We expect a lot from the people we love: a clean criminal record, a lack of sadistic tendencies, a quick “I’m alive” every two years or so. Unfortunately for Marian, her son Paul falls short of everyone’s expectations— he’s in jail for aggravated assault after bailing out of rehab, which she only finds out after his girlfriend Shelly shows up unannounced. Despite what it looks like, Shelly says Paul’s actually turned a corner. He’s sober (thanks to her), he’s working, and he’s really in jail because of an overreaction. Marian wants to put up her car for Paul’s bail, but her girlfriend Beth and friend/landlady Nat are skeptical. While Beth is almost willing to give Paul a second (or a hundredth) shot, Nat is a little less optimistic (and a little more sauced). If they’re all going to be a family again when Paul returns, it will take more than weekly donuts and microwaved leftover pizza to teach them how to love.
Coral Gables, Florida. At rise, a young woman, Shelly, gains entry to the carriage house apartment of lesbian couple, Marian and Beth. She is interrupted by Nat, the couple’s wealthy friend and landlady, who lives in the main house. Assuming Shelly is a down-and-out friend of Marian’s from church, Nat tempts the girl with her wealth into some sort of arrangement. Shelly seems willing to seal the deal, when Marian and Beth return. Shelly then reveals she is the girlfriend of Marian’s son, Paul, who’s been missing for two years after running away from a treatment center. He’s now in town, having been arrested for an assault, which Shelly swears was an accident. Marian goes to the jail to see him. Beth must remain behind, as Shelly hasn’t slept in two nights. Beth makes Marian promise not to consider bail until they can talk about it. While Shelly naps, Nat returns to warn Beth that Shelly is not what she seems, and to find out why Paul was jailed. Beth says it’s a family matter until Marian returns. Nat storms out, declaring Paul unwelcome under her roof. At the jail, Paul tells Marian he’s off drugs and working, and begs her to put up her car for bail. Marian says she must first talk to Beth. Paul loses his cool, demanding her first loyalty as her flesh and blood. Marian can’t refuse. Back at the house, she must reconcile Beth to the decision she made, and convince Nat to change her mind about letting Paul stay. When Shelly has a mental breakdown and Paul drops the charming, sincere attitude he displayed in jail, Beth tries to lay down the law, but it’s too late. Paul is beyond hope. He and Shelly steal the car and take off, leaving Marian desperate to understand what happened to her son. In her weakness she resorts to blaming Beth. The pair is forced to examine what their relationship has truly meant to them, what their feelings have truly been, and whether love as we want to define it truly exists. Does love exist without proof? What constitutes proof? All Beth has ever wanted was for Marian to admit the truth about her son. Faced with losing Beth, Marian finally forms the words, that her son is broken. Beth instinctively stops Marian’s mouth, to spare her the pain of finishing the thought. If there is ever a real proof of love, they both have just shown it.
Powerful… immensely engaging... reflective gem of a play.
–Theodore P. Mahne, Times-Picayune
Shelly: mid-30s (but passes for early 20s). A mysterious stranger.
Nat: 60. A wealthy, elegant alcoholic in Coral Gables, FL.
Marian: 50s. Warm, church-going. Nat's friend and tenant.
Beth: 50. Marian’s longtime Lesbian lover. Strong. Honest.
Paul: 30. Marian's troubled adult son.
Time: Present Day. The action takes place in one day, from morning to night.
Setting: Primary Location: The living-room/kitchen of an apartment over a detached garage in the back yard of a posh home in Coral Gables, Florida.
Secondary Location: A jailhouse visiting area. May be suggested simply with lighting and two chairs or stools.
Third Location: In Act One Scene Four, a separate spot of light should coexist with the living room set for the brief duration of one phone call.
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Billing responsibilities, pertinent copyright information, and playwrights' biographies are available in the show rider that comes with your license agreement. To download the show rider for Visiting Hours, click here.
“a slow-burning, perceptive chamber drama about sacrifice and betrayal, honesty and self-delusion.” –John Thomason, Miami New Times
“Resonant yet deliberately slow to reveal its secrets” “a study in hard-wired familial dysfunction” –Christine Dolen, Miami Herald
“Caudle creates painfully real circumstances, as well as characters toward whom the audience feels genuine empathy. He also deftly captures the difficulty of placing limitations on love, when to tell the kind lie rather than the cruel truth, and the agony of wondering “What did I do wrong?” –Theodore P. Mahne, Times-Picayune
“gripping theater… as buried truths are revealed.” –Brian Sands, Ambush Magazine
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Director's Script – Single-sided script with space for director’s notes.
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