Paper Tigers

90 minutes
A cottage on Delavan Lake in Wisconsin with windows smashed by a baseball bat and broken locks on the doors provides an unlikely haven for a family reunion for a young runaway, her veteran father, and two brothers who keep inventing new ways to disappoint themselves and one another. A play about what time doesn't change, and what secrets might best be left buried.

Read Sample

Is no one going to sit beside me? Is the game over? Where is everyone going?
(to DAD)
Well, I don’t understand you. You sit back here so quiet -- a room full of children. If you only knew how I’d love to have that, a room full of children where a word from me would be more important to them than anything just because I was there mum. How fantastic! And you sit here, with that sour look on your face, waiting for them to come to you, is that it? You’re not very friendly to them, are you? what happened? Why don’t you like RJ -- he’s a nice man, nice-looking, he builds things with his pieces of wood and glue -- aren’t you proud of him? I don’t have any family -- well, not yet. You know RJ and I are getting married --would you like to come to our wedding? I would like you to come. But you can’t sit like this. You have to be nice, make friends. I have some older ladies to -- wouldn’t that be good for you to meet some women? And I want there to be children. Don’t you love children?
(JULIE looks closely at DAD.)
Are you sleeping? I feel so stupid, always talking. RJ is the same way. Never saying anything. Sometimes I wonder if he really is who I think he is or if he’s made up out of nothing. He never says anything, but I know him. I feel him. That’s why. I absolutely feel him.

Do you want to take a nap upstairs? I can help you if you like getting up the stairs?

No one ever wants me to help.

I know -- I’ll play for you. Something soft.

JULIE goes to piano and plays quietly, beautifully.

I bet you didn’t know I could play. I have read a lot of books, too. Everyone underestimates me, don’t you think? But you know what that’s like. I know.

She continues to play. DAD gets up, touches JULIE’s head gently, then passes her to window. Looks out on RJ building with his pieces of wood, his nails and his glue.

Lights down.

Cast Requirements

3 men late 30s
1 woman late 30s
1 woman mid-20s
1 man late 70s

Set Description

A Summer Cottage on a Wisconsin Lake.

Production and Development History

Produced: Arclight Theatre, dir. Hammond; The Parish Players, Thetford Hills, Vermont (2006).