New York in June: Three One-Act Plays

Available in Library

Breakfast in the Hamptons (25 minutes)
Little Birds (20 minutes)
June Weddings (25 minutes)

New York in June presents three one-acts that all take place on a June morning. At 5am, Breakfast in the Hamptons takes place as a writer’s botched suicide attempt in a wealthy friend’s pool is interrupted by a young woman’s nude sunrise swim. Little Birds offers up two East Village hold-outs in Tompkins Square Park, bemoaning the loss of the good old days when the squatters ruled and the playgrounds were empty. And June Weddings catches the Russian émigré and barfly Sonja drinking screw-top champagne and reading Chekhov as father-of-the-groom RJ slips in to a Washington Heights corner bar for a quick one and to practice his speech between ceremony and reception.

Read Sample

JUNE WEDDINGS

By

Barbara Hammond

A corner bar in Washington Heights. It is eleven thirty in the morning on the first Saturday in June. The blinds are raised and sunlight is streaming in.

Johnny (the bartender) takes his breakfast out of a paper bag. He’s reading the Daily News and listening the the horse race on the radio.

A cowbell clangs over the door as Sonja enters. She is Russian. Dressed for the summer day.

SONJA Good morning, handsome.
JOHNNY Morning, Moscow.

He pulls another shade down. She takes off her sunglasses. He turns off the radio.

JOHNNY What will you have?
SONJA Champagne.
JOHNNY Breakfast.
SONJA Yeah.

Johnny takes an airplane-size bottle of champagne, unscrews the cap and pours it into a glass.

JOHNNY Last night --
SONJA Just pour and leave me alone, sweetie.

Sonja takes out a thick novel and reads.

JOHNNY What have you got there today?
SONJA Book.
JOHNNY What’s it about?
SONJA Oh, you wouldn’t understand, baby.
JOHNNY That’s not even English.
SONJA No it’s not. Shhh.

He offers to pour some of his orange juice into her glass. She puts her hand over it to stop him. RJ enters.
Takes off his suit jacket, loosens his tie.

RJ Man, do I need a drink.
JOHNNY Texas.
RJ Johnny.
JOHNNY Didn’t expect to see you today.
RJ Just stopped by for a quick one.
JOHNNY Are they happy?

Johnny pops open a beer.

RJ They looked all right.
JOHNNY Good to hear it.

RJ goes to his wallet for money.

JOHNNY On me. You’re gonna have that out a hundred times today.
RJ You’re telling me.
JOHNNY Congratulations.
RJ Thanks. Thanks a lot.

Johnny leaves.

SONJA Congratulations.

Not looking up from her book, she raises her glass to RJ. He clinks her glass with his beer.

RJ Thanks.

He takes a long drink. She reads.

SONJA For what?
RJ Excuse me?
SONJA For what the congratulations?
RJ My son.
SONJA You should have a cigar.
RJ Married. He got married this morning.
SONJA Really.
RJ Uh-huh.
SONJA Beautiful.
RJ It sure was. Right up the hill at the Cloisters. In the garden with all the flowers. Smelled like lilacs. You been up there?
SONJA I been up there.
RJ Didn’t know there were places like that in New York City. Hot, though. Muggy. I perspired right through this --
SONJA Very early for a wedding.
RJ It’s not over. I”m on a break.

He notices she has gone back to reading and has stopped listening to him.

RJ Hey John!

Johnny puts his head out. As RJ speaks, Sonja finally looks up from her book.

RJ Set me up?

He motions for another beer.

RJ I have to go over my speech before the meal - what do they -- the reception. What time is it?
JOHNNY Almost noon.
RJ Shit, I gotta --

RJ starts to pull his jacket back on.

SONJA It’s eleven thirty. You have time. Relax.

Sonja pulls at his suit.

He lets her guide his jacket off. He arranges it carefully on the back of a barstool closer to her.
Johnny watches this as he opens another beer.

SONJA He must be a baby.
RJ Not anymore.

He takes another drink.

JOHNNY Slow down, Texas.
SONJA Texas?
RJ The guys here made that up the other night. I’m not even --
SONJA I like it.
RJ Well, okay, then.
(to Johnny) Nobody’s here.

JOHNNY It’s early.
RJ Is there a game this afternoon?
JOHNNY Yankees.
RJ Playing?
JOHNNY Detroit. I think. Or Cleveland.
SONJA Cleveland.
RJ I might stop by -- when it’s all over. A reception can’t last more than, what -- two, three hours?
JOHNNY You know where we are.

Johnny leaves again. He’s doing inventory, sweeping up, getting ready for the day to come.

SONJA So what was it like?
RJ It was a wedding. There was a lot of hassle all week, everyone flying in, nobody married to anybody they used to be. And I’m in a sleeping bag on the floor two in-laws down from my ex-wife.
SONJA How was the speaking, the walk down the aisle?
RJ Fine. Fine. It was all fine.
SONJA Is she pregnant?
RJ Naw. Nothing like that. She’s in school. They wanted so bad to live in New York. Gotta hand it to them. They did it.
This thing -- today -- totally planned out. They had matching gloves.
SONJA Your son and his wife?
RJ The girls. Dyed to match their dresses.
SONJA What color?
RJ I don’t know -- it’s called pastel, they said.
SONJA Hmm.
RJ Nothing wrong with pastel -- it’s just the whole -- show.
SONJA So you slept with your ex-wife?
RJ In the same room.
SONJA Do you still want to fuck her?
RJ Excuse me?
SONJA I never want to again after I break up. Only sometimes in dreams I fuck them but only if I’ve been -- very lonely.

She tapers off.

SONJA I wondered if you still thought about it.
RJ No. I don’t.
SONJA Never?
RJ Never.
SONJA Very odd.
RJ So is she.
SONJA But at one time, she drove you wild.
RJ Is that any of your business?
SONJA You’re in New York with no one to keep you company.
RJ My son.
SONJA He’s busy.
My place looks over the river. I see Mr. Washington’s bridge every night -- all lit up and no place to go. You want to see it?
RJ I’m leaving tomorrow.
SONJA That’s too bad.
RJ You ought to be careful, you know, talking like that--
SONJA Maybe it’s the suit. I love a man in a suit.
RJ Oh.
SONJA It’s a nice view. Nobody has a view in New York. But mine is spectacular.
RJ Well. That’s quite an accent.
SONJA I’m from Moscow.

Cast Requirements

Breakfast in the Hamptons:
1 woman, 20s
1 man late 30s

Little Birds:
I M, 50s
1 M late 30s

June Weddings
1 W 50s
1 M 40s
1 M 30s

Honors

June Weddings film version:
Winner: Directors’ Special Recognition Award at San Francisco Festival of Short Films.
Selection: Austin Film Festival, The Henry Miller Library Short Film Festival in Big Sur, The Baltimore Women’s Film Festival, NYC Short Film Festival.

Press

"In these days of non-stop action, June Weddings is a grown-up feast. Incredibly crafted in writing, acting and directing, it's not since My Dinner with Andre that we were reminded of the immense power of pointed dialogue and nuanced relationships. -Winner, Director's Special Recognition Award, San Francisco International Festival of Short Films

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Press

"This short almost feels more like a dance than a film, even though hardly anyone moves other than to shift on his or her stool. R.J., played by the great character actor Tom Noonan (probably best known for playing the killer in Michael Mann's Manhunter), stops for a shot and a beer between his son's wedding and the wedding reception, obviously more at home in a dim bar than at a joyful outdoor celebration. He finds himself buttonholed by Sonja (the delightful Elzbieta Czyzewska), a Russian woman so slyly, seductively Old World and languorous she gives "v" its own beat when she says "love." The conversation that follows adroitly seesaws between lust and romance, as well as cynicism and hope. Adapted by fledgling director Barbara Hammond from her own play, June Weddings has some of the feel of a short shot to raise completion money, but we'd pay to see the rest of this." -(LG) Baltimore's City Paper (Oct 23, 2008)

"With intense performances and Cassavetes-style camera work, June Weddings is a visceral look into the lives of two lonely people." -Austin Film Festival

"A visually stunning piece, June Weddings... was superbly acted with captivating and engaging characters... much of this story is really told between the lines of the characters, and the contrast of having two people seem so emotionally vulnerable while maintaining such a complicated and over-developed outer facade is fascinating to watch." DC Shorts Film Festival (Jun 25, 2007)

"A superbly acted short film." -NYC Short Film Festival (Nov 12, 2008)

Production and Development History

Film: June Weddings (written and directed by Hammond) with Tom Noonan, Elzbieta Czyzewska and Ivan Martin. Produced: Breakfast in the Hamptons , in a number of small theatre festivals around NYC.