• Sylvia Schwartz

Twenty Seconds

Updated: Apr 18


Twenty Seconds by Sylvia Schwartz

Written for the One-Minute Play Festival's The Coronavirus Play Project, which produced 625 plays via Zoom over 8 nights from over 1300 submissions from 12 countries. Twenty Seconds was performed April 16, 2020, by the Know Theatre of Cincinnati.


Characters:

Grandson (age 8)

Grandpa (age 80)

Dad (age 40)


SOUND EFFECT: Knocking on the bathroom door.


GRANDSON (calling out)

Grandpa, when are you getting out of the bathroom, I need to go.


SOUND EFFECT: Faint sound of water running in the bathroom sink from Grandpa who is washing his hands.


GRANDPA

(To grandson) I’m washing my hands.

(To himself, outloud) You virus bastard. Who do you think you are?

(aside) Three seconds.


GRANDSON (calling out)

Grandpa, who ya talking to?


GRANDPA

If you think you can beat me—just because you took my Gladys—then you’ve got another thing coming!

(aside) Nine seconds.


GRANDSON

Dad! Grandpa’s talking to himself and he won’t come out of the bathroom! /


GRANDPA

/ We are going to get you. You hear me? The whole world is coming after you. You’re not gonna to stand a chance.

(aside) Fourteen seconds.


DAD

Son, calm down.


GRANDSON (whiny)

But dad.


DAD

Shhh…he made a promise to your grandmother.


GRANDPA

You’re not taking anyone else in this family. You hear me. You hear me!

(aside) Twenty seconds!


SOUND EFFECT: Door opening.


GRANDPA

Okay, I’m through. Bathroom’s yours. [EXITS]


GRANDSON

Dad, is grandpa okay?


DAD

He will be, son.


GRANDSON

But who was he yelling at?


DAD

Never mind. Just wash your hands. Twenty seconds. Just like I taught you.

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