The List

The List

THE LIST, is the story of a middle-aged accountant dying of cancer, who spends her last months tracking down people that “she cannot leave the earth without seeing one more time”—to the great consternation of her family, friends, and, increasingly, herself.

SYNOPSIS: Dora, a forty-something accountant dying of cancer, is haunted by memories of people that “she cannot leave the earth without seeing one more time.” One by one, she goes through her list of old boyfriends, teachers, and friends who went out of her life abruptly—sometimes inadvertently, sometimes by choice. Along the way, she discovers that reviving old ghosts complicates her existing relationships, not only with family and friends but also with herself.

The play opens with Dora trying to get her husband Jack to save her from a phone conversation with Jana Blue, a college roommate who primarily wants to discuss her affairs with married men. Dora then tracks down her half-senile former nanny and a childhood friend who doesn’t remember her. Next Dora and her best friend Judy trek to the Midwest to meet Dora’s junior high teacher—who drags out Dora’s old papers and photos before hitting on her—and a former piano teacher—who guzzles scotch from her purse and claims she’s possessed by aliens. Meanwhile, Jana Blue arrives at Jack’s doorstep and falls into Jack’s arms.

Act Two opens a few months later with a much frailer Dora calling an old boyfriend. Against Jack’s advice, she meets him at a local coffee shop, where he spews out resentments carried against her for years. Dora is soon confined to bed until, one day, she staggers out to the living room where, unnoticed, she discovers Jana Blue and Jack embracing.

In the final scene, an imagined Jana Blue appears at Dora’s bedside and complains about her lover’s inability to tell his sick wife about their relationship. Dora demands that Jack listen as she phones Phillip, the last name on her list and the love of her life. Although Phillip never answers, Dora still speaks into the receiver about their physical and spiritual love. Dora ends the call and, with Jack’s help, completes her list. She orders Chinese food, insisting that her family and Judy share it at her bedside.

PLAY HISTORY: THE LIST was chosen for a reading by the 2004 Baltimore Playwrights Festival, and read at Baltimore’s Mobtown Playhouse on December 11, 2004. It also received a highly favorable critique from Sonora, CA’s Stage 3 Theatre Festival.