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The Children's Hour
By raginhoops


Act 1

Eastland softball field

Hamilton: I just don't see why we have to waste our time here watching a bunch of girls play softball when we get so little time to ourselves.

Blair: This is the state semi-finals, Hamilton. Eastland has never made it past district. We are making history here.

Hamilton: Are you sure it isn't herstory?

Blair: And what are you implying?

Hamilton: Ever since you took that women's studies course, you are always going on and on about the oppressive patriarchy.

Blair: I've never said any such thing. I happen to like my father and the system that puts women on a pedestal. You must be thinking of Natalie.

Hamilton: Like I could confuse you two.

Blair: Be nice. You know how I feel about my friends.

Hamilton: Yeah, your friends, the freaks and weirdoes of Eastland- I know that you take charity seriously but really, you don't have to aim for sainthood.

Blair: If I didn't know you so well, I would think that you are being nasty. It is our station in life to be kind to the less fortunate. My aunt, Margaret always said a kindness shown would return three-fold.

Hamilton: So how come you never came to my games?

Blair: In case you haven't noticed, I don't attend Bates Academy. We are not allowed to go off campus on weeknights. Besides, you guys don't play as well as Eastland.

Hamilton: (Feigning being stabbed in the midsection) That hurts. You're saying 'girls' could beat us. Ridiculous. We'd mop the floor with the USA team, much less this motley crew.

Blair: I've seen them play on closed circuit TV. I certainly don't think you'd have a chance.

(There a moment of silence between them and Hamilton seems to struggle about what to say next)

Hamilton: It's just lately…you just aren't paying much attention to me. You always have some excuse to hang out with that roommate of yours.

(He gestures at Jo playing shortstop in the field.)

Blair: Now Snookums, I've told you before. It's our senior year and we only have a few weeks before we graduate and go our separate ways. Why can't you understand that?

Hamilton: Maybe if I believed that after graduation I'd have you to myself, I could. We've been going steady for three months and we haven't done it yet.

Blair: Lower your voice. This isn't the place to discuss intimate things.

Hamilton: Then when and where? There never seems to be the right place or time with you. Really, you practically make me beg to kiss you. No girl has ever made me wait so long to touch her.

Blair: Maybe it's because I'm not just any girl. Maybe I think that I'm worth the wait. Maybe saving myself is an expression of my self-esteem, which certainly could be lacking in those other girls.

Hamilton: I get it. I just get frustrated. Because you turn me on so much.

(He attempts to caress her face. She pulls away. He stares off to the field in displeasure.)

Blair: Nice get, Jo!

(She claps vigorously and whistles through two fingers.)

Hamilton: Where did you learn that charming gesture?

Blair: Jo taught me last week. She said if I was to be a baseball fan that I had to learn all the ropes.

Hamilton: Nice. That girl is a bad influence on you. Next thing, you'll stop shaving your legs.

Blair: Don't be a spoilsport. Jo shaves her legs.

Hamilton: That's not exactly what I meant. You know what the guys say about her and those jocks out there.

(Blair stiffens and speaks with barely concealed anger.)

Blair: No, I don't know what 'They' say. What is it that cretins say about my friends out there?

Hamilton: Look, they don't mean to be bigots but those butch girls are like men out there. They're queer.

Blair: You are saying that just because some girls are athletic they are homosexual?

Hamilton: Of course not. The ones like Sarah are not. But, come on, that Jo? She has to be. Look at her, the way she moves, how she dresses, and she obviously has a crush on you.

Blair: (laughs uproariously) Why Hamilton, you are so off the mark. She practically hates everything about me. We fight about everything. And she certainly isn't gay. I would know about that. We are good friends.

Hamilton: You are the one that's out of touch. Haven't you ever seen 'It Happened One Night'?

Blair: (Looks at him disapprovingly) It isn't becoming of you to spread such vicious innuendo. You are not to speak of this again- the very idea.


Act 2

At the soda shop

Several softball team members come through the door, celebrating a win.

Sarah: Did you get a load of those crybabies? And they thought they would walk away with state this year. We smashed them.

Jo: Clobbered 'em.

Natalie: Pulverized 'em.

Tootie: (confused) We only won by one run.

(Blair enters stage left followed by Hamilton and his friend,Todd.)

Blair: But considering they were 7 run favorites, I'd say you ate their lunch today.

Jo: You know, Blair, I think our lessons are going well. I'm teaching her the fine art of trash talking, Bronx style.

Hamilton: I'm sure that will come in handy in the boardroom. (He turns to Sarah.) That was a fine catch, Sarah.

Sarah: Thanks. I knew I could gamble since Tootie had my back.

(Jo slaps Tootie on the back.)

Todd: But you are the one that actually made the catch.

Jo: Yeah, but we are a team. If Natalie hadn't hit that homer in the second, we would have lost.

Blair: And Nikki and Sam just turned a beauty of a double play, just before that. (Nikki and Sam are typical soft butch jocks.)

Todd: (barely audible) I bet they turn a lot of plays together.

(Everyone pretends not to have heard his remark.)

Hamilton: Well, now that we've congratulated everyone, may we get on with our evening and let the team celebrate?

Blair: Why don't you and Todd go on without me. I'm tired and I have a physics test tomorrow.

Hamilton: But we have a date tonight.

Blair: And I'm saying that it's over.

Todd: Come on Ham. She wants to dally with the muff divers tonight.

Jo: Excuse me, Asshole? Are you cruisin' for rim job from my fist?

Blair: Now, Jo, I'm sure Todd was not implying that you are lesbians.

Todd: If the cleats fit…

Jo: (to Hamilton) I aught to teach your friend some manners. (She advances with fists clenched. Todd steps back.)

Natalie: There are no lesbians here so you take that back.

Nikki: Actually, there are. Sam and I are. (The two girls step up and place their arms around each other's necks.) What are you gonna do about it?

Sarah: So am I. And I'd like these 'gentlemen' to leave us now.

Hamilton: See Blair, dykes, all of them. (Blair steps toward Jo to stop her from hitting Hamilton. Then she turns and hits him with a right hook, knocking him out.)

Blair: (to Todd) Take the trash out with you. And while you're at it, when he wakes up, tell him to get a new date for prom.

Todd: I was right; you are a closet case. I told him that's what your exes say. Frigid bitch.

(As the door closes behind them, Blair is suddenly animated and howls in agony vigorously rubbing her knuckles.)

Blair: You lied, Jo. You said it doesn't hurt to slug someone.

Jo: I never thought you'd actually hit somebody. Guys like him aren't worth it. It's all bullshit so you just get in their face and the bullies back off.

Blair: I didn't like the tone of his voice.

Sarah: Blair, you're bleeding.

Natalie: Oh my god. We have to get you to the hospital. You know the human mouth is one of the dirtiest in the animal kingdom.

Tootie: Yeah, that's what my aunt says about my cousin Terrell's.

Natalie: She was talking about his swearing.

Blair: Gosh, it is not that bad. I'll just clean up in the bathroom.

Jo: (examining her hand) No, we have to get you some antibiotics. My Uncle Paulie punched out some creep and didn't go to the hospital and nearly lost his hand. It swelled up like a balloon and by the time the surgeon saw him, teeth started spitting out the scabs.

Natalie: Eweh, I could have done without that visual.

Tootie: Blair, you just lost your date to prom.

Natalie: What's prom all about anyway. Everyone acts as if we are supposed to buy the fairy tale: The Prince and His Piece. I swear, it seems like some sort of acceptable prostitution- the night one loses their virginity.


Blair: Natalie, that isn't what everyone thinks of prom. There is a different class of boys that have respect for us.

Jo: Oh, yeah, you mean like those two upstanding guys that just left. Give me a break. Guys have one thing in mind- to get laid.

Blair: We think of it too. But we have self-restraint. Some day with the right person it will be a beautiful…

Jo cuts her off: many splendored thing. The earth will move and the heavens will shake.

Sex is sex. Fact is- it ain't brain surgery. Any yahoo can do it.

Blair: Jo, I feel sorry for you. Just because the caliber of boys that you've dated doesn't inspire romantic feelings in you doesn't mean you'll never meet the man that does.

Sarah: Why does it always have to be a man? I know a couple of dykes that would love to inspire you, Jo.

Jo: Sorry, Sarah. I'm not open to persuasion.

Sarah: What a loss. No one ever sent me until Brittany kissed me behind the cafeteria in seventh grade.

Jo: You are gay? No kidding?

Blair: But you don't look gay. Even Hamilton said you were practically the only starter that was straight.

Sarah: No, I am a lesbian. I've known all my life. I just hid it because of jerks like Todd and Hamilton. And because you would probably freak out and think I was a big perve in the locker room.

Natalie: (In a thoughtful manner) Yet, what that creep said was right. Every one talks about every girl on this team, especially if she doesn't put out. I've heard the whispers.

Sarah: Yet, it took me ages to find another queer girl that liked me too, despite the fact that I play softball and basketball. Not to mention that I hang out at the bookstore coffee shop on Main or make the monthly Feminists for Change meeting. I met my girlfriend at my father's country club social. She and I shared each half of a blind date set up by our mothers. We liked each other better.

Natalie: This is just wrong. I'll write an editorial about the stereotyping of women athletes and the medieval beginnings of the rites of spring, which is what prom is all about anyway. I think we should boycott, or, better yet, all go together

Jo: Wait a minute. That sounds like a great idea. Who needs guys anyway?

Sam: But I'd like to go with my boyfriend.

Nikki: So would I.

Jo: I thought you just said you were gay.

Nikki: I just said that because he pissed me off.

(Sam nods in agreement.)

Sarah: I'd like to go with my girlfriend. I'm tired of sneaking around. My girlfriend and I were going to double with two gay guys we know but this has shown me that I've got to stop living in the shadows.

Tootie: (confused) Sarah's a lesbian…Sam and Nikki said they were, but they aren't. I've never met a lesbian before. But I know Sarah, so I guess I have met a lesbian. But in the movies lesbians are man-hating killers like on Basic Instinct, or that movie with Geraldine Page where she lops off Clint Eastwood's leg, or the one that Kathy Bates takes a sledgehammer to James Caan's.

Natalie: OK, I'm cutting you off of Turner Movie Classics.

Sarah: Look guys, all those movies aren't really representative of the gay community. By the way, Annie Wilkes wasn't gay or bi; she was just psychotic. I never see myself up there on the screen. I see manifestations of the fears of white male writers who are protecting their own fragile masculinity. When I see so-called screen lesbians, I'm always disappointed. Like James Bond would ever win Pussy Galore.

Tootie: She was a lesbian?

Jo: (rolling eyes) She had a harem of female pilots.

Blair: (absentmindedly) I never thought that. I just thought it was an all girls' school.

Natalie: Come to think of it, in the movies, gay people mostly get killed too. That would rain on my parade.

Jo: We watched a movie the other night, the one with Joan Crawford in cowboy drag. I'll bet they were supposed to be queer.

Sarah: Yeah, but Crawford has these guys all over her. The other woman is supposedly jealous over the men chasing her. Ugh, they should have been chasing each other.

Natalie: (talking to Nikki and Sam) Here's you two, by all appearances, healthily athletic.

Sam: You don't have to sugar coat it, Nat. I'm androgynous looking; I wear practical shoes. My Daniel doesn't care that I hate to wear makeup and dresses.

Natalie: Yet, you're straight and Sarah who looks like a sorority girl, queer as a three-dollar bill.

Jo: I'll go without a date. Rick will understand that we are making a statement.

Blair: Jo, everyone will think that you're a lesbian.

Jo: So what. I don't give a flying leap what people say.

Blair: But I do. I shudder to think what this thing with Hamilton will do to my social standing. You may not care about appearances but I do. Besides, you are my best friend.

Sarah: Yeah, she'd be guilty by association.

Jo: Are those parties really that important? We are talking social change and civil rights.

Tootie: Attica, Attica, Attica!

Natalie: That's it. I'm canceling cable tomorrow.


Act 3

The dorm room

(Jo walks in to catch Blair at her desk staring at a stack of papers.)

Jo: Why the long face?

Blair: You wouldn't understand. I found this on the bulletin board.

(Jo looks at it. It is a poster of 'The Children's Hour' with their heads on the actresses' body.)

Jo: At least it's a good picture of you. They used my freshman picture; my bangs took an air tease to heart.

Blair: It's not funny. My father will find out. These are all over Bates as well. Hamilton and Todd are behind things. Just because I won't sleep with him.

Jo: Your father won't believe that gossip.

Blair: It's not fair. I haven't joined your movement.

Jo: So join our protest already. Tell them to stick it.

Blair: It doesn't matter what I do. Even if I don't go, they will still talk because apparently, I'm the world's most famous tease around here.

(She holds up another poster with her face superimposed on Jane Russell's body.)

Jo: That's what people with small minds do-talk.

Blair: Because of you, everyone's saying I'm gay.

Jo: What did I do exactly to make them say these things?

Blair: You talk tough, ride a motorcycle, dress like a boy, and you don't date much.

Jo: Well, you never get to second base with anyone.

Blair: Well, at least I don't throw spitballs when I speak.

Jo: If you are so boy crazy, why are you still a virgin?

Blair: And you've gone all the way?

Jo: Yeah, I have.

Blair: You have?

Jo: It's not all it's cracked up to be.

Blair: So it's true then; I'm the real freak because I never felt enough for a boy to give him the most precious gift that I could give?

Jo: I didn't mean it that way. That night, it was a mistake. I let things get out of hand; it was over almost before it started.

Blair: Why is it so bad to stay chaste when the boys I'm with are not that important to me? (Softly)You are more important than any guy that I've been with. Maybe that's why they say I'm gay. Maybe there is truth in it. Because I'm just not interested.

Jo: Look at us. We are supposed to be the enlightened ones.(making light of the heavy conversation) Here I am drawing the same conclusions as every one else. Hey, So you haven't met Mr. Right yet. Don't let jerks make you doubt yourself. It doesn't matter what people think. It doesn't matter what I think. It matters what you think of yourself.

Blair: Well Jo, I'm not so proud of myself these days. I've been lying to everyone and myself. All this (she throws the papers on the floor) has made me think about my life and how I feel about dating, men, girls, …you. I mean, I had it all figured out. I would marry well, have the perfect career, and travel in the right circles. I could have special friends like Aunt Margaret. Someone that liked the things I did. Someone like me. The truth is…(She turns away from Jo.)

Jo: What?

Blair: I can't say it. Once I say it out loud, I can never take it back.

Jo: Blair, I'm your best friend. You can tell me anything.

Blair: And that's why I can't tell you. I'll lose you. And the thought of going off after graduation without you in my life scares me.

Jo: I thought having me around was scary enough- me being such a dykey woman.

(Blair starts to leave. Stops at the door.)

Blair: I've loved you since the first time you threatened me, that first day at Eastland when you showed up with that ridiculous helmet. The poster was wrong. I'm not the one going out with James Garner…I'm Martha and I didn't want to tell you this and feel like hanging myself when you don't feel the same.

She leaves quickly.

Jo is stunned. She collapses in her chair, she thinks a while then a little smile grows.


Act 4

Prom Night

Ballroom at the Hilton

Jo: And to our Prom Queen and her consort, all hail Queen Sarah!

Everyone: Hear, hear!

Jo: I, for once, actually had fun at a dance.

Sarah: Thank you all for raising awareness tonight and making a stand for diversity and equality. Special thanks to Natalie for such a thought-provoking editorial that made this night happen. Minds have changed, not only at Eastland but the fine young men who chose to escort dates and attend stag to this special prom for the rest of us.

(Nikki and Sam's dates hoist glasses in acknowledgement.)

And thanks to the person who made our alternative prom a reality despite such a vicious smear campaign, Blair Warner. The Blair foundation for Youth at Risk came through with the funds to rent this ballroom and provide the music and refreshments.

(Everyone claps and Blair curtsies.)

(Jo comes over and stands next to Blair.)

Jo: Where have you been? I've been ringing you off the hook. I left messages with your butler, or whoever answers your phone. I haven't seen you since you dropped that bombshell and took off.

Blair: I had some things to work out. I decided to start telling the truth and get real. I told my father and my mother. It seems like I'm not the first Warner to come out.

Jo: You told your folks that you are queer?

Blair: Yes, and it was so freeing. I feel like a new woman. My father said that he was proud of me. He's never said that to me. Not even when I was the Winter Carnival Queen.

Jo: Blair, I have some things that I haven't told you, or anyone. I'm not the brave, open person that you think. I mean, I just never thought it was anyone's business…

(Natalie and Tootie come by and interrupt.)

Tootie: This is the best prom that I've ever been to.

Natalie: This is the first prom you've been to.

Tootie: Well, that would make it the best, wouldn't it?

Natalie: We met the greatest guys. They're mathletes at Bates and we're going to the Peekskill Diner. I'd invite you guys too but I think they like us.

Jo: It's ok. You can go on without us.

Blair: Yes, please don't worry about us. Jo is my escort tonight.

Natalie stops and gives a look that indicates that she isn't sure that she heard right.)

Tootie: Wow, Blair, you really turned 180 degrees. You are stepping up the plate. Take that, all who would oppress us.

Jo: Hey, Ruth's not the only babe to swat at the fences.(trying to change the focus of the conversation) It's great that so many Bates guys are here too. Straight ones.

Tootie: Yeah, they said that they wanted to come to a no-pressure dance. Since they are not the school jocks, girls always leave them waiting until the better offer comes along. They end up having no dates. So they came here.

Natalie: It was like one of those movies, our eyes met across a crowded room. Kismet. They nudged each other and came right over with drinks for us.

Tootie: The tall one's dreamy. He grew up 5 miles from me and he knows my cousins. Besides that, he thinks that I have a great smile.

Natalie: I think she's in love again. She's been sighing all night and getting that moony look.

Tootie: And what about you and Tom? (to Jo and Blair) He's the editor of the Bates Paper.(back to Nat) He saw your editorial and said he just had to meet the genius that wrote it.

Natalie: He asked me out next weekend. Thanks Blair. You made the magic happen.

(They rush off to meet the two adoring guys waiting for them holding their wraps for them. They smile back at Jo and Blair before turning back to the guys. They exit stage left.)

Jo: You are magic. It's great to see them so happy. I'm happy. I seem to be that way when I'm around you. Even when we fight about stuff, you make me glad that I'm here at Eastland and not at PS 87.

Blair: I was hoping that we could talk tonight, later.

Jo: I was hoping the same thing. I watched that movie… the one that they doctored our pictures on. You are wrong- we aren't those two. I'd never let you say those things and give James Garner a second look. I'd take you in my arms and tell you that I feel the same about you. And then I'd tell the whole town to mind their own damn business and stuff that old biddy's fur where the sun don't shine.

(Blair bites her lower lip.)

Blair: You love me too.

Jo: I think that I do. We have a lot to talk about.

Blair: Tonight?

Jo: I'm your date, ain't I?

Blair: Aren't I. You are an Eastland graduate, not a Philistine.

Jo: Don't push it, Princess.

The End

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