Scene #23: “Innocence” by Caleb Glover

WHILE YOU WERE AWAY – A play by the Fall 2015 Documentary Theatre Class (RCHUM 334)

Scene #23: “Innocence” by Caleb Glover

The setting includes a table and two chairs. The scene begins as lights come up, focused on the
table. A man, Henry Johnson, age 38, of reasonable height, enters through the back curtain. He
talks with a “fatherly confidence”.
He clears his throat as he approaches the table and should stand near one of the chairs without
sitting down. The majority of his lines should be directed towards the other empty seat, as though
someone were there.
HENRY “So, how have you been? Your grandfather says you haven’t been sleeping well. You can’t
keep doing that. [SMALL PAUSE] Because it’s keeping him up at night, that’s why. He needs his
sleep and so do you.”
[Awkard silence between Henry and unseen person] HENRY “The weather’s been good, huh? [PAUSE] Look, would you just talk to me? [SMALL
PAUSE] Because you’re my son. And we haven’t spoken in- what?- three weeks now? I think we
both need a chance to talk.”
[Small pause. Next line interrupts the unseen person] HENRY “Let’s not talk about that.” [VERY SMALL PAUSE] HENRY “Because I don’t want to. And because I’m not ready for that right now. Do you even have
any idea how hard it is to learn that your son is, well, you know. And on top of the fact that he’s been
arrested?”
[Small pause] HENRY “Well how am I SUPPOSED to react then? For once could you just try to see things from
my perspective? This hasn’t been easy for any of us. You know, I can’t even remember the last night
that your mother didn’t cry herself to sleep.”
[Unspoken lines from the unseen person is making Henry uncomfortable. In the next few
lines, Henry nearly loses his temper] HENRY “What? Are you kidding me? You think this is all because you’re a fag? Oh yeah, they’re
gonna have all the faggots in jail dressed in hot pink jumpsuits and jockstraps. For fuck’s sake
Connor, open your eyes! You weren’t arrested because you’re gay! And I’m not even mad because
of that either! I’m mad because you fucking went to jail! God damn!”
[Small pause] HENRY “Don’t you dare take that kind of attitude with me, boy. I’ll call you whatever the hell I’d like
after what you’ve done to this family. Do you have any idea what it’s like for me at work? Do you
realize what it feels like when people whisper as you walk past and you know they’re talking about
your own god-damned son?”
[Small pause. The next unspoken line is too much for Henry, and his temper flares. Before
the next line, Henry pushes the chair over] HENRY “Enough! You think you can talk to me like that?! Hell, you’re lucky I’m even here right
now. And you’re lucky your grandad posted your bail, ‘cause you know I wouldn’t’ve done it. And you
can say that you’re innocent all you want, nobody is going to believe you unless that judge does.
You know how I know? Because not even I believe you! I don’t even know who you are anymore. I
mean- what the hell, kid? What happened to you?”
[Henry walks away from the table, takes several deep breaths] HENRY “Yeah. I paid your god-damned lawyer.”