Full-Length Play


Sunshine QUEST

A Play in Two Acts by William Ivor Fowkes


 

SUNSHINE QUEST had its world premiere at the Fresh Fruit Festival at the Wild Project in New York City, JULY 11-13, 2014. 

Starring

Tony Neil*, James Meneses, George Boras, Steve Shoup*,

Camille Mazurek*

*Appearing by courtesy of Actors Equity Association

 

Directed by William Fowkes

Assistant Director – Wendy Peace

Choreographer/Movement Director – Heidi Miller

Stage Manager – Sondra Hunt

 

 

   


LENGTH: 1 hour 35 minutes (plus intermission)

CAST: 4M, 1F

 

Sparkling characters and dialogue.”

     - Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, Wellfleet, MA

 

"There are a couple of colorful characters that are highlights. … It furthers the dialogue on sexuality, especially in the context of older gay men. I also think the play is bold in its perspective and I admire that bravery."

     - About Face Theatre, Chicago

 


PRODUCTION HISTORY

SUNSHINE QUEST had its world premiere at the Fresh Fruit Festival at the Wild Project in New York City, JULY 11-13, 2014. 

 

Excerpts (under the title THE LAST NIGHTS OF SUNSHINE QUEST) were presented at the Pulse Ensemble Theatre Company Playwrights' Lab's Festival (Change!), March 2013, THE PLAYROOM, New York City. 

 

HONOR

An earlier version (THE LAST NIGHTS OF THE SUNSHINE SAGE CLUB) was installed in the Eileen Heckart Drama for Seniors Archives at Ohio State University, 2009.

 

SYNOPSIS

It’s the Year of our Lord 1999. Retired gay men flock to the Sunshine QUEST Club in Fort Lauderdale, FL for dancing, companionship, flirtation, and nonstop fun. But not everyone is waiting for them with open arms.  

 

SETTING: The Sunshine QUEST Club in Fort Lauderdale, Florida—a social club for senior gay men.  

 

TIME: Spring 1999.

 

CHARACTERS:  

 

Al Getz - Male - Age 60s - Handsome, successful realtor. Former movie star, Todd Haynes. Lived a private gay life for many years. Came out publicly five years ago. A gentleman.

 

Brad Hall - Male - Age 30 - Assistant manager of Sunshine QUEST. From North Carolina. Apparently straight. Lusted after by many members of the club. Attractive and polite, but a bit mercurial.  

 

Robby Smirnoff - Male - Age 70s - Retired agent. Jewish. Flamboyant and funny. Sharp-tongued, but sweet. Likes much younger men.

 

John Strathmore - Male - Age 60s - Retired company man. Straight-laced and conservative in appearance. Openly gay all his life, but recently widowed from a woman to whom he was married for ten years. Distracted by his mourning.

 

Mary King - Female - Age 50s - Ballroom dance instructor. A Southern woman who prefers the company of gay men. Funny, sexy, and warm-hearted.

 

 


AN EXCERPT

 

ACT 1

 

Scene 6: Three days later. Afternoon. 

 

Brad enters carrying a large paper palm tree

and sets it down. Robby enters dressed as

before, but with a skimpy bathing suit in

place of the pareo. The music fades.

 

ROBBY

(flirtatiously to Brad)

Hello there, young man! … Yoo-hoo, Buddy Boy! … I said hello!

 

BRAD

(gently)

Mr. Smirnoff, I’m afraid you can’t wear your bathing suit in the lounge.

 

ROBBY

Oh, very well.

 

Robby starts to take off his bathing suit.

 

BRAD

(horrified)

No! Put that back on!

 

ROBBY

Well, make up your mind!

 

Robby puts his bathing suit back on.

 

BRAD

I mean, you can’t come in here dressed like that. It’s against the rules. Bathing suits are only permitted by the pool.

 

ROBBY

(snapping)

What is this—a social club or a military base?

 

BRAD

I don’t make the rules.

 

ROBBY

Well, who does then?

 

BRAD

The Spaulding Brothers.

 

ROBBY

Who the hell are THEY?

 

BRAD

The owners.

 

ROBBY

Well, maybe it’s time to get some new owners.

 

BRAD

If you don’t like the way they run this place, why don’t you buy it and run it yourself?

 

ROBBY

It would be a lot more fun around here if I were in charge.

 

BRAD

Is that all you care about—having fun?

 

ROBBY

What’s more important than that?

 

BRAD

(gently)

I don’t like having to say this, but you guys don’t have many years left. Have you tried spending time with Jesus?

 

ROBBY

Jesus? No, I haven’t tried spending time with Jesus—I’m Jewish!

(beat)

We killed him, remember?

(beat)

I think he’s still pissed off at us.

 

BRAD

You can joke all you want—that’s not gonna help you on judgment day.

 

ROBBY

Jesus, you’re in a pretty foul mood!

 

BRAD

Please, don’t take the Lord’s name in vain.

 

ROBBY

I didn’t!

(lying—said childishly)

I just said, “Cheese Whiz!”

 

BRAD

I better go—I have work to do.

 

Brad starts to exit, but pauses.

 

BRAD

And please leave the lounge before anyone else sees you like that.

 

Brad exits. A moment later Al enters. Robby turns and crouches down to cover his body.

 

ROBBY

(dramatically)

Al, baby, turn away! Don’t look at me!

 

AL

What’s the matter?

 

ROBBY

I’m not supposed to be here.

 

AL

Why not?

 

ROBBY

(standing back up)

There’s some rule against bathing suits in the lounge—if you can believe it!

 

AL

Oh, I guess there is.

 

ROBBY

That little Nazi queen tried to give me a hard time! Then he started talking about Jesus.

 

AL

Oh. Well, don’t mind that. He’s really a very decent young man.

 

ROBBY

Decent! Schmecent! I wish I could buy this place. Then I’d run all these decent people out of here and replace them with some hot young men who know how to fawn over their elders properly.

 

AL

If you’re serious, I’d be happy to handle the purchase for you.

 

ROBBY

No, I’m not serious. I just don’t like all these rules. I moved down here to have fun, for god’s sake!

 

Brad re-enters.

 

BRAD

Mr. Smirnoff, I don’t mean to be rude, but I gave you a warning.

 

ROBBY

(snapping)

Yeah, yeah, yeah! I don’t see you giving Chuck Battista a hard time, and my bathing suit is much more tasteful than those bare-assed chaps of his!

 

BRAD

The Spaulding Brothers could fire me.

 

ROBBY

Well, maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing!

 

AL

Robby!

 

ROBBY

What do you want me to do? I was on the beach all day watching the boys play volleyball—I got distracted! All those balls bouncing up and down!

(beat)

I lost track of the time and didn’t have a chance to change. So sue me!

 

BRAD

Mr. Smirnoff, I’m trying to be nice about this.

 

ROBBY

Nice would be to stop bothering me!

 

BRAD

Are you gonna leave peacefully or do you want me to carry you out?

 

ROBBY

(playfully)

You’ll find I’m light as a feather!

 

BRAD

Act your age!

 

ROBBY

Oh, are you looking for a silver fox? You wanna be my sugar baby?

 

AL

(diplomatically)

Robby, why don’t you just do what Brad wants? There’s no need to cause a scene.

 

ROBBY

All right! If you’re all gonna gang up on me!

 

BRAD

Thank you.

 

ROBBY

Prissy little queens! I can’t stand them!

 

Robby exits.

 

AL

I’m sorry he gave you such a hard time. You handled him well.

 

BRAD

He’s quite a handful!

 

AL

(suggestively)

YOU were quite a handful last night, Mr. Hall.

 

BRAD

(teasing flirtatiously)

Did I wear you out, Mr. Getz?

 

AL

Not at all. You were—you ARE—invigorating and energizing—not to mention adorable!

 

BRAD

The feeling’s mutual, Al. Especially the adorable part. Being with you feels so natural. Like we were meant to be together.

 

AL

Maybe we were.

 

BRAD

Maybe we were. All I know is—no girl’s ever made me feel like this.

 

AL

(disappointed)

Oh, so you do date girls.

 

BRAD

Not anymore I don’t. I feel like a whole new person.

 

AL

That’s how I feel, too.

 

BRAD

You can’t possibly mean that. You’re Todd Hammond. You’re experienced. I’m just the next guy.

 

AL

But I do feel new. I can’t explain it. It’s like… Well, when you go to bed with someone, you’re lucky if it works out—physically, I mean. But every now and then, you find something more, and it’s like a gift from the gods. It’s like…

 

BRAD

(cutting him off excitedly)

It’s like expecting sex, but discovering love.

 

AL

You’re too young to be so profound.

 

BRAD

I’ve grown up a lot in the last few days.

 

AL

(playfully)

Am I robbing you of your youth?

(suddenly serious)

Wait—I shouldn’t joke. I do worry I’m leading you to something you may not be ready to handle.

 

BRAD

No, you’re showing me the way home. I’ve never been so happy to be alive!

 

AL

I’m happy, too.

 

BRAD

You know what else? I think Jesus would approve.

 

AL

Brad, don’t…

 

BRAD

(cutting him off)

I know you don’t like it when I go there, but I’ve thought a lot about this, and I don’t know why he wouldn’t. Didn’t he preach the gospel of love? But don’t worry; I won’t mention him again. Hey--can I come over to your place after work?

 

AL

Of course.

 

BRAD

I just hope I can wait that long!

 

 

END OF EXCERPT