Why Mr. Hemlock Thinks Plays Should be Taken Out of the Elementary School Curriculum
Parent 1: Welcome! Welcome to the play.
Parent 2: I should be Parent 1. I don’t know why I’m not Parent 1. Why am I always Parent 2?
Parent 3: Welcome! Welcome to the play.
Mr. Hemlock: (in a whisper from stage left): Those are Parent 1’s lines.
Parent 1: Can I tell you what my son got on the ITBS? Promise you won’t tell anybody? Off the charts. Simply off the charts. No, he doesn’t have Asperger’s—why do people always think that about super, super intelligent kids? But honestly, yes, we’re a little worried. You can understand with those kinds of scores. That the news will get out. And top that off with me being Parent 1—again! It’s not my fault. Mr. Hemlock keeps picking me.
Parent 2: See the wee little spider. In the corner of the barn? What is she doing there? Why she’s a very smart spider. She got in the 98th percentile on the writing mechanics section of the ITBS. She’s spinning a web. She’s writing sonnets when the rest of the spiders can’t even speak. Why, what is she writing? She’s writing screw you, Parent 1.
Parent 1: You are just making that up!
Parent 2: Mr. Hemlock said we could improvise.
Parent 3: Welcome! Welcome to our Play. This year we are doing “Why Mr. Hemlock Thinks Plays Should Be Taken Out of the Elementary School Curriculum.”
Parent 2: What happened to Charlotte’s Web?
Wildly Waving Mother Number 1: Why does Parent 1 have fifty lines and I have none?
Wildly Waving Father Number 2: Why am I a tree? I have been a tree every year since kindergarten. Don’t you keep track of these things? Shouldn’t somebody keep track of these things?
Parent 3: Yes, it hurts. To be overlooked once again. I won’t say anything. Instead I’ll see this for the opportunity it really is—a chance to exercise my underdeveloped disappointment muscle!
Mr. Hemlock: Now, parents. The tree is just as important as the Parent 1 role.
Parent 2: Then why doesn’t everybody have the same number of lines? Neigh.
Parent 1: Did you just whinny?
Parent 2: I’m trying to make the most of my role. I’m a horse. A parent horse.
Parent 3: I love horses. Black Beauty. National Velvet. Seabreeze.
Mr. Hemlock: I think you mean Seabiscuit.
Parent 2: (starts braying).
Parent 3: Ow! You’re hurting my ears. Please shut up. Horses are my life. You’re an insult to the entire horse kingdom. You are a parent, not a horse. Stop your whining. You should be happy you’re Parent 2. Look at me. I’m making the best of my role. Do you think this is where I thought I’d end up? I went to school in New Haven!
Parent 1: Okay, okay. I’ll tell you but you can’t tell anybody. He has an IQ of 165 and he’s 5 feet 2 inches tall. I know—can you believe it? He just turned eight! He’s a giant. It’s so hard for him. Everybody always thinking he’s older than he is. People are height-ist you know. Sometimes he’s discriminated against. Except for when he’s being drafted for Pee Wee Lacrosse and Football and Basketball and Chess. Only then is his height an advantage. Your son is so darling. So adorable. How can you stand it? I just want to scoop him up. Mm. Mm. Mm. Would it embarrass him if I kissed him right now at this very moment on his cutest little plumpest cheek? Oh, he’s still got his baby fat. My son won’t let me kiss him anymore. Lift up your shirt, darling. Show Parent 2 your six-pack. I know, I know. Can you believe it? An eight-year-old with a six-pack?
Wildly Waving Woman Number 1: Yoo-hoo! Mr. Hemlock! Over here. Am I waving right? Admit it. I am one of your favorites. That’s why you couldn’t give me the Parent 1 role. Your favoritism would have been too obvious, so refreshing it is that I am not one of those hovering, intrusive, I have such a special, special child kind of parents, but instead my-kid’s-perfectly-average-but-very-happy-and-I-could-give-a-shit kind of parents? The kind of parent who raised you?
Parent 1: Is that code for my daughter did horribly on the ITBS? You know you shouldn’t feel badly about that. Some kids just test poorly. I’m sure she’s very bright.
Mr. Hemlock: I want you to know I gave this play very little thought. I wrote it in five minutes.
Parent 2: Neigh.
Parent 3: How I miss New Haven.
Wildly Waving Woman Number 1: You went to Yale? My husband went to Yale.
Wildly Waving Father Number 3: Whoosh. Whoosh (Waving his arms like branches. Falls to the ground. Gags. Pretends he’s dead from the effects of global warming).
Parent 1: Goodbye. Goodbye from our play.
Parent 2: Some play.