Happy Pills

CHARACTERS, 3f

 

CELESTE, 25, writer

PSYCHIATRIST, 38

HELENE, 28, painter

 

 

 

 

SETTING

Seatle, Washington. Present Day.

 

Scene one takes place in a closet.

Scene two takes place in CELESTE and HELENE’s kitchen.

 

 

Scene One. Lights rise on psychiatrist who sits in the

                        closet taking notes. After a beat, CELESTE enters.

                        There should be clothes everywhere and anything else

                        you might find in a closet.  

 

CELESTE

Before you even ask, I took my happy pills today.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

I was going to ask how you were feeling.

 

CELESTE

I’m not supposed to be feeling anything. Isn’t that the point?

 

CELESTE sits down in the chair and takes out a

                        package of gummy bears.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

They say smokers need to do something with their hands.

 

CELESTE

Ex-smokers.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

What did you do today?

 

CELESTE

The usual. Sat on my balcony. Dreaded coming here. Then got in the car anyways.

 

Beat.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Do I smell alcohol?

 

CELESTE

Ten points for Hufflepuff.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Harry Potter’s not real.

 

CELESTE

Yes. I know that.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Are you sure?

 

 

CELESTE

I’m not schizophrenic.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

How’s the medication treating you?

 

CELESTE

The way it’s supposed to.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Do you need a higher dosage?

 

CELESTE

No.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Do you want a lower one?

 

CELESTE

I want to feel something. Anything. I want to want something again.

 

Beat.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

We’ve known each other a long time.

 

CELESTE

Ten years.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Do you remember why?

 

CELESTE

My mother thought I was trying to kill myself.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Celeste.

 

CELESTE

I don’t want to talk about it.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

We have to.

 

CELESTE

I had cut myself. A lot.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Because?

 

CELESTE

Don’t.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Because you thought you Hogwarts letter had come and you couldn’t find it.

 

CELESTE

I saw that owl.

 

PSYCHIATRIST starts scribbling some things down.

                       

 

PSYCHIATRIST

And lately, have you seen any owls?

 

CELESTE

No. I obviously haven’t.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Obviously? Why obviously?

 

CELESTE

I saw a little boy almost get hit by a car. The car slammed on its breaks and then swerved into a light pole. I stayed and called the police but—

 

PYCHIATRIST

That didn’t happen, Celeste.

 

CELESTE

Yes it did!

 

PSYCHIATRIST

When you called the police, there was no boy. No car. Just you. Crying on the sidewalk.

 

CELESTE

That’s not true.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Celeste. You’re stronger than this. You have to—you say you want to feel something.

 

CELESTE

I do. And with these pills, I just feel—

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Celeste. I know you stopped taking your pills months ago.

 

CELESTE

That’s not true.

 

PYCHIATRIST

Celeste. I know you.

 

CELESTE

No one knows me.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Get back on your pills, Celeste.

 

Beat.

 

CELESTE

No.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Celeste.

 

CELESTE

(yelling)

I’m fine!

 

 

Blackout.

 

 

                        scene ii. HELENE is sitting at the kitchen, table,

                        crying. CELESTE enters and pours herself a cup of

                        coffee. Seeing CELESTE, HELENE wipes her tears

                        and gets up to start making breakfast.

 

HELENE

How was your morning?

 

CELESTE

Fine.

 

HELENE

Good.

 

CELESTE

What are you making?

 

HELENE

Pancakes.

 

CELESTE

Wheat, right?

 

HELENE

Yes dear.

 

Beat.

 

CELESTE

Are you going into the studio today?

 

HELENE

No.

 

CELESTE

Oh. But there are bags by the door.

 

HELENE

I know.

 

CELESTE

Are you going to visit your mother?

 

 

 

HELENE

No.

 

CELESTE

Are you making blueberry wheat pancakes? Like you did yesterday?

 

HELENE

We’re out of blueberries.

 

CELESTE

Oh.

 

Beat. HELENE has to fight back more tears.

 

HELENE

I have to tell you something.

 

CELESTE

Can we just pretend like you already did?

 

HELENE

No.

 

CELESTE

What painting are you working on?

 

HELENE

Celeste. Please don’t.

 

CELESTE

Don’t what?

 

HELENE

I’m leaving.

 

Beat.

 

CELESTE

Do you have to?

 

HELENE

Yes. I have to.

 

CELESTE

But I love you.

 

HELENE

I know. I love you too.

 

HELENE stops cooking and wipes away her tears.

 

HELENE (cont)

You were in the closet. Again. This morning.

 

CELESTE

No. I went to the psychiatrist’s office this morning. Like you asked me to.

 

HELENE

No. Honey, you just went in the closet. You didn’t even—

 

HELENE turns back to the stove. She is trying to gather

                        herself.

 

HELENE (cont)

You didn’t even change out of your pajamas. Don’t you think it’s weird that you went to see a psychiatrist in your pjs?

 

CELESTE

No. We’re close.

 

HELENE

I can’t do this anymore, Celeste. I—just can’t. I don’t know why you stopped or what made you want—I’m leaving. And I called your mother. She should be here soon.

 

CELESTE

Why did you call her?

 

HELENE

What else was I supposed to do?

 

Beat.

 

CELESTE

You don’t know what it’s like for me.

 

HELENE

I was just about to say the same thing.

 

CELESTE

The world I live…the things I get to see. The things I get to be a part of. Why do you want to take that from me?

 

HELENE

Because it’s not real.

 

CELESTE

And why do you get to define what’s real and what isn’t?

 

HELENE

Real. As in it happened. The things you’ve supposedly seen have not happened.

 

CELESTE

That doesn’t make them not real.

 

Beat.

 

HELENE

You need to go back on your medication.

 

CELESTE

I can’t.

 

HELENE

Then I can’t stay.

 

CELESTE

I forget how to breathe on those things.

 

HELENE

Then maybe we could try a different kind.

 

CELESTE

No. I can’t go back to that world.

 

HELENE

What? The real one?

 

CELESTE

My world’s just as real as yours.

 

Beat.

 

HELENE

Please. We could find a therapist in town. Maybe someone with natural remedies so you don’t have to go back to the happy pills. We could—

 

CELESTE

Do you know why I used to call them happy pills?

 

HELENE

I—I thought it was because they made you happy.

 

CELESTE

No. They made everyone else happy. They made me feel—scattered. Like someone was trying to rearrange all these little broken pieces that used to be me. But that person wasn’t putting them back in the right place. So instead of healing and being happy, I was just a bunch of shards that don’t fit together.

 

HELENE

You should write that down.

 

CELESTE

Where? In my crazy journal?

 

Beat.

 

HELENE

What if we could find pills that made you happy?

 

CELESTE

Helene, some people are just meant to stay broken. I am meant to stay broken. I’m happier this way. I’m a writer. Hand me those pills and all of my emotions, all of my everything just goes—

 

HELENE

Do not give me that artistic crap. I’m an artist just like you. And I don’t need to see people who aren’t there to create a beautiful painting.

 

CELESTE

Well I’m happy sanity works so well for you.

 

HELENE

It works so well for everyone! One of these days, you’re going to walk into a fucking busy street thinking it’s the ocean and you know what’s going to happen. A very real, very fast car is going to hit you. And kill you. And then what? What will I have then?

 

CELESTE

Well apparently, you’ll have everything. You’re leaving.

 

HELENE

I don’t want to go.

 

CELESTE

Then don’t go.

 

HELENE

I can’t live this way.

 

CELESTE

I won’t beg you to stay.

 

The pancakes are finished. HELENE puts two in front

                        of CELESTE and takes two for herself.

 

HELENE

There’s help out there.

 

CELESTE

I told you. I’m already talking to a psychiatrist and I like the one I have.

 

HELENE

The one you have isn’t real.

 

CELESTE

I don’t care.

 

Silence as they eat their pancakes. After a beat or           

                        two, HELENE sets down her fork.

 

HELENE

When I met you, you were—brilliant. One of the best writers I had ever—met. And you were stunning. And quick on your feet. And everything I thought I wanted to be. But what is the point of being that person only one fourth of the time?

 

CELESTE

I know my demons. I know them by name. . I’m me all the time. It’s just that the version of me that you fell in love with is only around one fourth of the time.

 

Beat. HELENE kisses CELESTE on the forehead.

 

HELENE

Goodbye, Celeste.

 

HELENE leaves. END OF PLAY.

 

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