Whist Anyone? by Dave Funderburgh


This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author's PRIOR consent




We are in the Apogee Room, an airline sponsored, members only
hospitality suite, offering free drinks, snacks and privacy

There is a major snowstorm underway and all airports in the region are in the
process of canceling all flights and closing down operations. Hotels are full,
traffic is stalled and this room will soon be packed.

AT RISE: QUINT is standing alone by a cocktail table
located in an a somewhat private alcove.

He is writing on a piece of white cardboard with a Black Magic
Marker. In large letters, he has printed:


As he is trying to wedge the sign between a napkin holder and 2 ashtrays,
HELEN walks up and deftly snatches the sign

She grabs the Magic Marker and draws a line through the word, WHIST.

Helen then boldly substitutes the word BRIDGE immediately below it.

(momentarily stunned)
Who in the Hell are you, a deranged English Teacher?

(Calmly propping the sign back up)
I don't know if you are trolling for Jeopardy contestants or booking
a Mensa class, but let's just simplify this sign!

Well, I certainly don't think it takes a lot of intellect to
understand this sign. I am sure all Bridge players know Bridge was
derived from Whist.

You may be right, Stumpy, but let's find some Bridge players and we
will check their IQ later.

The name is Quint, not Stumpy. Since I assume you are going to join
this game, I guess it would be nice to know a name or an alias.

Helen is good enoughalthough some of my friends call me Hell-on
Wheelsbehind my back, of course. I have no idea why.

I am starting to get an inkling.

(HELEN'S retort is delayed as AL approaches the table, sees the
sign and smiles)

Well, I see you two must have had a little marital discord over the
best way to present this miniature billboard.

If you play Bridge, I hope your deductive powers are better than your
opening statement. I just met this chap as I was correcting his sign.

Unilaterally changing it, not correcting it, I might add!

Neener, neener, neener.

OK, kiddies…don't make me send you to time out!

You sound as if you would make just one Hell of a PTA member but we
are seeking Bridge players. In or out?

(After a slight pause)
I am not getting good vibes but I will give it a shot.

Welcome aboard! Now all we need is a name, preferably yours.

Al will do.

Alwilldois that an Arabic name?

(Somewhat miffed)
I said, AL WILL DO! ALshort for Albert.

(A short brunette walks within earshot, adjusts both of her
hearing aids, sees the sign, hesitates, and starts to leave)

Over here, Honey! I don't care if you are a drinker, smoker, or a
hooker. If you play Bridge, we would love to have you join this august
group of brigands.

Well, I have heard more elegant invitations but count me in.

Spoken like a true lady. OK, I will do the introductions. First
names onlylet's keep this dark and mysterious.

I'm Margo.

I am Helen. The gentleman on the right is Al and the other chap,
somewhat vertically deprived, is Quint.

(With a wry smile)
Pleased to meet all of you. I might add that I have been referred to
as medium height, but never as "vertically deprived".

(They all perform the obligatory handshaking, nodding and
pleased to meet you ritual. Then they all stow their laptops,
purses, and briefcases under the table. After draping coats
and jackets over chairs, they all take a seat. AL and
MARGO quickly grab the chairs across from each other.
HELEN and QUINT are left to sit in opposite chairs.)

Now that we are settled in, let me tell you that I just happen to have
2 brand new decks of Bicycles. We can either draw for partners or
play the men against the women.

We will draw for partners. Also, let's start off by avoiding any
trace of condescending male chauvinist crap. At least, you didn't
call us "the girls".

Ok, let's draw. Maybe I will get lucky and not get stuck with Betty

I assume that jab was directed at me?

Just a suggestion but why don't you two try to get along?

I thought I recognized you, Al. You don't have your Purple Barney
Suit on but I bet you will sing, I love you, you love me before this
day is over!

Good God, Helen, does over reacting ring any bells with you? Lighten
up, you will live longer!

It was the short joke, wasn't it? I had no idea you were so damn

You are a tenacious bitch, aren't you? You are trying to work me
into the position of defending the fact that I am 5 feet, 9 inches
tall. I am not going to comment any more on my height or your
perception of my height.

If you measured five nine, then you were either wearing high heels or
were recently goosed.

This is starting to sound like my failed marriage. Let's get along
and quit bitching or I will find another place to wait out the storm.

Since I am the aggrieved party, I am going to support Margo. If she
goes, I go!

OK, I get the message. From now on, I will exude so Damn much
sweetness and sugar, you will all need an Insulin shot before the
night is over.
Well said, Pollyanna. I know it is a little early but I don't think
a pre-five 'o'clock toddy will hurt anyone. While Quint is
drawing for partners, I will slip over to the bar. Drink ordersif
you are interested.

I will have an industrial strength Gin and Tonic that would make a
Bull Elephant impotent or at least sterile.

I would appreciate a normal Gin and Tonic.

A tall Scotch and soda would hit the spot.

Wise choices all. I shall return.
(AL heads offstage to the bar)

Ok, Quint, let's get this show on the road before one of us comes
down with Alzheimer's.

Helen, this isn't a track meet. So, unless you want to taste the
bitter dregs of defeat, you just better hope you are my partner.

You sure know how to coin a phrase, Shakespeare. Can you also handle
polysyllabic words?

Yes, as a matter of fact, I can. But I am sure that doesn't make
you happy. You seem to take some pleasure in demeaning and insulting
people. However, since I am infrangible, I can quite easily endure
your polemics.

So, you are infrangible, huh? That would be a great attribute for a
two by four or some other type of Stud. Was that a Freudian slip or
are you utilizing subliminal self promotion?

(Angrily slamming his brief case down on the table)
That's it, Helen! I will not allow you to comment about my height
and then follow it up with remarks about my masculinity. As of now, I
am dropping all semblances of civility. You are certainly a long way
and many years removed from the ideal woman.

(Pausing to take 2 decks of Bicycle cards from his brief
case and then continuing)

I might add that gravity hasn't been too kind to you over the years
and is even now tugging mightily at you in several obvious places. I
would guess that if your bra strap broke right now, you would do a
complete front flip over this table. If you believe in recycling, I
would estimate that two truck tires could be made just from the
material in your pantyhose. Only my innate politeness prevents me
from itemizing your potential contributions to the Silicone Hall of


While I have the floor, let me mention one more thingyou should add
an A to the end of your name and call yourself Helena because your ass
is as wide as Montana!

(Returning, and setting a tray of drinks on the table.)
Gunga Din has returned and I don't mean with water.

Al, I advise you to sit down, clam up, and watch for blood spatters.

(Trying to smile through clenched teeth)
My goodness, I did strike a nerve. I had no idea you were so damn
insecure about height and length! If it bothers you to the point that
you go postal on us, then I certainly will avoid both of those
sensitive topics in the future. Height and length are now completely
removed from my working vocabulary. No more height and length

(Sitting down with a puzzled look)
What the Hell happened? I haven't even been gone 10 minutes and it
looks like I missed another dustup.

You didn't miss much. The Jokester and the Barracuda were just
doing their routinesnothing to write home about. However, if Dale
Carnegie and Emily Post had been in attendance, they would have both
probably gurphied all over the table.

I don't know about Quint but I would like to apologize. If I am
making anyone uncomfortable, then I will be glad to pack up and leave.
I would like to simply have a couple of drinks and enjoy a pleasant
afternoon of Bridge.

I agree with the Barracuda. Even though it is basically my table and
I claim Squatter's Rights, I will make more of an effort to get

Legally speaking, Quint, that isn't exactly right. This isn't a
one man dictatorship. We are basically a 4 party democracy, each
having an equal voice. Majority rules.

(To AL)
I thought I smelled a Lawyer. I got the first whiff when you said
something about being the "aggrieved party". We will probably be
sued before we get out of here!

I see your contrition was temporary, Helen. Yes, I am an Attorney at
Law although I no longer practice.

That is like saying I am a Hooker but I no longer accept money. You
should wear a large red A on your lapel as a warning to the public.

Helen, if there is anything worse than a snob, it is a literary snob.

I don't want to become bitchy but I am forced to mention that I have
been here for half an hour and I have yet to see a card. Let's
draw for partners and get this show on the road. Quintthat means

Yes ma'am! I will shuffle these cards and deal them out as fast as
the Hoyle Speed Limit allows. Stand by for a whirlwind of
(Quint picks up one of the decks of Bicycles from the table, quickly
drops it and picks up the second deck.)
Houston, we have a problem! I seem to have brought 2 decks of
Pinochle cards. Obviously, we can't play Bridge with these

What a brainless jerk! You are a complete and total dumb ass. I
can't speak for the group, but count me out for GO FISH!





AT RISE: Lapse of only several minutes

We are still at the table

QUINT, somewhat nonplussed, is looking for a face saving

Maybe the bartender has some cards. We aren't dead yet.

Quint, you are not only a moron but you are also living in a time
warp. This airline quit giving out free cards about 20 years ago. By
the way, don't forget to order some new 8 tracks for your sound
system. I am only assuming that you have updated from 78s.

(Switching hearing aids from ear to ear)
Hey, you two. I am already sick of hearing all of your oh, so clever
banter. In my 25 years of practicing as a Clinical Psychologist, I
have heard it all. So, if I have to listen to this for free, then I
am going to take notes. I might use the material at my next seminar

Ah, the plot thickens like brown gravy on a hot burner. So, we have a
legal Shark and a self proclaimed Shrink. All we need is a serial
killer to add the final touch. How about it, Jokester, are you a
laughing butcher?

Sorry to disappoint you, 'Cuda, but I come from a long line of
Industrialists. My family has been manufacturing church pews, folding
chairs, swings, rockers, and theatre seats for over a hundred years.
When I was in high school, I tried to get my dad to adopt the slogan,

[end of extract]


Script Finder

Male Roles:

Female Roles:

Browse Library

About Stageplays

Stageplays offers you the largest collection of Plays & Musicals in the world.

Based in the UK and the USA, we’ve been serving the online theatre community since the last century. We’re primarily a family-run business and several of us also work in professional theatre.

But we’re all passionate about theatre and we all work hard to share that passion with you and the world’s online community.

Subscribe to our theatre newsletter

We'll email you regular details of new plays and half-price special offers on a broad range of theatre titles.


We can deliver any play in print to any country in the world - and we ship from both the US and the UK.

© 2010 - 2024 Stageplays, Inc.