29 Charlton Street – Shelter Island School (2014)


Lily Garrison and Paul Murphy in Justine Karen’s play, “29 Charlton Street.” Photo by Star Black.

29 Charlton Street by Justine Karen

Click here to watch “29 Charlton Street” on YouTube


Music fades. Lights come up on.

(Eli and Claire sitting in Claire’s bedroom doing homework)

Claire: What did you get for number three?

Eli: Just do it yourself.

Claire: But what about teamwork? Sharing is caring!

Eli: Lucky I don’t care.

(Claire smacks him with her notebook. Eli and Claire laugh)


Mrs. R: Claire, honey, are you at home?

Claire: Yes Susan, that’s why I answered the land line…Eli and I are working on homework.

Mrs. R: Well, Claire Dahh-ling, I’d like it if you stayed home for the rest of the night, unless of course you go to the Johnsons. I’ll get some Chinese delivered, would you like some fried wontons, Sweetie?

Claire: Yeah, sure, that’d be great.

Mrs. R: Alrighty then, now, your father and I won’t be home tonight, but hopefully we’ll see you tomorrow. Bye, bye Dahh-ling!!

Claire: Okay, thank you Susan. Give Dan my regards. (Claire hangs up the phone and imitates her mother) Sorry Dahh-ling, but your father and I won’t be home for Christmas this year, but don’t worry there’s always next year. And hey, why don’t you just spend it with the Johnsons? Sorry Sweetieee, but you know you’re father and I need to work. Ugh! I HATE HER! I HATE DAN! I HATE ROBBIE! UGG!

Eli: (Clears throat) So…about that Chinese?

Claire: (Throws pillow at Eli) It’s coming loser.

Eli: Fried wontons?

Claire: You know it…so what did you get for number three?

Eli: (Eli hands over notebook, then flops on his back) So who do you like?

Claire: (Claire isn’t really paying attention) None of your business.

Eli: Please?!?

Claire: No way!

Eli: Please?? Pretty please with sugar on top?

Claire: Oh my god it’s time for you to leave! Goodbye! (She ushers him out)

Eli: So…Who?

Claire: Good night!

Eli: But I didn’t get any Chinese food!

Claire: I’ll save you some!

Eli: Fine, nighty night, Dahhling!!

Claire: Nighty, night Eli.

(LIGHTS FADE. SCENE CHANGE. LIGHTS UP on Eli and Claire sitting on the floor in Eli’s bedroom playing checkers)

Eli: (says absentmindly) Oh, I got a girlfriend.

Claire: Who?

Eli: Uh, Ceclia. Celia Bernstein.

Claire: (stands up suddenly) Oh you’d better be joking! You know I hate Celia more than anybody else!

Eli: More than Brittany the waitress? More than Susan and Dan? More than Robb?

Claire: Shut up Eli!

Eli: You ‘hate’ a lot of people Claire!

Claire: Yes I do! And I just added you to the list!

Eli: Claire, you’re being seriously irrational right now!

Claire: I am not!

Eli: You are such a baby sometimes!

Claire: Why don’t you and Celia go talk about how terrible I am over a burger or something?

Eli: You’re deluded!

Claire: And YOU’RE a terrible best friend! (Claire throws the checker board at Eli)

Eli: For getting a girlfriend and pointing out you hate a lot of people?

Claire: You hate a lot of people too! Brittany the waitress, Mr. Johnson, Piper, Jake Dugger –

Eli: Alright, alright, I get it! But what do you want me to do about it? Break up with her?

Celia: YES!

Eli: NO! (Claire sits on the bed and starts to cry. Eli sits down next to her.) Claire, I’m really, really, really, sorry. I really didn’t know you hated Celia this much. Claire, who do you like?

Claire: (Mumbles something inaudible)

Eli: Who?

Claire: I don’t wanna tell you.

Eli: Can I guess?

Claire: (nods)

Eli: Jakes Dugger?

Claire: (shakes head no)

Eli: Wilbur Martin?

Claire: No.

Eli: Me?

Claire: (nods) Yes.

Eli: (he hugs her) I can break up with Celia now.

Mrs. J: (from offstage) About damn time!

Eli: Mom! Leave us alone!

Mrs. J: Shut up Eli. Don’t kill your mother’s joy!

(Eli and Claire look at one another. Smile. Shake heads)



The cast and playwright of “29 Charlton Street.” From L to R: Lily Garrison, Justine Karen and Paul Murphy. Photo by Star Black

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