A graduate of New York University, David Klein has specialized in teaching writing at several schools, among them Carnegie-Mellon University and Norfolk State University. Several of his plays have been performed in the New York area. He brings to this catalogue a proficiency in the adaptation of literary works for the stage, enabling students of all ages to develop an appreciation for the skill and craftsmanship of writers for all genres.
The Boarding House
About the Play:
The Boarding House
a play in one act
adapted from James Joyce’s “The Dubliners”
by David Klein
About the Play: A one-act play, The Boarding House is a dramatic adaptation of the story by James Joyce. Mrs. Mooney, the owner of a boarding house of questionable reputation, uses the wiles of her daughter Polly and the power of the Church to snare one of her more respectable boarders as her potential son-in-law.
Mrs. Mooney: A woman in her mid fifties.
Mary A maid from the country, eighteen years old.
Polly Mrs. Mooney's nineteen year old daughter.
Bob Doran: A boarder in Mrs. Mooney's house. He is about thirty-five years old.
The Place: Ireland
The Time: The late 1900's
The Scene: The setting is a front parlor, furnished with a couch, some over-stuffed chairs, and a table or two. Against the back wall is a window covered with white lace curtains. Beside the window is a long pier-glass, The setting should be light and airy with an atmosphere of pristine purity.
From the Play:
Polly: (to Mr. Doran) What are we going to do?
Doran: What am I going to do. How can I find a way out of this mess?
Polly: But I thought you loved me. You said you loved me, and you know I love you. You know how much I care for you. I fell asleep waiting for you to come home last night. I saved a piece of cake for you and . . .
Doran: (Impatiently.) Stop babbling, Polly. I never promised you anything. I've never lied to you, have I?
Polly: But you've said you loved me. If I ‘d known you'd take on like this, I would've never . . .
Doran: Started the affair. You were the one who trapped me. Remember, you knocked on my door one night and . . .
Polly: I only asked you to relight my candle after a gust had blown it out.
Doran: You were half naked!
Polly: It was bath night and I wore a flannel robe . . .
Doran: . . . that flew open and then. .
Polly: . . . then we kissed and kissed and I lost all self-control for love of you. I didn't plan to fall in love and . . .
Doran: (Throwing up his arms.) This is what it led to-- scenes and hysteria. I should have known better than to have an affair with a nineteen year old girl. I should have been more discreet. I should have--
Polly: (Crying.) What’s going to happen to us? Mother wants to see you. What will you tell her?
Doran: Don't worry, Polly. Your mother is no match for me.
(From the hallway, Mrs. Mooney can be heard coughing repeatedly. She then enters.)
Mrs. Mooney: I think you both have had ample time to take care of business.
Polly: But, mother, Bob won't . . .
Mrs. Mooney: Mr. Doran will do what is proper after I have a chat with him. Now, Polly, leave us alone for a few minutes and then I’ll call for you.
(Still crying, and casting woeful glances at Doran. Polly exits, reluctantly.)
Mrs. Mooney: Let's not waste time, Mr. Doran, and get down to business You owe me an apology and you owe Polly...
Doran: I don’t owe anyone an apology. Whatever happened was not my fault.
Mrs. Mooney: Are you blaming Polly? Why, no one in his right mind would believe that.
Doran: What I am saying is the truth, like it or not. I didn’t make the first move. She started things up .
Mrs. Mooney: And you think you can go off without making reparations?
Doran: Is it money you're after? How much do you want to hush up the affair? Twenty-five pounds?
Mrs. Mooney: (Indignantly.) Twenty-five pounds?
Doran: Well, then, fifty?
Mrs. Mooney: (Laughing.) Fifty?
Doran: Then, seventy-five pounds. Seventy-five pounds is the highest I'll go.
Mrs. Mooney: Some mothers, I've heard, would accept such paltry sums.
Doran: (Reluctantly.) Then, one hundred pounds. Take it, or leave it.
Mrs. Mooney: (Looking outraged.) Have you lost all sense of decency to think that I would barter for my child?
Child? You call her a child?
Mrs. Mooney: Yes, a child, an innocent child.
Doran: I'd call her a seductress.
Mrs. Mooney: (Becoming exasperated.) Let's be honest and stop this charade. A man of your experience would find it easy to take advantage of a young girl. Anyone can see that you're a man of this world who has tasted its pleasures, and that you're old enough to know better than to prey on a . . .
Doran: A clever temptress. She enticed me over and over again--as if it had all been planned out.
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