimer
Jill - Daughter; self consumed and boy crazy; prop = mirror
Chris - Son; searching for real answers; prop = bible
Offstage photographer voice

The McAllister family enters obviously busy with lots of things on their plate. Joyce, holding it altogether, Frank quiet and tagging along, Jill primping herself, and Chris, quiet and doing as he is told. Each character is using their prop in some way. Chris just quiet and holding his Bible

Joyce: O.k , are we all here? 1, 2, 3, 4, good. (Big sigh of relief) I thought for sure we were going to be late with the speed your father was going.

Frank: I don't understand you woman, one minute I'm driving too fast, the next

minute not fast enough. Make up your mind!

Joyce: (Rolling her eyes and dismissing him) now... we have to make sure we

look better then last year. Every time I've opened the corps directory this year, I've cringed. How did I ever think wearing and celebrating our Scottish heritage would be a good idea?

Chris: Yeah, I thought kilts were supposed to go below the knee. Not like mine!!

(gesture to how short his kilt was)

Jill: Oh - my - gosh! It was so embarrassing. Anyways, can we hurry up and get this over with I gotta get to corps cadets at Penny's house.

Photographer: McAllister family your next.


(Joyce busy bodies around until everyone is put in place how she thinks it would be best. All characters place their prop in their monologue position on stage. No one is happy. Joyce looks at watch, Frank is conducting, Jill is looking at herself in the mirror, and Chris is starring off into space.)

Photographer: 1-2-3 SMILE!!


(McAllister family all whips on the gorgeous smile, hitting the ‘perfect family portrait'. Lights flash and they freeze. Lights slowly fade as Joyce steps forward into spotlight holding her prop.)

Joyce: (she looks back at her family) well this isn't so bad; this one may turn out all right. Everyone seemed to think last years picture was absolutely perfect, just like our family they say. But it takes hard work to make us even eligible for such a title. I mean between my Monday night home league, Chris's Tuesday night youth band, Frank's Wednesday night band practice, Jill's Thursday night drama practice, and then don't even get me started on the weekend. We have to try to juggle all these things with school activities. Frank and I want the kids to be part of things there as well, so they can share their Christian witness. They're such good kids. Then of course there is the weekend appreciation dinners at the corps, which I usually have to cook for, serve for, slave for...oh, and how can I forget Jill's corps cadet classes at Penny's house every Sunday afternoon. Speaking of which, how long are these pictures going to take, we gotta get Jill to Jenny's house. Whose idea was it to have corps family photos on a Sunday anyways...there is too much to do!

(Joyce returns to her place in the photo and Jill steps into the spotlight holding her prop)

Jill: This is such a drag! I need to be getting to Penny's for corps cadets. If I don't get there on time I won't get a seat next to Darren. (Big sigh) Oh Darren, he is so hot!! It's so great that he is so involved with church too ‘cause then I get to see him at drama on Thursdays, Sunday mornings, and at Penny's in the afternoon. I hope Tammy isn't there though, she is such a flirt; she thinks she is ‘all that and a bag of chips', and she isn't even pretty. I mean, half the time guys don't want to fall for her; they just go out with her to get her out of their face. I don't want that to happen with Darren though, that is why I have to get a move on. Oh, and she has her little posse too, it makes me sick to see them even pretending to be all.... Christian when all they do is talk behind each other's backs. Thank goodness I come from a family with higher standards then that!!


(Jill returns to portrait, then the Frank enters spotlight holding his prop)

Frank: I can't believe how bad the music was in church today. I mean, every Wednesday night I get in front of the band, whatever bandsmen decides to show up, and practice, practice sure, yeah right! For goodness sake, once everyone finally arrives ‘practice' is half over, and then they find it a social event, and spend the time talking amongst themselves. Well, band is one thing, but then you have that guy on piano.... could he play a right note??? It's as if he is playing without any hands. I'm sure God understands how hard it is for me to truly envelop myself in His spirit when you have wassisname over there pounding on the ivories. I mean, here I am working hard throughout the week to prepare music for Sundays worship service, and all seems to go to waste. It is like all my work is pointless.

(Frank returns to portrait, then Chris enters spotlight holding his prop)

Chris: (Takes a moment to look down at bible) "What consumes you?" that's the question they asked in Sunday school this morning. It's probably the first time I ever really listened to what the teacher was saying. Usually I'm thinking about my afternoon soccer match or goofin' around with my friends. But this morning, it just caught my attention. Sure I'm used to learning all the bible stories, told how to live a ‘Godly Life' and take every opportunity to witness. But what consumes me? Do you know, that I don't know the answer to that question, I mean, I know "God" is probably the answer to that question, but is that really the answer in my life? .... I thought about talking to Mom, but she is just sooooooo busy with trying to keep our family in good attendance with everything we are part of, trying to have us ‘do' all the right things.... I don't want to burden her by making her think I am any less then what she has me made out to be. And Dad, we don't really click, I don't really think he notices either. Sure, I'm in the youth band, but truthfully, I hate it, I'd rather play my guitar. I only go to make him happy. And well Jill, she has her head so deep in the social aspect of church, that I don't think she really gets it either. In fact, do any of us really get it? Is there anybody in the McAllister family who can tell me that God and their faith in him is what consumes their life??? (Looks back at family - no response)...didn't think so (gestures to put the bible back, but decides to hold it in his arms, he re enters the portrait)...but we sure do look good ... don't we?


(Chris resumes smile and position)


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