excorcising the dog : part i
Excorcising the Dog
an unusually short play
by yours truly
The Players : Madison Cartwright: Madison speaks with a Southern drawl. Her bawdy attire, slow colloquial speech, and winsome smile mask an acute perception. She’s about twenty-nine.
Phillip Smith: Phillip is a rookie attorney dressed appropriately in a suit and tie. He considers Madison a bawdy con-artist and treats her accordingly. Madison is brighter than he is, something he’s vaguely aware of, but unwilling to acknowledge — this makes him prone to outbursts, which he attempts to control for George’s benefit.
George Davies: George is also an attorney, albeit an older, wiser attorney. Somewhat stocky, and very calm, he takes the ensuing conversation in stride — investigations are a matter of form for him. Unlike Phillip, George is careful.
The Set : The players sit at a wooden conference table. They may have cups of coffee or tea. A tape recorder sits on the table, recording the conversation for the attorneys’ benefit.
part i : the lawyers and the tape recorder
Phillip: The following is the deposition of Madison Cartwright —
Madison: [Pulling a tape recorder from her purse] Excuse me, Mr. Smith, you don’t mind if I record this?
Phillip: [startled] That’s highly irregular, Miss Cartwright.
Madison: Just the same, you don’t mind, do you?
Phillip shoots a confused glance at George, who shrugs and studies Madison appraisingly. Madison twinkles back at him.
Phillip: If you require, Miss Cartwright, we can supply you with a copy of the transcript —
Madison: Oh, no, I’ll just keep my own copy, thank you.
Phillip: But —
George: It’s quite all right, Phillip. If you’ll continue?
Phillip: [flustered] The following is the deposition of Madison Cartwright, taken in the law offices of Wilson & Braxton, in the City of Birmingham, Alabama, on [insert date of production]. Present are Madison Cartwright and attorneys George S. Davies and myself, Phillip G. Smith. [Turning to Madison] Miss Cartwright, you have agreed to these proceedings and are participating of your own free will?
Phillip: And you understand you have the right to have an attorney present if you so choose?
Madison: I understand that, yes.
Phillip: Let the transcript show that Madison Cartwright has waived legal counsel and chooses to be here of her own free will.
Madison: I don’t need a lawyer, Mr. Smith. I haven’t done anything wrong.
George: Miss Cartwright, due to the serious nature of the allegations, it might be advisable.
Madison: I’ve spoken to several friends about the matter, Mr. Davies.
George: [Dubious] Very well, Miss Cartwright.
Madison: [Gently insistent] My friends are legal counsel, Mr. Davies.
There is an uncomfortable pause.
George: [clearing his throat] Miss Cartwright, could you please tell us the nature of your business?
Madison: What business are you referring to, Mr. Davies?
George: The business with the dog, Miss Cartwright.
Madison: Well, I don’t rightly call that a business.
George: What would you call it, Miss Cartwright?
Madison: I call it helping out.
George: Then you do not, as a business practice, perform exorcisms?
to be continued….