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Jesus Christ, I'm Sorry

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Jesus Christ, I'm Sorry

    Jesus Christ, I’m Sorry

    JESUS CHRIST, I’M SORRY

    A One Act Play by Brent Hirose

    Copyright ? 2007 by Brent Hirose

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    Jesus Christ, I’m Sorry

    Jesus Christ, I’m Sorry was performed at the 2006 Winnipeg Fringe Festival with the following cast

ALL CHARACTERS Brent Hirose

    Directed by Brent Hirose

    Stage Managed by Laura Enns and Liz Johnson

    Special thanks to Brenda McLean, Cory Wreggitt and Heidi Malazdrewich It was subsequently remounted (with substantial re-writes) for the inaugural 2007 FRIGID Fest in New

    York City with the same cast.

Special thanks for that production to Ellen Peterson.

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    Jesus Christ, I’m Sorry

    (Blackout. The lights rise, indicating a bright evening. The stage is bare. Music fades and in the background there are the distant sounds of a party. Andrew, an 18 year old high school graduate slowly enters, holding a backpack. He sets down the backpack and opens it, revealing a plethora of papers. He briefly flips through them, and stops. He looks the sky and begins to speak.)

ANDREW: God, are you there? Listen, we’ve got to talk. I’ve been thinking lately, and I know that we’ve been drifting

     apart over the past while. I don’t know what I can do about that. I try to be good, to do what I think you

     want me to do. I had one of those “what would Jesus do” bracelets, but I look at the bible and I’m not sure

     if Jesus’ life experience was all that similar to mine. I mean, there’s this big gap in his life: He goes from

     being a good kid in his young years to a well adjusted 30 year old savior. Did he have a period of doubt?

     Because that’s what I’m going through right now and I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t really have a

     precedent for what to do. I’m graduated high school. It’s time for me to make something of myself and I’m

     at a loss as to what that is going to be. I’m going to this huge Christian youth retreat soon, and I don’t

     know what I’m looking for there. I want something, guidance, answers. Anything.

(He looks on, expectantly)

     Nothing. When I was just a kid, doing this would bring me comfort. I had faith then, faith that everything

     was okay and that I was on the right path. Now I’m just tired. Tired of being confused, of being sorry, of

     being frustrated. I mean, Jesus Christ, I’m sorry, but what do you want from me? (He waits, nothing)

     That’s the answer I was expecting. (He hears something) Who’s there?

SETH: Andrew, buddy! Dude, you’re missing the party! Everybody is asking where you went!

ANDREW: Really?

SETH: No, I just totally got lost. Shit man, I’m wasted.

ANDREW: That’s nice Seth. That’s really… special.

    SETH: Dude, you totally have to remind me to thank your dad for letting us have the party here.

ANDREW: I’ll let him know when he gets back in town. Don’t you have some drinking to get back to?

SETH: Yes I do. Drinking that you will be joining me for. I refuse to drink alone, that’s the first sign of being an

     alcoholic.

ANDREW: Alright. I’ve just got to do this thing, then I’ll come up and join you, okay?

SETH: A thing? Oooh, big mystery. Like, what?

    ANDREW: Just this tradition I have. I come out to the back here and burn all my notes from the school year. You

     know, put all that stuff behind me.

SETH: Well, what have you got here? (Opens the bag) Ohhh, math homework. Are you sure you don’t want to

     keep this? Look you got ten out of ten on this one!

    ANDREW: My greatest accomplishment to date. Chemistry notes. I think some of these are from the year before

     even. Man. (He rips them up)

SETH: You are truly an uber nerd. Hey, why bother ripping them up if you’re just going to burn them anyway?

ANDREW: Maybe I won’t. I’d have to start up the fire and everything, I don’t know, I just needed to get outside and

     clear my head. I figured I might as well deal with this at the same time. How’s the party doing?

SETH: It’s well in hand. Only a handful of people are doing their devotions to the porcelain god. A great way to

     cap off the year, let me tellya. Oh, check it out, French homework. (He tears it up) Here’s to never

     conjugating a verb in passé-compose ever again!

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    Jesus Christ, I’m Sorry

    ANDREW: And here’s to the last busy-work cross word we’ll ever have to do because the teacher didn’t prepare

     enough lessons!

SETH: And to physics, because physics sucks.

ANDREW: And here’s… a picture. Crap, how did this get in here. This is from last year, you, me, Jen and Ethan. We

     look so happy. I guess we were.

SETH: Dude, you want to talk about?

ANDREW: Maybe when you’re sober.

SETH: Well, not tonight then.

ANDREW: Another time. (He grimaces for a second, then throws the whole contents of the backpack on the ground)

     You know what? I’ve got the rest of my life to think about this stuff. Right now, there’s a party going on,

     and I don’t know if I could forgive myself if I missed it.

SETH: Alright, but one more. (He hands Andrew a paper) Here’s to high school!

ANDREW: To the end of high school. (He rips it, and throws it to the floor)

    (Blackout, music. Andrew returns to the stage with a bible. He sits down and begins to read it. Lights up, “flashback” mode. A bell rings. He puts down the bible and beings to speak.)

ANDREW: My first day of high school. I’m sitting down, English class, my first day in a new school, a city I’ve only

     been in a couple of days and I’m surrounded by complete strangers. Frankly, it’s a little scary. My first

     assignment: Write a brief biography followed by an outline of my goals for the future. The teacher, Mr.

     Key, a man who resembles less a person and more of an animated prune stares us all down like convicts.

     You know the type, one of those people who might have enjoyed their job at one point but who time and

     bitterness had twisted into a vessel of open contempt for everything and everyone.

     “You have 30 minutes to complete this assignment. It will count towards your final grade. Begin, now.”

     In the back of my mind I hear his words like the countdown of a firing squad. Now I’m terrified. Right.

     Where to start?

     (He begins to write on the paper he kept from the previous scene) My name is Andrew Barton. I’m 14. I

     live with my dad. I like video games, running, watching TV and… long walks on the beach? (He erases

     the last part.) Oh, I’m a Christian. That’s an important part of my life.

     (After a second he decides to go a little deeper.) A week before my eleventh birthday my mother died of a

     brain aneurism. It was a big shock. I’m not looking for sympathy; it’s just something that happened. And

     yes, obviously my dad and I miss her a lot and everything, but been a while and I’ve gotten used to it. We

     moved a lot afterwards because of his job but because I was starting high school we bought a couple

     acres on the outskirts of town so we could settle down a bit. That’s about it.

     So, in the future, I want... I want to graduate and go to university get a good job and marry a cute girl and

     make my dad and God proud of me. And I don’t want to fail this English class. No, wait, I don’t think he’ll

     appreciate that part. I guess I want what everybody wants. I want to have a normal, happy life. That’s all.

     Well, that was 5 minutes and this is shit.

(Andrew gives a half smile, but writing this biography had unnerved him.)

ETHAN: Psst- you okay?

ANDREW: Uh, yeah. Sorry, it’s nothing. Thanks.

ETHAN: You’re new, right? I’m Ethan.

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    Jesus Christ, I’m Sorry

    ANDREW: Uh, Andrew. Nice to meet you.

    ETHAN: Nice to meet you too, Andrew. Andy. Drew. Yeah, Drew- Mind if I call you that?

ANDREW: Uh, sure. Whatever.

ETHAN: Great. (Smiles) I’m going to make you my friend.

ANDREW: And like that, I make my first new friend. I don’t know then that Ethan will become my best friend. That all

     my memories of high school, church and pretty much everything else will be shaped by our friendship, so

     randomly begun. But my journey through high school, through my faith and to adulthood is his story too.

     “If you two are both finished your work, I have other assignments for you. Humm?”

     (Andrew smiles at Ethan) I’m not terrified anymore. What are friends for?

    (Blackout. Music. Andrew places the bible down and leaves the stage. Lights up- it is day, outside, and Andrew enters with a garbage bag, cleaning up the mess onstage.)

PAUL: Must have been some party last night.

ANDREW: Dad! Holy- You scared me.

PAUL: Andrew. (He looks around) Quite a mess you’ve got here. Quite a few alcohol bottles stacked in the

     garage as well. Do you care to explain this to me?

ANDREW: I had a party. Some people brought booze. Nothing bad happened dad, so don’t make a big thing about

     it.

PAUL: You know the rules. What did I tell you about having people over?

ANDREW: Not to do that?

PAUL: Exactly. This is a blatant defiance of my authority.

ANDREW: Calm down dad, I’m sorry.

    PAUL: And you would be even more sorry if one of those kids had got themselves hurt. That would have been

     my responsibility Andrew. I just thank god that nothing bad happened.

    ANDREW: Dad, I understand what you’re saying, but believe it or not most of those guys have drunk before and they

     know what they’re doing.

PAUL: That’s not the point. Andrew, I work as much as I do so that we can live comfortably, but no amount of

     money is worth me having to spend every night away worrying if you’re getting involved in god knows

     what. You’re worth too much to me. (He sighs) You’re a good kid. You know better. I just want your

     mother to be able to look down on us and be proud. What do you think she would want you to do?

ANDREW: I know dad… So why are you back so soon?

    PAUL: Well, I figured I should see you before you head off to that youth retreat. Help you with your packing. I

     noticed you haven’t even started with that yet.

ANDREW: Truth be told dad, I hadn’t really been thinking about it the past little while.

    PAUL: You’re lucky to be able to participate. To be able to congregate with so many other believers, to be a part

     of such a big event-

ANDREW: I’ve been to big retreats before.

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    Jesus Christ, I’m Sorry

    PAUL: So be grateful! Get to go off and get yourself a little spiritual recharge.

ANDREW: I’ll be a spiritual energizer bunny, I’m sure.

PAUL: So, you cleaned it all by yourself, did you?

ANDREW: No, Seth was over a while ago. He was the only one who came back to help.

PAUL: Listen, tell you what. I’m going to go get a coffee, read the paper. You finish this all up by the time I get

     back, and I’ll take you out for dinner and we can talk. Sound good?

ANDREW: Sure dad. Just… listen. I’m really not sure if I should go to the retreat.

PAUL: Pardon me?

ANDREW: I guess, I’m not in the right headspace for it.

PAUL: Listen. I know that you can use a little spiritual guidance at right now. That’s why you’re going, that’s why

     the church has put up hundreds of dollars for the trip. Your mother wanted me to keep you in the church

     Andrew, and lord knows that hasn’t been easy. We went to the church you wanted so you could be with

     your friends, I’ve put up money and driven you around to fundraisers so you could go on these things and

     now you decided that you don’t want to go? Show a little gratitude!

ANDREW: I’m not ungrateful, I’ve just… I don’t know.

PAUL: Then send it up son. Send it to Jesus and he’ll send you an answer.

(He walks off)

ANDREW: About that. We’re kind of not speaking right now.

    (Blackout, music. Andrew grabs the bible and walks to his next spot. He opens it and waits. Lights up, in “flashback” mode.)

     For me the church was always like a crazy uncle. Something that, while it may be a little weird and hard to

     understand as far as outsiders are concerned, has always just been a part of my life. It took me a long

     time to realize that not everybody went to church- That this part of me, the history, stories and rituals

     aren’t something that everyone takes part in. So, when I walk into our new church and see Ethan arriving

     with his own dad, I’m ecstatic. He’s got a crazy uncle too! You know, I’m really not good at metaphors.

     Ethan takes me downstairs and introduces me to the youth group- a bunch of teenagers who will, as

     teenagers do come and go over the next few years. Other then Ethan the only other kid from our school is

     this slacker named Seth who I recognize from my science class. Eventually the guy grows on me, but at

     the moment, he’s entirely underwhelming. The group leader is this middle aged guy named Steve. And he

     gets it! He’s quick to challenge us with spiritual questions that matter and soon we’re having a meaningful

     conversation. This is good. This is what I want, a real challenge.

ETHAN: So, how do you like the place?

    ANDREW: I like it. My dad and I have been to all sorts of churches because of his job. This one looks pretty good.

ETHAN: It’s not perfect, but it’s ours. I hope you stick around.

ANDREW: That’s the plan. My dad works pretty hard to get me to a church. It was really important to my mom. If I

     didn’t go, I’d probably get disowned.

ETHAN: I know what you mean. I think my folks divorced mainly because my mom wouldn’t go. Who knows what

     would happen to me.

    ANDREW: Honestly, I’m kind of excited. I feel like we might be able to do big things here. Really shake things up.

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ETHAN: Well let’s see what we can do about that then, eh?

ANDREW: And so Ethan and I become fixtures in each other’s lives, at school, at church and even at each others

     houses, as our fathers meet and too find much in common. I’m becoming more comfortable and for a

     while I start to feel like my life has become what I was looking for, something normal, something happy.

     All things considered, I probably should have figured that it wouldn’t last.

(Blackout, music, Andrew sits, playing Nintendo. There is a knock.)

ANDREW: Come on in.

SETH: What’s up man? Two days until the retreat! Aren’t you pumped?

ANDREW: ECSTATIC. So, what can I do for you Seth?

SETH: My friend, you wound me. I come so far out of my way to see you

ANDREW: You live 5 minutes away.

    SETH: - and am met with nothing but baseless accusations. A dagger, a dagger to my heart. Ahhh, look what

     you did. Now I’m bleeding all over the place. That’s just.. That’s disgusting. Let me tell you, I’m not

     helping you clean up this one.

    ANDREW: Thanks for that by the way. I mean it. You would have thought somebody else would have stuck around.

     Jen at least. She’s been avoiding me.

SETH: Dude, you’re full of it.

ANDREW: I think she’s mad at me.

SETH: Jen stayed up all night dealing with some of our more enthusiastic classmates. Trust me, if she hadn’t,

     you would have had a lot more mess to deal with. Anyway, wanna put down the game?

    ANDREW: This is not a game. This is Tetris. It is quite possibly the reason why god bothered making people on the

     sixth day.

    SETH: But yet, strangely enough, the game will still be here in 5 minutes, while I will not.

    ANDREW: Seth, Buddhists have meditation. Me, I have Tetris. I let my mind become consumed with lining up blocks

     into solid lines, and I rejoice as those lines disappear. It’s a single minded, completely pointless pursuit,

     and more or less exactly what I need right now.

SETH: Okay I’ll bite. Why would you need that?

    ANDREW: I got into a bit of a fight with my dad yesterday. Except by fight, I mean horrible soul crushing guilt trip.

SETH: He back already?

ANDREW: Was back. He flew out again this morning. Won’t get back until after we do. Oh, and after the guilt trip we

     had probably the worst dinner of my life. He just sat there talking about my mom and how much my faith

     meant to her. Anyway, that’s why. So come on, what did you want.

SETH: Well, you probably won’t see me tomorrow, so I wanted to double check if it’s still cool that I catch a cab

     with you the next morning. Plus, I wanted to see if you were okay, if maybe you wanted to have that chat.

     I’m mostly sober now.

ANDREW: Thanks man, I appreciate it, but I’m cool. I’ve just got to work a couple of things out. But yeah, come on

     over and we’ll cab down.

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    SETH: Alright then, I’ve got some errands to run. Oh, and dude, if you’re worried about Jen, why don’t you just

     call her?

ANDREW: That’s a good idea.

(Blackout. Music. Andrew walks to a new area, again with the bible. Lights up, “flashback mode”)

     Enter Jen.

     Start of Junior year, at church Ethan lets me know that a childhood friend of his is moving back into town

     and he wants show her around before school starts. I can’t, I’ve got my part time job, I’ll see her at school.

     A mistake.

     Monday, Ethan walks in with this girl. With THE girl. She’s not drop dead gorgeous or supermodel

     beautiful, but her smile brightens up the hallways as she walks towards me and her eyes shine with a

     brilliance that leaves me breathless. I’m done for the minute she talks to me.

JEN: Hi, I’m Jen. Ethan’s told me sooo much about you!

ANDREW: Hi.

     Oh god. And I can’t get her out of my head. She haunts my dreams. My brain goes on overdrive. What

     did I miss out on Sunday? How much has Ethan been holding out on me? And what’s the deal with him

     and Jen? Weeks go by, and I’m almost insane. Time for a chat.

ANDREW: Hey, what’s the deal with Jen?

ETHAN: What… do… you… mean?

ANDREW: I’ve obviously ruined any chances I had of playing this cool.

     I mean, like, uh. Did you guys date at some point or something?

ETHAN: No, we’ve just been friends since we were kids.

ANDREW: She’s… You never told me that… Has she always

ETHAN: No, the breasts are new.

ANDREW: That’s not what I - I mean is she dating anyone right now?

ETHAN: Don’t think so.

    ANDREW: Is she deathly afraid of the possibility of seeing someone?

ETHAN: No, as far as I can tell she’s a perfectly well adjusted human being.

ANDREW: Okay. Good. Right. Thanks.

ETHAN: You totally want to have her babies.

ANDREW: And so begins the ever awkward mating dance of the high school teenager. That amazing chemical

     reaction occurs that suddenly dissolves any ability I might have previously had to be casual. Hence

     conversations like the following.

JEN: Hey, so like-

ANDREW: Ha ha ha!

JEN: What’s so funny?

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    Jesus Christ, I’m Sorry

    ANDREW: Nothing. Nothing! I was just. Thinking. About something else. Sorry, you were saying?

JEN: Uh, what did you get up to yesterday?

ANDREW: I-uh, don’t remember.

JEN: Really?

ANDREW: And hopefully neither of us will remember this conversation.

     Lost, I find myself in front of Ethan and Seth during a free period, bemoaning my inability to come up with

     the right thing to say. It’s the usual ramblings, trying to come to terms with the impossibly real terror of

     rejection and the desire to make a move while I still have the smallest amount of self respect left. Seth

     wanders away, abandoning Ethan to my insecurities until the bell announces next period. I wind my way

     down to my next class and am intensely shocked to see Jen waiting for me as I turn the last corner.

JEN: Hey Andrew

ANDREW: Jen! What brings you out here?

JEN: So, uh, Seth tells me that you kinda like me?

ANDREW: … Yes. I do.

    JEN: Well, I kinda like you to. You wanna go see a movie or something on the weekend?

ANDREW: That would be awesome.

     And it was. That, by the way, would have been the moment where Seth grew on me.

(Andrew sits beside a suitcase. He thinks for a while, then dials a number on a phone)

ANDREW: Hey Jen.

JEN: Oh Andrew! Hey! What’s up?

    ANDREW: Oh, not a lot, just, felt like giving you a call. Almost finished getting ready for the trip tomorrow.

JEN: Yeah, me too.

ANDREW: Pretty exciting, eh?

JEN: Totally, totally.

(They have a moment of silence, as they contemplate the elephant in the room)

JEN: Well, listen, I’ve really got to-

ANDREW: Do you want to talk about why you’re avoiding me?

JEN: Well, Andrew. I think it’s kind of obvious.

ANDREW: Obvious? You know, I don’t really get that. Because, you know, if you hated me, that would be obvious.

     Or even if you disliked me. If I smelled funny, or something. But I was under the impression that you and I

     were getting along. That you liked me. That we liked each other.

    JEN: Listen, I just figured if we tried to you know, forget what happened we could go back to the way things

     used to be.

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    Jesus Christ, I’m Sorry

    ANDREW: So, what? We forget that there’s anything between us?

JEN: Andrew, I do like you, I really do. But… we made a mistake.

ANDREW: And you thought that the best way to let me know that was avoiding me? Listen, our timing was really

     messed up, I know. You had that trip and you were out of town and we didn’t really get to talk about.. it at

     all. But I’m not sorry about what we did. Shit, can we be mature enough to say that “we had sex”? It’s

     really not such a big deal.

JEN: Andrew, it’s a huge deal.

ANDREW: I don’t mean it like that. It meant a lot to me Jen, it means a lot to me. But I mean, we’re teenagers!

     Statistically, that’s what we do.

JEN: I know that Andrew. Heck, some girls, it’s all they can talk about. But me… don’t take this the wrong way,

     but I always thought that I’d wait until marriage, that it could be something special, something… holy

     even. I mean, we really haven’t been going out that long and I want to be honest with you. And honestly, I

     just don’t feel right. I don’t know if I was ready. If I am ready. For it. For us even.

ANDREW: (Beat) Are you breaking up with me?

JEN: (Beat) I don’t know. Well, no, but I need some space right now. I need to think.

ANDREW: Okay. That’s really clear, thanks.

JEN: I means I need to think Andrew and I don’t know if I will be able to think with the retreat and everything

     else going on. I mean don’t you worry? About what God thinks?

    ANDREW: I don’t know. God thinks a lot of things. I mean, some parts of the bible say to slay your enemies,

     and others say to turn the other cheek. What, you think we’ve just damned ourselves or

     something?

JEN: I said Andrew, I really don’t know. Anyway, I do have to get going. I’ve still got a bunch of other

     stuff to do before we leave. But we will talk about this, we will.

ANDREW: I gotcha. I… yeah. Jen, I just want you to know... (beat) Everything is going to be okay.

JEN: I hope so. Bye.

(She hangs up. Andrew sits with the phone to his ear as the dial tone begins to bleet at him.)

ANDREW: Shit.

(Andrew walks towards the bible and enters into the monologue light. He is frustrated. He reads a few pages, and cannot

    continue. He tosses the book back onto the stool.)

     Changes. Start of senior year. I arrive at church one morning. Ethan and his dad aren’t there, not a big

     deal. When I go downstairs to join the youth group, Steve excitedly offers us a challenge: Design a

     worship service for the congregation. Protestant churches, from my experience at least, are rife with the

     eternal struggle between “The Old People Who Are Deathly Afraid of Change” and “The Young People

     Who Are Getting The Hell Out of There if Something Doesn’t Change Soon.” This is our big chance.

     We’ve got a month of come up with our service- Contemporary worship songs, a youth-written sermon,

     the works. This is the kind of change Ethan and I were waiting for. When I head home, he’s waiting for

     me.

ANDREW: Ethan! Where were you today? I’ve got huge news.

ETHAN: Me too. Dad out of town?

ANDREW: Yeah, business for a couple of weeks.. What’s your news?

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