City of Lights – Pierson High School (2014)


Paul Hartman and Hope Brindle in Paul Hartman’s “City of Lights”. 

City of Lights by Paul Hartman

Click here to watch “City of Lights” on YouTube.

Andrew enters looking extremely distraught. Andrea (Andrew’s suppressed female self/alter ego) appears in the mirror they begin to talk.

Andrew: I’m done I just can’t do this anymore. I feel like a stranger in my own home, in my own freaking body. I need to get out of here I –

Andrea: Just breathe we –

Andrew: (Angry) Breathe!? That’s easy for you to say. You don’t have to go out there and live a life you know isn’t yours. Its not so easy to breathe when you know that every breath you take is a lie.

Andrea: (Cold) Do you think I like waiting here; waiting to even begin a life? I never see the outside of this room and believe me its not as spacious as it looks.

Andrew: I know that, but why does everything have to be so fucking hard? I’m sick of being scared, I’m sick of feeling alone. There’s never a moment when I’m not watching myself and worrying that people will find out. Its like I have to put on a mask every time I leave this room.

Andrea: Just wait. I promise there will be a time when we can just exist without thinking about it. But now isn’t that time and this definitely isn’t the place.

Andrew: I’m just so tired. Tired of waiting, tired of pretending. I never wanted any of this. I never asked to be different.

Andrea: No one ever does.

(Long pause)

Andrew: They had us pray today.

Andrea: (Sympathetic) Oh god.

Andrew: And the funniest thing was that I wanted so badly to believe, I wanted to let go and be able to believe that someone would be there to catch me. We’ve always been alone wouldn’t it be comforting to know that someone will pick you up when you fall?

Andrea: But do you really want to believe in a god who has the power to end all suffering and just sits around twiddling his thumbs all day?

Andrew: I know. It’s just their blind faith seems so comforting. Sometimes I just wish I could just forget everything and be like them. Sure they’re ignorant and mean but at least they seem happy. I can’t remember the last time I was really and truly happy.

Andrea: Our happiness is coming I promise. It just got a little lost on its way here

(Sad smile then touch hands through mirror)

Andrew: Its funny how we imagine what our lives will be when we’re younger.

Andrea: How’s that?

Andrew: Just how bright it seemed and how idealistic we were. Remember in second grade we had to write what we thought our lives would look like?

Andrea: (Smile) And we said we were going to live on a pygmy horse ranch with our Chihuahua named Pepe.

Andrew: (Laugh) yeah we should still get that Chihuahua.

(Moment of silence)

Andrea: (abrupt) Let’s do it again.

Andrew: What?

Andrea: That assignment. Why should we be less hopeful about the future than seven year old us was.

(Andrew grabs some paper and a pen)

Andrew: Ok how do we start?

(The following is one continuous thought)

(Andrea looks up dreamily)

Andrea: We’ll live in a city full of lights and people-

Andrew: -and all of those people will understand us, and we’ll laugh and dance until we can’t anymore.

Andrea: They won’t expect anything that we can’t give to them or for us to be someone that we can’t.

Andrew: We won’t have to pretend anymore.

Andrea: We won’t have to lie.

(Andrew nods with tears in his eyes and stops writing)

Andrea: The city is going to be bright and full of love and we won’t need to hide a single thing anymore-

Andrew: (Smiling and crying) -and the city will be warm and good and we won’t have to be afraid anymore.

(Lights change)

(Andrew grabs new piece of paper and starts writing slowly. Andrea faces the audience, standing behind Andrew saying the words that Andrew is writing)

Andrea: I guess I’ll just start out with that I’m sorry, for all of the things I know I’ll never be, the son who makes you smile, the one who makes the crowd go wild. I’m sorry I could never be the son you wanted but you should know I did the best that I could do; I never meant to hurt or disappoint you. I didn’t ever mean to make you cry. I’ve spent my whole life trying so hard to please you, trying to be the son I knew you needed but it was all a waste of time. I just want you to know that I’m not running, I’m leaving because I know that’s what I have to do. I can’t live in a place where I know I don’t belong. I can’t be a person I know that I’m not. I’m sorry I’m just not that strong. Thank you for all that you’ve done for me I know that you always tried your best. I love you both and I guess this is-

Both: Goodbye

(Andrew stands and they hold hands symbolizing oneness. Lights go up then blackout really fast)


The cast and director of “City of Lights.”


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