The play did go up at a workshop and it did work. It was a bit that was always included in any packet I sent, as a way to show range ("That's correct, I wrote both "Pet Rock" and this..."}. Man, I even thought so much of it, that I made it the center piece of a play I wrote, the story of a writer whose growth we witness when he presents the first draft of this sketch as a slap-stick, pie-throwing bit and later rewrites it to reflect a more mature attitude. Which is probably a lot of pretense to lay on the shoulders of this little sketch.
A Beautiful Friendship
MOVIE THEATER -- AFTERNOON
(One row of seats in a dimly lit movie theater. The song, "As Time Goes By" plays. Seated is JANE, a wall flower type with glasses and a tote bag. She eats a large tub of popcorn. She is staring intently at the movie screen. JAKE stumbles in, peering in the dark. he is a wimpy little guy carrying popcorn. He looks at the seat next to Jane.)
JAKE: Excuse me, is this seat taken?
JANE: No, no, it's not.
JAKE: Thank you...
(He sits. They both stare at the screen, eating popcorn. Jake goes to cross his legs and knocks over Jane's popcorn.)
JAKE: Oh, I'm sorry.
JANE: It's all right.
JAKE: I'm really sorry.
JANE: It's okay.
JAKE: Here, take some of mine.
(As they speak, their eyes hardly leave the screen.)
JANE: No, really. It's no big deal.
JAKE: Go on, I always get enough for two.
JANE: (taking some) Thank you.
JAKE: Out of habit, mostly.
JANE: Beg pardon?
JAKE: Out of habit. I buy enough for two out of habit.
JANE: Oh. I thought that was what you said.
(They watch the film a moment.)
JAKE: Boy, this is a great film.
JANE: Yes, indeed. A classic.
JAKE: I must have seen it a million times.
JANE: Me, too.
JAKE: That's why I have to come by myself.
JANE: I can't get anyone to come either.
JAKE: Hence, the extra popcorn.
JANE: Well, thank you, again.
JAKE: You're welcome.
(They watch the screen a moment. They reach for some popcorn and their hands bump. There is an awkward moment, then Jake offers it to her. She takes. They are looking at each other, shyly, for a nanosecond. Back to the screen.)
JANE: Oh, here it comes.
JAKE: (imitating Bogart) Oh, yeah. I you played it for her, play it for me. If she can stand it, so can I. Play it, Sam.
JANE: He never said, "Play it again, Sam."
JAKE: I know! A lot of supposedly intelligent people don't realize that.
JANE: Don't I know it.
JAKE: Something should be done about it.
(They watch the film.)
JANE: (weepy) Oh no, he's got the note she sent him. She left him standing in the rain.
(Jake takes out a handkerchief and hands it to Jane. Jake uses Bogie gestures.)
JAKE: (doing Bogie) Take it easy, doll. Be strong about it.
(Jane begins doing a Ingrid Bergman.)
JANE: But he'll never see her again.
JAKE: Sure he will. Fate has a funny habit of throwing people like them together.
(Jane noisily blows her nose into the handkerchief and hands it back to Jake. Jake tucks it in his jacket pocket. Then he wipes his hand on his pants' leg. They shift back to normal behavior.)
JANE: Thank you---
JAKE: No, Jake.
JANE: Right. Jane.
JAKE: Jake, J-A-K---
JANE: Yes, your name is Jake. My name is Jane.
JAKE: Oooh. Nice to meet you, Jane.
JANE: Likewise. And thank you again. It's just that I always break up at that part.
JAKE: (ala Bogie) Dames. You shouldn't get so weepy over little things. Save your energy for the big ones.
JANE: I'll try to remember that, Jake.
(Jake lifts the popcorn to her. They each take a kernel and look at each other.)
JAKE: Here's looking at you, kid.
(They watch the film.)
JANE: I've always wanted to meet someone like that and make him mine.
JAKE: Me, too.
JANE: You always wanted to meet someone like Bogart and make him yours?
JAKE: No, like Ingrid.
JANE: Oh, of course.
JAKE: (Bogie) So, what's a good looking dish like you doing here all alone?
JANE: (doing Ingrid) What's it to you, brown eyes?
JAKE: I just think we could make beautiful music together, sweetheart.
JANE: I bet you say that to all the girls
JAKE: Maybe I do, but I always mean it.
JANE: I'm sure you do, you big lug.
(They lean in closer.)
JAKE: I could go for you, kid.
JANE: You're not so bad yourself.
JAKE: Much obliged, babe.
JANE: It must be Kismet.
JAKE: That's for me. Kismet. So be it. Take it as it comes. Roll with the punches. And here you are...
JAKE: This looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
(The embrace. They kiss. The Music ends. Lights come up. The movie is over. Jake and Jane separate, and awkwardly try to get themselves back together.)
JANE: Oh, my. The movie's over.
JAKE: Oh, yeah. That was great.
JANE: Yes, it was.
JAKE: I could see it a million times.
JANE: You said you had.
JAKE: I did? Oh, yeah. See? I could.
JAKE: Ah, Jane, would you, er, want to go for a cup of coffee or something?
(Jane collectsher things and coat.)
JANE: Gee, my high school reunion is tonight. I can't miss that.
JAKE: Gosh, no.
JANE: How about tomorrow?
JAKE: Nuts, I can't. We're bowling in the semi-finals tomorrow. I'm going for high series.
JANE: That's great.
JAKE: Yeah. How's Friday?
JANE: (preparing to leave) No, I have a dentist appointment. Maybe next week?
JAKE: No, I'll be in New Jersey for a business meeting.
JANE: That's too bad.
JAKE: I know.
JANE: I'm really late. I have to go.
JAKE: What about us?
JANE: We'll always have "Casablanca."
(Jane exits. Jake remains seated. The lights dim. "As Time Goes By" begins playing again.)
JAKE: I love this movie.
(He eats popcorn and watches the movie.)