One in Seven
1 in 7 is the statistic for men who will be in an abusive relationship at least once in their lifetimes.
This story explores how anyone can fall prey to an abuser in a domestic partnership. However, even in this modern day and age, some still find it hard to believe that a male can be abused by his female partner. Manipulation, isolation, emotional abuse and violence can victimize anyone, no matter the sex.
Notes for the Director
The lights should dim in between scenes, but not for too long. Each scene is quick, and keeping up the pace of the show is important so it doesn’t fall flat. The audience will pick up on the dimming of light representing a passage of time.
Brian – The boyfriend. 24 years old. Is somewhat laid back, but unsure of his next move in life.
Gabby – The girlfriend. 26 years old. A sneaky, cunning young woman.
Faye – The best friend. 24 years old. Outgoing and enthusiastic. Lesbian.
Marcus – A friend. 25 years old. Your typical bro. Thinks Brian’s situation is a great big joke.
4 Cell Phones Set Pieces
3 Beer glasses
Laundry Basket + Folded laundry
2 Coffee cups. Starbucks?
Round Bar Table
Stage right consists of a small bar table, with 2-3 chairs surrounding it.
Stage left consists of a couch, facing the audience. A coffee table sits next to it.
Center stage should have a small gap for Brian and Gabby’s first date, and EOS Faye texting Brian’s phone.
Try not to space the SR and SL sets too far away from each other, so the actors can easily transition from one set to the other.
[Scene opens center stage. Brian and Gabby enter, they are on their first date, and just walked out of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.]
Brian: Okay, I had my doubts, but that movie was great.
Gabby: Yeah, who knew after all these years a new Star Wars movie could be so true to the originals?
[The following lines should be read quickly, as if the two are finishing each other’s sentences, and clipping out the “end” of the lines that contain spoilers.]
Brian: So what did you think about-
Gabby: -When he-
Brian: -And Chewbacca!
Brian: But then-
Gabby: -I knooooow…
Brian: Too bad.
[Beat of silence]
Gabby: I’m pretty sure this is the part where you ask me on a second date.
Brian: Hah! [Sarcastically] You’re not forward at all.
Gabby: I know what I want, and tonight was fun. Next Saturday. Dinner.
Brian: Sure, 7 okay?
Gabby: 8 is better.
Brian: Alright, 8 it is!
[He kisses her on the cheek]
[Lights up, stage right. Brian, Faye and Marcus are seated at the table having some drinks.]
Faye: 2 months, huh? That’s great!
Marcus: My man, finally getting some action.
Brian: [Lightheartedly] You asshole!
Marcus: But seriously, good for you.
Brian: She’s really something. She’s different. I know it’s the corniest shit, but I’ve never met anyone like her before.
Faye: That’s good! You got a picture?
[He whips out his phone to show her]
Faye: Yup, she’s just my type.
Brian: Hate to disappoint, but she’s taken!
Faye: You better keep her away from me then, I just might steal her.
[They laugh. Enter Gabby]
Gabby: I hope you’re not having too much fun without me.
Brian: Guys, this is my girlfriend, Gabby. Gabby, this is Marcus and this is Faye.
Faye: Nice to meet you!
[Gabby flashes a smile, and turns to Brian, Marcus and Faye sense a private conversation and turn away/look at their phones]
Gabby: Brian, why didn’t you wait for me? I said I was on my way.
Brian: I had just gotten here when you texted me, I knew it would only be 5 minutes.
Gabby: You should have waited for me outside.
Brian: [He is slightly taken aback] Babe, it’s not a big deal.
Gabby:… I know. You’re right. I just thought you would walk in with me as a couple. I feel awkward now, and well, you should have considered that.
Brian: Honey, I know you’re nervous, but Marc and Faye are really accepting. They’ll love you.
Gabby: [She thinks for a moment, half jokingly.] Pay for my pizza slice, and I’ll forgive you.
Brian: [He smiles] Of course, m’lady.
[Lights up. Stage left. Gabby sits on a couch with a TV remote in her hand, mindlessly flipping through the channels. There is a coffee table next to her with car keys on it. Brian enters and is putting his coat on.]
Brian: Alright Gab, I’m heading out.
Gabby: Where are you going?
Brian: I told you about it yesterday, Faye’s car needs some work done, and I’m going with her. Just to make sure the mechanic doesn’t try to talk her into something she doesn’t need.
[He pats his pants packets, and checks his coat pockets.]
Brian: Where the hell are my keys…
Gabby: Did you check the bathroom?
Brian: No, hold on.
[Brian Exits. Gabby grabs the keys off the table, jingles them in front of her for a second before shoving them in between the couch cushions]
Brian: [Entering.] They aren’t there.
Gabby: [Voices very realistic concern.] Aw, I’m sorry babe. They’ll turn up eventually, I guess. Come sit down, I can’t decide what to watch.
Brian: Honey, I really can’t, I have to go. Faye is waiting for me.
[He continues to look for the keys behind the couch or under the table. She starts growing a little agitated.]
Gabby: Please stay, I don’t want to be alone today.
Brian: I’ll be back in a couple of hours, I promised Faye.
Gabby: Faye this, Faye that. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were kind of into her.
Brian: Gabby, c’mon, she’s my best friend and nothing more.
Gabby: But shouldn’t I be your best friend?
Brian: You’re more than that to me, you know that.
Gabby: [Growing more desperate] Honey, I think she’s coming on to you.
Brian: [He pauses. Slightly amused.] Gab… she’s.. a lesbian. I’m no where near her type.
Gabby: Maybe she’s just saying that! Please don’t go, this is stressing me out. Don’t you care about that?
Brian: Of course I do-
Gabby: [She hands him his phone.] Then show me. Please? I need you, don’t go. I’m anxious, and I haven’t been feeling well.
[Brian looks at the phone. He sighs and takes it, dialing Faye’s number.]
Brian: Hey, Faye, it’s me. [Pause] Yeah, I can’t find my keys, I’m really sorry. [Pause] Why not give Marcus a call? [Pause]. Yeah… I’m really sorry. [Pause]. Bye.
[He hangs up.]
Brian: …I shouldn’t have done that.
Gabby: She’ll understand.
Brian: I haven’t seen her in a while. Probably weeks. And I promised…
Gabby: It was a good reason, though. I’m really not feeling well.
[He still looks down. She holds his face with one hand, forcing him to look at her. It’s somewhat firm, but Brain does not pick up on the red flag.]
Gabby: Don’t you love me?
Brian: …Of course… C’mon, let’s watch some TV. I’ll make tea.
[Lights up. Stage Right. Brian and Faye are seated at the bar table. They are having a discussion over coffee.]
Faye: …So I got my wheels aligned, and I needed a new muffler. It wasn’t too costly, but I wasn’t expecting to have to realign the wheels…
Brian: Did Marc make sure they actually had to be adjusted?
Faye: Well he took a look, but he doesn’t know as much about cars as you… so I dunno.
Brian: [Apologetic] I really feel like shit for not being there for you.
Faye: It’s no big deal. Just try not to lose your keys next time. Where did they end up, anyway?
Brian: Stuck in the couch. They must’ve-
Faye: Yeah, I get it.
[Brian takes a sip of his coffee. He begins.]
Brian:… Faye, I’m having second thoughts about this.
Faye: What, you’re drink?
Brian: No, moving in with Gabby. It’s kind of fast, and she’s been really depressed lately.
Faye: Well, I mean it’s only been… 4 months?
Brian: 17 weeks. [Sarcastically, probably imitating Gabby.] Don’t forget that extra week. It’s important!
Faye: You know what I think?
Brian: Please, enlighten me.
Faye: Maybe she’s still in the honeymoon period, and you’ve just started to come out of it. You know, rose tint glasses? She’s still got hers on. I’m sure she’ll calm down in a few more weeks. When’s the move in date?
Brian: I’m moving into her place in 3 weeks. She didn’t want to break her lease, but she can’t get my name on there until she signs a new one in January. I practically live there now anyway, she hates it when I leave her place so it won’t be a huge change. I may have to look for another job that’s closer, though.
Faye: Well, as long as you’ve got things planned out thoroughly, it should work out.
Brian: I guess.
Faye: Don’t be a stranger, okay? Call me once in a while.
Brian: Ha, like I’d let you find another guy to annoy.
[Lights up. Stage Left. Gabby and Brian are in the living room. They are fighting over something trivial.]
Gabby: You know, it really isn’t that hard.
Brain: It’s how I do it, though.
[Gabby holds up an unfolded shirt, and goes through the steps as if talking to a child.]
Gabby: You’re supposed to fold it shoulders back, then longways. [She holds up an “incorrectly” folded shirt.] Not in fourths! That puts this awkward-ass wrinkle in the middle.
Brian: This is how I fold my shirts. They are my shirts. I’m 24, not 14! I know how to fold a goddamn shirt. That’s how I was taught.
Gabby: Well whoever taught you is retarded.
Brian: Gabby, why are you acting like this? It’s just laundry! [Brian goes around to the front of the couch and sits] Christ!
[Gabby smacks him in the back of the head with the folded shirt. Hard enough to make a “thwap” kind of noise.]
Brian: What the fuck, Gab!?
Gabby: Do it over.
Gabby: This is my apartment, and if I want something done my way, do it.
Brian: Your apartment? I live here too! I pay rent, it’s mine just as much as it is yours.
Gabby: It’s my name on the lease. Ergo, my apartment. [She calms a bit. She tries a sweeter tone, but still comes out sour.] Can you please just, man up a little? Accept you did something wrong, and fix it. You’re stressing me out. Why do you always act like this?
[Lights up. Stage Right. Marcus sits at the bar table. He is drunk. Brian crosses to him. Marcus stands, a little uneasy on his feet.]
Marcus: Thanks for coming to get me man, I-… [He thinks] have no idea where I am anymore.
[Brian seems on edge.]
Brian: You’re downtown. You’re drunk. And no problem, man. Let’s just get you home.
Marcus: Wait, just, wait bro.. sit and have a drink with me. I haven’t seen you around.
Brian: I think you’ve had enough. [He is anxious to start the journey home.] Can we just go please? I need to get home.
Brian: Gabby doesn’t know I left to get you. She’s gonna be pissed. Can we go?
Marcus: [He giggles a bit.] Dude, you’re whipped.
Brian: I am not, I just don’t wanna piss her off.
Marcus: I ain’t moving until you have a drink with me.
[Marcus sits again, and sloppily folds his arms.]
Brian: Fine. One. Real quick.
Marcus: Fuck yeah!
Brian: So, how’ve you been?
[As Marcus talks, Brian can’t stop looking over his shoulder and fidgeting.]
Marcus: Same old, same old. I got this offer, like, a job offer. It’s just outside Miami! I leave in 2 weeks. I’m gonna start lifting, get some sexy tan lines, and start reeling in the babes… [He notices Brian is preoccupied] Bro, are you even listening?
Brian: Yeah, I heard you. [Looks over his shoulder again, revealing a scratch on his neck to Marcus] Uhhh, tan lines and babes.
Marcus: What’s that?
Marcus: [He points to Brian’s neck.] That. Is that a hickey?
Brian: No, lay off, Marc.
Marcus: Hah! My man! Give me some of the dirty details…. Wait, that’s a… [He takes a closer look]. That’s a scratch, not a hickey.
Brian: I gotta get home, are you done yet?
Marcus: What happened? That looks pretty bad.
Brian: Can. We. Please. Leave?
[Marcus gives Brian a sideways look. He’s putting the pieces together]
Marcus: Did Gabby do that?
Brian: No, c’mon let’s go.
Marcus: You let your girl scratch you?… [He laughs] Leave it to Brian to be into kinky stuff.
Brian: I’m not into that stuff man! I’m leaving, with or without you.
Marcus: Then what, she just does that? Is that why you wanna leave so bad? Dude, just tell her to stop.
Brian: It’s more than that, Marc.
Marcus: No it isn’t! You’re bigger than her, just man up and tell her to stop. Don’t be such a wimp about it.
Brian: Goodbye Marc. [Brian exits as Marcus says his line]
Marcus: Aw, man, don’t leave. I was just fooling around! We didn’t even drink yet! [Brian is gone]. Jesus, what a pansy. [He laughs]
[Lights Up. Stage Left. Gabby and Brian sit on the couch watching TV. His cell phone sits on the coffee table. Gabby is looking at her own cell phone, not paying attention to the TV, but has the remote in her lap.]
Brian: [Timidly] Can I have the remote, please?
Gabby: No. I’m watching this.
Brian: [He fiddles for a moment, then gently] …but you’re looking at your phone-
Gabby: [She looks up at him, and very firmly states,] I’m watching this. Don’t be rude.
Brian: …Okay, sorry.
[Gabby looks back at her phone. They sit in silence for a few seconds, until Brian stands.]
Brian: [Timidly] I’m just gonna go to the bathroom.
Gabby: [Disgusted] Oh my God, why would you tell me that?
Brian: I don’t know-
Gabby: Ugh, you’re disgusting.
[Brian retreats to the bathroom. After a few seconds his phone goes off. Gabby looks over her shoulder to see if Brian is coming back before picking up the phone and looking at the message. It’s a text from Faye. Faye on the other side of the stage steps forward, looking at her phone, and speaks the text she sent. She is chipper as always.]
Faye: Hey Brian, long time no see. Are you free tomorrow?
[Gabby looks at the text, purses her lips slightly before responding.]
Faye: [Faye looks at the message in dismay.] I-… okaaaay… Well, do you know when you’re gonna be free next?
Gabby: Hmmmm….. Nope.
Faye: Okay, uhh… Did I miss something? I haven’t seen you at all lately.
Gabby: I just don’t really want to hang out anymore.
[The conversation quickens in pace, the actors can occasionally look into the audience at this point rather than solely their phones.]
Gabby: I’ve seen the way you look at me. And it’s sick.
Faye: What? Look at you how? I haven’t seen you enough to look at.
Gabby: It’s sick. I don’t want a dyke looking at me like she wants me. It’s gross.
Faye: ….Is this Gabby?
Faye: It is. It totally is. What is your problem? Let me talk to Brian.
Gabby: You know what? It is Gabby. He asked me to let you down easy, but you won’t quit. He’s mine, okay? Mine. He dropped Marc, and now he’s dropping you.
Faye: [She begins to break down a bit] He is not. Why are you doing this? Please put Brian on the phone.
Gabby: It’s over. Walk away, Butch.
Faye: You know what… this is exhausting. Brian, this is for you: If you ever need help, I’m here. But you need to get your head out of your ass and realise this girl is toxic. [As a sort of afterthought] …Bye, I guess.
[Gabby sneers slightly at the phone.]
Gabby: Annnnnd delete… Delete…. Delete…. Delete…
[Brian enters from the bathroom. He see’s his phone in Gabby’s hand.]
Brian: What are you doing?
Gabby: Just checking the time.
[She hands him the phone. Gabby begins being more affectionate than usual.]
Brian: Okay… [Brian notices Gabby’s switch in behavior.] What’s with you?
Brian: You seem, I dunno, happier than a few minutes ago. Did something happen?
Gabby: No, I was just thinking about us… and how no one will ever come between us.
[Brian looks at her oddly, but accepts it.]
Gabby: I love you.
Brian: …I love you too.
[Fade to Black]
[End of Play]