It's been more than a year since putting the play to bed for a while in the hope of gaining some perspective as to its contents and viability. It's always been a favorite play because the characters get to say some entertaining and amusing lines. In the way of background information for people who aren't familiar with the story line, it focuses on the long standing dispute between two neighbors and the erroneous placement of a set of shrubs that divide their two properties. One wants them removed while the other is determined that they will stay, forever.
There weren't really many changes other than some inconsistences that were missed somehow, during the many re-writes. This was caught due to the breathing space between re-reads. In any case and because I like the play, here is the opening dialogue.
The two neighbors, Portman and Taylor, take great pleasure in defending their view points with verbal barbs. Ignore the formatting since it was a cut-and-paste from Word.
The present, mid-summer
SETTING: Back garden(s) of two neighbors. A picket fence separates their properties
AT RISE: Morning. Hot summer's day.
SOUND FX: Lawnmowers
ROBBIE (ROB) PORTMAN lazes in a hammock reading a book while holding a glass of liquid in the other hand. Dressed in cut-off jeans and a grungy t-shirt, his hair is long and unkempt and he sports a heavy beard
Dressed in a short-sleeved dress shirt and pants, JEFFRY TAYLOR, his next door neighbor, is the antithesis of PORTMAN, and a perfectionist. TAYLOR tends to his garden stopping periodically to study PORTMAN and finally makes his way over to their common fence.
Must be a hundred degrees in the shade today. I’d be indoors right now if my tomatoes didn’t need pampering. That’s the real secret of growing big veggies, y’know. Give em extra ‘TLC’… Hello? Hope I'm not disturbing you or anything
Takes gulp of liquid from glass
Must be them darn chipmunks makin’ a racket again' Gettin’ so’s a person can't read in peace anymore
How long have you been laying there?
PORTMANWhat time did the sun rise, today?
PORTMANFor your information, it’s plain orange juice
PORTMANGo suck a lemon. Wait – you don’t need to. You’re sour enough
PORTMANOkay – say it. You’re just dying to. Then go away
PORTMANHow does what I do affect your life?
PORTMANBeen there - heard it all before so don’t waste your breath. Go tend to your carrots or something. They need the
PORTMANSince when do you give a crap about whether I live or die?
PORTMANDon’chu worry ‘bout me moving away. I intend to be here for a long, long time. It's too much fun bugging the shit out’ta you
PORTMANMaybe I would if I could understand the question. Give me advance warning when you’re gonna give me another of your dumb lectures and I’ll make sure to have a dictionary handy
PORTMANIt’s a living and I like the people who drop by. You know – regular people. Something you wouldn’t know anything about
PORTMANYou talking 'bout that "keep of the grass” sign you got posted all over your property? It's the joke of the neighborhood, y'know
Drains glass and checks watch
PORTMANAs if someone the likes of you would notice. You’re more into cucumbers, if you get my drift and for your information – not that I owe you anything - Patty is the right hand to my lef
PORTMANAnd what would you know about sex? The closest you come is playing with your veggies
PORTMANTake a look at yourself and your life. Work your butt off for a multi-national all those years and what's it got you? A dinky house and a veggie garden. How do you stand the excitement?
PORTMANWhat's it your business?
PORTMANNever found a position to suit my qualifications
PORTMANDon't need big money to impress people like you do. I'm a simple guy with simple tastes
PORTMANSo don't look man! Turn your head the other way and mind your own business for a change and not mine! Listen! Your tomatoes are calling you
PORTMANDid somebody ask you to? It beats having to listen to you foam at the mouth about the evils of drink
PORTMANMy niece and nephew will know all about me, alright, ‘cause I’m leaving them something to remember me by. When I pass on, this here house'l go to them, along with those beau-ti-ful shrubs. It’s all written out in my will
PORTMANMight even build a de-luxe-y tree house for them this summer so's their grandkids can learn all about nature, up close and personal-like…
PORTMAN…maybe hang some tire swings from the branches…
PORTMANI can arrange that. Anyway, you don't have any say what I do with them shrubs
standing, getting taller every year. The longer you leave them, the more it's gonna cost you to cut 'em down when the time comes
PORTMANThere ain't ever gonna be a time and they ain't ever gonna be cut so I ain't worried none