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Selective Memory

"For my father; an attempt at reconciliation before the fact."


Characters:
	Jeff Klein-46. Tall, dark, wears a formal tuxedo.
	Matt Klein-21. Tall, dark, also wearing a tux. Jeff's son.

Setting:
	A dim stage. Center is a seven foot long platform, set as a table
with a starched white tablecloth, almost floor length. On the center of the
table is a single candle in a beautiful silver holder. At each end of the
table is a chair.

Time:
	Any spring after January 20th, 1981.

THE CURTAIN RISES...to find Jeff Klein seated in the SL chair, hands folded
on the table. There is impatience in his stature, which is conveyed with an
economy of movement. A door is heard to open off SR with difficulty, then
shut. He stands expectantly, straightening his cuffs. His son, Matt Klein
enters, carrying two bone china coffee cups.

		Jeff

Do you need any help?

		Matt

I've got it, thanks dad.

	(He puts a cup down at each end of the table-there is an
	 awkward pause)

It's hot chocolate. I remembered...not coffee.

		Jeff

Thank you.

	(Pause)

Uhh, congratulations.

	(Sounding rehearsed)

A cause for celebration. Another college graduate for the Klein family.

	(Offers his hand to shake)

		Matt

Thank you.

	(They shake hands stiffly)

		Jeff

Onto graduate school, hmm?

		Matt

Mmm-hmm.

	(Pause, Matt goes to sit down, Jeff does so, too)

		Jeff

English?

		Matt

Theatre, too.

		Jeff

Oh.

	(Pause)

You're not staying at Syracuse?

	(Matt shakes his head)

Where to?

		Matt

Boston University. Haven't I told you this already?

		Jeff

I don't remember you telling me that they accepted you. That's good.
Scholarships?

		Matt

Mmm-hmm. I won't be needing them now, though. Not with the money I'll be
getting from this...

		Jeff

	(Interrupting, not wanting to bring up the subject)

Use it to find a nice apartment up there.

		Matt

Right.

	(Silence)

I just found out about my summer job. I'll be a floater at IBM. I'll be
making about ten dollars an hour.

		Jeff

Good. Maybe you'll like it there. It's a good company.

		Matt

And it's only a ten minute subway ride away from B.U.

		Jeff

Maybe you could stay there during the semester.

		Matt

Well, it's not like I'm really going to need the cash.

		Jeff

	(Nods)

But it still would be nice. Make connections up there.

		Matt

What am I going to need connections at IBM for? I'm in an M.A./Ph.D.
program for Theatre and Writing.

		Jeff

You never know-good recommendations, that sort of thing.

		Matt

	(Brusquely)

Right, right, yes dad.

		Jeff

What's wrong?

		Matt

Nothing. Forget it.

	(Pause, sighs)

		Jeff

You were out on Thursday when your mom called you about this.

		Matt

Yeah.

	(Pause)

		Jeff

Where were you?

		Matt

Ingrid and I went to the Mets game.

		Jeff

Oh, that's interesting.

	(Beat)

Who won?

		Matt

San Francisco.

		Jeff

Good game?

		Matt

The Mets lost, you tell me.

	(Pause)

Why were you surprised?

		Jeff

About what?

		Matt

When I told you that I was at the game.

		Jeff

I didn't know you like baseball, that's all. It must've been something you
picked up at Syracuse.

		Matt

Oh, Jesus, right. Right.

	(Beat)

At Syracuse.

		Jeff

Now what?

		Matt

Nothing, nothing. This isn't the time or the place to get into this. Can we
try to find something we both can talk about?

		Jeff

You're always pushing things off. Let's talk, here and now. It's the
perfect moment to. We can talk about things from when you were growing up.
We can talk about how you're feeling right now. Maybe compare notes about
some things.

	(Pause, softly)

People will be coming in soon, taking this moment away. Let's just talk to
each other, straight. Please.

		Matt

	(Sarcastically)

Sounds great, dad. About what? I think the weather is the only thing we can
agree on, if that much.

		Jeff

Did I say we had to agree?

		Matt

Good thing, too.

	(Silence)

		Jeff

	(Launching into a new subject)

What do you want to do after grad school?

		Matt

What kind of want?

		Jeff

What do you mean?

		Matt

Realistic want, or hope want?

		Jeff

Realistic might be a welcome change of pace.

		Matt

What does that mean?

		Jeff

It doesn't mean anything.

		Matt

Sounded like a crack to me.

		Jeff

Do you have to act paranoid here, now?

		Matt

I use what I'm given.

	(Pause)

Listen, I'm just

	(Beat)

a little tense.

		Jeff

I understand.

	(Pause)

When did you make your decision? About which grad school.

		Matt

You really don't remember me telling you how I got into B.U.?

		Jeff

I knew that you had applied to B.U., Syracuse, and another...

		Matt

Yale Drama...

		Jeff

	(A little too excited)

That's right, an ivy league school. Very impressive.

	(Beat, offering an explanation)

We haven't talked in a while. You've been busy with graduation, and I was
setting up the income comparison data for Stanton.

		Matt

Well, I decided to be daring, played a hunch. I sent in a copy of a one act
play to Boston University instead of writing the essay that they had asked
for.

	(He pauses, looking to see if his father is interested)

You listening?

		Jeff

Of course.

		Matt

I mean, you're the one who wanted to know...

		Jeff

I'm listening, Matt.

		Matt

	(Quickly, brusquely)

Okay.

	(Beat, goes on)

So, the essay was supposed to be about what you just asked, what I wanted
to do with my degree when I was done. So instead of the essay, I sent them
the play I wrote at the beginning of the year; the one that mom came to see
at Syracuse Stage. It's about this mother and daughter who have to care for
the physically abusive grandfather who's had an accident and is now
wheelchair-bound.

		Jeff

	(Quickly jumping in, trying to impress his son)

Conscious Kindness. I would've come up to see it, but the fourth quarter
numbers were due for ProTech...

		Matt

	(Interrupting)

No, it's called Conspiracy of Kindness.

		Jeff

	(Warily)

Close...

	(Silence, prompting)

Go on, Matt...Please...

		Matt

	(Pause, a little hurt)

Right. Well, I sent it to them, and they called me. It was the Chair of the
Theatre Department. He called me on a Friday afternoon, and asked me to
meet with him in Boston the next Tuesday morning. I canceled rehearsals for
that Monday and Tuesday night, and we drove into Boston in the...

		Jeff

	(Interrupting)

We who?

		Matt

Ingrid and I.

	(Pause, seeing if he remembers)

My girlfriend.

	(Jeff nods his head)

She's the one with the car.

		Jeff

Ingrid has a car?

		Matt

Yes, a restored vintage Beetle. What does this have to do with the story, dad?

		Jeff

I just didn't know, okay.

	(Pause)

I'm sorry, go on.

		Matt

	(Standoffishly)

Some of my friends are respectable people. I mean, Ingrid's...

		Jeff

	(Talking over his son)

I said I was sorry, go on with your story...

		Matt

Ingrid's not even in theatre, she's getting her degree in Elementary Education.

		Jeff

	(Quietly, when he's finished)

Please. I'm interested. Tell me your story. I didn't mean to digress.

		Matt

	(Testing)

Where was I?

		Jeff

Ingrid drove you from Syracuse to Boston on Monday.

	(Quickly)

See, I was listening.

		Matt

	(Smiles slightly, tells the story with little dramatic pauses,
	 fully aware that he's playing storyteller)

Okay. She drove me into Boston through this freak late April snowstorm. I'm
expecting that I'm going to get an interview, and that I'll have to defend
my writing and come up with all this technical jargon to B.S. this guy
with, right.

	(Beat)

So I go in, dressed up in the Armani suit you and mom gave me for
Christmas, and he looks me over and says, "Why'dja send a play?" I told him
because if he wanted to know about me, he'd find out more by reading my
writing.

	(Beat)

He sat quietly for a minute, nodded his head, and said, "You know, Mister
Klein, you could've gotten in a lot of trouble if you'd tried a stunt like
that and you weren't a good writer." He shook my hand and took me on a tour
of their Equity house on Huntington Street and their Playwright's Theatre
on camp