“I may not know you, but I can tell what kind of person you are when you don’t have a strong mindset regarding your future.”
FRIEND 1 and STUDENT 1: Lane
FRIEND 2: Storm
PARENT 1 and STUDENT 2: Annabel
PARENT 2: Arlen
Lights up on students leaving room and TEACHER. Blackboard in the back with a teacher’s desk. Bell rings.
TEACHER: Angie, can you meet me at my desk before you leave?
ANGIE: Ugh, Ms. Smith is calling me again. Gimme a second, guys. I’ll meet you at lunch.
FRIEND 1: Okay, Ang.
ANGIE walks up to TEACHER’s desk reluctantly.
TEACHER: Angie, I’d like to talk to you about your essay grade.
ANGIE: I know, I know already. It sucked. I’ll work harder next time…
TEACHER: No no, that’s not it. Your essay was actually amazing. The passion you put in it made it brilliant. You got an A+.
ANGIE’s face lights up.
ANGIE: Really? It was good?
TEACHER: Yes! The way you analyzed the relationship between Anne and Helen was amazing, perfectly showing the importance of Anne’s aid.
ANGIE: Thanks! Are you messing with me though? Because that wouldn’t be funny.
TEACHER: No, I’m not messing with you, but there has been something bothering me recently, and I believe this problem can be fixed.
ANGIE: Oh god, you’re not gonna mention my studying habits are you?
TEACHER: Listen, Angie. You have so much potential. Seeing how well you wrote your essay… I can’t let your talent go to waste like that. You should choose a career path that involves writing.
ANGIE: Go to waste? You think how I’m choosing to live my life is a waste? You have no place to tell me something like that. You don’t even know me.
TEACHER: I may not know you, but I can tell what kind of person you are when you don’t have a strong mindset regarding your future.
ANGIE: No you can’t! My future is my future, not yours to worry about. I’m sick of teachers telling me what to do and what will make me happy. Living for the future is such a sham. In the present, I’m much happier, and I know things will turn out good. Adam makes me happy, I don’t need any after school assignment to mess that up.
ANGIE realizes what she’s said and runs out of the room embarrassed.
TEACHER: Come in, come in, students. I hope you all turned in your The Miracle Worker analysis homework last night!
Students fill in, empty chair where ANGIE sits — TEACHER doesn’t notice.
TEACHER: Alright, let’s do attendance, shall we?
TEACHER grabs paper and points at each student as she reads the list.
TEACHER: Mark, Julien, Kelly, Angi — Does anyone know where Angie is today? No? No one has seen her?
FRIEND 1 whispers to FRIEND 2.
FRIEND 1: I would skip Ms. Smith’s class if she was on my tail everyday, too.
FRIEND 2: Obviously. I heard that she tried to talk to Ang about Adam yesterday!
TEACHER overhears and walks to the other side, avoiding the friends.
FRIEND 1: Are you kidding me? Next thing we know, she’ll ask her about her dad!
FRIEND 1 and 2 laughs as TEACHER continues teaching without noticing.
Room is dimly lighted at night.
TEACHER: Thank you so much for your time. Julien is a great kid, and I’d love to see more participation in my class.
TEACHER shakes parents’ hands.
PARENT 1: Yes of course, we’ll get right on it. Thanks for the feedback!
Parents leave the room as TEACHER greets the next person outside.
TEACHER: I’d like to see Angie’s parents, please?
Young man in late 20’s gets up and walks into room.
TEACHER: Hello, and you are?
ADAM: Oh, my name’s Adam, I’m filling in for Angie’s parents today.
TEACHER: Oh, I’m sorry that they couldn’t make it. Do… you know what happened to them?
ADAM: Nah, she doesn’t really like talking about it, sorry.
TEACHER: I’m sorry, then what is your relationship to Angie? Are you a trusted adult?
ADAM: Yeah, yeah, I’m just here ‘cause someone had to be.
TEACHER is visibly thrown off and at a loss for words.
TEACHER: Alright then… well… I’d like to talk about her grades.
ADAM: Alright, can you make it quick though? I got something after this.
TEACHER: Well, I’d really prefer to see where her mother and father are, because this will take a while.
ADAM: I already told you, that won’t be happening. We don’t talk to her mom anymore, understand?
TEACHER: But surely her father could come, so we can have actual discussions about Angie’s future, and not a quick meeting before you go off back to your own world.
ADAM: No, I already told you. Her parents couldn’t come, I’m an adult, so I’m here tonight because she’s forced to send someone to listen to whatever thing you are required to “help” her with, okay?
TEACHER is silent.
ADAM: So? Is she doing well? Do you have anything to tell me, or can we go now?
TEACHER: We? Is she here? May you please just bring her in, I have serious things to discuss with her.
ADAM: You know what, whatever it takes for you to leave me alone. Angie! Can you come in, and we can get this over with?
ANGIE walks in confused.
TEACHER: Is this person your parental guardian? Where is your father? I believe he would be better suited for me to talk to today.
ADAM: Babe, don’t bother with her. We did what we were supposed to, and now the school will stop emailing us. So let’s go, already.
ANGIE doesn’t acknowledge ADAM and focuses her attention on the TEACHER.
ANGIE: My father? You think you’d have a better discussion with my father? Well, he’s not here right now. He hasn’t been since I was nine. So please, for the love of God, stop bothering me about my life and leave us alone.
TEACHER: My goodness, I really am so sorry.
ADAM: Alright, let’s go Ang.
ADAM grabs ahold of ANGIE and walks her out the room as the TEACHER turns to her desk with a puzzled look on her face.
TEACHER walks back and sits while showing the audience a picture of her dad on her desk.
TEACHER grabs phone and dials.
TEACHER: … Mom?
MOM: Honey, what’s the issue? Why do you sound so distraught?
TEACHER: I need to talk about Dad… Something’s been on my mind lately.
MOM: I thought you and I promised we’d push him out of our thoughts… Alice, it’s been ten years. Why are you thinking about him again?
TEACHER: I’m not thinking about him. I’m thinking about me right now.
MOM: What about you? I know you did some bad things to him, but you know he deserved it. You shouldn’t feel sorry for what you did, after all the damage he left on you. Why is this on your mind so much?
TEACHER: No, I’m not talking about that either! I’m talking about my future, Mom! What I could’ve become.
MOM: Oh, you sound crazy right now. Calm down, you and I both know what you did was the best for you. Now look at you, a happy teacher who teaches a beautiful group of kids. What more did you want?
TEACHER: I wanted to write. I wanted to write whatever I wanted, when I wanted, and how I wanted. I wanted people to read my books and be inspired, I wanted to change people’s lives! Now, I can’t even help someone one-on-one. Dad leaving made my outlook on life completely change… I didn’t even graduate college.
MOM: Please, honey, don’t ever put yourself down like this. Your life right now is nothing to complain about, and I know you can touch the heart of anyone you wish to. You have me, someone to watch over you. You’re lucky to have my support.
TEACHER: You’re right. I am blessed to have you, and not everyone is lucky enough to say that. Thanks, Mom. Love you. I know what I have to do now.
TEACHER hangs up.
Knock on door.
PARENT 2: I don’t mean to interrupt, but am I in the right room? I’ve been waiting a while, but I didn’t want to bother you…
TEACHER: Oh yes! Yes! I am so sorry, come sit, come sit.
Lights up on classroom. ANGIE walks in with friends.
TEACHER: Angie, I’m glad to see you again! Hey, can I talk to you for a second?
ANGIE: Oh my God.
ANGIE turns to friends.
ANGIE: I swear, this better be the last time she talks to me. If not, I’ll make it the last time.
TEACHER: So I’m starting a support group for people who… have some family issues. Surely you would like to join? Maybe it can help you steer in the right direction away from negative people.
ANGIE: For the last time! I don’t need your help! I’m not joining your stupid support group, and I’m not developing a stupid little “friendship” with you. I’m here to take your stupid class so my Mom doesn’t get emailed. Other than that, I’m just a regular student to you. Understand?
TEACHER’s face flushes.
TEACHER: Alright. Alright. I apologize. Please, go to your seat.
ANGIE hides her frown and heads to seat.
Lights up on hallway with lockers.
ANGIE: Did you guys hear about Ms. Smith’s support group? Apparently she’s starting one… Weird, huh?
FRIEND 1: It’s probably because she has her own issues with her dad. My mom overheard a conversation with her and her mom… something about her dad leaving and messing up her education or something? I don’t really know.
FRIEND 2: Ew, why can’t she just let it go? She was in school like, a century ago.
ANGIE: I’m sorry, what? Her dad left her?
FRIEND 1: I don’t know, probably. She went on this sob story about how she wanted to be a writer. Kinda like you a couple years ago, Ang.
ANGIE: Yeah… well you guys go. I’m gonna head to my locker, I need to get my books.
FRIEND 2: Alright, see you.
ANGIE walks by TEACHER’s room and observes it, then walks away with a frown.
(Time skip) Lights up on classroom with desks organized in a circle and students walking in.
TEACHER: Hello, hello, don’t be shy. This is a support group, this is your safe space.
Students get in the chairs,
TEACHER: So, third time around, are we all getting the hang of this?
Students nod in agreement.
TEACHER: Okay, who wants to start off first, today?
STUDENT 1: Well, I’m glad to say that I’m developing a way better relationship with my mom! We finally talked about the problems with my sister, and she’s also talking more with my mom about her anger issues. She’s really going on the right path right now.
TEACHER: That’s amazing, Evan! I know how much stress your sister put you through. Now you can take this time to heal together.
STUDENT 1: Yeah, I guess so!
TEACHER: Who’d like to speak next?
ANGIE shows up on side of stage and observes the classroom, but turns around doubtingly.
STUDENT 2 whispers to STUDENT 1.
STUDENT 2: Angie’s here… probably to talk about her boyfriend. Poor thing just got broken up with.
STUDENT 1: Oh, Adam? But they were so cute together.
TEACHER: Are you guys talking about Angie? Have any of you spoken to her recently? It’s been months since we’ve spoken…
STUDENT 1: Yeah, sorry to disrupt, though. We’ll be quiet now.
TEACHER looks at door and sees ANGIE walking away.
TEACHER: Would you give me a second, guys? So sorry, just one second.
TEACHER walks out of class.
TEACHER: Angie? Did you want to join our group? It’s really a safe space, trust me.
ANGIE: No, no… I don’t feel comfortable sharing…
TEACHER: Then just come and sit. You don’t have to share. Just come, and you’ll be welcomed. I want to help you, don’t you realize that?
ANGIE: Just because your dad left as well doesn’t mean you have this obligation to help me. Don’t think you’re the miracle worker or something.
TEACHER: How did you know that? And now that you do, can’t you see that I understand what you’re going through as well?
ANGIE: Yeah… but I’m not in the right place to join right now. There’s too much on my plate
TEACHER: Look, I heard about Adam. I know how much stress has been put on you. Having someone break up with you is hard. Your parents or another person in your family is your best bet to go and stay with. Trust me.
ANGIE: What? Adam didn’t breakup with me, I broke up with him. I’m done with all his crap, I’m heading in my own direction now. But… I just don’t know exactly what direction that is.
TEACHER: Did you try going back to your mother’s house? I don’t know exactly what happened, but she must be some form of help to you.
ANGIE: Not yet. To be honest, I’m scared. I don’t know if she’ll welcome me back in. I’ve been staying at my friends’ houses, and it’s been good, but I’m starting to get on their parents nerves… soon I might not have a place to stay. I really don’t know what to do.
TEACHER: Hey. Don’t speak like that. You and I, with the help of this support group, will get you on a better track with your mom. Trust me, I’ve been there. You’ll know what to do.
ANGIE: You think so? But there’s so many people. I don’t know how you could have time to help me with all of this.
TEACHER: It’s not going to be just me. It’s all of us. This support group is the best thing I’ve created, and it will be the best thing for you, too. These people are just like you. They are your peers, and they went through the same things you did. Now, they are all on a path to recovery while also helping each other on their journeys. This group would be perfect for you. Just join us. We’ll help, trust me.
ANGIE: Okay. I’ll join.
TEACHER: Hooray! Don’t be shy, just walk on in. These people are going to be your family now.
ANGIE smiles, and they walk in together.
Off stage you hear her introducing ANGIE to everyone.