Howie Johnson's

April 7, 2016

 

Directed by Emily Ludlow

With Jayme Catalano, Nan Ayers & Mary Ann Rodgers

 

Setting

2016 Presidential Election: MW’s car
Primary podium
Howard Johnson’s hotel room

 

Characters
Millenial Woman (MW) 30’s, professional, liberal Hillary Clinton (HC) 50’s, in a presidential race Gloria Steinem (GS) 70’s-80’s, looks fabulous

 

Lights up on MW, on the stage right half of the stage, driving and on her phone, checking facebook.

 

Sound: “In 83 miles, take exit 12 onto Potter road”

 

MW audibly sighs, scrolling, checks road, scrolls, laughs at something on Facebook, checks road...

 

Sound: Phone rings

 

MW:

Hey honey... Yeah I’ll be there in another maybe two hours.

 

Lights up on HC, addressing her supporters and the camera

 

HC:

Thank you, all, very, very much.

 

MW:

Oh, some fucking Howard Johnson forty-five minutes from the actual conference... Ha! No I never considered that the motel chain could be an extended dick joke... but thank you for bringing that to my consciousness. Now I can never un-see it.

 

HC:

My goodness. I don't know what we'd have done tonight if we actually won. This is a pretty exciting event, and I'm very grateful to all of you.

 

MW:

How’s your evening - did you find something for dinner? Good...

 

HC:

I want to begin by congratulating Senator Sanders on his victory tonight, and I want to thank each and every one of you.

 

MW:

I know, I saw that! Pete’s getting so aggressive with the political posts, what a Bernie Bro - no, I’m not checking it while I drive, I’m being very good, I have my headset in and everything.

 

HC:

I know I have some work to do, particularly with young people, but I will repeat again what I have said this week. Even if they are not supporting me now, I support them.

 

MW:

- Yeah no I agree by and large with him, I just don’t feel super confident that a president is really going to be able to make the big changes he keeps promising, I mean I don’t know - oh shit, that’s right, I forgot about the primary tonight. Are you watching it? Ok, I can probably just hear about it on the radio - ok, yeah - I love you too - I’ll call you when I’m all settled in - ok - bye - kissy sounds

 

Turns on radio

 

GS:

(as NPR announcer): We’re live in New Hampshire, where the Democratic voters here have spoken - Bernie Sanders has just won the Democratic primary!

 

HC:

Because I know — I know I've had a blessed life, but I also know what it's like to stumble and fall. And so many people across America know that feeling.

 

Lights down on HC. MW is shaken. She starts crying. Lights down on MW. Lights up on hotel room. HC enters, throwing her bag onto the bed (or chair).

 

HC: Shit!

 

She slumps onto the bed (or chair).

 

HC: Why don’t they like me? I have worked too fucking hard for too fucking long to have some socialist from Vermont take this all away from me—

 

Music, lights, and Gloria Steinem appears, holding a bottle of scotch.

 

GS: You look like you could use a drink.

 

HC:

G-Gloria Steinem? How did you get into my hotel room?

 

GS:

I’m Gloria fucking Steinem, I busted Hugh Hefner’s balls, infiltrated the Playboy mansion, I think I can handle a little Howie Johnson. What in God’s name are you doing in this shithole anyway?

 

HC:

Oh, I have my people book a room at the Hilton under Hillary Rodham Clinton, then I sneak over to the nearest Best Western or Motel 6 to avoid everyone... especially after a doozy like tonight.

 

GS:

Yeah, that pitiful speech of yours was heart breaking, thought I’d come cheer you up. Here - (she pours both of them a drink, pulls up a chair with HC.)

 

HC:

(downing her shot) But seriously, how did you know I was here?

 

GS:

Jesus, Hill, relax, it’s magical realism, go with it. You need some weed?

 

HC:

Not since Wellesley -

 

GS:

Well have another drink, sit back, and enjoy your very own “deus ex feminsta.”

 

Pours another shot for Hillary. This one she enjoys sipping while eyeing GS with suspicion and wonder.

 

GS:

Struggling with the “millennial vote,” huh?

 

HC:

I don’t think those little shits pay any attention to actual policy, they just read Buzzfeed and the Onion to make their political decisions...

 

GS:

There was actually a really great Onion article about you -

 

HC:

Give me a break, Gloria, what? “Team of Russian scientists finally re-attach Bill’s severed balls?”

 

GS:

I believe the last line was “Clinton was too much a part of the establishment she spent decades breaking down barriers to enter.”

 

HC:

beat, smiles

 

Not bad.

 

Holds her shot up to Gloria, they cheers, drink, Gloria pours them another.

 

GS:

You and me baby, we’re old school, we’re bad ass, we already broke down those barriers that make it possible for young liberal women today to even consider voting for the oldest, whitest man from fucking Vermont -

 

HC:

Vermont is a very liberal state -

 

GS:

Whatever. He’s no Barack Obama. I mean, I’m sorry, I voted for him.

 

HC: (confessional) I did too.

 

GS:

But now it’s your turn Hill, and you’re fucking it up by playing it safe. Though you’ve always played it safe. Staying with Bill through that blue dress fiasco? Voting to invade Afghanistan? Conceding the presidency in 2008 to pander as Secretary of State?

 

HC: I didn’t pander! And this is coming from a Playboy bunny -

 

GS: I was undercover!

 

HC: Jesus, Gloria, there we go arguing -

 

GS: Ms. Steinem, please.

 

They both laugh.

 

GS: Ah, shit, Hillary, you know I want to see a woman in the white house as much as anyone, but at some point we have to give it over to the next generation... I even got busted for an off-hand remark about young women following men over to the Bernie side... fucking Bill Maher.

 

HC:

Fucking Bernie Sanders.

 

Sound: Beep of a card in a hotel room door, MW enters.

 

MW:

Umm, excuse me, I think I got the wrong room.

 

GS:

Hey! Come on in, have a drink. You look like you could use one. HC: Are you registered to vote, my lovely mill-

 

GS:

LAY OFF, Hill.

 

HC:

Sorry, please, come join us.

 

MW:

Wow! Hillary Clinton and Joan Didion! I’m so pleased to meet - GS: Ah, shit.

 

HC:

This is Gloria Steinem, we’re very pleased to make your acquaintance. We were just discussing the plight of young people in America today, and I understand, I really do...

 

GS:

So, what brings you to Howie Long Schlong Johnson’s?

 

MW:

Um, I’m staying here for a work thingy, but um, I’m really sorry to have bothered you two, I’ll go double check my room number...

 

HC:

Why not have a drink with us, you look like you’ve had a rough night too. MW: Actually, kinda, yeah...
GS:

(pouring a shot for MW) here you go sweetie, have yourself a seat.

 

MW sits in GS’s chair, GS stands comfortably.

 

GS: Tell us what the trouble is.

 

MW:

Actually, I got pretty upset when I heard that Bernie Sanders won the primary in New Hampshire, I didn’t think I was really that invested in politics, but I guess I want to see a woman in the White House, I mean you’ve worked so hard for so many years, and sure your politics are kinda questionable, but it just doesn’t seem fair for you to not succeed at this point in your career, after everything you’ve been through -

 

HC:

Tell me about it.

 

MW:

I’m sorry, Mrs. Clinton, I probably went too far -

 

HC:

No, no, you’re absolutely right. I’ve made so many concessions and compromises over the years trying to play the game, I’ve flown in so many private jets and gone to so many high rolling fundraising dinners, I have completely lost touch with that sweet little activist from Wellesley -

 

GS:

Pff. You were never “sweet.”

 

HC:

Did you know I organized a two-day student strike after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.? I used to understand the power of the people, coming together to make change.

 

GS:

Hey, why don’t you do something like that now? Something grass-roots, something edgy. Stage a protest! Organize a Black Lives Matters coalition! Resuscitate the Occupy movement!

 

HC is roused, she has a glimmer of hope in her eye

 

And you, missy, why are you laughing at cat memes and crying in your car instead of actually finding out about the issues? You have so much information and power at your fingertips, and you “don’t think you’re really invested in politics?” Don’t just vote for H.R.C. because she looks like you, figure out whose politics speak to you and then vote your damn conscience.

 

MW: (Stunned)... how did you know I was crying in my car? GS: Come on, I’m Gloria fucking Steinem.

 

MW and HC raise their shot glasses to her in awe.

 

Black Out

 

End of Play

 

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